Sam wanted to figure out a way to create a bulletproof “diet”
Here’s Sam again. After receiving constantly conflicting information about what to eat to be healthy, Sam has had enough. She works in a hard and fast environment, where she is familiar with getting to the bottom of the “truth” for her client’s problems.
She has it in her mind that this must be possible with respect to health, well being and fitness.
What was she used to?
In her professional work she is very familiar with talking to people that claimed to be experts on various areas. But she noticed the same pattern, many of the people that could talk-the-talk, but couldn’t walk-the-walk.
Meaning she was left not able to trust their views, because after all, if they couldn’t achieve the success they claimed to be able to for themselves, how could they really help others?
She started looking up nutritionists and dieticians. Many of whom shared not only photos and videos of their physical capabilities, but also people they’ve helped. She was alarmed to see just how many professionals were overweight themselves though.
She was looking for people with great body shape, great skin but most of all, a great way about them. She believed that true health sparkled in people’s eyes.
Identify the noise
Sam’s day job is only 5% about finding the truth, and 95% about drowning out the noise. That is information that is either not helpful, or worse, detrimental to all of her client’s goals. Sam identified five examples of information she suspects is just noise:
When talking about diet and referring to humans, people think in terms of a change in food for a temporary period. But if we talk about wild animals and their diet, we think in terms of what they eat, day in day out. So which is it? Clearly diet means what you eat, day in day out.
“Eat everything in moderation” and don’t deprive yourself of food, is something Sam hears a lot. But this is at odds with something else she hears, related to the idea of “superfoods”. How can these two ideas exist in conjunction? Either some foods are better than others, or all foods are important. Which is it?
The loud voice has the money to amplify its message. This means that items that have the greatest profit margins also have the greatest volume of evidence to support their benefits. The reverse is true, those items that have the least profit margin have the least volume of evidence to support their benefits. And what convinces health and medical professionals? Volume of evidence, of course.
All companies that trade some form of food pay tax. This means that governments are incentivised to widen the net of products that are classified as food. Sam took that to mean, just because even the government endorses some things as food, doesn’t mean we should take their position at face value.
Finally, Sam noticed that there are two things touted as food, they are called produce and products. Which in itself is extremely confusing. The difference is that produce is the natural fruit, vegetables, grains etc. Products are mostly the processed, pre-packed items. What she noticed is that supermarkets are organised into the produce area, and the products’ area. The produce area often makes up a maximum of 20% of the store, and almost always is at the front. Meaning that supermarkets are set up to lure customers in with produce, to then sell them on products.
A direction forward
Having attempted to decipher the truth, Sam decided on some principles to help her. From now on she will aim to:
Find a regular and permanent pattern for eating. In the same way as in her work she is effective if she develops consistent strategies and processes, she will do the same with her eating habits. So that eating this way becomes second nature.
She accepted that clearly some food is better than others. Trying to identify the best foods itself is a journey, but she is going to focus on identifying them and eating the best in abundance.
Just because something has lots of evidence to support claims for its health, doesn’t mean Sam should take that at face value. Especially items that have high profit margins.
Take government guidelines with a pinch of rock salt. It’s not that the government is always wrong, it’s just that they are not incentivised to stay ahead of science. Instead, they have to play the political game well, and keep their big tax players, i.e. the food corporations, sweet.
Sam is going to ensure her food is high in produce, and not product.
The daily dozen
Having developed these five principles, Sam couldn’t help but think there must be someone out there that has researched this area. Sort of like in a way she does with her professional work, but for food science. She searched around, and most people just parrot fashion preached the same “eat in moderation” nonsense or promoted products instead of produce. Until, she found Dr Greger. Dr Michael Greger is the founder of an online resource called Nutrition Facts, the author of two books called How Not To Die and How Not To Diet.
She lapped up all his information. It didn’t take her very long to discover that Dr Greger has a really simple technique to help people follow the principles that Sam loosely has developed, but that Dr Greger has advanced to on a world class level. Dr. Greger has developed an app, simply called the Daily Dozen. It’s a bit like the idea of eating five fruit and vegetables a day, but taking it to the next level. Sam installed the app, the Daily Dozen and encouraged her family, friends and colleagues to do the same.
Sam noticed her habits build
Using the Daily Dozen and talking about these regularly with her support group, Sam felt it was easy to adopt a healthy lifestyle which is compatible with her research into the “noise”. She found Dr Greger’s videos incredibly compelling, and knew she could continue to trust his suggestions. Sam has not only noticed a general improvement in her health and well being, she has noticed an improvement in her enthusiastic support network’s health too.