Posted by in wellness

This is Silly.

by Sean Croxton

Long time, no blog.

I wish I could tell you all about how busy I’ve been, but to be honest I’ve just been kinda chillin’. The radio show has been on a month-long hiatus (Robb Wolf this Thursday!). The “did you know” Facebook posts have taken a break. And I finally dusted off the Tweetdeck last night.

The TV show is in production. Just yesterday, my crew and I went over to Mark Sisson’s place and filmed our third episode. So far, we’ve shot with Gary Taubes, Todd Durkin, Dr. Tom O’Bryan, and Steve Cotter. You guys are going to LOVE the show!

What else is going on in Croxton World?

Well, I think I’m going through a phase that all health bloggers go through at some point or another. It’s the point at which we ask ourselves just what the heck else can we say about food that we haven’t said before. And how do we continue the discussion without losing the average Joes and Janes who just want to eat/live well and without attracting the neurotic orthorectics who turn food into a religion?

There’s a sign on the wall at my gym that says, “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet”.

True, indeed. But you also can’t:

* eat your way out of late nights in front of the TV or computer

* eat your way out of a high-stress lifestyle

* eat your way out of a lack of connection with the Earth

* eat your way out of lack of sunlight

* eat your way out of a predominance of negative thoughts running through your head

* eat your way out of having no purpose in life

I was listening to the Great Health Debate call with Dr. Mercola and Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Both are highly successful doctors using completely opposite nutritional protocols with their patients. The name Harold Kristal, D.D.S., author of The Nutrition Solution, a book about Metabolic Typing, came up in the conversation. Dr. Cousens made the point several times that Kristal, a meat eater, died of cancer.

So!

This is the absurdity of the food debate. A man eats meat and he dies of cancer. The meat MUST have killed him.

Let’s forget about how stressed he may have been or lack of sleep he may have gotten. Let’s just set aside any other component of his lifestyle (or genetics) that may have contributed to his death by cancer. It just HAD TO BE the meat.

This is stupid.

Is this what we’ve come to? Has no vegan ever died of cancer? Then again, if you listen to a staunch omnivore, you would assume that no vegan ever lived a healthy, long life either.

It seems as though our movement has drifted away from holism and toward dietary tunnel vision in a poor attempt to prove ourselves right and everyone else wrong.

It just makes me wonder. I know all about the time, effort, and research it takes to become a fairly well known blogger. So, I can’t help but ask myself if the late hours we spend researching food are counteracting the good we’re doing through our diets. I wonder if the anger and resentment some of us express when, for example, Oprah has Vegan Week is worse for us than the sugars and trans fats we encourage others not to eat. It is said that anger causes cancer, too.

I read the comments after I post my YouTube videos. A lot of them have to do with viewers being so fed up with the health game that people don’t know what the hell to eat anymore.

Meat is bad. But wait, meat is good. But wait again, I read Inflammation Nation last week and the author says that egg yolks and meat are high in arachidonic acid and cause inflammation. But wait just one more time, because I interviewed Mark Sisson yesterday and he said meat and egg yolks are good.

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!

Wasn’t sugar bad for us last week? Well, today we have the Ray Peat crowd who say it’s good for us and that if we don’t have enough of it we’ll fry our adrenal glands and slow down our thyroids.

Low-carb is good. No, wait! Low-carb is bad!

Sheesh. When is enough enough?

It reminds me of a quote I came across a couple months ago. You can hand a man (or woman) a watch and ask him to describe how it works. The only catch is that he can’t take the watch apart. The man can draw you a picture and tell you a beautiful story about how he thinks the watch works. The next person will draw his own picture and will have a very different, yet equally convincing story. It goes on and on until someone finally grabs the watch, takes it apart, and actually witnesses what makes it tick.

And that’s exactly what we have, a bunch of stories. Dr. Cousens has his story, as exemplified by his ten-minute monologue of statistics regarding the consumption of meat and increased risk of various diseases. Dr. Mercola has his story. Kristal had his. The Weston A Price crowd even has a book to back their story up. The Paleo crowd has fossils, spears, and really old poop samples.

The question is whose story resonates the most with you.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun and intriguing to try to figure it all out. But none of us will ever have the opportunity to take the darn watch apart. The pictures we draw and the stories we write today will be proven dead wrong tomorrow. That’s kinda how it goes.

Yet, the underlying theme never really changes: Just Eat Real Food.

And not just that! Get to bed on time. Keep your stress levels in check. Participate in loving relationships. Have a social life. Get some exercise. Go barefoot (blog coming soon on this topic). Get some sunlight. Be happy.

In a nutshell, LIVE.

Now, if you have some kind of condition that requires specific dietary guidelines (leaky gut, celiac, gluten sensitivity, diabetes, etc.), I can understand the need for more specialized information. But in my opinion, I think the average person just looking to get healthy and fit gets turned off by what amounts to a mountain of conflicting information and silly points made about guys who happened to eat meat and died too.

I know people who won’t even hang out with their friends anymore because they’re afraid of being put in a position that may lead to “bad eating”.

Really? Is it that serious?

Is the stress some people feel about making the wrong food decisions better or worse than just letting loose and making poor choices every once in a while?

And do we really need to feel a sense of pride when Paul Chek says he’s eating meat again?

I love being a blogger. I love studying health. But I have to admit that some of this stuff is downright silly.

Eat real food. Listen to your body. Live a great life. And do what works for you.

Man, I forgot how fun this blogging thing can be!

Sean
Host, The Thyroid Sessions
The Thyroid Sessions

Comments

comments

99 thoughts on “This is Silly.

  1. Susan Revak

    Once again Sean,
    Nice work. Thank you for so concisely putting into words what we’ve been discussing the past few days. Sounds like you are right on with this perspective. Make a shirt that says: “Live a great life” and I’ll wear it. :)
    Peace

  2. Dana

    I understand the frustration over hearing all the fighting but I really don’t think a “can’t we all just get along” is going to cut it. Remember, the guy who coined that phrase may have gotten the snot beaten out of him by the LAPD, but he was also driving like a maniac when they caught up to him. “Can’t we all just get along” is a last-resort plea when you just can’t handle the stress anymore, not a declaration of superior morality.

    And by the way I was injured, and my daughter suffered birth defects, thanks to the notion that any old diet is OK as long as you eat real food. In this particular case it came from a belief that vegetables contain vitamin A. They don’t. None of them do. And not all of us can convert beta carotene. And that lack of ability does not always spring from bad health. So before you get too comfy with the idea that any diet is good for you as long as you breathe sunshine and poop rainbows about it… well, just don’t.

    It’s fine if you don’t want to fight. But some of us fight for a reason. And while diet *is* a religion or an eating disorder for far too many people, you can’t put nutrients in food by being happy about it or just sitting down and shutting up because God forbid you offend some idiot who thinks we’re a cross between chimps and rabbits who just happened to inherit the rabbit’s GI tract.

    I bet the meat-eater who died of cancer was a sugar and grain addict. Those foods are from plants, by the way.

  3. Reid

    SEAN!

    I’ve waited sooo long for this post. I’m glad to say that it was indeed worth the wait. You’re the man. Keep doing what you’re doing……and I think you’ll end up writing your own book one day! ;)

  4. Brooke Lorren

    I think the main thing is pick something that makes sense to you and works for you. Obviously, the processed food isn’t working. What you’ve got to say about a lot of things makes sense to me. I’ll go with that.

  5. Dana

    Also, good Lord. I just now looked at your About page and I swear, that crack about Mr. King was NOT a crack about you or your race. I apologize. It’s just that your overall tone sounded like “can’t we all just get along” and well, I graduated high school in 1992 and that phrase resonates with me in a certain way.

    Again, my abject apologies. Was not even remotely trying to go there. :(

  6. Bobby Khan

    I think this one may be one of the best blogs you have written in a long time Sean :) I just felt you had started to become a bit to coned with the diet hatting on one food after another.. I like to read about the old Sean again.. no offense my man.

    This is the sean who made me start reading him and watching EVERY youtube video he ever put out under Underground Wellness.

  7. deb

    Problem is some people do not know what real food is…and what is being sold to us is sometimes disguised as such and is anything but….
    so…I agree with all you say. I might add it is important to read and study all of these doctors and experts and then take from each of them the best and use it ..we all know what works for our bodies. We are not all the same.
    I eat real food…organic whenever possible. I cannot even buy meat chicken or fish that I know has had antibiotics or hormones or force fed. Milk is unpasteurized and eggs are whenever possible. i take supplements because I feel a difference. I eat a lof of vegetables and some fruit. I eat the meat and chicken and fish but not in great quantities. i eat nuts and seeds. I do still enjoy a slice of cake and a piece of lasagna and a glass of wine but it is for special occasions and sunday only. lol

    They all have something good to say. They believe what they believe…we just need to be informed and stay away from the poisons.

  8. UW Sean Post author

    Thanks, Reid! I’m working on a book right now. About 3/4 done. Just need to knock out 3 more chapters. Be on the lookout!

  9. UW Sean Post author

    Yep. Just avoid/minimize the processed foods. If you look at the natives Weston Price studied, one of the common denominators was the lack of processed foods in their diets.

    There are a lot of things that don’t get mentioned when we talk about Price such as strong relationships and the fact that many walked barefoot and were connected to the Earth. I’ll be blogging about Earthing later this week. A lot of our inflammatory conditions can be avoided by simply spending time with our feet connected to the Earth. Interesting stuff.

  10. Gena

    Right on Sean!
    I really think the answer in all of this is for us to stopping looking at all the internet health experts like they know everything (Smart and informative? Absolutely! All knowing? Definitely not.), and start connecting with our bodies, finding out on our own how different foods make us feel, and what stresses us out, because in the end we have to live with the food choices we make. Most people seem to want someone to just tell us what to do, and how to eat and live, then if it doesn’t work we have someone to blame. But we only have ourselves to blame if we are eating food that makes us feel like crap even if an expert (even one we trust) told us it was fine.

  11. Gena

    Dana,
    You are the perfect person to fight this battle because you have the story behind it, which is harder to argue with, but some will still try. Most of these so called “fights” are pointless, because they have their “science” or their lab results of perfect blood work. Until they get sick and realize what they are doing is all wrong, they usually won’t listen. Most often, as Sean himself has said, “breakdown = breakthrough”. I mean just look at how you got to where you are in your health journey. And it’s the same for me, not until I felt like garbage did I start thinking about making a change in what I was doing.

  12. Barbara

    Sean! You’re back! I started to think you were not coming back but had an idea that you were recharging and boy did you ever! I really like this reasonable approach and the reminder to “live in the moment” couldn’t come at a better time. The “paralysis by analysis” was starting to get to me. But yes, you’re right-it all comes down to real food and enjoying the people you have the joy to cook for and eat with. Thanks for all your sincere interest in helping people live healthier, happier lives. Keep learning and sharing–it is your gift!

  13. Matt

    A timely post.

    My 50+ RSS subscriptions from health/WAP/paleo blogs has only served to put my head in a spin!

  14. Richard Nikoley

    You really have written down what I have been feeling for some months, now, Sean, which is why a lot of what I do is more focussed on entertainment, smack, or having a Paleo Pub as Kurt Harris calls my place.

    I’ve said pretty much all I can say about the soundness of a real food. And there is no diet, only a framework of human realities in which to figure out what seems to work best for you.

  15. Scott

    Yo Sean it’s great to see you blogging again. Like you said it’s easy just eat real food. Some people just think that it can’t be that simple. Keep sharing your knowledge….we love it!! Looking forward to making it back over to SD again this year and hope to catch up again.

  16. Karen Andonian

    Hey Sean,
    Awesome post my friend! There is a fight that I DO want to start (or continue or make bigger) and that is with the FDA and our government. I’m not sure if you’ve had the chance to watch this TED speach by Robyn O’Brien but its phenomenal.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA
    The fact that our government has allowed GMO and synthetic components into our food supply is a fight I’m willing to take on as long as I am alive to do it.
    I think Robyn would be a great guest for UW Wellness! I’m currently reading her book “The Unhealthy Truth” and it’s fabulous.
    Keep up the good work Sean! Your site and information that you have made available has had a huge influence on my life and family!!!

    Karen :)

  17. Michael

    “Man, I forgot how fun this blogging thing can be!”

    Well, Man I forgot how fun reading your blog thing can be.

    Couldn’t have said it any better, The stress some put on making the wrong choices could ironically be the bad choice of stressing in the first place.

    That Dr. Gabriel Cousens comment ticked me off though… WHAT an idiot to say Kristal was a meat eater and died of cancer. Show is ignorance and animosity toward views other than his own. Why have a PhD if you’re going to pull stuff out of your ass.

    But then again, need to calm down.. stress is bad for your health..lol

  18. Joshua

    “This is the absurdity of the food debate. A man eats meat and he dies of cancer. The meat MUST have killed him.”
    —– LOL -this reminds me of recent radio show with Zoe Harcombe where she said : that cakes,biscuits ect where major sources of saturated fat
    However most of them are largely carbohydrates and un-saturated fat , yet still they point fingers at Saturated Fat.

    I’ve started to wonder if GHD was a good idea as for those who are seriously trying to do the best for themselves seem to be confused by it since many “experts” where unoposed ( rather then taking a little information here and there ) Do you think it’s because too many people seem to see diet as their Holy Grail to health?

  19. Donal

    Excellent article. Summed up many of my own views too.
    I hope this message can go far. On a personal note im starting an Msc in Nutrition this coming septemberSweden (my Bsc was Exercise Science) and i literally cant wait to see the views of the professors and academics in the field. I have a suspicion many will still toe the Calorie in Calorie out, High CHO diet line
    Hopefully im wrong. If im not maybe i can help change things from the inside

    Peace

    Donal

  20. Razwell

    Hi ,Sean. :)

    Great post.

    I think readers should understand that all food is a minefield. All food has risks. Science just does not know enough about nutrition yet to be certain about anything.

    The narrow minded view held by vegan extremeists that plants are a cure all, and harmless panacea is uneducated and downright wrong.

    MANY plants, including MANY plant foods have numerous carcinogenic compounds and /or deadly toxins in them. One small example: wild mushrooms. You have to be an expert to even attempt eating them. And even then if a deer pooped nearby , they could have harmful bacteria on them. You see ? None of this is simple.

    I am sure many of our Paleolithic ancestors passed away from eating the wrong plant.

    Even supermarket carries risk. Those vegetables and fruits have been repeatedly sprayed with pesticides and sulfur compounds and all sorts of nasty gunk on them.

    We are tropical critter. We generally should seek a diet of major variety, but sticking mainly to tropical sources of things – tropical nuts, tropical vegetables etc.

    There is nothing at all wrong with good quality meat and it is very nutrient dense, it just should not edge out dark green vegetables, nuts and other micronutrient sources.

    I guarantee anyone eating just fruit will eventually get sick and die. There are too many nutrients they are missing to keep their cells healthy. Fruitarianism is a cult, and genuine science wants nothing to do with it. We will never find truth listening to these Internet gurus.

    Genuine science never proclaims truth. Genuine science admits to much uncertainty and unknowns. Nutrition is not rocket science, it is MUCH, MUCH worse and more complex.

    ALL food is a potential minefield. ALL food carries risk.

    Take care, my friend.

    Raz

  21. Dillon

    Amen to that Sean!!! I’m pumped for your Robb Wolf interview. Have you tried to get an interview from Mat Lalonde? If not, I think it would make for an entertaining interview, and I think that you guys would have a lot in common.

  22. Razwell

    I forgot to say. You’re an open minded guy, Sean. Your intentions are sincere and you are a genuine seeker of knowledge.

    What is known is far less than what is not. That holds true in nutrition, obesity and coronary artery disease , also.

    Science only understand bits and fragments of cellular metabolism. Without a complete understanding of human cellular biology, claims of truth are meaningless ( David Wolfe et al. etc.).

    I hope more and more poeple realize how badly they have been suckered by self serving Internet gurus who abound out there.

    No one – no one- has a complete understanding of the mechnisms behind coronary artery disease or obesity. So when anyone claims they have the secret etc. you can be 100 % sure it is nonsense.

    Genuine science never proclaims “truth ” or ” 100% certainty” like so many Internet charlatans do . Genuine science does not permit such extravagences. It tests hypotheses and strives for consensus. It is a work in progress.

    Any valid source of scientific information MUST admit uncertainty and VAST unknowns.

    Wishing you the best,

    Raz

  23. Bobby Fernandez

    Sean,

    I have always found it a quirk of the human spirit that no matter how well something has worked for an individual, we still look outward for validation. We could be the biggest believer in a system but our foundation is shaken if a good amount of dissent exists. Truth is, there is not much objectivity in the world. Besides good and evil, the rest is a personal journey. No child has the same relationship with their parent as their brothers and sisters; so too do we each have a different relationship with the Earth and our Creator.

    if you haven’t read my latest blog on real food yet, please check it out and give me your input. Thanks.

    http://movingforwellness.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/defining-real-food/

  24. Teresa

    Well put Raz. I think it was Michael Pollan who made the comment that nutritional science has only matured to where other forms of medical science such as surgery were in the 1600s.

  25. Elenor

    Hi Sean,
    I’d add just this: when one has “seen the light” and saved one’s life or health, one generally becomes (fanatically?) attached to the thing(s) that (one perceives) did so. I remember, as a teen, being buttonholed for an hour by a guy who’d gotten off drugs by getting religion: he was AS hooked, AS addicted, to his new passion as he had been to the drugs — and he NEEDED that new addiction to keep him from his old one. (Go to any AA meeting — the ex-drunks are passionately sucking down sugary coffee and cigg smoke! A new addiction to replace an old one!) (Unless they’ve gone low carb! Tee hee hee!)

    The changes that result from going low carb/paleo/primal are so fundamental (and feel so wonderful!), that one “naturally” tries to share the new gospel of health and well-being. And, just as that drug addict needed to “preach the word” to keep himself clean of drugs, so, too, do new (or not-so-new) paleo folks need to cling to their … er … new religion … to help *them* stay on the true and narrow.

    I’d only counsel (if I may) to think not so much of the (now-educated) ‘fanatics’ who are trying to keep to the true and narrow by creating ever-tighter restrictions (to help themselves); but of the newbies who are still just coming to this stuff. THEY benefit from reading “the same” (to you, but new to them) stuff.

    I run a dating/mating/marrying advice list, and while I DO get tired of repeating (what feels like) the same advice over and over — for the NEW member who is confused or hurt or desperate, it’s NEW stuff. It’s a list, not a blog — so the organization is less-than-optimal, but I do pull ‘useful advice’ out of discussions and post it in files as “group wisdom” — so I can refer new folks to those files for the quicker route to (general) knowledge. With your blog, you’ve got built in organization (yay, tags!) so the new folks can be easily referred to older writings. Please don’t think of ‘writing to the convinced’ — think of writing (or vlogging, or whatever) for the latest newcomers. We older hands will benefit by hearing/reading it again, but your best audience is the new folks who NEED the help moreso than do we old hands!

    And AS one of the educated old-hands, I still benefit tremendously from reading/hearing/watching the same old stuff presented in new ways. I, too, am clinging desperately to my new “religion” (low carb for me, down 30 pounds!)({sigh} 130 to go), and the support and reminders I get from”the same old stuff again” helps me stay strong!

    Repeat inoculations of ‘the right stuff’ helps avoid the ‘disease’ of falling off the wagon.

  26. SARA

    Sean,

    Thanks so much for sharing your current/latest thoughts. I especially liked the story about “the watch,” as it reminds me a bit of the “blind men and the elephant” story:).

    With regards to “JERF,” I am one of those individuals who needs to handle that advise with care, and ask “What is real food?” or “What real foods are good for ME?”:)…. For the past couple of months I allowed grains back into my diet and my body has turned into a train wreck (foggy brain, tired all the time, stomach aches, weight gain), so, I had to learn *again*:) that grains are not good for me.

    +1 on hearing the “same old stuff again.” It’s like being a kid and enjoying hearing a favorite bedtime story over and over:)

    I enjoy your blog, listening to your interviews, and eagerly look forward to your TV show!

  27. Annette

    Hi Sean,
    Great post. I always think if I pick real food it makes grocery shopping easier-I don’t have to read any ingredient lists.

  28. Dr. Lo

    Hi Sara,

    While real foods are the way to go for most, certain individuals need more guidelines and that sounds like it’s the case for you. It’s great you’re listening to your body clues and understanding what makes you feel great and what makes you feel not so great.

    Lab testing may be the way to go for you. Cyrex labs has a panel that tests various foods and if you’re reacting to them. I encourage you to seek them out.

    Dr Lo

  29. Jeffro

    I started Paleo last June. Still learning, still conflicted, but this much I know….
    lost 30 lbs, quit taking water pill and my BP dropped, recovered sense of smell after 30 years of not having one. For me the proof’s in the puddin’ (No added sugar).

  30. UW Sean Post author

    Agreed. What I’ve done over the years is study a ton of different perspectives. I kept what I liked and discarded what I didn’t like. To me, it is the best way to figure it all out. I just feel like people cling to certain leaders and gurus as if they are the be-all end-all of all things health.

    Sounds like you’re doing it right, Deb!

    Thanks for commenting.

  31. UW Sean Post author

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Gena. A lot of people like to be told what to be, eat, and do. We need to let our bodies be our best teacher.

  32. UW Sean Post author

    Thanks for reading, Barbara! Paralysis by analysis is a great way of putting it. Even I get it every so often. But not anymore, I’m just gonna eat real food and keep it simple as I can.

  33. UW Sean Post author

    Hi Richard!

    Read your post on the topic. It’s great to know that a lot of other bloggers feel the same way. I love what you’re doing over there. Thoroughly enjoy your content.

  34. UW Sean Post author

    That’s the best way to change things, from the inside. Good luck in your studies!

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Donal!

  35. DB

    Damn! You did it my friend…the Panacea! But WTF am I gonna read now? Seriously though, well put and I think to celebrate this, Ill have a Gluten laden carbonated and malted hops beverage to toast it! In fact, I think Ill actually pour it out on the curb for my Non-nutritional knowing homies and then pop open a box of easy mac and wash it down with a tall glass of diet soda and a can of fried Spam….And of course Im kidding but seriously, you did say what I think what many of us followers always want to hear and quite frankly need reminded of. We are always listening and reading to learn more to improve various aspects of our lives and you are providing a great service to us in doing the things you do. And….when you make a post like this we can all sit back, chew on some jerky…or raw veggie thing…or whatever it is we have decided is the best to eat, and take it all in and SMILE. I think these are the most important things that we can do and we all forget from time to time to do them, so thanks and keep up the good work. Also, I cook a ton of sh*t in Coconut oil (bc i heard its good for you this week) so looking forward to your blog about it!

    DB

  36. Dr Cate

    Sean
    I was worried you were gonna say you quit! Glad you’re not; your interviews are a kind of continuing medical education program for me, keeps me up on the cool stuff people outside the system are saying.

    BTW, I can’t tell you how many times my own patients have expressed the same kind of confusion over WTH (that’s for heck) is up with all the “experts” and their conflicting conclusions. But at least they care enough about their health to try and figure it out. It’s kind of like the saying “the best way to explore is to get lost and find your way back home” if you don’t get lost, you’ll never find the way.

  37. Ryan

    I had all types of stuff typed out but in the end it boils down to this; Glad you’re back and I hope to get more positivity from you to share with others.

  38. Chris Kresser

    Could…not…agree…more. I wrote a similar article recently where I argued that most of us have a tendency to focus all of our energy and attention on the things we already do well (like diet, for example) and continue ignoring the things that are actually keeping us from being well (like sleep, fun, etc.).

    But the fact is it’s a lot easier to screw around with carbohydrate ratios or take a new supplement than it is to challenge deep-seated patterns of thought and behavior. That’s why these silly debates continue to attract so much attention.

  39. Hendra

    TRUE. THAT. BROTHER!

    A while ago I came back to Indonesia and it was so hard to maintain on Paleo. I got stressed over the fact that everyone that pass me by has got something to say about the way I eat. That snowballed into a whole “Me against the world” mindset, I was irritable, defensive and protective of my diet. And my stress went way up, and sleep deteriorated.

    Despite my fitness workouts (I was doing 5/3/1 strength training) and a clean diet, I got sick once a month for 6 months. They last around a week each. They’re either fever, cold or diarrhea.

    Fast forward, I moved to another city (it’s been 2 months now) and got my stress under control. I started feeling better, arranged for longer sleeps, and gained muscle mass like I wanted to. I kept to a simple steak and veges routine every day so that I could get my thoughts away from fretting over food.

    I completely agree with keeping it simple, and focusing on the important aspects. We could argue about the little details all we want, but to what end? Is the justification of being right more important that the negative effects of stress that you get? I think not.

  40. David Brown

    For what it’s worth, after more than three decades spent studying nutritional controversies here is what I recommend:
    1. Eat foods appropriate for your metabolic makeup.
    2. Eat adequate amounts of all essential nutrients.
    3. Eat an assortment of quality foods that you enjoy.
    4. Avoid consuming too much fructose and omega-6s.
    5. Eat to promote health rather than to prevent disease.

  41. Dominic Munnelly

    Great post and from what i deal with on a day to day basic most people need to keep doing the basics well and not get to anal over specifics.
    Master the majors NOT the minors

  42. Leslie

    I loved this post. Found it through The Healthy Skeptic. I agree totally. I’m very new to this “nutrition world” and slogging my way through. I don’t know if I’m the only one who knows nothing, but I always feel like saying things like; “What the hell is ‘real food’?” I’m not being critical, I just really don’t know. Does that mean organic or local? Does it include bread and pasta? Is it just not eating processed stuff? Then I get into the thought of “What exactly does ‘processed’ mean?” I feel like an idiot. I see in a post just before this to “eat food appropriate for your metabolic makeup”. That sounds great, but what is my metabolic makeup and how/where do I find that out? Can I afford to find out? I feel panicked constantly about all I read and hear and think for that matter. Your article expressed that so well. I guess my question is…is there a nutrition site, book, whatever where I can look up the terms used so frequently by all you people that know all the things I want to know. Like a list of “real food” that I can refer to. Or a list of “Don’t eat this…at least not on a daily/weekly basis” (again, I think nothing should be banned forever). Sorry to be stupid, but I want to learn. Thanks for putting my mind at ease, even if just for a moment.

  43. Brenda Hoffman

    I worked for Gabriel Cousens for 3 years. While I’ve seen his approach heal many many health problems (and I have much respect for the good he does), I typed a letter up for him one time in response to a public criticism of the vegan diet by an ex-raw-vegan. He responded to the argument of “vegans don’t live longer” by acknowledging that his reason for raw veganism wasn’t so much longevity as it was to spiritualize his body (See “Spiritual Nutrition” much of which I transcribed). Gabriel is a highly spiritual man, sincerely engaging in near-constant spiritual activities when he’s not working. For myself, I have found that nutrition from healthy animal foods has helped me to feel better than I’ve ever felt before. I felt so deprived every time I attempted to get on the 100% raw or vegan diet. Lots of good nutrition in it, but in hindsight I know it was missing a few essential things. However, any diet that eliminates all refined, highly processed, toxic foods will often help reverse disease conditions, and in many cases, will allow a person to completely heal. Once a person is off the junk, then the work begins of tweaking a diet to their own individual needs, which is obviously not the same for everyone. In fact, I find that I feel just as bad on a grain-free diet as I feel on a vegan diet. When I have a moderate amount of homemade well-fermented bread or brown rice, I feel at my best. I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is any such thing as the one best way to eat.

  44. Kelly Battaglia

    You’re a real leader – outstanding post. After a lifetime of junk food and fast food, I discovered real food last year; dropped 30 pounds very quickly, I think more clearly, sleep better … everything’s better. Heard about you from Chris Kresser.

  45. Luke Shanahan

    Leslie, I think that checking out Sean’s site often is a great start. He’s open-minded, extremely versed on the issues of nutrition and exercise, and very, very smart. May I also recommend a few books, starting with our own? Deep Nutrition explains, in specific terms, exactly what makes a processed food “processed,” and how to identify the worst foods–without the need of any “Eat this, Not that” type lists. Food Rules, Dr. Cate (my wife) and I just put out, simplifies things further by giving a bare-bones basic guide to eating well. For starting out on all this stuff, it’s a good way to start.

    Both books will be available on Kindle in a couple weeks, BTW.

    Micheal Pollen’s a fine writer, and his Omnivore’s Dilemma does a good job walking people through the maze of all the “nutritionism” stuff that Sean’s post just dealt with.

    Although Cate and I disagree on a couple of the finer points with Mark Sissen, he knows his stuff and all of his books are good, including Primal Blueprint.

    For cookbooks, get a copy of the CIA cookbook or the Cordon Blue one. Or James Patterson’s Cooking. Tom Coliccio’s “Think Like a Chef” is pretty good too.

    And let’s not forget Sean’s forthcoming book, which I’m certain will be fabulous. I, for one, can’t wait to read it!

    “Everything in moderation” is, these days–I’m sorry to say–deadly advice. But there are a few simple things you can do to improve your diet in a big way without a whole lot of hassle (like, for example, making a stock every once in a while with pasture raised chicken or beef).

    Good luck!

  46. Lisa @ Real Food Digest

    Nice to see you blogging again!

    Your message is a good reminder to all of us who are so deeply involved in learning about health and nutrition. One of the amazing things about this topic is how endless it is, and how there is always room for new and innovative ways to analyze what contributes to perfect health – taking a step back to breathe and live is a good lesson – as well as respecting others with opposing views – you might actually even learn something new. (Sean – I think you’re a good role model for that).

    But for me it’s hard not to get stressed over the way kids are being fed (and how numb people are to the fact that so many kids have food allergies, getting diabetes, digestive problems, and worse – but yet “they’re just kids” and we can stuff as much artificially flavored, processed, sugared up foods as possible). “Just eat real food” is an extreme concept in itself to many people. But I can’t keep my kids home all day either and it’s a balancing act I deal with every day.

    If we could all somehow figure out how to get “Just Eat Real Food” to be doable, affordable, and enticing to everyone else who isn’t arguing about veganism vs. low carb vs. paleo etc…

    I’m excited for your TV show!

  47. Daniel Pope

    Sean, I’m pumped for the upcoming shows! I’ve been starving for new stuff lately. I drive a few hours every weekend for work and thrive off of your podcasts. Thanks for everything!

    Dan
    strengthfoodlife.blogspot.com

  48. Patricia

    We all need to learn to listen to our body and it will tell us what it wants. I’ve spent years and years not listening to my body and eating what my mouth wanted. My mouth was not listening to the rest of my body. I’ve been listening better to my body and it is paying off. I tried the strict primal type diet and my body didn’t like it at all. I was a vegetarian about 10 years ago, and again, my body didn’t like it. I’ve discovered that my body needs a balance of carbs and protein and fat. Almost all of my carbs come from fruit and occasional potatoes and occasional grains that are gluten free, such as steel cut oats and quinao (I don’t know how to spell that). I have found that I have to eat my carbs with a protein and never alone. Despite having a chronic illness, I feel better than I have in a while. I have a long way to go still, but it is better. I am also finding that the weight is coming off all on it’s own now. Prior to listening to my body, I had plateaued with my weigh for several years and couldn’t get it to budge. We all are different so our bodies have different needs. We are not a one size fits all race of people.

  49. Katie Vincent

    Good to read your stuff after a long time. LIVE a great life and this you can do by eating right and most importantly listening to your body. There is a mind-body connection…

  50. Hugh Peters

    Good post buddy. Looking forward to the new Podcasts! & Book^ ;-) Keep up the great work!!! :-)

  51. Joe

    Great post man. I have been struggling with this one lately. Everyone has something bad to say about everything. If we are eating real natural food that sits well with our body that is the main thing i think.

  52. Mark

    Sean, I have been quietly following you for almost a year now. It is great to see your evolution and this post is perfect. We’re all so busy trying to prove each other wrong we lose a sense of connection to ourselves and our own bodies in our, usually, ego driven debates regarding food, health and exercise. Keep up the good work my friend.

  53. Geny

    It’s nice to finally just sit down and read this with my coffee :) I totally love this one…so raw and honest, things we need more of these days. I relate to what you’re saying here, Sean. I do. It’s been over a year since I’ve come to know you, and the one thing that stuck out the most when I did the program with you is “Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.” To me, it’s really that simple. With all the many opposing views about health, on what’s right and wrong, my goodness…you said it right–it’s SILLY! I love your honesty. Thank you for putting this out there! :)

  54. Karl MacPhee

    Thanks for the post Sean…eat real food and listen to the body, sage advice. Through my own research (on my body with many different eating styles) I have learned that I am what people would call a protein type, although I dislike the label. What I know is that when I eat meat and veggies, I feel wonderful, love my food and have less stress around my meal planning. Hopefully we can all get away from the bickering and draw conclusions that real food wins.

  55. Chris Williamson

    Once again, great stuff! Thanks for keeping your feet on the ground. I talk with confused people all the time. Keep up the great work.

  56. Carina

    I fully agree!! People tend to get fanatical about food just as I’ve seen people get fanatical about their religion. In the end, it’s the message that counts! We can’t lose sight of what brought us all together in the first place – wanting to eat REAL food and gain HEALTH! Those of us who have been following you for years, Sean, should remember that nutrition should be tailored to our individual needs and that there is not cookie-cutter diet for everyone. All those numbers, statistics and studies can only help us lean in one direction or another so much. Sure, one “healthy” food loaded with many benefits may have one or two things that are bad for us, but if we continue to look at ourselves from a holistic approach, and continue to eat real food, our bodies will sort it out. I still remember that video you made where you said “there’s no money in nature – there’s money in modifying nature!” and every time man has modified nature, we have gotten sick. That is what we should be focusing on, am I right? Not whatever the crap is in a food we know to be healthy that may or may not cause inflammation (when we eat lots of fish oils and fats that are anti-inflammatory, does it really matter in the first place?). We need to get back to BASICS and remind people (especially the fanatics) that it’s the message that counts!

    And to keep hittin’ those switches!

  57. Miss Beth

    Terrific! Thanks for the reminder to common sense and civility. Three years ago I found the eating plan that works FOR ME and lose 100 lbs. (much more to go) and feel fantastic. Studying it has shown why other plans don’t work FOR ME, but sometimes I forget that my enthusiasm isn’t going to change another person’s heart.

  58. Dan Leigh

    I agree with pretty much everything Sean is saying here. There are a lot of people whom I really respect(such as Dr. Jameth Sheridan) who believe meat is the most toxic thing one can consume. That is probably one of the few issues I disagree with Dr. Sheridan on. Yes, there are toxins in meat. But if your overall level of health is high, and you take detoxification supplements like Zeolite, you can deal with the toxins. Yes, meat is highly acidic, but if a person eats a lot of green vegetables they need to balance out all that alkalinity somehow. Our bodies need balance, and a strictly vegan diet seems to me to be unbalanced. Then again, neither is a diet that consists of nothing but pork chops and steak!

  59. Kelly

    Me too, Karl> What I know is that when I eat meat and veggies, I feel wonderful, love my food and have less stress around my meal planning

  60. Phyllis Kyle

    I absolutely agree, keep your stress levels low, get to bed at a reasonable hour, eat moderately and you don’t have to eat meat every day, keep your sweet treats just that treats, keep alcohol to a minimum, get some exercise, you don’t have to run a marathon and get out there and enjoy life!

  61. Isaac

    Well Done Sean! It’s always good to hear someone put plain and pure health in perspective…Life (and health) is a lot simpler than we (especially health ‘professionals’) make it out to be…after all we learn (and ‘un-learn’), it’s our own bodies which need to have the final say (if we’re willing to listen).

  62. Christine

    The take home message is that it takes all of those elements to be healthy. It’s not just about to eat meat or not to eat meat. Leading a good life is about balancing the different aspects of our existence–our mental state with our physical state because if you don’t have one than you don’t have the other.

  63. Laurie

    Sean!!! Long overdue blog mate, but really spot on though and funny how it always comes at the right time for the reader. Recently I have been confused as to what or who to follow next… do I study this or that… or do I just turn it all off and try to connect with myself!!! had my first beer in over a year last weekend, felt a little the worse for it but reconnected with a friend and had a great laugh…forgot how important balance and a looser grip on life are! Thanks for supporting mine and others’ journeys and helping us not feel so alone in our confusion, frustration and life in general!!! All the best to all!

  64. Katie

    HELL YEA! So refreshing to hear this point of view. The indecision gets to be so paralyzing. Breathe people (and by people I mean me of course)! I’m with Laurie (above), this message could not have come at a better time. I feel like the more I learn the less I know! I have tried to nail down your specific beliefs in the past with quick searches on hot topics on your webpage and haven’t seen a clear cut path. It always makes me smile too…. because I realize, like myself, you are open to learning everything you can and making personal adjustments as you go. Thanks for being real. My sanity is restored…. for today. :-D

  65. Dan Leigh

    Mark,
    Well, the animal spends its whole life accumulating toxins from the environment, what it eats, etc. So some of those toxins are passed along to us when we eat meat. The toxicity of an animal can vary greatly depending on whether it is in a confined space, whether or not it is eating GMO feed, whether or not it is organic, etc. If you get grass fed, organic beef from a reputable source I think the toxins are probably not so bad. But I really haven’t looked at hard data on it. Since the liver is the detoxification organ of the body it will have the most toxins in it, so you’ll want a REALLY clean animal if you choose to eat liver. We are all exposed to toxicity from just being alive in the modern world, I think we should focus less on avoiding it(it’s an uphill battle), and more on ways to get it out. Zeolites, fulvic acid, juicing, etc…

  66. Colin campbell

    Awsome Sean, you are quite right. People should use common sense, choose 1 eating plan and an excersize plan run with it but remember ‘ALL THINGS IN MODERATION’ will always serve you well.

  67. Lawrenz

    Well said, Sean! After buying DSFL and reading it through, I really was puzzled how to go about implementing it all with all these distracting debates raging around about what to eat/drink/use and what not to. This blog could not have come at a better time! Thank for that frankness and all the best =)

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