Sunday, June 14, 2015

My vocation

Yet another blog on nutrition? You bet! And the reason is simple: as I look around to the latest tendencies, I see a very dangerous derive in that domain. After spending almost a decade learning (mostly from mistakes) I feel the time has come. My role is to inform. The better I will do it, the more people I will be able to deliver the message to, the best I will have fulfilled my vocation. Hence a blog.

The current situation and the alternatives

The first and most important thing is to realize that the official guidelines are wrong. Period. For more than half a century we have been proposed nutritional advice that simply don't work and for the most part are themselves the root cause of the ailments, symptoms and diseases (even chronic ones) that plagued the second half of the previous century and wide opened the door to an even worse century to come. It is a matter of fact that people are sick and sicker, fat and fatter. Chronic fatigue anyone? We are constantly performing funambolic drills on the edge that separates health and disease and we congratulate ourselves when we manage to go out in a windy day without getting cough. This doesn't mean thriving, this means surviving.

I don't want to investigate the political or economical reasons that brought us to this disaster. Although it would be educative to see how did we mess it up, I am not interested in fighting the old. I find it more useful to build the new. And the new happens to start very far in the past, from our genetic heritage. For those who still haven't yet understood, I am speaking about the paleo diet although this is probably one of the last times I will use this word in my posts.

Paleo? Cavemen? Cro-magnon?

The paleo diet is a great starting point. Unfortunately no matter how good a starting point is, you can always go to the wrong direction, and that's exactly what I see these days. I do not agree with the dogmatic approach proposed by some authors or top commenters. My impression is that people are playing with fire: there are no long term studies on the paleo diet, at least not in the way people are currently interpreting it. What? We did it for 6 million years? I disagree. Almond muffins exist since a decade at most and be ready to hear the bitter truth about your favorite sweet treat (pun intended): chances are that they are less healthy than properly prepared muffins.

Green mania

My analysis wouldn't be complete if I didn't spend time speaking about other trends, such as the vegan diet. What I appreciate (because there is a lot to appreciate) and what are the errors. Ironically, the root cause of the issues with the vegan diet is the same as with paleo: dogmatism, conveniently disguised into science based facts, cherry picking of statistical results and anecdotal reports.

What can you expect from this blog?

  • Valid, reliable and undogmatic information. This is my first and most important engagement: information is power and I want to empower people.
  • Recipes? Definitely! My cooking style takes its origins mostly from European Medieval and Renaissance kitchen, with a lot of influences from the Mediterranean and Middle-East cultures. The drawback is that if you really want to prepare them you need to roll-up your sleeves and spend some time in the kitchen. Nobody will blame you if you are not prompt to like their latest post on FB because your hands are dirty (with good food, anyway).
  • I will spend some time explaining how the body works. This may sound tedious and boring to many, but it is fundamental to understand why one direction is wrong, why one other is correct and why "it depends". To this end I'll try to make it simple and accessible and leave to readers the pleasure to investigate further if they are curious.
  • Open, honest and respectful discussion. If the criteria are met interventions are not just welcomed, they are encouraged.

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