Using intelligence

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Talk to a woman about food, and you have many hours of conversation about diets, do’s and dont’s, their medical situation with allergies, intolerance’s and you name what.

Open up a paper – you are guaranteed to find an article concerning health, diet or body weight.

I follow some of the norwegian discussions regarding these themes. The suggestion to drop eating breakfast was apparently controversial. The newest joy of the (oh so boring) critics are the posts of HelseHilde in Trine Grung’s blog.

The general theme seem to be that we all are supposed to have one understanding of health and if one happen to stray off the known path and question what “everybody knows”, it has to be dealt with and criticized harshly. Especially if it hasn’t been researched up, down, sideways and back again.  And if one is so unlucky to actually state something that isn’t correct – there certainly will be many people available to correct your mistake and misunderstand you up, down, sideways and back again.

What I’m missing from the whole health/diet discussion is the general notion that there is no universal diet and advice that applies to all people. Trying to fit all people into one template, just doesn’t work. People have different bodies, and therefore different diet needs.

What I’m missing is that people start using their intelligence when reading advice, figuring out for themselves if it is a good or bad advice for their situation, especially so in the case of HelseHilde. If something is bad advice for them, it might be good for somebody else.

Let me give you an example: I have gallstones with painful, please-kill-me-now gallstone attacks. When I have had a continuous attack for 5 – 6 hours, I start getting afraid. I recently read an article that coffee can prevent gallstones. So, should I start running to the coffee machine at work? Well, research shows that coffee increases the creation of gallstones. I already knew this before I even found research on it, using the well known trial and error method. Coffee might help prevent it, but once you have gallstones it’s a good idea to drink it sparingly. Unless you find pain enjoyable, then please go ahead and I will toast to your health. The advice to drink coffee is just not a good idea for me, but for many others it can be a good thing. In other words: I’m an exception.

HelseHilde had a posting about a liver cleanse she had used (52!!!!! times). Gallstones is an indication of a sluggish liver, so it would certainly seem like a liver cleanse is the way to go for me. The liver cleanse she has used is highly controversial, and when reading about how to cleanse the liver, it’s quite obvious why. Drinking water with salt, and then drinking a large amount of oil. I have one acquaintance that have used that cleanse, and it works for him. It doesn’t mean it is the way to go for me, though I am a bit tempted. Reason: Gallstones is something that is continuously created, and even if I take a liver cleanse and it works, it will just be a matter of time before I will have a new gallstone attack. The underlying reasons for my attacks is not fixed.

Not only did I use my intelligence to figure out that coffee is no good for me (before I found articles on it), I also used it to deduct that a liver cleanse is not the way to go for me.

Let’s take another one: Eat when you are hungry, don’t eat when you’re not hungry (this one can be related to the breakfast discussion).

On this statement I can find objections:
1. What if I rarely get hungry?
2. What about eating every three hours, it does wonders to my diet?

As in all advice, use what seems good for you, reject what doesn’t seem like a good idea for you. If you wake up hungry in the morning, then may be it’s because the body need food? If you rarely are hungry – may be it’s because the digestion is too slow? And do the work – that means research, research, research. It seems like people get surprised when doctors make errors, and doesn’t understand that they have to evaluate the doctor they use continuously. When having a specific sickness, most people have more knowledge about the disease itself than the doctor. This is only logical, a doctor have to have a general knowledge about so many diseases and they have many patients. You are the only expert on your own body. And yes, doctors are only humans with oh, so human behaviour and therefore you might have to use some social skills dealing with them.

I’m a vegetarian, and have been so for 15 years. There is a famous blog post about a vegetarian that went back to becoming a meat eater. She found out that being a vegetarian was destroying her health, and blamed her diet. It came as a big surprise to her that she had vitamin deficiencies and took it as a personal failure. I didn’t get far in the text before I understood what her failure was: She hadn’t done the work and used her intelligence – That is doing the research and take tests. I irregularly take a blood test to make sure everything is as it’s supposed to be, I take my B12’s and multi-vitamin every day. Her own ignorance is what resulted in health problems and it’s sad that it didn’t work out for her. Her problems still doesn’t make becoming a vegetarian any less of path to take.

HelseHilde has obviously found a path that works for her, that doesn’t mean it’s correct for you (or even most people). Most likely though she will have some advice that will work, some that doesn’t. Use your intelligence to figure out what is what. Of course there are some general guidelines to follow, but even research goes beyond those to find solutions.

So please, before criticizing any health and diet advice, use your intelligence (and social skills). We will all be better for it.

Haridasi

About Haridasi

integrity - the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.
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