I really should watch more videos on TED.
This was an excellent video. It's 17 minutes, but please find time to watch it. Skip the LOLcats and the PHD webcomic and watch this.
Further, I've been thinking to myself about how highly polarized nutrition is. Every side is too busy arguing about who's right that no one wants to come together and see what's right about each idea, and put it all together to build something better.
Vegans are constantly citing the latest research that says eating meat will promptly skyrocket our cholesterol, stop our hearts, and give us cancer with just one more bite.
Raw foodists claim we can't cook anything or risk turning the most nutritious foods into nutrient-poor blobs.
Paleos cite all the evidence that grains will kill us all immediately and without remorse.
CW's like the calorie counters and the Weight Watchers are too busy chanting about moderation to bother with any of it, and everyone else (the vegans, the veggies, the raw foodies, the cavepeople) is fairly convinced the calorie counters are wrong anyway. I know I am, and that's a personal bias I have to square with.
THEN we have all the people interspersed between these groups for medical or personal reasons. I can't even name most of them. And what about the people who eat a whole food diet in general and do seemingly fine, like the Clean Eaters?
Who's right? Are any of us right? Are we all right? And most importantly, why isn't anyone asking this question and sitting down with biochemists and biologists to figure out the how and the why?
The answer to the second part of that is money... no one wants to fund anything that will reduce our dependence on big companies, agencies, and the like. But that doesn't explain why we aren't having Vegan-Paleo mixers at the local sushi bars. The rest boils down to being really terrible scientists about the whole thing. We all do it. I do it. You've done it. We've found The Way, and seek out anything to support The Way and anything to debunk, defray, and destabilize The Wrong Way. Vegans do it to us. We do it to them. CWers do it to everyone. And we're all guilty of bias, when the truth is that there's a grain (heh) of truth everywhere.
Cavepeople acknowledge we're omnivores and debunk all that silly heart disease talk.
Vegans admit we need to eat way more plants than we currently eat.
Rawists know that some things are meant to be eaten as they're found.
CWers, as much as I knock their psychologically damaging pound-loss calculations and merciless mathematical torture, acknowledge that food is not just fuel. It's also the common denominator of all people, and this life is way too short to deprive yourself of enjoying food prepared with love just to stick to a rigid nutritional doctrine. (Some people use it as an excuse to eat crap "in moderation" every day, but we're talking about the healthy ones here.)
I know healthy, vibrant vegans, striking rawists, and gorgeous cavepeople (one of my dance teachers went Paleo through her Crossfit box so I have a local buddy now!) and despite the differences we're all the same.
Less food-related stress.
Hunger, not numbers.
Joy in eating.
So I have a hypothesis (not a theory, we're using the scientific definition here!), and I plan on (when I have time) reading up on actual legit science on metabolism and cell biology, physiology, and biochemistry, and learning about what it is we need to function optimally. This will take a while because I'm enrolled in cell biology and biochemistry for the fall and won't be matriculating medical school until 2014, but stick with me.
My hypothesis is this:
The cavepeople are right: humans are omnivorous. There are compounds and nutrition we need from both plants and animals, and without it all, we will miss something.
The vegans are right: we don't eat enough plants, and the cavepeople need to remember that not every day brought a successful hunt for our ancestors.
The rawists are right: there's a time and a place for cooking stuff, and soaking is awesome for eating the stuff the cavepeople call toxic.
The overarching hypothesis: Every single person is different. Each body requires different things at different times, so if Kelly eats steak four times a week and no fruit, but Bob eats steak once a week, Jim eats steak and dairy, and Jill eats steak, fruit, and soaked buckwheat, and everyone keeps his or her body in prime condition that way, then who is doing it "wrong?"
It MUST be brought to bear with actual scientific information. Not an agenda, not a philosophical battle of wills, but pure scientific fact regarding physiological function, cellular metabolism, and chemical synthesis.