January 26, 2013

Still Breathing!

Where am I going with this?

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—and by that, I mean the silence that has befallen this blog over the last fourteen days—I am not dead. I am very much alive, and thank goodness, or I would have missed out on this morning’s delicious breakfast of two farm fresh eggs (from Smith Meadows) cooked in bacon fat, with a dollop of homemade ketchup, and some homemade sauerkraut to  cut the richness a little. (If sauerkraut sounds like a questionable and maybe even gross addition to an otherwise awesome sounding breakfast, stay tuned. I’ll be posting about the awesomeness of fermented vegetables in the future. And also, keep in mind I’m not talking about the mushy, vinegary, grayish stuff you might be accustomed to putting on your ballpark hotdog. I’m talking about fresh, crispy, tangy, cabbage come alive, and teeming with probiotics no store-bought yogurt or bottle of pills can match.)

And speaking of ballparks, why has a hush fallen over the crowd for the past two weeks?  (And by “crowd,” I mean me, and this blog.) Well, I guess the best way for me to explain it is that I’m tryin’ to get my sea legs. I love food. I love writing. I love cooking. I love nutrition, health, and the biochemistry that helps us understand those things. So there’s really no better way for me to put all those things together than writing about recipes, health and nutrition-themed books, farming and growing real food, and occasionally, the science behind it all.


But I’ve been questioning whether blathering on about the biochemistry of fats and oils is really the best use of this little space I’ve carved out for myself. I know I love it, but I’m not sure about the rest of the world. And frankly, there are a ton of people out there writing about some of these subjects already, and they have research staffs, fact-checkers, and all that other good stuff helping them to churn out pieces that are loaded with reliable information and citations. If I do more of the same, am I simply reinventing the wheel, and a substandard wheel, at that? Do we need another voice doing something that a couple of other people are already doing quite spectacularly?

The answer, of course, is: Yes. It doesn’t matter who else is doing it, and how many employees they have backing them up. If I love writing these things, I should keep writing them. What’s that they say about writing? Write what you know. And what’s that other line that is freaking awesome?


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  (Howard Thurman)

In case of emergency!
So, even though I sometimes feel down because I have the distinct feeling there are about four people who regularly read this blog, that shouldn’t stop me, right? (Note: those four people do not include my mother, who thinks I’m completely wacko is supremely supportive of just about everything I’ve ever done or tried to do, but whose eyes glaze over almost immediately when it comes to reading anything detailed about nutritional chemistry.) I’ve never wanted to become a “guru,” celebrity, or international “personality” in the health and nutrition world. (I’m not saying that wouldn’t be nice, but my aim is not be a zillionaire and see my face on highway billboards.) I’d like to make a big impact, but on a smaller scale. I’d like to find people in my community who need help. People who, like me, did or are doing “all the right things” but aren’t seeing the results they’d expect from all the slogans and catch phrases about health and weight loss being no more complicated than eating less and moving more. Like the tagline on the top of the blog says, I’d like to help people navigate the sea of nutritional madness.

 It would be nice if we didn’t need a lifejacket, but the truth is, the water’s choppier than ever. The waves are crashing down all around us and most of our compasses aren’t working anymore. We’re in the Bermuda Triangle of food and health, and our instruments are going haywire.

Somebody SAVE US!
Low fat? Low-carb? Grass-fed? Cage-free? Organic? Non-GMO? Gluten-free? Fortified with omega-3? Fasting & detox? Weight-Watchers? Atkins? Paleo? In the name of all that’s holy, WHERE IS THE RESCUE HELICOPTER?!  

So what is the best use of this space? I’m not sure, but I do know that the worst use of it is silence. So I’m going to keep posting, keep finding my voice, keep learning, and possibly most important of all, keep sharing what I’m learning. I’ve finished a couple more books that I’ll be posting reviews of, and I’ll keep experimenting with recipes to share. (More practical ones than the homemade ketchup, I promise.) And heaven help you, I’ll keep writing about the science, because I want to show that there are legitimate, scientifically factual reasons behind my recommendations of certain foods and dietary strategies over others.

So, for the small crowd of folks who’ve found their way here, thanks for sticking with me. If you have any ideas for things you’d like me to write about, reach out! Like Austin Powers said, [insert cheeky British accent], “I don’t bite…hard.” Wondering whether the $4.50/dozen eggs at the farmer’s market are worth it when you can get a dozen for $2.00 at the supermarket? Ask away! What’s the difference between organic beef and conventional? Have no idea what to do with the bunch of kale you bought at the grocery store because you’ve heard it’s a superfood? Can you still be healthy and fit if you buy all your food at Wal-Mart? (Answer: Yes. Will that be the absolute best you can possibly feel and look? Probably not, but you’ll come darn close.) I welcome your questions anytime.

Where should we steer this thing?

In closing, I’ll leave you with a link to a guy who does a phenomenal job of staying eyeball-deep in medical literature in order to bring you practical, down-to-earth suggestions for how to apply the principles behind good food and healthy lifestyle. Chris Kresser is the real deal. In fact, I’d planned a big, multi-part post on omega-3s and 6s, but the fact is, Chris has already done it beautifully. I highly recommend the series that starts here: Essential Fatty Acids, most especially this one: Too much 6, not enough 3.

If you or anyone you care about suffers from GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux, read this (or send them the link): What Everybody Ought To Know (But Doesn’t) About Heartburn & GERD. It’s a longish series, but Chris is a great writer, and I guarantee his knowledge bombs will blow your mind. Contrary to popular belief, heartburn and reflux are not usually the result of too much stomach acid, but too little! And popping antacids like candy is probably the worst thing you can do, because while they might mask the immediate symptoms, they actually make the long-term, underlying problem worse.

“…we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it— but sail we must, 
and not drift, nor lie at anchor.(Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.)

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