January 10, 2018

Questions for You

Hey Everyone,

With a new year just having begun, I’ve been giving some thought to how I’d like to proceed in participating in the low carb nutrition and health community.

This might surprise you, but I consider myself a writer first and a nutritionist second. When people ask me what I do, I tend to say I’m a writer who mostly writes about nutrition and health, rather than a nutritionist who also happens to dabble in writing. I love writing. I’ve always loved it. (Even majored it in in college.) I am fortunate that I get to do it for a living: fortunate that someone out there thinks I’m good enough at it that they actually pay me to do it.

However, even though I do enjoy it, for me, writing is an arduous process. It’s not easy, and it never has been. However long you think it takes me to write a post, triple it, and that might come close to the ballpark amount of time it typically takes me to write. (Not including the time it takes to read relevant papers, if it’s one of my more science-heavy posts.) I can’t claim credit for this phrase, but it is absolutely 100% true for me: “I don’t like writing; I like having written.” Meaning, the process of writing—staring at a blank page, filling that page with incomplete, out-of-order, fragmented notes and thoughts, and slowly, painstakingly, turning it all into something coherent and readable—is a struggle and not fun. The fun part comes after that’s all done, and I get to hit “Publish” on my blog. (BTW: the two links in this paragraph are to a blog I had in a former lifetime, long before this nutrition gig.) 

Aaaaaanyway, the point of my saying all this is, blogging is harder than it looks. It takes more time than you might realize. (Well, for me it does. I can’t comment on anyone else’s writing process.) All of that time—time I spend reading papers, learning about mechanisms, and actually doing the writing, which is what takes the most time by far—is unpaid. And that’s fine. It’s been unpaid since my very first post, back in 2012. From time to time, I mention that I have a PayPal account, and if anyone is so inclined, they can send a few dollars and/or cents my way to support and encourage my writing, and a handful of people take me up on it. (This is most appreciated, from spare change on up. Coffee, my best writing companion, isn’t free!)

And the truth is, I could use a little extra cash. Perhaps with good reason, or perhaps not, the skill of writing is not compensated to the same degree as some other professions. And that’s probably as it should be. I mean, it’s just writing. I’m not exactly performing brain surgery here. Or doing rocket science. (Or “rocket surgery,” as they say.) So it’s cool. I don’t expect to buy a summer home in Mallorca with income from writing.

However, I consider myself to be a fairly reasonable human, and I am not one to beg for money in return for nothing. In this spirit, a few people have expressed to me that they’d support me if I started a Patreon account. I’m considering doing this, but I’d like some input from you. If I were to start a Patreon account, what would you like to see from me? Support levels start as convenient as $1 or $2 per month—enough to provide caffeine & cream to fuel my writing, if I had enough supporters.

Some people might be willing to contribute that much simply to support my writing. But I’d like to have higher contribution levels, too. The issue is, I’m not sure what I could provide in exchange. There’s a reason you hardly ever see me in videos. (Tip: it’s because I hate doing videos, although a few do exist, such as here and here. [You’ll notice a massive weight gain and a big difference in my face between the two, thanks to the thyroid maelstrom I was dealing with. Doing much better now!]) I could force myself to get over that if you really, really want videos from me, but there’s gotta be something else out there. Content I’d feel good about creating, and content you would actually be inclined to consume.

I could start a podcast, but there are so, so, SO many low carb and keto podcasts out there now; I don’t know that I could differentiate mine enough to make it worth your time to listen. I’ve thought about doing a podcast for a while, but I don’t want to do one unless I can make it unique. Why would I want to become just one more in an already crowded sea of LCHF & keto podcasts? All I really have to offer is the kind of snark, sarcasm, and realism I offer on the blog. If I were to do it in podcast form, it would merely be the spoken word version of my personality, rather than the written form. (I bet the rants would be a lot more fun that way, though.)

One thing I can do is offer “sneak peeks” at my blog posts. Maybe release them to Patreon contributors a week before they’re published on the blog. But that’s only worth a couple bucks, at best. Maybe post links to papers I’m reading and new things I’m learning about? I have no idea. All I know is, if people would be generous enough to contribute financially to my work, I want to make it worth their contribution, and I don’t know if early access to blog posts fits that description.  

If you have suggestions for ways I can provide worthwhile content via Patreon, please let me know in the comments or send me an email directly (tuitnutrition [at] gmail [dot com]). Do keep in mind, though, that I am basically clueless with technology, which is another reason I generally don't create my own videos. If I were to do videos, it would most likely be me, talking to a camera, or possibly narrating some slides or something. I know nothing about animation. I could learn, but that could take months, if not longer.

I’m also trying to strike a balance between finding a way to compensate myself, even in a small way, for all the otherwise unpaid time I spend writing blog posts, while not inundating you with ads and affiliate links. Would you be bothered if I did add a couple more affiliate links to the sidebars of my site? To my amazement and astonishment, I occasionally receive free samples of various low carb or keto foods, cooking gadgets, etc. Most of these have affiliate programs available, and with a few exceptions, I’ve mostly steered clear of these so far. If no one’s going to abandon ship if I have a couple more affiliates here and there, that’s one route I might go. Affiliates mean only that if you happen to buy something through my link to it, I receive a small portion of the proceeds. You are not and never will be required to click on any links, let alone buy anything. It’s more like the company’s way of thanking me for sending business their way, and maybe also a little bit your way of thanking me for introducing you to a product or service that was new to you. (Or if it's an Amazon link, it's probably something you were going to buy anyway, and by you using my affiliate link, I simply get a few cents from the transaction.) As I’ve done so far, if I do have affiliate links, I will link only to products and services I have used, myself, and the quality and efficacy of which I stand by.

Ultimately, the content is mine to create, and I’ll do only what I’m comfortable with, but I also realize that, oddly enough, I have an audience, and I’d prefer not to have readers abandon en masse because you get turned off by commercialization.

So I’m just looking for some input from people whose opinions I care about: my readers. It’s possible that I’ll keep things exactly as they are. No Patreon, maybe a couple new affiliate links, but mostly just the way things are now: a blog. Social media 'fraidy cat and huge introvert that I am, this option makes me the most comfortable, but I'm not sure comfortable is the best way to stay. I have no desire to be famous or become some kind of worldwide low carb guru, though, so keeping things small honestly probably suits me best.

What would you want to see from me? Videos? A podcast? Blog posts on specific topics? Live Q&As on Facebook? Something I’ve never even thought of? Send ideas my way. And if your response is, "Don't change; I like things exactly as they are," that's useful input, too.

P.S. I think maybe part of why I have a hard time thinking about tons of different things I can offer is that I seem to be one of a shrinking number of low carb/keto people who are willing to tell people the truth about how simple this way of eating is. I don’t create individualized meal plans for clients because I prefer to help people see how easy it is to eat this way without a plan. You don’t need any of the fancy-schmancy stuff people are trying to get you to buy…exogenous ketones, MCT oil, MCT oil powder for coffee creamer, ketone meters. Unless you have a serious medical condition you’re using this way of eating as therapy/treatment for, there are only three things—three things—you need in order to be successful on a low carb diet. (What are they? Read this.)

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.


  1. Hi amy! My 2 cents...i never watch videos or listen to podcasts. I'm old fashioned and like to read :) you are the person that brought me into this lc world and i would support you. Also, if writing is your passion, then write!

    1. Thank you. :) I'm kind of thinking the same thing -- if my heart is in writing, then I should write, and not feel like I "should" be doing a whole bunch of other things just because other people are. I am very old-fashioned, too, and much prefer reading, but I listen to podcasts in the car sometimes, and when I work out, but for some shows, I prefer reading the transcripts.

      Thanks for being a fan!

  2. You may well get different answers depending on how long someone has been learning about and employing LC. For me, I've found myself getting a bit burned out on the learning part and feel that I know what "I" need to do to continue losing the rest of my excess weight and continuing for life. If you wanted to keep things as is, but add more affiliates or do the pay thing, I have no qualms at all. I love your writing and won't be put off no matter what you decide to do. And even though I feel like I'm a bit tired of learning about more LC and Keto, I still love reading success stories, especially when it involves reversing their T2D, helping with epilepsy and all sorts of other chronic ailments as well as weight loss success. I find those stories inspiring and it just makes me happy to see other people being set free, if you will. It would also be great to keep up with any new developments here in North America and around the world with regards to changing policy, food guidelines, advertising to kids, etc. Any kind of news which shows that the message about sugar/carbs is spreading and producing results would be welcome. You'll figure out what to do, Amy :)
    Whatever you decide, Amy, I will always be grateful for all you do and plan to do..

    1. Thank you! :) What a nice comment. I'm burnt out on all this, myself, to be honest! At this point, I don't really keep up with the general chatter & "buzz" in the low carb world, because it's mostly rehashing of what we've already known for several years. I like to read papers about mechanisms now, where I can really sink my teeth in and learn things that are brand new to me. (And so I can share those with my readers. I have a new post coming up on insulin -- even more stuff for the "ITIS" series that I think will be really educational. That's what excites me now - learning something new [and important] about something I *thought* I already knew everything about.)

      I appreciate the kind words & support. Man, I have the best readers.

  3. Amy, I too prefer reading blogs and only rarely watch a video or listen to a podcast. I so appreciate your clear and thorough explanations and all the time you must put into your research. Affiliate links would not bother me in the least and I occasionally use them on other sites. I can also understand that there comes a point where time and effort into a project with no compensation makes someone question if it's worth continuing. I dont know what Patreon is (but then I am tech challenged!) but would be willing to donate a few times each year (don't see PayPal as an option - would that be difficult to add?) I also never comment but have been reading your blogs for a couple years now - I would definitely miss your writing if you decide it's time to put your efforts somewhere else. Thanks for all your work here!

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I have no plans to stop blogging. Just trying to find a way to make this whole thing -- writing, nutrition, client work -- more financially viable for myself. (I quit an unrelated office job in Sept 2015 and I'm keeping my head above water and am certainly not "hurting" for money, but looking at my peers and others my age, and especially with regard to growing my nest-egg, I need to be making about triple what I am currently earning.) But I'm not going anywhere, so no worries there. Even when I think about abandoning the nutrition field altogether and going back to some kind of full-time corporate job, I would still keep blogging for fun and personal passion.

      And thanks for letting me know about videos & podcasts. It's good to know I'm not the only one who doesn't gravitate toward those.

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  5. Hi Amy! I'm an old fart Pensioner who has no academic education and, with regards to Medical issues, has lived a life of "The Doctor Must Know Best" and I know nothing because it's all too complicated for someone like me.
    Of course, now, I've seen the light thanks to having the time and thanks to the internet and people like you!
    So, your last two articles about taking a break from information frustration etc. helped me feel I'm not alone in my thinking. I have taken a bit of a break - but also noticed that as my knowledge of human physiology & diet etc grows, I have become more selective in looking for answers to my questions and that the contradictions one comes across are really frustrating and off putting, especially (as you say), some sites are beginning to be riddled with Ad's.(we all understand that people have to make a living - but isn't this the reason/cause that the processed food industry has become what it is today?) I'm concerned that some of the LCHF movement might be heading in the same direction!?
    Anyway, before I rattle on too long - On the one side we have LCHF with all their successes on the other side we have the Low Fat Vegetable movement with all their reasons for their existence and now we have The Carnivor & Plant Toxins movement and everything in between. We have successful athletes on both sides being presented (Rich Roll & Dr.Shawn Baker) as reasons for taking up this or that diet lifestyle. We have arguments and debates between the two but we don't have, as far as I can tell, someone impartial and really trying to get to what is really going on? Perhaps, Denise Minger was the closest when she suggested that people on low fat below 10% were shown to have success and people on High fat above 65% were also shown to have great success, but it seems that in that in-between area something wasn't working? (Could there be Something to Food Combining After all??)

    I suspect that you could be successful by writing (eventually, maybe another Book) and/or pod-casting audio or video or both as in "Bio-Hacker's Lab" where you were recently interviewed by Gary Kerwin. You don't need much for that kind of "Skype" type interview - a reasonable quality Mic'& Camera on your side & what ever the guests have on their side. I think if you interviewed people on both sides of the fence, and those on the fence as well, with your way of seeing the situation most of us in the masses can relate to you more than the Rich Rolls or Shawn Bakers of the world. (I think their stories are very much worth consideration but I've never been an athlete and I've eaten huge amounts of Carbs in my life because I followed the flock).
    I now need to Find answers to more common everyday folk issues and sure it's my responsibility to find these for myself - but I believe there is a need for someone with the qualifications like your's and a mind that thinks the way you seem to apparently think, to be an impartial guide. I wouldn't mind an Ad' or two' at the beginning or the end of the pod-cast. Maybe something like "BreakNutrtion" where they advertise for a Life insurance Co.

    Sorry for the Rant - I hope you get something out of it?
    Kind Regards, Luciano.

    1. Thanks, Luciano. I appreciate you pointing out that I might be more relatable to people than someone like Shawn Baker or someone else doing a kind of extreme version of low carb (or any other diet). I respect Shawn a lot, though, and I find what he's doing kind of fascinating. That being said, your comment helps me remember that I *do* have a place in the community. I often get bogged down, feeling like I'm not contributing anything meaningful, but maybe, like my last couple of posts, my role is actually kind of important -- showing people how *simple* this way of eating is, and how they don't have to let ketone meters and heart rate monitors and all kinds of other gadgets rule their lives in order to get healthy and stay well. I've been scrolling through Instagram more these days, and I'm stunned by the amount of keto "products" I see -- MCT oil powder for coffee creamer, all kinds of packaged junk. I'm starting to feel more comfortable possibly taking on the role of helping people keep things simple and unconfusing.

  6. Hi Amy. Like the previous poster, I have immensely enjoyed both the Adapt Your Life video, several podcasts and your book. You are a wealth of information without pimping a bunch of products. There are also educational, informative people who sell a lot of products. If you don't want to get into product sales, you SHOULD consider advertising that you can endorse. You can and should ask for donations via Patreon. I also saw your link and just sent a donation.

    1. Thanks. (And it looks like this post *did* come through. Sometimes comments take a while to show up on the blog because I have them moderated, and I do the moderating, personally, so it's just a matter of how many times a day I check to see if there are new comments waiting.

      I think you're right -- I don't have to sell a ton of stuff, but I can endorse products I feel good about and just go the affiliate route. Seems like most people who've weighed in so far (more by email) have said this would be the way to go, and it woudn't bother them

  7. Hi Amy. I am someone who gets a great deal of information from your blog, the Adapt Your Life video, as well as Twitter, and I own your book. I tried posting via my Google profile (Maltbyman) but the posting doesn't show up.

    I would add links to Amazon and some whatever advertisers that you endorse (or links that you can get paid for, I am not an expert in this).

  8. Hi Amy,
    I must say, I do a lot of reading around LCHF/nutrition and LOVE your blogs. They have a fantastic combination of well thought out and researched information with a little bit of humor thrown in. I much prefer reading blogs because I can go through the information faster and refer back to it more easily rather than having to sit through and listen to a bunch of 'chit-chat'. (The Engineer in me is coming out!)
    I've found all kinds of helpful information on your blogs which I have been able to apply to myself: thyroid, supplements, protein levels, etc. My recommendation: keep doing what you are doing! Write about topics as they come up for you and/or you see rising topics/issues surrounding Keto/LCHF. Would personally love some information on how/why menopause causes weight gain other than "it just does". :-p
    As far as making some money, I have no issues with side links/ ads. My only problem is when blogs become a means to push/sell products with little to no actual information. I tend to discount the information coming to me since it feels like they have sold out to companies.
    I'm not familiar with Patreon but don't be shy to put up a post once or twice a year to ask for contributions. I am happy to contribute (and just did!) I may just need a reminder here and there.
    Thanks! Kathy (aka Beerwidow)

    1. Hi Amy,
      Like many of the other commenters, I'm one of the "old fashioned" ones who definitely prefers reading over podcasts and videos. In one of your comments above, I noticed you said you were going to do another post about insulin. I'm really looking forward to that! I particularly loved that series on insulin; that was the first series I read on your blog, and what brought me in as a regular reader. (I actually do like reading about "how things work", the hormones and biochemistry and all; I really enjoy the information on your blog. If you have information on why low carb works, I'm always happy to read it). I was also pleased that you wrote about protein, since so many in the low carb community have gotten a bit hysterical about protein lately. When other bloggers get "over the top", I feel like they lose credibility for me, but I like your sanity....I feel like I can trust what you say. So, basically, I'd be happy if you just keep doing what you're doing.
      If you're wanting to earn more money, well....I'm having the same problem now (you're not alone), so I'm probably not much help I'm afraid. I think the advice to endorse things that you like might work. Many bloggers arrange it that you can order recommended books through their website, and then they get a cut. Don't know how that would work, or if that would help, but it's something to look into? I do like the fact that you don't sell all kinds of products on your website; that also loses credibility with me, and I take less seriously what those people write since they're just trying to sell something.

  9. Hi Amy,
    I typically like to read podcast transcripts too, but I would listen to a podcast if you had one. I love your writing and I love your rants (!), so podcasting and then having the transcriptions available as blog posts would be interesting. Maybe a podcast about how so many people are doing low carb/keto wrong? I don't think you would have to worry about being new and different - I think most people who listen to health and nutrition podcasts subscribe to several. I would not mind supporting you through affiliate links. Thanks for always telling it like it is!

  10. Hi Amy,
    I really appreciate your practical advice, with real references. This is different from every other blog. Your posts on Constipation really, really helped me. Potassium part especially.
    New question for you to work on. This winter, several times I got chilled and couldn't get warm without crawling into bed in my street clothes and sweaters. The one thing that actually helped was Selenium Yeast and Kelp supplements. I previously used Selenium Yeast when I got weak and overheated in hot weather. I use selenium yeast and never anything selenite because of the difference in absorption.
    I never found any reference that links any kind of selenium with tolerating warm or cold conditions, but it works. Can you find any explanation for why it works?
    Please keep doing what you are doing. Margaret in Vermont

  11. The best thing would be to hang it up completely. You add nothing to an already over crowded space other than regurgitated tidbits that can found in a far less annoying, less shrill and goofy tone elsewhere. It would be for the best, for all of us, including yourself, really. I mean how are you going to feel when the patreon load tops out at about 16 bucks a month or whatever?

    1. Love you, too. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you teach your children to speak to people this way, and that they visit it right back upon you.

  12. Hi Amy,
    I learned so much ftom your blog when i started low carbing one year ago. Loved your insulin and protein writeups and i bought your alzheimers e-book. I have a science background but still some of the other blogs would spew out info in such a complicated way with the assumption that we should be able to deduce the conclusion from the data presented and i would be scratching my head as to what that is. (Eg: ldl-p being high on a low carb diet is good/bad? Depends on size? is mine ok then; still dont know what to make of it) But you make things so much clearer with your writing, so thank you for that.

    I actually like podcasts; its easier for me to listen at work; helps me relax and focus on routine work instead of thinking negative thoughts. So i would certainly love to have a podcast (not too long though maybe 20 minutes) from you if you decide to go that route.

    As far monetizing, ads would be fine especially if its a product you believe in using as well.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. (And thank you for checking out the book!) Glad the blog has been educational. I try to cater to a wide audience, because I think I do have a diverse audience -- physicians and nutritionists, but also people who are brand new to this and have no science or medical background. I try to write in such a way as to educate and entertain, while bringing along the newbies yet not boring the people who probably already know all this stuff already.

  13. Hi Amy,
    Thanks so much for the information you put out. I was so impressed by your website that I bought your Alzheimers Antidote book also. That has encouraged me to stay the course. As for how to fund the coffee & cream, I would not mind sidebar ads. I hardly ever listen or watch content. I read a lot.
    I went low carb a few years ago to solve my reflux, and it worked. It stunned the DR who wanted me to take prilosec for the rest of my life.
    I just found your website recently, and I appreciate your citing actual research. Now I am back looking for what you might say about lectins. (Plant Paradox, Steven Gundry) I'll keep checking back, but I guess I also ought to read the nutrition text book by husband uses for the med school classes he teaches. You would be much more pleasurable to read, though!

    1. Thanks for reading, Amy! :) I haven't written about lectins at all, so don't spend any time searching for posts on that. ;-)
      Glad to hear your reflux went away. I'm actually writing a post about low carb for GERD for someone else's site. Lots of people find relief from heartburn/indigestion this way.

      I think I'll probably put some more ads up. Seems like most people are okay with that. It's pretty non-intrusive, and there won't be any pop-ups, mostly because a) I hate them, and b) I don't even know how to make them. ;-)