Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A born again lipophile, but not actively spreading the Good Word

Luckily for me, this doesn't get you thrown out of the church. Not that there is a Fat Church, but logic or facts aren't important when you're trying to make lazy metaphors. 

"Just read this book."

"Just watch this documentary."

Website comment sections, forums and social media are chocka-block full of similar pleading statements by well-meaning people who just want others to embrace and enjoy the nutrition that has brought them health improvements. The plant people will tell you to “just read the China Study” or “just watch Forks Over Knives”. The calories people might direct you to Super Size Me or the latest nutritional guidelines. For the low carbers, it will most likely be “read Good Calories, Bad Calories” and the paleo mob…well, I struggle keeping track of what they’re up to. I think I understand but then one of their crew will starting talking about early humans farming potatoes and then they just lose me.

All this amounts to a sea of good intentions that I wager will result in only a few drops of conversion. I guess that is OK - the Mormons that cycle around our neighbourhood certainly think so. The nutrition do-gooders may travel to dozens of websites to proclaim the benefits of their particular diet and if they can convert just one lost soul, then I suppose that may be worth the effort. The rest of the non-believers will probably look upon the missionary as a sad, ignorant fool who has been misled by a charlatan guru.

I suspect that I’ve been viewed as this ignorant fool on more than one occasion. For starters, I am not a salesperson, nor do I have an outgoing personality. Many years ago, after earning qualifications in the finance industry, I realised that my employers required me not to help people, but to sell stuff to clients that they clearly did not need. Failure at that career followed soon after.

Similarly, I am no good at selling health benefits to overweight or unhealthy people. I tried a few times early on after my conversion (my rebirth?). My intentions were pure and good – but the response was always an eerie silence and afterward observing the people weighing their nutritionally void, low calorie shit food. I sent them links to websites, to links for books that I’d read and enjoyed…nothing. Why could they not “see” my version of the truth? It was maddening.

Call me a quitter, but I eventually gave up on that too and I’m now much less worried about what people put in their mouths - my care factor as well as my anxiety about being viewed as a weirdo is fairly low these days. It saddens me that they struggle with health and seem unhappy but I also understand that when someone says “just read this book” or “just do this”– it’s about as convincing as a Jehovah’s Witness knocking on your door and asking you to read The Watch Tower. That the book you’re recommending requires them to ignore decades of nutritional dogma doesn't help.
I have a question. Why is Jesus white?
I suppose most people just need to find their particular solution (whatever that may be) themselves and if they want it badly enough, you hope they make an effort to find it. Say what you like about the internet age, but it means information is not hard to come by. Knowing how to look for it and discard the nonsense, is perhaps another matter.

I don’t remember exactly how I came to discover my method of self-nourishment. Always having an interest in human health, I veraciously searched for and read books with titles like “the secret to 6 pack abs” and “the Holy Grail of Body Transformation”. Not surprisingly, some provided helpful tid-bits but most were spruiking the usual rubbish about balancing calorie intake with expenditure and training hard in the gym or in the park. One of the last e-books I read in this vein was in regard to intermittent fasting, so perhaps that was a stepping stone to a diet void of processed carbohydrates.

What I eat isn't really important in this post and I imagine isn't that interesting anyway. I’m an internet nobody, I’ve never been morbidly obese (though I did a good impression of a marshmallow man in my early 20s) and I have little interest in selling or sharing my knowledge to anyone who isn't a member of my close family or friends. Which makes why I enjoy putting my thoughts down on a screen and publishing them for anyone or no-one to read is a bit hard to explain.

As a teenager I would have drowned a bag of cute kittens if it meant I could get the characteristic bicep vein that lean, muscular men had. Visible abdominal muscles were second on the wish list and, being a teenage boy, you can probably guess what body part came an extremely close third.

That it took me roughly 2 decades to discover a method of obtaining 1 & 2 (3 still eludes me, dammit) is a source of annoyance. That the method was so simple adds to the anger about being misled by people paid to tell me how to achieve ultimate health. 

I understand that quite a few of my posts can read as overly obnoxious or sarcastic and I suppose that’s where it stems from. It’s not about the biceps or the abs, it’s about being conned into punishing my internal organs for no reason other than simple incompetence or corruption. That I didn't develop type 2 diabetes over that time, I can only put down to good luck and a particularly hardy pancreas.

I’m sure the anger will subside eventually. Just not yet.
Just read this book. 
Shantaram has no nutritional advice, and quite possibly is a 'true story' based on one man's imagination, but it rates as one of my favourite books. 
 P.S. I first read the term “lipophile” on Peter’s blog in reference to those who love to eat fat, but urban dictionary tells me it is also a term used for someone who is sexually attracted to fat people. Not that there is anything wrong with the second definition, but I use the word in the first context.