Wow, what a weekend.
I received a thorough tongue-lashing by Richard Nikoley of http://www.freetheanimal.com/ for suggesting that he is hypothyroid (which he is, and was diagnosed with that disorder many years ago), was ridiculed by Dr. Kurt Harris at the Panu blog for making a ?Straw Man? argument and being unoriginal (yes, EVERYBODY is recommending overfeeding on high-glycemic carbohdyrates these days to drop blood sugar levels), and got some bizarre criticisms at http://www.fathead-movie.com/ for things as strange as what blogs I follow (uh, I follow like 30+ blogs and agree with the general conclusions, sentiments, and mindset of 3 blog authors ? Stephan Guyenet, Michael Miles, and Ryan Koch ? yet I continue to learn a lot from many others even if I feel their general conclusions are off-base).
But seeing myself attacked by people for being someone who claims to have the answer to all things ?for only $19.95,? hearing folks say that I’m just a money-making scammer that forces people to pay to read anything I’ve written, being ridiculed because of things that a diagnosed schizophrenic wrote about me 8 months ago, and so on, brings up a very important lesson.
How many times to do we simply write people off, and ideas off, when we have no knowledge of what those theories, or those people, are all about? Most of the cheap shots taken against me were by people who have very little clue about who I am, and couldn’t have been more off base. It all reminded me of T. Colin Campbell writing off the Weston A. Price Foundation for being in bed with factory farms, when the Weston A. Price Foundation is one of the world’s leading critics of the factory farm industry. It was like a Peace Corps volunteer being attacked for being ?all about the money.
Well, I’ve committed this foolish mistake many times myself, but I’ve gotten better over the years. No longer do I let researchers lose me with the phrase ?artery-clogging saturated fat,? or ?carbohydrates fatten pigs, so of course eating carbohydrates makes you fat. I try to make a conscious effort to get past some of the mistakes of other researchers to get through to the stuff that really is valid, useful, and important. To think of what I might have missed on this health exploration if I hadn’t taken the work of both Joel Furhman and Gary Taubes to heart. To think of how much incredibly cutting-edge science I would have missed in Barry Sears’s books if I had written him off as a huckster for selling sucrose-sweetened soy protein bars.
I thank my lucky stars that I have broken past the natural desire to be exclusionary and defensive, and read everything I can get my hands on with respectful intrigue ? working my best to unify health and nutrition ideas and beliefs with a more comprehensive understanding of how humans are impacted by what they do and eat.
Anyway, this whole experience has made me overwhelmingly grateful, and has really inspired me to be more open-minded than ever (risky I know, my brain was already starting to feel a draft seeping through the cracks). I don’t know if I’m ready to be polite about my views, or show any signs of being classy, or drop my love of ‘in-yo-face irreverence,’ or bite my tongue in the face of oversimplified theories such as low-carb = happily ever after?
But I am ready to move forward with more fire and reckless abandon for learning about health than ever before. The blog posts coming out in the weeks to come are going to be great fun. This past weekend is shaping up to be more of a recharge than anything I could have ever asked for.
Thanks again to everyone for your support and interest ? for taking the time to see what this adventure is really all about. I hope it continues to be more mentally stimulating than The Biggest Loser, or even some of the best health blogs and books of recent times. May we continue to explore new territories with an open and expansive mind. One thing I know for sure, and that has become my new saying of late, is that ?if you aren’t confused about health and nutrition, then you haven’t studied it long enough or deeply enough. If you are more confused than ever, then you must really be onto something! Thanks to everyone for following along on this pretty wild adventure. I can’t wait to see where we are years down the road.
And thanks especially to Timmy Patch. Recently, many people have been telling me that they appreciate being freed from ?X? dietary prison by some of my work at 180degreehealth. I was told that I am ?changing people’s lives? with heartfelt sincerity. What a thrill to be given such a compliment.
Well Timmy, I don’t know how deep you had to dig to get to what you wrote about me on my Fat Head Guest Post, but I can tell you that my life will literally NEVER be the same again after having read it. No one has ever written something like this about me, and I don’t even know if I conceptualized of what I’m doing to the extent that you have. I don’t know if anyone has managed to capture, in words, the real impetus for my writing and research and the true nature of it like you have. Thanks so much. This will be with me always:
?To Mallory, Charise, and other skeptics of Matt Stone and his message,
I can relate to your apprehensions over accepting nutritional guidance handed down from a bloggerhead with no real credentials to his name. I’d wager most individuals browsing Tom’s blog ruined their health placing blind faith in mainstream nutritional wisdom, only to experience further deterioration as they turned in desperation to loony diet guru’s promoting veganism, zero-carbomania. Having been fooled so many times by seemingly well intentioned zealots with an axe to grind, a purse to fill, or party-line to tow, why should we take seriously the rants of a goofball with nothing but a blog and force of conviction to his name?
I’ll tell you why. Matt Stone is not your run-of-the-mill health blogger. Although he may sound rigid in his views, he is not only receptive to, but actually seeks out cognitive dissonance. His concern is not with maintaining and spreading blind faith in an idealized diet/lifestyle. Rather, he operates like a scientist, constantly updating and revising his theories in order that they conform more closely with reality. In line with his goal, his research has been expansive and open-ended. Although Matt does not have a medical degree ? and therefore may not be able to wade through dense published medical articles with the same facility or level of comprehension as, say, Stephen at wholehealthsource ? he probably has developed a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying nutritional/metabolic theories advanced by nutritionists and doctors alike in the past century than just about any credentialed ?expert? you will ever meet. He does this because it’s his passion. He only charges money for some of his work because, huge dork that he is, this passion of his has kind of taken over his life. Guy’s gotta make a living somehow.
Over the past three years, as he has gobbled through tombs of nutrition literature, his views have radically evolved. At each stage, he spoke as if he had finally attained nutritional enlightenment, only to change his mind a few months later upon exposure to conflicting information or new perspectives on old information. Some would view his inability to stick rigidly to a specific set of internally consistent dietary stipulations as vice, but I see this as his strongest virtue; it has enabled him to avoid the confirmation bias pitfall most nutrition researches fall into. Over the past couple of years, his principal theories HAVE grown more stable, suggesting he has refined his ideas to the point where they are internally consistent with the preponderance of legitimate research.
Nonetheless, his site is not, and has never been about creating packaged diets or scheduled meal plans. If you want somebody to tell you that you should eat twelve sticks of celery and two sheep livers for breakfast, three liters of distilled water for lunch, and sack of hay for dinner, then Matt’s blog is not the place for you. Nor is it the place for you if you are afraid of being exposed to contradictory ideas. Matt Stone is a ?follower? of the dietfucked site because its two publishers, ?harper? and ?chloe,? were formerly active commenters on the 180 degree blog who took perhaps too seriously the ideas of a certain endocrinologist with brilliant but just as often misguided insights into the human metabolism. Matt never agreed with Harper or Chloe that binging on sugar and orange juice was a smart idea, but he embraced their active participation on his blog because it made for some interesting conversation and debate. Although he disagreed with them, he chose to link their blog because they are, like him, interested in improving health and well being through nutrition.
I’m no evangelist for the 180 crusade. Matt Stone certainly doesn’t have all the answers, nor do I expect he ever will, but he is a passionate researcher, a powerful thinker, and, in my opinion, a man of high integrity. I’d sooner take his advice than my doctor’s any day.