There is no silver bullet.
But you know that!
What you should eat depends on your age, your gender, your genes and your lifestyle. There is no one-size fits all answer, not even that offered by Soylent maker Robert Rhinehart.
And though there is no silver bullet, there are glimmers in the darkness. That’s what I’m sharing here, the result of my journey through premature (surgical) menopause to “the year of the migraine.” (Yes, you read that right.)
Doesn’t anyone have the right recommendation?
You may have grown up with some version of USDA guidelines for eating, maybe the basic four or perhaps the food pyramid. (If you live in the U.S., that is.) You might even remember the “ketchup is a vegetable” controversy during the early days of the Reagan Administration. But can we trust recommendations from an agency (USDA) that is also tasked with keeping America’s farms in business and keeping politicians happy?
Then there are recommendations from the American Heart Association or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the American Diabetes Association. They’re non-profits, so they don’t have an ax to grind. Right? Oh.
Diet gurus abound and if you don’t like the diet du jour, just wait a little while. From the Grapefruit Diet to the Lemon Detox Diet … from the Paleolithic Diet to the South Beach Diet … from Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution to The Good Carbohydrate Revolution … from Suzanne Somers’ Somersizing to Dr. Dean Ornish: Eat More, Weigh Less … the recommendations are wildly contradictory, most cite some sort of scientific validation, but all cannot be “right.” Can they?
Unfortunately, much (most?) of what we think we know about what we should be eating isn’t true.
It’s based on something we read once or heard on TV or a friend shared on Facebook or maybe even “mother said so!”
Even if there was one right choice, it wouldn’t fit women.
Most of the medical research conducted in the 20th century used men — mostly white men — or male rats as the cohorts. Researchers didn’t want to deal with the messiness of women’s fluctuating hormones. (They didn’t realize that male sex hormones can fluctuate, too.)
Consequently, most medical and dietary recommendations are simply extrapolated from what researchers thought they learned about men and nutrition.
That was a mistake with only a recent correction. From May 15, 2014:
Name a new drug or treatment, and odds are researchers know far more about its effect on men than on women. From sleeping pills to statins, women have been blindsided by side effects and dosage miscalculations that were not discovered until after the product hit the market.
Now the National Institutes of Health says that this routine gender bias in basic research must end.
In a commentary published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the N.I.H., and Dr. Janine A. Clayton, director of the institutes’ Office of Research on Women’s Health, warned scientists that they must begin testing their theories in female lab animals and in female tissues and cells.
The N.I.H. has already taken researchers to task for their failure to include adequate numbers of women in clinical trials. The new announcement is an acknowledgment that this gender disparity begins much earlier in the research process.
It may be this frustration that finally pushed me over the edge and launched this site.