Healthy curiosity and "The Diet Wars"
One thing that is clear to me in life is that there are very few topics more polarizing than nutrition. It seems like the more we know the more polarizing and hot the debates become.
The topic of nutrition has been a very intriguing one for me over the past few years as my approach is quite different than most, and with it, has casted me into a variety of categories. Categories such as: high fat low carb, paleo, primal, ancestral, etc... Some of these categories are a stretch for sure, while others have some clear nutritional similarities in what I feel is ideal for my lifestyle.
At the end of the day I don't really think I fall into a specific label nutritionally. The easiest way for me to categorize it is that I follow an approach called Optimized Fat Metabolism (OFM). This is deceiving to most though as this approach recognizes that there is great diversity in the lifestyle of individuals and ultimately results in quite different approaches even within the same umbrella of OFM.
Since beginning to focus on nutrition as a way to augment my lifestyle I have tried a vast range of approaches. Ultimately it was a journey full of diversity and focused on one thing. That one thing has been me. Rather than settling in on a single approach backed by leading scientists and cutting edge research I have paid very close attention to how certain things affect me personally. This doesn't mean I have ignored available information and blindly tried different things, but rather was chalk full of research, discussion, brainstorming, and open mindedness.
This N=1 approach has certainly been more time consuming than simply latching onto a labeled approach, but it has created something I believe is built specifically for me as an individual. It is and always has been evolving. I am always watching others, reading, and listening to lots of different views and success stories. It fuels my N=1 experimentation.
I recently had the pleasure of brain storming with Jeff Browning a.k.a. Bronco Billy about his nutritional past and mine. Together we bounced ideas off of one another. I learned things from his journey and he learned things from mine. Ultimately, there appears to be some intriguing similarities in our nutritional plans. Jeff outlines his journey and latest success at HURT 100 nicely on his website. Jeff's post garnered a lot of attention and culminated in a very healthy debate about optimal nutrition strategies from people partaking in quite different approaches. My biggest take away confirms what I believe when it comes to fueling life; whether that be extreme endurance or working a desk job. Everyone is different and needs to discover their optimal plan.
A lot of people get heated, frustrated, and perhaps over passionate about nutrition. This has often led to debates of all kinds and generically termed "diet wars". War seems a bit harsh to me; although at times it is quite brutal. Personally, I like the diversity of views and ideas being openly shared and examined. It lays out options. Options that often highlight the ill-effects of the standard American diet. It gives people things to work with outside of negligently going to the inner aisles of chain grocery stores and buying fake food. It is a step in the right direction.