Such pressure…my first blog post!
I will start by naming why I wanted to create this blog. So as not to bore my few first *potential* followers, I will TRY to keep it brief. (Being brief is not one of my skills.)
Before I came back to school to pursue my degree in dietetics I thought I had it all (mostly) figured out and that what I learned in school would only enhance and solidify my current understanding of food and nutrition. As most of these things go, I was pathetically wrong. Looking back, I realized how arrogant it was to think I really knew anything. Sure I had read a few books, studied a few topics, and worked a few short jobs in the field, but I grossly overestimated my knowledge base.
I have realized (also as most of these things go) the old adage “the more you know, the less you understand” is pretty dang accurate. Whereas before coming back to school, I firmly believed in the mindsets of “food as medicine”, a plant-based diet is best, and NEVER eat fried foods, I now realize that I was over-generalizing….a lot. I am now in my third year of dietetics, and, even though I can name all steps of the Krebs cycle, list off vitamins and their possible deficiency side-effects, and tell you how to pair proteins, I am more at a loss now than ever regarding the “right” way to eat.
And not to say this lack of understanding is completely my fault. Something that initially drew me to the field was its characteristic of being relatively new (at least in the field of healthcare) and ever-changing. New research is constantly being generated, ideas are created, and cold-hard facts are questioned and then disproved on a daily basis. (Put that together with governmental agencies who have a hand in the game, devious advertising agencies looking for the next gluten-free craze, and pharmaceutical companies trying to stay ahead of the turn, and you have the perfect storm for a completely bewildered-about-nutrition society.) And, of course, this quality that first drew me to the field is also the main thing that drives me crazy! I just want science to tell me the TRUTH. But the thing is, and what I have now grown to understand more fully, is that the science simply isn’t there yet. The research has not yet been able to prove if fats are “better or worse” for you than sugar. Or if “gluten intolerance” is a real thing. Science can definitely tell us a lot, but it can’t tell us everything and is definitely a key to the puzzle about why the field of dietetics is so confusing.
Science is an evidence-based practice. As improvements in technology are made, new evidence is brought forth and science takes another step forward. Because the field of nutrition is relatively young, it is now that rapid advancements are occurring. Which is why it can oftentimes be baffling to try and make it all out and stay on top of the research.
What I see is that people are confused, more unhealthy than ever, and jaded. We are told to obtain the coveted thigh-gap, but not be too skinny, save the planet by not eating meat, but please don’t eat so many carbs, and don’t eat “low-fat” foods, but also don’t eat butter or drink whole milk because of that whole cholesterol thing. There are many reasons why contradicting evidence is thrown around like weird old-people candy on Halloween, including evolving science, nutrition professionals without proper credentials giving out dated advice, Dr. Oz, and THE INTERNET. We have a pretty hefty problem on our hands. So let’s talk about it.
We have science, we have personal experience, and we have ideas. It is my goal in this blog to open up a discussion about all of these facets of the study of nutrition, health, and wellness. I will write posts about what I am learning and have learned, will bring up controversial topics in the field, and toss around ideas. I am hoping you will join in the talk. Maybe throughout the project we can all come to a greater understanding about the food that sustains us.
(As I said above, being brief is not one of my skills.)