7

votes

Is your approach more science based, intuition based or a combination?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM

I am not a linear thinker at all, and while I have read a lot of science-y type nutrition books, I generally still make decisions about my diet and lifestyle by observing my own body and experimenting and using my intuition. This gets a little tricky when I have clients, because so many people want a very science-y explanation for why they should do what I suggest, but this is such a struggle for me with the way my brain is wired...I'm just curious about others approaches to decision making, especially in regrads to paleo nutrition and lifestyle...do you generally read everything you can about a subject before you make a change, or do you just go for it and see how your body likes it?

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 12:51 AM

My point is we have to listen to it and do what it says when it tells us to stop eating things that are hurting it and listen to it but ignore it when it tells us to eat those same things that hurt it. There are many causes of cravings including dysbiosis, nutritional deficiencies, leptin/insulin resistance, dopamine deficiency, and more, so the goal of health practitioners should be to get to the root cause of the craving rather than just treat the symptoms.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 12:47 AM

You made a great point. I think I mentioned it in another answer, but our brains weren't meant to be in the modern environment with its excess of food, stimulation, and other things. There are many things that will cause our body to tell us to do things that are hurtful to it, so then it definitely becomes harder to listen to our body. We still have to listen to our body, but sometimes ignore it when it tells us to eat all the high-sugar foods around us. Also, sometimes things that disrupt our signaling confuse our brain, and that's when it's time to rely on outside advice.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:26 PM

I see evolution as adaptation to survive in face of threats such as disease, war and starvation. Thousands of years, 50-100 generations. Dobzhansky worked on an even shorter generational/time frame with his fruit flies. Regarding food, our ancestors probably ate as much of what they could find that would digest, and counted themselves successful if they were lucky enough to get fat. So I'm wary of listening to my evolution-adapted body, which demands unlimited snickers and doritos.

Medium avatar

on November 18, 2011
at 07:57 PM

I agree with what you said about how you approach health and nutrition. Too often I see people recommending a one size fits all approach to nutrition, but that doesn't work since there are so many differences between any two people. I'd say that so many people in America eat "food" that isn't real food because 1)their parents gave it to them from a really early age so their brain was trained to like it and 2)many have developed metabolic and/or neurological problems that result in a rewired brain reward center similar to a drug addict's, and food becomes their drug of choice.

7b11ed525ffa23bc7257684e27488a6a

(366)

on November 18, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Great question.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on November 18, 2011
at 06:35 AM

I think it's at least partially a confidence issue on my part. I've gotten some clients who want to hear the science behind everything, and honestly, they are usually the people who don't end up following through weirdly enough...it's like they're looking for an excuse right from the start...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:28 AM

+1 this is exactly how I see it.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:24 AM

"This gets a little tricky when I have clients, because so many people want a very science-y explanation for why they should do what I suggest"....you must have a very inquisitive clientele.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 17, 2011
at 08:34 PM

Same thing here. Hundreds of hours of research over the past year got me right back to where Mark Sisson originally pointed.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:27 PM

Pictures don't do justice to the cave's confined space filled with images. And there's some really good duck to eat nearby.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:24 PM

Good advice, but to my regret I'm not as vigorous as I would've had to be in the ancestral environment. Of course, I'd most likely be dead of infection or injury by 64 anyhow. :-))

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Go to a real ancestral site before you die. Most of the virtual sites miss the point.

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15 Answers

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:55 PM

Definitely a mix! I used to think I was unlucky because I had such strong (unpleasant then) signals from my body about appetite and digestion.

Now I realize I'm very lucky--I just need to understand and react to the signals. I read a number of ancestral sites every day but I also pay close attention to what's happening as I try things based on what I read.

For example, my body is very happy and calm on IF in a way that may not work at all for the next person.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:24 PM

Good advice, but to my regret I'm not as vigorous as I would've had to be in the ancestral environment. Of course, I'd most likely be dead of infection or injury by 64 anyhow. :-))

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:27 PM

Pictures don't do justice to the cave's confined space filled with images. And there's some really good duck to eat nearby.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Go to a real ancestral site before you die. Most of the virtual sites miss the point.

4
Medium avatar

on November 17, 2011
at 07:24 PM

The more I venture neck-deep in biochemical minutiae, the more my diet resembles that which we observe in hunter-gatherer groups. It's nice to know these things, but it would have been far more efficient simply to take the much-maligned reenactment path, provided that I actually drew from scientific observation, not mythical bedtime stories.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 17, 2011
at 08:34 PM

Same thing here. Hundreds of hours of research over the past year got me right back to where Mark Sisson originally pointed.

4
Medium avatar

(19479)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:08 PM

My tendency is towards science, but rather than the typical nutrition/medical perspective, I favor the ethological, anthropological, and evolutionary biology/psychology resources.

To me, it is all too easy to get ensnared by the details and fall into nutritionalism when focusing on studies of specific foods, nutrients, etc. For example, you can typically find cases of a food/nutrient (x) linked to some health benefit/miracle (y) AND a health impairment/disease (z).

I don't discount the value of scientific inquiry into nutrition, and do pay attention to what might be revealed about various metabolic processes through rigorous application of the scientific method, but I feel like the "big picture" offered by other fields of study helps keep things in perspective. Namely, that we are just another form of life and can be studied as such.

My thought is that "intuition" exists in order to drive us towards actions, behaviors, etc. that promote fitness (in the Darwinian sense). However, I am not so sure that intuition is limited to the known senses or modes of perception.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:28 AM

+1 this is exactly how I see it.

4
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:50 PM

I am definitely a read-everything-I-can kind of person. I definitely want the science, but I am also very interested in the diets of traditional cultures (not just paleo diets, but also far more recent traditional diets).

However, I have recently become much better about trying things out and seeing how they work for me and using that as my ultimate determining factor in deciding what to include and what not to include in my diet. I credit the paleo community for that because I think there is a lot of encouragement to try things out for yourself, and there is a lot of acceptance for a wide spectrum of paleo-esque diets.

3
1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:48 AM

i approach the world with interest. i approach my body and health the same way. i do a lot of reading and tons of sit back and observing. i listen to my body always and not my mind. my mind will find its way eventually(or maybe never) but keying in on bodily functions/abilities goes a long way in health. i personally would never in a gazillion years want or expect wat works for me to work for someone else, nor would i ever tell someone how i diet/eat/do the nutrition thing. if someone asked me for nutrition/health advice, i would ask to follow them around for a week, observe them and then maybe make some suggestions. you cant tell a passionate runner to stop forever, you cant nail a triangle in a square, and you cant determine wat is best for someone else besides yourself, no study will ever prove that so i could really care less about them

one thing that has never clicked for me is why people eat food that isnt real, and why when someone looks at a hoho they can think it is edible. i just dont get that, my mind doesnt work like that

Medium avatar

on November 18, 2011
at 07:57 PM

I agree with what you said about how you approach health and nutrition. Too often I see people recommending a one size fits all approach to nutrition, but that doesn't work since there are so many differences between any two people. I'd say that so many people in America eat "food" that isn't real food because 1)their parents gave it to them from a really early age so their brain was trained to like it and 2)many have developed metabolic and/or neurological problems that result in a rewired brain reward center similar to a drug addict's, and food becomes their drug of choice.

3
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:56 PM

A combination.

I start with the science so that I'm sure I understand what's happening. If I feel it applies to me and my current situation, I give it a try.

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:09 PM

I read a good bit, but in terms of what I -do-, it's 90+% intuition. The further I've gotten from processed foods, the easier it is for me to tell what my body is doing, and associate physical responses to recent actions/choices.

I don't encourage people to "do what I do" -- but I do encourage them to explore and test the reactions of their own body. Most of us simply don't listen to the 'inner voice' of our physical self, and we spend years, and thousands of dollars, trying to figure out why we feel like crud. I decided to cut out the middle-man, and just listen to my body and let it tell me what was working and what wasn't -- and it's been a good decision.

2
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:01 PM

Mostly anthropology based, so science I guess, but really history. How best to emulate what I saw on the walls at Lascaux in today's world. Eat meat and travel on foot is what the cave paintings tell me.

2
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:50 PM

I used to read a bit of background information from notable blog sources, maybe check out a few papers on PubMed, check on Paleohacks...(this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a week.) Learn about it, and then if I feel its necessary, I take the plunge.

Now, I just take the plunge, and live by the fact that if one is stressing over food or this lifestyle...just eat/live it. Not worth the stress of stressing about it. If any changes occur, I would look it up, out of curiosity.

Take my advice with a grain of salt. It may be beneficial for some who actually have metabolic issues, hormonal issues, etc to consult research and holistic doctors/paleo doctors before making a move. I'm lucky in that I discovered this way of eating when I was 19, 20 years of age.

2
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:49 PM

About 95% intuition. If I follow some arbitrary set of guidelines that go against my natural tendencies, I get alot of cognitive dissonance/stress. Therefore, I basically don't place any limits on myself beyond a select few that I see enough value in (like gluten=bad).

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 26, 2011
at 10:01 AM

I prefer to read a lots before following a tip. As there are no guarantee that the tips are from a certified person I carefully research it and then follow it. For an example I have recently read an article on how to lose weight in 2 weeks and researched if it is really possible. After I kewn it is possible from some other references I have decided to follow it.

1
Medium avatar

on November 18, 2011
at 07:50 PM

I do both when I have to decide whether to eat a certain food or take a supplement, I do as much research as I can on it, and if I decide it's worth a try, I experiment with it and listen to my body. Any health practitioner must realize that medicine is half art half science, whether you're a dietitian or a doctor. In the case of a dietitian, the medicine you're recommending is healthy food because as Hippocrates said "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". People who don't have a health practice sometimes get too wrapped up in scientific theory, but theory without practice isn't enough. The best advice is to just do what works, even if sometimes it doesn't have a ton of science to back it up. If you recommend a food or supplement that helps 900/1000 people get their health back, keep recommending it, worry about the science later. I'm actually studying to be a dietitian and this is the approach I will follow. Personally I do as much research as possible before recommending any food or supplement, but I don't exclude ones that work that may not have as much science to back them up. I think all health practitioners must put patient empowerment at the center of their practice, and the way you do this is by providing the patient with as much information as possible so they can make the best decisions possible to restore their health and not be dependent on you. I always focus on making a recommendation for any individual based on evolution because as Theodosius Dobzhansky says, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". But I ask, what is evolution, if not the result of man's experiences over long periods of time? It is nature's way of telling us which experiences (and foods) are beneficial to us and which ones aren't. So I would say try to find as much info as you can for your clients for each recommendation you give, but also tell them to listen to their bodies, because when we listen to our body, we're really listening to what nature told our ancestors many years ago.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 12:47 AM

You made a great point. I think I mentioned it in another answer, but our brains weren't meant to be in the modern environment with its excess of food, stimulation, and other things. There are many things that will cause our body to tell us to do things that are hurtful to it, so then it definitely becomes harder to listen to our body. We still have to listen to our body, but sometimes ignore it when it tells us to eat all the high-sugar foods around us. Also, sometimes things that disrupt our signaling confuse our brain, and that's when it's time to rely on outside advice.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:26 PM

I see evolution as adaptation to survive in face of threats such as disease, war and starvation. Thousands of years, 50-100 generations. Dobzhansky worked on an even shorter generational/time frame with his fruit flies. Regarding food, our ancestors probably ate as much of what they could find that would digest, and counted themselves successful if they were lucky enough to get fat. So I'm wary of listening to my evolution-adapted body, which demands unlimited snickers and doritos.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 12:51 AM

My point is we have to listen to it and do what it says when it tells us to stop eating things that are hurting it and listen to it but ignore it when it tells us to eat those same things that hurt it. There are many causes of cravings including dysbiosis, nutritional deficiencies, leptin/insulin resistance, dopamine deficiency, and more, so the goal of health practitioners should be to get to the root cause of the craving rather than just treat the symptoms.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:23 AM

I read a ton of science, but when it comes to health most will have a guiding philosophy. There is holistic vs. reductionist thinking...mechanistic vs. vitalistic...and I'm sure quite a few others and matters of scale in between each.

I find the science interesting, but actually love well put together case studies and clinical observations. I'm fairly skeptical of much that is considered the "gold standard" RCTs. Rarely are the right questions asked leaving the answers themselves to be dubious at best. Its obvious that meta-analysis can be used to prove your point depending on your preconceptions, so those are many times just thinly veiled political or financially motivated bull.

So in the end I keep putting info into the ole computer, but the answers I come to will rarely be a compilation of specific studies to validate them (cause I don't keep them in database). What eventually comes out is a cross-section of what I believe is TRUE from experience and science and philosophy.

1
Cdb9e467dac06a12c515ddfd18a4cdda

(140)

on November 18, 2011
at 01:03 AM

Mine is definitely towards science.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 18, 2011
at 03:27 PM

I like to combine everything as long as possible. Even if i do workouts i combine them. You will always get a better result when you combine something.

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