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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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