Sunday, October 21

A Do It Yourself Life

The older I get, the more I understand that nearly everything I learned without trying in my life ranged from irrelevant, to inaccurate, to utter bilge from which I would someday have to de-indoctrinate myself.

Or as musician Paul Simon once put it in his song 'Kodachrome',
When I think back on all the crap
I learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all

The same sure seems to go for nutrition, exercise and metabolism. Everything I ever learned by accident, by default, or from official sources, is so bogus. Not until I actually began pursuing information on my own did I start running into stuff that even made sense when questioned a little. Let alone that explained a lot of the questions.

My stepmother once told my kid the memorable line:

Eat your french fries. They're a vegetable.

I couldn't make up something like that. It takes all kinds...

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary TaubesRecently a guy named Gary Taubes published a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories : Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. He's a journalist for SCIENCE magazine who spent six years reviewing the research in these areas, and finally put it all together in a way that other people with brains can understand. The realizations and conclusions he came to, based on the actual research (not just what was popular or assumed) pretty much suggest what I should have known all along:

Since the government and school were telling me to avoid red meat and fat and eggs and to eat a diet dominated by grains and carbs, I probably should have figured that once I applied my brain to discovering the real facts, they'd be the polar opposite of the Official Party Line.

Taubes was allegedly interviewed on CNN recently. Instead of interviewing an author about the book, they brought in several other people they felt would disagree with him to make it a lynching instead. The host and one or more of the guests so consistently interrupted the author that I had to stop reading halfway through, because his inability to get a single complete sentence out -- NOT EVEN ONE -- finally drove me nuts. Link to the interview transcript is here. (And not surprisingly, the Fat Is Evil cult of culture and its bazillion adherents want to dog him. So if you read his book, please, write a review, and post it at and any other bookseller you know of.)

So if you buy one book this year, let it be this guy's book. It is allegedly one of the most concise-yet-depth reviews of the real research, and the real story, on a lot of topics that have huge relevance and impact on our lives. It's bucking the trend of nearly everything. It's contradicting the authority of nearly every official politically correct source -- with, ironically, the authority of scientifically valid, hands-on research, and many decades of it, as a big heavy bat.

And it means the author has to suffer through innumerable talk shows where bozos won't let him get a word in edgewise because they KNOW EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE THERE IS TO KNOW ALREADY, which is why, of course, the diet industry spouting exactly what the bozos do makes dozens of billions a dollars a year in a country where half the population is still too fat.

The wisdom that Atkins had to share survived in great part solely because of the popularity of his book. He had every source against him, there was insane amounts of literal disinformation and outright falsehoods widely broadcast in media, but the one thing that kept his books on the shelf, kept his ideas in the circuit of the population, was that his book sold a LOT of copies. In other words, the government can say what it wants, but in the end, people vote with their pocketbooks when it comes to what they're interested in.

Vote for this guy. I'm delighted to see a serious, intelligent, concise yet with details, overview of a ton of research, put together in one package. I'm delighted to see real science get real attention. And I hope he does really well with his effort. He genuinely deserves enough sales to support the cause of truth.



Scale Mistress said...


Great post. I saw the interview on Larry King the other night and it was just as painful to watch as it was to read the transcript. Why they chose Joy Behar to sit in for Larry is beyond me. It gave the whole thing an air of "we're not going to take this seriously anyway so lets get a second rate comedian to do the interview. Mehmet Oz just kept talking over Taubes with that "I'm a Dr and you're not" attitude.

And Taubes repeatedly says..."I am not a diet dr, I'm a journalist."

Why is it so easy for people to be sheep? I think we should question EVERYTHING. And we should all be living a Do It Yourself Life.

BamaGal said...

Great Post PJ---I loved this book myself. I also agree the interview was a complete farce.

One thing you pointed out I totally agree with--our health has become a do it yourself kinda thing. I'm always printing things out and taking to my doctors. Most of them don't really stay update on the research available. The ones who try usually get all their updated info from a source like the drug companies. We all know how those studies lean.
That's why online health communities are popping up everywhere. The average consumer is looking and learning for themselves.

nonegiven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nonegiven said...

I printed out a CME course for my dr, once.

The interview wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I wish he'd been on by himself for at least half the show since they felt they had to have the other side. Both doctors said nice things about the book, especially Weil.

It was mostly the researchers and their cheerleaders, the nutritionists, that Taubes raked over the coals in the book. I just loved it.

OnlineChristian said...

Great Post! (Can I say that too??)

I am reading it too now! It's a tremendously interesting read!

Gary is so smart it's scary! He describes things in a way where you want to stand up and cheer YES! YEAHHH! ALRIGHT!!!! GO GARY!!!


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