I just finished listening/watching a (just short of) 4 hr podcast with Dr. Joel Kahn and Chris Kresser on the Joe Rogan Podcast. (Thank goodness for being able to manipulate the speed)! Dr. Kahn is a Holistic Cardiologist and has been vegan for many years. Chris Kresser practices functional medicine and adopts a “nutrivore” diet (a term used to describe someone who lives a healthy lifestyle: doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink excessively, gets plenty of exercise and sleep, etc. and consumes a whole foods diet including animal products and fish) and has written about the benefits of a paleo diet.
This divide between vegan and meat-eating diets (such as paleo) is for sure an emotional, hot debate, but at the end of the day, when done well – both of these diets are more similar than different in principal. Both Chris and Dr. Kahn did a good job of addressing this.
It’s a long episode, and some parts of the podcast end up with talking in circles, but there was some great information – including discussion about the problems with nutrition science.
Here are a couple of highlights from the show:
Chris Kresser talks about how the question “what’s the optimal diet for everyone” is a terrible one - and in fact, an unanswerable one because we are all different. There is no one size fits all.
Dr. Kahn reminds people that Chris and him actually share a lot in common (including the primary focus of plant foods in the diet) and would actually agree on many things. He notes that they are both “lifestyle medicine doctors”, of which nutrition is just one part: other lifestyle factors such as sleep, social support, stress management, smoking, and exercise all play a role. (You know I most certainly concur).
I love this. I think all of us can agree (including these two) that the Standard American Diet sucks; and that any deviation away from that towards a whole foods diet is going to be better. The real dispute between these two styles of eating is whether the inclusion of animal and fish to a whole-food-based, plant-heavy diet is going to be benefit you. (I personally say yes it will. From a nutrient-density perspective, organ meats, shellfish and fatty fish outrank even vegetables).
Anyway, the more I read, the more I research, and the more I see real-life examples from my clients – I cannot help but come back to the very basics:
JUST EAT REAL FOOD.
Or, as Michael Pollan (who I love) has so often be quoted as saying:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Also, focus on the quality over quantity (especially protein)
The two other things I would add:
You must experiment on your body and pay attention to how it feels when you do. You may have a body that does better without grains. Your body may do better without dairy. Your body may not like beans. Your body may do better with less protein. The point is – you have to do a little experimentation and be kind and gentle with it in the process.
Secondly, you must accept that it is not just about food. As Dr. Kahn mentioned, it’s about lifestyle. You need to look at the other areas in your life outside of food when it comes to your overall health.
This whole episode really resonates with me because it’s a reminder that when it comes to politics (and other heated topics that people often argue about vehemently), that just because we have different ideas regarding how to achieve an outcome doesn’t mean that we don’t actually share the same desired outcome.
Most people want to eat in a way that keeps them alive longer; free of disease; and feeling good in their skin. Let’s all try to be more accepting and respectful about the choices we make. We are not here to win the battle of what is more "right". One is not better than the other. You do you. Just remember to come back to the basics.
If all that sounds great but you need some support in adopting a healthier lifestyle, you may want to consider Accountability Coaching. For more information, visit my website: stacyyates.com