“Claiming a [math] ‘block’ just doesn’t cut it with me,” I told a friend whom I’m mentoring…and she shot back, “You might have an empathy block.” Apparently I had touched a nerve, and I deserved that riposte.
She wasn’t through with me, though. She then raised another issue. She said that I said that exercise “makes me ‘grumpy or grouchy.’” I replied that I had said no such thing. I said exercise makes me sweaty and hungry, to which she replied, ‘Okay, I’ll give it to you. I stand corrected and apologize,’… but then she added this zinger: “Why would I think of you as ‘grouchy and grumpy,’ I wonder?” Hmmm…That got me to thinking.
Years ago I helped the circulation of a couple of local weekly newspapers by writing a “Letter to the Editor” every week during heated debates over issues like school district capital budgets and land use issues. One issue was a zoning change to permit quarrying in a rural residential district. Apparently my letters were such a boost to circulation that the editor of one of the papers and the publisher of the other invited me to write a weekly column. The editor actually suggested it be called, “The Country Curmudgeon.”
I declined. I didn’t think of myself that way, and I was dismayed that others thought of me as curmudgeonly. I was just trying to shine a light, I thought, on what was “wrong” for our community. My goal was to educate and thus influence the reader (and voter) on these issues. In the school district’s capital budget, I was a community member of the School Board’s Facilities Committee and faithfully attended weekly meetings to be informed and participate. My letters were pretty edgy though. One critic fairly and accurately called one of them “vitriolic.”
So, I am continually wary of being overly negative about nutrition. I do, however, occasionally rant about a particularly egregious pitch for some so-called “healthy” processed food. And I am angry, most assuredly with good cause, at our government, especially the USDA, and the ADA, the AHA and the AMA. The reason is simple, as Dr. Tim Noakes explains #334, “A Unifying Hypothesis of Chronic Disease, Part 1,” and particularly in his pithy #335, “Implications of Reaven's Unified Hypothesis, Part 2.” With titles like that, nobody’s gonna read them, so do yourself a favor and click on those links. You won’t regret it, and you’ll thank Dr. Noakes for his courage.
So, if I occasionally express a little anger and use a little invective, or even if I’m at times “vitriolic,” and that equates with “grumpy and grouchy,” well, that’s a price I’m gonna have to pay. As Evelyn Stefansson, wife of Vilhjalmur, said, in the preface to Richard Mackarness’s 1958 book, “Eat Fat and Grow Slim,”
“Stef used to love his role of being a thorn in the flesh of nutritionists. But in 1957 an article appeared in the august journal of the American Medical Association confirming what Stef had known for years from his anthropology and his own experience. The author of this book has also popularized Stef's diet in England, with the blessing of staid British medical folk.
“It was with the faintest trace of disappointment in his voice that Stef turned to me, after a strenuous nutrition discussion, and said: "I have always been right. But now I am becoming orthodox! I shall have to find myself a new heresy."
You should really read the entire 1-page preface (#151, here). It’s an homage to her husband, the famed explorer-anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson. I wrote about him in “Stefansson and the Eskimo Diet” (The Nutrition Debate #61). If you don’t know his story, that’s another link I encourage you to read. Stef was “right,” and after a year on a special diet of just fatty meat and offal, the staff of Bellevue Hospital had to admit it.Well, I haven’t gone to those extremes, but as Vilhjalmur did, I have improved my health tremendously, I by eating a diet of mostly fat, moderate protein, and very low carb. I’ve been doing it for 14 years now, and I feel great!
N.B.: Stefansson's "Eskimo diet" was 100% protein and fat, including lots of offal (organ meats).