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Magic-Bullet Mentality

August 3, 2017

Want the take home message? It’s far more important to listen to your body than trends. If you want to get healthier, don’t cut out whole food groups to be healthy. Simply cook more👩‍🍳. You’ll naturally eat less sugar, salt, additives… even just one or two more meals a week makes a difference.[1]” – nude_nutritionist[2] (Lyndi Cohen)

Torah Parsha (Portion) Va’etchanan in a Nutshell from

Moses tells the people of Israel how he implored G‑d to allow him to enter the Land of Israel, but G‑d refused, instructing him instead to ascend a mountain and see the Promised Land.

Continuing his “review of the Torah,” Moses describes the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah, declaring them unprecedented events in human history. “Has there ever occurred this great thing, or has the likes of it ever been heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of G‑d speaking out of the midst of the fire . . . and live? . . . You were shown, to know, that the L‑rd is G‑d . . . there is none else beside Him.”

Moses predicts that in future generations the people will turn away from G‑d, worship idols, and be exiled from their land and scattered amongst the nations; but from there they will seek G‑d, and return to obey His commandments.

Our Parshah also includes a repetition of the Ten Commandments, and the verses of the Shema, which declare the fundamentals of the Jewish faith: the unity of G‑d (“Hear O Israel: the L‑rd our G‑d, the L‑rd is one”); the mitzvot to love G‑d, to study His Torah, and to bind “these words” as tefillin on our arms and heads, and inscribe them in the mezuzot affixed on the doorposts of our homes.


As I have often said – I am no nutritionist! I suppose you are waiting for the but….

People continuously complain that models on the catwalks are too thin, this week on TV they were complaining that companies were now using obese models and this was sending a bad message. They either too thin or obese…  Why the extremes?  Why do we always complain?

Last week running one of my buddies was talking about someone who said that he trains hard so that he can eat whatever he likes. I was thinking that this is truly crazy diet advice?

Every year I see a list of the best and worst diets for the year[3]. Sometimes I think to myself who in their right minds would try some of these diets! In the press and in marketing often diets make mention of “celebrities” using! I noticed in the Sunday Age Newspaper, in the Trends Up and Down section a trend on the UP, is Ketogenics (the high-fat, low carb diet that is a HIT with celebrities and our friend N). What do some of these celebrities know about health and nutrition? I know N  is doing a lot of research on the diet and even asked me for advice? Me……N what do I know?

Experts criticise the XXX and XXX diets, in particular, for being ‘fad diets’ that unnecessarily wipe out entire food groups. These diets perform poorly because they are too restrictive and are not easily sustainable in the long term[4].”

 Over the last few years there has been a growing trend of LOW CARB[5] diets including Atkins, Paleo, Tim Noakes’s Banting diet and now the CSIRO[6] low carb diet. While reading Tim Ferriss Book “Tools of Titans”, I was reading in a section about Charles Poliquin and something he called a “Slow Carb Diet”. This sounded brilliant. Loren and I decided to do some research on this diet. My father who had put on a lot of weight wanted to lose weight. What we found in a lot of research is that several diets were descriptive and not prescriptive, so we decided to design our own diet that was very prescriptive for my Dad. He needed all his meals, portion sizes and options set out clearly. The result was that he has lost over 12kg and is still doing the diet (well done Dad!). Loren has given the diet to others who are using it successfully. Yip, maybe there is a business in the diet….

BUT, why I am mentioning this is that there are healthy diets that make sense and the research stacks up, but then some people take some of these diets too far. They are extreme and potentially unhealthy. The Paleo diet of today differs significantly from Yuval Noah Harari’s description of a “hunter-gatherer” diet in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, where he describes that these hunter/ gatherers ate (Before agriculture and industry, humans presumably lived as hunter–gatherers: picking berry after berry off of bushes; digging up tumescent tubers; chasing mammals to the point of exhaustion; scavenging meat, fat and organs from animals that larger predators had killed; and eventually learning to fish with lines and hooks and hunt with spears, nets, bows and arrows). In it, he argues that hunters-gatherers before the arrival of agriculture had few needs and could easily satisfy themselves with what he calls “a marvellously varied diet“.

This is purely my opinion that when you read articles about a few other diets and trends, you say, what the Fxxx!

  • Protein Pacing is staggering your protein intake throughout the day, and trying to increase your daily protein intake above the daily recommended amount;
  • Ketosis is when your body reaches a state of being completely fuelled by fat. There are some benefits, but there are many side effects and it is not healthy to be in a constant state of ketosis. (There are experts on Ketosis who know MUCH more than me. This includes Dom D’Agostino[7] and Charles Poliquin[8], who I have read about, but all information I have read or listened to talks about some of the dangers.); and
  • Crazy detox diets like – Lemon Detox Diet, SkinnyMe tea, and the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge Diet. Experts say that “…you don’t need to go on a severe detox because your body has an inbuilt detox system – the lungs, liver, and kidneys working every minute of the day[9].”; and
  • Intermittent Fasting[10] – Although some research suggests that it can be an effective way to lose weight, and although some swear by it, I discourage the practice, especially for endurance athletes. Some reasons are – It’s not normal and fat burning is overrated. In interesting research done during Ramadan – “On average, the subjects’ 5000-meter performance dropped by 5 percent between the beginning and the end of that month intermittent fasting.

I noticed a statement[11] from the first of the seven Lubavitcher Rebbes that is so true – He said, “Sometimes the long road gets you to your destination faster than the short trail, which will delay your journey.”

Then there are the diets that, may be a bit of a kick-start, but are in no ways maintainable in the longer. The worst listed diet in the diets I mentioned above is the Whole30 diet. (The Whole30 is a 30-day fad diet that emphasizes whole foods and during which participants eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy from their diets.) The story of the founder, Melissa Hartwig[12] is an amazing story and I have mentioned it before in a previous Blog, but the diet does not get rated very well. (She does have close to 200,000 followers on Instagram and her transformation from druggy to health nut is unbelievable)

In a Podcast with the physician, herbalist, and midwife, Dr Aviva Romm[13], that I recently listened to and really enjoyed, she gives some tips on diet and healthy living. One point that she makes is that we must “Introduce pleasure to healthy eating”. I think too many people get caught up in focussing on the fringe ideas, the wrong things and develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

“Now, make no mistake: If your current diet is very bad, you will need to make significant changes in order to achieve your health and fitness goals…… But there is never any need for more severe measures ….” – Matt Fitzgerald[14] (I think based on Matt’s book his philosophy re diet is “The Endurance Diet shares key strategies for optimal health and performance: eat everything, eat quality, eat carbohydrates, eat enough, and eat individually. Whether you want to lose weight, win a race, or look a little more like an elite athlete, this plan is for you.”)

There is so much press about radicals and extremism. There are many extreme movements on both the right and the left that we are all exposed to or read about. In all aspects of our lives there are things that we may do that are extreme. Over Tisha B’Av I was inspired by Rabbi Sendor to read the writings of the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira. A compendium of his teachings called the Eish Kodesh has been translated and commented on in a book The Holy Fire by Nehemia Polen. In this book, The Rebbe said in a speech in the Ghetto in 1939 that while a moderate degree of suffering may be of benefit to the individual’s spiritual development, excessive tribulation is beyond endurance and is unacceptable (This statement was made in the context of Sarah getting the shock on hearing about the binding of Isaac). I do not believe that EXTREME or RADICAL is and can be healthy.

The ‘best’ diet, like the best exercise, is the one you actually manage to practice and maintain,” – David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Centre.

I noticed a quote from entrepreneur Sheryl O’Loughlin, after listening to her on a Podcast[15] titled “REBBL CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin on overcoming an eating disorder, hiring smart and why Balance is BS”. Sheryl said – “Sheryl is passionate about ThinkThin’s mission to support women’s wellness and encourage Americans to abandon dieting mentality and embrace healthy living.”

‘Getting a fresh start’ isn’t the magic bullet you thought it’d be.


[2] Lyndi Cohen is The Nude Nutritionist, a Sydney media and TV dietitian and blogger who specialises in helping people stop emotional and binge eating.


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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    I enjoyed the blog and the last quote by Sheryl O’Loughan says it all!
    Interesting and well reserached ….I think you’re talking to the converted!!!!!

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