Looks like my post yesterday about deciding for yourself, and 13 Low Carb Resources was well received. Thanks for all the Facebook Likes!
I received an email about it.
I'm at work but I've been mulling over your 13 low-carb post...
Is there going to be a 13 Pretty Good Churches post at some point?
I'm being a dick, but there is a built in deterrent to commenting on that post, since most disagreements are nit picky (especially among one's own readers). We can find the good in almost anything. But, the problem with a lot of those low-carb sites is that:
- they employ religious thinking
- they are married to low-carb at the identity level, which means they are totally closed to information and research showing that low-carb isn't necessarily ideal
- sometimes people set themselves up as gurus, manipulate their followers, and use despicable marketing tactics to sell total crap
It's worth pointing those things out. If anything there is less disagreement than agreement, anyway. The people who disagree are shunned or humiliated. Same kind of shit that got us the low-fat nonsense.
I began tapping out a reply from my perspective and when it began getting long, I said 'aww, what the hell—let's just put it out there.'
First, it serves to take a bird's eye view of the whole thing and in general, my view and judgment tells me that the LC community, for all its warts, is a net value and helps a lot of people. Everyone I've ever known of on LC...
- loses fat
- tends more toward real foods more of the time
- improves health, vitality and energy
A big percentage stall at some point, but losing 40 instead of the 60 you wanted is still a huge net benefit, in my judgment.
Now that we have Paleo, that's a next logical step for LC folks to try, and because of the underling religiosity of society (not just LC), Paleo can be a tough nut to crack right off the bat. So, another way to look at Jimmy Moore, for example, is that he serves the value—as a religious man whom religious people trust—of telling people: "Paleo is OK, even if it has an evolutionary foundation." So, ironically, the religious thinking that Jimmy subscribes to (and, I think, does a very good job of not wearing on his sleeve constantly) is responsible for getting more religious people interested in a Paleo approach—where they're going to be exposed to the science of evolution—than you or I ever could.
This is a good thing. So you have people out there saying "Jimmy's just trying to horn in on Paleo; I mean, look how religious the guy is," when in reality, he's to be commended for leading people to a more Paleo, Real Food way rather than saying "don't go there, stay away, they believe in evolution."
As to the other points, well, that's the realities of business and self-help in general and so that's why you check out a bunch of sources and find the one(s) you're most comfortable with. Some people really get into the promotions, contests, challenges, giveaways and such that guys like Jimmy Moore and Mark Sisson engage in. That's great. Doesn't interest me—either as a participant or doing any such thing myself—but clearly there's a lot of people who, for whatever reason(s), get into it and it helps keep them in the game. I see no reason to criticize or bemoan that. Different strokes.
Here's what I am all for:
- General critiques. This post itself is a bit of an overall critique of the LC community and I've done it in the past for Paleo as well. It recognizes the overall net value and either explicitly or implicitly suggests improvements to the value. The way to make errors and the bad stuff less and less relevant is simply to increase the value.
- Constructive criticism. Same as (1) but typically directed at one person or organization. I have constructively criticized Jimmy a few times. He's taken my criticism well, has blogged about it, even had me on his podcast. What more could one want? So, he exposes his own readers to my criticisms of him, but what exposure to those criticisms would his readers get if I, like so many, attacked him personally or suggested that everything he does amounts to a pile of crap?
So to summarize, step one is to get the macro, bird's eye view and make a judgment call: net value or net disvalue? Everyone knows my judgment in the matter. LC and Paleo are strong net values in many ways for, among other things, educating people about good Real Food, dispensing with the myth that saturated fat will harm you, that cholesterol will kill you, that you need your X servings of hearthealthywholegrains per day...etc., etc.
Conversely, most of the conventional wisdom is a net disvalue (just look around you). I put "vegetarinism" (that allows dairy and eggs) about in the middle because you can get adequate nutrition and there's a strong Real Food thread to it. Veganism, the rest of the conventional wisdom catechism, fat & cholesterol phobia, processed food pushers, et al, I put at net disvalues and as such, am happy to contribute to their complete, merciless, utter destruction...and eventual grave peeing.
For LC and Paleo, it's as easy as not tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Dry that baby off and get more good Real Food in it—and ignore the dirty water.
...Oh, yes, I do have a PGC (Pretty Good Church) idea. Check out the Unitarian Universalists. Any church that welcomes atheists and secular humanists is A-OK in my book. I blogged a bit about them here.