Why are we so hungry to discover the ‘best’ approach?
1. The shortness of life
Perhaps we desire the ‘best’ approach in life in order to achieve more in our lives, given that our life is short and uncertain.
2. Desire to become stronger than others (competition)
Perhaps we want the best and the ‘best’ approach to something because we don’t want to feel like we are losing out compared to our competition.
For example if you’re a professional powerlifter, you want the ‘best’ diet to maximize your lifts (to beat your competition).
3. What if you’re not competing against anyone else?
Perhaps then the better question is this:
How can I personally function at my best?
Then you’re seeking every potential advantage to maximize your own personal self-development and growth.
4. Is there an ultimate ‘best’ approach for everybody?
Now I think this is where there is much hypocrisy in the public discourse on health, lifestyle, etc:
On one hand, experts say there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Yet they still say there are superior (and inferior) modes of doing things.
5. Why is everyone so anti-meat nowadays?
For example I am watching this Netflix documentary called ‘The Game Changers’, which (I get the sense) the bias is:
Eating a plant-based diet is SUPERIOR for your health, strength performance, etc.
This is also echoed in contemporary literature and the popular media:
Eating meat is bad for you. It is ideal/optimal to eat NO meats (or very little meats), and to optimally strive towards a vegetarian/vegan diet.
And if you decide to eat meat (which is not necessary), it is best to eat non-red meats (chicken), and it is best to eat “low-fat” meats (chicken breast).
Thus the ideology is:
- Eating meat is bad for your health.
- Eating red meat is supremely bad for your health.
- You can stop eating meat all-together, and suffer no adverse health consequences.
- By eating a vegetarian/vegan diet, you will become HEALTHIER, STRONGER, and live longer
- If animal-based foods are bad for us, then in theory, veganism should be ‘superior’ to vegetarianism (vegetarians still eat eggs which are technically animal-products, and still eat cheese, milk, and other animal by-products).
I think the theory of Nassim Taleb [Antifragile] is probably best:
Some days be a pure carnivore, and some days be a pure vegan.
The goal isn’t to become 100% carnivore or 100% vegan — the goal is to ALTERNATE both. In simple terms, be an omnivore (eat BOTH meats, including red meats, AND plants).
Because it is true that by being a pure carnivore (or a pure vegan) you won’t die. But the question of:
Which diet is ‘superior’ for longevity (how long you live until you die), health (bodily energy and vigor)?
6. Leave others alone
From a very pragmatic perspective:
We must allow others to make their own decisions (respect their freedom of choice). However we must also strive to share as much accurate/truthful knowledge and information with others.
I call this ‘truthiness‘. There isn’t an ultimate truth, but there is certainly a hierarchy of levels of truth.
For example, what is a superior diet?
- Eat nothing but Twinkies for 1 week.
- Eat nothing but Sirloin Steak for 1 week.
Obviously the sirloin steak will be superior.
Superior how so?
First: Body composition. Obviously if you eat nothing but Twinkies for a month, you’re going to put on a TON of excess adipose tissue (body fat). If you eat nothing but Sirloin Steak, I would surmise you might actually lose body fat (your body will enter a state of ketosis, which means your body will start using your body fat stores for energy).
Second: Energy levels and focus. Obviously if you’re eating nothing but Twinkies for a week, you will have less energy and focus. Why? The ‘glycemic index‘ of Twinkies (sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch) is FAR HIGHER than the glycemic index of sirloin steak. This means immediately after you eat a Twinkie, the insulin response in your bloodstream is insanely high. This means immediately after eating (many) Twinkies, you will probably get a ‘sugar crash’ (short period of having more energy, then a period of feeling extreme exhaustion, which makes you want to take a nap). Whereas eating fatty red meat you get less of an insulin response (meat doesn’t have a glycemic index, as it has no carbohydrates).
You might be wondering “What about calories?” I will tackle the calorie myth in another post.
7. Always be skeptical of the truth, and ruthlessly self-experiment for yourself.
“I have sought by myself.”
The apex of practical wisdom is this:
Science cannot discover the ultimate truth by ‘proving’ a point, it can only be used to DISPROVE a point (Karl Popper’s notion of ‘falsification’).
Therefore, be EXTREMELY skeptical of any claims you hear from others. Listen to your own BS detector, and ruthlessly self-experiment for yourself. Be your own human hamster for yourself, and never stop striving for a deeper truth!