In life, I’m a perfectionist. There it is! First sentence. No secrets. I have a frustrating compulsion to do everything exactly the right way, effectively and successfully… on the first try! While this compulsion was easily stoked by my success in high school math, I’ve come to realize that it may not be compatible with real life.
When I entered the world of nutrition I quickly learned that nothing in this field is perfect… not on the first try, and often not the third or fourth. Science in general may be designed to elicit perfection, but anyone in the field knows that this goal is rarely achieved. Those of us not in the field see this in the constantly wavering message on what we should and should not eat. (It’s Tuesday… eggs are healthy again) Needless to say, most nutrition and diet information up to this point (nutrition is still a young science) is really just a well, or not so well, researched guess at perfection. We must confront the fact that there is no perfect diet, no perfect food, no vitamin, herb, drug or supplement that will serve as the magic bullet and answer all of our health and wellness woes.
Despite my admitted perfectionist tendencies, this nature of imperfection actually stands behind everything I believe and practice in the world of nutrition and wellness. There is not one perfect approach that works for everyone. We are all a little different. Thus, we all need something a little different. I think this concept can be applied to just about anything, but in nutrition we call it biodiversity. While we may share 99.9% of our genetic code, that 0.1% brings a significant amount of variability, wouldn’t you say? Not to mention the myriad of differences in our lives as individuals: we work different jobs, live in different cities, regions and climates, engage in different forms and levels of physical activity, were raised by different families and born of different mothers – some of whom played us classical music in the womb, while others smoked cigarettes. All of these things can have a strong impact on the foods that will make up our “perfect” diet.
So yes, I’m a nutritionist, who is also a perfectionist, confessing to the imperfection of the field of nutrition at the very same moment that I introduce to you my blog on the topic. But I don’t intend for this blog to tell you right from wrong or precisely what you should eat. Fact is, while I have some ideas, I don’t really know what you should eat. Rather, I hope to provide some guidance that will help you find your own way to dietary and lifestyle perfection. I will share insights from my personal quest for nutritional alchemy as well as my pursuits to lead clients along this path. There will be talk of whole foods (not the store)… (well maybe the store too), cooking, supplements, prescription drugs, physical fitness, weight management, nutrition in functional medicine and the struggles of lifestyle and behavior change. I will likely editorialize a bit (because it’s boring otherwise, for both of us) and I may employ a few interesting metaphors to keep things worldly.
Given the dynamic and constantly evolving environment in which we live, I’ll probably never achieve perfection. But perfectionists rarely do right? I hope you’ll join me.