Don’t Let Dogma Prevent You From Real Results
Dogma. Aside from being the title of a movie not often seen, is also a dirty word…
…at least in my trainer-brain.
Dogma usually leads to anger, finger-pointing and a ‘holier than thou’ mentality that can bring you legions of fans and followers, but also usually makes you look like a total tool.
I’m speaking in the fitness and nutrition world of course, although dogma in any circle usually brings the same sorts of thoughts.
Dogma also brings an equal and opposite reaction, which is what we’re going to discuss today.
For every person who loves what you’re saying, there are just as many who will make it their life’s work to prove you wrong, and will do it while trying to make you look stupid.
You can see the parallels in many areas of life. The problem is the people who are on the opposite end of the fence usually come from a standpoint of “you’re stupid for believing that.”
They’ll write articles, create videos, write books, or stand on their soap box and say things like…
“You think eating bread is bad? Well, I have a study here that says restriction of calories is all that really matters in weight loss…not the quality. Besides everybody knows real wheat bread is okay and this whole gluten thing is just a stupid fad.”
Or… “You think organic is better? I have this study, and this study, and this study, that shows they’re not any better nutritionally than non-organic.”
There’s usually a little more smarminess in the comments made to make you shrink back and feel dumb – a lot of “smart” people enjoy making others feel dumb, when in reality it just makes them an ass. If you get your jollies off by using big words that confuse people and attempt to make other people feel dumb for their beliefs, you are a grade A, certified jerk.
Let’s put on our Big Boy Pants to cover both of those statements.
First, the bread/gluten thing.
Before you can make any decisions for yourself you should first remove it from your diet and see how you feel.
If you remove it for a 2-3 weeks and feel great, without drastically limiting calories, that should tell you something.
That’s really my whole argument with breads, gluten, etc. Remove it for 2-3 weeks – including all types of bread, processed foods, cereals, and even oatmeal, and see how you feel.
- Do you notice a difference in your body fat levels? Are your pants any looser?
- Do you notice your joints feeling better? Maybe your knees and shoulders don’t hurt as bad?
- Are you able to breathe?
- Do you have an extra pep in your step without drowning yourself in coffee or energy drinks?
- Is it easier to find the energy to do your workouts?
- Do you sleep better?
- Do you just flat out feel great?
That’s my complete and total argument for the bread/gluten thing. I’ll let the sciencey folk battle out by throwing peer-reviewed studies at each other and I’ll keep it simple.
Remove it and see how you feel.
If you don’t feel better, and truly stuck to the plan, and notice zero difference then, and only then, do you have an argument in the “bread and gluten are okay, except for medical reasons” argument. Until then shut yer pie hole.
On the flips side, if you feel great and love the way you look and feel after this incredibly simple step – do not, I repeat do NOT, become an jerk and start shoving your thoughts in everyone’s face.
That is preaching dogma and you will be hated upon…even though you may think you’re doing the world a favor.
Second, the organic thing.
There are studies, some very recent, showing the nutritional value between the two – organic vs. non-organic – to be negligible.
Fine and dandy.
What about the other “stuff” associated with organic vs. non-organic?
Things like pesticides, fertilizers, weed-killers, etc.?
I could also be totally wrong, but my basic assumption is that most organic produce I purchase is grown right here in the U.S., which DOES matter from a nutrient point of view (nutrients start dying when the produce is picked…), whereas a lot of the non-organic is grown out of country, where their standards are a little more lax.
Some chemicals that are banned here are totally fine in other parts of the world.
That statement should scare you.
So aside from nutrient value, you also have to worry about what was put on your food, which to me is more important than any of the nutrient value talk. If I’m worried about the nutrient value of apples, I’ll eat two, but if the stuff sprayed on my food is known to cause cancer, that’s a big deal.
Now in my trainer-brain, it’s never made sense to buy certain things organic. Others, like spinach, totally makes sense.
You still have to clean your produce…even if it’s organic.
Don’t think it’s necessary? Do you really want to put your trust in the grower and packager of that food for cleaning your food?
Let me put it this way – do you wash new underwear before slipping it on? Of course you do!
Let’s put aside all the residue from growing the produce and think about all the other “stuff” associated.
How many hands do you think touched that apple before you took a bite?
Do you trust that all of them washed their hands after using the bathroom, picking their nose or wiping their kids’ slimy boogers away?
How many people touched it in the grocery store? On the extremely rare times I grocery shop (I HATE grocery shopping), I grab a good 5 apples for every 1 purchased. Multiply that out by all the people who visit the produce section a day.
Wash that stuff.
Okay that was a complete and total tangent and I apologize.
Back to the organic and non-organic argument…
The argument for buying some things organic goes beyond simple nutritional value.
As I mentioned, there are the compounds added to your produce that could be harmful.
There’s country of origin.
There’s also supporting your local food grower and understanding that shipping your food plays a valuable role.
Aside from wasting gas and other resources, the longer the time it is from the point at which the food was picked, to hitting your tummy, the fewer nutrients are in that food.
Vitamins and other nutrients die and they start dying as soon as that apple, strawberry, blueberry or hunk of broccoli is picked.
See what I’m saying?
Dogma is bad, but the flip-side of preaching dogma – the preaching against dogma…which also happens to look and sound a lot like dogma itself – is just as bad, if not worse, because it brings out the ‘holier than thou’ and ‘I’m smarter than you’ attitudes.
When you break things down in a simple way and present valid arguments without yelling, other points can be made.
I hope this little article helps. I wasn’t going to write it, but my daily blog-reading made me angry. I understand the need for “creating your own voice” in this day and age, but don’t yell and don’t make other people feel stupid for certain nutritional beliefs.
Does it really harm you if someone believes organic is better? No.
Does it really do you a disservice if someone doesn’t eat bread or gluten? No.
So stop yelling…and stop preaching – and yes I understand that I sound a bit preachy, but I hope I’m doing it in an uplifting and motivating way, rather than something that brings people down.
My goal is to help you live a healthier, stronger and more fit life; not to bash others’ point of view.