Why you should care about anecdotal information

As I was reading Scott Dinsmore’s blog yesterday, “The Experimenter’s Dilemma,” I realized that his methodology is much like mine—experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Some things I have said throughout this blog may seem contradictory, but I think if you actually read what I’ve written, you will find out that I’ve been experimenting with all this. Rather than being a “how-to,” this is a record of my experiment. The “how-to” book will come later.

The conventional people in the medical and scientific community have always had a problem with anything that has not passed clinical trials. But we also know of things they have run clinical trials on that they endorse and later have to retract after it starts killing people. We get new information all the time.

Fifty years ago, everyone was told to never eat butter, that margarine was much healthier for you. Now we know that that is absolutely not true. That same concept holds true with many different foods and in many different arenas. Now realizing that (grass-fed) meat, even red meat, is pretty healthy for you, and that all those oils we’ve been taught to use instead of using lard (canola, corn, etc.) are actually the culprits in cholesterol rather than the meat. How many years of that conventional wisdom did we believe, yet heart disease kept increasing and increasing. They’ll find out that Monsanto’s ideas are dangerous, too; hopefully not after it’s too late. But I digress.

The medical community touts clinical trials over what they refer to as “anecdotal evidence.” It doesn’t matter that 3000 people can attest to having the exact same results from a certain herb or food or methodology; they will adhere to their clinical trial of 50 people instead.

Which would YOU go for?

I’m reminded of an article I read once while living in Tucson, Arizona. The University of Arizona was seeking the best way to transplant saguaro cacti and keep them alive because so many of the ones being transplanted by the city/county government were dying after transplant.

A man came forward, a landscaper, who had been successfully transplanting living saguaros and keeping them alive for more than 30 years. U of A’s response? His information was anecdotal, so they would conduct a ten-year study, requiring several hundred thousand dollars, of course, to find the right method. Sooooooo, what about all the saguaros that need transplanting during those 10 years? Thanks, I’ll take the word of the landscaper any day.

Doctor and Nutritionist Advice, or the Lack Thereof

I’m skeptical of people who have never struggled with weight telling me how to lose mine. Over the years, I’ve had thin doctors and overweight-to-seriously obese doctors. The obese doctors, of course, never mentioned my weight. The thin doctors treated me as though I was some kind of a moron because I couldn’t lose weight. Guess what? Neither method was helpful, nor am I sure which method was more damaging.

I remember exultantly telling my nutritionist (going to see the nutritionist was requisite to keep receiving care) after I had done a juice fast (years ago) that I had lost 10 pounds and how much better I felt both physically and psychologically. Her only response was, “That was a pretty stupid thing for a pre-diabetic to do.”

Figure Out What Works for You

Here’s the bottom line: If you know anything about nutrition at all, if you are willing to research, and stay in tune with your body, you can conduct experiments to see what does and does not work for you. All I can say is that intermittent fasting certainly works for me, no matter what I eat, as long as I stay off sugar and don’t overdo the carbs. Figure out what works for YOU!

Next month we’ll see what adding the HIIT does to that equation.



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