So I’m starting a blog. I’m putting myself, and my writing, out there on the internet for everyone. I’d say it was an epiphany, but it was actually an idea I’ve had bouncing around in my head for years due to my frustration with misinformation, unsupported claims, and undeserved authority springing from many health and nutrition websites. I don’t have all answers but I am confident that I have the tools and desire to learn and, probably most importantly, no particular agenda except that which is supported by evidence.
I committed to this blog idea about 6 months ago, but I didn’t want to jump into my favorite topics and half-ass it. I wanted to read, study, amass a bibliography, collect topic ideas, discuss the idea with friends, and really mentally map out what I wanted it to be. I got a library card, contacted some experts (a few of whom even got back to me!), and sought out papers and documentaries. It was a humbling experience; remember how I mentioned my frustration with misinformation, etc.? There’s also a lot of really good information available in many different subfields. I wish I had more time to devote to studying all of it.
Writing is a passion of mine, so it was almost inevitable I’d do something like this eventually. That eventuality has arrived, and it’s going to be a big challenge for me personally to make frequent updates and make it engaging. But I’m ready.
Who am I?
I’m a graduate student completing my Ph.D not in nutrition or dietetics, but in chemistry. My research focuses on the discovery of ligands against proteins that are more active in disease states, especially cancer. But being around science has spurred my own curiosity into mechanisms of nutrition, and specifically, why such chronic diseases as cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes are so increasingly prevalent. There appears to be a link to dietary risk factors in the development and progression of each of the aforementioned, and I want to learn more and share what I find out.
I’m also nobody spectacular. I’m not a professional athlete, I’m not a genius, I occasionally eat fast food or indulgent desserts. I don’t plan to ascribe to some ascetic diet plan anytime soon, though I am putting into practice a lot of what I read and learn. And I have some anxiety about starting this project. But it’s important to me, I really enjoy learning about diet & health, and I hope that shines through in what I have to say.
Who is this blog for?
I want to write for a broad audience. Are you, like me, a scientifically-inclined person who is frustrated that nutrition can seem so ambiguous and subjective? I’ll endeavor to provide citations to the primary literature and experts. Are you someone who is seeking dietary advice with solid underlying support? I have lots of opinions on diet – what’s good, what’s bad, what’s unfairly maligned. Are you a total layperson with some interests in the food you eat? Well I think that describes most of us, so I’ll focus on making my writing accessible.
What topics are you interested in? I’ve been assembling a list to cover and it includes everything from macronutrients to micronutrients, food contaminants, processed vs. whole foods, sourcing, recipes, book & film recommendations, fast food, chronic disease, branded diets, food labeling, food additives, microbiome, supplements…that’s a smattering of things that are on my research list, and I’m sure there will be more.
There’s an underlying evolutionary design to the mechanical, chemical, and microbial processes we use to break down and absorb nutrients from our food. Those processes compose the gut, and our diet plays a fundamental role in not just our gastrointestinal health, but our overall health. We live at a time of great innovation in science, technology, and globalization, each of which influences our diet. Evolution hasn’t had time to catch up with these modern phenomena, but if we can leverage those innovations to understand what fundamental biological changes we’re making, we can decipher the good from the bad influences and be healthier for longer.
Also, have you ever tried searching for a good domain name? It’s 2017, anything really clever has been parked on or is already in use! Maybe that’s why all apps and startups have stupid nonsensical names. But I digress.
So welcome, and I really appreciate you checking out GutDecipher. There’s a lot of stuff to read out there on the internet, and I’ll do my best to make this worth your while. I’m not opposed to trying out other formats in the future: video or podcasting, specifically. But writing is what I like, and I want to try that out first. Bookmark the site and check for weekly posts on a wide range of topics. Cheers.