Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

It's A Body Not A Disposal

In-Shape Health Club, Napa, California, USA

December 26, 2019

This essay, It's A Body Not A Disposal, is the companion piece to
  1. Maybe It's Not Even My  Body
  2. Detective In My Own Body
  3. Chasing Wellness / Being Wellness
in that order.

I am indebted to Joan "Joani" Culver and to Anita Lynn Erhard who inspired this conversation, and to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who contributed material.

Photography by Joshua Nelson Platt

Napa, California, USA

7:05:27pm PST Christmas Day
Tuesday December 25, 2019
Laurence Platt
It's sage dietary advice, the recommendation to eat lots of fruit and green leafy vegetables for example. Health conscious people tout the value of being vegetarian, fruitarian, pescatarian, and vegan. That's all good - it's all excellent, in fact. But wait! It's very broad advice, and may not be specific or rigorous enough - indeed, it may even be counterproductive. For example: if unbeknownst to you, your blood is already too high in sugar, eating fruit may make things worse, not better.

Recommending eating lots of fruit and green leafy vegetables without being specific and rigorous, is like recommending putting lots of fluids in your car's engine without being specific and rigorous. Yes of course it's a good idea to put fluids in your car's engine. But which  fluids? is the first question. Gas, water, brake fluid, window washer fluid, and radiator fluid are all good. Yet milk, liquid mercury, and grape juice won't work for your car's engine although all three are fluids.

It's more than that actually. It's there's now the second question, which is "Which fluids go where? ... and  ... in what quantity?". Putting gas in the window washer reservoir is not good. Pouring brake fluid in the gas tank does no good either. It's very specific. If you don't know which fluids to introduce, or which ones go where, or in what quantity, you have to educate yourself and find out. I'm sorry, but "Put fluids in your car's engine" is just not rigorous enough. Likewise, it could be that "Eat lots of fruit and green leafy vegetables" may not be rigorous enough either.

Then there's the matter of some cars requiring different fluids than others - higher octane gas, for example. Blindly following the requirement to gas up your car without paying attention to its required octane rating, can lead to expensive problems. How do you find out exactly what you should be eating so that it's exactly right for your  body? What follows shares what I've discovered for myself, having researched the question at length. It's one of my authentically original theses, one which didn't come from reading the plethora of food gurus out there - although I tip my hat to all of them.

Being health conscious for decades, I've paid close attention to what I eat. To be sure, the results have been good, yet not at the level I would have liked them to be. It was time for another approach. The question "How can I tell what's right for my  body, or not?" loomed large. At first, all I saw was pea soup  (no pun intended).

I began wondering: if I'm truly eating right, will the preferred constituents be present in my blood? And if my diet was (with all good intentions) lacking in something, will the preferred constituents be missing from my blood? On a whim, I asked my doctor if there were indeed blood tests which could determine if I was eating right or not, based on my blood constituents. She confirmed there were, and recommended a series of twelve different tests with this in mind.

One blood draw, twelve tests? Needle-shy me was immediately interested. As the date for my blood draw drew near, I researched further on the internet, and spoke more with my doctor and health and nutrition coaches about what I was looking into. By the time the blood draw date arrived, I had added requests for another thirteen different, very specific tests. There were now twenty five detailed, very rigorous blood constituent tests in total.

The results came in, each showing my score, as well as their optimal desired score. In fifteen of the twenty five tests, my score was already in the optimal range. It was the other ten that got my attention. I began inquiring into what each of those tests indicated, what they showed was lacking in my diet and in some cases, what was excessive  in my diet. I looked up more detailed information on the internet. I spoke more with my doctor. I called and had more conversations with my health and nutrition coaches. I made specific  adjustments to my diet - for example, I added not just another green leafy vegetable, but specifically cilantro. I added not just garlic but garlic powder. I removed  avocado (hard for a California guy) and chocolate (even harder).

I'm no longer able to state categorically which test result prompted which change in my diet, nor what it boded. I just don't remember. Once I was enrolled in making the changes, I no longer tracked the reason(s) why  I made the changes in the first place. I added (and removed) ingredients from my diet very specifically, very rigorously based on my research following the blood tests, then left it at that. Oh, and I started drinking more water daily than I've ever done in my entire life.

I repeated those same twenty five blood tests six months later, then again six months after that. After the third series of tests, each of my scores for the twenty five blood constituent tests were in the "perfect" range. That's  the evidence ie the proof, the measure I wanted. Those were the scientific indicators I was looking for. This made something available for my body and me that's way more specific than "Eat lots of fruit and green leafy vegetables", something way more rigorous than that.

Indeed your body does function analogously to a highly technical, sophisticated automobile. It's not a disposal which will process anything you put in it. There are consequences (sometimes severe, often expensive) if even with the best intentions, you don't give it what it needs. Gourmet cooking, "comfort" food, and tasty meals may not always correlate with what's best for your body (I'm sorry but it's true). Continuing the car analogy, your car needs plenty of fluids, yes. But they must be the right fluids, and they have to be given in the right quantities to the right components. And for each of our cars / bodies, the octane rating of its fuel may be different.

It took some research, effort, and experimenting on my part to discover what's best for my particular body. But in the end it's been worth it. It's paying off in spades.

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