Nutrition: How We Became So Confused

Nutrition: How We Became So Confused by Carly Pollack | #AspireMag

Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t know of any subject more contradictory than nutrition: “Beans can’t be digested and therefore are inflammatory; don’t touch them.” “No, no, no. It’s meat that causes cancer, and it rots in your stomach, go vegan!” “Beans and meat are fine; it’s fat that you have to watch out for. I have studies to prove it!” 

A few years back, I worked with a special client. She walked into my office and plopped down in front of me, visibly exhausted. Her skin had a grayish hue and was covered in acne. Her hair was falling out. She was about twenty-five pounds overweight, and she looked very sick. As I was listening to her and noticing her body’s sign language (dull eyes, weak nails, coated tongue, inflamed skin), one of her tattoos caught my eye. On the side of her left arm, she had a tattoo that said “vegan.” 

“Oh, no,” I thought to myself. “If I decide that this woman needs animal protein to heal her body, I’m going to have a hell of a time convincing someone who is so committed to her way of eating that she got it tattooed on her body!” You have to be careful when the way you eat becomes part of your identity. It may start as a noble and moral act, but before you know it, your mind gives it the power to define you as a person. As strong as this identity may be, with enough pain in your life, you will be willing to change anything to feel better. This woman was so depleted and miserable, she was willing to open her mind in order to let me help her heal.  

When it comes to body imbalance, barring the extreme exception, healing occurs when you do the opposite of whatever you were doing to get you to the imbalance in the first place. I started her healing protocol by slowly introducing bone broth, with small servings of eggs and fish. Eventually, she started eating all kinds of animal protein, and within six weeks her hair started growing back, her energy restored itself, and she started losing weight. Years later, I ran into her at the grocery store, and she looked amazing. She joked with me that I should help her pay for her tattoo removal. Being the budget-savvy woman that I am, I told her we could save money simply by adding to it, making it “veganish.” 

I don’t share this story to make vegan diets look bad. In fact, I’m positive that vegan diets have saved thousands of lives. I share it with the intention of conveying the ultimate truth about diets: different diet protocols work for different people. One diet doesn’t work for anyone all the time. Your life changes, your body changes, and your food requirements change as well. The key is to learn how to listen to your body’s communication so you can give it what it needs. 

Whenever you encounter a topic around which there are two strong and opposing viewpoints, it is safe to automatically assume that both theories are simultaneously right and wrong. In the case of nutrition and nourishing your unique body, one size cannot possibly fit all. Someone becomes vegan, and it works wonders for her health. Then she thinks, “If it worked for me, it must work for everyone!” and she writes a book. It works for quite a few people, and then they create momentum, a following. 

Simultaneously, another person tries cutting out grains and beans, calls it the paleo diet, and proclaims it to be the be-all and end-all of healthy eating. Because both these people are stuck in needing to be right, they search for all the studies that support their viewpoints. Repeat this cycle with absolutely every fad diet out there, and this is how we wind up in the health section of our local bookstore, completely overwhelmed and confused as to which dogma we should follow and why the heck there are so many out there in the first place. 

I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly what you should eat at every meal, and neither should any other expert who doesn’t know you personally. What I will share with you will allow you to pinpoint what you should be eating 95 percent of the time. The other 5 percent only your body can tell you. Tweaking your nutrition will come down to learning the signals of your body. I am truly teaching you how to become your own nutritionist and to transcend the diet dogma once and for all. 

Excerpted from the book Feed Your Soul. Copyright ©2019 by Carly Pollack. Printed with permission from New World Library — 

Carly Pollack About Carly Pollack

Carly Pollack is the author of Feed Your Soul and is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas. A Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running. Visit her online at