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We're all Different... Really?
By Don Bennett, DAS

It's hard to read health oriented literature without seeing something that suggests that since we're all different, we require different diets. People who readily embrace this notion that we need different diets because "we're all different" very often believe this because, well, quite simply, they want to believe it, for it allows them to eat the foods they want to eat, as opposed to the foods they should be eating (health-enhancing foods). I know this may sound harsh, but in my almost 50 years of health research and almost 20 years in private practice this is what I've observed.

An ad for the Nifty Fat Blaster Program. They say that there are many different body types (even more than the currently accepted three!) and you must eat according to your body type to lose weight, but it must be a low carb, high protein diet. Another example of a program designed to make money by appealing to people's desire to be slim. The only truth to the ad is that we do have different nutritional needs but only because some people are deficient in nutrients that other people aren't... we all have the same basic nutritional requirements.

In truth, the inside of our bodies are more alike than different. Speaking before a group of folks, I mentioned this physiological fact. I said, "Everyone in this room has a liver, and all of your livers function the exact same way." With that, someone called out, "You're wrong; people's livers work differently!" My response was simply, "If you looked up the word liver in a medical dictionary, you'd find only one definition of its function; there isn't a definition for Bob's liver and one for Sally's, or one definition for the livers of people with Type O blood and one for people with Type A, or one for people with fast metabolisms and one for slow metabolisms. All livers function the same way; what differs from person to person is the degree of functionality." So, all organs work the same way regardless of which human being they're in. Therefore they all have the same requirements; they all need vitamin C, iodine, magnesium, etc, and they all need the same amount: enough. They all need enough vitamin C, enough iodine, enough rest, enough D+, enough Omega 3 fatty acids, etc. The amounts needed will differ from person to person depending on the relative state of health of the organ, the person's environment, genetics, and their lifestyle practices, but they all need the same nutrients, and enough of them.

Since our bodies need the same nutrition, our bodies need the same diet. The idea that blood type, metabolic type, eye color, or Zodiac sign determines one's diet is false. The article, The Blood Type Diet: Fact or Fiction? at Health101.org does an excellent job of debunking the blood type diet. But with so much blood type diet books and merchandise around, it's difficult for some people to believe that it could be a bunch of nonsense. There are over a dozen books that tout the merits of drinking your own urine, and the practice is hyped at fancy salons in upscale neighborhoods, and has followers around the world… but regardless of how many seemingly intelligent people do it, all things considered, it's an unhealthy thing to do. (Excellent articles dealing with diet can also be found on the Health101.org website.)


A word about metabolism

There are a lot of diet products and programs that claim to "boost" metabolism. And it's true that if your metabolism is slower than it should/could be, you'll hang on to fat-weight more readily. So if your metabolism is indeed slower than it should be, you'll probably be overweight to some degree. Most diet products and programs use both fact and fiction to sell you on using them, and the metabolism angle is a perfect example.

So which way do you think is better for your body to regain a normal metabolic rate... using unnatural methods like "fat burning" supplements? Or living in a way that allows you to have a normal metabolism and a normal weight? FACT: If your iodine level is low or you're not appropriately active, and you're not one of those people who are always thin regardless of what they eat, you will not have a normal metabolism, and you will not be as slim as you could be. So is it healthier to normalize your iodine level and be appropriately active rather than take "fat buster" pills and eat in a way that you lose weight and your health? It may be easier to pop diet pills and eat what you'd rather eat, but it's very disrespectful to your body, and we all know what happens when you disrespect your body.


How did we get so far away from Nature? How did so many unhealthy things become part of our everyday lives? How did tons of practices that are not natural become the norm? Free will and greed, that's how. Humans are the only animal capable of consciously doing things that are not in our best interest. We are the only life form that can knowingly and willingly do things that injure our insides. We're the only ones who can choose to believe in things that – in reality – are untrue, and we are the only ones who can choose to disbelieve that which is true. And what makes matters worse, we are the only species that has taken the practice of preying on others of our own species (for the sake of profit) and turned this into an art form. We are very programmable, and this natural human trait has been taken advantage of by those who care more about their popularity or financial gain than they do about other's well-being; they participate in the "profits before people" business model (and it doesn't help that because of generations of unhealthy living, their brains have developed poorly to the point of them not being able to have empathy, compassion, or the ability to care about others – sociopathic personality traits – and that's what allows them to take advantage of others, for the sake of profit, often at the expense of people's health).


A word about individuality

I wrote this article as a counterpoint to what's being said by all those who insist that we are all individuals and therefore we have individual dietary requirements, and then go on to explain how some of us can eat a fruit-based diet and do well, and others can't because they need a diet that contains some cooked foods or animal products or high fat or grains or soy or chocolate. There is a case to be made for individuality when it comes to diet, but it's not the above. It's been said that the devil lies in the details, and nowhere is this more true than with diet. Here is a partial list of factors that contribute to our individual needs.

Genetics – The lifestyle practices of those you inherited your genes from will affect how easily you can transition to the diet we're all designed to eat. If your parents and their parents and their parents were eating a fruit-based diet, you eating the same diet will be as easy as falling off a log. If however the last three or four generations were eating an animal/grain based diet, it will be harder for you to adopt a fruit-based diet, but not impossible as some folks would have you believe; it could just take longer than someone whose parents and grandparents were vegans. And if you have more Neanderthal DNA than someone else, yes, you may have a more "sparing" metabolism than someone with no Neanderthal DNA, but this doesn't mean that you're designed to eat meat just because Neanderthals ate meat. They ate it to survive. And we haven't adapted to eating meat as some people claim because we still have the same digestive anatomy of our original fruit eating ancestors. Also, your genetics will have a lot to do with how much you'll benefit from healthful living. But just because someone with better genetics will be able to get more out of healthy living than you will, is not a reason for you to stick with how you've been living... this is not a contest. Being the healthiest your DNA will allow you to be is still a great goal!

Your present state of health and your age – Your lifestyle practices up until this point have a lot to do with how fast you can adapt to a healthy way of living and eating. It's been theorized that for every four years of unhealthy living it can take one year of healthy living to undo the damage done. Some of you are doing the math in your head and are not happy with the result, but when you think about it, the more healing, rebalancing, and normalizing there is to do, the sooner you get started, and the more importance you place on your learning and health-creation journeys, the better.

Your foods' nutritional quality – I don't have to say much here, because it's obvious that if Person A is eating high quality fruit, and Person B isn't, these individuals will have very different outcomes. If the soil is deficient in a nutrient, so will the food grown in it, and so will those people eating it. It's not rocket science. Yet there are some laypeople and even educators who insist "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition." But this is untrue, and that's not my opinion; empirical evidence and much research makes it a fact. But it's a fact that some "purists" and some indoctrinated students of educators who teach this false notion steadfastly believe. But belief and reality can be two different things... and often are.

Identical twins following different programs/advice – No talk on individuality would be complete without addressing the information side of the equation. Studies done on identical twins (which take genetics out of the picture) clearly show that a plant-based diet yields better health. No surprise there. So what about two people who are exactly the same who follow different advice. Their outcomes are likely to be different if the advice differs in meaningful ways. For example, if one person believes he can get all the nutrients his body requires from the food he eats as long as he doesn't cook his food and as long as he eats enough food, and therefore he believes he does not have to take nutritional supplements, and the other person realizes that because of the nutritionally sub-par quality of the foods he's eating that come from the agri-based food industry who do not grow their foods for nutritional quality he would need to supplement his diet with nutritional adjuncts to get enough of all the nutrients his body requires for optimal health, these two people will likely experience very different health outcomes. Same goes for caloric requirements. The difference between caloric advice that takes into account one's ideal weight, frame size, activity level, and digestive efficiency, and caloric advice that says one size fits all for men and one size fits all for women, will result in very different outcomes.

Environmental factors – If those two identical twins lived in very different environments regarding things like pollution and stress, again, there will be different health outcomes.


“We're more alike my friends, than we are unalike.”

I spoke above about being more the same than different on the inside; but even on the outside we're more alike than different. Think about it. Unless we were born with a birth defect, we all have two hands on two arms each with five fingers, one being an opposable thumb, a nose with two nostrils, two legs with knees, ears with stereo hearing, color stereoscopic eyesight, bipedal locomotion via two feet each with five toes, we've got two hips, two nipples, a navel, skin (different shades of the same color), and our height is within a very narrow range – at least it used to be before we began consuming hormones (from milk and animal flesh). So you see, we're more alike than different on the outside too. Sure, there are different eye colors, hair colors, and skin tones, and some belly-buttons are "inies" and some are "outies", but so what! These differences are tiny compared to the similarities, right? Yet, there were times in our history when some people made a big deal if someone's hair or eye color was different, and just as ridiculous, if someone's skin tone was a different shade from someone else's. Have we progressed/matured much as a species? Well, there are still people today who hurt other people because they are a little different on the outside. But what's worse, there are a lot more people who do things that end up hurting all people's insides, and profit from it financially, and this is what accounts for the epidemic of degenerative disease we have in this world today.

What dictates what we're designed to eat is not our blood type anymore than it is our hair color; it is the form and function of our digestive system; a system that is basically the same in all human beings. Yes, some digestive systems function better than others, but they are all designed to process food the exact same way, and they all require the same nutrition; just like every other animal species we too have a species specific diet.

So why all the dietary confusion? A combination of profit motive which pushes our buttons, and the fact that humans are very programmable (i.e. conditionable, brainwashable). So how do you separate fact from fiction (assuming you care about being the healthiest you are capable of being)? Start thinking outside-the-box. Take Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Dr. Atkins and the low-carb industry, the diet pill pushers, the barbaric bariatric surgeons, the processed food manufacturers, the "alternative healers" and all the diet experts who aren't, and put them in a box, and put the box away in your closet for a few minutes. Let's explore a way of thinking that squares with Nature, and thus is in your best interest, health-wise.

How about a way of approaching lifestyle choices that combines the use of observation, science, innate intelligence, logic, rational and well-reasoned thinking, and empirical evidence, and let's use all these tools together to effectively and wisely live in balance with Nature and make your lives more pleasant, and your bodies less burdened. This way of living would surely give you the best chance of avoiding disease, unnecessary suffering, and premature death.

Sounds like this philosophy should be taught in high school, but it isn't because it would call into question many of today's societal norms – alcohol consumption, eating dead animals and other things we aren't designed to eat, medicinal drug use, and the inapparent destructive habits that are imprinted upon your subconscious every day by the profit-motivated media. If enough people became aware of these things, it would severely injure our economy even more than it was injured in 2008 (from the revenue loss of those industries that directly and indirectly profit from your ill-health, like the ill-health management system we have in the U.S. as opposed to other country's real health-care systems). So you're not about to find truthful health information in our schools or on your TV (and the Internet has both, correct and incorrect information, so vet this info as a researcher and not as a student).

There are many outside-the-box articles on the Health101.org website. If you are looking to be enlightened, they will surely enlighten you. If you are looking to be empowered, they will certainly empower you. They will help you be the person you truly want to be, and not the person the profit-seeking industries and your family and friends want you to be.

You can now take that box back out of the closet… those in it can't wait to tell you that everything I've just said is ridiculous, and that you'd be foolish to pay any attention to it.



A way of approaching lifestyle choices

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