Saturday, February 06, 2010

Life Imitating Art

Buzz: Right now, poised at the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg has been secretly building a weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet! I alone have information that reveals this
weapon’s only weakness. And you, my friend, are responsible for delaying my rendezvous with Star Command!
Woody: [pauses and looks incredulous] YOU! ARE! A! TOYYYYY! You’re not the real Buzz Lightyear! You’re - you are an action figure!
[holds hand up to eyes indicating something small]
Woody: You are a child’s play-thing!
Buzz: You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.
[starts to walk away]
Woody: Oh, yeah? Well, good riddance, ya loony!

I must confess to feeling some affinity these days with Woody, the cowboy character from "Toy Story" - these last few days as I've had the misfortune to navigate towards some really disturbing purported "health and fitness" sites . Poor old Woody finally loses the plot after trying to point out to Buzz Lightyear that he's a toy, not a real "Space Ranger" - and trust me, there are a few "health" conscious" Space Rangers out there who truly are off the planet in my opinion.

Take Pauline Nordin's FighterDiet Blog for example - the last two posts are a classic. In the latest one she extolls the evils of fruit, dairy and red meat; all of which can be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy intake. It's frustrating as a someone with university qualifications see somebody who blatantly lacks any credentials in the field of nutrition glorifying a lifestyle of disordered eating. In the second last post she complains that it's hard but that achieving this goal of leanness is of the highest importance to her. It's like the Pro-Ana movement with muscle - if Pauline is eating what she says she is and not paying attention to her nutrient timing at her supposed level of leanness, what's making her retain her muscle, my dear readers....any guesses?

Then I stumbled across a site called Helen Frost , who claims to be "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator."
"Wow," I thought, "this sounds awesome." In being curious to find out what makes Helen so special, I clicked on the "about us" tab, keen to know more. I was to be sorely disappointed. "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator" has no formal qualifications in nutrition - I would have expected a Science Degree at the minimum - and surprise, surprise, owns a supplement company that promotes "Juice Plus", a product that sounds good in theory but unfortunately is under the microscope right now for making spurious claims about its efficacy and benefits - here's the link .

Now I'm sure I'm not going to be too popular with the Pauline or Helen fans of the world, but just as my mission is to make fitness for everyone, I want to make it my other mission in life to help others make sense of credible nutrition data. I'm thinking of compiling a database of recommended sources for all things health and fitness so if you're a practitioner with a qualification who wants referrals, let me know and if you're keen on the idea of a one stop place to get more unbiased information then please leave a comment.


ss2306 said...

I read Pauline's posts myself earlier today just to see what I was missing out on. The girl's a fucking cracker. What a life. Gee, wish it was mine - NOT!

The way the world has gone with nutrition is ridiculous. It's just food for fuck sake! And everything in moderation is perfectly normal, fine and dandy.

Give us all you got babe.

Good on you for blowin' the cover. Yeehah.

LizN said...

Thanks honey. I'll now tell you the answer...the secret to Pauline's muscle retention ability is Juice Plus! Can't believe no one has guessed the right answer yet :)

Anonymous said...

Liz, a data base would be great. It is hard to know what to believe.

LizN said...

Hi Kate,
Your wish is my command. I'm sick of all of those shit spinners out there out for a fast buck. It's my idealistic PMSing nature taking over.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Liz!! Coming from a biomedical science background, I find it increasingly frustrating reading certain people spewing their opinions about nutrition (and they are entitled to their opinions) as if they are scientific facts. That's the problem. If they can back up their claims with properly performed experiments (double-blind, age matched, sex-matched, placebo controls,adequate sample number to account for the genetic variability) and statistics more involved than the student T test,as well as stating their source of funding so there's no conflict of interest, I'd be more inclined to give them the time of day. It's interesting that OJ Simpson was once a spokesperson for Juice Plus, although I'm sure he's not mentioned in their success stories.
As for Pauline, you can at least give her credit for stating that keeping a shredded physique is not easy or natural, and you have to fight against your body to keep it in that state. If that floats her boat, good luck to her and everyone else that wants that kind of lifestyle. I prefer to take nutritional tips from someone like Rosemary Stanton, keep active because it's good for my health and i believe my body is a better physiologist than I am and if I take care of it now, it will hopefully serve me well in my old age.
Your recent posts have been fantastic and it's great to have someone with knowledge, humanity and compassion in the blogosphere!
Marina xo

KatieP said...

Name and shame baby!
We need more people to tell it like it is and call out the bullshit.
You go girl!!

LizN said...

Hi Marina,
Thank you so much for your comments which, as a physiologist, really mirrors how I feel. Surely that we spend all this time at Uni counts for something, eh :) Please feel free to comment anytime - we need more people like you standing up to be counted!

Katie, love you girlfriend!

Warmly, Liz N

Kerry W said...

Ha! I haven't read Pauline's last two posts Liz, and as a fan of Pauline, I was wondering on how to receive your post (for about 2 secs and then had a chuckle). Now I'll have to go back and read them.

Luckily, I haven't taken offence. :P By now, I've read enough stuff to know what basically works and what's on the nose. Like anything, you have to read and make a judgement or two. You can't take everything at face value and you have to investigate. I had a look at Pauline's fighter diet and realised it was unsustainable (over time) and unrealistic for the average joe (me), hence not deciding to go with it. Yes, a few holes were discovered. She was also lacking in detail. And again, like everything I've read about diets, plans, etc, each have their own value and merit. It's about taking from it what works and discarding the rest.

But ya know...I'm still a Pauline fan, because everyone has their follies, and I think it's important to remember what it is you see (the positive) in those you aspire to. For me, Pauline is about being 120% committed and even though she may be extreme, I like the fact that she settles for nothing less than her goals. And I like the fact she's a bit of a freak and has the most awesome physique I've ever seen (so far)! :P

I do love the fact that you're willing to share your opinions Liz, regardless of how they might be received by others. And the fact that you know your shit shows how much you really care.

Kerry :)

LizN said...

Hi Kerry,

You're right - I can't fault Pauline for dedication to her "craft" even if I don't agree with the way she goes about it.

I know I'm in a bit of a shit stirring mood lately, but you're right -it's because I DO care and if any of my ranting helps someone or makes them evaluate things more critically then bingo!

Think you're a legend Kerry and proud to call you a friend.


Cherub said...

A "One Stop Shop" that can be trusted - fantastic idea.

Looking forward to it.

I find it annoying when people try to find 'new' ways of saying the same nonsense just to keep up their blogging stats. Quality people not Quantity.

Esme said...

Great post Liz, agree totally. A database would be fantastic. Erika

LizN said...

Hi Erika and Claire,
Yeah, I'm on to it. Name and shame, but also share the good stuff :)


Frankie said...

Hey Liz.

I actually attended a seminar by Helen Frost last week. I did enjoy it and it did make me think a lot about what I have put into my body and mostly what I have put into my kids bodies over their short lives.

She does use shock tactics though and I did go home with a HUGE case of the guilts that I wasn't feeding my kids JUST all live food.

However after the weekend I gained my composure, put my sensible cap back on and decided, as Shelley said, everything in moderation. Will make a few changes though to try and get some excess sugar out of their diets and such.

I must admit though that I was disappointed at the end to find the the whole thing may just have been an ad for Juice Plus and some local Spring water. Knowing it was an 'ad' of sorts really negated, in my mind, a lot of the good information she was giving out.

I know a lot of people who take and recommend Juice Plus, and that's their decision but on principal I do not and never will buy from a pyramid selling scheme.