It may encourage you to know that I do have critics. They don't typically show their faces on my blog itself (and I haven't moderated any comments away except some insane unrelated treatise on vaccines and when one single commenter was being a bit too enthusiastic about curcumin to the tune of 10 comments at a time, and all the viagra and birds nest soup spam ("Katherine Woo" and "alan," I'm looking at you)), but they do exist.
An early one had a review of my blog, here - his main critique is that paleolithic human's health is debatable. Certainly their mental health is, but bones are bones, and metastasis and iron deficiency and whatnot are there for the discovering. This critique falls into the general one that evolution isn't a good paradigm on which to base a lifelong health prescription. To which I say - you haven't studied enough anthropology or evolution. And I still contend that it is a very reasonable assumption that wild-type humans did not struggle with anxiety and depression and other major mental illness to the tune of 26% of the population per year.
Another critique is more generic and one I see on tweets on reddit (where the really cool people tweet rather indifferently) - that I am not proscriptive enough. "That post was I guess kind of interesting but she didn't really say what to do." Well, I've trained as a therapist, after all. Any therapist who tells you exactly what to do is a fool. If you follow my advice to the letter, you don't give yourself enough credit. If you do the opposite in defiance, you don't give yourself enough credit. Either way you don't learn a damn thing. (Little hint to newly minted therapists out there - never ever ever tell someone explicitly not to have an affair.) I'm interested in putting out the information. It's your life, your body, your mind. Do whatever you want.
Predictably, the other common critique is that I overreach (that I am perhaps too proscriptive). An example is this doctor/farmer's tweet - and that is the critique that I am perhaps most sensitive to. The wisdom of alternative medicine has been undone by overreaching in the past. I have no interest in repeating the meme of ridiculous alternative assertion and self-righteous conventional medicine refutation. I hope I am careful not to overstate my case (as I was careful in the Wheat and Schizophrenia post the good doctor objected to). Most of what I am interested in has not been properly studied. But, of course, it ought to be :)
There have been other random and downright bizarre critiques along the way, but, for the most part, the internet reception has been quite positive. Now that I have moved more mainstream with Psychology Today, I have encountered a bit of anti-psychiatry critique in general, and to be honest I'm not too interested in spending the time refuting it, but I guess I will do my best until it gets too boring. The major issue I have is when someone assumes I know nothing about mental illness or the natural history of mental illness just because I also have experience with and utilize the medications in treating mental illness. Yes, I know there are horrific side effects. Yes, I know there is controversy. There are even hopeful and Pollyanna ideas that psychosis is more appreciated and accepted in traditional cultures and that our modern ideas and lifestyle have falsely defined and pathologized psychosis. Well, one of my professors in residency spent a lot of time in remote areas of Africa, and what he found was that the rare-ish person in a hunter gatherer population who is psychotic is either able to keep it together enough to be a bit of a shaman, or he or she is tied to a tree for most of his or her life.
I wish the Pollyanna version was true. But I live in the real world, as do all of you.
Here is one of my favorite pieces of classical music (right click to open in new tab). I'm positive I've linked it before, but there are a lot of new readers now, and it is apropos. La Befana is harsh, and obnoxious, and wonderful, and fast, and celebrates life and humanity. It is messy and offensive, but everything resolves into beauty at 3:06. Hold out until 3:06. In the last part of La Befana is encoded the secret of life and the universe, I promise. La Befana is science, and surety, and slaughter. Blood and celebration. Roman orgies. Sacrifice, and spring, and life. Fires at sunset, and a smoky hung-over dawn.
Paleo 2.0 is a go. (Well, I do take a little exception and think that early human migration patterns suggest that we did, indeed, eat an awful lot of marine animals for many many generations). But, yeah, for the most part I am a Kurt Harris acolyte - all the more so because he would be uncomfortable with that term. He is the lean paleo (as in archaic) wordsmith machine. It's all right to admire. We need a few touchstones in this post-modern industrial wasteland of human health advice. What I don't need is some other self-important jerk with a pot belly and bedazzled glasses telling me to eat boneless skinless chicken breast and quinoa.
By all means, make it simple. What is good for the body is good for the brain. The neolithic agents of disease are wheat, excess fructose, and excess linoleic acid. What goes without saying is the nonfood. Don't eat it. Oh, and be sensible otherwise. For the most part, eat when hungry, and don't when you aren't. Fast every once in a while to enjoy the full human experience of hunger and repletion (not to mention ketosis and autophagy). Be strong. Run around the yard and swim in the ocean and sprint up the street and hike up the hill.
What is in store for us? Inflation? Peak oil? Epidemics? Natural disaster? Technology and brilliance and flourishing human populations? Irregardless you will be flexible and physically and mentally healthy, as much as is practical and possible.
Or at least I hope that is so. For me. For my children.