Today’s post is taking a little detour from the usual nutrition babble. I’d like to take some time today to take you behind the scenes of lettucetalk, to help you get to know me (Casey), and to explain a bit about why I write the way I do. This post is long, so don’t fall asleep. I think it’ll be worth the read though, so buckle up.
Passionate doesn’t adequately describe my feelings toward nutrition and helping people improve eating habits. Many of you know that lettucetalk is not my “main gig.” In my regular practice, I have a huge following of loyal patients who have achieved major success in health improvements as a result of my guidance and their hard work. My focus with all those whom I counsel is building trust, rapport, and using motivational interviewing mixed with professional advice to empower these individuals to take charge of their lives. I am not mean to these patients, nor am I condescending. I let their circumstances guide the direction of my intervention strategies. And it works.
The intent of lettucetalk is more than me just spewing out snarky nutrition advice. I will let you in on a little secret – lettucetalk is like a therapy for me. Some of you exercise to burn off stress (good on you!); some of you scream loudly or punch things. My release has been this blog. That is not a joke. I like to think I’m a loving and kind person; unfortunately, among many of my flaws, I’m a smart ass and I’m very easily annoyed. Hence, lettucetalk!
My expression here is my meager attempt to channel my discontent into something productive rather than punching people. I assume it is more socially acceptable to write than to punch. However, because humans are so incredibly defensive about eating habits, I think some people feel that my written word is a punch in the face.
It has recently been brought to my attention that my “credentials” (as the person annotated using quotation marks) do not make me “smarter than everyone.” Using the word “smart” implies a dichotomy between “smart” and “stupid.” This is not a binary situation. What we are talking about here are levels of expertise versus information from non-reputable sources. While I realize I am definitely not “smarter than everyone,” I will say that I have made my life’s work continuously striving to be the best I can be as a nutrition professional. I take my profession very seriously by diving into the actual literature on any hot topic in nutrition and by analyzing and interpreting the quantity, quality and methodology of any studies on whatever topic is in question. I unapologetically stand firm on the fact that although a Google search can be helpful to get some ideas, it does not properly provide individualized nutrition advice, especially in the setting of a complex past medical history.
I will also stand firm on the fact that I am well aware that I am not an expert in all subjects. I am able to reluctantly admit when I don’t know much about something. I don’t know much about houseplants; I know less about insects; and I’m really bad at building things. But nutrition? I can confidently say that I know more than most about it. I have dedicated my professional and personal life to being an expert in one field, nutrition. There are things I still don’t know about it, and I constantly learn more. General nutrition is a BROAD subject, so I will admit when I don’t know the latest on a particular issue; but then I will find out and discuss later with you.
If this is the first lettucetalk post you’ve ever read, welcome! If you’ve been reading for a while, you already know I take on a certain “tone.” This “tone” has been the target for some significant criticism. The problem is, that “tone” is a part of me. If I were to change how I write, that would imply changing a part of who I am. Some of the feedback I get about lettucetalk is positive, and that it really is a dose of point-blank advice that many people appreciate. Some of the feedback is that some are offended by the condescension they perceive.
Despite what I was just saying about the awesome clientele with whom I have the honor to work, I have a smaller percentage of individuals who are outright nasty to me when their shoddy nutritional habits are called into question. I literally hear bogus nutrition advice spewed out from unqualified individuals in a way that I would describe as an absolute, concrete declaration. I hear it in line for coffee; I hear it from well-intended non-nutrition healthcare providers; I hear it while sitting in just about any waiting room. I get that not everyone knows a lot about evidence-based nutrition. What I don’t get is how so many can make these absolute declarations and openly give advice with no expertise whatsoever.
The major point I’m getting to here, and in many of my posts, is that I reach a boiling point from hearing the nonsense circling all around me day after day. EVEN WORSE is when I am actually asked for my professional [evidence-based] opinion on a matter, give it, and I’m met with arguments from people. Sorry, science? I don’t even know what to say anymore. Sorry you’ve gotten outdated/wrong advice from all the non-nutrition experts lately?
Again, if you know me personally and/or if you’ve read my “About Me” page on this blog, and/or if you’ve read most of my posts, you will know that I have my own struggles. I used to be pretty fat and didn’t understand why. I remember sitting in one of my undergrad classes learning to calculate BMI (body mass index) and charting my own. I thought “no way! I’m not obese!” But I was mathematically. I get that being called out on your shortcomings sucks even when it is in your own mind let alone from someone else’s mouth. I was so deep in denial as well as so consistently overweight (I weighed in at the same weight, to the decimal, month after month…weird huh?!) that I thought that being at that [overweight] weight was my destiny. It wasn’t. I continued my studies and learned to apply the stuff I learned to ME. I had to get some slaps in the face myself to snap out of the denial. Some of the way I write is to give others a similar slap in the face to help them snap out of whatever their own denial is. Denial, when coupled with poor nutrition, will slowly destroy you from the inside out.
Speaking of a slap in the face of reality, I am becoming blatantly aware that I will never be able to please everyone. I will unintentionally offend people. Sorry. I will help more than I offend though, which makes my heart sing. I am me, and I cannot change that. I know some people will not like what they read from lettucetalk, probably out of their own insecurities and defensiveness. I am familiar with insecurities myself. I am most defensive about things I’m insecure about. I have enough difficulty dealing with my own insecurities; I know for a fact I cannot help you squelch yours. I cannot stop sharing my passion in the only way I know how (by being me) for fear of criticism because people are defensive.
Quote of the day: “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Aristotle
I will reinforce the fact that nobody can force you to follow lettucetalk. My distinct hope is that each and every follower reads my posts because he or she wants to. What I don’t want is people to follow just to criticize. If you are offended by my tone, then lettucetalk is not designed for you.
If you do like what you hear, enjoy a little snarky humor, and find lettucetalk educational, then you are the audience to whom this is all intended. Please comment, share with your friends, and keep on keepin’ on. I truly am grateful for my loyal fan base and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We are in this together. Life is hard. Sometimes the only motivation I have to eat healthy is that I know someone is watching. Sometimes I’m going to give advice that you don’t want to hear. At some point you have to decide what’s more important: your feelings or your health. You can do this. You can eat healthy, still keep some of the “junk” treats once and a while, yet still remain healthy overall. You can do it. You can take small steps toward big changes. You can. I did. I have to continue to do so in order to not revert back to my old self. I will help you in every possible way I can so that you can achieve your goals and, most of all, feel good inside and out. Embrace the hard parts, get proper advice along the way, and celebrate the small victories. If you need someone to help you celebrate your victories, I will be here for you with open arms. And booze 😉 jk…?
xoxo – Casey