With modern information overload you can learn so much that you don’t know which way to go.
And because there is so much info out there, making health choices can be complex. But it doesn’t have to be. I’d like to offer you an easy way to simplify your health decisions.
To do that we need to turn to philosophy. The principle is called Occam’s razor. It says that the best explanation for something is usually the simplest. In other words, if there are two ways to explain something, the simpler one is more likely to be correct. In medicine there is an old adage that says this a differently. It says, “When you are in Texas and you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.”
That’s not to say that health care is always simple. But often people make it far more complex than need be. I go into this idea in some depth with the concept of “Black Box Medicine™.”
Let’s see how you can use this idea to simplify health decisions.
First, a quick review. Black Box Medicine™ acknowledges that what happens inside the body is complicated. In fact it directly deals with this idea by simplifying the process. It focuses on results, not theory. It looks at inputs and outputs, not the complex interactions in the body. Here is the image showing the idea:
As you can see from this, there are only a few inputs. And there are also only a few outputs. The black box in the middle represents the sum total of all internal body processes.
As an aside, here is a look at some of those internal processes:
- 50,000 biochemical reactions.
- Interactions between organs (lungs, heart, kidneys, etc.)
- Interactions between systems (respiratory, circulatory, hormonal, etc.)
- Mind-body interactions.
- Tissue, cell, DNA activity, etc.
You get the idea. That black box represents very complex stuff happening inside us all the time.
So how do you simplify? There are two steps.
1) Decide what to change.
Step 1 is pretty easy. Start with the most basic inputs. Especially look at the inputs you can easily change. That probably won’t be your genetics. And external sources of stress may be tough to change, at least right away.
The things you can change easily are those inputs that you have control of every day. What you eat. How much water you drink. Whether you exercise or not.
This isn’t complicated. Even so, some people will be overwhelmed by these options. So let’s look at a specific example – food.
2) Take action.
Step 2 is taking action. We will use the food example to show how you might do this.
Since food gives you the raw materials for ALL of the 50,000 biochemical reaction in your body, it is a good place to start. And the best place to start adjusting the input of food is your macronutrient ratios.
Macronutrients are the big categories of foods. There are only three. These are proteins, fats and carbs.
Remember that you will be adjusting your input (food) and gauging it by the output. That means watching for changes in energy level, happiness, productivity, mental clarity, etc. If you adjust the input and feel better, you are on the right track. If not, then change the input. Simple.
When it comes to food, the easy way to adjust macronutrients is to imagine your plate is a pie chart. For example if you start with a ratio of 40% carb, 40% protein and 20% fat your plate would look like this:
That’s not too complicated, is it?
But you could even simplify it more. For practical purposes you could combine fats and proteins together. Using the same proportions as above, you would have 40% carb and 60% combined fat and protein. Your plate would look like this:
Even easier, wouldn’t you say?
Starting with whatever ratios you choose, you would then make a quick note about your ratios at a meal. We’ll choose breakfast for this example. You might write something like C=40, P/F=60.
Then 1 to 2 hours after the meal see if you are doing better or worse. If you feel great, have good energy, aren’t craving more food, etc. then the ratios are good. If you feel worse in any way, then the ratios need fixing.
If ratios need fixing the next time you eat breakfast, change them. Increase carbs and see how you do. Or increase protein. You decide. Just make sure to check-in with yourself 1 to 2 hours later. Again, if better you are on the right track. If worse, try changing the opposite direction.
This same simplified approach can be used for other areas as well. How much water you drink, how much you exercise, etc. It is best to only adjust one input at a time. That way you get a clearer idea of what the effects are.
This food example is what I use with Metabolic Typing® patients. There are some nuances I don’t have time to go over here, but the above description should help. If you want coaching and support for the process contact me to learn more about Metabolic Typing®.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,