Seth Palmer is a hero to me. Only slightly older than me, I grew up going to church with Seth. Seth lived in the next town, so I didn’t get to see him in school. I rarely saw him outside of church.
But, Seth had a big effect on my life, whether he realized it or not. I know this will surprise many of you that read this, but I was pretty socially awkward growing up. In my formative years, I had problems hearing and it effected my ability to learn. But, even though I was socially awkward, Seth would still hang out with me.
Although I haven’t seen Seth in years, I still look back in fondness to the years that I got to know him better when we were roommates before I got married. It was during these years that I learned that Seth had a gift, when it came to dealing with those that are socially awkward. I remember that we went to church with an older man named Howard, and Howard was socially awkward. Howard was friendly, but could be awkward to deal with. Howard always wore this mustard yellow suit, although it could have actually been more than one suit. Almost every time Seth greeted Howard, he’d complement him on his nice looking suit. We also went to church with a man named Matt, who always wore a black suit. When I say always; I mean always. I never saw Matt in anything but that black suit. I still remember one Sunday when Seth asked Matt if it was a new suit. He followed that question with a compliment indicating that Matt looked sharp.
Seth had a gift for finding the good in things, and in people. I believe he got this ability from his parents, and he developed the talent. Seth accepted me; even with my many flaws. When I finally got my hearing corrected in 2nd or 3rd grade, I was able to accelerate my learning and get caught up with the rest of my class in school. But, I maintained that social awkwardness for years. Some would say that I never really got over it. One thing that I learned early on, was that I needed to observe others more closely. And, I needed to step outside of my comfort zone, and look at new things. Each day, I would focus on doing something new that was out of my comfort zone. That’s actually how I started writing for the Ketovangelist website; it was an activity that was way out of my comfort zone.
Anecdotal Evidence would be classified as that socially awkward type of evidence; the type of evidence that drives those academics who love the triple controlled, gravity enhanced, studies that have been performed using the exalted “Scientific Method”. If you don’t understand what the “Scientific Method” is, or what “Anecdotal Evidence” is, you can either Google it, or you can simply post something on Facebook about how you lost weight, and you believe it happened because you adopted a Ketogenic, Low Carb, High Fat way of eating. Or, if you’re the really crazy type; start posting articles about Gluten, Genetically Modified Organisms, Leaky Gut, and Fermented Foods. Without fail, one of the academic types will announce themselves, and tell you that you are probably wrong, because there is no “science” to support your claims, or use other flattering or less flattering language.
But, I’m trying to be more like Seth. I try to find the good in the socially awkward. I try to embrace the unknown, to champion the little person. To be a friend to all. So, I’m going to defend that “Anecdotal Evidence” so despised by so many. I’m no attorney, so it may not be the best defense, but I’m going to talk about it and defend it anyway. I don’t have to make fun of Anecdotal Evidence; you can Google that subject and find the scorn for it everywhere. So, I don’t need do that.
From my standpoint, Anecdotal Evidence is the only timely evidence that matters too me. It’s a lot like Howard’s old mustard colored suit, or Matt’s black suit. It may not be pretty, in my eyes, but it matters a lot. I’m sure I would have had a much finer appreciation for Howard’s suit, and Matt’s suit, if they were not there or were invisible. I would have been begging for the return of those suits, and Anecdotal Evidence is the same too me. Yes, I’d much rather have true, scientific evidence on my side, when I try to make a claim, but I simply can’t wait for that perfect study. You know the type. The study that was performed over a 20 year period, had thousands of participants, performed by scientific saints that had no monetary interest in the outcome of the study. I simply can’t wait. I didn’t wait. I won’t wait.
William Banting, an undertaker of all things, described his anecdotal evidence in support of the Ketogenic diet in his “Letter on Corpulence” that he wrote in 1863. The Ketogenic diet has been used too treat Epilepsy, among other things, since the 1920’s. Yet, how often have we heard that there is no scientific evidence too support that a Ketogenic way of eating works, is safe in the short term, is safe in the long term, etc. We hear these types of statements all the time.
Scientists will study what they get paid to study. Nothing wrong with that. Most of the work I perform; I perform for pay. When I perform work for pay; I perform the work based on the parameters given to me by the person paying me. If I don’t; they quit paying me. Scientists are no different. And, apparently, there isn’t much funding available to study these types of things.
I have no expectation that a drug company that makes drugs to treat Epilepsy has any incentive to fund a study that comes to the conclusion that a Ketogenic diet would be beneficial in the treatment of Epilepsy. It simply isn’t in their interest. I don’t ever expect to see the United States Department of Agriculture advocate or pay for scientific studies that would demonstrate that eating a diet without corn and grain would be of benefit to humans.
Too me, the N=1 or “Anecdotal Evidence” is the only evidence that matters. I’ve now lost somewhere between 250 and 300 pounds of fat eating some form of low-carb diet. Over 100 pounds of the fat loss came from eating a low carb, high fat, Ketogenic, socially awkward diet. I’m sure many of my acquaintances think I’m nuts for eating the eggs, bacon, the butter, and not eating the bread, because I’m outside of the social norm. I’m not normal. I’m sure they are probably convinced that I’m killing myself, because everyone knows that the science supports a low fat, high carb diet. But, I look down and I can see my feet, tie my shoes, ride miles on my bike, and I feel great. I order my own lab work, and my health markers are wonderful, for someone that is still over weight. I ate their socially acceptable diet for over 40 of my years, and it didn’t work for me. I just gained a ton of weight.
You see; it really doesn’t matter what “they” say. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you. You need to find what works for you. I found what works for me.
I’ll continue to shake my head in amusement and disgust as people fret about the results of this scientific study or that scientific study, but it won’t change my path. Based on the measurements that I’m taking on an ongoing basis, my markers for health are fabulous, and continue to improve. I’ve made it my objective to be healthy again, and I’ve defined my goals. And, eating this way is getting me to goals.
Now, I would interject one note of caution when dealing with anecdotal evidence. You have to give it time, and usually, you need to make changes slowly. For instance, if I attempt Intermittent Fasting for the first time, while also altering other things in my way of eating or not eating; it can be difficult to determine what is benefiting or hindering your progress. So, you need to try things over a period of time. As an example, I gave calorie counting an entire year of my life. For one year, I logged every calorie in and every calorie out to the best of my ability. I tried to maintain an 1800 calorie day for a year. And, after a year, I decided it didn’t work for me. I’ve seen many people comment that they tried counting calories yesterday, and they noticed that the scale trended down the next day. When making personal observations, and trying to observe trends, you need to allow for an adequate time frame to observe the results, the causes, etc.
But, you don’t have to do any of this. If you’re the type that feels safer waiting on the scientists and the medical doctors to embrace a specific strategy to good health, I wish you nothing but the best.
But, I don’t plan on waiting for it.
I’m pretty convinced that I would either be dead now, or living the life of someone that was almost dead, if I hadn’t embraced anecdotal stories and evidence.
You may be labeled as socially awkward, or anti-science, or any other of the number of labels I’ve been assigned over the years, but you’ll be come more like Seth. You’ll become more self aware, take responsibility for your own future, and you’ll become your own hero.
There’s plenty of room in this world for more heroes. So, become the next awesome hero. Be like Seth.