Being a nutritionist during a Pandemic

I thought the nutrition space was this cozy little alcove between

  • what people think is healthy to eat and what is actually healthy to eat.
  • Conventional thinking and holistic thinking
  • Western and eastern medicinal beliefs and practices
And my job was to communicate the truth, which often lies somewhere in the middle and differs for everyone.
How neat! I found this little purpose. I’d help people navigate both sides and figure out their own balance. I loved this for me.
Now everything’s f#%$ed. Turns out the nutrition space is so, so different than I expected and in some ways it’s inspiring and in others so very disappointing. I thought that, when the pandemic hit, I’d be able to offer ways to maximize the immune system during this time to help people fend off the virus’ worst effects. I even wrote a blogpost with that title. But we didn’t have a vaccine then. I never meant to insinuate that those were the ONLY ways to protect oneself against the virus, and I fully intended to get the vaccine when it came out (and I did- and pregnant, too).
Instead of relying on Big Pharma to cure our ailments, I usually recommend getting back to our ancestral roots and building a healthy foundation with nutritious, whole foods and, in turn, ditch the processed and sugary crap that is riddling our society with chronic, preventable diseases (key word chronic).
I still believe that run-on sentence to be largely true, and it’s a big part of why I still want to be a nutritional therapy practitioner. “Food is medicine,” in a philosophical and sometimes a literal way. That is to say, certain foods can provide immense support to our immune systems and can even prevent disease.
Unless… they can’t.
I’m not sure if they should have put this in all the holistic nutrition handbooks or something, “in case of emergency,” but they didn’t so I want to say it now:
We can get all the dang sunlight and positive vibes and kale and have superb digestion and on-time cycles and STILL get Covid. We can still get LONG Covid. We can still get SEVERE Covid- or worse.
Yes, I believe “healthier” bodies *may* have better tools with which to manage and process the virus. SURE. But what the virus needs to thrive isn’t totally clear to us yet, as evidenced by many seemingly healthy and young people contracting it and getting severe cases or dying. This is new to us, to all of us. The fact that some people in this space think they’re smarter than a deadly, raging virus is not just naive, it’s dangerous- especially when those people have a large platform and following. They themselves may do everything “right”- but it’s likely their followers aren’t there yet- and they’re being discouraged from getting the shot at the potential cost of their lives.
In this global pandemic, we just don’t know enough. Even the scientists are unsure a lot of the time- THAT’S WHY THEY’RE SCIENTISTS- They like to figure stuff out so we don’t have to. They went to school to learn how to figure stuff out in fancy, specific and controlled ways so the outcomes are valid and reliable. Guess who didn’t do that? The rest of us.
Sure, we should think for ourselves. Do our own research. Question the powers that be- when it comes to whether coffee is really good for you. Or if the low-fat paradigm was the actual cause of the obesity epidemic. Or if ketosis is safe. Or if intermittent fasting works. You get the point. Nutrition research is ever-changing, and as as we come to know more, we evolve our practices and change our stances.
My point is, NOT IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC are we quipped to decide what is true. We are in dire times. We are in triage mode. This is SERIOUS. This is not the time for your conspiracy theories about who is out to get us. You want to “do your own research?” How about you research the source of that article you’re sharing. If they’re a church or a political organization, maybe steer clear because there are obvious biases there. I gotta tell you something, the scientists are not massaging data. I’m not going to defend the media here, but lots of people are accusing scientists of misusing and misrepresenting data, and while I haven’t been looking over their shoulders, I’m confident they’re not doing that. And neither are the doctors and nurses caring for Covid patients. I find the scientists and medical professionals themselves to be more consistently reliable than politicians and media outlets. As a healthcare professional myself (in the nursing home setting), we don’t have a reason to lie.
For the most part, people want to SOLVE this problem. Scientists/virologists/epidemiologists want to figure it out so they can cure it, and medical professionals honestly want to save infected people and protect themselves and their coworkers and families in the process. There is genuine “greater-good” in the intentions of MOST people regarding this virus.
The fact that it’s been politicized is such a colossal shame. What an even bigger disaster we have turned it into as a country.
Conspiracy theories are sneaky. Everyone wants to be in-the-know. To have a leg up on the inside scoop. And for some reason it’s way, way easier to dupe someone than to convince them they were duped. So conspiracy theories draw you in by enticing you with that “inside scoop,” “you heard it here first” mentality, and then the burden of proof is on OTHER people to prove you wrong. And- newsflash- people don’t like being told they’re wrong.
I realize this whole line of thinking could be weaponized by the other side to try to prove the opposite point. So who’s duped? THAT’S the question of the day.
Here’s where I stand:
The virus is real. It can be deadly. It has torn our nation and our world apart. Oh hey! Our scientists have worked hard to develop a vaccine (over the past several years) that can now be applied to this exact virus! Wow! It’s a MIRACLE! And politicians have made it possible to accelerate moving through the red tape so we can get it faster than we would have otherwise! TEAMWORK! Let’s take this vaccine- all of us! Well, except the medically exempt because I believe there are valid cases for that and they should be respected. All the more reason, actually, for the rest of us to get the vaccine, so we can protect the weak and vulnerable who are unable to.
This virus could have wiped out many more of us and the vaccine has prevented that. Why on earth would eligible people want to take the chance that they are smarter than a deadly, mutating virus? Especially when you can take a shot that will *almost* guarantee you won’t die?
Blows my ever loving mind. Truly. You don’t know more than the virus. You don’t know more than the scientists. Be humbled by that fact.
Come with me and eat your greens, get your sunlight and take the dang shot if you want to live.
The alternative, if you’re wrong, is possibly death. Or death of a loved one. Are you SERIOUSLY willing to bargain that for the sake of exercising your utmost liberty to refuse preventative medical treatment?
No one will hold down your arm and shoot you up with this vaccine. That’s not what’s happening. You DO have a choice. But all choices have consequences, and if you choose to decline this FREE preventative medical treatment, you simply must deal with the consequences of that choice, which is you will not have the access to all the things you did before. Again, YOUR CHOICE. But with all that comes with it. Remember Jafar? “Itty bitty living space.”
THANK YOU to those in this space who understand the balance between ancestral, holistic living and respect for medical anomalies, western medicine and modern science and technology. You are my people.

Leave a Reply