Although Bodyfueling was written in 1994, do you have any suggestions on changes, or info you might add?

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Dear Robyn,

I just bought BodyFueling from a nearby bookstore. Although it was written in 1994, do you have any suggestions on changes, or info you'd add? Thanks, I've only read a little so far, but it will be helpful to me and the students I work with.

Athletic Trainer
Brookside High School/EMH Sports Medicine, Ohio


Dear Maureen,

Thanks for writing. While a few things have changed, it's nothing I think you should be too concerned about when working with your students. The basics still stand. The changes have more to do with my own continuing evolution in healthy eating, which I think is natural and will probably continue. What this means is that since writing the book:

~ I moved in the direction of vegetarianism and am now completely vegetarian. I was not vegetarian when I wrote BF. (This was more of a moral/ethical/environmental personal decision than a health one. See another recent question for more on this.)

~ I "went to the next level" of care and concern for my food and now eat primarily (about 95%) organically grown foods and products with organically grown ingredients.

~ As a vegetarian now, I don't think I would be quite as harsh on tofu as I was in BF :) (although I think my essential point there still holds--that things labeled "health foods" aren't necessarily really low in fat, and that a few limited foods thought of as the quintessential "perfect health foods" aren't the be-all end-all of a healthy diet.

Interestingly, however, it's perhaps best that I wasn't this far along on my own path when I wrote BF, because I think that kept it simpler and more "doable," and is part of what made it successful. Too often, people try to change 50 things about their diets and eat "perfectly," right away, when the fact is there are some key essentials that would make the biggest difference if changed. BF deals with those things, I think very effectively. Most people are so off track in their eating (or not eating!) that just mastering the basics (eating enough, often enough, and the right macronutrients in the right proportions) has a HUGE impact on health, energy and fitness. (And trying to change much more than those basics can be overwhelming to do all at once.)

Once "basic good fueling" is handled, you can then move on if you choose, as I did, to fine-tune with other things, as desired--from vegetarianism to organics to herbs and nutrient supplements; reducing or eliminating things such as caffeine, sodium, alcohol; and so on. In fact, I think those things are a natural progression once you have "perfected" or mastered basic good fueling. You're doing wonderful things for yourself, enjoying great results, and you think "What's next? What else can I do? Now, how can I get even better?" That's how it was for me. I couldn't have possibly been eating a better complex-carbohydrate, moderate protein, moderately-low-fat, frequent-fueling diet. I loved it, and loved how I felt. Then it was, "Well, what can I do better now?" And so I evolved toward these other things.

In BF, I specifically told people to not to worry about those other things initially, and it's important to me that people know where I was coming from when I did that. First off, I myself wasn't "there" yet; and two, it's *still* probably best that people not mess with the fine-tuning before they fix the big stuff. I still believe that, for example, eating organically grown food is *somewhat* moot if you're still eating every ten hours, skipping meals, eating a 50% fat diet, etc. (It doesn't make choosing organic food any less of a laudable, wise, and caring action from the point of view of your health, the environment, the economy, the family farmer and the life of the farm animal. It just doesn't get you optimally healthy, strong and lean unless you're also doing other things. And I do observe that people get frustrated making secondary changes and not seeing certain "results" when they're not handling the primary big picture.)

Also, if I were revising the book now, I would probably be even clearer, more emphatic, and detailed about protein issues, both philosophically and in the how-to, since there is so much confusion and uproar about this. I would also address the rash of "carbo-phobia" diets that have come out. ( I do that in two pages of my site, the "Carbophobia" point sheet and the "Myth Bust" about carbs. You might wish to print those out for yourself and your students.)

Finally, I would be even more emphatic about the fact that this is not just a "low-fat diet" (but rather a big-picture, whole-body approach) and that controlling fat is not the "one key" to everything health- and fitness-wise (and that NO "one thing" is). I would stress that a "nonfat" diet is not the goal, that certain fats are healthy in small amounts, and that counting fat grams can become as narrow and unproductive an obsession as counting calories or watching "weight." (I do expand on this on pages 152-158 of my new book, Herbal Defense.)

I still think the most important parts of BodyFueling® are not in any how-to details (how to eat, or how I eat), anyway. It's in the getting out of diet thinking part--the understanding of what works and what's just stupid and WHY it's stupid; transcending the diet mentality that warps food and makes it the enemy and subscribes to so many lies, fallacies, and wrongheaded beliefs about eating and the body; the empowerment of people with basic knowledge that makes them un-dupeable forevermore. It's the changes in *thinking* that are really unique and powerful--the ability to *fuel your future and your life*, get out of trying "fix your body." To me the real power of BodyFueling® lies in these things, and that does not change. It is these issues I plan to expand upon in future writing.

I am pleased you will be using BF with your students. I have spoken to young people at many junior high schools and high schools, and find it to be one of the most rewarding and hope-inspiring experiences of teaching. Thank you for your interest!


~ Robyn Landis

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