PART THREE: But just recently, I am noticing a small change. Write an article for Salon bashing oneself for cooking fatty foods at a restaurant and contributing to Americaís weight problem, and I find within the 40 comments a fascinating spread of reactions. There are the expected anti-butter responses at first, and then someone writes in to say that it isnít butter that makes people fat. People compliment themselves for restricting calories or being vegan, bemoan those who stupidly eat bacon when they have heart conditions, and then someone else pops in to say eat meat, drink whole milk, and ditch the soy.
Within this comment thread, itís not 99%-1%. Not even close. The balance is shifting, still heavily on conventional, but no longer a nearly homozygous response. Some primal-sounding people leave very detailed information about what your body does with the nutrients put into it, instead of the mindless Ďmove more/eat lessí reiterations of the conventional supporters. I have been reading diet and nutrition articles for years, but it is now that I see such dissent in the comment threads.
The standard American diet message is failing. Slowly, one person at a time, but it is failing. We see its failure in our own sick, fat bodies. Voice after voice appears in the online wilderness, to join into a greater chorus that slaps the cheeks of beliefs about food we have held since we were young. I didnít need 99% of those voices to shout about Taubes and MDA and primal before I listened. I needed far fewer than that. But I still needed more than one lone voice to pique my interest.
It is terrible to think that had I grown up in a different time and place, with only one voice speaking out in disagreement around me, I would have blindly accepted my fatherís ideology. But with my school, I knew that we were just kids, some of us light and some of us dark, and all of us waiting desperately for the bell to ring. Strength in numbers worked to my advantage in the matter of race. My school, not by words but by practice, taught that character has nothing to do with skin color.
But strength in numbers worked against me in the matter of nutrition. If twenty people tell you today that you look tired, and one says that you look energetic, which are you likely to believe? Iíd go home and get in bed. But if fifteen say tired and six say energetic, youíll throw up your hands and take a look in the mirror for yourself. A message fails by the strength of its opposition. David did not beat Goliath by becoming equal in size; he beat Goliath by a well-placed zinger.
Last week I forwarded MDA to a curious friend who wanted to know what zinger has led to my weight loss. Who knows if she will take it seriously? She probably wonít (and Valhalla help me if she reads the journals; my secret will be out). But maybe you also forwarded MDA or Taubes or Robb Wolf to someone who is ready to hear it, and then this chorus will gain another singer. And slowly, slowly, a new message will get out, and the old one will fade away.