Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Experts and Know it Alls

I must not have enough to do because I read a lot of stupid articles on the Internet and I have come to a conclusion.

There are a lot of opinions out there. And there are a lot of opinions out there that pass for fact.

I write a lot of drivel, but I don't presume to insist that my opinion should be taken as fact because I'm some sort of expert. I'm no expert. Thirty plus years of living with cats and dogs does not make me an expert.

It makes me a lunatic.

Herein lies the problem.

I would like to be a freelance writer. I've taken courses, joined a Facebook community, signed up for blogs, and it occurs to me that the number one thing one needs to be a freelance writer is a "niche."

A niche also means one should masquerade as an authority or expert on something.

Now granted if you've worked in a particular field for many years or have done something so much that people pay you top dollar for you expertise, then yes you can call yourself an expert enough to claim a niche (like one my favorite writing blogger/experts, Jacob McMillen).

If you've just dicked around for years talking about how obnoxious your animals are and how you wish you could move to the planet Xardoc where animals have to bring you your food on a silk cushion, well, you're not an expert. You're just mentally challenged.

I have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things, but not enough knowledge about anything to call myself an expert. It's kind of like that Keith Urban song, Little Bit of Everything. Except his version is so much more fun than mine.

I went off the deep end the other day, finding articles that debunk things that I practice and hold dear, for no other reason that I like to torture myself and also, if I decide to write about these things I don't want to sound like an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about. My preferred "niche" for writing is testimonials or personal essays. I am at least an expert on me, but I also don't believe that just because something works for me that it's gospel and the world should bow to my wisdom.

For example, I'm gluten free. I like to say I'm gluten intolerant which isn't exactly true as trace amounts don't do me in, so I guess I have a sensitivity. I then decided to read The Gluten Lie so that some "expert" could tell me exactly the reasons why I was delusional and there is nothing wrong with eating wheat.

I agree. There is nothing wrong with eating wheat. If you're not me.

The book actually turned out to be pretty informational, but boy did he get lambasted in the review section of Amazon. He claims that science does not prove that America is fat because it eats too much wheat, sugar, carbs, and MSG. He also says that science does not prove the opposite, we just don't know yet, but it's grossly irresponsible to go around claiming that wheat and sugar are demon foods that kill.

What a relief. I love sugar. I'd be devastated if I had to give up my desserts.

I think the author is more an advocate of everything in moderation. Thank God, I can still drink wine as long as I don't consume the whole bottle in one sitting.

Well, where's the fun in that?

Just kidding. Two glasses I'm passed out on the couch with Megamind in the background.

Wheat is a problem for me however, and I do not have Celiac's disease. I just know that every time I eat a roll of bread I have oodles of issues the next morning in the bathroom. I also know that if I eat MSG I have more problems, and not in the morning but immediately after. As for junk food, packaged foods, processed foods, and otherwise healthy foods with shit added to it (cargeenan in whipping cream, anyone?) I just feel better when I don't eat it, and my digestive system actually behaves itself.

I refuse to give up wine, however. But I stick to high quality wine, so that should be okay, right?

But that's me. If you can drink a Coke, eat a Snickers bar, and scarf down McDonald's everyday with zero issues, more power to you, and I'm jealous. I miss the days of Snickers bars and milk for breakfast at ten AM. California Guy can go through a twelve pack of Coke and rum in two weeks and he's skinnier than a rail. He also eats fast food, processed food, and that awful grocery store baked bread that's just flour and sugar with water added.

I used to love that stuff.

What I really miss is bakery quality cake with that sugary whipped cream frosting. Now if I want cake I have to make it myself. And it's hit or miss if the cream stabilizes.

Another example: naturopath medicine. Oh, this is a big one. After reading several articles online debunking naturopath medicine as witch doctory and fantasy magic potions, I started to wonder if my bioidentical hormones are actually doing more harm than good.

That was until I noticed that all the articles and blog posts were actually written by the same person. There is one lady out there on a crusade to run naturopath medicine into the ground as pure charlatan-peddled snake oil. I'm sure others think so too, but she has the biggest mouth, the loudest opinion, and the fanciest website.

She must have had a really bad experience.

Once again, this is just me, so I don't claim to be an expert. I'm not a scientist. All I know is that once I started taking bioidentical hormones, started eating a healthy diet of whole and clean foods, and exercised more, my hair stopped falling out, my energy returned, and my skin stopped doing that weird thing. Science is all great and good, but the list of side effects on pharmaceuticals (the ones they are required to read off on TV commercials and it takes two minutes) scares the ever-living shit out of me.This is considered "good medicine" while my probiotics and GABA for anxiety are considered witch doctory?

Well, you don't have to live in my body. You just have to live in your own.

All these opinions and shouting from the soapbox preaching has shown me is that nobody really knows anything. And they are desperate to prove just how much they don't know because we as a species can't seem to keep the most ignorant of us off the Internet. You can go to school for twenty years and still have no clue, and humans are such unique creatures, that each person has their own distinct biochemical makeup that they have to figure out on their own.

Now obviously some things are bad for everyone: smoking, heroin, cooking meth in a mobile home in the desert for two criminal masterminds. But when it comes to health everyone is different and everyone has to figure out what makes their bodies miserable and what works. I'm gluten free, and believe me it's been no picnic (and yes, I get the eye roll and I just want to tell servers, "Hey, if I could eat that whole loaf of bread and feel fine in the morning I'd totally do it, but I don't think you want to clean my bathroom when I'm done with it after a night of gluten indulgence"). I love my naturopath practitioner, if for no other reason than she did not, like all of my mainstream medical doctors, tell me that there is nothing wrong with me, it's all in my head, and dismissed me with a prescription to something I ended up flushing down the toilet. Most of them wouldn't even listen to me. I went to five doctors, telling them that my hair was falling out in handfuls and I got the same response from all of them.  "Hair falls out. It goes in cycles." The endocrinologist even said " I don't know what you're complaining about, it's growing back."

I'm glad she spent eight years in school just to learn how to be so condescending.

I guess the way I look at it is, I feel like shit, everything I've tried hasn't worked, what's the harm in trying something different?

Some call this the placebo effect. It's harmless but you think it's helping so it helps. It's all psychological.

Maybe it is. My psychology is pretty messed up. I live with three codependent, neurotic cats.

But I'm sure someone out there thought contact lenses were a stupid idea too and rallied against them before they became mainstream.

I love my contact lenses. I also love my glasses.

I also love my eye doctor, but that's another story. He's the type of doctor who listens, enjoys his patients, and always has a big smile for everyone. I actually look forward to my yearly visit with him and if I ever move, I'm flying back here just to see him once a year.

 I love that I can go to the Urgent Care Clinic and get medication for an ear infection or strep throat if I have that. I love that I've been vaccinated for measles, mumps, and Hepatitis. I also love that I can call my naturopath practitioner and tell her my stomach issues and she has better ideas than my general practitioner who gave me a prescription to Nexium (that ended up just aggravating the situation so I stopped taking it). I wish I could eat bread with as much abandon as I did in my twenties, but maybe that's part of getting older.  You're just not in your twenties anymore, and really, you probably shouldn't eat anything with abandon.

Tequila shots with abandon also no longer work.

In the end I readily admit I don't know what I"m talking about either. I go by trial and error. This worked, this didn't, this REALLY didn't. Hey, this worked and I feel great!

Just because it worked for me, doesn't mean it'll work for someone else. I'm not allergic to peanut butter. Other people can't even touch the stuff (oh my God, the horror, I don't think I could function). Recovered alcoholics can never drink wine again if they want to stay on the wagon. I love my wine, but I also know when to stop. We are all different and we all need to find what works for our own unique bodies.

And we could use a lot less experts and know-it-alls out there telling us that their way is the only way, or that some other way is the wrong way even if it's worked for someone else.

I'm sorry, humanity, but nobody knows everything, even scientists and doctors.

I've decided to forgo freelance writing and just write fiction. I do better when I'm not pretending to be an expert on anything except the worlds and characters that I make up in my head.

This may be a cop-out, but it's one I can live with.

These desserts are completely gluten-free. They are not sugar-free, vegan, or paleo.
They are, however, delicious.

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