Of all the supplements that supporters of the Paleolithic approach to diet use regularly, perhaps no one is more revered than magnesium.
It seems that just about everybody seems to be interested in it, no matter where you look on the bloggosphere. Magnesium is the cure for gastrointestinal disorders, fibromyalgia, migraines, irritable bowels, skin problems, the heartbreak of psoriasis, and even erectile dysfunction…and who knows what else? Sweaty palms, halitosis, bunions, cramps and premature ejaculation?
Seriously, though (I do like to joke), in all honesty, I think magnesium is a great mineral, and from all that I have read about it, I am not averse to supplementing with it by (a) focusing on foods that have a lot of magnesium (excepting grains) and also by (b) taking magnesium supplements.
But there is just a word of caution I want to express to everyone. I have been reading the blogs for a while now, and the fact is from time to time and things pop up that are interesting, and tend to dominant the conversation. Low carb, safe starches, food reward, the importance of calories, metabolic advantage cold thermogenesis, and magnesium, etc. and probably many, many more that I am not aware of since I don’t read every single blog, etc. I like exploring all of these ideas, and personally I kind of even like the tete-a-tete bullet blogging that goes on when controversy is stoked. I think that, if done honestly and passionately, it furthers the movement towards better health in America in a good way, and for me, it is very informative as well.
But sometimes, things seem get a little hot and touchy because everyone believes what they believe to be really right–the magic bullet, so the speak, or maybe the Holy Grail…but the fact is, from everything that I have learned about health, wellness, and nutrition to this point, I am convinced that there is no such things as a Holy Grail. Perhaps there there are important and dominant concepts, but the fact is, things work together in cycles and loops to either feed off each other or destroy each other, and the goal is to achieve balance.This is why I throw a some caution to the wind when people ask me about one supplement over another or should I do this or that, etc.
The fact is I am a Paleo advocate and I do not want you to misunderstand me, but I am actually very much against this concept of a magic bullet, or what those that have read Michael Pollan’s books know as nutritionism. I do believe the whole is greater than its parts, and as I have said I do not believe that you can do just one thing and be very successful.
I think that is part of the reason why many diets fail, even the best diets which I think are Atkins-based, Paleo-based, and low-carb based. As I said many, many, many times on my blog, you cannot supplement yourself out of the bad diet and you cannot expect to supplement yourself out of stress. Likewise, you can get the full benefit of exercise by just exercising, no matter if you are tired or if you are sore. The whole no pain, no gain mentality is ridiculous. You have to have intervals of rest and you have to have intervals of sleep and other therapies that help with rejuvenation of your muscles from the stress you put them under during exercise.
My point is, it is the whole package that counts and that is one of the reasons why I have developed The Man Diet in the way that I have. It is focused on both dietary pillars as well as sustainability pillars and I stress this over and over again, these must be all adhered to at some level constantly to achieve success. Of course, they may need to be adapted to in different situations, and that is why we use medical evaluation, journaling, and intense followup to track progress and goals.
This is also why The Man Diet is a principle-based approach rather than a list of prescriptions and proscriptions, so that you can understand and make the diet work for you, rather than mindlessly following a to-do list. It is ultimately, why I think this diet is so powerful. It is because it addresses all the aspects that you need to succeed.
I know I have been somewhat harsh on some people who want to dilly-dally and dabble in diets. They either just want to eat correctly, but they do not want to exercise, or they do not want to take care of their stress level or sleep or exercise in the proper way. They also often do not want to teach themselves how to cook or share a little bit of their knowledge with other people and talk about their difficulties with others in a group and try to get new ideas from other people. But the fact is, all these elements are important and its takes some work, investment, and follow through.
If you do just one of them, thinking its a bargain or the easiest thing to do, or whatever, it is kind of like taking a bunch of magnesium, but still not getting the rest you need or eating a bunch of wheat, which sweeps magnesium out of your gut. It won’t work.
It is the whole that matters, and that is why, I have always joking said said that my dietary philosophy is more like spinning plates than a a formula to follow. I think that it is really important to take home point.
Now, I want to make you clear one more time: I think magnesium is a hugely important supplement. But it needs to be taken within the confines of other good supplements that are balanced, and an excellent diet that is grain free and sugar free, based on whole foods and it is nutrient dense. You have to exercise and challenge yourself to exercise not by just jogging, but doing something you probably do not think you could do like sprint or do kettlebells or lift weights or work out with a trainer who is going to really push you. You have to get the proper rest meaning you have to go to bed early sometimes and not watch that TV show you like to watch,
I am not going to tell you that this diet is easy, but it is, however, a lot easier than constantly failing at diets.
That is why I am so passionate about spreading the Man Diet to people to try who need to lose weight.
It is really important.