Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to Jamie Scott, the newest addition to the Whole9 family. You may already know Jamie from his well-read New Zealand-based blog, That Paleo Guy, but today he joins us as the newest addition to our growing roster of professional consultants and Whole9 team members. (If you see some new faces on those pages, don’t worry – we’ll be introducing everyone soon enough!)
Jamie will not only be contributing articles to our 9 Blog, but will also offer his specialized consulting services through the Whole9 site. Get to know Jamie through his first guest post here, and scope out his comprehensive health and fitness consulting packages on our new personal consulting page.
In Jamie’s Own Words…
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. – Aristotle
There was never really any doubt in my mind that I would work in a health-related field. Not being smarter than the average bear when it came to applying for med school or physical therapy school saw me begin training in the field of sport and exercise science. Very early on in that training I began to understand that simply just prescribing exercise was not going to be the answer to everything – that just maybe good nutrition might also have a role to play in health. Begin: a degree in nutritional science. With my career goal at the time to work alongside physical therapists, I took on a post-grad diploma in sport and exercise medicine (if you can’t join them, beat them).
The Whole Patient
Within a year of that seven year stretch at university, I was indeed working attached to a large injury rehabilitation clinic. Our approach was quite unique at the time. We looked at the patient as a whole. Sure – the PT’s treated the injuries with all the usual modalities they would employ, but we would also look at getting these patients, many of whom had been chronically injured for years, fit and strong. We would address their diet (in a very conventional wisdom kind of way – don’t judge me) and for many, due to years of living in chronic pain, they were referred to clinical psychologists.
Looking at the whole picture with these patients, while intensive and at times difficult for everyone involved, offered a far better outcome in the longer term than having a singular focus such as just treating an injury. A patient might have thought that they suffered “just a bad back” but we saw the bad back as a symptom of poor diet and activity patterns, which themselves were symptoms of bigger life issues (though one could easily mount a chicken and egg argument with many of these people).
Working with elite track cyclists saw a similar approach adopted. Ask the athlete what they think they needed to do to improve, and you invariably got the answer “do more training”, or “ride longer/harder/faster”. Many times the truth was the exact opposite. The answer might not have been train more but instead eat more… or sleep more. The role of the coach is not just to write the program and ensure there is consistency in following it. The coach is there to see what the athlete often cannot… to be able to objectively look at the whole picture and provide guidance about where to focus one’s efforts and resources (this may or may not increase the coach’s popularity with the athlete, particularly when coach objectivity and athlete subjectivity collide).
Integrating the Whole9 Approach
In more recent times, my focus has been on helping people take an ancestral health approach to their lives. In the vast majority of cases, this means starting with food and helping these people improve the quality of their food choices first and foremost. Moving someone from a standard Western diet to one based on high-quality whole foods can obviously gain a lot of traction with one’s health in the first instance. So much so in fact, that people can lose sight of the other lifestyle elements which come together to make someone ‘healthy’. In the same way as the athlete who hangs their performance off their training and who feels, when their return on investment in that area begins to diminish, that the answer is to train harder, so it is with those who have made great strides with their health through the manipulation of their diet.
An individual might begin to question whether they need to reduce themselves from 50g of carbs to 40g of carbs per day when in reality they might need to get to bed earlier, keep their wake up times consistent, and start taking some long walks in the sun with a person they care about. This is the Whole9 approach – viewing the whole picture in the health mix. The Whole9 isn’t the Whole30 elimination diet, though I would argue that this point is often lost in translation for many.
All of us can be our own worst enemies in taking stock and trouble-shooting what we need to do to keep our health progressing. We can lose sight of the forest due to too many trees. This is perhaps where a fresh set of objective eyes to look at the whole picture can be useful.
Jamie is a nutritionist and health researcher working in the corporate health industry in Christchurch, New Zealand. He holds bachelor’s degrees in sport and exercise science and human nutrition, and post-graduate diplomas in sport and exercise medicine and nutrition medicine. He works with a wide range of people applying an ancestral health template to all areas of their life in order to achieve the best outcome for their health and performance.