Progressive yet Mediocre
1 year ago
First, let me preface by first saying that both Marni and Jesse have grand vision about changing the landscape of health, and for that I'm deeply appreciative. However, the philosophy and the contents of this podcast are a bit too mixed in terms of quality to warrant serious recommendation, as I find that there's a lack of systemic perspective about the health and its interrelationship with the our surrounding.
As far as I'm concerned, the Ultimate Health Podcast markets its brand by inviting high-profile guests from different backgrounds at different levels. At its core, it's basically a compilation of hearsay from gurus. As such, the quality of the guests and contents is more of a hit-or-miss. I see this podcast more as a platform where influencers can hop in and promote their stuffs, rather than an airtight information hub on thoroughly researched and well-structured topics for health enthusiasts.
For example, occasionally we would get folks with questionable background/belief with some forms of unsubstantiated practices. Other times, it would be practitioners with impressive credentials, but who use them to forcibly argue for an agenda, or to talk about stuffs they frankly don't understand very well (e.g., Joel Khan, Bruce Lipton). Every now and then, we also get some guests on the podcasts, who - upon more in-depth research - are really just riding the bandwagon of hot trends and fumbling their way to health (e.g., Diane Sanfilippo). And lastly, there are of course the people who are truly authorities in their field (e.g., Mark Hyman, Kara Fitzgerald).
Health-advice-wise, the amount of recommendations that are on the surface healthy - yet unsustainable for the society as a whole - is a bit startling. These include the use of commercial face cleanser and sunscreen, being raw foodist / vegetarian (which also ends badly with some of the guests), the use of supplements and fish oil (environmental unsustainable), going to the gym (lack of functional movements) and the likes. Basically, health for the domesticated humans - the kinds of practices that you don't see for people in the Blue Zones doing.
To be sure, I've gone through all the 150 episodes thus far in a span of 3 months, and from what I can see, the approach seems to be fundamentally about promoting great brands, chasing after the latest flashy thing or finding the "right" refined products, rather than finding a solution that reduces our dependency from them. Best shoe, best pant, best smoothie, best chocolate bar, best superfood, best shower filter and the best blue-light blocker. This to me raises the alarm bell a bit, since it is how human historically solves a problem through technologies by creating another potentially more serious one. It leaves me wondering how we are going to survive in the absence of these businesses, and how it fares well with our sovereignty on food and health. For one, acquiring our "well-being" in exchange of environmental destabilisation is definitely far from holistic - if at all.
Don't get me wrong, I sincerely believe that these hosts are great human being with respectable vision and tremendous good will, and I do throughly enjoy many of the episodes on mindset, habits and other equally powerful subjects, but when it comes to the "super food" or the products being promoted, I can't help but visualize a public acquiring health advice from teenagers all too excited about trying new stuffs, but who still don't understand the stakes to a reasonable degree. Truth be told, many of the gurus in the health communities are also themselves in the middle of the journey to health, so it's only normal to find lots of them trapped between some kind of progressiveness and mediocrity - something that the public can't discern apart.
Along with that, there are also a couple of the common myths circulated here and there like "we need more antioxidant to combat oxydation", "consume healthy fat like coconut oil" (i.e., concentrated fat derived from an overexploited produce), "opt for nutrient-dense food" (the denser the nutrient, the more you want to control their intake), "consume more superfood like blueberry and kale" (fixed conception about food and their benefits/harms), "switch to sugar substitute such as stevia and xylitol" (both of which are highly-extracted, isolated sweeteners) or "one should bake with gluten-free flour" (genetic susceptibilitiy aside, science has shifted the culprit from gluten to FODMAP).
In brief, while technologies have certainly facilitated the production and dissemination of information in the last decade, when it comes to health, it's not hard to see how this advantage can be a double sword. For me, I just don't wish to see another well-intentioned podcast turned into anything-goes database of mixed health advice - at least that's not how I want to take my health to the next new level.
That being said, I'm eager to see what this podcast would become. Both Jesse and Marni are naturally talented in sales and have great ability in creating a community around them, and that alone makes it interesting to follow their journey towards rewilding and adopting a more responsible lifestyle.