The Shangri-La Diet (the book) is two years old. What’s happened during the last year?
The nerd in me is enormously concerned with numerical measures of popularity. Is the diet spreading? If so, how fast? This can be measured dozens of ways; the number I trust most is number of visitors to the SLD forums. This number has been steadily increasing. Plotted on a log scale, the visitors-vs-time function is roughly linear ( = same percentage increase each month). The number has doubled in a year. It was about 7,000 a year ago; it is about 14,000 now. The increase has happened/is happening without much effort from me. During the first year, I posted on the forums several times per day; now I post less than once/day.
Which brings up Topic 2: Improvements by users — which the populist in me cares about. I like to think that allowing anyone to contribute ideas and experience, which they can do via the SLD forums, will be a good thing. (Not only here: the Weston Price Foundation website should have forums.) I also like to think the ideas behind SLD have a life of their own. More than other weight-loss methods, the Shangri-La Diet is based on a theory. Most weight-loss methods are based on good/bad classifications: Food A is good, Food B is bad. Not much room for improvement. A theory, on the other hand, can be used in many ways. Mixing a new theory with lots of user experimentation should be really powerful — especially when the user-experimenters can trade ideas and experience. It should produce a different kind of growth: growth of efficacy. Over the last year I was especially impressed with comments on the SLD forums about nose-clipping. This thread in particular. Heidi555 wrote:
I think itâ€™s much easier to nose clip a higher percentage of food. The AS is noticeable and you donâ€™t have to exert any will power. I donâ€™t worry about a two hour window. . . . The weirdest thing is that I always feel like Iâ€™m eating a lot. Maybe eating as much as you want, of whatever you want, always feels like a lot.
By “much easier” she meant much easier than other ways of applying the theory (“taking oil, sugar water, or a smaller amount of nose clipped food). Wearing nose-clips in public isn’t easy, but that could change. Isn’t wearing nose-clips a lot like wearing glasses?
Another part of me likes a good story — e.g., American Idol. If I wanted to tell a story about SLD during the last year, I would stress the omega-3 storyline, especially 1. Tyler Cowen no longer needs gum surgery after he starts taking flaxseed oil (FSO). 2. Anonymous finds himself healing more quickly after martial arts practice when he starts taking FSO. Stops taking FSO, returns to baseline, restarts FSO, improves again. I like the unexpectedness of it: Why would a new diet lead to this? Speaking of fights, in New York, I met a woman who works on reality TV shows. “That’s what my job is about,” she said. “Getting people to fight.” Yes, fight = good TV. Over the last year, the SLD forums remained bad TV: exceptionally well-behaved and conflict-free. I’m not sure what this means, but I really like it.