Evolution has one overriding result: biological machines develop to thrive optimally in the environment in which they live. We humans are the result of slow and steady adaptation, just like Darwin’s famous finches. Understanding this basic premise, the conclusion follows that the best sources of nutrition would also come from the natural environment, as we have evolved to best utilize available food sources. Put in another way, humans thrive when eating and drinking Earth Grown Nutrients. This is the unifying theme of the Onnit nutritional protocol, reinforced and battle tested by nutritionist Mike Dolcecurrently the top trainer in the highly competitive sport of mixed martial arts. Under this broad banner, there are a few other tenants of the Onnit nutritional philosophy.

A Global Natural Environment

Our genetic makeup indicates that almost all of us have DNA from every continent and climate in the world. This opens up a variety of foods on the globe as part of our natural environment. Furthermore, anthropological records and statistical analysis involving the discovery of medicinal plants indicate that our ancestors tried to eat just about everything. If it worked, they kept eating it; If it didn’t, they stopped. This leaves us an extensive catalog of potential sources of input, which would be nearly impossible to get at the local grocery store or farmers market. This is one of the reasons for targeted supplements. Another reason is to combat the effects of living off of food in an environment that we did not have adequate time (evolutionarily speaking) to adapt to.

Optimization vs. Survival

One of the things we hear commonly touted by those opposed to nutritional supplementation is “If you eat a good diet you don’t need supplements?”. It surprises them when we agree. The key word in that claim however, is NEED. Need indicates a basic necessity for survival. When I was a child, I tried to convince my parents that I could survive on peanut butter crackers and orange juice. Horrified that I may actually try to do this, they told me that I couldn’t live on the aforementioned diet. I was a persistent logician and—after assuring them this was a hypothetical scenario—they relented, agreeing that I could survive for quite some time on OJ and PB crackers. So the crux of the matter isn’t mere “survival”, it is how will you feel, how will you perform, and for how long can you keep the “party” going.

So when people ask us “why do you need Alpha BRAIN?”, “isn’t eating a healthy diet good enough?”. The question is already loaded, you don’t need Alpha BRAIN. But if you want your brain to perform at the peak of its potential, the nutrients in Alpha BRAIN can help get you there.  If you want to achieve your goals in our highly competitive and demanding world, it is a huge assistance to perform at your best. Think about when you feel physically vibrant, at a full 100%. Is your work product not better? Are you not more attractive to others? Do you not take more chances? This is the reason for total human optimization.

The Case for Optimization – Tipping Point Theory

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book called “The Tipping Point”. The Shishi Odoshi fountain is a great illustration for the metaphor he refers to. Water fills up a bamboo tube which remains perfectly still… Until that one drop of water causes the bamboo to tip, spilling the water before returning upright to start again. Work, art, or performance that goes above and beyond your normal circumstances often just needs a little push to spill out into your life. Optimization are those extra drops in your Shishi Odoshi fountain.

Paleo vs. Earth Grown

For those of you who have been “living under a rock”, the simplified way to explain the Paleo Diet is—“did a caveman eat it?”. This is a pretty damn good rule of thumb, however, Paleo enthusiasts have a pesky habit of substituting doctrine for common sense. Stevia, for example, is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of a plant that grows rampant in South America. Did cavemen know how to extract the sweetness of the leaf? Maybe not, but did they put those leaves in their mouth? Undoubtedly so.

You could say the same for a myriad of foods and remedies that might get unnecessarily put in the gray area of the hardcore Paleolite. The way I like to describe the difference between Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrient philosophy, and the Paleo philosophy is the difference between squares and rectangles. In Onnit’s view a rectangle, which stands for Earth Grown Nutrients, is the optimal diet. Paleo is a square, it has more rules and limitations but ultimately a square is a rectangle—so Paleo IS a version of a good diet.

Diets vs. Dietas

The problem with almost every diet plan is that the creator of the diet believes it is the best diet for any person, in any situation, at any time. In our life cycles, we have vastly different needs that are best met by a variety of diets. The Vegetalistas—who are the doctors of the deep amazon—understand this, prescribing “Dietas” based on a specific outcome.

Being prescribed a diet prior to some deep psychic cleansing that followed a pretty simple principle:  Eat only foods sunlight has touched. This meant that dairy, heavy meats, heavy fats, salts, were off my list for about two weeks. Fruits, vegetables, fish, and some light grains like rice were all fair game. The result was very efficient digestion that allowed my body to focus on other allocations of resources. Is this a diet that I would want to subscribe to forever? Not me, I enjoy grass-fed beef, Himalayan salt, and traditional Bulgarian yogurt (not all in the same bowl of course!).

With a fundamental basis of Earth Grown Nutrients and supplements, there are times where tilting the input one way or another will produce a more desired output. Keep up with the ONNIT Academy for more on unique dietas that can help you generate an optimal result.