Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Dinner for the next two nights is probably going to look like this:

Today I figured out the bus situation, and guess what? The stop is right beside the sushi stop.  It is destiny, karma and the universe, all together in one little corner of PN.

There is also a chocolate shop with a stunning selection of gelato.  Will try to avoid that side of the road.

Today was focused on micronutrients - specifically, vitamins D, E, C, A and iron.  I also got to meet the PhD students and lecturers of the department, which was awesome. They are a diverse bunch. I'm pretty sure the poster child of the group is Bob. He is not just a doctoral candidate, but also the president of the surfing club. 

I discovered, again, that being in the supplement industry makes me somewhat of a pariah to the 'nutrition community'. People feel they have to defend their position, first by letting me know that they prefer to rely on real foods (I agree) and that they consider the supplement industry under-regulated and dangerous. They think I'm anti-regulation, pro-pills and anti-food.

Of course, I live on pills and don't care what is in them.  I just like pills. I prefer pills to food, actually. Anyone who has seen me around sweet potato brownies knows that.

I asked a nutritionist there what she thought the outcome of all this research would be, if not to put the stuff in a product and make it available to regular people. She said that 'yes, unfortunately' that would usually be the outcome, but she felt that everything should be made under pharmaceutical regulations. When I pointed out that this would put supplements at unfunded pharmaceutical prices (say $75 a bottle) she looked at me like I'd spoken of a completely novel concept. Reality and idealism sometimes make uncomfortable bedmates, that's for sure.

I am gathering a perception that there actually is a bit of resentment simmering under it all, and I do understand that. A PhD student may have a brilliant idea, but they will only be funded if it looks like it could become a commercial proposition and they may have to compromise their position in order to obtain that elusive research funding. Then, as soon as it's published, the results of their hard work will be pounced upon by the food and supplement industries (or sometimes, by a health writer), whom will present it to the market at the most commercially desirable angle and make a killing. The student researcher won't see any of that money or get the credit.

Not everyone gave me the 'stony smile' though. A couple of the lecturers have that messy office, crazy hair, 'I love everyone and everyone loves me' vibe that long-term academics sometimes get. Another had gone the route of  'I'm a reclusive genius that will give an entire lecture without looking at the class and to ensure pay attention I will do it in a whisper' and he was awesome too.

Tomorrow:  Biometrics. I'm expecting a good class. Statistics professors are usually the craziest of them all.


  1. You evil, soulless pill-pusher, you.


    1. My ultimate plan is to make food obsolete.


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