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Hi everyone, it's Karen here. I'd like to take a few moments to discuss the wisdom of the phrase "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." The phrase is attributed to William C. Taylor, an American writer, speaker and entrepreneur who co-founded Fast Company magazine and website. The idea is that having the ability or capability to do something doesn't automatically justify doing it - we must also consider the broader consequences and implications of our choices. As the thumbnail for this blog post suggests, just because you can bring dinosaurs back into existence, doesn't mean you should (Jurassic Park is more philosophic than you realized!) 

I'll share a personal experience and then get to the point of how this relates to nutrition ;) When I was planning my class schedule for the senior year of high school, my guidance counselor suggested I take college-level physics. The fact that I had never even taken a basic physics class didn't seem to matter. The counselor told me she had full confidence that I could handle the class based on my past academic performance. So I went along with the plan. Two days into my senior year and college-level physics, I was already drowning in anxiety and doubt. Did I really want to spend my senior year agonizing over this class, when I could just take the basic physics class? And I already knew I was going to study nutrition in college - I suspected I would never have to calculate the force of gravity on a plate of food. 

I finally decided to ask for a class change into basic physics. But I felt like a bit of a failure in the process. I really respected my guidance counselor and felt that I let her down by not fulfilling the potential she thought I had. And personally, I felt like I had backed down from a challenge that maybe I could have handled. But it ended up being the right choice and I never regretted it. Basic level physics was challenging enough, and I actually had time and energy to enjoy my senior year!

This brings me to how I feel about food-tracking apps - just because we have these pocket-sized computers with us all the time that can calculate every calorie and nutrient we consume in a day, doesn't mean we should. This is the general allure of any technology that claims it will improve the quality of our lives. You could say the same thing about wearable fitness trackers too. We have the power to track thousands of variables related to our health, but does it add value to our lives? More data can be overwhelming, paralyzing and a source of anxiety in and of itself. And what are we doing with all this data? Just having it doesn't magically create meaningful change. We'll talk more about this in class, but for the time being, I would start with asking yourself "What problem am I trying to solve?" Then go and build your data around that.