Dave Dixon wants the low-carb community to have a gathering place
One of the privileges I have being involved in the low-carb community so actively are some really fantastic contacts. From researchers to doctors to active members of the behind-the-scenes grassroots movement to put low-carb back on the map again–they’re all a part of my network and I’m honored to call on them whenever I have a question or issue that could use their area of expertise.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been in contact with a man named Dave Dixon who has a firm grasp on the message of livin’ la vida low-carb and shares about it in brilliant posts at his “Spark of Reason” blog. Since his profession is in software architecture, Dave recently asked me if I’d like to help him with a new project he’s been envisioning to do. When he described what it was he would like to create, I was thrilled to help him develop this and see it come to fruition.
With a strong passion for nutrition and healthy living, Dave wanted to come up with a way to provide quality low-carb information and interaction all in one place for low-carbers to access and talk to each other on a regular basis.
“It seems like a lot of the low-carb info on the web is spread out,” he wrote to me in an e-mail. “Maybe it’s time for a dedicated low carb site, a sort of community hub/social networking thing? I’m thinking something with a lot of interactivity, very slick, allowing people to find info and connect with others very easily.”
When we spoke about this idea on the telephone, it sounded like Dave wanted to create a social networking kind of community similar to Facebook that would be dedicated solely to the subject of low-carbohydrate diet, fitness, and nutrition.
“I’m thinking we just consolidate all of this in one place, add some social networking and interactivity, and provide incentive to build a membership base. Seems like interest in low-carb is picking up again, maybe a good time to do this,” he said.
Sounds intriguing to me! So I asked Dave if I could blog about this and solicit YOUR input about what you’d like to see. Yes, he wants to hear your suggestions for a low-carb support and advocacy community web site. With all the lives being changed by those who have found out about low-carb living on the Internet in just the past few years, how much more of an impact could be made if all of the low-carb community had a place to gather, exchange ideas, network, and become an even more formidable online force.
“The strength of this community provides a real chance to change the world for the better,” Dave explained.
Some may say something like this is unnecessary because there are plenty of blogs, forums, and such that provide all of these elements and more. But Dave contends most efforts are put into one of two categories: advocacy and support. And he believes the two can be interconnected with a new site which would complement much of the work being done on blogs like mine.
“Advocacy reflects our efforts to get others on board, from our family and friends all the way up to the policy-makers in government and medicine,” Dave contended. “And for those who do make the lifestyle change, we want to provide as much support as possible to help them make it permanent.”
Putting all of this information together on the Internet in one place will promote both of these goals and propel low-carb back into the mainstream of the debate about obesity and health. Sure, we know it is a superior way of eating for a variety of reasons which have been articulated in the medical literature and through anecdotal testimonies from patients placed on a low-carb diet by some very brave physicians. But there’s a whole world of people who still need to hear it for themselves at a virtual hub for all things low-carb.
“It may be a good time to leverage the Internet and our community’s strength to to provide a ‘one-stop’ resource, or at least a nexus which makes it easy for people to find the information and support they need,” Dave revealed. “I believe we’re approaching the ‘tipping point’ with regards to general opinion on the health benefits of low-carb, as evidence both scientific and anecdotal continues to mount. Done right, such an Internet community site may provide a significant push.”
What is Dave proposing we do? Create a low-carb MySpace? How about a low-carb recipe database? What about interactivity within the low-carb community outside of blogging? Here is the question of the moment for you to ponder:
What features would you like to see on a low-carb community web site which would help you and others with support and advocacy?
Dave has a few to share with you, but feel free to tell us what you think would be needed to make this idea work.
Here are Dave Dixon’s proposals for your consideration:
One of the major advantages the low-carb movement has is a large pile of supporting evidence (one which continues to grow). This ranges from details of cellular metabolism to anthropological evidence to the experiences of those who have been successful with a low carb lifestyle. It seems like it would be beneficial to be gathering this evidence in one spot. The LowCarbopedia (for lack of a better name) could serve this purpose.
For example, one might have an article describing how insulin affects fat storage. This could be described at the layperson level, maybe with extra details for the more advanced reader, and supported by references to the scientific literature. Perhaps we could get experts to contribute material, or at least act as moderators.
I envision this becoming something like an online version of Good Calories, Bad Calories: comprehensive and encompassing, but benefiting from the ability to access info online, through links etc. and be updated as new evidence becomes available.
Lots of nutrition websites have this kind of thing. Is there a benefit to doing it on a dedicated low-carb site? This might be a sort of “diary,” where one can track food eaten, progress photos, and changes in various parameters like weight, bodyfat %, blood parameters, etc. One possible benefit of collecting all of this in one spot would be to report overall community progress, e.g. show graphs of how much total weight has been lost via low-carb for all participants. Not very scientific, but potentially powerful for advocacy.
Do we need a dedicated low-carb recipe database? Personally, I think most recipes sites could be better. Obviously we could categorize recipes by carbs/serving, further call out other trouble spots like grains, fructose, and PUFA. This could build off of nutrient databases to provide nutrition info for recipes or even full menus.
Again, this capability exists in other places, so what might be additionally needed for support/advocacy of low-carb? Another possibility would be to consolidate recipes, providing links/ratings/comments for existing recipes or books in one spot, I also like the structure diagram method for showing recipes, like done here.
I find this concise and easy to follow, but that might just be a nerd thing.
New info related to low-carb appears all of the time: scientific articles, news, blogs, etc. Is there a benefit to having a dedicated low-carb consolidator for this info? Again, this capability can be found elsewhere, e.g. Google News. So is there something extra we’d like to see?
That’s about it as far as the dream of this project. But what comes to your mind when you hear about something like this? Has Dave hit everything you’d like to see or is there more he’s forgetting to mention? He will be monitoring the comments to this post regularly, so please share what you think about the idea and anything you’d like to add to the conversation.
This has GREAT potential to reach far beyond anything anyone else has done in the low-carb world and you can be a part of making it happen. Don’t be shy, share what’s on your mind! Special THANKS to Dave Dixon for being willing to take on such a monumental undertaking for the sake of promoting the low-carb lifestyle.