The Walled Garden, Religiosity, and Rugby

5 min readMar 18, 2022

Can blockchain-based social media combat Facebook’s Metaverse? Should soical-spiritual training be part of a medical curriculum? What enables or inhibits rugby players from adhering to their diets?

Photo by julien Tromeur / Unsplash

Welcome to the New Year everyone!

Things I’m Reading:

Gemini Raises $400 Million To Build A Metaverse Outside Facebook’s Walled Garden

After years of paying for the Gemini cryptocurrency growth out of pocket, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have finally accepted outside capital to help build new financial ecosystems and an entirely new digital world.

Something not health related, but very corollary to these interesting times of censorship and digital metaverses, is that there’s competition to Facebook’s proprietary paradigm. “There’s a centralized path, like Facebook or Fortnite, that is one step away from being a metaverse, and that’s totally fine. But there is another path, which is the decentralized metaverse and that’s the metaverse where (the founders of Gemini) believe there’s greater choice, independence and opportunity, and there is technology that protects the rights and dignity of individuals.”

Long time fans will know that I’m a novice to the crypto scene, but have been a strong supporter (and developer in another life) of open-source software. Some other history, these brothers were the co-founders of Facebook that settled a 2011 lawsuit with The Zuck. There’s been more dueling between The Twins and The Zuck regarding cryptocurrency, NFTs, and gaming in the years since.

A cool $400 million isn’t much to Facebook’s $950 billion net worth. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep an eye on and support these endeavors. There’s been more and more growing (and rightly so) speculation that our food systems, currency, and now add to that list social networks; should be decentralized.

Spirituality/Religiosity as a Therapeutic Resource in Clinical Practice: Conception of Undergraduate Medical Students of the Paulista School of Medicine (Escola Paulista de Medicina) — Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo)

Introduction: The high degree of religious/spiritual involvement that brings meaning and purpose to a patients’ life, especially when they are weakened by pain, is among the various reasons to consider the spiritual dimension in clinical practice. This involvement may influence medical decisions and…

FrontiersMarcelo Saad

“Anthropologist Clifford Geertz defines religion as a system of symbols that acts to ‘establish powerful, penetrating and lasting dispositions and motivations in men by formulating concepts of a general order of existence and wearing these conceptions with such an aura of factually that the dispositions and motivations seem singularly realistic.’”

Run on as it may be, I love that definition! There were a number of interesting findings here. The more religious (as per the above definition) a medical student is, the more they tend to believe that doctors should not separate themselves from a patient’s suffering, that connecting with a patient’s spiritual concerns demonstrates empathy, that spiritual care is part of humanized care, and that spiritual treatment is relevant in medical training.

86% of the medical students “fully agreed” that regardless of their own religious beliefs, they should respect a patient’s beliefs. I’m not sure if I’m relieved or concerned by that figure. Only 0.4% “fully agreed” that doctors should distance themselves from their patient’s suffering. Now we’re getting somewhere!

I want to be clear here as well, we’re talking about medical students; not therapists or psychologists. If you asked me if a brain or trauma surgeon should focus on “the whole human” while operating, I’d have a different answer than you might expect. In terms of general practice though it is impossible to not see the downstream effects of ignoring socio-spiritual factors. Look at the last 2 years around the world for a myriad of evidence on that!

Barriers, Attitudes, and Influences Towards Dietary Intake Amongst Elite Rugby Union Players

Background: Dietary intakes can impact an athletes health and performance. Although evidence exists about what an athlete should eat, an athlete’s nutritional intake is influenced by many factors. The limited research available suggests the main barriers preventing optimal nutritional intakes report…

This study is limited in its application due to only examining a single team’s barriers to following dietary advice. However, there are some interesting takeaways.

General themes affecting dietary adherence included: upbringing (cultural / family traditions and customs) and time management. The family-of-origin theme was bi-directional meaning as an adult we tend to follow similar customs to our family; healthy and not. However, the time management theme was only a barrier; meaning that if you’re less organized you tend to have poorer adherence, but being more organized doesn’t necessarily improve adherence.

Sport specific themes included: body composition (bi-directional), nutrition knowledge (bi-directional), and influence on performance. The bi-directional factors here are a bit of a social relief in my opinion. They’re conducive to the idea that as athletes increase their knowledge of nutrition and improve body composition, they’re encouraged to continue to do so — the process is self-rewarding!

On the other hand, an athlete’s focus on performance was only an enabling factor. This isn’t totally surprising as we see plenty of high-performers (amateur and professional) with poor diets. From a training perspective, this simply means that there are bigger training “gears” we can turn before addressing nutrition. In other words, nutritional factors are more relevant at the ends of a spectrum — e.g. novices and ultra-elite professionals, not so much folks in the middle. Again, this is specific to performance which isn’t inherently the same as health mind you.

Resources to Thrive:

Evidence for a Meat-Based Diet — Kevin Stock

Is there any evidence for a meat-based diet over a plant-based diet? Here we explore the evidence for humans eating a meat-based diet.

  • Kevin is a dentist, carnivore, and super smart guy. I recently stumbled across a review article he posted and it’s a good comprehensive, yet digestible (get it!) accounting of factors supporting animal-based / carnivore(ish) ways of eating.

Thought to Ponder:

“We do not inherit The Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~ Native American Proverb




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