Today is a little different… I’m exploring the invisible social labels that we put on ourselves.
The trend of extremes
I’ve noticed a new trend in a lot of people, I call it ‘from one extreme to the other’. People go straight from being big meat eaters to deciding to be vegan, without thinking that there could be a middle-ground where animals are not treated with cruelty and where you could still enjoy a grass-fed hamburger once in a while. People go straight from eating way too much refined white flour (durum wheat) to dropping grains entirely, without thinking about the benefits of a varied diet that includes whole-grains in moderation.
Is there a middle ground?
I am what is called a “flexitarian”, and although I use terms like ‘vegan’, ‘paleo’, ‘gluten-free’ in my recipes, I am not a fan of ‘labels’. I do it because it’s a fast way to recognize if you might like a recipe, especially for those with allergies, but I think people worry too much about these labels. The only label I believe in is to eat REAL FOOD. I’ve also noticed some animosity from people who like to label themselves a certain way. I’ve had carnivore followers get upset with me because I don’t eat enough meat, and I’ve had vegan followers ‘unfollowing’ me because I posted a picture or recipe containing meat or eggs. Can’t we all get along and support each other in the bigger picture? 😉
While I do eat mainly vegan and vegetarian, I don’t think that this attitude of judging is helping anyone, and it certainly won’t be helping carnivores to eat less meat, or to educate themselves about the important treatment of animals. I think it’s important that we have more tolerance towards each other, and that we keep an open mind. While it is next to impossible that everyone on the planet would suddenly decide to go vegan, we can certainly help each other to understand that not every farm treats their animals with cruelty, or force-feeds them GMO corn and soy. For vegans and for carnivores, it would be important to understand that meat that is raised the proper way (grass-fed/free-range) does contain more nutrients and health benefits than the conventionally-raised CAFO animals. People ask for tolerance, but the tolerance goes both ways, and we would all benefit from being more open to education and learning, and less about judging. Everyone learns at a different pace. Do I think everyone could be eating way less meat? Absolutely! But that comes with the desire to learn more, and it takes time. That’s also why I write articles and share information about why it’s important to know where our food (including meat and animal products) come from. I am hoping that by sharing this knowledge, people will gradually change their eating habits for the better.
The reverse effect of trying to change overnight
Some people go from one extreme to the other, and then back again, so they do a complete 360 and come right back to where they started from, simply because they get overwhelmed, or they were part of a fad.
People have gone straight from not ‘believing’ or not caring about what they were eating, to suddenly doubting the authenticity of organic.
Are Organic Products really healthier?
I am hearing a lot of this right now. Is ‘organic’ really what they say it is? Well, we need to think about this: Does it make any sense that we would doubt that the certification might be compromised or not completely up to the described standards, and instead choose to eat food that is openly drenched in pesticides and genetically modified? You be the judge, but for me, it doesn’t make any sense. While I agree that organic doesn’t mean it’s perfect, it’s always a better choice than the crops grown with so many toxic chemicals and most of them genetically modified. It’s also a great excuse to go visit your local farmers and talk to them, ask them how they grow their produce and raise their animals. Do they use GMOs? Do they use synthetic fertilizers/pesticides? Ask questions! Make new friends at the same time. How amazing is it to personally know who grew your food? How about also growing some of your food yourself? Purchase some seedlings or seeds at the organic farm and grow it yourself without chemicals.
I do not believe that eating organic food is a fad, because this is the way food has been grown and cultivated since the beginning of time. It has always been cultivated without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and not genetically modified. Using synthetically made fertilizers and pesticides has only started commercially after World War II as a way for the army to get rid of extra chemicals they had left from making bombs, and GMOs only started in labs in the 80s. So, if we want to label something a ‘fad’, it should be the pesticide-drenched crops that we’ve been eating in the past few decades.
When it comes to eating healthy real food, it’s really not that complicated, but it does require a commitment and a bit of patience. We develop bad habits over many years (maybe decades) of poor choices, these habits will take a while to change, and we need to be aware of that, and give it a chance.
If you get discouraged and quit after only a few tries, you are not being fair to yourself.
A simple approach that works
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, put your energy into the abundant variety that you can have, by adding and developing new good habits and routines. By developing good habits and not worrying about our bad ones, eventually we won’t have time for them and we’ll be left with a life filled with good habits. We need to develop new habits in the way we purchase our food, the way we cook, the way we eat, the way we think about food, the way we care about where our food comes from, and we need to give enough time to our bodies and our palate to develop new tastes. We cannot expect to be eating processed foods that are filled with sugar, salt, and fat most of our lives, to suddenly eating raw broccoli and expect to love it! It takes some time for our taste buds to be able to truly taste food, instead of always being on high alert with sugar, salt and fat.
This blog is meant as a learning and sharing tool, and I’m happy that so many of you are here reading it, making changes that fit your life and sharing the information with others. 🙂
Have a great weekend!