I want to share some things I have observed and learned. These things will possibly trigger some people. Hopefully they will comfort more people than they trigger. If you find yourself triggered, my sincere hope is that you might look deeply inside and around yourself for possible truth to these words. At any rate, my goal is to speak the truth and reach those that need to hear it for the comfort, in spite of any possible conflict the words may cause. I hope it will be minimal. I dislike conflict. But sometimes it’s there, nonetheless.
Food choices have become much like a new religion to many people. Oddly, these are often the same people that speak against the bigotry and prejudice often taught in religion. Many are very pushy and stringent about their diet regimes, believing it is the only way to eat and that others who don’t eat that way are doing something wrong and possibly even indecent. We probably all fall into the trap of believing our way is the “right” way. I know I have.
The thing is, when we do this with diet issues, we forget that we all have unique, beautiful, individual bodies, with their own challenges and needs. We also forget that these bodies and needs fluctuate and go through cycles. We turn off our own gut instinct. We can never tell another what they need to do with their own body. We can’t feel their body’s signals. Even if we knew every other aspect about them–lifestyle, foods available in their region, health issues, budget–we can never know and interpret the signals sent by their brain and body. Only they can do that.
Many health and spiritual teachers today promote stringent dietary guidelines, such as raw, vegan. A few of them and some of their followers become very militant about everyone following this diet, either for health reasons or for humane reasons. However, despite what they say, this diet is not appropriate for everyone. The truth is, many people that claim to follow a vegan diet, promote it or teach it to others realize it’s not sustainable for a long period because they can’t do it all the time and stay healthy themselves. Many of them occasionally eat something not vegan or take supplements that allow them to stay healthy but are not vegan. Others binge on foods that are not only not vegan but are not at all healthy. They don’t publically speak of these things because the backlash from militant vegans would be horrendous, possibly even violent. I have had numerous messages from people telling me what they have experienced and seen.
This is unfortunate because it continues to promote the idea that absolutely everyone can eat vegan. Not true. Perhaps a good many people can. And many more can eat largely plant based. However, to eat vegan and be properly nourished, you must eat nuts, seeds and lentils or legumes. For various allergy or health reasons, many people can’t do this. For example: those with nut allergies, or inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis. Also , the vegan diet is very high in fiber, which sounds like a good thing, but for some health conditions, it is actually deadly.
No diet is right for every person–none. There is no need to feel ashamed for eating the way you need to in order to be healthy, whatever that is for you, vegan, gluten free, meat eater, whatever. Listen to your own guidance, your own body. Don’t follow anyone else’s lead over your own–ever. Pay attention to research and the paths that others have followed, but ultimately your own path is the only you need to worry about. If your goal is to eat healthier, learn how to eat less processed foods and you are closer to that goal already. If your goal is promote the end of factory farming, then you can do that too, even if your body needs meat, eggs and dairy. Learn what resources are in your area that will help you buy as close to that goal as possible. For example, a local dairy farmer or chicken farmer whose farm you can get to know or even a store that sells grass fed beef and organic milk. Whatever you can find near you and afford, that is what works for you. Know you are doing your best. Small steps matter and so does your health. And really, we will all be healthier if we live and let live with love.