August 29, 2020Categories: Mindset & Attitude
There's lots of trendy diets out there to choose from. Before choosing a structured diet plan, you need to set your own personal goals.
Food Choice Begins with Goals:
WHY do you want to change your diet?
- To lose weight
- To reduce stress
- To be healthy
- To feel better
To be successful at reaching your WHY above, you need to go a step further. What beliefs do you have that are going to support or conflict with your goals?
- Reducing calories means you lose weight
- Fat makes you fat
- Sugar makes you fat
- Sugar causes diabetes
- Low carb is better
- Low fat is better
- Low protein is better
- We should eat like our caveman ancestors
- We must include fruit because we run on sugar
- We must include meat because our ancestors did
- We must exclude meat because it's mean
- Plant protein is the same as meat protein
- Meat protein is superior and different than plant protein
- Dairy is only for baby cows
- Dairy has been eaten for thousands of years
- We need fiber
- We must include grains in our diet, they're the "Staff of Life" and we've eaten them for thousands of years
- We should all be grain free
As you can see from the above examples, there's lots of conflicting info. Which ones do you believe? Which ones do you think will help you?
Our Beliefs Affect Our Success:
The reality is if you "believe" any of those things, you'll have a much harder time succeeding.
You might be able to lose weight, but you'll feel terrible. Or you could feel better physically, but deteriorate mentally. Or none of your goals are met, and you gain weight, feel worse, lose your health and get depressed.
I don't point these things out to be negative. I point them out so you can realize that what you think about food is the main reason WHY you're in the state you're in now.
Health and Morality Conflict:
I would suggest that you set aside what you believe. Rather than believing or disbelieving the info you have on food, just treat it like info, rather than gospel. Most of these ideas about food you heard from someone else and they weren't a unique idea never conceived before.
You have no idea why other people have been promoting these ideas. You have no idea what some of the agendas behind the ideas are.
If you're thinking about changing your diet for moral reasons, you should also be aware that good health and morals will never 100% match.
One example is with people in the Celiac Disease community. People with Celiac Disease can't eat wheat, barley and rye (gluten containing grains). They need to exclude it 100%, and can't even eat a crumb.
There are special crackers that are used in some modern Christian churches that are used in most weekly church services, and these crackers are made from wheat. The church will not make special wheat free (gluten free) crackers because they claim there are quotes in the bible that say wheat represents Christ and if you won't eat the cracker it's like not accepting Christ into your life. If these people follow the moral rules, they are doomed to lifelong sickness, and a life span that's on average 20 years shorter.
Another example is within the Vegan community. Part of the movement pushes that veganism is healthier and will cure a lot of ailments and is good for all stages of life. But the activist part of the community pushes that it's to stop hurting animals, and they pretty openly state that the movement is for animal protection and not for human health. With just a rough look at any vegan diet it becomes clear that it's completely devoid of some nutrients that humans need that can only be found in animal foods (example: vitamin B-12). Long term veganism will cause serious nutrient deficiencies, and nutrient deficiencies are the direct cause of a lot of disease.
Take Stock of Your Moral Food Beliefs:
Take stock of some of your food beliefs and see if there are any you believe for moral reasons. If you do, I'd recommend that you do some serious research into why that might not be a good idea, and why it might actually be a false belief. Moral choices told to us by others very often are missing some details that would invalidate them. It's a form of propaganda but we're not told that important detail.
Some of these moral reasons for food ideas are pretty ingrained in our culture, media, marketing, medicine, politics, worldwide movements, etc. and it can be a bit disturbing to dig into. It can be difficult to try and uncover our own moral beliefs related to food.
I do encourage you to do this though. There's a lot of moral arguments that are used to control our food. When our food is controlled, we are controlled. We lose our ability to make our own health decisions and be truly informed.
Moral arguments for food beliefs are also loaded with a lot of falsehoods. But the falsehoods are hidden and not advertised. If you don't look for them, you have no idea they're even there.
If you choose to keep your moral ideas about food, then do so honestly, and don't claim they're 100% moral AND 100% healthy. They can't be both. First be honest about that with yourself. Secondly, be honest with others you share your ideas with and don't mislead them.
Thinking about what we know about food, the ideas we've heard, the ideas we believe and disbelieve, shapes our habits and rituals around food. They have a strong influence on what we notice, such as if we notice that what we eat is making us sick. When be believe something is moral and right, it's difficult or impossible to see the harm it's doing to us.
If health is one of our main goals, it's wise to separate our beliefs from the info we have. We'll find conflicting ideas, new data, new discoveries, old valid info, but only if we're open to it. If we avoid falling into the trap of believing or disbelieving the info, we can make progress and improvements in our health via our diet.
If you're interested in digging into this concept of trying to detach from our food beliefs, and being able to take a more objective look at the info, then check out our other articles on this topic in the Mindset & Attitude section.
Learn, eat and enjoy!