Having befriended many people who take their alternative food choices very seriously– Paleo, vegetarian, and vegans– I had wondered if maybe there wasn’t something more to it for some. Some of the ones I know have made these choices for perfectly sane medical reasons. I have one friend that’s a vegetarian, because she gets horrible, can’t-form-a-reasonable-sentence headaches when she eats meat. Another is a vegan because basically she’s a tree hugger. Then I have another that follows the Paleo diet, because she believes the hormones in the meat and dairy products cause her own hormones to be off balance, making her physically ill. Then one of my own relatives is gluten intolerant, so she limits her gluten intake. I’m lactose intolerant myself, so I do my best to limit my dairy consumption, which can be SO hard, let me tell you.
These example people seem perfectly sane to me, but the almost social stigmata some go through for these choices seems terribly isolating to me. They can hardly enjoy an outing to a restaurant with friends or a dinner party because there are foods there that are tempting, but not on their diet. So they often don’t attend such functions. That would be social suicide for me. I love these kind of events! For example, one of my co-workers makes an AMAZING queso dip that is requested for department potlucks all the time. But I have to stay away from it at lunch, so I don’t have a stomach ache the rest of the work day. Simply because I know I will eat way too much of it if I start.
However, there are several other people I know that are on the Paleo diet in particular that are doing it because it’s “cool.” Or at least that’s the best reason I’ve seen them present. These are the ones I worry about. And they tend to be very “in your face” about it too, almost wearing their food choice as a badge of pride of self-sacrifice on their chest.
God made us to eat a variety of things. Granted, perhaps not all the overly processed items we tend to gorge ourselves on today, but still a variety. Some people like myself and those above, can’t handle some of the variety too well, so we limit ourselves. Moderation I think is the key to success. For instance, I had a slice of pizza for lunch today. ONE slice. My digestive system isn’t particularly happy with me, but I’m not doubled over in pain, hugging the toilet. I think I struck a neat balance there– between my taste buds and my intestines. Plus it’s Saturday and I don’t have any particular plans today, so if it would have caused more trouble, no one but myself would have been inconvenienced.
I am not so surprised that some people may fall prey to this trend and take it beyond the medical reasons for such diets. Although perhaps the term and division of just taking fad diets too seriously is too limiting. Perhaps a more global term/division of fad obsession would be more appropriate. For example, people that are obsessed with other things that cannot possibly be pleasurable or functional in anyway except for the “cool” factor. Like… name brands. Some people will only purchase name brand items for the “cool” factor. I’ve seen a list from music professionals/researchers that have determined that those silly Dr. Dre Beats headphones are really rather mediocre as far as headphones go. But the “cool” factor is off the chart. So everyone in the above category simply MUST have at least one pair, if not several in different colors and patterns! Just a thought.