Recently I have been thinking a lot about dietary labels and the negative/positive connotations set for them. As someone who believes labels are overrated, it is amazing and sad to see the stories people have created in their mind based on other diets. Without taking the time to fully understand someone’s choices or health goals, there should not be any negative or positive associations. I am not a governing body or a powerful figure, nor would I try to influence any of you, but would like to shed some light on this subject.
First of all, ask yourself aren’t we human? Made up of blood, organs, skin, eyes, ears, mouths and all the rest of the essential parts. Then why does it matter what foods are put in the body, if they are beneficial and not destructive?
This topic could be split into a whole series of posts from different approaches and scientific research, but for today we will look at it from within. There is no right or wrong way to deem what is healthy and what is not unless your body is feeling weak or parts are failing. Therefore, it would be beneficial to understand the different ways the body can be healthy beyond labels like an omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan and any other “diet” grouping out there. Health is defined as being in an optimal emotional and physical state, which includes social wellbeing, mental stability as well as many other factors. By this definition, we can be completely healthy by any means necessary to us, rather than the needs of someone else. Thus, there does not need to be any negative or positive story added in or aimed at the choices of others.
Why The Added Stress
The common stigma of non-omnivore based diets is that they are stressful. A lot of people and even my friends have said to me that they do not understand how I can willingly add extra stress to my daily life. The truth is that it is not extra stress at all, rather it is second nature. It would be a lie to say that starting was easy, but like all new things as you do it for a while and stay consistent it becomes easy. Furthermore, as results start to surface, the drive to continue stays there. Instead of the little negative mental voice that tries to lead you back to your old lifestyle.
However, these notions are not apparent to most people because they are so caught up in the western diet in addition to the stories that follow with it. Stories such as other lifestyles are just a phase people are going through to try to fix other issues in their life or they are doing more harm than good to their body. All of this comes from easy to find research, paid advertisements or their local doctor. The last reason being the most controversial, since nutritional education only accounts for 20 – 25% of the required courses to obtain a medical degree.
Personal, not Universal
Lifestyle choices as mentioned earlier should be based on what’s best for your body in my opinion. There is no one better to advise you on this than yourself and with a bit of in-depth research, there is a world of possibilities. This does not mean to neglect healthy foods and eat junk food every day, but rather get in tune with the body. Let go of the stigmas and stories to achieve what is best in the long run.
That is all people are doing when they switch to a different dietary lifestyle, yet they are stereotyped for doing so. As time changes the rules become reversed or changed to fit whatever the dominated lifestyle is deemed to be.
However, from my experience, the best lifestyle is the one that makes you the happiest. Therefore, being the most beneficial to you and not everyone else. That said, I’d like to leave you with this, “happiness is NOT a goal … It’s a by-product of a life well-lived.” – Eleanor Roosevelt