Finding No Common Ground Amongst Diet and Lifestyle
It's hard to believe its been so long, but ten years ago, I proudly labeled myself as a Raw Vegan. In March of 2006, I jumped the Standard American Diet ship and took part in what I thought was the tide turning movement towards consuming less meat. The idea was simple in that you eliminated all foods from the animal kingdom, and consumed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Although initially it was a bit of a challenge to let go of so many ingredients I consumed nearly my entire life, it eventually became the norm. Big bulky salads, juices, smoothies, fruits galore, etc.
As I dove deeper into the diet, I began noticing so much divide within the community that was essentially promoting the same thing, which was to not eat animal foods, and to not cook your food. One author promoted the diet heavily on green smoothies, while another pushed for low fat, high carbohydrate. Another big name within the community suggested "superfoods" imported from all over the globe would help you live to 100, while old school raw fooders relied on sprouts. With the onset of social media, myself and many others clashed heads trying to fight for what they believed was the healthiest way to eat a raw vegan diet. In the end, I lost friends, got verbally assaulted often, and eventually left the diet and community.
Through this time of my life, I saw so many people come and go. Initially, so excited to be a part of this community, and to have finally found a way of eating that made them feel good. But in the end, most left feeling more confused about what they should eat. The most beneficial way this community could have brought in more people is by having the "authorities" come together and say "Here's the goal of the diet, and here are the many ways to navigate this way of eating." Instead we clash, with each figure trying to sell their approach, which was clearly their way of making a living.
When I stepped away from this diet in 2009ish, I watched the emergence of the Paleo diet. Again, one common goal, yet many different ways to approach the "cave man diet". Because I was once again eating animals foods, people assumed I was on the Paleo train, which I did my best to avoid. Since then, I have kept my space from diets or a particular lifestyle, although what I eat and how I live can likely be labeled. For simplicity, I like to say that my wife and I are homesteading and we enjoy eating fresh, seasonal ingredients.
As of late, I have once again begun seeing public battles around another lifestyle. People are being called out for making a living based on this lifestyle, which according to some, is the opposite of what the lifestyle promotes. Some choose to hunt and fish for all their protein, while others choose dumpster diving as a viable source of procuring ones food. Once again, different approaches, yet similar goals. But, some folks feel the need to call out others for not living life the way they feel is the right way. More divide, more separation, and yet another community I do not want to be a part of.