Carnivore versus Vegan
Full fat versus No Fat
High Carb versus Ketogenic
“Superfood” versus Low Oxalate
the list goes on and on…
Polarization in the health and fitness space is widespread and disturbing. What used to be regarded as different dietary approaches has been elevated to personal attacks in recent years.
Much of this has been fueled by social media. In an effort to gain followers to create an image of authority, far too many health and fitness influencers develop content driven by media algorithms that favor confrontation, sound bites, and click bait. There are even influencers whose entire platform is based on trying to discredit others. Although this approach can result in massive audience building, far too many of us are forgetting what we were called to do in the first place.
The polarization has become so intense that infighting now exists within different dietary camps. It is as if we are consciously looking for the smallest details that can divide groups and set one another apart. Examples include whether or not to consume organ meats on a full carnivore diet, if it is okay to include carbs on the weekend on a ketogenic diet, and if honey is permitted on a vegan diet. I am not suggesting that these differences are not important, in fact, many of them are incredibly significant points that require thoughtful attention. But, they should not be used as the basis for ostracism.
It is time to find common ground and, believe me, it exists. This is true even between the most disparate of approaches. We just have to refocus and concentrate on what is truly important.
Finding common ground
Fortunately, we can always turn to music for inspiration. This particular situation reminds me of the Deep Blue Something song, Breakfast at Tiffany’s:
You say that we’ve got nothing in common
No common ground to start from
And we’re falling apart
Instead of a couple on the verge of breaking up, these words could just as easily be describing the current situation in the health and diet landscape. Thankfully, the protagonist in the song finds a solution that is equally relevant:
And I said, “what about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
She said, “I think I remember the film,
And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it.”
And I said, “Well, that’s the one thing we’ve got.”
No, the solution is not about breakfast (although eating breakfast is another point of contention in the dietary world). Rather, the lesson here is that they found common ground and reimagined their relationship on what they had in common instead of what makes them different.
In fact, despite the vast differences in the diet and health world, we have more going for us than the couple in the song.
We don’t have common ground in one, but rather THREE things! Moreover, they are all so much more important than a movie. Those of us who are really invested in making a difference in the world through dietary change want to create a food system that is simultaneously:
That’s it. That’s the key. Those three points are our common ground. They are our “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” movie.
Just think of the powerful community we could build if, instead of creating siloed echo chambers through exclusion, we championed everyone working towards a more nourishing, ethical, and sustainable food system no matter how they choose to accomplish it?
- I firmly believe the most nutrient dense, bioavailable and safest food on the planet comes from animal sources.
- I also believe that every plant on this planet contains toxins, but fortunately we have developed all sorts of processing strategies to help detoxify and make the nutrients in plants more readily available to our bodies if we choose to include them in our diet.
- I believe there’s no human biological requirement for bread, but if we choose to eat bread a more nourishing version can be found in genuine wild, slow, long fermented sourdough.
In fact, I have very, very strong beliefs when it comes to food, diet and health. All of that said, I also fully believe that I share the core tenets of my dietary approach with a devout vegan who is making their own decisions based on what they believe to be the most nourishing, ethical and sustainable impacts through their plant based approach.
time for a positive change
Transferring negative energy into a positive community building approach is a necessary first step. But, that does not mean we should stop fighting for the food system we believe in. We must continue to fight, but not by attacking individuals or groups that are simply trying to navigate the confusing human dietary landscape in their own way.
On the other hand, it is OK, in fact, it is essential that we continue to fight against the machines that are the modern industrial food system, the modern pharmaceutical system, and all of the other behemoths that are making us sick and destroying the planet. But, the vast majority of the actors and players operating within those machines are simply working hard trying to make a living and care for their families. Personal attacks, belittling, name calling, and negative energy in general are not contributing anything towards a healthier future. Instead, an approach that creates community and results in meaningful discourse has the ability to create the most nourishing, ethical and sustainable food system our species has ever seen!
lots in the works at the ESFL & MSAK
We are working on some exciting initiatives that will hopefully help create and support this type of dialogue, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, we would love any feedback or suggestions you may have! Drop them in the comments below!