Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are food allergies, diets and being different causing alienation? Revisited

About a year ago, I blogged about the alienation that results from food allergies and special diets.  So what, if any, changes have I observed since last year?

I think I’ve noticed more of an ego issue with bad food choices people make.  Instead of saying, “bad food choices will lead to bad health consequences, maybe I should learn and alter my habits a bit,” (which seems like a step in the right direction if your goal is not to get chronic disease), it’s become an ‘us vs. them’ climate.

I’ve had a lot of positive comments on my blog.  “Thanks for making us more aware and sharing tips and tricks on how to eat healthier and tastier food.”  Such comments are very encouraging.  My personal goal this year is to spend time and effort only on activities that make a difference.  Time is a scarce resource.  So I’m thrilled that there are people out there that want to improve their lives and just need a little help as they acquire awareness (as I did when I learned all this-it was a fulltime job to figure out how to cook with healthy ingredients, what healthy ingredients even are,  and have the food taste great). 

But, now I sense some of the isolation that people with food allergies, celiac disease, and other special diets face.  It’s as if I came out of the closet – and now it’s public that I refuse to eat in a state of unconsciousness and succumb to peer pressure. 

Surely genetics plays a role in our health.  But if I don’t feed my child processed mac and cheese and sodium nitrite hot dogs every day with a generous helping of factory farmed meat and processed chemicals…. purely from a probabilistic standpoint, the likelihood of him acquiring some chronic disease is reduced.  No guarantees…but at least I’m trying to influence the outcome.  There is no need for me to restate all the great research that one can simply Google (China Study, Reversing Heart Disease, etc.).  Same goes for me, while I can still improve (e.g., be more disciplined about working out), I indulge in conscious eating and choices.  “Conscious Eating” – a term Michael Pollan coined.  Yet, conscious eating is looked down upon by a lot of people.  They continue to say, “I have the right to eat xyz.”   Yes, they have the right, but they also increase health costs for the rest of us.  And again, genetics already plays a role here. 

So my goal with the food related aspect of my blog continues-enable “conscious eating” that doesn’t mean you have to eat cardboard.  Not everything that tastes great has to lead to chronic diseases. Yes, it’s more effort, but most worthwhile things in life are. Is it convenient?  Not for me, full time career, single motherhood and eternal commute would make great excuses for not doing it.  But again, spend time on things that make a difference.

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