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Ditch The Diet Dogma

Often times I’ll get asked about my thoughts on foods, diets, supplements and the like.

I’m a big fan of eating real food over supplementing, most of the time.

I know that works for me and have certain constants when it comes to diet, like trying my best to consciously avoid certain additives, sweeteners, GMOs, “fat-free” products, and not-so-natural stuff in the food I eat most of the time.

I am not, however, a fan of nutritious dogma or a “holier than thou” zealot attitudes when it comes to presenting wellness.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t always this way.

If you used to read my old blog, The Fitness Dish, you would know I went through a very anti-eating animals and anti-dairy phase in my wellness journey. In fact, I was a vegetarian on and off from the time I was 12. I even went vegan for a short period of time.

Ultimately I had to admit to myself by the time I hit 30 that this wasn’t working for me, it was a long-time struggle. Having a child was the tipping point on that and I was terrified to tell my community I was eating meat again. Terrified.

I also felt like a failure and a bad person … which is not a good feeling. It doesn’t help that some people in the vegan community came out with pitch forks. Luckily, I was an experimental vegan and open about that … but they did not take well to me eating meat again. I got nasty emails and lost followers.

Trust me, I’ve read ALL the vegan books there are out there. It is easy to get caught up in the cause, so I get it.

Long story short, I’ve moved past that and am at peace with my life and my diet.

The interesting thing is, though, in all the “nutrition” circles I have looked around in, I see a this dogmatic quasi-religious mindset that has really turned me off.

Paleo, Weston A. Price, veganism, raw veganism, low-carb, keto-adapted, you name it. There are individuals in those circles that think that they are “the one right diet”and will make you feel like shit if you don’t do it their way.

There are people in some circles that shame moms for feeding their kids fruit (yup).

Fruit.

There are circles that preach eating 27 bananas a day (or something like that).

There are forums I have been in that brag about eating sticks of butter and shame others if they eat a banana (I am not kidding, I actually saw a thread like this).

Hell, I even see it in some yoga forums and fitness forums. Dogma is EVERYWHERE.

I can totally appreciate the passion because when you find a diet (or exercise regimen) that changes your life and your health, you think it can fix everyone else around you too.

Sometimes we get a little over the top.

Being on the other end, reading these forums, or meeting people a little more “dogmatic” than me and being the “less passionate one” was a huge lesson.

This and my son bend diagnosed with an nut allergy … both game changers in my mindset and how I expressed myself.

I have even had this next level dogma happen in my OWN nutrition forum for a program that I created.

It’s like the diet mentality we have worked SO hard to get rid of is being replaced with nutritious dogma.

 

 

It made me look at myself and say: “OMG did I ever come across like this?!”I always thought I was pretty balanced, but I have also been doing this a long time and can’t be responsible for the early 20s when I thought I knew everything (but knew nothing).

Professionally I can confidently say I have never been judgmental or shaming to clients, even when I saw “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” in the fridge or Mazola Corn Oil on the counter (cringe). I always found to most gentle way to educate, and only after being asked what changes can be made.

It’s difficult for me to not always be “on” in my health educating mindset because this is my job. People come to me all the time for advice on food and health.

The struggle with “telling it like it is” for me (and some professionals in my circle like me) seems to be with friends and family, I guess because around those closest to you, you can “let go” a little.

They are also the people you care about the most and want them to be healthy in their choices, right?

 I also believe wine to be a healthy part lifestyle for some people 🙂

Maybe the yoga chilled me out after all of these years.

 

Maybe it was the wine.

In all my years in this industry I have learned that no one is going to listen to you when you’re on a soapbox attacking what others are doing. You are better off showing the world what you are doing and staying in your own lane, living your truth, and not looking at or worrying about what others are up to … that goes for everything, not just diet.

(Those constant “nutritional cleanse supplement” before and after photos and sweaty workout selfies on social media that pop all over my feed  annoy me too, but that’s what the hide button is for, it equals happiness.)

If you told me 7 years ago that I would be drinking raw cow’s milk, eating meat, and letting my future kid eat blue icing at a birthday party a couple of times a year (albeit, still reluctantly, but as a parent you gotta let things go sometimes), I would have flipped a shit on you.

There are definitely ways to educate people on healthy foods without shaming them.

 

We want people to feel good and vote with their dollars on nutritious food, making the world a better place and all that, but not everyone is there yet, and you’re most-likely not going to be the person to convince them having an attitude about it.

Lead by example, be the change you want to see, and motivate silently just by being your vibrant, healthy self!

Sweaty selfies holding a smoothie in moderation though, or else they may hide you too 😉

 

What do you think?

Do you think the “diet mentality” has been replaced with nutritious dogma?

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6 Comments

  • Reply Rachel

    Love this advice! It’s definitely a journey.

    And great to meet you in the TSC group! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Rachel
    WayfaringRachel.com

    April 19, 2017 at 10:56 pm
    • Reply lauryraiken@gmail.com

      Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! It totally is! Nice to “meet” you too!

      April 20, 2017 at 8:40 am
  • Reply jen

    I love this post! I am someone who searched for a lifestyle that felt right for me. I found my right path ad meat free and mostly dairy free. I constantly feel like eyes are on me, ready to question my food and it’s so annoying! “Oh I thought you were vegan…ice cream isn’t vegan!” I hate labels. I hate judgement. I have found a way to love that makes me feel amazing. Why does anyone else care what I do? Sometimes I feel like maybe it makes them uncomfortable. But then make some changes for yourself..or, dont! Do what feels right to you! People need to stop tearing each other down!

    April 20, 2017 at 7:20 am
    • Reply lauryraiken@gmail.com

      Yes yes yes! Jen, I definitely felt it was at its worst when I was a vegetarian and dairy-free so I feel you. Keep doing your thing, girl! You can definitely avoid dairy in your overall diet but enjoy some ice cream every now and then if you feel okay with it. We have to live a little! People can be frustrating, and many times it is a reflection on them, not you. Labels SUCK!

      April 20, 2017 at 8:42 am
  • Reply Kelly

    I loved this. My inlaws are vegan and they seriously make me feel like shit. Like I am a lesser person because we are not vegan. This post put it all into words for me. Now if I just had the balls to discuss this all with her! 😆

    April 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm
    • Reply lauryraiken@gmail.com

      Oh, Kelly I am so sorry to hear that you have to deal with that. You are not a lesser person, of course, but I know that in the moment people can really make you feel like crap (especially family). Maybe one day you can have a productive convo and let her know it really hurts! XO

      April 20, 2017 at 9:03 pm

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