clean eating

In a recent post, I discussed issues surrounding food and bodies. As part of this, I have to bring up my general disdain for all the various approaches to foods nowadays. This is going to make me sound like a curmudgeon, and possibly a bumpkin. You are going to be overcome with an impulse to tell me what a foolish moron I am. Just bear with me and together we will see if I make any sense. When I say “approaches to food”, I am referring to the concept of being vegan, gluten free, GMO-free, paleo, dairy-free, vegetarian. Those are all concepts that are in some ways disparate. I am also lumping in the pursuit of grain-fed-hormone-and-antibiotic-free meat, only eating locally sourced foods, and all that jazz.

The thing is, I care very little about your culinary choices. It matters not one iota to me how you live your life, unless your living of your life spills over into my living of mine.

Let me be clear and say I am not opposed to any of these dietary choices, or lifestyles. On the contrary, I seek to eat as much local produce and meat as I can, and I try to avoid food that is loaded with antibiotics or pesticides or additives. My diet is generally fairly healthy, though I devolve at times, especially when I am very depressed. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, rice. I do eat some processed food, but it is not an overwhelming component of my staple diet. In a lot of ways, my diet has to be healthy; my lack of a gallbladder gives me little choice in the matter. So understand that I am in no way against a healthy lifestyle, I do not oppose clean living or anyone’s pursuit of health.

What bothers me is the implication of deep scorn that is often an offshoot of such “clean living”, or whatever one might choose to call it. Bubbling under the surface is a judgment that quietly hisses, unless you are sticking solely to a diet of freshly harvested, locally produced, organic, chemical free, non-mechanically-sealed jars of baby laughter, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

A while back, I wrote about working out and how it overwhelms me when people are hardcore about working out. The same is true of eating habits. See, I believe in balance. I believe that the healthiest steps we can take towards maintaining good bodies and minds is mostly avoiding the bad stuff and mostly pursuing the good stuff. But when we start to lace not being active enough or not eating well enough with all sorts of shame and judgment, the scales tip and we fail at the very thing we are trying to accomplish: healthier people and a healthier society.

Neurosis is not healthy. Obsessive behavior is not healthy. This is true even when one’s well-being is the center of the obsession and is the object of neurosis. Just sayin’.

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