I used to eat anything and everything.
I also used to get sick a lot and feel like shit.
About 4 years ago, I started researching a subject that I was never taught properly in school: nutrition. I began by working my way through all the general health websites inundated with common knowledge and misinformation that guides interested, but uninformed people down the wrong paths toward getting health. Eventually, I found a few forums that I enjoyed reading. I trenched through the murky depths of forum talk and lingo focused around bulking up, calorie counting, and working out 7 days a week. Then, I started reading some educational, science-based books on nutrition and even watched a few interesting documentaries.
Over the next year, I started researching and experimenting with my own nutrition religiously. I tested and tried to be vegetarian, vegan, a raw vegan, a fruitarian, and a “paleolith” (someone on the Paleo diet, perhaps. Yes, I made this word up.) I tested and tried every other possible dieting solution that promised better results.
Over the past couple of years of my experimentation, I managed to learn a few important things about dieting and nutrition that I wanted to share with you:
- Everyone’s body works in different ways. Find out which foods raise your vitality, your life force and feel good vibration. Eat foods that make you feel great. For me, it’s dark leafy greens, raw vegetables, and fruit.
- There is no such thing as the perfect diet: our bodies are constantly changing; therefore, our nutritional needs will always vary. Stop trying to conform to a particular diet or eating trend and focus on eating healthy nutritious foods all the time.
- Stop eating refined sugar. Refined sugar is in almost everything you eat, look at the label on the back of the next thing you eat. Then, stop eating foods with labels.
- Reducing animal meat intake and increasing plant consumption did wonders for my body, my mind, and my vitality. Your results may be different, see what works for you.
- Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables works magic! I cannot think of anything that can make a better and easier impact on your day. I guarantee this will change your life.
- Daily nutrition is more important than daily exercise.
The truth is I felt best when I followed a vegan-style diet. However, after moving overseas to Thailand, I realized that eating a healthy diet is a luxury that most westerners seem to forget. Back at home, I find most of my friends and the blogs I read talking about each other’s differences toward nutrition instead of focusing on the bigger picture: nutrition as a whole. Instead of recognizing one another’s progress towards living a healthy life, they end up confusing people who want to change their eating habits into the worst kind of traps: indecision and uncertainty. Then nutrition newbies end of scared to make the wrong decision or overwhelmed with the vast amounts of “experts” saying their diet is the best. Instead of helping one another in the right direction, most people prefer to argue over the specifics of nutrition, much of which is uncertain and still unknown.
Vegans fight vegetarians over eggs and cheese. Paleoliths believe themselves to be superhuman. Fruitarians demonstrate the power of eating melons, mangos, and bananas and running 135 miles through the desert. But, the one thing that people have forgotten about is that we are all going in the right direction towards living a healthier life.
We lose our power of awareness by splitting ourselves up into separate movements. If there is one thing that I have learned since leaving the United States, it’s that eating healthy food is a luxury that we should all be grateful for. Living healthier lifestyles should bring us closer together. Instead, we choose to do the opposite. We separate ourselves based on different imaginary, self-created labels and diets defined by the specifics of the food we eat. Stereotypical images of the lanky vegetarian give television audiences an easy target to criticize. Vegans are Hollywood’s latest mockery. Oh, and paleoliths believe they are superhuman. All the while, our greatest weapon for influence, the media, is making a comedy out of all of us.
We should approach eating with gratitude and mindfulness. It is a distinct privilege that our countries and us have the capability of eating so abundantly healthy. We are the scientists of a new movement of nutrition experiments. Our collective knowledge can be much more powerful as a whole than our separate indifferences. One thing we can all come together and agree on is trying to live a healthier and longer life. We share an educated mindset that understands the importance of nutrition in daily health.
The three big names in diets are destroying what it means to be the cornerstones of health: the majority of vegans have developed pompous “I am better than you” attitude toward anyone consuming a part of an animal, vegetarians have segregated themselves into too many corners of the market creating vegetarian sub-sectors like lacto-ovo vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, pescatarian, and so forth. Oh, and paleoliths believe themselves to be superhuman; actually, wait… they might be.
I believe we can all agree that we want to live longer, better, and more able lives.
Living in Thailand over the past year has taught me that outside of the western world trying to follow a healthy diet like being a vegetarian, let alone a vegan or eating a Paleo style diet, is near impossible. Even in Thailand, eating a healthy diet has serious limitations. Finding a variety of vegetables can become a serious task. Fish sauce is a common substitute for salt. Whole grain carbohydrates are near impossible to find, even in larger cities, it can be a chore to find brown rice, bread, or quinoa. And trying to order any food without soybean oil or MSG is liable to make you the laughing stock of the entire restaurant- that is if you can communicate yourself properly to your foreign chef. You might as well starve to death than to hope your meal is made to your western perfections of a “gluten-free raw vegan diet.”
Needless to say, there is no such thing as the perfect diet. Stop trying to differentiate yourself and focus on the bigger goal, living a better life and helping others do the same.