Are you Extremely Judgemental? Do Neolethal Eaters hit your nerve?
I try to keep it to myself but I'm not even gunna lie, I judge. Sometimes I talk about food too much or mention things when I'm with family or friends. They usually don't want to hear it, for whatever reason. What do you do to "censor" yourself? Do you even care what other people eat? It pains me to see people feeding their kids processed food or even fake healthy food at the whole foods prepared foods bar (I've noticed that the gluten-free organic cupcakes are placed conspicuously at child's eye-level at the whole foods coffee bar, and last week they had a cupcake making afternoon for kids.) Or the praise quinoa munching vegans get while I get looks for eating a piece of bacon (can someone tell me why whole foods adds cane sugar to their bacon? and yes, I have some issues with whole foods.) Anyway, I'm interested hearing how you deal with people's poor nutritional choices, especially with friends and family.
I judge them and keep my mouth shut. The problem is that, even if a person is receptive to unconventional wisdom, he's bombarded with convention on this topic 24/7. A friend who knows I eat "funny" can ask me about it, and I can spend a couple hours summarizing Taubes and Price and laying out what we know about evolutionary biology, with color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and I might even start to convince him. But he's going to hear "healthy whole grains" and "dangerous cholesterol saturated fat red meat heart attack" a dozen times over the next day, and I won't be there to refute every one. And not just from health expert sources and Oprah, but from the morning radio DJ, from comedians, from sitcoms, from his friends, from the packaging his food comes in, from magazines of all sorts, etc. It's just part of the zeitgeist: if you want to make a joke about eating unhealthy, you say "bacon cheeseburger," and everyone chuckles knowingly.
So, until someone is ready to REJECT conventional wisdom on principle, there probably isn't much point in even trying to sway him on something as fundamental to modern preconceptions as diet and nutrition. (It'd be easier to try to change their minds on something less fundamental to their beliefs, like religion.) If the person you're talking to is a third-party-voting homeschooler who grows her own vegetables to avoid GMOs, then you might have a chance, because she's demonstrated a willingness to reject convention on other topics. But even those kind of people (I know many) often think I'm nuts just for avoiding wheat. Very little is as strongly ingrained in the societal belief system as that stupid food pyramid.
No I don't judge them. I see them as victims as I once was a victim. To buy into our concept of giving up grains and eating high fat for health is a radical one given the CW being spewed by all "the experts". It is a huge leap of faith to ignore all that they hear and follow a path that is pretty much the exact opposite of everything we all hear from our own docs and the media. I feel sad for them and wish them well on their own personal journeys. And when I see these victims believing all the lies I feel overwhelmingly grateful that I found a way out of the sickness and the fat. I can only hope the same for everyone else.
I do keep a photo of me at 300lbs in my wallet and have had a few opportunities to take it out and give witness. I printed up some cards with book recommendations on one side and websites on the other for people who seem interested learning more about my way. I have my email address on it as well should they want to start a conversation with me. Beyond that all I can do is to "be the change I want to see in the world" and continue to learn and grow and follow my own path as best I can so that I am ready and able to help someone if and when the opportunity presents itself.
Trying to control other people is ultimately a losing battle. Even if it was not that, it is certainly fraught with endless stress and frustration.
If one cares about someone's health on more than a superficial and abstract "I want to save the world" level, then one could gently volunteer his insights if the other person shows to be receptive to nutrition advice. But if they are stuck in their views, there is no use trying. A person I know and care about may be a borderline diabetic due to his diet, but there is nothing that I can say to make him stop eating junk. Lately however, he has noticed how far his health has worsened, so I volunteer my knowledge whenever I feel it is appropriate. That is all I can do. People make their own decisions in life, even if they are for what we think is the worse.
As in most matters, the carrot works better than the stick. I guess one shouldn't club people over the head with things that clash with their deep-set worldviews. More subtle suggestions, and sometimes by using oneself as an example, usually work better.
I usually have an internal opinion about what other people are eating (and it's shocking and horrible way too often), but I don't express it much. No one likes the Food Police. I have a strong personality and a tendency to be outspoken and offend people, so it's been a lifelong process to tone that down. Sometimes I can't help myself though. I'm pretty open about my beliefs with friends and family, while trying not to ever guilt them for what they're eating. I make a point to not comment about people's food, any more than I would make negative comments about their weight etc.
If people are interested in my opinions or what I eat, and ask me questions, I'll talk about nutrition and health all day. People who are interested are much more likely to benefit, anyway. I've 'converted' several people I know into thinking a paleo-style diet is healthy for them; but none of them have had much success sticking to it yet (doesn't help that the people in question don't have significant weight to lose; most people I know are only motivated to change habits if they feel fat).
I have a lot of empathy for people who struggle with poor self-care, especially since I did for many many years, mostly thanks to depression and ADD, so mostly what I feel when I see bad eating and unhealthy bodies, is deep sadness.
I judge the holy hell out of anyone pushing unhealthy food as healthy food. I'll ask them for their e-mail address and bombard them with a fucking treatise of the evidence that I have collected in my time of health geekdome. This shit means war!
I used to be judgmental of the average person with their cookies and candies and whatnot. And especially people who are clearly overweight or diseased and won't make an effort to change.
But then I got to thinking that I wasn't correctly empathizing with them since my perspective is that of someone who has made health and nutrition one of his major interests for over a year and read countless articles and posts on the subject, and they are still in the land of CW superstition. I have had much benefit and they have never seen food as a means of escape to a higher order. They truly don't know what is good for them and the wrong info gets beaten into their brains from the get-go. Maybe they have tried to be "healthy" and eat the USDA food pyramid and things still didn't click, and maybe they have food neuroses and the last thing they need is a preacher. Maybe they have heard self-righteous vegeangelists proselytizing their pretentious fantasies and maybe like anyone else with eyes they have seen the people shopping at "health food" stores and noticed how sickly they looked.
I resolved to never judge and instead see if they are open to a dialogue. If they want to listen then I am sure that I have a few quick facts and rational arguments that can convince them to at least listen further. If not then I still don't see how it is any of my business. Eat yourself into oblivion if you like, if you truly don't care then how in the world is it my business to care? If I put myself in their shoes, especially if those are fat shoes, or no shoes because they have an inflammatory foot condition and it hurts, then finger-wagering is the last thing I want.
I don't say a thing. If my friends ask about my diet, (They all know cos we eat together every weekend) I'll tell them all the positive things that it's doing for me so far. The thing is I'm watching them work with their 2 year old and they are always asking her if she's hungry, what does she want etc... Most of the time she chooses the noodles or the bread and it makes me sad, because they really care that she is picky and not eating. I think she's bored. Tonight I brought cream of nettle soup with bone broth and she asked for it and cried when there was no more left. The kid wants to eat good food. The parents cook. What's the disconnect? I wish I knew. But... I want t keep my friends so I say nothing; I just keep bringing good food.
I try not to openly criticize what my parents or inlaws are eating, but here's the rub: when my kids are at their houses, I'm still fairly strict (they are all local so we see each other at least every other week if not more often). Ergo my demands/standards enforced for their grandkids can end up being commentary that what they're eating is seen by me as unacceptable. It's a tough spot to be in, but I feel like if I were lenient (you know, "What happens at Grandma's..."), my kids would be regularly dosed with all manner of processed foods several times a month in addition to what they already consume from other outside-our-home sources.
I don't really judge people at all, when it comes to diet. I was vegan for a good while, and that can be one of the most judged and the most judging groups all at once, but I never really saw the point of it. What's on your plate is your business. Not the contents of another person's.
The thing is, I don't know someone's situation just from looking at them. I don't know their knowledge of nutrition, their financial situation, their living situation, anything. I don't know why they eat the way they do, and it's wrong of me to judge them for it when I don't know the specifics.
Diet is sometimes a choice. But sometimes it really isn't. I've been poor enough to wonder where my next meal was coming from. And sometimes, the prepackaged crap is the better deal, financially. And time-wise. Time spent cooking from scratch over the stove is time that could have been spent working, or looking for a job, while you eat a Hot Pocket from the microwave, when you're that poor.
Pretty much what I'm trying to say, is no one knows everything about another person. Nor do we know everything about health and body. What if, down the road, it turns out you're the one wrong?
It depends on the person, really.
My MIL suffers from high blood pressure and is borderline diabetic. I would love to see her fix her nutrition, but she just thinks I'm wrong. She believes what her doctors tell her and despite the fact that I had high blood pressure for 9 years and fixed it eating this way, I'm still wrong.
My FIL has terrible, horrible migraines. He thinks he eats well, but he's got boxes and boxes of Cheerios and other grain products. I want to give him my books to read, but if my MIL had to switch her way of cooking because of me I would be in deep shit and they live with us so that would be rough.
I want people that need help and have medical issues to be open to the fact that they can be fixed with nutrition. I want obese people to want to change enough to learn about the right foods to eat. I was both of these people and I fixed it. I want people to care enough about themselves to do better.
I was judgmental for awhile, not it mostly just makes me sad.
I do not judge what other people eat. Smoking, sugar sweetened items, and transfat are the three things I know of that are definitely proven bad; the rest of it is is informed guessing. So beyond processed foods, soda, and cancer sticks I don't tend to bother people about their habits.
Paleo/Raw food combo 6 Answers