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Saskatoon SK.

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Leaving Dogmatism At The Door

It's been said that the three things you should avoid talking about to avoid controversy are:

1. Religion

2. Politics

3. Diet

Whether we realize it or not, we tend to identify with a certain tribe when we take a stance on any of the above topics (I've been there: The Low-Calorie Tribe, The Low-Fat Tribe, The High-Fat Tribe, Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, Ketogenic...)

We attach these ideologies (systems of beliefs or theories) with ourselves. One way to see this in action is to observe how you react when someone makes the choice to follow or practice an ideology that differs from your own.

Some people just don't like chocolate...

There may be an urge to defend yourself and your beliefs against theirs and it becomes hard to have conversation when you feel disappointment in those who choose otherwise.

When you strongly identify with the way you eat, it becomes easy for your views to become very narrow and closed off to the big picture. It makes it tough to interpret information, articles, and nutritional discussions without a tinted lens (and without algorithms feeding you news that you already agree on).

When it comes down to facts, the whole field of nutritional science is really more of a "Pseudo-Science", as put by author Gary Taubes. You can take nearly any stance and pull up "scientific evidence" that a certain diet is better over others, whether it regards to weight-loss, health, environmental matters, or even history.

Most science conducted on nutrition is simply "bad science." It's nearly impossible to design and conduct a rigorous, randomized, double-blind study that accounts for all confounding variables and accurately measures the most appropriate variables to help us make an inquiry about a certain hypothesis.

All too often we run with a certain hypothesis without questioning or honestly examining the methodology and evidence (or lack thereof). This has lead us down some pretty deep holes in the past throughout history.

What we need to understand is that much of the way our bodies will respond to what we eat is dictated by a combination of our genetics, epigenetics (how our environment impacts the expression of our genes), our lifestyle, and the nuances between the quality or source of the foods we choose.

Our bodies are extremely adaptable and can survive on almost any type of diet (well...almost. But understand there is a difference between mere survival and actually thriving optimal health) and there are many factors that contribute to why someone chooses to eat they way they do (health, environmental impact, moral and religious reasons, economical status, and so on). And when it comes down to these considerations about our food choices, it's far too easy to simplify the matter and jump to conclusions without considering the whole picture, which is a very big picture.

I'm writing this after finding myself acting judgmental when someone close to me decided to make a dietary lifestyle choice that I do not strongly support based on a documentary they watched.

I somehow felt hurt or offended by their decision and felt the need to poke and prod them, waiting for an opportunity to argue why their choice was not an informed decision (um hello, ego). Instead of needing to be right, I need to understand that there is no right. Just because something feels right to me, doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

My goal is to be able to share the knowledge and experience I have gained from my invested passion in nutrition and health with people interested in engaging in the nutritional conversation, all while not strongly identifying with my personal choices about food. I am here to provide information, not a persuasive argument for or against any dogmatic type of diet.

With this, I ask you to give permission to yourself to be concerned, but to be compassionate. If you can, refrain from being judgemental about somebody else's choices. After all, what unites us is more important than what divides us... and we all need to eat.

Thanks for listening and taking time to hear me out!