Nutrition | Coaching | Speaking

FOOD the new religion

 

messiah

Oh goodness, every day we have a new self-proclaimed health expert popping up to share their personal brand of nutrition wisdom or as I like to call it BS. Don't get me wrong, some parts of what they offer may have merit, might even be based in science and may even improve your health but it's mostly spun with lots of promises and claims and comes with a price tag (products books, workshops etc) which is what makes it problematic for me.

So after watching this passing parade of 'misisonaries for the cause' I have come to liken them to the religious zealots of times past. Each one with some to no qualifications espousing theirs is the only true and right religion, the only true church where you will be saved. Saved from what? They share their special insights and wisdom all the while knocking established ideas and experts (those who have actually spent time gaining a degree, studying and researching). Anarchy and rebellion is a popular method for gaining popularity and garnering support. 

Food has now become the new religion. We have seen people abandon organised religion in the last few decades and yet it appears that people are still hungry for something they can belong to, a place that offers rituals and rules they can follow. And importantly a way to feel they will be saved and guaranteed eternal life through their devout and saintly adherance to their chosen food religion. 

Each of these food religions has their own rules, reasons, evidence (?) (one person does not data make) and messages about why you can't trust anyone else (again remember this comes with a pricetag). They have high profile preachers as well as unlikely leaders who seem to almost overnight gather cult like followings. Increasingly these evangalists end up in the media offering their opinions and ideas as facts, they write and sell books, worksjops, products and blogs and gather even more followers, until the new guru appears….

The question is can SOOOOO many be SOOOOOO right? Do they REALLY have the answer? Does a Dr Oz endorsement make it safe? Is a chef, a lawyer a journalist more qualified than a dietitian to know about health and what people need to eat? Does writing a book be all they need to qualify them as a nutrition expert? How do you choose between the eat meat and lots of it and the don't ever touch it, gurus? If I eat sugar will I be struck down by lightening? Etc etc etc The hype and propoganda driven messages are almost paralysing. 

Ok now breathe…. it's ok, you will be ok. 

This is why I love HAES®. I love it because it hands us back the power to decide our food choices. We get to choose what to eat and we get to decide if that works for us and yes we can even mix and match. We don't need a new messiah, you don't need a messiah. There is no eternal life. Healthy people and unhealthy people get sick and we all die. Food is so much more than being a 'right' food or a 'wrong' food. Food is our every day, it's our celebration, it's our memories, our connection to others and ourselves. Each of us is unique and to believe, expect that eating in one particular way will be right for us all is beyond arrogant it's just plain stupid. 

And lastly if you are not sure about food, want to understand it better or need some help please choose your expert wisely. You would never ask the plumber to wire up your house or get the bus driver to take out your appendix and yet we so easily hand over our food choices to untrained opinionated people. As a dietitian-to-be and a nutritionist I can help you with coaching around food and eating. But truly dietitians are the food experts, they have five years minimum training in the science and nutrition of food, anatomy, physiology, disease, biochemistry etc and they are the go to experts, not these others. Within the field of dietetics there are varying opinions and ideas for sure and people follow their passions but having that background are able to apply and share it with wisdom based on sound science not the need to be popular. You will be advised and recommendations will be based on your needs not what is popular. 

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