Sunday, March 2, 2014

Deconstruction of Thoughtless Remark about Ron’s Weird Lunch

The other day Ron made himself a strange combination of foods for lunch. His choice made me laugh and I outed him on Facebook with a description of the food combo and I asked, “Should I be worried?” The switchboard lit up. Friends and family from all over jumped in the fun, Ron responded, and we had a hilarious string going on FB in no time.

Hours after the initial post, while goofy posts continued to trickle in and make us laugh, an acquaintance of mine, who does not know Ron at all, posted this comment, “Because he’s diabetic, yes, you should be very worried. I want to loan you a video about health.” I was shocked by the inappropriateness, condescension, ignorance, and insult inherent in this comment. It made me so angry that I not only deleted the comment but unfriended the person who made it; I will hereafter refer to that person as X.

The comment pissed Ron off and he told me about it, which prompted me to find it and delete it. (I actually don’t spend much time on FB.) “Who is this person?” Ron asked. Exactly. How can someone so removed from the situation, who doesn’t even know Ron, make a judgment about his eating habits, body chemistry, and knowledge of a disease he has had for over 20 years? I am certain that Ron and I know much more about diabetes than X. Ron has other health issues as well that contribute to the total picture and X has no knowledge of these.

X also does not know that I am halfway through a college program to gain my certification as a holistic nutrition consultant. Although there is always much to learn about how our bodies work, I have learned a great deal already. I believe I know more about nutrition than X or that video. One thing that I have been taught in my program is the importance of recognizing the bio-individuality of body chemistry. Each person is different so there is no cookie-cutter approach to eating. This is why I am skeptical of proscribed “diets.” People who want to improve their health first need to pay attention to their own body and how it responds to different foods, medications, supplements, and activities. Trained health professionals of the highest caliber work in collaboration with people to figure out what will work best for that individual person.

Although the foods that Ron ate for lunch that day seemed like an odd combination to me, none of them were unhealthy. He ate organic chicken, an organic low-sodium mushroom soup made with a mineral-dense vegetable broth (that I made from scratch), an organic orange, and a peanut butter and jam sandwich on gluten-free bread with jam made from organic fruit and no sugar in it. X probably took exception to the chicken because X is a vegan who eats little more than fresh juiced fruits and vegetables. X is as skinny as a twig, in my opinion verging on anorexic. Although a raw food diet, juice fasting, and cleansing fruit/vegetable-dense diets are beneficial for short periods of time, I don’t believe they are adequate to sustain health over the long-term. They simply lack enough nutrients. And someone like Ron, who has thyroid issues, should not be eating raw cruciferous vegetables because they would negatively impact his thyroid. Translated, that means he needs to cook his broccoli, not juice it raw.

I am not opposed to a vegan diet; however, the vegan must learn a lot about nutrition to make it work because certain important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are frequently missing, and care must be taken to consciously consume them. Whatever food choices people make, the most important thing is to eat high quality food, meaning organic, unprocessed, unadulterated by toxins, preferably in season. Basically, eat nutritional food. A plant-based diet is best, but even though I prefer vegetarianism, I recognize that a good plant-based diet does not necessarily exclude high-quality meat or animal products.

I know why X posted that comment and why X is so eager to jump in and send that video. X has a home business selling a juicing system and a nutrient powder to put in smoothies. X is always on the lookout for opportunities to market these products and make a buck. I cannot think of a single conversation I have ever had with X when X did not manage to bring talk around to the topic of the juicing and the products X sells. This has been going on for years and I am not interested in what X sells or the juicing system. I have made this clear. But still X turns the conversation to try to sell me something whenever we meet. I’m burned out on the advertising.

The comment on FB and X’s whole modus operandi smacks of proselytizing. As a Jew, I am particularly averse to proselytizing. In the religious realm, it has gotten a lot of Jews tortured, murdered, thrown out of countries, and generally traumatized. It gets my hackles up when a self-righteous person is convinced that they have seen the one-and-only light and they know the one-and-only truth and every other path is dead wrong. There you have the sum total of religious persecution, racism, and complete cultural incompetence. It is the attitude of the privileged, which infuriates and repulses me. 

It surprises me that X’s FB comment got under my skin. Perhaps I should have just shrugged it off. Writing about it has helped me sort out why I found it so disturbing. The incident reminds me to think before I speak and cautions me to pay more attention to my own assumptions.

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