—When you claim that science ”proves” your diet. In reality, one can find “science” on any side of an argument. Whatever you can imagine, check “science”; I’m sure there is a compelling case study on it. With bias, we cherry pick our favorite “science” that backs our addictions or favorite foods and we go to battle with double-blind-peer-reviewed studies as our ammunition. When blind-belief, authority or “popular consensus” take the place of your own objective experience, your diet has become a religion.
—If you have to prove, defend, justify, argue or market your diet because you swear you have “found the ticket”, it is no longer about health; it’s about religion.
—If you feel your diet is the only way or is the right way, your diet is now a religion. When being right, replaces intuition and common sense, health is not a priority to you. It’s egomania.
—If you have joined camaraderie-based clubs where you are at war with “the other side”, again, it’s not about health, it’s about the ego’s need to be right, get revenge against “the other side”, and be in control.
—Are there rules to your diet that some arbitrary “expert” in some Facebook community made up and has handed down to you to follow? You are probably in a religion.
—Does the posse you belong to intimidate, censor, block or delete questions, critical thinking or alternatives? You are probably in a religion since religion stifles individuality.
These tenants, especially the squashing of individuality, are very common with internet fad diets (especially on Facebook) where people (some well-intended or are just confused) are in a perpetual state of jumping from one extreme diet to another and every time they change their diet, they are at war with “the other diet” whatever that may be. Instead of it being a legitimate individuated journey of self-discovery to find out what works and what doesn’t, it’s a vicious cycle that has little to do with learning and more to do with the need to feel a sense of belonging/sisterhood/brotherhood, the need for authority outside of us or the need to have someone else think for us, and the need to believe in something and often, the unwavering need for control for those who feel powerless in their daily lives. Food cults can also become a conduit for repressed rage in some of us.
Those who are sincerely concerned about health know that the only authority is WITHIN and they just do their own thing without needing to create division, arguments, and hysteria revolved around what they eat or what others eat. For goodness sakes, we are so much more than FOOD. And until we expand, open our Hearts and realize that we are SO much more than what we eat, we might be stuck inside these self-made prisons that need to fight over things that just don’t exist or matter in the grand scheme of Life.
I know a lot about this. I used to be in food cults and was a warrior who tried to sell her diet to others and often at the expense of friendship and real community. I hope my own mistakes can inspire others to forgo the herd mentality and go within for the answers as that is the only place where they exist. Science and cults only exist for those who don’t realize how powerful and wise they already are.
While what we consume IS important, the healthiest thing we can do is love and accept ourselves and love and accept one another whether we eat bacon or watermelon or both in a smoothie. We’re all on a unique path and are here for different reasons and experiences, so just love and you cannot ever go wrong. Love even those stuck in the loop of internet fad diet wars. Love the vegans, love the meat-eaters….love those who are confused. We all make mistakes and they aren’t in vain as we all eventually find our way.