Yesterday, as I was riding the metro to get to a workshop I was facilitating on easy and healthy breakfasts, I was stunned to see this poster and the response that had been scrawled across it.
What really took me by surprise was the response on the poster. It says, “Try humanely treated cows…we wouldn’t be needed (or alive to have) otherwise.” Whoa! This isn’t a standard “vegans are crazy/dumb/etc.” kind of response, it is instead the defensive response of someone who has an emotional investment in another approach to food and eating. As I was sitting there, reading and re-reading it I just kept thinking, “why do we keep doing this?”
There are so many different approaches to both conscientious and healthy eating. Real food, locavore, organic, vegan, vegetarian, traditional, paleo, Mediterranean, the list goes on and on. And, it seems to me, that all of these approaches and the people who follow them actually have a lot in common. We are all trying to do what is best for our bodies, for our families, and, often, for the world. So why do we have to keep attacking one another?
Real Mom Nutrition recently had a really powerful blog post in which she explains why she doesn’t make everything from scratch and, instead, buys many foods that are already made. The post was liberating to read because it beautifully illustrates that we are all doing the best we can, while trying to find a healthy balance in our lives. It also struck me as a little sad, though, because it also spoke to the fact that she felt that she needed to “confess” that she doesn’t make everything herself and she alluded to the fact that in certain circles she feels judged for that fact.
Enough! We should not be judging each other, we should be supporting one another. We all have similar, if not the same, goals, so why can’t we share information and encourage one another. Sure, I may eat meat from time to time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to learn from my vegan and vegetarian friends and colleagues, and that I don’t have recipes and ideas to share with them. Yes, I don’t make all my food from scratch, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try to make nutella on my own. And, conversely, yes I try to avoid many processed foods, but that definitely doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn from folks about healthy options that they have discovered that will help me to save time and effort.
So how about it? The next time you are in a conversation about diet and lifestyle choices related to food, how about trying to do so without judgment—listen and support the other person’s approach, while also happily sharing your own. Wouldn’t that be more pleasant and productive? I sure think so.