Diets are like Religion

If you are atheist, agnostic, or generally unchurched, you typically lump all Christians into one big religious sack.

However, you are a Christian, you are a bit defensive on making sure people identify you by your sect. There are Charismatics, Evangelicals, Mormons,etc…

The point I am trying to make here is to people on the outside, it is all the same. But you are a member of one of these private clubs, it means the world to you. And you want everyone to know.

The same is true of diets/eating styles. If you are on the outside, Jenny Craig is no different than Weight Watchers. But if you are ‘repping their set, then you are ride or die loyal to their cause.

I believe none of this is by mistake. We as humans like tribes. We have a need to feel apart of something. Here comes my but…BUT too often you are being manipulated and maybe even deceived by health/diet gurus just like good old fashioned televangelists.

Here is where I want to go with you on this one. I want to explore the world of diet and influence. I am not trying to convince you or proselyte you to do what I do. I am not trying to sell you on anything except independent thought in this post.

Lastly, before we get started, there is this thing called libel, defamation of character, and slander…I am not trying to get sued for any of the above. So I will not be naming particular people or plans.

I am not trying to receive any cease and desist order, so I will tread lightly. BUT I want to give you enough information to start researching for yourself, and asking the right question before you join any food cults.

Dr Hollywood

I am not a health expert…I just play one in documentaries

Everyone jokes about Dr. Google, the idea that you can put a symptom into a search bar, and get millions of pieces of advice. Yet, no one talks about Netflix, M.D.

Between YouTube, Netflix, and all the other online services, you can watch hundreds of documentaries related to diet and weight loss. All of them telling you that theirs is the truth.

There are three important concepts I want to drive home about health documentaries. I will elaborate on each, but here is the overview.

  1. Documentaries are not produced for free or even with a low budget. Someone has a vested financial interest in the success of the movie. Follow the money trail.
  2. Documentaries, unlike books are not just for information. Being in a visual format, it has to entertain you. You should not be getting healthcare information from the same place you watch cat videos.
  3. Propaganda is a real and powerful tool that is used against you everyday without you being aware. Take a quick history lesson on the origin of documentary style films, and you will see it has always been a powerful tool for manipulating a population.

Follow the money

I remember watching a documentary about a “certain” diet fad that centered around the use of a machine a few years ago. I bought the machine before the movie, but it was the movie that motivated me to use it.

I was inspired by the movie. The testimonials, the transformations,…it was all so moving. I even gave my copies of the DVDs away to inspire other people.  I wanted to spread the good news about how this machine was going to revolutionize the world!

Unfortunately, I was born a skeptic.

Using this machine was cute for awhile, but it was not sustainable. Buying food to stuff into a machine, and only getting a portion of the food back…not a great idea to me.

I felt guilty that I had this machine, and did not want to use it. I wanted to be a good follower, but something was not clicking for me.

So I began to do some research. I found it strange that one of the vegetables that the documentary extolled the merits of was foreign to me before this film. After this film, this one single ingredient blew up in pop culture.

The problem I had was this crop was an export of the documentary maker’s country…hmm. Coincidence? O.k.

I kept digging and found out that the star of the documentary was an executive of the company of the machine that the film was promoting. Conflict of interest much?

I was out. I like full disclosure. Had he clearly stated all this from the start of the film, no biggie, but the fact I had to figure it out seemed…sneaky…shady…even a little slimy.

But here is where my cult/religion analogy comes in. When I went out to research this on the interwebs, there were others that saw some of same connections that I did. But they were quickly shot down by apologists for this product. They just wanted to believe no matter what.

People become loyal to these movements like they know the person behind the movement. You ever heard of the Bey Hive, the loyal group of Beyonce’ fans that will destroy you if you come at her…I have seen people do this over diets.

I feel very strongly about the lifestyle that I live, but I do not get into arguments with strangers over the internet, in person or otherwise. Just like my religious beliefs, if you are interested and ask, I will share my story with you. But when you start freaking out and attacking everyone that does not agree with you…that sound like you have been through some programming.

Take a look it is in a book, not a movie

I used to follow a family on YouTube. They are a young, sweet family.

Until recently, they proclaimed their commitment to a “plant-based” diet, which consisted of them eating junk food like veggie burgers. I am a gardener, and I have not ran up on the plant that veggie burgers grow on. If it comes from a restaurant, it is still processed food. Please believe that it has fillers, and preservatives, and it ain’t all that good for you.

So in one particular video, they made an announcement that they had finally made the decision to finally stop transitioning to becoming vegan and they were going the whole way.

They believed after watching a documentary called, “What the Health”, they now had a divine calling from the Holy Spirit to become vegans.

Yep, I am not making this up. I am not “throwing shade” as the young people say. I feel like my eating style was divinely inspired, but I did not get the call from Hulu. I researched, and did much soul searching until I had my “come to Jesus” moment.

Movies are designed to distract you, and keep you there watching for the duration of the film. Books are designed for information. I can read a few chapters in a book, then pick up another book to fact check what I am reading.

Am I trying to persuade you to read…let’s see I am writer…what do you think? But beyond all that, if you are going to seek information, make the internet a small tool up against the vast world that is printed knowledge.

What do Disney and Hitler have in common?

If you guessed, propaganda you are correct! I will link some videos in this article for you to check out to see our own country’s use of propaganda.

I did actually learn something in the preparation of this article. The word propaganda has a religious origin. I did not know that when I started this post, but it only further solidifies my point.

Propaganda is the word used to describe the Catholic church’s efforts to convert heathen nations to Catholicism.

So fast forward to the 20th century… around the Industrial Revolution…the creation of the discipline of psychology, and a little event called World War I. This is where we have a few players that wanted a lot of people to do “stuff” for them.

What “stuff?” If you wanted women to work in factories, you do this. If you wanted men to enlist, make films like this. If you want people to eat fake food, convince them it was patriotic.

Please do not think propaganda was something that was used just by the enemy or during war time. The knowledge that we have of modern day marketing/PR techniques comes from this era.

If you look at this and think people weren’t too bright for falling for this stuff. Ask yourself what are you falling for. Marketers have only gotten better and have better tools to reach you with. If someone was just trying to convince you to buy a phone, that would be one thing, but what happens when people are playing with your health.

Do not trust a fat vegan or a rich vegan

There are going to be people calling for my head without even reading the article, just taking that line out of context, but oh, well. That is the risk you take as a freedom fighter.

The Fat Vegan

So let’s go back in my story to my YouTube family. So in another video, they are at a food truck festival for who…you guessed it vegans. So they are interviewing people who are running the trucks, I was struck by the fact that everyone was fat.

“Oh, my goodness…you are so mean…you can’t say stuff like that…you are a bully…you are FAT SHAMING.”

Are you done? No, I am not a bully. A good majority of y’all elected a man that takes pleasure in his meanness, so I really do not think Americans have a problem with mean…not political, just truth.

And most importantly, before my transformation, I had been fat my whole adult life. It is not about shame, it is about calling out the tools that keep us shackled to obesity.

Now can I finish my story?

All these vegans were fat. This dear YouTube family has gotten bigger since I have been watching them. If this is the healthiest and most natural way of eating…then what in the world?

So they go on a food haul to that “super expensive store that lets everyone know you are healthy.” Got me? Good.

So with this new found veganism, what do you find in the cart…kale…tomatoes…cherries? Nope, lots and lots of packaged food.

What makes me sad is how happy the mom was. I know she loves her child and wants to do what is best for her, but organic junk is still junk. All day…all night.

“So what’s this got to do with your religion analogy?” Everything.

Admit it, veganism has become what people consider to be the epitome of health, wellness and discipline. You have transcending hippie-hood, and went over the other side that we barbaric meat eaters will never ascend to.

Do you know a vegan, bet you do because they will work it into the conversation whether you are interested or not…constantly. Since since  my YouTube family has become vegan, I had to stop watching. They used to have diverse content, but now it is “what to do as a vegan at a bbq, how to use the bathroom as a vegan”….

None of this stuff changed, but the religious fervor that this lifestyle causes people to have; demands that you are ALWAYS aware that they are different.

I eat wheat free and sugar free, and this is the first time I am mentioning. It is a part of my everyday life. It is what it is. Again, if you are interested in what life is like eating a restricted diet, I will be glad to share it, but I do not need to bring it up in conversation every chance I get.

The rich vegan

Let’s go back and review our conversation about documentaries. They cost money. Who puts up the money for the film you are watching. Sometimes the person has written a book,so maybe the publisher is backing it.. Sometimes there is an paid online community for you to join, so maybe investors are funding it. Sometimes there is a food company secretly in the background funding the film. Not cool if you do not know that.

Even, if it was private investor, a rich vegan has a conflict of interest in my opinion. Although, be clear it is the same conflict I feel like milk producers, and chicken manufacturers have. They are business men who have the corporations best interest at heart, first and foremost.

If I sell beetle shells, I am going to use every tool in my arsenal to convince you that this is the most natural way of eating. “People all over the world eat beetle shells. EAT beetle shells or DIE!”

What I do not mention is that my beetle farm causes all kinds of ecological problems. You can not get all your nutrition from my beetle shells, and I have no proof that you will die other than all humans eventually die anyway.

So let me go on the record, I believe in a PLANT BASED diet. I wholeheartedly believe that plants should be the basis of all humans diets.

Here is where we turn….I just can not agree that is natural for us to eat all plants all the time. Where I live, without significant amounts of money and equipment, everything dies from the end of fall to early spring. There would not be enough plants to go around to feed us if we were not be supported by big agriculture. That is not natural.

So let’s talk about crops in particular. There are on-going shortage of crops due to the fact, we create a demand for products that can not grown except in certain growing environments. Three that come to mind are maple syrup, avocados, and almonds. Full disclosure: I buy all three. I am just very conscious of my purchases, and understand that I can not abuse these ingredients because they could become rare if I do.

Pay to Play

We are wrapping up here, thanks for sticking in there, the finish line is near.

Weight Watchers is the only company that I feel like it is safe to mention because I did pay for their products.

This is not to bash Weight Watchers, but it is to illustrate my point. So I tried Weight Watchers, a number of times. A ” leader” has to sign you up. You commit to come hear this leader speak once a week.(sound familiar ?)

But wait there is more…my favorite part is you are not welcome in the meeting unless you pay and weigh. So often during these meeting, the leader promotes that you buy the products…hold on I just paid at the door? No, that was what you had to pay…this is what you need to pay. You need snacks, candy, and branded products to be successful.

So I bought the nasty bars, and loaded my fridge up with the frozen meals, and tried to be faithful to the meetings. When the leader said this new gadget was going to be my salvation…I bought one on the spot.

I left Weight Watchers for many reasons..here I go again.

It bothered me that many of the leaders were fat. Several of the leaders were great speakers, but they disclosed that if they did not get their weight under control, they would lose their ability to be a leader.

So I am sitting there spending my money wondering why don’t the junk work, wasting my Saturday mornings on just feeling special about being a member of a paid cult club.

People are zealous over Weight Watchers. There are Facebook groups, secret boards outside of the Weight Watchers website for fans. It has a cult following.

So let’s look at who is the current majority share holder at Weight Watchers? Well, this person may not be as popular as she once was, but she still wields influence and power over a huge audience to convince them to commit to the product she is selling, even if it does not work all that well.

When I am at the grocery store, you will see the owner’s picture on her magazine proclaiming her weight loss…we have been watching this woman shrink and expand for decades now, when we going to stop following her as our weight loss leader?

My point is why are you letting a rich fat woman dictate your health plans. This woman could afford a body transplant if she wanted to. You can not.

Conclusion

You need to decide what is right for you. We all need something to believe in. I just do not want you to be drawn into a nutrition cult that serves more of its own interests than yours.

Do not make knee jerk decisions based on emotions or peer pressure. Make decisions based on longevity. Can you eat carrots, and bean sprouts for the rest of your life. Then by all means do it. Just do not judge me because I don’t.

The same way I will not judge you if you stuff corn, soy and wheat products down your throat. I do not think it is the best choice, but YOU made it.

Freedom for me means INDEPENDENT THINKING. You have to think to be free. It is hard to develop your own mind when there are puppet masters behind the scenes pulling the strings.

If you liked this, could you share it with someone. I work hard to produce quality, life changing content (or least I think I do). Hit one of the share buttons below.

Be free, be well and thank you for reading.

 

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