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The Diet Religion And Dietary Practices

As of late, we can add another topic to that list of topics that is sure to elicit an argument at some or other stage and that topic is diet.

01/06/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 01/06/2017 06:20 SAST
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I've always been taught that there are two things you don't discuss with others. The one is, understandably, religion and the other politics. The reason for this is simple, a discussion about either one of these topics, quite easily and regularly, turns into an argument.

As of late, we can add another topic to that list of topics that is sure to elicit an argument at some or other stage and that topic is diet. The followers of any one specific diet, or the members of the congregation, as I like to call them or zealots if being really brash, are so fanatical and uncompromising in their belief that their diet is the key to effortless weight loss and eternal life that they will ferociously defend the teachings of their diet to any opposers there might be.

This, once again, became clear after the recent judgment in the disciplinary hearing of Prof Tim Noakes, the High Priest of LCHF in South Africa, before the HPCSA. Ultimately he was found not guilty and the hearing wasn't really about whether the LCHF diet is the best or most effective diet or not, but social media was abuzz with zealots fighting tooth and nail to protect their ground against opposers who don't believe in the merits of the diet or its leadership. In turn, the opposers attacked with ferocious veracity with claims that the diet doesn't work, is dangerous and the like.

Whether it be LCHF, Veganism, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers or any other diet which has a name, they all follow the same principles. They all have a leader (the Grand Master or High Priest if you like) which is the figure that all the followers worship and whose words are law. No other person can, at least during the time they are following the diet, convince them of the merits and/or benefits of any other diet. They are simply not open to debate any aspect of the diet. Sounds a lot like religion or politics, doesn't it.

Don't get me wrong, there are many people who followed a certain diet and it was truly life changing for them, adopting that way of eating as a lifestyle, but the majority probably don't, moving from diet to diet and each time espousing the benefits of his or her current diet and defending any criticism with abandon.

I have experienced that the last mentioned are normally the followers who we don't want to discuss diet with... Not at all. I am also not saying that any of the proponents of the diets are wrong, or right. It's just that the followers won't accept any other alternative as being with merit, they just see it as completely wrong.

Common sense says you can't have three Big Macs a day and be healthy and lose weight. Likewise, common sense says you can't live mostly on ice cream.

Doesn't this sound all too familiar? I know I have been there. I think I have tried every diet known to man, from LCHF to going Vegan, and yes, I too have defended the principles and benefits of each diet without needing, or wanting, to hear the argument on the other side of the coin. I was always at the ready to take up an arm to defend my diet and showing that my leader should get a Nobel prize for improving the health of millions.

Sadly, I have just recently fallen off the LCHF waggon again! In the years before that, I tried eating like a c man, eating only plants, eating from a predetermined plan downloaded from the interweb and only eating my first meal of the day at 13h00 in the afternoon. You know what, they all worked, I lost weight, but living by and having to apply rules every day just made me tired.

I have therefore decided I am done, I am becoming a diet atheist. I'm not following any diet anymore, I will eat what I want when I want. No more I can't have this or I can't have that or waiting for a specific time to eat, I am, just to repeat, going to eat what I want when I want. The only thing I'll do is apply some common sense to my eating.

Common sense says you can't have three Big Macs a day and be healthy and lose weight. Likewise, common sense says you can't live mostly on ice cream. Common sense, for instance, dictates that fruit and vegetables are good for you and chocolates not so much, so, simply, eat more fruit and vegetables than chocolates! I will eat more of what's good for me and less of what isn't.

Maybe I'll just call it the common sense diet. Does anybody want to follow me?