“You Just Eat Vegetables? You Must Be In A Cult!” – How To Deal With Food Judgment
I was hanging out with some friends a while ago and we were chatting about how long we think it will be until we decide we’re ready to pop out some kids. One of my friends said to me, “You will probably have to wait until you start eating proper food though, won’t you? Because you will be eating for two then.” I let the comment slide, but my sensitive side felt like it had just been slapped. Proper food?! Gosh, because what I eat now is not proper? This is just one of many occasions when my eating habits have been judged by my well-meaning loved ones who don’t quite understand why I eat the way I eat.
I did an interview with comedian/actor/motivational speaker Kyle Cease last week and he brought this topic up as well. He had just kicked off a juice fast, and was talking about how some people around him think he’s crazy for just eating vegetables and natural foods. Then he went into a riff about how crazy the standard way of eating would seem if we all ate natural, whole real foods. Imagine if we were all standing around eating fruits, veggies, and food grown in the ground (the way nature intended for us to eat) and someone came up to us and said they were going to start drinking milk from the boob of another species, start eating pepperoni meat from an animal that doesn’t exist, and start drinking Coke, which is a solution that dissolves nails. We would think they were nuts. But sadly, this is what has become normal.
Generally speaking, we have become so far removed from our natural diet that we’ve lost sight of reality. We are not designed to eat food that comes out of a box, a microwave, or a drive-thru. Living bodies need living foods.
You and I know that, but how are we supposed to deal with our friends and family who think we’ve gone and joined a cult just because we don’t want to eat food that isn’t actually food?
Criticism and snarky comments are usually offloaded for one of two reasons:
1. The person is oblivious to the detriments of poor diet, and is ignorant about your reasons for choosing to eat the way you eat.
2. They want or know that they need to make certain changes, but aren’t willing to make them yet.
Nothing shines a light on our own un-actioned goals like seeing someone else rocking them in their own life. Some of us are inspired by seeing people make positive changes, and some of us are threatened. It’s those who are threatened who will lash out with nasty and judgmental comments.
What’s the solution?
You can either choose to educate them a little and tell them about what you’ve discovered about eating whole, natural foods (in a caring rather than condescending tone). Or, if you know that they absolutely won’t want to hear it, just slip on your thick skin, let the comments slide and lead by example.
If you’re on the receiving end of this kind of conviction, quickly remind yourself that their comment has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Try to see their innocence. Remind yourself that you were once in their position, and that they will wake up if/when it is the perfect time for them. Personally, it’s very easy for me to forget that not so long ago I thought vegetarians were crazy people who had just never tasted bacon.
Ultimately, the way someone else acts and thinks is out of our control. We all wake up to different wisdom at different times and if/when it is their time, they will come to you with questions about why you look and feel so great.
We can’t change people – all we can do is stay focused on what is best for us, and allow our light to be the inspiration someone else needs to light up their own life.
Have you experienced food judgement? How have you handled it?
Positive affirmation for the day: I am immune to the opinions of others.
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