Hello out there! Today I bring us another installment of “Reader Advice Day” where I present a question that was asked of me to you, the readers, to get community input. This is probably one of the most important topics we will ever discuss here on HGK. I believe that most of us have dealt with this exact issue at some point in our journey, or maybe even deal with it regularly.
I recently had a friend describe my form of eating as ‘restrictive’ and it kind of hit a chord. I have been mostly plant based for the last 6 months. I went on a road trip with my friend and I packed some of my meals because I knew we would be stopping at some fast food places where I would not have any options. I do have children and do not impose my way of eating on them, I give them choices and often times I will fix them something different. My husband is totally on board and ‘gets’ why I changed. But I am wondering how to deal with the whole ‘restrictive’ label I was given. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me!”
I want to say that the word “restrictive” is a loaded word. I myself have never been anorexic, but I have read a little bit about it and I know that anorexia involves severe restriction. Was your friend implying that you are becoming Anorexic? Have you ever been Anorexic? Are you starving yourself to be thin? If so, that is a whole other ball of wax, so to speak, and probably not the subject of this blog posting.
Okay, so let’s say that the answer is “no” and we are not dealing with anorexia.
There is actually a term for a possible new emerging eating disorder called “Orthorexia.” Let’s also rule that out as an option, because that also could be something that your friend legitimately could be concerned about. You said yourself that the comment that he or she made “hit a cord.”
“Orthorexia nervosa (also known as orthorexia) is a proposed eating disorder or mental disorder characterized by an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthful.” source
Two, ask yourself if you feel restricted or liberated? I can see how an outsider would look at a WFPB diet and think it was restrictive. But is that a bad thing? For me, it is not. It’s actually a great thing. Why? Because I can eat until I am comfortably satisfied and never feel that sick, full feeling I would have after eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) meal. I feel great! Is that a problem for my friends and family? If so, I don’t give a hoot.
Do you feel great or do you feel bad about the way you are eating? Are you actually restricting foods that you want to eat (meat, dairy, processed foods, salty, sugary, oily foods?) or are you including way more foods in your diet (loads of veggies, fruit, beans and whole grains) because on a very calm level you know that those items are health promoting?
One could look at a WFPB diet as the epitome of abundance, not restriction. It’s all how in how you view it. If you looked at a large table covered in gorgeous fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, onions and garlic and compared that with a table of food from McDonalds and the inside aisles of any supermarket, which table looks like a table of abundance and which one looks like a table of restriction?
I once read that a person confronted with this issue would tell people that he is eating this way for ninety days (or something like that) as a test, and if he doesn’t feel better, lose weight, get off his meds, etc. after that time that he would revert back to his old way of eating. That way it disarmed the fearful people in his life. Now what are the chances that all of those things didn’t come to pass? But you get the point, it disarmed the naysayers.
Lastly, I urge you not to let this comment or comments like this derail you. I know how easy it is to fall off this wagon and it’s very possible that you won’t be happy about it later on if you do.
I’m sure everyone has a lot to add on this topic, so I encourage everyone to leave a comment with your thoughts on this very important matter.