When I first decided to make some slight changes to the way I ate, people told me not to get “extreme”. This was before I went plant-strong. I had watched the movie “Super Size Me” and decided I shouldn’t eat fast food anymore.
Reasonable, I thought.
Mind you I was morbidly obese at the time as well and I had T2 diabetes and my blood sugar would hover around 300-400 regularly. Yet people warned that I shouldn’t “go overboard” and I should be wary of extreme measures.
Giving up fast food, should not be seen as extreme, but yet, to many it was. And it baffled me then, because lets be honest, isn’t eating fried, dead processed animal parts extreme?
Enter plant-strong. Boy did people think I was nuts. Again, I’ll remind you I was morbidly obese, a severely out of control type 2 diabetic facing partial amputation of my lower leg. How much more extreme could you get?
But people warned me not to be too “extreme”. If I tried to eliminate all of that food I’d surely go nuts, I’d develop more problems obsessing, it’s ok to have some bacon every so often, or a burger, don’t limit, moderation is key.
Again, to me, it was much more extreme that I was in my early 30′s facing amputation, how much more extreme could I possibly get.
Clearly moderation hadn’t worked for me in the past, because I was morbidly obese, well over 400 pounds, I had been on every “diet” and tried everything I could, and I always did the moderation thing – guess what? It didn’t work.
As I moved through plant-strong, it was very evident that I needed to be very diligent about my food choice. I’ll preface this by saying, not everyone is the same. Some people can have a tbs of nut butter and leave it at that.
I have a tbs and the next thing I know the jar is gone. This is not an exaggeration, this has happened SEVERAL times in my past. If I eat out and “indulge” that is all I think about, for DAYS. I can’t leave it at that meal, I can’t have it as a treat, I wish that were the case, but it is not me, and I don’t think it will ever be.
Yet people tell me all the time that I’m ‘extreme’ that I’m setting myself up for some kind of disorder, one in which I have to be perfect.
I’m not perfect. I’m sensible, and I’m smart about my own needs and addictions.
For me it’s like being an alcoholic. Many would say that cutting out alcohol 100% is extreme, but it is it extreme for the alcoholic?
Of course not, it is sensible and smart for someone who battles addiction.
The issue (in my opinion) is in our society. In many communities around the globe how Americans eat would seem horrifying and extreme. The issue is that in our modern American society we are presented with so many unhealthy options that we have done a reversal of what is sensible and sane.
Rather than it being sensible and sane to consume whole vegetables, grains, fruits and beans, it is seen as extreme. And it is thought to be attempting to achieve some level of perfection that no one can attain.
But look at many other parts of the world. Do you think that people in rural China would view an abundance of vegetables, whole grains, fruit and beans as being an extreme way to eat? There are billions of people who would celebrate and rejoice over those options.
Yet here in the United States, our over abundance of a multitude of food that is hurting us has made that seem like the norm, and healthy, plant-based eating as being extreme.
How I eat is simply sensible. I don’t go crazy over it. I don’t obsess over it. It’s just the way I eat. I never have to read labels, I eat until I’m comfortably full, I enjoy food a lot, I do not feel deprived.
That was not always the case of course. When I first started I did see it as extreme. No oil?? No processed food? No cheese?
As I’ve danced through this plant-strong journey those things seem like distance memories. Food is just food. It’s enjoyable, but I don’t worry about it like I used to. I’ve kept things so simple where I don’t have to worry about it.
For me, to indulge in unhealthy, disease promoting foods is not an option. That is not because I’m being extreme, or because I feel as though I need to achieve some nutritional nirvana. It is simply because I want to be free from the addictions that once held me back and made me become so ill that I wanted to end my life.
When people tell you that you are being extreme, think about all of the foods that are truly extreme, the ones that damage our hearts, that cause more insulin resistance, that destroy endothelial cells, that cause spikes in blood pressure, think about the foods that lead to preventable diseases or the foods that cause some (like myself) to spiral into previous addictions. Think about what over-consuming certain foods can do. Isn’t that more extreme? That we would risk life-debilitating illness over food?
Move the line of what extreme is. Plant-strong is not extreme, it is simply sensible.