This paragraph seems to apply best here for a discussion:
Most discussions about diet (from paleo to veganism) are pervasively selfish: ???But what can I have for dessert???? ???Sorry, I don???t consume diary.??? ???Am I allowed to have this???? Rarely: ???is eating this the right thing to do???? We too quickly condemn what might be best for our health, or conversely assume that the optimal nutrition for us trumps any obligations we have as people. Montaigne reminds us of our real obligations, that we should always try to do what is fair and just???what we can look ourselves in the mirror and be okay with afterward.
What are your thoughts re: philosophy and food?
asked bylongarm (50)
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on June 28, 2012
at 02:42 PM
I think the question lends itself to quite a bit of discussion.
I've been paleo for over a year and a half now, and I'm happy with it. I don't feel the need to justify what I eat to anyone. Close friends, I tell in detail. To cow-orkers, I simply say, "I can't eat dairy or grains because they cause me GERD", and it's absolutely true.
I've had a bunch of comments about it from the McDonald's eaters that I eat "too healthy" to which I respond with "So, does that mean that you're feeling guilty about the crap you put in your body?" and that shuts them up.
As for desert, there's nothing better that follows a rib eye steak, than a few strips of crispy bacon. :) Yeah, I can do that if I want. Why should desert be sweet? Sure, if I feel like something sweet, I'll have a bit of sweet potato, or berries, or a square of 100% cocoa - but why stick to convention? Why not explore what you really want and go with that?
I'm not in this to deprive myself. I'm in it because it works for me, and I know that many years of SAD eating caused plenty of health issues, that I don't wish to revisit. I'm happy to be a stoic in other aspects of life, but I don't feel that it must apply to diet.
At first, there were days that I dreaded working out, but now, I look forward to it, I feel deprived if I don't, and in a way, I've had days that I knew I overdid a workout the day before and while I wanted to, craved even, I forced myself to skip the workout.
In the beginning, I looked at a flight of stairs as something to avoid, now I seek it out and run up them two at a time and feel great after.
I absolutely fall under the "the optimal nutrition for us trumps any obligations we have as people" - because you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before others, or you all risk failure. If your diet is a failure, it will absolutely affect your performance in all areas. What you eat affects not only yourself, but how you interact with others. For example: eat crap, or fail to get enough sleep, and you'll behave badly and piss others off, or you may make critical mistakes at work, and in some jobs this can also be dangerous to others.
Is it good for the environment? Absolutely. It's better than the toxic dumps of CAFO meat, and GMO monocrop fields drowning with pesticide.
Being "selfish" is not incompatible with doing what's right or fair, or "obligations" as people. These types of words are generally used by those who would seek to manipulate us against our own best wishes. i.e. sacrifice your life for the good of the state, or for the good of those who would profit from our work, or sacrifice.
Whether the situation is familial, religious, military, employment, dietary, mainstream-media, TARP-bailouts, austerity, used car sales, get rich quick schemes, statins or other big-pharma snake oils, big-agra's products and their clients' crap in a bag products, big oil, corporatism, taxation, and even capitalist/communist/socialist/fascist/totalitarian governments, there will be plenty of charlatans who will sell you on the idea that you must do what's good for them - sometimes under the disguise that it's beneficial to you.
This is always a false promise, and the path to your demise, and the profit of those who wish to manipulate you. Think for yourself and protect your own best interests. Being selfish absolutely is a self-preservational trait. Dr. Diana Hsieh has some interesting stuff. google "Virtue of selfishness" for example.
on June 11, 2012
at 12:40 AM
Are the two really that different? Eating whole, natural foods reinforces the natural food chain. I would recommend you read the book "Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith.
on October 09, 2013
at 03:26 PM
just for lols.
everything everyone does all the time is selfish... if it didnt benefit you in some way then you wouldnt do it, granted there are a wide variety of benefits.
now beyond that the moral argument for killing thinks is a little more tricky, but when it comes down to it as long as your consuming something your almost guaranteed to be killing something else. now you could argue that a person is more important than an animal or an animal is more important than an insect and an insect is more important than a plant or a plant is more important than bacteria or if i only eat things that are already dead then what if im eating food some other animal will need to survive....ect. all actions have effects and no matter what you do you will probably be causing a negative effect to some living thing somewhere. we dont yet know enough to mitigate these negative effects so noone really has the high ground morally unless ofcourse you do the only un-selfish thing you can do and off yourself, but then whos to say your not negatively impacting your offspring/species.
mindfooks for everyone!
on October 09, 2013
at 11:33 AM
Way to overthink it. Philosophy had nothing to do with it, nor should it now. If you were a hunter gatherer 10KYa, you didn't think "Is it right for me to hunt that beast? What if it had offspring? Do I need to watch my waist? etc."
You hunted because you needed to live. Period. There was no question of what you should have for breakfast, desert, lunch, or dinner. You ate what you caught or gathered.
You stayed paleo because you had no other choice. There was no crap in a box. There was no wheat, or if there was it was only what you could gather that grew wild. There were no death by chocolate sugar bombs a-la mode with "Irish" Coffees topped with chemical whipped cream deserts. There were no keg o'cheap beer frat party, there were no Twinkies to worry about. You had no choice, you couldn't eat junk, there were no chemical laden cigarets, no industrial seed oils, no heart unhealthy cereals, no high fructose drinks, no artificial flavors/preservatives/sweeteners you couldn't over-sit for days on end without starving or being eaten by a sabertooth. Such bad habits simply weren't available - those that attempted them died quickly. "Mother" nature (to anthropomorphize it) is an evil unforgiving bitch and will kill you twice as quick as soon as "provide" you with an easily meal.
If you did something that helped you and your offspring and your tribe survive, it was just and ethical and just, otherwise, you faced the jaws of the other predators, or a slow death by infection. I say others because we are predators, the apex predator.
We went wrong only when those choices became available. There's zero philosophy to this. It just was. If you believe that this lifestyle is healthy, follow it. There was nothing to overthink, nor should there be now that we (think we) know what is and isn't healthy.
All we've done is taken evolutionary pressure out of the mix and allowed the weak to breed. Sorry, that's reality, and it came with a cost. We can now commit the atrocities of unhealthy bad habits, and in exchange suffer their consequences on our health. It's not all our faults, we are after all exposed to a constant barrage of faux news health recommendations and outright advertising, and even government promoting a high grain, high soy diet, high junk food diet; all driven by corporate year-over-year profits, with lies about how a "plat based diet" is "healthy" and "good for the environment" when the truth is the exact opposite.
on October 08, 2013
at 09:26 AM
Honestly, most people who eat "standard" diets are just as selfish. They don't want to eat this vegetable or that fruit. They don't like that "ethnic" food. One person likes white bread, the other insists on getting wholewheat. One person "needs" two sugars to enjoy a cup of tea, another only likes semi-skimmed milk and not whole. And lifestyle wise too - they don't want to walk there, they don't want to have to park so far away, they don't want to use the stairs. They want low effort options for cooking and cleaning, they want exercise that doesn't feel like exercise. It's just a "selfishness" that is catered to by modern society. Paleo and other alternative lifestyles just have different preferences.
Now there are some people who eat whatever they are given, and live life in whatever way it happens to come. But a lot of people prefer to have things that they like. That might mean preferring white bread with no crusts for sandwiches, or coke over pepsi. Or it might mean preferring to avoid grains, vegetable oils and sugar.