Saturday, 6 April 2013

Gurus For Health : When Health Writers Dismiss Lower-Income Consumers

In my quest to improve my standard of living and to bring balance to my health, I investigated many different eating plans. Not calorie-controlled, low-fat diets but those that made sense to me for a more sustainable way of healthy living. I educated myself on the Genotype Diet by  Dr Peter D'Adamo and the extremely popular Paleo Diet.

One thing I noticed in the above two eating plans, were expensive recipes and food options. With the Genotype diet, the best meats section included bison and buffalo, and for my Genotype of Teacher, my best food choices were goat and mutton, neither of which are readily available in UK supermarkets. Included in the poultry options were emu and ostrich, and in the fish section were fish I had never seen before in my local supermarket or market. My friend had the Gatherer Genotype and he had the selection of buffalo, bison and caribou. Now either the author of the Genotype diet wrote his book for the US market and in the US these meats are something you buy regularly in the supermarket (American readers please share if this is the case) or he was writing the book for a certain type of person.

Most of the options I have looked into, for both the Genotype and Paleo diets, involve trips to the local and more expensive specialist delicatessen, out of town farm markets and choices not readily available to the general public that have to shop in supermarkets for cost reasons.

The Paleo diet was probably the most expensive in that it encourages a largely protein and meat based diet. Not only protein, but the best cuts of meat, grass-fed, organic meat and vegetables. With it being largely meat and protein based, it is not very encouraging for vegetarians and vegans, making many of the eating plans unhelpful for those on a different diet or a low income. As it does not include grains or dairy, expensive alternatives are an essential part of the diet. For example, I looked into coconut flour and discovered it was 15 times the cost of my normal bag of flour. (500g Coconut Flour £5.99, 500g Plain Flour £0.40)


Many health gurus who teach about ways of eating, encourage people to buy organic, grass-fed, free-range, farmers market bought, meat and food. Not the cheaper cuts, or non-free range, non-organic products on the market.

While I understand, and ideally would love to eat all organic, free-range, grass-fed meat, I simply cannot at the moment. These eating plans come across as very elitist.. Some people pride themselves on being 'more healthy' and 'better consumers' because of the diets they choose. I understand it is a choice people make, but when it becomes a movement where if you eat this way you are doing the right thing and if you eat another way you are doing the wrong thing, I have to stand up and say NO! This is not acceptable to me.

I would love to have my entire kitchen stocked full of the foodie-loving delights of organic farms, and to support my local shops, and spend more to encourage local shopping, but until I am able to do so, I must accept and 'high five' those who are making the effort to be healthy and eat food based on what they are able to afford. No judgements on what you eat. If you choose expensive food, fine; if you love it, great! Just don't expect everyone else to want to be told that they are not eating correctly by someone who 'knows' the best way to eat.

Arrogance


Even metaphysical teachers are becoming health gurus. I remember being put off recently by a well known angel lady on Facebook who became very much involved in promoting organic and healthy food. Her followers all 'chimed-in' with how important it was. If one person commented they could not afford that food, some of the followers had the arrogant audacity to come back with: "Ask the angels. They will help you by bringing you the resources to buy organic." This is pure spiritual arrogance. Yes, if people are on a low budget, it may be taking them time to release any blocks to financial abundance, but in the meantime, while they make choices based on the best options available for them at the time, they certainly do not need fingers pointing and being told they 'should' do anything.


Unique Choices


I love animals, I adore animals. I was vegetarian for a few years. Not because I did not want to eat innocent animals but because my body told me it did not want to eat meat for a while. A few years later I went back to eating meat because my body told me that I must, because the vegetarian diet had depleted a few of the essential B vitamins I needed. I was following the advice of those vegetarian teachers BUT some people are not able to get B vitamins from non-meat products. My health improved, and my vitality and energy returned; so eating is indeed a personal experience. We are all unique.

For this reason I would love to eat organic meat but I am not going to beat myself up, or anyone else, if they cannot afford it. I honour the animal as best I can and give thanks for the food I eat and I have made my peace with that.

Sometimes healthy-eating gurus can be like politicians, not in the unpleasant lying way, but in the way that it would be great if they began to consider the everyday person and prioritise a segment of their teaching for those on a budget also.

Supporting Those That Are Obese And Want A Better Way

With obesity on the rise, people dying from food related diseases (diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease etc), I would love to see the health gurus of the Paleo diet, the Genotype diet and many more, to see how worthwhile it would be teaching to those who really want it and need it, but who are on a low income.

I hope that those teaching healthy ways of eating of any kind do not consider those who currently eat convenience foods, experience obesity, and may have their senses dulled because of the high sugar intake, to be a lost cause.

There is a growing awakening taking place and awareness is growing about what is not good for the body. The body knows the way. If something makes us feel tired after eating it, it's not life-giving food; if something makes us feel wired after drinking or eating it, it's not life-enhancing food. But some people need education, so why not educate everyone, not just those on middle income or above?

For now, I am listening to my body, taking elements of the paleo diet and other ways of eating, incorporating what I can into my budget, but also seeing what represents 'balance' for me.

If you want to eat in a life-enhancing way, simply listen, listen to what your body is telling you and make choices from where you are.

I welcome your thoughts.


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*Photos taken from Free Digital Photos.net








2 comments:

  1. Kelly,

    I am just loving this series of articles. I agree with you. I was part of a wellness group and those of us who had to eat frugally and couldn't afford to eat all organic and grass fed were really left out in the cold.

    The Paleo Diet is not balanced and is, therefore, not healthy. It's very similar to the Atkins diet. To me, it is just another fad.

    Sure, purchasing and consuming organics will be better for you and the environment, but there are ways to cleansed the pesticides from the veggies and your body.

    Hormone free and antibiotic free eggs/meat are becoming the norm and is quite affordable. If you can't afford grass fed, who cares. Do what you can.

    I'm putting the finishing touches on my cookbook that you made the cover for. Based on this article, I think you're really going to like it. (I've made the first version free, just to get myself motivated to finish ~ hahaha!)

    I'm with you. Listen to your body and find the balance within your own life. :)

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    Replies
    1. Wow, thank you Marla, its interesting to hear about your experiences with the wellness group. I think diet and healthy eating can become an identity and people can join groups and feel like they belong. But yes the paleo I have serious reservations about. Mike is going to write a guest post on the paleo diet and what is false and what is true. Balance is key. For me its all about finding my own balance and more so balancing my blood sugar. I messaged you on Facebook as happy to add the book to my sidebar of my blog. At the moment revamping blog so hope to catch up with everybody elses blogs soon. Well done you!

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Thanks!

Great to connect.

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