Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Helpful Realization for Me

I hope that I learned something useful about myself recently.  I could wait six months to verify that it works and then post it if it's successful, but I'll go ahead and share now and then if it doesn't work, I'll have to submit a correction post.

This year, on the occasions that I strayed from healthy eating and then came back, I wondered: why was it so easy for me to be a vegan for the last 6 years but it is sometimes difficult to be a nutritarian?  Both involve denying myself a category of foods.  In fact, being vegan involved a complete 100% abstinence from certain foods whereas being a nutritarian just involves mostly abstaining (that turned out to be a clue).   Interestingly, this year, I strayed for the first time in 5.5 years from veganism, about 3 times.  That's because I gave myself permission, since Dr. Fuhrman allows for a small amount of animal products.  I didn't follow his advice as he intended since I ate ice cream, one of the worst foods you could eat.  But that straying clued me in to something.

Before I strayed from veganism (first time Nov. 2010), my vegan logic when choosing food was, 1) is it vegan?  2) if not, what's something vegan I can eat?  I have a clever clever brain (as do you) and all of my cleverness was applied to finding something vegan to eat.

As a nutritarian, because there is some leeway and you can eat an occasional cookie and still be healthy, sometimes my clever clever brain, which loves sugar, will go all out to argue why it's justified.  It is a powerful force when my clever clever brain goes all out to convince me of something.  It is too smart for me.  It will just keep on arguing until I am convinced.

If I were to decide that for me being a nutritarian means eating only health-promoting food, then maybe my decision process will be like the vegan one.  1)  Is it nutritarian?  2) if not, what's something nutritarian I can eat.  no arguments.  And then my clever clever brain, which is a powerful force, can go all out applying itself to finding me good nutritarian food to eat.

So I decided I want to be vegan and nutritarian, which for me means, no animal products, and no disease-promoting foods (that is, 100% healthy foods instead of 90, 95, 98%).  It's just easier that way.

I'm not saying I'll always be vegan and nutritarian but I want to be now and I hope I will be forever.


Angie said...

When in my life I have been trying to break any unhealthy eating/drinking habit, it was (and is) always a lot easier for me if I completely forbid myself from eating it. I make a "rule" that I "can't" eat it. I also sometimes decide to view that food as "poison". (I don't tell other people this - it's my internal dialog.) Otherwise I am tempting my brain to reawaken the addition, and usually makes me crave it again. Also my tendency at that moment is to say to myself "oh, what the heck, as long as I am eating a little, I might as well eat the whole thing". For me, it truly is like being an acoholic.

kenzi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Okra said...

Barb, I really appreciate this post. It makes so much sense to me! Thanks for sharing your insights. Our brains really are clever aren't they?

Tess said...

I am glad you share your realization because I have had a realization of my own this week. I have been following ETL (non-veg) okay, but not perfect... still trying, but I have noticed that the less meat I eat, the less I want! Last night's dinner, one of my former favorite meals, almost disgusted me. I don't really want to ever have it again!
Also, I love-love-love raw fennel! :)

Amy said...

I have had a similar experience with this kind of clever brain logic - you give it an "out" or some leeway and it will run with it every time! It is just easier to go 100% and no exceptions.

kneecap said...

I heard a quote today on the Fuhrman forums (not original): "100% is easy, 99% is a bee-atch!"