Diet Culture is Oppression: A Case for Whole Plant Foods
Diets Don’t Work
If you’ve ever “dieted” or restricted your eating in any way, you may remember feeling completely depleted; energetically, physically, emotionally, you name it. All in all, dieting can trigger disordered eating, disordered thoughts, and an unhealthy relationship with food. As we enter into this new year, I encourage you to nourish your body when it asks. Look towards optimizing your nutrition and focus on healthy lifestyle adjustments that focus on healing your relationship with food, your body, and spend your energy doing things you enjoy. If you struggle with disordered eating or disordered thoughts in any capacity talking to a mental health professional can be a great help. An important aspect of wholistic health addresses your mental health and emotional well-being. At no point should you feel guilty for eating food. Let’s make this year about finding health through a wholistic path starting with finding compassion, joy, and a sense of letting go. And remember: YOU ARE ENOUGH exactly the way you are.
Diet Culture is Oppression
I had a conversation with a friend recently. She said to me, “Diet culture is oppression.” Those words hit me hard. It’s a statement to contemplate as you glide into 2019 with a list of goals or resolutions surrounded by advertisements all glittery with weight loss propaganda. Particularly as women, we eventually become conditioned to think that dieting is a normal part of life and somewhere along the line we are convinced there is a perfect body type and there is no way it could be our own. As with most advertising, money is made by the consumer thinking a product or program will provide them with what they lack. Let me remind you, there is not a shortcut or magic two-week diet and if there were, YOU DON’T NEED IT.
So, what is a “healthy” lifestyle?
I understand that the internet can be extremely loud when defining the word “healthy”. The details of health look different for everyone, but the big picture is generally the same. Do what makes you feel good and follow the science. I encourage you to do your own research. Be kind to yourself. Focus on creating calm and cultivating joy within you. EAT IN ABUNDANCE. Nourish your body with fresh, delicious, and wholesome food mostly from plants because you feel clearer minded and energetic. Move your body because it’s good for your heart, lungs, and mental health. Focus on feeling better and use positive self-talk. Live passionately and compassionately. Create a supportive and loving community around you. There is not a perfect body type other than the one you have. Improve your quality of life from a standpoint of vitality and feeling good.
A Case for Whole Plant Foods
Peasful Plate is a platform that advocates a whole food plant-based diet. For me, centering my diet around foods that improve and support my focus and clarity of mind while providing me with lasting energy is enough to keep me eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes. It is through research and experimentation with this diet that I realized that eating in abundance -- until I am full-- is not only okay, but necessary. Contrary to popular belief, I feel completely unrestricted in the foods I eat. I feel amazing and I love it. I hope that through this platform I can share that with you my passion for helping you to feel your BEST.
I eat a completely vegan plant-based diet meaning that I don’t eat meat, dairy, or eggs and I try my best to eat food closest to its whole form (as little processed food as possible, but I’m careful not to restrict these foods completely because that is a disordered eating trigger for me). After doing much of my own research on health risks, environmental impact, and ethics, I transitioned from eating a vegetarian to vegan diet. Funny enough, when I consciously decided to stop eating eggs and dairy, I felt I could eat more abundantly than I did before. It helped me feel unrestricted. I stopped being afraid of “carbs” (I’ll touch more on this in a later blog post) and I feel like my lifestyle and morals have finally come into alignment with one another.
Location, availability of food, and mental health are all factors in one’s ability to adopt a plant-based vegan diet. Some people’s disordered behaviors are triggered by completely restricting certain food groups. For some this can be healed with time and finding a very strong reason why you don’t eat these items with the help of a mental health professional; for others it can’t be healed. You will find your balance. Focus on plants and abundance of food.
In most major cities in the USA a plant-based vegan diet is one of the cheapest diets you can eat. Yes, I said it: the cheapest. But again, be gentle with yourself and start slowly. Do your research and maybe your version of eating a plant-based diet [for now] is only eating meat or dairy once a week? What if you cut your meat consumption in half? If it’s available to you, why not? Once you do the research and realize how amazing you feel while still eating abundantly and practicing compassion, it will be hard for you to turn back.