When I was in school for holistic nutrition, I met a lot of... characters. The most vocal of them was the "Dreadlock Vegan," as I’ll call him. He would scoff at any mention of foods other than fruits and vegetables, argue with professors constantly, and his way seemed to be the only way. Everything that disproved his arguments was disregarded.
People like this are all-too-common in the world of health and nutrition. They often take extremes, ostracize food groups entirely, and make bold claims about their diet’s efficacy. Meanwhile, they tend to also think that their diet is the only one that will yield successful
I have to give them props for their loyalty and commitment, but they’re forgetting one very obvious yet important fact: we are all different.
Why I Can’t Stand the “Dreadlock Vegans” of the World
I have nothing against dreadlocks, nor do I have any problem with vegans. What I do have a hard time with is people who shove their diet approach down everyone else’s throat.
I also get frustrated when the food industry pumps out another “hot new diet” that thousands of people blindly follow, even if it ends up being a horrible fit for their lifestyle, preferences, and bodily needs.
Our bodies are the very definition of unique. Genetically speaking, we are all truly one of a kind. We are not only different from one another based on our particular genetics, but our personal life experiences also affect the ways we think, feel, and behave throughout life. It is for this very reason that some of us love horror movies and classical music while others can’t stand either.
This applies to food, too. What works fantastically for one person might work terribly for you since so many factors need to be taken into account, including (but not limited to):
What does “healthy” mean for you?
Why do you want to become healthier?
How much do you exercise?
Do you like exercising?
What’s your budget?
Do you find having social support helpful or do you prefer to go it alone?
How social are you in general?
Are you on different medications?
What does your daily schedule look like?
How much sleep do you get a night?
How does your body feel when you eat different foods?
(And many, many more…)
These factors not only affect what nutrients you may be deficient in, but also how willing—or able—you are to partake in different diets.
Additionally, it is perfectly possible for the same diet to have totally different effects in people. Some might love the ketogenic diet, while others find it’s a form of torture. It does not mean the diet is bad or good; it means that it just had different effects on different bodies for a variety of reasons.
And finally, there might be a plethora of research out there touting the “harm of gluten,” but if it doesn’t seem to be affecting you negatively, why stop eating gluten!?
The Bottom Line
There are more than 100 different diets listed on WebMD—all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. But at the end of the day, this is about you. I want you to feel clean, energized, and rested every single day. As long as your diet gives you the nutrients you need to function at your best, then there’s no reason not to follow it.
So, some reminders:
1. Just because your diet works for you doesn't mean it will work for someone else.
2. Just because a diet is popular doesn't mean it will be a good fit for you.
3. Only you know how your body reacts to different foods. Use this information to figure out what to keep or eliminate from your diet rather than passively allowing "experts" dictate what is and isn't best for your body.
You Tell Me!
Have you had your own personal experiences with a Dreadlock Vegan? How did you respond? What diet seems to work best for you now? Let me know in the comments below!