Although what follows may seem impartial, it is no more than an opinion. For that reason, it may contain some bias.
Diet as a consumption lifestyle
Have you noticed how many diet fashions have come up in recent years? And how people separate themselves into groups, where they express their “individuality” based on the systematization of their eating habits? What I notice is that certain individuals and groups push this issue to the extreme, creating a kind of obsession. Depending on the person’s level of intensity, they keep quiet about their thoughts, peacefully preach about their beliefs, or fiercely fight against other groups. In the end, the mechanisms that divide people are the same, regardless of whether we are talking about religion, football, politics or diet.
I exercise a certain amount of caution when using the word “diet” because, to me, it sounds much more like a way to strictly qualify one person within a group and completely define a lifestyle according to what one eats. Diet can be ideological, like religious or political affiliation (e.g. -arians, -isms). It is normal to feel good about our choices, especially when we receive the approval of a group. However, when we seek that kind of reward, we are easily controlled by the opinions of others—which, at some point, become our own opinions.
My three basic rules for a healthy diet
The first rule is not to live to eat, but to eat to be able to live. Food is a source of energy, not pleasure. I have observed in myself and others that the use of food to satisfy our desires ends up making us more distant from understanding the unconscious patterns that lead us to, for example, overeating. Of course, sometimes when we cannot get rid of anxiety immediately, we seek relief from certain types of “food gratification”; here it is important to understand why we are craving that particular type of food (more on that in rule three). I also believe that nothing can be taken to the radical extreme, so applying an 80/20 rule on this topic would be helpful. (If you read the next two rules, it is clear that I am not declaring war against sugar and candy.)
The second rule of food is to avoid “food gratification”, which we usually seek through processed food. These are often products that appear colorful and appealing, with a high sugar content and other substances associated with pain relief and pleasure maximization. This food offers no nutritional value and creates, in certain cases, an emotional dependency—but never solves our problems.
The third rule is to have self-awareness of how and what we ingest affects us. Here it is important to be critical of what other individuals, who have different bodies, minds, and experiences, tell us what is right or wrong to eat, especially if the include some kind of moral speech (if you do not behave a certain way or follow certain dogmas, then you deserve punishment). It is important to remember that our emotions are directly associated with what we place in our mouth. So when someone introduces us to a diet-based lifestyle, we are emotionally activated in the most direct and efficient way possible.
Make your own diet
If our personal values tell us not to eat animals for karmic or ethical reasons, we should not do so, because we would probably feel bad—but in the end, this is our choice. Researching and experimenting with “open-minded diets” is always advisable, but I firmly believe that everyone should be the author of their own “diet.”
To sum up: don’t seek pleasure through eating; avoid processed (commercial) foods; and, most importantly, be self-aware, listen first to your body and your mind, observe, through your meditation, how your body assimilates the ingested food, whether it accepts or rejects it, or you feel some change in your mood. Our cells, our neurotransmitters, in fact our whole Being reacts to what we eat. In that sense, we reallyare what we eat. I advise that you keep a food diary: write what you feel and what exactly you have ingested in recent hours, days and weeks.
1. Eat nothing but processed, industrially produced food for a day, e.g. the cheapest, lowest quality candy you can find. Write about the experience, how it affects your body, mind and emotions. If, in the future, you feel like eating that kind of food, remember how you felt.
2. Let that friend convince you to try veganism and do that diet for a few weeks. Write about the experience, how it affects your body, mind and emotions.
2.1 – Now be critical and sincere, “Is it how I really feel or …?”
3. Let your friend convince you of the benefits of ketogenic diet and live the high-protein/low-carb lifestyle. Make a bulletproof coffee every morning. After a few weeks, write about the experience, how it affects your body, mind and emotions.
3.1 – Now be honest with yourself: “I feel good because I … or is it because … ?” Also, notice now how your vegan friends treat you; if they stick with you, they really are your friends.
5. Travel to Italy if possible, or find the nearest pizza place, and indulge in carbohydrates. Don’t worry about the scale and your weight. Again, write about the experience, how it affects your body, mind and emotions.
6. Live from fruit: Go back to the time when we were the closest to a chimpanzee and eat bananas every day—note if this arouses any animalistic thoughts, e.g. killing all non-vegans or other delusions (e.g. like the unfortunate Banana Girl … I feel bad even promoting her here).
7. Fast and believe that you can live from light and air, as some Yogis still claim to do.
8. Listen to many diet gurus, test the different types of diets on the market (the blood type diet, etc). Afterwards, take notice how everyone made money from you—and how they contradict each other.
9. Draw your own conclusions, make a channel on YouTube, write your own diet book and become rich.
10. Donate your money to a good cause.