On Food Values
Today I read the long and mostly brilliant article on calorie restriction by Julian Dibbell entitled 'The Fast Supper' at www.nymag.com . One sign of its brilliance is the cognitive challenge to implicit food values I hold.
Let me track down the precise bit that troubles me: "...in the end, I made my way home that night with the growing sense that I had just come closer than I ever had to falling down the bottomless black hole of cult membership."
My comment: All food has an implicit moral or ethical value. All eating is a moral or ethical choice. The calorie restriction mob simply choose a purely rational value, in contrast to most of us. Most of us select food that reflects shared values, since connection and intimacy is so important to our development and well being. As a consequence, vegans tend to congregate with other vegans, and meat-eater tends to clump with meat-eaters. Over time shared belief systems become cliches then stereotypes of "how a meat-eat acts" or whatever, and a cultural aspect re-inforces the enjoyments of one's eating choices with social and emotionally payoffs.
As soon as I had the choice, I stopped eating along the lines of the Anglo-saxon diet I grew up with, and began to eat a lacto-ovo-vegitarian diet. I was inspired to become a lacto-ovo-vegitarian by Anthony Robbins wonderful final chapters on world problems in his book Awaken the Giant Within, and then later by John Robbins book Diet for a New America. In retrospect it gains the glamour of the A-ha experience, the awakening to the truth, though in reality it was probably just an youthful enthusiasm that stuck.
In the last four years I have chosen to eat meat (since 2002). I eat meat about four times a week now. Why?
It is a social decision as much as a nutrient-based one. When I started eating meat I had no other way to get the kinds of nutients I felt I needed, and so it stuck as an experience and a nourishment that, while seldom needed, is nevertheless habitual. Socially, however, I wanted to repent the extreme position I took against meat for a number of years, and really allow for an acceptance of either/or. It was about choice, for me. In a society where eating meat is normal, I wanted to fit in again. I had taken to vegitarianism as a rebellion, and the underlying persona was intense, and instead now I wanted to be more easygoing and accepting in my persona as an omnivore.