Things used to be little more simple. ‘Mum?..MUM!!!??.what’s for dinner?!?!” “You’ll eat what you are given!!!” usually came the reply. I hate to say it, but those were the days as looking back we were bloody lucky as kids. Now things have gotten a little more complex haven’t they? How did we all get so confused ? Or put another way, when did everybody get so righteous? There are many groups running around, claiming their diet is the best and the rest of the non-believers shall be destined for damnation. Our plates have become our churches and we are bowing over them looking for redemption. This is not a call for panic though, but rather a call for understanding.
Go online and have a quick look and you will notice there are hundreds of different ways of eating ranging from the sensible, to the ridiculous. Who knew there was a ‘Hallelujah Diet’, which I can only hope means you get exactly what you desire for every meal and cry out “Hallelujah!!”. Sure. And with each one of these diets comes the fervant follower who swears that he/she is correct in their beliefs and that anyone who is a non believer is a sinner. Consider the mirth from the Paleo type when you consume any food not around thousands of years ago. “ you’re eating that bread?!” they exclaim. Yes I am. And I bet GRUNT (caveman chap) would have too if there was some smart arse baker in the next cave over and the kumara sourdough aromas were wafting through the paleolithic air. Or the shock and horror from the vegans, when you consider eating anything that is not a plant or a fruit. “ you wouldn’t tuck into the raw hide of cow would you?!?!?”…well no..of course I wouldn’t. Nor would I dig up a pumpkin, sit there in the dirt and try and chew through the skin into the rock hard flesh and be happy about the situation. I guess that is why someone invented spears, fire and wood buring pizza ovens.
I get it though. Me, like most people, like to have ‘control’ over their lives and one of the best ways to get that is through controlling ones food intake. I certainly know the feeling of belonging to a gang, be it a paleo one or a vegan one or otherwise. It is empowering, particularly when you experience the health benefits that can come with taking ownership of what you consume. What is probably less obvious, but in many ways more intoxicating is the feeling of belonging to a ‘band of brothers/sisters’. A group or set of friends that also follow a similar diet and bolster you along. Problem is, everyone is so intent on banging their own diet drum, we are drowning out the chorus for change. Most of the people who need help, are ones not reading my words here, but people that are lost in a quagmire of corporate fake food and commercial interests that are leaving them fat, sick and nearly dead (stolen movie title I know ). Instead of focusing on our similarities, we are priding ourselves on our differences. We all need to be heading in the same direction but we are hell bent on taking vastly different tracks.
This all may seem a tad contradictory coming from a guy who owns an organic café. But this is where exactly my inspiration for writing this came from. I talk to many of our beautiful customers on a daily basis and a lot of them suffer from information overload and a general confusion on what to eat in order to live their best lives.
Greenleaf Organics has always been focused on organic and ethically raised food, locally sourced where possible, predominantly plant based, seasonal and fresh. Beautiful in its simplicity. Founded on a strong policy of inclusion as opposed to exclusion, we understand that everyone who walks through our doors is at a uniquely different stage in their life. We try to encourage people to listen to their own body and do what is right for them, That is why we provide a menu that starts with a base that is predominantly plant based and gluten free knowing that this suits all types. From there we have options that customers can add on should they feel like they need that on a given day. Remembering that more often than not, we don’t fail at diets but diets often fail us.
Don’t get me wrong. Nearly all diets have some great attributes.But along with the steadfast rules, comes the restrictive dogma which can clouds ones view. The paleo type would do well to listen to the vegan point of view just as the strict ketogenic guy could benefit from considering the opinion of a carb cycling athlete. The problem with believing in one almighty diet god, is you limit your beliefs and close your self off. Who is to say that their diet is the one and only and all the rest non-believers deserve ridicule? Surely with all the different geographical factors, varying body types, blood types, medical concerns, weather, cultural and religious concerns etc etc, we need to consider that not one diet is going be right for us all and we need to a little more fluid in our approach.
Don’t mistake fluidity though for complancency or laziness. Convenience has replaced commonsense. It is pretty obvious that $1 hamburgers or $10 buckets of fried chicken are not long for this world. Both these examples are doing more damage than good and won’t be sustainable. Or the marketing angle or latest book the proclaims to have unlocked the secret to living to 1000 years old. The discussion intead that needs to be had is a way more pragmatic one and that can only happen when people remove their idealism. But when pragmatism threatens poeples ideals they get very upset and discussions get lost in emotion. We all want the same thing though. We should though focus on the motivation of providing the best possible solution for ourselves and our kids. Hold hands. Kumbaya.
Our similarities are what is going to see us through. Like it or not. And I’m not talking about a vanilla, cooker cutter one diet for all. We all need to reduce our consumption of certain foods, particularly in the west as it is needless and reckless to consider otherwise. Otherwise it will become an issue of pure economics and the have and the have nots. Instead we should focus on some common principles that will see most of us in good stead. The aforementioned Paleo and Vegan lifestyles actually have a lot more in common than they would like to ackowledge but it is a necessary ackowledegment to consider. The persistant focus on differences, has us in the same canoe but paddling in opposite directions
Of course at this point we would love to hear what you guys think and listen to all opinions, so please let us know your thoughts below. But maybe the last words are best left for a man who truly lived the life of, by knowing someone, is by understanding someone. Hopefully his legacy of breaking down barriers and stereotypes is continued on..
“ If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody”. Anthony Bourdain.
WORDS AND IMAGES BY MIKE PRIDDY
pumpkin and lentil dahl with coconut mint yoghurt.