The Religion of Diet

January 6, 2006

Have you noticed how diets are like the new religion? I guess it’s not surprising considering how diets are equated with morality in our modern world. Being thin is equated with being beautiful and both are equated with being good. When you are talking about your worth and morality, you’ve got quite a touchy subject on your hands. I think when it comes to diet, like when it comes to religion, I’m a Unitarian Universalist, not a fundamentalist.

Back in December, I had an online conversation which made me feel like I was unexpectedly at a revival when I thought I was at a block party. In an online radiant recovery group, a woman who was having trouble with cravings asked for advice and I replied:

I have the same trouble and have jumped in and skipped steps several times in this program. One HUGE support for me has been supplements. I highly recommend reading The Mood Cure, taking the mood quiz and getting the applicable supplements. That has helped me a LOT. Good luck!

I was then chastened by the moderator, and realized I had stumbled into a revival:

…Just wanted to let you know that on this list we don’t discuss supplements and other programs. Our… list is used for social support and interaction, planning get-togethers, and issues of doing this program as it relates to our geographical area…

Kathleen DeMaisons, the author of Potatoes not Prozac, chimed in with her thoughts about the Mood Cure:

and for the record, I would like to say, I respectfully disagree with Julia Ross’ approach to healing. I think that recommending a gadzillion supplements reinforcing addictive thinking about *taking* things to get well. I know that eating breakfast is not sexy and takes longer, but that is where we are at with this program.

warmly,
kathleen

I don’t mind that Kathleen doesn’t agree with me, but I don’t want to be in a group where I can only say what we’ve all agreed we can say. What is the point in talking if we can’t share our real experiences?! I wrote an ultra (I hope) diplomatic letter in response today:

Hi Kathleen and Peggy,

I really like PnP, it has helped me a lot, and I was looking forward to being on this list, because I am definitely sugar sensitive. Other things have helped too, including The Mood Cure. Kathleen, I think it is interesting that you don’t like Julia’s approach, since you also recommend supplements. She recommends very reasonable amounts of supplements, and her book is very helpful in finding out which supplements work for which ailments, and understanding how food choices affect mood.

I understand that people have differences of opinions. I like variety, and I need to be in a group where I can bring all of me to the table. Peggy, telling me I can’t mention supplements makes me feel a little like I’m in a fundamentalist church, and I can’t be honest about my experience. Also, if I can’t share honestly, I worry that other people aren’t able to share honestly either. I’m considering leaving the group.

I wish you all the best and am still very open to meeting with people who are following the PnP program. I would love to get together in person or talk by email and support each other along our perhaps slightly different but still intertwined journeys…

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2 Responses to “The Religion of Diet”

  1. jo_jo Says:

    Oh good! Here you are!

    In most support groups I have been part of there have been written and unwritten rules about what is appropriate and from which members, and often serious misunderstandings about the meaning of certain words in those rules. Unfortunately, because the groups are presented as unconditionally loving and supportive, I drop my usual wariness and get burnt before I remember that I THINK DIFFERENTLY. YMMV, but it’s my experience that gifted people want and need what is offered so badly that they suspend disbelief about being different. The meaning of unconditional love varies with the person who is offering it.

    Best,
    Joanna

  2. Braidwood Says:

    Hi Joanna,

    I AM back!

    Yeah, I have found great support before, but if it is an environment that tries to restrict the types of thoughts I can think or express, it doesn’t work for me.


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