Diet and Religion

It occurred to me this holiday season that diet and religion have striking similarities.

Following are the Top 10 reasons for my perspective:

1. All diets, like religion, have guidelines to follow. Be it Atkins, Mediterranean, Nutrisystem or The Zone, all diets have a specific set of rules to abide by.

2. People start diets just like they turn to religion. It is commonly  done with the hope of self-improvement and it often gives people a sense of purpose.

3. Like religion, diets are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has their own personal preference, yet no one can legitimately claim that theirs is the one and only correct way to practice.

4. Faith is as much involved in diet as it is in religion. People practice a certain way because they believe it to be true and that they will benefit in the long term. But there is no absolute evidence or certainty that one way versus another will guarantee a healthy life or a trip to heaven.

5. Much like religion, diets are hotly contested and debated. Although both espouse primitivism, it would be hard to find a Raw Foodist and a Paleo who agree on what constitutes a perfect meal, much less find them dining together.

6. Some diets are spin-offs of one another, similar to religion. South Beach and Dukan are only a couple examples of the numerous diets within the low-carb sect.

7. Many diets, just like religion, have more similarities than differences. For example, Vegetarians and Vegans are very close in philosophy, except one draws the line sooner than the other.

8. Like religion, many people actively follow a certain diet, yet some people are more devout than others. This often coincides with show strict the practice is. For example, someone on Weight Watchers may make an exception to eat a piece of cake on their birthday, but it may be unlikely to find a Pescaterian eating a hamburger on any occasion.

9. People can be born and raised into a certain diet based on the practices of their parents, just like religion. This practice is then further reinforced by surrounding family and friends. The like-minded people will support and encourage the practice, whereas those opposed may try to convince the child and/or parents otherwise.

10. Over time, a person’s dietary views can change and there is the potential for conversion, just like with religion. The level of acceptance and tolerance that results ultimately depends on the community in which a person lives.

I hope you enjoyed this perspective. Ever since I decided to modify my diet over 3 years ago, it has become quite a passion of mine. Just like a person studying religion, I spend time reading and learning about food. As a result, my dietary choices are made with purpose and conviction. I am defined by these choices and I couldn’t be more proud to share them on this website.

Happy holidays and don’t over-eat!

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3 Comments

Filed under Food

3 responses to “Diet and Religion

  1. Rosie Radden

    Great analogy! Keep up the good work and may the new year be prosperous and fulfilling in many wonderful ways!

  2. yahyaaa1

    You draw a nice parallel. Diet followers, like religious believers, can be fundamentalists or pragmatists, fanatical or moderate. Their practice and attitude are largely the result of their emotional commitment to their particular beliefs. And while we may strive to behave sensibly and reasonably, we simply don’t bother to make any changes without an emotional investment to motivate us. The meaning of our various practices lies largely in the emotional rewards we seek to reap from them.

    One might also draw a parallel with philosophy – not the academic discipline and arguments, but the pursuit and love of wisdom. Some say that youth is wasted on the young, whilst experience is wasted on the old. But it’s only through experience that we learn to judge between the good and the bad, the helpful and the harmful. What a philosophy, a religion or a diet offers us is a shared culture: the accumulated insights and wisdom of a group of other people. Following any of them, when young, we may benefit from others’ experience without having to go through their often distressing experiences ourselves; and when older, we can begin to share our experience and life lessons with those who seek it. Amazing how great a kinship we feel with those who share our goals and our experiences!

    Thank you for your simple, direct action in sharing your own experiences of healthier eating with anybody who wants to become wiser. It’s bound to help.

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