* This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
Human nature is fascinating to observe and study. In some ways people are unpredictable but overall we usually act in accordance with the way we’re wired. We always look for shortcuts and ways to get around the discipline necessary to do something, particularly if it’s changing behavior.
Eating healthy is hard because sugar, salt, and fat are addictive. It takes work to stay on track. There are no hidden secrets.
Esoteric eating is a modern affliction, a convenient way to yo-yo through various fads and cult like eating regimens. I remember being criticized for eating at Subway by a follower online, saying Subway was “trash” and unhealthy. Apparently he, the casual observer, held esoteric knowledge of health that I the sincere student of health was not privy to.
We live in an esoteric age. Special people have special knowledge, or so they think.
Like the “chosen ones” of past generations, these esoteric health nuts, vegans, and aficionados of various gurus and eating systems see themselves as the “elect” and the “sanctified.”
In theological terms, esoteric eating is similar to Gnosticism. Gnostics are supposedly possessors of special knowledge that others are not aware of, or haven’t been enlightened by.
Just as our religious nature without authentic expression has created a cultic worship of the self, consumerism, and the ever growing deification of the state itself, with neo-gnostic beliefs, much of this spills over into esoteric types of health eating practices – keto, atkins, zone, all organic, veganism, and even all meat diets. The same esoteric, gnostic beliefs pop up in the health and wellness field, and latching on to some esoteric belief system becomes a pseudo religion.
The key belief in esoteric, gnostic health knowledge is this:
“I have discovered the “truth” about the best way to eat / exercise / live healthy and am a convert to this special knowledge.”
Many people think they have found “the way” to eat.
Ignore them. Ignore the esoteric eating habits of the enlightened, because this usually ends up being self – defeating at worst, and annoying at least. If you want to become a vegetarian, fine, go for it because you might be better off. But there are bigger things in life than searching for some hidden way to eat.
Stick to the basics. There is no special knowledge. The truth is the truth. Be cautious, but reasonable. If you don’t know the effect of a supplement don’t take it. Eat less than you burn to lose weight. Focus on plant foods, fruits and veggies, for most of your calories. Eat plenty of fresh food. Wash your food. Eat fish, nuts, and healthily unprocessed meats. Eat whole grains and slow digesting carbs. Fast a little. Enjoy eating. Drink plenty of water, preferably filtered.
Don’t join a cult movement containing supposedly hidden esoteric knowledge because it doesn’t work over the long term.
Aim for balance and eat well day by day instead.
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