Today’s post may be viewed as a bit of a rant. Honestly though, I guess that is what it actually is. However, I will be as constructive about it as I possibly can. Let me start with an example of the type of situation I want to address:
The other night we had a nice get together after work with some of the office staff. Before I continue, I should give some background information regarding the fact that it is very well known I am the office “caveman”, meaning I eat a paleo style diet. Actually, since I started in this specific office, there have been 5 people who have, at the very least gone gluten free, and others who have tried a full blown paleo approach. All of whom have only seen positive results. Regardless, during our after work outing, it came up between myself and a co-worker than they have experienced chronic sinusitis for quite some time, and alcohol is particularly bad for triggering symptoms. I mentioned that the alcohol issue is very common with this condition and continued by saying that for a good chunk of my life I also experienced chronic sinusitis and was addicted to nasal sprays for quite some time. At that point I thought that it would be the perfect time to drop the gluten bomb, not even the paleo bomb, just the gluten bomb. So I mentioned that one thing that made a huge difference in my nasal symptoms was cutting gluten out of my diet. As soon as I finished my statement, the look on my co-worker’s face was as if I had insulted their very reason for living. Immediately I was confronted with a response saying that it is great it worked for me, but I am a sample size of one, and that is absolutely no reason for me to suggest other people try it. Well, excuse me for sharing helpful information. At this point I chose the high road and dropped the conversation without listing the multitude of evidence on the contrary to her comment. Well, maybe I didn’t take the high road for the sake of taking the high road, it was probably more the fact that I was with a few company individuals that I report to and didn’t want to make a scene :-).
Gluten or Belief System – Take a Breath People
I really think the above example boils down to the fact the people are super defensive about their diets. In all fairness, I am defensive about my diet too, but I have tried the others, and this one works. Also, if someone tells me that I should be vegan or something, I don’t feel as though they have insulted my reason for living, although I may defend my choices with reason and evidence. Regardless, if I suggested to someone a more efficient way of doing their work, or a wonderful new appliance, or a wonderful new type of technology, or maybe even suggesting someone exercise a bit more to improve their health, the likely response would be “great suggestion” or “maybe I should look into that”. Very reasonable responses even if they actually had no intention of doing so. Oh, but don’t suggest someone remove gluten from their diet..oh no…that is blasphemy, gluten is the very heart and sole of life. Sorry, that’s a bit of a exaggeration, I just was trying to get my message across. Honestly though, some people really get insulted when you mention this stuff and it really is frustrating. In the end, anyone suggesting this type of thing is just trying to help, so take a breath and if you don’t want to listen, just respectfully let the other person know you have no interest in it.
Gluten Removal – I Suggest to Be Helpful
Here’s another point. If I suggest to someone that they may want to think about changing their diet, it’s probably because I have some level of care for their well-being. I am quite certain that this is the exact reason why other “paleo” people suggest a lifestyle change to people they care about. Honestly, if I don’t like you, then maybe I wouldn’t say anything. So, in reality, next time someone makes a suggestion about your lifestyle, or maybe says that you should try a paleo or gluten free diet, realize that they are not trying to insult you, they are trying to help you because they care about you. It’s actually more of a compliment then anything.
I will admit that some people can be very passionate about this thing called “paleo” and may come across as arrogant or maybe even insulting of other ways of living; however, I hardly believe that their motives for pushing their lifestyle is anything but an attempt to be helpful. There may well be the odd jerk out there that simply wants to brag about themselves with no real intention of being helpful to others, but those people are simply the exception, and not the norm.
Listen, at the end of the day, it’s not like I am forcing people to change their diet, that is always up to them, we can all make our own choices and this is how it should absolutely be. However, this does not stop me, or others, from providing helpful suggestions that might make a huge difference in someone’s life. So, if you are reading this and are one of those people who gets insulted from simple diet advice from others; next time it happens, just sit back, take a breath, and realize they are just trying you help you because they probably care about you on some level. This does not mean you have to take the advice, it’s your life and your choice, but it’s also your choice to be insulted our to feel good that someone cares enough to want to help keep you around as long as possible.
Thanks everyone for listening to my rant.
The Barefoot Golfer