The other day I was reading something about wellness and food, and the healthcare practitioner said, “Well, I just tell my patients not to be a fanatic about food. That’s rule number one. ”
I get where he’s coming from. I do. Some people care too little about food, and some people care too much.
But reading this triggered something in me – “don’t be a fanatic.” I guess I am sensitive to it because my family of origin has called me a fanatic. We use the word like it is a bad thing, but is it? For the sake of clarity, I decided to go look up the textbook definition of fanatic, which means:
“A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.”
It’s no coincidence that food would be associated with the same word used to describe religion and politics because food is just as controversial. In fact, I actually wrote about this in a previous blog titled Don’t Hate Me Because I Eat Meat.
And yes, being single-minded is unappealing. There is never one, right way to do anything, including eat.
But the thing is, I really like that word zeal. You know what it means? “Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.”
Synonyms include: passion, ardor, love, fervor, fire, avidity, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, appetite, relish, gusto, vigor, energy, intensity, fanaticism.
I am ZEAL.
I understand that being a fanatic has a negative connotation. Like I said, I think the single-minded nature of fanaticism is what turns people off, and that fanatics often push their agenda on to others.
Here’s what I want you to know: I have learned that sometimes the healing process asks you to become a fanatic and that’s ok.
Have you ever completed an elimination diet, where you stop eating all major food allergens, like wheat, dairy, corn and soy? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever committed to going to bed at 9PM every night? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever removed sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever paid attention to the cleaning supplies that you buy for your home? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever tried to avoid genetically modified foods? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever counted how many grams of carbohydrates you are consuming? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever tried to avoid canola oil in the prepared foods section in Whole Foods? That asks you to be a fanatic.
Have you ever tried to sit down and eat three meals per day without distractions? That asks you to be a fanatic.
I am not saying that you need to do all of these things. What I am saying is that they are noble pursuits. Committing to this level of change causes great disruption to those around you because your changing causes people to bump up against their lack of change.
Look, everyone knows not to eat the donut! But they do it anyway! If you don’t eat the donut, then, well, you’re different.
Your newfound discipline and pursuit of self-mastery will become very, very threatening to the people and systems that surround you.
I want you to be threatening because when you are full of vitality…when you are full of life, you are impossible to fuck with. When you can trust your body, you start to trust Life. You start to think. You start to see. You start to ask questions.
Claiming your vitality looks like fanaticism when the world and systems at large are doing everything possible to violate your health.
Look at this insanity:
People feel safe taking multiple pharmaceutical drugs and are scared of herbs; the plant medicine that we evolved with. We exchange something that is on the spectrum of food with thousands of years of safety for toxic drugs that are entirely new to the body.
Women schedule the birth of their babies.
We vaccinate babies who do not yet have a developed immune system.
Schools fill our children’s minds with more and more information and put them in front of computers, instead of respecting their natural creativity and allowing them to play in Nature.
Grocery stores sell packaged foods with little to no nutritional values, and with toxic ingredients that don’t do our bodies any favor whatsoever.
And we wonder why we are sick and suffer from epidemics of inflammatory diseases?
Damn straight, I am a fanatic. I am single-minded in my pursuit of vitality because I am called to be. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
For thirty years I suffered with asthma that was actually caused by a dairy allergy. Then, in 2002 my vitality collapsed, landing me in the hospital. This was the precious moment I realized that if I was going to stay on this planet, I had to become a fanatic about how I was living my life. I changed everything.
In a world of moderation and distraction and excuses, when you commit yourself to something fully, you risk being called a fanatic. That is a risk that I am willing to take for my self, my family and you.
Eat in peace, like a fanatic.
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