Rationalization to Ruin · 20 July 2013

If the doctor told you that you had to give up something or die, you would give up that something. Even if it was your favorite food.

My Dad’s doctor has not told him to give up certain foods (yet), but one of his doctors told him to give up cigarettes after his second heart attack. That physician gave him an ultimatum. Stop smoking or die. Of course, everybody dies sometime, but the doctor was telling Dad in no uncertain terms that his death would be premature if he kept smoking. So he stopped smoking. Just like that.

I wonder if people would do the same thing if their doctors told them that they had to give up their favorite foods.

I suppose that most people would not have a problem giving up ice cream or chocolate cake if they were the culprits. We could all probably give up any treaty thing that we do not have on an everyday basis. But what if that food was a supposed staple? I wonder if we would give up those foods we love and believe must be a part of every meal if they were the culprits of our health problems.

From what I have read and observed on my own journey toward health, eating few processed foods and little to no animal products is the healthy way to eat. We need not totally give up those sugary and starchy products that come in boxes. We do not need to completely cut out meat, dairy, and eggs. But if we really want to be healthy, we need to drastically cut down on all of those foods. Maybe even giving them up entirely for some period of time.

That is where rationalization comes in.

We say that we do not really eat that much processed foods when in fact, pastas, breads, and cold cereals make up much of our diets. We say we do not eat much meat and have an eight ounce steak or large pork chop for dinner. Plus we eat meat at every meal. Even though we know that three ounces of meat satisfies our daily recommended allowance for protein and that we also get protein from plant sources.

If we know what is good for us, but do not do it, we are merely rationalizing away our health.

Of course, we have all rationalized our own behaviors. Whether those behaviors have to do with health or any choice that we make, we can come up with some seemingly rational reason for behaving the way we do. At least until we realize we are just rationalizing.

When we stop rationalizing and realize that nutrition, especially eating a plant-based, whole food diet, can do more for our health than pills or surgery, we can start our own journeys toward health. We can cut out processed foods because we want to pay for good food rather than doctors. We can greatly reduce our animal product intake because it provides little nutrition rather than thinking we are just getting our protein requirements or cowing to animal rights activists. We can change our behaviors because it makes sense rather than defending the status quo.

Once we realize that eating the “traditional” American diet is ruining our health, we can stop rationalizing our way to ruin.

I am no doctor. But Dr. Fuhrman and other physicians are telling us to give up processed foods or have a life filled with disease. They are telling us that meat and animal products ought to be minor parts of our meals instead of the main course. They are telling us we can eat our way to health instead of rationalizing ourselves into disease and an early grave.

Those doctors might not be telling us to stop eating a certain food or die, but their message is strong. We need to stop rationalizing our food choices. We need to eat right to live healthy.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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