Health is Exactly Like Religion

It’s no secret that I’m going Paleo (in a non-strict sense) for the first two months of 2014. If you read up on Paleo, you will find articles heavy in nutritional discussion. As such, you can expect to see a few more posts about nutrition for the first part of the year.

As I look up recipes, review books and share information I’ve found, please remember I am far from a nutritional expert. At the same time, I hold certain beliefs when it comes to nutrition which will remain unchanged. I say this as a warning because I’ve found discussions on health to be very similar to religious discussions. Many people don’t want to discuss or expand upon their religious beliefs. They don’t want to listen to anyone who tells them something that contradicts with what they hold as true. Health is often the exact same way.

The truth is, science is always expanding in its understanding of health. Decades ago, there may have been a slew of studies that claimed one thing to be true. As more questions were asked, more studies were performed. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the consensus on that truth to change.

I’m going to use something crazy as an example because I’m honestly afraid to use one I actually believe for fear of starting a debate (I’ll save that for another post). Let’s say there were a ton of studies that said eating paper was extremely healthy. Paper then became the staple of health for a few decades. All the news outlets told the public to eat more paper. As the public is getting used to the change, researchers ask more and more questions. Eventually, they discover a high correlation between blockages in the intestines and the consumption of paper. They find the benefits of eating paper are not worth the adverse effects. This may launch even more studies into the aspects of paper that are healthy and where those same aspects can be found without adverse effects. The media reports on these new findings and ideas about what is and isn’t healthy change again.

This repeats over and over. The public becomes confused about health and nutrition. Some people will refuse to listen and insists that the studies proving consumption of paper is healthy are irrefutable regardless of new research. Other will adapt, and then adapt to the next trend, and then the next. The fact is, nothing in the science of health and nutrition is 100% certain. I just started to read a book given to me by my second cousin called The China Study, which provides a great example.

“Smoking has never been “100%” proven to cause lung cancer, but the odds that smoking is unrelated to lung cancer are so astronomically low that the matter has long been considered settled.” <–page 41

All this is to say that I may make statements about health and nutrition that you disagree with. I would be more than happy to engage in discussion about those statements, but I can’t promise that those discussions will change anything I hold to be true. I can promise that I will listen and happily read anything you cite as proof of your view. The only thing that will bring out all the stubbornness I can muster (I have a lot) is if you make a statement that contradicts something that has had huge positive effect and no negative effect on my life. I’ve had my share of healthy issues in my 23 years, insomnia being only one, and I can’t deny the changes I made that helped. That said, I also will not claim that the things that helped me will have the same effect for anyone else. If something works for me, that’s how it will be until I see something that proves otherwise for me and my body chemistry.

Lastly, I would like to settle any fears people may have about my sanity. I am not one of those people who believes you should stop taking medicine prescribed by a doctor. I am not one of those people who is anti-vaccine. I am not one of those people who believes if you do everything I do that you will have my same exact result.

Instead, I believe that a healthy lifestyle can negate most if not all need for pills and prescriptions. I believe people live healthier and longer lives if they can avoid the need for any medical intervention. Lastly, I believe that most diseases and illnesses can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle (the definition of which differs from person to person based on their unique body).

Please, no throwing tomatoes. I hate tomatoes.

Campbell, T. Colin, and Thomas M. Campbell. The China Study. Dallas, TX: BenBella, 2005. Print.
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9 thoughts on “Health is Exactly Like Religion”

  1. Very interesting observation… I can definitely see the similarities between the two! Good luck on going paleo! I’d be interested to hear about some of the foods you try.

    1. I just went to the book store (they were having a new year’s sale) and bought myself a Paleo cookbook. I’ll let you know what works and what doesn’t. I’m especially excited try making some of the Paleo condiments.

  2. Oh I have my favourite paleo websites that I tend to refer to when I want to cook up stuff!!

    I should probably get a cook book as well, but find the interwebz provides pretty well!

    Good luck with it 🙂

    1. There was a sale going on at my local book store today and, while I’ve found my share of paleo stuff on the interwebs, I like physical books. I don’t mind if they get beat up a bit. (but I do mind if my computer or phone falls off the counter while I’m cooking up some tasty stuff)

  3. I’ve been thinking about going Paleo, but I haven’t had the discipline necessary to do it, unfortunately. I have a terrible diet. I think I remember The China Study being referenced in a food documentary I watched once, but now I can’t remember which one it was…Forks Over Knives, maybe? Good luck with Paleo, though! Maybe I’ll try it out one of these days.

    1. I’m not very far in but what I’ve read is great. You could take baby steps into paleo. Start by avoiding one thing, then add another after a few weeks until you’re only eating paleo friendly foods. You feel great once you start (and after your body detoxifies).

  4. “health is exactly like religion” ….I read your post yesterday and was thinking about it and I agree. health is very much like religion and people treat their particular diet’s just like people treat religion. I’ve been vegetarian for awhile but I never mention it in public unless I’m in the right company because 1 of 2 things usually happens;

    1) fellow vegetarians and vegans get all excited when they find out I’m vegetarian because they somehow think I will empathize with their hatred of meat-eaters (I do not empathize with them cuz I don’t hate meat eaters)….

    2) meat eaters often immediately get defensive because they think that by me being a vegetarian I am judging them; but I don’t judge them cuz I don’t care.

    I will eat seafood/fish if I’m at someone’s house and it is served to me (but that hasn’t happened in a long time)….because I feel that part of living in a society with other people is that I have the responsibility to be polite……I haven’t been at someone’s house in a long time where I was served red meat or chicken…not sure what I would do in that circumstance but I do know that I would be EXTREMELY polite and I wouldn’t make a ruckus….I would probably try to quietly not eat the meat and hope nobody notices.

    1. People get picky about everything. I’m always careful because I see a chiropractor regularly. Just saying that, people often question my intelligence. It’s like they think I said 2+2= potato.

      Sometimes I really want to talk about it though. When someone comes to me and complains about an issue I know chiropractic care can help I want to tell them. I want them to know there is another solution to look for. Anymore though, I try not to say anything unless some says “my kid keeps wetting the bed and nothing I do helps. Do you know of anything that might help?”

      So it is with religion. Unless someone asks for my specific opinion and/or solution, I’m not going to mention it.

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