A proposal of organized support
As a long time vegetarian, and former health coach, I often find myself responding to idiots in the comments sections of articles pertaining to health and diet. And very quickly I regret my obvious lack of self-discipline in that respect. While my passion of purpose has since moved on from “let me help you be healthy and fit,” to “let me help you achieve self-actualization”, I am still a supporter of the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and believe that the incredible amount of research and scientific data support this way of living.
It is difficult for me to read something that is not in someones best interest and not say something. However, in my current mode of self-inquiry and researching how best to help individuals live a full life, I have learned some wonderful things, that I hope will help all of us here to be at peace in ourselves. A basic human need is the need to belong. We naturally find groups with whom we feel at ease in at least one aspect of our lives.
In my experience, I come to places like this to support someone whom I feel is already a friend because of their intentions to live a healthier life, and in the same moment create a more sustainable world and a more compassionate world. What I tend to sometimes forget is that “those other people” think the exact same thing about their own path... except maybe compassionate, I'm not sure how they could possible think that. The point, though, is that the majority of them honestly believe that their diet and way of life is the healthiest, sustainable, and everybody should be doing it. They have systematically “debunked” real science, which is to say they just don;t believe it or have made up quite convincing rebuttals (convincing to themselves and possibly people in the beginning if their search for health).
We can look back at every single one of these fad diets and see people who are rabidly protecting their stance. They need to feel as part of an intimate group who understands and accepts them. The same is true for us. Yes, this lifestyle has the most evidence of support by far, and yes it is the oldest, and yes there really is no question among real scientists and researchers, but there is no difference in our personal beliefs and the personal beliefs of those who are following a very different path.
I have been part of this group for over 20 years. I came to it through personal health issues which I had to “diagnose” myself and then cure on my own. I was easily swayed by absolute rubbish, because it sounded really intelligent. I struggled for years as I slowly, through personal trial and error, became vegetarian and cured my issues, and then as a bonus felt better than I ever had. I never realized I didn't feel great until I felt great.
Now, those of us that have been involved with this path for some time, understand that even within our fold there are people who do better with this particular plant than that one. It should be enough to know that we are still a group.
Returning now to the discussion of online discussions, I personally would rather come “home” to sites such as this without having to hear from trolls who are in need of … whatever it is they are in need of, I have not quite figured it out. I would like to tell them that if they are happy and feeling healthy (which most often is just healthier than they had been) then I am happy for them. If they want to eat meat just because they like the taste, fine. If they want to deforest the planet because they feel it is their right or even their duty, I wish them well. It is when they come to my home and piss on the walls and try to convince others that pissing on the walls is healthy and what we were designed to do, that I start to feel a little annoyed at the disrespect.
On the other hand, I know that some of our family are going over to their house and pissing on their walls. While my first reaction is to nod approvingly, as an adult I need to step back and try to see the big picture. This is where my research in human needs and behaviors has come in handy. We need to let people live their lives. There is a very vocal group (actually several) that talk loudly and try to convert the wayward, and the obvious reason for this is the need to group up.
I would like to suggest some zoning. Keep in mind that I am strongly against legislation and rules and the like. However, I would like to propose that as the healthier group (mentally and physically) that we don;t piss on others walls, but at the same time we don't allow it in our homes. There are blogs and forums that are created to support lifestyles we simply disagree with. I propose we stay out of there, or if we do visit we simply listen. In this way we can prepare for those that are truly seeking and getting a whole lot of gobbledy-gook from sites that probably mean well (we should assume they do) and continue to supply good information and put together information from science-backed arenas to support the path we chose and advise others to take.
Now, that does not include individual articles on third-party sites. I propose we be a bit more organized and support our efforts to reach new-to-the-journey people. When we read an article that is not good advice, we should address it and share the link at our home (sites and forums such as this). I have noticed through the years, from every silly “diet plan” from Atkins to Paleo to just eating blue foods on Tuesdays, that supporters of that particular group run in packs and use bullying tactics to drum out differing opinions. Of course they then claim that our silence is due to being wrong and not being able to debate their facts, when the obvious truth is that they have no facts to debate and their belief is that 95% of the science and research is incorrect because of s... whatever reason they pick out of the sky. How can their be any discussion of science when the other side simply says, “No, that's incorrect. Saturated fat is good for you, the more the better.” I have seen it even possible to believe that livestock is sustainable for the world (current evidence to the contrary aside) and that in fact raising livestock is good for the soil.
My point in all this is that there is no reasoning with them. It is not that what they believe is the issue, it is that they must believe it, to be part of a group. I propose we stop trying to help them, as they do not wish to be helped, but that we continue to simply offer resources and support of each other as we can. So, while we will not go to their home (blogs and forums built for their group) we can certainly offer resources for true-seekers on other online outlets such as huffpost and health journals and newspapers. We need to be careful to not get drawn into facades of debate. We need to leave emotion at the door and simply point out resources, such as sites disseminating research and offering support to start on this great path.
Even though some of the docs and scientists in our home have a bit different opinion on which plants are best for what, we can point to all of them and know that any single person's answer is in there. That's how I found mine and I'm sure most of you did as well. It doesn't matter that one doc believes we need to eat more potatoes or another supports a higher ratio of fruits... it's all good.
The other side of that coin (not going into their homes) is I think we should just keep them out of ours. They are never in our home to understand, but only to bring chaos. I think their poison is not good for those who came to our home to learn more. There is enough of that poison and tripe out on the streets, let's keep it off the dinner table.
Hand in hand with the above proposals, is that we create some recipes of information. We might have a place where we can cut and paste responses so that we can quickly and easily leave comments that contain links and quotes and study citations. Yes, every single one of those comments will be met with “that's total bunk, and that was proven untrue.” but we can only make an effort to try to provide helpful and healthful resources. Perhaps in that comment we leave we could simply state, “for those of you who are actually seeking healthful answers, take a serious look at the included resources and feel free to join us with honest questions. We will not be responding here to all the baseless attacks we are sure to receive from a group who has an insatiable need to sensationalize decades of real science.”
In my recent discussion, I found myself continually drawn in to useless combative debate as I was singled out by one particular loud and completely off-base commenter. I had decided to not continue my “discussion” with her, but simply support those who spoke the truth or asked honest questions. Clearly I am a sucker for being singled out as I just feel it rude to not respond, even though it is pointless and a waste of time. You can see that discussion and see what I mean here, I always use my name. It is just one way to be sincere and transparent: http://www.mainstreet.com/article/lifestyle/food-drink/paleo-diet-first-...
I think something we do best is support each other and honest seekers. So, I propose we organize another area where we can share links to discussions where can quickly jump in and thumbs up each other and pat each other on the back and maybe comment quickly, “you are right... here is another link on that.” We need to be prepared though, that groups who thrive simply by being a group will attack anything they can. I was not really prepared to be told my motive was money and the attacker pointed to my website which of course is my business, but my business is no longer health coaching. My point is that they will attack personally. We need to just tune them out and share the truth with those who can listen and support each others efforts.
So, in brief, I suggest:
We keep the trolls out of our homes, they serve no purpose and only harm true seekers.
We likewise stay out of their homes, as we are wasting our time on a group who has no interest in truth, but only to be a group.
We organize ourselves and information to simply cut and paste on 3rd party sites and encourage honest seekers to join us for dinner
And we let each other know where we can support each other.
Something that I would like to have more experience in is helping form masterminds- groups of people from different backgrounds and education who discuss a topic with each other. I have been part of a couple masterminds, and I just love them. When we come together for a purpose, we can listen to other opinions without a knee-jerk reaction of defending our position, because we understand that whatever is being said is still supporting the purpose, whatever that purpose is. That is what I propose here and all other veg sites across the net. We are a tribe. We may have differing opinions on vaccinations or organic vs not organic, or feeding our dogs table scraps, but we do believe that more whole plants and less animal products is healthier. Period. So, let's focus on that and discuss how we might help each other stay on our personal paths when being attacked and inundated with junk and help honest seekers find their path and stay on it.
Thank you for reading. ;-)
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