There has been an article from Pop Sugar circulating called "I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything" that in many ways is funny, but it is also detrimental. It is funny because even people who eat Paleo can identify with the initial funky gastrointesntial problems you may have from substantially increasing your vegetable intake. Or we all laugh over the times that we have made Paleo recipes that fail horribly and taste terrible. I know the article is meant to be a joke, but at the same time, it is difficult for me to see it circulated all over and see people making fun of those of us that eat Paleo because for some of us, the Paleo diet is life saving.
I have a hard time with people saying this article is so great and so funny when the writer, Geraldine DeRuiter makes a comment like this:
“In some respects, it's worked: being Paleo has killed my will to live, so I'm too sad to snack. My abs look pretty damn good, but I suspect that's from all the nights I spend wracked with sobs because I can't eat anything fun.”
Ms. DeRuiter says the Paleo diet killed her will to live. First, using phrases like that completely trivializes mental illness and death by suicide. That is NEVER a funny phrase to use. Ever. It’s not funny when you loose your will to live.
I eat Paleo because I have mental illness and I fight every day for my will to live. The Paleo diet keeps my moods more stable and decreases my anxiety. It cures my Irritible Bowel Syndrome so that I can function and have a healthy brain/gut connection. There has been a lot of research showing how depression and anxiety is related to poor gut health, and when I eat Paleo, my whole body and mind heal.
And yet, it is hard to eat Paleo, in large part because people make fun of it all the time, due to spreading articles like the one on Pop Sugar around all over the place. Food shaming someone over any diet they need and choose to have is ridiculous and dangerous. It can lead to many people sabotaging their own health because the pressure from others is so great. It is terrible to be at a party and have people tell you how stupid your diet is and pretty much try and force you to eat or drink things to make them happy and to make them feel better. Sometimes we just eat what they want because the other person is being so mean and we just want the pain of them making fun of us and questioning our own health to stop.
I do not particularly like when the diet I need, a diet that saves my life, is made fun of and taken so lightly.
Every time I give in to food shaming, I eat something that is unhealthy for me, and I get sick and I start to loose my will to live. Yes, this is my own issue, I “should” be stronger and I “should” not care what other people say, but we all care and we all give in when we have been picked at over and over again for just being who we are and trying to take care of ourselves.
So, I would love it if we just stopped food shaming each other. I would love it if, when we have a bad experience with something, that we don’t make fun of it so much that it spreads a false message about it. Ms. DeRuiter could have had a much better article if she left out the stigma against mental illness, if she left out acting like Paleo is a stupid diet, and if she would have just spoken from her own experience and acknowledged with a few links that for some people, Paleo is life saving.
P.S. I could go into how most of Ms. DeRuiter’s information about what the Paleo diet is is wrong and that she did not take the time to research the science behind the diet at all, but I would leave that to actual scientists, like Dr. Loren Cordain and Dr. Terry Wahls.