This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.
Even if you have fine self-esteem and a supportive group of people around you, your mind can hold you back from reaching the goals you have for your body. We most often behave in a manner consistent with the way we think. Some of the principles that you are learning as part of this eating-style may seem counterintuitive at first because they do not fit neatly into your prior beliefs. Because we are social animals, ideas seem more believable when more people believe them. They require social proof before they gain general acceptance.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at some of the factors that inhibit people from adopting a healthier, plant-based diet. The study found that the more knowledge subjects obtained about the benefits, the more they had their questions answered, and the more prior myths were shattered with science, the more likely they were to adapt to a healthy diet and achieve good health.1 For some, change has to occur in steps, and it has to be at one’s own pace. Remember, however, that your willingness to change and your success is proportional to the knowledge you obtain. This is a knowledge-based program. Gaining the knowledge is the most critical factor to enable behavioral changes that will lead to healthier habits.
Some people will decide to ignore the life-enhancing information presented here. That decision is made on a subconscious level. A multitude of diets, nutritional supplements, and even drugs promise weight loss without changing the way you eat. This promise alone is enough to keep people from doing the work to change; it gives our subconscious minds a way out. The subconscious mind is not logical. Many of these diets have been debunked, but that doesn’t damage their allure to our subconscious minds where most decisions are made. The good news is that you are not at the mercy of your genes or your subconscious mind, and you can control your health and weight. Heart diseases, strokes, cancer, dementia, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, and other common illnesses are not predominantly genetic. They are the result of incorrect dietary choices. With knowledge, you can be empowered to make new choices by changing the way that you think.
Ideas have a life of their own. They have inertia. Once they are accepted and popular, they become difficult to displace. Much of what is now widely accepted as nutritional gospel is based on scant evidence, mistaken old notions, bad science, and myths advertised to us by food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and the government. At this point, even scientists and physicians accept the myths and gaps in nutritional information. Many current, popular dietary notions have uncertain origins, but since they have been around a long time, they generally go unquestioned. Once they become this ingrained, they are difficult to change, and they form our cognitive health model. Due to that, when people are presented with new information that falls outside the model, it is difficult to accept.
1. Lea EJ, Crawford D, Worsley A. Consumers’ readiness to eat a plant-based diet. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006;60:342–351.