I’ve come to realize over the past three years of my college experience that the phrase “I am a healthy eater,” is used liberally and with conviction among my peers. Amazingly, in spite of eating almost no produce they believe that they eat healthful diets. Telling them otherwise would result in defensiveness and rationalizations. I have friends who are athletes, environmental activists, pre-meds, you name it, and are intelligent, forward-thinking people. Yet, when it comes to what they put in their mouths, they are clueless. For example, I just moved into an apartment with two new roommates (one female, one male) and the refrigerator and cabinets were already stocked with food (well, if you could call it that) when I arrived. After living at home for a while with its endless supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, I was taken aback by what I saw: oreos, chips, weight watchers bars, and other convenient, imperishable foods were in the cabinets, frozen pizzas, macaroni dishes, and fake meats with unpronounceable, artificial ingredients, in the freezer. Other than a few carrots and a melon, no fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, no mushrooms, no beans and no raw nuts or seeds were in the kitchen.
I began chatting with my new roommate about my upbringing and how important eating healthfully is to me. As a competitive runner, he heartily agreed with me about the importance of fueling your body with nutritious foods and he explained that healthy eating is very important to him too. There was a clear discrepancy between his nutritional philosophy and the foods he had stocked in our kitchen. This has been a frequent occurrence for me over the years and shows how nutritionally uneducated people are. Little is done to educate the American populace about one of the most important topics of their lives: how to eat a disease- preventing diet. I do my best to educate my friends when they ask me for advice, but I’ve learned from experience not to push my eating philosophy on others. Their chosen eating habits are like a religion to some people, and not open to debate. I hope my friends are curious about what I eat and ask me questions, and in many instances they do. I also have friends who could care less about what I put in my mouth, convinced that their mediocre diet is just as healthy, if not more so. I accept this, but I do wish that all my friends and others were blessed with the nutritional knowledge that I am fortunate to possess.
Have you found those around you to be curious about your diet and the nutritarian lifestyle? How do you handle conflicting nutritional beliefs?