Have You Caught the "Extreme-itis" Bug?


If we buy into the culturally acceptable mindset that eating for health is extreme, we will always have twinges or avalanches of deprivation and self-pity; which will set us up for repetitive cheating, or worse yet, for others to think we are depriving ourselves and have pity on us as well.


We can read and study Eat to Live, and those around us can read and study it also, and we can even attend health immersions and know the information inside and out; however, if deep down inside we feel abnormal or embarrassed by eating high-nutrient, plant based foods, or are made to feel like we are extreme, then we’ve caught the "extreme-titis" bug.  If we've caught it, we'll never experience the truest sense of pleasure from eating for health. (Unfortunately, the virus is quite contagious right now!) 


When we grasp the amazing reality that eating a high-nutrient, plant based diet is normal; that eating an apple instead of a piece of cake is normal; that eating some steamed veggies instead of a pan of pizza, or eating a salad instead of bag of chips is normal; that not having diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and dementia is normal; not having astronomical medical and pharmaceutical bills is normal; that enjoying pleasurable sex in the middle age years and beyond is normal; and that feeling well, attractive, and enjoying life is normal.

And the day that we thoroughly understand that putting a high fat Value Meal or chocolate cream pie into our blood stream is extreme; to be riddled with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia is extreme; for a teen to wear diapers and be spoon fed pureed food due to a stroke is extreme; to spend $120 on a vial of insulin is extreme; to continually feel sick, tired and depressed is extreme; to be so overweight and lethargic that one can't enjoy making love to his/her spouse is extreme; to sweat profusely and hide from swimming pools on hot summer days is extreme.  

Then, and only then, we will experience the true pleasure of eating for health!

As the mind is changed, the body will be transformed as a result.

Are we living in the perspective of being normal or extreme?

Perhaps it’s time for an “extreme adjustment”. 


Perhaps it’s time to honestly ask ourselves the following questions:


  • Am I embarrassed to drink a blended salad around my co-workers who are eating donuts?

  • Do I hide my container of vegetables when I’m out in public with friends? 

  • Do I eat a slice of pizza with peers just to fit in?



Perhaps its time to feel normal . . . .because eating the way our bodies are designed to function in optimal health IS normal! 

Then we’ll not feel deprived and self-pitied, and we’ll no longer experience the suppressed longing to be a part of the standard America diet culture. 

Perhaps it’s time for many of us to come out of hiding and establish new, normal traditions not only for the holidays, but for the office, places of worship, birthday and Super Bowl parties, cook-outs, bonfires, and all social gatherings. 

Perhaps instead of secretly brown bagging our food in public, we can lead the way of normalcy, and unashamedly live in great health; happy to be a part of the awesome nutritarian food revolution that is eradicating food addictions and resulting diseases from our bodies!

Those that want to get rid of costly diseases, astronomically expensive meds, and unnecessary suffering and heartbreak is exploding exponentially daily. Extreme is going down!

Normal is here to stay!

Let’s all enjoy being NORMAL today; full of health, vitality, and life!


image credit:  flickr by Muffet

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Comments (26) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gilles Arbour - July 6, 2012 11:15 AM

Good points! I am so tired of hearing "Let's not get too extreme" meaning that a soft drink with a fast-food burger is just fine once in a while. Just to be with friends. Like a normal person.

From the dictionary - Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type. When the standard common person is sick and tired why would I want to be "normal" ?

Jean Myers - July 6, 2012 11:15 AM

Fantastic post!! Even though I eat for health despite feeling a bit extremist, it is time to ditch the identification with "extreme" and embrace normalcy. Thanks, Emily!

mike - July 6, 2012 12:30 PM

Is having a slice of pizza or a dish of ice cream for a treat, when we know its bad for us, really a teat?

Nicole Roe - July 6, 2012 12:41 PM

People in my office do not think I eat (enough/ever). I eat but I eat to live. I eat breakfast at home. I eat lunch at my desk or at home. I eat dinner at home. Today we had a mandatory lunch meeting that was bring your own lunch. I brought my lunch. A whole bag of mixed greens with carrots and bell pepper and hummus. The looks on their faces (while they were eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes was priceless). First they were impressed I was eating lunch, second they did not believe I could eat that much and third, that I was enjoying it.
On another note. I made coconut milk ice cream for 4th of July. Everyone loved it.

Mary - July 6, 2012 12:43 PM

Amen, Emily! I really needed to hear this, as I suffer from feeling this way. This is one of your best posts yet! Thank you!!

Debra - July 6, 2012 1:16 PM

This article was written for me! I will often "hide" my healthy food, or eat something a little less healthy so I will fit in with others and not appear extreme. Time for me and my veggies to come out of the closet!

Jane - July 6, 2012 1:21 PM

Thank you for your post and for your view. I needed this!

Denise D'Agostino - July 6, 2012 1:35 PM

Wow. That rocked

Gretchen (Veggie Grettie) - July 6, 2012 2:14 PM

Here here! Great article. As I enjoyed the Fourth of July parties I went to I enjoyed knowing that I didn't put any unhealthy foods into my body...those foods seem abnormal!

I was assigned to bring dessert and figuring that the table would already be overloaded with cookies, cakes, etc., I brought single serve cups of a dessert salad I made with chopped strawberries, jicama, and whole fresh blueberries with a light honey mint dressing.

I set out a tray of single serve cups and it felt so good when people kept coming up to me to say thank you for bringing a HEALTHY dessert.

Margie Sifuentes - July 6, 2012 2:43 PM

Thanksfor this post Emily. My "discomfort" level is when my friends and relatives are trying to think of where they can take me for lunch where they will "serve something I will be able to eat". Their list usually not a "compliant" suggestion and I feel I am causing them stress. Maybe post like yours will move me ahead in this

Terry Kunath - July 6, 2012 3:38 PM

Thank you for saying what I feel when I am around SAD eaters. I know they think I am different/weird.

MotherLodeBeth - July 6, 2012 3:48 PM

Nicole Roe I really appreciated you comments. Like you I eat to live rather than live to eat, which seems to be the way most people live.

Growing up drinking a COKE was a rare treat, not a daily or weekly beverage. And serving sizes were small. Think of a serving of meat being the size of a deck of cards.

You may have given those around you some food for thought, without saying a word. We often lead best when we lead by example, rather than words.

ABB - July 6, 2012 3:55 PM

One of my all-time favorite "Emily Posts" (:->). Yes, let's be NORMAL!! The "true" normal. Extra thanks for this one, Emily.

Eve - July 6, 2012 4:04 PM

Oh how , I hope that someday, the nutritarians are the "normal" people!
If I hear the statement, " I could never follow your diet, it is too "restrictive" one more time, I think I will throw up! Well said & amen to Eat To Live!

Emily Boller - July 6, 2012 4:10 PM

Recently, someone called me a "purist."

Hmmm, I suppose if one has clean arteries and veins, one could be called a purist.

I witnessed the recovery process after heart bypass surgery of a close relative. Not fun. The surgeon ripped out veins in the thigh to bypass clogged veins in the chest . . .that is . . . after the rib cage was sawed open and spread apart a bit. It's really hard for a surgeon to reach his/her hands down into a chest cavity to repair clogged arteries without that saw.

And eating for health is extreme?

Clean veins?

A purist? . . . . . bring it on! :)

Sheron - July 6, 2012 4:25 PM

This is a great way of looking at the way we eat. Thank you for your perspective, Emily; it is so helpful to me. I have been embarrassed for 30 years about being the only one eating a whole plants foods diet in a group of SAD adherents; so now, you have enabled me to have the change in attitude that I need to be proud of the way that I eat. This is so good!

Angela - July 6, 2012 5:09 PM

You nailed it Emily! Thank you so much or this post. You put into words exactly what has been floating around in my head for the past few months. I always enjoy your posts but this one is my favorite so far.

Laura - July 6, 2012 5:13 PM

Emily fantastic article I am a newbie from Australia and I am coming to the getaway in August. This article couldn't come at a better time for me,as I am almost 4 weeks in and I have noticed that I feel like I have to explain my lunches and people saying things like 'you poor thing that you have to eat that way' but really I am thinking thank god I found ETL in time to restore my health and I look at my lunch and feel an overwhelming sense of joy because I am loving and respecting my body and making the choice to consciously eat. In the early process of ETL I have now found myself questioning our cultural celebrations and why the need to be so food focused I said to my husband just last night don't think that I am going to eat a SAD cake for my birthday I don't eat that way anymore - and I realised that SAD food isn't food to me anymore not if it will harm my body.

Lilly - July 6, 2012 10:52 PM

Super article, Emily. Eating this way is extreme-ly wise, extreme-ly tasty, extreme-ly healthful - so, I all for going extreme! It will become more of the norm as more and more people see and experience the positive changes nutritarian living has on so many lives. May this extreme become the norm, soon!

Sharon Shaw - July 7, 2012 12:05 AM

How ironic that this delicious, clean and nourishing way of eating is considered extreme, when bypasses ("cracking the chest open"), stents, and a myriad of other procedures and problematic pharmaceuticals are considered the norm!!

Jane K - July 7, 2012 1:06 PM

This is so uplifting, encouraging, and supportive for us who are working our program, and are made to feel abnormal by friends & family. God bless you for your words of encouragement!

Melody Scherubel - July 9, 2012 11:22 AM

Well put, Emily. It shows how much our food environment has changed. As MotherLodeBeth mentioned above, having a Coke (or even 7-UP) was a big deal when I was young. Cake was on my birthday. French fries were a rarity. I remember snacking on raw carrots. Let's hear it for fruits and veggies.

Sorry Doc, No Drugs For Me - July 9, 2012 4:47 PM

Gosh, it never occurred to me that I should feel abnormal, deprived, embarrassed or extreme if I choose to eat healthfully. I would apply all those terms to the people who eat harmful foods.

ABB - July 10, 2012 10:30 AM

*Great* reply, Lilly:

Extreme-ly wise
Extreme-ly tasty
Extreme-ly healthful

That's a keeper!

Cyn - July 13, 2012 2:09 PM

I am proud of the way I eat now. It took me awhile to get to this place. When I used to eat the SAD I would often eat in secret and be embarrassed if I was caught eating, because I felt that everyone was judging me for eating at all, when I was sooooo fat already. When I started eating for life, some of that shame persisted, especially when I was eating with friends who were eating the way I used to eat. But now, especially now that I'm thinner, I love the food I eat and feel good eating it around others. Sort of like I'm bragging or showing off, or at least setting a good example. Not only is my food healthier, but my whole relationship with food is healthier.

Ian - July 13, 2013 11:59 PM

This is so true. One of the main problems is that people view food almost like a religion. Even if you are not outspoken about your eating habits, people that are close to you will see it, and this will cause them to want to challenge your beliefs which differ from theirs. I think it is enough to know the reasons you are eating the way you do.

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