Existential Crisis: The Purists are Doomed

Want to be pure?

In a perfect world, a purist lifestyle would be the best, whatever you think “pure” means – pure of heart, pure of mind, pure body? Everyone has a different definition of this, too. “Pure”  is subjective.

We do not live in a perfect world – in fact, we live in a toxic, messed up, fragile world, one that is rife with catastrophic events and violence, no matter how much we want to ignore it or hope that it will vanish. This is an idealistic viewpoint, and I much prefer to live in reality, even if I happen to get swept off in a fantasy ideal sometimes. I always come back down to earth – I always get an anvil to the face in some way, making me wake the fuck up and look at things from ALL sides, take into consideration ALL views, all potential consequences.

And what have I realized lately? That obtaining purity is impossible, of course, but that the more extreme and sensitive you are is likely not going to prolong your life – it will likely hinder you from it in our current circumstances.

So, if you subsist solely on fruits and vegetables and have done so for a lengthy time, and suddenly are in need of a potato, or soup, or even the dreaded animal product, and you get violently ill from it…how the hell are you going to survive if there is a flood/earthquake/drought/hurricane/war/zombie attack/etc and you don’t have access to anything you normally eat? (Just kidding about the zombies…sort of. There are a lot of zombie-like people out there).

I dunno about everyone, obviously, but the reasons I find most people go on a raw food diet are to feel better from being ill, to get slimmer, or to increase their longevity – but has anyone actually thought about how it could HINDER longevity, in terms of a bleak possible future? I like to be positive, but I also like to be realistic, and most places in the world have their particular weaknesses – for instance, I live in an area that could quite possibly be devastated by a massive earthquake – what if I suddenly had to subsist on canned stuff and donated processed foods? I know I am gonna get pretty sick – and I am not even the “purest” eater out there – and actually, because of some deep thought about it, I don’t really want to be so sensitive.

Do I want to be as healthy as possible? Of course. Do I want to be able to survive a dire circumstance? Yes. Why? To get back to the good stuff and live! It’s our only chance – whether you believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or whatever – this is your only time being YOU, NOW, in THIS life you’re living.

I find this hippie mindset of how everything is beautiful and an illusion and just focus on the GOOD can be very damaging – to have a positive attitude is VERY important, yes, but to completely push the idea out of your mind that something bad could happen is foolish, ignorant, and will possibly cost you the life you love so much.

By all means, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but if you are a realistic person, don’t focus on purity too much. It’s ridiculous. In a survival situation, it is the people who are more toxic that will be more likely to survive. Ironic, isn’t it?

I have been having an existential crisis lately – I am questioning a lot of things, especially my dietary dogma. Do I still think raw is best for health? Yes, to some extent. Do I think a fruitarian diet is the best? NO. A high-fruit diet, yes. A high-greens diet, yes. A diet that includes plant-based fats? Yes. I am more and more open-minded, but still will not eat animals or their secretions. If you do I won’t judge you for it, but I hope that you will expose yourself to where it comes from, how it is obtained, and the cruelty involved, and make kinder choices.

Will I always be this way? If I have a choice, YES.

I have had a very long fascination with survival – it all started when I saw Lord of the Flies when I was 11 years old, which then led me to reading the book several times. I have never lost this obsession, and honestly the only thing that has kept me from taking a survival course is that I don’t want to kill anything.

Now that I am taking martial arts, I am thinking about survival in many other ways – including how my diet could hinder me from doing getting through some heinous shit.

Yes, I want to thrive – but I also want to live.

I read a story recently about a guy who was hiking in the canyons with his yellow lab. They were about 2 hours into the hike and his dog overheated. He was a fruitarian guy at the time. His strength failed him in getting his dog out of there, and within an hour his dog died. The guy couldn’t put on a lot of muscle no matter how hard he tried, for years, on the diet. Who are we to say he could? Clearly it didn’t work for him and he shouldn’t be mocked for it. It’s his life, his choice.

How sad is that? Can you imagine not being fit or strong enough to save your dog, your child, your friend? Or fast enough to get away from someone chasing you, or any sort of situation that would rely on your fitness to escape quickly, or strength to lift you up? Can you imagine not being able to lift yourself into a tree to escape an animal that wanted to eat you? Can you imagine falling and hanging on to something and not being able to lift yourself up? Or to be able to help someone else?

This story about the dog gave me a huge shift in how I view fitness. Taking martial arts (which I have been doing sporadically only within the last year, more often lately) has also shifted my mentality towards survival and even somewhat my views on diet.

The infighting amongst the raw food community lately has led me to question everything I believe, who I trust, what actually makes sense, and to look at all sides of everything, even if I don’t like the other side. Several of my views have changed. Do I think I need more protein? Yep! Do I think YOU do? I don’t know. Do I think we need TONS? No. (I want some more because I want to get a lot stronger, but believe me, I don’t think I need a ridiculous amount, just some MORE – for a sedentary person who isn’t looking to build muscle, I wouldn’t worry about protein too much). Do I think overloading on fruit calories to “carb up” is a smart idea? HAHA, NOPE! Do you need sufficient calories? Well yeah! You don’t need to eat more than you use! Do I think vegetables and greens are even MORE important? YES. Do I think fat is important? YES. Do I think cooked food is poison? NO. Do I think you need animal products in small amounts? I don’t know, but for me it is a question of kindess, so you will have to decide for yourself and think ethically. Do I think salt is bad? No. Do I think it should be limited? Yes. Do I think supplements are bad? Not necessarily. Do I think Western medicine is bad? Yes and no…it depends what the issue is!

I am so happy to be shedding this dogmatic thinking and looking at a bigger picture. That being said, there are raw foodists who I deeply admire, love, look up to and respect. Do I think they’d survive a catastrophic event? I’m not sure, but guaranteed they’d feel really fucking sick!

I am currently playing with how I eat, especially since it’s the holidays. I have ideas about how I am going to eat and work out in the next year. I want to get STRONG, and FAST. I know the bonus will be that I will look awesome, but this time that is not my focus (just like my mental health was my focus when I went raw – the bonus was I looked amazing!)

Part of the reason this came up in my mind is that after the raw food community went haywire recently, I just thought “Fuck this!” and started to eat some cooked, simple food. And it didn’t take long for me to feel utterly crappy. I was like, “God, if potatoes make me feel so awful, how would I survive in a shitty situation?!”

Sigh…it’s hard to know what to do! I am deeply grateful for what raw foods have done for me, but as there is a good and bad side to everything, I barely thought about what bad things it could be doing to me, or could do in the future.

I will continue to learn, grow, and maintain my personal ethics without dogmatic thinking or cult personalities influencing me, and I want to maintain a very open mind. I will NEVER claim to know the “true diet of humans” because NO ONE knows, and if someone claims to, they are an egomaniac to some extent. What is the best diet for them is the best diet for them. We have a lot of clues to what is best, but no one KNOWS 100% FOR FACT. Humans and domesticated animals have a lot more weird idiosyncrasies than wildlife. I read a great quote recently by Gabrielle Reece (who I love) – “The problem with other people’s diets is that it’s another person’s diet.” This is true – some people thrive on a particular diet and others will not. This is why I think it is important to keep an open mind and not follow one person blindly. Take what makes sense for you and work around it. Learn from everyone. And go by how you FEEL more than how you look (though that can give clues as to what is working for you, too, of course!)

Please never take what certain people teach as 100% true. Try things for yourself, see how you feel, and if things change, shift your thinking and learn more. Question everything and everyone. Go with your intuition! If something seems weird or wrong, there is a REASON for that! Listen to it!

Life is a very fluid thing, and if you are unable to adapt, how will you thrive? It’s no good to throw out a good message, but mold it to fit your personal lifestyle, your needs, and your beliefs. Good luck!

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