term failures on such an "ideal" diet, and--
And so on and so on--endless contortions and complexities to explain away the obvious. These include complexities besides just explaining failures on such diets that we'll cover a little later, complexities which are necessary to support some of the premises of utopian dietary thought itself.
- why the failures don't count against the diet,
- why they can be ignored,
- why they mean almost the opposite of what it would appear they do based on ordinary common sense,
- why they demonstrate rather than refute the principles behind the diet,
- how the few exceptions of long-term success are not really exceptions but instead the ideal everyone can achieve.
Are the explanations really simple, or just familiar? Important to note is that such complexities or rationalizations really only seem as simple to us as they do because they are so familiar, and oft-repeated like mantras. Familiarity, or what we become habituated to with repetition and practice, can easily blind us to how complex or convoluted some of our "simplicity" may really be. Familiarity is a double-edged sword that is necessary to understand things, yet its pervasive and normally unseen role is what gives it the power to blind us to the obvious if we get too emotionally comfortable in it, and stop looking and asking questions.
Note: If one is really interested in looking at it, the low success rate mentioned just above is actually fairly simple to observe on almost any email list devoted to the ideal of raw-foodism if one sticks around long enough to see the patterns, where most of the posters fall into one of two camps. One camp, the biggest one usually (though not always), asks for lots of advice or talks about the problems they are having on the diet or in sticking to it without lapses. The other camp of people who are apparently doing well and giving advice based on their success, such as it is, have in most cases been on the diet only a relatively short time (a few years or less, just as often months or less).
The remaining people who have been on the raw-food diet long-term (say, five years or more) without significant lapses or on-and-off-the-wagon episodes, and also say they are successful (giving them the benefit of the doubt) do exist but are more rare. This is before getting into further considerations of what criteria might be used to assess reliability of the claims, though. (For example, it's not that unheard of for some who count themselves as successes to report weight levels that would be classed as anorexic. Others report menus that if true would be well below caloric starvation levels, which strains credulity.)
Here, it's what you don't see--lots of long-term successes--that speaks volumes by its absence.
|The complexities of dietary utopianism
go beyond just having to explain failures
Conundrums in idealistic dietary thought itself. Beyond the problems of accounting for the significant failure rate, there are numerous examples of conundrums confronting the philosophy of idealistic dietary thought itself that have to be ironed out via complicated explanations to justify them. Here we'll give the flavor of them through a few brief examples, which we will follow up with a bit more in-depth look later. Some of the issues that have to be explained with convoluted rationales are:
We'll go into a few of these as well as other examples in somewhat more depth later, where we'll compare and contrast this more complex pattern that makes necessary "putting out fires" in one's logic, after the fact, with its alternative: acknowledging the messy facts of life ahead of time and dealing with them more simply right up front.
- Why the evolutionary record of meat-eating in humans doesn't really mean we could have adapted to that way of eating, even though it is maintained that our mostly vegetarian progenitors, the ape family, are adapted to their way of eating, which was itself a big change in diet from the predominantly insectivorous primates who preceded the apes. (Most seem to forget or are not familiar enough with the details--the actual evidence--to realize the latter was the case.)
- Asserting that significant physiological evolution in dietary adaptations in humans couldn't have happened, while tacitly accepting other adaptations that occurred, such as the tripling in size of the human brain. (This is what is called by another writer elsewhere on this site "the brain can evolve but the stomach cannot" line of reasoning.)
- Similarities between apes and humans are discussed, but not the differences. Here the problem is making much of any similarities between humans and apes where items relevant to diet are concerned, but discounting or not being interested in the differences.
- Having to explain why the ideal diet is more difficult for most people than other diets, rather than easier.
- Why good results are good for our diet, but not the other guys'. Why if the diet you believe in makes you feel good that's good, but if any other diet makes you feel good that's deceptive, and you'll pay later.
- And conversely, why bad results are bad for their diet, but not ours. If any other diet makes you feel bad that's obviously bad, but if the ideal diet makes you feel bad that's good, because it's only detox.
- Being told to trust your own experience, but to believe in what the diet gurus say instead if your experience doesn't agree, because discordant results don't necessarily mean what you think.
- The differences between various vegetarian diets are important, but all omnivorous diets are pretty much the same. Here one broadly lumps any diet with meat in it into one allegedly detrimental class with each diet regarded as ultimately little different than any of the others. Meanwhile hairs are split over the differences between various vegan or vegetarian diets, and the differences seized upon as very important to distinguish which is best.
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