Earlier this week, we announced our expansion into Australia, New Zealand, and the surrounding area, and introduced you to Jamie Scott and Anastasia Boulais, the new Whole9 South Pacific. Today, we’ll give you an idea of what they cover in their Whole9 nutrition seminars down under by digging deeper into one of their “Five S’s of Health” – socialisation. (That’s how they spell it down there.)
Enjoy this special article from Jamie and Anastasia.
The Good Food Island
You’ve caught onto the fact that conventional “health” foods are often a hidden sugar’n'chemical cocktail; that eating “healthywholegrains” leaves your belly bloated bigger than a birthday balloon; and that five-days-a-week of mind-numbing cardio not only destroys your knees, but has done nothing for your weight loss. You have unearthed the world of fresh produce, healthy natural fats, and the best meat, seafood, and eggs you can afford. You might have even taken the plunge into the Whole30®.
You’ve got Good Food nailed down. But have you thought about how your new, healthy habits would affect your day-to-day interaction with other people? Do you even need people? Hugh Grant’s character in About a Boy famously said “I am an island.”
But can you afford to be your own Good Food island in the world of today?
Three Kinds of Island Living
At first you feel so empowered by your new found Good Food knowledge that you want to shout it from the rooftops. Nobody is safe from your wheat-is-the-devil tirade: your co-workers and their soggy sandwiches, your best friend with her afternoon cupcake habit, not even your doctor, so obviously corrupted by Big Pharma.
The day you first notice your friends, family and loved ones roll their eyes the second you open your mouth, this is when you know: You have become a Good Food Crusader. You may be blind enthusiastic enough to continue your preaching, despite the increasing negative feedback and exasperation you receive from your particular choir.
Or you may pass straight to the second phase: the Secret Follower. Secret Followers do not preach, either because they are too cynical to expect the world to change, or too worried about public opinion. They sneak almond-flour brownies into potlucks, mumble “Oh, I’m celiac” when a waiter inquires about their strange order, and force down a piece of store-bought birthday cake for fear of drawing attention to themselves by refusing.
You may even skip this phase altogether, and go straight to the Food Hermit. The Food Hermit has decided that going out and “playing the game” is just too hard. The thought of justifying their own food choices, the possibility of not having a totally clean Paleo dish at the function, or the simple act of saying “no” to offered bread baskets causes them to break into cold sweat. They solve the problem by avoiding family gatherings, never going out with friends (“what if the restaurant only serves grain-fed steak?”), and consistently inventing excuses for skipping work functions.
Congratulations! You are now officially an island. But you are most certainly not Ibiza.
Come Back to the Mainland
Things are not that fun on your island. The snag is that we, humans, need human interaction for love, acceptance, and mental stimulation. Being part of the tribe is wired deeply into our subconscious mind. You are fighting against your own biochemistry in the same way that a dieter tries to convince his or her own taste buds that a skinny yoghurt tastes “just like the real thing.”
In fact, you are well on your way to getting caught in this unhappy equation:
My diet -> (leads to) -> isolation -> (leads to) -> unhappiness = My diet leads to unhappiness
So how do you reconcile your health values with your social values without compromising either? Here a few of our suggestions.
- Let them come to you. Forcing brussel sprouts down a child’s mouth is a sure fire way to make them hate it. Give your friends and family time to adjust to your new lifestyle. Treat them as adults that they are. When they are ready, they will ask you questions. Just be prepared to answer them.
- Be frank about your choices. Don’t go to the other extreme and hide your knowledge or preferences just to fit in. You have the unique opportunity to show your immediate social circle what a diet of real food, sensible movement, and good sleep can do for health, well-being, mood, and physical appearance.
- Create your own online tribe. Be proactive in connecting with people who have the similar values. The internet is the easiest place to start: follow the Paleo/Primal/Weston A Price folks from around the world on Twitter, “like” their Facebook pages, participate in their forums (like the one here at whole9life.com). Or be daring and start your own blog to share your experiences with others (and maybe casually mention it at the next family dinner).
- Take your online tribe into the real world. It may be tempting to find solace in the virtual world but, like a gluten-free pancake, it never does taste like the real deal. The richness of human interaction is lost somewhere between 140 Twitter characters and far-too-simple emoticons. You can never replicate the sincerity of real eye contact, subtleties of facial expressions and the depth of body language. And when it comes to your nearest and dearest, nothing can beat a simple touch, an encouraging hug, or a passionate kiss. Arrange a meetup group, go to a nutrition education seminar, or join a local gym to meet your new friends face-to-face and get recharged with new energy.
Our best memories are often embedded with emotional experiences that we shared with others. While you are rediscovering your health and wellbeing, make sure you have somebody with who you can share this journey.
Are you a Good Food island? What kind of island are you? Connect with us here, and let us be the first to welcome to you our tribe!
Header image courtesy of visualparadox.com