Health evangelism
Don’t tell people what to eat. Or how to exercise. Or what supplements to take. It just leads to embarrassment in the end. Unless you like embarrassing yourself. I admit that I have always kind of liked embarrassing myself. When friends came over in my teenage years I would almost always reach for the totally ridiculous and humiliating childhood breakdancing videos. 7-year old white kid in Addidas shoes, knee high Addidas socks, a crop top mesh football jersey, and short shorts attempting to break dance, even moonwalk, on a carpeted floor. Rough stuff. My friends ate it up, and those home videos became the stuff of legend.

Seriously though, health evangelism is a surefire way to convince ALL of your family and friends that you have lost your mind. Plus, it’s just annoying. In the end, if they do follow your instructions to cleanse, or cut the carbs, or check for parasites, or start some high-intensity interval training, or drink Kangen water, or drive an hour to get raw milk, or start testing the pH of their urine, eventually they will fail to follow through with it, or the program you so thoroughly believed was the answer to all of mankind’s woes will fail them. Or it will fail you, you’ll tell them to stop doing what they are doing, and they’ll get super confused. In every scenario someone’s getting humiliated in this process.

Seriously, I don’t know anyone in the health and nutrition world who hasn’t humiliated themselves multiple times. I understand the desire. We think we’ve found a great secret to health and want to share it with our friends and family. Totally understandable. I’ve been there myself many times. At first it was vegetarianism. Everyone I knew HAD to try this vegetarian shit.

“What, you want heart disease man? The number one killer of Americans? Don’t you know how they treat animals in factories man? They beat veal daily with a sledgehammer to tenderize it man.”

Then low-carb.

“Fat is the best thing ever you guys. And guess what, it doesn’t… cause… heart disease.  It’s all been a lie perpetrated by evil corporate-government conspiracies! You see, there’s this hormone called insulin. You know, like diabetics inject (which is totally effed up, we’ll get to that in a second)…”

And a ton of others. Doing “cleanses” with my mom was up there, although I did test her urine once. We also drove around browsing for farm property where we could have our dairy herd and stuff. Yeah, see ya there. Some close calls for sure.

A little off topic, but I always thought it was hilarious how bad my own timing was. When I was a vegetarian I worked in restaurants serving foie gras and Colorado lamb. As a low-carber I lived in Hawaii and had fruit trees in my yard I never touched. Then I moved from Hawaii so I could get raw milk, then ditched the milk and now eat as much tropical fruit as I can. Classic.

Telling people what to eat or how to exercise or what to believe or how to live in a passionate, evangelical way, is a sure sign of intellectual immaturity. Do yourself, your friends, and your family members a favor. Be a lot more TENTATIVE about you conclusions regarding anything, downplay whatever it is you are excited about, and seek out conflicting ideas to whatever you are currently going psycho about. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and stop being a guru.

Share the things you’ve been thinking about yes. Answer questions openly with your current opinions and conclusions about things. But don’t be so sure about everything. Use a lot of words like “maybe, perhaps, potentially, and could.”  Use a lot of phrases like “for me, for you, not sure, don’t know, who knows, you might, and I think.”

The more you learn, the more you experience, the more you ponder – the less sure you should get about pretty much anything. To be 100% convinced about anything requires brainwashing and no knowledge of any other points of view. You shouldn’t be sure. You shouldn’t have strong opinions or beliefs. You should be able to relate to and take in multiple viewpoints and be able to see strong and weak points in what everyone has to say about anything. At the end of it all, you should feel too confused to give explicit directions to anyone about anything. That’s good. To be confused about complex topics means to have thought deeply in multiple dimensions about something.

Please share your embarrassing health evangelism stories below. I predict there will be many repetitive statements made like:

  1. Thankfully my mom never listens to me and thinks I’m crazy.
  2. I wish I hadn’t told my family about Paleo. Now when I go home to visit the food sucks.
  3. I haven’t been a vegetarian in 8 years and my family still thinks I am.