If you happen to watching late night television or swiping through netflix offerings, you may have watched “Night Crawler”. The lead character, acted by Jake Gylienhaal, plays a free-lance paparazzi trying to sell photos and videos for airing on local television news channels. In the process of training his scared new ‘intern’, Jake’s character shares how F.E.A.R. is only “false evidence that appears real”. This is sage insight for all of us.
When do you experience FEAR? We are being programmed to experience fear at the flick of a television channel or the turn of a magazine page that is riddled with advertisements. Most advertising attempts to invoke fear in us so we pay attention to its primary purpose – getting you to buy the solution – the product they are pushing on us. The logic is that if we are afraid enough – we will buy, use and re-buy it – just to protect us from feeling this imposed fear.
Perhaps this is one of the major reasons I so appreciate the practices of many plant-based practitioners. For example, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM.ORG), also known as Physicians Committee, is an international non-profit that supports evidence-based nutritional science and ethical research. It does not attempt to use fear to educate people on making healthier choices in the foods they eat – instead it chooses to inform them. It’s mandate is to inform the public about evidence-based science in the field of nutrition.
Evidence-based science involves the study of a particular topic, then having that study duplicated to demonstrate whether the original study results were reliable and valid. This process is then peer-reviewed. In other words, fellow scientists review all the work of the study and its’ authors, to ensure there is no bias or hidden agenda. What would this bias or agenda be? The promotion and/ or profitable sale of a product.
In other words, neither big agriculture influences nor drug manufacturers and anyone tied to them are reviewing these studies. Most of us would agree that it would be a conflict of interest to have a teacher evaluate a student who is also their own child – it is not fair to either party. It would be best for an objective third party – with no connections directly or indirectly with the child or teacher to be the evaluator. The child is then evaluated on his or her performance/merit with no bias influences.
As a Certified Food for Life Instructor, trained through Physicians Committee, I am expected to help facilitate the delivery of evidence-based nutritional science – sharing it as information only. My role is be informative – sharing evidence-based nutritional materials along with practical shopping and cooking recipes and tips. The choice of what to do with the information is up to the learner.
The learner is in the driver’s seat of this experience. The learner makes the decision as to what nutritional information he or she will apply to his or her life. There is only one caveat – to hear it as information only and not presume it is medical advice. Why? Because it would be unfair to the learner and irresponsible of the instructor. The learner is encouraged to seek out medical advice from their own team of medical professionals who know him or her and their medical history.
If the learner is unsure how to start this dialogue – is may be helpful to discuss and figure out a strategy for opening up this dialogue with your medical team by having a preliminary discussion with the instructor. The instructor’s role is to inform as well as encourage and support you in your health goals. This kind of in- your- corner support can help to you to face the fears in your life. The fears of what foods are healthy to the fear of how will others react to my changes in eating to the fear of what do I do around the holiday table and so forth. A bottom-line fear for many, once they have a grasp of this new nutritional understanding about eating healthier, is the fear of losing connection with others.
It is helpful to take one fear at a time, so as not to become overwhelmed and to keep remembering your intention behind your chosen action, so that this then fuels your efforts to make the changes you believe are important for yourself. Now you are acting out of self-love. Isn’t it okay to love yourself as much as you love others? Love myself – this is sometimes a foreign concept – as it seems easier to see the lovability factor in others more clearly than ourselves. But what greater form of self-love is there than to consider nurturing yourself into a healthier body? Imagine all the things you could do with a healthier body? Go ahead make that list – you will probably notice that you are not the only one who will benefit from you becoming healthier. Others will benefit, so will our planet and our animals. Those are powerful and empowering connections that have the potential of drawing others toward you especially when you take a non-conversion approach. Modelling your self- love leads people to observe the positive changes you are experiencing and become curious enough to start a dialogue through their questions. Questions and answers help break down walls and re-connect us.
By raising your fork to better health – you raise who and what is around you. Standing up to FEAR and recognizing it for what it is – is a great new habit to adopt!