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being a CONSCIOUS plant eater

Robyn Openshaw - Jun 18, 2009 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Yesterday, wow, I sort of mindlessly posted on my Facebook page (find me as Robyn Openshaw-Pay or GreenSmoothieGirl) a group called “No More Blood On My Plate.”

Wow.   The response that followed could only be described as a war.   I didn’t even participate in the discussion. (The whole conversation was just NOT. MY. STYLE.   But let’s just say that between those who did, it was . . . heated.)   This leads me to repeat something I learned in my 20’s, as I started trying to share my nutrition philosophies with some of my in-laws.   The point isn’t that they were my in-laws; the point is that I was sharing information they didn’t ask for.   Unsolicited ADVICE giving is probably how they saw it, regardless of whether I felt my motives were pure and didn’t feel I was telling anyone what to do–just sharing things I’d learned.   Wanted to help people I knew were suffering from modern degenerative diseases.

I learned something important.   NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is more emotional for us than food.   Our opinions about food are sacred cows.   As deeply held as our religion and politics.   People come to the program  only when they (a) were already primed for information about whole foods by their life experience, or (b) have come to a difficult or even desperate place, health-wise, and are frustrated by what’s available (read: NOT available) in modern medicine to help them.   As I’ve said in one of my books, when a student is ready, a teacher appears.

Anyway, I was dismayed at the Facebook war.   Fact is, as I am working to teach my 13-y.o. vegetarian daughter, we can’t bludgeon somebody to death about our dietary opinions and win a single convert.   (Some in the discussion were talking about “forcing” your food views on others, etc.)

Be a CONSCIOUS plant eater.   If you’re following 12 Steps to Whole Foods, you’re getting what you need.   If you’re a vegan eating Diet Coke and Twinkies, you’re in trouble.    Being gentle with the earth and avoiding killing animals is great, but let’s take it up a level and also eat what nourishes us best.   That’s what the Word of Wisdom is about.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food

7 thoughts on “being a CONSCIOUS plant eater”

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  1. Grace says:

    Dear Robyn: Honestly you are the most sensible person I’ve come across in my search for ‘truth’ and a deeper understanding of what it means to live a healthy life. I can’t tell you how relieving it is to see that you’re not dogmatic and that you give wholesome grains the respect they deserve!! I am so tired of sites making no distinction between refined grains and complex carbohydrates. Why do the benefits of raw have to mean 100% raw anyway? It is unnerving to hear the words, “If you have to cook it, then it’s inedible or “just because our ancestors ate them, doesn’t mean it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. . .” PULEEZE. It’s like we’ve completely lost our marbles in our search for a so called ‘ideal.’ Everyone wants to be right and no one is willing to listen to their hearts. And I understand why the topic of food can be so heated but these days, I just can’t let it bother me. I can sniff out dogma from a mile away. But I also want to say that if someone thinks they’ve found their bliss, they shouldn’t forcefully spread it around like some chemical filled room spray. No one responds well to arrogance and condescension. People who have an open mind and are looking for a change will be more receptive. We are always preaching to the converted and I have no desire to change anyone’s mind about what I do or think is good for the world. Let people figure it out or not. And I try to lead by example and for the most part, I only offer my little secrets when someone asks me what I do to have great skin or a flat stomach or shiny hair. . . They’ll either perk their ears and ask for more or I’ll notice that look in the eye that suggests what I’m promoting is too far out for them. And even I can understand that. I was like most other people only six years ago. Ketchup chips was dinner as were fries and hot dogs. White bread was a main staple, lots of meat, white sugar, and anything refined. I didn’t know any better. Then I developed a fibroid tumor, gained excessive weight, my skin got worse, PMS became unbearable. . .To make a long story short, I began to educate myself and sought out people like you to help guide me in my journey. I am not my former self in any sense. Sometimes when I share my story with people–those who’ve known me–I still sound so bizarre to them, like I’m living on another planet!! But to me, it makes complete sense to avoid meat, to eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked, staying clear of processed foods. And I’ll tell you what was very difficult in this journey–sifting through all of the information out there about what constitutes a healthy diet/lifestyle among ‘gurus’ who can’t agree on anything. It is so unhelpful and very unfair. I feel sorry for anyone trying to come off a SAD because unless they can decipher dogma from sensible information, they are setting themselves up for a downfall. Thanks for inspiring all of us Robyn!! 🙂


  2. Anonymous says:

    I stopped talking about being a raw vegan and just do my own thing quietly because no one wanted to hear about it. If someone asks me a question, I will answer them. If they want me to go on I will. Otherwise, I just take care of myself and don’t bother with anyone else’s eating. Most people don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to get into a heated discussion with anyone.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the two comment posts above. I totally agree with both of them. At the beginning I wanted to change the whole world – it did not come from knowing it all but from the goodness of my heart. When I see that someone is having health issues – or rather they tell me about them or complain incessantly – then I want to step in and save them !!! No more. If they ask me, then I share my little bit of knowledge or wisdom with them. Otherwise I keep my mouth shut and happily munch on my little stash of goodies, which is always part of my attire.

    I accept invitations to functions and either eat before or bring something to share with all. At the beginning I tried being 100% raw, but now realize that it is better to be 80% successful rather than 100% and be anxious whether something is raw or not. My lifestyle consists mainly as per Gen 1:29 and I give thanks daily for the abundance that is available to us all. Some people see it and others don’t.

    I accept total responsibility for my well-being and vibrancy – in the area of food consumption, spiritual and emotional. It is a difficult journey oftentimes and it is up to me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. And let’s not forget the role that our Creator plays in all of this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “I am not my former self in any sense.” I love this. Me neither. My current self is so much more advanced, I’d never want to go back.

    Someone in the audience at church made the comment last Sunday, “There is SO MUCH contradictory information about nutrition; it’s hard to know what to believe.” Very true, and it gets worse when you’re like Grace (and Katie, for whom it’s been a true quest) and are really digging deeply to find the answers.

    I’ve come to a place where I feel I know from EXPERIMENTATION and EXPERIENCE which philosophies are most valuable and which aren’t. But I have a ton of compassion for the regular person out there who hasn’t made it a priority who is just FLAT-OUT CONFUSED.

    Time changes so many things, so we’re wise to be patient. One of my closest friends who gave me the funny looks 15 years ago and had NO interest in what I was doing now follows my program and has converted her friend with breast cancer, her mother in law, and a couple of sisters in law. Example is the ONLY real teacher.

  5. Brenna says:

    I didn’t think the FB “war” was all that bad 🙂 Having been a vegetarian for 9 years and continuing to eat mostly vegetarian until our recent challenges (I cannot get enough protein while pregnant without meat due to not being able to eat dairy, wheat or soy – if I don’t eat meat, my nausea is overwhelming), I think it’s MUCH easier and more easily received to encourage people to add things to their diet rather than stop eating certain foods. As our bodies get healthier, so do our cravings and our taste buds 🙂

  6. Hanlie says:

    I agree with you! You can’t get involved in those kinds of arguments, because people can get very abusive. A closed mind is a terrifying thing, whether it belongs to a raw foodist or a meat-loving junk foodist.

    I’m not vegan. I eat meat about once a week (and not a huge steak), but I avoid dairy. My diet is whole foods all the way and about 70% raw – more in summer, less in winter. I am getting healthier and healthier and feel that this is a sustainable way for me to live, although I may eventually cut out the meat. There is no label for my diet.

    I know that there is no health benefit to eating meat, contrary to what most people believe. I believe that it’s a health compromise, one I’m willing to live with at this stage of my journey, as the rest of my diet is so healthy. So, in principle I support being vegan, even though I’m not there yet. The all-or-nothing approach has not worked for me in the past, since I’d do well for a while, then the pendulum would swing and I’d backslide completely. Now I’m doing really well.

    I don’t generally air these views on other people’s blogs… unless I know that they’re receptive. I think people will be more convinced by my eventual health transformation than by anything I say.

    Interesting thing about vitamin B12 is that studies have revealed that vegans don’t suffer more deficiencies than meat-eaters. The percentages are almost identical. Vitamin B12 deficiency is not caused by a lack of meat, but by a lack of “intrinsic factor”, the enzyme that transports the B12 in our bodies. Just as osteoporosis is not caused by a lack of dairy products, but by an acid-forming diet and lack of exercise. It’s all clever marketing!

  7. Robyn says:

    Hanlie, exactly. “There is no label for my diet.” Welcome to my difficulty in trying to find my “place” on the worldwide web. No one is searching for “whole foods.” They search on the raw diet, which I definitely promote, and the alkaline diet, which I’m also supportive of, but a 60-80% raw, plant-based, whole-food diet? Wow, that’s a mouthful. But that’s the closest I can come to encapsulating a LIFESTYLE I believe is achievable and reasonable. Congrats on finding your place in all the madness out there about nutrition.

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