I’ve been pondering what really drives the need to label oneself by the dietary pattern they follow, and why opposing to being an omnivore has gained so much traction of late. It seems rejecting an aspect of eating everything (in moderation), is becoming a social norm for various reasons, but what is driving this change in mindset, which may or may not translate to actual changes in eating behaviour?
As humans we have a natural inclination to connect with others, and are drawn to those that share similar tastes and viewpoints.
When it comes to food – the very thing we need to survive, that brings us together through socialising and celebrations, now brings a barrage of self-identification factors to the mix.
History tells us the quantity and access to quality food differentiated us by status. Fast-forward to current day, where there is an influx of food options available, what you put in your mouth communicates to others what your belief system depicts. And by doing that, it automatically labels you into a category, or food tribe if you will (well at least by those who do identify themselves by eating pattern).
Somewhere along the way, have we lost the knack for appreciating food for connecting us by the sheer enjoyment and nourishment it provides? So when the latest story on being a Flexitarian featured in the news this week, I asked myself what is the point of this, apart from trying to create doubt in people’s mind that they need to label themselves by a food consumption identify.
I get it, we all need a sense of belonging within a community that reciprocates mutual respect, but the latest trend-fuelled foodie movements with rules and restrictions will do nothing to improve the already damaged relationship many have with food.
Let’s get back to basics - Eat for enjoyment, eat to suit your lifestyle and nourish yourself with a variety of whole foods.
So come Christmas day, I say put any food disagreements aside, and focus on our shared preferences and commonality for the love of food.