Column #300     June 4, 2021Symbol of Freedom

I overheard an interesting comment recently. It was referring to the joy of being free of self-imposed restrictions on what to eat. The point was made in regards to no longer eating like a caveman with its many disadvantages. The diet of man labels you as weird, too many good things to eat must be avoided, social connections with friends are gravely compromised, and one needs to focus too much attention on food chemistry. All of those points can certainly be valid complaints.

But what is freedom? Does it imply no restrictions on your behavior whatsoever? The caveman was completely free—yet he wasn’t by a long shot. How could anyone survive in the wilds being totally free of self restraint? They can’t of course which is why there are jokes about Darwin’s law improving the species by thinning out the people who do foolish things.

Another point also comes to mind. Most Christians and Jews value freedom and believe individual rights are endowed by their Creator. Yet the freedom they embrace mustn’t ignore the Ten Commandments—a list of boundaries the Creator says must not be crossed. Those laws exist because my freedom and the freedom of others (therefore freedom for all) requires a balance that is maintained by restrictions on our actions.

eals (eating food) can be traditional, ceremonial, festive, quick, social, business, and so forth. But since what we eat and drink determines much of whom and what we are, doesn’t that imply that over the long term our diets determine our outcomes in more ways than one? Many people don’t really care much about what they eat. As they age, quite often their bodies become prime examples of what damaging foods can do to a body—and it’s not pretty. Others who look healthy on the outside, talk continuously about their doctor visits, drugs, and operations reveling that all is not well on the inside. Instead of being free, are the people who ignore the dietary advise of biologists, anthropologists, and nutritional scientists living in the belly of the beast?

There are various bestial bellies we can live in. I think governments are beasts. If we let them rule our lives by “providing” for us, we end up living in the belly of a bureaucratic/governmental beast. If we become dependent on the medical community for our “health,” we are living in the belly of the healthcare-system beast. And when we live in the belly of a beast, in no way are we free. In fact, we’re mere pawns at best.

If we live on the government dole without having to work, does that provide more freedom? It certainly provides more free time. But what about the freedoms of others who must work to provide the handouts? How free are they? If certain pleasurable foods can cause harm, does that lead to more freedom when we indulge in those foods and enjoy the social connections that go with them? Or does becoming wards of the healthcare system cost something. I know the caveman knew better than to flout the natural laws. For instance, if he ate a plant that made him ill, from that moment on he avoided it like the plague and taught others to do the same.

Conformity is a powerful force within any tribe. But if certain actions cause harm, such as self destruction or mutilation, there’s no freedom in following the crowd. Unfortunately, if everyone continues to follow the crowd there’s no opportunity for positive change. When individuals discover the internal joy of being healthy by sticking with a caveman diet, that should be celebrated. Then it might be the beginning of something good for everyone? It’s amazing how few people it takes to reach the tipping point where a new approach sweeps through a tribe and becomes the new conformity.1 2

When I stick to a diet that improves my health, I don’t see my actions as unsociable, devoid of fun, or restricting my freedoms. It’s about freedom. Freedom from pain. Freedom to have a fulfilling life. Freedom to hopefully live longer. Freedom from relying on doctors, drugs, and operations to stay “healthy.” To me, limiting my diet to only the healthiest foods is freedom, the same as not robbing banks keeps me out of prison.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don't miss these links for additional reading:

1. Conformity from Psychology Today

2. Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" by Ashley Crossman from ThoughtCo