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Healthy Idealism Vs. Healthy Realism

When I was in my early 20’s and had just moved to San Diego, I met a lot of people. Some people were really great. Some people were really crazy. Most were somewhere in between, but you always remember those on the extreme ends of the spectrum.

I particularly remember this guy named Scott, a fellow raw food enthusiast. Scott wasn’t just trying to casually follow a healthy lifestyle. He was obsessed with leading an absolutely perfect lifestyle.

He wouldn’t touch a drop of water or food that had been sealed or poured into plastic. Not to mention that the water wouldn’t pass his lips unless it had been sourced from the perfect pristine spring.

Everything he ate had to be completely organic, and of course completely raw. I always heard from him that computers and the electromagnetic frequencies emitted from them were the cause of many of the world’s ills.

Despite the fact that every time that I was with him he would lecture me about how the plastics in that plastic spoon I used to dish the guacamole` onto my plate are eventually going to be the end of me in one way or another, he was a really nice guy.

The saddest and most ironic thing was however was that Scott wasn’t all that healthy.

Everywhere he went he would stress about how everything he was encountering was harming him and obsess over attaining the perfect food no matter where he went. As a result, he was constantly stressed and probably not eating enough food to maintain a healthy weight either.

But here’s the thing: I was encountering all of these toxins on a daily basis as well. I spent hours working on the computer and being bombarded with EMFs. All the food I ate wasn’t even 100% organic or raw all the time, either. I drank water from the tap if I was thirsty enough, and I would inhale all of the smog and fumes from the city just like Scott and everybody else, yet I was much happier and healthier than him.

I’m not saying that smog is good for you, or tap water is the nectar of the Gods, or that the EMFs I’m absorbing from typing on my computer right now are good for you.

In today’s age, however, you have to have a healthy grasp of being healthy in the real world. You’re going to be much happier and healthier by having realistic expectations vs. setting the bar so high that you can’t ever attain it.

It’s not all going to go perfectly. Maybe you’ll overcook your broccoli just a bit and you lose more vitamin C than you’d like. Maybe you’ll be stranded in New York City for a few extra hours because you missed your bus and will have to inhale all the fumes for that much longer. You might even have a meal or two every now and then that isn’t exactly the definition of the “perfect” too.

And that’s okay. The whole point of eating and living healthfully is to feel good. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, and ironically stressing out about this is just going to cause you more harm than good.

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.