Friday, October 12, 2012

Losing My Religion, Metaphorically Speaking

I'm here at my computer in my basement office, TV turned off, email turned off, not answering the door, hiding from religion.

And let's be clear here.  I'm not speaking of religious faith.  I'm speaking of people who have "got religion" about something or another.

Somebody has gotten religious about something when they're no longer content to believe and practice it themselves and/or with like-minded people and let others do as they like, but now they've got to go out and coax, nag, manipulate and/or outright force others to do likewise.  Mine is the One True Way; forsake all others -- or else -- and get with the program!!!

Right now so many people have "got religion" over the election, I'm cowering under my desk hiding from my own friends.  I can't turn on the TV, read my email, or open my mailbox without being inundated with other people's political religion.  All I can say is, I've never been so happy to be self-employed at home.

Beware of becoming religious about low carb.  It's easy to do if you're passionate about your way of eating, how much it's done for you, all the unhealthy food out there and WOW, the government needs to outlaw high fructose corn syrup and GMOs and trans fats and while we're at it tobacco and alcohol, who needs those, and artificial sweeteners and MSG and caffeine . . .

Okay, this is starting to sound like Demolition Man, and I've never seen such a horrific depiction of the future in my LIFE, so stopping now.

The truth is this:  There IS no One True Way.  Repeat the magic phrase:  "Your mileage may vary."  Say it to yourself ten times before the words "should" or "shouldn't" even consider leaving your mouth.

You've probably run into somebody on a different WOE than you -- a different version of low carb, or a different WOE altogether, like low fat -- who's gotten religion and is determined to tell you how wrong you are and why you should fall on your knees and repent and run out and buy the book and sin no more.  Don't you feel tempted to yell, flee, or in the alternative pelt them with jowl bacon?  Well, no, who wants to waste nice tasty jowl bacon?  But you get my point.  These are the feelings you inspire in others when you yourself don't live and let live, when you try to push your views at someone who has their own belief system and isn't in the market for a replacement.

Believe me, I'm no less guilty of religion than the next person.  I'm religious about hunting, pet ownership, animal testing, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, the war on drugs, and a whole host of other things.  I grind my teeth and repeat my mantra a lot because very few of my friends' views jibe 100% with my own.  I try, try, try to respect other people's beliefs as just as valid as my own, their right to live, eat, etc. just as important as my own, and try not to spend too much time on a soapbox.

Bear in mind that preaching can have unintended consequences.  Right now, for instance, I've gotten so saturated with political saliva spewed at me from every direction that for the first time since the age of 18 I am seriously, seriously considering not voting at all.  The shocking degree of mud slinging in the ads, coupled with people knocking on my door, calling on my phone, and stuffing my mailbox have so sickened me with our political system that I want to turn off all media and just go hide until the damned election is over.

When Aunt Agnes just will not take no for an answer and keeps pushing her famous fudge at you every time she sees you, she shouldn't be too surprised to see less and less of you.

I am passionate about low carbing.  I'm also passionate about cooking and have been both pre low carb and now.  Consequently I have a lot of recipes.  Sometimes one of my non-low-carbing friends or family members will want a recipe for something I used to cook pre low carb.  Many of these friends and family I feel would benefit tremendously by low carb.  But I send them the recipe nonetheless.  I may suggest, "You know, I've got a fantastic sugar free pots de creme recipe, and a great sugar-free cheesecake, too, that would work for your dinner instead, and I'd be happy to send you the recipes," but I don't preach.  Until I have my own life perfectly in order (and show me anyone who does!), I can't presume to tell someone else how they should be living theirs.

And therein is the crucial difference between offering and preaching.  Offering is a pressure-free suggestion.  Not interested?  Fine.  On to the next topic.  Preaching is an attempt to influence or manipulate somebody else to do what you want them to do.  You don't want them to make a free choice on their own.  You want them to fall in line and get with the program and do what you know deep in your heart is best for them.

Beware this kind of thinking.  This is how the low fat movement got started.  This is how Dr. Atkins was relentlessly persecuted throughout his career.  This is how wars and hate crimes start and friendships are lost.

We are all different.  What works for you doesn't work for me.  What works for me may not work for anybody else in the known universe.  I'm allergic to mushrooms.  Most of you probably aren't.  I adore cheese, hearty black Assam tea and Thai food.  Some of you probably don't like any or all of the above.  No one low carb plan -- or even low carb itself -- or any system of political or religious beliefs or type of underwear -- is a good fit for everyone.  Each and every person must find what works for them.  And please, please, when you do, nobly resist the temptation to wax evangelical about it.

There are no winners in a holy war.

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