They are against all things "unnatural" or not "organic." They lobby against genetically modified foods... that is, those that are modified through laboratory manipulation of DNA, versus the "organic" food they eat that represents hundreds of years of genetic tinkering through breeding and cultivation. They want only pure foods in their bodies, which is fine. They usually have mysterious maladies that apprently come from eating the same foods the rest of us ate growing up. They don't want to eat anything they can't pronounce, though they are able to learn to pronounce "edamame" and "acai." They think they will live forever due to their superior nutrition despite scant evidence that food additives other than nitrates will or can cause cancer. I've actually been told by a woman with fibromyalgia that she will long outlive me. AHA! Take THAT!!! My question: she's in such pain from worrying about whether she's in pain, why would she want to live that long? (Or will it just seem like she's living longer because she's in pain and she never has any fun?)
To which I answered "What the hell do you know? My cholesterol is 93 so shut up about what I eat and mind your own business! You're not my doctor!" (Yes, I said it, and loudly, too)
There is another kind that I really can't abide. Pet food Nazis. These people are convinced that feeding raw food to their pet is superior to any feeding method any pet owner could choose, anywhere. They are, in a word, zealots.
The diet is aptly called "BARF" for "Bones and Raw Food" or "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food." The followers of this movement insist that their feeding method is better because it's more natural. Pointing out to them they they are falling for the naturalistic fallacy (or appeal to nature) falls on deaf ears. Informing them that cats and dogs have been eating the cooked leftovers of their owners for thousands of years falls on deaf ears. Reminding them that evolution requires only that individuals of the species "survived" just long enough to reproduce and in sufficient numbers is the reason for wolf evolution, not anything in their diet, falls on deaf ears.
They do respond to a call for proof. Pointing out that there have been no scientific studies proving their point raises the spectre of Big Food Companies "owning" the vets who do the studies and sell the kibble (despite the fact that most kibble is purchased in stores). I challenged the manufacturer of one of these raw food diets to conduct a study and they insisted it would cost too much money. Really? They have oodles of rabid followers who would gladly pay for bloodwork & stool samples to give them more ammo when they try to shame fellow pet owners into jumping onto their bandwagon. And how hard would it be to pay a veterinary school to survey pet owners bringing in pets with cancer to see what the pets are eating? Wouldn't most vet schools jump at the chance to grab some easy grant money? I thought they were easily bought and paid for.
They are as bad as scientologists and their demonization of psychiatric meds.
The thing is, just as with human diets, there is some truth to the claim that diet and health are connected. Human food nazis such as the twit I used to share an office with are only too happy to tell you what is in your food and what it can do to or for you. They read "Prevention" magazine and shop at Whole Foods and listen to NPR, which never has ads for McDonalds or Skittles. They are superior to the rest of us and they will live to be 100 years old and delight in the fantasy of going tsk tsk to us at our funerals. We normal people will die young from horrible diseases and on our deathbeds we'll say "You were right. I should have eaten edamame!" This fantasy keeps them going as they nibble on their tasteless grub.
There is also a raw food fantasy about human foods, that ignores the fact that we've been cooking for eons. It's the "cave man" or paleolithic diet. There is zero evidence that this is good for modern humans. I was in Paris for a few weeks and almost every cafe serves raw hamburger. Blech. The French may have the enzymes or antibodies or whatever for digesting that stuff, but I wasn't going to risk it. Fortunately, they also have McDonalds in Paris. (Yes, I did it! I went to McDonalds in Paris! Subway, too!)
|Yes, that's a raw egg!|
The other thing they don't get is that cats and dogs are different species. YES! They are! Cats are much closer to their wild ancestors than dogs are. They can't survive on table scraps as dogs can. Dog fanatics will cite books or articles written about cat nutrition and draw a false equivalence. These nutters will also draw an equivalence to people that's totally wrong. For example, xylitol will cause hypoglycemia in a dog but not at all in a human. Diabetic humans can eat xylitol and it doesn't affect their glucose level, but a dog could die from hypoglycemic shock from chewing on a stick of sugar-free gum.
Eating vegetables & fruits, keeping weight under control, not smoking, not drinking (or not drinking much) are commonsense "rules" for people to follow. I avoid nitrites because they've been shown to contribute to leukemia. I avoid fish because I don't believe in strip-mining the ocean for a sandwich, and anyway they swim in their own pee and who knows what pollutants are in them? (hey, I try to be rational but fish are just plain icky) My bird gets all-natural food because the company that makes it is careful to balance nutrients he'd get in nature. (He's a zebra finch - about the size of a mouse). I wouldn't claim superiority without proof, though. I just go with my gut and my own best thinking. If scientific research proved me wrong I'd go with other recommendations in a heartbeat.
Then there's Hitch's example. Despite being genetically disposed to pancreatic cancer, he did everything "wrong" and yet didn't seem to be whining about his decisions after he got sick. The food nazi I had to endure at work tried to convince me I'd live to be 100 if I ate like her. I told her I probably wouldn't, but it would feel like 100 years.
Is it wrong to call them "Food nazis?" Well consider that the Nazis were also health fetishists. They were anti-tobacco before anyone in the U.S. was. They made a few good points. "Racial hygiene" was a repulsive outgrowth of this focus on health and purity.
Not that food fetishists in the U.S. are going down that path, but ya know... they should just shut up about their
So to all the food nazis out there, when you wag your finger at me, I just might show one of mine to you.