The Labels That Define Us

VeganTMLogo_col_shad
(image via: veggie barn)

So I thought I would share some thoughts (mainly questions) today. Nothing too amazing, just some simple rhetoric.

I am going to use myself as an example first because it's why I started thinking about this whole concept of labels and self-image.

You see, I'm not a Raw Foodist per se or a Vegan per se or even a true vegetarian for that matter. I eat raw honey. I eat cooked quinoa and raw fish and drink wine from time to time.

I own an organic vegan food company. I love it. I have been a true raw foodist, a true vegan in my past. I have studied David Wolfe, studied Weston Price, Gabriel Cousens, and many more health gurus. And with that knowledge I have created my own eating routine. One that I believe is the best for longevity, disease prevention and (this is key) one that also allows me to function easily in this world as a social, world-traveling, hard working entrepreneur and mother of two young babies.

So, where does that leave me? Where do I fit in? How do I label myself? Where does Kookie Karma fit in? Am I a macrobiotic? A Vegan? A Raw foodist? Or just a plain old trader?

More importantly, do I have to have a label? Why do people constantly want to judge me? Why do we label ourselves? Who says we need to follow one or the other? Just because I am a chef in the field holistic nutrition doesn't mean I have to fit into a category. Or does it? And why are we only suppose to fit into these particular set categories? Why can't we be a combination of them all?

A story -

My sister recently went to a raw food class taught in Portland Oregon. The teacher, a new raw foodist, made a bold  confession - he ate cheese the other day! He confessed this in front of his class, as though somebody was going to gasp or walk out of this lecture. Must he feel unworthy of a word/way of eating that defines his self-image? Does the fact that he had some cheese really take away from his credibility as a raw food chef and expert?

Another story -

Sarma is the owner of Pure Food and Wine (raw food restaurant) and OneLuckyDuck, and co-author of a raw food cookbook. She often blogs about herself, her thoughts, her recipes, and so on. I noticed that she gets a LOT of negative feedback from people in the raw food world because she sometimes indulges in wine or sake, she goes tanning, or even eats at regular cooked-food restaurants sometimes.

In my mind - SO WHAT?!! Why are people so angry and so hateful? I just don't get it. Let Sarma be Sarma. She is obviously happier than the angry raw foodists posting negative feedback, right? So she's gotta be doing something right?

But just because she has a cookbook and company that specializes in raw foods, she is suppose to fit into a certain lifestyle pattern? And if she does something that some people find against their eating habits, they are going to stop reading her book or eating her food? Hmmm. Sounds a bit sad if you ask me.

Now what about the label "GREEN"? What does it mean to be "green"? And who defines that? And if somebody who does environmentally friendly things happens to not recycle their soda can, or eat meat from time to time, is he/she to be ridiculed?

Last story -

I read this blog post (via treehugger.com) about the degree of which Google was green.

The author says:
"A quick look through TreeHugger's archives will yield numerous stories
about Google's efforts to address sustainability. The company's
impressive array of environmental initiatives, including a recent plan
for a massive solar installation at is campus, would lead most readers to believe that Google is emerging as model of sustainability."

Then the author goes on to explain that the CEO recently bought a private jet and because of that decision, Google is not as "green" as they claim to be? OK...something is wrong here. At least in my mind.

So you're telling me that all the efforts Google has ever made to help offset their carbon footprint is now thrown out the window because of this decision?

Maybe the CEO had a life-long dream to own a private jet and he figured "well, I feel guilty about this so I will do whatever I can in my life and with my company to help offset this environmentally stupid decision by making my entire multimillion dollar company GREEN." Now, from that standpoint, we should applaud him. At least he is doing something to help the planet.

What if Google didn't make any sustainable efforts at all, as they could have easily decided to do? Then the CEO could have had this private jet and nobody would have said a word. Guilt Free.

So, let's stop being so critical and start applauding the good things. At least he did some things right to justify his life long dream, right?

I don't know. Maybe not.

We only have one life to live. I just say we try and be happy while also doing some things to make others happy. That should be our goal. Because let's face it, most people don't even do that!

Thanks for listening to my thoughts about labels, self-image, guilt, pressure and self-importance.