How “Deeply Rooted” is Your Eating Regimen?

It can be an extremely complex undertaking to fully understand someone’s dietary choices, and I know there are a million shades of grey in the process.  So, I don’t intend for this entry to be any kind of black-and-white truth.  Instead, I hope it will provoke a little thought and contemplation.

There are many reasons why someone might adopt a new eating regimen, or even faithfully adhere to an existing one.  But, what I’ve observed through the years is this; the more deeply rooted these reasons can be for a person, the more consistently and effortlessly the regimen can be followed.

For example, the majority of popular diets are built solely around weight loss.  This idea usually appeals to folk’s desire to look better as they drop some pounds. But if their desire (and/or addiction) to fattening, empty-calorie food remains greater than their desire to transform their body, they will not stay on the diet.  And even if they did manage to drop some weight, their motivation often wanes once they’ve achieved the goal.  This is why so many have such a rollercoaster experience with dieting; ultimately, their desire for (and/or addiction to) their old familiar ways proves stronger than their desire to change.

On the other hand, if someone’s reason for following an eating regimen is more deeply rooted than just the “skin-deep” cosmetic aspects, long-term change seems much easier to manage.  For example, if someone changes their diet for health reasons – say, because they were diagnosed with cancer or had a heart attack scare – that will usually motivate them profoundly to clean up their diet, because now it’s becoming a life-and-death issue.  Or, if someone is emotionally moved by the ethical or environmental ramifications of certain food choices, this could have a major impact on their choices, as well.

Take a look at this “Tree of Intention” thing I put together to illustrate this point:

Are most of your eating choices motivated by a 1, 2, 3, or 4?

You’ll notice that each part of the tree represents a different reason to follow a diet.  The leaves represent your physical appearance; the limbs represent your athletic prowess; the trunk represents your physical health and wellness; and the roots represent your influence on the earth and the world community of humans and animals. All can be valid, but let’s take a closer look at the motivating factors behind each:

1. The leaves are often the first thing you notice about a tree.  But beautiful leaves don’t necessarily tell the whole story about how healthy it may or may not be.  Similarly, a runway model or bodybuilder might look lean and mean on the outside, but if they had to adhere to an unhealthy diet to produce this effect (as they so often do), then this would be a one-dimensional diet designed for one primary result, pretty much at the expense of the rest of the “tree.”

2. Those who follow most any popular diet “from the limbs” – strictly for peak athletic performance reasons – often do so at the expense of their optimal health (given the amount of synthetic supplements and animal proteins such a diet usually calls for), and to the detriment of any ethical/environmental consciousness.  After all, it’s all about peak performance…at any cost.

3. If one chooses a regimen for health reasons, this is more solid – like a tree trunk – because there is usually more thought that goes into each meal or snack choice, as well as a number of other factors.  However, if someone is misinformed about what truly healthy food is, then their choices can still be detrimental to the conscious living aspect.

4. When someone is deeply rooted in their choices and most conscious about the big picture ramifications of their regimen, they will choose to eat low on the food chain.  This is the most ethically conscious way to eat, and also what is in greatest consideration of the planet.  And, when done properly, it also happens to support every aspect of the rest of the “tree,” as well!

Obviously, for any given meal or snack at any given time, people can choose to be motivated by any of these reasons.  But as a general practice, I would encourage someone to integrate as many of these as possible…from the roots up.

The Roots Test

Therein lies the secret to it all as far as I’m concerned: as long as the food choice is sustainable (for all the reasons we always talk about around here), I think it’s fine to be motivated to eat something for athletic performance reasons or even physical appearance reasons, as well. And why not?  Our physical bodies are part of our inner expression in the same way our clothing might be, so why not understand how the food we eat affects the way we look?  Besides, the more of these things we have in alignment with a particular way of eating, the more effortless it becomes to stay on track…


About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of nine books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford. Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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6 Responses to How “Deeply Rooted” is Your Eating Regimen?

  1. Trevor says:

    Nice article again Bobby.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you in point #2; are you saying that peak athletic performance (for some sports/activities) is derived from a diet containing animal proteins? Or were you just saying that that’s what the myth perpetuates?

    On a broader note, I would think that many people wouldn’t regularly consider any of these four aspects in relation to their eating habits, but simply follow a path of convenience and habit, or for younger children, what their parents serve up. Cost of food may also come into the equation.

    As a long-time vegan, do you consciously think of these when making your food purchases? Or has it become second nature to you?

    As a short-time vegetarian, I am thinking of these things nearly all day long!

    I would also see these four factors applying to one’s exercise regime.

    Thanks again Booby.

  2. Trevor says:

    Please edit my spelling mistake at the end Bobby. Must have had something else on my mind!

  3. Christine says:

    Excellent post.
    I was out of state visiting family for Thanksgiving and had an unfortunate mishap. A displaced fracture in the fifth metatarsal to be more specific. My family seems to think my vegan diet is why my bone broke so easily and I should suspend my “crazy diet” and eat animal protein to heal properly.
    I am determined to show them this can be done properly while keeping a vegan eating regimen.

  4. LISAMARIE says:

    Good for you, Christine! Actually if you ate animal protein I’d think that would weaken your bones, as it takes the calcium out of them.
    Hope your toe gets better soon. 🙂

    Trevor-too funny on the typo. LOL.

    Bobby–very interesting, insightful analogy. This is definitely one I’m sharing on Facebook!

  5. Bobby Rock says:

    Trevor –

    The main idea about point #2 is that many athletes looking for an edge in peak performance will do virtually anything to get it, often without much thought for the long-term health ramifications. Of course, we see this a lot where steroids are concerned. But it’s also apparent with all the various supps they might use, or – yes, as the myth perpetuates – even these high-protein diets, to the extent they believe such a diet will supposedly help them build more muscle. But this is all based on them making choices that THEY believe will bring about the best results. And again, they do so without much thought to their health or the global consequences.

    Personally, I don’t consciously think of it in these terms anymore, because it has become second nature. But – my choices are always “rooted” in #4, which ensures that all the others will be covered.

    And yes – these things do relate to some degree where exercise is concerned.

    Christine –

    Yeah…this is where our good ol’ cultural conditioning comes shining through! “Milk – it does a body good…and helps build strong bones and teeth!” The implication being, as your family verifies, that if you don’t include milk or other animal products in your diet, then your bones will crumble.

    But, such is simply not the case. As Lisamarie suggested, you would actually be doing MORE harm to the healing process by eating a bunch of animal products because of the acidic nature of these foods. I’m sure you probably caught this entry a few months ago, but here it is again:

    It talks a bit more in detail about the science. Just know that we all support you in your decision to stay the course and let it heal with your present regimen.

    Keep us posted…(and consider adding some horsetail herb to your regimen as a supplement. I’ve heard/seen some great things happen when it comes to accelerating the healing process where bone-related things are concerned).


  6. trinityelsie says:

    would you provide your eating regimen from breakfast to last meal you consume? could you also include what herbs, vitamins and other things you take during the day? thanks so much..
    trinity and elsie pallanes

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