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(Simplicity vs. Complexity in Diet: Where Do We Find Truth?--continued, Part B)

The hidden complexity in
simple dietary idealism

Rationalizing failures gets complex quickly. As far as simplicity vs. complexity of detail goes, certainly the ideals and principles behind plant-based diets founded on philosophical naturalism are simple. But what is overlooked is the complexity involved at an entirely different level: how one is forced into never-ending, detailed rationalizations to account for such things as the many long-term failures on such an "ideal" diet, and--

And so on and so on--endless contortions and complexities to explain away the obvious. These include complexities besides just explaining failures on such diets that we'll cover a little later, complexities which are necessary to support some of the premises of utopian dietary thought itself.

Are the explanations really simple, or just familiar? Important to note is that such complexities or rationalizations really only seem as simple to us as they do because they are so familiar, and oft-repeated like mantras. Familiarity, or what we become habituated to with repetition and practice, can easily blind us to how complex or convoluted some of our "simplicity" may really be. Familiarity is a double-edged sword that is necessary to understand things, yet its pervasive and normally unseen role is what gives it the power to blind us to the obvious if we get too emotionally comfortable in it, and stop looking and asking questions.

Note: If one is really interested in looking at it, the low success rate mentioned just above is actually fairly simple to observe on almost any email list devoted to the ideal of raw-foodism if one sticks around long enough to see the patterns, where most of the posters fall into one of two camps. One camp, the biggest one usually (though not always), asks for lots of advice or talks about the problems they are having on the diet or in sticking to it without lapses. The other camp of people who are apparently doing well and giving advice based on their success, such as it is, have in most cases been on the diet only a relatively short time (a few years or less, just as often months or less).

The remaining people who have been on the raw-food diet long-term (say, five years or more) without significant lapses or on-and-off-the-wagon episodes, and also say they are successful (giving them the benefit of the doubt) do exist but are more rare. This is before getting into further considerations of what criteria might be used to assess reliability of the claims, though. (For example, it's not that unheard of for some who count themselves as successes to report weight levels that would be classed as anorexic. Others report menus that if true would be well below caloric starvation levels, which strains credulity.)

Here, it's what you don't see--lots of long-term successes--that speaks volumes by its absence.

The complexities of dietary utopianism
go beyond just having to explain failures

Conundrums in idealistic dietary thought itself. Beyond the problems of accounting for the significant failure rate, there are numerous examples of conundrums confronting the philosophy of idealistic dietary thought itself that have to be ironed out via complicated explanations to justify them. Here we'll give the flavor of them through a few brief examples, which we will follow up with a bit more in-depth look later. Some of the issues that have to be explained with convoluted rationales are:

We'll go into a few of these as well as other examples in somewhat more depth later, where we'll compare and contrast this more complex pattern that makes necessary "putting out fires" in one's logic, after the fact, with its alternative: acknowledging the messy facts of life ahead of time and dealing with them more simply right up front.


(Dietary Utopias and the Tar Baby of Science)

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