Conditioned to Food

This is not something I am happy to write about, but it is an important topic: Bias by Long Term Saturation. Bias by Saturation is in the same category as hate. The unique thing about Bias Saturation is you and I are not even aware that we are being biased against something as a result of external influences. You and I do not know we have this bias that almost reaches levels of irrationality, because of outside influences over our lifetime change our acceptance irrational bias against something.

I was first aware of this when I was joined the military. Up until those weeks of basic training, the particular week of learning about racial bias, or whatever the current phrase is for it, I was not aware I had any racial bias. As I was forced to listen to these lectures, films, and readings on racism, I would have said I was not in the smallest part of me racially biased even though the Instructors said we all were biased. I did no believe them.

Yet, here I was sitting in these classes becoming angry about the material presented. I had to explore why I was angry. The reason I was angry surprised me. I was not angry over the facts, figures, and explanations of racial bias, I was angry that I was being forced to listen, and assimilate it into my being. Up until this moment, I thought I had equal feelings towards everyone. My emotions over this training suggested maybe I did not.

Throughout my life from the time I was old enough to decide who I was, I made a conscious decision to treat everyone equally. I thought I was immune to racism in all its forms that bombarded my life. Most of the people I knew were like me, and when I thought about other peoples around the earth, I thought I felt the same way about them too. I had to accept the possibility that maybe it was easier to be accepting from a distance, and not face to face.

At any rate, I got through it, and understood my shortcomings, and my strengths on bias’. Until recently I never gave it much thought. Until I started reading about Vegetarianism, Green Smoothies, and Raw Diets. For no obvious reason to me, I disliked those words. In fact I disliked them strongly. Vegetables by themselves were okay. I thought I was eating a lot of them as I usually eat fruit every day, and vegetables as often as they were around.

These words troubled me though: Vegetarian, Green Smoothie, Raw Diet. They were trigger words to me, bringing out emotions that did not belong to the words themselves. When I would think about them I could feel a sneer cross my face and an imaginary distaste in my mouth. I really had to think about this and why it was happening.

I have watched those eat anything television shows from around the world. People eating things most of us would not even touch, let alone taste. They did not bother me when I watched them eating those things. After all it is only odd and somewhat disagreeable food to us. Wherever they were filming, people ate those foods daily. They did not find food vendors who made food they couldn’t sell. So what was it about these other words that created such a response in me? I mean really, Vegetarian, Green Smoothie, Raw Food Diet?

I thought about everything I thought I knew about nutrition. Phrases such as: “Beef, its what’s for dinner.” “Milk, it makes a body strong.” “Where’s the beef?”, Pork, the other white meat, so on and so forth, one phrase after another flowed through my thoughts. The food pyramid was composed of a large block for meat, a large block for milk, and a few smaller blocks for fish other things. I was told in school as a kid we ate meat because we could not survive on vegetables alone.

As a kid, I asked about people in Asia who lived on a mostly vegetable diet. I was told, they eat fish and seafood. They were smaller and weaker than we Americans because their diet was so poor. I did not know there were people who only ate vegetables. That is how it has been ever since. Milk, beef, pork, chicken, and repeat. Every month or so, a different commercial about the same foods would be on television. Vegetables must be bad, that is the real message as vegetables are never mentioned. Even a famous fast food place had to back down and remove one of their commercials about someone bringing a vegetable tray to a party. What a message that was! The only people who eat vegetables are odd people, not normal people who eat, beef, pork, and chicken. Occasionally fish if it is fried and between slices of bread.

Now that I am drinking a Green Smoothie almost every day and have a better understanding of what foods I need to eat to be healthy, rather than what foods commercials think I should eat, I appreciate the power of long term biased commercials in the media.

The lonely vegetable. I also have greater appreciation for Vegetarians, and Raw Diets. I doubt I will ever end up eating as one, but I have accepted them into the fold of people like me. I do have anew appreciation for vegetables, now that I have done a little homework on the subject, after setting my bias aside.