Are You ‘green’-driven Or ‘character’-driven About Progressive or Conservative Attitudes Toward Nutrition?

Sacramento has a ‘divide’ in attitudes among the conservative and progressive approaches to nutrition. The first category is the nutrition-related stance that you have to discipline yourself in order to develop character and responsibility.

Can that attitude be called conservative? The second category is the attitude that you have to love yourself and society in order to change the food industry’s methods and the government’s approach to testing, importing, and preparing foods.

Should we call that the ‘progressive’ attitude? Instead of the term ‘conservative,’ nutritionists may substitute the words “character-driven.” And instead of the word ‘progressive’ nutritionists may substitute the words “green-driven.’

The first category, character-driven, says that all there is, is taking responsibility and pulling your own weight. That means changing your diet to repair your character which may result in fixing your health.

This category is taught at mainstream classes in nutrition in Sacramento and Davis classes. And it’s okay to be vegan and ‘green’ under this category also and to recycle. The issue is about how you go about recycling and substituting one food habit for another.

This emphasis with the discipline-oriented nutritionists is on building character as one way to approach nutrition. And being green puts responsibility on the individual rather than on society. You recycle and gather people together in your social group or online to raise funds for others to recycle instead of blaming the owners of stores for not having enough recycle cans in front of their store.

You take the responsibility of providing the funds for someone who absolutely can’t afford the recycle cans to have them in front of a house or worship, store, or school. The character-driven nutritionist tells you not to teach your kids self-esteem but instead teach them self-discipline when it comes to developing food habits early in life.

Self discipline also means donating, fundraising, and stopping one child from bullying and/or intimidating and humiliating another child. One example is donating your toys to children whose toys were taken away or destroyed in a disaster. That’s character-building which is supposed to lead to taking responsibility, solving problems, and getting measurable results. You tell others to do their own homework.

What do you teach about food habits? Discipline is not about taking food away from a child because the child eats junk food or is obese. It means teaching responsibility for developing healthier habits. That doesn’t mean anger or corporal punishment, it means taking the attitude to go and get another toy or portion of food for one child if you see another child taking away the smaller child’s toy or portion of food, for example, in day care.

Not all faiths have slogans that tell you to spare the rod and spoil the child.You are not supposed to use any rod. You use examples of your behavior instead. You are the rod of conscience, not a stick. It’s your behavior that shows by example. You tell a kid, “You’re too good to act like that.”

The only ‘rod’ you use to ‘discipline’ a child is the friendly gadget that dangles a toy or bagel back to the child whose toy or food was just stolen by a bigger kid. That shows both the child and the bully that character-driven habit-training provides repeated examples of etiquette in public or in the home where there are siblings.

You make eating together a joyous experience with music and laughter, not stress. It would be a more effective lesson in discipline if another child is the person who restores a toy or food taken from a small child by another rather than a grown-up.

Did you notice the difference between nutrition educators who emphasize being thankful and humble for food versus nutrition educators who emphasize training a child to relate self-esteem to eating habits or food choices?

Some nutrition educators tell you to be humble and correct only yourself if there’s a problem with your health that’s related to nutritional consequences. You find out how to tailor your foods to your body’s responses–metabolic, genetic, and chemical.

The character-driven nutritionist might say that the only way to fix the problem and receive measurable results is to focus on changing your habits. You don’t look to change the food industry so much as you look inside and change your own eating habits. The exception is when the food industry betrays you, the consumer. For example, putting unwanted toxins in foods you trust the food industry to keep out. In that case, you follow the money.

You focus on substituting healthier ingredients for traditional, familiar foods that aren’t helping your health. If you change your character first, than your eating and exercise habits are more likely to change.

Courses in standard nutrition not fad diets taught at Sacramento’s colleges, for example the online and in-class nutrition courses offered at American River College, CSUS, and UC Davis, for the most part follow the government’s food pyramid guidelines.

Community college nutrition educators may have graduate training in nutrition education rather than graduate degrees in biochemistry, nutritional endocrinology, or ethnobotany. Other educators teaching nutrition may have degrees in consumer science, family economics, or even home economics with an emphasis on nutrition.

Sometimes a professor with a degree in culinary arts may teach a course in nutrition. And sometimes someone with a degree in gerontology or early childhood education may teach a nutrition course in childhood nutrition or nutrition and the aged.

These instructors and professors may focus on the government’s Food Pyramid and stay away from ‘fad’ diets or discussions about how supplements change the body in ways that may help older adults absorb more nutrients, or other results of combining food with nutraceuticals. Most people may not bring up these questions in class.

You won’t find too many discussions on the bovine leukemia virus in cow’s milk in this type of nutrition class at the two-year community college level or similar discussions about doctors who are curious about what research is being done and talk to their patients on these topics, when and if they do. That may be a topic discussed in graduate schools of naturopathy and nutrition.

Other professors, usually in four-year colleges, do have an extensive biochemistry background, usually at the four-year college level, teaching ethnobotany, nutritional endocrinology research, and genetic and metabolic nutrition introductory courses, since most research is done by graduate students taking training in metabolic and genetic nutrition. There also are fields such as nutritional anthropology and biological nutrition.

Many of these instructors are not interested in the latest fad diets that come and go because the research sometimes gets ‘cold’ as few people are referred to test results when research is done over again with double-blind studies. It’s also about who’s funding the research.

The ‘character’ divide between the two schools of nutrition in Sacramento is between those who blame themselves when their eating habits from early childhood wells up, and those who blame society when they can’t refuse that super-sized fries or daily pint of ice cream.

You have terms in Sacramento such as character-driven nutrition habits and food-industry-driven food habits. One example would be a fast food chain eatery on almost every corner versus a parent who blames society for opening a fast-food eatery instead of a vegan restaurant, but then complains that the vegan restaurant serving organic food is way beyond what the parent can afford.

The divide among nutrition attitudes is about blaming society for obesity and type 2 diabetes in children and adults versus taking responsibility for changing the self, the family’s eating habits, when it comes to food choices. An example would be for a low-income family to choose to plant vegetables in a community urban garden versus buying fast food just because it’s affordable. Sacramento has several urban community gardens.

Another example would be a child enters a store and immediately complains to the clerk, manager, or owner that there aren’t enough e-waste and paper/glass/plastic/bottles/bags recycle cans outside the store. The “blame the society” attitude of these nutrition-minded kids looks first at what’s missing in society, that is the recycle cans.

The alternative attitude or ‘habit’ would be to look at what that individual child might do in order to fix the problem and get measurable results by volunteering to place cans or put on a fundraiser to earn enough money to buy the recycle cans for the store or some other volunteer activity where the focus is on the character of the child rather than blaming, fault-finding, and criticizing the store owner.

Another example would be a person with a disability files a law suit against a Sacramento restaurant because of the sidewalk not being accessible to a wheelchair. That’s taking the “blame society” side.

The alternative might be to gather a group of people with disabilities and instead of filing a lawsuit, forcing the owner of the eatery to close down, instead raise the money to make the restaurant accessible to wheelchairs. That’s what a focus on changing the character is all about versus changing society.

You put the responsibility (positive attitude) rather than blame (negative approach) on yourself for changing what can be changed. And if you can’t do it alone because it costs money, you put on events that raise funds to change a situation that’s unbearable to you.

It’s all about putting the responsibility for research, change, or habits on yourself versus putting the responsibility on society to change. That’s what the two approaches to nutrition is about in Sacramento.

One example might be a focus on changing the school lunch program. You could put the responsibility on the self to prepare good lunches the night before for a child to take to school.

Or you could blame society and ask the school to change the food served, even though the school says it doesn’t have the budget to change that much. But a little of both attitudes does bring about changes. For example, Sacramento public schools are putting in salad bars with healthier choices.

The second side of the digital divide among Sacramento and Davis area nutrition-minded individuals is the “love is all there is” attitude. You’ve heard it in the popular songs of the sixties, such as the Beatle’s “Love is All There Is” lyrics. See the site, Beatles – All You Need is Love Lyrics. Read the lyrics.

You’ve heard some of this hugs and love-building attitude in the songs of Ray Charles. See the lyrics to the song, “I’ll do anything but work.” Yes, love and hugs work wonderfully when you want to talk about nutrition. And it does help people change their eating habits. So you can’t say one approach is better than another. People have different personalities.

What works for one may not work for another. If you’re dealing with elderly people in their nineties who don’t want you to control their food, you approach nutrition with hugs and love not discipline. And you teach about healthy food choices with love, praise, and affection.

That’s what’s great about being independent of attitudes since people are different in their eating habits and how they perceive someone giving nutrition information based on research in credible publications.

The solo portion of the lyrics in Ray Charles’s “I’ll do anything but work” song reads, “I’ll take you out to dine and dance, fill your ears with sweet romance. Baby, I’m so good lookin’ it’s a shame. But I’m all yours if you pay the check. Yours to have, yours to hold. That word ‘work’ just leaves me cold. I’ll do any, thing for you, but work.”

And you’ve seen the divide between character-driven and socieity-driven attitudes toward not only food, but family life in the bumper sticker, “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today? See the uTube video, The Jacobs Brothers – Have You Hugged Your Kid Today? There’s also the uTube video, Have You Hugged Your Mom Today?

The character-driven side of the nutritional divide says, “Have You Disciplined Your Child Today?” Maybe that’s too conservative for progressives. But to remain neutral and independent, there is a divide between those in nutrition who blame society and those who blame themselves.

Instead of the word ‘blame’ the term “problem-solving” needs to be substituted focusing on producing measurable results while solving problems. You have terms such as “follow the money” on the opposite side in perception or attitude of a term such as “taking responsibility.”

The real problem is the use of the word ‘blame.’ Instead of blame, criticism, correction or control, the effort or attitude focused on responsibility might better be to solve problems by doing research and obtaining measurable results on what promotes health, fitness, and nutrition for society. The real issue is a need for more problem-solving.

That’s one way the nutritional divide can join together and cooperate instead of compete, by focusing on problem-solving. Ask the researchers and they’ll tell you who is funding the research? Is it the food and pharmaceutical industries? The government? Or individuals from all walks of life gathering together to take responsibility and raise funds for more research?

Character-driven nutritionists on the “discipline the self when it comes to food habits” side of the health divide tell you that you should not focus too much on self-esteem training for kids. Teach them to be humble and thankful for their food and eating habits, including how they brush their teeth. You read about discussions on breast feeding at night on cue to prevent tooth decay in babies and toddlers–without feeding sweets during the day, feeding instead, healthy foods that get results. But who is educating parents on what foods are healthy versus traditional, familiar foods?

You have nutritionists and other health care professionals on each side of the divide saying who should eat less grains and more dense protein. They public wants to know also why, how, where and when. The other side of the divide says, no the public should eat more vegetables, perhaps a little less fruits than vegetables, and focus on plant foods for health.

Another group of nutritionists say eat more vegetables or more dense animal protein based on your genetics, metabolism, or blood chemistry. For example, check out the book on health research and studies based on the benefits of plant-based diets, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.

The other side of the nutritional divide focuses on eating dense protein from meat, fish, eggs, bone broth, fermented grains, sour dough rye bread, and some vegetables to prevent or reverse tooth decay and bone loss. Another group says too much protein causes bone loss, and plant foods help reverse bone loss along with less vitamin

A because too much vitamin A without a balanced amount of vitamin D3 might cause bone loss. Another group of nutritionists say you need the four fat-soluble vitamins to reverse tooth decay and/or bone loss–vitamins, A, K, D, and E, in the correct ratio or balance.

Books emphasizing eating dense animal protein and raw milk cheese may not mention what to do to lower too-high uric acid levels and gout symptoms from eating too much meat and dense protein from animal sources. And some nutritionists emphasize drinking cherry juice to help people with gout and too high uric levels. Another book says too high levels of uric acid may also result from too much fructose in the diet, which in turn may raise the blood pressure and possibly damage the kidneys.

For a 1930s book on the health benefits of eating dense animal protein, vegetables, and fermented grains to help remineralize mild tooth cavities and help the bones, also see the book, Weston Price: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. With all the nutrition books available and all the research being done in Sacramento and Davis at the various departments of food science, nutrigenomics, and agriculture, you have many faces of one opinion–to improve health through research.

The character-driven side of the nutritional divide says, “All there is–are the Ten Commandments.” And those of other persuasions may say, “All there is, are Trust, Respect, and Dignity.”

The lesson in discipline as an attitude used to build character stops at the border of humiliation and substitutes humility and gratitude–giving thanks–instead of trying to build your child’s self-esteem only with hugs, being your kid’s best friend, and talking about “all there is, is love.”

Instead, the character-driven side of nutritional ‘training’ is to build your child’s character with discipline by teaching responsibility towards others and self. It’s about putting others on an equal basis with the self, not putting one ahead of the other. But what path do you follow and still remain independent and neutral in order to be open to all validated research?

The opposite attitude in the field of nutrition says, “Beware of Power and Control.” This attitude, to fear authority, to question all authority and think for yourself, of course has high merit.

In nutrition thinking for yourself also means, “do teach your child self-esteem because without it, the child will not feel important enough to try to reach maximum potential. And if the child doesn’t feel good enough about himself/herself, the child will be afraid to try.” You do tell your child “you’re too good for this behavior,” if the child misbehaves.

When it comes to food choices, you might also say, “you’re too good to eat junk food and ruin your health now and also when you grow up and want to have your own family.” You prepare kids for the long term. You teach developing emotional quotient and postponing instant gratification for long-term health.

The society-based, progressive, research-oriented side of the nutritional divide says, don’t trust the government’s Food Guide Pyramid. See the site, – United States Department of Agriculture – Home. The Pyramid is not up to date with the latest research on plant-based foods for health, say some nutritionists. And it won’t balance your nutrition. The food industry isn’t really as clean as you’d like it, with all the ground meat, tree nuts, and spinach recalls in the past few years.

Instead, look at raw foods, more organic vegetables and fruits, and make sure the government and the food industry both know what the latest research reports. The opposite side may say raw foods are full of vegetable toxins and unfermented grains have too many phalates. The other side says you need some phalates as they do have a few benefits.

Read the book, Silent Spring. This attitude toward nutrition also asks when and where can we all live in nutritional harmony? The contaminations, for example, the various chemical poisons that so worried the author of this 1962 book, Rachel Carson can seem benign compared to the ruins of radiation, if the worst happens. The Fukushima experience suggests what expert reassurances are worth. So you have a choice in which attitude toward nutrition and health you will take and how you’ll change or develop food habits. And of course, you can be flexible. Research does change with time on some issues.

The motto of the character-building nutritionist is never humiliate your child, particularly in public as well as in private. This leaves an imprint for life on the child’s brain that teaches only resentment, anger, and rage, eventually acted out when one child bullies another or banks the humiliation to be spent decades later on the next generation.

The motto of the green-oriented nutritionist may also focus on fixing yourself instead of only blaming society for what’s wrong. The green-oriented nutritionist also may have an attitude based on how people are controlled by man-made laws to keep civilization from descending into mayhem. Or a green-oriented attitude may be based on what is taught in secular environments and/or parochial/religious surroundings.

You don’t have to be particularly secular or religious to be oriented toward ‘green’ living or ‘green’ industry emphasizing helping the planet as you help yourself and others. You don’t have to be progressive or conservative to be green. It’s about making the world a better and gentler place.

It’s about peace and quality of life. Within these attitudes are those who save animals versus those who hunt animals for sport or money rather than for one family’s food. You have tribal life food customs versus the needs of nutrition for living in densely populated cities.

You don’t have to be a student at a parochial school to be taught to focus on looking at yourself, your attitude, your eating habits, your character, and your approach to health information versus looking at the shortcomings of the industrial food chain. For example, if you’re being handed a can of moldy, rotten tomatoes, you don’t blame yourself, your character, or your eating habits.

You research the evidence that a particular segment of the food industry is trying to fool you into buying food full of toxic ingredients. If the calcium chloride in a can of diced tomatoes raises your blood pressure, you buy fresh tomatoes and cut them up yourself.

Or you make a salad from vegetables not packaged in a ready-made salad if your blood pressure rises significantly from the calcium chloride sometimes added to prepared salads that are packaged in some Sacramento food markets.

The same attitude can be applied on issues that involve cans of soup full of excess salt and MSG meant to get you to buy more. You look out for your health and research food choices. But the focus is on fixing yourself before you try to fix society.

Another attitude is to start a class action lawsuit against a company for false advertising if too much salt is in a can of soup that advertises the soup is low-salt. Define low salt first. It must be below what–140 mg per serving? But who eats only one serving of a can of soup? Most people eat the whole container when the contents is a can or a pint of soup or ice cream.

In moderation, ask what is helpful when it comes to nutrition? The process of research and action can be too slow, for example, if toxic waste is flowing into your tap water, your thyroid is affected, or you don’t want fluoride or rocket fuel in your water because it’s hurting your health. How you see the matter may be based on your focus or your agenda. Are you character-driven or environmentally green-driven?

Do you want to remain independent? Do you want to focus only on changing society’s way of looking at food and health? Or do you look within yourself to change your own attitude and behavior? Is your life about taking personal responsibility?

Or do you look at what happens in society, with current events, and with anything happening outside of yourself? Is the locus of your focus within your own body and mind or external on what goes on with people or society and industry outside yourself?

Some nutritionists in Sacramento and elsewhere have an agenda about what to eat, when, where, why, and how. One example of ‘when’ is about what time you eat and how it relates to obesity risk. You can emphasize any side of the nutritional divide. It’s about attitude, responsibility, and character building whether you focus on the self or on society.

It’s also about whether your locus is internal or external. In nutrition research and application is about solving problems and getting measurable results in ways that act as a guide so people an easily follow the steps you provide. It’s all about offering information.