‘The cause of public health nutrition is not served by a few people achieving dietary perfection; it’s achieved by making small improvements in the diets of the masses’
Truth be known, I do not administer a lot of my own social media – I do not have time. Rather, my team and I post a number of pre-planned items each week along with new stories as they arise. I enjoy social media but the bulk of my work is writing and seeing clients and only occasionally I log on and have a look at what is going on. So on Tuesday, after seeing a new product in Coles, a breakfast drink, I had a few minutes in between seeing clients and I thought I would share it, and it’s nutritionals for my followers who enjoy product posts.
The post, was relatively innocuous; it simply states the nutritionals with a brief summary and who I would suggest it to. I do not consult to Sanitarium, never have and do not get paid for these product posts. They are simply products that cross my and my client’s paths and I see it as one of my roles to look at some of these products, particularly new products in more detail.
It was not until much later that day, that my ex Fresh cooking buddy and holistic health coach, Pete Evans had decided to use my post as an example of why all nutritionists and dietitians do not know what they are talking about, and the insinuation that this was further evidence that there was a major conspiracy at play, with all qualified dietitians and nutritionists selling their souls to major food companies at the expensive of their clients best health interests. My initial thoughts were, ‘Why on earth would a personality with the huge following and business interests of someone like Pete Evans be the least bit interested in what a dietitian would be posting on Facebook, surely he has more important things to be focused on? – I guess I was wrong.
Now, I do not need to bore you with the rude, nasty, vicious and uninformed comments that 400+ of Pete’s following decided to bombard myself and my team with (you can see those special human expressions for yourself) but seriously, we are talking about a breakfast drink. Does it really warrant such vicious assault? If you do not agree, or do not like it, nobody said buy it but it was the clear manipulation of context that came from this re-post and following insinuation that in turn fueled much hate, abuse and aggression, which is really of no benefit to anyone.
Now, I know Pete Evans. I worked with him for a number of years on the Channel 9 cooking program FRESH, when he was very happy to be paid $ to tell people to eat sugar. I liked him very much as a person and he was great to work with. To date, I have not commented publicly about his recent barrage of disrespect directed towards my profession, simply because I knew him, and would never publicly ‘have a go’ at someone based on sensationalised social media posts, which are not always posted by the personality themselves.
I also get that Pete and his team are passionate about improving the health of all Australians, but Pete, think outside of your Facebook page, you are not the only one. Any health professional that has spent many years studying health and nutrition feels exactly the same way, except unlike you, we actually work with the real people, in real life clinics, with real medical and health issues and unlike you, we have to be held accountable for our statements and actions. And trust me, there are plenty of Aussies out there who have no interest in eating clean, or Paleo, or preparing all their own food. And those people, and the majority of Aussie’s out there who buy packaged food, can still benefit from information on these foods whether you or your Facebook fans think they should be eating them or not.
So, these diet extremists minus any formal training can ridicule my qualifications and experience; take social media posts out of context to suit their own personal agenda and/or business interests and manipulate my words to try and convince your followers that I have no idea what I am talking about but whether you believe it, we are actually on the same team. There is no conspiracy; no agenda; no personal interest other than educating people to make their own dietary decisions. The post on Tuesday was just talking about a new breakfast drink.
Just as diet extremists may not agree with my approach to nutrition, I do not agree with theirs but you will not see me initiate debate that leads to aggressive online bullying, or using the programs they plug based on their super strong beliefs about what people should or should not eat to promote my own. That is not the energy in which I choose to be associated or way in which I conduct my work or my messaging. And the funny thing is, deep down, I doubt if whether that is really the way these diet extremists want to be working either. Surely this energy is much better spent on improving the health of all Australians, as is claimed, rather than bagging and targeting people who have the very same goal, even though theirs may also contain sugar, or dairy or heaven forbid, a packaged breakfast drink?