“I’m Not Like That”

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  • Title: “I’m Not Like That”: Navigating Stereotypes, Social Contexts, and Identity among People who Follow Restrictive Dietary Regimens
  • Author(s): Sandra Saldana, Alyshia Galvez
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Decolonized Diets, Veganism, Vegetarianism, Dietary Regimens, Spirituality, Bodily Discipline
  • Volume: 11
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: September 21, 2021
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v11i02/1-20
  • Citation: Saldana, Sandra, and Alyshia Galvez. 2021. "“I’m Not Like That”: Navigating Stereotypes, Social Contexts, and Identity among People who Follow Restrictive Dietary Regimens." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 11 (2): 1-20. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v11i02/1-20.
  • Extent: 20 pages

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Abstract

Why do people participate in specialized dietary regimens? Our study examined motivations for participating in dietary regimens, as well as the spiritual, mental, and physical rewards for doing so. What we found was that far from “fad” diets, participants in the most common dietary regimens (vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian) in our study population have long-lasting and deeply considered motivations. They combat stereotypes, stigma, inconvenience, and limited dietary choices in many environments to sustain their regimen. Even while rejecting labels or rigidity, they find deep meaning in their choices and practices. These findings may have positive implications for environmental efforts and policy advocacy that seek to motivate more plant-based and environmentally friendly diets. Contextualizing plant-based diets in this way may also help healthcare practitioners encourage a more flexible, long-term approach to diet behaviors, by appealing to their patients’ cultural and spiritual values rather than focusing on clinical definitions of health.