The Myth of “Normal” and our health & well-being

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane. —Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

•Maté, Gabor. The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture (p. 1). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Because it passes as normal, does not mean that it is good or to be accepted! Gabor Mate in his excellent book “The Myth of Normal” said it best: “I will make the case that much of what passes for normal in our society is neither healthy nor natural, and that to meet modern society’s criteria for normality is, in many ways, to conform to requirements that are profoundly abnormal in regard to our Nature-given needs—which is to say, unhealthy and harmful on the physiological, mental, and even spiritual levels.”

Our “Normal” Today

Growing obesity (in children too)

Increasing rates of NCDs such as diabetes type 2, NAFLD, (both in children too), hypertension, autoimmune diseases.

Declining mental health (in children too)


1. Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic at the Root of Most Chronic Disease–and How to Fight It by Benjamin Bickman

2. Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health—and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and More by Christopher Palmer MD

Is this your vision for yourself and your life?

Have you at some level simply accepted that you’ll grow old, fat and sick? Do you view diabetes type 2 as inevitable? Have you relinquished your power (and resources) to The Establishment and are you settling for a quality of life that is somehow NOT what you really, deep down want for yourself?

Once you declare that what is passing for normal is not congruent with your vision for yourself and your life, your path becomes a little clearer.

The Root Cause of Most Chronic Conditions

Please do add the books I’ve mentioned (Why We Get Sick & Brain Energy) to your reading list. Honestly. There is a direct link between our metabolic health and our mental and emotional health. Our metabolic health (think weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar to begin with) as a planet has nose-dived. We are eating more and more ultra-processed foods and gaining weight and getting sicker at an exponential rate. These maladies are affecting the very young among us and setting them up for a sad, depressing and painful life. Is this what you want?

Insulin Resistance is the common root cause. Our cells simply don’t respond as they should to insulin and what ends up happening is all of the above. And do you know what targets insulin resistance directly and resolves all the attendant symptoms? Do you know what gets and keeps insulin low and stable? Your food choices! Removing those foods that trigger insulin will result in low and stable insulin levels and an internal hormonal environment that results in fat burning, lowers blood sugar, lowers blood pressure and leads to better brain energy. As we resolve our metabolic health, our mental health improves. I explain more about insulin resistance in this past post.

Changing our Food Choices is easier said than done, right?

Fact: we live in a hostile food environment! And this is not accidental. As tobacco companies came under increasing pressure from regulators in the mid 1980s, faced with declining revenues, they pivoted and purchased food manufacturing companies and applied their very successful business model to food manufacturing.

Availability: processed foods (typically high in refined sugars and starches) are everywhere.

•Affordability: ultra-processed foods are designed to be affordable

•Addictive product formulation: these products are expertly formulated to be hyper-palatable so you eat more and therefore buy more.

•Advertising: we’re constantly bombarded with images and reminders about these foods to trigger cravings

•Hook ‘em at a young Age: our children are targeted. Just watch cartoons with you kids and look at all the adverts…

Resisting what passes as “normal” is like swimming upstream!

Changing what we eat in order address insulin resistance in order to improve metabolic and mental health includes eschewing ultra-processed foods and for those of us who need to reverse various markers of metabolic ill-health (lose weight, reduce blood pressure and blood sugar) it includes avoiding carbohydrates (carbs trigger insulin) is tough in this hostile food environment!

We’re surrounded by these refined, high-carb foods, everyone around us is eating them, and we feel and look like the odd-ones out.

What Swimming Upstream Entails

Those of us resisting what passes as normal have to become intentional about our food choices, we have to be strategic, and yes, these take effort. You see, the very foods we are deciding to eliminate are addictive and they literally alter our brain chemistry. This is why relying on will-power is not a sensible approach. Making these tough changes and making them consistently involves skills and brain re-training.

How we Swim Upstream

•Bring our allies on board: ask the people we share living space with for support. Ask them not to bring your trigger foods in the house. Tell them to stop treating you with food

•Plan meals: no longer can you simply leave your meal choices to chance. You’ll b e backed into a corner and at the mercy of these ultra-processed foods that are often the only available choices.

•Prep meals: this remains the best way to avoid hidden sugars and inflammatory refined oils

•Have our foods close to hand

•Face past trauma and deal with it

•Moving our bodies

•Questioning conventional wisdom: we’ve been fed lies about what it takes to lose weight and how to heal. If “eat less and move more” really worked, we wouldn’t be fat and sick. Our health care providers focus on medicating our illnesses rather than encouraging lifestyle changes.

•Eating before going out: this is a strategy that may feel as if you’re defeating the purpose of eating out

•Getting back on track quickly: this goes against the tide of all or nothing when it comes to weight loss. We are led to believe that when we come off track, we’ve ruined everything.

•Self-soothing without food

•Creating our own treats: yes, this takes effort.

•Forming new mental associations between food choices & outcomes: we’ve been told that sugar is a treat…sugar! One of the most addictive substances out there that can be found at the root of most chronic conditions.

•Knowing our safe spaces out there: identifying food providers who can provide us with food that’s congruent with our vision for our lives

•Planning ahead: this takes energy and effort

•Creating calming spaces and cues so we self-soothe without food

•Pattern disruption: breaking old habits and forming new ones

….Whew! Rejecting what’s normal takes work, right? So is it worth it?

That’s the question YOU have to answer for yourself!

The Good News: It Gets Easier!

Our brains are able to form new associations and change habits! YES! So it feels hard at first, but the longer we do it, the easier it becomes.

The more we build that muscle of making good food choices using strategies like planning and cue and trigger management, the stronger we become.

Old habits can be replaced by new ones.

Need Help?

Contact me here if you need Community and Coaching (I also do one on one coaching) to resist what is passing for “normal”.

“Keto The Jamaican Way” by Me!

Don’t settle for boring food as you seek to change your food choices. I wrote this book just for you. Grab your copy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *