By Ruby Smyth
The stigma around healthy living and the choices you make is extremely dominant in today’s society.
For some reason, it is more socially acceptable to eat McDonalds once a day than it is to drink a
green juice once a day. I can already hear the confused tones of my friends. “What is THAT?” “Why
don’t you live a little?” “What’s wrong with enjoying a treat now and then?”
Since coming back from an exchange to Germany in 2011, my diet has slowly been overhauled.
I now, as well as eating a mostly plant based diet, do not consume anything that is processed,
contains white sugar, has gluten, is genetically modified or generally makes me feel bad otherwise.
I exercise every day and yes, I am asleep by 10 most nights. I meditate and practice yoga each
There is a huge difference between being obsessed and being mindful that is not recognised by
the majority of people in Western societies. Many people automatically assume I have an eating
disorder when I request for my veggie burger to come without the mayonnaise and white bun – I’ve
been asked many times whether I need to talk to someone about my “issues with food”. Apparently,
skipping the products that make my immune system crash, give me migraines and force my skin to
break out means I have a serious mental illness.
I live the way I do because it makes me feel strong and happy. It makes me so sad that so few people
actually know how to look after themselves, mentally and physically. We live in a society that’s not
very tolerant of difference, especially when it poses a threat to the way they live.
This culture is extremely detrimental for many reasons. One, it reinforces negative stereotypes
around the well-being community. Two, it makes it okay for companies worth billions of dollars to
keep feeding junk to people. And three, it takes the responsibility off individuals to start looking
after their own health and well-being. We need a huge cultural shift.
The power is in your hands, and education is the key. The most important thing is to shift our focus
from our appearance and weight to how we feel and how we function. Start cooking healthy dinners
for your friends, and have a good time while showing them how incredible real food can taste. Bring
them along to your yoga class. And if they’re really into it, why not give them some positive self-love
affirmations they can use every day?
It’s not about lecturing others, it’s not about forcing them to take your opinion, and it’s definitely
not about judging them for their choices. It’s about you. It’s about you being open minded
and accepting, and sharing your views in a respectful and innovative way. It’s about you taking
responsibility for your own well-being. It’s about being the best version of you that you can possibly
be, and living your life with love and joy.
If we can learn to be mindful, and if we can share this powerful knowledge with others, we will be
able to shake the stereotypes of “obsessed” and “weird”.
But it all starts with you. Try this affirmation each morning before you get out of bed:
“Today, I choose to be strong, happy and healthy. I choose to treat myself with the love I deserve. I
choose to treat everyone in my life, including myself, with respect and dignity. I choose to live like I
mean it. I choose to be mindful.”
Ruby Smyth is a passionate vegan that loves Jane Austen, musicals
involving cats, wellness, beach hikes in the spring and her ever
growing collection of books. She’s currently a student residing in
Melbourne, Australia that dreams of becoming an author and
helping women all around the world.