Last year, before arriving to one of the Stanford Inn & Resort’s retreats I head up, a guest called ahead to make sure the resort had the following two things in the rooms: shampoo and…wait for it…a coffee-maker.

(I’m not going to address the shampoo—suffice it to say she had certain preconceived notions of what a plant-based resort would be. Can you say ‘yurt?’)

Turns out she had attended a health intensive the previous year led by, let’s just say, a giant in the nutrition field, and arrived to the hotel only to find out that this particular Mr. Big Wig had made the staff remove all the coffee-makers from the rooms for the duration of his intensive.

If you’ve listened to my podcast or visited Vimeo you’ll know I loves me the coffee, but I assure you, this post is not about the coffee per se.

It’s about fear, it’s about militancy, it’s about “really, what are we after?”

And…it is about my wish for positive leadership in the healthy eating world.

Here’s what happens when a guru removes coffeemakers from hotel rooms.

The attendees’ first lesson is about what they can’t have. What’s missing and what the rules are. What is not ‘compliant.’ What they should be afraid of.

The first lesson is certainly not what they can have to improve their lives, but what they can’t have.

In other words, the first lesson is: if you really want to learn how to be healthy, you can NEVER HAVE COFFEE (subtext: or you will die).

And so…

It is time.

It is time to shift the conversation to what you get when you feed your body food that makes you feel positive, strong, and vibrant.

It is time to focus on how flooding your body, most of the time, with more nutrient-rich food is the foundation of a healthy and happy life (read my books if you’re wondering what determines whether a food is healthy or not—spoiler alert, it ain’t about protein, fat, or carbohydrates).

It is time we examine this thinking: “I eat healthy during the week, and then I reward myself with treats on the weekend.”  Exactly when did eating healthy food become a subtle form of torture and not in and of itself a treat? Try this on for size: “I treat myself well most of the time by eating healthy food, but also enjoy less than healthy stuff sometimes too. Like coffee for the love of all that’s holy.)

And lastly. It is time we ask whether the nutrition guru we listen to, attend retreats with, and follow, is pointing us in the direction of abundance or in the direction of restriction.

And…if the direction is toward restriction?

Find a new guru.

Or, better yet….Realize you don’t need one in the first place.

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