What is Diet Privilege

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diet privilege

It is very trendy to call out and identify privilege. Privilege when it comes to social equity and race relations, privilege when it comes to education and socio-economic background, and privilege of those who have the luxury to choose. But the one thing I have yet to hear anyone talk about is diet privilege.

What is Privilege

The dictionary defines privilege as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted to a particular person or group. And having the luxury to choose what you eat, how you eat, and when you eat is a privilege.

And let’s face it, of all the privileges out there, this is a really big one. For the vast majority of Americans, their diet relies almost entirely on cost. What is on sale, what is low cost, and how much you can get for the lowest cost possible.

Some have pointed to this issue as a solely American problem. Because other countries, specifically in Europe spend 10% or more of their annual income on food. 

Whereas Americans only spend about 5% of their annual income on food. We definitely prefer the cheapest possible method for feeding ourselves. 

And processed, packaged, and convenience foods fill both the requirements of low cost and low time involvement.

Diet Cost & Access

diet privilege

But it might be more than just sheer laziness. Cost is becoming an increasing stumbling block. High quality, organic, humanely raised meats and produce are exceptionally expensive. 

Not only are they expensive, but there are completely unavailable in certain areas. Even if you had the funds, you may not have the access to quality food.

diet privilege

So I think this problem extends far beyond what Americans want when it comes to ease and cost, and extends into the realm of socioeconomic ability and access.

Diet Privilege

Do you have the privilege of making choices for your diet based on factors outside of cost? Or is your grocery cart determined by price tags, sales, and coupons?

Restrictive diets like paleo, Whole 30, and Vegan require not just high quality meats and produce, but also supplementation outside of normal diet. 

Especially for Vegans, supplementation of several vitamins and minerals is essential. This creates even more cost for specialty diets like these.It is all well and good to make claims that a Vegan lifestyle is a superior one, but it is also a claim of privilege. For those that rely on cheap nutritious foods, meat is a great option. 

Meat gives us a huge serving of protein for very little calories, something we absolutely need in our diet. If we are unable to utilize meat, we have to rely on other costly (calorie-wise and dollar-wise) forms of protein.

Even the Whole30 lifestyle requires serious levels of privilege. From having to purchase all new condiments, completely “clean” cuts of meat, and organic vegetables, this diet can really add up.

It is important to remember, that ideologies are not the only reason that people choose particular diets. In most cases, access and cost is the most significant factor in choosing which foods to consume. And for most, the privilege of choosing a clean, real food, restrictive, or specialty diet is not attainable.

diet privilege