Are you on a diet currently? If you are then I just want you to know you are totally untrendy. Diets were a thing of the yesteryears. We are now in the era of “Wellness” and it has an entire league of “Wellness gurus” and worshippers as followers.
If you are anything like me you might be thinking of spa treatments, massages and relaxing sounds of waves and maybe a spot of yoga. Wrong again! The new “Wellness” might only touch those topics on the borderline but it mainly focuses on nutrition, “clean-eating” and lots of green juice and chia puddings. One might be thinking at this point “That does not sound all that bad!”
When said “Wellness Gurus”, who often do not have any training or nutritional qualifications, begin to council and ill-advice their followers, does the whole concept become dangerous.
On the tip of the iceberg there really is nothing wrong nor is there any evil in the idea. As is the case with all fads, however, it seems that this concept of eating well has been taken to the far limits and beyond of any sense and sensibility. When said “Wellness Gurus”, who often do not have any training or nutritional qualifications, begin to council and ill-advice their followers, does the whole concept become dangerous.
There has been a trend toward healthy, natural food over the past decade, which on the positive side of the coin has done an immense amount of good for many consumers, raising awareness to eating well and including a more balanced diet. On the darker side of the coin however, it has buoyed not only major food brands but also over-zealous bloggers to embark on campaigns that often cause more harm to consumers and followers than any of the “toxins” or wheat they are actually against.
The lack of knowledge on the topics of food and nutrition and the vehement and fanatical beliefs have created a massive amount of confusion in their thousands of followers
It is this brand of “Wellness bloggers” that I worry about. The lack of knowledge on the topics of food and nutrition and the vehement and fanatical beliefs have created a massive amount of confusion in their thousands of followers. These so called experts are not necessarily credible and often their only qualification is that of eating, but it does not stop them to lie to or frighten their followers into emptying their pantries of the dreaded wheat, sugar and all other kind of food groups that they have labeled as toxic.
One of the best examples of why this really worries me is Belle Gibson, the super “Wellness Guru” and Australian blogger who actually cured her brain cancer by “eating-clean” duped and betrayed her followers by lying about her health issues claiming that it was her diet and lifestyle that cured her of cancer. Dangerous, as her claims put cancer sufferers at risk by suggesting solely a change in their dietary approach and lifestyle could successfully treat them.
Then there are fanatics like Vani Hari aka Food Babe, who spread more harm than good by spreading fear amongst her followers by extremely inaccurate claims. She even goes to the point to implore her readers to lie about allergies to save calories when eating out! There is no sound evidence that actually back her claims and allegations. So when these inaccurate claims where contradicted by a former chemistry professor who wrote a piece about “The Food Babe is full of shit!” it went viral for a good reason – it simply put, what I thought was common sense, back into perspective!
“Wellness” has become part of a luxury lifestyle
The green juice has become an epitome of discipline, a posh lifestyle and a status symbol.
The entire society that encompasses the “Wellness” rage might not go to such extremes but the whole concept of “Wellness” has become part of a luxury lifestyle. Armed with green juices, chia puddings, Instagram accounts and blogs they depict the aura of a privileged lifestyle and beckon thousands of followers to become a part of their elite group. The sad truth is as the gap grows between the rich and everyone else and obesity rates continues to increase among lower-income people, the “Wellness” lifestyle and “clean-eating” seems to give this class a sense of prestige and certain influence. The green juice has become an epitome of discipline, a posh lifestyle and a status symbol.
More and more qualified dieticians and doctors are having to deal with new eating disorders
While seemingly no one diets these days but weight-loss is certainly pursued under the blanket of healthy eating, “clean-eating” or kale chips and smoothie bowls, these “gurus” seem to be leaving entire food groups out of their diets. No diary, no gluten, no carbs and even no fruit – is in actual fact the making of eating disorders. More and more qualified dieticians and doctors are having to deal with new eating disorders and the effect this lifestyle seems to be having on the young bodies.
Is there such a thing as being too healthy? We all know anything in extremes is not good for you – and even in this case taking the concept of healthy eating to such extremes created by misinformation and bad habits endorsed by the blogs, books, and Instagram posts of “Wellness Gurus” really does have a bad backlash.
Many of these “gurus” take on the role of becoming experts without the conscience or idea of the responsibility they carry
On the positive side there is nothing wrong with eating healthily – less sugar and more vegetables, reducing the intake of fat and an occasional green smoothie cannot be such a bad trend. The rule should always be to do everything in moderation. This cannot ever be a bad guideline to follow – excesses in anything just wrong.
It also makes me really wonder how many of these “gurus” take on the role of becoming experts without the conscience or idea of the responsibility they carry. As they grow in immense popularity and they reach thousands of followers through the various mediums one would think that they would take specific care in what they advocate. I remember when I started blogging in 2006 my initial reason was simply to post recipes and discuss topics that were important to me. However, as this blog grew in popularity and I gained in readers and followers, I quickly became aware of the position I was put in. It scared me to face this responsibility but at the same time I tackled it with responsibility and integrity never going out of my realms of knowledge. My blog is not a place where I “advice” or “force” people to adopt a similar lifestyle or do what I do but rather to inform and share and I do this with integrity and honesty towards the readers and followers.
And most certainly my blog is a place where the reader will find everything in moderation – as this is the lifestyle I choose to live by. Food to me is as a greater concept of bringing not only the dishes but people together to the table, discovering and learning more about food culture and tradition in the process.
I turned to my friends to see what their thoughts and ideas in this subject was. How do they see this latest trend in “Wellness” and how do they perceive the “Wellness gurus” and I was not let down.
I find a lot of these health food blogs are quite dangerous. If you look at that Whole Pantry chick who claimed to have cured her cancers and then it turns out she lied. Ella Woodward who says in a cheery mood she avoids millet because it contains gluten, while it doesn't. Who are they to give advice, they can seriously harm a person by saying avoid wheat, avoid protein, eat only protein, eat only carbs, whatever. As long as there is no legal term to call yourself a nutritionist, I choose to be really careful by taking in any of their 'advice'. My best friend's body is ruined by being on elimination diets, protein only diets, and whatever diets all her live cos she is large and hates it. Dieting can cause serious harm, and eliminating something is dieting. You need everything in moderation. Yes I do avoid sugar, but that is common sense. I eat bread that is fermented because it is better for you and this is common sense. I eat what keeps me healthy and fresh, I have no problem with being too thin or too fat, I'm just normal with my size 36 and I don't have to do a thing for it because what I eat is common sense. I wonder if these girls are not just the new top models; but then eating rather than puking out their food. Everyone wants to be thin and pretty, and if you can choose between being thin and miserable from puking out your food; or thin and blissfully happy with your avotoast, I know which one I would pick! ;)
It’s a fad. Some people – a lot of people it would appear from these ‘wellness’ experts followers on social media – just need ‘something’, ANYTHING, to make them feel good/be younger/fitter/better looking/heathier/thinner/safe/ . It is a distinct sign of our times that ‘celebrities’ (I admit to knowing of Paltrow but Jessica Alba or Blake Lively? I have no idea) it is as religion was in times past or (or still is to some). I despair if people NEED such unqualified and untrained ‘gurus’ in their lives. To me it is similar to the ‘gluten-intolerant’, the ‘allergic’ to this or that or the other. It is simply bollocks. Eat well, don’t over indulge in one thing or the other. Try and eat seasonally and keep an eye on the sugars and get some exercise. I managed to lose a ton of weight just by keeping track of the amount of what I consumed. I didn’t give up chocolate or donuts or bread (god, have you tried gluten free bread???) or alcohol and I certainly didn’t need a ‘wellness’ expert to tell me how to do it. Life is too short to piss around with such fads. Did the ladies who drowned on the Titanic die easily knowing they refused that cream slice the night before? Don’t pander to these fads and self-styled instructors. Find something meaningful and fulfilling of your own and don’t follow ‘celebrities’. Most of them look far too thin and tanned for their own good anyway.
I believe that ultimately we know what healthy food or lifestyle means. There is not so much to it as it is made out to be. That said each of us needs to find our own way of a healthy lifestyle that suits our needs. As our busy and hectic lives do demand it more than ever. I personally do not care much about wellness trends. But if they really inspire people to live healthier and more consciously why not.
I worry uncertified people who dispense advice run the risk of getting sued...how does anyone know what is healthy for someone else without knowing their medical history, and thus, being some sort of degreed and certified medical professional?
Anything in excess is bad ... It's just getting to me all this health foodie talk. It's an over saturated market !! No other generation has been so obsessed about weight and diets !!
Rosa Jeanne Mayland
Unfortunately, I feel that this whole healthy living thing is just another trend and just another way of being under the spotlight. Before, only a few individuals cared about having a healthy lifestyle and now everybody seems to only think about that... Of course, there are many sincere people who make a career out of it, but I feel that too many wellness gurus are just jumping on the bandwagon in order to make money or get popularity. By the way, I've been cooking and eating healthily before it all started and no fad is ever going to make me change my mind or lifestyle. I eat and live in that manner because I that's my choice.
I have terrible feelings about chia. I can’t tolerate any more posts on any more healthy food bloggers or nutrition gurus (even though some of them might be my best friends)... otherwise I think they are doing a pretty good job … if one is advocating juicing, or detox diets... there's more to just churning up a recipe. A lot of logistics come to play... these gurus don't outline that.
I don't have enough experience with Wellness bloggers but I think there must be good ones out there and there's certainly a market for it. I agree that not everyone has qualifications and there are some questionable ones. But likely no more than any OTHER self-made profession. I guess, for now, I'm not too huge of a skeptic, but again, I haven't had that much exposure to it.
I ended up reading that article twice and have to confess I have mixed feelings. The examples of the bloggers given there run from what seems fairly reasonable to people who are clearly exploiting the trend. It is one thing to talk about what works for you and makes you happy but to tell people or suggest that they need to do the same to look a certain way is dangerous and irresponsible. One needs to be well-informed and sensible about their choices and make a decision for themselves. In my case, I do try to avoid (not fully eliminate) foods that are overly-processed or have a lot of additives. I still have sweets, occasional deep-fried food and have my daily tea with toast....I just try to keep it whole-grain and unrefined as much as possible.
A trend, a fad, emperor’s new clothes - as are most such things - ideas and concepts imbedded in our consciousness are extracted by clever marketing, becoming the next big thing, with all clamouring on the bandwagon - its isn't just the wellness bandwagon people climb on, its anything that becomes the next big thing - Don't get me wrong eating well is important, but those who now think they are well versed in it (without much experience or education) are shaping the food ideas of the young, leading to a new generation of food illiteracy, feeding into the media alight with such hungry PR that perpetuates this so called new clean eating idea I think moderation is key, this fad is getting out of hand and too many people not well versed are shaping eating habits, and that is scary.
Blogging has increased in leaps and bounds. It's a cut throat competition and we all need the share of the cake. So everyone is on the lookout for that one buzz word. First it was healthy, then sugar free, gluten free, vegan, organic, umani and now locally sourced. Phew, it's so difficult to categorize as trustworthy, informative or supportive because it is an unregulated industry. I am a software engineer and the only nutrition knowledge I carry with me is Google and my mum’s word which has been carried from generations. My Indian culinary tradition is rich in wheat and sugar. I am 220 odd likes with half of them my pupils from school m college. I know their requirements they all are working, single, married and mothers such varied is my readership so they echo Roy give me something quick and healthy. So the gist is everybody wants to do things in a jiffy and we have become so attention deficit in that sense and we drift wherever knowledge is being delivered free. PR teams study the market trend and curate blogs with these viral words. As pointed in the article, PR is afforded by younger, posher, slimmer and weak points sell but they cross that red line when they cure cancers, autism and skin diseases. Here the online nutrition DiVA transcends into God and plays a dangerous game of our lives. I rest my case. As for me, i am living on the periphery and judiciously pickup the tag words which are not precariously harmful and I could say I ditch moral science by a .5 percent.
I did not get a chance to read the article yet, but I can express my thoughts on: "wellness" trend and the new foodie "gurus". Actually I can go on and on about it. I see so many diet articles on my news feed. People ping me to ask a "quick weight loss recipe". I sadly say them - I don't have any. I used to be part of a fit foodie group, which I left a couple of months back. It's filled with wrong information, temptations of fast weight loss in 2 weeks - DISGUSTING. It's very simple - anything processed is not great for health. It does not matter how many spoons of sugar you add - it's sugar and it's bad. So does honey and jaggery. Anyway, I think people should learn what is food and how it's composed. And then decide what to eat and what not to! I saw someone posted a "healthy cake". How on the earth cake is healthy - it has flour and sugar!
Thank you to everyone who helped with this feedback that I put out on my Facebook Page. The tenor is more or less the same – where the keyword is moderation.
The recipe I share today mirrors the idea of moderation in our household. Here, zucchini noodles will never be a satisfying substitute for pasta. We love our real pasta! But I never even try to sell a dish like this as a substitute for pasta with my family. This is what it is – vegetable noodles – and a good way of eating vegetables prepared in a different way. With kids in the house it’s a good way to bring variety to the dinner table. It is not pasta and never will be pasta and I make sure that the message I send to my child is clear on this so he does not get mixed up signals and is capable of making good food choices on his own. So with this message and the honest way this dish is presented we love these kinds of meals. Zucchini noodles spiralised with a hint of the Mediterranean feeling. It was the perfect way to use up the last of my homegrown zucchini and tomatoes for the year. The full bodied marinara sauce gets the addition of slow roasted cherry tomatoes and together with capers and olives it makes an exquisite partner for the zucchini noodles. Adding beautiful shrimps, sautéed in lots of garlic tops the entire dish off perfectly.
Recipe: Zucchini Noodles with Garlic Shrimps, and Olive CAper Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce and Feta CheeseMeeta K. Wolff
Total Time: + 2 hours slow roasting tomatoes
- 1 Portion my fruity marinara sauce
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 medium sized zucchini,spiralised in a spialiser or sliced in thin strands
- 50g caper apples
- 100g shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 50g green olives
- 2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs and flowers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 100 C.
- Place the halved cherry tomatoes in a bowl drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon mixed herbs and flowers. Gently toss to coat the tomatoes. Lay out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast the tomatoes for 2 to 3 hours - the tomatoes need to be shriveled and dry, but still have a little juice inside. Depending on the size of your tomatoes this might take more or less time. Allow to cool and transfer half to sterilized jars. Add the other half into the prepared fruity marinara sauce. Keep the sauce on low heat to keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet. Add the remaining garlic and gently sauté. Add the shrimps and quickly toss until pink and almost cooked through. Add the remaining dried herbs.
- Place the zucchini noodles in a bowl, add the shrimps, olives, capers and spoon enough of the chunky marinara sauce to coat the noodles and shrimp. Toss slightly and season to taste.
- Divide into bowls and sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese. Serve immediately.
Vegan Option: Leave the feta cheese out, add the aubergines as above and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
And while the steady flow of misinformation from all sides will continue apace, my serious hope is that there are more people out there that will use their common sense and do what is good for them and what fits in their lifestyles – not because it is the current trend and everyone else is doing it. Do go out and grab your green juice and enjoy those kale chips, but also please indulge in a big bowl of real pasta from time to time. As my friend Andrew put it so eloquently “Life is too short to piss around with such fads".
Resources for my article:
Green is the new black: the unstoppable rise of the healthy-eating guru
When the cult of “wellness” becomes unhealthy
The "Food Babe" Blogger Is Full of Shit
Wellness blogger Belle Gibson admits she never had cancer
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