Monday, January 21, 2019

The Wellness Cult

The Times of London does not comment on this story, perhaps because, after looking at the facts, they were struck dumb. The story concerns actual human beings who have joined a cult to wellness, who calibrate every second of every day to perfect both mind and body. They do so by employing through various nostrums, from meditation to diet to vitamins to baths to hyperbaric oxygen chambers to whatever.

In effect, you wonder how these people have time to do anything else. At least, you will agree that they are the most completely self-absorbed and narcissistic cohort on the planet.

I offer some excerpts from the daily diary of one man, living his best, or some such:

I wake up and immediately rehydrate. Your body is the most absorbent after you sleep, so the first thing you put in it is the most important. I have a glass of Rebel Kitchen raw coconut water (you should be drinking slightly pink coconut water not white, as that’s more concentrated) and dilute it with normal water at a ratio of 2:1. I take multivitamins and vitamin C boosters.

Then I do some meditation, where I might recite some mantras. One of them is, “All my relationships are harmonious and full of love,” which is good if you are working with difficult clients. Sometimes I use the Oprah and Deepak meditation app or the Deva and Miten app, which does really relatable singing mantras.

And then:

I come home and have a shot of coconut water and glutamine. I feel the most motivated I am at any point of the day. Your body has released so many endorphins; your serotonin levels are through the roof. I shower with organic products and moisturise with vitamin E oil. I don’t think you should wash your face all the time because it removes your natural oils. I make a delicious smoothie with coconut milk, cacao, maca, a├žai, a non-dairy yoghurt with 7.8g protein in it, blueberries, banana and cashew butter. It’s about a pint and a half.

But don’t forget the quartz crystal and the Himalayan salt lamp. Please don’t tell me that you have not yet acquired a Himalayan salt lamp:

At home I have a quartz crystal that I place next to me when I’m editing photos. And I work by my Himalayan salt lamp. It helps to absorb the magnetic and radioactive waves that are all around you from wifi and your computer. Goodness knows what they could be doing to my body. I think in 20 years’ time there’s going to be a lot of illnesses related to those waves.

Oh yes, he must enhance his digestion:

Fifteen minutes before any meal I take two apple cider vinegar tablets to help with digestion. Sometimes I take digestive enzymes to help distribute the nutrients all over my body. Lunch at home might be an omelette with lean chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, goat’s cheese and peppers. Out, I make a beeline for the healthiest place I can find. Usually it’s Whole Foods – and contains black beans.

Strangely, the man is married… to a vegetarian. :

My orange night-time light activates on my phone to allow my body to start shutting down. If my wife is away I might go to another F45 class. It helps me sleep. If she’s around, we might do a yoga class together.

7.30 We eat a vegetarian dinner because my wife is veggie. When I’m on my own I eat lean meat, but I do feel really bad for the animals. Plus, it is scientifically proven that eating meat is not good for you, because when the animal is killed the cortisol they release into their body then goes into yours. But I crave meat. It’s partly due to your blood type – some people need it more than others.

After dinner we chill. I have a sweet tooth so I might have a square of dark chocolate, always 60-80 per cent. And sometimes I enjoy a glass of red wine.

Glad to hear that he feels guilty for eating red meat, but that he allows himself a square of dark chocolate and even a glass of whine.

Here’s another man, who has calibrated his life to the point where one wonders whether he has any time for people:

 I wake up having had, on average, seven hours and forty-one minutes’ sleep – I have analysed my sleep over the past four years and I know this is the perfect amount for me. I turn on the near-infrared light at the end of my bed and sit there for seven minutes meditating, to focus my mind for the day ahead.

I take shots of probiotics and Quinton Isotonic, a supplement that comes from plankton and contains enzymes that help me stay hydrated, and a glass of filtered water.

OK, enough of the madness. Besides, don’t you know that one or both of these people, having found the secret to eternal youth, are going to walk out one day and get hit by a truck. Or is that just wishful thinking.

Examine anothers story in the Daily Mail. It debunks the madness about eating three lotus leaves covered with green slime. It reports on a new study that has shown, can you believe it that fad dieting is bad for you, and that you should just eat what  you want.

Eve Simmons writes in the Daily Mail:

Banish carbs, shun anything with even a trace of sugar in it, go vegan and guzzle nothing but green juice – all advice that has, at one point or another, been promoted as a fast-track to the perfect body and ultimate health.

Guides to ‘clean eating’ – written by wellness ‘gurus’ and often endorsed by ultra-slim celebrities – line bookshop shelves and they all spout similar messages. Social media is awash with even more extreme advice.

But despite the painstaking effort it takes to cut out entire food groups, roughly 97 per cent of those who restrict their diet in a bid to lose weightwill fail, according to research.

With depressing regularity, slimmers emerge weighing much the same – if not more – than they did before. And that’s only if they’re lucky. Because there is a darker side to these fad diets.

For an unfortunate few, diets spiral into an eating disorder – a serious mental health condition that destroys a person’s relationship with food.

Simmons offers another reason to avoid fad diets and, by extension, other ways to attain corporeal and mental perfection. Dieting can make you sick:

Last week in The Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine, I told of how an obsession with ‘healthy’ eating – informed by what I read on blogs and websites – led me down a path to anorexia, which eventually became life-threatening.

The unlikely lesson that helped me back to health was learning that supermarket-bought bread, spaghetti drenched in cheese, chocolate cookies, mayonnaise, red meat and full-fat milk weren’t the ‘toxic’ substances I’d been led to believe they were.

So, Simmons is on a crusade against restrictive eating:

And last week my book, Eat It Anyway, was published. Co-authored with my friend Laura Dennison, it busts commonly held myths about food.

Aside from risking eating disorders, restrictive eating plays havoc with our health. Being anxious about food promotes the release of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing both cravings and consumption, according to Harvard research.

Simmons has many more examples…. Reading about them will surely brighten up your day.


trigger warning said...

Last night, Starhog (guruess and Witcchan, mistress of the arcane art of Fleecing) and I were gazing upon the Blood Wolf Supermoon, casting a spell to unman Donald Trump, and sharing a dish of Fair Trade Ethically Sourced sustainably organic orange rind sprinkled with chia seed and spiced with small-batch monomolecular artisanal turmeric root extract and Gabonese cassava sugar. Starhog, whose working neuron was stimulated by the aromatherapeutic essences of orange and empowering antioxidants, brilliantly observed that abstaining from normo-toxic comestibles, like abstaining from sex, make even the most vile concoctions begin to taste good. I thought, "My goddess, this stuff really works!"

Thus was the Hunger Diet born... watch for Starhog's new book on Amazon. She's already finished the page numbers.

TechieDude said...

I was once on the rather large side. I was at a routine doctor appointment and asked the good doctor how I could lose weight. He said - Eat less. I had just watched "Fat, sick, and nearly dead" and asked him about that diet. I'll never forget what he said.

He said sure, it probably would work, but all those "Diets" were simply a vehicle for tracking what you put in your gullet, and paying attention to what you eat. Something you could do by eating normally and tracking your calorie count on an app. You soon no longer need the app, since you quickly find out which foods had an expensive calorie count and simply avoid them. Lo and behold, it worked.

My wife is into all that silliness - "essential oils", Protein shakes, ad nauseum. There's always some sort of thing . Fact is, she eats too much. Hell if I'll point that out. I jus suffer with the silliness. The only one she found that made sense to me is eating to your blood type. Made the most sense.

Every one of these vegetablist types I've met are worst than former smokers. Very preachy about what I'm doing wrong. Yet two things I've noticed are always true - they get sick more often than me, and by stuffing themselves with bulk over calories, Vitamins (Because their diet is off, and incomplete protein, they drift down to having really bad chronic ailments. One of my most preachy friends just posted something about his knee starting to give out. I'm sure it is, having been deprived of fat and protein.

Sam L. said...

tw for the WIN! So far. I can't compete; not gonna try.

Ares Olympus said...

It's easy enough to call this excessive a mental disorder, perhaps like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? It also seems to contain a purity fetish. It must have a sense of cultism that is reinforced by the echo chamber of with other like-minded fanatics. So if you're doing all this, it probably will get boring, but if you can imagine yourself as a public guru on a campaign to save humanity by following the "correct path to enlightenment", it must be harder to see through your own nonsense.

And the predicament is much of it doesn't have to be nonsense, and you can improve by cultivating better habits. The problem seems to be how to know when enough is enough. Probably what is happening is misdirection - focusing in one area that makes you feel good to help you avoid another which makes you feel bad, but where more important problems lie.

David Foster said...

This reminds me of something Claire Berlinski wrote. Speaking of Jose Bove, the French anti-"junk food" activist, she sees him as...

merely one in a long line of historical figures who hawked similar ideologies. They range from a man of unknown name born in Bourges circa AD 560, to Talchem of Antwerp in 1112, through Hans the Piper of Niklashausen in the late 1400s, and on to the “dreamy, gentle, and lunatic Cathars” of Languedoc and finally to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Berlinski sees all these people as being basically Christian heretics, with multiple factors in common. They tend appeal to those whose status or economic position is threatened, and to link the economic anxieties of their followers with spiritual ones. Quite a few of them have been hermits at some stage in their lives. Most of them have been strongly anti-Semitic. And many of the “Boves” have been concerned deeply with purity…Bove coined the neologism malbouffe, which according to Google Translate means “junk food,” but Berlinski says that translation “does not capture the full horror of bad bouffe, with its intimation of contamination, pollution, poison.” She observes that “the passionate terror of malbouffe–well founded or not–is also no accident; it recalls the fanatic religious and ritualistic search for purity of the Middle Ages, ethnic purity included. The fear of poisoning was widespread among the millenarians…”

See also this interesting piece on environmentalist ritualism as a means of coping with anxiety and perceived disorder:

Berlinski quotes are from her book "Menace in Europe, which I reviewed here:

dorfer21 said...

this sounds like the opening monologue given by Jason Bateman (Christian Bale) in "American Psycho"