Those who know me will be aware of my slightly unhealthy obsession with certain produce and fears surrounding others. However I must confess that my negative associations are based on personal experience with such dietary lifestyles. Although mine tended to be less self-imposed, but rather forced upon me, as my body does not tolerate gluten, lactose or celery – I guess I could consume these and end up on ventilating machines situated next to bleak walls and miliarity-lined hospital beds.
Yet I have been massively perturbed by the influx of individuals with ‘self-diagnosed’ dietary requirements – boosted by the glamorisation of ‘superfoods’ by so-called health experts. This promotion of healthy eating, although not unfounded as many cultures do reserve a completely un-refined, plant-based diet. It does scream health related dangers – opening doors for unwarranted obsessions around ‘clean’ eating and fuelling disordered eating. I would find some statistics supporting my argument at this point, being the ‘psychology student’ that I am, however it simply is not worth the time.
*Nevertheless I do feel in need of placing a disclaimer that these rambles are not applicable to dietary needs, recommended by a doctor, nutritionist; after all humans are a not a mirror copy of each other.*
There are shelved spilling with sleek healthy eating books: each with meticulously framed ‘works of art’ (food), demonstrating the delightful possibilities of each concoction. I do wonder how realistic it is to re-create those carefully poised creations by the author and photographer. To radically remove certain food groups can result in dangerous side-effects, and equally adding foods (e.g. meat after living a plant-based diet) following endured periods of not consuming them too. I acknowledge that many do successfully maintain a balanced diet without certain produce and that many of us are required to maintained very limited and carefully monitored diets, just to maintain healthy. I remain unconvinced that a radical-type diet is sustainable for the mass majority.
It pains me to see the rise of individuals with obsessional eating (and exercise). Surely this social projection of the benefits of such lifestyles neglect to demonstrate the constraints it places on people’s health. For example, to maintain my bloods at a semi-normal level, I am required to take handfuls of supplements to boost the quantities that my diet lacks: honestly I cannot phase the horrific effects of malnutrition that I personally have experienced (whats-more mine is nowhere near the worst). Being forced to receive litres of platelets, concentrated with the minerals my body failed to generate, is one of the worst feelings I have felt in my late teenage years. Moreover, as a result my ability to give blood to help others have been removed from me.
By no means the food I consume is ideal for my body; I often happen to accidentally give myself a allergic reaction following cross-contamination. However i am willing to learn and perhaps expand my some-what constrained plant-based diet.