Define "wellness."
June 29, 2015 10:20 AM   Subscribe

 
tl, dr? Here's the money quote:

"She says she is passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn’t really understand how cancer works."
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2015 [29 favorites]


"Dozens of bananas"?!
posted by thomas j wise at 10:45 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have come to Daylesford to have a green juice with Calgary Avansino

Oh god, have we moved on from naming our children after cities in Texas to naming them after cities in Alberta?

(Not to complain -- I'm just surprised, is all, and more than a little hopeful that I might someday meet someone named Fort Saskatchewan or Medicine Hat.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:47 AM on June 29, 2015 [14 favorites]


Good ol' Moose Factory Smith. Nice guy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:49 AM on June 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


This recipe linked from the article looks like pure despair in a bowl. Somebody has sprinkled pomegranate arils on it in an attempt to make it more appealing, but somehow this ineffectual gesture only emphasizes how much this appears to be the food equivalent of Brutalist architecture. I'm intrigued and I want to try making it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:50 AM on June 29, 2015 [40 favorites]


“One of the fundamental teachings of the school is a concept Joshua [Rosenthal] coined as bio-individuality, meaning one person’s food is another person’s poison,” spokesperson Thorner explains.
The get-out-of-facts free card.
posted by davemee at 10:54 AM on June 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I read this while eating my lunch and could feel myself growing more and more horrified. The two blonde ladies pictured are frighteningly thin.

(Also, I don't mind chia seed pudding but I hate tapioca so the texture is still unnerving for me.)
posted by Kitteh at 10:54 AM on June 29, 2015


tl, dr? Here's the money quote:

"She says she is passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn’t really understand how cancer works."


Ugh, God save me from people who are "passionate" instead of "knowledgeable".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:56 AM on June 29, 2015 [31 favorites]


My wife has always been a great cook, but this one time she made some sort of mush loaf thing out of I don't even know what, and I had to tell her that if there was "human food" the way there's "cat food" and "dog food," this is what it would taste and look like.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:56 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


So on the one hand, these people are frequently ridiculous, and their food frequently looks unappetizing. On the other hand, they seem to evoke outsized annoyance. As a general rule, we should all avoid fad diets and fad diet gurus, and we will be much happier and better fed. As long as they're not making fraudulent claims about curing cancer, I sort of file them under "goofy people with whom I can't really be bothered."
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:03 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm intrigued and I want to try making it.

It's quite good! I don't care about the woo, but it certainly tastes as good as most powdered pudding mixes you can get at the store.
posted by Karaage at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


As long as they're not making fraudulent claims about curing cancer, I sort of file them under "goofy people with whom I can't really be bothered."

The problem is that a few of them are doing that very thing.
posted by Kitteh at 11:07 AM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


...it certainly tastes as good as most powdered pudding mixes you can get at the store.

Well, that's certainly a high bar....
posted by Floydd at 11:08 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, sure, and we should call them out. But I think the other 95% can safely be ignored, because in 30 seconds the trend will have moved on to something else.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:09 AM on June 29, 2015


So on the one hand, these people are frequently ridiculous, and their food frequently looks unappetizing. On the other hand, they seem to evoke outsized annoyance.

This is because they come across as self-righteous without reason to be.
posted by OmieWise at 11:09 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I get it, I was one of these people, to this day I enjoy a hobby of marginally impactful health food supplements and there is a kind of self-perpetuating high you get from that kind of eating. IMO it comes from a combination of not feeling sugar-lethargic, being thinner, the semi-high you get from being a little underfed, and of course the self-congratulatory talk "this broccoli sprout salad I'm eating right now is SO good for me" that really gets you going. (A part of it is ego too, that orthorexia-ego-high.) I don't begrudge them for getting on the bandwagon and feeling good about themselves and in some ways I would like to get back to better nutrient/calorie ratio eating myself.

The part that bugs me is "She boasted that she had encouraged “countless others” who suffered from cancer to reject conventional medical treatment and opt instead to treat themselves naturally." That's just an Oh Hell No.

Eat good, feel good, but know the difference between food and magic!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:09 AM on June 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


Well, sure, and we should call them out. But I think the other 95% can safely be ignored, because in 30 seconds the trend will have moved on to something else.

I think this is sort of an "I'll ignore them if they ignore me" situation -- I don't care so much if people want to eat gluten-free or low carb or all bugs or anything, but I do really care when they decide that they have input into how I eat and definitely when they start getting all judgey about what other people eat or feed their kids (I don't have my own kids so this is not personal experience but there are plenty of excellent comments on Metafilter about this). The problem isn't the food, it's the judgement.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


“I’ve never had any training, and I’m not a chef,” Avansino says when I ask about her nutritional qualifications. “I’ve just always eaten like this, and it comes from a very honest and easy place.”

Fuck these people. Once they start trotting out 'cancer-fighting' properties, anything they say is so intellectually dishonest and they even admit to not even doing basic research into what they claim? Let me just start measuring out medicines and treatments based on 'just what I think is right' as opposed to rigorous evidence-based treatment.

and suggesting her critics are in the pay of big pharma and food corporations, thus making a virtue of her outsider status and lack of nutritional training.

Man, I wish big pharma would pay me. This student debt isn't going to fix itself and my projected resident salary sure isn't putting a dent in it.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 11:14 AM on June 29, 2015 [15 favorites]


Personally, I am all for eating more healthily (Lord knows I continue to attempt to see fruit as a viable dessert option) but this sort of "wellness blogging" is just so weird to me. I mean, I think I am supposed to be one of the desired target markets but I wasn't aware of this trend until I read previous FPPs on MeFi and articles like this one in the Guardian. I had no idea. It worries me that some people will use this as a handy cudgel to do as Ms. P said above, which is judge people or people's kids about their own "wellness" eating habits.
posted by Kitteh at 11:17 AM on June 29, 2015


I worked with someone who had pretty visible orthorexic behaviors, and that colleague was enthusiastic about several of the bloggers mentioned in the linked piece. It was interesting navigating conversations about food with this person.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:18 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


So blonde. So white, and so blonde.

It comes from an easy and natural place...heh.
posted by allthinky at 11:22 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Kitteh, I think that part of the reason that I'm skeptical is that I think I'm kind of the target demographic, and I mostly encounter "wellness bloggers" in outraged pieces about how awful they are. I know a lot of people who eat low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, etc., but I think I have yet to encounter the "wellness blogger" phenomenon in the wild. And I mean, I have an active recipe board on Pinterest, and I sometimes pin low-carb recipes. I feel like maybe this is one of those phenomena that seems like a big deal to people in the media because they belong to the very narrow sliver of humanity among whom it's a real thing.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:28 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Freelee pioneered the Raw Till 4 regime, whereby she eats nothing but uncooked fruit until 4pm — sometimes dozens of bananas a day — allowing herself some grains, a little fat from nuts and seeds and a huge plate of steamed green or starchy vegetables in the evening”. Freelee credits this regime, we were solemnly informed, “with curing her eating disorder”.

Clearly, she's not heard about all the radiation in bananas!

But that sounds like the kind of diet where you would never dare gamble on a fart. Made me think of this passage from Lord of the Flies:
He took off his glasses and held them out to Ralph, blinking and smiling, and then started to wipe them against his grubby wind-breaker. An expression of pain and inward concentration altered the pale contours of his face. He smeared the sweat from his cheeks and quickly adjusted the spectacles on his nose.

"Them fruit."

He glanced round the scar.

"Them fruit," he said, "I expect--"

He put on his glasses, waded away from Ralph, and crouched down among the tangled foliage.

"I'll be out again in just a minute--"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:34 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


This recipe linked from the article looks like pure despair in a bowl... I'm intrigued and I want to try making it.

It's basically overnight oatmeal without any oats. Throw those in and include the optional maple syrup and you have something I have happily elected to eat on several occasions. I doubt it's as bad as the miserable gray foodlike substance that image evokes.
posted by almostmanda at 11:35 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh god, have we moved on from naming our children after cities in Texas to naming them after cities in Alberta?

Hm. She got off easy. They could have gone with Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Remember when peanut allergies started to become the big thing? So all the parents stopped feeding their kids anything with peanuts in it? And now we have an actual epidemic of peanut allergies as a result?

What's the over/under on the same thing happening with wheat? Imagine: Schools and daycares where anything containing wheat or wheat byproducts is banned.

There's a nightmare scenario for ya.
posted by clawsoon at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I know that's not a city, technically, but it is a place name.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:41 AM on June 29, 2015


Yeah, make-ahead fruit and yogurt breakfast parfaits is basically that chia-seed pudding with fruit and oats, and it's a perfectly good breakfast. If you make a bunch of them assembly-line style on Sunday, you can eat them for the rest of the week.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:41 AM on June 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ooh, does anyone have a vegan version of what A&C linked above? Because my summer weekday breakfast game is hurting something fierce.
posted by Kitteh at 11:43 AM on June 29, 2015


Make-ahead fruit and yogurt parfait? How long does it take to throw some fruit in some yogurt? If you're so on-the-go that you have to do that ahead, ask about cutting back your hours or something. Jeez.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:48 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's so you don't have to cook the oats in the morning. The yogurt softens them up overnight.
posted by almostmanda at 11:51 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What's the over/under on the same thing happening with wheat? Imagine: Schools and daycares where anything containing wheat or wheat byproducts is banned.

"Looking for a snack? Try wheat, or a wheat by-product. Dinner? Wheat and/or its by-product. Trying to patch a leaky roof? We have just the thing for you, and we also have its by-products.

Wheat and wheat by-products. By Americans, for Americans, in Americans, watching Americans."
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 11:51 AM on June 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'm going to assume that none of the bloggers could be sued out of existence for doling out bad advice, and thereby encouraging restraint or even closing up shop on the part of the others, so I guess we're just going to have to hope that they all go the way of Belle Gibson and hoist themselves upon their own petard of fraud and embarrassment.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually like uncooked oats.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake. I really don't see why I should have to justify my breakfast choices to anyone. Also, I don't need to cut back on my hours, but I do like to go to the gym before work. I don't feel like I need to justify that to anyone, either. Honestly, you take care of your diet, and I'll take care of mine.

And yes, the oatmeal softens overnight, and if you use frozen fruit then it thaws. Otherwise, you'd have either hot oats, which is unappealing in the summer, or hard, raw oats. And you'd have hard, frozen fruit unless you did something like thaw it in the microwave. So making it ahead works better, plus you can eat it on the run if, like me, you like to get to the gym in time for 6:45 Pilates class.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


The chia pudding probably tastes pretty good, especially if you let the chia seeds hydrate a bit and bump up the sweetening a little. It looks like something we would eat down in the mines after our world had been invaded by eldritch horrors, I admit, but I've had some pudding-esque seed things from the co-op that are quite tasty. You have to like mush - polenta, jook, grits, ice cream served over a slice of cake and let warm a bit, etc - but fortunately I do.
posted by Frowner at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2015


Yeah, I work out early enough before getting ready for work at 9 am that anything besides cereal would be a godsend, hence my interest in these oat thingies (because fruit, protein AND fiber!).
posted by Kitteh at 12:00 PM on June 29, 2015


Dear prize bull octorok

I've had that, recipe or something similar. It's not that bad, and it's presents like something from a sci-fi dining table.
posted by Agent_X_ at 12:00 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dystopian YA Novel Pudding
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:02 PM on June 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


She also apparently never got the memo about mason jars making any random food sludge look delicious, that's like wellness blogging 101.
posted by almostmanda at 12:18 PM on June 29, 2015 [22 favorites]


Dystopian YA Novel Pudding

The No-That's-OK-I'm-Not-THAT-Hungry Games
posted by The Bellman at 12:23 PM on June 29, 2015 [33 favorites]


I've just registered a domain for my future lucrative okayness lifestyle blogger career.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:24 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


For all that men get criticized for "mansplaining" (and yeah, ok, fine, that actually does happen) this is the white-woman equivalent. She knows nothing yet somehow makes a living telling people what to do.
posted by GuyZero at 12:26 PM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


This article reminded me of my brother-in-law's rant about wheat, how it is responsible for the rise of civilization, and fuck all these people at work trying to get him to eat some kind of weird spelt crust pizza.

True confession, though: I follow some of the bloggers mentioned on Instagram. And I am a nurse, I know better. But although I know enough to recognize the (gaping) holes in these "wellness" bloggers' claims, they have something I don't have, have never had, may never have, but will never stop wanting to have: they have THINNESS. And even I, a nurse with education in nutrition and a sound understanding of What Is Real Science and What Is Made Up, even I want to be THIN. I've never managed to crack that code, but there's a whole WORLD of people who have, and a bunch of them have IG accounts with beautiful wooden tables and hand-thrown pottery bowls and the Secret Goji Berries of Thinness. And when I see a lady with visible collarbones smiling at me and telling me that her Dragonfruit Avocado Bowl with Chia Coconut Sprinkles could help me be thin? That kind of imagery on Instagram is like kryptonite to me. Against my better judgment, I hit the "follow" button without thinking too deeply about how I am never really gonna try that bowl.
posted by little mouth at 12:31 PM on June 29, 2015 [49 favorites]


I actually like uncooked oats.

Me too, but they have consequences for my GI tract. In b4 "that's cuz you have a poor diet, every type of fiber is equally awesome for everybody"
posted by en forme de poire at 12:35 PM on June 29, 2015


little mouth - they are not eating what they are making. Not in the quantities pictured.
So many of these people are capitalizing on their orthorexia. Such as:


“Freelee pioneered the Raw Till 4 regime, whereby she eats nothing but uncooked fruit until 4pm — sometimes dozens of bananas a day — allowing herself some grains, a little fat from nuts and seeds and a huge plate of steamed green or starchy vegetables in the evening”. Freelee credits this regime, we were solemnly informed, “with curing her eating disorder”.


umm...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:50 PM on June 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've never managed to crack that code, but there's a whole WORLD of people who have, and a bunch of them have IG accounts with beautiful wooden tables and hand-thrown pottery bowls and the Secret Goji Berries of Thinness. And when I see a lady with visible collarbones smiling at me and telling me that her Dragonfruit Avocado Bowl with Chia Coconut Sprinkles could help me be thin?

I understand this. I mean, I don't follow wellness bloggers but there are still some vegan food bloggers who have a very similar feel but don't pitch the woo. (I am pretty sure there are some vegan wellness blogs out there but I don't want to know.) I see women who are slender and pretty and eating delicious healthy things and I feel very very frumpy immediately.
posted by Kitteh at 12:53 PM on June 29, 2015


Dragonfruit Avocado Bowl

For all of its "Hey, look at me! I'm a vibrantly-coloured fruit! I'm gonna be tasty!" hype, dragonfruit is pretty goddamn disappointing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:56 PM on June 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


It's FOR DRAGONS.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2015 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I know these bloggers aren't necessarily presenting an accurate representation of what their own diets look like. I really do know that. But those IG accounts give me the same feeling I used to get from Seventeen magazine when I was 13: it's an uncomfortable aspiration. I wish I could just give up on the goal of thinness, I'd probably be a lot happier, but I can't. These IG accounts and that sexist 80s teen magainze both fill me with an awareness that I REALLY COULD EAT BETTER and the image of someone SO THIN AND HAPPY next to the bowl of low-calorie whatever-it-is makes me think for a second that following that IG account and flooding my neurons with that type of imagery are somehow tantamount to actually eating better/less. It's illogical and stupid, I know. But it works on me DESPITE that awareness, and so no wonder some of these people are making bank.
posted by little mouth at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


I would really love a blog by a reasonable-looking person who seems healthy and writes things like "nah you don't have to go the gym, just walk around your neighborhood and do some chores to burn calories" and "go ahead and eat that sausage biscuit it's not that big a deal" and "I drank a bottle of wine last night while watching Netflix and it was great, but today I'm drinking extra water and taking it easy."

The faux-self-deprecation of so many of these wellness bloggers/Instagrammers is super unrelatable and makes me uncomfortable and guilty, like little mouth says. One yoga blogger wrote that sometimes her ego wants a cheeseburger, but that's when she makes a lettuce wrap instead because it's just as good. I mean...give me a break. Just eat the damn burger. I'm not buying that your "guilty pleasure" is GRAPES. Talk to me about Cheetos and maybe restore some credibility.
posted by witchen at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2015 [21 favorites]


I am worried about someone whose guilty pleasure is grapes, unless they have a specific grape-excluding medical condition. I can totally buy that someone feels guilty when they have grapes because Grapes-Fruit-Sugar-Bad and I think that's fucked up. I mean, I've read people's blogs where they report feeling bad about carrots, because Carrots-Sugar-Bad.
posted by Frowner at 1:11 PM on June 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


I wish as many people knew about orthorexia and its dangers as they do about anorexia and bulimia. So many times people just go from one eating disorder to another, or even combine them. I definitely had an orthorexia phase when trying to recover from anorexia.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:34 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


What about blogs like Oh She Glows? I love her recipes and make them when I'm going to a work party or having a special dinner. Normally I just eat bowls of beans and rice with canned salsa and soy sauce but some of their fancy recipes bridge the gap between vegan- health conscious omnivore- foodie- in a valuable way that is still appealing to folks with less intentional/more traditional diets.

I wonder if people complained about the Moosewood Cookbook back in the 70s. One generation's pretentious health blog is the next generation's feel good staples. The under-spiced fake 'Indian' recipes in the Moosewood Cookbook take me immediately back to cooking with my mom.

Also, I remember my mom serving spinach quiche at thanksgiving in the early 90s and being laughed at- what is this an omelet in a pie crust?!?!?! Where is the MEAT?!?! Of course now the thought of a cheddar spinach quiche is practically quaint.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:45 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


In my experience Oh She Glows doesn't try to make very many medical claims other than, "I ate this and then ran a lot and it worked for me." Also, her pictures tend to be of heaping portions, while also generally being foods that you could realistically eat in heaping portions and still be thin.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:50 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder if people complained about the Moosewood Cookbook back in the 70s.

Yes, but it really was different. Folks mostly thought vegetarians were misguided. The idea that people might feel superior over their diet was mostly used to poke at the upper-crust, at least in my experience. I saw some snarking over the idea that vegetarians & their ilk thought of themselves as superior, but I mostly saw it in libertarian/conservative circles. YMMV.
posted by lodurr at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2015


“Freelee pioneered the Raw Till 4 regime, whereby she eats nothing but uncooked fruit until 4pm — sometimes dozens of bananas a day — allowing herself some grains, a little fat from nuts and seeds and a huge plate of steamed green or starchy vegetables in the evening”. Freelee credits this regime, we were solemnly informed, “with curing her eating disorder”.

If you go to Freelee's blog, a click-baiting picture of her scantily clad in the top right corner is captioned "READ MY STORY". If you click on the link, it goes to a youtube video. Not necessarily a nutritional failure, but evidence of something rotten all the same.
posted by dis_integration at 1:59 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I like Oh She Glows and she definitely does not make woo health claims. She always states that what worked for her is not universal in terms what works for you. And she does always have very large portions. (I borrowed her cookbook. So much yummy stuff as well as some stuff that is totally not my bag.)
posted by Kitteh at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Six quid for a veggie juice is crazy money.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I bet I can bench more than like a third of these chicks.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:02 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What's that, like, 33 lbs? Big deal.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:07 PM on June 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


The part of the entire wellness trend these days that I find most interesting is that for many, it's not just about "wellness" per se -- it's about a narrative that explains big and complicated things in the world, and actually gives you a verbal and emotional template for relating to other people about it. It's religion, basically.

I think this is largely a demographic of younger, wealthy Westerners, likely the children of people who considered themselves "progressive" 50 or 60 years ago, who simultaneously a.) have a disquieting sense of how complicated and fucked-up and difficult the world is, and b.) consider overtly reactionary institutions like church or corporation or government as being instruments of that confusion and hence reject it, but c.) live a very nice material-centric life and don't really want to change that, and so d.) need some new sort of overarching structure that defines both our world and how to live but does not derive its power from traditional sources of authority.

And so you have these sort of half-baked ideas that are simultaneously anti-science but have only the language of (pseudo-)science by which to express themselves, that simultaneously celebrate both practices that are deeply spiritual but also ones that are incredibly pro-consumerist, that speak of charity and helping others and yet are somehow at core unbelievably self-aggrandizing and self-serving. And clearly that is coherent enough for many people that this mash of ideas holds together as a subculture, at least for now.

Basically what I'm saying, I guess, is that this is the movement of self-satisfied grown-up children of self-satisfied boomer "progressives." And as with their forebears, the thing that deep down I really dislike about it all is that it's tilting at the same institutional windmills that allow this lifestyle to continue. You don't get Apple Watches without economic systems that also produce Monsanto.

(Disclosure: I work at a company that is part of the larger "wellness space.")
posted by DLWM at 3:40 PM on June 29, 2015 [23 favorites]


Well, he'll never be cool and he's focused on bodybuilders but in my opinion the best "wellness" blogger is Scooby
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:50 PM on June 29, 2015


Well, it all looks a lot tastier than my mother's circa 1970 charred unsalted non-fat eggwhites-only unpeeled potato latkes with whole-apple applesauce that I mentioned the other day. And the cis-gendered folks pushing it all are more conventionally tasty than Adele Davis, too. Can you imagine eating all that whole-grain high-carb gluten-and-bean health food, today?

When it comes to orthorexia, I'll stick to kashrut. Perhaps Sephardic Grilled Newlywed's Squabs stuffed with herbs, spiced lamb, pomegranate syrup, raisins, dried apricots, almonds and saffron rice, made by a rotund, gold-bedecked grand-mere. Mmmmm.
posted by Dreidl at 4:00 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]




I think this is largely a demographic of younger, wealthy Westerners, likely the children of people who considered themselves "progressive" 50 or 60 years ago, who[...]

You're overthinking it. It's just the same old L.A. yuppies plus the internet.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:17 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


This recipe linked from the article looks like pure despair in a bowl.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:50 AM on June 29

Wow, you're not kidding. It looks like dryer lint. Wool-socks-and-grey-track-pants dryer lint. The white bits are where that shopping list got to.
She probably thinks it works well as mild roughage.
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:19 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


When it comes to orthorexia, I'll stick to kashrut. Perhaps Sephardic Grilled Newlywed's Squabs stuffed with herbs, spiced lamb, pomegranate syrup, raisins, dried apricots, almonds and saffron rice, made by a rotund, gold-bedecked grand-mere.

I have never wanted to be Jewish so badly in my life.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:29 PM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


My mum has always been a back-to-basics eater, beginning in the hippy-crunchy early seventies; all forms of sugar were banned from our house, she ground her own wheat and made inedible, dense, brick-like bread. She was also giving her kids six vitamin supplements every day (leading to the memorable time I was sent home from school with niacin rash which they thought was measles).

Now, she's in her mid-seventies and has lived off steamed vegetables, microwaved lean meat (rubbery and brown, no sauce or seasoning) and grains for the past 50 years, as well as many, many supplements and capsules and anything that advertises itself as "natural" - she recently shared on my Facebook wall an ad for "Cambridge Beauty Chocolate".

Mum is, undeniably, very healthy for her age. She claims that her doctor tells her she's as healthy as a fifty-year-old. In fact she constantly proclaims it in private and on Facebook; health is her main topic of conversation with everyone and her health advice is her currency. I think that for her and probably others, this is an attempt to validate herself. She's not intellectual, she has little formal education, she doesn't know how to apply critical thinking, and the lives lived by her kids and grandkids are incomprehensible to her, so her advice to them is usually irrelevant. Health is a space in which she feels she can be the expert, where she can feel she has the upper hand and prove it through lived experience rather than education or intellect. It's just a shame that anything she emulates which is actually useful is so mixed up with all the half-truths, the mistrust of conventional medicine and Big Pharma, the spending of money she doesn't have on whatever is the latest "natural" supplement or treatment, that she has almost zero credibility.
posted by andraste at 4:30 PM on June 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


dragonfruit is pretty goddamn disappointing.

If you eat fresh dragon fruit in a tropical climate, it is delicious and refreshing and pretty much perfect.

The recipes don't seem so bad to me, but to woo and judgment drive me crazy. It's selling food as a means of control and unhealthy body image with a "natural" gloss, and it's gross. Because really the only way to be naturally thin is to be genetically, naturally thin, and juicing yourself to a size 0 when your body wants to be bigger is just a recipe for misery.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:43 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


You pretty much have to be IN a hammock for dragonfruit to taste good.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:03 PM on June 29, 2015


Also, her pictures tend to be of heaping portions, while also generally being foods that you could realistically eat in heaping portions and still be thin

Mmmm...some of her more keto styled recipes are actually pretty damn calorific if you eat enough of them to be filling, magical satiety powers of fat be damned. I'll agree there are some very tasty and workable recipes on that blog though. They definitely worked for me, but only if I stuck pretty strictly to the whole low-carb thing.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:24 PM on June 29, 2015


This recipe linked from the article looks like pure despair in a bowl.

No kidding. I was the child of 1970s hippies and had to eat plenty of despair (healthy, healthy despair) but nothing this bad. I hated the totally homemade lunches I was sent to school with (so embarrassing!) but today I would kill for some of that food, honestly. The good parts were really good, though the despair moments were pretty bad.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:25 PM on June 29, 2015


Mm. Yes. This is the former me, and I empathize with what little mouth said: I followed these blogs, these gurus, for years, trying to "crack the code". Even now I can hear that little voice saying, "You know, maybe if you went raw foodie you'd be thin...." Ha ha ha ha. No.

In the last year I've backpedaled from clean eating (paleo/vegan/vegetarian/macrobiotic) so fast I damn near gave myself whiplash. I realized at some point it was a kind of eating disorder, and I'm just sick of food and the preparation of food and the fussiness of food dominating my life. I still like cooking. I just don't want to stress over it.

It's my 40th birthday today. I've come to peace with the knowledge that I'll never be one of these ultra-skinny women who thinks broccoli toast is JUST THE BEST!!!!1! I'm celebrating with a steak and caprese salad and red wine, as well as a bit of bread rubbed down with garlic and olive oil and salt. That chia bowl thing is not on the menu.
posted by offalark at 6:47 PM on June 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


Food faddism is way older than 70s hippies. Food is magic, don't you know. Since the design of most animals is a tube, there is an inescapable feeling that because what you put in one end doesn't look the same at the other end, something mysterious must be happening.

Not that ordinary biology isn't mysterious enough.
posted by Peach at 6:56 PM on June 29, 2015


I'm not buying that your "guilty pleasure" is GRAPES. Talk to me about Cheetos and maybe restore some credibility.

I went through a phase like these blogs and I remember the constant refrain that bananas were a sometimes food. A sometimes food. For a fruit not secretly grown on the Cheetos tree, just because it's like 87% more delicious than other lesser, less sugary fruits. Dark times.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:55 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Make-ahead fruit and yogurt parfait? How long does it take to throw some fruit in some yogurt? If you're so on-the-go that you have to do that ahead, ask about cutting back your hours or something. Jeez.

Some of us are not Morning People. Really, really not morning people, like lifting a spoon seems like an unreasonable expectation.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:49 PM on June 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


When it comes to orthorexia, I'll stick to kashrut. Perhaps Sephardic Grilled Newlywed's Squabs stuffed with herbs, spiced lamb, pomegranate syrup, raisins, dried apricots, almonds and saffron rice, made by a rotund, gold-bedecked grand-mere.

I have never wanted to be Jewish so badly in my life.

posted by infinitywaltz

I'm all ready Jewish, but I want to be Sephardic when it comes to cuisine.
(p.s. - the recipe is El Hamam del Aroussa, The Book of Jewish Food, Roden, pps 355-356)
posted by Dreidl at 11:58 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Last night, in the middle of the above thread, someone re-posted an ad hoc recipe for oatmeal. Instead of boiling it in the morning, leave it--and frozen fruit--in the fridge overnight and, voila! A refreshingly cool summertime morning cereal. Well, I ate this science experiment this morning, and it was disgusting. The texture. Oh, horror, the texture!
posted by kozad at 8:01 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


When it comes to orthorexia, I'll stick to kashrut. Perhaps Sephardic Grilled Newlywed's Squabs stuffed with herbs, spiced lamb, pomegranate syrup, raisins, dried apricots, almonds and saffron rice, made by a rotund, gold-bedecked grand-mere.

I have never wanted to be Jewish so badly in my life.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:29 PM on June 29
[3 favorites −] Favorite added! [Flagged]

I hate the 'new' 'Flag' thingie! I meant 'Fantastic Comment' Damn thing rolled on me...

Seriously, the only type of 'Food Correctness' I have time for is whether my religion permits it or not, followed by, affordability and of course assuming availability.
I have to watch out for bovine and caprine dairy. Neither are great for me.
After that, I worry about sugar, salt and taste. I actually lost weight when I quit worrying about fats.
If it didn't come from a pig, I go ahead.
One thing drives me nuts and that is trying to find baked goods which do not have L- cystine.
L - cystine comes from hair.
So all this wellness woo is a waste of my time.
I look at the raw recipes. I've tried some in Summer. Some are ok. Just don't like the huge side of anti-science.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:32 AM on June 30, 2015




kozad: Oh, horror, the texture!

Try it with yogurt next time, instead of water.

(About 2:1 yogurt:bulgur or yogurt:kashi works. Bulgur will get soft in yogurt in about 3-4 hours. Kashi takes at least 8 hours to get fully soft; it's a little mushy and mealy, so not ideal. I haven't tried cut oats but I would expect that to work, too -- though I'd give that at least 8 hours.)
posted by lodurr at 12:51 PM on June 30, 2015


I have never wanted to be Jewish so badly in my life.

For cuisine-related purposes, be sure to check the Sephardic or Mizrahi boxes. As an Ashkenazi Jew, I can only imagine the sheer terror our food would probably inspire in a wellness blogger. Carbs! Fat- and cholesterol-laden meat! Schmaltz poured over everything!
posted by thomas j wise at 3:48 PM on June 30, 2015


I'm all ready Jewish, but I want to be Sephardic when it comes to cuisine.
(p.s. - the recipe is El Hamam del Aroussa, The Book of Jewish Food, Roden, pps 355-356)


A friend has made a number of recipes from Jerusalem: A Cookbook and they have all been heavenly. I've been meaning to pick up a copy myself. I'll have to check out The Book of Jewish Food as well.

Every so often I try to remind myself to focus more on the Mediterranean diet, which actually has some research to back up its wellness claims. I'll have to try to get back to that.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:32 PM on June 30, 2015


On another note - I made the chia pudding referenced upthread.

I used a half coconut milk, half almond milk recipe with maple syrup and vanilla.

The texture is nice - like tapioca but the seeds retain a very, very tiny crunch. The taste of the puddingy part is good too, but if you like dairy, I could see making this with half and half or even with full fat milk.

The chia seeds have a characteristic aftertaste - they don't do much in the pudding itself, but you know you've eaten them. I don't really like it. I'm going to try making a blended chocolate version from another recipe to see if I can use them up.

Basically, they don't taste like despair and the slopes of hell or anything, but I would rather have tapioca.

Also, mine is not grey - it's creamy with dark seeds.
posted by Frowner at 6:45 AM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hadn't thought about the chia aftertaste, but now that you mention it, yes, it does. I'd describe it as a little musty, maybe. I don't find it unpleasant, but I can absolutely see how people would and I think I would find it disconcerting in some contexts. (It reminds me a little of the aftertaste when I brew coffee with rooibos. [Also, since I mentioned it, coffee brewed with rooibos is very much an acquired taste, do not try it if you are expecting it to be something wonderful.])
posted by lodurr at 7:41 AM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


coffee brewed with rooibos is very much an acquired taste

OK, now I'm super curious - is this something that scratches a particular palatal itch for you, or are there other reasons you brew them together? Also, do you use plain rooibos or flavored?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:51 PM on July 3, 2015


Plain.

It was curiosity, mostly, but I also do it somewhat medicinally. (I tend to over-do it sometimes, physically, and I have this notion -- one I find comforting -- that maxing a broad spectrum of anti-oxidants can help me recover.)

The curiosity stemmed from reading that South African baristas sometimes pull shots of straight Rooibos. It was said that they were called "red shots." I haven't actually tried that (the aeropress won't hold in the water long enough to do a proper 'shot' with rooibos), but I thought, 'why not try it by adding a bunch to coffee?'

Also, i have this belief that most of the things we regard as enlightened tastes aren't really qualitatively any more enlightened than any others, so there was an aspect of experiment to it. I can honestly say I don't like it any less than I liked coffee for the first two or three years I drank it regularly.

As for what it tastes like...well, if you make rooibos really strong you might have noted some piney elements. If you make it really really strong, you couldn't fail to.
posted by lodurr at 7:15 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


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