Recently, I concluded an article series on healthism. As a naturopathic doctor who honors biochemical individuality and practices personalized medicine, including dietary recommendation, I felt I needed to speak up. I have a deep concern over the current trend in integrative medicine that is focusing way too much on food and exercise and way too little on everything else to achieve wellness.
I believe our “wellness community” is in great danger of creating a new wave of psychological damage by unknowingly promoting orthorexia practices. It seems to be normalizing and praising behaviors that prioritize maintaining restrictive dietary practices at the expense of other previously important priorities. These messages are unnecessarily degrading those who cannot afford the latest and expensive “biohacks.” Furthermore, these memes are literally “scaring the health” out of those who are more privileged. I have witnessed many new clients literally in fear of repercussions that will ensue if they waiver from their previous militant-like diet.
This is no way to live.
I believe that this striving for “perfect” health through limiting diets and excessive exercise practices could not only be contributing to more sickness and anxiety but also is ignoring the bigger issues related to our healthcare crisis. For example, I presented data that socioeconomic disparities and lack of social connections could be greater risks for physical and mental illness than any other lifestyle factor.
The goal of this series was to provide readers with another viewpoint amid all the marketing of diets and the body shaming tactics that have become too accepted and common in society and in medicine. Rather than jumping onto the diet-weight loss trap, I wanted people to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all “miracle” diet. Truly holistic healing and wellness is about personalization of food and equally includes all aspects of nourishment: relationship, mental, emotional, financial, and cultural health.
Within this context, this week’s blog does discuss how food can be medicine to support optimal brain and mental health. One does not, however, need to be fixated on a perfect dietary regime to receive the benefits of adding in a nutrient or food that will support cognitive functioning.
Click here to read my latest article where I discuss several holistic and natural treatments that can support one’s emotions.
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This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.