As a naturopathic doctor, I believe that food can be a form of medicine. In fact, I have previously focused on personalized diets and how certain nutrients can impact mental, emotional, and physical health. I also have discussed how genetic variations in individuals can impact metabolism of certain foods and that taking this into account can assist with optimizing hormonal balance and overall wellness.
That being said, I continue to be very concerned about how diet culture messages are taking over health care, nutrition, the fitness industry, and society. There is a current trend in medicine to promote “healthy eating” (a.k.a eliminating whole categories of food groups) and weight loss as a main treatment for chronic diseases. Although diet and exercise do have a strong impact on health outcomes, they are not the sole, or most important factor to address in many cases. Furthermore, weight is not an accurate measure of wellness.
Yet, the message that is being portrayed is that if someone has an illness, it is their fault for not eating right, exercising enough, or losing more weight. This is simply not true. Disease is multi-factorial and has a variety of factors and complexities to it.
Even more disconcerting is the underlying message of shaming people with larger bodies and the promotion of the idea that a healthy body composition can make one more worthy and more acceptable to society. In fact, there is an outright alignment with diet culture messages in medicine right now.
According to NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association), some diet culture messages include:
- Conflating the association between body size and health and pathologizing larger body types
- The importance of following food rules about what, when, how, and how much to eat
- That body size determines if someone is more or less good, moral, or worthy
- Advocating for “thin privilege,” which perpetuates thinness as a factor for attaining jobs, comfort, benefits, and accommodations
- Viewing movement primarily as punishment or as a means to prevent weight gain, rather than beneficial for its effects on mental and physical health
- Believing fat people are less valuable, healthy, and risky
This has very dangerous consequences, especially during such a traumatic and tumultuous time. At any time, especially now with stress at an all-time high and a psychiatric crisis evident, do we really need highly respected experts to be food and body shaming?
In my latest post, I review the problems with medicine aligning with diet culture and the negative impact it has on everyone, even thin people. I also plead for a call to action. I state:
My hope is that healthcare will continue to advocate for “healthy” lifestyle practices that focus more on nurturing ourselves with foods, movement, and social practices that vitalize our minds and bodies, ignite passion, and increase relational connections within our communities. I envision a world where we strive to talk to our patients, not just about their aches and pains, but also what is hurting their souls and disrupting their lives. We need to help each other in deeper ways than providing the best tasting recipes that follow the latest dietary fad. It is time to move into a deeper discussion. I may not have the answers, but we all need to be asking the questions.
Read my full article to learn more about the dangers of diet culture and begin your path to making peace with food, your body, and dismantling the harmful messages.
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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.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
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.
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