You might think the title of this piece is slightly, well no very, hypocritical coming from me. I make a (sort of) living from writing about food and health. But honestly the world of wellness does your head in! I am obviously more immersed in it than most and so am perhaps more sensitive to all the nutribollocks that I hear both in the press and on social media or just going about my daily business. I’m sure you have friends, or friends of friends, who’ve done some crazy treatment and had ‘amazing’ results and because we are only human this wellness stuff preys on our insecurities and can be really tempting. So just in case you are, here are some of the things that have had me rolling my eyes recently:
The Gallstones Detox Protocol
This is essentially a folk remedy that involves swallowing a load of oil (in excess of half a cup), lemon juice and Epsom salts. You then wait and hey presto loads of ‘gallstones’ appear in the toilet bowl. Except they aren’t gallstones, if you were passing a ton of gallstones you’d most likely be in such unimaginable pain you’d be in A&E! They are actually saponified balls of the oil you’ve just gulped down. If you want to drink a load of oil go right ahead but it ain’t gonna do nothing for gallstones.
Its basic premise is that organ dysfunction is accompanied by a specific muscle weakness, which enables diseases to be diagnosed through muscle-testing procedures. It is often used for allergy testing whereby a sample of the allergen is placed next to a limb or part of the body to see if the muscle becomes weakened - so you put say, a bit of bread next to your arm and woah! suddenly your arm feels heavy, diagnosis - wheat allergy. I’m no Derren Brown but I think there’s a whole lot of trickery going on here and very little science. If you’re into a bit of quackery go ahead and spend your money but honestly I’d rather go to a qualified dietician to diagnose any allergies.
When people tell me about their lastest ‘juice fast’ or ‘detox’ I generally bite my lip, it’s not really any of my business if they haven’t asked for my opinion and I’d end up in loads of arguments. But, why do so many people part with their hard-earned cash for the ‘luxury’ of drinking juice for a few days? I mean if you really want to do that go and buy a few cartons of Tropicana and knock yourself out. OK I am being facetious but it’s not far off the mark. There is nothing ‘detoxing’ or ‘re-setting’ about drinking juice, in fact nutritionally it’s completely unbalanced to limit your intake to only juice. If you want to do the absolute best thing for your body set aside a few days to make really nutritious meals, don’t snack on crap, don’t drink alcohol, focus on getting some decent kip and do a couple of sessions of exercise. You’re welcome.
The Return of Slimfast (argh)
For full disclosure I did Slimfast way back when – actually before I got married to get into a very unforgiving bias-cut silk wedding dress! Yes, I lost a few pounds, I’m not saying it can’t be a short-term solution, but honestly I don’t think I can ever face a chocolate (or coffee or banana) milkshake again. It’s not sustainable, it’s not going to help you sort out your relationship with food (in fact it may well make it worse) and it’s totally miserable. What’s worse is that now there is a whole new generation of copycat versions which claim to be much more ‘scientifically advanced’. But who wants to replace a meal FFS? I love my meals, they’re the only times I get to see my kids!!. Joylessly slurping from a tetra pack is not my idea of fun and no example to set for my daughter.
Now this was the most alarming thing I’ve come across recently. You can now be injected daily with a substance called Saxenda that apparently works by making food stay in your gut longer so you don’t feel as hungry (hey I know another thing, it’s called fibre). However, given that 30% of users feel nauseous when they take it I’m guessing this also contributes to the lack of appetite! I mean come on, actually making yourself feel sick so you don’t eat, and it costs $US1000 a month for the privilege! I don’t even know where to start with this. Come on guys, let’s not do this to ourselves. Being slim is nice, I’m not gonna lie, I prefer being thinner to when I was fatter, but this?? Let's hope it will be outlawed or at least limited to people who are morbidly obese and for whom losing weight is a matter of life or death, because that S**T’s messed up!
What a crazy, crazy world we live in hey? Now I know there will be people who swear by their liver flushes or their colonic rinses, indeed as there is no basis in science for these practices they thrive on anecdotal evidence, BUT we all have the ability to google! If you are thinking of doing any kind of alternative therapy do some research, don’t just rely on hearsay. Nutritional cod science is at an all time high so I would just like to say very clearly, BUYER BEWARE.
PS. If you have anything you have heard about and you suspect it to be nutribollocks email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do another post in the future.