I want to talk a little about disordered eating, food fears, and trusting people on the internet too much.
Last post I mentioned that I have relaxed a lot with my food in the last 6 or 7 months. Prior to that, I tried doing the GAPS diet. And then RRARF diet. And then I just gave up on caring. I quit reading nutrition blogs and turned a blind eye. And I feel a lot better for it.
I realized something – the health industry, and health bloggers, are in many cases just making people worse off by making everyone crazy in the head when it comes to diet and nutrition – both by disagreeing with one another, and just getting WAAAAY too into the little nitty gritty minutaie of nutrition that, frankly, I feel serves no purpose except to make people insane (and gives bloggers something to write about).
Everyone wants to improve their health, but instead everyone’s just getting stressed and paranoid about their food. And news flash – stress is bad and leads to mega health problems! Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?!
No one on the internet can agree about anything. Every food is villianized by someone out there. If you want to hear me go on a funny rant about this, read this article.
So the more research you do on how to eat and live, the more fearful you get. You can’t even enjoy food anymore because you don’t know who to believe. That guy says this food is good, but that guy says this food is bad. I THINK it’s good, but what if it’s bad? What if guy #2 was right and now I’m going to get cancer, diabetes, and contract herpes all on the same day just because I ate this food?
Everyone is Just Winging It
I’ll let you in on a little secret:
That doesn’t just apply to nutrition and blogging (it applies to all facets of life), but we’ll stay on this line of thought. Lots of people think they know what they’re doing and can swear up, down and sideways that their way to eat or live is THE BEST and because they “know” the truth.
That way of eating and living probably worked for them, and so they’ve collected information into their brain that supports their beliefs and filtered out any and all information that doesn’t support it. And then they become convinced that what was good for them will work for EVERYONE ELSE IN EXISTENCE!!! And they become a diet warrior, on a rampage for everyone to think and live exactly like them. Well, that might not exactly be their goal, but they spread their information like it’s the God given truth.
They might have good intentions, but they don’t really know the truth. They’re just winging it. Because there is no truth, especially when it comes to nutrition!! It’s all a biiiiggg fat illusion.
I mean I don’t want to talk myself out of a job here, but I’m just winging it. Everyone else is just winging it.
Don’t look at people on the internet like they’re gods, even if they appear to know what they’re talking about. Everyone thinks they know what they’re talking about. I think I know what I’m talking about – but it doesn’t really mean I really truly do. It doesn’t mean I know how to cure every single person of their acne. I try to give suggestions based on my best knowledge and what I think is right or that might work (and I hope you know that I’m always being as honest as possible), but take everything I say with a grain of salt, because the thing is that if you are trying to write a blog and give recommendations, you have to make sweeping generalizations that are NEVER going to be true for everyone.
I don’t personally know you, I haven’t run any tests on you (wouldn’t know how), In reality, I actually know very little about what is going on in your body even if you write me a long comment or email trying to tell me about it! I will sincerely try to help you with my best guesses, but it actually makes me really nervous trying to tell people what to do when it comes to their health (probably as a combination of my empathetic nature and my perfectionism). I never want to do anyone wrong or make things worse for you, but I am human, I am flawed – I am going to miss things, I don’t know everything, and I’m not psychic.
I get uncomfortable if you think I am so much smarter than you are and know all the answers. I totally don’t. I’m EXACTLY LIKE YOU! So is every other blogger on the internet! We are just people, trying to find answers and solutions just like you are, who get our information from somewhere, 90% of it second hand, and even personal experience is not totally reliable! And I’ll tell you why…
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! Everyone’s body and lifestyle and stress levels and imbalances and food sensitivities are different. What works for me might not work for you!
That’s why nutritional correctness is an illusion. I’ve stopped believing that any whole food is inherently bad. Or that any macronutrient is inherently bad. Every whole food does seem to have some apparent drawback, but we gotta eat something (and humans have been eating all sorts of things since the dawn of time!), so why focus only on the bad?
We Need More Love, and Less Hate!
Why do people have to have to bicker about this? WHY?? Nutrition blogging has turned into this cesspool of hate and threats. Instead of focusing on the one thing that all health focused bloggers agree on (eat real, whole foods, and avoid processed, refined foods), it’s just turned into mud slinging and name calling.
I am NOT singling out vegans here (because I know the members of low carb and other food camps can also sling some serious mud – and also that there’s plenty of polite vegans out there!) – this is just an example, but I’ve noticed that everyone who comments on my blog posts is generally very kind, thoughtful, and polite. Except the ONE video I made about veganism and acne where I say that in the case of people who go vegan and develop acne afterwards, they could be breaking out because of an increase in gluten and soy (and I also happen to mention that I believe naturally raised animal products can be healthy and nutrient dense)… wow. I’ve been called stupid, retarded, misinformed, and numerous other names for even implying their beloved diet might not work for the whole of humanity. WTF?
People treat their diets like their religion. It’s ridiculous. And then the innocent person looking to improve their health begins to really fear that if they don’t follow that person’s diet religion, that they will spend their lifetime in health problem hell.
That’s a real fear, and fear’s favourite “food” is anxiety and insecurity. It laps it up. Acne makes us feel bad – really bad – and we only want one thing – get rid of it as fast as possible. So what do you do when, for example, this person says you must eat raw vegan, and that person says you must eat low carb paleo? Two so very different diets, two groups of people who are convinced to the death that their diet is better than the other. You either get paralyzed with confusion and do nothing, or go on a rampage cutting out everything.
Don’t you see? Don’t you see how there is no truth and we are all just worrying about things we shouldn’t be worried about?
It’s likely if you have read far and wide on the internet about nutrition that you’ll probably lean towards some kind of “diet philosophy”. You might decide that you think meat is good, carbs are bad, dairy is bad, gluten is bad, green smoothies good, beans good, seaweed good. And then every time you eat the foods on your “bad list”, you worry about it. It causes you stress. When you eat only from your “good list”, you feel happy and proud of yourself.
But how does it make sense if that other “health” guy is totally convinced that all the foods on your good list are actually on the bad list, and all the foods on your bad list, are actually on the good list? And when he eats the things on your good list, he stresses about it?
How come neither one of them are that much healthier than the other?
Kind of contradictory no?
IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION! Your diet philosophy and food fears are all made up in your head.
Well, most of the time anyway. And here’s where I get to my point…
The Point of the Article
I am believing more and more that diet restrictions beyond just eating a well rounded whole foods diet most of the time are a lot more harmful than helpful in most cases. They often lead to social withdrawal, paranoia, and can also tank your metabolism if you aren’t eating enough food or heavily restricting macronutrients (either fat, carbs, or protein). A poor metabolism can lead to feeling all sorts of bad.
I even believe now that sweeping generalizations I’ve made in the past about the “badness” of things like dairy and gluten aren’t necessarily true…
I say that instead of focusing on cutting things out, focus on ADDING THINGS IN (the more food you eat, the more nutrients you get to heal your skin), and making your food more real. If you want to eat dairy, drink it raw. If you want to eat meat, get it grass fed. If you want to eat fish, eat it wild. If you want to eat gluten, buy or make sourdough or sprouted whole grain bread. Focus on eating real food, not cutting out real food for no other reason than because the internet scared you into it.
TRY to do this, but don’t hate yourself if you aren’t perfect. Don’t sweat it if you aren’t able to do it 100%. And don’t worry about eating processed foods with friends and family and as treats. It’s good for you to spend time laughing and smiling and sharing food with people you love – as long as you actually ENJOY it when you eat this food, and aren’t secretly afraid of it.
REMEMBER! Food is only ONE piece of the acne solving puzzle. And arguably not even the most important.
However, I’m not saying that there are not whole unprocessed foods that can cause you to get acne.
But which whole foods (if any) aren’t good for your body is simply going to be different for everyone – one man’s meat is another man’s poison, as they say.
So instead of making yourself crazy and fearful over food and cutting things out because that guy on the internet said so, if you can I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIIIIGHLY suggest going to see a naturopath or natural therapist and getting tested for food sensitivities. Seriously. Or if you can’t do that, just cut out likely culprits (starting with dairy, then gluten, then soy, as these are the three most common allergenic foods) one at a time so you can see for yourself if that food affects your skin. No rampages!
You can also try intuitive eating which is all about listening to your body and giving it exactly what it asks for. Because your body knows better than the internet what it needs.
Please remember that the next time you get a zit and your immediate response is that you want to cut out a food, or control your diet even further, that you are just using diet as a scapegoat for your anxiety. You want to get rid of the unpleasant feelings acne produces, and the one thing you feel you can do to feel powerful again is to control your food. But it just. doesn’t. work.
You can’t fix your anxiety with food as much as you can try! And reading blog after blog about health and nutrition isn’t going to make you have any less anxiety. It’s only going to cause more. Don’t let acne become your hobby – be very aware when you are compulsively devouring health information. It’s all anxiety based.
Believe me – I know, because I’ve been there. Or don’t believe me. Whatever. You’re just as smart as I am, so I know you will figure it all out in the end!
Watch Me Talk About All This in Video