If you are struggling with an eating disorder, I implore you to please stop reading now. Hey look, kittens!
The Food Babe released her own book recently. I’m sure a lot of the book is spent bragging about her social media campaigns and telling you how to get hair as pretty as hers.
But there’s a darker side to this. The book tells you that it’s twenty-one days to revolutionize your life, lose weight, and feel years younger.
Funny, most people don’t describe their eating disorder with such glowing reviews.
Oh, you thought this was just a lifestyle book? Not exactly. Vani Hari’s tips for a “healthier” life are dangerously close to the tips and discussions you will find on a pro-anorexia page. Since I regularly tell you that you shouldn’t believe anything without proof, let’s do a few things here. We’ll debunk a few of her claims and we’ll have a look at how her continual perpetuation of fear of food is eerily similar to what you’ll find on a pro-anorexia website.
“These new food inventions are ruining your health: Sugar, flour.”
First, sugar- the refined white crystals- are 1,400 years old. Nice try. Second, flour? We’ve had different types of flours for thousands of years. Refining it does not make it any more or any less dangerous unless you have celiac disease. Stop perpetuating this myth.
In a discussion labeled “Flour or sugar, which do you fear most,” comments include:
“I’m so terrified of both…. Is one worse than the other?”
“Flour (…) I cant remember the last time I had it”
“I fear *unnecessarily added* ingredients But I’d say I DEFINITELY fear sugar more.”
” Fast Every Single Day – Fast for at least 12 hours from the time you eat your last meal until the time you “break” the “fast” with breakfast. Adopting this habit can be so rewarding, restorative to your health, and put you on the path to ultimate youth and beauty! It takes at least 8 hours for your body to completely digest its meals from the day. If you add in another 4 hours to that time without introducing more food to digest, the body actually goes into detoxification mode and has more time to remove dead and dying cells from the body. During this “idle” time, the body also stimulates the development and regeneration of new cells. Aging occurs when more cells die than are being produced. Allowing your body sufficient time every single day to digest, eliminate dying cells and develop new cells is a habit that will get you closer to drinking straight out of the fountain of youth!”
Repeat after me:
Detox is not a thing. Detox is not a thing. Detox is not a thing.
What if you’re hungry? What if you’re an endurance athlete and you just goddamn need calories? What if you’re on medications that need to be taken with food? Your lifestyle does not fit for all people and they should be taking advice from a doctor, not you.
“Dinner must be eaten by 7:00 pm. After dinner, no food is to be consumed until 7:00 am at the earliest. This is basically the same as a 12-hour fast, meaning if you live by this rule for an entire year, you will have equivalently fasted for 6 months.”
Drink Warm Lemon Water and Cayenne Pepper – Maintaining this habit first thing every morning on an empty stomach provides a super stimulant to the liver, your main detoxing organ in the body. Your liver will release uric acid and create bile to safely eliminate environmental and lifestyle toxins that would otherwise be trapped in your digestive system longer. Remember keeping your liver and digestive system clean and in optimal condition will help your body prevent diseases like cancer in the future. Combining cayenne with lemon increases the detoxing effect and raises the temperature of your body increasing your metabolism.
Huh, increase metabolism. First, it doesn’t. Good luck with that. Second, sounds like this is one of her many little tricks to try to stay thin at all costs. Imbibe something other than food to keep you warm and full. She’s not the only one with that idea…
“Keep sipping on that lemon-water, tea, or diet pepsi while you work! Keeps the tummy sated so it won’t growl at ya.”
Go as far as telling the server you (sic) allergic to butter and dairy, soy and corn. Butter really isn’t bad for you if it is organic and you use it in moderation – but restaurants can go crazy with it adding several hundred extra calories you can live without.
As someone with celiac disease, I take a lot of offense to people who lie about food allergies to cut a few calories. Just tell them you’re a vapid pain in the neck with little knowledge of science who couldn’t make a salad at home. Skip the lying.
“I can’t eat a single meal that’s 300 calories or more or I will have a serious anxiety attack…. But I’d really like to take my boyfriend out for something nice. Do you know of any restaurants that have a meal for under 300 calories? Google has come up with nothing. It seems like all the “weight loss” choices are 500 calories or more! Even the salads! Ugh.”
I wonder if they’ve considered lying to the server about allergies.
“Drink water like it is going out of style – I probably drink 80-100 ounces a day”
The number one tip to live a pro ana lifestyle to drink plenty of water (cold water helps burn calories but warm water fills you up more) throughout the day. It will keep you full, burn calories, and help clear your complexion!
Find excuses for not eating at a party because food is toxic.
Find excuses for not eating at a party because food makes you fat.
Other quotables from Vani Hari include:
“Could you imagine all your friends having confidence about their own appearance – there would be less jealously, cattiness, and low self esteem. “
“When you eat crappy chemicals, your body becomes a fat, toxic waste dump.”
I don’t know about you, but when I have confidence in myself, I don’t pick on my friends’ diets or call them fat toxic waste dumps.
Your body doesn’t know whether these habits are because you’re trying to “avoid toxins” or because you’re suffering from the deadliest psychiatric disorder known to man. All your body knows is that you’re treating it poorly. Whatever sparked Ms. Hari to start picking up habits akin to an eating disorder (and whether or not she actually has one is not the call of a million internet armchair psychiatrists), please remember, she is not the person from whom you should be taking diet advice. She is not a registered dietician, she is not a doctor, and her advice has been shown time and again to not be medically sound. If you are looking to lose weight healthfully, there are a lot of resources on the internet who are backed by science and medicine. James Fell, Go Kaleo, and Disrupt Your Diet are all excellent science based resources in health and fitness.
(And they’re all babes too.)
Vani Hari is good at a handful of things; social media campaigns and having fabulous hair. Don’t disregard her because of those, but please, don’t listen to her because of it either. A healthy dose of skepticism may help you avoid picking up some truly unhealthy habits.