Kale, Carrots and the Chronically ill
“There has been no shortage of health deities over the years, from the Aztec god of medicine Ixtlilton to the Afro-American Babalu Aye, spirit of illness and disease. There are at least sixteen in Celtic mythology alone; the Greeks and Romans had more than twenty between them. You would be hard pressed to find a topic that matters more to humans – who are we without our health?” – New Philosopher
The health deities have been pushed aside and replaced with a new slew of wellness “experts” sprouting their pseudo-science; self love mantras and detox diets. Kale, carrots and meditation are being popularised as cancer-curing miracles and “organic food helped heal my affliction” has become a popular narrative in more recent times.
I’m woo-woo by nature. I would pee in my eye-ball if it really cured conjunctivitis (yep, true story). And if I ever have a baby I would eat it’s placenta – yep, I’m that girl.
I’m obsessed with being healthier, happier and less hedonistic. Meditation, yoga and spirituality are my lifeblood - my soul medicine. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade studying, learning and devoting myself to my spiritual practice. In short, I am the target market.
But now I’m annoyed and I feel let down by my people.
Mega-blogger, entrepreneur and creator of The Whole Pantry app Belle Gibson has been accused of faking cancer to popularise her “wellness empire” and then stealing/defrauding money from a variety of charities. If the allegations are true, Belle might just be Satan.
“Organic food helped heal my affliction” is one thing but “Organic food healed my cancer, now buy my fucking app is another.” A health coaching certificate (that you get over the internet) isn’t the same as a medical degree. And you’re simply not qualified to give vulnerable and chronically ill people medical advice over your blog, newsletter and Facebook page.
Whilst you might be well-meaning, passionate and on a mission to serve…your brand of service and selling of false-hope might actually be doing your audience a greater disservice.
The sad passing of controversial cancer thriver and Gerson Therapy advocate, Jess Ainscough has left many people questioning whether or not she’d still be alive if she continued with the route of conventional treatment? Who really knows and does it actually matter? Jess was completely dedicated to living the best, brightest and fullest life possible. She left behind a powerful legacy as she inspired millions (including me) with her passion for clean living and an organic plant based diet filled with raw juices and coffee enemas.
Inspiring yes, but did she give false-hope and inspiration to the chronically ill?
And did they then shun conventional treatment in favour of alternative therapies?
And therein lies the problem; Wellness Bloggers and Health Coaches such as Jess and Belle aren’t medically trained doctors. Encouraging people to live better is a beautiful thing, and they’re just doing the best they can with what they know. But they’re not really ‘experts’ at anything, and this leads to the greater question of ethics, accountability and greater regulation within the health and wellness sphere.
Can we combine the best from conventional medicine and alternative therapies to create more supportive and holistic treatments? I strongly believe in the body’s ability to heal itself and that given the right sustenance i.e. clean water, good nutrition, ample rest and movement it will thrive.
...But what the fuck would I know - I’m basically a human guinea pig with access to Dr Google.
Yes friends, we’re all riding a slippery slope of misinformation, propaganda and conflicting opinions.
May common-sense and green juice prevail.
Image from - www.penguin.com.au/lantern/authors/belle-gibson