Chef Says The Notion Of “Clean Eating” Is An Eating Disorder In Disguise

December 14, 2015  |  

While speaking at the London JW3 Speaker Series, British journalist and notable chef Nigella Lawson shared her thoughts about the “clean eating” craze and how it negatively affects people. According to her, “People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder or a great sense of unhappiness and unease with their own body.” Lawson’s thoughts on this subject are not new; previously, she spoke out against the diet trend during an interview with the BBC, stating that “eating clean” implies that any other type of meals or eating habits are dirty and shameful.

According to E! Online, during the speech she added, “There is a way in which food is used either to self-congratulate—you’re a better person because you’re eating like that—or to self-persecute, because you’ll not allow yourself to eat the foods you want.” Lawson, who was promoting her latest cookbook, Simply Nigella, told listeners that when one compliments a person on their weight loss, they perpetuate the mindset that being a smaller person makes you a better person. “I generally think it is not food if it is through that being thinner is always better. What happens, as a result, is that somehow you are seen as a better person. If you are naturally thin, that is fantastic, but if you have to starve yourself to be thin, it is not good to encourage people to be in that shape because it is not good for you.”

Lawson’s unyielding opinions on how to approach those who’ve lost weight or are struggling with self-image is linked to her mother’s struggle with eating disorders. A week prior to the JW3 Speaker Series, Lawson told the hosts of The Late Late Show that she realized her mother had an eating disorder before she died at the age of 48. “I kind of put two and two together. I knew she had a thing about thinness, but I worked it out later. When she was dying she allowed herself to eat. To wait until you’ve got a terminal disease to enjoy eating is an awful thing.” Now, in an attempt to prevent women from following in her mother’s footsteps, she suggests balancing eating habits. “There are times when you need a slice of cake,” she said, “You don’t eat it every day, but life has to be balanced and not too restricted.”

As someone who has lost over 30 pounds and has maintained her weight loss, I can relate that it is hard to find a balance between eating healthy meals and  not bingeing on my favorite junk foods. Although I try not to deny myself of slices of cake, pizza or drinking large amounts of alcohol, I find it is easy to lose focus on your overall health if you constantly indulge in treats. Although I don’t have an eating disorder, I understand how some women go to the extreme in order to stay on track with their weight and overall dress size. The problem is Lawson doesn’t acknowledge that being a conscious eater and having an unhealthy relationship with food are not one in the same.

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