By Lisa Van Leer
From Jen Selter to Kayla Itsines, fitgirls are the new celebs. But is it really that healthy to ban entire food groups and gym six times a week? Lisa van Leer introduces you to the new eating disorder orthorexia.
Music credits: Gesaffelstein – Viol
One consumes crispy white toast covered in butter and drenched with beans. Add some greasy sausages and bacon and a cup of tea with milk. No soy, almond, or any other cashew milk bullshit. Just regular milk. Containing dairy. (All health freaks may gasp at this point.) For centuries, this meal served as a typical English breakfast.
Until the seventies, when butter was replaced with margarine, because that would make you less fat. The government warned about the dangers of fats, with campaigns launched by the British Heart Foundation. Suddenly it became trendy to be skinny and light products were healthier. Being overweight was passé. The following decennia food trends quickly alternated each other and low-fat diets have been dominating our society ever since. US health guru Dr. Robert Atkins, who recently reclaimed his fame thanks to Khloe Kardashian’s successful weight loss with the Atkins diet, even told the world to stop eating bread forever.
Nowadays eating has developed into something way more complicated than it used to be. Both youngsters and adults allow social media to influence their daily diet and turn their lives into a gluten-free hell. Especially social media platform Instagram is ruled by so called ‘fitgirls’: beautiful young women who post photos of themselves exercising and eating. According to Italian fitness coach Simone d’Alonzo, fitgirls give ad- vice, share workout routines, and most importantly, they promote the fact they do not count calories but live by ‘clean eating’.
“They only consume fresh and unprocessed foods,” Simone says. (On Instagram, there are 27.000.000 hash- tags of #eatclean, which displays a variety of images of spinach smoothies, kale salads, photoshopped-looking abs, tanned women and broccoli.) “Fit girls, don’t eat pastas and avoid any other foods that are made up of carbohydrates. They put sugar high on their black list, because it causes Alzheimer, heart disease and diabetes.” But that makes eating rather complicated, as sugar is in almost everything: even in tomatoes for example.
According to the American doctor Steven Bratman, you are very likely to develop an eating disorder if you are constantly fixating on living a healthy lifestyle. During the late seventies Steven worked as a chef in a vegetar- ian community in New York. His meals consisted out of grains, beans, veg- etables, seeds, nuts and fruit. However there was a restric- tion on those foods: all of them had to be processed near his home. He said goodbye to sugar, coffee, dairy and alcohol.