every meal would be like saying grace

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this week, i saw a nutritionist. i was wary and i was right to be.

i paid £150 to be told, firstly, that i was eating all the right things and that my diet was very healthy. i don’t disagree with this per se but i was 100% honest in my food diary and it didn’t amount to more than a couple of hundred calories a day. nothing was said about this. that seems irresponsible to me.

secondly, instead of practical suggestions of how to eat more, i was left with a two page document filled with a mix of trendy wellness crazes and bad science. it told me to eat more turmeric (“why not try a delicious turmeric latte?”), have a shot of apple cider vinegar before eating and stick to ‘alkalinising’ foods. when someone has an eating disorder which, by its very nature, results in all sorts of arbitrary rules, i feel like the aim should be to try and encourage a more relaxed and healthy relationship with food rather than introducing yet more restrictions.

the second half of the ‘lifestyle’ plan was a list of different (and very expensive) supplements that i should take with a referral link to buy them and which, i presume, will result in a hefty commission payment to her.

a lot of what she said, i fundamentally disagree with being, as may be obvious from the title quotation, a true believer in the doctrine of michael pollan. (another, longer, quotation that i feel is relevant here is from in defence of food: an eater’s manifesto – if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. why? because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat). i know that i don’t eat enough and i want (i think) to eat more but i don’t want to get there by artificial shakes (which she tried to sell me on), faddy trends and stuff that isn’t actually food. i like food. i love food. i like the colours and flavours and textures. that’s what i desperately want to be able to eat. i have bigger problems than not having enough turmeric in my life (plus, i cook with turmeric all the time so i’m probably okay on that front. it’s just, you know, everything else).

i’m supposed to follow the ‘plan’ for the next 6 weeks and see if i feel better (how? i feel absolutely fine now). i’m not going to. i’ve forwarded her advice to my therapist, who i’m seeing on tuesday, and will discuss it with him then. fundamentally, i think her suggestions are wrong, not just for me but for anyone with an eating disorder. i think it’s actually quite dangerous. she is chasing me to make a follow up appointment. i won’t be. given that i was referred to this nutritionist by my psychiatrist, i’ve also got serious concerns around whether i need to get rid of her and find myself someone who can actually help. another thing to discuss with my therapist on tuesday (i get the sense he might agree with me; i don’t think there is much love lost between them…). i don’t know what the fall out will be of telling the nutritionist that i’m not going to see her again – i will take my therapist’s advice as to whether i am honest about the reasons why – and/or telling my psychiatrist that i’m not going to see either of them again but i’ll deal with it. more than anything, i need the right people around me now.

{title quotation from the omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals by michael pollan}

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