In an article on Ravishly, writer Joni Edelman writes about how ‘getting healthy’ turned into the disordered eating patterns that messed her life up.

I figure at some point capitalists realized that since diets are a load of nonsense, set up to make people fail repeatedly, that they’d better devise a new plan to bring the forlorn fatties to Oprah Jesus. So someone, somewhere, in a glass building towering above a city of diet failures, a guy, probably a white guy, decided that “healthy is the new skinny!”

And I, the quintessential failer of diets, bought right in.

By the time I adopted “healthy is the new skinny” as my personal mantra and literal bumper sticker, I was already a couple of pants sizes sunk into my latest “diet” — Weight Watchers, again, because “It Works!” It had already “worked” for me two other times.

To the failed dieter, the diet is never to blame — lack of dedication, stamina, willpower, sense, all possible personal reasons for failure, but never the diet. Every time I gained the lost weight back was another opportunity for me to blame myself for another thing, to add another layer of worthlessness onto an ego with no worth, to begin with.

What a revealing tale about the hypocrisy in society and in people that force some of us into some fucked up ideas about ‘health’ and their journey through life.

EXERCISEI might piss off one or two people (you know, I don’t really give a shit) but when I encounter some rabid vegans telling me about my ‘health’ I get the same kind of reaction.

They’re starting to feel like robots or clones. They spout the same shit, and none of them are ‘better people’ for their veganism. I don’t know about other communities, but they are EVERYWHERE in the RGB/Pan African/Rastafari/Nation of Islam/etc. etc. etc. I mean EVERYWHERE, and they sure do look down on you if you don’t buy their alkaline detox kits and their sacred gateway programmes, because you’re ‘gripped’ by ‘white corporatocracy and religion.

They sell you this without a trace of irony mind you, especially when some of them totally SKIP West Africa where the bulk of their ancestors came from in favour of Egyptian, Ethiopian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim, some kinda hybrid Hebrew religious thought as an anathema to their supposed disenchantment with Judeo-Christian brainwashing.

When I tell you, NO IRONY whatsoever.

Let me be clear I am not down crying the practise of veganism. If this is the road you want to travel, then do so. I’ve been a rabid vegan myself, and I had to come to the realisation it wasn’t for me, but far be it for me to tell anyone what’s right for them.

What I am taking issue with as always, is the exchange of one type of dogmatic life approach with another just as ‘unhealthy’ and divisive.

Look, miss me, oui? Miss meh!

This passage in Edelman’s piece:

If a little health is good, a lot of health is great. And if a lot of health also just happens to be a lot of weight loss, well so be it! I mean, I’m just getting “healthy!” See how “healthy” I am with my running 13 miles at a time and eating dry chicken breast and blueberries. I’m the picture of health.

I’m a billboard, a magazine spread, a success story. I am dewy with sweat, the envy of the women at the gym who drag themselves to the elliptical three times a week to “get healthy” while they watch daytime television and curse the donut they ate that morning, or the donut they didn’t eat but wish they had. In my tiny shorts and sports bra, I’m the center of attention in a weight room full of men, looking so dedicated, so committed, so “healthy.”

I’m a success everywhere, except at my house, where I’ve stashed laxatives in the bathroom behind the toilet paper, in my underwear drawer, in the game closet behind the Connect Four.

This struck me deeply because for me, I make that same equation, not just with vegans, but many of these gurus in the ‘healthy lifestyle’ movement. They prepare an outwardly ‘healthy’ appearance, while hiding a depth of sanctimonious, bobolee assness, dissociative bullshit, and their own unhealthy attitudes to food and life.

Here is a newsflash Beloveds: NOBODY HAS IT FIGURED OUT. NO ONE.


Since I’m addressing a specific practise ‘veganism’ used as a whipping rod, among other torture devices in the attempt for ‘perfection’, let me speak to and from my own experience.

Veganism for me wasn’t about health at all. I was the MOST unhealthy I have EVER been while being a vegan. For me it was a self-righteous stance I took with other people about food. I had a very unhealthy relationship to all the ‘pure’ food I was eating and it surely didn’t make me a better person.

: steupse :

Early in my experiences in the Orisha traditions–15 years ago now–one of my ancestors manifested in front of me during a service I was attending. I was told I had to begin to eat meat again. I protested, as this was way into four year period of no meat or milk, and she said, well choose… you’ll get sick if you don’t and suffer. Your bones and blood need it.

I did not take this well. However, as my experiences grew, my understanding of African religious life and it’s rituals, shape form, and the relationship between ebbo (animal sacrifice) and human life also grew. I had to radically question myself about the stances I had taken.

Years later, after enough life and spiritual experience, I realise health is a state of mind that has more to do with balance in what you’re doing.

In the years since I started to eat meat again, I’ve lost all of my ‘fat girl’ status. People think I’m nuts when I say I miss being a fat girl, but I really do. I’ve not mastered balance in my eating yet, but I am neither the biggest meat eater nor am I choosing to navigate or prop up Whole Foods or anybody’s bullshit stories about food either.

After long enough working around and in the ATRs, which is more real to me than any Eurocentric programming about food and ‘health’, I simply have shifted my perspectives greatly. Who do you think I trust more? The advice of Ifa and the Ancestors, or allyuh trying to sell me on nutritional yeast, and plants as sole source of everything.

Even arguments of ‘life-prolonging’ benefits as part of the propaganda I find just ludicrous, because these vegans are dying of the same diseases as everybody else and not living longer or looking better than my pork-mout 97-year old grandmother.

Besides, I have a zealously protective nature of trees and plants you know? I am an official tree hugger. I talk to plants, birdies, squirrels, bees, battimamzelles, babies, puppies, kittens, lizards and flowers. I think plants are sentient and in communication with each other and us, and we are as symbiont with them as we are with those bitch ass chickens, and do everything we do but get up and walk.

No matter what the attempts at logic are, it all ends up being something I can’t buy.

I’m often offended when vegan folks practising any kind of Orisha, or African traditional religion try to make me feel bad about eating meat. The Notepers and El Bey Bey’s do all kinds of bendy pseudo-philosophical mental calisthenics trying to convince me that eating meat is ‘un-African’. Using the same psychological tropes that the capitalists use to maintain the ‘healthy living’ industry and it’s army of salespeople. Really?

It’s convinced me that for some vegans it’s actually some form of an eating disorder. One they’re often trying to get me to subscribe to, and I do not. If it works for you do it. Just don’t bully me with it and definitely do not tell me eating chicken, fish, goat and meat is ‘un-African’. You’re just advertising your deep ignorance of Africa and your pre-paid programmed thinking about it as a continent and indeed, your programming by the machine.

Skipper, get thee to transportation and take thyself to West Africa and sell that there. Tell me how it works out for you. Your first client for your missionary fervour needs to be the fattest, darkest Yeye you can find, and see if she buys your logic.

I don’t want to be so ‘healthy’ anymore, that I’m hangry and fucked up with people just so I can hold onto some idea of superiority while I plunk down $9USD for cashew butter.

Fuck ‘health’ and ‘righteousness’ and ‘holiness’.

I’m chasing balance. Haul ya puss.

image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp @mightymooseart

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The Vault


mermaid, dayo's mama, water priestess, chaNjuzu, writer, web developer, omo yemoja, dos aguas, obsessive reader, sci-fi fan, trini-bajan, combermerian, second life, music, music, music!