Nigella Lawson: ‘People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder’

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I’m a fan of Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows. Not the competition-shows, just the “cooking in her home” shows. I like the way she cooks, and the unapologetic way she enjoys good food. She uses real butter, real chocolate, real sugar and more. This is by design: part of Nigella’s brand is that she enjoys all kinds of food, even the naughty stuff that we’re not supposed to openly enjoy. I’m not saying she’s the English Paula Deen or anything, but Nigella is friends with butter, oil and sugar and there’s room for that in today’s food-centric marketplace. Well, as it turns out, Nigella has many thoughts on the so-called “clean eating” trends, as well as the various trendy diets.

Nigella Lawson is no stranger to speaking out against the health craze—yes, against—previously telling the BBC that she thinks “the notion of ‘clean eating’ is an implication that any other form of eating is dirty or shameful.” And now, she’s back at it and slamming the continuous trendy diet term that is currently making the rounds.

While speaking at the JW3 Speaker Series in London earlier this week, Lawson exclaimed, “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. 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.”

The Simply Nigella author continued the conversation at the speaker series by explaining that she believes complimenting a person on their weight loss only feeds the mentality of thinking that skinnier is better.

“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,” she said. “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 has experienced an eating disorder in her personal life, not with herself, but with her mother. The chef shared the story while appearing on The Late Late Show last week, saying she “later on” realized her mom had an eating disorder after her death 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,” she said. “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.”

So what’s Nigella’s advice? Everything in moderation. “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.”

[From E! News]

I don’t want to start a dieting flame war, but I pretty much agree with Nigella. I think the big diet trends these days are more about putting a fancy label on an eating disorder, or just another way that some people can feel smug and superior for eating “better” than someone else. I’m not talking about those people who really are trying to be healthier and eat more salads and greens. I’m talking about the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world, the people who wield their strict, nonsensical diets like weapons against fat peasants. I’m talking about the people who act as self-appointed diet/nutrition/health experts who basically make their careers out of shaming women. There are a lot of people – remember this “vegan blogger”? – who take it way too far.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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152 Responses to “Nigella Lawson: ‘People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder’”

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  1. Yoohoo says:

    I couldn’t agree more. GP is exactly who I thought of. So smug and thinks she’s so much better than everyone else because she eats organic, never peed on, hand clipped by the queen grass.

    • Sochan says:

      But yet her skin and hair look terrible. She never looks glowing with health and vitality to me. She looks sun-cooked and straw-haired all the time.

      • bellenola says:

        This.

      • Katija says:

        A lot of the “raw macrobiotic” types have horrible skin. Check out Freelee Banana Girl on YouTube. Thin as a rail, skin like a snakeskin wallet.

        Enjoy your sprouts ladies – I’d rather be slender but with an extra ten pounds of oomf in the chest and bum and natural fat in my face. Who needs botox when you have the occasional creme brulee and wine? :-D

        Nigella has the complexion of a 19-year-old. Whatever she’s doing is what I want to do. I think it’s been all but proven that fats, eaten healthfully and in moderation, do wonders to keep your skin and hair looking glow-y and gorgeous. Everything from salmon/avocado to even butter and thick cream. It makes sense – topically we use oils to make our skin and hair look supple, so why wouldn’t it do the same from the inside? Brown rice and raw fruit alone is NOT the answer to beauty.

      • annaloo. says:

        I admit that I eat fast food a few times a month now. Mainly bc I think it’s just fun and delicious. I like quarter pounder combos from Wendys. I just do.

        The thing is, I think the preservatives in it have prevented me from getting wrinkles. I have absolutely no scientific proof for this, but I always noticed my skin showed lines more when I was going through freelancer phases when I could financially afford to go organic on everything and eat at the level I felt was healthiest and premium. But organic food decays so fast and goes first in the fridge– it’s delicious and healthy, but it just ages so quick! I couldn’t help but think, why wouldn’t that also apply to me? It just seemed when I would go back to Wendy’s a couple times a week, my skin just got better. So I vanity-eat it a few times a month bc I don’t want heart disease or obesity, but I want the preservatives! I know I’m nuts, but I’m 44 and I have no wrinkles. My brother who is younger than me and lives in sunscreen, eats organic and clean has the wrinkles aand consistently is mistaken for my older brother. Anyway. There’s no proof, and ultimately too much fast food is really bad, but I can’t help but feel that a monthly dose of fat or preservatives doesn’t hurt my skin. Anyhow, that’s my weirdness that I’m admitting since we’re putting it out there.

        I also do not shy away from the butter either, I think eating that oil and fat are marvelous for skin and hair too… just not in excess. Ok, I’ll show myself out…

      • Davy says:

        Amino acids from animals contribute to good skin. Eat connective tissue & collagen (animals) to build your own connective tissue & collagen. Raw is tough for the digestive system and should certainly be cycled. Not surprising that some raw vegans look like leather wallets lol.

      • LAK says:

        a balanced diet is what is good for your skin. not this idea that some foods are ”good’ and others are ‘bad.’ That’s just society and the diet industry – not only the slimming industry, indoctrinating bad science into you.

        For the record, the longest lived, healthiest people on this planet survive on a diet of mostly vegetables. That said, they eat such a wide variety to meet the needs that would have been met by eating meat. The problem with diets of any sort is that people end up eating an unbalanced diet and not enough calories or too many calories.

        Most vegans i’ve met in the west tend to look bad because they don’t take the trouble to re-balance their diet with what they’ve taken out as a result of becoming vegans. Primarily because the core diet in the west seems to be a small variation of meat and two veg and a sweet. liberally enhanced with junk. Other cultures don’t eat as much meat, some are even entirely vegetarian or vegan and look amazing. And if you study what they eat, you find that they eat widely and don’t eat junk despite the best efforts of McD to open an outlet in every country.

      • FLORC says:

        Checked out freelee… 1st.. I can’t stand cyclists with gopros. Just can’t.
        And there’s a lot I don’t like about the info given.

        With everyone saying there needs to be balance. Healthy balance with a lifestyle of healthy eating. Not “clean” eating and not with “cheat days”, but simple, smart choices.
        Listen to your body. It’s rare, but if I get off work during rush hour and i’m hungry. I know that 30 minute communte will become 2 hours and I get 2 large McD friends with a quarter pounder. I’m far from unhealthy, but because of those no guilt meals I don’t look forward to the days when I can have pizza or cram in all the processed junk possible because it’s the only day a week I can.

        Just be smart and healthy without following someone elses plan.

      • Jwoolman says:

        I think GP experiments with her diet precisely because she isn’t in good health. It’s not her diet that is the problem, she just tries to adjust the diet as the one thing she can control in trying to feel better. I’ve seen descriptions of how she eats at various times, and although it’s not mainstream it is not deficient in anything actually needed. It’s not causing her health problems.

    • vauvert says:

      This is the reason I detest GP. She gives everyone who eats organic or recommends it to conventional, pesticide grown food, a bad name. I adore Nigella and she is absolutely correct.

      Just to see how insidious the “food that tastes good is bad for you” train of thought is: Kaiser agrees with Nigella but calls sugar, butter, chocolate “naughty stuff we are not supposed to enjoy”. Why is it naughty? Because eating a lot of it makes you overweight? How about our sedentary lifestyles, which is not what we were originally built for? What about the unhealthy additives you can find in everything not home cooked? This is obviously too big and complex a topic to be fully discussed here, but too many people feel guilty about eating and too many of those who abstain from “the naughty stuff” feel like they are somehow morally superior for their kale and quinoa, gluten free, dairy free diets.

      • LAK says:

        YES!!!!! Vis a vis your last paragraph.

        It’s amazing how much we’ve labelled food as poison and the enemy. Aside actual poisonous food, or food that one is allergic to, there is absolutely nothing bad about food.

      • Paleokifaru says:

        And I find people run wild with this off limit foods ideas in bizarre ways to join in the superiority and shaming. My SIL clearly wanted to lose weight so two years ago claimed she was allergy tested and essentially allergic to any ingredient found in processed food plus a host of whole foods that coincidentally she didn’t like. Worse, she claimed her three children might also be. This was all speculative at best and she has never tried to test anything back into her diet and only recently has added back into two of her boys’ diets probably because they are underweight and now sick a lot.
        I also see it with SS’s overweight mom who won’t give up calories or junk so makes a lot of noise about chemicals. She had SS so freaked that we had to spend all of one year reading actual scientific articles about milk and pointing out what was actually on labels. She would only shop at Sprouts but loaded up on snack foods there.
        I think so many people are jumping on the food shame wagon in whatever way they can instead of just trying to keep balance in diet and exercise.

      • Katija says:

        Mass produced candies and chips are on my “naughty” list, although I do admit to indulging very, very, very sparingly. (Fun size bags of Cheetos and full fat root beer are my “airplane or train” indulgence. :-D ) Freshly made desserts and decadent entrees, served in reasonable portions alongside big hearty salads, are NOT naughty. If they are naughty and automatically make you fat, then you have a lot to explain to a ton of skinny European women…

      • FLORC says:

        Those fun size bags are terrible! Why wrap them all up. It’s more work!

        Vauvert
        Fully agree.

    • lucy2 says:

      GP is who I instantly thought of too. It seems like an obsession to her, and definitely not healthy.

  2. ldub says:

    I mean, she’s right in some aspects about food being 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.

    i wish we as a culture (me included) would learn that you don’t have to “diet”. it needs to be a lifestyle change. healthier eating all around and exercise the caloric intake for weight balance.

    also, total off topic, but her eyes doe. that last pic…..she like, if you’re dieting… i’m WATCHING you.

    • Shambles says:

      I’m so glad you said something about her eyes. I agree with her stance here, but it looks like she needs to worry more about how ‘toxy her upper face is.

      • Kitten says:

        YES! I wanted to read the article but my impatience got the best of me and I had to scroll down to see if anyone else noticed how bizarre she looks.

        She’s a beautiful woman but too much botulism!!

  3. littlemissnaughty says:

    Yep, pretty much sums it up. I think it’s also about your priorities. If a perfectly flat stomach with visible muscle definition is your priority, you have to pay a price. Some people choose to go for it. Others, like me, look at the cake and think “It’s worth it.” Balance really is key. I work out, I eat my veggies, I’m in relatively healthy shape (there’s always room but I can’t be bothered right now), my clothes look good and I will never ever look like a VS model in a bikini. I’d have to quit my job. It’s not happening. Pass the Christmas cookie please.

    • idsmith says:

      100% agree. This is how I try to live.

    • tealily says:

      I think it’s even more than that, though. To some people, it’s not about being healthy, it’s about a feeling of righteousness. There was a great article in The Atlantic, let me look… YES! Here it is: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/05/the-puritanical-approach-to-food/392030/

    • Liv says:

      But even the Victoria Secret’s models keep a crazy diet right before the show. I feel so played because even they don’t look like that when they eat proper AND work out…

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Oh yeah, people use food to feel superior and deflect from their own unhappiness. Honestly, to me it’s just a new form of eating disorders.

      The VS models do keep a crazy diet, that’s what I meant when i said I’d have to quit my job. :-) And even then, I wouldn’t want to pay the price. I just love food and I’ve come to realize it’s not my enemy. I can’t believe it took until my late 20s though.

  4. NewWester says:

    Whenever I hear about a new diet I think of a scene from Golden Girls. The women were having a late night “cheesecake chat” and I think it was Dorthy who said” I knew a woman who had a watercress sandwich for lunch and then right after got hit by a car and died. Can you imagine your last meal was a watercress sandwich?”
    Nigella is right, everything in moderation and sometimes you just got to have that slice of cake

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Team Nigella. I know lots of people who eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, and enjoy their food without feeling guilty. But I also have so many friends who will do absolutely anything to be thin – abuse laxatives, find a quack doctor to give them thyroid pills when there’s nothing wrong with their thyroid, brag about how they found a yogurt to have for lunch that’s only fifty calories, drink only the lowest calorie light beer when they allow themselves to drink, live off of 600 calories a day for years and years…and feel superior to anyone with an ounce of fat. Now that we’re approaching 60, it’s starting to show up in all kinds of ways. They look 20 years older than they should, their bones are brittle, they just look old. But you know what? I don’t think they care, as long as they’re skinny and can squeeze that bony ass into a size 2. I love my curvy body and I love my food, and I would feel like I had missed a big part of life if I had punished myself for all those years. I’m not saying that every thin person feels this way or behaves that way, just that some people make being skinny their top priority over anything else, and that’s so weird to me.

    • Zip says:

      It is not possible to survive on 600 kcal a day for very long, even for tiny old women who sleep all day.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        It is. You’ll pay for it but it is possible. The human body can do crazy things.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        It most certainly is. I know people who have done it for years.

      • Kitten says:

        It is absolutely possible and I did it for many years.

      • Candy says:

        I did it. And I’m 5’11 in a demanding sport. It is possible. And after a while you don’t feel hungry anymore. Honestly it was the best I have ever felt. But I love food too much and am not that way anymore.

    • Esmom says:

      Oh wow, I really don’t know anyone like that. Ick. I guess I’m lucky to be surrounded by women who enjoy cooking and eating a lot. Both of my book groups involve a lot of good food and wine, it makes getting together that much more fun. Diets aren’t ever part of the conversation. Even in college when money was tight we tended to spend what little we had on food and cook together.

      “I love my food, and I would feel like I had missed a big part of life if I had punished myself for all those years.” I totally agree. Life is too short!

    • Snazzy says:

      Most of my family is like that. It makes me mental. My aunt even put me on a grapefruit diet once, saying I was too fat (She and my mom also offered my lipo for my birthday, just saying ….) Those people have it so ingrained that even if you try to reason with them about healthy eating and living vs going to extremes, they don’t hear it or understand it. It’s really sad. Imagine having GP or one of these other food nuts as a parent – you could grow up with some serious food issues for sure!

      • Esmom says:

        Ha, your grapefruit diet reminded me of something my mom used to make called “fat burning soup.” It was basically bean soup with veggies and cabbage. I guess she’d use it to “detox” but I always wondered why she thought it actually burned fat. It was a little crazy.

    • Kitten says:

      Just a friendly reminder that it’s not always about vanity, although I can see why people focus on the superficial aspect of an eating disorder–it’s easier to understand if we frame it as “she values her appearance over enjoying life”.

      EDs are complex disorders caused by a myriad of factors. And yes, extremely restrictive diets and compulsive over-exercising are a version of disordered eating.

      Lastly, and at the risk of lecturing, I think we need to show compassion and not criticism towards those that suffer from it.

      I’m just noticing all the judge-y/negative comments towards those that might have eating issues. Seems overly harsh IMO.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Thanks for posting this. I also think it’s worth noting that not all people with disordered eating are thin. People with bulimia generally aren’t – I certainly wasn’t – and men with disordered eating often don’t match up with any of the stereotypes about it since their issues aren’t discussed much. It’s definitely not all about appearance.

      • Paleokifaru says:

        I think a lot of the negativity is because many of us have relatives with dicey relationships to food who are focusing on the appearance aspect and trying to force feed it to us and our children. It’s really frustrating to try to raise children with a healthy relationship to food and a good self image if family values are skewed and held up as healthy because it makes you drop weight or is backed up with headline only pseudo science. As a physical anthropologist I find a lot of the pseudo science diets particularly infuriating.

      • Kitten says:

        @Lunchcoma – +1,000,000

        @Paleokifaru- I get what you’re but my issues are my issues–they belong to me. That applies to celebrities as well. Neither myself nor some celebrity or even your relatives are responsible for instilling healthy eating patterns in your kids. A better approach would be to explain to your children (which you may already do) that restrictive or specialty diets do not always equal healthy.

        I’m just disturbed by how some women seem borderline gleeful with their observations of other women’s self-imposed food deprivation like “well maybe she’s thin but she’s miserable! But not me! I ENJOY life because I eat dessert”…like it’s a contest?

        Those kinds of comments show a very transparent and one-dimensional view of a complex problem. It’s callous and off-putting to perpetuate this notion that people who have EDs are driven solely by a desire to look hot. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, most ED-suffers cannot be thin enough and truly hate what they see when they look in the mirror. Even disordered eating that may be initially driven by vanity is almost always sustained by other, more complicated emotional factors.

        As I’m sure you can tell, it’s a personal issue for me so perhaps I’m being overly-sensitive but I feel obligated to point this out.

      • Paleokifaru says:

        Kitten I understand what you’re saying and I hope my other comments indicate that I find BOTH sides of that coin problematic because it’s all on the judgment bandwagon. We do talk to our child about healthy eating and balance and when it was really bad with family food issues that were making him stressed and restrictive at 10 years old we had him cook dinner with me. Yes, you can help as a parent but when every family event brings a host of members with food issues and they constantly talk about being thin, it does influence their thoughts. And on the other side of his family he has all obese relatives who make snide comments about and to us for being slim. Several times SS’s mother has made judgmental comments to me in front of him about how I stay thin. So I can only imagine what they say in private. I don’t find either relationship to food and body image and shaming healthy.

      • Kitten says:

        @Paleokifaru- Gosh, 10 years old is so young …sigh.
        I didn’t mean to discount the family influence. You reminded me that my father’s comments about my weight really affected me starting at around 11 years old.

        I also hear you about the difficulty of navigating through the age of social media with a young and impressionable child at home. When you consider that there are whole online forums and communities devoted to EDs and disordered eating it must be really scary trying to figure out how to shield him from that.

        Sorry you’re dealing with that and I hope your family learns how impactful and potentially damaging it is for them to be making negative comments about your body or your son’s body. That absolutely can affect his self-perception. Hugs to you and yours.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Kitten, thank you. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the main person I had in mind when I was talking about this was my oldest friend, and here’s the awful part – it never once occurred to me until you said that that she might have an eating disorder. I feel like an idiot. For good reason. Maybe she does have an ED, and all these years I’ve been rolling my eyes and chalking it up to vanity. She has periods when she eats normally, and then she gains up to a size 6 maybe. But if she has something coming up, like one of her daughters is getting married, she’ll start dieting about a year ahead of time and eat virtually nothing for that year. So, I guess since I’ve seen her eat normally, I just never thought of an ED. I feel like such a bad friend. Thank you for mentioning this. I don’t know that it will change anything that I say to her, since we don’t really talk about it, but it will certainly change my attitude towards her and her eating habits.

        I also apologize to anyone else with an ED that I may have hurt by my choice of words. Of course vanity is not at the root of that. I know it’s about control and anxiety and I have a lot of empathy for that.

      • Paleokifaru says:

        Oh Kitten age 11?! It’s just too awful. And it’s so hard to untangle why people make the damaging comments too. Are they judging themselves with it or others or both? I find a lot of people make (I’m hoping just thoughtless) comments on appearance as chatter. Even comments perceived as nice can do great damage. For example, SS is now 12. We handled his food anxieties with conversation, cooking (so he had some control) and pushing to enroll him sports so he felt body positive. But my husband’s family consistently comments on him getting thinner and praising that while SS’s mom and her family comment on it as a negative vanity. I feel like I broken record saying we’re proud of him being active and strong and love his healthy appetite. He also gets a lot of comments as praise that he’ll be lucky to be tall like his dad. I hate that stuff! I don’t like the idea that we’re telling kids to value one. body type over the other. We have no idea what will happen when he hits puberty and I don’t want him feeling less than if he’s not tall or if he’s too thin for his mom’s family or too heavy for his dad’s. And it’s especially baffling to me because my own family has a largely healthy relationship with food. We love cooking and baking together and we love being active together. Everyone has their struggles of course but we have always supported the fluctuations and the healthy path back to what is normal and good for the individual. It’s so sad to see first hand it’s not always the case. I’m so sorry you endured those types of judgments.

      • Lisa says:

        I can’t reply to the comment directly, but I loved what you said about how disturbing it is that some people take delight in judging someone’s entire life and happiness by how they look. I used to look down on “skinny bitches” when I was in high school… and when I look back now, these girls weren’t too thin at all. Not surprisingly, a few years later, I found myself in the midst of a bad eating disorder that had been going on for awhile. I was that ~skinny bitch! Both mindsets were about feeling superior to someone else, based on how I looked or ate. It’s really a terrible way to think about yourself and others.

  6. PsychoCat says:

    I adore Nigella but what has she done to her face? Or is it the angle the photos have been taken from?

    I also agree with what she’s saying. Whenever I hear someone ordering a kale-infused paleo soy chai decaf smoothie with activated almonds, I just think “oh sweetie, you have an eating disorder”.

    • LAK says:

      What are activated almonds? O_0!!

    • Snazzy says:

      Lol at the “kale-infused paleo soy chai decaf smoothie with activated almonds”
      I don’t even understand that (thank goodness!)

      • LAK says:

        I’m assuming a kale, soya, decaffeinated tea, almonds smoothie?

        That sounds like the nine circles of hell.

        I love Kale, soya, tea (with the caffeine!!) and almonds individually and will eat them all day. To blend them together into a smoothie is to turn them into something quite unpalatable!!

    • anon33 says:

      That haircut is doing her absolutely no favors.

    • Jwoolman says:

      They aren’t allowed to just prefer how the kale-infused soy concoction tastes? Or how they feel afterward, if they have a dairy allergy…. People do have different taste preferences and dietary needs.

      Also many of these drinks and fast foods have more calories in them than some of us can handle in a single meal… Makes sense to have lower calorie options for people who have lower calorie needs in general and otherwise would be eating/drinking 1/3 to 1/2 or even 100% of their food needs for the day, pushing out other food we really need. Or just smaller portions at reasonable prices would be nice, that would solve a lot of problems at fast food joints. Young and very active people have a lot more leeway. I’m neither young nor active at the moment (due to a medical condition, so don’t tell me to head to a gym!).

    • Jenn says:

      kale infused??? yuck!

  7. Mia V. says:

    Nigella is right. People are led to believe that by controlling their diets and bodies, they are better than those who are fat or don’t diet or exercise. Eating disorders are very related to the lack of control the person feels about her life and try to obtain by controling what she eats and yeah, many people are disguising it behinds “cleanses” and “organic diets” and many people won’t even realize they are sick.

  8. Mom2two says:

    Agree with Nigella 100%. I am much more happier and healthier mentally and physically with a diet in moderation.

  9. Betsy says:

    Obviously. Orthorexia is a thing, and lots of people use their (usually prohibitively expensive) diet as a cudgel.

    So help me, the next time I hear someone blame the very poor for their obesity…. especially given what we’re learning about our gut biomes having an enormous impact on the way our bodies digest food.

    • PennyLane says:

      About three years ago I started going off on people who say mean/prejudiced things about the obese because I just couldn’t take it anymore (it helps that I am 5’7″ and 120 lbs).

      Folks always instantly back down and are semi-apologetic about making unkind and sweeping generalizations about the medical histories of people they don’t even know…which makes me wonder: if you knew it was mean and unkind and probably not even true, why did you say it in the first place???

      • Betsy says:

        People enjoy feeling superior, and hating on fat people is the last publicly acceptable -ism (certainly people still are racist and sexist, but outside Donald Trump and a couple of nasty chat rooms, people don’t share those things out loud!), since, in theory, people can do something about it. If one had nothing going on but being thin, I guess it would sooth them to mock the fat.

        I wonder if they assumed you’d join in on the fat bashing since you’re normal weight?

  10. Esmom says:

    I generally agree with her although I do think there’s a difference between disordered eating and clean eating. You can eat clean and still enjoy a full palette of foods, the only thing you’re missing is the processed and refined crap our bodies don’t need.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Yes, even though I don’t “diet” I make everything from scratch, and we never eat processed food unless we just have to (traveling, etc. ) Nothing wrong with eliminating processed foods. Except maybe potato chips. Twice a year I must have potato chips.

      • Esmom says:

        Lol. I hear you. Dipped in bottled ranch dressing. Yum.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yum!

      • Isa says:

        Oy. I tried to make the trim healthy mama version of ranch. It was awful. Bottle ranch for life.

      • Snazzy says:

        For me it’s Reese Peanut Butter Cups :) Can’t live without them

      • Jwoolman says:

        There might possibly be a weekly minimum requirement for potato chips…. I like them plain, but they need to be made in a tasty oil like corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, sesame oils. If the label says canola oil or soybean oil or cottonseed oil, I put it back on the shelf, not worth it. The oil really makes a difference when they’re not flavored. Oddly enough, the cheap house brand in my grocery store is the only one left that uses those tasty oils. Lays used to have good ones but moved over to the canola oil Darkside a couple of years ago. I looked at labels for baked potato chips and they seemed rather unappetizing. Too many odd ingredients. Potato chips should have potatoes, oil, and optionally salt. I’ve seen instructions for making them at home without frying (microwaving or baking slices with some oil and salt on them) but am never organized enough to try it.

        Other root veggie chips can be very tasty also, although they usually are made thick rather than thin in the commercial versions I’ve tried. Plantain chips are simple and tasty also.

    • Vickyb says:

      Totally true, but I don’t think she’s quite saying that. She’s saying that the term ‘clean eating’ is, in itself, the problem, not the act itself. No one’s denying that kale is good for you, if you know what I mean.

      And, as someone who used to take this to an extreme, I was definitely not healthy. I looked healthy, I ate ‘healthy food’ but my holistic health was terrible. My mental health wasn’t good. I was obsessed with food, and food restriction, constantly. It might look healthy on the plate, but it isn’t always.

    • Sed says:

      If I understand what Nigella is saying, The issue with “clean eating” is not that it’s restrictive, it has to do with the terminology, using the word clean. The implication is that any other form of eating is dirty or wrong. It might be more accurate to call a clean diet an processed or a less processed diet, but people don’t say that When people talk about eating clean, they aren’t saying that they wash their food more, they’re saying that term to claim a higher moral ground.

  11. Wren33 says:

    I was blessed with a fast metabolism until my early thirties, and then had two kids. Despite gaining very small amounts with both pregnancies, my metabolism has taken a dive, and I have gained a ton of weight since giving birth. The problem is I already eat “healthyish” and I find trying to eat better without clear guidance to be difficult. I think Atkins and Paleo are a bit silly, but I also think it is way easier to restrict calories without being obsessive about counting if certain foods are simply off the table. There have been a couple times in my life I have lost a lot of weight (gall bladder) or remained skinny during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) because I was forced to be very specific in what I ate.

    So, while I do think some of these diets can be a sort of eating disorder, I think some people just need some structure, no matter what the structure is. So far I am remaining in the enjoy life and get fat camp, but I also am starting to see some sort of diet in my future, if only to stop my weight gain at 20 pounds.

    • sherry says:

      That’s what happened to me. I weighed 103 pounds when my husband and I got married. I ate whatever I wanted and weighed that amount. However, I gained 15 pounds with each child that would not come off. I have 3, so that’s 45 pounds. Plus, I gained another 5 pounds during my 40′s.

      I’m 52 now and am getting the weight off by eating a mostly vegan diet. Sometimes I even go raw vegan for a few days. It’s for health reasons more than vanity though. A friend of my husband’s dropped dead from a heart attack at 43 and left a wife and 4 very young children without their husband and father. It was a wakeup call for me.

      I have a raw vegan friend who’s stepfather suffered a massive heart attack 10 years ago. He now eats vegan during the week and treats himself on the weekend with a really nice steak dinner and dessert. His health is great now.

      I think if you mostly eat healthy (no processed foods) 80% to 90% of the time, you can enjoy the decadent stuff 10% – 20% of the time.

  12. Shelley says:

    Agreed, but on the other hand, I am annoyed by people who think that because they don’t closely monitor what they eat they are more “authentic” or “better” than people who have controlled diets. Not everything is an eating disorder and we are often too quick to label things.

    • PrincessMe says:

      What you said, Shelley. It cuts both ways. There are people who hide their eating disorders behind “eating healthy” with their new one pea a day diet, but there are also people who think that if they shovel whatever they want into their gullets, they’re being “real”. At the end of the day, I don’t care what you eat, and I don’t care if you agree with what I eat.
      Unless you’re truly concerned about someone who’s close to you (having an eating disorder), then leave people alone to do as they please.

    • Sullivan says:

      Yeah, it goes in both directions.

      • Zwella Ingrid says:

        I have always believed that exercise, and moderation in all things is the way to go. But we can’t forget the health benefits attached to not being over weight. We don’t have to be skinny, and shouldn’t be skinny if that isn’t part of what’s natural for us. Even being a little overweight (doctor’s standards) isn’t a big deal if we are exercising regularly. For me, weight only becomes a problem when it starts to effect our health, and it certainly does. We just have to find the balance that is right for us. Enjoy some butter and chocolate, but in moderation!

  13. Spikey says:

    So, concerning her cookbook. It’s good, let me tell you. I have all her books, love and enjoy her recipes. (But I tend to skip most of the sugar in her recipes, because it’s too, too much for me.) Incedentally, as I type this her new 24-hours ham is cooking in my oven ;)
    (Don’t buy ready-made hams, Kaiser. Take one of Nigellas recipes, they never ever go wrong. And that cola braised ham in Feast?! *drops dead* No work at all!)

    But. This book is something new for her, and I think it shows in her interviews. Nigella has always been about fun in the kitchen. Now she has discovered mindfulness. And she does promote something akin to “clean eating” with her recipes. It’s less indulgent, more… activating food. I don’t know how to put it. Less sugar, yes. Still comfort food, but more… it’s what we tend to eat, when we’re in recovery. Decidedly *healthy* options. Because, as she writes “I had to eat myself strong again”. I got the impression her divorce has affected her deeply, even though she doesn’t spell it out. And it’s reflected in her cooking. I think this is one of the most personal, intimate books she has ever written and reading the recipes, I totally get it. She must have hurt very much. I hope her food therapy works for her, it’s certainly delicious. You guys, get the book.

    (*not paid by nigella*)

    • LAK says:

      I love Nigella too. Bought the new book when it was released in few days ago. To add to all her other cookbooks. Delia Smith and Nigella are my cooking gurus.

      I noticed what you said in the book. The TV show that is running with th release of the book also hints at her new life. She swopped alot of butter for coconut oil, lot of alternative flours rather then wheat, less sugar.

    • Sam says:

      See, I brushed through her new one and was slightly horrified. There’s a “deconstructed Caesar salad” thing where the final picture shows the lettuce just cut in half. But the thing is that the butt of the lettuce is still on. Gordon Ramsay was on a show a little while back and pointed out that serving a lettuce with the butt on is actually dangerous. It’s impossible to clean the leaves thoroughly that way, so chances are good there are still traces of dirt, manure, etc. on it that way. It’s not a safe way to eat it. Maybe it was just staged that way, but the recipe itself never called for removing the butt, so I’m fairly sure that was intentional. It just makes me question her on how smart she actually is when it comes to food. I prefer Ramsay, since he’s got so much actual experience in food service and tends to know proper technique.

      • Spikey says:

        *lol* I have to agree, this particular recipe is somewhat questionable.

      • LAK says:

        Sam: i’m a very, VERY lazy cook. And that’s why I love Nigella. It’s all the shortcuts, can’t be bothered to cut the butt off a lettuce, heck can’t be bothered to chop the lettuce into small pieces to make the ceasar salad way that she cooks. That’s my kind of gal. :)

      • Sam says:

        LAK: But you miss my point. It’s not “lazy” it’s dangerous. You can’t clean the leaves sufficiently if the butt remains on the lettuce. When Ramsay saw it (I believe it was on Kitchen Nightmares) he pointed out that it’s a nice, effective way to give somebody e.coli. If you’re lazy to the point of not taking proper safety precautions, you have bigger issues than what can be sorted out here.

      • LAK says:

        SAM: i was talking about me, not reinterpreting what you said. :)

        i come from the old school ‘wash-everything-and-then-some-before-you-put-it-away-when-you’ve-bought-it-and-before-you-use-it’ time of food preparation, so i understood what you meant.

    • vava says:

      I have several of Nigella’s books too, inherited from my niece after she passed away last year. I’ve never spent much time looking at them though, so I think I’ll take a peek.

      Dieting/image/EDs…………..this has become a more pronounced society issue. Social media certainly has not helped, has it?

  14. platypus says:

    Yeah… “Clean eating” is basically healthy eating made as boring as humanly possible. And then made into a competition. Of course talking about these “fitness people” who instead of cooking delicious meals out of what they’re planning to eat, place the ingredients neatly side by side on a plate, as if that makes it even healthier? And then complain about how difficult their diet is… I don’t get it.

    • LAK says:

      i thought clean eating simply meant not eating processed or junk food? how is that boring?

      • platypus says:

        I guess it can mean different things… Clean eating taken to the extreme, or orthorexia, is what I figured Nigella was talking about. Clean eating the way you’re probably talking about is more like plain old healthy eating in my mind. This is something I’ve noticed mainly in the fitness community though, where many people seem to have the idea that it’s bad to even process the food in their own kitchen.

      • Jwoolman says:

        I always interpreted “clean” eating to just mean simple eating, simple ingredients you could conceivably put together yourself in your kitchen. Clean as in a clean cut, not clean as in the opposite of dirty.

  15. Longhairdontcare says:

    I follow a very disciplined diet which is far from an eating disorder and people constantly say i have a disorder. My SIL would tease me if i ate a large salad with tuna for lunch and my ex bf called me anorexic while i was eating a meal. Does he even know what anorexia is? I agree with the people above who said clean eating isnt disordered eating. I eat when im hungry i just eat very healthy foods. And I do treat myself every week 1-3 times. But yes the rest of the time i eat “clean”. I think theres a huge spectrum of relationships people have with food & i agree with what Nigella said for the most part. I do take offense when people say my discipline is an eating disorder though.

    • Esmom says:

      Right. Disordered eating is Goop’s trainer who works out strenuously, basically starves herself and then binges on Oreos dipped in canned frosting.

      Clean eating to me is more about moderation than about any kind of extremes.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Hmm. If people who know and love you are telling you that they are concerned about your eating, you might want to hear them out. I imagine that most eating disorders start out with the person believing they are just being disciplined. I’m not saying that is your story, as I have no idea, but I wouldn’t just blow off their concerns.

      • AmyB says:

        Agreed @GNAT. When I was sick, I had people constantly tell me they were concerned. And they were right and I was a defensive bitch lol! See my post below. Eating disorders do not happen overnight; it’s a gradual process and more importantly, it is a sometimes deadly, very serious psychological disease that needs treatment!

      • Longhairdontcare says:

        They weren’t saying it out of concern though. My ex had no idea what he was talking about and my SIL was half teasing half envious of my self control i imagine. I actually did used to have disordered habits. Binge eating caused by mild depression. I totally overhauled my entire lifestyle. Thanks for your advice but im 100% positive i eat balanced meals now. No fad diets or detox teas and other instagram diets. Gosh people are gullible

      • Kitten says:

        YES. It can be a slippery slope, depending on the person–but it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing.

        @Longhair-It’s great you’re on the right track. Hope you stay on it because it sounds like you’ve made some really positive changes.

      • Jwoolman says:

        Family and friends are notorious for being uncomfortable with change, especially in what you eat. Mothers especially tend to think by rejecting their food, you are rejecting them. I was never skinny, but heaven forbid I cut back on junk food. My aunt viewed with alarm when I ate a cup of beans but didn’t blink an eye when my brother walked by with a bowl overflowing with ice cream and went back for seconds. Eating nuts and seeds rather than cookies – you must be anorexic! Imagine their distress when I accepted my true vegetarian nature and wouldn’t eat meat, and then when I was diagnosed with dairy and milk allergies…. My weight stayed the same, all I lost was the killer headaches and dizziness when a meal was delayed.

        Another problem is that people can’t imagine how tasty simple food can be once you’re not constantly eating a lot of sugar and salt. The taste buds just seem to wake up. The best way for me to eat for allergy control is actually one or two foods at a time for most meals (just eat more of them), and I’ll go back to that under stress to feel good and save a lot of time. They think I’m deprived if I eat a cup of beans by itself because they assume that plain beans must taste awful and need to be disguised with other foods. They have no idea how good those beans taste all by themselves (I’m especially partial to kidney, garbanzo, and Fordhook lima beans). I eat a lot more variety than most to avoid developing more food allergies but also because it feels and tastes good. There’s a whole world of foods out there that I never knew about while eating my family’s traditional way. I had never eaten avocado or millet or quinoa or teff or milo (sorghum grain) or the different types of wheat (spelt, kamut) or most beans and even some nuts and seeds and fruits (papaya, kiwifruit, pomelo, mango) and vegetables (plantains, parsnips, taro, even sweet potato and turnip was just a once or twice a year treat, orange and yellow bell peppers or even red peppers, the vast variety of lettuces beyond bland iceberg). My family’s diet was actually pretty limited.

        So basically – the people who know you well in your family may have very odd ideas about food in general and be very resistant to any change in your diet. Claiming the person who changes has an eating disorder is a common tactic to try to get the person back into the food fold, so to speak. It rarely has any basis in fact, the word anorexic is tossed around so much in such situations as a control strategy.

    • Katija says:

      If you’re indulging 1-3 times a week with no shame or guilt you don’t have an eating disorder. You just follow a regimen. Tell people to mind their business.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      Exactly. She goes on a defensive rant about how people who eat healthfully are the real problem in the world and yet the one doing the smack talking is actually an overweight woman with a history of morbid obesity, drug use, and slobbering sexually all over donut balls for entertainment value on British TV. I mean, different strokes for different folks and leave it at that?

  16. Merritt says:

    She’s right. I’ve seen far too many people go on highly restrictive diets, that have no benefits and are just harmful. A good meal plan has protein, healthy fats, fiber, and is vitamin rich.

  17. grabbyhands says:

    I think she offers a pretty balanced and realistic view of how we all, especially women, have been trained (consciously and unconsciously) to deal with food, without shaming anyone.

    Also, she is a flawless goddess and I would totally consider switching teams for her.

  18. Longhairdontcare says:

    Just wanted to share one of my favorite treats. Butternut squash fries. Just cut up butternut squash in the shape of fries, generally 1/2 inch thick or less. I put chili powder and i little extra cumin on mine. Just salt works too and whatever you like. Brush with oil and bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until your desired crispiness! So good!

    • maggie says:

      That sounds delicious. I have another. Mix broccolli with olive oil salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese, then put on the bar be que for six to eight minutes. Yum!

    • Jenn says:

      I do the same thing with sweet potatoes but use a little bit of curry powder :)

    • Eden75 says:

      I am one of the strange people who love brussel sprouts. Mix them with some honey, sriracha, sea salt and pepper and bake them at 450 until tender. The other leaves brown up and they are super yummy. If you like hot, add more sriracha, if you don’t add less. Good stuff if you love the sprouts :)

      I also bake my butternut squash, cut into cubes, in the oven with sea salt, pepper and olive oil until it is tender and the edges are browned. Yum……

  19. AmyB says:

    I agree with this and I am coming from an extended, long history of anorexia (lost all of my twenties and some of my thirties to the disease). Took years of therapy and hard work but I finally learned that moderation is key (along with other important therapeutic issues that have nothing to do with food or my body). As one therapist pointed out to me, there is no “bad” food. Of course if you eat crap all the time, that is very bad for your health, but the reverse is true as well. And as others have pointed out Paltrow is a perfect example of covering up disordered eating with her extreme cleanses, fasts etc. Maybe because I know what an eating disorder looks like, but I can tell when someone is messed up with their food issues. Exercise, eat healthy foods of course, but indulging in some wine or dessert sometimes is okay lol! But when the eating/planning for eating/only eating certain foods becomes a sole focus, sorry folks, that is the route to an eating disorder. Trust me, I have been there and I did not wake up one morning “suddenly anorexic”….I was a nationally ranked swimmer in high and college, competed at NCAAs so my health and taking care of myself was always a priority….it happened somewhat seamlessly. However, when your constant focus is on food and your body (to the exclusion of other things in your life — relationships, work), that is a HUGE problem. TeamNigella

    • senna says:

      Congrats on your recovery! I don’t have an eating disorder but I’ve been around extended family members who do, and it’s usually pretty evident, but more from the way they talk and act around food than about their appearance, unless they’re getting to a very low weight. Usually it’s characterizing certain food as bad, refusing to eat outside an eating schedule or where ingredients can’t be controlled, refusing to eat meals in public, and being unnecessarily preoccupied with food and diet. I’m glad you’re on team “occasional indulgence” now along with team Nigella.

    • AmyB says:

      Thank you @senna: And you are right, it’s more of a mind set and unless you are drastically underweight (anorexia and sometimes w/bulimia), it is not always visible with someone’s appearance. Binge-eating, over-eating and being focused on only eating “certain” foods to the exclusion of others are also eating disorders. Bulimics sometimes appear at a healthy weight, but later they binge/and purge and put their bodies through hell. As I said, for me, I can tell almost immediately with someone — it’s very obvious once you have been there.

      • Dara says:

        Thank you @AmyB and @senna – I worked with someone who was, on the surface, very healthy – triathlete, ate organic and avoided red meat, most junk food, etc. etc. The thing was – she was obsessed with what she ate – to the point that was all she thought about. She’d finish her low-calorie breakfast smoothie and immediately start thinking about lunch – calculating calories, asking what the rest of us were going to eat, wondering aloud if she could have a cookie with her afternoon skim latte if she left the dressing off her salad. It was exhausting – both for her and those around her, but she really didn’t see how far from normal her behavior was. As long as she was a healthy weight and wasn’t purging between meetings, she didn’t see anything wrong with how she let food rule her life.

      • AmyB says:

        @Dara — that is what I am talking about. That is an eating disorder, maybe it’s not threatening her health yet, but that’s how it evolves. Just as others have said, it’s a mind set and if everything you think about revolves around food/and your body, that is not healthy. My therapist made a very keen observation once when I was ranting one day about my body: he said, what would happen if you put down the mirror, stopped looking at yourself and criticizing your body, then what would you want to talk about? As long as I was immersed in starving and obsessing over restriction, I wasn’t dealing with all the other things in my life. I’m obviously way over-simplifying it, but you get the idea.

    • Kitten says:

      Yup. You said it all.

      Another telltale sign is the way ED-sufferers describe their bodies, both past (before they lost weight) and present. Many ED-sufferers express overt and unrelenting criticisms of their bodies. When I was deep in it, my happiness often hinged upon whether someone called me “skinny” or “too thin”. If nobody noticed or commented, I felt like a failure. If someone said I was “looking healthier” that meant I’m too fat and I would dissolve into tears.

    • Paleokifaru says:

      This! Caring about your appearance so much that all you ever do is diet and exercise is a problem. And a lot of people are feeling increasingly comfortable with disordered eating because they’re not “part of the obesity problem.” Another of my SILs and her husband are obsessed with their appearance. If they eat a homemade burger they talk about the activity it will take to burn it off. But they eat mini donuts or cookies for breakfast and workout energy. They are obsessed with fat. SIL is severely underweight for a naturally thin family and she has her body fat measured once a week. It’s really scary to talk to them.

    • Esmom says:

      Echoing the congratulations of the other commenters. I can relate as my 16 year old son is struggling with what seems to be a version of orthorexia. I have been looking into treatment and the clinic his psychiatrist recommended only does inpatient and partial day programs.

      I think having him miss school for a month of more — especially because he’s doing well right now — would cause a whole other set of problems that would exacerbate his anxiety. I guess I was hoping he could work on this on an outpatient basis with a therapist who understands eating disorders. I’m curious about the recovery process of people here, if anyone cares to share. :)

      • Paleokifaru says:

        Oh good luck with this! I have known men with very dysfunctional relationships with food and it so often goes unnoticed until it is very extreme in either direction. Eating problems are so easily associated with just females. Good on your family for paying attention and getting help!

      • Kitten says:

        SO happy to hear that he’s still doing well, Esmom. ♥

      • lunchcoma says:

        Esmom – I’m sorry to hear your son is struggling with disordered eating. I’m in recovery from bulimia. I used outpatient resources. Inpatient really wasn’t an option, as I managed to hide my problem as a teenager and a college student and was a working adult by the time I sought treatment.

        I can definitely understand the urge to keep him in school. For all people talk about rock bottom, I’ve found recovery to be most achievable when other parts of my life are going fairly well and I have lots of emotional resources to focus on the problem. I’m assuming his health isn’t in a dangerous place right now? If that’s the case, you might want to look for not so much someone who treats orthorexia (there might not be so many therapists who do, as it’s something that’s only recently started to be treated as a serious problem) as someone who treats eating disorders generally and has experience treating boys and men. It’s fairly common for disordered eating to manifest a little differently in men than in women, and I think someone used to treating them might be inherently a little more flexible and willing to shape treatment around your son’s problems and needs. Another option would be to pursue therapy now and leave the option of inpatient treatment during the summer break open (though I wouldn’t mention that to your son, as having a deadline on recovery is likely to be unhelpful).

        Best of wishes for him and your family.

      • AmyB says:

        @Esmom. I can tell you what worked for me. First, recovery is a long arduous process. I had an amazing psychiatrist/psychoanalyst that specialized in eating disorders — that is key, someone who knows the disease very well. I probably had a good ten years of intensive psychotherapy with him, in addition to inpatient and outpatient work to get my physical health stabilized. Was diagnosed at 22 (I also suffer from severe depression which I still take medication for) and I would say by age 35/36, I felt truly recovered. I am 46 today. What makes recovery problematic is that if the patient is still indulging in the disordered behavior, it makes therapy that much more difficult. It’s like the alcoholic going to therapy while he is still drinking. Outpatient and support groups are also very helpful; makes you feel less alone and gives you a resource when your therapist is not readily available. So for me, a really great amazing therapist (who helped me deal with the family issues at the heart of my problem), support groups (I went to several over the years), and a willingness on my part to slowly cut out the destructive behaviors, and learn to become comfortable in my own body. @Esmom, you mentioned your son is still in school, perhaps doing something for him more intensively during the summer and definitely check out support groups. Best of luck to you and your son — family therapy helps a great deal in learning and understanding too. Family therapy played a role in my recovery. Hope your son finds peace

      • Esmom says:

        Thank you so much for your input, advice and well wishes. I really appreciate your sharing such personal journeys. My son’s physical health isn’t in jeopardy. He’s big and strong and that’s where his worry comes in. He constantly worries about whether he’s eaten enough protein or lifted enough weight and seems to think he’s “getting too skinny” when he absolutely is not. When I say he’s doing well, I mean in school, which is why I think it would be bad to pull him at this point. He’s managing to function really well, actually, and even went on an overnight trip with the band and did fine with all the hotel food choices available, which was kind of a shocker for me, and a good sign, I thought. He also seems to have dialed back the frequency and duration of his workouts a little bit, as a couple of his friends have remarked that he’s bulked up too much. Of course he listens to them and not me! So all in all he’s showing some signs of flexibility. His situation is complex. He’s on the autism spectrum and is coming back after a horrific bout with depression. So things could be better, but they have definitely been much worse. Thanks again to all!

      • Jenn says:

        I’ve never been in recovery, but from what I’ve read (as part of a research team that examined effective eating disorder treatment), the most successful programs are outpatient. I think because people learn to cope in the real world as opposed to being sheltered in a facility, then having to learn how to cope outside of the facility along with all of the other triggers. Either way, eating disorder treatment generally does not have a super high success rate, however, social support systems can make a huge difference in success. Good luck! :)

  20. Isa says:

    I seem to be surrounded by the opposite. Really skinny or skinny/fit people that love to take photos of what they’ve baked or whatever sweet they’re currently enjoying. It’s like they’re either hiding something or want people to know they can eat whatever they want and stay very thin.

    Anyway, I was dieting this year and trying to cut out processed foods and I really enjoyed it. I made a lot of delicious recipes and I did miss sugar but it wasn’t a sad existence. One of my favorite recipes is a paleo one of beef and cabbage and it calls for butter and not margarine.

  21. poppy says:

    what a person does or doesn’t put into their bodies is one of the few things in life a person has actual power and control over. kids use it, adults use it.

  22. Pandy says:

    I do agree with her to a point. I’m a vegetarian, so I will be the person in line ordering the kale and almond smoothie lol. However, I’ve just been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, so no more cake or carbs for this girl. And they were a huge part of my food life, I cannot lie. I’ve always been about 20 lbs overweight all of my life because I never passed over a slice of cake. I’m slowly dropping some weight as I was ordered to as part of my dietary make over. So, I do agree with her but we can’t judge everyone on whether they have an eating disorder just by listening to their food orders. They could be like me – eat everything and not usually in moderation, but forced to change for health lollll.

    • Fezziwig says:

      @Pandy — I also got a diagnosis for pre-diabetes this year and have overhauled my diet. But it doesn’t have to be as bleak as you might think. This website has been a lifesaver: http://www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com. The author overhauls traditional recipes to be diabetes-friendly (including CAKE). Interestingly, a few months ago she found herself in a Twitter spat with Nigella (which Nigella started), over a recipe she’d posted. See: https://twitter.com/nigella_lawson/status/639927582687936512

      While I mostly agree with Nigella in terms of eating disorders sometimes masquerading as superior eating habits, I don’t know that she’s acknowledging the bigger picture. Humans are consuming much higher amounts of sugar than just a few generations ago, and with this we’ve seen a significant rise in type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugar and carbohydrate consumption wouldn’t be a bad idea for many people, and not just those fighting high blood sugar levels.

  23. Isa says:

    Oh and I tried a kale Caesar salad because of yall’s recommendations. It was nasty. I’m just not going to like kale I guess. I fed it to my baby, she loved it.

    • Jwoolman says:

      I’m not too fond of adult kale, but baby kale is pretty tasty. There are loads of other good greens to try, though.

      Kale, like broccoli, has a very strong taste and is probably best used in small amounts for many people – chop it up very fine in casseroles, for instance, and don’t go overboard. LesserEvil has a really tasty snack that looks like little tubes but has some kale bits in it (in their white bean snack line, the kale garlic one). I’m told homemade kale chips are tasty (just roasted leaves with oil and salt, I think). But I’ve tried some dreadful commercial things labeled as kale chips….

      • Isa says:

        Maybe I should try baby kale. I like spinach and broccoli but kale just tastes nasty to me, even hidden in a smoothie. My baby seems to like it but I call her a human garbage disposal. She eats anything.

  24. senna says:

    Team Nigella! Here’s the twist: I’m someone who’s lost 30 lbs this year and who tracks all of their food intake (and have done so for the past 9 months). But I don’t do it to hold myself accountable to eating only a list of “clean” foods. I do it so that when I want a croissant with my coffee, I can balance that with my calorie intake over the day. I do it so that I can have the croissant but know that I should pass on dessert that day (but not every day).

    She’s right about “clean” foods being a ridiculous concept. There’s nothing more harmful to one’s food hangups than calling certain foods “bad.” If you eat a “bad” food you will probably start to feel bad about yourself. There’s no “bad” foods – just foods that are more or less nutrient and calorie dense. Logging my foods has been a great tool this past year, because I have certainly messed up, but I was able to log what happened, reflect on it, and forgive myself for being human. And I’ve still attained a “healthy” weight by any medical standard.

    • Sheila says:

      I don’t understand how “clean foods” is a ridiculous concept. I think my understanding of clean eating must be different from yours and Nigella’s…I say that I eat clean because I avoid as many processed foods as possible (and of course it’s not always possible). I like oils and I love dark chocolate and eat plenty of calories, but I’m not going to eat processed cookies and TV dinners. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Jwoolman says:

      Tracking food is so easy today with all the free phone apps, and it does make it so much easier to look at my eating pattern and make any needed adjustments. Plus it tells me at a glance if I’m getting enough food and protein/fiber and if I’m getting enough fruit and veg or too much junk. I’m not a planner and have an erratic schedule plus have some medical issues that make it hard to eat sometimes, so recording everything helps a lot. I record times as well so I can space out my eating when needed for various reasons. I actually started tracking after yet another bout with stomach flu, to help me get back into eating without overloading myself (small meals but still sufficient protein/fiber etc. over the course of the day). If I’m short on something, I can just adjust what I eat next although I pretty much go by what I feel like eating. Since I need to avoid getting into same thing every day ruts due to food allergies, it helps me keep my diet varied. I always go back to tracking when things start getting away from me.

  25. The New Classic says:

    But the most important thing to focus on about this story and what concerns me the most:

    Why does Nigella suddenly look like Russel Brand?

  26. fruity says:

    Dietitians who work with people with EDs are very strict on there diets like no cutting major food groups. only people with diagnosed coeliac disease are aloud to have gluten free, and no vegan or any other diet, vegetarian only if that per-date the ED and only if they feel its not linked to your ED.

    Its very common for people to go from a ED to only being able to “recover” through raw vegan clean eating type diet. (portia de rossis???)
    Just remember there is a big difference between disordered eating and eating disorder.

    • sofia says:

      I’m vegan for ethical reasons and totally disagree with promoting veganism as a diet (it’s a lifestyle, but that’s what people usually call when eating plant based) because of well it hides eating disorders. Abstaining from eating animal products doesn’t mean you eat well or that you don’t eat junk food (lots of junk food is vegan), that’s an ethical position about not using animals. But when you add the “health” factor and associate it with weight loss it becomes about looks (there are fat vegans too btw) and how restricting from eating certain types of food will give you “health” when i reality it is about the body. Really sad:/

    • Jwoolman says:

      I’d ask for my money back if some therapist or doctor told me I had to eat dead animals because otherwise I could be “concealing an eating disorder”. Humans are not obligate carnivores. Honestly. My bet is that most people with eating disorders are carnivores anyway, just from the numbers. Might as well tell them they can’t eat meat for the same reason.

  27. frivolity says:

    This is a big “Duh!” but I’m glad she’s calling out all of these sub-clinical eating disorders in Hollywood. Those “healthy eaters” are all FOS.
    Never listen to celebrities or people hawking products if you want to be healthy.

    • AmyB says:

      Yeah it kind of reminds me of a functional alcoholic or drug addict. Just hasn’t progressed to those later stages, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

  28. Mikeyangel says:

    I agree with her to a point. For me, I am 5 foot 8 inches and had a healthy weight of 150 was a size 8 and had a great figure with boobs and butt (just my natural frame). Then my metabolism slowed down. The problem lies in my eating habits, they were horrible. I had a miscarriage, became morbidly depressed, got married, started cooking for myself (unhealthy and no sense of portion control) and gained 60 (pre-pregnancy) pounds in 9 months!!! Getting it off has been hell! It has been 7 years, and three pregnancies, and I am finally down to about 165. I am NOT a fad dieter, but finding good eating habits is hard to do. I did the work out (with a trainer) and eating healthy and lost 20 pounds in 5 months. It took 5 months! I recently found an awesome diet that helped me lose this last 20 (and hopefully 20 more in January) in one month! It is low calorie, no workout, and helped me reset my metabolism. You obviously can’t do it long term. But I have maintained this last loss with ease. I gained much better eating habits. Now that I am not on it I am much more cognizant of my food. I still eat the “forbidden” foods from time to time but in moderation, something I could not do prior to. In short it gave me control back. I am certainly not trying to advertise for this company (and certainly not making ANY money talking about it) but it changed everything for me and I felt great on the diet! Omni nutrition really helped me. I thought it was quackery while my SIL did it, but 9 months later and she is still maintaining (she lost 35 pounds went from 170-135ish on 5 foot 8 frame). I agree though that people do these diets and feel superior. What works for one doesn’t work for all. Although Nigella fails to realize that some of us have never had good eating habits, never learned them growing up, and need to find that control, and when we find what works for us it is life changing. At least it was for me!

  29. Sam says:

    Eh, I’m of two minds about this.

    I hate that now, any kind of food restriction is termed “disordered eating.” I’ve been accused of it because I’m a vegetarian. That’s stupid. Making choices, based on ethics, preferences, or cultural norms about things you don’t want to eat is not disordered eating. Disordered eating happens when your health and well-being start to be negatively impacted by your food habits. but by that definition, many people who “eat whatever they want” are disordered eaters, since many of them are suffering adverse health as a result of their diets.

    I restrict what my kids eat. By some standards, that makes me a bad parent. But no, I do not allow my children to have Twinkies, or McDonalds, or assorted other foods I know are no good for them. When they have their own money and means to buy this stuff, I won’t stop them. But they are little now, and I consider it my responsibility to introduce them to healthful eating now, when I have the best chance. So no, if they ask for some of the stuff their friends have, I do explain to them that stuff is not healthy and that right now, they shouldn’t have it, but they can have something healthier instead.

    So while I get the overall point about moderation, I also would counter that there are some things that I don’t consider part of moderation because I just consider them not something I want to consume (obviously, I’m speaking only for myself). But can we please stop with the idea that any food restriction is “disordered?” because it’s not.

  30. Eleonor says:

    She is right.
    For me: eating, being healthy and having a lovely figure doesn’t mean starving yourself to death.

  31. sofia says:

    I wrote about this on the post about Oprah and Weight Watchers. The diets we hear about are less about health and more about control of how we look. The health stamp is a just a way to make it sound like something positive when in reality we are being fat shamed. Skinny or fat doesn’t mean someone is healthy/unhealthy, but many believe this. Nigella is totally spot on about this idea that someone who doesn’t eat clean is somehow eating “dirty” and how shameful that seems to be. Food always had an emotional dimension and nurture us in more ways than just nutritionally and that’s why we should be very careful about telling people how to eat. Many need help beacuse they are indeed sick, but the changes should come from a place of encouraging self-e esteem and not from punishment, and that’s punishment that I hear all the time.

  32. kimbers says:

    I have never read some of the most ridiculous posts in my life…preservatives fighting off wrinkles? Lmao ya no. People are crazy.

  33. Colleen says:

    I love her point on congratulating people on their weight losses. I know some women (men too, I’m sure) crave that, but as someone who has struggled with weight for the past 10-15 years, I just want to FEEL better in my skin and in my clothes. I’ve often expressed to my husband that part of the challenge in getting healthier comes from the comments from friends and family, and the varied treatment I get from thinner to fatter. That infuriates me. My mother’s family is so weight obsessed and unfortunately, she that affected us growing up. To this day, my adult cousins will do ANYTHING to maintain their weights, and they all look dull and harsh due to it. I’d like to think that my love of fats – butter and healthy oils – contributes to my being relatively youthful skin. Look at Nigella! She’s got such a soft glowing face.

    I agree with the above comments on Gwyneth Paltrow. She doesn’t look dewy and refreshed, she looks… thin. Also, unless you’re feeding your child absolute garbage 24/7, and they’re not getting needed nutrients, it’s not really anybody’s business what you eat and I hate how people are demonized for their preferences in diet.

  34. CornyBlue says:

    I am here for actual important people calling out Gwenyth Paltrow. Her high headedness is so awful. Like i get that you eat only organic vegetables that are sung two and a half lullabies at night but not everyone is able to afford that. I am a student i literally cannot afford clean food except fruits once a week and have to eat what is provided through the college hostel.

  35. Fluff says:

    I met her recently and she looks amazing in person. Team Nigella and also Team Chill the F*ck Out and Eat Like a Normal Person.

  36. tatdaisy says:

    I think the problem cuts both ways. In North America we’re obsessed with dieting – any new fad or fix that promises to help shed pounds gains popularity pretty quickly. But it’s only because we already have a skewed, dysfunctional relationship with food, and it’s incredibly, insidiously pervasive in our culture. A lot of people don’t have any concept of moderation or portion size because we’re used to large amounts of food, including processed foods filled with salt, sugar and additives. I love cake and cookies and ice cream and all that, but how many of us eating it everyday and consider that moderation? I actually see the *concept* of clean eating as a very positive thing society-wise, but I agree with other posters and NL that calling it “clean” is not helpful. Disordered eating is a mental illness, and it has nothing to do with food. It’s about control and insecurity. I had orthorexia/anorexia as a teenager and “recovered” from it through binge eating junk food. Both experiences left my body in really bad shape. Now that I’m in my twenties I cut back significantly on refined sugar and processed foods and I’m finally in a good place with food and the way I look.

  37. kimbers says:

    It’s easy and doable to eat clean if you actually make the stuff from scratch and portion your food. I do it and lost lbs and saved $$. It’s ridiculous to buy processed food aimed at certain diets….defeats the purpose of healthy lol! Time is money and you have to put effort into it as well. For a big family with already bad habits? Not gonna happen. Discipline and the desire is needed to be healthy and not have an eating disorder. If it was easy everyone would do it…it’s not for everyone and that’s ok. We all have our preferences in life and I dont feel sorry for anyone’s decisions bc it’s theirs. Cool to splurge but bc of my genetics and high risk of ulcerative colitis and colon cancer I cant risk eating crap or fad diets.

  38. KelT says:

    She looks completely different, much brighter and less serious. If it’s Botox, then good for her. Maybe an eye job?

  39. Golden says:

    I agree. I love eating healthfully but not obsessively so. That’s missing the point and, yes, often people with control issues or OCD use their diets as another way to feel in control.

  40. Jwoolman says:

    My experience has been quite different. Many people experiment with various approaches to eating because they have chronic physical problems and are trying to feel better. Some people do fine on a diet of twinkies and root beer, but many others just can’t extract the nutrients they need from heavily processed food of the sort common In our diets today. So eating “clean” is often helpful, if those processed foods are eliminated. Sometimes a piece of cake isn’t worth the problems that occur later, and you actually lose your taste for such things if you’re eating very simply (sounds like heresy, but it’s true – your taste buds really wake up when eating simply). Nigella cooks and bakes and so has control over her ingredients. Many people just get such things from the grocery store pre-made, and they are ingesting a lot more dubious stuff than the lucky people eating Nigella’s cooking. Although her baking would be bad for me, since I’m allergic to eggs and milk…

    I suspect that often when people follow a diet that seems restrictive, they are accidentally eliminating a food to which they are allergic or intolerant and so after a withdrawal period (yes, allergic addiction exists, I’ve experienced it) feel really good for the first time in ages. So of course they want to continue that feeling, perhaps being more restrictive than absolutely needed for their problems. Some of the newer eating approaches actually help avoid this by being very restrictive briefly and then asking people to add back other foods gradually to make sure they don’t personally have a problem with it. Many allergies and intolerances have a threshold for symptoms – and eliminating a food for a long period may mean you can eat it occasionally, just not all the time. I have a problem with something in wheat (but apparently not the gluten), and I can feel the difference if I start eating wheat every day. Two slices of bread are okay, but not at every meal or every day. One slice of pizza is okay, but more than that is asking for trouble. (My freezer is my friend… I freeze individual pizza slices and bread slices!)

    It’s okay to experiment with your eating habits. Other than water, no one food is absolutely necessary in our diets. We won’t die from a cake deficiency. Won’t kill you to eliminate, observe, and re-introduce various foods or whole food groups in your search for personal good health.

    • Paleokifaru says:

      I agree with this in the moderate and health conscious viewpoint that you’re discussing and have seen success in this with family members and myself. However, each of us followed plans that involved elimination for mere weeks and then limited reintroductions to watch your body’s reaction. Everyone has a different chemistry and for some people a heavier fiber based diet works and for others a heavier protein base suits their needs of health, satisfaction and fullness. I also know that we all tweak it a bit as we get older and have different family, time, health and nutrition needs. However, I think a lot of us, myself included, have seen elimination diets spiral out of control in many different forms. People stay extreme and ignore health in favor of appearance or they take it to the point they break and binge in an opposite direction to end up on a different fad diet later. I agree with the poster a bit further up who points out the American extremes in food. That moderation and mindfulness you discuss seems elusive to so many.

  41. Tw says:

    Yep- we’re looking at you, Goopy. I’ve lived in NY for almost 20 years and I’ve seen A LOT of this. Woman living on 500 – 700 calories a day and calling it healthy. I had one friend who actually said that she “just doesn’t like bread,” meaning ALL bread products. I’ve watched my friends, who were once gorgeous young models when I first moved to NY, completely transform by the age of 30, with their hair becoming very thin and their skin and nails breaking down. These are not your typical anorexics. These are the thin, “healthy” enviable yoga girls. I 100% agree with Nigella.

  42. Jenn says:

    I agree with Nigella, also. I was recently part of a research group that studied eating disorder recovery. I think that there are too many stereotypes of what constitutes an eating disorder. Disordered eating patterns affect all people, regardless of weight, race, or orientation. I think that eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are becoming more common now than they were before, partly because they are so easy to mask under the guise of healthy/clean eating. Figure/bikini competitors are especially susceptible to EDNOS.

    I had a friend that I used to work out with and one of the last times that I saw her, she shamed me for not being able to lose weight. She says she has hashimoto and she rigidly controls her diet- no gluten (reasonable for hashimoto), no dairy, no gluten, no nuts, no soy, no legumes, no sugar/processed food (heaven forbid! that’s the devil!) . She told me that I needed to eliminate dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, grains, and legumes from my diet if I wanted to lose weight. Then she told me that she was down to 118 and probably going to do a figure competition because she could see her abs. I felt really bad about myself for a while after that. Then I realized that for her to put me down was a way for her to feel better about herself. I saw her recently and she does not look healthy, she looks way too skinny. While I’m not qualified to diagnose her with an eating disorder, though given what I know about her and how she sends every person who has a conflict with her to counseling, I would bet that she probably does have an eating disorder. Now I just feel sorry for her.

  43. Sarah01 says:

    She looks like Russell brand it’s weird.

    No one should be body shamed it’s wrong.
    I do think though if you are not able to live your life to the fullest, be healthy and active then you may want to consider some lifestyle changes.
    A friend of mine is 200lbs about 5’2 and she has severe knee pain. She takes medication and even cortisol injections but won’t look into eating healthy or maybe attempt to lose weight – her doctor has told her to lose weight and look into healthy eating. You see it annoys me when she complains about her knees all the time and besides taking medication won’t do anything else.

  44. Shannon says:

    I gained a lot of weight working at a desk job for three and a half years, then lost a lot of weight when I quit my job to homeschool my son and also had some (temporary) health problems. I can say from experience, people put an enormous amount of emphasis on weight, and it just seems silly to me. I’m 5’2″ and weigh about 110 lbs now, I’d gone up to about 135 when I worked at a job where you literally had to ask permission to get up to go to the bathroom. I can honestly say I’ve never gone out of my way to gain or lose – if I’m hungry, I eat, if not, I don’t. But it was an interesting, although painful at times, social experiment to see people’s reactions to my weight. I’ve been everything from “fat and probably have heart problems” to a “skinny, anorexic bitch who probably does cocaine.” I just don’t get it. I know EDs are very complicated, and to be shamed for having one is ridiculous, to be shamed for your weight at all is just … wrong. I honestly couldn’t help how much weight I lost, and it was like, I just couldn’t look “right” enough to make everyone happy. Now I’m just like, f^#% it, whatever.

  45. Lisa says:

    Sometimes, Nigella. I’ve been in eating disorder groups where women have said that they claim to be vegan or vegetarian just to avoid eating certain foods, especially if they’re meeting new people for the first time, who don’t know their habits. But that is different from saying that eating that way IS* an eating disorder.

    Sad what she said about her mom. :(