Nigella Lawson says that people who demand that ‘clean eating’ is the only way to live are probably hiding an eating disorder.
Earlier this week, at the JW3 Speaker Series, in London, she proclaimed,
“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,” adding, “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.”
It rightly seems like an odd argument for the author of “The Simply Nigella” who guides fans of her book and cooking show(s) towards simple and healthy meal ideas. But apparently her mother struggled with an eating disorder in the past and her vocalization is more an outburst towards an unhealthy eating culture than, necessarily, at specific nutrition trends.
For example, she explains that complimenting a person on their weight loss often only feeds the mistaken idea that “skinny is better.”
She continues, “I generally think it is not food if it is through that being thinner is always better. What happens as a result is that somehow you are seen as a better person. If you are naturally thin, that is fantastic, but if you have to starve yourself to be thin, it is not good to encourage people to be in that shape because it is not good for you.”
Lawson shares the story of her discovery of her mother’s eating disorder after her untimely death at the young age of 48. “I kind of put two and two together. I knew she had a thing about thinness but I worked it out later. When she was dying she allowed herself to eat. To wait until you’ve got a terminal disease to enjoy eating is an awful thing.”
But does she have an answer, then? Well, she says: moderation. “There are times when you need a slice of cake. You don’t eat it every day, but life has to be balanced and not too restricted.”