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Review of Dr. Joshua Wolrich’s “Food Isn’t Medicine”: Ask yourself the hard questions about your relationship with food

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Before we jump into today’s review, I wanted to add a few disclaimers.

Firstly, I’m not a medical doctor, so if you are ever reading reviews about books that discuss food, health, medicine, etc. always make sure you are doing your own research and speaking with your own G.P. and/or healthcare provider.

Secondly, if you are still struggling with your relationship with food, then be kind to yourself and make sure you are in the right headspace to read this review and any other reviews that might trigger you. I sometimes find having a buddy system for this is great. If you want to read something that you aren’t sure about, tell a friend first and go through what you might be worried about. You can do a follow-up chat with that person then about how you felt after you read the text and they can help you explore your emotions and help you get the right help if you need it.

Okay, let’s get into the review.

I first came across Dr. Joshua Wolrich through Instagram. I had felt really frustrated with the kinds of people and activists I had followed. I couldn’t always put my finger on it, but I think it spoke to a pressure to look a certain way, weigh a certain amount, and have a certain lifestyle. When I started to change up my feed, that was when I found Wolrich.

Wolrich is a medical doctor based in the U.K. and he talks about weight stigma, fatphobia in medicine and society, and how we can change that.

Now, for me I have a reasonably good relationship with food and exercise, but it hasn’t always been great. I have been in an abusive relationship in the past where the person would ridicule my weight and shape and also what I ate. I thank god every day I left that person and dodged that massive bullet. And also woke up to the toxic lies they tried to force on me about my body.

But the effects of that relationship, plus the general crap that the media puts out every day about weight loss this, rock hard abs that, hasn’t always made it easy for me. I used to be one of those people that used exercise as punishment – fun fact: it didn’t work. I also used to think that there were good foods and bad foods. Putting a moral weight on a piece of cake or a packet of chips meant that not only did I feel emotionally terrible after eating them, I would then try to punish myself with exercise to neutralise the ‘bad’.

When I developed food allergies and a histamine issue in my 20s my relationship with food had to change drastically. And even though I hate my allergies with every fibre of my being, I will acknowledge that they also helped me reset my relationship with food. There were no moral choices anymore – it was suddenly health and general happiness above all else.

Even though I thought I had worked on my relationship with my body and food, I was shocked by a lot of the stigma I still held inside myself about my body and what I should be giving it. Wolrich’s book challenged a lot of my biases – known and unknown – and made me think critically again about food and why we spend so much time making it a moral quagmire. There is a lot of misinformation out in the world and it can be difficult to figure out what is right or wrong. Most of us don’t have personal trainers, chefs, and nutritionists to help us make those decisions. Some people can’t even access healthcare properly because of fatphobia.

If you want to change your relationship with food then Wolrich’s book is not a bad place to start. He breaks down complex research practices to help you figure out how medical research is conducted and therefore what the results of each outcome mean. He also helps highlight some of the main misconceptions we have about diet and food.

Wolrich’s biggest takeaway is that food isn’t medicine. Rather, that food is food. Food isn’t inherently good or bad – a biscuit or an apple are not better or worse than one another.

Furthermore, Wolrich challenges the idea that your size (weight) determines your health. The BMI is a load of crap – read his book for the full details – and it doesn’t determine your health or your risk of developing ill health over time.

Lastly, and this comes from me, but I also think that Wolrich would approve – you don’t owe people health. The way you are, whatever is happening with your body now, in the future, or in the past, should not be used against you as a reason why you can’t receive love, care, support, or medical treatment.

Have you read Food Isn’t Medicine? How is your relationship with food and your body? If you are struggling please reach – you can even send me an email. As always, share the reading love.

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