Last night something happened that I never thought I’d live to see. Hoped I’d never live to see.
Actually, that isn’t true. Saying that means that I had thought of the idea and rejected it as too horrible to even be considered. This particular idea had never even crossed my mind. My mind that has read of serial killers and the horrors of war and the Holocaust and starvation and thirst had never even pondered this hideous beast.
It was an infomercial for a diet plan…on a PBS pledge drive. Yes, that’s true. You watched two skinny people lecture you in tent revival tones on drinking their special shakes and making their special chicken tenders with Almond meal and then they stopped talking and the camera cut to a bodiless head (she must not be on the plan) who then said a few words about how the two skinny people were helping people and that’s what Public Television is all about! (Can I get an amen?) I watched for another minute to make sure that I was seeing what I saw. Sure enough, if you donate to This Local PBS Station, you will receive this book about Getting Healthy With The Brain Doctor’s Wife. Donate a little more and you get a video, yet a little more nets you a journal and exercise chart.
I wonder more and more why “helping people” and “saving people” costs so much money. The church-service tones of the infomercial were both comforting and appalling as I watched these people sell their ideas the way I’d watch others sell Jesus. It will make your life better! You will enjoy your days more! You will become bulletproof and beautiful beyond measure!
Of course, you have to pay for the books or the church building. The ideas are free but the marketing will cost you.
The food plan (The Omni Diet: Beware of Talky Video that starts automatically and has to be paused) promises to “reverse disease”. They tell you that yes, this food may be more expensive, but you can buy online and in bulk and it isn’t so bad. And besides, being sick is the most expensive thing ever.
We are entering that door I’d hoped would stay closed. That door which says “Illness is your fault. It is what you eat that makes you sick and by eating other things you will be made well.” This is a neat way to blame those who are already suffering for things that are out of their control. Of course I know that some folks are helped by a change in diet; I, for instance, am allergic to soy and feel much better if I avoid things with soy in them. But I also know that I have a condition that makes it at times impossible to eat fresh fruit, salad, raw vegetables. I’ve got my doctors telling me to eat processed foods (literally, actually “stay away from whole grains when you’re in flare”) because my gut cannot handle the other. And as many times as I’ve tried various food plans, and I’ve tried them all, I am not cured of my diseases. So I eat what I can handle (haven’t gained a pound in 8 years) avoid what I can’t.
But I’ve said all that before, I know. It’s an old soap box for me, this recoiling at the promises made by hucksters of health.