Nov 16, 2022
The Wellness culture we see as we
scroll through Instagram or listen to in our earbuds on various
wellness podcasts often casts itself as the opposite of Western
Medicine. And yet, both industries overlap via the same value
system of Puritans and Protestantism.
From “clean eating” to failed
functional medicine protocols because “client’s aren’t disciplined
enough”, Protestantism and Puritanism are alive and well in both
This wouldn’t be a problem except
these guiding principles aren’t actually how the body works. As a
result, while both industries have different offerings, both limit
us because of their blindspots created by these religious values
In today’s episode with one of my
favorite writers, Dr. Anne Helen Petersen, we
- A background of what Protestantism
and Puritanism are and how they’ve influenced diet and wellness
culture and the deeper meaning implied in hashtags #blessed,
#highvibes, and #nolowvibes
- How Protestantism and Puritanism
especially influenced fat phobia and the 80s and 90s body ideal of
what Anne calls “aspirational containment”.
- How wellness influencers and
celebrities like Peloton instructors have given us secular outlets
to satiate the needs that religion provides.
- How Anne shifted and continues to
shift her relationship to exercise and work by
incorporating this value that is considered “bad” in Puritanism yet
supports the body to thrive.
- Anne’s process of first
intellectualizing how problematic these religious values are in
relation to exercise, the body, and work and then actually making
the changes to embody new values that support her feeling great and
athletic in her body, now in her 40s.
- About Anne Helen Peterson
- Anne is an
American writer and journalist. She received her Ph.D in Media
Studies, where she did her dissertation on Celebrity Culture…we
will get into why here in the episode.
- She worked as a Senior Culture
Writer for BuzzFeed until August 2020, when she began writing
full-time for her newsletter "Culture Study" on Substack. I know
many of you read it. It’s so so good. Her most recent book “Out of
Office” is about the future of work. And she has two new podcasts
of her own: Work Appropriate and Townsizing, which is about people
living in small towns.
Mentioned in this
Free Food as Safety
Gatherings with Ali: Gather with
like-minded health rebels who hate small talk to learn how to apply
the Insatiable Season 13 podcasts to your life. Ali will teach,
provide coaching exercise, tools and coach a few participants
stress eating so you can get to the root of your stress eating and
work through it. No white knuckling required.
Culture Study with Anne Helen
The Millennial Vernacular of Fat Phobia
The Quiet Glory of Aging Into Athleticism
The Parameters of Peloton Celebrity