If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Australian conwoman Belle Gibson has just been fined over one million dollars for stealing a killing, and possibly killing other people.
Gibson claimed to have cancer in her kidneys, brain, blood, spleen, liver, and uterus. She also said she had heart surgery and had suffered a stroke. She then claimed to have cured herself of all her illnesses through healthy, “clean” eating. Gibson made a healthy eating app, wrote a cookbook, and raked in around a million dollars. She promised to give most of it to charity. She didn’t.
And Gibson looks fabulous. She has perfect skin, a pretty face, and lovely clothes. She is the picture of health. The reasons she looks so good are as follows: she is naturally good looking, she spent stolen money on beauty products and cosmetic surgery, and she was never sick. Not only did she not have all of the health problems she claimed to have, she had none of them.
Gibson’s fraudulence was made possible by the “Clean Eating” movement. The movement is based on common sense. Eating more fruit and vegetables, less processed food, and exercising more is basic health advice that everyone knows. Clean eating takes this advice much further, implying that if a food isn’t “clean” then it must be “dirty” or impure, causing sickness, unhappiness, and early death. It implies that a sick person would be cured if they had a purer lifestyle. It implies that if you don’t have enough time and money to make homemade, organic food from scratch for your family, you are harming them.
The worst thing Gibson did was, in her own words, “countless times helped others” to forgo conventional medical treatment for cancers and to treat themselves ‘naturally’, as well as “leading them down natural therapy for everything from fertility, depression, bone damage and other types of cancer.” Gibson befriended the parents of a young child with brain cancer, and proceeded to “fundraise” for the child’s treatment without informing the parents. The family believe she even used information she had gleaned from them to help make her fantasy “cancer” more believable.
Healthy eating is a good idea, but it cannot replace medicine for serious illnesses, no matter how nice that idea is.