Grace Victory: 'Wellness And Clean Eating Is Just A More Instagrammable Form Of Weight Loss'
The Debrief: Grace F Victory, also known as Ugly Face Of Beauty, is the blogger who took on the 'wellness' fad. How does she feel about things like the 'potato cleanse' now?
Grace F. Victory is ace. Grace F. Victory (aka Gracie Francesca aka Ugly Face Of Beauty) is a YouTuber with a difference. See, instead of being all shiny and smiley and OH MY GOSH IS THERE A PERSONALITY IN THERE PLS, Grace is super fun, interesting and takes pulls no punches when it comes to setting the record straight.
She makes videos about her mental health struggles, she interviews celebrities, she covers topics like domestic violence and anorexia all alongside the more recognisable beauty and fashion bits.
Recently, she took on the 'wellness' fad.
You probably saw her documentary on BBC Three – Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets. In it, she tried to determine how the wellness fad had got so out of control (hello social media) and tried a few of the more extreme ‘diets’ that some bloggers are currently pushing on their audiences. Things like the raw vegan diet. Or the potato cleanse. I kid you not. A ‘cleanse’ where you only eat potatoes.
For the documentary, Grace interviewed dieticians to debunk some of the claims made by food bloggers. Things like this baffling sentence which, according to the documentary, was written by one of the most famous food bloggers out there: 'When we drink milk, calcium is drawn from our bones in order to rebalance the acidity it causes, which can result in a calcium deficit' (this is 'scientific nonsense' according to Dr. Sarah Schenker of the British Dietetic Association, just in case you were unsure). Grace also spoke to ex-Debriefer and all round excellent human being Eve Simmons whose serious eating disorder was exacerbated, she says, by her exposure to the bloggers that normalise this lifestyle.
So what does Grace think now she's had some time to reflect on the whole thing? We caught up with her about it.
Hello Grace! Some of the diets you did in the name of this documentary were mad! What was up with the potato diet?
That was the worst one for me. I had dark circles, I wasn’t going to the toilet, I just felt like a giant potato. I looked into where the nutrients were coming from in this diet and there were people who’d just say ‘Oh you know, it’s potatoes, it’s good for you.’ But I’m all about balance and I just wasn’t getting any energy or happiness because I was just eating starch. I felt like shit.
What other ‘diets’ did you try and hate?
We looked at the Cayenne Pepper diet – it’s like half water, then you put in a bit of lemon juice and cayenne papper and I was just like ‘absolutely not’. Then there’s the grapefruit diet where you have grapefruit for breakfast, lunch and a main meal but why would you put yourself through that? It’s just mental.
In terms of practicality – how hard was it to keep up with such strict diets?
The term 'hangry' happened a lot. It’s just too much effort. When you live a really fast-paced lifestyle like so many of us do, working mums, women starting their own business or just getting their foot in the door of their chosen career path… We haven’t got time be be constantly thinking about what we’re eating. I get that health is important and we should eat more fruit and veg but when it’s obsessive and affecting your daily life that’s when you know something’s wrong. I really like yoghurt and honey and I couldn’t even eat that and I was just like this is ridiculous!
Why do you think it’s become SUCH a big deal recently?
I think Instagram has whipped up this obsession with food and how your food looks and sure, there are food blogs now based on pizzas and brownies and stuff but I think the whole healthiness things has come from predominantly white, middle-class women who have a passion for something and they’ve turned it into a business. But my issue is that food is such a touchy subject because so many people have a difficult relationship with it and when you preach about what they should be eating, it goes into a dangerous territory. Telling people they should cut out a certain food group and buy your products instead and eat how you eat… it doesn’t sit well with me.
What worries you the most about it?
The main bloggers who are so rich and are so famous because of their wellness blogs – most of them have had an illness and that’s why they eat the way they do but yet they’re telling impressionable young girls on Instagram and YouTube that this is how it should be. I don’t understand what happened to the whole five a day thing with fruit and veg?
How much do you think social media is to blame?
I find it very telling that the rise of clean eating and wellness bloggers is peaking at the moment and we are currently in a society where mental health issues are booming and on the rise. It seems to me that people are making money off mental health and people’s insecurities and I think it will only get worse if we let it.We need to educate people on their health and make them aware that it’s not a trend. My personal opinion is that wellness and clean eating is the same as the old school Slim Fast shakes. It’s that, but a more Instagrammable way of weight loss. Clean eating is quite restrictive. I’m 25 years old and I can’t imagine what 16 year old girls are thinking when she scrolls through Instagram. You’ll notice that a lot of the wellness bloggers all look a certain way; they’re all tanned, pretty, very thin and that’s what a lot of young girls want to look like and they think ‘Oh if I eat raw vegan I’ll look like her, if I cut out gluten I’ll look like her…’ It’s just bullshit.
Have you taken any positives away from the whole experience?
I did learn a lot about nutrition and how the Medittaranean lifestyle is the best to eat and I did look at my own diet and think I need to eat more fruit and vegetables. But and the same time, I still want to be able to have cake and chocolate bar and go out for dinner with my friends!
You go for it Grace.
Like this? Then you might also be interested in:
Turmeric Tea: How To Make The Super Healthy 'Golden Milk'
'You Can't Self-Diagnose!' How Your Gluten-Free Diet Might Actually Be Harming Your Health
Paleo Cupcakes And £6 Juices: Inside London's First Business Of Wellness Summit
Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons
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