Ample evidence shows that unqualified healer, Serge Benhayon’s arbitrary PRANIC! FIERY! food classifications and erratic dietary advice is making his followers sick. We offer some scientifically backed measures for making better food choices and finding a way back to health.
Diet or Eating Disorder
According to the Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria, eating disorders cover a spectrum. Normal, natural eating is done at regular intervals in response to hunger, satiety and nutritional requirements. Dieting includes counting calories, skipping meals or food groups, eating from lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, or following a diet program for a period of time. A sub clinical eating disorder moves into occasional binges or purges, taking diet pills, feeling disgusted or preoccupied with body or behaviours, going for extended periods without eating sufficient amounts and feeling some loss of control around food. A clinical eating disorder then extends to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating.
According to these classifications, the silliness written into Serge’s charts would come under ‘dieting’, however some of his more zealous students are clearly entering a sub-clinical eating disorder where they are eating inadequately for extended periods, are disgusted by or averse to otherwise wholesome foods deemed ‘pranic’ by Serge the ‘healer’, as well as preoccupied with anxious behaviours such as stirring rituals and using symbol cards to clear the ‘prana’ from food. We have also heard of others entering a much more severe disorder where they barely eat at all.
The first and most critical step to recovery is to remove all traces of Serge Benhayon from the diet. We can assure you that eliminating anything he has ever said or thought or wrote about food from your diet and your consciousness will have positive health benefits, and we guarantee no ill effects. If you need further persuasion, have another look at his before and after Universal Medicine portraits.
Next steps are to revitalize your attitudes to food and eating, reinform yourself on nutrition, and then rediscover the delicious, nourishing and sexy world of enjoying food again. If you’re having difficulties with any of these steps we strongly recommend you seek professional assistance from practitioners or services with the proper credentials and no affiliations with Universal Medicine. Your GP will be able to refer you to a qualified dietician or specialist clinic. The Centre for Eating & Dieting Disorders has this listing of support services across Australia, which I’ll also put on the Links page.
Changing your thinking about food
Nutritional Counselling is undertaken with a dietician or nutritionist and is aimed at providing correct information on a healthy diet, daily energy and nutritional requirements and how to plan meals and snacks.
This UK site explains such counselling may be difficult to deal with at first, because individuals with disordered eating patterns often feel they are experts on the subject. In the case of UM students, they feel Serge Benhayon is endowed with divine knowledge that surpasses evidence based scientific facts. There may be a residual fear that eating so called ‘pranic’ foods will cause illness and taint one’s capacity for ‘lovingness’. We’re hoping they are being persuaded by steady revelations of facts about Serge that such notions are contrary to reality. His special knowledge is limited to his dangerously unprincipled but highly effective sales techniques.
For many ex students, the revelation Serge Benhayon is not the man or messiah he represents himself as, in combination with some sound nutritional information, should be enough to steer them firmly toward recovery. For others, additional measures may be required from a specialist counsellor or psychologist. Approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, where patients are encouraged to change behaviours through a better understanding of the way their actions relate to their thoughts and feelings might be used. Or the related approach, Rationale Emotive Therapy, where the patient is trained to examine their thoughts, beliefs and actions, dispute negative and self defeating thoughts and replace them with positive and life affirming alternatives.
Whatever the approach, the objective is to improve the person’s attitude not only to food but to their own bodies and wellbeing requirements.
What is a healthy diet?
Based on DietaryGuidelines for Australian Adults (2003):
- Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods. Variety ensures nutrient diversity, and in some cultures such variety is achieved for example, by eating a wide range of veges of different colours, in addition to various meats and grains
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry or alternative sources of protein such as tofu, legumes and eggs
- Include milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives. Reduced-fat varieties are not suitable for young children under 2 years, who have high energy and developmental needs
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- Choose foods low in salt
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars
- In addition, eat three meals per day and two snacks. Don’t skip meals and try not to have big gaps between eating.
- Small amounts of protein with each meal and the avoidance of sugary foods also helps maintain blood sugar
- Protein has to be replaced daily through diet, or protein stores will be leached from the body causing muscle wastage. This page has tables of protein rich foods and this page has a table on vegan protein sources and sample menus. Note that the recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight. Eg. a 65kg person will need 52g of protein/day. Half a cup of nuts supplies 12g of protein. I cup of cooked peas supplies 9g of protein, and one egg supplies 6g.
- A table of recommended servings can be found here
Finally, and importantly, the only reason you should ever be cutting foods out of your diet, particularly entire food groups, is because of a DIAGNOSED intolerance. Diagnosed, mind you, by a doctor or qualified dietitian not affiliated with Universal Medicine. Cutting grains from the diet immediately limits your sources of B vitamins, while cutting dairy is cutting an important source of fat soluble vitamins/antioxidants, A, D & E, as well as calcium. Even the much maligned gluten, which seems to be causing increasing intolerance in recent years, is still just a plant protein within the highly nutritious grains, wheat, barley, rye and oats.
THERE’S AN ENTITY IN MY SOUP! Is not a good reason to restrict foods. Nor is THIS POMEGRANATE IS POSSESSED! Nor is the more common cry of BUT SERGE SAID SO!
I’m thinking anything listed under the million SERGE SAID SO commandments is probably a good reason to do the opposite.
Also, be aware, the dairy and gluten free cookbook, ‘Bridging Foods’ promoted by Universal Medicine apologist/recruiter/practitioners was written by two try hard Esoteric ‘healers’ with no nutritional or dietetic qualifications.
Killing Pleasure to Feed Dependency
Serge Benhayon is a bore and a killjoy. The high priest of prohibitionist pompousness not only maintains most food is tainted with negative prana, he believes the world is intrinsically evil and hostile, anyone outside of Universal Medicine is the enemy, sex is dirty and violent, sport is animalistic and he frowns upon music as energetically negative. My sister calls him the Taliban.
In the real world, we’ve all had the experience of meeting a stranger from another culture or place, and even when unable to speak the same language, we’ve been able to find connection and warmth via the sharing of food, or music or a love of sport. Yet, Serge Benhayon systematically devalues and degrades every source of human pleasure and every means of making the human connections that give our lives meaning. The dietary restrictions not only limit pleasure, provoke anxiety, obsession, weakness and illness, but as Jasmin remarked in the comments to the first diet post, they separate followers from their social contacts. His dietary prohibitions are just one of his many thought reform/mind control techniques I’ll work through in an upcoming post.
Serge doesn’t want his students to connect with anyone outside of Universal Medicine, only with his paid up subscribers who have been led to believe they hold a monopoly on divine inspiration and love. They then pit themselves against each other to see who can do the most workshops and jump through the most of his nebulous attainment hoops, all the while too weak and distracted to realize the whole exercise is aimed solely at channelling their money and dignity into ‘The One’s’ greedy coffers. Eventually the students realize with horror they were only participating in an expensive collective addiction to an elusive and ultimately bogus enlightenment.
Enjoying Food is Enjoying Life
Once Serge Benhayon has been extracted from the diet, I recommend reviewing all of the positive aspects of cooking and food. In summary:
- Food nourishes, strengthens and sustains the miraculous machinery which is the human body.
- Food and cooking are ways of connecting and communicating with others and showing love. I mean, is there anything nicer than being brought hot buttered toast in bed?
- Food is fabulously pleasurable. I don’t know about you, but no sooner have I finished one meal than I’m eagerly anticipating the next. And I ate some Tasmanian oysters the other night which were to do die for.
- Food is sexy. Just ask Nigella.
My food rehab suggestion is to watch a series or two of Maeve O’Meara’s Food Safari and look at how much she not only enjoys sampling different mouth watering ethnic cuisines but connecting with the people doing and sharing the cooking. Personally, I fantasize about her coming over my house, cooking me osso bucco or something and giving me a hug.
Then there’s Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, promoting cooking and food as sexy, healthy, fun, and not just a social lubricant, but a form of social healing; elevating street kids out of poverty, improving health or encouraging community cohesion. He uses a bit much garlic for me but ditto the hug.
It strikes me as a cruel irony, that many of UM’s students live in Northern NSW, one of the most beautiful and fertile parts of Australia, brimming with yummy fresh produce and the natural wonders of the ocean, world class surfing spots, mountains, national parks and rolling pastures. However, Serge would like you to spend your weekends in stuffy rooms listening to him rave about his dreary, paranoid and anxiety ridden world view, before performing yet another round of exorcisms to rid you of a bottomless supply of imaginary negative prana.
All the while you could be out experiencing the transcendental pleasures of your gorgeous outdoors and connecting with the fascinating and fabulous people who gravitate to that special place.