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The Promise of ‘Wellness’

The Promise of ‘Wellness’

Understanding Alternative Dietary Practices in Precarious Times

Key contacts: Dr Rachel O’Neill

Funding: Wellcome Trust

Start date: 01.09.2019

End date: 31.08.2022

Project overview

From ‘green juice’ to ‘golden milk’ a host of supposedly health-enhancing dietary practices have become popular in the UK under the auspices of ‘wellness’. While such trends generate significant media attention and are cause for concern among medical professionals, they remain poorly understood and frequently trivialised. Rather than debating what actually constitutes ‘healthy eating’, this study uses the tools of social and cultural analysis to understand why scientifically unfounded dietary trends are flourishing. Ethnographic methods explore the glamorous trappings and mundane entanglements wellness generates in women’s everyday lives, and investigate how health practitioners grapple with the proliferation of anti-expert nutritional guidance as manifest online and in clinic.