More like; “Hollywood Diet”.
And now: something about Theresa Spence that falls into the what-everybody-is-thinking-but-won’t-say file.
There are hunger strikes and there are hunger strikes. To me, a hunger strike is when you drink water and you don’t actually — you know — eat. The whole point of the strike is to horrify people when they see you wasting away and slowly dying before their anguish-stricken eyes.
But Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence seems to have a different understanding of what a hunger strike is. She is living on water and “fish broth.” Although liquid, fish broth is food. More specifically, it’s protein and fat. And, as any devotee of those trendy low-carb regimes will know, that’s all you need to live on … indefinitely.
And although it is a bit awkward to point out, the photos I have seen of Chief Spence do not show her looking quite so gaunt and sickly, the shadow of her former self that three weeks on water alone would have produced.
In fact, I distinctly remember how impressed I was when I read — in one of the many low-carb books I’ve digested over the years in the service of my own (admittedly less well-publicized and politically oriented) dietary experiments — that a couple of scientists went way up north to live for a year, determined to eat nothing but a traditional aboriginal diet (absolutely no carbs, only fish, seal and caribou or whatever) so they could assess their health on their return. When they came back, lean and fit and vigorous, they had tests that showed their cholesterol and blood pressure were at optimum levels.
In other words: What Chief Spence seems to be on is more like a detox “diet” than a fast.
Yes, I know that the CBC has done breathless stories quoting doctors who tell us that this brave woman could collapse at any minute. But the curious thing about those stories: The doctors haven’t actually examined Ms. Spence. They seem more like political cheerleaders with medical-school degrees.
I myself on more than one occasion, when I have needed a kick-start to a healthier lifestyle, used to take myself off to a detox centre where I subsisted for a week on nothing but fruit juice three times a day. The first 24 hours were uncomfortable, but after that your digestive system goes into hibernation mode and your hunger pangs subside remarkably. I found it no strain whatsoever to stick to the diet, and there were a few women there who had been there for three weeks and were feeling just fine.
All of which to say: If Chief Spence actually intends to starve herself to death, she is going about it the wrong way.
Fish broth is a very low-calorie food, but it is highly nutritious, and I daresay a great deal healthier than the Chief’s regular regime, which I am going to assume from her appearance includes a lot of carbohydrates.
I am not actually encouraging Chief Spence to go on a real starvation regime. I am only saying that at this rate, it is going to take her a very long time to get the job done — if that is indeed what she wants.
Meanwhile, she may actually end up doing her body a favour.