I was a little awestruck by the response to my cellulite post last week. I knew cellulite was a bit of a hot-button issue, but didn’t anticipate the depth of people’s passion on the subject.
I received numerous comments here and on my facebook page that were some variation of the ‘cellulite is caused by toxins in processed food’ theme. The suggestion being that anyone who has cellulite is simply not eating ‘cleanly’ enough. For shame. Lets explore this, shall we?
Industrial food production really didn’t come into existence until the first half of the 20th century. Since then, it’s spread across the globe, but even today there are small pockets of humanity that still consume traditional diets. I’ve gathered some images of women, most of them historical, that indicate that cellulite existed before industrial food production.
These first few images are photographs, taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, of women from various pre-industrial cultures. Not only do these images indicate that cellulite is normal, they indicate that women eating traditional diets and living traditional lifestyles had a wide variety of body types, dispelling the myth that pre- and non-industrial bodies were ubiquitously lean. None of these women were eating twinkies. You can click on each image to see the original source.
Then there’s the Rubens women. Rubens produced his paintings in the 15th century, LONG before the advent of industrial food. The women he painted embodied the ideal of feminine beauty at the time, and they clearly have dimpled flesh indicative of normal cellulite:
The Jarawa are one of the last cultures left that have resisted contact with the outside world. They live on the Andaman Islands in Indonesia and still eat their traditional diet of seafood and fruit, supplemented with tubers and meat from the jungle they depend on for survival. You can see amazing photos of Jarawa culture here.
So, who wants to tell me that the women in these images are just eating too much junk food and not exercising hard enough?
The women here represent a wide variety of healthy body types. Different shapes have adapted to meet the challenges of different environments, but there is no one ‘standard’ healthy ‘pre-industrial’ or paleolithic body type. Or one standard ‘healthy human diet’. The variety found in the human race is breathtaking, and stepping outside our preconceived notions of what is ‘healthy’ and ‘attractive’ opens up a world of richness and beauty.