The sick cult of wellness has come to border on narcissism - and its boring
It should be the colour of this," announces my girlfriend, pointing to her glass of chenin blanc.
"Somewhere in between a transparent Hawthorne yellow and a pale straw. But if you're edging towards that end of the chart," she warns the table with a head-cock in the direction of my amber-hued chardonnay, "your liver function isn't what it should be, and you're going to need to elevate your hydration levels."
If I had to pinpoint the moment our obsession with wellness became a sickness, it would probably be this: the moment my Friday evening tipple was likened to substandard urine.
There was a point to be made — and that was my girlfriend's superior organ function; her innate superiority, in fact, or "wellness" as she prefers to call it.
Because now that wellness is about more than moisture-wick yogawear, revelling mindfully in the intricate anatomy of a black oak leaf and knocking back the jam jar of veggie juice costing a bomb and emblazoned with solemn, spurious claims like "immunity" and "reboot"; now that wellness has transcended the physical to become a measure of our intrinsic goodness, how intensively we "self-care" is as much of a status symbol as our handbags.
It's a church, really. One that fills a void in our secular lives, boasts its own beatific language (the words "protocol", "salves" and "elixir" crop up a lot) and has Bishop Gwyneth Paltrow at the head, anointing us all with Goop.Plentiful squats, the avoidance of refined sugar and a regular intake of zucchini noodles are the key precepts of this religion. Meditation takes the place of prayer, and good deeds (from Goop's bestselling multivitamin range) are in pill form and popped orally.
Of course, with all that focus on living one's "best life" — boosting that Fitbit tracker count, hitting your macronutrient targets and enjoying such a premium-quality 12 hours' shuteye a night that you want to walk around in a "Bet I slept better than you" T-shirt — other people and their dare-I-say-it more crucial concerns tend to be forgotten.
In their quest to be canonised, wellness apostles have become the very thing they fear most: self-indulgent. Because self-care is all well and good, but in its most fetishistic forms, it is quite simply narcissism.
Then there's the boredom factor. Aside from other people's children, dreams and holiday snaps, there is nothing duller than conversations about health.
If we make it that far, most of us will be able to consecrate our last 20 years purely to issues of bone density, cardiac arrhythmia and the outlandish lesbian plot lines in your favourite soapie.
That is what old age is for. So to sit around in your prime discussing how you magically cured the various ailments and intolerances you never had to begin with seems like rather a waste of all that life — and all that wellness.
Unless, of course, you're one of the wellness pedlars grafting away in a global industry worth billions — or, indeed, a "contextual commerce platform" (translations on a postcard, please) such as Goop, which will, from September, be available in a print version, published by Condé Nast, and coming to a news stand near you. In which case, there should be no limit to the micro-maladies and miracle remedies you dream up — while ensuring that both you and your bank account are positively glowing from within.Celebrity snake oil
Gwyneth Paltrow's remedies
Jade eggs (which are golf-ball sized. Gulp) inserted into vaginas to aid 'hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general'.
Piping hot water vapour pumped up same body part. 'It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels.' Avoiding processed cheese at all costs. 'It's worse than crack.'
Hook up to a drip
Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevingne have posted an Instagram endorsement for vitamin IVs that pump users full of high doses of vitamins.
Dr David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Centre, says vitamin IVs are 'the latest snake oil off the huckster's cart'.
— The Daily Telegraph, London