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The Dangers of Being an Almond Mum

Trigger warning: eating disorders

What is an Almond Mum?

Have you heard of the term “Almond Mum”? The term, which has been gaining popularity on social media, was highlighted in the news this week in relation to Gwyneth Paltrow, after she shared what she typically eats in a day. For those of you who missed it, apparently Gwyneth will intermittent fast, breaking that fast with bone broth most days, soup on others, and then eat 1 Paleo meal in the evening. After sharing this, Gwyneth received quite a bit of backlash for glamorising what many people consider disordered eating and was referred to as an Almond Mum. (In response, Gwyneth advised that her diet has been designed by her doctor to help battle the effects of long covid.)

So let’s go into more detail about what an Almond Mum actually is!

The term Almond Mum is a mother who pushes toxic dieting and disordered eating onto their children. The term emerged in 2022 after Real Housewives of Beverly Hills clips from 2014 made the rounds of the internet. In the clip, Gigi complains about feeling weak as they had only eaten “half an almond” to which, Gigi’s mother (Yolanda) responded with “have a couple of almonds and chew them really well”. Thanks, Yolanda… that’s going to make Gigi feel a whole lot better.

@itsme_lisap #stitch with @leeann.braun almond moms are also usually very thin and push this way of thinking on their daughters #almondmom #disorderedeating #skinnymom #bodypositivity #bodydismorphia ♬ original sound – Lisa P

Almond mum’s are obsessed with food and calories on a completely new level. It creates and reinforces unhealthy relationships with food and calories, not only for them, but for their children as well. A parents obsession with theirs and their child’s eating habits and appearance sets their children ( and themselves) up for intense failure.

Example of a child sharing their experience with an almond mum. Source: Reddit.

Long Term Effects of Having an Almond Mum

So what are the long term effects of having an almond mum?

  • Higher chance of developing an eating disorder
    • There are many stories of children from almond parents who have developed eating disorders during their lives because of their unhealthy relationship with food, generally developing anorexia or doing a complete flip and turning to binge eating. In their parents point of view, eating these bad foods makes them a bad person, so it’s often smuggled or hidden when their child does indulge, which further establishes that unhealthy relationship with snack and higher calorie foods.
  • Restricting foods leads the brain to believe a food source is scarce
    • The brain can’t tell the difference between a food being restricted and it being scarce, it sees them the same way, so, when it feels it has the chance to eat that food, it overindulges in it as it believes it may be the last time you may get to eat it.
  • Low confidence
    • It goes without saying that by consistently hounding your child about what they eat and their appearance, that they will be far more self-conscious about their appearance, noticing all those little details about themselves that aren’t exactly to societies unrealistic beauty standards.
  • Anxiety and depression
    • Since they’re struggling with low confidence, your child may feel like they’re backed into a corner. That they have no one to turn to and that their needs aren’t being listened to. They feel alone and isolated, leading to anxiety and depression.
  • Difficulty standing up for yourself
    • It’s hard enough to say “no” as it is if you’re brought up in a less than healthy way with your parents. Let alone if you’re forced into things you don’t want to participate in your whole life. This leads to those children feeling like they cannot stand up for themselves and, that if they do, there’s either repercussions or that it goes ignored.
  • Hindering your ability to play sport
    • There’s some people out there (Yolanda, I’m looking at you!) who feel their children (daughters especially) shouldn’t play sports as they will develop “manly” bodies and need to “eat like men”. They inhibit the ability for their children to play sports and encourage them to pursue more feminine hobbies.

Are You an Almond Mum?

After reading all of this, you might be a concerned about whether you’ve been an almond mum yourself, or you might be thinking about those times your parents restricted your eating quite drastically. There’s always time to improve your relationship with food, but it all starts with recognising that you’re in an unhealthy relationship with your food. And if you’re worried about whether or not you’re an almond mum ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I commenting on my child’s body, appearance and eating habits frequently?
  2. Do I have intense dieting restrictions for my household?

If you answered yes to either or both of these, it might be time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and maybe get in contact with some psychologists to better your relationship with food.




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