May 8, 2017

10 Scams $piritualists are pushing on you every other Day.

You are not an Empath. He is not a Narcissist.

Scam? Really? Yes: anti-vax, juicing, cult worship, products packaged in toxic plastic…these things hurt real people.

“Dear Scam, you lost me at Yoni + Cucumber Cleanse.”

Here’s a few of the many of Spiritual/Health/Food/Therapy/New Agey scams that folks are pushing on us, every day…because they want to make money.

It’s nothing new. It is, after all, a long-standing tradition—snake-oil salesmen used to dot America, pushing bad product on unsuspecting yokels, refining the art of parting suckers with their money.

Here’s a few tips: if it’s packaged in plastic, the company probably doesn’t care about our environment more than their bottom dollar.

If the guru is having sex with students, extorting students, snorting coke, staring intensely through a photoshopped bio photo out of conference brochures and riding around in a fancy car…he or she might just be living out their junior high dreams with spirituality or yoga as the excuse. Got Theism? Don’t.

If it costs way too much and you could buy it for far less without the branding.

But let’s get specific. Titles are linked for more info.

  1. Juicing. It’s not good for you. It’s the Ben & Jerry’s for the Instagram Girl set. It’s all the sugar and none of the nature-given fiber. Relephant read: #1 Article on NY Times declares: “Doctors: Kale, Lemon Water, Juicing n’ Smoothies = Bad for You.”
  2. Kale. Too much of a good thing can be…too much. See science, above.
  3. Kombucha. You’re not supposed to drink more than a shot glass of it at a time, but no Kombucha company would ever tell you that. Also, it is rarely if ever organic, meaning you’re glugging down on pesticides (I know you know, but they’re just a fancy term for poison. To quote Jane Goodall, whoever thought that poisoning our food was a good idea?).
  4. In that vein, beer and cigarettes, coffee and marijuana…are almost always heavily-pesticided, with copious amounts of plastic involved in their production. Support organic.
  5. Crystals. You’re essentially paying for the mining (you know, rape and destruction) of mother earth so you can put them on your necklace or PC or Apple computer, made with precious metals by often-unfair labor.
  6. Astrology. The moon is a thing: see tides, and menstrual cycles. Mercury Retrograde and Virgo and whatnot are best kept as a fun thing you read while waiting for your organic, fair-trade coffee in your own to-go mug. Nothing’s wrong with them, but…they’re myth. Just like…
  7. Using your religion to defend your pre-judgments (you know, prejudice). Like, if you’re a Christian, but against healthcare access for all, you’re not only a poor economist, you need to re-read Jesus’ words.
  8. Himalayan Sea Salts. Okay, so we’re melting the Himalayan ice caps, the Chinese are our biggest trading partner only fifty years after conducting a genocide on the Tibetan people that continues in Brave New World fashion to this day…and you’re paying someone to mine a cave somewhere, ship it all the way across the world, and put a bulb in it, or grind it up for your salad. This is not in harmony with, you know, Mother Earth or, you know, harmony.
  9. Plastic yoga pants (that is, almost all yoga pants) and PVC yoga mats are bad for you, and our planet. The foundation of our yoga practice ought to be something eco. Shop organic cotton/hemp/silk/linen pants (secondhand ftw), or with mats, go rubber, plastic-free.
  10. The whole Empath/Narcissist thing. It’s like catnip for elephant readers. But being empathetic is one of the best and most powerful things in the world. So don’t flip it on its head and make it all about protecting “me” and getting away from others. You have taken your gift and turned it inward, making compassion selfish. Narcissism, same thing, but the opposite: don’t brand others as toxic or evil, when we all are full of ourselves. Ego is a thing we can work with, as is empathy. 

Video: a conversation about the deeper meaning of the whole Empath thing.


A few more, via my friends’ brainstorms:

“Zrii. It’s Deepak Chopra’s MLM dealy.”

Ionic foot detox baths. “I’m still not sure if these do anything for anyone but I think it’s pretty cool to watch what the water does. I’d have to go with the foot bath that is purported to draw toxins out of your body as the most preposterous.” But it’s so convenient after my vagina smoking!

“Fear of vaccinations when there’s more scientific research that suggests they aren’t harmful.”

“Ear candles.” Don’t you be taking away my ear candles!

“Onions on your feet.” “Grapefruit seed extract.”

“Virtually the whole “autism cure” market, showcased at anti-vaccine events like this: autismone.org.”


There’s so many more. But the most important thing you need, and should never give up, is a sense of critical intelligence. This intelligence can enable you to live a meaningful, fun life that’s good for self and others, and our planet. And that’s truly fun, and worth paying for (nothing feels better than giving up hard-earned dollars to a craftsperson, co-op, fair-trade or ethical company).

So why do I allow Astrology or juicing articles on elephant? Because we’re not here to tell you what is right and wrong in my personal view. We are here to foment meaningful, gentle, fun dialogue with those whom we might disagree—and to be of benefit. Dialogue is, unlike those 10 above, actually good for us—especially in this country beset by bubbles and silos and sycophantic ranting on Facebook walls.


Bonus: 10 Must Have Buys for the Spiritual Materialist.

Extra Bonus: The Simple Buddhist Trick to Being Happy.

Some interesting and respectful dialogue:

Jeanie Venegas Thank you! Not every guy or girl that treats you badly is a narcissist. In my opinion it’s kind of irresponsible to throw those terms around.
Elephant Journal Amen. It’s relationship fast food…not good for us.
Roxanne Nichole Walker Yes… people are quick to jump to that conclusion and misuse the term. Just like people throw around bipolar, ad(h)d, OCD, schizophrenic etc. know what you’re talking about before you label. I have dated a narcissist; but I don’t use that term lightly. And I don’t deny my responsibility in the demise of the relationship.
Crystal Crum I don’t agree with everything you said, but then again how boring would it be if we all thought the same way. Extremely boring. I do love that you feel strong in your opinions and aren’t afraid to express them. Even if I don’t believe half of what you said, I have much respect that you have the courage to express it.

Elephant Journal I don’t agree with everything I said, in a month. 

Crystal Crum LOL…I’m right there with ya!
Rose Winter vaccines do have harmful toxic chemicals in them, it makes me suspicious
Crystal Crum And that’s the main thing I disagreed with are vaccines. I can’t wait till the day that it’s “officially” announced how bad vaccines truly are. Of course a lot of us know they are bad, but as long as we have big pharma they will have most by the balls.
Crystal Crum “don’t brand others as toxic or evil, when we all are full of ourselves. Ego is a thing we can work with, as is empathy.”
“Using your religion to defend your pre-judgments (you know, prejudice). Like, if you’re a Christian, but against healthcare access for all, you’re not only a poor economist, you need to re-read Jesus’ words.”
Elephant Journal aw
Sara Germann One thing to point out though….while getting while fruit and veggies is definitely better, juicing is more than sugar. Antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals….all important. Some people with GI issues really struggle with extra fiber. Occasonal juicing is ok in that case. (he did mention everything in moderation in the 2014 article).
Elephant Journal yes. Great comment. Write! Elephantjournal.com/submit
Caitlin Dennis Agreed! As a person trying to heal the symptoms of several autoimmune diseases through diet and lifestyle (and it ain’t easy keeping up with the daily intake of vegetables when your entire colon has been removed due to UC) juicing is only one of the things on the list I disagree with. Himalayan salt? Not only does it contain numerous trace minerals but it’s definitely ideal compared to processed, fortified table salt that uses aluminum-based compounds as anti-caking agents. We’ve all got our own reasons for making the choices we do

Marie I didn’t think I was going to agree with this article. Then I read it and agreed with it all

Svenja Di Wow. That’s a lot to digest in one article. I don’t even know how to form an opinion on this piece, I guess I have to agree and disagree at the same time. Being critical is definitely important, but seeing the individual story is important as well. The only thing that bugs me is the whole “there’s scientific research for it, so it’s bad/good for you.”. If I’m being critical about companies, I’m critical about science as well. And by that I don’t mean all science is fake, which is the conclusion everybody seems to jump to if one particular “scientific fact” is criticized.
Crystal Crum Well said
Kate Goldman Right. People take a study saying something “may contribute” to something and take it as a closed case for everything.
Sara Germann Good point….philosophy of science would support you There is no ability to get to truth or fact. We can disprove things, but it’s difficult to definitively prove them.
Elephant Journal wonderful comment and well said. ~ Waylon Lewis

Elephant Journal Sara Germann also well said. Leave comments on the blog!

Svenja Di Thanks!

Elephant: Svenja Di no thank you!
Karen Diaz Calvario Yes because science is constantly changing or in progress.. which alot of journalist jump the gun on. Lol So being critical of science is probably the most important thing for science.

Kimberly Lo Prepare for the death threats. Seriously, I got them when I wrote an article for EJ saying Kombucha and juicing weren’t health foods. It was one of my most viewed and negatively commented on articles of all time!

Elephant Journal I nearly got hung by my ear candles when I dared write that most GF food is…not good for anyone. You’d think I’d written that Hitler was an okay guy: https://www.elephantjournal.com/…/gluten-free-can-be…/Gluten-Free can be Bad for 99% of Us.
Update:Double-blind study finds that only a…

Elephant Journal PS: miss you on ele, Kimberly Lo!

Kimberly Lo Oh, I can believe it. I was a feature writer for about two or three years. I wrote on all sorts of topics including child abuse, domestic abuse, all sorts of things, but this was the one that got people the most up in arms. And thank you!

Crystal Crum Hahaha love it!!!

Karen Diaz Calvario Yes agree. And just because a person doesn’t like any of these many opinionated articles, emphasis on *opinion,* doesn’t mean you have to unfollow elephant journal by the sheer Ridiculousness of it, because people rather cop out than have a meaningful discussion about why they think differently. Especially for these articles specifically. I believe it’s actually debilitating not having to express yourself that way, and only have ‘yes men’ to surround yourself in life. To me, that’s very closed minded.

No matter where you stand on any issue. Speak up instead of closing yourself off to articles that have obvious agendas to buy something, or is something that has a high sense of morality. EVERYONE is open to agree and disagree. I find it so silly when those comments pop up about elephant not pandering to certain individuals views. Which I’m glad for.
Sure, it brings people who will try to sell something for a certain group, but many people on elephant have different views and can point out the flaws, than a ‘yes man’ group think. Example of that is unlike many right or left leaning publications that will still try to sell what people already agree with, elephant doesn’t do that. It’s publication states that it’s open for ANY view, which is truly liberating.
But also good reminder that people shouldn’t believe everything, just because they read it on the internet somewhere.

Elephant Journal You’re amazing. Write! elephantjournal.com/submit Dialogue is key, especially in this country beset by bubbles and silos and sycophantic ranting on Facebook walls.

Submit a story | elephant journal
Submit a story “Write what you know.” ~ Mark Twain As independent media, we’re created by…
Karen Diaz Calvario I might have to now.

Joie Parris Totally agree! Most of this rubbish I ignore. Really glad someone stood up and spoke out.

I’d like to make a suggestion though – silk yoga pants should probably be on the no list. From what I’ve read the silk industry doesn’t really yet have a kind to animals alternative to offer, so when you buy silk it has been made by boiling silk worms in their cocoons. I only buy silk second hand now, and would love to find an alternative product.
Elephant Journal I was thinking that (I’m vegan) as I wrote it…but I’m wildly ignorant about silk! Secondhand for the win! Adding your comment.

Joie Parris Secondhand saris are my favourite thing

David Koenig FINALLY! Waylon mentioned this in one of the “Walk the Talk” dailies a while back. I immediately thought there was a disconnect between the stories EJ pushes out and where Waylon’s head was going. Truly if anyone was using EJ’s content without running it through their own BS filter, every xboyfriend would be a narcissist, every xgirlfriend a histrionic, and we (the spiritually awakened readers of EJ) would all be empaths. I fail to see the point of classifying the behaviors we obverse in others into categories like Charles Darwin looking at differences in bird beaks.
People do things. Sometimes we do not like how we feel about what they’ve done. (We each own that, but that’s another topic.) The only advantage I can see to labeling someone outside of a clinical (read: treatment) environment is to have a common language when we are commiserating with each other about hurtful relationships. Can’t we just talk about these peoples’ actions and behaviors while leaving the labels in the mental health professionals?
But keep pushing these articles. I do need to commiserate occasionally. I’m part of the club!

MN Neko Thanks for this, I thought everyone that contributed or subscribed was “new agey.”

Being inclusive of things that border on cult/superstition/religion doesn’t mean that we can’t learn and appreciate those things based on rational inquiry.
Valerie Lee Neill Love this. Let’s debate, discuss and decide amongst ourselves. Keep writing, sharing, exploring.

Angela Bateman So glad someone said something

Sara Germann *whole

Jennifer Contarino Panning I’m a psychologist and agree that the narcissist/empath focus is very trendy right now…and as a mental health professional I agree that those terms when thrown around carelessly are not helpful and can lead to labeling and stigmatizing. Some of this education can be helpful in understanding behavior but beyond that, it’s up to each individual to understand his/her part in these dynamics and learn/grow or…not!

Marilyn Kaye Here is my problem with this article. If you are a person who is too lazy or unintelligent to check more than just an Elephant Journal article before engaging in a new belief system, beginning a yoga or juicing regimen, sprinkling your food with a new “salt”, or any of the things listed here (which I don’t think all are scams, I just gotta say) then you probably deserve what you have coming to you. And I am not quite sure how the author here has found themselves to be the authority on any of it anymore than anyone else is? Other than finding themselves needing to judge the rest of the world from their own perspective.

Paulísima Epifanía Nice! I liked it a lot. Seems like the author would be open minded enough to receive a small observation about his position on supporting organic food. Farmers who grow that kind of produce are allowed to used pesticides, just not all types of them. They can use copper sulfate, elemental sulfur and borax for example. The one they use more is Bt though which comes from bacterium. Not because something is synthetic it means it’s evil or because it’s natural it means it’s good.

Rich Comstock #10 thank you

If you don’t have any real clinical experience or background in psychology with clinical evaluation, then shut the F up
(and just for the record, narcissists can be female too, assuming you’d like to use SHE occasionally 

Carissa Hunt Why is it even necessary to point these things out? People tend to conclude what they conclude, and if they don’t, they dont. Who cares? Why the judgement, I mean, concern? *confused*

Beverly Janson In fact…my ex was and is a narcissist…in fact I am an empath. I don’t see narcissists in every one I meet. I knew what he was before it even was a thing. I don’t do any of the things on that list for those given reasons. I do have critical thinking skills or I wouldn’t have made it to 65 relatively healthy. In fact I do blame elephant journal for a lot of the crap that’s on the internet. In fact…I do find you self-serving and you have shown yourself to be an entity that would commit suicide for the sake of a membership. Pretty well done with elephant journal …buh-bye Felicia

Ericka Jean Lol harsh!! But thanks. Ill still guzzle my Kombucha though. mmm pesticides. Maybe thats why mosquitos never bite me and I’ve never been stung by a bee

Kita Keets Funny how our POV can change overnight. I’m actually quite sick of the word narcissist. Iv called people it, people have called me that also. Along with calling each other toxic and all sorts… narcissist is an actual disorder, diagnosed by professional. Everyone seems to be a psych on these threads. Not to be thrown around because someone does you wrong or calls you a name. You literally can call anyone that has a negative trait or vulnerability a narcissist. Done, done, done. Enough with the narc posts… some people are just cunts and some people are naturally sensitive.

Elissavete Saito Lol this guy hasn’t even researched half of this stuff but rattles just like an empty can on and on about things. However empathy/narcissistic behaviors… Spot on. He is just angry that some shallow chick in yoga pants who juices and believes in astrology and crystals turned him down. Hahahaha

Gina DellaVecchia THANK YOU! I agree with all of your points and am glad you published this- and that you publish the other stuff too even though I don’t believe it. 

Nicole McCarthy Can you expand on the kombucha thing? Why so little?

Akriti Bansal Wait! I don’t understand. Why are you opposing your own articles?

Kate Ambrosia Lol, i wonder how many “empaths” and “indigo Children” have called someone anti-science?

Catherine Griffin Good article

Karen Pilz Except, yeah…he was a narcissist.

Lino Brenna Best article yet….impress this narci here.

Sarah Sihota Love it Thank you

Geir Roger Finally someone said it.

Marlena: Wow… this article does nothing but take hope away from those who look to explore life in a different and more open way. So… yeah, these articles lately do not resonate with me at all.

Elephant Meditation I think you may be taking something different from it than intention–critical intelligence is welcome, and needed, along the spiritual path. Hope and fear, in Buddhism, are both considered distractions from the present moment.

That said, we can be cheerful and loving, we’re on the same page there!

Katie: Hmmm, not good vibes with this article. “We’re not here to tell you what’s right and wrong…”, but here’s a list of what’s not good for you….??

Elephant Meditation Nothing wrong with judgment. Pre-judgment–prejudice, is the problem. You judge, perhaps, when it’s safe to cross the street, or whether to eat an organic apple or GMO apple.

There is such a thing as discriminating awareness. Prajna. Many folks out there will try, and are trying, to sell us on things that are not genuinely helpful.

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