If you haven't heard of him, Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans is a little like Down Under's answer to Gwyneth Paltrow.
With a penchant for 'activated' nuts, coconut water, and the Paleo diet, Evans has drawn a following as a 'wellness guru' – it's also earned him a documentary on Netflix, alongside plenty of local media coverage.
Unsurprisingly, he's fallen afoul of the local medical community before, but a new claim has us utterly flabbergasted. In a post to his Instagram and Facebook, Evans explains he's been looking directly at the Sun daily – albeit briefly – as a form of medicine.
"Everyday I love to immerse myself in an experience within the cleansing ocean water as well as a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting Sun," his post says.
"These simple, yet powerful practices have got to be two of the best forms of free medicine on the planet for body, mind and spirit. #sungazing"
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Everyday I love to immerse myself in an experience within the cleansing ocean water as well as a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting Sun. These simple, yet powerful practices have got to be two of the best forms of free medicine on the planet for body, mind and spirit. #sungazing 🌞👁💦❤️
For the blissfully uninitiated, sungazing is the practice of staring directly into the Sun as a form of alternative therapy, or for religious reasons, and it's been around since at least the early 20th century.
As such, we have a bunch of scientific literature on why it's a spectacularly bad idea.
In fact, even Socrates noted that one should never observe an eclipse directly.
Eye damage caused by the Sun is called solar retinopathy, and it can be caused even by "minimal" gazing at the Sun.
Evans has nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram, and over 1.5 million on Facebook, but that hasn't stopped him from spreading anti-science nonsense, in spite of censure by the Australian Medical Association.
The professional association has condemned the chef, who endorses a Paleo lifestyle, for his views on dairy (he claimed it strips calcium from your bones), fluoride (which he called a neurotoxin) and sunscreen (which he said is full of poisonous chemicals).
He has also claimed that a ketogenic diet relieves the symptoms of autism, and implicated it in the reduction of a woman's breast cancer. For the record, there is no scientific evidence that specific foods can reduce or treat cancer. Or autism, for that matter.
And there are mounds of common sense evidence that staring at the Sun can result in permanent vision loss. So, maybe it's worth staring at something else as your daily dose of 'medicine'.