Okay, so is anyone else a bit confused about what we should and shouldn’t be eating these days? I know that I am!
Today, the papers have been slamming so-called clean eating diets from the likes of ‘Deliciously Ella’ and ‘Hemsley and Hemsley’ for creating neuroses in women everywhere as well as being based on pseudo-science that at best is just a load of hog wash, but also has a more sinister side.
My general position is that these cook books aren’t the devil incarnate but should possibly be taken with a pinch of salt. As a rule of thumb, cutting out meat, dairy, wheat and gluten is pretty restrictive but for some people, this may work just fine. I know that personally this diet would leave me feeling fatigued and empty, but this is because meat and dairy make my life.
With strength training, if you don’t eat enough of the right stuff, you really could run the risk of feeling pretty unwell afterwards, leading to what an ex-boyfriend described as ‘spatching out’ – the sensation you get where your head makes a fizzing sound and your limbs go a bit shaky before you don’t know who you are anymore until someone revives you by wafting a burger under your snout.
I’ve tried a number of the Deliciously Ella recipes and they’re really nice! I’m pretty sure too that men and women out there aren’t all going to be following every word these people say as gospel, are they?!
It is a minefield of confusion out there though in regard to ‘eating healthily’. No bread? No potato? Surely it’s OK to eat the odd baked potato?! As Abi pointed out, they’ve been a food source for our ancestors for thousands of years if not more! Too much meat – I can see why that’s kind of gross and it’s bad for the planet, but again in moderation, surely we don’t have to cut it out?! And the latest one today in the Guardian – burnt toast can cause cancer. Are we all going to be looking at our crumbs with a colour chart to make sure from now on?
Seriously, we all need to get a grip! In a world where more and more people are unhappy with how they look and what they’re eating, I think we just need to relax a bit and perhaps look at why we eat bad stuff – are our jobs unmanageable and making us unhappy thus leading to having more naughty ‘pick-me-ups’ throughout the day? Do we have time to cook a healthy meal around everything else that we’ve got going on?
Avoiding too much choc, eating only until you’re full and avoiding an excessive amount of ready meals should do it, right? Easier said than done, I realise. When we associate having a treat more and more with relaxing and enjoyment, it becomes a bit of a psychological battle. I wish I had the answer for you, I certainly haven’t sussed it!
I’d say that for me, doing a bit of exercise and eating veg helps things along, and my coach David suggests listing something that you like about yourself every day, even if it’s as small as your little toe, or that you made someone else smile.
Above: my Friday night delight
It’s a shame that these news articles are aimed at women when I think that men are just as susceptible to not being comfortable with their bodies, although they may not talk about it so openly. Obviously playing to other people’s insecurities in order to make book sales is a real issue, but I don’t think that Ella and co are consciously doing this, they’re a product of the same looks-obsessed society after all.
In a world where instant gratification is the norm, we are all looking for an easy answer and a set of rules to accomplish living a healthy lifestyle by when perhaps this just isn’t the way it works. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves what we really want that will make us truly happy instead? I often think that if you look back a few generations ago to those who lived through WWII that their attitude to food back then was very different. Not to mention the fact that there was scarcity, my Nan maintained the same healthy weight her entire life by simply stopping eating when she was full, not snacking between meals and having desert on the odd occasion rather than every day. She wasn’t unhappy or miserable about her body, rather this was just the way she’d been taught to eat.
As a takeaway (sorry, no Chinese involved) thought exercise, please can you mentally note one thing that you like about your body today?