Friday, 20 January 2017
How healthily do we eat?
In these days of low light levels, I needed a summery photo or two to cheer me up. So there you are . . .
I woke early (as ever) and ate my breakfast whilst I watched a programme I recorded from last night - Horizon: Clean Living - the Dirty Truth. It was very interesting, and dealt with the present craze for fads in "clean eating" and dietary habits as influenced by food writers such as "Deliciously Ella" Mills, the Hemsley Sisters, Natasha Corrett and other "gurus" of the healthy eating brigade, who propose that whole food groups should be excluded from our diets (think Gluten-free for starters even though only 1% or so of the population have Ceoliac disease and really mustn't have gluten), cutting out sugar, grains, meat, dairy, whatever, as they are unhealthy in one way or another.
There was an interview with an American who proposes that he can cure cancer and has made millions from giving desperately ill people alkaline treatments intravenously (as well as writing books and doing lecture tours which propose people ditch meat and dairy (acidic) in favour of plant-based foods (alkaline). He is currently languishing in jail, having been proven to have purchased his PhD and been practicing "medicine" without a licence . . . As Dr Yeo said, pseudoscience at its worst.
The Hemsley Sisters and Natasha Corrett all declined to take part, but at least Ella Mills had the courage to stand up and be counted and fight her corner. I think the most interesting - and worrying - thing to come out of this programme was, as the presenter Dr Yeo said, that by these diet fads being put on social media (Ella Mills has something like a million followers) are incredibly influential and people buy into the mindset, and food is then seen as good (clean) and bad (dirty). I am guessing chocolate (needless to say) is BAD!!! No hope for me then . . . which gives me a link into what I am going to say about people then getting obsessive about food and feeling guilty for eating something "bad" (yup, been there, done that and still feel that way if I have chocolate or a (rare these days) cream bun, but that's mainly because I am needing to lose weight.
Just think, whole industries have sprung up from these mindsets - manufacturers of spiralizers, juicers, smoothie makers, and the chaps with coconut plantations must be doing very well now that anything coconut - oil, milk, flour, water, flakes now that coconut is a known superfood. . . Or is it?!
After I had been so ill for three years with chest infection after chest infection, I bought into this healthy food mindset too, and was a devout follower of the Low Histamine Chef, and if you open my kitchen cupboard doors there are still lists of foods which are anti-inflammatory, and high - or low - in histamines and for a few months I truly believed that by keeping to the regime of all foods as fresh as possible, as little meat and dairy as possible, eating the "right" sort of fruits and vegetables oh and she was another one who eschewed grains (there's a recent post about wheat triggering an inflammatory response and even now, reading it, I could buy into that mindset again . . .)
I feel sorry for Eldest Daughter, who put up with the Guest from Hell when she had to ask in advance what I couldn't eat, and when we went out for the day into the Antiques Quarter of Sheffield and were looking for lunch, there was not ONE BLARDY THING ANYWHERE that I could have eaten without offending one element or another of my low-histamine anti-inflammatory regime. You know what - in the end I just thought damn it and had a Bacon Butty !
What stopped me? Hah - well, there had been no great improvement in my asthma, and I was having IBS symptoms, so I went to a Herbal Doctor, and was given a blend of herbs which would help to sort out my gut and boy DID IT - but perhaps not in the way the herbalist intended - good grief, my body turned itself inside out to rid itself of everything recently ingested and I couldn't leave the house for 24 hours! There's a lesson in a) self diagnosis and b) possibly misrepresenting my symptoms to a Herbal Doctor. Well, after that I thought damn it, my body was screaming for REAL cheese (I'd given up all bovine dairy, and had been sticking to goaty products, as soya was also apparently something I shouldn't go near) and I had eliminated all sorts of things which were apparently having an adverse affect. Well, I just ate normally again and haven't looked back since.
I eat all food groups, all mostly in moderation (I still eat lots of apples, as I do have an apple addiction), and always cook from scratch when I can. I buy what is in season, but always have cucumbers on my shopping list as I eat them all year round - nothing freshens your mouth after something spicy, like cucumber. I try to grow some vegetables here, and have always had a good soft fruit patch and fruit trees. I would like to buy all organic vegetables where possible, but round here, the choice is fairly limited. I try to buy good meat from a good local butcher (though if I am in a rush, then Supermarket meat it has to be, but it has to be low fat quality steak mince if it's mince, and never EVER the cheapest quality of meat or fish on offer.) I still get queasy thinking of a neighbour whose family "dined" on that truly awful pack of cheap "mince" which had to go in the oven on a tray to solidify into anything resembling "food" and ditto the dodgiest looking "sausages". But then, her idea of a quick pizza for the kids was tomato puree spread on toast . . . so gourmet she was NOT! I like to try new recipes, but I will confess to having a repertoire of meals which are regularly eaten, and new things only happen now and again - because of being so busy since having the Units etc. I still bake, though not as much as I used to, and 2017 is going to be the year of all bread being made at home (unless I am manically busy).
So the next time someone suggests making a pizza base with cauliflower, or shakes a finger when you have a piece of cake - tell them to go to hell!!