Diet Development

You might want to grab a cup of tea for this one – I’m in one of those moods today 😉

This post contains quite a few links to other (reliable) sites so if you’re looking for further information be sure to click anything that is underlined.

Food & Diet Advice (or not?)

I am becoming increasingly addicted to watching programs and reading studies about the health benefits of one diet v’s another or one food group being healthy while others being berated for their harm.

For every video I watch on the health benefits of high carb I find two others pulling it to bits and offering the alternatives of low carb.

Some people are passionately filming how they lost weight and got mega healthy while others are saying the same diets make them fat.

In my quest to lose another 8lbs which would shift me from the overweight category into the healthy one advice is abundant.

Carbs once a week, or not at all (what’s with these cheat days!).  Eat fat to lose weight but eat it at the right time of day and either exercise loads or perhaps not at all.  Not to mention the Government’s official stance.

And through all this advice I’m losing all sense of reality.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that common sense really prevails.  If you’re healthy, which I am  why the hell do I worry so much about the need to lose 8lbs?  My main stay for losing the previous two stone was blatantly obvious but losing 36lbs appeared to be much easier in those days.

But it doesn’t work now.  Either because I’ve shot myself in the foot having been paleo for over a year or perhaps I’m still eating the ‘wrong’ kinds of food?

I was hoping that if I reduced meat and dairy that I would see a drop in lbs but this hasn’t been the case (so far).  I’ve plateaued.

Why am I trying so hard?

My good eating habits are well established.  No fast food, no processed meals, no crap.  I suffer from binges of chocolate which I don’t excuse, but I am only human.  And I still find explaining to people that I don’t want meat a tiresome battle so do end up eating meat out of sheer convenience now.

My good exercise habits are also well established (Adopting a Jack Russell soon gets the habit built!).  I do some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes most days.  In fact you’ll see me climbing the walls if I don’t get outside and do something vigorous.

I still eat sugar because I like it and a debate reigns online as to whether table sugar is actually as bad for you as we were told.

Of course it hasn’t got any nutritional value but neither has alcohol and advice I’m consistently hearing on that is to drink moderately, preferably red wine.

Well you keep the alcohol and I’ll keep my sugar.  It has drug inducing qualities, along side alcohol, coffee and dark chocolate but it’s a plant and a wholefood so I’m still keeping it, although even now I’m cutting it down.

I think basically I wouldn’t be even having this conversation if I lived 60yrs ago.  Because in 1955 fast food hadn’t been heard of, supermarkets hadn’t been invented and while processed food was available it was used sparingly.  There was no battle of what you should or shouldn’t eat.  As for exercise, well you had no choice because only the rich could afford cars so people had to walk more before they even started manual/field work.

With progress has also come a hefty battle to remember what food is – something to keep us alive.  And where does most food come from – on the land or within the soil.  Not out of tins, packets or jars.

Why did carbs form the basis of the food pyramid?  Because they were easiest to grow and produce in large abundance at small selling prices.  They didn’t put meat there because it was too expensive to farm and buy.  As it is now.  From a low carb view I can see why there could be an argument to change the base but for two issues – ethically why would you want so many animals killed to eat and the pyramid has been in existence for decades meaning better studies can show what high carbs can do.

Low carb diets have no long term research studies associated to them yet.  Some research suggests low carb can only be a temporary diet, as it puts you into a state of ketosis which is great for short term fat loss but not a state you want your body in forever.

Real Food

Good food, proper food that we should be eating is expensive.  Even artisan bread can be expensive.  But the thing is, we should be paying high prices for food – just not giving any profits to the supermarkets.  If fresh food is cheap, or on offer or available for bulk buy it should be raising alarm bells to us as consumers.

Everyone should be promoting wholefoods, not packaged goods.

To me the most simple answer, regardless of whether you’re a high carb or high fat fan is to eat more vegetables, especially leafy ones.

Neither area is promoting enough of what is so obviously good for you, and something you’re able to grow easily yourself (thus controlling not only your health but where your food comes from).

Rather than worry about how tasty fat is (or not), or how bread can add to your hips, shouldn’t we be putting emphasis on those plants that add real value to our health?

Problem is spinach, cabbage and kale (to name but a few) seem to be incapable of being cool.  Bacon is cool, banana’s are cool, pasta is cool and a steak is cool. Kale is not cool.

It just doesn’t have the same marketing qualities to it.  Bread can look rustic, pasta can be mixed with just about anything it’s so versatile (and economical on the purse), bananas can make smoothies look hip, and steak is about as manly as you can get.

Kale on the other hand – what do you do with that?  Boil it?  Eat it raw?  It’s usually pretty bitter and just a small amount seems to take up the whole plate.  So why on earth would you eat a green vegetable like that?

I think I must be a bit weird or something because I’m about as passionate for eating a bowl of veggies as you can get.  I like nothing more than a bowl of steamed kale.  I’ll eat broccoli raw.  Hell, I’ll even eat spinach for every meal.  I remember as a kid sat eating a packet of raw vegetables and it was nothing to me.  And yet somewhere between the 1980’s and now I’ve lost my way.

I understand people don’t like vegetables, or if they do not many.  But enough of the excuses people.  Advertising and carefully (and I mean very carefully) constructed and implemented marketing plans are making us fatter, unhealthy, unable to make decent food choices and stealing our hard earned cash at the same time.

Yes we work and yes that pizza is so easy to pick up and chuck in the oven because we haven’t got time to eat well and live – sorry did I actually say that in the same sentence?  See how dumb we’ve become?

Are you actually going to stop by at McDonalds because you’re too tired or because you didn’t plan your meals?

Enough of my rant…what’s yours?

_____________________________

Cover photo courtesy of Pawel Pacholec

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17 responses to “Diet Development

  1. had two cups of tea and enjoyed your blog 🙂 I think if most people just spend a few hours on sunday or something.. prepping meals they will find that they eat healthier during the week… lovely rant 🙂
    just started following you, I have a vegan recipe/lifestyle & Cruelty-free beauty Blog as well, http://www.veganneeds.com
    so glad I found your blog & Happy to connect with you 🙂

  2. I think if people made meals from scratch there would be less need for debate about what kind of diet was right. Sure, you could still be overweight and/or unhealthy but the scale of problems would be reduced.

    I think back to the seventies when my mum’s mum was always on a diet – because she ate too many sweets and nuts between meals (she wasn’t a happy woman). However, most people didn’t need to diet – or at least were only a little rounded, which by today’s standards would be neither here nor there.

    Anyway, I think vegetables are the key – nutritious, low in calories and beneficial for the environment (taking it, they aren’t being shipped round the world).

  3. I sympathise with the chocolate binges! At the moment I’m following the Whole30 diet (not always for periods of 30 days) and taking breaks in between. Although I’m doing it for health/digestion reasons, I find I’m also losing weight so high-fat/low-carb and no sugar works for me. But I think each individual has to experiment and see what works best with their body and eating habits. By the way, do you ever make kale crisps? http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-kale-crisps

    • Pleased it’s not just me then re. chocolate 😉
      Kale crisps, what a great idea. I’ll check it out, thank you :-
      PS. Good luck with Whole30. I’ve not seen that one.

  4. hmm – it is a fact – no idea where the research is – but it is a fact that the older we get, the slower our metabolism, and the less easy it is to lose weight.

    don’t worry about it! You sound like you are fairly well grounded and have a good mix of exercise and ‘natural’ food. who cares if you eat a bit of chocolate – its good for you – well the chocolate manufacturers will find something to corroborate that – smile.

    I am utterly fed up of the “thought police”, and dieting and all the “bad foods” endlessly fuelling lazy journalists with something to say – I am certainly old enough to go my own way – and sometime when it just happens, I will lose a little of the weight I have put on over the years – smile!

    • That’s useful to know Julz. You know, I hadn’t even given my age a thought but looking at further research you’d be absolutely right in your fact. That’s obviously very annoying for me but at least I can better direct my own path now.
      It’s surprising how ‘bad foods’ get moved about, once year they are bad and next they are superior. I don’t think it takes a genius to work out the really bad ones but as you say the rest makes newspaper fodder and confuses half the population in the process.
      Thanks stopping by 🙂

  5. Ketosis is not a harmful state. Think back to what we ate before the dawn of agriculture, and unlimitless supplies of food. We know breast milk is good for babies, right? What is the carbohydrate in breast milk…
    Name an essential carbohydrate. By essential I mean in the same way we have a need of ‘essential fatty acids’ and ‘essential amino acids’. Which come from animal fats and protein, and are essential because we cannot make them by metabolising something else in the liver, or are provided by enzymes in the gut.
    The advice in the 1970’s which saw dietary changes that swapped animal fats for sugar, and other carbohydrates, and polyunstaturate ‘seed’ oils, has been disastrous. Type2 diabetes has rocketed and we are getting more and more ill with metabolic and auto-immune diseases.
    The best thing you can do is cut out all sugar that isn’t in seasonal fruit, and eat… real food. Meats – fatty, offal, everything but the oink/moo/quack! etc. Veggies are generally okay. Use olive oil, not sunflower. And the latest advice which is coming out of the Dept of Health to GP’s, is low carb.
    I’m kind of biased tho. I’ve been in ketosis since November last year and feeling better than I have for decades. I can almost forget I have Crohn’s – an auto-immune disease until I have to do my injections. And I have a lot, lot more energy. A properly formulated ketogenic diet is brilliant.
    Have a look at The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Volek and Phinney

    • Hi Beth, thanks for stopping by the blog. I would be the first one to admit that Paleo style eating habits help you loose weight, I do, because I ate that way for a yr and lost 36Ibs. Totally fab, However the problem for me was two-fold. First my weight plateaued which meant no more weight loss was to be had eating that way and secondly having completed a month of Veganuary it made me very seriously question my motives and reasons for eating meat. Now while everyone’s health and fitness journey is very personal that was mine. My journey, while not as easy as Paleo (because I’m conditioned to always put meat and veg together rather than lentils or pulses but it’s just a habit that can be changed), is about going down the veggie/vegan route and finding my fitness and health that way. I appreciate your sentiments around high carb, I used to feel the same too (while eating Paleo), but don’t stop searching. Always keep exploring food and most of all if it works for you then don’t change it. Hopefully my point, in the blog post, was really to get across the fact that no matter what diet you pursue veggies have to be high up on the list and need to take up the majority of the plate because for both health and fitness they are king 🙂

  6. Pingback: Obesity – its all Nixon’s fault! | the spare·

  7. I enjoyed reading your post. I love veggies, sourdough or artisan bread and fresh fruits and have done ever since I remember. I find it alarming how expensive fresh cherries are these days. It worries me that some families will just not be able to afford them.

    • Hello there and thank you for visiting my blog. You are so right about cherries, I presume they are expensive due to the way the fruit is picked? I am trying to grow my own cherry tree. It may take a few yrs but will be worth it in the end 🙂

      • Perhaps and I can imagine they don’t last long when they’re ripe. I love the big, dark, juicy ones, which tend to be the dearest ones. Good luck with the tree.

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