Mixed messages

I am very partial to a magazine or three. But some of their messages around weight and health are truly awful.

Yesterday, I was reading one such article on the train. It offered readers ideas for a ‘healthy barbeque’.

These healthy options included gluten free bread, wheat free wraps and egg free sauce. An accompanying by-line suggested this would remove the ‘stodge’.

I call bullshit.

Taking ingredients out of foodstuffs does not make them healthy. Even when you remove ingredients like fat and sugar that we all know we are supposed to eat in moderation they don’t necessarily become healthier – mainly because then to make them taste okay they are usually replaced with other, equally or even more unhealthy junk.

You only need to stop eating food like gluten or eggs if you have an actual food intolerance. Preferably one diagnosed by a professional and not merely with the assistance of something found on the internet.


In the same way that taking something out of food doesn’t make it healthy, neither does adding something in. This morning I saw a poster at a bus stop advertising a popular chocolate bar with added protein – accompanied by a photograph of beautiful people exercising.  Now protein is good for you.  It builds and repairs muscle and can help with weight-loss.  It is an essential food stuff, available in food and through supplements for those who want to consume more of it.  But in chocolate? Not so much.  Adding some protein doesn’t negate the fat, the sugar, the additives.

With advice and marketing messages like these it’s no wonder that people are confused about what to eat. If you do feel you need a little nutritional advice, the best place to get it is the NHS.

They are experts – and perhaps equally as important – they have nothing to sell you.

Don’t fall for the hype.


Mince pie lethargy

The last couple of days, I’ve had no energy at all.

It’s hard to wake up and get going in the morning, even though I’m getting more sleep than usual. The lure of the sofa is just too strong, even when there’s plenty of stuff I should be doing.

The reason is pretty obvious when you think about it. I’ve been eating crap, so I feel like crap.

Since just before Christmas, my diet has been made up almost exclusively of three key food groups; sugar, fat (not the good kind) and grapes. By which I mean wine.

There has been some protein (turkey, Christmas Day), some healthy fats (olive oil, Greek yoghurt on top of pancakes plus syrup) and I did manage some fruit (the orange creams in the Quality Street).

But a few vegetables aside, the bulk of my food has been highly processed food, with low nutritional value. And there has been too much of it.

All of this equals a very lethargic, smudgy, lazy Gem.

There are plenty of ways to approach eating, especially when you want to lose weight or simply feel in yourself. One of them is to focus on eating food as close to its natural state as possible and with high nutritional value.  Good food that contributes to feeling good, rather than detracting from it.

The overall amount of food you eat, including the total calories within it, are important. But there’s more to it too.  That’s one of the reasons I can’t get on with many diet plans.  You can limit yourself to a 1600 calories a day, but there’s 1600 healthy calories and 1600 calories of crap.  You might lose some weight, but not necessarily in a way that will make you feel at your best.

Today, to get over my lethargy, I went to the gym. It’s true that exercise gives you more energy. I nourished myself in a better way too.  Protein, fibre, fruit, salad.  And only the one mince pie…….