Trial by TikTok – Part 3

Trial by TikTok – Part 3

Trial by TikTok – Part 3

Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.

Dean Koontz

This is Part 3 in a small series about the response to a TikTok video that I posted. If you haven’t read the previous parts go back and have a read and watch the video in question.

So, let’s all stop assuming that what you see in a video or a picture is that person’s diet as a whole. In my video I had a whole three layer sponge cake filled with loads of jam and fresh cream. It was bloody lovely, but could I eat it all in one sitting? No of course not! Do I want to? No. Could I if I wanted to? No. Do I eat nothing but cake all day every day? No.

My diet is varied. It is a good mix of carbs, fats and proteins, and loads of vitamins and minerals. I have a lot of really nutritious foods and my fair share of play foods. For those of you who don’t know, play food is in the intuitive eating community what some people would call junk food. We don’t call it junk around here because it still has its place in a balanced diet and ‘junk’ implies it is rubbish. We don’t do food guilt thank you!

My point is, you cannot tell by looking at me in that one joke video what I eat, how much of any one food I eat, or how often I eat. You can’t do that, and you don’t know what is good for MY body. You don’t know what it responds well to, what disagrees with me, what nutrients I am or am not lacking, how much energy I do or don’t need.

When it comes to food affecting health, yes, if you were to eat a block of lard a day that might have some obvious repercussions, but that’s an unrealistic scenario. No-one is really going to do that, in the same way I wasn’t really going to sit and eat a whole three tier sponge cake to myself in one go.

Some foods are less nutritious than others, but if you have a good balanced diet that food will play a small part in your health. We don’t eat foods in isolation. There are always other foods in the day.

If you’re eating a whole cake each day and nothing else then I would say you are not eating intuitively and that is something to look at, because that’s not going to be health maximising, but if you enjoy cake as a part of your overall day then I’m all for that.

Canva - Delicious Slice of Red Velvet Cake

With conditions like diabetes and heart attacks it is fair to say you can give yourself a fighting chance with the food you eat, but it is totally unfair to say to someone that eating a cake will give them diabetes or a heart attack.

Again, the body is very complex and cannot be affected by food alone. It’s how that food interacts with your internal systems that determines the outcomes. Add to that external factors like family history, pollutants, money, activity levels, social factors and all of a sudden once more it becomes a big picture where lots of things affect your health. People need to stop spewing blanket statements like ‘cake gives you diabetes’, ‘cake gives you a heart attack’.

Now, before people get ranting about this, I absolutely do know that the quality and type of food that you put into your body has an impact on your health. As a nutritional therapist I couldn’t not know this, and it would be wrong of me to ignore it. There is no denying that you can definitely improve your health if you eat well. Some foods are more nutritious than others, and different foods support different systems in the body.

My motto is this: Isn’t it much nicer to ask what can be added to a diet to make it more nutritious than to ask what we can restrict? Isn’t it better to look at what nutrients you can add to the diet, rather than what you ‘should’ cut out. Same result will come out of it nutritionally more or less, but it’s reframed and a much more positive experience, and doesn’t end up with you wanting foods you’ve put on the banned list and feeling like you’re missing out. Remember where that ends up – that nasty binge restrict cycle.

My point from all of this is simply that people need to remove the automatic blanket thoughts that say it’s ONLY the food that impacts on someone’s health, and that what you see in a picture or video is an indication of the person’s diet as a whole. We should always consider there might be other reasons why a person is going to have health issues.

And finally, on to Part 4: The Scales……

 

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠.

Do you know your alcohol units?

Do you know your alcohol units?

Do you know your alcohol units?

Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.

Oscar Wilde

This week has been Alcohol Awareness Week. At the beginning of the week I did a little poll on my Instagram stories to see what people knew about the number of units in alcohol. Here’s what I found:

I don’t know what you think of these results but I’m not surprised by them. So here’s a bit of info to fill the gaps for those of you who don’t know all the numbers.

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60% of people who answered knew what the upper recommended limit for the number of units you should drink in a week is.

The upper limit recommended a person consumes in the UK is 14 units. Read on to find out what that is in actual drinks. By the way, the limits have changed. They used to be different for men and women but now they are the same.

44% of people know how many units of alcohol are in each drink serving.

One unit of alcohol equates to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. In the pub this is the same as a 25ml serving of most spirits, Remember that many pubs now serve 35ml as a standard shot. There are 1.6 units in a small 125ml measure of wine, 2.3 units in a pint of 4% lager, and 1.5 units in an alcopop.

55% of people know how many units you can legally drink and then drive.

With regard to driving, this is a tricky one. The limit is actually the amount of alcohol you have in your blood, alcohol or urine. For blood it’s 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, so you can see that this makes it difficult to guess when you’re drinking whether you’re over the limit or not. It’s affected by so many other things – what you’ve eaten, how stressed you are, your weight and your gender etc, and even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect you. Better safe than sorry – if you know you need to drive just don’t drink.

Only 34% of people said they felt confident not drinking on a night out with friends. This equates to 66% of people feeling uncomfortable not drinking along with their mates.

There is so much pressure to drink alcohol on a night out with friends too. You say you’re not drinking and then you get asked why, what’s wrong, and then if you say you just don’t want to you are the brunt of the jokes for the night. Unless people suddenly realise that you’re their taxi for the night then you’re the best lol. By the way, you don’t have to make excuses. If you don’t want to drink then don’t. You’ll be the one feeling fresh as a daisy then next morning and then who will be laughing!

68% of people know where to go if they need help with their alcohol consumption.

In these crazy times it is unsurprising that the amount of alcohol being consumed at home is increasing. If you do feel like you have concerns and would like some advice and information the following organisations are there for you:

Your GP
Drinkaware
Alcohol Change UK
Your local council services

You can also find more information on the NHS website.

 

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making any changes⁠.

 

Is freezer food bad?

Is freezer food bad?

Is freezer food bad?

Self-preservation is the first law of nature

Samuel Butler

Freezer food has got itself a bad reputation.

I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because in that freezer are also plenty of foods that you see as less nutritious than fresh food? The freezer is, after all, the home of the ready meal, the chips, the ice cream, the leftovers that you couldn’t be bothered to eat 12 months ago, and some bread in case you run out!

Frozen vegetables and fruit are right up there on the freezer ‘bad’ list aren’t they? They’re considered the poor cousin to the fresh veg and fruit, and only to be bought in an emergency. Wrong!

It may surprise you to hear then that frozen fruit and veg is actually sometimes MORE nutritious than the fresh options. They are more often than not picked and processed really quickly, so when they hit the freezer they have not really lost any of their nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are largely still in tact. The supermarket fresh section has a lovely colourful array of produce, but how long has it been since they were harvested? I have no idea myself. I just know that you don’t buy them less than 24 hours after picking in most cases. They don’t lose their taste through freezing, but actually maintain it. Plus, when you buy frozen food you also have the luxury of buying them all year round. Strawberries on your porridge in winter – no problem!

When you come to cook those foods you’re essentially cooking them straight from the plant they were picked from. Fresh, you’re a good few days down the line by the time they’ve arrived at the supermarket, been bought, taken home, stored and then eaten. I’m not saying there’s one better than the other, more that the frozen versions are very worthy of a place on your plate. Nutrition aside, let’s also appreciate that they are cheaper, keep for longer, and you’ll have the right quantity for the meal so there’s less food waste. Most of them are ready prepared too, which is fantastic if you’ve had a long day and can’t be bothered to stand in the kitchen chopping and slicing. What an easy way to get your ‘5 a day’ in. Also, remember the previous blog post about hiding veggies in other meals? Well frozen veg is great for that. Grab a handful and sling it in.

Frozen fish and meats can often be a more cost effective way to source what can often be quite expensive food. Frozen chicken breasts and thighs, mince beef, and joints of meat are relatively cheap and are usually the same product as you might find in the chillers. Fish and seafood is super fresh and some say better for the environment. When the recommendation is that people eat a couple of portions of fish a week it’s great to have some stashed away that you can grab when you fancy it. Fish doesn’t take long to defrost either, so you can have it at the drop of a hat.

Again, frozen meat and fish means you can use as much as you need in a meal and save the rest for another day. If you’ve got a larger family this could be a good way to get the bigger quantities for a bit less money. They aren’t always cheaper, but on the whole are, and there are definitely some added benefits to buying frozen.

frozen berries

Let’s not forget the vegetarian and vegan options. There is a huge range of different products in the freezer aisles now. Whether you are a full time vegetarian or vegan, or just like to have a couple of meat free meals in your week, there are some really tasty meat replacement products available.

I think in an ideal world we would all be able to whip up fabulous hearty meals every single day but in reality it’s not going to happen like that. There will be days when you just want to throw some waffles and nuggets in the oven for the kids, and grab yourself a TV dinner, and I’m not here to tell you that’s wrong. What I do ask though is that you try to limit those meals, and find a way to plan ahead so that you can replace them with some other more nutritious meals that you can still grab from the freezer and have ready when you’re in a hurry or not feeling up to cooking. Try and bulk cook some meals. On the days when you are cooking can you portion up a couple extra for the freezer? Can you make up some bags of rice, vegetables, cooked meat etc and freeze them so that it’s easy to grab and reheat rather than cook from scratch? Get creative and see how your freezer can become one of your favourite appliances in helping you to eat well.

Please remember to store and reheat your food safely though. Before putting anything in the freezer label your tubs and bags with the contents and the date you have frozen it, then use it within the recommended time. The Food Safety website gives you a very user friendly list of foods and how long you can keep them for. It gives you fridge times too, as an added bonus. You can even download and print the chart which is handy as a quick reference in the kitchen. When you take the food out of the freezer it is important to thaw and reheat it properly. The Allrecipes site has a nice little section on this. Please do give it a read.

I’m sure there will still be room for those tubs of ice cream. No-one says you have to only have the super nutritious food in the freezer, and we all need balance in our diets. It’s a rare human being that is happy to live without the less nutritious stuff. It’s good for the soul so go ahead and get yourself some!

Are you pleasantly surprised? Have I convinced you that it’s good? Are you happier filling your freezer with frozen ingredients for meals now?

What is Intuitive Eating?

What is Intuitive Eating?

What is Intuitive Eating?

Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.

Evelyn Tribole

By now you will have heard me prattling on about diet culture and how horrific it is, but what is the alternative? It’s so difficult to think of being happy in yourself and with food if you aren’t on a diet. Well I’m here to tell you there is an alternative – Intuitive Eating.

You may have heard me talk about Intuitive Eating in social media posts or if you’ve spoken to me in real life, or you may not have heard of it before. Maybe once you have read this you’ll realise that I talk a lot of the principles of Intuitive Eating but not necessarily use the name regularly. That’s how it should be I think, because I believe eating should be intuitive, and it shouldn’t take over every other thought throughout the day. You shouldn’t think of it like ‘Ooh I’m eating intuitively today’ but more as a natural way of living and something that eventually just happens so that you can enjoy other things in life without worrying about food.

So what is it? Let me explain….

Flat Lay of Delicious Breakfast with Berries

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach to eating and your relationship with food. It’s about finding a way to ditch all the beliefs you have gathered over the years from all those diets you have tried, and finding a way to eat freely.

It’s about shaking off all those self critical thoughts and finding a way to love yourself as you are. It’s about knowing that your weight really doesn’t matter.

Sounds great and impossible all at the same time right? I know, totally understand, but I promise it is doable. I’m living proof, amongst many others.

 

The absolute queens of Intuitive Eating are Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They are the creators of this programme and are the underpinning of several other people’s programmes, such as Laura Thomas and the London Centre For Intuitive Eating, and The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner. Such wonderful people doing amazing work in trying to kick diet culture to the kerb for once and for all.

Getting into Intuitive Eating and allowing the process to really work involves going through what are called the 10 principles. These are 10 steps which help you to understand and work through various beliefs and patterns that you have collected through your life and helping you to get to a place where no food is out of bounds. They are about removing obstacles and raising awareness. Those principles are:

1. Rejecting diet mentality

Letting go of all those rules that have been ingrained in you around food and understanding that you can let go, you will not lose control. It helps you to understand how bad diets are for us.

2. Honouring hunger

Helping you to understand what hunger is, and helping your body to understand that there will always be food to eat. Maybe you don’t even recognise hunger right now, or maybe you swing from starving hungry to uncomfortably full, but this principle will help with that.

3. Making peace with food

Wouldn’t you love to stop wrestling with food? To have unconditional permission to eat anything and everything? This principle walks you through this and helps you deal with the feelings that come up. It helps you realise that you can trust yourself around food.

4. Challenging the food police

OMG, those voices in your head that tell you off when you’ve had a few biscuits, or some cake, or a whole pizza followed by a curry, rice, chips, and all the trimmings!!! Those voices are the food police, and they’re horrible to live with. They never say anything nice, and are always super critical. You can stop that though and learn to be kinder to yourself.

5. Discovering satisfaction

By this point you’re ready to start appreciating the joy and satisfaction in eating.

6. Feeling your fullness

This is about listening to the hunger and fullness signals and understanding when you have feel you have eaten enough. Enough meaning the amount that you feel satisfied from, not the amount you think you should eat. This isn’t about restriction, it’s about understanding when you are comfortably full and knowing that you can always eat more later if you feel hungry again. That’s not to say you’ll never overeat ever again, but it will become an enjoyable choice rather than from mindless eating.

7. Coping with emotions

Understanding emotional eating, restriction, and loss of control. We all do it, it won’t go away completely, but you’ll recognise it and have some tools to be able to deal with the emotion rather than diving straight into the food cupboard.

8. Respecting your body

You are unique and special and this is about learning to love that, whatever your shape or size.

9. Movement

Finding ways to be a little more active that make you feel good, not going all out killing yourself in the gym if that’s not your bag. I wrote a blog post about this which you can read here.

10. Health through gentle nutrition

Once you’ve found more peace with your eating and your body you can start to consider the health benefits of foods. It’s about learning to eat nutritious food, but also that it won’t ruin your health to have a snack, a meal, a drink that you fancy that isn’t that nutritious.

This is definitely a process that you will need to focus on, and some of it may even bring some thoughts forward that you didn’t realise you’d buried, but that’s kinda the point – if you keep eating to push feelings down you’ll never escape diet culture. Or you may find that you breeze through it because everyone is different. Whichever your journey you will come out the other end with a much better understanding of your eating habits, feeling freer and like you can handle food more calmly, Whatever path this takes you down you can be sure that the path is a gentle one and the programme is full of kindness and understanding. You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly you get on board with it and change your eating patterns. Intuitive Eating really can free you from diet culture. You’ll be loving your body and feel good about eating whatever the hell you like in no time ????

Ok, I’m in, what next?

This is definitely one to get some proper guidance with. I don’t mean you have to pay the big bucks for therapists (although you can if that helps you) but do get the Intuitive Eating book and work through it principle by principle. While I’m here to motivate and cheer you on the book is without a doubt the starting point. I’ve popped the links on my ‘Recommended’ page for you.

I wish you all the best. I can’t wait for you to find your food freedom.

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant, and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠. 

Please note:  Links to items available to purchase are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission from your purchase. However, these items have been chosen because I love and trust them, and I feel that they would benefit other people, not because I may earn a couple of quid! You are welcome of course to source them elsewhere, but if you purchase them through my link I will be super grateful.

 

Hiding food

Hiding food

Hiding food

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

Calvin Trillin

Picture the scene – you have a family of fussy eaters. Someone doesn’t like carrots, someone doesn’t like courgette, someone doesn’t like onion……. making cooked meals is a nightmare because you’re trying to get some good veggies and some extra vitamins and minerals into these people and they’re just not having it. Well now is the time to get sneaky my friend. There are some very easy ways to hide food in other foods!

Now before we get into this please note that this is only acceptable if meant with good intention and the other diners do not have food intolerances or allergies. 

There are plenty of foods that as standalone foods aren’t all that great, let’s be honest. I don’t rate courgette as a veg on its own. I’m not a fan of the texture, and the taste is very bland. But it’s these two factors that make it perfect for hiding. If you’re doing something like a spaghetti bolognese get that courgette chopped up real small and in with the mixture it goes. By the time you’ve cooked the sauce down there’s no courgette to be seen. Throw it in a stew too, it makes a great thickener. While you’re at it, throw in some peppers, some celery, some spinach or some kale. All these foods will take on a completely different taste and texture when used as ingredients rather than side dishes and salads. 

Carrots are a little harder to hide, but it’s still possible. Again, chopped up small it’ll go in a sauce like the bolognese or a ragu. What about making a smoothie and throwing in some grated carrot? It gives it a natural sweetness. 

Onion can be chopped down super fine. Once you’ve thrown that in a cottage pie, a lasagne, an omelette, a quiche, or a burger you’ll never know it’s there. Obviously onion has a distinctive flavour so if you really don’t like it then you need to pair it with some other strong flavours.

Cauliflower causing problems? Chop up small and mix some of that into a tomato sauce with the other goodies to pack it out. The flavour will be well hidden. Get it into an enchilada mix and the spices will cover that up.

There are some great sweet recipes too. Beetroot in brownies, avocado in cakes, sweet potato in apple pie. I’m not even kidding. With some creativity who knows where you can sneak those extra vitamins and minerals in. Have you tried avocado in a smoothie? It’s fantastic. Creamy and delicious. 

Lasagna on White Ceramic Plate

Remember also that sometimes just cooking things differently can change the flavours. Roasting carrots with some honey is a whole different world to steamed carrots. Baking cauliflower in a glorious cheesy sauce is so much more tempting than some boiled florets.

So there’s some ideas for you. Not only do you get to use up some leftovers that you’ve got knocking around but you’re helping people to stay healthy at the same time so go forth and hide that veg! Give things a try. Cooking should be fun so there’s no need to stress over it. If they don’t work out it’s ok, you won’t do them again, but you never know unless you try.

I’d love to hear what you do with your fruit and veg so please do share your ideas.

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant, and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠ and never give anyone else food or drink that you do not 100% know is safe for them. 

 

What I eat in a day

What I eat in a day

What I eat in a day

You were born an original work of art. Stay original.
Suzy Kassem

Do you wanna know what I eat in a day? I’m not telling! Sorry! I know there are plenty of people who will share what they eat in a day, but it’s not actually helpful to people. Quite the opposite actually. These people can be on social media, in your friendship groups, a random person selling meal plans on the internet…… anyone who basically tells you what they eat in a day. For the purpose of this post let’s just call them influencers.

For people who are struggling with their eating habits or their body image it can be very triggering. It can bring up all kinds of feelings about their own eating habits because they compare their days. Common thoughts include:

 

 ‘I’m not eating well enough’

‘I’m not eating enough’
‘I’m eating too much’
‘I’m not eating the right type of food’
‘My macro balance is all wrong’
‘I’m eating too many carbs’
‘I’m eating too much fat’
‘I’ll end up looking like them if I eat like them’ (which of course can be a negative or a positive thought)

…… oh so many possible thoughts that may run riot in their head.

Woman Holding Spoon and Fork With Blackberries on Plate Beside Blue Ceramic Mug on White Wooden Table

The reality is that the way that the influencer’s food reacts with their body is different to how it might react with yours or mine. Each person’s needs are individual because there are so many affecting factors. We all have different caloric needs. We may have different intolerances and allergies to take into account. We all move differently and have varying activity levels, and that is before we take into consideration personal food preferences. What about our ability to use that food?

Our financial situations are all different so the influencer may have chosen more costly brand names, organic foods, rarer foods, or local specialities. What if your budget doesn’t allow for those foods, or they’re not available to you?

What about your ability to actually do something with that food once you have it? Are you a skilled home cook or can you just about cobble together some beans on toast? (Which are very nutritious by the way!). There’s no shame in not being able to cook fancy foods, or even not wanting to try. We all have our own ways in the kitchen.

My point is, you may not get the best out of the ingredients even if you could have them, so there are many different factors which will impact on whether or not that influencer’s meals for the day are right for you. 

Plus, what fuels and satisfies one person well will not be right for another. What if you cannot stomach another chicken, rice and broccoli? What if the thought of another dry crispbread makes you feel ill? What if you just don’t like cottage cheese? What if you have the salad and you’re still hungry? Here’s the answer – eat the stuff you like, don’t eat the stuff you don’t like, and if you’re hungry then eat!

Table of plated Food

There is no point in trying to copy what someone else’s meal plan. Remember, these ‘what I eat in a day’ posts are often just part of a highlights reel. I suspect the people who do their ‘what I eat in a day’ were feeling particularly inspired and ‘healthy’ that day and that’s why they chose to send it out for everyone to see.

What they’re not sharing are the foods they supposedly never eat (which of course they cave to and eat every now and then), the snacks they forgot to write down, the bag of crisps they ate while cooking a meal, and the leftovers they had off their children’s plates when clearing up after dinner. The day before won’t have looked so ‘perfect’, and tomorrow probably won’t either.

You will only see what they want you to see, not their total diet.

So, I will share meals and recipes with you for sure. I’ll give you some tasty options which you might like to try. A new way to get some added fibre in to your diet perhaps, or a gorgeous pudding that everyone needs in their life. That’s inspiration, not a meal plan. Take the bits you like and ignore the bits you don’t fancy. Enjoy putting food together yourself, not just copying someone else’s. Your body is individual, your needs are individual, and your food should be individual too.

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant, and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠.