I eat dirty

Quite frankly, this is not true. Nor do I ‘eat clean’. Not in the way that the word might be interpreted by people today.


Rösti at Chez Gaby in Champoussin – grated potato with lardons, onions, cheese, egg… A Swiss speciality at its finest.

I recently watched the Horizon programme “Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth”, presented by Dr Giles Yeo, a scientist exploring different diets promoted by now health ‘gurus’ such as Deliciously Ella, Honestly Healthy & The Hemsley sisters. These women, among many others, are leading the phenomenon of ‘clean eating’, whether they mean to promote it as ‘clean’ or not. It became apparent over the course of the programme that, especially for the likes of the Hemsley sisters and Ella Mills, they never actually use the word ‘clean’, mainly for the reason that it implies that certain foods are consequently dirty. Here is a review of the programme written by The Telegraph.


My housemate, Vaida’s, Millionaire Shortbread

If I was ever diagnosed with Crohn or coeliac disease, or suddenly developed an allergy to wheat, dairy, or anything else that I LOVE to eat (quite frankly there is nothing that I don’t), it would literally destroy me. I would, however, learn to find alternatives and other food combinations to comfort my food needs, because I would have to in order to be healthy and look after myself.


Chicken Donburi at Bec Jaune in Morzine – I miss Japan!

However, certain food groups have been branded as BAD for you. Gluten, for example, is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains, which acts as a glue to help these grains maintain their shape. It is natural, not man-made.

Sugar is found in many foods, naturally, or it has been added. Our bodies need sugar. Ella Mills was told that one of her sweet treats had the same amount of sugar in it as a Kit Kat. Her reaction was along the lines of: “Well yes, and?! We need sugar.”


My mother’s meringue wreath with salted caramel nuts #todiefor

Gluten is found in many foods that are carbohydrates. Sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are bad for you and make you fat, right?! NO! There is no point depriving yourself of gluten or sugar containing foods just because you want to eat fewer carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is a fuel, it replenishes glycogen in your muscles after exercise, and stops your body munching on your muscle for energy instead. If you want it to munch on your fat, you’ve got to provide your body with enough energy that it doesn’t cling to your fat either. And the right types of energy, and often at the right times, too. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy to perform at your best when exercising, competing and playing sports. Do not deprive yourself of this important, and in the forms it comes, delicious, food source just because you think it is bad for you.


My housemate is Japanese, Arisa, and she made us okonomiyaki – batter, potato, cabbage and other vegetables with fish flakes and other tasty things on top. Yum!

People need to be educated that fruit is a sugar, and many of these health food writers replace refined sugar with natural equivalents such as fruit, honey, maple syrup, algave syrup, coconut sugar etc. Here is a good page explaining the differences between various types of sugar. These natural sugars, however, offer other nutrients to the body, but they are still sugar, and still calories, and still need to be eaten within a balanced diet.

One consideration that wasn’t addressed by the programme, which my mother, who studied nutrition and food at university, quite rightly pointed out, was the psychological aspect of what we eat and put into our bodies. I am a great believer in the power of the mind and the effect it can have on the body, both consciously and sub-consciously. I once watched a programme about placebos where athletes, cycling in a velodrome, were given a tablet made of ‘nothing’, but told it would boost their performance in some way. They produced some personal bests, only to find out that the tablet had had no effect – only psychologically! If people believe they are healing their bodies, or making them healthier by not eating certain foods or more of other types of food, then let them be. If it makes you happy and healthy, then there is no issue, is there?

Be careful of what is shown on Instagram, on the internet, or on blogs. I am far, far from perfect: I gorge on bars of chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, pasta, and bread. But I try to do so as part of a balanced diet. They are not dirty foods. I try to avoid processed foods. That’s my biggest beef. Learn to cook, even if it’s really basically. I once read somewhere that if a product contains more than 5 ingredients, and anything you can not pronounce, don’t eat it. Likewise, if sugar IS the first ingredient listed in say, tomato sauce, then a warning should probably be going off in your head. It is probably also worth checking that sugar hasn’t been added to a product when it’s not needed, such as in ready meals. But, once in a while, if there is a new biscuit on the shelf, or something that really needs to be tested and tasted, it probably isn’t going to kill you. Just don’t eat it ALL the time.


I spent a fair while making spiced Christmas biscuits and gingerbread men with chocolate truffles for Christmas presents

I eat pretty healthily everyday, but treat myself when in social situations, and when I feel my body crave certain foods. The exercise comes within that, too. I do exert will-power and restraint, and can say no to dessert, chocolate, and all things gluttonous (shocker, I know! It is HARD), but I know I’d be 6ft wide as well as 6ft tall (or there about) if I didn’t.


Roaster potimarron curry with spicy cabbage and rice at Satellite Cafe in Morzine

I suppose where I am going with this is, like with so many inspiring and motivational, bloggers, health and fitness representatives (not that I consider myself as knowledgeable or as wise as them), and what appears to be the theme of 2017, is to be kind to your body, to nurture it, be healthy and happy, be balanced. Try not to compare yourself to others and what wonderful meals others are always concocting (Instagram is only the best bit…), but be kind to one another and try not to judge. Help and encourage each other so we can all be the best version of ourselves.

I’ve not written for a while, and in the words of Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, the bounce has gone from my bungy. I’ve been a little lost, a little busy, and not entirely motivated in all aspects of life. I’ve needed time to readjust my balance, which is always a little skew whiff! Treadmills and Chocolate; balance, balance, balance.


So happy to be teaching at home with the best view in the world – Mont Blanc with his ‘chapeau’ on.