Tag Archives: healthyeating

The V word…

Vagina, vixen, vaccination, vinyl….. I won’t go on.

What i would like to talk about Vegan products. Disclaimer: I am not vegan.

I have a number of vegan friends, and the reason for their diet is varied, it can be down to health, going ‘free from’, not liking meat, animal rights and everything inbetween.

Now this isn’t the first time that I have spoken about being Vegan – and i was of a mind to write this in January when we were all having the benefits of joining in on Veganuary but you know, life happens!

One of the things that I came accross and that seems to garner a lot of backlash, is Holland & Barrett’s Veganuary campaign. The idea was that you could be a vegan part time. Either you chose to go down the cruelty free makeup route (there is a difference between vegan and cruelty free) or you are vegan only when you are at home. There were a lot of other examples, like I said, an entire advertising campaign was designed around this idea that you could be ‘Vegan: your way’. This seemed especially abhorrent to be people, on both sides of the fence.

Now there is an argument, for example, people not using a brand (Urban Decay, Body Shop) because they are owned by a company that isn’t vegan or still uses animal testing. But this argument for me, fails. SImply because these same people are still shopping in supermarkets that sell animal products, buying a latte in a coffee shop that serves 90% of their hot drinks with cows milk.

Like my previous blog, I would say that buying vegan/cruelty free products no matter where, sends a clear message to companies that this is something to invest in. Now like I have said, I am not vegan, but try my best to buy vegan as and where I can (to the point i rope the fiance into it by making him vegan meals). I don’t like meat, I don’t like the smell, texture, flavour. So for the longest time, I couldn’t understand why people would eat ‘fake meat’. I mean if you won’t want to eat meat, why would you want to eat something that reminds you of meat.

Well it is pretty simple. The meat industry is failing, the amount of stock needed to break even, let alone make a profit makes the farm a bad business model. We don’t have the space either, and with leaving the EU soon, farmers will be losing the EU subsidies that they have become reliant on. That is just the UK. Globally the population continues to rise, and we aren’t able to produce enough food.

So yes, the idea would be that we all become vegan, it would be great if we could help our planet, our selves, stem global warming, and be kinder. But lets be realistic, as anyone who had attempted to diet will tell you, the moment your restrict access to a certain food; the more you want it.

So what do we do? Well we start looking at alternatives, we start looking at like for like swaps, so that people won’t miss the animal by products. And you know what, I am all for it – I am here for the vegan cheese, the vegan pain au chocolate, for the vegan burgers. And I would honestly encourage you to try some. Even if you just do it for one meal. Pop into a super market ( I personally recommend M&S and their fab range) and grab a vegan meal. Sit down with friends or family (both) and see how you enjoy it. Because trust me, you will.

And every item sold, encourages the company to make more, try more, invest more. Which can only be a good thing.

Fit for danger

So last night a friend shared a diet that was followed by an actress in preparation for a film role. Having followed various links on same subject it is easy to see how quickly the initial article has been disseminated in to the wider world, with the message becoming blurred.

The reason my friend shared it was her concern over young girls coming accross this article, and more like it and influencing them. Girls look toward images presented to them in the various mediums, whether it is via social media, TV, film, magazines for idea of what they should look like. As girls grow up, they look around, outside their own immediate family, and peer group to understand what is normal, social norms, what is considered attractive.

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When you are told a diet that works is 80% just fruit and veg with the images next to it of the actress having lost 12 lbs … it sounds like the perfect solution. It seems deceptively simple and easy to stick to. So of course, this will be a great idea to shift those imaged layers of fat. But it is a diet. Diets are short term. Many athletes use diets when training. You only have to follow someone like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on social media to understand the importance diet has when training. Actually please follow him, he genuinely is an inspiration.

We see it all the time as well on shows like Strictly Come Dancing, where the contestants lose weight, but what is actually happening is that they are toning up. Because they are dancing around 8 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week including the performances. This isn’t something most people will be able to replicate. It is an unrealistic look for people to attain.

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We need to change what we present to people, instead of advertising a quick fix, maple syrup diets, 80% diets that work in short terms, CRASH diets by any other name as a normal, and healthy way to get the body you want. Instead of focusing on the shape and size of the body, the focus should be on healthy living, doing things that make you happy and finding passion in your life, about spending time outside, finding a sport that you enjoy and doing it with friends, about healthy choices with food. It shouldn’t be about the size of your waist, thigh gaps, how prominent your hips or rib cage is.

The focus should be on healthy attitudes and eating, on being healthy, active and moderation. Of course there will always be sensational articles and sales pitches to do something quickly, to cheat, articles will be misquoted and torn up to suit an agenda. But if we can change the conversation so that teenagers see messages that are predominantly positive, so they are going to be able to make more educated choices about their life, so they are able to make more informed choices. So your body is not the most important thing in all transactions.

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Detox, or to detox

So as part of the radio show, I was asked to do a piece on healthy comfort food… which … you know .. it didn’t really sit with me. Instead I am going to talk about what we eats effects how we look. I am clearly very self absorbed and shallow so this was probably an obvious fit. More so that healthy comfort foods… but I will probably go slightly off topic to include that as well! 

So let us kick off – I don’t know about you, but when I am scrolling down my news feed on FB, I seem to daily, if not more, be confronted by some advertising/promoted post about some diet/herbal/detox tea or drink. This is kinda why I have titled the blog as I have. The problem with these posts is not only are they misleading in what they are promoting but they are starting an as misleading back lash.

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You see, I see as many posts about how we have organs that detox, so the entire idea is silly so therefore we should just ignore them. Well, yes, yes we do have some very hard working organs (thank you liver and kidneys) but actually… yes we do need a little help with removing toxins. It is called water. Not merely hydrating, and please don’t kid yourself that having flavoured water, tea, juice or any number of other things is the same as drinking 6 glasses of water a day. If it isn’t plain water, out of a bottle or tap, it just isn’t the same. Of course being properly hydrated is key, so if you want to drink tea all day, do! It will help you feel better and is better than nothing. But water will pass through your body, offering hydration but not causing your organs to have to do any additional work. Plus, on its way through, it will help flush out any toxins. So yes, it will help detox your body… I mean how else is your body going to get rid of the crap it has no need for?

So if you want to have happy, healthy skin, my first tip and the most important is to start drinking water! Every body is different so I won’t tell you how much, but generally speaking, 6 small glasses throughout the day would be a great bench mark. And I promise you will start to see a different in your skin, it will both look and feel a lot better. And this is a great base to continue the work on! 

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Now chocolate – if like me, reading fashion/girly magazines with your friends between classes for anything to help you figure out the brave new world you are entering as a freshly minted teenager… something always stood out…. Chocolate. Chocolate is evil. It literally causes acne. I mean.. it is the ONLY cause for it, and the only way to avoid breakouts is to give up chocolate. Right? Wrong! Sorry, I mean … sure your skin MAY react to chocolate and cause a breakout. Or it might be more hormonal. Do you find yourself craving chocolate at certain times? Maybe monthly, or in times of stress or anxiety? That there are a few factors that are causing the outbreak. Of course, if you are feeling guilty about eating chocolate, but the bar down 🙂

Now one thing I will say, clean eating is going to be the best way to make sure you are feeling and looking good. Avoiding processed foods, knowing what you are putting into your body will of course help you so much, making sure that each of your meals have a variety of different colours is important. Clean eating isn’t really as faddy as you might think. It just means that when you are putting together your dinner, start from scratch, don’t reach for that jar of sauce. Of you want a snack pick up something like a Nakd bar which have simple and clear ingredients listed so you know what is going into your body. 

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This sounds difficult and I realise that I sound preachy – but the reason that we have become so reliant on foods which are stuffed with things we can’t even pronounce is that they are mostly preservatives. We also like things to be pleasing to the eye so we find foods colours in … technicolor for lack of a better phrase. But it only requires a little planning. I often make freezer friendly food at the weekend because I often get in later (relatively speaking) and so it stops me reaching for the takeout menu. So just make sure that when you go shopping, you have a list of what you need and get cracking.

Now, there is a lot of talk about how everyone seems to be suffering from various intolerance but that they aren’t genuine? I beg to differ – often we will pick up something be it a food or drink, out of habit or because of the happy chemicals it releases. Because what we have going on in our head may not be what the rest of our body is telling us. So if you do find that you start feeling sluggish, bloated, uncomfortable then start a food diary and this will help you pin point what is causing it. It doesn’t mean you have to stop eating that food group entirely – looking at you gluten – but you can start to make educated choices about what you are eating, moderate it and be prepared for the outcome.

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And it is also an idea to have a look down the ‘free from’ section of the supermarket next time you are in – there are some amazing foods that have simplified their ingredients for example Nakd bars, which you my have guessed, I am in love with – CLICK HERE to check their website. They have all sorts of gorgeous goodies, from the Nakd bars offering a chocolate substitute, to the Nakd Nibbles that genuinely take like sweets, and their protein bars that I have for lunch (y’all remember I am lazy). But also looking at dairy alternatives, you don’t have to be dairy intolerant, or vegan to enjoy something different – I adore coconut chocolate ice cream.. it is devise! I mean I do have a dairy intolerance, and love coconut so I MAY be a little bias… but ye gods it is ambrosia! CLICK HERE for their website! 

What I am trying to say, is that what you put in your body will effect you – how you feel, how you look, your mood, it will effect your sleep. You are entirely responsible for your body, so make sure that you are feeding it with the right fuel, and exercising it. You will slowly see a difference, it won’t be immediate, it won’t be over night, I am sorry to say. But if you really want to look and feel good, step one is making sure you work from the inside out 🙂

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Frankly Organic

So … organic food. It is something I was taught about when I was in primary school. I assumed that everyone was. And for some reason it stuck. I try to buy organic as and when I can. Luckily it has become more main stream as time goes on, and you can buy more products which are organic. 

However, there seems to be a misconception as to what Organic means, and people have high expectations. I have heard time and again complaints about the taste, that it doesn’t taste magic ( i am paraphrasing a little) and so there isn’t a strong enough compulsion to change from the usual fare. 

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Super food selection for health diet in porcelain bowls over distressed wooden background.

There is a lot of conversation about sustainability, animal wellfare, free from diets, much more encouragement on clean living, healthy eating, trying to avoid processed sugars. There are many reasons that people review their eating habits, it can be to become more healthy, because of illness, allergies, because you are aware of the environment.

Now, I have been nominally vegetarian since i was a teenager. I just don’t like the taste of most meat, it doesn’t appeal to me. So while I do, very occasionally eat meat, it is so little and often, it is easier to stick with being vegetarian. But I have also developed a animal milk allergy. Not to be confused with a lactose intolerance. I managed to get this far in life before succumbing. So it means I can’t eat cheese. It also makes it awkward as 90% of the time, if you say vegetarian, you get offered a cheese dish. 

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But I am going off track, just wanted to give a little background on myself – i have an appalling diet, I drink most of calories so if ever there was a candidate for cutting down on processed sugar, you are looking at her. However, the fact remains, many of us are developing bad habits with regard to good, and our taste buds are dulled. I love carrots, raw. I can eat them by the basket. Our shops sell the same food year around, fruit and veg is no longer seasonal. But this has the knock on effect of food becoming, to me tasteless. I much prefer a carrot from my garden. It tastes of something other than water. 

But what else is the knock on effect of such intensive farming? Well the way it was taught to me, all those years ago, is through the cycle of life, and pesticides. You see, to make sure the farmers get the best crop yield, they started using pesticides to discourage pests eating or damaging their crops. Now the consequence is two fold – one is that the bug eats a pesticide covered plant. It in turn is eaten by a bird. Bird is poisoned and dies. Dead bird is eaten by a larger predator, and so on up the food chain. The more begs eaten, the more birds dying…. but then also look at what happens to the chemicals, where do they go? Well into our water. It runs off when it rains, it turns up in our rivers, and again both we and other animals come into contact with the poisoned water. It isn’t so much that the water is caustic at first touch, it is the cumulative effect. Yes, this is simplified, but that is what stuck. It is about more than just the taste of the product.

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What does organic farming actually mean? Organic farming is different, when it comes to animal’s they are free range, and reared without the routine use of antibiotics, drugs and wormer. Organic farms use far less pesticides, and activity create havens for bees, birds and butterflies. Organic farms work closely with the environment and natural resources to protect healthy soil and clean water, as well as working hard to reduce green house gas emissions. If that isn’t enough, organic food allows you to know exactly what is in the food you are putting in your mouth.

So, please follow any diet you need or require, be it meat free, dairy free, gluten free, if you are cutting out sugar, carbs, adding in more fruit and veg – consider putting more organic into your basket. It isn’t about the taste, it is about so much more!

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If you want to read more – Click Here for the Soil Association website which has much more information and helpful links. Please note that although I have concentrated on food, because that it where I hear more complaints, there is plenty of other organic produce. It is worth keeping an eye out when shopping 🙂