Sunday, June 28, 2015

A word of caution

The Guardian ran an article this weekend about the "the new breed of wellness bloggers" and how much they know about food. 
There are a lot of questions the article poses about the "young, photogenic, big on Instagram" mainly around what are their actual qualifications around being able to give nutritional advice. 

I must confess I do read and follow a number of those blogs who get a mention in the article, however I equally tend to stick to my own common sense. 
When it comes to common sense I think the classical Unhappy Meals essay by Michael Pollen is as good as it will ever get. (This blog gets its name partially influenced by the same article). It is a long essay which gives the simple answer to what should people eat to stay in optimum health - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." 
I love the simplicity of it - food. Not food like substances. I have already written about how we become what we eat and how important small changes are.  

I am convinced that before trusting any piece of information you should first look what the source is - is there any evidence for what this person is saying, who are they, what is their experience. It is like the news - the BBC and the Daily Mail both love the immigration subject, but each of them looks at it from different perspectives. And perspective is as just as important when you make food choices or look for a nutritional advice. 

I am not going to tell you that aspartame causes cancer, because cancer is caused by a huge combination of factors. But what I can tell you is that the body has no idea what to do with all those ready made neurotransmitters (aspartame is 40% aspartic acid which is an important neurotransmitter which the body synthesises, but just like everything else in the body we only make as much or as little as we need). It is a chemical and daily use of chemicals in our diet and on our skin may be causing a long term damage we don't yet fully understand. 

I enrolled into my nutrition course after I experimented for 6 months on myself and saw how much the right combination of food and exercise had an impact on my mood, sleep, the way I look. It worked for me but it required a number of things which someone else might not have been ready to give up or do. 

Start small, experiment, cook, move often, be more mindful about where your food comes from and what's in it and I am sure over time you will discover what works and what doesn't for you. And if it is vegan, gluten free, lactose free, so be it, but it should never come at the expense of your health.