Diet ….dirty dirty word……dirty word….

After a conversation with Simon on his response to my post on pork scratchings, and him following a high fat, low carb (ketogenic) diet, I’m starting a conversation on diets and dirty diets and what we think about them…….and what we could do……

To start off…….let’s think of a better word than, DIET…….

In the queue at KFC……

All I see, is that, if in general a lot of us are getting fatter, not thinner, then the diet we are encouraged to eat, isn’t working. Huh?

But, all I have to do is JUST exercise more, eat LESS and eat a BALANCED DIET. I would be just fine THEN, wouldn’t I?…… If only, if ONLY it was that EASY. If it was I wouldn’t be writing this.

How did we get here? Can we change it? How do we make a real difference? Where do we start? How can I, change my old bad habits? How do I make it easier, but not a quick fix? Who’s missed out the most? Is it true that there are more obese people in the world than starving? Does that actually mean anything?

I’m also interested in addiction and what, and how we crave as addicts. Can we ever be sated? What’s the hit? Salt, Fat, Sweet, hi Carb, the more the better. Food highs.

But how do we get to the point of change? I don’t feel ready.

This is not about devising a new diet, but to investigate what’s going on in the food world, which needs to drastically change and get healthier and fairer, and the foodie world, where I find it can be too elitist, too middle class and prone to snobberie. Let’s open it up and share it out.

I met someone at a party recently and we were talking about Beth Ditto. He was absolutely disgusted by her, (verging on venomous) and that she shouldn’t be a role model for the obese. He thought this was so wrong. Beth Ditto is just who she is, and she gives hope to anyone, especially women,  that you may not fit the mould put in front of you, and probably never will, but instead of trying or wishing to squeeze into it, to be happy, you can stay exactly as you are. (Hard one, that, eh?)

Beth Ditto isn’t the problem. It’s the food we are eating. Don’t be quick to blame the recipients of this freaked out world.

Later that day……just a few minutes ago read  Joanna Blythman’s blog post Demise of the Diet, which was more of what I had already been reading, on the idea of diet. She writes very clearly on the debates surrounding diet and nutrition, and has a clear understanding of the conversations going on in medical profession at the moment.

If you want a hefty load of info on Diet and Nutrition, then get The Diet Delusion, or Why we Get Fat, by the science writer Gary Taubes. (here’s his blog, which answers his critics) But for a much simpler read, then get the new book By Dr Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap, (scroll down to ‘Escape the Diet Trap Content:’ further down the page.) which clearly explains what I’m thinking and what Simon has been saying.

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10 Responses to Diet ….dirty dirty word……dirty word….

  1. Simon Holland says:

    Hadn’t heard of Beth Ditto before, but I can understand getting so frustrated with trying to loose weight that you just have to deal with it and find a way to be contented.

    Diet’s a dirty word, because for many it means calorie restriction, which let’s face it is another way of saying you are starving yourself a little at a time. The main attraction of low-carb is that it is effectively an eat as much as you need to be satisfied diet. Even if you over eat you will not get obese, which has driven my father-in-law to distraction.

    He has been battling obesity for at least 8 years, and he looks at my plate piled high with bacon eggs and sausages (and large amounts of salad) and doesn’t understand how I am loosing weight. I am doing everything his doctor says you shouldn’t do. Full fat cream, lots of cheese, pork scratchings.

    I have redefined my personal understanding of Diet so that for me it means eating well and enjoying my food. The idea of adding potatoes, rice, and pasta to my food (which lets face are all very bland by themselves) is just no longer attractive to me.

    Great article, I hope it gets more people thinking about what a diet should be.

  2. Wanting My Cake and Eating It.
    Simon, I’ve been thinking.

    I’ve always been searching for recipes and food that would make me feel good, fill me up, but also let me lose weight. But this didn’t seem possible. I was wanting my cake and eating it……weight loss always seemed to be about what you couldn’t have…..not what you could…..I was constantly in denial of things I craved…..and very unhappy and very hungry all the time…

    ……just like when I gave up smoking….I craved them so much….same with food….but with smoking the cravings gradually ceased….with food it never did, because I was always hungry…

    …..tell this to a slim person and they won’t understand….as I’ve mentioned before, I hear some voices saying ”just eat less, eat a balanced healthy diet, and exercise more can’t you?”….yes, yes…but no, no. If it really was that easy then we would all be healthy, fit and slim already….…..I had personal trainers and lost weight, but gained it again…..If they are a stronger person than me, then good for them…but this is not good for me…..

    THE REASON FOR THIS……I’m eating less and less carbs at the moment and I’m finding that after the initial bouts of tiredness, I am feeling much healthier. I am still eating really well, as long I eat regularly, (so my sugar levels don’t drop) I now always feel sated. Also I don’t crave sweet, in fact I don’t crave anything except my passion for, and my addiction to, Earl Grey tea, (only Earl Grey mind you, Builders doesn’t do it…..) of which I drink 4-5 pots a day and have done for a very long time….yes really.

    …..For me to say I don’t crave chocolate, and I can have it in the house and not want to eat it, well, this never, ever happened before. There was never chocolate or biscuits in the house because I always ate them til they were gone.

    …..I was brought up in a family where we filled up on bread and potatoes, (a desert island dish would be a thick crust of a freshly baked white tin loaf, with loads of salted butter.) and we all had a sweet tooth. (liquourice, dried fruit, fruit pastilles, fruit gums and wine gums are our family sweets) I’m not craving these now, unless I haven’t eaten and my sugar levels are low…..I’m much, much happier too, without big highs, and big lows….I’m starting to feel better.

    This way of eating is much healthier for me on so many different levels. I have no strict rules at the moment except to try and eat less carbs and starch. I follow no diet and am not fussed about glycemic indexes and combinations.

    So far these have been my winner meals so far……Lamb patties with carrot mash, grilled mushrooms with goats cheese and avocado, sausage and carrot mash, full fat Greek yoghurt with berries, flaxseed oil, scrambled eggs with anchovy, and another time with smoked salmon…..chicken liver and avocado salad with sherry vinegar…..and again today, was more scrambled egg, which had mushrooms and bacon in it and feta cheese crumbled on top….

    …..I have to say though, that cooking loads of delicious choccie recipes for work these last few weeks isn’t helping, but I try just a little (again, that’s new for me!) to taste and I give the rest away…

  3. Simon Holland says:

    Well done, I started a diet group a couple of weeks ago and everyone so far has said the main difference is that regular food tastes sweeter. Some of them have accused restaurants of adding sugar to foods because as they eat less sugar, they appreciate naturally sweet foods more.

    I also love chocolate (and all the sweet snacks you mentioned) but somehow it just interests me less now, I have some ‘no added sugar’ choc bars in my fridge and they have been there for months now. My strangest addiction now is salad, suddenly those packets labelled ”sweet salad” seem less ironic and more truthful, salad is as refreshing to me as a glass of water.

    For the last twelve months I have been devouring books from anthropology to brain development, exercise, cancer and diet. Good diet I am sure has many more benefits other than loosing weight. Personally I am certain that many modern diseases can be reduced through eating more nutritious foods. One of my favourite youtube videos at the moment is one on how Dr Terry Wahls beat MS through eating a Paleo / Low-Carb diet, and I think you would find this very interesting. Here is a link :

    This isn’t the only instance I have found, low-carb has been used by doctors to treat things from ADHD, all aspects of Metabolic Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Kidney problems (high fat, low carb, low protein) eczema and diabetes to name a few. Cancer itself normally takes decades to appear and is often caused by prolonged irritation (lesions and or swelling) which could quite easily include swelling caused by long term poor diet / allergies etc. (Hence why lung cancer normally hits in later life after years of exposure to cigarette tar).

    The problem is doctors are geared towards treatment, very few research prevention.

    Finally I shared a snack on Google+ recently. Mix crushed Walnuts with double cream, add a little sweetener for taste and you have a very filling, very quick snack which if you like walnuts, tastes great. If I find myself craving something I shouldn’t this kills my hunger almost as fast as pork scratchings, but without the salt.

  4. Tracey says:

    Rice and pasta I could easily leave out, but beloved bread and potato’s? How?

  5. You’re talking to the author that wrote a book solely on potatoes! I love them and I love bread. But too much. Also it’s not about leaving it out, I will have some once in a while. But since I started to reduce my carbs, (only last few weeks) and sugar, (very little booze either, since beginning Jan) I feel so much healthier. I’ve lost some weight, but that’s actually not so important anymore. I’m happier and my mood has levelled out.

    Mostly I don’t crave anything, and don’t feel hungry between meals, so I don’t eat more than I need to or reach for the wrong thing that is in easy reach.

    It’s not for everyone, but i think like James Corden, I have had an unhealthy relationship with carbs/sugar and it’s time to get myself in check!

    I will be eating potatoes and bread, but as a treat, and I know I’ll appreciate them even more!

    • Simon Holland says:

      Tell me about it, I have Irish roots and they eat potatoes like nobody else, also yesterday I caved in and cooked a pizza and a loaf of bread for my daughter which I ate a healthy amount of, followed by pancakes this morning (with sugar free syrup). However because I dont eat carbs regularly I am more sensitive to the effects, I feel groggy and yawn a lot and will probably spend this week eating salad, vegetables and meat until I feel myself again.

      It helps to throw yourself into the diet completely. My pork scratchings are slowly improving and also my sausages. There are low-carb muffin recipes, and if I eat fruit its with lots of cream. My problem is that meat is of a lower quality here in Indonesia so it takes some tricks to get a good result.

      The other thing that helps is I recently started a diet group, it makes a big difference being able to share experiences and problems with like minded people. Half of the group lost around 3kg within the first couple of weeks, but I am quite strict with them because they have as much to loose as I did. I started them with a Ketogenic style diet, then I’ll move them to standard low carb when their health returns and the weight is reduced to a healthy level.

      I find in general I can cope with the missing food as long as I am not hungry. With calorie restricted diets its harder because you are hungry all the time which makes temptation difficult to control.

      Don’t know if you can get it there, but the Asian Food Channel was showing a programme called ‘The Big Fat Reality’. It explains how scientists are beginning to realise that its carbs not fat that are to blame for obesity etc, but they recon the information will take 10 years to become government policy, and another 10 to be understood by the public as a whole. Plus for the last 30 years every other program about food has been made with the premise that fat is bad which won’t help.

      • What I’m interested to know is, do you really need to be as strict as to remove all carbs from your diet? What difference would it really make if you ate sausages with a very small amount of husk/bread?

        It must be frustrating not having great meat, but you must have amazing fish there!!

        I agree totally that I only crave as long as I’m not hungry, so my sugar levels are down. It’s proving to be a winner this low carb thing.

        It’s interesting about your diet group. You really should do your own blog on all of this. It’s your passion after all and you’ve so much to say.

        No couldn’t get Big Fat Reality to play sadly. But I’ll keep trying. At least they think government policy will change, we’ve just got to be the proof that it works!

        Ps I’ve just put a diet summary up on blog.

    • Tracey says:

      What’s your potato book called?!

      I love them too much too. Chip buttie anyone? I am from Liverpool after all.

      I’m considering giving it a go. I could loose a few pounds, but the idea of having lots more energy and not having to deal with cravings is very appealing.

  6. Pingback: Diet – The Having My Cake and Eating It Diet. | HOT MEALS NOW

  7. The book is called…wait for it……Potatoes – From Gnocchi to Mash…….!!

    I’m amazed how much better I feel. Not in a quick fix, just lost a bit of weight, kind of way, but because I don’t crave, I don’t over eat or eat the wrong things. it feels much more sustainable in a long term way.

    Downsides are headaches from only a couple glasses of red wine! You need to drink plenty of water or you get dehydrated, let alone with booze. But the headache reminds me I don’t want to drink much anyway!

    For first couple of weeks I felt quite weary, but I also got a new puppy, so sleep was broken to say the least anyway!!

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