The Dietary Minefield

23 May
The Dietary Minefield

As someone that is shall we say NOT of the high IQ persuasion, for years I was baffled by all the conflicting information.

High Fat? Low Fat? High Carb? Low Carb? High Protein? Dukan? Atkins? Crash Diets? A veritable smorgasbord of conflicting information that all spout “THIS IS THE WAY TO GO” and are seemingly backed up by the latest study!!
Who do you believe? Which way to go?

If that’s not enough to make your freakin mind boggle then chuck into the mix the almost weekly news and paper headlines that conflict each other

  • “Latest Study Proves…….high this / low that is best”
  • Last week a study proved the complete opposite!
  • A few weeks ago completely different advice was a proved by another study!

It was enough for a layman like myself to utter “Its all bulls#it!” and then to carry on eating the way I wanted because “Obviously the bloody experts don’t know what’s best either!” Then you listen to tripe like “Eat 7 portions of fruit and veg a day!” Again a layman like me thinks;

  • “Hmmm Lettuce, Tomato & Onion in my cheese sandwiches” (that’s 3 portions)
  • “Pea’s and Mash with my whole Fray Bentos steak pie” (Cool – that’s 5 portions)
  • “Apple in my crumble and ice cream” (6 portions)
  • “oooh I had a Banana in my lunch after I finished my crisps and pasty” (7 portions)

Oh???  Why am I still unhealthy? I followed government guidelines???

I jest of course but only just.  The mind will, if you allow it, justify your bad decisions so when you have conflicting information and piss poor advice from the government you basically have a free reign of excuses to ignore or justify all the crap.

Is it the governments job to make sure I am healthy? NO! I don’t think so but if they are going to give advice then it should be in depth and a general “7 portions a day” just doesn’t cut it..


There is no such thing as a one size fits all diet or portion size, it takes work, constant adjusting and the most important factor, Self-Awareness.

You can find studies that will prove anything you want to hear, that is the reason for so many conflicting results.

Massive food companies from around the world commission a vast amount of these studies and cherry pick pieces of the results that have a nice sound-bite to add to their marketing.

Plus they are paying these labs for the results they want to hear?

It’s not a conspiracy or outright lies but tests are carried out in favourable conditions by scientists that really cannot be unbiased so the results are true in certain conditions, most just marginally true but undesirable results are rarely reported.

Studies where control groups of people are used are basically useless as “scientific” data and provide no quantifiable results although are great for pointing science in a general direction.

The reason for this being that unless EVERY person in the study has been raised in the lab where every environmental, genetic, food and drink has been tightly controlled for their whole life then the study is not scientifically accurate.

This doesn’t mean they are useless – the opposite in fact BUT you either really have to be able to delve into these studies and mine out all the relevant data which is an art in itself or build your sphere of knowledge by starting to read, listening to pod-casts and following people..err on Facebook etc NOT stalking..   You will soon find that these people who are amazingly astute and have the ability to decipher these studies for you – OK, why trust and believe them and not others?

Because :   They have been through your journey and are GIVING away this information for FREE – NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE!

trust The biggest, probably most important single thing I had to learn was Self-Awareness.

As a species humans are very adept at illusion and masters of delusion!!

We kid ourselves we haven’t eaten any crap today, shrug and say “my diets not too bad!”   I can’t tell you the amount of time at the beginning of all this when I would get über defensive when told by my wife that it was only 3 or 4 days since my last bottle of wine or take-out and I would swear blind it had been a couple of weeks.

Same when I would tell her or anyone else that I have hardly eaten at all today only to be reminded I had a cake or sandwiches earlier on.  It wasn’t lies per se but just completely wiped from my mind and instantly remembered once reminded!

Things like saying “I have been ill for a week or so…” when in fact is has only been a couple of days!
Feeling very very ill and swearing I would “Never drink again!!” genuinely meaning it, only to laugh it off a couple of days later whilst cracking open a can of lager!

These are all general examples of illusion and delusion and until you start taking responsibility for your own health and becoming self-aware not much will change.

How about how a meal makes you feel or even a specific ingredient?  These variables are impossible to track unless your self-aware – write down a journal of meals – write all food and drink but only detail if negative effects occur – it seems like a lot of work at first but if you eat a cake and get heartburn – note it!  Eat a meal, get so bloated you have to put on comfty trousers or undo a button – note it! Have a bottle of wine – get a bad headache or stomach – Note it!!!!

These simple things start building up a bigger picture, stop you deluding yourself – come on if you read back in your journal that s in your own handwriting just how crappy you felt after pizza and this happens time after time it seriously starts changing your mindset.. You start becoming self-aware…   It’s a small but significant step.

Over and over again in the past I had decided to “Get Healthy” went all in, felt good for a while then slipped back with no real knowledge of what worked and why it failed but the real freakin insanity is a short time later I would do exactly the same all over again and guess what?  Yep Exactly the same results!!! huh! go figure, did I really expect a different outcome?

So by taking responsibility for my health & happiness rather than expecting some corporate entity to place my health over and above their profit margin or the dumbed down nonsensical gibberish from the government you slowly but surely become self-aware, you begin to know what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.

Instead of taking 10 pills a day because the adverts tell you they will make you healthy, start by identifying your problem areas and targeting them with food choices then supplements to aid with that specific problem.

Once that has been solved, move on to the next – this way you are slowly learning what’s good for you, what heals etc

If you go all in and take bucket loads of supplements, then you’re not really aware of what is working or if you really need it all, also you become aware of how your mood is affected by certain foods.

As mentioned before I started this by keeping a candid food diary, be honest no one is going to read it except you.  Give mood and food a ratings between 1 to 10 for the day as well as listing all foods and noting any negative effects – This really builds up the bigger picture over time and you become hyper aware.

Learning to listen to YOUR body is imperative!

  • Disbelieve Doctors
  • Disbelieve Fitness Professionals
  • Disbelieve Adverts and Companies
  • Disbelieve Me
  • Disbelieve Everyone!!
Abel James – author of “The Wild Diet” sums this up neatly by saying!
“If 50000 people say something stupid, is it still not stupid?”

Don’t automatically jump on the bandwagon but approach all new information with a healthy dose of scepticism, listen and try out what they say and if it clears up your symptoms or makes you feel better then BOOM, in the bag of tricks it goes – Another notch on the way to health and happiness!!

Concentrate on getting healthy, not losing weight and weirdly you will lose weight that just stays off whilst feeling vibrant, energetic and full of the joys of spring…
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Main Story


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