Is Trying To Be Healthy making You Ill?

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Chances are you’re probably not. But it’s a growing problem! In a letter to The Psychologist magazine, Rachel Lisle talks of the dangers of Orthorexia, the eating disorders ‘prettier’ sister. Orthorexia is a fixation with ‘clean’ eating and having a slim, fit, toned body. All good I hear you say? Who doesn’t harbour secret desires to live the perfect life, have the perfect body?

On the face of it, orthorexia doesn’t seem so bad. We’ve all seen the anorexia horror pictures, people lying on towels as their skin is so thin, and their bones so prominent, that the hard bath surface can tear at their flesh. We know of the vicious cycle of bulimia, the gorging and purging. The intense shame people experience as they ‘give in’ to temptation and then how inducing vomit helps them to regain ‘control’ over their appetite. These are well known but orthorexia is no better an experience for the sufferer. An inability to eat sensibly, to fuel the body adequately, a complete obsession with fitness to the point where the sufferer is exhausted, every ounce of energy used.

The problem, as Rachel highlights beautifully, is that the orthorexia sufferer’s behaviour seems relatively normal. Worse, people aspire to it. Social Media abounds with pictures of thin, fit people with enviable bodies chugging back a spinach smoothie. It’s hard not to get sucked into that image, that lifestyle, that desire to be ‘perfect.’fruit-stix-cucumber-1329156

 

This is why I will never use the term ‘clean eating,’ I will never discuss weight loss as an aspirational state nor will I ever advocate complete abstinence from anything.

Health is a balance; mental, physical, emotional or spiritual – we have to be in balance to be happy and to be well. I always tell people to treat themselves at least once a day, never to starve themselves. Don’t ever have good or bad food days – there are no good or bad foods really – just bad balance.

Life should never be all or none, black or white. I follow an 80/20 rule. I love my healthy vegan lifestyle, I truly do. I feel great and I love that I am no longer reliant on alcohol as a weekend right. I enjoy not being on a sugar rollercoaster crashing down and flying up on sugar highs. I do think it’s a rewarding and calming way to live but in balance. I don’t deny myself anything, I just store up a treat each day, relish it and know that I deserve to indulge a little as I am treating my body so well. The road to dissatisfaction and regret is paved with people who try too hard. Who think they can be ‘good’ all the time. What nonsense. Emotionally and mentally, our health improves as we are kind to ourselves. I believe in being kind to your physical wellbeing as much as you can. Stay active, eat well but for goodness sake, give yourself a break too!

Spoiler: I ain’t perfect – I had a chip butty for my supper last night washed down with a Punk IPA and dang it felt good.

 

 

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When is Pink Fizz Not Pink Fizz?

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One of the major changes I have made is to drastically reduce my alcohol intake. I no longer buy a couple of bottles of wine weekly to share with the husband. I gave up Beer Wednesday (and Friday) and while I do still have the odd drink, I broke the habit. I thought it would be awful, I really did. I don’t have a sweet tooth so a tipple or two is my only vice (that I’m admitting to at any rate…)

The hardest thing is replacing the ‘treat’ aspect of a drink in the evening. A cup of tea or a glass of sparkly water just doesn’t always cut it and there’s no quicker way to derail any healthy eating programme than be starting to feel deprived in some way. So I got smart about it and found alternatives. POM  pure pomegranate juice makes a brilliant red wine substitute. It’s more than just the right colour, it’s dry and really flavourful. Poured into my favourite wine glass and I can actually fool myself quite easily. And it’s a delightful delusion. Delicious.

I pop one of Paul Brassac’s fruity flavoured fizzes into a flute and they are fabulous. No added sugar, no alcohol, just fruit and water. A treat to tipple with. Honestly, I’d happily swap for this any day of the week (and I really, really do like wine!)

 

pink-fizz

But here’s the thing: wine doesn’t really like me. I have occasional rhinitis reactions to wine. Sneezing, nose streaming and, on one occasion, my whole sinuses became so inflamed I couldn’t breathe at all through my nose and spent the entire night sitting upright because I was terrified I would somehow suffocate.

And we do have to mention sugar. A 125ml glass of wine can contain about 2.5% of your daily sugar intake. That’s not too bad.  It’s not added sugar (unless it’s a really cheap wine when sugar can be added to disguise the acidic cheaper grapes) it’s residual sugar from the fermentation process. But it’s still sugar. And it’s unnecessary sugar, empty calories and very likely to be stored as fat. According to the American Heart Association guidelines, women should eat only 6 teaspoons of sugar daily while men can manage maybe nearer to 9. That bottle of wine then, is practically ALL of your day’s sugar intake. Just exactly where is that wine going? Uh-huh – straight onto your hips and belly. Yeah  uh-oh.

When there are amazing alternatives – why not give them a go? Sell yourself that it’s a marvellous treat, that you’re treating your body well, not harming your liver, no hangover to consider, no sulphite reactions to suffer. As with everything – it is all about the story you tell yourself. Crack out the crystal, light a candle, put your feet up and relax – the Food Trainer way

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Recipe: Consolation Cookies

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Consolation Cookies

Consolation Cookies

Ingredients

  • 330g about 2 large or 4 to 5 small mashed bananas
  • 90g rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. Cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia seeds
  • 50g Dark chocolate chips (check these are dairy free)

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 180oC/fan 160oC
  2. Combine ingredients together in a mixing bowl
  3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and drop about a tablespoon of the mixture for each cookie
  4. Bake for 15 minutes
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/11/09/recipe-consolation-cookies/

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Recipe: Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiralised Courgette Salad

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Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiralised Courgette Salad

Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiralised Courgette Salad

Ingredients

  • Large butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tsp Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 Packets of microwaveable quinoa and wholegrain rice
  • 1 Courgette, spiralised or peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 Packet of rocket
  • 4 Tbsp. of toasted pine nuts
  • Goats or Feta cheese to serve (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp of dark soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/Fan 180oC/Gas 6
  2. Toss the diced squash in a bowl with the rosemary, olive oil and season well
  3. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes or until browning at the edges
  4. If using peeled courgettes, lightly dry fry them to brown slightly. Spiralised courgettes are delicious raw
  5. Cook the rice and quinoa according to the packet instructions
  6. Combine the rocket, pine nuts, courgettes, squash and grains in a large bowl and toss well
  7. Serve dressed with the salad dressing and top with creamy cheese if using
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/11/08/recipe-rosemary-roasted-butternut-squash-and-spiralised-courgette-salad/

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Recipe: Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Bread

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Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Bread

Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tbsp Avocado oil
  • 100g Dark soft brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp Maple syrup, depending on ripeness of bananas
  • 3 1/2 Tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 180ml Unsweetened almond
  • 337g Gluten-free plain flour
  • 112g Gluten free oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC/160oc for fan assisted
  2. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with baking paper or spray with nonstick spray
  3. Mash bananas in a large bowl
  4. Add all ingredients up to and including the almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine
  5. Add gluten free flour blend and oats and stir
  6. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. When ready, it should feel firm and be crackled and golden brown on top.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to slice.

Notes

Serve drizzled with maple syrup

Keeps in an airtight container for up to a few days but it can be toasted if it gets a little stale

Slice and freeze for longer term storage

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/11/08/recipe-gluten-and-dairy-free-banana-bread/

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