Reality check time

Judith Wills / 28 April 2015

Diet and wellbeing blogger Judith Wills makes a heartfelt plea for a bit of common sense among diet and health gurus.



Sometimes I see on the web things about diet and health so incredibly ludicrous that I could LOL or more likely, LTIC*.

The other day I came across yet another 'new sensation' on You Tube; this time a woman styling herself a Youtube health guru who has managed to amass millions of views to her vlogs there.

Her prescription for lifelong health is to eat nothing but raw fruit until 4pm every day, after which she eats a few wholegrains, a few nuts and seeds, and lots of steamed vegetables.

There's nothing hugely new about this, actually - many years ago a Californian couple called the Diamonds got rich by publishing a diet book, Fit for Life, that extolled nothing to eat until lunchtime except fruit - then mostly salads and veggies afterwards.

Banning food groups; severely limited others; overeating on just a very few foods and drumming up wild reasons why this and only this is the way to eat - does this sound like sensible living, sensible eating to you?  Or am I the one who's a bit crazy?  

Reality check please.

And then there's Glynis Barber, who has just brought out a book called the In-Sync Diet, which she credits with helping her to lost a stone and look and feel 20 years younger.

The cornerstone of this plan is to avoid wheat and gluten which, her therapist has told her, creates inflammation in the body.  Now I know that for approximately 19 people in every 100,000 in the UK, eating gluten-containing foods is a no-no. These people are coeliac and even small amounts can cause digestive and health problems.  But for most of the rest of us, eating wholegrains has many more advantages than disadvantages, as dozens of major research studies show. Are all we 50 million-plus people in this country who do eat wheat/gluten going around with inflamed bodies? No we are not. And in any case, the causes of inflammation are almost always much more complicated than eating one particular food or food type.

Yes, Glynis looks great for her age but please, please, can you and all the other celebs, health gurus, therapists, educators, coaches and so on who ram these food phobia-inducing restrictive diet plans down our throats, and literally down their own, when they just aren't necessary for the vast, vast majority of people - STOP. Just stop. Please.

Oh well, at least I didn't mention Gwyneth Paltrow this week, did I?  

* Do keep up!  Laugh till I cry.

At last night

A variation of a Jamie Oliver fish recipe I found in one of the weekend supplements, which is a little bit like a very light fish pie but takes no more than 10 minutes to make. He used dab, but there's no dab to be had round here this week, so I used salmon as that seems to go with all the other ingredients very well. Also, Jamie used Greek yogurt and cheddar on top but that's too rich for salmon so I used reduced fat cream cheese and a tiny bit of grated Parmesan. Husband called the result 'delicious'.

To serve two, slice 300g cooked new potatoes and add to a shallow two-portion roasting dish. Drizzle with rapeseed oil (or light olive if you like) add 2 x 100g salmon fillets, halved, 75g peeled prawns and 8 small trimmed asparagus spears, thinly sliced lengthways. Sprinkle over 2 tsp lemon zest, a little lemon juice, some chopped fresh herbs (dill would be best but I didn't have any so I used garlic chives and lovage) and seasoning.

Dot about 10 tsp of reduced fat cream cheese over the top here and there, then finish with 1 tbsp grated Parmesan.  Bake for 20 minutes at 190C or until you can see bits turning light golden brown and the fish seems cooked through when pierced with a knife. Serve, with spinach or other greens.

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