I saw an interesting Horizon documentary on BBC iPlayer the other night called ‘Clean Eating The Dirty Truth’‘. The documentary featured Dr. Giles Yeo, an eminent Cambridge biochemist, who’s quest it was to unearth if there was the real truth behind claims made by healthy eating bloggers such as Deliciously Ella, the Helmsley & Helmsley sisters and Natasha Corrett, the author of Honestly Healthy. He was also trying to find the origins of the blogger’s inspiration, which took him to the US where he met the authors of three influential tombs, Wheat Belly, The China Study, and The PH Miracle Diet, to find out just how these medical doctors reached their conclusions. Some of his findings turned out to be quite problematic and highlighted that even in the healthy eating sphere you will find unscrupulous operators mainly interested in profit – not unlike any other area of business.
But let’s take a step back to look at why people start blogging about health to begin with. More more often than not it is borne out of some sort of eureka moment. Like overcoming or easing an illness, such as Deliciously Ella or Kris Carr, the UK and American faces of veganism. They realised that by changing their diet and going plant-based, vegan and organic they were able to manage their symptoms and live normal lives despite having a serious illness. Pretty mind blowing stuff for them – it changed the quality of their lives. Which is why they decided to share it with others and that, people, is why they started blogging.
But unfortunately, therein lies the root of the backlash directed at healthy, or ‘clean’ eating and that is why I find Dr. Yeo’s documentary uncomfortable. When you link young enthusiastic bloggers, who inspire a whole new generation (and old) to eat healthier and take responsibility for their well-being, together with bogus doctors cashing in on desperate patients, you sort of lose the baby with the bath water. Documentaries like these look for flaws, the holes in the arguments, the lack of science and in the process questions the validity of those whose faces grace the cookbooks. Is it not a shame? Why not instead celebrate the plethora of plant-based food bloggers and cookbook writers who post inspirational food pics and videos to help us make delicious meals out of ingredients that we may previously not have known how to make interesting. We are talking fresh, organic vegetables here, not toxic drugs after all. We need to get this into some sort of proportion.
Where are the undercover documentaries of those making the processed smiley potato faces aimed at kids? Where are the public faces of the makers of turkey twizzlers and sugary baked beans and all the other rubbish which is consumed daily in this country? Where is the Horizon documentary about them? Where is the shock horror of knowing that kids in our country eat this sort of junk? Is that not much more worrying than health bloggers extolling the virtue of massaged kale? One’s mind boggles.
One thing is for sure – health is a serious business and highly political. It is also intensely personal. The fact that I feel better without gluten in my diet makes a gluten-free lifestyle the best way forward for me. I do not need to wait for Dr Yeo’s scientific studies pertaining to gluten to know that. Only I know what works for me. And since I started juicing and eating more green, leafy vegetables three years ago my immune system has been transformed and I simply don’t catch stuff like I used to. And on the rare occasions that I do, it is directly related to me taking my foot off the pedal, i.e eating less greens, more processed foods, drinking coffee and consuming sugar – stuff which slowly but surely weakens my immunity. I don’t need a scientist to tell me that either. I know. As soon as I return to my green ways it does not take very long for me to feel energised and bug free again. Works everytime. Rant over.
Stay healthy, eat your greens, juice your veg, stay calm, love each other, move your body, be kind and let people blossom. I wish you a wonderful friday.