Fad Diets, sifting through the trends
There has been a lot of press recently about fad diets and the increasing trend for health and wellness bloggers purporting to be experts, advocating a 'clean eating' diet. It is an age old issue, just in a new area. Beautiful people advocate a certain product or way of life and you feel like you must follow in their footsteps. Surely then, you will be as beautiful and your life will look like one big Instagram feed? This can lead to problems such as Orthorexia, obsessive behavious in pursuit of a healthy diet.
I have thought a lot about this over recent weeks as I have read and listened to various articles and I've wondered how much issue I have with it all. I think I have reached the conclusion that I feel comfortable sifting the wheat from the chaff (although God forbid we actually eat wheat!) but this is beacuase I am a qualified Nutritional Therapist. I am registered and have undertaken years of study to get where I am. So, I can pick out what is sensible advice and what is unnecessary or worse. This issue is that not everyone has this knowledge and this can be problematic and confusing. One of the main things I hear from my clients is that they are so confused by everything they read and need help sifting through it all.
I agree with them and I'm happy to help but I think it is a real shame that people are stuck between both extremes. Either they receive sometimes outdated and unpersonalised advice from generic authorities or they have a glossy haired, skinny, 'wellness blogger' telling them to bake just with almond flour and only drink turmeric lattes. People often feel that they need to pay to get sensible advice. Diets that cut out whole food groups are not always advisable and certainly shouldn't be embarked on without professional help. That said, some people do need to cut out certain areas and a good Nutritional Therapist will never remove anything from the diet without replacing it with something else to ensure that you do not lose out on nutrients.
I'd like to take a moment to address those particular wellness trends I just mentioned. Firstly, almond flour. Almonds are great, very healthy and they make a great snack either straight up as the nut or in the form of almond butter. Almond flour or ground almonds are similarly helpful in lots of dishes. They make a delicious, moist cake and I think marzipan is one of the nicest things on this earth (forgetting the sugar for a moment). However, it's important to go for everything in moderation. Almonds are also high in omega 3 fats which, in large quantities can be inflammatory. Turmeric is a super spice, I truly believe that and I use it a lot in cooking. It's important to remember though that turmeric needs to be eaten with fat in order to be absorbed. It's also better absorbed with some more spice such as chilli or pepper. So, add turmeric to your soups and curries, but ensure there is fat in the meal too and ideally some extra spice, to help absorption.
The real problem for consumers is also how to find the actual experts. I recommend using registers where you can be sure that the therapists listed have passed the checks and achieved the necessary qualifications. The BANT registry is a good place to start and will hopefully provide a helpful therapist in your area.