A Rant about Diet and Food

I’m sitting here currently spitting teeth with frustration. I’ve been watching a programme this week that’s supposed to “debunk” some of the sensationalist headlines regarding food. The programme I watched today was about exclusion diets, fat and clean eating amongst other things. Two young people who thought they had issues with gluten and dairy went on an exclusion diet for a month.

The young woman excluded gluten and the young man excluded dairy. After a month, they both noticed improvement in their symptoms but what really ticked me off was the whinging about how hard it was to eat out. She went to three cafes one lunchtime and “not one of them” could feed her. How about taking some responsibility for yourself here? Surely if you’re trying an exclusion diet, you make provision for times when you’re going to be away from home at mealtimes don’t you? She complains about how expensive gluten free food is – what about meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, pulses, etc? They’re gluten free aren’t they? I went gluten free 15 years ago on the advice of a kinesiologist (that’s a whole other blog!) and it’s not frigging rocket science. Educate yourself FFS. Make your own lunches and take them with you. I’m not dismissing the fact that she may have a gluten intolerance but, bearing in mind the comments about problems with getting food in cafes, an assumption may be made about the type of products she’s buying so how about excluding the additives in bread and bread products first rather than blaming it all on gluten? My guess would be that she didn’t take into account the hidden gluten in so many products either.

As for the young man, what came across was that he seemed to be surprised that he had to “give up” treats because, along with the sugar and chocolate, most of the cakes had dairy in them. Well fucking doh! It makes me wonder about the types of people who take up these so-called “fad diets”. Take a serious look at what you’re eating before randomly deciding to cut out an entire food group. Educate yourself – read(I know it’s a dying art but really, there’s no excuse) and research.

I have a friend who used to suffer terrible digestive discomfort, indigestion, bloating and constipation after eating bread. Funnily enough, as soon as she started to make her own, the symptoms cleared up. So what does that tell you? Most commercial bread is full of shitty additives and maybe they’re the problem.

The programme then wheels out some so called expert who pronounces that cutting out food groups is a silly idea (I’m paraphrasing obviously) and if you’re suffering symptoms – go and see your GP to rule out a medical issue. Seriously? Since when did any frigging GP in this country have a clue about nutrition? Two hours’ worth of lecture in 7 years’ worth of medical training? That qualifies them to know diddly squat about it as far as I’m concerned. Most of them don’t recognise a simple vitamin deficiency and just want to tick things off their NHS checklist and prescribe you anti depressants or just tell you that it’s all in your head so how the hell are they going to have a clue about bloating after you’ve eaten? One of GP didn’t even recognise arthritis when it was presented so what do you think he’d have known about food intolerance?

Then we move on to clean eating and someone is wheeled in who is extremely dismissive of the whole concept and starts banging on about people cutting out whole food groups. Wait – hang on a minute – have you any idea of what clean eating actually involves? No. Apparently not. Didn’t think so. It’s not about cutting out whole food groups, unless you want to classify additives as a food group. Mind you, considering the quantity added into most things, it’s probably headed that way. Her attitude, quite frankly, sucked. She made it sound as though there were only certain foods which would be allowed in a “clean eating” scenario. I suppose this may be the case in some of the books that have been published but my understanding (and a large number of the top results in Google would concur) that clean eating simply means eating fresh and raw food and cutting out highly processed and highly refined foods. I would guess the only real people who would be against a diet like that would be anyone involved in the food industry who produces heavily processed or refined foods surely? Didn’t the whole horsemeat scandal teach anyone to question the traceability of their food? I, for one, am wholeheartedly sick to death of someone else deciding that they know what’s best for me.

Let’s put this fine cow produced milk through a process that blasts apart all the fat molecules into smaller pieces so that it stays in the milk rather than floating to the top.  Why the fuck did anyone think this was a good idea? Why mess with the stuff at all?

Let’s just modify these crops so we get a bigger yield, never mind the potential consequences to human health – it’ll make us more money!

Let’s just add these chemicals into this product – it’ll bulk it out and we can use less of the more expensive ingredients and make more money! I’m sure we can fund a study to prove the additives aren’t harmful in mice so it’ll be safe for humans.

Let’s inject this meat with water. It’ll make it weigh more so that we can sell less of the meat for more money!

Let’s add treatment agents to this flour so that we can make the bread quicker. Guess what? It’ll mean we make more money!

Let’s feed the livestock cheap shit with chemicals and pump them full of antibiotics so they’ll grow bigger and quicker so we can get more money for them. Doesn’t matter that means that antibiotic resistance is going to become a problem – someone else will find some more somewhere.

Let’s put all this shit into the supplements that people buy to stop it sticking to our machinery so we can be more efficient. Then we can make more money! And if that means that the additives cause discomfort, we’ll produce a study that shows they’re safe.

And don’t get me started on the sleeping majority. They don’t, on the whole, give a toss what’s put into their food as long as it tastes good and doesn’t cost too much. That’s why the fast food industry is doing so damned well and why we’re all getting so fat.  Why do you think McDonalds got away with the pink slime burgers for so long?

And as for the whole low fat vs high fat debacle which is currently raging, try reading “Pure White and Deadly” by John Yudkin. He who has the deepest pockets (the sugar industry) will come out victorious. The National Obesity Forum published a paper which debunked most of the studies proving that saturated fat caused heart disease and said the studies were based on “bad science”. Of course, they’ve now been thoroughly slammed for it. You don’t cast aspersions on 40 year’s worth of dogma without getting slapped. Public Health England said the paper was irresponsible and that people should stick to their guidelines, yet the programme wheeled on another expert to say that barely 1% of the population stuck to the guidelines anyway! Talk about trying your best to confuse your viewers!

Most experts (who aren’t in the pockets of the sugar industry) agree that sugar is addictive. The more you have, the more your brain craves. Why do you think so much of it is added into so many fast and processed foods? And don’t get me started on the chemical sugar substitutes!

In one way I’m very sorry that I didn’t “wake up” much earlier and it took a couple of health crises to shake me out of my stupor. In another way, I’m sorry that I woke up at all. Ignorance can be bliss. And it would also mean that I don’t spend so much time getting angry at programmes like the ones I’ve watched this week. I’ve had enough of shouting at the TV and ranting for now …

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