I just want to say before I even begin to write that I am not a nutritionist or a health guru of any sort. This is just my take on the clean eating phenomenon which seems to be taking over the world. Now, I’m not one to jump on bandwagons, me personally I thought it was all a bit much and that eventually it will all die down and go away but it seemed to just grow at an alarming rate and apparently the healthy living initiative is now a multi billion dollar endeavor. Those who know me personally will know almost two weeks ago I lost my father-in-law to cancer. I’m still reeling from the aftershock of this because I had penned this blog down roughly two weeks ago and he was still here. But basically, his cancer was becoming more aggressive and gradually spreading to other parts of his body. It was because of his condition that I started looking into healthy foods because I had heard that eating healthily could aid the recovery of those suffering with cancer.
I started researching different foods and their ingredients and became quickly overwhelmed. I felt like I had opened a Pandora’s box [no pun intended]
I was finding out about certain chemicals used in everyday foods such as cereal, which are also used for DIY materials eg. paint stripper. Like, what the hell is a chemical like that doing in a child’s cereal? In all honesty when I read it, I didn’t even believe it. I asked my son Kae to go and grab his cereal from the kitchen and low and behold, in the ingredients was the chemical I had just been researching about.
None of this made any sense to me and the more I researched the more shocked I became. I ended up spending the whole day on the internet and by the time I had rooted out my fridge of all the ‘culprit’ foods I had found out about, I had next to nothing left. At this point, I had decided I was no longer going to eat dairy because I had read various articles explaining that cow’s milk wasn’t meant to be consumed by people and that apparent health benefits associated with dairy products was outdated and inaccurate. [I’ll come back to this later]
In less than a week I had become so obssessed with label reading. I would go into the supermarket and literally stand there reading labels of every product. I must have looked like a proper weirdo. I told my son about our lifestyle change and his little heart was broken. All he kept asking me was can he still eat this and that and unfortunately the answer to most of his questions were no.
My husband was also very sceptic about the whole thing; not so much because I was trying to start us eating healthily but because I was being anal about it all, not to mention the amount of money I was spending. Healthy eating is NOT cheap. I find it incredible after looking into all this that you literally have to spend an arm and a leg to eat well. Now I understand what Jamie Oliver was banging on about. It’s insane.
By the end of the week I had gotten rid of all the dairy in the fridge and found alternatives. I had even found a recipe for my beloved macaroni cheese but without the cheese [It was nowhere near the real thing]
That all said, there was a major problem. My baby is six months old and still breastfeeding and science has it that to produce milk you have to eat and drink properly – which I was no longer doing. I don’t really have time to cook meals all the time so I would just eat anything I could get my hands on. Not necessarily junk but maybe a sandwich from GREGGS or a pot of yoghurt; recently added to my discard list, and for this reason my milk supply was depleting. I couldn’t just eat what I had allowed myself because I didn’t have time to prepare alot of it so I was skipping meals and eating probably once a day.
My reality check and saving grace came when I watched the BBC programme ‘Clean Eating’s Dirty Secret’s’ by Grace Victory [no pun intended again] In all honesty before I had watched the programme I didn’t know anything about her but I love how real she is – It’s so refreshing.
The main points for me in the programme was simply that it’s almost impossible to regulate to the extent that I was regulating my food without becoming super obsessive or basically anti-social. I was already turning down lunch and dinner dates, and trying to buy a simple hot chocolate whilst out and about was impossible. [I was only drinking oat and almond milk not soya] The whole thing was becoming so stressful it was unreal.
After watching the programme I just had to have a word with myself and say Joanne, you need to stop this. Yes, I do believe healthy eating is important and I still do believe that certain foods should be avoided but not at the expense of my very sanity or my son’s breastmilk.
So, at the moment the changes that have stuck are as follows:
Wherever I can I will only buy meat from Waitrose to avoid secondary GM contamination. Almost all livestock in the UK and abroad are fed with GM soya to reduce the cost of maintaining them and that essentially goes into our food. Also, because of poor conditions, livestock are also routinely pumped with antibiotics which also goes into the meat we eat. Waitrose are the only supermarket I believe that have gone on record to say they do not use GM ingredients, primary or secondary in any of their own brand products. If I’m wrong PLEASE correct me [LOL] but this is their official statement regarding GM:
I’ve replaced my milk with organic almond and oat milks just because I don’t like the idea of drinking cow’s milk anymore. You can get the oat milk from waitrose here. I’m genuinely put off and it’s been an easy transition because the oat and almond milk is actually nice. Please note I only drink the organic versions of these milks because the original versions of them carry some of the unbelievable chemicals I mentioned earlier. It’s like a trap honestly. Go healthy and we’ll poison you another way [LOL] I will eat other dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese, chocolate and ice cream but only if it’s organic. My reason for this is I don’t agree with the argument that humans shouldn’t drink cow’s milk. The real issue is the rGBH that gets pumped into them, which isn’t used in organic livestock. My husband has been the most anti towards this no dairy malarky, but literally a couple of hours ago, I managed to convince him to buy organic milk. It was only 30p difference – and why not for a pus, blood and antibiotic free beverage? [RESULT]
I try my best to buy products with minimum or no chemical ingredients and have replaced all my ‘white’ foods with brown alternatives. So for example, I’ve stopped eating white rice and adopted brown, same with pasta. Also, I only cook with coconut oil as the health benefits are so much greater than sunflower or vegetable. It tastes amazing in rice too
Lastly, if Matthew [my husband] decides he wants to eat out, I close my eyes and just enjoy it, otherwise I’d stress myself out thinking about what’s gone into the food. Whatever is in my control to eat I’ll control, otherwise I’m just going to live and love life
I honestly believe that what you put INTO your body is more important that what you put on it, so if I can happily spend money on clothes that don’t effect me, why not spend a little more on what I put into my body which will? It’s a no brainer really, but If you’re reading this and you’ve gone through or are going through the same sort of feelings I had when I first embarked on this journey, then my advice would be do whatever works for YOU. Do your OWN research and do it properly because not everyone who has an opinion on clean eating is genuine.
The LOVE of money is truly the root of all evil, so if there’s big bucks to be made in the ‘clean eating’ industry, you can be sure there’ll be people out there to exploit it.
Happy Healthy Eating
P.S. if you’d like to know of any of the products in the photo just let me know in the comments.[In Loving Memory of Anthony Glenroy Hazel]