Mar 01

Which Woman are You?

When you’re a one-person business, you spend a lot of time preoccupied with marketing.  It’s not usually what you’re trained to do, but you have to do it.

Recently I joined a marketing challenge.  Inevitably one of the first excercises what to get us to identify our perfect client.  Most of the people on the challenge also work in the world of nutrition.  We were posting what we thought our ideal client might be like for all to see.

Angry lady

When I hear demeaning portrayals of women like me, I feel like this!

As I started to read the responses, I became more and more angry.  One after another, client profiles appeared which looked like this:

“She’s aged 40-55. She feels exhausted/overburdened/frumpy/overweight/unattractive. She realises she’s heading for menopause/diabetes/heart disease/depression/adrenal fatigue. She’s busy with kids and caring for elderly parents, and has no time/she’s let herself go. She’s lost herself/she has no confidence. She’s tried every diet, but nothing works, and she no longer looks good in her jeans/little black dress/swimsuit. She wants to feel alive/more sexy/attractive/energised, and needs someone to show her the way.”

Super Woman

You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing

By the time I’d read a few of these, the red mist had well and truly decended.  I find this kind of profiling on women in their second youth so demeaning and patronizing.  Apparently it’s good marketing, because it makes the audience feel desperate enough to buy, but I’ve decided that I don’t like it; it’s manipulative and condecending.  I don’t want to be thought of in that way, and I’m sure if you are a lady in your second youth, you don’t either.

That’s when I wrote my own profile of ladies in their second youth.  This is the way I see people like you.  I hope you see yourself in it too.

Click here to see yourself as I see you.

The real surprise was the response; I posted what I’d written in a Facebook group for ladies aged 40+.  Over 150 ladies told me how much they liked it, and how much more effective it was than portraying negative stereotypes.  I hope you feel the same way, and that what I’ve written will resonate with you.

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Join us at our self-care party.

If you do, and you’d like some tips on living life well and taking care of YOU from women like you who’ve been knocked about by life’s journey, and keep rising to the challenge, please join myself and super-coach Heather Waring on a FREE webinar on 1 March 2018 at 8pm.

Click here to save your seat.

How do you like to be protrayed?  I’d love to know.  Leave me a comment, and let me know what you think.


Feb 15

Sugar Free February (2 of 3)

In my last post, I talked about what Sugar Free February is about, and the benefits of taking part.  Today, I’m going to answer some of the questions I see most often on the Internet, and discuss some of the unwanted symptoms you may experience.  If you have a question of your own, please comment, and I’ll be happy to answer.

Did you miss my previous post?  Read it here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I eat Natural Sugar?

Table sugar

Sugar may be a natural product, but that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial!

OK, this one is guaranteed to make me angry.  Listen, all sugar is natural.  There is no such thing as “unnatural sugar”, unless you count artificial sweeteners which I categorically DON’T recommend (see below). The term “natural sugar” is a complete nonsense.  So no, I’m afraid you can’t eat sugary foods, even if you think of them as ‘natural’.  ‘Natural’ and ‘beneficial’ are not the same thing.

The thing to remember about sugar is not where it comes from, but how your body responds to it.  This is called the glycaemic response.  It’s measured on the glycaemic index, and the most reliable indicator of how it will affect your body is the glycaemic load (GL).

The take-home message is that sugar, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup and any other similar product you can think of all score highly on the glycaemic index.  Some score a bit higher than others, but all are high.  I love honey. It’s soothing if you have a cold, and its antibacterial properties may be useful for helping with illness or injury, but in terms of your glycaemic response, it’s no different from table sugar.

On a forum recently, I met someone who used agarve syrup because it’s ‘natural’.  Now, I made the same mistake when I was starting out, so it’s quite understandable, but there’s nothing natural about agarve at all. It’s a highly concentrated, highly processed form of fructose, a bit like the high fructose corn syrup that seems to be added to almost everything.  It may have started out as a plant, but it’s about as close to its origins as your or I are to a fish.  Agarve and similar products may not spike your blood sugar, but used long-term, they are likely to have a harmful effect on your liver.  You don’t want fatty liver disease if you can avoid it, and it’s on the rise, big-time.

So, let’s please stop talking about ‘natural sugar’, because it’s completely meaningless.

What about Fruit?


Berries are packed with nutrients, and provide a touch of sweetness without a big effect on your blood sugar.

I’m a fan of fruit, and generally I don’t think people should be giving it up for Sugar Free February.  Here’s why:

  • There are two main types of sugar in fruit; glucose and fructose. Most fruits are higher in fructose than glucose.  Fructose will not have the same effect as glucose on your blood sugar, as it’s processed in the liver rather than in the cells.  You may have read about the damaging effects of fructose, but eating 1 or 2 pieces of fruit daily shouldn’t be damaging; fructose is only a problem because it is given to us as an additive or syrup in higher concentrations than the body is equipped to tolerate long-term.  You can choose fruits that are lower in glucose, or total sugar, using the table on this page.

  • People make a huge mistake when they think of foods in terms of single nutrients. As well as sugars, fruit contains a whole range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and a group of nutrients we don’t know much about yet, but which seem to be really important to good health, called phytochemicals.  Different fruits contain different nutrients, so feel free to enjoy a variety.

  • Plus, fruit contains fibre. Fibre isn’t exactly a nutrient, as our bodies can’t fully digest or absorb it, but it’s one of the components of food most frequently and consistently associated with long-term health.  This could be because one of its main functions is to allow food to pass through the digestive tract efficiently, but it’s also thought to nourish beneficial bacteria in our intestines, and help remove harmful by-products of digestion.  It’s crucial to get enough fibre, and most of us don’t.


    Use this handy table to find out which sugars are in your favourite fruit.

artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can cause unwanted effects in some people. They’ve never been shown to help with weight, and they won’t help retrain your tastebuds.

What about artificial sweeteners?

Plenty of people quit sugar in February only to substitute with artificial sweeteners.  Each to their own, of course, but here’s why I’m not a fan:

  • Artificial sweeteners won’t help you achieve your health goals. It’s been shown, for example, that people who swap sugary drinks for similar drinks with artificial sweeteners don’t lose weight.  You would think that getting rid of the calories in the fizzy drinks would be helpful, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.  The current thinking is that this is because the sweeteners disrupt the activity of the bacteria which live in the intestines, and which are our best allies in making the most of our nutrition. So, swapping sugar for sweetener is unlikely to help you if weight management is one of your goals.

  • Some artificial sweeteners can give you nasty side effects, such as bloating and diarrhoea. You may be feeling virtuous, but you’re not likely to be as much fun to be around!

  • If you substitute one sweet taste for another, you will never retrain your tastebuds. When you’re free of very sweet things for a while, you’ll understand just how over-sweet they are, and be satisfied with far less sweetness.  This is really the key to being free of sugars for good.

  • Most artificial sweeteners leave a horrible aftertaste.

I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. What’s going on?

For some people, being free of sugar is straightforward. For others it’s not so easy and unwanted symptoms can occur.  If that happens to you, be assured that they shouldn’t last more than a week or two, but if they do persist, have a word with your doctor.

 Are you experiencing any of these common symptoms?


Headaches are common when freeing yourself from sugar, but consult your doctor if they persist.

Headaches are common when freeing yourself from sugar, but consult your doctor if they persist.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like these, you’ll probably have heard that this is because ‘toxins’ are being removed from your body, or because you have a fungal problem.  There is no real evidence for either of these assertions, and I’m inclined to disregard them unless anyone can provide compelling evidence to the contrary.  For various reasons, which I’m happy to explain if asked, my knowledge of how things work would suggest that the body doesn’t operate this way.  However, the symptoms can be very real and unpleasant.  I think that it’s more likely that the symptoms exist either because you are lacking your most readily available energy source, and it takes time to adjust, or because the balance of fluid in your body is undergoing adjustment.

The good news is that the symptoms will pass in a couple of days or weeks, but to help you feel better, make sure you’re eating nutritious meals and keeping well hydrated with water and herbal teas.  You may also find gentle to moderate exercise helpful.


Head made of sugar cubes

Is sugar addictive? It can certainly feel that way.

Is sugar addictive?  This is a hotly debated topic.  Advocates point out experiments on mice in which cocaine-addicted mice prefer sugar to cocaine when offered both choices, and remind us that, in the human brain, sugar activates dopamine signalling pathways, which provide a sense of reward.  Those against the idea suggest that lots of activities activate dopamine pathways without being addictive, such as driving a fast car, or having enjoyable intercourse.  They also point out that experiments relating to sugar addiction have never been done on humans, and we’re not mice!

Personally, I’m on the fence on this issue, but I’m certain that becoming free of sugar can make people very moody.  Regardless of whether sugar is addictive, it certainly does activate dopamine receptors, giving you a sense of reward and pleasure.  When that doesn’t happen it can make you feel low, particularly if the rest of your life isn’t going well, or you’re under stress.

There isn’t an easy way round this one, and it’s nothing to do with willpower.  I think the best technique is to anticipate it, and make a list of things that give you pleasure.  When you find yourself getting moody, make time for one of these things.  Again, staying hydrated and doing some physical activity, particularly if you can spend time outside, may help.  I personally find singing helpful; it needn’t take long, you can do it anywhere, and it’s free.


Be careful of this one; if it persists it could be a sign that you’re not getting enough carbohydrate for your body’s needs, or possibly that you’re dehydrated.  However, you don’t need sugar to compensate.  Instead, try introducing some whole grains, beans or pulses into your diet, and make sure you’re drinking enough fluid.  Some people love very low carbohydrate diets, but they may not suit you.  Listen to your body and be sensible; dizziness isn’t a nice symptom.  If it still persists, pop along to your GP and get your blood pressure checked, as it may be on the low side.

Of course, I haven’t yet addressed the most frequently asked question of all, which goes something like this:

“I’m doing really well, but there are times when I really want something sweet to eat.  Any ideas?”

The answer to this question depends on what you’re aiming to get out  of Sugar Free February, but I have plenty of ideas that don’t involve refined sugar, or even excessive levels of sugar from fruit.  In my next post, I’ll be telling you all about those, and sharing some recipes, so stay tuned for that.  Watch this space!

Did you miss the first post in this series?  Catch up here.


Feb 08

Sugar Free February (1 of 3)

Have you jumped on the Sugar Free February bandwagon?  If so, congratulations.  I do believe that being as free from sugar as you can is a fine thing to do to support your overall health, and much of the evidence tends to agree with me which, in the end, is what matters.  If you have questions about sugar free February, or are experiencing some symptoms from withdrawing from sugar, this series of posts is for you.  It’s designed to answer questions I see on the Internet, but if you have a different question, I’d love you to leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to answer it.

This post is number 1 of 3.  In it, I’ll discuss:keep-calm-it-s-only-sugar-free-february

  • What is Sugar Free February?

  • Why bother with it, and what are the benefits?

  • Why I’m in favour of it

  • What it entails

  • Who shouldn’t do it

What is Sugar Free February?

It’s an initiative designed to allow people to try sugar freedom for a month.   Many people take part in order to raise money or awareness for Cancer Research UK, while supporting their own health at the same time.

Why Bother?

Sugar gets a bad press, but is it necessary to give it up altogether?  Surely everything in moderation is fine.  The problem is, because sugar is added to so much food without our even knowing it that moderation is much easier said than done.  Since sugar is in so many products, we have become used to things tasting sweeter than they need to be.  This can make it difficult to appreciate the natural tastes of food in all their glory.  Experiencing life without sugar could open up a whole new world of fabulous flavours.

Need some help identifying the hidden sugars in your diet and making healthier choices?  Click this writing to download my FREE e-book for my fun quiz and expert tips.

It’s clear that added sugar is not conducive to health.  Sugar has no nutritional value; it merely provides energy.  In the Western diet, we’re not short of energy sources, quite the reverse, so sugar really isn’t necessary.  We can manage just fine without it, and most people are eating more than they need.


Eating too much sugar has been implicated in a whole range of the chronic illnesses which blight the Western world. These include:

  • Heart diseaseunhealthy white sugar concept

  • High blood pressure

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Some cancers

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the fastest-growing killer disease in the West)

  • Tooth decay

  • Mental health problems.

So, cutting down on sugar is a great way to support your long-term health without sacrificing any of the nutritional value of food.

I’m in favour of Sugar Free February because:

  • It raises awareness of just how much sugar is hidden in the food on the supermarket shelves, and encourages us to be discerning and look for alternatives.

  • It allows the opportunity to enjoy the taste of food again. The sweetness of sugar can mask the more subtle flavours in a food.  Who knows what you could be missing out on?

  • You can raise money for Cancer Research UK. Most people have lost someone to cancer.  Anything that helps beat this terrible disease has to be good.

  • It’s a really easy way to start taking control of your health.

What exactly does quitting sugar mean?

Sugar free February was an initiative developed by Cancer Research UK to encourage people to make healthier choices.  Surprisingly, they’re a little vague on what they mean by ‘sugar’.  This particular initiative seems to be about giving up foods containing refined sugars, such as:

  • Cakes, desserts and confectionary

    Sugar can go by many names. Remember to read labels carefully.

    Sugar can go by many names. Remember to read labels carefully.

  • Sweetened drinks

  • Jams and condiments

  • Sugary cereals

  • Other foods which contain added sugar (check the label)

Cancer Research UK provide a handy guide to what they consider to be going sugar free, which you can read here:

Some people may choose to use this opportunity to cut down on all forms of refined carbohydrate, such as white bread, pasta and white rice.  After all, your blood sugar may have exactly the same response to white bread as it does to a sugary drink.  However, this isn’t specified in Cancer Research’s literature, so it may be a step too far.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do it?

For the vast majority of people, this is a worthwhile, healthy and safe thing to do.  However, there are some people for whom it may be less appropriate.  If you have the following conditions, you should check in with your doctor before participating:

  • An eating disorder, or a history of eating disorders

  • Cachexia (wasting of the body caused by chronic illness); sugar may be your only way to get sufficient energy fast

  • A condition that makes you prone to hypoglycaemia. If you have an attack, you’ll need some sugar to get you functioning again.Successful young business woman happy for her success jumping. I

Everyone reacts to being free of sugar differently, but some of the benefits that people have experienced in the past include:

  • More energy

  • Losing some weight

  • Improved skin

  • Improved digestion

  • A healthier relationship with food

Before you experience the benefits, you may experience some less pleasant symptoms.  I’ll talk about those in my next post, and answer some frequently asked questions about what to eat, so stay tuned!

Disclaimer: nothing in this post is a medical opinion, or a substitute for professional medical advice.  If you are concerned about any symptoms, please consult your doctor.

Would you like to be free of sugar and refined carbs for good, and not just for February?  Then check out my online course, ‘Stronger Without Sugar’.

Jan 16

100-Calorie Snacks for Kids?

Recently, Public Health England launched a campaign encouraging parents to limit children’s snacks to no more than 2 a day, with a maximum of 100 calories per snack.  If you’re in the UK, you may have seen the adverts.

The data behind this campaign are alarming.  According to PHE, children aged 4-10 get over half their daily sugar from unhealthy snacks, and many are eating up to 3 sugary snacks a day, pushing their sugar intake over the recommended limit (1).  In the longterm, sugar may be associated with many serious chronic health conditions, and a sugary diet may contribute to obesity in some children.

Sugar in snacks

Where do your children get their sugar?

As regular readers know, I’m all for reducing sugar, and developing healthy habits for life, particularly in children, who may find it easier to maintain healthy habits if they’re used to them from an early age.  When I worked with children in schools, I used to be shocked by the contents of some of their lunchboxes.  Some children are literally sent to school with just cakes, sweets and crisps day in, day out.  With the sort of diets I used to see, it was unsurprising that children were unable to learn or behave particularly well.  So, you’d expect I’d be 100% behind this 100 calorie campaign. Right?


As so often happens, PHE have started with a very commendable aim, but they’ve got their knickers in a knot over the execution.  Here’s why:

  1. Small children surrounded by fruit and vegetables

    I like to see children enjoying a healthy relationship with food.

    Children should not be focusing on calories. Neither should adults, for that matter because, as interventions go, they’re a pretty poor way to mange weight if that’s your objective, and bear little correlation with any other health objective you might want to achieve.  But, more to the point, I’m always disturbed when children want to know how many calories are in something, or make remarks about weight.  These concerns really shouldn’t form part of childhood.  I like to see children having a healthy relationship with food.  What I mean by ‘healthy’ is enjoying a variety of whole foods, trying out different things, eating fresh, well-balanced meals, practicing kitchen skills and not being anxious about what they eat.  I often tell the story of 2 children in my class who refused to eat something because their ballet teacher said they were getting fat.  These children were 9 years old, and neither was remotely chubby, let alone fat.  With all the focus on obesity, we are forgetting how many children develop eating disorders and food phobias, and are handed an unhealthy relationship with food, which plagues them for life.  Over 1.6 million people in the UK alone may be directly affected by eating disorders (2).  I think that focusing on calories in childhood can only perpetuate that distorted relationship.

  2. It gives mixed messages. The campaign purports to be aimed at reducing sugar.  That’s a great aim.  So why switch to talking about calories?  High sugar doesn’t necessarily equal high calories. Sugars and proteins have exactly the same number of calories per gram.  Children can still eat very sugary snacks within the suggested calorie limit.  For example:

  • 20g M&Ms (90 calories, 13.5g sugar)

  • 1 Drifter Biscuit (97 calories, 11.4g sugar)

  • 1 Milky Way (21.5g) (94 calories, 14g sugar) (3)

In other words, these snacks are all within the calorie limit, but contain over half the maximum recommended sugar for a 7-10 year old, and over 2/3 of the maximum sugar allowance for a 4-6 year old.  Remember that the campaign allows two such snacks every day.  By focusing on calories when it intends to raise awareness about sugar, this campaign fails not only itself, but the families who need it the most.

It’s great to encourage parents and children to know what’s in their food by becoming label detectives, but if the campaign is about sugar, inform them about how to look for sugar on a food label.

  1. It isn’t helping parents make healthy choices. If a food is lower in calories, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.  For example, there are packets of lower fat crisps which are under 100 calories.  When you look at the ingredients for a certain brand, the third ingredient is salt, and the fourth is sugar.  Furthermore, crisps are still primarily a carbohydrate based product, and, as many people know, carbohydrate is broken down into sugar during digestion. But, according to the 100-calorie guidelines, this, plus a diet fizzy drink, would be a perfectly acceptable snack!  In fact, the campaign is giving out vouchers to parents to buy foods which it considers healthy according to their calorie count, and recommending other foods within this limit.  These include:

    1. Jelly sweets

      Low calorie isn’t always healthy!

      Fruit flavoured yoghurts (the second ingredient is sugar, and one little pot contains 1/3 of a 7-10 year old’s daily sugar allowance).

    2. Sugar free jelly (artificial sweeteners).

    3. Crumpets (refined flour, contains sugar).

On the whole, I’m quite a fan of ‘Change for Life’.  It’s doing its best, and it’s working with real families, who may have had no previous interest in nutrition.  If a child is eating 3 chocolate bars a day and drinking sugary drinks, some of these options might indeed be better for them.  But there are better options still, and they don’t have to cost the earth.  What I mean by a ‘better’ option is one that’s giving the child nutrient density and variety from whole foods.  In the second part of this article, I’ll be sharing some quick and healthy snacks which fit the bill for me, and for many of my young students as well.  Watch this space!


  1. [Accessed 3 January 2018].
  2. [Accessed 3 January 2018].
  3. [Accessed 3 January 2018].

Jan 12

National Obesity Awareness Week

This week is National Obesity Awareness Week, so it seemed appropriate to talk a little about obesity and separate fact from fiction.  I’m probably going to be a little controversial here; as an obese person myself I’ve certainly had time and opportunity to formulate my own views.

What is Obesity?

The NHS defines an obese person as one who has a very high body weight, and a lot of excess body fat.

The most widely used way to measure obesity is the BMI, or body mass index.  This is a height:weight ratio measurement expressed as a number.  A BMI of 30 or more is usually classified as obese.  I say ‘usually’, because it’s possible for people with a high muscle mass, such as people who do a lot of strength training, to have a high BMI but not be obese.  They may weigh a lot, but most of that weight comes from muscle rather than fat.

BMI Chart

What’s your BMI?

Measuring waist circumference rather than BMI is becoming a more popular way to measure obesity.  Evidence is mounting that this approach may be more useful in determining who is at risk from long-term health problems due to obesity.  That’s because fat around the middle (‘visceral fat’) is considered the most dangerous to health.  In men a waist circumference of more than 94cm (37 inches) is considered obese.  In women, it’s 80cm (31.5 inches) (1).

How many people are obese?

obesity statistics uk

Obesity statistics & projections for the UK

The NHS estimates that 1 in 4 adults in the UK are obese.  It’s also a growing problem amongst children.  By the time children in the UK leave primary school, 1 in 5 may be obese.

Why does it matter?

Obesity can put you at greater risk of serious chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, and can affect mobility, and ability to perform daily activities.

Child feeling left out

Larger children are frequent targets for bullies

Being obese can also make life harsh in other ways.  From being bullied in the playground to finding it more difficult to gain credibility in the workplace, obese people are subjected to prejudice wherever they go.  This is likely to affect their own esteem and self-image, and contribute to mental health problems.  I read one report which suggested that obese children are shunned by their peers as much as children who are undergoing chemotherapy.  Of course, it goes without saying that neither group of children should be shunned or shamed at all.

In many cases, adults aren’t much kinder.  Some of the remarks people make on social media under the cover of anonymity are beneath contempt.  As an obese person myself, I’ve found myself subject to a great deal of prejudice, not just from trolls, but from people who really ought to know better.

Why are people obese?

The truth is, we don’t entirely know what has led to the alarming rise in obesity in the last couple of decades.  Most people will say that more people are obese because, as a nation, we eat too much and move too little.  Of course, that can be a huge factor in some cases, but it’s not the only factor, and it’s not true in every case.  There are many other influences on a person’s weight as well, and each will be more or less important according to the individual.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Genetics; although the importance of a single ‘fat gene’ has probably been overestimated, there are likely to be a combination of genes which have a direct or indirect effect on weight. It’s possible that environmental factors in today’s world are more likely to ‘switch on’ these genes

  • Ongoing stress, which can contribute to chronic inflammation

  • Poverty; the inability to access fresh, healthy food due to cost or lack of access

  • Medication use; in particular steroids and antidepressants often have weight gain as a side effect

  • Imbalances of intestinal flora (gut bacteria)

  • Suboptimal thyroid function

  • Other hormonal imbalances (these may be more likely to maintain ongoing obesity than be the initial cause)

  • Psychological issues or limiting beliefs around weight

What can be done about obesity?

Diets don't work!

Diets don’t work!

The best way to beat obesity is to prevent it in the first place.  According to Robert Lustig, author of ‘Fat Chance’, once a person has become obese, they have very little chance of achieving a healthy weight again in the long term.  They may lose weight for a time, but only a tiny proportion will maintain that weight loss for 5 years or more.

Despite the emphasis on calories in medical circles and in the press, calorie control diets have a very high failure rate (in studies, between 95 and 98% of people who follow these diets regain any weight they may have lost, and can even gain more weight).  Weight loss products appear to be similarly ineffective, and can have nasty side effects.  That’s why I will never be part of the weight loss industry, and am wary of anyone who is.  Who wants to be part of an industry with a 95% failure rate?  Having said that, a healthier diet will benefit everyone, including those with obesity-related concerns.  National Obesity Awareness week is about encouraging people to take small, achievable steps to improve their health.

Weight loss surgery can be very effective, but perhaps not as effective as some people think.  For example, only 54% of patients who have a gastric band fitted still have it in place 10 years later (2).  In fact, in several NHS trusts, gastric banding is no longer available because of the lower success rates. However, weight loss surgery is still much more successful than lifestyle measures.  Surprisingly, the reason for this may not be because the surgery restricts the amount of food you can eat, but because the surgery in some way alters the way that the patient’s hormones work.  How this happens is not fully understood.  When we have a better understanding, it may be possible to develop a treatment that is less drastic, and more effective.  Faecal (yes, poo) transplants look promising, but they’re not widely available, and many people are put off for obvious reasons.

Shouldn’t we be doing more to accept people as they are?

Lovlieness comes in many shapes and sizes

Lovlieness comes in many shapes and sizes

Of course we should!  Shaming or belittling anybody for the way they look should not be acceptable.  Prejudice related to size, whether the person is judged too fat or too thin, seems to be the last socially acceptable form of prejudice, and as such it’s rampant.  It makes for a nastier society, and if the aim is to encourage people to change their size, it’s a dismal failure, and rightly so.  Health comes in a range of shapes and sizes.

Obesity isn’t a choice; nobody would choose to be obese, because of all the negative things that come with obesity.  Nevertheless, many obese people accept and love themselves as they are.  In my opinion, everyone should be doing more of that, and directing less hatred at themselves, or others.

That said, obesity does put health and wellbeing at risk, and if people are unhappy with their weight, it’s important that they have tools and support available which are suited to their specific needs.  It’s also important that they are in a non-judgemental environment; believe me, an obese person has faced more negativity and judgement by the time they reach adulthood than many people will encounter in a lifetime.

If you want to improve any aspect of your health this year and obesity is one of your issues, I can help.  I promise that, unlike most other nutritional therapists, I’ve walked many miles in your shoes, and am still on my own journey.  I can help you identify what may be underpinning your issues, and together we can make a plan that suits your specific needs, and supports your overall health, whether or not weight loss is your goal.  If you’d like to know more, click here to access my calendar, and book a free, no-obligation chat with me.

Or if you’d like to get started with improving your health straight away, my online course, ‘Stronger Without Sugar’ may be perfect for you.  Find out more here.

I wish you a happy and healthy year, and look forward to helping you meet your health goals, whatever shape and size they are.


1. [Accesssed 11 January 2018].

2. Madura, J.A., & DiBaise, J.K., (2012). Quick fix or long-term cure? Pros and cons of bariatric surgery. F100 Medical Report, 4(19). Published online.  [Accessed 11 January 2018].

Sep 27

Top 10 Tips for Safe & Easy Religious Fasting

This weekend marks Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for the Jewish community.  Some of my Muslim friends are currently fasting as well.  This week, I saw an article, which I hope was a joke, saying that some people use caffeine suppositories (who knew such a thing existed?) to get them through their fast.  I hope none of my readers would ever be that unwise.

Yom Kippur Prayer

Some people find spiritual nourishment in fasting for religious reasons.

Let’s be clear; I’m not normally a fan of fasting as a nutritional aid.  Intermittent fasting does work for some people for weight management, but I always found that it made me irritable, and I didn’t lose any weight doing it, so for me it was a huge waste of time. ‘Juice fasts’ and so forth are downright dangerous, and have no lasting benefits, so I would never advocate them.  However, some people fast on occasion for religious reasons and, providing the person is generally healthy, it should be safe to do so.


If you’re fasting at the moment, or planning a short fast for religious or cultural reasons at any point in the future, there are things you can do to make the experience a little easier.  After all, the purpose of religious fasting is not primarily to suffer, but to allow yourself to become totally focused and immersed in prayer.  That’s not possible if you are suffering from a rumbling belly, dizziness or dehydration.

So, for all the occasional fasters out there, here are my top 10 tips for a safe and productive fast.

  1. Only fast if you’re fit to do so. A diabetic friend of mine used to fast for religious reasons, and then wondered why he was on the point of collapse.  This sort of behaviour can be incredibly dangerous, and is counterproductive, since not only can you not pray, but others have to stop and help you, so you are preventing them from their opportunity to do what they need to do.  If you are pregnant, diabetic, have kidney problems or are using certain medications (check with your doctor), please don’t fast.  Your health is always your priority, and any minister worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

  2. Lack of preparation may make your fasting experience more difficult.

    Lack of preparation may make your fasting experience more difficult.

    Be prepared. Fasting is a marathon for the body.  You wouldn’t dream of running a physical marathon without paying some attention to your diet, so apply the same logic to a metaphorical marathon.  Go easy on the alcohol, caffeine, sweet and salty foods in the days leading up to your fast.

  3. Last Supper. Choose the meal before your fast with care.  I would choose a good source of protein to maintain the feeling of fullness, and support the effective functioning of all body systems through the fast.  Personally, I prefer roast chicken, but others may prefer fish or pulses.  Then, I like to have a little complex carbohydrate, primarily for the fibre, and plenty of vegetables, partly for their mineral content, but mostly to help with hydration. I aim to eat a moderate amount; having a huge meal will just make you hungrier the next day.  Try some baked apple with a teaspoon of cinnamon as a dessert.  The apple contains soluble fibre, and the cinnamon may be helpful in balancing blood sugar.

  4. Jars of flavoured water

    Fluids are essential before a fast, but stay away from sugary or caffienated beverages.

    Stay Hydrated. Think about gradually increasing your intake of water and herbal teas in the lead-up to the fast.  Don’t think you can get away with drinking masses of water the day before; you will only spend lots of time in the bathroom; as with any hydration, small quantities taken frequently are better absorbed and utilised.

  5. Watch the Salt. It can be tempting to enjoy something really tasty before the fast, but watch the salt content of your chosen foods; high-salt foods can contribute to dehydration.  The hardest thing about fasting for a short period is not hunger, but thirst, so anything which can help with that will make your life far easier.

  6. Don’t keep it Simple. Comfort food seems like a great idea before a fast, but food that is primarily composed of simple carbohydrates, such as white starchy foods, cakes and sweet foods, may send your blood sugar soaring and then crashing.  Exacerbating a sugar crash on your fast day will make the experience much harder; you are likely to be hungrier, more tired and less able to concentrate.  Definitely a bad idea.

  7. Be kind to your Digestive System. If you know there are foods that are harder for you to digest, avoid these in the run-up to the fast. The last thing you need when trying to focus is a grumbling stomach, and the people around you really don’t want extra sound effects in the middle of their service.  So eat foods that are easy on your intestines; avoid large quantities of bran or pulses, unless you’re used to them.

  8. Sleeping on a cloud

    A sound sleep could help ease you through the fast.

    Sleep Well. Try to get a good night’s (or afternoon’s) sleep within your fast period, so that your body is rested, and better able to cope with the day ahead.  Observe your best bedtime routine; avoid noise, distractions and electronic devices in your bedroom as far as possible, and do a little quiet reading, or meditation if you’re into it, before bed to wind down.

  9. Be Observant. On your fast day, check in with yourself regularly that you’re doing OK. Watch out for signs like dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion and shakiness.  These are signs that you need to take it easy.  Pace yourself throughout the day; if you need a break, either take a rest, or go for a gentle walk outside.  If you need to sip some water or break the fast, do it!  Your health always comes first.

  10. Miso Soup

    Enjoy a light, but nutritious meal at the end of your fast.

    Breaking the Fast. Go gently when you break the fast. It’s tempting to stuff yourself, but it’s likely to give you a bad stomach and a disturbed sleep.  Have a small drink of water, herbal tea or soup, some protein, vegetables and a little fruit.  This is one time when I find having a small amount of simple carbohydrate useful, but don’t go overboard.

Above all, the fast should not be a trial; I like to think of it as an opportunity to exist in a completely immersive and absorbing environment for a short space of time.  Fasting may not be beneficial for the body, but if you create the right conditions and treat yourself with respect, it can certainly be of benefit to the mind and spirit.

Sep 20

Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure and what it Means

Earlier this year, I was at a posh party with my husband.  Shortly after arriving, my husband went white, and almost fainted. We took him outside and put his feet up on a bench.  Fortunately, there was a doctor at the party who stayed with us until my husband was back on his feet.

It was quite a scary experience, and it happens because my husband has high blood pressure, which is controlled with medication.  Unfortunately, if his blood pressure ever drops (for example, after going up a steep flight of stairs at a hot party), the medication prevents it from rising fast enough to compensate, and he has a ‘funny turn’.  It’s not serious, but it makes me very aware of the possible problems associated with abnormal blood pressure.

My husband isn’t alone.  It’s estimated that 16 million people in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension.  Some, like my husband, inherit it, and there’s not much we can do about that.  But many others develop hypertension as a result of inappropriate lifestyle choices.  If that’s you, there’s a great deal you can do to support your blood pressure with healthier alternatives.

Blood pressure facts and figures (UK)

Blood pressure facts and figures (UK)

This week is ‘know your numbers week’, a national drive for people to get their blood pressure measured and know what their numbers are. I think this is a great idea, but only if you understand what the numbers mean, and what you can do about them.  So, today I’m going to explain what blood pressure is, and what the numbers represent.  In my next post, I’ll talk about what you can do to look after your blood pressure.

What is blood pressure and why does it matter?

What is blood pressure? As your blood is pumped round the body, it puts pressure on the walls of the vessels it travels in; your arteries, veins and capillaries.  Obviously, the pressure is different in each of the vessels, according to its size, function and where it is in the body.  The pressure that we measure is the pressure your blood puts on the largest arteries in the heart as it travels through them.  This pressure is affected by:

  1. How ‘stretchy’ these arteries are

  2. How much blood is flowing through them at a particular time.

Problems associated with high blood pressureBlood pressure is important, because high blood pressure puts you at increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.  High blood pressure may also be a symptom of a problem with your arteries; if they become less ‘stretchy’, or develop an obstruction, the pressure in them will be higher.  Low blood pressure (hypotension) is not usually a problem, but it can cause some older people to feel dizzy when they get up after sitting. It can also be a symptom of a nutritional deficiency such as anaemia, so if you develop low blood pressure, take a look at your diet.

What do your numbers mean?

If you’ve ever looked at a blood pressure monitor, or watched a hospital show where they measure a patient’s blood pressure, you’ll notice that two numbers are mentioned; a higher number over a lower number.

The top number, which is the larger of the two, is called systolic blood pressure.  It’s the pressure created when the heart contracts, pushing blood through the arteries.  An ideal systolic blood pressure for a healthy adult is 80-120 (or 100-120 depending on what you read).  If your systolic pressure is between 121 and 140, you don’t technically have high blood pressure, but you may be on the way there, so it’s a good time to take action.  This stage is known as prehypertension.  In case you’re wondering, blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), because blood pressure is measured by the amount that it causes a column of mercury to rise.

The bottom number, which is the smaller one, is called diastolic blood pressure. This is a measurement of the pressure in the arteries between beats, when the heart is at rest.  A normal diastolic blood pressure is between 70 and 80.

Blood pressure chart

What are your numbers, and what do they mean for you?

Data from the most recent studies suggests that systolic blood pressure (the larger number) is most likely to determine your risk of heart disease if you are over 50, so this is the one to watch.  If your blood pressure is greater or equal to 160/100 your doctor will advise treatment.  If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, the action you and your doctor will take will depend on your other risk factors.

What can cause high blood pressure?

There are many factors that can contribute to high blood pressure.  The most common include:

Genes – some people, like my husband, inherit high blood pressure. Some ethnic groups, such as people of Asian origin, are also at higher risk.

Diet – a diet high in salt has been associated with high blood pressure, as have deficiencies in potassium, calcium and magnesium.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables may be associated with lower blood pressure.  Higher alcohol intake may also contribute to high blood pressure.  A diet that contributes to obesity may also be an issue, as obese people tend to be more likely to have high blood pressure than people of a normal weight.

Age – people over 40 are more likely to develop high blood pressure.  Over 50% of people over 60 may suffer from high blood pressure as a result of their arteries becoming stiffer.

Smoking – the nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict, raising the pressure inside them.

Stress – stress can temporarily raise blood pressure as the heart pumps harder in response to an emergency.  This accounts for ‘white coat syndrome’.  When you go to the doctor, you get nervous, so when your blood pressure is measured it’s often high.  This happened to me once, and as soon as I taught myself to relax, the measurement was normal.  If it happens to you, your doctor may suggest wearing a blood pressure monitor for a few days, to measure your blood pressure when you’re not under stress.

Risk factors for hypertension

Are any of these risk factors for you?

Now that you know what your numbers mean, you might like to know what you can do about them. In my next post I’ll be sharing the lifestyle measures you can take to support healthy blood pressure.  I’ll see you then!

I’d love to hear whether this post was useful to you, and what else you’d like me to write about.  Please leave a comment below, or get in touch.

Sep 14

Happy Everywoman Day! 5 Essential Nutrients for Every Woman

Ladies, we are super-beings!  Many of us juggle family, career, and community commitments in a way that was almost unimaginable even in our grandparents’ generation.  It’s little wonder that many of us don’t have time to prioritize our own health and well-being.  I often find myself, when confronted by some crazy new piece of health advice crying out, “Who has TIME for that???”

Super Woman

Does it feel as if this is who you have to be?

Yet it’s almost certain that if a person doesn’t spend a little time taking care of themselves, they will eventually be unable to take care of others.  Perhaps it’s unfair that women, more than men, are assigned ‘caregiver’ roles, but that’s often the reality.

So, today, on Everywoman day, I’m devoting this post to all the super-women out there and asking you to give me 5 minutes of your time to think about where you are getting these top groups of nutrients for your health.  I’m not asking you to embark on a faddy diet.  In fact, I’d hate it if you did.  No pressure, no expensive ingredients, just consider how you might incorporate my top tips into what you do every day.

Obviously this is a very general post, so if you find yourself at a key stage in life, such as pregnancy, or if you are preparing for something special like a sporting event, please contact me for more detailed advice specifically for you.


Raw fish

Aim for a quality protein source with each meal

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but protein is definitely more useful!  Not only is protein crucial for building and sustaining muscle and connective tissue, it is particularly important for us ladies in terms of making, transporting and storing hormones, and in maintaining liver function, so that hormones can be removed effectively once they’ve been used.  Certain amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are used to make the hormones dopamine, serotonin and melatonin, which support mood and sleep.Essential for busy ladies on the go.

Top Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder to your breakfast smoothie or porridge to keep you feeling full throughout the morning, and ensure that you start the day with some quality protein.  Don’t worry; you won’t ‘bulk up’ – unless you want to, and you do all the physical work as well.


Sliced avocado

Try half an avocado for an easy fibre boost

‘Getting your roughage’ isn’t just important for healthy bowels.  Fibre is one of the most neglected elements of the diet, as it’s not, strictly speaking, a nutrient.  However, it’s consistently been linked with health, longevity and disease prevention.  For us ladies, it particularly helps eliminate used oestrogen and unwanted cholesterol, and may help keep blood sugar levels stable.

Top tip: An apple a day really might keep the doctor away.  A fresh or baked apple is a great way to introduce fibre; one apple contains 4.4g fibre, just under a quarter of your recommended intake of 18g/day.  Bored with apples?  Try a pear instead (5.5g fibre in a medium pear), or half an avocado (6.75g fibre).  The fibre in fruits and vegetables can be more easily tolerated for people who find roughage a bit, well, rough!


Nuts and seeds

Nuts, seeds and legumes can help you get the B-vitamins you may be lacking.

This invaluable group of vitamins supports energy production in both men and women.  B-vitamins are also needed to produce mood-supporting hormones at all stages of life, and to support the adrenal glands, which take over from the ovaries in producing bone-supporting oestrogen after the menopause.  B6 may help with PMS symptoms, and B12 is needed for DNA health.  B-vitamins are found in nuts, seeds, wholegrains and green leafy vegetables.  B12 is mainly found in animal products, so if you are vegan you may need a supplement.  Generally, if you take a vitamin-B supplement, always take a B-complex rather than single B-vitamins, as the vitamins work synergistically.  The exception to this is that if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, you should take 400mg folic acid a day.  I like to take it in its methylated form, which comes as a liquid – no pills to swallow – yay!

Top Tip: Some people don’t like to snack on nuts.  If that’s you, no problem.  Crush them into a pesto or on top of a salad, or make your crumble topping with ground almonds instead of flour.


Array of healthy foods

With magnesium, variety is the key.

This incredible nutrient is often overlooked, and depletion may be common in older women.  Magnesium is essential for bone health, hormone regulation, blood sugar balance, heart health and muscle relaxation. It may be easily depleted at times of stress.  You can find magnesium in wheatgerm, nuts, tofu, soya beans, dried figs, apricots and dates, and in smaller amounts in many vegetables, particularly peas, sweet potatoes, beetroot, broccoli and cauliflower.

Top Tip: You have to eat quite large quantities of nuts and dried fruits to get your daily intake of magnesium.  This is not necessarily a good idea, as they are high in calories, and the fruits are high in sugar.  Instead, eat smaller amounts of a variety of different magnesium sources.  In this case, variety really is the spice of life.


Miso Soup

Nori goes prefectly with miso or chicken soup, or just munch it on its own as a snack.

Up to 50% of 11-18 year old girls may be iodine deficient, even though the recommended daily intake is very low (140mg/day in the UK).  Iodine is needed for the thyroid gland, which regulates every metabolic function and therefore affects energy, hormone levels and mood, to work efficiently. Iodine may also be important for healthy egg development in women who would like children. However, too much iodine can be as much of a problem as too little!

Top Tip: The main source of iodine is shellfish, but this can be expensive, and some people avoid it out of preference, or for religious reasons.  It’s a lot easier to carry around a snack of dried nori (seaweed).  It fits easily into a handbag, weighs next to nothing, and can be whipped out in an instant for a nutritious nibble.

Of course, this article is only the tip of the iceberg.  If you’d like to find out how your diet measures up, and where you may need a nutrient boost to maintain your superwoman status, I’d love you to get in touch.

Jul 19

Facts, Fads & the Dirt on ‘Clean Eating’.

In the last couple of days a couple of articles roundly condemning the ‘clean eating’ movement have caught my eye.  I attach them here for background.  I also got myself involved in a debate on the same subject in a practitioner group.  It was interesting to hear how many diverse views you can get from what is, supposedly, one profession.

Brain made of food

Has our concern for healthy eating become an unhealthy obsession?

The first thing this made me realise was that the wellness industry is not, in fact, one profession.  It is, perhaps more than many other professions, subject to the agendas and social and political backgrounds of its members.  For example, in the debate yesterday, some people (I was in this camp) pointed out that many clients really can’t afford to eat organic, and even if they could, they wouldn’t do so because they would perceive it as being too middle-class.  Others claimed that if families can afford to buy junk food, they can afford organic.  It’s simply a matter of priorities.

Clean Eating?

I’m not going to get into the organic or GMO debate here, because I’ve not done enough research to comment.  My position at the moment is that seeking out organic and non-GMO is only beneficial from an environmental perspective; the health benefits are dubious at best.  However, I’m willing to have my mind changed.  My point is that what we eat is as much about social and emotional perspective as it is about nutrition, possibly more so.

The Daily Mail article, is, as you would expect, sensationalist.  It lays the blame for the prevalence of eating disorders squarely at the feet of the clean eating movement.

I’m no fan of the ‘clean eating’ movement (see this article for my views), but I only agree with the author up to a point.  Obsessing about food has many dangers.  However, most people who promote healthy eating would be absolutely horrified if readers became paranoid about food to the point of emaciation.  Eating disorders are mental illnesses with many causal factors.  To blame them on one movement, whose intentions are reasonable even if its language isn’t always prudent, is over-simplistic and wrong.

Why irrational behaviours?

Fact and opinion word cloud

How well do you distinguish between fact and opinion, and which are you most influenced by?

So why does obsessive eating behaviour happen?  Maybe because the mind often doesn’t know the difference between rational beliefs and irrational ones, and hooks onto subjective feelings to bolster up the narrative it has created for itself, rather than considering evidence first.  For instance, yesterday one lady claimed that her body immediately knows the difference and reacts badly when she eats a non-organic apple as opposed to an organic one.  I can think of no physiological mechanism that would make this happen, and I’ll bet that if she didn’t know which type of apple she was eating, she wouldn’t get the reaction.  I am left with the conclusion that her mind created the reaction.  That’s not to say it isn’t real; the mind can and does produce real physical symptoms – it’s just that it’s not grounded in objective evidence.

That’s the problem with so much of today’s advice; it’s based purely on what people have felt and experienced.  That’s understandable; humans are primarily creatures who make meaning, and we create that meaning through our own experiences.  However, if our experiences are not underpinned by quality evidence, they are merely straw houses.  I can ‘believe’ all I want that I can fly, I can read “true” stories about people who’ve done it, and I can feel it in the depths of my soul, but it’s still not going to happen, because ‘ye cannae change the laws of physics, Captain’.

What can be done?

do not feed

Eating disorders are real and dangerous. Can we help young people master healthier ways of thinking?

How can we help young people who may be pressured into unhealthy habits?  Like the very slim girls in my class who were told by their ballet teacher that they were too fat?  Which, by the way, seems much more likely to promote disordered eating than encouraging them to eat more veggies.  I personally think it would be very helpful if we were to teach our children (and ourselves) to ask ourselves the following questions about something we have read, or are told:

  1. Who is the person giving this opinion or advice, and how are they qualified do so?

  2. Is there a plausible and realistic mechanism by which this advice could work or be true, and is the advice giver interested in showing me how to find it?

  3. Has this been shown consistently to benefit people similar to me?

  4. What are the downsides of this position, and what are the counter-arguments? Does the author make these clear, or are they ‘cherry-picking’? Do the potential benefits outweigh the negatives?

  5. Is this advice congruent with my core values as opposed to my current knee-jerk reaction?

Yes, this process is hard work at first, but if it helps just one person cope with or avoid a debilitating mental situation, it’ll be worth it.

Feb 15

Don’t talk to me like a child! How the language you use around food affects your success

I very often get asked the question, “Am I allowed to eat (insert name of food here)?”  I also get asked, “What foods are good, and what foods are bad?”

Child disliking vegetables

If you’re not a small child, avoid talking to yourself as if you are!

When that happens, I’m very aware of the language people are using.  It sounds as if you are talking to a five-year-old.  Would you ever ask your boss, “Am I allowed to do X”?  Would you ever say to a friend, “Oooh, that’s a BAD food!”?   I think not.  So why would you talk to yourself in that way?

Using child-language in relation to food is not, in my opinion, a harmless quirk.  When infantile language is used, it infantalises the user.  Which means that when you use childlike language around food, or someone uses that language towards you, you are really saying that your relationship with food is a child’s relationship, and that, around food, you are a child.

Child feeling left out

If you think how children feel when they are belittled, it’s unsurprising if you react in the same way.

I am sure you know what happens when you continually tell a child what she is not allowed to do and forbid it, or when you tell them that something is bad.  Either they begin to think of themselves as a bad person and become unhappy and withdrawn, or they rebel against it, and go out of their way to do the thing that is forbidden, which suddenly seems incredibly attractive. Sometimes, they do a mixture of the two  Whichever behaviour they adopt, they are unlikely to engage quite so easily and happily either with themselves or with others.  The same is true of you.  It’s much harder to develop a healthy adult relationship with food if you talk to yourself like an errant toddler, or allow others to do so.

When you take on the role of a child, you also position yourself as powerless and vulnerable in relation to food.  You do not regard yourself as being the one who is in control; the power is in the hands of fate, or in the hands of others. It definitely does not rest with you.

Do you recognise these behaviours?  I see them in my clients often, and I believe that one reason that some clients don’t achieve the success they desire is because the client doesn’t speak to themselves as an adult, but as a child. Ask yourself for a moment how you would react if someone spoke that way to you. Would it motivate and inspire you, or would it make you feel patronised or belittled?  I know what my reaction would be, and I am sure yours would be similar.

The right language will enable you to feel powerful and in charge when it comes to food.

The right language will enable you to feel powerful and in charge when it comes to food.

So, how could you go about talking to yourself as an adult? First and foremost, remember that being an adult means that you have agency, and also responsibility.  My teacher Marisa Peer defines responsibility as ‘the ability to respond to a situation’.  You always have a choice, and as an adult, you own that choice. Unlike when you were a child and someone else owned your choices, ownership makes you powerful.

This means that, at least where food is concerned, nothing is inevitable.  You can change your language around food to something that will serve you far better.  Over the next few days, notice how you talk to yourself around food, and replace your ‘child-talk’ with adult statements that put you back in control.

For example:

Instead of: “Am I allowed this food?”

Say: “Is this food the best choice for me right now?”

Instead of: “This is a bad/naughty/dirty food”.

Say: “This food isn’t nourishing for me at this time, so I’m choosing not to eat it”.

Instead of: “How many calories are in this food”.

Say: “How much nutrition is in this food?”  “Will I, or my body, really enjoy this food?”

Instead of: “My diet is dreadful!”

Say: “Some aspects of my diet are good, and I can work on the aspects I’m not happy with whenever I choose”.

Observe how talking to yourself as an adult affects the way you respond to food, and the choices you make around it, and be excited by how powerful and affirming the language you use can be.  Let me know how you get on.

Foods can rarely be classified into 'good' and bad', and it's unhelpful to do so.

Foods can rarely be classified into ‘good’ and bad’, and it’s unhelpful to do so.


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