HOW TO NAVIGATE THE #CLEANEATING MINEFIELD. //
- Start eating intuitively.
pt.1 | Opinion piece: Oli Midgley, The Good Yard
We are deep in the phenomenon of ‘Clean Eating’. Our everyday chat is infiltrated with ‘gluten-free’ this and ‘dairy-free’ that. Labels claiming ‘sugar-free’ dominate the shelves in every supermarket. With a massive increase in self-proclaimed nutritionists on Instagram, there is an overwhelming amount of conflicting information on the world of health. We want to remove the confusion and breakdown the over-complicated spiel of nutritional advice with some no-nonsense recommendations from our favourite industry professionals.
This week we caught up with Oli Midgley, founder of The Good Yard, our favourite post-session re-fuel spot, to get his thoughts on the current world of ‘wellness'. Here’s what he’s got to say…
So you’ve eaten some gluten today, decided on full-fat instead of oat milk in your flat white and fucked off your wheatgrass shot. You feel guilty. Guess what? That’s OK. You don’t need to follow the latest nutrition trends by the book.
In the world of wellness, everyone has an opinion. Whether it be that hippy-drippy cure-all diet or one of those Insta famous booty building exercise programmes, everyone's in on it. And if you slip up one day, you feel ashamed. One day you should be eating a Paleo-based diet, the next week it’s carb-backloading and don’t forget intermittent fasting. Media is dominated by specific, prescriptive ways of eating, exercising and living and it’s all got a bit confusing and intimidating. I want to explain why it’s OK if you don’t want to follow the latest health fads endorsed by recent online articles. In fact, I’m recommending that you do quite the opposite.
CONFLICTING AND CONFUSING
Let’s run through a few of these confusing and opposing recommendations that we get hit with on a daily basis...
Don’t drink Whole milk because saturated fat is the devil, but wait, I heard higher fat dairy products lower the risk of being overweight?
Lower fat content? Try Skimmed-milk, although then you could be more likely to develop diabetes because you’re overcompensating with sugar and carbs in order to feel fuller for longer.
Ok, so Soy milk is the answer? Not unless you want to also be consuming isoflavones, a compound that mimics oestrogen, which could send your hormone balance all over the shop.
Almond milk it is then. Unless you decide that the 1-2g of protein per cup compared to 8g in cow's milk isn’t enough to get those #gains...
Cashew, hemp, rice, coconut milk. The list is endless. Confused? Yep, us too.
GUESS WHAT? WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT.
Try this for advice. Test different food types and find what works for you. If it makes you feel good and gives you energy, it’s probably right.
‘Test different food types and find what works for you.’
If you enjoy snacking on nuts, eat avocados and use lots of olive oil in your salad dressing, then maybe you want to steer away from full-fat milk as you’re already consuming several sources of healthy fats in your diet. On the flip side, maybe you’re an ectomorph (i.e. have a fast metabolism), and you need all the calories you can get. In which case, fill you boots. Whole milk all the way.
Forget measuring, counting and weighing. Decide on what’s right for you based on what aligns with your health history and what feels good. Regardless, we shouldn't be drinking enough of ANYTHING for it to impact our overall health. Moderation is key.
MODERATION IS OUR MANTRA
It’s recommended to consume lots of fruit to benefit from the abundance of vitamins and minerals, but then also advised to cut it from our diets if we’re focusing on a low-sugar diet. How about we apply some moderation to all these recommendations.
Sure, have some butter, just in moderation. Add some peanut butter to your smoothie, a teaspoon will do nicely. Drizzle your veggies in olive oil, just go easy on the serving size. Even if you reach for the health-guru’s staple of Coconut oil, remember that it is still an oil, and therefore needs to be consumed moderately. Metabolism and genetics have a big role to play in our individual bodies’ ability to digest certain foods. Everyone’s different - one rule doesn’t fit all. Once that becomes clear, the confusion will start to fade.
‘Everyone’s different - one rule doesn’t fit all’
PLAY THE LONG GAME
What about consuming foods that make YOU feel good and that taste great to YOU? That’s the definition of a maintainable diet.
Embracing health, dropping weight or having more energy isn’t going to be achieved by one meal or one workout. It needs to be integrated into your lifestyle, one that you can live by and maintain with ease. It needs to be sustainable. And If you’re planning on living for a long time, you’d better make sure you have a good time doing it.
That’s what my approach to ‘wellness’ is all about. In fact, I don't even like to use the over-used (and now almost meaningless) word. Yes, we should eat to fuel our bodies efficiently, but we should also enjoy every single thing we consume, otherwise, WHAT is the point?
Don’t get me wrong, at our two Good Yard cafes, we do sell whole milk flat whites but oat and coconut milks also line the shelves. There are loads of gluten free salads. HOWEVER, moderation is our mantra. Sure, all of our team love eating well and taking care of themselves, just like we love dropping into 1Rebel sessions. Yet what dominates our ethos is the way in which our food and drink is delivered. We sell healthy staples, but if you want a cheeky dash of mayo, we’ve got you. We won’t judge. A fresh slice of sourdough? Oh go on then. It’s about balance, taking care of people’s personal preferences, and delivering this in a laid back and fun atmosphere. When passing through our doors, you’ll be met by some old school bangers, our staff will be cracking jokes, and nothing is taken too seriously.
Our diets should be a lifestyle choice. Our food choices should be relevant to our bodies and to our specific goals. Our nutritional decisions should be maintainable and enjoyed, with mindful moderation always in sight.
So if you fancy popping down to The Good Yard to check our setup, we’re offering the #RebelArmy 20% off all food and drink during August at our new Leadenhall Market shop (just quote 1Rebel at the counter). We’re talking chicken and chorizo rice boxes, fresh halloumi wraps and THE best coffee in the city. Our new shop is at 43-45 Leadenhall Market, EC3V. Don’t be a stranger.
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