Healthy Eating: A Food Trend or not? (Part I)

Healthy. What does it mean? Well breastcancer.org classifies healthy eating as “eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.” We were all pretty happy with that definition, instilled in most of us from a young age. But now today’s generation is brainwashed with the media labelling foods as ‘super’ and mistaking ‘healthy’ with terms like ‘gluten-free’ and ‘paleo’. Food shops are now the perfect place to house health products because there is such a huge market for it.

Blueberries

The leading “healthy” chefs today are Ella Woodward (aka Deliciously Ella), Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (aka Hemsley + Hemsley) and Amelia Freer. All of them have appeared on This Morning, a lifestyle show, to promote their books and cook recipes from them to let viewers know that you can eat healthily easily. But with the free-from market now worth approximately £400 million, to what extent has this clean/healthy eating become another food trend? Do ‘healthy’ cooks like the ones named above create a false illusion on living a healthy lifestyle; is there more to “healthy eating” than spiralising courgettes?

Woodward Health Books

There was no way in hell I could do this article without contacting the experts, the food blogging community. I can’t particularly say I have much expertise in the healthy food area so my view would be biased so the food bloggers out there will hopefully rein me in. Clearly it is a topic that gets us all talking because within a few hours, I had comments coming in left right and centre from many food bloggers. One of the first avenues I travelled down was a link to Deliciously Ella’s blog, perhaps unsurprisingly, and an article she had written about raw cacao. What immediately struck me was the first part of the second paragraph:

1st

I was shocked to see such an esteemed blogger like Woodward make a false claim that “regular store bought chocolate is filled with … condensed milk, cocoa powder and a whole list of other ingredients.” Well I had a look at the so-called “regular store bought chocolate” and found that none of them contain any condensed milk or cocoa powder. Now the health benefits of raw cacao cannot be dismissed; it’s high in magnesium and antioxidants.

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But Woodward does not have the authority to simply spout this incorrect information; she is probably the leading name in healthy food blogging and for many, Deliciously Ella is the first place they turn to find out more information and for there to be incorrect information on there, which could lead readers down the wrong path, cannot be a good thing. People who consider Woodward as the expert in this topic will completely follow the information on her site but it’s not good when the information is wrong.

Another alarming part of the article came in the first paragraph where Woodward introduces her relationship with cacao. She says the following:

2nd

Woodward mentions the fact that “chocolate should be a treat … you don’t have to ditch it forever”. This leads smoothly into the next point about “healthy eating”. For years the key to a balanced diet as always been everything in moderation, as Ali Imdad from Series 5 of Bake Off notes; he continues to say that you shouldn’t “cut anything out completely” and it seems that Woodward creates this polarised relationship with chocolate whereby normal chocolate is the enemy and she defeats the enemy by eating raw cacao. Does Woodward really need to push her love of raw cacao when actually she knows that normal chocolate is okay for us? That’s the impression I get from this phrase.

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Look we cannot fault Woodward’s brilliant work; Cate from Cate in the Kitchen recognises Woodward’s hard work in the brand she is today but I personally feel she needs to refine her articles. The phrase itself creates the idea that normal foods that don’t fit her healthy lifestyle are a sin, as my friend Vicki Humphries said when showing her this article. I think Woodward should check her facts before writing them down as this will lead her readers, who might consider Woodward as the expert, astray with false information; whilst she has popularised the healthy eating craze, she isn’t a scientist with a doctorate so she cannot state all her facts as true.

Read Part 2 by clicking here and read part 3 by clicking here

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10 thoughts on “Healthy Eating: A Food Trend or not? (Part I)

  1. Pingback: What has healthy eating done to us? | Andrew in the Kitchen

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  3. Pingback: GBBO Alternative Ingredient Week Challenge 5: Refined Sugar-Free Coconut Flapjacks | Andrew in the Kitchen

  4. LucyL

    I have to say I completely agree with you about healthy eating going bonkers. Healthy eating is most certainly having a bit of everything, not cutting out food groups (unless you have too, such as gluten for those with Coeliac disease) and incorporating exercise into your lifestyle. Your post is articulate and all points are well covered! Well done and thanks for sharing.

    Lucy
    http://www.lucylovestoeat.com

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  5. Pingback: Healthy Eating: A Food Trend or not? (Part III) | Andrew in the Kitchen

  6. Pingback: Healthy Eating: A Food Trend or not (Part II) | Andrew in the Kitchen

  7. TheLondonWhistler

    At least Ella is having a good impact on people’s habits and generally does create healthy natural recipes. She’s changed many people’s lives with it for the better. Give her a break and go pick on people who are actually damaging people’s lives – coke, KFC, Starbucks

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  8. Saskia (@girlinbrogues)

    Great article! To be honest, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of health fads. I think my background in medicine forces me to be so; you cannot give advice that isn’t based in scientific evidence etc. But I think it’s good these healthy food writers are making us aware of what alternative ingredients are out there – otherwise, I would have no idea what agave nectar, quinoa and raw cacao are.

    I think it’s a case of taking it as a pinch of salt. There’s no harm in trying.

    Saskia / girlinbrogues.com

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    1. AndrewintheKitchen Post author

      There is more to come Saskia, hope you keep your eyes out for them! My suspicion has always been there with all kinds of food trends and is what has allowed me to write so much on this. Definitely, you raise a point I make in another part, they have done great work! Thanks for the comment!

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