Have we hit peak ‘clean eating’ neuroses?
Back away from the stevia… Why, you ask? Why, I beseech you in return, are we determined to wreck desserts?
They are a true pleasure in life, or were until the healthy eating zealots hijacked them and, now, I fear we have officially lost the plot.
I am the first to admit that one of the absolute coups of the raw food, healthy eating trend has been delicious desserts, with their various decadent incarnations of dates and nuts, cacao and coconut oil.
They are able to do, what many consider to be impossible, and deliver (relative) health without compromising taste.
Then we went and took the whole health/dessert (not to mention gluten) thing and royally messed with it.
One popular, genetically-blessed Instagrammer is now making his name with recipes for ‘desserts’ that will make you ‘burn fat’.
And people are drinking his Kool Aid.
“One look at Crosby Tailor’s Instagram page, and you’ll be ready to swear off sugar forever,” Well+Good gushes.
Sure, the “self-trained chef and nutrition junkie” has pretty pictures.
But, as Essena O’Neil surely taught us of Instagram, looks can be deceiving.
Tailor’s latest recipe is a Maca Toffee Crunch Smoothie that can “help prevent wrinkles and sagging of the skin”.
Its gag-reflex inducing ingredients include bone broth protein, gelatinised maca (WTF?), a bunch of different (and no doubt expensive, but probably not for Chantal Bacon) mushroom powders, english toffee stevia and prebiotic raw potato starch flour.
Ready to swear off sugar forever? Yeah, me too.
Late last year I was chatting with James Duigan, the owner of Bodyism and the trainer of Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, about how we have reached peak neuroses with the healthy eating trend.
“Like if you’re going to have a brownie, have a brownie. Not a beetroot and brussels sprout brownie. Just go for it, do it,” Duigan said, exasperated.
I’m inclined to agree.
After 10 years of writing about health and nutrition, I am often asked about what I’ve adopted.
The truth is that, the more I learn, the less extreme I become. Having tried many weird, extreme trends on for size (and stories), there are relatively few ‘trends’ I’ve been convinced by.
I have cold showers because they make me feel alive (and may have some snazzy health side effects), I move every day, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, because it feels good (and definitely has some snazzy health effects), I practice mindfulness and meditation because it makes me sane (and the evidence that it makes us less nutty and more healthy in mind and body is compelling), I prioritise sleep (because sleep), eat organic, real food, try not to put too much crap on my skin and I pursue joy.
Sometimes that joy is healthy and sometimes it involves unhealthy stuff, including brownies that are made with actual sugar.
The reason for this, is that all the neuroses around food and what we shouldn’t eat is unhealthy. Besides, even ‘healthy’ sweeteners are still sugars and we need to watch portion sizes regardless, so why not get maximum enjoyment from the hit that you have?
With all the focus on excess consumption of sugar, which too many are certainly guilty of, we’ve lost our minds and the scales of sanity have slipped.
There’s something surely to be said for balance (not a balance of 50 per cent crap, but rather one that remembers that alcohol, sugar and other ‘crap’ that we enjoy is particularly dense crap so much less is required for ‘balance’. Think 80/20.).
Balance also means there’s no need to ‘swear off sugar forever’ necessarily, nor take treats and turn them into gelatinised mushroom monsters.
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