Before you ask, no, pizza isn't the new diet staple food. We can all dream.
But, there are SO many rumours flying around, from the latest diet trend to a new superfood to a claim that a tiny tablet will make you shed fat instantly and you'll turn into Cara Delevigne and grow wings. So I wanted to help you figure out which truths to swallow and what's the science behind some of the most common rumours I've heard recently.
So sit tight, get yourself a cup of tea and be prepared to have your mind blown.
1. "Frozen vegetables are SO bad for you!"
Whoa. Let's stop right there. Before I say any more, let me set the scene.
You're in your local supermarket and you're feeling like it's time to get healthy. You mooch (great word) on over to the fresh fruit and veg section. You pick up a courgette (let's call him Steve) and you pop him in your basket. Now you're thinking you're getting a fresh piece of goodness right there. Hate to break it to you but Steve's been on quite a journey. From being picked, bundled up, packed into a crate to landing in your basket, Steve's losing nutrients along the way. Poor guy.
Now let's head on over to the frozen section and take a look at the frozen veg. It's totally natural to think that fresh is always better because there is a huge stigma attached with frozen foods that they are highly processed and unhealthy choices. But, fresh vegetables are not always best.
Steve, is that you?
Frozen produce is usually frozen almost immediately after being picked, when they are in their "peak freshness", and in a state of being ready to munch. Just before the freezing process, the vegetables are washed, peeled and blanched. Blanching removes any surface dirt, pesticides or bacteria, preserves their freshness and destroys enzymes that would degrade nutrients. Now yes, blanching causing vegetables to lose some of their water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C BUT blanching does have a protective effect on their nutritional content as it locks in the rest of the micronutrients and antioxidants during the storage period.
Frozen vs Fresh
In 100 grams of sweetcorn, there is no different in the fibre or calcium content between fresh and frozen when boiled. Frozen spinach contains more fibre, calcium and Vitamin E than fresh and frozen beans retained twice as much Vitamin C as fresh beans. So there we go! Unless you're really keen to increase your intake of a particular micronutrient or antioxidant, frozen veg is still healthy AND they're not as expensive AND they're all prepared for you so if you're having a lazy day then it's super easy to get these bad boys cooked. So there! Don't turn your nose up next time you head down that frozen aisle!
2. "Eating fat will make you fat"
Nu-uh! Lies lies lies.
Obviously it is all about what kind of fat you're eating. If it's healthy fat, it's GOOD! The kind of healthy fats I'm talking about are monounsaturated and essential fatty acids.
Confused? Okay, I'll give you a list of tasty good fats that should be incorporated into your diet.
- Avocados [So yummy with eggs, in a salad or cut in half, scooped out and chopped up and mixed with quinoa and veggies then stuffed back in. Mmmmm!]
- Nuts. If you struggle nibbling on some nuts then get yourself some almond butter! Watch yourself slowly turn into a nut butter monster like me who ends up getting through a pot every couple of days. True story. I love it. Am I an animal? Maybe.
- Seeds [pumpkin, chia, flax etc.] If you feel like you're eating bird feed then disguise these seeds in smoothies, yoghurt and salads. You won't even know they're there and you're getting your daily goodness which will turn you into a glowing goddess.
- Fatty fish (like mackerel, herring and wild salmon) which are bursting with Omega-3 fats.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil. Drizzled on at the end of dishes. Tip: Don't cook with it! Choose a better alternative such as coconut oil.
3. "Organic meat is SO much better than non-organic meat."
Well let's just have a chat before we say anything totally wild. So this is something that a lot of my friends didn't realise...Hormone-treated meat in the EU is prohibited. Total no no. So that includes are organic and non-organic. Great news right?Hormone-treated meat is dangerous stuff so this is really reassuring to know. So now we know hormones are banned, what about other drugs and antibiotics?In 2006, the EU banned the feeding of ALL antibiotics and related drugs to livestock for growth promotion purposes. Again awesome stuff but antibiotics and drugs can still be used for treatment for the animal if they're unwell. This includes organic stock. However, organic stock can only have three course of antibiotics with twelve months. So organic doesn't always imply antibiotic-free!Now it gets even more interesting...
Organic produce doesn't guarantee that the animal feed is organic. Organic livestock can graze in common land under the current EU law and even though they are encouraged to use organic feed, it doesn't guarantee anything. I know I know, doesn't make sense at all. Surely feeding animals with organic feed is a good thing as it reduces pesticide intake by animals which in turn reduces our pesticide intake! But whatever.
So apart from the obvious ethical and environmental issues, weighing it up, there really isn't that much different between organic and non-organic meat.
Both organic and non-organic are hormone free AND also free from growth preventing antibiotics.
Organic can't even guarantee to be chemical-free. The polluted air, soil and water means there is no 100% guarantee that what you're eating is purely organic.
But there is hope!
Find somewhere local and source yourself some amazing grass-fed meat straight from a butcher. Shopping local is something we should try and all do more of so I not just encourage you, I urge you to go and shop local! If you don't I might cry.
[Now I have to say, it's a totally different story if you live in the US as there's way more issues over there.]
So there we go, hopefully I've cleared up a few questions and you won't be scratching your head over whether or not to buy organic meat and worrying about eating good fats!