11 Jan 2017

'Tis the season for atonement

From Summer Times, 11:07 am on 11 January 2017

It’s the season of atonement for many of us, when the dues are paid for the holiday bacchanal.

But this is a wrong-headed mind set according to Niki Bezzant editor-at-large for the Healthy Food Guide.

She joined Summer Days with Jesse Mulligan to talk about some of the constructive things we can do that are likely to work, rather than faddish quick-fix detoxes.

Niki Bezzant

Niki Bezzant Photo: Supplied

Bezzant is adamant there is no such thing as a good or bad food, and to think so is unhealthy.

“Guilt and food should not be associated at all, it’s dysfunctional and disordered thinking around food.

“When we start to put food into good and bad categories it’s giving food control over us and how we feel about ourselves and that can lead some people to disordered eating behaviours.”

She says the New Year resolution way of thinking is unlikely to work.

“We want to atone for those sins of indulgence by doing some sort of detox or cleanse or diet or something like that – we want to get out of that diet thinking.”

Enjoy the abundance of foods, she says, eat a little of everything but not too much of anything.

Treat social media ‘experts’ with caution, they’re either selling something of have the same level of nutritional knowledge as your neighbour, Bezzant warns.  

“There’s a lot of “science-ish” stuff but it doesn’t mean those people are necessarily have science as a basis for what they’re saying.”

There are some myths that endure despite there being no evidence she says. For example the 8 glasses of water a day.

“Water’s good, all fluids are good. But we only need six cups and it doesn’t have to be actual water.”

Although Bezzant is more about adding to the diet rather than subtraction, alcohol is the exception.  

“It’s one of those things where we kind of have a bit of a blind spot. It is a level 1 carcinogen the same as asbestos and it’s a toxin and it’s linked with cancer and other diseases.”

So how to cut down on the grog? No booze days is the best strategy she says.

“Have three or four days when you just don’t drink any alcohol at all, but don’t save up all your quota and binge it at the weekend! Do that and drink moderately the other days, you should definitely cut down overall.”

And as for a worthy addition - vegetables.

“If you just do one thing this year, and one thing only, it would be just to try and add more veges into your life.

“That’s what the world’s healthiest people have in common, they have a real plant-based diet. It increases our health span and increases our lifespan.”

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