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  • Writer's pictureAlison Cowell

A little of what you fancy

As I waited to do my first speaking event this year, the host nervously watched as the canapes were being handed round. She looked embarrassed as a chocolate profiterole was thrust under my chin by an enthusiastic waitress. “Oh dear, I don’t think so” she apologised, waving the waitress away. ‘ “Ooh, yum, thanks” I replied as I took one. The host was taken aback. “YOU eat THOSE”? she said in surprise. Actually, I do. Not every day, not once a month, in fact I can’t even recall when I last had one. But that’s the thing with eating well. It’s what you do most of the time that counts and the odd treat here and there is absolutely fine.

Throughout my years in clinical practice, I saw many people who were so obsessed by eating only ‘good’ things that they were living utterly miserable lives and so were their families. One lady wouldn’t go to her son’s house for dinner because her daughter-in-law “drenches everything in oil and fat”; another missed out on her grandson’s 1st birthday because the thought of “all that sugar” in the cake and treats was “sickening”; and a third didn’t accept a cruise as a surprise present from her husband for their 25th wedding anniversary “because you just don’t know what you’re going to get on those ships, or in some of the places we will stop at”. I also had a client who dragged in her pallid, weak, 3 -year -old daughter and proudly declared that the child had never eaten gluten, dairy, red meat or processed food of any kind. (She’d brought her to me because the little girl had no energy and digestive issues).

Of course, we all have choices and they must be respected. However, in an age where we are bombarded with so much (too much?) information on what constitutes a healthy diet, alongside the perils and penalties of choosing unhealthy options, some people are trying too hard and becoming almost fanatical in their endeavours to be healthy.

Unless you have an intolerance or allergy, don’t feel guilty about indulging in a little of what you fancy from time to time.

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