I was having my breakfast in one of the health clubs in London one day. There was a lady sitting next to me eating poached eggs with avocado on pumpkin and sunflower seed gluten-free bread and a smoothie with spirulina and chia seeds.
She looked just like you’d expect a businesswoman to look: confident and upright. She had an Apple laptop in front of her, a Cartier Love bracelet on her wrist and an exaggerated bleached smile. She was completely and totally plugged in.
The waitress served her a shot of some kind of muddy liquid. She knocked it back, screwing up her face as she choked it down. When I asked what she was drinking that made her make such a face, she answered that it was aloe vera.
Then she added, ‘It’s absolutely terrible, but it’s so good for you’
After a few more questions, it turned out that she didn’t really know why it was actually good. She made a couple clumsy attempts to describe the health benefits of aloe vera shots, but they failed. She only named a list of random vitamins. She didn’t really know what they do for the body. She also said that aloe vera is good for better metabolism, weight loss and skin, but why she didn’t know.
The main thing is that she looked like she knew what she was talking about. She looked like she had everything under control – her Apple laptop, her Cartier, her aloe vera shot and green smoothie – her carrier, her personal life and her health.
This image usually does win over people. These attributes create an aura of success and an idea of ‘I want to be like her’, unless you are certain what is inside…
½ banana (53 cal, 7,2 g of sugar)
½ avocado (182 cal, 15,4 g fat, 3,7 g of sugar)
200 ml of almond milk (40 cal, 3g fat)
1 tbsp of spirulina (20 cal, 1 g fat)
1 tbsp of hazelnut butter (90 cal, 9 g fat)
5g chia seeds (24cal, 1,5 g fat)
Wait… this is just a drink… on her plate was:
2 poached eggs (286 cal, 18 g fat)
2 gluten-free toasts with pumpkin and sunflower seeds (122cal, 4 g fat)
½ avocado (182 cal, 15,4 g fat, 3,7 of sugar)
For a whopping total of 1052 cal, 55,5 g of fat, and 14,6 g of sugar
Of course, we can talk about all possible health benefits of the right kind of fat, but in the meantime, what I want to say is that she had 1052 cal for breakfast and a shot of aloe vera that, in her opinion, was supposed to help improve her metabolism and lose weight.
I must admit, that lady did care about her health – even if she had no idea how much fat, sugar and calories were in her meals. Obviously, she did. She is a member of the health club, and she drinks disgusting things just because they are ‘good for her’.
All right! Now let’s talk about health benefits of her breakfast. None of the ingredients were organic. The eggs were neither organic nor free-range. This means that apart from residual toxic chemicals, there was a portion of antibiotics that are usually given to chickens to avoid issues of crowding when bred in non- free-range environments.
I might think now that it’s a bit paranoid and impossible to live this way, constantly thinking of where is your food from. Yes, it’s tricky. But who will take responsibility for what is on your plate if not you?
Ladies like the one I met that morning just simply get hooked by new tricks of food producers and unscrupulous owners of health clubs who understand the needs of the mass market or their targeted group of people and just try to accommodate demand at a low cost for them, adding adjective like ‘healthy’ to their products for a few extra pounds (or dollars).
Remember back in the days when smoking cigarettes was also ‘good for you’.
Don’t be hooked by the attractive adjectives like this ‘paleo’,’ healthy’, ‘sugar-free’, ‘low-sodium’… you name it.
Yes, some types of fat are essential for our bodies, but ‘good fat’ is still fat, and ‘good calories’ are still calories – regardless of how attractively they’re presented.
‘It’s so good for you’ is not an argument. It’s more of an excuse when somebody tries to fit to many treats in their ‘healthy’ diets and lack of knowledge. Do question everything that other people say even (especially!) if it’s praised and advertised by many! Do question what’s said in the media, and do question what I say! Well, maybe not too often 🙂