Friday, 28 November 2014


I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall a couple of days ago talking on BBC on the occasion of releasing his new book Light & Easy. I am a big fun of him normally but this time he made me annoyed. I am prepared to be criticized or attacked on this post but I just cannot stop thinking of what he said.

I like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I buy his books, I watch his cooking programs on telly, I even visited River Cottage Canteen in Winchester when I spent my holiday in the area - but he made me a bit disappointed this time.

There is a point when all celebrity chef feels the necessity to release a wheat-, gluten-, dairy- or other-free book. And he too stood into the line of these chefs.  No problem with this at all. These books are needed by by people who have gluten- or lactose intolerance.
The problem is that those who fortunately do not suffer from these disease can feel that this is the "new-healthy" standard and are made feel guilty consuming dairy and whey products.
I shared my thoughts and worry on gluten free diet in my previous post: here.

On the BBC morning show Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shared with us, he had been diagnosed with high cholesterol level and the doctor advised him to cut back on saturated fat (you can find out what  is wrong with saturated fat: here). And he - instead of cutting back on saturated fat - decided to exclude wheat and dairy products all together.

If you exclude important food groups from your diet you need to know how to replace them in your recipes and what is even more important : how to get those important nutrients - minerals and vitamins - what normally gained from dairy and wheat. And here we can witness how to create a new market. People  feel guilty to eat dairy and gluten so they go with the flow, they buy these books and special gluten- and diary-free products. They turn to these books for guidance and - in this sense - the existence of these cook books are blessing. We all know though that most of the people - without a very good reason, like intolerance - is not able to sustain this diet. Their reason to go gluten or diary-free is guilt. Guilt of not being healthy enough. And any other diet wave could alleviate their guilt.

Do not take me wrong. As Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall said wheat and dairy products take too big part in our diet and we need to cut back. I deeply agree on this.

But instead of offering easy solutions, people should be educated

  • to know (and keep) correct serving sizes
  • how to keep the right balance in diet
  • to be more concious about the origin of our dairy and wheat
  • and finally to value and eat less but good quality ingredients and encouraged to buy local organic products

Changing our diet to gluten- or dairy-free does not mean that our lifestyle is healthy. There are no short cuts.
We have to limit the consumption of certain foods and learn the correct serving sizes -even if these foods are made with healthier ingredients. Does not matter if the chocolate brownie - displayed as a good and attractive  example on the show - contain coconut oil, we cannot eat it without a limit. At the bottom line chocolate brownie is not  a food with many health benefit.

I think recipes from Light & Easy are really useful at balancing out our diet and I definitely will try them. However as I am lucky not to be lactose or gluten intolerant - I also keep dairy and wheat in my diet, within the healthy limit.

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