Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Philosophy of Eating 2

In a recent blog I offered a philosophy of eating and gave the right of reply to Don Ardell. Here are some of your responses with the odd comment from myself.

Hi Glenn

Thanks for the article on A Philosophy of Eating and the input from Don as well. I found it very insightful. I did really appreciate the section on positive eating. I am discovering for myself about emotional eating and the negative thoughts that pop up such as "I shouldn't be eating this" or "This is bad for me."

Just enjoying the food and being grateful for it was a great reminder for me when eating food. So thanks again.

Kind regards

Helen Williams

Thanks for your thoughts Helen. Appreciated. We all suffer from self-scrutiny. Even as a dietitian I sometimes think when I'm in the supermarket "What if someone I know looks in my basket now and sees full fat yogurt, or a chocolate?" Glenn


Hi Glenn.
Great newsletter. Love how you are secure enough to include another’s point of view in your own newsletter. I have to say that I agree with most of what you write; but not all. I think Don has captured my thoughts well with – “I certainly agree that we should be positive about food, unless it's loaded with fat, sugar, toxic chemicals and tons of empty calories. Then I think a bit of negativity might go a long way toward quality of life outcomes.”

As a mother of a healthy and rapidly growing 4 year old boy, I have become acutely aware of the daily bombardment of our society with marketing ploys to sell ‘products’ that don’t even rate as ‘food’ – in my opinion. Many of these contain no nutritional value whatsoever and should not be allowed to pose as food. The hardest part is that there is a growing (literally) element of our society that condemns parents that don’t want to feed these ‘food alternatives’ to our children – saying that we are somehow depriving our children!

I don’t have any objections to the occasional treat of something delicious, home made, wholesome and probably laden with good fats and natural sugars. But that’s the problem – the frequency of these treats is becoming alarmingly often. Everyone that comes into contact with your child thinks there is no harm in giving them an occasional treat. The cumulative impact of these well meaning gestures means that your otherwise well fed child now has a weight problem.

Rant over

Anne Finlay

Love to hear a rant Anne. And you don’t want to agree with everything I say because I could be wrong and also impose upon your democratic rights. For example, if I ran the world, you would have to register to smoke or buy donuts with proceeds of your estate going to medical care. Hardly democratic. And I predicted that drive-through breakfast would never, ever take off. Got that wrong. Glenn


Hi Glenn,

As usual I think you are pretty much spot on and wish only that you were the first “Minister for the Enjoyment of Food” in the next government. I have a further question rather than a comment. The new Dietary Guidelines have just come out. I have some real problems with the philosophy and emphasis inherent in the document and the accompanying resources. In particular it seems to come from the viewpoint that food is a medicine to be prescribed in a detailed dosage according to your age, sex and health status. Am I jumping at shadows? What do you think?

Cheers, Rex Milligan

Yes, dietary guidelines (and dietitians) do tend to get stuck into the 'food as nutrient source' argument, although the new Australian ones have put more emphasis on food. Despite there being some mention of cultural and family influence on nutrition, it would be quite stunning to read: 
“Think about what you eat, enjoy what you eat and take responsibility for what you eat.” 
“There is no good or bad food; it is the amount and frequency of consumption that determines its healthiness.” 

Except Krispy Kremes, of course, which are not food but an advance party of alien forms that will one day, without warning, enlarge inside consumers, burst out and take over. There was a movie about it once but we don’t have enough Sigourney Weavers to have a chance when it happens.  Glenn


Hi Glenn

I just wanted to say my neck is a teeny bit sore from nodding in agreement at this newsletter. So much of what you say here matches my own philosophy of eating.

Most of all, I think the advice to be positive and RELAX is so important to remember. In the face of so many faddish diets and trendy ways of eating – cutting out grains, sugar, vegetable oils or whatever the next ‘evil’ food is – it’s easy to be drowned out when your message, as ours is, is simply that boring old ‘moderation in all things; no food is bad; and by the way, eat lots of veges’.

What strikes me is that so often the messages around the pop diets are so negative - you MUST give up this food; it’s killing you! – leading to a very black-and-white view of the nutritional world. It can feel to the average person when reading these books and blogs that if you don’t eat this way you are just another poor, less-evolved slob who’s been brainwashed by the evil establishment; poor you. I find myself wanting to say to the authors, often: “Relax! We’re talking about food, here”. Yes, it’s important, and it has a great impact on how we feel and how well we are. But it’s not life and death. It’s not air-traffic control. As you say, if you have a good diet and listen to your body, the occasional pizza won’t kill you.

Keep up the good work Glenn – I’d love to just pick this whole blog up and publish it, but perhaps instead I’ll quote bits of it and use it for inspiration for my own and my editorials and newspaper column if you’ll allow me.

All the best

Niki Bezzant

Thanks Niki. You are welcome to use parts for your great magazine.


Hi Glenn,

As a comment to your latest newsletter I would like to add that too many people these days eat because they feel they have to and do not take the time to enjoy food. Most days I see people walking around West Perth eating a pie/pre-packed sandwich etc on their way back to the office. Food always tastes so much better when we take the time to sit and enjoy what we are eating especially with friends.

I am also a firm believer that a bit of chocolate cake occasionally never does anyone any harm but it is better to have a good quality cake than a supermarket one which contains all the additives, preservatives and bulkers with no real chocolate (which is the thing that we really want). Boucla on Rokeby Road, Subiaco, Perth do a fine line in cakes!!!!

Julie Daws


Hello Glenn,

I always enjoy reading your newsletter because the topics addressed are interesting as well as informative. Being a dietitian, I have always noticed that foods that are suppose to be eaten 'sometimes' have a negative connotation; however I strongly believe that these foods at least have a role in improving mental health (feels good to have fries/pizza). And if they are consumed occasionally/sometimes; while eating well otherwise/most of the times- there is no need to put negative emotion around it. Thus I second your point that if one is eating well most of the time + avoiding non-hungry eating = it will result into a healthy diet  (low GI, low sat. fat). 

Nisha Palan


Think positive thoughts about food - it is for nourishment, socialising, sharing, culture, discovery etc. It will keep you alive. Be grateful.

Amen to that Glenn, it summarises all what food meant to be for humans.

Kind regards

Wafaa Beaini

Nutrition & Cycling Interview

As you know, the world is just a click away, and people can track you down with ease. Bashir Kassam, a cycle-mad Canadian found me via his keyboard and asked if he could interview me for his website. Coincidently, we have a similar used-to-run-til-my-knees-gave-up-so-turned-to-cycling story.

You can read our nutrition chat here.


Just have to tell you about this. Look, I used to call them clips and gave them absolutely no thought. They appear wherever food is sold in plastic bags, such as bread. Now I know them as occlupanids and have great respect for the different species/shapes. First, let me warn you, that this is only for those with mild to modest craziness, mixed with a desire for discovery. If you have a busy day then don’t click here. (When home page opens, just click on it to progress).