Who doesn’t want to lose weight?
I am not a Nutritionist/Dietician/Doctor, just an ordinary patient. But I sometimes feel that not enough notice is taken of what we need and what works for us. My weight ballooned on Tamoxifen, and no-one seemed able to give me advice tailored to what I could eat, so here are a few of the things that seemed to work for me – and might work for you.
Food for Thought
Recently American websites from their cancer centres have been full of suggestions of foods to be avoided – and there are some surprising things they suggest we should be wary of if we want to lose weight.
Everyone’s needs are different. Drugs react in different ways .e.g. after Tamoxifen I was always sick if I ordered Gazpacho (a fave soup). It was definitely the peppers that reacted with my drugs, and possibly too much garlic. Others found different things (especially hot spices caused a reaction),but everyone is different; it’s a case of trial and error. Sadly chocolate has no reaction on me – it’s one of the few foods that NEVER upsets my stomach – whatever I feel like! So no help in ditching the weight there!
As I was being monitored every day, it soon became easy to identify which foods I should avoid – even though these might have different reactions for others.
What most alerts warn you to beware of
- Breakfast Cereals. So-called “healthy” cereals are the worst foods you can possibly eat at the start of the day. …Read the list of contents very carefully – and go for those with little added sugar.
- Agave Nectar. …
- Whole Wheat Bread. …
- Granola. …
- Low-Fat Yogurt. …
- Commercial Salad Dressings. …
- Fruit Juices. …
- Soft drinks
Yes, there are some surprising things in the list, but for some time I have been suspicious about so-called ‘healthy’ foods, and when I picked up a vicious hospital infection, I had to be very careful what I ate. In hospital, I was being tested for everything, and discovered quickly what foods sent my blood sugar levels up
- Cream – of course!
- Cheese – I had to be careful the amount I ate
- Shortbread biscuits bought in by kind friends
- Any ‘gunk’ hospital food that was obviously cooked day before and re-heated. Am not sure about this, but reckoned the preservatives masked sugars put in in enhance flavours – yes, even in meat.
- Mayonnaise in sandwich fillings
- Low Far yoghourt has sugar in it to replace fat
The hospital dietician confirmed that fruit drinks are full of different sugars, but suggested tomato juice – lovely alternative. She also confirmed that wholemeal breads were to be eaten in moderation – but they have other health benefits. Grapefruit is known to react to cancer drugs, so be careful if you like these. I found it was helpful to keep an eagle eye on what I was eating for a couple of weeks. After that, my eyes can glance over a buffet table and are trained to light up when they see what I CAN eat!
What else to drink
Surprise, surprise – the nutritionist didn’t frown when I wistfully complained that, having grown up in the country on Jersey milk, I found today’s pale skimmed milk a horrible substitute. Apparently she didn’t mind me drinking full fat – she said that the fat in the milk would fill me up for much longer, so there would be a trade-off benefit. And she was right. When I was hungry I would have a glass of ‘old-fashioned’ milk, and it filled me up for much longer. I could only get this at home – I remember the nurse’s look of horror when I asked for this in hospital!
Jersey milk contains a high butter fat content – about 4.48% – but the trade off is this has other natural benefits; the milk contains 18% more protein and 25% more calcium than most other milks. And my four-year old nephew, much to his mother’s disgust (she is a tiger for healthy eating) as soon as he arrives asks for “Auntie’s milk” – he won’t touch skimmed milk at home!
So, if I am careful there are swings and roundabouts. and I get my milk delivered in the old-fashioned way; daily to my doorstep in glass bottles. https://www.milkandmore.co.uk
|Simon Tuckey is the College of Medicine’s Ambassador for the Food Industry. Simon has spent most of his career in the food industry in the UK and overseas and here is his latest news from the sector.
The big news on food this month seems to have slipped out with hardly a mention. The F (for food) seems to have been taken out of DEFRA! (The Govt. Ministry). The College tried recently to engage the Secretary of State for DEFRA in food and obesity issues, to suggest that DEFRA was in fact the most important of the ministries in tackling our biggest social problem – that over 65% of us are overweight, with massive effects on the effectiveness of another great department of state, the DOH.We put forward, for ease of understanding and actionability a 3-point programme:1. Commission an advertising campaign to change attitudes to food.
2. Change subsidies and tariffs (post Brexit) to increase domestic supply. Don’t import what we can grow.
3. Partner with the Department of Education to mandate that every child under 10 grows an edible plant.
Sadly, though he wrote back personally, the Secretary of State was unimpressed with our suggestion that championing food as the most important factor in our environment could be key in combatting obesity. Instead he declared that the DOH initiatives on sugar et al will be quite sufficient to deal with this problem. This Secretary of State is a thinker and likes to associate himself with new and radical policies, even helping to launch a new think tank. It was our first approach as a College to the “food ministry” so we must try again but re-setting the public attitude to food is surely a crucial part of achieving our belief that food and personal responsibility is the new medicine.
The letter was a disappointment but the appointment of Ben Goldsmith (environmental campaigner and political funding donor) to the DEFRA board is more worrying. It seems to confirm the worries circulating in the food industry for some time, that Michael Gove is more interested in environmental votes and new trade deals to get even cheaper food that he is in promoting a vigorous agricultural base to our most important industry, food.
Greener policy making is of course desirable but it should go hand in hand with greener agriculture: growing nearly all out own food, reducing food miles to nothing, generating great taste from real freshness and localisation and securing our own food supply without importing more from questionable jurisdictions… these are surely as important.
But the real disappointment is failing to persuade a senior government minister of the link between all these things and good health.
We can insist all we like that consumers eat this, don’t eat that, etc, but making food really important in our lives is the key to a healthier Britain.