Advocating a balanced diet can seem old hat. An idea for a "new" diet plan is to eat what you like, but cook it yourself. More honestly, this is a very old diet. It'll never make much money, so there isn't much scope for sponsorship or celebrity endorsement, but it has a lot of merit.
Endless debates rage in fitness industry about carbs, fats, dairy, grains etc. But what happens when you stop eating an arbitrary food group, say foods containing the letter 'P'? The first thing is that whole swathes of food are off the menu. You have to cook more homemade food, and turn down unexpected treats offered to you. Your health improves, your weight is easier to manage. Word gets around, so more people try it, and find that they too, are better off without those pesky Ps. Then the food industry catches on to the trend and spots the gap in the market. P-less people are so much healthier, right? Suddenly 'letter P' alternatives are produced P-less snacks, drinks and ready meals are available. Now P-free converts enjoy the freedom to eat out at restaurants, and the shop in all aisles of the supermarket again, and their generous colleagues thoughtfully cook P-free cakes, so they don't miss out when it's birthday time. Hurray! But then, P-free people start eating a diet virtually indistinguishable from their full alphabet friends, save the possibility that they are lacking a few nutrients that they would otherwise have got from pork, peas and potatoes. They have come full circle, and are eating junk food again. The letter P never was the problem. Instead, it was the easy access to and reliance on cheap, bountiful, ready-made foods.
Michael Pollan illustrates it succinctly in the video below. Homemade foods will almost certainly be healthier for you, and those that aren't are too much hassle to cook regularly. Nobody is seriously suggesting that you start milling your own flour, but there is some wisdom in the idea that time spent preparing food means that you will approach eating less mindlessly - or more mindfully, if you like - but that's a topic for another day.
Fitness and Pilates instructor with a passion for science.