Chocolate v Willpower: why disruption is better than diet

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the TEDx event held here in Bristol.

It wasn’t at the recorded TEDx show itself – although it was amazing to be in the audience for a number of really amazing talks. This time, I was running a short session in the brilliant Wellbeing Area which was where everyone headed during the break times. The theme for the TEDx event was Disruption and so us healthy types in the wellbeing area were tasked with talking about disrupting wellbeing.

My talk wasn’t recorded (thank goodness!) but I thought you might be interested in what I said that day. So here is (more or less) the kind of thing that I talked out.

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Post-exercise chocolate milk

People, especially runners, talk about chocolate milk as being a great ‘post exercise’ refueling drink, and I have to agree. It is pretty fantastic.

It tastes good, it quickly gets protein to where it needs to go, and it is super convenient – no need to start cooking an omelette when you have chocolate milk around. In fact, when I talk with clients about exercise, one of the ways I recommend refueling is to have chocolate milk.

But when you look at the ingredients of most commercial chocolate milk drinks, there is a lot of random stuff in there which isn’t exactly what you need. Added sugars, sweeteners, flavourings etc. Those are things that don’t help rebuild muscle.

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Spelt pancakes

Pancakes are amazing.

I love them a lot. If it wasn’t for the fact that they take a bit of faffing around, I’d have them every day. Or at least every weekend.

(If you think you shouldn’t have pancakes, read this)

At home, we make our pancakes with spelt flour – here’s the recipe for my spelt pancakes:

  • 1.5 cups of spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb of soda
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 3 cups of milk (whatever kind you like) – if you want to go extra pancakely posh, swap one of those cups for a cup of buttermilk
  • (if you want to turn these pancakes into chocolate pancakes, add two teaspoons of cocoa powder to the dry mix)

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In defence of sugar

(I totally know I shouldn’t be writing this, what with me being a nutritionist and all, but sometimes stuff just needs to be said)

Sugar makes stuff taste nice.

Yes it does.

Just like fat also makes stuff taste nice.

But unlike fat, (or at least the fats which we like to think of as good fats) sugar is pretty much a demon ingredient. Anyone who cares about their health hates sugar. Some people won’t touch the stuff because it’s a poison.

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Chocolate sauce

One of the things that I love is chocolate. Chocolate everything: chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, chocolate for breakfast, chocolate chocolate, chocolate biscuits. If it’s got chocolate in it, then I’m pretty much going to like it. BUT, if it’s chocolate flavoured (ie, it doesn’t actually chocolate in it. The chocolate is just chocolate flavouring), then … Read more

Don’t ‘try’ to eat better.

How often do you say the phrase:  ‘I am trying to …… (quit sugar) (eat less) (lose weight) (drink less coffee)’?

(whatever might be relevant to you)

I know how it is: we want to be doing something good for our health, so we do our best to ditch the stuff that we feel might be causing us problems.

But, you know, LIFE gets in the way.

Someone in the office has a birthday, so they bring in cake.

You get invited to a conference, and they have nibbles.

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Too. Much. Chocolate.

I’m Claire, a nutritional therapist who likes eating chocolate.

Why am I confessing this right at the start?

Well, I don’t want you to think that:

a) I’m a food dictator;

b) That I only eat pure, clean and 100% perfectly all the time.

No matter how much we know about food, or nutrition, or healthy living, we all slip into cheeky habits. The odd nibble of chocolate becomes a flood of Easter Eggs at this time of year. And the occasional social glass of wine easily becomes a whole bottle after a hard day.

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Chocolate and the BBC

As a kid, I remember really REALLY wanting to appear on the television, or on radio, or something.

I’m not an actor, I can’t sing, and even though I can dance really well at a disco, it most definitely isn’t good enough for anyone to be impressed.

I do love talking though – I’m really good at talking – so I had figured that I could do some sort of presenting, or announcing, or something along those lines.

And growing up in Bristol meant that there were two major broadcasters I could chose from. TWO.

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