Why I’m an Anti Food Faddist, Wholegrains and #aGrainofTruth

Share with friends....Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Share on Google+

Wholemeal wholegrain bread1

If I have to hear or read the word ‘paleo’ again, I’m going to scream!

Is it just my age and the fact that I’ve seen so many food fads come and go? I’m so old I can remember my Mum being on the F-Plan diet in the 70’s.

Or maybe I just rebel when it seems loads of people are following the latest trend?

Why I’m an anti-food faddist

I’ve gone down some weird dietary paths in the past, mainly when I was hyperactive after my son was diagnosed with ASD.

I put that poor boy on so many diets… and I was silly and often didn’t really know whether they were helping or not….  the placebo effect in huge in autism… I made my life very difficult and he wasn’t impressed either.

These days, I’m happy to make healthy grub like the lemon and coconut balls recipe on this blog. But I worry about all the food fads that spring up, like being 100% sugar free or going deeply paleo.

We all know that wholesome, fresh food from nearby farmers is the best that we can do for families. But sometimes it just has to be Pizza Hut – doesn’t it?

Here’s why I worry about food fads like paleo diets:

I think they feed into anxiety and perfectionism

Perfectionism is the enemy of family life

There’s a lot of marketing put into these fads because some people make heaps of cash

Novelty is always appealing  but not always wise

Balance in life is best

Also…. it would be a catastrophe to say go to Paris and not eat croissants for breakfast

 Look, I’m not saying I eat multiple bowls of pasta for dinner, and lunch on 15 slices of bread… far from it… I aim to eat smart carbs with low GI and to be balanced.

Wholemeal wholegrain bread tip top1

Dr Joanna Macmillan, nutition guru and fellow Scot


Smart Carbs and Grains of Truth

Last week, I made the  sloppy joes our American au pair taught us to make. I slopped the sloppy joes onto soft white rolls, the kids were thrilled.  We very rarely buy white bread even though my little darlings wish I did all the time.

But my mum gave us brown bread when myself and my brothers and sister were little and I just do the same.

I’m not a purist (who would ever give up croissants and baguettes completely?) but we’re mainly brown bread eaters.

Why Wholemeal?

One of the reasons I buy wholemeal is that I know it has more protein in it than white bread. The one we mainly use has 10g of protein per two-slice serve.

Kids need 1g of protein per kilo, so lets say for my twins that’s about 25 – 30g a day they need.

So 10g from a sandwich is a great start.

I recently bought some Burgen – very grainy – and it has 12g of protein in two small slices. How do they do that?

And I love that it’s plant protein because I’m keen to save this one planet we have and plant protein is much easier on the planet than animal protein.

 The browner the bread, the more the fibre in it too… and we all need more fibre in our diets…. getting the kids to eat baked beans for breakfast sometimes if one of my tactics.

Anyway, I thought I knew everything there was to know about bread… but pride came before a fall. I went along to a blogger information session at Tip Top Bakeries recently and found out quite a few new facts.

Wholemeal wholegrain bread tip top1_1

A bunch of bloggers were shown bread making from woe to go

I’d never twigged, for example, that some breads which have wholegrains are made with white flour and then some wholegrains are added – duh!  And I hadn’t realised that the best of the best breads are made with wholemeal flour and then have wholegrains added. Double duh!

The point was also made that white bread isn’t the baddie that some food faddists would have us believe. Good news, excuse me whilst I nip out for a large baguette.

White bread and white flour still do contain B vitamins, fibre and protein. There’s much more nutrition in white flour than there is say in coconut flour.

Wholemeal wholegrain bread1_1

Playing with dough at Tip Top

Wholemeal wholegrain bread1_2

Whole wheat, ready to be milled

Wholemeal wholegrain bread1_3

This is milled wholemeal flour

Wholemeal wholegrain bread1_4

White flour, with the bran that’s removed

Ways To Get More Wholegrains In The Family

I often substitute wholemeal flour for white flour in my recipes for cakes and biscuits.

We eat quite a bit of the Barilla wholemeal pasta, 50% of the flour used is wholegrain. You need to eat it with plenty sauce though, it didn’t work well in my pasta an chickpeas recipe.

We use wholemeal wraps

Oats make the best breakfast – I was brought up in Bonnie Scotland, what can I say?

I don’t often buy heavily processed cereals, but Weetbix is generally on offer. The kids are overjoyed if we buy Nutrigrain in the holidays – sigh.

That’s the aim of my dietary efforts… but what can I say? We also have takeaway pizza most weeks at some point…. it’s a balance.

wholegrain bread protein

Freshly baked bread – pass me the butter and ginger marmalade

I was a guest of Tip Top Bakeries and the Grain and Legumes Nutrition Council and enjoyed hearing Dr Joanna McMillan chat about smart carbs and practical food choices.

They’ve teamed up to create the new website A Grain Of Truth which has videos, recipes and info about bread. Lunch was, you’ve guessed it, sandwiches filled with delicious, nutritious fillings… which made me realise I am the world’s worst sandwich maker.

Bread Choices Infographic_03

Anyway, I really enjoyed the visit and chatting to some experts. Also, blethering to Dr Joanna about our childhoods in rural Scotland and how we now have very Aussie kids was splendiferous.

And yes, I’ve since tried using wholemeal flour in my coronary-inducing death by) white chocolate mud cake, and the kids still scoffed the lot.

Are you a balanced eater?

Or a dedicated food faddist?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on: October 30, 2014


  • Reply October 31, 2014

    Morag Smith

    I try to follow the everything in moderation rule. So we mainly eat a healthy diet but have some unhealthy stuff too – like fish and chips, pizza, take-outs, ice-cream etc. And of course the big bar of chocolate I ate last night!!! xx

    • Reply October 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Dark chocolate, I trust?? Not being faddist! I just prefer the taste now that I am a sophisticated, menopausal mum.

  • Reply October 31, 2014

    Mairi Stones

    Interesting read Seana. As someone who some would say tends to food fads, I’d like to point out that there those who jump on any food fad or trend that comes along and I suspect like being able to say, ” Oh no I don’t do bla bla bla.” Then there are those of us who are trying to understand and make our way through the crazy amount of information and make sense of it becuase we have chronic health conditions. I agree a balanced diet is by far the most sensible thing, but when you can’t eat some things like pizza becuase they make you feel really unwell you have to look elsewhere. I believe many health conditions people in the West are experiencing can be healed or certainly improved by starting with healing the gut. I think working out what your body cant tolerate is a start and then I follow the excellent advice of two nutritionists which goes like this, concentrate on maintaining balanced blood sugars by eating protein at each meal, breakfast in particular, then for other meals, fill half your plate with veg and the remaining half with a mix of protein fats and carbs. Stay away from refined carbs and sugar, and if you have any health problems especially gut related avoid gluten as it’s hard on the digestion. Blimey I said more than I intended and could say so much more. Maybe the food faddists are looking for answers too, most likely ones they won’t find on a plate!!

    • Reply October 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Think it’s all a different story when there’s illness on the scene. I do love the excellent blog that Alexx Stuart does, she’s been unwell and finds a really clean diet helps.

      And I was reading something again this week about gut bacteria and health and I’m sure lots more info will come out on that and why eating natural and real foods is so much better for bacteria and health.

  • Reply October 31, 2014

    Desire Empire

    Oh looks like a lovely event. I am totally into whole grains, but like you, am not a purist. Eating healthily sure makes me feel alot better though. The best results I have got are avoiding any food fads but generally putting things in my mouth that are fresh, whole and delicious. A guaranteed way to improve your weight and overall health.

    • Reply October 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Yes, that’s 100% true. I do find that veggie juices and walnuts really do make me feel good… and it’s not a food but avoiding too much wine also makes me feel much better. Funny that…

  • Reply October 31, 2014

    Gourmet Getaways

    Very informative, Seana! I also get confused at all the fad diets entering the scene and claiming one is better than another! I think the safest is to stick to the basics. I am with you on brown breads.

    Gourmet Getaways

    • Reply October 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      I can’t bear seeing people all getting caught up in a fad and following along like sheeeep! BUT what other people do is none of my business, is it? Anyway, maybe it all pushes my ex-perfectionist buttons… here’s to sense and balance… and Halloweeen, which actually drives me nuts on the lolly front but it’s only one night a year.

  • Hi Seana,

    I did a lot of reading into the paleo (don’t scream!!) this year. Very interesting it was too. I think some people have genuine reasons for not eating grains, sugar or whatever it is that makes them sick. Fortunately I don’t so I go for the a little of what you fancy eating style – although I do eat far too much chocolate!! Some things are hard to eat in moderation…

    • Reply October 31, 2014

      Seana Smith

      But how much chocolate is too much… ah the happy days when I ate a 100g bar every day, I was breastfeeding the twins and felt it was terribly good for all three of us.

      I have read about paleo too, and have a great recipe for banana cake made with almond flour on this blog – so yummy and very easy to eat ALL of it in one go. It’s just the getting obsessed that drives me nutty and any whiffs of superiority.

      Mind you… in the age of the hunter gatherer, no cakes were eaten…. were they?? Or were they??

  • Reply October 31, 2014

    Fran, travelgenee

    I love the daily made bread you can get in Europe. No preservatives. Sour doughs are nice too. Any bread with some weight and not like the “air bread” you can get that lasts a week and has no body. “What type of bread should I get?” “Not air bread” is usually the reply in our house.
    The visit must have been interesting. I love a factory tour too.

    • Reply November 2, 2014

      Seana Smith

      I once did a tour of sweetie factory, that was fab. I’d love to go to see mushrooms being grown in tunnels one day. I did get to the farmers market today so have stocked up on real fresh food for the week and that feels good.

  • Reply November 1, 2014


    Fantastic post Seana. I totally agree with you the all these fad diets just feed anxiety. I’ve been on so many and they are just not sustainable. Smart carbs and a balanced diet are the way forward for sure. Loved the morning at Tip Top, I learnt so much about grains and breads. xx

    • Reply November 1, 2014

      Seana Smith

      I remember going on the Scarsdale Diet when I was at uni and my friend went on the Beverley Hills Diet – what were we thinking. I was thinking more about this and I do like the term ‘clean eating’ which you hear here and there. The question is… will I get up early and get to the market tomorrow. If I go on a Sunday it reduces supermarket shopping by more than half, always feels good to deal direct with the farmer.

  • Reply November 5, 2014

    Monique@ The Urban Mum

    When I was younger (cough. last month) I tried to give up sugar…a few kilos crept on over winter; and the recent burst of warmth in Sydney had me panicking. Well naturally all I could think about was lollies and chocolate – and on went another kilo. I am old enough to know that moderation is the successful way. ( I remember my mother on those ’70!s diets. I cannot even look at cottage cheese now ). I also played the elimination diet game with my son when he was little, only pain and no gain there too. So I still sin a bit with fads but generally sense gets the better of me and moderation rules! PS I love oats too. Lots if Scots in New Zealand where I grew up…

    • Reply November 5, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Oh that dreaded elimination diet… I’m scarred for life. I know it helps a lot of people but it didn’t really help us. But being healthy with foods for us and kids is always the thing to aspire to. Hooray for the Scots in NZ spreading the words on oats, actually some of my rellies were amongst them. Thanks for popping over.

  • Reply November 20, 2014

    Jean | Holy Smithereens

    I also don’t adhere to fad diets! It’s best to do your own research. Take for example, in the 70’s , what shaped the world then was going on a “low-fat” diet because research then said it was the culprit of all diseases, specifically heart-related ones. Due to that, people went on a ‘low-fat / but high in sugar(even natural) and ‘good’carbs’ diet. What did that result to? A surge in diabetes and other related diseases. Everything should be in moderation. So now, the rage is all about “high-fat/low-carb” diet. At the end of the day, no diet can ultimately do the job solely in making us healthy, we should all incorporate an active lifestyle too.

    • Reply November 21, 2014

      Seana Smith

      I’m all for an active lifestyle too, I’ll be swimming tomorrow at Manly, can’t wait… I don’t exercise as much as I ought to really but love what I do do, and being outside makes me FEEL so good in body and mind.

Leave a Reply