Chocolate Spread & Snake Oil

I am currently spending some down time away from London staying with my parents in leafy, rural nowhere, meaning I have the opportunity to get food from all sorts of exciting local places – there is even organic jam up for grabs from a neighbour’s wall down the road. 


Yesterday I found myself in a health food store on the hunt for vegetarian sausages and nut butter. It was whilst I was in there that my ears pricked up…

“…the thing with brown rice is that is marketed as the best type of rice for you, but realistically it is just white rice with a coat on…”

“…if you eat quinoa it is more easily digested than other things…”

“…you can make a healthy Nutella using nut butter and cacao with honey. It is actually really good for you, it’s a health food. You can let your children eat it, whereas Nutella…”


1.       Brown rice can indeed be thought of as white rice in a coat. In fact I love that image, and will steal it when talking to patients in the future. It is, however, a magnificent coat! Packed full of fibre, more magnesium and more iron than is found in your standard naked white rice.

2.       Quinoa and I have a difficult relationship. There is no doubting that the stuff is good for you, but there are reports of it now becoming so expensive due to Western demand, that indigenous peoples for whom it is traditional a dietary staple can no longer afford to eat it. Also it feels bobbly in my mouth.

From a physiological point of view, quinoa actually has a relatively low glycaemic Index, meaning its carbohydrate content is actually absorbed into the bloodstream slower than foods such as white rice or mashed potatoes.

3.       I have actually made this recipe and it is DELICIOUS. You can also buy it freshly made at certain stores like Whole Foods. However (sorry) simply combining ‘healthy’ ingredients does not necessarily mean a virtuous end result if you are going to eat it to excess. This recipe still contains fat and free sugars (from the honey) and should therefore be eaten in moderation. Speaking of which – Nutella (and other chocolate nut spreads) is something that can also be enjoyed time to time! The key to a healthy diet is remembering that these foods are not for every meal, or maybe even every day – whether they are made at home from cacao and hazelnut butter, or straight from that glass jar bought at the supermarket. A little bit of what you fancy does you good, as a wise man once said. Hence why I wrote this chomping my way through a generous handful of marshmallows.

Live like a child - question EVERYTHING. If you hear an ‘expert’ talking about something and you don’t know what they got their facts - ask them! If they know their stuff they shouldn’t mind.

So did I question said man? Honestly? No. I rolled my eyes, bought my sausages, put back the nut butter (£3.50!) and left.

I am British after all.