AN­GELA BER­RILL

Reg­is­tered di­eti­tian

Dish - - EAT WELL -

An­gela Ber­rill is owner/direc­tor of ABC Nu­tri­tion. A well-re­spected reg­is­tered di­eti­tian, me­dia com­men­ta­tor and ed­u­ca­tor, she’s pas­sion­ate about health and nu­tri­tion and be­lieves in find­ing ways we can en­joy food while also nur­tur­ing our bod­ies.

dish: Are there ‘bot­tom line’ rules for eat­ing well?

There are no hard and fast ‘rules’ when it comes to eat­ing well and hav­ing a healthy re­la­tion­ship with food. In fact, hav­ing a firm set of food rules can lead to feel­ings of de­pri­va­tion, re­sult­ing in yo-yo di­et­ing. The key is to be flex­i­ble and to do the best you can.

How­ever, you can’t go wrong by bas­ing what you eat around in­clud­ing mostly whole foods and those that have un­der­gone as lit­tle pro­cess­ing as pos­si­ble. Buy­ing in sea­son helps from an af­ford­abil­ity per­spec­tive, as can look­ing for canned or frozen al­ter­na­tives.

Many of us could ben­e­fit from eat­ing more plant foods too – such as veg­eta­bles, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

dish: What does your own daily eat­ing look like?

I eat foods I en­joy and those that nour­ish my body (and soul); noth­ing is off lim­its, un­less I don't like it! Each day is dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on what twists and turns it takes. Al­though there is al­ways a morn­ing cof­fee… dish: How can we let go of our angst around food but also eat healthily in a way that’s sus­tain­able for life?

We need to re­move the guilt and shame as­so­ci­ated with cer­tain foods. Healthy eat­ing is about more than sim­ply eat­ing healthy food. It’s just as im­por­tant to have a healthy re­la­tion­ship with food – not one that is fed out of a fear of slip­ping up or food re­stric­tion.

Food is nei­ther in­her­ently ‘good’ or ‘bad’; all foods can be en­joyed as part of a healthy pat­tern. There is no right or wrong way to eat – it de­pends on the in­di­vid­ual and what their body’s needs are. What­ever changes you make, they need to be sus­tain­able for the long-term, rather than a quick fix or some­thing that makes you feel de­prived.

We all need to tune more into the process of eat­ing by being mind­ful, rather than eat­ing on the go or being dis­tracted by de­vices too.

dish: Why do we keep fall­ing for fad di­ets and eat­ing trends, do you think?

Fad di­ets of­fer a magic bul­let, a quick fix. Of­ten the hype around these ‘di­ets’ is based on tes­ti­mo­ni­als, heav­ily edited ‘be­fore’ and ‘af­ter’ photos, or shonky sci­ence.

Un­for­tu­nately our so­ci­ety has been built around diet cul­ture; we are bom­barded with im­ages of what we should look like, rather than em­brac­ing bod­ies of all shapes and sizes.

dish: How do we know what eat­ing ad­vice to heed and what is just a craze?

Do your re­search. If it sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is. You can al­ways find a study to sup­port the lat­est ‘su­per­food’ or fad diet; the key is to look at where the ma­jor­ity of the re­search lies rather than a small hand­ful of stud­ies. Look to the ex­perts for ad­vice, those with a for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tion in nu­tri­tion from a rep­utable univer­sity, rather than some­one who has the most fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram.

As for the crazes, while we will al­ways like things that sound ex­cit­ing and new, the re­al­ity is the fun­da­men­tals of eat­ing well re­ally haven't changed. When it comes to your health, it is the qual­ity of your whole diet that is im­por­tant, rather than fo­cus­ing on any one spe­cific food or nu­tri­ent.

dish: How do you feel about carbs? They're a nu­tri­tious food group that doesn't need to be viewed as the en­emy.

Car­bo­hy­drate-rich foods, such as grain foods and legumes, pro­vide us with a wide va­ri­ety of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and fi­bre that our body needs, as well as being a source of en­ergy.

Emerg­ing ev­i­dence also sug­gests that fi­bre-rich foods can have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on your gut mi­cro­biome, which may have ad­di­tional ben­e­fits for your health.

As with all foods, it’s im­por­tant to fo­cus on qual­ity – think whole and less-pro­cessed carbs, rather than go­ing for those that are heav­ily re­fined.

You can’t go wrong by bas­ing what you eat around in­clud­ing mostly whole foods and those that have un­der­gone as lit­tle pro­cess­ing as pos­si­ble

Jack­fruit and Rice Noo­dle Salad (page 76)

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