Domini Kemp, creator of the Joe's Coffee, Hatch and Sons and Alchemy juice Co range of low-carb salads, cold-pressed juices and wholefood treats that are wheat and dairy free.
Like many in my generation as well as my parents’, I grew up regarding fat as an enemy. As long as every dinner was home cooked and contained very little fat, then I was sure I was on the right track. I used to happily eat toast for breakfast – with no butter, of course, but lashings of honey or jam. Then I’d eat more carbs at lunch and a bowl of pasta for dinner with a tomato sauce or sautéed vegetables, again with no fat, which therefore implied it was healthy, right? Wrong!
Following the standard advice at the time – which was to embrace a low-fat diet without really mentioning all those processed carbs – I thought I was doing great. But it’s clear looking back on it that it was skewed towards one main food group. I have always been against heavily processed foods, so although you could say the diet was weighted towards one food group, on the plus side at least I was cooking. But I thought nothing of sugar and how it cropped up in practically everything we eat.
But as I have learned more over the years, I realise this information is being turned on its head.
For example, our understanding of the role of fat is definitely changing. For years we were told fat was bad, or at best to be eaten only in moderation. But ‘good’ fats (no icky trans fats or hydrogenated fats, thank you) play a crucial role in keeping our bodies, digestion and brains supple and responsive. Some nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat soluble and therefore can be absorbed only if eaten with fat. Fats also do some seriously heavy lifting – in energy production, cell building, oxygen transport and blood clotting, for starters. No mean feat, I reckon. But it wasn’t always this way with fat. It used to be Public Enemy No. 1.
More and more, I started to see that diet was becoming increasingly confusing for those of us who are not in the business of full-time nutrition as more and more information became available. I liked parts of what everyone said, but found they couldn’t all agree on everything. But they did agree on lots of things, so it was really a question of trying to figure out what and how I could convert that into what I wanted to cook at home for my family for everyday nutrition and well-being.
For the most part, that means lots of green juicing, reducing carbohydrates, avoiding sugar or anything processed plus drinking wheatgrass shots and using turmeric, garlic and ginger as much as possible.
Don’t get me wrong: I do not eat a perfect diet and on occasion I take a more relaxed approach. Naturally, I would break out and celebrate if out with friends, but I tried to eat better 80–90% of the time.
It’s also about making some small changes, seeing how you get on and then if it feels good, following that path further.
Hopefully these small steps will help you and your loved ones to feel brighter, healthier and stronger.
This is an edited version of a piece written for Chelsea Green Publishing, the US publisher of The Ketogenic Kitchen