Today, with all the science and research at our fingertips, we, as a collective global nation, eat worse than at any time in history. Well, certainly we, as the Western world; with our reliance on convenient food, sliced, diced and packaged into products, far, far removed from the original whole food and often without a natural ingredient in sight. But this isn’t a post about the toxic state of the nation, more a comment on the changing times. In response we also have a growing swell of support for traditional values, an understanding that the diets of our ancestors did in fact make sense with the rhythms of our body, of nature, of the seasons, of the fragile ecosystem in which we all exist; paleo diets, nourishing traditions, plant-based vegetarianism and veganism are all born of a passionate backlash against the rise in fake food. I love them all…, ALL these diets are mutually exclusive of one another because to exist as a “diet” they all have just the one USP. Vegans DONT EAT animal products, Vegetarians DONT EAT meat, Palaeolithics DONT EAT grains. I’m a bit scared by all these labels, you see, I know if I eat lots of grains, it makes me feel really bloated and bleughhhh, but every now and then, a gorgeous piece of smoked salmon or trout or avocado on toast, is manna from heaven. I don’t eat very much red meat, but a monthly fillet steak with home-made fries and a big green salad restores my energy levels in a way nothing else can. Too much milk in my diet leaves me feeling lethargic and I can break out in spots but an occasional mid-morning latte is a more than just a coffee, it’s a line in the sand, a pause, a treat… and a glass of wine at the weekend, well it’s compulsory isn’t it? So I think I would like to use this space today to think about setting ourselves free from the restrictions of labelling our diet – (and I’m not talking about people for whom a prescriptive ‘diet’ is required for health); As we warm up to the New Year and the highs (and lows) of celebration and excess, I want to eat in harmony with the best the season has to offer, to focus on the raw ingredients that aid my body to do its best work, to restrict the elements that bring me down, whilst accepting that the short term gain, is sometimes worth the pang of regret – I want to keep reminding us all that exercise and relaxation are as important for our well-being as a nutritious lunch. And give ourselves permission to enjoy the very best recipes from all our tribal friends, be they paleo, veggie, vegan or patissière.