The Clean Eating Debate: Our two cents

 

The Clean Eating epidemic (if you will) has had a pretty easy ride until several weeks ago when the whole thang was pulled into question in a series of articles, programs and interviews with top dogs from both sides of the argument. No doubt, you have all been desperately awaiting to hear some form of statement from The Skinny Dippers. We would simply hate to disappoint, so here it goes, our two cents…

 

The whole concept is pretty simple and honestly, patronisingly obvious: eat more vegetables and less processed foods and you will feel better. No one can argue with this, not really. We certainly wouldn’t when our brand is based around wanting to offer a simplified, delicious and ‘stripped back’ product and we our selves enjoy a largely natural and often plant based diet. 

 

In its original form ‘Clean Eating’ was a nice idea, it seemed honest and fuss free. But then as the clean eating craze gained momentum, it also gained many add ons. Eating bread was no longer part of the deal and butter seemed utterly sinful. Guzzling goji berries was a must and turmeric took over. For many the concept became an obsession with an almost cult like following. This is when the ‘health claims’ and suggested restrictions began to spiral. 

 

The unfortunate result of all this it that those of us who do like croissants and butter and the occasional wispa are left feeling somehow inadequate and unhealthy. Only last weekend we were hid behind our stall at Fare Healthy trying to secretly sip a can of coke (aka contraband) to avoid any disapproving stares from the surrounding beacons of health.

 

Encouraging people to eat more vegetables and ‘super foods’ seems entirely positive. However, it is the suggested restrictions which are slightly troubling. These restrictions create feelings of guilt when eating should be a truly relaxing and enjoyable experience. Once we begin being told we shouldn’t be eating certain things, I feel that these eating habits can become obsessive.

 

Obvs, I understand that eating an entire multi pack of wotsits doesn't do me any favours, but I also feel passionately that eating a flake when you're feeling fed up does more good than bad. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that while food is supposed to nourish us, its also suppose to make you feel happy and relaxed. So, if you want a little something processed, I say have it and don't let anyone put you down for it either.

 

For me, eating is just as much about my mental health as my physical health. I enjoy eating the right foods for my body, but I also enjoy the occasional  indulgence and its sad to me that the latter has been vilified. It’s time we take this whole thing back to basics and remember that in order to be a healthy person, we don’t have to be so extreme, just sensible. It’s all in the balance!

 

We mustn't forget the sadness we feel on rejecting a slice of cake and the happiness induced from a slice of pizza... Surely this moment of joy does more for our health than avoiding the gluten might.

Soz, I can't. I'm a vegan now...

 

Having lived as a vegan for several days now I am unsure whether I am more full of lentils or full of myself. Ever heard of Veganuary? Despite being wildly catchy I hadn’t either, until I saw a poster on the tube urging me to get involved. It was a combination of compassion for animals, concern for our planet and attention seeking that made me sign up.

And so here I find myself, leaping into January a new (temporarily) vegan me. Having told a shameful number of peers about my Veganuary plans, I had no choice but to follow through.

January 1st was a toughie. I woke after New Year’s festivities to a house full of my friends eagerly awaiting my first vegan move. As I had not yet sourced my vegan supplies I was at a loss of what to have for my breakfast. After 30mins spent googling whether Sainsbury jam doughnuts were vegan I was left disappointed… then I remembered, bread is vegan, so is peanut butter and so is jam. Maybe this isn’t so tricky after all.

Three days in and I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’ve had chocolate chia pudding, vegan chilli, Southern Indian curries to name but a few.  So far, I am feeling pretty vegorgeous!

Along with making my friends giggle and making me the centre of attention at meal times, being vegan has many other (slightly) more important benefits. These are among the most alarming veganuary themed facts I have found:

- By going vegan, one person can save approximately 995,593L of water a year

- A dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people

- For every 1 kg of fish caught, up to 5 kg of unintended marine animals are also caught and then discarded as by-catch

- A person who follows a vegan lifestyle produces the equivalent of 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a meat-eater

I must admit, as much as I am enjoying my new vegan hobby, I doubt I have the commitment to keep it up beyond the end of the month. For this I am sorry. But, even if all of us just got on the vegan wagon for a month or a few days a week it really would make a remarkable difference. Go on, sign up, its actually rather fun. And with that, I leave you with a link:

 

https://veganuary.com/register/

 BTW all our dips are now vegan

Shout out to my ex (AKA Hummus)

In the UK people LOVE hummus! We are the hummus capital of Europe (very important) consuming 12,000 tonnes of it each year and at any given time, about 41% of us have a pot in the fridge. Although rather niche, these fun facts paint a picture of the extremity of the obsession which has ensued. 

We get why, hummus is pretty yummy, but it’s a little 2008. But if not hummus, then what? Surely, sour cream and chive (Jesus wept) has no place in this modern age. 

It was this sort of inquisitive thought that brought us to a conclusion. The UK needed some dishier dips! So, armed with a magimix and a real motley crew of vegetables we endeavoured to create some new favourites. 

There were triumphs and failures along the way- the cauliflower dip was a real low light. But after many tastings with patient family and friends we settled on our recipes and got to work on dip domination. 

It seemed we weren’t the only dippers ready for a change. One rainy Saturday, as we sat miserable at Hampsted Market we were approached by a small child, no more than 6 years of age. His parents had given him £4 to spend on whatever market delight he chose. As his siblings inhaled doughnuts and cheese straws, he made a beeline for the vegetable dip stand. After trying each dip, he announced ‘I’m going to get the kale, chilli & lime’. His bemused parents made sure he knew what he was getting himself into, but he was decided ‘I love the Kale dip and I want it’. Here’s to hoping he’s not the only one ready for some dashing new dips!

We know there’s a long way to go but we’re done with dull dipping. So, hummus or houmous or humus (don’t even care anyway) it’s time to go our separate ways. We’ve had our fun, but the spark is now gone and it’s time to start seeing other dips. 

 

 

First of many....

It's the first blog post of not only Skinny Dipping Dips but also my life (have mercy). We have been putting this off for circa 6 months now as we couldn’t imagine that anyone would care about our thoughts. However, we have been advised that blogging is a most vital part of the #startuplife and so we oblige. We will have recipes and the other impersonal posts to come, but we thought for our very first outing we should share a bit about the last few months and all it has taught us about pretending (not always successfully) that we know what we are doing. 

Our ‘launch' was unofficial and unexpected. In fact, maybe launch is too glam a word, it was more just our first day of trading. None the less we treated it like it was our wedding / 18th birthday party. On Thursday 23rd May we were told we had been granted a pitch at a food market in One New Change the following Tuesday. We sprung into action and took to amazon prime ordering all the rustic looking crates and spray paint that our money could by us. We wanted our stall to look as sassy as could be and arrive on the dip scene with a BANG! It wasn’t just our stall which we thought needed to look the part… We also made sure our outfits, hair and make up would reflect our brand perfectly. While our stall has been getting more and more extravagant our ‘look’ has done the opposite. We reflect back on our first market with patronising fondness. 

Although the market woman life is no easy gig we were able to meet our customers and hear their all important feedback. If people didn’t particularly like our Skinny Dips, it would have been important for us to learn this early on and save ourselves the heart ache. Luckily, this wasn’t the case as Sally had already quit her stable, sensible job. People seemed to kinda LOVE them. Our favourite feed back was from a woman at Partridges Market who told us that on waking up one morning and finding there was no breakfast in the house, she proceeded to eat our aubergine dip with a spoon, she loved it that much / was that desperate. 

Getting our skinny dips on the shelves of London grocery stores and delis was next on the agenda. Like with so much of what we take on, we were daunted but eager. A winning combination…

We spent days driving round town with an unimpressed Destiny the Dog in the back. I dodged traffic wardens while Sally gleefully popped into shops and thrusted dips upon unsuspecting shop assistants. Unanswered calls, voicemails and emails left us feeling like a couple overzealous dumpees. Luckily, perseverance paid off and we are now proudly sitting pretty on the shelves of some pretty swish shops (see stockist page).

I realise that am writing this post as if we have completed something, when in fact we are just realising the many many tasks left to do. Whether it is finding a manufacturer or getting likes on instagram, we are novices. We just hope you rather like our Skinny Dips and rather like hearing about our daily adventures ( / traumas). To all three people that read this… thank you kindly.