Today we have a special guest star – Vicky, the writer behind The Flourishing Pantry. After suffering from IBS symptoms for years, in 2016 Vicky made big changes to her diet and started The Flourishing Pantry to share her knowledge and creativity.
The online world has become increasingly shouty about what to eat and who to listen to. Vicky searches for answers to great gut health and reducing IBS symptoms, whilst developing healthy and nutritious meals inspired by her discoveries online. She’s not an expert – she’s just like you, trying to make sense of it all and eat well for life.
Now I know that Twitter has got a slating in the press lately – a recent study by the Royal Society for Public Health showed that Twitter, together with Instagram and SnapChat “harm young people’s mental health.”
Like all social media platforms, Twitter has the ability to reduce everyone – young or old – to the comparison game. We can find we’re constantly judging ourselves against posts from our peers and finding ourselves wanting.
And healthy eating doesn’t escape this treatment on social media either. Particularly in the world of fitness and nutrition, the worrying trend of ‘eat like me = look like me’ is becoming more and more prevalent.
From supermodels selling supplements to Miss World contestants promoting Detox Teas – these posts are all a recipe for spending on products which will not get you eating better for life. Instead they’re an ‘ideal’ view of what a body and diet should look like, which for most is unattainable and at worse is downright unhealthy.
But with all that in mind, I want to argue that instead of a tool for destruction, Twitter can actually be a place for genuine education about health and nutrition, if you just know where to look.
Because behind all the celebrities and product endorsements there are hundreds and thousands of people out there using Twitter not to shame or guilt you into healthy eating, but using it to truly teach you about nutrition and inspire you to eat better in a more positive way.
So how do you spruce up your Twitter account to learn more about healthy eating? Your first step is to…
Ditch the negative influencers
I’m putting this top because I know it’s a tough one. The wonderful voyeurism we get from following that stunning model is an addiction that’s hard to replace. But in order to truly get the most from Twitter to inspire you to healthy nutrition you need to get ruthless and cull a few of those people you follow for the wrong reasons.
Celeb only posting green juices? That friend of a friend who is suddenly an expert on “poisonous” gluten? Models dishing out meal plans serving up 1,000 calories a day? I’m talking about them.
If you want to cleanse, social media is a great place to start. And instead start to pack out your Twitter feed diet with…
Qualified nutrition specialists and official bodies
Okay okay, I know that might not be as sexy as a supermodel… but you know what? You’ll learn way more following these people that you can really apply to your own life and diet. And actually a few of them are pretty hot too 😉
Think you’ve found an expert? Remember to check out their credentials. People with full degrees in nutrition (and often many further qualifications) will list themselves as RD (Registered Dietitians), RNtr (Registered Nutritionists) or ANtr (Associate Nutritionist, working through a training period to become a fully qualified Nutritionist).
These people are trained to a degree level in the science of nutrition and the gut and really know their stuff. See who they’re following and who they’re sharing too – they’ll be moving in the right circles with like-minded and trained peers.
Once the right people are on your radar…
Nutritionists and Dietitians are more than keen to help and tackle any difficulties and questions you might be facing. They are well aware of the huge rise in interest in healthy eating and they want to impart their wisdom so you get the right answers, and not some celebrity jibber jabber.
What’s the real deal with sugar? How much fibre should I be eating every day? Why is fat necessary to a balanced diet? Why is everyone so against gluten these days?
Go on – try them! With only 140 characters you’ll more than likely get back a snappy, clear and succinct response, with others chipping in to help too if they share your query.
Find specialists you can build a rapport with when asking questions. Or if you’re a bit shy online watch them answer other people’s queries first to get a sense of their style and personality. Or just find their email address and ping them a mail, saying you found them on Twitter. They’ll be glad to know their message is getting out there!
But even if you think you’ve got the right experts and specialists I would still advocate you…
Twitter is a fantastic forum for debate. It’s the social media platform all about words and being concise – reducing tough and complicated topics down to their essence. If you think you’ve read something that’s not grounded in science or just sounds downright fishy, ask around on Twitter.
I recently had someone on my Instagram account tell me eggs were “poisonous.” I put this out to Twitter and got some fantastic research and articles pointed my way to give me a more balanced view.
You don’t have to agree with everything you see online. And science is constantly evolving and developing our understanding of nutrition and the inner workings of our digestive system. So don’t take anything as gospel and unchangeable in the world of healthy eating; it’s all up for discussion and Twitter is the perfect place for that.
Inspired? Here are a few great accounts to get you started:
Dr Megan Rossi @theguthealthdoc
Laura Thomas PhD @laurathomasphd
Hazel Wallace @thefoodmedic
Nourishment Network @nourishnet
The Rooted Project @rooted_project
You can follow more of Vicky’s advice on her Twitter account | @flourish_pantry