Foods to Avoid (No, Really!)

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To build on my piece last January about the pointlessness of detoxing I thought I’d do one on foods to avoid. Now you already know I am a fan of IIFYM, and eating for training and performance, so panic not loyal readers. I’ve not completely lost the plot 😉

Please do share this post with those you think could benefit from reading it!

There are five crucial foods to avoid:

  1. Foods you hate
  2. Foods you are allergic to
  3. Foods that have gone off or are rotten, mouldy, etc.
  4. Foods that are <Insert Way of Eating Name> friendly but, in fact, are more calorie dense than the real thing
  5. Foods that you don’t want to incorporate into a long-term diet (think shakes and detox drinks)

Anything else? Go for it! However do keep in mind the critical consideration that calories taken in exceeding those you expend will lead to weight gain. So the entire box of donuts might not be the wisest choice to make. But it is a choice!


Foods You Hate

Surely this one must be obvious? Why punish yourself? Food should be enjoyed. It should nourish and sustain you and your training. Foods that you don’t like will be a struggle to get down. You won’t enjoy the process. And it may indeed lead you to eat more overall as you then look to eat something you enjoy. For pleasure and to remove any bad tastes.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate broccoli, but I would choose almost any other green veg over it. Sprouts included! What’s with eating small trees? So you’ll rarely find me wanting to eat it for the reasons above.


Foods That Cause Allergic Reactions

Clearly this is a silly move. No-one needs to have their progress derailed by reactions to food. As I said above, food should nourish you. Not cause you anguish. However do be honest with yourself as to whether it is an allergy or a preference. And don’t follow bandwagons on social media. The vast majority of us can quite easily digest gluten and meat. Just because the Instagram fitbods are going vegan and gluten free doesn’t mean we should.


Rotten or Mouldy Foods

Blue cheese aside clearly. Because that is delicious 😉

I’m also not a fan of wasting food. So don’t just throw things out (possibly excluding prawns here!) just because the sell by date has passed. Use a little judgement. If it looks and/or smells weird, sure, bin it. Otherwise, just eat it as soon as possible. I’ve survived this long doing just that 🙂


Special Foods For Random “Diets”

Special foods are a bit of a bugbear for me. I’m not talking about foods for those with genuine issues, such as coeliac friendly bread, but paleo replacement brownies, or clean cookies. Whatever the hell a clean cookie is?! Is it washed with soap before eating? 😉

I have no problem with people being experimental in the kitchen, or trying to include e.g. more avocados for healthy fats. What annoys me is the view that “it’s diet X, so it’s OK”, and then people consume vast amounts of the stuff. Seriously? Just work out the calories in some of these things! Most paleo cakes (for example) have much more fat in them than an average slice of cake.

Be mindful of what you are eating and why. Pay attention to calories as well as nutrients. Ignore propaganda. Do you think the caveman ate brownies? He ate what he could find when he could find it. And the diets of the paleo era differed depending on where the tribes lived, geographically speaking.


Foods You Won’t Want to Make Part of your Daily Diet

A diet is just a way of eating. It has been abused to mean a restricted food intake. I’m using it in the first sense here. If you don’t see something you are eating as something you might want to eat long term and incorporate into your meals, then don’t bother.

I eat protein pancakes and have done for several years. I also eat milk/egg/flour pancakes. I just choose when to eat them based on what I feel like, what else I’m eating, and what my current goals are. Both have been incorporated long term.



Variety is necessary. Mix up what you are eating so that you don’t become bored, and you continue to enjoy your foods. By all means try something new, but don’t keep eating it if any of these points apply!


  • Completely agree with your thoughts on food. Although I have to say, I know if I stick to making recipes which are “paleo” then I’ll have little, if any, migraine trouble. So I find there are some benefits to naming your diet ,as in your first sense, when googling meals.

    As an aside, I was asked if I was doing “Dry January” by a researcher in Oxford Street this week (it’s a hazard of the walk between work and the tube, I often get accosted by someone wanting something). I said I wasn’t, then I realised she was not a researcher but from a health scheme pushing the benefits of going alcohol free in January and she started to try and persuade me to “give up alcohol for the month”. I told her that whilst I won’t be alcohol free in January (meals in Beijing with various officials coming up) I didn’t drink any alcohol in December. She was pretty surprised, clarifying “So you drink alcohol, but didn’t drink at Christmas and New Year?” I assured her this was the case, and that I was sorry to buck her trend.

    • Naming a diet isn’t a bad approach for searching certainly. It’s also something that works for you, not a fad. You have empirical evidence. I get more frustrated by those who do such things for a short period of time. Or look to do it and then look for all the ways to circumvent while conning themselves they are doing it all right.

      Haha love you being a statistical anomaly too 🙂 I randomly go dry, but usually for training reasons and can do it for weeks on end now. That would ruin their questionnaires too I’m sure.

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