08/09/2016 07:40 BST | Updated 08/09/2017 06:12 BST

Stop Telling Me To Put Courgette In EVERYTHING

Things I have learned from Instagram 1) real pasta is poisonous and leads to brain haemorrhaging - use only pasta made from vegetables 2) if I don't take a selfie of my workout it doesn't count and finally 3) if you don't put courgette in your porridge in the morning you're a garbage person.

Recently on my podcast I mentioned that I'm not that into the idea of putting courgette into my porridge. Or making rice out of cauliflower. Or making pasta from *insert almost any vegetable here*. Here's the weird thing: people tried to call me out for it.

Don't get me wrong; I love vegetables. My whole thing is literally 'eat more plants'. I am a Registered Nutritionist (not to be confused with a 'nutritional therapist') and I have a PhD in nutritional sciences - I'm not telling you this because I think I'm a big deal, but because I want you to trust me when I say that I know nutrition. Like I really know.

But I'd sooner be a garbage person than toss out half my oats and replace them with courgette. From a nutrition perspective I don't see the point. Let me break it down for you - we'll start with 'Zoats' - the porridge and courgette mash-up.

1) Zoats advocates claim they're 'lighter' than the real deal.

Where to even begin with this. Should we talk about the disordered language around it? Equating subsisting on air and light as being morally superior? Or how about the fact that science supports stuffing your face in the morning and having progressively smaller meals throughout the day? Or how about the fact that you just ladled on an ENTIRE JAR OF ALMOND BUTTER. eye roll. facepalm.


2) Again aficionados claim zoats are 'FULL of fibre'.

NOPE. They're really, REALLY not. A ½ cup serving of oats contains more than 8g of fibre. Guess how much a small courgette (around 120g) has? Go on. GUESS??


I've seen a range of recipes, but let's say for example you replace half of your oats, as 'experts' will recommend, with an entire courgette. What would have been around 8g or 9g of fibre is down to 5g. You've just shaved off 3g of fibre. That's 10% of your 30g fibre recommendation for the day. The oats are the best source of fibre in this meal- don't go ditching them, ffs. (All nutrient data derived from USDA)

3) Courgette is kind of a meh vegetable. If you like courgette then that's cool. Do whatever you want. But courgette is 94.8% water. That means there's just not that much going on in there. Let's compare it with some other big brand veggies.


I've just picked a few nutrients out at random, but you get the point. Courgettes are just not that nutrient dense compared to other veg. Plus, cooking them will degrade the nutrients even further. If you were just to throw a handful of blueberries on there you've got an extra 2.5g of fibre, yo. Plus anthocyanins, polyphenols, antioxidants and a bunch of other cool stuff.

4) I dunno about you, but I do not have time to fuck around with grating stuff in the AM. Also I'm kind of lazy. But most of all, there are SOMANY other, way more exciting ways to eat vegetables for breakfast - I'd rather just have my porridge straight up.

Ok let's talk about rice and pasta

5) I tried to make 'rice' out of cauliflower once and it was probably one of the most disgusting things I've ever made. I'm guessing I'm not the only person in the world who feels like that but I bet some people are still eating cauli rice because it's cool or they think they have to because it's 'healthier'. I just want to let you know that NORMAL RICE IS OKAY TOO. In fact, it's great! Remember that wild rice and black rice will have more fibre than brown or white. And have some roasted or steamed cauli on the side. No need to spend an entire afternoon milling it into teeny tiny cauliflower sand.

6) I get that you might not be that into pasta - maybe it leaves you bloated. Whatever. I don't eat it very often either. But that doesn't mean you have to eliminate an entire nutrient from your diet. Wipe out carbs, wipe out fibre. PRETTY GREEN COURGETTE RIBBONS WILL LOOK GOOD ON YOUR INSTA FEED BUT ARE NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR CARBS. Black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, barley, rye, polenta. Check 'em out instead. At the very least you won't be so GD hangry all the time. If you're ditching the pasta, make sure you have a good source of complex carbs on your plate.

Ok, I'm done. That's the last time I mention the F word. If you haven't got it by now, there's no hope for you. But if you want to read more then check this out.

Just to be clear. I'm not saying you should stop eating veggies (even if courgette is kind of a dumb vegetable). I'm just letting you know why I don't ditch complex carbs for high water, low carb veggies. It's not a one or the other type situation. For good nutrition, you need both. Trust.

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