Rob Hobson Autobiography
Below is a snippet of what I must for SEO purposes call ‘Rob Hobson Autobiography’. Though I must admit, it always feels odd referring to oneself in the 3rd person. I have always loved food and never followed the latest trend or diet. My curiosity about food began at an early age as eating well to preserve good health became a focal interest to my mother who was diagnosed with leukemia when we were very young. Before nutrition became a hot topic, I remember the jars of pickled beetroot she religiously ate for its age old link to blood health. We had lots of food, health and cookery books around house which were invaluable as there came a time when I was left to shop and cook for myself, often on a very tight budget.
I remember being inspired by the book, Foods that harm foods that heal, in the mid nineties and being fascinated by the effect food had on health. Having studied law and accountancy at uni, I later decided to follow my passion and return to study nutrition at Kingston University. That degree sparked my interest in public health and I went on to study for a masters in public health nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to get a better understanding of the global effects of food and how this has dictated the way we eat and its effect on health.
It was fourteen years ago that I started on my path to get where I am today. During this time the key health messages and scientific thinking has constantly evolved and having trained in public health it amazes me how far we have come to improve the health of the many different groups that make up our population and reduce the incidence of diet related diseases.
I always remember my favourite lecturer telling me that when she trained in the 70’s the focus was on starchy foods and protein whilst vegetables were considered an accompaniment to decorate the plate. Forty years on, and our understanding of the important role of food on health has changed in a major way. We now have charities, health guidelines and public health policies targeted at specific diseases and population groups (such as older people and school children) as well as a highly regulated food industry required to provide information about the nutritional and allergen content of their food as well as provenance and environmental factors. Unfortunately the huge interest in nutrition and information available, as well as its reporting in the media, has caused some confusion as people follow the latest food fads and trends which can not only be detrimental to health but negatively impact on their attitudes towards diet and relationship with food.
I work in many areas of nutrition because I believe that to improve our health takes more than individual choice and requires effort and commitment from all those involved in food provision.
My clients include the food industry, local authority catering and care homes as well as working closely with the media writing about health and supporting private clients and their families to achieve positive health goals. I’m also food obsessed and enjoy cooking and inspiring clients in their kitchens so to be given the opportunity to write my first book (The Detox Kitchen Bible) with the health chef Lily Simpson was a dream come true. Being involved in these different areas has provided perspective and allows me to keep up to date with current policy, food trends, attitudes and thinking around nutrition.
My ethos has always remained the same and I wholeheartedly believe we can improve our health and wellbeing as well as heal with food. I’m open minded to new thinking around nutrition but try to steer clear of alternative therapies in favour of proven evidence based research. I have a realistic and non judgmental or pushy attitude to eating well and think the best approach is following the 80/20 rule that fits your lifestyle and tastes. Some of the healthiest people I know have a good relationship with food and attitude to health, having never dieted or embarked on extreme exercise regimes, eating when hungry, knowing when full and keeping active. However, I understand that for some people this relationship is far more complicated and requires more than being told what to eat.
My approach is food first, and I advocate avoiding processed foods in favour of real foods. The key to this is cooking from scratch and whilst some might find this time consuming or too much effort to fit around their busy lives, having a bank of quick and easy recipes, organising your food shop as well as getting to grips with freezing food can make things a little easier.
I believe the optimal diet should contain a good balance of fibre-rich wholegrain carbs, lean proteins, good fats and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Whilst we seem to be obsessed with the ill effects of processed carbohydrate foods such as white bread, pasta and rice, these foods won’t make you fat or ill if eaten in moderation with other healthy foods (you can’t force someone to eat wholegrain bread if they prefer white, just look for the best quality products that fit in with your food budget). Sugar is the new bad boy and like other nutritionists I agree it should be limited in the diet, but within a healthy diet there is room for the odd sweet treat.