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The ideal recipe for keeping your health sweet from Bake Off’s Tamal

It’s never too late to change your lifestyle says ‘Bake Off’ runner up Dr Tamal Ray

Following a recipe is all about having the right ingredients to start off with. You follow the instructions and hopefully get the outcome you want. You can apply that to healthcare. We know a lot about diet
and exercise, the things we need to do in order to lead a healthy life, but often stuff happens that derails that.

We like to think that we’re in control and just by following the rules of healthcare we will definitely get the outcome we want, but it doesn’t always work out like that. However, I think it’s definitely still worth doing to stay healthy.

People are recognising the importance of exercise and, increasingly, taking care of your mind and personal wellbeing

I’m an anaesthetist and a lot of what I see is end-stage disease: heart disease, blood vessel disease and diabetes, which causes a lot of misery. It’s sad to think for a lot of these people a few little changes earlier in their lives could have saved them all of this pain and suffering. Considering I started out talking about cakes I’ve made that really depressing, haven’t I?

Surgery is always the last resort. Preventing problems before they occur is much cheaper and it’s better for those involved as well. The NHS already does a lot in terms of preventative medicine andthere is a real understanding of how important it is, but with funding cuts and the squeeze on GPs in particular, it is becoming more difficult. If you can do all the stuff beforehand in order to prevent surgery, that is the ideal.

It’s absolutely never too late to change your lifestyle. Start with things everyone knows about: good nutrition and exercise. For me, it’s about retraining and reeducating yourself on the kind of foods you eat and also portion control. I am terrible at it. If you put a full plate of food in front of me I will eat it all regardless of how big the plate is.

When kids aren’t eating well at home often it’s because their parents don’t know how to cook. And their parents don’t know how to cook because they didn’t learn how. It’s completely understandable –but it’s also something that we could potentially do something about.

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When most people think about health and wellbeing in the long term they have kind of an all-or-nothing mindset

People are recognising the importance of exercise and, increasingly, taking care of your mind and personal wellbeing. Loneliness is a massive cause of illness. All of us are busy but we need to make the effort to find room for people in our lives as well. It makes us feel better in terms ofmood, but it can have a big impact on health as well.

When most people think about health and wellbeing in the long term they have kind of an all-or-nothing mindset. They think that if you don’t exercise and you don’t eat well you’re going to have a heart attack in your fifties or sixties and die. That’s certainly a possibility, but the reality is people end up having chronic disease problems and they go on with these for years and years. That can be painful and miserable. But by putting a few simple changes into practice, you can become healthier in general and enjoy a better quality of life for longer.

@drraybakes

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