60 seconds with Ian Marber – Nutritional Therapist

You may know Ian better as founder of The Food Doctor, one of the inaugural healthy food brands to hit the high street some 20 years ago (and creator of my all-time favourite pitta bread). Since then he has penned over 12 books about diet and nutrition, acted in an advisory role to brands such as Innocent, and clocked up over 6000 private consultations. He also carries out a range of corporate work for businesses and has written columns for The Spectator, Daily Telegraph, Attitude and Natural Health Magazine, as well as featuring on LBC, Talk Radio and the BBC. Basically, he doesn’t sit still! A stickler for responsible nutrition (ie one that doesn’t peddle pseudoscience) he calls out #nutribollocks in a weekly poll on Twitter and is a veritable voice of reason among the increasingly confused chatter that permeates the world of nutrition. I persuaded him to take a breather from writing his latest book to talk Uber ratings, podcasts and the meditative effects of reading.

What’s your Uber rating?

4.90 which is ok I guess. I’ve never looked before and suddenly I’m thinking it should be higher and wondering why it isn’t and what have I done. Think I was happier a few seconds ago when I didn’t know.

The app you can’t live without…

Definitely not Uber, I went off them just now. Either Twitter, which always interests me, or Accuweather as I like to know specifics about the weather. Maybe I’m a secret weather geek.

What does self care mean for you…

It means being mindful of looking after oneself, as one would a cherished friend. That means getting enough sleep, exercise, good food and seeing friends and family. As I work alone I make sure I have arrangements quite regularly, as spending too much time alone isn’t ideal.

Biggest extravagance …

At the risk of sounding shallow, it’s toss up between travel and my car. Despite living in central London I have a car and use it fairly frequently. I guess I could get a more economical car, so I’ll go with travel and I’m not swapping that for anything.

Where do you find inspiration…

I have a few extraordinary friends who inspire me, but I am most inspired by literature. I am passionate about fiction and non-fiction, the craft of writing and communication. For me, reading is like meditation, although other times even a few minutes reading a favourite novel is like a little break from a busy day.

Biggest nutrition myth out there is…

There are two – firstly, that there is a perfect diet and if only you could find it then you’d be happy and, secondly, the alkaline diet, partly because its been perpetuated by people who really should know better.

Last book you read was…

I have just finished Edith Wharton’s’ Ethan Frome, quite different from her other work as its more intense and takes place against a background of rural hardship instead of patrician New York in the late 1800s.

Can’t live without…

This is so hard as I can’t imagine life without my family or close friends. Nor can I imagine it without literature so can I choose them all?

Final death row meal…

Nothing matters at that point so I wouldn’t worry about being coeliac. I’d have a crisp gluten-rich pizza, topped with peppers and spicy meat with a bottle of Pinot Noir. And sticky toffee pudding. Then, even though I haven’t smoked in 30 years – nor have I wanted to – I’d have some menthol cigarettes to pass the time til they came to get me.

Most unappealing habit…

I’m told I snore sometimes, but I am sure it’s not true.

The advice you’d give your 20-something self…

Worry less about other people, be less anxious, have confidence in your choices and learn to meditate. Also, I’d try and get me to buy less crap and instead invest in London property so old me wouldn’t have to work so hard.

What are you currently working on…

I am writing a book about nutrition for men, out in March next year, and about ¾ of the way through so the end is in sight. I have really enjoyed the process despite feeling like a shut-in for the last couple of months.

Failsafe hangover cure….

There aren’t any, although drinking plenty of fluids and sleep can help. The best advice is unpopular – don’t drink so much.

Favourite podcast…

The Emma Guns show, she is a delight and the podcasts are engaging and so interesting. She even had me on but that was long after I had been a listener.

What brings you out in a rage…

Like I would ever be in a rage. Exasperated annoyance perhaps, which is triggered by stupidity, selfishness and dishonesty. 

Who do you call when you want to let your hair down…?

British Airways. And my cousin – she’s eternally funny and energetic.

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