Everyone has an opinion about what you should be eating, when, and how much of it. Ignore them, says Ruby Tandoh. Fancy a flapjack? Go ahead. Cinnamon swirl? Help yourself. Cherry Bakewell? Literally stuff your face. We’ve got a waistband that can handle any food baby. And Ruby Tandoh’s philosophy is that you shouldn’t worry about it anyway.
The author of new positive-eatig cookbook Flavour: Eat What You Love, the 24 year-old baker rose to fame as a contestant on the Great British Bake Off. She’s famous for blistering attacks on Paul Hollywood (a ‘peacocking manchild’), her work on mental health awareness, and a fierce pride in her own sexuality. Part-Ghanaian, bisexual and political, she’s challenging the floral-bunting image of baking. Her new book is a riposte to the courgette-spiralising wheat-avoiders of the clean-eating brigade.
She’s written in the Guardian about the harmful effects of the ‘clean eating’ fad. Describing its exponents as ‘unfailingly young, thin and overwhelmingly white’ she suggests that ‘all the talk of purity against that backdrop of privilege leaves a rather unsavoury taste in the mouth.’ So far, so true. It gets darker: following associations with eating disorders and quack medicine, Tandoh suggests that ‘a glimmer of sweat is beginning to prickle’ across ‘dozens of perfectly glowing, smooth-skinned brows’, punching a hole into a million-dollar industry. Perhaps a Nutribullet isn’t the answer to eternal happiness?
Along with her partner Leah Pritchard, Ruby is also bringing out a Zine, Do What You Want. Crowdfunded, and raising £11,500 in the first week of sales, the Zine is about the experience of having mental health issues, with all proceeds going to charity. Contributors include writers from the Guardian, the New York Times, NYMag, The Telegraph, The Observer, Rookie, Pitchfork and ELLE. The inspiration came from their own experience with mental health discrimination. “Although we have grown up in a generation that is more aware of mental health (and illness) than ever, we still felt that social pressure to “just cheer up” acutely.” Pretty good for a student accused of flirting her way to the GBBO final. Time for twitter trolls to eat their hats (no need to worry about their gluten content).
Ruby is right: the most important part of any decision is how it makes you feel. And we know you also want clothes that make you feel great; not a waistband that punishes you for having a bit of post-lunch bloat. We designed our tights thinking about how women walk, run, eat, sleep, move. So slip on your Heists, and have a biscuit with your cup of tea. Whatever makes you happy.