There’s more to life …


Whatever gods there are up there, please let them bless Julie Goodwin!

What a wonderful, happy-making change it was to go on a news website and read an article about a celebrity’s physical appearance that wasn’t “Celebrity loses weight!” or “Celebrity gains weight!” or “Celebrity has a slightly rounder tummy than she did last week so she MUST be pregnant … Oh no, sorry, she just ate a hamburger”!

Julie Goodwin is happy the way she is. Amen to that. She also believes other people should and do like her the way she is. She’s one hundred percent correct.

Julie Goodwin also believes there are more important things to focus her time on than losing a few kilos. Like helping those in need.

Southern Somalia is experiencing its worst drought in sixty years. Famine has been officially declared in many parts of the country. There are estimates that 3.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, including 1.85 million children. 780,000 children have been classed as acutely malnourished. This is one of the worst food and humanitarian crises in recent history.

Julie Goodwin thinks there are more important things in the world than her weight. Instead of focussing her time and energy on being a spokesperson for some weight loss brand, she’s become an ambassador for Oxfam, a charity who are working hard to raise money to stop this food crisis.

I never watched Masterchef. I’m a total cooking basket case. When people talk about people who could burn water? That’s me. I have no interest whatsoever in food, possibly because I have Coeliac disease, which limits my dining options and has, for a long time, made me view food as something to be afraid of. I’m also vegetarian, an ethical decision based on my abhorrence of animal cruelty.

It’s only now that I’m taking my first, tentative steps towards an actual enjoyment of eating. My dad made me the best gluten-free vegan slice for at the weekend. The occasion was his sixtieth birthday. My husband also made a spectacular curry for the event, and my dad’s gluten-free Minestrone soup was phenomenal, too. I enjoyed the night so much – sharing food and joy and laughter with the people I love. But, on a day-to-day basis, I just eat when I’m hungry and I couldn’t care less if I ate the same meal every day for the rest of my life, as long as it sustained my health.

Given my attitude towards the culinary arts, the only reason I’d heard of Julie Goodwin was because I worked in a bookshop when her first cookbook came out. It was a phenomenon, selling out time and time again. I’m assuming Julie is a great cook, but her connection with the people is obviously more than that. She struck me then as a normal, regular, well-balanced mum who just happened to have a flair for cookery. Now, my opinion has changed. Now, I think Julie is extraordinary. And brave. Because it takes bravery, these days, when you’re in the public eye, to say “Stuff you. I’m fine the way I am”. Even stars who do say that (or something along those lines) initially, usually end up caving to public pressure and losing the weight. “I love my curves”, they say, a month before signing an endorsement deal to say goodbye to them. I’m looking at you, Ricki Lee Coulter, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Hudson.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a second saying that these celebrities don’t have every right to control over their own bodies – let them be fat, thin, in between, whatever. It’s not the public’s place to dictate how a person manages their own health. I just wonder why they need to comment on every kilo they gain or lose. Who actually cares?

When there is famine in the world, and animal cruelty, and war and terror, and rioting and human rights abuses, why the flub do we care how quickly Posh Spice lost her baby weight? Is it harmless escapism, as some argue? Easier to focus on fluctuating weights than all the horrors that are occurring in the world?


But I, for one, wish that a time would come when the people we admire are not the stick-thin, over-botoxed, orange people of the world, but those who are making a stand and making a difference. Julie Goodwin’s stand might be small, but it’s something and, amongst all the bad news in the world today, it was that stand that made me smile this morning. To know somebody out there cares about making the world a better place. Posh Spice and her post-baby diet?

Let’s make our own stand.

Let’s say, “I don’t give a monkey’s”.

Let’s put the $5 we would have spent on the magazine that features it into a charity jar instead.

If enough of us do it, maybe we can make a difference, too.

The Oxfam webite:

The original article, on