Lionel Bart, Oliver
We all need food – we eat it when we are hungry or short of energy and we instantly feel good. Food and water keep us alive. Some food can be our enemy – it can be deadly when we eat too much sugary, salty and fatty foods.
Food that is good for you often tastes plain and food that is bad for you usually tastes great! What’s that all about?
Our bodies are remarkably good at storing fat. When we were dashing about the savannahs and forests 50,000 years ago things were different. We were hiding from wild beasts, tossing spears and scratching around for survival. We needed to stack on all the fat we could during the good times.
We never knew where our next meal was coming from. We got lean when game was scarce. We porked up briefly when we stored excess fat during the good times.
Our dependence on fat reserves to get us through the tough times has been our saviour – however, it has now become our curse. In our lucky western lives there are no longer any tough times, but someone forgot to tell our bodies.
Is it an accident that a fast food burger tastes so good when you eat it? Are you surprised when a chocolate coated something tickles your fancy? Do you wonder why fried chips taste so good? None of this is simply chance.
The companies that sell us this stuff make sure that they fill them with all the tastes we find very difficult to resist. Our brains are programmed to eat as much of these fatty, sugary and salty foods as often as possible.
The problem for us all now is that the times are good, they are better than good, they are great – all of the time. We have porked up.
We don’t catch our food anymore; it comes to us in shiny processed packages.
We are told that this packaging and processing makes it easier for us to eat and that it is better for us. Who are we kidding? It usually just means that it’s got stuff in it that’s bad for us, and that it’s wrapped in something that’s bad for our environment.
We’re eating more and more of this packaged food. So much in fact that our stomachs aren’t fitting inside our jeans anymore! It’s not just our tummies that are suffering either – the planet is also having a hard time dealing with our growing appetites. The more we eat, the more resources we use and there’s less for everything else.
Food is best for you when you know the ingredients. It may sound strange but eat what you recognise. Most processed food (stuff that comes in a wrapper, bottle, package or box) contains things that no one can pronounce let alone knows the origins of. Have you tried to read the ingredients lately? If you haven’t heard of it or can’t say it – don’t buy it.
Why are the makers of processed food trying to confuse us? Do they have something to hide? Fresh lean meats, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables are definitely best. Know what you are eating.
Eating seasonally saves you money and reduces pollution. We’ve become so accustomed to having the foods we want when we want them that we’re completely out of whack with what nature’s seasons. Strawberries and grapes in winter, pumpkins and sprouts in summer: it’s all topsy-turvy.
Out of season produce has to shipped or flown long distances, costing us extra dollars, energy and emissions. Tune in to the seasons and stay local.
The obesity epidemic that has invaded most western countries is slowly killing us early. For the first time in human history our life expectancy is getting lower.
The impact on our environment of all this overeating is huge. Naturally they have already come up with a name for this – globesity (global obesity). It’s the link between obesity and climate change. We are literally eating ourselves out of good health and out of a planet.
Is it time to start thinking about what we’re eating and how much we’re eating? Ditch the packaging, less is more, and fresh is best.