In May this year a piece of research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation was released in The Lancet about the increasing propensity for our nations to be obese. There is a crisis in obesity and many organisations are carrying out funded research tracking it, and monitoring what is becoming clearly an epidemic on health. We have lots of research like this happening, but in reality we all know what causes it, because the correlations are so so clear, it’s when our foods become unnatural, highly processed, poor in nutrient content through farming, and we consume too much of them and don’t exercise enough.
Is it our fault? I’m really not so completely sure, when my clients tell me their doctors have just told them to lose weight for years, and they have gone on the yoyoing rollercoaster, they haven’t really had a clue how to do it! My generation by the sounds of it were one of the last in schools to have what was called home economics, to be taught how to do things around the home, it included managing food budgets, cooking, putting foods together and baking, sewing and mending clothing, starching and washing clothes even…I know I am that old!! LOL We had PE nearly everyday well it felt like that, I’m sure it was only a 3 times a week, but in the North of England we were out even when it snowed, nothing in our PE teachers world stopped play. I have friends who had the same experience, and I have friends who are only slightly younger and have no idea even how to make a soup if it doesn’t come out of a tin. I am out in all weathers with the dog, I learnt it wasn’t the weather its the wrong clothing that doesn’t enable you to enjoy being outside.
So I believe that part of it is that schools changed things for a time, when generations come out with no knowledge of how to cook for themselves, or select good foods, and they then have families themselves they don’t have any cooking knowledge to pass on. It’s changing back now, there is such a sea change that it’s a breath of fresh air, there is more home baking happening than ever I’ve noticed. But our foods have become more and more focused on convenience in our supermarkets and stores, rather than on nutrition, they aren’t focused on truly feeding the body purely fueling it. This is because the majority of us are too busy to cook now, our lives are so overwhelmingly full that we just don’t have the time. It’s the most frequent thing that is said to me when I start to suggest dietary changes, how am I going to find the time to do the shopping and get all that food, and then make these meals. Our time has been consumed by other things, mostly working, rather than looking after ourselves, and of course our stores are capitalising on this aspect of our lives, making it easy for us to eat. If we consider this convenience food as a petrol pump on the forecourt though I’m actually sure most of us would choose to put better fuel quality to put in our cars than we tend to buy from the actual petrol station for our own bodies. We’ve got it all wrong, hence why the obesity levels are reaching epidemic proportions.
Our farmers due to our supermarkets have become focused on what a food cosmetically looks like rather than tastes like, it’s quantity rather than quality, we are treating our foods as we treat our faces with plastic surgery and cosmetics, it’s about what it looks like on the outside rather than on the inside. These convenience foods though quick leave us devoid of vital nutrients, our agriculture is leaving foods depleted of key nutrients, selenium, which leads to thyroid problems, magnesium, leaving to circulation and systemic circulation issues, the list goes on and on to be honest, depletion in B vitamins. It’s inevitable with them that our behaviours and weight will change, they change our hormones, they change our ability to metabolise our foods, they change the ability to absorb our foods, this leaves us wanting more food, and wanting it quickly, we think we are out of control, and we are because our body is in the driving seat searching for nutrients it’s not finding. But our culture has become one of quick fixes, I see a lot of people who just want to take the supplements, and make no changes to their lifestyles, they become frustrated at the lack of change they experience from what they are doing. The only way to truly win at this game is to drop the convenience…take stock of what is happening in your life that is creating the need for convenience, become aware of the things that you know you need to change, and start to change them, step by step.
For those wishing to buy out of the obesity epidemic it’s about making not just what seems on the shelf the healthier natural choice, it’s about going to source as much as possible, the words healthy and natural in the supermarkets are hardly ever the case I’m finding more and more. Make your foods from scratch, with the natural ingredients, and take pride in doing it, yes it takes more time, I make the time for good food, but I promise you it pays you back in dividends, I also have fast foods, in my world they are fruit, or I have smoothies and juices, superfood drinks, and salads, I’m never too busy any more to feed myself true nutrition, because I know I need to if I want to live the life I live. Yesterday I got up at 6am, I took the dog for a walk, I worked all day, I saw a friend for lunch, and went out cycling in the evening doing an easy few miles. This is what feeding your body right gives you, those of my clients who can do it, have fantastically creative and vital lives, they’ve become artists, writers, yoginis, gardeners since seeing me, so it’s never just about the food when you come to see me, just be aware of that! We forget that every mouthful builds our bodies, it’s totally about what you eat drink and think, every cell is a representation of that moment in time.
Marie Ng PhD a, Tom Fleming BS a, Margaret Robinson BA a, Blake Thomson BA a, Nicholas Graetz BS a, Christopher Margono BS a, Erin C Mullany BA a, Stan Biryukov BS a, Cristiana Abbafati PhD d *, Semaw. (May 2014). Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980—2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Available: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2814%2960460-8/fulltext. Last accessed 3rd September 2014.