Wednesday, 30 March 2011

You are what you eat?

A number of current TV programmes, setting out to shock, use the system of throwing a weeks food consumed down a transparent tube so the consumer is confronted by their lifestyle. It is fairly gross but also does its job. Sometimes there is almost nothing in the tube (or cigarettes and beer) and other times there is junk food galore. I am sure we haven't always been obsessed by diet, however health and food have gradually become more and more to the fore, as we in the west turn into couch potatoes with no idea how to cook or little time to do so.

We live in a very different culture from even my parents generation. My parents have always balanced work to earn a living, with work to grow their own food. My mother did not have a full time job after I was born, and so traditionally would cook an evening meal for us all. The weekly shopping trip was always at the same time on the same day, and in those days she walked up the high street going into a shop at a time to get meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and the supermarket for the essentials left on the list.

Nowadays a weekly trip to the supermarket has to be planned, decisions have to be made about food throughout the week in order to get it right. Now I find myself with little time to prepare and cook and part of the reason I have a fruit and veg box delivered is to confront me with things I have to eat. I try and eat in a balanced way, but very often 5 portions of fruit and veg are just not possible. No wonder vitamin tablets and ready made meals are so popular, and no wonder transparent tubes filled with junk are so shocking.

Again the freedom we have to make choices, and the wisdom we need to make the right choice and to change should be seen as a privilege. Vitamin A deficiency affects 40% of children under five in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, these children have no choice and often little to eat. They are susceptible to life-threatening diseases - not of their own making. Sadly whether we can help it or not we are what we eat.

1 comment:

  1. As I wrestle with the needs of my own growing family and their developing diets, the nature of what we eat has become very important. To me, at least, the 'what we eat' is a steady indicator to the 'who we are' in any given season. Too many take-aways speaks of an over-busy life. Too much fat and sugar speaks of a lifestyle that craves the fast easy fix. Too little of anything speaks of fearfulness and a diet that is so ascetic that a hamster would lose interest speaks to me of mis-judging or mal-judging the pleasures of this life.

    It is also interesting how you are now the third blogger to confess to a Riverford-esque delivery (myself, you and the Curate of Ludgershall). Speaking only for myself, as I sit in front of my thousand pound computer on the day when my own box will arrive by courier, that what I eat also speaks volumes about how detached I am from even families a mile away who have to scrape pennies together to afford Tesco Value spaghetti shapes for their children's tea. When I unpack my box with the kids later, will I feel glad that I have all that lovely organic fresh veg? No - I will be praying for the children who have probably never seen a green shoot in their short lives.