Much is being made in the press of late about our confused relationship with food and this is specifically targeted at the British. Apparently because we don’t all sit down to family meals or labour as much love on food preparation as some other nations we consume more calorific foods and therefore will all die. I actually agree with this position and I think you would be hard pressed to disagree with it if you watched the mindless McGrazing on the average high street where thousands of calories are digested simply because they are available.
I do take issue with the presumption that this is a British issue or that we are somehow worse at it. I say this as a man who has a pack of US ‘pay day’ bars in my bag, there’s not enough calories in nuts so we added caramel! This is a nation that put bacon pieces in sliced cheese to give it a little something extra, don’t misunderstand me I love the US and its people but they are adept at pushing the boundaries when it comes to packing the calories in.
Part of the trouble with the UK is we are still suffering from a sort of collective wartime memory. We are taught from a young age to finish our food and ‘clear our plate’ yet modern wealth encourages us to super size and overload our plates. This also affects food choices which are still, to some degree, based on the logic of rationing, look at the foods that we consider healthy and they are just not appropriate to the modern day. Take milk, your mother told you that this was good for you but science tells us that its fattening, no shit Sherlock! look at a cow, they are huge and heavy and this is what cows milk makes, baby cows grow into big cows drinking this stuff. But that’s not enough for us, we have concentrated this calorie rich food stuff in order that we can consume more with less effort, butter and cheese are concentrated baby cow food, fattening? well there’s a thought.
Its true of so many of our foods, where once nature made us work for its goodies now machines take us right to the good bit. As an example go and buy a bag of Brazil nuts, they come shelled and ready to shovel down by the handful. Is this what nature intended? No of course not, the nut grows high up, so there is climbing involved and it comes in a shell that’s as tough as teak. Without tools you would be lucky to get one Brazil nut out of its high security shell before you keeled over with a coronary, I’m telling you these things were only worth the effort if you were starving.
This is where our relationship with food went wrong, we stopped getting it at source. If you had to catch, slaughter and process a cow everytime you wanted a burger you would eat less and spend more energy eating what you did. I saw a report the other day that said that eggs were fattening, I am no biologist but I do believe that an egg is, to all intents and purposes, the raw material that not only creates but feeds a small chicken.
The governments answer to all of this is better labelling, a new traffic light system with clearer guidelines to assist our choice. I propose that we make it far simpler, let’s try honest labelling and see how that goes. Some examples:
Burgers should have a picture of a bull with the caption ‘Could you catch your own?’
Milk should have a picture of a baby cow and a fully grown one, we can add the caption ‘turns this into this’. We can do the same with cheese but repeat the image 5 times with the line ‘this but concentrated’
The vegetarians will have you believe that eating meat is the problem, it is not, and even if it was vegetarianism is not the solution. I don’t say this based on preference or taste but on pure science, allow me to explain. If you exist solely on vegetables then the food chain becomes an ever decreasing circle, crops are grown in dung which is a nice way of saying effluent now I have nothing against this but it is obvious that if you only eat that which has taken its nutrients from your waste then you will be able to return less nutrients. The circle will tighten until there is insufficient nutrients in your waste to feed your food and you will die of that most natural of causes ‘stupidity’.
Perhaps this is why dogs are happy with different coloured bone shaped biscuits, their superior knowledge is allowing them to adjust their diet in preparation for world domination.