Are you a Food Zombie?

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Have you ever heard the expression “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Well it kind of does if you’re a farmer– but as money doesn’t just come without hard work, neither does our food. It requires a long and detailed process utilizing many resources and inputs. Yet many of us are so disconnected from where our food comes from and how it is grown we walk around consuming food without much thought to the damage we are doing to our planet and health by not paying attention. It’s like having a credit card that you constantly shop mindlessly on without thinking of the bill at the end of the month! But it soon catches up to us. We breeze through life (and the grocery aisles) as though we will always have a never ending supply, of convenient food we can grab on the fly. This not only hurts our planet, but people being abused for labor, land and other resources, as well as the environment and animals. But none of us here need be concerned about this – for out of sight out of mind right?

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London is actually one of the most disconnected populations from its food. I have experienced this first hand. I part-board a horse close to my home at an inner-city farm. We constantly have school children visiting the farm to see the many animals on school trips to which I am constantly hearing children asking what the pink animal is with the funny nose and them being told “it’s a pig – that’s where bacon comes from” – children these days have no connection with where the food – that goes in their mouths- comes from! It’s astonishing. No wonder we don’t respect our environment or our own health! How can we be expected to respect something we don’t have a clue about? If we re-connected ourselves with the land, and understood the effort it takes to grow/raise food we would probably treat the land, animals and our bodies better. With promises of convenience and technologies beyond our (as consumers) understanding, we have been sold a life of limitless supply, choice and convenience. We’ve been allowed to evolve into ignorant mindless zombies who put food into our mouths, chew and swallow and have been doing so for a good 50 years now. Governments have done little to curb this behaviour. People have been happy with their new easy lives and have put so much trust into the hand of governments and regulation to ensure our safety, it surely must include our health and the health of the planet we exist on right? Unfortunately this has not been the case. There has been a free for all with trade and overseas business development we have created a modern type of colonialism – exploiting the poor – both at home and afar. Consider the recent EU policy which will allow for food companies using fructose to boast of health benefits despite fruit sugar being implicated in soaring US obesity levels!? We need to begin to look out for ourselves and take responsibility in order to beware of such decisions being made from above to hold them accountable as well.

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I think a lot of the ignorance today comes not only from a lack of information, but too much of it. There are so many campaigns and groups advocating to do one thing and then another. There are also a never ending supply of scientific reports being published disproving or contradicting one another – even themselves eventually. A good example of this is about good vs. bad fats. There have been an on-going battle over whether people should eliminate all fat from their diets versus the need to include healthy fats and what exactly these consist of. Bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats lead to weight gain, clogged arteries, and many more health complications. However, good fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3s play a huge role in helping to manage weight, moods, fight fatigue and more. So this on-going conflict of interests in the food industry and provision of competing healthy eating tips and scientific reports coupled with governments who promise so much and deliver so little have produced a society hiding in a shell of ignorant bliss to escape the constant barrage to do better, be better, eat this, don’t eat that, and all without solutions or tools to change. And don’t think food companies don’t love this disassociation the publics have with where their food comes from and how it’s produced. It allows them to take advantage and exploit the lack of knowledge through false advertising and marketing strategies “teaching” what is new and healthy, when really these products are chalked full of harmful chemicals, toxins, sugars and fats. The public needs some manageable guidance. Governments need to take the lead and begin to solidify effective plans to tackle our ailing food system. Only then can consumers behaviours begin to change. Governments have long used the excuse for their inaction as they believe that implementing any regulation of our food system would kick up a media storm of how they are infringing upon our freedoms. Sometimes governments need to make difficult choices to guide us in the right direction for the betterment of our future…and although there may be times of struggle, I think overall, the public are ready to take back their right to have access to nutritious food.

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Simple steps to get you started towards a more conscious & healthy diet:

Take a week and write down everything you are eating and at what times. Then work out the calories (including how much sugar, fat, protein and carbs) you have consumed each day! You will be surprised how much you can pack in without even knowing it! Use an online journal or app such as http://www.mynetdiary.com

Start paying attention to your RDA’s – Recommended Daily Amounts which are listed on most foods packaging in percentages and think about the amounts you are actually consuming using your diary.

Make small changes and don’t be weighed down by challenges. It’s difficult to make a change to a completely healthy and conscious diet! Even some of us pro’s are still deceived and out smarted! Just take one step at a time and these small changes will eventually become a subconscious habit.

Think of your plate like in this diagram:

harvard-healthy-eating-plate

Most importantly DON’T GIVE UP! Any effort is more than you were making before and by sticking to it you will only reap the benefits of putting your health before lining of big food companies pockets who put profits above your health!

Posted on October 18, 2013, in Consumer Behaviour and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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