World Gone Pear-Shaped?

Image with thanks to 'Uniformed Comment'

Image with thanks to ‘Uniformed Comment’

‘Gather and Graze’ was created in many ways out of frustration. My moments of quiet time for reading and thinking are often spent agonising about how this world is spinning out of control in one way or another. Many things I physically can’t do anything about, but when it comes to finding a solution to the Obesity Epidemic, I’d really like to be a part of it. So ‘Gather and Graze’ was born.

I feel very strongly that each individual needs to take responsibility when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight (excepting of course the very small minority who actually do have medical conditions that make this difficult). It is YOU who consciously makes a decision to queue up in the drive-through lane for Fast Food. It is YOU who fills up the shopping trolley with soft drinks/soda and processed food ready to merely be microwaved and served up on a plate. It is YOU who passes this abhorrent way of eating on to your innocent children. Who are we kidding, if the majority of Western society could exercise restraint and learn how to cook again (even the basics), then the world would be in a far better place than what it is today.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to turn back the hands of time to a day and age when all of these products weren’t available and people had no choice but to eat REAL food, however we do have the ability to simply (and consistently) say “NO!” Only then might we see a decline in the production of these items and a shift in what is offered in the marketplace. We need to learn from the numerous cultures around the world who haven’t bought in to this awful Western-Style diet, who embrace a healthy diet and life-style, who continue to cook the food of generations past and who are rewarded with good health in both mind and body, plus a longevity of life that not surprisingly goes along with these choices.

My sincere hope is that people (particularly those who desperately need it) might come across my website and realise that it’s actually quite easy and economical to cook from scratch all of those lovely day-to-day meals and baked goods that are out there. It’s not a chore, it really doesn’t take that long and it’s such a wonderful investment in the future for not only the health of ourselves and our loved ones, but equally for the health of the environment and the world we are to pass on to future generations.

More often than not, much of the food in supermarkets contain a list of ingredients that we know not what half of them are. We need to nourish our bodies with REAL food, so that we can be 100% sure of what we’re putting in. Numerous chemicals and modified ingredients are added to both keep costs down for the company that produced it and to allow the product to sit on the shelf for many months/years longer than they should. These ingredients are obviously not being accepted by our bodies in the same way that more natural ingredients would. I can only suspect that it’s through the sheer volume that some people are consuming of this type of food that the unnatural substances are taking their toll and wreaking havoc with their bodies.

PORTION SIZE! PORTION SIZE PORTION SIZE! Our bodies require far, far less than what many would imagine. My personal thought is that it is initially through gluttony (for lack of a kinder word) that we indulge in more food and larger portions than our body needs. Then as the stomach increases in size, from the extra food being put in, it becomes harder to feel satiated by a normal size meal and with the added dimension of exercise no longer being balanced to create an input/output match, there’s little wonder the body becomes bigger and bigger. Importantly though… the stomach having shown it’s ability to increase in size, not surprisingly has the ability to shrink as well. We seem to think that we should be entitled to go through life without ever feeling the pangs of hunger, but we really do not need to be snacking and filling our bodies up with food at all hours of the day. Let your body feel a little hungry now and then – it really won’t hurt you.

There are those who choose not to snack on food, but to always have a drink on hand. Rarely will this drink be water. I lived in the USA for a couple of years and was appalled by how much soda was consumed by people on a daily basis – it’s almost like it’s on tap. I seriously question whether this is doing an equal or greater amount of harm to our bodies… Where we used to drink water, plain milk, fresh-squeezed fruit juice (all very natural substances) we are now taking on board empty calories, high levels of sugar-like substances and a concoction of various flavourings and colourings. The addition of artificial sweeteners to these drinks, to make us supposedly feel like we’re drinking ‘diet’ or ‘sugarless’ beverages is only perpetuating the problem and tricking us into believing that it’s somehow good for us and won’t have an effect our bodies. As always, in moderation and as an occasional drink to be had, I’m sure it would be fine, but too many don’t seem to grasp this simple principle. I find it uncanny that whenever I pass an obese person in the supermarket, they always seem to have a carton of diet soda in their trolley. Is it not obvious that this so-called diet foodstuff is not doing it’s job?

My thoughts on this subject may appear a little harsh and provocative to some, though it is said very much in concern for the individuals themselves and our society in general, that finds itself increasingly heavier year by year. We need to find solutions soon, to turn around this awful and debilitating condition. Without speaking about it and acting upon it, we will ultimately be paving the way to ruin for so many in our society.

Postscript – My husband, myself and my two children all have normal, healthy BMI’s. We eat simply prepared, tasty REAL food. Occasionally we’ll go out for a meal, but never to a fast-food joint or franchise-style restaurant… always to somewhere that cooks good quality REAL food. On these occasions our children might have a glass of soft drink, something seen as a special treat. At home with meals, they will either have water (mostly) or 100% juice. I can’t remember the last time I drank soft drink… We’ve never bought in to the low-fat products on offer – our milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt, cream etc. is all as natural as possible and full-fat. Fresh fruit and vegetables feature large, with always a supply of seasonal offerings (preferably from the farmer’s market or local sources). My husband and children prefer raw vegetables to cooked, so often there are bowls of carrot sticks, green beans or snow peas on our table to go with our meals. Meat is enjoyed in quite small portions with most evening meals. We certainly do have treats in our house, but eaten in moderation and not for consuming mindlessly. It works for us…

21 thoughts on “World Gone Pear-Shaped?

  1. Middle East Moments

    Just found your blog through Laura of Laura’s Mess and really loving what I’m reading and seeing. This article in particular rang true with me and something that I’m also concerned about especially with the messages that we are sending the next generation. I moved to the Middle East 3 years ago and this enabled me to make a real change to my lifestyle and the food that I prepare and eat – you want diced tomatoes, then you’d better start chopping as I can’t get a tin of them where I live! It’s great that I’m surrounded by fresh fruit, vegetables and produce that is for the most part very local and seasonal. Have to make the most of summer fruit as it comes and goes very quickly – figs available for 6-8 weeks tops. Whilst living here has facilitated the changes that I needed to make, I’m also alarmed at how quickly junk food is making it’s way into the diets of the children here. We don’t (fortunately) have any of the traditional fast food outlets were I live, but the amount of chips, chocolates, lollies etc and soft drinks that is now available and consumed is meaning that in the space of this current generation all the healthy eating habits from previous generations will be cast aside and we will have caught up with the problems faced by the West with this diet and lifestyle choices without any of the education. Scary reality! Sharing this post on facebook. Andrea

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Hi Andrea, it’s so great to hear from you, to discover your own wonderful blog and also to get your opinion on this issue that the world is facing. I’m fascinated to hear about the impact of junk food and fast food in Jordan – sounds like it’s ever so slowly creeping it’s way in… 😦 I can only hope that family recipes and cuisine will continue to be highly valued and passed on to the younger generations and that they won’t lose those fabulous skills in the kitchen that are disappearing so rapidly from many other cultures. It seems ridiculous to be losing all that for burgers, fries and deep-fried chicken!!! What are people thinking?
      Bringing up children (to me…) means that we have a responsibility to give our little ones the very best start to life possible in their health (amongst so many other things!) and that means making really good choices in what we allow them to put into their bodies. All too soon they’ll be out in the world making their own decisions about these things and we can only hope that over the years they’ve developed insight and maturity to make wise choices.
      I’m really looking forward to following your blog and to reading of your life in the Middle East! Cheers, Margot

    2. Rob

      Yes Andrea we thoroughly agree with you. It is all too easy to have fast food delivered or collected and the effect on the new generation is increasingly obvious. The thing that has amazed me is the size of clothes and shoes these days. If you are slim or have slim feet it is almost impossible to buy shoes small enough and clothes have also been upsized.
      The numbers in the population who now have diabetes are increasing daily.
      At the rate food is being consumed in the world how long can we continue to survive.
      We are certainly very health conscious and have recently decided to try out the 5/2 fasting diet.
      This has shown us the ease with which we can miss lunch twice a week and consume only 500 calories on two days out of seven. We not only have lost 3 kg easily but feel the benefit of less fat in our bodies.
      Keep up the good work

  2. gotasté

    I can’t agree more with what you have written. In my country, one big problem with people around me who refuse to even try cooking is due to laziness. And it is very sad.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Danny – it’s lovely to get your opinion on this! It really is very sad that so quickly the world is losing these cooking skills and also the wonderful recipes that had been passed down for generations from parent to child. I’m encouraged and grateful each time I come across blogs like yours, that there are some like-minded people out there who truly care about these issues! Cheers, Margot

      1. gotasté

        Margot, it is great for me to meet people like you too so that I know I am not the only “weird” city boy who loves to cook 🙂

        1. Gather and Graze Post author

          I hope that your passion for cooking gets passed on to as many people around the world as possible and that they in turn will be motivated to spend more time in the kitchen developing skills and a love of creating great food too! That’s what the ‘Food Revolution’ is about after all!

            1. Gather and Graze Post author

              That’s so wonderful to hear Danny! I know for sure that you will entice many more people to give cooking a go, by setting such a brilliant, passionate example. I’ve just started reading a great book which links to this very topic, called ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan – well worth a read!

  3. Ky Wyndham

    Great article Margot. We too in our home aim for fresh over fast. One thing that I have noticed that is a big driver for lower socio economic groups is that often fast is very cheap. A can of coke is cheaper than a bottle of water, insane! I too hope that people will come across your fantastic, delicious, healthy and economical recipes. I will start by sharing your blog on FB. (fingers crossed, i know how!?)

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Much appreciated dear Ky! It’s such an important issue for so many parts of the world. I know that fast food can be cheap, but at the same time I know that cooking GOOD food from scratch needn’t be expensive either. Perhaps I need to prove more of that on my blog by adding some costings alongside of the recipes too. More so for a large number of people out there, I think it’s the convenience factor and dare I say… bad time management. Thanks for your supportive thoughts and comments – let’s catch up soon. xx

  4. laurasmess

    Great post. Really brave of you to bring up some very difficult issues, but I think it needs to be heard! Australia has a huge obesity problem (pun not intended!) and I think it’s really sad. People have gotten so used to reaching for pre-packed and boxed foods. It all seems to be about convenience rather than health and balanced nutrition. Like you, I prepare everything from scratch in my house. Even things like jams and peanut butters are made naturally, without any of the crap that manufacturers put in them for ‘extended life’. I do admit that I drink a bit of red wine and beer… that’s probably the only carbonated, sugar-added beverage that I consume! I love it though. Otherwise I think we’re doing pretty well. Thanks for this post!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Laura, I find it really sad too! Such a complex issue, which will take us a long time to overcome or at least to start seeing a reduction in. Heartbreaking that many of the children today are likely to have shorter lifespans than their parents. I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that this isn’t the case for my children!
      Like you, I love to have a glass of wine with dinner most evenings – everything in moderation… I enjoy the occasional beer, but not as often and usually in summer when the BBQ is going – yum! 🙂

  5. Anne @GtSlamseysFarm

    Interestingly we actually eat less food than previous generations – but of course too many people sit on their backsides all day in an office or home that’s so overheated that they’re always in short sleeves. So, healthy eating plus turn the thermostat down and get active!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Getting active is definitely a big part of it! I just find it all rather overwhelming watching the problem getting worse year by year – not enough action is being taken (by individuals, groups or governments) to work on finding solutions.


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