Apologies for the lack of posts this week, work has been very time consuming.
There has been a lot of talk last week about obesity rates and poor diet in Ireland last week in the papers and I can’t help but give my two cents to this topic.
The statistics are shocking. According to the Growing up in Ireland Survey, 1 in 4 children interviewed were overweight or obese. According to 98FM, the obesity epidemic is costing the state 1BILLION a year, 400MILLION of which is spent on hospital care and drugs. In ireland, 39% of people are overweight and 18% are obese. Furthermore, childhood obesity is reaching epidemic levels in Europe-this is an awful statistic, kids don’t choose to be fat, they don’t know any better…….Irish people are now the 2nd fattest in Europe.….these figures and facts just keep on coming.
Fact is we are heading in completely the wrong direction at a very fast rate. I would imagine the figures for body fat would be even more shocking because people who don’t seem to be overweight or unhealthy can in fact have a very unhealthy body fat %….this is where the idea of ‘skinny fat’ comes in…..
So why the hell is this happening!? A few reasons spring to mind….
The Irish Independent published an article last week which shocked and pissed me off….Not only are we eating far less green vegetables, salads, and fruit (less than half of what the World Health Organisation recommends), but unhealthy food is getting cheaper while healthy foods are getting more expensive. This is RIDICULOUS! Clearly this is going to encourage us to buy the unhealthy stuff…..even force people in most cases because we don’t have the money to be spending a fortune on groceries…..And shops and cafes are only fueling this…..obviously people will jump on deals like fizzy drink, crisps and sandwich for 5 euro instead of forking out 10 euro on a salad…..and on top of that the salad options you usually see are laden with mayonnaise and processed food.
People just don’t have the time to spend on cooking and so favor the quick, cheap and easy option of unhealthy things like pizza and pasta or even takeaways. Healthy food can be quick and easy too so its not really an excuse! And takeaways are not cheaper…..you see families buy chipper every night thinking it cheap and quick….well fact is you can easily cook up meals which cost less than 2 euro per plate….things like stew, chili etc…..but not only those meals…take Jamie Oliver and his 30 minute meals and more recently 15 minute meals…..take channels like Good Food which prove over and over how healthy meals can be made on a budget….
Lack of education is a huge factor……however this also refers to lack of proper information….people think the food pyramid is a solid framework when in fact its based on the negotiations and power of different industries…check out the article I wrote earlier that dispels this frame…..they think ‘fat-free’ and ‘sugar-free’= healthy, they don’t know how to read food labels, how to see that brands can easily hide the bad stuff……
I am witnessing first hand how little people know…..I ve listened to my friends and to the people I work with discussing food and thinking that they are choosing the ‘healthy option’ when reality is they really are not…..I constantly get stick over the way I eat….comments like ‘god i feel guilty eating this pastry in front of you’ or ‘jesus u eat so healthy, would u ever just eat a biscuit or something!!!’…..bringing me to the next point….people don’t like when someone takes the healthy route, they like when those around them also eat the crap they do….they encourage it and then make themselves feel better…..I ve experienced this first hand when I decided to change my diet and start exercising….people saying I am doing too much and encouraging me to eat bad food rather than supporting me……
And what’s worse, it seems society is dictating food trends…….I was out in a hospital last week and was absolutely shocked by the food choices there….of all places, surely a hospital would offer healthy food to help the sick get better!!!!! No quite the opposite….it like their attitude goes something like this….well these people are sick maybe we should feed them rubbish to cheer them up….but not even nice rubbish…..greasy, cream laden rubbish that is clearly cheap and non perishable….just look at the pictures…..breakfast: ‘fresh’ fruit out of a can….yes a can……the cheapest sausages you can find, bacon dripping in grease…..pudding…bread….pastries……lunch involved carbonara, lasagna, pasta, bread bread and more bread really??? Is it really just me that thinks a hospital should serve high quality, fresh fruit, veg and protein options? Fact is that clearly people are eating this food so there is no reason to change…..
This rant can just go on forever…..and what’s worse is that it is so easy to change! And change we must.
A few tips:
1. Buy food that’s in season (it’s cheaper and also in its prime state)
2. Buy and cook in bulk- prepare for the week and freeze leftovers
3. Buy cheap cuts of meat….make stews, soups, pies……the fat is so good for you and makes for great flavor!
4. Move! Walk/cycle to work….walk for 30 minutes a day…..join a gym….LIFT WEIGHTS! It doesn’t have to be complicated…you don’t need to train like an athlete to lose weight!
5. Don’t believe everything you hear! Even facts like drinking two litres of water a day are not based on any scientific evidence! They are extremely vague guidelines……
A few great articles to get you thinking: