Babies and children love food. They love the texture, smell, colour, taste of it so how did we ever lose our interest in food?
We have begun to take food as a given. We worry about external factors like climate change and we are fascinated by our environment but what about the internal factors and what we put in to our bodies? Is it because we can’t directly see how the food we eat affects our bodies whereas we can see great chunks of glacier crashing into the oceans which makes it more immediate? We care for our planet, why do we not care for our bodies?
Children love being outside in their environment. Remember when you used to run around after school with the snow falling, making snow angels, or with sun in your hair as you raced along on your bike or ran around playing ‘chase’ or climbing trees. We ate natural foods – fruit and vegetables because we didn’t have the snack food or ready meals that we have now.
We had crisps and fizzy drinks and ‘penny chews’ but in moderation. Pack size was smaller, we weren’t allowed these things every day. We had far more parental responsibility, not relying on the government to force food companies to make their offering healthier.
The climate change people could not agree for years. Then their new leader, Christiana Figueres, a passionate fighter and leader of the UN Framework Convention and the climate change agreement, changed perception from they couldn’t agree, to why they could agree. In Paris, in December 2015, after years of disagreements, she managed to get nearly 200 countries to agree to a legally binding resolution plan.
Thus far, we have been singularly adept at avoiding confronting the burgeoning epidemic of obesity that is hunting us down. When will we agree on this, and agree a path, that is legally binding at each step of the way? Is it because it needs to be a political agreement rather than a capitalist/business agreement? This is when governments should step in and find a working framework to impose on food companies.
The big energy companies are now investing millions in trying to find alternatives, because they see small businesses leading the way and this is the same in food. It is the small companies leading the innovation and forcing the big companies to move.
In some areas we are making progress and, once we take sensible steps, we will get results. This requires the right intention to solve the problem, in a serious way.
The resilience of our bodies gives us a chance. We have Earth Day, but what about Body Day? In some developing countries of the world there is a belief that being overweight is a sign of affluence. We need more education around the subject. We want to use our bodies, if we don’t move, sit inside watching TV or films or playing computer games our bodies gradually die, and with bad food in them, we exacerbate this.
We need to teach our children. Being a parent is hard! It’s hard work and it’s our responsibility to teach them self reliance and responsibility. Children can learn and love to do so. When they are engaged they are enraptured and our adult indifference to the way we feed them needs to be addressed. They are not free to make their own decisions, we have to make informed choices for them.
Can we get ahead of this problem realistically, and reverse this trend? Everything that is good for us can be picked from a tree or pulled from the ground. Even with so many people now living in urban areas, and this is set to grow, we have markets, shops, supermarkets to provide for us. But we need to use education. We understand that some people don’t like to cook, and that is absolutely fine, and there are solutions, Goodness Gracious being one of them, where we have thought carefully about the ingredients we use and how they affect the body.
There needs to be an economic component to the solution. Small business leads innovation but clashes with big business with whom it is difficult to compete mainly due to economies of scale.
There are fabulous programmes going on that are addressing the problem but more needs to be done. Perhaps we should introduce policy that does address offering economic incentives vs the body problem. For this to happen though, we need a literate and informed public who will lead through the mass energy of movement to improve their diet. Let’s put it in the hands of the people.
Do we have the right to disallow our children a healthier life through ignorance and laziness? No, we don’t. We are moving in the right direction but so much more needs to be done, and much faster. We are all inter-connected so solutions need to be global.
This is part of our inheritance. People have pride when they achieve, when they see their own capacity to achieve and do things. Let’s be doers and do this.