I was watching a news report the other day and I can’t recall what the story was really about but there were a group of Australians being interviewed and I felt somewhat embarrassed that many of the people being interviewed were clearly very much overweight, bordering on obese if not morbidly obese. My brother owns a satellite and he beams these pictures and images not only to Australian audiences but very often audiences in every corner of the world. My work quite often takes me overseas and the impression the world has of us is the land of the suntanned, fit, muscular Aussie but like many other countries around the globe we are now part of the growing global obesity epidemic.
Then a few days later a new collaborative study from the Imperial College of London, Harvard University and the World Health Organisation announced that there is a near-doubling in numbers of dangerously over weight adults since 1980 around the world, and Australia is the 3rd fattest nation!
More than half a billion men and women – nearly one in nine of all adults, are clinically obese. They ranked Australia near the top of the pile of increasingly obese wealthy nations, coming in third for the fattest women just behind the USA and New Zealand and third also for men behind the US and Britain.
The Lancet who published the report described the results as a “population emergency”. They believed that widespread action would need to be taken by governments and health care systems world wide. The problem is prevalent and rising rapidly in rich nations but many developing nations, especially in the middle east and beginning in Asia, are rapidly catching up.
Basically it comes down to the fact that one in three people around the world are overweight and 1 in 9 are obese. If we wait for the bureaucrats to change food laws, marketing, advertising, additives and so on we will all be so fat that the world will spin off its course and end up in some distant galaxy!
The answer is education. If everyone who reads this newsletter or follows the Changing Habits philosophy, tells one person about how we need to go back to food not found in a package but the food we have eaten for thousands of years, then perhaps we can make a difference to the lives of people in Australia. And reduce our statistics of being the 3rd fattest nation in the world! This is not hard, just common sense but the problem is that most people watch television which markets junk food heavily with health claims. Step away from the glossy magazines and the television set and start reading and listening and learn what the resounding solution is; “Eat real foods made from nature”.
I get so very very frustrated about this whole debacle. Last week I listened to the Great Health Debate. The organisers had 14 medical doctors, nutritionist and food experts debating the pros and cons of diets. Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, blood type diets, alkalising diets, low fat, high protein and so on were all presented. As I listened to each of the experts I began to realise why everyone is so confused, but what struck me was that each one of the experts said that we are all individuals and there is no one diet panacea for the world.
The interview that appealed to me the most was with the vivacious Daniel Vitalis. I think why I liked him so much is that he spoke my truth. He was a vegetarian, like me, and then realised after many years that it no longer served his health to continue on the no meat eating diet. He then studied anthropology (like me) and realised that we evolved to eat certain foods and that meat was a big part of this process. But he also said that the domestication of our animals and plant foods was not conducive to perfect health and that we needed to look for more wild foods. He has spent his life (he is only young) foraging throughout America for wild foods.
The interviews were free last week and I must admit I enjoyed them very much. If you want to listen to them you can go to the following link Great Health Debate. They are now available for under $50.00 but the organiser sent me an e-mail saying that on Friday he would be increasing the amount to it’s true value.
We are fortunate here in Australia, not only do we have a plethora of bush tucker but some of our supermarkets now stock kangaroo, emu and crocodile (Steve Irwin would be turning in his grave). I’d like to make it my mission this year to put out in every newsletter a Bush Tucker of the Month. Explaining where it is grown, what it looks like and how to prepare it, remembering that nardoo (bush tucker) will deprive you of Vitamin B1 unless prepared properly. For the new Healthy Living Club members I’m going to try and find a Bush tucker expert and ask if he would blog for us and teach us step by step how to forage for food in Australia.
After listening to Daniel Vitalis I watched a video of him talking about foraging for food. He had just picked a huge black mass that he called a fungi, he said that it had a vanilla flavour but more importantly that is was rich in many nutrients and had anti viral and anti bacterial properties. He used the fungi, very simply by making it into a hot drink.
I’m not going to ask you to become hunter gatherers but what you need to keep in mind is that if we can get away from packaged food and just go back to the basics. Then food by food let’s see if we can go back to the more wild version. For instance instead of grain fed beef filled with hormones and drench, buy beef that has been grass fed without the use of chemicals. It is not hard, it is just about thinking more. To do this in a step by step way, join my new Healthy Living Program that will be launching in March!