Monday, October 15, 2007

Change the World by Eating Something Real

Its Blog Action Day today, when many thousands of bloggers from around the world will post something relating to environmental issues. Now for some serious exploration of environmental engineering and how to make a difference that way, please visit carbon limited.

However in my humble way I hope to be making a difference by considering that our approach to how and what we eat is as important as how green your car is, or how many solar panels you have on your roof. On the radio news today I heard medical researchers forecasting that obesity could become more of a problem for us than climate change (although I think that's just rhetoric, they are both huge problems however you look at it). It made me think about the work I do with my patients and their diets, or the chats I have with my mother in law about dietary help for her husband with diabetes, about raising awareness about how much salt, sugar and processed food even my hippy friends allow their children to eat - because we have absorbed this stuff into our lives.

Its not that I'm a food fascist, or ascetic - come on, look at my blog overflowing with chocolate, cream and baked goods! I just think that we need to re-educate ourselves to eat real food again. It doesn't have to be low fat, tasteless, worthy pap. Food should be stimulating, comforting, sustaining and colourful. It should be real with flavours that come from herbs, spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, free range meat, fresh fish, unpasteurised milk, live yogurt - not some artificial rendering of those real foods.

One of the key elements to the work I do is identifying when people switch off from food as a source of joy and start to see it as a terrible combination of guilty pleasure and annoying chore. Once I can get people back into preparing real food - as close to when it came out of the ground as possible - the connection with themselves is re-established. Its easy to shovel crap into your mouth if you no longer have a connection with your body as a tool for living, a beautiful, creative, efficient organism that needs nurturing. Once you shut off from your body and allow stress to take hold, the next step is generally to turn to refined food as a comfort blanket.

So, as today is action day I would like to hold the torch up for starting the day with a good breakfast (hopefully something containing oats or eggs and some fruit, maybe some yogurt...) and tucking some fresh fruit or raw veg into your lunchbox or briefcase to munch on during the day. I would also like to suggest that in the name of good mental health, you find at least ten minutes today, and tomorrow and definitely the next day, to do something just for you, quietly, that reminds you of who you are and grounds you again. Like Richard Gere in that terrible movie, 'Pretty Woman', take off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet, stand at a window and feel the wind on your face or just take a glass of water to a bench and people watch.

The only way we can really change the world is by starting with ourselves. It may seem like just a raw carrot and some oatcakes to you - but it's gonna make a difference, I promise.