Monday, 9 June 2014


Last time, I left you with the thought of a large slice of birthday cake, a reward for what I have achieved so far this year! That will be in a couple of weeks time at our Grandson's first birthday party, and I can't wait. I am looking forward to seeing everyone, enjoying the excitement of the day and helping to make the food for everybody.
I am not a bad cook, I have always enjoyed cooking and learning about foods from all around the world. It makes our planet seem such a smaller place when you realize we all have so much in common. We all eat, but the question is do we think about what we eat and does it matter?
When my two children were at senior school, I spent a short time as a school governor. The area I was assigned to was Home Economics, which was great because I always thought how important it was to learn how to cook. For whatever reason it does not always happen in the home and often Home Economics at school was our first experience of preparing and cooking food, and knowing what goes in it, which is something we seem to have lost.
Sadly, the government of the time decided that other school subjects were more important, and Home Economics was cut right out when it came to choosing exam subject options. I thought at the time that this was a bad idea. Over the years we seem to have forgotten what good food is.
When I used to teach Indian Cookery to adults in the early 2000s, a lot of the students thought it would take a long time to cook a meal from scratch. They soon discovered that they could cook a quick and healthy meal in no time at all.
We are bombarded with quick food, takeaways, microwave dinners, and there is nothing wrong with that in the greater scheme of things, but food seems to have become such a mystery. Most of the time we do not think about how much salt, sugar or fat there is in certain foods, which is something we need to do if we find we have put on weight and want to have healthier eating habits.
While I was attending the first twelve weeks of Change 4 Life we looked at food labels and it was mind-blowing the hidden salt and sugar that was added to processed foods. Even so-called low calorie foods can contain higher levels of sugar than we might be led to believe. 
I heard on a TV programme recently that just an extra 100 calories a day over our recommended daily allowance can result in us putting on a stone in weight over the course of a year. Such an easy thing to do!
I saw "Masterchef" on the television the other week and I heard food described as "fetta cheese foam", "apricot stew", "beetroot fondant" and "beetroot paint". I feel terms like that can make good food sound elitist, expensive and time consuming.
What we need to do is think about the food we would like to eat and think how we can change things.
There are lots of good, quick recipes out there. We CAN make food cheaply, that looks good and is tasty without adding the extra fat, sugar and salt.
Obesity is becoming an increasing problem in many countries and it seems to me that one of the reasons is that we are eating far more processed foods than we used to.
There now seems to be whole generations that, for whatever reason, have not learnt to cook the basics and have become dependent on quick alternatives that may not be as good for us as we believe.
It won't happen overnight for any of us but let's start to think about just what we are eating and if we do spoil ourselves now and again, do it with food that we really enjoy, not with something that will "just do".
Those of you that drive would not dream of putting the wrong fuel in your cars, but we do it to our bodies quite often.
I hope this week I have given us all some food for thought, an idea of what we can change and what we can achieve step by step.
Until next time, I'll leave you thinking and, maybe, looking at those food labels. :)

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