Thursday, 21 July 2011

Organic versus conventional food in the fight against obesity

The following is an article I read in the UK Daily Mail in 2008. The interesting point in the exercise discussed is not so much the fact that it proved that organic was not as expensive as previously perceived, but that the children ate less and were more easily satisfied whilst eating organic food. In a time of growing obesity and programs that are failing to alter the bad eating habits of our children at the school canteen – where even the most vigilant parent cannot control the schoolyard bartering system – it is most noteworthy that the kids were actually happier on the more nutritious, less ‘fun’ food.
The UK's Daily Mail recently ran an experiment involving two families that agreed to swap diets for a full week. One family normally ate nothing but organic food. The other family was in the habit of eating mainly pre-packaged meals and processed goods. To their surprise, the results were that buying organic was cheaper and more popular with the whole family. Gaby Lana who switched to processed food for a week says “We felt unwell, spent more money - £214 compared to our usual £120 - and ended up with two enormous bin bags full of wasteful packaging.” The mother of the Matthiole family that went all organic for a week exclaimed "By the middle of the week, I felt really energetic. The food we were eating was just so crisp, fresh and tasty - even the organic tea tasted better, cleaner than my usual brand. And I noticed that I didn't feel headachy the morning after organic wine. "By the end of the week, I was enjoying cooking again. I also realised the girls had been exceptionally well behaved - eating their meals without complaint and even going to bed when asked - there were none of the usual tantrums. They also asked for far fewer snacks between meals. Interestingly, Amelia suffers with eczema on her legs, and by the end of the week, even that was much better than it normally is, much less red and raw, and I like to think the change in diet helped. "I've become much more aware of issues such as pesticides and additives and I feel as though I'm now nurturing my family. I spent £115 during the week, including several very drinkable bottles of organic wine. "That's less than my normal weekly shop, which comes in at £140 without alcohol. So it's not true that organic has to mean expensive." This UK experience backs up a 2004 report on the spending by Australians on organic food by BFA nutrition spokesperson Shane Heaton. Heaton believes that the key issue in regard to the affordability of organic fruit and vegetables in Australia is consumer education and how households choose to prioritise their spending. Where exactly the average Australian's spending priorities lie can be seen in Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. Heaton says "the average Australian household spends more on junk food than fruit and vegetables; More on fast-food and take-away than fruit and vegetables; More on alcohol than fruit and vegetables. And the net result of these choices is that we spend nearly twice as much on medical expenses as we do on fruit and veg." Heaton believes that once people become more aware of the issues surrounding food production eg. false assurances given regarding the safety of pesticide residues, the overuse of food additives, rising cancer incidence, etc, they will make more conscious choices of the food they feed themselves and their families. "Who knows? Perhaps, if spending increases on organic fruit and vegetables, people will spend less on junk food, take-aways, alcohol and cigarettes. Perhaps they'll need to spend less on medical and health expenses," he says.

Friday, 8 July 2011

controversy, carbon tax, world domination

You know recently there was an announcement that the climate thing was really a hoax and just an excuse for the world governments to tax the people of the earth for existing!

Well it may be true? And really I can make no comment on these meanderings for there have always been those that rule and those that are ruled. But it does not alter the fact that there are major changes occurring in the world, not least of which is the positive rise of our consciousness.
This can be seen in the unprecedented attendance of speeches by one of our global, still practising prophets, His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. Now I must add I am not a follower of His Holiness, but I have had the honour of hearing him speak and he is a truly intelligent speaker of a very clear truth, as I imagine all great prophets are from Jesus to Mohammed and everyone before and, I would posit, into the future.
Now some may say we are actually more stupid and gullible despite the internet, certainly literacy and the basic ability of the common individual to understand one's own language seem to have reduced significantly since the 1950's, but it does not seem to have reduced the fervour for independent thought or answers outside those given by our lords and masters.
There are those of us that are more drugged certainly but perhaps even those that are drugged, even those self administering their drug of choice, say nothing, for like the villagers on the small, Pacific islands going under the water, they feel there is nothing they can actually do about any of it?
Where there is apathy there are lost dreams.
Where there are lost dreams there is hopelessness and a desire to forget the pain of life.
But I feel that no matter the hopelessness being expressed like this or what the collective or individual journey presents, no one can really deny the existence of life around them and to that end what ever the despair it is, it is a lie borne of the wrong focus that only you and I can alter by our combined efforts to rally each other to see things differently.
And while we may continue to be led down the illusory paths of the gods of materialism and watch in despair as that too continues to be tantalised and dangled like a carrot to be eaten by the quick and viscous lords of world economies and the senseless annihilation of individual pride and work ethic, never let it be forgotten that there is life!
And where there is life there is hope.
One must not lose sight of the fact that many individuals are seeking other paths of awakening and awareness. Alternative health measures, for instance, rise exponentially in the face of GMO's, rising usage of prescription, government subsidised drugs, the banning of natural herbal medicines and every other effort of those that would have us succumb - still people realise there are other ways and life must be honoured!
They realise too that conventional, medical pills will not take away the sicknesses that plague them. And so too there is a rise of awareness of the relation of the soil and the earth we stand on to our very existence. Not only is the atmosphere we enjoy inherently tied up in the health of the soil and the plants that feed it but so too our economic structures that really are bound initially in this relationship of that which we grow from the earth and exchange for goods and services to a direct relation to these other economic and seeming unrelated factors.
Now this may sound like a lot of waffle to you and perhaps I wander to get to a point. For as I listen with my ear to the ground and feel the thundering hooves of life's many deaths approaching as we know them, I also pause to wonder if we may indeed learn from our forefathers who have trodden these bleak walks many a time and seek instead to look at other values? We have the power of numbers no matter the military or insane might of guns to grow and exchange with each other.
Carbon taxes may be an insane effort to right one wrong with an unwieldy and ultimately impossible penalty of something that can simply be handled with growing food more consciously rather than the complex taxation of emissions we will continue to make no matter the penalties imposed.
It seems we must be more creative and conscious at this time and use our hard one knowledge while we are still free enough to do so.