What does the proliferation of food suppliers, of cookbooks and of TV cooking shows (in their different guises) tell us about the way we are living in the world today?

In the 1960’s in the UK there were few shops in the local high (main) street except for one each of the greengrocer, baker, butcher, newsagent, laundrette, chemist, library, post office and maybe a café or two. There were not sections on cooking books in bookshops and TV cooking shows were rare. In spite of all of that, from a nutritional standpoint, our needs were well covered.

Nowadays, by contrast, every high street is awash with food – multiple cafes, coffee shops, cake shops, bread shops, take-aways etc. And if we look at the current picture of food in everyday life, we are awash with TV cooking shows[1], TV chefs and their latest recipe books, and dedicated Internet sites with both professional and personal blogs. As a result of this you would be right in thinking that we should be healthier and eating better given that our knowledge about food, how best to cook it and our access to it has been made so much easier.

Consider for a moment the possibility that our relationship with food has changed and therefore our demands ON food have changed – is the new balance between supply and demand serving us? There is so much demand for food and all things food related, thus we could question what we are asking food to do for us. What is food ‘serving’ us?

Over the last century, the global population has quadrupled. In conjunction, the demographic changes (the process of urbanisation) and the increase of the buying capacity of people in both the developing and developed world led to a huge increase in the global demand FOR food[2]. The demand was met by an industry that became increasingly global. Such industry not only took immense advantage from this surge of demand, but also grew in sophistication regarding the maximisation of profits by attuning to (as well as creating) people’s lifestyles and their resulting demands ON food.

The picture created from the demand and supply of food is not a pretty one. We now have a proliferation of cheap fast food, excessive consumption of junk food, diets with high salt and sugar content[3], mass-produced foods that have led to changes in farming and issues on how food is stored and how livestock are raised. The effects of the food supplied to meet our demands[4], coupled with our adopted lifestyles, have been quite deleterious if not deadly to our health and wellbeing, and has resulted in an increased healthcare need to deal with the pandemics of obesity and diabetes, not to mention a range of other health conditions.

The World Obesity Federation (WOF) says that there will be 2.7 billion overweight and obese adults by 2025, many of who are likely to end up needing medical care. That means a third of the global population will be overweight or obese. The fact there is even the need for a global organisation to address the epidemic that is obesity says a lot.

‘Without action the annual worldwide obesity bill will reach $1.2 trillion in 2025 with 46% of the cost falling on the US’[5].

Adding to this grim statistic, the estimated number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 415 million in 2015.[6] Food, glorious food… not.

More and more research and studies have made the link between health and lifestyle. The WHO states, ‘Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes’. And that, ‘Diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications’.[7]

What is the future looking like if we continue on this trajectory?

It’s not looking good. We could say that the rise in food and beverage consumption to supply our demand to sustain our chosen lifestyles is feeding the rise in illness and disease, and whilst some ‘profit’ from this, namely the Big Food and medical insurance industries, public health and social services are amongst those who are not profiting. More so and, pun intended, health systems and social services are literally drowning under the weight of obesity and other related lifestyle diseases.

Whilst food and drink for true nourishment is much needed, we do seem to have unleashed a monster in relation to food.

Before this seismic shift continues to worsen, isn’t there a call to action as to why it is this way?

These last few decades we have literally eaten ourselves to ill health, larger bodies, and are pillaging the world of resources so as to consume more and more food. Why is it we need to eat so much? A few decades ago not only did we eat less, we had less food shops, cafés, and supermarkets, and we didn’t have the degree of endemic obesity and diabetes on our hands either.

Maybe it’s time for a coffee and a sweet (!) to chat about this? It is definitely time to change the approach we are having with food. The point of departure is to acknowledge the extent to which the food we are serving – and demanding – does not serve us well.

Through our choices of food, we are feeding a lifestyle that is killing us.

How we live and how we wish to live are the keys to our current miseries. All the while, our body knows best, and it knows exactly how to live, and what and how to eat, should we choose to listen to it. This is clairsentience and is our guiding light for all aspects of daily living.

Our body would support the move away from ‘lifestyle’ to The Way Of The Livingness whereby we not only turn the tide on how we treat our body, but we address the root causes of our food demands and are then able to turn the tide on the lifestyles that are killing us.


References:

  • [1]

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/may/10/britains-food-habits-well-eat

  • [2]

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/world-food-consumption_n_4978947

  • [3]

    https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/21/new-data-reveals-how-our-diets-are-changing-over-time/

  • [4]

    https://hbr.org/2016/04/global-demand-for-food-is-rising-can-we-meet-it

  • [5]

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/10/treating-obesity-related-illness-will-cost-12tn-a-year-from-2025-experts-warn

  • [6]

    https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/diabetes-globally/

  • [7]

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/

Filed under

Food industryObesityHealthy living Diabetes

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