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Eat well, be well, live well.

Mon, 31 December, 2018

Happy New Year. I have a lot of hope for good stuff happening in it, probably because things can’t really go down any further. I hope we shall eat well, be well and live well. Except – what does it even mean?

Eating well, as the Instagram beauties tell us, is about meticulously eliminating evil foodstuffs from our diets in order to live an incredibly long and boring life. I’m older than most of the food influencers except Mary Berry and I can promise you: you get bored well before you hit 70. Past that point, admittedly, the bliss of dementia kicks in and you’re happy again – but I guess the millennial gluten free vegans are not quite on about that.

Eating well as I see it isn’t about depriving yourself of any foods or group of foods, unless it is categorically medically advised. Eating well in ethical terms is paying attention to how the food is sourced and not wasting any of it. Eating well in wellbeing terms is enjoying one of life’s basic pleasures and deriving extra pleasure from cooking good food for yourself and others. The ‘healthy’ factor that everyone is obsessed about is not about selectivity; it’s about moderation. Honestly, there are no miraculous foods that will put a glow on our cheeks and zap ten more years onto your lifespan meter. And living long is of secondary importance to living comfortably, free of pain and full of energy. The ‘healthy’ factor is critical as far as the developed world’s obesity cataclysm is concerned.

To paraphrase Cheshire Cat’s words, ‘Oh, you can’t help that, said the Cat: we’re all fat here. I’m fat. You’re fat.’ No amount of government flapping about like a demented tyrant, banning Big Macs and calorie-capping carbonaras, is going to help us lose weight. The calorie capping on fast food and on ready meals is only going to result in prices going up or portions shrinking; most probably both. Remember the low-fat exercise? We got higher sugar and salt content instead.

What’s going to stop us from buying two regular mac n fries instead of the defunct Big ‘Un? Or ordering two pizzas (for the price of one, usually, as per Domino’s helpful offer)? Or demolishing two packets of crisps on top of our measly regular mac because we’re not quite sated? Or even more ingeniously, going back home to consume four cheese sandwiches? Because the totally overlooked fact is that even avocado and bulgur wheat eaten in copious quantities, every day, will result in a massive weight gain. You can be obese without ever stepping into a KFC.

Nannying never works; it didn’t work during American Prohibition and it isn’t working anywhere for substance abuse. Drink driving in western Europe has decreased over the last 30 years or so only thanks to educating, not police patrols jumping out from behind billboards. Teaching people to eat well and lose weight is the only effective method. And cooking at home is the key skill.

Live well. Be well. Eat well. And cook, for God’s sake! Happy New Year!

 

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