The sated body

June 24, 2013

untitledBack in the fifties people ate when hungry. Now we eat to pass the time and make our lives bearable… A terrible ennui has settled on our lives. Where does it come from?

Relentlessly our jaws move up and down mastication huge portions of salt/fat encrusted nuggets or swallowing sugary slurpies. When the backlog of this food overflows back up into our throats, only then we chuck it out but… before long we again start the process of queuing at the take-away, obediently assuaging the commercial captains of take-a-way empires… and so it goes on, day after day. Relentless endless chewing, it passes the time.

According to the statistics, about half of the world goes hungry and yet half of the world’s food production of 4 billion tonnes a year gets thrown out. It doesn’t make for cheerful reading and what makes it even less cheerful is that even though half the world goes hungry and is malnourished, the same goes for the other half. They are just bigger but also undernourished. Overfed but undernourished.  It’s a neck on neck race between the underfed and overfed. One wishes that each party would meet half way and make for a better and healthier world for all.

The above article by Dr Margaret Chan, of WHO and Director General writes: “In many cases, highly processed foods are the cheapest and most convenient way to fill an empty stomach. The world certainly needs to feed its nearly 7 billion inhabitants. But we do not need to feed them junk food,” she said. “In the absence of urgent action, the rising financial burden of these diseases will reach levels that are beyond the capacity of even the wealthiest countries in the world to cope.”

It makes for grim reading.

It seems that finally the issue of junk food might have to be tackled the same as smoking. Is it not really a furphy to say that our choice in eating and food ought to be left alone and that education on good dietary habits will sort it all out? It hasn’t worked so far and the problem is getting worse.

The might of the multi corporate are no match for the mums and dads flat out fighting the television advertisements urging kids to eat coco pops for breakfasts and Big Macs for the rest of the week gurgled down by 3 litres Coke bottles. They win out no matter what. I noticed the logos of Big Macs appearing on public school sport uniforms during school sport. Amazing! For the big boys the football fields are festooned by huge alcohol advertisements. Sport and alcohol together with Big Macs, surely they are an oxymoron?

In Australia cigarettes are now only legally sold behind closed cupboard doors and without their brands allowed to be recognizable by packaging. So all cigarette packaging look the same with warnings of dire consequences on the outside still very prominent. Laws are in place where smoking outside on cafe and restaurant terraces is permitted in special designated tables away from the general areas. Smokers are nervous and looking decidedly forlorn and lonely, some stifling sobs and moans. Many feel they are looked upon as the pariahs of society. Jails in the NT are stopping the sale of tobacco and cigarettes but prisoners are given patches for those that ask for them.  It’s going to be a tense time with guards on the alert.

Experts reckon that obesity is a worse problem than smoking, so…does it not follow that similar actions to smoking will finally be taken against junk food? It stands to reason. Does it not?

When we were young and skinny, food was what one ate to relieve hunger. A piece of cake or cordial drink was for birthdays, special celebrations or Christmas. Now youngsters walk around with a Coke in one hand and an I/Pod in the other. If a whim takes them they cheerfully chuck half a full bottle of coke in the park and no one blinks. I don’t see hordes of thirsty people going for that bottle nestling itself between the gnarled roots of an old oak tree.  What used to be a reward or something to really look forward to is  accepted as being the norm and for every day. They yawn as the Big Mac quarter pounder is chomped down into an already sated body.

Will they ever find the errors of their choices? “If thou wilt needs damn thyself” of Othello springs to mind. It’s not love though that they seek; it’s just junk food and it is a killer.

With the heavy rain of late, our creek at the back of our town is flooding but it has flotsam of take away food containers forming a dam across the water together with polystyrene shopping bags. Sooner or later this dam will break and a stormwater will finally take it all to the big river and then into the ocean. In the meantime half the world goes hungry. It is unfair.

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