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Has anyone got a copy of this month’s ‘How to Breathe’ magazine…?

I stopped in at Sainsbury’s the other day to buy a bunch of flowers, and I spotted this magazine on the shelf – ‘Womens Walking’

What? Does someone think women need a bi-monthly magazine to tell them how to walk now? Is this a joke? Is it April 1st?

Look, I don’t want to put down anyone who engages in physical exercise – walking is the #1 best exercise going and we should all walk every day and I regularly encourage you to get up, get out and go walk. So I am not down on walking, and not criticising anyone who pro-actively makes an effort to get out and walk more often. BUT, I think this is a classic example of the complete rip-off of the ‘diet and health industry’ that they try to cash-in on healthier lifestyles, by trying to convince people there is some kind of science around going for a walk. There isn’t, don’t fall for it. I did NOT look in the magazine, it would have likely wound me up too much…but what comes next, I can imagine, you probably need special shoes that cost £130 quid, and you need nutrition tips, a hydration pack, blister-resistant socks, a training plan?

IMG_1912The articles  – kit guide, events, routes, weight loss. Folks, please don’t be fooled by the over-complication and over-scientific-complexity of going out for a walk…just walk! Any time, any place, any weather, just go for a walk. Do you think you need a ‘kit guide’ for that? Let me help:

Hydration – take a bottle of water.

Really long walk – take 3 bottles of water.

Fuel on long walks – take some food, carrots, apples, hard boiled eggs.

Lots of water and food to carry – get a rucksack – tends to have an opening at the top, you put stuff in then close it up and carry it.

Looks like it might rain – take a jacket.

Routes – find a hill, woods, a forest, a coastal path, looks for signs that say ‘Footpath’ – and go explore. Buy a local map.

Really, I just don’t think it needs to get any more complicated than that. You don’t need to spend a load of money.

Just go for a walk! ANY shoes, ANY socks, try NO shoes and NO socks, walk around parks and fields and woods barefoot, feel the wet spring grass under your feet, get muddy, it’s good for you!

What’s this really about? Look, I have nothing against this magazine or any other, and maybe if you have a bunch of money to spend and you like the pictures, or the magazine helps motivate you to get out more often, then I guess it’s money well spent. I just get frustrated by the diet and health ‘industry’ trying to over complicate EVERYTHING and convince consumers that getting healthy is some kind of grand challenge and it’s hard, takes time and is going to cost you lots of money. It just is not true.

The food that is best for you, is the stuff that doesn’t have a label, no list of ingredients, never advertised on TV or in magazines.

The exercises that are best for you are cheap and easy – go walking, try a run, do some push ups, find a branch on a tree and do some pull ups.

The ‘best things in life are free’, and the things that will keep you alive and make you healthy – like fresh air, sunlight, fresh clean water and a good night’s sleep, and a daily walk – are ALL FREE.

You see, we live in a world now where everything has become complicated and the marketing messages have confused us. I bought these Spoilt Pig sausages the other day, to compare them with other brands, and home made ones from my local farm shop.

IMG_1923The idea of the marketing is to appeal to conscientious consumers who care about food quality and animal welfare. The packaging shows some happy pigs (how do we know they are happy, are they smiling and laughing?), clearly outside, pastured, free range, and by implication we might think they are organic, and that they are treated with some respect. The packaging proudly states ‘Outdoor reared pigs…’ and the very brand name suggests these are pigs who are somehow loved and have a nice happy life.

The packaging proudly declares this message: The outdoor reared pork in our spoiltpig sausages comes from farms approved by Freedom Food to strict RSPCA welfare standards. We follow a traditional, tasty recipe, taking prime cuts of pork and generously seasoning them with herbs and spices. Go on, spoil yourself!”

Then “Freedom Food is the RSPCA’s farm assurance and food labelling scheme. Its the only UK farm assurance scheme to focus solely on improving the welfare of farm animals reared for food. These animals deserve a happy, healthy life. This means providing them with an environment that meets their needs for space, food and water and enables them to exhibit their natural behaviour.”

IMG_1925Now I am ALL FOR the RSPCA Freedom Food standard – great. In the ongoing battle to rid Europe and the world of factory farming and low standards of animal care then I fully support this standard. If and when I do ever buy ‘supermarket food’ this is the kind of standard I look for – and the MSC stamp (Marine Sustainability Council) for seafood. But the point is this, can you see how we have arrived at a point where allowing an animal to “exhibit it’s natural behaviour” meaning we put it in a field and give it a trough of water, this has become “spoilt” behaviour. These sausages shouldn’t be called spoilt pig, these should be called “normal pig” and all the other sausages out there from pork that does not meet Freedom Food standards, should be called “abused pig” sausages. We’ve reached a point where ‘mistreated and shut in a prison cell/barn/cage’ is nor ‘normal’ and ‘let to roam in a fenced enclosure’ is now considered ‘spoilt’. How would you feel if your children went to a school like that? Where most kids were in the ‘normal’ bit, where they never saw daylight and rubbed shoulder-to-shoulder all day and only the kids who’s parents paid extra got to actually have classrooms with windows and be allowed outside at break. How would you feel about that? Spoilt?

I am all for improving the way we care for animals and the nutritional quality of our food, but when we buy pre-packaged food, branded, advertised food, we are buying into this marketing hype where companies are praying on our good nature, trying to charge us premium prices for what should be considered the standard product. Letting an animal walk around in a muddy field in the rain is not ‘spoilt’ in my opinion, it is ‘normal’.

As for the sausages themselves, I don’t think they are even close to the healthiest possible choice – these particular sausages are only 80% pork, they contain gluten, added water, added salt and sodium metabisulphite (not organic then). The same store had others, such as Black Farmer brand, which seemed much better. Some brands are up to 97% pork, which is much better, and gluten free. But at least these pigs got to wander around in a field instead of being shut in a barn all day.

Please understand – I am all for people eating meat from animals that have been raised and slaughtered to the highest possible standard, just like I am all for people going out walking every day, I just object to the way we are SOLD this stuff as if these companies are unlocking some great secrets for us and if we part with our hard-earned cash, we can get one step closer to healthy. The only ‘secrets’ these corporations are unlocking are the complexity these corporations created in the first place.

Listen, if you want to get one, in fact several steps closer to healthy, just stop spending money on anything they advertise. Buy foods without labels, engage in exercise using your own body weight, spend less not more.

Tourism and Health - where I want to be next #2Over the last 60 years, highly profitable corporations have convinced the general public that health comes at a cost. This massive change in how we live, has propelled the health sector into becoming one of the biggest money-making business sectors on Earth. We spend $2 trillion per year on food, then $6 trillion per year on drugs and healthcare and the ever expanding gimmicks of the health and diet industries.

I’m not against people doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to be healthy, from buying ‘state-the-bloody-obvious’ magazines, to paying premium prices for pork from pigs that get to live outdoors. From paying more for Vibram 5-fingers than for full-sized shoes (pay more for less material?) to buying expensive gym memberships to watch TV and breathe air conditioned air. It’s all better than eating junk food and sitting on the sofa.

BUT, be aware that there are a handful of vast corporation selling us the packaged food that causes many of our health challenges, and many of those same companies, plus a handful of large drug firms, are selling us the ‘solutions’ in pills, powders, diet shakes and low-fat foods, and it’s all completely unnecessary.

We are born knowing what to do – it’s not rocket science.

MotherNaturesDiet offers ALL the answers –

  • Just eat real whole fresh natural food
  • If you can’t imagine it in it’s natural state, flying, swimming, growing, hanging from a tree or running about, then you probably shouldn’t eat it
  • Buy organic if you can – support high standards in animal welfare and organic growing
  • Drink more water
  • Get out every day – fresh air, sunshine
  • Walk – you don’t need lessons, just get out there and put one foot in front of the other
  • Try some bodyweight exercises – push-ups, pull-ups
  • Enjoy time in Natural environments
  • Reduce stress in your life

For more, read this: The Simple Things

And: Getting the macronutrient balance right – the simple way, with MotherNaturesDiet

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Spot on blogpost! Love it!!!!!! and I work in marketing 😉

    March 18, 2014

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