Loosing the will and battle to live?

What on Earth is going on with our diet? I’m aware I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record but really, when are things really going to change?

I am actually fed up to my back teeth with cheap offers for junk food. Literally every where I go, fast food, take-aways and chocolate are shoved under my nose.

I drive 1.5 miles from my house and I see this:

20170305_132225

I popped into Iceland this morning to pick up some milk and I am presented with an offer of 600g of chocolate for 3 quid (see the headline photo) as soon as I walk in.

I have previously ranted and campaigned about junk food at the checkouts but actually the entrance way is equally challenging. Having to wade past the towers of cakes, biscuits, chocolate eggs and grab bags sets off your shopping trip on completely the wrong foot.

Every weekday morning I see Spiderman with an advertising board (most often in the freezing cold) standing on a round-a-bout promoting a devilish Domino’s pizza deal and it’s not even 10 am. What’s that about?!

Related image

At least 5 days a week I get a flier through my letterbox; Subway, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and a selection from my local Chinese and Indian restaurants land on my mat. And to be honest I don’t even look at 99% of them. They go straight in the bin, what a waste.

The British takeaway market is worth over £5.5bn and has grown massively over the last 4 years. Just Eat and Hungry House have certainly taken the market share but due to consumer demand and the growth of the app market, other companies are starting to muscle in.

I get that convenience food has its place. We can all benefit from a helping hand at times but this hand is starting to linger like a bad smell. In the states, around 6% of the population will be eating takeout at anyone time. The principle of it is great. The problems are that we rely on it way too much and of course the majority of foods are sky high in salt, fat and sugar.

Image result for food take out to delivery

So the icing on the cake this week has been hearing McDonalds might be bringing a home delivery service to Birmingham. The city where there are more McDonald’s restaurants than any other UK city outside of London. Just fantastic.

Where Dudley already has the award for the most unhealthy place to live. Closely followed by Walsall, Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Dudley boasts a staggering 10 McDonald’s restaurants per 100,000 people, with just 3 gyms.

Compare that to Bristol, the healthiest town that has 234 cycle routes 45 sports clubs and just 2 McDonalds per 100,000 people. No wonder we have one of the highest rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity in the West Midlands.

So my issue is this. How is the general public ever supposed to win? Most food producers and food outlets monopolise our communities. Every week a new gimmicky eatery opens on our high street, like this cereal cafe.

The Government is weak and in my opinion has done too little too late. The financial incentives to  stand up to the food industry are simply not there. How long did it take for the sugar tax to come about? And with it only applicable to soft drinks, surely the impact will be limited. The responsibility deal seems no more, not that is really made much difference because there was always the option to opt out.

Reports show we want healthier food these days. We are learning the importance of the nutritional value of food and links to disease but finding and purchasing the healthier product is often too hard.  Our good intentions and efforts to eat healthily are constantly undermined everywhere we turn.

Image result for give up

So our healthcare service has to carry the burden, there is no comeback whatsoever on the big food giants and they have us hooked. I genuinely feel scared for the future unless somehow we can weaken their stronghold and for that to happen, big decisions and huge action must be taken. We have to limit their influence (the offers at least!!) and control over our food environment. I know it’s complicated and needs an incredible amount of joined up thinking but come on Jeremy Hunt, what’s next?

 

 

Advertisements

Chuck out the checkout junk

You know when something really niggles you…..you just can’t stop thinking about it. You simply have a bee in your bonnet.

Well this is how I feel right now.

My bee is all that checkout junk – the sweets and the chocolate that may taste nice but should not be a part of our daily diet. So what’s my problem? Basically it’s the deliberate placing of a vast array of tempting foods that are high in Calories, sugar, fat and salt (and of no nutritional value I hasten to add!) at a grab-able level, right next to the tills. Whilst we remain trapped in queues waiting to pay, the store has us exactly where they want us. We are in a captive junk food market. They may not have a conscience but surely stores must have a socially responsible marketing policy?  Put simply, they should not be encouraging unhealthy impulse buys.

A month ago today (19.01.15) I had a rant about this on my Grub Hub (which you can read here). To a certain extent I felt better for getting it off my chest but when I was asked to write a guest blog for fuse I started to dream that maybe we could really take this rant to higher places.

So I wrote for fuse (which you can read here) and on the 3rd Feb it was published. We got over 500 hits which is amazing.

Now I am really serious about getting ALL stores to commit to junk free checkouts. This week I set up a Thunderclap campaign – a social media tool that can be used to spread a particular message. The fuse team are doing amazing work helping raise awareness and they are now hosting my campaign.

Please go to their site and read our latest blog post (click here) where you can also sign up to my campaign. Fuse explains how Thunderclap works and what you need to do to add your support.

You can also access my campaign page here

At the moment we have the British Dental Association, British Dietetic Association, Children’s Food Trust, Faculty of Public Health and Action on Sugar on board (amongst many others!) so you will be in very good company!

If you agree that stores should ban displays of sweets and chocolate at the till area, then please do click support – every single one helps!

Thank you so much

Mel