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How to eat your way to health and happiness.
Sunday 19th May 2013Sheila Dillon, editor of the BBC's The Food Programme wrote a piece recently about the link between food and health. Or indeed food and sickness. The poor woman had been diagnosed (and has now been successfully treated for) cancer and so it was obviously much on her mind. One of the things that surprised her, she said, was how unconcerned many doctors appeared to be about what she ate. 'It's like blowing out the candles on your birthdaycake when your house is on fire,' one said.
It made me wonder if doctors - like many of us - feel overwhelmed, confused - dare I say it - even a little bored by all the different dietary dictats. Drinking coffee is a good defence against Alzheimers but then it's bad for the heart. Red wine, in moderation, protects your heart but it's implicated in many cancers. Eating 'five a day' is essential to good health, unless you believe as some do that the slogan was a wheeze dreamt up by American marketing men to boost grocery sales.
It seems to me that the truth is usually self-evident. I was particularly struck by the ordinary Jo who remarked during the latest food-health scare that if you were eating cheap processed supermarket meals, the horse in them was probably the least of your worries.
It's plain sense that if you want to know exactly what you're eating you ought to cook it yourself - from scratch. If you'd rather your food wasn't injected with preservatives so that it stays fresh while it crosses oceans to reach your plate, you would be wise to buy food that had been grown or reared locally. And if you want it to be full of flavour you have to accept that you can't have everything you like all of the time because food forced in greenhouses doesn't taste great. You have to eat seasonally.
To my mind those three rules are pretty much all you need. And with the thriving food industry we have here on the Isle of Wight sticking to them is not too difficult. And watching small businesses join that industry and thrive is one of the best bits of our job. The latest in the line is The Divine Crust whose delicious and unusual bread we will be stocking shortly. Watch this space!