So much of our lives revolve around food (growing/buying, storing, preparing, cooking, eating) so I thought I would just write a post about all the food that we love the most….but only secretly because actually it is bad for you (and I will barely mention depression). Now I know that there are many unbelievers out there who will decry me and say that they are appalled at the thought of eating such things, but you know what, for the sake of this post I am going to presume that secretly inside they, like the rest of us, yearn to be chewing on the tastiest, fattiest morsels…yeah you know the ones, the pork crackling, the fatty edges of a lamb roast, or the skin with attached fat of Beijing Duck, Malaysian Mee Rebus made with fatty mutton so that when it is cooked the soup has a one centimeter coating of fat,… Yeah I could continue for hours covering nearly every culture, they all have these dishes and they are usually very popular, certainly the most tasty.
Please be mindful that I am not saying that these foods are good for you or that they won’t do you any harm if you do eat them, I’m just saying that I love them! I do think though that the reason many of these dishes do harm is because they are eaten out of context! How can food be eaten out of context? Well for example, we know that the indigenous people of the polar regions have an extremely high fat component to their diet and still live healthy lives. Start feeding that diet to your average city dweller and see how long they last. Therefore if you are a sofa dweller, then you probably need to eat less fatty food and for that matter eat less ‘period’. That to me is eating food in context, whereas if that sofa dweller did eat the fatty food they would be eating it out of context.
So I am a city dweller, how do I consider that I am eating my food in context? I do a lot of exercise and I vary this to some degree if I find I have been over doing it on the ‘nice’ food. I drink lots of water and I like to eat fruit whenever it is nice enough to eat. I grew up on this food and so did all the people living in the same area. As most of you would know from my “Life in the swamp” posts, I grew up in rural New Zealand, and our diet was very fat and dairy product laden – mind you there was a lot of fruit and vegetables in there as well. Fact remains our diet would not have passed any modern dietary standards. Have you ever scraped the bottom of the fry pan the morning after cooking bacon in it and spread the congealed fat on bread, added a good dose of pepper and eaten that for breakfast? No, then you really haven’t lived at all! For a time I did contract work for one of the local dairy farmers during hay making season. Days started at 7am, not that you could do anything until the moisture left the hay in the paddocks, but the farmer supplied breakfast to ensure that everyone got a decent meal because the days would be long and hard. The breakfast was a selection of bacon, chops, sausages, liver, heart, eggs, fried tomatoes and onion, toast almost soaked in butter and fried…I think you get the idea. Everyone working had to be there for the breakfast as that is when the farmer would assign tasks and explain his work plan for the day. At 10am the farmers wife would arrive in the paddock with morning tea – savories, cake, tea and coffee. Lunch was another cooked meal, etc. These people surprisingly lived long and healthy lives, their somewhat extreme eating habits were in context to the amount of work and exercise they did. On our own property, life started at 6am. We would work on our property first thing, then shower, have breakfast, then go to school. After school, we would have something to eat and then back to work until it was dinner time.
A few years back my GP checked my cholesterol and found it was “a little high”. I asked about medication and his answer surprised me to some degree as it didn’t really fit with all the advertising we see on TV (probably all paid for by the companies that make the medication). He first asked how much exercise I do which, at the time, amounted to about 15 kms a week as I would get off the bus early when going to work and walk about 3 kms. His response was “just make sure you walk at a good pace to give your heart a work out”. He then explained that those fortunate enough to have low cholesterol can be less ridged about their exercising, those like me with higher cholesterol need to do more exercise, and the higher it gets the more you need to exercise. His idea was that only those who have the situation where they eat properly, exercise regularly, but still have rising cholesterol levels need to be on medication. Could be just his theory but it works for me….
So what’s the conclusion and how does this affect my depression? The conclusion is, I love food, I love cooking and baking (my wife and I often prepare meals together), I love eating all different kinds of food, I love sharing food with others, and I love watching cooking shows that inspire fresh ideas and the need to enjoy food. Jamie Oliver (might be a bit of an over the top guy for some but inspirational food that anyone can cook), Rick Stein (his Far Eastern Odyssey series was great – my wife and I went to his restaurant here in Aus and weren’t disappointed), Kylie Kwong (great Chinese food, her series My China worth a look, this link will take to a site where you can get the recipes – and the book is also worth the cost), Nigella Lawson (now here’s a person who knows how to eat the best bad things!), Shane Delia (did a great show called “Spice Journey” where he traced the origins of Middle Eastern food – brilliant show, good bloke – my wife and I meet him at his restaurant in Melbourne and he was just like he comes across on his show)…I could just keep going but will stop at that.
How then does all this affect my depression. Don’t know really…I just know that when I am cooking, eating, sharing food, planning meals with my wife – I don’t think about my depression whether it is a bad day or not, so that can’t be bad in my books! Happy eating….and exercising!