This is a really interesting post -- thank you!
barrysarll mentioned "Sudden Adult Death Syndrome" a while ago, as an extreme example of the disconnect between effort and results: as he put it, "In amongst all the health and terror scares, while everyone tries to improve their odds, SADS is the Reaper's little way of reminding us that the house always wins."
This also reminds me of a brilliant post by rhodri: Stop press: Everything causes and doesn't cause cancer. Which in turn reminded me of something said to me by a biochemist I briefly shared a house with, while I was an undergraduate, which has made me think ever since. He told me that he didn't want scientists to find a cure for cancer. "Everybody has to die of something," he said. "If they take away cancer, what are people going to die of?" I still disagree with his wish to avoid a cure (he's too late, anyway: cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was) but his point seems tangential to one of the ones you're making, and one that keeps occurring to me: increasingly, people seem to believe that they have a Right to avoid ill health altogether. That if they didn't do anything wrong, and they still get ill, somebody must be to blame. Maybe it's
the government, for not banning food (because a food allergy could have been responsible). Maybe it's their parents (either nature or nurture).
In the long run, we're all dead.
"Gosh, that looks healthy"
Suggestion that 'healthy' is abnormal (worthy of comment) and that choosing "healthy food" is something that people would not normally do. I feel the need to defend myself against (perceived) allegations of weight-loss dieting; I want to say that I'm just eating things I like and/or things that are convenient, but I want to do this without *denying* that it's healthy, without denying that I *try* to eat healthy food.
Yes, I want to be healthy. How many people would say that they want to be unhealthy, if asked?
What is "healthy" food? Most things are fine in moderation; most things are bad for you in excess.
And yes, I've had it forcefully explained to me since then that actually lots of people do want to be unhealthy (not just to do unhealthy things from time to time, e.g. drinking/smoking, but to be unhealthy, persistently and permanently) and that's their Inalienable Right as well, and by suggesting otherwise I am a Health Nazi and probably also guilty of Bad Fail. Too tired to deal with that argument though, because it all bleeds into the question of whether deliberately self-inflicted injuries should be treated on the NHS (which is a rusty-edged can of poisonous worms, so at the risk of being boring and "healthy" I'm not going to pick it up, I'm just going to nudge it out of the way with a very long stick), so perhaps we could just agree that it's a bit irritating when colleagues say "Gosh, that looks a bit healthy" in a kind of mocking way when we eat salads at work. Isn't it. And that anybody who says "rabbit food" when they see me shovelling an entire pot of hummous into my mouth using a couple of sticks of celery as a spoon has really not understood the insignificance of the celery in this picture.
So, enough of that, and on to the other fragment (unedited except for making the link work):
"It is cheaper to buy a Big Mac than to source focaccia, fresh tomatoes, carrots, organic beef and watercress."No, I didn't work out the costs of the beefburgers, rolls, lettuce, etc., but I suspect it would be a lot closer to the cost of a Big Mac. Also, since I started posting this it has (quite coincidentally) been pointed out by a friend on twitter that there's nothing wrong with comparing apples and oranges. To which I replied that there is: it's a waste of time when you could be eating them.
Well, yes. But you're comparing apples with oranges. If you want something cheaper than a Big Mac, it's foolish to go out and attempt to construct a Big Mac out of more expensive materials.
Big Mac =
Pack of 4 frozen beefburgers
Pack of 4 rolls
I do seem to argue with articles about food a lot in my head. But I am currently too cold and tired and hungry to have any of these arguments, and I am wishing November was over, because I have so little to say and so little energy to say it with.