Monday, 14 January 2008
Health Food Junkies
As one raised a strict vegan from birth during the 70's and 80's, when all sorts of horrors such as stunted growth (I'm 5'9") and retarded intelligence (ok, so I did fail my 11+) were predicted by 'experts' who came to measure and prod myself and my sister at regular intervals, not to mention a couple of post-grads who came to study us as part of their zoology degrees or somesuch, I was naturally compelled to watch Channel 4s' 'First Cut: Health Food Junkies' on Friday @ 7.30pm exploring the fascinating world of the 'Raw Foodists' - a relatively new band of food evangelists who eschew Nigella, Jamie & Gordon to eat only raw food not heated above 45 degrees for fear of destroying the nutrients.
Whilst I acknowledge some logic in this, and accept that our food has probably lost the oft-quoted 40-50% of its vitamins since the 1940s, owing to intensive farming methods causing high levels of animal stress/adrenaline and employing the use of growth hormones, medicines, vaccines, cross-breeding, dye, flavourings and other manipulations of nature, I was at a loss to understand where the drinking ones' own urine and twice-a-day colonic irrigation came into it. Particularly if they were now eating such an uber-pure, high-fibre diet, they presumably had nothing to de-tox! Amusing too was how the aforementioned alternative therapist who drank her own wee every morning found the thought of kissing a carnivorous man disgusting, opining he would smell bad owing to his diet!
The children who had never been allowed to eat normal food, (for some bizarre reason their mother even regarded apples or a glass of orange juice as a 'treat'), or mix with other children who might lead them astray particularly struck a chord and made me realise just how lucky I had been to be allowed jacket potatoes, lentil soup and several squares of non-dairy chocolate every Easter.
However they also brought back memories of stealing sherbet dabs from shops and money from my parents to buy still more illicit confectionary contraband. Then there was the time I received a severely spanked bottom for being found sitting on the kitchen floor in the early hours in my jimjams, cupboard doors open wide, mainlining a packet of Demerara with a very large dessert spoon, but still fit to compound my crime with a bare-faced lie!
Her cherubs will not remain cherubs methinks, for all her naive protestations of 'Oh children just accept things'.
And the thing I was dying to know - ie the ages of the participants - was never revealed, except for the music producer who turned out to be 54, and to be fair, did look a little younger. However by and large the participants appeared somewhat pasty-faced, and not exactly sparkling-eyed or amazingly youthful, albeit impressively slim.
In addition they were spending vast quantities of money on superfood powders and vegan foodstuffs even I'd never heard of, and which must surely be unobtainable in the home towns of most of us and ruinous in evil food miles if they have to come from specific swamps in Botswana or are special desert flowers from Arabia. Furthermore the raw food diet did strike one as a labour-intensive, all-consuming lifestyle that was only possible if you had no other hobbies or interests. Almost a religion no less.
But hey, if they were really all about 70 years of age, goodbye cappuccinos, restaurants, social life and interests - raw food, coffee enemas and wee juice drink here I come! I have no pride when it comes to fighting the aging process - it's war my friends!
On second thoughts though, perhaps I'll just keep taking the vitamins, eating the five-a-day and save for the cosmetic surgery.
Top photo from Health Food Junkies, Channel 4