Sunday, 11 July 2010

Flu, Food, Fat & Footie

For the past three weeks I've been afflicted by what can only be described as the adult version of Whooping cough, so very little sleep and a throat so sore I've needed painkillers to brush my teeth! It's proved resiliant to all attempts to treat it though it seems to be finally passing now, along with accompanying eye infections which also make it hard to sleep or concentrate. The good news is that a diet of fruit and ice cream at midnight (when I wake myself coughing) has led to shedding a welcome half a stone!

Which brings me to the subject of supermarkets. I seem to have been visiting mine more than usual lately in search of cool and soothing things to tempt my non-existent appetite and have more than once felt like the last thin person walking around, aside from a few obvious anorexics and students who haven't lived long enough to pile much on. I've even seen some body shapes in my local Tesco which appear to defy physics. Worse still the body-hugging vests and leggings many obese individuals choose to wear are even crueller and more unforgiving than this blog post. They're also starting younger - a growing number of youngsters seem to have no waistline at all these days and look podgy from the age of about 6, much though I wouldn't want us to go back to some of the freakily small waistlines of the 1950s. Then there's the strange rolls of fat many seem to develop in the place they might once have expected to find a waist, even if they still have flat stomachs. Is evolution really bowling along at such an alarming rate, or is some kind of foodstuff responsible for this?

Is this a legacy from GM food? Of course food and booze are impossible to escape these days - every second retail outlet is a cafe or cafe/bar in Oxford and the trend is spreading across every town and city. TV food porn programmes are rife and so are ads. None of us dare leave the house without a bottle of water and a chocolate bar at the very least. Food is literally being shoved down our throats wherever we look and sedentary lifestyles in front of PCs and Playstations are rife.

This has all happened in the last 10-15 years. There was no such emphasis on food when I was growing up in the 80s and food certainly wasn't 'sexed' up in any way. Nor were painfully slow and basic steam-driven computers much of a temptation from a healthier lifestyle. As for drunkenness, that was a shameful thing which only students and alcoholics indulged in. For the rest of the populace a couple of 'jars' or an occassional glass of wine (a much smaller glass than today) was more the norm.

I've now formulated a theory that the reason there are such a disproportionate number of disproportionate people in supermarkets is that for some, the trip to their 'dealer' for their next fix is their only outing of the week and they are more or less housebound the rest of the time, either through self-imposed exile or simply not being physically fit enough to go out much (and did any of us ever expect to see a TV advert for a cream to prevent 'chafing' as you walk?). You can apparently actually claim benefits too for being 'too obese to work'. More time to devote one's life to looking for BOGOF's then, though one wonders in what perverse way it suits the government to have such a policy rather than regard it as an individual's own responsibility not to get into such a state.

It is certainly ironic that being fat was historically a sign of wealth as only the rich could afford to gorge themselves, but in this day and age it has become a sign of poverty and reliance on cheap filler foods of low vitamin content (hence the body's continual hunger until it reaches its minimum nutrient quota, many portions later). Either that or there's one heck of a lot of undiagnosed thyroid conditions around.

Anyway, never mind all this, when is she going to mention the football? I hear you cry! Doesn't she know there's a world cup on? (bloody TV repeats!) Well what can I say? Overpaid, overlaid, they're minted whether they win or lose, so why would they care? They don't even care enough to learn the words of their own national anthem for goodness' sake. But since my fellow countrymen are even more obnoxious winners than they are losers, I for one am delighted there wasn't a cat in hell's chance of 1966 happening all over again. That'll teach John Prescott for selling off all the school sports fields (did I really read that the A-hole was going to be honoured with a knighthood the other week?) Though doubtless England's devastated (never merely 'disappointed') fans went out and drank just as much to lament as they would have done to celebrate.


Owen said...

Have you perhaps seen the film "Super Size Me" ? Quite pertinent.

Glad to hear you are getting over whatever mystery illness you had, doesn't sound like much fun, hope it's not spreading...

Which makes me think that we haven't seen much in the press for quite a while about swine flu. It was going to cause millions of victims, and everyone was going to need to be innoculated against it, then it just sort of fizzled out and disappeared. How strange. After governments had spent millions on vaccines...

Can't agree with you more about obesity, it is an epidemic far worse than swine flu, and largely due to lifestyle issues. And football ? What is this football thing I keep hearing about ? It sounds like there are people who actually think it matters ???

Steve said...

So Wii's don't help you tone up and lose weight?

Hope you're a ways to getting rid of that cough - not a nice thing to have in hot weather!

Rol said...

Hope you're back to full strength soon, Laura. Just be glad you're not a bloke - that flu would probably have killed you!

Lucy Fishwife said...

There's nothing worse than being ill in summer - at least in winter you can do all that hot bath, hot toddy stuff... Night Nurse works a treat all year round and I can guarantee if you have a shot in a glass of crushed ice it will be delicious. Hope you feel better soon...

Wisewebwoman said...

Sorry to hear you were so sick, Laura, especially in the summer.
Are you on the mend again?

The Sagittarian said...

Coughing would have to be one of the most annoying and hard to shake symptoms of an illness, apart from a dripping nose that is. Glad to hear you're a bit better...

rb said...

Oh dear, poor you! I hate coughing - both when I do it and when others do. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better.

As for fatties - it seems to me that people cannot go for more than an hour or so without eating. They need nosebags really - full of chips and crisps and dunking donuts or whatever they eat. Oooh dear, I just wrote "donut" - will have to leave now before I slap myself.

Nota Bene said...

I like the idea of an ice cream diet, but not the reason for it...glad you are getting fixed...

as for Baron of Kingston on Hull (or whatever he calls himself. Complete idiot.

Tessa said...

Glad to hear you're on the mend from whatever lurgy it was that laid you so low, Laura.

The rolls of fat around the waist are called "muffin tops" here (and you should see the size of the average muffin!) But I have come to the conclusion that they are caused by the fashion for young people to wear skin-tight jeans that only reach as far as their belly-buttons. I have seen it in my youngest step-daughter. She's not at all fat, but her body has been re-shaped by those ridiculous jeans, to the point that, when she wears a dress, she seems to be carrying panniers under it!

Steerforth said...

When I came back from a visit to California in 1993, I remember telling people that the one thing that impressed me more than anything else was how many fat people there were. It seemed a terrible aberration.

However, only a few years later, we'd caught up. I can't believe that there are now adverts for an anti-chafing cream.

When I recently posted an amusing cover for a book called "Big and Beautiful", one woman took umbrage, as if mocking size is equivalent to racism. But the fact is that we are responsible for our weight and whilst there might be psychological or genetic factors behind obesity, it doesn't help anyone to make being fat socially acceptable.

I speak as someone who should be fat and has to go without most of life's pleasures to maintain a normal weight. It's very boring.

I think that portion sizes are partly to blame. A typical bag of crisps is now twice the size it was in 1975. If you buy a slice of cake in a teashop, you'll get a huge wedge - much bigger than an healthy portion. That's because people in the food industry know that if that if they double the size of their portions, they can increase their profits by 100% or more, with only a minimal growth in the cost price.

Obviously people are responsible for what they eat, but manufacturers and supermarkets shouldn't create a climate where only the well-off can eat healthily.

Rant over. Hope you're feeling better.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Owen, I have indeed seen 'Supersize Me' - scary. Yes, what indeed was swine flu all about, not least as it was not supposed to be much worse than ordinary flu, save for the sick and vulnerable for whom any type of flu is more hazardous than not. I feel uneasy about the term 'epidemnic' being applied to obesity though, as surely personal choice comes into it somewhere. I know for example that even as a vegetarian I would quickly pile on the pounds if I did not pay attention to when I was full as oppose to carrying on eating for the sake of it, or mere temptation.

Steve, I wonder how many people actually use their Wii's to exercise after a couple of weeks. More likely it ends up in a box.

Rol, I fear you are right and am relieved I am not a man with a man's crosses to bear.

Lucy Fishwife, thanks, but NightNurse actually made my cough worse and caused gagging it was so revolting, so I quickly had to dispense with it.

WWW. Still got the eye infections so bed at 10 each night, but cough finally clearing up thanks.

Thank you for your good wishes Sagittarian.

RB. Thanks for dropping by. I think you are completely right about the nosebags and it is only a matter of time until they begin appearing in our supermarkets next to the anti-chafing cream.

Nota Bene - thanks. I'm game for stripping Mr Prescott of his Knighthood if you are!

Tessa, ah yes, 'muffin tops'. We do have them here and you could well have a point about them being emphasised by the fashion for low-slung jeans. Why on earth anyone would want to emphasise their worst point still beats me though.

Steerforth, you are absolutely right about how portion sizes have ballooned and people with it. Except for Sainsbury's 'Broccoli & Tomato' quiche which is actually about a third smaller than when I first started buying it about 5 years ago. Gluttony did used to be one of the 7 deadly sins too - how do the Christians reconcile it with their eating habits? And some of them are enormous! Whatever temptations are placed in all our paths though, I do believe we are all responsible for ourselves and should seek help if we are unable to control our urges.