posted on October 08, 2013 15:17 by
It is hard to imagine we are in a recession when so many people are over-eating, over weight and overspending. Obesity in poverty is an oxymoron, surely? So what has happened and why are we spending money we don’t have on food we don't need that in the end makes us sick?
When I was rich and successful I would eat out all the time in the some of best restaurants in the world, never batting an eyelid at the cost because it was usually worth every penny, or so I thought at the time. The portions were always very small and well balanced, a blessing when it came to keeping my figure trim but in reality looking back, it made me useless when thinking about cooking for myself. Freshly prepared food made from scratch with the best ingredients and cooked by a genius chef is of course the ideal but not everyone can afford such luxury as I soon discovered when I lost all my money and found myself at the mercy of the supermarket price war.
Living on a weekly budget for food shopping is not easy so I was tempted at the start of my budget lifestyle journey to take myself off to my local supermarket and stock up on cheap, over processed bargains like 12 iced donuts for a pound. Of course this was really stupid because not only did I put on weight quickly, I also recognised I was not feeling so great, sluggish and often very tired. Having spent my whole life taking care of the way I looked because I was suffering from status anxiety, caring far too much about what others thought, it was really disturbing to be not only broke but also be getting fatter. After my near death experience which led me to enlightenment, I made the choice to become a vegetarian and never really being interested in cooking myself, found coming up with new food ideas quite hard, even for a knowledgeable, bright person like me.
I began looking into what I was actually eating to discover if convenient cheap food was a false economy when it came to my health and I was seriously shocked and very disturbed at my findings. First I made a trip to my GP to have some blood tests done to check the general state of my health before I began my research and was surprised to be told although I was generally very healthy, my cholesterol levels had shot up dramatically. The British Heart Foundation estimates that seven in ten adults are affected by high cholesterol and are at risk of stroke or heart attacks.
This was enough of a kick up the bottom to get me really thinking about using my limited budget to get the maximum essential vitamins and nutrients my body clearly needed to get back in top form. Being poor did not mean I had to be unhealthy. I had about £20 a week for my weekly food budget which is not very much so I had to really get creative and think for myself. I found my local market was the best place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, late in the day at rock bottom prices and would come home loaded with avocados, spinach, broccoli, courgettes, nuts, seeds, potatoes, apricots, bananas and oranges. I gave up salt and sugar, chocolate and cakes, crisps and alcohol and began making amazing home made dishes from a cook book I found in a charity shop. I would then freeze daily portions of this great food and I was set for the week, leaving me plenty of free time to go for long country walks in the fresh air. I noticed I was less likely to make a compulsive junk food purchase if I had a grocery list with me when I did visit the supermarket for other household necessities.
Within 6 weeks I was back to my fabulous healthy thin self and the doctor after another blood test confirmed my cholesterol levels were back down to normal, proving we are what we eat.