diet

Within poor communities in Britain: coronavirus is rife-is the government meeting the problem or causing it? Could changing Britain’s diet alter this?

Covid 19 has brought the entire world to a resounding halt and-it is all we can talk about. There is an ever cascading well of information that infiltrates our sound system on a daily basis. This is great-I love info, and who would not want to know a little more of that which restricts us?

In fact, I somewhat welcome this pandemic-there are always two side to a coin. Things are changing in our world-physically, socially and politically. We now have a well known 17 year old at the forefront of the environmental agenda (Greta Thunberg-we salute you), and this is making many middle aged man go into meltdown (Piers Morgan). 

We are literally leaving the industrial revolution and entering the sustainable revolution. I don’t know about you but I am being surrounded by ‘electric car’ adverts, and ‘sustainable messages’ on CNN. There is definitely motion in the world…but I am not sure our governments have caught up?

Shouting For Change But Still The Poor Stay Poor 

Take this pandemic, the UK government have launched an obesity campaign-but maybe it should be better labelled a ‘socio-economic campaign’. This is what is needed rather; since the real epidemic is within our poorer societies. The Guardian article suggests poorer families can’t afford a healthy diet. What I suggest is-poorer families don’t know what a ‘healthy diet’ is. They are under the illusion-much like your article, that a healthy diet consists of buying ‘healthy convenience foods’. A ‘healthy diet’ does not involve ‘convenience foods’. PERIOD.

Healthy Does Not Cost The Earth But Maybe Education Does

A healthy diet does not need to be expensive, some of the poorest communities in the world live on next to nothing, and still maintain good health. And then we have the Nicoyan Peninsula in Costa Rica. They have it going on so much so: they are a blue zone. This means they are an area in the world in which the inhabitants regularly live to 100 years and beyond. Other such places are in Sardinia, Italy and Japan.

But the inhabitants do not live off expensive health food store purchases-their main breakfast consists of rice and beans. Neither do they eat much meat, which is often expensive and particularly in Western countries-highly contaminated. They do this and they live well into centenarian age, and they are not rich people. Not by any means.

Re-Educating Britain

They live good and long lives, because they have been educated in it. And this is what needs to change in British society: grassroots up. ‘Educating Britain’, rather than ‘Educating Greater Manchester’. This is something that needs to be made PRIORITY in schools-it is the only way to close the poverty gap. Food can unite people and is our fundamental right. They have free school meals in Britain for poorer communities but I wonder what they are actually being served?

Home Economics As A Priority Subject Within Schools

Food is what sustains us, but most of us leave school-knowing little of how to prepare it, let alone cook it. and so this notion of ‘healthy food’ being ‘unavailable’ is nonsense. It is not being taught ‘how to cook’ that is unavailable and the nutrition behind it. Or how to be economic, and I argue that the greatest shift in reducing the poverty gap, could be in prioritising Home Economics as a subject within school. 

What To Do About Poverty: Closing The Poverty Gap

Lots of articles speak of the poverty gap in Britain, which is massive, and how unfair this whole pandemic has been upon those in (perhaps) poorer communities. The black community is four times more likely to contract coronavirus and end up in hospital than their white counterparts. However, they do not speak of how to get out of this mess. This Guradian articlespeaks of education but it doesn’t target it as a way out.

Similarly, the Asian community is two times more likely to contract coronavirus and end up in hospital than their white counterparts. Recently, Greater Manchester was held in a lockdown for weeks before the rest of England followed suit, because of covid 19 rates there. Many people in Manchester are struggling for food, and food waste programs are regenerating that need.

It is the way of life that is keeping people back-they do not have the opportunities, and get left behind. I remember going to a friend’s house after school, she happened to live in a ‘council house’ and I couldn’t eat what her mum served for dinner-spam and chips. I wasn’t used to it but she was, because that was what was on the table.

It is the poorer communities who are being hit hardest by covid, most of Glasgow and surrounding councils and Brent in London; which has a high refugee population. Whilst the incidence of covid has other attributing factors-changing education towards diet and health will have life long implications; because it has the power to change hormones, mood and essentially the development of the brain. 

Not only the power to protect you and your family from covid, but the power to be in your own mind, and to take your own path. That is one factor that can change, and has the power to change generations.