by a ranting member of the lunatic fringe
According to newly-released statistics, New Zealand is almost leading the world in obesity statistics (apparently currently coming in third). I wonder if we would have noticed England’s obesity if we had flown here directly from home. But we didn’t and the problem here struck us strongly.
I’m not going to get scientific about it….just a little anecdotal…..in terms of the places *we* have been, we’d say Laos is the most non-obese nation. We did not see one overweight person in our month there. Not one. We expected Cambodia to be the same, but we saw an occasional chubby young person there – we were staying just up the road from a private school and quite a few of the children (obviously from wealthy families or they would not have been attending the school) were starting to show the signs of adopting a Western diet. Now I do not know for certain that they eat lots of Western food, but we did see them with bottles of Coke and chocolate bars. None of the people living on the rubbish dump, on the other hand, were overweight. None of the people we met in Thailand or Vietnam, who lived their traditional subsistence lives were fat. None of the rural Chinese were tubby. No-one in Mongolia was carrying extra kilos (and all they eat is mutton and full-cream dairy with loads of fat piled on – so maybe the NZ food nazis should sit up and take notice of the fact that low-fat diets are not the answer – our bodies need fat and while the beauracracy tries to prevent us from consuming it, they are not going to solve the obesity epidemic.)
It’s not even a Western issue (I don’t think)…..in Holland and Germany there were precious few tubbies – yes, there were a lot of men carrying beer pots on their skinny legs, but not general obesity. In those countries you have everyone riding bicycles everywhere – even old dottery grannies (no offence intended – I’m describing the ladies we saw on bikes – so dottery that when they got off their bikes, they sometimes nearly toppled over – but they were still out there cycling well into their nineties!) And there was next to no low-fat food. Just plenty of full cream milk and quark and yoghurt and butter.
Then you get to England and everything is low fat. And a good portion of the population is overweight. My theory stands up to the scrutiny of circumstantial evidence! If our health board is going to ban anything, let them ban sugar. Did you know that in the fourteenth century we used a teaspoon a year of this “luxury spice”. Now Britain’s annual consumption is 35kg per person. Hello! Could we make a link between that and obesity, diabetes and poor teeth, do you think? And how different is New Zealand? (Answer:not very)
Now, if you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll hop down off my soapbox (and to think I thought they had all been packed away in the attic for a year!)….
There, back on solid ground.
Are you still with me? How about something less controversial – a nice wee morning game of hide-n-seek in Warkworth Castle (before the rain came….again). Or if you prefer, the game where you have to run under the drawbridge (which doesn’t draw any more) and try to avoid the missiles being sent from above….that one was fun!
The day ended in pouring rain, we’re perched at the edge of the sea (in fact, according to the GPS we are IN the sea!) in a little carpark just off the causeway that goes across to Holy Island. The island is only accessible at certain times of the day, dependent on tides, as the causeway totally floods at high tide (a most impressive sight to see – and exciting to watch people to-ing and fro-ing trying to make up their minds whether to take the risk once the water has come up a bit! The pictures of almost submerged cars on the tide timetable signposts did nothing to deter some!) We zipped across this afternoon to visit Lindisfarne Castle and Priory, but as the rain took our arrival as its debut time, and we saw the number of motorhomes in the carpark, we came straight back and nabbed spots in aforementioned carpark for the night (no overnighting allowed on the island), not that we needed to hurry as none of the flash motorhomes came into our freebie spot!
Time on the road: need to check Jboy13′s record!
Distance covered: 68km