My awaking interest in nutrition
When my dear brother in law Mike died of cancer at around sixty, I was only slightly behind at fifty. Mike had loved his fatty cheeses and sausages, and was infamous for his ‘CLUB’ breakfast fry-ups – ‘cholesterol laden unhealthy breakfast’ and love of the 'the yellow stuff' - cheese in all its glorious forms.
For myself, I’d been hyper-active in sports, and maintained the simple nutritional philosophy that I’d eat so much that it didn’t matter too much what – my body would be clever enough to take the nutrition it needed from the sheer quantity passing through. But clearly I’d slow down plus age seems to take its toll on us all, so maybe it was time to get serious about nutrition.
I didn’t think I was eating particularly badly, with a varied diet, and a dislike of desserts and take-aways. I did avoid some common foods for a combination of taste and health reasons, like sodas, sliced bread, margarine and low-fat dairy products, but without any real knowledge of what was good or bad. Of particular concern to me was my penchant for smokey sausages, bacon and cheese (not that Mike and I were related). Four-cheese pizzas and creamy cheese and bacon pasta sauces were particular favourites. And doubtless like most of us (or so I thought) I didn’t eat enough greens.
My new-found interest in nutrition was seeded also by the people I met on my Feldenkrais course, several of whom were more diet focused than those I meet in my other walks of life. Some extolled vegetables, others fruit, some were paranoid about PCBs or insistent on alkaline diets (whatever those are).
I realised that while I had (I thought) a vague understanding of nutritional concepts, it was largely based on remembered nutrition anecdotes from friends, family and the media, none of them necessarily reliable - and certainly not comprehensive - sources on this subject. Deep down I knew that nutrition is vitally important to one's health and wellbeing, but had never given it the attention it deserves.
So, I set about remedying my nutritional ignorance. I never expected how surprising the results would be…