Thursday, 12 February 2009

Fast food - should the law be changed?

Bry has just posted something about fast food which got me thinking:

Call me a fascist but I really do think that fast food should be more strictly regulated in some way. The laws applying to catering and FF are not the same as those for food which we buy from shops/markets etc. This means that a gazillion types of rubbish is legally allowed to be put into this 'food'.

For example, a caterering supplier around the corner sells drums of pomace oil to restaurants/takeaways. Pomace is non-food grade olive oil. It's the worst kind of olive oil you can get, and is most commonly used in the cosmetics and soap making industry. It's what's left after all the nutritional goodness has been squeezed out of the olives. It's essentially a by-product, and generally deemed unfit for human consumption.

Because laws pertaining to supermarkets are pretty stringent, Waitrose for example, couldn't sell it to its customers for cooking use, but a caterer can. Yet this stuff will clog you up, and give you a bad say the least.

As may be assumed, I'm not a fan of fast food (although the odd pizza has been known to pass my lips) - probably because I was brought up with good, healthy, home-grown food. I've always cooked from scratch too, and frankly, I find it utterly frightening that legally, companies are allowed to put so much crap into food.

Beef connective tissue anyone? Trans fats? Chicken feathers?

Even more frightening is how non-resistant some people seem to be to the appetite-stimulating chemicals which are pumped out of these places and into the surrounding air. Think they don't do that? Think again. Even a certain high st. chocolatier pumps out chocolatey scents in an attempt to get our receptors dictating to our purses. Add to that the flavour enhancers and other almost addiction-inducing chemicals, and what you end up with is a nation of junk(food)ies.

It's not just the obesity issue, although admittedly it is a huge problem, if you'll forgive the pun. It's a question of health too. I go into town and I see leagues of greys at McSatan's. Their skin is dull and lifeless, their hair is manky, and they generally look like extras from Shaun of the Dead. Food is supposed to be good for you. It is supposed to maintain health, not destroy it.

There has to be a level of responsibility because if as Bry says, people are unaware of the damage they are doing to themselves, then the onus must surely be on the food suppliers to ensure that risk of damage is limited. I don't expect for one minute that your average person walks into JunkBurger and asks for nutritional content and an ingredients list for the Big Whoppa they've just ordered. In fact, I'd be surprised if the staff could even furnish said customer with such a thing! How is it so difficult to make a healthy and delicious burger? Surely people's health is more important than profit?

People are always going on about their civil liberties and the Nanny State, but if they are not capable of looking after themselves, then it's time surely, that someone stepped in to lend a hand. We all accept that alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs can be hazardous, so why do we still close our eyes to the damage that food can do?

And don't even get me started on the ecological implications...

Of course, when I rule the world, there will be no fast food outlets. There will be no junk food sold in shops. There will be no wearing of sports clothing unless a sport is being participated in. (The latter will be easy enough to implement however, due to the chavs having been exchanged for fine upstanding citizens from less wealthy nations, who are more than willing to work for a living.)

Furthermore, it will be illegal for Microsoft to try to turn the 360 into a Wii.

Or for Michael Bay to make any more films.

Or for Tom Cruise to call himself a reasonable human being...much less an actor.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Oohhh shiny!

Despite still feeling utterly rough, I am nevertheless chuffed to bits. Why? Because my wonderful man has just paid for my Hub 2 ticket! The second Torchwood convention next month is being held literally five minutes from my home, so Birgit is coming to stay for a weekend of Weevils and Blowfish!

As if that wasn't enough, Kevin's 360 has just been returned, all fixed an' everything. Inside the packaging was a code for a free month's subs to XBL! Not that either of us needs it at the moment, due to purchasing a year's subs (each) in advance, but I'm sure it will come in handy sooner or later.

Well, that will flimmin' well teach me....

Amato mio took me out for a meal last night to one of our favourite restaurants. We've purposely not dined out since New Year's Eve because of my I-must-shift-the-poundage-thing. It was lovely. The food was gorgeous as usual, and it was lovely to go out on a date again with my beloved. 

(Although we've been living together for just over two years, we make a point of going out on dates!)

However, I'm really paying for it now. It seems that in just five weeks, my body has grown accustomed to not having rich food, which meant that at 4.40 this morning, I awoke with a horribly churning tummy. By 7am, I had resorted to Immodium (which is still giving me cramps). Ugh. In addition, I feel....well, heavy, sluggish and generally bleurgghh. It's really not nice at all.

My chum SapphireBlue blogged about having a food hangover a little while ago, my SIL's hubby had one the weekend before last, and now I understand how they felt. It's utterly heinous. Even worse though is the idea that I may be doomed! I mean frankly, if this is going to happen whenever I have something rich to eat, I'd rather not bother; however, I don't want to give up dining out. I love food, and I get so much pleasure from going out on dinner dates with  amato mio. Perhaps at some point, I'll find a happy medium.

For now though, I'm sticking to ultra healthy nosh! :-/

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Valentine's Day - bah humbug!

I loathe the way that over here (in the UK) every 'special' day now seems to be turning into mass consumerism. Valentine's Day should be about showing your love for someone (or declaring your fondness for them), which ought to be a very personal thing. Instead, people are conditioned to buy overpriced bouquets (the price of red roses is extortionately raised on February 14th), chocolate and meals out. And if they fail in their duty to line the pockets of shopkeepers, they're often made to feel bad about it. Why? Because they're told that this is the way to behave. Just as we are told we must spend, spend, spend in order to make our loved ones happy....and love us in return.

What utter nonsense.

What's wrong with a simple handmade card? Or a poem? In fact, there is a lovely scene in 'Cranford', where, upon seeing factory-printed cards for sale, the ladies declare that anyone stooping to such levels instead of making a card, cannot possibly be sincere!

Just as with Mothering Sunday, if you need to have a designated day to tell someone how much you appreciate them....

I admit I am rather curmudgeonly when it comes to all these events. I'm happy to let V/Day slip by unnoticed but K likes to do something romantic (it's not like we don't have a romantic relationship anyway!), so I go along with it. In fairness though, we don't do the whole champagne and roses thing. A candlelit dinner for two in our beautiful cellar tends to be as far as it goes, which is good. Actually, we always have candles on the table for dinner. And breakfast too sometimes! I really wouldn't be impressed if he spent a small fortune on a bouquet. After all, what's a bunch of flowers saying? Looks lovely for a short while, starts to fade and wither, and then eventually dies. That's not my idea of true love, and it bears no resemblance to what K and I have.

And while we're on the subject of pointless celebrations;

I don't celebrate Easter because I am not a Christian. I don't celebrate Samhain (or Hallowe'en) because I am not a Pagan. And if it weren't for K and his family, I'd have nothing to do with Greedmas either!

I actually find it incredibly sad that the majority of people in the UK appear to celebrate things that they have little or no idea about. Non-Christians celebrating the birth of Christ by getting themselves into debt and overeating? Is that really what Jesus was all about? Non-Pagans celebrating the time between times by dressing up as Barbie and extorting sweets and chocolate from their neighbours? And you wait, if the prol has its way, very soon we'll all be expected to hang footie flags out of our windows in April to celebrate a chap in the Middle East who inexplicably became England's patron saint by virtue of his cruelty to animals.

I have a solution though - instead of dressing up our desire to have a good old knees-up and tack-fest with pseudo religious excuses, why not be honest about it? Let's replace Christmas with Consumer Day, Hallowe'en with Disney Day and Easter with Chocster. And if we have to have it, instead of St. George's, let's have National Act Like a Thug Day.

And Valentine's? If you truly love the person you're with, then every day should be an excuse to show it.