Sunday, 4 July 2010

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage - Lettuce pray!”

Well with the weather being rather hot and at times, unbearably humid, the old bloggers block set in for a few days, but I’ve been thinking about food over the last week, you know that which gives us all sustenance, the source of the essential materials needed to nourish the body, that basically keep’s us alive or the lack of or insufficient amounts that kills millions every year throughout the world.

World hunger or to use its related technical term – Malnutrition - is the general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health.

There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most crucial is protein-energy malnutrition--the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed. The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

Recently there has also been a move to include obesity as a third form of malnutrition. Considering obesity as malnutrition expands the preceding and usual meaning of the term which referred to poor nutrition due to lack of food inputs.

It is poor nutrition, but it is sure enough not due to a lack of calories, but rather too many

So we have arrived at the pinnacle and gable end of my argument here, which is that capitalism with its domination and complete control of the means of production and distribution globally; is simply killing us off by way of poisoning or deliberately withholding on a large scale the necessary food that would avoid Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories. Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and development and maintenance of muscles.

The world produces enough food to feed everyone

World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day.
However the principal age old problem is that the majority of people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food!!”

Here in what we call the civilised West we read and hear a lot about Obesity; which I suggest has more to do with poor food choices, which in turn quite often has more to do with poverty, although there are other factors in play which I will uncover shortly.

"Fifty million flies can’t be wrong. Eat shit!”

That was the inscription scribbled on toilet wall of the British Museum some years back, which has nothing to do with what I’m about to expand on, but never mind.

When we consider British agriculture; it is notable for being the most mechanised in the world today, there are more tractors than farm workers. In 1986 the total number employed in British agriculture and horticulture was 298,000. And needless to say that the number has been falling for many years and there is no reason to believe that it has fallen still further, and yes all in the name of profit.

The Second World War and it must be said ironically; held one good experience that was beneficial to the then population, and that was war-time rationing of all foodstuffs and meat, had paradoxically brought on a massive improvement in diet, because so bad had standards been before. Official statistics during the war reported increased height and body weight of children, dental decay was reducing. We also know that people were encouraged to grow their own food, and land was made available, so hardly surprising then, and in spite of war-time rationing health all-round improved, even for house pets eating the leftover’s, as there did not exist then the processed food which we feed them today.

During the 1950’s new factors entered the food chain and the diet of people, and served up by you guess it, the Market. Artificial fertilisers were brought into replace the animal manures which were disappearing with the move to mechanised agriculture. Chemical herbicides were introduced to eliminate the need for hoeing and cut costs on labour in order to maximise profits. Insecticides were used, and all these chemical cocktails entering the food and water we eat and drink still today.

A study of 3,000 Americans revealed only 30 of them without at least one kind of insecticide in the blood.

And that’s the good news?

To be continued…

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