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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

Food for thought

My friends and I are all big F1 fans. During the racing season we take it I turns to host a race and serve up some food. It is great fun. While the racing takes the centre stage other thing of course naturally pop up to. Most of the time we talk the same mindless bollocks just like everyone else but once in while something of merit is raised. This was the case a few weeks ago when the topic cooking raised it’s head. For me eating is important. Enjoying good food is a pleasure but more importantly I believe you are what you eat. The counter argument put forward to this was that not everyone has time to eat well. Is this true or is it really just laziness?

The discussion came about because after the F1 had finished we went channel hoping and happened upon a show called The biggest loser USA. For anyone who hasn’t watched this delightful bit of TV trash it is basically a game show where really fat people lose weight and win some cash and the ability to see their feet again. As part of the show the in your face presenters examine what the various contestants eat on a daily basis. This usually means a table full of crap which they then proceed to tell the unlucky sod who’s eating habits are being picked apart that eating this stuff is not good for. The salad dodger in question then looks all surprised and pretends that they had no idea that eating ten pizzas a week was not good for them. I mean really? You didn’t know that a Big Mac smoothie was not a great breakfast?

Now my point of view was that the reason these people eat crap was laziness. The fact that picking up the phone and ordering a pizza is a lot easier than getting off the couch, walking to the kitchen and actually cooking something half decent. Now of course we eat takeaway food once in a while. Likewise we all eat processed food from time to time. The problem is that anyone who doesn’t know that eating this stuff day in and day out is not good for you is either a complete idiot or lying. Seriously are you really going to tell me that you honestly believe that a dehydrated bolognaise sauce in a packet is as good for you as one made from fresh ingredients? 

There are and always will be idiots who really have no idea what is what but this is not the majority of us. Most people with a brain know that chocolate is made for you and fruit is good. This of course then raises the question why don’t people eat fresh food? I honestly believe it is just laziness. Cooking fresh food is really not that difficult but it does require you to use brain, plan ahead and of course actually put some effort in. If you can’t be bothered to eat healthy food then fair enough but be honest about it. Tell the truth, you are too lazy to do it. Don’t make up excuses.  

The most popular argument and the one put forward to me in response was that people don’t have the time to eat fresh food. That is however simply rubbish. A shop bought pizza takes twenty minutes cook, if you have twenty minutes spare then you have time to eat fresh. A bit of planning goes a long way. There is loads of great meals out there which take a only a few minutes to put together and will happily sit in the oven or on the cooker top cooking while you get on and do other things. A large batch of something like chilli can be made in a few hours on the weekend and will fed you for four meals or more straight from the freezer in just a few minutes. Do this for three weekends out of the month and you will have enough food for the last week of the month without having to do any actual cook whatsoever. There are ways and means to eat great food whatever your time limit. You just need to be willing to get off the couch and do it. Everyone has time to throw together a salad.

The second argument is that people don’t know how to cook. The age of mothers passing on family recipes to their sons and daughters has passed and cooking in schools rarely advances beyond fairy cakes and topping a pizza base. At the same time cooking has become rather fashionable and hip which means that those who lack the know-how feel a bit embarrassed about it. The truth is you don’t need to turn out fine dinning quality meals. I know a few good tried and tested recipes off the top of my head but most of the things I cook come from books. A good book will take you far. There are cooking books these days to cover just about every level of experience and style of cooking you can think of. Combined with the wealth of free information handed out by supermarkets, TV shows and of course the Internet there is an endless supply of ideas out there to try. You just need to put the effort in.

The final argument is that eating fresh food is expensive. While it can be more costly to buy fresh food I would argue that if you use your brain then there is little difference. I cook pretty much most of the food for Maz and me and it is 90% of the time fresh food. When you actually do the maths and work it out it comes in cheaper per portion than eating a takeaway by a mile. Add to the mix the health benefits of eating fresh food both short and long term compared to processed junk and it really is a no brainer. This is especially true if as I suggested above you cook in bulk which can really drive down the costs.

At the end of the day if people want to eat crap then that is their choice just like smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. They know deep down, whether they admit it or not, that it is not good for them and that they will pay for it later down the line. It is their choice to make and I have no problem with that but lets cut the crap and stop making excuses about while you do it because it really is just due to the fact you can’t be bothered. Now parents feeding their children crap, that is a whole other story…….

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