My column in the JEP. Summary: we are in the lucky position to make informed choices about our health – what will your choices be?
Saturday saw our 75th Liberation Day and we had a 40s tea party to celebrate. The fare was really a ‘1940s meets 2020’ but, while preparing it, I thought about food and health in these two times; here’s a very brief comparison.
There are many related Occupation stories: States’ communal kitchens, much queueing, the thriving black market, the cost of tea (up to £30 per lb in 1945!), making ersatz foods and beverages (such as roasted, powdered acorn coffee), foraging for plants and hunting for rabbits, harvesting shellfish at low tide where there weren’t any mines, cooking in hay box stoves, and plenty more ingenuity.
Initially, rationing (resulting in less sugar, alcohol and tobacco, and more walking) meant Islanders were quite healthy and rates of heart disease decreased. Today, those following a similar way of life are also among the healthier part of the population.
However, as food supplies diminished, Islanders had to eat more fibre and less protein and fat than they needed, and the number of health problems such as ‘Jersey rattles’ (diarrhoea and colitis) increased. Today, I see plenty of people with gut issues resulting from the food they eat; the difference now is we have a choice as to what we put in our mouths.
By the end of the occupation, many were underweight and suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies; in 2020, many in Jersey are overweight – but also suffering from nutrient deficiencies! Once more, a big difference is, we can choose what we put in our mouths.
In 2020 you can take medications to help your health… but how much better (and cheaper) would it be to avoid or reverse weight issues and preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes? These issues occur because of insulin resistance, which develops when we eat too many processed foods.
Glucose and some fructose (sugars) are found in vegetables and fruit along with many nutrients. However, processed foods and sweet beverages (including fruit juices) dump far too much sugar into your body at once, leading to insulin resistance, weight gain, cravings, and physical and cognitive problems.
I’ve done the overweight-cravings-poor-health bit, so I do get it. I found the get-better path; you too can choose (or not) to follow the evidence. You can choose (or not) to ignore the ‘eat mainly carbs’ mantra and become healthier. The thing is, we have choice now and that is something to celebrate.
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Jacqui Carrel is a weight-loss expert and hypnotherapist. You can find out more at jacquicarrel.co.uk/lose-weight.