50 HEALTH & BEAUTY Stop the Insanity Health & beauty advice from Rowena Kitchen

to learn about new things. Secondly, I like to match people to their choices. You know, who is buying a bunch of celery and a can of green lentils and who has chosen six loaves of white bread? It is fascinating and free entertainment. I was behind a woman in her seventies, dressed well, make up and hair done, clearly a woman who cared about herself. She was busy unloading ice cream, jelly, chocolate, cake and so on in vast quantities. Her final item was two packs of Weight Watchers yoghurts. I simply couldn’t help myself and said that there was no way the yoghurts were going to cancel out the rocky road and Mars bars. We both laughed and connected as you do while waiting in a queue. Well, as women do. What came next broke my heart. Her husband had lip cancer and was in agony af- ter having a very invasive operation and all those foods cooled his mouth and made him happy. She had Parkinson’s and was finding it hard to look after him. Yet she was STILL dieting. I wanted to throw the yoghurts out the window and get her to eat the cake. Where was her enjoyment? The stranglehold that body image


am the person that checks out your shopping if you are ahead of me at the check out. For many reasons: firstly, I am curious and like

because she stopped when she had had enough. We do not know what is enough these days as

You can make a tiny effort with herbs grown in pots on the window sills

we, in the Western world, have more food than we know what to do with, while others starve and eat it simply because it’s there. Our grandparents did not have cupboards bulging with multi packs of crisps and freezers chock full of ice cream and pizza. Basket shoppers was the term for the way they shopped. The potatoes at the green grocer were tipped straight in the basket and the meat wrapped in paper and string balanced on top. They shopped daily or weekly with a list of meals and did not vary from it. This made great economical sense but today many of us cook three different suppers to keep all members of the family happy. Most families had a vegetable patch of some kind and they salted, pickled and preserved foods for later in the year. Not in the current artisanal shouty way with expensive jars and pretty ribbons that negate the saving. We are literally playing with our food.

The cheapest foods are carbs. The most

expensive protein. So what choice does the shopper make when working to a budget and trying to stretch their money. We are told by the government to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day (Stop the press- es! since starting to write this the number has gone up to seven) and I am glad to see my local supermarket has set up a stall at the entrance giving free fruit to children. The question of how to get the right vitamins and

has over us has reached tragic proportions. When Kate Moss said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels like she incited millions of young girls to copy her. What an idiot. She may think that and that’s her opinion but she has a responsi- bility to her fans. Mary Berry says she only eats one piece

of toast although she longs for another one! What is going on? Are we all doomed to struggle to stay thin right up to the time we are popped in our coffins. ‘We are all thin in the graveyard’ - to quote an Irish friend of mine who didn’t give a stuff about her weight, ate what she wanted and was trim

minerals into our diets without breaking the bank is not as difficult as it looks if you are armed with just a

Illustration by Lisa Wyman

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