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© NOVA JUNE 2010
Fast and cheap in Australia
It's tempting to think it's nowhere near as
bad here in Australia, that the corporate
tentacles haven't yet reached here to
strangle our fresh food chain. And while
that's probably true in the main, let's
not fool ourselves into "she'll be right"
complacency. While you can't yet buy
a hamburger for a dollar (our Mexican
American family got five in their $11 meal),
we've all seen the TV ads here that focus
on young guys and the "cheap eat".
With more people working longer
hours here, too, in the wake of the GFC,
which of course has affected Australia
despite the political spin, how many
people are succumbing to the easy choice
of fast and cheap too often?
Our own rates of childhood diabetes
are alarming, childhood allergies unknown
in previous generations are baffling the
experts, our kids are fat and getting fatter.
According to the NSW Department of
Public Health commenting on childhood
obesity, "the rate of increase in Australia
appears to be accelerating sharply when
viewed in a historical perspective". (² )
comment that the
industrialised food system in the US "says
we value cheap, fast and easy when it comes
to food like so many other things, and we
have lost any connection to where our
food comes from", speaks just as eloquently
to Australia. There are so many kids who
have never seen a cow in a paddock or a
chicken scratching in the backyard, let
alone can make the connection to the
packet of mince or a chicken nugget. It
just doesn't equate.
My husband and I were struck on a
visit to New Zealand last year -- our first -- at
how lean and healthy these Kiwis looked.
These tall, rangy, handsome men (well
maybe it was me who paid most attention!)
looked so much better than the average
overweight Aussie guy. And woman too,
mea culpa! And just a week or so in this
beautiful country makes you realise just
how close to the land they still are -- and
I really think that's the difference. New
Zealanders eat real food that comes from
animals grazing beautiful paddocks -- you
actually see cows and sheep driving into
the country, an increasingly rare sight in
Australia. Restaurant quality food is superb
getting bigger -- brother.
A Father's Choice
Nutrition has always been one of my
keenest interests, but it was the appearance
on ABC's Lateline a month or so ago of
another American investigative writer and
food activist Jonathan Safran Foer that
has made me give serious thought to the
food I put into my own family's mouths.
Foer was discussing his own book Eating
Animals written after the birth of his son.
As a new father, he wanted to be able to
justify eating meat to his son. As a result of
his research he's become a vegetarian.
His basic premise is just how much
suffering are we as humans entitled to
inflict on our animal companions on this
continued page 15
'We hear the horrifying statistic
that one in three children born
in America since 2000 -- 10 year
olds and younger -- will develop
young onset diabetes.'
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