Our diet has changed dramatically since the 1930s, when we first moved from natural farming, developed over 1000s of years, to scientific farming processes. Check out this incredibly informative article here. These changes have run in parallel with other changes:
* Intensive and Battery Farming
* Use of Hormones and Pesticides
* Chemicals, additives, preservatives
* Artificial or highly fabricated foods
* Meat, Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
* Increase in the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol
* Foodstuffs no longer grown locally
* Less daily activity at work and at home (tv, internet, washing machines etc)
* 'Diet' food and sweeteners
* Carbonated drinks
* Fast food culture
* Lack of three meals a day
* Medicines and antibiotics
* Greater consumption of Protein: including meat and dairy
* Rise of binge drinking, particularly among women
The 1950s diet was around 55% carbs - mainly from vegetables, cereal and bread - foods which are digested slowly and keep blood sugar levels stable. A whopping 40% of our diet today is fat, compared with just 32% in the 50s. And we also munch our way through twice as much sugar, the dangers of which is well documented. Impractically, it stops us from feeling full and satisfied, instead giving a violent 'high' and then 'low'. Also, did you know that table SALT is also refined?
Between 1942 and 1946, the incidence of cancer in Holland dropped considerably. This correlates with the changes in diet that occurred as a result of the occupation when the Germans took most of the cheese, butter, milk, eggs, and meat, leaving the Dutch to live on home-grown vegetables, bread, whole grain porridge, and other basic staples. after the war, the cancer rate jumped back up. Raw vegetables are amazing good for you and also taste incredible.
In 1910, the average person ate about 55 pounds of beef. In 1970, this rose to over 113 pounds. In countries where the intake of meat and animal fat is high, such as North America, the mortality rates from colon and breast cancer are also high. Countries such as Japan and Chile, where meat and fat consumption are low, have correspondingly low incidences. The rise in meat consumption isn't just bad for our bodies, it's also bad for the environment.
There weren't any supermarkets until the 1960s. People couldn't nip out to the local take-away or bung a ready meal in the microwave, which meant being able to knock up a variety of home cooked meals from scratch. This also meant they avoided a lot of the figure-unfriendly and hidden additives, salt and trans fats we consume these days. Cook meals at home from scratch and you will soon see the benefits, financially, mentally and physically.
Women 60 years ago burned more than 1,000 calories a day just doing their everyday activities, while today we're lucky to burn half that. The 50s housewife had none of the labour-saving gadgets we have, which meant daily sweeping, hand-washing and scrubbing. And every time she needed groceries it meant walking to the shops and lugging the bags back home.
Even before rationing, many families set up kitchen gardens in which to grow extra vegetables and herbs to cook with. In 1950, there were over one million allotments in use, compared with just 250,000 today. Today, however, produce in the every day shop that we buy from supermarkets have clocked up many hundreds of thousands of air miles, not to mention the hidden pesticides and hormones used in the production of foodstuffs.
Today it's not unusual to polish off half a bottle of wine just with dinner, but in the 50s alcohol was considered an expensive treat. Wine drinking at home was rare and pub licensing hours were restricted. The occasional tipple of gin or sherry was acceptable, but drinking didn't have the strong social connotations it has today.