It’s a complicated world

And we are all complicated people. Or, at least, I hope we are.

We do, at the very least, live complicated lives. I like to pretend that I can distill my existence down to the tag line at the top of this blog: I run a lot bit, I eat a bit lot, and that’s me. But really it’s not. I do, for example, have to go to work every now and then. I try not to, but they might notice if I wasn’t there. They might not, but I don’t dare take the risk. They are paying me after all.

But let us imagine, for a moment, that life was simple. That it really did boil down to a bit of exercise and a bit of food. Well, even that can be a complicated business.

Take running for example.

In some ways it is as straightforward as putting on a pair of shoes and running out of your front door. But then people start complaining that you’re only wearing a pair of shoes and they demand that you go back inside.

So you have to worry about clothing. Is it wicking? Should it be reflective? What about windproof? Does it have go-faster stripes on it?

And shoes, watches, routes, times and PB’s. Long runs, short runs, sprints, fartleking.

This is not something I object to, by the way, but we do seem to make everything complicated. Sometimes, a little too complicated. Particularly when it comes to food. Occasionally I feel that I am a little like the King. Not a King, you understand – you don’t have to kneel in my presence and swear allegiance to me, although you are more than welcome to if you should so wish – merely the King from the feasting fairy tale. Sometimes something as simple as the food we eat can turn out to be far more confusing that it first appeared.

Sad king

But why should I worry about my food?

It is a sad fact that I can no longer say that my body is a temple, but it may still qualify as a slightly run-down church hall. And, like an old church hall, it may creak a little from time to time, it may not stand quite as straight and as tall, it may be slightly leaky (and this metaphor may have got away from me slightly), but I have grown rather attached to it over the years. I would like to take care of it. I would like to do The Right Thing by my body. It is just that I am not really sure what The Right Thing is.

Food production is so much more advanced than it has ever been before and, with every advance, comes additional complication. We can do so many clever things now and I have not kept up with them. I don’t know whether GM is a good thing or not. I couldn’t really tell you why I feel compelled to buy the packet that says ‘organic’ on it rather than the one that doesn’t. I think I know why it’s important that my chicken comes with ‘free range’ on the label, but why don’t I look for that when I am buying pork? I like pigs more than I like chickens.

Is ‘local’ the be all and end all, or is it more complicated than that? How much sugar should I eat? How much salt? And how much of each is in every item in the kitchen cupboard? I couldn’t really tell you. What actually makes up one of my five-a-day? Why do I need to know?

Like I say, it’s all a bit confusing.


I want to pull back the curtain, lift the lid, blow away the clouds of confusion. But I want never gets, so I think I will settle for a more achievable aim: I would like to be slightly less confused.

Not generally mind you, I’m not asking for miracles, but I would like to know a little bit more about the choices that I have – that we all have – with our food. I have the internet at my fingertips. Google is making eyes at me, begging me to ask it a question. There has never been so much information available to me, ever before.

I think it is time that I set off in search of some answers. If I’m not back in an hour, please send a search party.


6 thoughts on “It’s a complicated world

  1. Food is tough. so many conflicting theories. Since I’m always confused I try to just go high fiber and eat some fruits and veggies every day. And I eat meat. I love meat, how can you live without it?
    I don’t have the discipline for paleo or anything else.

    • That sounds like a good plan.

      I can’t think I’m going to be able to get all the answers, but I’m hoping for a few. And I’m sure that a lot of it is going to come down to a personal preference anyway. At the moment, I feel that I’m not even really sure I understand the choices, let alone which one to take.

      We shall see!

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  3. If you’re looking to learn more about food production and what food choices you should and shouldn’t make, I’d recommend reading A Greedy Man in a Hungry World by Jay Rayner. It has a lot of quite balanced discussion about food production and supply on a global scale — factory farming animals, GM, big agro companies that supply seeds, the impact of local and organic produce and the role of supermarkets, both good and bad. Sometimes it of course asks as many questions as it answers but I think it makes a good starting place: it’s got quite a broad scope and is quite an easy read. It’s certainly changed my perceptions about some of the foodie “ideals” that are often presented in the media. Good luck on your search for answers!

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