Eat 7 a day and live to be 150

Two interesting items of news this week trickled into my awareness zone; firstly a report of research by some obscure bod who reckons the long-held principle of eating five portions of fruit or veg each day is out of date and we should move up to seven. The other is climate change, but we will look at that later.

Naturally some parts of the media decided seven portions a day was nowhere near scary enough, so they ramped it up to 11.

Sticking to five portions of fruit or veg per day is entirely possible, although there will be days when most people will be either over or under the score. I should point out that spuds do not count, so that’s your fish supper regime out of the window.

I like fresh fruit and enjoy plenty of veg; I’ll spare you my routinely tedious self praise about growing my own, but it does help lots.

Having a first- class greengrocer in the town works well although the products in supermarkets are greatly improved in the last few years. My main issue with supermarket fruit is over-packaging as it prevents close pre-purchase scrutiny of the goods and is so wasteful.

Raising my intake to seven or more portions would probably cause me a few problems as, like everyone else, I have an upper limit of consumption which can have devastating results when exceeded; I won’t go into details. That also makes me wonder if there is a longer-term hazard to excess intake of such natural foods, as it overlooks the small details that human beings are able to devour a wide range of nosh ranging from meat to raw carrots, and more or less everything in between. I suspect this came about in long ago days, and I mean really long ago days, when survival depended on our ability to eat and process more or less anything; very handy when food supplies ran low, usually in winter.

Evolution is maybe the best way for any species to keep its rightful place in the food ladder, and mankind has managed to stay at or near the top for thousands of years due to a willingness to sample anything, having first tried it out on an animal or someone considered expendable.

There will have been a few hiccups along the way, but now we know more or less what will keep us alive and what will not.

But there’s a snag. It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that in what are laughingly called developed nations, as a species we have become too successful, now showing signs we are eating ourselves out of the game.

Obesity is rife, causing a whole range of sinister ailments.

Before the howls of protest kick off, I realise many people who contract such horrible diseases or conditions lead very normal lives, drink in moderation and maintain a healthy diet, but as time goes by they are in a shrinking minority.

So what are we to do? Our eating habits are often trapped in the demands of our lifestyle, too many rushed meals at the wrong time of day, too much processed food, and certainly too much food overloaded with salt, fat and sugar. Unless we lead what might be compared with a lifestyle of monastic ritual, we will remain so confined and suffer the consequences. Upping our fruit and veg intake might well help, but without a serious look at how we lead our lives the benefits will be low. A good starting point might be getting children into an early fruit-eating habit. Sending the little blighters off to school with an apple would certainly reduce the scourge of crisp packet litter in Thornfield for a start.

The UK and similar countries really need to take an urgent look at how other countries run their dietary affairs.

It could be very revealing, and while we would be unlikely to change what we do on a Road to Damascus basis, a few good ideas might come our way.

As a nation we sit about too much; the couch potato label is apt in many folk, and a few minutes watching the traffic chaos in Selkirk town centre proves that for many, walking is something of a lost skill.

A turn round Selkirk Hill a few times per week, or for muddy times a brisk promenade along the A7 walking path to the Tweed Brig is not only beneficial, but good fun, and in the latter case, loads of your pals will see you doing the exercise thing.

Oh yes, I mentioned climate change at the start of this piece.

The hairy scary climate change mob are at it again with their predictions of catastrophe and doom – I find many of the climate gurus’ claims laughable when I consider the carbon footprint of their major jollies to discuss and promote their theories and “research”.

They have got it wrong so often a wait and see policy is advisable, but for now I leave you with something to ponder.

One of the so-called major threats to our global well-being is methane, said to be at a level whereby cows have to be banned. But if we all scoff seven portions of fruit and veg per day, surely the subsequent human methane emissions will rocket and we be in even more trouble.?