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It’s official: We eat too much

 

Written by Peter Jean. Published in Sydney Morning Herald on 17 July 2012.

It’s no wonder that Australia is the fifth-fattest nation on earth.

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that many Australians are consuming too much food that is high in fat and sugar and not enough vegetables or wholegrain cereals.

The report, Australia’s Food and Nutrition 2012, says that Australians exceed the world average consumption of alcohol, sweeteners, milk and animal fats.

Australians eat almost three times as much meat as the world average.

But Australian consumption of vegetables and cereal is below the world average.

The AIHW report said that 90 per cent of people aged 16 years and over failed to eat the recommended five serves of vegetables each day.

Most adults didn’t eat enough fruit and adolescent girls failed to eat enough dairy foods or alternatives.

People in remote areas had difficulty accessing a variety of affordable healthy foods.

The report said that restaurant and takeaway meals was the highest weekly item of food expenditure for Australian households in all income groups.

In 2009-10, high-income households spent $389 on food and beverages each week, equal to 18 per cent of household expenditure.

Low income households spent $113, or 20 per cent of expenditure on food.

AIHW spokeswoman Lisa McGlynn said: “The cost of healthy foods is increasing which means that it is cheaper for some people to eat takeaway food than healthier foods.”

“It can cost less to feed a family on food from some of the fast-food outlets than it can to feed a family on some of the foods that would be considered to be appropriate and what experts recommend a family eat.’’

On average, “treats’’ or extra foods such as chips, biscuits, pastries, soft drinks and alcohol contributed 36 per cent of the energy intake for adults and 40 per cent for children.

How we consume food compared to the rest of the world.

How we consume food compared to the rest of the world. Photo: Keisuke Osawa

One quarter of adults and one in 12 children aged between five and 12 years in Australia are obese.

“That’s about three million people aged over five which puts Australia fifth in the OECD countries for the proportion of the population who are obese,’’ Ms McGlynn said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/its-official-we-eat-too-much-20120717-227bh.html#ixzz22NZTG3Eq

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in News Articles

 

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Free Ranged Eggs

You’ve heard me bang on and on about free ranged chicken and eggs. I’ve discussed the value of free ranged eggs for your health, animal ethics and the economy. To carry the label “Free Range”, producers must comply with a high standard of animal ethics and welfare issues resulting in a higher quality of product. Accreditation labelling ensures that producers are checked regularly for compliance to these standards giving consumers piece of mind.

Free range eggs

Free range eggs (Photo credit: Constance Wiebrands)

Today I wanted to share with you two issues facing Australian consumers but I thought I would share this fantastic chart to help consumers understand the difference between the different egg labels. Perhaps it will clarify some of the ethical issues regarding egg production.

In Australia, there are plans to change the standards for free range egg production from 1,500 chickens per hectare to an incredible 20,000 chickens. The proposed changes also want to restrict chickens to be inside for the first 25 weeks of life instead of being allowed to free range from 5 weeks.  This great article on The Conversation (New standards could make consumers chose between the chicken and the egg) helps explain the issues.

Chickens

Chickens (Photo credit: Allie’s.Dad)

As horrifying as these changes sound, it’s not too late for consumers to vote against the proposed changes. You can sign the Animals Australia petition entitled Don’t let ‘Free Range’ become ‘Factory Farmed and talk to your friends about it. Express your concerns via social media like Facebook to heighten consumer consciousness.

It is not impossible for consumers to stall horrendous political decisions. Just this week, Tasmania announced a ban on battery egg production in its state and has made moves to phase out stall pig production. What a fantastic win for animal ethics and consumerism! You can read about this victory on this ABC news feed and this National Newspaper article.

 
 

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My humble garden

We live in a moderately sized regional town on the northern New South Wales coast of Australia. Our town boasts being the most easterly point of the mainland (at low tide) but Byron Bay, 30 km to the north is the widely accepted most easterly mainland point. We live in a small two bedroom apartment on the first floor. Our apartment block is situated on one of the busiest highways in Australia. A bypass for our town was opened in December last year, which thankfully has had a noticeable decrease to noise and pollution. Living in a small apartment means we have no real recreational space or garden, but we do have a sensational north facing balcony. All in all, I love where we live.

You may have caught my weekly photo challenge earlier this week. It was a photo of my garden. I’ve had to adapt to the lack of space and on mothers day last year, I started my humble little garden. It consists of used second-hand polystyrene boxes commonly used for transporting broccoli. We punched holes in the bottom of the boxes to ensure that there was good drainage. In the bottom of each box, I placed a few sheets of newspaper to stop the soil falling out. We purchased some cheap’ish potting mix from a department store and the rest is history!

Aided by the Gardenate Garden Calender which tells me what to plant at what times of the year, our veggie garden has become a reality. Last year we harvested bok choy, all manner of herbs, leeks, tomatoes, salad greens, and more. I have just planted our winter crops which I water daily. The baby leeks in my banner photo are actually from my garden! I have just planted our winter crop and soon we will be feasting on leeks, tomatoes, herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano), pak choy, pumpkins, salad greens, broad (fava) beans and capsicums. As a promise of things to come, my heirloom tomatoes produced four beautiful tomatoes ahead of schedule, one of which we picked today!

Stay tuned to this space… I hope to post some photos over time of how my organic crop matures!

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Env: Food Related, Env: Sustainability

 

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So this Easter…

I just wanted to spend a few minutes to relay to you about our Easter purchases and hopefully influence any last-minute purchases today or for coming years.

Instead of buying Joes grandmother and mother the usual box of Cadbury Roses, we opted to purchase them a jar of Chocolate coated Macadamia’s from the Byron Bay Chocolate Company. The nuts are locally grown and the end product is also locally manufactured. Many towns have small hand-made chocolate businesses utilising locally sourced produce. Instead of supporting large commercial chocolate companies, opt to support small local business instead.

For quite some time now, Darrell Lea Chocolates have promoted their Save the Bilby agenda. According to the website, bilbies are a desert dwelling marsupial with large ears, light grey and tan fur and a very distinctive black and white tail. Of the six bandicoot species that once lived in the arid / semi arid areas of Australia, bilbies are the only species remaining. It has national conservation status and is currently listed as vulnerable. Purchasing this particular bilby shaped easter egg helps conservation efforts for one of Australias unique and threatened species. A gorgeous video of bilbies has just been published by the Guardian Newspaper UK.  If you must make purchases from larger chains, opt for one that has some sort of positive impact, such as the chocolate bilby.

As my regular readers are no doubt aware by now, I am fairly anti commercialism, because of its effects on the environment. The impact of Easter eggs for the environment is fairly huge. Most chocolates contain palm oil &/or sugar, and as such, lend to the clearing of wilderness for extensive palm plantations. Check your labels, and try to avoid contributing to this ecological disaster by avoiding products that are utilising palm products. Nestle, for example, are right in the middle of the palm sugar controversy. Consumer digression is advised. Remember: You wield a mighty weapon each time you visit the supermarket.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: StSaling)

Another alterative is to skip the consumer based exploitations all together! Just this morning I stumbled across this wonderful post by Breanna Peterson Photography. Ry, the boy in question is allergic to eggs. His clever mum ordered in some ceramic eggs which they then died. He looks to have had an awesome time decorating the eggs. Hand blown eggs and egg decorating tips has been around for eons, and such traditions are being lost. I remember using autumn leaves, natural dyes, stocks and other fun stuff to make some awesome designs of hard-boiled eggs which we then took to school in our lunch boxes.  Why not do something special with your kids, and do some all natural dye eggs with leaf prints or flower prints. You just never know… you might also enjoy yourself!

 

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