The National Farmers Union - an organisation not known for its scaremongering – has decided to let us know that if we Brits had to rely only on what food we can grow or produce here, this year we would have run out of food on August 7th and would thus starve for the remainder of 2014.
The fact is that Britain only manages to produce around 60% of the food that we eat – even less than we did back in 2008 when I optimistically wrote a book called The Green Food Bible, explaining in what I hoped was an unbiased fashion the bonuses of becoming more self-reliant in food. Ha! I look back on the days when 'green' was trendy – now, it's all about saving money whilst eating as much as we can.
Anyway - by co-incidence, around 60% of us are overweight or obese. So I was just wondering, if everyone who was overweight or obese ate fewer calories, until we all reached a reasonable healthy weight, and then maintained that healthy loss simply by eating a little less henceforth – would we last out until New Year's Eve, do you think? I think we might.
I'm sure some clever person out there could work it out for me and give me the exact answer – but for sure, getting and staying slimmer would be an incredibly good thing to help balance our trade figures as well as our chances of surviving the year with enough grub for Christmas. (Don't all mail and tell me we can't do that, I'm just 'what if- ing'.)
Actually, banning food imports altogether would be an extremely interesting, if reactionary experiment. Even if we could grow enough to feed ourselves well, we'd still mostly lose weight, as without the import of all those gorgeous foodstuffs from France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, China, Thailand, and so on, we'd get pretty bored with our British diet of veg, meat and wheat and lose weight anyway.
All research to date on the subject has come to the conclusion that if we have a wide variety of foodstuffs available, we overeat. It's just all too tempting.
That's why I blogged that people who want to slim down could do worse than shop at Lidl and Aldi, where the choice is so much smaller than it is at Waitrose or Sainsburys.
I'm not trying to put down the UK food industry – I think we produce some of the finest stuff in the world, particularly cheese and all dairy foods, meat and poultry, and fruit and veg, and yummy things made out of these such as pies, puddings and soups. But even with artisan foods, if you look at the list of ingredients, very, very often as least some are sourced from abroad, often because we simply can't grow them here. Things such as spices for example add so much to our food but what can we produce here? I can't think of any off the top of my head.
This isn't leading anywhere in particular – I'm just saying, if you've a mind to lose weight, perhaps try the British diet. It just might work, on many levels.