Elections huh? I can’t say I have much interest or knowledge to be able to share my opinion on who anyone should have voted for and why. Not a great attitude I know. So I’ve said to myself “Self, you’re going to have to change your attitude and figure out what’s important to you when it comes to matters of politics”. I suppose everyone with an interest has issues they zone in on and vote for the candidate who claims to share their grievances. That’s understandable. So what’s my grievance?
There are regular protests throughout the country which sometimes catch my attention and other times seem to me as unnecessary. None of them have me out on the streets with banners joining in and calling for revolution. That’s just me. But surely one thing at least must matter enough for even me to call for some sort of reform. No government is perfect and from my limited knowledge they, more often than not, get things wrong rather than right. It’s an unenviable job as far as I can tell. Many of the candidates who will be lifted aloft this weekend will inevitably be booed or disgraced at some stage during their tenure. That’s what they’ve signed up for. That’s politics. That’s life.
By the way I did vote on Friday; in case you were wondering 🙂
So what is important to me? Well I’ve had to take into consideration what I’ve been learning over the last year or so; not only about myself but about society as a whole. Obviously nutrition is a big thing for me. But I’ve only started to look after myself better because I have to and even at that I’m not documenting what I eat on a daily basis. I’m just mindful of it. So I wouldn’t be forcing my outlook on diet and exercise on anybody although admittedly I can get a bit preachy at times. I suppose I do have a good reason for that. So what has nutrition got to do with politics? In my opinion, everything!
Ireland has an ageing population. This brings with it many concerns. There’s many googleable (it’s a word) statistics and facts to back this up. There is an undeniable pensions boom en route. People are getting older and living longer into their retirement. In addition, the demand for nursing homes is increasing rapidly each year. So what can be done about this? To me it’s clear. By educating ourselves we can at the very least have a better understanding of how to look after ourselves better so that we give ourselves the best chance of facing old age with a clean bill of health. The pensionable age is increasing so we need to make sure we are fighting fit as a society to enjoy the pensionable years. And also so we don’t rely on the youth of today and future years to have to dedicate their lives looking after us. It might seem a bit drastic for a guy in his early thirties to be talking about pensions and nursing homes but there is a government document which addresses this also; The National Positive Ageing Strategy.
In this document we are advised that the choices that we make when young and middle aged will determine how healthy we will be in our old age… Many chronic diseases are largely preventable. Lifestyle factors including tobacco and alcohol usage, together with physical inactivity, poor nutrition/diet and obesity are key risk factors, along with high blood pressure and cholesterol. Many of these are also key risk factors for the development of dementia.
This may not be ground-breaking information but if many diseases are preventable then what is being done about it? There is so much emphasis on finding cures and so much money being spent on research. I understand this is necessary but surely prevention is better than cure. I’m living proof that changing your diet can help you return to health and stay healthy (hopefully). To me the solution is obvious. We need a better understanding of what we are putting into our bodies. We all know certain drugs are bad yet people still take them. We know fast-food is bad yet we love a take-away chinese/chipper/pizza/and such and such. People will do what they want and that’s fair enough. But do we really know what food is good for us and how it can affect not only our health but our mood, information retention and energy levels? I really think that a programme needs to be put in place so that children are thought from early about the affects diet has on them. Not in a negative way but they should know what will give them energy and what will make them tired. What they should eat/drink on a daily basis and what they should eat/drink in moderation. I think nutrition should be thought at a basic level in primary schools and at a more detailed level in secondary schools. I know a lot of schools really encourage healthy eating yet the obesity rates among children is increasing so clearly the message isn’t getting across.
There are always barriers and obstacles in the way. The money that the likes of McDonalds and Burger King can put into their advertising campaigns can be enough to turn anyones head let alone an innocent child. Drug companies also would have a lot to lose if everyone looked after themselves better. Parents would have to change their eating habits if their children knew more about how to read ingredients than they did and I actually think that could be the biggest obstacle. Either way the ageing population is an issue that really needs to be addressed now so that we are prepared for the future. I’d hope that implementing a healthy living solution is something that can unify people and get us working together to make some sort of a better future (whatever that means). So far though it’s not something I’ve heard much mention of. And therein lies my grievance.