Why are the nice things all bad for you?

Langport didn’t used to be so filled with temptation. It didn’t used to have such a range of places to eat and places to buy baked food. It didn’t used to have such a variety of shops selling biscuits and cakes and tarts, as well as fresh bread, cheese and butter, and delicatessen goods. To walk down the street now demands a determination not to be lured into casual purchases.

A prescription for statins is a reminder of the effects of uncurtailed eating in the past, a reminder of the biscuits, bakes and cakes that were an attractive part of parish ministry and which gradually left their mark on my coronary arteries. (The prescription charge is £9.15: I smiled at the thought of having to pay it for only two more months, one advantage of passing a milestone age is having free prescriptions).

Resisting nice things is a challenge. At twelve stones and four pounds, I am eight pounds above the line between being healthy and being overweight. The recommended weight for a fifty-nine year old male who is five feet seven inches tall is not more than eleven stones and ten pounds. Eight pounds doesn’t sound very much, until one day when I was carrying a shopping bag which contained two bags of sugar and I realized that my excess weight was equivalent to four bags.

Eating too much was not always a cause for concern. There was a time when I could have walked from a shop with a bag of buns and eaten two or three without a thought. My mother would buy us bags of doughnuts.  Sugary, sticky, filled with jam, we would never have thought they could have caused us any harm.

White bread was our norm. My grandmother had a cousin who ate brown bread, we thought he was odd. Den Legg, the baker who drove the van from Maisey’s Bakery in Othery would call three times a week. The bread was fresh, crusty and tasty. Being unsliced meant it could be  cut thickly, and being cut thickly meant it needed to be buttered thickly. Saturday’s delivery always included a cottage loaf, made from two large ball of dough baked on top of a larger ball of dough. It was bread at its best.

With eight pounds to lose to reach that line, the tempting options need to be resisted. The problem lies in the shops. Why do they sell so many nice things that are bad for you?





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