To me natural living is about getting back to nature and making healthy dietary and lifestyle choices. To support this it really helps to know where your food comes from and / or what is in your food. I also think it is important to maintain certain traditions such as cooking real food and spending as much time as possible outdoors.
You have probably heard all this before but it is worrying when you hear and see evidence suggesting that we are moving more and more away from a healthy natural lifestyle. Let me share with you some facts that I have learnt and some of my views:
People have become less active with many adults spending 70% or more of their waking hours sitting. There is good evidence that being outside in the natural environment is essential for our physical and mental health. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that simply being outside in a natural surrounding for just 15 minutes significantly improved mood and feeling of vitality. This just goes to show just how important nature is to our health and wellbeing. If you have ever worked in an office without any natural light then I am sure you would agree with that!
The average man needs around 2,500 Kcal per day to maintain a healthy weight. For a woman, that figure is 2,000 Kcal per day. In reality adults are consuming a lot more calories which often includes excessive intake of calorie-dense foods and drinks like processed or fast food, sugary and alcoholic drinks as well as consuming large portion sizes. There is evidence that eating habits are perpetuated through families and cultures. Furthermore the behaviours are often maintained from child through to adulthood. So what could possibly be a solution? Well since we are not as active as we should be and consuming a lot more calories than we are burning off, then we have to go back to basics. I personally think that knowing your food and cooking your own food from scratch using fresh natural ingredients as well as making water the main drink at the table are definitely part of the solution.
A study by the British Nutrition Foundation on over 27,500 children across the UK found that among primary school children 29% thought that cheese comes from plants and 18% thought fish fingers comes from chicken. It not all doom and gloom though as I am aware of schools are now doing farm visits to help school children learn where their food comes from. This summer I took my girls fruit picking on a farm and we all had a brilliant time.
Obesity in children is strongly linked to the constant access and consumption of ultra-processed foods and sugar sweetened soft drinks. I have noticed that sweets are constantly available to children and are no longer an occasional treat. I have little ones and I can tell you that they would be quite happy to eat sweets every day as they just don’t have self-control and so I feel it’s my responsibility to help them with that and to make healthy choices for them even if that sometimes makes me unpopular!