Food, Plus Size and the Case of the 80 pence Pepper

On Thursday I posted a picture of a sad, lonely, pepper in a brown paper bag on instagram. It currently sits at 95 likes. That’s right, a red pepper, not artistically shot, a slightly old one at that, with 95 likes. Now although I am baffled, it was, I believe the comment below it, truly captured the SLiNK audience’s attention. It simply stated…

‘This slightly dodgy looking pepper cost 80 pence. You wanna talk about why people don’t eat healthily anymore then I present exhibit A.’

Last week, talk about fat, obesity and our bodies pretty much broke the internet, invaded the television and rocked the radio. It infected our newspapers, clogged up our twitter feeds and filled nearly all my conversations. It was without a doubt exhausting, although as someone said to me, at least we are talking.

We might be talking but aren’t we just going round in circles?

As I sat on the tube, staring at my pepper, wondering what I could turn it into, I remembered an advert I’d seen at the bus stop earlier for a Cheese Burger from McDonalds, it cost 99p.

We might be talking, but is the conversation simply all veering in the wrong direction?

It is an all too a regular occurrence on the various media interviews or debates that I’m invited to join that everyone wants to talk about the obesity and throw around accusations, but no one is willing to talk about real reasons, real health or  real, healthy solutions.

Health and the rising cost of food, cobbled together with all the conflicting information about what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for us doesn’t help, it simply further muddies the waters.

So yes we are talking. But the words are empty.

Today I counted 5 separate features about what we should or shouldn’t eat, how to lose weight, what makes us obese, what we thought made us fat and now doesn’t… and that was on ONE website.

We are bombarded daily with information, conflicting ideas, unreliable sources, fads, diets, meal replacements, government advice, u-turns… well you get the picture – is it little wonder that we are beyond confused about what to put in our bodies?

Could one of the biggest problems simply be that we’ve created a culture where we just don’t know what to eat anymore, it isn’t always about quantity, it is about quality and fuelling up with the good stuff that makes us healthy and that is true whatever your size.

Not only are we confused about what foods are actually healthy for us and what is peddled by brands that are pretending to be healthy alternatives, lots of the good stuff is simply priced out of peoples reach. I get it, making cheap, manufactured, processed food is significantly cheaper than the hard work that goes on to grow a pepper, but isn’t it our chicken shop culture and the fact that we let Cadbury’s, Coca Cola and McDonald’s sponsor the Olympics… (the Olympic Village had a McDonalds!!) part of the problem here? Did no one else see the irony there?

We have time poor, cash poor society and if you have a family to feed, 80 pence peppers are not going to get you very far. Taking away peoples ability to make healthier choices if they want to and then wondering why they haven’t made them, pretty much makes no sense.

I’m not saying I have the solution, I do think the we need the food industry to take great responsibility for the products they put out there and we need to work out a way where better food is available for everyone, not just superfoods for the super rich. I don’t have answers but I do want to start having the right kind of conversations.

Im fed up of the idea of health only being about plus size women. Health isn’t a dress size. Health is for everyone at every size and it’s a conversation we need to be having.


-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine