Growing up on the island, we did not have the luxury of MacDonalds or Burger King thank goodness. Instead, much of what we ate was homemade and the sharing and caring system with fish and vegetables worked. There was never masses of different products but we made do with the fruits tempting us from overhanging trees too.

Medlams Saint Helena Island – Sweeeeeeet

I am glad that we grew up on homemade food and fish, lots of it. I’m glad we didn’t have lots of pocket money to rot our teeth. We still ate a good few sweets but I don’t believe that it was enough to do us any eternal damage *smile*. Even though the island diet is fairly heavy on the carbs, we were always rushing around playing outside and so we were able to burn the fat. We loved our play environments and they were not swanky by any means.

My Father didn’t have a car until I had left the island, so we walked.

Over the years, I have grown to understand that what we put into our bodies can have a detrimental impact on it, our thoughts, emotions and energy levels, this includes substance abuse and our pastimes. I have the age old aches and pains (yes even at forty one!) but my body feels sublime compared to the days of hangovers, fast food after nights out, way too much birthday cake and rich food. The good living can sometimes be the ‘not-so-good’ living.

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia – Some great food and some ‘once on the lips a lifetime on the hips’

Politicians and Chefs alike are pushing the healthy eating agenda, especially in schools, where children may come from homes that don’t. It is too easy in our busy lives to stick a pizza in the oven or buy some other solidified ‘fodder’ which tastes great but is packed with all sorts of additives.

Here on Saint Helena, we have wonderfully fresh grown vegetable, herbs and fruit when you can get it, we have fish, even if we have to catch it ourselves. We have honey (and I really hope a co-op comes out of this for exportation as this honey, like the coffee is special because we can trace it back to it’s organic roots without it being meddled with by middle parties). We have world class coffee. It is quite expensive to shop on the island. I have been told about affordable vegetable on a Thursday morning at The Old Dairy in Longwood. I was taken aback when I filled my first shopping basket. What would have cost me perhaps £15 in the UK cost me twice as much here, if not more. Instead of little markets, people traipse through Jamestown looking for the best bargains.

Maureen Fritz showcasing her absolutely divine South African Breyani on Saint Helena. “Baie lekker man!”

Eating healthy can get expensive but then, it also doesn’t have to be. I am by no means a calorie counter. The whole diet industry wears me out because although I find diets helpful for the time, it’s the thinking process that I have to change, otherwise, within months or a year, I am back to where I started. Like any other industry, the producers of healthy food / supplements are making a killing, rather than making the product more affordable. Suggestions are that some products are meddled with too, what are we buying? So what if I can’t afford the same dietary requirements long term? What happens then?

St Lawrence Market – Toronto – Fresh Cuts!

As I exercise more and enjoy my hobbies, I don’t feel the need to ‘stuff my face’ as much. Portion control is key with the heavy carb diet. I wish here on Saint Helena we could provide for the population without a lot of imports because what I see coming in from South Africa these days isn’t by any means decent quality fruit and veg after being refrigerated at whatever ‘acceptable’ temperature. Not to mention the cargo costs that is levied.

York & Albany London
York & Albany London
Amaya London
Amaya London

There’s veganism, vegetarianism, pescatarianism etc. Google any of these diets and you’ll get side-effects and so we supplement the diet. People still get ill on any of these diets, the studies are still ongoing and every time I read the news, something else is purported to be harmful. All I know is that too much of anything can cause us harm. So with that in mind, I just try to live my life as I can afford with regular exercise, time in nature, healthy pastimes and not too much cake.

Florence, Italy – Antipasto time!

Markets around the world stock fresh meat, fish, veg, pasta, cheese, preserves etc … and these are great hangout joints. Of course, some food courts aren’t as healthy, especially in large shopping centres, catering for the masses. What is in a lot of these foods can be quite addictive. So we end up eating two burgers instead of one. The irresistible aromas waft under our nose and before we know it we are hooked on the ‘evil’ but oh so tasty stuff. We just keep going back, even though, we know, it is not doing us any good.

Antipasto in Pisa, Italy

Then there is the unfriendly planetary material that businesses consume in quantities that has been so detrimental. On Saint Helena, businesses have started to invest in eco-friendly products, but this comes at a cost to both business and consumer. One has to have a passion for ethics around climate change to balance profit and viability. With the introduction of charges for plastic bags, businesses have suggested a real awareness around shopping with our own bags. On Saint Helena, I still see too much plastic being used to put vegetables, fruit, meats into for free. Could we perhaps take these bags back to the store for our next shop?

As the food industry continue to join forces and diversify their efforts with new age machinery and health-related discussions, I hope that we can continue to appreciate the significance of working together to produce greater amounts of traceable resources. On an island of 47 sq miles, this should theoretically be easier than a larger land mass. Power in numbers.

The Little Shoe – Delectable Coffee / Breakfast / Brunch / Lunch / Supper – Bold Street Liverpool – Charlotte the owner

Saint Helena has so much to offer locally, I really hope we can extract more responsibly together.…we’ve only accessed the tip of the ice-berg so far.

Fondue in Freiburg, Germany

Coming up shortly on sthelenaonline.org will be stories of organic living, farming, bee-keeping and coffee on Saint Helena Island.

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