A reader’s health conundrum
Climate change is a serious matter. No doubting that. I want to do my bit to help save Planet Earth, but I am struggling and let me tell you why.
I want to stress that I strongly believe in the science surrounding the evidence that our planet is steadily warming and, if left unchecked, will reach a point of no return.
With this in mind I considered how I, as an individual, could reduce global warming. This, against the background of there being another 7.7bn people in the world that should also do their bit.
Some years ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was put on
medication to reduce and control it. These drugs came as a package of measures to help me which also included exercise and diet. Until I had been diagnosed I hadn’t even looked at, yet alone eaten, blueberries.
Now let me tell you something about blueberries. They are a ‘superfood’. I’m not sure what that term means exactly, but the British Heart Foundation and my GP reckon they’re brilliant for people with hypertension (high blood pressure).
Not only that but, apparently, they can prevent some cancers, are low in calories, boost the immune system and slow the aging process. Now that is what I call a superfood.
So, in an effort to maintain a healthy heart and stave off the possibilities of stroke or heart attack, I began to eat blueberries with everything; porridge, yoghurt, cereals and even on their own as a snack. I just wish there were blueberry crisps. I’m a sucker for crisps.
Anyway, there I am, happily munching away on my heart healthy berries, when I hear about food miles and how we should all buy local produce to reduce the carbon footprint which is a result of foods and goods being freighted across the globe. I looked at the tray of blueberries in the fridge. I got hit with a double whammy.
Not only had my life-giving berries been flown halfway across the world from Peru (yes, Peru)
but they were in a plastic tray which was ‘as yet not recyclable’ and a plastic film which was also ‘as yet not recyclable’.
I think by now you are beginning to see my dilemma. To save the planet I have to risk ruining my heart and to save my heart I risk ruining the planet. What should I do? I needed a master plan.
I started a quest to see if blueberries are grown in the UK. They are.
However, the season is quite limited, due to our climate.
So, undaunted I did some calculations. I was eating about 75 grams of blueberries a day. This amount seems to assist bowel movements as well. They don’t mention that on the British Heart Foundation website. I discovered this additional benefit all by myself.
Anyway, I digress. Assuming a regular intake of 75 grams per day, I scoff 60lbs of blueberries annually. So, if I contacted a UK grower and said I needed 60lbs of blueberries I’m sure I could get a good price.
Now all I need is somewhere to keep them. They freeze really well, although I have never tried freezing them myself.
Our freezer is tiny. Just big enough for important things like ice cream, chips and peas; certainly there is no room for 60lbs of blueberries.
I decided we needed a chest freezer, in the garage. So, there I was with my tape measure, in the garage to see where I could fit a new chest freezer. My wife wandered out:
Wife: “What are you doing?” Me: “Measuring up for a chest freezer”
Me: “To save the planet.” Wife: [incredulously] “What?” Me: “To save the planet.
I’m going to buy 60lbs of locally grown blueberries and freeze them.”
Wife: “And that is going to save the planet?”
Me: “Only if everyone else does it as well.”
Wife: “I worry about you sometimes.”
And with that she disappeared back into the house. I thought I heard a “tut”. I definitely saw a shake of the head.
Undeterred, I carried on with my master plan. I could squeeze the chest freezer in between the dryer and the Workmate. No problems. My wife reappeared.
“You realise that freezers give off gases that are harmful to the ozone layer don’t you?” she said. I thought I saw a little grin before she turned round and went back indoors.
With my plan scuppered even before it got off the ground I decided I would ditch the blueberry idea and concentrate on other heart-healthy foods, like avocados, bananas and sardines, that I could source locally.
Now is there an avocado farm anywhere near Norwich?
‘Just wish there were blueberry crisps. I’m a sucker for crisps’
ABOVE: Healthy, wholesome blueberries...all the way from Peru
ABOVE: Paul wants his blueberries but also want to be green. What’s the solution?