Zululand in South Africa is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is an exquisite sub-tropical, picturesque land that has been through a terrible political struggle and cycle of violence in the last two decades.
The Zulus are an incredibly proud, warrior-like nation whose great leaders, Chaka and Dingaan are still studied in military academies all over the world.
For many years, a full rounded figure was the desired body shape for Zulu woman as it was equated with health and fertility. No more. The men in white coats at the University of Zululand conducted a study of young female students at the university in which they examined their attitudes to body shape, weight and food habits. The results were alarming; 45% of these women suffered from some sort of eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia or indulging in fasts in order to lose weight. In a comparative study at Northumbria University 25% of the women interviewed suffered from similar problems.
So why do the Zulu women torture themselves like this? Apparently they, just like their Western sisters, think that they must achieve the body shape that most men apparently desire. How do they know what this shape is? From those great trendsetters in the international society of course – the television and the magazine. They, like women all over the world, have bought the myth – as the July Seed, the person who conducted the study, so aptly puts it – ‘that thinness is progress’. It seems that our obsession with extremes has reached every corner of the globe now. We must be either dangerously fat or dangerously thin it seems. Anyone for a healthy average weight? Anyone?
In a report on CNN this week, refined foods such as corn syrup got some sticky publicity. Apparently it is highly likely that the increase in adult-onset diabetes (Type II) is due to a huge increase in the number of calories people now consume in America. Type II diabetes is suffered by 16 million Americans which makes it the sixth biggest killer disease in the USA. Dr. Lee Gross, a family physician involved in this study, said that he was not “picking on the corn syrup industry,” but added, “It is hard to ignore the fact that 20 percent of our carbohydrates are coming from corn syrup — 10 percent of our total calories.”
Anyone for organic muesli? A piece of fruit? C’mon force yourself!
This week I bought a copy of the magazine Men’s Health and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of journalism. It encouraged the consumption of fruit and healthy foods by kids along the following lines:
Breakfast: Low sugar unrefined cereals are recommended. Many ‘healthy’ breakfast cereals contain so much sugar, there have been campaigns to have them put in the confectionary section of the supermarket!