I have long suspected that much of the history we are taught and led to believe is fallacious and deceiving, particularly the notion that we now live
longer and much healthier lives than our ancestors thanks to improved nutrition and the healthcare system. I've always believed the opposite to be
true, in fact, and that it's actually thanks to our modern diet and our healthcare system that we live shorter
and much unhealthier
This article in The Daily Fail had me wondering about this today...
They were healthier than us - and even
lived longer, so should we all copy the Victorian diet?
Now I don't know about you, but when I think about the Victorian ages, I automatically imagine (and I quote the first paragraph of the article),
"Dickensian scenes of wool mills, orphanages, and workhouses full of malnourished, overworked children, and adults living short, harsh lives.". What
I don't imagine are fit, rosy cheeked, well nourished people of all
classes living long and healthful lives.
According to the article, it was down to their diet.
Men consumed 4,000-5,000 calories daily, women around 3,000 calories, compared with an average of around 2,200 today. Yet obesity was virtually
unknown except in the upper-middle and wealthier classes.
This surprises me, especially since I have read a lot recently about the benefits of fasting and eating less.
In addition, they typically ate eight to ten portions of fruit and vegetables daily, in a diet that contained far higher levels of vitamins and
minerals than occur in today's nutrient-depleted, refined and processed foods. 'They also consumed less salt, sugar, alcohol and tobacco.'
Prior to 1900, fruit and vegetables were cheap, as they were mainly grown in allotments or gardens. With the rapid growth of the rail networks,
fresh produce could reach the cities quickly. 'Even in London 4lb of freshly picked cherries or a large armful of watercress was a penny,'
I'm surprised that nutrient-rich food was so cheap and readily available to everyone...I've always imagined starving families in Victorian times
shivering around a huge pot of cabbage soup!
The article goes on to talk about how the high amount of yeast in their diet seemed to boost their immune system significantly, helping them to fight
of infections. A very interesting theory that I've not heard before and will definitely spend some time looking into. I've certainly changed my view
of the Victorian times.
The article is worth a look, even if it is The Daily Fail. It certainly makes you wonder if we're taught falsehoods about our history so that our
faith and trust are invested in the healthcare system and "The Food Pyramid"....