I am not sure about you but this year the sounds of the "Ho, Ho, Ho..." is expected to be quite muffled, perhaps, the mood will be so low that for the first since its commercialisation, Christmas will be a very sad day for the many.
Large families won't be allowed to be reunited, some may even be prevented to travel abroad or welcome family members that they only see during exceptional occasions like the festive periods. Social isolation and depression cases are set to hit record numbers.
Thousands of people have lost their jobs, their livelihood, and public money is pouring out of bottomless pockets that we -- the public -- will have to bleed to replenish for decades to come, once this social and economic disaster is finally over.
Politics aside -- because, we will never know the truth, when money and power make the most toxic of cocktails that the elite, apparently, cannot get enough of -- there is growing anxiety about Christmas that it set to surpass the levels experienced this year thus far.
A new poll from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) revealed the nation’s concerns about health and wellbeing, most particularly food in the run-up to Christmas. Most supermarkets are releasing delivery slots that are far from matching the demand.
It is to be expected that people order more for the festivities and demand for deliveries is much higher in December, but this year, it is almost impossible to book a slot. Perhaps, supermarkets are not able to find drivers or simply they cannot match the demand.
Indeed, there seems to be food shortages that arose directly from COVID-led government restrictions, preventing people to go to work, including those who had to quarantine because of members of the same household tested positive. And so, it appears, production has slowed down and the availability of produce is much less than usual.
Brexit is also bringing issues as only a few days are left before it becomes effective and the UK finally leaves the EU. This, however, should be accompanied to a massive surge in import of good before tax systems are changed and new restrictions are applied. And, yet, people are still panic-buying food and other essential products in the run-up to Christmas, and, it seems, no store can keep up.
A major online food retailer has delivered yesterday what appears to be the worse quality of food I have ever experienced. Ahead of the company staff party, I proposed to cook for everyone, since none of us were happy to eat out with the current atmosphere. Now, I truly regret to not have picked each product myself from farmer's markets or other shops that I trust. Kilos of onions arrived green! This means that whoever placed items in my basket, was not looking at all at what he/she was handling (perhaps, it was not a good day for him/her), and this was job that had to be done and nothing else. Potatoes and cheese crackers were placed in the same bags, pomegranate arrived half yellow, half black and mouldy, and many items were substituted for items that had nothing to do together (e.g. organic spinach was replaced by sweetcorn vegie mix). Some items were missing, even though I have been billed for it. So now, I understand how frustrating this can be and how people are now anxious about what will happen closer to Christmas and supermarket shelves completely emptied...
Back to the research, which was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the BNF, and found that 1-in-6 people across Britain are extremely worried about not being able to find all the food they need this Christmas, and 18% say they're anxious about getting online deliveries.
Sara Stanner, from the BNF, told: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, especially finances, health and wellbeing and many people cited concerns about their weight, diet and activity over the Christmas period. However, it’s heartening to see many positive priorities for the New Year, with getting more active coming out on top. Different aspects of healthy eating are also high on people’s list of priorities, including eating well to support immunity.”
There seems to be a growing number of people who are now more concerned about their health, understanding how their eating habit and lifestyle can damage their health and predispose them to some disease but also to infection (diet and lifestyle can improve or suppress immunity, which is key to ward off infection and recover more quickly).
Sara Stanner added: “We’ve seen a lot of misleading information about nutrition and immunity this year – there’s no magic bullet in the diet that can prevent us from getting Covid-19. But there are many nutrients that support our immune system to work normally and a healthy diet, alongside vitamin D supplements in the winter months, can provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.”
Buying ultra-process foodstuff over the festive period will be very tempting, as the shelves are bound to be fully stocked. Ultra-processed foodstuff can keep for years and so availability is not so much of an issue, which cannot be said for fresh and wholesome foods, healthier and diet-specific items.
The BNF survey results showed that almost half (46%) of people between the age of 18-34 are worried about eating too many unhealthy snacks and as much as 23% are concerned about eating too many takeaways. We may suspect that people, this year, will rely on takeaways rather than eat festive dinners with their family, and perhaps as a response to the food shortage and absence of delivery slots. It is important to mention that not everyone lives in large city like London and many must drive many miles to get to their nearest shops or farms.
50% of participants told they did not change their eating habits this year and did not exercise more. and over 25% confessed they eat less healthily than they did before, which may also correspond to a large number of people working from home and tempted to snack at all hours of the day and exercise less (because of the national lockdowns). In fact, 63% said they keep on snacking just out of boredom and about the same percentage of people said they did not exercise at all and most of them remained sited for long periods of time.
39% were concerned about gaining weight over the festive period. This is such an issue that every year, new year's resolutions are to lose weight and hit the gym. However, as a third lockdown is to be expected in the new year, gyms may still be closed and most people may not spend any time outdoors.
Have you already given any thoughts about your new year's resolutions?
Are you more anxious about the festive period more than ever before?
Do you have a social group (family or friends) to support you during these unprecedented times?
It is all about FOOD™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients, and their role on our body; cooking processes; world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive reviews of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.