A reflection on this year by Lean Lunch Founder, Sat Mann
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has had global, national, regional and individual impacts. One of the key subjects that this has highlighted is the lack of meaningful conversation that there is on personal health. This year presents an opportunity to discuss our health openly and for us all to take steps going forwards to look after ourselves, our bodies and our minds. This virus has had, and continues to have, a truly devastating effect for many people, but we can make changes now that will protect us as much as possible for the future.
With Leeds as a city of health and wellbeing, it is vital that the message of taking personal responsibility for ourselves is shared widely and that there is accessible education on why eating well helps so much. Lean Lunch is committed to making delicious, nutritious food as convenient as possible for people in the Leeds area. Covid-19 has shown to have more effects for those with pre-existing conditions. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, diet related illness and disease was the biggest cause of death in the western world. We can’t be sure we can prevent another pandemic happening in our lifetime, but we can look after ourselves so that we are in the best position possible, whatever challenges life presents us with.
As humans our main needs relate to warmth, shelter and food, what we seek is to be happy and live a long, healthy life. Food has a huge connection to our overall wellbeing both physical and mental. Investing in yourself with good food increases your chances of being disease free and in achieving the desired long, happy life. Simple, honest ingredients packed with goodness are key, it does not need to be complicated. Incredibly, only 27% of people consume enough fibre in their diets. Simply speaking, the best way to improve the fibre in our diet and to know we are eating well is to ‘eat the rainbow’ with more fruit, vegetables and plants on our plates.
It is a long-term, systemic change that starts with education right from primary school age with the sharing of positive health messages and in empowering people to make choices based on how they want to live. We cannot make choices for people, but we can give them the tools and encouragement to follow the path that they want to and to develop a healthy relationship with food and wellbeing.
With Covid-19, the poorest health outcomes are in low socio-economic areas. These are also the areas that are the worst food areas, where low quality food is abundant. The health of our nation is paramount, regardless of politics or socio-economic background. We should be incentivising, educating and subsidising to ensure healthy food is available for everyone.
We can learn a lot from this year. Given the opportunity to stop, listen to and understand each other we can all become more aware and more self-aware. As humans, we are equipped to come together. We have seen clearly the importance of appreciating the smaller, good things in life and we have been shown how amazing key workers have kept the country going. We have shown resilience and community spirit. Many of us have spent more time with family and offered help to neighbours and the vulnerable.
We are also, however, creatures of habit and comfort. People can become insular and more focused on themselves. We need to come together again and continue to support our keyworkers and to support our independent and local businesses.
There is another disaster happening right now, all around us, that has been developing for years. That is the environment and the planet. This is currently our biggest threat and we need to come together to face this challenge in the way we have shown we can this year. This is the bigger picture of the world and what is happening to it. Let’s seize the opportunity to improve our personal health and the health of the planet, and let’s remain grateful for everything that has shown to be important to us during 2020.
Wonderful things happen every day, big and small, people all across Leeds, the UK and the world wake up every day and do incredible things and help others. Let us move forwards with optimism and embrace the power of coming together and shift our mindsets from thinking it isn’t the responsibility of us all, because if human and planetary health combine, it will be transformational.