I recently had a brief encounter with the law.

It was a sunny afternoon, and I decided to ride my bike to the grocery store. There’s very little traffic on the back streets of Neutral Bay so I was enjoying the wind in my hair, the singing of the birds and the freedom in my heart. That was where it started to go wrong. The euphoria ended abruptly, when a police officer pulled me over to the side of the road.

“Ma’am, for cycling without a helmet you can be fined up to $330.”

My heart sank. I’d forgotten the helmet (not a very mindful action or just an European in me).

I was lucky. He let me off without issuing a hefty fine.

“And remember, Ma’am, next time you’ll pay a fine for putting yourself in danger”.

I continued on my way (walking my bike).

Standing in the long checkout queue in a grocery store, I did a quick Google search, to check the police officer’s figures. He was right; here’s what I found:

As these numbers bounced in my mind, I suddenly noticed what was happening in front of my eyes: burgers, sausages, fries, pizzas and processed food were flying past the cashier’s scanner. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen it before, of course, but only now it dawned on me.

The law is all set to fine me, so as to protect my brain, but it allows these manufacturers to produce junk food that will destroy our hearts. 

I find it ironic we can’t choose to ride a bike without a helmet but we can choose to kill ourselves slowly with unhealthy food.

The statistics speak for themselves.

Obesity has gone up by nearly 10% in 10 years.

80% of it is caused by what goes into our mouths. Does the government understand what these statistics mean for the hospital system, and the health care budget?

Yes it does. It’s stated clearly on the AIHW website:

Total health expenditure in Australia for 2013-2014 was $155 billion dollars, according to data published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Governments were responsible for $105 billion (Federal government $63 billion; State governments $41 billion).

So what is the major cause of illness?

           The single leading cause of death in Australia is heart disease.     (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016)

  1 in 5 Australians are at risk of heart attack and stroke (AAP, 2017)

Perhaps government authorities need a Wellness Accountant to show them that investing in people’s wellbeing will reap benefits on larger scale – and save them money!

What’s the immediate solution?

·     Do we need more knowledge and education about what we should (and shouldn’t) put into our mouths to keep healthy? Read my blog: ‘Food is not a medicine’.

·     Or do we need awareness of what we are eating? Mindful eating is a big part of healthy nutrition; it influences every  choice we make.

Tips for this month.

Keep your brain and wallet safe, by wearing a helmet when cycling.

Keep your heart healthy, by choosing the right foods.

What are the right foods? Stay tuned and find out the truth about good food choices in my next blog. “Watch what you bite or it will bite you back” will explore another grey area in the health industry that’s making billion dollar profits by making unsustainable lifestyle suggestions, and spreading fallacies. I will look into the paleo diet and its negative effects on our long-term health. I’ll also talk about wine. What benefits does it really have for our heart? Can it damage our brain? Finally, I’ll answer the question: Just how healthy is the “healthy green” breakfast? 

That’s all for now.

Your Wellness Accountant

Gitana