Eat, Play, Be Aware

A wet week and a wetter weekend kept many indoors. Finding out about how science and clever marketing has turned food into an industrialised commodity and people into overweight junkies and how corruption became endemic in FIFA and World Cup Soccer, gave plenty of “food for thought”.

A few weeks ago we were talking about how dry it was, how we needed rain after a long winter, how the grass was still yellow, the sidewalks dusty and the flower beds scraggly. The rains came, as they invariably do (ye of little faith!) and they have not let up. It has been wet, wet, wet. Grey and wet, with a smidgeon of sunshine. This weekend even our swimming pool overflowed.

We are not complaining. No, really we are not. Even if we would really much rather have more sunshine (the washing would like that too) we are grateful for the water. We just wish we could just capture more of it, save it for the dry winter months, use it instead of the chemically cleaned municipal water. At the moment we have two storage tanks, and a swimming pool we call our reservoir. A start but not quite enough to take us through the dry months.


There was so much rain the pool overflowed

Relaxing, reading and Netflix

With all the rain we couldn’t get out much so we spent a large part of our spare time over the weekend reading or watching movies or documentaries. There emerged an interesting pattern: where there is big money, corruption lurks not far behind and you cannot, must not, believe anything big business tells you, especially if it concerns what you consume, in all senses of the word.

Chantal came across an article and then the accompanying book about the food industry in the US and its impact on obesity and ill health. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us is a 2013 expose by journalist Michael Moss. Matthew grabbed it and was off! His foray into the underworld of food manufacture actually made him feel a bit sick and here is why.


Rain water here, rain water there, rain water everywhere!

Getting you hooked

We all know that too much salt, sugar and fat is bad for us, but this book reveals in jaw dropping fashion how the food companies used science, and very clever marketing, learnt from the cigarette companies, no less, to capture and engorge their market. First the American public then any other large and, often, poor nation, was cornered, conned and held captive to the addictive substances they pass off as food.

It is staggering what they do and how they get away with it. Government sanctioned, market supported, deliberate overfeeding with nutritionless, calorie intense industrialised products that make you obesely overweight while tricking you into eating more. Once you start you cannot stop, the cravings are real, the pull magnetic. We have come to the realisation that it would be best not to eat anything processed and to scrutinise the labels like a Puritan looking for a witch.


Collecting our beautiful coffee print of the Johannesburg skyline from the artist and new friend, Grant Patrick. He’s the co-owner of a small business called Joon’s in Linden

A cup of corruption

With the soccer world cup about to start in Qatar (of all places!) Netflix is showing FIFA Uncovered, a documentary that exposes how the organisation went from a non-profit to a multimillion dollar organisation so powerful and so corrupt that it makes one wonder whether any international businesses operate above the dirt of backhands, greased palms and swiftly disappearing paper trails.

When Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup it was very clear, even to a non-football fan like Chantal, that large amounts of money had changed hands. Who plays soccer in Qatar for crying out loud? During the first episode, we watched as the FBI raided the offices in Zurich and wondered why. We know the US pokes its nose into everybody's business but football? Then it dawned on us. The USA lost the 2022 bid to Qatar. You don’t snub the US without it blowing up in your face.

FIFA will survive, the Soccer World Cup will survive, but we are not so sure about the human race. We do need to wake up and take real responsibility for what we believe, who we believe and what we put in our mouths.

Organisations are made up of people. It is people who drive the culture, direction and ethos of a company. For good or bad. History has shown that there will always be FIFA or a PepsiCo, a Nestlé or McDonalds. It is the individual, however, that has the power. What is football without spectators, what is a Happy Meal without a parent driving through?

We firmly advocate that it starts with me. That each of us has a responsibility to ourselves, firstly, then our children, families, community, environment and the earth. We are not for taking a stand, for marching with raised fists. We are for starting where we have the most influence and control, right here with ourselves. Do right for ourselves and we do right for the world.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew

Tristan with Matthew’s long time friend, Clive, who runs another small corruption free business selling engine parts and spares

The individual has the power

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