Fat is the New Black

Sunday afternoon 2pm-6pm for me is designated nap time.  On a successful day, more than one nap can be squeezed into this schedule.  For the first time since being a 20-something working in hospitality, I left my bed on purpose for a work commitment during these precious hours.  Only an event of life-changing potential could possibly lure me from my pillow laden paradise.  Bring Back the Fat was that event.  A gathering of nutritionally conscious rockstars descended on the mighty University of Queensland St Lucia campus. I sure as shit wasn’t going to end up being that guy in 40 years who said “I never got to see Christine Cronau, Maryanne, Dr Aseem or Damon Gamou perform as a super-group.”

The purpose for this event (the Brisbane leg of a three-city tour), in layman’s terms, was to educate Australians about the FACT that sugar is shit and fat is cool. A well documented, charismatically presented seminar debunking the great myth sold to the Australian public “excess fats and cholesterol equate to heart disease.”

I arrived early and eager.  Unfortunately fatigue and restlessness were setting in strong.  Eleven straight days of work can do this.  The first observation for the day was rather saddening.  Aside from myself and photographer, only three other people in the 500-strong crowd were under the age of 45 (potential mild exaggeration of facts).  Is it because Sunday is designated hangover day for everybody else? Is it because the younger generation are still enjoying the resilience of youth and not yet concerned with what goes in to their body? Or is nutrition just not cool?

The first presenter for the day Damon Gamou (creator of That Sugar Film) was captivating.  I fought off my exhaustion as best possible but was plagued by the thought “where the fuck are all the young cool kids?”  The frustration of hearing incessantly from peers in Gen Y that “goji berries are super food” or “paleo is the only way” or “gluten free changed my life” yet not one decided to get off their arse and actually get educated about the facts.  A generation of people likely to continue digesting whatever bullshit their friend had shared.

I was fortunate to be included in the Q&A at the conclusion of Damon’s presentation.

“Working in entertainment media, how do we encourage our individual audience members to become investigators.  To seek out facts from the bullshit?”  

Tell them to try what they have heard and experience the results.  In this instance, cut the excess sugars and see. 

A simple and powerful message.  Try the up to date recommendations from the experts and if it improves your health, you become a walking example of what works rather than just another twat spouting nutritional nonsense you heard on My Kitchen Rules.

I exited the Bring Back the Fat experience early.  I was simply not able to combat the fatigue.  Myself and the photographer discussed at length the frustration of our new found knowledge.  Firstly, it’s probably going to be well into the final chapters of our lives when potentially life destructive symptoms appear before people are interested in eating well or looking after themselves.  Secondly, that big business (Australia is the second largest exporter of sugar in the world) was likely to dictate for some time yet what the average consumer considers to be healthy.

As I write this article I am highly aware of the grim undertone.  It’s not because I’m still tired and shitty.  It’s because I wanted to reflect the truth of our consumer attitudes to diet.  I am hopeful, as were the amazing presenters of the day, that changes are happening and that more and more people are waking up and making positive choices.  In the meantime, if you dare suggest to me any nutritional based rumours as you slurp away on your fructose loaded super smoothie, I will headbutt you.

PHOTO CREDIT: Rebecca Lowe

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