I am a sucker for a public health message. Anything that’s going to boost my immune system and stop me getting flu and sickness bugs in the short-term and cancer in the long-term, I’m there. And then some.
Five a day – check. Two litres of water – check. Suncream – check. Frequent hand washing/ hand sanitising – check. Wiping down all the surfaces when someone’s ill – check.
Each little habit I adopt makes my life a little bit more inconvenient, but I actually think they work. Because I never get ill. My kids rarely get ill – and when they do, they never pass it on. So it might seem a little OCD, but I can justify it.
I’m a bit extreme with some of them. You know how most people struggle to drink two litres of water a day? Or even a litre? I drink four or five. It has even been picked up by doctors because, actually, even drinking too much water can be bad for you. It thins the blood apparently. I don’t think I’m quite there. In my defence, I don’t drink tea, coffee or fizzy drinks, so other people might be drinking four or five litres of different liquids in a day and I’m just drinking water.
And the five a day? I’m one of the few people who would have to cut down my fruit and veg consumption to achieve five a day. I’m usually a seven or eight a day kind of person. And they’re pretty big portions too. It would do me no harm to eat slightly less.
We don’t holiday abroad, so we don’t fall into the old ‘can’t get sunburnt in Britain’ trap. And then get sunburnt. Apart from the time my son got sunburnt playing rugby for the school. IN MARCH. No-one could have foreseen that one. Sun cream lives in my bag for six months of the year. And we use it. My kids are pale. My younger son is so white he practically glows. I don’t want them to burn and I don’t want them to tan either. Tan is just skin damage.
You know how those swine flu ads told you to wash your hands every time you blow your nose? I do that. And very frequently when I’m cooking. And before emptying the dishwasher. Basically, A LOT. Probably too much. Oh well.
I’d like my kids to adopt the same attitudes. But they’re kids, fussy ones at that . I’ve got no chance of them eating five a day or drinking loads of water. I just hope that they will learn from me and pick up my good habits (but not my excessive ones) at some point in the future. I certainly didn’t eat five a day when I was their age. Or even when I was 25.
My eldest has picked up the hand washing thing. His friends give each other superhero names. He is ‘super-hygiene’. He is also super-healthy, so I’m happy with that.
There are other health messages I choose to ignore and file away in the dark recesses of my brain. Stuff like the high saturated fat content of Green & Blacks. Saturated fat could give me cancer. Or at the very least, clog up my arteries.
But I eat lots of fruit and veg. It’s all fine.