Food. It’s just fuel for our bodies, isn’t it? The stuff we need to ingest to stay alive and well. That defines it all in one short sentence.

“The stuff”: we need a certain combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, nutrients, vitamins and roughage to keep the blood flowing, the cells forming and the brain active.

“Ingest”: we need to eat and drink at certain times and in certain quantities to achieve the best results short & long term.

“Alive and well”: without food, we will die, but equally eating too much we will also die, but more slowly and horribly.

If we get all the above together in the right proportions  and right timing, we will certainly be much healthier, and therefore much happier since we can do more, more easily, more often, with more energy.

Simple isn’t it? So why don’t we do it ? Why do only certain people, a very small part of the population, eat sensibly and correctly? It is absolutely amazing when you think about it! If we get the correct information about exactly what we, as individuals, actually need to achieve peak condition – and it’s quite available – why do we not do it and stick to it? And I have to include myself here too so don’t feel bad!

Here are the facts, and you have heard them a hundred times before: if you allow yourself to become overweight (and a large percentage of most western populations are not just overweight, they are now obese), you are likely to die earlier than you should through heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Isn’t that a convincing enough argument? Never mind the discomfort and debilitating effects of obesity, the joint pains, the knees, the back, the inability to exercise or pursue sports – or for that matter – fashion!

Do you remember that horror film ‘Supersize Me’ in which the filmmaker goes on a deliberate upsizing program on fast food and within one month has brought himself to the point of serious and permanent health injury unless he stops? But he did, and recovered, and wonderfully McDonald’s then introduced a whole range of healthy foods as a result which may have saved a whole load of lives. A good save by the fast-food chain.

But let’s go back to the problem of understanding why people do not control their eating habits better. Is it education, or perhaps a lack of it? Or is it advertising by the FMCG’s (fast moving consumer goods companies) who try to influence our choices to consume their (often not very healthy) products ?

It’s certainly a combination of both, with parents and schools as guilty as each other. Dangerously overweight, or unhealthy, parents often end up with children facing similar problems, precisely because they don’t have the correct information and pass this on to the next generation. But that vicious circle might end as the millennials are much more aware through their access to the  internet and hence blogs, vlogs, and YouTube videos encouraging healthy habits.

But schools? It is amazing to me that schools spend so much time and effort getting their students to do advanced maths, physics, and chemistry which they may never use again in life, and so a little time in educating every student in nutrition & health, which they need to apply every day for the rest of their lives. Let’s hope that is now changing.

But let’s get back to Bali and the local food industry which you are currently enjoying — it’s pretty much good news all round! Bali is home to some of the best restaurants in Asia, with combinations of quality and price that are hard to match.

All the top restaurants are now very conscious of their responsibilities to provide healthy, balanced meals, and to reduce food waste and single–use plastic. So your chances of having tasty and healthy meals are pretty high. Just read on, look at our Best Restaurant Bar & Café Award Winners from last year ( and just have a brilliant time enjoying every mouthful. But be good – stick to your optimal input and then you can do it again tomorrow – guilt-free! Selamat Makan

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.