Was life in 1950 better for us than life today? For those of us with parents or grandparents who lived through the 50’s, it might be worth taking a moment to have a chat with them about the way they purchased, cooked and consumed food. While you’re at it, ask them about what cleaning products they used and what cosmetics filled their medicine cabinet.

The 50’s life was vastly different from life today. I’m suggesting it might be a positive move if we adopt some of the positive aspects of the 50’s lifestyle.

Now I am not talking about women leaving the workforce to return to the domestic life of the traditional 50’s housewife. Even though they suggest that housewives burnt an average of 1,000 calories a day, just in their day to day activities. They ate more calories than we do. They had better sex lives and enjoyed a slice of cake or pudding almost every day. Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad!

I think the 50’s holds a few answers as to why we are eating fewer calories today compared to our parents and grandparents, yet we are battling an obesity epidemic!

We have become a culture of convenience. Women began entering the workforce, taking jobs of their fathers while keeping the job of their mothers. Their opportunities increased and their workload doubled. This paradigm shift spurred the era of convenience, hello 80’s! Soda streams, electric can openers, coco pops, pop tarts, 2-minute noodles, microwaves, toasted sandwich makers, home delivered pizza………oh I love the 80’s, but all of those gadgets were the beginning of so many problems we face today.

With convenience, came mass production of processed food and a billion dollar industry that continues to thrive.

The average family in the 50’s had a steady routine. Meals were planned and prepared with 100% local ingredients. These ingredients were purchased every few days. Snacking was non-existent as meals were balanced, they had adequate fat to keep us full and the portions were small. In fact, snacking first started to become popular in the 80’s right around the time fat was classified as “BAD” and low fat was in. The fat was taken out of food and sugar was added, it was added for flavour. Diet foods and drinks loaded with artificial sweetener were everywhere and all of a sudden we were hungry!

Wham bam, snacks were created and sold to satisfy our hunger between meals. So, in fact, we were slowly starting to eat more calories and less fat to stay full. This also coincided with the trend of leg warmers and g-string leotards, it must have also had an effect on one’s dress sense as well. Just kidding! I LOVE an 80’s gym outfit, wish Lorna Jane would revive that look!

The food consumed in the 50’s was grown locally or homegrown, it was fresh and seasonal. The use of chemicals in farming was beginning to spread as common practice, but nothing like it is today. The food was not modified, packaged or created in a lab and sold to us as being ok. A perfect example of this is Sports Drinks, they are made out of petroleum! It’s what they use to make them that colour! Unbelievable on so many levels and frankly not ok for us to consume or let our precious little humans consume.

Today we are living longer due to advances in medicine, but are we doing everything we can to make sure that we are living the highest quality of life we can? I don’t think we are. I think the way we are buying, preparing and consuming food needs to be evaluated. Taking it back to basics. Not being told by a billion dollar industry what is good for us.

A beautiful friend of mine has the best saying “If it’s made in a lab by someone in a white coat, you will end up needing to see someone in a white coat.” If you consume food and use products that are made in laboratories, you are going to need help from medical specialists. Pretty good way to say it I think.

There is a wonderful rebellion going on today against what we have become accustomed to. Farmers Markets are popping up everywhere, Organic companies are making everything from kitchen sponges to tampons. People are seeking out alternatives. At the moment this takes time, it’s not convenient.

The more we become aware of what has changed and how those changes haven’t all been positive to our health, the more convenient it will become. We have the power to change how we spend our money. We are in control of what we feed our families, we can seek out the most nutritious, vitamin dense organic food, and it’s out there. We can reduce our family’s exposure to the infinite amount of chemicals they are faced with every day. When we do this, we create change and industry will follow. They will go where the money is.  

The 50’s was a simple time and there’s no need to go back. Life today is exciting and full of opportunity. However, it can be positive to take a look over our shoulder and see what was working for us before convenience became king. Time to take it old school and see what positive changes we can bring about.

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