My dear readers, you are in luck again this week as I feel compelled to write yet another extra post, this time about hunger.
At least I hope you look forward to new posts and not just sigh and delete when a new post alert pops up in your email inbox.
Why Am I Writing About Hunger?
What made me write this post was hunger, or rather my perception of it. I had to go just over 24 hours without food last week when preparing for the colonography (also known as CTC) and I complained about not being allowed to eat. It got me thinking that I, and probably most of you reading this, have never experienced real hunger.
The day before my CTC, I was allowed to have breakfast at 7am, but then had to go without food until the procedure was over, which was about 11am the next day.
By dinner time I was hangry (hungry + angry in case there are readers who haven’t come across the term before). I was jealous of Justin tucking into his dinner and wondering if I’d get any sleep on an empty stomach.
I was, of course, being ridiculous. The truth is, I have no idea what real hunger feels like.
Facts About Hunger
According to a report from The United Nations, 690 million people around the world regularly go to bed hungry. This is 8.9% of the world’s population and the number of people has gone up by nearly 60 million in the last five years.
Majority of people not getting enough food are in Asia, 381 million people followed by Africa, where more than 250 people are undernourished.
In 2019, food insecurity affected almost one in ten people (not knowing where their next meal will come from). I’m clearly not a percentages person as 8.9% didn’t give me a clear picture. Whereas reading that one in ten people doesn’t have enough, made me think, ‘s**t, that’s a lot of people’.
If the numbers continue to rise at the same rate, there will be about 840 million people going hungry in ten years’ time.
People Going Hungry In The UK
Just like Period Poverty, hunger is not only a problem in poorer countries. It affects people in the first-world countries, too.
For example, there are 8.4 million people in the UK struggling to find enough money for food. There are children who arrive to school every day having had no breakfast. For many children, the only decent meal is the one they get at school.
Charities such as FareShare are working to end childhood hunger in the UK. They partnered with Marcus Rashford on a campaign to petition the government to provide underprivileged children with food vouchers during the national lockdown and school holidays to ensure they continue to access food.
Impact Of Covid-19 On World Hunger
“Covid-19 is deepening the hunger crisis in the world’s hunger hotspots.” – Oxfam
They also state that by the end of the year, 12,000 people per day could die from hunger linked to Covid-19.
While the pandemic is making the situation worse in known hunger hotspots such as Yemen, Sudan and Syria, it is making more people go hungry in many middle-income countries such as Brazil, South-Africa and India, too.
In the UK, data collected by the government showed that 7.7 million adults missed meals or ate less in the first few weeks of the national lockdown. 3.7 million adults said they used food banks or sought charity to access food.
Covid-19 is causing mass job losses and increasing the number of adults on no income or social support. It is estimated that 305 million full-time jobs will be lost because of Covid-19 pushing 1/2 billion people into poverty.
I couldn’t write about hunger without including food waste. I’ve always known that every year a lot of food is wasted, but what I learnt was shocking.
- The food wasted in Europe alone could feed 200 million people.
- If we were to reduce food waste by just 25%, it could feed 870 million people.
- Lots of produce gets discarded because it doesn’t meet the supermarkets’ standards. For example, in the UK 40-60% of fish caught gets discarded.
- An average consumer in Europe or North America wastes almost 100kg of food every year.
- Every day in the UK we throw away 20 million slices of bread, 4.4 million potatoes and 5.2 million glasses of milk.
These are just a fraction of the facts I found. You can learn more from Earth.org and Foodtank.com. Another great source of information is Delivery Rank, a website that was recommended to me by a university student working on a project on world hunger.
What Can We Do?
I have to be honest and admit that Justin and I used to waste a lot of food. We’d either not end up cooking stuff that we had in the fridge or I’d cook huge portions and end up binning the leftovers.
We are better now.
We plan our meals better now before we go shopping to avoid buying stuff we end up not using. Since we have had a proper freezer, I have been able to keep leftover food for longer and have them for lunches. I’ve come to realise that you can freeze most food stuff. Apparently even eggs as long as they are cracked and beaten first. I’m yet to try this.
One of the main things that we used to end up throwing away was fresh stuff. Never cucumber since I can eat a cucumber a day there’s never any danger of it rotting away in the fridge. Mainly it would be fruit that we hadn’t got round to eating or bags of salad. Now I freeze any fruit that is close to going off and use it in smoothies. Having a freezer definitely helps to reduce food waste.
A handy tip that I learnt who knows where, I cannot remember, is putting a bit of kitchen towel in the bag of salad. It stops it going slimy.
Other than reducing food waste, we can help by donating to food banks or charities.
Funnily enough, my next planned blog post is also about food focusing on how I’ve changed my eating habits since the cancer diagnosis.
I am not planning for additional posts next week, unless something compels me again.
Thank you for being here and reading the post.
Until next time!