Tag Archives: Buddhism

Everything happens for a reason

Chris Hunt Pilates Wellness

Everything happens for a reason

It has been a wet and rainy day here in Barcelona, which is stark contrast to yesterday which was gloriously hot and sunny. How things change, and what a difference a day makes!

When I started this blog, I had an air of enthusiastic nievevity. This was my chance to vent my spleen, to tell whoever wanted to listen exactly what I was thinking and feeling.

All the articles that claim to have the secrets to a successful blog say make it personal, connect with your readers and they will keep coming back. But I also wanted my blog to be a source of information and a place to debate issues that I think need to be debated. So, in keeping with many things in my life, it was getting complicated by the number of things I was trying to achieve at the same time. Andy, a good friend of mine once bought me a book called ” Simplify your Life”. I wish I had read it.

I want to get back to my original intentions and write not only about health and fitness, but also once a week to get off my chest my thoughts and emotions. I have lots of those. Sometimes I put them into the songs I write, sometimes I tell anyone and everyone who will listen, and other times I keep them inside (that is the most dangerous scenario). I once wrote a song I called “I think I thought too much”. Maybe the next song I write should be “I think I talk too much”.

Please remember that what I write here cannot be wrong as much as it cannot be right, because ultimately it’s my opinion, an opinion that may or my not mean anything to you, but to me it means everything.

We live in a world of celebrity, where substance seems to be less important than superficial. That applies to all areas of life I see (including the world of fitness) where appearance and commerciality seem more important to many people than honesty, integrity and character. In Pilates we talk about deep lying muscles and superficial muscles. The superficial is all too easy to see, whereas anything deeper is often hidden or very under developed. There is a tendency to glorify the superficial when we should we looking inside.

If you ask someone about a particular movie, you might get from them their opinion if they have seen it, or a sample of reviews they have read, but usually and ultimately you are getting their opinion. That is all they can give. So many times we will take that opinion and make decisions based upon it. The more people we ask the more opinions we will have to draw on, but still we are gathering subjective information based upon other people’s complex decision making processes which can go back to childhood experiences and include everything else that has happened to them since then. Whether we like it or not, throughout out life, especially when we are children, we are being programmed by our parents, teachers, and the society we live in. Of course the vast majority of that programming is done with the best of intentions. But it is still programming. Some is necessary and very helpful. But some leaves us with the residue of other people’s programmed fears and negative experiences and it can take a lifetime to shake the disease off.

In my life I lived to a program for many years, always knowing deep down that it was not the program for me. But programming can be very strong. Mostly with intention, during the last 10 years of my life I have given up most of the things that were important to me (or at least I thought they were). Some people call it a mid-life crisis. I prefer mid-life enlightenment. It’s an incredibly liberating experience, but also scary, thought provoking and at time panic inducing. But I’m still standing. Repeat after me, “we grow the most when we are outside our comfort zone”. I can confirm this to be true. In fact never has a truer word been spoken. Apart from “don’t pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side”.

I’ve learnt not to get attached. Silly example, last week my Dr Dre Mixr Beats snapped in half. In the balance of life a very trivial thing, but as anyone who knows me (check out my pictures as well) will know that music is an integral and vital part of my life, and my Beats are the instrument that delivers this life-enhancing nectar to my ears, thus we are inseparable. So whilst I was a little inconvenienced, it was not so much a material heartache, more a musical heartache (Bonnie Tyler or Pepsi and Shirley. I’ll give you that one just incase you hadn’t noticed all the song titles in my words so far. Pay attention now… This shit’s about to get heavy.)

To be “happy” or “enlightened” (as I am buddhist) does not mean you have to throw away all material possessions. It’s perfectly ok to have nice things, expensive things, designer things. The key point here is that you must not become attached to those objects. They must not be the meaning of your life. The same logic can be applied to relationships. Enjoy the things you have in your life, be grateful, but always remember, there’s never a forever thing.

The most important lesson I have learnt through out my life experiences and studying Buddhism and psychology is the old truism that everything happens for a reason. Cliched it might be, but it’s incredibly powerful if you embrace it and really believe it. It gives you the power to take set-backs and even body blows but get up again, trusting that the Universe (or God if you prefer) has a master-plan. Of course even if you don’t believe in a divine roadmap, the truth is there is usually nothing you can do after a setback other than learn the lessons you need to learn, and move forwards and upwards. But if you believe that everything happens for a reason, it opens your heart and mind to new possibilities that in other circumstances you might have missed. Everything that happens to us in life can be seen as a lesson. And if you keep getting the same lessons (“why do I always end up with a bad partner”, “why do my bosses always take advantage of me”, “why does my weight fluctuate so much”, “why is it I never have any money/time/friends”) it’s probably because you aren’t learning your lesson and you are repeating patterns of behaviour that are not getting you what you want. So guess what? You will keep getting the same results until you change your behaviour. That’s not rocket science, so you do not have to be a scientist to understand it.

So why did my Dr Dre’s break? A faulty headband? Me being too heavy handed? A message from the Divine? Maybe. But what it did do was stop me being in a cocoon of music and open my ears on that flight to Barcelona and no surprises, I met a very intesting person to whom I talked.

My last thought for today’s blog. When things go wrong, it is very easy to wallow in self-pity and memories of what we remember as “better times”. Usually we only look back at our past because we do have a clear future. But we can have a clear future if that is what we choose to have.

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

Pilates EVO at MIOFF 2014

MIOFF Presenter Chris Hunt Pilates EVO

 www.pilatesevo.com

I will be presenting Pilates EVO in Moscow, Russia at MIOFF in October 2014. I hope to see lots of my friends there and I am sure that I will meet lots of new friends as well.

Click on the image above to read about MIOFF and Pilates EVO (there is an English language option).

During my visit in October I will be holding a 3 day Pilates Foundation Education, a 3 day Pilates EVO Advanced Education, and a 2 day Introduction to Pilates course. There will also be some Pilates EVO masterclasses.

For more information about attending the courses, please contact me as soon as possible as places are very limited. If you are a club in Moscow and you want to talk about bringing Pilates EVO to your club, then please contact me.

See you in Moscow!

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays 50% of any money made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Pilates EVO: From the heart

The Pilates EVO logo is based on the Arcane Wheel
The Pilates EVO logo is based on the Arcane Wheel

www.pilatesevo.com

When we create something ourselves, it can be a difficult step to share our creation with the world. What will people think? Will they like it? Will they criticize or praise? Will it be a success? I have always followed the words of Aristotle, who famously said, “there is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”.

When I was young, I suffered from a lot of back pain. I was born with a spine defect and that led to poor posture which made my problem worse. Hours spent playing sports and practising the piano further added to my problems. I tried many things to help, but Pilates was the thing that really changed my life. It enabled me to live a full life, to run marathons, to snowboard, surf, play golf and never think twice about my back before trying something new. From that day forward, I had a passionate belief that Pilates could help many people improve their quality of life.

In the early days, whilst still practising and studying Pilates I was worked in the City of London as an Insurance Manager. I continue to this day working as a Senior Business Consultant so my life has an excellent balance.

I travelled the world teaching Piates and learning (we never stop learning, and anyone who says any different is very sadly mistaken). As well as Pilates, I was interested in kundalini and other methods of functional training. I also developed a deep love of meditation which took me to the Buddhist Temples of Thailand. Whilst there, I also discovered and studied meridians, becoming qualified in Thai Massage. It was not just the body that interested me. I had always been interested in psychology, in what I saw as “total fitness”. I studied Buddhist psychology and other modern concepts such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

As I travelled teaching Pilates, within my subconscious there was a seed that was growing, an idea that I could use all my knowledge to create a different type of Pilates that reflected the ancient and modern. I am classically trained, and it pains me to see some of the new systems that claim to be “Pilates” when they are clearly nothing of the sort. So I took my time to think about how my new system could stay true to the principles of Pilates, to my principles, but how I could add to the experience my own knowledge, character and ideas.

It was important for to me to create a system from my heart, a system where everything has meaning and purpose. In my opinion there are too many systems and teachers who teach not from their heart, but from their bank balance. To quote Einstein, “Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty.”

From this melting pot evolved my system, and whilst meditating it became obvious to me that I should call it Pilates EVO©, as EVO is an English abbreviation of evolution.

I believe that BLOGS should be as short (and hopefully sweet) as possible, so what in as few words as possible is my system about?

During my travels I was disappointed to see that many people treated people Pilates as purely a physical system. So one of my main aims was that Pilates EVO© expands the mind and body element of Pilates by incorporating Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Mindfulness Meditation techniques and mantras to maximise the psychological and physical benefits, making clients emotionally, mentally and spiritually fitter whilst still improving motor fitness such as agility, balance, speed, co-ordination, reaction time and power.

Pilates EVO© is still predominantly Pilates, but it also draws on the thousands of years of teachings from Kundalini yoga and meridian stretches to further increase muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, and help prevent injury and improve performance for life and sport.

Pilates EVO© has a constant flow of movement with combinations of moves called Rites created using the sacred numbers 3, 7 and 21 linked by transitional movements. The sequences have different levels progressing muscular fitness using repetitions, range of motion, rate and resistance. This creates a system that will remain challenging to a wide range of training goals from elite athletes, people seeking everyday fitness, to clients rehabilitating following accident or injury. Whilst at its lowest levels Pilates EVO© is appropriate for beginners to Pilates, the beauty of the system means that at higher levels it can provide even the most experienced and advanced athletes with a very challenging work-out.

Music has always been a massive part of my life. I am a classically trained pianist and I play guitar, sing and write songs. I wanted every detail of EVO to maximise the total experience, so it has its own unique uplifting soundtracks mixed in London designed to enable clients to really connect with how their body is moving and working, giving a deep and rewarding experience.

It was very important to me to ensure that the teachers I trained to deliver Pilates EVO© understood all of the theory, spirituality and science behind the system. Pilates EVO© can be practised as a purely physical system , but by doing so the student is missing out on the deeper potential of the system.  I did not want the training to be just another weekend studying choreography and creating robots. Every EVO© teacher has to feel the system in their heart, if not I will not pass them. They must understand where the system comes from, otherwise they could not possibly be able to teach it properly. Pilates EVO© offers an extensive technical, in-depth anatomical teacher training program that includes Foundation and Advanced level qualifications, and seven specialist modules (including EVO Tactility© that teaches appropriate contact and cueing, EVO Forever Young© for the over 60’s and EVO Pregnancy©) enabling teachers to become experts in many areas.

I accept Pilates teachers from all schools of Pilates into my training program, but everyone who comes to the education must have a formal recognisable Pilates qualification. Part of the educations are aimed at giving teachers the skills and knowledge to enable them to become better teachers; not just better Pilates EVO© teachers, but in anything they teach. The knowledge they gain can also be used in everyday life in relationships with friends, partners and family.

I do not see Pilates EVO© as something I own or something I must have absolute control over. Dictatorships rarely last long. I wanted the system to be flexible so another aspect of Pilates EVO© is that at Advanced Level, teachers are empowered to create their own combinations of moves, so of which I use at future educations. To me this creates an ever evolving system that every qualified teacher can enhance with their own direction and imagination. Pilates EVO© is a community with all members contributing with ideas and energy.

Of course Pilates EVO© will not be for everyone. I expect and even welcome the negative comments because every positive value has its price in negative terms. I see negativity as an opportunity for me to explain more. I am happy that the positive comments have far outweighed the negative, and that the vast majority of people can see what it is I am trying to achieve and that I am passionate about it. So even if they do not fully agree with my methods, they respect my reasons for trying.

I feel blessed that Pilates EVO© is being taught throughout Europe and Russia and I now have Pilates EVO© teachers in over 12 countries. Its amazing growth has only been limited by the fact that I insist on training each and every potential EVO teacher personally, but that will never change.

Life is always moving forward, always changing, always evolving. When we awaken to the fact that we cannot stop or control change, that we should embrace change, then we are able to move forward as well. From this philosophy I created Pilates EVO©.

We should never forget our past. It built the foundation that our present so depends. But the past is not an excuse to stay still and not plan for a different future.

If you would like more details about the system, about how to become a Pilates EVO© teacher, about hosting an education or masterclass, or you just want to chat, then please contact me via Facebook or email the team on evolve@pilatesevo.com.

Chris is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

 

Chinese Medicine on the NHS? Whatever next! Pilates?

דיקור

www.chrishuntwellness.com

Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested. Let me repeat that. Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS. It’s not April 1st and I am not still suffering from an overdose of wine and cake after my birthday this week.

So, the NHS, that bastion of all that is traditionally British and not what you would ever describe as being particularly cutting edge when it comes to new therapies or treatments is considering integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Jeremy Hunt said his frequent travels to China (his wife’s home country) had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial.

He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”

This is truly music to my ears, but why? As a Pilates teacher why do I care so much? The reason is that Chinese medicine can involve methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. The very fact that it is being discussed at the echelons of UK Government shows a huge shift in the way the Western world is thinking about health and healthcare. You could say that thinking is coming full circle.

I am Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism and spirituality. I am also qualified in Thai Massage. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I have a profound belief in the link between the mind and the body. You will also know that that I think tradition and science both have a vital role in our thinking. We all know that Pilates is holistic, mind and body. I have long believed that the mind connection is understated. This is why that in my system Pilates EVO I integrated NLP, meditation and most importantly for this article meridian exercises and stretches.

So what are meridians?
Meridians (also known as collaterals) circulate in each of us, and can be thought of as paths in which energy flows.  The central idea in Eastern medicine is the assumption that all physical problems are due to an inhibition of the energy flow and that the revival of this circulation can contribute to improving health and well-being. Meridian exercises can also be used as preparation for meditation. In a traditional sense Meridians are functionaries without substantial structure as most people cannot feel or see them. The discovery of the meridians was made possible only by a very sensitive perception of Chinese people and their close relationship with the nature. The twelve meridians in the YIN-YANG pairs are responsible for six basic functions. Six of the basic functions with six yang meridians and their associated organs refers to the more superficial layers of the body. The other six basic functions with six yin meridians refer to organs, and so are more inside the body.

It is my opinion that a knowledge and use of such ancient methods as meridian and meditation can perfectly complement modern exercise science and psychological methods such as NLP, which is why Pilates EVO includes all of these.

To see Chinese methods and also meditation (a future blog about this is coming…) potentially moving into the mainstream of Western healthcare is for me a wonderful step in the right direction. A shift away from drugs can only help us all as Pilates and yoga teachers as our holistic methods will increase in their value and acceptance.

If you want to talk more about Pilates EVO, meridians or Pilates then you know where I am :)

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnivals, Pilates conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. Read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? for more.

Escape the Rat Race. If I can do it, so can you!

Chris Hunt PilatesEVO

www.pilatesevo.com

Escape the rat race. Is it possible?  5.45 am and I’m woken up by the piercing “Beep Beep” of my alarm jarring through my brain. I tried bird-song and babbling brooks but nothing changed the fact that it was 5.45 am and I had to get up, get ready, then go fight for a seat on the train to the City. I knew exactly (to the nearest centimetre) where to stand on the platform so a door would stop right in front of me, but the train was usually full already so my military precision was usually pointless.

After this wonderful journey into the centre London listening to other people’s “tinny” music leaking from inadequate headphones and enjoying their wet umbrella’s slowly dampening my trousers and my spirits at the same time, I would spend the day working in my role as Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I really enjoyed my work but felt constrained by the out-dated philosophies and attitudes I saw everyday. Lunchtime was an oasis that I’d spend in the gym. Sound familiar? I am sure this is a daily routine shared by many.

That was then… But this is now. I am a Senior Business Consultant and I also specialise in wellness, presenting Pilates and functional training all around the world. I am my own boss in everything I do, and I really feel that I am making a positive difference to people’s lives, and I am living in the place that from when a was a small boy I dreamed of living.

Pilates EVO Education Ukraine
Pilates EVO Education Ukraine

“I would of course love to pursue my dream as a/an ………….. (insert dream job here) but I could not possible do it because (delete as applicable) I’m too old / of the mortgage / of the children / I’m not good at learning new things / I can’t do my own accounts / I have no marketing experience / any other excuse you can think of.” Other people keep the thought in their head that “I could give up this life I do not enjoy but when the time is right”. Of course the time is never right, but they get some comfort believing that they could if only… They are the same people who say they could give up smoking, they could give up over eating, they could start exercising, they could learn Spanish but surprise surprise, it never happens. There is always an excuse not to.

I lost my father a few years later, and that along with some other events gave me the final push to achieve my life-long dream and move to Barcelona. Another big challenge, another “out of comfort zone” experience. But as they say, that’s when we grow the most.

So how can we go from a life of “coulds” to actually taking action? It makes sense to have a gradual change, maybe pursing your new career in your spare time first, so you have the financial security of still earning money and also save some money. This does mean working long hours, but what better motivation than to know that one day you will have the career change you have always dreamed about. It’s not a compromise to start part time, it’s just sensible. As long as you have a plan, an end game, and you stick to it. Don’t end up doing two jobs forever!

It’s essential to have a plan. When I say that to people, they say “Aha, but you are Buddhist and you always say about living in the Now and not in the future” as if they have found a vital flaw in my philosophy. But I politely point out that with no plan, we have no direction. Planning per se is not a bad thing to do, but there are rules. One golden rule of planning is that plans change! So be prepared for that. It’s like driving on a long journey at night. We know our final destination (otherwise we would drive around aimlessly) and we have a map so we know where we are going and how we will get there, but at any one time we can only see 100 metres ahead of us. Maybe our route will change because of unforeseen problems, but we will be flexible and we will arrive at our destination. You do not need to be able to see your destination to get there. Enjoy the journey, one step at a time, but always knowing that you will get to where you want to be.

Pilates EVO Hamburg Educations
Pilates EVO Hamburg Educations

But you must be careful about your new career. Your business should be a means rather than an end, a vehicle to enrich your life rather than one that drains the life you have. The worst thing you can do is start working for yourself and end up working so hard and stressing so much that you hate your job! It’s such a common mistake, people see the romantic notion of being their own boss, but after the initial euphoria, they realise that they are working harder and longer than they were before. At least working for someone else they could leave work, go home and relax. But now their job is with them every waking hour, they live it. And the dream turns into a nightmare because instead of having a boss for your job, your job has become your boss! And it’s no fun. In fact it’s less fun than your old job working for someone else. You can’t take holidays because the work won’t get done. You can’t be ill, you can hardly stop to think. Your social life is nonexistent, yet you carry on thinking that your hard work will pay off one day. Maybe it will, but more often it won’t, and many people end up giving up and getting a “normal” job again. The important point here is that no matter what you thought before, your business should not be your life. Your business should serve your life, and not the other way around.

Pilates EVO Masterclass at Pilates Carnival Krakow
Pilates EVO Masterclass at Pilates Carnival Krakow

There’s a saying that great businesses are not built by extraordinary people but by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. So how can an ordinary person do extraordinary things? By having a system and a plan. Again it’s the “p” word. Have a plan and stick to it! Things will change, but always know where you are aiming to get and how you will get there. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Friends and parents will help of you ask. They will see the changes you are trying to make and if they are really on your side then they will help. And of course, make sure you have the support of your partner. It sounds so obvious and yet I know many people who think they can make such a big decision on their own. You must expect hard times and up and downs. It’s normal and natural. Remember the old cliché, we grow the most when we are out of our comfort zone. I can confirm from experience that this is so true! So much so that I try to stay out of my comfort zone as often as possible.

I could continue writing for pages and pages about Business Plans, marketing, SMART targets, feasibility studies, SWOT analysis/matrix etc etc, but that is not the point of this article. The point is to show you there is another way. You can change your life. You control and create your own Universe, you really do. You always have a choice. Always. Every journey begins with the first step. But it will never begin unless you take that step. I’m not special. If I can do it then so can you.

Pilates EVO Education Moscow
Pilates EVO Education Moscow

6.00 am and I’m woken up by my alarm. I still get up early and I work very hard, but now it’s very different, it’s my choice. Maybe I will go for a run on the beach or an early morning swim before I start work and before the rest of the world wakes up. That’s the difference now. Choice and control. And it’s a great difference. I still regularly go into The City and I deal with my old contacts, but now it’s for my own company so it’s on my terms. It feels a very different place.

The moral of my story in 11 words? It’s not too late, you have the rest of your life. And if there is any way I can help, then please just ask.

Chris is a Senior Business Consultant and international Pilates and Wellness presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©.  He also created Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

When is meat not meat? Read this before you go shopping…

As most of you know I am vegetarian, so can I write an unbiased blog about meat? I certainly can if my information is based on facts.

I really have no issue with people who eat meat. I am totally tolerant of other people’s choices (as any good Buddhist should be). I choose to be vegetarian for many reasons, one reason being my concerns about the quality of much of the meat that is on sale. I never try to “convert” people, but I think it is important to have all the facts available so we can all make an educated choice.
The reason for my blog today is a couple of reports this week. The first is about the water content of frozen chicken sold in leading supermarkets. A recent study has found that between 13% and 18% of frozen chicken is simply water. That means that people are paying around £1.50 (2€) per kilo for water! So why is there so much water in the frozen chicken? The manufacturers say it is essential to improve the flavour and moisture. Believe this is you want, but the other reason is of cause to add bulk and therefore increase profits.

If this was not bad enough news for frozen chicken eaters, it gets worse. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK are investigating a major UK importer of poultry who it is claimed, imported frozen chicken from Brazil, defrosted it, added water, then froze it again for sale. But the water that was added also included additives to help the meat to absorb the water. It is common for extracted protein to be used to bind in the extra fluid, and some years ago there was controversy as it was claimed that the added protein in chickens also included proteins from beef and pork. The FSA are again today investing new claims that undeclared proteins have been added to chicken.

Also this week there was an official report produced for the UK Government following the horsemeat contamination that hit the UK and Europe earlier this year. This involved several beef products in several supermarkets being found to contain horse DNA. This report concluded that large amount of meat of “dubious origin and quality” is still being sold by a web of international traders. Some gourmet burgers were found to contain offal such as heart. Most worryingly, the report concluded that some of the meat on sale was not fit for human consumption, and was intended for dog food rather than supermarket shelves.

The food scandal extends beyond meat. It is an interesting fact that the UK alone consumed 1,800 tonnes of Manuka Honey, when the only official producers in New Zealand only produced 1,700 in total for the whole world! Also, as pomegranate’s popularity increases as a “superfruit” there are questions being asked as to how 400 new drinks are now available without any way of an immediate increase in pomegranate trees (they take two to three years to start producing fruit).

We are what we eat. Really. It amazes me that some people buy higher quality products for their pets or the cars than they do for themselves. In my opinion we should always buy the best possible food that we can afford, and always try to know as much about the source of the food. Whilst this can never remove all the risks of buying something of a poor quality, it can reduce the risks.

Generally speaking, if something seems too cheap to be true, then it probably is.