Could we stomach a return to a wartime diet?

QUOTE: “As our population grows, and world food prices escalate, the UK will need to produce more food. But will that mean a return to a more restricted diet, reminiscent of wartime, when reduced imports made Britain rely heavily on homegrown food?”…

That opening paragraph struck me.. It made me wonder would it be a bad thing if this were to happen? How difficult would it be for a country to adapt to a “more locally grown” diet with less choice?

Having lived for almost one year now, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (with just a few days off for very special occasions) on a 1940s authentic wartime ration diet, I can tell you it was challenging in the early weeks as my body detoxed from it’s reliance on modern processed convenience foods. But surprisingly, for all the years I had been stuffing my face with crisps, chocolate bars, pounds of cheese and grotesque outsize portions of meat, the adaptation to a very simple, basic, wholesome diet with lots of fresh vegetables and very few processed items, was quite easy, once I’d got into a preparation routine…

QUOTE: “Food policy expert Prof Tim Lang says consumers are also partly to blame, as “they are being allowed the fantasy that they can eat what they like”.

Our ever-expanding palates have become accustomed to exotic, imported foods not available in the UK, not to mention an abundance of meat and dairy products.

Animals must consume, on average, 3kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat. Today half of all cereals produced are used to feed animals. They are “the most wasteful and inefficient converters of food which one can imagine,” argues Prof Lang, who is also a former government advisor on food policy.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), all of the world’s cereal fed to animals could feed the additional three billion people expected by 2050. The UNEP suggests animals could instead be fed recycled waste.

“Instead of aspiring to eat more meat and dairy as people get richer, we should aspire to eat more diverse plants,” says Prof Lang. But he says the government is failing to “take a lead” on changing the policy around what farmers should produce….”


And then there is the environmental benefits, health and economic benefits as a nation should the British government put infrastructure and subsidies into place to make farming profitable for growers, in an island like Britain, one has to face the reality that raising animal protein is also a huge drain on the countries limited water supply..

QUOTE:  “In a statement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Farming Minister Jim Paice said:

“With our increasingly hungry world every country must play its part to produce more food and improve the environment… Whether it means embracing new farming technology or people wasting less, we’ve got to become more sustainable.”


While returning to a wartime style diet overnight is not a reality, maybe it is time to embrace some of ways the British nation had to adapt to feeding everyone during WW2. It looked like growing and eating locally produced food, reducing meat and dairy consumption, and being less wasteful and more appreciative was a pretty decent blue print for a more sustainable country.AND the health of the nation improved…

That can’t be a bad thing surely?

CLICK HERE for the full BBC Article “Could we stomach a return to a wartime diet?”

4 thoughts on “Could we stomach a return to a wartime diet?

  1. Nothing would please me more to see the UK return to those rations, The people would save boo-coo bucks in their stressed economy, and the NHS would save boo-coo bucks, too, because the people would become much healthier, requiring fewer visits to doctors. I see it as a “win-win” situation.

    Of course, I know this idea is just a fantasy, but maybe somebody can think of some solution that’s somewhere in the middle.

  2. Thanks for those quotes and that link. I am starting on the wartime farm series on TV, and it is saying that the problems they faced then, to feed the nation, were very similar to those we face today (or will face very soon). It’s all very topical stuff. I’m very happy how my diet has changed, and I haven’t started weighing out rations yet. Any diet that contains ‘unlimited’ potatoes and oats sounds good to me though.

  3. I agree that we need to do this….With a few dietary changes for persons with, say, diabetes. Anyhow, my question is….After a year is up, are you going to continue with this lifestyle change? Will you maintain your blog regarding your adventures in weight loss? I adore, and am inspired by your metamorphosis. I’d be saddened to see it end.

  4. Oh definitely, we’ve been seriously rationing for just under a year now… and this way of looking at food (and waste) seems so logical now. Whats more we’re reaping the benefits from general health to weight loss. Its possible if you aren’t afraid of what you’ll lose. People constantly tell us “I couldn’t do without…” or ” I couldn’t eat…”. We’ve proven its not just do-able as a family but healthy and economical…WIN WIN! I cant remember the last time I spent more than £30 for a weeks groceries for the five of us. Its also helpful in teaching our children about eating locally and sustainably … its been a lesson in responsibility for all of us.

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