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Muscle Maven – 07 December 2015

Damian 'The Muscle Maven' Murray (photo by snhfoto)

So I asked my son for some inspiration of what to write about. Aside from a few nudges towards healthy eating (introducing veg to kids) and smelly farts (he is only 12 – nearly), he wasn’t much help!

This last week I have been thinking more and more about the use (or overuse) of smart phones. Families sat around a table to eat together – each staring into a little square with no conversation. Friends sat together, eyes glazed staring at Facebook. Even dates sat together, checking in, tweeting or instagramming (1 m or 2?) their meal, date, whatever.

When did we become this disconnected (from the real world) society, happy to live our lives through a tiny screen? Don’t get me wrong – I have been that person. Grabbing videos and pics to share with people online when really my phone should have been in my pocket while I enjoyed whatever it was in front me, or enjoying my family around me. I particularly remember being in Florida when my son was 7. We were at Magic Kingdom watching the fireworks (whether you like Disney or not – they put on a hell of a show), only I was watching them through the screen of my phone, determined to film them. How crap is that? My memory of this amazing show is how it looked through the screen on my phone – I could have just watched it on YouTube. As it goes I am very fortunate to have returned – only when I went back I was determined to not live my holiday through the screen on my bloody phone!

It is something I am becoming more and more aware of. I feel so sad when I see parents with children at a restaurant and they are all glued to some sort of device. I am not going to lie – I used to let my son do it. He would sit there so that his mum (my partner) and I could sit in relative peace. How selfish. We would have preferred our son to enjoy the electronic babysitter rather than share in conversation with him. What is this teaching him? Luckily we realised how awful this is and decided to ban all electronic devices from the table (I have had to enforce this rule on his grandfather – my father – as well). So what happened when we did this? We had (and continue to have) meals where we all sit and engage with each other. We talk about anything and everything. Meal times are fun. We laugh together over something cooked badly or we all appreciate something cooked well rather than plastering it all over social media.

What is the point of all this? Well, Christmas day is nearly upon us. How about for one day – just one day – we all keep our smartphones away? Now I understand for some it is their method of communication with loved family and for others from different faiths Christmas day is just another day. So how about we try to stay away from social media for a day? Engage with those around us. For those we wish to speak with or want to wish a Merry Christmas to, how about we call them and speak with them? Just spend one day away from your electronic teat!

MuscleFood’s Christmas hamper

For all of you that cannot be bothered to even think about shopping for Xmas dinner, MuscleFood has the answer. A hamper that takes care of breakfast and lunch (and you should have enough left for dinner) – good value and saves you shopping time to do something else!

Aldi’s bargains

Aldi are always good for a bargain! They have a fair amount of Christmas stuff in at the moment (mini serrano ham joint looks good), but they also have streaky bacon reduced to 79p for 14 rashers. Everyone loves a bit of eggs and bacon for breakfast!

Foodbank

This is simple and I have touched on these sorts of things before. Everyone uses a foodbank regardless of skin colour, religious beliefs etc. Every time you shop I want you to buy something extra to donate to your local foodbank (check what they need). Collective power is huge – if everyone does something small it can make a massive difference.

Damian Murray - Author