Will’s World: Eat Like a Lioness campaign hits the net

I’m about to admit something so hideously un-Welsh that I’m worried I’ll have my citizenship revoked. I’m not entirely sure of the process because it’s clouded in deep secrecy.

I’ve heard rumours that Sir Tom Jones and Dame Shirley Bassey come round to your house and strike you ceremonially several times with a leek while a male voice choir sings mournfully in the background.

It’s similar in Scotland, apparently, but with the Krankies, a haggis and a lone piper. Anyway, hopefully the authorities in Cardiff won’t read this.

See also: ‘British’ focus for AHDB We Eat Balanced campaign relaunch

About the author

Will Evans
Farmers Weekly Opinion writer
Will Evans farms beef cattle and arable crops across 200ha near Wrexham in North Wales in partnership with his wife and parents.
Read more articles by Will Evans

National pride

What could possibly be so heinous, you ask. Well, I cheered on an English sports team, and I wanted them to win. There, I’ve said it, and the consequences be damned.

For the avoidance of doubt, I’m generally very fond of those of you who choose to live to the east of Offa’s Dyke.

Your sense of humour is second to none, parts of your country are stunningly beautiful, and that gloriously eccentric sense of fair play you have is wonderful to behold. (Heck, I like you all so much that I married one of you and dragged her back to Wales.)

But still, it’s a delicate and finely nuanced situation that’s shaped by our shared history.

I am, of course, talking about the England women’s football team, who I watched heartbreakingly lose their World Cup Final match against Spain.

What a journey they’ve been on over the past few years, though. It must be of great consolation to know that they’ve inspired a generation of young girls to believe in themselves and follow their sporting dreams.

As someone who coaches girls’ sport, at the ever-so-elite level of under-8s rugby (trust me, they’re savages), I’ve seen first-hand how being part of a team can be transformational for their confidence, fitness, ability and general life skills.

Team tactics

Perhaps more pertinently, what I’ve also been interested in, and followed over the past several weeks, is the AHDB’s excellent Eat Like a Lioness campaign.

If you haven’t seen it, they’ve teamed up with former England player Anita Asante and nutritionist James Morehen to raise awareness of the benefits of a balanced diet that includes red meat and dairy.

The initiative highlights these as some of the most nutrient-dense foods available, and explains that understanding the science of what they eat can help more young female athletes realise their full potential.

The facts are quite concerning when it comes to many girls’ dietary choices, not helped by the mixed messages they’re regularly bombarded with via social media.

According to research, 26% have either been diagnosed with, or suspect they have, a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency.

There are several things I particularly like about the way the AHDB has gone about things.

The first is the eye-catching way that they’ve transformed Anita Asante into a lioness using bodypaint (something my pre-teen daughter described as “badass”).

The second is that it isn’t just preaching to the choir and targeting people who already buy our produce.

And the third is that it takes a balanced approach, encouraging the consumption of not only lean meat and dairy, but fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Refreshingly mature in these days of ridiculous food culture wars.

I’ve often thought that working for a levy board must be a bit like being a football manager, in that everyone thinks they could do a better job than you, given the chance.

But with the Eat Like a Lioness campaign, they’ve hit the back of the net. Well done to all involved.