The other day, I happened to come across my old geography A-level folder. And judging by the number of scribbles on the cover, geography was the last thing on my mind. But among the girly "I love Russell" and "the Pixies rock" were the more charged words: "Meat is murder", "Vegetarians against the bomb" and "Live and let live". Food, in those troubled teenage years, was a loaded issue.
Nearly two decades later - and now a happily converted carnivore - I am still passionate about food, only now it is more about where it comes from and what's in it. And I am not alone. Films such as Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, and programmes such as Jamie Oliver's Jamie's School Dinners, have put the spotlight firmly on our poor eating habits; and suddenly, people are thinking twice before throwing the chicken nuggets into their shopping trolley. A cheap food policy that has filled our supermarkets and schools with processed bargains, and a decline in food education in the classroom are mostly to blame. But finding a solution to the problem, not apportioning blame, should be our main concern.
"Live and let live" is an admirable slogan for animal welfare. But allowing people to continue living in this way will have serious implications, not only for the health of our nation but also for economic productivity - research now suggests that poor nutrition affects our levels of concentration and achievement. Perhaps if I had known that all those years ago, I could have scraped more than an "E"grade in my geography exam.