Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup Dream Over For England

It never really felt right, did it?

Finally, after yesterday's 4-1 drubbing by Germany, English fans must face the reality that our team just wasn't that good.

Sure we had stars, all of whom had a proven pedigree (though never on the game's most important stage).

But that's life ... and that's sport.

Now the biggest problem seems to be how to remove Fabio Capello from his contract without swallowing a multi-million pound pill.

Which shows only too well that when you want something too bad, things never work in your favor. Who in their right mind would negotiate a contract before a world cup ... and not take into account the eventuality of exactly what just happened?

Answer ... a nation whose desperation trumps all common sense.

Anyway, I'm sure we've got a host of talented youngsters coming through to fill the boots of senor Lampard, Gerard et al.

Haven't we?

Well ... er .... no.

While I'm on the subject of the world cup (and spelling it without capitals is deliberate here) ...

Why won't Fifa agree to use replays?

We saw how wrong that was when France cheated their way into the world cup after Henry's handball. Fortunately, karma had its way and the French went home hanging their heads just as sales of Guiness went through the roof.

Yesterday (and this is no excuse, just an observation) we saw an English goal disallowed because of human error). This was not even debateable. And yes, Mr Seth, it does take away from the beautiful game!

I'll also say this ... I liked Germany as a team up until the point their goalkeeper realised that he could pull the wool over the official's eye and pulled an "Henry".

Man, I am so sick of professional athletes cheating. What glory could there possibly be in an advantage gleaned from a technicality?

Come on. We are surely more sophisticated than that? Aren't we ...?

Maybe not.

And then there was Argentina's obvious offsides.

Again, they surely would have won regardless.

OK, so Brazil and Spain are still in ... and I can't be mad at Argentina because offsides is not as blatantly intentional as pretending that a ball has not crossed a line when it has. See ... even my morality is getting screwed up here now!

Why can't we just have replays. It works for rugby. How 'bout it Sir?

Go Messi. Go Villa. Go Kaka!

And sorry England ... but you'll just have to look in the mirror on this one.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Why are We all Still Milling Around In a Coma?

No question ... the saga in the Gulf just keeps getting more sordid by the day.

First (but in no particular order of "ouch!"), the BP share price has fallen to a point where the oil giant has lost about 53 billion of value. This affects the pensions of about 17 million people in the UK, though the effect is relatively tiny at this point.

Now we hear that the rate of oil loss is actually more like 40,000 barrels a day, twice the previous estimate and far more than the guesses made at the inception of the disaster.

This of course begs the question ... does anybody actually have a clue, or is it all just "educated" guesswork? I think you know my answer on that one.

President Obama has "invited" the Chairman of BP to discuss who pays the cleanup bill. The media likes to call it "summoned" and keeps referring to President Obama "kicking ass". This has led to prominent business people in Britain now saying that this is all very uncool and getting dangerously close to anti-British sentiment.

Bet that goes down like a lead balloon in the US ... I can almost hear the collective yowling!

Of course, the face of BP operations, Tony Hayward, has hardly endeared himself to the US public by declaring that he just wants his life back ... this after 9 of his staff lost their's on the day of the catastrophe. Oh yeah, that was unfortunate.

Of course, BP is the whipping boy in the whole mess, which is convenient as the company is foreign. Allegations of corner-cutting have been bandied around as part of the cause ... and the other companies making vast profits in the Gulf don't cut corners now, do they? They're all just there for the good of mankind.

Where would civilization be without them?

Then there's the issue of the chemicals dumped in the gulf in an attempt to disperse the oil. "Corexit" has now been revealed as being highly toxic ... no surprises there. What is surprising is that the EPA permitted its chemical makeup to be veiled in secrecy up until this point.


Good question ... I guess there were no other gentler alternatives that were cost effective and there always had to be some sort of plan just in case something like this happened. Duh. Expedience.

With fuel costing GBP 1.20 a liter in my neck of the woods, I'm not sympathetic to the economic woes of any oil company. The fact that people even discuss this in economic terms pretty much turns my stomach.

Lives were lost and a giant tract of ocean will be (has been) turned into a cesspool of death and suffering because of our insatiable appetites for stuff we only think we need is the far bigger picture.

With no sign of the spill being contained any time soon, I can't help feeling that eventually at least some people will get that no-one, no matter how powerful they are, can be given a licence to take risks anything like this.

Until we stop seeing every problem from a human-centric perspective, we will continue to miss that disrupting the natural order will actually have a far greater impact on our species than anything we currently can predict.

And no, I am not being some hokey profit-of-doom bearded wierdo. Anyone who fails to see the gravity of what's going on right now needs a reality check ... one for which no superlatives can possibly do justice!

People ... think! Stop! Act! Show that you deserve the intelligence you have been gifted with. The world is at a point where we are creaking at the seams with "only" 7 billion inhabitants. How do you think things will be when there are 9 billion?

Does anyone have a clue?

I sure don't. I'm just a peon. Our only hope for a better world is a collective sentiment.

Why are we all still milling around in a coma?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

True Scale Of Oil Spill Not Yet Appreciated

As we enter 40 days plus in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, some people are still framing the BP oil disaster in economic terms.

So Nature is quietly upping the ante!

This link should be required reading for any semi-conscious human being on the planet. It's a post by Health Ranger Mike Adams who is reporting on location.

Yes, he is far more sensational and dramatic than I am generally comfortable with ... but in this case, the severity cannot be over-stated.

Here's the link.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Pig Farmers Rejoice!

I really struggled to come up with a suitable title for this post.

BBC Breakfast this morning ran a report on an NHS trust in Derbyshire that had gotten into bed with local farmers. On the surface it all made infinite sense ... buy local meat instead of importing from South America at a premium.

Millions of pounds would be saved by the NHS and local farmers with their backs against the wall would be given a new lease of life. That sounds like a "win-win" in anybody's book!

Ironically, it also underscores just how lost our health system has become.

Here on national television was an idea so apparently clever that it was perfectly logical to suggest that it be rolled out to NHS trusts across the nation. And yet virtually everyone that viewed the report would have missed the saddest irony of all.

Our "health care" system continues to feed its patients with the very same food that got most of them there in the first place.

Even our intrepid reporter apologised that his report was being filmed against a backdrop of two majestically beautiful cows. As I watched the scenes that followed, I could only shake my head at just how lost we have all become.

First, a pig farm, profitable now for the first time in a decade ... graphic scenes of pigs rooting around in the muck followed by workers slicing ham and tying off pork sausages.


From there it was the precictable slow walk through first the abbatoir and then the butchery ... a team of human hyaenas grunting clinically amongst the quivering slabs of gore.

And all I could think about was that most people watching were absolutely unaffected, quietly stroking their panting labradors beside them, content in the knowledge that they could continue to receive the standard of care that was their due.

All was right in the world.

A new government was rising like a phoenix from the ashes of political confusion in the United Kingdom. And when (not if) they got sick, at least they could continue to depend on a hearty menu and a litany of drugs to mask their symptoms and prolong their vacant existence.

If your instincts are screaming at you too, I invite you to consider a cleaner, gentler, purer alternative.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


As the "Big Three" parties do their best to woo last minute undecided voters I am reminded of the word on everyones' lips ... "change".

What will change?

Taxes will go up. Inflation will go up. The rift between the "haves" and the "have-nots" will widen further.

Our health will continue to degrade ... and the NHS will be in a position to pay for less and less. Progressive unsustainability!

As peoples' livelihoods come under increasing threat, so a fringe element will turn to crime, as they have always done. We will have more police officers ... but they will be burdened with red tape and powerless to take decisive action for fear of treading on delicate sensitivities.

In schools, teachers will still have to take abuse from spoilt children "who know no better". They will still have to neuter the outspoken, even as they embrace freedom of speech.

And we will still insist on "one man, one vote" in Africa, when, right here on our own doorstep we have cleverly manipulated invisible borders to divide votes in a system that few actually understand to the degree that would qualify them as responsible custodians of democracy.

People will still pass the buck and shift blame and cover their behinds. People will still revere the savvy entrepreneurial skills of those jokers on "The Apprentice" and admire the roguish spirit of historical legends that killed, stole and plundered with impunity.

And then those that vote will vote for a party because they've been a "life-long" supporter ... or because on TV their man ducked and dived less than the next guy.

Or because they needed a license to complain about the encumbent crew!

But what will really change?

We will still think it's alright to spend beyond our means. We will still think it's alright for someone else to pick up the pieces of our recklessness. We will still think it's right to have children, even as our planet creaks under the load of nearly 7 billion inhabitants.

We will cling to this right in spite of a clear message from Mother Nature telling us some of us are too sick to reproduce ... after all we have IVF! And China has a shocking record on human rights' violations.

Someone else will make it right. And if they horse it up, well at least there'll be someone to blame!

Wouldn't it be nice if we elected a government that actually could effect meaningful change?

For that to happen, we have to first rethink the way we view our own role. Right now a disaster of unprecedented magnitude is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. I say that because no-one actually knows the full extent and true cost beyond that which affects humans.

We have no other frame of reference. We are the center of the universe. The environment and other creatures are not our concern. We only care about the economy and the handouts. Those birds covered in oil are someone elses' problem.

Well, they are not!

They are yours and mine ... and until we see that and realize the true severity of the implications, we will get what we deserve.

Friday, 16 April 2010

A New Political Party For Britain

I thought today I'd have some fun and be as provocative as possible without getting too crazy.

If you watched the great TV debate last night between Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats ... you probably were left with a sense of sterility and frustration.

By the way, I do have some commentary about all-things-health, but you'll have to wait until the end to get it. I just have this selfish urge to express my misguided opinion and be totally self-indulgent for once.

Okay ... here goes. A new political party for Britain aka "If I was the boss and had any reasonable ability to actually catalyse meaningful change ... this is what I'd say".

1. Stop living beyond your means. The fish stinks from the head and thanks to some absurd spending policies our beautiful country is now in debt up to its gills. If you are reading this in America, just multiply everything I say by an appropriate factor!

2. Stop sticking your nose into other peoples' business. This no doubt will be unpopular and if I disturb the sensibilities of some, I apologize. However, I still think we should bring our troops home. Yes, I respect and am eternally grateful to the men out there fighting. And yes, my heart breaks everytime I hear that someone else with a promising future has been killed or injured. And yes I don't want to fathom the waste if we did in fact cease this madness. But ... are we really so sure our motives are not misguided? Are we there to overcome a threat that, by its very nature, we will never stop ... or are we there because we feel sorry for the indigenous people on the ground?

Or both?

Or are we there because we are so far past the point of no return that we genuinely have no idea how to extricate ourselves and keep our dignity intact?

Am I so far off base? Do other people really know? Sometimes in the long run less damage happens when people are big enough to admit when they are wrong.

And while I am on the subject of sticking our noses into other peoples' affairs ... we made a superb humanitarian gesture by donating money and resources to Haiti. But what about Chile, or China ... or the next catastrophe? We can't fix them all. Especially with money we don't have. Why are we not focusing on getting our own house in order. And if we are such noble humanitarians, why then are we so inconsistent with our donations?

How can you be selectively altruistic?

3. Stop spending money we don't have just so we can be perceived as a superpower. We are not. We may once have been (and we are still picking up the pieces of that grand display of unmitigated arrogance). Anyway, a "superpower" isn't broke. Sorry America ... maybe you should also be looking in the mirror. This of course is related to #1 where we continue to think that we can live beyond our means.

At some point in time that will become mathematically impossible. Someone has to face that reality honestly.

Yes, I may be naive for thinking that the "bad guys" won't pounce on any perceived weakness. But we are also naive in thinking that we can do anything about it without having the cash resources. Think outside the box. Might is only right if it can be sustained. In our case ... sorry ... we don't have the bucks.

That (more resources) is what we should be dealing with! And no, might is never right!

4. Stop incentivizing population growth. We have about 7 billion people on the planet. That's maybe 5 billion too many. Every day multiple species of creatures disappear and we barely give it a thought.

How grossly irresponsible is that?

I saw a report this morning about 88 snails having been sent to Bristol zoo in an attempt to save this species from extinction. I think the only reason it got anybody's attention was that it had footage of a really cute baby snail. But most people could care less.

What profound ignorance is it that asks why anyone should actually care about some dumb snail?

But I digress ... not only are we wreaking havoc with mother nature, but the toxins we are producing as we recklessly pollute our world in order to make money and save money will soon become a runnaway train.

In the 80's people thought that being allergic to the twentieth century was a sad anomoly. Within 30 years, maybe less, that will be par for the course. And the kids born today will only be able to look back and shake their heads in absolute bewilderment at our folly.

Forecasts talk about 9 billion inhabitants on planet earth by 2050. Can you even imagine the pollution, the stress, the aggression and the suffering that such a statistic will engender?

No, of course not. That's someone elses' problem. We have become very adept at assigning blame and shrugging off responsibility.


Because there are so many of us now that it's expedient to be overwhelmed!

5. Punish the bad guys. Right now we keep people in cages if it can be proven that they are wrongdoers. Because we don't have enough cages, we let them out prematurely and hope that they have become rehabilitated. They may have repaid some of their debt to society (what a bogus concept!) ... but they sure as hell haven't repaid their victims.

And they never will, because they never can.

That is precisely why we should have a legal system that does not protect criminal rights to the exclusion of all common sense, fairness and perspective ... and a judicial system that sends the message that as a society we no long tolerate thieves, abusers and worse. Bad apples should be routed out, not rehabilitated. We don't even consider theft as that serious any more, despite the havoc it creates for decent people.

Sure, there is the danger of miscarriage of justice. And because of that the rest of us must live in a world where the law is constantly abused and no-one has the power, or the will, to do something about it.

And there is still miscarriage of justice ... just on a grander scale.

Our law is a joke ... except that the consequences of its misapplication are so damn serious. Sure, I respect the law. But real justice ... come on?

If it's broke, fix it!

And if you think I am just being a blow-hard, consider if you will the case of baby Peter. The "man" that killed him had already raped a two year-old. So why was he not behind bars? And why, when he was finally brought to book, did he only get something like ten years?

What was so special about him that he only got ten years? Should we feel sorry for him?


Because we are a "civilized" society that understands mitigating circumstances? Please. We are simply softer, more deluded barbarians.

Come to think of it, how seriously can we take "two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole" when someone who gets that knows they will be out this lifetime?

Justice? Fairness? I think not.

I'd love to feel the law was something that protected decent people. But how can anyone take it seriously when it's one cork in a bucket with hundreds of holes?

And while we're on the subject, personal injury lawyers just drive up the price of insurance for everyone. It's nothing more than a clever (and abusive) reallocation of limited available resources.

It's greed and abuse ... and not one of the three gentlemen on that podium last night will have the power to do anything about that!

Okay, I've saved the best for last.

6. The NHS ... every candidate knows that this is the one area they don't dare get wrong.


Because we have become a nation of dependents!

And how does the average American feel about their health care developments. Well, if Facebook or Twitter are anything to go by, they are pissed!

It's contentious stuff because of the money involved and the inherent vulnerability of dependent people. Which includes virtually all of us.

Let me clarify my position on where conventional medicine is at right now.

In cases of acute illness or trauma, the system is a blessing. And most of the people involved are amazing. I certainly could not do the job of a paramedic or a nurse or an emergency doctor.

Pediatric care and reducing infant mortality ... superb.

But when it comes to preventable chronic illness, we have been sold a bill of goods that is frightening!

If we can't treat it with a drug or technology, we cut it out.

Our politicians talk about cancer and point to the importance of early detection ... and yes, for some this is indeed a lifesaver.

But what is in place to stop people getting it in the first place? The experts tell us it's all in the genes and it's a crap-shoot whether lightening strikes, or not. Anyone who dares to disagree is dismissed with arrogance and branded a quack ... a scourge on society.

Well, what do they expect?

Does anyone who knows anything about the human body really honesty believe that "5-a-day" is enough? It's not. It's a compromise of monumental proportions! Add to that cooked animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) which are touted for no other reason than they generate tax revenues.

But dieticians and nutritionists are the only credible game in town. The official line is "evidence-based". Only misguided fools would argue. Even doctors are groomed to join the fray.

And that's just "nutrition".

What about all the other critical elements that impact your health and therefore your ability to not succumb to the conditions we say we know so much about? But we're actually not really sure, are we?

Don't believe me. Check the papers in twenty years and tell me I am full of bull.

Twenty years too long and a tad impractical ... fine, look at our track record. Cancer rates are increasing. Heart disease is getting worse. So is diabetes, stroke, dementia, depression and arthritis. We're dying and in pain ... and we can't even get it up.

How sad is that?

And all this because some actuary says that we are all living longer!

Hey man, you are welcome to believe that if you want to. Me? Well, I'll just quietly do what I need to do to take care of myself. Anyone want to know how, hey ... I'd welcome the opportunity to share with you.

Okay, that's it. My day is up and sadly I'm not going to be prime minister. There goes that duck pond and fat retirement.

One final thing ...

Everyone said that Nick Clegg "won" the debate.


Because he engaged with the audience and spoke directly into the camera. And he cleverly made his opponents look like they were one entity squabbling in the darkness.

Are we really so impressed with deft PR tactics? Are we actually swayed by rhetoric like "unsung heros", "brave soldiers" and "to be really honest"? I know the sentiments behind the words are genuine (at least I hope they are) ... but it's a televison debate and all that smacks of three scared men tip-toeing through a minefield in gaffe-avoidance mode.

The way Britain will get its pride back will not be from doing well at 2012. Sure, that's nice ... but it's not the be-all and end-all. And in the grand scheme of things it is far less important than other aspects of our culture. It's a cosmetic dream that will evaporate within months after the hype dies down.

No, what is really needed is inspired leadership.

If it's broke, fix it. If it cancerous, cut it out. If it's complicated, simplify it. If you don't have all the answers, say so ... and then do your best to find a solution.

We need a real person, not a cosmetic robot who says all the things his/her advisor has deemed savvy. Warts and all, someone who stops posing, and quietly gets on with the job to the best of their ability.

So stop expecting a show puppy that jumps through ridiculous canned hoops for your entertainment. The proof of any pudding, as always, is in the eating.

When we celebrate a kid taking a minor fall and scuffing his knee as a learning experience and take the time to gently dry his eyes and reassure him he will be okay, then we have a chance.

But when that same kid falls and all we worry about are over-zealous health and safety regulations, then we have forgotten the most important of all ingredients. We are people, not robots. And we need to stop being so neurotic, over-sensitive and just plain selfish.

Are we past the point of no return?

Perhaps. It seems that cajones and brilliance are no longer enough to satisfy the needs of the greatest parasite that ever walked the earth.

Monday, 12 April 2010

We Are Killing Our Kids

Tonight on BBC, "Panorama" will be featuring a program on childrens' health called appropriately "Spoilt Rotten".

This morning's BBC Breakfast featured 5-year old Kaitlyn who has just had 8 of her teeth extracted because of teeth decay. The reporter noted that tooth decay is the "ultimate preventable condition" which can be "entirely avoided with brushing and diet".

In Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool (the busiest of its kind in Europe) more than 200,000 kids are treated each year.

Nearly half the dental extractions performed each year are on kids under five!

Kaitlyn's rather sheepish mum noted that her child had a penchant for sweets and consumed over half a cup of tomato sauce (ketchup) every day. She vowed to make an effort to break this habit.

The report noted that mothers faced the challenge of making vegetables palatable without the use of ketchup ... and would need to make a concerted effort to ensure their kids consumed the "mushy" peas on their plates.

For readers unfamiliar about mushy peas ... these are essentially peas that have been cooked to death. The thinking is that they form part of the whole "5-a-day" thing, even though they are almost entirely devoid of any nutrients.

Okay, here's my take out:

Parents are quite clearly ignorant of what constitutes a healthy diet for kids. This is because of a number of reasons including, but not limited to:

- they themselves eat a shocking diet, perhaps because that's all they know or that's all they think they can afford. I say "think" because it comes down to a matter of priority. People who buy food because it's "cheap" also buy stuff they don't need because they can't imagine their lives without it.

- parents are unwilling to take responsibility for their own health, let alone that of their children. No surprise here in the garden of immediate gratification.

- the government with its team of medical experts, dieticians and nutritionists still thinks that cooked animal products (including pasteurized dairy) and cooked grains are part of a "healthy" diet.

- there is no leadership from anyone, in spite of the fact that so many little children are suffering. We just throw our hands up in the air ... but do absolutely nothing. When will we finally accept that what we are doing isn't working? When the NHS becomes completely overburdened?

For anyone out there who really doesn't know what to do and really wants to do what's right for their own children, here's some direction:

1. "5-a-day" is nowhere near adequate. Frozen, canned and cooked fruit and vegetables should not count towards it. You and your child needs to do the bulk of your grocery shopping in the fresh produce section or (even better) at your local farmers market.

2. If you think you don't have the time to prepare fresh fruit and vegetables and you are unwilling to pay a premium for organic produce then, with respect, your priorities are screwed up. If you genuinely can't afford organic produce, then how do you pay for all that other meaningless crap you don't really need. Rethink your priorities and get real. Does that drink down at the pub or that Easter egg really matter more than your own child's health and wellbeing?

3. You either pay the price for staying healthy, or you pay the price for losing your health. Rethink your priorities!

4. Accept that you and your children are addicted to cooked animal products and cheap processed "food". If you have no idea how you could possibly survive without consuming all that garbage, then you are addicted. Accept it ... and do something about it. Start eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and less fatty foods, refined treats and condiments. Don't cry the money blues if you have meat in your freezer, fizzy drinks in your fridge and bags of crisps in your cupboards. Just reframe your priorities!

Okay, I've probably alienated 90% of all mothers and 100% of all health care workers. That's not my intention. You guys matter! But in the cold light of day, please consider that we only ever want to hear what we already think is fact.

And your children matter every bit as much (most would argue, even more).

We need open minds and inspired leadership, not more medications to pick up the pieces of a broken system.

Simple is always best.

If someone really wants to know what to do, the information exists if you are willing to take everything you think you already know about healthy nutrition and healthy living, throw it out the window ... and start from scratch.

Good luck.

If I can help, I will.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

"5-a-day" Questionable Nutrition Strategy?

This is a post I wrote for one of my other blogs, "Body Mind Freedom". I have posted it here in its entirety because I believe it is a perfect example of a system that is fundamentally flawed.

My take may surprise you ...

"New research suggests that "5-a-day" is not all it's cracked up to be.

After tracking half a million people in the UK and Europe for over ten years, this latest study concluded that consuming fruit and vegetables only reduced cancer risk by a paltry 2.5%.

So is the message confusing?

BBC Breakfast interviewed Professor Sikora who has studied cancer for 30 years. While admitting he was surprised, he acknowledged that the study was "the best ever" of its type.

Is that a compliment, or an indictment?

He then went on to state that cancer was a "statistical quirk", the result of genetics (not your fault) and environment (not your fault either, except for smoking which you could quit).

Other notable experts scrambled to do damage control, pointing out that eating fruit and vegetables reduced obesity which was second only to quitting smoking in terms of risk-reduction clout. The point was also made that eating fruit and vegetables has a positive (though unquantifiable) effect on heart disease and stroke risk.

When the dust settled, what should the man on the street be thinking?

Well, if a cancer expert of over three decades is to be believed, then cancer is out of your control and nothing you can do will make a hill of beans difference especially if you already don't smoke.

So why try at all?

Why not just join the millions who are only too happy to abrogate responsibility for their own health?

After all, if you can catch it early then you may be able to survive on a cocktail of drugs for the rest of your wretched existence. Now there's something to look forward to ... a lifetime of medical dependence.

A perfect customer of a system that depends on imperfection for continued credence.

It's illegal to suggest that anything but conventional medical "wisdom" has any answers to the cancer conundrum. Cancer treatment is a multi-billion dollar industry and anyone other than those qualified by the establishment questioning the system are deemed as charlatans and quacks.

What a business model!

If treatment results in "cure" then it's the miracle of modern medicine. If a patient gets sick then that was an inevitability that no-one could have prevented. Remission is always temporary.

So don't bother. Here's your licence to "live" your life as if there is no tomorrow. Consequences are outside your sphere of influence and you are in safe hands if fate does strike.

The three most prevalent cancers (breast, prostate and colon) have increased dramatically in recent years. As our gene pool couldn't have changed that dramatically, we are told that this is because modern medicine is helping people to live longer. Cancer risk increases with age ... and that has nothing to do with the choices you make.

Oh ... and car emissions and bovine flatulance have increased to unprecedented levels! Must be the environment too.

I'm assuming you have read my disclaimer and are clear that my opinion is of absolutely no import whatsover. For an opinion that counts, go see your doctor.

But here's what I think anyway.

1. "5-a-day" is nowhere near enough. It is a start ... but chilled leechies in syrup and canned peas hardly qualify. Saying they do is part of the problem. Poor assumption. Even poorer application.

2. Insufficient quantities of fruit and vegetables combined with excessive quantities of cooked animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) and processed "food" is still a recipe for disaster ... so what did this study really tell us?

3. If a study touted by an expert as "the best ever" is flawed before it ever started because it is based on disinformation and erroneous assumptions to begin with ... then what can we assume about all research? And this is before we take agendas and funding out of the equation.

4. Conventional medicine, including cancer management, is big business. That being the case, there is no money in prevention, only treatment. If you believe the experts, you will always be a victim.

In conclusion, you can add the results of this study to the pile of other meaningless, hugely wasteful and expensive research that we like to proclaim as "evidence-based" science.

Or you can choose to get informed. Sure fate is always a possibility. But that is an entirely different issue.

Knowledge is power ... and freedom."

That's it. I hope you enjoyed it. Please, as with this madness about "organic" being a bunch of baloney ... do not use this as justification to consume less fruit and vegetables.

Eventually people will stop covering their behinds and start telling the full truth. Until then, continue to be vigilant about what we are told should be considered as sacrosanct.

Have an awesome week!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Variable Blood Pressure Now Thought to Increase Risk of Stroke

In a series of studies published by “The Lancet”, researchers from both the UK and Sweden examined the effect of the month-to-month variability of blood pressure on stroke risk.

This research suggests that the extent of fluctuation is a bigger predicator of risk than the average figure … which flies in the face of guidelines followed by GP’s for decades!

The leader of this research, Professor Peter Rothwell of the Department of Clinical Neurology at the University of Oxford, believes that these findings now have “major implications” with respect to how GP’s identify and treat those most at risk of stroke.

Up until now numerous patients monitoring hypertension from home would report to their GP’s that their blood pressure was “all over the place”. This was considered not nearly as serious as the magnitude of their average reading taken each month.

In fact, guidelines suggest a one-off fluctuation should be discounted and treatment indicated only when consistent hypertension has been measured. People with so-called episodic hypertension are often not treated according to Joe Korner, director of communications at the Stroke Association (UK).

As a result of these findings, we now may have a keener appreciation of the damage caused to blood vessels by fluctuations of blood pressure over many years.

It is well established that some medications increase the extent of fluctuation (and therefore the risk of stroke) more than others … and that patients routinely report variations by as much as 20-30 mm of mercury per month!

Interestingly enough, beta blockers used to control hypertension are unpopular because they make people feel tired. Now this family of medications has been shown in a separate study by “The Lancet Neurology” to increase blood pressure variations more than other protocols.

Perhaps even a sick, tired, over-medicated body still has the ability to sense that such interventions are counter-productive to health?

Guidelines related to stroke risk and the relationship with blood pressure are up for review in the UK in the next few months and the Stroke Association is calling for these national benchmarks to be overhauled as a result of these new findings.

But here’s what I find so sad …

In all the discussion I have seen related to this, not one word has been uttered about natural alternatives to blood pressure medications.

Doctors around the world routinely document cases where patients respond favorably to less conventional protocols such as medically-supervised fasting combined with diet and lifestyle changes.

Why do these cases not receive the attention they surely deserve?

Instead, the resounding takeout from these findings has been to keep the blinkers on and give drugs that produce the most steady blood pressure levels.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation notes with caution that current practice is not “wrong” but he does acknowledge that this may indeed impact the way doctors identify candidates for treatment and the drug protocols that are prescribed.

I understand that medical science is constantly advancing and cannot possibly have all the answers. But what I don’t understand is why the conventional medical community won’t accept this.
Their arrogance and single-mindedness costs lives and causes untold suffering, yet we still hold them in such high esteem. Why won’t they think outside the box?

Surely in the interests of broader public health, medical research should be focusing on ways to wean people off drugs, not just finding the “perfect” drug?

Until this culture changes, people will continue to get sicker.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Slim Girl Fat?

It had to happen sooner or later!

In an attempt to offer wise counsel to the family of a young girl, the NHS really hit a nerve.

Lucy Davies is a perfectly normal 5 year old who is active, enjoys cheerleading and ballet ... and walks a fair bit. Her parents received a letter from the NHS saying she was overweight.

Officials measured Lucy's height and weight and calculated her body mass index (BMI) fell outside the "normal" parameters for a girl of five ... by 1%! With this limited data, they determined she was unhealthy and at possible risk for heart disease and cancer.


The Bournemouth and Poole Primary Care Trust (in their infinite wisdom) decided this meant her parents should be appraised of the statistical risks ... by a generic letter generated as a result of flawed assumptions rooted in sheer ignorance.

How considerate! How thoughtful!

And how careless and totally insensitive. How on earth can some pencil pusher not see that sooner or later this was bound to happen? And where was all the discretion and human input in this equation.

Body Mass Index is a guideline, not the word of God!

This is a little girl and her family. They are real, live human beings and they should never, under any circumstances, be exposed to something so short-sighted and uni-dimensional.

Even if she was not "sporty" and did fall outside the "magic" range, why didn't someone contact the family and raise their concerns with a modicum of tact?

If I had no clue about what constitutes a healthy diet (and quite frankly that should apply to the parents of just about every child in the UK, because the experts themselves aren't even clear), I would still be a little defensive if all I got was a robotic, generic form letter that made me feel my kid was defective and that was my fault.

Even if it was couched in formal robot-speak.

I would expect a phone call saying that these were the numbers and maybe it was a good idea if I bought my child in for further evaluation and some good old-fashioned helpful (informed) input so I could put my mind at rest (or at least learn something that could be really beneficial to my child).

How many parents get a letter like this and immediately assume their child must go on diet?

And how healthy is that?

Obesity is a massive problem in the UK, because we have a diet mentality here. The fish stinks from the head. Some genius comes up with these policies (in spite of the known shortfalls and risks of over-relying on limited information).

And all in the name of helping parents who are none-the-wiser.

But then what do we expect from a nucleus of experts who believe that breakfast cereal, milk and yogurt constitute a healthy way to start your day?

Or that "5-a-day" is anywhere near enough, especially in view of what can be counted towards this.

Wake up people. Lives are at stake. These are our kids!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Gordon Brown Ditches KitKat for Bananas!

Hyping up a BBC magazine report on BBC Breakfast yesterday, it was revealed that Gordon Brown has replaced his 4-a-day KitKat habit with 9 bananas a day.

OK, so someone has told him that he needs to be sharp, not brain dead. That's good for a PM right?

What struck me though was that the two intrepid anchors on BBC Breakfast were actually seriously deliberating whether this switch over made sense. They even had a nutritionist sitting there sagely nodding her head about the relative merits of the two.

And the discussion centered on calories!

It's a "good" thing because of course bananas are only about 100 calories (versus the 230 or so in a standard KitKat 4-finger).

But isn't it a shocker that Mr Brown has nine bananas? Nine!!! (Gasp, shock, horror!)

No, assured our friendly nutritionist ... it's ok, although that does equate to 900 calories!

And here I was hoping that it was patently, stupidly obvious that bananas are infinitely more healthy than chocolate because they are a real food ... Nature's perfect package.

Not because they are less than half the calories.

Let's be frank. With attitudes like this, the UK has absolutely no chance in the fight against obesity.

So remember, boys and girls, eat your 5-a-day, drink lots of milk, enjoy your cheese and yogurt, take your fish oils, eat lots of meat ... and hope that the NHS will still be viable when you become diseased and dependent.

Or you could eat bananas. Lots of them. Plus any other fresh, whole, raw, organic plant that appeals to you at your local produce reseller. Also, dance often, sleep plenty and enjoy sunshine, fresh air and good company.

Then you can get old and have the best health insurance in the world.

Being truly healthy.

Let's face it, KitKats are great ... because they taste awesome on occasion. But if you want to grow up to be an aspiring politician, you best eat your bananas now!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The "Mediterranean Diet" Is Not Healthy!

Everybody knows the Mediterranean diet is healthy, right?


We've been brainwashed. This misconception all started way back in the 60's when studies were released making claims about this diet.

But dig a little deeper and here's what you find:

The data was taken in the 50's ... a time of post-war recovery (poverty and starvation). On the island of Crete! Only!

Where people trudged up and down mountains for 9 miles a day. Where they did hard manual labor behind a plough. And where they ate what they could get ... which was vegetables and a little fish!

By the way, which country is the Mediterranean? Israel? France? Spain? Northern Italy ... or Southern Italy? Algeria?

The whole concept is quite ridiculous actually!

Let's face it. Most people view the Mediterranean diet as basically the stuff we're used to eating, plus maybe some olive oil and wine.

And we've been sold a bill of goods on olive oil and wine too! But who cares if it tastes good?

Olive oil is basically refined fat which is hugely calorific relative to any nutritional benefits, especially in the quantities the olive oil importers have been telling us to consume it in.

And wine is not heart healthy. Its a protoplasmic poison that screws up your circulation and adds ... you guessed it, more empty calories!

But we think it's a health food.

That's just obscene!

Another case of research out of context ... or scientists standing so close to the woods, they can't see the trees.

So let's take a look at this "paragon of virtue" today. Crete. Where the Mediterranean diet emanated from.

The place where people live longer and have a low incidence of heart disease. Or so we're told.

In very rough terms, the inhabitants of Crete today consume at least twice the saturated fat they did when data was collected back in the 50's.

They also consume three-and-one-half times the trans-fats and cholesterol they did ... and about half the fiber.

Sort of like us.

Which means they've got a one-way ticket to all the nasties that go along with a diet that is totally inappropriate for human beings.

So much for the Mediterranean diet.

Oh yeah, did you know that Spain actually tops the USA in the obesity tables? Both are in the top 20 countries. The USA has a third of their population that is obese (old figures, I'm guessing) and Spain exceeds 40%!

But Spain makes good red wine and cold pressed olive oil and sells a bunch of it all over the world!

The New England Journal of Medicine (something I seldom quote) remarked way back in 2003 that it was "unfortunate" that the main message people got from the whole Mediterranean hype was to eat more olive and canola oil.


Because they are only adding more calories to a diet that is already beleaguered by excess calories.

It went on to say that the message "should be" to eat more fruit, vegetables and legumes ... and fewer foods rich in saturated fats.

Yes, I know ... olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat. But it is still calorie-dense and refined from olives so it has no fiber.

Next week ... the Atlantic diet. Eat like an Atlanticasian! (Disclaimer: intentional parody here).

I'll drink to that!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Underage Drinking Getting Worse

There have been a deluge of reports recently about underage drinking.

All lament the consequences and long term impact to health ... and ultimately to society. Officials scurry to impose tougher restrictions on irresponsible retailing, or to authorize the confiscation of alcohol on streets.

Experts postulate. Politicians pontificate. The media stirs the brew with relentless vigor.

Kids are interviewed and the one common thread is that they could care less. If there's a party going down, they want to be there. If they can't access booze directly, they'll just get someone of legal age to do their bidding for them.

It's hardly a logistical hiccup!

They're bored and jaded. Besides their parents drink too. So it would be hypocritical for them to attempt to intervene.

Not that they would. Most think it is not really that serious. Someone elses' mess.

The NHS picks up the tab. The law enforcement agents buffer the abuse. And in the morning they sleep it off and hopefully haven't drowned in their own vomit.

People shake their heads and wonder why something more definitive can't be done.

Maybe we could remove the branding like the cigarette companies are being forced to. No ... drinking can't be as serious as smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is "bad" for you.

But drinking, well that's different. It's more ... social. Everybody does it! Come on. Lighten up man.

Get a sense of humor, why don't you.

This, my friends, is why the problem will continue to persist. Because of the universal hypocricy of everybody in the equation.

Heavier taxes, lip service and neutral branding will make no real impact ... other than to annoy and further alienate a giant segment of the population.

While we continue to treat young people like a separate species, incapable of responsible discretion ... they will continue not to disappoint.

Getting real is the first step.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Hidden Danger Of Saturated Fat

It appears that many people have no idea about the dangers of saturated fat hidden in "foods" like butter.

In fact a gentleman by the name of Shyam Kolvekar, a cardiac surgeon from the Heart Hospital at University College, London, suggests that this problem is now so serious that he is seeing people in their 30's requiring coronary bypass surgery.

While some fat is required to keep our bodies healthy, protected and insulated ... too much, especially of the wrong kind, can cause major problems. It seems peoples' only concern is with calories.

Apparently the problem is particualrly prevalent in some Asian communities that customarily drench most meals in ghee, or "clarified butter".

Loaded with saturated fat and eaten over a sustained period, this particular delight inevitably leads to blocked arteries and a fatty heart muscle. In fact, the blood vessels supplying the heart with life-giving oxygenated blood in many such cases, are actually invisible to the surgeons who do the bypass operations.

Commentary "from the trenches" suggests the problem is now so serious that some surgeons are not entirely opposed to the idea of a ban on butter.

But when this was tabled for discussion on BBC Breakfast, people were quick to react with anger.

"What's next ... a ban on milk and cheese?"

Which raises a common theme: people cling tenaciously to the notion that they should have the freedom to kill themselves if they so choose. Smokers seem relaxed that their habit will lead to their own untimely demise and cost the NHS billions.

Likewise, people want to be able to continue to consume butter, fried snacks, pastries, baked goods and confectionery without sanction.

Which brings me to the whole point of this commentary.

Saying "no" always gets peoples' backs up! Bans never do anything but create resentment and a black market ... so why on earth do we still keep threatening to even consider them?

If grown, sentient adults want to die a painful, premature death and cause untold suffering to themselves and their loved ones, then let them! Just quit expecting the NHS to pick up the tab.

Ahh ... but that would be unfair. Sufferers of heart disease have a genetic predisposition to that particular ailment.


It's totally preventable. The fact that two poor souls in the same blood line had bypass sugery before middle age is indicative, not of bad genes, but of irresponsible consumption.

In today's blame culture, adults are no longer responsible for anything. So we must give them guidelines and boundaries.

Just like we do with children.

No wonder people object and get defensive about cultural mainstays such as dairy, believing them to be "health foods".

But wait a moment, I thought dairy was good for you?

No my friend. That's what the advertising says. Actually dairy is designed for unweaned cows and is loaded with animal fat (saturated fat and cholesterol). Even skimmed milk contains a disproportionate amount of unusable protein (rendered so by the process of pasteurisation) which causes digestive difficulties.

Milk also creates acidity in the body, which means that calcium must be leached from teeth and bones to neutralize this. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that this fact offsets any of the potential bone-protecting benefits touted by the industry.

Which brings me to another point, which is that we have so successfully complicated the practical application of nutritional science that people just "shut off" when they hear some expert banging on about the hazards of all the food we eat.

So even basic messages like stop eating butter are distorted.

Case in point ... instead of butter, we are told we should be eating "healthy margarine" with added "healthy" omega-3's and chlorophyll. They even find doctors to lend credibility to these absurdities.

What a crock! Literally!

How can we allow major food manufacturers to tout these substances as "healthy" options, while simultaneously considering a sanction on foods that are falling out of fashion. It's just plain confusing and annoys the heck out of most people who just want to be left in peace.

Until we stop pandering to the food manufacturers and start telling the truth, people will continue to rationalize their indulgences and the NHS will continue to creak under the unsustainable load created by the costs of managing preventable disease.

We have painted ourselves into a corner from which there can be no easy escape.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Finland Moves Towards Banning Smoking

Finland has extended its anti-tobacco laws to include a ban on cigarette displays in shops and restricting smoking in cars with passengers under 18 years of age.

One thing is clear ... the Finnish government wants to outlaw smoking completely and is prepared to take on the might of the tobacco giants. Philip Morris is already investigating its legal options.

Do we care? Smokers do!

Not too long ago we laughed (nervously) at the idea of banning smoking in public places. Today it's a reality. People acknowledge that smoking is offensive to non-smokers and the idea of a smokers' section is now seen as about as ludicrous as offering the public a "urination" section in a public swimming pool.

So ... where's this all going and should we be concerned?

I think there's a bunch of issues here.

Freezing people out of polite society and pandering to their sense of guilt (that they are harming themselves and blighting their own kids) is seen by many as extreme. Even though that's precisely what's happening.

Why can't we appeal to responsible adults to be considerate?

And what happens if we don't arrest this dangerous headlong descent towards an Orwellian reality? First the nanny state infiltrates its slimy tentacles into public spaces. Next vending machines (which are accessible to all) are removed. People are then prohibited to smoke in their own cars.

What next?

The nanny state morphs into a "bully" state and legislates what we do in our own homes?

Hmm ... when presented in that light there is a distinct flavor of unwelcome control and invasion. Adults are no longer capable of making responsible decisions, so we will shepherd them towards something more in line with someone's vision of how society should be.

Pretty repugnant!

But let's look at the practical reality.

People are anything but considerate. At least a huge number of us. If we were all kind and sensitive to the needs of others I would be the tooth fairy and people would stop smoking in their cars with their babies in the back seat.

In fact, if we really could be trusted, people would not need legislation to buckle up, or not park in the handicapped spot, or not pee in public.

"But I smoke with the windows down ..."

Yeah lady, that mentality is precisely why our civil liberties have been quietly neutered.

It's kinda like with children. Want to live in my house, you'll have to live by my rules. It's for your own protection.

And it is!

What moron in their right mind smokes with their kid in the car, windows up or down? It's so stupid and reckless, it's horsed things up for the rest of us!

Now we do have to be told what to do.

Because we were so busy selfishly defending our own rights that we lost all reasonable perspective.

And now we're being treated like children ... incapable of responsible distinction.

Thanks a lot!

And yes, it is the height of hypocrisy and inconsistency that Big Brother is attacking smokers when alcohol is still freely available and arguably far more offensive because of the element of violence.

But because we have a track record of irresponsible consumption, no doubt that will be on the agenda at some point in the future.

Which brings me full circle ... people know, but they just don't care. On a planet built for less than 2 or 3 billion (I'm being hugely generous here, but stay with me), there are now way too many bats in the belfry.

And this makes us control freaks nervous.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the answer is. I find so many elements on both sides strange, even offensive.

I have learnt from my foray into "health" that people value their right to harm themselves even if they do have at least some appreciation of the consequences. Rubbing their noses in the facts only gets peoples' backs up.

So does acting like you are somehow "better".

So does acting "holier than thou". In fact, unsolicited selling is just plain obnoxious in anybody's book. That's human nature ... and it ain't going to change.

Stay out of peoples' private business, why don't you? Sure, if it only affects you chum!

I've also learnt that people adjust quickly.

Seat belt laws may have been an irritant when they were first introduced. But over time even naturally rebellious people have come to appreciate the importance of buckling up.

But we still get really peeved if we get caught without a seat belt, even if we are maleable.

So that fine line is moveable and adults don't like feeling stupid, or having their knuckles rapped ... or getting a fine that's just a little more painful than a mosquito.

Come to think of it, nor do kids.

And maybe that's were the problem all started? Why do we insist on treating kids like their opinions don't matter? Because we know better ...?

Do we?

Most of all though, I have come to realize that society is never more disharmonious than when we start pointing out differences between people.

Is Finland right?

You tell me. You've heard what I think.