Friday, April 8, 2016

We don't need superfoods, we need common sense!

Last night I watched some of Lateline which had a panel of three discussing sugar, soft drink and health. This morning I came across the following article:

The long read: In 1972, a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and ...

Preview by Yahoo

It certainly is a long read and I admit I scanned quite a bit of it. In doing so I found a name I was familiar with - Professor John Rudkin. When Jim ran the Slimming Clubs (bought out by Weight Watchers), he had a team of consultants working with him, including Rudkin. Rosemary Stanton was his dietician.

When Jim was first diagnosed with heart failure, doctors encouraged him to lose weight. So we moved to a low-fat diet. In our case that wasn't a problem from the sugar point of view as we cooked most things from scratch, avoiding processed foods to a large extent.

A year or two later, after another hospitalisation, we discovered that in avoiding fat we had included too much salt in his diet. Not added salt in cooking, but salty foods - pickled herrings, olives, for example. The salt was causing fluid retention throughout Jim's body, ultimately making it hard for him to breathe!

Looking back over the years, we often followed the advice from government sources for a while - the evils of eggs and butter for instance, both subsequently back on the good list.

What we need is a balanced approach, with awareness of fat, sugar and salt. Everything in moderation (with the possible exception of red wine!).

I don't think taxing soft drink will have much effect. People still smoke, don't they?

But watching the 'sugar film guy' spooning sugar onto his chicken does show people how much sugar (or worse, artificial sweetener) is put into cook-in sauces. And even more into sports' drinks.

The escalation in obesity is frightening, but I wonder, who is the next John Rudkin? Who is currently being vilified for daring to question accepted food beliefs?

I searched followed a link to an Australian dietary standard recently, only to find that it was no longer accredited. But there was no updated standard, that I could find!

We don't need superfoods, we need common sense!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Golden Age ... and I don't mean Shakespeare!

A couple of weeks ago I attended a performance of The Golden Age - a play written by Louis Nowra in 1985.

The Golden Age - Synopsis

I found it interesting but also challenging as the "Lost Tribe" characters no longer spoke English but their own language based on Cockney, Irish and convict slang. Unlike at the Opera, there were no surtitles but the program did help a bit, but not that much.

Why "golden" I have not determined. Grim would have been a better description.

One by one the tribe members died, much like the Aborigines in Tasmania before them. These people were totally inbred, having been cut off from so-called civilisation for three generations, as their numbers dwindled. Their predecessors had gone mining, deep in the South West Wilderness.

It wasn't comfortable theatre and saddened me when the tribe were locked away in a mental asylum to hide them from the mainstream population.

We watched one young student, who had found the tribe, fall in love. His friend's father, a doctor became the translator for the tribespeople. But integration was never an option. And the doctor's obsession with observing behaviour and coping with his emotional response to their lives in incarceration by drinking himself insensible was unhelpful to the tribe's plight.

Much like the Government tries to silence anyone who dares speak out about the conditions in which we are holding asylum seekers in offshore detention.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Eco from the past

Over the weekend I saw online that Umberto Eco has died aged 84, but it was only this morning when I read a newspaper article that I realised that he was born in the same year as Jim.

I always found Eco's writing impenetrable, but much admired Sean Connery's performance in the film of The Name of the Rose.

And that reminded me how Jim had revered Joseph Conrad as a writer and had been amazed when he realised that Conrad's life had died just eight years before his birth.

As a teen, Jim had applied to join the Merchant Navy. In his 60s he asked his mother whether she had ever posted that application. "No" was the immediate and firm response. She had not wanted him to have a life on the ocean waves.

I sometimes wonder where Jim's imagination would have taken him, had he been allowed the opportunity of such a life.