Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

I’ve been noticing adverts for perfume on the telly, have seen Christmas cards in the shops and realise that there are only a few weeks left to buy suitably pleasing presents for my loved ones (deep breath and don’t panic). A shopper I am not. Whist I really enjoy giving presents, it’s having the inspiration to choose gifts that are suitably pleasing that gets me in a tiz.

Last month I had reason to spend most of a day in the Metro Centre. I had no success at all. The chain stores are doing their usual thing which is fine but I’ve decided it’s small businesses that will save the day. Cockermouth of course is full of them. The sheer diversity is a delight. They’re personal and friendly. The owners are knowledgeable and passionate about what they sell whether that’s delicious, locally produced edible items, books, jewellery or toys. If you have family from other parts of the country, they regard with wonder things we take for granted. One year I bought all my aunts and uncles hand made chocolate. My cousin lives in France and was bowled over by venison pie and Cumbrian pickle. (No, I didn’t post them – he was over here!)

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3rd December is Small Business Saturday so do go shopping and support them. I’m taking part along with 5 million other small business. I’m offering 25% off a 1 hour skype or telephone appointment from the 3rd to the 8th December on a first-come-first-serve basis until I run out of appointments. If you’d like a better body – more energy – better health – and freedom from diets, let’s talk about how you can learn to eat well. Drop me an email to book.

Top Tip – support small businesses.

Our Hostile Food Environment

What’s the hardest thing about a healthy lifestyle? The exercise? Juicing wheatgrass? Growing sprouts? Actually the hardest thing is constantly resisting temptation in our hostile food environment.

We live in a sugar and oil saturated food world. Last month I found myself in a typical town, past lunchtime, without having brought anything to eat. The mass of non-food for sale was depressing. I felt like a reformed drug addict in an opium den. It’s very, very easy to eat badly but difficult to eat well. Amid the throngs of willing consumers, I stood out from the flock like one of the decorated (model) sheep we had around Cumbria this summer.

To improve our food environment we can support the taxation of sugar in drinks and foods; we can oppose the advertising of sugary products to children; we can stop supporting sellers of junk by refusing to buy what they sell; we can just say, “No”.

As an antidote to mass-produced fodder, we were treated to a wonderful weekend when Taste Cumbria came to Cockermouth. What a great event!

There were artisan producers you could talk to, samples to taste and all sorts of delicious foods to buy. We bought smoked mackerel for tea that evening. The next day I enjoyed scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. Monday evening it was smoked sausages for dinner (many thanks to all you lads at Haverigg).

On the Sunday I put the slow cooker on – well it’s not summer any more – and made a casserole with venison from Deer and Dexter which we ate with the last of our home-grown potatoes and lots of veg. Delicious.

Finally we popped into the United Reformed Church to restock my favourite Rhubarb and Ginger from Jill’s Jams. Jam isn’t health food but a teaspoon on a cracker topped with the creamy unpasturised Lancashire from a cheese stall was yummy.

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The Rotary Club’s Human Fruit Machine was an absolute delight and brought smiles all round.

Top tip – Buy real, local food.

Yoga Challenge

imag0770From the 3rd to the 23rd of October I did yoga every day to raise money for the wonderful debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty who rescue people from the crushing misery of debt.  CAP is 20 years old and to celebrate, they and their supporters are doing 20fortwenty challenges for 20 days.  I signed up for yoga even though I’m fairly new to it and usually only do it once a week.  I’ve been stretched in every direction and ached in muscles I didn’t even know I had.

Here is a selection of pics from my twitter feed @eatwellcoach.

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Why would I put myself through this?

Because of people like D who came to my local centre. Health problems and hospital visits meant she was down graded at work and lost income. Her son wouldn’t look for work and her youngest had irregular school attendance; thankfully her eldest daughter helped and supported her. D pared expenditure down to the bone and worked diligently with CAP on her finances.  In August she became debt free and now has a house and a new start in another town.  She found faith at a discovery break and is off the anti-depressants she took for nearly 8 years.
You can see some more stories here – check out ‘Break the Silence’.

You know my passion for eating well – people in debt often miss meals.  My book Survival Guide for the Skint talks about priorities including food and CAP’s budgets always allow people to feed their families.

Even though I’ve finished the challenge, I’d be thrilled if you’d sponsor me to help clients like D.  Here’s my Just Giving page.  If you see me in town, I’ll have a paper sponsor form with me.

Thanks already to Christine, Tim, Heather, Brenda, Cathy, Tom, Jean, Julie, Garry, Brenda, Maurice, Joyce, Janet, Barbara, Jackie, Tony, Sarah, Hilary, Robert, Alec, Caroline, Clear North, Glynis, Pete and Heather, Wolf, Betty, Pauline, Cyril, Suzanne, Davy, Vera, Lindsay, John, Carolyn, Brenda, Cynthia, Val, Jane, Betty, Barbara, Anne, Warren, Jennie, Alan, Val and anonymous donors!

My total to date is over £400.

 

Quote of the month

Quote

As sad as it is for me to say, the current food and farming system is creating catastrophic change as it contributes to climate change, global famine and malnourishment, damaging our planet to the brink of disrepair. Parts of our conventional food system harm nature, people, communities and civilisations in the wild and urban world.

Tom Hunt

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Gluten

We hear the word gluten, see adverts for alternative bread, notice increasing supermarket shelf space given over to ‘free from’ items, so what’s it all about?

Gluten (from the Latin for glue) is a protein white-bread-bunsand it is sticky stuff! Most commonly you’ll find it in products made from wheat, barley and rye: bread, pastry, cereals, cakes and biscuits, where its elasticity is useful. It’s also used in many processed foods and imitation meat products and even lipstick.

Does it matter if there’s gluten in your food? Like most nutrition questions the answer is, “it depends”. If you have coeliac disease it matters a lot. This auto-immune condition can be triggered by tiny amounts. Some non-coeliacs are sensitive to gluten and can suffer intestinal distress for days. Certainly gluten is difficult to digest; some doctors think that mankind cannot digest it at all. However, many people don’t seem to react and eat it daily.

The number of people with gluten sensitivity has risen sharply in the last few decades – for good reasons.

  • 1) Our modern diet is very ‘grain based’ so we eat more.
  • 2) Since wheat was re-engineered in the 70s it contains more gluten.
  • 3) Industrial processing has changed. It used to take hours to make a loaf of bread, kneading it and letting it rise and prove twice. Now a steam-injection process turns ingredients into the finished product in 20 minutes so the gluten doesn’t get time to relax.

The solution is avoidance, which used to be a blessing in disguise; there was no choice but to eat real food. But manufacturers don’t like to miss segments of the market so now you can buy a tempting array of gluten-free products. But beware – just being gluten free doesn’t necessarily make a product healthy.

Also check out this article on the mechanism of non-coeliac wheat sensitivity.

Top tip – Know your own body when it comes to gluten.

Quote of the Month

Advertisers have dispensed with the idea of promoting a product’s attributes in favour of marketing the product’s image. This image is conceived by marketing psychologists quite independently of the product itself, and usually has more to do with a target market than the item being sold.

Rushkoff

2000

The result of this is that sweets and fizzy drinks are sold as fun for kids and adults.  Even though we know they’ll rot our teeth, make us fat and wreck our health, we still keep buying them, eating them – and even giving them to those we love. Tragic but admittedly clever.

As one of my Eat Well Gang said,

“I suppose the Victorians had opium dens

                           – we have McDonalds and CocaCola.”

 I’d like to add Haribo, Maoam, Rowntree’s etc to that.

While talking about breakfast cereals aimed at children, Dr Christiane Northrup said,

“Think of these massive doses of sugar as no different to drugs and alcohol.  Premature death is coming from alcohol and sugar.”

Sugar Blues

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) results in hunger, shakiness, weakness, dizziness, irritability and depression. I should know; for years I suffered on a daily basis. The cause – too much sugar. High blood sugar stimulated my body to produce insulin, which took the sugar back out of my blood (and made me fat). I didn’t understand the problem so I tried to control my symptoms with regular biscuits, bananas and chocolate. It was a disaster. At archery competitions, I ate sugar even more frequently. I just got headaches and felt awful.

My first inkling of the cause

Cereal - a poor choice for breakfast

Cereal – a poor choice for breakfast

was at work. Biscuits were provided in meetings; if I ate one I got hungry but if I abstained I was OK. My second clue came when dieting to lose the weight I’d gained eating so many biscuits; I was less hungry eating a little cereal for breakfast than a lot.  Also I noticed the low-fat yoghurts I bought weren’t satisfying, they just increased my appetite.  Now I know it’s because of the sugar they put in low-fat products to make them palateable.

 

Sugar has a toxic effect on the body and causes myriad health problems besides hypoglycemia. For centuries doctors have cured their patients of many ailments by replacing sugar with quality vegetable and whole grain carbohydrates and for centuries consumption has increased sweeping aside all resistance. In the 11th Century, brewers caught adding sugar to beer were dragged through the City of Chester in a cart with the overnight refuse of the privies. In the early 1900s, America had laws against “substances injurious to health” (like sugar) being added to food. Manufacturers (including Coca-Cola) opposed this, got the government on side and the health of the whole nation deteriorated as a result of the adulterated products that are now their main food. In the 1950s, Dr Gyland wrote papers to warn and help others but couldn’t get them published.  In Britain, Professor John Yudkin tried to fight Ancel Keys and his lipid hypothesis having found a stronger corrolation between sugar and heart disease than there is with fat – he was sqashed.  Even Keys himself couldn’t get published a paper he wrote late in his life against the direction nutritional advice has taken.  Little has changed.  Those reaping the profits still don’t want you to know the truth – sugar wrecks your health.

Top Tip – Stop eating sugar

NB Diabetics will need to balance their medication with their sugar intake.

To learn more about the sorry history of sugar in our food, read Sugar Blues by William Dufty and Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin.  Here’s a Daily Telegraph artcle on the latter; we still have the same sugar-industry-led problem today.

 

Quote of the month

The school holidays are almost upon us and there’ll be lots of time to do fun things – hopefully in the sunshine.  Here are some words from the wise about the types of foods we commonly regards as treats.

Treat treats as treatsIce lolly

Michael Pollan

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Don’t treat your mouth like an amusement park

Joe Cross

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Every time someone calls junk a treat, please correct them. We will never make progress until people see eating cr@p as anything but a treat

Zoe Harcombe

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