Tag Archives: diet

Cooking Hell!

“A typical pikey British meal – and it’s ALWAYS  shades of Orange!!”

My wife and I are more than willing to give our 12 year-old daughter all manner of wholesomely nutritious treasures to enhance her crap-filled school lunchbox. Vinaigrette-dipped Kos lettuce-leaves with a scattering of Aga-roasted hazelnuts nestling on a slice or two of  home-cured  ham, maybe some Gruyere with a side-order of our own Indian Chutney, a sun-dried tomato or Cox’s Orange Pippin and possibly some stuffed olives and a couple of  Grissini with low-fat yoghurt to finish.

Yes, we know that crisps are the Devil’s food and that a can of Coke will dissolve her teeth. As for white bread! Wash your mouth out – but only with Badoit or Evian. What about our favourite – a sachet of Pure E – yes, you’ve guessed it – Haribo gums! Yes!  Jammie dodgers, Monster Munch, sausage rolls, Jam sandwiches, chocolate and Limeade which glows in the dark. These are just a few of my favourite things.

Here’s the ultimate admission – my family and I  LOVE anything from MacDonald’s – except the salads.

Today, Nanny State has spoken yet again. Last week our kids were all pissed and today, they’re fat but nevertheless malnourished.

My wife and I were standing in a Tesco checkout queue when a girl who was probably in her teens emptied her truck onto  the conveyor. EVERYTHING that she had bought was processed – from the Chicken Nuggets and Fish Fingers to the Trifle-in-a-box and jar of Cook-in sauce.  When she had emptied all the poisonous grot out of her trolley, she reached down and pulled out  another large plastic object. It was a baby-seat containing a beautiful  baby girl. Judging by the grown-up food spread before her, the young mother  was shopping for one.

So here was a (very) young single mother who probably had never been taught to cook by her own mother and who, in years to come, would doubtless be passing-on her lack of knowledge to her own daughter.

My children are lucky, as are millions of other children. At home they mostly eat food which is prepared properly and cooked. It is high-quality, nutritious and delicious. But if you open our fridge, you will find cans of Coke, processed cheeze  and bars of chocolate. There is usually a box of shop-bought sausage rolls. In the cupboards, you will find peanut butter, jam, honey and sugary cereals. There are tins of chocolate biscuits.

There are also fruit bowls, fresh vegatables, fresh meat and other good things. 

Mind you, if you rendered-down some of the food that we keep, it would put you in a permanent sugar-coma.

The point that I am trying to make is that if a child eats well at home –  eating the occasional piece of crap does not matter. So,  if the choice for school lunch is  either  a white-bread jam sandwich and a packet of crisps or nothing  – which would benefit my daughter  the most? Children eat what they like and not what they’re supposed to eat.

The media will have a couple of days wheeling out “quick healthy recipes”or introducing fresh home-grown nutritionists – who by the way , always look as if they could do with a MacDonald’s inside them. They will insist on telling us (again) what we already know. We know that a celery stick is a healthier snack than a Kit-Kat or that crème fraîche is better for you that Ben and Jerry’s deliciously scrummily wonderful Cookie Dough ice cream. We know!

The children who do go home to what we call “orange Food”, e.g. A plate of chips, beans and anything in breadcrumbs are a concern but so-what, if in addition,  they have a Coke and KitKat for lunch – it won’t kill them. The problem is not within the food but within the ignorance of at least three generations of British kids and adults brought up on processed food.

By the way, let’s please not go all gooey and misty-eyed for the food of our fathers and grandfathers. Most of it was badly-cooked crap. Fish Cakes, mashed potato and cabbage. Beef stew, boiled potatoes and carrots. Fish and Chips. The food was either so bland that you could die of boredom during the main course, or it had enough fat in it to grease a brace of cross-Channel swimmers.

My eldest two sons grew up in France and I still remember morning school runs when we would have to turn back because one of them had forgotten his napkin and/or napkin ring. Yes, children had to take their own (washed and pressed) serviette to school every morning.  During lunch, they would sit at small tables and be served freshly-cooked food and there was a jug of water on the table. That simple discipline gave them the correct attitude to food.

They retain that attitude to this day.

When we moved back to the UK, one of the strange things that we noticed was that many “Anglais” eat in the street or they sit outside on walls  or benches eating sandwiches. Many sit at their desks all day and have sandwiches brought to them. The Brits are known as a nation of “picniquers”. They even mock other nationalities who actally stop for lunch!

When I lived in France, I clearly remember spending two or three hours over lunch. Not necessarily eating a lot but eating slowly. Before you ask – I was always at my desk at 6 or 7 a.m and finished work after 6 p.m.

Even today, I advise executives to “walk away” from their desks during the day, sit down and eat lunch. Not necessarily in a bistro and I don’t care if lunch is a packet of sandwiches and a bag of crisps – it’s all to do with developing the right attitude. It’s never too late.

I bet that the researchers who gathered the information on the nation’s kids’ appalling lunch habits, themselves ate sandwiches, crisps and drank Coke or beer.

So, if your children want to eat crap – let them.

It is not-only their right –  it’s your fault.


Want to live forever? Why?

old-woman.jpg BEFORE





“If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise”

That was said by  Professor James Fries  who is the founder and Medical Director of Healthtrac as well as a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.

More academic nonsense?

A study  appears to have  shown that running on a regular basis can slow the effects of ageing. The study also showed that elderly joggers were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions like cancer than non-runners and that they also enjoyed a healthier life with fewer disabilities. 

The research tracked 500 runners  in their 50s for more than 20 years, comparing them to a similar group of non-runners.  Nineteen years into the study, 34% of the non-runners had died compared to only 15% of the runners.

Both groups became more disabled with age  but for the runners the onset of disability started an average of 16 years later. The health gap between the runners and non-runners continued to widen.  Running not only appeared to slow the rate of heart-related deaths  but there were fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.

Professor James Fries  said: “The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise. The health benefits of exercise are greater than we thought.”

It is easy to criticise results such as the ones shown above but  such evaluations,  based upon quasi-experimental designs are typically plagued by problems of nonequivalence between the experimental and comparison group prior to the experiment. 

For instance, did the “joggers” already have a predisposition towards jogging and general well-being? Did they receive more attention which motivated them – e.g as in the Westinghouse experiment where factory-worker productivity was initially associated with varying light-levels – until it was shown that it was not an increase in the light level which resulted in increased productivity  but that the workers’ motivation had been affected by the experiment itself.

The mere fact of someone (the researchers) showing an interest in their output, increased the output.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to isolate the effects of the “jogging” programme from the confounding effects associated with the relevant preexisting differences between the groups.

Other figures show more than 90% of people in the UK over 75 fail to meet international guidelines of half-an-hour moderate intensity exercise at least five times a week. That statistic probably applies to the entire population.

And what do we do with our old people here in the United Kingdom? We stick them is homes and they end their days sitting still, staring out of a window or watching television. NHS guidelines say “taking a brisk walk, spending some time doing the gardening or doing a few laps of the local swimming pool on the way home from work” can all improve health.

Good advice – although not very realistic. Is there any evidence of the NHS actually encouraging exercise – apart from issuing reports and edicts? Judging by all those fat-bottomed nurses and alcohol-dependent  doctors – No!

On the other hand, researchers from Exeter and Brunel Universities said these activities were unlikely to provide many benefits. “It’s extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy,”said Dr Gary O’Donovan. “Brisk walking offers some health benefits, but jogging, running and other vigorous activities offer maximal protection from disease.”

Other specialists said the survey results were not surprising, and that few people met the guidelines for moderate exercise.

The Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan, said it was very difficult to formulate a “one size fits all” policy to exercise, as moderate exercise for one would be intense for another. Another one from the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious.

He also stressed that public misunderstandings about exercise could not be blamed solely on the government, as academics themselves were continually formulating new theories.

Firstly, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a  Professor of Exercise and Obesity or even something called “Leeds Metropolitan”.  Secondly, at least he admitted that they too were at a loss.

Meanwhile, how many people over 65 do we see jogging? As near as damn it – NONE.

Not surprisingly,  two more separate and apparently contradictory reports emerged. One report found that walking less than the current guidelines stipulated had significant health benefits; another suggested a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week was needed for good health.

In addition, no-one is clear what part exercise really plays in preventing disease.  

A Department of Health spokesperson said its guidelines were “based on a comprehensive review of the evidence, carried out by a team of academics and expert advisers. We take a keen interest in new developments in this area, but there are no plans at present to change the existing recommendations for adults.” Great.

There appears to be  a new industry which concerns itself with the acquisition of meaningless statistics. For instance,  researchers have  examined mortality rate data for religious professionals in America and Europe and compared them with the rate for those of the same age, sex and race in the general population. “In almost all the data studied,” the study reported, “the SMR (standardized mortality rate) was below 90 percent, which means that 10 percent fewer clergy died than did ordinary people.”

Ministers, priests, vicars and nuns in general were far less prone than most to ailments such as heart disease and cancer.

What do we do, become a priest or a nun? Is it the altar wine or lack of sex? Classical musicians  live a long time – and they spend a lot of their time sitting about.  What do we do – learn to play the fiddle?  Stick a cello between our legs?? Athletes do not live to any great age and neither do doctors.

From the supine to the mediculous.

No-one really knows what helps people to live to a good active old age. Diet? Exercise? Lifestyle? Genes? Location?

There are hundreds of “gurus” who will tell you how to live forever. Most of them  are trying to sell you some sort of potion, food supplement or book. Ignore their botoxed adverts.

I think that before we look at what is going to help you to live longer is to list what is the most likely to kill you. Firstly here  is a list which was derived statistically.

For those of you who are so stressed that you will add up the percentages and then worry that they do not add up to 100% – don’t worry! 

The list is potentially a long one. These are the main killers and all the other weird and wonderful ways of killing yourself that remain are under the heading “OTHERS” :

Heart Disease 27%

Cancer 23%

Stroke 6%

Respiratory Disease 5%

Accidents 4.5% (2% = vehicle-related)

Diabetes 3%

Pneumonia/Flu 2%

Kidney Disease 2%

Septicemia 1%

Others : 27.5%

The next list consists of only four items because I have tried to simplify what can easily grow into a report or a book. These are the Root Causes which will prevent you from living too long:

Negative emotions or Life distress


Lack of Movement


In 1970, the National Geographic published a report which located the so-called world’s “BLUE ZONES” (Areas or places in the world where people live for an exceptionally long time). 

There is also a current study and a book entitles “The BLUE ZONES” by Dan Buettner. These are the areas with the highest average age and incidentally – none of  the people  jog or engage in any form of violent exercise :

OKINAWA – Philipines. They have a cultural practice of Hari Hachi whereby they restrict their calories. “Eat unil you are 80% full”

HUNZA VALLEY – Pakistan. They primarily eat grains and vegetables and lots of apricots.

VILCAMBAMBA – Southern Ecuador.  They primarily eat seeds and nuts and wholegrains and drink their own mineral water.

ABKHAZIA – Southern Russia. They tend to eat less than 2000 calories per day. They never retire and look forward to the respect that they gain when they become old. Their diet is rich in grain and nuts.

There are other groups which enjoy longevity – notably LOMA LINDA in California, a small area of SARDINIA  as well as MONGOLIA.

All these people have the following in common:


No smoking

A Plant-based diet

Moderate physical activity

Social Engagement

Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, lentils etc)

A stress-free old-age

Different groups will claim that it is the Fava beans, high polyphenol wines, nuts, turmeric , chocolate or even a belief in God that keeps them going into their 90s and above.

Some of them eat meat but not in any great quantity – so it is not what we call “vegetarianism”.

They also appear to have a higher-than-average intake of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is found in “yellow” foods as well as : Almonds , Asparagus , Avocado , Nuts , Peanuts , Olives  , Seeds , Spinach (and other green leafy vegetables) , Vegetable oils  (corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed ), Wheat germ.

So for the moment, we research while they live for ever.

Remember just one thing : There are  fat people, there are old people but there are few fat old people .

Questions for Fatsos.

“Is it in yet?”

Not so long ago, I walked into our local school playground. The sight that battered my eyeballs made me think that I had blundered into an arse-growing competition where there were no losers. There also appeared to be a gut growing competition in the corner. Many easily qualified for both competitions. Sadly, these were adults  in their 20s and 30s waiting to pick up their young children.  If you are a fat bastard of either sex (or American), stop dieting, read the next few lines, wake up and smell the flatulence. 

Let’s face it – you’re fat. Why are you fat?   Because you eat and drink too much. Yes, yes – It’s to do with big bones or shall we use the water-retention excuse today. No – I’ll tell you what – it’s a medical condition! That one never fails to get sympathy. You’re ill, that’s what you are. Hormonal is good as well.


You’re not the sort of person who:

Drinks alcohol. Eats biscuits by the packet. Eats crisps. Cooks shit food.  Eats the so-called orange food: Chips, nuggets, fish fingers, beans, chicken kiev, battered stuff , biscuits, tea, beer etc. Just loves fish and chips. Will get round to exercising next month and when you sign the membership form to the exercise class:  “Let’s have a slap-up meal and a drink just to celebrate joining the gym. After all – it will probably be the last proper meal that I will ever have”.  BOLLOCKS!             

What about:   Lousy in bed and consequently not getting any proper sex?  Never had a orgasm?  Husband left you for a younger (thinner) woman?  Wife left you?  Isn’t she looking glam these days? Not got your figure back since you had that child? Hardly eat a thing? Never ever ate the leftovers? Look for any excuse to “celebrate”? Drink a bottle of wine while cooking? Buy sweets?

“ Well dear – they are just for the kids” “I’ll stop when I’ve finished this tin of sweets.” “ I wish that people would stop giving us biscuits for Christmas.”  “I used to think it clever to get out of PE and games at school. ” “I am a virgin.”  

No jeans? Know the calorific value of everything? Love a glass of white wine? (non-fattening you know) Drink Vodka? ( least fattening of all the hard alcohols).  Have never worn a bikini? Eat like a pig at Christmas? “ Well it is just once a year, isn’t it?”  Do you eat very delicately when you are being watched.  Do you make a big deal of not being hungry when someone else cooks for you? Is your life an unhappy sham?  Do you hate your husband? Do you hate your wife/girlfriend? (or both?). Do you read trashy romantic novels? Are you lonely?  

Is your waist the same size or bigger than your chest? Do you wear baggy jumpers? Do you say “ Well, just one then.” and then proceed to eat as many as you can? Is your mother fat? Have you ever said that ”It’s the person you are that really matters”?  Do you ever wear tracksuit bottoms because it makes your gutbucket stomach happier? Is your husband an ugly bastard? Is your wife a woofer? Are your brothers and sisters fat ? Were you a bloater at school? Were you bullied at school because you were a bloater? Do you have a 99 in your ice-cream? – “Well it is the summer isn’t it?” Chinese takeaways? Indian Takeaways? Pizza? (all washed down with a bucket of diet(?) coke).

Have you ever had a walk in the countryside? Have you started to read the Lonely Hearts columns with a bit more intensity? Have you ever had a walk? ( N.B. There is no typographical error in the preceding sentence). On holiday, do you waddle to the beach and sit eating sweets and sandwiches and drinking pop and beer all day? “Well, it is just once a year”

Tried every diet? You are probably on a diet right now. Michael Winner and Anne Widdecombe (and spygun likes them both) have both said the most sensible thing ever  as far as losing weight is concerned : EAT LESS YOU FAT BASTARD.

 ‘Nuff said.