Archive for category Healthy Eating

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Global Handwashing Day 2012

Today, 15th October 2012 is Global Handwashing Day.

“Human feces are the main source of diarrheal pathogens. They are the source of shigellosis, typhoid, cholera, all other common endemic gastro-enteric infections and some respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. A single gram of human feces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria.

These pathogens are passed from an infected host to a new one via various routes but all of these illnesses emanate from feces. Removing excreta and cleaning hands with soap after contact with fecal material –from using the toilet or cleaning a child – prevents the transmission of the bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause diarrheal diseases.

Other measures (food handling, water purification, and fly control) have an impact on these diseases as well, but sanitation and handwashing provide the necessary protection against fecal contact. They start by creating initial barriers to fecal pathogens from reaching the domestic environment. Handwashing with soap stops the transmission of disease agents and so can significantly reduce diarrhea and respiratory infections, and may impact skin and eye infections.

Research shows that children living in households exposed to handwashing promotion and soap had half the diarrheal rates of children living in control neighborhoods. Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine. Promoted on a wide enough scale, handwashing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. Ingraining the habit of handwashing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.”



Why Handwashing with Soap?
Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote.

Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter. A vast change in handwashing behavior is critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.

Global Handwashing Day focuses on children because not only do they suffer disproportionately from diarrheal and respiratory diseases and deaths, but research shows that children – the segment of society so often the most energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas – can also be powerful agents for changing behaviors like handwashing with soap in their communities.

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Fructose : What does this mean?


There are times doctors get pretty confused and frustrated by the research that is produced, particularly when it is not within their own specialty. What chance therefore do patients have?

Here is a paper telling us that too much fructose is bad for you. Now this upsets me because I have always considered I eat a healthy diet that contains vast amounts of fruit, which of course is teeming with fructose. Do I now need to reconsider that what I am eating? Is my high fruit intake unhealthy?

Although they are addressing the fructose content of corn syrup as an additive added as a sweetener by the food industry, what are the implications for those of us who do not eat many packaged foods but eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables where fruits predominate over vegetables?

I have just read the abstract of this paper. I suppose I’m going to have to study the whole paper in more detail and any subsequent follow-up papers too.



Obesity and type 2 diabetes are occurring at epidemic rates in the United States and many parts of the world. The “obesity epidemic” appears to have emerged largely from changes in our diet and reduced physical activity. An important but not well-appreciated dietary change has been the substantial increase in the amount of dietary fructose consumption from high intake of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener used in the food industry. A high flux of fructose to the liver, the main organ capable of metabolizing this simple carbohydrate, perturbs glucose metabolism and glucose uptake pathways, and leads to a significantly enhanced rate of de novo lipogenesis and triglyceride (TG) synthesis, driven by the high flux of glycerol and acyl portions of TG molecules from fructose catabolism. These metabolic disturbances appear to underlie the induction of insulin resistance commonly observed with high fructose feeding in both humans and animal models. Fructose-induced insulin resistant states are commonly characterized by a profound metabolic dyslipidemia, which appears to result from hepatic and intestinal overproduction of atherogenic lipoprotein particles. Thus, emerging evidence from recent epidemiological and biochemical studies clearly suggests that the high dietary intake of fructose has rapidly become an important causative factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome. There is an urgent need for increased public awareness of the risks associated with high fructose consumption and greater efforts should be made to curb the supplementation of packaged foods with high fructose additives. The present review will discuss the trends in fructose consumption, the metabolic consequences of increased fructose intake, and the molecular mechanisms leading to fructose-induced lipogenesis, insulin resistance and metabolic dyslipidemia.”

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The Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diets like all others are variable but the general theme is that they tend to be high in fruit and vegetables, high in olive oil compared with dairy fats and lower in meat than in the UK.

A recent analysis of 500,00 people from 50 studies was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology was reviewed by the team at “Behind the Headlines.”


“Importantly, some of the analyses combined studies that were very different from one another in terms of the sample size, study duration, trial quality and context of intervention. These analyses had a high ‘statistical heterogeneity’, which is a way of measuring whether it is appropriate to pool them or not (higher heterogeneity means pooling is less appropriate). The researchers say that this “introduces a warning about the generalisation of the present results”.
The outcomes were related to risk factors for cardiovascular disease, not the disease itself. It is, therefore, an extrapolation, although perhaps not an unrealistic one, to claim that this study proves that the Mediterranean diet has an effect on cardiovascular disease outcomes.

Overall, this research provides further evidence of the benefits of eating a Mediterranean-style diet and quantifies the benefit in terms of the individual risk components of metabolic syndrome.”



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© Jackie Egginton |

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Webwhispering Diet : Granny McAdam’s tablet

Warning! Here is The First Bad Red Egg. The first forbidden treat. One that most healthy diets would not allow!

If Granny McAdam was still alive she would be a great, great granny. She would be delighted to know her recipe for Scottish tablet was appearing on something that would bamboozle her – The World Wide Web. She would be a bit amazed to learn that a recipe brimming with all the diet nasties was being used in a healthy eating diet. Granny McAdam lived till she was nearly a hundred but I’ve no idea how much of her own tablet she ate and how much she gave away. Consequently, I can’t say that her tablet was related to her longevity. However, I know she always had some stored away in a tin box, and visitors were given a little bag of it as they went out the door and a little hand-picked bunch of flowers from her garden.

Probably most doctors and dietitians would disapprove of me having Granny McAdam’s tablet as part of a healthy eating/weight reduction diet. The beauty of having a blog that is not affiliated to anyone apart from myself means that I can tell you about my own approach to my own healthy eating, eccentric though it may be.

The aim is to eat absolute everything I like, but to adjust the amounts and frequency of consumption of each item until weight loss occurs (I am hoping to lose two stones slowly but steadily and keep that weight off for the rest of my life). If you follow any diet pyramid, tablet, sugar and butter will always be near the top – to be eaten in small amounts. Like Granny McAdam, I’m going to have treats available at all times. None of this “don’t have it in the house – it will tempt you” approach. The diet is not gong to control me, I’ll control the diet.

So here is the recipe:



Scales or other measuring things
A big thick based pot
A long handled wooden spoon.
A greased square baking tray with edges high enough to prevent the fluid tablet from overflowing.
A knife.
A tin storage box

If you want to give it away some clear bags suitable for food.
If you want to make it really, really pretty, some ribbon to tie them with.


1/4 lb butter
1 cup water
2 lbs white sugar
Vanilla pod or vanilla essence to taste.
1 tin Fussel’s condensed milk.
(Granny McAdam always used Fussels. Nothing else would do. However, since then companies have been buying each other over and nobody knows who’s who nowadays when it comes to condensed milk. They’ll need to use Carnation Light Condensed milk seems to be much the same recipe as Fussels NOT Carnation Evaporated milk…… THIS WON’T WORK)


Put butter and water in the pan and melt.
Add sugar then condensed milk.
Bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
(Granny McAdam used to say the secret was in the stirring. You must stir and stir without ceasing she said. For half an hour if necessary.)
When getting sugary at the sides of the pan, stir in vanilla pod and remove when flavour is right, or add vanilla essence to required taste.
Test consistency by spooning out a little into a cup of cold water. It should set sugary not runny.
Keep stirring all the time – it should turn into a deep golden colour.

When consistency and colour is just right, pour into greased tin.
Before it has cooled completely mark into even squares.
Break up into pieces when cold
Scrape every bit that remains in the pot, store it in a jar and use it for sprinkling on ice cream – another treat!


It might take a bit of practice to get the consistency, colour and texture right. This is NOT fudge and it is NOT toffee. It is Scottish tablet, and this recipe once mastered, if you keep stirring according to Granny McAdam’s instructions, makes the best tablet in the world!

A real treat!

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© Ieva Vincerzevskiene |

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Prevention of heart disease

When it comes to clogging up the coronary arteries – a gradual process which in time has the potential of resulting in angina, coronary thrombosis and myocardial infarction, then prevention really is better than cure.

The Mayo Clinic gives guidance on ways to help yourself without medication.



“Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.”

The English approach is here:



“There are several ways that you can help to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD), these include reducing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are a number of ways you can do this….”

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© Laser143 |

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Food pyramid review

Here is yet another food pyramid with loads of carbohydrate on the base.

Once more, I am of the opinion that I could not under any circumstances devour a diet with such a large proportion of carbohydrate and have already decided that fruit and vegetables will be the predominant food in my own Webwhispering Diet.

What interests me is that there seems to be a nutrition expert questioning the wisdom of following a diet so rich in carbohydrates. He seems to think it might be making the American population fat. He also emphasise the needs for diets to reflect the individual rather than “one size does all.”

Cell Biology Professor Richard Feinman Discusses the ‘Food Pyramid’ Dietary Guidelines:

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© Okea |

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Webwhispering diet : organising the treats

This food pyramid, like the previous one, has pasta, bread and other carbohydrates at the base.

This is definitely not for me. I could never have a diet that predominates in these foods. Fruit and vegetables will need to be at the base of my pyramid, but I’m not sure yet what the middle layers will be.

One thing for sure though. Chocolate and sweets are bound to feature on the top layer of anyone’s food pyramid. The secret is to restrict these but at the same time not be aware that they are being rationed. At the moment my plan is to give myself a daily treat and look forward to this.  Because only small quantities are eaten they will become more and more of a treat.

I’m going to choose two of my home made favourites that will always be in my box of treats. By making them myself in my own kitchen, it will continually reinforce to me how much fattening stuff they contain – a reminder to restrict them.

The first treat will be “Granny MacAdam’s tablet.”

The second will be “Mum’s orange and biscuit no-bake cake.”

Oh, how I love these two fattening treats!

Recipes to follow soon.

I won’t start on this lifelong healthy eating diet until The Treat Tin is full.

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© Okea |


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Webwhispering diet: food pyramids

It is fashionable to turn healthy eating into the form of a pyramid.

There are several types of food pyramid and each relates to cultural eating patterns. For example, there is a Mediterranean pyramid, an Asian pyramid etc.

It seems to me there is a problem. Nowadays in the UK we enjoy a multicultural diet, so what pyramid do we follow? Do we flit form one pyramid to another? If so, will that prevent losing weight to a healthy level because we convince ourselves we can eat all the foods freely from the bottom level of all the food pyramids?

I’ll need to prepare my own food pyramid before I start dieting. One thing for sure, it won’t be the one shown here. My “base” will be fruit and vegetables. There are two reasons for this. I love fruit and vegetables and wouldn’t want to restrict them much. Furthermore, a diet with a basis of fruit and vegetables means that it is possible to have very quick meals without any cooking involved at all – and this has a huge advantage if you don’t have much free time to spend in the kitchen.

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© Jimmyi23 |

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Webwhispering Diet : Early thoughts

I’m in no hurry to start this diet. The planning is important and a diet that suits me will take shape gradually over the next few weeks or months.

Some of the things going through my mind are very clear.

1. There will be no weighing of food or calorie counting. My eye will work it out using knowledge and common sense.

2. I will eat absolutely anything I want to eat. The skill will be knowing how much and how often I eat the foods that are likely to prevent weight loss.

3. Chocolate and home baking will not be excluded.

4. I will control the diet. The diet will not control me.

5. The Webwhispering Diet will be enjoyable.

6. It will become a way of life.

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© Alex Bramwell |

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