Is VAT on food on its way?

The food and farming charity, Sustain, has come up with the wizard wheeze of taxing sugary soft drinks. Logic suggests the tax would be on the sugar content, as is the case with the alcohol content of booze, and the ramifications of that would be wide-ranging.

The income would pay for free school meals, they argue, and increase the uptake of fruit and vegetables. Now then, hands on heart, how many kids do you know who, if deprived of sugary drinks, would head straight for the apples and carrots? Yep, that’s what I thought.

It’s been repeatedly demonstrated, mainly on Continue reading


More on ready meals, and eating well on a budget…

Having been, for the most part, deeply unimpressed by Wiltshire Farm Foods meals, I decided, rather than order any more from online companies, I’d go back to basics, and order from Sainsbury’s.

I was a bit critical about them in the past, mainly due to their habit of using wine-marinated meat where it was totally wrong to do so, resulting in some very odd flavours, and the inedibility of their carrots (a common failing throughout the industry – carrots and freezers just don’t get along).

Still, they were cheap, and at least as filling as WFF so, last week, I ordered some to test the water, as it’s some years since I’ve eaten them:- Continue reading

Heart failure – the devil in the detail…

As you might know, I have heart failure – diagnosed 2 years ago. And it’s 2 years to the day that I got myself discharged before they had a second attempt at killing me (see next para), or five days and nights of sleep deprivation tipped me into a breakdown.

My previous cardiologist couldn’t ascribe a cause, despite the fact that I have two conditions, severe COPD, and aortic valve calcification, either of which, or both, could cause it. Given the severity and suddenness of onset, my guess is that, whichever, it was exacerbated by the pneumonia and empyema with which I was admitted to hospital, pulmonary backpressure overstressing my heart, not helped by the half-witted attempt to Continue reading

Medication buggeration!

I’ve been tinkering with my meds, since I doubt my GP will play ball, not if he can save a few coppers a pack on my beta-blocker.

First, though, a long-standing problem. Some brands of generic Omeprazole (Losec) contain surfactants and emollients. These are fine in lotions and ointments (and detergents in the case of surfactants), but have no place in ingested meds, because they cause violent diarrhoea, as I know to my cost.

I’ve reported this to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, who Continue reading

Back to bacon basics…

As my last attempt at making bacon was horribly salty (though nicely cured),  and, I eventually decided, unusable, I made two decisions:-

1. Ignore the reams of advice available online as too contradictory and, in many instances, plain wrong.

2. Use a commercially-available curing product, and simply follow the instructions.

Then, once I’ve mastered the basics, I can think about getting more creative.

To that end I’ve bought two 500g-ish portions of pork belly Continue reading

On balance I have IBS, not lactose intolerance – Oh joy!

I took the “Am I lactose intolerant?” quiz here, and the result came out as “No. You have a more serious condition – talk to your GP,” no matter how much I fudged my answers it came out the same. Odd, that. Anyway,  it does appear that my old enemy IBS is back with a vengeance.

NB: To avoid rewriting all this, it was written yesterday so last night, for example, refers to Monday, this morning to Tuesday.

Last night I had a corned beef toastie, with a vile sunflower oil spread, not my usual Clover – not a vestige of dairy to be seen. Later, back to Continue reading

It seems I’m now lactose-intolerant…

I’ve been at a loss to know why I’ve had two bouts of diarrhoea/vomiting since Boxing Day.

I’m still at a loss to know why I get simultaneous vomiting and diarrhoea throughout the night, on occasion, but not during the day.

I’ve suspected I’ve been getting bugs, like Norovirus, delivered with groceries or mail but, while it’s quite possible, there seems to be no real correlation and I’ve pretty much dismissed that.

I’d also suspected my Continue reading

Cooking is good for the soul – trust me…

I need to cook. Not want to (though I do), I really do mean need – it refreshes the soul!

It has to be a simple dish, so that I can do the prep in stages, as I can stand for only a few minutes at a time, and what follows lends itself nicely to that.

I suspect I’m having a problem with dairy products at the moment, so I thought – what better time to make a vegan dish? I was a veggie for around Continue reading

This week I am mostly eating stuff from Waitrose. Sadly…

A couple of years ago I tried shopping at Ocado – three orders placed, three orders screwed up. Didn’t bother again. Until December, when I thought I’d give them another chance, since they kept telling me how much they’ve improved.

They have, too – three orders to date, no problems.

So in the order delivered a few days ago I got a week’s worth of ready meals. Continue reading

Would you talk to your GP, or a pharmacist, if you were ill?

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, director at the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine, has come up with the – let’s say excessively unrealistic – idea that pharmacies should have a role in prescribing for patients, particularly in cardiovascular disease.

He also claims that “a combination pill containing statins, ACE inhibitors and aspirin amongst other ingredients, could be given to healthy patients aged 55 years in pharmacies to help tackle cardiovascular disease.”.

And Continue reading