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Friday, October 9, 2009

If the shoe fits A new book relaunches the battle of the sexes. Two writers, male and female, give their verdict: 8,9

Irish Examiner Graphics



Young woman with lupus lives life to the full: 4


Families that eat together have better communication: 7


One man’s quest to see his 150th birthday: 11




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A project to clothe premature babies has won the hearts of knitters everywhere, Michelle McDonagh reports Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON DYSLEXIA SEMINAR: The Cork branch of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) will hold a seminar at the Rochestown Park Hotel tomorrow, F35 or F25 for members. Registration is from 9 to 9.30am; call Denise Garde 087-9831837. BABY MASSAGE: Classes in baby massage start next Monday at 10.30am in the Go Safari Children’s Activity Centre, Fota Retail Park, cost F120 (course fee reclaimable on selected healthcare policies). Contact Katie Monaghan on 086-0635707 for more details. ALEXANDER DAY: As part of Alexander Technique Awareness Week (October 9 to 18) Cork Alexander teachers will host a Family Day at the Unitarian Church, Princes Street, this Sunday, from 2 to 5pm. Free treatments and family entertainment. Contact Rosemary Moone 021-4311411 or see OA MEETING: Overeaters Anonymous (OA) will hold an Open Public Meeting, where people recovering from compulsive eating, bulimia and anorexia will share their experiences, on Friday, October 16 at 8pm in the Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain St, Cork. Call 086-3526467; REMEMBRANCE SERVICE: A Service of Remembrance will be held by Cork University Maternity Hospital on Thursday next, at 7.30pm in St Joseph’s Church (SMA), Wilton. All who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss are welcome to attend. Call CUMH on 021-4920500. INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE: An Indian Head Massage course will be held on October 17 & 18 in Killeens, Blarney, F150. Call Patricia on 087-9721149. REIKI/IET SHARE: A Reiki and IET sharing night will be held at the Energise clinic, Watergrasshill, Co Cork next Wednesday at 7.30 to 10pm, F20 or donation. Tel Ellie Redmond, 087-2471477. PREGNANCY WORKSHOP: Mother Nurture’s next Early Pregnancy Information Workshop takes place on Wednesday October 14 from 7 to 9pm in Bru Columbanus, Wilton. The workshop is given by a midwife and a physiotherapist and covers nutrition, back care, pelvic floor exercises, relaxation etc. It costs F30, call 026-48949. ANGEL FOCUS: A full day of meditation to learn how to work and heal with the angels will take place at the Ambassador Hotel, Cork, Sunday from 10.30am to 5.30pm, F60, Call Christine Mulvihill on 087-2460656. Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to


Wrapped in love

THE Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (ISANDS) is appealing to knitters around the country to become involved in a project making tiny garments to clothe babies who are born too soon. A case of Wrapped in Love items will be donated to each neonatal unit around the country so that parents can choose from a selection of beautiful outfits. The project has caught the attention of knitting groups and other clubs throughout Ireland and in Britain, Canada, America, France and Belgium. National chairperson of ISANDS Ron Smith-Murphy says she is amazed by how many people have been touched by the project with tiny handknit wraps, garments, blankets and teddy bears arriving almost every day. “The idea for the project came to me about a year and a half ago when a woman delivered a baby at 19 weeks in one of the Dublin hospitals and the baby was presented to her wrapped in a j-cloth,” says Smith-Murphy. “She was very upset over it and we managed to get the photos edited to remove the j-cloth and put a blanket around her baby.” On hearing of the ISANDS project, a group of volunteers in Britain called Make a Difference RSVP sent samples and pat-


BABY AID: Some of the outfits knitted for the babies. Now ISANDS is appealing for more Irish knitters.

terns of the beautiful items they make for hospitals over there. “Seeing the babies wrapped in the items is lovely. The parents have such a short time with their baby and there is very little people can do to make a difference, but this is one small project that can help.” Groups around the country, including the ICA, knitting and active retirement associations are sending parcels of handknitted garments to ISANDS all the time as well as young knitters at a Cork school. However, Smith-Murphy is appealing for more knitters to become involved in the project. As a mother who lost her own little


A DAY-long free national conference titled Supporting Women with Secondary Breast Cancer take place on Saturday, October 17, in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin. It’s targeted at women who have been treated or who are currently undergoing treatment. Attendees will hear presentations on current treatments, new treatment advances and psychological/practical support. For further details or to book your free place, contact 01-2310518 or email

THE Asthma Society of Ireland has teamed up with Ireland and Munster rugby star Ronan O’Gara to give two people the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the Magners league clash of reigning champions Munster V Ulster on October 31. The prize includes bed and breakfast at the 4-star Clarion Hotel in Limerick and a post-play meet-and-greet with Ronan in the players’ lounge, where winners will have the chance to pose for photos with the fly-half who’s had asthma since childhood. Log onto and answer a simple question. You can also tune into 2fm’s The Sports Bag on Sunday, October 25 between 10am-11am for another chance of netting the prize.

ASPIRING young film-makers and people interested in social issues are invited to produce a short film exploring the link between Irish culture and drinking. Sponsored by, the Dare2bdrinkaware competition is open to third-level students throughout Ireland and has a prize fund of F5,000. Students have six weeks to come up with film ideas, with deadline for receipt of proposals on Friday, November 20. The competition will culminate in a screening and awards ceremony in late April, 2010. Further info and full competition guidelines online at

THE Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has launched the ideal Christmas gift — a cookery book called Zest which features recipes from over 60 leading Irish restaurants and well-known chefs (including Kevin Dundon, Richard Corrigan, Derry Clarke). Sales of Zest will fund the crucial work of the IHF including developing a children’s hospice home care service. The F20 cookery book is

daughter 16 years ago, Smith-Murphy knows the value of support services like ISANDS at a very difficult time in a family’s life. She is disappointed that the organisation’s contribution was not recognised in the recent National HSE Retained Organs Audit. Knitting and sewing patterns can be downloaded for the Wrapped in Love project from the ISANDS website ( Individuals, knitting/sewing clubs or groups who might like to get involved in this project, can contact Ron Smith-Murphy on 01-872 6996 or email

BOOK LAUNCH: Lively Lemon Ciara Walsh at the Launch of Zest!, the Irish Hospice Foundation’s New Cookery Book.

Picture: Martin Maher

available in bookstores, participating restaurants and at or by phoning 01-8611580.

PARENTS and professionals working with teens experiencing difficulties at secondary school are invited to attend a free public seminar on the topic of Learning and auditory processing — how auditory processing impacts teenagers in secondary school. Tying in with National Parents Week, the talk is at 2pm tomorrow in the Red Cow Moran Hotel, Naas Rd, Dublin. Keynote speaker is Professor Wynand F Du Plessis, whose area of specialisation is the effect of the Tomatis Method on young adults. The Cluas Centre in Tallaght, Dublin, is the only Tomatis centre in Ireland with after-school programmes specifically for teens. To book a free place at the talk, call 01-494 0210 or email Helen O’Callaghan EDITORIAL: Irene Feighan 021-4802292 ADVERTISING: Niamh Kelly 021-4802215






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Sarah Webb


I feel like a teen SARAH WEBB is author of the Amy Green teen series and will be appearing at the Children’s Book Festival, which runs through October with events across Ireland. (More info about the festival at The Amy Green Teen Agony Queen series is about an average 13-year-old girl and how her life changes when she teams up with her 17-year-old aunt, Clover, and they become agony aunts for a teen magazine. Sarah — who went to Paris to celebrate her 40th birthday this year — doesn’t find it difficult to relate to 13-year-old girls. “I think I’m just 13 in my head,” she says. Based in Dun Laoghaire, where she grew up and where she lives with her partner, Ben, and their three children — Sam, 16, Amy, six, and Jago, three — Sarah says the key to writing for teenagers is the need to be honest, and truthful, about relationships and families and school. “What they like reading about is family problems and solutions, boys, of course, and friendship, and how to deal with break-ups in friendship — that would be a very strong theme,” says Sarah, whose adult fiction includes When The Boys Are Away and Something To Talk About. What shape are you in? I’m in pretty good shape. I walk everyday for about half an hour and I go to yoga classes twice a week. Do you have any health concerns? I’m quite lucky around health, though I need to watch my back and neck. A lot of writers have problems with those, because of sitting for long periods. I try to get up and stretch, often, during the day.

What trait to you like least in others? Laziness — I think life is there to be lived and people should pack in as much as possible. I don’t like people who watch the world go by and then complain about it. What trait do you like least in yourself? I’m quite impatient. I like things to get done. Do you pray? I do. What cheers up your day? The children always make me laugh. I love getting letters and emails from my readers. And conkers — they always cheer me up. Helen O’Callaghan

THIRTEEN AGAIN: Writer Sarah Webb finds it easy to empathise with young readers. Picture: Denis Minihane

What are your healthiest eating habits? I don’t drink tea or coffee — I just don’t like them. I don’t eat red meat, either. We eat lots of fruit and vegetables in our house — I eat tomatoes everyday. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? King crisps — cheese and onion. They’re my downfall. I’d eat several packets a week.


What would keep you awake at night? Very little — I have three active children. I only have sleepless nights when my other half is snoring. How do you relax? I walk, listen to music, or I write. I find writing a very good way to get away from my worries. What would you change about your appearance? Not much, though I’d like a stronger back, so I could get back to my running. I love running, but, unfortunately, my back and knees don’t love it.

Your guide to fitness, health, happiness and lifestyle. Great writers and mentors. Where you come first.

When did you last cry? I cry all the time — at Concern ads, books, films. I cry on a daily basis. Writers are emotional beings, so it’s kind of normal, really. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Marian Keyes — she’s hilarious; Maeve Binchy, who’s adorable, funny, kind and tells great stories; Roddy Doyle and Seamus Heaney. It would be a writers’ dinner.

Every Friday

What’s your favourite smell? My children, when they were babies — that’s a really sweet smell.






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Having lupus is like living life in second gear. If you go full throttle you pay the price. For instance, a 20-minute walk is fine, but 40 minutes would wipe me out. The same goes for late nights

— Louise


Picture:Daragh Mc Sweeney / Provision


UCY VODDEN — who inspired the Beatles’ classic Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds — died last week aged 46 following a long battle with lupus. It’s a disease whose symptoms are so wide-ranging and diverse, it is often called “the great mimic”. According to Maire deBaroid, founder member of Cork Lupus Support Group, it is precisely because the disease can manifest itself in everything from chronic fatigue to kidney failure that makes lupus so difficult to identify. She herself suffered with it for six years before finally being diagnosed in 1982. “I had pains everywhere,” she recalls. “I was so tired I often lost my balance. I was afraid that if I didn’t sit down, I’d fall down.” The diagnosis came as a relief: “When you can put a name on your illness, you can do something about it,” says Marie who was determined to help herself and fellow sufferers by learning as much as she could about the disease. According to Maire, research shows that lupus sufferers who share their experiences manage their condition better than those who suffer in silence. To this end, she continues to champion the cause of the support group she was instrumental in founding 25 years ago. “Lupus can be debilitating,” she says. “But it’s important to keep yourself informed and positive. Here I am, 80 years of age and still going strong.” According to Dr El-Rasie, consultant rheumatologist in Barrington’s Hospital Limerick, support groups are hugely beneficial for lupus sufferers, for reassurance and the camaraderie that comes with shared experience. “Only sufferers can properly understand the extent of the fatigue that so often afflicts them,” he says, adding that patients must be seen by their consultant on a regular basis to keep their medication in check.


With lupus it’s possible to live life to the full once you don’t overdo it. Margaret Carragher


Louise Crowley has had lupus for 17 years. Like Maire deBaroid, she believes your approach to the disease is crucial to its management. However, unlike Maire, Louise was quickly diagnosed. “I was studying for my Leaving Cert,” she recalls. “The symptoms appeared almost overnight: a facial rash, swollen joints and hair loss from the crown of my head.” Because of her speedy diagnosis, Louise received treatment immediately, for which, with the benefit of hindsight, she is profoundly grateful. “With lupus, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs,” she explains. “Early detection is vital to minimise long-term damage.” With her condition stabilised, Louise was able to sit her exams and obtained the requisite points to study law. However, putting the

subject into practice was a different matter. “After graduation, I worked as a solicitor but the long hours and physical demands were just too much. There were mornings when I was so exhausted I was in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel.” Reluctant to abandon the career she’d set her heart on, Louise took the academic route and is now a law lecturer in UCC. “Intellectually, the job is just as rigorous, but physically it’s not so demanding,” she explains. As well as her job, Louise has two young children, Clodagh aged three and Neil who is almost two. While she is delighted to be a mum, she admits it is hasn’t been all plain sailing. “It’s a big deal having babies with lupus,” she says. “It took me almost two years to get over each pregnancy.” An understanding partner is crucial to keeping the show on the road. “My husband is incredibly supportive. He understands that when I run out of steam I simply have to rest.” For Louise, managing her condition means avoiding situations that aggravate it. “Strong sunlight is out,” she says, adding that prior to being diagnosed with lupus, she suffered a bad dose of sunburn which she believes may have triggered it. “On the other hand, both my aunt and my sister have it and there’s a presumed genetic link.” Whatever the cause, though, the disease has to be dealt with on a daily basis and in this regard, Louise is admirably pragmatic. “Having lupus is like living life in second gear,” she says. “If you go full throttle you pay the price. For instance, a 20-minute walk is fine, but 40 minutes would wipe me out. The same goes for late nights.” “There was a time when lupus was like a death sentence,” says the 34-year-old. “Now, with proper medication, careful monitoring and an understanding of the condition, sufferers can, like me, live full and active lives.”


Facts about lupus LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS usually appears in one of two forms: discoid lupus erythematosus (the skin form, called discoid LE) or systematic lupus erythematosus (the internal form, called systematic LE or SLE). Neither is contagious. Discoid LE has a type of skin rash with raised, red, scaly areas, most commonly on the face and other areas exposed to light. Systematic lupus erythematosus (or SLE) is classified as a rheumatic disease LUPUS VICTIM: in the same family Lucy Vodden — as rheumatoid who inspired the arthritis. It is a Beatles’ classic long-lasting systematic inflamma- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds — tory disease, died last week> which causes she had Lupus, an changes in the blood vessels and incurable disease connective tissue. of the immune It causes damage system. to the structure of the heart, lungs and kidneys and how they function. It can also affect the joints, muscles, skin, nervous system and also the digestive system. Who gets lupus? LUPUS affects all races and ethnic groups. It occurs much more frequently in women (usually between 15 and 45) than men, and may affect newborn babies. (Source the Irish Lupus Support Group)




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John Daly talks to Niamh who has had junior arthritis since the age of three

Upbeat despite her pain M

OST of us view the gathering gloom of October with mixed feelings as summer days slowly give way to darker evenings and the first touch of that sharp chill in the air. For others, like 10-year-old Niamh Costello, who suffers from junior arthritis, the seasonal transition carries a physical bite far more challenging than the dwindling daylight. “It is more painful at this time of the year, the colder days do make you more aware of it,” she says of a condition she’s had since the age of three. “In the summer, it’s more of a dull pain, but it gets much more sharp when October comes.” On those mornings when the discomfort is so severe that even rising from bed is a problem, Niamh takes warm baths as part of her daily routine. “Baths are definitely a help when it’s really bad. Earlier this year, there was a time when I had to take one every morning.” Juvenile arthritis (JA) is the number one cause of acquired childhood disability. It is widely misunderstood but is one of the most common childhood autoimmune diseases and severely restricts the lives of up to 1,000 children and their families in Ireland today. The staff in Our Lady’s Mercy Convent in Cahir, Co Tipperary, are particularly supportive — Niamh’s teacher explained the condition with the help of books and videos so all of the pupils would be aware of it. An occupational therapist also provided the school with a special chair which helps Niamh to sit with her feet flat on the ground to help reduce the likelihood of her joints getting stiff. “My friends at school are really great, they are a big help on those days when I’m on crutches and can’t move around too easily,” says Niamh. “They stop their games and walk around with me and get my lunch for me and stuff.” Despite her constant BRIGHT-EYED: Niamh Costello remains good-humoured and swims battle with pain and regularly to ease her junior arthritis. Picture: Denis Minihane. movement, Niamh YOU can help a child with remains upbeat. arthritis see a brighter fu“Niamh did have implications of it. It’s only now, years later, “I love going inture by selling JAsper a number of years that we’re finally getting our heads around it to the pool and pins for National Arthritis Week. Costing where the condiand understanding the full extent of what it’s a great help only F2 they can make a huge diftion was kept rel- needs to be done.” with the pain, ference. “I sold a whole box of pins atively under Orla Killeen is Ireland’s only consultant so I think I’d already last week,” says Niamh Costelcontrol, but over paediatric rheumatologist and, fortunately, like to be a lo. “And I’m hoping to sell the same the past 18 Niamh is one of her patients. Working at the swimming inamount again next week.” months it has real- only dedicated junior arthritis unit in Ireland structor when If you would like to make a difference, ly taken over her at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, I’m older. I log onto, conbody,” says Wendy. she oversees the treatment of children, from think swimming tact Caroline on 01-6470209 or email “There are many toddlers to teenagers. is brilliant.” times where she cannot “Currently, there’s a waiting list of 14 For mum Wendy get out of bed easily or months for an out-patient appointment, Costello, the first signs walk properly and has to which works against the aggressive treatment of trouble came early. spend time on crutches or in a that needs to be administered, as early as pos“Niamh always walked with a wheelchair. Swimming and physio did sible, to promote the best outcome for the slight skip in her step, which would help, but recently she has also been taking child,” she says. have been the first sign we noticed. Also, she “The whole problem is that the children complained of pains from her knee to her an- medication as well.” Wendy injects Niamh every week with an are growing, so that if they’re under-diagkle. Then, aged three, she awoke one morning to find her knee puffed out to three times immune suppressant, and administers a course nosed they could suffer a growth distortion, such as a shorter leg or a disparity between its normal size and crawled into our bedroom of anti-inflammatory pills for the pain. With no family history of the condition, Wendy fingers.” on her hands and knees.” says it’s been a steep learning curve for all the Out-patient numbers at the Crumlin unit On advice from their GP, who suspected family. increased by 200% between 2006 and 2008, juvenile arthritis from the outset, Niamh “Finding out your three-year old child has due possibly to increased awareness of JA and made the first of many journeys to Crumlin arthritis catches you completely off guard,” earlier diagnosis of affected children. The Children’s Hospital where her condition was she says. “You just don’t understand the full unit treats up to 600-plus children annually. confirmed.



My friends are really great, they are a big help on those days when I’m on crutches and can’t move around too easily. They stop their games and walk around with me




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Our facial expressions often hide our real inner feelings, something adults are good at disguising

Facing the truth Tony Humphreys


HE face is as good at masking emotions as it is at expressing them. Facial expressions serve powerful functions — to suppress what arises in us and to express the emotions present. Certainly, it is far more threatening to your wellbeing to hide your inner turmoil so nobody gets a look into your interiority. However, we mask those feelings that are too threatening to reveal — it’s lesson we learn very early on in life. Many adults I have worked with relate stories of, as children, having to have a happy facial expression and daring not to show such emergency feelings as upset, anger, fear, disappointment and hurt. They unconsciously realised the dangers of emergency emotional expression, namely, that a parent or a significant adult would not be able to cope with distress. Children, in their wisdom, create the defensive response to such a threat and put on the happy face to offset the threat. To paraphrase the poet T S Elliot: they ‘put on the face to meet the face’. Infants and children are far more expert than adults at reading faces — and for good reasons. They carry their defensive masks into adulthood and some crisis — physical, emotional, social, occupational — may need to occur before they come into conscious realisation that they allow nobody to get to know them. The daunting tasks are to make new choices to be authentic, real, spontaneous and open with others and to let go of the need to protect others, particularly parents and siblings, from encountering distress. Some clients have told me: ‘My mother will fall apart if I tell her how I really feel’. Others have said: ‘My father won’t be able to cope with my telling him about my depression’. However, if the truth be told, it is the person themselves, now as adults, who are afraid of ‘falling apart’ for they, like their parent, have not learned to accept and resolve distress. When nobody takes responsibility within such families, then no change occurs and the unresolved vulnerability of emotional repression passes from generation to generation. Be assured that we all have immense power to resolve emotional and other distresses, but not too many people are told that. If it is important for the person who smiles all the time to become conscious of their typical facial expression, it is equally crucial for those who wear their hearts, not only on their sleeve, but on their face, to own what belongs to them and not put responsibility onto others for resolution of their inner



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issues, or, indeed, for their overall wellbeing. If tone of voice can pose threats to the wellbeing of others, so too can facial expression. Children need to put on the defensive face to meet the defensive face of the adults who are responsible for their care. However, adults need to get to know themselves, establish independence in relationships and take complete responsibility for their own mature pr ogress. ‘The face that stops the clock’ is worn by the person who has not yet faced-up to being truly adult. One of the perplexities about reading facial expressions is that it involves so many body parts — the eyes, the eyebrows, the forehead, the eye-lids, the cheeks, the jaw, the nose, the lips and the teeth. So, for example, we experience ‘the eyes as being the windows of the soul’, ‘the raised eye-brow’, ‘the furrowed brow’, ‘the rapid eye-blink’, ‘the sucked-in cheeks’, ‘the jaw set against the world, ‘the lips sealed’, ‘the nose in the air’ and ‘the teeth bared’. Putting the various signals together we can experience the overall facial expression as dark, startled, shocked, hard, soft, guarded, relaxed, surprised and so on. However, we tend to interpret facial expression more in emotional terms, such as hostile, appeasing, terrifying, angry, tense, sad, jealous, cheerful,

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HONEST LOOK: Whatever way we interpret another person’s facial expression, we must own our interpretation as being about ourselves. Picture:iStock

mischievous, depressed, anxious, closed, open, threatening. Whatever way we interpret another person’s facial expression, it is vital we own our interpretation as being about ourselves and not put the responsibility onto the other person. In any case, a person who shows a defensive face is not in a place to take responsibility for self, not to mind anybody else. It is the mature response to look at what action we need to take to ensure our wellbeing is not jeopardised by what belongs to another — we can hope that they will face their own inner demons. ■ Dr Tony Humphreys practices as a clinical psychologist and is author of Whose Life Are You Living?


A DIFFERENT VIEW ON LIFESTYLE Your guide to fitness, health, happiness and lifestyle. Great writers and mentors. Where you come first.

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Every Friday. For a different view




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Psychologist David Coleman tells Michelle McDonagh mealtime is important

Families who eat, meet I NCREASINGLY hectic lives and conflicting schedules mean that sitting down to eat together around the dinner table has become the exception rather than the norm for Irish families. Despite this trend, 80% of Irish families feel family mealtimes are a treasured resource that should be protected, while 87% believe a lack of shared meals has led to the loss of important family traditions. That’s according to a recent email survey carried out on behalf of food company Knorr, which featured 950 people between the ages of 25 and 40. Child psychologist David Coleman is to lead a new campaign which kicks off next week, October 12-19, to get Irish families back around the table eating together. He is being backed in the initiative by Knorr. In July, an email survey was undertaken by research company, Empathy and involved 950 participants aged between 25 and 40. “With so much pressure on families today more than ever it’s a good thing for people to sit around the table and share a meal,” says Coleman. “It doesn’t matter what time of day this happens — it should be about whatever suits your family.” Coleman advises families against setting their targets too high and his simple challenge is to eat a meal or snack together as often as possible. Over the next week he is calling on families to aim for two extra family meals than they currently share during the week. Advice, inspiration and recipes will be available on “A shared bowl of soup when the kids come in from school can be just as valuable as a three-course Sunday lunch. What’s important is taking the time to focus on the people around the table and what’s going on in their lives. Families that eat together regularly communicate better with each other and will be better able to deal with any problems that may arise — and that goes for all types of families,” he says. Inspired by the success achieved by Jamie Oliver in his campaign for better school meals in Britain, Coleman says that once family members see for themselves the rewards of eating together on a regular basis, the habit quickly becomes self-reinforcing and people are more likely to prioritise the family meal. Perhaps not surprisingly, 60% of the families surveyed admit that the television — according to Coleman, one of the biggest barriers to good communication at mealtimes — has become another member of the family when they sit down to eat. Busy lives, conflicting schedules and lack of inspiration as to what to cook are cited by many as obstacles standing in the way of the 61% of families who would like to eat together more often than they do. Leading by example, Coleman says he sits down at the dinner table with his wife and three children — aged five, eight and 11 — on a regular basis and always has done since the children were small. He


SOUPER TIME: David Coleman teamed up with some ‘hungry’ kids: l-r Max Byers, 12, Jessie Scalon, 13, Avril Brierley, 13 and David Murphy, 12, at the launch of the campaign aimed to get Irish families back around the table eating together. Picture:Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

DAVID’S TOP TIPS FOR TABLE TALKS 1. Clear and set the table and make sure there are enough chairs for all.

to give kids a greater sense of participation.

2. Give everyone enough notice about the time that the meal will be served.

5. Before the meal begins, turn the TV off and phones to silent.

8. Encourage everyone at the table to tell a story about something that happened during the day.

6. Introduce a sense of occasion by using place mats, napkins, fancy glassware or flowers.

9. Focus more on the social aspect of the meal than the amount of food that gets eaten.

7. Work towards positive and inclusive conversations at meals, plan topics if necessary which involve participation

10. Eat slowly to give good example to children — do not rush to gobble food down.

3. If time is an issue, make meals that are quick and easy to prepare (see the website for lots of ideas). 4. Shop for food and cook together

advises parents to feed babies at the table with the rest of the family from an early age. “One of the best benefits of sitting down to eat together is the opportunity to build communication between family members, to form conversations and find out what’s happening in each other’s lives. If the TV is on in the background, or people are sending text messages, it’s very hard to do this. I encourage turning off the TV while you eat, and if your family eats in the sitting room bring them back to the kitchen table where everyone can sit around and see each other rather

than all sitting in a line staring straight ahead.” Television, radio and mobile phones are all banned at dinner time in the home of food critic, author and mother-of-four, Katy McGuinness. “We’ve always tried to sit down to eat together, but it definitely becomes more important as they get older — my children are now 16, 14, 12 and almost 10 — and also a lot easier now that we all eat the same food. My advice to parents of babies is to always feed them what you eat yourselves.”


by all, regardless of age.

The McGuinness family sit down to their evening meal together at about 6.30pm, which is usually cooked by Katy with the kids helping out if they’ve their homework done. “I think it’s a good opportunity to hear what everybody’s day has been like — a sharing of stories and incidents from the day and things coming up the next day that we need to be aware of. Sometimes the conversation can be very mundane,” she laughs. “But other days it can go on for over an hour and be more interesting.”





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A new book on the battle of the sexes has hit the shelves. Suzanne Harrington and Marc O’Sullivan give their views on a somewhat jaded argument

Still puzzled after all these years

They have endeavoured to ensure the book is humorous as well as practical and easily read, but some of the highlighted blocks suggest they might well be taking the mickey completely

To synopsise the book: Men want to have as much sex as possible as often as possible whereas a woman just wants a diamond ring and a seven-second snog



ELF-HELP writer Allan Pease, who shares author credit with his wife Barbara, has just written Why Men Want Sex & Women Need Love. With a focus on love, sex and romance, it differs from their other bestselling book, Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps, which tackled communication. According to Allan, when it comes to relationships, men want services (good-looking child-bearing house-keepers always up for sex) and women want resources (diamond rings, emotional security). And when it comes to sex, women need a reason, while men just need a place. “The book is not politically correct,” says Allan Pease. Well he is, he says, a “high testosterone” Australian male. “We call a duck a duck,” he adds. When I mention that I do not recognise the women in his book, the ones who need diamond rings to feel secure, he says it is because I too am high testosterone. “Women who climb the corporate ladder have higher levels of testosterone,” he says. “This includes journalists. One in five women are a ballsier kind of women, but in the book we’re talking about the vast majority — the other four out of five.” He gives an example of how he believes women are universally programmed: “In Russia, around 80% of people live in poverty. This means 80% of Russian women are looking for men with resources. These resources are as basic as you can get. “In Britain, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development has around 4,500 members, a lot of whom are high-powered women — directors, chief executives etc. We did a survey on men and relationships and found that female members of the CIPD wanted exactly the same thing as the Russian women: men with resources, except with more choice. The results were the same — high-powered women saying: ‘I want a man to look after me if I need it’. “Women want physical and emotional security. If you ask men if their physical security has felt threatened in the past 24 hours, just



1% will say yes, whereas for women it’s 70%. So if you want a woman to fancy you, open the door for her and put your hand behind her back — it satisfies a basic security need. And kissing her for a full seven seconds fulfils a basic emotional need.” Could it be this simple? I’ve always held the view that women were a bit more complex than this. Then there’s sex, where it all goes completely Benny Hill. “We joke in the book that a man has only two emotions — hungry or horny — so if you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich,” says Pease. “Men have between 10 and 20 times more testosterone than women, but we’ve created a politically correct environment where we pretend everyone is the same, and we try and

WOMEN Feelgood

stand the ‘selective pressures’ which caused mankind to evolve as we did. If all we needed was the reptilian brain, surely that is all we would have. But instead our brains have developed a whole limbic — emotional — system as well as the neo-cortex, which is the largest part of the brain, governing self-control and intelligence. Basically, the neo-cortex allows us to judge and plan our coping strategies, decide how to behave and to make sense and meaning of our emotional experiences. OHN GRAY coined one of the To suggest that modern man is no better than best book titles ever with Men are a lizard or an alligator is not only scientifically from Mars, Women are from Venus. erroneous, it is deeply insulting to men.” The multi-million selling relationship manQuite. Meanwhile, it is women who are ual has sat on my bookshelves for years. I significantly more likely to walk away from an have never read beyond its title, of course, unsatisfactory relationship. Last year, acbut that alone has sufficed to explain — cording to the Courts Service, there if not quite excuse — some of my more erratic male behaviour down the years. were 4,257 applications for divorce in Allan and Barbara Pease are a couple Ireland — of which 2,489 came from women. And of the 2,008 applications who took the lessons of Gray’s success to received for judicial separation, 1,438 heart, and have coined some excellent were female led. These figures imply book titles of their own. I suspect they peaked with Why Men Don’t Listen & that the communication and/or sex (two vital components in any successful Women Can’t Read Maps in 2001; relationship) have left the building — again, I have never read beyond its title, for reasons more complex than previbut I can well appreciate how the Peases ALL COVERED: have clocked up sales of 25 million for ously suggested. Authors Allan “Men want sex to feel close, and their 15 books to date. and Barb Pease women like to feel close to have sex,” The Peases’s latest title, Why Men says Lisa O’Hara of the Marriage Rela- and their book, Want Sex & Women Need Love, is not below. tionships Counselling Service. quite as witty, but it will no doubt find a “The act of sex can be an important ready audience. The book is intended to part of a couple’s intimacy, but desire can explain, once and for all, what makes ebb and flow depending on what else is men tick and women ticklish, and can, going on, such as job stress, money worits authors promise, “help singles lookries, raising children etc. Unfortunately, ing for love, those in relationships that a lack of sex can affect the dynamic of need some real help and those who the relationship if it had otherwise been want to kept their partner happy”. a normal part of the couple’s closeness. Everyone should probably read at least “We all want to feel safe and secure one relationship manual at least once in and for women to get a good experience their life, if only to demonstrate a willingness to gain some insight into the sexually having these things in place can help. For the woman who continually mindset of the opposite sex. Why Men rejects her partner’s sexual advances, he Want Sex & Women Need Love helpmay feel less generous towards her when she fully purloins pearls of wisdom from every is looking for closeness — not necessarily sexother such study on the market, and will ual — and so a cycle of distance begins. therefore save one the bother of ever actualGood communication, to avoid misunderly reading them. standings, is key.” The Peases have anticipated that relationAwareness, acceptance, and celebration of ship manual fatigue might already have set difference — and laughing about the things in among their readership and have helpfulthat drive us nuts about each other — goes a ly highlighted what they consider to be the long way, provided we communicate properly. most important blocks of text throughout their book, saving one the bother of actualForget the dated gender stereotypes — they’re as outmoded as Crocodile Dundee. ly reading it from cover to cover either. The authors have endeavoured to ensure ■ Why Men Want Sex and Women Need their book is humorous as well as practical Love by Allan and Barbara Pease, Orion, and easily read, but some of their highlighted sections suggest they might well be takF13.99.

change to match this environment. However, if we were to wait around for female testosterone levels to increase, the species would have died out long ago. “With casual sex, 80% of men report an increase in self-esteem afterwards, whereas for women they will usually have a reason for having casual sex — to boost their self-esteem after a relationship break-up. And because the actions are the same, it affirms the illusion than men and women are the same. “We’re living in an era where we mix up equality with difference, so that many younger women now believe men and women are the same. They’re not. Men and women are hardwired for basic needs which, no matter how metrosexual your man pretends to be, are not going away in our lifetime. So we need to recognise our motivation and manage


our biology.” In other words, men want to have as much sex as possible as often as possible with as many women as possible, whereas a woman just wants security — defined by Pease as a diamond ring and a seven-second snog. “That’s the best summary I’ve heard so far,” he says. (My boyfriend, who grew up in Sydney, tells me a joke: Why is sex over so quickly with Australian men? So they can rush down the pub to tell their mates). But jokes aside, is it fair to stereotype men as grunters held hostage by their hormones? “The age-old argument that men need to commune sexually with everything that moves due to certain urges in the reptilian brain does not really hold water,” says behavioural psychologist Bernadette Brown. “According to Darwin, we need to under-




ing the mickey completely. “People who feel loved live longer and enjoy better health” on page 38, for instance, is followed a page later by “Married men live longer than single men, but married men are more willing to die”, an observation whose bleakness recalls Norm’s immortal defence of misogyny in the TV series Cheers: “Women, you can’t live with them”. So, why do men want sex and women need love? According to the Peases, it’s just how we are hardwired — it’s human nature, and goes back to the cave people. Men, they assert, tend to focus on one thing at a time, and can therefore separate sex from love, while women, with their ability to multi-task, tend to associate sex with being made to feel loved and protected, and will inevitably want to talk about their feelings. About the most controversial assertion in the book is the Peases’ conclusion that men would like to sleep around while women would like one partner with fulsome resources — one who can offer them security. What men want, they claim, is sex, basic services such as food, washing and mothering, to be loved and to be number one and solitary time without interruption. The more cynical among us might suggest men would settle for the sex and solitude, though not necessarily at the same time. Women, the Peases insist, are more complex creatures, and want love, faithfulness, kindness, commitment, education and intelligence. They have formulated a series of Love Rules for Men, to help them meet these criteria. A single example will surely suffice: “You must show heartfelt concern and public sadness over the death of your girlfriend’s cat, even if it was you who secretly set it on fire and threw it into a ceiling fan.” Boom, boom. Inevitably, men and women’s vastly different needs lead to what one what might charitably call behavioural issues. Men, the Peases contend, like to tune out at least five times a day. Ask them what they’re thinking, and they’ll say “nothing”, an honest answer but one that seems incomprehensi-


ble to women. Men are driven by visual stimuli, which is why they like lingerie, watch porn and are drawn to the “hourglass figure”, that is, a woman whose waist measurement is 70% that of her hips. Like the males of other species, such as cattle, sheep and pigs, we lose interest in our partners after five sex sessions, and are genuinely puzzled by commitment. Women, on the other hand, see men as success objects and are drawn to wealth, power and achievement. However, they are more likely to be sexually aroused by a man helping with the housework than the sight of an erect penis. And women always want to talk, particularly about their feelings. The Peases recommend a number of tactics that men can adopt to improve their rating with women. These include showing kindness, self-confidence and honesty. Women, they suggest, should enhance their appearance, highlight their fidelity and act — I am quoting here — “dumb, helpless and submissive”. The latter should at least ensure some volatile book reviews. As the veteran of a long-distance relationship campaign of four months duration, I am happy to offer some conclusions of my own. Men value their independence, are drawn to mysterious women, and will say most anything to avoid a row, while most women of my acquaintance ask little more than that men treat them with respect, take them to dinner occasionally and pay them regular compliments. Not to be too flippant about it, but most couples spend more time than is healthy or wise in each other’s company, and the easiest way to ensure a relationship’s survival is probably to maintain separate addresses, preferably in separate countries. I could write a book about it, or at least coin a diplomatic title: Why Men Like To Be Alone A Lot and Women Are Unfailingly Delightful.




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Dr Niamh Houston



Dr Niamh Houston is a GP with a special interest in integrative medicine. If you have a question about your child’s health email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

CAN you tell me the difference between night terrors and nightmares? My three-year-old has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming with fright. Even though she’s wide awake, she doesn’t recognise us when we comfort her and is inconsolable. Is there anything we can do, or is there any treatment available? A. It must be upsetting to see your child experience this, and you may well be feeling helpless. But, to reassure you, night terrors and nightmares are usually considered normal, and children eventually grow out of them. Nightmares are the very common “bad” dreams associated with REM (rapid eye movement). A child having a nightmare is usually easily woken up and comforted and can remember the event. Night terrors are not associated with REM sleep. Instead, they occur when a child is partially aroused from deep sleep — usually one to two hours after going to sleep. During a night terror, your child isn’t fully awake, but will appear terrified, and may cry, scream or even move around and sleep walk. Because she isn’t really awake, she will be unaware of your presence or any attempts to soothe her. Night terrors can last to up between five and 30 minutes. Parents often describe their child as sitting up in bed, eyes wide open, breathing fast and sweating. It is best not to try to wake up a child having a night terror, it is usually better to just make sure she is safe, comfort her if you can, and help her return to sleep once it is over. No treatment is necessary for night terrors. However, please see your child’s doctor as it is important to determine if your child’s night terrors are associated with snoring or other sleep-disordered breathing such as sleep apnoea, which is treatable. The other worry for parents is that these episodes are a type of seizure. Although different types of partial seizures, including temporal lobe and frontal lobe epilepsy, can appear similar to night terrors, they are usually brief (lasting from 30 seconds to a few minutes) and tend to be more common in older children and adults. Since night terrors are often triggered in children who are overtired, sticking to a good bedtime routine and making sure your child is getting enough rest can help prevent them. Avoid late-night exercise or over activity one to two hours before bed-time. For children who get frequent night terrors, it might help to wake the child up before the time she usually has a night terror. This is known as “scheduled awakenings” and thought to interrupt or alter the sleep cycle and prevent night terrors from occurring.

SLEEP TRAUMA: Night terrors are different from nightmares and happen when a child is partially aroused from a deep sleep. Picture: iStock

Q. Is there anything you can do about swollen ankles in pregnancy? I have been to see my doctor and he is happy there is no serious cause. A. You don’t mention how far you are in your pregnancy. This can be common problem for many women especially as pregnancy progresses. As your uterus grows it puts pressure on your veins, which leads to swellings in the legs, ankles and feet. Your body also produces and retains more fluid during pregnancy. Foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is common and almost always goes away after delivery. Standing for long periods, or hot weather, can make it worse. Exercising improves circulation and redistributes retained fluids — walking is very effective. Swimming, walking or even standing in a pool at least four-feet deep will help take pressure off your pelvis and improve circulation. As part of a good diet exclude salt, and drink six to eight glasses of water a day (not tea, coffee

or fruit juice) to help your kidneys eliminate excess fluid. Include celery, dandelion, nettles in your diet to help kidney function. When resting, lie on your side as often as possible. Try to do this several times a day for 20 minutes each time. You might find support tights comfortable, especially if you have varicose veins. Homeopathic remedies that may help include Apis, particularly if you cannot tolerate heat in any form, or Natrum Mur if you have a feeling of heaviness with swelling in the legs. Take the remedy that suits your symptoms in 6c potency four times a day for five to seven days and then reassess. Although mild foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is normal, see your doctor urgently if you have sudden or severe swelling, or headaches, blurred vision or dizziness — features of pre-eclampsia. Similarly, if you develop swelling in one leg only, or pain or tenderness in your calf or thigh — this could indicate a blood clot.

NOTE: The information contained in Dr Houston’s column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first

Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD


HOLIDAY Mum was rocked by the shock of an empty house upon her return from a three-day, child-free jolly on the Côte d’Azur. Tacked to a pram in the porch was a note that caused her to start. “Gone Fishing. Taken the children for bait,” it read, in handwriting she recognised. Behind the note was an envelope addressed to ‘The Fugitive’. Ripping it open she shook out its cont ents and quickly began to read: “Dear Mrs Kimble aka Mum’s World, “I am an avid reader of your column and up until no w believed that behind your eagerness to expose your children’s understandable flaws (the apple doesn’t fall far etc), you were quite fond of their quirky ways. “However, given your effortless exchange of motherhood for a lifestyle more befitting the footloose and fancy free, I now find myself forced to question

your commitment to your children. “When you left the house for the airport after a noisy 5am search for your camera, I was unable to return to sleep. I was therefore fully alert when the first of your children woke at 6am, belying your claims that I am capable of snoring through a herd of stampeding elephants. “Breakfast was a torrid affair: Lughaidh had to trial four different types of cereal before finally settling for none and Dearbhail, well, when it comes to making a mess, she’s the gift that keeps on giving. “By 9am I still hadn’t managed a smoke and my lungs were screaming as loudly as your two kids. Still, no rest for the weary — nappies needed changing and children needed clothing and no amount of multitasking could account for me having a drag. “My nerves were shot by 10am yet the day stretched out before me in all its end-


less glory. There was nothing for it but to hit the high road in search of helping hands. Four hours and 170 miles later, I drove into the bosom of my family, but still I could not shake the clingons who were looking for their mum. “The remainder of the weekend was a muddle of tears, tantrums, outfits and outbursts — and that was just me. The only saving grace was an onsite babysitter and the prospect of some pints at the end of the weekend from hell. “Alas, the sixth sense that alerts kids to any possibility of abandonment put paid to my plans for escape. They clung like the swimmer who clings to false hope when he’s drowning and only a heart made of stone could have left them to sink or swim. And so today we’ve gone fishing in the slim hope that good things come to those who bait. “Don’t wait up, The Discarded.”




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Dermot O’Connor believes it’s possible to live to 150, writes Sue Leonard

What’s age got to do with it?


ERMOT O’CONNOR wants to live until he is 150. And the 40-year-old Dubliner believes it’s possible. “It is radical to believe that ageing can be cured,” he says, as we chat in the Dylan Hotel in Ballsbridge. “But it is something the scientific world believes can happen. If you told someone 150 years ago that average life expectancy today would be 80, they would have thought you were crazy.” And that doesn’t mean we have 40 years of sickness to dread either, he claims. In his new book, The Immortality Code, the self-help author lays down his programme for prolonging healthy life. He shows us how to eat nutritiously, how to ‘programme’ our minds, how to meditate, exercise, and relieve all potential stress. O’Connor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 29. Terrified of becoming wheelchair bound, he studied acupuncture and chi kung, training with masters of the art in America and China. Following a strict diet and exercise regime, he went into remission, and hasn’t suffered any symptoms of the illness since. In 2006 O’Connor wrote The Healing Code, his guide to recovery from serious illness. He says the book has been a huge success. But since its publication, the author’s life has been far from easy. “In 2008 I opened a medical centre in Baggot Street,” he says. “I wanted to combine eastern and western medicine under one roof. When a patient went in with a complaint, I wanted the whole team to look at them, and to work together. We were offering luxury spa treatments too. “It was a great concept, but 2008 was the worst possible time to do something like that. Elle MacPherson came and opened the clinic, but from the first day we could feel the change in the economic atmosphere. The business was failing and we were entering a recession. “I was still watching what I ate, but my mind was stressed and I wasn’t taking exercise. It was the most stressful time in my life, without a doubt. I was responsible to all the people I was working with. It was a horrific time. When I stepped away from the business, the healing started. I began to write The Immortality Code, and I began to start living the concept 100%.” No wonder then, that the stress relief and ‘mind reprogramming’ chapter is so thorough and compelling. The nutrition plan in the new book, is not so very different to his previous work. “Obviously, it had to be similar,” says O’Connor. “Because the food that helps you to recover your health will be the food that will make you stay healthy. And nutrition is the key component to avoiding cancer and heart disease.” O’Connor claims that 70% of cancer is preventable by the food we eat. The emphasis of the new book though, is entirely different from The Healing Code. It is for people who are not sick but who want to improve their lifestyle before they reach that car-crash moment. “The first book was the book I couldn’t find when I was first diagnosed. In that sense it was for me. The Immortality Code is a reflection of my turning 40, and


TOP TIPS DERMOT’S top tips for a healthy long life: 1. Take charge of your health. Listen to your body. Be involved in any medical decisions. 2. Do a health profile. Check your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, heart rate and levels of stress, so that you know which areas of your life need improvement. 3. Learn how to manage your stress. Practise deep breathing for relaxation. 4. Take up meditation, and set time aside each day to practise the art. 5. Start replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. 6. Change your diet. Restrict calories. 7. Replace all saturated fats with good fats — eliminate dairy, and refined carbohydrates including sugar, white bread and pasta. 8. Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables. 9. Restrict alcohol. Drink one glass of red wine a day, and drink plenty of water. 10. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Exercise should combine walking, with exercises for flexibility, strength, and aerobic exercise.

becoming more aware of my mortality.” O’Connor has a clinic in Haddington Road in Dublin. When he’s helping people to change their lifestyle, he finds they are often resistant to the radical transformation of nutrition. “People who are sick have the motivation to change, but someone who wants to be healthier finds this challenging. If you can get someone to eat optimal nutrition for six weeks, they feel so different they are blown away by it.” Still symptom-free from MS, O’Connor says he is now grateful for the way his diagnosis forced his life change. “I believe that, sometimes, things happen to you to force change. I was an international banking technology consultant. It was a loathsome job and I hated it. But I would probably still be there now. I couldn’t figure a way of getting out of that. I didn’t have the strength to follow my heart, and I developed an illness that forced me to go down a road that was right for me. “Recently my parents both passed away. Back at my family home I found all these books on healing and hypnotherapy that I’d bought as a teenager. I’d forgotten I had any interest in that, but those books are so relevant to me now.” Today, O’Connor says he has a full life. He’s on good terms with his ex-wife and sees his three young children, Faye, Alison and Grace, constantly. He sees clients and gives seminars and talks, but always makes time for his full quota of exercise and meditation. “I’m very active. I play tennis and lift weights, and I do Chi Kung. I do all that every day, but I don’t have a set time to do any of it. My days are more fluid than they used to be. “I was an ambitious person, but I see that as a mixed blessing. I now just want a simplified happy life. And I want to be healthy for as long as possible.” ■ The Immortality Code by Dermot O’Connor is published by Hachette Books Ireland, F18.19.

SELF HELP: Author Dermot O’Connor offers advice on nutrition and ‘mind programming’. Picture: Billy Higgins

If you can get someone to eat optimal nutrition for six weeks, they feel so different they are blown away by it FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2009




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Create Crete at home Roz Crowley

SIMPLY FRESH: Georgis Deligiannikis in his taverna, where he serves typically healthy, unadorned Cretan food.


AM just back from a month pottering around Crete, where I was given a sharp reminder of how a simple food culture is a recipe for good health. While the influx of tourism and foreign television has brought a taste for fast food in its wake, traditions on the island, particularly in the less touristy south, are still held dear. Fish is a mainstay and locally caught, while lambs and goats graze on plentiful herbs in the white Lefka Ori mountains. The best eggs I have ever tasted come from small back gardens alongside beaches, and supply local small hotels and tavernas. You can breakfast on fresh fruit and plain yoghurt, with local honey, and include figs picked from a tree outside the hotel, as needed. Not even a bowl of fruit salad was made in advance, everything was spanking fresh. In the tiny village of Komitades, in Giorgos Taverna, we were served the simplest fresh food by Georgis Deligiannikis, who has his own olives, sheep, goats, honey and even harvests his own sea salt. He, his wife and three sons, don’t take many holidays, but they appear to be stress free, and are a picture of health. So, what can we learn from the Cretans? In a 20-year study of 100,000 participants in seven countries, Cretans, 20 years ago, were found to suffer 50 times less deaths from heart disease FINGER ON THE PULSE: than people in the Cretan ingredients such USA or Finland. as pulses and lentils are Their hearts were good for the heart. found to be stronger and their general health far better than in the other countries. Later, in 1995, French scientist Serge Renaud found that the Cretan diet decreased cardiac problems by about 75% and decreased the frequency of cancers in a monitored group. Dr Jacques Fricker, a specialist in nutrition at the Bichet hospital, in Paris, has written several books comparing diets around the world. He says the Cretan diet can be adapted by using the food available to us. I have taken his top seven — referred to in Fish & Figs, co-authored with chef, Dominique Laty (Hachette): 1. To ensure a good supply of folic acid, vitamin C, beta carotene and flavonoids, vegetables should be part of lunch and dinner. Include garlic, onions and aromatic herbs. See recipe below to make more of French beans. A minimum of three portions of fruit a day.


2. Use monounsaturated fats more than saturated and polyunsatuared fats, which means using olive or rapeseed oil instead of other oils, butter or cream. 3. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish, including canned sardines. They eat a lot of octopus and squid, often pairing squid with vitamin-rich spinach. Use rapeseed oil regularly and occasionally use walnut or soya oil to get a variety of omega 3s. Eat walnuts, almonds and other nuts. Nuts are on the table throughout meals in Crete, and included in desserts. 4. Replace full-fat milk and cream with yoghurt, for good calcium intake. Fruit and yoghurt for breakfast is a good start. Sweeten with honey, and top with chopped walnuts for an easy dessert. Add cheese to salads and to hot vegetables, to provide a simple sauce. Two portions of yoghurt and a small piece of fresh, low-fat cheese a day is recommended. 5. Slow-release glucose is found in dried pulses, pasta, couscous, bulghur wheat,

semolina, rice and unrefined flour. Eat one of these at each meal and you won’t be tempted to snack. The Cretans have beans or lentils at most midday or evening meals, as salads or hummous-type mixtures. 6. Eat poultry, meat and eggs, but in moderation, especially red meat — 100g is a large enough portion. In restaurants, they often serve chips as a treat, but they are freshly peeled, cut and fried in fresh oil, often olive or rapeseed. Add aubergine slices to shepherd’s pie to make a simple moussaka. Always eat some form of starch and vegetables with meat. Lamb is an important part of the Cretan diet and has lots of heart-protective, omega 3 fatty acids. 7. Keep cooking simple with the best variety of foods possible. Make eating an occasion for a chat and general conviviality. Beware of drinking alcohol excessively. The following is a recipe for a dish typical of what I enjoyed while away, which we can all create at home in our kitchens:

GREEK SALAD THE feta cheese at Aldi is useful to keep in the fridge as an ingredient for topping hot vegetables, or making the best of the end-ofsummer tomatoes. Toss it, chopped in a simple Greek salad with cucumber and olives — 200g, F1.79.

FRENCH BEANS WITH TOMATOES Serves 4-6 as side dish or starter. Delicious with crusty bread for lunch. 500g French beans 1 medium onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly 2 tsp olive oil 4 tomatoes, chopped 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped, or 1 tsp dried dill Lemon juice Sauté the onion in oil until beginning to soften. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for four minutes. Add the beans, dill (or some fresh thyme or other herb), and a few tablespoons of water. Cover so the beans steam gently and absorb the other flavours. Add squeeze lemon juice just before serving. Serve warm, or cold with the juices.

OPT FOR A POT IF YOU can’t go completely fresh for your Cretan diet, then Cully & Sully have responded to consumer demand for complete and easy ready meals, made in Ireland, with new hotpots due in stores next week. Beef casserole, lamb stew, chicken casserole and chicken curry are all well-flavoured. We liked the lamb stew best for taste and texture, with plenty of cubed potatoes included. F3.99 per 400g pot.





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The sprain got to him W

HEN Damian Hall suffered a Grade II ligament tear while playing rugby, it wasn’t just his rugby that was affected. He’s a personal trainer, so his capacity to work was on the line as well. “I was on crutches for the first week and couldn’t bear any weight on my ankle,” says Hall, who’s just opened Complete Personal Training Studio in Dalkey, Co Dublin. Ankle injury is particularly prevalent in sports involving a change of direction, running or jumping, with high incidences in gaelic football and hurling as well as other sports including basketball, rugby, soccer, field hockey and racquetball. In such cases, the foot lands in an awkward position resulting in the stretching of the ankle ligaments, which are responsible for holding or hinging joints together. Hall is not alone in sustaining acute ankle sprains through sports injuries. “Ankle sprain is the most common injury in gaelic football and hurling and it has a very high recurrence rate — up to 50%,” says former senior All-Ireland football champion and Dublin

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN

manager Dr Pat O’Neill, who is also a consultant in orthopaedic and sports medicine. “There is incredible pressure on players today to go back onto the pitch before such injuries have properly healed, particularly at the peak or end of the competitive season. This, coupled with intense and frequent training schedules, can lead to acute musculoskeletal problems including recurrent instability of the ankle joint and secondary bone damage. “Of course, prevention is also very important and appropriate precautions should be taken to avoid injury. “For example, on artificial or semi-artificial surfaces such as we have today, footwear needs to be adequate to prevent injury —

OUT OF ACTION: Personal Trainer Damian Hall suffered a Grade II ligament tear while playing rugby. Picture:Maura Hickey players with previous injuries should have adequate foot and ankle support.” For Damian Hall, treatment came in the form of two injections of hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a naturally occurring substance administered by injection which interacts with soft tissue such as ligaments. When injected into the injury site, HA reacts with the torn ligament and acts as a support, binding the torn ligament fibres together. SportVis

Burning issue: heartburn now affecting 2.5m people

Risk factors cut 10 years off life

IRISH research has revealed a 10% rise in heartburn and indigestion cases, with 2.5m Irish people (60% of the population) having regular incidences of those conditions. That’s according to Independent research commissioned by the Gaviscon Heartburn and Indigestion Network. “Treating heartburn is important because, over time, reflux can cause damage and lead to more serious illnesses,” says Dr Michael O’Brien, GP and member of the Gaviscon network. If

THE Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed a study of nearly 20,000 British civil servants which showed that 50-year-old men who smoke and have raised cholesterol and high blood pressure, shorten their lives by 10 years. The civil servants were all aged 41 to 69 and were medically assessed almost 40 years ago and then followed up for 38 years. “In age terms, this means a man of 50 with these three heart risk factors can expect to live until the age of 74 years compared to a man with none of these risk factors who can expect to live until 83 years,” says Irish Heart Foundation medical director Dr Brian Maurer. “The message is clear — if you want to live longer — stop smoking and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol with your doctor.”



people are having heartburn incidences more than three times a week, you may have a more serious underlying problem, such as gastro oesophagael reflux disease (GORD). This condition results in the contents of the stomach backing up — or reflux — into the oesophagus and causing irritation. Heartburn triggers include spicy food, fried food, takeaways, eating late at night and poor diet.

PINK CAMPAIGN: TO coincide with International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Marie Keating Foundation has launched its annual awareness campaign, and, this month, the foundation’s community information service will take the form of a national ‘roadshow’ with three mobile units travelling the country. Their Pink fundraising merchandise is also on sale and includes pins, keyrings, and trolley tokens, all F3. You can find them nationwide, and at Marks & Spencer, which is also selling pink-themed products, with 10% of sales to the foundation. These include a charm bracelet F16; shopping bag, F27; cupcakes, F4.19 and post-surgery bra, F24. See; 01-6283726.


TOO HOT TO HANDLE: Spicy food can cause heartburn. Picture:iStock

with Kate O’Reilly GO PINK: ACTION Breast Cancer (ABC) is a programme of The Irish Cancer Society and every year it reaches 30,000 women who are concerned about breast health. Funds raised throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month help fund ABC’s free services, including the National Breast Cancer Helpline (1800 309040). ABC’s Pink Ribbon products are available for sale nationwide, and include a pink ribbon (F2), pink trolley keyring (F4) and pink pin (F3). In addition to selling the ribbons, pins and keyrings, Boots is selling their Gorgeous Bag, F4, with all profits to ABC. Big enough to fit all your shopping, it’s 100% cotton, stylish, and eco-friendly. See for more information on ABC and the campaign.

DId you know...

One in three Irish men is overweight FACT OF LIFE: Men who smoke and have raised cholesterol and high blood pressure, shorten their lives by 10 years. Picture:iStock


THINK PINK: One of the health benefits of breastfeeding is a decreased risk of breast cancer for the nursing mother. A large part of the research on breast cancer is financed by independent sponsors, such as the international Pink Ribbon campaign and one of the ways a nursing mother can help is to invest in a Think Pink nursing top from Boob. The innovative Swedish company produce a range of cotton nursing tops. The Think Pink top is F39 with F3 going to breast cancer research. You can buy one from Irish breastfeeding site, 01-8405116 or at Cork maternity store Beautiful Bumps on Carrolls Quay, 021-455 8937 or


(HA) is now available in Ireland for the treatment of acute ankle sprain. “I was off the crutches in five days so I’ve been able to play in warm-up games before our league starts,” says Hall, who plays with St Mary’s Rugby Club in Dublin. If you think you have sprained your ankle, seek immediate professional help. For more information on ankle sprains, visit

PINK SOAP: You can also buy a Pink Ribbon Soap Bar and support the Marie Keating Foundation, this month. The Pink Ribbon Bar is a beautiful lavender-lemon goat’s milk soap bar that is 100% natural and hand-made supplied by Irish company Make it Natural. “Being personally aware of the importance of early detection in the treatment of breast cancer, I am very happy that we are able to support the critical work that is carried out by the Marie Keating Foundation,” says owner Noeleen Brennan. The Pink Ribbon Bar is available for F5.50 in pharmacies, M&S stores and retailers nationwide. To buy online, or to see a list of retailers stocking the bar go to




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The news on ... Repak Recycling Week AS “green” beauty companies hit the mainstream, opting for cosmetics made with recycled packaging doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality, but if you’re not willing to give up your luxury brand products then one thing you should be doing is recycling them. According to recent research undertaken by Repax, 30% of people don’t recycle plastic shampoo or conditioner bottles; 36% don’t recycle shower gel or other toiletries; and 37% don’t recycle the outer cardboard packaging of make-up boxes and other toiletries. If you’re concerned about whether what your buying is recyclable or not then look for a symbol with three green arrows chasing each other. Buying in bulk is one of the best ways to go green. Big bottles with minimal external packaging help cut waste. Repak Recycling Week is from October 12 to 16, so roll up your sleeves, clean out your empty bottles and get recycling.

Emily O’Sullivan

Keep it real this season as fake tans fade from the scene and grown-up chic takes centre stage


URING the summer I occasionally doused myself in fake tan, but now I have committed to a more pale, porcelain look demanded by the autumn/winter collections. This season it’s going to be all about grown-up chic. I’m a grown-up after all, so what’s not to love. But the only thing currently lurking in my make-up bag is a bronzey-toned tinted moisturiser — porcelain and erudite it is not. Like it or not, for most of us, the autumn requires an updating of cosmetics — it might just be a new foundation or a new lipstick but adjusting your look even slightly keeps you bang on trend, and with online stores such as offering 3-in-1 products from only F1.70, it doesn’t have to be an exercise in needless expense. All the top beauty brands have brought out new collections for the autumn/winter season, whether it’s violet at Lancôme, nude at Bobbi Brown or grey at Giorgio Armani. If you’re on a tight budget, seek out looks like Rimmel and 17, or mid-range trend-driven brands such as Bourjois. Starting with the base, it’s essential to go for a paler, more matte aesthetic if you want to look “on trend” this season. Our skin tone changes from the summer to autumn and whatever you’ve been wearing through the warmer months is not going to cut it once November hits. Skin also generally needs a slightly heavier coverage through the winter, to hide redness and slight blemishes. A lavish option is Giorgio Armani’s Lasting Silk UV Foundation, F42. It has an incredible texture, weightless yet high-resistance and is one of the best ways of giving coverage to your skin without looking like you’re wearing make-up. If your budget doesn’t stretch that


Colour change for the autumn

Radiance Boosters Mac Strobe Lotion, F30.50. This is our out-and-out radiance winner. It’s a great little product and it lasts an absolute age, especially if you reserve it for big nights out. Every time we have worn it, someone has commented on how great our skin looks. It has a light texture that sinks in well. Designed to be worn under foundation. Score: 10 Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminiser, F21.94 at It’s called All Over Shimmer because you can use it on your lids and cheeks, as well as adding it to your foundation for an all-over glow. It definitely gives the skin radiance and luminosity, but it’s not quite as effective as MAC’s product. Score: 8

far, try Rimmel’s long-standing Stay Matte Foundation, from F5.68. It has a good texture that doesn’t sit too heavily on the skin and stays well through the day. If you find the formulation a little thick, mix it with some moisturiser before applying. Those who suffer from hyperpigmentation and need to even out skin tone, should check out Clinique’s Even Better Makeup SPF 15, F28. It includes treatment benefits to prevent further pigmentation damage and smoothes over the skin, blending in beautifully. While nude looks and delicate romantic shades are popular among many of the top beauty houses, autumn is surging forward with a more tough-edged aesthetic defined by fashion’s emphasis on leather, shoulder pads, dark shades and a return to decadent velvets. A black eyeliner should be one of your top buys this season, and it’s best to go for a pencil with a creamy effect so that you can blend for a grungey, mussed-up look. Try

Urban Decay’s Ink for Eyes eyeliners, F20, which can be used for a rock-chic look and also for a more feline 60s-style sweep, or else opt for the now classic Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes, F15. I’m also addicted to Bobbi Brown’s new Creamy Eye Pencil, which comes in a great range of shades, including a bold autumnal olive called Hunter, and a trend-spotting navy called Midnight. If you’ve a liquid eyeliner left over from last autumn, then don’t be afraid to use it. Lots of designers went for a bold beauty direction with strong sweeps of eyeliner worn in an almost cartoon-like way. Finally, if you want one colour with which to update your look, opt for a touch of plum. Plum shades were strong on cheeks and lips and can create a strong directional look blended with shades of grey on the eyes. Purple in all paler shades is a seriously big look for spring 2010 so big it up with mauve tones if you want to be ahead of the game.

Estée Lauder Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Simply Red, F23. Red eyeshadows were a big look on the catwalks and Giorgio Armani and Chanel both included them in their autumn make-up collections. We can’t quite stretch as far as putting red on our eyes, but a red lipstick is one of this season’s essentials. Perfect for a polished look. Nars Brumes Duo Eyeshadow, F34. A navy eyeshadow is a hot look for this autumn and this great duo from Nars combines a matte charcoal with a blue slate shade. Great for wear-

ing either alone or combining. Bourjois’s Little Round Pot Eyeshadow in Bleu Magnetique, F8.99, is a more cost-effective navy shade to go for. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Shine in Candy Plum, F26.50. We love the texture of YSL’s Rouge Pur Shine Lipstick with its shiny look and the candy plum shade is perfect for a dose of plum fabulousness this autumn. Lancôme Palette Liberté in Or Liberté, F45.This gorgeous pretty little palette contains gorgeous eyeshadow shades in black, charcoal grey and sparkling gold. If you’re after a look that will bring you through to Christmas, this is a good one to go for as the Christmas collections are shot through with a lot of metallic golds and sexy sparkles.

Benefit High Beam, F23. We like this one a lot. It has a very slight, pinkish tone, which offsets the complexion really well and leaves the skin looking light, radiant and healthy. Good for mixing with foundations for gently-shimmering nights out. Score: 8

STUFF WE LIKE Mac Nail Lacquer in Dry Martini, F12.50. Competing with Yves Saint Laurent’s fabulous stone-coloured nail colour Stormy Grey, this is a gorgeous muddy puddle-type brown shade, which looks a lot nicer than it sounds. A perfect match for the autumnal weather. For cheaper, trend-driven nail shades, try looks from Essie and Barry M, available from and respectively. Prices start at F3.99. Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation, F42. Our favourite new foundation bar none. This gives us the coverage we need in autumn without giving a heavy look to the skin. Go for the palest shade you can and reveal in your sophistication.






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Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

CAN you explain the difference between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids? I’m not sure which ones are the good ones. A. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fats which we must source through our diet as the body is unable to manufacture these valuable nutrients. Fatty acids are important for healthy brain development and functioning, which is why they are beneficial for people who suffer from behavioural disorders such as ADD, ADHD and related hyperactivity issues. Both fats are ‘good’ and crucial for cell development and nerve health. The omega 6 fatty acids are particularly important in brain health, while the omega 3 fatty acids are useful in regulating inflammation (which is why they are used to protect against arthritic conditions). All fats are actually a combination of the three main types of fatty acid — polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are required for a wide range of functions, so it’s important to achieve a balance of the two, rather than favouring one over the other. Omega 6 fatty acids are more commonly available, and can be found in foods such as most oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado, whereas flaxseeds, and chia seeds are the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish provides a balanced ratio of both fatty acids. Unfortunately, omega 6 tends to dominate in our western processed diets. Olive oil, for example, has up to 13 times the amount of omega 6 than it does omega 3, while the omnipresent corn oil weighs in at a whopping 46:1 (omega 6: omega 3). So, with this in mind, it may be that most of us need to focus on sourcing more of the omega 3 fatty acids since the balance is usually tipped in favour of omega 6. Q. My sister recently had some cancerous lumps removed from her right breast. Although the doctors say the operation was a success, they are concerned about the cancer spreading to other areas and have advised a six to eight-month course of chemotherapy. I feel this is a very gruelling treatment to undergo as a preventative measure, but my sister has decided to go ahead. She is happy to use natural remedies alongside the chemotherapy, so which remedies, if any, will help to lessen the effects and support her recovery? A. There is indeed a natural remedy which has shown to be useful in reducing the side-effects experienced by patients who undergo radiation or chemotherapy. Schisandra berries are valued for their ability to protect the liver and assist in the removal of chemical toxins — which is why they are ideal to take alongside invasive cancer therapies. This supplement is widely available from health stores, and your sister will need to

HEALTHY EATING: Oily fish contains a good balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Picture: Getty

take 200mg, twice daily. If your sister is open to using natural remedies, it may be worth suggesting she discuss the proposed course of treatment with a natural practitioner who has experience in working alongside conventional doctors to help minimise the negative impact on her system. It is difficult in such situations to support a loved one when the decision may be quite different to the one you would choose. Of course, the fear of cancer taking hold is a very real one, particularly when she has already experienced cancerous lumps within her body. I admire you for deciding to support your sister, and helping her to make informed choices about her health. This month is breast cancer awareness month — you can find a wealth of information through the Irish Cancer Society (; 1800-309040). Q. I have been taking Magnolia Rhodiola complex tablets for the past two weeks to help with my depression and anxiety attacks. I notice a difference in my mood, but still feel anxious all the time. I am

Megan puts the spotlight on:

BOOB TRAP: Bras constrict the breast lymph nodes, preventing the release of toxins. Picture:iStock


A WOMAN’S self-image has long been closely linked with her breasts — which are biologically connected to mothering, nurturing, and the giving of love. We are often shown unrealistic ideals of breasts in the media, leading us to entrap, boost, and smother our breasts in order to feel attractive. Of course, I generalise, as there are many women happy with their natural breasts — uneven, graced with silvery stretch marks, high/low, large/small — and capable of sustaining life. However, few of us stop to consider whether or not we should harness our breasts into a bra, which constricts lymph flow and circulation. The breasts are actually a significant area of lymphatic activity, with the

considering taking antidepressants and am wondering if I can take both at the same time. A. You are wise to ask about the possible contraindications between this herbal blend and prescription antidepressants, since it is not advisable to take both together — the same applies to sleeping tablets. I suggest you give the Magnolia Rhodiola complex at least another two weeks to take further effect. Some herbal remedies need time before they make an impact. However, if you do not want to take the wait-and-see approach, then you could stop taking the herbal supplement for two weeks, allowing it to completely leave your system before switching to antidepressant medication. Essential fatty acid supplementation will enhance the benefits you receive from prescription antidepressants, so switching to these during the two weeks off all other supplementation and medication is a good idea. Studies show you will need to take around 2g daily, split into two doses of 1g (1000mg) to increase the effectiveness of the medication.

THE FEMALE BREAST lymph nodes working to remove toxins from the system. If we constrict the lymph, then we are forcing the toxins back into our body, which then increases the risk of breast cancer. Now, as a mother who has breast-fed all of her children, I understand the desire to wear a bra to contain (or perhaps just reposition) these important glands. What I propose is that all women consider going bra-free, whenever possible. After work, at the weekends — give your breasts a break. Your breasts also require oxygen, so use these opportunities to wear loose shirts and give the skin a chance to really breathe. Regular readers will know, I am not in favour of mammography as a tool


for detecting breast cancer. I understand that it is recommended by doctors, and chosen by women to detect lumps because it is widely available and affordable. Consider the fact that a mammogram utilises radiation, which is linked to causing breast cancer. Combine this with the pressure of the mammogram, which can cause damage to cells, leading to the formation of lumps within the breast tissue, and you can see why I don’t promote this diagnostic tool. Self-examination is a wonderful and free method of regular breast checking. And if you want a closer look, then consider thermography, which utilises infra-red thermal imaging to accurately assess the health of breast tissue.





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Feelgood 09-10-2009  
Feelgood 09-10-2009  

Feelgood is a health and wellbeing supplement published by the Irish Examiner every Friday.