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Friday, September 17, 2010

Not a happy meal Unhealthy diet and hate exercise? You are a prime candidate for type 2 diabetes, a serious life-long illness: 8, 9, 10

Picture: iStockphoto



Working late in life brings special challenges: 4, 5


Determined dialysis woman to run race: 6


We test eight ready-to-go meals: 11



2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ WALKING WORKSHOP: The Health Promotion Department, HSE South have organised an Introduction to Trail Walking workshop as part of the Cork Walking Month 2010. This workshop is designed to give useful information and practical ideas to assist participants in planning safe and enjoyable walks on marked walking routes. It is particularly suitable for those new to trail walking and will take place tomorrow, September 18 from 10am to 4pm in the National Rowing Centre, Farran Woods. Places are limited so anyone who is interested is asked to contact Valerie Murphy on 021-4921641 or email: For more information on Cork Walking Month events log onto or contact the Cork Sports Partnership on 021-466 50 81. ■ HEART WEEK: The Cardiac Support Group North Cork is encouraging everybody to “go the extra mile” for World Heart Week on Wednesday September 22 at 7pm. Choose from two routes starting and finishing at the Arches Bar, Mallow. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring a bottle of water and your family and friends. Anne Marie O’Connor, consultant dietician, is the guest speaker at the support group meeting on Monday, September 20, at 8pm in Mallow Day Care Centre and all are welcome. Contact 086-8900886 for further details. ■ ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: For more than a hundred years people have been using the Alexander Technique to increase flexibility and lower stress. Katey Sleeman is offering free introductory lessons for those interested in finding out if the Alexander Technique can help them. Call her on 023-58507 or 087-9632908 for more details. ■ MBS FESTIVAL: The Mind Body Sprit Festival returns to Cork City Hall this weekend opening today (1 to 9pm). A programme of workshops and lectures includes psychic development, tarot, IET and The Artist’s Way. See for full listings. ■ MINI MARATHON: Fermoy Action Children’s Education (FACE) is a voluntary group set up earlier this year to provide support services for children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties. They are looking for people to run in the Cork Ladies Mini-Marathon on Sunday, September 26. Sponsor tickets and T-shirts are available from FACE on 087-2278459 or email ■ HEART CLINIC: The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinic at the Parish Centre, Carrigaline on Wednesday next September 22 from 10am-12pm. For further details call 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease you can also contact their helpline 1890-432787. Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to




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Why do soccer stars have extra-marital affairs and how can they repair their relationships, asks Arlene Harris

Playing offside


E’S young, talented, extremely wealthy and until last week appeared to have the perfect

family life. But English footballer, Wayne Rooney, created shockwaves when it was revealed that he was unfaithful to his wife, Colleen, while she was pregnant with their son Kai. The Manchester United striker apparently paid prostitutes for sex over the past year. Several of his colleagues have also been accused of infidelity in recent months and it begs the question, why do these men, who appear to have it all, put their personal lives at risk for the sake of a few moments of illicit pleasure? Relationship counsellor Lisa O’Hara of Marriage & Relationship, Counselling Services (MRCS) says there could be various reasons why these successful men feel the need to play away from home. “When someone decides to have an affair, something usually triggers their actions,” she says. “It could be that their relationship has gone stale, they’re not emotionally close to their partner, they feel misunderstood, or they are simply looking for a bit of excitement in their lives. “But it’s often hard to say what exactly is the trigger for these guys playing offside.” Although extra-marital affairs have traditionally been linked to men, the counsellor says women are also seeking affection

EMOTIONAL ESCAPE: Extra-marital affairs have traditionally been linked to men, but women are also now seeking affection outside of their relationship. Picture: iStock outside of their relationship. “Men are definitely ahead of the game when it comes to infidelity, but women are

quickly catching up,” she says. “However I don’t know if the stakes will ever be equal as women tend to talk about their feelings whereas some men look for comfort elsewhere. “It seems Wayne Rooney was unfaithful while his wife was pregnant and this could have been the key as some men can feel vulnerable and excluded during that time.” Colleen Rooney has agreed to take her husband back but O’Hara says they will both have to go through a series of emotional stages before acceptance is possible. “After a betrayal, the trust is fundamentally gone and this throws up a lot of difficult feelings,” she says. “Both parties may initially blame each other and perhaps themselves, then the rage comes in — and guilt, sadness and worry for the future will soon follow. “They will go through whole range of emotions before they can think about rebuilding their relationship — and while a future together may be possible, it will be very different from what they had in the past.” Austin Prior, deputy director of the Rutland Centre, says that it can be all too easy to blame infidelities on sexual addiction. “When a couple are trying to build bridges after an affair, it is very important to get a handle on whether the guilty party actually owned up or was caught in the act,” he says. ■ For more information visit or call 1890-380380 www.therutlandcentre — 01-4946358

HEALTH NOTES SIX Irish women are diagnosed every day with breast cancer. To support Avon’s Breast Cancer Crusade in Ireland pick up one of its three novelty items: a fun ‘kiss cancer goodbye’ mug, a silver plated ribbon with a clear glass stone and a eye-catching fashion charm. Prices start range from F1.50 to F7.50, with all profits going to ARC Cancer Support. Funds raised will pay for two specialist breast cancer nurse counsellors based at ARC Cancer Support in Dublin and Cork. All products are available from Avon sales representatives — to find your nearest one or to see a brochure call 01-870 6540 or visit On Saturday September 25, from 1pm to 4pm, Sunkiss Limerick is hosting its first open day in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation. Award-winning make-up artist Rhona Cullinan will demonstrate some useful tips on how to get the best out of your own make-up regime. Proceeds from the sale of her book Look Good Feel Good — A Step by Step Makeup Book to boost your Confidence — will be donated to the Foundation. Members of the Marie Keating Foundation will be present on the day. For details call: Sunkiss Limerick on 061-609426 or email

Reach for the skies with Enable Ireland’s new fundraising and awareness campaign — No Limits Kite Appeal. Running until tomorrow, it offers the 3,000 people using

AMD ACTION: Mary Kennedy is joined by members of Artane Coolock Resource Centre in Dublin to launch AMD Awareness Week.

Picture: Leon Farrell

able Ireland services the chance to talk about how they live their lives with No Limits, while raising funds to support the charity’s work. You can donate online or order a box of kites to sell to your family, friends or work colleagues. For details log onto or Vitamin B is often sold as a natural antidote to stress. But it seems this water-soluble vitamin group may also help to keep dementia at bay. Researchers from Oxford University have found that taking high doses of vitamin B (folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12) everyday can slow brain shrinkage which happens with age, causing early


signs of dementia such as memory loss. In a two-year trial, the B vitamin delayed the rate of brain decline by up to 50% in a group of elderly people. The researchers did not establish whether a high-dose supplement acts as a preventative.

AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) Awareness Week starts on Monday with RTÉ’s Mary Kennedy as an ambassador. AMD is the most common cause of registered blindness in Ireland and is thought to affect one in 10 people over 50. Free AMD testing and information is available at locations nationwide details available on

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215



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In profile THE SHAPE I'M IN

Clear view

Páidí Ó Sé Hy n

What shape are you in? I’m in pretty good shape — a little bit overweight maybe so I could probably do with losing a bit. I was doing a huge amount of hill walking for a while — 80 miles a week. But because my business is in the bar and restaurant sector, there’s a big onus on me to be there all the time and I’ve neglected the walking lately. I will get back into it though. I take the shortcut from Ventry to Dún Chaoin — I like the terrain and that it’s mostly off the road so I’m alone with my own company. Do you have any health concerns? My brother, Mícheál, died of a heart-attack so I suppose, as a family, we’d need to watch the heart. I get regular check-ups. I suffer from gout too and the things that I really like — beef, shellfish, rhubarb — are the boyos that are responsible for it. What are your healthiest eating habits? I eat a lot of cold meat salads and I like fish. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? A big steak after a good walk. I have a sweet tooth and love apple pie. What would keep you awake at night? Looking forward to something big that I’ve got to do. I need very little sleep though — two hours would do me though I get about three or four hours a night. I always take a nap in the afternoon.


r y, NLP n Coac ng

Do you have fears, phobias or unwanted habits that limit you in everyday life?


INNER of eight all-Ireland titles and former manager of the Kerry, Westmeath and Clare senior football teams, Páidí Ó Sé would not be drawn on who he thinks will win the All-Ireland senior football championship between Cork and Down on Sunday, but he is very much looking forward to the event. “I’ve always said it’s one part of the social scene I like. I’ll make a whole weekend of it and really enjoy it — I’ll go up on Saturday and stay ’til Monday,” says the 55-year-old, a former Garda, who runs a pub and restaurant in Ventry. Married to Máire, a schoolteacher, Páidí has three children — Neasa, Siún and Páidí Óg — who are aged from 22 down to 16. His three nephews, Darragh, Tomás and Marc Ó Sé, have all played football for Kerry. As reported in Feelgood, the GAA legend recently joined forces with soccer’s Ronnie Whelan and rugby’s Shane Byrne to urge Irish men to give Erectile Dysfunction (ED) the red card. Highlighting the Don’t Spend Life On The Sidelines, he urged men with ED to seek medical help rather than “parking their problem” in the hope that it would go away.


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SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Páidí Ó Sé at Ard an Bhothair, Ventry, Co Kerry — his children cheer him up every day. Picture: Don MacMonagle

How do you relax? Chatting with the locals when it’s a quiet period in the pub or getting off to Dublin for a night and having a nice meal there. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? The Taoiseach. Brian Cowen is great fun, great craic. He’s completely different to the picture people have of him.

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What’s the best book you’ve read recently? Frank Dunlop’s autobiography. What’s your favourite smell? The smell of steak cooking. When did you last cry? I couldn’t tell you. What trait do you least like in others? I don’t like people who try to box above their weight, who try to be something they can’t manage to be. Is there any past experience you would edit out of your life? Nothing really. I believe in letting life take its course. You drive on whatever way the penny falls. Do you pray? I’m not hugely religious but prayer is important to me. I go to Mass. I have my own way of being religious. What would cheer up your day? My kids cheer me up everyday. Helen O’Callaghan

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Thinking ahead

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With the retirement age being raised from 2014, Arlene Harris says changes



OR the vast majority of people, retirement is seen as a time to take life a little slower and reap the rewards of over four decades of working. And if recent research is anything to go by, many people do not feel truly happy until they have reached at least 55. Positive Ageing Week (September 24 to October 2) aims to highlight the benefits of being elderly and encourage society to take a more positive view of their older and often wiser counterparts. But in the not so distant future, many elderly workers will have to put their retirement plans on hold when a recent government policy comes into play. In four years time, people who had planned to retire at 65 will have to wait another year, and by 2028, the dream of hanging up their tools will not be realised until they are 68 years old. By comparison, Italian workers retire at 60, while their Canadian counterparts have to hang on until 70. Ireland has become an ageing population (by 2050, there will be a 29% increase of older people) but we have also become much fitter and are living longer than previous generations. However, while many older workers are happy to remain at the coalface for longer, what about those who have been longing to retire or, more worryingly, those who are physically unable for the job? Could this solution to the ‘pension problem’ cause further issues for the individuals who suffer ill health due to pressures of work and the government who may end up forking out more money in the long run on health care? Professor Des O’Neill, president of the Irish Gerontological Society, says there has been a lot of negative talk about the ageing population being a liability and a demographic time bomb. “But people should look at the advantages that the elderly bring to the workforce and to family life. “They are usually more experienced, responsible and diligent in the workplace and at home, they can be hugely beneficial and influential. “The new retirement age is negative in isolation,” he explains. “Because while many people enjoy their work, there will be others who need to retire at 65.” Eamon Timmins of Age Action says changes need to be made in order for the new retirement policy to work. “Not everyone will be able to work until they are 68. Some jobs are just too physically demanding for someone in their late 60s to do,” he says. He adds that this issue has not been addressed properly, and instead of sorting out the problem the Government has simply shifted the responsibility. “Employers will have to pay elderly workers for longer and without mechanisms in place to make their work lives easier, they are very vulnerable to discrimination.” The main issue regarding working longer is whether or not you are fit enough for the job, but Timmins says that many people


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will need to be made to help those who may find it harder to continue working

Role models going strong

POSITIVE ACTION: Broadcaster Gay Byrne, chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, has proved you can be active even at the age of 76. He has also called for the elderly to look after their mental health. Picture:Jenny McCarthy

JUST a few of our own positive older role models in Ireland who have remained vital and active are: ■ Veteran broadcaster and chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne, 76, has recently called for elderly people to look after their mental health by talking to their doctor about any concerns. ■ Poet laureate Seamus Heaney, 71, has published his first collection of poems since suffering a stroke in 2006. Research has shown that keeping an active mind is beneficial when it comes to warding off the mental affects of ageing. ■ Mary O’Rourke may be 73 but is still enjoying a hectic work schedule. Having served as minister for health, education and public enterprise during her long career, the politician is currently serving as a TD for the Longford-Westmeath constituency.

GET NMOVING: With 81% of men and 87% women aged 55 years and over not reaching the recommended level of physical activity, it is clear that changes need to be made for improving health and longevity. Picture: iStock would like to take advantage of their good health and make the most of life while they can. “A lot of people will have planned how to spend their retirement while they are still healthy enough to enjoy it,” he says. “So, although the Government may have tackled the problem, many people don’t agree with it — an optional retirement plan would have been much better.” Dr Birgit Greiner of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC says the new retirement plan is far from ideal and policies need to be put in place to support the ageing workforce. “From a mental health perspective it will be beneficial for some workers, but not everybody will benefit from it as health outcomes depend on the quality of the job, the social status and personal characteristics,” she says. “The raising of the retirement age needs to

be discussed within the context of the ageing of the Irish workforce and employers need to be prepared for having proportionately older workers in their work force.” Dr Greiner suggest the following steps to accommodate an older work force: ■ To encourage more flexible work arrangements ■ Increase recovery time, especially for manual workers. ■ Improve awareness of rights and awareness of discrimination and stigmatisation of older workers. ■ Improve working conditions that suit older workers. Dr Greiner says physical and mental health needs to be taken into consideration in order to make the new retirement plan a success. “Working longer will affect people differently and employers need to be prepared,” she warns. “To prevent a widening gap in


health and injury of different social groups it is paramount to design jobs to accommodate ageing workers.” The doctor says that while health and fitness levels vary greatly between individuals, there are some physical and mental traits common to the ageing process. “Physical capacity changes with age, especially in relation to the cardiovascular and the musculoskeletal system,” she says. “Aerobic fitness and muscle strength usually decrease with age and the ability to sit, stand, lift or to perform repetitive movements for extended periods of time will be affected. “However, this is not the same for everybody as cardiovascular capacity has been shown to be also dependent on the fitness and exercise level,” she adds. Mental capacity also changes with age, but Greiner says this too can vary greatly. “Research has found that cognitive functions change with age, but while there is a

■ Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, 66, rose to prominence as an academic, barrister and campaigner and continues to be actively involved in the world stage and a member of many boards. She has received numerous awards, one of the most recent being the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour awarded by the United States. Robinson’s newest project is Realising Rights: the Ethical Globalisation Initiative, which fosters equitable trade and decent work, promotes the right to health and more humane migration policies, works to strengthen women’s leadership and encourage corporate responsibility.

weakening of mental precision and speed perception, the function of information processing may actually improve. “Also some studies have found working at an older age to be associated with better mental health. This is especially true for men in higher positions. However, these results are not conclusive as some other studies did not find this effect. “In general recommendations for older workers are to decrease the physical workload with age and to encourage regular exercise. “Where work demands are insufficient to maintain cardio respiratory and musculoskeletal capacity, regular fitness training is paramount to maintain motor functioning and work health and productivity,” says Dr Greiner. ■ For information about Positive Ageing week visit or phone 01-4756989.


81% of men and 87% women aged 55 years and over do not reach the recommended physical activity level



Only 9% of people over 75 take recommended physical activity level

On average, 65- year- old men can expect 8.9 years of disability-free life

Women over 65 can expect, on average, 10.2 years disability-free Strength, endurance, bone density and flexibility decline with age at a rate of 10% per decade FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010




MEETING of Ireland’s wise women will take place on October 2 in Blackrock, Cork. Inspired by the recently published book by Ann-Marie McCarthy — Of Constant Heart — this celebration of female elders aims to impart advice, experience and, above all, wisdom to the younger generation. The wise women present will cover topics including ageing, meditation, the importance of rites of passage, how to reclaim the wild parts of ourselves and wisdom to pass on to our children. The book launch will follow the event and its 35-year-old author says we can learn so much from the previous generations of women. Four of the six wise women featured in McCarthy’s book will speak about their life experiences which include: raising a family, managing finances, the church, relationships, sexual experiences and coping with death. Nominated by their local community, these women have plenty of life experience and are often looked upon for advice. Eily Buckley from Cork is a great grandmother who has always been active in supporting her local community. She will be speaking about love, the death of her husband, her faith and the joys and challenges of raising a family. Also from Cork, grandmother, Mary Jordan is a weaver and singer who throughout her life has been central in supporting the development of the artistic craft movement in Ireland. She will be speaking about susEily Buckley tainable development and equality. Judith Hoad, a great grandmother from Donegal teaches natural medicine skills and will be sharing her knowledge of our herbal heritage, medicine and the natural environment. Dolores Whelan from Louth — a former biochemistry lecturer — has been working as an educator and spiritual guide for human and spiritual development. She will be talking about her spiritual path and how not having children has shaped her life. With a wealth of experience between Mary Jordan them, these wise elders will be imparting their knowledge and allowing an insight into the past. The book also features Sr Mary Minehan — a Brigadine sister from Tipperary — and Baroness May Blood from Belfast, best known for her work with the Woman’s Coalition. “Women have had a huge transition in recent years both into the workforce and into a world previously dominated by men,” says McCarthy. “And now we find ourselves tired but not fully sure why — so we need Judith Hoad to ask the women who have gone before us what was different for them. “I want to hear about relationships that have been going for 40 years. I want to know about the possibilities of community, of living connected to the land, the experience of raising a family and stories that challenge how we see the world today. “Although the stories of our elders are largely untold and un-cherished in the youth-saturated culture of today, our deep and ancient longing for those stories is still alive,” she adds. “Of Constant Heart Dolores Whelan aims to satisfy this longing by presenting the stories of wise women in a uniquely accessible and deeply evocative way.” ■ Conversations with wise women will take place on October 2 at 2pm in Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork. Tickets cost F25. For more information call 027 66951. ■ Of Constant Heart, F15, is available in Dervish, Quay Co-Op, Eason and



6 Organ donation

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Sonia Treacy is determined to keep fit — despite dialysis, writes Ailin Quinlan

Focused on living F

ROM an early age, Sonia Treacy was prone to kidney infections — but it wasn’t until the age of 21 when she set off with her pals for a holiday in the Canaries that the underlying reason became apparent. During the holiday she became very ill and was told she had a serious kidney infection. On arrival back in Ireland she consulted her GP who sent her to a consultant. Following tests, the shock news emerged that she had had kidney problems since birth and by now had only 20% function left in her kidneys. Sonia had no option but to go on dialysis as soon as her kidneys failed and eventually have a kidney transplant. “I couldn’t believe it at the time — I’d never been really sick until I went to the Canaries,” she recalls. “I had had kidney infections but I did recover from that. I suffered from tiredness but that could be anything, and I didn’t have the other symptoms of kidney problems, like nausea or headaches due to high blood pressure. Three years later Sonia’s kidneys failed and in March 2000 she began dialysis. On December 28, 2000, Sonia, who works in the administration department of Pfizers in Kildare, got the best Christmas and New Year’s present she could wish for: a call from Beaumount Hospital to tell her they had a kidney for her. After just 10 days Sonia was home from hospital. She had, she recalls, a new energy and life running through her, and became interested in sports. Sonia is now a member of the Irish Transplant team and this year won a silver medal for the 100m run and a silver medal for the long jump in this year’s European Transplant & Dialysis games, held in Dublin City University. However, the good times didn’t last: “Everything went well for a while, but one of the anti-rejection drugs created problems and the kidney was damaged. In December 2008 I had to go back on dialysis.” She is currently on dialysis and waiting for a new kidney. “My life was saved by organ donation. But many organs do fail, even after a number of years. It’s bittersweet for me because I know the difference the transplant made in my life, thanks to the generous decision made by my organ donor family. “Now I am back on the waiting list, hoping that more people know they have the power to save lives, just by registering and carrying a wallet sized donor card with them.” But despite the fact the 35-year-old is hooked up to a machine for eight hours every evening, she’s refusing to give up her sporting activities — she plans to do the sixkilometre route in tomorrow’s Run For A Life Fun Run aimed at raising public awareness of the need for organ donors and funding for organ transplant units and organ transplant patients throughout Ireland. Up to 400 runners are expected to participate in the Run for a Life charity fun run, organised by Astellas Pharma Co Ireland, in partnership with the Irish Kidney Association (IKA). The run is taking place at Corkagh


Despite the fact that the 35-year-old is hooked up to a machine for eight hours every evening, she’s refusing to give up her sporting activities — she plans to do the six kilometre route in Run For A Life Fun Run

Park, Clondalkin, Dublin, tomorrow, at 1.30pm: “Last year I was ill a lot and couldn’t do the Run for Life, but this year I am feeling much better and feel good on dialysis,” says Sonia. “I’m doing the six kilometre run this year. I’ve seen first hand the help the hospitals need. As well as that I find that keeping fit and exercising boosts my health and now I have the Run for Life to keep the fitness up. “I’m hoping that when I do get the call for my transplant that my fitness level will make it easier to recover from the operation.” Despite an increase in the numbers of people carrying an organ donor card, there is still an exceptional demand for transplants, says Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association. “If the Run for A Life event can help change the future of even one patient awaiting a transplant, then we will consider it a great success. I urge members of the public to speak to their families and friends about carrying an organ donor card. Doing so can literally save lives.” Last year was a record year for donations and kidney transplants. There were 270 organs obtained from 90 individuals, an increase of 21% on the previous year. Of the organs offered, 172 were used for kidney transplants, 68 for liver transplants, 17 for heart transplants and 13 for lung transplants.. Explains Murphy: “A transplant patient usually requires a lifetime of treatment: regular out-patient monitoring, on-going medication, surgery for dialysis access, dialysis, transplantation, possible return to dialysis and re-transplantation, and so on, often developing additional health problems on the way.”

Reaching out to help

WINNING STYLE: Sonia has won two silver medals in this year’s European Transplant & Dialysis games. Picture:Jason Clarke Photography

THE theme of this year’s fun run, ‘Run Today, Save a Life Tomorrow’, reflects demand for organ donation and research in Ireland today. Last year, 261 life changing organ transplants took place in Irish hospitals, but the demand for organs still greatly outnumbers suitable donors available and more than 600 people are currently on the various organ transplant waiting lists. Professor Peter Conlon, a leading consultant in nephrology and renal transplantation at Beaumont Hospital, says: “Run for a Life is greatly welcomed by the medical community and shows a commitment to medical research and transplant education in Ireland. We hope people around the country are inspired by this event to think about organ donation, speak to their family about it and consider carrying a donor card.” This year’s event will offer participants


a choice of a 3km, a 6km or a 9km walk/run. The registration fee is F15 and there will be a free barbecue lunch after the event with mu sic and entertainment provided, such as face painting and balloon shaping. Families are welcome to attend and those interested in taking part should register on line at All funds raised will be donated equally to the Irish Kidney Association, as well as to organ transplant units at Beaumont, St Vincent’s University Hospital and Mater Misericordiae hospital in Dublin. ■ To register for the fun run, log onto or contact 01-6650300. For organ donor cards, freetext the word DONOR to 50050. To learn more about organ donation, go to the Irish Kidney Association website or contact the Irish Kidney Association on Locall 1890-543639/01-6205306 or e-mail



Psychology 7

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Our leaders need support Tony Humphreys


O MATTER where you are, what you are feeling, what you are thinking, what you are doing, whether you are alone, with another or in a crowd, you are always in relationship. Whatever the relationship, it is always a couple relationship — whether this is a parent with child, a lover with a lover, a teacher with a student, a manager with an employee, a politician with a citizen, a priest with a parishioner, a neighbour with a neighbour. Each couple relationship is unique so that each child has a different mother and a different father, each student has a different teacher, each employee a different manager, each parishioner a different priest and so on for all relationships. What is often not recognised is that the most important couple relationship is the one that a person has with self and, indeed, the nature of that inner relationship determines how that person relates to another. It follows that a person who doubts or hates self, or is dependent on others for recognition, or is obsessed with what others think of him, or is addicted to food, or to alcohol, or to success, or is aggressive, passive, unsure, timid, fearful, will create a relationship with another that in some way or other reflects that person’s inner relationship with self. Individuals who head where we work, learn, pray, heal and play, depending on the relationship they have with themselves, can create harmony or wreak havoc in their relationships with others. Regrettably, the relationship record of some of these leaders leaves a lot to be desired and this has become highly visible since the sexual abuse revelations and the appalling levels of irresponsibility shown by politicians, public servants, bankers, heads of other financial institutions and multi-national companies and property developers. Even before the recession, a large majority of people who moved onto other jobs did so because of the intimidatory behaviour of managers. There is no attempt here to blame these heads. On the contrary, no progress can be made unless we get to understand, for example, what led individual members of Catholic clergy to sexually violate children and other leading clergy to cover up these

same violations. We need to identify the influences that saw individual politicians, public servants, bankers and others line their own pockets without any ethical consideration being present. It behoves all heads — parents, teachers, managers, politicians, sports leaders, health care professionals and clergy — to examine their inner worlds and to resolve whatever blocks to maturity exist therein. The answers lie in relationship and the stories of the important relationships those heads have had to date. It is a sad reality that a family can be the most dangerous place to live, school a place you can’t wait to leave, a workplace you can literally feel sick at the thought of, a church where you feel invisible or a country where you feel alienated. The question arises: who is going to support and help these heads (and, indeed, the rest of us) to examine our inner and outer lives, and in an understanding and compassionate way, to bring to consciousness the repression of aspects of their true nature that would have led to the great neglects perpetrated. Help is at hand in the emergence of the new professions of relationship and parent mentoring. The highly trained practitioners work on both a one-to-one basis with heads of familial, social, religious, educational and economic systems, but also provide intensive training courses for groups of individuals — heads and members — who occupy the systems. The professional training of these mentors involves principally examining their own inner and outer lives and the making of new choices and taking new actions when consciousness of their own hidden issues arose. Parent mentors do a two-year training course and relationship mentors do up to four years training. These mentors know the ingredients of mature relationships and how relationships in all the different life settings can be seriously interrupted. They are aware that affectiveness is critical to the resolution of interruptions. They can readily detect whether or not listening occurs, communication is open, direct and clear and definite boundaries around each individual’s wellbeing are in place. Most of all, the mentors know that it is the nature of the relationship with self that is the bedrock of personal maturity and the maturity of relationships with others. The mentors are trained to create a relational depth that makes it emotionally, intellectually, socially, behaviourally and creatively safe for the person(s) seeking help to explore their relationships to date and to see what needs to be seen and to do what needs to be done — for the benefit of all.

What is often not recognised is that the most important couple relationship is the one that a person has with self and, indeed, the nature of that inner relationship totally determines how that person relates to another


■ The NUI training courses are run in UCC and All Hallows College, Dublin. Details are available from parent and relationship mentor Lorna McCarthy, 087-2311475.


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Feelgood Personals Contact: LORI FRASER Tel. 021-4802265 Fax 021-4273846


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Reconnective Therapy

RCT utilises the fact that all we need for healing is already in our energy body. It can be activated by using the resonance effect. The founder Herwig Schoen will teach an introductory class in Cork

9th-13th April 2011. Contact: 086–364 1230


8 Cover story

Diabetes explosion

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The number of people developing diabetes is spiralling. A national strategy is urgently needed to improve patient care and reduce costs. Helen O’Callaghan reports


PRAWLED on the sofa, microwave dinner at the ready, TV remote to hand — it probably never occurs to the quintessential couch potato that the day might come when a painful foot ulcer could stop him getting off the sofa, when blurry vision or blindness might prevent her seeing the TV. Yet, a lifestyle characterised by little or no exercise and by calorie and fat-laced quick-fix foods is just the ticket for developing type 2 diabetes, by no means a simple condition but one that carries with it — without proper intervention and management — the very real threat of heart failure, blindness and amputation. This week, the shock news hit the headlines that 1,579 people with diabetes in Ireland underwent a below-knee amputation between 2005 and 2009, while nearly 6,000 people with diabetes developed a foot ulcer requiring hospitalisation. More sobering still is the fact that close to half of those with diabetes who undergo lower-limb amputation are of working age. “As a result of undiagnosed and poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes, people are needlessly developing foot complications, like ulcers, which too often lead to lower-limb amputations,” says Dr Diarmuid Smith, consultant endocrinologist at Beaumont Hospital. SYMPTOM FREE: At the point of diagnosis, one-in-two people with type 2 diabetes already have foot, eye, kidney or cardiovascular problems, says Dr Anna Clarke, health promotion and research manager at the Diabetes Federation of Ireland. “Type 2 diabetes itself is asymptomatic, which is why many people first go to the doctor with a diabetes-related complication. They might have had a heart attack or have blurred vision, high blood pressure because or a foot ulcer because of lower-limb problems. These people are likely to have had high blood sugar levels for 12 years before, without any symptoms and not knowing they were developing diabetes complications.” Type 1 diabetes — nine times less common in Ireland than type 2 — is an autoimmune condition with no known cause, where the beta cells in the pancreas stop producing insulin. Now, a Trinity College research team has discovered a malfunctioning protein may trigger type 2 diabetes. The scientists found a particular immune cell reacted abnormally when it ingested the protein — found in the pancreas of some people with type 2 diabetes — beginning an inflammatory chain of activity that destroys vital beta cells. This reduces insulin-producing ability, leading to development of type 2 diabetes. The TCD team says the discovery could pave the way for drugs targeting the process. Scientific breakthroughs aside, Dr Clarke insists that


type 2 is a lifestyle illness with 80% of people obese at diagnosis. She points out that obesity is when you carry greater than 10% more body weight than you should. With obesity on the rise — one-in-four Irish adults are obese according to a 2008 SLAN survey — type 2 diabetes is on the march. Dr Clarke calls it an epidemic; Dr Smith, an explosion. They cite the staggering statistics: 180,000 people in Ireland have type 2 diabetes. “Official government figures predicted it would increase by 37% over the period 2005-2015, but if you talk to GPs and hospitals, they’ll tell you their figures have doubled in the last four years,” says Dr Clarke. YOUNG PATIENTS: The age profile for developing the disease is also dropping. There are currently 100 teenagers in Ireland with type 2 diabetes. At the other end of the spectrum, one-in-four of the over-80s have the disease. “10 years ago, the average age type 2 diabetes was diagnosed was the late 50s. Now, the official average age is early 50s, but if you go into any clinic, where people have been newly diagnosed with type 2, you’ll find people in their 30s and late 20s — virtually unheard of 10 years ago. It’s directly related to obesity levels,” says Dr Clarke. The younger you are when you develop type 2 diabetes, the more likely you’ll encounter some of the potentially devastating complications, points out Dr Smith. Professor Seamus Sreenan, consultant endocrinologist at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown warns that type 2 diabetes is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. “The risk of dying from cardiovascular complications is two to four times higher in patients with type 2 diabetes than in people of a similar age who don’t have diabetes.” Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include increasing age, family history and having pre-diabetes — where someone has one abnormal blood sugar level test, rather than the two needed to diagnose type 2. “People with pre-diabetes will most likely develop diabetes within five years if they don’t take action,” says Dr Clarke, who emphasises the big controllable risk factors are obesity and inactivity. Dr Richard Bergenstal, a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association, pointed recently to the doubling and tripling in some cases of type 2 diabetes rates among immigrant populations after they adopt the sedentary, high-calorie American lifestyle. “Look at China or India,” he added. “They didn’t used to have much type 2 diabetes, but as soon as the country gets a little more prosperous or industrialised,

Dr Diarmuid Smith: ‘Undiagnosed type 2 diabetes can lead to people developing foot complications, leading to amputation.’

There are currently 100 teens in Ireland with type 2 diabetes. Ten years ago, the average age of diagnosis was the late 50s. But if you go into any clinic, where people have been newly diagnosed with type 2, you’ll find people in their 30s and late 20s – unheard of 10 years ago. It’s directly related to obesity levels

Picture: iStock

and we export KFC or McDonalds, or people start to drive instead of walk, the rates start skyrocketing.” LIFESTYLE ISSUES: The simple fact is eating a healthy diet — varied, unprocessed, featuring five daily portions of fruit and vegetables and with sensible portion-sizes — and doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day will dramatically reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, even in people who are hovering on the brink

of developing it. “Studies have shown if you take people at high risk — those with a slightly higher than normal blood sugar level that’s not quite diabetes — and put them on a programme of exercise leading to weight loss and educate them about healthy eating, after a few years their risk of diabetes will have reduced by 58%,” says Dr Smith. Dr Clarke says a whole culture shift needs to happen to drive the healthy eating/physical ac-

Prof Seamus Sreenan: ‘The risk of dying from cardiovascular complications is two to four times higher in patients with type 2 diabetes.’



■ Failure to develop specific health policies to manage diabetes care meant the HSE spent over F239m on in-patient costs treating largely preventable complications of diabetic foot disease between 2005 and 2009. ■ Go into any hospital in Ireland on any given day and 15% of the patients will be in with diabetes-related complications, says Dr Anna Clarke of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland. “Many of these admissions could have been prevented by earlier intervention,” she adds. ■ This year, F1.5bn or 10% of the national health budget will be spent on diabetes care — 60% of that figure will be spent on treating preventable complications.

tivity message home. “Everybody knows what they should be doing but they need support to help them do it. Community schemes should focus on readily available activity, cycle paths should be everywhere, children should be walking to school along paths that are safe. We should only drink alcohol on social occasions, not on the daily basis that many Irish adults do.” The Diabetes Federation of Ireland offers a workplace initiative to highlight lifestyle factors that influence future health. “8% to 10% of the people we meet in workplaces will warrant further intervention. Up to 50% will be alerted to the need for lifestyle changes. Two years ago, 40 workplaces signed up for the initiative. In the current economic climate health is not on the agenda for a lot of workplaces,” says Dr Clarke. It seems that the escalating rates of type 2 diabetes are not on the Government’s agenda in any serious way either. This week, newly-founded advocacy group Diabetes Action launched its national Half the Services, Half the Care campaign in a bid to influence Government health policy, which it says is failing to provide targeted services and care for Ireland’s growing diabetes community. With 10% of the national health budget spent on diabetes care, the group is calling for a National Diabetes Strategy that would dramatically reduce costs and result in better health outcomes for people with diabetes. “If we had invested five years ago, we’d be saving money now, reducing blindness and new amputation cases. It’s frustrating that we didn’t do it then. Our hope is that someone in the health service will have the vision to do it now,” says Dr Smith.

My lack of education about healthy eating brought it on


OLICITOR Gerald Kean, 53, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago. “I was at a wedding and a doctor from England noticed I was getting very agitated because I wasn’t getting enough water. The poor waiter kept bringing me pints of water and the doctor said she wouldn’t be surprised if I had diabetes. I was putting it down to having salty bacon for breakfast. “I got a lot of medical tests done. Everything came back clear. Then I got a phone call to ‘come into hospital immediately — your blood sugars are through the roof ’. When they said I had type 2 diabetes, I thought that’s ok, my grandfather had it and he lived ’til he was 82. “They brought me into hospital for four days to educate me about administering insulin. I was a little taken aback at that — hospital is never on anyone’s agenda. I’m on in-

sulin four times a day — before meals and before going to bed. “Lack of education about healthy eating brought it on. I was eating fries on white toast for breakfast, chocolate mid-morning, fish and chips at midnight. I was 19½ stone, heading for 20 stone and a massive coronary. “I’ve probably learned more about healthy diet from my fiancée, Lisa, than from anyone else. If I cut down white bread, pizza, pasta, rice and potatoes, I reduce my insulin-intake by as much as 65%. “The cross-trainer revolutionised exercise for me. Walking did me no good because of the slow pace I was doing. I go on the cross-trainer five days a week, 45 minutes at a time. There’s no pounding of the joints so I don’t damage knees or hips. I’ve been doing it for 18 months. I’m now down to 16 stone — very acceptable when you’re six foot four. “As a result of lifestyle changes, I feel sharper, more focused, have more energy. I think I now have a better chance of living a longer life.”

NEW SHAPE: Gerald Kean has slimmed down to 16 stone. Picture:Billy Higgins

■ Visit and

PAGE 10: Ian Dempsey’s story and how a mother and son were diagnosed FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010



10 Cover story

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Diabetes explosion

In my case I’d say it was brought on by very little exercise and very tasty food D

IAGNOSED with type 2 diabetes five years ago, Today FM presenter Ian Dempsey, 49, was relieved to get the diagnosis because he hadn’t been feeling great and “being a man, imagined every rare disease under the sun had attacked with a vengeance. “I was sweating, going to the loo a lot, drinking a massive amount of liquids and feeling very tired all the time. I was drying myself down every ten minutes, then popping into the loo and then drinking about half a litre of water — the cycle never seemed to stop. “My doctor explained that type 2 diabetes ‘wasn’t a death sentence, but it was a life sentence’. My dad, who’s verging on 83, has a mild version of the condition. In my case, I’d say it was brought on by very little exercise and very tasty food. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had to improve the way I eat and I try to get regular exercise, mainly by walking around Sutton and Howth. “I now eat very little processed food and believe the more chopping you do in preparing your food the better it’s going to be for you. I’m on a small amount of insulin every day and have a few tablets on the go as well. I also have to check my blood sugar level twice a day — a bit of a pain. If it’s higher than it should be, I bring it down by exercising a little. “I still have lots of energy to do what I need. We go out as often as ever, but I try to keep myself in check and not go too mad — unless it’s a really good night. “I get checked out every few months, which means any major changes in the condition would be spotted. I get a bit freaked when my illness is referred to as ‘chronic’ — what a horrible word.”

WHAT’S NEEDED ■ A SYSTEM of diabetes care like the model in Finland, which features: — early identification of high-risk groups — intervention and support once they’ve been diagnosed — on-going monitoring to detect complications and instigate appropriate management. ■ With diabetes the commonest cause of blindness in the working age population, consultant endocrinologist Dr Diarmuid Smith urges adopting the international standard of care — yearly retinopathy screening of every patient with diabetes. The Diabetes Federation of Ireland (DFI) is calling for the very effective pilot retinopathy screening programme, operating in the west of Ireland, to be rolled out nationally. “Currently, Beaumont Hospital has retinopathy screening equipment but no staff to use it,” says Dr Anna Clarke of the DFI. ■ The HSE spent F239m treating diabetic foot disease in Irish hospitals between 2005 and 2009. Yet a spend of just F1.56m on 20 podiatrist positions nationally to work with people with diabetes would pay for itself even if each podiatrist prevented just three in-patient foot ulcers a year. As it stands — with the lowest level of manpower in podiatry in Europe — Irish people with poorly controlled diabetes are uniquely vulnerable to developing preventable foot complications. ■ The HSE itself recommends having six consultants managing diabetes in a hospital the size of Beaumont. “We have one and a half,” says Dr Smith. “They recommend 10 nurse specialists — we have three and a half.”

Shocked when both diagnosed


OTHER and son, Frances and Damien Creighton, both have type 2 diabetes. Blanchardstown-based Frances, 56, a secondary schoolteacher and mum of four, was diagnosed 15 years ago. “I noticed I’d lost a bit of weight from my arms and legs. I was drinking a lot of water and I had little cracks on the back of my toes. But it was stomach pain and feeling nauseous that alerted me that something wasn’t right. Tests showed high blood sugar levels. “I was shocked at the diagnosis. My mum’s aunt had both legs amputated when she was in her 70s. My mum assured me her aunt didn’t have diabetes but I thought maybe it hadn’t been picked up. That woman was the first person I thought of when I was told I had type 2 diabetes. “I control it with tablets, diet and exercise. I eat a high-fibre diet and drink plenty of water. It’s important to eat regularly and not skip meals. I hate taking medication — I worry about side-effects. I feel nauseous two to four times a week, which I put down to the medication. “There are times in the evenings when I feel very tired. I don’t know if it’s the diabetes, if it’s age-related or because I work full-time. I check my blood sugar level morning and evening and it can be high in the evenings. “I’ve learned to live with diabetes, not let it control my life. I get an annual check-up. I really don’t know why I got it. Perhaps a stressful lifestyle could bring it on.” Meanwhile Damien, 31, who lives in

■ Diabetes is an unusual disease in that patients must learn to do a lot of their own care management — testing blood sugar levels, adjusting medication. “Treating type 2 diabetes involves controlling dietary intake and increasing physical activity to maintain health blood sugar levels. If diet and exercise aren’t enough, medication and/or insulin may be required. People must be given sufficient knowledge and support around managing the disease,” says Dr Clarke.

BETTER DIET: Ian Dempsey now eats very little processed food since he was diagnosed.



Crumlin with his wife Mary was diagnosed with maturity onset diabetes of the young, a non-insulin-dependent form of type 2 diabetes, at age 21. A medical scientist at the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, he says: “They reckon mine’s hereditary. My elevated blood sugar levels were discovered during a routine blood test prior to travelling to Australia for a year. I had no symptoms whatsoever. I was shocked, but they said I could control it with diet, though I was advised to contact a GP once I got to Australia and to come back to the diabetic centre whenever I returned to Ireland. “I was moderately good in Australia around diet and alcohol, but I was a young fellow over with a friend. Generally though, it’s easy for me to eat healthily. I feel nauseous if I eat something very sweet. Every morning, I have porridge, wholemeal brown bread and a banana. I don’t eat anything processed. I make meals like spaghetti Bolognese from scratch, including the sauce. “I’m six feet tall and I was eleven and a half stone when I was diagnosed. My weight hasn’t changed since. I do a good bit of cycling and running. I’ve been put on medication to regulate my blood sugar — it was elevated when I came back from Australia. Now I’m on one tablet every second day — I’m managing the condition mostly through diet. “Having diabetes doesn’t worry me. I worry more for my mother — if she were to tell me she banged her foot off the door and it was bleeding, I’d be worried. I suppose I think it’s a bit too soon for me to be stressing about myself.”

DIABETES DIAGNOSIS: Frances Creighton and her son Damien both have type 2 diabetes. They were both shocked when diagnosed.

Picture: Nick Bradshaw



Instant dinner survey 11

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Ready to eat

QUICK BITE: Readymade foods are a handy solution on days when you are too busy to cook but keep a careful eye on cost and nutritional value. Picture: Getty Images

Roz Crowley


E all have times when an instant dinner is just what’s needed. Companies such as Cully and Sully have made a name for themselves and deliver reliable products which don’t cost the earth. But no ready-to-go dish is worth it if we end up thirsty from too much salt and sugar, or full of additives which compensate for the taste of natural ingredients. Often a quick omelette would serve us better, or even a toasted sandwich, so ready meals need to deliver. Kilo for euro value is usually poor compared to making our own, but there are times when we don’t want beans on toast, an egg or a slice of brown bread and ham. We took a snapshot look at the latest products readily available.

Dunnes Stores Food Fayre Roast Lamb Dinner, 450g F4.99

SuperValu Just Cook Chicken Tikka Masala, 400g F4.50

Tesco Finest Italian Cheese & Spinach Cannelloni al Forno, 700g F6.95

Carroll Lasagne, two 350g cartons F4.99

22% lamb amounts to three slices and it comes with gravy, stuffing, mashed potato, mashed parsnip and carrot. The meat is full flavoured. The gravy is not oversalted and quite a few thickeners and stablisers are forgiveable as it has to be a little thickened so it won’t spill everywhere. The stuffing is nicely seasoned with basil, mixed herbs and sage. The potatoes are nicely buttery and the mashed ptoato and parnsip taste natural. Taste: 7.25 Health: 8

40% marinated chicken in tandoori paste means 60% is water, flavourings and thickener. The texture of the chicken is quite meaty and pleasant. The spices are harsh and dry on the palate, not well integrated in the sauce. The sauce appears to be under-cooked. Salt is high at 0.93% nearly 1% which is as much salt as we need for a day. Saturated fats at 2.4% are fine, sugars a fair 4%. Calories for half the carton at 200g are a low 258. Expensive for 160g of chicken. Taste: 4 Health: 5

Free range egg pasta encloses a creamy spinach and cheese filling, layered with tomato sauce and topped with cheese sauce. The size of the pack is generous so half is adequate, even for hearty appetites. We loved every bite of this and hoped the nutritional advice would support further purchases. Each half contains a high 18.3g saturated fats, 580 calories, 1g salt and 10g sugars. It was one of the favourite dishes of all tasters. Taste: 9 Health: 5

Nothing special here, no vibrant tastes, but not dull either. 15% pork is layered with a tomato sauce, a cheese that is not traditional Parmesan and is more like a tasteless cheddar. However, tasters liked it. Calories per 350g portion come to a high 528. The pasta texture is quite good, fat is high at 26.9, but protein is good at 25.9 per 350g. It was disappointing to see no salt levels given on the pack. Taste: 5.5 Health: 5

Denny Minced Steak and Onion Puff Pastry Pie, 500g F3

Global Cuisine Ready Roast Beef 500g F6

Rib World Barbecue Spare Ribs, 500g F3.99

Marks & Spencer Roast Chicken Pie, 550g F5.19

A layer of shortcrust pastry is topped with lighter puff pastry, but the overall effect is heavy and fatty. Not surprisingly there is 8.4% saturated fat, and it’s unrealistic to think that this small pie will be divided into four for which the packaging gives the nutritional values as well as 100g values. Half of these pies have 682 calories, a high 2.4g of salt and 21g of saturated fats. It has a strong flavour but our blind tasters could not identify what it was. Taste: 3 Health: 2

This slow-cooked piece of meat was juicy and tender from slow cooking, with a little gristle under the joint. The flavour was good and there is enough for two. In a light thickened gravy, there were no additive nasties, except for a high 2.12g of salt (we had to multiply the sodium level by 2.5 ourselves), which divided by two for two people is still quite high. This is not a complete meal, but a few vegetables could easily be cooked while the meat is heating. Not cheap, but a good product. Taste: 7.75 Health: 7

Already cooked, 80% pork loin ribs are quite meaty and are coated with a combination of tomato, mustard, cayenne pepper, onion and garlic powders. The added smoke flavouring explains why the overall taste is of barbecue flavoured crisps, which is not a terrible thing for those who like it, but not all that natural. The pork is tender and not too fatty with 3.9% saturated fats which is reasonable. We divided the pack between two people, so salt at 4.5g for half a packet is very high, though it doesn’t taste so, partly due to added sugars. Taste: 5 Health: 3

A case of pastry which is not too thick encloses a low 20% chicken, tasty chicken stock thickened with cornflour and flavoured with tomato puree. The list of ingredients is commendably short and both the pastry and filling are tasty. Salt level is moderate at 0.60%, saturated fats at 7% are average. We can expect them in pastry. The pie could easily be divided in four and each portion would have a little over 255 calories which is not bad. A good product as a treat. Taste: 8 Health: 7




12 Medical matters

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fasting blood glucose. You’re considered to have pre-diabetes if your blood sugar level is over 5.5mmol, but less than 7mmol. Many people have pre-diabetes and not know it. But, unfortunately, many who know they are borderline diabetic think that they’re safe. If you have predicaments you should do something about it. You can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes A. Vinegar has been used as a through lifestyle changes, including a health tonic for thousands of years little weight loss (just 5-7%) and regfor many different ailments. The ular exercise. Being overweight or Babylonians first converted wine inobese keeps your body from making to sugar in 5,000BC using date and using insulin properly. Insulin is a palms, grapes and figs. As far back as hormone made by your pancreas that 3,000BC Egyptians were using it for helps control the amount of sugar in health benefits and Hippocrates was your bloodstream. Normally your said to have used vinegar as an anblood carries glucose (sugar) to your tibiotic. Samurai warriors supposedbody’s tissues where the cells use it as ly used vinegar tonic for strength fuel. Glucose enters your cells with and power. During the first world the help of insulin. In pre-diabetes war, soldiers used vinegar to prevent cells don’t respond normally to ingastric upset and to treat wounds. sulin, and glucose can’t enter the cells Apple cider vinegar is made by as easily. Your body reacts by making crushing apples and squeezing out more insulin and this can lead to diathe liquid. Sugar and yeast are added betes when your body is unable to to the liquid to start the fermentamake enough insulin to control the tion process, which turns the sugars blood glucose to normal levels. into alcohol. In a second fermentaExercising less than three times a tion process, the alcohol is convertweek is another risk factor for diaed by acetic acid-forming bacteria betes. Your risk of diabetes is also ininto vinegar. Acetic acid is what creased if your triglyceride levels (a gives vinegar its sour taste. type of blood fat) are above Apple cider vinegar is an old rem1.7mmol/l and your HDL (good edy that has been used to treat type of cholesterol) is below arthritis for many years. Its use as a 1.3mmol/l. Being overweight can alremedy for arthritis is based on the so cause high blood pressure. If you theory that arthritis is caused by the have increased insulin levels, high body building up acid, which crysblood pressure, high cholesterol levtallises and lodges between the els, excess body fat around the waist joints. The acid crystals become sur(a waist circumference greater than rounded by fluids, causing swelling, 35 inches for women and 40 inches soreness and stiffness that is typically for men) you have metabolic synfound in osteoarthritis. drome. This cluster of conditions that Animal and lab studies have found occur together increases your risk of evidence that apple cider vinegar heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. might help lower cholesterol and Having just one of these conditions improve heart health. But it’s too isn’t diagnosed as metabolic synsoon to say whether the same results drome, but it does contribute to your will be seen in people. Because apple THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK: Avoiding alcohol and foods with risk of serious disease. It might seem cider vinegar is an unproven treatrefined sugar can help ease arthritis pain. Picture: iStock daunting tackling even one of these ment, there are no official recomfactors, but keep persisting. mendations on how to use it. Some Getting more physical activity people take two teaspoons a day of (30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of water density. Also people with diabetes should such as brisk walking every day) and losing or juice. It is also sold as tablets or capsules. avoid it as it can alter insulin levels. weight are guaranteed to get you results. Because its very acidic, liquid apple cider Watch what you eat. The Mediterranean vinegar should always be diluted with water Q. I had some blood tests recently and Diet, like many healthy eating plans, limits or juice before swallowed. was shocked when my doctor said my unhealthy fats and emphasise fruits, vegetaOther recommendations include to mix bles, whole grains and fish. Fibre-rich foods cider vinegar with honey, hot water and mo- blood sugar level was borderline diabetic. Does this mean that I will get diabetes later such as whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetalasses. Avoiding alcohol, cutting out foods in life? I’m in good health apart from being bles can lower your insulin levels. with refined sugar and any citric fruit is also overweight. If you’re not able to reach your goals with encouraged in some regimes also. lifestyle changes, your doctor may also prePeople with osteoporosis should not take A. Before people develop type 2 diabetes, scribe medications to lower cholesterol or apple cider vinegar as it could reduce bone they usually have pre-diabetes or impaired blood pressure or help you lose weight. I SUFFER with arthritis and have to take pain-killers regularly to keep the pain at bay. Someone recommended apple cider vinegar as a treatment. Does this work for arthritis sufferers, and how much of it should you take?

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

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 Feelgood

T was the kind of picnic grandma would sniff at: enough weed to stone a small nation, pills as plentiful as leaves and the gut-churning pong of portaloo overload. It was Stradbally in September, awash with sun, fun, youth and pharmaceuticals, and a mother who suddenly and worryingly realised what her children’s future may hold. Sipping her Lemsip, and with nothing on her person more potent than Paracetamol to ward off an approaching cold, she watched the jaw-clenchers, gum-lickers and nose-twitchers veer through a range of moods and moves no hyper child could rival. She could have indulged had anything tickled her fancy. A pill would have helped sway her way through the Rave in the Woods. But she opted instead for her tent in the “quiet” campsite where the only sound to disturb

her was — the non-stop Rave in the Woods. Watching the ravers, she wondered how far we had come from Neanderthal Man in a setting where the dominant dance move was “the crouch”: a semi-squat, with back hunched, knees at 110 degrees, heads bent. “Not so far that you would notice,” she thought to herself. Somewhere in the wee hours techno gave way to sleep and Electro Mum woke to the soft pitter patter — of rain on the fly sheet. A few anxious moments followed until a swift inspection revealed the most she had to deal with was damp. Wriggling her way out of the tent and slightly the worse for wear, she made for the portaloo queue, all the time wondering what wayward gene had made her agree to camp. Back in her bivouac, a baby wipe rub deputised for a shower. Applying product to a face in need of professional rejuvenation tested her creativity, particularly with a mirror no bigger than a cent.


A change of clothes seemed pointless, the rain clouds were gathering and there was little incentive on site for glamming it up. She opted instead for a F3 piece of orange plastic posing as a “festival poncho” to keep herself dry. “Could it be I’m too old for this?” she wondered in disbelief, as she went in search of an organic ostrich burger. By day three, the wilt had set in after a night six hours short of her sleep requirements. “My stamina is not what it was,” she conceded quietly as images of duckdown quilts and power showers loomed large in her hanging head. As she parted with the picnic that evening she wondered if 13 years was enough time to drive home the message that pharmaceuticals are best used in a therapeutic setting. Best get cracking on the four-year-old. The two-year-old would fend for herself.



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Male health

A memorable step


HAT started out as a walk has turned into a pilgrimage of sorts as hundreds get set to hike up Mount Brandon in Dingle, Co Kerry next Saturday in memory of a local man who died from cancer. “This year’s walk will be dedicated to the memory of my brother, Joe,” says former Kerry footballer Vincent O’Connor. Joe was a secondary school teacher in Tralee and grew up in Dingle. “He died in October 2003 at just 47 years of age. His children were just 10 and 12 when he died. It’s still so unbelievable to think that he’s gone.” This is the ninth year of the Siúlóid Leighis/Walk for the Cure which to date has raised over F234,000 in aid of the Irish Cancer Society’s cancer research programme. Last year’s walk was a huge success with over 800 people taking part in the hike up Mount Brandon. “As a family, we’re taking some solace that his memory is being honoured in Mount Brandon,” says O’Connor. “Raising funds for cancer research is important, but there’s also a spiritual side to it that the family will get consolation from. It’s so beautiful when you reach the summit — there’s a great sense of achievement that you’ve climbed the second highest mountain in Ireland. It creates a great buzz and positive energy.” People are invited to sign up for this year’s walk at the Siúlóid Leighis/Walk for the Cure office in Tralee or by calling Maureen on 087 275 3895. Log on to http://suiloid- for further information.

UPWARD CLIMB: Former Kerry footballer Vincent O'Connor who is organising a walk up Mount Brandon in memory of his brother Joe and in aid of cancer treatment, out exercising with his dogs Max and Brutus. .

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN Despite not having a family history of bowel cancer, Joe O’Connor still fell prey to the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. In 2008 alone, there were 2,216 new cases of bowel cancer. Warning signs for bowel cancer include change in bowel habits lasting more than a month, bleeding from the back passage, regular feeling of trapped wind or fullness in the stomach area, feeling as though there is something left to pass even after a bowel movement, pain or discomfort in stomach area or back passage, weight loss for no apparent reason, ongoing tiredness or weakness. Risk factors include age, a family history of bowel cancer, a family history of polyps (abnormal growths of tissue in the lining of the bowel), a diet which is high in fat and low in fruit, vegetables and fibre, lack of physical activity, obesity, alcohol and smoking.

Picture:Don MacMonagle

■ For further information, call the National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700 (open Monday to Thursday, 9am – 7pm and Fridays 9am – 5pm) or visit

World Alzheimer’s Day puts focus on condition

Authority to develop 2,000km cycle network

DEMENTIA affects almost 44,000 people in Ireland and touches the lives of 50,000 carers and hundreds of thousands of family members, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. So, there’s a good chance that you are the partner, son or brother of someone with alzheimer’s. On September 21, keep an eye out for World Alzheimer’s Day, when people who are affected by alzheimer’s and related dementias unite in solidarity to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s/dementia. The Alzheimer’s Soci-

THE National Roads Authority has unveiled plans to develop a 2,000km cycle path network around Ireland. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, figures show that nearly half the population is not active enough, which can double the risk of developing coronary heart disease. The development of a National Cycle Network is a

WITH colder, wet days fast approaching, children need an adequate vitamin and mineral intake to help them battle colds and flu. Here are some supplements to boost their immune systems:

ety of Ireland will be focusing on the need for the government and the public to take action to raise the awareness of dementia and to improve services for people with dementia and their carers. Its carer survey last year revealed that many are caring for more than 14 hours per day without adequate support services, financial supports, training or general understanding of their tremendous contribution. ■ For details on World Alzheimer’s Day events, contact 01-207 3800 or e-mail


TAKEwith Kate O’Reilly 1 2

IMMUNE SUPPORT: Childlife Essentials is a range of American nutritional supplements designed specifically for infants and children. The range was developed by Murray Clarke, who has specialised in paediatrics in his homeopathic and nutritional clinic for over 20 years. Childlife Essentials are made from quality natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavours, sweeteners, or colours. The range includes liquid Echinacea, Vitamin C and Aller Care. In Ireland Childlife Essentials is distributed by Natural Selection and their bestseller is the Multi Vitamin & Mineral liquid, which is orange and mango flavoured and suitable for infants from six months. It costs F18.65 for 237ml, and is available from chemists and health stores or from



THREE FOR TWO: Boots stock a variety of multivitamins and have a ‘3 for 2’ offer across all vitamins and herbal products. For those who prefer a liquid rather than swallowing a capsule, Boots recommend Abidec Multi-vitamin Syrup with Omega 3 150ml F7.99, which is suitable for children from one year. For children aged three and up, there’s also Boots Multivitamin Gummy Bears, F7.49 for 30 mini packs.

great opportunity to get you cycling to work or to school with your children. You only need 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days for your health. Just 30 minutes a day helps use about 200 calories per day, strengthen your bones and muscles, strengthen your heart and circulation and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

DId you know... Less than one in three men shower before they go on a night out (Source: Alibi survey of 1000 workers, UK)

Supplements for children


GOOD TONIC: Floradix Kindervital is a quality multivitamin formulated with a special focus on bone and immune health for growing children. Naturally sweetened with fruit juice, this easily-absorbed liquid tonic contains herbs which are mild digestives and assist the overall absorption of Kindervital, as well as stimulating the child’s appetite. Most children love the taste, but it can also be blended with juice, apple sauce or yoghurt. Kindervital comes in two flavours original and Fruity Formula and costs F8.95 for 250ml from health stores and pharmacies.



CHEWY MULTI: Higher Nature Dinochews are mulitvitamin and mineral chewables with a dinosaur design, sweetened with fruit and sorbitol (a natural sweetener). Recommended by Patrick Holford, Dinochews are suitable for children aged three and over and cost F6.80 for 30 tablets.



14 Beauty

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The news on ... POMEGRANATE POMEGRANATE — it’s an antioxidant that keeps popping up again and again in skincare, and it’s central to the new day and night cream from natural skincare company, Weleda. Pomegranate Firming Day Cream, F25.75, uses the ingredient to stimulate cell renewal for firmer, clearer skin, while the Night Cream, F28.35, is designed to give the skin an extra boost at night when the cell renewal and repairer processes are speeded up. Available from independent health stores and selected pharmacies.

Emily O’Sullivan

Blue comes in from the cold to take centre position in this season’s retro beauty palette


HERE was a time, not so long ago, when I used to laugh at blue eye make-up. And when I say, laugh, what I really mean is openly guffaw. It was the subject of ridicule. The stuff of the ’80s — when we fawned over John Hughes films, cooed over white leather jackets and permed our hair into Kevin Keegan-esque bouffants. But blue is officially cool once more. Over the last five years, as the ’80s revival kicked off with street fashion and then went mainstream, blue has worked its way back into our make-up bags. And this season some of the top make-up companies have included the colour in their autumn-winter collections, without even a hint of irony. Blue is now at the heart of this year’s smokey eye. And central to its look is sophistication — it’s not kitsch, it’s not crass, it’s not cheesy — it’s cool, refined and very elegant. The trick, naturally, is to watch the shade you’re going for. Sidle down the colour palette to smokey navies and midnight blues and keep well away from frosted turquoise and cutsey baby blues. These are the kind of hellish ’80s shades you need to studiously avoid — powder blues make most of us look like a cross between a Sloane Ranger from 1986 and Barbara Cartland. They’re hard to carry off, unflattering for fair-haired women and, unless you’re going electric, they’re just plainly unfashionable. In terms of eyeshadow, go for good quality finely milled powders that will blend well and don’t be afraid to blend with an existing grey to get the shade you’re looking for. There are


MOODY HUES tons of denim tones around this season — in fact, dark denim blue is the shade you should be hunting down. Keep super-sophistication in mind and wear it with minimalist make-up — silky, semi-matte foundation and a very light touch of pinkish blush. If you want to amp up the ’80s vibe, match it with a pillarbox-red lipstick, but this is quite a strong look so it’s a better one for night-time antics. At Estee Lauder, make-up artist Tom Pecheux has gone for a more directional look with the Blue Dahlia make-up collection, which mixes the classic smokey eye look with a pop of bright blue. Because of the different shades in the palette, you can make the look as intensely blue or as subtly smokey as you

want depending on your mood. Blue mascara has also been the subject of derision for years now, but it’s another one that’s ripe for rediscovery. Avoid the electric blues that have been big in edgier circles over the last few years and opt for a dark, midnight blue shade — they help make the whites of your eyes really stand out. Don’t try to be too clever when it comes to using blue eyeliner, either — it can detract from the look. Smokey greys with navies actually work better, especially on blondes. If you are going blue, then make sure it’s quite dark, a rich blackish-navy or else go for a different look altogether with a sweep of blue liquid eyeliner, such as MAC’s new Superslick in Signature Blue.

JUST because we’re heading into autumn doesn’t mean you should forget about SPF. Keep wearing a factor in your day cream and you will be able to protect your skin against ageing UVA rays right through the colder months. Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Day Cream, F28.49. The brand new offering from Boots No7 is the first five-star UVA-rated daily moisturiser to hit the Irish market, and this protection is combined with the same anti-ageing benefits of the legendary Protect & Perfect Serum. All in all, it’s a big winner in our books. Dr Nick Lowe Super Charged SPF 15 Day Cream, F25.45. This four-star UVA-rated from dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe is another good one to go for. All the formulations have been tested by an independent laboratory and are clinically proven. This day cream does exactly what you want — it hydrates well and offers good protection against UV rays. It has a slight suncreamy texture initially, but it does sink in well after a few minutes. Estée Lauder DayWear Plus Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Crème SPF 15, F44. It doesn’t quite have the high star UVA ratings of the other two creams, but this was the winner of Instyle Magazine’s best moisturiser with an SPF award this year. It has a lovely rich, quenching texture and contains antioxidants such as red tea and grape seed.

STUFF WE LIKE Estée Lauder Five Colour EyeShadow Palette in Blue Dahlia, F45. A great palette that perfectly reflects this season’s trend and takes things a little further with a more daring shade of blue. There are countless blendable looks here, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you get a combo that suits. MAC Superslick liquid eyeliner in Signature Blue, F21. This water-based and water-resistant eyeliner is designed to be slick looking and easy to apply. The signature navy blue shade is bang on for autumn and makes a


good addition if you want to update your look without spending a fortune. It dries in 15 seconds. Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Face Palette, F52. This is a great blue option for anyone that’s not entirely sure about wearing blue — there are so many blendable options here that you can create a myriad of looks from the on-trend combo of navy blue eyeshadow and red lipstick to the less overtly fashionable combo of rose lips and icy grey eyes. Giorgio Armani Fluid Shine Nail Polish in Dark Bleu No 47, F19. Navy blue nail polish

emerged a few years ago, but it didn’t really catch on quite the same as other shades. Now it’s back this season in a deep, sexy petrol-like shade and Giorgio Armani’s offering is one of our faves. Giorgio Armani Quads Palette, F58.50. There’s something about the fine texture of Giorgio Armani eyeshadows that make them beautifully easy to blend and very flattering to wear. This gorgeous palette is expensive but it’s a real winner for autumn with inky navy blue, dark brown, icy brown and silver shades. BadGal Mascara in Blue, F19. This product has been around for a


few years and it’s actually surprisingly flattering to the eyes, making them feel whiter and looking more alert. The BadGal mascara formulation also fattens up lashes thanks to its chunky brush that generously coats them from root to tip. Bourjois Little Round Pot Eyeshadow in Bleu Magnitique, F8.99. A great must-have that allows you to get the look, without spending a fortune. Blend this with dark greys or browns (a la Armani) to get the navy blue look on a budget.



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Natural health


is the root cause. Excess mucous in the system is commonly linked with dairy and grains, these are also triggers for gastrointestinal conditions such as coeliac disease, which typically impacts on the joints, muscles, and nerves (causing tinnitus and vertigo) even though it is a digestive disorder. This in turn leads to stored waste product, which can be reabsorbed and affect your muscles, bloodstream and nerves. Psyllium will help to move the waste through more effectively, it will also help to solidify your bowel movements and make them easier to pass. In cases where constipation is a concern, the psyllium works to soften the faecal matter. Take a rounded tablespoon of psyllium husks in a 200ml glass of water each morning and evening. Please read up on some literature regarding optimal health for your age if you have the opportunity — Fred Bisci, Arnold Ehret, and Norman Walker are all well known in the health world for regeneration and long healthy lives. If you are not in a position to make many requests regarding your diet, then add some nutritious herbal teas such as nettle, raspberry leaf, rosehip or hibiscus.

YOU recently wrote about the treatment of sarcoidosis and suggested it is best to reduce the intake of protein-based food. Could you be more specific? I eat chicken and fish, so should I cut down on these?

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


A. By protein-based foods, I do mean foods such as those you refer to — meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, tofu, and beans. The best way to ensure your body gets all the protein it requires without eating protein-based foods is to make sure you get plenty of fresh produce. Leafy greens, fruit and vegetables contain all of the amino acids we need. While they are also abundant in protein-rich foods, the body has to work a lot harder since it needs to break down the protein before the amino acids can be utilised. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are essential for maintaining health and vitality. Since protein is crucial for the development of muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails, hair — and is essential for the growth and repair of skin, bones and cells — it follows that amino acids are vitally important to our general wellbeing.

Q. In a recent article you recommend a product called Nasaline for Q. I have tinnitus and an undernasal rinsing. I was wondering if active thyroid. I am taking medicayou could also recommend the Sinus tion every morning and night, Rinse (from Neil Med Pharamceutiwhich helps me to sleep. I have cals) product as I use it everyday and pains in my shoulders, hands, back find it extremely helpful for my and legs and often get sweats and rhinitis. It is a small bottle with acchills. I am not able to walk with companying sachets of salt, which ease and my balance is poor at pumps the water up through each times. My digestion is poor and I al- RIGHT STUFF: Eating plenty of fresh produce will help to ensure body gets enough protein. Picture: iStock nostril and it’s very effective. It is also get chest colds easily. I take so now available in most chemists Panadol for the pain. The doctor the home. It would certainly help with your throughout the country. says a lot of what I’m going through digestion, tinnitus, and catarrh if you were is due to old age. I am 85 years old and able to eliminate or reduce dairy and wheat A. Many thanks for your recommendation live in a nursing home. from your diet. The ideal would be to — I always appreciate learning of products include plenty of fresh vegetable and fruit which are effective, natural, and widely availA. You poor woman. So many things to juices, and steamed or mashed vegetables for able. These sinus clearing products are deal with emotionally and physically. The founded on the ancient Ayurvedic tradition tinnitus, dizziness and tummy troubles are no optimal digestion. Weight loss is consistent with digestive and of using a neti pot. doubt linked. I feel that this may be in part bowel problems — often a consequence of Jala neti is used to clear the sinus cavities of due to medication side effects and a change excess mucous and allergens, based on the in diet at the nursing home, but in combina- the ageing process. While these can be reversed or avoided through a careful change long-held belief that the nasal passages are an tion with other symptoms such as sweats, in diet, it does require dedication and supentryway for disease to come into the body. chills, and bodily pains, it sounds as if you port from those around you. The neti pot itself is similar to a small teapot, have The balance troubles, tinnitus, and regular and is filled with a salt solution which is an issue with the reabsorption of stored syringing suggest that you have inner ear ismatched to the salinity of the body. The user waste from your system. Of course, your sues. Once again, these are often chalked up leans forwards (preferably over a basin if inunderactive thyroid will also be a significant to being par for the course as we age, but of- doors!) while pouring the solution through factor. ten medication, particularly a daily aspirin one nostril, allowing it to pass through the I’m not certain as to how much control sinus and exit through the other nostril. you have over what you are allowed to eat in prescribed to prevent heart attack or stroke,

Megan puts the spotlight on:



Tea Herbs Worth Growing

HILE herbal teas have long been used for medicinal purposes, it’s less popular to grow your own and brew teas fresh from the garden. More is the pity, because this is one of the most satisfying ways to support your health and wellbeing — from the growing and harvesting of the plants through to the inhaling and drinking of the actual infusion.

Another herb which is useful for relieving anxiety and nausea is catnip (nepeta cataria). This is a wonderful tea to use with children to help them sleep well. The flavour is subtle, and has a slight lemon-mint taste to it. Great for treating cold and flu symptoms too. Use a tablespoon of fresh leaves to a cup of water and steep for 10 minutes.

hips are very high in vitamin C (rosa canina or Dog Rose), where a single cup will provide more of this nutrient than a large basket of oranges. It has a wonderful tart yet fruity flavour. Rose petals are said to be soothing both internally and externally. Use four to six large petals or one to two crushed rose hips per cup of hot (not boiling) water and steep for 10 minutes.

Chamomile is a common tea herb — both Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile) and German chamomile (matricaria recutita) create a lovely light brew which has a long tradition of being used to calm the nerves, aid sleep and relive nausea. Use a tablespoon of fresh herbs per cup of boiling water and steep anywhere from three to 30 minutes depending on individual taste and medicinal strength required.

Members of the mint family (mentha species) such as peppermint and spearmint are great favourites for digestion and tension headaches. A tablespoon of fresh leaves per cup of water steeped for five to ten minutes works well.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are all wonderful herbal teas, being great for digestion, immune support, and mental function. Parsley is also a great source of vitamin C and supports the kidneys. A tablespoon of any one of these herbs, or all three make a healthy tonic brew, especially if you add a good spoonful of honey to the drink.


Rose petals and rose hips (rosa species) are both aromatic and beneficial. The rose




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Feelgood 17-09-2010  

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