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Friday, February 19, 2010
‘Leave me alone’
How to deal with the difﬁcult teenage years: 8, 9 SKIN DEEP
Five cellulite-busting treatments put to the test: 4, 5
Delicious foods to help keep diabetes at bay: 12
Transform yourself without leaving home: 14
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If a supermodel can beat the pain barrier giving birth, Arlene Harris wonders if Irish women can too
Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON DIABETES RESEARCH: The first of three open meetings on diabetes research will be held at the Gresham Metropole Hotel, Cork on Sunday at 2.15pm. Speaking at the meeting will be Professor Seamus Sreenan, chairperson of the Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance on current Type 1 research developments, and Dr Tim Tree, who is investigating whether a particular gene found in people with Type 1 diabetes affects some of their immune changes. If this link can be confirmed it may lead to key drug developments aimed at preventing or reversing Type 1 diabetes. For more details call the Diabetes Federation of Ireland, Southern Region Office at 32 Grand Parade, Cork on 021-4274229. HAITI FUNDRAISER: There will be a Haiti/Oxfam Fundraiser: BBQ, cake sale, jumble sale, etc, tomorrow from 12 to 3pm at Woodleigh Park outside Highfield Rugby Club off the Model Farm Road, Cork. All welcome. FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT: Fairtrade Fortnight, the annual campaign aimed to increase awareness of the Fairtrade mark, runs from February 22 to March 7. Kinsale Fairtrade Town Committee is hosting a breakfast reception at the Blue Haven Hotel on Friday next, February 26, from 8.30 to 10am. Oscar Gonzalez, a grower from Nicaragua, will be guest of honour at the breakfast and will speak on his work and the impact Fairtrade has had on his community. Anyone who would like to attend can call or text Adam Clayton on 087-2219266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. HEALING DAY: On Saturday February 27 there will be a Community Day of Healing at Bere Island Heritage Centre from 10.30am to 3.30pm. It will be given by Isabella Quill (IET practitioner, spiritual teacher and sound healer) and Grace O’Flynn (sound healer, spiritual mentor and therapist) and include stress release techniques, angel healings, sound healing and meditation. Cost by donation. Contact the Heritage Centre on 027-75956 for more details. PILATES FOR HAITI: The Pilates Studio in Penrose Wharf Cork will be offering one-to-one sessions on Pilates apparatus from 11am to 5pm, on Sunday, February 28, F50. All proceeds will go towards Haiti disaster funds. Call 087-2533244 or 021-4509404 to reserve. GUILLAIN BARRE: On Saturday, April 17, the Guillain Barre Syndrome Support Group for the Britain and Irenad will hold their 25th anniversary conference at the Raddison Hotel, Heathrow Airport, London. All patients, ex-patients and friends are welcome. Full details are available from www.gbs.org.uk or 087-6400542 (after 6pm).
Pain-free birth B
Y DEFINITION, they are effortlessly slim, beautiful and elegant. It’s what we’ve come to expect from supermodels. We’ve learnt to handle the envy. But what most of us find hard to cope with is the manner in which these women apparently sail through pregnancy and manage to fit into their skinny jeans just weeks after giving birth. So when Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen gave birth to her first child, Benjamin, in December, it was no surprise his birth was an ‘amazing’ experience. But what has caused shockwaves among many mere mortal women was the fact that her labour was totally pain free. Speaking about her water birth at home in Boston, the supermodel said: “It wasn’t painful, not even a little bit.” Niamh Healy, antenatal educator for Cuidiu, says having the right attitude could make all the difference when it comes to giving birth. “Pain is not the enemy during labour,” she explains. “The biggest problem is fear. The more frightened you are, the more you will tense up and this will slow down the whole process.” Over 70% of first-time mothers in Ireland opt to have an epidural during labour compared with a European average of around 30-50%. Women who have an epidural during labour are more likely to need to have a catheter fitted and have intervention in the form of a ventouse or forceps — an episiotomy is also highly likely.
will tense up and this will slow down the whole process.” Over 70% of first-time mothers in Ireland opt to have an epidural during labour compared with a European average of around 30-50%. Niamh believes that this dependency could be due to a combination of fear and lack of information and services. “Our maternity services are not suited to empowering women,” she says. “New mothers need more support and greater access to information from early on in their pregnancy, this they would receive from midwife-led care. “Giving birth is a natural process which should be taken out of the doctor’s hands and given back to the mothers and midwives. “I’m not saying that everyone should say no to pain relief, but by approaching birth with a plan of action, you will have more control and feel more relaxed, which should make labour easier.”
PAIN KILLER: Over 70% of first-time Irish mothers prefer an epidural to handle the pain of childbirth. Picture:iStock Niamh Healy says having the right attitude could make all the difference when it comes to giving birth. “Pain is not the enemy during labour,” she explains. “The biggest problem is fear. The more frightened you are, the more you
Types of pain relief available: ■ Breathing techniques ■ Massage ■ Hot bath ■ TENS machine ■ Pethadine ■ Epidural ● For more information visit www.cuidiu.ie
HEALTH NOTES THIS Lent why not cut out alcohol and reap the health benefits. In its 2010 Lenten campaign, the Pioneers call on people to drink less alcohol during Lent and to think about their drinking habits. The association’s message is targeted at half of all Irish drinkers, that’s four in 10 women and seven in 10 men, who research findings show have a harmful pattern of drinking alcohol. Pioneer CEO Padraig Brady says: “Statistics show alcohol-related hospital discharges increased by 92% between 1995 and 2004. In the same period there was a staggering 147% increase in the number of hospital discharges with alcohol-related liver disease.” For further information on the Pioneers visit www. pioneerassociation.ie.
A cocktail of the right vitamins could extend the lives of patients with terminal cancer by up to two years, according to researchers. Dr Bob Liser, co-author of the British and Danish study, says results are similar, if not better, to the results offered by new drugs. “Most importantly taking these supplements is extremely safe and there were no adverse reactions among the patients,” says Dr Lister, chairman of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at London Metropolitan University in Britain. Patients in the nine-year study were given antioxidants including vitamins A, C and E, coenzyme Q10, selenium, folic acid and beta
whether supplements are helpful or harmful during cancer treatment.” Ireland’s Rare Disease Day is on Thursday, February 26. It’s estimated there are 140,000 people in Ireland with a rare disorder — 80% of rare disorders are genetic and 75% of them affect children. A special information meeting on rare disease takes place at the European Union Offices, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 (corner with Molesworth St) from 10am–2pm and all are welcome. Register to attend by emailing email@example.com or calling 01-4071629.
FROM May 29 to June 5, the Irish Heart Foundation is offering keen walkers the chance to raise funds by stepping it out on the Camino de Santiago. The 140km walking challenge translates as 23km walking for a total of six days, with a day each side for travelling. The Irish Heart Foundation has arranged a DRINK LESS: The Pioneers are calling on series of training walks to get participants in people to cut back on their drinking during shape before they go and they will be on Lent. hand to assist with fundraising ideas to help you reach the F2,500 minimum fundraising target. The money will go towards the charity’s Heart and Stroke Helpline 1890-432 cartone (not given to lung cancer patients). 787. To find out more, call Tanya Comber However, Dr Joanna Owens of the Cancer Research UK, is not convinced. “All the pa- on 01-668 5001, email tcomber@irishtients in this study took the supplements so it heart.ie or see www.irishheart.ie is impossible to judge if they had any effect. Irene Feighan As yet there is not enough evidence to know
firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL: Irene Feighan 021-4802292 ADVERTISING: Niamh Kelly 021-4802215
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
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THE SHAPE I'M IN
All’s fair in love FAIR CITY actress Vicky Burke is having more luck in love than her soap character Kylie Kavanagh. The 28 year old from Castlebar, who’s been a Fair City star for six years, is set to marry fiancé Kevin in April in Tuscany and is currently busy with wedding dress fittings. Her husband-to-be works in finance. “He’s got a good sensible job,” says Vicky. Meanwhile, in soap-land, traitorous Dean finally left Kylie for her step-mum, Tracey, and now the jilted Kylie is beginning to manifest some sinister behaviours. “Kylie’s taking the break-up quite badly. She’s definitely struggling and it’s all very complex, which can be difficult to play,” says Vicky, who admits to feeling frustrated with Kylie when she refused to see the signs that Dean was two-timing her. “She didn’t want to see the signs. She saw what she wanted to see. But I like Kylie — you have to like her. She can be clingy, delusional, full-on, but I see her almost as a child. Sometimes though you have to hold back and have more respect for yourself.” What shape are you in? I’m in pretty good shape, especially because I’m trying to get in shape for the wedding. I’ve done the Dublin marathon though I’m not a big outdoor person. I prefer the gym — getting on the treadmill and sticking on Oprah. Do you have any health concerns? Not really. There’s a family history of cancer but there’s not much you can do about that. I get regular check-ups and I don’t smoke. What are your healthiest eating habits? I’m vegetarian so my cholesterol would be a lot lower than that of meat-eaters. I take vitamin tablets for iron and I have to watch my omega levels because I don’t eat fish. I like fruit but I could eat more vegetables and I should eat more protein — I have to make myself eat egg-whites.
What trait do you least like in others? Rudeness — I have a real intolerance for it, especially when people are rude to staff in shops. What trait do you least like in yourself? I wish I had more patience. When I want something, I want it now. Do you pray? I’m not really religious so I wouldn’t pray. I try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. I’m spiritual but I’m not into organised religion. What would cheer up your day? Somebody doing something nice for you or sending you a little thought — maybe in a text message. Helen O’Callaghan
STAGE SET FOR ROMANCE: Vicky Burke, who plays unlucky-in-love Kylie in Fair City, is getting ready to marry fiancé Kevin in Tuscany this April. Picture: Billy Higgins
A DIFFERENT VIEW ON LIFESTYLE
What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I have a very sweet tooth. If I could, I’d eat nothing but chocolate. I’m a sucker for ice-cream as well. What would keep you awake at night? Not very much really. I’m a pretty good sleeper. I don’t read too much or go over scripts before going to bed. Nine o’clock is the cut-off point — otherwise I’d be lying awake. We moved house last year and Kevin insisted on not having a TV in the bedroom. I’d been used to it all my life, so I objected at first but I agreed to it for a trial period and I’m beginning to think he’s right. Are you suffering any pre-wedding nerves? I’m not too bad. I’ve been kept so busy planning it all, there hasn’t been time for any nerves to kick in. How do you relax? I love a bottle of red wine and a good meal. I’m not a massive pub-goer and I certainly don’t go to nightclubs.
Your guide to fitness, health, happiness and lifestyle. Great writers and mentors. Where you come first.
When did you last cry? Probably during filming — I cry very easily on set but I don’t cry a lot in my own life. What would you change about your appearance? I’d have amazing abs — proper Britney Spears in-her-heyday abs. What’s your earliest memory? I remember playing ‘skip to the loo’ in playschool. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Billy Connolly for humour. I’m fascinated by Judi Dench so I’d have her. Jake Gyllenhaal, the actor, and I’d invite Oprah — I really like her.
What’s the last good book you read? We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
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From diets and exercise regimes to high-tech massagers, Deirdre Reynolds
The battle of
CIENCE can send humans to the moon, but ask for a simple cure for cellulite? Dream on, ladies. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. With a recent survey revealing that 95% of women suffer from some degree of the dreaded lumpiness, the war on wobbly bits is far from over. From industrial-strength potions to scary sucking machines, those of us CELLULITE FICTION: plagued by Merciless pummelling of orange-peel skin will lumps will not ‘break stop at practically them up’ — but it can nothing in the search damage your dermis for the illusive ‘miracle and blood vessels, makcure’. ing cellulite even worse. And while experts say it’s impossible to permanently get rid of the cottage cheese thighs that plague even slim celebs like Nicole Kidman and Pamela Anderson, with dedication you can render those damned dimples undetectable. “Cellulite is not a cosmetic condition,” says world leading dermatologist Howard Murad, author of The Cellulite Solution. “It’s linked to your physical and emotional health. Like diabetes, you can’t cure it, but you can treat it through lifestyle changes.” Nutrition, exercise and beauty treatments all play a part in the multi-pronged attack on cellulite. So, with this in mind, we binned the loofah and signed up for the latest cellulite solutions to hit Ireland. THE DIET: Already popular overseas, a diet entitled System: Slim has recently been introduced in Ireland. The weight-loss programme works through a combination of portion control, low GI foods and Omega 3 fats, natural supplements, while weekly weigh-ins keep you on track. So far, so sensible. The plan is tailored to your needs by the consultant, so if cellulite is your bugaboo then the Weight Manager supplement — which claims to “jumpstart circulation” — may be your best bet. The main ingredients of the supplement are the herb Gotu Kola (a circulatory stimulant), lecithin (which metabolises fat ) and tumeric (a natural appetite suppressant). “The supplement helps release those excess fat stores that contribute to cellulite,” says naturopath Niamh Fitzgerald, my consultant. But popping the pills alone won’t magically smooth lumpy legs: be warned that this is a full lifestyle overhaul which isn’t for the impatient. Persevere though, and it won’t just give your bum a boost — but your whole sense of wellbeing too. Cost: Joining fee of F99 (includes starter pack), F15 per week thereafter. Score: No gimmicks here — 8/10. Contact: Slim is available in pharmacies nationwide. Call 01-2750813 for stockists. THE EXERCISE: No-one ever said it was going to be easy — the best way to banish those bumps in the long-term is not magic lotions, but good old-fashioned sweat and tears. To eradicate cellulite with exercise, personal trainer Dave Sheahan of Planforlifeon-
SKIN TIGHT: These skin-tight PeachyBody shorts F39 from Debenhams, promise to increase circulation to cellulite-prone parts, if worn for 21 days.
a little like a deep-tissue massage, but we’re reliably informed that it can be a little uncomfortable if you’ve got severe cellulite. At La Spa Therapie in Malahide, Dublin — where I’m road-testing it — the hi-tech treatment is teamed with seaweed and ice-baths for a circulatory triple-whammy. It takes time and money, but owner Linda Crosby says seeing is believing: “One client of mine got rid of her cellulite entirely in 25 sessions.” Cost: F75 for one session, F350 for six sessions or F550 for 12 sessions. Score: Last resort to the stubborn bulges exercise and diet won’t budge — 7/10. Contact: La Spa Therapie, Malahide 01-854 8000 or your local beauty salon. THE DIY TREATMENT: Seaweed specialists Thalgo boast the most extensive range of thalassotherapy goodies on the beauty market — so if you don’t fancy a dip in the Atlantic, you can harness the renowned slimming properties of the aquatic plant in your own bathroom instead. Its micronised marine algae bath soak is the perfect antidote to a sticky gym session. Simply pour it into a 37C bath, unwind for 20 minutes, wrap up in a snuggly bath robe and complete the process with a cool shower. Where’s the catch? Well, it won’t dissolve your cellulite (if only!), but it will complement your anti-cellulite regime. Just make sure everyone else can stomach the overpowering aroma of seaweed before coming over all Little Mermaid in the communal loo. Cost: F34 for a pack of 10 sachets. Score: Relaxing treat but don’t rely on it alone – 6. Contact: See Thalgo.com or call 01-8604704 for stockists.
line.com recommends targeting the affected area with lots of lunges, squats, leg curls and side lifts. “A combination of cardio, resistance training, a clean diet and lots of water will see a speedy elimination of cellulite and help prevent it re-occurring,” he says. “Cardio such as walking or jogging increases circulation and metabolism, while resistance training boosts lymphatic circulation and builds muscle for a tight, toned cellulite-free body.” Sounds good to us. Alas it’s not a solution you can simply slap on from a jar. To get results, Dave warns you must do three 30 minute sessions a week. After two weeks on the treadmill, my thighs are definitely starting to take shape. Now it’s my willpower that’s wobbly. Cost: Free at home, or the price of gym membership. Score: If you have the staying power – 9/10.
THE CHEAT: We all cheat the system with body-shaping undies every now and again, but the new nip/tuck knickers by Peachy Pink, featured here, go one step further by claiming to actually reduce cellulite while simultaneously sucking you in for a night out. The skin-tight shorts and leggings shave up to three inches off your silhouette instantly, but worn for 21 days straight they also increase circulation to cellulite-prone parts. Contact: See www.planforlifeonline.com “Shoppers are increasingly savvy about the or contact your nearest gym. range of shapewear available on the high street,” says Annette Warburton, head of linTHE SALON TREATMENT: If lying gerie at Debenhams. “But we’ve already had down and letting someone else do all the a stampede of women looking for the prodwork is more your style, Endermologie by uct.” LPG is the latest anti-cellulite product to be With ingredients such as peaches, green tea sold by Irish salons. The Dalek-esque and coffee beans, the aromatic undies are machine looks scary, but it essentricky to navigate in and out of. But tially works by massaging skin once on, the patented pants in the direction of the mould a streamlined tum and lymph nodes to trigger fat perfectly perky posterior. release and smooth the Now pray you don’t get into skin. any Bridget Jones-style roCELLULITE FACT: It The client squeezes mantic clinches. might be more ladylike, into a rather unflatterCost: PeachyBody pants but crossing your legs can ing bodysuit before a start from F39 (sizes S-XL). cause cellulite by therapist guides the conScore: Gave us a bum like hampering circulation. touring appliance all over Kylie’s, if only for the night – the body for around 35 8/10. minutes twice a week, honContact: Debenhams or see ing in on problem areas. It feels www.peachy-pink.com.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
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roadtests some of the latest solutions to the eternal curse of cellulite
that bulge Dreaded toxins HERE’S the science bit: contrary to popular opinion cellulite isn’t simply fat. Blame our hormones, but women naturally gather fat around their thighs, hips and bum. It’s sluggish circulation, however, that causes evil cottage-cheese skin. Deprived of nutrients and dehydrated, the skin tissue around the fat cells weakens and hardens — so whenever the fat cells swell, they rise to the surface. Trapped toxins and water leaking from weak blood vessels then form little pools between the cells, which look like lumps from the outside — and, hey presto! — you’ve got cellulite. Whatever it is, we don’t like it.
AT A STRETCH: Linda Crosby of La Spa Therapie, Drogheda puts Deirdre Reynolds through her cellulite paces with an Endermologie session. Picture:Barry Cronin
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George Lee’s shock departure from politics may have been motivated by a need to return to his high-visibility career
Back in the spotlight Tony Humphreys
HERE was a great sense of national expectation nine months ago, when George Lee opted to leave journalism and join the political scene. The overwhelming by-election victory for Fine Gael was testament to people’s hopes for a radically different injection into what has largely been a Fianna Fáil political shambles. The resignation of George Lee ten days ago not only bitterly disappointed the 28,000 people who voted for him, but it has also burst the balloon of the vast majority of people — with the exception of Fianna Fáil supporters. Professional practice is about seeing beyond ourselves and it would appear that George Lee did not see beyond his own ambitions when he decided to step down from politics and return to the limelight of journalism. The people who voted for him are legitimately complaining that nine months in waiting was not an adequate demonstration of commitment. However when you are used to the spotlight being shone on you, being in the shadows of the political backbenches does not wear well for many. George claims that a front bench place was not the issue, but there is a note of ‘I think he protests too much’ in his assertion. Furthermore, if you are waiting around for others to bow and tell you ‘you are brilliant’, you can become quickly disillusioned. A person who is mature remains confident whether he is occupying a pedestal position or at the foot of the pedestal. Individuals who have become accustomed to celebrity status often reveal a deep personal vulnerability, and, unless this is resolved, they are not in a mature place to see the wood from the trees and their own self from their achievements. In a book I wrote in 1994 (Self-Esteem, the Key to Your Child’s Future) I advised parents and teachers against praising children (something I had been saying for 30 years), and to praise children’s efforts, rather than saying they are fantastically bright and that they try harder. When children’s sense of self is confused with their achievements and they are put up on a pedestal for their accomplishments, sadly they become addicted to the limelight and very threatened by any fall from grace.
George Lee’s seemingly rushed and unplanned exit from politics has all the hallmarks of an individual, who, like a flower without light, has been withering away without the sun of fame being shone upon him. As mature adults, it is ourselves we need to get to know — when I’m waiting for someone else to see me, I’m unconsciously getting them to do what I need to be doing for myself. Anonymity does not sit well with individuals who are driven by a constant urge to be visible. I have helped many ‘successful’ males who became suicidally depressed following ‘failure’ and loss of status. These males do not make effective leaders, and, certainly, not effective politicians. Not only is their own well-being constantly in jeopardy, but their behaviour can become a major threat to the well-being of colleagues, voters, and family members. Charles Haughey was one such case, and part of what is happening in the economy now stems from his egotistical stewardship. A rite of passage into the political arena is needed, so that those who occupy the corridors of political power see beyond themselves and are committed to the greater good of people. Easier said than done, because it has not been even remotely accepted that the personal interiority of any individual determines their personal, interpersonal, and professional behaviour. In truth, only George Lee can fully come to know what brought him into and out of politics — but I am not at all sure such an inner exploration has occurred. CALLING IT A DAY: George Lee seen arriving at Leaders, managers, Leinster House, in Dublin, as the party held a and politicians urfront bench meeting in response to his gently need to exam- resignation. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire. ine their personal vulnerabilities, so that their emotional baggage does not become a burden on the people who have put their trust in them. We now find it difficult to trust the heads of public bodies, banks, financial institutions and property development companies, and unless a serious examination of these leaders’ inner lives is forthcoming, I do not see the emergence of a more mature Irish society. As regards George Lee, it probably is just as well he left politics, but my hope is that when he becomes comfortable with sitting in darkness, he may apply his undoubted skills to the reconstruction of a new Ireland. Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author and international speaker. He is also director of UCC courses on communication, parent mentoring and relationship studies. His book, Whose Life Are You Living, is currently available.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
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Bouncing back from hair loss “I found that it was clinically
proven to stop hair loss in 94% of patients after six months of treatment and was suitable for both men and women, it was also totally pain-free with no side-effects.
WHEN 61-year-old Kerry grandmother-of-six Vivien O’Sullivan noticed that her hair was falling out more than normal she assumed that it was due to stress caused by a recent family bereavement. “I noticed it mainly when I washed it, the plughole in the shower used to clog up with hair,” said Vivien. “I started to really worry though when I woke up one morning and noticed several hairs on the pillow, I have always had really thick hair and my hair was definitely starting to thin out. “I was so worried about it that I went to see my GP,” says Vivien. “He said it could be a lack of iron in my diet so I started taking iron tablets. “Over the next six months I took lots of different supplements, as well as iron tablets, but the thinning seemed to be getting worse.” Vivien went back to see her GP who this time advised her that she should seek advice
from a hair loss specialist. Vivien visited several hair loss specialists and was advised by one clinic that her best option was a wig and by another that FUE transplant surgery was her best option. “I didn’t like the sound of either option to be honest,” says Vivien. “I was worried and unhappy with my hair loss but I didn’t feel as though it had deteriorated enough to wear Vivien O’Sullivan. a hairpiece! I basically just wanted to stop it from falling article in the newspaper about a out and thicken it up.” laser that can help to stop hair Vivien considered the option loss and to thicken existing thin of surgery but again decided hair without the need for any this was too radical and exsurgery, I researched into it on treme. “The most important the internet and I found that thing to me was to stop it from it was clinically proven to stop falling out and to hopefully hair loss in 94% of patients after thicken it up,” said Vivien. “I six months of treatment and was told that surgery would was suitable for both men and replace the hairs that had been women, it was also totally painlost but would not stop any further hair loss, I was at a total free with no side-effects. “I then found there was a loss as to know what to do. clinic in Cork offering this “Then one day my husband treatment, so I contacted them called to say he was reading an
and went for a free consultation, I discovered I was suffering from a condition called CTE (Chronic Telogen Effluvium). I was told this causes excessive thinning down the centre of the scalp and affects the hair’s growth cycles. It can also lead to androgenic alopecia, which can cause the hairs to get thinner and thinner until they stop growing altogether.” Vivien was informed that surgery was inappropriate as she was still losing hair, and was
also unnecessary as she still had the majority of her hair which could be saved and thickened using a combination of laser treatment and medication. “I completed my course of treatment just over nine months ago and I can’t believe the difference in my hair. It has stopped falling out and it has thickened up massively. I am delighted. I would recommend anyone who is worried about thinning hair to do something about it before it’s too late!”
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
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How to survive the teenage years
Adolescence has become a period of apprehension for parents and one to be stumbled through by young people. ÁILÍN QUINLAN talks to experts about how adults can cope while guiding their children through those difficult years Negotiate
ICTURE this: your teenager punches a hole in the wall, tears down his bedroom curtains and smashes crockery just because he’s annoyed? It’s happened. Imagine the cheering from embattled parents everywhere when a judge recently ordered a 15-year-old — who did all these things during a rage-fuelled rampage in his Dublin home — to clean his bedroom, do the cooking and not lose his temper when his parents said ‘no.’ It was the talk of the nation, and there’s little doubt that the majority of parents supported the judge. Why? Because these days, adolescence is synonymous with trouble. Barely a week goes by without some survey or other informing us of their verbal and physical aggression, their sense of entitlement, their misuse of alcohol and drugs, their experimentation with underage sex and appalling behavioural problems in school. But adolescence should not be something to cure, fix, control or get rid of, says Dr Patrick Ryan, director of the doctoral programme in clinical psychology in the University of Limerick. “It’s not a disease, a disorder or a set of terror traits that warrants treatment of therapy — it’s simply a word used by humans to define a phase of development from the age of 13 to 19.” However, somewhere along the way, adolescence has become a period of apprehension for parents and one to be stumbled through by young people. Certainly there are problems — a 2008 study of adolescence in Ireland, The Clonmel Project, found that 20%, or one in five of teens, reported significant psychological distress, compared to one in 10 adults. A year earlier a report on Young People, Alcohol and Drugs by UCD researchers found that 66% of 14- to 19-year-olds were drinking regularly, and between 40% and 50% were binge drinking. focus too closely on the behaviour itself, According to the most up-to-date statistics without taking note of the message. from the National Education Welfare Board Also, parents tend to react immediately to about 28,000 post-primary students miss negative behaviour in an angry way. school each day. About 17% of post-primary In his new book on teenagers, You Can’t students are absent for 20 days or more during Make Me — How to Get The Best Out of the school year 2005/2006, when about 5% Your Teenager, Ryan gives the example of of post-primary students (over 16,000) were 14-year-old Chloe, who “screams suspended, and about 118 were and slams doors every time she’s expelled. asked to help out at home.” There is a complex mix of facWhile he doesn’t want to blame tors behind all of these things, says parents for everything, he says, they Ryan, but a major one is the usually have some responsibility for avalanche of societal change over a problem. the past 20 years: Chloe’s parents, he says, need to “We have moved from an aurealise that if she is objecting to dothoritative society into one that ing chores in this way, it’s because, seems to be quite liberal. The firstly, her parents never really made swing is too fast. It’s upsetting parher do them in the first place and, ents who are parenting in a politisecondly, they may have failed to set cal moral, sociological vacuum.” up the appropriate rules and regulaParents worried about their adotions which would require input lescent’s behaviour however, could from her. manage their particular situation Somewhere along the way, he better he believes, if they listened BIG CHANGE: Dr says, this young girl was not only Patrick Ryan says to what a teenager’s bad bebeing shown that slamming doors is societal changes a haviour is telling them. the way to manage frustration, but major factor. One mistake, says Ryan, is to
Different parenting styles Adolescence should not be something to cure, fix, control or get rid of. It’s not a disease, a disorder or a set of terror traits that warrants treatment of therapy — it’s simply a word used by humans to define a phase of development from the age of 13 to 19
she has failed to learn that sometimes we must do things for the good of the family that we do not find particularly enjoyable. For the parent, he says, it may help to admit this failure in this area — in the case of Chloe explaining: “I made a bit of a mistake here, I should have explained to you before now that everyone has to do some chores around here and pull their weight.” Chloe’s parents, he explains, need to ask themselves whether they’ve ever taught her the link between rights and responsibilities, whether they have, throughout her childhood, given her lots but requested little in return, and whether she treats her home like a B&B because that’s how they’ve arranged it. It’s possible to extrapolate from this that if you as a parent have, on several occasions, failed to follow through on a ‘no’ decision when a child asks for something, then perhaps you should look to yourself when, down the road, you try to persist with a refusal and your adolescent child throws a tantrum “The difficulty for parents of teenagers is that parents neither say to teenagers that the rules are now changing — nor realise they are trying to enforce rules that they may not have
Compromise is essential: “You don’t have to like each other to reach one, and you don’t have to agree on the final decision, but it’s the best approach you both can take.” Critical to this parenting style is logic and TEEN BLUES: These consistency : “If you make a rule you have to days adolescent know why you want that rule in your house behaviour is often and you have to know why it’s so important synonymous with for you. If you make a rule you must know trouble. Picture: the logic behind it.” GettyImages Both parents must agree that they are not going to deviate from the rule. enforced earlier,” says Ryan. Part of the rea“If there is inconsistency between the parson for this conflict is because parents ents the child will learn to appeal to mother haven’t been taught the necessary skills, he against dad’s ruling, or vice versa, or they will says: trigger arguments between the parents and set “We were brought up under an authorithem up against each other. tarian regime and have a difficulty with this “There is this fault-line between parenting new way of interacting. — parents bring their own personal histories “What happens in a lot of to a situation so you need to know homes is you still get the decree why certain rules will work and — I see that every day. That what why others don’t.” was done to us, we tend to deA lot of parents had their eye off fault to — the authoritarian posithe ball, during the Celtic Tiger tion of ‘this is my house and you boom, and in some families, the do as I say.” chickens have come home to roost, Instead, parents need to move warns Orla McHugh adolescent to a different mode of communipsychotherapist and author of Celtic cation — what he calls authoritaCubs — Inside the Mind of the tive parenting. Irish Teenager. “An authoritative parent is “Lifestyle were hectic and there someone who is not afraid to say wasn’t much discipline imposed — they want you to toe the line, but parents were not always emotionally they will be fair and firm,” he available. At the same time there says. They are comfortable with were expectations of children that the skills of explanation and ne- BLAME GAME: Orla they would be great all-rounders.” McHugh says parents gotiation, which is completely Indulgent parenting doesn’t different to the way they would had eye off ball work, she says, while authoritarian deal with a younger child. during boom. parents can leave the child with
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Authoritative — plenty of warmth, support and nurturing, as well as a demand for age-appropriate behaviour from children. Feedback is given to the teenager in a helpful but firm way and the parent does not use force or dominance to control the child.
ing the child distinguish between needs and wants. “It is like continually keeping peace with the child without seeking appropriate behaviour from him,” says Ryan.
Neglectful — relatively low levels of being responsive to the child coupled Authoritarian — low levwith relatively low levels of els of warmth and nurture. demanding age-appropriate High levels of demanding, behaviour. which can trigger high levThe child becomes unsure els of anxiety in child. of where and when love is coming from and does not Permissive — high levels know what is appropriate or of being responsive to the LOOK HERE: How you deal inappropriate to do. child, but low demand for The child doesn’t know with your children affects age-appropriate behow she will receive care, or their view of themselves haviour/thinking from the in the worst case, if she will and behaviour. child. receive it. Her needs are onThe child is indulged and ly partially met and she is gets away with things. Parents give in to not taught what is okay in terms of her the child’s demands and are poor at helpthinking, feelings and behaviour.
huge self esteem problems. “The middle way is best — lots of compromise and negotiation,” she says. “Remember, it won’t be easy. It’s part of the adolescent development that there is conflict with parents. Neurologically, the part of the brain that judges the pros and cons of the situation is not really developed until the age of 18 and not fully developed until the age of 25.” Good parenting, she believe, is about standing your ground, about discussion, compromise and negotiation and knowing that ‘no’ means no. Teenagers must also know what the punishment will be for breaking a rule. Mum and dad must decide on a common parenting approach, adds Ryan, but, he emphasises, parents also need to be flexible in the light of new information and situations. “If we see parenting as a series of learning opportunities we stop worrying about whether we are right or wrong and if we stop worrying we tend to get it right.” If you know your child, he says, you should have the confidence to deal with them: “The only way you know your child is to spend time with them and then you know what your child is like and you can use that knowledge to help them grow. ” Remember, says Ryan, your child is your responsibility, not the government’s, the teachers, or the Department of Health’s: “When I hear people saying that, I just think ‘poppycock.’ Parents are responsible. We have to be.” ■ You Can’t Make Me, How To Get The Best Out of Your Teenager by Patrick Ryan. Gill& Macmillan, F14.99, in shops from March 5.
TOP TIPS Patrick Ryan’s top tips from his book: ■ Know your own history as a teen — were you coerced, bullied, etc — did you have a very authoritarian parent? If you did you will replicate it unless you deliberately decide each and every day not to ■ Stop worrying about the final outcome. Forget about whether your teenager will grow into a nice person or not, and focus instead on what you have to deal with at this time. Live in the moment with your teenager. ■ Try not to see your teenager as a problem to be solved, but as presenting a range of learning opportunities that will help you develop as a person and as a parent.
Search for a compromise Empathise with them — “I can see you don’t like what I’m saying” Name their difficulties for them Deal with the issue in hand — stop arguing over what you both think might happen Stop focusing on the need to be ‘in charge’ and to ‘face down’ a troublesome teenager Listen without trying to judge the outcome Give them time and space to cool down in an argument Acknowledge their opinions and their right to have opinions Don’t be afraid to say clearly that your teenager was right about something you disagreed with earlier ■ From: You can’t make me, Patrick Ryan.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork
I AM in my 30s and went to see my doctor recently about a breast lump. She said I have lumpy breasts and that it was most likely fibrocystic breast disease. Does this mean I can get breast cancer? A. Fibrocystic breast disease doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer. This condition is a very common, non-cancerous (benign) breast condition. Women who have fibrocystic breast disease tend to have lumpy painful breasts, especially just before menstruation. There can be a feeling of fullness in the breasts, with dense, lumpy breast tissue, and general pain and tenderness that may radiate to the underarm. It is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound test, and/or mammogram depending on your age and family history. Fibrocystic changes of the breast are thought to occur due to hormone fluctuations during a woman’s menstrual cycle. There’s no specific treatment for fibrocystic breast disease. Some simple measures, such as wearing a supportive bra, reducing caffeine in your diet (tea, coffee, soft drinks), and taking an anti-inflammatory medication before your period is due, may help reduce the symptoms. You may find an improvement by taking Vitamin A and E supplements for two to three months. However, vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil do not seem to lessen breast pain from fibrocystic changes. Taking the oral contraceptive pill seems to lessen all benign breast conditions including fibrocystic changes. Signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breast changes often go away completely after the menopause. Although fibrocystic breast disease doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer, having lumpy and sore breasts may make it more challenging to check your breasts. If you decide to do breast self-exams, it’s best to do them a week after your period ends. Also, get your doctor to show you the proper way to examine your breasts. Always see your doctor if you find any new change or lump in your breast, or if you have severe or persistent breast pain that is mainly in one area, or that doesn’t fluctuate with your menstrual cycle. Healthy eating and regular exercise have been shown to help protect against breast cancer. Weighing more than is appropriate for your age and height increases your risk of breast cancer. Excess fatty tissue is a source of oestrogen and breast cancer risk is linked to how much oestrogen you’re exposed to during your lifetime. A low-fat diet helps in the prevention of not only breast cancer, but also other diseases such as diabetes, stroke and cardio-vascular disease. Phytoestrogens, in particular flaxseed, are naturally occurring compounds that appear to lower oestrogen levels and
BREAST CHECK: Always see your doctor if you find any changes or lumps in your breast. Picture:iStock
Although fibrocystic breast disease doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer, having lumpy breasts may make it more challenging to check your breasts which may inhibit the growth of some breast cancers. Regular exercise will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. As well as lifestyle changes, be vigilant about early detection of breast cancer. Start having regular mammograms at age 40. While nothing can guarantee your life will be cancer-free, your risk of breast cancer can be reduced with the above measures. Q. I am six months pregnant and have thrush. Will this harm the baby? Are there any natural treatments I can try? A. During pregnancy the vagina is rich in a sugar called glycogen which helps thrush thrive. It won’t affect your baby who is safely sealed inside your uterus. Although it may take a while to clear up and be a bit of a nuisance, it isn’t anything to worry about. Also, you may find thrush comes and goes while you’re pregnant Antifungal pessaries and creams for your stage of pregnancy can be used. But don’t take medicines that you have to swallow to treat thrush as they may not be safe.
If you think you have thrush, tell your doctor. She may also take a look at the area around your vagina to help decide if it is thrush. She may also take a vaginal swab and send to the lab for testing to make sure it is not a strain of thrush resistant to standard treatment. She may want to test you for diabetes if thrush continues to be a problem. General self-care includes wearing loose cotton not nylon underwear. Don’t lie for too long in a hot bath as this provides the perfect warm, moist environment for thrush. Avoid perfumed bubble baths also. Diet can make a big difference. As glycogen is a sugar, reduce your consumption of sugar and sugary foods. Eat whole fungi-busting foods such as garlic and onions. Live natural yoghurt contains probiotic cultures and is thought to provide a natural anti-infective substance. Inserting yoghurt into the vagina during pregnancy and straight after birth is not recommended. You could also try taking lactobacillus acidophilus as a supplement. Calendula cream can help ease the itching. Tea tree essential oil one to two drops with 10 drops of calendula tincture added to the bath may help.
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
ORE crammed than a ‘Mulard’ Duck, but determined to blow raspberries at the calorie constabulary, the little girl cherished her last spoon of ice-cream as fondly as she had relished her first. This was a child for whom food was more pleasure than necessity and who was shameless in her lust for grub. She devoured dinner and dessert with equal enthusiasm and always harboured hope of one slice more. Her mother imagined a Monty Python-esque moment when a wafer thin mint would cause her to implode. It pleased the mother that her child was a feeder, but she sometimes wished the gobbler was her son. In a world where skinny equals beautiful, the girl would deal with certain pressures while the boy had little cause for concern. She could try train her daughter to stick to smaller portions and recognise the feeling of
being full. She could get her used to exercise and keep tabs on her TV viewing and encourage healthy living when she could. Eating was for life and there was no time like the present to mould habits that would stand her in good stead. She would keep the lid on fast food and rule out any snacking and preach about the wantonness of greed. She pondered the wisdom of America’s First Lady when launching an anti-obesity campaign: Michelle Obama had drawn on family experience and put her daughters’ weight directly in the frame. She had ‘thought’ they ‘were perfect’ and was shocked to discover a small flaw in their youthful design. Their body mass index was ‘off balance’, she said, but she had failed to notice the signs. Her comments caused a clamour — she had surely gone too far and damaged very tender self-esteem. What could she have
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been thinking when she used the label ‘chubby’, to describe a child yet to reach her teens? Imagine the embarrassment of an official White House press release broadcasting your diet to the world. In an impressionable child, it could trigger a disorder, destroying their relationship with food. Confuse healthy eating with attempts at weight restriction and you’re sure to store up trouble for your child. Breed a cycle of dieting and watch the stuffing and the starving that haunts a faddy dieter for life. And so the mother re-considered her planned dietary intervention as the little girl licked her ice cream spoon. She had years to shed the puppy fat so why spoil all her fun by counting calories too soon? There are moments in a girl’s life when nothing can console her save some chocolatey mood-enhancing magic. To deny her this great comfort, this dark velvet voodoo, would be nothing short of terribly tragic.
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Ken Doherty reports on a unique programme to improve food served in hospitals
Caring for food
F THE recent fallout and huge public distrust in the health service the one area that seems immune to any real change is hospital food and catering. A sort of culinary elephant in the room. A recent survey by Rate my Hospital, the Irishhealth.com’s Michelin type guide to the winners (some) and losers (more) in the kitchen gongs, revealed that 40% of patients and their relatives thought hospital food and service was “below par”. In fact anybody who has the rotten luck to end up in hospital at all has the extra misfortune of encountering its food. The usual cast of characters make their sorry appearance on hospital menus. But of course it is how they are utilised that makes their appearance so sterile and flacid. Amid the gristle and gruel, the overcooked and the uninspired surely there is an institutional beacon that respects both food and patients alike? Although the cooking of food doesn’t bear much relation to how much it costs, most people would agree that a slighter higher budget would improve the overall quality and choice to patients. But with continuing budget cuts across the health sector it seems enlightened attitudes regarding more funding for hospital kitchens are to be shelved. However, in Cornwall a success story has galvanised the British public into thinking of a more sanguine future. The Cornwall Food Programme (with a little help from the Soil Association), is run at three different Cornish hospitals and aims to increase the “amount of fresh locally produced and organic food to patients, visitors and staff ”. Apart from “boosting the local economy” and “cutting down on carbon emissions”, by all accounts, the food isn’t half bad either. What is remarkable about the food programme is it all comes within the NHS/government food budget of £2.50 per patient that has lead to an “increased turnover” and all round feelgood factor for the local population and economy including the local farmers and food companies. The Programme, run by the Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust, is doing what Jamie’s Dinner’s did for canteen food in schools but without the celebrity zeal. In Cornwall, with organic and local to the fore, a sense of intimacy and respect for food has been acknowledged. Roy Heath, the sustainable food development manager at the Cornwall Food Programme said the need for re-evaluating the role of hospital food in the south west of England came about by his boss Mike Pearson, the head of the Cornwall Hospital Trust, who felt compelled to act on a grievance of one particular patient. “A patient — in one of the Cornwall hospitals — saw a sandwich that had travelled 300 miles and asked why we were buying sandwiches that came from Oxford? Mike wanted to find local companies which could make sandwiches. The idea of having local milk, yoghurt, vegetables and cheese was not driven by the government but by us. It was very logical.” The government in Britain, however, has been slow to see the benefits that the programme has brought to the south coast of England, worried that the needs (ie bigger
FRESH AND FAB: Roy Heath, the sustainable food development manager for the Cornwall Food Programme, at the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival promoting local sustainable foods from suppliers.
kitchens, specifically trained chefs) of the hospitals are far too great to invest in. But paradoxically, like a lot of hospital kitchens in Ireland where the kitchens are so small that the food is usually outsourced, the food in the Cornwall Food Programme’s three hospitals are prepared off-site and cooked in mobile units. “The hospitals don’t have kitchens,
THE blog — Notes From a Hospital Bed, is an irreverent look at, among other things, the culinary tribulations of a bed-bound journalist, Traction Man, pictured here, as he negotiates the NHS’s daily kitchen menu. The self-confessed Poor Sod asks us to ponder what the effect of using your soup spoon to eat your pudding has such matters of taste. “Not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the unpleasantness of the dessert.” He queries his ‘last supper’ of cream of vegetable soup before an operation. “I would have thought a condemned man might have been able to choose
they have mobile fridges and ovens on wheels, or Recove trolleys,” says Roy Heath. Although conventional kitchens with working chefs who chop, dice, pluck and gut should always be top of any hospital agenda, the reality is far more complex for institutions with little or no kitchen space. “It’s about us being innovative. All food
something a bit special like a juicy steak, guinea fowl or humming bird tongues in aspic, but, in the NHS, it appears not”. And questions the ubiquitous nature of that liquid blanket we call custard. “There to keep old people hydrated. Old people may not drink water but they lap up custard like a cat.” His posts, accompanied by his own, sometimes ghoulish, photographs, will come as no surprise to anyone who has had to undergo the turmoil of an overnight stay in hospitals over here. ■ Visit: http://hospitalnotes.blogspot.com.
and dishes are designed for the regeneration process. It’s a varied menu with dietary elements,” remarks Heath. He uses the example of freezing sponges for cakes. These sponges are easily reheated in a Recove trolley, almost on demand and that cabbage and kale are ideal for freezing also. The paucity of fresh and local produce in most hospitals, unfortunately, is not enough to provoke ire among patients and the public. In Cornwall however the umbilical chord from farmer/producer to patients in hospital beds is one that doesn’t look likely to be severed anytime soon. Roy Heath has seen the benefits first hand. “What do patients like? People in Cornwall like food they can relate too, like the fish is local and the beef comes from the southwest. That is very reassuring.” The catering department in Irish hospitals have a reticent ally in the government. The less government meddling and involvement with food, the more likely we are to accept its fate as something peripheral to our lives. There is no doubt that giving patients better and tastier food would speed up the recovery process. But if patients aren’t inspired by what’s on offer and reject the food, either physically or psychologically, there will be an obvious slow down in the rehabilitation process. Hospitals will tell you that all their food and cooking adhere to all the nutritional guidelines, but somewhere along the line our fascination with diet and nutrition has become more important than the pleasures of eating and taste. Nutritionist Paula Mee agrees. “This is not really a nutrition issue — they may be following the nutrition guidelines drafted by the government but it’s how they execute it — how and when food is prepared and cooked has an enormous bearing on the palatability, look, and taste of it.” Mee sees the advance preparation of food as a stumbling block for any nutritious value “Even if you start with top quality fresh ingredients, preparing food in advance to cater for large numbers can leave it nutritionally compromised,” she says. Besides how much nutrition can a carrot or broccoli have once its inherent usefulness have all been cooked out of it? Roy Heath would dread a return to the recent, dark old days. “Some of the food was good but some was dire. Yoghurts were poor, the ice cream was like wall paper paste. Contracts were hampered by money. We now have fish cakes using sustainable local fish and cornish potatoes. And the fish supplier makes the fish cakes to our own recipe. We control the salt.” Projects like the Cornwall Food Programme, with their ethos based around the idea of sustainability and awareness of the local community, may seem a long way off over here but with the recent public mobilisation and huge interest in animal welfare, organic and local growing and the allotment movement, we can remain cautiously encouraged that energy will trickle down, or possibly up, to the powers that be. ■ Visit: www.cornwallfoodprogramme.co.uk
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An appetite for health EAT RIGHT: Aim to eat wholefoods and look for meals with a high glycaemic index, as they you feel fuller for longer. Picture: GettyImages
ITH diabetes already affecting 200,000 of us in Ireland, figures are set to rocket if we don’t watch our weight. Worryingly, a half of that number of people are still undiagnosed. If we don’t know we have diabetes we could be in danger of significant health complications, and keeping weight down may be the key to avoiding it. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin. This is not preventable and has to be treated with insulin. However, Type 2 which health care organisations say is reaching worrying proportions worldwide, can often be prevented. It develops when the body can make some, but not enough, insulin due to huge demands on the body caused by excess weight, poor diet and lack of exercise. Once diagnosed, and a strict regime of diet and exercise is established, in many cases it can be controlled and the need for insulin avoided. When a woman’s waist is bigger than 80 centimetres (31.5in) and a man’s 94cm (35in), it’s time to worry, or better still, to lose some weight and exercise to reduce it. Women who are overweight and have polycystic ovaries should be tested too. The recipes I have given come from a new recipe book written by celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson and should inspire those who think that healthy food is not always tasty. The aim is to eat more wholefoods and change some of our meal habits from quick satisfaction to long-lasting meals which keep hunger away longer and provide essential nutrients. This doesn’t rule out sumptuous meals — fresh and wholesome ingredients deliver mouth-watering results in the time it takes to pick up a fast-food quick-fix. ■ Recipes from The Essential Diabetes Cookbook by Antony Worral Thompson, with Louise Blair in association with Diabetes UK. Photographs by Jonathan Gregson. Published by Kyle Cathie, F26.
IF you want to ensure you are eating healthily when treating yourself to a meal out, then the latest Bridgestone Irish Food Guide should do the trick. It offers an excellent foodie tour of Ireland with recommendations of where to eat well, stay, buy and enjoy local speciality foods. In its ninth edition, it gets thicker and better every year and is a fitting tribute to Ireland’s growing band of excellent food producers. In book and food shops, F15.
ANALYSIS carried out as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, Boston, found that wholegrain foods have a protective effect against diabetes in women. The risk of heart disease and diabetes can be reduced by 30% when combined with a low fat diet and exercise regime.
French toast with a crunch
Stir-Fried Greens with Mustard Seeds and Cashews
Everyone loves eggy bread or French toast, and by using a multigrain bread and muesli you can make it extra healthy as you are lowering the GI.
A wonderful way to zap up your greens. I could eat these on their own without feeling the need for protein.
This moist, luscious cake, filled with carrots, nuts and spices, is a real treat. It also freezes well.
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil 1.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small matchsticks 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds 450g greens (spring greens, bok choi, Savoy cabbage), cut into bite-sized pieces 1 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce 1 tablespoon chopped unsalted cashew nuts
450g wholemeal self-raising flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground allspice 110g dark muscovado sugar 125ml light olive oil 2 eggs, lightly beaten 350g carrots, grated 50g walnut pieces 110g raisins 25g desiccated coconut 250g pineapple, crushed, in natural juice Icing sugar, for dusting
1 egg white, lightly beaten 75ml skimmed milk Juice and grated zest of 1 lime 1 teaspoon sugar or lowcalorie granulated sweetener 50g unsweetened muesli 25g dried cranberries, finely chopped 4 slices multigrain bread, each slice halved 1 tablespoon olive oil 1. In a bowl whisk together the egg white, milk, lime juice and zest and sweetener. Place the muesli and cranberries on a flat plate and stir to mix well. Dip each piece of bread into the liquid and then into the muesli. 2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium to low heat. Place half the bread in the pan and gently cook for three minutes each side. Heat the remaining oil and cook the remaining bread in the same way.
1. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the ginger until it just starts to colour, then add the garlic and mustard seeds and continue to fry until the seeds start to pop. 2. Add the greens, increase the heat and cook until they start to wilt. Fold in the soy sauce and cashews and serve immediately. Tip: Serve tossed through some rice noodles.
Variations: Have some fun and instead of cranberries use any other dried berries, such as blueberries or raspberries, or cherries. You can also substitute orange for the lime.
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Carrot and Pineapple Cake
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm spring-release tin and line its base with greaseproof paper. 2 Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until evenly combined. 3 Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about one hour until risen and golden and a fine metal skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake. 4 Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack until completely cold. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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Waist not want not
F YOU’RE carrying all your weight around your middle, that’s probably not a good sign. Called visceral fat, it increases your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and increased blood pressure. That’s according to Dr Terry Maguire, community pharmacist and honorary senior lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast, responding to a study by GlaxoSmithKline. If you’re not sure how to know if you have visceral fat, have a look at the label on your trousers. “A waist measurement of 40 inches or more is a red flag, at 32-34 inches, the risks are a lot less,” says Dr Maguire. “By reducing your calorie intake, you can significantly reduce the risk that visceral fat presents. When you don’t exercise, your risk increases of getting heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.” The results of this study are significant, particularly as Ireland has an ever-increasing problem with overweight and obesity. “We know that a loss of 5% of body weight is an important and a considerable achievement for anyone that is overweight or obese,” says Dr Maguire. “More importantly, the health benefits of this weight loss are considerable, particularly as this weight loss leads to a reduction in visceral fat. “Not all fat is the same and visceral fat, which is found around the abdomen, is more dangerous and a strong predictor of prema-
WIDE BERTH: A waist measurement of 40 inches or more is a red flag. Picture:
ture death. Just a little extra visceral fat increases the risk of serious disease, but modest weight loss decreases it considerably. “Waist circumference is a good indictor of visceral fat, so people who are ‘apple shaped’ as opposed to ‘pear shaped’ may be at greater risk.” Almost two out of five Irish adults are overweight, with more than one in five obese, according to the 2007 Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes & Nutrition in Ireland. Frighteningly, Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in men in the EU. That’s according to a 2002 study for the International Obesity Taskforce and European Association for the Study if Obesity, making the case for tackling that waistband all the more pressing.
New cancer helpline
Arthritis charity seeks research help
THE Irish Cancer Society has merged its helpline numbers into one number — 1800-200-700. So, men with queries about prostate cancer, who previously rang the Action Prostate Cancer Helpline, can now ring this central National Cancer Helpline (1800-200-700), where their questions on any cancer will be answered free of charge by specialist nurses. Smokers keen to quit the dreaded weed can call the Smokers’ Quitline on 1850-201-203.
DO YOU have experience of living and working with a musculoskeletal disorder? Volunteers are being sought for a research project aimed at improving the experiences of people living and working with a chronic condition. The research, by Arthritis Ireland, will inform education and self-management courses run by the charity. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs),
HE Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) is running its first ever Rude Health Week (February 15 — 20) to encourage ongoing good health habits around the country. According to IAHS member Kevin Connolly of Healthy Living in Athy, Co Kildare, there was a 25% increase in attendance at the Rude Health Show in the RDS last September. “We want this Rude Health Week to be a reminder for the public that they can come into any of our stores and talk to highly trained and qualified staff who can give them excellent advice on improving their health and lifestyles very naturally and safely.” Four of the best-selling products in IAHS stores which are available on special offer this week are:
including back pain, work-related upper-limb disorder and rheumatic diseases, cause 50% of sick days in Ireland. People over the age of 18, with experience of living and working with arthritis or other MSDs can participate in this research. For more information, please contact email@example.com or call Michelle Towey, programme co-ordinator on 01-6470208.
DId you know... Grandsons can inherit their grandfather’s bone weakness (Source: University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Rude Health Week LINSEED OIL: Linseed (or flaxseed) oil is “nutritional gold“, but it must be freshly pressed and unrefined. The oil pressed from flax, besides being the most inexpensive and practical source of omega 3 fatty acids, is also a source of the omega 6 fats, carotene, and vitamin E, says Connolly. “The most common ailment linseeds are used for is constipation. They can be sprinkled on foods, or added to boiling water.” A health store pack of linseeds is F2.60.
ECHINACEA: A Vogel’s Echinaforce (Echinacea drops), F10.50, is a traditional herbal remedy used to relieve cold and flu symptoms,” says Kevin Connolly. A recent study carried out by Dr Brinkeborn on the organic fresh herb tincture, Echinaforce, has shown that those using it experienced a 63% reduction in their cold and flu symptoms compared to 29% in the placebo group. Echinaforce is made from extracts of fresh Echinacea. ”
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ESKIMO OIL: Eskimo-3, F16.99 for 105 caps or 105mls, is a stable fish oil supplement that has not been chemically modified or processed. It is manufactured under strict quality control with guaranteed potency, purity and quality. “Eskimo-3 enjoys some very special features that distinguishes it from other fish oil supplements on the market,” says Connolly.
GOCAL: GoCal 1000, F22.99 (in health stores only) has been carefully formulated to support weight loss with six key ingredients, including fat-burning green tea and apple cider vinegar (a metabolic accelerator, appetite suppressant and kidney cleanser. “GoCal 1000 is a combination of six natural ingredients at therapeutic concentrations shown to assist weight loss.” ■ Visit www.irishhealthstores.com for details of your local IAHS store.
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Whether it is colouring your hair or whitening your teeth, beauty DIY is on the rise The news on ... Belle nails IF YOU want to get ahead of the game for spring then now is the time to start turning to pale creamy shades and pretty nudes. Mavala’s new Belle nail polish for spring hits the mark with delectable shades that look good enough to eat. Best of all, they’re housed in Mavala’s fabulous little bottles, making them perfect for taking on weekends away for touch-ups as you go.
T’S NOT exactly stuff to set your pulse racing really, is it? No, at-home treatments generally end in disaster, which is why many of us stay away from them. A few years ago, a friend insisted I dye her eyelashes blue-black. She had trained as a beauty therapist and promised to talk me through what to do. It was all going fine until the dye came off and I discovered I had blobbed a large lump of dye between her eyebrows. She was not amused: eyelash dye stains are hard to shift. We’ve all got a story lurking in the wardrobe about an at-home beauty treatment gone wrong — hair that was dyed luminous orange or a leg wax fiasco that ended in bleeding skin. During the Celtic Tiger years, we all got used to trotting off to the salon at the drop of a hat — eyebrow pluck here, manicure there, bit of a facial if we were looking off colour. Now reality has kicked in, and apart from the fact we’re learning to become a lot lower maintenance — who needs a pedicure in the winter anyway? — we’re also discovering there’s a whole lot of stuff you can do at home anyway. It’s cheaper, and often it’s just as effective. Sales of home hair dyes have soared since the recession and products that promise to extend our highlights and add that freshly coloured radiance to our hair are flooding the market. One of the latest at-home treatments to hit the Irish market is the PolarWhite home teeth-whitening. Having developed a futile obsession with Pearl Drops toothpaste in the 1980s (it never turned my teeth past their natural buttermilky shade), I am wary about the promises made by whitening treatments and toothpastes. Teeth whitening is a serious business, with much of it unregulated and untested as to the long-term effects on your teeth. PolarWhitePro, F35, uses the same formula used by dentists to bleach teeth (a method that has been around for over two decades). It claims to whiten teeth up to six shades lighter after just six applications. But don’t expect miracles. I’ve been using it for the last two days and haven’t noticed much of a difference. The key is the natural shade of your teeth. If
TAKE THREE Spray-in conditioners RIGHT around this time of year, hair needs all the conditioning it can get, and as we gear up for spring, it’s best to start giving your hair the kind of TLC it’s going to need to get through the summer. Spray, leave-in conditioners are perfect for spritzing the ends of your hair — targeting the dryness wherever you need it. And remember, don’t wash it out. Picture: Fotoware
Getting the look at home you visit a dentist about professional bleaching, you’ll be told how light you can expect to go, so don’t expect a tooth-whitening product to give you a glow-in-the-dark smile. Much of DIY beauty is about having the right tools. Making your nails look good and your nail varnish last longer is all about having a base coat, top coat, good buffs and emery board, while a good body brush is an essential tool to have on hand to exfoliate before you jump into a DIY fake tan extravaganza.
Good tools make your life immeasurably easier — don’t even think of attacking your eyebrows with anything less than an excellent pair of tweezers. And learn how to pluck properly. There are tons of online tutorials to show you how to get the right shape — do your research and don’t attack your brows under the influence of alcohol. Ever. It might dull the pain but it can also lead to a Marlene Dietrich arch on one, and a Colin Farrell-style caterpillar on the other (yes, once again we speak from personal experience).
Aussie Hair Miracle Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner, F4.69. A really nice smell makes this product one of the most pleasant to use. It’s got great conditioning properties, leaves the hair beautifully frizz free and doesn’t weigh the hair down in the least. Score: 10 L’Oreal Elvive Smooth Silk Light F4.57. Light is right, this is a very nice smoothing leave-in spray that is great for giving your hair a daily silkiness. It doesn’t have an overpowering fragrance and it’s light enough to use all over the hair without weighing it down. Score: 8 John Frieda Frizz-Ease Emergency Treatment Leave-in Conditioning Spray, F5.99. If you’ve got frizzy hair then this emergency leave-in conditioner is designed to tackle it. It contains rich conditioners that smooth down chaotic frizz — good for very dry hair types. Score: 8
STUFF WE LIKE PolarWhitePro, F35. The jury’s out on this one: yes, it’s fabulously easy to apply, anywhere, anytime (we even did it at our desk, cue: stifled laughter from colleagues), but it doesn’t have the kind of impact you hope it will. You brush it on, wait 60 seconds (trying not to let your gums touch your lips — hence the ridicule) and then instead of rinsing, you just get on with it, although you’re advised to wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking. — Tweezerman Slant Tweezers, F19.50. Best tweezers on the market, bar none. These little babies are able to pluck out even the tiniest, barely perceptible hairs. Consistently voted best in show, they are sharp, perfectly
shaped and easy to use. Eyelure Dylash, F7.95. This permanent dye works on eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s best to do a sensitivity test before using, and if you can enlist someone’s help. It’s actually quite easy to use, and while it is fiddly, it gives good results within about 10 minutes. Best of all, it lasts up to 12 applications, while getting your eyelashes done in a salon will set you back F15 or so per go. St Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Spray, F29.95. Self-tan clings best to freshly-buffed skin, so make sure you exfoliate properly before you apply fake tan. It really does make a
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difference. And remember that success is in the prep — moisturise well up to two weeks in advance. Pay attention to heels and elbows, and don’t dress or go to bed until the tan has properly dried in. Clairol Perfecto 10, F8.23. Forget about waiting around for hours looking like an auld wan in a 1950s hair salon, Clairol’s Perfect 10 gives you total coverage in just 10 minutes. The comb helps to cover each bit of hair well and hair looks glossy and well conditioned after use. According to Clairol: “93% of Marie Claire readers who tried Perfect 10 said they would choose it if they can’t make it to a salon”.
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Q Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork
tation for thrush sufferers or women with a latex allergy. In contrast with tampons, they don’t interfere with the natural self-cleansing environment of the vagina and will not deposit fibres in the vaginal wall. Menstrual cups have never been associated with TSS, as their surface doesn’t support bacterial growth — it is the highly absorbent nature of tampons which is thought to be the main contributing factor to the syndrome. There is lots of information on the Mooncup website, and if your question is not covered in their comprehensive FAQ section, the team can be contacted at 00 44 0127-673 845.
I’VE been recommended cranberry juice for bladder infections. I was wondering if I need to take anything else as well, and if you can explain how cranberry juice actually helps. A. Cranberry juice can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy urinary tract, but you must ensure that any brand you choose is free from additives and sugars. It is quite a tart drink in itself, so often manufacturers will add some form of sugar to make it more palatable. A centre which specifically researches blueberries and cranberries (The Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research, New Jersey, USA), has found that women who consume cranberry juice twice daily as a matter of course experience better urinary tract health. Cranberries work by making it impossible for bacteria to stick to the wall of the urinary tract — if they can’t stick, then urinary tract infections (UTIs) cannot take hold. Dr Howell from the Marucci Center says that this ‘anti-sticking’ effect begins at around two hours following consumption of the juice, and can last for up to 10 hours. She suggests that a glass first thing in the morning and one in the evening provides optimal health benefits. Dr Howell is currently looking into the potential for cranberries being used to produce a product which can help address the issue of antibiotic resistance. If you have taken antibiotics to rid yourself of UTIs, then you should consider taking a quality probiotic to replace the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Finally, I would recommend taking large quantities of pure water to help flush the bladder of the infection. Q. I am concerned about the possibility of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) from the use of tampons, and was wondering if you could recommend an alternative to sanitary pads, as these are uncomfortable and impractical to wear. A. There is a wonderful solution to this problem — the menstrual cup. Typically made from soft silicone or latex, it is worn internally like a tampon and forms a seal so there is no leakage or odour. They are reusable and last for around 10 years, and of course are far more environmentally responsible than disposable tampons or sanitary pads — even the organic ones. Menstrual cups are not a new invention; the first one was made in the 1930s in the US. The tampon, invented at around the same time, became more popular simply because it included an applicator and women were discouraged from the more “hands-on”
JUICE BOOST: Drinking a glass of cranberry juice twice daily can help to maintain a healthy urinary tract — but be sure it’s free from additives. Picture: GettyImages approach required in using a menstrual cup. Tampons were obviously more commercially viable — women would need to purchase them every month, and massive advertising campaigns ensured the rise of disposable feminine hygiene products as necessities in our society. I recommend the Mooncup (www.mooncup.co.uk), made from medical grade hypo-allergenic silicone, so will not cause irri-
Megan puts the spotlight on : Alzheimer’s and its causes
LZHEIMER’S disease is a form of dementia, characterised by confusion, disorientation, speech disturbances, restlessness, memory failure, agnosia, hallucinosis, and an inability to perform purposeful movements. It counts for over half of all dementia cases, and typically occurs over the age of 65. While there are no defined causes or cures for this condition, it’s clear there is a link between lack of minerals and oxygen to the brain and dementia-related illnesses. Processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, and environmental toxicity (including pollution, household chemicals, and mercury amalgams) are implicated in neurological degeneration. Research has shown that aluminium is linked with Alzheimer’s, and
can be found in a surprising number of products. Most of us know anti-perspirant deodorants typically contain aluminium, but did you know that baking soda, antacid preparations, shampoos, and food additives can also contain it? Many from the ‘baby boomer’ generation were exposed to much higher levels of aluminium as this metal hit peak popularity in everyday household items such as foil, pots and utensils, bakeware, and pre-made dinner containers. When heated up, aluminium deposits get into the system via the bloodstream, and can end up in the brain — where they inhibit bloodflow and as a result oxygen uptake. This leads to mental deterioration and disrupts memory, thought, cognition, movement and speech. Aluminium is not the only culprit though — radiation to the brain also impacts negatively, particularly long-term exposure to more subtle
forms of radiation through television, microwaves, cellular phones, and computers. So what can you do to prevent or slow this degeneration? Plenty of fresh local produce and wholefoods, pure drinking water, daily exercise, sunshine, and oxygenating herbs such as gotu kola, black walnut, blessed thistle, damiana, and ginkgo biloba (not available over the counter in Ireland). Gotu kola in particular is well-suited for Alzheimer’s since it contains bio-aluminium, which attaches to manufactured aluminium and helps remove it from the body. ■ Support can be found at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, on alzheimer.ie.
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Q. I am interested in being more environmentally responsible with my food scraps, but have no room for composting or worm farms. I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and feel terrible about putting them in the bin. A. I know the perfect solution: a bokashi bucket. Based on the workings of a microbial brew called effective microorganisms (EM) and developed by Professor Teruo Higa from the University of Ryukyus in Japan, this mixture of micro-organism strains work together to improve the microbial balance in our soil. Not to be confused with fertilisers, the EM mixture looks a little like sawdust and is essentially a mixture of fermented plant product in a sugar-based medium. It contains micro-organisms from lactic acid bacteria, fermenting yeasts, photosynthetic bacteria, and actinomycetes (which digest disease causing bacteria to help balance soil and plant microbial conditions). Bokashi is a simple way of disposing of kitchen waste (including animal by-products), and the best part is that it has a gentle fermenting vinegar-like smell rather than a putrid rotting smell — so you can keep it handy in the kitchen. All you need to do is sprinkle some of the bokashi (EM) mixture in the bottom of the specialised bucket (it has a removable drainage tray, a tap, and a tightly sealed lid), add your scraps and cover them lightly with more of the bokashi. Repeat this process until the bucket is filled and then leave it sealed to ferment for a week or two (depending on how cold it is). The liquid can be drained off daily and used diluted in the garden, or poured down drains to help keep them clear of blockages. The fermented scraps are simply buried in the garden where they benefit the soil. Bokashi buckets are available from www.ecostore.ie (lo-call 0818-71-99-55), where prices start at F49 for a single bucket with drainage tray, scoop, and 1kg of the bokashi mixture.
ONE TO WATCH IN 1986 Byron Katie, pictured here, had hit rock bottom. She had spent 10 years in a haze of depression, anger and addiction with no sign of a way out. Then one morning everything changed. She woke to the realisation that the source of her suffering was her own thoughts and beliefs. Slowly, by questioning every thought she had, Katie developed the groundbreaking, The Work. The Work asks four questions — Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without the thought? The fifth step is to turn the thought around, so ‘He doesn’t love me’, could become, ‘I don’t love myself”. The final step is about embracing all of what occurs in your mind and life without fear; being open to reality. ■ Visit www.thework.com I Feighan
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