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Feelgood Friday, March 18, 2011

Rise ’n’ shine

Picture: Maura Hickey


Sinéad Desmond and other broadcasters on waking up for duty in the dead of night: 8,9


Mums share the joys of raising four or more kids: 4,5


Food campaigner Joanna Blythman on the politics of shopping: 12


Best products for bad hair days: 14



2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ HEART HEALTH: The Irish Heart Foundation is inviting the people of Cork to join Operation Transformation leader Emily Piggott to brush up on how to eat smart for a healthy heart at a free public talk on Wednesday next. The information evening will be held in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, between 7 and 9pm and will cover portion size, food labels, protecting your heart, tips for low salt/fat free cooking and how to make healthy food taste great. To book call 021-4505822 or email ■ SAI MAA: Humanity in Unity Ireland supports the teaching and global humanitarian service of Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi. Sai Maa is in Cork for a free event, Say Yes To Life, in the Montenotte Hotel from 7 to 9.30pm tonight and 10am to 3pm and 7 to 9.30pm tomorrow. Details at ■ HOSPITAL VOLUNTEERS: Children in Hospital Ireland (CHI), is looking for volunteers in Cork to help make hospital a happier place for children. The charity invites you to join their PlayWell Volunteer teams at Cork University Hospital and Mercy Hospital, Cork. If you are 18 years or over and would like to find out more about PlayWell, contact 1890 252 682 or log onto ■ DYSLEXIA WORKSHOP: The Cork branch of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) will present workshops for students on Junior Certificate Maths and English. Early booking is advised. The cost is F20 or F25 for non members. For more details call 087-9831837 or email ■ ALLERGY SUPPORT: Anaphylaxis Ireland is a national charity, which was established to support adults and children who live with severe allergies. A support meeting for allergy sufferers and their families will be held on Wednesday next in the Imperial Hotel, Cork, from 7.30 to 9pm. Ring 0818-300238 or email ■ GROW YOUR OWN: Michael Brenock, horticultural advisor and author of The Irish Gardener’s Handbook, will give a talk on growing your own vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers, followed by a Q&A session on Friday next at 8pm in Blackrock GAA Club, Church Road, Blackrock, Cork. Admission F10 and proceeds will go to Cork Simon Community. Ring Mary Morrish of Cork Simon at 021-4929410 or Declan O’Grady at 087-9971963.

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With images of Japan’s disaster on TV screens, parents should ensure children’s fears are addressed, says Arlene Harris

Listening ear


HEN Japan was rocked by a massive earthquake last week the rest of the world was powerless to help. Live images were transmitted around the planet of tidal waves engulfing entire towns, buildings being reduced to rubble and vehicles being swept away like children’s toys. Advances in modern technology allowed us to watch a natural disaster unfold before our eyes, followed by disturbing shots of explosions at the damaged nuclear plants. Although we watched the news reports with horror, as adults we are able to assimilate the information and process our sympathy for the Japanese people. But children do not have the maturity to arrange their thoughts in such a fashion and may be tuning into news reports and becoming quietly disturbed by their content. Dr John Sharry, psychotherapist and author of Positive Parenting, says it is vital for parents to monitor what their children are watching and talk to them accordingly. “It is a good idea to protect very young children from over-worrying images on television or the internet as they may become anxious about how they could be affected,” he says. “Older children and teenagers may be exposed to information from their peers so parents should address the issue with them and explain the news in the context of their own lives.”

JAPAN HORROR: One of the images appearing on our TV screens to which children are exposed - the devastated area in Rikuzentakata, Miyagi, northern Japan. Picture:AP Photo/Kyodo News)

The parenting expert says children can internalise their feelings, and while they may not realise that something is bothering them, they could be suffering from anxiety attacks. “Anxiety is the most common problem affecting children and global disasters such as the current situation in Japan can be frightening for them,” says Sharry. “They may not even be aware that it has affected them, but might find it difficult to sleep or be displaying mood swings and either anger or emotional outbursts. “If this is the case parents should find some quiet time to have a chat — this could be just before bed or while they are in the car

A BADLY-PAID or temporary job can be as damaging for mental health as no job at all, research suggests. Little job security, demanding work and very little control over a role can all impact on people’s well-being just as much as unemployment, it found. Researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra said government policies tend to focus on job seekers when they should also take into account the quality of a person’s job. Researchers analysed data from more than 7,000 people in Australia and found well-being was very much dependent on the quality of the job.

The solution is dental implants, advises Dr O’Flaherty. Almost half of young Irish adults (aged 18 – 34) are skipping breakfast. This surprising finding comes from a recent study by Centrum Multivitamins. And it doesn’t seem to bother us much — three quarters (74%) of respondents believe their diet is good, very good or excellent. There’s a slew of studies highlighting the benefits of starting the day with a healthy breakfast, in particular when it comes to managing weight, improving concentration and general well being. Nutritionist Sarah Keogh points out that eating breakfast can assist in weight loss by speeding up metabolism, thus burning more calories.

■ CAMPAIGNER TRAINING: On March 25 Oxfam Ireland will run a new one day training course which is open to anyone who wants to make change happen. To apply or find out more email Find out more at

DIET ACTION: Nutritionist Sarah Keogh joined acrobats from The Dublin Circus Project to launch the Centrum Multivitamins Diet Deficit Survey.

■ REIKI TALK: Regina O’Mahony is giving a free introductory talk on Thursday next at 8pm in Douglas, Cork. Call 021489 7229 for details; ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to

New research in America linking dementia, particularly Alzheimers, to tooth loss, has implications for many older people, say Irish dentists. According to Dr Edmond O’Flaherty of Seapoint Clinic in Blackrock, Co Dublin, “The teeth are the first part of a normal

digestive system — chewing food into portions the stomach can deal with. When a person has no teeth, they tend to avoid nutritious foods, like fruit and veg, which are often harder. They eat softer foods which are easier to chew, but these can be high in salt or highly processed,” says Dr O’Flaherty.



■ For more information visit


A new book Overcoming Alcohol Misuse — a 28-Day Guide by consultant psychiatrist Dr Conor Farren, St Patrick’s University Hospital, offers practical steps to those recovering from alcohol addiction. The publication is the outcome of 20 years’ experience working with more than 10,000 clients in the US and Ireland. It costs F17.95 from Blackhall Publishing.


together. Without putting ideas into their heads the adult could open a conversation about the crisis in Japan and ask them what they feel about it. “Dealing with emotions can be complex and it all depends on the age and nature of your child, but one of the best qualities a parent can have is to be tuned into their child. “Communication is vital but learning to connect with your child is even more important.”

Picture: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

Women who regularly eat fish and omega-3 fatty acids greatly reduce their risk of suffering a chronic eye disease, according to new research. The Women’s Health Study makes the claim over age-related macular degeneration — loss of central vision caused by damage to the macular, a small part of the retina. The authors found women who had the most omega 3 had a 38% lower risk of developing macular disease. The study was carried out by William Christen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215



In profile

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Anne Gildea

Funny girl

HE Nualas are back. “But it’s different because we’re older,” says funny woman Anne Gildea, who — along with original ‘Nuala’ Sue Collins and newcomer Maria Tecce — make up the comedy trio. “We were in our mid-20s when we started. We’re in our early 40s now. Sue has had four children. I didn’t have any. We’re working together and I’m thinking about that. I’m thinking about life things. “I never wanted to have children. I always felt if I wasn’t in a relationship, I wouldn’t do it. It’s a funny thing now, but I just can’t seem to stop looking at babies,” says Anne, 43, who grew up on a farm in Sligo, having moved there from Manchester at the age of six. During their seven years together, from the mid-’90s, The Nualas had 17 theatre runs including six sell-outs. “We had that mad kick-ass energy. It’s different now, but we still have the mad comedy energy. People have very fond memories of The Nualas. It’s a joyful act, not cynical at all, just total entertainment,” says Anne, whose novel, Deadlines And Dickheads, was published in 2006.The Nualas are at The Forum, Waterford, on Saturday, March 19 and at Vicar Street on Friday, March 25. What shape are you in? I’m very fit, because I do a lot of Bikram yoga. I go at least three times a week and find it very relaxing. Then, I thought I’m doing so much exercise, I can eat much more — now I’m attending Weight Watchers and I want to lose a stone. Do you have any health concerns? No, I don’t. I was in hospital to get my tonsils out, and also another time when my legs totally ballooned from the tips of my toes to the top of my leg. They kept me in for 10 days — swollen legs could mean organ failure. I had tons of tests and they found absolutely nothing wrong with me. They gave me anti-diuretic injections and the swelling just went down. I never found out what it was.

I hear something sad or I see a sad picture in the paper. I saw a photo of a four-year-old boy in Haiti, whose uncle couldn’t afford to keep him anymore. He was looking up at his uncle with his little innocent face — children need so much protection. What would you change about your appearance? I’m going through a phase of accepting myself as I am. I had Botox done for the lines between my eyes — now I can see them coming back again. I bleached my teeth too, which makes them extremely clean and makes you look instantly younger.

What trait to you least like in yourself? I can be very dithery, which annoys me. I’ve kind of got an unfocused mind. Do you pray? I do, though it’s not like I sit down and say my night prayers. But I constantly talk to something, to some idea of universal energy, an angel, people who have passed on whom I feel still around. I like the idea that there’s more to life than what we see.


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What would cheer up your day? I love bumping into someone in town and going for coffee. Helen O’Callaghan

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What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I love every guilty thing. I love chocolate cake. And whenever I have pasta, I feel guilty, like seafood pasta – yum. What would keep you awake at night? I worry about everything, but I try to go back to the source of the thought that’s got me worried and then I give myself an alternative thought, like ‘I’m in control’.

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How do you relax? I’m terrible at switching off. I have a little office in my house, but it’s too small. Right now, I have a keyboard on the back of the sofa and Maria’s guitar is here, so I’m surrounded by work. But I do love watching telly in the company of other people.

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Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I love the writer David Sedaris. I’d invite my friend, pianist Conor Linehan, Rosaleen Linehan’s son, and also my friend, Michelle Reid, who’s a great writer. I’d ask Sue from The Nualas and my brother, Kevin. I’d love to have David Bowie, Jo Brand, Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr. What’s your favourite smell? I love lavender, lilies and the smell of rose oil.



What trait do you least like in others? I don’t like cut-throat ambition — people who are friends with you when you’re doing really well and not around when you’re not.

What are your healthiest eating habits? I’m very good at eating salads and fruit. I love bread and pasta, but I can’t eat wheat — it makes me instantly huge. If I stick to fruit, vegetables and fish, my weight stabilises and I’m lovely and slender.

When did you last cry? Probably about five minutes ago — I cry all the time.


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GIRLS ALOUD: Anne Gildea says the reformed Nualas retain the ‘mad comedy energy’ they had in their mid-20s. FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

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Making choices

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As the recession may dictate how many children a couple can afford to rear, Arlene Harris speaks to some mothers about the joys of opting for a family of four or more


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The bigger the better Adrienne Brannock, 50, and Rob, 52, have five children — Lucy, 19, Luke 17, Molly, 15, Conor, 11 and Rosie, 9.

We both realise the lifelong bonds that can come from being part of a large family

Helen Hanrahan, 44, and her husband Conor, 48, are parents to four children — Claire, 11, Matt nine, Emer, seven, and Mark, six.

WHEN Conor and I got married we both wanted four children,” says Helen. “So we were very lucky that everything worked out and our youngest child Mark was born two days before our eldest, Claire, turned five.” Having plenty of siblings herself, the Galway woman and her husband, who is a family GP in Clare, wanted the same for their own children. “I come from a family of four and Conor is one of five,” explains Helen. “We are both very close to our siblings and realise the lifelong bonds that can come from being part of a large family — we wanted our own kids to have the same experience. “It’s lovely to see how they operate as individuals having their own friends, interests and personalities but still share a strong common bond which I have no doubt they will have for life.” But a busy household can be stressful and

SIMPLY WONDERFUL: Helen Hanrahan at home with her children from left Emer, Mark, Claire and Matt, says that despite the cost and the chaos having a big family is wonderful. Picture: Eamon Ward although there is plenty of love in the air there can also be a few tense moments. “Having four children under five was tough. And even now there are still some practical issues — trying to book holiday accommodation at reasonable rates is nigh on

LOVIN’ IT: Pasquale and Fiona Rea at home with their children Callum, Megan, Luigi and Leon. Fiona thinks the positives of having a large family are enormous. Picture:Garry O’Neill

impossible and we had to get a seven-seater car as we like to bring granny along for the occasional day out. “We also have to think twice about visiting people as it can be a bit of a shock to see four kids and the dog spill out of the

Fiona Rea, 44, and Pasquale 47, have four children — Callum, 12, Megan, 10, Luigi, six and Leon, three.

We always wanted a large family, but I was 32 when my first child was born so age became the deciding factor,” says Fiona. “I have always loved babies and couldn’t imagine not wanting more — but after Leon was born I felt satisfied that our family was complete.” The Wicklow woman has two brothers but her husband, who is half-Italian and works as a catering consultant, was the youngest of five and always enjoyed the chaos of a busy family. “I’m the only girl and have always been maternal,” she says. “And Pasquale is fantastic with children so would have been happy to keep having more — in fact, we both think the positive aspects of having a large family are enormous. “They are great company and fiercely protective of each other. Even though they may fight like cats and dogs, they still look out for each other and the older two are like a second set


FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

NO PROBLEMS: Rob Brannock and Adrienne Kidd at home with four of their children from left Rosie, Conor, Molly and Luke. They say that having lots of siblings has been great for the kids and they all get on really well. Picture: Eamon Ward

back of the car. “But despite the cost and the chaos having a big family is wonderful. I could probably have had more but my husband wisely said let’s quit while we’re ahead so that’s what we did.”

Sandra Callaghan, 40, and her husband Karl, 39, have six children — Finan 15, Cormac 13, Eilish 10, Daire eight, Rory, six and Noel, three.

When Finan was born people asked if I wanted more kids and I always said I would have six if I won the lottery,” recalls Sandra. “We didn’t win any money but we got the big family which is better than a Lotto win. “I was an only child until I was 12 and was always envious of children with brothers and sisters, so I guess that was the motive behind having a large family. Karl, an engineer, was one of four, so he was used to a big gang and was happy to go along with my desire for lots of children.” Despite the numbers, the Dublin woman keeps a tight ship by laying down ground rules for all the family. “I am quite disciplined with the children and make sure that they all have their own jobs as well as helping out around the house,” says Sandra. “Being strict helps the kids to know what they have to do and what boundaries there are, and I think because of that they all get on pretty well. Of course they have the odd squabble, but otherwise they are fine together. “And I love the idea that they will be company for us and for each other in the future. They are all quite close in age and we have a lot of fun together — we have our own rent-a-mob so can be sure of a crowd no matter what the occasion.” Music is important to the family. Sandra enjoys singing and all the older children play different musical instruments.

They are great company and fiercely protective of each other of parents — it’s quite funny to observe.” But with four hungry mouths to feed cost is always going to be an issue. “The only negative side to big families is the cost,” says Fiona, a part-time antenatal teacher. “But there are ways of getting round that — we do lots of inexpensive activities, such as picnics in Glendalough or afternoons at the beach, and because they have enough for a little gang the kids can just hang out together. “I feel incredibly lucky to have had my four children — they are all so wanted and loved. And even though I still get the odd wobble when I see a tiny baby, just one look around the kitchen table is enough to tell me that I am blessed.”

Both Rob and I come from families of five, and although it wasn’t planned by the time we had three we knew we wanted more,” says Adrienne, who lives in Ennis. “Having lots of siblings has been great for the kids and they all get on really well. “There is a huge closeness between them and I honestly think that having five kids is easier than two as there is no need to bring extra people in to entertain them because they always have each other.” Now that her children are all in school and college, Adrienne has more time to herself, but when they were younger there were some trying times. “Rob is away a lot for work (he is president of a global financial company) and that was tough when the kids were young. I had a rigid routine and was always so busy — permanently on the road taking them to some activity or other. “But now that they are older they are a joy. No matter how big or small your family is, it’s all about being positive and thanking your lucky stars for what you have.”

Being strict helps the kids to know what they have to do and what boundaries there are, and I think because of that they all get on pretty well

Not surprisingly, extra children means extra work. “The downside of a big family is laundry — my machine is on two or three times a day. No matter how many kids you have the cooking and cleaning will have to be done, but the increased amount of washing is a killer. “But despite the extra workload they are worth it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

HIGH NOTE: Sandra Callaghan, her husband, Karl and six children. Back (l-r): Finan, Noel, Rory. Front (l-r): Cormac, Dara and Eilish. Sandra says she is quite disciplined with the children and makes sure they all have their own jobs as well as helping out around the house. Picture: Maura Hickey


FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011



6 Psychology

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Personality disorders are creative responses to overwhelming childhood experiences

Personal best

CORK BRANCH Juvenile Arthritis

informal meeting for Parents and Carers Wed 23rd March at 11am Vienna Woods Hotel Glanmire

All Welcome

Tel: 086 8956940 FAMILY SYSTEMS WORKSHOP As developed by Bert Hellinger

Tony Humphreys


RADITIONAL psychiatry classifies people’s different troubling behaviours under ‘personality disorders’ — especially those that don’t have specific symptoms, like depression, anxiety, delusions, paranoia, hallucinations and substance addictions. According to these psychiatric classifications there are 11 personality disorders. Significantly, researchers have found that three of these so-called personality disorders are more common in managers than in criminals. The research was carried out by Belinda Board and Katrina Fritzon of Surrey University. The three psychiatric conditions identified were: 1. Compulsive Personality Disorder: (perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies). 2. Histrionic Personality Disorder: (superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulativeness). 3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (grandiosity, lack of empathy, exploitativeness and pseudo-independence. These classifications are limited, offering no explanation why these managers would have developed these ways of behaving and they certainly do not appreciate the creativity of such responses. All the evidence points to childhood neglect being the source of what are termed personality disorders. If this is the case — and I believe it to be — it is irresponsible to use the label of ‘disorder.’ It is more accurate to view the ‘disorder’ as a reflection of the traumatic circumstances of these children’s lives. Surely, the more mature response is to see that when individuals (for example, managers, criminals, psychiatric patients) endured childhood neglect they cleverly and creatively developed ways of attempting to reduce the threats they were enduring from the most significant people in their lives — parents, grandparents and teachers. For example, for many high achievers, the pursuit of success and status is a compensation for feelings of worthlessness and despair arising from early adversity. Rather than this being a personality disorder, a psychiatric condition, it is more accurate to view it as a way of surviving in a loveless world and gaining substitute recognition through success and status. This wonderful defence is created by the child at an unconscious level and persists into adolescence and adulthood. However, in adulthood opportunities for consciousness of this strategy will emerge so that the person can find the regard for himself that he didn’t get as a child and free himself of the dependence on success and status. When managers don’t come into consciousness of their defensive strategies — such as heartlessness, perfectionism, narcissism, manipulativeness, insensitivity, exploitativeness, passivity, status dependence, dedication to work, dominance, rigidity — then not only is their own mature progress stuck but their defensiveness poses considerable threat to the wellbeing of individual employees and to organisational efficiency and effectiveness. There is a defensive illusion among heads of political, economic, social and religious organisations in our typically Western-oriented, product-oriented and success-oriented culture that once you have the ‘right’ method or system, it doesn’t matter which individual you have implementing it.


Picture: Getty Images


Feel Good Personals FOR



A Path to Healing


Date: Sat & Sun 2nd & 3rd April, 2011


Venue: St. Dominics, Ennismore, Cork Enquiries: Riona Dunlea, (MIACP)



For many high achievers, the pursuit of success and status is a compensation for feelings of worthlessness and despair arising from early adversity — a way of surviving in a loveless world Such a view stands in marked contrast to what I believe is a far wiser approach to leadership and management and is encapsulated in an old Chinese saying ‘If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way.’ The recent collapse of our ‘tiger’ economy and the huge falling away of people from Catholicism bear witness to this truth. It is not a system that perpetuates neglect, it is individuals. It follows from this that everything depends on the individual and little or nothing on the system or method. It is the way the individual acts that is the true expression of his nature. However, when a person’s true nature is hidden behind unconscious defences, then the method or system is rootless, heartless and becomes part of the defensive world of the individual. Perhaps the emphasis on method and system and the lack of stress on each person’s relatedness to his innermost needs and commitments is one of the most serious challenges facing us, most especially for those of us who occupy leadership and managerial positions. This challenge can only be effectively taken on by face-to-face training that creates the emotional and intellectual safety for participants to know their inner core and to identify and resolve their defensive responses. While these responses serve a protective function, they also pose threats to mature progress, others and organisations. There is an urgency for this training to be taken up by leaders and managers. ■ Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker. His books, The Mature Manager and Relationship, Relationship, Relationship, The Heart of a Mature Society are relevant to today’s topic.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

Think of it as a blank canvas Have your say in shaping your newspaper at




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FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011



8 Cover story

Early morning broadcasters

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Getting up in the morning may be a tad easier once we get that all-important daylight hour back on March 27. But it’ll make little difference to breakfast show presenters who still have to throw back the covers in the dead of night. Helen McCormack asks some of them how this bruising schedule affects their work, health and relationships


FIRST UP: Chris Donoghue from Newstalk’s Breakfast Show says it’s difficult to get the balance Picture: Maura Hickey right between getting enough sleep and maintaining a social life.


REAKFAST show teams talk to each other about two things,” says Chris Donoghue, 26, co-presenter of Newstalk’s Breakfast Show. “When you sleep and when you eat. You obsess over it.” Chris is up at 3.50am every weekday morning. Sinéad Desmond, 37, presenter of TV3’s Ireland AM, has other concerns. “If I’m washing my hair I’m up at 3.30am, but otherwise it’s 4am. It’s a problem the guys don’t ever have to consider.” In Britain, breakfast television starts even earlier. Grainne Seoige, 37, features editor on ITV’s Daybreak, has days when she needs to be on the sofa at 6am. “Then I’m up at 2.40am to be in work for 3.30am.” Shift work generally involves employees working through the night and then sleeping during the day, swapping the two around. However, getting up at 3 or 4am, as presenters often do, interrupts your sleep. Prof Jim Horne, director of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre, says this causes problems. “You’re missing out on both sides of a good night’s sleep. You get used to it by Friday and then the weekend comes and your body’s adaptation is lost. I imagine presenters are very tired on a Monday morning.” RTE Morning Ireland presenters rotate shifts. Presenter Aine Lawlor works five early starts one week, three the next and two the next. “Knowing you have your respite days ahead keeps you going. It’s a tough shift and you find that people either hack it or they don’t. Luckily, I seem to manage — I’ve been doing it for 15 years. In fact, I wouldn’t change it, I’d miss the sense of control I have over my life.” When Claire Byrne, 35, moved from Newstalk’s Breakfast to presenter of RTE’s Daily Show, she missed having the time to deal with personal business during the day. “When you work in the early mornings it becomes routine to be able to go to the supermarket or the gym when those places are at their quietest. Now, I have to do my business along with everyone else...when it’s really busy.” “I would honestly hate to be working nine to five.” says Ian Dempsey, 50, presenter of The Breakfast Show on Today FM. “I don’t think my brain could handle the culture shock. Have you seen that rush hour traffic? I like getting home in the early afternoon and having time to do whatever I want.” “The first time I’ll speak to my producer is at 5.30am and the last time we’ll talk is at 6.30pm. That’s 11 hours of working together.” says Chris Donoghue. “But as a journalist the shift is brilliant because people are waking up to what you’re telling them. If you’re doing a later show you have to think ‘how are we going to cover this story’ because several people have already done it, but on Breakfast we can dive straight in.” For those with children the age of the child has a lot to do with whether the shift fits in or not. Grainne Seoige has a teenage son, Conall,

How shift work affects your body

IN CHARGE: Áine Lawlor wouldn’t give up the early shift and that sense of control over her life. Picture: Maura Hickey

WORKS WELL: Ian Dempsey says he would hate nine to five work. Picture: Nick Bradshaw

My husband, Davy, and I have separate bedrooms during the week. It makes for very romantic weekends — Sinéad Desmond

Picture: Maura Hickey

who is at school in Ireland, while she lives part-time in Britain. Aine Lawlor says it was great when her four children were small. “Our bedtimes matched, but now they want to stay up later than I do so that can be a problem. There are occasions you’ll have to attend a school event in the evening, but you need to be fairly disciplined about bedtime.” Ian Dempsey’s three children range in age from 14 to 21. His youngest, Aislinn, claims he snores while watching TV. “I find that very hard to believe,” Dempsey jokes, although he admits he is inclined to nod off. But while an early schedule may mean you see more of your children in the afternoon you can miss out on other moments. “I have never ever seen my kids going to school in the morning because I’m always at work. What kind of a dad is that?” says Dempsey. It can be difficult to get the balance right, you need to make sure you get enough sleep but you also want to maintain a social life. Initially, Chris Donoghue found it difficult to keep in touch with people. “Now I tend to make sure I get to bed by 9pm for the first half

of the week and then later on I’ll relax it a little and meet up with people. Family and friends feel like they’re in contact with you because they hear you every morning whereas you feel you don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Someone will say something to you and you’re wondering how they know that and then you remember Ivan Yates [his co-presenter] told the nation.” Grainne Seoige finds she is more organised. “It requires a bit more planning as your day often starts and ends differently to your friends — but you always find time to see the people you want to see.” Meeting up with friends was one of the joys that Claire Byrne rediscovered when she started working on The Daily Show. “Knowing that you can go out and meet people in the evening and not

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

worry too much about the alarm clock was a revelation and I certainly made the most of it.” Sleeping at odd hours can become even more difficult if you have a partner who is going to bed several hours later and waking you up. Sinéad Desmond is married two years. “My husband, Davy, and I have separate bedrooms during the week. It makes for very romantic weekends.” Research has shown that lack of sleep affects your health and well-being. A study by the University of Warwick in May 2010 found that people who slept for less than six hours were 12% more likely to die prematurely than those who slept for six to eight hours. “You do have to look after yourself,” says Aine Lawlor. “I try to nap some afternoons but if I’m not doing that then I’m doing an exercise class or I’m gardening.”

NEW ROUTINE: Claire Byrne has switched to daytime TV and misses having the time during the day to deal with personal business.

Television often demands longer hours and more flexibility. “I try to nap in the afternoons,” says Grainne Seoige, “But sometimes commitments to the show make it impossible. I often have to go filming for various upcoming features on Daybreak.” Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the Federico II University Medical School finds this is a common problem. “There is an expectation in today’s society to fit more into our lives,” he says. “The whole work/life balance struggle is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us. “My health has definitely been affected,” says Sinéad Desmond. “When I had my brain haemorrhage, just over two years ago, I wasn’t looking after myself. I realised then that I needed to be healthy or the job would crucify me. I go to the gym now and I’d be very conscious of eating well. Coffee is my vice, I literally could not function without it.” “It hasn’t had a major effect on my health so far,” says Ian Dempsey, touching wood. “Although if I over indulge at the weekends it can

THE body is synchronised to night and day by a part of the brain known as the circadian clock. Many of the body’s functions — including temperature, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure — are controlled by this clock. Getting up at an extremely early hour confuses the clock by working when the body is programmed to be sleeping. A University of Warwick study published in the European Heart Journal in February 2011 found that sleeping less than six hours a night and having disturbed sleep leads to a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke. Research at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, published early this month, found that napping for 45 minutes can help lower blood pressure.

take days to feel human again. I try not to nap in the afternoon because I wake up in a confused state. My trick to stay awake used to be Solpadeine until it became illegal!” Chris Donoghue found that his health seemed to improve. “I think that’s because I’m much more conscious of looking after myself. Mind you, when you see former colleagues who don’t work early mornings anymore they always seem to look fantastic. Not surprising then to hear from Claire Byrne that “the feeling of well-being returns almost instantly. Working at those early hours makes you feel a bit jet-lagged.” So would she countenance a return to working breakfast programme hours? “I think it would be really difficult. However, I suppose like everyone else I will do what I am told and be grateful to be in gainful employment.” When asked about working long term on morning TV, Sinéad Desmond pauses a few before answering: “If the morning comes along where I find that I’m dreading it, I’d probably reconsider the hours, but I love what I do and I think the price is worth paying.”


10 Medical matters

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MY 12-year-old daughter has fractured both arms in the last six months, the injuries weren’t related to sports and seemed to occur following minor accidents. Her doctor said not to worry, but I was concerned that she may have “brittle bones” like I have. Can children get this also?

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

peratures, when they exercise or in response to situations that make them nervous, angry, embarrassed or afraid. But hyperhidrosis usually occurs without those triggers. The sweating that results from overactive sweat glands can lead to significant discomfort, both physical and emotional. When this affects the hands, feet and armpits, it’s called primary hperhidrosi. Excessive sweating can occur as a result of serious medical condition such as an A. Childhood bone fractures ofover-active thyroid, heart disease, diaten occur around the onset of pubetes, certain cancers, or anxiety disorberty. Girls aged 10 -12 and boys ders. So, it is important to see your aged 13-15 are most likely to be afdoctor, especially if you notice other fected. Fractures of the forearm are symptoms such as weight loss, poundby far the most common type of ing heart, cold or clammy hands, fever, fracture and children with one or loss of appetite, or sweating with chest two fractures are unlikely to have an pain or shortness of breath. underlying bone disease. Certain medication such as antiYour concern is understandable. cholinergics help prevent the stimulaIn certain circumstances special attion of sweat glands. These work in tention may be needed such as chilsome, but not all patients and side efdren with inflammatory bowel disfects include dry mouth, dizziness, and ease, coeliac disease, neuromuscular problems with urination. disorders, or a history of long-term Beta-blockers or benzodiazepines steroid use. Also multiple fractures, can help reduce stress-related sweating, atypical fractures (such as spinal but should only be used on a compression fractures), fractures short-term basis. Carbonic anhydrase from low-level trauma, or a family inhibitors such as topirimate inhibit history of bone disease such as ossweating and clonidine reduces nerve BAINNE BOOST: Children and teenagers need to drink four stimuli, reducing sweat output. Ionteogenesis imperfecta should glasses of milk a day to get the recommended level of prompt further investigation. tophoresis is a procedure that uses Picture: iStock electricity to temporarily turn off the Most fractures heal by eight to 12 bone-building vitamin D. weeks, delayed or poor fracture sweat glands. healing as seen on X-ray should raise suspiA battery powered device that you can oil, fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel — cion of an underlying bone disease. use at home delivers a gentle current of not the most popular of foods with chilChildren can be tested for low bone denelectricity to the hands or feet or armpits, dren. Vitamin D supplements can be given. sity or brittle bones, if suspected to be at through water-saturated wool pads. IonAvoid caffeine-based and fizzy drinks to risk, by having a dexa scan. A blood test tophoresis treatment alters the outer layers protect children’s bones. (measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels) can of skin to prevent sweat from coming to the be tested for rickets, this is uncommon and surface. The therapy lasts about 10-20 minQ. I am in my late 20s and always may be seen in children who are solely utes and usually requires several sessions. sweated easily, But it has got so bad now, breastfed. that I avoid shaking hands with people or Side effects include skin cracking and blisAll breastfed babies should receive vitamin wearing short sleeves as the sweat rolls off ters but these are rare. You shouldn’t use this D supplementation. Pre-term babies have if pregnant or have a pacemaker. me. I have tried the antiperspirants with decreased bone mineralisation at birth, but Botox can be used to treat underarm (axaluminium chloride, but they didn’t help. after the first year, bone density normalises. illary) hyperhidrosis. Up to 20 small doses of I’m too embarrassed to go to my doctor, Making sure your child has enough calciBotox can be injected into the underarm but this is making my life very difficult. um and vitamin D is the foundation to which temporarily blocks the nerves that Any advice? keeping bones healthy. All children should stimulate sweating. If you consider botox for receive 400 IU of vitamin D daily, Most this, consult a dermatologist. In severe cases, A. It seems you have a condition called children get their vitamin D from fortified a minimally-invasive surgical procedure hyperhidrosis — where a person sweats exmilk or orange juice. But to meet the reccessively and unpredictably. People with this called sympathectomy can be used. This ommended amount, your child would have condition can sweat even when the temper- turns off the nerve signal triggering excesto drink four glasses of milk a day. sive sweating. This works best for palm or ature is cool or when they are at rest. Vitamin D can also be found in cod liver facial sweating. Some people sweat more in warm tem-

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

OTHERS, like surgeons, are keen to avoid causing pain and anxious to learn from their mistakes, but unlike those who stitch and go, the mother must stay and display a cheery bedside manner no matter how contrary the patient. She must equally be on top of every doctor’s and dental appointment, every play date, soccer game, best friend’s name, best friend’s pets’ names, the latest PlayStation game, what’s hot and what’s not on the high street, how to download the latest iTune hit and how to differentiate between lice and dandruff. In short, she is required to have a forensic knowledge of her child and pay greater attention to detail than a crime scene detective. The well-attuned mother will pass with flying colours any pop quiz themed “How well do you know your child?” Dad is a different matter entirely. He is reasonably aware of two small people who act as a drain on his fortune and as an unscheduled alarm in the morning waking him far far too early. He knows their names, because he was, in a periphery way, involved in their selection, which roughly means he was asked to agree with the choices placed before him. On the days he’s home alone with the two because herself has some work to do, anything can happen. Playschool begins

before nine but arriving on time is out of the question for a pathological procrastinator. After school, they play in the park but it starts to rain and he remembers too late he was meant to bring the clothes in. They head home for lunch and he boils some eggs but discovers, too late, that there is no bread because he forgot the shopping list when he nipped to the bookies while the kids were at playschool. The kids, with nothing to dip in their eggs, start getting cranky with daddy and asking for mammy and he wishes it was nap time. When the two finally nod off, he gives a huge sigh of relief and decides to catch a few Z’s himself. Herself isn’t due home for another three hours — plenty of time to put the clothes in the dryer, wash up the breakfast ware, hoover the stairs, put on the dinner and get a nice fire going. He wakes when he feels someone shaking him and prays it’s a nightmare when he sees herself standing there. The kids are still in bed and he knows he’s dead because her face is like thunder. “Must try harder,” he says to himself as she stamps downstairs to try and wring a dinner out of yesterday’s leftovers. When daddy’s in charge anything can happen — fun for the kids, though not quite as amusing for mammy.

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Dad is reasonably aware of two small people who act as a drain on his fortune and as an unscheduled alarm in the morning waking him far far too early



Staying alert 11 Fast action is crucial when tackling hearing loss, says Georgina O’Halloran XH - V1

Loud and clear F

ROM her mid-teens it was a daily struggle for Noreen Dalton to understand what was going on around her. Diagnosed with hearing loss as a young child, she used a hearing aid, but from the age of 14 she refused to wear it. She found the old-fashioned analogue aid, with its earpiece and wire travelling down her neck into a box, awkward and embarrassing and didn’t want people to know she had hearing loss. For the next 25 years Noreen got by, mostly through lip reading. “It was desperate. I struggled. If I was in company and a person said something, I’d just smile and then I’d turn to my husband and ask what did they say?” The final straw came about ten years ago when she was watching television with her family and everyone laughed, but she had no idea what they were laughing at. “I decided I was going to have to do something about it,” says Noreen, a mother of two from Togher, Cork. Although her hearing had deteriorated because she had left it for so long, Noreen has been wearing a discreet, digital hearing aid for the last decade and has never looked back. “Life has changed for the better. It gives me great freedom,” she says. Hearing loss affects almost one in six people nationwide and a third of people over the age of 60. While one of the most common types of hearing loss is age-related — you lose the ability to hear noises at certain frequencies — in young people, noise-induced hearing loss is becoming more common. “People are listening to much louder noises,” says Dr Nina Byrnes. “With MP3 players, we tend to turn the volume up and that can damage your ears, “Hearing tests are not just for elderly people. Reducing noise exposure is very important,” says the GP who recommends that if in doubt, have a hearing test. Experts recommend we should not listen to MP3 players at volumes greater than 85 decibels and for no more than 60 minutes a day. But a recent on-street study of 350 people by Hidden Hearing found that 65.5% of participants listened to their MP3 players/iPods at volumes greater than 85 decibels, and 27% of these people listened for between three and four hours a day. Almost half of the respondents listened to volumes over 90 decibels. One of the first signs of hearing loss is having to turn up the volume — whether it be on the TV or radio. Other signs include finding it harder to hear people on the telephone and having to ask people to repeat themselves. Dr Byrnes says it’s vital that people who experience hearing loss — no matter what their age — get their hearing checked as soon as possible by a doctor and once a medical problem is ruled out they can have a hearing test. “If you have left it too long, hearing aids might not work. The earlier you are diagnosed, the earlier you can adapt to a hearing aid,” she says. According to audiologist Phil Cornwell hearing aids are vital as they prevent a person’s hearing from deteriorating further.


FIRST AID: Although her hearing had deteriorated because she had left it for so long, Noreen Dalton has been wearing a discreet, digital hearing aid for the last decade and has never looked back. Picture: Denis Minihane.

CLOSE INSPECTION: Dr Nina Byrnes says it’s vital that people who experience hearing loss — no matter what their age — get their hearing checked as soon as possible. Picture: Billy Higgins “People believe if they get a hearing aid they will become reliant on it. It’s not that you become dependent. You need to hear. Technology treats the hearing loss and prevents deterioration,” says Mr Cornwell, who adds that hearing aids have improved significantly in the last 10 to 15 years since the advent of digital technology. “What we can fit now are more beneficial for the patient — their environment is more comfortable again. They can lead a more fruitful life.” One of the biggest drawbacks of hearing loss is the social isolation that almost inevitably goes with it. People stop going out because they can’t hear conversations. They can sometimes appear to have dementia because they don’t seem to understand. And yet, despite the difficulties, people are slow to seek help. A study of 750 people by Behaviour and Attitudes between December 2010 and February 2011 found that 70% of respondents took more than one year to seek treatment for their hearing loss after they first noted a deterioration. Most people Cornwell sees have had a problem for ten years and have allowed it to develop. “When an environment becomes difficult we stop going. People can become isolated and that can lead to depression,” he says. Thomas Maye, 73, got a hearing aid 12 months ago and says anybody with a problem should get their hearing tested. “I was lip reading a lot of the time. In

committees it was a bit embarrassing,” says Maye, who used to work with Irish Helicopters and as a DJ, and has suffered age-related and noise-related hearing loss. “I’d have to ask someone what did they talk about at the end of the table. When I was playing golf I’d have to stand in the middle to hear the conversation. Sometimes you would feel isolated,” says Maye, who lives in

Carrigaline, Co Cork. “Today the change is enormous. It’s a vast improvement. I regret not getting tested earlier.” ■ Hearing Awareness Week in association with Hidden Hearing and the Irish Deaf Society runs from next Monday. For details see

Listen up

YOUR ipod or MP3 player can cause lasting damage as can high volume live music venues. Experts recommend: ■ Keeping the volume of your device to 60% or less of the maximum volume. ■ Not listening to volumes greater than 85 decibels. ■ Choosing your device carefully. Remember some MP3 players can amplify sounds up to 115 decibels. ■ Limiting listening time to a maximum of 60 minutes per day. At discos/clubs and concerts: ■ Take regular breaks from the dance floor. ■ Stand away from speakers and use chill out areas to give your ears a rest. ■ Wear ear plugs.

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Picture: Getty Images

■ If the level of the sound hurts your ears take care by leaving.




Healthy food

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Trust your instinct I am absolutely convinced that cooking food ourselves is the way to go for health and satisfaction

Roz Crowley


HEN we eat processed food we abdicate control of what we eat to an industry whose goal is profit.” Joanna Blythman pulls no punches when it comes to food and health. In Ireland recently to speak to the Cork Free Choice Consumer group, the Scottish investigative food journalist and author was not afraid to point fingers at those who made promises in the name of feeding the world. “We have seen companies which produce fertilisers and pesticides claiming they can reduce world hunger by ensuring a consistent supply of food, but it just hasn’t happened. We are also seeing that there will be a shortage of phosphates for fertilising artificially, so we will have to get back to basics.” While studying anthropology and journalism in Scotland, Blythman’s sense of justice was heightened by work for NGOs such as women’s aid, citizen’s advice and civil liberties organisations. In 1986 she dipped her toe in organic food retailing, but her heart wasn’t in commerce. Her interests finally merged with writing articles for The Scotsman through which she won a string of awards for her fresh and clear reporting of how food production affects our health and the environment. Her forthright criticism of supermarket policies sparked widespread discussion about their demand for low costs putting pressure on producers for lower and lower prices. Supermarkets with token organic produce don’t impress her either. It’s counter to the ethos of organic food, she says, adding that we should eat local food, without the delays necessary when food has to go to large warehouses for distribution. “We still need to support local growers — farmers’ markets and box schemes are a good idea. With increasing petrol prices this will be seen to be even more necessary.” For food that has to be imported she fully supports Fairtrade as a means of supporting farm workers worldwide. “In Ireland you certainly still have good food available and it’s important to retain that integrity and support the great cheese makers, farmers and local growers.” She points to the terrible waste of food from supermarkets, food outlets and in homes: “They say we could feed everyone starving on our waste.” At home in Edinburgh, Blythman turns leftovers into a feast, making potato cakes from leftover mash and often uses leftovers from last night’s supper for today’s lunch. “Good food isn’t made from expensive ingredients. Look at the great taste and nutritional value of an egg.” The low-calorie/low fat convenience food industry’s influence is another contributor to poor health. “We know that the advice is to keep fat low, but people have been cutting down on good food which has some fat, such as red meat, milk and eggs. The result is that we have less nutritional content in food and people are still getting fatter.” She is concerned about the increase in children with bone conditions such as rickets, a


Watch out TALKING UP: Journalist and broadcaster Joanna Blythman at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork where she gave a lecture recently entitled What’s In Our Food? Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

direct result of under-nutrition. “I would prefer to see children eat good meat, full-fat milk and eggs and instead cut out heavily processed cheap food, high in carbohydrates and low on protein. These foods, such as pizzas and fizzy drinks, are not satisfying and lead to hunger pangs before the next meal. “I am absolutely convinced that cooking food ourselves is the way to go for health and satisfaction,” she says. The life expectancy of those eating poor diets today is far shorter than has been thought to date, so this is a serious problem. “Trust your instinct,” says Blythman. “I have a great deal of respect for people who say, ‘I don’t like the sound of that’. This can certainly apply to the long list of chemicals in convenience foods.” She is happy that the recession and our particularly cold winter edged consumers back to good, old-fashioned hearty, tasty stews made from cheap cuts of meat such as shin of beef. “With less in their pockets, I see people making sure they are getting value for money. We can eat very well when we cook using basic foods which taste well and are nutritionally beneficial. I only have a freezer compartment in my fridge, but I usually can fit some chicken stock, berries, decent bread and organic meat which means there is always the makings of a good meal to hand.” One of the prime concerns that affects all

of us is the danger of losing our sense of taste — what Blythman calls ‘corruption of the palate’. “When we eat over-processed foods, we forget what natural food tastes like. We need benchmarks of taste and that is found in produce such as organic pork from tasty breeds of pig such as saddlebacks. Seek out good food, it’s still there to be enjoyed.” Grace Maher, development officer Irish Organic Famers’ Association, believes Joanna Blythman makes a huge contribution to the understanding of food issues in Ireland. “It’s important for consumers to have an independent spokesperson for the food industry from pineapple production to meat, who tackles real issues and is prepared to challenge rulings from food safety authorities and other organisations whose opinions are accepted without question,” she says. ■ If we need to be convinced further, try Joanna Blythman’s award-winning books: The Food We Eat: The Book You Cannot Afford to Ignore (Penguin); The Food Our Children Eat: How to Get Children to Like Good Food. (Fourth Estate); How to Avoid GM Food: Hundreds of Brands, Products and Ingredients to Avoid. (Fourth Estate); Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets. (Fourth Estate) and Bad Food Britain: How a Nation Ruined Its Appetite (Fourth Estate). 2006.

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WATCH for the number of additives on labels and don’t buy if there is a long list. Joanna Blythman avoids: ■ Farmed salmon ■ Chicken that isn’t free-range or organic ■ Eggs from caged hens ■ Foods that contain soya that hasn’t been fermented, for example soya milk ■ Veggie burgers — watch for those containing soya protein isolates ■ Foods/drinks that contain artificial sweeteners or high fructose ■ Corn syrup ■ The standard wrapped and sliced industrial loaf, even if it’s wholemeal ■ Fresh tuna, swordfish — endangered species ■ Foods with an ingredients list that runs to paragraphs full of ingredients/ additives she doesn’t understand



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Male health

Food for high performance


UNDREDS of thousands of Irish amateur sportsmen take to playing fields, running tracks, and courts every year. As the engine driving all that effort, each man’s body requires maintenance of its own. No longer is it possible — or acceptable — to down a few beers on a Saturday night and represent your village or county in a critical game the next morning. “Even for amateur sportsmen, the first step is to ensure that they’re using the food pyramid,” says Dr Tom Hill, a nutritionist and lecturer at the School of Food and Nutritional Science in University College Cork. “They need to be taking in fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, meat for protein and six to eight glasses of water a day.” Just as you train for an upcoming match, so too do you have to prepare before training. “You should eat something three hours beforehand and it should include carbohydrates and protein, so pasta and chicken is a good choice,” says Dr Hill. It’s also vital to stay hydrated in the run up to training or a match and to check your hydration status during training. Top up every 10 to 15 minutes during training and an isotonic drink during training helps to balance

POWER UP: Dr Tom Hill says it’s important that men consume food in the first 10 minutes after training, ideally something that is high in carbohydrates with some protein such as a sandwich and yoghurt or milk and a cereal bar.

Deirdre O'Flynn

Picture: Getty Images

MOSTLY MEN blood sugar levels. “The period after exercise is called recovery time and it’s important to consume food in the first 10 minutes after training, ideally something that is high in carbohydrates with some protein such as a sandwich and yoghurt or milk and a cereal bar. You’re trying to capitalise on the hormonal state of the body and drive it into recovery,” he says. It is also important to have a meal, such as chicken curry or spaghetti bolognaise, an hour after training because it contains carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates break down into smaller sugars such as glucose, fructose, and galactose which is absorbed by the body to release energy. Fruit and vegetables should also be included as they are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C,

vital in boosting any sportsman’s immune system. “Younger athletes tend to have a poorer intake of fruit and veg but they should try to boost their intake of these through smoothies or soups.”

Male cancer fears are the talk of the month

Podge and Rodge star in bowel cancer-alert film

MARCH is Get Men Talking Men’s Health Month, aimed at tackling the stigma associated with conditions such as testicular and prostate cancer. Throughout this month, the Marie Keating Foundation will focus on being vigilant about men’s health issues and reducing the risk of cancer through positive lifestyle. The foundation launched last year. Mobile information units will visit men’s groups and

IN the build-up to Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April, the Irish Cancer Society and Ireland’s favourite brothers, Podge & Rodge, challenge the embarrassment around the symptoms of bowel cancer with the launch of their movie, My Brother’s Bowels on at My Brother’s Bowels is a short movie, produced by the Irish Cancer Society. Rodge describes the symptoms he is worried about (blood in



workplaces — bringing with them the message of early detection and the benefits of talking openly about health. The service is provided informally and is free of charge. Log on to to arrange for a mobile unit to visit your organisation or to see if one will be visiting a community near you. ■ Our picture shows Dr Mark Hamilton helping launch the Get Men Talking Men’s Health Month. Pic-


SUNSHINE VITAMIN: Last month the HSE launched a campaign advising that all babies aged from birth up to 12 months should be given a daily supplement of 5 micrograms (5µg) of vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is essential for healthy bones, but is present in very few foods. Most infants don’t get enough vitamin D so it is now recommended that all infants receive a daily vitamin D supplement to develop healthy bones and prevent rickets. A number of vitamin D-only products that are suitable for infants and recommended by the HSE are available in pharmacies, including Abidec Vitamin D3 drops, F7.95. Visit to read more, or call the HSE infoline on 1850 241850 for a leaflet.



ture:Chris Bellew/Fennells

his bowel motion, a feeling that he has not emptied his bowel fully after a bowel motion and pain in his back passage) and has a colonoscopy. Late-stage presentation in men is a problem. According to the National Cancer Registry Ireland, of a sample of 337 men with symptoms, 39% presented with stage 4 disease, 27% presented with stage 3 disease, 25% presented with stage 2 disease and 9% presented with stage 1 disease.

Will any of this guarantee that you’ll win the county final? Maybe not, but it will give your body its best chance of performing to its optimum by preparing it for battle, keeping it well watered during a match and replacing lost energy during recovery time.

DId you know... Limit your consumption of red and processed meat to no more than 70g a day to help reduce risk of bowel cancer (Source: Department of Health, England)

Just for baby


BABY TREATS: Looking for a gift for a new arrival? Indulge a new baby and their mum with a selection of organic treats from Gift sets start at F33, or choose from individual products in the Pick and Mix section from F6. Popular gifts include these organic cotton rompers in a classic Breton stripe, which are available in five colour combinations, F24. Or there’s the addictively indulgent Cowshed maternity range Udderly Gorgeous, which includes soothing Stretch Mark Oil, F23. Cowshed oils and balms are blended using organic essential oils and hand-picked herbal infusions. The Baby Cow range uses meadowfoam oil, a gentle and effective moisturiser for baby’s delicate skin and includes a wash, F10, Milky Body Lotion and Buttery Bottom Balm, both F12.


NEW SCOOP: Irish baby company Clevamama has just launched a new product called the ClevaScoop, which does away with the need to count scoops of infant formula. Human error in counting scoops can lead to the wrong concentration of formula for infants and can result in excess weight gain, or the loss of nutrients. “Common misconceptions include the view that an extra scoop of formula can help fill up a baby and aid with sleep, when in fact over feeding an infant is one of the more common causes of constipation and can have a negative effect on a baby’s digestive system,” says midwife Doreen Buckley, who has given her support to the product. The ClevaScoop, F12.99, is available in Tesco, Smyths, Mothercare and other retailers.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011


BATHTIME BUBBLES: BABIES love splashing in a warm bath with big, blobby, bubbles. New Johnson’s Baby 2 in 1 bubble bath and wash, F3.99, has been developed to create gentle bubbles that don’t sting baby’s eyes. The mild formula can be used as a bubble bath — added to running bathwater — or as a wash, directly on a sponge or flannel.





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Hair DIY

Emily O’Sullivan

Help yourself to a choice of products when split ends, frizzy waves and peeping roots spoil your crowning glory

WONDER WOMAN PRODUCTS WE are unable to resist this collection. Wonder Woman was our childhood superhero of choice (wasn’t she every little, girls?) and this MAC’s collection for spring uses the logo and colours of WW to bring a series of truly dashing makeup shades. Try the oversized Lipglass, F21.50, the super-sized Mineralize Skinfinish, F35 and the red hot Nail Lacquer in Obey Me, F13.50.

Take three FAIRTRADE BEAUTY PRODUCTS WITH ingredients being sourced all over the world for our favourite beauty treats, it’s good to know Fairtrade has a presence in a highly competitive market. Here’s three we like:


HERE are levels of bad hair-ness. Level 1 is a bad hair day. Level 5 is a full-on alarm bells ringing, total hair disaster. In the land of Level 3, we find ourselves with frizzy waves, a bit of a sensitive scalp, roots that need doing and split ends. But with a visit to the hairdressers costing more than we have in our wallet right now, we are just gong to have to put up with it. Right now, our only course of action is treatment. And that means, products. Lots of products. Thankfully, hair products in the 21st century are pretty good at crisis management. They step up to the mark with admirable aplomb. And, quite wonderfully, they don’t all cost a small fortune. Most of us can live with a bad hair day. After all, it’s just a day. But there are some things you can throw at your hair that will instantly improve it. Number one is a dry shampoo. It sounds a bit gross — after all, if you need to wash your hair, you should probably just wash it. But sometimes you just don’t have time, or you woke up late and yadda, yadda, yadda. Dry shampoo will get you out of this mess. Immediately. The second option is just to pull it all back. Ballet buns are super hot for spring, and they are one of the best ways of dealing with unruly hair. Just sweep your hair back into a

The news on...

Boots Extracts Fairtrade Cocoa Butter Body Butter, F11.29. Boots has a whole Fairtrade bathing range with scrubs, moisturisers and bath creams and washes. We love their Cocoa Butter Body Butter — it makes the skin super-soft with a really rich sweet smell. Lovely.

Picture: Getty Images

ponytail, twist it around and fix with a few hair pins. Make sure that the hair is looking neat and tidy, though — a little serum or hair oil will fix it a treat. (Try Moroccanoil — it is one of the best hair oils around.) Next, for hair that is suffering a little more, you need to invest in a fix-it conditioner and shampoo. Going for two products from the same range is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Admittedly, our favourite hair range is the pricey Shu Uemura, but Pantene and Dove also boast great products for damaged hair, while Aussie get the major thumbs up for price, effectiveness and scent. Their new Take The Heat collection is tailored towards anyone with a fondness for damaging drying devices. If your colour is fading, then panic not. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of using a colour protect shampoo and conditioner, as

they will condition as well as shield your locks from colour fade. But you can also bump up your colour with products such as John Frieda’s Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo, F5.99. Finally, for hair in a truly sorry state, then look to more deeply conditioning treatments, such as masques. They work really well at delivering moisture back into the ends of hair and stopping that seriously dry, frizzy look. Kerastase is an industry favourite and make some of the best masques on offer, but you’ll find that most of the supermarket brands also have a special conditioning treatment product in their ranges. For a special treat, try Fudge Dynamite, F15.04 — it’s a deep conditioning protein treatment targeted at repairing and replenishing the hair, promoting shine, preventing split ends and deeply conditioning. Just what we need.

Umberto Giannini Glam Hair Morning-after Dry Shampoo, F8.29. Encased in black glam, slightly “bad girl” packaging, this is a great one for those days when you should wash your hair, but just can’t get around to it. Just spray onto your roots, leave for a bit and then fluff up your hair with your fingers. It’s not a miracle-worker, but it’s close.

Pantene Colour Protect & Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, F2.99. You can’t really argue with a shampoo and conditioner that cost three quid each, especially when they work very well. If you’ve got colour that you need to look after then this is a good range to opt for.

Absolute Skincare Organic Sugar Polish with Lime, F20.33 at Formulated with Fairtrade brown sugar, this polish uses coconut oil to hydrate the skin while sloughing off the bits you could really do without. A welcome body treat. Fairtrade Foot Lotion, F13.65. Barbie Doll pink, this Fairtrade minty cream is packed with spearmint and peppermint essential oils to cool feet that have been put through their paces.

STUFF WE LIKE L’Oreal Expert Curl Contour Masque, F16.80. Curly hair is back in vogue in a big way, but with curls often comes buckets of frizz. You can calm things down and deliver a big burst of moisture with this lightweight gel masque that will detangle and condition. Lee Stafford My Big Fat Healthy Hair Shampoo and Conditioner, F7.69 each. We’re getting a little tired of the “My Big Fat….” prefix, but it pretty much sums this shampoo up. It’s designed to deliver volume and condition to hair making it “bigger, fuller, fatter”. A perfect one for people whose hair has sadly gone a little limp.


Aussie Take The Heat Collection, from F4.99. This really is one of the most affordable hair care ranges on the market. We love everything about it, from the classic Three Minute Miracle hair repair conditioner, to the way that it smells. This range is another strong one from them, perfect for those addicted to their hairdryers.

Dove Hair Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, F3.59. We’re especially fond of the conditioner in this range — it has a good consistency, doesn’t create problems with product build up and moisturises very well. Moroccanoil Moisture Shampoo, F18, and conditioner, F19.50, and Moroccanoil Treatment, F38. Moroccanoil is our new guilty pleasure. We

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

say guilty because it’s really quite expensive, but it’s really very good. The shampoo and conditioner work a treat at getting your hair back into shape, while the Treatment (which is really a hair oil) is perfect for taming frizzy ends while simultaneously conditioning. Perfect. La Roche – Posay Kerium Doux, F10.50. Sensitive scalps can contribute hugely to Bad Hair Days. After all, if your scalp’s tight and itchy then it can dramatically affect how you feel about your hair. This shampoo for sensitive scalps is clinically proven to reduce sensitivity after 28 days and is formulated with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spa Water.



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Natural health


I SUFFER from the cold. Is there something lacking in my blood, and if so is there something I could take to improve the situation? I am 60 years old.

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. Healthy circulation is key to our every function, not only for nutrient absorption, because the blood transports messages and other materials around the body to maintain internal balance. Daily exercise is very important, whether it be a 30-minute walk or some simple yoga poses, since this keeps the blood flowing to the extremities and organs. Cigarette smoking is a disastrous habit since it not only contributes towards a number of organ diseases, it has a profound negative impact on the circulatory system, particularly the flow of blood to the limbs. Efficiency of blood flow through your circulatory system can be affected by even the tiniest change in diameter of the blood vessels. Capillaries are only around five microns (0.0005mm) — so small that red blood cells need to travel through in single file. Herbs such as ginger and cayenne are wonderful in treating circulation issues. You can easily make your own ginger drink by simmering an inch of fresh ginger root in 500ml of water. Add a tablespoon of local raw honey and a decent pinch of cayenne and drink this brew throughout the day. Q. I am 82 years old and suffer from urinary tract infections. I seem to be constantly on antibiotics for this unpleasant ailment. I was wondering if there is a herbal solution to the matter. I have a large family, 10 children, and I expect these infections must have been due to the constant pressure of the womb, which was removed in 1972. I take cranberry with the herbs uva ursi and buchu. It doesn’t seem to clear it for good. A. You are right in that pregnancy can trigger urinary tract infections (UTIs), and the pressure exerted on the pelvic floor muscles can weaken the area considerably, causing issues with urinary leakage, and cross contamination with the bacteria from the anus or vagina. While this would play a part in the initial development of infections, there are a number of other factors at play by this stage. Uva ursi is a brilliant herb for UTIs, as is buchu — however, taking uva ursi together with cranberry will cancel out the action of both remedies since uva ursi requires the urine to be in an alkaline state in order to be effective, and cranberries create acidic urine. For best results take the uva ursi together with marshmallow root or leaf. Marshmallow has a similar, but less powerful action and helps to soothe the urinary tract and moderate the effect of uva ursi on the kidneys. Ideally, you should only need to take these

GINGER AID: A cup of ginger tea is easy to make and wonderful in treating circulation issues and keeping you warm. Picture: iStock

herbs for a week, then switch to the cranberry for a week. It is important to have your urine tested for specific bacteria, since the antibiotics you have been taking may not be not well-matched to the particular bacteria in question, or that you have an infection that is not bacterial in origin. Ensure you cut all processed foods — particularly fats and sugars — out of your diet, and eat plenty of fresh local whole foods. The combination of fats with sugars often triggers a candida imbalance (responsible for many stubborn UTIs), so even with your fresh fruit and vegetables it is worth keeping sweet fruits and fatty fruits separate. Drinking plenty of water is essential to help flush the urinary tract, and avoiding fizzy drinks and caffeinated beverages makes sense. To address the damage done with the multiple courses of antibiotics wiping out your beneficial bacteria, take a high quality probiotic, such as those available from Biocare, Solgar, or Seven Seas. You may even want to look into candida-specific probiotic preparations such as Three- and Five-Lac. Q. Can you tell me where in Ireland I can buy a blue light box and what the cost is? I am 59 years old but also feel my daughters aged 18 and 24 would benefit from this. Is it suitable for all ages? A. While the studies I mentioned in a previous article used the blue light technology, and focused on a group aged 60 years, there

Megan puts the spotlight on:


E are constantly bombarded with information on the latest and greatest natural health discoveries, and the health store shelves groan under the weight of supplements for almost any ailment you can name — and some you can’t. But are these supplements as truly healthy and natural as we are led to believe? A huge part in reclaiming your health and assisting your body’s natural process of healing itself is to first become conscious. That is, to develop a consciousness or awareness around any decisions regarding your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. While there are a number of conscious health manufacturers operating from a place of genuine care and concern for our wellbeing,



are a wide range of effective white light products available as well, and lightboxes can certainly be used by people of all ages. Sunlight is made up of the full spectrum (hence the appearance of rainbows), and the traditional white light full-spectrum light boxes were designed to replicate sunshine. They are very effective, particularly in treating light-deficiency disorders. The research into blue light spectrum treatment for depressive disorders has uncovered the effectiveness of a specific bandwidth of blue light. So whether you choose white or blue, both are proven to be effective in treating SAD, and other mood imbalances. The organisation,, endorses the use of natural products over drugs to treat SAD, and list light box products which have been successful in clinical trials. According to its website a light box must shine the correct levels of therapeutic light towards the user, using medically proven and certified technology to provide a light treatment — the user must be awake at all times through the light treatment, and all bulb-based products must emit 10,000 LUX at 15cm or more away from the user to be classed as a treatment device. If you log on to the website you will see the list of products endorsed on BrighterDay ( has a great range of lightbox products, so it might be worth contacting them (01-2711877) to see if they have or are planning to stock the newer blue light products. Prices from F169.

Healthy supplements or expensive waste? tered from the body. We also know that there is a huge issue with our waters being polluted. This concentrated fishing industry by-product is waste by the very nature of its function.

there are many more who place financial gain above any health benefits. It is important to do your research and find out who are ethical and conscious manufacturers, but it’s also equally important to find out which products are over-hyped waste products being marketed as the next big thing. The following products are examples of supplements touted as being healthy, but may be worth a closer look:

Whey protein: This supplement is a waste product from the dairy industry — milk protein which is discarded during milk processing. Nutrients are always better absorbed by the body when they come from whole food sources.

Cod liver oil: We know that the liver is the organ where all of the toxins are fil-

Soy lecithin: Lecithin is necessary for good health, but should we be getting

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

our lecithin as a by-product of the soy industry? Not only is soy one of the most genetically modified food products available, it is highly manufactured and quite different from the lecithin our bodies require. MSG (mono sodium glutamate): The dangers of MSG are now quite widely known. Another soy industry by-product, MSG can cause all manner of toxic symptoms such as headaches and rashes. Encapsulated vitamin E and soy isoflavones: These are two other common examples of soy by-products being pushed as healthy, when in fact they are highly processed and expensive waste products.




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Feelgood 18-03-2011  

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

Feelgood 18-03-2011  

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