About Keir Watson

Researcher and lecturer in Nutrition & Human Evolution, (rosemarycottageclinic.wordpress.com), Tutor ( physics), Permaculturist: fruit tree training; garden building construction; green roofs (www.herbidacious.wordpress.com)

Dietary guidelines are a disaster: here’s ten principles to fix them

what-to-eat

Read time: 20 minutes (3300 words)

What to eat?

That used to be a question that only needed to be asked on the rare occasions when you ate out. Traditionally, eating had always been a cultural thing. People learned what to eat at the family table, guided by seasonally available foods most of which were produced locally or nationally. Each country had its traditional foods, everything seemed to be simple.

But at some point in the last century, partly as a result of rising cardiovascular disease, but perhaps also because of the increasing commercialisation of the food chain, governments across the developed world took it upon themselves to start advising their populations how best to eat. Continue reading

Opal apples (review) – a GMO beating UK grown variety ★★★★★

Opal fruits? These look good…

I saw this packet of ‘Opal’ apples in the supermarket half price section and immediately knew they were something special. I grow 7 different varieties of apple here at Rosemary Cottage Gardens so take a keen interest in these quintessentially British fruits. I am particularly fond of my late cropping variety (although I don’t know its name unfortunately) as its December apples are surprisingly fresh and juicy at a time of year when thoughts of summer have long faded. So there was something compelling about these large golden coloured Opals in their tempting half price packaging.

I got them home, and wow! My hunch was right. These beauties are superb! Not only are these great apples, but they have some really interesting characteristics and a cool back story. So here is my mini review… Continue reading

Carbohydrates, not animal fats, linked to heart disease across 42 European countries

A study of 42 European countries found lower cardiovascular disease and mortality among countries that consumed more fats and animal protein. Higher cardiovascular mortality was linked to carbohydrate consumption. Another nail in the coffin for the diet-heart hypothesis?

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Leg o’ lamb with home grown veg

I just brought in some lovely fresh veg from our garden this afternoon – the broccoli and celeriac were really top notch! Plus we have enough carrots to see us through to April. 

It might be late in the year, but I try to have something to eat from the garden all year round. We have Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, sprouting broccoli and winter onions to come, with cauliflowers in the new year.

Sunday Roast

Afifah made a fab roast dinner using the garden veg: Goodwood leg of lamb, rubbed with homegrown garlic and rosemary, served with mashed celeriac, broccoli and roast carrots. A perfect and nutritious Sunday dinner :)

Here’s a little slideshow of the meal: Traditional English fare at it’s best.

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Cholesterol and CVD – How reliable are the risk calculators?

The red line shows the expected number of 10yr fatal CVD deaths predicted by SCORE. The dots represent the actual percentage of deaths observed in a Danish population [Mortensen et al, Jun 2015, European Heart Journal]

A recent study among the population of Denmark has found that the SCORE (Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation) model for predicting CVD deaths in low risk European countries (see our previous post) overestimates 10 year risk of death compared to what is actually observed by no less than 500% (4.9-fold in men and by 5.5-fold in women).

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Cholesterol and CVD – putting the risks into perspective

“Heart disease risk”, “raised cholesterol”, “Statins” – these six words are guaranteed to strike fear into almost anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be cursed by their local witch doctor wielding these hexed mantras. For years the public psyche has been hyper-sensitised to these terms through incessant media reporting and public health messages. Continue reading

Depressed Vegetarians for Corbyn is a thing?

“Vegetarian diets make you depressed” the article said. Tell me about it! Just being around vegetarians makes me depressed, I thought.

The article in question was in Medical Express (Sep 11th). It was reporting on a study of 10,000 people from the UK which found twice the rate of depression among the 350 ‘committed vegetarians’ in the cohort. What was also apparent was that those who had been vegetarian longest – the most committed – had the highest rates of depression. The researchers suggest that low levels of seafood, B12 and high levels of phytoestrogens may be to blame.

After reading this I felt a little sad for all my vegetarian friends, so started digging around to see if there was a support group out there. Well it seems there is, and it’s called the Labour Party…(!)

So believe it or not, Depressed Vegetarians for Corbyn is a thing! Baffling. But at least they are helping each other come to terms with their depression. First up, they can buy one of these these beautiful T-shirts:

And there is even a twitter page just for them: https://twitter.com/corbeanies

So what’s the link between being a depressed vegetarian and supporting Jeremy Corbyn? The more I thought about this, the more I started questioning the scientists. Perhaps, I wondered, It’s not the lack of B12 or seafood causing the depression, but rather their hopeless political ambitions? Either way, it’s no wonder they are depressed!

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How can bitter foods be good for us when they taste so bad? – Resolving the paradox

Laying out the problem

Our recent post on bitters, left me with a lot of questions.

If bitter tastes indicate the presence of toxins and thereby help us avoid poisonous foods, why do they stimulate such positive physiological responses? Why would some of those responses protect us from metabolic diseases like diabetes and cancer? If bitter taste is merely a warning to avoid a particular food, then why do many traditions revere bitter foods? How do we explain why adults develop a taste for bitter foods that as children they found repulsive? Why does folk law say “Good medicine always tastes bitter”?

After a lot of pondering I think I’ve got an answer but to make sense of it I need to lay out what I see as the relevant parts of the puzzle first.

Read time: 16 minutes (3100 words)

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