The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Coeliacs And COVID-19

This article in The Times is entitled Covid-19: Being Black Does Not Put You At Greater Risk, Researchers Say.

This though is the significant paragraph in my view.

The documents also show that among younger people obesity raises the death rate fourfold, and for those in their fifties it more than doubles it.

As I am not by any means obese, it pleases me.

But it got me thinking about fellow coeliacs.

Most are built like whippets and many seem to be fit for their age.

So do we get a secondary protection against COVID-19?

How Many Diagnosed Coeliacs Have Caught COVID-19?

the coeliac charity; Coeliac UK, indicated to me, that they are doing research into the number of coeliacs, who have caught COVID-19.

Surely, one way to find out how many coeliacs are in hospital with COVID-19, would be to look at how many hospital cases are on a gluten-free diet!

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , | Leave a comment

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Plans TfL ‘Junk Food’ Advert Ban

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

I don’t buy junk food, except for the odd bag of gluten-free chips from McDonalds, where there is nothing else I can find.

The move is to cut obesity in the capital.

I think a relately problem is the steadily-growing numbers of fast food shops in places like Kingsland High Street, near where I live?

  • They offer unhealthy food.
  • Few offer food for those like me, who have special needs.
  • They contribute largely to litter all over the place.
  • They are always dropping junk mail through my door.

Walk past these shops, just after school has finished and they are full of kids, stuffing themselves.

So what is Sadiq Khan doing to curb the numbers of the unhealthy places? Precisely, nothing!

In the BBC article, Karl Mercer the BBC corespondent says this.

It seems the mayor is trying to have his (low-calorie) cake and eat it.

Perhaps aware that high sugar, fat and salt ads bring in around £13m for TfL he says his new ban will not apply to companies – just to their less healthy products.

I think it is unworkable policy, that if it results in reduced advertising spend for TfL, could result in higher fares or Council Tax.




May 12, 2018 Posted by | Food, Health, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Cure For Obesity

There was a discussion on BBC Radio 5 yesterday about the link between obesity and lack of exercise. So I texted in my four pennyworth.

I’m going away for a few days, so I cleared up the junk mail in my hall. There was enough from fast food restaurants to heat my house for a couple of days. Perhaps if you’re obese you could be sentenced to delivering these leaflets, as the exercise might help.

The program liked it and read it out.

But on a serious note, should it be made illegal for fast food companies to distribute leaflets through peoples doors without a paid-off licence.

Perhaps someone should be paid to distribute simple recipes through the doors.

How many people receiving a very tasty and healthy recipe from say Sainsburys, would actually buy the food and cook it?

I’ve lived with only two women for most of my life; my mother and my wife. Neither were innovative cooks and often we ate the same food in rotation. As an example, I can’t remember either finding a recipe in the paper or seeing it on the television and then cooking it.

I may lack cooking skills, but I am not unadventurous, so if I see a simple recipe, I’ll often buy the ingredients and cook it.

Perhaps to improve the food in this country, we all need to be less afraid of experimenting.

Last night I cooked this simple fish recipe from Mary Berry. Tonight, I’ll cook a sausage and bean casserole from Lyndsey Bareham in The Times. This gives me two portions, one for tonight and one for the fridge. As I’m going away tomorrow until Friday, the second portion will be there ready when I return late on Friday, if I need it.


October 14, 2014 Posted by | Food, Health | | Leave a comment

Lose Weight Whilst You Sleep In A Cooler Bedroom

It sounds too good to be true, but read this article from the New York Times.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | Food, Health | | Leave a comment

Security Is Sometimes Entertaining

There was a bit of delay at security, as the staff kept getting beeps from this rather obese couple, who had to go through the detector several times.

In the end the staff said the beeps were caused by the passengers’ fat or something like that!

It did mean though, that I was some minutes longer getting to the gate.

It all added more meaning to that old phrase. “Time to spare, go by air!”

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Charging Airline Passengers According To Their Weight

As someone built like the Aldgate Sphinx, I’m all in favour of this action by Samoa  Air. It’s reported here in the Guardian.

A Samoan airline that has become the world’s first carrier to charge passengers according to their weight has defended its policy. People wishing to travel withSamoa Air have to submit their weight, including their luggage, when booking to calculate their fare.

They describe it as the concept of the future.

I think that it has some advantages.  I remember getting on an EasyJet flight and an enormously obese man was in the queue. Everybody wanted to avoid sitting next to him and being swamped as all that fat overflowed into their seat. In the end everybody’s fears were unfounded as a stewardess squeezed him into two seats and made a big show of getting the seat belt extension  much to all the passengers’ delight. What would have happened if the flight had been full, I don’t know, as the window seat, which was unoccupied, would have had to have been used! They would have been trapped there for the duration of the flight!

So weighing passengers would in this case have charged him for the seats he actually occupied.

There is always the story about the charter pilot, who during the week, flew jockeys to the races.  At the weekend, he took a party  of four somewhat larger passengers to somewhere exotic and realised that he was overweight for the aircraft and had to unload some of the fuel.

Charging for passengers by weight may not happen now, but say if you were flying from London to Budapest, which I am on Monday, where there is a choice of three reputable airlines and one airline charged by weight, small and normal sized passengers would probably find it was an advantage to choose the pay-by-weight airline, as they wouldn’t then be sitting next to some enormous lump of solid lard. So to charge by weight, might attract more passengers.

On a serious note, have any studies been done on evacuating an aircraft in an emergency, where there are some seriously overweight passengers? Some I’ve seen wouldn’t be able to get through the emergency exits.

There’s also some interesting comments on obese flyers here in the Economist.

I think that this issue will be solved when Michael O’Leary of Ryanair decides on a controversial policy. Love him or loathe him, he usually makes the right decisio, for both his airline and most of their passengers.

April 3, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Profits Before Health In New York

It would appear from this story about banning the sale of large sizes of fizzy drinks in New York, that American lawyers are on the side of corporate profits and really can’t care about the obesity and health of the American people.

As someone, who is built like the Aldgate Sphinx, and has always been like that, I have never understood obesity and why people get that way. My father was the same and it looks like my son is too! At least we could share clothes, if we wanted!

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health, News | , , | Leave a comment

Is The NHS The Cause Of Our Bad Health?

Reports such as this one on the BBC web site, show that our health is getting worse.

I have no complaints about the way, I’ve been treated in the last few years and the NHS was very good in their treating of my wife and son, and especially my granddaughter.

But I do wonder if this good service is the problem and contributes to our bad health.

How many smokers, drinkers and obese believe that the NHS will sort their problems out and of course at no cost to themselves or their families? If I had had a pound for every smoker, who said his father smoked all of his life and then he died at 90, I’d be a truly rich man.

If we had to pay directly for our health care, we might take more care of our health. Not that I’m advocating it, but we should all perhaps get a statement each year from our GP about our health and how much we’ve cost the NHS.

An aside here, is that for the last thirty years, I’ve had private health insurance, which I haven’t used much.  Because the NHS is so good round here, with two world-class hospitals a short bus ride away, I have now discontinued it. If though say, I had a small inconvenient problem like a damaged finger that needed an operation, I would probably pay to jump the queue.  But the cost would be well within what I saved on the insurance.

March 5, 2013 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Call To Scrap Gluten-Free Food Prescriptions

This article on the BBC’s web site, talks about a call in a learned journal for gluten-free prescriptions to be stopped on the NHS.

I have had gluten-free prescriptions in the past, but quite frankly, living where I do now, to take them would be a waste of my time and the NHS’s money.

So what specific gluten-free foods do I buy?

1. A few ginger cakes from Waitrose, as I find they help my dry throat. I can’t make cakes any more and to be fair, I haven’t got any cake tins.

2. I usually have one loaf of Genius bread a week, which I can buy from any number of outlets locally, like Waitrose, Sainsbury or the Co-op.

3. I’m not much of a biscuit person, but I probably eat one pack a fortnight. I actually prefer genius toast with Benecol and jam.

4.  As you see from this blog, I do buy the odd ready-meal like the venison from Marks and Spencer. But these are the standard product.

5. I buy some of the EatNatural gluten-free breakfast cereal. I get through about a packet a week.

6.  I do buy a specialist gluten-free beer called Celia over the Internet.

If I take out the beers, which are £2.10 each, I probably spend under ten pounds a week on specific gluten-free food. Although of course, I do spend quite a bit more on quality fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.

If I  had to get gluten free food on prescription, it would mean going to the surgery and back.  Probably I’d walk, which would be good for me, but I have better things to do with my time. I’d then have to go to the pharmacy to collect it.

So for people like me, this would be no inconvenience at all.

Obviously, for those on a very limited income, it might be more of a problem.

But the real key to a successful gluten-free diet is to eat lots of natural foods like meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.  None of these cost more if you are a coeliac, as they’re all naturally gluten free.

The expensive gluten-free items to buy are bread, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches and beer. But it could be argued that most people eat too much of these anyway.

If gluten-free food was stopped on the NHS, the only people who would complain, would be the chattering classes, who are probably allergic to nuclear power, HS2, fracking, the Supersewer, the Congestion Charge and using public transport.  Many though, like me, will probably have their lunches in upmarket cafes like Carluccio’s.

I would apply the money saved in the NHS, by using it to subsidise the cost of quality gluten-free bread, pasta and perhaps some cakes and biscuits.  So for example a gluten-free loaf would then cost very much the same as a quality gluten-rich one.

That way all coeliacs would benefit.

It would also create jobs.  Just think of the quality sandwich shop, where the owner makes his own sandwiches to order.  So you want gluten-free bread? – No problem!

We don’t have a coeliac health problem over diet in this country.  We have a health problem over diet.  So let’s solve them all together with a proper integrated policy to get everybody eating well.

You won’t get everyone to eat better, but at least you’ll get some avoiding the problems of a bad diet.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Tax Fizzy Drinks!

There has been a call this morning, for a tax to be put on fizzy sugary drinks. It’s reported here on the BBC.

I would not be affected by such a tax, as I suppose the only high sugar drink, I take is the odd smoothie, when I need to take my pills out.

I did however chat to someone yesterday, who has retired from a job, where they looked after obesity and diabetes in the community. Judging by that pair of jobs, there is a serious connection between being overweight and getting diabetes.

So perhaps, it would be a good idea to try to cut down on all that sugar! On the other hand, we perhaps shouldn’t go for artificial sweeteners, as many like the outspoken, DogtorJ, believe them to be a problem. He incidentally is a vet, who is a coeliac, and has come to some interesting research-based conclusions.

I doubt we’ll ever see a tax on fizzy drinks, as the industry wouldn’t allow it and I suspect, it would be a vote loser.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , , | 1 Comment