Thursday, 22 October 2009

Live long and er... prosper

I think I may owe the NHS an apology for having slagged off the food they’ve been serving me for the past couple of months. It turns out they were only doing it for my own good. There’s a jolly good reason why hospital food has virtually no protein, fat, sugar or salt in it. You see, food that’s high in amyloid-beta, the poisonous plaques blamed for brain cell death and memory loss in Alzheimer's, can speed up the onset of dementia.

Dr Susanne Sorensen, the head of research at The Alzheimer’s Society, says: 'Further investigation is now needed to better understand whether the way we balance our diet can increase or reduce our vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease. It’s important to eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish. People who want to reduce their risk of dementia should also take regular exercise, refrain from smoking and get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked.’

Dr Sorensen doesn’t indicate whether alcohol would be included on that list of forbidden fruits but you can bet a pound to a penny that anything with even a sniff of booze about it will also be on the verboten list. Just follow the Sorensen diet if you’re serious about hanging on to your marbles for as long as possible and not going completely gaga by the time you reach 50.

So, to avoid dementia in order that you can fully enjoy the patronizing way old people are treated, spend years in an old people’s home, appreciate your aching joints, delight in deafness, revel in poor eyesight and really enjoy your arthritis and any of the other myriad delights of old age, just stick to a boring vegetarian diet, take plenty of grueling exercise, keep clear of the booze and fags and don’t, on any account, eat anything that’s remotely tasty or enjoyable.

Now finish your tofu!


  1. Hi TM, I do think it's good advice though but none of us are perfect (least of all me!). To some extent life is a lottery which mixes genetic predisposition with lifestyle habits and a dose of good or bad luck.
    My mum-in-law has dementia and is in a good, non-patronising care home that comes at a price however - £600 per week, only 25% of which is paid for by public funds.
    The other advice that is given time and time again is to keep the brain active - you seem to be doing a good job there for yourself and your readers ;)

    Hang on in there!

  2. Just checking with you if you have seen this page TM

    “Key messages clearly emerged from our recent 2009 HCA Conference. These were that there should be no boundaries in providing a better meal service to our patients and that we should all ask the question mentioned in one of the sessions ‘would you be happy to eat this meal’? It is up to us, as hospital caterers, to stand up and be counted when it comes to providing nutritional care for our patients” says Kevan Wallace, Chairman, Hospital Caterers Association.

    Maybe ask him if he would like a plate of the stuff you are being served !


  3. I don't think it's just the food. It is mental training again and just luck as stated above. That's why I now will enjoy my Whopper without any guilt :).

  4. Now now Mr TM, nothing wrong with a good vegetarian diet, if that is what one wants. But you are right about the problems associated with old age. There is a saying in Public Health that as well as adding years to life, that we also need to add life to years. Addressing the problem of discrimination against the elderly would be a good start.

  5. I'm not against vegetarianism per se, it's the chasing of longevity without addressing the quality of life. I think were of one mind on this.

    1. Man,you really have must encountered some horrible wannabe-vegetarian meals if you think vegetarian meals per se are boring.

      But you wouldn´t be the first englishman who thinks this way because of vegetables beeing boiled to death and served with some of those horrible sauces and dusty hard bread...or whatever they throw into the mix.

      Just take a small look to the indian and asian cuisine for a myriad of vegetarian, exciting meals...just a small look, a bigger one might blow a fuse in hospitalfood infused brains I fear.

  6. I agree with you about the chasing of longevity but avoiding those diseases we can does improve quality of life. I speak as someone who is not very good at following the advice. I have been disabled by arthritis since the age of 32. I don't think that diet and booze were the cause - though they didn't help. Perhaps more damaging was working in a very stressful job though admittedly, genetic bad luck was the major factor.

    Did you see the programme last night on BBC3 where a BBC journalist was examining obesity and who was "to blame". I saw it from half-way through when she was tackling an NHS trust on why it had burger joints as the fast food outlets in the hospital. Unsurprisingly, management were not available to speak to her. They physically removed her when she started an aerobics session in the hospital grounds to work off the calories of one of the burgers - one of the large ones required 5 hours of aerobics!

  7. I don't believe in all these 'working off the calories' charts as even a sedentary body needs a daily dose of calories to keep itself going. So if you work off all the calories you end up with zero!
    A good meaty grilled burger without all the fatty cheese and full fat mayo is not a bad meal in my opinion - with a few oven chips and some salad on the side. Not too dissimilar from the hero panino.

  8. I think these ones had the fatty cheese and mayo.

  9. As a cancer survivor (x2, I never really think I will be free from it) I can only state what my Oncologist replied to me when I asked him, ‘What causes cancer?’
    He mused as he watched the nurse bag me up with more cyst plat, ‘Drinking, smoking, eating or working, but on the whole we get cancer because we are living and that is always bad for your health at some time or another.’
    Hope you keep yourself busy as you can, and as a one time fellow NHS bed inmate its important to keep your sense of humour even when the dark days cometh and visit. But you seem to have that in bucket loads. Toddle pip!