Champagne on Deck
A Birthday Trip on the Thames
August is my favourite time of the year when I know we will be taking our yacht out for my birthday party. This year the tide was early so we had a Champagne breakfast. It was a great trip with some very interesting people. We went towards Graves End rather than the Houses of Parliament this time as one of my guests was the pioneer of the Docklands, being the first to buy a building to restore. The weather was spectacular and the scenery is very interesting with so much to see. Sally Farmiloe - Neville was hoping to make it but she had a last minute voice over and several other friends were away. Since we can only take twelve people actually cruising, the party carried on afterwards with more guests joining us once we had docked. You will recognise Charlotte, my PR and Comtesse Maryse-Antoinette and her husband Marcus.
Well, what can I say of the last month with the weather and the economy seeming to be topsy-turvy. I feel like saving some cash under the bed for emergencies and storing some food (tins of wild salmon and such – organic, that can keep) like the intelligent squirrel. However, you can always be sure that whenever disaster happens the money and lifestyle just change hands and different people become the 'new' wealthy. The money never disappears; it merely changes hands. However, it's not quite the same for our food. If this is tampered with then it can be the end of 'real' food as we know it and the beginning of chemical mush, looking and selling like 'real' food. Trouble is when we wake up to the fact that there is no longer any 'real' food left it could be too late. With stronger pesticides and genetic engineering changing the soil and killing off the natural deterrents no wonder the world is getting obese and ill with heart disease, diabetes and cancer at all levels.
Our Immoral World!
Eat cheap, don't care what the food producers are doing, turn a blind eye to what it costs the animals and there you have it. This is the typical shopper, we are told. But now that the food producers are being compared with arms dealers by some respected scientists interviewed on television, will this make a difference? They posed the question: "would the people eat the food if they knew what was happening?" Sadly the answer is probably 'yes' for the majority of people. This is what is making 'real' food look expensive. Food was never cheap. It only became cheap when it was tampered with using chemical ingredients.
You just need to look at what is happening around us to see the extent of the damage. A TV documentary about the rain forests in Borneo showed that a quarter of the rain forests have been logged and gone forever, which is an enormous loss. Mainly down to palm oil which is used in most of our food, and is not even good for us. It takes so much forest to maintain a small amount of palm oil that we are destroying our environment to eat unhealthy food.
"What is the real price of a £2 Chicken"?
Looking closer to home, one of the newspaper headlines asked, "what is the real price of a £2 chicken." It was referring to one of the cut price supermarkets selling a chicken for only £2 and suggested that the birds were "crammed into stinking sheds" and questioned that if they are such a bargain, such cheap birds must be prone to serious illnesses. What has happened to our morals? I haven't eaten chicken for years because they now taste so bland and contain large amounts of antibiotics to keep them disease free. Not because they harbour disease but because of the intensive farming used in what are claimed to be healthily bred chickens. The worst thing of course is when they are bred to be fattened in half the time, only weeks before they are slaughtered. So much so that they can hardly walk. "It is like putting a teenage body on an eight year old skeleton," said Joyce D'Silva from Compassion in World Farming. A study showed that 26% of British birds are lame at slaughter and prone to heart failure, sores and blisters.
The simple fact is that when you rear livestock of any kind and cram them together they can easily get diseased with bird flu or Foot and Mouth. However, the latest Foot and Mouth outbreak seems to be a man-made mistake which is very frightening. I could hardly bear to think of how the farmers felt after their small herds were killed for no fault of their own. Herds that had taken decades to raise to such high standards. They are gone for ever, while money stays and just changes hands.
Emails – the new plague?
Emails – the plague driving workers to distraction?
I thought I couldn't be the only one that thinks e-mails are counter-productive. In fact they are a menace. A report from Paisley University studied e-mail stress. Trying to keep up with the never ending e-mails interrupts normal work leaving employees tired, frustrated and unproductive. Likened to asking the obese person how much they eat and getting an answer that is what they believe is true but is actually only a fraction of what they are eating, it seems the same with e-mails. When employees were asked how many times they looked at emails, 35% said every 15 minutes but when monitored it was more often with some checking the e-mails up to 40 times an hour. Researcher Karen Renaud of Glasgow University said, "E-mail is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives." She explained that when you break off what you were doing you've lost your train of thought and become less productive.
Beware of some French bread - the long flute type. I was given the ingredients of one bought in an upmarket supermarket. Wheat, flour, water, salt, yeast, emulsifier, mono-and diacetyl tartaric acid of mono-and diglycerides of fatty acids, ascorbic acid and flour improver: L-ascorbic acid. And it looks so innocent......
Great News for organic food lovers: two restaurants in Kings Road that are well worth visiting. One, Osteria dell'Arancio, 383 Kings Road, is what I would say is 'world class'. Doesn't call itself organic but the fish is not farmed so can be classed as organic. If you choose the swordfish, it just melts in your mouth and I personally have never tasted it so good. I asked the chef how he cooked it. He said it is all in the buying of the fish. Superb. I was delighted since there were just some small potatoes with it so it makes the meal mostly organic. The tuna was so succulent and the home made Tiramisu was out of this world. My husband is not a dessert man but he will eat either flowerless chocolate cake or Tiramisu as a dessert on special occasions and only if the food is excellent.
Then there is the organic restaurant opposite the fire station called Le Pain Quotidien. It had a board outside advertising itself as 100% organic which is very unusual and a delight to see. I asked to make sure and was told that everything was organic. The food and wine were delicious and it had a very tasty menu with hosts of desserts and breads that you can take out. The organic pizza was one of the few I had come across that is fully organic.
Are you getting rashes or sores in your mouth? It may be the toothpaste. It seems that there are all sorts of poisons in some toothpastes - and that is apart from the sugar contained in them.
If you haven't got a dish washer I hope you are washing the soap off your dishes. It can take a huge amount of water to get rid of this frothy soap which can be carcinogenic. And of course, if you haven't washed the soap off, you'll be ingesting it along with your food.
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Eds Note: VALERIE AUSTIN is an author of six successful self-help books including SELF HYPNOSIS (Thorsons), journalist and trainer with an international reputation in the field of hypnosis. Her best-selling books and training help people achieve their full potential. She founded the Austin Corporate Stress Management Company focusing on reducing stress and anxiety amongst executives and CEO's. She is also founder of UKRAH (1992) The UK Register of Advanced Hypnotherapy. Valerie has also worked as a consultant in hypnosis at the Priory Hospital, the UK's equivalent to The Betty Ford Clinic, which specialises in food addiction and alcohol abuse. Her work in the film industry (Hollywood) interviewing movers and shakers, producing TV news segments and publishing celebrity magazines in London gave her invaluable experience for her current Harley Street practice.