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So what are calories and diet?

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Google calories. But for most of us calories are what we need to live, to grow and stay healthy. At present for my weight 12 stone 1 pound or 169 pounds or 77 Kg I need 2026 calories based on a description of being lightly active. If I consume less food and drink I will lose weight if I consume more I will gain weight, it is very simple and my weight varies between 75 and 77 KG. 

Unfortunately, good food is high in calories, cooking with oil consumes 120 calories per tablespoon, far better to grill rather than use a wok. Check out healthy food, yes it's healthy but high in calories. Eat as much rabbit food as possible it is very, very low in calories. Beware potatoes: 136 calories per 100 grams that is only three small potatoes! Avoid cheese: 100 calories per 28 grams that is a very small portion. Time to buy scales :)  

Funding the NHS

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Increase the NI stamp - it's obvious

Of course there may have been some changes made by the present and past governments but my belief is that the NHS is still funded by the NI stamp.

The UK NHS is the largest employer, except for Indian Railways and the Chinese Army in the World! To fund continuing health care it is pretty obvious that the NI contribution needs to be increased or, either service has to be cut or the service has to be run better. How much bureaucracy is there? Well according to the Times Online article surprisingly not to the extent one might think. However, that was in 2004. Andrew Gilligan's recent article April 2010 in the Telegraph discusses the alarming rise in the level of bureaucracry. The present government has caused this increase in bureaucracy.

Healthier lifestyle

Stop smoking, drink less alcohol and reduce weight, and of course spend more time on physical activity rather than watching TV or computer based work. 

If people were able to follow a healthier lifestyle then the demand for health care would reduce and the cost of the NI stamp could be reduced.

Our Eyes and a Warning about Safety Glasses

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I recently had to go to RUH in Bath to have my eyes inspected by Richard Antliff the Consultant Ophthalmologist. Who confirmed what my optician suspected that I have a condition known as ERM Epiretinal Membrane (or Macular Pucker).

ERM is the result of scar tissue forming over the macular (the central part of the retina) it is part of the healing progress when the retina is damaged in some way. The scar tissue shrinks and this causes a "pucker" or wrinkling of the tissue that gives rise to blurring and a distortion of straight lines. Mr Antcliff who had a full clinic didn't have time to go into great detail; only that surgery is not advised unless there is a deterioration in sight that presents a negligable risk to the benefits.  It doesn't usually progress, so with a bit of luck I can live with it. It rarely goes away though.

A few times in my life I have had muck in my eye and recently had some flying insect hit me in the eye and had got a shrub branch in the eye whilst doing some pruning. Maybe, I had damaged the eye, a bit of muck or grit had damaged the back of the eye where the retina is, I don't know. I'll ask next time I go to the doctors.

Whilst it might be going too far to suggest that we wear safety glasses when we are gardening. It would be sensible to wear safety glasses when we are at risk, particularly when using gardening machinery. A strimmer can project dangerous material at very high velocities. Anyone using an electric drill without safety glasses is just daft.  Hearing can also be damaged by gardening machinery. And just for good measure - all dust is dangerous.

I naturally carried out a Google search and found several websites on the eye. This website is by far the best I have found. It's Ted Montgomery's website: Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology of the Human Eye  

Incidentally, I have inspected my own eyes by using a digital camera close up. It's quite surprising what you can see.

Bonfires Advice and legal Information

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If you are bothered by smoke consider approaching the person having the fire, however, you should only adopt this approach if you consider you are not placing your own personal safety at risk.  Where a neighbour is causing a problem by burning and the matter cannot be resolved amicably, the law is on your side.  Under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, a statutory nuisance includes “smoke, fumes, or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance”. In practise a bonfire would have to be occurring on a regular basis and interfering substantially with your well being, comfort or enjoyment of your property to be judged as causing a statutory nuisance under the provisions of the EPA 1990.
The risk of causing a statutory nuisance by having a bonfire can be reduced if the guidelines below can be strictly adhered to:
  • Keep the fire small and add material to the fire frequently
  • Make sure that the fire only lasts a short time (suggest a maximum of 15 minutes)
  • Never use an accelerant such as old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire.
  • Avoid having a fire in unsuitable weather condition � smoke lingers in the air on damp, still days and in the evening. The weather conditions need to allow the smoke to disperse upwards quickly.
  • Avoid burning when the wind will carry the smoke over roads or into other people’s property.
  • Avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens
  • Avoid burning when the air quality in your area is “poor” or “very poor”.
  • Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder � douse with soil or sand as soon as the fire is finished.
  • Only burn clean, dry material
  • Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint.
There are other reasons why waste materials should be disposed of in ways other than burning.  As well as reasons concerning health, amenity and the environment, fire can also easily spread to fences or buildings as well as scorching trees and plants.  Exploding cans and bottles can be a hazard when rubbish is burnt.  Piles of garden waste are often utilised as a refuge by animals, so look out for hibernating wildlife and sleeping pets!  The Council’s advice to you remains try to compost or dispose of waste materials by

Why butter really is better for you . . .

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Butter or Vegetable Oil?

We have been advised to use vegetable oil rather than butter or other animal products for cooking. since most vegetable cooking oils contain 120 Kcal and butter is only 90 kcal per tablespoon I have wondered about the logic of cooking with vegetable oil rather than butter, which arguably tastes better anyway.

I use a wok, a Le Creuset wok, for cooking on a daily basis and note that I need a tablespoon of cooking oil to ensure that my food is not burnt. On reviewing my kcal consumption I have noted that cooking oil is a significant factor in my calorie consumption. A typical meal will require 120 kcal, that's one tablespoon. when I have finished cooking there is no residue left in my wok. Whereas by using butter I have noted that I am only using the same amount  as oil for cooking and, And, there is even butter left in my wok after cooking.

It seems to me that cooking with butter is not only tastier but also provides less calories, possibly less than as listed, as some is left for the next meal. We also need fat in our diet so have we been advised correctly?

Incidently a proper wok is hemispherical and will need less oil than one that has a flat bottom. I forgot to include this link when I originally posted this article: Butter is good for you 

I have also found another link that provides information about the possible health benefits of eating what we have been told to avoid-  the number one being fat. Unhealthy or healthy food?

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