26th January 2007
I've seen the future, and it's weird.
Tomatoes will comb their stalks flat before
hopping up onto a stool in a photo booth and
smiling stiffly at the camera...
Potatoes will giggle at their friends because they
closed their eyes when their photo was taken...
Because judging by the amount they travel, all
fruit and vegetables are going to need passports.
Take some examples I read about recently...
A man walks past a field of Swedes every day on
the way to the station. (I assume he's talking
about the vegetable - I hope that a mob of angry
England supporters haven't crossed the border
and buried Sven Goran Eriksson and his team in
These Swedes are grown locally, by a local
farmer, who I assume is only too happy to sell
them to local people.
So what does this man see when he pops into his
Box upon box of Swedes imported from
That's right - a small island on the other side of
And even when the supermarkets make a pathetic
attempt to do the sensible thing, they still manage
to come up with an idea so cock-eyed it makes
John Prescott seem bright...
Take the case of these Scottish turnips...
They were grown locally.
There were no pesticides or chemicals used in the
But before the fruit was allowed out on the
shelves, the supermarket thought it would be a
good idea to wrap them up in plastic.
HOOR... oh, wait a minute...
And to do that, they had the clever idea of sending
them all the way to Kent to be packaged, then
sending them all the way back again before
people could buy them.
So what's that... roughly a 966 mile round trip,
and at least two days freshness beaten out of the
fruit, before you're allowed to eat them?
Who came up with that idea...? Someone on
£100K a year no doubt.
Now, in the face of such bully boy power, we can
feel pretty powerless against the massive
But there really is A LOT you can do, starting
with these little ideas...
* Buy fresh produce from local suppliers - really,
there's no excuse not to. Even if you don't have
the luxury of living near the farms themselves,
look out for farmers markets in your area. Or buy
from your local greengrocer (if you still have
one), making sure he only picks locally grown
produce for you.
* Let's say you have no choice but to hand over
your money to the supermarkets - you can still
make a stand. If the food is over packaged, don't
buy it. Only buy loose fruit, and check the label to
see where it comes from.
If it's not within the UK, again don't buy it.
Simple as that. That's the ONLY way
supermarkets are going to stop acting like idiots.
* Rip off the packaging. If there's nothing but
shrink-wrapped food available to you, then take
the packaging off and leave it at the checkout.
Supermarkets can't do anything about it (so one
rebel MP Ben Bradshaw reckons)... so let them
deal with all the packaging they create.
How did supermarkets get to be so huge when
they're patently so dumb? It's one of the great
mysteries of the world.
Still, at least there are some sensible, responsible
people left out there...
Something to ease joint pain or something that
I received this great letter from Good Lifer Davy
B, who asked me to share this information with
If this doesn't get you off the fizzy drinks, nothing
Take a look at these facts, starting with
- 75% of Americans are chronically
- In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism
is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
- Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's
metabolism as much as 3%.
- One glass of water shut down midnight
hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters
studied in a University of Washington study.
- Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime
- Preliminary research indicates that 8-10
glasses of water a day could significantly ease
back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
- A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger
fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic
maths, and difficulty focusing on the computer
screen or on a printed page.
- Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases
the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can
slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one
is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
So how about cola...?
- In many states (in the USA) the highway
patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the truck to
remove blood from the highway after a car
- You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of
Coke and it will be gone in two days.
- To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Cola into
the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one
hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke
removes stains from vitreous China.
- To remove rust spots from chrome car
bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up
piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in
- To clean corrosion from car battery
terminals: Pour a can of Cola over the
terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
- To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth
soaked in Cola to the rusted bolt for several
- To remove grease from clothes: Empty
a can of Cola into a load of greasy clothes,
add detergent, and run through a regular
cycle. The Cola will help loosen grease stains.
- It will also clean road haze from your
- The active ingredient in Cola is
phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve
a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also
leaches calcium from bones and is a major
contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
- To carry Cola syrup (the concentrate)
the commercial truck must use the Hazardous
material place cards reserved for highly corrosive
- The distributors of Cola have been using it
to clean the engines of their trucks for about
Now the question is...
Would you like a Cola or a glass of water?
Well, put it like that Davy, and I reckon water will
become THE official tipple of all Good Lifers.
All right, maybe with a drop of whiskey with that
from time to time. Christmas, birthdays,
Tuesdays... you know, special occasions.
And it's not just the taste that makes me like
The Scottish way to fight heart disease, and
Whisky contains plant compounds which studies
suggest could help protect your body from
molecules that damage healthy cells.
These compounds aren't part of the original make
up of the whisky itself. Instead, they come from
the oak barrels used to store the whisky as it
And this isn't some old folk tale.
A study in the British Medical Journal found that
the occasional jot of whiskey could help protect
your heart against disease, and help prevent the
likelihood of strokes.
And more good news...
Apparently the ellagic acid which is found in
single malt whiskies could help fight cancer, by
blocking the effect of carcinogens which attack
Of course, the level of ellagic acid in malt
whiskey isn't the greatest. So to boost this cancer
fighting substance, have a handful of berries a
Berries have a very high ellagic acid content,
especially some little devils called black
raspberries. So give them a go.
Berries and whisky...
Hmmmm, I feel a cocktail coming on.
Have a great weekend, and I'll be back again on
Yours as ever,
The Good Life Letter