Easter is just around the corner.

pexels-photo-190195.jpegEaster is fast approaching and the shops are full of amazing delights. There is even a cushion embroidered with a “Happy Easter” greeting for sale in the supermarket. I do like the cloth pennant and add it to my trolley. I know just the place to hang it.
I’ve recently read an article about junk food being easier to resist in plain wrappers. A Cambridge University neuroscientist called Wolfram Schultz has made calls for ministers to consider trials whereby fatty and sugary foods are sold in plain packaging.
Professor Schultz has spent over 30 years examining the neurons in our brains dubbed “the little devils” and he claims that food manufacturers use colours and pictures to hijack the circuits that lead to addiction.
From May last year our tobacco products are sold in standardised olive green packages. Australia has led the way with the tobacco ruling, they are already looking at the practise for high calorie foods.
Professor Schultz has evidence that once a person is obese it is a difficult route to to get back to normal.
Basically, our survival system is killing us. Deep down in our brain is an ancient piece of biology called the dopamine system. The dopamine’s job is to set off small busts of pleasure whenever we do something worthwhile. Over time we learn to behave in a certain way to keep these little bursts of pleasure coming. Fatty foods, sugary foods, gambling, alcohol all cause our dopamine to burst into action.
Several thousand years ago a little bush of sweet berries would provide a dopamine activation. It would keep us alive. We were hungry, our basic survival system would remember where that bush was and we could stock up on the sweet little berries. Our dopamine system now reminds us where the confectionary aisle of the supermarket is. We know the details of the colours, textures and images on our favourite bars of dopamine activating delights.
It all makes perfect sense and I’m very pleased that professor Schultz work has been acknowledged with 1/3 of a £1 million Brain Prize, known as the Nobel prize for neuroscience.
However, I stand at the entrance to the seasonal aisle at the supermarket and I try to imagine the goodies in olive green packaging. Would the egg shape still be allowed? Little green eggs in green boxes.
No shiny wrappers, or images of fluffy chickens. The lady next to me on the promotion stall, giving away little samples of Belgium chocolate wouldn’t be allowed. I pop my hand in my coat pocket and feel the foil surrounding the tiny gold bunny shaped chocolates that she has given me for my children ( I didn’t tell her her they were 15 and 23).
My conclusion is that Easter in plain wrappers would be wrong. Instead they should install a tight turnstile at the entrance of this aisle of delights. The obese customers wouldn’t be able to get through.
I will await next years brain prize in the post.

Can Stress cause heart disease or stroke?

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The Lancet has published an article suggesting that constant high levels of stress has a link to chronic heart disease.
The study at Harvard medical school points to heightened activity in the area brain known as the amygdala in patients who reported high levels of stress in their lives. (latin for almond, due to its shape). It’s the area of the brain that processes emotions. The research suggests that in times of great stress brought on by fear or anger the amygdala signals the bone marrow to produce extra white blood cells.
We are back to my ideas on limiting inflammation to promote well being.
These extra white blood cells that should be heading off to support an injured part of the body have no where to go. It is thought that the extra white blood cells can cause inflammation in blood and arteries. This can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Therefore reducing stress could provide benefits well beyond psychological good health.
It made me think of a plaque at The Garrison in Barbados that stated that the island has the second highest number of centenarian as a percentage of the population worldwide. Don’t worry, drink rum and wait for the rain to pass as the sun will be shining very soon.
Barbados has free health care for its residents. A Bajan NHS.

I bumped into a neighbour whilst shopping.
This lady has lost her daughter to cancer at the young age of only 21. Unfortunately, it is one of those unthinkable events that is so profound that life before and after the event can never be anything like each other. I know she lost her father to the disease when she was an eight year old child too.
I always make time to compliment her on her make-up, hair style clothing , anything really to boost her spirit for a moment.
We got chatting and she was telling me that she had her teenage years in Glasgow in the 1960’s. Suddenly, her face lightened and her eyes began to twinkle. I asked her about boyfriends and she told me she had had many and could tell me a few tales. I urged her to write it down and let me have a little read. I hoped she spent a little time thinking about a more carefree time.
It made me think that we may all have a favourite time in our lives. Perhaps thinking about that time and having memory triggers we can have a stress escape route. Bring on songs from Culture club and Cinzano.
My husband told me on holiday that a necklace I was wearing made him unexplainably happy. It was a beautiful blue feather on a beaded chain that I had last worn in The Bahamas in the year 2000. I remember wearing it with a blue skimpy dress to a party on our last night. We had drank cocktails and sang the song “Yellow Bird” into the small hours.
This makes me think that we could perhaps each have our own happy memory place to go in extreme stress. Happy triggers could be music, clothing, photographs even aromas. A memory emergency kit is well worth considering.
My husbands can start with a necklace with a beautiful blue feather. If all else fails he can wear it on a windy day and it will tickle him under his chin.

I haven’t got the time

pexels-photo-280277.jpegI’ll see if I have a window,

to spend some time with you.

I really don’t have the time,

Its a matter of priority, what can a girl do.

 

I have to work to pay the bills,

I have to schedule in the gym,

I need to log on to be social,

My quality time is full to the brim.

 

We all have the same number of hours per day,

We all need to sleep and eat,

Why are we all short of time,

When time we have continues to our last heartbeat.

 

Im going to simplify my life,

Im going to do lots less,

I will become calm and happy,

at the moment my life is a mess.

 

We all utter a phrase,

that is a sad crime,

No longer will I say the words,

“Sorry I haven’t got the time”

I have a complaint.

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I’m looking for my guarantee with full details of the T & C’s

A repair to bring me back to good as new.

Full waiver of the fees, a service is well overdue,

 

Can I have a pair of eyes that can see

and, longer intervals between each wee.

My arms wobble as I wave goodbye and I have love handles where I should have those hips that don’t lie.

I gaze into shop windows and although it is full of goodies offering retail therapy,

all I see is the reflection of my mother staring back at me.

 

Dear Mother Nature, head of customer service.

may I have a tight stomach not bought by the onset of rigor mortis

This ageing process seems so unfair

My biggest complaint is the indignity of unwanted hair.

 

So woman to woman lets make a deal.

lets agree to halt the demise of how my body makes me feel.

I promise to look after myself this time.

And forever I will remain a  woman in her prime.

 

 

 

Diets are a fad!

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Diets are a fad and…

No food is a sin said my size 8 mate

Pounds from your bank have the biggest loss,

Not the pounds from your weight.

 

For a fiver a week

she said that she would examine the scale,

Then congratulate or scold,

maybe call me a beached whale.

 

I gazed across the table

at her petite frame,

I had visions of her coming to a slimmers meeting,

and declaring to all that the food was free of blame.

 

My group support chums

would gasp with despair,

“Its alright for her…

A lady who sees a cake as a food to share”

 

 

Note to Self – A Guide to Self Preservation in my Senior Years

I absolutely understand this, from my fathers view. To the last, he had a sense of humour. Boy, did we laugh! And…music. So important.

Life After 50

Often, we read about people writing to their younger selves, sharing advice they wish they had known in their earlier years.  This is done in the hopes that another younger person may read it & benefit from this sage advice.  An attempt to somehow lessen the stress & self-doubt a younger person feels as they move forward in life.

This got me to thinking.

At the age of 54, based on my life experience to date, what advice would I deliver to myself in my senior years?  If I had the chance to have a conversation with my older self, what nuggets of knowledge would I feel it necessary to share?

Hopefully one of my kids will have tucked this away in a safe place, waiting for the appropriate time to present me with my own words of advice.  Lord knows, I won’t be able to find it anywhere & I…

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