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Bluebells, blueberries and the state of the NHS: 6th May 2024

It’s the May bank holiday weekend, there’s chaos on the roads and trains, and the sun is shining and the bluebells are out… so what better time to stay at home and photograph food!?!

Cue an impromptu photoshoot for the Diseases Have Causes Uncook Book for Health! I’m really excited about this project, which is much more fun than editing THE BOOK itself. It is going to be a while in the making, but it’s evolving slowly so that by the time it gets to you it will be fully matured like a truly exceptional cashew-nut cheeze!

This wasn’t the photograph I finally chose for the book (that would be spoiling!), but I like it enough to have made it into wallpaper for my phone!

Okay so the photoshoot was a joyful moment of early summer madness (you wouldn’t believe it actually took me several hours, three melons, and hundreds of photographs to get ‘the shot’ I actually chose for the book!). There is actually more chaos inside my house right now than there is on the transport system and in the NHS put together, and that’s saying something after I spent four hours driving to work on Friday (because the road was completely gridlocked) for my fourth set of night shifts in as many weeks.

Last night there was a ten hour wait in my hospital’s A&E department: there were patients lining the walls all the way down the main corridor, and the tragic reality is that a large proportion of their problems were probably entirely preventable (not the girl with the snake bite though, or the  boy who came off his bike…).

We have too many patients and not enough doctors in this country. Or maybe we have too many doctors and that is the problem. As Ivan Illich pointed out, as long as we believe a doctor can rescue us we will fail to take true responsibility for our own health. I walked down that corridor and found myself very selfishly hoping that person would never be me.

It might. I’m not perfect and we can never eliminate all risk (or snakes). A low fat, high raw, plant-based diet is good insurance against crying in a hospital corridor, but if and when it does happen we need a functional, streamlined health service that is ready to help us and not collapsing under the weight of diet-related chronic disease.

At the moment, I’m also busy ploughing my way through the 200-page European Paediatric Advanced Life Support (EPALS) course book. It’s interesting, and important (and mandatory for all paediatricians every four years), but I can also feel myself being drawn away, by the urgency of the need to pull people out of the water, from my true purpose and passion, which is stopping them from falling in in the first place.

I am in the process of moving house. I am surrounded by packing boxes, and packing up my daughters’ room of course involves them taking every toy they have ever owned out and playing with it first! I am trying to teach them how to declutter: to make reasoned judgements about what they want to keep and to release those things that no longer serve them. It will be worth it in the end.

Dietary transition involves a similar (and often difficult) process. We have to decide which foods to keep and which to release, and some of those we need to release can be ones we are very strongly emotionally attached to. In the world of decluttering I love Marie Kondo’s method of thanking the object for the good times, kissing it goodbye, and letting it go. There is a ritual element to this that helps us to move on.

Learning to eat huge bowls of blueberries and melon on a regular basis helps too though. One method of transition is simply to drown out the rubbish with a constant stream of good stuff. Stock up with fruit and greens and it will help. Live by the simple ‘fruit first’ mantra and know what at least your next three meals are going to be at all times. Now that the sun is finally shining it’s a great time to get going!

So last but not least, I have decided to take a bit of a step back from business development for a few months while I move house and also focus on finishing THE BOOK, so that’s all from me for now. I probably won’t be making many videos or posting much on social media either, but once I’m up and running in my new home office and I have a book or two to sell, I’ll be back, and in the meantime if you need urgent/1-to-1 help with your diet/health situation do please still get in touch...

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