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Cake Diabetes Su B

Photo copyright Tina K Burton

A patient this week has been helping her grandson prepare for his domestic science GCSE exams. What has he got to cook on the day?

A healthy and balanced meal, perhaps, with lots of vegetables and not too much salt? No, not exactly. It’s ‘Afternoon Tea’: cake, biscuits, meringues and macaroons.

It was Diabetes Awareness Week 12-18 June. Yes, I know I’ve gone on about sugar before, but type 2 diabetes really is an enormous and fast-growing problem. And if schools are still putting the emphasis on sugary, fatty foods, if that’s what they’re teaching the next generation how to cook, then they should be ashamed. We have to get clever about our love of sweet, rich food; we have to recognise that while a little every now and then is OK, a lot is, quite simply, poison. It kills us, slowly and insidiously, while eroding our personalities and limiting our life choices.

Is that what we want for our children?

There are no longer displays of sweets right by the checkout at the supermarket, but they are still everywhere, cheap and colourful, offering instant gratification. Perhaps, in times to come, they will be behind the counter in plain packaging with health warnings, alongside the cigarettes and the alcohol. For now, though, we have to make the choice for ourselves and for our children. We have to educate their palates, just as we educate their minds, to value the vast range of other tastes and flavours that food has to offer.

It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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