Archive for July 2009

Buy and Consult ‘Sweet Poison’ by David Gillespie

12 July 2009

Today’s blog is simply the privileged and delighted sharing of vital health information which has only just come to my notice. It is for those others who have not yet become aware of a book which may improve – or prolong- your (and my) life. If it does, the benefactor is David Gillespie and his invaluable contribution is the book Sweet Poison. Why Sugar Makes us Fat, published by Penguin in late 2008.

I am entitled to share with you the back cover ‘blurb’ of this opportune ‘whistle-blowing’ book, because it is available to anyone who sees the book in a bookshop. And because, in my opinion, it is very much in the public interest.

“David Gillespie was 40kg overweight, lethargic, sleep-deprived and the father of four, with twins on the way. He knew he needed to lose weight fast, but he had run out of diets — all had failed.
After doing some reading on evolution (why weren’t our forebears fat?), David cut sugar – specifically fructose – from his diet. He immediately started to lose weight, and kept it off. Slim, trim and fired up, David set out to look at the connection between sugar, our soaring obesity rates and some of the more worrying diseases of the twenty- first century, and discovered some startling facts in the process.

It’s Not Our Fault We’re Fat

* Sugar was once such a rare resource that nature decided we didn’t need an off-switch – in other words, we can keep eating sugar without feeling full.
* In the space of 150 years, we have gone from eating no added sugar to more than a kilogram a week.
* You would need to run 7km every day of your life just to not put on weight as a result of eating that much sugar.
* Two decades ago 1 in 14 adult Australians were obese; that figure is now 1 in 5.
* The ‘natural’ sugar in one glass of unsweetened fruit juice per day for a year is enough to add just over 2.5 kilos to your waistline.
* The more sugar we eat, the more we want. Food manufacturers exploit our sugar addiction by lacing it through ‘non-sweet’ products, such as bread, sauces, soups and cereals.

Sweet Poison exposes one of the great health scourges of our time and offers a wealth of practical and accessible information on how to avoid fructose, increase your enjoyment of food and lose weight.”

Your next step, if like me you have been unaware of this book for the past 9 months, is to do yourself and your loved ones a huge favour and go and buy the book.
However, for the ultra-cautious or sceptical, I would add the following further brief inducements.

The book consists of two parts:
Part 1 (130 pages) deals with ‘Why is sugar making you fat?’
Part 2 (60 pages) contains priceless advice on ‘What can you do?’
That is all I can fairly share with you, except to commend the author’s engaging writing style. How about this for an original Acknowledgement?
“Any mistake that escaped the Penguin editorial process well and truly deserves its freedom.” (p. 208).

It is interesting how news travels on the Internet and the media at different speeds, and by which conduits.

My first news of this October 2008 book was this morning (12 July 2009, at 8.45 a.m.) when the author’s spellbinding 15 minute story about his discovery was broadcast by Australian ABC Radio on a short but always edifying weekly programme introduced by Robyn Williams, ‘Ockham’s Razor’
(and there is audio too).

In the intervening 8 hours I have bought the book, skimmed it and checked its history via the Yahoo Search Engine. When I finish this urgent article, I intend to read the whole book and begin to follow its (already) convincing advice.

Although I was quickly convinced by today’s brief interview and, a few hours later, by a skim of my prized new book, I now know that this late 2008 publication was accorded the distinction of a TV presentation on Australian Channel 9’s ‘A Current Affair’ on 8 October 2009 (9 months ago).

I also now know that Mr Gillespie has his own website, to which you must now hasten.

Here you will find more information and a series of very active and simpatico forums, as well as references to Facebook.

That’s all from me, the mere messenger. Please go and buy yourself, or weight-challenged relatives, Gillespie’s book! He may one day get a Nobel Prize for Dieting. And if you act in time, you may still be there to read about it.

P.S. I am not a member of David Gillespie’s family. Just another sugar-addict, hopefully soon to be an ex-addict.

Time Bombs in Families and How to Survive Them

10 July 2009

In 1999, Dr Averil Earnshaw published a book with the above title based on thirty years of research into what she terms “Inner Space” and “the dangerous collections of undigested experiences from our lives, which never disappear”. She explores and comments on parallel events (especially major life events) in the lives of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. She suggests, in particular, that some physical illnesses may be of psychosomatic origin, perhaps unconsciously ‘inherited’ from our parents.

In short, her theory is that our lives may be seriously affected by what she calls “age-linked life events” of other family members, in particular of our parents. She suggests that “we are particularly vulnerable in our lives at the very same ages at which our parents experienced major events in their lives.” She further suggests that if we are aware of these potential “time bombs”, we may be able to exert a personal influence on the outcomes.

As well as offering pertinent observations from her career in psychotherapy and speculative cause and effect arguments for her ideas, Earnshaw devotes many of the pages of this book to short practical analyses of the biographies of many famous individuals: writers, poets, writers, actors and artists, musicians and politicians. Among her special subjects are:
Darwin, Einstein, Freud, Picasso, Keats, Fleming (Alexander), Robert Oppenheimer, Jane Austen, Marie Curie and Bertrand Russell.
There is obviously further scope for self-analysis and biographical analyses by those who find Earnshaw’s hypotheses convincing.

Ten years on, people are finally beginning to pay more attention to this original thesis. To give an idea of the wide appeal of her research and speculations, I reproduce below two extracts, one on a poet, the other on an actress.

( C Copyright Averil Earnshaw)
Reproduced, with permission, from Time Bombs in Families and How to Survive Them, Part 3: Time Will Tell, pp 93-4.
ISBN 0958714517

JOHN KEATS (1795 – 1820)

“However it may be, O for a life of Sensations, rather than of Thoughts!”
(Keats, 1817, in his “Negative Capability” letter to his brothers)

John Keats was the first of his parents’ five children. He was born in1795, when his father was aged twenty-two; the next child, George, was born when father was twenty-three-and-a-half. John Keats’ miraculous poetic creativity began to dry up in 1819 when he was twenty-three-and-a-half. He was ill at twenty-four (his father’s age when Tom, the baby after George, was born), and he died aged twenty-five.

His biographer, Gittings, wrote of Keats as a young man:
The stress of his love, disease, money worry over George, all took their part in his sudden and tragic finale. Yet more than these are needed to account for the complete blotting out of poetry from his system”. (My italics)

[Dr Earnshaw’s 2 circular diagrams representing parallel life time charts of father and son are not reproduced here.]

His time of creativity was over. John Keats’ last poem was a long, comic poem which he called The Jealousies. It was never finished; it is quite alien to all his other works.

With reference to the age-linking, i.e. John’s illness and death at the ages his father was when George and then Tom were born, one can conjecture that both father and son felt sick and lost when Frances Keats was busy with her new babies.

When the eighteen-month-old John Keats reached his father’s age at George’s birth, twenty-three-and-a-half, the whole scenario was replayed. Death and the mid-life crisis? Yes, but it can also be seen as a replay of the occasions of births in the family – births which felt to little John like death blows to his existence. Keats’ ‘Negative Capability’ letter to his brothers takes on a new meaning in this context. Keats was not capable of surviving his inner agony, and of acknowledging his unspeakable terror.

Gittings (1968) wrote in his biography of Keats:
“… in any really essential matters of poetry, thought or human conduct, he behaved, until illness began to distort his judgment, with the ripeness of a man twice his age” (p 240).
Did he live his life in identification with his father? Or, did his father live again, in him, or both?

Gittings understood Keats’ limitation:
“His description of Apollo’s godhead is the final contradiction of his theory of Negative Capability.”
“It is Hyperion who remains in the seat of half-ignorance and half- knowledge which Keats had once seen as the creative state.”
“Apollo only becomes the god of poetry by complete and painful knowledge.”
“He could not yet face the pain of absolute knowledge, necessary for his continuance as a poet” (p 297).
(Reference: R Gittings, John Keats, London, Heinemann, 1968.)

(Averil Earnshaw, pages 102-103)

Vanessa REDGRAVE (1937 – ) Like Mother, like Daughter

In her frank and wonderfully detailed autobiography, Vanessa Redgrave records that her grandfather, actor Roy Redgrave, “died penniless, with only just enough to pay for a plain tombstone.” Her father Michael died with no savings in the bank, and “my mother at the age of eighty-one has to work as often as she can to pay the bills” (p 190). Like father, like son, she seems to imply.

Vanessa Redgrave was born in London on January 30, 1937, the first of her parents’ three children. All three children chose stage careers, and they are successful, as their parents were before them.

Rachel and Michael married in 1936, when Rachel was twenty-five and Michael was twenty-eight. Vanessa married Tony Richardson in 1962, when she was twenty-five and Tony was twenty-eight.

Rachel was aged twenty-six, twenty-eight and thirty-two when her three children Vanessa, Corin and Lyn were born. Vanessa was aged twenty-six, twenty-eight and thirty-two when her three children, Natasha, Joely and Carlo were born. In 1940 when Vanessa was three, London was being bombed. Her mother, aged twenty-nine, took her and baby Corin and their nanny to Herefordshire. They saw the fierce glow of the burning city of Coventry on the horizon. Michael was away on active service as an ordinary seaman on Atlantic convoys. Subsequently, Vanessa had nightmares for years, of fires engulfing their home.

In 1966, when she was twenty-nine and apart from her husband, Vanessa was playing the lead part in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Quite suddenly, she entered a phase of terror that she would not remember her lines. “In fact,” she writes, “I never did forget my lines, though for the rest of that run I felt that I was never more than one syllable away from a screaming, yawning abyss” (p 132).

Why then? A recurring nightmare? A repeat performance of the situation of 1940? Now Vanessa is the twenty-nine year old mother of a three-year-old child, Natasha, and her baby, Joely. Like mother. Like daughter?
(Reference: Vanessa Redgrave, An Autobiography, London, Arrow Books, 1991.)

(Anyone wishing to contact Dr Earnshaw may send an email to me for forwarding: