Jamie's Sugar Rush: what is the price to pay?

By now probably everyone has heard of Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush and his idea to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.  I don't know how anyone else felt when they watched it but i was scared.  I mean really scared.  And if you haven't watched it by now you most definitely should.

So the programme starts off in a hospital where a little boy is getting his teeth yanked out; the reason for this?  Sugar had decayed his teeth beyond repair.  They were literally rotten and hollow.  And the worst part is that he wasn't the only kid scheduled for that procedure that day, there were four more.  26'000 primary school kids go through this procedure in the UK, that is a massive number costing the NHS a whopping £30 million per year.  I think it's shocking that kids need their teeth ripped out for a totally avoidable reason, because the surgeon even said that sugar is 100% responsible for this.  Even more worryingly he said that even if you brush your teeth twice a day if you're consuming sugar throughout your day it won't make a difference.  Really you're not helping yourself, the only way to help is to cut down on your sugary intake. 

Now I really did not think we had such a massive problem here, and this is just highlighting the effect it has on kids... what about the adults who go through this?  Or even the kids who destroy their teeth at such a young age, how will it effect them in their adult life?  This is scary, I take good care of my teeth but to see that in reality I'm not actually preventing the effects that sugar has is horrifying.   

Jamie Oliver also discusses another major health problem caused by a high sugared diet; Diabetes type 2.  In the UK alone there are 3.5 million people with the disease which costs the NHS £9 billion per year.  That's 10% of the NHS budget.  Now I think we all agree that diabetes is a problem especially type 2 which can be effected by our diets and to an extent could be avoidable.  I mean my flatmate has type 1 diabetes and she literally could not have done anything to prevent this and that's completely different.  If health experts are saying we can avoid type 2 through changing our diet why are we not doing more to prevent it?!  What is the point of all these vaccinations and smear tests and what ever else we do to try and keep ourselves healthy and prevent illness when every single day we consume so much sugar that we are damaging ourselves anyway?  The next bit is shocking though.  Diabetes can lead to nerve damage resulting in amputations; in the UK there are 7'000 amputations (130 per week) and Jamie compared that to the number of amputations from the 13 years of combat in Afghanistan, which resulted in 130.  130 in 13 years as opposed to 7'000 per year?  Something is most definitely wrong here.  

These are just two examples of health conditions that arise because of excessive consumption of sugar.  But I think the figures and the real people who suffer from these conditions really hit it home that we NEED to change.  Isn't it bad enough that we have so many illnesses like cancer and motor neurons disease that don't have a cure for and so far there is no prevention?  Whereas these health issues are avoidable, we just need to take action. 

Jamie suggests that Britain introduces a tax on their sugary drinks which many believe wouldn't work; but he gives an example of a country where it does.  Mexico.  The government were forced to take control of the situation in their country as obesity is rampant and it is thought to be one of the most overweight countries.  It's shocking that they don't have fresh water to drink and instead drink coke and other sugary sodas.  We are so lucky in the country that we live in where fresh clean water is free and so easily accessible.  Anyway it turns out that 8 million Mexicans have type 2 diabetes and that leads to 75'000 amputations.  This is the direction we are heading unless we do something about it, isn't that terrifying?  So in 2014 the Mexican government introduced a Soda Tax which reduced soda consumption by 10% and increased the consumption of water and milk.  Mexico is proof that this would work.

If Britain were to introduce a tax on their sugary drinks it is thought that it could create £1 billion in tax a year which could be put towards something useful adn needed, it could reduce obesity by 200'000 and save the NHS £50 million per year.  So what are we waiting for?  I completely support this idea and have signed the petition, which I hope many many more people will.  As change is needed and urgently.  

We all need to cut back on our sugar intake - according to the World Health Organisation we should only be taking around 7 teaspoons of sugar a day but most people consume roughly 40!  Sugar is everywhere and the programme demonstrates this.  And so I am hopefully going to try and keep a track of my sugar intake for the next week out of curiosity - knowing me I will forget or something but I plan on keeping a food diary and trying my hardest.  Apparently a teaspoon is 4 grams of sugar so by looking at packets I should be able to keep a record and that't not even counting the hidden sugars or natural sugars in fruit and veg.  So fingers crossed and I'm looking forward (I think) to seeing the results. 

Now is the time to act, even if it is as simple as signing a petition, watching your sugar intake or just cutting down on something like sugary drinks.  I am genuinely scared about where this is heading and I know I will think again before choosing a bottle of coke over a bottle of water.  Either way, this is serious and at the same time preventable.  I honestly hope that a difference has been made and that it's not too late to help ourselves.

Take the first step and join me in signing the petition or even just watch the programme: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamies-sugar-rush

Thank you,

Love, Lauren x

The power of the simple.

Good morning!

Isn't this just the best kind of mail?!

What a week I've been having; between severe backache, barely sleeping, catching a cold and all the other stress that comes along when you're feeling down... I'm so glad it's almost over!  You know when everything just seems to go wrong and no matter what you do you just feel down?  That's the kind of week I've been having.  However, yesterday I received a cute card from one of my friends from Aberdeen and it honestly cheered me up so so much!

This is the third friend who has actually wrote to me and yesterday it made me realise just how thankful I am for these little cards and letters and just how much they lift me up.  It is honestly amazing how something so simple can effect you so positively, and not only that it means so much to me that my friends have taken the time to write to me and haven't forgotten me now that I'm back home.  It's such an odd feeling to know everyone is back in Aberdeen and this has been their first week back at Uni - so I am so grateful to know that they are thinking about me.

Even this is sweet... even if it's slightly offensive.
Not only that but writing letters back is equally as cute!  I mean I don't even have much to say in all honesty but it is so relaxing and meaningful, that after I write this post I'm away to write a reply and even just that has got me all excited.

I guess at times like these it's the little things that make you appreciate what you have, and it's made me learn that you should take the time; write to your pals, sit down and write to them even if it's a paragraph but the effort is so much more meaningful than a quick text or facebook message.  What I'm saying is show the ones you love that you care, even if it is something so simple or even just telling them you love them, you never know you might just give them that boost that they need.  I am so lucky to have the friends that I do, at home and back in Aberdeen... but now I am off to go write my reply, so until next time!

Love, Lauren x

The Drouthy Cobbler

I've been living back home in Elgin for about three months now and to be honest I've settled back into life pretty well here.  But I will tell you one thing I miss about Aberdeen (other than my friends and work and uni obviously) - a good cocktail.  In Aberdeen there's nice, funky and unique bars all over the place... you have some amazing places to chose from which is something Elgin lacks. 

That is until I discovered Elgin's hidden gem - the Drouthy Cobbler.  It's exactly what Elgin needs!  I know it's been around for quite a while but I'd never really been in it before but it is honestly so cool and fresh and different from all the other bars in Elgin.

From the minute you walk into the bar you're greeted with a smile and a warm welcome.  The servers and bartenders all seem to be so friendly and genuine that you feel right at home, the whole atmosphere of the bar is really relaxed and warm - a place where you can go to chill for sure.  I love it.

Then you are spoiled for choice with the selection of drinks!  From what I could see they had a massive selection of whiskys, local beer (more unique than the normal selection of Tenants, Stella and Budweiser!), ciders and, most importantly, cocktails!  Finally, a bar in Elgin that makes proper cocktails.  Their cocktail list isn't massive but it certainly is impressive!

Not only that they also have a food menu which I will definitely be trying sometime soon I hope!  All in all I think the Drouthy Cobbler is a lovely little bar, with friendly attentive staff a warm atmosphere and some amazing drinks.  It is most definitely a place to check out if, like myself, you haven't already!

Bye for now,

Love, Lauren x