Looe Literary Festival and an authorly-secret

 

‘Welcome to Looe’ the sign said – indeed – welcome to the Looe Literary Festival 2016, no longer a baby – now a three-year-old and growing and learning every year.

I was honoured, once again, to be invited to present my new book at this festival – the places aren’t unlimited, even though the brave organisers, June and Amelia, try to make space for all.

It was great to see Waterstones, led by Lee (who held my launch of Some Kind of Synchrony in the Plymouth, New George Street, branch) getting involved as the Literary Festival’s main book seller – and it was great to have the pop-up Art Gallery and ‘locals’ book shop at Archies once again (after missing out on it last year.)

The venues had almost all changed as well. Us Local Authors were in the very nice space of the upstairs of The Black Swan. So it was there that a goodly number appeared to hear my talk. Now, without an interviewer this year I planted questions to get me on my way. (*if I do this again, and you happen to come along, you might like to know that if you volunteered to ask me a ‘planted’ question you would be entered for an instant draw – the prize for which, this time, was a signed copy of The Angel Bug.*) – but this isn’t my authorly-secret.

This scheme kept me on track with the main bits I wanted to include – but I also left a gap for random questions from the audience. One that I have never had before was concerning the book that will never be published – the first one I ever wrote. I had pointed out that I was glad that it had not been possible to just pop a book up on Amazon back when I started writing – as I might have been tempted and ruined my writing career before it had begun, whereas I could now see that it was full of the worst ‘first-book’ ‘new author’ errors. (no, this isn’t the authorly-secret either) looe-lit-fest-reading

‘What were these errors?’ I was asked … and I had to admit to ‘purple prose’ – too much description, every flower, every petal described on a walk… type of thing. I also admitted to ‘far too much introspection’ as the protagonist contemplated her lot and agonised over decisions. What eluded me at the time, but I recalled when I returned home, was the lack of real driving storyline. Sure she went from one relationship to another – but she did not exactly grow in the transition – and throughout was beset with angst. I’d called this book, eventually, ‘Windmills’ – after the song title ‘Windmills of your mind’ and had each chapter headed with a different line from the song. (seems that, had I actually published this, I might have ended up in trouble for using the lyrics without permission – who knew! – but this isn’t the authorly-secret either)

As it happens this never-to-be-published book found its way into A Respectable Life. It gets a sideways mention as one of the other books that the book group are reading from the ‘Best-Reads’ short list. It amused me to put it in there but, until now, only I knew! – and that IS my authorly-secret! And now you all know and will recognise it when you read that line!  looe-lit-fest-signing

All in all it was a fantastic weekend and it was SO GOOD to meet some of my readers – especially those who have read my other books and came along specially – if that was you – it was great to meet you!!

Thank all of you, both at the book launch and after the Looe Lit Fest reading, who also encouraged me to put my poems out in book form too. I am now considering it…

Back to researching and writing now … and working on fermented foods … and researching natural healing … and sorting poems … and …

What are you all getting up to as the days draw in and the cold weather starts?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

Best – Ann

Please, if you enjoyed a book by an indie-published author, help them gain a wider audience by doing a review on Amazon – doesn’t have to be in depth – just has to be heartfelt. Thank you X

 

Book Launch in an Imaginary Place

So ‘A Respectable Life’ is out there now … my baby – toddling around in the world – hoping people will like it… and reports suggest they do 🙂

The book launch itself was quite different from the one to launch the paperback of Some Kind of Synchrony. That one was held in Plymouth Waterstones, particularly apt as the very same building had been the Western Morning News building at one time (and the WMN was where I had done my research for that book) and I had a ‘serious’ type interview with Simon Parker, an editor with the WMN who had been a young journalist in that very building.

This time, as the book was set in the Tamar Valley in the imaginary village of Hingsbury sited quite close to St Dominick (where I live) I chose to launch the book from the village hall – BUT the village hall was pretending to be ‘Hingsbury hall’ for the evening, in the throes of the ‘Hingsbury Art Fair’ organised by Cordelia, the ‘owner’ of the respectable life.

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L >R The Artists line up – Anthea Lay, Jo Totterdell, Marion Kemp-Pack, Myself, Sam Margesson and Derek Scofield

Five lovely and talented artists of my close acquaintance (most of whom either live in the parish or close by) exhibited in a pop-up way for the evening. (quite the antithesis of the carefully staged and managed Art Fair Cordelia runs in the book)arl-audienece-med

The evening was well attended – with about fifty people filling the chairs – indeed, more had to be brought out!

I presented a short talk about my writing history and the writing of the book and, after I read a piece I took questions from the audience, finishing with mentioning what I was working on next.arl-launch-cutting-the-cake-of-the-book-med

THEN I cut the cake – a book shaped and Respectable Life decorated cake. Which was the cue for drinks, nibbles, and looking at art or getting books signed.

I had a fabulous time, and I hope everyone who came enjoyed it too – warm thanks to everyone to came along!

However, if you missed out – you can hear me talk about ‘A Respectable Life’ again at the Looe Literary Festival at 2.30pm in The Black Swan on Saturday 12th November. I’d love to see you there. arl-audience-after-med

Here’s a link to the Looe Lit Fest schedule – so may good writers to see, some talk are free, some to be paid for, plus workshops and great fun for children – if you are in the area don’t miss it! {You’ll notice the Liskeard Poets on Saturday morning – I’ll be reading with them too 🙂 }

Have you been to any good book launches?

What do you think an Author MUST do to make a launch go well?

What should an Author avoid?

Do share – I’d love to know your thoughts – Ann

‘A Respectable Life’ . . . Goes Live

The lead-up to the launch of a novel is always fraught – but here they are ready for this Friday and looking splendid! arl-mass-1

A website that kept freezing, a code that could not be read, a pdf – with embedded fonts – that was somehow rendered with the wrong font in the proofs – these are some of the extra trials in the run up to the launch of A Respectable Life. {up-date – and a whole box of books delivered to the wrong address!}

You will recall the poll I took on the way the words should be placed on the cover (Thank you all for your comments and votes) It was a close-run thing – but both of the main choices had the word ‘respectable’ split up and uneven on the right hand side.

After much discussion the choice was made – with the hint of a shadow added to deepen the font and make it more serious.

All of this carefully placed on Anthea Lay’s painting of Hingsbury so as not to hide any of the main features of Hingsbury village – the pub, The Old Chapel (where Cordelia lives), the Church, the shop and Hideaway Cottage – I wanted all of these visible on the cover.

Anthea had an interesting task – to create this fictional village from a sketch map and set it into the landscape where I wanted to plant it – and then to squash everything over onto one side – the front cover! Explaining this to a number of people I was told that they ‘love a map’ – so I have included this in the front of the book too.

SO… the book is ready to launch. What to do? Where to hold it?

Now, you have to know that Cordelia organises the prestigious Hingsbury Art Fair – raising thousands for charity – and it is this backdrop that flows behind the events of A Respectable Life – so the Book launch will be in Hingsbury Art Fair!

OK… so St Dominick Hall will be masquerading as Hingsbury hall – with a Pop-Up Art Fair provided by five local artists, Anthea being one of them! Each of these five artists is very different – there’s oils and acrylics, encaustic wax, gouache and pen and ink, fine botanical paintings and quirky multimedia work as well. Something for everyone. There will be a short talk and Q&A followed by refreshments (& cake) and opportunity to chat – look at the art – or buy (signed)books and art (Think Christmas pressies for special people – or yourself 😉 )

Now, if you are in the area – and you haven’t already received an invitation via facebook, twitter or email – please consider this yours!launch-invite-2(click on picture to enlarge and make clearer!)

And we all look forward to seeing you there …

X Ann

The Way We Were …

I was told to clear out the old bureau – the idea being that we are de-cluttering – bit by bit.

Hmm… Result – a huge bag of old (and very old) bills, bank statements, leaflets, birthday cards (saved for ??), random sheets of paper with notes on, magazine and newspaper cuttings (now no longer relevant), posters (now tatty round the edges) to go to recycling or shredding and composting.

Plus, many, many things, that I want to keep, that I don’t know what to do with, or where else to keep them, including a drawer full of photographs. At the bottom of the draw, almost lining the whole of the drawer, just where they had been placed about thirty-three years ago when we moved here, were two photographs in a long-sleeve. I knew what they were immediately. …. End of college photographs.

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At Shoreditch Teacher Training College (actually situated in Surrey, at Englefield Green, over looking Runnymede on the Thames)shoreditch as in many other institutions I expect, when the year group reached the end of their course a whole group photograph was taken … then, while the staging was all up and the photographer waited, we all ran off and came back ‘dressed-up’.

Look at this one – it should have been entitled ‘would you really want this lot teaching your kids?’ wp_20160928_14_25_49_pro

Can you spot me?  Here I am in both … close-up … now can you find me??

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Two things occurred to me (we will all be in our sixties) – where are all these people now?

and

If this is done nowadays (and I have no idea if it is or not) you can bet that the ‘costumes’ would be more than ‘dresses’ using the curtains from the halls of residence, or bedsheets as nuns-habit, or ‘flasher-man’ lab coats, or ‘funny’ hats and cuddly toys .. as now everything is ‘professionalised’ not just thrown together with a bit of imagination and no cash. I can imagine the local hire-shop would be at the ready to provide ‘funny’ outfits for prospective teachers (or whatever), the internet peppered with good ideas and where to get them.

So, if you are in one of these photographs do let me know! I’d love to know where you are now and what is happening in your life.

If you have a similar set of pics from your past – do tell! What does it make you think about?

Do you keep lots of things that you don’t want to part with – but don’t know what to do with either?

Did you find me – just click on the photo to enlarge (and clarify) it – if that helps 😉

You know I love to hear from you … do share 🙂

Making Changes Obvious

I am a creature of sartorial habit – a fashion icon for those who have one ‘look’ for the season – and stick to it.

photo from another day – but you see what I mean

Let’s just say that last week, five days worth of washing saw six short-sleeved black tee-shirts and two 3/4 sleeved black tee-shirts on the line (along with other clothes – I hasten to add) but there’s the thing – I like black cotton tee-shirts – I have many, and usually add a couple of short sleeved and a couple of 3/4 or long-sleeved each year. The previous ones just move down the wearing order – oldest for working in the garden or doing the cleaning, the next  for work-wear (writing / general clean in-house occupations), and the newer ones for venturing outside the environs of our property.

This year I found, to my delight, a pair of black and white patterned trousers, cool, comfortable and not too expensive. I was so delighted that I bought a second pair. Then they went and had a SALE … so I’m afraid I have to admit – I bought a third pair.

This now meant that I could be seen apparently wearing the ‘same’ clothes everyday of the week when out and about. (I have old black jeans I wear for gardening and cleaning, and I like to wear long skirts around the house too)

Ok, got the picture?  Now it may seem to the casual observer that not only does it look like I never change my tee-shirt (who notices whether the sleeves are long or short?) but that I never change my trousers either – as these patterned trousers were very noticeable!wp_20160920_10_19_31_pro

In fact – even I was getting bored with them being black and white – so I had a look at what they were made of (Viscose) and then I purchased a packet of dye* – viscose being one of the materials that will dye properly.  *Not a ‘dye in the machine pack’ this time … as I had a plan.

I wanted burgundy but the nearest they seem to do is burlesque red … so that had to do. I chose one pair to remain white and set these aside! Then I chose the pair to go burlesque red and having got them thoroughly wet and wrung out, added them to the mix first. After the first fifteen minutes of agitation of these I added the second pair – with the hope of a lighter shade. These I also agitated for 15 minutes.

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I’m pleased with the results

Gazing at the colour of the dye water I thought it had some life left in it yet and I suddenly remembered I had a white Tee-shirt (yes I had bought a white one at some time – for some unknown reason) – but generally didn’t wear it since it had been splashed by turmeric, leaving a mucky-looking indelible stain near the hem.

I grabbed the tee-shirt – wetted it, rolled it and secured it with a number of tight elastic bands for a tie-dye effect. This also entered the dye and was squeezed and agitated.

After the full time I duly cold washed, then washed the trousers and the, now unrolled, tee-shirt. wp_20160919_10_48_02_pro

I am pleased with the results for the trousers (see above) – I now have three distinct patterned trousers and a tee-shirt I can wear without a grubby-looking stain (albeit probably for gardening 😉 NB: It looks pinker than this photo shows)

So, £2.50 – a change of look – which I hope will dispel rumours before they start 🙂 .

And I learnt something (which usually makes me happy) – as I realised that I had no idea what Viscose was – apart from a material that took a dye well. Now I just hope that the viscose I am wearing was made using the more up-to-date methods of production as the older methods are not too good for the environment.

Viscose is, essentially, made from wood. The old method of changing wood into a viscous material (cellulose) that would make a ‘silk-like thread’ uses a lot of harsh chemicals and a lot of water. [The other name for Vicose is Rayon (a combination of the idea of the sun-rays and the word cotton) and was first advertised as Artificial Silk] Modern methods of production are considerably better, less damaging to the environment – but how to tell how your garment’s threads were made – now there’s a problem!?

Do any of you have adventures with dyeing?

Do you use the machine-wash dyes – or play around?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

Who put the butter in the jam?

Who put the butter in the jam? No, it isn’t a fussy query from the person who deals with such things as the butter dish on the tea table – this is something I wondered aloud – though there was no-one to answer me  (yes – I talk to myself even when there is only the radio to listen).WP_20160917_20_51_23_Pro

I was making some bullace and apple jam (recipe for Bullace Jam is HERE – but the bullaces (wild damson-like fruit) were not as numerous or as large and juicy as usual so I had a feeling that the 4½ lbs lbs would make nothing like the 10 x 1lb pots I hoped for.

SO, as the windfalls have started to come off – I added half a pound of cooked apple per 2 ¼lb lot of bullace.

I cooked the bullace in the microwave with the three tablespoons of water, allowed to cool a little then drained them and squished them around and around in a large-hole colander until all I had left in the colander were bare stones and tough skins.

The apples I peeled, cored and cut into slices (on the apple/peeler/corer contraption which I love (see here) then just cut the prepared apple into 4 and spread them out in a covered pyrex dish and cooked until mushy.

This I added to the bullace and reheated – proceeding to then add the 3 lbs of granulated sugar and stirred well to dissolve it before returning to the microwave. When this mixture had heated to bubbling point I added a “knob” or ‘walnut-sized piece’ of butter … and said (aloud)

‘Who put the butter in the jam?’ … in fact I added, laughing to myself … ‘Who on earth, while making jam, thought – I know – I’ll put some butter in this!’

The effect of putting butter in the jam is to prevent (or largely prevent) a ‘scum’ forming on the top of the jam as it boils, giving a brighter, cleaner jam, and obviating the need to ‘skim off the scum’ – which always sounds pretty revolting – even though it isn’t.

Useful … yes … but who would have known this would be the result? Why would they even think to try it? Beats me!

(you know – it is the jam recipes that keep bringing random new people to the blog – maybe I should be writing microwave jam recipe books instead of fiction – lol)

On another jam note altogether – people will go and eat it! Unfortunately I couldn’t even enter this year’s village Autumn Show – though I had promised I would enter some jam this year – as people had only gone and eaten ALL the jam I made last year! I’m hiding a nice jar or two this year – so at least I can participate next year!

So – that’s my blog for today …

And the question still remains – if you know – do tell – Who (first) put the butter in the jam?

best

Ann

BTW – just to keep you good folks up to speed … my new book* A Respectable Life will be released on 28th October! (*for which you can blame my absence from the blog)

Get your gut bacteria happy

At last, what you can do if you believe Dr Perlmutter and his theory in his book Brain Maker. As I said at the beginning, there are critics, but, apart from the book itself, he doesn’t point you to buying proprietary brands of anything – instead giving some recipes to make!happy bacteria

Let’s assume you want to make some change: that you want to encourage the correct balance of the bacteria that would be best for your body. How do you do it?

Firstly, the message that has run throughout this book – go gluten free. Or, at the very least, cut your gluten intake to the minimum.

Secondly, Go low carb & embrace high-quality fats. Wherever possible eat organic, grass fed, free-range.

Make sure you include plenty of leafy green vegetables, plus, mushrooms, onions ( and any in the oinion family) ginger, parsley and water-chestnuts.

Low-sugar fruits lemons, limes, and avocado, cucumber, tomato, courgettes, bell-peppers, aubergines.

Eat Fermented Foods. Yoghurt, Pickled (fermented not in vinegar) fruits and vegetables: sauerkraut, kimchi, Fermented meat, fish or eggs.

Healthy Fats: extra-virgin olive oils, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, grass-fed lard, pasture-fed butter, ghee, almond milk, avocado, coconut, olives, nuts, nut butter, cheeses (except blue cheese) and seeds.

Protein: Whole eggs, wild fish, shellfish, molluscs, grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, pork, wild game.

Herbs, seasonings and condiments: mustard, horseradish, tapenade,  and salsa – as long as they are free from gluten and sugar or soy.

Thirdly, include in your diet the foods that the right bacteria like to feed on – so that these thrive. Perlmutter recommends that you make sure you eat at least 12grams of foods that are these prebiotics a  day – this is easy.. just 12 grams each day – a mixture is fine, just one, all of them – you choose. The easiest of all of these is ONION. Cooked or raw. The others are all RAW: Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, leek, asparagus, chicory root – plus acacia-gum (gum-arabic)

What all these have in common is that they are fibre-rich non-digestible (by us) though perfect for our gut bacteria to feast on.

Fourthly, drink filtered water (Perlmutter believes that the chlorine added to the water supply to kill pathogenic bacteria – and thereby make the water safe – will also kill off our good bacteria) – so he recommends filtering the water to remove the chlorine before drinking.

Fifthly, enjoy wine, tea, coffee and chocolate.. yes – drinks without sugar or sweetners – and yes – good dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa mass

Sixthly, and lastly – Fast every season. At least four times a year – maybe on the equinox, fast for a day. Do drink water, but avoid caffeine.

Permutter suggest you do this – a one day fast – before you start your change of life-style to one that cares for your gut-biome more.

He also suggest you might like to take a one month course of probiotics (not telling you whose to buy) but listing the five core species of bacteria that need to be in them – and thereafter maintain these colonies and keep them thriving by eating the foods recommended above.

Lactobacillus planatarum – also found in sauerkraut, kimchi other fermented vegetables

Lactobacillus acidophilus – also found in  yoghurt, kefir

Lactobacillus brevis – also found in sauerkraut & fermented vegetables

Bifidobacterium lactis  – also found in yoghurt

Bifidobacterium longum – also found in some yoghurts – fermented vegetables

But as you can see – you could do it the slower way – build up the bacteria required by adding fermented foods to your diet. He lists these on his website here.

Fermented foods were, and are, used in all parts or the world, in all cultures at one time. In many these have been forgotten, overtaken by the quicker dousing in vinegar instead of an anaerobic fermentation that both preserves and grows a community of certain bacteria.

The world of fermented foods, some only bacterial, some a symbiosis between yeasts and bacteria, is fascinating once you start and there is plenty of help to be found on the internet as interest in these old methods of preserving and keeping healthy grows.

A last word on Vitamin D – a hormone really rather than a vitamin, made by your skin when in sufficient sunlight – is required for many of your body functions. When you realise that in the UK we do not have strong enough sun from October to May to make vitamin D we may all need a vitamin D boost (simple tablets) during those months.

Go to Dr Perlmutter’s website for plenty more information…

I continue my nutrition journey – and the more I read the more I believe we need to look back to how people ate before the industrialisation of food.

Does this ring bells with you?

Are you on your own nutritional journey

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

Win a Druid Heir with our Guest Writer

Yesterday saw me with fellow Pendown author, Sally Newton, at the launch of her latest book at the Bodmin Heritage Festival – today she is guesting on my blog – giving an insight into writing historical fiction and with a draw where YOU could WIN a copy of her latest book – The Druid Heir – and news of a special eBook Offer!

beast, helliers, iron-age warrior and sign for the book-launch
The beast of Bodmin, Helliers, Dru (Iron-Age warrior) and a sign for the book-launch!


IMG_2706Thanks Ann for inviting me to do a guest post on your blog. I’m rather excited this week as my second book, Caradoc:The Druid Heir, was launched yesterday!

Everything moves very fast at this stage but Druid Heir took me a very long time to write. The research alone was a real labour of love for an ex-archaeology student like me. The whole trilogy is told from the point of view of Caradoc, better known to ancient history buffs as Caratacus, who was the British prince who came to lead the resistance to the Roman Empire’s invasion of Britain.

Writing about a real person and genuine events weighs rather heavily on me, in terms of responsibility to try to get things right, but I do also enjoy it. Some of the scenes and characters in my books are inspired by archaeological finds I have read about. For example the chilling sequence towards the end of Druid Heir, when Caradoc and his people search the dead bodies found in a temple, was inspired by this Iron Age temple outline spotted in Savernake forest by ‘lidar’ survey work 

I can also draw upon some historical accounts, such as that of Roman historian Cassius Dio, when I was writing about Caradoc’s battle against the initial Roman invasion force in Druid Heir, tacitusand Tacitus’s account of Caradoc’s later years for the book I am writing now, Rebel King. [Photo – Tacitus -Gaius-Cornelius – courtesy wikimedia commons]

All the research has its own issues, however, so there are times I have to just go for an educated ‘best guess’, and trust that my books are as plausible as they can be whilst also – hopefully – being great stories.

Work progresses on book 3 in the trilogy, Rebel King, but for now the first two books, Defiant Prince and Druid Heir, are available AND from NOW for ONE WEEK we are holding an ONLINE LAUNCH – with a special eBook offer (just as we had for the paperbacks on the launch-day in Bodmin)

Book launch poster y1Firstly – For ONE WEEK ONLY the first book of the Caradoc trilogy ‘The Defiant Prince’ will be available for kindles on Amazon for JUST 99p! (or for other eReaders – from PendownPubishing.co.uk) Please let everybody know! (back to full price on Monday 11th 9pm)

Secondly – you can Enter a DRAW* for a signed paperback* 9781909936218-DRUID HEIR cover blank Perfect_OLcopy* of The Druid Heir by signing up to this blog (see top right – subscribe by email – this so that you will see the notification of results – so if you already follow this blog you’re cool) AND POSTING A COMMENT below this post – no matter how short!

Thank you, Ann, for inviting me take-over your blog for this week 🙂

***

Thank you Sally for some insights into writing historic novels based on a real person and an opportunity for my readers to win a copy of your new book (Druid Heir) and pick-up the first (Defiant Prince) for just 99p as an ebook!

You can also find Sally on Facebook HERE  and Twitter HERE – she’d be most grateful if you’d LIKE her author page and Follow her on Twitter.

Now tell me, do you like historic fiction?

How accurate does the author have to be – when so little is known about some periods of time?

Curious to know your thoughts 🙂 do share! All comments welcome and create and entry to the draw!

***DRAW RULES*** UK only – if from outside the UK please feel free to enter but an ecopy will be offered instead if you win. Draw opens Sunday 3rd July 2016. Draw will be made 1pm Monday 11th July 2016 using a random number generator. Winner will be notified at comment email address and via this blog. If the prize remains unclaimed for more than 28 days the draw will be re-made.***

Mind on fire

At last – the final ailment or condition in my interpretation of Dr Perlmutter’s book ‘Brain Maker’brain on fire

I came to the study of the gut biome (and this book ‘Brain Maker’ as part of it) because I was looking for the things I can do to help prevent brain deterioration. A dysfunctional gut-biome is found in a very high proportion of people suffering from Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.

Let’s start with something simple. B12. A vitamin that is found to be deficient in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimers. Though we can try to make sure we eat foods with B12, though we could take supplements, the fact is that our gut bacteria, when operating properly, MAKES the B12 our bodies require. It is well documented that a low level of B12 is a huge risk factor for dementia

In Brain Maker Dr Perlmutter leads us through the effects of gluten again in the sections relating to Dementia; even those who are not shown to be sensitive to gluten (no bloating or diarrhoea) can be affected, as the constituents of the gluten have two effects on the intestine. One is to be ‘sticky’ and prevent the uptake of some nutrients, and, two, the gliadin in the gluten causes leaky gut, causes the body’s immune system to be on high alert (producing anti-gliadin antibodies) AND allows the passage of LPS (lipopolysaccirides) into the bloodstream which, as explained previously, can pass through the blood brain barrier, (leaving the door open for other large molecules to follow) and cause changes in the way the brain sends signals to the body and inflammation there too.

gluten groupThe Anti-bodies to gliadin not only cause the release of cytokines (which are inflammatory in the brain) but they also cross-react with certain brain proteins. From many studies it is shown that this then leads to complications such as neuropathy, ataxia, seizures and neuro-behavioural changes.

Is it any wonder then that Dr Perlmutter connects the rise in dementia (over and above that expected just through living longer) to a disrupted gut-biome?

A word on fats. Omega 3 fats are essential for good brain function.

The over-use of Omega 6 oils (sunflower / corn -oil) is also brought up in this section. The demonising of saturated fats* to such an extent that Omega 6 oils now take up too much of our dietary fats is a concern as in the western diet now the ratio of Omega 6 intake to Omega 3 (Olive oil : cold-pressed rape-seed oil) intake is around 10 : 1 (or higher). The ratio of Omega 6 to the mono-unsaturated Omega 3  (shown to be required for brain health) is critical. It ought to be 1:1 or at the very most 3:1 – any more and the Omega 6 oils prevent the take-up of the Omega 3s (to the detriment of the brain!)

*Saturated fats are demonised as being Cholesterol raising. More and more evidence is being produced to show that this is not the case. Simplistically – an observation was made and the ‘result’ was viewed as the ’cause’ (arteries blocked by cholesterol plaques = therefore cholesterol causes blocked arteries) – from then on cholesterol and saturated fats have been demonised and a vast theory and business (phamacutical and dietary) has been built up around it. Why ‘saturated fats’ – well, because, though they do not contain cholesterol, they are found in the same source – animal products. When it comes down to it, our liver makes the majority of cholesterol our bodies need, if we do not eat enough of it, and it is quite hard to eat as much as is required, – it makes it.

Note however, that our brains need cholesterol (yes – even the ‘bad’ one) – to function properly, as do most of the other cells in our bodies. In one of the largest studies ever, where a very large cohort was followed over fifteen to eighteen years, those with naturally lower cholesterol in their systems as they aged were shown to perform less well in all cognitive tests.

The real question following the observations should have been ‘why has the cholesterol formed a blockage here?’ The answer comes back to the gut-biome (and gluten) as it seems that the arterial blockage is the result of frequent damage / inflammation repairs – and the damage is caused by the intrusion of proteins that should never have made their way in the bloodstream, (LPS – gliadin etc) and couldn’t have done, or wouldn’t have done, if the gut-biome was healthy and gluten wasn’t so prevalent in the diet to crowbar a way through the tight junctions. And if you are thinking that I have strayed from my concerns for the brain into heart-attack waters – I have not. The cause of vascular dementia is the blocking of blood vessels in the brain – resulting in brain-cell death and strokes of various sizes and effects – so if the damage to the lining of the blood vessels can be prevented, the blockages due to repairs should not happen either.

The final part of this book deals with How to keep your good bacteria happy and thriving and in balance for optimal health – and I will work on a summary of this soon.

What do you think – have saturated fats been demonised unnecessarily?

Have you ever tried a low / no gluten diet to see how you feel on it?

You know I love to hear from you – do share

Best – Ann

ps – for those interested, my Dad’s book is now also available for Kindles (from Amazon) or other ebooks from PendownPublishing

 

 

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