May 2007
  Modern Nutrition & Healthy Living

Bridge to the luxury and privacy of Star Island. The white house is a private home.

The huge and secluded 'pink residence'.

Good skyline of Miami from our yacht

A playhouse on the beach in Florida's Hollywood

Walking like a Penguin
My friends have a wide age range and two in particular are in their mid 70's. They are so interesting and fun that it is hard to believe that they are over 50. Recently I was invited on a day trip with one of them which I enjoyed tremendously. I had forgotten just how interesting it can be to become a tourist.

We took a coach to Miami and a boat trip round the fabulous bay. It is very beautiful and with our winters here usually in the 80's it is rare for there not to be a blue sky to offset the scenery. The boat was more like someone's private yacht than a tour boat and it took us on a leisurely trip around some of the most exclusive islands situated in the bay, including 'Star' island where many of the stars live. The houses are a dream - individual masterpieces of glamorous architecture. One or two were the locations for such films as Scarface and others were featured in Miami Vice. The celebrities are too numerous to mention and the most expensive house on this private island is in the region of £25million. One splendid house belongs to a single 40-ish billionaire if anyone is interested. I wonder if he gets any visitors, just popping in to ask the way to Julio Iglesias' residence perhaps...

One of the older houses was said to be where Edith Piaf, the French international singing star, stayed when she was performing in Florida. Piaf was nicknamed 'the little sparrow'. This interested me of course because our yacht, moored in London, was once owned by her.

'The Waddle'
On the trip there were a lot of older people, with one lady of 98 years old. It was good to see the older crowd enjoying themselves so much, actively socialising and having fun. However, most were overweight. Not necessarily very overweight but the ladies were carrying a load around the midriff and tummy and the men had a large gut, which seems to be the norm these days. Curiously, I also noticed the 'waddle' that a big percentage of the group had – the replacement hip and knee waddle. These operations are part of the new technology that has changed nations. The amount of new hips and knees is increasing at a phenomenal rate. I am not sure if these op.s are necessary because of brittle bones from a lousy diet or if they are just a quick fix given to people who refuse to exercise and change their eating habits, causing such pressure on their knee and hip joints that the joints just give out.

We had lunch at one of the franchise restaurants and it was appalling. Everyone complained but ate it anyway. I had eaten before and so didn't need to worry but this is the type of eating out the majority of people are used to, both here in the USA and in the UK.

Big People
If you think that we are going more organic then you just need to look at fast food sales, with McDonalds' shares at a 7-year high. Notice how the shelf life of supermarket food has risen in a similar time frame and then take a look at the shape of people walking about. A quick study of old pictures and TV shows will illustrate the big difference in the shape of the average person then and now. Yes, organic food sales are rising but the general public only consume a small percentage of organic food compared to the vast amount of junk food found in the supermarkets.

It has taken me two months to get rid of the seven pounds I gained from unavoidable junk food on my trip to Australia. I have been eating 90% organic and rarely eating out. Restaurant eating is very restrictive. For example, I can order wild fish with no sauce and certainly no conventional salad but prefer the healthier option of boiled potatoes. I am fortunate that I can use hypnosis to enjoy healthy food and I am not interested if it isn't.

My masseur was impressed with me and said that my body was in excellent condition and that my diet was a large contribution to the fact that I had no aches and pains in my joints. I had suffered early arthritis in my shoulders and back for years as a result of car accidents. This has all gone - just a few simple exercises on my legs to keep my knees strong and I saved myself from knee operations. It is hard to believe that several years ago I was told I would need new knees because of my car accidents in the 70's after which the cartilage had gone. My knee caps actually moved from side to side and the doctors would bring people in to show them off. The x-rays showed I needed surgery. Fortunately, I had excellent advice and with the help of an excellent physiotherapist and weekly massages from a very skilled professional I now have strong knees. When I see the waddle I realise such a lot can be prevented and a year of good easy exercising can prevent surgery in the future.

I had a look into the future and I know it is worth really watching my diet. This does not mean small meals or no organic ice cream - it means just eating real food. There are some excellent restaurants around that do organic - they just need some finding. If you have any tips please let me know, especially in London.

Bread and Water is hard to get
I have been avoiding bread, even the organic variety, for years now although I will occasionally have a small bread roll with my meal when I am dining out .I started avoiding bread when my husband and I were label watching and found that all the bread was so full of salt. Organic bread is even worse unfortunately.

According to a Daily Mail article, bread is said to be the largest source of salt in the British diet. If you ate 7 slices per day you would be over your recommended salt level for the entire day. Just a few slices can lead to increased blood pressure and a greater risk of heart attacks.

Professor Graham MacGregor, an expert on cardiovascular medicine, called for the public to boycott bread which has more that 1.1g of salt per 100g.
If you think you should make your own bread, think again. It is the raising ingredients that are unhealthy. In order to eat real bread you need a bread shop that opens at 4 a.m. in the morning and bakes the bread ready for the day. This bread will have to be toasted the next day as it would no longer be fresh. Anything else (with an extended shelf life) has been tampered with, so beware. Again if you have any tips about where to find real bread do let me know so that I can publish them in my column.

I remember reading in the Lancet about HRT and it said that no women should take it. I suffered with hot flushes but went against the doctor's advice to take it. I am so glad I did in spite of the subsequent reports that HRT users might have an increased risk of contracting ovarian and breast cancer. If you are taking it, the advice that the doctors have been given is that they should make sure the patient is only prescribed it for a relatively short time.

Healthy Options
Air Fresheners: Phenol, a solvent used to prevent the ingredients separating, is used in most air fresheners. It can cause breathing difficulties and headaches if inhaled and can irritate your eyes and possibly lead to hives. You may prefer to be safer by considering a healthier alternative: try mixing 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda with 2 tbsp of white vinegar and two cups of water and put the mixture into a spray-pump bottle to help absorb odours. You can fragrance rooms with pot-pourri. Some plants, such as rubber and spider plants, also help to absorb odours.
Bleach: most bleaches, mould and mildew cleaners contain a highly corrosive chemical called sodium hypochlorite, which gives off toxic fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. Over-exposure can damage the lungs and hair. If you use bleach at the same time as household cleaner it may contain ammonia products and is considered to be unhealthy.As an alternative for removing tough stains from sinks and taps, try rubbing lemon over them.
Glass Cleaner: the distinctive smell of many glass and window cleaners and scouring powders is ammonia, which can irritate and burn the skin and also cause eye and lung irritation. Long-term effects of overexposure to ammonia include possible liver and lung damage. When mixed with bleach or used at the same time as other products, ammonia can release chlorine gas. A useful and inexpensive alternative is to clean your windows by mixing 2 tbsp of vinegar with 2 pints of warm water, and then polish the glass with old newspaper.


For the months of May and June Valerie is offering a special price of £1,500 for Hot Gossip readers who want to beat the new smoking ban and give up smoking. Hardened smokers, who have tried everything to try and stop, travel from all over the world for her unique therapy. If you would like to book a session at her Harley Street practice for personal therapy or launch yourself in a brand new career in smoking cessation just call 0207 702 4900 or E-mail: [email protected] Tel: 0207 702 4900

Eds Note: VALERIE AUSTIN is an author of six successful self-help books including SELF HYPNOSIS (Thorsons), journalist and trainer with an international reputation in the field of hypnosis. Her best-selling books and training help people achieve their full potential. She founded the Austin Corporate Stress Management Company focusing on reducing stress and anxiety amongst executives and CEO's. She is also founder of UKRAH (1992) The UK Register of Advanced Hypnotherapy. Valerie has also worked as a consultant in hypnosis at the Priory Hospital, the UK's equivalent to The Betty Ford Clinic, which specialises in food addiction and alcohol abuse. Her work in the film industry (Hollywood) interviewing movers and shakers, producing TV news segments and publishing celebrity magazines in London gave her invaluable experience for her current Harley Street practice.

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