Of Pubescent mice and women


Somebody I know  says that everything is connected in mysterious ways. I happen to agree. And when you go looking for proof that this is so, you find it. Take breast cancer. 

There is actually a connection between your mother’s weight when she was pregnant with you and your risk of getting cancer. Statisticians use the word correlation, to distance their observations from causation. Bad news concerning breast cancer is similarly on the cards if you were an unusually big baby at birth. Example: me.

I was born at the old Nicosia General Hospital which has recently been pulled down to make room for a slum (just joking) . As I emerged, new, into the new world, I reportedly had an ugly, puckered face. Undaunted,  the Scottish midwife, the late Mrs Thouppos, got hold of me and exclaimed: “What a big baby!” On the special baby scales the needle climbed to five kilos. I wasn’t unusual either. I have heard similar tales of big babies born in my generation. Maybe our stay at home mums ate more and were less weight conscious. Result: too many calories. Innocent calories?  No. Guilty ones – by association or proxy. And a great alibi for me….

This kind of self-evident anecdote or  statistical data help sell books like the Fast Diet, given a lot of publicity by the Daily Mail. It’s actually an inexpensive book-value for money.- if it is followed for just two days a week indefinitely, this diet lowers your chances of getting breast cancer by 40% as a British University assures us. Go on it. It seems quite flexible.  Two days a week you eat a restricted amount- 600 calories I think. For the remaining five days you are given guidelines on how to eat like a Cretan shepherd- or a slim Mediterranean goddess. The idea that a calorie poor diet prolongs life is not new. Experiments on mice bear this out.

Researchers have manipulated diet to demonstrate how it impacts on menstruation in mice. These experiments are unnecessary. If you look at statistics concerning the start of menstruation in different cultures, the differences are astounding. Twelve is the age in Western countries 17 in some traditional societies. Carrot sticks for lunch, anyone? They also compare modern girls at puberty and girls 100 years ago. Again, the difference is great and attributable to diet and contraceptive pills making their way into our terribly polluted rivers etc. xenoestrogens.

An alternative to the fast diet is to eat as naturally as possible. This week the local press has given a lot of publicity to a book titled Soar on Raw by a Cypriot raw food enthusiast. In interviews she says that the impetus for overhauling her diet was a gain in weight after her two pregnancies.. She lost the excess weight. No arguing with nature. I will buy this book. A Cypriot naturopath recommends 50% raw to 50 % cooked. Mercola, the online alternative guru, recommends 30% raw. Chinese Medicine likes raw food but not in the evening. It stresses the liver……I will make it Warm veggie soup tonight….Image


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