Catherine Fellows talks to Scotland’s only community dietician about improving our absymal record of healthy eating.
The West ofScotland has the highest rate of heart disease in the UK and the poorest diet. In the world. only Eastern Europe is doing itself more harm by what it eats. This is not news: it is a combination of facts that the authorities have had plenty of time to chew on. So what are they doing about it? Food writer and broadcaster Derek Cooper stated in this magazine almost a year ago that the situation was so serious that he was in favour of legislation to impose healthy foods upon the population by not allowing shops to sell anything else — habits change too slowly and egg and chips are too tasty, he argued, to let things take their course.
Not surprisingly, nothing so ' dramatic has happened. But Glasgow Health Board says healthy eating is high on its agenda. It is currently working on a media campaign to coincide with a Wogan-fronted TV ‘food special‘ to be broadcast from Glasgow on 23 April. The programme hasn‘t committed itself to direct involvement with the Board, but like
Channel 4's popular Food File. it will help to set the stage. Targeted at 15 to 25-year-olds primarily, the i campaign will be visible throughout Scotland in the shape ofTV ads and. in Glasgow. in massive splashes 5 across buses extolling the virtues of veg. Interestingly. in Scotland it is i our failure to eat fruit and veg that sets us apart. rather than our intake offat and sugar: like the rest ofthe UK. we are putting ourselves at risk through high cholesterol. but we are not benefiting from the positive effects that vitamins and minerals
have on health.
\‘ “‘5‘ .3. . .;
Glasgow shoppers taco serious choices on the supermarket shelve:-
lunches. as well as talking to people at social clubs. church groups. and gatherings of OAPs and young parents. It is the young mothers who she considers are most important to
getthrough to and.worryingly.most
levels are dangerously high. it is time you became a Flora man‘.
Glasgow has just one full-time ; community dietician. Fiona Gray. 3 She spends her working life dashing from one health centre to another. and only when she has finished her therapeutic work - that is to say. dealing with the special dietary needs of patients referred to her by GPs — can she turn to proactive and preventative work with the community in general. Like the practice nurses increasingly being taken on by GPsin the wake of Health Service changes. she
ignorant about what they and their
. children should be eating.
The fact that improving their diet
7 rates pretty lowon people‘slist of
j priorities probably accounts for the ; failure ofseemingly constructive : measures. A recent effort in
Dalmarnock involved shops in
addressing the lack of good cheap
food available locally — but many of the money-off-healthy-foods coupons distributed around houses in the area were not used.
Fiona Gray believes that one of the most positive approaches to the problem is to make the subject of food and cooking fun and interesting. Many of the people she meets. particularly the young ones who are used to grabbing something ready-prepared. have lost the skills
I ofcooking and the habit of preparing
regular meals. It is easier to get a response to a cookery demonstration that encourages people to try new things than to a lecture that makes everyone feel harassed and despondent.
The media drive is the easy bit — the community initiatives that are supposed to underpin it are still at the drawing-board stage. And yet it seems that it is the person-to-person approach that really works. A man is far more likely to drop his haggis
conducts healthy eating sessions within health centres. These are part of the NHS drive to get well people into surgeries for check-ups. and doctors‘ cooperation is rewarded financially. But Fiona Gray also gets out as much as possible. encouraging
supper when he has heard his doctor say. ‘Mr McDonald, your cholestrol
employers to distribute information in the workplace and provide healthy
I 01 D FISHMARKET CLOSE EDINBURGH
food served all day tri 8: sat
tuesday - saturday 19 OO - 2200
open seven days a"
l Dan McKays 101 Shandwick Place. 228 2648. This two-week-old bar has taken the famous Edinburgh lawyer as its theme and is attracting the Charlotte Square crowd with its cases oflegal memorabilia and substantial. if predictable bar meals: chicken and
mushroom pie. vegetable lasagne and so on. The food is cooked on the premises. and the menu changes daily. Open llam— 1 am. seven days.
I Tubtimthai l4b Nicolson Street. 556 9351 . This popular Stockbridge Thai restaurant has moved to bigger premises over the other side of town and. happily. taken its band of regulars with it. The menu is the same forthe
moment. and the prices are still reasonable. main courses such as green curry and sweet and sour chicken around £4.90. fish slightly more but never over £6.50. The deal is particularly good at lunchtime — three courses for £4.50. Tubtimthai now has a licensed bar. and is open noon-2pm. 5—1 lpm. seven days a week.
A if all all will 0.3.0:
TEL: CM -334 5007
items C Dip
MACALLAN RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
SCOTT/SH WINE MERCHANT OF THE YEAR
FLAVOUR OF THE FORTNIGHT
Arguably Glasgow’s most tamous cate, the Gandolli is renowned for excellent, unpretentious home-cooking. Here Chet Maggie Clarence reinterprets a traditional Scottish dish.
HADDOCK AND MUSSEL SPECIALITY Serves tour
5 fillets of Aberdeen boneless smoked haddock, skinned and roughly cubed 2lbs potatoes, roughly cubed and boiled
1|b tresh mussels
1 pint tish stock
1 glass at white wine
First prepare the lish stock. Most tishmongers will give you a handful lish ends—bones, heads, etc—tor nothing. Simmerthese in waterwith an onion, bayleat, peppercorns and parsley stalks ior20 minutes. Strain, and combine with cream and wine. Place on low heat and bring up to simmer. Add the haddock and potatoes to the liquid and cook torjust over tive minutes, or until the lish is tender. Add plenty ot black pepper—test for salt, it probably won't need any. In a separate pan of boiling water, cook the mussels until they open, which will only take minutes. Shell hall of them and add to the fish stew; use the remaining mussels, in theirshells, to garnish. Serve with green salad and trench bread.
Cale Gandolii, 64 Albion Street, Glasgow, 041 552 6813.
54 The List 27 March — 9 April 1992