Are you a man with sole responsibility for managing a household?  Or do you know a man in that situation?  If the answer to either question is Yes, you should buy my latest e-book:


It’s at Amazon, Apple, Kobo and all the other major e-book retail platforms and it’s priced at a derisory US$1.99.  Since it’s an e-book I can hardly say, “Hurry while stocks last,” but I can say, “Hurry before I realise that it’s grossly underpriced and whack it up to US$2.99.”

Sugar Tax


Thanks to long-term lobbying by Jamie Oliver (pictured below in celebratory mood) and others, the UK Government has announced a tiered tax on soft drinks containing more than 5% sugar.  The most popular fizzy drinks are more than 10% sugar.


The tax will not start until 2018 and HMG has not told us what the tax rates will be, but according the CNN “Government documents suggest the tax rate could be equivalent to £0.18 ($0.25) and £0.24 ($0.34) per liter, depending on the sugar content.” This would add a pretty solid percentage to the retail price and yield revenue estimated at £520 million per year.

The policy is supported by an excellent report by a Government agency called Public Health England.

I’m in favour of letting people make their own decisions, good or bad, but I’m also in favour of pricing things to reflect the full cost of their production and consumption. Since excessive sugar consumption imposes enormous costs on society in the form of health care and lost productivity, I consider the Old Country’s sugar tax a partial correction of a market imperfection.

Actually, Mexico has already done it and the evidence suggests that it’s working as intended.  So well done, Mexico. But – unfairly perhaps – people are likely to take more notice of what the UK does, and perhaps emulate it.

Good Advice for Good Health


My friend Ron Allan forwards a lot of interesting material to me, and I acknowledge him as the source of the following two slivers of good advice:
     Dietary:  “Eat what grandma used to eat.”
     Life style: “Exertion and exercise, like grandpa used to do.”

That’s not an either/or thing, by the way.  If you eat dripping sandwiches and treacle pudding, as many grandmas did not so long ago, you need to do 10 hours of hard physical labour six days a week.



The WHO has just fired a shot across the bows of the processed meat industry, with a whiff of grapeshot for the red meat industry too. Links to cancer.  Carcinogenic chemicals.  If you want some scientific details try this link to the Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s not news that large-scale consumption of red meat and processed meat products is unhealthy. So anyone who’s been paying attention during the last 20 years would have avoided both or at least limited their intake.  Same with alcohol and tobacco, especially if one is female and pregnant.  Right?

Last night I saw a news item about a little girl whose brain function is permanently impaired because her mother drank heavily during pregnancy. The mother was interviewed and claimed that she didn’t know this might happen.

I don’t want to appear heartless but how can anyone, however dim and ill-informed, not realise that putting poison into one’s bloodstream at a time when that blood is being pumped through a foetus is a very bad idea? Mrs SG worked that out for herself more than 40 years ago.

Last year there was talk in Australia about making it illegal to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Some people objected that this would unfairly target Aboriginal people.  Others, more reasonably, asked how such a law could ever be enforced.  I think the idea has been quietly dropped.

Serious Questions


The other day I said to Mrs SG, “There’s no moisturiser in the bathroom.”

“Yes, there is,” she replied, “in the usual place.”

I looked again and updated her: “No, that spot is now occupied by a 225g pot of Avocado Olive & Basil Skin Nourishing Body Butter.”

“That,” she said patiently, “is moisturiser.”

I used it – sparingly because it looked expensive – and two questions formed in my mind:

1.  When something has a name that is universally recognised and understood, why would anyone want to invent a new one for it?

2.  Why do women think it’s good to rub fruit and vegetables into their skin and hair?

In case the 2nd question seems a bit sexist, I offer 2 alternatives:

2a.  If one eats fruit and vegetables they are processed by intestinal microbes, releasing nutrients that enter the blood stream and are carried around the body to where they are needed.  How does nourishment occur if the microbes are bypassed?

2b.  If rubbing fruit and vegetables into the skin and hair is a good thing to do, why don’t men do it?

If you know the answer to any or all of these questions, please do tell me.