March News Round-Up

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Herbal medicine

Top of the News for me, as a herbal practitioner, is the government’s sudden decision (after years of promising otherwise) not to grant statutory regulation to properly trained medical herbalists. The Telegraph explains the issues well in its article, “Herbal doctors will not be regulated, despite pleas from Prince Charles“. The long and the short of it is that without statutory regulation anyone can set up as a herbalist whether they have had training or not. That not only jeopardises the reputation of properly trained herbalists like me, but leaves us open to draconian curtailment of our right to practice in the future.

On the other hand, regulation could bring unwanted interference and bureaucracy, with banning certain herbs, even though a properly trained practitioner uses perfectly safely, so I am somewhat in two minds. However on balance I am with the public who have previously supported us and demanded continued access to proper medical herbalists when threats to ban us have been raised in the past. It looks pretty shabby that, after Andrew Lansley promised that our new status under the Health Professions Council would be brought about, the rug is pulled out from under our collective feet on the day before Parliament is dissolved in preparation for the general election. No doubt this date was chosen in an attempt to avoid the deluge of letters to MPs that should follow such a betrayal. I wonder who lobbied against us…?


Last year we blasted BBC 2’s laughable “Horizon: Sugar on Trial” for it’s lack of science. It seems they have tried to put things right on BBC One this month with “The Truth About Sugar” (March 19th) which had the science pretty well right for once. If you missed it you can still find it on the iPlayer until April 20th, otherwise a good preview is available in the Daily Mail online:”So how DO you quit sugar?”.

Paleo diet

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, The Wall Street Journal ran a discussion piece: “Is a Paleo Diet Healthy?“, which stirred a lot of discussion. They asked two nutritionists to give responses, one for and the other against. Take a look and decide for yourself. (We have written a post prompted by this article here)

Grass-fed meat

Closer to home, The Western Morning News, based in Plymouth, reported that Professor Robert Pickard, of Cardiff University and a member of the Meat Advisory Panel*, told the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on beef and lamb in Westminster that “Grass-fed meat [is] vital for a healthy diet“.

*MAP state that they “a group of healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers who provide independent and objective information about red meat and its role as part of a healthy, balanced diet.” – i.e. industry lobbyists. That said, it is interesting that they are petitioning for grass-fed meat. That’s a step in the right direction.

High-fat diet

The Daily Mirror reports “You can eat fat to get thin with the new diet that breaks all the weight-loss rules” Not renowned for it’s in-depth scientific articles, this is no different – it’s really a promotional article for a new book: The High Fat Diet by Zana Morris and Helen Foster. I’ve not read the book, but the article is good, and includes a useful meal planner, which is grain-free as well as high-fat. Here is a list of meal options from the books as found in the Daily Mail article, and to my mind they are very thin on vegetables, but you can always add lashings of these (above ground ones of course) to your own taste at every meal:


  • Scrambled eggs with butter and cream cheese
  • Streaky bacon with slices of avocado and halloumi cheese
  • Smoked salmon topped with cream cheese and walnuts
  • Grilled mackerel served with Boursin cheese and avocado
  • Omelette with cream cheese filling


  • Chicken with avocado on a bed of spinach and pine nuts
  • Tinned tuna salad with creme fraiche, lettuce and pine nuts
  • Feta cheese salad on rocket with walnuts and mint leaves
  • Tub of full fat cottage cheese with walnuts, pine nuts and chopped celery
  • Buffalo mozzarella with avocado, walnuts and pesto sauce on spinach


  • Pork chops with a creamy mushroom sauce and broccoli
  • Pan-fried sirloin steak with Boursin cheese melted on top, served with spinach and butter
  • Lamb meatballs with homemade tzatziki and green beans
  • Grilled salmon served with cauliflower, topped with cream cheese and crumbled streaky bacon
  • Spicy taco salad made with lean beef mince, served on lettuce boats with creme fraiche

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