You’re not allowed to decide how much vitamin & minerals you have – EU rules

Have you heard that the disease rickets is on the rise and effecting  children in the UK?

Rickets - a deforming bone disease caused by low Vitamin D
Rickets - a deforming bone disease caused by low Vitamin D

1 in 5 children affected
According to one report 1 in 5 children might be suffering from the bone deforming disease, and it’s all because of a lack of Vitamin D.

Professor Nicholas Clarke, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, has said that vitamin D supplements should be more widely adopted to halt the rise in cases. Vitamin D is not easy to gain from food so change is either achieved by taking vitamin supplements or spending more time outside.

Restrictive EU laws
However, in 2011, the EU is threatening to remove high potency vitamin  supplements from UK shops, limiting people’s access to the benefits of high dose vitamins and minerals like High Potency Calcium with Vitamin D – even if it has been safe in the past.

In effect, the EU is saying that it no longer wants UK customers to be able to choose what strength of vitamin they take. The ruling may also reduce access to popular herbal products like manuka honey or sleeping aids.

Fighting back
Across the UK there is a big campaign on to stop the EU ruling. Notable medical personalities like Dr John Briffa and Patrick Holford have expressed concern about the effect on British nutrition and the campaign has received a lot of celebrity support.

The outcry is not surprising considering about 1/3 of women and 1/4 of men in the UK use supplements. But we have to make the EU commissioners listen. The organisers of the campaign (Consumers for Health Choice) are urging everyone to write to EU Commissioner John Dalli to make our voice heard. The UK government is very supportive of the campaign ‘Save our Supplements’, but this is an area for EU legislation.

You can email John Dalli at or send a letter to him at the address below. A sample letter is included here for your convenience.

Sample letter

Commissioner John Dalli
Health & Consumer Protection Directorate
DG Health & Consumer Protection
B-1049 Brussels

November 2010

Dear Commissioner Dalli,

Setting Maximum Levels for Vitamins & Minerals

I understand that your officials are currently involved in the setting of maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements. As I use such products to help achieve and maintain good health, this matter gives me great concern.

I have heard that under pressure from some lobbying organisations your officials have indicated that they intend to bring forward very restrictive proposed maximum levels. These would risk the banning of hundreds of safe and popular higher potency supplements used by consumers across many Member States. Such an outcome would be completely unacceptable to consumers who deserve the right to look after their own health and make their own informed decisions about what levels of nutrient they take.

Indeed, I am convinced that if restrictive levels were set, then tens of millions of consumers who currently take higher potency supplements would simply purchase them online and from mail-order suppliers outside the European Union. This would reduce, not enhance consumer protection.

Whilst I appreciate that this measure was first brought forward to remove barriers to trade between European Member States it is now clear, with the benefit of hindsight, that it was an inappropriate measure. The risk of disproportionate impact upon consumer choice and upon specialist retailers and manufacturers is real.

I am therefore, asking that you personally look into this matter to make sure that proposals to introduce restrictive maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals are not taken forward.

I look forward to your response.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,



Yeo Valley’s cool rap is an instant hit

Yeo Valley has the best advert on TV right now. It’s so popular there’s a campaign to make the rap the Christmas No 1!

Fresh from the organic dairy in the West County. If you haven’t yet seen the Yeo Valley Crew ‘representing the West’ here it is…

At GoodnessDirect we sell Yeo Valley’s creams, yoghurts, butter and ice cream. But it would be a phenomenal success of a different kind if a commercial brand name made it to the top of the music charts. Has it ever happened before?

Instead of soap-operas you could start having dairy-tunes!! I think Yeo Valley’s next music release could be a cover of Kelis’ Milkshake, Prince’s Cream or perhaps or Curtis Mayfield’s Mooove On Up.

About Yeo Valley:
Yeo Valley Organic is part of a family-owned farming and dairy business that’s based in Somerset. Continue reading

Competition: Win a honey book and learn how this nectar can benefit your health

Did you catch the news that scientists are one step closer to finding a cure for the common cold?

There used to be a jibe that in spite of so much progress the human race still couldn’t find a cure for the cold, but times they are a’changing.

I’ve been asking people to tell me their ‘cures’ for the cold on this blog. Maybe it’ll turn into a source of traditional remedies. But so far I’ve only had whiskey, vindaloo and raw food. So get your suggestions in there too.

One solution that occurred to me is the all-powerful Manuka Honey. 20 years of research has found that Manuka Honey destroys the bacteria associated with colds and sore throats. But manuka can’t tackle the viral infection itself — In other words manuka can deal with the symptoms but not the cure.

Win this beautiful book
Win this beautiful book

However, considering we’ll still have to wait several years for a tablet cure to be produced, it’s got to be wise to stock up with plenty of Manuka Honey for some lemon and honey tea this winter.

One woman who knows all about Manuka Honey and its healing properties is Gloria Havenhand, who has written a book, Honey: Nature’s Golden Healer.

I’ve got a few copies to give away.

Gloria is an expert beekeeper and trained scientist. She looks after a million bees on her Derbyshire bee farm and runs Medibee, the bee product company.

In the book Gloria shows the links between honey and good health, and reveals how we can harvest the beehive for anything from reviving tonics to beauty treats. It explains why protecting the honey bee is important not only for its own survival but for our own longevity.

It’s a fascinating book full of home remedies, recipes, bee wisdom, facts and beekeeping tips. And the stunning photography means it really belongs on the coffee table than on a dusty shelf.

So, if you’d like to share Gloria’s love and in-depth knowledge of bees I’ve got three copies to win.

To enter the prize draw simply send me an email with your name and address on it – oh, and you might like to include your tips for coping with a cold (competition closes Thursday 18th November – UK only). Good luck!

But if you can’t wait, you can always pick up your own copy from Amazon.

Keep avoiding those sore throats!

Can you imagine your baby with an illness no one else has? That’s only the beginning if your child has Galactosaemia

Stuart Ford is a co-ordinator for the Galactosaemia Support Group, which brings parents and children affected by this rare illness. All foods that contain lactose must be avoided for life. Here he explains the experience of a child suffering Galactosaemia.

Raising awareness of Galactosaemia
Raising awareness of Galactosaemia

Galactose is a sugar which mainly comes from lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactose is normally broken down into the two simple sugars, galactose and glucose. The galactose is then broken down further and used in many parts of the body including the brain. In galactosaemia it cannot be broken down completely and used because of an absence of an enzyme. Galactose then builds up and leads to the serious illness that occurs in the first few weeks of life once the baby is fed on milk. It is a lifelong condition. Galactosaemia is rare. In the UK, about 1 child in 45,000 is born with this condition so between 12 and 18 children are born each year with it.

Signs of liver disease including jaundice, lethargy, poor feeding and weight loss are very common in new borns. The severity of the liver disease varies a lot. Babies can also be prone to infection at this stage, although this does not continue to be a problem. Cataracts may also be present. Once the galactose free diet has been started the liver disease will disappear and the baby will start to gain weight normally. Over time the cataracts will also disappear.

Unfortunately some children develop speech and language and/or learning difficulties, especially in maths and science. There is no way of preventing this at present. The speech and language difficulties consist mainly of problems with organising speech (oromotor dyspraxia). There may also be a problem with movements which is called motor dyspraxia. This leads to slowness in completing tasks.

In addition to these neurological problems, galactosaemia can affect the ovaries. Many girls do not go into puberty at the right time. This is because their ovaries do not produce enough of the hormone oestrogen. None of these problems are life threatening and galactosaemic children are otherwise as healthy as any other child provided they continue on their galactose free diet throughout life. In the future we hope that research will lead to better ways of preventing some or all of the long-term problems in galactosaemia.

The Galactosaemia Support Group brings families with galactosaemic children and adult galactosaemics into contact with each other and offers support where most needed. Through the group the families are able to share experiences, help each other with problems and exchange information and ideas.

The GSG are always on the look out for dairy free alternatives. Interestingly, they recently paid for a cheese analysis and found that cheese such as Emmantal, Jarlsberg and a couple of extra mature cheeses, such as Grano Pradano, are acceptable in a Galactosaemic diet, because the lactose is leached out of cheese as it matures. However, there are still other issues with lactose intolerance here. Check as it is quite a complex as to what can or can’t be eaten.

Shoppers looking for lactose-free food on GoodnessDirect can look at the Lactose-Free section or eliminate products with lactose by clicking on My Options. But be careful, products can have very little lactose present, but may still have galactose and glucose in them which makes them unsuitable in galactosaemia. The GSG provide great advice on what can and cannot be consumed.

What’s your best solution for the common cold?

Head over a bowl of aromatic steam, feet soaked in a bucket of warm water. The recent news of an imminent cure for the common cold could make images like this a thing of the past.

Best way to get rid of a cold?
Best way to get rid of a cold?

Whenever I used to get a cold I’d make myself a very hot chilli and when I’d eaten that I’d simply wrap up warm, go to bed early, shivering and sweating, and then wake up the next morning feeling like a new man. It still works for me now.

But what works for you?
What’s your suggestion? Is it a powerful concoction of ginger and lemon tea, or is it a particular essential oil therapy – do you prefer chamomile blue to eucalyptus? Or do you just prop yourself up with your favourite medicinal pill?

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them – everyone’s different, but it would be nice to have a catalogue of the unique zany cures that work for you.

So what’s your best solution for the common cold?

Chicken broth anyone? (Leave a comment below…)

Natural facial care, for natural beauty – a gift with Weleda Skincare

Whatever our stage of life, skincare that cleanses naturally deep deep down into the pores is the basis for looking good, and feeling good too.

Weleda’s latest range of cleansing and toning ointments have been made with organically grown raw materials to cleanse thoroughly and tone gently without drying your skin.

Cleanser and Toner
The milky lotion of Weleda’s dual action Cleanser and Toner uses natural saponified olive to cleanse and tone in one step. Fragrant citrus essential oils work to revive the skin and enliven the senses.

Luxurious natural beauty
Luxurious natural beauty

Refining Toner
The Refining Toner is designed to leave your skin looking smooth and fresh. It will purify all skin types employing mildly astringent plant substances, such as extract of wild rose petals for pore refining and vivification.

Gentle Cleansing Milk
A creamy Cleansing Milk completes the range. With its unique combination of natural ingredients and nourishing oils, it has a gentle cleansing action without drying.

Perfect as a gift
It’s a wonderful new range from Weleda – out just in time to make a special beauty gift.

Whatever you give, Weleda gifts are specially selected to be kind to you and gentle on the planet. Why not select from one of their attrictive duo gift boxes?

You could giftwrap a duo of Sea Buckthorn Body Wash and Hand Cream, packed with antioxidants for replenishing your skin’s defences.

Or you could buy your man the soothing gift pack of  After Shave Balm and Shaving Cream.

But we won’t blame you if you just treat yourself. There’s a revitalising new Wild Rose Body Wash and Body Lotion for some  personal rejuvenating skin therapy.

And when you’ve had a hard day shopping try Weleda’s Foot Balm. (Or you could save your feet and order from the huge range at GoodnessDirect.)

Win a box of Clives – it’s as easy as pie

Clives are a vegetarian organic bakery who produce healthy and delicious free-from foods. They have been producing vegetarian, mostly vegan and gluten-free pies for the last 25 years.

People who travel to Devon to try the pies fall in love with them immediately, but then often find it hard to buy the pastries locally. GoodnessDirect however is happy to ship them all over the UK.

So, isn’t it time you tried one of their delicious range? It’s especially nice on a cold autumn evening (I speak from experience). How about a nourishing Aloo Gobi Curry Pie or a Rosemary Potato Pie?

So delicious... and warming
So delicious... and warming

I wanted to make it easy for you so I’m announcing a competition to win 6 Clives pies absolutely free. All you have to do is send me an email to enter the prize draw (include your name and address) and I’ll draw 3 lucky names from a hat this Friday (5th November 2010).

Clives make much more besides their pies, such as their vegan and gluten-free ready pot meals. The selection is huge, and so tempting, I warn you, you might not be able to wait to win some.