Frankly Speaking Controversial, outspoken, ironic, but most of all up-front, Frankly Speaking is the uncensored voice of Health Sector.
Frank Leigh is prepared to provoke with an unflinching look at the world of healthcare and the NHS; Frankly Speaking will put into words the things you were just too afraid to say.
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They say slow and steady wins the race, but that’s a lie. Fast and quick wins the race - just ask Mo Farah, or Frankel the racehorse for that matter. They got to where they are by being speedy. But if your interests extend further than the racetrack, fast and quick isn’t necessarily all that great. As far as I'm concerned, there’s something to be said for the celebration of slothfulness, and sloths I’m sure, would be inclined to agree. I’ve often wondered which animal I’d want to be if - come reincarnation - I was given the choice. While at first glance, the lion or the tiger might be seen as good options, personally I’m more attracted to the languid lifestyle of the sloth.
Nothing is ever a rush for Mr. Sloth; every part of life is there to be slowly savoured, chewed over, leisurely appreciated for what it is. The sloth doesn’t know what rushing is.
So many things nowadays are done at high-speed. Instant. There is no time to experience the moment as we rush from one thing to the next. Instant messages, Instant access ISAs, Instant soup and instant gratification. Fast cars, fast food, fast men and fast women.
Where does it come from, this obsession with everything quick, fast and flighty?
There are plenty of people who could do with some slowing down. Signs on the tube warn that rushing down the escalators results in thousand of injuries every year.
And the mobile phone manufacturers could do with an injection of some sloth genes so that they don’t bring out a new model just after I’ve bought the previous one.
Anna Soubry, minister for public health, has urged people to get back to the simple pleasures of cooking and eating their own meals.
“We consume television programmes about cooking, all the books, but we don't as a nation, any more, cook,” she said. “Eating is also about talking and enjoying food and sharing food.”
While her argument is primarily concerned with the problem of obesity, there is a more general truth to be learned too – that our lives will benefit from slowing down our approach to mealtimes.
Take a more measured approach to your dinner - prepare it yourself and savour it slowly - and it’s likely you will see the benefits next time you take the escalator.
Carry on eating junk food, and your life will progress at its breathless, hectic, unfulfilling pace. Carry on eating ready-made supermarket burgers and your life will gallop off so fast you won’t be able to catch up with it, much like the rippling horse muscle it’s made of.
After all, you are what you eat.
But what if you really don’t have time to cook, I hear you cry. What if you have no choice but to eat quick and easy junk food? What if you love the taste of those burgers?
Then you’ll have to write to the supermarkets and petition them. Pressure them to change the recipe.
Ask them to swap the horse meat for sloth. That should do the trick.
The 5:2 diet has been getting a lot of attention recently. It’s basically 5 days of regular eating per week and two days of very limited calorie intake – 600 for men and 500 for women. Some might consider it a cruel and unusual punishment. Others might say it's the price a fat person must pay for his gastronomic indiscretions. I thought I’d give it a go (purely for the sake of research, of course) and here are some conclusions. It’s been six weeks now but I won’t bore you with statistics about pounds lost and gained and how much my trousers have started to sag. There are countless websites, blogs and forums that already do that, with pictures too – stretchmarks and all.
So while the evidence of my weight-loss will not be presented here in all its pink-and-white-lined glory, I will tell you about another, rather less anticipated side-effect.
My particular gastronomic indiscretions definitely point to an overindulgence in rich hearty food. With the fasting days on the 5:2 diet, however, the intense cravings - nay longing - I had for fare as plain as a tuna roll had me getting out the pregnancy test even if the stretchmarks didn’t.
When, on the following ‘feeding’ day I finally allowed myself to indulge in the object of the previous 24 hours’ desire - the hallucinations of fresh crusty baguette, the daydreams of the smooth creamy rich savouriness of the tuna mayo filling, the vivid luscious red slices of tomato, the whole delectable fantastical combination - it all disappeared down my gullet as quickly as I could say dolphin-friendly.
After all the wait and anticipation and salivating, it wasn’t even that good. It tasted just like a bog-standard tuna roll, as it did the next time and the time after that. A great buildup of excitement brought straight back down to earth by a reality that was more soggy than sensational.
The conclusion from my trial so far is that it’s not just your weight that will fluctuate. It’s the importance you place on tuna rolls that is affected too, a rollercoaster of desire, denial and ultimately - disappointment.
I’ve been thinking that it’s all a bit like annual leave.
I get the sense that some people might be feeling a little blue around about now. Summer has passed us by, many of us will have just had our holidays, and if we’re honest, the break wasn’t that amazing.
It was a bit of an anticlimax, really.
The destination probably wasn’t as glamorous, or the location as relaxing as you’d imagined. The food probably wasn’t as good as you thought it would be. And the flight was definitely awful.
But don’t be too disappointed. After all, that perfect holiday existed purely in your head. It was there before you started packing - that image of the perfect vacation – and it could never match up to the reality.
You thought that everything would work out perfectly, just so, that you would come back all bronzed and happy and relaxed and refreshed.
But that was all fantasy. And even if you did come back invigorated to some degree, it wasn’t long before the grey drizzle and eternal purgatory of the daily grind got to you, was it?
It’s your own fault really. You expected too much.
What you really need is a nice tuna sandwich to make you feel all better.