McCarrison Meeting, Dunkeld, Perthsire 18 May 2013

– Michael Crawford, Bob Lister, and Simon House were warmly received and splendidly entertained by the Scottish group, chaired by Cedric de Voil.

Presentations Speakers and Subjects

Maisie Steven is a retired dietician, for many years a member of the McCarrison Society, experienced virtually every aspect of nutrition and dietetics: hospital, college, community and research. Her “The Good Scots Diet” was published in 1985 and “Strategies to Influence Nutrition Behaviour” in 1989 won an international award. Maisie’s observations from Statistical Accounts of Scotland for 1790s and 1830s showed that Scotland’s rural diet resulted in a healthy and vigorous population.

Dr Karen P. Scott is studying how oats can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Not just nationalist, oats are part of a healthy diet, with effects on gut bacteria and heart disease. “We are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits associated with the consumption of cereal, particularly whole grain cereals. High consumption of whole grain foods has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, many of the polysaccharides contained within cereal grain cell walls are not digested by human small intestinal enzymes but reach the large intestine where they are fermented as fibre by the human gut microbiota, releasing fermentation products that contribute directly to gut health.

Pete Ritchie and Heather Anderson, are Directors of Whitmuir Organic Farm near West Linton with pigs,cows, hens, sheep, turkeys, Pete, Heather and Lily the dog. They grow grass and trees, salads, soft fruit, potatoes,vegetables, hope and encouragement. They run the Whitmuir farm shop and butchery, the Whitmuir cafe, the Breadshare bakery, the Dancing Light Art Gallery, the Black & Green Biochar project and have community polytunnel plots. They provide work for 35 people and they are planning to become the first community owned farm in Scotland. “We believe a more localised food system would be better for the environment, health, community and economy of our country.” Elsie Downham, who grew up on her family's organic farm in Cumbria and has a degree in International Development, has worked with the Soil Association Scotland for just over two years. She described the Food for Life Scotland Programmes which she delivers.

Dr Bob Lister spoke on “The Hidden Assassin” - how fructose is killing the Scots, describing the aetiology of the Metabolic Syndrome, which is the cause of much of the cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr Lister was a lecturer in pharmacology at Glasgow University, then chief pharmacologist with Mcfarlan Smith, Edinburgh, where his group developed M99, the most powerful narcotic drug ever. His major initiatives in research and consultancy have been many. An active member of the McCarrison Society, he is also a trustee of the Mother and Child Foundation, major funder of Prof Crawford’s Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.

Prof. Michael Crawford, last month elected Brain of the Year at a ceremony in London, said mental ill health had overtaken all other burdens of ill health and the rise is especially in children, costing the UK in 2010 a staggering £105 billion. There is good evidence that the rise in mental ill-health has been triggered by the change in food with the intensification of land based products and loss of sea and lake foods, of which there is certainly not enough to provide for DHA from fisheries. The stress that is now showing up in behavioural disorders and mental ill-health heightens the need to enhance intelligence. The challenges today are far greater than living an idyllic life on the East Coast of Africa. The future for happiness and peace for our children and for theirs is at stake.” Unless we respect and regenerate the sea-beds extensively we cannot supply the world’s nutritional needs. This means a further agricultural revolution. SHH. 1305JointMeetg