Choosing then Forming an idea, Testing, Feedback and Presenting to Funders

Over my lifetime, necessity, new perspectives, work and current affairs have inspired me to start creating ideas. These may be to solve a problem or improve quality of life.

Hearing test

Hearing aids are still sold to an under informed customer by a sales person disguised as a doctor -Image by williamsje1 from Pixabay

However, I have never taken any ideas past this point. The nearest to get this far was to start a company to sell hearing aids to an informed audience of people with hearing loss. In Ireland, for example, hearing centres are well signposted on the high street and in Madrid, hearing aids are displayed in shop windows on its grandest avenues.

Meanwhile, in England, most hearing aid companies focus on home visits and maintain a strict patient/practitioner relationship on title and second name terms. The customer is kept in very unblissful ignorance about the product range. This resembles someone going to Curries to buy a new home entertainment system and being sent home with a wind-up gramophone with the warning it will take a month to get used to.

Matching the customers’ needs with the item means it works instantly as expected – Image by williamsje1 from Pixabay

After exploring how and if this idea could be pursued, I realised it was not possible without a audiological scientist and these were already successful in their own shops. Alan Aaronson supplied my first life-changing analog, programmable hearing aid with a directional microphone in 2001 from St Anne’s Hospital in Tottenham and he is now part of a Harley Street company in a swish new building near Regent’s Park.

Meanwhile, dispensing companies still advertise, take ages to respond to enquiries, keep customers at arms length, send grumpy, underpaid sales people with test equipment to elderly people’s homes with the aim of stripping our grandparents of their pensions.

High street shops in Madrid display hearing aids in their windows – Image by c1n3ma from Pixabay

On the high street, Specsavers and Boots have seen the opportunity to supply hearing aids. All in all, the individual you see makes all the difference as to whether or not they understand the customers’ needs, experience and perspective or not. Lacking first hand experience of hearing loss and hearing aids is the difference between taking home the entertainment system of your dreams and a wind-up gramophone to enjoy your music collection.

Survey on attitudes about food

Ideas that formed out of feedback, pitching people, assessing suppliers and following the progress of technology are still with me, waiting to be put through their paces. Meanwhile, I have started to put new ideas together in written or even screen designs.

On starting Launchpad at Falmouth University, I discovered I had to start with one of three challenges. Exploring all three was an excellent experience, as now I know about the remote computing storage at Goonhilly in Cornwall and the efforts by government to pretend to give everyone 5 more healthy years of life.

During the process of looking at retirement, I discovered how efforts to relieve the NHS of their incredible burden from avoidable diseases through trustworthy, accessible information for public health were battling against corrupt people exploiting their positions of influence over the government to create a bigger marketplace in health for pharmacy.

COVID-19 was exploited for political power and money – Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

When COVID-19 hit, it seemed as if the public’s desire to improve their nutrition was impeded by closing natural health shops during lockdown and supplying housebound people with starchy, strippped and fast release carbohydrates with little micronutrient content.

Meanwhile, the NHS website displayed all of the micronutrients we need in our diet and the foods we can get them from. This was accompanied by the same information about how our bodies use micronutrients written in five different ways and references to the integrity compromised Eatwell Guide with ‘You SHOULD get all the micronutrients you need in a varied and balanced diet’.

This was followed by a very grudging guide on supplements to fill gaps in the nutritious diet. For example, vegans could see that vitamin B12 was unlikely to come through their diet and non-meat or fish eaters could find foods, which delivered all 9 amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids.

Notice the word ‘conditions’ now appears in the NHS website vitamins and minerals page instead of this being the basis of an individualised nutritious diet

I made a spreadsheet with all the foods mentioned on the NHS website that I would eat and used it to form a shopping list. On it was meat, eggs, greens, olives, brown rice, organ meat, olives, citrus, plain yogurt, hummus and salad items. Items I ignored were fortified and enriched ultra processed foods such as cereals. I started to eat eggs, protein and greens for breakfast.

It is good to get most of our micronutrients through food but not everyone can get all the ones they need anywhere at all times

Once COVID-19 was in full swing, the note to take a vitamin D3 or D2 supplement during the winter months in the UK as we don’t get enough sunlight to make vitamin D was made more prominent. Clinical trials have been carried out to see the relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 infection.

When you look at the acknowledged relationship between sunlight, vitamin D, skin tone, diet and then COVID-19, it is not difficult to suppose that darker skinned people being kept indoors during warm sunny days without doses of vitamin D supplement was NOT going to go well. Where was the natural health in our government’s COVID-19 response.

Now it turns out, the man made responsible for public health, covering alcohol, tobacco, obesity, diet and then testing for COVID-19 is entirely focused on how pharmacy, not nature, can improve people’s health. This means prescriptions, vaping, restrictive diets and more suffering, particularly amongst women, who are not sufficiently represented in medication clinical trials as well as our bodies hosting the system to grow and yield new humans.

Something seemed very wrong and I wanted to find out who was looking for answers. Firstly, women, people with long COVID-19, those with existing conditions, people not on mainstream diets, symptoms from food intolerance and those recovering from surgery, invasive medical treatment and battling non-communicable diseases.

The NHS presentation at Falmouth University always warned about over-prescription and resistance to anti-biotics, which were no longer profitable for pharmaceutical companies to develop as anti-biotics do what they are designed to do.

Dirty Money on Netflix exposed corruption such as pharmaceutical giant Valeant

From documentaries such as Dirty Money on Netflix about Valeant, a highly corrupt pharmaceutical conglomerate eating up all its competition and forcing exhorbitant drug prices and health insurance sky high in America warned us of what might come in the UK.

Public health in the UK and other countries such as USA, South Africa and Australia and many other places has become corrupt and the public no longer trust health messages.

This meant people would be looking for their own answers and going on their own voyages of discovery.

Therefore I came up with the idea for a shopping tool that make it quick and easy to get a tasty, nutritious and satisfying diet, whatever your tastes, allergies, intolerance, sensitivities or ethics. Official diet advice was for one specific genetic type, age, gender and state of health. My idea would be for everyone and anyone.

weight loss needs to be natural and suited to the person to be long term – Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay

Current healthy eating and weight loss apps all focus on calorie restriction, ignore micronutrients and monitor users diets. This puts all the onus for success on the user being obedient and trusting advice from an algorithm. As people become more health literature, listen to their bodies, research information and try different things, the weight loss apps do not allow users to track micronutrients, nor tell them the foods to eat to get all their essential daily nutrition.

With information about micronutrients all over the media and the internet, with cultures and traditions in different countries and a library of different diets and ideas all focused on profit, it seemed there was a gap in the market.

My customer:

  • Women – women promote healthy eating in their households
  • Ages – 25-54 – these 3 generations buy the most dietary supplements and other medications for health.
  • Organic food – women are more likely to try new things and buy a wider range of organic food, even if men spend more on average on an individual item.
  • Independent local retailers – the biggest rise in the sale of organic food was amongst independent retailers such as farm to plate, farm shops, home delivery, farmers’ markets and health food and whole food retailers. Supermarkets still sell £1.5bn of the £2.2bn revenue for organic food in the UK rising each year without advertisement.
  • Enjoy good food – a survey shows that 78% of those asked about their attitude to food wanted to enjoy good food.

Cars only run well or at all on the correct fuel and stay looking good with careful driving – Image by Emslichter from Pixabay

Current weight loss apps all base their algorithms on users’ personal information. They demand weight, height, gender and age during the onboarding process. None of these help determine the fuel that person needs to eat. We all know ourselves best and are there after everything we eat. If you think of a car, you have its shell, shape, engine and wheels. If you put the wrong fuel in, it will either cough, splutter and not run well or breakdown entirely. The engine might pack up if you put the wrong fuel in but the outer appearance will stay the same unless it is driven very badly.

Clinical trials do not report results specifically by race or gender Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Humans too, need the right fuel for our type. Unlike cars, though, we need to discover what that is through trial, error, information and experience. People with roots in exotic countries may be able to eat exotic fruits and metabolise the sugar into energy for sprinting away from predators or to catch game. People who live in Iceland need to keep warm in the winter and need more fat in their diet to survive. Fish and nuts contain more fat than meat or vegetables and as a result, someone from a hot African heritage could be allergic to fish, nuts and olives.

We need to learn how to listen to our bodies. Aches, pains and symptoms are a combination of messages and our body working to keep us alive. Allergies and intolerances work to direct us away from foods we would be better to avoid. We would require more sugary or starchy carbohydrates if we need to move around quickly and more fatty acids and monounsaturated fats if we live a relaxed lifestyle, perhaps weaving or lying on our backs for hours doing intricate work to a ceiling mural.

Diet books a plenty with nutritional science or mainstream ideas to suit a section of society

Hence, there is a wide range of diets, but they all have their own unique facts as well as universal truths. This is the same as food cultures and traditions from all over the world. A wonderful research project would be to combine all diets, cuisines, folklore and traditions to compile more universals truths about humans and how to nourish our minds and bodies who we are, what food we can find, where we live and what we do with our lives.

If that tome already exists, please tell me.

Posted in Competition, Diary of an Entrepreneur Start Up, Female Entrepreneur, Female Start-up, Finding my target audience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Design of Hearth

Then the design for the app to launch has been mocked-up by Plan Pixels in India to show:

Sign in – Either email and password or via a social media account.

No personal questions and information about what the app does and how much it costs before subscribing and using the app.

Landing page to provide a guided tour of the app

Landing page – a tour of the app’s 4 pages, which aim to make it easier to choose the foods to get all daily essential nutrition and find gaps to supplement for any diet.

Food library allows users to sort food by macronutrients

Food library – foods can be added to the shopping list (saved for a week) or to one of 3 meals for the day. Foods can be sorted by meat, fish, plant protein, healthy fats, fibre, gluten and carbohydrates, so any can be excluded.

Shopping list – foods can be added by food type so items can be bought together in a supermarket or independent food producer or retailer.

Meal Planner – foods can be added to one of 3 meals for each day. Once micronutrients have been covered by foods, they grey out in the food library, leaving foods to complete the micronutrients needed each day.

Calendar – showing what micronutrients were missed that day in diet so user can buy supplements if wanted.

Posted in 3 meals to deliver vitamins and mineral, Big breakfast, Create your own meals without recipes, Creating a Health App, Getting 3 healthy meals a day, How to avoid snacking, How to not get food cravings, Nutrition and Health, Vitamins and minerals in foods, Weight versus health, Women in Business | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding the Path to Turn an Idea into a Business

I’ve reached the stage where I have tested an idea to find out if people want it, seen if anyone else is doing it or how easily they could do it and how to deliver it and what that might cost.

This puts me at that point where I need to find the path I need to follow to turn this into a viable business. Where do I start and what do I do?

Previously, I have had a range of ideas that I believe would be commercial, sellable and useful to people, but I have not been able to find the nuts and bolts of business and an easy to follow list of processes to juggle to run a business.

Childcare is better for the whole family if both parents are carrying the weight of tasks to be done – Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

To me it seems a little like motherhood. Bringing children into the world must surely throw up continual variables to answer and solve. I haven’t had children but can imagine the challenges to overcome would be relentless. They would require juggling many tasks at once, learning new ones and demands popping up with no warning requiring immediate attention.

This must surely be why relationships that are more equal work better and last longer. If parents work as a team with childcare shared between them, both parents will see a similar perspective, relate to each other’s experience, support each other and work as a team.

A Mercedes may be a good looking car but it’s mechanics drive its success – Image by Emslichter from Pixabay

However, it seems as if this is rare. Male expectations seem to becoming ever more unrealistic and demanding, while women’s tend to be lowered and very well managed.

This could relate to business too. A successful businessman will have excellent support from one or more personal assistants to keep things going. Of course, anyone starting up a new business is going to appear as a risk to any potential investor, and that is why the various business processes that are required will be the engine that drives the car.

The cart has to come after the horse or nothing goes anywhere – Image by Momentmal from Pixabay

We might design a beautiful car or a futuristic, functional car as DeLorean did, but if it doesn’t fire up and move it is of no use.

Therefore, how does one schedule the nuts and bolts of business if no one tells you what these are?

To someone who has run a small business, processes such as VAT returns, corporation tax and filing and companies house are no longer second nature. If that was all we needed to do, after a few turns these would become second nature and no longer represent a hurdle.

Working with someone else adds their experience and perspective to the idea, making it possible to broaden the offering through discussion and planning – Image by fsHH from Pixabay

However, starting a business must be more like bringing a child into the world and discovering and experiencing the new tasks that need to be handled as the business grows as well as planning for the future and increasing the work load, taking on more staff, evaluating the business, increasing equity, negotiating with suppliers, setting salaries, giving funders equities in the business and fulfilling on expectations from customers.

It seems that the demands of business would be too much for one person. This seems to be much like parenthood. If someone has had children but spent most of their time working full time and coming home to cooked meals, they are not going to foresee the range of tasks that someone starting a new business can already envisage.

If you are reading this, have run a small business before and are familiar with the various processes required to run a business – as CEOs seem to be considered to have transferable skills – it would be so beneficial to share this information.

I would definitely buy that book ‘Nuts and Bolts of Starting a New Business with No Previous Experience’ and if my business takes off, I will write that book myself.

Posted in Diary of an Entrepreneur Start Up, Female Entrepreneur, Female Start-up, Inclusion and DIversity, Journal, Journey, Journey to Become an Entrepreneur | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ingredients of Optimal Health

One of the few books about diet I have read that uses the tagline ‘do you want to feel fantastic’ is Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond. Contrary to the interest-countered beliefs of the owners of toes Diamond stepped in the diet world, Fit For Life is a set of ideas, which are the most sustainable long term and which are the least faddy of all eating regimes.

Since February 2020, when I found out that in the United Kingdom, we did not get enough sunlight for half the year to make Vitamin D, I decided to find out all the micronutrients we were supposed to get through our diet and how our bodies used them.

This led me on an exciting phase of my voyage of discovery about food, which I call Raiders of the Secret Lost Truth about Food.

Like the Full English Breakfast, the first meal of the day could provide most of the micronutrients our bodies need for optimal health, leaving us more flexibility for lunch and dinner.

Here is a timeline of that voyage, which shows that there is one main route and I have explored plenty of side paths that have each brought me back on track.

I think the one key thing here is to reserve judgment as much possible. It is very easy – and if you want to write a book that makes you rich, go ahead on your chosen blossom lined boulevard – to discover something new and make up a whole plausible story about it.

How do we know when and where we’ve reached our own summit? Summit – good word. A summit is the top of a mountain, where all paths meet. A summit can also describe a meeting to mark the acculation of work by a team of people to bring all their work together and create an action plan.

Here is the time of the origins of my voyage of discovery, starting with my family.

  • 1970s – parents had chickens and a kitchen garden. Dad had kidneys and Mum had sardines for breakfast. We often had porridge cooked over night and a boiled egg.
  • 1980s – school, diets, eating disorders and peer pressure. Parents searching for answers, being annoyed at all the U turns in the media and going to Health Farms.
  • 1990s – mother died in 1992 after chemotherapy. Father reads Fit For Life and wows about it to everyone. Brother and I read it and try Lifesource Complete, a nutrient rich drink no longer on the market.
  • 2000s – still following Fit For Life working full time in London until 2003. Then weight starts to rise. See nutritionist through GP surgery. New job involves lots of walking.
  • 2010 – know nutritious food makes us satisfied quicker, work from home and worry not active enough. Reflect on what works and doesn’t work.

Here are the books I have read:

My search for answers in the pages of books

At one point, a friend who had to avoid all kinds of foods had their hair analysed, which revealed all kinds of reactions to various foods. Remembering this, I found Langton Smith Health in 2015 and sent off a hair sample. I paid around £35 for a sugar intolerance test.

Seems that fruit had come up high

In 2016, to my joy DNAfit appeared to provide a wellbeing test from DNA. The results were either way over my head, which I couldn’t extract information from or at the click of a button via Google. It also said I was 100% lactose tolerant, which was only half the story and an unhelpful misdirection.

With all the mixed messages coming from every direction, it seemed impossible at this point to settle on a plan to try and give it long enough to see if it worked. The general mockery about food intolerances delayed me wondering what it meant, so I had another look at the sugar intolerance test. It mentioned yeast and sugar being a recipe for Candida, but I didn’t really process what it was and where it came from. Maybe yeast was a problem for me?

By trial and error I tripped over a rock called ‘casein’. In all the alternative and lactose free milks, no one mentions casein. Apparently it is another name for dairy intolerance as separate from lactose intolerance. My GP said they could not test for casein intolerance and didn’t do anything to detect gluten intolerance as a person dying after 6 weeks of a high gluten diet would pretty much confirm coeliac disease, wouldn’t it?

Despite rising levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes, not to mention people already living with Type 1 Diabetes, official guidelines still told people to ‘base every meal on starchy carbohydrates’.

This took me back to Fit For Life, which recommended not eating starchy carbohydrates with fat and protein. I had never understood why properly until I read books by Dr Zoe Harcombe, who is an obesity specialist, qualified nutritionist with a PhD in nutritional research.

Through the Harcombe diet and her response to the National Food Strategy, A Call For Evidence, there was this chart#

Food and micronutrients made simple

This chart is by no means extensive. For example, if the food varieties are expanded to show what foods come under each type, buckwheat, soy and quinoa all deliver the 9 amino acids we need. I had wondered why soy has made its way into so many forms, such as dairy alternative and its flour used in bread, although it was mainly used for wall paper a short time before. Soy is one of the 4 biggest drivers of deforestation alongside beef, wood and paper products and palm oil.

Roast venison with vegetables, can last a few days

As well as framing food intolerance as a difficult dinner party guest, vegans get a bad rap as well. It has to be said, people working in health food shops up to the new millennium were not the picture of blossoming health. However, today people know so much more about their own individual health as well as how to make their own ethical choices work too. I agree that mass farming and battery hens is not sustainable and admire people who dedicate their lives to opposing these practises. They have made a difference to raise awareness to the worst conditions, expose the worst offenders and drive change in consumer behaviour, which forces big companies to change too.

Although when consumers force change, multi-national companies will try to adapt as least as they can, maybe turn their packaging green, use a more homely typeface and add a happy grazing sheep to their packages. Therefore, it is up to us as individuals and consumers to do our own research.

The idea behind Hearth is to show a path to optimal or improved health and selfcare, which anyone can take safely. By adding single-ingredient, nutritious food to their diet, they will start to feel and see the difference after a few days. They might even prefer the great range of natural tastes of various foods to the less varied, artificial tastes from salt, vinegar, sugar and flavouring.

My point

Yes, i’ve got there. It is this. Have a quick think about foods from around the world. You may enjoy curry, noodles, pizza, tacos or maybe something closer to home like a Full English or a British roast every so often. We can also enjoy Spanish tapas, Greek Meze and Indian Thali. Many of these traditional dishes feature a variety of tastes, which never require a big dollop of tomato ketchup to enjoy.

Therefore, by looking at what threads run true through all diets and traditional food from around the world, we could say it works best to have

  • 3 nutritious meals a day at around 4 hours apart
  • Anyone who does not feel good and is underweight, overweight, obese or has eating disorders ought to have nutritious meals a day, 4 hours apart with nothing in between except water for a week and chart what happens in that time.
  • Leftovers, salad and other nutritious food items, such as olives, cucumber, artichoke hearts or hummus for zero effort.
  • Foods which deliver a range of vitamins and minerals.
  • Variety from fish, eggs, meat, vegetables and dairy
  • Dietary supplements Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) to access micronutrients missed in diet.

As the modern diet is becoming less varied as we can access a range of foods all year round from somewhere, I’ve taken to buying a range of items, such as:

  • Zero effort – leftover roast vegetables, salad, olives, artichokes and hummus – filling, nutritious and tasty


  • Cucumber
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Hummus
  • Feta
  • Sheep’s cheese
  • Chard
  • Brocoli
  • Spinach
  • Olives
  • Kale
  • Goat’s yogurt

These seem to be tasty, satisfying and nutritious ways to not want food between meals or after dinner. Especially for someone who likes food! Also, to drink between meals (yes, water) instead of diluting the nutrients in food at meal times.

DNA wellbeing tests and food intolerance

As The Harcombe Diet shows, 3 conditions affect many people’s metabolism and food cravings. These are:

  • Candidaa fungus or harmful bacteria fed on yeast and sugar, or whatever foods your body gets the most glucose from ie fruit, gluten, fast releasing carbohydrates, dairy, alcohol, mushrooms or other food sweet, vinegary or yeasty.
  • Food intolerance – although Mitachondrial DNA is a tiny portion of the whole DNA genome, women, who inherit mitachondrial DNA down their ancestral female line, which might be unbroken without mutation since the Ice Age or before. Mutations in DNA occur when our change in circumstances or bioavailability changes abruptly and we need to adapt, as many people did at the beginning of dairy farming, particularly around the Black Sea, while those who never adapted to dairy remained lactose intolerant. More from Healthline on most common food intolerance.
  • Hypoglycaemialow blood sugar levels. This is when your blood sugar is sent roller-coastering into such peaks and troughs by fast releasing carbohydrates in your diet that your pancreas struggles to keep up with hoovering up all the glucose in your blood by releasing insulin. This is a step in the wrong direction towards Type 2 Diabetes.

Just 5 days of eating 3 satisfying, varied and nutritious meals, consisting of:

Vegans – complete proteins such as quinoa, buckwheat or soy products (soy not prepared properly can be an anti-nutrient and block absorption in some people from other nutrients the body wants to access in food), therefore ensure the lectins are inactivated via one of the methods shown in this article.

Also, various combinations such as hummus and pitta bread, chilli beans and brown rice and beans on toast provide complete proteins and it is possible to see which amino acids various nuts provide, with peanuts (surprisingly to me) at the top.

This shows that if you had, over the course of the day, 3 servings of raw unsalted peanuts mixed with one serving of brazils and pistachios, you would get all 9 amino acids over the day, plus various micronutrients

Vegetarians – All the same plant proteins as vegans, except the addition of plain goat’s yogurt, which provides lactobacillus acidophillus for the gut bacteria and – like soy – fermented and treated dairy products such as cottage cheese, kefir and organic milk and butter to minimise the anti-biotics found in mass farmed dairy products. However, a big bonus to the vegetarian diet over vegan comes from eggs. We were lied to for so long by big food manufacturers of breakfast cereals to damn the humble egg, blaming fat, not the real culprit sugar – for many of our dietary problems. Eggs contain vitamin A, most of the B vitamins, D in the yolk and various other micronutrients we need each day. 2 eggs cooked with steamed greens is a satisfying, nutritious and inexpensive meal.

Pescatarians – Sardines for breakfast provides plenty of nutrition. However, the good news for the household food budget (as confirmed by Tim Spector in his book Spoonfed), is that frozen fish can be as good if not more nutritious and free of harmful elements than fresh fish and is much less expensive. Tinned fish such as salmon and tuna make excellent instant additions to a meal alongside other deli items such as olives, artichoke hearts, asparagus, green salad, cucumber or other leftovers from previous night’s dinner.

Omnivores – This doesn’t guarantee you can eat everything. Those who eat meat and eggs might not agree with fish, beans, nuts or gluten. You might like or even love them but food intolerance often causes cravings of foods your body is addicted to. It is good to try the Elimination Diet (also known as the Auto Immune Diet) to catch any foods that put you off track. However, for many people, a diet of unprocessed, real meat, fish, eggs, salad and steamed vegetables 3 times a day, 4 hours apart for a week will provide the tastiest, easiest, least harmful and most healthy reset you can get.

We are all unique – food is science, not religion. We should not think in terms of ‘belief’ but reserve judgement, start with the facts and then lead off into our own voyages of discovery about health and self care. The greater our own health literacy the better.

Public health ought to start with providing the proven facts about how our bodies work, what they use, how these work, how to keep our immune systems healthy and how to use food to recover from infections so we can all make informed choices for ourselves. We ought not to be imposing our beliefs and opinions on others. If we give people proven facts, by understanding the whole picture about nutrition and food, they can find their own answers.

I would argue that not everyone can be vegan. I have tried a few times, in a very healthy way: raw food for a year with no coffee or tea, no meat, fish, eggs or dairy and lots of vegetables with only full grain bread, pasta or brown rice and I have had mixed results. Hair, nails and skin: fantastic, but bloated, fatigue and other symptoms such as inflammation and water retention to the skies.

All the research I have done shows there are universal truths about the human body:

We need ‘fuel’ to be healthy in body and mind. That fuel must contain a range of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at its best. Eating disorders, calorie restriction and other extreme diets can damage organs and leave us with vitamin deficiencies. This would be how allergies, intolerances and decreases in absorption would have adapted. If allergies were viewed as messages from the body, perhaps our responses to them could be more proactive and positive, rather than hiding them with food intolerances as unwanted dinner guests.





Posted in 3 meals to deliver vitamins and mineral, Big breakfast, Create your own meals without recipes, Diary of an Entrepreneur Start Up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How UK and USA Governments Hijacked COVID-19 to Distract Us From Their Dealings

The main difference between SARS-COV1, MERS-Cov and SARS-COV2 or COVID-19 is the size of the elephant in the room.

With unclear, patchy and one-size-fits all guidelines from government, there has been a huge amount of finger pointing and name calling over how we respond to COVID-19. Good old divide and conquer.

Getting the nation tearing strips off each other is the perfect deflection technique. What about the Great Furloughed in Small Households with Gardens listening to and understanding the perspective of the Multi-Generation Household in a Towerblock with Hospital Visits and Full Time Workers?

Our government doesn’t want to delegate power to local regions. They don’t want challenge, anyone else showing them up or even to deploy qualified scientists to provide clear and articulate guidelines to the nation.

They don’t want their “science-based” response to be questioned. Not the tiniest query. We all know how to protect ourselves against viruses as we all do it when we need to. We do not need to all be treated like children with a one-size-fits-all response.

SARS-COV-1 and MERS-COV have been transmitting within the UK for a decade. The warnings were completely different and Public Health England even down played the threat in 2013, when respiratory premature deaths started to rise in UK. As there was no drug to sell or vaccine, they didn’t cause a panic. All the impacts on the UK that haven’t been properly documented are collateral damage from the benefits of our current corrupt government’s hidden benefits and funding from this situation.

All three are ‘new coronaviruses’ that ‘originate from bats or civets’ and have ‘passed to humans via wet markets in China due to increasing demand for wild game. Since the SARS outbreak over 10 years ago, that exact story has emerged a few times. However, nothing like COVID-19 has been anything like as successful as a virus spread. Who is pinpointing the reasons why? This really is a virus you want to avoid at any age,

SARS originated in 2002 and became prevalent in 2009 in the UK and America. Both Obama in USA and Gordon Brown in the UK consulted with independent scientists and responded to the threat through collaboration with other nations and health organisations without whole nations being impacted.

Firstly, we need to look at how healthy people respond to these viruses, compared to vulnerable ones.

Statistics will not show how many people caught SARS-COV or MERS-COV when they were transmitted within the UK as healthy people would think they ‘had a heavy cold’ and carry on as normal. This means possible transmission through healthy colleagues to vulnerable elderly or sick members of the household who may have died prematurely.

Many incidence of SARS-COV-1 and MERS-COV in the UK have transmitted unreported as people believe they have a heavy cold or that their immunity was down, perhaps due to stress, anxiety or grief.

However, in the last decade, the UK has had the rate of premature death from highest chronic lower respiratory disease out of 15 other EU countries.

SARS-COV1 and MERS-COV were more lethal than COVID-19, which spreads in just the same way. There is no difference between viruses in the means of transmission, just the differences in behaviour between humans.

In the UK, heavier colds have crept up on us and otherwise healthy people have been ill enough to stay at home. With a little awareness, such as the press at the start of the SARS and MERS spread in the UK, sufficient

What politicians, the press and the public do not know, but scientists are constantly studying, is how many people have died as a result of a chronic lower respiratory disease as a result of one of these new coronaviruses spreading in the UK.

According to the Office of National Statistics and WHO, lower respiratory diseases are the 4th biggest causes of death amongst men and women in the UK and we are at the highest level of respiratory viruses out of 15 EU countries. We also, unsurprisingly, have the worst diet amongst those 15 EU countries too. .

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A New Era for Chefs and Catering Through Hearth

Hearth provides a clear and simple definition of what human nutrition is and how we, as a species, access it best.

It is not ‘one-size-fits-all’ as has been assumed. A one size fits all approach is saying one diet is better than another. Hearth does quite the opposite and caters for all diets, food preferences, tastes, cultures, expenditures, intolerances and allergies.

home cooking can provide a tasty part of many meals – Image by Tomaž Jevšenak from Pixabay

It does not matter what you like to eat, the principle is the same: we are all healthier on real food. Whether it is cooked from scratch or eaten raw, the variety of foods on the plate can provide a wider spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Our bodies seem to be satisfied more quickly by delivering all the vitamins and most minerals in one meal.

To avoid the increased inflammation, intolerance and sugar spikes most of us experience through the day, we can also taper our meals by eating a good, nutritious breakfast, which means the body requires less nutrition as the day progresses.

We have lost touch with many of our natural instincts. Modern food has become so adulterated, that it has messed with our bodies, minds and taste buds. However, there are plenty of ‘cravings converters’ around, which tell you which nutrients your body is asking for, when you start craving certain processed items.

Cold and raw food can be very nutritious and important items on the plate for quick satisfaction – Image by Mogens Petersen from Pixabay


If you think of the best known cravings: pregnancy, you can understand this easily. When pregnant, the growing foetus will work with a woman’s body to demand the exact nutrition it needs through cravings. Luckily, today, pregnancy is one of the best areas of knowledge about nutrition, thanks to women who ask questions and search for answers, which they share with other women.

Today, plenty of companies are competing in the home delivery foods market. What Hearth could provide is a funnel through which food manufacturers and retailers could reach customers. Meals on Wheels are still available through your local council and independent caterers for parties or cooking for the freezer could also use simple ideas on how to deliver the most economical but tasty, satisfying and nutritious meals to a wide range of customers, from a good selection of local, independent suppliers.

Posted in 3 meals to deliver vitamins and mineral, Accessibility, Big breakfast, Create your own meals without recipes, Creating a Health App, How to avoid snacking, How to not get food cravings, Inclusion and DIversity, Nutrition and Health, politics and public information, taste and nutritious meals, Universal Truths, Vitamins and minerals in foods, Weight versus health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raiders of the Lost Truths About Food

If you’re looking for what to eat to aid recovery from COVID-19, here is a spreadsheet of what foods deliver the range of daily vitamins and minerals we need for optimal health.

After years of research and trial and error, I have found there are various clues in culture and oral tradition, that have become worn, faded and doctored over time.

Essentially, we know ourselves best and the only thing that connects us all is ‘single ingredient, real food’. However, that is getting increasingly expensive, especially since lockdown. We have been confused by conflicting messages about diets and food, with recipes, counting calories, restrictions and measuring ingredients.

This data shows we don’t need any of that and if we know what ‘fuel’ human bodies need, we can adapt this information for our own needs, knowing how to get vitamins and minerals in our diet or from supplements if not accessed from foods we eat.

This also means creating our own meals and original recipes from scratch, using wisdom from other cultures, enjoying a variety of flavours, tastes and textures at every meal and providing our bodies with the daily nutrition they need by knowing what it is for ourselves.

Salad looking pretty

Salads are a great way to get lots of flavour, taste and nourishment

My quest to discover what ‘healthy diet’ means for humans, to work out nutrition for self-care and recovery – Raiders of the Lost Truth about Food – led me to realise something all cultures have in common: variety.

Have you found how filling Indian Thalis, Spanish Tapas, Greek Meze, Mexican food and French Cuisine – which is based on a variety flavours through many small courses – are compared to a traditional meal?

I’m working on an app to make it quick and easy for anyone to get their essential daily nutrition, vitamins and minerals, in each meal. Plan Pixels in India are making the interactive, functional app and the Appsheet prototype is a working data-only prototype I am using for feedback and adjustments to the actual app. It is public and free and I do not harvest any user data. That is Appsheet continually bugging me to upgrade.

Apologies for this not working when I launched it. Appsheet didn’t clarify ‘personal use’ so it stopped anyone uploading photos or adding items to the lists. I’ve had to remove the lists to make it work as a reference to glance at while shopping, eating out or seeing what’s already at home.

What I discovered is that if I have a breakfast with boiled egg, some salmon, with steamed greens, deli items, olives, cucumber, raw peeled slices of courgette, or avocado, asparagus, artichoke hearts, vine leaves etc) it is very tasty and keeps me going for hours without thought of interim snacks. This also means lunch and dinner get smaller as I’ve given my body most of the nutrition it needed to perform well at breakfast.

As sugar spikes, water retention and inflammation increase across the day, a nutritious, breakfast with variety leads reduces hunger throughout the day.

Therefore, please try Hearth Nutrition as a reference on your device when ordering food in, from shop or takeaway or seeing what you have already. This combines nutritious, tasty, satisfying meals with giving whole body what it needs to heal and recover and can reduce costs of real foods by eating a variety of different items at each meal.

To me, this combines wisdom from different cultures (meze, tapas, thali etc) with cost efficiency, increased taste and satisfaction from variety and oral tradition; big breakfast, medium lunch, small supper. It also properly explains the undefined statement by the NHS ‘varied’ – lots of different tastes, eaten raw or a variety cooked together as preferred. Also, the never defined NHS ‘balanced diet’ seems to mean between either carbs and greens for a vegan or protein and/or fats and variety of ‘greens’ for non-vegans.

This link provides:
Vitamins and minerals listed with the foods they come from
Staple foods that deliver the largest variety essential daily vitamins and minerals
The body science – how our bodies use all the vitamins and minerals. (A, C, E and Copper for immunity)
How to create your own 3 meals a day to get vitamins and minerals
More information about nutrition, food tests and natural healing
The elimination diet to find food intolerance

Can be viewed on mobile device here

Can be viewed in browser here

Posted in 3 meals to deliver vitamins and mineral, Big breakfast, Create your own meals without recipes, Creating a Health App, Female Start-up, Getting 3 healthy meals a day, How to avoid snacking, How to not get food cravings, Nutrition and Health, taste and nutritious meals, Vitamins and minerals in foods, Weight versus health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Meals To Get All Vitamins and Minerals Each Day

When you put ‘3 meals to get all vitamins and minerals’ into Google, the search results tell you how overwhelming the amount of information out there is. How do we ever make head or tail or that? This is one of the problems that the idea for my app Hearth sets out to solve.

Asking this question means you are near the Holy Grail of nutrition and nourishment. However, like Dawn of the Daytreader or whatever you call your own voyage of discovery and adventure to find the best nutrition for you, the closer you get, the bigger the obstacles seem to come. There is definitely a game in that.

In conclusion to this research, I have an update for my app Hearth. It will help users get nutritious meals three times a day, which contain single ingredient real foods, either cooked together or in a salad.

Information about nutrition isn’t just what nutrition is, what it does and how we get it. It is a huge topic, puffed out by opinions, assumptions, projection, vested interests, lobbies and politics amongst other agendas. Not many people study food to get these simple answers: how it works for human health, what is tasty and satisfying without flavouring, adding salt or sugar or combining fat with sugar?

The less naturally nutritious the food, the more people eat. How do we find foods that are nutritious, not just in their own context, but in context with other foods on the same plate?

Ox tongue salad – wish restaurants would stop plying us with bread and chips!).

There is an ocean of understanding between different types of people, organisations, healthcare, scientists, food manufacturers and retailers, nutritionists, natural healers and dietary supplement manufacturers.

After discovering that people in the UK do not get enough sunlight for half the year to make enough Vitamin D, I looked at the NHS Vitamins and Minerals page and found information about each vitamin and mineral, how our bodies used them, how much and what foods they came from.

Somewhere hidden in ancient wisdom or oral traditions in all our cultures are the clues to a good diet. Like an old family photo, though, they have become warped, faded and, more recently, Photoshopped through time.

Here are the clues I have been following:

Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like A Prince, Dinner Like a Pauper. 

Salad looking pretty

Salads are a great way to get lots of flavour, taste and nourishment

OK, that one is out of date. But you get the gist, right? Breakfast: royal. Lunch: Rich person Dinner: Poor Person.

This one, despite its terminology has best stood the test of time. However, it leaves many questions as to how this is realistically done. This blog shows that it is part of the answer but doesn’t leave a good trail.

Little and Often

To me, this is half right, half wrong. Perhaps because it has become a Chinese Whisper and wasn’t originally about food. Little and Often Makes Much. Little and Often Fills the Purse.

Everything is sold out of context. If we know more about the foods we eat, it is easier to find the right dietary supplements in the right doses.

In food terms, there is a clue. A friend found a way to slowly and healthily lose weight and he also became very healthy. He created a set of rules but I don’t believe he knew why they worked.

For each meal, he had a main item, meat or fish and sometimes a carbohydrate, which he ate with a variety of single ingredient whole foods. It made meals very nourishing, tasty and satisfying, which meant he stopped snacking and craving fast foods.

This leads us onto the ‘official advice’ from the NHS repeated throughout their minerals and vitamins page as if to say ‘nothing to see here’. (That will be in the market stall in Marrakesh scene in my Raiders of the Lost Truth about Food game). However, there is a clue in this:

Eat a Varied and Balanced Diet

Balanced? What’s that? What the hell is a ‘balanced’ diet if the two sides of the seesaw are not named? However, it is a clue to nutrition if you look closely.

A variety of food provides great nutrition

Greek Meze

If we eat 3 meals a day, big breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner, each one could be ‘varied and balanced’ to get all the vitamins and most minerals too. Each meal, ideally, wants to contain only nutritious, single ingredient, real foods. By sticking to these we can find out:

Any essential nutrition we are not getting in our diet to supplement. This makes the single ingredient, real food idea work for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores equally as we all vary genetically in how we absorb vitamins and minerals, which is what nutritionists are qualified to tell us individually. To get to that level of the game, we need to bridge the knowledge gap first.

More places offer small snacks, which are satisfying enough for an evening meal. Crab bites pictured.

Not getting too much as, for example, liver more than once a week packs too much Vitamin A punch, as we store it and do not need it every day, or at least not too much. Therefore, if you did have liver this week, perhaps reduce other high vitamin A foods, such as one smaller egg instead of 2, for the rest of the week.

Cravings for Healing

This is, of course, a general rule. If we are ill, our bodies will want more vitamins A, E and C plus a little copper to fight us back to health. However, any additional vitamin A is not beneficial during pregnancy, nor is liver.

Therefore, the varied and balanced diet, basing your meals on one main item (either meat, complete plant proteins such as quinoa or soy beans. Not, as the Eatwell Guide says, a starchy carbohydrate). Official advice ought to specify for people who do not eat eggs, fish or meat as well as those that do.  A jacket potato or brown rice are best digested in a separate meal from fats and proteins, which our bodies cannot deal with simultaneously, which means unused energy will be stored as fat. There is also the matter of good and bad cholesterol as this video shows:

BBC The Truth About Eggs

Boiled egg, brocoli, salmon and cucumber

Salad added to eggs and fish makes breakfast tasty and filling

Let’s bring the clues together so far:
1. Big breakfast, medium lunch, small dinner
2. Little portions often on the plate of different flavours – whatever is to hand, cucumber, artichoke, asparagus, chard, steamed spinach, brocoli, courgette, olives stuffed with garlic etc
3. Variety of items and either animal protein: meat, fish and/or egg, plant protein, soy or quinoa, or a jacket potato or brown rice. These options balanced with vegetables and salad.

Let’s move on to what various diets tell us:

Keto and Atkins.

Roast lamb and vegetables

roast lamb with vegetables

These say dietary fats are good and to cut out the starchy carbohydrates. That’s useful for people who eat meat, fish and eggs as they, particularly, do not require starchy carbohydrates such as jacket potato or brown rice. No one needs pasta, bread or pizza or anything glutenous, starchy or stripped carbohydrates.

Fortified and enriched foods are simple processed foods with dietary supplementation, justified by research into essential nutrition funded by food manufacturers for their own benefit. The American Dietary Guidelines were not the general public’s information but to advise food manufacturers on how to use nutrition for profit by continuing to work over people’s heads to get government funding to reduce malnutrition and malnourishment. In my view, the only way to reduce those is to raise health literacy about food. We need The Sesame Street Nutrition Edition.

This leads to another clue given to us by the NHS delivered without full context. What do you understand by the NHS’s advice on their vitamins and minerals page?

“You Should Get All The Vitamins and Minerals You Need in a Varied and Balanced Diet” 

Variety plates go a long way

More variety plates, which are in every culture around the world for flavour, taste, nutrition and they go a long way

When you look at items on the Eatwell Plate, it suggests snacking away to your heart’s content on crisps and bread. This is not what it could mean, if there weren’t so many conflicts of interest in funding public health information. It would make it much more difficult to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals if we relied on dietary supplements and enriched or fortified foods.

Instead of deficiency, this causes toxicity. Having too much of certain vitamins is the biggest clue to food allergies there is. People from an Afro Caribbean background may be able to eat fruit til the cows come home but not require the extra nutrition from, say, fish, eggs nuts, legumes, beans, grains or pulses. A big culprit there could be vitamin A, which is toxic in high doses, as well as trace elements and minerals that we do not require as much of in our diet.

Anything that grows with carbon and water is a carbo-hydrate including leafy greens and tree fruits. I am calling white pasta, rice and bread ‘stripped carbohydrates’ while couscous, potato, quinoa and brown rice provides fibre as well. These do not digest well with protein and fat on the same plate, but the carbohydrates, containing sugar, are the culprits for unhealthy cholesterol, not the dietary fat from olives, avocados, cheese, yogurt, eggs, meat and fish.

roast beef and salad

Roast beef and salad

What about fruit?

Different races respond to these differently, but they pack a lot of sugar in. Particularly as today we get all fruits all year round. This has only been the case since our parents were young. No wonder our grandparents didn’t have food intolerance.

My favourite use for fruit is flavouring for cooking meat. A plum or apricot with the roast lamb roast combined with the cooking fats, juices from vegetables sprinkled with herbs, spices, onions and garlic will not cause a sugar spike but increases taste.

Genetically, the modern diet is not ideal. Luckily, in most European countries, single ingredient real foods are available. In some parts of America, these are expensive and tricky to get hold of. This increases the exposure that poorer people face to fast and junk food outlets in rural areas in the USA.

The Mediterranean Diet

Spanish Tapas

Variety of Mediterranean foods

In fact, when you look at foods from around the world, there is are so many varieties of small portions in one meal, for example Indian Thali, Greek Meze, Spanish Tapas and Caribbean food lends itself very tastily to tapas.

When you have had these dishes, do you remember how quickly they fill you up compared to a large plate of fish and chips? Thalis do not look more filling than a large curry, rice, puppadoms, daal, and naan bread, but they deliver a range of vitamins and minerals, which our bodies say a big happy yes to once they have what they need.

42 safe foods to eliminate food intolerance

Elimination Diet and foods with vitamin and mineral content have many similarities. The Appsheet prototype for Hearth has the 42 safe foods to eliminate food intolerance.

Therefore, the idea behind Hearth is to get our essential daily nutrition from real, single ingredient foods. When cooked from scratch, say; chicken with onions, garlic, herbs, spices, oil and some greens, this could be spread out over a week with other dishes with salad. The quicker our bodies get what they want, the less we need to eat. This means we do not need to weigh, measure, count, report and test all the time. The clues are out there.

We can all enjoy food if we know these basic truths. Then, to find out more, there are nutritionists, intolerance tests, DNA wellbeing tests and specialist caterers, who base their meals on good nutrition. When did you last eat out in France? It seems the most popular cuisines in the world are based on many small courses instead of just one type of protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable.

Meze – Thali – Tapas. Tasty – Satisfying – Nutritious

The idea of eating three nourishing meals a day is what Hearth is all about. Whether you are cooking from scratch or putting leftovers on a plate, these ideas could provide you with optimum health for your body, mind and organs to perform at their best. With modern day storage, we can spread cooking out over many meals, which makes it economical, tasty, satisfying and nutritious. Ever found yourself getting full quickly when you eat a variety of small portions or bites?

Indian Thali can be more filling than curry

Thali looks like less food but packs flavour and nutrients so quickly fills us up

This also means we can get creative in the kitchen with whatever foods are in the house or cooking interesting meals for the family or with friends. This also makes food easy to upscale for buffets, parties or picnics.

Additionally, this could reduce the cost of groceries, stress from following recipes and time. The result is nourishing, nutritious meals to look forward to, easier weight management, less sugar spikes, inflammation, food intolerance, toxicity and, importantly, taste, flavour and satisfying our appetites and our bodies saying when they have received the nutrition they need without eating too much.

Meals On Wheels

As well as nutritionists, caterers for parties or – a type of business which grew in the 1980s around Surrey – cooking for the freezer, particularly to help people recovering from cancer treatment or an operation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, housebound people were sent boxes of junk food, potatoes, bread, pasta etc. Long gone are the days of Meals on Wheels, when people were delivered a hot nutritious meal by volunteers.

If anything like Meals on Wheels ever happened again, the updated version could be a variety of hot and cold foods, which can be kept for up to a week for a selection of ‘balanced and varied meals’, based on international cuisine – meze, thali, tapas – which are tasty, satisfying and nutritious.

Posted in 3 meals to deliver vitamins and mineral, Create your own meals without recipes, Getting 3 healthy meals a day, How to not get food cravings, taste and nutritious meals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Do if Your Learning Style is Not Catered For

Since the 1990s, when I was taking my art degree, I noticed how many English higher education establishments were very academic-centric.

My various artistic friends attended free art colleges in London, Bristol and the south coast (Bishop’s Otter, Dartington etc) and I went to the American College in London. My first impression of the American College was how much it boasted and promoted itself. American propaganda, I thought. It was recommended by my A’level art teacher Ian Scott, a surrealist and I was impressed at the open day.

My dad was cynical about it. He always thought I should have applied to a proper English art college, with a prestige or cache. However, I learned so many skills and we were taught every process. They made Harvard Referencing enjoyable! We were taught it in class, which was fun, interactive and accessible for all. ‘Paranthetical citations’ to use their term. It was a laugh when I mentioned ‘brackets’. Too English. ‘Brackets? BRACKETS? It’s parentheses Sophie’.

Aside from Dangling Modifiers and learning calculus with impeccably suited Arabic business students, who I wiped the floor with covered in oil paint from painting class, the art department was filled with teachers emerging from real world experience. Advertising tutor Mr Penrose was fresh from an agency, Jill, Steve, Liz and Sandie taught us all kinds of skills without an essay in sight. (The Harvard Referencing was for a 10,000 thesis in English Composition, which I wrote on music law and got an A).

Meanwhile, my friends at their prestigious free art institutions were having sleep overs, the teachers were on strike, no library, no computers (yes even in 1990 we had Macs though I only got to touch one in computing classes) and they barely saw a tutor a term. They were left to their own devices for 3 years and had to write a thesis with Harvard referencing. This academic essay requirement meant that most of them didn’t get the 2:1 needed to carry on and do an MA.

Back at the American College we had an international mix of students, who all became friends and got to know one-another. We still chat on social media 27 years later. The other thing to note is we all do what we did at college: Hernando still paints, Guillermo plays guitar, Nicole does graphics, Cristel is a photographer still, Rizal does cartoons, Sheila, Paula have creative jobs and I still write. In 2001, I went to college in Los Angeles and Linita, who wrote for the Hollywood Reporter now runs her own music and film industry magazine and attends all the press junkets to interview stars.

After graduation, I could use various tools I’d learned at college to find work. I did a letterhead for a business and advertising boards for various pubs and off licenses. I marketed and sold a creative child-minding business and got a clutch of long term clients, including a cabinet Minister, who got sacked while working for this family and had a laugh about taking their children to rock gigs and teaching them to use oil pastels.

After a few years trying out a few things: graphic design, doing advertising boards, painting, had an exhibition in 1994 and sold paintings (attended by Chris and Karyanne Jagger and Davey Pane from Ian Dury’s Band), writing a humour column for a local paper (as I had done on the magazine we created at ACL: Art Holes) I got into the London College of Printing (now LC of Communication) to do a postgraduate certificate in Periodical Journalism.

This journalism course cost around £275 in 1997 and was for 11 weeks, followed by an industrial placement. The course was clearly routemapped and all skills based. We had to write features but not thesis about writing features. No Harvard Referencing in cite (sic). We learned the journalist alternative, which is quoting credible and named sources and qualifying statements.

The interview process seemed fair and meritocratic. I didn’t have a hearing aid or know I had dyspraxia and yet I got an immediate place (not to mention an unconditional place to do an MA in broadcast journalism in 2011). There was no segregation for learning styles.

We learned Quark Xpress, page layout, T-line shorthand, news reporting, interview technique, media law and had 3 features to hand in as well as sitting test for the other skills. At the end we worked together to devise and publish our own newspaper Liquid London (a little drinking followed of course).

Therefore, it wasn’t until I attended Falmouth University in 2011, that I had to do academic work. I was baffled, having attended the most competitive journalist college in the country, with alumni all over the publishing and journalist world, why I had to submit studies of the work I was undertaking as well as producing the work. Surely, if you produce the work you have understood the teaching.

It seems to me that the education system used in England has been taken over by academics. The top art colleges expect visual minded, creative people to apply rote memorisation techniques to fulfil their academic objectives. Those, like me, with dyspraxia are considered constrained. We are not included in the way the courses are taught and have to be given special individual learning plans. Even though this is a University of the Arts. Falmouth houses an art college, music AMATA and other creative practices.

When I discovered I had dyspraxia in 2006, the London Dyslexia Teaching Centre, which did my assessment (which would have cost upwards of £400 but I sold them an advert for a magazine) said that most students attending all London’s top art colleges, Fashion, Music, Fine Art, Graphics, Dancing, Drama and Film had some kind of dyslexic or dyspraxic profile. There was one test to put these red and white diamonds together to copy a shape that required the mind of an MA student at the Royal College of Art. I managed it just in time in 2006, but actually failed it in 2020, which I personally account for a lack of confidence in my way of processes thinking, after the invalidation it receives from academic courses taught at convention British universities. It is just a thought.

With all arts courses, we need to learn the nuts and bolts we will need to forge our careers on graduation. In the business world, only scientists and medical researchers write thesis, while people setting up businesses write business plans.

The more successful alumni become after completing a course is the best way in my view to attract the most talented prospective new students. Do you want your art graduates to go and hold their own exhibitions and sell their work or go full time at the local supermarket?

In my view, an art course is like designing a new car. We do not have to reinvent the wheel or work out how cars move because those are already well known and fall under mechanics and engineering. To launch a new car, before we decide on what type of fuel (diesel, unleaded, electric, hybrid etc) or the size wheels, we need to work out what the market wants and learn how to engage with them, test our ideas and get confident that our new car is going to be worth funding and setting up a business up to put on the market.

Once we have designed a car, found factories to build it, made a prototype, test run it and chosen the engine and the wheels and attracted funders to finance the production and launch of the vehicles, we then need to put our marketing strategy into operation, find dealers to sell the car and start getting interest from buyers. Once the orders start coming in, surely that is when we engage our business services to incorporate the company and do the accounts and legal. They can talk us through this so we can fulfil our responsibilities and check on the engine of our business regularly to know where we are.

From my earliest memory of learning, how to write, using an ink pen, times tables, spelling, grammar, history dates, geography, etc, I never saw the point of rote memorisation. I never mastered it. What was the point of memorising something to put into an exam paper, to forget shortly afterwards.

Now I see it is an exercise, in the same way that an artist will learn to drawer, use all the pencils, paint with oils, glaze and work with different mediums before they find their style and start doing their own work.

No one told me rote memorisation was going to be needed for so many processes in adult life. Surely, we need to learn rote memorisation AND meaningful learning. Why spend years at school to not carry anything with you? All those works of literature, poems, understanding ordnance survey maps and electrical circuits.

I could never remember my periodic table. That is the first time I realised I didn’t retain information if I wasn’t putting it into practice. Knowing gold was Au and water is H2o didn’t seem essential in order to become a doctor, to me.

However, at the American College in London (ACL), we were asked to do rote memorisation. We had 8 week modules containing 2 tests. We did art history, which I had done badly at in the English system (Exam papers asked for an understanding of history, no one said I had to remember dates. It was in the English unsaid. Doesn’t work for me. Just put it on the table please). At ACL, we went home to learn a time line of painting names, titles, dates and mediums and I could get them all correct the next day. Can I remember any now? Nope. Can I remember things I was taught in a meaningful way? Yes. Dangling modifiers are phrases that can be understood with two completely different contexts.

Rote memorisation, I now understand, is great for remembering login details such as passwords and PINs, learning new processes and remembering them, structure, organising thoughts, writing theses or reports. However, I think meaningful learning is very important and our schools are deprioritising it and children who do not see the point, and therefore, reject rote memorisation end up being excluded and segregated in the Special Needs department.

We ought to agree various protocols to make learning inclusive for all styles and development paths. Otherwise we get to university and find that meaningful-only learners struggle with processes and structure and rote-only learners struggle with putting new learning into practice and integrating it into their existing raft of skills and knowledge.

Knowing what learning style and the strengths and weaknesses I’ve ended up with, with hindsight, I wish teachers had defined the separate mental processes for rote and meaningful learning. In my experience teaching times tables or spelling by rote doesn’t work so they need to be taught meaningfully. On the other hand, learning dates for history or place names in Geography as well as reciting poetry or starting to play a musical instrument can all be achieved through rote learning.

I gained confidence at college when tested on a timeline of paintings by artist, title and date but I didn’t retain the information for long. In other words, I suspect rote learning exercises the brain to retain information intellectually, that isn’t required for action or practice, just knowledge. This mental process can help with linear structure, which is required for essay writing, remembering log in details and remembering abbreviations and, perhaps, for html or javascript, where remembering letters and numbers can be of great benefit. If we apply meaningful learning to these tasks, we can end up over thinking.

It seems as if education has changed how we think away from meaningful thinking, as people overthinking a repetitive or manual job won’t be good for them. However, those going on to careers in law or medicine, particularly, need to develop far beyond the Periodic table and memory bank of laws to pursue brilliant careers.

In conclusion, if we teach both learning styles to children and choose which task is better suited to meaningful or to rote learning, why and what we will use them for later in life, there will be a huge increase in healthy outcomes from school and so much more could be achieved. There will then be much more inclusivity and diversity and this could lead to a whole new period of innovation.


Posted in Accessibility, Diary of an Entrepreneur Start Up, Dyspraxia, Female Entrepreneur, Female Start-up, Inclusion and DIversity, Journal, Journey to Become an Entrepreneur, Language and Communication, Universal Truths, Visual processing, Women in Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Academic Courses Equip their Graduates with Business Sense

Whatever you are studying at degree level and beyond, the greater context has to be preparation for finding work or starting a business in your chosen sector.

It seems that whatever you learn, showing people under the engine of the business sector students will be entering is not seen as helping them. We have to reinvent the wheel. Rather giving us the engine and the wheels and allowing us to design and build the car and road test it. We also need to find its audience, hire staff, create our marketing budgets and launch it with an information website and sell it, eventually, to mass market.

Case studies from other businesses that have incorporated could show us the simple steps that all businesses go through. Why do we have to fumble around in the dark, pulling threads from YouTube Videos, books, bits and bobs when setting up a business is a clear linear process to follow: 1. Choose a name 2. Register at Companies House 3. File a report 4 create a budget, etc.

It is the same with much of science in my view. To be healthy, every human body requires the same set of essential vitamins and minerals but we all respond to foods differently. Likewise, we all need to do the same things to start a business, but we will all be creating our own services or products. There may be direct competition but mostly we would be able to learn from them and vice versa.

In therapy, many people look at human psychology in a subjective, isolated way. This is much the same as diet. I think the bigger picture is how humans work. Even though one person may become a sociopath and another a philanthropist from the same treatment, there is also nature and perhaps one person had loving parents and the other was adopted. There is an set of factors that would determine how different people respond mentally, as much as they would to food. Why does science not look at the whole picture and put all contributory factors into one holistic jigsaw puzzle rather than just looking at the pieces.

It seems to me that human nature or, more specifically, human psychology is not well understood. We have an education system, which may provide degrees in the arts, music and writing, but in the UK, the main focus always seems to be about academic thinking.

Even if you are an active, creative thinker who has made a success of this way of working, processing visually and seeing the whole picture, looking at things holistically and being able to see the problem and solve it are not regarded in academic. If you can’t think in a straight line and do things in the right order, you have a ‘constraint’ in the eyes of the people who decide your success from university courses.

I have always believed that universities at the top of the league tables, Oxbridge for example, have less to prove and therefore integrate neurodiversity into their programs. You may be an artist or an engineer but you won’t need special assistant at any top university as they will have invested money in being able to attract the best students. They are also vested in these students moving into successful careers to have the best alumni to attract more of the best students.

It is worth at least considering whether the most important engine to drive success after graduation is the provision of tools. A modern artist first learns how to use oils, how to glaze, to paint on canvas, stretch canvases, how to mount pictures and use the whole range of pencils. A piano student learns scales.

A guitarist learns how to hold the guitar to be able to run their finger up a fretboard and to play different styles. However, they also learn how to create websites, biographies, do recordings, promote themselves and some music law too. The best music schools teach about copyright, publishing, recording contracts and hold showcases to be seen by talent scouts.

There have been more studies on how we learning. There are two ways described in this article by Oxford Learning: Rote Learning and Meaningful Learning. This sums up my experience as I remember struggling with my times tables until I found a meaningful way to learn them. I could not learn conventionally. Moving my attention from one subject, when I immersed myself in it, to another was hard enough, without being expected to fill my memory with rote memorisation.

Throughout my education I have felt let down by learning expectations. During my O’levels, I didn’t do as well as teachers expected due to me wanting to provide my own thoughts, not the ones dictated to us in class. I took great interest in all my education and then went to art college as, due to blatant sexism in the system – unchallenged and accepted in society – I didn’t get physics and Latin options at O’level. In the 1980s, it seemed I was being raised to be a housewife and mother, not to have a career. It was like ‘shut up the men are talking’.

In business, soft skills are under valued by far. Hardnosed business is looked up to and emulated, even expected. Meanwhile, communication – which is free and can be mistressed (not saying mastered, am reclaiming ‘mistress’ from its seedy usage) to great affect for websites, PR, content, social media and customer relations.

Am also re-reading the Seed Network by Lynne Franks. It recounts the route from kitchen table to large PR company that dealt with celebrities, famous musicians and top brands (where I worked in 1995). The feminine way of business has many benefits to both men and women and contributes directly into businesses about sustainability, human resources, equality, communications and relationship building.

Therefore, I refute the academic view that dyspraxia is a ‘constraint’. It is a disempowering and oppressive label, seemingly, to keep down those of us who learn meaningfully and still use watching and copying to mistress (or master for a guy) new skills.

Providing tools and laying out processes clearly in step by step instructions are soft skills and ones that the top arts schools and universities have integrated into their diversity and inclusivity initiatives

Rant over.


Posted in Diary of an Entrepreneur Start Up, Dyspraxia, Female Entrepreneur, Inclusion and DIversity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment