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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.