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Welcome to this edition of Hackwriters. Read us and the amazing archives too. 15.10 years on-line and 7627 articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on. Our October issue begins here:

Sam Editorial
: 27.10.2014

Welcome to Hackwriters.
It’s the political season – both here in the UK and the USA.  Party Conferences where politicians promise the earth knowing no one believes they will keep their promises, let alone remember them, all looking over their shoulder at the rise of right-wing groupings exploiting divisions in society. Meanwhile over in the USA – the gullible eat up the propaganda on Fox news and will elect Republicans in November, who’s only goal is to enrich themselves and impoverish America in mind and spirit.  Point in fact is the GOP's obessession with reducing funding for the CDC and now find that they don't have the funds or the expertise to deal with the Ebola crisis. Reap what you sow I guess. Meanwhile IS fighters in the Middle East terrorise and murder anyone that gets in their way in Northern Iraq as Turkey watches, knowing they won't lift a finger for the Kurds, or only reluctantly at least. Now there is talk of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan joining them to create a giant terror superstate with the aim of destroying Iran and finally the West. Joy to the world right.

Facing the picket line at my local hospital last week as I went in for blood tests, I spent a couple of hours waiting reading The Times and several pages on just how much money is wasted by the NHS because they don't centrally pool their purchasing for UK hospitals. Billions could be saved on surgical gloves, cleaning products, simple items such as needles, but hospitals are unwilling to do this for some reason. It makes no sense to me, but if nurses want raises - that's the way to do it and slash the salaries of managers who refuse to save money on purchasing. Surely we could have a national standard and price for needles at the very least? I value the NHS and am alive because of their care, but just spend a few days in any hospital and you can see it could be more efficient and function better. As our population ages it is going to be overwhelmed by patients who have not cared for their health. I wonder how it will cope, unless somehow the population at large can be persuaded to take responsibility for their health, diet and mobility. It is a major task and I am not sure we have any honest politicians capable of following this course. To be honest I am not sure hospitals recognise just how important diet is in maintaining good health. It is still pills first, food intake only a minor consideration. This must change. In fact in the USA they are finally waking up to the idea that genetics may not be the link to heart disease, but lifestyle and of course, diet. Clearly it will be a long time before our medical practioners catch up to that.

I am following The Starch Solution by Dr McDougall, (although I am afraid Doc I still have fish on Fridays, but I am being strict about all else).  The carbohydrates diet (with vegetables) and no dairy definitely helps you lose weight and although, yes you are hungry much more often, snacking on fruit or the odd handful of nuts gets you by.  I am not used to eating quite so much, but I can see it has positive results.  I have visibly lost my tummy and jowls in eight weeks.  I definitely need to increase my exercise levels, but am somewhat restricted in that by all the darn pills my specialist has crammed onto my shelf.  Statins, blood thinners, stomach liners so you can actually swallow the darn pills and because they make the prostate swell – pills to make you pee without screaming with pain.  **If you’d like to know what those are they are called Tamsulosin MR 400mcg and I can truthly say they are the very first pills I have swallowed that work from the get go.   They may also be killing my liver.  Which is a worry and I have now stopped taking them as I am convinced it is damaging my liver. I have also reduced my intake of all of the drugs as the side effects (rash, bleeding skin) are too hard to deal with. I have talked to others on statins and they share similar reactions. *** Reducing the statins to 40mg a day has helped by the by and the rash has gone.

The point of The Starch Solution is to reduce your cholesterol so you can actually come off all the pills.  Especially the statins.  That is my aim. Of course the doctors in the UK seem to care nothing about food as an alternative to pills.  In fact aren’t even trained to combine diet with drugs for maximum benefit.  They still advocate the Mediterranean diet, but that involves much fish and meat (therefore fat and oil) and doesn't really emphasise the vegetable side. The drug companies push their solutions without regard to the simple fact that a great many people would be a lot better off and not need their drugs at all if they cut out dairy, refined sugar and most importantly meat.   Doctors tell me that I am on statins and aspirin for life, but I haven’t taken the aspirin and aim to steadily decrease the statins and eliminate the betablockers by November all being well. My cholesterol is 3.6 right now and my blood pressure around 133/65. However I now learn about Good and Bad cholesterol, HDL and LDL and I can see there are complications in all of this.

The drug companies are pushing to get all men over 40 on statins - despite the risk of one in five developing diabetes type 2 but controlling intake both of food and alchohol and getting exercise should be the number one priority for males right now. We don't need to be taking statins if we get control of what we eat and avoid processed - pre-packaged food. Eat fresh food learn to love the preparation and satisfaction of eating with pleasure. Convenience food is going to kill you with huge salt and corn fructose sugar additives.

It does require discipline however and fruit ain’t cheap in winter.  Luckily I happen to like things such as rye bread and pumpkin bread, so it shouldn’t be such a chore to make veggie soups and stews and curries as the weather cools. I have the 'Forks over Knives' recipe book so this could even be fun to explore new dishes.

My biggest surprise is how people say 'we could never try this'.  Everyone, especially my own family, are addicted to meat and all the indoctrination about protein.  Got to have milk, eggs, all the meats and every single one of them are overweight.  In fact as you age you shouldn’t need so much protein and the body can only process so much milk before it leeches calcium rather than build it up.  So many people now are staggeringly obese.  I can’t believe they are comfortable in their skin and don’t want to get to a more manageable size – if only to prevent getting diabetes in later life.  Certainly the hospital here is choked with large people shuffling around waiting for treatment for one ailment or many. 

Anyway – we shall see what happens.  I think Dr McDougall is anti-wine but so far I haven’t given up my one glass of red a day, in fact my specialist insists upon it!   There are limits. Bit worried about the drop in eyesight function though.  It could be a side-effect of the Ramipril drugs.  I am hoping so, because to lose around 40 percent in the quality of one’s vision overnight is not a good thing.  I guess having a heart attack isn’t a good thing either of course.

I am not preaching.  Clearly I allowed myself to clog my arteries and make myself vulnerable to a heart attack.  Never smoked, hardly drank, but was definitely doing something wrong all these years.  Now I have a chance to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In The Times 24/09/14 it reports that in the UK 60,000 people a year suffer heart attacks (cardiac arrest) and apparently only 10 percent survive. Profesor Johnathan Berger of the University of West of England, Bristol wrote in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) 'that hospitals have nothing to offer cardiac arrest patients... in fact taking patients to one may be harmful.' However I was saved by the promp action of an alert ambulance crew who took me to the cardiac hospital some distance away. Putting more skills and equipment into the hands of such ambulance crews would definitely improve those odds of survival. Without the crew and subsequent surgeon's immediate treatment I too would be dead. 60,000 people a year is a lot of humanity to shrug off don't you think? Does make you worry about what our medical researchers are thinking and who is validating their work.

Will keep you posted. Meanwhile download my new novel MAGENTA. Be nice to get some feedback.

© Sam North  - Travel Editor October 2014
author of Diamonds The Rush of '72 and now the new ebook:
download the new novel on Kindle from Sam North
'Life begins somewhere between the fish and the stars’
A mysterious, tragic tale from the wilds of the Lincolnshire coast – a haunting story about a girl who fled the fire into a whole world of trouble. A story about father and daughter and the girl who can read objects...


Do buy Sam Hawksmoor's new book The Heaviness – suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity.  All proceeds from our books go into keep Hacks going. All on Kindle.

The Repossession

The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor a fast paced edgy romantic thriller

'Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine...one of the best, and most fascinating, debut novels I've ever read'. Evie-bookish.blogspot

The Hunting - the thrilling sequel - order yours from Amazon, Waterstones or Chapters or your indie bookshop plus Indigo Books Canada or Kindle
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Now read the final thrilling conclusion to the series 'The Heaviness'

The Repossession & The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor released across Canada Flag Available in Chapters/Indigo/ Albany Books, Hager and Kids Books Broadway - Vancouver + Bolens Books (Victoria), Mables Fables, Type Books in Toronto,
Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine…’ Evie Seo
Part Three - The Heaviness now available


If you're looking for an exciting YA book set in WW2 - Kindle download 'The Repercussions of Tomas D' or buy the paperback - All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA novel that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
Marcel d'Agneau

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