Berry blues:

A reader’s health conundrum

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

Cli­mate change is a se­ri­ous mat­ter. No doubt­ing that. I want to do my bit to help save Planet Earth, but I am strug­gling and let me tell you why.

I want to stress that I strongly be­lieve in the science sur­round­ing the ev­i­dence that our planet is steadily warm­ing and, if left unchecked, will reach a point of no re­turn.

With this in mind I con­sid­ered how I, as an in­di­vid­ual, could re­duce global warm­ing. This, against the back­ground of there be­ing an­other 7.7bn peo­ple in the world that should also do their bit.

Some years ago I was di­ag­nosed with high blood pres­sure and was put on

med­i­ca­tion to re­duce and con­trol it. These drugs came as a pack­age of mea­sures to help me which also in­cluded exercise and diet. Un­til I had been di­ag­nosed I hadn’t even looked at, yet alone eaten, blue­ber­ries.

Now let me tell you some­thing about blue­ber­ries. They are a ‘su­per­food’. I’m not sure what that term means ex­actly, but the British Heart Foun­da­tion and my GP reckon they’re bril­liant for peo­ple with hy­per­ten­sion (high blood pres­sure).

Not only that but, ap­par­ently, they can pre­vent some can­cers, are low in calo­ries, boost the im­mune sys­tem and slow the ag­ing process. Now that is what I call a su­per­food.

So, in an ef­fort to main­tain a healthy heart and stave off the pos­si­bil­i­ties of stroke or heart at­tack, I be­gan to eat blue­ber­ries with ev­ery­thing; por­ridge, yo­ghurt, ce­re­als and even on their own as a snack. I just wish there were blueberry crisps. I’m a sucker for crisps.

Any­way, there I am, hap­pily munch­ing away on my heart healthy berries, when I hear about food miles and how we should all buy lo­cal pro­duce to re­duce the car­bon foot­print which is a re­sult of foods and goods be­ing freighted across the globe. I looked at the tray of blue­ber­ries in the fridge. I got hit with a dou­ble whammy.

Not only had my life-giv­ing berries been flown halfway across the world from Peru (yes, Peru)

but they were in a plas­tic tray which was ‘as yet not re­cy­clable’ and a plas­tic film which was also ‘as yet not re­cy­clable’.

I think by now you are be­gin­ning to see my dilemma. To save the planet I have to risk ru­in­ing my heart and to save my heart I risk ru­in­ing the planet. What should I do? I needed a mas­ter plan.

I started a quest to see if blue­ber­ries are grown in the UK. They are.

How­ever, the sea­son is quite lim­ited, due to our cli­mate.

So, un­daunted I did some calculatio­ns. I was eat­ing about 75 grams of blue­ber­ries a day. This amount seems to as­sist bowel move­ments as well. They don’t men­tion that on the British Heart Foun­da­tion web­site. I dis­cov­ered this ad­di­tional ben­e­fit all by my­self.

Any­way, I di­gress. As­sum­ing a reg­u­lar in­take of 75 grams per day, I scoff 60lbs of blue­ber­ries an­nu­ally. So, if I con­tacted a UK grower and said I needed 60lbs of blue­ber­ries I’m sure I could get a good price.

Now all I need is some­where to keep them. They freeze re­ally well, although I have never tried freez­ing them my­self.

Our freezer is tiny. Just big enough for im­por­tant things like ice cream, chips and peas; cer­tainly there is no room for 60lbs of blue­ber­ries.

I de­cided we needed a chest freezer, in the garage. So, there I was with my tape mea­sure, in the garage to see where I could fit a new chest freezer. My wife wan­dered out:

Wife: “What are you do­ing?” Me: “Mea­sur­ing up for a chest freezer”

Wife: “Why?”

Me: “To save the planet.” Wife: [in­cred­u­lously] “What?” Me: “To save the planet.

I’m go­ing to buy 60lbs of lo­cally grown blue­ber­ries and freeze them.”

Wife: “And that is go­ing to save the planet?”

Me: “Only if ev­ery­one else does it as well.”

Wife: “I worry about you some­times.”

And with that she dis­ap­peared back into the house. I thought I heard a “tut”. I def­i­nitely saw a shake of the head.

Un­de­terred, I car­ried on with my mas­ter plan. I could squeeze the chest freezer in be­tween the dryer and the Work­mate. No prob­lems. My wife reap­peared.

“You re­alise that freez­ers give off gases that are harm­ful to the ozone layer don’t you?” she said. I thought I saw a lit­tle grin be­fore she turned round and went back in­doors.

With my plan scup­pered even be­fore it got off the ground I de­cided I would ditch the blueberry idea and concentrat­e on other heart-healthy foods, like avo­ca­dos, ba­nanas and sar­dines, that I could source lo­cally.

Now is there an av­o­cado farm any­where near Nor­wich?

‘Just wish there were blueberry crisps. I’m a sucker for crisps’

ABOVE: Healthy, whole­some blue­ber­ries...all the way from Peru

ABOVE: Paul wants his blue­ber­ries but also want to be green. What’s the so­lu­tion?

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