A boost for Irish farmers – and health!

A boost for Irish farmers – and health!

I have a cousin, whose judgement I respect, who regards Dr Michael Mosley as an infallible ‘health guru’. Dr Mosley has made television programmes for the BBC on diet and health, and is well known for his successful ‘fast diet’. The ‘fast diet’ recommends eating very little on two days a week – fasting – which is what we were supposed to do in Lent anyway, on Wednesdays and Fridays. (Old ideas return in new livery!)

Anyway, Dr Mosley is much esteemed as an authority on diet and health – his advice on how to cure diabetes through diet seems to be permanently on the New York best-seller list. Now, his latest pronunciamento is extolling and recommending the drinking of milk. And full-cream milk too.

There was a time when it was considered healthy to drink a glass of milk. Then milk began to get a bad press. It was blamed for heart attacks, strokes and obesity. We were told to reduce milk as much as possible. If we had to drink it, we should stick to the skinny, fat-free version.


More recently, there’s been a trend to stigmatise milk altogether. We’ve been encouraged to go ‘lactose-free’ and substitute plant milk, from oats or almond nuts, instead of cows’ milk. Vegans have urged us to boycott cows’ milk (as they wish to abolish all meat and dairy products).

But health guru Dr Mosley says negativity about milk is completely mistaken and that young women are now suffering from calcium deficiency, and iodine deficiency, because they are eschewing milk.

Cows’ milk, he says, contains essential ingredients, high levels of protein and Vitamin B12 that cannot be replicated from other sources. Lack of iodine in the diet can affect mental as well as physical well-being.

And as for dieting – he claims that drinking full-cream milk is actually better for weight-loss than skinny milk. Because the full-cream milk satisfies the body’s protein and iodine requirements, it makes the dieter less likely to crave sugars and extra carbohydrates.

Moreover, full-cream milk tastes delicious. Yes, a few people are lactose-intolerant, and should be diagnosed as such: but it’s relatively rare. For most people milk is a boost to health.

I thought it was ill-judged and even unpatriotic for Leo Varadkar to endorse veganism recently, at a time when Irish beef and dairy farmers need the fullest possible support.

But now, Dr Michael Mosley has, in effect, given the dairy farmers his support and they should use his authoritative words to promote their excellent products world-wide. Yes, for health and mental well-being, drink more milk!


‘Was Constance Markievicz really a Feminist?’ I’ll be giving a talk on this theme – in partnership with Pat Quigley, biographer of Casimir Markievicz – at the Irish Polish Society, 
20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, next Thursday, April 11, 7.30pm, admission €5. All welcome!


 the rush?

A young woman asked me my views on the upcoming divorce referendum, which proposes to reduce the divorce waiting-time from four years to two. In response, I asked her what she thought: she surprised me by saying she felt the overall effect would be to devalue marriage, and that was a pity. I was surprised because I had been led to believe that the younger cohort of voters feel that divorcing couples shouldn’t have to wait to split up.

I suppose I see this situation now more from a grandparent’s viewpoint, and I know that grandparents among my own peers live in dread of a marriage break-up among their adult offspring. They fear for the children of the marriage, and all the problems that arise from a family breakup.

The granny generation also take a longer view: my own mother-in-law told me that she and my father-in-law had hit a bad patch in their marriage in middle life, but when they were older, they were glad they had stayed together.

Divorce is something not to be rushed into, surely.