How tucking your trousers into your socks can prevent illness

  • Can we eat better by eating the ‘wrong’ foods?
  • This may not be fashionable but it certainly works
  • Holiday tips for the intrepid explorers

Wonky vegetables and fruit are here at last!

It’s been a while since I last visited a supermarket, but last weekend I had to call in to a local one to collect some holiday gear from the Argos counter.

Whilst I was in there with all the other happy shoppers (not!) I took the chance to have a look at what was on offer.

To my joy I saw that they were offering discounted strawberries because they were misshapen.

Then there were chillis which were all knobbly, potatoes that were twisted and carrots that had extra growths… some of which were quite lewd if you have that sort of mind!

But, they were all fresh.

I bought some of them purely to encourage the store to restock, and made some absolutely delightful vegetable soup, adding in a few peas, pearled barley and fine strips of cabbage.

Just beautiful.

This set me thinking about the opportunity these less than perfect goodies represent for families who might be needing to save a few pennies but still eat healthily.

Why isn’t there more advertising about this stuff… or have I missed it?

Whilst families are together a lot more it is the ideal time for them to cook and eat together, and if they make good stock pots of soup, great casseroles with cheap cuts of meat or noodle broths it will offer great value for money.

More importantly none of those dishes are difficult to cook, so even the children can learn to do it.

Some might call these odd vegetables and fruit ‘wrong’ because they are not perfect physical specimens… but since when was that ever a requirement for being good?

What about the holidays?

Many of you have been emailing me about the issue with Portugal not being on the approved holiday destinations from the UK.

Knowing how much I and the family love our fortnight in the Algarve you have shown much appreciated concern for us.

We are still looking forward to our trip, but ny necessity it is going to be later in the year…

…and for that I am grateful.

But for many others I know that your holiday plans this year are much closer to home, in some cases you are telling me that you won’t be leaving home at all!

Camping has seen a bumper revival given the weather and the fact that it is an outdoors pursuit which lowers the risk and anxiety about COVID-19.

However, I did start thinking about my own experiences of camping with the kids, and whilst most of it was absolutely joyful, there were a few issues.

The constant risk of them getting wet and muddy is par for the course, and we always took plenty of changes of clothes which we kept in the car to ensure they stayed dry.

But having my daughter going head first into a nettle patch wasn’t fun, nor did the trip to the local health centre to get ticks pulled out of one of my sons legs (this being before we invested in our own tick tweezers).

So, based upon these experiences I thought I should share a few tips and pointers with any of you who are planning a getaway under canvas.

How tucking your trousers into your socks can prevent illness

  • Be prepared for exposure to more sunlight… camping out is bound to mean more time outdoors, which means you need to be extra careful when it comes to protecting yourself from too much sunlight – especially children.

Children’s sweat glands aren’t fully developed until they hit adolescence, which basically means they’re cooling system isn’t    working properly. So to help them avoid over- eating, try and go on any long works in the morning or early evening – and make sure they’re always covered in light clothing, including a hat.

  • Tuck your trousers into your socks when you’re hiking… this will help prevent nasty little ticks from scurrying up your trouser legs and giving you a bite. Ticks can carry a whole load of nasty infections, including Lyme disease, which can attack the nervous system and the heart.
  • Pack some tea tree oil… this natural marvel will help ease small insect bites and scratches, and can calm down allergic reactions caused by plants – even Giant Hogweed according to some sources. However, Giant Hogweed (also poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac if travelling further afield than the UK) can cause extreme swelling in some people. So if anyone in your party has a severe allergic reaction, don’t rely on the oil – go and get medical help immediately!
  • An old country remedy is dock leaves to cure the pain of nettle stings and some insect bites. It grows wild, often around nettles, and has big leaves that you spit on then rub over the area that has been stung.
  • Rhubarb, rhubarb… I usually prefer mine with custard, but apparently oils in the stem can ease the itching caused by allergic plant reaction.

Whatever your holiday plans this year, I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing time.