PEOPLE TACKLING POVERTY

Malachi's ProjectMalachi’s tooth fairy cash helps create a £5m homeless centre now opened in east London. He gave £5 donation when 5 years old to the Salvation Army with a note and prayer to “use it to buy a house for homeless” people. Now at ten-years-old Malachi’s donated tooth fairy money to Salvation Army was topped up by the Redbridge Council and Salvation Army to create Malachi’s Place on the freeland donated. The building’s 42 flats helps  homeless people get a home in Ilford in new housing for tenants. This shows no gifts are too small to help tackle poverty or homelessness in the world.

20200321_134948Wolverhampton Wanderers donated thousands of pieces of some protective equipment to health teams in response to the coronavirus epidemic. The club and owners Fosun donated 2,300 items. Medical coveralls and 1,000 N95 masks were among items distributed to Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and public health teams. Executive chairman Jeff Shi said the club would do “all it can” to support doctors or community workers. Landlords of pub forced to close set up a service delivering fruit and vegetables to NHS and healthcare workers. Bradley Richards and Trina Lake set up a stall by their pub in Costessey, near Norwich, on Wednesday after deciding to sell the groceries. Ms Lake said they then struck on the idea of delivering food to health workers after spotting a nurse’s plea. A  fair trade coffee roaster pays fair prices to poor lower income farmers featured in Equator set up from the home garage. Grew to unique excellent tasting coffee talked about where their coffee comes from offers kind of level of service big guys don’t. Customers responded to that so simply trying to be the local versions of big company this unique selling point helps or would be unable to compete.Bags of Equator coffeeFans of coffee include top US chefs and  Equator is unusual in coffee shop sector all staff have access to health insurance. “It’s expensive but health insurance is a right of all Americans,” says Helen. “Any CEO who has a private plane and people working for them uninsured is running their business wrong turned their focus to opening retail cafe to close a revenue gap created by losing La Boulange,” says Helen. In first year of business we didn’t show sales growth but added a million dollars new business that year.A young Brooke McDonnell roasting beans in the couple's garageThe first roasted coffee beans in garage but increased so Equator grown to 155 employees across eight retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three new branches opening. This shows if a door closes another opens by hardwork if willing to start all over using the skills acquired. Some retrain to improve new abilities yo adapt to current changes.Paths to SuccessThis story from a new mini-series called Paths to Success of Coffee expert Willem Boot, founder of Boot Coffee, a company trains people to work in the industry. He says Equator stands against competitors because of the quality of staff. ” People working for them are coffee dedicated, socially minded, kind human beings. It is these qualities that define the essence of the Equator coffee experience.”Dan PriceDan Price boss’ card payment company in Seattle introduced $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off. Dan Price was hiking with his friend Valerie in the Cascade mountains looms majestically over Seattle as he had an uncomfortable revelation. As they walked, she told him that her life was in chaos her landlord had put her monthly rent up by $200 and she was struggling to pay her bills. It made Price angry. Valerie, who he had once dated, had served for 11 years in the military, doing two tours in Iraq, and was now working 50 hours a week in two jobs to make ends meet. “She is somebody for whom service, honour and hard work just defines who she is as a person,” he says. Though she was earning around $40,000 a year in Seattle t wasn’t enough to afford a decent home. He was angry that the world had become such an unequal place. And suddenly it struck him that he was part of the problem. At 31, Price was millionaire. His company, Gravity Payments, set up as a teen had about 2,000 customers and an estimated worth of millions of dollars. Though he earned $1.1m a year Valerie brought home to him lots of his staff must be struggling – and he decided to change that. Raised in deeply Christian, rural Idaho, Dan Price is upbeat and positive, generous in his praise of others and impeccably polite has become crusader against inequality in the US. “People are starving or being laid off or being taken advantage of, so that somebody can have a penthouse at the top of a tower in New York with gold chairs. “We’re glorifying greed all the time as a society, in our culture. And, you know, the Forbes list is the worst example – ‘Bill Gates has passed Jeff Bezos as the richest man.’ Who cares!?”Dan PriceBefore 1995 poorest half of population of the United States earned a greater share of national wealth than richest 1%, he points out. That year the tables turned so top 1% earned more than the bottom 50%. And the gap is continuing to widen. In 1965, CEOs in US earned 20 times more than average worker but by 2015 it had risen to 300 times (in the UK, the bosses of FTSE 100 companies now earn 117 times salary of their average worker). Breathing in crisp mountain air as he hiked with Valerie, Price had an idea. He read a study by Nobel prize-winner economist Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, looked at how much money an American needs to be happy. Promised Valerie he would significantly raise minimum salary at Gravity. After crunching the numbers, he arrived at the figure of $70,000. He realised that he would not have to slash his salary, but mortgage his two houses or give up his stocks and savings. He gathered his staff together and gave them the news. He’d expected scenes of celebration, but at first announcement floated in the room  was an anti-climax, Price says. He had to repeat himself before the enormity of what was happening landed. Five years later, Dan laughs about the fact that he missed a key point in the Princeton professors’ research. The amount they people need to be happy was $75,000. A third of workers at company’s salaries doubled Gravity transforms Headcount doubled and value of payment company processes rose $3.8bn a year to $10.2bn. Other metrics Price is more proud of is “before $70,000 minimum wage, having between zero and two babies born per year amongst team,” he says. “Since the announcement and it’s been only about four-and-a-half years we’ve had more than 40 babies.”Dan Price with his motherDan Price with his mother. More than 10% of the company have been able to buy their own home, in one of the US’s most expensive cities for renters. Before the figure was less than 1%. “There was a bit of concern amongst pontificators out there that people would squander any gains that they would have. And we’ve really seen the opposite,” Price says. The amount of money employees are voluntarily putting into their own pension funds has more than doubled and 70% of employees say they’ve paid off debt. Price did get a lot of flak. Along with hundreds of letters of support, and magazine cover labelled him “America’s best boss” many of Gravity’s customers wrote handwritten letters objected its a political statement. At the time, Seattle was debating increase to the minimum wage to $15, making it highest in the US at the time. Small business owners were fighting it, claiming they would go out of business. A right-wing radio pundit, Rush Limbaugh, Price listened to daily in childhood, called him a communist. “I hope this company is a case study in MBA programmes on how socialism does not work because it’s going to fail,” he said. Two senior Gravity employees resigned in protest. They weren’t happy salaries of junior staff jump overnight, argued it will make them lazy, company uncompetitive but it hasn’t happened.Rosita BarlowRosita Barlow, director of sales, Gravity, says since salaries were raised junior colleagues pull more weight. “When money is not at the forefront of your mind when you’re doing your job, it allows you to be more passionate about what motivates you,” she says. Senior staff found their workload reduced. They’re under less pressure and can do things like take all of the holiday leave to which they are entitled. Price tells the story about one staff member who works in Gravity’s call centre. “He was commuting over an hour and a half a day,” he says. “He was worried that during his commute he was going to blow out a tyre and not have enough money to fix that tyre. He was stressing about it every day.” When his salary was raised to $70,000 this man moved closer to the office, now he spends more money on his health, he exercises every day and eats more healthily. “We had another gentleman on a similar team and he literally lost more than 50lb (22kg),” he says. Others report spending more time with their families or helping their parents pay off debt. “We saw, everyday, effects of giving somebody freedom,” Price says. He thinks it is why Gravity is making more money than ever. Raising salaries didn’t change people’s motivation staff were already motivated to work hard it increased what he calls their capability. “You’re not thinking I go to work because I have to make money,” Rosita Barlow agrees. “Now it’s become focused on ‘How do I do good work?'” Barlow has been with Gravity since the early days and knows Price wasn’t always so generous. And he acknowledges himself a time in the wake of 2008 financial crisis when he was obsessed with saving money. The downturn in the US economy decimated Gravity’s customer base and its income fell by 20%. Business logic would have dictated letting go about 12 of the company’s 35 staff, but instead Price focused on cutting costs. After five tense months, the company started turning a profit again, but Price was profoundly spooked, and kept salaries low. At this time Rosita Barlow was experiencing her own financial problems, secretly working at McDonald’s outside work hours. When McDonald’s offered her a promotion, she left a training manual on her desk at Gravity, and someone spotted it. Her bosses called her in for a meeting. “They sat me down and my immediate reaction was to cry,” Barlow says. She thought she is fired. Instead they told her to figure out how much money she’d need to stay on at the company and they raised her salary to $40,000. “I was impressed and proud of her and mad at myself,” Price says. It took him a few more years to grasp the scale of problem among his staff. “Most were too intimidated to come to me and tell me how a lack of pay was hurting them,” he says. Before 2015, he already begun giving employees 20% annual pay rises. But it was his conversation with Valerie that convinced him to go further. Price hopes Gravity’s example leads to far-reaching global changes in US business. He’s deeply disappointed and sad this hasn’t happened. Some did like PharmaLogics in Boston raised the minimum salary to $50,000, Rented.com in Atlanta raised theirs too. He believes by means of online lobbying influenced Amazon’s decisions to raise minimum wage. He hopes a widespread structural change takes place all over the world. It blesses the company to bring increases.  And it’s changed my perspective on things because I believed through the actions that I did and that other people could do, that we could turn the tide on income inequality.” The change has had profound effect on Price’s lifestyle. And  before taking a pay cut, Price was cliché of a young white tech millionaire, lived in beautiful house overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound and he drank champagne in expensive restaurants. Afterwards, he rented his house out on Airbnb to help stay afloat. A group of employees became sick of watching him turn up at work in a 12-year-old Audi and secretly clubbed together to buy him a new car.Dan Price with Alyssa O'Neal, accepting his TeslaA film posted on YouTube follows one of the group, Alyssa O’Neal’s schemes with her colleagues to surprise him with the car. “I feel like this is the ultimate way to say thank you for all the sacrifices he’s made and any of the negative stuff he’s had to deal with,” she says. Price walks out of the office into the car park, sees the car, starts crying. Five years later Price still on Gravity’s minimum salary, says he’s more fulfilled than he ever was when he was earning millions though it’s not all easy. “There’s tests every day,” he says. “I’m the same age as Mark Zuckerberg and in dark moments I think, ‘I want to be just as rich as Mark Zuckerberg and I want to compete with him to be on the Forbes list. I want to be on cover of Time magazine, making lots of money.’ All these greedy things are tempting.” “It’s not so easy to turn down lavish lifestyle but much happier.”Dr RonxThis doctor sees patients in chicken shops. GP appointments of doctor seeing patients in chicken shops in BBC Three shows The Unshockable Dr. Ronx, a doctor who takes appointments out of surgery in search of people who would n’t normally see a GP. “I don’t go to GP anymore, it took so long to be believed now I feel like they are listening.” And when Bethany was 13 was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a type of inflammatory arthritis. She says it took years for her GP to recognise its serious symptoms. “I think they assumed I was a young teenager so I couldn’t really be having severe joint difficulties.” Despite describing some of her symptoms, like chest pain, as “very scary” Bethany says she feels too embarrassed to go back to see a GP. In the UK, 16 to 30-year-olds are the most likely age group to miss a doctor’s appointment (along with over 90s). That’s according to analysis of GP Patient Survey, suggested 16 to 24-year-olds less positive about experiences at a GP’s, compared with the older patients.  Some of the young people featured in BBC Three’s new show The Unshockable Dr. Ronx say things like embarrassment, a lack of time, using internet instead are some of the reasons that have stopped them from seeking professional medical care in the past. Dr Ronx, an A&E doctor from Hackney in London, wants young people to take their health seriously so she takes GP pop up shop to them. Ratan Tata: An unlikely friendship between a magnate and a millennial.Shantanu Naidu and Ratan TataMr Naidu and Mr Tata watch movies together. Its not everyday octogenarian goes viral on Instagram. It’s so unusual if octogenarian billionaire businessman with a carefully cultivated reputation as a reclusive tycoon. Perhaps its the most unusual particular story of a friendship led to Ratan Tata’s India’s newest social media star. With the help of Shantanu Naidu, the 27-year-old who introduced him to social media platform and taught him about hashtag trends in the world discovered “man crush.” And Mr Naidu hopes the mix of old family pictures, snapshots of dogs and photographs of mogul’s younger days one from five decades of more than half million hits  gave people glimpse of the man behind the tycoon. The man who led the salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group for 21 years classes of closest friends. The two of them do everything together by getting haircuts to watching films. Their “intergenerational friendship” is quite unusual, but, Mr Naidu says, it is pretty special. “He’s been a hard boss, a core mentor understanding friend,” he told the BBC. This doe-eyed and curly-haired millennial became a business assistant as best friends to India’s internationally recognised business leaders?Shantanu NaiduMr Naidu’s non-profit provide stray dog glow-in-dark collars. Mr Naidu is a fifth generation Tata employee and although family has a strong connection to Tata brand never thought he would end up working closely with man responsible for it. Mutual love of dogs brought the two together while younger man works  for one of Mr Tata’s companies in city of Pune, west India. And Mr Naidu ‘s social initiative Motopaws glow-in-dark collar for stray dog’s work highlighted in the company newsletter prompted Mr Tata to write letter inviting him to Mumbai. “Shantanu and I first met because of our common concern and affection for stray dogs,” Mr Tata in email said BBC. He led team of young college students to adopt dogs and give them affection, food, find homes for them for sense of belonging.” The meeting proved to be their first of Motopaw’s scaling up so became closer. Work emails slowly turned into asking questions about one another,” Mr Naidu said. Soon after friendship took off, Mr Naidu left India for university in US. “I was sad, I felt I just discovered a friend in Mr Tata.” The connection between the two strengthened. Mr Naidu was at Mr Tata’s alma mater Cornell University, and started work on the businessman’s dream project, building a veterinary hospital in Mumbai. The construction for this hospital is set to begin this year. Mr Tata attended his graduation. “I had mentioned it to him in passing and he said yes,” Mr Naidu recalls. “Cut to the actual day and there he was!”Ratan Tata and Shantanu NaiduMr Naidu graduated from Mr Tata’s alma mater, Cornell University. On his return to India, Mr Naidu took up a job as Mr Tata’s business assistant. Things changed in a single minute. I had never imagined my life to pan out this way. Mr Tata told BBC “I enjoy seeing Shantanu’s freshness, concern never seen in a ‘dog eat dog’ world we live in.'” What does a typical day look like? Business assistant to Mr Tata meets, takes copious notes, keeps records for future discussions. Mr Tata briefs him on happenings of day or plan and start attacking them. He’s very focused, non-stop no break,” Mr Naidu explained. The Tata Group patriarch has invested in more than 73 Indian start up ride-hailing service, Ola. Mr Tata uses Instagram profile Mr Naidu set up to connect with the youth and has shared “recipe” for successful start-up pitches. The 82-year-old shares pictures of him in his 20s a popular hashtag Throwback Thursday to set the internet alight.

It isn’t just business so two remain fast friends. He added they both like action comedy films such as The Other Guys and Lone Ranger series of experiences in the Israel Defence Force called Fauda is Mr Tata’s favourite Netflix binge, Mr Naidu said. Last year a radio interview with BBC met Mr Tata and Mr Naidu. It was easy to sense warm bond between the two a great degree of camaraderie and mutual respect. Mr Tata spoke of retirement plans and love for dogs. Mr Naidu continues to work on ths project that brought Mr Tata and him together. Motopaws expanded over the years and now operating in four countries it isn’t just non-profit evolving. “If something bothers me or makes me happy he is the first person I call. The foundation is the constantly blossoming tree. Mr Tata has always been there for me I do the same for him,” Mr Naidu said with a smile.

Micah Lammie sitting in carPhoto exhibition showcases the people tackling the impact of poverty in 21st Century Britain. The focus of the new exhibition showcases those trying to help their struggling neighbours. And four people making a difference in their communities explain how they became involved. ‘I want to be a spark in the plug’ as Micah Lammie learned from everyone in his community. And Battersea and Brixton helped to shape Micah Lammie into the man he is today, so now he is repaying the debt. “Life was difficult as a kid from a one-parent family,” the 30-year-old said. ” defiant in trouble at school. It takes whole village to raise a child I learn from my parents, I learned from everyone in community. “These things I want to continue raising our next generation.” He worked in call centres at a funeral Brixton Soup met Kitchen founder Solomon Smith who gave him his true calling.Micah Lammie close upAs “I’ve known Solomon from back in the day,” Micah said. “I got involved and I’ve never looked back.”He is the centre manager of service offers food and legal advice to rough sleepers or community. “It’s a safe haven for misunderstood people. Everything starts somewhere, there’s been ups and downs but we’re helping people. I want to be a spark in the plug, I won’t change the world but I’ll invest in a person who will.”Micah Lammie at workMicah is now its centre manager ‘I knew hunger.’ After experiencing a financial struggles Mary Brennan’s neighbours in Cross Green, Leeds, faced difficulties. “I knew hunger and poverty,” the 68-year-old said.Mary Brennan

Mary Brennan started a community group in LeedsPresentational white space

“It used to be just families round here, then landlords started bedding seven people in four-bedroom terraced houses. I noticed they were hungry.”Cross GreenImage copyrightJILLIAN EDELSTEIN

Image captionShe settled in Cross Green, where she witnessed the struggles of her neighbours

So she helped set up Community Unity, a neighbourhood group that runs a lunch club at St Hilda’s Church and created a garden on a disused railway bridge where the community can pick their own food.”We don’t have many facilities round here, no shop where you can buy fresh food and [there’s] terrible problems with transport,” she added.

‘If you’re poor, you can’t afford ideas’Steve Arnott

Steve Arnott says hip-hop has always been his love

Poverty can be a barrier to creativity because people can’t afford either the money or time to do it, according to Steve Arnott. The 44-year-old from Hull said hip-hop helped him through a tough childhood and he saw how it could do the same for others. “Hip-hop has always been my love,” he said. “There were local workshops which weren’t getting many kids because families couldn’t afford the fares into town. “I had idea of taking it to them.”Beats BusThe workshops were aimed at helping children in the community. In 2017, his hometown was the UK City of Culture, so he launched the Beats Bus – a mobile recording studio which he takes into the communities to attract youngsters eager to learn more about hip-hop, DJing, break-dancing and graffiti art. “If you’re poor, you can’t afford the time to create ideas,” Steve said. “The Beats Bus is trying to change that, bringing free studio time to talented kids.”Close up showing tattoo of microphone on Steve's lower armSteve has a tattoo of a microphone on his forearm.

‘There’s no shame in being poor through no fault of your own’

The issues blighting the Sholes area of Wigan are being tackled by Barbara Nettleton. She previously spearheaded a residents’ association to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve services, before taking over the running of the Sunshine House community centre. The site opened in 2005, runs art groups and youth projects with a view to helping people find work. It also operates three shops in the area offering necessities including second-hand clothes and prams, toys and baby clothes.Barbara Nettleton covers her faceBarbara Nettleton was a bit shy about being photographed. “When the mines, steelworks and mills closed years ago, it took the apprenticeships away, broke families and industrial areas like ours,” Barbara said. There is no shame in being poor when you work hard all your life and end up poor. God judges a nation by how it treats the poor in the society. Jesus said, in Matthew 25:40-46 whoever cares for the poor by feeding them, gives them water to drink or had provided shelter for the “least of these” receives JESUS. The poor are priceless in God’s sight because HE created them in HIS OWN IMAGE AND LIKENESS. Bible says value of material possessions is not true measure of quality of human life in God’s sight as mankind thinks. Its loving care and fair share of all the resources provided by God as Marslow hierarchy shows God counts towards eternal life.Greg and MarieThis homeless couple moved in with a millionaire in America. The homeless couple moved in with the millionaire after living on California’s streets for 20 years Greg and Marie invited to stay in the home of the millionaire. The local businessman asked if they wanted to share his $4m home. A year later other rich neighbours complain so call police tells us about homelessness crisis in the Western countries. Luke 16 says a rich man enjoyed all great wealth on earth but ended in hell for abuse of the poor Lazarus who went into heaven and is comforted by Abraham. So God judges mankind by how HIS RESOURCES are shared on this earth. Gospel of Matthew 25, 34-46 34 says, KING of Kings “Jesus will say to those on His right, ‘Come in, you who are blessed by my Father God because you the fed poor and you clothe them by your kindness, you did it to me so enter heaven. You didn’t do it to show off to get praise of people but you did it genuinely from kibdness of your heart to help others. George Medal for saving Princess Anne sells for £50k.George MedalThe medal sold at auction for £50,000 is a medal awarded to a boxer who helped save Princess Royal from an attempted armed kidnap has sold at auction for £50,000. Former heavyweight Ronnie Russell, 72, punched Ian Ball in the head tried to abduct princess at gunpoint in London in 1974. Mr Russell said he sold the George Medal as he had been “very unwell for quite some time.” “I want to know that I’ve done enough to pay for my own funeral,” he said. After auction, Mr Russell, who lives in Bristol, said: “For something I thought I would never sell, I never believed it will sell for this amount, I am absolutely blown away.”Ronnie Russell with his medalRonnie Russell was awarded the George Medal for bravery by the Queen. He said he had one request for UK buyer, who asked to remain anonymous which was for them to meet in person to tell the story of what happened.Princess AnnePrincess Anne’s car had been blocked and Ian Ball had fired shots, wounding four people Mr Russell, heading home to his wife and children in Strood, Kent, when he thwarted late-night ambush on 20 March 1974. Ball blocked princess’s car on Mall in central London and fired shots, wounding four people. Mr Russell said Ball was trying to drag Princess Anne from her car while her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, was pulling her back. “She was very, together, telling him: ‘Just go away and don’t be such a silly man’,” he said. “He stood there glaring at me with the gun and I hit him. I hit him as hard as I could and he was flat on the floor face down. “I said to Princess Anne: ‘We’re going to walk away and he’s going to have to go through me to get you’.”Princess Anne's car on The Mall 1974Ian Ball attempted to kidnap Princess Anne who telegrams RONNIE RUSSELLTelegram from Princess AnnePrincess Anne sent Mr Russell telegram when he received medal Ball was later sent to a psychiatric hospital by an Old Bailey judge. Mr Russell was awarded George Medal for bravery by the Queen, who told him: “The medal from Queen, I want to thank you as Anne’s mother.” It was sold with a letter from 10 Downing Street informing Mr Russell of award and telegram from Princess Anne. 

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Produced by Hannah Long-Higgins, Chelsea Bailey and Cody Godwin; edited by Hannah Long-Higgins.

The film is part of the BBC’s Crossing Divides season and a collaboration with the San Francisco Chronicle. Read Otis Taylor Jr’s column on Greg and Marie.

Picture Britain: Our People, Our Poverty was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and created by photographer Jillian Edelstein and investigative journalist Stephen Armstrong. It will be at Borough Market, London, from 20 February to 8 March.

More on this story

  • Disabled people ‘pulled into poverty’ as benefits fall short
    6 February 2020
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation urges ‘new deal’ on poverty
    6 September 2016
  • Poverty costs UK £78bn a year, Joseph Rowntree Foundation says
    1 August 2016 

Photo exhibition showcases people tackling poverty

Related Internet links

  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Picture Britain: Our People, Our Poverty

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England

ANOREXIA DAMAGES BODY

Lizzie Porter lived with anorexia throughout her teens. Now in late 20s, she’s been discovering that those years of starvation have left a lasting imprint on her body. “You have osteoporosis in your spine and osteopenia in your hip. I’m going to put you on calcium and vitamin D and I think you should take them forever. We need to prevent breaks and fractures.” It is May 2018, and my doctor’s words jolt me out of a long-standing state of denial. They come with a set of complicated graphs, which apparently show my low bone density. I don’t understand them. But I can read the words printed next to a fuzzy X-ray-like picture of my spine: “World Health Organization classification: osteoporosis. Fracture risk: high.” For years, I have muddled along, pretending to myself that I had pretty much made a full recovery from anorexia. Yes, I was told back in 2010 that I had osteoporosis. But over the next eight years I persuaded myself that things must have improved, that the holes in my spine must have healed.

Sadly, they haven’t.


Osteoporosis and osteopenia

  • Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their strength and are more likely to break
  • If your bone density is between the lower end of the normal range and the osteoporosis range, you have osteopenia.

Source: National Osteoporosis Society


I was first diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12, and soon experienced its unglamorous consequences. As summers grew hotter, I shivered: I was like a reptile, unable to generate my own body heat. In winter, my skin cracked and bled, but would not heal, for want of nutrition. I had constipation, bloating and my hair fell out in great clumps. My life revolved around avoiding food.  Over the past 15 years, I have had two in-patient stints in hospital and taken thousands of antidepressants – anorexia is often accompanied by a low mood, sometimes even a suicidal mood is one reason it has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders. I have seen more doctors than I can be bothered to remember. I have done my best to keep what my mother calls the “anorexic minx” in my mind in check, preventing it from doing a Jack-in-the-Box-style bounce back into my life. The desire to get on with things has spurred me to give up many of my anorexic behaviour patterns. Time was, I would spend hours weighing out salad components in the kitchen, using a different knife to chop each tomato, cucumber and lettuce leaf. I no longer want to waste time on my old routines. And, mostly, I do not.

Lizzie Porter and Muhammad EidoLizzie Porter with a friend – her teeth may look healthy but have required expensive treatment

Anorexia caused my body to age rapidly and I am struggling with the disorder’s longer-term consequences. Osteoporosis involves loss of bone density, and in later life may lead to painful breakages, curvature of the spine, and loss of height. Although it has many causes and often affects post-menopausal women, anorexics are also at risk, especially girls who develop the illness at puberty when the body is trying to build a strong skeleton. For a day or so, the bone scans shake me awake. I walk around the Lebanese capital Beirut, where I live, feeling a bit sick. What am I doing to myself? The thought rolls over in my mind. I remember one elderly woman in my home village in Hertfordshire, who used to walk bent double. Osteoporosis is an old ladies’ problem, I tell myself angrily. I am only 27. Yet all too soon I return to my state of calm apathy. I pretend that my bones aren’t really thin and weak. I’m strong and perfectly healthy, I tell myself, even though I am on calcium and Vitamin D supplements for life, I get dizzy when I stand up, and blood tests show I have been suffering badly from anaemia – a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. To improve my bone density I should eat more and gain a little weight. But my life is “too busy” to deal with the stress of challenging the last remnants of my anorexic behaviour. I still add up my daily calorie count on a calculator, and I am prone to lash out at anyone who forces to me to eat things I am scared of, such as cake, pastry and cream. This year I have at least allowed a friend to coax me into ordering salad with oil – this fills me with pride, though at the same time I feel ashamed of years I spent worrying over salad dressing. But I need to go further. Osteoporosis is not the only long-term effect of my anorexia. The loss of bone density has also affected my teeth, which ache and easily rot. Since the beginning of the year I have spent £4,200 ($5,500) on dental treatment, including eight fillings, root canal treatment, two crowns and an implant.

X-ray of Lizzie Porter's teeth
 X-ray of Lizzie Porter’s teeth

“The lack of calcium and vitamin D is definitely contributing to this,” says my doctor – a GP who happens to be a specialist in eating disorders. One upshot of my weak teeth and gums is that after years of being subject to psychological barriers that restricted my diet, I now have physical ones. Anything chewy, crunchy or cold is almost impossible to eat. Can you recover from anorexia?

  • A 2002 study found that 46% of patients made a full recovery, a third improved (but retained some eating disorder symptoms), and 20% remained chronically ill over the long term
  • The eating disorder charity, Beat, says recovery is always possible with the right help and support – but what recovery looks like is individual to the person
  • It adds that most medical complications arising from anorexia are reversible, but not all – for example, osteoporosis

It is difficult to predict how badly anorexia will affect each sufferer’s long-term health: bodies react in different ways. Other possible long-term effects can include infertility and difficulty conceiving, heart problems, and kidney and liver complications, according to the UK-based eating disorders charity, Beat. “I don’t think people realise the dangers of the illness and its physical and mental consequences, including the suicide risk. I know it frightens people, but we need to know the facts,” says Jane Smith, chief executive of the UK-registered charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines for treating anorexia instruct doctors to explain to sufferers that the main way of preventing and treating low bone density is “reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight or BMI for their age.”If I am entirely honest with myself, I know I have to try a little bit harder if I am to minimise the long-term consequences of anorexia. I certainly cannot go backwards. I have enough purpose in my life to want to live it. I have a job as a journalist that I love, friends I trust, and parents who support my every move. One morning this May, one of my closest friends, Leila, sent me a WhatsApp message in response to one of my many rants. I was tired and fed-up with life. “I’m not going to tell you a few kilos won’t make you fat, because that’s what’s in your head,” she wrote. “I’m going to tell you that you get to choose between being ‘fat’ and functioning, or thin and bed-bound. You get to be thin but your life is over. That’s all there is to it.”

What can I say? Most of me knows she is right.

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IRON DEFICIENCY ANAEMIA

Iron-rich foodsDo you get enough iron from your diet? If not, liver red meat, green vegetables, nuts and seeds are good dietary sources of iron. And if you often feel tired, short of breath or you feel you heart beating faster inside your chest go for check up from your doctor. If friends commented you look unusually pale iron deficiency anaemia, is the world’s most common nutritional disorder in UK, common among young women. Analysis by the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee Nutrition (SACN) on iron and health in 2011 indicated 21% of women aged between 19 and 34 had below recommended level ferritin of iron is stored in the body. I recently suggested to a friend with the symptoms to get herself checked out by her GP. A blood test revealed she was so anaemic it was surprising she could still walk upstairs. A few iron tablets sorted her out. It’s worth adding that you should talk to your GP if you’re considering taking them – you might not need them and your symptoms could be caused by something else. The body can’t produce iron, so you have to get it in your diet whether through foods that naturally contain it or those fortified with iron, such as white bread and breakfast cereal. The problem is not all of iron is in a form you can actually absorb.Trust Me teamTo get iron from food eat leafy green vegetables raw, steamed, but do lightly boil your spinach. Eat or the fruit juice containing vitamin C with meals And a fermented bread is best for ealth. The Trust Me I’m a Doctor asked nutrition scientist Prof Paul Sharp, from King’s College London, to find the foods you should be eating to boost iron levels naturally. Red meat is rich in the sort of iron bodies find easy to absorb but these days many people are either cutting back on red-meat consumption or cutting it out altogether. And there are good sources of iron in dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, and pulses, such as peas and lentils. The problem is you don’t absorb as much iron from plant sources as you do from red meat. Then, there is the iron you can get from fortified bread and breakfast cereals, though again it is not always in a very absorbable form. To demonstrate this, a neat party trick is to grind up the cereal, add some warm water and you can actually use a magnet to draw the iron filings out of the mush. Wait for your coffee. How you prepare your food and what you drink with it can change how much iron you absorb. To demonstrate this, Prof Sharp carried out experiments to mimic human digestion. The tests mimicked the effect of the enzymes involved in digesting food and the chemical reaction that occurs in human gut cells to show how much iron would be absorbed. Prof Sharp showed that if you drink orange juice with your fortified breakfast cereal you absorb much more iron than when eating the cereal on its own – because orange juice contains vitamin C, makes it easier to absorb iron from food. Disappointingly, if you drink coffee with your morning bowl of cereal, then that will mean you absorb significantly less iron.CabbageRaw cabbage anyone? According to Prof Sharp, it’s because coffee is full of chemicals called polyphenols that are very efficient at binding to the iron and making that iron less soluble. So, if a fortified cereal is your breakfast of choice, then having a small glass of orange juice or an orange will help increase your iron uptake. You might also want to consider postponing your morning coffee until at least 30 minutes after you’ve eaten.But what if you prefer getting your iron from more natural sources? Raw cabbage is a good source of available iron but we found that steaming it lessened the amount of available iron while boiling reduced it even further. That’s because, like oranges, cabbage is rich in vitamin C – and when you boil it, the vitamin C is released into cooking water. If you want to get the maximum nutrients from your cabbage, eat it raw (an acquired taste) or steam it. The same is true of other veggies that contain both iron and vitamin C, such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower and watercress. But, strangely enough, spinach is completely different. We found that when we boiled the spinach, it actually released 55% more “bioavailable” iron than when eaten raw. Prof Sharp says: “Spinach has compounds, called oxalates, and they basically trap the iron. “When we cook spinach, the oxalate is released into the cooking water, and therefore the iron that remains will be more available for absorption.” Finally, what about the bread? We found the best bread for delivering iron was sourdough bread. That’s because wheat contains a chemical called phytic acid that slows down iron absorption by body. When sourdough bread is made, the fermentation process breaks down the phytic acid so the iron that remains is more available for absorption. There are more diet tips on the Trust Me website.

Trust Me I’m a Doctor continues on BBC Two on Wednesday, September 12, at 20:00

VEGAN FOOD BEYOND MEAT

The Vegan BEYOND MEAT founder Ethan Brown wants people to eat less meat for healthy eating to save environment. BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles a different business leaders in the world. This week Ethan Brown, the boss and founder of vegan food company Beyond Meat is featured. Ethan Brown’s 12 year old son eats a burger almost every day. It may not sound like a diet a parent would want for their child, but Mr Brown has no concerns, because the burger patties come from his own company, Beyond Meat. And they are made entirely from plants. “My son gets clean protein and no cholesterol,” he says. “He’s growing like crazy right now so I want him to have that protein.” Mr Brown says he is on mission to redefine the word “meat.” The 40-something’s Los Angeles-based business makes vegan burger patties, chicken strips and sausages from plant proteins. They are formulated to mimic the taste, texture and look of beef, chicken and pork.A Beyond Burger pack being picked off a shelfBeyond Meat asks supermarkets to stock Beyond Meat Burgers next to their packs of meat. Stocks of the company’s flagship Beyond Burger product quickly sold out after launch in the US in 2016, helped by a positive article in the New York Times. And more than 25 million Beyond Burgers have been sold and this summer the company launched product in UK and also mainland Europe. Their High-profile investors are Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “There’s no mystery to meat,” says Mr Brown. “It’s amino acids, lipids, trace minerals and water. “And if you can deliver those four things in same blueprint or architecture as muscle – why can’t that be called meat?”Cattle on a ranch in KansasMr Brown is concerned about effects of environmental impact farming animals has causing ozone methane gas and the amount of resources used per cattle. So before launching Beyond Meat in 2009, Mr Brown worked in alternative energy sector as a hydrogen fuel cell developer. While he liked that work because of its potential for lowering vehicle emissions he decided to make bigger contribution to society focusing on trying to reduce the environmental impact livestock has on the planet. He also wants people to eat less meat for animal welfare and the health issues. Mr Brown set up Beyond Meat, and began researching how you can use plant materials to replicate the composition of the proteins and fats in meat. Getting in touch with scientists at the University of Missouri who were doing research on plant-based meat substitutes, he began working with them on creating a viable product.A Beyond Meat patty in a burgerBeyond Burger uses beetroot extract to give it a blood-like colour. Put together by the best scientists on this [challenge], Mr Brown says. He understands meat more than anyone else in the world, so and build it bit by bit using plants.” Mr Brown spent all his savings on venture, raised money from family and friends. “I truly begged family members,” he says. “It’s amazing what do to make it work.” The first product Mr Brown and the team of scientists came up with was Beyond Chicken Strips. After repeatedly phoning grocery Whole Foods, “almost to the point of indecent behaviour”, he says he managed to get a meeting that resulted in the store stocking product from 2013. However, Mr Brown wasn’t happy with the early recipes. “We got the vegetarians by the droves, but we didn’t get the mainstream consumer,” he says. “We had to go back to the drawing board.” Team of biochemists, biophysicists and biomedical scientists got to work on making products even closer to real meat. With improving the formulations Mr Brown says the biggest challenge is people to stop thinking of it “fake meat.” I would never call it that,” he says. A mobile phone is not a fake phone it’s better phone than landline so people need to think about it this way. The best-selling Beyond Burger patties “bleed” like beef burgers, thanks to the addition of beetroot juice. They include pea protein, coconut oil, potato starch, and the company asks supermarkets to stock them beside the raw beef products by chilled counters. The product is now stocked by 8,000 supermarkets across US, and in thousands of the country’s restaurants. In the UK it is served at burger chain Honest Burger. It was also due to be on sale at supermarket chain Tesco from last month, but that has now been delayed until later in the year. Beyond Meat says it’s because it was struggling to keep up with existing demand, both in the US and overseas.UK chain Honest Burger's Beyond BurgerUK chain Honest Burger sells the burger made Beyond Meat’s patty. Consumers are coming round to the notion of plant-based meat substitutes that aim to look and taste like the real thing. More than a quarter of Britons (26%) say they find idea of products appealing, according to research group Mintel.“So this company Beyond Meat is in a strong position to capitalise on current interest in limiting meat intake,” says Mintel’s UK food and drink research director Kiti Soininen. So just how good does company’s products taste? A trawl of online food blogs show reviews are mostly positive. While some reviewers say burgers taste unnervingly like real beef, others say they definitely don’t. While Beyond Meat has many rivals, including US start-up Impossible Meat and the UK’s Moving Mountains, Mr Brown says that Beyond Meat is struggling to keep up with demand. “We are trying as hard as we can to catch up,” he says. The company, started with 10 people operating from a kitchen in a former hospital, now employs 200.An Impossible BurgerA number of other companies make vegan burger patties that replicate beef as closely as possible, as this offering is from Impossible Burger. And it has just opened its second production facility in Columbia, Missouri, which it says will create a further 250 jobs. In addition, it has launched a new research lab in Los Angeles. This expansion is been funded by external investment in the business that now totals $72m (£56m). Mr Brown won’t reveal the stake he retains in the company, but calls it “decent share.” Mr Brown, who spent his childhood outside Washington DC, says he approaches his every working day like an athletic event eating well, exercising and meditating. At work, he admits, his focus is intense, and there’s “not much chitchat time.” “I tell my son this all the time,” You ‘re not going to get extraordinary outcome if you don’t put an extraordinary amount of work in.”

UGLY FOODS THROWN AWAY

fruit and vegetablesQuality foods grown with precious time and resources are thrown away because these foods do not look PERFECT to the buyer. A third of farmed fruits and good vegetables never reaches supermarket shelves because its misshaped or wrong size according to new research. Though billions of people starve everyday, these foods are not donated to people as Olio App does helping save good foods. It is a sad thing that a mere aesthetic shape of a nutritious food is thrown while people including children die from starvation. It is necessary to stop using these foods, provided by Almighty God to feed all the people as weapon of power to deny feeding people or those who can it turn into cooked food for the homeless. This is gone on for far too long as tonnes of perfect food is buried everyday but the human beings die from starvation. This is an issue can help save farmers from bankruptcy as their crops are wasted. No matter how perfect a food crop is, it is cut to shape or mashed depending on the recipe. Often finished food product served looks beautiful regardless of the shape before cooking. Food waste must stop because even hard-working people cannot afford expensive ingredients in the supermarkets anymore. Setting up a department for lower incomes to buy is frowned upon because of fear it might undercut profit margins if cheaper food is sold alongside “perfect glamourised” shapes selected in name of customers. It is argued customers “prefer” the perfect fruits and vegetables shapes only. But a lot of ordinary people struggling to feed their families do not mind the shape of an ingredient. Cooking foods or eating a misshaped fruit does not affect people in any way. It is unacceptable excuse so volunteers can organise the distribution to people listed to buy vegetable boxes regularly or receive it as the donations to homeless Charities to cook. There is more than enough food to feed all the people living on earth but this sort of actions deprives billions of food globally each day. It does not make any sense to throw good away because of its shape. .onions in fieldA University of Edinburgh study found more than 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables grown across Europe were discarded each year. This was in part because they did not “meet consumers’ expectations” of how they should look. The study was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. It examined food loss and waste in European Economic Area and examined how much food was discarded each year before it reached the point of being sold. The researchers attributed losses to strict government regulations, supermarket high standard as well as customer expectations of how produce should look. They found that the farmers contracted to supermarkets typically grew more food than obliged to supply, to allow for a proportion that would not be deemed fit to sell. The researchers suggested that greater awareness among consumer movement towards shopping encourage the sale of more ugly vegetables. Stephen Porter, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, said: “Encouraging people to be less picky about how their fruit and vegetables look could go a long way to cutting waste, reducing the impact of food production on the climate, and easing the food supply chain.” In recent times, UK supermarkets are making more space for increasing amounts of less-than-perfect produceLast year, Sainsbury’s campaign encourages use of blemished bananas, while Morrisons introduced a new “wonky” range that included avocados. Others, including Waitrose, Tesco and Asda, branched out into selling misshapen fresh items. A lot of unemployed people can organise sale of cheaper food produce schemes to help solve food waste. Billions of people starve everyday even in these advanced countries in Europe but food is thrown away everyday. The golden rule is to be each other’s keeper so feel good helping others and saving food from wastage. 

More on this story

  • Supermarkets step up wonky fruit and veg push

COCONUT OIL SUPER FOOD?

CoconutsCoconut oil classified is considered a superfood according toCoconut oil is high in saturated fatSales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from halitosis to digestive disorders. Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well. The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists. Coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%). The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL is known as “bad cholesterol” because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, saturated fats – which are particularly bad for you – also tend to raise HDL, “good” cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype? Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims. So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I’m a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial. The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics. With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels. We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil – that’s about three tablespoons full.

Type of oil or fat Polyunsaturated (%) Monounsaturated (%) Saturated (%)
Coconut oil 2 6 86
Butter 3 21 51
Lard 11 45 39
Goose fat 11 56 27
Olive oil 10 76 14
Rapeseed oil 28 63 7
Sesame oil 41 40 14
Corn oil 54 27 12
Sunflower oil 65 20 10

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy. And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons. The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks. On the other hand others think that Coconut oil ‘as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’ so the Diet debate: Is butter back and is sat fat good? They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight. Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and HDL (the “good” cholesterol) The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four. So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.Olive oil

Early Stages of Studies

But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, up by 15. On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is seen as particularly healthy. I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened. “I have no real idea,” she candidly replied. “Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans.” So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food? “I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects” she said. “This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted.” This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage. So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature. But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.

The new series of Trust Me I’m a Doctorcontinues on BBC2 at 20:30 GMT on Wednesday 10 January and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

AN AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS

Among many people’s priority resolution for the new year is the desire to lose weight. An amazing weight loss plan used by this man transformed his life to shed the extra pounds of weight in a short time. So there is hope for many more people to follow his example to lose weight too. The father-of-two lost 12 stones in under a year in remarkable weight loss effort attributed to low calorie diet. Lorry driver Adam Moffat, 44, sheds half his body mass after adjusting eating habits. The Independent Online shared this story of Adam Moffat with his wife Margaret and daughters Hannah, 13, and Holly, nine Katielee pictured here by Arrowsmith /SWNS. The father-of-two is now half the size of the man he used to be after shedding more than 12 stone in less than a year. Prior to shedding half his body weight Adam Moffat, 44, gorged on pies, cakes and daily double rolls crammed with sausages. He would scoff cakes with breakfast and lunch and would even sneak in a kingsize Mars bar before dinner.