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IRONMAN FRANK UPDATE APRIL 2022

Well here we are again making great progress in all areas, except sleep but as a full time carer for my father in law, that is something we have to accept is going to be a big challenge but as with most things IRON we will figure it out and get through it, after all it is meant to be hard.

Weekend of March 13 was a practice event The Wildflower duathlon, a local race 5k – 30k – 5k duathlon in cold windy but thankfully dry conditions although roads were wet and muddy and the running paths muddy, slippery and hilly ūüôā overall a good race to figure out some of the IRONMAN equipment questions for June 26th and I’m going to talk about each of the issues raised previously in the last #IRONFRANK post. But overall all is looking good.

With 10 weeks to go, training is going just fine, not great but on track and generally injury free, niggles only. Swim skills are progressing and am ending the kick practice phase, next is breathing phase then front stroke phase finally onto outdoor swim volume for the race specifics. Planning for open water swims to start 1st of May. Expected water temp here in Carmarthen Bay for May is 50-52F /10- 12C which is rather chilly. Wetsuit, boots, gloves and earplugs plus a swim balaclava for sure for me at least.

Cycling volume is low up to about 100 mpw and the aim to build by 10-20% weekly and with a big bike week in May as well. Running is OK but not where I want it so will do some faster paced efforts each week while building on the RUN/WALK – RALK which is my plan for race day anyway.

Logistics are on track now, hotel is booked, flights booked, parking at Heathrow is booked and best news my tri bike was extracted from storage in Virginia with race wheels, we shall see after 2 years in storage with luck it is good to go. Update: April 26 and a second test ride of 50km was successfully conducted with a few stops to adjust aerobars.

Bike update: ISM Saddle is comfortable with tri shorts and Chamois cream, still working on which top to wear, but have plenty of weather options already, so no extra costs involved. Aerobars are still too low even after flipping the stem, so I will put the Kuota on the Kickr training to improve front end fit for comfort. Options are to replace aerobars with aluminium set from road bike but raising the Pad Y might mean some construction work. Reworking front bottles but narrowed to 2 options.

So in summary, we are almost there, some longer rides, longer runs and outdoor swims to focus on for the next 9 weeks.

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IRONMAN FRANK. LOGISTICS PLANNING FEB 2022

“The secret to success is in the planning, not the plan.”

As logistics planning continues, use of the optimal credit card, airline and travel options continue to be considered. Hotel was booked months ago https://hotel-escala.de/. Focus will shift to getting the equipment planning done and with some luck getting my race wheels ZIPP 808 and my tri bike back from the USA where they have languished for 2 years since the epidemic started in March 2020. If that isn’t possible then will have to modify Cuz’s Litespeed for triathlon use, after all it was a tri bike before I changed it to road use. I think that a new set of Hunt race wheels plus some clip on aerobars and a hydration system is all that is needed, oh maybe a new set of Continental GP 5000. Already have a new chain, anyway more of that in early March, stick to the swim planning for now, so that means strength, shoulder mobility after bike crash (June 2021) kick skills improvements plus fixing all the other swim issues that I have ūüôā and all that in the next four weeks, then it is time to start training.

So for the IMF2022 course I am focused on discovering all about the swim this week on the Langener Waldsee, a beautiful relaxation spot in the center of Frankfurt am Main. Water temp is currently illusive, but I will find it and the there are lots of weather apps relating to water sports on the Langener Waldsee with wind, rain, air temp and more easily available.

https://www.windfinder.com/widget/configurator/langener_waldsee

The swim course is an interesting wander around the lake starting with an out and back and two left turns and then a short get out after 1.5km followed by a triangle loop around the lake all left turns, so should be a left breather course. Will have to practice that then ūüôā

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IRONMAN FRANKFURT – LENT

The Lent of Ironman approaches, small sacrifices of desire not need will become increasingly important to ensure readiness on race day in June.
At 20 weeks to go which is in a couple of weeks, deserts, treasures and snacks shift to dark chocolate or red grapes. No added cream or biscuits, but full fat Jersey milk for both the protein and calcium. No point in denial, replacement is a better option. Nutritional strategy will be based on fueling and recovery with a little beer or wine for pure pleasure with four days off booze which means 39-42 hours twice a week without. Should help with overall health and waistline. Diet generally omnivorous, home made and simple. Ample water plus salts and supplementary greens powder. Nitrates will be important so carrot and beet juices or powders as supplements. Magnesium and Vitamin D plus Omega 3 from fish and olive oil by the spoonful.
Training nutrition only as necessary for longer training sessions.
As of early February, regarding pains, only a right foot chronic condition and continuing tightness in the post crash right shoulder encapsulitis. Working on traction, stretching and Upper body strength building with 2 gym visits weekly.
Swim Smooth sessions 1 and 2 are complete and received Andrea’s video analysis, for me to work on. Lots of issues to fix
Excited about training right now, can’t wait for tomorrow¬†

SOME CALENDAR LATE JANUARY EVENTS

Jan 21 – after a 9.15pm swim drills session it is clear I have far to go with swimming well so I’m back to the video analysis, self analysis. Kick is strange and twisted so have to resolve. When I showed the videos and still pics to the kiddos there split their sides laughing at dad’s crazy legs, strange when they work really well running and cycling !

Jan 27 – thinking about sports drink and 90g/hr so 360 cal/hour. If I can get 720 cal or 800 in a bottle with 2 g sodium plus mg, k, ca 1:1 maltodextrin : fructose

Jan 29 Рwas time for first 2 hour indoor ride. Great fun an hour with what’s app chat and an hour TDZ stage 6 feeling good

Feb 1 Рand one week of taper to go before it is IM commitment time. Tapering deserts, alcohol, don’t feel like it days, reverse taper recovery, nutrition, hydration, training. Looking forward to 19 weeks training and focus.

As we are on the Eve of IMF 2022 training it’s time to consider my baselines for all aspects. health, equipment, training, mindset, nutrition, injuries, logistics. More on baselines once spreadsheet is created.

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POST SEASON training, HEALTH, fitness and RECOVERY for your best 2022 triathlon season

Let’s look into the demands of the post season phases for age group multisport athletes. If you want more successes in 2022 then we need to prioritise activities, training, balance and health in these post season phases. I always describe the post season as a time to work on weaknesses and for mental and physical recovery. Continuing to do more of the same from your competition phases wont optimally help you for the big 2022 season.

No matter your goals for 2022, post season begins immediately after competition season and starts with a BREAK, physical, familial, mental recovery are most important for that all important BALANCE. How long of a break is personal in my view and could be a week or a month of LIMITED healthy exercise with no structure, healthy and relaxed eating and adjusting the balance to one of a more relaxed approach to gain that all important recovery and feeling of wellbeing plus the desire to restart structured training.

Without balance we get burnout and dread of the coming season and without a break, we get into that competition season rut and triathletes can often end up doing the same training year round. My opinion is not to sign up for that fall marathon but to unwind, refocus and determine 2022 goals during this first post season phase where the FOCUS is on WEAKNESSES, and maybe do that spring marathon instead. As I said this can be a week or a few weeks. To some extent the length of the break has to do with personal circumstances, family and social life. But the aim is to recover, determine weaknesses and decide on 2022 goals.

Post season phase two then starts as we begin to get back into training, having determined our goals, had enough of a break, feel ready to train again and understand that this phase is all about working on what went wrong in 2021, 2020, 2019…. so that you come out faster for 2022.

WEAKNESSES – what do I mean by this? Maybe skills, speed, stamina, strength, mobility, health, nutrition, hydration, transitions. Of course for us multisport athletes, we have differing needs for the many aspects of each event; swim efficiency, bike power, run economy are examples and these need to be broken down into the components to be worked on to elicit change, such as specific strength, body position, equipment changes, transitions. Once we determine these together we can plan what to do to address these weaker aspects of your racing from previous seasons. The what needs to be done is then translated into a plan of action and a specific personal program developed. In my view based on pre-competition and competition phases between May and October we have from November to January/February to work on weaknesses and March/April pre-season to work on strengths, then we work on RACE SPECIFIC aspects for our 2022 season. So specifics for sprints, olympics long course and IRONMAN events, plus specifics for each course for A races.

Examples of post season training can be BASIC strength, CORE strength, swim lessons to improve your body position and speed in the water, big gear bike sessions for improved power, or higher cadence sessions, interval or fartlek runs, hill runs or longer runs all depending on the weaknesses identified earlier. Of course some of our weaknesses might be mental limitations for example GRIT – DETERMINATION – SKILLS. These can be worked on using hard training sessions in the pool, indoors on the bike, and winter races like cross country, 5k-10k road racing and of course if you live with snow, then cross country skiing or ERG rowing can be fantastic to build grit. Learning to suffer and push through in racing is an essential skill if you want to win, but can also be vital for those aiming to complete their IRONMAN or their first open water triathlon.

More later as we can delve into specifics, but as those are vey personal to each athlete, it is for each of us to determine our weaknesses and with determination, work on them.

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FUNCTIONAL FEEDING

When choosing a car, whether replacement, first car, new car, used car or a vehicle of a different style, what is it that we use for aid decision making? When buying a new swim wetsuit, a new bike, new running shoes for that all important 2021 triathlon season or the first Park Run of the year or maybe your London Marathon debut, how do we choose and why?

Does the same apply to food, supplements and drink?

Question is do we make choices based on functionality required? Or is it more of a desire for a specific item, based on emotion rather than logic or real needs? After all any car will get you there, wont it? Well as a starter for functionality what if the car is mechanically deficient, maybe it wont get you there after all, the functionality just wasn’t there after all! So we already have some criteria developing, the item must be functional and fit for purpose. After all a 20 year old saloon car probably wont win you that coveted hill climb in the Alps but might get you home and to work daily. Same applies for triathlon as an example, will that old mountain bike get you to the finish, sure as long as the maintenance is good and you can ride and you get nutrition and hydration, but will you win? If that is the desire, functional need or goal then maybe a racing bike is a better option for winning.

Does the same apply to feeding?

Let’s try to apply some criteria to feeding and see what comes of it. After all we humans are a biomechanical system with a cognitive ability, does this system need specific feeding or will anything do? Using the car analogy and the hill climb race, we as humans can continue to live/exist on almost nothing eaten or drunk, so there is a level of minimum that we need to even barely function but what of optimal functioning and who doesn’t want optimal function for optimal performance? I know that I prefer that to sub-optimal functioning, question is am I prepared to do what it takes for the mythical optimal?

Sub optimal or optimal functionality for the human, reality or myth?

Are there criteria for optimal functionality? I think so, but the challenge for humans is our very long lives and very short attention span, oh and the number of cells in our bodies and possibly the number of other biologics that live within and on us, bacteria of course play a big role in our optimal health, but that’s for another story. Two of these three factors play a big part in our decisions which are often not optimal for us but after all we are free to make our own decisions even if these result in sub-optimal health outcomes, strange that eh? But most people have a short term mindset, single day decisions to drink too much or eat too much on any given day in our mind has no impact on our overall lifespan or healthspan and is not really even considered, but should we? This doesn’t even take into account our external environment as highlighted in the previous post concerning air quality, water quality and stresses.

Criteria for human optimal functionality. Regarding feeding the human mind and body, are there optimal ways to do so? Clearly this is a huge industry and clearly there is little agreement AT ALL! This weekend is the Low Carb Conference in South Africa and they are talking about optimal nutrition and then the vegan movements are saying it’s all plants and nothing more for optimal feeding. So who is right? I think these two extremes LCHF and vegan are not so far apart in wanting optimal feeding but will never agree, well maybe one day with luck. So how about looking at essentials for optimal nutrition and see where that leads us; what do we absolutely need to LIVE and what do we absolutely need to THRIVE? I think the arguments between the two sides are not about functional feeding but about sources for optimal functional feeding (OFF). One side says low carbohydrates and healthy fats and the other says low fat with mostly carbohydrates. But everyone agrees that we need Amino acids, essential fats, essential vitamins and minerals plus water and some sat fibre to SURVIVE, so what we have to figure out is what are the criteria needed to THRIVE that demand these essentials? And can we do this based on a simple functional analysis of perhaps movement pattern recording (FitBit style for example) or do we need to measure more details such as pulse rate, blood pressure, height, weight, body fat mass, bone density? These easy to take measures can quite simply lead to a part of a functional analysis of individual needs. Add to these age, gender, ethnicity (genes) and we can see that a functional approach will enable individuals to determine their own functional needs and therefore self prescribe everything from the amount of water drunk to the right feeding patterns to THRIVE. This functional feeding is just a step to a functional lifestyle that can lead to a much healthier nation without lots of work or cost to the individual but will require the monitoring of parameters as mentioned.

Volume, quality, calories are the essentials of any healthy human feeding.

We have been provided with many formulae for how much we need in calorie terms and many studies show what the minimum RDA is for minerals and vitamins, but minimum wont cut it when we are looking for OPTIMAL feeding, will it? As each human is unique so must be our optimal functional feeding guidelines and the criteria for optimal will depend on living location, activity level, performance desires, travel, stresses from life, gender, size and most likely age.

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How’s your environment?

Do you really know where you live, work, travel or sleep? By where what I mean is the environment(s) in which you breathe, drink, eat, lie, sit, work, play, exercise. How optimal are these environments and do you know what is causing sub-optimality, which is to say at best that you cannot thrive and at worse you are being slowly poisoned. Sounds dramatic, but it is in fact very real.

Your internal environment is also important, in fact very important to prevent lifestyle diseases taking over life and making it a misery and in place of a healthy old age, you get an old age riddled with diseases like heart disease, vascular diseases, diabetes, dementia, pneumonia, gout, arthritis, obesity, visual problems, hearing problems, gut issues, high blood pressure and the like. So protecting and nourishing the internal environment means that not only optimising how you live, but where you live is so important for long term health. If you doubt this look around, how many people are close to you or live near you who are unhealthy?

Obesity rates and diseases from being overweight are clearly a major problem for society as well as for individuals so a proactive approach to aid their cure is vital. Government guidelines on eating healthily focus on carbohydrates and even recommend almost a kilogram of fruits/vegetables every day to get the “required” amount of nutrients based on absorption at 50% of intake which is a highly optimistic estimate. So this internal environment succored by the external environment from the places we live, work, play, exercise, sleep and relax has been corrupted over many years and demands a makeover, pronto!

But how do we change our environment? Basic human needs include air, water, companionship, a sense of purpose, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, fibre, minerals and vitamins and possibly phytonutrients from plants. Addressing these environmental factors together will enhance our personal environments.

AIR – Breathing clean air for example seems obvious but why then do so many breathe bad air indoors and outdoors? Locations of home, work, exercising all have their own air and we need to ensure clean air to breathe well. Purifiers can clean air and deliver a good atmosphere, changing filters in air conditioning systems and exercising away from traffic, polluted air can help.

WATER – How clean is your city delivered water? It passes the tests I’m sure but what do they test for? Take a look at your city water report and decide for yourself if your water could contain pollutants such as medical waste, run off, any of the 50000 chemicals considered dangerous but not tested for or cleaned out. If the answer is YUCK then purify your water and I recommend the Berkey system as it is portable, guaranteed and tastes great.

FOOD – Nutrients from food are essential for healthy living and to prevent early death, yes they are that important. Not only early death but worse still is early decline and years spent in an unhealthy old age with few options. We cant go into food here but have covered this many times in earlier posts, but do think hard about your food and drink intakes and ask yourself is this good or bad and then make up your mind is it worth it or not. Look around at most people in their 60’s looking old, stooping, sagging faces, big bellies. These are a consequence of where you live! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Stay healthy my friends and stay involved with society in any way you can that has a positive vibe to it. Play sports, board games, cards, book clubs, knitting groups, sewing groups, quilting groups, the list is endless just get out and do something for companionship and that sense of purpose is vital to a mentally healthy life.

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BEMER for Circulation

Now located in Pembrokeshire in the beautiful west of Wales, we are already sharing our BEMER experience with local people, helping with the aches and discomforts of modern life, such as sitting too long, poor home office ergonomics and not getting out or moving enough. BEMER therapy is proven over more than 20 years to resolve many of these lifestyle issues which can be caused by poor circulation.

Take a look at some of the earlier BLOGs about BEMER use and results and then contact us when you are ready to try. Until end Feb BEMER systems can be rented direct from the makers in Lichtenstein for ¬£440 and that is for 8 full weeks with no added costs for delivery or taxes. What’s not to like about that, 8 weeks of BEMER treatment in your home and if you like what you experience in your health then pay the remainder and keep it, if not just ship it back at no cost.

Now BEMER has been around for a long time, over 20 years, providing therapy in thousands of hospitals and clinics across Europe and now the USA and Canada, how about India, South Africa and more. Yes over a million sold and production is running as fast as they can in the small principality of Lichtenstein. There are so many positive personal stories, including mine and my wife’s and in laws also about how BEMER has helped that I will be very happy to share with anyone.
Here are some good links to check which explain BEMER and also some which give independent study results from around the world.

It is never too late, after all my father in law started at 80 and has benefitted with a slowing down of his symptoms from a variety of health issues including heart problems, circulation issues and discomfort.

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The Health Hypothesis

Hypothesis: Optimal wellbeing can only be achieved when both internal and external factors for health are considered and optimized for an individual or a group. Psychological factors and physical factors need to be considered and thoroughly investigated. Environments in which people live, work, recreate and relax are probably a causative factor, in a sense understanding the petri dish of life could enable us to optimize conditions for human health and possibly the health of our planet and all life forms.
As we start to investigate the environments we should discover the factors leading to ill health or excellent health.
So I plan to begin with environments both internal and external, physical and psychological and from these deduce factors relevant to wellbeing and so carry the investigations deeper into each factor and how they relate to people primarily.
The fate of the planet is for others to determine but the health of animals, plants, indeed the very food sources humans rely on are most likely intricately linked to our own health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2080455/

WHO defining health, Croatian Medical Journal Croat Med J. 2006 Aug; 47(4): 662‚Äď664

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Plant Based and High Fat

So is this even possible? Having just watched the film/documentary “Forks over Knives” . I will explore this option as I also take account of the LCHF dietary option that also makes such good sense and with remarkable results on diabetes and other health issues and diseases.

No added oils is a common theme, so that means even the much touted olive oil and the current trendy oil, coconut or MCT. Perhaps it is a matter of reducing or removing animal based based, or maybe just fats from meats. The question is can the body get enough fats from plants alone.

But does a plant based diet create changes to blood sugar levels which can then lead to diabetic complications. A plant based diet is a high carbohydrate diet but also a high fiber diet and this fact might negate the high carbohydrate effects. The key might of course be that a plant based diet can manifest in many different eating choices. Processed plant based food is way different to a whole foods diet, meaning farm or home garden produce not factory produced highly processed chemical laden plant based foods.

How about calorific and micro-nutrient content of a whole food plant based diet? Do you get all essential nutrients and micro-nutrients within the scope and volume of this way of eating and fuelling?

The best evidence regarding¬†the best diets¬†all points to wholesome foods, predominantly plants, in sensible combinations‚ÄĒbut provides no decisive evidence that any one level of total fat is best.¬†What matters are the sources of that fat, with nuts, seeds, olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, fish, and seafood favored.

Over the past few months as we move into summer, I have been considering the idea of a plant based focus but using nuts, seeds, olive oil, grass fed butter, nut butters, flowers, adaptogens, mushrooms, high quality meat and a high quality water as a basis for dietary intake. The purpose being, to quote Michael Pollan, eat whole foods, mostly plants, not too much. How do we define plants, it doesn’t have to be piles of veg! Flowers, berries, nuts and seeds plus adaptogens. And he says mostly plants so some high quality fish, meat and even a spot of green algae!

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NUTRITION DILEMMA – SO WHAT DO WE DO?

“One person’s meat is another’s poison”, Titus Lucretius Carus coined this expression in the first century BC, “quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” (what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others). This is surely ancient wisdom that seems to fit the current dilemma, which could be called the “Dietary 80-80 Dilemma”. 

Do we need to make a choice between one “healthy” diet and another? Is that what you are trying to decide right now? Often food choices are made based on availability, cost, time availability and timing and we will look at these co-factors later. It may not be simply the choice of one or the other lifestyle defined by extremes ie 80% carbs or 80% fats, (#LCHF or #LFHC) health through nutrition, what if the beginnings of health through optimal nutrition was discovering your own personal needs, a so called personalised diet. 

For some people the moral aspect of food and drink choices might be paramount, and that can truly lead the person to limiting their choices and options, an example is veganism, a totally plant diet. Cruelty to animals or even just eating another living being might be the personal stimulus for specific dietary choices or maybe  specific religions mandate eating behaviours again which can mean adjustments from the optimal to a limited food basket! 

So let’s remind ourselves about the basic differences and then the commonalities with each of the expert recommended healthy eating patterns and lifestyles. LCHF implies a very high fat, low carbohydrate, low protein nutritional pattern, typically 80%/10%/10%. Sources of foods include saturated and unsaturated fats, whole meats and fish, full fat dairy, nuts, eggs, green vegetables, berries, and some fruits plus water, teas, coffee and some alcohol. Low processed whole food approach based on avoiding grains and focused on high quality fats. On the other side of the church is the LFHC approach also usually termed a “Plant Based” diet, where plant based means vegan or possibly vegetarian, the avoidance of any non vegetable nutrient sources; meats, fish, eggs, cheeses, milk or even algae. So what does this mean,  very low fats naturally from plant sources such as nuts, avocados, seeds, low plant sourced protein and the great majority of daily caloric intake and nutrients from carbohydrates including vegetables of all kinds, berries and fruits. Again we see a trend here towards least processed, sometimes raw vegetables, fruits, fats, nuts and water, but including wine, beer and other alcohol. So there we have it, two choices or are there? 

IN THE AISLES AND BETWEEN THE AISLES – our discussion has been mostly about the two sides of the nutrition church that seem at first completely opposed but on investigation we have found several points of agreement, our so called Common Grounds. Least processed, 10% protein, being the most important common ground even though sources will vary clearly between a plant based and animal focused diet. 

CO-FACTORS – Often food choices are made based on availability, cost, time availability and timing so let’s take a look at these co-factors for nutritional benefit and your own diet. How much of your weekly budget can be spent on foods? Higher quality usually means higher cost and lower volume. How often can you shop for fresh essential whole foods rather than canned or processed-packaged foods which last much longer? Which whole foods are available at what time of year? Is there an optimal time to eat an optimal diet or can dietary wholesomeness be occasional for the same health benefits? No matter the biggest factor here is probably cost for most people.

PROTEIN: I just read an article by Rich Roll and I’m happy to see he agrees with the 10% protein dietary advice and as he says all amino acids can be had from plant based foods and in any case we only need about 0.5 grams/kg so for a 150lb/70kg human we need 35 grams of protein (including all essential amino acids). One Chicken breast contains about 50 grams protein, so that’s our daily protein taken care of for the non veg based. For plant based humans an avocado, spinach, broccoli, beans and nuts easily provides the protein needed. So the question comes down to the fat vs carbs argument and it seems we have two very strong logical arguments.

If you choose one, lets say the LCHF and a plant based diet is it possible to get enough fats and remain happy, satisfied and satiated with the daily food volume? After all 1500-1800 KCal is not much food volume and is a sensible intake for the majority of sedentary people. If you choose the LFHC plant based diet , does it give you the nutrients needed?¬†Plant based I think tends to be lighter on the body, easier to digest and with more fiber and I think when you focus on the micro-nutrients needed by the body you get a smarter diet. After all no-one ever says I am carb or fat deficient but we all say I’m magnesium or vitamin D, C, E or folate or iron etc deficient. So my point is always, which foods , drinks,¬† supplements and lifestyle choices provide the most micro-nutrients which after all are the essentials needed for optimal health. Considering that carbohydrate is absolutely not necessary for humans or is it? Ask experts on the LCHF side of the aisle!
A 2002 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, “The currently established human essential nutrients are water, energy, amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine), essential fatty acids (linoleic and őĪ-linolenic acids), vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B-12), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron), trace minerals (zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, and chromium), electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride), and ultratrace minerals. Note the absence of specific carbohydrates from this list. “ One aspect of carbohydrate need is fiber for a healthy gut which in turn leads to better overall health, so perhaps the only justification for carbohydrate is to supply the gut with fiber which does not contribute to calorie intake and can be had from such vegetables as broccoli which are also a high protein and also unsaturated fat source.

So what do we do? It seems to me that a whole foods dietary blend with a desire to ensure maximum intake of healthy micro-nutrients where satisfaction comes from fats from a variety of sources, your fiber comes from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, peas and beans, your micro-nutrients from a variety of nuts, fruits, berries, supplements and your protein from a variety of sources plant or animal depending on beliefs and personal stance. Supplements to such a healthful diet include caffeine from teas and coffees, wine, beer, a high quality micro-nutrient source like Green Vibrance. To complement this you absolutely need water, high quality water not contaminated with chemicals (un-purified tap water in most houses), sunlight and access to the earth’s magnetic field. Exercise and movement add to a growing sense and feeling of well-being, so be sure to move and exercise daily. Sleep, now dont get me started, just get enough for you!

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THE NUTRITION DILEMMA OF 2019 – COMMON GROUND

If you read the previous paper on the dilemma for us normal people then you will appreciate that there are not only differences but also there is some common ground accepted by most if not all. Even within the common ground there are specific differences for example in the type of vegetables or the specific fruits, nuts, fats and proteins and we will investigate these today. I feel also that calorie intake should be a subject of great interest, to all of us! Essentially we eat too much and often do not count liquid calories such as beer, wine, spirits and soda. Although I do not drink soda as it contains nothing of value except possibly caffeine! 

COMMON GROUND

There is I think some common ground. 

“However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflects this evidence through its recommendations.” https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/

CG1. Eat less processed foods and consume less processed drinks – but what does processed mean and we will address this specific topic later.

CG2. Avoid trans-fatsno disagreement there.

CG3. Less added sugarin the lifetime of an “average” western person, an industrial waste skip of added sugar will be consumed!¬†

CG4. Less alcoholalthough levels seem to differ depending on where you look.

CG5. Nutrient dense foods and drinksalthough the specific macro-nutrients cant be agreed, there is some common ground on micro-nutrients. 

CG7. Protein intakes seem to be similarsources clearly differ but the amount of protein seems consistent around 10% of caloric intake.

What do we need to understand about processed food and drinks? 

Almost everything we consume is processed even raw foods, some food such as some fruits, some vegetables and some sushi could be considered less processed! Of course you might consider water unprocessed but in reality for most of us, water is highly processed but essential for us. How much we need is again subject to experts opinion, best advice I have seen is to drink water when you feel thirsty!¬†Amounts vary but that is not the question here, what is the question is defining “processed”. Clean tap water is highly processed for our benefit and it is cheap for us even though we drink a lot of flouride with it, well I dont as we filter it out. But you see the point, processed doesnt have to be canned and down the center aisles of grocery stores. Almost everything is processed to some extent for good or bad effects on our health. So choosing less processed foods is not an easy option. If you want to get clarity then using the caveat – “whole food & least processed” #WFLP¬†might be a good shopping mantra. An apple picked from a tree, stored then eaten at home is very lightly processed, an apple that has travelled 5000 miles, been coated in a waxy substance is processed but perhaps necessarily so, still we then have to further process by washing or peeling. Apple sauce in a plastic jar I suggest is highly processed when you consider the ingredients (Apples, HFCS and some acid to keep it from going bad in the plastic package made from BPA¬† plastic). So perhaps the ideal is to make a “process measurement” and have this indicated on the label, so consumers can decide just how processed is this item I am about to eat or drink. I think this would certainly persuade people simply to pick healthier options.¬† How about PM 1-10 where 1 is the apple from a local farmers market and 10 the apple sauce?¬†

All drinks are processed, from freshly squeezed oranges to an aluminium can of soda or beer or coffee or tea, so how we do we decide what to drink? As we said earlier, even our water is highly processed unless you get pure mountain stream water from a non-polluted source and drink it there or bottle to take home perhaps. So which drinks should we opt for and I think there are good arguments that clean healthy or what we call “good water” is the most essential and should form the basis of our response to thirst. Including salts for the “body electric”¬† is most certainly essential for healthy body, heart, brain, muscle and nerve functions. But where do we get salts? More of that later, for now just make sure to get enough salts/electrolytes.¬†

Alcohol and health. We all have seen the effects of alcohol either first hand or by personal experience and as societies I suggest that the world is probably split down the middle on consumption of alcohol from fermented, distilled and brewed drinks. Are there any health benefits, well some claim there are to drinking red wines, dark beers for the bioflavanoids and other plant based micro-nutrients and bacterials found in these drinks. Ethyl alcohol doesn’t really do us physically any good so the one thing that is sure is we do over indulge and certainly in the western societies, the pub, bar, restaurant could be considered the centre of our social lives and that would be a BLOG all of it’s own later.¬†

Nutrient density and food groups

Possibly we can agree that nutrient dense foods are more beneficial than so called “empty calories” but what might be nutrient dense and allowed within #LCHF might not be allowed on #WFPB but on our #WFLP we can take the best from both dietary prescriptions. But what nutrients need to be dense to make food superior and that are common? Seeds are acceptable to both camps, green leafy vegetables are a common ground as are berries and that actually might be it. Dr Campbell suggested that meat(s) contain no vitamins, antioxidants or other useful micro-nutrients and if he is right then meats confer no nutrient dense benefits, especially considering a 10% protein intake which seems to be common to all good diets. So how about FATS, can fats be nutrient dense? Can we possibly come to agreement here, ha-ha unlikely as the animal vs plant based diets would seem to be diametrically opposed or are they? I think everyone agrees there should be some unsaturated fats but 10% – 80% is a big gap, in fact for the 1800 KCal folks that is either 20 grams or 160 grams, which is what in reality? It is 1 1/2 tbsp or 11 tbsp if you just use butter, but our fats are supposed to be primarily unsaturated types if you buy the cholesterol hypothesis which is increasingly coming under fire. But fats like #PUFA & #MUFA – avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flax, soybeans. Coconut oil and #MCT oils are much loved of late, with ideas like adding them to coffee; hmmm! Tried that yet? I suggest that you do as it is deliciously fatty and satisfying but after a couple of morning mugs of #Illy espresso with added butter and MCT I am not so sure and think i will stick with my dark roast clean and unadulterated. So fats can be considered nutrient dense with different types of fat being essential to health and that is agreed even if the sources are not.¬†

Nutrients are often “washed out” of otherwise healthy foods, rendering them less densely nutritious! So one major aspect of nutrient density is SOURCE and handling and time spent packaged in transit. The affect of micro-nutrients, growth of mould, bacteria and other challengers to good health cannot be calculated so the advice is usually to eat local, grow your own, rear your own and this minimal processed, packaged, transported food does seem to be a common theme between all diets.¬†¬†

PROTEIN COMMONALITY Рhmmm  UNLIKELY

Protein intake a common ground with it seems agreement of about 10% of calories from protein. So for an 1800 KCal intake daily, this would be 180 KCal or about 45 grams of pure protein. Lets check some examples of this from each side of the church:     All these foods contain about 20-25 grams of protein Р100grams  turkey breast  or salmon or pinto beans or almonds or cheese.   Surprisingly even a common food source such as vegetables can help here as even broccoli has protein about a 1/10th of that from the other sources but in any daily intake you might want to take it into account to avoid over eating or drinking protein. 

We have missed one vital type of intake and I hope that you picked up on this essential and common food type for health and vitality, yep it’s fibre from plants and¬† is considered essential to good health. But there is some controversy over how much and the source, but we all seem to agree that some is good! So let’s leave it there as our final common ground.¬†

Oh yes that brings me to more common grounds ūüėČ , yep coffee seems to be commonly accepted but one side of the church will take it without added dairy and the other with added butter but both sides and the aisle agrees, no added sugars or god forbid added sweeteners! #coffee #caffeine #flavanoids¬†

Ok here are some references: and as we head for our third and final BLOG on this topic where maybe we can piece together a way of eating that can provide the nutrients through lower processed, nutritionally dense, less packaged highly nutritious foods and drinks, you might see the term #VOGON or #Vogon and that we will explore later and let us hope so as it needs explaining.  Bis nächste zeit, schöne abend.

A. https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01743-8/fulltext

B. Your gut thanks you – http://humanfoodproject.com/americangut/

C. Dr Barnard – https://nutritionstudies.org/

D. Esselstyn https://www.mdedge.com/jfponline/article/83345/cardiology/way-reverse-cad

Post script: I saw an article today that talked about why the #LCHF diet was wrong and the basis of their argument was that eating deli meat, barbequed meats, sausages and other highly processed foods as you “need to on this diet”¬† people would probably get sick. I think that this is not the intent of the #LCHF recommended diet. Refer to the CG statements above.¬†

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THE NUTRITION DILEMMA of 2019

The dietary advice facts are ambiguous, clear as mud in fact and increasingly unhelpful! 

Simply put this is the dilemma and I don’t have an answer yet and I am not a dietitian or a doctor in case anyone was wondering. Many of the highest regarded scientists in the field of nutrition and health cannot agree with the basic principles of a healthy dietary intake. On one side of the church are the experts who advise a diet comprising 70/75% fats, 10% carbohydrates, 10-15% protein. On the other side of the church are the experts who advise a diet comprising 10% fats, 10% protein and 80% carbohydrates. In other words almost the complete opposite. So down the centre aisle are the areas which are essentially agreed, namely: less alcohol, less sugary drinks, less artificial sweeteners, less added sugar and less processed products. The high priests are the government groups such as the DGAC in USA who are there to advise on government policy and who therefore have large influence on the advice developed for populations. To a great extent the cause of our current nutritional mess led by heart attacks, strokes, obesity, cognitive dysfunction and T2DM.

But what are we mere citizens to do about our health and our waistlines as we speed towards potential oblivion and certain death. Nobody has suggested a nutritional fix for that inevitability yet! But many have tried and will continue to do so. So what are we to believe, which scientist is the best, delivering clear, proven unbiased advice to which all other scientists agree?  NONE so far. 

Although many are claiming to be that one and will tell you that their diet is clearly optimal for weight loss, good health, longevity and avoidance or recovery from disease. But can we be sure? No of course not as there are two scientifically proven diet types that categorically state their dietary advice is the optimal for healthy living. So how can they both be correct when the two are polar opposites? I talk of course about these two ways of eating: 

  • Low fat – high carb #WFPB   (Whole Food Plant Based)
  • High fat – low carb #LCHF (Low Carb High Fat)

Between these two dietary paradigms there exist of course a myriad of in-between ideas and theories, many with years of experience and success rates through the roof. We can consider Atkins, South Beach, Whole 30, Paleo, Modified Atkins and so many more. 

But does optimal depend on your personal activity level or will the same diet work for all except of course possibly in some genetic disorders or severe illnesses like epilepsy and autism which many although by far not all agree have specific dietary requirements for minimising effects of the illness or disease while promoting improved health. The scourge, even called “Black Plague” of our times in the “west” is diabetes (T2DM), altering the health and well-being of millions every year and most likely completely preventable and other forms of diabetes so called Type 3 (Alzheimers) and gestational diabetes (GDM). Being overweight has certain links proven and agreed by all to heart disease and to diabetes T2DM.

SO WHAT ARE WE TO BELIEVE?

If a high fat diet solves so many problems such as obesity and the almost inevitable diabetes, then why not adopt such a diet? Because the plant based dietary group, who also believe they are right, will tell you that it is all wrong and we need to eat no added fat, very little protein (10%) and the remaining calorie needs from whole foods; grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Their argument is compelling and seemingly logical as well as backed up by many studies that prove their point, for them! On the other hand the high fat (good fats),low protein and low carbohydrate theorists will tell you that their results are better and clearly show the health benefits to huge numbers of cured diabetics and massive numbers of people losing vast numbers of kilograms of fat. 

So at this point we are no closer to determining the “truth” if there is one of course! 

AN AREA OF AGREEMENT

As I said at the start there is a centre aisle of agreement, mostly. Many on both sides will argue for vegetables(most but not all types), fruits(possibly only berries), a low protein intake as a healthy whole food part of any diet. But are we designed and do we have the organs to absorb nutrients from fibrous veg and fruits, well yes it seems we are, so no disagreement there, or is there? On the LCHF side starchy vegetables are not supported whereas all vegetables in unlimited amounts – yes really – are considered beneficial to the WFPB group. Low protein intake is an area seemingly of agreement, but the sources are clearly at odds, one being any protein and one being only non-animal protein. A big difference in fact and not just from a moral perspective but from a content perspective or is there in fact any real nutritional difference? 

Vegetables contain fats, proteins and carbohydrates including fiber, plus an array of potentially beneficial phytochemicals whereas meats, fish do not contain these chemicals or carbohydrates. 

We will continue this blog next week when we discuss and present evidence from studies for and against each of the 2 hyper diets #LCHF #WFPB. For the weekend reading, check the links and also if your daily calorie intake is around 1800 KCal then calculate the amount of food and caloric drinks you should be consuming and compare to what you are taking in. For example a box containing 1lb (453gm) of caloric intake (drinks/solids) is about 1800 KCal depending on percentage of fat. 1lb is not much!! Maybe it is purely intake volume, food quality, water quality and empty calories that are the real problem. See you next week.

Types of Fat

Saturated or not: Does type of fat matter?

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BEMER – the modern way for medicine

Proven Effects of BEMER Therapy – Real Science – AVAILABLE from us already.

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When exposed to the BEMER patented signal , the resulting measurable, crucial physiological have been scientifically proven:

  • 29% Improved blood microcirculation. More capillaries¬†are open to carry blood. The Microcirculation Institute in Berlin maintains that there is no other therapy improves blood circulation like BEMER
  • 29% Improved oxygen extraction
  • 31% Increased back flow
  • 29% Increase in ATP production, the energy component of the cell
  • Optimised cohesive behaviour of ICAM-1 (leukocytes) therefore optimised immune response
  • Normalised (70 – 90mV) electrical potential of cell membrane ions channels to function optimally
  • Improved removal of body poisons and toxins
  • Significantly improves the partial oxygen pressure
  • Improves red blood properties by separating the red blood cells that tend to stick together, preventing the blood from flowing through open capillaries
  • Improves the individual cell‚Äôs metabolism (i.e. acidity levels and menbrane voltage potential) hence improving the cells proper functioning
  • Improved elasticity of blood vessels
  • Rapid wound healing and regeneration including increased bone density
  • Stimulation of nerve pulse transmission
  • Stimulates NO mechanism which acts as a vasodilator
  • Optimise the release of HSP70 which synthesize repair proteins

These are also the most important parameters in Intensive Care Units, as their improvement promotes healing. These physiological changes improve cellular health. Organs can function optimally and the body is enabled to heal itself by the strengthening the immune system. It can then better recognize & destroy, or dismantle abnormal cells that are not functioning properly.

Contact Dai or Denise Roberts by text or call +1 757 389 2284

IRONMAN 2022 Frankfurt

£565 entry cost
£582 Hotel cost
£400 est Travel cost
£500 est Logistics cost
Total : est £2200

THE START – AND HOW TO BE READY FOR JUNE 26

Oct 14 2021 – Frankfurt 2022 was chosen today for water temp and lake swim.
Now to get the pieces together. Right shoulder still recovering from bike crash with limited ROM. Have not swum since 2019 in the Florida Keys.
Oct 13 – Raised saddle 2mm and saddle fwd 10mm on the road bike, a Litespeed conversion
Oct 17 – ran 3 and rode 3 also. A good starter week, consistency is key.
INJ: Right foot under toes still a bit sore. Foot roller, BSPOT and NIKE Invincible shoes. Not much sleep as we are doing 3 long nights with Brian, we are full time carers for my father in law.
Oct 18 – Poor weather and very tired. Ate well and started work on swim training with Effortless Swim video series. Final PT session for the broken shoulder, down to me now.
Oct 20 – Shiela’s book. Using “stroke data” to improve swim times. Ran 10k slowly.
Oct 20 Ride with Mike Borza going to ride Wednesdays together across the ocean.
Oct 22 Rode 60 mins for the first time. Also arranging for Swim Smooth session on Dec 4.
Oct 24 – Joined Tenby leisure center from Thursday Oct 28. Aim use free bus pass to get there and train hard, rehabilitation and strength regain for upperbody and shoulder.
Oct 26 – Indoc session with Tom at leisure center. Took the free bus, for over 60’s, to Narberth Road stop then warm up run 1.2km to gym and ran 3.5 miles home uphill for half of it!
Oct 27 planning to recce 8k Oktober Saundersfoot Runners run and ride Kickr. Well did ride 70 mins but no run.
Oct 28 going for recce 8k then group run today. Gym at 1130. All done in the cold and rain, Epsom salts arrived today so 500gm plus Radox and a 40 min soak. TWISTED ankle running.
Oct 30 – biking Wahoo feeling down with so much rain and shit weather. Signed up for 3 days gym in Tenby. Group run tomorrow 8k test. Gaining weight up to 73+ kg Oct 31 a Sunday and an 8k group run, slowly with the group. Monthly challenge achieved for all. Next month an event, Park run.

SO WE ARRIVE IN NOVEMBER 2021

Nov 1 Added a Monday gym/run to gain the needed miles as a slow build up begins. And RALK back from gym on Tuesday. Slowly does it. RALK is going to be key. Result was a 9 min pace RALK Tenby to home, uphill half the way.
Nov 3 – 10min pace is 4.20 and 10.30 is 4.40 so I would be very happy with that for IM. Aim to practice RALK building distance by end May.
Nov 7 first longer run 8 miles with Rachel from the shop. Nice and easy average 9 min/mile or so but finished at 6.30 ish. Riding at 2.00 first time ZWIFT after months off.
Nov 9 – felt good running to gym and can feel shoulder ROM and STRENGTH gains.
Feeling excited, feeling stronger and training feels better already.
Nov 12 – feeling quite good and strong. FTP indoors now 203w. Less aches still some pains like right foot but working on it. Weight seems to have plateaued at 74kg and now coming off. Training has increased a bit and consistent. Strength work and right shoulder rehab going well with better ROM but still weak.
Nov 14 – longest run for ages 16km left ankle sore where I twisted it a week ago. Will do cold water and Epsom plus ibuprofen cream.
Nov 21 sunny cold but beautiful day for 16k with Rachel and then Mark. Finished with 1.39 Strand 400m. Feeling strong today, aches in left ankle, right foot under toes and right knee. Shoulder mobility increasing. Start swimming soon beginning of Dec. Just one more week of shoulder traction and mobility work.
Nov 27 – our run group anniversary party and 1 mile fun event. Park Run cancelled during storm Arwen.

END OF THE YEAR AND HOW ARE WE DOING

Dec 6 Рswam for the first time. 
Dec 8 – ‚ÄúThere are no shortcuts, no magic spells and no free rides‚ÄĚ
Dec 12 – a long night watch with Brian. Swam and now riding ZWIFT.
Dec 19 feeling good as the sun is shining. Ran 10k at Llys y Fran with the group. Lovely day and a good training week
Dec 26 – a decent week. Longer rides and more swimming needed

Jan 3 – slow start after a short swim and gym session on Monday.
Jan 7 – used new snorkel and got out smiling after 975y.
Jan 8 – is Swim Smooth program at Atlantic college with Andrea for video analysis.
Jan 9 – great fun group run 14k finished sub 7. Then ZWIFT Group ride 90 mins with the VB crew. Feeling very good.
Jan 9 – need to buy aero bars for road bike, probably Decathlon Sports ones
Jan 11 – for weight management only dark chocolate or fruit for sweet treats from week 20. Then with 4 weeks to go will reconsider diet shape. Jan 23 – after tooth out no swims for a few days so it’s swim video watching and analysis for several days. Gaining a better understanding.
Jan 23 Рran 9.5 miles getting ready for a half marathon Feb 19th Jan 24 Рalmost last desert. It was fruit crumble and custard, no cream  Jan 25 Рcold few days running slow. Feel good riding indoors and working through the swim videos. Jan 26 Рdecided to fly with BA from LHR and back in business class gives 2 bags including the bike

Cold Air Immersion Therapy

If cold water immersion is, anecdotally, deemed beneficial, then can cold air therapy have the same or better effects on the human. Now by the same or better I mean performance improvements and/or health improvements. Lets first look at the facts.

Cold water immersion at 12C or 53.6F is very cold at least for normal swimmers, for example in ITU triathlons water temp below 14C or 57.2F means the swim portion is wetsuit mandatory due to risk of hyperthermia, even though immersion times are from 8-60 mins. In cold air of similar temperatures no such rule exists and riding a bike for 30 mins to 5 hours following a swim is not uncommon and in much lower temperatures, so cold air immersion is likely to last for much longer than cold water immersion.

When we look at cold immersion in water or air, we need to consider the reason or purpose of the immersion, whether for therapeutic reasons or force of circumstance such as in races or training and understand the effects on the human of such immersion. But setting aside races, training and other possible circumstances we can focus on purely therapeutic modalities to determine if there are benefits for cold immersion and the big question is can cold air immersion deliver any therapeutic benefits?

Cold air immersion can easily be achieved in colder or temperate climates where natural conditions often offer air temperature of 5 Celsius and below so that cold air immersion can be managed for any desired length of time. But in tropical or similar climates cold air immersion may not be practical except through a purpose built climatic simulation chamber.

Question is, are there benefits from simple whole body skin exposure to cold temperatures? The variables would be air temperature, airflow, exposure time. Other variables could include altitude and acclimation but these are not considered here. See ref A.

It seems from the research that cold water immersion beneficial effects come about for several reasons, enhance calorie usage due to shivering, hormonal changes with an increase in adrenalin and other hormones that could help with depression and also the anti-inflammatory effects of cold temperatures just as ice does. Now these benefits have been studied and many people are convinced of their efficacy, but there are clear variables such as temperature and time of immersion and with this comes risks especially for the unwary. Hypothermia and cold damage to cells and skin are exacerbated with total immersion in cold water and clearly this can be dangerous, after all we know the Titanic story too well.

The risks associated with cold air immersion are much less than cold open water swimming or plunging, a short walk in 5 degree air could have the same benefits, certainly shivering occurs, mitochondrial increase in energy must also occur as it does in water and the effects on brown fat are probably the same. But the risks are much lower in air and could be even more beneficial for people looking for health benefits.

References :

A. Cold air immersion https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2016223

More on Independence for Wales

Following on from a previous post, I wonder how much industry or revenue generating business is needed to be a viable independent country? How much investment from outside or how much borrowing? We will get onto this later and in other notes. But reading the information published by Yes Cymru and Plaid Cymru it seems there are of course a variety of versions of independence. Labour, the socialist or left wing party have ruled Wales for 20 years and have a distinct view of “home rule” and use this term vice independence, very wisely or I think Labour would lose voters and after having lost a large number of seats to the conservatives the right wingers at the last election, there is a risk that by being too pro independence they could alienate even more voters who only see negatives from absolute culturally or emotionally driven independence. Mr Drakeford said, “We need a more powerful devolution settlement, one in which we secure home rule for Wales in a successful United Kingdom – internationalist, not nationalist; outward facing, not inward looking.” So clearly the Drakeford-Labour view is of a Wales within the United kingdom not without it as perhaps espoused by YesCyrmu. This Drakeford view is aiming for votes from a wider base than just the nationalists who see absolute independence and a return to a completely self governed Wales that has a seat at the UN, membership of the European Union and so a separate country away from the shackles of Great Britain, maybe a socialist republic or possibly a Welsh monarchy again as their aim. Their published manifesto and point papers are not completely clear on the details of what this actually would look like or how to achieve this and their share of votes is VERY small so maybe nothing for the bigger more internationalist parties to concern themselves with after all.

“Yes for Wales, of course – that’s what I have been throughout my whole life – but yes to a Wales that takes ownership of its own destiny alongside working people in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland who share our progressive values”. Mark Drakeford

“We are so lucky, in our country, to have all the natural resources we need to put Wales at the forefront of the global energy revolution which the world will need,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Wind, water and wave – the next Welsh Labour Government will make those assets work to create the jobs of the future and, in doing so, make our contribution to securing the future of our beautiful but fragile planet.” Mr Drakeford said

“Yes to a Wales which has the confidence of knowing that we are at our best when we break down barriers, not build them up, where we create our future alongside others, not despite or against them.” “Yes for Wales” to tell left-wing voters thinking of turning to Plaid or the Greens that he wants to get more powers for Welsh home rule but he balances that by referencing traditional socialist concerns about working class solidarity across the UK.

And finally, Drakeford turns his fire power on the Conservative government in Westminster, presenting Welsh Labour as a bulwark against “inequality and austerity”.

But we come back to the question of is Welsh independence of the model sought by YesCymru and Plaid Cymru a realistic option without funding from effectively English tax revenues after all Wales has 3 million souls and England 45 million. How much tax revenue can be squeezed out of a mostly rural nation to pay the collective costs of nationhood? What does it cost to run a country, there’s defence, policing, health, social welfare, care, local communities and their councils and probably a myriad of other costs. On the surface independence sounds great but absolute nationhood is not cheap. So is a federation better, maybe, but why would the residents of England want to pay for a renegade state with low incomes and little hope of surviving as an independent country. There are few truly functional states of 3 million population, maybe Lithuania is an example? But the first minister suggests a “voluntary association of four nations” but again why would England want to be paying the bills for Wales?

Plaid Cymru wants to hold a referendum on independence¬†if it wins May’s Senedd election. Also speaking on Politics Wales, Plaid leader Adam Price said: “We sincerely believe that independence is ultimately the only sustainable way whereby Wales can achieve its incredible potential as a nation that isn’t being delivered at the moment and whereby we can achieve social and economic justice for everyone that lives in Wales.” Ok boys lets see some clear criteria and specifics on finances for a “new Wales”, a Wales independent and free from the shackles of English rule from Westminster and then maybe people will know what they are voting for, a bit like the lies and obfuscation for the BREXIT vote by Farrage and co that destroyed our integration and union with the EU. On the other hand a federation of independent states each a member of any groups or bodies they see fit to join, that are self financing, self policing, self healing without border controls and with successful independent economies joined only for mutual self defence, might be more appealing but where is the money coming from for the smaller nations?

Lots more to follow as the elections approach and maybe some actual policies emerge.

Wales and Independence

A thought paper, part 1 – As we crawl our way towards independence for all, the independence to meet family, to not stay indoors, to not wear a mask, to visit the pub lets consider that in a few months there will be elections in Wales. One of the questions becoming slightly louder in public is for the Welsh to decide if they desire independence from a union in place since the 1500’s, an act by King Henry VIII that gave the Welsh citizens a voice in London and granted the same rights as the English. Now 500 years later we are looking at a regaining of Welsh sovereign powers from the administration in London, but what indeed would that look like? I am sure that we all have a different view of what independence means or looks like, from a sovereign state with border fences a national military, and a Welsh monarchy to another extreme with a common purpose but autonomy in governance and funding. In 2021 Wales stands in a position of semi autonomy with self government, a Senedd in a capital city deciding on policy matters from health care to transportation to education and social welfare, to fisheries and agriculture and environment but importantly still funded primarily by the United Kingdom government and parliament.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A NATION OF 3 MILLION PEOPLE TO FUNCTION WELL?

“We don‚Äôt want to win independence just for independence‚Äôs sake, but for the sake of the thousands of families whose futures depend on Wales becoming a better, fairer, more equal nation.” The Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru)

To be honest about the subject, until the studies are completed about what independence means in reality, I cannot say if it’s a good or a bad idea for us people living in Wales. These questions remain and are as yet unanswered despite Plaid Cymru, Yes Cymru and others saying they desperately want it, what could independence look like? What are the options, the choices for the people and notwithstanding the greater politics, what would be the benefits to the people of Wales of whatever nationality? I want to study these questions and more to see what type of independence is likely to be positive for all the people of Wales, or not.

  1. Has any country of 3 million inhabitants been successfully independent?
  2. What could independence look like?
  3. What would be the cost of independence?
  4. What would be the funding sources for different versions of independence?
  5. Which form of government would suit a country of 3 million?
  6. As a former monarchy is a monarchy still desired by the people of wales?
  7. What type of a written constitution and defined laws would be necessary?

One of the key issues is that of a cultural demand for a state free of the shackles of a UK government, being Welsh is a mindset, a culture, a feeling, one people in one country not overseen by London politicians or absent landlords. I will attempt to describe this cultural pressure for independence as I study the issues. This will help to answer questions 1 and 2 and possibly 6. But first lets take a look at finances.

Financial – Questions 3 and 4. Here I want to focus on sources of income and budgets. I do think however that dependent on the hue of the incumbent Welsh Senedd, finances would be dealt with differently, being raised and spent in either a socialist style or a capitalist style. As of today we have a Labour majority in the Senedd and two other almost equal parties, we might get a nationalist or a Conservative or possibly a coalition of the Independence minded Senedd when it comes to deciding on independence. The bargains made in politics may mean a coalition of the left who do seem to favour independence more so than the right and this will have a serious impact on finances, budgets and taxes, especially if money is no longer provided from London iaw the Barnett Formula. Today the Welsh budget has 3 sources of income as the 4th source dries up when the United Kingdom leaves all the European Union funding by 2023, even though the UK government agreed to fund Wales to the same extent, that is unlikely to continue for long and would clearly stop if an independent status was reached. Leaving just a single source from the list below plus borrowing and I would add investment, unless of course new sources were to be found by appeal to EU27, Qatar, Canada for example. An interesting point at which to pause, but before doing so the paper below highlights just how much Wales relies on funding from England and the EU, as an independent nation, that funding would have to be found from somewhere or social programs cut dramatically. Before getting ahead of ourselves though, the arrangements for an independent Wales could be very different. More to follow.

WHERE WALES GETS IT’S FUNDING FROM
  • money allocated by the UK Government
  • money raised in Wales by means of taxation and other charges
  • borrowing