Give your kids Wine

Some excellent advice on healthy living from the rock band Radiohead

Fitter, happier, more productive,


Not drinking too much,

Regular exercise at the gym

(Three days a week),

Eating well

(No more microwave dinners and saturated fats).

I wonder if « do-gooders » in the French Senate haven’t been listening to Radiohead whilst compiling their recent report on healthy eating habits.  First though, a definition of « do-gooders » – those men and women who set themselves up as guardians of the public good – those people who want to do us all good by limiting our daily intake of those items which procure us some sense pleasure – those foodstuffs, drinks and substances that might give us some feeling of moral well being whilst in the long term are actually harmful to our physical well being, if taken in vast quantities – it’s like the old Marie Lloyd music hall classic « A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good » – and so it does – a glass of wine to wash away the rigours of a hard day, a nibble on a bar of chocolate, a cigar at the end of a good dinner … even a glass of soda.

So, the do-gooders are trying to reduce our consumption of those items that might make you feel good so that in the long term we will all be fitter, healthier, happier (and suspect their main reason – more productive). And just how do you discourage people from ingurgitating vast quantities of those feel good goodies? Why, they are slapping huge taxes on them. The latest item in the sights of the do-gooders is fizzy drinks – pop or soda if you prefer.  In a list of recommendations of public health, the members of the French Senate Social Affairs Commission have suggested a whacking 15% VAT increase on fizzy drinks – or rather those sodas with high sugar content. Tax on sodas is currently levelled at 5.5%. The Senate commission is recommending that this be increased to 20%, which in real terms will add roughly 20 Euro centimes on to the price of a 1.5 litre bottle of Coca Cola. The price hike will not be applied to sugar free drinks – those containing aspartame or other such artificial sweeteners.

Hang on though … isn’t aspartame supposed to be dangerous? – A quick perusal of several health websites reveals that heavy consumption of aspartame can cause – giddiness, memory loss, brain tumours, cancer …. All it takes is four cans of Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi a day and you are on the road to …

Take my advice, stop the sodas and drink milk – far better for you, though milk prices are also set to increase by 4%– not for health reasons though. It is quite simply that the nation’s 70,000 milk producers want more money from the giant retail chains. The nation’s hypermarket and supermarket bosses are quite happy to pay dairy famers more quite simply by passing on the increase directly to the consumer. – an average increase of 2 Euro centimes on a litre bottle of milk and 6 Euro centimes on a pack of four yoghurts.

Perhaps even more of what you fancy will actually leave you financially better off – the Senate Health Commission have backtracked on a proposed increase in wine prices.

Now, there was a time when the French would pretty much drink wine from cradle to grave. For generations (when most French people still lived in the countryside) mothers would not be averse to putting a few drops of wine in baby’s bottle – a good way to ease digestion or send kids to sleep. (So what ! I got gripe water as a baby) – It was also quite common for kids from quite a young age to get wine cut with water at meal times – the water wasn’t designed to take down the alcohol content of the wine, the wine was added to take away the taste (or some might even say, purify) the water. Of course, wine is now classed as being bad; however, having personally done a few detox days – I can honestly say that the recommended daily intake of 1.5 litres of mineral water doesn’t leave you feeling much better – mind you what is detox?  No more than drinking or eating vast quantities of liquid of veg that have you running for the toilet every few minutes.

Drink more wine folks.

Ah, these detox, no-fun do-gooders making themselves feel good by banning what makes the rest of us feel good.  Nowhere has the doing of good been more done than in the nation’s schools. So France isn’t quite as bad as the UK where crisps and chocolate bars are banned and teachers carry out packed lunch checks, however vending machines are now banned as are break time snacks. In many primary schools, kids used to be served a mid-morning  « collation » – a fruit juice and a bun or a croissant – BANNED – it makes kids fat. Mind you the school day in France is very long – kids quite soon burn off their morning snack – and just imagine working through the morning with nothing more than carrot sticks to look forward to in your school lunch.

Hey, if wine is healthier than all those sodas or hi-energy drinks, kids should be getting red wine and not Red Bull