Ways to solve our growing weight problems | Letters

The government must do everything in its power to combat obesity (Supermarkets must stop discounting unhealthy foods to tackle childhood obesity, say MPs, 27 March). Obesity is a public health disaster inextricably enmeshed with cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnoea, gout, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallstones, cancers, osteoarthritis, breathing problems, dental decay and gum disease. The obesity statistics are staggering. The Lancet reported this year that around 700,000 new cancers caused by overweight are predicted by 2035 and that the number of those afflicted with diabetes in the UK alone has topped 4 million. The costs to the NHS are projected to reach £9.7bn by 2050.Obesity is a vivid example of the link between general and oral health. Sugar is the main culprit in the unabated increase in obesity and dental decay. A holistic, comprehensive and sustainable approach is needed that transcends medicine and dentistry, challenging the avoidable consequences of modern lifestyles.Dr Munjed Farid Al QutobLondon Continue...

What beats sausage with sauerkraut? | Letters

Pass Notes (27 March) was very unkind about cabbages. Fresh cabbage, shredded and steamed (never boiled), is a wonderful year-round vegetable. It is a misconception that sauerkraut and kimchi are “pickled” cabbage, involving vinegar. To make sauerkraut, cabbage is fermented with just salt as the only added ingredient, while Korean kimchi uses salt, chilli and other spices. The tang comes from lactic acid produced as a natural fermentation by-product: no vinegar is added. Sauerkraut is easy to make, and every autumn we produce around 10kg of it from our allotment cabbages. Sautéed with onion, apple, caraway seeds and a dash of white wine, it is a delicious accompaniment to sausages and pork. It is also rich in vitamin C: Captain Cook served it to his sailors as an alternative to citrus fruits to protect against scurvy.David YoungBuxton, Derbyshire• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com Continue...

The weekend cook: Thomasina Miers’ recipes for Sri Lankan cauliflower curry and miso and soy salmon sticky rice

Fancy perking up regular mealtimes? Look to the east for inspirationI find the flavours and cooking of southern India and Sri Lanka intoxicating, with their use of fresh coconut and inspired spicing. It’s a cuisine so full of depth and flavour that it’s easy to feast on endless vegetable curries without really noticing that you’re not eating meat. These curries are much faster to cook than the slow-cooked meat dishes of the north, but they’re just as satisfying. Farther east, the Japanese have a light touch with rice and seafood, and frown on dairy, so here, too, you can eat incredibly healthily without missing out on taste. Much as I love butter and cream, or the comfort of a hearty stew, it’s a treat to try these different styles, especially as warmer weather starts to beckon. Continue...

Cocktail of the week: pomegranate margarita – recipe

Pomegranate season is almost over, so let’s see it out with a bangFruity and sharp, like a margarita ought to be. If you like, give it a gently floral twist by replacing half the pomegranate juice with 10ml hibiscus iced tea. Serves one.¼ lime, to coat the glass, plus 15ml juice35ml tequila (I use Olmeca Altos Plata) 15ml triple sec30ml pomegranate juice5ml agave syrup Continue...

There’s a food poverty crisis in the UK. And the government is starved of ideas | Kathleen Kerridge

As the cost of living rises and wages stagnate, for many food is becoming harder to afford. We’re returning to an era where a healthy diet is aspirationalWhen people talk about food poverty the image that comes to mind is of Comic Relief appeals, and starving children with bloated stomachs in poor countries far away. We picture limbs so thin they look as though a firm cuddle would snap them in two. Wide eyes, and skinny necks struggling to support the weight of huge heads. We’ve all seen it. We all know what food poverty looks like. Related: Poorest UK families struggle to put food on the table, survey finds Continue...