Seven handy hints for health columnists

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July 16, 2014 by Doug Coutts

Patent-Medicine-Trade-Cards-42Everywhere you look today – in magazines, newspapers, the internet and the radio – there are experts offering handy hints for making the most of your life. Articles on ways to get healthy, stay healthy or write about being healthy are as common as Judith Collins’ photobomb selfies. As tempting as it must be to rush into print and push your own half-baked ideas, it pays to do some research first. And WWNews is here to help.

  1. Backtrack on gluten. There’s a bit of a backlash coming right at the gluten-free brigade at the moment. Studies may have shown that eating toast can cause the trots, grumpiness, bloat, gout and premature scrotum drop but it turns out most studies were financed by the Gum Arabic industry. Start writing 1000 words on topics like Gluten on your ricies will make you stronger and Glutes are great and not just in your pants to avoid the rush of revisionist bandwagoneers.
  2. Likewise on the 8 glasses of water a day. The only real scientist willing to back this up has been on the Nestle payroll for years and was responsible for the Kram a Kitkat enema scandal of 1983. No one needs eight glasses of anything a day. Besides, there’s plenty of water contained in fruit, vegetables, pies and pilsner.
  3.  Don’t include stock photos of health food shops. People can spot a fake a mile off. Anyone who’s been within 100 metres of Commonsense Organics knows the customers look like they’re on day 3 of the Black Death regime while the staff act as if they’re on day-release from a Landmark Forum intensive. That means the fake smiles and lack of Sherpa hats in the stock shots are a dead giveaway and rob your column of any credibility it might have had. Especially if it contains a recipe for vegan tripe
  4.  Running is not a drug. Running is what sensible people do to avoid boulders or Mongol hordes. People who run for enjoyment may need drugs but they should get them from a doctor. They’re not getting a hit from endorphins; it’s cramp in the muscles surrounding the carotid artery.
  5. Don’t suggest getting off the bus one stop earlier. The only way for someone to get a workout from that is if they get off at Featherston St when the next stop is in Tasmania. Trudging 50 metres in the rain will just give you Legionnaire’s disease, which might be good for permanent breath cessation but not overall fitness.
  6.  Anything can be the new anything else, especially when you’re ten minutes from deadline. Avoid colours – black is not the new rose carmethene – and ages – 31 might be the new 12 but only in base 4 – but otherwise the world is your oyster, which is apparently the new kiwifruit. Food is always good – for example suggest broad beans are the new curly kale, which could lead to a spinoff article on how to straighten your kale to release 19 health-giving vitamins science refuses to tell you about. Fashion works too: lycra is the new spandex; gumboots are the new trainers. Have a go at mixing them up – colonic irrigation is the new facelift – and watch your readership figures soar.
  7. Don’t be scared to plagiarise. Especially from the internet – no one reads that stuff anyway.
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