Bleats

Women Have Been Taking The Pill Wrong For Sixty Years And It's All The Pope's Fault

Unintended consequences, meet religious patriarchy!

This week the UK’s National Health Service followed a recommendation by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare based on several years of research into the hormonal contraception pill.

Said research found that the pill is more effective if taken continuously rather than with a seven day sugar pill break. And this is good news, and… sorry, what? The break’s not just unnecessary but makes the pill less effective? And we’ve found this out now, you say?

This being the case, you might wonder why the actual hell the pill has this little weeklong hormone-holiday packed in. And the answer, somewhat shockingly, is the Pope.

More specifically, according to Emeritus Professor of family planning and reproductive health John Guillebaud in an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, the initial marketing of the pill included a plan to mimic the Catholic Church-approved (and entirely unreliable) “rhythm method” of birth control in the hopes that the church would accept it.

Spoiler: they did not.

“The gynaecologist John Rock devised [the break] because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use,” Guillebaud explained. “Rock thought if it did imitate the natural cycle then the Pope would accept it. When his campaign to get the pill accepted by the Pope failed, he just simply stopped being a Catholic, having been a committed one for his entire life.”

And that’s swell for Rock, but had a massive consequence for generations of women who’ve been given a less effective and more disruptive system with which to control their own fertility.

For. Six. Decades.

Anyway, ladies, now you know. Regardless of your own theistic leanings, your health and reproductive control have been compromised by the Catholic Church. Whoops!

The Vegetables Have Finally Been Ranked By Healthiness So It's Your Time To Counter The Last Four Ham-Filled Weeks

Get a head start on that new year health kick with the most nutritionally-packed vegetables - in order of nutrition-packedness!

Vegetables are the old family friends of the food kingdom: they’re reliable and familiar and no-one’s super-excited to see them show up at meal time.

However, we all know that they’re healthy things and that we should absolutely eat more of them instead of things that are delicious and bring us fleeting moments of rare and desperately yearned-for pleasure.

Like this guy,

But which vegetables give you the most health-bang for your mouth-buck? If, like most of Australia, you’ve spent the last four weeks in various stages of ham coma and want to know which will most swiftly return you to some semblance of nutritional balance?

Helpfully US nutritionist David Friedman – a man whose own surname seeks to undermine him! – has ranked the vegetables for you.

And there are some heartbreaking ones (sorry, corn and celery aren’t as great for you as you may have hoped), and some handy tips (the darker the lettuce, the awesomer it is nutritionally). Also green things – spinach, broccoli, that kind of stuff – and mushrooms are all tops.

But what are the top three, according to the Fried Man? Let’s count them down!

3. Brussel Sprouts

Yes, one of the most hated of vegetables is also one of the healthiest: high in fibre, high in vitamins and minerals, including iron and folate, and loaded up with anti-oxidants which always get promoted as “anti-aging” because it’s a sexier way of saying “helps prevent cellular damage”.

Also, like coriander, some people have a genetic predisposition to finding them disgusting (it’s the gene TAS2R38, in case you were wondering). It’s like the Yanny/Laurel debate, but with food!

Pictured: coriander.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Your regular potatoes are fine, if kinda starchy, but the sweet variety are full of beta-carotene, plus loads of vitamin C, manganese and potassium and has anti-inflammatory compounds as well.

You don’t want to walk around all inflamed now, do you? No, you don’t. That would be sore.

1. Asparagus

Seriously, asparagus? The vegetable that doesn’t even have the good grace to stay out of your urine? That’s Dave’s number one?

Nutritionally rich.

His argument is that it’s rich in vitamins A, B6, C and E which all do good things for you. Our argument is that it makes your wee smell funny. Both make a strong case.

That said, any claim that asparagus is an aphrodisiac because of vitamin E’s role in pregnancy and hormonal health should be taken with a grain of… well, not salt. You don’t need any more of that, certainly.

Do Not Stare Into The Sun, Regardless Of What Pete Evans Tells You

Gaze not upon the glowing sky-orb, gentle reader, lest misfortune befall thee!

In these days when so much of medical science is pretty settled it’s harder and harder to cut through. Thus some years ago the most popular media health gurus hit upon an exciting new technique: take something which is objectively harmful, like only eating one thing or not getting vaccinated, and then argue that it’s actually great.

Which brings us to Pete Evans’ latest piece of health not-advice:

“Every day I love to immerse myself in an experience within the cleansing ocean water as well as a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting sun,” he explained in a post on Instagram. “These simple, yet powerful practices have got to be two of the best forms of free medicine on the planet for body, mind and spirit.”

Sorry, you had some advice? We got distracted.

Now, there are two things raised by this. One is that Pete Evans is a very, very handsome man. Just look at him, seemingly hanging out in a real life Far Cry. My god, we could get lost in those eyes.

And speaking of which, staring at the sun even briefly is a terrible idea because it literally burns your eyes to bits.

The cells in your cornea are exquisitely sensitive to ultraviolet light and physically blister and crack when exposed to it. That’s generally temporary, but if you keep doing it on the reg you can also help develop cataracts on the lens itself.

But the biggest problem is the retina, described by scientists as “the seeing-bit of the eye what tells your brain about the seeing”. Staring at the sun causes what’s called “solar retinopathy” which, unlike the corneal damage, can be permanent.

Oh, and it gets worse. You can also permanently damage your macula, getting a permanent blind spot in the centre of your vision. In related news, eyes sure do have a lot of bits to them.

In short, you’d have to be a bit of a moron to stare at the sun, or at a solar eclipse.

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