Vegetarian diets are natural for tropical climates but not northerly ones. The students will probably become anemic though a lot of them will probably sneak off and get a burger which will prevent it.

On 12/03/2015 06:01 PM, [FairfieldLife] wrote:

Thanks, really interesting article. I am still digesting it. In context of FF I wonder what the effect of diet change [no meat] is on the health of people coming to school here for extended periods of time where the food service is all vegetarian on campus?

---In, <> wrote :

Interesting. I read a good book awhile ago re: the Channel Islanders called "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society."

---In, <upfronter@...> wrote :

The extract shows that initially, very restricted food has health benefits (not for elderly folk particularly) but brings disease eventually (This is of interest to me as I was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, 15 years after the ‘Occupation’).



*Conditions in the Channel Islands during the 1940–45 German Occupation and their impact on the health of islanders*

An unhealthy occupation?

“We’re all quite well, but getting thinner,
Not much for tea, still less for dinner.
Though not exactly on our uppers,
We’ve said Adieu to cold ham suppers.
In peace time those who wished to slim,
Tried diet, massage, baths and gym.
We’ll tell the stout of every nation
The _secret’s_ solved by Occupation.”
[Anon, Jersey (_Lainé_, 1945)]


The occupation of the British Channel Islands by the German Army is one of the less discussed episodes of the Second World War, not least perhaps because it was something of an embarrassment to the British Government of the time.1The British Government was forced to order the demilitarisation of the islands, which lie just off the coast of northern France, when the collapse of the Maginot line and the retreat of Allied forces to the beaches of Dunkirk meant that occupation became inevitable.2 Any attempt to defend the islands would have involved huge loss of life, both military and civilian, and at little strategic gain to the Allies. For this reason they were abandoned to their fate – a fate which involved almost five years of increasing deprivation and misery.

Health and disease

In the main, the general health impact of the occupation was perhaps not as bad as it might have been. Indeed, in some respects health actually improved, such as the weight loss that benefited the obese,91 especially in terms of cardiac health.92 In some cases this might have also helped some previously overweight women to conceive,93 while even those women who appeared to have become underweight as a result of the occupation still seemed to give birth to healthy sized babies.94 One Jersey doctor stated that, particularly in the early days of rationing, his more overweight patients benefitted from their change of diet.95 Elsewhere, the health of the population of Guernsey was thought to be “exceptionally good”96during the first winter of the occupation. Some aspects of the occupation diet that may have been advantageous in this regard were the reduced sugar and fat content, and the increased consumption of wholemeal flour.97 However, the weight loss experienced by most Channel Islanders during the occupation was not beneficial to all sectors of the population, such as the elderly and infirm and those who were required to do physical work. For example, the outdoor telephone staff in Guernsey each lost an average of 22lbs (10kg) in weight between 1940 and 1943, and the associated loss of energy began to prevent them from doing their jobs properly even before the onset of the siege in 1944.98Even the Jersey doctor cited earlier, who was wealthy and had many contacts from whom to obtain off-ration food, saw his body weight fall from 13 stone (83kg) to under 9 stone (57kg) by the end of the war.99Indeed, he stated that many of his patients experienced similar losses, including his mother-in-law, who weighed less than 6 stone (38kg) by the end of the occupation. Some elderly people seem to have ended the war at an alarmingly low weight, as evidenced by an inquest into the death of a 70-year-old Jersey woman where “malnutrition” was cited as a secondary cause, and whose weight was reported to be only 3 stone (19kg).100

In his history of the occupation of Jersey, RCF Maugham mentioned that in 1943 the general public began to look emaciated, and that by the end of the war, “the people grew thin, their features pinched by privation and want… normal strength and vitality could just not be maintained”.107

Although this weight loss must have been alarming, it seems to have been malnutrition that affected the islands most as opposed to outright starvation108 since the principal problem lay with the composition of the diet rather than a paucity of calories, at least until the onset of the siege.109 When the islands were starving, towards the end of the siege, this took the form of slow starvation rather than acute deprivation. This may have made the crucial difference between suffering and death for many,110 since the Channel Islanders were able to become gradually accustomed to fewer and fewer calories rather than being suddenly deprived. However, this is not to say that the effects of this ‘creeping malnutrition’ were not serious, as malnutrition was recorded as a cause of death on a number of death certificates at the time.111 Malnutrition also caused loss of memory, concentration and stamina, and many people collapsed in the street as they were going about their daily tasks. There were cases of famine oedema of the legs, again particularly among the elderly,112 while recovery rates from a number of other conditions were notably slow.

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