Breathe Better and Half Price Tala Cooking Classics


Let me apologise if I start yet another email with “I was listening to a Steven Bartlett Podcast”. Love him or hate him, he is eternally curious and that is a characteristic he and I both share. Ok, I hear you, not a lot else, but it’s a start!

Now as you may be aware, if you’ve been reading me with any regularity, I have an early morning routine that involves me doing 15 minutes on my rowing machine, most mornings. For some time now I’ve not managed to get past 3 kilometres, with my typical result being around the high 2900 metres, and occasionally just reach 3.0 kilometres. So, what’s the connection with Mr Bartlett. Well, some little while ago he interviewed James Nestor, author and journalist who has made a career out of investigating the connection between the way in which we breath and its influence on our health. Conditions such as snoring, sleep apnoea, asthma, autoimmune disease, allergies, and low energy levels are all affected by our breathing, he says.

One of the first things he talks about is the importance of breathing through our noses, rather than our mouths. During the two hour long interview he goes into a lot of detail about why we use our mouths so much and to summarise, he says our current industrial diet of ‘easy to eat’ foods means we don’t have to chew very much. 

As a result of this lack of exercise, our mouths do not develop as they were intended to do (tending to be smaller than they could be). The consequence is that our teeth often don’t have the space they need (and we have teeth removed due to overcrowding) and more pertinently, that the underdeveloped nature of our nose and mouth area now makes breathing harder for us, than for our ancestors. To compensate we often tend to use our mouths as well as our noses, to breath in. This, he says, is a mistake, as the air whilst passing through our nose is hydrated, sanitised, warmed and filtered, which is not the case when taken in through the mouth. This results in better air, that gives us greater energy. What I’ve just said is an awful simplification of reality, I think, but I found his calm patient replies to Steven’s questions very convincing, so in a very unscientific way I thought I’d test out his claims.

On Monday morning this week, I tried rowing, without opening my mouth, as I usually do, and relied instead purely on breathing through my nose. It was a pretty strange experience actually, and not without a certain level of panic from time to time, especially as I breathed heavier and heavier the longer I rowed. However, at the 2 kilometre stage, 10 minutes in, I noticed that I was several seconds ahead of where I usually am at that point, and at the end of my allotted time, I’d managed 3.12 kilometres, which was my record! An increase of about 3%! 

Two mornings later I got to 3.13 kilometres. Now, I don’t know if either wanting to believe James’ assertion’s, or the placebo effect pushed me to this result, but I do find his research very interesting, and I yes, I will admit to wanting to believe it.  

The interview has some real shockers awaiting you if you are interested. But if we are to believe him, and at a gut level I do, much of what he talks about that is either harming us or at the very least, doing us no favours, is within our capability, and grasp, to change. And that I find exciting. And if, before I finish and get onto product, you’d like another example, at about 1hr 15mins in, he reveals that he’s been measuring the carbon dioxide (C02) levels in the room since arriving for the interview.

He sets the scene by saying that at about 400 parts per million, C02 is considered safe. But get to 800 ppm, and some studies have shown, that when testing students, there is a 20% decline in their test results. By the time you get to 1000 ppm, you may start suffering from eye irritation, sore throats and other issues. Apparently though, officially, levels are not considered dangerous until over 5000. He says that there are currently 18 studies that show that levels over 800 can potentially cause problems with bone demineralisation, kidney calcification. and chronic inflammation.  

At this point in the interview the C02 level in the room has reached 1100 parts per million and, he points out, could easily reach 1500 or more in an unventilated space after only  a few more hours. And that this sort of level has been shown to have serious issues with cognitive, and as well as physical, functions.

If this is news to you , as it is to me, he does point out that all we need to do is to open the window a crack and that will make a very significant difference.

In summary, his message is this. Our bodies are not designed to process raw air (air taken in through the mouth) for hours at a time, day or night. Chronic mouth breathing is really bad for us. Breathing through the nose, he says, reduces blood pressure, normalises the heart rate, snoring is reduced or eradicated, and it’s beneficial in terms of general levels of fitness as well.

A surprising result from just keeping our gobs shut!


Ok, now to product

At the Housewares show I mentioned last week, we came across my long suffering friend Nick, who bears my teasing with great equanimity, and his wife Laura on the George East stand.

Rather sadly he was selling off his wonderful Tala enamelled roasters (in three sizes) because they had become uneconomic to produce, with the enamelling costs alone having risen 35% in the last couple of years.

His loss, selling well below cost to us, has enabled us to offer you these pans at half price. The quality of these Tala pans (made in Lancashire and enamelled in Yorkshire) is quite superb, with the triple enamel rivalling Le Creuset in quality and durability.  Enamel coatings, of course, also contain none of the plastics that ‘non-stick’ coatings are largely composed of. For enamelled steel pans they are heavy, but if you want a bomb proof pan, without the weight of cast iron, then they get no better than these.

They are cream enamelled inside with variously either Indigo, Pale Blue or Pale Grey piping.

There are three sizes available:

1.      Small Rectangular Roaster 21 x 28cm £59.00

2.      Medium Rectangular Roaster 24 x 33cm  £69.00

3.      Large Square Roaster 33 x 33cm  £75.00

We don’t have all the sizes in Pale Blue, but as I write have got all three sizes in Indigo and Grey.

The pricing in the shops and on the website will be halved.


Six years on from his death, and a few days before what would have been his 68th birthday, I’ll leave you with a quote from Anthony Bourdain.

“I don’t have to agree with you, to like you or respect you.”

A very admirable sentiment in our polarised world.

That’s it for this week

I hope you have a warm, pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Warm regards


Andrew Bluett-Duncan




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