Frailty cheats

Eggs FlorentineEggs Florentine

Frailty cheats asks if there is anything we can do to stop this insidious process of increasing weakness, unplanned weight loss and disability; it's the wholly unnecessary beginning of the end. It's possible that everything must change if you're mainly into tea and toast for breakfast.

This page was built in December, 2018, and updated on 26th January, 2020.

This page suggests a fairly simple regimen that will enable us to get the four vitamins that are absolutely necessary to prevent disability syndrome, the premature progression of weakness and loss of vitality that leads inexorably to early disability; first the walker, then the wheelchair and finally bed-ridden, all long before their time.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Healthy Breakfast Menu
  3. Frailty cheats

The four vitamins

Here are the four vitamins that are absolutely necessary to prevent the early onset of weakness; I call them frailty cheats. I would recommend you read the whole page first, to get the big picture, before coming back to look at them individually.

In today's world of processed food one does have to work quite hard to get enough of them; the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

Early morning

A cup of silver tea is the age old start to a good day; a squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a mug of hot water. It will provide the first vitamin C of the day, and the important phytochemical, limonin.

Add lemons to the weekly shopping list, if you do not have a tree in the garden.


Small amounts of these frailty cheats are quite adequate. It does not need to be an enormous breakfast.

  1.  Fruit, choose your own favourite, whatever is in season, for the vitamin C. In addition, five stewed prunes have been scientifically proven to better any medical treatment for constipation.
  2. 1-3 TBSP of rolled oats; not the refined processed stuff from the supermarket. Boil half a cup for five minutes and keep the rest in the fridge for tomorrow.
  3. Egg Florentine, lightly blanche a few leaves of spinach, and plop an egg onto the greens to poach; this will provide the B6 and B9.
  4. Either drop your eggs Florentine onto a half a slice of whole-wheat toast and butter, or have it with marmalade; vitamin E and more C.

Morning tea

A regular cup of tea, but no refined flour cookies or crackers.

Take a short walk, with a hat, in the sun for the vitamin D, not one of our four it is true, but very important. Walk as briskly as you can, with a stick if necessary, keeping in mind that slowness is one of the hallmarks of frailty.

Around the garden would be fine; use the secateurs to pick a few roses and strengthen your hands.

Our four vitamins are not enough to prevent frailty; daily exercise is also important to stop the progression of weakness and slowness.


These easy lunch recipes may give you some new ideas.

Lunch made with autumn salads.An autumn lunch

Aiming for eight or even more coloured foods, albeit in small quantities is the goal; a sprig of parsley would count.

The differing greens provide the folate, the cheese or hummus some B6, and drizzle olive oil and lemon juice for vitamin C over your salad.

Avoid the highly inflammatory salad dressing from the supermarket.

Wholewheat bread and butter will give you some vitamin E; sprinkle the salad with sunflower seeds.

A canned sardine would provide some omega-3 to help with the arthritis if like me you have no access to salmon.

Afternoon tea

Again, a cup of tea, perhaps a small bunch of grapes, not a biscuit or cookie, and another short walk around the garden or down the street.


For supper I am not going to be prescriptive. Again adding yet more greens would be good; kale is my number one choice for the lutein that it also provides to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Cook up enough brown rice to last a few days perhaps; and new potatoes if you can find them. Learn about the importance of allowing starch to cool overnight; read up about retrogradation of carbohydrates.

Some meat, or legumes like green beans or peas, lentils or chickpeas; a yellow vegetable like butternut or gem squash; carrots, of course.

No more than a tablespoon of a sugary dessert; a maximum of three teaspoons of sugar in all your food for the day should be the goal. Frankly we just do not need a pudding; a light supper is best for your frailty cheats.

See a lot more options if you are plumb out of ideas from our fast healthy dinner recipes.

The vicious cycle of weariness that sucks out our vitality and stops us taking a walk and planting a little patch of spinach can only be broken by an acceptance that everything may have to change; and that usually means initially we need help. Frailty syndrome prevents us from doing the very things that will prevent the relentless march of this disease.

Frailty cheats

Frailty cheats is a basic simple menu and exercise planner to ensure that we stop this progression of disability, weakness and weight loss.

Everything must change


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It may mean asking a son to walk with you daily for the first week or two, and your daughter to come vegetable shopping. She will help you to find the chickpeas, and tahini and cumin too should you decide to embrace this new way of living completely, and make your own hummus.

Frailty cheats us of the old age that we so richly deserve, having worked long and hard to bring up the family and make ends meet. Is it not your aim to get to at least one grandchild's wedding?

Try and get the family on board for help. A grandchild could bring you a small glass of kefir once a week; that's a probiotic for a happy intestine. Another could make this authentic hummus recipe and regular bring you a small tub.

Get the family on board so they can learn from your mistakes and begin early on with a sound diet.

Daily shopping list

  • Spinach, Swiss chard or kale
  • Lettuce

Weekly shopping list

  • Lemons
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Onions, butternut and sweet potatoes
  • Peppers and other salads.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Parsley, chives, spring onions, chilis.
  • Cold water fish like salmon.
  • Meat.
  • 100% wholemeal bread; freeze the remainder of the loaf for the week.

Monthly shopping list

  • Tahini
  • Chickpeas, lentils, brown rice
  • Rolled oats
  • New potatoes
  • Dried prunes
  • Canned sardines, tuna or salmon
  • Spices like garlic and ginger.

To do

Consider making your own hummus; chickpeas are the richest source of vitamin B6. You can either use a can, but we recommend cooking chickpeas, and then freezing them so you have a regular supply on hand. This task could so easily be shared out by the family.

Now you have the piridoxine you need.

The garden

The easiest and perhaps most important when deciding you want to cheat frailty, is to plant a lemon tree. It will start bearing after about three years and once mature will provide literally hundreds of fruit. Freeze the juice and you will have fresh vitamin C year round.

Consider how to grow spinach; after radishes it is probably the easiest vegetable to grow and the plants go on producing for years. A tiny patch is all the average elderly person needs; add a couple kale seedlings too. They are so rewarding but have to be enjoyed freshly picked; from the supermarket they soon lose their vitality.

Here is all the folate you need.

Curly leaf kaleCurly leaf kale.

You may want to keep chickens for free range eggs and the added piridoxine, vitamin B6, and small amounts of vitamin E.

The exercise from gardening is a profound frailty cheat.

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Hilton, KZN

South Africa