It's not every day that we're treated to a positive news story about eating red meat. Last week we were told it led to heart attacks and 'premature' death. Now, it seems we can all tuck into a hunk of steak or a lamb chop and it'll actually do you good. We knew our female readers would be interested in this and, wondering if it was true or whether it was merely the meat industry fighting back, we asked Doctor Sinnick for his opinion.
"Oh yes," Sinnick confirmed, "Red meat is extremely good for you but it must be eaten before green salad. In other words red meat and especially rump steak is now a starter rather than a main course."
Knowing how Sinnick occasionally likes to pull out legs to tickle the fancy of our readers [which is why he is on a small retainer] we felt we should show the Doctor the report from Australia's University of the Outback, which had been brought to our attention. This eminent educational establishment had recently studied 1,000 Australian women and came to the conclusion that eating red meat can improve mental health.
Professor Felix Feline, who led the research, had said: "We had originally thought that red meat might be bad for health but when we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat, we found they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the amount we recommend."
Doctor Sinnick interrupted us to confirm that this did, indeed, match his own findings and that it was particularly relevant in reducing the incidence of senile dementia in women. Overwhelmed by this good news for our more elderly readers who still love their lunch and with our pencils poised to ensure we got the facts right we asked for more.
[We thought it might tie in nicely with selling adverting space for Australian and New Zealand lamb and jars of mint sauce from Coleman's]
"Mrs Sinnick suggested we went out for dinner last week," Doctor Sinnick said, "but unfortunately I forgot my wallet and we ended up at MacDonald's. The wife wasn't too pleased I have to admit and I expected some serious earache."
At this point, Sinnick stopped, covered his mouth and laughed. In fact, he laughed almost uncontrollably, tears ran down his face and he held onto his ribs as if he thought they might burst. We waited patiently until the hilarity had subsided and asked him if he'd like to share the humour. We also suggested to him that perhaps a wife might expect a little more from her husband than dinner at MacDonald's.
[We like to put the female stance to ensure the responses we get are more suited to our readership]
Sinnick finally calmed down a little, apologised for his outburst and eventually explained what had happened and how this tied in with the research from the University of the Outback.
It seems that Mrs Sinnick was prone to regular angry outbursts when upset and Sinnick had a theory that it is the female tendency to get upset which exacerbates pre-existing depressive or anxiety disorders leading to full blown dementia in later years.
He then sat back, twiddling with his stethoscope as if we should understand what he was getting at and how this related to red meat being good for you. Not being on quite the same wave length we pushed for a clear explanation.
"Sorry, Sinnick said, ""I'd forgotten you were a woman. Naturally, my wife's hunger pangs got the better of her and we went in. I suggested she sit quietly in the corner amongst a group of teenagers while I ordered. I only had five pounds in small change so I ordered the special "double beef burger" as it looked so juicy on the red and yellow menu."
"Yes?" we promoted.
"Well, for one thing, it was clear to me that my wife was being completely irrational. She had become instantly depressed and anxious merely because of her surroundings. Her screaming though was drowned out by the kids shouting and as I couldn't hear her, I mimed to her that she should just tuck into her lovely meal and try listening to the piped music."
"Yes," we prompted again, "And what happened when you left MacDonalds's? Did she not start her rant again as any other woman might?"
"Oh, no, "Sinnick said, "She was doubled up with indigestion and was as quiet as a mouse. I prescribed three Rennies."
Not sure how to take this we asked Doctor Sinnick if this proved anything about the value of eating red meat and the report we had come to discuss.
"Of course," he said, "You must read the University of the Outback's report in full. The Australian government recommends eating 65-100g of lean, red meat three-to-four times per week, so eating Double Macs regularly is fine and I've just proven it."
Still unsure about Doctor Sinnick's explanation [his intellectual arguments are highly technical and very deep which is why we pay him his retainer] we asked him for a suitable summary for our article.
Sinnick scratched his head for a moment.
"Eating red meat at MacDonald's reduces shouting and ranting and it is this that leads to those depressive or anxiety disorders mentioned in the report. That'll do."
Thinking we could now approach MacDonald's and the Australian Meat Marketing Board for full page advertisements we thanked Doctor Sinnick and returned to the office.