Every so often I need a good moan, so here goes.

A young woman came to see me the other day. One of her symptoms was severe, chronic constipation which had eventually resulted in surgery to her back passage. As she was anaemic due to the loss of blood from anal fissures, her doctor prescribed iron tablets, but these made her problem worse.

To ease her discomfort, she was given laxatives in addition to the iron tablets. At no time were the causes of her constipation investigated. She became increasingly run down and, anxious about her declining health, she was finally handed the all-singing, all-dancing Prozac. A classic example of how a digestive complaint can be turned into a mental problem!

This young lady's diet was of the constipating kind -high in wheat, dairy, processed food, coffee, chocolate and very low in vegetable fibre and water.

A few probing questions about her lifestyle might have saved her a lot of pain and the NHS a lot of money. Generally, I have no quarrel with doctors -they do a life-saving job under difficult conditions -but basic rules of how foods, not just drugs, affect the human body need to be elemental teaching at medical school.

In an ideal world every patient should have a right to have their nutritional intake and status assessed at their local surgery - that is, before being handed a drug more likely to treat the symptom than the cause.

Diet is no longer a straightforward meat and two veg affair, as our bodies struggle to cope with the effects of chemicals in our food and medicines, nutrient deficient produce, toxic metals and hormones in our environment. Then we add insult to injury by overdosing on convenience foods packed with sugar, salt and toxic fats.

Pharmaceutical companies are doing very well, thank you, from our ailments. The modern human seems rather puny compared with his hardy ancestors. There was no way Stone Age man could beat a retreat to his cave with a malady -he had to be fit to take on those sabre-toothed tigers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating a return to that age. Yet we might take note of our forefathers' dietary habits and turn it to our advantage. A Stone Age diet included high fibre from raw, fresh plant foods, ensuring rapid bowel transit time and less constipation.

A highly processed diet, on the other hand, causes slow bowel transit time, leading to putrefaction of bowel contents and reabsorption of toxic material. It also lacks vital nutrients needed to combat pollution. Our Stone Age ancestors had a diet that was rich in diversity as well as nutrients.

Stone Age man hunted and Stone woman gathered thousands of species-which all had higher nutritional values than our domesticated grains, pulses, legumes and vegetables. I fear processing is not progressing -unless, of course, one thinks of Prozac as progress!