• Health

    The benefits of eating Bananas

    benefit of bananas

    A Banana a day keeps illness at bay! The benefits of eating  Bananas are many. They are one of the best sources of potassium, along with avocados, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, fruit and vegetable juices and molasses. Potassium is one of the most important minerals in our body, crucial for the functioning of electrolytes that enable

    • nerve conduction,
    • heartbeat,
    • water balance,
    • muscle contraction
    • and energy production.

    They also contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, as well as other minerals – Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper and a surprising 1.3 g of Protein.

    Only individuals with kidney disorders usually need to restrict their potassium intake. Sweating and chronic diarrhoea plus the use of diuretics cause a loss of potassium leading to dizziness, vomiting, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, drowsiness and confusion and extreme fatigue. Therefore it is essential to replenish after heavy exercise or in cases of  bowel disorders or disease, with fresh fruit or drinking fresh vegetable juices or smoothies.

    There is also some evidence that Potassium may help prevent and treat Cancer and this forms the basis of several therapeutic diets, one of which is The Gerson Diet, rich in fresh fruit and vegetable juices.

    If following a low Carbohydrate diet you may want to restrict the amount that you eat. Bananas have approximately 23 g of Carbs. Due to the fiber content they have a relatively low Glycaemic Index at about 46 -52 but they have a sweet flavour and provide you with good nutrients so are preferable to many other methods of sweetening foods or drinks.

    So you buy a bunch of Organic Bananas ( one of the few fruits that don’t cost twice the price for organic!)

    They all go ripe at the same time and you often end up eating more than you would normally or throwing some away.

    frozen bananas

    My answer to this is to cut some of them up, place them on a baking tray lined with nonstick paper and freeze them. When frozen you then pop them in a plastic bag and you have a ready supply for making smoothies or ice cream. Or another way is to make some gorgeous gluten free Chocolate Brownies or cookies where you use less sugar because of the sweetness of the fruit.

    Another favourite is Paleo Pancakes where you whizz up 1 banana, 1 egg and a tsp. of almond butter and then fry the mixture as 4 – 5 small pancakes to serve with fresh fruit or a little honey or maple syrup. The egg and almond butter help control the blood sugar due to their protein and fat content.

    Paleo Pancakes

    These are especially lovely with Blueberries or Strawberries.

    So enjoy getting your Potassium and not wasting bananas!

  • Anxiety/ Blood sugar management/ Energy/ Health/ Sugar Detox/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Low Blood Sugar causes Anxiety

    low blood sugar

    Following on from my article on Overcoming Sugar Addiction I thought this excellent article and research findings from Trudy Scott (CN) would be of interest. As well as anxiety I have found that a diet high in processed Carbs and high glycemic foods that lead to low blood sugar episodes also cause inflammation in other tissues and can be a contributing factor to many conditions.

    One of the most helpful additions to your diet when transitioning to a healthier way of eating is a breakfast that includes protein, fat and fiber.  I like to make it easy for people that are not used to eating a healthy breakfast by preparing a highly nutritious smoothie the night before and popping it in the fridge. Here is one of my favourite recipes – I like it thick so that I eat it with a spoon and it does thicken slightly overnight so adjust milk accordingly. You can also vary it by adding cinnamon when you don’t have berries or use frozen fruit.

    Choco-loco Breakfast Smoothie

    Into a blender pop

    100-150 ml non-dairy milk like coconut or almond milk  

    a handful of berries, peeled and chopped pear or small slightly unripe banana

    1 scoop of whey free vanilla Protein Powder (or natural plus some vanilla essence)

    2 tsp. Almond Butter

    1 tsp. Coconut oil or MCT oil

    1 Tbsp. Cocoa powder

    1 tsp. Maple Syrup or honey

    50g gluten free oats

    Empty the contents of one Probiotic capsule and blitz until smooth. Cover and pop into the fridge overnight and then in the morning all you have to do is top with a few more berries and nuts for texture – almond flakes, pecans and walnuts all go well with chocolate. Enjoy.

    Article from Trudy Scott CN

    A paper published by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine last month supports what I see with my clients on a daily basis: when it comes to anxiety caused by low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia) the correct diet can have a huge impact. And this means is the inclusion of enough protein, fats and fiber, especially at breakfast.

    Here is the abstract from the paper: Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Hypoglycemia Symptoms Improved with Diet Modification

    Observational evidence suggests that a relationship may exist between high glycemic index diets and the development of anxiety and depression symptoms; however, as no interventional studies assessing this relationship in a psychiatric population have been completed, the possibility of a causal link is unclear.

    AB is a 15-year-old female who presented with concerns of generalized anxiety disorder and hypoglycemia symptoms. Her diet consisted primarily of refined carbohydrates. The addition of protein, fat, and fiber to her diet resulted in a substantial decrease in anxiety symptoms as well as a decrease in the frequency and severity of hypoglycemia symptoms.

    A brief return to her previous diet caused a return of her anxiety symptoms, followed by improvement when she restarted the prescribed diet.

    This case strengthens the hypothesis that dietary glycemic index may play a role in the pathogenesis or progression of mental illnesses such as generalized anxiety disorder and subsequently that dietary modification as a therapeutic intervention in the treatment of mental illness warrants further study.

    Here are some details about this case report for AB, who was a 15-year-old female student of south-Asian descent:

    Read More

  • Exclusion diet/ Food intolerance/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/ Paleo Diet/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Healthy Eating Out – Food Choices

    Healthy Eating Out

    If you have food intolerance’s or you are trying to eat for good health then Eating Out can be a bit of a nightmare. Healthy Eating Out is becoming slightly easier and nutritional knowledge improving but we need it to get a lot better. One thing we could all do to improve the situation is when we have had a great experience eating out – take time to thank the chefs and the staff and maybe a comment on Social media to spread the word. Having been Gluten and Dairy free for sometime we really appreciate it when we have healthy choices.

    I had this amazing Smoked Mackerel and Rainbow Salad with a Honey Mustard dressing in a Pub on Sunday. The Pub was The Brushmakers Arms in Upham, Hampshire, UK. I was hungry and so had a side order of chips but they weren’t necessary because the salad was so filling. So a massive ‘Thank you’ to them 🙂

    Increasingly more Restaurants and Bars are catering for Gluten free but it would be so helpful if a system of symbols could be put alongside each dish on the menu. If marked Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free – it would save time in a busy establishment and save the customer embarrassment.  Gluten and Dairy free Gravy would be a wonderful addition to a Sunday Roast. We have found the occasional place where a gravy made from the meat juices and a splash of wine has ended up being far superior to the ‘normal gravy’!

    A holiday in Edinburgh was a great success when we discovered that Gluten free awareness was nearly everywhere and we even had a Pizza and Pasta restaurant opposite our hotel that did both gluten free Pizza and Pasta plus Gluten free Beer!

    Some Restaurants fail miserably and obviously have no comprehension about the necessity of choice or the prevalence of food intolerance. This is not dependant on the type of venue or price. I have had great food in a humble but health aware cafe and no choice at all in an expensive Restaurant. Many times we have had no option but Ham, egg and chips or been forced to ask for a burger without the bun only to find it is served minus the onion and salad as well! Other Restaurants have cheese or cream added to literally every dish!

    Why would you choose to eat out when given these options?

    So I am pleading to chefs everywhere, please be aware of the reality of food intolerance and healthy options (for both adults and children). Eating out should be a celebration of food and a socially engaging experience not an isolating one.

  • Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Energy/ Health/ Inflammation/ Probiotics/ Sizzling Minerals/ Sleep/ Sugar Detox

    SUGAR and overcoming addiction.

    Sugar - overcoming addiction

    You might be surprised that I start by discussion Fat more than Sugar but understanding the connection between the two is vital to understanding SUGAR and overcoming addiction.

    From years we have been told that saturated fat was bad for us and that it caused weight gain, high blood sugar, heart disease and strokes and from that false belief, more and more processed low-fat foods flooded the market. Thousands of fad diets were promoted all centered on low fat and the prevention of weight gain and disease and yet the population has just gone on getting fatter and more sick.

    We now know that advice was totally wrong and that refined vegetable oils and transfats are the lethal ones that age us faster, damage cell walls and cause chronic inflammation and disease. Over these same decades we have eaten more and more carbohydrates to try to satisfy our hunger.  Many of the processed foods and drinks have hidden sugars in an attempt to make them more palatable. Healthy fats satisfy our appetite and have a stabilising influence on blood sugar.

    Insulin Resistance

    Our bodies were not designed to run on sugar and lots of processed carbohydrates like packaged cereals, pasta etc. and therefore we have a hard time converting all those foods to usable fuel. Most modern meals contain much more of this fuel than we can use in the short-term and so the body produces lots of Insulin to process it and allow what is needed to go to work in the muscles, brain and liver. When these cells are full the rest of the glucose is converted to FAT for storage.

    We now consume nearly four times as many carbohydrates(including sugars of all types), a lot less fiber and often poor quality fats and oils. In time, the insulin receptors on the surface of your cells start to decrease in number and also in efficiency and if the glucose can’t get into the cells because they are full – it stays circulating in the bloodstream. The Pancreas senses the high levels of blood glucose and secretes more Insulin and the receptors on the cells  become even more resistant! Constantly higher blood glucose causes inflammation and damage to cells. The main signs that you have a degree of Insulin Resistance is fat distributed around your middle and around your vital organs that is very hard to shift. This is dangerous Visceral fat that can also affect hormone levels.

    We now have 3 generations of people with some degree of Insulin Resistance which has reached 1:2 of the whole population. Type II Diabetes and Cancer are epidemic. Even children are now being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and yet a generation ago it was mainly a disease of middle-age.

    The good news is that it is reversible.

    Read More

  • Health

    Why Low-fat Diets Damage Your Health

    low-fat diets damaging

    Here are 9 reasons why Low-fat diets damage your Health

    1. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are found in fatty foods. We only get Vitamin A from fat food sources like oily fish, grass-fed dairy and meat, liver and egg yolks.
    2. Fat is essential for good Digestion. The gallbladder only releases bile when it is signalled by fat in the meal and bile then emulsifies the fat so that it can be absorbed. When bile sits in the gallbladder too long it becomes thicker and sticky and is harder to expel. Eventually gallstones and gallbladder attacks result.  We have seen massively increasing numbers of gallbladder surgery from people eating low-fat or poor fat (Trans fats and highly processed fat) diets. Fat is also necessary for proper digestion of proteins and it is only a relatively modern trait to eat lean protein and to avoid eating offal like liver. Some people even going as far as eating egg white omelette. One of the best saturated fats to eat is Coconut oil – especially for people who have had their gallbladder removed.
    3. Blood Sugar Regulation and Insulin Resistance. Increased sugar and processed carbohydrates alongside low-fat is very bad for blood sugar and insulin. We are seeing an epidemic of Diabetes and even seeing Type 2 Diabetes diagnosed in children. The secondary effects of diabetes can be as profound as blindness, early heart attacks and loss of limbs. The effects of a low-fat but high sugar diet can be seen in a build up of visceral fat, which is fat stored in the abdominal cavity, around the vital organs. This fat is especially dangerous because it changes the way your body works. It doesn’t just sit there waiting to be used – it causes inflammation and hormone disruption. It is linked to increased risk of Heart disease, Stroke, Cancer, Depression, and many other chronic conditions.
    4. Cholesterol Balance. Cholesterol is an essential substance for healing and repair in the body in response to inflammation. We need good quality fats in our diet to ensure we keep inflammation down and repair and regeneration at its best. We know know that the only harmful Cholesterol is small, dense LDL particles caused by cereals and processed vegetable oils but eating good quality fats helps turn these into harmless Cholesterol.
    5. Hormones. We need to consume healthy sources of cholesterol-rich saturated fats to support our production of sex hormones like testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. Low-fat diets also prevent the detox and elimination of oestrogen in particular. Oestrogen dominance then causes PMS and menopausal symptoms in women and erectile dysfunction and ‘man-boobs’ in men.
    6. Immune System. Our immune system also relies on quality fats in our diet. Fats make up the protective outer layer of cells including the cells of our digestive system. The Microbiome of beneficial bacteria in our gut also relies on healthy fats, especially the Omega 3 fats from fish oil. Our Microbiome is 80% of our immune system and also it has been shown to affect whether or not we put on weight.
    7. Brain Function. The brain is 60% fat, saturated fat the main component. For your body to be able to burn fats rather than predominantly sugars (Ketosis) is an important part of preventing and treating Dementia and Cancer. People who consume good quality saturated fats on a regular basis reduce their chances of developing dementia by 36% (Grain Brain by Dr.David Perlmutter). A diet high in Monounsaturated fats, like Olive oil, increases Acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter that helps learning and memory. Omega 3 fish oils have been shown to be very beneficial in the development of the brain.
    8. Detox of hormones and toxins, as mentioned above, is reliant on the liver and the production of bile. Good sources of saturated fat, like butter or coconut oil can encourage detoxification and help balance hormones and weight loss.
    9. Ageing. You may have noticed that there are two ways to age badly. The first is to be overweight with lots of visceral fat, joint problems, and toxins and the second is to be extremely thin, dry skin, dry hair and early wrinkles. Both cases are usually the result of insufficient good fats and oils which also have an influence on Collagen.

    As opposed to the Salad at the top of the Post – this is a healthier salad. Contains sardines in olive oil, Avocado and Beetroot to support the liver. You could also add an olive oil and lemon dressing or a cold potato salad with olive oil mayonnaise. Forget counting calories and concentrate on eating high nutrition foods that will satisfy you.

    low-fat alternative

  • Health

    Choosing the HEALTHIEST FATS and OILS

    Healthiest Fats and Oils

    Everyone is now getting on-board with the latest science that has shown that we should be eating good saturated fats and not eating low-fat.

    Choosing the HEALTHIEST FATS and OILS is much more complex than buying low-fat everything.

    More knowledge and label reading is vital if you want to remain healthy or regain your health after eating low-fat, higher carbs over the years.

    The false information about saturated fats causing obesity, Diabetes and heart disease has cost us dearly on a personal level and also on healthcare costs.

    It has probably  been responsible for the dramatic rise in Dementia and Alzheimer’s due to the brain needing sufficient good fats to function.

    There is now plenty of evidence of the benefit of eating sufficient good saturated fats, plus less sugar and refined carbohydrates on loosing weight, loosing food cravings, losing blood sugar problems and having more physical and mental energy.

    The Pharmaceutical industry think that high Cholesterol and Triglycerides are a reason to prescribe drugs rather than fix the cause by changes to diet.

    If researching this topic on the Internet, please check when articles were written! An unfortunate aspect of the Internet is that articles very rarely get taken down and therefore it is becoming a massive source of misinformation.

    Here is a simple guide to what you should and should not be eating when it comes to FATS and OILS.

    healthiest fats and oils

     The healthiest fats and oils are:-

    • Virgin Coconut Oil
    • Extra Virgin Olive oil
    • Butter or Ghee if you can tolerate dairy proteins.
    • Avocado oil
    • the fat from mainly grass fed, organic animals – beef, lamb, pork, duck, chickens etc.
    • free range, preferably organic eggs
    • Oily fish and seafood
    • Fish Oil and Krill oil from a good source
    • Almonds, Cashews, Brazil nuts and Walnuts, their butters and oils

    All of these unrefined fats and oils can be eaten as they are or heated at LOW heat 130 C or 250 F. Food will take longer to cook at this temperature but it should not burn or stick and it will certainly be healthier. Some ceramic pans cook well at low heat, without adding oil or fat. Saute, bake or grill rather than fry.

    Virgin Coconut Oil, Virgin Olive oil and butter can be used in MID temperature cooking 177-216 C

    Avocado oil or rice bran oil are the safest for WOK or searing at high temperatures 250 C.

    If eating out choose a method of cooking that follows these guidelines because otherwise you will often be exposed to

    Damaging Fats and Oil

    • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and Trans fats – considered the worst for your health. They will cause raised Blood Triglycerides and cause the formation of small LDL Cholesterol particles that cause Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attacks. They also block insulin therefore add to Insulin Intolerance and higher blood sugar.
    • Vegetable Shortening – mostly trans fats
    • Refined oils – as the processes used in refining such as high heat, chemical treatment, bleaching and deodorising remove the healthy elements in the oils and produces more of the damaging elements.
    • PUFA’s  – refined vegetable and seed oils like Corn oil, Peanut oil, soy oil, vegetable oils.

    The dangers of Trans fats on you health are many as they are unnatural fats that confuse the human body and disrupt various metabolic pathways. They are very inflammatory in the body.

    Read More

  • Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Health/ Healthy Food

    Confused about Healthy Eating?

    Confused by Nutrition?

    Confused about Healthy Eating? – you’re not the only one! The Public, the media and some Professionals  seem to be struggling to keep up with the massive influx of new scientific and nutritional information that has come to light over the last 5 years. Good nutritional advice is now very much more complex as it involves knowing not only which foods to eat and in what quantities but how to avoid toxins from herbicides, pesticides, GMO foods, chemicals and other health damaging ingredients in foods plus knowledge of the nutrients we may be deficient in due to soil depletion and farming methods. We are living at a time of the highest levels of chronic ill health and we need to understand about healthy eating as part of living a longer life, maintaining a good quality of life and avoiding diseases that are preventable.

    The media are not helping and some newspaper/magazine articles and TV programs are just adding to the confusion by presenting out of date or misleading information and not being able to differentiate between marketing and science. Take “The Truth about….Healthy Eating” on BBC 1 last week – quoted as being an investigation into if we can eat and drink our way to good health. Read More

  • Health/ Organic produce/ Sizzling Minerals/ Toxin free products

    Natural Skincare for over 40’s

    Natural Skincare

    Research of toxin free hair and skin care products has led me to a new regime of Natural Skin Care for the over 40’s that is based on various  oils and products to stimulate the collagen that starts to be lost around this age. A detour from my normal Posts but it is all about nourishment, inside and out.

    I am not going to list all the toxins that can be found in even expensive skin and hair care products other than to say that many are petrochemical in origin, some have been shown to be cancer causing and whatever you put on your skin can be absorbed into your body. Although I am talking about over 40’s skin care here I would urge everyone to look at the ingredients contained in babies and children’s products and reduce the exposure of your children and grandchildren to toxins as much as possible because they will be exposed to many more toxins than previous generations. Read More

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Celiac/ Coeliac/ Gluten/ NCGS/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

    Celiac or NCGS is there a difference?

    Celiac or NCGS

    Celiac or NCGS is there a difference? Celiac (Coeliac in UK and Ireland) disease and the connection with wheat has been known about since the 1940’s and with gluten since 1952. Celiac disease is caused in genetically predisposed people by a reaction to a gluten protein called gliadin which can be found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, durum, Kamut and triticale with some people also reacting to oats. Celiac Disease can vary from mild to severe usually showing destruction of the gut lining and is an Autoimmune disease.

    Despite nearly 65 years of knowledge it is poorly diagnosed across all age groups and it is estimated that less than a quarter of people are diagnosed. To confirm diagnosis raised antibodies (IgA) and destruction of the villi in the gut lining have to be demonstrated. Certain populations have a higher incidence, the populations of Ireland and Italy appear to and also people with Downs Syndrome have an increased risk .  Celiac disease is associated with a multitude of other chronic medical conditions, many of which are Autoimmune disorders and also some neurological disorders.

    NCGS – Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity was originally described in the 1980’s and only since 2010 has been included in the spectrum of gluten related disorders. It is also associated with Autoimmune disorders and neurological disorders where no small bowel disease has been discovered.

    It is known that there may be a genetic predisposition but that a trigger such as surgery, infection, pregnancy and emotional stress can trigger symptoms of Celiac disease and NCGS.

    The varied symptoms are common to both and can be:- Read More

  • Cancer Prevention

    Prevention of Cancer – choices we make…

    Cancer prevention for life

    Who doesn’t fear Cancer? We are constantly reminded that it affects more than 1:3 people and that is a terrifying statistic when applied to our friends and family and therefore we tend to push it to the back of our minds. We would like to be certain that we could prevent it and that isn’t possible as it affects everyone from the newborn to the super fit but research shows us that there are lifestyle choices that can help with the prevention of Cancer and being informed and taking action lessens the fear.

    We all produce cancer cells everyday of our lives and our Immune System deals with them but various factors can overwhelm our immune system and make it much more difficult to cope. We can change aspects of our lifestyle and diet to limit our exposure to toxins, support our immune system and include natural foods, herbs and spices that we know have anti-cancer properties so here are some important choices we can make… Read More