• 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are not helping and some newspaper/magazine articles and TV programs are just adding to the confusion by presenting out of date or misleading information and not being able to differentiate between marketing and science.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

  • Energy/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine

    Super-nutrition for health and well-being

    Super-nutrition

    Promise to give yourself Super-nutrition for health and well-being in 2016. We are having to cope with more stress, more pollution, more illness, long working hours, frequently poor sleep as well and yet we expect our bodies to cope with it all even with inadequate fuel. You are not going to be getting enough nutrients in Fast Food restaurants or Take Away Pizzas so the balance has to shift to food that you buy and prepare yourself and it doesn’t have to be more costly or time consuming. If you live a very hectic lifestyle or you don’t have a lot of cooking experience then take a look at the services of menu/meal providers like Hello Fresh or Gousto in the UK.

    The main idea to get Super-nutrition is to eat far more nutrient rich food so that you have

    less sugar and processed carbohydrates……………….. and more real, fresh food.

    shift to super-nutrition

    Start by increasing the nutrition in your breakfast. I have just started eating some different breakfasts to do this and to have something hot on our cold winter mornings. I have finally found a way that I really like to eat Quinoa. See recipe…. Read More

  • Five Tibetan Rites/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Mindfulness/ Mineral Depletion/ Sleep/ Stress Reduction

    Mindfulness, stress reduction and sleep.

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    Mindfulness, stress reduction and sleep – who doesn’t need help with these things in their busy lives. If we are stressed, tired and not getting enough sleep we make poor food choices, poor decisions and we don’t work efficiently.

    Start the day right…. in the morning it can help to have a ‘Ritual’. You may already have one but not call it a Ritual and to me, the main difference is that you might do the same things each morning but you probably do them while thinking about everything else you have to do that day/week or while multitasking with emails and internet. It can really help to start the day calm and energised if you do a few things living ‘in the moment’ and concentrating as well as enjoying what you are doing.

    Most mornings this is my Ritual… On waking, drink some water. Go to the loo and splash my face with water. I pull the blinds up to see what kind of a day it is – this morning was a gorgeous golden sunrise, which was a bonus! I then spend a few minutes doing some exercises/stretching, which for me is The Five Tibetan Rites (there is a separate Post on this in Contents). It is easy to do this on automatic but I find it is much more beneficial if I do it with strength and purpose and also paying attention to deep breathing. I end my repetitions with ‘Pose of a Child’ and then a kneeling prayer position ‘Namaste’. Find whatever exercise or stretching you can do and build on it every week – it will stretch and warm up your muscles and joints and help get plenty of oxygen and lymph flowing around your body.

    I then wash and dress. Breakfast varies with how I feel but I always love 1 or 2 coffees – black with a 1/4 tsp Coconut oil. This morning I had Paleo pancakes (made with banana, egg and almond butter) with pecan nuts and maple syrup..YUM! That is a treat about once a week, other days I might have a herb omelette, or rice cereal with a banana and coconut milk and sometimes I just have a couple of dates and some walnuts or almonds or a piece of fruit. If you burn a lot of energy and like a cooked breakfast then bacon, quality sausages, eggs, avocado, mushrooms are all good options and better than cereal and toast.

    If you can avoid doing anything else while eating and drinking then great – think about what you are eating and enjoy every mouthful, enjoying holding a warm cup of drink in your hands or slowly sip a home-made smoothie while contemplating the health and energy giving ingredients. Read More

  • Easy Salads/ Healthy Food/ Nutrition and Cancer

    Fabulous Easy Salads

    Easy Salads

    My favourite Easy Salads are packed with nutritional goodness, tasty with hot or cold food and very easy to prepare in advance. Eating your 5 a day is super easy with salads like these – even in winter.

    Red Winter Salad

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    Mix together lambs lettuce, quartered pre-cooked baby Beetroot, quartered Radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. It can be eaten as it is or topped with a favourite dressing like Honey mustard or a soft cheese. It is full of vitamins and antioxidants and tastes wonderful even on its own.

    Quick and easy Pepper and Sweetcorn Salad

    Quick and easy pepper and sweetcorn Salad

    A large jar of Roasted Red Peppers, a large tin of sweetcorn, season well with sea salt and black pepper and top with grated Parmesan cheese and Rocket and/or  Basil leaves.  A dressing of olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar just gives it an edge. If you have any left over try stirring in some cooked pasta for an instant lunch.

    Winter Coleslaw

    Winter Coleslaw Easy Salad

    Finely slice half a white cabbage and place in a bowl with 50 ml of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, 2 finely chopped spring onions, sea salt and black pepper. cover with a plate. Finely slice half a red cabbage and place in a bowl with some sesame seeds, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper. Peel and grate about 4/5 large carrots and 2 dessert apples then mix with some lemon juice. Then make a dressing with a large pot of natural yogurt (sheep or Goats milk yogurt is good if you are intolerant of Cows milk), 4/5 crushed garlic cloves, zest and juice of 2 lemons, a handful of chopped Coriander (Cilantro) leaves, and stir in 3 tbsp of Tahini paste. Top with smoked Paprika and sliced or chopped Spring onions. You can drain the white cabbage of any liquid that has accumulated and then mix all the other ingredients together but if you want it to look decorative for a party you can layer the vegetables as I have done and then top with some of the dressing but serve the remainder in a separate bowl for people to add to their own taste.

    Although this easy salad will take a little longer to prepare than the others it is possible to do all the prep and leave in separate bowls in a cool place and then construct it in a large bowl about 2-3 hours before use and it will not spoil due to the lemon and vinegar stopping the discolouration or oxidation. Any leftover shredded cabbage and carrot could be placed in a mason jar with sea salt and vinegar and left to ferment for a few days and this provides plenty of probiotic gut friendly bacteria to develop. Enjoy!

  • Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Mineral Depletion/ Sizzling Minerals/ Sugar/ Sugar Detox

    Need HELP with SUGAR?

    Need HELP with SUGAR?

    The health dangers of sugar have been in the news a lot lately with governments even considering taxing sugary drinks, as they have in Mexico, to try and improve the health of the population – especially children. So if you need help with sugar avoidance and dealing with a ‘sweet tooth’ here are a few pointers.

    Hidden Sugars

    Aside from not adding sugar to your tea and coffee and avoiding sugar laden desserts, cakes and cookies you should start checking labels so that you can find how much hidden sugar is in your diet. If you have children then checking sugar intake is vital to their health as well as protecting their teeth. A third of children leave primary school already obese!

    1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 g

    Daily recommended maximum intake is 50 g (1.7 oz) for Women and 70 g (2.5 oz) for Men but 28 g = 1 oz (7 teaspoonfuls) would be better. Many people average nearer 130 g a day which is equal to 32 teaspoonfuls!

    First of all sugar is disguised by so many different names, anything that ends in ‘ose’, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, then cane sugar, cane crystals, corn syrup, fruit concentrates, honey, Maple syrup and Agave.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup seems to add more fat around the middle and around vital organs (visceral fat) -the most dangerous kind.

    Soft drinks are the worst for hidden sugar, even ‘enhanced’ water can have 15 g per 500 ml. Pre-packaged food – even savoury foods like Pasta Sauce and coleslaw can be loaded with sugar; bread, biscuits, energy bars, low fat yogurt often has more sugar than regular yogurt.Need help with Sugar

    Processed Cane or Beet sugar doesn’t contain any nutrients and is often called ’empty calories’  but other sugar types are also devoid of nutrients and even heavily processed using chemicals. When I want to sweeten something I would usually choose a little honey, Pure Maple Syrup or molasses sugar because these do also contain some nutrient benefit and are not over processed.

    Artificial Sweeteners

    It is not a healthy option to swap your sugar for artificial sweeteners as they have many additional problems.

    • they may taste sweet but they have no useful energy
    • they have no appetite suppression effect, unlike sugar and so can cause overeating and weight gain.
    • Many sweeteners may be toxic to the body
    • if you really feel you need them -do your research. At present Stevia seems to be the least toxic but definitely avoid Aspartame which has been linked to mental problems, brain tumour and epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia and diabetes plus possibly cancer. Avoid Sucralose which is sucrose that has been denatured using Chlorine.

    How to Cut Down on Sugar

    If you have become aware of just how much sugar you are eating and have started reading food and drink labels that is a huge step in the right direction. We can all be caught out – my son is hooked on mince pies at the moment and 1 mince pie has 22.5 g sugar which is nearly 6 tsps of sugar and only 1 tsp off his healthy daily limit. So my tips are:- Read More

  • Cancer./ Health/ Healthy Food

    MORE Food/Health SCARES!

    Food/Health SCARES

    The Media are into Halloween with yet MORE Food/Health SCARES! This one has been around for about 20 years and even people who don’t know much about nutrition have usually heard by now that red meat (Beef, Pork and Lamb), preserved meats and burnt meats have cancer causing properties.

    Should we be scared?

    Yes.

    Are we confused about what we should be eating?

    Yes.

    Is there some truth in the stories about meat and cancer?

    Yes.

    We should all be scared because we can no longer trust our food supply or the safety of our foods and we can’t trust food manufacturers to put safety over profit. We have to educate ourselves on where our food comes from, what it may have been contaminated with and whether it is actually safe for us and our children to eat.

    It doesn’t have to be too complicated but it starts with an understanding of how we eat and how our food has changed over the last 50 years, the amount of ‘factory’ food that is now available and how far that is removed from REAL food.

    Developing a habit of looking at ingredients labels and knowing which can be damaging to your health – things like hydrogenated oils and fats, sugar, preservatives, artificial colourings, flavourings and sweeteners.

    Sourcing as much natural, organic if possible, food locally and making that the bulk of your diet. Eating CLEAN means knowing where your food has come from, farm or factory, and whether it has been treated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones etc.

    Not all meat is the same. Lamb or goat that has been roaming the hills is not the same as intensively famed Pork or Beef.

    Cook good meat in a way that doesn’t char or burn it. Eat it with plenty of herbs or spices and vegetables. Make sure your digestion is good, that you have good transit time and that you deal with constipation and inflammatory gut conditions. Semi-digested meat left in the gut causes fermentation, gas, inflammation and toxicity.

    Processed meats aren’t all the same. Some have been soaked in vats of chemicals, some have been preserved in salt and then air dried. Sausages may just contain minced meat, herbs and seasoning while others may contain poor quality and quantity of meat, excess fat, rusk, soya, artificial colouring and preservatives.

    Bare in mind that everything is DOSE dependant. If you eat bacon every day, hot dogs, pizza, pies, burgers and steak, high quantities of sugar, alcohol, coffee and sodas and very little fruit and vegetables – YOU WILL GET SICK.

    Variety and moderation are key. We were designed to eat meat and vegetables and eating these together has more health protective properties.

    Argentina and Uruguay eat the highest levels of red meat and they frequently cook it over open flame and they have the highest levels of breast and colo-rectal cancers in the world. The Inuit eat high levels of red meat but also herbs, seaweeds and other beneficial plants and they don’t get these cancers.

    If you want to know more of the reasons why red meat probably carries a higher risk than chicken or fish then here are the links to two very reliable sources of information.

    The Paleo Mom

    Examine.com

     

  • Blood sugar management/ Healthy Food/ Mediterranean diet

    Viva the Spanish Mediterranean Diet!

    Viva the Spanish Diet!

    The Mediterranean Diet has been heralded as a very healthy one for many years but the Mediterranean coastline covers many different Countries, Cultures and the diet varies from country to country. Much has been written about about it and much has been researched so I am going to just write about the diet of Southern Spain firstly because I lived there for a few years and secondly because I love and thrive on the food in Spain!

    In researching this article I read a lot of older comments that are inaccurate. Maybe because it was generally touted that the Mediterranean diet was healthier than other European Countries or the USA and that there was less heart disease, people automatically assumed that the diet was low fat. Throughout the last 50 years this is what we have been told was necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system – low total fat, low saturated fat and low dietary cholesterol but the Spanish Diet is none of these! Lots of food is fried, lots of fatty cuts of meat and sausages are eaten, plenty of cheese and dairy are consumed and yet Cardiovascular disease is 9% lower, Cancer 6% lower and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease 13% lower in a study reported on PubMed in 2008. More recent studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean Diet is much better at protecting us from chronic disease including this one from Medical News Today in 2014. Some studies claim that meat is eaten less often but this is also not true and in the winter many of the dishes are very hearty stews with Goat, Pork, bacon, lamb, Rabbit, Venison or beef and throughout the year Chorizo and Morcilla sausages are used a lot in dishes. There are also some very good cheeses – my favourite being a sheep’s cheese called Flor de Esgueva.

    So what makes this diet so Healthy? Read More

  • Food intolerance/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Inflammation/ Integrated Medicine/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    10 Food ‘Facts’ that are wrong

    Food 'Facts' that are wrong

    10 Food ‘Facts’ that are wrong –

    popular misconceptions about Food and your Health that need correcting

    1. “You need Carbs for energy”  No, you need FOOD for energy. Protein contains similar energy per gramme as Carbohydrates and Fats have around double the energy content but both with keep you from feeling hungry for far longer as they take longer to metabolise. You have all the enzymes needed to inter-convert encoded for you in your genes. If you switch from eating predominantly carbs to eating more protein or fat it takes a few hours for the body to adjust but your energy will probably increase.
    2. “The Brain needs glucose to function therefore we must eat sugar and other carbs” – No, the Brain actually runs better on ketone bodies from burning fats.
    3. “Natural Sugar is OK” No, it is still sugar whatever form it is in and if not taken in moderation with other food that includes fat and protein it will cause insulin spikes and this is bad. Processed sugar is totally empty calories as it contains no other nutrients whereas whole fruit or vegetables like sweet potato contain other nutrients. Honey, Black-strap Molasses and coconut sugar also contain some healthy nutrients although they are still sugar and should be used in small amounts and they are preferable to artificial sweeteners.
    4. “A Calorie is a Calorie, it doesn’t matter how your energy is made up only that you have the right amount of energy”  No, we can go on ridiculous diets (and I have tried some of them!) like eating nothing but yogurt and drinking black coffee or eating cabbage soup all day but any diet that cuts out nutrients will cause deficiency and then cravings for other foods and overeating.
    5. “Because fat contains twice the energy of Carbs you are more likely to gain weight on a high fat diet” No, fat is very satiating, you will not overeat on fat fat if you keep your carb intake as low as possible. You will also get the benefit of sufficient fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E and if you choose healthy fats you will also balance your Omega 3 oils to give you a more anti-inflammatory diet.
    6. “Animal fats cause Heart Disease” No evidence supports this whatsoever, only a consensus of opinion driven by anything but science.
    7. Cholesterol causes heart disease and should be lowered (Total) while HDL should be higher than LDL for heart health.”  –  No, Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. There is no evidence to support this. Atherosclerosis (hardening and thickening of the arteries) is an inflammatory/immune dysfunction, not a lipid (fat) dysfunction. If you have high cholesterol go on an anti-inflammatory diet and analyse the type of oils and fats that you are consuming that may have lead to inflammation, like high Omega 6 or Trans fats.
    8. “The best thing to do is take a ‘Balanced Diet’ ” – or “You don’t need to take Supplements if you eat a ‘Balanced Diet” No, The best thing to do for your health is to take a nutritionally complete diet from which, we as a species has evolved.
    9.  ” Wheat and other wholegrains are an important (even vital) part of the human diet” No, they are unnecessary carbs and it has been proved that many of us cannot tolerate them without immediate dysfunction. A high grain/cereal intake, even in people who think they can tolerate them, can lead to long-term inflammation, Autoimmune diseases, diabetes, fatness/obesity, heart disease, vascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
    10. ” Medical or dietetic qualifications provide a good grounding in the science of nutrition” No, so much of the science of nutrition has been disproved by more scientific methods and studies of other cultures and also by learning from our mistakes of being guided by government or Food producers over the last half century when we have seen chronic disease escalate. Functional medicine is now looking at Nutrition and the body as a whole to prevent and reverse Chronic disease caused by all these misconceptions.

    My thanks to Bart Kay Lecturer in Clinical Physiology at HE Birmingham University Sector UK for having compiled this list on a discussion topic on LinkedIn. I have modified it slightly for the form of this website but have included all his important misconceptions about food and health that need to be taken seriously if we are to improve our health and our medical treatment.

    Please feel free to comment, I would love to hear from you, or explore other Posts to gain insight into particular chronic health problems and beneficial changes you can make.

  • Health/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine/ Organic produce/ Toxin free products

    Dramatically Different Dietary Advice

    Natural fresh healthy food Gluten Free

    Brazil has been making the headlines with their new guidelines for the nations Nutrition. The advice from the Government is dramatically different dietary advice to any other Governments  in that they tell people to ignore advertisements as that is just marketing and not sound nutritional information. They also emphasise the social aspects of eating and that cooking and eating together is a large part of our humanity and development of our culture and civilisation. They encourage people to shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods, to eat produce locally grown and in season and whenever possible to buy organic, ecological based foods from the producers. If you would like to read their guidelines in more detail then Brazil’s 10 Steps to a Healthy diet can be seen here.

    Their four food categories are also very different and are as follows:-

    1. Natural or minimally processed foods – freshly made dishes and meals over ultra processed foods and drinks. These should form the bulk of the daily diet.
    2. Oils, fats, salt and sugar – the guide states that as long as these are used in moderation in preparing healthy food without making them nutritionally unbalanced.  This is probably the only area that I feel needs some clarifying for a healthy diet. I personally always stress that it is important to avoid processed fats and oils and to concentrate on healthier fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil, to buy Celtic sea salt rather than processed salt and to avoid sugar as much as possible in favour of natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
    3. Processed foods – include foods like bread, cheeses, cured meats and pickles and these can be eaten in moderation.
    4. Ultra-processed foods – to be avoided or kept to an absolute minimum.

    So this guide is advocating a return to eating freshly prepared, home cooked meals and passing on the traditions of cooking and eating as a family as opposed to grabbing fast food on the go or ordering Pizza. It is great to see a Government taking this strong stance that goes way beyond normal Governmental dietary advice and against the massive Food Production Companies.

    How do we get back to eating this way?

    There are degrees of how much you might need to change depending on how you shop and eat now but the rules for change are the same – Read More

  • Environmental/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Organic produce/ Toxin free products

    Does ‘Organic’ mean Healthy?

    Does ‘Organic’ mean healthy? A good question as some people may see the word Organic on a product and assume that it is automatically a healthy choice when this may not be the case.  If you are looking to buy natural produce like meat, vegetables or fruit then to buy Organic is preferable for reasons I will discuss below but is organic sugar healthy or organic soy?

    This was highlighted for me this week when I read about a Lawsuit in the USA against an Organic Infant Formula that carries the USDA Organic logo because of 26 ingredients that the prosecutors claim should not be in Organic food. The USDA Organic seal means that at least 95% of the ingredients need to be organic. The list of ingredients on the Infant Formula are Water, Organic nonfat milk, Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Sugar, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Soy Oil, Organic Coconut Oil and then less than 0.5% of the remaining ingredients that may not all be desirable but mainly are made up of Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids necessary for human health and brain development. I admit that if Breastfeeding is not an option it is difficult to know what formula would be best for your baby but it is necessary to look beyond the ‘Organic’ label and research what you feel would be best for your baby. I would not want to feed mine Maltodetrin because it is a highly processed grain starch with a glycemic index of 130 (as opposed to sugar at 65), Soy oil as soy bean allergy is one of the more common food allergies as well as acting as a hormone disruptor, also babies should not be fed Non-fat milk as they need the the milk fat and cholesterol and the fat soluble vitamins that it contains.

    For more information on choosing good infant formula click here.

    Processed foods labelled Organic are still frequently highly processed and may contain high levels of sugar, highly processed grains or hydrogenated fats that are definitely not healthy. I would encouraged you to read even more labels on food! Do not assume that anything from face cream to energy bars are good for you just because they are ‘Organic’. On the other hand I believe it is important to buy Organic fresh produce as much as you possibly can.

    Why you should eat Organic and support Organic farming for the good of your health and for the good of Planet Earth.

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    Farming has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Soils have become devoid of nutrients and life and crops are grown continuously for high yield with the addition of artificial fertilisers that frequently contain only 3 minerals NPK, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides the use of hybridised crops or GMO, genetically modified crops.

    Healthy soil is a living entity containing earthworms, centipedes, beetles, microbes, a good complement of the 90+ minerals, air and moisture. Researchers are increasing recognising that the health of our own human microbiome in our gut is essential to good health our health is dependant on the quality of the plants we eat and the optimization of the soil microbiome. It is the soil we need to feed and nurture not just the plants.

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    Organic Farming develops healthy soil by rotating crops, using compost, manure and green crops such as clover that are ploughed back in and have the benefit of reducing soil erosion from wind and rain and nutrient loss by secreting sugars and enzymes back into the soil.

    • Organic Farming standards differ worldwide but generally feature practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity with Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilisers not allowed.
    • Organically approved pesticides may be used under certain limited conditions.
    • A study in 2014 showed that Organically grown crops contained 17% higher polyphenols (antioxidants that work in the body to enhance health and to reduce inflammation in complex ways) 69% higher Flavanones (which have an effect in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurogenative diseases like Alzheimer’s and improving bone health).
    • Pesticide residue was found in 7% of Organic samples and 38% in non-organic samples. 4x the amount.
    • Organic meat production requires that animals should only be fed certified organic food with no animal by-products, not given hormones and that antibiotics are only used when necessary.
    • Organic chicken has higher levels of healthy Omega3 fatty acids.

    Demand for Organic products has been growing and is up by more than 170% since 2002 and is currently growing by 15-20% a year and yet you will probably be surprised to learn that only 3.8% in the UK and 3.9% of land overall in Europe is Organically farmed. Land generally has to be farmed with Organic methods for at least three years before it can be classified as Organic. In the last year there has been a Worldwide awareness and outcry against the use of chemicals and pesticides that have been shown to impact our health.

    You might like to watch this Glyphosate Is Spreading Like A Cancer Across the U.S.

    So will you make more effort

    to Buy Organic?

    Grow your own?

    Visit Farmers Markets?

    Protest against the use of dangerous chemicals in our food chain?

    Just demand better, healthier food?

    I really hope so for our health and the health of our beautiful planet.