Nutrition

12 07, 2017

Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthy?

2017-07-17T19:35:01+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

Which Diet Choices are Right for You?

Diet plays a huge role in our health. After all, we are what we eat.

I’ve met so many people who follow different diets, from Paleo and vegan to meat-based and vegetarian. All have their merits, and often it is finding which one best suits your constitution, likes and dislikes, and how long you follow it for. There are some important factors to take into account to ensure you get sufficient nutrition.

I have seen people follow difficult exclusion diets, thinking that it is a healthy choice, but worryingly it can result in poor health if not done with a lot of care. I have seen unhealthy vegetarians and vegans particularly who can assume that they are having an excellent diet, yet they start to develop health problems because of lacking vital nutrients. Likewise, meat-inclusive diets can also be unhealthy, if not done in balance.

So, what’s the answer?

Below I have looked at some of the common diets I see people following:

VEGETARIAN DIET

A vegetarian diet, which includes some animal derived foods, such as eggs, dairy and fish, is something I believe can provide a healthy and balanced diet with the vital nutrients your body needs. It does take care to get the correct balance of nutrients, and if this is not done deficiencies in vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc are not uncommon. Countless studies have shown that a well-planned, nutritious, plant-based diet is associated with a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, as well as with longer life expectancy.

VEGAN DIET

Veganism has become increasingly popular, so much so that when I was interviewed last week on BBC Radio they wanted to talk about the huge rise in the sales of vegan ice cream. In fact the sale of vegan foods has risen by a whopping 1,500% in the last year alone.

Veganism excludes all types of animal produce – including not only meat but also eggs, dairy and seafood. Statistics show that most people become vegans for ethical reasons. However, if you are choosing veganism purely for health reasons, there are important points to consider, as complete absence of all animal based foods can take its toll. Initially, following a purely vegan diet will most likely give a lift and bounce to someone’s health. I believe this is linked with the change to a mostly raw and plant-based food diet. What is more complex though, is the long term affects.

Quite simply, there are nutrients that can’t be obtained from plants. Some of these include, long-chained omega-3 fats, carnosine, taurine, carnitine, retinol, vitamins D3 and B12 and conjugated linoleic acid. After 6-7 years, B12 can be so rundown in the liver that neurodegenerative and neurological diseases can start to come about. Iron and zinc deficiencies are not uncommon either.

Getting sufficient healthy fats is a significant problem for vegans. The previously vilified saturated fat has now been recognized as an important part of a healthy diet. Many of these saturated fats come from animal sources. Essential omega 3 fats sourced from fish are very important for good health and despite small amounts of omega 3 being available from flax or linseed for example, it’s not sufficient. Forgoing marine sourced DHA is something that is a problem.

Another regular problem I come across with vegans is protein deficiency. This is because some vegans base their diet on foods like pasta and vegetables without getting sufficient protein rich vegetables as they do in places like India, which include chick peas, lentils and pulses.

For vegans and vegetarians generally, I suggest having nutritional levels checked regularly so that these can be topped up where possible.

TYPICAL WESTERN DIETS TODAY

For many people today, we are consuming too much protein, meats and processed foods. Increasing vegetable intake is only a good thing. Following a 70% vegetarian diet is what I usually recommend to most clients – protein from animal sources are fine to have, but the idea is to have meat, fish, eggs, but with plenty of vegetables too. The vast majority of your diet should be made up of whole, fresh vegetables, fruits and salads. The need for carbohydrates, such as a bread and pasta can vary from person to person, but these should not be excessive. If possible when consuming meat I recommend organic, and fish I recommend non-farmed.

There is so much to say about diet, and if you have any questions please let me know and I’m very happy to go over this with you relating to your specific requirements.

7 07, 2017

Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

2017-07-07T13:33:32+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

How to Make Vegan Ice Cream

Dairy free, vegan ice cream, a delicious treat for the summer days, and a winner with kids too!

Making your own ice cream might seem daunting, but if you have an ice cream maker it really is very easy. What’s more, you avoid damaging vegetable oils, additives, preservatives, colourings, sugars, etc.

This is a lovely recipe. All you need to do is combine all the ingredients in a blender and then churn in an ice cream maker for 20 minutes before freezing. If you don’t own an ice cream maker, you can blend all the ingredients and then put it in the fridge for several hours – taking it out and mixing it with a fork every now and then until frozen.

  • 2 (400ml) cans full of coconut milk (put in fridge before use)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Enjoy!

29 03, 2017

Juicing Benefits

2017-05-13T16:55:35+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

Juicing Your Way to Good Health


Incorporating fresh juices into your daily routine is an easy and enjoyable way to ensure you are having fresh, raw, unprocessed foods in your diet.

Juicing helps to pre-digest the nutrients, which in turn promotes a higher absorption level. Juicing also helps you to include more vegetables into your daily diet. Juicing has broad effects across a person’s health and in fact are considered remedies their own right.

A personal favourite of mine is carrot, apple and ginger as a healthy energy tonic. The ginger is also particularly useful as it is a stomach tonic to help settle upset or sensitive digestion. I recommend you drink the juices straight after you make them so as to prevent valuable nutrient loss It’s best not to mix vegetable and fruits (other than apple) because of the fermentation that can occur. You don’t need to follow recipes necessarily and can have fun experimenting.

Here are some of the nutritional qualities of common ingredients:

Cucumber: Kidney tonic, skin tonic.

Cabbage: Stomach repair, joint stiffness.

Beets: Blood cleanser, gall bladder and liver tonic.

Broccoli: Renowned for anticancer properties.

Blueberries: Antibacterial properties and eases digestive upsets and cystitis.

Apples: Liver tonic, gall stones.

Celery: Nerve tonic, helps to relieve joint pain, good source of potassium.

Garlic: Blood cleanser, decongestant, and antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Ginger: Circulatory and digestive tonic.

Spinach: Excellent sources of carotenoids and Vitamin C.

Pears: Good source of fibre, Vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Wheat Grass: Super-antioxidant.

Cranberries: Flavonoids, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory, kidney cleanser.

Carrots: Blood cleanser.

I also often suggest taking a good quality multivitamin for energy levels, and also as a general supplement to give your body the tools and equipment it needs on a daily basis.

29 03, 2017

Spotting Nutritional Deficiencies

2017-07-07T08:56:54+00:00 By |Ailments, Nutrition|

Is Your Body Trying to Tell You Something?

Here are some quick reference points for common signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiencies that you may come across. These in turn can indicate deeper things happening within the body, something which can be assessed with iridology.

Soft or brittle nails:
Silica / Magnesium deficiency

Tired all the time:
B vitamins, minerals

Stretch marks:
Zinc deficiency

Dry scaly skin with hair follicles plugged with coiled distorted hairs and a red halo:
Vitamin C deficiency

Bleeding gums:
Vitamin C deficiency

Bags or dark rings under eyes:
Allergies or food intolerances

Poor healing:
Zinc deficiency

Pre-menstrual syndrome:
Magnesium, zinc, B6 or essential fatty acid deficiencies

Arthritis:
Boron and sulphur (MSM) deficiency

Persistent diarrhea leading to fatigue:
Magnesium and potassium deficiencies

Shaking hands:
Magnesium and vitamin B1 deficiency

Sensitivity to light:
Magnesium deficiency

Hair loss:
Thyroid, iron stores (must measure serum ferritin), biotin, zinc and essential fatty acid deficiencies

Frequent colds:
Zinc and vitamin C deficiencies

Poor sense of smell and taste:
Zinc deficiency

Dandruff, eczema, excessive ear was production, poor wound healing, excessive thirst (especially in hyperactive children), pre-menstrual symptoms of any sort:
Essential fatty acid deficiency

Persistent infections:
Vitamin C and zinc deficiencies

Muscle twitching and cramps:
Magnesium deficiency

Cracked heels:
Zinc, omega 3 essential fatty acid deficiencies

Red dots on the side of tongue (often seen in children):
Calcium phosphate deficiency

Cracking at the corners of the mouth:
Iron, vitamins B2, B6 and folic acid deficiencies

Recurrent mouth ulcers:
Iron, folic acid, vitamin B12

Dry, cracked lips:
Vitamin B2

Smooth, sore tongue:
Iron, vitamins B2, B12, folic acid

Fissured tongue:
Vitamin B3

Enlargement (prominence) of taste buds at the tip of the tongue (red, sore):
Vitamins B2 or B6

Bruising or enlargement of veins under the tongue:
Vitamin C

Red, greasy skin on face, especially sides of nose:
Vitamins B2, B6, zinc or essential fatty acids

Rough, sometimes red, pimply skin on supper arms and thighs:
Vitamin B complex, vitamin E or essential fatty acids

Skin conditions such as eczema, dry rough cracked peeling skin:
Zinc, essential fatty acids

Poor hair growth:
Iron or zinc

Dandruff:
Vitamin C, B6, zinc, essential fatty acids

Bloodshot, gritty, sensitive eyes:
Vitamin A or B2

Night blindness:
Vitamin A or zinc

Dry eyes:
Vitamin A, essential fatty acids

Brittle or split nails:
Iron, zinc or essential fatty acids

White spots on nails:
Zinc

Pale appearance due to anemia:
Iron, vitamin B12, folic acid (it’s essential to consult a doctor if you are anemic)

Easy bruising:
Bioflavonoids, Vitamin E

These may also have other causes so it’s best to come and see me if you notice any of these apply to you and I can recommend things for you to take. I am always interested to hear how you’re going and if you or your family would like any assistance with your health please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

29 03, 2017

Spilling the Beans on Coffee

2017-05-13T16:56:32+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

Is Coffee Good or Bad?

I’m often asked about whether or not coffee is good or bad for us so I wanted to give you some more information about this, which will also apply to strong teas that, like coffee, are toxic. Some of us seem to be able to tolerate caffeine better than others. I recommend that heavy coffee drinkers, that is those who consume more than 2-3 cups of instant coffee a day or who have more than one filter coffee a day (cappuccino, latte’s, espresso, long black, etc) in particular take steps to reduce caffeine intake.

I have been asked is the “buzz” of energy from coffee bad for me?  Many people think, “I can’t get up and out in the morning without my coffee.”

Another question is how coffee causes the bowels to move.  Some people say, “I am regular as clockwork as long as I drink my coffee.”

It is important to have energy and to regularly detoxify waste from the body; however, for the good coffee appears to be doing, when you understand how coffee does this, you may want to reconsider drinking coffee.

Understanding Why Coffee Affects the Bowels

Most people are aware of the ill affect of drinking coffee because it contains caffeine.  Actually, coffee is a narcotic beverage.  The caffeine in the coffee belongs to the same chemicals as morphine, cocaine and strychnine.  It is no surprise then why people have such a difficult time, at first, letting go of coffee, and replacing it with healthier beverages.  Caffeine combines with the stomach acid and forms a potent toxin.  As this toxin is absorbed into your portal circulation and hits your liver, bile is released in an attempt to flush the toxin from your system.  This accounts for the increase in bowel “regularity” which many coffee drinkers experience.

Coffee Contains Harmful Chemicals

Drinking decaffeinated coffee is no better than drinking regular coffee because of the large concentration of the chemical Trichloroethylene.  It is used mainly as a de-greasing agent in the metal industry and as a solvent and dry cleaning agent in the clothing industry.  Trichloroethylene is related to plastic chemical vinyl chloride, which has been linked to certain types of liver cancer. Columbian coffee planters have regularly used deadly pesticides on their plants for over 20 years.  Some include Aldrin, Dieldrin, Chlordane and Heptachlor.  Some speculate that coffee beans are the most significant source of these deadly toxins in U.S.

The extreme temperatures in the roasting process of coffee beans depletes the beans of its natural oils.  Though it may enhance their aroma, high heat actually causes the oils to become rancid.

Coffee Overworks the Adrenals

Coffee has an acid-based oil which is an irritant to gastric mucosa. It simulates the secretion of gastric acidity and this results in secretion of adrenalin, which in turn stimulates insulin secretion with consequent secondary hypoglycaemia.  The end results are tension, mild rise in blood pressure, 2-3 hours later a craving for sweets, low energy and mood levels, and over working of the adrenal glands.  All of which negatively affects health.

Coffee Causes Nutritional Deficiencies

Heavy coffee drinkers create Thiamine (Vitamin B1) insufficiency.  Symptoms of Vitamin B1 insufficiency range from fatigue, nervousness, general malaise, general aches and pains to headaches.

Regular use of coffee prevents some of the nutrients in your food from being absorbed effectively in your small intestines, which leads to further vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

The Buzz from Coffee

The “buzz” or stimulation you get from coffee actually contributes to re-bound fatigue when the stimulating effects wear off.  Repeated stimulation can contribute to the exhaustion of key organs like the liver, pancreas and adrenal glands.

Long Term Coffee Drinking May Contribute to Toxic Liver

Because of the overload on the liver to detoxify chemical residues, long-term coffee drinkers often have a toxic, congested liver and impure blood.  The function of the liver is to filter the blood so the blood can nourish the cells.  Just like your car’s oil filter, filters the oil that gets distributed through your automobile.  When the liver is congested, it cannot function properly.  The blood does not get filtered and it circulates through the body depositing impure blood into the cells.  The cells, then, cannot regenerate and grow healthy tissue.  The long-term effect, when cells cannot regenerate, is its opposite — degenerative cells  which leads to degenerative diseases.

An example of a toxic, congested liver is dark spots on the skin as the person gets older.  Some people refer to them as brown or liver spots.  In later years, these spots merge to the point that they no longer appear as spots, but discoloration of skin.  Other examples include a lack of absorption of minerals resulting in gray hair, a protruded stomach, constipation, spastic colons, irritable bowels, a swollen or enlarged gall bladder, and high cholesterol and triglycerides, even after faithfully following a cholesterol-free or limiting diet.  In fact, many new clients come to me frustrated because they have been watching their cholesterol intake for months, even years, and still have high cholesterol.  This is a definite sign that the liver is congested and over-producing cholesterol.

Weaning Off Coffee

If you are a heavy coffee drinker and want to reduce your coffee consumption this needs to be done gradually. Coming off coffee “cold turkey” can produce some quite uncomfortable side effects, such as headaches and nausea. If someone is drinking, for example, eight cups of coffee a day they should go to seven cups of coffee for a couple of days, then six for a couple of days, and then five and so on. Reducing the size of your cup and the strength of the coffee is another way you can gradually reduce the amount of caffeine and wean off the coffee. Another useful tip is to say to yourself when you want to have a coffee that if you still want it in 30 minutes time you can have it then, very often people forget and the craving passes. Healthy alternatives include herbal teas, pure water, or hot water with a slice of lemon.

Conclusion

To improve your health, it is important to eliminate toxic substances from your diet, such as coffee and strong teas, and then detoxify the chemical residues in the liver, resulting from long-term ingestion of these substances.

Some health benefits reported from clients during and after this process are: beautiful skin (liver and brown spots disappear – even in the elderly); gray hair turns to natural colours of brown or black, cholesterol and triglycerides become normal without following a cholesterol-free diet, stomachs become flatter that never could before even with exercise, energy and endurance increases, gall bladders improve, bowels eliminate regularly without spasms or irritability, blood pressure becomes normal and many others.

For information about detoxifying the liver and helping reduce coffee consumption please contact me directly. There are natural remedies that can help with craving for coffee also.

29 03, 2017

Chocolate – Good or Bad?

2017-07-10T17:49:28+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

Chocolate is the most common craving by far that people tell me about in consultation

Magnesium Deficiency

Chocolate cravings are often associated with Magnesium deficiency and this is something that can corrected using nutritional supplements and/or homeopathy.

Stories of Health Benefits

Stories about health benefits of consuming cocoa products have increasingly made the news following the discovery that they are an excellent source of a type of antioxidant which is believed to protect against heart disease, cancer, and various other health problems.

Chocolate manufacturers and retailers have been running with these findings by both trying to make chocolate lovers feel less guilty about their addiction and taretting the more health-conscious consumer with “research studies” praising the supposed benefits of eating chocolate, such as:

  • Releases endorphins in the brain which serve as pain-relievers,
  • Appetite increases without causing weight gain,
  • Sugar in chocolate may reduce stress levels while also having a calming and pain relieving effect,
  • Does not cause acne and skin problems,
  • Isn’t related to migraines,
  • Increases life expectancy,
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.

When you take a closer look at these studies, if you discard the studies funded by chocolate interest groups, you will see that the ones left behind offered conflicting results.

Cocoa

As expected some isolated compounds in cocoa did show certain health benefits, with the research being positive largely because the “co-factors” (all the other detrimental ingredients in chocolate) were not part of the study.

If people were to consume pure cocoa, then they might indeed be able to enjoy a few health benefits, including a positive effect on blood pressure and glucose metabolism, however the majority of people eat processed chocolate with all the other less desirable ingredients (such as added sugar, corn syrup, milk fats / dairy cream, hydrogenated oils, and more), and where the actual cocoa content may be less than 20%.

Sugar

Sugar has broad destructive effects throughout the body, suppressing digestive enzymes and causing inflammation and toxicity, and it is the sugar content of chocolate that is the main problem. Hydrogenated oils will contribute to circulatory congestion and other health problems.

While sugar has been shown to have some minimal pain relieving effects, it’s highly unlikely that that anyone is going to reach for sugar if they have a migraine or some other form of pain.

While cocoa and sugar do not “cause” acne, the sugar present in chocolate will most certainly make acne worse.

The chemicals in chocolate have been shown to trigger migraine headaches. Of all the foods isolated that triggered the most attacks, chocolate was an offender about 30% of the time.

Dark Chocolate

Premium grade dark chocolate is preferential to milk chocolate or lower grade chocolate, particularly in relation to cholesterol levels, although regular consumption is still high in calories.

Cocoa products also contain stimulants and are addictive in nature.

Summary

Generally speaking, people who eat a lot of chocolate sooner or later start to feel the effects on their health. Chocolate is basically a junk food. As is the case with any other junk food it needs to be kept to a minimum and ideally avoided altogether.

I hope all the chocolate lovers find this useful.

28 03, 2017

Is Gluten Right for You?

2017-07-10T17:47:05+00:00 By |Foods, Nutrition|

What is gluten, is it bad & should we avoid it?

Not surprisingly, the highly marketed anti-gluten drive evident in every supermarket and health food shop has led to many questions about gluten. Recently, the market in gluten-free products has exploded. In America for example, one in three adults are trying to cut gluten out of their diet, and in the UK one in 10 new food products launched in 2014 were gluten-free – nearly doubling in two years.

Gluten has been hailed as the cause of autism, depression, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, among others, while at the other end of the spectrum it has been dismissed outright as a trend. So I wanted to write and clear up the myths from the facts.

WHAT IS GLUTEN

It is a combination of two protein groups that give structure and elasticity, which is created when flour and water are mixed. It is famously known to be a part of wheat, but is also in other grains, such as barley, rye, spelt and oats. Gluten is not only found in bread, pasta and cakes, but in a wide range of other products, such as sauces, sweets, lollies, and more.

IS GLUTEN BAD?

About 1% of the population have celiac disease (where the immune system reacts to gluten) and it is very important that they do avoid it completely. However, they account only for a small percentage of those buying gluten-free products.

In my experience, probably a quarter of the people who consult with me have a sensitivity to gluten. This is surprisingly high, and something I have seen steadily rising. Symptoms you might expect with this include constipation, bloating, headaches, skin problems (in particular eczema and psoriasis), thyroid issues, and more.

Why is Gluten Sensitivity on the Rise?

There are three main areas that I believe are linked to this rise in gluten intolerance – and understanding these can help with sidestepping the problem to some degree:

  • The wheat we are exposed to these days is very different to that consumed by our parents even. Agricultural farming  that took place in the 60s, together with artificial fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides changed the nature of the grain. No longer are wheat fields full of tall crops – these were replaced with low standing, high yielding, abundant crops. More recently it has been suggested that some of the protein structure (associated with the gluten element) have changed as a result.
  • Bread baking methods too have changed quite dramatically in two important ways. Bread has traditionally, and throughout most of its history, been very similar to what we call sourdough today.
    • Firstly, commercial bread making was revolutionised in 1961. High-speed machinery was introduced, together with additives such as extra yeast, hard fats and enzymes. Bread could now be made quickly and cheaply – and today about 80% of our bread is produced in this way. Essentially, the fermentation step was removed from the baking process. The net result of this was that people were exposed to proteins that previously would have been partially or completely digested by the fermentation process.
    • Secondly, commercial bread manufacturers will usually add extra gluten to make the bread fluffier, bigger and lighter. I believe this is also contributing to an excess of undigested gluten in the diet. Bread of course is not the only source of gluten, but it is the predominant way that most people will eat it.
  • In the Western diet people are now eating more gluten. This will often mean breakfast (toast and cereals), lunch and dinner (bread, pasta, pastry). This is quite different to the way people have traditionally eaten in the past.

RECOMMENDATIONS

If you feel worse after eating gluten, such as: constipation, headaches, skin problems, and more, then there are several ways to approach this.

  1. You can try avoiding all gluten and see if you feel better. I would suggest carefully reading the labels of gluten free products, because many of these are highly processed and have their own problems. I suggest you try this for one week. Keep in touch with me while doing so and I will guide you from there.
  2. Switch to sourdough bread and see if this helps. True sourdough bread is leavened with a sourdough culture. If the bread contains baker’s yeast, this product is not a true sourdough – so when shopping look at the ingredients carefully. The fermentation process in sourdough baking transforms the dough in the same way that lactobacilli transforms milk in to yoghurt. This makes the bread more digestible for those with some degree of yeast or wheat intolerance, and for many they can enjoy bread again after having to keep away from industrially made bread because of associated digestive problems.
  3. For those with celiac disease the only answer is to completely avoid gluten.

Repair from Gluten damage:

Gluten can be very abrasive to the wall of the gut and contribute to ‘leaky gut’ opening the door to many other problems. There are some very good natural remedies to repair the gut wall and I am very happy to discuss this with you and guide you to recovery.

If you know or suspect you need help with this please don’t hesitate to contact me.