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Life hacks: the devil is in the detail…

Life hacks.

For the longest time, that phrase has annoyed me. It’s not the actual words, I mean, to be fair ‘life hacks’ sounds kinda cool, it’s the notion of ‘hacking life’ that bothers me.

  • We rush too much these days.
  • We skimp on meaningful relationships.
  • We rely too much on technology.

So the idea of ‘hacking’ life more, seems anathema to so many things I hold dear – the slow food movement, personal responsibility for our own health and well-being, spending time out in nature, relaxing, taking a digital detox, nurturing our personal relationships, offline, face-to-face.

I have written a couple of popular blog posts about this before.

But as I think on it, in many respects maybe the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are just that – life hacks.

I mean – it’s 12 simple one-liners, taking my 28-year journey of learning, all my reading and studies and the seminars I have attended, all my life experience and the many experts I have interviewed, worked with or learned from, and distilling it all into 12 simple one-line statements for you to follow.

If you have the time, and you want to learn some of what is behind those 12 simple statements, then you can read the short version here, or buy the book here and learn lots more. But if you are pushed for time, if life is demanding, or stressful, then just print off this sheet and do what it says, just follow the 12 Core Principles as you will gain health benefits – weight loss, more energy, resist the signs of ageing and more.

The devil is in the detail

Personally, I am a details kinda guy, I like to read the books, dig into the studies, do the research, I like to find it all out and become immersed in it…

But only for the stuff that interests me.

  • Cancer prevention – bring it on, I am totally into that, I want to read and learn everything.
  • Fitness and strength – yeah baby, gimme those books and studies, I love that shit.
  • Anti-ageing strategies – hell yeah, I’m all over that, I want complete immersion, I am a sponge for learning more.

But…

  • Running my business to be most tax efficient – zzzzzzz can you hear me snoring already?
  • Getting my car serviced – oh dear, is it that time again?
  • My wife wants me to help her pick a new carpet for the landing sand stairs – oh I’m sorry dear I am too busy, I must re-arrange my sock drawer…

You see, the things that interest me, like cancer prevention, weight loss, strength and fitness, anti-ageing, nutrition and diet, I love these things, I have an almost infinite capacity for learning more about these topics. I am the ‘target market’ for that stuff. I want to buy the books, attend the seminars, buy the study courses, meet like-minded people, sign me up baby I’m all over that shit!

But the things that bore me to death, like renewing my home insurance, talking to my accountant about tax, getting the car serviced, booking an annual check-up with my dentist, buying a new carpet or arranging a service for the gas boiler, I don’t want to spend any time on these things at all. I hate these things!

In fact, I would gladly pay someone to help handle these things for me, to free up more of my time to study the cancer prevention, anti-ageing and fitness training.

So I guess this is what life hacking is all about.

  • I don’t want to hack the long walk on the hills.
  • I don’t want to hack cooking that slow-roasted joint of pork.
  • I don’t want to hack time sat in a cancer prevention seminar.
  • But boy oh boy I wanna hack filling out my tax return…

And in fact I DO hack filling out my tax return – I pay my accountant to do it for me.

What about you?

What do you like to savour, go slow, enjoy and immerse yourself in every minute? And what do you want to just hack, to get it done as quickly as possible?

What about your health and fitness?

Do you want to life hack this healthy living thing?

If you want to lose a few pounds, shape up, feel better and have more energy, but the idea of learning about it all bores you half to death, then just do this:

  • Step 1: print this sheet here, print about 5 copies
  • Step 2: stick one on your fridge, one in your wardrobe door where you dress, one near your bathroom or bedroom mirror (the place where you see yourself naked), one in your place of work, and one on the kitchen cupboard that contains the ‘bad things’ (you know, your weakness, those biscuits or chocolate bars or whatever it is)
  • Step 3: Then JFDI – just follow the 12 Core Principles. Don’t ask, don’t question, just trust me for 90 days of your life. You WILL get positive results if you do what it says.

That’s it, simples. Health = hacked.

Or if you are a bit of a secret nutrition nerd like me, and you wanna do some learning, then go buy the book, here, and read it, and I know you’ll learn some stuff and feel inspired.

Want to go even deeper? Come join the MND Life! community and meet like-minded people who also love healthy living and want to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.

Now, maybe I don’t dislike the phrase ‘life hack’ as much as I used to. Perhaps we all want to hack the things we hate wasting our time on, and maybe we want to do the opposite of hack, some kind of ‘slow down, unpack and unpick’, the things we love.

If I can help you to either hack your health, or slow down, unpack and unpick it, now or in the future, then I welcome hearing from you.

To your good health!

Karl

 

Mother Nature’s Diet – finally available in paperback!

Fad diets are a waste of your time.

But healthy living doesn’t have to be like that…

You can lose weight and feel great without the starving, the suffering and the expensive supplements.

Mother Nature’s Diet, now (finally, hoorah!) published in paperback and available on Amazon, will show you the way.

A better way.

Well researched and complete with a 28-Day Meal Plan, and detailed home workout plans, the book includes all you need to push into a new, enjoyable healthy lifestyle.

No more fad diets.

Simple, achievable, common-sense based healthy living.

You’ll love this book because it’s packed with real-world experience, practical tips, and straight forward advice to help you get results.

Grab your copy now, here:

Here in paperback – UK.
Here for Kindle – UK.
Here in paperback – USA.
Here for Kindle – USA.

“It’s the missing link between academic books and commercial ones.” – Mr G, London

“It’s a good read and I’m 5lb down already and I haven’t even finished the book yet!” – Ms G, South East.

“Fantastic guide to living a healthy life. If you are looking to make lifelong sustained change and become the best version of you then look no further.” – 5* Amazon Review

To your very good health!

Karl

Chill out before you peg out…

Why stress is so bad for you and you need to sort it out.

It’s all about your hormones

Everything in the human body interacts with everything else.

There is virtually no system or function that operates in isolation, everything is interconnected by your central nervous system (kinda like the wiring in your supercomputer), your blood (the river of life) and by the chemical signals and instructions that blood carries around, in the form of hormones, proteins and other compounds.

Hormones arrive at an organ or a certain type of tissue or cell, and deliver instructions telling those tissues or cells what to do. When hormone signalling works well, like signalling in a computer or on a railway network, all is well. When signalling is ‘shot to shit’, just like on a road or rail network, all hell breaks loose, and we either have major crashes, or everything seizes up in grid lock. That’s how important hormones are.

You have hormones that govern when you feel hungry or full; hormones that make you happy or sad, angry or calm, lively or relaxed. Hormones and minerals between them regulate many complex processes in the body including appetite, blood pressure and elimination of waste.

Fight or flight…rest and digest

You have likely heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response. When you feel fear, when you sense some imminent danger, your body releases a rush of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol are the ones you will have heard of) and prepare you to either fight, physically, or to run away. Yes, this all dates back to caveman and the proverbial sabre-toothed tiger, these hormonal systems have been keeping us safe since we climbed down out of the trees in East Africa seven or eight million years ago.

When those stress hormones flood your body, they trigger a whole bunch of things to happen. They divert your body’s energy resources away from things like ‘fighting off the common cold’ and ‘digesting breakfast’ and ‘making my hair nice and shiny’ in favour of more immediately useful functions like ‘run like f***’ and ‘fight the tiger/wrestle the alligator’ and so on. In effect, what this means is, a flood of stress hormones shuts down your immune system, your digestive system and your anti-ageing, beauty systems, in favour of stuff that’s going to keep you alive for the next ten minutes – the ability to punch, grapple and run. You feel awake, alert, strong…but inside, other systems have been put on hold temporarily for you to do that.

Now, can you see, that if you spend half your life living in a stress response, then you spend half your life with compromised immune function, compromised digestive function and compromised anti-ageing functions?

Can you now see, how 30 years of chronic stress can lead to:

  • Poor immune function – catch coughs and colds all the time
  • Poor immune function long term – increased risk of cancer and heart disease
  • Poor digestive function – IBS, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation, poor absorption of minerals and other nutrients
  • Weak anti-ageing systems – look like shit, bad skin, hair, nails

Chronic stress, through hormone havoc, takes a toll.

In broad terms, hormonally, the opposite bodily state to fight or flight, is rest and digest.

Now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

You can see how we evolved such systems millions of years ago. There are times we need to be ready to fight, or take flight, such as out on the hunt, and then there are times we can rest, and divert our body’s energy to digest, such as when we are relaxed around the safety of the camp fire.

Biologically, you can’t do both at once. It’s black and white. North and South. They are opposites. You can’t do both at the same time.

Now you know why they say you shouldn’t eat when you are in a highly agitated state, when you are totally stressed out. It’s because digestive processes require vast amounts of your body’s energy – to produce stomach acid, without which you will not digest proteins properly; to power peristaltic action, moving your food down through your bowels ready for elimination; to increase blood flow around the gut, ready to take the nutrients from your food and move them to your liver and from there off all around your body.

You see, digestion takes a lot of energy (that’s why you feel sleepy after a big meal) and your body cannot be on high alert, ready to fight, if all that energy is working on digestion. So, when the alert signal comes (when stress hormones are released), blood flow is diverted away from the gut and sent to the muscles instead, and digestive function is compromised.

And we are not even starting to talk about many of the subtler nuances here. In ‘fight or flight’ your body is trying to raise blood sugar, to fuel your muscles…in ‘rest and digest’ your body is trying to lower blood sugar, as part of the natural ‘digest and file away’ process of replenishment.

 


This is an extract from my new book, Mother Nature’s Dietavailable on Amazon right now, and for Kindle download.

For 334 pages of common-sense and clear science in plain English, all complete with a 28-Day Plan to get you on the right track, losing weight and feeling better, grab your copy right now –

Amazon UK
Amazon US

To your good health!

Karl

Eating Beef and Climate Change: The real story is [finally] on the way

Climate change is a complex topic.

There are lots of reasons why it’s taken us, the human race, collectively, something like 40 years to finally grasp and accept that this is real, it’s happening, and it’s possibly the biggest threat to our own existence we have ever faced.

Among those reasons…

  • Is the fact that it’s not a simple picture. It’s complex, it’s happening over long time scales, what we think of as lifetimes, and that makes it hard to grasp and understand that our every-day actions make a difference.
  • Variance clouds our understanding.
  • Oil companies, allegedly, have spent billions on promoting confusion and denial. There is a lot of money in fossil fuel, and a lot of people don’t want to face change.
  • The science is also really quite dry and boring, it’s all CO2 this, and ppm that. It’s not very sexy, not very rock ‘n’ roll.

Society-wide, we can grasp simple issues, and we humans like simple solutions. If it can be explained in one line (both the problem and the solution) then folks get it and grab it and run with it.

For example, David Attenborough fronts a beautifully-filmed new show, we see turtles trapped in plastic rings, whales and sea birds with plastic in their stomachs, and here come the one liners:

  • Problem: plastic pollution in the oceans is killing all this beautiful wildlife.
  • Solution: society must give up single-use plastic.

Folks get it, and jump in to action.

Suddenly, almost overnight, UK supermarkets start charging people for plastic bags. Schools and cities start banning plastic drinking straws, and everyone you meet is suddenly on an anti-plastic crusade. That’s all great, single-use plastic is a problem that needed addressing, so I am glad to see these moves, but tackling this plastics headache is distracting the public from the real big issue that needs our focus – CO2 emissions.

The devil is in the detail

As I said, one of the problems is, climate change is complex. Most of our environmental issues are not straight forward, they are nuanced. Even the plastic pollution problem is nuanced.

  • In reality, a large percentage of the plastic pollution in our oceans comes from fishing industry waste.
  • Much of the plastic in our oceans comes from discarded fishing nets, fishing line, buoys, tackle and other waste.
  • Of the remaining portion of plastics polluting our oceans, the vast majority is waste that comes from rivers and beaches in developing nations, particularly in Asia
  • It’s easy for consumers in developed nations to see a viral video on social media and blame the folks living in Asian or Latin American countries for the problem. But in reality, the people throwing plastic bottles into waterways in impoverished Asian cities, do so because they have no other choice. They live in slums, there is no waste collection, there is no running water, they don’t have hot and cold taps, flushing toilets and kerbside recycling like we do. They buy a plastic bottle of water, refill it as many times as they can until it splits, then discard the broken bottle either on the land or in a river.
  • The problem is poverty, not lazy litter louts.
  • When you have nowhere else to throw your waste, and your biggest concern each day is keeping your children alive, trash ends up in the river, it’s the least of your worries.
  • So, consumers in developed nations cutting down on supermarket plastic bags might help slightly reduce our own landfill burden, but it isn’t really going to make much difference to the plastic pollution in our oceans. What will help is –
    • Tighter controls on fishing industry pollution
    • Design innovation in fishing equipment
    • Consumers making better choices when buying fish, purchasing only sustainably caught produce and shunning trawling
    • Helping developing nations continue on their journey out of extreme poverty
    • Putting pressure on the big global manufacturers of processed foods and drinks to shift the cheapest products to use biodegradable packaging materials
  • Meanwhile, along the way, as we have demonised plastic bags, people are now shifting to using more paper bags instead. The thing is, it creates more carbon emissions to make a paper bag than it does to make a plastic bag.
  • If I bring home fruits or vegetables in a paper bag and the bag gets slightly damp in transit (fruits and vegetables can often be a little damp when fresh) then by the time I get that bag home it is holed and useless, and goes in the recycling bin.
  • But the plastic bag would not have holed, it is more resistant to damp, and then I may use that bag again for something.
  • You see the irony, we’ve created more carbon emissions to manufacture the paper bag, which has been used only once, where I could have used a plastic bag three or four or five times, all with considerably lower emissions.
  • The anti-plastic crusade has become a distraction from what really matters – carbon emissions.

That’s an example of nuance. That’s what I am talking about. Folks running around thinking they are “saving the planet” because they use paper bags instead of plastic, and they have ditched plastic drinking straws, are well-intentioned, but missing the point that really matters.

See what I mean, this stuff is complex

That example, the plastics issue, is one of many.

The palm oil story is nuanced too.

Read the detail here.

In short, while it’s right that we should look to reduce our use of palm oil because of deforestation and habitat loss, if we all switch en masse to other oils, we’ll need multiple times as much land to grow the required crops for those alternatives.

Therefore, the solution is to use sustainably-farmed palm oil, not just to boycott palm oil altogether. Even better, I suggest adopting the Mother Nature’s Diet lifestyle and reducing/eliminating your consumption of foods that use processed oils completely.

You see, nuance is everything. Wealthy Westerners just ditching plastic bags and boycotting palm oil is knee-jerk reaction stuff that makes the wealthy Westerners feel better about themselves but actually does little to address the real problems.

Maybe you noticed that the real answers to our problems often come down to the same things:

  • Consume less manufactured and processed ‘stuff’ (less plastic crap, less throw-away stuff, less overly-packaged foods)
  • Shop for sustainability (in bags, in plastic goods, in fish, in farmed foods)

Interesting.

Meat, beef, and climate change

And so, with that rather long but necessary preamble about the complexities of climate change and its causes, and how the problems and solutions are rarely straight-forward, but nuanced, and too hard to explain in a one-liner, let’s move on to the point of this post – meat eating and the environmental impact of raising animals for meat.

Once again, this is highly nuanced.

I strongly, very strongly, urge you to please read this press release, it’s just a six or seven minute read, not long: Study: White Oak Pastures Beef Reduces Atmospheric Carbon. The middle bit uses a few sciencey-sounding terms, but stick it out, it’s very important.

This is very, very big news.

I want to keep this simple, so allow me to abbreviate everything to bullet points.

  • We hear all the time that eating beef is bad for the environment.
  • People like me, promote eating grass-fed meat.
  • But the media is full off stories about plant-based diets. It’s very trendy at the moment to be a vegan. The narrative being thrust upon us from every angle is to ‘eat less meat to reduce your carbon footprint’.
  • People challenge me and the idea of eating pasture-raised meat…
  • I respond that it is nuanced. I say factory-farmed meat is causing greenhouse gas emissions, but pasture-raised meat, grass-fed meat, is the opposite, and offers environmental benefits.
  • My line doesn’t fit with what is trendy and popular right now. Most people are afraid of standing out, so they follow the herd and the ‘eat less meat’ message

Let’s stop for a moment and analyse just why factory-farmed meat is causing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • All-too-often, particularly in countries in North and South America and in Asia, forests are cleared to grow crops such as corn (maize) or soybeans.
  • There are emissions from the deforestation, from the ploughing, the sowing, the harvesting, and then the trucking of the crops to the cattle.
  • The cattle live in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) or ‘feedlots’ causing concentrations of methane and other emissions from the vast pools of manure.

This is a very brief version of all this, cutting out lots of detail.

Done this way, cattle farming does emit greenhouse gases, it also makes for miserable cows, diseased cows, and lower quality meat.

But people like me have spent the last seven years arguing that grass-fed cattle, pasture-raised, do not contribute to global warming. Again, in over simplified terms:

  • No clearing of forests.
  • Cows range on grasslands. (Crops are grown on arable lands, but cattle can range on grasslands. There is twice as much grassland available worldwide as arable lands. Cows will happily graze on lands that are not suitable for growing crops and vegetables, so it makes sense to keep the “veggie growing land” for growing veggies, and use the “great for grassy meadows” land for grassy meadows, full of cows and sheep!)
  • No ploughing, sowing, harvesting and trucking – so none of the emissions from those tractors, harvesters and trucks.
  • Also, ploughing soil destroys the mineral content of that soil, reducing it’s ability to hold water and carbon. Ploughing releases stored soil carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. No ploughing = leave the carbon in the soil, and help the land to hold more water.
  • Cows graze the grass, no trucking food around required – cows have legs, they walk to find the food!
  • Happier, healthier cows. More nutritious meat and dairy.

I have been saying for years, it’s Mother Nature’s way, it’s a win:win. Healthier animals, healthier land, healthier humans, everyone wins.

IMG_8371

Now, that press release

Quantis, an environmental research firm, have conducted a lengthy and detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of grass-fed beef and shown that raising meat this way produces a net carbon win – the cows poop helps build topsoil, sequestering more greenhouse gases in their lifetime than they emit when they burp and fart.

This is massively important.

This is what me, and super farmers like Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms, and Allan Savory, and the Soil Association, and the Sustainable Food Trust, and my friend Christine Page at Smiling Tree Farm, my mate Chris Jones at Woodland Valley Farm, and a thousand others have been arguing for years – sustainable, regenerative agriculture is an environmental fix, a part of the solution, where factory farming is an environmental disaster, part of the problem. Nuance. The devil is in the detail.

This LCA, this is critical. For years, farmers like Joel Salatin have argued that pastured livestock help to build topsoil, where ploughing depletes it. For years these guys have argued that healthy topsoil sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, locking it underground for decades, even centuries, where ploughing erodes topsoil and diminishes it’s carbon-holding capacity.

But they lacked the hard science. An LCA is an important piece of work. An LCA looks at every facet and factor and measures every possible input and output. An LCA is the gold standard, it’s how we really understand what’s going on.

As the press release explains, now that LCA has been completed, the science is in, and it shows that grass-fed, pastured livestock, sequesters more carbon in its lifetime that it emits.

Want to “save the planet”? Eat MORE meat – just be sure it’s 100% grass-fed.

Rising oceans…or loss of topsoil?

Additionally, it bares repeating (I have been banging on about this for soooo long now) that we are depleting topsoil, worldwide, at an alarming rate. Since the industrialisation, automation and mechanisation of agriculture, we have already lost one third or more of the world’s topsoil, and we have between 40 and 100 harvests left in various parts of the world, before we lack enough fertile topsoil to grow crops for human food.

Think about that for a moment. In 70 years, what will your children and grandchildren eat, if there is no topsoil left? Seriously, think that through. We’ve already depleted ocean fish stocks terribly. If we all go “plant based” now, we’ll only accelerate topsoil loss. In 60 or 70 years, if there is no fish, and we can’t grow crops any more, what will your children eat?

The great fear of climate change seems to be rising sea levels, but I suspect that a human population of 10 billion, lacking the fish stocks or topsoil that enables us to feed ourselves, will find the collapse of agriculture will be our undoing sooner than rising seas. (That’s not to belittle the half-a-billion people who live in places that will quickly be affected by even small rises in sea levels, such as Bangladesh, The Netherlands, many Pacific islands and Asian coastal regions.) You had better start that vegetable plot in your back garden now, and show your kids and grandchildren, they are going to need to learn how to feed themselves.

Solutions

As I said at the start, climate change is complex. If it were dead simple, we would have fixed this mess by now. It’s not simple, it involves politics, science, economics, emotions, international cooperation, it’s complex, it’s nuanced, it’s going to be expensive and it’s going to take time, and it’s likely to get pretty ugly along the way.

But this press release is a turning point, because it provides concrete scientific proof that animal agriculture is not the problem, but can in fact be part of the solution.

What matters?

  • The message “eat less meat” is wrong.
  • The message should be, as I have argued since 2011, “shop for sustainably-farmed food, plants and animals”.
  • Grass-fed beef and lamb, woodland ranged pork, free-ranged chicken, can be a benefit to the environment.
  • Factory farmed meat is harmful to the environment.
  • All industrialised factory farming, of plants and animals, is harmful. Raping the land for profit is wrong. Working with the land, working in harmony with natural nutrient cycles, working with Nature, can sustain us while nurturing the hand that feeds.

The rather brilliant Diana Rodgers is working hard to make a film about just this. To counter these one-sided, unscientific, vegan-propaganda Mock-u-mentaries we have seen in recent years, such as Cowspiracy and What the Health?, Diana is working closely with the also-totally-brilliant Robb Wolf (Paleo Diet fame) to make a movie that explains how pastured livestock can benefit our health and planetary health, how farming can be kind and nurturing, and how we can build a sustainable food future that is good for all of us.

PLEASE support Diana and her project. Please donate a few pounds, Euros or Dollars here to help make this movie happen and to extend it’s reach – we need, for the sake of our futures, as many people as possible to understand this message, this is hugely important.

Nuance is everything.

“Eat less factory-farmed meat, but eat more 100% grass-fed meat.”

The UK government has become the first in the world to officially declare an environment and climate emergency. As the world finally seems to be paying more attention to these problems, it is more important than ever that we make sure we are giving people the right information to help them make the right lifestyle choices and changes.

As you have seen in this post – with plastic bags, drinking straws, palm oil, and beef – nuance is everything. We must ensure that our governments and the public understand the correct actions to take to help create the massive shifts in consumer behaviour that are required.

“Eat less meat” is not the right message. “Eat less factory-farmed meat, but eat more 100% grass-fed meat.” is the right message. Nuance is everything.

To address all of these points, and many more, you can follow the complete Mother Nature’s Diet lifestyle. Less palm oil, less plastic, less manufactured and processed food, and only sustainably-farmed meat and vegetables. It’s all in my book –

Here in paperback – UK.
Here for Kindle – UK.
Here in paperback – USA.
Here for Kindle – USA.

For further reading:

Debunking Cowspiracy

Carbon sinks and carbon sequestration

Working with nature, for solutions

Why giving up meat isn’t the answer

Learn more about Mother Nature’s Diet – buy the book, take the online course, join the movement.

All you need to know to find sense among the confusion…

Mother Nature’s Diet, the book, is here – to save your sanity!

I don’t know about you, but I find the world of diet, health and nutrition has become more confusing than ever recently.

There seems to be so much conflicting and contradictory advice going around.

  • High carb or low carb…
  • High fat or low fat…
  • Meat is good for you, or meat gives you cancer…
  • Dairy is a superfood, or dairy is cancer promoting…
  • Calories matter…no, calories don’t matter…
  • It’s our gut flora…
  • They’ve been telling us the wrong thing for decades…
  • Type-2 diabetes can be reversed…

A lot of people are fed up and confused, and just don’t know what to believe any more.

It seems that many people have lost all trust in the science and ‘the establishment’ as we are increasingly being told that the mainstream dietary advice that governments and Dietitians have given us for the last 40 years has been wrong, and has contributed to rising obesity and type-2 diabetes across the UK.

If that’s how you feel, I can empathise

For 16 years I was doing it all wrong. I was focused on trying to lose weight, but I knew nothing at all about diet and nutrition and I was getting it all wrong. I yo-yo dieted for 16 years.

Eventually, between my mid-30s and mid-40s, I spent 12 years learning, and getting it all right. I lost 101 pounds (that’s 46 kilos or 7 stone 3) of unwanted body fat, built 20 pounds of muscle, got fit and cleared up my health problems.

Along the way, I became obsessed with health and nutrition, I became a qualified Personal Trainer and I read 847 books and research studies, learning about everything from cancer prevention to building muscle, from anti-ageing to running a faster marathon.

I created Mother Nature’s Diet and the 12 Core Principles out of that life-changing experience.

And now, I have written a book for you, Mother Nature’s Diet, to share with you the very best of everything I learned along the way.

  • Cut through the confusion
  • Make sense of the conflicting advice
  • Learn how to resist the signs of ageing
  • Have more energy
  • Lose that excess weight without starving or suffering
  • Look and feel your best
  • Resist ill health and degenerative disease

It’s all in this book, your plain-English, common-sense guide to weight loss and healthy living. No nonsense, no gimmicks, no fad diet behaviour. Just honest sensibly healthy living advice. What works, rather than what crap they want to sell you.

I am biased, but I suggest you just go here and buy it now. I mean, why not?

Amazon UK Paperback
Amazon UK Kindle edition
Amazon US Paperback
Amazon US Kindle edition

It’s the no-gimmicks, no-fad-diet, no b/s, common-sense healthy lifestyle guide that the Western world needs right now.

If you have any questions, please just give me a shout!

Go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

They keep asking the same questions…

I have been writing at www.MotherNaturesDiet.me for around seven or more years now, and I have been promoting the 12 Core Principles for about six years.

As I always say, Mother Nature’s Diet is not a fad, it’s not ‘a diet’, it’s not some temporary, calorie-counting, short-term behaviour. Mother Nature’s Diet is a sustainable, abundant way to live your life long term for supreme good health and abundant natural energy.

As I have said and written many times before, I did not dream up the 12 Core Principles as some cutesy way to fleece a few folks out of a few quid buying into some bull***t ‘diet plan’, I didn’t knock them up in 20 minutes on the back of a beer mat down the pub one evening!! In fact, quite the opposite! The 12 Core Principles are the end result of my personal 27-year journey, where I spent around 16 or 17 years ‘getting it all wrong’ and then 11 or 12 years finally getting it all right.

From an unhappy, unfit, obese teenager, I went through 17 years of yo-yo diets, smoking, drinking, disease, medications, exercise-as-a-weight-loss-tool, injuries, broken bones, laziness, junk food, recreational drugs, personal dramas and physical exhaustion.

17 years of mistakes, searching for, but not finding, permanent answers.

Always the yo-yo. Exercise or starve 20 or 30 pounds off, then yo-yo it back on as soon as I was too exhausted to keep fighting, and I would crash back into the comfortable familiarity of the junk food and the beer.

And then, finally, between my mid-30s and mid-40s, now 11 or 12 years of doing the right things. I learned about nutrition, I became a fully qualified Personal Trainer, I attended dozens of seminars, lectures and conferences, and I have read well over 850 books, research papers and reports on health, longevity, nutrition, food, exercise, fitness and disease prevention.

The 12 Core Principles are the end-result of those 27 years of experience and learning, and I believe they offer a framework, a way to live healthily for a long life, in excellent health, free from disease and with plenty of energy. The goal of Mother Nature’s Diet is to add years to your life and life to your years.

I have always promoted the 12 Core Principles as a Read more

Part 6 – The DNAfit genetic test

Part 6 in the genetics mini-series, the final part.

if you have read the first 5 parts and found it all interesting, I strongly recommend getting your own DNA test and finding out more about yourself. I have.

Our friend Dawn is currently (March only) offering a special discount deal, 30% off a comprehensive test, full details of all that the test covers are in this post.

That’s a good deal – so, go on, jump in, go for it!

New Dawn Health

Over the last few posts, we have learned how genetic variations between us make us the individuals we are, both on the inside and on the outside. We know that food speaks to our genes and in turn, our genes can affect how our foods are processed. We understand that knowing our genetic differences can help us to exercise more efficiently and maintain a healthy weight. And we know that we can help our genes stay healthy as we age.

We now appreciate that we have more influence and control over our protein-encoding genes than we realised. Thankfully, we can positively influence our genetic health trajectory. The more ‘inside knowledge’ of your personal genetic make-up you have, the better you can tweak your diet, lifestyle and training, to optimise your health.

During March 2019, I am offering the complete ‘DNAFit Diet Fitness Pro 360’ package at a 35% discounted rate…

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Part 5 – Optimising healthy ageing

Part 5 on genes and how your diet and lifestyle can interact with your own personal DNA.

In this post, our friend Dawn explains some of the ways your diet and lifestyle can work with, or against, your natural genetic predispositions to influence ageing.

This is probably the most technical of the series so far, but it’s important stuff to know. One more post to come in a couple of days, to wrap the series up – keep an eye out for that later this week!

New Dawn Health

So how do we help our genes continue to work well as we age? How can we prevent DNA damage? Let’s take a look at three diet and lifestyle factors you can optimise to support healthy genetic ageing – micronutrients, inflammation and stress.

Micronutrients and DNA Health

Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals play key roles in the making and repairing of DNA. Too much, or not enough, micronutrients can cause nicks and breaks in the DNA bonds. If the cell doesn’t have enough key micronutrients, then it can’t make the right proteins to repair itself. This can lead to mutations. There is a developing body of research which links DNA damage to infertility, cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodevelopmental disease, cognitive decline and risk of early death.

Key micronutrients for making, repairing, and keeping DNA working well are:

  • Polyphenols (natural beneficial chemicals in plants)
  • The antioxidant vitamins A & C
  • B2, B3, B6…

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Part 4 – Weight management genes

We’re back, with Part 4 of this great short series about genetics. This post explains a few great examples of gene-diet or gene-lifestyle interactions; these really help you see how knowing your personal genetic variations can really help you make smarter choices, to optimise your lifestyle to the one that is ideal for you.

Part 5 coming in a couple of days!

New Dawn Health

Genetic variations (SNPs) are one reason why we have different appetites; are satiated by different amounts of food and have different food preferences. Our genes also regulate how insulin works in our body; how many fat cells we make and how full they can get. Our genes determine how well we can breakdown those stored fats and use them for energy. Our individual genetic profile influences what we can and can’t digest, our tendency to gain weight, absorb important nutrients and cope with toxins.

Let’s take a deeper look into the world of nutrigenomics and weight management.

The first thing to say is that nutrigenomics is a tool in the ‘diet toolbox’ that can help you manage your weight. It’s not the whole answer, of course not, but there are some valuable insights. Let’s start with how best to balance your carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Macronutrient Balance

You can’t have…

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Part 3 – My Story

Continuing the mini-series on genetics, my friend Dawn is back with Part 3 today, looking into her own results from DNA testing to see what she learned, how she can use that information, and how it can benefit her to achieve optimal good health.

Personally, I have had my genes tested too, and my own results (which I should write up for you) tell a similar story – foods I should eat, things to avoid; type of exercise that suits me, lifestyle changes to make.

Watch out for Part 4 in this series coming later this week!

New Dawn Health

Studying nutrigenomics, having my genes tested and having some blood tests done has given me two tangeable benefits. Firstly, I make food and exercise choices based on my genetic predispositions and nutrient levels.  And secondly, I relax about this being different to other people’s food and exercise choices. One-size-does-not-fit-all.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Vitamin D

You may know that I lived in the Middle East for three years. During that time, I studied Nutritional Therapy. As part of that learning, I took a vitamin D test and was shocked to discover that my vitamin D level was only 19 nmol/L. A good level is 50-60 nmol/L. How could that be when I was exposed to so much sunshine? Well, I only found out when I returned to the UK and later took a DNA test. I have the genetic variation (SNP) that reduces the production of an enzyme in the liver & kidneys that…

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Part 2 – Nutrients and genes

Following on from a few days ago, Dawn is back with Part 2 of her 5-part mini-series on genetics and understanding our DNA.
This is a complex topic, and I think she has done a great job here of explaining it in good simple English.
Keep an eye out for Part 3 coming along next week.

New Dawn Health

There’s a buzz-phrase used when learning about genes and nutrition,

“Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger”.

What this means is that we may be predisposed to health challenges because of our gene variations (SNPs), but it’s what we do to ourselves that actually triggers a problem, or not. This is an important to remember. If we want to, we can always positively influence our health outcomes.

Environmental factors like exercise, stress, sleep, diet and pollution affect how our genes function. Cigarette smoke damages cellular DNA and causes mutations. Exercise has a positive effect on our health by optimising insulin and glucose levels. Some of the latest research into high intensity interval training is finding that this type of exercise triggers a release of anti-inflammatory chemicals from protein-encoding genes.

So, what about diet and gene interactions? There are two sides to this.

  • Our genes affect how we respond…

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Part 1 – Introduction to genes

My friend Dawn over at http://www.NewDawnHealth.me is running a 5-part series on genetics, and I am going to re-blog them to share them with you.

You may recall back in January, Dawn produced a 10-part series on gut health, which I shared with you, and I thought that was great, so I am delighted she is back with more.

Genetics is a fascinating topic, and there is much to be learned in digging in to our own DNA and learning about our own personal unique tendencies and predispositions. I have had several DNA tests in recent years and they have all revealed interesting and useful information.

Let’s get started on Part 1, and keep an eye out for Part 2 in a few days’ time.

Thanks Dawn!

New Dawn Health

Up until recently, I thought that the genes I inherited from my parents told my body how to develop into the person I am. You know, brown eyes, 5′ 6’’, reasonable IQ! But I’ve never stopped to think that the way I have chosen to live my life, are actual instructions to my genes, telling them what to do, or what not to do. I never thought that I had some control over my gene function.

But our lifestyle and environment do play a significant role in shaping the way our genes work.  In this 5-part blog I want to explore how food and genes interact together and how can we design a lifestyle strategy to help us become more resilient to the effects of ageing.

You will have heard of the Human Genome Project, completed in 2003. It was the mapping of the entire code of 20,000 human genes…

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Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

A while back I posted Why we have an obesity problem.

If that was Part #1, this is Part #2.

I was visiting my local Post Office the other day. It’s a busy little sub-Post Office counter built at the back of a neighbourhood convenience store, as many Post Office counters are these days. It’s almost always busy, and customers form a queue along one of the aisles of the shop. Here is the view as I stood in the aisle awaiting my turn to be served.

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Great, ‘the £1 zone’ is right there, where folks who just want to post a parcel or buy some stamps or apply for a drivers licence, have to stand and wait to be served.

I grabbed a packet of cookies and turned them over to see the nutrition label.

Check this out:

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This twin-pack of ‘vanilla flavoured cookies with chocolate chips’ weighs 400 grams net weight. As you can see, the cookies deliver 495 calories per 100g. In round numbers, this is 2000 calories – for £1. (For my readers outside the UK, at current rates, £1 sterling is €1.14 Euros, or $1.29 USD at current, Feb 2019, exchange rates.)

2000 calories is the recommended daily intake for an adult female in the UK, wishing to maintain body weight (not gain or lose).

2000 calories, your entire daily intake, for £1.

Let’s just check the ingredients label to see what these cookies are made of.

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Now, remember the way an ingredients list works – the items are listed in descending order, from the item that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents, down to the minor items listed last.

These cookies are made of – refined wheat flour, palm oil, sugar, chocolate chips (which are made of sugar and more palm oil) and then some coca butter and then lesser items.

Broken out by macronutrient, the 2000 calories in this £1 pack consist of:

  • Just over 50% sugar – 262 calories of carbs out of 495 calories per 100g. (Carbohydrates contain around 4.1 calories per gram.) They list “of which sugars” as a sub-set of the carbohydrate, but given that the ‘non-sugar’ is just refined wheat flour, once inside your intestines it is broken down and absorbed as glucose just the same as the refined sugar, so to your blood, to your metabolism, it’s all sugar. Out of 2000 calories – approx 1060 calories of sugar
  • After the flour and refined sugar, the only other substantial ingredient is the palm oil (not the best thing to be eating) which contribute the overwhelming majority of the calories from fats in this product. (Fats contain around 9 calories per gram.) SO we get around 212 calories of fat (palm oil) per 100g. Approximately 43% of this product is fat
  • Out of the total 2000 calories in the pack…it’s 53% sugar, and 43% fat – and that fat is not a healthy fat like you get in fresh fish, olive oil or avocado, that’s fat from palm oil
  • As for this ‘food product’ providing any possible health benefits…like vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids…forget it

We have an obesity problem in this country, and that problem is a burden that is unfairly heaped onto low income families, and this is a big part of what is causing that problem. Crap food, refined sugar, refined plant oils, and cheap processed grains, are everywhere – cheap food, easy to buy, in our faces, tempting, tasty, packed and displayed to make our kids nag and pester for it.

While 90% of people I meet say they “can’t afford to buy organic” fruits and vegetables, but convenience stores are punting 2000 calories of sugar and fat for just £1, we are never going to solve the problem.

Public Health England needs to sort this out. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers are one of the most potent forces driving the obesity problem in the UK, and there can be no doubt that the abundant availability of cheap sugar is also exacerbating the type-2 diabetes problem too. This puts an increasing burden of poor health on to poorer families – the government should be subsidising bloody fish and vegetables, and taxing the hell out of sugar and palm oil. Clearly, with 2000 calories on sale for £1 (how do they even do that? The cost of overheads, the packaging, the shelf space, the store staff???) this is not happening, and we have a food system that enabled unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to dump a mass of cheap, health-damaging ‘food products’ on to the market without any sugar taxes or other barriers to stop them.

Shame on you Public Health England.
Shame on you UK govt.
Shame on you food manufacturers.
Shame on you major food retailers.
Shame on all of you. Our NHS cannot afford to treat this burden forever. We have to rebuild a country that understands ‘prevention is better than cure’.

 

Smoking, death, decisions, goals, consistency and success – in that order

When I tell ‘my story’ in writing or at my seminars, I often say that “I was trying to lose weight and be healthy, but getting it all wrong for 16 years” and then, from my mid-30s, I started getting things right. The day I started getting things right, was 13 years ago today.

13 years ago today, on the 4th Feb 2006, I was 35 years old, over weight, out of shape and in poor health. I weighed 220 pounds, that’s 99.8 kilos (or 15 stone 10 in old English money) and I had a BMI of 29, and my bodyfat was 25%. This wasn’t my heaviest, I had been 15 to 30 pounds heavier at various times in my teens, my 20s and just three years earlier in 2003, in my 30s.

By this point, 2006, I had been yo-yo dieting for 19 years. I had smoked for 18 out of the previous 20 years, I had quit hundreds of times – some lasted a day, some a week, some a month, once I even managed a whole year off, but then it somehow crept back in. I could never quit based on rationalising to myself.

  • If I told myself “it’s a waste of money” that didn’t so it. I had a good job, I was earning plenty, and I mostly smoked roll-ups in those days (roll-your-own) so my dozen smokes per day probably only cost me about 10 quid per week, it was pocket change to me then
  • If I told myself “it’ll kill you one day” that didn’t do it either. I was only in my 30s, I couldn’t really imagine being like my granddad, who has smoked all his life and passed in his 70s from emphysema
  • If I told myself “it’s not good for you” that wasn’t hitting any emotional triggers for me. I had used jogging as a weight control on and off for years, so when I really put in the effort, I could haul arse for a few miles round the block (my excess weight battering my right knee, that later ended up in surgery) so I told myself it was OK, I was fit enough
  • No matter how hard to tried to quit smoking, it always crept back in, every time, after hundreds and hundreds of attempts to quit

So, at this point, early 2006, I was smoking again, drinking far too much, unhealthily overweight, not exercising regularly, unfit, out of shape and my body was covered in itchy red hives, an unsightly rash caused by a condition called urticaria.

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I had a good job, I loved my kids, my life was ‘on the up’ in terms of growing my career, my family, my wealth…but they say the real wealth is health, and I knew all was not well. Read more

STFU, take your HTFU pills, JFDI and GSD…

Imagine a line…

In your mind’s eye (or grab a piece of paper and draw a line for real, if you like) imagine a line, horizontal, left to right, across a sheet of paper.

Draw a big fat dot at each end.

Over the dot on the left end, write “Here, now, where I am, the start point, my reality” or words to that effect.

Over the dot on the right end, write “My goal, my target, where I want to be, where I am trying to get to” or words to that effect, words that mean something to you, to signify the body you say you want, the energetic feeling you say you want, the weight you wish the scales said, the feeling, look, strength, muscle, fitness – whatever it is you said you want…a month ago, as New Year’s Eve was upon us. What was your goal for 2019?

Now you have a line, and the left end represents where you are, let’s call it the start point, and the right end represents where you want to be, the goals you set yourself a month ago, the way you want to look and feel and perform.

Now draw a big circle around the line between the two. (Actually, it’s probably not a circle, more of an ellipse or egg-shape, right?)

In the circle, or ellipse, along the line from the left hand end to the right hand end, write these words:

Lots of work. Hard work. Consistent effort. No excuses. Get it done. Make sacrifices. Sweat, Hurt. Achieve. Feel pride.

The middle bit [ain’t so popular]

It’s been my experience in life so far, that folks all know what the dot on the left hand end looks and feels like, I mean, that’s the here and now, the reality, of course they know.

And folks all know what the dot on the right hand end looks like – it probably looks like the images they see in magazines, or photos of themselves from 20 years ago, or their favourite athlete or sports star.

But it’s the bit in the middle most folks ain’t so keen on.

Folks know where they are starting from, and they generally know where they want to get to, they just don’t like all the hard work and sacrifice in the middle.

No one wants to do the hard work these days. 

If you are one of the few, who ain’t afraid to graft, then the last few lines won’t offend you, they’ll make you puff your chest out with pride and say “He’s right, it takes effort, that’s me, I do that, and I am getting results.”

If you are one of the many who doesn’t like the bit in the middle, the hard work and sacrifices, then the last few lines might have offended you, and if they did, then you can choose to be offended, and bugger all will change, or you can choose to take this blog post as a friendly-but-honest kick up the butt, and you can resolve to double-down on your efforts and get some stuff done.

A lot of folks have already given up on the promises they made themselves less than a month ago.

Seriously, it’s Jan 30th, not even a full months since those New Year’s resolutions, and many folks have already given up. Jeez, I made myself a promise on Feb 4th, 2006, to “change my life and become a healthy person” and I am still holding dead strong to that promise every single day, almost 13 years later. If you can make a month, that’s a pretty poor effort.

A lot of folks need to STFU and stop complaining about everything that’s ‘too hard’ or ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘it feels uncomfortable’ or ‘but it’s raining’ or whatever, and take their HTFU pills (you know, Harden The **** Up pills…) and JFDI.
We ‘Get Stuff Done’ (#GSD – maybe you prefer Get Sh*t Done….) when we quit complaining and letting our excuses stop us, and we knuckle down to the hard work that HAS TO FILL THE GAP to get from the dot at the left hand end of the line, to the dot at the right hand end of the line.

I’ve been #GSD for 13 years now, and I’m still firing on all 4 cylinders, more motivated and more driven than ever.

In that time I could have used every excuse going – young kids, building my business, ups and downs, almost hit bankruptcy, rescued that from the brink, fought and paid huge debts, marital ups and downs, family bereavements, emotional lows, injuries, accidents, financial stress, emotional stress, career success and failure – if you can name it, I’ve had to get through it.

Still here. Still fighting. Still winning.
More details on all that, and how to get the results you want, in this book for you.

We all know the dot at the left end of the line.
If you want to get to the dot on the right end, you have to be prepared to do the hard work and make the sacrifices, that sit along the line in the middle.

Short cuts are bull***t, just distractions. Imagine that line was a map, to drive from, say, London to Liverpool.
It’s about 220 miles to drive from London to Liverpool.
There’s no genuine shortcut. If someone is trying to sell you a “do it in just 50 miles” solution, you have to know that’s b/s.
It just can’t be done.
The only way you are ever going to drive from London to Liverpool, is on the roads, from A to B.

You can tackle it, by the most direct route, and just knuckle down to it and get the job done, and you’ll cover about 220 miles.
Or you can be distracted, by every b/s promise, false start, trick and gimmick, and keep going off sideways, seeking short cuts, quick hacks, and inevitably, you’ll end up spending your life wasting time on the side turnings, driving hundreds of miles but getting no closer to the end destination.

There are no short cuts.
You just gotta tackle the hard work, be consistent, stay motivated, stay on track, and go chase your goals and dreams.

Yes or yes?

So, if you need some help along the way, Mother Nature’s Diet is here for you, with tips and guidance to help you avoid the biggest mistakes that most people commonly make.

Time to STFU, take your HTFU pills, knuckle down and JFDI and GSD.

To your grand success, to you excellent good health!

Karl

Diets; massive weight loss; and the greatest health threats of our time…

I want to share a couple of things with you that I have read recently.

This is a fairly long read, but I encourage you to find a few minutes to read it if you can, it’s harrowing and insightful.

One quote that rings so true…something I have said many times myself, is this…

Tommy writes:

“Here are the two things I have come to believe about diets:

1. Almost any diet works in the short term.
2. Almost no diets work in the long term.

The most depressing five-word Google search I can think of—and I can think of a lot of depressing five-word Google searches—is gained all the weight back. Losing weight is not the hard part. The hard part is living with your diet for years, maybe the rest of your life.”

That’s the truth, and that’s why I teach Mother Nature’s Diet as a permanent healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, not a temporary eating plan. You need permanent change, to achieve permanent results.

Reading that whole article, as many others I have read, and through my own personal weight loss transformation and the private one-to-one health coaching clients I have worked with over the years, I am struck again and again with one overpowering observation:

So much of the obesity crisis, it’s not that folks fail to understand that “eating veggies is good, eating cakes will make you fat”, or it’s not that folks don’t understand they need to exercise.

People know that stuff.

It’s sadness, it’s desperation, it’s social anxiety, it’s loneliness.
People eat for comfort, for pleasure, to escape.

In all walks of life, people get addicted to all kinds of things – alcohol is the obvious biggest one, but also hard drugs, shopping, online gaming, smoking, sex, pornography, gambling, and food.

So often, we see addictive behaviour to alcohol, or drugs, or food, is really just a lost, confused, hurt, lonely, unhappy person hiding from reality, seeking some comfort, and taking solace, habitually, in their go-to-pleasure of choice.

It starts as just one drink, or just one cake, or just one hit…and we never think it’ll lead to the addiction that it does.

Food, unlike hard drugs, is legal, and easy to buy, anywhere and everywhere.
And food, unlike cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling, isn’t locked behind any kind of licensing laws, age restriction or advertising ban.

While I am still a big believer in personal responsibility, to the food-addicted, morbidly-obese, lonely depressed comfort-eater, food companies and their marketing agencies are like legal drug-pushers, and our society is doing very little to help these people handle their unhealthy habit.

Lots to think about there.

Greatest dangers

Also in the news this week and of great interest, the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out a list of the greatest health hazards we face worldwide. This is worth a quick read, it’s only short.

The take away points to note:

  • Air pollution is becoming a more serious problem every year – my advice? Move to the country, sell that old diesel car, and get your home boiler serviced
  • Anti-vaccine madness…oh for goodness sake, study the science, not the hype, and don’t base important decisions about your child’s health on a Meme you saw shared on Facebook
  • Antimicrobial resistance – could become a very serious issue in the future. When the human race can no longer rely on antibiotics, you could actually die form a papercut. Ditch the hand sanitizer, don’t be afraid of mud, stop obsessing over germs and hyper-cleansing every inch of your home with a dozen chemical cleaning products, and buy top-quality meat, organic, or free ranged, or grass fed, to help reduce antibiotic use in farm animals

Until next week, keeping it real out there!

To your good health!

Karl

Free help for those who want it…

One of my goals since I started Mother Nature’s Diet has always been to help as many people as possible for free.

I honestly believe that good health is our birthright, and it should not be something we have to pay for.

I think ‘they‘ have made the world of diet, weight loss, healthy living, ageing, fitness, disease prevention and other related areas, all so super-complicated in recent decades.

They spent years telling us that fat is bad, then fat is good and sugar is bad. They told everyone to go running, then they say everyone has knee and back problems from running, and we should all be lifting weights. Cholesterol is bad, no no cholesterol is fine. Too much sugar causes diabetes…no no there is no evidence that sugar causes diabetes. They contradict, and they argue, the so-called experts, over everything.

And if you read The Daily Fail or certain other newspapers, then over the years they have run headlines telling you just about everything causes cancer or heart disease or makes you fat!

It’s all so bloody confusing. And all so bloody frustrating!

  • I personally spent 20 years lost in that confusion
  • I yo-yo dieted as I tried every fad, followed every trend, read all the diet books
  • I ended up overweight, confused, and with knackered knees (yes, it was the running!!)

So, out of this confusion, the ‘health guru industry’ has emerged (ummm, maybe I am a part of that…whaddya reckon?) and suddenly we are told the answers we are searching for are in this £99 pound diet plan called “The 7 Magic Secrets to weight loss”, or the answers are in the £39 per month gym plan “Total New Body” or such like, or you just have to sign up a mere £397 for this 6-month group coaching course and all will become clear to you as they reveal “the secrets the doctors don’t want you to know” or whatever. You know, there’s lots of this stuff out there, I’ll bet you’ve seen the adverts.

And that’s OK, I guess, these folks are all just trying to earn a living, just like me, and so good luck to ’em. Providing they are selling something genuine, and providing it works, at least for some people, then I guess that’s OK. But here at Mother Nature’s Diet, I see things a little differently.

I don’t think you should have to pay to learn the basics, to have the basic knowledge of how to be healthy. I don’t think there are any ‘secrets’ or ‘magic formula’ – I think that most people need a little guidance, to cut through the dietary and nutritional confusion, and then there is just common sense, personal responsibility, and good old fashioned hard work.

For that basic knowledge, I don’t think people should have to pay. They should teach this stuff at schools, leisure centres, health centres and pharmacies around the country, for free. Because there are a lot of folks out there who can’t afford to pay.

Bottom of the income ladder

Sadly, the reality of our society is, that Read more

Part 10 – Fermented Food Recipes

Part 10 – closing out our mini-series on the microbiome and gut health, this final post offers you recipes for some fermented foods you can make at home to nourish your gut flora.
Enjoy!!

New Dawn Health

Today is my last post on the microbiome. Here are three recipes that I regularly make. Go on, give them a try! As your confidence grows, you can expand your repertoire using the many recipes and variations of these, online. A little a day, keeps trouble at bay!

Homemade Sauerkraut

Equipment needed

A large fermentation or mason jar; a large bowl; a rolling pin; a fermentation weight

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of Cabbage (white or red)
  • 1-3 Tablespoon sea salt or Himalayan rock salt (more for a bigger cabbage)

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop or shred the cabbage. Put it into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.
  2. Pound with a rolling pin for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage has leaked enough cabbage juice to cover itself. If it doesn’t, you can add a little filtered water.
  3. Transfer the cabbage into a big sterilised fermentation jar, pressing and coimagesmpacting the cabbage down hard underneath the…

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Part 9 – Optimising your microbiome

Part 9 now in our mini-series on the human microbiome and gut health, from my friend Dawn at NewDawnHealth.co.uk and this is probably my favourite so far, all about how to optimise your own microbiome.

I love the opening line – seed it, feed it and weed it, that’s a brilliant analogy.
If you could see the inside of your own gut (eugh, yuk! Poop in the making! lol) under a microscope, you’d see filaments stretching down into the ‘soil’ of digesting food and bacteria, not unlike the way a tree sends its roots down into the soil beneath our feet. It’s very similar, if on a different size scale, and it’s a great way to think of our health and our approach to a healthy gut. If you planted a tree in unhealthy soil, you would grow a small, weak, sick tree. Well if your body plants it’s “nutrition seeking roots” into poor “soil” (that’s junk food, crappy ‘beige’ processed carbs, pesticide residues, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners and additives, etc.) then what’s that going to do for you??

Read this, think about what you are feeding your body, the ‘soil’ you are giving to those roots, and remember “you are what you eat.”

Final part in the series tomorrow!

To your good health!
Karl.

p.s. and please, show my friend Dawn some love, go on over to her blog and give her a Like or a Follow, show some thanks for letting us share these! Thanks Dawn x

New Dawn Health

Caring for our microbiome is like tending to the soil in our vegetable garden. We need to weed it, seed it and feed it.

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  1. We can weed-out, kill-off, or out-compete any unbeneficial species
  2. Then we can seed it with fermented foods and probiotics
  3. We need to make sure to feed it with the right diet including prebiotic foods
  4. We need to tend it with a nurturing healthy lifestyle

The dietary changes that you make will have a rapid effect on your microbes. Within days of improving your diet, your microbes will respond. You will need to be consistent to maintain the changes though. Here are some top tips.

Feed your microbiome lots of fibre from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and wholegrains (if you eat grains). Fibre rich vegetables are apples, artichokes, avocados, beans, berries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, greens, figs and kale, to name a few.

Eat a raw…

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Don’t over-think this, permanent weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think it is, here’s a couple of top tips…

Two weeks in to January.

Just hitting week three.

According to surveys, this is the week “most” people give up on all the ‘new year, new me’ stuff, the diet, the weight loss efforts, the gym, all that.

So, if you are still fired up, motivated, enjoying it and pushing forward – kudos to you, well done, you are doing better than most.

But if you are struggling, here are two thoughts from someone who did it, pushed through, stuck it out and lost the weight, 101 pounds of it, and kept it off, now some 12 years later.

Perfection is bull****

Don’t strive for perfect.

Don’t be that person who ate one bad thing, made one small mistake, and then decided that everything had gone to rat sh*t as a result.

I’ve seen that so many times.

January 16th: “OMG, someone offered me a biscuit at work, by the coffee machine, I ate it, oh well that’s the diet screwed then, sod it, might as well cancel the gym membership and order pizza tonight and open a 6-pack of beers!”

That’s dumb.

Don’t be hard on yourself, it was just one small slip up, boo hoo, get over it and move on.

I can assure you, success comes from getting it right 90% of the time, not from being too hard on yourself all the time chasing 100% perfection.

So the only thing you should give up in the 3rd week of January, is this ‘set-yourself-up-to-fail’ idea of chasing ‘perfect’.

Let that go, and you’ll give yourself permission to be humanly imperfect, which is just what you need to be to navigate the crazy times we live in and keep making forward progress.

Consistency

Once you have let go of the trap of perfect, you’ll be far better equipped to survive the ups and downs of life, which is what you need to achieve success with Tip #2 – stick with it, foe the long haul, be consistent.

The number one pitfall for most people, is ‘fad diet mentality’.

A fad diet is just that – a fad. A temporary change in behaviour that will likely deliver you a temporary change in your results.

You eat less for a few weeks or months, and you weigh less for a few weeks or months.
When you return to eating how you always have, guess what? Yep, the weight returns too.

It’s the ultimate frustrating hamster wheel of modern life.

Instead, you need to adopt a permanent healthy lifestyle, to achieve, keep and enjoy, permanent weight loss results.

If your new January regime has involved cutting back on sugary foods, eating smaller meals, exercising more often or drinking less booze, that’s great, well done you. Now understand that sticking to it, making these changes at a level you can enjoy your life and stick to the changes long term, permanently, will give you long-term, permanent results.

If you want these changes to last, if you want 2019 to be the year you finally break the yo-yo diet cycle, then employ these two tips to work to your advantage:

  • Give up on perfection, just ‘be good’ and aim to make progress on your former self. Don’t berate yourself for small mistakes, just keep on moving forward
  • Stick to it. Don’t be an all-or-nothing maniac, don’t be a quitter, just be consistent. Put good new habits in place, at a level you can live with and enjoy, and stick to it through January, February and onward from there

Achieving weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think, permanent results are achievable, you just have to know what to do and apply yourself to it. If you want more help and simple tips and guidance, plus a full 28-day meal plan and home exercise routines for all levels and abilities, check out my brilliant little book on Amazon Kindle and it just might help keep you on track.

To your 2019, your year!

In good health!

Part 8 – Probiotics and prebiotics

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today Dawn explains the difference between PRObiotics and PREbiotics, and the role of both in your health.
With diet tips and some guidance on supplements, read on to learn what you need to know…

New Dawn Health

Probiotics

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Probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that we can eat to improve our health. As far as we know, they don’t necessarily take up residence in our gut but can give us benefits as they pass through.

There are two ways to consume probiotics, either from fermented foods or from probiotic supplements. We don’t yet know if probiotics in food (albeit much cheaper) are better than probiotic supplements, or vice versa.

Current objective opinion is that for healthy people, probiotic supplements don’t significantly change the microbiome, but in ill health or disease they can help restore a healthier microbiome.

Summary analyses of hundreds of trials has showed substantial evidence for the benefit of probiotics for treating diarrhoea; constipation; acute upper respiratory tract infections; eczema and dermatitis in children, improving metabolism; lowering cholesterol; reducing infection rates; and lowering markers of inflammation, like C-reactive protein. Promising research is underway regarding benefit for…

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Part 7 – New tests & treatments

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today our friend Dawn, from New Dawn Health, will explain what tests and treatments are now starting to become available and even commonplace as we understand more about the microbiome.

Dawn writes:

The microbiome is like a barometer – it reflects if all will be calm or if a storm is brewing. Today’s post looks at some of the tests and treatments currently available.

The most common way to assess your microbiome is via a comprehensive digestive stool test. It can be done privately, and your GP can order one for you (with good clinical justification). This will give you a thorough overview of the health of your gastrointestinal tract. It evaluates how well you digest and absorb your food; it identifies some of the yeasts, bacteria and parasites and what short chain fatty acids they are producing. It also reports on levels of gut inflammation, pH, food fibres and if there is blood in the stool. I use this private test regularly in my Nutritional Therapy work. Clients find it very helpful to see for themselves the microbes they have and how well their gut is functioning. They are also very reassured to see how those markers of gut health improve with nutritional interventions.

The very latest private stool testing identifies microbial RNA (ribonucleic acids) produced from anything and everything living in the gut. It uses new technology called metatranscriptome sequencing. Compared to older technology, this can identify all the bacteria (not just some) plus the yeasts, bacteriophages, parasites, fungi, and viruses, (and names them for you), which older stool testing doesn’t. In addition, the test identifies all the metabolites being produced and the ones missing. The app-based report gives dietary recommendations and foods for improving your unique gut health based on the results. I am about to do this test on myself, so I will keep you posted!

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As you now know, the vast majority of microbes should be in your large intestine, or colon. However, in some people with upper abdominal bloating, feelings of fullness, pain and fluctuating stool (all very common symptoms) there is a test to see if large amounts of colonic microbes have moved upwards into the small intestine. The test is called a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) test and you can do it yourself at home. It’s a breath test to capture the gases (hydrogen and methane) given off by the bacteria after a test drink. This is not a test commonly done on the NHS.

Have you heard of faecal transplants?  Hospitals are now transplanting filtered faecal microbes from healthy individuals into those with diabetes, obesity, Crohns and ulcerative colitis (UC) to rapidly improve their microbiomes. The results to date are very promising and this is likely to be a fast-expanding field of gastroenterology. I know, you think it sounds rather yukky, but anyone with debilitating Crohns or UC will tell you, if it offers relief from a lifetime of pain, steroids and drug side effects, it’s more than worth it.

I appreciate the sometimes awkward, personal side of bowel and digestive issues, and I know it can be difficult to talk to people about such problems. If you have any concerns, you can talk to me, I am a trained and qualified Nutritional Therapist, as well as being a practising osteopath for 24 years.  We can talk in total confidence, and trust me, I have heard it all before and I just might be able to offer an understanding ear and some helpful advice. If you are at all interested and want testing, please contact me and I’ll arrange to have tests sent out to you at home, and I’ll explain to you how testing is quick and easy.

Look out for Part 8 tomorrow, when I’ll explain the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, and how and why you need both in your diet. See you then.

Original Post on NewDawnHealth.me here.

– Thanks Dawn!  🙂

 

Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 6 – Your microbiome and the link to diseases.

Moving in to the 2nd half of this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains some of the connections scientists are unravelling between the microbiome, gut health, immune function and certain diseases.

As this area of science is emerging and becoming clearly, it’s all quite fascinating and at the same time possibly quite worrying. Remember, it takes a long time for science to ‘prove’ things beyond doubt. One study will highlight a possible link, suggesting ‘more research is needed’ and that’s an open invitation for other scientists to run a study delving deeper..and then often we see ‘rinse and repeat’ of that process over and over. It takes years to conduct studies; time to design the research, raise the funding, recruit volunteers, conduct the research, analyse the results, write up the conclusions, put it through peer review and eventually publish it for the public, doctors and other academics to read. This is why it sometimes takes decades for research to make progress in certain areas.

In the fields of human health and nutrition, some big areas that are emerging through this long-winded process now are genetics, the microbiome and gut health, links between our diet and disease, links between our lifestyle (alcohol, stress, sleep, etc.) and disease.

Personally, after half a lifetime (28 years now…) studying, trying, experiencing, learning about these things for myself (ummm, using a ‘study population of n=1, namely me, myself and I) through trial and error, I am utterly certain that a vast amount of the chronic disease burden we are experiencing in the Western World today, could be alleviated, eased or reduced in some way by individuals adopting a healthier lifestyle, somewhat more in tune with the natural world we live in. What do I mean by that?
– reduce the amount of processed foods we consume
– eat a diet largely comprised of fresh whole foods
– cut back on “additives” which means things like added refined sugar, and refined seed oils
– move more, exercise every day in a variety of ways
– healthy sleep: your bedroom should be dark, cool, and free from electronic devices!
– drink more water (less fizzy drinks, alcohol, sugary drinks and juices and those damned energy drinks – do everything on this list and you won’t need energy drinks, you’ll have much more natural energy in the first place!)
– get plenty of healthy natural daylight
– minimise the amount of chemicals you come into contact with, things you spray around your home and breathe in, things you put on your skin, and things in your food (buy organic)

You see, these are simple actions, nothing extreme, but I believe that over the next 40 years, science is going to show us that these kind of actions are a huge step in the right direction towards decreasing the international cancer burden, the heart disease burden, and the prevalence of auto-immune conditions.

Of course, you know, this is all built in to the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. Ha, like I needed to tell you that…

Well, now read on to see what my friend Dawn has explained to us in Part 6, all about the links between your microbiome, gut health and diseases.

To your very best health in 2019!
– Karl

New Dawn Health

The differences between peoples’ microbiomes is one reason why we each have different susceptibility to different diseases.

Microbial imbalances are thought to contribute to disease through the cross-talk between the microbes, the chemical waste products they produce and our immune cells. When toxic, this drives an inflammatory response.

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Dysbiosis is the name given to an imbalance between beneficial and unbeneficial microbes; typically too many “bad” ones and too few “good” ones. Research is currently unravelling which microbes are beneficial, which ones are neutral and which ones are harmful.

Dysbiosis causes bloating, cramps and abdominal pain as the microbes produce gas and other chemicals, which can distend and irritate the gut. Mild, sub-clinical gut disorders are increasingly common these days. Many people are living with tolerable, but uncomfortable, levels of bloating, gas, digestive disorders and irregular bowel movements. They are called functional disorders, like IBS, because the functionis affected but there…

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Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 5 – gut health and brain health.
Continuing in this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains the connections between gut function and brain function.
It’s interesting stuff, and helps to explain one of the ways in which our diet can influence mental health.
Read on Part 5 and learn more, then look out for Part 6 tomorrow.

New Dawn Health

Imagine a web of communication (some of it wireless) between all our cells. Microbes are the key link in this communication.

vortex-blue-2A significant proportion of the calories we eat don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream for use by our bodies. Instead, the food is eaten by the microbes further down in our colon. As the microbes eat the food they produce waste products. The waste products are important communication molecules.

Initially, the waste products give signals to our gut lining cells and gut immune cells, starting the conversation, if you like. Thereafter, some of them may get absorbed into our bloodstream and continue the ‘conversation’ anywhere in our body. This can be good or bad, depending on the microbes and what messages they are sending.

The beneficial microbes make helpful communication molecules like short chain fatty acids and vitamins which keep us healthy. Unhelpful and pathogenic microbes produce toxins called Lipopolysaccharides…

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Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 4 – hey, welcome back, today we are continuing with this 10-part mini-series of short posts looking at the human microbiome and gut health.
In today’s article, Dawn writes about your microbiome and antibiotics, and what happens to your microbiome when you are prescribed a course of antibiotics, and what you can do afterwards to help yourself restore good order.

I hope you are enjoying this series of blogs – it’s kind of Dawn to let me share these with you, so if you are enjoying the learning, please show your thanks with a Like or a rating or a social share, thanks!

New Dawn Health

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Antibiotics originated as one life form producing something against another life form. For example, penicillin is a substance produced by fungi which stops the growth of bacteria. Modern antibiotics are synthetically made and have been in widespread use to fight bacterial infections. They have saved many lives and speeded the recovery from infection for most of us, but remember, they cause collateral damage to the beneficial microbes and diversity of your microbiome.

When we take antibiotics, our resident beneficial microbes are also killed. The more we take, the more are killed. In time and given opportunity, our microbes do repopulate our gut, but they don’t necessarily grow back the same, or as plentifully, as they were before.

Taking too many antibiotics can leave us more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, like clostridium difficile, gonorrhoea and MRSA. Resistant bacteria can cleverly pass on their antibiotic resistance, thus out-competing other species.

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Part 3 – Microbiome and your immune system

Today, in Part 3 of this short series on gut health, you can learn more about what all those billions of microbes and bacteria are doing down there in your gut, when things are going well…and when they are not!
Read on…

~*~*~*~*~

About 70% of our immune cells are housed in the lining of our gastrointestinal system, or gut. Our gut is the biggest immune organ of the body. Likewise, it’s also where the majority of our microorganisms reside. This is not a coincidence. It makes complete sense. The food we eat is the largest exposure of foreign material that we bring into our body, so it makes sense for our immune system to reside in our gut. The outside world is literally experienced through the filter of the gut microbiome (and of course through our lungs), defending us against unwanted microbes and toxins.

Read more

Part 2- Functions of the gut microbiome

Continuing from yesterday, this is Part 2 of my friends short series on the microbiome. Today – what are the key functions of the microbiome?
I mean, we’re carrying these literally trillions of “little passengers” around on our bodies with us all day every day – it’s good to know why!! They ought to be “paying their bus fare” one way or another!
Read on in today’s short easy read…

New Dawn Health

microbiome700Our microbes:

Help us digest our food.

Protect our gut lining cells from pathogens and toxins.

Help teach and mature our immune system to function properly.

Make B vitamins, Vitamin K and amino acids (proteins).

Break down, by fermentation, non-digestible dietary fibre that we eat.

Regulate our metabolism (how much energy we get from food) and help to regulate our weight and how much body fat we store.

Make waste products called short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that provide food for our gut lining cells. These are important communication molecules.

Influence sleep, mood and brain function.

Regulate the repair and growth of our body’s cells.

Are key to our health and disease.

Coming up tomorrow in Part 3, we’ll take a look at your microbiome and how it forms a crucial, and major, part of your immune system. Few people realise how important our gut is when it comes to…

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The Human Microbiome

My good friend Dawn over at https://www.newdawnhealth.co.uk/ is running a 10-part mini-series on her blog over the next 10 days, educating us all about our microbiome and gut health.
She’s a smart cookie who knows her stuff, so I for one will be reading and paying attention, and I will re-post all 10 parts here for you guys too.
Here is Part 1!
Enjoy.
To your good health,
Karl.

New Dawn Health

Introduction

For many months now, I’ve been researching and listening to lectures about the human microbiome. My short, easy to digest (ha, ha, pun intended!) blog series is about how our gut microorganisms significantly influence all aspects of our health (and disease) and how to turn this knowledge into healthy new habits. I hope you find it helpful and I welcome any comments or questions.

microbiomeblog1

This post is Part 1 of a 10-part series. Here is the outline of the series:

Part 1 – In the beginning

Part 2 – Functions of the microbiome

Part 3 – Microbiome and your immune system

Part 4 – Microbiome and antibiotics

Part 5 – Gut-brain communications

Part 6 – Microbiome and disease

Part 7 – New Tests and treatments

Part 8 – Probiotics and Prebiotics

Part 9 – Optimising your microbiome

Part 10 – Fermented food recipes

Part 1 – In the beginning

The…

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Two of this, one of that…

I think today will be the shortest blog post I have ever written.

I am not good at brevity…but today, I will excel…

Today, the message is simple.

You know that old expression we have probably all said to our children, or had said to us by our parents “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.”

Well, I have ‘Karl’s version’ of that expression:

“You have two legs and one butt, use them in that proportion.”

Try to spend twice as much time on your feet, moving, as you do sitting on your butt, inactive.

Words to live by.

Happy New Year, may the year ahead be filled with health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

 

Alcohol – 7 years without a drink

It’s been seven years to the day since I last drank alcohol.

Best.
Decision.
Ever.

When I quit, my intention was to go for 12 months without a drop. I made it through those 12 months, and then felt so good for it, that I instantly decided to just keep going.

It’s become rather trendy of late to make a big noise on social media about not drinking. We have folks seeking sponsorship for it, asking for a charitable donation if they can go 30 days without drinking. Dry month.Dry 90 days. We have this whole ‘one year, no beer’ movement, I think someone has even managed to make a business out of it.

That’s all good, good for them, I hope they are helping to spread the message to those who need to hear it.

When I quit, I did it for me, and for my loved ones.

No noise, no fanfare, no self-aggrandizing on social media, I just stopped poisoning myself, quietly, and started immediately feeling better for it.

I stopped for my health.

I stopped because I finally admitted to myself that my relationship with alcohol was not a healthy one. I would drink every day, and I was afraid of the thought of evenings going by that I was not having a drink.

If something had that much control over my thoughts, I needed to take charge of that situation.

I stopped to be a better father to my children.

I stopped to be a better man.

It was the right thing to do, one of the best decisions I have ever made.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your health in 2019, I encourage you to look at how you use alcohol. What? When? Where? How much? Why?

If you need any help, you know where to find me.

1luvx

 

Happy New Year! Here, have some free stuff! No catch, just free, for 2019, for you…

Happy New Year!

It’s the first day of 2019, let’s celebrate with some free stuff!

I dunno about you, but my inbox is ram full of folks trying to sell me stuff today, my finger has gone into ‘en masse delete mode’ as it’s all just too much to wade through.

This email is different.

Absolutely free. No catch. No tricks. No b/s. Just free, ‘cos I’m a nice guy 😉

You don’t have to watch a 7-minte video, then put your email address in, then click the double opt-in in your inbox, then agree to the GDPR terms…none of that.
Just links to free stuff.
You don’t have to give me anything.
No catch.
Just free.

Happy New Year!

127 Weight Loss Tips – FREE eBook from Mother Nature’s Diet.
Most folks hit the New Year saying they want to lose some weight. Maybe they just wanna burn off the mince pies and booze of the last fortnight, or maybe they are set on turning around years of weight control issues. Either way, here’s a free book packed with 33 pages of weight loss tips and ideas. No links or clicks or email addresses required, just go here and it’s yours. Enjoy.

The Weekly Weigh-In
Here’s a free newsletter for you. I produce a short weekly newsletter, goes out as an email every Wednesday, usually a 5-min read, with links to find out more if you are interested.
Full of tips, motivation, rants, ideas, news, sometimes funny, sometimes serious.
Sign up for free here (OK, you do have top put your email in for this one, I mean, how else can I deliver an email newsletter to you???)

The 7 classic mistakesmost people are unwittingly making that hold them back from achieving the body, health and fitness they truly desire.
Another free eBook for you.
These 7 big mistakes cover the reasons 95% of people fail at 95% of diets. In my decades of experience, it always comes down to one of these 7 things.
Get your free book here, again, no bull, no sign up, just free.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet
The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is based around 12 Core Principles. Not secrets, not magic, no rocket science, just simple common-sense (but not entirely common knowledge) healthy living ideas.
Learn all about them here – one page for each, short and easy to read, I made it simple for you.

Webinar – Beginners Guide to Mother Nature’s Diet healthy living
How about this, my generosity knows no end…an entire 1 hour webinar, for free, you don’t have to sign up, it’s just ready for you to watch. Go!
I make an hour-long (often more) webinar for my paying members every month, like this one. Today, you get this one for free.
Unlike those b/s webinars you get tricked into, this isn’t 10 minutes of free info wrapped up in a 40-minute pressure sales pitch, no, this is just a whole free hour of useful healthy living advice for you.
Watch, learn, enjoy, right here!

The Mother Nature’s Diet guide to Body Composition
Another totally free eBook for you – how much body fat is too much? How much is too little? How do we build muscle? How do we ‘slow the clock’ and hold back the signs of ageing?
Lots of interesting stuff covered in this book for you.
No sign up, no time wasting, just read it or download it right here.
Free. 100%.

The Mother Nature’s Diet blog – this blog!
I started blogging in 2011. Over the last 7 or 8 years, I’ve written north of 650,000 words. It’s all here. For you. For free.
I look back at a few things I wrote in the early days and I cringe. But I have resisted deleting them, because while I know better now, they reflect the truth of my own journey, my own learning, my own growth.
Three quarters of a million words on healthy living, that’s like 5 novel length books. Free. For you. Here. Go get it.
Some best reads?
White Refined Sugar is an Anti-nutrient
Some popular questions answered in FAQs
What’s gone wrong with our food?
There are many…use the ‘word cloud’ or search box to find topics that interest you.

Mother Nature’s Diet – the book
OK, this one isn’t entirely free, it costs £3.99 (about 5 Euros or 5 bucks US), but that’s a big discount for the Kindle version, so it’s worth a mention.
Check it out here, you can download and read 20 or 30 pages for free, so go for it!

More free stuff, things I make, stuff I do for free –

I make YouTube videos, the goal is to educate and entertain, and occasionally rant, lol.
Go on, head over to YouTube and subscribe, you might like it, a little weekly motivation for you.

Mother Nature’s Diet on Facebook.

On Twitter.

On Instagram.

Please come and join our free friendly Facebook Group.

There you go, free stuff (almost all free…just the book costs a couple of quid!) for you – no sign up, no hoops to jump through, no tricks, catch or gimmicks, just free stuff to help you get 2019 off to the best start.

I hope this email has something you find helpful – if it doesn’t, seriously, you ain’t trying very hard.
If you got to the bottom here, the last line, and haven’t yet found something interesting or useful, then this is just for you, this is what you need…
https://youtu.be/sCX-UlWmNWo
https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2018/04/30/you-dont-really-want-to-change-youre-happy-as-you-are/
https://youtu.be/jb9b-tzGI0E

Happy 2019!!
Go get ‘em tiger!

1luvx

Why wait til New Year? Let’s start now…

Give your loved ones (or yourself? yes?) the gift of abundant good health in 2019, what better gift to give!

I have dropped the price of my book on Kindle for you, a huge price reduction for Christmas, it’s 66% reduced now, for the next few days you can pick up a bargain!

“It’s a good read and I’m 5lb down already and I haven’t even finished the book yet!” – Ms G, South East.

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

This easy-reading, plain-talking and insightful eBook includes a complete 28-Day Plan, including all you need:

  • Print off the healthy Meal Plans for weight loss each week
  • Print off and follow the home Exercise Plans (set for Beginner’s, Intermediate, or Advanced, so you can find the right challenge for your abilities, or work through them all as you get fitter and stronger)
  • Meal plans, home workouts, shopping list, basic recipes – it’s all in the 28-Day Plan

You’ll find the book offers you real-life experience combined with well-researched facts:

  • Packed with tips for a healthy lifestyle
  • All workouts can be done at home, no special equipment required
  • Less ‘cut the carbs’ and more ‘learn to eat healthy carbs’ instead
  • Ideal for those seeking a healthy wholefoods diet
  • A great healthy approach to low-carb diets
  • Common-sense based healthy diet

MND_cover_A42Mother Nature’s Diet is a common-sense healthy lifestyle, not a fad diet, that will help you lose weight, feel great and resist the signs of ageing.

Mother Nature’s Diet is for people who care, people who want the best for themselves, and people who are prepared to put in a little effort to get permanent lasting results.

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!”

Mother Nature’s Diet – the place where preventive medicine meets personal responsibility.

Simple, enjoyable, beneficial changes in your life.
Lose weight, feel great and have more energy.

“Testimonial! Okay, I need to boast, lol, not for me, but for my other half. In less than 3 weeks of properly following MND he has lost (drum roll please!!!)……. 1 stone! Not only that, but his shape has improved too! Say bye bye to belly fat, and hello to trimmer and more toned!! Oh and best of all, he is finding it a doddle as the MND 12 Core Principles are so easy to follow and implement. Thank you Karl!” –  Ms. J, Wales

“I’ve been following the MND lifestyle for 4 weeks today – lots of positive changes including over 7lbs lost.” – Mr J, South West

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!” – Mr H, South West

“A very welcome and much-needed return to some common-sense in the world of diet and nutrition.” – Mr W, South East

Mother Nature’s Diet.
Your healthy lifestyle guide, packed with handy tips including exercise plans and wholefoods meal plans for weight loss.

Get the book now, while there is time to read it over the holidays, ready to hit Jan 1st all fired up and ready-for-action!

Yes?
Good idea?

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

Merry Christmas to you!

Quick, run for that mince pie!!

Christmas is almost here! Yippee!!

It’s Christmas Day tomorrow, we are right in the middle of prime-time “calories central” as we round out the ‘office party season’ and start the ‘family feasting’!!

I’m not stupid, I know that late December is pretty much 100% the worst time of the year to promote healthy living, abstinence from alcohol, and ‘stop eating sugar’ advice!!!

I know! OK! I get it!

(It’s OK, I’m sure you’ll love me again come January 2nd…)

In the interests of trying to remain popular, I’m not going to say a word about alcohol (you are probably sipping a drink while reading this now, so relax and enjoy yourself.)

Let’s just talk about sugar.

As you stock up the kitchen cupboards with boxes of mince pies, big tubs of Cadbury’s Roses, Celebrations, Heroes and Quality Street, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and all the other sugary delights that are so popular in this country, just spare a thought for how much exercise you might have to do to burn that stuff off.

(If you have heard the expression ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ and ever doubted it, you might find this quite interesting.)

  • A standard deep-filled Sainsbury’s mince pie contains 262 calories (according to Sainsbury’s website as of this morning) and an awful lot of sugar
  • Few people understand how many calories we burn when we exercise
  • Roughly speaking, a 10.5-stone woman of 40’ish, jogging for 30 minutes, will burn approximately 267 calories (we are all different, this is an average figure, so if that is 10.5-stone of lean muscular athlete, the data will be a little different.)

Yes, you are reading that right. You have to go out jogging for half an hour just to burn the calories in one little mince pie!

OMG!!

  • How about that after-lunch Christmas day or Boxing day sit-down on the sofa, watching a movie while cuddling that big tub of Roses or Celebrations? Obviously the size and content of all the different sweets varies, but on average you are likely looking at 40 to 50 calories per sweet, so a dozen sweets can quickly clock up 500 calories, and it’s all sugar!
  • For a 14-stone man, that’s about an hour and a half of gentle cycling, or two hours of golf, to burn through those 500 calories. Just a dozen Roses!
  • And as for the Christmas cake, a modest slice of Tesco Finest iced-top fruit Christmas cake delivers around 400 calories
  • A 12-stone woman would need to do 40 minutes in a step aerobics class to burn through that one modest slice of cake

Obviously, I hope you enjoy your Christmas, enjoy time with family and friends, and enjoy ‘a little of what you fancy’ over the holidays. But while you are indulging this week, surrounded by boxes of chocolates, mince pies and sweets, you might want to think about scheduling in plenty of time for some additional exercise…or join the masses on Jan 1st moaning they are “feeling fat” and regretting their holiday excesses!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!

To your good health!

Karl

Change your breakfast, change your life

Breakfast. I don’t know why but many people embracing healthy eating and lifestyle change seem to struggle with changing their breakfast.

Maybe because it’s the first meal of the day…perhaps that “I am going to change, I am going to lose weight and feel better, it all starts tomorrow.” always starts with breakfast.

Day 1. Meal 1. Oh s**t. Ground zero. Healthy eating starts now.

People always ask me what to have for breakfast. People have eaten – just as I did – nothing but cereals and toast for years. I did that every day for about 35 years. 

The short answer: switch to scrambled eggs

It’s quick, it’s easy, and I find most people like eggs. With some practice, personally I have got the art of knocking up a few eggs down to just three or four minutes. I encountered one lady who claims to have it down to 90 seconds. That beats me, I have no idea how she does it that quick!

I grab my unpasteurised, grass fed butter, stick a chunk in a pan, pop the heat on, and it starts melting. I grab a bag of spinach from the fridge, throw two or three good hand-fulls in the pan, pop it back and grab the eggs. Crack three or four in. Start stirring. Slice up a fresh tomato on the side of my plate, stir again, turn off heat, serve.

Scrambled eggs, with spinach and tomato. Quick and easy. Four minutes. Done. Could chop and throw in a couple of mushrooms. Optional.
Four more minutes to eat.
Two minutes to wash the pan and put the plate and cutlery in the dishwasher.
Breakfast. Nutritious, healthy, tasty, done in ten minutes.

Questions

Some folks say to me “I don’t have ten minutes for breakfast!”

Really? You might want to re-evaluate how you are living your life. I mean, get your butt out of bed ten minutes earlier. Do you want to be healthier or not? Set your priorities here, now, and stop making excuses.

Some say “I tried that and it just wasn’t filling enough, I need a bit more bulk.” (Stop. Look down, at your own belly – is that the kind of bulk we’re talking about here? ‘Cos it looks to me like you already have plenty there…yes? Maybe it’s time to reappraise that appetite of yours, and recognise that eating too much has been your issue for some years, and to turn that around we need a period of some years where you have to eat too little. Ouch, that hurts. Sorry.) 

But if you do need a more substantial breakfast, you can always grill a bunch of sausages when you have time (Sunday afternoon perhaps) and then keep them in the fridge. Each day, just chop up a couple and throw them in with your spinach and eggs. Voila, breakfast more substantial for only a few seconds extra effort.

Binding

The next objection (obstacle, reason, excuse) I get is “But I can’t eat many eggs, they bind me up.”

OK, I understand, though from my experience, I would say that if you have the rest of the Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle in place, such as 10-a-day or more fruit and veg, they you’ll have plenty of fibre in your diet, combined with good hydration and regular varied exercise, this should all ensure you have good gut function and once you get in the habit of eating eggs regularly, everything is usually OK.

If eggs bind you up, is it really the eggs? Eating enough fruit? And veggies? Plenty of water? Plenty of movement and exercise? Check all your bases.

Dead boring

This is the one that makes me laugh.

People say “Eggs, sure, I can try that, but what like, the next day? I mean, surely I’m not going to have scrambled eggs every day? Every day, OMG how boring, like the same thing every day, that’s so dull. What else can I have for breakfast?”

Why is this even an issue?! 

Seriously, years trying to help people improve their diet and lose weight, and I never met anyone eating boxed cereals for breakfast who says “Oh God, bloody flakes of wheat or corn, shaped and covered in sugar and chocolate flavour…again, oh how boring!”

No one.

Ever.

I never met anyone who said “I am so bored of this butter dripping off this toast yet again today, ummm with chocolate spread on it, yeah, so boring.”

No one.

Ever.

When people eat sweet tasting cereals and toast (yeah, those processed comfort foods that got you overweight in the first place) for breakfast they seem perfectly happy to eat the same thing for breakfast every single day for 30 or 40 years and they never complain that it’s boring.

Suggest scrambled eggs, and two days in folks be like “And…?”

Get a grip.

It’s real food.

Once you stop poisoning your palate with the ceaseless sweetness of processed foods, after a few weeks you might actually start being able to taste real, fresh foods once again. Suddenly, your life can move beyond everything needing to be sweet at breakfast, and hot and spicy in the evening. Really, life on Earth isn’t all sugar and chili powder, that’s not real fresh food that’s at fault, it’s YOU, you ‘broke’ your palate and you just THINK broccoli is boring, because all you know how to taste is sugar and chili.

Your problem.

Get over it.

Monday to Friday, when time is tight, have eggs.

At the weekend, if you have more time, you can do more. Experiment with fresh fruits, and some nuts. Learn to make nut porridge. Buy a blender or NutriBullet and make a smoothie. Try fresh fish, sardines, or smoked salmon. Or a good old full English breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato. Just buy organic, buy quality, no rubbish.

Change your breakfast, change your life.

Get that first meal, on that first day, nailed, and the rest will follow.

Enjoy.

KISS for an easy life…

KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

The KISS idea has been around for a long time, I’m sure it’s not new to you.

But sometimes the age-old ideas, the things we think we already know, get buried so far back in our cluttered minds that it’s good to drag them out again and refresh them.

When you can’t see the wood for the trees, sometimes it helps to go back to basics.

Can’t focus on 12 things at once

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are fabulously simple to grasp, in my humble opinion, but I often find people who like Mother Nature’s Diet and want to live this way who find one major problem with them – there’s 12 of them! Twelve!

Holy moly, how can anyone work on 12 things at once?!?!?

OK, I get it, there’s a lot to take in.

Let me help you

Life is complicated, so let me help you make this a bit simpler.

You’re overweight, or out of shape, or unfit, or unhealthy, or ageing badly, or worried about your future. OK, so you want to see improvements, you want your ‘outcomes’ or ‘results’ to change.

Well, then, you’re going to have to make changes.

You see, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing…
You’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

What you’re getting, that’s your results. That’s obesity, or feeling unfit, or ageing poorly, or whatever it is that troubles you individually.

So to change your results, you have to change your behaviour. You gotta do something different, to change your outcomes, that’s how this works.

KISS

There are 12 Core Principles. Ignore 11 of them, and just pick one.

Work on that one. JFDI. No excuses, forget the other 11.

Pick one and do it.

Once that’s in, once that’s habit, once you’ve nailed that bad boy and life’s lookin’ rosy, then go pick another and do that.

See. Simples. Aren’t you glad I showed up?

You might start with Core Principle 1. Just cut those starchy carbs and processed grains down, and eat a load more vegetables instead.

That’s it, for the next month just do that, maybe two months, just do that til it’s nailed.

Then pick another.

Boom!

Simple. Don’t get stressed, don’t get confused, don’t get overwhelmed. Just pick one thing and get it licked.

No ‘paralysis by analysis’ here, just steady progress.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Progress, not perfection

You don’t have to tackle all 12 Core Principles in one day or one week. The goal is progress, not perfection.

Every day, I just strive to be a better me than I was yesterday. No competition with anyone else, no race to reach a certain destination in a certain time, just looking to be the best version of me, that’s all.

How about you?

To your good health!

 

The 7 secrets to permanent weight loss…

In my experience of life so far, there really are only a handful of basic good ideas behind success in most endeavours, and that includes weight loss. All the analysis and complexity on top of those few basic good ideas, all the confusion and tricks and gimmicks, well, it’s all just detail, detail broken out of those few basic good ideas.

So you want to lose some excess weight, some unwanted body fat. Let’s take a look at those basic foundation good ideas:

  1. Eat less, and eat better. You know, at the end of the day, eating less remains one of the most reliable ways to lose weight, but you need to combine it with eating better. I mean, sure, a calorie is a calorie and all that, but I just don’t see that the “16 cupcakes per day and nothing else” diet is going to prove to be particularly sustainable long-term, nor particularly healthy. Do you? So eat less, but eat better. Swap out that sandwich for a salad. Swap out the sugary breakfast cereal for some fresh fruit. Cut back on all those starchy carbs, the bread and pasta, and eat more fresh veggies instead. Really, it’s not that hard, is it?
  2. Get some regular exercise. Here the key word is regular. Consistent wins the day. That heroic three hour gym session you did that one time, well sure it made for a good Facebook post but if it was the only exercise you took all month, then it’s not likely to have changed your life. However, if you had instead exercised moderately for even just 20 or 30 minutes every day that same month, then by the end of 30 days that will have been far more beneficial. get out there and move your butt, daily, and see the changes. Get some variety going on, try a new sport or class, don’t just always do the same thing. Remember, consistency wins the day.
  3. Drink more water and less booze. Because most folks in our culture drink far too much of one, and not enough of the other. Often times, what your mind tells you is a hunger pang, is actually a thirsty call for water. Too many people are snacking between meals when they just need a breath of fresh air or a glass of water. And as for the booze…if you are trying to lose weight, cut back, or try stopping completely, try 30 days and see how it goes. If you find it a struggle and can’t do it, maybe that tells you something about your relationship with alcohol. ooh, that’s a whole different conversation there isn’t it?
  4. Get a good night’s sleep. My old mum used to say that every hour before midnight was worth two after midnight. I have no idea if they have ever done any research to see if that’s true, but anecdotally I can tell you from my own experience that she was dead right. Get to bed earlier, try to get seven or eight hours per night, the more the merrier if you feel you need it. Lack of sleep messes up your normal hormone regulation and makes weight loss much harder. Help yourself to shift those unwanted pounds by getting a good night’s sleep, every night.
  5. Stop snacking. Seriously, you are not going to die of starvation in the five short hours between meals. Don’t believe me, reach your hand inside your shirt and squeeze a bit of belly fat. There you go, plenty to keep you going. Right? Like we said in point three above, half the time that’s thirst, not hunger. If you ate breakfast only a couple of hours ago and you have been largely inactive sat at a desk or in a car ever since, then you can’t possibly really need more food in order to survive and keep functioning.

    Either you are feeling false hunger as a result of too much sugar at breakfast (see point one, above); or you are just thirsty (see point three, above); or like most people you are just bored. Ummm…that’s the big one. Most folks snack between meals because cakes are nice, bagels are tasty, cookies are yummy, biscuits are so hard to resist. If fat loss is your goal, you need to break that habit. Eat a proper meal, then you’re all done til the next proper meal. Stop the snacking, you’re using food as a pastime, a leisure activity, a boredom reliever. Stop it, it’s making you fat.

  6. Stop thinking like a dieter. Seriously, get off that idiotic roller coaster. “Oh I’ll just starve for a month, drop a dress size, feel better about myself at the office party, then I can go back to cake and pizza and pile it back on again!” That crap, you do it every year. Stop it, it’s dumb and it’s bad for you. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, like Mother Nature’s Diet, and stick to it. Healthy, enjoyable, sustainable.
  7. Just eat real food. Don’t go out and buy four new recipe books, the ‘inch-loss plan’ this, and the ‘bum-and-thighs’ that. You’ll just end up with hundreds of new recipe ideas to try and it’ll make you think about food all day long! Stick to the basics – eat a portion of protein with every meal. That’s a palm-sized piece of meat or fish, or a couple of eggs. Then fill the rest of the meal with fresh vegetables, or a salad. Really, that’s it, that’ll sort you out for a month or two, and you’ll see the weight fall off.

    A couple of eggs for breakfast, maybe add spinach, a tomato, some mushrooms.
    A salad for lunch with smoked salmon, flaked mackerel or some feta cheese.
    A small chicken thigh and steamed vegetables for dinner, that’s easy.

    See, a serving of protein at every meal, because protein is the most satiating food, so it will satisfy your appetite, and because the high-protein foods, meat, fish and eggs, are the most nourishing foods, providing the most vitamins and minerals. And then vegetables with every meal, they are bulky and fill you up, and provide more nutrients, without adding too many calories. Ideal for weight loss. Really, don’t let the whole cooking thing get too much more complicated than that.

There you go, seven solid basics. It all makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

Palm oil, hype and misleading news…time to get the facts…

Social media in the week of 12th November 2018 = Palm oil and orangutans.

OMG, so much hype.

Seriously, it’s time to nail down the facts.

The British supermarket Iceland re-used an old promotional video made by Greenpeace some time ago. Iceland never intended or realistically expected this advert to run on British TV, and it was not banned because in fact, being of ‘political origin’ (that is, Greenpeace is a political activist group, not a commercial company like Iceland) the video in fact immediately contravenes advertising standards in the UK. It was never going to pass as an advert, Iceland knew this from the get-go, and to then suggest they made it as an advert and then it was banned, is, at best, disingenuous.

Please get the facts on this issue from this excellent and clear post from Suw Charman-Anderson on Facebook.
My thanks to her for this post.

This whole ‘Iceland banned advert’ thing is just a huge, clever, relatively inexpensive bit of PR for Iceland.
You may like to know that formerly, on a previously published (early 2018) version of this list, from Ethical Consumer magazine, Iceland featured as worst British supermarket for palm oil products.
The list now shows no mention of them on “Best…” lists, but notes that they have made a commitment going forwards…I suspect, this whole PR stunt is in danger of backfiring on them, and this is a rapid knee-jerk reaction to mitigate it all turning into a car crash of negative publicity. I hope to see them hold strong on their promises in 2019.

What we need is a clear understanding of the facts.
This WWF blog is clear, balanced, and free from hype. Please read it and understand the issue.

Fact: It’s a freakin’ disaster to be chopping down forests in the tropics to make chocolate spread and peanut butter for the rich in Europe and North America, and causing the extinction of the Sumatran tiger and orangutan along the way.
But, ditching palm oil and switching dumbly to other oils will only make things worse!

Guess what…there is a solution.

Wanna know?

Stop eating ****ing chocolate spread!!!!

Wow, revolutionary!

Now let’s see, all those millions of folks out there on social media sharing posts about how much they care about orangutans…do they (you?) all care enough to just stop buying chocolate spread?

Boycotting palm oil is not the answer, it’s just not that simple

The answer is to buy sustainably-farmed palm oil, or, even better, reduce your consumption of processed foods to a minimum thereby reducing the need for the palm oil, or any other oil, in the first place!

See, who knew (I bloody did) that once again, the correct, and best solution is sustainable agriculture not ‘herd mentality bulls**t’ that might do more harm than good.

For what it’s worth, Mother Nature’s Diet is pretty close to an “as low as you can go palm oil content” lifestyle.
Core Principle 3: minimise processed foods (there goes the chocolate spread)
Core Principle 2: eliminate refined sugar (there goes the confectionery)
Core Principle 7: eat plants and animals (we base our diet mainly on fresh whole foods)
You see, the Mother Nature’s Diet way eliminates many of the products that include palm oil from our shopping trolleys, our use of the stuff is minimal, just a bit of shampoo or washing powder…that’s about it.

Once again, Mother Nature’s Diet and sustainable agriculture: good for you, good for the planet.
See how this works?

You can reduce demand for palm oil by eating local, seasonal, fresh whole foods, by eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way.
Less processed food, less imported food, more seasonal fresh whole foods.
As I always say in my seminars and webinars, the Mother Nature’s Diet way is the best combined lifestyle approach to optimal good health, and care for the environment and animal welfare, farmed animals and wild animals, all in one, it’s all in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. 

Why not learn how to change your life, and our planet, for the better, and remove most of your demand for palm oil products at the same time?
Just get yourself a copy of the book, read up, and make some simple diet and lifestyle changes. 

And no, I’m not “hijacking the palm oil hype” this week just to try to sell a few copies of my book. I started Mother Nature’s Diet and wrote my book in the first place because of the damage being caused – to our health and our planet – by the modern Western diet and the unsustainable nature of intensive industrialised agriculture.

So, now you know the facts.
If you care about the rain forests, if you care about the Sumatran tiger, if you care about the orangutans, it’s time for you to prove it.

To your good health!

Karl

Controlling those sugar cravings…

We all know what those sugar cravings feel like, when you just can’t think straight for lusting after something sweet-tasting.

It would be easy to say that sugar cravings are just greediness, and no doubt in some people maybe that might be true, but likely not in most.

Personally, I think it’s more about habit, than greed, for most people. I also think it’s boredom or apathy for a lot of people. We know we shouldn’t, we know intellectually that those sugary foods are fattening, we know in our head that ‘a moment on the lips, means a lifetime on the hips’ but still, that desire for something sweet isn’t an intellectual decision, we’re not weighing up the scientific research papers on carbohydrate consumption and obesity, it’s not a decision we make in our head, is it, it’s a decision from the heart, it’s emotional, not intellectual.

Well, maybe it’s partly biological too.

Refined sugar

When we consume refined sugar, in order for our body to metabolise the sugar we need to use small amounts of several nutrients, such as vitamin B1, B3, and C, and also small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, chromium and zinc. if we eat a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, but low in highly-nutritious fresh whole foods, then over time we will be slowly depleting our body’s reserves of these nutrients.

The amounts used are very small, and most people consume enough fresh whole foods to replenish the B1, B3, vitamin C, calcium and sodium. For most of these nutrients, the sugar is unlikely to drive them into a mild deficiency, however zinc is a different story. People who eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates, and we are talking about cereals, bread, pasta, pastries, cakes and so on, are also potentially losing zinc through the phytates in these foods made from grains.

Phytates (also phytic acid, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume they are the same thing) are a compound found in grains (and legumes) that bind with certain minerals in your gut, and stop you from absorbing them.

So for people who eat a diet high in processed carbs and refined sugar, zinc reserves are taking a double-whammy hit, and Read more

Are you getting enough?

In our private Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group this week, we’ve had some interesting discussions around the subject of sleep. One of our Members shared this interesting article from the news, reporting on scientists that have made new discoveries in how our circadian rhythms (which help to regulate sleep and hormone function and more) are linked to the movement of the sun – in humans and other species too.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the article, and this further article that is linked, which explains how we are suffering from society-wide sleep deprivation, which is contributing massively to all sorts of ill health, including cancer, and is costing the nation over £30bn per year in lost productivity.

We discuss the value of sleep regularly in our Mother Nature’s Diet Members Group, and ensuring you are getting adequate sleep is covered in Core Principle 10. Sleep is pretty much the best antidote to chronic stress, and in our Members Webinars we discuss the importance of getting enough good quality sleep. Your bedroom should be dark, cool, ventilated, calm and quiet. No electronic devices, no checking Facebook on your smartphone at three in the morning, and no night lights.

It is important to be asleep at night, in the dark, not awake, working or looking at your screen! Research is uncovering mechanisms that show how DNA repairhappens at night, while we sleep in the dark, and this may explain the link between working night shifts and higher mortality.

Gains

It seems pretty certain that sleep is important for many reasons – from stress reduction to combating cancer. There is growing evidence to suggest that depriving yourself of sleep through adult life is likely to leave that adult life, well, shortened.

In addition, another MND Member this week shared this fascinating blog post about a study that took a small group of overweight nonsmokers, and put them on a calorie restricted diet for two weeks, half the group getting adequate sleep, and half the group on reduced sleep. In short, the results showed that both groups lost weight, but most of the weight the sleep-deprived group lost was muscle mass and body water, whereas most of the weight the adequate-sleep group lost, was body fat. So, the lesson learned – if you are trying to lose fat weight, get Read more

The many reasons why we seem to be losing the fight against rising obesity

As I have written before, the classic weight loss advice to ‘eat less, move more’ has fallen from popularity in recent years. Frankly, those of us in this industry still promoting ‘eat less, move more’ as relevant advice in the face of the rising obesity epidemic are seen as rather outdated, rather old-school. As I have also written before, I do believe that the advice should be updated to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ which rather improves on, and corrects, the original expression.

But still, it’s far more current to besmirch all that old school talk as being fattist, as lacking understanding, as being outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch. It’s considered politically incorrect these days to suggest that obesity is on the rise because people eat too much and don’t exercise enough, and indeed it’s now becoming popular to say that any so-called health professional preaching such ancient wisdom is poorly educated and lacking in sympathy and understanding for the victims of the root causes of rising obesity.

To suggest that obese people ‘just eat less and move more’ is now seen as being about as constructive and helpful as telling a depressed person to ‘just get over it and cheer up a bit’. It’s now fashionable and politically correct to see obesity as an eating disorder, and to say that anyone preaching ‘eat less, move more’ is guilty of the most heinous of 21st century crimes – fat shaming.

In our complex modern world, with obesity growing at an alarming rate (or is that just changes to the system of classification?) there are many factors we can blame for rising obesity.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

All of these factors are relevant, they all play a role, they are all true, all valid, ALL OF THEM account for why some people are overweight, and all of them matter. I am not disagreeing with any one of the thigns on that list, or a dozen more, such as the role of environmental pollution, the rise in the number of TV channels, the role of anti-obesity attitudes in our society, the availability and nutritional content of school lunches, the increase in sugar content in foods, and so on and so on.

But here’s the thing. Read more

What’s your reason why? And is it strong enough…

Why do you want to be healthy?
Why should you eat well, exercise, get an early night, drink more water, drink less booze, eat your veggies, cut down on the hedonistic lifestyle, manage your stress, join a yoga class, go running and lift a few weights?
Why would you do all that?
What’s your motivation?
What’s your reason why?

Maybe you want ‘the body beautiful’ – whatever that means to you.
Maybe you want to get your hands on someone else’s body beautiful!
Maybe you want to be bursting with energy.
Perhaps you are striving to resist the signs of ageing.
Maybe you have a family history of ill health and you are making every effort not to follow that line.
Perhaps you want to improve your performance in your chosen sport.
Maybe you want to avoid ill health, the decline of serious illness that comes later in life.

There are plenty of reasons to engage in a healthy lifestyle – do you know what yours is?

Thinking time…

That last question…

Do you know what yours is?

Did you have to think about it, or did the answer Read more

Really, it’s not rocket science…

Mother Nature’s Diet is based on the exceedingly simple, but thoroughly researched, 12 Core Principles.

I say ‘exceedingly simple’ because I believe that to be true. I believe that losing weight, having plenty of energy, avoiding ill health and feeling great truly is exceedingly simple, and after 20 years of being overweight and out of shape, drinking and smoking, being unfit and suffering health problems, now I have ‘found my way’ I am amazed how simple it all is.

However, that is only my own personal perspective. And it seems, among the thousands of people that I meet every year, that most people would not agree with me. Most people seem to really struggle, as indeed I did for 20 years, before I figured out what to do. So the question then becomes, what changed for me, from my two decades of struggling, to suddenly turning a corner and finding things so much simpler?

(Note, I say ‘simple’ but not ‘easy’. Healthy living is simple, but not always easy.)

No guidance

You see, when I changed, it took me several years, and a lot of trial-and-error,because I didn’t have a handy guide like the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet to point me in the right direction. I had to read all the contradictory diet ideas, try everything out, see through all the glitzy snakeoil sales pitches and fad diet marketing tricks, to find what really worked, so it took me some time.

Beyond the ‘how to’ I also changed my mindset. It wasn’t some glorious shining epiphany moment, it wasn’t a ‘eureka’ moment, I didn’t ‘see the light’ one day and suddenly ditch breakfast cereals and start eating broccoli. More, it was a series of slow dawning realisations, occurring mostly but not exclusively between the age of 30 and 40, as I slowly realised that if I carried on the way I was, I would almost certainly suffer obesity and type-2 diabetes through my 40s; I would likely have high blood pressure and be a prime candidate for heart disease in my 50s; and quite likely die young of cancer in my 60s, as many in my family have done before me.

So my mindset changed, I reaffirmed that I had so much to live for in my life, I ‘woke up’ to see clearly that no one else is out there looking after my health, it’s down to me. I realised that there is no government minister or department charged with helping me to look and feel my best and resist ill health and the signs of ageing. My GP doesn’t make house calls to ask how I feel today. The NHS, the food manufacturers, the drug companies, the local farmer, none of these people wake up in the morning tasked with ‘making sure Karl doesn’t develop heart disease’ as one of their goals for the day. No, I realised that only one person can do something about making sure I don’t develop heart disease a decade from now – me. And it starts with taking proactive steps today, tomorrow, and every day.

“An apple a day…keeps the doctor away”

If you never put any money away, never save any, then you are not going to be surprised 15 years from now if you have no savings. Right?

If you never get your car serviced, never do any car maintenance yourself, and never pay any attention to warning lights that light up on the dashboard, so no oil change, no air in the tryes, no radiator top up, then you won’t be too surprised a few years down the line when your car breaks down.

Well your health is the same. If you do no maintenance, then why act surprised when things break down? If you don’t eat an apple a day, and yo don’t get some exercise, and you don’t do any of the things we know we should do for good health, it seems obvious that at some point, things are going to break down, and go wrong. We know the saying isn’t “Three donuts a day, keeps the doctor away.” We know that. Yet folks out there eat donuts every day instead of apples. We know we should exercise every day, we know we should stop smoking, drink less alcohol, drink more water, eat our veggies, and we know that fish is good for us. But how many folks don’t follow these simple tips?

Take charge…or perish

No one else is out to look after your good health, you have to take personal responsibility and look after yourself.

Apathy is a killer.

After my mindset changed, and I took personal responsibility for my own future, then I made quick progress, losing over seven stones of unwanted fat (101 pounds, or 46 kilos of body fat), getting super fit and healthy, coming off my medications and quitting smoking and drinking completely.

And I figured out the 12 Core Principles that I now share with you, to help you get there quicker, and easier, than I did.

Core Principle 1 – cut back on all those starchy carbs, most folks eat far too much of that stuff and they don’t lead high-energy lives that burn all that sugary fuel.

Core Principle 2 – quit the refined sugar, it’s a modern-day dietary disaster.

Core Principle 3 – reduce your reliance on processed foods, switch to fresh, ideally local, whole foods, better for you, better for the planet, better for animal welfare, better for farmers, better for everyone.

Core Principle 4 – stop smoking and drink less!

Core Principle 5 – get out for some fresh air every day.

Core Principle 6 – drink plenty of water, be sure you are well hydrated.

Core Principle 7 – just eat fresh whole foods. Vegetables, fish, eggs, meat, fruits, nuts, seeds and really not much else.

Core Principle 8 – focus on quality, not quantity. Buy organic, buy sustainably farmed.

Core Principle 9 – get some exercise, every single day!

Core Principle 10 – chill out, work a little less, laugh a little more, reduce stress and sleep more.

Core Principle 11 – spend more time out in nature, enjoy the countryside, make it a habit.

Core Principle 12 – get the above right 90% (or more) of the time and then chill out over the last 10%. Your long term results will not be determined by the 5% or 10% of the time you skip a workout or eat the pizza and ice cream. Your long term results come from the 90% to 95% of days that you DO workout and you do eat the veggies and fish. Get it right at least 90% of the time, and stick to it, consistent simple healthy living will win the day.

Really, it’s not Rocket Science…

So my question to you is this: what’s stopping you?

If you just refuse to take your own health seriously, and you can’t follow such simple steps to take care of yourself…why not? What needs to change about your mindset?

My invitation to you is this – take your health seriously, before something serious takes your health.

To you and your future!

Karl

If you could put a price on it, what is your good health worth?

I think it’s true to say that most people don’t realise the true value of good health, until it’s gone.

I meet people every day who won’t spend the extra money to buy organic, they definitely won’t spend the extra required to buy grass-fed meat or organic, free-range poultry. I meet people every day who say gym membership is too expensive, running shoes and lycra clothing are too costly, and they don’t have time to work out because they are too busy working, because their demanding career comes first.

When it comes to making the best health decisions, price is often an objection.

Yet I also meet a lot of people who have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and I have never yet met one person with a terminal cancer or in recovery after a heart attack, who still thinks gym fees are too expensive, or still says buying organic isn’t worth the cost. I’ve never met anyone who has been given a terminal diagnosis, who wouldn’t give you all the money they have to live a few years longer.

It’s true, most people don’t value their good health until it’s gone.

Causes and factors

Of course, the whole subject of what causes cancer or what causes heart disease is generally a bit more complicated than ‘well you didn’t buy organic veg, so now you have terminal cancer’, or ‘you didn’t work out in the gym, so now you are cruising for your second heart attack’. Certainly, in reality it’s a lot more complicated than that.

In the real world, what causes these ill health conditions is usually a combined effect of many such factors and causes, stacked up over a period of time. Of course, a certain percentage of cancers are unavoidable, genetic defects. A certain percentage of heart conditions are congenital defects, there’s little we can do about them. But the truth is that the vast majority of diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases and cancers, are affected, and made more likely, to one degree or another, by our diet and lifestyle choices.

There are many known Read more

The more you just ‘do’, the more you will continue to do 

I observe people quite a lot in my life.

My work is very varied, and involves public speaking, training people, working in groups, coaching people, leading people in outdoor activities, meeting friends and colleagues, mentoring people, working on collaborative projects and so on. Throughout this varied work, over the last two decades, I have observed that it’s only really quite a small percentage of people who ‘just do’ things, compared to a majority who live somewhere on the periphery of action – usually either right ‘on the cusp’ observing, wanting to take part, vicariously living on the edge, but never quite stepping up, or others tend to be further back, watching the action from something of a distance, or even way back, along with the ‘wall flowers’ of our world.

It takes all sorts, as they say.

Allow me to explain what I am talking about.

I find that few people ‘just do it’ as the expression goes. By it, I mean all kinds of things. Most people move into adulthood and fairly quickly settle into a set of circumstances that are familiar and comfortable. When the suggestion comes up to do something different, to push into unfamiliar territory, they default to a bunch of ‘reasons’ (ummm, excuses I call it) to hold back.

It might be trying a new sport, going on a trip, or changing a familiar routine, but people resist new, they resist change, and this can go on for months, for years, for decades. If you are one of those people, maybe you realise, it can go on for an entire life time.

All the excuses

I’ll write using the terms “I” and “you” but these are not about me, and you, they are just generalisations, about many people.

Last weekend I led a couple of friends to climb their first ever mountain, so that seems like a good place to start.

You’ve never climbed a mountain but you have always thought you might like Read more

You don’t really want to change…you’re happy as you are…

You like your life just the way it is. You’re comfortable where you are, you don’t want to change.

Your body, your weight, your health…how you look and how you feel, you are happy where you are, right?

The brilliant, original and funny Larry Winget says this, and I think he is bang on right. Perhaps you are sitting reading this. As you sit there, I’ll bet you are sitting mostly still, not really moving much at all. I guess you are fairly comfortable. I mean, if you were uncomfortable, you would move, right?

If you were sat there and you were uncomfortable, say your left buttock had ‘gone to sleep’ or you had pins and needles in one foot, or the chair side was digging into your leg and making you sore, or if there was a lump or spike sticking out of the chair seat that was painful to sit on, well then you would move, right?

You see, as Larry says, when we are uncomfortable, we move, we shift, we change, until we can become comfortable again. But when we are comfortable, we stop moving and stay put, we relax.

Now apply that to everything in your life.

  • What you see when you are naked standing in front of a full length mirror
  • How you feel, your energy levels, your level of vitality
  • How you look, your body shape, your weight, your muscles, your belly and bum
  • What you have in your bank account
  • How you feel about the job you get up and go to every day
  • How you feel about your relationships…with your spouse or partner, your boss, your kids
  • Your sex life
  • Your performance in your choice of sport or hobby
  • Your performance in bed
  • Everything

You are comfortable with where you are at.
If you were truly uncomfortable, you would move, shift, change.

Every week people tell me how unhappy they are about their weight, or how they look, or how they feel, or their energy levels, or their muscle mass, strength, speed, love, life… but then they trip out all the endless excuses why they can’t eat this, won’t train that, too busy to work this, don’t like to eat that, don’t have time for this, feel awkward doing that…the list is always long, it just goes on and on.

The truth is, they are comfortable, and until they get uncomfortable, they just won’t change.

I’m not saying they are happy. Just, comfortable.

Ouch.

Sadly, all too often, I meet people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, for whom finally ‘getting uncomfortable enough’, is a heart attack, or a cancer diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one.

Don’t be one of them.

Set your goals, keep your standards high, and get uncomfortable enough to make forward progress.

To your good health!

Karl

Change, change again, and then change again!

Training!
How is your training going?

Core Principle 9 of Mother Nature’s Diet says ‘Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure.’

Do you? Move, daily? With variety and consistency?

Let’s focus on the variety bit today.

As a set of basic guidelines, at Mother Nature’s Diet we encourage variety, we encourage you to do some cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling or swimming, at least a couple of times per week, and some strength training, such as weights, bodyweight calisthenics or similar resistance training, at least a couple of times per week. With a backdrop of walking every day, and a session or two each week of yoga or simple stretching, this makes for a good balanced week – that’s plenty of variety.

If you are currently inactive, or if you don’t follow any kind of specific exercise plan or training regime, then that basic framework described above should be a good goal to aim for, so get started and stick to it.

But if you are already following a training plan, you do already exercise regularly or play a certain sport, then you need to incorporate variety in other ways. We are talking about including more variety in your training from week to week, month to month, year to year, to keep your body and fitness growing and to keep you interested, fresh and making progress.

Plateau busting

All too often I meet folks who exercise on a regular basis but they are tired, not getting results, fed up because of a lack of progress. This is so common, it happens to almost everyone, and it can be such a frustrating place. Maybe you run and your 10k or half marathon just doesn’t seem to be getting any faster. Your PB has been stuck for two years and it’s driving you nuts. Or maybe you lift and you just can’t understand why your bench hasn’t improved in over a year, despite the fact you train chest twice a week without fail.

Being stuck is often a result of doing the same thing all the time and not creating any variety in your training. The runner who Read more

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for…

Step right up! It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for.

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Its name?

Exercise.

At this point, you might think this is b/s, you might think I’m toying with you. But no. I am in fact, quoting verbatim from this page, on the NHS website.

Not snake oil sales tricks, not hyperbole, not lies or sensationalism designed to sell you the latest miracle supplement or piece of over-priced exercise equipment. The NHS. A website giving you sensible advice paid for by your taxes.

Regular, varied exercise really is the miracle cure worth hundreds of billions of pounds that we all wish for…yet it is right there, freely available to us, and many ignore it.

Regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, the global #1 killer.

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Regular exercise can improve blood sugar regulation for diabetics.

Regular exercise can help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Regular exercise can help with diabetes management.

Regular exercise seems to help prevent dementia.

Regular exercise can help combat rising obesity.

Regular exercise can help reduce all-cause mortality.

The WHO, the NHS, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes.co.uk, Harvard School of Public Health – these are not quack sources, not snake oil salesmen, these are the biggest names in public health. Exercise is the miracle cure, yet surveys suggest that only around one third of UK adults take the minimum recommended amount of daily exercise (and frankly, that minimum is set pretty low) and a full one third of UK adults get absolutely no exercise at all. Zero. Nothing. None.

Pound for pound, it’s the best and cheapest preventive medicine strategy available. I have written before that fitness is more important than fatness, and Mother Nature’s Diet includes Core Principle 9 – varied daily exercise.

So the questions is – are you doing it?

If not, why not?

To your good health!

Karl

Do this, live longer. Odds on. It’s simple.

If you have attended one of my live seminars, you will have heard me explain, in as much detail as I had time for on the day, that I believe the Mother Nature’s Diet lifestyle offers you the best all-round sustainable healthy lifestyle for avoiding heart disease, stroke, all-types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more.

The 12 Core Principles have been worked out and put together from my own 27-year journey through obesity and poor health to the outstanding good health and abundant energy that I now enjoy, combined with the hundreds of books and studies I have read, dozens of courses and seminars attended and everything I have learned meeting with experts and learning through observation, trial and error.

I believe that MND offers the best all-round preventive medicine lifestyle, the best way for most people to live to extend life, avoid all causes of premature mortality, improve farm animal welfare, help conserve our environment and mitigate climate change and enjoy protection against the signs of ageing. I teach that I believe we all have more choice in these matters than we know.

In my live seminars, or in our MND subscription Members Group, I often explain that I think over half of all chronic ill health in our country is broadly avoidable, for most people. Of course, there are details, and exceptions, but I do believe that over half of all heart disease, stroke, cancers, type-2 diabetes and more is entirely preventable. Cancer Research UK suggest that around 42% of UK cancer is easily preventable, and I often say that I believe their data to be conservative.

So, to that end, you may be interested in this study from Canada which looked at all cancer cases in the Canadian province of Alberta in 2012, and calculated that 41% of cancer cases could have been avoided through lifestyle and environmental modifications.

Again, personally, I would imagine this data to be pretty conservative.

This is not the first time I have shared such research with you. There is growing evidence to support these claims.

Here’s the point, and I’ll keep it plain and simple and short for you. HALF of all the cancer and heart disease in our society could be avoided. HALF. Mother Nature’s Diet is a simple, easy-to-follow, sustainable lifestyle, it costs you nothing to follow the site, follow the blog, follow the 12 Core Principles, yet it could massively reduce your cancer risk and extend your life by a decade or two.

Half of all cancer
Half the misery
Half the tears
Half the loss

I invite you to take your health seriously…
…before something serious, takes your health.

1luvx

Karl

Stay sober, have sex and eat chocolate

Some people look at the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet and they tell me it all looks too hard, too limiting, too restrictive. Broadly speaking, I work hard to make Mother Nature’s Diet as simple, accessible and sustainable as I can – I think it’s all based on common sense, I think I have taken lots of science and given you some simple easy steps to follow, and I think it should prove beneficial to almost everyone.

I’m big on common sense, and on keeping things simple, and natural, avoiding overly-complicated solutions, expensive supplements and complex guidelines to follow. Mother Nature’s Diet is all about sustainable lifestyle choices – no fad behaviour, just sensible long-term healthy living.

Making changes

I am constantly suggesting that you drink less alcohol, because alcohol consumption in our society is, in my opinion, too high, and most people do not realise it is a risk factor for cancer and other health problems. New research now shows that even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline. Folks, we all need to drink less. A glass or two, four, five or more times per week is not ‘moderate’ and we need to cut down.

However, there is good news around chocolate. While we all need to drink less alcohol in order to resist cognitive decline, research really does seem to support the fact that eating a bit of dark chocolate has quite the opposite effect and can be good for cognitive function as we age. This is good news! Drink less alcohol, but feel free to eat some good quality dark chocolate! Hoorah for dark chocolate! Just remember, it’s the high cocoa content that is beneficial, so make sure you buy high quality dark chocolate, not the sugar-filled cheap milk chocolate! While you are at it, shoot for Fairtrade, and organic!

Research also suggests that maintaining muscular strength is another way to defend against cognitive decline. In my blog posts and at my live events, I tell you to lift weight, or do bodyweight exercises (like push-ups, squats and crunches) to maintain muscular strength as you age. I often say this advice is more important for ladies of 50 and over, than it is for men of 40 and under. That is to say, as a stereotypical generalisation, that younger men rarely lack muscular strength, but older women frequently do. Ladies, this is important – use your muscles! Use it or lose it!

You may not like weight training, but there are plenty of ways to use your muscles without hefting barbells in a gym full of sweaty grunting types. You can take up a sport you enjoy, join a yoga class, workout at home in front of a home-workout DVD, or engage in our other favourite home workout – bedroom athletics. Research has linked a regular healthy sex life in women with living longer. That’s got to be good news then!

And all that dark chocolate, sex and weight training…or weight training, sex and dark chocolate, depending on which order you like to put it all in, is bound to help you experience a range of positive, happy emotions. That’s good news too, because research now shows that people who experience a range of positive emotions, seem to suffer less systemic inflammation, which is a key marker for so many chronic health problems, from irritable bowels to heart disease.

So, you see, I think the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet aren’t so bad after all –

  • Drink less booze
  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Hit the gym and enjoy some weight training
  • Have more sex
  • And enjoy it all

See, that’s not so hard, is it?

This healthy living thing isn’t as bad as you might think. At Mother Nature’s Diet we don’t count calories and we don’t starve, instead we eat plenty of delicious, wholesome good food, including dark chocolate, and we enjoy our regular exercise, including good sex, and we like to get a tan and we get plenty of healthy sleep.

No fad diet mentality here, no deprivation, no misery.
Just sensible, sustainable healthy living.

What’s not to love about that?

The hard stuff is easy…it’s the easy stuff that so many people find hard

Promoting common-sense based healthy living, the Mother Nature’s Diet way, I travel around the country doing seminars and workshops, I give people one-to-one training and mentoring, and I meet a lot of doctors, trainers, nutritional therapists and other health professionals.

When I started all this five years ago, I would have thought it would be ‘the hard stuff’ that people would struggle with, that was my expectation. By ‘the hard stuff’ I mean overcoming years of low self-esteem, quitting smoking, overcoming the spiral of negative emotions that so often lead to poor health habits in the first place, or learning about nutrition and exercise, learning what to eat and what to avoid. I would have thought that was the hard stuff that most people did not understand, and I would have thought that would be the stuff folks find hard to deal with.

But in reality, when I talk to people who are making changes to their diet and lifestyle to lose weight, get fitter and improve their health, it’s not that stuff they are looking for help with. Far more often, the stuff they want help with is stuff that I think is ‘the easy stuff’. It’s things like – ‘what can I eat for breakfast?’ and ‘how can I find time to exercise?’ and ‘what am I supposed to eat for dinner?’

Seriously, this is the easy stuff!

Let me share with you some simple tips for the things people tell me they find difficult.

What to eat – breakfast

  • We want to get away from cereals and toast. Make scrambled eggs. Once you get good at it, then it only takes three or four minutes, that’s no time at all. I met a lady the other day, a GP, who said she’s got hers down to under 90 seconds! Quicker than me!
  • I like to add greens to my eggs, so I throw in a few handfuls of spinach while they are cooking, it all cooks down in there and adds valuable nutrients to my breakfast. Sometimes I add some mushrooms too, and then a fresh tomato on the side
  • If you fancy a sausage or two, or some bacon with your eggs, that’s great. But organic sausages, high meat content and gluten free, that’s best
  • If you want the bacon or the sausages, but don’t have time to grill them every day, then just grill a batch at the weekend or one evening when you do have time, and then keep them in the fridge – you can grab a couple out, chop them up and thrown them in your scrambled eggs to heat up while you are cooking, it only takes seconds
  • Cooked brekky in under 5 minutes = no excuses
  • Sometimes in summer I like a bowl of fresh fruits for breakfast, with a handful of mixed nuts added to make things a bit more substantial. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apple and later in the season, blackberries too. You might like to add pineapple, watermelon or grapefruit
    If you own a blender, ‘bullet’ or similar, then knocking up a breakfast smoothie a couple of times per week can be a very quick solution – you can even take it with you and drink it in the car!
  • Further ideas if you have time, are on this site

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