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Lockdown, love, nature, air and the future

I don’t dare use the “U” word…

Unprecedented.

Until 2020, most people would go from one year to the next without encountering the U word.

Now it seems as though it’s the most overused word in the English language and everyone is bored of hearing it.
But, the truth remains, these really are unprecedented times.
I’m almost 50 years old and we’ve certainly never experienced anything like this before in my lifetime.

Lockdown has meant many things to many people.

  • Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Emotional pain
  • Financial pain
  • Loneliness
  • And more besides

To others it’s meant…

  • Time
  • Connection
  • They’ve slowed down
  • They’ve smelled the roses, for the first time in years
  • They’ve sat out in the sun, topped up their vitamin D, relaxed and reduced stress
  • They’ve taken walks with their kids
  • Made all those long chatty phone calls to old friends they have been meaning to catch up with
  • Been for a bike ride with their daughter
  • Made LEGO with their son
  • Made their first jigsaw puzzle in 15 years
  • Had a lie in
  • They’ve walked in their home-city streets in the cleanest air they can ever remember
  • They’ve enjoyed the peace and quiet in their town, with 60% of the usual traffic gone from the roads
  • Air pollution is down
  • Greenhouse gas emissions, by some early accounts, have regressed to 2009 levels
  • Cities can breathe again
  • Skies are clearer
  • Noise pollution is down
  • Stressed executives are now working from home, not getting up at 5.30am for the 90-minute rush hour commute
  • As a nation, we are realising, it’s not the movie stars, golf pros, rock stars and premier league goal scorers we stand out and applaud every Thursday evening
  • The new stars are nurses and doctors, power grid engineers, delivery drivers, school teachers, farmers, sewage engineers and water treatment plant workers

Locked in our homes, isolated from all our normal social movements, it’s not the rock concert or star-studded movie or the big match we miss so much as…

  • Hugging mum
  • A walk on the beach
  • Laughing over sillyness with best friends
  • A picnic in the park
  • Walking in nature
  • Camping with the kids
  • Sunday lunch with granny and grandad

I wonder, as countries release tight social movement restrictions, how we might have changed.

  • Will the stressed workaholic now see that time with the kids is actually more important that a new Mercedes?
  • Will that long commute now seem like a chore just not worth the price?
  • Will some kids realise that kicking a ball around in the park has always been better than PlayStation and Xbox?
  • Will we see that 500 channels of 24/7 TV, is a poor form of entertainment compared to walking over hills and cliff tops?
  • Will we put down some of our apps, and spend more time cooking, hugging, and laughing with our families?
  • Will more people now see, that our “natural capital”, the inherent value to our wellbeing in our woodlands, hills, beaches, parks and natural places, is worth more than this year’s dividend, a new car, or the latest consumer electronics?

They say “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” – and when we’re locked in our homes, and access to nature is restricted, we re-discover how important our natural capital really is.

  • Clean air
  • The beauty of nature
  • The sounds of birdsong
  • Holding hands
  • The leaves on the trees
  • Hugging
  • Dew-soaked wet morning grass beneath your feet
  • Sunshine
  • Laughter
  • Friendship

I hope we find ‘new good’ in our ‘new world’ as we adjust to our ‘new normal’.

How has lockdown changed you?
How has this time in our lives made you think?

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane.

Karl

Pandemic 2020: a summary of this week’s mini-series

Part 5 (5 of 5)
Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

Over the course of this week I have shared a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible.

I hope you have read the whole series and found them useful. If you have any questions, please do feel free to ask.

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 5 of 5 – Friday: 

Summary of the week, and your best steps forward for a safer, healthier future

On Monday I shared a summary of where we are so far, I provided you with lots of links for those who wanted to watch/read/learn more, and I listed some of the most clearly identified risk factors associated with the most severe outcomes for patients with Covid-19.

On Tuesday, I bullet-pointed the most pertinent point, that I believe everyone needs to understand. That is, when lockdown is over and we all go back out to get on with our work and our lives, the virus will still be there, and it will reach us. Lockdown won’t make it go away. It’s incredibly unlikely that a cure is coming any time soon. A vaccine might be two years away, or it might take the next 30 years or more. A world that includes coronavirus, but no cure and no vaccine, is the new normal, you had better get used to it.

On Wednesday, in Part 3, I drilled home the key point of this whole mini-series, that unless you stay home for the next decade, at some point in time it’s highly likely this virus will enter your body. When it does, the degree to which you suffer any symptoms, depends largely on how healthy you are. Therefore, whatever age, gender, ethnicity, colour, size or shape you are, the best thing you can do right now is start working on being healthier.

And on Thursday, in Part 4, I shared with you a massive list of (around 61) resources, mostly free, you can use to help you live a healthier life, and to reduce your risk in the new world order.
You can significantly improve your chances of only suffering minor symptoms with Covid-19 by being healthier.
People who are obese, diabetic, have poor metabolic function, poor cardiovascular fitness, and poor immune function, all face greater risk of suffering severe outcomes.

Closing thoughts – no, not sugar coated

This week, I have tried my best to give you a fair, unbiased, scientifically backed-up, referenced, up-to-date picture of the pandemic so far.

I’ve tried to give you clear, plain-English facts, not overly-dramatic, but I’ve not shied away from ugly truths.

I’ve tried to give you a ton of resources, many free, some paid for. If you chose to read all that has been offered, you’ll have hundreds of pages of reading to work through, and multiple hours of free, quality video from intelligent, trusted sources. I can assure you, every link I have provided this week has been read and vetted – it’s all solid and not a word of scammy fake news to be found. That’s my job, that’s what I do, I sift the crap from the truth and only give you the good stuff. That’s what my customers pay me for.

I hope this mini-series has been useful, and valuable to you.
If you have any questions, or if there is any way I can be of help to you, please feel free to ask.

To your future.
For now, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.

Karl

Living with coronavirus: your strategy in our new world, step by step

Part 4 (4 of 5)
Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

This week I am sharing a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible.

I hope you have been following this series so far, and I hope you are finding it useful. If you have any questions, please do feel free to ask.

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 4 of 5 – Thursday: 

Strategy for the future, step by step

On Monday I shared a summary of where we are so far, I provided you with lots of links for those who wanted to watch/read/learn more, and I listed some of the most clearly identified risk factors associated with the most severe outcomes for patients with Covid-19.

On Tuesday, I bullet-pointed the most pertinent point, that I believe everyone needs to understand. That is, when lockdown is over and we all go back out to get on with our work and our lives, the virus will still be there, and it will reach us. Lockdown won’t make it go away. It’s incredibly unlikely that a cure is coming any time soon. A vaccine might be two years away, or it might take the next 30 years or more. 

On Wednesday, in Part 3, I drilled home the key point of this whole mini-series, that unless you stay home for the next decade, at some point in time it’s highly likely this virus will enter your body. When it does, the degree to which you suffer any symptoms, depends largely on how healthy you are. Therefore, whatever age, gender, ethnicity, colour, size or shape you are, the best thing you can do right now is start working on being healthier.

The healthiest possible version of you will ride out this storm in the best possible shape.

What can you actually do?

Prevention, that’s the name of the game.
Our goal is to get you healthier, to prevent Covid-19 from making you unwell.
Over the last 3 days, we’ve set the stage, so I am not going to repeat it all here.

We’ve seen evidence to suggest that all these factors make for the most severe outcomes in Covid-19 patients:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure (and other markers for heart disease)
  • Poor metabolic function/metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Heart problems (this will include poor cardiovascular fitness)
  • Lung problems (this might include smoking, and being unfit and in poor physical shape)
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune problems
  • Poor gut function (precursor and underlying causal factor in autoimmune problems)
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Our strategy going forward should be to do everything we can to reverse or mitigate these factors.
We’ve discussed that you can’t change your age, your sex or your ethnicity…but you can lose weight, improve your immune function, and improve your cardiovascular fitness, all of which will be of massive benefit to you.

So what can you do?
Let’s get straight to it.

Quit smoking

  • Seriously, just quit. Covid-19 is a lung disease for goodness sake. It’s very bad news for smokers.
  • Get help, it’s freetalk to your GP, even with social distancing in place you can access services to help you.

Drink less alcohol

Smoking, drinking, and eating junk food. Is it part of your personality?

Lose weight

Gut health and immune function

Would you just look at all ^ ^ ^ this ^ ^ ^ !!!
I did promise you back in Part 1 on Monday that every part of this series would include a ton of links to free help.
Hours of blogs, videos, webinars, free books, all to help you to be healthier and fitter so you don’t get sick when coronavirus reaches you, in 2020 or 2021. I’m really tryign to help.

Improve your fitness

All of the above – just get healthy!

Wash your hands!

  • Seriously, it’s just not a tough thing to do. Wash them often, properly, with warm water and soap, for like a whole minute, every time you are about to leave the house, and as soon as you come home. And consider wearing gloves when you are out. And clean that mobile phone sometimes!

Vitamins, supplements, protection

Holy moly!!!

That’s ^ ^ ^ a lot of stuff for you!

Tomorrow, in Part 5, the final part in this series, we’ll summarise the whole thing in brief and recap on the key take-aways. (After this, today, I’ll keep it brief, pinky promise!)

Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.

Karl

Covid-19 Part 3: You, vulnerability, and your best defence.

Part 3 (3 of 5)
Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

This week I am sharing a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible.

I hope you have been following this series so far, and I hope you are finding it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 3 of 5 – Wednesday: 

You, vulnerability, and your best defence.

On Monday I shared a summary of where we are so far, I provided you with lots of links for those who wanted to watch/read/learn more, and I listed some of the most clearly identified risk factors associated with the most severe outcomes for patients with Covid-19.

Then, yesterday, I bullet-pointed the most pertinent point, that I believe everyone needs to understand. That is, when lockdown is over and we all go back out to get on with our work and our lives, the virus will still be there, and it will reach us. Lockdown won’t make it go away. It’s incredibly unlikely that a cure is coming any time soon. A vaccine might be two years away, or it might take the next 30 years or more.

Today, in Part 3, the shortest of this 5-part series, I just want to drill home the main point of the whole series.
I have already mentioned it in both Part 1 and Part 2. But, for clarity…
Unless you stay home for the next decade, at some point in time it’s highly likely this virus will enter your body.
When it does, the degree to which you suffer any symptoms, depends largely on how healthy you are.
As we saw in Part 1, there are a few risk factors you can’t change, such as age, ethnicity, gender and so on.
And there is a segment of the population who have serious underlying health conditions. If you have a long-term heart problem or lung problem, or if you are a cancer sufferer or such like, no amount of “eat a healthy diet and get some exercise” advice is going to be of much help in mitigating the health risk Covid-19 presents. For these people, lifestyle modification is going to remain a key defence strategy. That’s not much fun, I’m sorry.

For everyone else, there is lots you can do to make yourself healthier, and reduce the likelihood that Covid-19 will put you in hospital.

In the vast majority of cases seen so far, it appears the health (and age, yes) of the person seems to be the major determining factor in how sick they get.
As we detailed previously, in Part 1, the people suffering the worst outcomes from Covid-19, including death, are the elderly (usually with underlying comorbidities) and those with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. We saw that obesity, COPD, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, poor immune function and vitamin D deficiency are all likely to lead – even in the young – to more severe symptoms and outcomes with Covid-19.

Allow me to repeat myself, please:

Covid-19: The degree to which you suffer any symptoms, depends largely on how healthy you are.

You can’t change your sex, your age or your ethnicity, but you can lose weight, get fitter, improve your cardiovascular fitness, improve your gut health and hence your immune function, and you can get out in the sunshine to top up your vitamin D.

Yes, it’s that simple.

My good friend and fellow PT said to me yesterday “Karlos old mate, I like your work, but you write in big fancy words, trying to sound all grown-up and scientific like a doctor. Some days mate, you just gotta tell it like it is, in plain English.”

He’s right.

OK, in plain English.

  • Over the next few years, this coronavirus will enter your body.
  • If you’re young and super healthy, there’s a high chance you won’t even notice and you won’t be ill at all.
  • If you are obese, diabetic, unfit, out of shape and you eat a shit diet, it’s going to make you very sick indeed. It could even kill you. Especially if you are male, and over 50, and Asian, and an ex-smoker.
  • Wise up, now, and get to work on making yourself healthier.
  • Stop procrastinating. No, the government are not going to pop round and give you a pill for this.
  • It’s down to you. Get to it. NOW.

Is that English plain enough?

Where to start?
Yesterday, at the end of Part 2, I listed a buch of free resources you might like to start with.

Here’s some more stuff for you.

Want to start by losing some weight?
Here – Free help for those who want it
Here – The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet It’s 10,000 words, that’ll take you about 90 minutes to read through. It’s a concise summary of what I learned in my 28-year journey from fat to fit. I wrestled obesity, yo-yo diets, smoking and drinking for two decades, then I lost 101 pounds of fat (7 stone 3, 46 kilos) and got all fit and healthy. It took me 28 years to learn it. It took me hundreds of hours to nail the message down to 10,000 words. It took me several days to write it. And here it is – fucking free! (plain enough English, Joe mate?) If I can put in 28 years learning, blood sweat and tears running marathons, climbing mountains and lifting weights and facing my addictions and emotional demons, then go to the trouble of spending several days writing it up for you, and give it to you free, don’t tell me you don’t have time to read it!
Here – Mother Nature’s Diet in all the detail, complete with 28-day Meal Plan and home workout program.
Here – Nail the basics

Want to get fitter?
Hit me up, hire me as a PT, I’m “all stick and no carrot”, so be prepared for an arse kicking.
I asked one of my clients yesterday what she gets from training with me, she said “Karl gets me training even when I don’t feel like it, and I always feel better for doing so! Some good giggles along the way too.”
Want it for free? YouTube, go for it, if you have the motivation, there are a million free workouts on the Tube.

Want to improve your immune system?
Check out my friends great video (just 5 minutes) and upgrade your shopping list. She even made a FREE recipe book for you too, full of recipes that include all the foods you need.

Want it all in one package?
Weight loss, healthy living, better health all around, following a plan designed to minimise disease, improve heart health, improve gut health, boost your immune system and resist the signs of ageing. Includes actual workouts to do online together, complete with full instructions and warm-up, and downloadable meal plans. All in one place. Do it now.
Seriously, no excuses, over the next few years, your life may depend on it.

Tomorrow, in Part 4, like a healthy-living-link-fest, we’ll list everything you can do right now, while you’re at home on lockdown, to lose weight, improve your metabolic function, improve your immune health, improve your fitness and set yourself on a new path to a healthier future.

Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.

Karl

After lockdown – Part 2: The pertinent bit you really need to know

Part 2 (2 of 5)
Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

This week, I will be sharing a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible. I will include links to some free resources (and a few paid products that can help you) for you every day.

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 2 of 5 – Tuesday: 

The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.

Yesterday I shared a summary of where we are so far, I provided you with lots of links for those who wanted to watch/read/learn more, and I listed some of the most clearly identified risk factors associated with the most severe outcomes for patients with Covid-19.

If we had to summarise yesterday’s post in two sentences, it might be to say:

“Our world has changed; there is a new disease around and there is a high likelihood that at some point over the next few years, everyone is going to be exposed to it. The degree to which that might make you ill, depends on a few factors you can’t change (age, gender, ethnicity, ex-smoker status) and a few factors you can change – obesity, metabolic health, cardiovascular health and immune system health.”

The point of this post is to clarify the most important bit that I feel a lot of people don’t yet fully appreciate.

Again, for brevity and clarity, I’m going to bullet point this for you – I want the points to be clear, not lost in waffle:

  • Lockdown isn’t going to last forever.
  • When lockdown is over, and we all start going out again, to work, to socialise, to get on with our lives, many of us will then become exposed to this virus.
  • If it’s “not safe” for you out there now, in May 2020, what makes you think it will be safe for you out there in August, or November, or February next year?
  • It won’t be.
  • As explained in the lengthy and detailed webinar I shared yesterday, lockdown and social distancing is designed to suppress the peak, to save the NHS (and other health services in other countries) from being overwhelmed with high demand.
  • As John Cairns quite famously pointed out in November 1985 in Scientific American, (Quoted by Siddhartha Mukherjee here)  “In the history of medicine, no signficant disease has ever been eradicated by a treatment-related program alone. If one plotted the decline in deaths from tuberculosis, for instance, the decline predated the arrival of new antibiotics by several decades. Far more potently than any miracle medicine, relatively uncelebrated shifts in civic arrangements – better nutrition, housing, and sanitation, improved sewage systems and ventilation – had driven TB mortality down in Europe and America. Polio and smallpox had also dwindled as a result of vaccinations. The death rates from malaria, cholera, typhus, tuberculosis, scurvy, pellagra and other scourges of the past have dwindled in the US because humankind has learned how to prevent these disease.”
  • My point is: don’t think we will go into lockdown, sit home for 12 weeks, then come out and just go back to normal, “oh yippee everyone is safe again, they have a new pill that can cure this thing.” Nope. No major disease has ever been eradicated through cure – only through prevention.
  • So, lockdown is meant to suppress the peak, the surge. If tens of thousands of elderly, immune compromised and vulnerable people all got sick with Covid-19 at the same time, the NHS would be overwhelmed, and would have no capacity (beds, doctors, nurses, drugs, surgeons, etc.) to cope with all that they normally do – helping with heart attacks, cancer patients, car crashes, and so on.
  • In such a surge, not only would Covid-19 sufferers die, but so would many other people, through lack of resources to help them and treat them.
  • You can see, lockdown is essential to save lives, and there may be further lockdowns in the future (we don’t yet know if this virus will be seasonal or not).
  • But lockdown is not a cure. It won’t cure the disease or make the virus go away. All lockdown is doing is slowing the rate of spread.
  • It buys the NHS some time, to build new health care capacity.
  • I believe, that most of the ‘old, existing NHS infrastructure’ will then go back to doing its’ regular work, while the new capacity will come online to treat Covid-19.
  • It’s going to take some time to make, test, manufacture and roll out, a safe and effective vaccine. This might be 18 months, but it could be 18 years, or more, we just don’t know.
  • (Taking influenza as an example, in 1918 the pandemic killed many millions. Since then, a century of research and development, and we still have to ‘best guess’ a new batch of vaccines every year, and flu still kills half a million people every season. Please understand, coming out of lockdown doesn’t mean a vaccine is just around the corner and everything is going to be OK.)
  • And we can’t stay locked down for the long term, as the economic cost to the UK, and to the world, will ultimately cost more lives than we are trying to save.

I am sorry, this isn’t exactly cheery bedtime story stuff, is it.

Summary

Remember, yesterday in Part 1 I set out the basic facts we know so far, and concluded that the best thing you can do to help yourself is to use this time at home on lockdown to start working on yourself, start working on being the healthiest person you can be.

Today in Part 2, the pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand is this:

  • There is a new virus around, and it’s not going away.
  • After lockdown, it’ll still be here.
  • Lockdown won’t cure it.
  • It’s incredibly unlikely that a ‘cure’ will be invented any time soon.
  • A vaccine might be two years away, or two decades, or more.
  • After lockdown, you have to go back out, to normal life, and when you do, you will be exposed to this virus.
  • How much the virus harms you, is partly (largely) determined by how healthy you are.
  • Time to focus on your own good health, it’s the best defence you have. More on this tomorrow, in Part 3. 

If you are ready to start taking your health seriously, if waiting for Part 3 tomorrow seems like a delayed opportunity, why not dive in to some of these free resources and get started today.
Subscribe to my blog.
Join my newsletter.
Download some free ebooks.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Learn about the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet.

If you really want to get your game face on, check out my book now and order a copy ASAP while you have time at home to read it and implement healthy changes into your life right away.

Tomorrow, in Part 3, and on Thursday in Part 4, we’ll look in more detail at what you can do right now, while you’re at home on lockdown, to start getting healthier, improve your metabolic function, improve your immune health and improve your fitness.

Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.

Karl

Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown. Part 1

Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

This week, I will be sharing a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible. I will include links to some free resources (and a few paid products that can help you) for you every day.

Your health and your future after lockdown.

  • Part 1: What we have learned so far. Facts that matter, in brief.
  • Part 2: The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.
  • Part 3: You, vulnerability, and your best defence.
  • Part 4: Strategy for the future, step by step.
  • Part 5: Summary of the whole week, brief and visual.

Part 1 of 5 – Monday:

What we have learned so far.

I have a lot to share this week, and I am sure you have better things to do that read self-indulgent waffle, so in the interests of keeping it brief and valuable, I am delivering this in the shortest, bullet-point style that I can.

If you want to read the lengthy version, and the research, follow all the links and ‘fill yer boots’ as there is plenty to take on board.

This post I wrote back in mid-March is a good place to start.

  • That post lays out how this pandemic is different from regular flu, why it’s different and who should be most concerned.
  • That post was written when the death toll in the UK was just 104 people, and it addresses the question “With only 104 deaths, is this a big deal?”
  • In the 46 days since that was written, the death toll in the UK has risen to 28,446. So, yes, this is a big deal. I send my condolences to all the friends and families of those 28,446 people.
  • It’s not too long, read it here if you need a refresh on the basic facts.

Next, for a complete primer on the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, you might like to watch this complete webinar.

For my Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) customers (MND Life!), I spend hours researching, checking endless news sources, speaking with doctor friends, trawling papers on PubMed, and digging through scientific references, and I write newsletters and blogs that present, to the best of my ability, facts that are proven and can be backed up. I make lengthy webinars, taking tens of hundreds of hours of books and research and scientific papers, and condensing it all down into an hour or so of straight talk, in plain English. This is what my customers pay me for.

I recently did just this for Covid-19. The end result was a 2-hour webinar presenting, at the time I made it, 9th April, the best information available.

I’ve made over 100 hours of these webinars over the last four years. Many of my customers said my Covid-19 webinar was excellent, full of facts, clarity, myth busting and some ideas about the future. I think this webinar is useful, so I am sharing it with you here.

Recorded on 9th April 2020, this two-hour webinar provides a summary of Covid-19 to the present time.

  • What is it?
  • How does it spread?
  • Who is most susceptible?
  • Myth busting.
  • What steps can you take to protect yourself?
  • After the lockdown, what does our future look like?

Here, again, is the webinar.

The core lesson to be learned, is that this lockdown is no holiday; there is no “just sit home, wait it out, and in a few weeks it’ll all blow over and everything will be back to normal” – not so.
The reality is that there is now a new infectious disease in our world, that we do not have a vaccine or a cure for, and so it may be months, years, or decades until we have one or the other, and until then, Covid-19 represents a serious health threat to the elderly, the weak, the sick, those with underlying health conditions, lung problems, poor metabolic health and sub-optimal immune function. (See below.)
At some point in time, unless you stay isolated, this virus will enter your body, and how you handle it when that happens, is going to depend on how healthy you are, as an individual. More on this is Part 3 and Part 4.

It’s relatively early days still with Covid-19. It can take years, decades, to complete rigorous studies and run medical trials to test our solutions, cures and more.
So, please take everything in that frame of reference. Little, so far, is “proven beyond doubt” and it will likely be months, probably years, before we iron out what is fact from what is coincidence, observation or fiction.

Risk factors for more severe illness with Covid-19

With that caveat in place, it looks so far like there are certain risk factors that determine the difference between someone testing positive for Covid-19 and showing no/mild symptoms, and someone ending up in hospital and possibly facing death.

There seems to be fairly extensive evidence that obesity is a major risk factor for more severe outcomes.
Here – The Lancet
Here – Imperial College London
Here – The Lancet
Here – EASO: The European Association for the Study of Obesity
Here – World Obesity Federation
Here – CDC, USA
Here – BBC, UK, via YouTube
Here – Diabetes.co.uk
Here – Telegraph, UK

Closely connected with obesity, there seems to be increased risk of severe outcomes for Covid-19 cases in diabetics and those who suffer from metabolic syndrome.

This pertinent quote from that text, highlighting that age, heart disease, diabetes, lung problems, COPD, asthma and obesity are all conditions placing persons at greater risk of more severe outcomes:

“Results – The median age was 72 years [IQR 57, 82; range 0, 104], the median duration of symptoms before admission was 4 days [IQR 1,8] and the median duration of hospital stay was 7 days [IQR 4,12].
The commonest comorbidities were chronic cardiac disease (29%), uncomplicated diabetes (19%), non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease (19%) and asthma (14%); 47% had no documented reported comorbidity.
Increased age and comorbidities including obesity were associated with a higher probability of mortality.”

In unattractively-plain English, that last line says “if you are older, and obese, you have a much higher likelihood of dying.”

It seems certain that Covid-19 causes major problems with oxygen saturation.
With lung function compromised, and oxygen transport low, it seems all persons with lung diseases, heart disease and cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of more severe outcomes.

Immunosuppressed or immune compromised persons seem to be at increaded risk too.
That might mean folks taking immunosuppressant medications (such as cancer patients, or those suffering severe autoimmune conditions) or people with compromised immune function, again may be a result of another underlying condition (such as cancer, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis) that includes sub-optimal immune function as a factor or symptom.

There also seems to be growing evidence that ethnicity plays a role in risk. It seems that ethnic minority groups in the UK are at an increased risk.

This is a complex topic. It may be linked to underlying vitamin D deficiency, a topic I have written about many times before, and some experts are calling for immediate advice to all minority groups to begin vitamin D supplementation.

Another complex topic is income and inequality. It seems the lowest income peoples are at the greatest risk from Covid-19.

At this stage it’s impossible to demonstrate proven causes, but wealth inequality is often correlated with worse disese outcomes, for many poor health conditions, as lower income peoples living in more deprived areas are more prone to the effects of lower nutrient-quality diets, more mental health problems, often more alcohol abuse, obesity, less exercise, lower air quality, less access to outside space and so on.

Summary of risk factors

Some factors are beyond our control, some things we cannot change.

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • You may be an ex-smoker, like me
  • Gender: you may be male, like me
  • Wealth inequality

These things are all acknowledged risk factors.

Additionally, if you have COPD, or suffer asthma, or have some other long-term underlying lung problem, it’s unlikely that we can effect any major, rapid improvement through lifestyle and dietary changes.

But, some things we can influence.
Some things you can work on while you’re at home on lockdown, or longer term while we are living in an uncertain world, awaiting the development of a safe vaccine.

  • You can manage your weight and keep your body mass in the healthy range.
  • You can work on your fitness, which helps heart health, cardiovascular health, lung function, and stable, efficient metabolic function.
  • You can clean up and/or optimise your diet for improved gut health, which is a major control of immune system function.

This is Part 1 of 5. Over the next 4 days, the rest of this series of updates will focus on the factors we can work on.

In order to reduce our risk of more severe outcomes, we know we should be healthy and if you are obese or overweight, now would be an excellent time to focus on weight loss.

We also know that poor immune function is a major risk factor. So, we want good immune function.

And finally, we know that fitness is a huge boost to our health. We know that being fit helps us to have a healthy strong heart, healthy cardiovascular system, and healthy lung function. We know that exercise has long been promoted by the NHS as a ‘miracle cure’ for many of our physical ills and mental health problems, and we know that exercise, combined with a healthy diet, aids weight loss.

So, there is much we can do to help protect ourselves.
If you have been paying attention, you’ll have figured it out by now – the goal is “be healthy”!!!!

Now we have laid the foundations, I’ll be back tomorrow with a shorter, punchier message, AKA “The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.”

Then, in Parts 3 and 4, later this week, we’ll look in more detail at what you can do right now, while you’re at home on lockdown, to help protect yourself.

Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.

Karl

This won’t “all be over soon” and lockdown isn’t the end of the story…

Coronavirus and Covid-19: where we are at so far, and what does the future look like after the (this? First?) lockdown?

Here at Mother Nature’s Diet HQ, I run a members-only monthly subscription club called MND Life!

For my members, I make two webinars every month, and some other content.
These webinars, about all aspects of health and fitness and disease prevention, are normally locked away in our members-only password-protected portal.

Last week, I made a webinar about coronavirus and Covid-19.

It turned out to be a long one, almost two hours, but my MND Life! members tell me it’s one of the best I have ever made.
I have decided to share it here for you, because it’s important stuff.
The core lesson to be learned, is that this lockdown is no holiday; there is no “just sit home, wait it out, and in a few weeks it’ll all blow over and everything will be back to normal” – not so. The reality is that there is now a new infectious disease in our world, that we do not have a vaccine or a cure for, and so it may be months, years, or decades until we have one or the other, and until then, Covid-19 offers a serious health threat to the elderly, the weak, the sick, those with underlying health conditions, lung problems, poor metabolic health and autoimmune conditions.
At some point in time, unless you stay isolated, this virus will enter your body, and how you handle it when that happens, is going to depend on how healthy YOU are, as an individual.
I suggest you watch the webinar to learn more.

I urge you to take time to watch this, because there is some solid guidance in here that may help you later this year or next.

Please feel free to share this with friends and family if you want to, if it helps you.

Coverage includes: 

Recorded on 9th April 2020, this two-hour webinar provides a summary of Covid-19 to the present time.

  • What is it?
  • How does it spread?
  • Who is most susceptible?
  • Myth busting.
  • What steps can you take to protect yourself?
  • After the lockdown, what does our future look like?

Please remember I am not a qualified doctor. The value of my work at Mother Nature’s Diet is taking the overwhelming mass of information and condensing it down into plain simple English for folks. There is a ton of b/s circulating on social media – part of the value of what I do for my MND Life! members is cutting through the crap, doing the research for you, so nail down the basic facts you can trust. The content of this webinar represents my best knowledge to date, but in time as we learn about the virus, everything I say may prove to be wrong.

All intelligent comments and questions welcome.

Watch the webinar for free, in full, right here.

Note: in time, once I am tested for C-19, I will share my test result here for your interest.

Login, or join up, to MND Life! here if you are interested in learnign more about healthy living in every area of your life.
There has never been a more important time to take your healthy seriously.

To your good health!

Karl

Coronavirus, climate change, experts and predictions

In 2006, Dr Larry Brilliant delivered this excellent TED talk, explaining how smallpox was eradicated and predicting that a worldwide pandemic would emerge some day.
If you can spare 25 minutes to watch the whole thing, then please do, because it’s excellent, but if you just want “the gravity of the situation” then start at about 12.5 minutes in.
Dr Larry Brilliant is what we call “an expert” – a qualified medical doctor, he’s worked in medicine and epidemiology for 30 odd years, been all over the world working ‘on the front line’ helping people in disease hotspots, he’s a university professor and has worked for years for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2015, Bill Gates delivered this superb TED talk where he argues that the world is not ready for the next great pandemic; he argues that countries should prepare for it like they prepare for conflict, with rapid-response teams on stand-by, ‘troops’ trained, equipment ready for action.
Bill Gates is no fool. He was the richest person in the world for 18 years, and he is widely respected as the greatest philanthropist alive today; with his wife Melinda he heads the world’s largest charitable foundation, and he spends all his time working on public health initiatives and disease eradication. It’s fair to say he is “an expert”.

In 2017, Michael Osterholm PhD authored a book called Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs. The book details how unprepared we are for a viral pandemic and warns of the dire consequences of an outbreak.
Mr Osterholm is a smart guy, a PhD, epidemiologist and university professor, he’s studied infectious diseases and how they spread for over 35 years. He’s very much “an expert”.
If you are interested in what he has to say about Covid-19, listen to this Joe Rogan Experience podcast, it’s truly insightful.

In October 2019, experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies ran a modelling exercise to try to understand what might happen if a novel coronavirus pandemic broke out. “For our fictional pandemic, we assembled about 20 experts in global health, the biosciences, national security, emergency response and economics” – they concluded that governments were not prepared, not taking the threat of a killer virus seriously enough.

Also in October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ran a forecasting exercise to model what would happen if a global pandemic coronavirus broke out. They have been modelling such scenarios since 2001.

Above are just a few examples, but there are more, if you look for them, plenty more examples of experts warning us that a novel virus, particularly a coronavirus, could break out, likely starting in South East Asia, and cause extensive devastation, harm and loss of life. Beyond the immediate health impacts and death toll, these experts all warn of extensive economic costs, worldwide losses of trillions, plunging the global economy into recession/depression for a decade or two.

The message from these experts over the last 15 years has been “spend some millions now, in a coordinated global effort, to avoid disaster, death, and losses of trillions in the future”.

Social media is awash with stories sharing these predictions… “Scientists said this would happen…governments should have prepared” and “So and so made a talk about this, such and such wrote a book about that…people should have listened.” Oh, how folks love to blame and point fingers after the event.

The folks who write these books, and deliver these TED talks, and run these non-profit organisations and teach in universities and advise governments…these folks are experts.
They know their subject.
They’ve studied it for years.
They’ve spent a decade in university.
They’ve been working in their chosen field for 20 or 30 years.
Maybe that’s why they’re called “experts”.

Maybe we should listen.

Drawing parallels

As I observe the unfolding crisis, I can’t help but think about global warming, or climate change as it’s called these days.

In 2006, the then UK government commissioned esteemed economics professor Lord Nicholas Stern to produce The Stern Review, which was to become the foundation stone and guiding wisdom for UK policy on addressing greenhouse gas emissions and other measures to combat climate change.
Lord Stern famously suggested urgent action, that the UK (and, by extention, all other developed nations) commit to actions to mitigate climate change which would likely cost our nation around 2% of annual GDP. His suggestions strongly pushed action now (from 2006) costing circa 2% of GDP, in order to avoid total disaster unfolding in the future which would cost our children circa 20% of GDP in their lifetimes, when the damage is done. In layman’s terms, it goes a bit like this… “it’s cheaper for society to raise taxes now to transition to solar panels and electric cars, than to melt the ice caps and expect our grandchildren to build seawalls and storm defences when oceans rise in 2075.”

Since the 1980s, and even before, scientists and experts have been warning governments, the media, and all of us that human actions (burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, polluting natural environments and depleting fertile top soils) is doing unimaginable harm to the planet, and if we keep doing it then things will end in unmitigated disaster.
In the 1980s they knew.
Governments were warned in 1986.
By the time of the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, it was already high on the international agenda.
The IPCC issued major reports in 1992, 1996 and 2001, urgently warning governments and citizens the world over that global warming was a massive and growing threat.

And as the years pass, the warnings become more frequent, more urgent, more stark, more hopeless…
In 2009 Copenhagen summit is last chance to save the planet, Lord Stern
In 2016 Will We Miss Our Last Chance to Save the World From Climate Change?
In 2018 Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change – this is a long read but it’s staggering and worth the time while you’re at home on lockdown. Seriously.
In late 2018 ‘We are last generation that can stop climate change’ – UN summit
In 2019 Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change – United Nations General Assembly
In late 2019 Climate change close to ‘point of no return’, UN secretary general warns
In 2020 There’s no ‘deadline’ to save the world. Everything we do now has to pass the climate test

Frankly, it’s depressing and frightening stuff, but that’s no excuse to bury our heads in the sand and leave it for our children and grandchildren to suffer: that would be intergenerational tyranny, and it’s the wrong thing to do. Don’t be ignorant, we are the generations burning coal and oil, it’s fair that we suffer 2% loss in our economies now, rather than go on enjoying our gas-guzzling cars, cheap flights and imported clothes, forcing our grandchildren to suffer a 20% economic loss in the future. Many of those grandchildren are not even born yet, to burden them with our legacy would be, to quote Ray Anderson of Interface Carpets (in the film The Corporation (2003)), “taxation without representation” and it’s not fair.

The world over, 97% of scientists and experts agree that global warming is real, is caused by humans, and is accelerating fast towards a point of no return.
NASA: Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming
American Meteorological Society on Climate Change
Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming
AAAS Reaffirms Statements on Climate Change and Integrity

The message from these experts over the last 20+ years has been “spend some billions now, in a coordinated global effort, to avoid disaster, death, and losses of almost immeasurable trillions in the future”.

The folks who write these reports, reviews, papers and books, and deliver these conferences and speeches, and run these non-profit organisations and teach in universities and advise governments…these folks are experts.
They know their subject.
They’ve studied it for years.
They’ve spent a decade in university.
They’ve been working in their chosen field for 20 or 30 years.
Maybe that’s why they’re called “experts”.

Maybe we should listen.

The experts were right about coronavirus. Perhaps they are right about climate change.

If you think coronavirus is a nightmare, wait until your children see what climate change can do.

It’s time to take this shit seriously.

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane.

To your continuing good health.

Karl

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Opinion and Facts

Coronavirus (COVID-19).
A few thoughts. Entirely my personal opinions, and please remember that I am not medical qualified or trained.

Firstly, my thoughts go out to anyone sick, anyone who has loved ones who are sick, and anyone who has suffered loss in this unprecedented international crisis.

Secondly, that word, unprecedented, you have likely heard that quite a few times in recent days.
And it is most certainly true.
This crisis is unprecedented, no one alive today has lived through anything like it. This is the biggest health challenge we’ve faced here in Europe since the second world war. It’s not that a pandemic virus was unexpected, indeed a variety of experts have written a variety of books over the last 12 years warning that something exactly like this would happen. But expecting something might happen, and it actually happening are two very different things.
This disease is new, and the speed, scale and scope of it’s spread and it’s effects are unknown and unpredictable.
The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, and the details of the disease unknown.
Please remember that when you are feeling frustrated or angry that “they” aren’t beating it or doing enough to fight it. “They” are our elected officials, and if “they” had taken billions more in taxes from us every year for the last decade to stockpile ventilators and face masks and a hundred other things that “we may or may not need, at some unknown time in the next year, or ten, or thirty” then everyone would have been in uproar.
Please be patient, tolerant, and understanding. Please show compassion and trust that the experts are trying their best to navigate this enormous challenge.
This is going to be hard on everyone.
They don’t have all the answers yet.
You’re not the only victim; someone else has got it worse than you; someone else is dying; be patient.

Thirdly, I want to extend my thanks, respect and gratitude to all those ‘front line’ workers and ‘key workers’ who are working round the clock to help fight this disease. From the nurses and doctors treating patients, the care workers and hospice nurses helping the elderly and sick every day, to the farmers producing food, the truck drivers getting it the shops, and the folks who keep the shops open, the lights on and the petrol stations open.
There are a thousand professions involved in keeping our infrastructure functioning, and a thousand more working to fight this monumental challenge, and I am very grateful to them all for their hard work.

Social media and armchair professors

Beware of Facebook, in particular.

When our news was saturated by Syria or the immigrant crisis, suddenly everyone with a Facebook account thinks they are a political expert. When Brexit was 24/7 everyone seems to write like they have a PhD in economic policy. Now with COVID-19 every armchair commentator thinks they are some kind of epidemiological expert.

It’s immensely difficult to sift through the noise to understand what’s true. This pandemic, more so than Syria, the immigrant issue, or Brexit, is astronomically fast moving. Three weeks ago I thought it was far less serious than I think today.

The media is in frenzy.
Social media is out of control.
It’s not helped by the way so much is stated by wannabe experts “You must do this…” “We should all do that…” rather than “In my opinon…” and “I’m not an expert but I think…”

The health challenge

To the best of my knowledge, from my own efforts to establish what is factual, the seriousness of this illness appears to depend “almost entirely” on the health of the individuals.

That is, some people (many people) have tested positive and they continue to show no symptoms at all.
Hardly a great “global killer”.
But to the weak, those with underlying health problems, those with compromised immune function, this can represent a 10% or greater chance of death, and that’s extremely serious and worrying.

So far, the overwhelming majority of cases, and deaths, are in the elderly, the weak, the vulnerable. Circa 81% of cases exhibit ‘mild’ symptoms at most, and virtually all deaths have been among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions (can be of any age).

To many, to pretty healthy people, this disease is unlikely to cause symptoms any more serious than a regular cold or a bout of flu (which is not very nice).
But that statement needs to be taken seriously – flu is a massive global killer.
Every year, flu kills between 200,000 and 700,000 people worldwide.
Just run that again, flu kills half a million people per year. HALF A MILLION.

So far, COVID-19 (recognised as a similar-behaving type of virus to influenza, a “related virus” if you like) has claimed 8700 lives, not a patch on regular annual flu season. But we must understand this is a new virus, we do not have a vaccine for this, and it might take a month, or more than a decade, to develop one that is safe and effective. Millions of vulnerable people could die in that time.

It’s important to understand that word – vulnerable.

Influenza kills half a million people per year, and it’s the weak, those who suffer compromised immune function, who become overwhelmed.

To someone healthy with a strong immune system, this disease may mean you cough for two weeks and then get better. But to someone who has cancer and their immune system is already battered by their disease and their chemotherapy treatment, it can bring premature death. To an elderly person with depleted lung function, this disease can bring pneumonia and death.

Regular flu season kills half a million per year. COVID-19 might kill half a million people over the next year, or it might kill far less, or it might kill far more (God forbid), I have no idea, but the point being, it’s the same family of diseases, the same causal pathway, the same threat to the vulnerable.

So what is different between this and regular flu?

The key difference is that we’ve (we, being the scientific and medical community) been battling flu and it’s variants for the last century. It comes in moderately-predictable seaonal patterns, and most all countries have systems in places to protect the vulnerable, especially vaccinations.

I personally do not believe that millions upon millions of normal healthy persons in the 10 to 60 age range need an annual flu jab…but should the weak, sick, and elderly have a jab? Absolutely, yes they should.

With COVID-19, we do not have a vaccine.
Scientists could probably make one tomorrow, but it then may require 1 to 20 years of testing to know if it’s safe, before rolling it out to millions of people. We can be certain labs the world over are buzzing with activity 24/7 right now as teams of scientists work round the clock on trying to make this happen as fast as possible.

So, taking the above into account, is COVID-19 more or less of a danger than regular flu?
To healthy folks, it’s probably about the same.
To the sick, weak, immune compromised, it’s considerably more serious, primarilly because we lack an effective vaccine.
To those people, regular flu is also a massive threat, it takes half a million lives per year…but the difference is, we have vaccines, and the weak and sick need them and should take them. If we did not have them, half a million might be several millions.

Social distancing and self-isolation

Is it neccessary? Yes, it is, and we should. At this stage, you have surely seen all the charts and graphs explaining “squashing the peak”, how slowing the spread of this virus is about helping national health services to cope with the outbreak. There are only so many hospital beds, ventilators, masks, doctors and nurses. They simply cannot cope if everyone gets sick at once. It was and still is overwhelm in Italy, and other countries are trying hard to avoid that happening.

Any social distancing that us strong, young, healthy folks do now, is more about slowing the spread to protect the elderly and vulerable, than it is about avoiding any illness for ourselves.
This is about slowing and controlling the spread…so that as the weak and elderly become sick, the health service can cope with treating them, and avoid them becoming fatalities. Experts suggest that in time, over this year and next, everyone will get this virus at some point…the key point now is stopping everyone getting it at the same time.

So, please be sensible, if you are coughing, take the week at home; if your kid is coughing, keep them in the home for the week. It’s not difficult to make common sense decisions.
Panic buying 96 rolls of loo paper isn’t clever, it just denies ordinary folks their regular weekly needs, and hypes the media frenzy even more.
Sensible decisions, not silly impulse decisions.

Is this really a big deal?

Some folks have been asking “Is it really such a big deal? Only 104 people have died in the UK, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not so many…doesn’t flu kill thousands every year anyway? So is C-19 any worse than normal flu season?”

The answer seems quite straight forward to me.
Yes, as outlined above, flu does tend to kill between 200,000 and 700,000 people per year worldwide. But imagine this – imagine C-19 is a “new flu” that we have never seen before. The half-a-million people who die from flu every year, might be one million, or two million, if we didn’t have vaccines, couldn’t predict the pattern, and hospital services had no time to prepare for a predictable outbreak.
That’s roughly what we are seeing with C-19.
It’s new, unknown, unpredictable, and we don’t know much about it, and we don’t have a vaccine for it.
If C-19 was “a new flu” then compared to regular flu season, this could rip through the weak, the elderly, the sick and the immuno-suppressed, and take several million lives.
So yes, this is a big deal, slowing the spread so that health services can cope, and giving scientists time to develop a vaccine and learn more about antibodies, will likely save millions of lives.

These are just my evolving thoughts, as I observe and try to understand this unfolding situation.
Yes, I have a child with a cough, at home off school.
Yes, today all the schools closed, so now my whole gfamily is home.
Yes I have lost money in my business, through cancellations.
Yes, I think this is serious, far more serious than I thought a month ago, or two weeks ago.
No, I haven’t panic shopped for anything.

This post ^ ^ ^ ^ does not say “coronavirus isn’t a threat, it’s just like normal flu, so stop worrying”.
This post says “normal flu kills half a million people every year, but thanks to vaccines and predictability, our health care professionals stop that figure from being several million. COVID-19 isn’t yet predictable, and we don’t have a vaccine, so it’s like flu was in 1918…and that’s actually pretty scary.”

Can you see the difference? In layman’s terms, it pretty much is “just like flu” but without 100 years of knowledge and expertise, and that makes it very worrying for the vulnerable.

These are my best efforts at understanding this thing so far.
I teach folks weight loss and fitness, I am not a doctor nor epidemiologist, so please take my thoughts with a big does of caution, and remember I am not medically trained, so I may be wrong, and I am just trying to learn, without sensationalism or bias.

As I try to understand more, I’ll share my thoughts going forward.

To your good health, stay safe out there, please follow the advice and guidelines,

Karl

Diet…or lifestyle? It’s a commitment thing…

Mother Nature’s Diet is not ‘a diet’ – not in that fad diet sense of the word. Mother Nature’s Diet is a healthy lifestyle.

There’s a big difference.

In short…

A temporary diet, comprised of temporary changes to what you eat and how you move, will generate temporary results.
Quit the diet, lose the results.

Live a healthy lifestyle, all the time, and get improvements in your health, that last all time.

See how this works?

Wrong way of thinking

Lots of folks say to me, something like…

“What am I supposed to do? What should I eat? This Mother Nature’s Diet thing, where’s the diet bit, the menus, the meal plans, the recipes? Tell me what to eat every day? How long will it take me to lose two stone?”

This is the wrong way of thinking. Folks need to stop focusing on what they eat in order to lose unwanted body fat. Better to spend time thinking about what not to eat. Better to think more about exercise, water, sleep, stress reduction…placing all our attention on what we eat is not the optimal way to focus on fat loss.

Generally speaking, you can’t eat your way thinner. Better to think you need to un-eat your way thinner.

Lifestyle

All the people I know who ‘go on diets’ and all the people I meet who are forever searching for ‘the diet that will work’, they are the people who are still not happy with their body weight and shape.

Ever searching. Never finding peace.

The people I know who are happy with their lean, strong bodies; the people I know who have lost weight permanently and they are at peace around their food, these people don’t ‘follow diets’ but they live a healthy lifestyle.

Today, next week, next month, next year.
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
Sure, it changes, it evolves, as these people learn new nuances and distinctions (because these kind of people like to keep learning, always) but they never stop ‘healthy living’ because they are committed to looking after themselves.

Commitment

And that’s the name of the game.

All-too-often, the people flitting from one fad diet to the next, are doing it out of some kind of sense of duty (they feel grudgingly obliged to try to make some effort to lose some weight) or they are doing it in pursuit of some short-term, temporary goal, possibly something vain or superficial like a desire to drop a dress size for the office Xmas party, full-well knowing that the weight will go straight back on over the following holiday season. Or they just want to tone up for the beach while on summer holiday, but then they couldn’t care less after August.

I’m not judging or belittling such people, merely trying to highlight the fault of this mindset.

If you treat your health, and your body weight and shape, as something to be manipulated a few times per year to fit around your party schedule or your summer holiday, then it’s no wonder you are not getting the lasting results you say you want. How would your marriage or career be working out if you took that approach in that area of your life?

The folks who maintain their desired body weight and shape all year round are the folks who skip the fad diets and commit long term to a healthy lifestyle.

That’s commitment.
Commitment to healthy living.
Commitment to eating well all year round.
Commitment to moving your body every day.
Commitment to yourself.

Commitment to achieving the right results…the approach that lasts, in your business, your marriage, your parenting, your health and fitness.

So how about you?

Are you committed to healthy living?

If you are honest enough to admit that you are not committed…I applaud you!
If that’s you, and you want to change, try reading this short free ‘7 Classic Mistakes…’ ebook, it highlights this ‘fad diet thinking’ problem and some other mistakes many dieters make.

If you are committed to healthy living, then you will love the Mother Nature’s Diet book, it’s full of wisdom and truth and it very much speaks your language. Get yourself a copy today and get reading.

And if you are real healthy living geek like me, and you want to connect with a like-minded tribe and expand your knowledge to the nth degree, come check out MND Life! and join our friendly club, complete with as much nutrition-nerd, health-geekery as you can handle.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go on then.

To hell with fad diets and temporary results…

I was frustrated…

For years, because…

Weight loss, nutrition, healthy living…it had all become so confusing. All the experts and their opinions, they all seemed to contradict each other!

It all left me feeling exhausted. It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do with so much conflict and complexity.

Mother Nature’s Diet is here to save you!

  • Are you fed up with fad diets?
  • Had enough of the gimmicks, the promises, the b/s?
  • Are you fed up with being lied to and hard-sold to?
  • Are you tired of the contradictory messages, ideas and advice?
  • Are you bored of being sold ‘the magic secret’ to this or the ‘only supplement you’ll ever need’ for that?

All the health experts seem to preach messages that are in conflict with each other. How can you make sense of it all?!

Mother Nature’s Diet is the antidote to all that conflict and contradiction!

In my popular book, I help you make sense of the confusion. This book is the end result of 28 years spent figuring it all out, and now it’s here for you in common-sense plain English.

Check it out here!

This book is the breath of fresh air we all need to take control of our health, lose weight and feel great.
…not to mention tackling the major public health challenges we face in the Western world today – obesity epidemic, type-2 diabetes out of control, NHS struggling to fight off bankruptcy and privatisation.

The solutions are all in this book! 

Click on the link and download your copy today, you can get started immediately!

So, go on then, treat yourself to the best version of you in 2020!

To your good health!

Karl

Is it time you learned to make a proper decision?

Fourteen years ago today, I made a decision.

On 4th February, 2006, at around midday I guess, I was sitting in a personal development seminar in London, listening to the presenter talking about the power of making a real decision.

At that time, I was 35 years of age, I was very overweight, around 226 pounds (103 kilos, BMI of about 30), smoking, drinking daily, not exercising very much, had terrible bad skin problems, nasal congestion problems, and hated myself for how I looked and felt.

I had ‘tried’ for years to quit smoking, but always failed. Justifications about the waste of money, the idea that I might die of cancer some decades later, just didn’t seem to have enough mental leverage on me.

In 20 years of smoking, for 17 years of that time I had tried to quit. I had quit hundreds of times, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days, weeks or months, but I always went back to it. I just liked it too much. I wanted to smoke. In a mind that frequently defaulted to self-loathing, smoking was an escape, a guilty pleasure that relaxed me.

The presenter explained that the word decision shares the same Latin root as the word incision. Decision literally means “to cut off” in the context of “to cut off from any other option or possibility.” He explained that a real decision is a powerful commitment to a set course of action. He lamented that folks have ‘weak decision making muscles’ these days, making decisions about what to have for dinner, but not about how to live more fulfilling lives.

I listened, and it really hit home with me.

In one of those wonderful moments of clarity (call it a light bulb moment, an epiphany, whatever you like) I realised “I want to be a healthy person!”

In that moment, my mind held a clear vision of myself as one of those people you meet who just looks and acts healthy, bouncy, energetic, oozing wellness and energy and enthusiasm for life. Tanned and smiling, bright eyed and bouncy. I wanted to be that person.

I stood up and left the room, walked to the nearest bin, took out my packet of cigarettes, crushed them up and threw them in.

Not a glimmer of emotion.

I just smiled, felt good about my decision, and have never wanted one since. No effort. No struggle. No cravings. No will power. No patches or gum. I just decided I wanted to be a healthy person, and healthy people don’t smoke. Smoking no longer fit with my identity, I had changed, I had made a decision about the man I wanted to be.

14 years today.

That’s the power of making a firm decision.

Maybe you already know my story, and I’ll keep it very brief here, but that day started a decade plus quest for good health. In the months and years following that day…

  • I transformed my health completely
  • Lost 101 pounds of unwanted bodyfat
  • Quit smoking (14 years today)
  • Quit drinking (8 years, 1 month and counting)
  • Cured my health conditions
  • Came off 17 years of prescription medications
  • Learned everything I could about health, nutrition, weight loss, exercise, disease prevention, longevity and more
  • Attended seminars and conferences and training events
  • Read over 847 books and research papers and reports about every aspect of health and nutrition and physical training
  • Started running
  • Completed 14 marathons and two ultramarathons
  • Cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End
  • Trained as a Personal Trainer
  • Created Mother Nature’s Diet as my personal blog
  • Formulated the 12 Core Principles
  • Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) became my business
  • Quit my job and closed my previous company to run MND

It all started that day, 14 years ago today, in that hour, that minute, that empowered me to throw those cigarettes away. In those ten or twenty seconds that I made that decision, as that vision unfolded in my mind, as I changed my identity of who I wanted to be, I started a journey that ultimately shaped my life for the last 14 years.

That’s the long term power of making a firm decision.

Life-changing in so many ways.

My health, my self-confidence, my life, hobbies, career, most of the people I now spend my time with, my circle of friends, countries I have been to, and if I now live 20 years longer, then everything I do in those 20 years, it will all be down to that one decision I made in that one minute, at about midday on the 4th February 2006.

So, the point of this post is this…

Do you have weak decision making muscles?

Have you been making weak wishes, lame daydreams, vague ideas, and calling them decisions?

Is it time to muscle up, to level up your decision making skillset, and make a clear firm decision or two about where you are going in your life, about what you want, who you want to be, and what you are now determined to do to get there?

It only takes one seemingly small decision to change the entire course of your life.

Time to flex those decision making muscles, you have so many exciting tomorrows to look forward to.

More power to ya.

Is it all your own fault or not?

It’s frustrating, but often I find myself writing about the great hotly-debated topics of the health and weight loss industry…

  • ‘Calories matter’ versus ‘calories don’t matter’!
  • ‘We should all go low-carb’ versus ‘carbs are not the whole story’!
  • ‘Exercise is crucial as a weight loss tool’ versus ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’!

Oh how these arguments go round and round and get turned inside out and upside down daily; every opinion being ‘proved’ every way by some credentialed expert quoting a study here and a study there! It’s no wonder the general public are fed up with it all and utterly confused!

And so often, arguments come down to playing ‘the blame game’ – that is, who is to blame for rising obesity? In crude terms – is it all your own damned fault, or not, that you’re fat?

Two sides to blame

I recall the clever and well-respected Dr Mark Hyman tweeted about his new book release.
But what more stirred my thoughts on this topic was equally clever and well-respected author Nina Teicholz’s retweet, and the comments it generated.

We see one side of this story, the likes of Dr Hyman, Nina Teicholz (both of whom I like, follow and respect) and many others saying that in broad terms, governments have given the public poor dietary advice over the last 40 years. They have been telling us to place carbs at the bottom/base of our food pyramid, to get 30% to 50% of our calories from grains and starches, and they have largely ignored mounting evidence, until very recently, about the dangers of added sugars. These guys argue that food companies and the sugar industry have lobbied governments and paid off scientists to distort and hide the truth…dietary fat has been painted as the bad guy, and after 40 years, we have obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics as a result.

They conclude “It’s not the fault of Americans that they are fat and sick!”

But interestingly, plenty of people see the other side of the argument – that in fact people still have free will to decide what they put in their mouths. People still have free choice whether they watch TV, or go to the gym. During these years that the obesity epidemic has grown, people have had free choice whether they buy fresh meat and vegetables in the supermarket and cook a meal, or whether they order a pizza or Chinese take away.

So, who is right? Have governments failed their people? Have food companies piled it high, sold it cheap, and spent a fortune on advertising? Have we lived through times where far more money has been spent on designing hyper-palatable foods, and on advertising those foods, than has been spent on research into effective weight loss protocols and helping educate the public about healthy living?

Or, have people failed themselves, failing to exercise personal responsibility for their health outcomes? Have people failed to buy the foods they know are healthier? Have people failed to exercise regularly? Have people passed off the blame for their own apathy?

I see this battle rage daily in the media, on the health blogs and groups I follow and I see everyone looking for the answer. Personally, I think the problem is that everyone is trying to prove they have the answer. I don’t think we are going to come up with the answer. I think both sides of the argument have an answer. Perhaps both are right. But perhaps neither are right all the time, for all the people.

Despite the facts that all these scientists and authors, doctors and experts should not need to be reminded, the truth is that as they publish their books and blogs, they constantly seem to forget that one size does not fit all.

Over the years as I have learned about health, fitness and nutrition, this has pretty much become my number one guiding principle. There just is not one answer for all people. It’s not possible, there is no one single solution for any problem in health, weight loss and nutrition.

Seriously.

  • We all know someone who smoked for 20, or 30, or 40 years yet didn’t develop lung cancer.
  • We all know someone who is overweight, stressed, doesn’t exercise, and drinks too much, yet they haven’t had a heart attack.
  • We all know someone who eats loads of sweet foods yet they are not overweight and don’t have type-2 diabetes.
  • We all know someone who does no exercise yet they remain slim and lean. (Yeah I know, we all hate that person!!)

The point is, even the things we think are “a certain sure thing” are still proven wrong time and again by people who don’t fit the norm. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in any aspect of health, weight loss and nutrition.

Reality time

I believe, that the observed and worrying reality in obesity trends is caused by many factors. I can certainly tell you that for myself, for my own 101-pound weight loss (46 kilos of unwanted fat, 7 stone 3 in old-English language) I just needed to eat less, and move more. I ate and drank too much, and I ate and drank the wrong things, and I did too little exercise. I can tell you that I have been driving around the country delivering my health seminar for the last six years and people come up to me all the time during those talks and say “You are the kick-up-the-butt that I need! I eat too much and don’t workout, it’s all my own silly fault! Thanks for being honest with me!”

This is no judgmental fat-shaming, this is just what people say to me of their own free will.

But that is only some people. Not all people.

On the flip side, other people eat pretty well and make efforts to be active, yet they can’t seem to win the weight loss battle.

For many people, government guidelines that were created over 40 years ago, have failed to change with the times. The reality is that today, car ownership is up and people are far less active than they used to be when dietary guidelines were established. I think that for many people, they are consuming far too much starchy carbohydrate and just not leading active enough lives to burn up all those calories.

Food manufacturers have done nothing to help, they have positively made things worse. Far too many processed foods are now promoted in big-size servings, they have too much added sugar, convenience packaging and high-spend advertising promotes over-consumption.

There are many factors behind the obesity epidemic in the US, the UK and across Europe and elsewhere. We could talk about psychological and societal factors, economics, obesogenic environments, hyper-palatable foods, carbohydrate tolerance and sensitivity, and many more factors besides (all covered in my books if you want to learn more) but one reality stands over them all – one size does not fit all.

All factors are ‘the’ cause for one person, but no single factor is ‘the’ cause for everyone.

So the point of this post is to say to you – if you are overweight, and struggling to win the battle, which factor is ‘the’ answer for you?

And if you need some help figuring that out, let me know.

To your good health!

Karl

Chop, pop, sizzle, boom…

Talking with a new coaching client last week, she said to me “The trouble is, I never know what to cook. You say to eat ‘plants and animals’, and stay away from processed foods, but I never know what to actually do?”

I get this question literally all the time.

I am no chef, and don’t consider myself to be particularly talented in the kitchen, but I do OK, and I create some tasty, and healthy, meals.

Here’s what I do. And I’m keeping this purposefully simple. Because that’s part of the ethos of Mother Nature’s Diet, to keep healthy living simple for everyone to understand.
I keep cooking simple, because if it was complicated, I wouldn’t find the time to do it.

Quickie stir fry

  • Pick a choice of meat or fish – pork, chicken, lamb, prawns, whatever you fancy
  • Pick a style or nationality of cuisine – maybe you want to create Italian, Malaysian, Moroccan, whatever
  • Google “what spices used in Greek / Indonesian / Argentinian / Kenyan dishes” and spend five minutes getting a feel for what flavours and spices work, and typically what vegetables work well with those flavours
  • Assemble these bits – the meat/fish, the vegetables, the herbs and spices
  • Heat some coconut oil or butter in a pan
  • If using onions, chop them up and get them going first (usually)
  • Brown off the meat
  • Throw everything else in (generally speaking)
  • Stir fry for five minutes
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as you go

That’s pretty much it.

Think in terms of one third of the meal is meat or fish, two thirds is vegetables.

It’s that simple.

  • Want to achieve a Mediterranean flavour – try tomatoes, garlic, olives, basil, herbs de Provence, tomato puree, that sort of thing.
  • Aiming for a Malaysian or Indonesia flavour – try coriander, cumin, peanut butter (buy one that is organic, 100% nuts, no palm oil), a splash of chilli.
  • Want Moroccan? Try ginger, cumin, paprika, sultanas, apricots, cinnamon, black pepper and chilli.
  • Love Persian foods? Lamb or chicken, onions and green veggies, ginger, cumin and coriander, delicious.
  • Go for an Indian feel with cumin, chilli, coriander, experiment with coconut.
  • How about some classic combinations – lemon and ginger. Sweet chilli. Lime and coriander.
  • Try frying off finely chopped spring onions with chestnut mushrooms, pine nuts, flaked almonds and some mixed herbs, add to chicken and peppers for wonderful flavour.
  • Combine a green curry paste with coconut milk, chilli and cumin for a Thai.

These are jusy my own ideas. You can create your own too.

Experiment. It’s easier than you think.

Oven baked?

As above, but instead of stir frying everything in one pan, combine your meat or fish with the sauce and spices in an oven dish, and while that bakes for half an hour or so in a medium oven, you can steam your veggies separately to go on the side. (To make those spices into a suace, just add them to tomato passata or a tin of chopped tomoates. Voila, instant ‘sauce’.)

Roast?

Couldn’t be simpler, slow roasted joints (lamb, pork, try venison) are so tasty and tender they need virtually no seasoning, just foil the joint, roast for a few hours in a low to moderate oven, and add lots of veggies on the side.

If you are feeling a tad more ambitious, try my Moroccan slow roasted lamb dish here.

Short of time, or going out for the day?

Use a slow cooker – same as all the above, but combine it all (with enough liquid) in the slow cooker, stick it on low for 8 or 10 hours, and come home to the amazing smell!

The point is, cooking meals from scratch using fresh whole foods is easier than you think.

Just experiment. Pick some meat or fish, pick some veggies, pick a flavour, and have a crack at it.

Once you have done this a few times, it’s a breeze, and kinda fun. You can get your kids involved – have them pick the meat and nationality/region/flavour, and then get them in the kitchen to help and learn as the dish comes together.

You learn to cook, and so do they.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting.

In the last month, for weekend family meals with my wife and kids, I’ve made pesto pork, Thai coconut chicken, satay beef, peanut mackerel (yeah! that worked!), vegetable curry and some sort of Indonesian chicken (I am sure an Indonesian person would say it was more Malaysian or Thai or Vietnamese or something!)

I never write down what I do, so it comes out different every time, but that’s all part of the fun!

Just have a crack at it. One third meat or fish, two thirds veggies, quick Google search for ideas, and away you go. Don’t over think it, keep it simple and fun. Healthy whole foods based family meal in 30 or 40 minutes, no worries.

Let me know what you come up with! If you use Facebook, join our MND Group and share your creations in there!

To your good health!

Karl

You have a choice…

Two years after I wrote this original post, it’s every bit as relevant now as it was then.
Well worth a re-read!

To your good health!

Mother Nature's Diet

You have a choice…
But a lot of people don’t realise this.

Sorry, today the topic is rather morbid – disease and death. I am working on a presentation called ‘You have a choice’ and so I thought I would share the basic idea with you.

Over the years, the things that kill us have changed. 20,000 years ago, our caveman ancestors were killed by predators, accidents and infectious diseases. High infant mortality was almost certainly the #1 cause of death.

Then for a long time, in more recent history, it was wars, poverty, infectious dieases and malnutrition that was killing us.

But through technology, medicine and public sanitation, many of those things have been sorted out.

Now, what kills most humans is NCDs. Non-commincable diseases.

‘Non-communicable’ means they are not infectious, we don’t ‘catch’ them, they ‘develop’ inside us. Worldwide, around 55 to 60 million people die every year…

View original post 702 more words

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.

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!!

I personally spent 20 years lost in the 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!

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 expensive online diet plan, or the answers are in the over-priced gym plan, or sign up just for our custom-designed meal delivery service and all your problems will be solved.

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, but here at Mother Nature’s Diet, I see ithingsa 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.

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 the people with the most money, talking in broad demographics now, tend to enjoy the best health, and the people at the bottom of the income ladder, sadly, tend to suffer the worst health, overall.

Our obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics, manifest highest in low-income socioeconomic groups, that’s true in the UK, the US,across Europe, Australia and other countries. Smoking rates are higher in low-income groups. Heart disease and reduced life expectancy are a bigger burden in low-income groups than among the wealthier citizens of our lands.

Because of this, I have always, since the first day I started Mother Nature’s Diet back in 2011, offered the basics of the 12 Core Principles for free. Always.

Now of course, I do offer additional ‘products and services’ that cost money, but the fact remains that the basics are there for free. The difference between my approach and so many others out there, is that they all tend to offer “the secret formula to this” or “the 21 steps to that” or “the 7-part plan for success” all as benefits you get once you pay up and join the program.

At Mother Nature’s Diet, I give you the 12 Core Principles for free right up front.
No catch.
No secrets.
Just free.

So, if you are skint, and you want to get healthy but you can’t afford to blow a bunch of cash doing it, all you need to know is here – 12 Core Principles – for free. That page offers you links through to 12 further pages, where you can read all about the steps you need to take to improve your health.

Some people might say “Ah but the lifestyle is expensive…”
I don’t agree.
We take the money most people spend on alcohol, take away food, cigarettes, loads of body sprays and fancy cosmetics and toiletries, and confectionery and junk food, and we spend that money instead on organic veggies and free range eggs. Once you learn how to reallocate your spending, it can be done.
We all have choices.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Freshly-updated website, lots of goodies for you

I am constantly updating my website at MotherNaturesDiet.com and there are lots of fabulous free resources available for you.

I truly hate these sites you visit and the pages are bloated with ads, you can’t watch or read anything without signing up and being spammed daily, every mouse-move seems to cause another pop-up to appear…it all drives me nuts!

We don’t have any of that crap at Mother Nature’s Diet.
When we say it’s free, it’s free. No email, no sign-up, no catch. Just free.

Please, share these completely free resources with anyone you know who might need or want the help. You and they have nothing to lose, and only improved health to gain.

But Karl, you are selling stuff too…right?

Erm, yeah, I am. I mean come on, a guy has to earn a living you know…

Now of course, what I can give away for free is “the information” so to speak, but I can’t afford to give away all my time and effort for free too. I mean, if I spent all my time helping everyone for free, how would I feed my own family?

You can get the information for free, but if you want additional motivation and inspiration and a chance to meet face-to-face and ask questions, then come to a live seminar or attend a retreat and you’ll get all that and more.

If you read those free pages online explaining the basics of the 12 Core Principles and then you want more, you want the details and the science and long explanations behind those Core Principles, then you need to buy the book and get all the details and lots more besides.

MND book on Amazon UK here.
MND book on Amazon US here.
How To Quit Drinking book here.

Or if what you really need is ongoing support and encouragement, a ‘tribe’ of like-minded people to help you stay the course and stick to your new good health practices until they become habit, then you might like to join MND Life! our community subscription, where you’ll get more education, motivation and support every day, to help you along your journey.

But the basics are, and always will be, available for free.

So there you have it, something for everyone.

I have long believed that healthy living has become far too over-complicated, and we need to keep it simple for those who most need the help.

For those who can’t afford the books, the courses and the seminars, please, pass on the links now, and help them to cut through all the noise and get some simple, honest, common-sense based, scientifically sound good health advice.

That seems to me like a good way to get 2020 off to the right start.

Happy New Year!! Good health for all!

Karl

Just do it… (yes? no? annoying?)

Just do it.

– So cliché it’s annoying?
– Over-used?
– Just makes us think of a certain brand of footwear and clothing?

Here’s the thing.

I follow a lot of health experts, food bloggers, doctors, fitness professionals, I am a member of many groups, I attend a lot of seminars, lectures and conferences, and I see and hear a lot, I mean a LOT, of talk.

I don’t see or hear anywhere near as much action.

  • All these folks debating low-carb versus high-carb.
  • The LCHF (low-carb high-fat) folks locked in mortal combat with the Registered Dietitians still promoting high-carb diets as promoted by our government.
  • Folks raving about the wonders of ketogenic diets.
  • Other folks saying ketogenic diets don’t work.
  • Folks talking about the benefits of juicing.
  • Other folks saying juicing is a silly fad diet.
  • I hear people espousing the benefits of weight lifting so vociferously they are starting to claim that cardio is harmful and their clients should only ever lift weights.
  • I hear other people equally enthusiastic about running and cycling, shunning weight training.

Oh and so it all goes on and on and on…arguing, posturing, postulating. (The cynic in me could argue that these ‘experts’ all have a book to sell and an online course, seminar or program, so they all have a bias, a vested interest in promoting ‘their way’ but that’s a topic for another day…)

Here’s the thing.

Amid all the conflicting opinions and contradictory advice, many members of the public are more confused than ever.

There are days I look around the diet, health and fitness industry and just despair at the public-facing messages that are out there. Credentialed doctors putting down the beliefs and ideas of other credentialed doctors. Editors of medical journals publishing editorials telling people not to trust most of the research published in medical journals. Doctors, PhDs and nutrition experts publishing and blogging dietary advice in complete opposition to the advice that our governments and public health services promote.

Seriously, how the hell are ordinary members of the public supposed to have any confidence in any of them?

The vast majority of ordinary, hard-working men and women just want to lose 30 pounds, shape up a bit, feel like they have a bit more energy and do their best to resist the signs of ageing. They must look at all these TV shows and diet books and see all these conflicting, arguing experts, and just throw their hands up in hopelessness and despair.

“Sod all these doctors who don’t agree with each other!” and just pour another glass of wine, open a box of chocolates, and turn the channel over and watch something else.

Now, just do it

If that’s you, then I say sod them all. Ignore them all. Just do it.

Just pick one thing that sounds right to you, and run with it. If you have been eating lots of carbs (you know, cereals, bread, pasta, rice, all that) for the last ten years, and the end result now is that you are 50 pounds over weight, well then try six months without cereals, bread, pasta, rice and spaghetti, just try it – starting today – and see how you get on.

Just get on with it.

If you know you eat too much sugar, just try a 30-day sugar free challenge. No cakes, no biscuits, no chocolate, no beer, no wine, no sweets…30 days.

Come on. You’ve got this. You can do this. It’s just 30 days.

Just get on with it.

If you are overweight and out of shape and you know that one of your downfalls is that you never take any exercise, then just do it, get out there and move your backside.

Come on, 30 days, exercise every day. It might be ten minutes, it might be two hours, just do something every day.

Sod all the experts, just do what you enjoy, just make sure you do something every day.

  • Feel like running? Then run.
  • Fancy lifting some weights? Then lift some weights.
  • If you are coming from doing nothing, then doing anything is an improvement.

Just do it.

Less talk, more action

Stuff all the experts.
Stuff all the conflicting advice.
Stuff all the confusion and contradiction and industry in-fighting.

Stuff the lot of ’em.
Just go do what you gotta do.

Just start.
Today.
Now.

Just get on with it.

To your good health! Happy New Year! May 2020 be YOUR year!

Are you completely in control of your relationship with alcohol?

You booze, you lose.

I think that deep down, an awful lot of us quietly know that we are drinking more than we really should.

If that includes you, I want you to know that you could feel so much better. Less brain fog, more energy and vitality, and less likely to develop cancer, dementia, liver disease and more.

I’ve written a new book for you, and I just wanted you to know it’s now available online. This is not a book about alcoholism. It’s the book you should read before things get that bad.

For the millions of people trapped in alcohol dependency, I believe there are multiple millions more who are not there yet, but perhaps they might be on their way, or at the very least they are drinking in a way that is harmful to their health, depleting their mental capacity and draining their energy.

It’s those people who need to read this book.

Drinking alcohol contributes to over 200 health conditions and mental health problems. It’s an insidious poison that’s silently harming millions of us, and most people are unaware of the role of alcohol in cancer, depression, erectile dysfunction and more.
For many years I was drinking far too much, then a friend challenged me to try 30 days without a drink, and now almost eight years later I enjoy the benefits of being teetotal every day.
In this book, you’ll find no system, process or method. No preaching or lecturing. No guilt or sufferance. Just an honest look at the role of alcohol in our lives, for the huge number of people who drink every day, and hate to admit that they don’t like to miss a day.

This book is the first in a series I will be publishing over the next year or so, the ‘One hour wisdom’ series. Short books, big ideas. The books are purposefully short, designed to be read in 60 to 90 minutes, because time is such a precious resource. I think we need to tackle complex topics, grasp the basic ideas, and take away something actionable, without having to wade through 500 pages to get there.

This short and accessible book will help you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol, and will encourage you to test that relationship, to see who is in control.

It’s time to end the brain fog, time to escape the social hypnosis, lose some weight, improve your health, have more energy, and free yourself from the endless-loop cycle of drinking, because you deserve better.

It’s time to put yourself first, for a brighter future.

Start right now.

Check the book out on Amazon UK here.
And on Amazon US here.

To your good health, to your sobriety, and to your future,
Karl

Are you making progress, or making excuses?

For the last six years or so, I have been driving around the country meeting people and delivering talks about healthy living.

Most places I go, most folks I meet, in general, most people want to lose some weight.

First we have to be specific – it’s body fat we want to lose, not just ‘weight’.

I mean, rapid weight loss is easy…you could lose 25 pounds by tomorrow if you just chop one leg off, but that’s probably going to ruin your week overall, so I don’t think it’s a very smart idea.

It’s body fat that most folks want to lose.

Calories in, calories out

You’ve heard this bit before.

There are many diets, many systems, many protocols, but the overwhelming majority of them work on the basic principle that you have to eat a little less food, and generally eat “better food choices” (we’ll come to that in a sec) and you might have to move your tush a bit more.

Eat less, eat better, move more.

Really, that’s it, that’s how diets work.

Eat better food choices, that’s definitely a part of the equation. One size does not fit all, we are all different, and so some of us are going to do well on one certain diet, such as low-carb, while others may not.

Some aspects of eating ‘better’ will apply to most people –

Of course, there is a strong argument to say that these are all just examples of “eat less” – cutting these foods from your diet will almost certainly cut your calorie intake.

And so it is, the amazing secret to losing weight. You have to consume fewer calories than you use.

Really, in the vast and overwhelming majority of cases, folks became overweight in the first place because they went for a prolonged period of time (maybe a few months, maybe a few decades) consuming more calories than they were burning.

Now, to burn off that unwanted fat weight, they have to put that process into reverse for a prolonged period of time – maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe a few years.

No doubt, some folks are reading this and screaming…

It’s a bit more complicated than that!!

Sure, it is, but don’t let that stop you trying.

That’s not me being facetious or flippant, just trying to help you to see the true path forwards.

There are a thousand experts out there offering you a thousand reasons why you are overweight, and a thousand excuses why it’s not all your fault, and a thousand reasons why diets won’t work and won’t help.

In one way or another, for one person or another, they are all right.

But as I already said, one size does not fit all, and while each and every reason, or excuse, may fit for someone, it does not mean that every reason fits for everyone. It does not mean that every reason fits for you.

  • Sure, that man was beaten daily by his father as a child and he eats as an act of rebellion.
  • Sadly, that lady was abused when she was young, and she eats as an escape.
  • True, that other man was raised in poverty and his parents instilled unhealthy food habits in him which now lead to habitual over-eating.
  • Indeed, that lady has a thyroid problem, or a glandular condition, or a hormone imbalance, and it makes weight loss very difficult.
  • Certainly, that guy has a genetic predisposition to obesity, and certain food types (such as carbs) exacerbate his weight gain.
  • Sure, that girl has a metabolic imbalance caused by years of eating certain foods when she was growing up.
  • And yes, that man takes prescription steroids for his skin condition, and they promote weight gain.
  • And on and on.

Yes, these are all true for someone, but none of them are true for everyone.

So, in the short time and small space I have available in this blog post, let’s not debate every possible reason in exhaustive detail, but let’s understand and agree that those conditions broadly only affect a very small percentage of the population. Not even 1% have a glandular condition, the true number is tiny.

For the overwhelming majority of folks, losing weight means you gotta eat fewer calories, you gotta eat better, by opting for fresh whole foods, not processed hyper-palatable foods, and you gotta move a little more, by keeping busy, and playing some sport or enjoying some exercise.

For the few who are struggling against those problems, let’s offer them our understanding, our kind support, and a helping hand.

For everyone else, for the 90%, stop looking for justifications, stop looking for excuses.

Just get on with it.

Go on then, get cracking.

 

It’s going to take longer than you think…

Weight loss.

Or more specifically, fat loss.

I hate to keep beating the same drum, but the truth is, this is a topic that is a top priority for so many people.

Personally, I lost 101 pounds of fat, that’s 46 kilos to my European friends, or 7 stone 3 in old English language.

I know a few things about fat loss.

I wrestled with my weight my entire life, from age 14 onward, and yo-yo diets (year up, year down, repeat) were part of my life right through my 20s and most of my 30s.

In this post, I am going to share with you a few simple truths that I wish someone had told me back at the start of my own personal weight loss journey.

  1. It’s going to take longer than you think. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. At first, you will make rapid progress…but please know that the first ten pounds come off way quicker and easier than the last ten pounds. Those last ten pounds take freakin’ for-ever and they’ll drive you nuts.
  2. There is no absolute 100% right or wrong one way, there is no perfect one diet, there is just the way that works for you. Some folks will count calories, some folks will cut carbs, some folks will take up yoga, or running, or lift weights. They are all variants of ‘eat less, eat better, move more’ and the right one, is the one that you stick to, the one that works for you. If you need a hand getting started, I believe that the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are a great place to start and will get positive results for pretty much everyone.
  3. It took years to put that excess weight on, years of making small mistakes every day, that extra beer, that missed workout, that sugary dessert. Accept that it’s also going to take a fair bit of time to put all that in to reverse and turn it all around. I’m saying ‘get real, if you have been obese for 20 years, it’s going to take more than 90 days to get that 6-pack’ – know that now, so you have realistic expectations down the line. As a PT and health-coach-for-hire, I have seen this so many times. Folks hire help, and they have utterly unrealistic expectations, like turning around 35 years of obesity to “beach body fabulous” in just six months. It’s like setting yourself up for failure and disappointment from the get-go.
  4. If you do things to try to make it happen faster, like starvation diets, crash weight loss, exercise six hours daily like a maniac…that is unsustainable behaviour, and it will likely create unsustainable results. Starving crashes weight off, but not in a sustained and healthy way. You’ll probably feel like crap, look like crap and pick up every cough, cold and bug going. When they’ve had enough of that crap, most folks end up putting the weight back on. Exercising like a maniac sure burns a few calories, but you’ll end up exhausted and picking up frustrating injuries, which stop you from training, and stalls your progress.
  5. You can’t outrun a bad diet. That phrase is popular these days, to the point of becoming a cliche, but it’s pretty much true. If you are aged 18, or 24, you can probably out-train a poor diet. If you are 40 or 45, or in your 50’s, no way, you can’t do it. Truth is, you have to get your diet right, that’s 80% of the game, then build an active lifestyle and exercise at least five or six days per week, that’s 20% of the game.
  6. You’ve got to take the long view. Just get it in to your head that you need to commit to a healthy lifestyle, for good, for life, for ever, and that’s all there is to it. Fad diets are all about temporary behaviour changes that deliver temporary results. Some folks become exercise addicts…but if they still eat a bad diet, as they age, eventually that plan runs dry. The only way to ditch the unwanted fat weight and get and stay healthy for life, is to live a permanent healthy lifestyle. Trust me. I know. I did it.
  7. If you want to know how to do the same, it’s all here, just waiting for you to commit and get started.

So, go on then, get cracking.

To your good health!

Karl

There are three types of people, which one are you?

When it comes to weight loss, health and fitness, in my experience – and talking in very broad, general terms – there are three types of people:

  1. Know what to do, getting on and doing it.
  2. Don’t know what to do, confused, a bit lost, frustrated and fed up.
  3. Know what to do, but not bloody doing it!

Category 1

So those folks in category 1, and there could well be some of them reading this now, are the folks who have taken a bit of time to sift through the bull***t that pervades diet and health markets, they’ve figured out the basics of eating a whole-foods based diet, they understand the benefits of movement and exercise, they are consistent with their actions and they are getting results.

Category 1 – it feels good, it’s a good place to be! It took me two decades, but I got there in the end and have been enjoying it ever since!

Category 2

Now category 2 is a frustrating place to be. I was there for those two decades from late-teens to mid-30s. I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to be fit, I wanted to feel better and make my body look better but I was lost in the land of diet confusion. Sometimes it’s easy, once we have some knowledge of diet and nutrition and exercise, to think “everyone knows what to do, if they are not doing it they are just lazy” but that just isn’t true.

A lot of people genuinely don’t Read more

The role of dairy foods in your healthy lifestyle

I’ve put together an educational webinar for you to answer all the questions I get around dairy foods.

There is so much misinformation circulating online about diary foods that we need to cut through the nonsense and get to the facts.

In this webinar we look at the role of dairy foods in a healthy diet. We answer questions that include:

  • Are dairy foods ‘natural’ in a human diet?
  • What about animal welfare?
  • Should I eat dairy foods for calcium?
  • Will drinking milk help me have strong bones in older age?
  • Is their cruelty in dairy farming?
  • I saw a vegan video saying drinking milk is like drinking pus, is this true?
  • What do they mean by ‘pus’?
  • Is milk full of antibiotics?
  • Do I need dairy in my diet for protein?
  • Is milk full of growth hormones that they feed to the cows?
  • What’s the difference between dairy in the EU, the UK, and the US?
  • What is pasteurisation, and why do they do it?
  • Is raw milk safe to drink?
  • Should I go for grass-fed cheese, butter and milk?

All these questions and more are answered in this comprehensive webinar.

You can watch the full webinar here.

A free bonus, no sales pitch, just free.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there are confusing topics you would like me to cover in future webinars.

Chill out…have an ice cream…then get back to your vegetables

It’s summer, hoorah! The sun is shining and I hope you are enjoying the holidays.

Mother Nature’s Diet incorporates Core Principle 12 – the 90/10 Rule.

In rough terms, this means ‘get it right 90% of the time, and chill out over the last 10 percent’.

This doesn’t mean ‘take a cheat day’ or ‘eat well Monday round to Friday lunchtime, then blow it all over the weekend. It means 90% of the calories you consume should work within Core Principles 1-to-11, and then you can relax over the last tenth.

I’ve been away on holiday with my family last week. One particular day, we went for a seven mile walk along cliff tops in the sunshine, we had fresh air, exercise and sunshine, and we picked and ate fresh blackberries along the way. Getting teenage kids to put their iPads down and go for a walk is always a challenge, so several hours out in nature counts as a major win in my book!

It’s been a hot sunny day, and when we finished our walk, the kids wanted an ice cream. There is a quality boutique ice cream parlour just about a mile from where we finished our walk, and it was on our way back, so we stopped by on the way.

I had an ice cream too. It’s summer, it’s a lovely day, I enjoyed my little ‘off-plan treat’ without a hint of guilt.

It got me to thinking, when I eat an ice cream or a soft warm bread roll, or some chocolate, people freak out. I get “Oh but you’re Read more

Reasons to be cheerful…

Depression, it’s become another modern day epidemic.

According to the WHO, the World Health Organisation:

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease
  • More women are affected by depression than men
  • At its worst, depression can lead to suicide

That’s a sad reality.

heard a statistic that shocked me this morning.

In 2016, there were 44,965 suicides in the United States of America, and that figure is likely low, due to under-reporting. Can you visualise in your mind’s eye what 45 thousand people looks like, if they all stood in a big field in one place? Yikes. Suicide rates per 100,000 of population are slightly lower in the UK, but we still saw over 5,800 suicides in the same time period.

It makes me wonder what is going wrong in our modern society that so many people take their own lives, living in such rich, abundant societies. In wealthy nations such as the US and the UK, we supposedly ‘have it all’ in wealth, healthcare, standard of living, yet so many people are so unhappy that their paths lead to suicide. I think about this too much, and it leads me to tears, as a father and as a citizen, it’s such a sad fact of our modern lives.

It makes me think ‘clearly wealth and possessions don’t automatically mean happiness’. I mean, in the US and the UK we have so much that folks in poorer countries do not…

  • Social and political freedoms
  • We have the best modern healthcare
  • Never-before-seen-in-human-history low infant mortality
  • Ubiquitous public sanitation
  • Clean drinking water for all
  • Electricity and heating for every home
  • State healthcare
  • Welfare systems
  • Flushing toilets

Billions of humans live in other countries without these luxuries, we should all be counting our blessings every day!

There seems to be little correlation between wealth and suicide at a national level.

But I meet people every day who are miserable, unhappy, complaining of anxiety and depression. They have warm comfortable homes, modern cars, every comfort and luxury. Their biggest worry is where to take their annual holiday, which episode of some TV series to watch, or which take-away pizza toppings to order. Clearly, depression is not caused by the difficulty of our life circumstances, or at least it’s not that alone.

Which begs the question, and yes I know I am massively over-simplifying things here (come on, it’s a short blog post, not a PhD thesis), if people in rich countries who have freedom and every luxury can be depressed, while people in poor countries with few possessions or luxuries can be happy, then what is causing much of the depression in our society?

Of course, such a huge discussion is beyond the scope of this blog post, and there are many varied causes behind depression. Trauma, abuse, psychological harm, biochemical imbalances, a myriad of social and psychological factors, and while I am unqualified and unskilled in this area, I am sure no two cases are ever the same, and everyone is different.

But I do have some personal experience, having been through depression myself at one time in my life; and I have some knowledge through studies and experiences of how lifestyle and dietary factors can exacerbate some cases of depression, or help alleviate them.

I’m not saying any quack nonsense about “Just cheer up and eat some broccoli and you’ll be fine!” I think we all know it’s a bit more complicated than that…and as I wrote above, there are doubtless no two cases of depression that are the same, with no two same causes and no two same cures.

But there are some things you can do to help ensure that biologically, your brain is working optimally.

  • You can get more sleep. Sleep deprivation is a well known contributing causal factor in many brain disorders, including anxiety and depression. Sitting up til 3am watching TV, checking Facebook on your phone at four in the morning, shift work and chronic long-term sleep deprivation are all no-no’s, and these are factors you can control. Get to bed soon after 10pm, make sure your bedroom is cool, properly dark, well ventilated (clean behind wardrobes to remove mould and excess dust), and leave the electronic devices downstairs – bed is for sleep, love making and reading a book, nothing else.
  • Get more sunshine. It’s a fact that around 70% or so of the UK population are somewhat deficient in vitamin D. The best way to get optimal vitamin D is to expose your skin to the sun, so with most folks working indoors these days, and given our grey weather much of the year, vitamin D can be a real challenge! Whenever you can, get outside and get some skin on show. Eat plenty of oily fish, eggs and liver. Consider having your vitamin D tested and maybe taking a supplement for the winter half of the year.
  • Improve your diet. While it remains scientifically unproven at this point in time, I feel sure that in the future studies will show that diet has more of an impact on mental health than we currently credit it for. Don’t wait, improve your diet now:
    • Zinc plays many relevant roles in brain health, including helping with libido, stress coping, dopamine production, depression and more. Eat plenty of fresh oily fish, shellfish, free-range eggs and nuts to keep zinc high in your diet.
    • Magnesium has been shown to have links to anxiety, learning ability, confusion, irritability and insomnia. Keep magnesium high by eating lots of fresh leafy greens, fish, nuts and seeds.
    • Don’t starve, and avoid the fad diets. Studies suggest that severe calorie restriction can exacerbate anxiety and stress.
    • Your brain is made of mostly fat and water, so ensure you nourish it well by keeping both high in your diet – good fats from oily fish, organ meats, free-range eggs, avocado, grass-fed butter, olive oil and nuts are all good, plus stay well hydrated which helps combat fatigue in many ways.
  • Exercise is a proven way to combat stress, anxiety and depression. Establish a daily habit of taking some exercise, keep it varied and fun, try to find a participation sport you enjoy. Regular movement and exercise has also been proven to help reduce and slow dementia in the elderly.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation, work over time to develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and always try to see all the good in your life – focus on the good, not the challenges.

Maybe you noticed, that all these tips are already encapsulated in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet, a healthy lifestyle that’s good for both your mind and your body.

I can’t promise you that a jog round the block and a plate full of broccoli will cure anything, including depression, but Mother Nature’s Diet is all about teaching preventive medicine, and living this way can ensure your brain is functioning as well as possible biologically, to help you cope with everything life throws at you, the good and the bad.

Let’s help spread the word to as many people as possible.

To your good health!

Karl

 

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.

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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.

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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.

cof

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.

cof

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…

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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.

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