Skip to content

The 7 secrets to permanent weight loss…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

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

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

OMG, so much hype.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what…there is a solution.

Wanna know?

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

Wow, revolutionary!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your good health!

Karl

Controlling those sugar cravings…

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

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

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

Well, maybe it’s partly biological too.

Refined sugar

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

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

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

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

Are you getting enough?

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

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

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

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

Gains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here’s the thing. Read more

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

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

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

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

Thinking time…

That last question…

Do you know what yours is?

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

Really, it’s not rocket science…

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

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

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

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

No guidance

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

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

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

“An apple a day…keeps the doctor away”

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

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

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

Take charge…or perish

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

Apathy is a killer.

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

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

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

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

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

Core Principle 4 – stop smoking and drink less!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really, it’s not Rocket Science…

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

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

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

To you and your future!

Karl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Causes and factors

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

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

There are many known Read more

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

I observe people quite a lot in my life.

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

It takes all sorts, as they say.

Allow me to explain what I am talking about.

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

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

All the excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now apply that to everything in your life.

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch.

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

Don’t be one of them.

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

To your good health!

Karl

Change, change again, and then change again!

Training!
How is your training going?

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

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

Let’s focus on the variety bit today.

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

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

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

Plateau busting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exercise.

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

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

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

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

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Regular exercise can improve blood sugar regulation for diabetics.

Regular exercise can help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Regular exercise can help with diabetes management.

Regular exercise seems to help prevent dementia.

Regular exercise can help combat rising obesity.

Regular exercise can help reduce all-cause mortality.

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

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

So the questions is – are you doing it?

If not, why not?

To your good health!

Karl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1luvx

Karl

Stay sober, have sex and eat chocolate

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

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

Making changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See, that’s not so hard, is it?

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

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

What’s not to love about that?

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

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

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

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

Seriously, this is the easy stuff!

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

What to eat – breakfast

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

Read more

Fix your diet and live longer…simple, right?

In the spirit of keeping things short and simple, let’s get straight to the point.

I made a little video for you, it’s only 11 minutes, and it briefly explains Mother Nature’s Diet and the 12 Core Principles in the most short and easy way I could! I was aiming for inside 10 minutes…got it in just over 11, that’s pretty good for me!

This healthy living game doesn’t have to be difficult, it really is simple stuff.
Try these –

See how simple this stuff is!

Now of course, if you want ‘complex’ then there is plenty of detail and plenty of science behind it all. You might like to read more about how a sedentary life (that means you don’t do much exercise) can increase the risk of kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

Or perhaps you would be interested in reading about the role of excess dietary carbohydrate in driving health conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

This line stands out “An insulin response with every snack and meal for years can, in genetically vulnerable people, cause insulin resistance with variable expression among people and among different body tissues.” Read the whole (short) article in the British Journal of General Practice here.

As the article suggests, possibly the treatment protocol that has prevailed for decades – a diet based on whole grain ‘slow release’ complex carbs, and taking medications to control blood glucose, may in fact be the wrong approach, doing patients more harm than good. The correct approach, of course…well, that would be Mother Nature’s Diet. Natch.

If you need any further convincing on this topic, you should watch this lovely half-hour video from the highly personable Dr David Unwin, whom I have met and he’s a lovely chap, awarded as ‘Innovator of the Year’ by the NHS, for treating diabetic patients with a low-carb diet.

To your good health!

Karl

Whose job is it to keep you from getting sick?

Oh dear…were banging the ‘personal responsibility’ drum again! Feels like déjà vu…

A while back I asked ‘what saves the most lives – fire fighters or smoke alarms?

Let’s revisit this topic, and dig just a little deeper. It seems to me that in many, perhaps most, areas we grasp the idea that prevention is better than cure. We fit smoke alarms to our homes, we buy soft furnishings treated with fire retardant, we teach our kids not to play with matches, we all do our best not to leave candles unattended and so on. The UK Fire Service spends a good chunk of it’s budget on “undertaking preventative activities to reduce the risks of fire; and carrying out safety inspections of business premises” to prevent fires happening in the first place.

The UK Police service spends time and money on crime prevention, community policing and public safety. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has become a standard part of doing business in our country, and together with RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) these organisations do good work to reduce injuries and accidents in the UK, in businesses and homes.

And the NHS, to be fair, does promote a healthy lifestyle – they tell us to eat our 5-a-day, they offer resources and advice to help people to stop smoking, they tell the British public to drink less alcohol, and that alcohol contributes to cancer and more, they offer advice on weight loss and they promote regular exercise, clearly stating “Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose.”

So, our national emergency services are clearly ‘bought in’ to the idea that prevention is better than cure. I think we all are – I mean, no one buys a car and never gets it serviced, never has the tyres replaced, never tops up the windscreen wash, never has new brake pads put in, never puts fuel in it. No one does that. After a few days, weeks, months or years, what use would that car be if you never looked after it, never did any maintenance? Of course, it would be useless.

As a society, we get it, this idea that we have to do maintenance on something to keep it running well – worn tyres and worn brakes are a recipe for an early grave should you be required to make an emergency stop in wet weather…yet obesity, a lack of fitness, insulin resistance and high blood pressure are a recipe for an early grave too, and yet so many people will pay to get their car serviced every year, but they never commit to that same level of maintenance for themselves.

Whose job is it to keep us from getting sick in the first place?

RoSPA and the HSE do their best to give us safety advice and to ensure our work places and public spaces are safe, but ultimately is it RoSPA’s fault if I drive too fast on poor tyres in wet weather and I have an accident? No, of course not. That would be my fault.

And so the NHS tell us Read more

Vitamins, minerals and orangutans…

The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is built around the 12 Core Principles, an easy-to-follow set of nutrition and lifestyle guidelines – not hard rules, but guidelines to help you find the optimum diet and lifestyle for you, so that you get the best results.

In conversation recently, someone asked me ‘Why Core Principle 3, why do we have to cut down, or cut out, processed foods?’

I’ll answer that question now. Firstly, one reason we strive to minimise processed foods in our diet is in order to help us comply with Core Principle 1 (grains and excess starchy carbs) and Core Principle 2 (refined sugar).

We can walk the aisles of a modern supermarket and succumb to the illusion of choice – row upon row of different shapes, sizes and flavours; all the brightly coloured attractive packaging; it’s easy to think the 50,000 foods in a modern supermarket are all different. But in reality, many of them are actually just variations of the same thing. The truth is that a lot of processed foods are made from a basic starch (wheat, corn, rice, oats) with added soy and sugar. Then oils are added, such as palm oil or various vegetables oils, and then small amounts of other ingredients are added and finally artificial flavours, colours and preservatives round out the manufacturing process to create the final ‘food’.

It’s only in this final stage – adding the artificial colours, flavours and individual shapes and sizes, that many of these foods are differentiated from each other. There may appear to be 138 different breakfast cereals in your local supermarket, but if you break them down and look at them nutritionally, they are Read more

Are we struggling with the wrong things?

I urge you to take the time to read this if you want to make sense of your life and the things you struggle with.

What do you struggle with?

  • Your weight? The number on the scales?
  • Your career, your income, your bank balance, your business?
  • Your life choices, balancing family, kids, marriage, career, life? Do you feel empty, or fulfilled, do you constantly question if you are making the right choices in life?
  • Relationships? Love?
  • Do you think happiness is something that you will feel in the future, when you lose that weight, when people accept you, respect you, love you? Will you be happy when you are rich, secure, retired? When you can quit the job? Will you be happy for 2 weeks out of 52 when you are on holiday?

Read this.

Take the time.

Recently, I was reading Ray Dalio’s new book, Principles, and these words struck me, and I just have to share them with you. As always, I’m pressed for time, the last thing I have time to do is type up several hundred words that are not even my own words. But sometimes, you just have to do something that feels important.

Of course, I could do this the quick way, and just photograph the relevant couple of pages from the book and share them in this post saying ‘read this’ – but instead I am going to write the words out, because there is no better way for me to learn this and really take it in, than to write it all out for you. When we share words of wisdom or a passage of text, we not only pass on that gift to others, but we get to learn it and experience it all over again for ourselves. That sounds like a win:win to me.

Ray Dalio – Principles

Context: the author is Ray Dalio. Maybe you have never even heard of him, he’s a superstar in the world of finance, but to the rest of us, he’s largely unknown. In short, he’s probably the most famous and most influential person in the world of hedge funds, ever. He predicted things like the subprime financial meltdown in 2008 and no one else believed him. They do now.

He spent 40 years building a hedge fund company that is ranked by Fortune as the fifth most important private company in the US, Forbes magazine rank him as one of the 100 richest people in the world (he’s worth about $17bn), and Time magazine ranked him one of the 100 most influential people on the planet. He started trading stocks aged 12, he was working neighbourhood jobs for money from age 8, he was not born into millions, he started his company from home working alone, went bust after a few years and had to start again, has been ‘down and out’ in business and finances twice, then became a billionaire. He’s married, got four kids, been through some life drama, and gives away millions and millions to good causes. He’s now retirement age (68) and writing his memoirs and all he learned in life, to pass on after his death. This book is the first half of that work. Seems to me he’s a pretty smart guy.

I’m going to share a couple of pages from his book. This is him closing out the first 120 pages of his book, summarising his life story and then the rest of this book goes on to share the lessons he learned along the way.

Take it away, Ray:

“Watching the same things happen again and again, I began to see reality as a gorgeous perpetual motion machine, in which causes become effects that become causes of new effects, and so on. I realized that reality was, if not perfect, at least what we are given to deal with, so that any problems or frustrations I had with it were more productively directed to dealing with them effectively than complaining about them. I came to understand that my encounters were tests of my character and creativity. Over time, I came to appreciate what a tiny and short-lived part of that remarkable system I am, and how it’s both good for me and good for the system for me to know how to interact with it well.

In gaining this perspective, I began to experience painful moments in a radically different way. Instead of feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I saw pain as nature’s reminder that there is something important for me to learn. Encountering pains and figuring out the lessons they were trying to give me became sort of a game to me. The more I played it, the better I got at it, the less painful those situations became, and the more rewarding the process of reflecting, developing principles, and then getting rewards for using those principles became. I learned to love my struggles, which I suppose is a healthy perspective to have, like learning to love exercising (which I haven’t managed to do yet).

In my early years, I looked up to extraordinarily successful people, thinking that they were successful because they were extraordinary. After I got to know such people personally, I realised that all of them Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet

Weight loss, nutrition, healthy living…it has all become so confusing in recent years.

It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do.

  • Are you fed up with fad diets?
  • Had enough of the gimmicks, the promises, the bullshit?
  • Are you fed up with being lied 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.

The internet seems to be awash with self-appointed diet gurus promising you ‘the secrets’ to weight loss, the secrets to fat burning, the truth about ageing well…yet the solutions they offer seem to involve buying some powdered supplements or sticking to some crazy workout schedule.

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

No fads, no gimmicks, no so-called superfoods or supplements.

No starving, no calorie counting, no suffering.

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

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

MND_BOOK_MOCK-UP_hires

Personal responsibility

Mother Nature’s Diet is all about taking personal responsibility, and working on yourself to get the best out of your life, in every way. Whether you are currently aged 30 or 70, if you are the kind of person who refuses to accept that turning 40 means “it’s all downhill from here” and if you believe that we can be slim and healthy and full of energy in our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, then the Mother Nature’s Diet way of living just might be the lifestyle you have been searching for.

If you think the right way to live is to eat fresh whole foods, rather than searching for answers in the form of supplements, pills and powders, then Mother Nature’s Diet will resonate with you.

“Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

A while ago I interviewed an NHS GP about the state of healthcare in the UK, and I asked the questions “Are people working hard to help themselves?”, and I was shocked to be told that while many GPs do take the time to give lifestyle and dietary advice, repeatedly, the reality is that a staggering nine out of ten patients just disregard that advice and ask, “Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

This is the sad truth – the NHS is going bust because people are not taking personal responsibility.

Nine out of ten people. That is shocking and saddening to me.

If you just read that little story and, in your mind, you thought “I’m the one in ten, I don’t want to just take pills, if there is a way I can help myself, then I will.” If that’s you, then you’ll find that Mother Nature’s Diet is the lifestyle for you.
You will enjoy this book.

Mother Nature’s Diet is the point where lifestyle medicine meets personal responsibility.

  • If you want to lose that excess weight for good, no more fad diets, no more yo-yo weight loss, then Mother Nature’s Diet may be the answer you have been looking for
  • If you are prepared to get outside every day for some fresh air, take long walks at the weekends and switch off that TV from time to time, then you’ll feel right at home living the Mother Nature’s Diet way
  • If you want more energy, and freedom from sugar-lows and the afternoon slump, then Mother Nature’s Diet is for you

Mother Nature’s Diet – the place where preventive medicine meets personal responsibility.
The best version of you: fit, healthy, and full of energy, now and far into your future.

All you need to know

Mother Nature’s Diet is made up of 12 Core Principles, these are 12 simple points to guide you to optimal good health. The 12 Core Principles are easy to understand, easy to implement in your life and easy to follow. Living this way requires no science degree, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have worked hard to remove the science and complexity, and the end result is purposefully simple, as good health should be. And far from starving, this lifestyle is abundant, you shouldn’t need to suffer in order to be healthy.MND_cover_A42

The 293-page eBook includes a 28-Day Plan, all the details you need to make these sustainable, enjoyable, beneficial changes in your life, to lose weight, feel great and have more energy.

Available for immediate download now.

What people are saying…

“This book is clearly written with passion and integrity, masses of commonsense, a framework of experience and thorough research, and packed with real-life constructive suggestions. If you want to change your life and health for the better, I can only strongly recommend that you buy it, read it and implement it; it’s the best £9 you will ever spend.” – Mrs T, Norwich

“If you care about yourself, if you want to be the best you can then you need to buy this book, it’s not just a way to eat well but also a way to live your life well too … it will be the best investment in You that you can ever make!” – Mrs V, France

“I wanted to crack on with discovering MND… love the no-nonsense, common-sense and pep-talk style – accessible, and am aiming for ‘progress, not perfection’ … thanks, Karl!” – Mrs G, East Anglia

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

“I have found the book great. Exactly the tool I wanted to learn from and digest (pardon the pun!)” – Mr B, Hereford

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

“I have suffered with irritable bowel syndrome for many, many years. I was told to eat fibre – given Fybogel from the doctor, etc., suffered with lots of painful cramps, bloating etc., going one day being constipated, the next loose. I follow MND and no bloating, and bowels are now normal. Happy days!” – Mrs H, UK

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

“Listen to Karl! I cut all the rubbish out of my shopping list, my trolley has never looked so healthy. I weighed myself today and I’m 6lbs lighter and I’ve eaten loads this week, not felt hungry and am determined never to follow any weight loss programme ever again, just healthy eating and exercise and no sugar!” – Ms. C, UK

 

“I have lost 5lbs in one week just by following MND and home workouts. I cannot believe it! My stomach has really gone down. I’ve stopped the bread and stuck to the 12 Core Principles. I still cannot believe it. Just having more energy is awesome!” – Ms R, London, UK

“I’d tried paleo, LCHF, considered raw, vegan, not to mention a decade of weight watchers, slimming world and none of it made any sense. All contradicting each other and often within their own ‘rules’. MND 12 CP’s are the way to go – Karl has made them so simple to follow! What I found useful was to write down what each CP meant to me in terms of what to work on. I did that in Jan after the seminar and will do again shortly as I’ve made a lot of little changes in those 6 months.” – Mrs Smith, South East, UK

“Thought I would share this to celebrate!!! Dropped a dress size in 2 weeks!!!!! And can now wear skinny jeans!!!! Am soooooooo happy!!!!!!!” – Rose, UK

“Quitting sugar and alcohol (didn’t drink much anyway) has changed my life. Karl Whitfield changed my life, his MND and 12CP showed me the way and I followed x Thank you x” – Mrs Wade, UK

“I would urge anyone who thinks this diet/way of life is restrictive to do what I did and start with just a small manageable time period to see how you feel afterwards. I guarantee that you will notice a major difference in your body, your health and it won’t seem as restrictive as before, but instead you will discover a new lease of life. I will be doing more and more 4 week periods, until I do more of them than I do more of the bad eating. Thanks for the hard work that goes into MND. It is highly appreciated.”

“I’ve lost 7lbs in 12 days Karl, and yes it is all yum, and beats a sandwich and crisps any day!” – Ms C, UK

“I’m down a dress size in two weeks as I’m no longer bloated and sluggish.
My anaemia is no longer tiring me out so much in the day!!!!
I’m sticking to this!!”

“MND has got me from 20% body fat to around 15% some times under fluctuates slightly but really impressed and not really made many drastic changes just been more aware of what I fuel my body with. Knowledge is power so massive thanks to Karl Whitfield for his… very inspiring … help.” – Mr R, Yorks

“15 weeks in 1 and half stone lost… apparently, so I’m told, I’ve lost it from my back and love handles, neck and face.” – Mr P, Midlands

“MND really does work!” – Ms R, London

Get your copy immediately and start making changes for your best health ever right now!

Eat less, move more…the diet deniers strike back…

Following the last post, this blog has registered it’s first official reader complaint!
A milestone to be sure!

In the last post I wrote about the ‘eat less, move more’ phrase, and how many health and fitness professionals, people I referred to as ‘the diet deniers’ for a bit of a tease, discard this phrase as being unscientific nonsense that has no place in helping solve our global obesity crisis. If you have not yet read that post, you may like to go and read it now.

In that post, I argue that in fact, eat a little less and move a whole lot more is great advice that probably is highly applicable to at least half or maybe as many as three quarters of all the overweight and obese people in our society that need and want to lose some weight. I went on to say that the saying should be revised to ‘eat less, eat better, and move more’ to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

Steve, a really good friend of mine, read that post, and challenged me on my thoughts. You know who your true friends are; it’s the people who don’t mind openly challenging you in the hopes that one, or both of you, might learn something. True friends can challenge each other without fear of upset or conflict, when you share the common aim of learning, when you both just seek the truth.

My friend Steve is a Personal Trainer, and a damn good one at that. He’s young, just turned 30, and he’s in great shape, he looks the part, lean, muscular, fit and strong and healthy. He’s always been in good shape, since playing sport at school, and he’s a highly qualified PT, constantly taking courses, expanding his knowledge base, always learning. Steve is roughly six foot tall, and he weighs a little over 13 stones (he’s around 186 pounds, or 85 kilos), so he’s pretty muscular, athletic looking I would say, and low enough body fat to have visible abs.

He challenged my thoughts last week and said that he thought I was being overly simplistic, he laughed and said “I’m one of your diet deniers! I think a few people should ‘eat less and move more’, but for most overweight people out there that’s not enough, they need personalised help, help with nutrition, perhaps a low carb diet, a ketogenic diet maybe, or they need help with a personalised training plan, they definitely need more than just ‘eat less, move more’.”

Here’s how the conversation followed –

Karl: Sure, all those things will be a big help to a lot of people, and for sure once someone is ‘on their way’ and the weight is starting to come off, they may need those things to keep making forward progress and to get into really great shape. But for a lot of folks, they just need to get started, they need to stop over eating and get out of their sedentary rut, start moving more.

Steve: Nope, that’s not enough man!

Karl: OK, try this for me buddy. I want you to experience something for me. You’re still a young buck, only 30, and you’re very healthy and in great shape. At your age, I know you can do this, I know you can do this experiment for me and come back from it, no long term damage, you’re the expert.

Steve: Go on…? Read more

The diet deniers

Eat less, move more – annoying cliché, or inconvenient truism?

I have been following the diet industry, in one way or another, for almost 30 years now, either as a customer trying to lose weight, or as a professional who ‘cracked the code’ and is now trying to help others.

I have seen trends sweep through this industry – fashions, buzzwords, fad diets of course, that come and go. A few years ago, the phrase ‘eat less, move more’ became ‘the latest thing’ in the media, perhaps rising partly off the back of the popularity of Paleo diets. The increasing use of this expression seemed to rise as a result of press articles summarising the words of doctors, scientists and personal trainers who were promoting studies showing that lack of exercise and the ease of access to hyperpalatable, high-sugar, obesogenic foods were the main societal drivers of the obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics.

Now, the latest, latest new thing, in the last year or so, has been to decry this expression as the most naïve and pointless weight loss advice ever promoted! It has become très trendy among the educated classes to laugh at the idea that eating less and moving more could possibly be good advice in tackling the rising obesity problem.

Almost every day now I read posts by diet and nutrition bloggers, or I see books from doctor-this and PhD-that, brushing off ‘eat less, move more’ as laughably short-sighted, and “anyone who says that clearly doesn’t understand the complex factors driving the obesity epidemic” and “oh how silly, if only it was that simple” and “telling an obese person to eat less is as pointless as telling a depressed person to just cheer up.”

Well ex-cuse me, you highly-educated diet-snob, but I’ve been both an obese person, and a depressed person, and I can tell you ‘eat less, move more’ worked a hell of a lot more effectively for me than ‘just cheer up’ ever did, so you can stick your PhD where the sun don’t shine pal, because I’m pretty darned certain that about 50% or more of all the overweight and obese people I see and meet out there in the real world damn well need to just eat a little less, and move a whole lot more, and in a great many cases they are perfectly happy to admit it!

Obesity is a multifactorial condition

Now I know the obesity epidemic is being driven by a lot of complex factors. I know some people overeat as an emotional crutch to make up for traumatic or psychologically damaging events that happened in their past, sure that maybe accounts for about 5% of the overweight and obese people out – probably only really 1% or 2%, but I am being generous.

And I know that there are genetic factors, some people Read more

Chill out before you peg out…

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

The following is an extract from my new book, Mother Nature’s Diet, available for immediately download right now.

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 Read more

Brexit and booze

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about politics! I’ll keep my views on Brexit to myself.

This is the first in a series of posts that will eventually come together as a short series on “ignoring the elephant in the room” and as the series builds, you’ll see how the posts all connect together, to highlight ‘gross national stupidity’ and the ignorance our media perpetuates by spreading lies and misinformation.

£350m per week for our NHS

As surely everyone in the country can remember, during the Brexit campaign, the Leave campaign drove around Britain in a bus touting the slogan “We send the EU £350 million per week, let’s fund our NHS instead. Vote Leave”

Brexit bus

This was one of the cornerstone arguments of the Leave campaign – stop giving money to the EU, and give it to the NHS instead.

This post is not about politics, but you may have followed in the news how this £350m GBP promise has been pulled apart and rubbished…the £350m figure does not account for Britain’s EU rebate, it’s a gross figure not a net figure, and it fails to account for everything our nation gains in return for EU membership. Scholars have largely proven that in fact, once the UK leaves the EU, there will be zero surplus cash available for the NHS, quite a lot less that £350m per week.

At this stage, at time of writing, there is no sense exploring that issue any further because:

  • Until the Brexit negotiations are complete, nothing is certain and we can’t know whether the UK economy is going to be better off or worse off
  • That’s not the point of this post

What’s this got to do with health?

Read more

Save yourself a bunch of hassle, a small fortune, and years of poor health – JFDI

This post, in a nutshell:

  • I was a fat yo-yo dieter for 20 years, in and out of obesity, trying fad diets and fad bouts of exercise
  • I finally ‘figured it all out’ and lost 101 pounds of fat, or 7 stone 3, or 46 kilos
  • Now I have spent 11 years obsessed with health and fitness and read 847 books and research papers on all-things-health related
  • I have spent the last five years trying to teach the best of what I learned – no gimmicks, no fads, no selling snake-oil supplements, no bullshit, just the truth
  • Most folks don’t want this truth, it’s too boring. It’s not very sexy, it doesn’t sell
  • Ugly as it sounds, the reality is that ‘most’ doctors and ‘experts’ are disinclined to teach healthy diet and lifestyle modification as preventive medicine. Instead they wait for people to mess themselves up, then when they come for help, they prescribe drugs or surgery
  • And most ordinary people are turned off by honest advice to eat healthily and exercise more, and instead they prefer to live the hedonistic life, wait til shit goes wrong, then take those prescription drugs in the hopes that can fix things
  • This strategy falls apart when the NHS goes bust and everyone has type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer
  • The solution? Follow my boring and sensible advice, follow the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet, and stop using food and alcohol as cheap thrills and anxiety drugs to make up for the fact that other areas of your life are less than fulfilling

The size of the problem

If you follow this blog then you know my back story and there is no real need for me to go through it again. For those who are new to this blog, here is the super-short version. I struggled with my weight from age 14 to age 35, yo-yo diets, exercise fads, in and out of obesity. I smoked for 20 years, drank pretty heavily for 26 years, had skin problems, nasal congestion problems, took prescription meds for 17 years, and fought low self-esteem my entire life. Mid-30s, I started to learn about nutrition and turned it all around. Lost 7 stone 3 (101 pounds, 46 kilos), got fit, ran a bunch of marathons, had some injuries and accidents (including every running injury in the book, knee surgery, fractured spine, busted some ribs, bust a few bones) and then studied and became a Personal Trainer. Long version here.

Along the way, I read hundreds of books, hundreds of research papers, attended dozens of training events, seminars, conferences and more. I learned a ton about health, nutrition, disease prevention, fitness, training, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, weight loss, mindset, personal development, farming, agriculture, the environment, history, anthropology and a whole lot more. Along the way I got really pissed off with all the confusing and conflicting research and advice.

  • Meat is good for you : no, meat gives you cancer!
  • Dairy is good for you, it’s a superfood : no, dairy is full of pus and gives you breast cancer!
  • Running is good for you : no, running trashes your knees and hips!
  • Low-fat is the secret to losing weight and avoiding heart disease – so just eat less fat and more carbs! : No! Fat is essential…it’s the carbs that cause heart disease and make you fat!
  • Coconut oil is good : no, coconut oil is bad!
  • Put butter and fat in your coffee : no, coffee is already bad for you, it’s worse with butter in it!
  • Weight training is good for you : no, weights will make you bulky and you’ll end up damaging your joints and taking steroids!
  • Calories are all that matter for weight loss : no, calories don’t matter at all!

And so it goes on and on and on. I read every book, paper and blog on every topic for 27 years and it all drove me nuts. Every expert disagrees with every other expert! And today, if anything, it’s only Read more

Every master was once a disaster

Every master was once a disaster…it’s worth remembering, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and few people are great at anything the first time they try it.

I was listening to one of these personal development guru types the other day, a great speaker and author called T.Harv Eker who teaches people how to get rich, and he used the phrase ‘every master was once a disaster’.

The phrase came back to my mind the very next day when I was training with a PT client who was really struggling with the challenge I had set for him. This guy is around 40 and he’s let himself get out of shape; you know, bit of a belly, let the fitness go, not done any strength training in years. He is in perfectly good health, has no heart problems and not morbidly obese, so I was pushing him pretty hard to get through this workout challenge, and he was swearing and cursing and flagging big time.

I could see he was reaching exhaustion, but on each exercise I was pushing him to go one or two extra reps, just to get the best out of him, the best he could do that day. He was swearing at me, sure, but he was mostly swearing at himself.

When we finished the workout, he was hard on himself, berating himself for doing poorly, for being unfit and out-of-shape. He was ashamed, maybe that word is too strong, but he was disappointed by how few push-ups he could do, how few burpees he could do, how few dips he could do. I told him, ‘every master was once a disaster’ and he shouldn’t be so hard on himself now, but instead understand that he has work to do to move from ‘disaster’ to ‘master’ and he should be proud that right now he is taking the necessary steps, doing the work, pushing himself forward, and starting to make improvements.

I do a lot of push-ups, I guess 200 to 500 per day most days. In fact on a good day, I think little of doing 1000 in a day. But it wasn’t always like that. When I first decided it was time to get fit and healthy, I couldn’t finish a single set of 20. I was only 20 years of age. Let’s be absolutely clear, failing to complete even one set of 20, flaking out at less than 15, as a young man aged just 20, that is very poor. I was at ‘disaster’ at that time, but I didn’t beat myself up too much for that. I just said ‘OK, it’s 14 today. OK, let’s shoot for 15 or more tomorrow’ and started making progress from there. Now I do 1000 in a day, no big deal.

The lesson to learn is this: often no one is as hard on us as we are on ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up too much, instead take pride from the fact that at least you are here, you’re reading this blog, you’re trying to live by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet, you’re working out, even if it’s starting with just one push-up, well done you, that’s one more than yesterday. Just start, and keep moving forward. As I wrote last week, the road to ‘master’ is seldom straight, upward and easy; instead it’s fraught with setbacks and trials and tribulations along the way, but you have started, you have made a move from ‘disaster’ and you are on your way. Master awaits, you just have to keep making forward progress.

Exercise, diet, lifestyle. Keep making progress. Don’t be too hard on yourself, the journey is long, stay the course. Rather than emotionally beating yourself up for errors in days gone by, mistakes you have made that cannot be undone, keep going consistently now, keep making forward progress, and never look back. Consistency is where so many fail. Stay the course.

Whatever your goals, keep chasing them, keep working; and as you move towards mastery, one day at a time, just remind yourself that every master was once a disaster. Keep going, you’ve got this.

 

 

Bumps along the road to success

The path to getting the results we want is never the smooth, easy road we imagine it is going to be.

For almost 47 years old, with a history of 20 years of smoking, heavy drinking and yo-yo obesity, now I am in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I’m healthy, full of energy, got zero health complaints, I’m fit-as-a-fiddle, I train every day and barring a couple of minor muscular niggles, I am fit and strong in every way. ‘Minor muscular niggles’, yeah I have a few of those, currently the main one is a rotator cuff issue in my right shoulder that’s been holding back progress on my bench press for almost nine long months. I used to get frustrated about the aches and pains, but over the years I have now come to realise they are just part of life training over the age of 40, I just have to live with them.

I was having this conversation the other day with a coaching client of mine, we were talking about working around the minor niggles. He was frustrated by a neck/shoulder ache that was stopping him doing his upper body training properly, and I was encouraging him to train more lower body while his upper body strength is compromised. This is life, the journey is never smooth, it never goes to plan, there are always hiccups along the way. My client was having a crap day, he was feeling down about his training, things not going to plan, progress too slow. This week he can’t train upper body properly because of this neck/shoulder ache, all last month he was off running because of a touch of shin splints, he was feeling exasperated, “I just want to get on a train hard every day! It’s not fair! It’s slowing my progress, all these damned injuries!”

The ups and downs

I can empathise, I have been there myself. The road to success is never the smooth journey we want it to be. When we start out on our health transformation, to lose the excess weight and get all fit and healthy, we imagine in our minds that it will all go smoothly. We imagine that after years of not doing the right things, not looking after ourselves, smoking, drinking, eating too much fattening food, not exercising, making the wrong choices, we imagine that once we start ‘being good’ and doing all the right things, then everything will be good, everything will work well, everything will go in our favour. We have some unquestioned mental faith in the depths of our mind that quietly assumes that we are switching from ‘being naughty’ to ‘being good’ and therefore nothing will go wrong, the quiet forces of the universe will line up in our favour and everything will be perfect, it will all go in our favour.

Then we start, and for the first month or two things often start out well, weight falling off, we get over the ‘OMG I am so unfit’ and start to find aspects of exercise that we quite enjoy. Days are early, resolve is high, results come quickly. Oh the joy of it all! And then we hit our first plateau. Down to Earth with an almighty thump.

Success

Two months in, two stone down, the weight loss slows to a crawl and we pick up our first training injury. And so the honeymoon period is over, and the real work begins. What can I say? It’s hard. People reading this who have done it, you’re nodding right now and saying ‘oh yeah, oh brother, I know just what you’re talking about’ and folks reading this now who have never been fat and had to lose it all, you folks who have always been slim, you have no idea what I am talking about.

Hiccups along the way

I had someone came up to chat with me in the lunch break at one of my seminars last year, and he shook my hand and thanked me for a good morning, he said he was feeling inspired and learning some great stuff, and then he said “…but it’s OK for you, I mean look at you mate, you’re in good shape, you’re slim and fit, you’ve got your pecs all squeezed into your tight t-shirt, you’ve got your flat stomach, you run marathons and you lift weights, you rock climb and you play squash, you know how to cook all these healthy meals, you know all about what not to eat…you know mate, it’s OK for you, you make it all sound easy when you are telling us what to do, but some of us have a lot more work to do to be able to do the things that you can do. We’re not all you!” He then went on to tell me of this injury he has to work around, that food allergy he has to watch out for, and this work commitments that he has to fit the rest of his life around. He told me of his unsupportive spouse, his career commitments, his lack of cooking skills and his financial pressures.

I really understand. I truly do understand all those things, all those headaches, hiccups and obstacles we face. Because I have faced them all too. When I am standing up there in my tight t-shirt delivering my seminar, I’m talking to a room full of people, many of whom are at Ground Zero on their health transformation, Day One of their own personal weight loss journey…meanwhile I’m standing up there at year eleven. Year. Eleven. Eleven years earlier I was at my own Ground Zero, Day One on my own personal weight loss and health transformation journey. At that time I too would have looked up at ‘tight t-shirt man’ and thought ‘well it’s OK for you pal, you’re all slim and fit and healthy…’ and I would have thought that guy didn’t understand the challenges I faced.

For eleven years I have overcome all those obstacles myself, every one of them. I have had a gazillion hiccups along the way and I can promise you the road to success is never the smooth, easy, endlessly-upwards journey we imagine it is going to be. I’ve had shin splints, a fractured right tibia, right knee surgery, a fracture in my left foot, a broken toe, every running injury in the book. I ran my first marathon with a fracture in my lower leg still healing. I ran that marathon with only 1 training run in the 12 weeks before the event. I fractured my spine on L2 and L4 in a training accident in 2012. I have had muscle spasms in my back so bad I couldn’t stand up straight and walk. I have had to retire from running completely because of a destroyed meniscus in my knee. I have broken a toe and several fingers in training. I fell over 200 feet down the side of a mountain in 2014 and bust five ribs. I have had pulls, sprains and strains in almost every muscle I can think of. I have had to stop training for a week here, a fortnight there, a month here and three months there more times than I can possibly remember.

I have had running injuries, climbing injuries, cuts, scratches, breaks and bruises. Bike crashes, expensive bike crashes. I’ve ripped clothes, ripped skin, busted bones and shed blood, sweat and tears. I’ve had to juggle it all with family life. Three young children, my own businesses, endless 15-hour workdays. I’ve been through losing my mother to cancer in her 60s, the loss of friends and family members. I’ve been through the sleep-loss of young children, the emotional ups-and-downs of married life, near bankruptcy in business, the highs and lows of recession, and more.

I always say I lost 7 stone 3, or 101 pounds of fat, 46 kilos to my European friends. In reality I have probably lost 200 pounds of fat, counting all the times it went up and down. You lose two stone, then plateau and put one back on again. Then you have to lose that one again before breaking new ground and losing more. And so it goes on.

Consistency

Hiccups along the way? I’ve broken bones, lost loved ones, built businesses and had almost every injury in the book. How come I get to be the slim fit guy in the tight t-shirt teaching the weight loss seminar?
Because despite all that shit, I stuck it out.

I didn’t let those hiccups stop me. I didn’t let the shitty days take me out of the game for good. I never quit.

When it’s all going wrong, we get demoralised, we feel down, we feel like giving up. We hit these plateaus and the voice in our head says “What’s the point? It’s not working any more, you might as well give up.” And “See, dummy, you’re injured again. You didn’t have all this hassle when you were a couch potato, this exercise malarkey is bad for you!! You might as well just stop and go back to the DVD and a tub of ice cream, that didn’t hurt, you didn’t ache all over then!” Those voices in our head would screw us over if we let them, they would stop us every time. We have to learn to master the voices and stay the course. It’s these ups and downs, these plateaus in our progress, these hiccups that derail most people’s weight loss efforts and cause most people’s plans to fall by the way side.

Success is not the smooth journey we imagine. The road forward is fraught with hazards and hiccups. I am sorry, that’s just how it is. When you actually start using your body to work hard after a decade or two of neglecting it…it grumbles back at you! It aches and moans, it creaks and groans. Now and then something breaks, you’re out for weeks or even months with an injury. You have to learn to train around your injuries and aches and pains.
Legs hurt? Train upper body.
Shoulder injury? Work lower body.
Can’t run? Cycle.
Can’t cycle? Swim.
You have to learn to do whatever it takes to keep making progress, no matter how slow.
Just don’t ever quit.

If you want the results, damn the hiccups, you have to find a way. The rewards go to those who stay the course.

Never, ever quit.
That’s how winning happens.

The One Diet to Rule Them All…

Which diet is best for you?

I have recently been reading a lot of ‘diet books’ and related blogs and looking at some of the most popular diet programs currently in vogue.

Within the space of just a few days:

  • I read an excellent report on the benefits of ketogenic diets for type-2 diabetics and people suffering from neurodegenerative disease. The article was written by someone knowledgeable, intelligent, published and well-respected, and backed up by plenty of examples of people who have enjoyed success with ketogenic diets (personally, I know several who get great results!)
  • Then, without looking for it, the very next day I happened across a well-reasoned argument against ketogenic diets, again written by a knowledgeable trainer with a long track record of client success stories. He warned of the dangers of low carb diets negatively affecting thyroid function, and he shared many anecdotal stories of female clients who have suffered hormone disruption through trying ketogenic diets. He also argued convincingly that ketogenic diets can cause some people to suffer sleep abnormalities, hormone problems, mood swings, anxiety and misery (life without carbs – not much fun!)
  • Ummm, one blog full of reports of people going super low-carb and finally ditching that stubborn belly fat they wanted to get rid of. The other blog full of reports of people feeling tired, run-down, burnt out on ultra low-carb, who then ate more carbs and felt strong again and saw that stubborn belly fat finally melt away! Confusion much!
  • Then I was reading a book about the benefits of intermittent fasting and the health benefits of fasting in general. Again a well-researched and well written book, lots of scientific references and plenty of anecdotal references too. Mental benefits, fat burning benefits, metabolic benefits, weight loss, improvements in blood sugar management, insulin sensitivity and more
  • I had a look around online and found many blogs and groups proclaiming the benefits of intermittent fasting diets, full of weight-loss success stories…and I found a similar number of blogs and groups bemoaning that ‘intermittent fasting diets don’t work’ or that as soon as they returned to eating ‘normally’, these people regained any weight they had lost – “it’s just a fad” they proclaim
  • I read a wonderful book a couple of weeks ago about some of the newest research into the effectiveness of Paleo diets and how many people enjoy weight loss results on a Paleo-style dietary regime. Then I read a series of very confusing blogs, and it became clear to me just how muddled the Paleo message has become, which is kinda sad. Some people seem to interpret Paleo as meaning ‘fairly low carb’, and some seem to think it means LCHF (low carb, high fat) and some seem to eat lots of carbs. Some think ketogenic diets are an extension of Paleo, while others look at hunter-gatherer tribes eating high carb diets (many roots and tubers) and argue that Paleo is actually pretty high carb
  • Oh the glorious confusion! I found stories of folks getting weight loss results and improved health from all variants of this Paleo interpretation! These people were all following variations of what they believe to me a Paleo diet, some very low in carbs, some really quite high in carbs, and all achieving weight loss results or health improvements. Then I searched around and found opposing legions of people complaining Paleo is too hard, Paleo is too restrictive, Paleo doesn’t work and they failed to lose weight on a Paleo diet!

Now let’s just see – Read more

The BIG Issues…in troubled times

With major public health and global health issues on the agenda, we need more unity and collaboration, not isolation and division.

It is absolutely not my intention to use the this blog to discuss politics or share or promote my own personal political opinions in any way. However, in the current political environment, with Brexit negotiations now in full swing, and the question of Scottish independence again coming in and out of the news, I find the political climate in Europe deeply saddens me.

And worldwide, with tensions between the US and North Korea, and terrible troubles in Yemen, Syria and Myanmar, among other places, I am struck with an overall sense of sadness, that such issues of isolation, nationalism and political and religious division seem to be dominating national and international politics, at a time when I believe what we need more than ever is more national unity and international collaboration, to address the really big issues that affect us and our children and grandchildren.

I believe our world needs more tolerance, understanding and unity, not less.

As I see it, we face some really big, deadly serious problems, in our lifetimes.

1) There are only 60 to 100 years of arable soil left on Earth. Just exactly what does anyone think we are going to eat when there is no soil left to grow any plants? I see vegans promoting the movie Cowspiracy saying we should all eat more plants and less animals. Yet as I see it, properly farmed animals eat grass and help built soil fertility and depth, where growing more plants for food means more ploughing and further soil erosion.

2) Climate change is real and it’s happening. We need to radically, massively tackle this issue now. I genuinely believe that every tax paying citizen in the developed world should be putting their hand in their pocket right now, probably to the tune of around a 5% tax rise for all of us, to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels and stop all further greenhouse gas emissions and start wide scale implementation of renewable energy production and carbon sequestration techniques.

But they won’t. And no politician will suggest it, as that would be wildly unpopular and political suicide.

And our children and grandchildren are going to Read more

Sunbathing for cancer prevention

In this post, we are continuing from a previous post, looking at the benefits of sun exposure. In that previous post I explained that the benefits of regular, responsible sun exposure vastly outweigh the risks, and I explained the responsible bit, which I suggest you go back and read again! The goal is to spend some time outside every day, exposing some skin and making vitamin D naturally. The goal is not to stay inside for 50 weeks of the year and then burn for two weeks on holiday! And tanning beds are not the answer either!

I’m pretty much going to just repeat that message (it is worth repeating, in my opinion) in this post, but before you close this and stop reading, we’ll add a fair bit more detail and back it up with a little bit more science.

Multiple studies show than overall, adequate levels of vitamin D have a protective effect against several common cancers, including some of the most common, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are the most common cancers in women and men (respectively) in the UK.

Personally, I think it is important to remember that while skin cancers are quite common, they are also among the easier cancers to detect and treat, so survival rates are high. Skin cancer mortality in the UK is very low compared to breast, prostate and bowel cancer. In my opinion, if good high levels of vitamin D offer proven protection from breast, prostate and bowel cancer, then the small risk of occasionally burning and possibly promoting skin cancer is a risk well worth taking. Especially if we factor in all the other benefits of sun exposure and good vitamin D levels.

As an aside, it’s also worth noting that while adequate levels of vitamin D are recommended for cancer prevention and many other benefits, it’s not always a case of ‘more is better’. There seems to be no evidence so far that excessive vitamin D offers any proven benefits, and indeed at extremely high levels, vitamin D can prove toxic. I don’t want to sound like I am saying Read more

It’s not just about weight loss…

A permanent and sustainable healthy lifestyle is about a lot more than just losing a few unwanted pounds.

Mother Nature’s Diet is a permanent, sustainable healthy lifestyle. It’s about a whole lot more than just “eat less sugar, get more exercise and you’ll lose those unwanted extra pounds.” I mean, sure, it is about losing the unwanted pounds through an improved diet and more regular, varied exercise, but that’s most definitely not the whole story.

The 12 Core Principles of other Mother Nature’s Diet encompass broad healthy lifestyle advice aimed at helping the majority of people to improve their lives through healthy living. Weight loss, improved feelings of energy and vitality, better fitness and athletic performance, resisting the signs of ageing and resisting ill health.

Beyond the obvious

Looking beyond the popular topic of weight loss, beyond the obvious subjects of nutrition and exercise, there are other areas that demand demand our attention for a complete, balanced, sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Firstly, this piece in The Guardian running under the headline UN experts denounce ‘myth’ pesticides are necessary to feed the world is something you really should read. The headline is of great interest to me as I read a lot about population growth and sustainable agriculture, but there is much more of interest to this story than the headline suggests. I urge you to read the article, where you will find the following statements:

A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

And –

“The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning.”

Wow! This is huge, and if there are 200,000 deaths from acute poisoning, I can only imagine the number of deaths from chronic poisoning, or from pesticides as a ‘contributing factor’, which are yet to be proven. Such data is of staggering significance.

Pesticides contain compounds knows as POPs, Persistent Organic Pollutants. These are chemical compounds that can bioaccumulate in humans, animals and fish, and the effects of this bioaccumulation over many years are very hard to study. POPs have been linked to obesity, hormone function, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more.

The article continues – Read more

Get yer kit off!

Strip off, that’s my advice!

It’s August, the summer holidays are finally here and the weather forecast for the UK for the summer break is generally excellent. Most people will probably be taking some time off work and getting away for some rest. So make the most of it and get your skin exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is an immensely important nutrient, which actually converts to a steroid hormone inside our bodies. That hormone then plays many important roles, it helps to regulate hundreds of genetic, cellular and metabolic functions, including playing an important role in bone mineral density and it helps our bodies to regulate a number of anti-cancer activities.

We can get vitamin D from some foods, such as oily fish, fortified orange juice or free range egg yolks, but skin exposure to sunlight remains the absolute best way to get plenty of vitamin D. In fact, taking your top off for just 10 to 15 minutes in the middle of the day and getting warm summer sun on your skin will give you as much vitamin D as eating over three pounds of fresh salmon!

The aim of the game is RESPONSIBLE sun exposure.

I find so many people get all caught up on this idea of sun exposure, through years of scare mongering about skin cancer. Let me help you with this.

‘Responsible’ sun exposure means little and often, and spending time outside every day all year round.

Irresponsible sun exposure means spending 350 days of the year inside an office, sat inside watching TV, and wearing long trousers and long sleeves, then flying 2000 miles south for a fortnight and laying out for hours in blazing midday sun in a bikini. That’s just dumb and you’re going to get burned.

But responsible sun exposure, and then going into the shade or covering up when you start to go pink, telling you that you’ve had enough, is highly beneficial. Research points out that worldwide, the anti-cancer benefits of a lifetime of adequate vitamin D far outweigh the small risks of skin cancer.

So enjoy the summer, and enjoy the sun, responsibly!

Who is influencing you?

In this post we look at the most influential people in health and fitness…and question if they are the people you really want to be influenced by?

A little while ago, I was catching up on news in my email inbox, and I found this, a list of The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. I spent some time reading the list, and I was delighted to see some people on there who are positive influences on me, like the excellent Mark Sisson, and the dependable blogger Yoni Freedhoff, and the personal development guru Tony Robbins.

I was delighted to see some of the people I go to for learning, such as the always-brilliant Robb Wolf, the writer I aspire to emulate, Michael Pollan, and the excellent Natalie Jill who makes fitness so easy and approachable for so many people.

So I think there are some great people on this list, there is Dr Mark Hyman, the ever-inspirational Arnold Schwarzenegger, nutrition guru Gary Taubes and the highly agreeable Josh Axe. I am pleased to find two people on the list that I have actually met and shaken hands with.

But I also find some things about this list rather alarming. I decided to look at what skills it takes to become one of the most influential people on Earth in health and fitness. The article defines how they compiled the list –

“A note about our methodology: This list is intended to highlight people who had the greatest impact and reach in health and wellness—they’re not necessarily people we personally endorse.

The order is determined by a long list of criteria. We started with a list of nearly 300 individuals nominated by the Greatist staff and Greatist ambassador network. We then created a scoring system based on the following categories: followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube; studies published; professional degrees and certifications; number of Google News mentions; number of products created (including starring TV and film roles); brand partnerships; and an estimate of how much each person’s career focuses on fitness and health.

We purposefully excluded most health care executives, professional athletes, and spiritual leaders, unless we felt they strongly contributed to health, fitness, or mental health.”

I ran some counts down the list, not exactly scientific, but the best I could do in just an hour or so, and I counted that the list includes, roughly, the following: Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet – 6 years later, and the experts are starting to agree…

You may be interested in reading this editorial, which includes a number of statements from one of the leaders of a study called the PURE Study.

The quotes I find to be particularly interesting are:

“…many of the most significant and impactful nutrition recommendations regarding dietary fats, salt, carbohydrates, and even vegetables are not supported by evidence.”

“Yusuf displayed data showing that the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the PURE population increases as carbohydrate intake (as a percentage of total calories) rises.”

“Previous guidelines said reduce fats and compensate for it by increasing carbohydrates … and so essentially we’ve increased carbohydrate intake in most Western countries and this is likely damaging. We were in for a big surprise. We actually found that increasing fats was protective.”

6 years later…

For the last six years we have been promoting Mother Nature’s Diet as the best all-round healthy lifestyle for living a preventive medicine lifestyle. It seems now that research, such as the findings from the PURE Study reported above, are coming out in support of the Mother Nature’s Diet way of life. We suggest laying off processed grains and starchy carbs, and we promote Read more

The fad diet pretending not to be a fad diet…

The latest thing in the world of fad diets, is to strongly deny that you are in fact selling a fad diet!

I read a lot of books, and they are not all good. I read all sorts of books in the name of learning, including diet books. I make it my business to read lots of diet books, just so that I am aware of what’s going on in the diet industry and I am constantly looking to learn, to pick up nuggets of information. In my experience, the great majority of fad diets actually do have some kind of science or common sense at their core, there is usually a good idea at the foundation, it’s just a shame that all too often it become lost in the commercialisation, or twisted all out of shape in the excessive detail.

And so it is this week, I am reading a diet book, it’s rather well known, so I shall not name the book, as I am not in the business of speaking ill of others, but the text has amused me, and I wanted to share it with you.

Throughout the book, from the very start, the text repeatedly states that this is not a fad diet, that “unlike most fad diets, this…” is different, and that ‘they don’t work’, but what’s in this book does. The book explains that “when you are on [this system] you are not on a constant treadmill, dieting all the time” but then in the very next sentence, it explains that you have ‘diet days’ and ‘non-diet days’ and so if you want a bar of chocolate, just have the will power to resist it one day and then… “You can have it tomorrow”!

Oh my word!

Throughout this best-selling book, and I must have read statements that “this is different, this is not a fad diet” at least twenty to twenty five times. Yet here are some of the other things I have read – quoted directly from the text:

“While you are doing it” [The diet, they mean.]

“Our regime of exercises”

The book states that “…in order to be effective, the method…needs to go on holiday with you…you need to be able to do it in the office…you need to be able to cope with Christmas” and then on those same pages, they spell out strict days counting calories, strict days checking your macros, balancing proteins and carbs, and they spell out meal timings and when you should eat.

The book is even called “The [X name] Diet” – surely that’s a sign of a diet???!!!??

“Unlike deprivation diets…on this plan…tomorrow there may be pancakes for breakfast, wine with supper, apple pie with cream.”

The text instructs you to “cut your calories on [this] day”…but tomorrow “you can eat as normal.”

“Tomorrow you can eat as normal” – is the very stereotypical wording of a fad diet! Modify your behaviour X way for a few days, massively cutting calories, then eat chocolate bars and apple pie tomorrow!! If that’s not a fad diet, I don’t know what is!

The book talks constantly of weight loss as the primary goal, and of cutting and counting calories as the principle method to achieve this weight loss, of severely calorie restricted days, it spells out low calorie recipes, daily meal plans for low calorie days, and then uses phrases like “Unlike full-time fad diets, you’ll still get pleasure from food, you’ll still have treats…” They are trying to distance themselves from the world of ‘slimming clubs’ which restrict calories but award ‘sin points’ or ‘red points’ to treats, allowing you ‘a little of what you fancy’ within a system of counting numbers – calories, macros, sins, sugar, etc. Yet in effect, this diet is exactly the same – caloric restriction some days, and ‘eat your treats’ on others.

The book describes the dangers of ‘hedonic eating’ and the text claims Read more

Doing what you have to do, versus doing what you want to do…

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in all the tasks we have to do…and forget to give ourselves time to enjoy.

There is an art to finding balance in how we live our lives.

From a statement like that, we could go off in all manner of directions; around diet and ‘moderation in all things’; around exercise and the benefits of variety; around relationships, careers and more. Rather than exploring any or all such topics in depth, let’s just look at one angle, the work-life balance. And by ‘work’ I don’t just mean ‘career’ or ‘your job’, I mean the broader work-life balance, the balance between always doing what you have to do, versus doing what you want to do. In our modern high-speed lives we always have so much to do.

Some of this is real – that leak in the conservatory roof must get fixed, because every time it rains water is pouring in and it’s making a mess, filling buckets, staining the floor, so this is an urgent task that must be attended to, it’s no use saying “I’ll do that next month”. But many of the things we find ourselves striving to get done are not so essential, or at least not so urgent; often they are self-imposed rules we feel we should live by, or goals we feel we must achieve to fit in, to meet certain social or societal standards, to keep up with the Jones’s. We don’t want our lawn to look unkempt compared to our neighbours; we must attend that parent–teacher association meeting at our child’s school; we must wear certain clothes, look a certain way, earn a certain amount, drive a certain type of car.

Constant overwhelm

It’s not to say there is anything wrong with helping out at the parent–teacher association, or driving a BMW, or having an immaculately manicured lawn, there isn’t, these are all good things. But the problem is, we often find our lives become completely swamped in all these things, between parenting, working full time, trying to stay fit and healthy, keeping up family contacts and obligations, maintaining the home and more, so often we feel utterly overwhelmed with it all. I speak to people almost daily who joke (but they are only half-joking) something like “I go to work for a rest!” Often we find the weekend is busier than the working week.

I feel this myself sometimes…I pour my energy into my working week, it has structure and purpose, I have objectives for the week, and I work hard to get those things done. Working from home I have to be fairly strict about my working time; I have to avoid distractions, family, the kids, things that need fixing, conversations, play, repairs…all the things that come up during a typical week. I have to have the discipline to say “Not now, I’ll put it on my list and deal with it at the weekend” and by the time the weekend comes, I have more to do on a Saturday or Sunday that during the week – so much for rest!

No time for fun at the weekend

This has become our norm as a society. And I don’t know about you, but I am fairly hard on myself for the things that don’t get done. I still don’t find time to Read more

Fat shaming, beach bodies and thigh gaps…

Fat shaming, plus size models, beach bodies and the thigh gap – why are we even having these conversations?

I wrote this a while back, when the singer Lady Gaga came in for some so-called ‘fat shaming’ criticism after her performance at the Super Bowl a couple of months ago. Take a look at the pictures of her performing, here in this news article, and see what you think.

First off, anyone who thinks that what they see in these pictures is somehow overweight, or some kind of ‘jelly belly’ or ‘muffin top’ then they have some serious issues around body image perception and they need to get educated on what is a healthy level of body fat. Let me put this in plain English – if you think that is ‘fat’, then you’re part of the problem. Seriously, no wonder so many young people, especially girls, have body image problems and develop eating disorders, when people seem unable to differentiate between ‘slim‘ and ‘muffin top‘.

Time and again, long-term epidemiological studies show that ‘overweight’ is just as healthy, or often healthier, than ‘normal’ weight when it comes to longevity and all-cause mortality. As I have said many times in my live seminars, the truth is that ‘pinch an inch’ is actually healthier than a rippling 6-pack. That’s not to deny that many of us covet low enough body fat to have visible abs, and as such it’s fair to say that ‘vanity goals’ are not without merit – they can support strong self esteem, body confidence and so on, but there is no evidence that ‘washboard abs lean’ is particularly any healthier than ‘normal’.

So what am I saying? I’m saying that the obsession with being thin is Read more

Top tips to help you lose weight and enjoy the best health possible

Twelve simple tips that might help you lose some unwanted weight, have more energy, feel better and enjoy more abundant good health, now, for the rest of the year, and onwards into your future.

This week, let’s keep things super simple.

I am aware of the fact that in some of my posts we tackle some tough topics, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.

While I am sure regular readers find all these posts interesting to one degree or another, some times I bet you just want to keep it simple, and keep it light, so this week it’s just that. I have a dozen tips for you – they may not all be right for you, but I hope you will find a few in here that will help you. There should be something for everyone.

1: To lose weight. Not everyone wants to lose weight, but most places I go, I find two thirds or more of people want to lose a few pounds, or more, and others want to ensure they don’t put any on! One way to get some quick weight loss results is to quit eating cereals, bread, pasta, rice and spaghetti. Quit all that starchy food – buns, bagels and baguettes. So often I give people this one tip and they lose 2 stone in 3 months, or 3 stone in 6 months, or something like that. If you have weight to lose, try it for 30 days and see what a difference it makes.

2: Stop eating sugary foods. Since 1977 when the government started telling us all that fat was the enemy, food manufacturers have been adding more sugar to foods to replace the fat they took out. The result is a huge increase in Read more

Prevention is infinitely better than cure

Here at Mother Nature’s Diet I teach healthy living to anyone who will listen, delivered as a blend of common sense, science-in-plain-English and real life examples from my own experience.

The goal is to live a preventive medicine lifestyle.

Does it work?

Hell yeah!
To quote this study:

“15 [studies] were included in the meta-analysis that comprised 531,804 people with a mean follow-up of 13.24 years. The relative risks decreased proportionate to a higher number of healthy lifestyle factors for all cause mortality. A combination of at least four healthy lifestyle factors is associated with a reduction of the all cause mortality risk by 66% (95% confidence interval 58%-73%).”

So they looked at 15 studies, covering more than half a million people, over 13 years. All in, adherence to healthy lifestyle factors (good diet, regular exercise, drink less alcohol, don’t smoke, avoid obesity) demonstrated a clear reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Folks maintaining at least four of these factors enjoyed a 66% reduction in mortality risk.

Healthy living during the decades before you become ‘old and sick’, helps you not to get ‘old and sick’ – live healthy now, you live longer. It’s so simple!

Take smoking OUT of the equation, and see this study:

Quote “CONCLUSION:
Adherence to cancer prevention guidelines for obesity, diet, physical activity, and alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of death from cancer, CVD, and all causes in nonsmokers.”

So if we isolate these healthy living factors separate from smoking, in this study of 112,000 nonsmokers followed up for 14 years, adherence to a healthy diet, regular exercise, drinking less alcohol and avoiding obesity led to a substantial reduction in cancer mortality, heart disease deaths and all-cause mortality.

Jeez, it’s simple stuff.
Like I keep saying, HALF of our chronic disease burden is ENTIRELY preventable through dietary and lifestyle interventions.

  • No one wants heart disease
  • No one wants diabetes
  • No one wants to be obese
  • No one wants cancer

I cannot promise anyone a cure, but my life’s mission is to teach people how not to get these problems in the first place. Let’s start by slashing our chronic disease burden in HALF in a single generation by education our population in preventive medicine lifestyles.

1luvx

Sun bathing for cancer prevention

Phew, what a scorcher! Well, if you are even close to my age you’ll remember a few hot summers back in the day when the newspapers ran those headlines, and it certainly feels like that this week. I am sitting outside at my laptop typing this in 33 degrees and the black plastic keyboard is getting so hot it hurts my hands to type! I may have to retire inside before I finish this post!

I want to write about the benefits of sun exposure. In last week’s Weekly Weigh-In I explained that the benefits of regular, responsible sun exposure vastly outweigh the risks, and I explained the responsible bit, which I suggest you go back and read again! The goal is to spend some time outside every day, exposing some skin and making vitamin D naturally. The goal is not to stay inside for 50 weeks of the year and then burn for two weeks on holiday! And tanning beds are not the answer either!

I’m pretty much going to just repeat that message (it is worth repeating, as we swelter in summer heat) in this post, but before you close this and stop reading, we’ll add a bit more detail and back it up with a little bit more science.

Multiple studies show than overall, adequate levels of vitamin D have a protective effect against several common cancers, including some of the most common, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are the most common cancers in women and men (respectively) in the UK.

Personally, I think it is important to remember that while skin cancers are quite common, they are also among the easier cancers to detect and treat, so survival rates are high. Skin cancer mortality in the UK is very low compared to breast, prostate and bowel cancer. In my opinion, if good high levels of vitamin D offer proven protection from breast, prostate and bowel cancer, then the small risk of Read more

Why giving up meat isn’t the answer

Living the Mother Nature’s Diet way, I eat an omnivores diet – I eat meat, fish, and eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. I respect vegetarians and vegans, and I respect the choices they make. I never criticise the choice not to eat animal foods, I never go online looking to enter heated discussions and I avoid arguments. However, I do find myself subject to criticism coming the other way. I have many times been ‘attacked’ online by angry vegans screaming ‘meat is murder’ and picking a fight over my lifestyle choices.

Intelligent comments on this post are welcome – aggression, insults and abuse will be deleted 🙂

A while back, a vegan friend of mine posted this image. He’s a nice guy, I like him, but this image bothers me, because it’s flat out wrong.vegan grain image

Pictures like this are heart breaking for sure, but frustratingly they are factually incorrect. Vegans tend to promote these images as some kind of proof that if we all stop eating meat in the developed world, then somehow global economic inequality will be fixed overnight and poverty will disappear, and no one will be hungry. This is just not true, not even close to true.

One of the big problems with world grain markets is that they are dominated by exported grains from the USA and other wealthy nations. In countries like the US, and EU countries, tax payers money is used to pay farmers to over-produce staples such as grains, sugar, cotton and other commodity crops. These cheap crops then flood world markets, driving down prices to artificial lows. This is a key factor in the root causes of poverty in Africa (I’m assuming that the image is from Africa) and other developing markets, because the low price of grain undermines the ability of developing world farmers to sell their own crops for a profit. Poverty will remain an issue in Africa for as long as EU and US agricultural subsidies distort international grain markets, and this has all been going on for a very long time.

While many wealthy nations still refuse to cancel all debts owed by the poorest nations, some of those same countries, and charitable foundations, flood these poor countries with grains sent free, as international aid. Aid does not help, see below. At the same time, large corporations from the rich countries continue to take African mineral resources without fairly investing in the countries those minerals are extracted from.

When our media floods with images of starvation in Africa, charities raise funds and we send aid by the boat load…while alleviating immediate suffering a tiny bit, ultimately we are adding to the long term problems, by dumping free grain into the African economy…even more farmers go broke and give up, as free is a tough price point to compete against. African farmers will never be able to Read more

The dose makes the poison

Research shows further links between sugar consumption and certain cancers, such as pancreatic and colon cancer.

Regular readers of this blog will not be at all surprised to be reading ‘the evidence against sugar’ again today, sorry to keep banging this drum!

This week has been a busy week for news and I have lots to share with you today. Of particular interest was this article from 2013, which identifies a clear pathway by which high dietary sugar intake directly increases the risk of cancers forming. As the article notes, the dose makes the poison. I have said many times before, we should think of eating sugary foods the same way we think of smoking cigarettes. You could probably smoke one cigarette every month for your entire life and it would never cause you ill health, but we all accept that if you smoke a pack-a-day for decades, then you massively increase your chances of suffering from lung cancer.

So it is with sugar. You could eat one chocolate-chip cookie per month for your entire life and it would likely never cause you any ill health, but if you eat a whole packet of cookies every day, you would almost certainly end up with all manner of health problems – type-2 diabetes, obesity, possibly heart disease and maybe cancer. The dose makes the poison.

Non-communicable disease

As we have covered before, non-communicable diseases are the main things that kill us these days, and a hefty proportion can be avoided or delayed by adopting a handful of simple healthy lifestyle habits, such as not smoking, eating more vegetables, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Being overweight or obese is a direct cause of 13 types of cancer, and being overweight is the second largest preventable cause of cancer in the UK. One major worrying problem is that the public are just not aware of this information. As we are heading for a situation where three quarters of the UK population will be overweight or obese just 20 years from now, there seems no end to this growing problem. Read more

Butter from the salad bar…

Over the last year or so I have been visiting a lot of farms, talking to farmers and learning as much as I can about farming. I passionately believe that sustainable and regenerative agriculture needs to be intimately understood and linked to healthy eating – the same set of principles and actions are right for our health, right for the environment and right for animal welfare. Farming and food are not two separate industries, they are one and the same thing.

I recently visited the absolutely wonderful Smiling Tree Farm in Shropshire, where organic farmer Christine Page was kind enough to share her time and knowledge with me and show me around her farm. This post comes right out of my ‘Things I have been learning about whole foods this week’ files.

Micronutrients

We know that vitamins and minerals are good for us.

We know that we are supposed to “eat the rainbow” or “eat the colour spectrum” or something like that, meaning we are supposed to eat many different coloured fruits and vegetables to get a broad variety of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and enzymes. I am sure you have heard this, I know I have said it many times before in my live seminars and written about this in blog posts.

Different colours in the plant world tend to indicate different nutrients. Oranges, reds and yellows come from carotenes – we have all heard how we eat our carrots for beta-carotene, a substance that our bodies can use to convert into vitamin A if we need it. So if our diet is low in good food sources of vitamin A, such as liver, butter, oily fish and free range eggs, then we can use the beta-carotene from carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash and other vegetables to make vitamin A.

If you have been to a Mother Nature’s Diet 1-day seminar when I talk about food sources of vitamin A, we cover this. Quite a few green veggies also provide some vitamin A, such as kale and spinach.

The carotenes from green food, also provide the yellowness of butter.  Read more

Time to look at alcohol consumption…again!

Here we are, back on the subject of alcohol. I have written about alcohol for you several times before. If you are interested, you can go back and look at the MND ‘official’ stance on alcohol, or you can read about some of the ridiculous alcohol-related stories we see in the media, or you can read how ‘the dose makes the poison’ whether we are talking about alcohol, sugar, cigarettes or almost anything else!

For most of the last decade or two, the prevalent opinion has been presented that moderate drinking is actually considered to be beneficial to complete abstinence. Many media reports have told us that moderate drinking will help us avoid heart disease and live longer than people who do not drink at all.

This is how the media present such ‘research’ to the public. While 99% of the population get their ‘health and lifestyle’ education from newspapers and television, for the 1% who dig deeper, the reality has always been less conclusive. When we look at a meta-analysis of all the research available, we see that in fact moderate drinking confers no life-extending benefits at all. At this point, it’s also worth remembering that alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of cancer in the UK, responsible for 4% of annual UK cancer deaths.

Alcohol consumption is back in the press again this week.
With the prevalent view supporting moderate alcohol consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle, and government advice that drinking moderately is fine as part of a healthy lifestyle, and with newspapers regularly running headlines that Read more

Epic battle strategy – get sick!

Interesting fact I learned today.

For most of history, germs have killed far more people than wars.

Often invading armies defeated nations by bringing diseases with their soldiers.

Quote (from Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond)

“Until World War Two, more victims of war died of war-borne microbes than of battle wounds. All those military histories glorifying great generals oversimplify the ego-deflating truth: the winners of past wars were not always the armies with the best generals and weapons, but were often merely those bearing the nastiest germs to transmit to their enemies.”

I love it! History was never this interesting at school.

Image credit: By Robert Alexander Hillingford, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3278768 

Nah-nah-na-na-nah my addiction is worse than yours…

Regular readers know that for a good few years I was into the world of Personal Development books and seminars and so on…I still am to a less feverish degree. I always remember something Tony Robbins talks about, he used to say how weird it is when people meet and the conversation goes something like this…

Person A: Hi, how are you?
Person B: Ah not too bad I suppose. You?
A: Well I could be better, I mean my boss is a pain in the ass and my doctor says I need to lose some weight, my blood pressure is high.
B: Yeah I know what you mean, my boss is a jerk, and the people I work with are just idiots, every day in that place drives me nuts. And I have this back pain, and I get this cough, and my doctor says it might be hereditary…
A: Yeah well my father died of a heart attack so the blood pressure thing is a big deal in my family, and all the men on my father’s side dies young, and my wife’s no help, she keeps doing this and doing that…and the kids wind me up…so I drink too much…and we’re in debt right now, cos of the car payment and the medical bills…

And so the conversation goes, it’s like “a race to the bottom” to see who has the most shit going on and who can be the most miserable! And we see this all the time, people post a status on Facebook about some injury they got “I went skiing, broke my arm” and underneath a bunch of folks are like “Oh that’s nothing, I went skiing and broke both my legs!” “Oh you guys are amateurs, I went skiing and broke my own head off!” It’s like we are all competing to have the worst crap going on in our lives out of every one we know!

I think people do this, subconsciously, to excuse their failings. I mean, if you believe that life is hard, getting rich is really difficult, finding the wonderful loving partner of your dreams is only for the lucky few, being in great shape and amazing good health requires sacrifice and dedication that few are prepared to give, success is difficult, happiness and fulfillment are hard to achieve – if we all buy into these ideas, then we have excuses for having rather mediocre, or downright crappy, results in our lives. If we convince ourselves it’s all hard, then we are more likely to settle for average.

My addiction is worse than yours

In a similar vein, I have recently seen (on Facebook) a discussion in a Health Group about ‘sugar addiction’ – and these folks were getting so insanely competitive, judgemental and insulting to each other it made me leave the Group. Someone was saying that it’s truly hard to beat this sugar addiction, and in this big Group (15,000 plus members) they were just torn apart – folks writing insults and saying “you know nothing about addiction, I was on heroine for 14 years, nearly died, you just like a cake, eff off what do you know” and then the next person to comment would feel the need to “compete for the bottom” and push further “I spent 22 years in puddles of my own vomit, selling my own sister for drug money, how dare you liken your desire for chocolate bar to the hell I went through” and then the next “I grew up in the sex trade, I was a child slave, I raped my own father, my life was a living hell for 50 years, I sold my soul to the devil himself…” and on and on and on.

Obviously I’m not quoting real people here, but honestly the thread was like that…hundreds of people, throwing insults, belittling each other, belittling that anyone’s addiction to food, or sugar, could possibly be a serious health challenge compared to the way other people’s lives have been wrecked by alcohol and narcotics. It was the ultimate race to the bottom, like we were all supposed to give some kind of kudos to the must messed up person in the Group. It was shameful to read, shameful to be in a Group with people with that mentality.

The voice of common sense

After that episode, a week or two ago, yesterday I saw a post from the frequently-brilliant and frequently-amusing Alex Viada. If you don’t know this man, he’s an outstanding athlete, author and coach at Complete Human Performance, I suggest you check him out and if you are interested in strength training, endurance sport, or both, buy his superb first book. (No, I am not on a commission, I am just recommending this excellent book!)

So to the point of this newsletter today – yesterday Alex wrote this (quote verbatim):

The sugar addiction debate is back, which reminds me of this field’s stunning inability to understand its own purpose.

The question of whether or not sugar is actually “addictive” is moot. Yes, the nonsense documentaries and poor understanding of science that shows dopamine release and pleasure centers lighting up after consuming sugar, and pointing to similarities in how the little bits light up after taking in heroin (this is serious science) are intentionally misleading. But the response completely misses the point.
Who cares that glucose does not and cannot create similar physiological and psychological addictions that many drugs can? The behaviors exhibited by many who struggle with food intake, especially high palatability, calorie dense foods, mirror the behaviors of drug addicts in that understanding the latter gives us an effective model for treating the former. Read more

Fire alarms and heart attacks

Who/what saves the most lives – fire fighters or fire safety officers and smoke alarms?

Second day on the trot that our boiler has broken down, second gas engineer on site, all fixed now.

Had a conversation about carbon monoxide alarms. The gas engineer was explaining that in a house in the next town along from me, they have this awful boiler where the flu runs right through the loft, and the pipes have high potential for sagging over time. Two years ago he pushed the people hard to spend out and buy four carbon monoxide alarms (they cost £30 each)…he installed one on the boiler, one in the loft, and one each in the two bedrooms below the run of the flu pipes.

A year later, one alarm was going crazy, he went in and found the flu pipes were leaking and the loft was full of carbon monoxide – invisible, odourless, a silent killer. If they hadn’t spent £120 quid on alarms, the first warning might have been a dead child in her bed at night.

As we continue to build a safer world, alarms, warnings, safety measures and precautions save far more lives than the fire fighters, gas engineers and maybe even ambulance crews who attend emergencies.

Yet as a society, we’re not taking this same approach to our health. The NHS allocates around 2% of it’s annual budget to “prevention and detection” and most of that is for early detection – things like breast cancer screening, well-man and well-woman clinics looking for signs of diabetes or heart disease, and so on. The rest goes on smoking cessation and then a small amount, only around 0.12% of total NHS annual budget is spent on promoting healthy lifestyle – 5-a-day, Drink Aware, and so on.

Given that the NHS experts acknowledge that “Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack” and given that the NHS say heart disease and stroke is costing us over £30 billion per year and 16 million working days lost every year across the nation, wouldn’t it make more sense for us to massively increase ‘health promotion’ and encourage people not to develop heart disease in the first place?

  • Regular varied exercise
  • Healthy balanced diet
  • Don’t smoke, drink less alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy body mass, and blood pressure

Ummm, all seems familiar… 

What saves more lives – a healthy lifestyle, or heart surgeons?

Prevention is better than cure.

I know which is cheaper.

#personalresponsibility

 

Vote to save our NHS…

There are several ways we can save the NHS – let’s look at the one you and I can do today.

I do not intend to start using this blog to talk politics, so apologies up front for the slightly provocative political tease in the title this week. As we approach a general election in the UK, there is an even greater than usual amount of talk in the media about the NHS being sold off, privatised, deliberately run into financial ruin and going broke.

Sadly, much of this talk is based in the uncomfortable reality that the NHS truly is in huge financial trouble. Doctors working long hours; A&E departments struggling to cope; patients on beds in corridors; nurses forced to go to food banks; the rising cost of treating an ageing population; the huge cost of treating obesity-related ill health; and the massive rise in the cost of treating our diabetes epidemic. These costs, along with the massive and constant cost of treating heart disease and related circulatory conditions and cancer treatments are crippling the NHS, and unless funding is increased, the system faces breaking point.

As a nation, we spend around 19% to 20% of our tax receipts on running the NHS, roughly the same as we spend on pensions. These two things – the NHS and pensions – are the biggest single areas of government expenditure in the UK. Be under no illusion, the NHS is a big deal, we spend many billions on healthcare annually, and no doubt private profit-making corporations would just love to get their hands on some of those big contracts.

But I’m pretty sure we don’t want an American-style system, we really don’t.

It seems that once nationwide healthcare provision comes under the influence of the joint forces of profit making insurance companies, profit making private medical facilities, and profit-making drug companies, then the whole system starts to Read more

Stop reading crap in The Daily Fail!

Stop reading crappy articles in the media! They do almost everyone more harm than good, they really are hopeless, they serve only to sell newspapers and attract online traffic, to help the media site sell to advertisers.

We see all this garbage, news articles like “Drinking red wine does you as much good as going to the gym” and “Drinking coffee helps fight bowel cancer” and “Just 6 minutes of exercise is better for you than hours every day…” and “Eat more cabbage to prevent heart disease” or “Study shows eating sausages cures Parkinson’s” or whatever crap they write. What newspapers and media sites do, is take a grain of truth from a study and turn it into some kind of statement of fact. But the information we start with is NOT a statement of medical or biological fact in the first place, it’s often just an observation…only the dumbass newspaper tries to make it a fact.

The limitations of studies

So for instance, let’s look at a made-up, but realistic, example scenario. Maybe a team of researchers in Canada, or Finland, or California, conduct an observational study, known as a cohort study, to track a large group of people over a fairly long period of time. It may be that they follow 17,450 people for 14 years. At the start of the study, the people recruited were aged 30 to 50 and did not have heart disease, or at least no diagnosed condition or symptoms, such as high blood pressure. The study follows these people’s lives for 14 years, asking them to complete an online survey 4 times per year for 14 years, tracking a couple of hundred questions every time, to understand their behaviour, such as how much they smoke, how much they drink, how many coffees per day they drink, how many times per week they eat fish, how many times per week they eat meat, how many times per week they exercise, and so on. At the end of the study, the researchers primary target is to see how many people developed heart disease or signs of heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Once the study is finished, the researchers will have a mass of data about 17,450 people (maybe 20,000 or 25,000 started, but a bunch dropped out along the way) which shows rates of obesity, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and so on, at the start, and rates at the finish, including who developed heart disease or cancer along the way. They also have all this data on what those people ate and did in between times, so they can then look for trends in the data, like xx% of heavy smokers developed xx condition, or xyz% of people who took no weekly exercise, gained the greatest % of weight gain…and so on.

There are many strengths and weaknesses of these kinds of studies, which we won’t look into in detail here. The point is this; often such a study will generate a finding such as “People who drank 3 or 4 cups of coffee per day were at 17% less relative risk of developing coronary heart disease or suffering a myocardial infarction (a heart attack), than people who drank only 1 cup per day or less.”

This makes it to the average trash newspaper or media site as “Good news coffee lovers, drinking 4 cups per day prevents heart attacks!” Read more

Pick up a cow every day, and never miss a day

The secret to getting results is consistency, above all else.

Whenever I am driving, I almost always listen to educational material, audio books or personal development CDs. A few days ago I was listening to a personal development CD and the speaker was telling a great story. When he was a boy, growing up on a farm, he watched one day as his father helped one of their cows deliver her baby calf.

Within no time the calf was standing up and his father said to him “Son, if you come out here tomorrow and wrap your arms around that baby calf and pick it up, then come out here every single day and pick that calf up, day by day you will get stronger, and by the time that calf is a fully grown cow, you’ll be able to pick up a 500-pound adult cow.” The son looked at his father with questioning eyes, and the father added “But son, you must never miss a day. If you miss a day, by the time you come back the next day, that calf will have grown too much and you won’t be able to pick it up, and then you’ll never be able to catch up. Son, you must never miss a day.”

The son came out the next day and picked up the calf, and thought it felt pretty easy. He came out the next day and the next, indeed every day for a week or two. But then it rained one day. And he couldn’t be bothered to go down to the barn, so he missed a day. When he went back the next day he was surprised how much harder it was to pick up the calf. But then he got busy, and he missed another day. And then he came home from school and he was busy playing with his friends. Now he had missed two days, and when he went back to the barn and tried to pick up the calf, he just couldn’t do it, the calf had grown too heavy, and he couldn’t pick it up.

He went to his father and told him how the calf was now just three weeks old but he could no longer pick it up, all because he missed a couple of days. The father said “I told you son, you can never miss a day. If you want to do the impossible, you can never miss a day.” As the speaker goes on to say, most likely he’d have never been able to pick up a 500-pound full-grown cow, but regardless, as a child that lesson taught him the power and value of consistency.

Are you planning to pick up a cow?

If you have goals in 2017, to lose some unwanted weight, to build some muscle, to sculpt and shape your body, to clean up your diet and learn to cook some new, healthier meals for yourself and your family, know that nothing beats consistency.

You wouldn’t rock up at the gym one time, workout for 63 hours straight, then go home and say “Well that’s me done for the year” and expect to look a million bucks the next morning, would you? You’re smarter than that, you know it doesn’t work that way. You only need to go to the gym for 40 minutes at a time, not 63 hours, but you need to work hard in those 40 minutes, make them count, and most importantly, do it five or six or seven times every week. Every week. All year. That’s the way to get results.

You wouldn’t cook three times your own body weight in broccoli one time in January, eat it all in one very long (and rather crazy) day and then say “Well that’s my veggies for the year then” and expect to see some kind of miraculous health transformation staring back at you in the mirror a few months later, would you? But if you just eat two or three servings of green vegetables every single day all year, for most people that would signal significant improvements in their annual diet.

The magic is in consistency. Fad diets and 5-minute-wonders be damned, staying power trumps all.

If you want to be picking up a 500-pound cow by this time next year, just remember you can never miss a day.

Consistency rules. Stick to it.

To your good health!