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Bashing sugar, bashing carbs, bashing grains…bashing each other?

Bashing sugar, bashing carbs, bashing grains…bashing each other. How is all this in-fighting actually helping anyone?

In-fighting within the ‘nutrition, diet and health’ industry, it seems, is a problem escalating even more rapidly that the much-talked-about obesity epidemic.

My kind friend alerted me to this piece in the news this week, titled ‘Bad fad – Ruby Tandoh on how clean eating turned toxic’ This follows on from a BBC Horizon episode that screened last week, which attacked the trend for ‘clean eating’ and looked at a number of cook books that promote ‘clean eating’ as a diet trend. To be honest I don’t watch TV, I have not watched the show, and a number of trusted friends who watched it have assured me I didn’t miss much! So, I will save my hour for watching something better, like Joel Salatin on farming, or Rhonda Patrick and Bruce Ames discussing micronutrients, or I’ll grab myself some motivation and exercise tips from Erin Stern working a Tabata circuit.

Anyway, back to our clean eating post.

Goodness, where do I begin with this!!!??!?!!

I agree with about half of the article, maybe more, in fact I agree with most of it, the facts and figures and statements about health, food and nutrition, yes I pretty much agree with all of that…but I strongly disagree with the angry, finger pointing, judgemental, aggressive tone of the writing.

Let’s see now, we have a skinny, young, privileged female, who has recovered from an eating disorder, and who blogs to share recipes and sells cookery books, and here she is basically slagging off all the other skinny, young, privileged female food bloggers and cookery book sellers, suggesting that their work promotes eating disorders. Ummm, writers bias anyone? Read more

The Weekly Weigh-In

Would you like to receive our free weekly newsletter, The Weekly Weigh-In, delivering simple common-sense health advice to you in one easy-to-read weekly email?

We think most people are suffering ‘information overload’ these days, drowning in too many emails, too much news, too many things to read. We don’t want to add to that overload! A lot of companies are out there mailing you daily, we think that’s too much. If you would like us to stay in touch with you, we’ll just drop you The Weekly Weigh-In once a week, including news, views, announcements and more. No hard sell, not too much to read, absolutely no spam.

A large part of the whole ethos of Mother Nature’s Diet is to offer you a lifestyle that takes the confusion and complexity out of healthy living, so we send out a free, brief, email newsletter once per week, that you can opt out of any time you feel you have had enough. The Weekly Weigh-In newsletter offers you links to the most interesting or relevant health news of the week, exercise tips and words of motivation and encouragement. The content varies every week, sometimes it might cover disease prevention, sometimes gardening tips for growing your own fruit and veg, and sometimes it might cover longevity and resisting the signs of ageing.

Every issue will be short, simple and honest – you won’t need a PhD in nutrition to understand it and you won’t be bombarded with daily sales emails – we hate spam just as much as you do. If we want to tell you about an upcoming seminar or a new book release, we’ll pop it on the bottom of the newsletter for you with a link to find out more if you’re interested.

If you would like to receive this free weekly newsletter, please visit this page and sign up, it’ll only take a moment.

 

You have a choice…

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Non-communicable’ means they are not infectious, we don’t ‘catch’ them, they ‘develop’ inside us. Worldwide, around 55 to 60 million people die every year. These NCDs account for about 70% of those deaths. The four things that kill most people are heart disease and stroke (circulatory diseases), cancers, diabetes and lung conditions.

What these diseases all have in common, is that they develop inside us, over time. Another word for ‘develop’ might be ‘grow’. They grow inside us, and therefore we have some ability to exert an influence over that growth process.

Of course, some of these diseases are unavoidable. Some people are born with heart problems, some people inherit a genetic malfunction that can lead to a cancer forming at a young age, and some people inherit genes that make them predisposed to certain cancers. But in all, inherited conditions and genetic abnormalities only really account for about 10% or so of cancers, and less than 10% of heart disease.

What of the other 90%? Well, we can exert some influence over the other 90%.

For instance, the #1 preventable cause of cancer worldwide is smoking. Smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer, other cancers and several lung diseases. According to WHO, the World Health Organisation, smoking is the primary cause of death behind roughly 10% of all human death every year.
So there we have a choice – don’t smoke, and you should live a little longer.
See how this works?
You have a choice.

According to Cancer Research UK, and the NHS, approximately 42% of cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, poor diet, lack of exercise, irresponsible sun exposure and exposure to toxic chemicals at work.
Well, you can choose not to smoke, you can choose to eat sensibly, the Mother Nature’s Diet way, you can choose not to drink, or to drink much less, you can choose to eat a better diet, more than your 5-a-day, you can choose to exercise regularly, you can choose to be sensible in the sun, and you can choose not to work in an environment where you may be exposed to toxic chemicals.

Just those things, in that paragraph, that’s almost half of UK cancer deaths taken care of right there. You can choose not to be a part of that statistic.

Now of course, let’s not talk about saving lives. We can’t save lives, we can only prolong them. Personally, I’m all for a longer life! The truth is, we’re all going to die, one day, that’s a fact of life. But average life expectancy in the UK is around 80, so I am saying you can choose, do you want to go at 65, or make it to 95? How you live, can make that difference.

Many of the things that cause cancer, are the same things that cause heart disease. And it just so happens they are also the same things that cause diabetes (type-2) and certain lung diseases. While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, it is also the leading cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and it is one of the leading causes of heart disease.

Poor diet and a lack of exercise are the leading causes of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Obesity in turn is a major cause of heart disease and a direct cause of ten types of cancer, including breast cancer and bowel cancer. Being diagnosed with diabetes takes 10 years off your life expectancy, and diabetes in turn is a leading risk factor for heart disease.

You see, it’s the same things, time and again, causing so much of our ill health.

So today my message is simple: You have a choice.
I find a lot of people just don’t realise it.

We grow up with ‘common knowledge’ like “Smoking gives you cancer” and “Being obese, you’re a heart attack waiting to happen.” but beyond that, I find that most people really don’t realise that if we all just made some smarter choices, we could hold off 50% of deaths in the UK for an extra decade or two, just through some simple healthy living. And heaven knows how this would ease the burden on our beloved NHS.

So now you do know, that you have a choice.

What are you going to do differently?

More gym, less wine

News items telling the public that drinking alcohol has health benefits are a regular feature of the tabloid press, and once again this week I spotted this news item this morning on my Facebook feed:
“Glass of Red Wine Equals 1 Hour at Gym, New Study Says”

My goal this week is not to ‘bash alcohol consumption’ specifically, but just to highlight how scientific facts become distorted by the time they find their way into the mainstream press.

The news article linked above clearly attempts to inform the reader that drinking red wine is so good for your heart, that it’s as good as exercise. Of course, if we read down a little way, we find the message is slightly less clear…the research lead is noted as saying that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, can have positive benefits on your heart and other muscles which may be beneficial for those who cannot exercise. He stresses that for those physically incapable of exercise, a glass of red wine may be beneficial alongside what little exercise they can manage.

So here we have a classic example of how a research er has made a suggestion that “may offer some benefit” to a specific ‘special population’ but by the time it reaches the popular press, the headline is “Glass of Red Wine Equals 1 Hour at Gym, New Study Says” with no mention of “might” or “for those who are physically incapable of exercise” and the short article is accompanied by a picture of red wine being poured, captioned with the words “Glass of red wine equals 1 hour at gym.”

Clearly, this is somewhat stretching the truth – to suggest to the population at large that they will somehow derive the same benefits from sitting at home drinking wine, as they would from going to the gym and working out for an hour. How ridiculous!

Resveratrol

So what is this compound, resveratrol?
You can read a little about it hear on Wikipedia.

Resveratrol is a compound found in the skin of the grapes they use to make wine. In the grape skin, the resveratrol is found in much higher concentrations…so why not publish an article saying “eating grapes can benefit your heart” – that would surely be better health advice to give to the general public, yes? In a society wrestling with an obesity epidemic, would that not be more responsible journalism? Read more

It’s never a matter of education…

It’s never a matter of education.
It’s always a matter of motivation.

I have been on my own health journey for the last 27 years, and I have spoken to many hundreds of people around the subject of weight loss and healthy living, pretty much every day for the last 11 years, and I have directly worked with people and tried to help people with weight loss just about every day for the last 5 or 6 years, and in all that time and contact, I have never met one single person who didn’t understand that eating vegetables is good for you.

I have never met anyone who thought smoking was good for you.
I didn’t meet one single person who thought beer and pizza was healthy, slimming food.
I have not met a single soul who thought ‘eat more veg, drink more water and get some exercise’ was bad advice.

You see, we all know what to do, we just don’t do what we know.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I revisit this topic, it remains an undeniable truth. These days, everyone knows what they should be doing. We know we shouldn’t smoke, we know we should drink less, we know six pints per night is not healthy. We know two bottles of wine on a Saturday evening is too much and we are going to regret it the next morning. We know that we shouldn’t order take-away food four nights per week. We know we should eat more salad, more oily fish, and watch less TV.

But still we do all of these things. I work with people every day who know the things they should be doing to lose weight, have more energy, and feel better, yet they still engage in those things they know they shouldn’t.

And so it is.
Success in our health endeavours is almost never a matter of education, and almost always a matter of motivation. Read more