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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 USAย 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 โ€“ 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.ย  Read more