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Posts from the ‘Disease’ Category

Lockdown, love, nature, air and the future

I don’t dare use the “U” word…

Unprecedented.

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

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

Lockdown has meant many things to many people.

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

To others it’s meant…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane.

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 5 of 5 – Friday: 

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

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

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

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

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

Closing thoughts – no, not sugar coated

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 4 of 5 – Thursday: 

Strategy for the future, step by step

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

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

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

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

What can you actually do?

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

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

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

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

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

Quit smoking

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

Drink less alcohol

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

Lose weight

Gut health and immune function

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

Improve your fitness

All of the above – just get healthy!

Wash your hands!

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

Vitamins, supplements, protection

Holy moly!!!

That’s ^ ^ ^ a lot of stuff for you!

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 3 of 5 – Wednesday: 

You, vulnerability, and your best defence.

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

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

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

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

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

Allow me to repeat myself, please:

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

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

Yes, it’s that simple.

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

He’s right.

OK, in plain English.

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

Is that English plain enough?

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

Here’s some more stuff for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 2 of 5 – Tuesday: 

The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

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

Part 1 of 5 – Monday:

What we have learned so far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, again, is the webinar.

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

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

Risk factors for more severe illness with Covid-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of risk factors

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

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

These things are all acknowledged risk factors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coverage includes: 

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

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

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

All intelligent comments and questions welcome.

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

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

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

To your good health!

Karl

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Opinion and Facts

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

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

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

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

Social media and armchair professors

Beware of Facebook, in particular.

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

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

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

The health challenge

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

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

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

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

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

It’s important to understand that word – vulnerable.

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

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

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

So what is different between this and regular flu?

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

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

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

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

Social distancing and self-isolation

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

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

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

Is this really a big deal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

The role of dairy foods in your healthy lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch the full webinar here.

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

Reasons to be cheerful…

Depression, it’s become another modern day epidemic.

According to the WHO, the World Health Organisation:

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

That’s a sad reality.

heard a statistic that shocked me this morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your good health!

Karl

 

Chill out before you peg out…

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

It’s all about your hormones

Everything in the human body interacts with everything else.

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

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

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

Fight or flight…rest and digest

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

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

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

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

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

Chronic stress, through hormone havoc, takes a toll.

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

Now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Amazon UK
Amazon US

To your good health!

Karl

Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

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

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

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

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

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

Check this out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tommy writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

People know that stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to think about there.

Greatest dangers

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

The take away points to note:

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

Until next week, keeping it real out there!

To your good health!

Karl

Alcohol – 7 years without a drink

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

Best.
Decision.
Ever.

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

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

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

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

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

I stopped for my health.

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

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

I stopped to be a better father to my children.

I stopped to be a better man.

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

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

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

1luvx

 

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

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

Gimme the pills…I want value for my money!

“Don’t tell me to look after myself doc, just give me the pills! I want some value for money!”

Some months ago I interviewed an NHS GP for a monthly newsletter that I write called Against the Grain. I publish Against the Grain every month for members of the Mother Nature’s Diet subscription Community. If you’d like to read a sample of Against the Grain, you can download it here – and that sample is actually the first half of the GP interview. If you would like to know more about MND Community Membership, you can learn more here.

Back to our GP. In our interview, he shocked me by revealing that even when he gives patients lifestyle and dietary advice, in a whopping 9 cases out of 10, people just say “Thanks doc, but to be honest that all sounds like hard work, can’t you just give me the pills?”

I personally find this astounding! He has people who come to him every month for years on end complaining of coughs and chest infections, yet they refuse to quit smoking. Are they addicted? Maybe, but the NHS offer a great, proven, successful smoking cessation program, for free, and these people won’t even try it out.

The doctor has patients who come to him obese, smoking, drinking, eating a poor diet, out of shape, complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. They have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and they are stressed with busy careers. Prime candidates for heart disease and heart attack, yet they refuse healthy lifestyle advice, instead they just want pills, the quick fix.

If you want to read more of that interview in depth, check out that edition of Against the Grain linked above.

I was chatting about all this to a friend the other day. Obviously, here at Mother Nature’s Diet I promote personal responsibility, I encourage people to take charge of their own health and live by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet as a way to maintain a healthy body weight, resist the signs of ageing and stave off ill health for as long as possible. So I cannot understand this ‘quick fix’ mindset, this notion of ‘just give me the pills’ seems crazy to me. And that’s when my friend came out with something very insightful.

He said “Oh I can totally understand that. I mean, you go to the doctor because you want a solution, you want some pills, because they are something solid, something material you can take away. I mean, we pay our taxes, we pay for the NHS, we want some value-for-money. Don’t just tell me to go home and eat my veg and get some exercise, that’s rubbish, I can call my mother for that advice!”

Wow! What an insight, it had never occurred to me that anyone would think that way! If I visit my GP, I want to understand what has gone wrong, and the best way to fix it, ideally with no surgery, no pills, and a swift return to good health. It would never occur to me to seek ‘value for money’ in that way – personally, i think the mere fact that we have the NHS, a world-leading public health service free at the point of entry for everyone, is in itself all the value-for-money that I need.

But clearly, other people see it differently to me.

So what do you think? Are you one of the 9 out of 10 people who is happy with ‘the quick fix’ or are you the 1 in 10 who is ready to make changes to your lifestyle and diet in order to try to fix your health problems without resorting to prescription medications?

To your good health!

The third leading cause of death…

Is it true that medical errors and prescribed drugs are really the third leading cause of death in our society?

There seems to be a fairly persistent news story going around that suggests that medical errors and prescribed drugs are killing so many people that they have actually become the third leading cause of death in our society after heart disease and cancer. Personally, I find this very dubious.

In various guises, this story has ‘done the rounds’ a few times in recent years, but the ‘current story’ comes from a study of hospital deaths in the United States which collated all sorts of data to reach this conclusion that medical errors were killing more people than most other things.

It comes by measuring the amount of people who are admitted to hospital but then die and some human error is found along the way – a better drug could have been used, a different surgical procedure may have had fewer complications, another piece of equipment may have been more efficient/effective.

But the thing is, we have to look at the fact that these deaths are only about 4% or 5% of hospital admissions. So in 96% of cases, medical staff are doing everything right, and patients are getting better.

And we need to remember that the patients were ill enough or injured enough to be admitted to hospital in the first place…so it’s not like we have 100% perfectly healthy members of society walking around, and doctors just ambush them in the street and kill them! It’s not like that…the reality is these folks may have died anyway, or may have died a few days, weeks, months later. They were sick and in need of life-saving surgical intervention, or they needed multiple medications, so they are not ‘typical populations’ to start with. In truth, many of these people were in hospital for heart surgery, or fighting cancer, in the first place. So if an error in surgery resulted in a death, do we say that person died of ‘medical error’ or did they die from heart disease, which was the reason for the surgery in the first place?

Additionally, the numbers used to come up with these “third largest cause of death” quotes are hotly contested numbers…they are not officially recorded figures at all. Many doctors and experts have criticised these studies as inaccurate, ‘twisting’ the data to show a contentious result.

Cause of death

There is a lot of this sort of thing online…twisting data to make it show what you want it to show. This goes on in the research business, in medicine and in most other fields of research too. I have talked about this in my seminars on a few occasions. Depending on where we chose to look, at the cause or the effect, changed how we can determine someone’s cause of death.

For instance, if someone smokes for 40 years and then dies of lung cancer, that person’s death certificate will record ‘cancer’ as the cause of death. But we could argue that ‘smoking’ was actually he cause of death, couldn’t we?

This gives us a different way of looking at causes of death. Smoking is a major causal factor in heart disease, and smoking is also a major cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and several other fatal lung conditions, as well as lung cancer, of course. So if smoking is the root cause of all those conditions, then perhaps it is more meaningful to consider smoking as the ’cause of death’ rather than recording all those deaths as ‘heart disease’, ‘lung cancer’, ‘COPD’ or whatever else.

  • According to official data, heart disease is the #1 cause of death worldwide
  • And cancer is the #2 cause of death worldwide
  • Diabetes, and then COPD and other closely related lung conditions are close behind in the top ten
  • These 4 conditions account for at least half of all human death every year.

But some people have pointed out, that obesity is a contributory factor to all of those conditions. Poor diet is a contributory factor to all of those conditions. Lack of exercise is a contributory factor to all of those conditions. And of course, poor diet and lack of exercise, in turn, are the leading causes of obesity. This has led some researchers to declare that in fact, the #1 worldwide cause of death is obesity.

If poor diet, too much sugar and a lack of exercise, cause obesity and diabetes, which in turn then lead to heart disease, stroke, cancer and more, then it’s easy to see how these researchers can claim that obesity is the leading cause of death.

I have read opinion pieces from some doctors and researchers taking that argument through to its logical conclusion and claiming that “Lack of exercise is the leading cause of death worldwide.”

They have a point.
Or maybe ‘poor diet is the leading cause of death worldwide.’

And I postulate, perhaps then…
“Apathy is the leading cause of death worldwide” …because people know what they should do, but they don’t do it.

They know they should exercise daily, eat a good diet, quit smoking, drink less, get some fresh air, drink more water…but they don’t do it, because they can’t be bothered. They think they are young and strong and it won’t catch up with them. They think they can get away with it. Despite the data.

Folks don’t appreciate their good health til it’s gone.

Apathy – the world’s biggest killer.
Yes or no?

What do you think?

Just something to think about.

To your good health!

Karl

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

Keeping things simple

This week, I have been reading a lot of things that resonate with me around a central theme of simplicity. I often talk about how the diet industry and the health-and-wellness industry over complicate everything in order to sell you ‘solutions’ This may be selling you supplements that promise amazing results – yet in reality, in the overwhelming majority of cases, supplements maybe make up about 1% of the story in total, at best.

Or it may be selling you ‘detox’ retreats, or fad diets promising to rid your body of ‘toxins’ – when in reality, there is no scientific truth behind the idea that if you eat a few extra vegetables you are somehow going to ‘release toxins’ that might be in your blood waiting to harm you. If your blood was ‘toxic’ you would be in hospital, fighting for your life. Don’t buy into this bullshit sales rubbish.

I read a lot, and I teach ‘science reduced to simplicity’ as the core of what I do at Mother Nature’s Diet. Time and again, I find that there really are only a handful of genuinely good ideas, all of which are of course encompassed in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet.

Today, I was reading about ‘The Simple 7’ taught by the American Heart Association. Heart disease remains the global number one cause of death, and back in 1978, experts at the American Heart Association thought that rather than spending all our time trying to ‘cure’ heart disease, prevent people with heart disease from suffering heart attacks (and strokes), and keep people alive for longer after a heart attack, why not spend some time trying to help people not get heart disease at all in the first instance.

Now this is my kinda medicine – prevention is better than cure!

The American Heart Association came up with ‘The Simple 7’ Read more

Fitness or fatness?

Is it healthier to be slim but not fit, or overweight but physically fit?

Does it even matter?

I spotted this question being debated – rather excitedly to be honest – online in a Facebook Group and I thought I would share it with you.

There are many opinions on this. Some people think we should stop obsessing over body image, and there is too much public pressure on us to be thin. Some people say it’s wrong to assume that an overweight or obese person is either lazy, unfit or unhealthy. Maybe that person exercises and is physically fit, they just happen to be overweight too.

Others point out that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many poor health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is true, being overweight or obese is a risk factor for all these diseases, in fact being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, and worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

But while being overweight or obese contributes to several of our most prevalent diseases, so does a lack of physical exercise. That’s right, when we look at lists of all the factors causing type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, while we see ‘overweight and obesity’ on the list, in every case, ‘lack of exercise’ is right there on the same list too.

If we dig a little deeper, we actually find out that fitness matters more than fatness, when it comes to all-cause mortality. If you read the short abstract from that study which was published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, you’ll see that overweight and obese people who maintained good physical fitness, lived about as long as normal weight people who maintained good levels of physical fitness too. As the article says “Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals had twice the risk of mortality regardless of BMI.”

So there you have it. It turns out that it’s more important to be fit, than to be thin, if living a long healthy live and avoiding major diseases is your objective.

In a society that values ‘the body beautiful’ so much, and uses stereotypes of slim and lean models for advertising and marketing, it seems we have been putting too much focus on looks and not enough focus on action. If we want to hold back heart disease and cancer for as long as possible, then we should enjoy regular exercise more and stop worrying so much about our bodyfat levels. It seems the 6-pack really is just about vanity, rather than health.

Of course, at Mother Nature’s Diet we already knew this! Our focus has always been on being healthy, and I have said for years that if we work towards being healthy on the inside, our bodies will take care of how we look from the outside.

In my own personal weight loss journey, I wrestled with my weight for 20 years, yo-yo dieting in and out of obesity. All that time my focus was on losing weight to try to look better and feel happier about myself. Only when I changed my focus to being healthy did I finally crack it, and lost 7 stone 3, that’s 101 pounds of fat, or 46 kilos to my European friends.

Living by the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet we focus on eating healthy nourishing whole foods, we don’t count calories, and we aim to stay active and exercise almost every day.

Sounds like we’re doing the right thing if you ask me.
Well done, keep going!

To your good health!

Myth busting – Part 9

This post is Part 9 of a continuing short series of posts tackling persistent myths in the world of healthy eating, with a particular focus on the consumption of animal foods as a source of ill health and environmental destruction.

If you like to cut through the b/s you see on social media these days and understand, in plain English, what’s really going on, then you may like to read the whole series starting from Myth busting – Part 1

Myth: All this talk of our ancient ancestors, how we evolved eating a lot of meat and this talk of ‘prehistoric man’ is all very interesting, but didn’t caveman die at like, 35 years old?

 

Truth: Prehistoric man didn’t die at 35. Infant mortality was very high, and a lot of people died from predators, communicable diseases and accidents. The rest lived to a good age. Cancer did exist, but as far as we know (from fossil evidence, which isn’t much), it was quite rare.

I blogged this whole piece a little while back, so if you regularly read my blog then you may have already seen this one, but it really fits with the other myths we are busting and paradigms we are shifting here in this mini-series, so I thought I would run it for you again as we transition from ‘animal consumption and human health’ to ‘animal agriculture and the environment’ which is coming up next.

‘Caveman’ didn’t always ‘die at 35’

Don’t believe everything you see on social media!

bullshit caveman meme

Recently, a friend of mine shared this image with me and asked me “So what can we say…?” and it’s a good point, this is something I am often asked about, it’s a common myth about our ancient ancestors. I could write a whole book on this, but I’ll keep it brief here. Read more

Myth busting – Part 2

Myth: Cholesterol is bad for you

Truth: Cholesterol itself is a naturally occurring compound, an essential part of YOU! Only high LDL and VLDL cholesterol is associated with heart disease risk factors.

Whole books have been written about ‘the cholesterol myth’, lots of them, and I’ve read several. The truth that I always come back to is this – cholesterol is a naturally occurring sterol lipid (that’s a fancy name for a fat-based chemical compound) that is an integral part of every cell of every animal on Earth. Your body needs cholesterol to maintain cell integrity for all cells in the human body. Cholesterol is also an essential precursor in the production of a number of hormones, and it has other functions in our bodies too.

Cholesterol is an essential element of all cells in all animals. Your brain and nervous system, organs and muscles, none of them would work without cholesterol. It is so important, that if you don’t ingest any from dietary sources, your body can make its own.

So I think: if cholesterol is so important, vital to all animal life and so omnipresent in all animal life forms, how on Earth Read more

Meat Consumption and Cancer (WHO report and media frenzy)

This week, the media here in the UK (and elsewhere I guess) is awash with this latest ‘processed meat and cancer’ story. WHO cancer agency IARC (The International Agency for Research on Cancer) just published a report (October 2015) identifying associations between meat consumption and cancer. The media has, predictably, gone nuts over this story.

In my opinion, this is not news at all. This supports everything I say and every word MotherNaturesDiet stands for.

‘Processed’ is the key word here

The report mostly points a finger at processed meat, then less so at red meat in general.

Living the MotherNaturesDiet way, we say ‘avoid processed foods’. That’s Core Principle 3. If it has a barcode and a list of ingredients, don’t eat it. That stands here, for processed meat, too.

Just to be clear, this new report won’t be forcing me to make any changes to the MotherNaturesDiet recommended healthy lifestyle. I’ve been warning against processed meat for a long time.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/03/07/new-research-linking-processed-meat-to-increased-risk-of-death/

In my opinion, any dietary advice generally around ‘red meat’ MUST be openly questioned.

As I often explain in my live seminars, before you eat an animal (or plant) you have to ask “What did that animal eat?”

If the animal was mistreated and eating grains, and worse (antibiotics, growth hormones, ash, cardboard, mashed up pig parts…etc.) then that animal will make meat that is not so good for you. But if the animal has lived a natural life, living outside (pasture raised, free range) eating grass (natural food for cows) and been treated properly, then the meat will be nutritious and good for you.

This is, of course, the logic behind Core Principle 8 – eat only organic, free range, pasture-raised, grass-fed meat.

So this WHO advisory makes ZERO different at all to MND.

For a long time, I have been asking the question: Read more

Why we have an obesity problem

Do you want to know why we have an obesity epidemic?

Because you can buy 5,496 calories for £14 – 24 cans of Strongbow cider, 440ml cans, 229 calories per can.

The calories in the Strongbow come from the sugars and of course the alcohol itself. Half comes from sugars, all of which you absorb and half comes from alcohol, all of which you don’t. (The metabolism of alcohol is a complex scientific process, but you could think of it as ‘half the alcohol is converted into a form of sugary energy your body uses, the other half just fucks up your liver.)

If you are a regular reader of my work, you will likely have read about how your body depletes small amounts of certain valuable micronutrients in order to process sugar. Quote “It requires some B vitamins (particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), and B3 (niacin)), some vitamin C, and also calcium, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and sodium in order to absorb and use the energy provided by refined sugar” – read the full article here: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2014/12/23/white-refined-sugar-is-an-anti-nutrient/

The Strongbow works out at a cost of £1.33 per litre. Without getting lost in the minutiae of scientific detail let’s say a litre weighs 1 kilo, which is close enough.
So this 24-pack of Strongbow costs £1.33 per kilo, and the whole pack weighs 10.5 kilos, and contains 5,496 calories, giving you 520 calories per kilo, calories which all come from sugar and alcohol. Read more

Don’t believe everything you see on Facebook!

The other day, a friend of mine shared this image with me bullshit caveman memeand said “So what can we say…?” and it’s a good point, this is something I am often asked about, but it’s not come up for a while, so it’s worth me covering today.

I could write a whole book on this, but I’ll hit it here in super-brief form.

Frankly, it’s a common myth.

‘Caveman’ didn’t die at 35. Well, I am sure some did, but in reality, a third died in childhood, a third died young from accidents or predators or disease, and a third lived to old age. But when we look at millions of people over thousands of years, we arrive at a single figure for life expectancy, and many people then wrongly believe that this meant ‘the age that everyone lived to’, rather than a broad statistical average.

The trouble with data

Life expectancy figures are vast generalisations. Anthropologists look at a big base such as ‘the entire human race’ over a period of time such as ‘the paleolithic era’ which means “everything from 190,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago”.

So we are looking at ALL people, over 180,000 years of NON-written history, largely derived from the fossil record, and covering billions of lives over huge stretches of time, tens of thousands of years, spread across all climates and geographies around the planet. When statistical data for “caveman” is talked about, Read more

MND TV Episode 10 – a few quick thoughts on stress

MND TV Episode 10 – a short intro to the topic of stress.

We all hear about stress all the time, and we know stress is bad for us, but many people don’t really know exactly what this means and how it all affects our health.

This short episode of MND TV explains what stress is, how stress hormones affect us and how this all fits together with the big-picture MND way of thinking!

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/10/28/mnd-tv-episode-10/

Physician, heal thyself

I am not in the business of attacking anyone else, putting anyone else down or judging anyone. I think that kind of thing is already all-too-common online, and it is negative, it really doesn’t help anyone. I have been blogging for over 4 years, and I have not attacked anyone else in that time.

However, some self-proclaimed healthcare professionals, some folks with lots of academic qualifications, have told me I am a quack, a danger to the public, preaching pseudo-science and quackery.

Those of you who have been to my live Seminar, you be the judge of that.

Meanwhile, under the watchful guidance of the medically qualified, our great nation seems to be suffering –

  • National obesity EPIDEMIC
  • Diabetes EPIDEMIC
  • Heart disease at EPIDEMIC proportions
  • Cancer rates SOARING
  • Depression rates SOARING
  • Childhood obesity SOARING
  • Statins, antacids, anti-depressants and PPIs widespread
  • Now see this –
    – HALF of all the women in the UK, and NEARLY HALF of all men are now taking PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30411246

Quote “The more medicines you take, the more contact you have with contemporary medicine, the less well you feel.” Read more