Skip to content

Posts from the ‘MotherNaturesDiet’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1luvx

Karl

Stay sober, have sex and eat chocolate

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

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

Making changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See, that’s not so hard, is it?

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

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

What’s not to love about that?

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

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

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

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

Seriously, this is the easy stuff!

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

What to eat – breakfast

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

Read more

Fix your diet and live longer…simple, right?

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

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

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

See how simple this stuff is!

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

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

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

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

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

To your good health!

Karl

Vitamins, minerals and orangutans…

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

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

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

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

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

Mother Nature’s Diet

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

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

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

All the health experts seem to preach messages that are in conflict with each other.

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

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

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

No starving, no calorie counting, no suffering.

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

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

MND_BOOK_MOCK-UP_hires

Personal responsibility

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

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

“Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All you need to know

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

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

Available for immediate download now.

What people are saying…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how the conversation followed –

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

Steve: Nope, that’s not enough man!

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

Steve: Go on…? Read more

The diet deniers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obesity is a multifactorial condition

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

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

Chill out before you peg out…

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

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

It’s all about your hormones

Everything in the human body interacts with everything else.

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

Hormones arrive at an organ or a certain type of tissue or cell, and deliver instructions telling those tissues or cells what to do. When hormone signalling works well, like signalling in a computer or on a railway network, all is well. When signalling is ‘shot to shit’, just like on a road or rail network, all hell breaks loose, and we either have major crashes, or everything seizes up in grid lock. That’s how important hormones are.
You have hormones that govern when you feel hungry or full; hormones that make you happy or sad, angry or calm, lively or relaxed. Hormones and minerals between them regulate many complex processes in the body including appetite, blood pressure and elimination of waste.

Fight or flight…rest and digest

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

When those stress hormones flood your body, they trigger a whole Read more

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 One Diet to Rule Them All…

Which diet is best for you?

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

Within the space of just a few days:

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

Now let’s just see – Read more

Sunbathing for cancer prevention

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not just about weight loss…

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

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

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

Beyond the obvious

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

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

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

And –

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

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

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

The article continues – Read more

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

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

The quotes I find to be particularly interesting are:

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

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

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

6 years later…

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

The fad diet pretending not to be a fad diet…

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

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

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

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

Oh my word!

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

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

“Our regime of exercises”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week, let’s keep things super simple.

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

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

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

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

Prevention is infinitely better than cure

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

The goal is to live a preventive medicine lifestyle.

Does it work?

Hell yeah!
To quote this study:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1luvx

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

Why people eat sugary crap for breakfast

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day – has become a sugar-fest, and it’s contributing to childhood obesity.

I find my inbox is constantly awash with article that are sugar-bashing, as the world slowly starts to shift from ‘fat is the bad boy’ to realising that sugar is the real problem.

It was good to see Dr Rangan Chatterjee on the BBC One Breakfast Show recently, trying to point out how much sugar is in the typical breakfast options of cereal and toast. Our government seem, to my eyes, to be faced with overwhelming evidence that we need to change dietary advice. We have an out-of-control childhood obesity problem, predicted to add to our already rampant adult obesity problem, yet the government refuse to change dietary advice.

The same day that TV interview was recorded, I saw a blog about a radio interview with Ireland’s top dietitian, slamming low-carb eating (less sugar!) as nonsense! While it’s ultimately true that ‘eating too many calories leads to weight gain’ and no one can deny it, saying that is the whole story misses all the many factors why people eat too many calories!

There are, of course, many factors behind our obesity problems. Personally, I think breakfast is a huge problem, and the UK breakfast table is sadly dominated by cereals and toast. If you follow Mother Nature’s Diet, this obviously isn’t an issue for you anymore, as Core Principle 1 removes that starchy white mass of carbohydrates from your diet. But in reality it’s a stumbling block for a lot of people. I deliver live seminars and people come up to me all the time, or email me in the days after, saying “But what can I do for breakfast? Without cereals and toast, what is there? What can I feed my kids?”

I answer that question a lot!

And the answer is – real food! Plants and animals. You can cook some eggs, that’s the quickest and easiest healthy option for most people. I eat the same food for breakfast that I eat for my other meals – fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits. It’s just a case of putting a new habit in place. I’m rather fond of the ‘I don’t eat crap for breakfast’ habit, it works well for me personally.

You see, the truth is that breakfast cereals and toast have made people lazy. They are both quick, easy options. Really quick. Open the packet, dump some cereal in the bowl, pour on milk. Boom, breakfast in 60 seconds. Hands up. I confess, I can’t beat that, 60 seconds is too quick. I have only one healthy option that is that quick – fresh fruit. I can pick up 2 bananas and an apple and take them with me to my desk or my car and eat them ‘on the go’ – but that’s the only healthy breakfast option I have that is ready in 60 seconds or less.

Today, for my breakfast, I put a knob of butter in a frying pan, sliced and diced about a quarter of a whole red cabbage (it turns my eggs blue!) and threw that in to start simmering, then sliced and diced some savoy cabbage and threw that in too. Stirred that around for a couple of minutes, then cracked in 4 eggs. Making my breakfast took 6 or 7 minutes, maybe 8. My bad.

But I made a choice. A choice that I would prefer to get my butt out of bed 8 minutes earlier, so that I had time to take in some actual nutrition for my breakfast, rather than leaving my alarm to the last possible second and then using the ‘no time’ excuse as my reason for eating crap. And yes, it is crap.

Breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar. If they didn’t fortify the flour for making bread, and the breakfast cereals, with synthetic vitamins and minerals, it would be illegal to sell these products to you because they would make you sick – and eventually kill you. Take the time to read the link and understand why all cereals and breads have to be fortified – breakfast cereals are ‘nutritional cardboard’ and they taste like it, hence the need to add all that sugar.

I appreciate that you’ll face a challenge trying to get your kids to eat red cabbage for breakfast (though it is delicious fried in butter!) but there are plenty of options available. Scrambled eggs, fresh fruit salad, add a dollop of Greek yoghurt if it helps, fresh fruit and a few nuts, maybe make a smoothie and then you can even sneak in some veg like spinach without them noticing.

Do yourself a favour going forward and start every day the best way you can, with some quality nutrition and a few servings of fresh vegetables before you leave for work in the morning – rather than your entire day’s sugar allowance in one meal.

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!

Should we all be cutting back on starchy carbohydrates?

I have seen a lot in the press recently about type-3 diabetes, the proposed alternative name for Alzheimer’s disease.

This is not particularly new, Type-3 diabetes has been offered as a name for Alzheimer’s for over a decade now, but it does increasingly seem to be coming to the fore and reaching mainstream discussion more recently.

It makes me wonder how many more people are starting to see that high refined carbohydrate consumption is not our long-term historical norm. Now, I didn’t just write “humans are not supposed to eat carbs.” No, that’s not what I said. Humans have always eaten carbohydrates, just not is such great quantities, and not refined and processed, the way breakfast cereals, sliced bread, quick-cook pasta and baked goods are today. These refined carbs (sugars!) and all highly processed grain products (bread, pasta, cereals) are a relatively new addition to our diet, and in such bulk, they seem to be causing some serious problems.

And with all the increase in grain consumption, we are seeing an increasing rise in the human consumption of glyphosate, the highly controversial herbicide from Monsanto. This is of great concern to many – the numbers reported in that link are certainly ringing alarm bells.

It seems there are plenty of good reasons to look at consuming fewer foods made from processed grains, and fewer refined carbohydrates in general.

Low-carb diets have become amazingly popular in recent years, first it was The Atkins Diet, and more recently the Paleo movement.

And there are increasingly many reports of low-carb diets helping people, with challenging health problems such as type-2 diabetes and advanced renal failure. Indeed, I have had plenty of people email me over the last five years to tell me that they follow the MND lifestyle and they have controlled their type-2 diabetes or even reversed it and come off their medications. I have had some emails from people exclaiming “you’ve cured me!”

I do not actively promote Mother Nature’s Diet as a low-carb diet. MND as a way of living includes eating plenty of carbs every day, we just like to eat the most nutritious carbs we can, such as sweet potatoes and squash, rather than bread, pasta and cereals. These vegetables tend to be lower in calories and higher in fibre – in my opinion, much better choices. I promote MND as a healthy-carb diet, rather than a low-carb diet.

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet do steer you away from high carbohydrate consumption.

Core Principle 1 states “Eliminate processed grains and starches from your diet”

What’s the point here?

In very broad general terms, there are five key reasons why we avoid eating grains and processed starchy carbs when living the Mother Nature’s Diet way.

1: For the vast majority of people, unless you are an athlete, then you just don’t need lots of bulky starchy carbs in your diet. The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat.

2: Grains cannot be digested unless they are processed or fermented, and in the natural order of things, way back in evolution, these foods would not have formed a major component of our diet.

3: Most of these foods (grains) naturally contain compounds that are not good for a lot of people. These foods contain gluten, phytates and other chemical substances that can cause digestive problems for a lot of people.

4: Grains and starchy carbs – the way they are consumed in the typical Western diet – tend to supply lots of bulk and lots of calories, without supplying much in the way of micro-nutrients – vitamins and minerals. In terms of eating foods that fill your plate, there are much better choices.

5: Modern large-scale industrialised agriculture, particularly grain (wheat and barley, also maize, rice and soya) agriculture, is a major source of topsoil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.

If you would like to read a little more detail, just click here.

We are not excluding an entire food group “from all people, in its entirety, at all times” just because “grains are bad for you” as there is much more to it than that. The reality is that for many people, the popular foods made using grains and other starches, sold en masse in our supermarkets, which form a bulk part of the typical modern Western diet, are feeding people large amounts of easily-digestible calories, eaten rapidly in large quantities, eaten too quickly, too easily, too eagerly, too often, and these foods tend to be of a fairly low overall nutrient density.

In all, this ‘consumption pattern’ seems to be a major contributing factor to growing obesity levels, it seems to be a major contributory factor to the rising type-2 diabetes problem, and it seems to be a major contributory factor to the sub-standard level of micro-nutrients in the modern Western diet.

Additionally, people tend to eat these grains and starchy carbs as ‘the bulk’ element of a meal (think cereals and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta, rice and spaghetti for dinner) and this can often lead to over-eating large quantities of these foods. Because of this issue of quantity, these grains and starchy carbs tend to contribute a substantial proportion of the calories in a person’s diet, but comparatively little micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). This can contribute to weight gain.

Eating the MND way, we swap out those processed starchy foods for better options, namely fresh vegetables. The vegetable still offer some carbohydrate, but they are also offer more fibre, more micronutrients, less starch and fewer calories. For most people, this helps with weight loss and a healthier, more nutritious diet.

Eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way, in Core Principle 2 we also “Eliminate refined sugar, and limit natural sugars” and this further reduces the heavy carbohydrate load in the typical Western Diet.

So MND is not a low-carb diet per se, but it’s a healthy carb diet. It balances good choices of carbs, with good fats, varied proteins and plenty of micronutrients.

Try implementing the MND way into your life, just try it for 90 days, and see if it works for you.

Do you really need all that?

Time to take a quick look at portion control.

For many people who follow Mother Nature’s Diet as a healthy lifetsyle, weight loss is a goal. While I encourage you to focus on being healthy, and let your weight sort itself out, I also understand the goal to lose unwanted weight…I chased that goal myself for about 20 years.

As I am sure you know, there are many factors behind the obesity epidemic today, and doubtless there are multiple factors contributing to excess unwanted bodyfat for each and every one of us that has some weight to lose. It would take a lot of editions of The Weekly Weigh-In for us to look at all those factors, so this week let’s just look at one – portion control.

I work one-on-one with a lot of people who want to lose weight, and this is often one place where we can look for a quick and easy win. Most people are still piling their plates too high, it’s just such an easy thing to do. I did this myself for many years. Even when I switched to eating healthier foods, I would take a large sized dinner plate and heap up the meat and veggies, telling myself that it was all healthy food, so I could eat as much as I like.

In some respects, that’s true. I mean, I bet you never met anyone obese who grabbed their big belly and said “damn all that cabbage for making me fat!” Right?

But while ‘eating too much cabbage’ is never the reason someone becomes overweight in the first place, there is still good reason to limit those huge plates of food, even if it’s mostly veggies, for someone who is actively trying to lose weight. Unless you are doing insane amouts of exercise, and in reality, that accounts for very few people indeed, then you just don’t need to eat so much. You will enjoy far better results if you limit meal sizes.

A human stomach is not as large as you might think. In reality, it’s really only about the size of your own fist. It actually doesn’t take that much food to fill it. Wisdom says that a ‘palm sized’ portion of meat or fish is enough for one meal, and then around two to three times that much again in salad or vegetables. Really, that’s plenty for a main meal.

One size does not fit all, and I don’t know who you are, reading this now, so I can’t say how much each person should eat, as we are all different. But broadly speaking, if weight loss is your goal, and if you are moderately active, then you could try cutting down your meal sizes and see if that helps move your weight loss forward.

You could try:

  • Breakfast: a couple of eggs with a handful of greens and a tomato
  • Morning snack: an apple
  • Lunch: a roasted sweet potato with a little side salad
  • Dinner: a palm-sized portion of meat or fish, with fresh vegetables

That should be plenty. Remember, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, so you should expect to feel hungry from time to time. Not all day, every day, but several times per week.

Try cutting your portions down and let me know how you get on.

To your good health!

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

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

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

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

Anyway, back to our clean eating post.

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

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

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

The Weekly Weigh-In

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s never a matter of education…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we normalising obesity?

The rising obesity problem is a subject that is constantly in the news these days. As with every ‘latest thing’ that comes in and out of the public consciousness, when a topic is hot, we find every journalist and blogger out there writing about it, and opinions become varied, multitudinous and often contentious. And so it is with obesity.

In recent years we have seen many opinions about obesity, and read much shared research. We see that obesity can be blamed on genes, and we can read that childhood obesity is down to parenting, not junk food. We might read in the news that obesity could be classified as an eating disorder, or the next day the news will tell us that obesity is caused by poverty. We read that in the US, obesity is being treated as a disease, and we see obesity being blamed on something called obesogenic environments. Another day we may read about the obesity-promoting role of hyperpalatable foods, and we are constantly reading that sugar is to blame for obesity, and other addictive foods. We see the obesity epidemic blamed on the giant corporations of the food industry, and we may have even read that obesity is socially contagious.

Amid all this, while many derogatory words have been written about obese people over the years, now we see the tide turning. Many journalists and bloggers are now reporting that fat shaming does no good, it only makes things worse, it hurts people, and it’s time to stop blaming obese people for their condition; we must be more understanding and supportive. It is suggested that obesity is actually just a learned set of behaviours. We are seeing new reports that obese people are treated differently, to their detriment, by the doctors, and some experts are saying that if you put together everything above, then it plain isn’t your fault if you are fat.

Normalising obesity

It certainly is a contentious topic. I’m not going to go through all those news articles linked above and address each one of them in turn, giving my analysis and opinion on them all, that would take many pages of writing. Suffice to say that some of those articles I broadly agree with, some I largely disagree with, and most, or perhaps all of them, I would say contain some truth, but not ‘the only truth’.

The weight problem in the UK is accelerating rapidly. Official data from 2013 shows that 26% of men in the UK are obese, and 67% of men in the UK are either overweight or obese. For women, those figures are 24% and 57%, respectively. Of all the large, populous nations in Western Europe, the UK is the fattest. In the United States, the problem is even worse, with 71% of men and 62% of women overweight or obese.

To give that data some context, 50 years ago, in the mid-1960s, obesity in the UK stood at around 1.5% (1.8% men, 1.2% women, in 1965).  Read more

Time to look at your habits…are they supporting you, or not?

I have a friend who used to eat biscuits all the time. He loved biscuits, especially those chocolate-coated ones, and chocolate-chip cookies. But he was overweight, he was out of shape and he knew that he was eating too much sweet food, and he was heading for obesity and likely type-2 diabetes. He also knew that eating three or four biscuits every morning, and then three or four biscuits every afternoon, and sometimes another three or four biscuits in the evening, was making all the rest of his food taste bland, so he wasn’t eating his veggies. He knew he was in danger of letting his ‘biscuit habit’ or ‘biscuit addiction’ take over his diet entirely, to the detriment of his health.

So he changed. he started eating a banana as his mid-morning snack, and an apple as his mid-afternoon snack. If he feels the need for an evening snack, he’ll eat some raisins or sultanas.

At first, this wasn’t easy. Day one was torture Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Core Principle 3 and pasteurised dairy

In Core Principle 3 you say “eliminate pasteurised dairy”. Does that mean all dairy is completely out? Can you explain please?

This is a great question, and a massive topic, that goes off in many different directions. In the book MND Book 1: the 12 Core Principles the whole topic is dealt with in detail, here we will just touch on the subject in brief.

Here is ‘the short version’.

Core Principle 3 includes “eliminate pasteurised dairy” from your diet.

That is not a blanket statement to say that ‘dairy is bad for you’. In fact, it is often a sign of fad diets and inaccurate science when diet plans block out entire food groups for all people without any exception.

The reality is that we can’t make such blanket statements because in truth, all people are different. Cow’s milk contains a carbohydrate called lactose, and it contains proteins called whey and casein. Many people are intolerant to lactose or whey, and some folks can’t tolerate casein. These compounds can cause all manner of unwanted side effects from bloating, smelly gas, mucous, cold-like symptoms, gastrointestinal distress, stuffiness, lethargy, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and more.

So if you ever consume milk or dairy foods and suffer from any of those symptoms, you could try quitting dairy completely for a few months and seeing if that helps you.

But these intolerances may only affect, perhaps, half of us here in Europe. The other half, might be just fine. It seems, that if you are lactose, whey and casein tolerant, then a quality organic dairy food can be a valuable source of protein and micronutrients in your diet.

Pasteurisation

Mass-market milk, the stuff for sale in our supermarkets, is pasteurised and homogenised. These are processes designed to kill off potentially harmful bacteria in milk, and extend its shelf life for the purposes of distribution and sales. The trouble is, pasteurisation also kills off some of the digestive enzymes in milk, and this causes two problems. One is that Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – MND and motor neurone disease. Is there a connection?

1: Mother Nature’s Diet, you guys call it MND, but that stands for motor neurone disease, right?

2: Are there any links between Mother Nature’s Diet and motor neurone disease or the UK charity The Motor Neurone Disease Association, the MNDA?

3: Are you recommending Mother Nature’s Diet as a suggested dietary protocol for people suffering from motor neurone disease?

4: Are you selling supplements to help motor neurone disease sufferers?

No, Mother Nature’s Diet is in no way at all linked to, authorised by, affiliated to or connected with The Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Mother Nature’s Diet is not designed as a dietary protocol for sufferers and we do not sell supplements, or anything else, to people suffering from motor neurone disease.

About motor neurone disease and The MNDA

Motor neurone disease is a rare progressive condition that attacks and damages the nervous system, leading rapidly to weakness, muscle wasting and sadly, often to a fatal end. Motor neurone disease is a very serious neurodegenerative condition, the precise causes are not fully understood and there is currently no known cure. Motor neurone disease is often fatal within two years of diagnosis, it affects approximately 5,000 people in the UK at any one time.

MND in known as ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – in the United States. MND and ALS are the same disease.

According to the NHS, motor neurone disease affects around 2 in every 100,000 people in the UK each year, and according to the MNDA, every day six people in the UK are diagnosed with the disease, and six people every day die from the illness. Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Is it healthy to drink coffee?

Short answer: Whether or not you should regularly consume coffee (and caffeine) very much depends on the person, you the individual. The current state of your health, will depend on whether caffeinated coffee might help you or exacerbate problems for you.

For example, studies show that, in general, type-2 diabetics and folks who have high blood pressure or have suffered a heart attack, benefit from moderate coffee consumption. Broadly speaking, moderate coffee consumption, which means Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Can I eat beans and legumes?

Living the MND way, can I eat legumes – beans, pulses and sweetcorn?

If you have read the FAQs and learned why we avoid eating grains, you will remember that one reason to avoid eating grains is because they contain compounds that affect our digestion – gluten, phytic acid, and so on.

Just like grains, all these beans and legumes are a kind of seed, they are the “babies” of the plants. So if we think of wheat as the babies (seeds) of the grasses in that family of plants that we call cereal crops, then similarly, beans and lentils are the seeds of the plant family we call legumes. Technically, biologically, they are very similar to grains. Apologies for the over simplification, but this isn’t a science lecture, I just want you to understand the broad idea.

Mother Nature, in all her complex wonder, evolved our wonderful world to help propagate every species in some kind of glorious harmony. All these grasses and other plants evolved for herbivorous animals to eat them, but Mother Nature had to come up with ways to enable the seeds of those plants to survive and re-grow. In some cases, seeds evolved in ways to avoid being eaten, by growing high out of a grazing herbivores reach, or by hiding inside a tough seed head, in other cases seeds  evolved tough outer cases, so that they would survive being eaten by an animal and then pooped out the other end. In other cases, she designed the seeds to thrive inside that animal, so that when it was pooped out the other end, it was ready to grow into a new plant.

Ruminants (that is animals such as cows, sheep, goats, camels, yaks and so on) have a much more complex, slower digestive system than humans. They pass food into a rumen (one of their multiple stomachs) which is basically a fermentation tank inside a cow. They also “chew the cud” which means they Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Why avoid grains and starchy carbs?

Why do we avoid grains and processed starchy carbs?

This, Core Principle 1, is mostly explained in detail here in the 12 Core Principles.

For further reading, you might like to check this post: Back off those carbs!

Now you will understand that:

1: We have not evolved to eat grains, we cannot digest these plants, that is why they have to be processed before we can consume them.

2: You understand there are compounds in grains – gluten, lectins, phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors – that are largely undesirable and have negative side-effects for many people.

3: For most people, the 99% of the population who are not elite athletes, eating a lot of grains and processed starchy carbs is probably contributing to undesirable weight gain.

4: Bulky meals of starchy carbs can cause your pancreas to work too hard and can trigger blood sugar highs and lows. In time, this can Read more

Against the Grain

Every month I publish a newsletter titled Against the Grain. This is a private, Members-only newsletter for MND Community Members.

Here is a free sample of that newsletter for you.

MND Against The Grain April 2016

For full details of MND Community Membership, please visit this page on our all-new site.

 

Myth busting – Part 12

Summary: Connect together the bigger picture

 

Please read Myth Busting – Part 10 and Part 11 before you read this; otherwise this summary won’t make much sense to you.

Thanks!

Natural equilibrium

It is my hope that this series of posts have demonstrated several things.

1: Global warming, the factors contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and the factors affecting our most precious carbon sinks, are not as simple as many mainstream media reports would have us believe.

2: It’s all a bit more complicated than ‘cars and power stations are melting the ice caps, we’re all doomed’.

3: The solutions are also somewhat more complicated than ‘buy a few electric cars and build some wind turbines and we’ll all be OK’.

4: Electric cars, well, still need electricity, and wind turbines use a vast amount of concrete to stay upright. If you really want to ‘go green’ try getting a job closer to home. Using no car at all because you walk to work, that’s the ultimate green transport. Even if we stopped running cars completely and burning fossil fuel in power stations right now today, the pollutants in the atmosphere would take the entire 21st century to clear, and all that time, the effects of global warming would persist.

5: Some of the factors involved in global warming, major factors, are seemingly innocuous things that the mainstream media rarely seem to cover, like fluffy white clouds and freshly ploughed fields. We do not look at a picture of a ploughed field and instantly think ‘oh look, global warming in progress’.

6: No disrespect intended to the film-makers, and no axe to grind with the vegan movement in general, but the movie Cowspiracy is just plain wrong, it is a ‘dramatised pretend documentary’ or ‘docu-drama’ that uses cherry-picked data and ignores vast amounts of contradictory science.

7: Simply giving up meat and dairy and all becoming vegetarians will do virtually nothing to alleviate our present environmental problems. Converting large amounts of the world’s grasslands to croplands would actually make things worse. If folks give up meat and dairy and start eating more rice and wheat and soybeans, greenhouse gas emissions will likely go up over the next few decades.

8: The problem is industrialised agriculture. Becoming vegan won’t change a thing. It’s our ‘abusive attitude’ to farming in general that needs to change.

Since the industrial revolution began, almost 250 years ago…

What have we done wrong?

  • The population explosion. We used industrialised agriculture, and fossil fuel power to boost the human population to unsustainably high numbers in a very short space of time
  • We ripped up the trees and ploughed the grasslands to plant wheat, corn and soybeans, and we flooded fertile fields to grow rice
  • We dramatically over-fished the oceans, and killed a lot of the world’s fish stocks
  • We ripped up the forests to grow maize and soybeans, to make cheap cattle feed, vegetable oils and biomass fuels
  • We planted too many monocrops, used too much fertilizer, and polluted many of our rivers and seas

Now we have oceans devoid of fish, grasslands diminished, cattle living in steel pens in CAFOs, ankle deep in their own shit, sick, obese, taking antibiotics. Traces of antibiotics get into cheap meat, and humans are developing ‘antimicrobial resistance’ as a result. Wheat grows on the grasslands, so the people all eat wheat, making them fat, driving metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and causing widespread autoimmune illness because half the human race are not biologically adapted to tolerate eating gluten.

The forests are massively diminished, chopped down to grow maize and soybeans to feed the unhappy sick cows and chickens. The topsoil is depleted, releasing carbon into the atmosphere instead of sequestering it for decades into the future. Rivers are polluted, flows diminished and freshwater fish stocks depleted. The oceans are half-empty, and the lack of oceanic life, and rising seawater acidity, means there is nothing to suck up atmospheric carbon dioxide from all the cars and power stations burning fossil fuels.

While wind, wave, sunshine and tide are ever present, governments have moved too slowly to give businesses tax incentives to develop renewable energy supplies. Still, in 2016 now, only 21% to 22% of world energy production comes from renewable sources. Still only 3% to 5% of transport is powered by any form of clean or renewable energy. Considering that global warming has been on the agenda as a “major international imperative” since 1990, this is a shameful lack of progress in a quarter of a century.

  • The air is polluted
  • The soil depleted
  • The oceans weakened
  • The forests weeping
  • Animals are widely mistreated
  • Humans are overweight, diabetic, stressed out dying of heart disease and riddled with cancer

I think it’s fair to say, we’re in a bit of a mess and not doing as well as we could be. Read more

Myth busting – Part 11

Continued from Myth busting – Part 10. If you have not read Part 10 yet, I suggest you go start there, in order to keep everything in context. Thanks!

Carbon sequestration

 

To be clear on usage of certain terms:

Carbon (organic carbon) means the mineral carbon, an essential building block of all organic life on Earth – plants and animals, including humans.

Carbon dioxide means the gas breathed out by animals, and taken in by plants. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere – but human activity burning fossil fuels has increased the amount.

Over millions of years, plants ‘breathe in’ carbon dioxide and use it as a building block for cellular life. As those plants grow up into big strong trees, so the dense wood holds lots of carbon. When the tree dies, the logs fall to the ground and are buried in new growing organic matter. That carbon is taken down into the ground and stored for many years, slowly releasing its mineral content into the soil to nourish other plants and animals. This is a crude explanation, but you get the idea.

Carbon sequestration means ‘taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it as carbon bound up in life forms (such as wood, plants, soil, insects, etc.)

A carbon sink is a place or thing that acts to sequester carbon, such as a tree.

Mother Nature provides places to sequester carbon naturally. The oceans, the topsoil, the forests and peat bogs (peat wetlands or peatlands) are all massive efficient carbon sinks, the world’s top four. The problem is, those carbon sinks are not working optimally.

Where have all the fishies gone?

Approximately 70% of the planet is covered by oceans and seas. Currently, around one third of all the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is sequestered by our oceans. They could be taking a lot more.

However, there is a problem with our oceans. We have over-fished them for the last century or more, and the result is that early in the 21st century we find that 85% of fisheries worldwide are over-fished and seriously depleted. We have massively reduced fish stocks in our oceans, and the use of trawlers and supertrawlers has decimated marine life, hurting Mother Nature’s ability to restore what we have taken. In some species, over 90% of living stock has been wiped out over a few decades, reducing numbers below a certain ‘critical mass’ to such a point that populations can’t recover. This means the oceans have a reduced ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, due to lower levels of biological activity in ocean waters.

You see, it’s supposed to be the life in the water that sucks up the carbon…not the water itself. However, with more carbon dioxide in the air, our oceans are also suffering from something called ‘ocean acidification’ which means the water itself is absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, because there is more there to absorb, and it’s changing the pH of ocean waters, reducing the oxygen-richness of ocean waters. This makes it harder for marine life to proliferate. It’s a double whammy, and a vicious negative cycle.

We need marine life to proliferate in order to sequester carbon. Ocean acidification, over-fishing and pollution have left the oceans with reduces amounts of algae, phytoplankton, seaweed and fish. The result is that our best carbon sink isn’t working at all well, and the largest part of the planet’s surface, that should supply a huge proportion of our food, is drastically depleted. The answer must be to stop over-fishing, stop polluting our oceans with plastics, chemical waste and more, stop polluting the atmosphere with burned fossil fuels and let the oceans work naturally, the way they are supposed to.

Without trying to sound too melodramatic about it, it’s a bit like the zombie apocalypse, but underwater. Reduced life, pollution, loss of marine biodiversity, massive scars of land destroyed by trawlers, ‘kill squads’ out slaughtering marine life en masse. What’s happening in our oceans isn’t pretty. Read more

Myth busting – Part 10

Wow, we made it to Myth busting – Part 10! Let’s quickly look back over this mini-series so far and recap what we have covered.

In the previous nine instalments of this mini-series, we have read that:

 

Phew! It’s been a lot of fun writing this series – and I hope you are enjoying reading it!

But…you might have one last question, and this is now going to open up a whole can of worms. If we are supposed to be eating meat and fish instead of grains, and all those big juicy sweet pieces of fruit and veg are actually a relatively new ‘man-bred’ novelty.
Then, well…

Myth: It’s animal agriculture that is destroying the environment isn’t it? Haven’t you seen that film ‘Cowspiracy’? It’s all those burping and farting cows that are causing global warming. If we encourage people to eat less grain and more meat and fish there will be an environmental catastrophe, and besides there is not enough land to keep all those abused and mistreated farm animals fed and watered.

 

Truth: With respect to the good intentions of the makers of the film, in my personal opinion, that movie Cowspiracy is totally biased and wildly inaccurate, made purposefully to appeal to one particular paradigm, or one specific set way of thinking, namely veganism. Far from ‘exposing the truth’ these kind of mock-umentaries (known as a ‘mock-doc’ or a ‘docu-drama’) often do more harm than good by spreading misinformation, and they are nothing short of  propaganda made to promote the vegan cause, not to present a balanced view of reality.

I respect anyone who makes the choice to be vegan because they abhor cruelty to animals, I do too. But that is not what this is about.

There is so much misunderstanding in this area. Since Cowspiracy came out, it’s now ‘the latest trendy thing’ to talk about how animal agriculture is ‘the biggest cause of environmental destruction and greenhouse gases’ on Earth and so ‘everyone should just stop eating meat’ but this is just fundamentally wrong. Cowspiracy has certainly taken this issue (agriculture’s contribution to global warming) to a broader audience, but the so-called science in the movie is completely flawed, it uses data points cherry picked to provide a one-sided view, and it ignores loads of facts that don’t fit with the main goals of the presentation.

Let’s actually look at some reality. Read more

Myth busting – Part 8

Myth: We must eat vegetables to be healthy, but we can live without meat.

 

Truth: Actually, it’s the opposite. We can live on animal foods alone, but it’s very hard to live on plant foods alone.

This myth-busting series is in danger of becoming a manifesto for meat eaters, and that is not my intention!! I feel the need to state – I love vegetables!!! I still recommend the MND target for vegetables and fruit intake is 17-a-day! And I am not trying to put a downer on the vegetarian choice!

But the truth is this, while half the human race are intolerant or sensitive to gluten in one way or another, I’ve never met a single person intolerant to chicken. I’ve never heard of anyone with a salmon intolerance. I’ve never heard of anyone allergic to mackerel.

Some people are intolerant to eggs, and many people are intolerant to dairy (food Mother Nature evolved for baby cows, not for adult humans) but very few healthy people have any kind of intolerance to meat, poultry or fish.

Following on from Myth busting – Part 7

You see, once we get through the claws, teeth and fur, that animal is all done with the whole ‘defending itself’ thing and Read more

Myth busting – Part 7

Myth: Plants are healthy, they are ‘all good’ and we can eat as much as we like.

 

Truth: No! Many plants contain all sorts of chemical compounds that are extremely harmful to human health! You can’t eat poison ivy! What about deadly nightshade! Apple pips contain cyanide! What about gluten! There are highly poisonous mushrooms and numerous deadly herbs. The list is long! But among the common plants we do eat, there are plant foods containing compounds such as lectins, goitrogens, protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors, phytate (or phytic acid), tannins, saponins and calcium oxalate, as well as some lesser compounds that are not very good for us.

The reality is that more than 90% of the biomass of plant life on Earth is completely unavailable to humans as food. We cannot eat grasses, we cannot eat trees, and most leaves are indigestible to us. We cannot eat grains unless we process them, and estimates suggest that around half the human population is intolerant to gluten to one degree or another. Raw potatoes will make you sick. Legumes are rich in lectins that upset digestive function. Phytates, or phytic acid, found in legumes, nuts and grains, have ‘anti-nutrient’ properties, leaching other valuable minerals from your body.

Many of these compounds are enzyme inhibitors of one type or another – that is, they stop various digestive enzymes from doing their job properly, meaning your body cannot absorb some of the minerals that you consume in your food.

And you thought plants were good for you!!!! Read more

Myth busting – Part 5

This post is Part 5 of a continuing 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.

You may like to read the whole series starting from Myth busting – Part 1

Myth: But big strong animals like gorillas don’t eat meat. A gorilla is a vegan and he’s made of muscle! So who needs all that protein now then?!?!

You may have seen this image circulating on social media sites, lots of folks who don’t really know much about health and nutrition like to share this image as some kind of ‘proof’ that it is healthiest to be a vegan, and no one needs to eat animal foods at all.

I don’t want to sound rude, and this next line isn’t meant to be an attack on any vegans or an insult to anyone specifically, but in all honesty, sharing this Internet meme as some kind of ‘proof’ that people shouldn’t eat meat is pretty much the highest display of ignorance out there in the whole ‘meat vs. vegetarian’ discussion.

Not ignorant because the people sharing it don’t know much about the digestive system of a gorilla; that’s fair enough, most folks probably don’t; but ignorant because the people sharing this are stupid enough to think the digestive function of one animal somehow acts as some guide of evidence-based scientific guide to the digestive system of another. That is just plain dumb.

Why would the digestive system and food habits of a gorilla have anything to do with a human?

Oh because gorillas have muscles, therefore this is ‘proof’ of how to build muscles?

Well elephants have muscles too; maybe I should eat an elephant’s diet? Read more

Myth busting – Part 4

Continued from Myth busting – Part 3

Myth: But longevity studies show that most 90 and 100 year old folks are vegetarians, right?

Truth: The truth is that in many longevity studies we see people in their 90s and 100s who ‘don’t eat much meat’ but that does not make them strict vegetarians.

In almost all the longevity studies I have read, very few of these people in their 90s and 100s were reported as specifically being vegetarians, most often they just “don’t eat much meat” because they tend to be quite poor (financially) and they can only afford to eat meat once or twice per week at most. Many of these elderly folks eat fish or eggs a few times per week. Fish is often readily available as many of the demographic groups studied (where exceptional longevity has been noted) live near the coast or on islands, so fresh fish is often a staple of the local diet.

This in itself is, to my mind, all far more interesting than whether or not these people are vegetarians. One of my all-time favourite books is ‘Blue Zones’ by Dan Buettner, an excellent review of the lifestyles of several societies where a high proportion of folks enjoy far-above-average longevity. In four of the five communities he and his team studied around the world, they live between the coast and the hills/mountains. A lifestyle including regular hill walking, daily clean fresh air, fresh fish and home-grown vegetables feature as key ingredients to living a long and healthy life. Many of the people studied “ate little meat” but only one of the five communities identified themselves as vegetarians, and this was in the case that vegetarianism came as a part of their religious belief system.

Read more

Myth busting – Part 3

Myth: Vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters, because eating meat is bad for you.

Truth: Eating meat is not ‘bad for you’ – go back and read Myth busting – Part 1 again! What do you think your ancient ancestors ate before we started farming?

According to a number of studies, it would seem that many (certainly not all!) vegetarians are indeed ‘healthier’ than many (not all) meat eaters, but there is no real evidence to suggest that it’s got much to do with avoiding meat.

There is a lot of confusion around this area. Studies have attempted to look at the differences between vegetarians and meat eaters – but what does ‘vegetarian’ really mean? It’s a self-reported ‘condition’, it’s not like ‘people over 6 foot tall’ or ‘black people’ or ‘women’ – these are irrefutable facts that are visible to all eyes. But many vegetarians report themselves to be vegetarians when in fact, they are not. There are varying degrees of vegetarianism, and it is quite common for people to claim to be vegetarians when they ‘occasionally’ eat meat.

I personally know several people who describe themselves, with complete sincerity, as vegetarians, yet they openly admit that they get drunk once a month and have a big greasy meaty kebab on their way home from the pub! Or they are ‘vegetarian’ all week, then order a Chinese take away on Saturday night and enjoy tucking into sweet ‘n’ sour chicken! I know so-called vegetarians who treat themselves to a chicken vindaloo once a month then go back to being a vegetarian! These people actually laugh it off and they think they can wake up the next day, go back to their hummus and tofu and be a vegetarian again….until next time! Seriously?!?!? Read more

Myth busting – Part 1

This is the first instalment in a 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.shutterstock_159768692

It’s simply not true that eating animal foods causes ill health and environmental damage. However, intensive industrialised agriculture certainly causes environmental damage and leads to humans eating animal products that are less-than-optimal nutritionally.

The vast, overwhelming majority of research linking meat consumption to ill health fails to separate meat products from animals that have been raised in intensive, industrialised agricultural systems from meat products that come from animals raised humanely, naturally and sustainably.

I have written about this before, if this interests you please check the following posts:

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2015/10/26/meat-consumption-and-cancer-who-report-and-media-frenzy/

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/02/17/naturally-reared-meat-versus-junk-meat/

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

This series of posts will now primarily look at the issue of whether or not it is healthier to be a vegetarian or a meat eater, and connections between modern agriculture and its impact on the environment.

Let’s start with…

Myth: Eating fat makes you fat

Truth: Eating more calories than you use makes you fat, whether those calories come from dietary fats, carbohydrates or anything else. Eating a broad, healthy, whole foods diet high in wholesome natural dietary fats does not make you fat. Eating a lot of processed foods and sugar will significantly contribute to making you store more body fat.

I’m starting with this one because this should be pretty easy for you MND’ers to grasp, this is old news to you now. Over the last 60 years, the diet industry has promoted low-fat as the way to go to lose weight and prevent heart disease. Sadly, after 60 years of this, we have an obesity epidemic spreading across the entire Western world, heart disease rates are higher than ever, and we’ve thrown in an international diabetes epidemic as an unexpected little bonus. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure stripping the fat out of everything and replacing it with added refined sugar and processed vegetable oils wasn’t the smartest way forward.

As I have already hammered this topic to death about a hundred times, I won’t go over it in too much detail again now, let’s just highlight the three key points:

  • A certain amount of body fat is good. Excess body fat can become unhealthy. Lots of your body is made up of fat – your brain is largely fat and water. Your nervous system is made up of lots of fat (and cholesterol). Many hormones are made up from lipids (fats) in your body, helping to regulate mood, sleep, sexual function and more. Fat keeps you warm and fat is a great place to store certain vitamins, minerals and hormones, that all help to keep you healthy. So don’t just hate fat!
  • Mother Nature designed dietary fat as a dense source of calories – calories are energy you can use, so eating dietary fat is a great way to consume lots of usable calories for energy (more on high fat diets below). Dietary fats include lots of lipids that help nourish and support these important functions in your body – hormone production, mood regulation, brain and nervous system function, heart function, joint function and more. Natural dietary fat is not bad. Natural fats – from olive oil to organ meats, from avocado to oily fish – can be part of a healthy human diet for everyone. Over-eating fat, like over-eating anything, can become a problem.
  • Animal fats are an [in my opinion] essential element of a well-balanced healthy human diet. We rose to prominence on this planet, between 7 million years ago and the beginning of the agricultural period around 10,000 years ago, by hunting and eating other animals. Saturated fat has always been a major component of the human diet. Over the last 60 years, as food companies pulled all the fat out of processed food, they realised that it left that food bland and tasteless, so they added processed refined sugar, refined vegetable oils and processed salt to create flavour – the end results of half-a-century of this are not good!

 

Are you dancing and singing your way through your life?

It’s midday’ish on a random damp November Tuesday.

I’m leaping around my office at my stand-up desk, I’ve got music blasting, I’m dancing, playing air guitar, and air drums, I’m singing (very badly, throat still whacked from delivering a high-energy 2-day workshop all weekend!) and I have oodles of energy.

I’m 45 years old, I run 2 companies and have 3 young kids. My life is busy and demanding.

This is how I am when I’m at work.
I’m driven, I’m motivated, I know what I want out of life.

If you don’t feel this way, do you ever wonder why?
If you don’t feel like leaping and singing and dancing every day, why not, what are you doing with your life that’s draining your energy, sapping your life force?

Do you ever think about that?

If it bothers you, I suggest you attend a MotherNaturesDiet seminar and let’s work on this together.

Just an idea…
Details and tickets – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/central-london-full-day-seminar-with-mothernaturesdiet-enjoy-the-best-of-your-health-best-of-your-tickets-18292556529

Be someone

Someone lost half a stone.
Someone else lost 8 pounds.
Someone else lost a stone.
Someone feels the best they have in years.
Someone else is bursting with energy.
Someone quit smoking.
Someone else quit drinking.
Someone quit sugar.
Someone feels great!
Someone ran a PB.
Someone else quit feeling so tired.
Someone feels like a new woman.
Someone else feels like a new man.
Someone had a good healthy poo!
Someone else has seen marked reduction in symptoms.
Someone keeps smiling at everyone else.
Someone feels new hope.
Someone started a new job.
Someone else started a new relationship.
Someone looks younger.
Someone else had softer skin.
Someone feels younger.
Someone else looks slim.
Someone is happy.
Someone else is no longer depressed.
Someone gave someone hope.
Someone gave someone else some praise.
Someone felt encouraged.
Someone felt motivated.
Someone felt inspired.
Someone else felt a new strength.

I run a very active Facebook Group for people who follow MotherNaturesDiet. As a Private Closed Group, the members have a secure place to share their personal lives, and they regularly post results as they pursue a better life living the MND way.

YOUR posts make me smile. Thank you.
It’s the little things.
It’s progress.
It’s personal growth.
It’s why I do what I do, it’s why I am here.

MotherNaturesDiet
– Live better
– Live longer
– Live stronger

‪#‎itworks
‪#‎sofar2015rocks
‪#‎keepgoing
‪#‎bestyeareverbestyouever

Yours,
Karlos
1luvx

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

I don’t want to ‘hack’ life, I want to live life.

I don’t want to ‘hack’ life. I want to live life. IMG_5429 

I don’t want fast food, I want the nourishment of slow food.

I don’t want to take the short cut to the prize, I want to enjoy the long journey.

I don’t want to make ‘a quick buck’, I’m working daily on making a slow million.

I don’t want ‘cheap thrills’, I want to invest my time and energy in building a lifetime of meaningful experiences, lasting love, fun and excitement.

I don’t want to ‘drive the fast car’, I want to enjoy the ‘slow road’.

I don’t want to ‘know it all’, ‘see it all’ or ‘have it all’, not ever, I want to enjoy a life of learning, unfolding the mysteries, discovering beauty and wonder every day, everywhere I go, til the end of my days. 

I don’t want ‘what comes easy’, I want to relish in the pride and self-respect that comes with what I have worked hard for.
I
 don’t want to take the ‘fast track’ to anywhere, I want to take my time, savour the growth, relish the learning, live in the moment. 

I don’t want to rush through the week, I want to enjoy what I get from the week, in growth, love and learning. 

I don’t want to spend all week trying to find some time to rest, I want to have the energy and zest for life that means I rarely feel the desire to rest nor the need to rest.

I see everyone out there looking for ‘life hacks’, and I have grown to dislike that expression – it sums up this 21st Century belief that life is there to be cheated, beaten, or somehow dominated. It isn’t. In my opinion, life is here to be enjoyed, the planet should be respected, Nature should be loved. We are here to take nothing but joy, memories and learning from the world around, and to give kindness, growth and energy to this gift we have called life.

I don’t want to ‘hack life’ for a minute, I want to slow it down and savour every second, not speed it up to get through as fast as I can.

Someone might say that hacking is about making the most of your time, shortcutting the bits you don’t like, maximising your time for the good stuff.

I get that…but I also think that life would just be better if there weren’t bits in it that we didn’t like in the first place. Instead of spending my time looking for hacks, I spend my time trying to make life so good that I don’t want to hack anything. All I want to do is slow the clock and relish every last second for all that it brings.

But that’s just me, I guess.

1luvx

 

Symbiotic relationships and the wonder of Nature

In so many ways, I find wonder in all that Mother Nature does. Things that often appear simple, are often in fact wondrously complex.

As a home-based worker in a small office with big windows looking out the back, I have quietly studied this garden of mine every day for the last 12 years, and for 12 years I have watched the squirrels take the hazelnuts from our hazel tree and bury them all over the garden. I regularly remove them from the lawn, the strawberry patch and the flower beds, and I feel pretty sure that if I hadn’t been doing that for 12 years, by now Read more