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Posts tagged ‘Diet’

Diet…or lifestyle? It’s a commitment thing…

Mother Nature’s Diet is not ‘a diet’ – not in that fad diet sense of the word. Mother Nature’s Diet is a healthy lifestyle.

There’s a big difference.

In short…

A temporary diet, comprised of temporary changes to what you eat and how you move, will generate temporary results.
Quit the diet, lose the results.

Live a healthy lifestyle, all the time, and get improvements in your health, that last all time.

See how this works?

Wrong way of thinking

Lots of folks say to me, something like…

“What am I supposed to do? What should I eat? This Mother Nature’s Diet thing, where’s the diet bit, the menus, the meal plans, the recipes? Tell me what to eat every day? How long will it take me to lose two stone?”

This is the wrong way of thinking. Folks need to stop focusing on what they eat in order to lose unwanted body fat. Better to spend time thinking about what not to eat. Better to think more about exercise, water, sleep, stress reduction…placing all our attention on what we eat is not the optimal way to focus on fat loss.

Generally speaking, you can’t eat your way thinner. Better to think you need to un-eat your way thinner.

Lifestyle

All the people I know who ‘go on diets’ and all the people I meet who are forever searching for ‘the diet that will work’, they are the people who are still not happy with their body weight and shape.

Ever searching. Never finding peace.

The people I know who are happy with their lean, strong bodies; the people I know who have lost weight permanently and they are at peace around their food, these people don’t ‘follow diets’ but they live a healthy lifestyle.

Today, next week, next month, next year.
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
Sure, it changes, it evolves, as these people learn new nuances and distinctions (because these kind of people like to keep learning, always) but they never stop ‘healthy living’ because they are committed to looking after themselves.

Commitment

And that’s the name of the game.

All-too-often, the people flitting from one fad diet to the next, are doing it out of some kind of sense of duty (they feel grudgingly obliged to try to make some effort to lose some weight) or they are doing it in pursuit of some short-term, temporary goal, possibly something vain or superficial like a desire to drop a dress size for the office Xmas party, full-well knowing that the weight will go straight back on over the following holiday season. Or they just want to tone up for the beach while on summer holiday, but then they couldn’t care less after August.

I’m not judging or belittling such people, merely trying to highlight the fault of this mindset.

If you treat your health, and your body weight and shape, as something to be manipulated a few times per year to fit around your party schedule or your summer holiday, then it’s no wonder you are not getting the lasting results you say you want. How would your marriage or career be working out if you took that approach in that area of your life?

The folks who maintain their desired body weight and shape all year round are the folks who skip the fad diets and commit long term to a healthy lifestyle.

That’s commitment.
Commitment to healthy living.
Commitment to eating well all year round.
Commitment to moving your body every day.
Commitment to yourself.

Commitment to achieving the right results…the approach that lasts, in your business, your marriage, your parenting, your health and fitness.

So how about you?

Are you committed to healthy living?

If you are honest enough to admit that you are not committed…I applaud you!
If that’s you, and you want to change, try reading this short free ‘7 Classic Mistakes…’ ebook, it highlights this ‘fad diet thinking’ problem and some other mistakes many dieters make.

If you are committed to healthy living, then you will love the Mother Nature’s Diet book, it’s full of wisdom and truth and it very much speaks your language. Get yourself a copy today and get reading.

And if you are real healthy living geek like me, and you want to connect with a like-minded tribe and expand your knowledge to the nth degree, come check out MND Life! and join our friendly club, complete with as much nutrition-nerd, health-geekery as you can handle.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go on then.

To hell with fad diets and temporary results…

I was frustrated…

For years, because…

Weight loss, nutrition, healthy living…it had all become so confusing. All the experts and their opinions, they all seemed to contradict each other!

It all left me feeling exhausted. It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do with so much conflict and complexity.

Mother Nature’s Diet is here to save you!

  • Are you fed up with fad diets?
  • Had enough of the gimmicks, the promises, the b/s?
  • Are you fed up with being lied to and hard-sold 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. How can you make sense of it all?!

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

In my popular book, I help you make sense of the confusion. This book is the end result of 28 years spent figuring it all out, and now it’s here for you in common-sense plain English.

Check it out here!

This book is the breath of fresh air we all need to take control of our health, lose weight and feel great.
…not to mention tackling the major public health challenges we face in the Western world today – obesity epidemic, type-2 diabetes out of control, NHS struggling to fight off bankruptcy and privatisation.

The solutions are all in this book! 

Click on the link and download your copy today, you can get started immediately!

So, go on then, treat yourself to the best version of you in 2020!

To your good health!

Karl

Is it time you learned to make a proper decision?

Fourteen years ago today, I made a decision.

On 4th February, 2006, at around midday I guess, I was sitting in a personal development seminar in London, listening to the presenter talking about the power of making a real decision.

At that time, I was 35 years of age, I was very overweight, around 226 pounds (103 kilos, BMI of about 30), smoking, drinking daily, not exercising very much, had terrible bad skin problems, nasal congestion problems, and hated myself for how I looked and felt.

I had ‘tried’ for years to quit smoking, but always failed. Justifications about the waste of money, the idea that I might die of cancer some decades later, just didn’t seem to have enough mental leverage on me.

In 20 years of smoking, for 17 years of that time I had tried to quit. I had quit hundreds of times, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days, weeks or months, but I always went back to it. I just liked it too much. I wanted to smoke. In a mind that frequently defaulted to self-loathing, smoking was an escape, a guilty pleasure that relaxed me.

The presenter explained that the word decision shares the same Latin root as the word incision. Decision literally means “to cut off” in the context of “to cut off from any other option or possibility.” He explained that a real decision is a powerful commitment to a set course of action. He lamented that folks have ‘weak decision making muscles’ these days, making decisions about what to have for dinner, but not about how to live more fulfilling lives.

I listened, and it really hit home with me.

In one of those wonderful moments of clarity (call it a light bulb moment, an epiphany, whatever you like) I realised “I want to be a healthy person!”

In that moment, my mind held a clear vision of myself as one of those people you meet who just looks and acts healthy, bouncy, energetic, oozing wellness and energy and enthusiasm for life. Tanned and smiling, bright eyed and bouncy. I wanted to be that person.

I stood up and left the room, walked to the nearest bin, took out my packet of cigarettes, crushed them up and threw them in.

Not a glimmer of emotion.

I just smiled, felt good about my decision, and have never wanted one since. No effort. No struggle. No cravings. No will power. No patches or gum. I just decided I wanted to be a healthy person, and healthy people don’t smoke. Smoking no longer fit with my identity, I had changed, I had made a decision about the man I wanted to be.

14 years today.

That’s the power of making a firm decision.

Maybe you already know my story, and I’ll keep it very brief here, but that day started a decade plus quest for good health. In the months and years following that day…

  • I transformed my health completely
  • Lost 101 pounds of unwanted bodyfat
  • Quit smoking (14 years today)
  • Quit drinking (8 years, 1 month and counting)
  • Cured my health conditions
  • Came off 17 years of prescription medications
  • Learned everything I could about health, nutrition, weight loss, exercise, disease prevention, longevity and more
  • Attended seminars and conferences and training events
  • Read over 847 books and research papers and reports about every aspect of health and nutrition and physical training
  • Started running
  • Completed 14 marathons and two ultramarathons
  • Cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End
  • Trained as a Personal Trainer
  • Created Mother Nature’s Diet as my personal blog
  • Formulated the 12 Core Principles
  • Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) became my business
  • Quit my job and closed my previous company to run MND

It all started that day, 14 years ago today, in that hour, that minute, that empowered me to throw those cigarettes away. In those ten or twenty seconds that I made that decision, as that vision unfolded in my mind, as I changed my identity of who I wanted to be, I started a journey that ultimately shaped my life for the last 14 years.

That’s the long term power of making a firm decision.

Life-changing in so many ways.

My health, my self-confidence, my life, hobbies, career, most of the people I now spend my time with, my circle of friends, countries I have been to, and if I now live 20 years longer, then everything I do in those 20 years, it will all be down to that one decision I made in that one minute, at about midday on the 4th February 2006.

So, the point of this post is this…

Do you have weak decision making muscles?

Have you been making weak wishes, lame daydreams, vague ideas, and calling them decisions?

Is it time to muscle up, to level up your decision making skillset, and make a clear firm decision or two about where you are going in your life, about what you want, who you want to be, and what you are now determined to do to get there?

It only takes one seemingly small decision to change the entire course of your life.

Time to flex those decision making muscles, you have so many exciting tomorrows to look forward to.

More power to ya.

Is it all your own fault or not?

It’s frustrating, but often I find myself writing about the great hotly-debated topics of the health and weight loss industry…

  • ‘Calories matter’ versus ‘calories don’t matter’!
  • ‘We should all go low-carb’ versus ‘carbs are not the whole story’!
  • ‘Exercise is crucial as a weight loss tool’ versus ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’!

Oh how these arguments go round and round and get turned inside out and upside down daily; every opinion being ‘proved’ every way by some credentialed expert quoting a study here and a study there! It’s no wonder the general public are fed up with it all and utterly confused!

And so often, arguments come down to playing ‘the blame game’ – that is, who is to blame for rising obesity? In crude terms – is it all your own damned fault, or not, that you’re fat?

Two sides to blame

I recall the clever and well-respected Dr Mark Hyman tweeted about his new book release.
But what more stirred my thoughts on this topic was equally clever and well-respected author Nina Teicholz’s retweet, and the comments it generated.

We see one side of this story, the likes of Dr Hyman, Nina Teicholz (both of whom I like, follow and respect) and many others saying that in broad terms, governments have given the public poor dietary advice over the last 40 years. They have been telling us to place carbs at the bottom/base of our food pyramid, to get 30% to 50% of our calories from grains and starches, and they have largely ignored mounting evidence, until very recently, about the dangers of added sugars. These guys argue that food companies and the sugar industry have lobbied governments and paid off scientists to distort and hide the truth…dietary fat has been painted as the bad guy, and after 40 years, we have obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics as a result.

They conclude “It’s not the fault of Americans that they are fat and sick!”

But interestingly, plenty of people see the other side of the argument – that in fact people still have free will to decide what they put in their mouths. People still have free choice whether they watch TV, or go to the gym. During these years that the obesity epidemic has grown, people have had free choice whether they buy fresh meat and vegetables in the supermarket and cook a meal, or whether they order a pizza or Chinese take away.

So, who is right? Have governments failed their people? Have food companies piled it high, sold it cheap, and spent a fortune on advertising? Have we lived through times where far more money has been spent on designing hyper-palatable foods, and on advertising those foods, than has been spent on research into effective weight loss protocols and helping educate the public about healthy living?

Or, have people failed themselves, failing to exercise personal responsibility for their health outcomes? Have people failed to buy the foods they know are healthier? Have people failed to exercise regularly? Have people passed off the blame for their own apathy?

I see this battle rage daily in the media, on the health blogs and groups I follow and I see everyone looking for the answer. Personally, I think the problem is that everyone is trying to prove they have the answer. I don’t think we are going to come up with the answer. I think both sides of the argument have an answer. Perhaps both are right. But perhaps neither are right all the time, for all the people.

Despite the facts that all these scientists and authors, doctors and experts should not need to be reminded, the truth is that as they publish their books and blogs, they constantly seem to forget that one size does not fit all.

Over the years as I have learned about health, fitness and nutrition, this has pretty much become my number one guiding principle. There just is not one answer for all people. It’s not possible, there is no one single solution for any problem in health, weight loss and nutrition.

Seriously.

  • We all know someone who smoked for 20, or 30, or 40 years yet didn’t develop lung cancer.
  • We all know someone who is overweight, stressed, doesn’t exercise, and drinks too much, yet they haven’t had a heart attack.
  • We all know someone who eats loads of sweet foods yet they are not overweight and don’t have type-2 diabetes.
  • We all know someone who does no exercise yet they remain slim and lean. (Yeah I know, we all hate that person!!)

The point is, even the things we think are “a certain sure thing” are still proven wrong time and again by people who don’t fit the norm. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in any aspect of health, weight loss and nutrition.

Reality time

I believe, that the observed and worrying reality in obesity trends is caused by many factors. I can certainly tell you that for myself, for my own 101-pound weight loss (46 kilos of unwanted fat, 7 stone 3 in old-English language) I just needed to eat less, and move more. I ate and drank too much, and I ate and drank the wrong things, and I did too little exercise. I can tell you that I have been driving around the country delivering my health seminar for the last six years and people come up to me all the time during those talks and say “You are the kick-up-the-butt that I need! I eat too much and don’t workout, it’s all my own silly fault! Thanks for being honest with me!”

This is no judgmental fat-shaming, this is just what people say to me of their own free will.

But that is only some people. Not all people.

On the flip side, other people eat pretty well and make efforts to be active, yet they can’t seem to win the weight loss battle.

For many people, government guidelines that were created over 40 years ago, have failed to change with the times. The reality is that today, car ownership is up and people are far less active than they used to be when dietary guidelines were established. I think that for many people, they are consuming far too much starchy carbohydrate and just not leading active enough lives to burn up all those calories.

Food manufacturers have done nothing to help, they have positively made things worse. Far too many processed foods are now promoted in big-size servings, they have too much added sugar, convenience packaging and high-spend advertising promotes over-consumption.

There are many factors behind the obesity epidemic in the US, the UK and across Europe and elsewhere. We could talk about psychological and societal factors, economics, obesogenic environments, hyper-palatable foods, carbohydrate tolerance and sensitivity, and many more factors besides (all covered in my books if you want to learn more) but one reality stands over them all – one size does not fit all.

All factors are ‘the’ cause for one person, but no single factor is ‘the’ cause for everyone.

So the point of this post is to say to you – if you are overweight, and struggling to win the battle, which factor is ‘the’ answer for you?

And if you need some help figuring that out, let me know.

To your good health!

Karl

Just do it… (yes? no? annoying?)

Just do it.

– So cliché it’s annoying?
– Over-used?
– Just makes us think of a certain brand of footwear and clothing?

Here’s the thing.

I follow a lot of health experts, food bloggers, doctors, fitness professionals, I am a member of many groups, I attend a lot of seminars, lectures and conferences, and I see and hear a lot, I mean a LOT, of talk.

I don’t see or hear anywhere near as much action.

  • All these folks debating low-carb versus high-carb.
  • The LCHF (low-carb high-fat) folks locked in mortal combat with the Registered Dietitians still promoting high-carb diets as promoted by our government.
  • Folks raving about the wonders of ketogenic diets.
  • Other folks saying ketogenic diets don’t work.
  • Folks talking about the benefits of juicing.
  • Other folks saying juicing is a silly fad diet.
  • I hear people espousing the benefits of weight lifting so vociferously they are starting to claim that cardio is harmful and their clients should only ever lift weights.
  • I hear other people equally enthusiastic about running and cycling, shunning weight training.

Oh and so it all goes on and on and on…arguing, posturing, postulating. (The cynic in me could argue that these ‘experts’ all have a book to sell and an online course, seminar or program, so they all have a bias, a vested interest in promoting ‘their way’ but that’s a topic for another day…)

Here’s the thing.

Amid all the conflicting opinions and contradictory advice, many members of the public are more confused than ever.

There are days I look around the diet, health and fitness industry and just despair at the public-facing messages that are out there. Credentialed doctors putting down the beliefs and ideas of other credentialed doctors. Editors of medical journals publishing editorials telling people not to trust most of the research published in medical journals. Doctors, PhDs and nutrition experts publishing and blogging dietary advice in complete opposition to the advice that our governments and public health services promote.

Seriously, how the hell are ordinary members of the public supposed to have any confidence in any of them?

The vast majority of ordinary, hard-working men and women just want to lose 30 pounds, shape up a bit, feel like they have a bit more energy and do their best to resist the signs of ageing. They must look at all these TV shows and diet books and see all these conflicting, arguing experts, and just throw their hands up in hopelessness and despair.

“Sod all these doctors who don’t agree with each other!” and just pour another glass of wine, open a box of chocolates, and turn the channel over and watch something else.

Now, just do it

If that’s you, then I say sod them all. Ignore them all. Just do it.

Just pick one thing that sounds right to you, and run with it. If you have been eating lots of carbs (you know, cereals, bread, pasta, rice, all that) for the last ten years, and the end result now is that you are 50 pounds over weight, well then try six months without cereals, bread, pasta, rice and spaghetti, just try it – starting today – and see how you get on.

Just get on with it.

If you know you eat too much sugar, just try a 30-day sugar free challenge. No cakes, no biscuits, no chocolate, no beer, no wine, no sweets…30 days.

Come on. You’ve got this. You can do this. It’s just 30 days.

Just get on with it.

If you are overweight and out of shape and you know that one of your downfalls is that you never take any exercise, then just do it, get out there and move your backside.

Come on, 30 days, exercise every day. It might be ten minutes, it might be two hours, just do something every day.

Sod all the experts, just do what you enjoy, just make sure you do something every day.

  • Feel like running? Then run.
  • Fancy lifting some weights? Then lift some weights.
  • If you are coming from doing nothing, then doing anything is an improvement.

Just do it.

Less talk, more action

Stuff all the experts.
Stuff all the conflicting advice.
Stuff all the confusion and contradiction and industry in-fighting.

Stuff the lot of ’em.
Just go do what you gotta do.

Just start.
Today.
Now.

Just get on with it.

To your good health! Happy New Year! May 2020 be YOUR year!

Are you making progress, or making excuses?

For the last six years or so, I have been driving around the country meeting people and delivering talks about healthy living.

Most places I go, most folks I meet, in general, most people want to lose some weight.

First we have to be specific – it’s body fat we want to lose, not just ‘weight’.

I mean, rapid weight loss is easy…you could lose 25 pounds by tomorrow if you just chop one leg off, but that’s probably going to ruin your week overall, so I don’t think it’s a very smart idea.

It’s body fat that most folks want to lose.

Calories in, calories out

You’ve heard this bit before.

There are many diets, many systems, many protocols, but the overwhelming majority of them work on the basic principle that you have to eat a little less food, and generally eat “better food choices” (we’ll come to that in a sec) and you might have to move your tush a bit more.

Eat less, eat better, move more.

Really, that’s it, that’s how diets work.

Eat better food choices, that’s definitely a part of the equation. One size does not fit all, we are all different, and so some of us are going to do well on one certain diet, such as low-carb, while others may not.

Some aspects of eating ‘better’ will apply to most people –

Of course, there is a strong argument to say that these are all just examples of “eat less” – cutting these foods from your diet will almost certainly cut your calorie intake.

And so it is, the amazing secret to losing weight. You have to consume fewer calories than you use.

Really, in the vast and overwhelming majority of cases, folks became overweight in the first place because they went for a prolonged period of time (maybe a few months, maybe a few decades) consuming more calories than they were burning.

Now, to burn off that unwanted fat weight, they have to put that process into reverse for a prolonged period of time – maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe a few years.

No doubt, some folks are reading this and screaming…

It’s a bit more complicated than that!!

Sure, it is, but don’t let that stop you trying.

That’s not me being facetious or flippant, just trying to help you to see the true path forwards.

There are a thousand experts out there offering you a thousand reasons why you are overweight, and a thousand excuses why it’s not all your fault, and a thousand reasons why diets won’t work and won’t help.

In one way or another, for one person or another, they are all right.

But as I already said, one size does not fit all, and while each and every reason, or excuse, may fit for someone, it does not mean that every reason fits for everyone. It does not mean that every reason fits for you.

  • Sure, that man was beaten daily by his father as a child and he eats as an act of rebellion.
  • Sadly, that lady was abused when she was young, and she eats as an escape.
  • True, that other man was raised in poverty and his parents instilled unhealthy food habits in him which now lead to habitual over-eating.
  • Indeed, that lady has a thyroid problem, or a glandular condition, or a hormone imbalance, and it makes weight loss very difficult.
  • Certainly, that guy has a genetic predisposition to obesity, and certain food types (such as carbs) exacerbate his weight gain.
  • Sure, that girl has a metabolic imbalance caused by years of eating certain foods when she was growing up.
  • And yes, that man takes prescription steroids for his skin condition, and they promote weight gain.
  • And on and on.

Yes, these are all true for someone, but none of them are true for everyone.

So, in the short time and small space I have available in this blog post, let’s not debate every possible reason in exhaustive detail, but let’s understand and agree that those conditions broadly only affect a very small percentage of the population. Not even 1% have a glandular condition, the true number is tiny.

For the overwhelming majority of folks, losing weight means you gotta eat fewer calories, you gotta eat better, by opting for fresh whole foods, not processed hyper-palatable foods, and you gotta move a little more, by keeping busy, and playing some sport or enjoying some exercise.

For the few who are struggling against those problems, let’s offer them our understanding, our kind support, and a helping hand.

For everyone else, for the 90%, stop looking for justifications, stop looking for excuses.

Just get on with it.

Go on then, get cracking.

 

It’s going to take longer than you think…

Weight loss.

Or more specifically, fat loss.

I hate to keep beating the same drum, but the truth is, this is a topic that is a top priority for so many people.

Personally, I lost 101 pounds of fat, that’s 46 kilos to my European friends, or 7 stone 3 in old English language.

I know a few things about fat loss.

I wrestled with my weight my entire life, from age 14 onward, and yo-yo diets (year up, year down, repeat) were part of my life right through my 20s and most of my 30s.

In this post, I am going to share with you a few simple truths that I wish someone had told me back at the start of my own personal weight loss journey.

  1. It’s going to take longer than you think. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. At first, you will make rapid progress…but please know that the first ten pounds come off way quicker and easier than the last ten pounds. Those last ten pounds take freakin’ for-ever and they’ll drive you nuts.
  2. There is no absolute 100% right or wrong one way, there is no perfect one diet, there is just the way that works for you. Some folks will count calories, some folks will cut carbs, some folks will take up yoga, or running, or lift weights. They are all variants of ‘eat less, eat better, move more’ and the right one, is the one that you stick to, the one that works for you. If you need a hand getting started, I believe that the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are a great place to start and will get positive results for pretty much everyone.
  3. It took years to put that excess weight on, years of making small mistakes every day, that extra beer, that missed workout, that sugary dessert. Accept that it’s also going to take a fair bit of time to put all that in to reverse and turn it all around. I’m saying ‘get real, if you have been obese for 20 years, it’s going to take more than 90 days to get that 6-pack’ – know that now, so you have realistic expectations down the line. As a PT and health-coach-for-hire, I have seen this so many times. Folks hire help, and they have utterly unrealistic expectations, like turning around 35 years of obesity to “beach body fabulous” in just six months. It’s like setting yourself up for failure and disappointment from the get-go.
  4. If you do things to try to make it happen faster, like starvation diets, crash weight loss, exercise six hours daily like a maniac…that is unsustainable behaviour, and it will likely create unsustainable results. Starving crashes weight off, but not in a sustained and healthy way. You’ll probably feel like crap, look like crap and pick up every cough, cold and bug going. When they’ve had enough of that crap, most folks end up putting the weight back on. Exercising like a maniac sure burns a few calories, but you’ll end up exhausted and picking up frustrating injuries, which stop you from training, and stalls your progress.
  5. You can’t outrun a bad diet. That phrase is popular these days, to the point of becoming a cliche, but it’s pretty much true. If you are aged 18, or 24, you can probably out-train a poor diet. If you are 40 or 45, or in your 50’s, no way, you can’t do it. Truth is, you have to get your diet right, that’s 80% of the game, then build an active lifestyle and exercise at least five or six days per week, that’s 20% of the game.
  6. You’ve got to take the long view. Just get it in to your head that you need to commit to a healthy lifestyle, for good, for life, for ever, and that’s all there is to it. Fad diets are all about temporary behaviour changes that deliver temporary results. Some folks become exercise addicts…but if they still eat a bad diet, as they age, eventually that plan runs dry. The only way to ditch the unwanted fat weight and get and stay healthy for life, is to live a permanent healthy lifestyle. Trust me. I know. I did it.
  7. If you want to know how to do the same, it’s all here, just waiting for you to commit and get started.

So, go on then, get cracking.

To your good health!

Karl

The role of dairy foods in your healthy lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch the full webinar here.

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

Chill out…have an ice cream…then get back to your vegetables

It’s summer, hoorah! The sun is shining and I hope you are enjoying the holidays.

Mother Nature’s Diet incorporates Core Principle 12 – the 90/10 Rule.

In rough terms, this means ‘get it right 90% of the time, and chill out over the last 10 percent’.

This doesn’t mean ‘take a cheat day’ or ‘eat well Monday round to Friday lunchtime, then blow it all over the weekend. It means 90% of the calories you consume should work within Core Principles 1-to-11, and then you can relax over the last tenth.

I’ve been away on holiday with my family last week. One particular day, we went for a seven mile walk along cliff tops in the sunshine, we had fresh air, exercise and sunshine, and we picked and ate fresh blackberries along the way. Getting teenage kids to put their iPads down and go for a walk is always a challenge, so several hours out in nature counts as a major win in my book!

It’s been a hot sunny day, and when we finished our walk, the kids wanted an ice cream. There is a quality boutique ice cream parlour just about a mile from where we finished our walk, and it was on our way back, so we stopped by on the way.

I had an ice cream too. It’s summer, it’s a lovely day, I enjoyed my little ‘off-plan treat’ without a hint of guilt.

It got me to thinking, when I eat an ice cream or a soft warm bread roll, or some chocolate, people freak out. I get “Oh but you’re Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet – finally available in paperback!

Fad diets are a waste of your time.

But healthy living doesn’t have to be like that…

You can lose weight and feel great without the starving, the suffering and the expensive supplements.

Mother Nature’s Diet, now (finally, hoorah!) published in paperback and available on Amazon, will show you the way.

A better way.

Well researched and complete with a 28-Day Meal Plan, and detailed home workout plans, the book includes all you need to push into a new, enjoyable healthy lifestyle.

No more fad diets.

Simple, achievable, common-sense based healthy living.

You’ll love this book because it’s packed with real-world experience, practical tips, and straight forward advice to help you get results.

Grab your copy now, here:

Here in paperback – UK.
Here for Kindle – UK.
Here in paperback – USA.
Here for Kindle – USA.

“It’s the missing link between academic books and commercial ones.” – Mr G, London

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

“Fantastic guide to living a healthy life. If you are looking to make lifelong sustained change and become the best version of you then look no further.” – 5* Amazon Review

To your very good health!

Karl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tommy writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

People know that stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to think about there.

Greatest dangers

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

The take away points to note:

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

Until next week, keeping it real out there!

To your good health!

Karl

Don’t over-think this, permanent weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think it is, here’s a couple of top tips…

Two weeks in to January.

Just hitting week three.

According to surveys, this is the week “most” people give up on all the ‘new year, new me’ stuff, the diet, the weight loss efforts, the gym, all that.

So, if you are still fired up, motivated, enjoying it and pushing forward – kudos to you, well done, you are doing better than most.

But if you are struggling, here are two thoughts from someone who did it, pushed through, stuck it out and lost the weight, 101 pounds of it, and kept it off, now some 12 years later.

Perfection is bull****

Don’t strive for perfect.

Don’t be that person who ate one bad thing, made one small mistake, and then decided that everything had gone to rat sh*t as a result.

I’ve seen that so many times.

January 16th: “OMG, someone offered me a biscuit at work, by the coffee machine, I ate it, oh well that’s the diet screwed then, sod it, might as well cancel the gym membership and order pizza tonight and open a 6-pack of beers!”

That’s dumb.

Don’t be hard on yourself, it was just one small slip up, boo hoo, get over it and move on.

I can assure you, success comes from getting it right 90% of the time, not from being too hard on yourself all the time chasing 100% perfection.

So the only thing you should give up in the 3rd week of January, is this ‘set-yourself-up-to-fail’ idea of chasing ‘perfect’.

Let that go, and you’ll give yourself permission to be humanly imperfect, which is just what you need to be to navigate the crazy times we live in and keep making forward progress.

Consistency

Once you have let go of the trap of perfect, you’ll be far better equipped to survive the ups and downs of life, which is what you need to achieve success with Tip #2 – stick with it, foe the long haul, be consistent.

The number one pitfall for most people, is ‘fad diet mentality’.

A fad diet is just that – a fad. A temporary change in behaviour that will likely deliver you a temporary change in your results.

You eat less for a few weeks or months, and you weigh less for a few weeks or months.
When you return to eating how you always have, guess what? Yep, the weight returns too.

It’s the ultimate frustrating hamster wheel of modern life.

Instead, you need to adopt a permanent healthy lifestyle, to achieve, keep and enjoy, permanent weight loss results.

If your new January regime has involved cutting back on sugary foods, eating smaller meals, exercising more often or drinking less booze, that’s great, well done you. Now understand that sticking to it, making these changes at a level you can enjoy your life and stick to the changes long term, permanently, will give you long-term, permanent results.

If you want these changes to last, if you want 2019 to be the year you finally break the yo-yo diet cycle, then employ these two tips to work to your advantage:

  • Give up on perfection, just ‘be good’ and aim to make progress on your former self. Don’t berate yourself for small mistakes, just keep on moving forward
  • Stick to it. Don’t be an all-or-nothing maniac, don’t be a quitter, just be consistent. Put good new habits in place, at a level you can live with and enjoy, and stick to it through January, February and onward from there

Achieving weight loss isn’t as hard as many people think, permanent results are achievable, you just have to know what to do and apply yourself to it. If you want more help and simple tips and guidance, plus a full 28-day meal plan and home exercise routines for all levels and abilities, check out my brilliant little book on Amazon Kindle and it just might help keep you on track.

To your 2019, your year!

In good health!

Part 7 – New tests & treatments

Continuing in our 10-part mini-series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, today our friend Dawn, from New Dawn Health, will explain what tests and treatments are now starting to become available and even commonplace as we understand more about the microbiome.

Dawn writes:

The microbiome is like a barometer – it reflects if all will be calm or if a storm is brewing. Today’s post looks at some of the tests and treatments currently available.

The most common way to assess your microbiome is via a comprehensive digestive stool test. It can be done privately, and your GP can order one for you (with good clinical justification). This will give you a thorough overview of the health of your gastrointestinal tract. It evaluates how well you digest and absorb your food; it identifies some of the yeasts, bacteria and parasites and what short chain fatty acids they are producing. It also reports on levels of gut inflammation, pH, food fibres and if there is blood in the stool. I use this private test regularly in my Nutritional Therapy work. Clients find it very helpful to see for themselves the microbes they have and how well their gut is functioning. They are also very reassured to see how those markers of gut health improve with nutritional interventions.

The very latest private stool testing identifies microbial RNA (ribonucleic acids) produced from anything and everything living in the gut. It uses new technology called metatranscriptome sequencing. Compared to older technology, this can identify all the bacteria (not just some) plus the yeasts, bacteriophages, parasites, fungi, and viruses, (and names them for you), which older stool testing doesn’t. In addition, the test identifies all the metabolites being produced and the ones missing. The app-based report gives dietary recommendations and foods for improving your unique gut health based on the results. I am about to do this test on myself, so I will keep you posted!

shutterstock_163451942

As you now know, the vast majority of microbes should be in your large intestine, or colon. However, in some people with upper abdominal bloating, feelings of fullness, pain and fluctuating stool (all very common symptoms) there is a test to see if large amounts of colonic microbes have moved upwards into the small intestine. The test is called a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) test and you can do it yourself at home. It’s a breath test to capture the gases (hydrogen and methane) given off by the bacteria after a test drink. This is not a test commonly done on the NHS.

Have you heard of faecal transplants?  Hospitals are now transplanting filtered faecal microbes from healthy individuals into those with diabetes, obesity, Crohns and ulcerative colitis (UC) to rapidly improve their microbiomes. The results to date are very promising and this is likely to be a fast-expanding field of gastroenterology. I know, you think it sounds rather yukky, but anyone with debilitating Crohns or UC will tell you, if it offers relief from a lifetime of pain, steroids and drug side effects, it’s more than worth it.

I appreciate the sometimes awkward, personal side of bowel and digestive issues, and I know it can be difficult to talk to people about such problems. If you have any concerns, you can talk to me, I am a trained and qualified Nutritional Therapist, as well as being a practising osteopath for 24 years.  We can talk in total confidence, and trust me, I have heard it all before and I just might be able to offer an understanding ear and some helpful advice. If you are at all interested and want testing, please contact me and I’ll arrange to have tests sent out to you at home, and I’ll explain to you how testing is quick and easy.

Look out for Part 8 tomorrow, when I’ll explain the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, and how and why you need both in your diet. See you then.

Original Post on NewDawnHealth.me here.

– Thanks Dawn!  🙂

 

Why wait til New Year? Let’s start now…

Give your loved ones (or yourself? yes?) the gift of abundant good health in 2019, what better gift to give!

I have dropped the price of my book on Kindle for you, a huge price reduction for Christmas, it’s 66% reduced now, for the next few days you can pick up a bargain!

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

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

This easy-reading, plain-talking and insightful eBook includes a complete 28-Day Plan, including all you need:

  • Print off the healthy Meal Plans for weight loss each week
  • Print off and follow the home Exercise Plans (set for Beginner’s, Intermediate, or Advanced, so you can find the right challenge for your abilities, or work through them all as you get fitter and stronger)
  • Meal plans, home workouts, shopping list, basic recipes – it’s all in the 28-Day Plan

You’ll find the book offers you real-life experience combined with well-researched facts:

  • Packed with tips for a healthy lifestyle
  • All workouts can be done at home, no special equipment required
  • Less ‘cut the carbs’ and more ‘learn to eat healthy carbs’ instead
  • Ideal for those seeking a healthy wholefoods diet
  • A great healthy approach to low-carb diets
  • Common-sense based healthy diet

MND_cover_A42Mother 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.

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!”

Mother Nature’s Diet – the place where preventive medicine meets personal responsibility.

Simple, enjoyable, beneficial changes in your life.
Lose weight, feel great and have more energy.

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

“Mother Nature’s Diet makes sense of all the science, cuts through the confusion, and tells you what to do in plain English. It’s a breath of fresh air!” – Mr H, South West

“A very welcome and much-needed return to some common-sense in the world of diet and nutrition.” – Mr W, South East

Mother Nature’s Diet.
Your healthy lifestyle guide, packed with handy tips including exercise plans and wholefoods meal plans for weight loss.

Get the book now, while there is time to read it over the holidays, ready to hit Jan 1st all fired up and ready-for-action!

Yes?
Good idea?

Amazon UK here.
Amazon US here.

Merry Christmas to you!

Quick, run for that mince pie!!

Christmas is almost here! Yippee!!

It’s Christmas Day tomorrow, we are right in the middle of prime-time “calories central” as we round out the ‘office party season’ and start the ‘family feasting’!!

I’m not stupid, I know that late December is pretty much 100% the worst time of the year to promote healthy living, abstinence from alcohol, and ‘stop eating sugar’ advice!!!

I know! OK! I get it!

(It’s OK, I’m sure you’ll love me again come January 2nd…)

In the interests of trying to remain popular, I’m not going to say a word about alcohol (you are probably sipping a drink while reading this now, so relax and enjoy yourself.)

Let’s just talk about sugar.

As you stock up the kitchen cupboards with boxes of mince pies, big tubs of Cadbury’s Roses, Celebrations, Heroes and Quality Street, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and all the other sugary delights that are so popular in this country, just spare a thought for how much exercise you might have to do to burn that stuff off.

(If you have heard the expression ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ and ever doubted it, you might find this quite interesting.)

  • A standard deep-filled Sainsbury’s mince pie contains 262 calories (according to Sainsbury’s website as of this morning) and an awful lot of sugar
  • Few people understand how many calories we burn when we exercise
  • Roughly speaking, a 10.5-stone woman of 40’ish, jogging for 30 minutes, will burn approximately 267 calories (we are all different, this is an average figure, so if that is 10.5-stone of lean muscular athlete, the data will be a little different.)

Yes, you are reading that right. You have to go out jogging for half an hour just to burn the calories in one little mince pie!

OMG!!

  • How about that after-lunch Christmas day or Boxing day sit-down on the sofa, watching a movie while cuddling that big tub of Roses or Celebrations? Obviously the size and content of all the different sweets varies, but on average you are likely looking at 40 to 50 calories per sweet, so a dozen sweets can quickly clock up 500 calories, and it’s all sugar!
  • For a 14-stone man, that’s about an hour and a half of gentle cycling, or two hours of golf, to burn through those 500 calories. Just a dozen Roses!
  • And as for the Christmas cake, a modest slice of Tesco Finest iced-top fruit Christmas cake delivers around 400 calories
  • A 12-stone woman would need to do 40 minutes in a step aerobics class to burn through that one modest slice of cake

Obviously, I hope you enjoy your Christmas, enjoy time with family and friends, and enjoy ‘a little of what you fancy’ over the holidays. But while you are indulging this week, surrounded by boxes of chocolates, mince pies and sweets, you might want to think about scheduling in plenty of time for some additional exercise…or join the masses on Jan 1st moaning they are “feeling fat” and regretting their holiday excesses!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!

To your good health!

Karl

Change your breakfast, change your life

Breakfast. I don’t know why but many people embracing healthy eating and lifestyle change seem to struggle with changing their breakfast.

Maybe because it’s the first meal of the day…perhaps that “I am going to change, I am going to lose weight and feel better, it all starts tomorrow.” always starts with breakfast.

Day 1. Meal 1. Oh s**t. Ground zero. Healthy eating starts now.

People always ask me what to have for breakfast. People have eaten – just as I did – nothing but cereals and toast for years. I did that every day for about 35 years. 

The short answer: switch to scrambled eggs

It’s quick, it’s easy, and I find most people like eggs. With some practice, personally I have got the art of knocking up a few eggs down to just three or four minutes. I encountered one lady who claims to have it down to 90 seconds. That beats me, I have no idea how she does it that quick!

I grab my unpasteurised, grass fed butter, stick a chunk in a pan, pop the heat on, and it starts melting. I grab a bag of spinach from the fridge, throw two or three good hand-fulls in the pan, pop it back and grab the eggs. Crack three or four in. Start stirring. Slice up a fresh tomato on the side of my plate, stir again, turn off heat, serve.

Scrambled eggs, with spinach and tomato. Quick and easy. Four minutes. Done. Could chop and throw in a couple of mushrooms. Optional.
Four more minutes to eat.
Two minutes to wash the pan and put the plate and cutlery in the dishwasher.
Breakfast. Nutritious, healthy, tasty, done in ten minutes.

Questions

Some folks say to me “I don’t have ten minutes for breakfast!”

Really? You might want to re-evaluate how you are living your life. I mean, get your butt out of bed ten minutes earlier. Do you want to be healthier or not? Set your priorities here, now, and stop making excuses.

Some say “I tried that and it just wasn’t filling enough, I need a bit more bulk.” (Stop. Look down, at your own belly – is that the kind of bulk we’re talking about here? ‘Cos it looks to me like you already have plenty there…yes? Maybe it’s time to reappraise that appetite of yours, and recognise that eating too much has been your issue for some years, and to turn that around we need a period of some years where you have to eat too little. Ouch, that hurts. Sorry.) 

But if you do need a more substantial breakfast, you can always grill a bunch of sausages when you have time (Sunday afternoon perhaps) and then keep them in the fridge. Each day, just chop up a couple and throw them in with your spinach and eggs. Voila, breakfast more substantial for only a few seconds extra effort.

Binding

The next objection (obstacle, reason, excuse) I get is “But I can’t eat many eggs, they bind me up.”

OK, I understand, though from my experience, I would say that if you have the rest of the Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle in place, such as 10-a-day or more fruit and veg, they you’ll have plenty of fibre in your diet, combined with good hydration and regular varied exercise, this should all ensure you have good gut function and once you get in the habit of eating eggs regularly, everything is usually OK.

If eggs bind you up, is it really the eggs? Eating enough fruit? And veggies? Plenty of water? Plenty of movement and exercise? Check all your bases.

Dead boring

This is the one that makes me laugh.

People say “Eggs, sure, I can try that, but what like, the next day? I mean, surely I’m not going to have scrambled eggs every day? Every day, OMG how boring, like the same thing every day, that’s so dull. What else can I have for breakfast?”

Why is this even an issue?! 

Seriously, years trying to help people improve their diet and lose weight, and I never met anyone eating boxed cereals for breakfast who says “Oh God, bloody flakes of wheat or corn, shaped and covered in sugar and chocolate flavour…again, oh how boring!”

No one.

Ever.

I never met anyone who said “I am so bored of this butter dripping off this toast yet again today, ummm with chocolate spread on it, yeah, so boring.”

No one.

Ever.

When people eat sweet tasting cereals and toast (yeah, those processed comfort foods that got you overweight in the first place) for breakfast they seem perfectly happy to eat the same thing for breakfast every single day for 30 or 40 years and they never complain that it’s boring.

Suggest scrambled eggs, and two days in folks be like “And…?”

Get a grip.

It’s real food.

Once you stop poisoning your palate with the ceaseless sweetness of processed foods, after a few weeks you might actually start being able to taste real, fresh foods once again. Suddenly, your life can move beyond everything needing to be sweet at breakfast, and hot and spicy in the evening. Really, life on Earth isn’t all sugar and chili powder, that’s not real fresh food that’s at fault, it’s YOU, you ‘broke’ your palate and you just THINK broccoli is boring, because all you know how to taste is sugar and chili.

Your problem.

Get over it.

Monday to Friday, when time is tight, have eggs.

At the weekend, if you have more time, you can do more. Experiment with fresh fruits, and some nuts. Learn to make nut porridge. Buy a blender or NutriBullet and make a smoothie. Try fresh fish, sardines, or smoked salmon. Or a good old full English breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato. Just buy organic, buy quality, no rubbish.

Change your breakfast, change your life.

Get that first meal, on that first day, nailed, and the rest will follow.

Enjoy.

KISS for an easy life…

KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

The KISS idea has been around for a long time, I’m sure it’s not new to you.

But sometimes the age-old ideas, the things we think we already know, get buried so far back in our cluttered minds that it’s good to drag them out again and refresh them.

When you can’t see the wood for the trees, sometimes it helps to go back to basics.

Can’t focus on 12 things at once

The 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet are fabulously simple to grasp, in my humble opinion, but I often find people who like Mother Nature’s Diet and want to live this way who find one major problem with them – there’s 12 of them! Twelve!

Holy moly, how can anyone work on 12 things at once?!?!?

OK, I get it, there’s a lot to take in.

Let me help you

Life is complicated, so let me help you make this a bit simpler.

You’re overweight, or out of shape, or unfit, or unhealthy, or ageing badly, or worried about your future. OK, so you want to see improvements, you want your ‘outcomes’ or ‘results’ to change.

Well, then, you’re going to have to make changes.

You see, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing…
You’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

What you’re getting, that’s your results. That’s obesity, or feeling unfit, or ageing poorly, or whatever it is that troubles you individually.

So to change your results, you have to change your behaviour. You gotta do something different, to change your outcomes, that’s how this works.

KISS

There are 12 Core Principles. Ignore 11 of them, and just pick one.

Work on that one. JFDI. No excuses, forget the other 11.

Pick one and do it.

Once that’s in, once that’s habit, once you’ve nailed that bad boy and life’s lookin’ rosy, then go pick another and do that.

See. Simples. Aren’t you glad I showed up?

You might start with Core Principle 1. Just cut those starchy carbs and processed grains down, and eat a load more vegetables instead.

That’s it, for the next month just do that, maybe two months, just do that til it’s nailed.

Then pick another.

Boom!

Simple. Don’t get stressed, don’t get confused, don’t get overwhelmed. Just pick one thing and get it licked.

No ‘paralysis by analysis’ here, just steady progress.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Progress, not perfection

You don’t have to tackle all 12 Core Principles in one day or one week. The goal is progress, not perfection.

Every day, I just strive to be a better me than I was yesterday. No competition with anyone else, no race to reach a certain destination in a certain time, just looking to be the best version of me, that’s all.

How about you?

To your good health!

 

The 7 secrets to permanent weight loss…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

Controlling those sugar cravings…

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

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

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

Well, maybe it’s partly biological too.

Refined sugar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now apply that to everything in your life.

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch.

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

Don’t be one of them.

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

To your good health!

Karl

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?

Whose job is it to keep you from getting sick?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so the NHS tell us Read more

Mother Nature’s Diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No starving, no calorie counting, no suffering.

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

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

MND_BOOK_MOCK-UP_hires

Personal responsibility

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

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

“Doc, can’t I just have the pills?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All you need to know

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

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

Available for immediate download now.

What people are saying…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post, in a nutshell:

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

The size of the problem

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

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

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

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

Every master was once a disaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Fat shaming, beach bodies and thigh gaps…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week, let’s keep things super simple.

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

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

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

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

Prevention is infinitely better than cure

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

The goal is to live a preventive medicine lifestyle.

Does it work?

Hell yeah!
To quote this study:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1luvx

Why giving up meat isn’t the answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dose makes the poison

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

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

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

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

Non-communicable disease

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

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

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.

 

More gym, less wine

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

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

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

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

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

Resveratrol

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

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

It’s never a matter of education…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy food does NOT have to mean bland food!

I wrestled with my own weight loss journey for more than two decades, and now I have been talking to people about weight loss and helping people to move to a healthier way of living for the last five years. One thing I have noticed that comes up again and again, is that overweight folks who are trying to shift from a diet of processed foods and sweet foods, often say they find healthier meals bland and boring.

I see folks switching out ready meals for steamed vegetables, or switching out take-away meals for ‘plain white chicken breast and boiled veg’ and then they say the ‘fall off the diet bandwagon’ because the healthy food just doesn’t satisfy them.

We need to explore what is going wrong here!

Let’s do this in bullet points for simplicity. 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 6

Continued from Myth busting – Part 5

Myth: OK, so gorillas might not be a great example, but cows are vegans, they eat only grass all day long, and look how big and strong they get! Clearly, a low-fat, meat-free, plant based diet is the way forward!

Truth: Cows eat an extremely high-fat diet! And they are not vegans!

Yeah this one will really mess with your head! Yes, cows eat an 80% fat diet, through a very similar set up as described in Myth busting – Part 5 for the gorilla. Cows and gorillas are both fermenters, so in some ways cows and gorillas have more in common, from a digestive perspective, than humans and gorillas.

Cows are ruminants, they have multiple digestive chambers inside (you’ve heard ‘cows have four stomachs’ right?) the first of which is called a rumen. When they eat grass and leafy plants, it all goes straight down into the rumen, where the process of ‘rumination’ (hence the genus name, ruminant) begins. Rumination involves bringing the food up and down between the mouth and the rumen, generally four to five times for every mouthful.

A cow’s rumen is an amazing thing. This fact blows my mind: in a single cow’s rumen, there are more bacteria then there are human being’s alive on the whole planet! Boom! Mind blown!

And on top of all that bacteria, there are billions of protozoa and digestive enzymes too, and this is still only in the first of the cow’s four major digestive chambers. Traditional tribes used to understand that the lining of a cow’s rumen is so nutritionally dense, they would kill a cow and eat the rumen lining, throwing the muscle meat to their dogs. Yes, they ate the organs and stomach lining and gave the sirloin steak and fillet steak to their dogs!

Read more

Myth busting – Part 2

Myth: Cholesterol is bad for you

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

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

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

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

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!

 

Beware of hidden sugar.

This is a common theme, but always a topic worth revisiting. I was looking at the amount of sugar in certain foods the other day, and comparing a small fruit yoghurt with a chocolate coated tea cake,  and other items that may be consumed as mid-meal snacks, late-night snacks, or as dessert after a meal.

You see, the yoghurt is a classic example of the kind of foods that have become enormously popular over the last 20 or 30 years, as the words ‘low fat’ have been used as marketing tools to get people to buy these foods thinking they are opting for foods that are healthier options and may help with weight loss. IMG_4869

Typically, a parent buying foods in UK supermarkets for their children to have as dessert may consider a chocolate coated tea cake as a ‘naughty treat’ only for special days or holidays, but they may look upon fruit-flavoured low-fat yoghurts as healthy options for ‘every day’ consumption.

However, looking at the ingredients of this Tesco low-fat orange flavoured yoghurt, we see that sugar is the 4th ingredient listed, and Glucose-Fructose Syrup is the 5th ingredient listed. On food labels, ingredients are listed in size order. Glucose-Fructose Syrup is the UK name for HFCS, High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Read more

An introduction to MND!!

MND TV Episode 13 – An introduction to MND!!

I got to thinking, it’s about time I tell you who I am, what I do, and what MotherNaturesDiet is all about – so here it is!

Of course, if you are a regular reader, you may have already read My Story, so you’ll know much of this, but if you prefer to listen to video, instead of reading, then you can learn more about me and what MND is all about watching this video.

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/11/28/mnd-tv-episode-13/

I must apologize for looking a mess! This was just after sunrise, early morning, I had just run 4 miles and done 300 push-ups, I needed a shave, needed a drink of water, needed a shower, I was sweaty, dirty, scruffy and I walked back 3.5 miles as I recorded this, so I am puffing and panting a bit up and down hills! Sorry I look such a mess. At least no one can say I put on some false image for you guys, dressing up and using camera filters and favourable lighting to look my best! Laughing! No, you get nothing like that with me…what you see here is about as bad as it gets!

See you again soon!