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Posts tagged ‘Disease’

Lockdown, love, nature, air and the future

I don’t dare use the “U” word…

Unprecedented.

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

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

Lockdown has meant many things to many people.

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

To others it’s meant…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane.

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 5 of 5 – Friday: 

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

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

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

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

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

Closing thoughts – no, not sugar coated

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 4 of 5 – Thursday: 

Strategy for the future, step by step

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

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

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

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

What can you actually do?

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

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

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

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

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

Quit smoking

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

Drink less alcohol

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

Lose weight

Gut health and immune function

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

Improve your fitness

All of the above – just get healthy!

Wash your hands!

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

Vitamins, supplements, protection

Holy moly!!!

That’s ^ ^ ^ a lot of stuff for you!

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 3 of 5 – Wednesday: 

You, vulnerability, and your best defence.

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

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

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

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

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

Allow me to repeat myself, please:

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

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

Yes, it’s that simple.

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

He’s right.

OK, in plain English.

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

Is that English plain enough?

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

Here’s some more stuff for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

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

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

Part 2 of 5 – Tuesday: 

The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

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

Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.

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

Your health and your future after lockdown.

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

Part 1 of 5 – Monday:

What we have learned so far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, again, is the webinar.

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

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

Risk factors for more severe illness with Covid-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of risk factors

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

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

These things are all acknowledged risk factors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl

Epic battle strategy – get sick!

Interesting fact I learned today.

For most of history, germs have killed far more people than wars.

Often invading armies defeated nations by bringing diseases with their soldiers.

Quote (from Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond)

“Until World War Two, more victims of war died of war-borne microbes than of battle wounds. All those military histories glorifying great generals oversimplify the ego-deflating truth: the winners of past wars were not always the armies with the best generals and weapons, but were often merely those bearing the nastiest germs to transmit to their enemies.”

I love it! History was never this interesting at school.

Image credit: By Robert Alexander Hillingford, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3278768 

Vote to save our NHS…

There are several ways we can save the NHS – let’s look at the one you and I can do today.

I do not intend to start using this blog to talk politics, so apologies up front for the slightly provocative political tease in the title this week. As we approach a general election in the UK, there is an even greater than usual amount of talk in the media about the NHS being sold off, privatised, deliberately run into financial ruin and going broke.

Sadly, much of this talk is based in the uncomfortable reality that the NHS truly is in huge financial trouble. Doctors working long hours; A&E departments struggling to cope; patients on beds in corridors; nurses forced to go to food banks; the rising cost of treating an ageing population; the huge cost of treating obesity-related ill health; and the massive rise in the cost of treating our diabetes epidemic. These costs, along with the massive and constant cost of treating heart disease and related circulatory conditions and cancer treatments are crippling the NHS, and unless funding is increased, the system faces breaking point.

As a nation, we spend around 19% to 20% of our tax receipts on running the NHS, roughly the same as we spend on pensions. These two things – the NHS and pensions – are the biggest single areas of government expenditure in the UK. Be under no illusion, the NHS is a big deal, we spend many billions on healthcare annually, and no doubt private profit-making corporations would just love to get their hands on some of those big contracts.

But I’m pretty sure we don’t want an American-style system, we really don’t.

It seems that once nationwide healthcare provision comes under the influence of the joint forces of profit making insurance companies, profit making private medical facilities, and profit-making drug companies, then the whole system starts to Read more

Gimme the pills…I want value for my money!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But clearly, other people see it differently to me.

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

To your good health!

You have a choice…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you going to do differently?

Myth busting – Part 9

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

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

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

 

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

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

‘Caveman’ didn’t always ‘die at 35’

Don’t believe everything you see on social media!

bullshit caveman meme

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

Too much food causes more death and ill health than too little food

Wow, how dreadful is this. It seems that there is now more death and poor health around the world caused by people eating too much food, than there is caused by people who don’t have enough. That’s a very sad 21st Century problem, and when I think of those who don’t have enough, it makes me feel terribly sad that we have allowed this to happen.

This short post is not the place to discuss farm policies, farm subsidies in the US and EU, food distribution and fair trade.

I wrote this a year ago: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/03/11/focus-on-what-really-matters/ – noting that there were a little over 1.5 billion overweight people on Earth.

Then this week this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27586365 – notes that we are now over 2.1 billion overweight people.

Have we added HALF A BILLION, a staggering 600 million more overweight people in just a year?

Does that mean that everyone on earth will be overweight in just a few years?

The research concludes: “Because of the established health risks and substantial increases in prevalence, obesity has become a major global health challenge. Not only is obesity increasing, but no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years. Urgent global action and leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene.”

Wow, people need my help even more than I thought!

www.MotherNaturesDiet.me – better go spread the word!

 

Why it’s important to be a balanced, big picture thinker

I know I often write long posts, and you might not have time to read them. So I will put bullet points at the start, telling you in brief what the post is about, and in brief, the main conclusions or points that I come to.

This way, if you are short of time, you can read the bullet points, which only takes 30 seconds, and it should tell you the essence of the post – if it sounds interesting, you will find the 5 minutes you need to read the whole thing, but otherwise, the bullet points tell you enough to get the main idea.

I will try to remember to summarize all future posts this way. I hope this is helpful!

What is this post about?

  • Some people are obsessed with clean eating, while the rest of their life is in a mess!
  • Some people are obsessed with weight training or a certain sport, but pay little attention to good diet
  • Some people eat well and exercise, but the allow other areas of life to stress them out, having a negative impact on their lives
  • Some people do so much endurance sport they never allow time for recovery – and an excess of almost anything can become unhealthy eventually
  • I meet a lot of folks who put in killer workouts and intense training sessions, but then they are ill with colds and flu every few weeks

Main conclusions:

  • You have to be a big picture thinker
  • Take a holistic approach to optimal good health
  • Balance is essential – train with weights, train aerobically, have heavy days, and easy days, eat well, de-stress and look to ensure there is happiness in your life…all these areas are equally important

Read on to learn more.

You have to look at the bigger picture

I see lots of people fixated on just food or just exercise, but I fear they are failing to look at the bigger picture. Supreme good health and abundant energy does not come from putting ALL your attention on just one thing, you have to think holistically.

I often meet people who obsess over ‘pure clean eating’, they are fanatical about eating raw, organic, vegan, local, seasonal and only grown in countries that ban GMO crops. They know a million reasons why you mustn’t cook with a certain oil, because heating it produces some ghastly carcinogenic chemicals, they will tell you that it’s like cooking your dinner in toxic waste! They will tell you everything there is to know about sprouting beans, fermenting vegetables, home made sour dough bread and the nutrient profile of certain seeds. Read more

Sugar is Public Enemy #1 – stop blaming meat and fat!

A friend of mine shared this link with me this morning:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/its-the-sugar-folks/
Just read the article, it's pretty clear, even though the smart ones among us have known for years that refined sugar is bad news, here is yet more evidence, but will anyone listen?

Read more

Man flu: the deadly strain women don’t understand!

This week I just wanted to share with you an observation that I have recently cleared up in my own mind. It’s actually really simple and obvious stuff, and I should imagine a lot of clean-living healthy people already know this, or at least they will read this and instantly agree and see that it is all really quite obvious, and most unhealthy people will disagree, call me names and declare that I have no idea what I am writing about. Such is life.

When I was 17, or 18, 19 or 20...and probably up to my early 30’s, I hated catching a cold. Coughs and colds are murder to a smoker, or at least they certainly were to me. For one, as a smoker, your throat is under attack every day because of your smoking, so when it is sore and inflamed with coughs and colds, it is far more sore and dry and painful than the throat of the average non-smoker who has a cough or a cold. Secondly, if the painful throat is bad enough, it will actually stop you from smoking, or at least reduce you down to just a few quick puffs per day – and that is really guaranteed to ruin your day! Few things make you grumpier than being a smoker who can’t smoke!!

So during the many years I smoked, but particularly when I was young, very overweight, very out of shape and a really heavy smoker, I would catch coughs and colds several times each year and I hated them, they were a real misery.

Sinister, deadly 'man-flu'

Read more