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Posts tagged ‘Paleo’

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

Myth busting – Part 11

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

Carbon sequestration

 

To be clear on usage of certain terms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where have all the fishies gone?

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

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

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

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

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

Myth busting – Part 9

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

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

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

 

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

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

‘Caveman’ didn’t always ‘die at 35’

Don’t believe everything you see on social media!

bullshit caveman meme

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

Myth busting – Part 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

Don’t believe everything you see on Facebook!

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

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

Frankly, it’s a common myth.

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

The trouble with data

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

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

Do you want to learn it all…or just DO?

MND TV Episode 5 – what is MND and MND TV all about?!?!?

This video will help to explain what MND is all about, and what MND TV is all about…I talk and write about lots of different things, this short MND TV episode will help you to see what it’s all about and how it all connects together! Mother Nature’s beautiful world and our health and longevity is all one big holistic picture!!

I talk about and write about many different things, this video explains why I cover so many things.

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/15/mnd-tv-episode-5/

This video also explains that if you DON’T want to know all the complicated science and if you don’t want to read all my long blogs and watch all my videos, then just LIVE the 12 Core Principles and don’t ask any questions!

Watch the video and see how it all makes sense!

 

 

I’m not fat, so I can eat what I like! My food choices don’t affect my health!! (And other bullsh*t beliefs!)

Forgive me going off on a bit of a rant today, but I was just having this conversation with a friend and I thought I would share this with you, as it’s a relevant ‘case study’ and applies to loads of people.

What is this post about?

  • There are a LOT of people around who are not over weight, so they take an ‘I can eat whatever rubbish I like’ attitude to their diet
  • This is deep-held belief that people have, that if they are not grossly over weight, then there is no further connection between diet and health
  • Last time I checked the scientific literature, slim people still get sick. Slim people still suffer coughs, colds, flu. Slim people still suffer chronic fatigue, tiredness, skin conditions and bowel conditions. Slim people still get heart disease. Slim people still get cancer. Slim people still die! Last time I spoke to one of my Doctor friends, I don’t recall “Not being over weight” as a cure-all solution to living forever and never getting ill.

Conclusions in this post:

  • There are many factors involved in whether or not you are over weight
  • Body fat serves numerous function in your body, some of them are involved in keeping you healthy
  • Eating a diet high in junk food affects your health in many ways above and beyond whether or not you carry excess body fat

Read on to learn more.

I’m not fat, so I can eat what I like! My food choices don’t affect my health!!

I hear this one a LOT. I could write an entire book (seriously, 100,000 words, 200 pages, no problem!) just tackling this myth and all the threads and sub-topics that come off this. In the interests of time and sanity, I will try to keep this post brief, as you and I don’t have time for a whole book today! Read more

Are all calories created equal?

As I wrote yesterday, to help you get through my long posts, from now on 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?

  • So-called ‘flexible eating’ seems to be the latest popular diet fad
  • The idea is that you can eat pretty much whatever you like, providing you still burn more calories than you eat, so you don’t get fat
  • Here at MND HQ, I think that is downright wrong, and down right ignorant
  • This post looks at the main arguments, between ‘flexible eating’ – “a calorie is a calorie”, and ‘clean eating’ – “all calories are not created equal”

Main conclusions:

  • In my opinion, all calories are NOT created equal
  • Many factors affect your body’s absorption of the calories you consume, and the speed of that absorption, and the chemical make-up of those calories, affect HOW your body absorbs those calories
  • In my opinion, this ‘flexible eating’ is just the latest modern version od calorie counting

Read on to learn more.

Paleo diet, flexible dieting and clean eating

In 2013, the most searched for ‘diet’ online was the Paleo diet. In 2014, I am seeing a rising trend in ‘flexible dieting’ or ‘flexible eating’.

I’m very active in a number of online discussion groups, and in one of those online groups, the subject of flexible dieting comes up as a regular topic. It’s an area I have been looking at for some time now.

The main point of the flexible dieting fraternity is “a calorie is a calorie” and you can eat roughly what you like providing you stay in caloric deficit, then you won’t get fat. They do ‘mostly’ suggest you eat ‘mostly’ good real foods, but there are many proponents of flexible dieting out there suggesting you can eat pizza, chips, ice cream, chocolate bars, white bread, cake and more on a regular basis, daily indeed, providing you stay in caloric deficit – I.E. you burn more calories that you eat. I’m not a fan of this way of thinking, as you know. Read more

Eating the most nutritious meat…but on the smallest budget

This is a fantastic lunch recipe, super nutritious and very tasty. Please see pictured lambs kidneys and lots of green veggies – yum yum! This meal contains 250 grams of lambs kidneys, lots of green veggies – organic broccoli, cabbage, green pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach, and an assortment of spices – coriander, cumin, paprika, black pepper and chilli flakes.

 

Lean white skinless boneless chicken breasts

For most of the last 40 or 50 years we’ve been told that fat is bad, especially saturated fat from animal sources, and we should all eat a lean low-fat diet. This has resulted (at least here in the UK) in an obsession with skinless lean filleted chicken breast. People have been educated to ‘obsession point’ that fat is bad and even the skin or the ‘brown’ thigh meat is considered too high in fat. This has led to a scenario you are probably familiar with, stories of ‘abused broiler chickens’ – chickens bred for the size of their breasts. I am sure you have heard about the speed of their growth, how they live in cramped smelly barns and their bodies grow so fast their legs can buckle beneath them.

While European countries generally maintain better standards of animal husbandry than in the US, these issues are still a huge concern. They certainly bother me. Read more

Getting the macronutrient balance right – the simple way, with MotherNaturesDiet

I was recently asked for my advice on macronutrients in a healthy diet:

  • How much protein should I eat?
  • You seem to advocate a very low-carb diet. Should I eat more carbs, where do you get your energy from?
  • Do you eat lots of good fats?
  • What about saturated fats? Omega-3’s? Oils?
  • 3 meals per day, or 4, or 5, or 6?

I believe that eating has gotten far too complicated, we are all wrapped up in measuring calories, macronutrients and micronutrients, when I believe that if we are eating the right foods, then such ‘scientific detail’ is not really worth worrying about too much, not for most people. Read more

What’s gone wrong with our food?

What’s gone wrong with our food? Why are we so obsessed with nutrients?

For tens of thousands of years we humans were quite happy and quite healthy (and of mostly fairly normal body weight) just eating real whole foods, namely plants and animals.

Then ‘they’ came along and started poking around with microscopes and test tubes and Bunsen burners, and suddenly everything was broken down into science, and eventually they vilified animal fats. So everyone cut out animal fats, and fat was labelled bad, but the finger pointed specifically at saturated fat from animal sources. So people ate less red meat, and they cut out butter and in response the food companies made margarine, and started adding lots of extra sugar (because with no fat, the food tasted bland) and these odd ‘engineered chemical fats and oils’ to various foods. Then after a decade or two eating those, as people got fatter and diabetes and heart disease rates soared, then they changed stance, and now trans fats and cheap vegetable oils are vilified as the baddies, so we should all go back to butter and ditch the margarine.

And the people asked “But we stopped eating animal saturated fats, years ago, because they were bad…right?”

The people wanted to know “what is it that is supposed to be so wrong with animal foods? How come all that research linked high rates of disease to the consumption of animal foods?” Read more

Stand Up!

Lower back pain is a major health problem for many millions of people. Along with colds and flu, lower back pain is one of the biggest causes of lost working time in the Western world today. In my opinion, ‘most’ straightforward lower back pain problems are caused by sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, people spending far too many hours sitting down, and too many people having ‘uneven weight distribution’ in the form of a big fat belly! That comment is slightly tongue-in-cheek, I am not a qualified back-care specialist, and I appreciate that there are many other reasons for back pain. The spine is a complex structure, and the ‘core’ of a human, and understanding backs is a complex science for which I am not trained.

However, I think sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs, and comfy sofa’s in front of the TV, have created a generation of people who spend the majority of their waking hours sitting down, and this causes a lot of lower back problems. I personally suffered from lower back ache for several years. I had a ‘desk job’ between 1998 and 2006, and in those 8 years, my weight fluctuated between ‘normal’ and ‘overweight’ to just touching ‘obese’ in 2003 and again in 2005/6. Over that time, the combination of a 20-pound belly out front, and sitting on my behind for 15 hours per day, I suffered my share of lower back pain. Nothing debilitating, just a near-constant low level ache, worse on some days than others. Read more

* * * * ANNOUNCING New Year Special January Health Program * * * *

Yes folks, here it is, just for you, the MND January special – this 31-day weight-loss plan will help you to:

  • Lose weight
  • Look better
  • Feel great
  • Drop a jeans size
  • Get fitter
  • Undo all the damage done over the holidays

All you have to pay is £0.00p per month and follow this precise plan:

1: Eat clean, eat real food, nourish your body: Read more

2013 Popular Posts #1: How does juicing fit into a paleo diet and lifestyle?

Here it is! Number ONE, the top spot, the most popular post I have written on MotherNaturesDiet.com all year – by a LONG way, this post has been viewed THOUSANDS of times, more than twice as much as the post in second place!

Green juiceI am often asked –

  • Is juicing healthy?
  • Are we supposed to consume calories in liquid form?
  • Should I take vitamin and mineral supplements?
  • Are vitamin pills good value for money?
  • Are the foods we eat today nutrient-depleted? Is the soil nutrient deficient?
  • What’s the difference between juicing and blending?
  • Will juicing help me lose weight fast?

This most-popular post answers all these questions and more.
Read more here – https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/05/26/how-does-juicing-fit-into-a-paleo-diet-and-lifestyle/

2013 Popular Posts #2: MND Success Story – How one 67 year-old lady lost 84 lbs in LESS than A YEAR!

2013 Popular Posts #2: MotherNaturesDiet Success Story – How one 67 year-old lady lost 84 lbs in LESS than A YEAR and came off 4 out of 5 medications.

This fabulous story is deservedly among the most popular posts of 2013. Read how one of our wonderful followers defied conventional doctrine and massively and radically improved here health – let senior years be no barrier, whatever age you are, you can change for the better, add years to your life and life to your years, this lady looks better, feels better, has more energy, has freedom of movement, is off her meds and is feeling better in every way, and she is inspiring her friends and community members to make wiser, healthier choices every day.

Read more of this great story here – https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/11/12/mothernaturesdiet-success-story-how-one-67-year-old-lady-lost-84-lbs-in-less-than-a-year-and-came-off-4-out-of-5-medications/

Two whole years without alcohol

Today marks TWO YEARS since I consumed so much as a drop of alcohol.

I can honestly say that quitting alcohol has been one of the smartest decisions of my life.

I quit refined white sugar a few months earlier, and the combined effect of eliminating alcohol and sugar from my diet has been life-changing.

Alcohol is an insidious poison, it slowly takes a hold in your life, and it changes how your brain works in ways you will never fully understand until you are free from this drug.

If someone invented alcohol today, as a new product, it would be outlawed the same way cocaine is.

I have no intention of ever drinking again.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/07/01/alcohol-are-you-in-control-of-your-relationship-with-alcohol/

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/12/31/miracle-hangover-cure/

2013 Popular Posts #7: Sugar and the Insulin Response

2013 Popular Posts #7: Sugar and the Insulin Response – in plain, simple English

This was the 7th most popular piece I wrote in 2013, and with good reason. I only wrote this at the start of November, so in just 8 weeks it’s been viewed a lot of times.

Understanding the way your body responds to eating sugar, and starchy carbohydrates, is fundamentally important. MND Core Principle NUMBER ONE is “Eliminate grain and starchy carbs from your diet” and MND Core Principle NUMBER TWO is “Eliminate refined white sugar from your diet” – these are the single most important thing you can do to improve your health long term.

Read this post and understand the basic science – in the simplest plain English I could manage – behind these valuable rules for healthy living.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/11/03/sugar-and-the-insulin-response-in-plain-simple-english/

2013 Popular Posts #11 (joint 11th place): Sugar is Public Enemy #1

This post explains how the diet industry led everyone in the wrong direction when they blamed saturated fat, and animal products specifically, for the rise in heart disease.

Sugar is the great offender in the modern Western diet. Since diet foods ‘cut the fat’ they just added more sugar – and obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease and cancer have all been rising ever since.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/02/28/sugar-is-public-enemy-1-stop-blaming-meat-and-fat/

When they started pushing low fat

If you read this post and then want to know more about which animal products are health-giving and which should be avoided, I have written extensively on this subject, and you will find links on this page – https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/04/08/the-bbc-seemingly-recommending-a-big-mac-over-a-home-cooked-sunday-roast/

2013 Popular Posts #12: Avoiding ‘Diet Perfectionism’

2013 Popular Posts #12: Avoiding ‘Diet Perfectionism’ and the trap of crippling inaction

This post is about the pursuit of ‘diet perfectionism’

• There is so much conflicting and confusing ‘diet advice’ around these days, that it can be really hard to know what to do to genuinely make the best healthy choices. One of the main reasons I created MND in the first place, is because I too went through the years of reading, learning, trying different ‘diets’ and failing…it is all so confusing, the so-called experts all seem to disagree with each other. I feel so sorry for people trying to make healthy choices but not making progress, and MND was borne out of my desire to help other people from the lessons I have learned

• Many well-intentioned nutrition and wellness ‘experts’ promote ideals of healthy eating that are virtually impossible for ‘the rest of us’ to live up to

• A lot of people get caught up in trying hard to do “the right thing”, following all the fads, the latest craze, the health warnings and shopping for the latest superfood being promoted by some A-list celebrity

• It can be so hard to navigate the endless advice and warnings, that many people suffer the “paralysis of analysis”, so fearful of taking the wrong action, they end up taking no action at all

• This post will help you not to get too caught up in the world of ‘diet perfectionism’, and help you to see that if you just focus on making the big changes you need for a healthy lifestyle, the detail can drop into place later

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/09/18/avoiding-diet-perfectionism-and-the-trap-of-crippling-inaction/

Training hard to resist aging and weakening

Some of you regular readers may have noticed a lot of recent posts related to working out, perhaps with more focus on strenuous workouts and less on the gentle workouts. This is not always the case, here on MND I talk about the need for regular gentle exercise – walking, outdoor play, an easy bike ride, a nice swim – but I also talk about the need for more strenuous exercise.

I am 43 years old. I keep myself super-fit. As a benchmark, at any time, with no warning or preparation time, I could bang out 500 push-ups in an hour and then jump up and run 20 miles. That’s a level of fitness which I maintain pretty much year round.

However, I notice that a LOT, I mean the vast majority, of people I meet in my age group, do not maintain anything like that level of fitness (in fact, most people I meet in their 20s and 30s too) and most people consider me to be rather ‘extreme’, an exercise addict and some kind of ‘fitness freak’. But if you re-read this old post from a year ago, and think about our ancestors before 15,000 years ago, they HAD to be this fit all the time, throughout their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

Mortality rates in our ancient ancestors

While there has been much discussion about ‘caveman’ not living to a ripe old age, the data is not straightforward and should be carefully analysed. Read more

Free greens for breakfast

This week, I’ve been eating dock leaves.

Not only are they great at stopping the itch from stinging nettles, but they go quite well in my scrambled eggs too.

I go out early every morning, at 6 am, either running or walking, and pick fresh young dandelion leaves and dock leaves on my way home.

Start with a drizzle of oil in the pan, thrown in the leaves, soften for a minute or two, then throw in a few free range organic eggs (and a few mushrooms, if you have them).

Breakfast in 4 minutes, nutritious and delicious!

Enjoy!

Eggs n greens brekky

Paleo-Reality Part 3: Why MND and The Pre-Industrial Diet offers all the answers.

Part 3 of 3.

How does MotherNaturesDiet differ from The Paleo Diet or The Primal Blueprint?

This post is a 3-part complete appraisal of how I see MotherNaturesDiet in comparison to the Paleo or Primal diet movement.

Please read...
Paleo-Reality Part 1: What’s right and wrong about paleo diets.
...and...
Paleo-Reality Part 2: Introducing The PI Diet – The Pre-Industrial Diet.
...first, these will help this to all make more sense, thanks!

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Paleo-Reality Part 2: Introducing The PI Diet – The Pre-Industrial Diet.

Part 2 of 3.

This post is a complete appraisal of how I see MotherNaturesDiet in comparison to the Paleo or Primal diet movement.

Please read Part 1 first: Paleo-Reality Part 1: What’s right and wrong about paleo diets.

Thanks!

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Paleo-Reality Part 1: What’s right and wrong about paleo diets.

Summary of this post:

MotherNaturesDiet is NOT ‘just another paleo diet’, copied from The Paleo Diet or The Primal Blueprint Diet.

While I truly 100% support The Paleo Diet and The Primal Blueprint, I think a lot of the people following the Paleo movement are, frankly, getting it wrong and missing the point.

I do not think we need to look back as far as The Paleolithic Era to see where things went wrong with the human diet.

MotherNaturesDiet is slowly becoming “The Pre-Industrial Diet”. I believe the Industrial Revolution is where it all went wrong. MND remains MND, but it is also ‘The PI Diet’.

This post is packed with masses of common sense thinking, explaining a few fundamental holes in ‘Paleo Diet’ logic, exploring the truth behind The Discordance Hypothesis, and looking at where so much about our modern diet really went wrong, with the mechanization and industrialization of agriculture.

Read on for more…

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Dandelion greens – FREE food from Mother Nature

Enjoy free food from Mother Nature - readily available everywhere in the UK in spring and summer, dandelion greens are nutrient-packed, higher in protein than spinach and they are easy to include in many meals.

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How does juicing fit into a paleo diet and lifestyle?

Summary of this blog post:

Answering questions from a reader -

Q: Should we take supplements and superfoods?

A: No, we should just drink freshly extracted organic vegetable juice every day.

Q: Juices and sweet fruit smoothies?

A: Yes to the juices, but go easy on the smoothies.

I recently posted a video titled “There is no such thing as superfood”

After watching this, and after some discussion, a friend of mine asked me “Do you disagree that supplementation can help compensate for the difficulty in acquiring all nutrients and anti-oxidants in modern diets? I.E. when not eating full primal?”

I recommended juicing as the only form of “supplement” that I think is worth taking and this friend eats a mostly paleo/primal diet, and as such our subsequent discussion can be broadly defined as looking at ‘is there a place for juicing and supplements in a paleo diet’ – but of course, the discussion is of interest to anyone who cares about living a healthy lifestyle.

Read on for this Q&A discussion in full.

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Love, Sex and Monogamy in Paleolithic Times and Today

This might be straying a little off topic for this blog, so I offer a link for those interested. I am deeply interested in all aspects of evolution and anthropology, including those aspects that go beyond health and nutrition.

I have been reading ‘Paleofantasy’ by Marlene Zuk. In the book, she discusses what she terms “paleofantasy love” and she quotes Sarah B. Hrdy and the ‘sex contract’ hypothesis.

Meat for sexual fidelity: the sex contract hypothesis

Hrdy and others suggest that our ancient ancestors traded ‘meat for fidelity’, and this forms the core of the ’sex contract’ hypothesis. Note: to be fair to Ms Hrdy, I have NOT read her original work, and I am basing any judgements in this blog on the quotes in Marlene Zuk’s Paleofantasy. The notion goes, that as our large brains grew, caveman became smart enough to realise that his best chances of producing offspring that reach adulthood was to provide for his woman while she nurtured the babies, so he hunted the meat, while cave woman sat at home tending the babies, and she gave him sexual fidelity in return for him bringing home food for his kin.

In my uneducated opinion, this is wrong.

To read more about how I see love, sex and pair bonding in the paleolithic period, click through to my other blog site and have a read. Feel free to let me know what you think. Thanks.

http://karlwhitfield.me/2013/04/25/love-sex-and-monogamy-in-paleolithic-times-and-today/

 

My honest opinion of Paleo Cookbooks

I have recently stated a few times that MotherNaturesDiet is not strictly a paleo diet, but it has evolved from my learnings and following the main principles of paleo. I think a paleo diet as laid out by ‘the masters’ such as Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson and others, is fantastic, but I think many followers in the paleo community have taken the paleo theme and then run with it to a point that they have strayed far from the original ideas.

I will write more on this topic, in much more depth, in a future post. For today, I just wanted to briefly cover a sub-set of this, a subject that gets my back up, the idea of publishing paleo cookbooks promoting hundreds of paleo recipes – and the misnomer of a ‘Paleo Desert Cookbook’ – like they ate desert in the paleolithic period! I have blogged briefly on this topic before, check this post for that.

So this short video just covers the latest ‘Paleo Desert Cookbook’ that I saw advertised. Sorry about the sound quality on this clip, it’s not so good.

http://youtu.be/EURspvarIpA

 

 

Reaction to PaleoFantasy Book #2

I am still reading Paleofantasy, a new book which aims to disprove much of the core beliefs of the paleo movement. This is my second video about this book.

The book is not shaping up to be what I thought it might be, I don’t find the arguments against paleo nutrition very convincing, but it is interesting reading all the same.

I do not present MotherNaturesDiet as ‘a paleo diet’ strictly, though we do follow broadly the same principles. However, as I explain in this video (link below), I actually think many in the paleo community are missing the point somewhat, as I don’t think we need to go all the way back to the paleolithic period to find what is wrong with our modern diet. I actually think we only have to go back to the Industrial Revolution to find the source of most of our biggest health and nutrition problems.

I see MotherNaturesDiet as a pre-Industrial Revolution diet, ‘The PI Diet’ more than just another paleo diet.

Watch this little video to learn more.

http://youtu.be/USIoJ2d7jb8

 

 

Reaction to PaleoFantasy Book #1

I have started reading Paleofantasy, a new book which aims to disprove much of the core beliefs of the paleo movement.

MotherNaturesDiet is not strictly ‘a paleo diet’, but we do follow broadly the same principles, and MND has certainly been formed from my own ‘caveman thinking’ and the influence of Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf, among others.

As I read this book, I will video blog by thoughts, here is the first video.

http://youtu.be/EN8-rnZPx3s

 

 

The BBC seemingly ‘recommending’ a Big Mac over a home cooked Sunday roast

Many of you may have seen an article the BBC News site ran regarding new research linking red meat consumption to heart disease.

This is the original article: Red meat chemical 'damages heart', say US scientists

A good friend of mine who runs a vegan health retreat asked me for my thoughts, and I ended up writing a long reply to him, so I thought I would share it here with you too.

Here are my thoughts.

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Avoiding injuries, training and eating ‘caveman style’

One year ago this day, I fractured my spine in two places falling 6 foot onto a concrete floor while training.

To be honest, I have a very high pain threshold, but that accident did hurt quite a lot. Especially after 24 hours, then it really kicked in and for a week or so all movement was very painful and very difficult and very limited.

I guess there is a certain amount of potential danger involved in the way I train. I climb rocks and trees, dangle from branches and bars, jump over things and run over uneven grass and mud. I have suffered a number of injuries, such as twisted ankles, stress fracture in my tibia, shin splints, fractured rib, several fractured fingers and toes, a couple of muscle sprains, compressed disc in my back, muscle spasms and the obvious trashed knee (from running, I had surgery last year) and a variety of cuts and scratches.

Life can be dangerous

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Is Free Range Meat Expensive?

I am often asked about the cost of free-range, outdoor-reared, organic meat. Many people question if it costs too much to eat the MND way.

I admit that some organic food is expensive, and some free range meat is expensive, but honestly, personally, I think the investment in my health is worth it. I buy food that nourishes my body, I know the animals have been treated properly, with some dignity and respect, and I know the life of that animal, and hence the food I am eating, has been lived more in tune with nature.

The picture shows a lunch I cooked last week. Pork and greens, quick, simple, yummy. I put a drizzle of olive oil in the pan, chopped up a leek first and threw that in, then I chopped up my pork tenderloin, threw that in, then a handful of kale chopped up (I keep telling you I eat either kale or broccoli every day of my life, often both, often multiple times! I had kale in all my meals the day I made this!)

Quick and cheap, for my main meal of the day

This took less than 5 mins to prepare, and max 5 mins to cook.

My pork tenderloin weighed 395 grams raw (about a pound) it cost just £3.65

So this lunch cost about £4 quid in total, and it was tasty, natural and nutritious. I sprinkled on some black pepper and a sprig of parsley, easy, quick, tasty. No additives. No chemicals...there was even some free mud on my kale. Perfect, I didn't even wash it off.

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Stop overeating: switch to eating simpler meals using fewer ingredients

I recently wrote about how so many people opt for sugar-laden tasty foods in preference to vegetables, in large part because their media-shrivelled brains crave constant hit after hit, and sweet tasty foods is one big way to get that hit. People have forgotten that food is really just fuel, it is there to sustain us living and breeding and functioning. But for far too many people, food (and the art of creating a meal) has become a leisure activity in its own right.

To many people, eating has become a hobby, a favourite pastime, and a distraction from the many areas of their lives that are less than fully satisfying. In my opinion, (and you must remember that everything on this blog is just that, a collection of my personal opinions) food is just fuel, and it is not meant to be a hobby to indulge in every day.

I have nothing against preparing a delicious meal for a gathering of friends. The 'tribal feast' has surely been a part of human culture since long before we developed language, agriculture and society. No doubt tribes would gather and feast after a successful collaborative hunt millions of years ago. I too enjoy cooking a feast for visitors and enjoying a tasty meal with several courses as the centre of such a social gathering…but I’m talking once or twice per month, not 7 days per week. Too many people treat their evening meal as the highlight of their day, and they focus their attention and energy on preparing that meal and making it as tasty, fancy and satisfying as possible.

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Sick of Eating Meat!!!

This ‘headline’ will get the attention of my vegetarian friends!!

I trained hard early this morning, then came home and needed a good breakfast to feed my body after training, and to nourish me for the day, as I went out rock climbing all day and I knew I probably wouldn’t get the chance to eat much during the day.

As you know, if you have been reading this blog, I eat a lot of meat. Animal products make up about 50% of my diet (measured by calories) and fruit and veggies make up the other half. I like meat and when I started on my ‘paleo’ journey it seemed like a treat to have so much tasty meat in my diet...succulent roasts for lunch, juicy sausages and eggs for breakfast, tasty chicken any time, any day, any meal. But I have to say, since I massively ramped up my meat intake about 10 months ago, that novelty has now worn off, and while I still enjoy the majority of my meals, there are days I feel like I can’t handle any more meat!!

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Naturally reared meat versus ‘junk meat’

With my deep interest in nutrition and good health, I have obviously read many books about food and whether or not we should eat meat, versus a vegetarian diet. There are many books, The China Study (largely the text behind the movie “Forks over Knives”) being one of the most prominent examples, which show the virtues of avoiding meat, and these books promote a vegetarian diet.

Obviously, I am a meat eater, and I do enjoy meat, I like the taste and I have found myself left wanting when I have lived on a vegetarian diet in the past. But I don’t eat meat JUST because I like the taste, and if I saw evidence that I genuinely believed, proving that meat was bad for me, compelling me to reduce my intake of animal products, then I would consider cutting right back on my meat consumption or even giving it up altogether.

Show me the evidence

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The 3 major problems with most ‘diets’ and health ‘experts’

I think that most ‘experts’ in health, diet and nutrition are well-intentioned, but many are making the whole healthy lifestyle thing more complicated than it needs to be.

As you can imagine, with my passionate personal interest in all things to do with health, nutrition, food and longevity, I read a LOT of books, blogs, articles and magazines, and I listen to many hours of videos, presentations and seminars on health related topics. I have to say, the vast majority of the material I read and listen to, fails to win my complete support because of any one or more of these 3 most common problems.

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We wouldn’t feed pizza to a rhino, so why are we feeding it to our children?

Think about the so-called food available to us today.

Imagine you are visiting the zoo, and you see the zoo keepers feeding the animals. They put the food out for the big rhino, buckets of roughly chopped up vegetables, perhaps some pieces of fruit, and all seems well. During a demonstration talk, the keeper offers the rhino a jam doughnut as he cracks some joke about "even this big guy likes a treat each day" and most of the spectators laugh as the rhino eagerly gobbles down the doughnut. A few people would quietly be thinking 'you shouldn't give things like that to an animal, it's cruel' but they don't say anything, they keep their opinions to themselves for fear of appearing to be an extremist.

But now let's say things are different, let's picture a different scenario. Imagine if our rhino is kept in his muddy, grassy enclosure and fed bucket loads of pizza, burgers, chips, pies, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chocolate bars and biscuits. Every day the public visit this zoo and watch the keepers fill our rhino's drinking trough with cola or beer or milkshake, and the ground of his enclosure is littered with chewing gum, pizza crusts, cheese sandwiches and cookies. What would the vast majority of zoo visitors say then?

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Eating a Paleo Diet

If you have read the Rules and My Story pages on this site, by now you will understand that I am a big fan of the primal/paleo movement, but I want to be clear about what this all means to me.

I broadly agree with all the fundamental principles of the paleo movement, but I think there are a lot of people out there who have jumped on the paleo bandwagon as 'the new Atkins' diet and they are using this as an excuse to feast daily on bacon and steak and all-you-can-eat meat, but they are paying little attention to the health aspects of living a life more in sync with our bodies natural biological origins.

True paleo means a deep respect and connection with Mother Nature

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Regular Exercise and Weight Training

Too many people forget that a healthy lifestyle is an active lifestyle, and should include a variety of exercise and activities. Think about caveman’s lifestyle compared to ours today. He didn’t have a car, a sofa, an armchair, a soft bed, pillows, cushions, a thick duvet or a padded work chair at his desk. He didn’t work in an office, he didn’t have a desk, he didn’t drive a car or truck for 9 to 10 hours each day, he didn’t sit down all day.

I often think about the work caveman would have had to do. Imagine the running involved in chasing down an animal such as a wild boar. Caveman would have had to chase the animal at pace through woodland for long enough to exhaust the boar, before finally getting close enough to attack his prey, and then fight to the death. Caveman may been armed with a stone-tipped spear, to bring the animal down, but in all eventuality, once wounded, he would have had to go in for the kill, and he probably would have used a ‘knife’ made from a sharpened bone from a previous kill, or a pointed stick, and he would have had to attack, wrestle, and kill the animal by hand. This 200 pound boar with short tusks, hard hooves and strong teeth, would have been fighting for its life. Think about how much work caveman had to do to secure his meal. He had to be a strong middle-distance runner, a careful sprinter (minding hazards on the forest floor – there is no hospital if he broke his ankle), and a tough cage-fighter (no tetanus jab for cuts and scratches).

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Controversial Rant #2: The latest FAD Diet book or “diet system”…

You know, one thing that REALLY bugs me is the over-complication of food, the over-science-ification of nutrition. Where scientists and nutritionists and doctors are trying to help us get to the truth then I applaud them, but I find WAY TOO MANY commercial interests even among seemingly open folks.

Some of my heroes
•I love the work of Mark Sissons - but he sells supplements.
•I love Dr Mercola - but he sells supplements.
•I love Charles Poliquin - but he sells supplements.
•I love Dr Robert Young – but he sells treatments and supplements and chemical products.

And so it goes on...and once these folks have products to sell, particularly supplements, it becomes SO hard to separate opinion and science and facts, from their commercial interests.

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Taking a COLD Shower

Over the last few years I have read various articles about the health benefits of taking a regular cold shower. Some say cold showers improve your circulation, some say they help weight loss, some say they radically improve your libido and sexual stamina, some claim cold showers boost your immunity, some say they relieve depression and some say they just make you feel cold.

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The Common Sense Caveman

Well, people keep calling me ‘Caveman Karl’ – it was not my choice, but as I am often talking about “caveman would have done this, or eaten that” I guess the name is obvious.

It was my son’s birthday today and I took this pic while we were out…it seemed appropriate!