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Posts tagged ‘Sugar’

Why people eat sugary crap for breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

I answer that question a lot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should we all be cutting back on starchy carbohydrates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the point here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy food does NOT have to mean bland food!

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

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

We need to explore what is going wrong here!

Let’s do this in bullet points for simplicity. Read more

Beware of hidden sugar.

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

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

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

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

Why we have an obesity problem

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

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

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

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

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

White Refined Sugar is an Anti-nutrient

What this post is about:

  • Eating refined sugar actually does you more harm than good
  • Refined sugar costs your body small amounts of certain micro-nutrients
  • If you tried to live on just refined sugar, you would almost certainly become very sick in surprisingly little time, and eventually die
  • 5-a-day is just not enough! And most people are not eating 5-a-day!
  • Sugar is a poison
  • People think healthy food is boring, because it tastes bland – but only to their palate which has been poisoned by sugar and salt – when people tell me they think vegetables taste boring and bland, I know it’s the PERSON that is ‘broken’ not the vegetables
  • A diet high in sugar and processed foods, and low in fresh vegetables, is likely high in processed carbohydrates and processed sugars
  • Such a diet is causing low-level nutrient deficiencies and vast swathes of our population are suffering poor health as a result

White refined sugar

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, you will by now know that I have a real issue with white refined sugar, and in my opinion, MotherNaturesDiet ranks refined sugar as public enemy #1 in the health world. shutterstock_160886558 I have written lots about sugar before (from here on, when I use the word ‘sugar’ in this post, I am referring to white refined sugar, good old table sugar, or the modern mass-produced sugar-syrups that are used as ‘sugar’ in modern food manufacturing, such as HFCS and similar compounds that come under so many names) and I shall endeavour not to repeat myself too much in this post. If you are interested in reading more about the evils of sugar, go to www.MotherNaturesDiet.me and find the little ‘search’ box a short way down on the right hand side of the page, type in ‘sugar’ and hit return, and you will find lots of posts about sugar. Today, I want to draw your attention to the subject of sugar as an anti-nutrient, and the implications this has for the rest of your diet, and how it impacts the Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs) the government suggest you consume of various vitamins and minerals. As you read, you will see how this all ties together. As with most of my other long posts, I will try my best to keep the science to a minimum, so that this article makes sense to everyone. I will purposefully over-simplify the science, and write this in pretty plain English, so that the article is of interest to the widest possible audience. Scientists and nutrition experts please forgive the simplicity!

Sugar as an anti-nutrient

Read more

Fabulous Fruit!! How much fruit should we eat? Does fruit make you fat?

Recently, as the world slowly wakes up to the fact that sugar is ‘the enemy’ and not fat, so fruit has come under attack. There is lots of talk out there about fruit – folks saying fruit will make you fat, folks saying fruit is such a source of sugar that the moment you eat it, it all just turns to filing up your fat cells, and all kinds of other rubbish!

So, MND TV Episode 7 is all about fruit – setting the record straight and letting you know the truth about fruit.

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/22/mnd-tv-episode-7/

Grab an apple, get yourself comfortable and enjoy!!

Anti-aging benefits of less sugar and more vegetables

My friend shared this interesting article with me:

http://www.drperlmutter.com/low-glycemic-diet-slows-progression-age-related-macular-degeneration/

The article explains how our eyes work and what macular degeneration is, and then goes on to the findings of a new study.
Here, quoted, I picked out what I believe to be the most relevant and interesting part:

Quote < < “Each participant’s diet was assessed in terms of a scale called dietary glycaemic index. The food choices with a high glycaemic index are those which raise blood sugar significantly and for a longer period of time. As you would expect, these are food choices that are higher in sugar and carbohydrate.

What the researchers found was quite compelling. Those individuals whose diets had higher levels of high glycaemic index foods had a dramatic increase risk for progression or worsening of macular degeneration. Read more

No, you don’t have a “sweet tooth”!!!

The second episode of MND TV is ready for you to watch now.

MND TV Episode 2 – how to control those carb cravings. You really don’t have a ‘sweet tooth’!!

http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/01/mnd-tv-episode-2/

Warning – this is a bit of a rant, so if you are easily offended…tough shit! Suck it up and get over it!

 

The drugs don’t work and you can’t trust the media!

This is important.

YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THIS.

It you have ever been prescribed statins, or if someone you love is taking statins, you DEFINITELY need to invest half an hour of your day into reading this post and watching this important and educational video.

This is a fascinating watch, well worth 18 minutes of your life.

I posted a slightly controversial post on our very active MND Facebook page the other day, in a nutshell I was saying “We seem to have more medical science and nutrition knowledge and qualified experts than ever these days, yet in general the whole of society is fatter and sicker than they have ever been before. Are we getting lost in the detail, buried in science, digging too deep and missing the bigger picture? Is all that science being hijacked by companies trying to sell us stuff, supplements, compression clothing, training programs and exercise equipment? Maybe all we need is to get back to nature, use some common sense, live more naturally and shun some of the endless modern inventions.” I have spoken extensively about this here: http://mothernaturesdiet.tv/2014/09/01/mnd-tv-episode-1/ That was the thrust of my post – but it’s a highly relevant thought to keep in your mind as you watch this video and read this post.

Now watch this video

Truth That Lasts: David Newman at TEDxColumbiaEngineering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCk_vTkS6bU

The first 6 minutes Dr Newman explains how “scientific research” showing truly miniscule results, really imperceptible results that actually aren’t results at all, ends up reported in the popular media as “fact” which is “proven by science” and people believe it and spend years basing their behaviour on these reported facts. Read more

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

Orthorexic control freaks…and other symptoms of quitting sugar

What is this post about?

  • A lady quit sugar for one year, and wrote a book about it
  • A reviewer slated her behaviour as orthorexic and obsessive!
  • That same reviewer, on other days, writes recipes for biscuits and pizza

Main conclusions:

  • In my opinion, they are both trying to sell stories to their readers, when they should focus on natural healthy living
  • MND circumvents all this bullshit, and just get’s on with abundant healthy living

shutterstock_160886558

Read on to learn more.

So a lady wrote a book “Year of No Sugar” which seems pretty sensible to me – for MND I preach ‘no sugar’ for life, so one year seems like a good starting point.

She seems like a nice and genuine lady, you can visit her blog here.

However, the book received this utter slating of a book review, titled ‘Year of No Sugar Reads Like a How-To Manual for an Eating Disorder’ – frankly, harsh! 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

The 12 Core Principles of MotherNaturesDiet are very carefully balanced to help you focus on the MOST important issues in improving overall health.

The 12 Core Principles of MotherNaturesDiet are clustered in 3 groups:

Group 1: Things to quit 12 Core Principles - 3

Group 2: Things to consume

Group 3: Exercise and lifestyle factors

Each group contains 4 Rules. All these rules are brief and purposefully simplified – MND is all about keeping it simple, to help ordinary busy people cut through the ‘diet industry’ and ‘health industry’ marketing bullshit and get to what really works.

You’ll see that there are TWICE AS MANY Rules about ‘what not to eat’ as there are about ‘what TO eat’. This is structured this way on purpose, because I believe it is TWICE as important to get all the crap OUT of your life than to spend all your time worrying about the nuances and minutiae of what you should be eating. Diet perfectionism be damned, just eat real whole foods, eliminate chemicals from your body and avoid ALL processed foods, and you’ll have ‘the diet thing’ 90% licked. 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

It’s the sugar!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have written about sugar MANY times before.

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

Health warnings on foods containing sugar and artificial additives

Sugar and the Insulin Response – in plain, simple English

Of course, if you follow a healthy lifestyle, then you likely already know that refined white sugar is the ‘villain of the hour’ in the health and wellness industry, and quite rightly so! For the last few years, the evidence against sugar as the real ‘bad boy’ of the modern Western diet has been mounting.

Following that trend, you will be interested to see the results of a new research study that was posted just last week. The authors of the study wanted to see if the ‘anti-sugar rumours’ were based in truth, so they set out to study links between sugar consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States, collecting and collating data from several surveys published between 1988 and 2010. Read more

I’m not smelly…but what about you?

Now, if you are new to MotherNaturesDiet (MND), you are probably going to think this post is a little weird, but stick with it, it all makes sense once you get to the end. If you already know me and you have been following MND for a while, then you’ll probably be thinking, judging by the title of this piece, that I have a valid point to make and you know I’ll get to it in my own sweet time!

I have been running for a few years now. In the warm weather in spring and summer, I wear just a short sleeve running top, or no shirt at all if it’s really warm and sunny, but in cold weather, I wear multiple layers to keep me warm. Since I lost the excess weight I carried around for 20 years, I’m no longer ‘wearing’ my 2-inch thick layer of fat that used to keep me warm, so it takes me a while to warm up these days, and I hate being cold, so I always favour being too hot over too cold, every time. I’m the weird runner who thinks a hot sunny day is perfect running weather, even for an event like a marathon, when most regular club runners prefer a cool overcast day.

In early 2010 I bought the Gore running top that I am seen wearing in this picture.

SOUTH DEVON CTS MARA

Read more

2013 Popular Posts #5: 127 Weight Loss Tips from MotherNaturesDiet

127 Weight Loss Tips from MotherNaturesDiet
– your free eBook

Back in November I published a little book of weight loss tips and this has proved to be the 5th most popular post of 2013.

So many people are looking for good advice to help them lose weight, and they find the ‘diet industry’ awash with rip-off solutions and supplements. Well here is a solution for you, and one that won’t cost you any money, and it doesn’t involve buying supplements, so-called ‘superfoods’ or some new-fangled piece of home workout equipment.

Please download this free book and share it with your friends and family if they are interested in being healthier and losing unwanted excess weight.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/11/07/127-weight-loss-tips-from-mothernaturesdiet-free-ebook/

As you have probably figured out by now, MotherNaturesDiet is the no-tricks, no-gimmicks, common-sense approach to good health and fitness. That’s all you’ll find in this little book, just lashings of common sense and simple ideas, things you can do to lose weight and feel great.

Enjoy!

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

This post is about the so-called ‘food’ that forms an increasing proportion of the calories consumed by many people today.

We humans eat substances that we wouldn’t feed to other animals, but we feed them to ourselves, and we feed them to those we love the most, our children.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/02/16/we-wouldnt-feed-pizza-to-a-rhino-so-why-are-we-feeding-it-to-our-children/

Sugar and the Insulin Response – in plain, simple English

A friend asked me to explain the whole sugar-insulin response thing.

So, to answer that question, I searched for some good explanations online, to send my friend links, but I couldn’t find any really straight-forward writing, so I thought I would write it myself!!

I am purposefully over-simplifying this here and keeping any kind of ‘science talk’ out, or to a minimum.

In short, layman’s terms, it goes like this:

You eat food with sugars (or carbohydrates) in the food, they go through the stomach and reach the duodenum, where the pancreas senses that there is sugar present, and releases insulin into your system.  Read more

Explaining the Acid-Alkaline balance

I am often asked for clarity on this issue of the acid-alkaline diet. There is a whole “diet industry sub-culture” grown up around the acid-alkali thing, and there are a lot of companies selling supplements and products designed to help you ‘get alkaline’.

This keeps coming up, and I keep meaning to write about it, so I thought I’d address it properly, once and for all.

I’ll keep this as short and non-scientific as I can, I hope that helps keep things clear and simple.

Alkalizing

We hear all this talk of “You eat the wrong foods and your body will be too acidic.” The people promoting this stuff say that your body will be too acidic, they promote dark field microscopy, suggesting that you should pay hundreds of pounds for a ‘live blood test’ and they often will say they can see acid in your blood. They tell you this leads to everything from osteoporosis to diabetes to heart disease and cancer, and they often say the cause is eating animal products, meat and dairy.

These people need to define ‘your body’ when they say “your body will be too acidic.”

What bit of your body do they mean?

Your digestive system, the entire system, is acidic by default, from the entrance to your stomach right through to your anus. It needs to be acidic in order to foster the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Your stomach uses hydrochloric acid to break down your food, it’s just about one of the strongest forms of acid found naturally occurring anywhere on the planet. If your stomach was alkaline you would not be able to break down food properly (especially proteins); if your intestines were alkaline you would not be able to grow the enzymes (enzymes are a type of protein) that are required to complete digestion and pass the nutrients through your gut wall. So your entire digestive system, the largest energy-using system in your body, is acidic and needs to remain that way in order to be healthy.

Bones? They are alkaline, they are your body’s calcium deposits, you cannot make them acidic. If you had acidic bones you would find yourself in hospital with all kinds of problems going on.

Muscles? You cannot make them more acid or alkaline. Lactic acid builds up during hard exercise and then clears, this is completely normal.

Organs? Heart, brain, skin? If you tried to change the pH of your organs you would very probably die!

The only parts of your body which can change pH are the fluids. Obviously, blood is the most important and voluminous fluid in your body. (Everything is made of water, mostly, including your blood.) The pH of your blood is tightly controlled by a process called acid-base homeostasis. Your arterial blood (blood flowing away from the lungs, rich in oxygen) must be between pH 7.35 and pH 7.45. If it deviates from that by even 0.2, you’ll be dead in about 48 hours. So when these guys who sell dark field microscopy tell us “You can see the acid in your blood” and all this – they are talking garbage.

So controlling the “acidity in your body” really comes down to understanding the processes involved in regulating blood pH. If your blood becomes too acidic, you have a condition called acidosis and you will be very sick and hospitalized immediately.

Food

When we eat, the food is chewed in our mouths, crushed and swallowed. In our stomachs, it is further crushed and squashed and mashed up with hydrochloric acid. It moves out of the stomach into the duodenum, where bile salts are injected in, reducing the acidity considerably, then the pancreas does it’s funky stuff, spraying in insulin and other compounds. This mashed up, still quite acidic food then moves into the small intestine, then the lower intestine for slow absorption of the nutrients. As the nutrients pass through the gut wall, they are broken down into what is essentially glucose molecules, which are then taken by the blood to the liver, which is a bit like the ‘Royal Mail Sorting Office of your body’, figuring out what everything is and filing it away or sending it off to where it needs to go, on a molecular level.

Kidney function

As glucose molecules pass through your kidneys they enter little capsules called glomerular capsules which help filter your blood to pass waste into urine for elimination. (I’m keeping this is simple as possible guys!! Honest!!) At this point, these little capsules can monitor and influence blood pH. These glomerular capsules can and do influence and control acid-base homeostasis. If the blood is showing signs of acidity, this is where base (bicarbonate) can be used to maintain the correct pH.

The kidneys control quite a few useful processes in your body. As well as controlling acid-base homeostasis, they also control the balance of calcium and magnesium in your body, and the kidneys help regulate a number of metabolic processes involving sodium and calcium, essential for muscular contractions. So the kidneys do play a role in managing calcium in your body – your kidneys regulate the amount of calcium in your urine and to some degree some functions of the kidneys are connected to calcium-density within your bones.

It’s this measure of calcium in the urine that has driven a lot of the acid-alkaline diet idea. The foods you eat have some effect on the amount of calcium in your urine, and the theory has been build around testing these calcium levels and suggesting that they are indicative of a loss of bone mineral density.

Extra science detail here…

Blood pH is different in venous blood (blood heading back to the lungs, via the heart) as this is more acidic, full of waste (carbon dioxide). Your lungs also help balance your blood pH, pulling in more oxygen when required. When you exercise hard, as your muscles work hard they produce lactic acid (that feeling when your muscles ‘burn’ as you approach exhaustion) and in order for your blood to clear this acid away, you need more oxygen. Once you ease up the exercise, your lungs will keep working hard, bringing in oxygen to supply the muscles (this is called oxygen debt) to clear that lactic acid.

Now, when we eat foods, the glucose molecules that pass through the gut wall and into our blood, are ferried off to various places where they are required to provide energy to various cells to do various tasks within our bodies. Once those glucose molecules reach those cells, they enter the cell, and complete a chemical reaction, and the cell produces energy to do whatever function that cell is designed to do. From that chemical reaction, there is a little waste.

Acid ash

Think of it the same as the engine in your car. Fuel goes in, it’s broken down into tiny amounts, which go into cylinders (where the pistons are) and there it is burnt, or turned into energy, but there is a little bit of waste, that comes out of the exhaust pipe. The acid-alkaline folks tell us that certain foods we have eaten leave a waste ‘ash’ that is acidic, and certain foods leave a waste ash that is alkaline. This is broadly true, and whether or not the ash is acidic or alkaline is largely determined by the mineral content of the food eaten, and this is is completely normal and your body handles it constantly all day long.

That waste has to be removed from your body, carried away, and so it enters the bodies transport system – your blood. That is then when the blood flows through the kidneys, to the glomerular capsules described above, and this is where blood pH is maintained.

So, the amount of this ‘acid ash’ we hear about really is determined by the mineral content of the foods you eat. A high protein diet (think, steak for breakfast and dinner every day) and a diet high in grains (it’s those grains again!) is likely to have the most net-acid-producing effect on the body. There is a lot more detail to it all than this, but I am trying to keep this as super-simple as I can.

Having read all this, we can understand how the acid-alkaline diet idea started, but the reality is that studies show that there is actually no evidence that a diet high in protein and grains, leads to a loss of bone mineral density. In fact, in complete contradiction, studies show that high protein diets can actually support bone mineral density.

Alkalizing diet – just another fad

In my personal opinion, the bit where the major promoters of ‘alkaline diets’ have gone wrong, is taking it too far in terms of minute details. When they start telling you not to eat a banana or an apple because it’s acid forming…they have gone too far.

Why?

  • Bananas and apples are real, whole, fresh foods – compared to cigarettes, cola and a cream cake, you’ll be fine. Diet perfectionism be damned, it does more harm than good – Read more about diet perfectionism here: https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/09/18/avoiding-diet-perfectionism-and-the-trap-of-crippling-inaction/
  • These folks have mainly done their research using a method called PRAL – which stands for Potential Renal Acid Load. Basically, they measure acidity and mineral content in your pee as a marker to what your glomerular function is up to. If your pee is acidic or too high in calcium, they assume your body is flushing a lot of acid waste out. But as far as I can tell, many of the PRAL studies these people quote were done between 1995 and 2000 and did not single out a million other factors than can affect the body flushing out waste – such as emotional stress, physical workload and loads more besides. There can be many factors affecting the mineral content in your urine
  • PRAL is not an exact science. It’s not like they took 100 people and said “eat nothing but lemon’s for 1 week then we will test your pee”!!! Many foods leave detritus inside us for days, all sitting around washed in acid in our guts! I have written to several of the big name “alkaline diet” gurus in the Western world asking for more information, and not one has been prepared to explain to me the methodology of these lab tests. Some have written to me and privately rubbished PRAL as “fundamentally flawed research”

 

So in as brief a nutshell as I can, that’s what the acid-alkaline thing is all about.

Just stick to eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way. A sensible balanced diet, lots of fresh vegetables, some fruits, a balance of meat, oily fish and eggs, and a few nuts as snacks. Eat fresh whole foods, and you will be fine. My advice would be to ignore this silly “last 1% diet perfection” advice about “too many apples are acidic” – your only worry about too much fruit is the high sugar load, which might not help if you are trying to lose weight. Get the common sense scoop on fruit here. All vegetables are good for you, don’t pay too much attention to these folks and there “Acid-Alkaline” charts, that stuff is a distraction. Sure, some people will be intolerant to some plant foods, especially foods in the night shade family – such as tomatoes – but for most people, most vegetables are fine.

Don’t let these folks blind you with their sales and marketing ploys – they are telling you what’s wrong so you will buy their green superfood supplements…don’t get me started on that!!!!

In my personal opinion, most of the folks selling the green supplements are scare-mongering. If you live a healthy lifestyle, your body is amazing and will look after itself brilliantly. Mother Nature is so good at that stuff.

 

As always, questions and comments welcome, thanks all.

Stay healthy, stay happy.

 

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.

Read more

Changing how we think about ‘food as a treat’

Many people struggling to lose excess weight, need to change how they think of food as ‘a leisure activity’.

We parents must be so careful what we teach our kids about food. We must try not to teach them that sugary foods are ‘treats’. Such foods, consumed over decades, can have disastrous health consequences.

 

Learn more in this short video.

http://youtu.be/gDZ9_sfhRao

How much fruit should we eat?

We are all aware of the well publicized advice that we should eat lots of fruit and veg. However, many people get their ‘5-a-day’ predominantly from fruit, and not from vegetables. MotherNaturesDiet promotes eating twice as much veg as fruit, and I encourage people to keep fruit consumption to modest levels, depending on seasonal availability and climate.

This short video, just 5 minutes, explains in a bit more detail why it’s important not to eat too much fruit, and why we should ideally eat twice as much veg as fruit.

http://youtu.be/cUR1ESblOWg

Health warnings on foods containing sugar and artificial additives

Summary of this post:
• It took 40 years from when health warnings started to appear on packs of cigarettes, for lung cancer rates to start declining.
• Despite the known harmful effects, an alarming 1.3 billion people worldwide still smoke.
• Despite 2 decades of promoting ‘5-a-day’ less than 40% of the population of the UK actually eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day.
• If health warnings appeared on foods containing refined sugar and chemical additives now, it would likely take 40 years to arrest the present rise in obesity, diabetes and CHD.
• The only way to good health in our lifetimes, is to take personal responsibility NOW.

Read more

Beware of seemingly healthy options

Whenever I am travelling, I look at food that is available 'on the road' in my quest to try to help people make healthier choices.
This blog shows a classic example of how hard it can be to make the right choice.
This Vanilla Bean & Maple Syrup Smoothie caught my eye, the label design and the words, create the impression of a fairly healthy snack option.
SUMMARY of this post:
• This product is 10% protein, 17% fat and 48.5% sugar
• There are 11 teaspoons of sugar in this product
• There are so many calories in this small drink, that it would exceed the meal size for a number of calorie-controlled diet programs
• Beware the seemingly healthy options. Packaging can be deceiving, and indeed it is often purposefully designed to do just that
• The big companies pack sugar into everything
• If it has a label, you probably shouldn't eat it. Real food doesn't have a label

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

Over-coming a ‘sweet tooth’

Earlier, I found myself dipping a teaspoon into the jar of chocolate spread (kept in JUST for the kids you understand...and actually it wasn’t a teaspoon, it was my finger, but I was trying to sound civilized and sophisticated and not admit to behaving in a way that my mother would be ashamed of...) and thinking ‘Damn, why am I craving something sweet today? I thought that if I ate enough protein and fat, and ate plenty of good natural healthy food so that I wasn’t hungry, then I wouldn’t still crave sweet things…?’ and I was instantly agitated and cross with myself, and spent the next ten minutes beating myself up mentally for my own weakness.

To be clear, since I gave up grains and other starchy carbs, my cravings for sweet tastes have subsided a lot

Read more