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May/June 2018 Blog
”The best diet”?
A few months ago I mentioned a diet that I came across in a magazine that I thought for me was the ideal eating regime that we should all be trying to follow, the Pegan Diet. There are so many diets out there it can all become very confusing. But recently I came across a book authored by the person who first coined the term Pegan, Dr. Mark Hyman and who has recently published his book “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat”. It’s well worth a read and to study:
So in this blog I thought I’d explain more about the Pegan Diet and how it differs from other highly promoted diets.
PALEO Diet?:--this diet has a bit too much emphasis on meat and not enough on plants. It cuts out grains, beans, dairy, added sugars and processed foods and tends to be high on protein.
MEDITERRANEAN Diet?: allows grains and dairy and a little red wine and does not restrict any major food groups. It tends to be lower on protein, discourages red meat and emphasises fish and nuts.
VEGAN Diet?:--A diet with no meat, fish, eggs, milk or cheese. This makes it very difficult to obtain enough Omega 3 fats DHA & EPA. It's likely to be deficient in B12, iron, zinc, copper and Vit D. And it can't fully provide enough protein food, especially as a person gets older.
So, a PEGAN DIET:----
• suggests you eat mostly plants. Cover half your plate with vegetables/salad. Use a wide variety, but go easy on squash and sweet potatoes and especially white potatoes (these all have a high glycemic content)
Use some, but not a lot of fruit that is mainly low-glycemic: berries are best. Go easy on melons, bananas, and especially dried fruit. Prunes are an exception and are fairly low glycemic.
• Eat healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish, raw nuts & seeds, organic eggs and grass fed meat. Small amounts of cold-pressed avocado oil, walnut oil, macadamia & sesame seed oils are OK.
Avoid completely vegetable oils such as canola, rapeseed, soy, sunflower & corn.
• Limit or avoid dairy. Occasional yoghurt, kefir, grass-fed butter, ghee and cheeses are tolerated by some people. Try goat or sheep products instead of cow milk products.
• Try and avoid gluten and only eat it occasionally. Dr. Alessio Fasano from Harvard, the world's gluten expert and researcher, has shown that gluten damages the gut, even in non-gluten sensitive people! This means all gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, oats, barley and corn.
• Instead use small portions of black/brown rice, quinoa, teff, amaranth or buckwheat.
• Eat beans only occasionally. They cause digestive problems for many and are full of lectins and phytates that impair mineral absorption. Lentils are the safest to eat.
• Think of meat as a side dish and always eat it with plenty of veg or salad. Try to get grass fed meat.
• Eat fish that is not from fish farms. Avoid fish that are high in mercury eg. tuna, shark & swordfish, and salmon. Fish-farmed salmon has become quite toxic. Eat wild salmon (eg Alaskan), sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel.
• Try and eat organic food where possible to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, GMO foods etc.
• Avoid sugar and sweeteners completely.
Use lots of herbs for flavouring.
There you have it. But please read Dr. Hyman’s book if you want to know the scientific rational behind it all.
March/April 2018 Blog
Today’s BBC Headlines
It comes as no surprise when the headlines on the day of writing writing announced that “Mistakes made by the NHS in England could be a factor in more than 22,000 deaths a year.”
This is an immensely sad and disturbing fact of which most people are unaware. I have already written in one of my earlier blogs that the third leading cause of death, both in the U.K. and in the U.S., after cancer and heart disease, is medical error.
And the other desperately sad fact about all this is that the NHS pays out just under half of its annual budget on compensation (£56 billion last year) for these errors!!! No wonder the NHS is broke.
If these deaths had occurred in “Alternative Medicine” we would all have been closed down and outlawed years ago and labelled as snake oil doctors.
BUT the fact of the matter is that in Alternative Medicine in the last few years there have been NO DEATHS from the prescription of nutritional supplements, herbs or homeopathic remedies. I wonder why the BBC didn’t tell us that fact??!!
Even that wonderful herb kava kava, which has been banned in the U.K., has caused no deaths.
Prostate Cancer One of our well known British celebrities has just been operated on for cancer of the prostate. Being a cynic I just wonder whether the advice this person was given warranted an operation. Yes, it might have been had he ‘gone into retention’ and then an operation would have been necessary. But the PSA test that is routinely being done on men is known to be very unreliable and inaccurate. By all means get the blood test, but bear in mind that it can be a cause of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Many men are known to die with prostate cancer, but not from prostate cancer. They die of other causes.
If cancer has been diagnosed ‘watchful waiting’ is often the wisest course to adopt. Aggressive prostate cancer treatment frequently leads to incontinence or impotence.
But there is still a lot that can be done to prevent the condition from developing. The American Cancer Society researchers have said that “half of all cancers are caused by poor lifestyle”.--that includes poor diet, alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise, too much stress. If these have been eliminated also make sure you eliminate ALL sugar and food made with sugar from the diet. All cancers feed on sugar!
Include in your diet raw linseeds (flaxseeds), lots of broccoli and other cruciferous veg, green tea, Vit D3, lots of fish (not farmed), omega three fish oil, curcumin and pomegranate. Investigate use of the herb magnolia bark extract. There are lots of natural substances that help to prevent prostate cancer and these are some of the important ones.
January/February 2018 Blog
I learnt a very interesting lesson over the holiday. Just before Christmas one of our friends fractured her hip and had to stay in hospital over the holiday while she had a replacement.
This friend, aged 72, is fit and healthy, eats a healthy diet and takes lots of exercise. She was out walking with friends, slipped on a tree root and fell, braking her hip.
Why did her hip break? During her stay in hospital routine blood tests were carried out. She was found to be seriously deficient in Vit D!! So she has now been put on a Vit D + Calcium supplement.
This only goes to reinforce the advice, even the medical profession now give, that Vit D is an important supplement that most people would benefit from. The older we get the less we absorb through our skin from exposure to the sun. I have always advocated that everyone should take a Vit D3 supplement, especially during the six winter months of the year.
Research into Vit D in recent years has shown Vit D to be very important for many different reasons—not only to help absorb calcium to make strong bones.
It helps our immune system resist illness, coughs, colds, flu etc. It is now known to be important for prevention and treatment in cancers.
Vit D helps muscle strength in older adults, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, reduces the pain of fibromyalgia, helps reduce risk of pre-term labour and pre-eclampsia, reduces risk of depression and reduces risk for MS. There is even research from France that shows an adequate intake of Vit D reduces the risk for Alzheimer's. It also reduces the risk for Parkinson's Disease.
The Vit D3 form has been shown to be better than D2. 1,000 iu, or even 2,000iu, is recommended year-round for those who are older, have dark skin, don't go outside often, or wear clothing that covers most of the skin.
It is also recommended to give young children 400 IU daily.
If you are not taking a Vit D supplement, please consider doing so, even if you take no other supplements, it may be the most important supplement for you to take to protect your health in more ways than one.
Very recent research from Columbia University, in a very large study, has shown that there is yet another cause of osteoporosis leading to bone fractures. Exposure to air pollution gives rise to particulate matter, and causes systemic oxidative damage and inflammation which the researchers believe accelerates bone loss. This is similar to the particulate matter from smoking cigarettes that is already known to cause bone damage.
Life doesn't get any simpler or easier, does it?!
December 2017/January 2018 Blog
Here are some interesting ones: In the U.S. in 2015 nearly 444,000 people died from pharmaceutical drugs. In the same year there were no deaths from supplements or herbs. What does that say about the safety of modern medicine?
Apart from over-prescribing antibiotics for humans, one of the major sources of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance comes from animals for human consumption. Antibiotics are routinely used in animal feed to speed up growth and counteract poor hygiene and crowded living conditions that many animals are subjected to. Agricultural use of antibiotics is feeding and speeding up the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant bacteria also accumulate in manure that is then spread on fields and enters waterways, allowing the drug-resistant bacteria to spread far and wide and ultimately back up the food chain to your dinner plate. You can see how easily antibiotic resistance spreads, via the food you eat.
The answer is to try and eat grass-fed, organically raised meats and animal products, as well as organic fruit & veg.
”The End of Alzheimer’s”
I’ve now had a chance to read and study this amazing and revealing book by Dr. Dale Bredesen. He has been researching this subject for the last 30 years and his book summarises the causes and his treatment plans. He is a Professor of Neurology at the University of California and is well qualified to understand the mechanisms behind the causes and successful treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Dr Bredesen and his team have identified the many potential factors or abnormalities that contribute to cognitive decline. They have identified thirty-six so far. He likens them to holes in a roof and says that in order to reverse these problems and help the person become well again, most of these 36 factors need treating. And he has become amazingly successful in reversing a high percentage of his patients, some even returning to work!!
In the book you can read about the lab tests he carries out to determine these ‘holes’ in the roof. Having identified the causes he can then individualise each person’s treatment. Everyone has different lab results and hence a different treatment plan. All his treatments are unique and personalised according to that person's physiology and lab results.
It is pure “naturopathy” he uses, identifying the causes and treating these using diet, lifestyle, detoxification, stress reduction and supplements. There will never be a drug that can cure this scourge of our modern society.
One important risk factor he underlines in his book are people who carry a certain gene—ApoE4. This is the strongest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. So knowing whether you have this particular gene (as I do!!) one can initiate a preventative programme to reduce the risk before symptoms appear. I can arrange a genetic test for this if you wish to know!