Trust Your Common Sense

 

By dla11

What a strange world we live in. Is it just me or did everything make more sense a few years ago? Now many things seem to be upside down and the wrong way round, as if we’d fallen through the looking glass with Alice. Do you hear stories and do a double take? Have your alarm bells been ringing? Does your common sense tell you that it’s not quite right?

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The media love to hype everything because they’re in the business of selling news; normal, happy times are no good to them. They’ve over-done the ‘crisis-of-the-day’ thing to the point of desensitising us. The day before yesterday is already old news, so the natural way we’ve lived for millennia won’t be promoted – there’s no money in it.

The headlines and narratives spewed out often misrepresent any underlying facts or even present the opposite. I think most people would be shocked by the lack of science behind the sound-bites and things ‘everyone knows….’

Technology has taken over and everything has an algorithm or worse, some (almost always wrong) predictive modelling. Fear is being used by governments to alter behaviour – we all know about the psychological nudge unit now. What percentage of the news we get is fake news? Who knows? Fact checkers do not check facts but are paid by those who benefit from promulgating their own position. People who stand up for the truth are erased from social media and whistle blowers are silenced. Scientists are not allowed to debate. Freedom of speech and of thought are things of the past.

It’s sad that we have to doubt all we hear from the media and government. But once you know some things are lies it makes you doubt everything else. It’s sad when conspiracy theories seem more sensible than the official narrative and sadder still when they come true.

So what can we be reasonably confident that we have been lied to about?

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat causes heart disease. No. A single, very poor (but highly promoted) American study decades ago ended up with the world believing that saturated fat causes heart disease and should be avoided. Actually, even the original study data really show that sugar is a problem, rather than fat, as an English Professor contested at the time and others have demonstrated since. Many, better studies over the years have shown that saturated fat is not a problem.

In fact dairy fats which are high in butyric acid (C4:0) and pentadecanoic acid (C15:0) have been shown to be protective against heart disease. What does eating cheese do to you? Lowers incidence of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Plus lower body weight, waist circumference and blood sugar (which of course are associated with these health problems). Plus higher HDL. And it’s delicious!!! Read a paper on cheese here.

Coconut oil is another healthy saturated fat and there’s nothing wrong with animal fats like lard and dripping either. (Actually, lard is mainly mono-unsaturated, like olive oil.)

The consequence of this misinformation has been the huge increase in consumption of vegetable oils like sunflower oil and this has driven today’s global obesity and diabetes crises plus many other diseases including cancer. We are harmed by too much omega 6.

Our Dietary Guidelines are still based on the old, flawed message because the panel that reviews them is made up of people linked to the food industry. It’s a bit like Europe’s nutriscore system that rates Nesquik (made mostly of sugar) as healthier than ham. Complete tripe!

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Sunshine

Going out in the sun without protection is dangerous. Not usually. A little sun exposure is good for us. During the recent heat-wave, temperatures were so high that staying out of the sun was very sensible. But over the last decade or so, we’ve been scared off getting any sunshine at all on our skin. This has been hugely detrimental.

Sunshine enables us to make vitamin D in our skin (providing you’ve got enough cholesterol in your body to make it from of course). One of the biggest risk factors for a bad covid outcome (other than age) is low vitamin D. Most people in Britain are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is protective against cancer and rates of all cancers have gone up since we shunned the sun – ironically including skin cancer. You need to be mindful of your own skin of course and it’s important not to overdo it and burn. Fair skin can make plenty in about 20 minutes daily (arms and legs exposed). Darker skins need more. Those who can’t or don’t go in the sun need vitamin D supplements. Suncreams mostly contain toxins (even those marketed for children) so, if you need to use one, read up about them and choose one that won’t poison you.

We also make nitric oxide in sunshine which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Sunlight stimulates our brain helping set our internal clocks to sleep well when it’s dark at night by making melatonin – and that is also a powerful antioxidant.

And of course, sunshine makes us happy!

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Healthy Diet

There is one healthy diet and everyone should eat the same way. No. We are not all the same. We have biochemical individuality. Ever go on a diet with a friend? Worked for one but not the other? It’s genetic and as a generalisation, the further north you go, the more meat and fat you need. Our populations have all been mixed up so you can experiment with different mixtures yourself or I can do a Metabolic Type Test for you. Only about 20% of the people in Britain suit the Eat Well Guide low-fat, moderate protein, heavy carb mixture.

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Calories, Fat and Weight

A calorie is a calorie. Not in terms of biological effect. The type of food you eat determines whether you gain or lose weight, not the number of calories.

Fat makes you fat. Generally no. Most types of fat do not cause weight gain. High omega 6 vegetable oils and sugar make you fat by triggering your storage mechanisms.

Eat less and move more for weight loss. No. By all means move more because it’s fantastic for your health but you cannot outrun a bad diet. Read this excellent piece in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

If you want to lose weight you don’t need to eat less, you need to eat better. That’s why I help people Learn to Eat Well!

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Meat

Meat is dangerous / gives you cancer. No. It’s dense in bio-available nutrients and is good for us. Processed food is dangerous and probably does cause cancer. Humans have eaten meat through the whole of history. Our non-communicable health problems are very new. But fake meat suddenly became the great way to make lots of money. It promises (erroneously) to save your health, save the animals and save the planet. It’s ultra-processed and made of ingredients that will damage your health like soya, omega 6 fats and chemicals, so steer well clear however much you’re bombarded with messages urging you to give up healthy, natural food and switch to factory-made artificial stuff.

See this 1min video on a Tweet from Frederik Leroy.

There is also a 3h interview with Frederik. I haven’t listened to all of that yet but it looks at the links between the campaigns to demonize meat-eating, the corporatization of the food system, the proliferation of chronic disease, biased nutritional science, global deficiencies and malnutrition, and animal-rights groups.

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Salt

You mustn’t have any salt. Well, we need some of that too. Processed food has too much. It would taste like the rubbish it is unless it was masked with lots of salt and sugar and chemicals. A little salt on home cooked food is a good thing – use natural sea salt or rock salt for diverse minerals to help keep your electrolytes balanced, rather than just sodium chloride from table salt. In a heatwave, you can make a solay (concentrated salt solution), keep it in a jar and add a teaspoon to your glass of water, plus a few crushed berries. Better than an isotonic sports drink full of sugar and chemicals.

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There’s more in this month’s Eat Well News, but for a blog post I’ve been on my soap box long enough (and don’t even get me started on anti-bacterial hand wash!) My hubby says I’m cynical. He’s right. And I think it’s a reasonable, self-protective stance all things considered.

So when your common sense alerts you to fake news – take all of it with a big pinch of salt!

Top tip – Whatever tripe they try to feed you, trust your common sense!

Hydration for a Heat Wave

As usual the weather forecast is filled with tales of heat down south. Here, it was 12 degrees, poured with rain and blew a gale as I wrote this but only a little while ago my plants were all wilting in a mini heat-wave. That’s British weather for you and one of the reasons why the standard ‘drink 2 litres of water a day’ message (invented by the sports’ drinks industry and not based on any science) is rubbish. The amount you need to drink depends on many factors including your physical activity and – what you eat.

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Drinking more in hot weather is helpful of course

– that is, water and herbal teas rather than coffee, tea, alcohol or fizzy drinks.

But you can also hydrate your body with wet food.

Dry food (like sandwiches and crisps) plus a drink don’t keep the water in your system as well as wet food.

Many raw vegetables have very high water content, up in the 90%s.

They also contain cellulose, a fibre that we can’t digest. This helps to hold the water for longer, like a sponge. Sticks of raw veg plus some meat, fish or cheese make a great packed lunch.

Try:

  • Cucumber 95-97%
  • Lettuce 96%
  • Celery 95%
  • Courgette 95%
  • Cabbage 93%
  • Cauliflower 92%
  • Alfalfa sprouts 90%
  • Carrots 88%

Most fruit is very sweet so you don’t want to gorge on that. The best is probably water melon at 95% water and extremely refreshing. For comparison, apples are about 85% and oranges about 70% water, both with much more sugar.

Soup is brilliant with blended soups having a greater effect than soups with pieces in a watery broth. When the weather is hot you can eat soup cold.

Here’s a link to 16 chilled soup recipes. I’ve made lettuce soup before and it’s delicious, but not had it cold.

And of course there’s vichyssoise

Here’s the BBC recipe from Vanessa Redgreave

Top tip – Eat some wet food!

Are you Malnourished?

It’s a growing trend for people to be over-fed and undernourished. How can this be?

Particularly with the modern trend of eating less fresh, home-cooked food, less fat and less or no meat and less fresh veg, deficiencies have increased in omega-3 fats, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin E, iodine and heart protective butter fats.

Other common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2.

Over 50% of the foods eaten in Britain are ultra-processed and lack goodness and the right fats needed to aid absorption.

People suffering from deficiencies in nutrients often don’t realise that these are the root of their problems. Signs can be subtle and brushed off or put down to other causes. They include tiredness, shortness of temper, aches and pains and low immune system leading to illness.

When you know provide your body with what it needs, you enjoy more energy and vibrant health.

The Food Industry Wins Again

Every few years, groups of doctors and nutritionists campaign for changes to benefit people’s health. Governments get enthused and prepare new rules. And then the food industry comes in and it all gets dropped as we’ve just seen this month. They are simply much more powerful.

The tragedy is that the consequences of eating bad food has broken the NHS. The high levels of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, cancer and Alzheimer’s are directly linked to diet. The opportunity to curb advertising and promotion of health damaging rubbish has been missed yet again and people will continue to die too young having suffered years of horrible diseases.

Grass Roots Approach

The Public Health Collaboration takes a grass roots approach which you can be part of.  (Lots of info on their website and YouTube channel.)

Since it is not currently possible to get policy level changes, we’re on the front line to change things for better health. We can eat well ourselves and spread the word among our family and friends.

Top tip: Encourage those you know and love to eat real food.

PS One of the things included in my Eat for a Better Life course is where to get key macro and micro nutrients.

Quote of the Month – Sweet Things

I hate sending the children to the Great House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross for the rest of the day.

Jane Austen

Persuasion ~1817

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For decades, they’ve defended sugar as a harmless substance that provides crucial energy. They claim all calories are the same, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

But as harmful as excess sugar is, I am firmly convinced that processed seed oils are exponentially worse — in my estimation a 10 times greater driver of chronic disease than sugar is.

Dr Mercola

Why Learn Recipes?

We all have meals we like, that we know how to make and that we eat again and again. It lets you work on autopilot and cook without having to think about how a new recipe will work or having to plan buying different ingredients.

Most people own several recipe books (not to mention the infinite selection online) but usually only make the same half a dozen different dishes.

When you’re well and life is running smoothly, it’s easy enough to plan a week, buy ingredients and experiment a little. That’s the time to learn some new recipes and embed them until it feels effortless to make them. But when there’s something upsetting your routine or you’re unwell as I have been this month (hence the brevity of this thought), it feels more of an effort to cook meals from scratch every day. That’s when it helps to have a few more options under your belt so you can still eat real food. Having some portions in the freezer from previous batch cooking sessions is really helpful too!

And of course simple basic cooking not needing a recipe at all can be quick and easy – grill a chop while boiling some potatoes and knocking up a salad. Together with your learned recipes you can end up with many, many choices you’re comfortable with instead of half a dozen.

What recipes to learn?

Variety is good for your body and eating the same things all the time can lead to problems. Include meals with red meat, white meat, different types of fish, different types of vegetables and salads, different types of starchy carbs, different herbs and spices.

Have a count and share with us how many different meals you cook with ease.

Top tip: Keep adding to your repertoire of learned recipes.

Does the Government Keep Britain Fat?

Good old Michael Moseley. He’s made another documentary to highlight how our government is more interested in the money and power of big corporations than taking strong action to help reverse the steep decline in the nation’s health and save the NHS from imminent collapse.

Here are a few points from Channel 4’s Who Made Britain Fat?{with my comments like this}.

We’ve seen 30 years of failed strategies.

{I think it’s longer than that. The introduction of the nutritional guidelines in the 80s was a failed strategy and the Government has repeatedly failed to deal with the obesity epidemic it caused. Actually there are examples from much longer ago too. In England we had attempts to prevent the sophistication (adulteration) of beer somewhere around the 11th century. In 1816 we had an act outlawing brewers just for possessing sugar.}

Where are we?

Over 1 million people were in hospital last year with complications from obesity.

Nearly 2/3 of the population is now overweight or obese.

In children, 1 in 7 are obese before reaching reception year.

That’s up from 1 in 10 only 2 years ago {a whopping 40% relative increase}.

A quarter of 10-11 year olds are obese.

Over 40% of 11-12 year olds are overweight or obese. {That’s nearly half!!!!}

We have 1 year olds with type 2 diabetes and 3 year olds with sleep apnoea. Some have non alcoholic fatty liver disease and will need liver transplants later.

{It’s shocking – but much more so because it was always avoidable.}

Government Policies

In 1992, the Government stated its aim to reduce obesity in “The Health of the Nation”. Since then there have been 689 policies. Obesity increased and is now 28%. Government spending on all this is huge – but still less than the advertising spend of just one of the fast food giants. {And there are a lot of junk food companies. Big business is significantly richer and more powerful than the Government.}

The Government has focussed on providing information to encourage customers to change their behaviour rather than impose restrictions on the food companies. It hasn’t worked.

They’ve also focussed on exercise – which is great for health but a poor way to lose weight. {The energy balance myth is a favourite of companies like CocaCola and the diet clubs. You cannot outrun a bad diet. Weigh loss is about hormone responses to different types of foods.}

Junk food companies use sports sponsorship to promote their products. It’s called ‘sports washing’. Forest Green Rovers is the first team to reject all fast food sponsorship.

[Sugar

As an aside, around the same time on Channel 5, Dr Amir Khan presented his Sugar Crash (How to Give up Sugar and Lose Weight). Obesity related health problems cost the country £27 billion a year. The recommendation is to eat no more than 30g added sugar a day but many people exceed this. Sugar is addictive, releasing dopamine and stimulating the same parts of the brain as hard drugs. Dr Amir did an experiment on himself by eating 170g of added sugar a day for 4 weeks. It affected his mood, bowels, waistline (gained 2.5kg).

He came off it cold turkey. His food tasted of nothing and he had terrible cravings – typical drug withdrawal. He said group support can be helpful. He was glad when he felt back to normal.]

Back to Micahel Mosley –

Food Environment

In Tower Hamlets there is a road known as ‘The Chicken Mile’ with 42 takeaway chicken shops for every secondary school.

Deprived areas have 5 times more fast food outlets than more affluent areas and the people suffer more obesity.

In the first half of 2021, takeaways were the fastest growing businesses {helped by the Government who left them open during lockdown when they shut so many other businesses}.

Supermarkets

In supermarkets, ~40% of the food we buy is on offer. Promotions make us spend 20% more than we would otherwise. Most of them are for unhealthy stuff. {When the marketing focusses on food products or drinks being ‘cool’ or ‘fun’ to eat or drink, you know they’re not going to boost your health and can expect them to do you harm.}

There are new regulations about promotions so supermarkets are working on ways to get round the regulations. They tempt us in every way possible with eye-level product placement, smells, end of aisle, checkout products. They’re also fighting against the next set of regulations.

Food Deliveries

And of course lockdown saw an unbelievable increase in food deliveries, with spending up 62%. It rocketed during covid but, worryingly, is not slowing down. People generally consume twice as many calories as they would with home cooking. It’s also very expensive. A man on the programme spent £400 one month. Sometimes he would buy 3 times in one day. The companies send offers on their app and he said it’s addictive.

GPs

Patients go to their doctors wanting bariatric surgery. They’re desperate.

GPs don’t feel equipped to offer dietary advice {they don’t get training on nutrition} or to talk about weight. Extra money given to GPs by Government is mainly used to refer patients to the diet clubs {where almost all of them will lose weight then regain it in the classic yo-yo cycle.}

What Does Work?

Leeds focussed on early years intervention in their Henry programme – and it worked. They reduced childhood obesity by 6.4% between 2009 and 2016. Families learn to cook together more. It was suspended during covid and child obesity has gone up 4% since. {Over 50% of the food eaten in Britain is ultra processed, lacking in nutrients and containing many health-damaging ingredients like vegetable (seed) oils, sugar and chemicals. When more food is prepared at home from fresh ingredients, it has a dramatic effect.}

{A snippet of my own recent experience

To make money, big businesses have altered our opinions and beliefs around what is fit to eat.

I’ve been to four events recently, a business meeting, a charity event, a Christening and a funeral. In each case the tables were laden with beige. Cakes, sandwiches, pies, pizza, things wrapped in pasty and things I couldn’t identify at all (most made in factories).

The events were great. The intent was sincere. The people were wonderful and being with them was a joy. The shops are full of these things and relentless advertising and product placement has normalised eating this way. But as long as we think that eating this way is fine, we’ll continue to suffer the misery of health conditions it causes: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, fatty liver etc etc.

It’s clear that the government lacks the will, the wit and the clout to stand up to the food giants and change things. It’s up to each individual to protect their own health. Ignore the junk-food shops you walk past in town. Delete the delivery apps. Take some real food when you go to a party. Staying slim and healthy has never been such hard work but you are well worth the effort.}

Top tip: Don’t let them make you fat!

Quote of the Month – Flawed Nutrition

It typically takes a lot longer for truth to become public knowledge than the finely orchestrated propaganda we are all exposed to on a daily basis, but eventually, truth tends to rise to the surface.

Dr Mercola

Butter is good

We’ve been scared off natural fats for decades based on a really shoddy study from America that made the food industry rich. Many better studies have shown that natural fats are good.

Seed oils are bad

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The now ubiquitous seed oils on the other hand are very, very bad.

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About 80% of what we see as doctors is in some way related to our collective modern lifestyles

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

This month Michael Moseley has exposed some of this on Channel 4’s Who Made Britain Fat?

Nearly 80% of the people hospitalised by the virus in America in 2020 were overweight or obese and it was a similarly significant risk factor here.

I doubt that the British government will ever come clean that they have been contributing to the chronic disease, misery and early death of the British people. I also doubt they are brave enough to put things right now, such is the power of Big Food.

I’ll end with this quote:

What if we focused on the ROOT CAUSE and used this pandemic as a catalyst for creating a healthier future?? We clearly have no problem with government overreach on how we live our lives all in the name of ‘health’ …..

What if we made the food that is making us sick illegal? What if we taxed processed food and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic? What if we incentivized health?

Jonathan Neman

CEO of Sweetgreen salad restaurant chain