Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Digestive System -Candida Albicans – Mushrooms and Cheese


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I have lived with a severe overgrowth of Candida – I was only in my early 40’s but I felt so old – no system in my body seemed to be functioning efficiently, and it kept getting worse, however much sugar I put into my mouth for energy!!! 18 years ago, doctors who unfortunately were not all savvy about nutrition were not helpful. I was at my wits end until I managed to join the dots and researched Candida for myself.

As I mentioned in my last post it used to be the practice to come off all yeast and sugars, natural or otherwise and for six weeks or so follow a very rigid diet. I do think that it is a good idea to reduce the levels of your yeast in the diet simply because it comes in combination in so many processed foods with sugar, who as regular readers know, I consider to be the real cause behind so much of our ill health today.

Things have moved on – the fact is that most natural produce is absolutely fine to eat. This includes mushrooms which as a fungus are usually one of the first foods to be banned on a Candida Diet.

In the last 18 years I have experimented with natural ingredients in and out of my diet and I have found no reaction to mushrooms or any other natural food on my Candida levels. I have however, reacted quickly to drinking too much alcohol, eating cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, processed sauces, ketchup, soy sauce, milk chocolate with low cocoa content, processed cheap fruit juices etc. In the case of alcohol it is possibly the combination of yeast and sugar (or too many glasses) – and if you look at the ingredients of a great many processed foods it is the sugar content that is likely to be the main culprit.

I have some key indicators for a rise in levels of Candida overgrowth in my system. The inside of my ears begins to itch irritatingly and my eyes start watering. If I continue to consume sugars in excess I can develop thrush symptoms.

MUSHROOMS.

Mushrooms might be a fungus but they are also immune boosting foods and some are actively anti-candida. Mushrooms are on my Food Pharmacy list and I eat at least two or three times a week. Especially on a non-meat day as they have an impressive list of nutrients that make them a great alternative.

According to the ancient Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago, eating mushrooms granted you immortality. The pharaohs even went as far as to ban commoners from eating these delicious fungi but it was probably more to guarantee that they received an ample supply. Mushrooms have played a large role in the diet of many cultures and there is evidence that 3,000 years ago certain varieties of mushrooms were used in Chinese medicine and they still play a huge role in Chinese cuisine today.

There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of mushrooms growing around the modern world, with around 2,000 being edible. Of these, over 250 types of mushroom have been recognised as being medically active or therapeutic.

More and more research is indicating that certain varieties, such as Shitake and Maitake, have the overwhelming potential to cure cancer and AIDS and in Japan some of the extracts from mushrooms are already being used in mainstream medicine.

Apart from their medicinal properties, mushrooms are first and foremost an excellent food source. They are low in calories, high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and supply us with protein and fibre. They are versatile and they are easy to cook and blend with other ingredients on a daily basis. For vegetarians they provide not only protein but also the daily recommended amount of B12 a vitamin often lacking in a non-meat diet.

Mushrooms of all varieties will boost your immune system in the fight against Candida and are more beneficial in your diet than out of it.

MATURED CHEESE

cheese

Aged cheese is usually banned from a yeast free and sugar free diet but I have found no major problems when using as part of a balanced diet. It is unlikely that by the time the cheese has digested and reached the gut that it is in a form that is utilised by the fungus. Cheese on toast or cauliflower cheese once or twice a week should not cause you a problem and provides variety and nutrients to feed your body.

I do caution you however if you have a weight problem and are trying to lose weight.. A little cheese from time to time is okay but how many of us actually have that kind of restraint?  Also if you suffer from gallbladder disease you will have to monitor your fat intake carefully and you will find that cutting right back on cheese to a very occasional use to be the best option.

So, now you have bread still in your diet (yeast and sugar free such as Irish Soda Bread) and also mushrooms and cheese.

 tomatoes

If you would rather not wade through the list of nutrients and the foods that are the best source of them… Here is a shopping list that you are free to cut and paste that contains the foods that will provide the best source of a balanced diet. You will note that there are not many tins and jar or packets!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/a-basic-shopping-list-for-a-nutritionally-balanced-diet/

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – Reward System and Calories


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Successful weight loss does not just depend on the food you put in your mouth. It is a full on campaign that challenges your current reward system and requires project planning in the form of achievable goals and accurate measurements.

In this post –

More effective reward systems How many calories do you as an individual need each day? – How to create the deficit necessary to lose weight.

Firstly, please do not take yourself off any prescribed medication that you are on. If losing weight is going to affect either the dosage or your need for the drugs then you need to consult your doctor. Hopefully, with his support, in a few weeks or months’ time you will be able to reduce your dosage or come off them altogether.

The first topic today is about our inherent reward system. Most of us remember our parents saying “if you are good, you can have some sweeties” or ” if you eat all your dinner you can have dessert” In subsequent years most of us have refined this reward system to cover every eventuality!

I have had a lousy day; I deserve a bar of chocolate, glass or bottle of wine, a whole pizza to myself, a tub of Haagen Dazs (my particular favourite)

wine12

I have had a great day; I deserve a bar of chocolate, glass of bottle of wine etc. etc.

This is the problem I have with many slimming organisations that elevate certain foods to reward status that have little or no nutritional contribution to your daily requirements. They imply that you have been a good little girl or boy and deserve to have a little treat so that you don’t feel deprived.

Sorry, but we are grown-ups and we need to create a new reward system. Our long term health is at stake here!

Your task is to create a whole list of activities, events, purchases, gifts to yourself and others to celebrate the progress you make along the way. The only proviso is that they are not food related in any way.

For example. Activities that were uncomfortable for me at 24 stone (336lbs) included trips to the cinema, fitting into an airline seat to go on holiday, buying clothes from M&S, getting into normal width shoes, dancing with my husband, going on the big wheel at the funfair.

Mega for me was that I was unable to take a long, hot soak in a bathtub for over 10 years; unless there was a hoist and tackle on hand to get me back out again. I had to lose 90lbs before I could enjoy that wonderful indulgence and that was worth far more than a few bars of chocolate to me.

Achieving this type of goal becomes the reward and once you have accomplished that, you are very reluctant to let it go again.

So create your list, small rewards for your weekly progress, for each 14lbs, for a new dress size, for reducing your blood pressure to normal, to coming off pills for life…..

It won’t necessarily come easily but give it time and if you have a great support team in place they will be delighted to celebrate your success with you.

Measuring progress.

The second topic of the day is measuring your progress. I hate bathroom scales with a vengeance. They can sabotage a healthy eating programme as quick as anything. They are not always reliable, if old, the measurements are off and if you do not lose weight one week you can get demoralised and give up.

scales

I have a couple of alternatives that work for me. One is to take a photograph, full length of you today and stick it somewhere you see it every day. In 6 weeks’ time having been following your new regimen of natural unprocessed foods and got into an increased activity programme, take another and compare them.  This will show you where the inches have disappeared particularly in your face, chest and waist area.

Secondly, find an item of clothing that is a size too small and every week on the same day try it on. Keep going until you fit into it. A note here. Unfortunately, we women tend to lose weight from the top down usually. One of the reasons being is that we have different hips and thighs to men. We bear children and the fat in those regions would be used to nourish the baby when we are pregnant. So perhaps an idea would be to find a top of some kind or jacket to compare sizing for the first few weeks.

As for the scales! As far as weight is concerned I suggest that you find a chemist or other outlet that has accurate scales and visit every two to four weeks – same day and time if you can – on the way to work perhaps. I try to find one that is not programmed to shout the results across the shop floor! Some of these also have a blood pressure cuff so another measurement to check on a regular basis. Do still have your BP taken officially along with your LDL cholesterol levels and Blood Sugar with your doctor or the pharmacy after 6-8 weeks.

Calories

Yes, I know, you do have to balance the amount of calories that you are taking in with your expenditure in the form of activity. However, one of the ways to approach this is to think portion size. That means that when you are out for a meal you can still have what you enjoy, just less of it. Plates seem to have got much bigger than they used to be and the temptation is to fill them. Move your meals to a smaller size plate.

I have found that 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day to be the most effective way to lose weight. There are two schools of thought – one that if you eat constantly you put pressure on the liver as part of the digestive process, and the other which I subscribe to, is that by eating smaller portions several times a day you do not put stress on the digestive system or the liver, and that it enables your body to extract the nutrients continuously providing you with energy.

Be aware that if you are on a diet others around you will feel they need to be too.

You will find your own strategies that work but do be wary of becoming obsessed especially if you have a young family.  Teenagers, both boys as well as girls have become very much more body aware, especially with today’s celebrity culture and fad diet industry. How you behave towards food and your body will have an impact on them.

Intermittent Fasting.

I have found that the intermittent fasting approach to healthy eating suits me. I eat within an 8 hour window every day. I did it for a year and my weight dropped by about a stone and I felt great. Then we moved back to Ireland and we stayed with a family member for three months and I stopped.. I definitely noticed the difference.  I am now back to my 8 hour window and even in a few weeks feel very much fitter and with more energy.

I eat well in that 8 hours with breakfast, lunch, evening meal with two snacks. Never hungry and more importantly no sugar cravings.

The Power of One.

You also have to understand the power of ONE. We seemed to be programmed to eating two of everything – two pieces of toast and butter – two biscuits – two chocolates, one for now one for later, two or three roast potatoes etc. If you only have one piece of toast with some butter each day you will be saving around 200 calories a day. Over six weeks that relates to 2.5lbs. Multiply that by all of the food that you have in two’s and three’s and you will be surprised at the outcome. It can represent 4lbs to 6lbs a month.

You can find more details in the last post on the accumulative factor.. link is in the directory at the bottom of this post.

How many calories do you need each day?

Basal metabolic rate – BMR establishes the approximate calories your body needs to function. At rest, with your digestive system inactive. So basically, first thing in the morning when your organs have been idling, rather than fully functional. This is dependent on your age and gender and as we age our requirement for calories decreases which is why you need to make sure you are compensating by including plenty of activity.

The simplest thing is to give you a link so that you can establish according to your age and gender what the minimum calories your body requires. However, it is important to point out that whilst calories are vital, it is also critical that those calories be as nutritious as possible. Particularly, if you are planning on cutting down calorie intake to lose weight.

http://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html

For example my basal metabolic rate at 64 is 1457 calories per day. That is not taking into account the calories required to operate my digestive system, organs such as my brain and heart, lungs, liver and kidneys etc. If you are not desk bound, walking around, doing shopping, housework, etc. you will use about 100 calories per hour – in activity and operating the body. That will add about 500 calories per day.

Men use slightly more because of body mass so I use 2000 calories basic requirement for women and 2,300 for men.

I never drop calories for an individual to less than 1500 for women and 1800 for men per day. The key is then to make sure that all those calories are nutrient dense. To increase this requirement you need to add in activity. This is difficult for someone who is behind a computer all day – however, walking to work, up and down stairs, taking a 20 minute walk at lunchtime will help elevate the calorific requirement.

An easy way to increase activity levels and to add to your calorie deficit is to walk one mile a day at 3 miles an hour. Six days a week and you will have created a deficit of 600 calories a week.

How much would you lose per week?

If you require 2,000 calories per day BMR + normal activity – plus 100 calories from exercise minimum you will create an overall deficit of 600 calories per day – 4,100 per week. Each lb. of body fat is around 3,500 calories so you should lose in the region of 1.2lbs per week.

As you continue to lose weight your BMR will change slightly and since I do not recommend dropping below 1500 calories for a woman, your sensible option is to increase your activity level as you get fitter. Increase your pace gradually until you are completing your mile in 15 minutes not 20minutes. Walk for 2 miles per day in 30 minutes and you will be still able to lose weight consistently for several weeks.

For those who are over 3 stone overweight you will obviously have a higher BMR – for example a man who is 5ft 10inches and weighs 250lbs will have a BMR of 1992 calories per day. Add in normal activity his daily calorie requirement would be around 2,500 (a little more, carrying extra weight is an activity all on its own). In this instance – calories should be no less than 1900 per day with normal activity plus one walk providing the deficit to lose weight.

SUMMARY.

Work out your BMR requirement per day – add 500 and 100 calories for each mile you walk or the calorie deficit from your individual exercise activity.

To lose weight safely you do not want to drop below your BMR – if this means 1500 calories per day – they need to be nutrient dense not empty calories such as three chocolate bars.

To continue to lose weight healthily, as your BMR reduces slightly; increase your activity levels so that you are continually creating a deficit of around 500 – 750 calories per day.

This will create a weight loss of between 1.2lbs and 2lbs a week.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017- Weight Reduction – The Nutrient Shopping List


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Welcome to the next post in the Weight Reduction programme for 2017.  I do understand that these posts are quite long but we have a great deal to cover in the next three weeks. I hope you can bookmark to read when you have the time.

I mentioned in the first post in the series that whilst we might love to lose weight rapidly by munching on a couple of diet bars a day and a bowl of cabbage soup… our bodies would find that revolting… and will show their disdain for this industrial diet by becoming increasingly weaker and sicker.

The trick to losing weight consistently is not to give your body a fright. Most of us women have been dieting since our teens with a regular famine every few months whilst we try to retain our previous weight.  Unfortunately the body gets into the swing of things too. It recognises that it is about to enter another six week famine and decides to hang onto the stores that it already has. This is why we begin to set ourselves up for failure each time we embark on a crash diet. Not only that but once you do start eating normally, the weight piles back on with a bit extra because the body wants to replenish its stores.

This is why your shopping list is crucial so that whilst you might reduce your calorie intake to create a deficit in what your body might need on a dailty basis… it will be getting a rich infusion of nutrients which will reassure it… and encouraging it to give up its precious store of fat.

Do bear in mind that if you only need to lose a few pounds your body will also be concerned that its fat cells will drop too low.  Fat of the right kind plays a very important role in the health of all the major organs in the body including the brain. Cholesterol is in our bodies for a reason… it is an essential element in the production of hormones and if our fat intake and body fat reduce too low, hormone production stops.  Which is why young women with an eating disorder cease to menstruate.

The Shopping List for your weight reduction programme.

This is my shopping list and each week I try to find as much variety as I can amongst the seasonal foods.  There are two lists.. .one with the nutrients you need to be healthy and the foods that provide them.. The second list is those foods into their categories.. Please feel free to print off and use as a guideline.

Ancient man  had to trek miles in search of game and plant foods and they were opportunistic eaters, picking leaves, fruit and digging for roots when they found a patch that looked edible. However, we as modern humans tend to have a very narrow range of foods and this is partly down to supermarkets that stock up based on their bottom line. I expect like me that you have a shopping list for when you go to the supermarket and it seldom changes week to week unless you are entertaining. Some of you might have the approach that if it is Tuesday it is cottage pie and Friday it is cod and chips. As long as there is some fruit and lots of vegetables this will give you the basics.

N.B. You may be wondering when I am going to give you a list of approved breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options.  Well, I am not going to do that. If you have the following foods in your larder and fridge or freezer then you don’t need me to tell you what to eat.

I do however, suggest that you throw a few rules out regarding what is suitable food for various times of day. You can eat curry for breakfast if you wish.. or roast chicken… an omelette or porridge. The same applies for any of the meals.

Before the invention of the billion dollar industry that provides us with ‘Breakfast Cereal’ we would have eaten meats, cheese, bacon and eggs, soft boiled eggs, etc. depending on our circumstances.  Personally I am not adverse to finishing off leftovers from supper given a quick blast in the microwave….

However, I would like you to look at your shopping list in a slightly different way.

We usually compile our shopping list based on our preferences, tastes and sometimes pocket. But I have a slightly different method that you might find useful. The chemical interactions within our body that are essential for life – including the healthy functioning of our immune system – are only made possible by the raw ingredients in our diet. Even if you are having the occasional food fest, if your basic diet contains the right raw ingredients it won’t matter to your body. It is the everyday ingestion of sugars, Trans fats and white starches that cripple the system – I follow the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time your body is getting what it needs, 20% of the time you can have what your heart and taste buds would like too.

Here are the two different lists – the nutrients we need and then the foods that are some of the best sources for those nutrients.  You can ring the changes within the categories and it is best to eat when fruit is in season. We now have access to a great many varieties of exotic fruits that give added benefit to our diets including the powerhouse that is the Avocado.

On a personal level I have half an avocado and a whole cooked onion every day and some fruits and vegetables are so nutrient dense that you can have these as staples and add others to bring in variety and other nutrients.

vegetables

First the basic nutrients we need for energy and healthy functioning systems and organs.

Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,

Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.

Amino Acids –   Essential Fatty Acids – Bioflavonoids – very strong anti-oxidants.

Quite a few foods fall into several categories so I will give you the top sources within the groups- these are the foods that should make up your basic shopping with seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.

For example, spinach has Vitamin A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – I have included in the first group only. (Popeye knew what he was doing)

Vitamin A – carrots, red peppers, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, nectarines, peaches and spinach. Cashew nuts.

Vitamin B1 – Pineapple, watermelon, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, eggs, lean ham and pork.

B2 – All green leafy vegetables, fish, milk, wheat germ, liver and kidney

B3 Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wholegrain bread and cereals. Turkey, Salmon, tuna, and cheese.

B5 – Corn, Cauliflower, Brewer’s yeast, avocado, duck, soybeans, lobster and strawberries.

B6 – Walnuts, bananas, lamb

B9 (folate) – nuts, beans and dark green vegetables.

B12– offal, dairy, marmite,

Vitamin C – virtually all fruit and vegetables already mentioned but also blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, grapefruits, oranges and watercress.

Vitamin D – Eggs, tinned salmon – fresh and tinned herrings.

Vitamin E – almonds, maize, apples, onions, shell fish, sunflower oil.

Vitamin K– dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, eggs.

MINERALS

Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.

Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork

Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.

Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.

Iron– shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.

Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.

Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.

Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.

Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.

Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.

Sodium – usually enough in our food but no more than 1 level teaspoon a day.

Zinc– seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.

Essential fatty acids –

Omega 3– flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, dark green vegetables, poultry and salmon.

Omega 6 olive oil and some of the above.

Omega 9– avocado, olives, almonds.

Amino Acids – dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, soybeans, nuts and seeds.

The foods that supply these nutrients.

To ensure that you have everything in your basic diet to provide the nutrients you need your shopping list would look something like the following. Aim for at least 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day not five. I know that people say that they could not possibly manage that but view them separately.. An apple, tomato, carrot, rocket leaves, portion of cucumber, medium potato, handful of cabbage, large spoonful of broccoli over two meals. That would be a salad at lunchtime and some cooked vegetables at night with a piece of fruit as a snack.

If you eat these foods each week you will be providing your body with the basic nutrients it needs to be healthy – you can obviously add other foods when you are eating out or for variety. Do try and avoid processed packets of vegetables or salads. Pre-cut vegetables (lose a very high percentage of their nutrients) and make sauces from these fresh ingredients for pasta and rice dishes. Make your own whole grain pizza base with fresh toppings. You will notice the difference in flavour.

tomatoes

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (Frozen vegetables are fine and in fact I use often )

bananas

Fruit – Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. When in season – pineapples, apricots, cantaloupe melon, watermelon.

wholegrains

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – Weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. If you make your own bread then use wholegrain flour. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness.

salmon

Fish– Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals.

beef

Meat and poultry and Tofu– chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non-vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.

nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

eggs

Dairy and Eggs- milk (full fat), butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

olive oil

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff.

green tea

Tea, coffee, honey and extras

Fluids are very important and we all need to take in at least one to two litres per day depending on your personal circumstances.. this means water, not fizzy drinks or glasses or fruit juice or six cups of tea.  Whilst tea and coffee will add to your fluid intake and do contain anti-oxidants that are good for health, you cannot beat plain water as far as your body is concerned.  We have 25 percent humidity this week and I will be drinking more than usual otherwise headaches, skin dryness and brain fog take over.

Rather than spoonful’s of sugar on your cereal etc, try honey. Try and find a local honey to you but do remember it is still high in sugars. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. Cocoa is great with some hot milk before bed – antioxidants and melatonin in a cup.

I hope you find these shopping lists helpful and certainly if you do eat a diet that regularly includes these particular ingredients, you will go a long way to preventing dementia.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Size Matters Serialisation – Chapter Seven- Part One – Calories in, Fat in, Exercise it out.


41mynoqwwnl-_uy250_3Chapter seven of Size Matters is quite long so have split into two with the second part on Wednesday.. Faced with losing 150lbs. I knew that I had to form a project plan and then stick to it. I had a great deal more questions than answers 20 years ago and over the years and with more and more nutritional research available it is much easier today to get it right.

  1. Creating Your Own Plan

So now it is your turn. Weigh yourself. I hate bathroom scales with a vengeance. They can sabotage a healthy eating programme as quick as anything. They are not always reliable, if old, the measurements are off and if you do not lose weight one week you can get demoralised and give up. I suggest that you find a chemist or other outlet that has accurate scales and visit every two weeks – same day and time if you can – on the way to work perhaps. I try to find one that does not shout the results across the shop floor! Some of these also have a blood pressure cuff so another measurement to check on a regular basis. Do still have your BP taken officially along with your LDL cholesterol levels and Blood Sugar with your doctor or the pharmacy after 6–8 weeks.

To be honest, I find using a different method to measure progress can be more motivating. One is to take a photograph, full length of you today and stick it somewhere you see it every day. In 6 weeks’ time having been following your new regimen of natural unprocessed foods and got into an increased activity programme, take another and compare them.

Another option is to find an item of clothing that is a size too small and every week on the same day, try it on. Keep going until you fit into it. A note here, unfortunately, we women lose weight from the top down usually. One of the reasons being is that we have different hips and thighs to men. We bear children and the fat in those regions would be used to nourish the baby when we are pregnant. So perhaps an idea would be to find a top of some kind or jacket to compare sizing for the first few weeks.

Determine your frame size and decide what weight you need to be by using the BMR calculator and the addition of normal activity and exercise per day. Remember: It is not healthy to lose masses of body weight too quickly. You can start to lose muscle instead of fat and that is not good in the long term. Having said that, if you are steadily increasing your activity level, you can sustain a healthy loss of 2–3 lbs. (1–1.5 kg) a week, because you are building muscle as you lose the fat.

Most one-dimensional diets work on the assumption that you walk three times a week for 20 minutes. This is hardly enough time to get out of breath! If you are walking for an hour every day, you will be achieving seven times that amount of exercise and will soon see the benefit in additional weight loss and toning. The weight loss will always be quicker at first, but, if you average it out over a 20–week period, it usually works out to 2.5 lbs. (1 kg) per week. You do not need to do the entire hour at once. Intensive and brisk walking for 20 minutes, three times a day can actually be more effective. Also, you are more likely to sustain the level of exercise in smaller segments. For me, I find that if I listen to rock music it keeps me at a good pace although does solicit some odd looks from passers-by.

As always, especially if you are very overweight, you should not launch into an aggressive exercise program without first talking to your medical adviser.

Without the use of technical equipment, and complex calculations, it is generally difficult to calculate an individual’s calorific usage during an hour of exercise. To keep it simple, I have listed only a few exercises and divided them into two main groups: Moderate and Heavy (see Chapter seventeen for the types of exercise and activity that will benefit you most).

Moderate exercise:

Walking, cycling and swimming. These use approximately 300 calories an hour. You should then add 10 calories for every 14 lbs. (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Heavy exercise:

Aerobics, mountain biking, running, and football. These use approximately 500 calories an hour. Here you need to add 20 calories for every 14 lbs. (6.5 kg) you are overweight.

Basic Summary:

  • Weigh yourself.
  • Determine your frame size.
  • Decide on your ideal weight.
  • Calculate the weight loss required to achieve this weight.
  • Determine the amount of calories you need each day to provide basic nutrition – BMR – then add in basic daily activity and exercise.
  • Without going below your BMR – around the 1500 calories for a woman and 1800 for a man – design your healthy eating programme to provide a 500 to 750 calorie deficit per day to achieve 1–2 lbs. weight loss per week.

You will find more details on how to work out how much you should weigh in the previous chapter.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/size-matters-serialisation-chapter-six-the-project-plan/

This is not exercise.. except for the bull who was never the same again!

This is not exercise.. except for the bull who was never the same again!

It is worth noting that some weeks you may lose less than in others. As you increase your activity level, you will be toning up and this will create more muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and so you may find that you have lost inches instead of pounds. However, in my experience, it usually seems to average out to about 2–2.5 lbs. (0.9–1.1 kg) per week. Think long term, and do not become too obsessed with the day-to-day loss of weight.

You will find a personal information sheet in the section on ‘Designing your own Program’ where you can record the information you have just calculated. However, before continuing, let’s get a few more questions out of the way.

How much fat should I eat each day?

At this point I think it is important to remember that our bodies have been evolving for a very long time – in a hundred thousand years our DNA will only have altered about ten times – I have said before that the body does not react to sudden changes very well! However, in the last 300 years and particularly the last 150 years since the industrial revolution we have thrown some curved balls at our bodies. Industrially produced foods with manufactured artificial ingredients is just one area where our nutritional needs are not being met – one of the others, which is the real demon in our diet, is refined sugars – addictive – available from birth to grave, within hand’s reach in shops, in our own fridges and store cupboards – and laboratory constructed fats to extend the sell-by-date on ready meals and other industrial foods in our daily diet. No wonder our bodies are in melt-down with increased health issues that lead to Heart disease, Cancers and Dementia. But back to fats …

We must not cut fats out of our diet – they have an essential role to play in our health and without fats and cholesterol our bodies will be open to infections, poor function in areas such as the brain, heart, reproductive system and our eyesight. I use the 80/20 rule with my diet because I have to be watch my weight – 20% of my diet comprises healthy fats – sometimes I will have more because I am out for a meal etc. but basically my everyday diet comprises mainly seasonal vegetables and fruit, whole grain rice, fish, chicken, red meat once a week, eggs, moderate dairy. No one person’s diet is the same and you have to find the perfect balance for you and this includes your fat intake – as long as it is not harmful fats.

Briefly, a quick look at the fats you are likely to encounter in your daily diet:

  • One fat to avoid all together is not naturally occurring at all and that is manufactured ‘Trans Fats” Liquid oil is hydrogenated to extend its shelf life but in the process Trans fatty acids are formed – found in most processed foods including margarines and snacks such as microwave popcorn etc.
  • The other fat type, which in large quantities is not helpful in maintaining cholesterol levels, is saturated fat – if there is too much in your diet it will raise your total Cholesterol as well as the unhealthy LDL. Mainly found in animal products but also some seafood. However, provided you are not eating the rich fat around a steak or roast every day, or eating a block of cheese three times a week, or a pound of butter on your spuds, you can enjoy what is very tasty component of your diet in moderation.
  • The fats classified as healthy fats are Monounsaturated fats – which lower total cholesterol and at the same time lower LDL and increase HDL – this is contained in nuts, like walnuts and olive oil.
  • Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL and these are found in salmon, soya, sunflower oils etc and have a very important component Omega-3 fatty acids. These can not only reduce your LDL and support HDL but are also very helpful in reducing blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. Even with people who have already suffered a heart attack including Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet reduces their risk of a fatal attack.
  • I love fish and living in Spain we are blessed with an abundance and variety so it is very easy to include oily fish at least three times a week. Some of the best for Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and Albacore Tuna.

Cholesterol is a natural occuring substance in the body which means that it needs to be there and is essential for health. One of the types of cholesterol has smaller particles and can become unhealthy when it is oxidised, usually because we have too much toxic sugars and industrially inserted additives in our diet.  For more information and how to reduce the LDL levels… here is the link

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cholesterol-2015/

153764507

At this point a word about cooking your healthy meals – Olive oil is great and recent research has indicated that you can use at a higher temperature to cook your steak or fish. For cooking you can use the unrefined olive oil which is cheaper, but if you are drizzling over vegetables and salad I recommend Extra Virgin Olive oil so that it has not been over processed – do not be tempted to use the light versions! Cook smart and steam bake your food – if you are eating steak put in the oven in a pan with a grid so that the excess fat drains off – if you fancy a little butter on your vegetables, why not – great taste.

A little more info on Olive Oil – great stuff – potent mix of anti-oxidants that can lower the LDL but leave the HDL untouched – obviously if you are overweight it does have a high fat and calorie count but much better to use the Extra Virgin version and get the health benefits than use the diet alternatives.

The greatest gift you can give your body and its cholesterol is to avoid eating manufactured store bought cakes, biscuits, crackers some cheap breads, pasta dishes etc. If you make your own from scratch using butter and eat occasionally you will get a better tasting and healthier alternative.

To summarise – do not take fats out of your diet – use fresh, natural ingredients in your cooking, use fats and oils in moderation, eat plenty of vegetables, seasonal fruits, whole grains, dairy and eggs.

To view the other six chapters please follow this link

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-serialisation/

If you have any questions please feel free to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com – very happy to help in any way that I can.

Please leave a comment or share.. best wishes Sally

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001 – 2015

Life Expectancy – Industrialised food and its effect on our longevity.


Tables and studies on life expectancy are only as good as the data provided. There are too many variables to take into consideration. Back in Victorian times for example there were many people who lived to over 80 or even 90 but because of the high infant mortality rate this brought down the average.

However, there is no doubt that there could be the beginning of a trend inthe reduction in average life expectancy, not just for women but also for men. And not only in the UK which is the subject of this article in the press but in the US and other countries in Europe.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3028113/Shock-fall-life-expectancy-women-60-Unhealthy-lifestyles-cuts-social-care-blamed-fall-decades.html

Those of us termed as ‘baby boomers’ are now reaching our 60s and 70s and there are factors within our lifetimes that have impacted our general health and therefore our life expectancy.

Whilst there is no doubt that in some cases medical advancements have kept pace with many diseases, there are some health issues that are silent killers. They go undetected until such time as the disease is so advanced it is too late to halt its progress. Most of these are lifestyle related. Increased obesity, cancer and dementia are the prime indicators of a population that is malnourished. This is not starvation related to food consumption but based on the nutritional content of the food we eat daily and our body relies on to be healthy.

images of food of 60s

The 60s saw the beginning of the processed food revolution that promised to cut a woman’s workload in half and make it so much easier to provide her family with inexpensive nourishing food.

I remember the first processed food that I was given as a teenager. Vesta beef curry which was a reconstituted dried concoction from several packets inside a very colourful box that depicted a place of steaming goodness. Well, anyone who ever ate a Vesta dried meal would have been very skilled to have produced anything so luscious and  they should have been done for false advertising.

Today’s industrially produced and readily available food is no different.. You might not have to add water to most of it to revive it but usually there are so many additives that it is just as unhealthy.

I do understand that a busy lifestyle with two parents working makes convenience and expense a priority, but it may well be a false economy since the cost in terms of our health is not so easily determined.  Increasingly we are putting our health into the hands of the industrialists whose aim is not the health of the nation, but their own share prices. They will be accessing the cheapest source of ingredients possible and researching colours and flavours that will give those components that fresh and healthy appearance.

The labelling has become smaller and smaller and who has time to read through a list of 30 ingredients?  That should be your first clue.  If you are going to eat convenience food then look at the labels and if you cannot recognise the majority of the ingredients then put back on the shelf.  Many of the large stores now have fresh prepared food counters that are a better choice as they will have been cooked from scratch in their own kitchens. Consider these as an option if you are pushed for time.

Various articles and reports indicate that 30 years ago the average consumption per year of refined sugar was around 10lbs. That figure is now in the region of 150lbs per year. Most of which is hidden sugar in everyday foods that we not only choose to eat ourselves but give to our children.

 index

In the article in the Daily Mail it quotes that the fall in life expectancy is five weeks. That is for someone over 60.. A mere blip perhaps and something we can safely ignore as the beginning of a trend. Or can we?

Those of us over 60 years old had a relatively low sugar diet in our childhood and teen years but what about the life expectancy of someone in their teens and 20s today? Just how much of an impact is 150lbs of sugar a year going to make on the length of their lives?

Another shocking fact is that the life expectancy for women in the UK is one of the worst in Europe. Perhaps whilst the politicians are fighting it out for the election next month they might focus on that rather than scoring points against each other in debates.

Our bodies require a complex formula to provide the nutrients it requires to keep us healthy.  Here are those nutrients and the foods need to provide them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/nutrient-directory-a-brief-overview-of-the-nutrients-we-need-and-the-foods-that-supply-them/

You will see that in fact a shopping trolley containing plenty of colourful and green vegetables, moderate amounts of fresh colourful fruits, wholegrains such as porridge oats and rice, at least one portion of lean protein a day will provide you with the majority of these nutrients.

As always I am very happy to answer any questions either here in the comment section or you can contact me directly at sally.cronin (at) moyhill.com

images surviveframe.com and green-mom.com

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Action Plan and shopping list.


sunshine

Over the last two posts on SAD we have been on a journey from the cave and the struggles of ancient man to survive the harsh winter cold with minimum access to light, food, heat and stimulation. On that journey we have explored the causes of modern man’s struggle to adapt to the modern world of technology and 24/7 light, noise and stimulation of all the senses. The solutions are not perfect but the areas that we have covered are the starting point to changing the way we look at both our bodies and how we manage the seasonal changes most of us face.

A quick recap – we need healthy amounts of Vitamin D from sunshine and some foods and healthy cholesterol to produce all hormones in our body. Tryptophan and B-vitamin rich foods to produce essential hormones in the brain – melatonin and serotonin. We have to eat these foods regularly throughout the day. Better to have 6 smaller meals of the right foods than starve all day and then have a big meal at night that cannot be digested and processed by the body. This regularity will also drip feed the essential nutrients into your body, keeping energy levels higher and the neurotransmitters in your brain firing on all cylinders. Avoid taking in high carbohydrate and sweet foods later at night. A cup of warm milk with a small teaspoon of honey before bed will help activate the melatonin to send you to sleep.

dancing

We need to exercise, (with music particularly) to stimulate the production of dopamine and activate our reward centres in the brain and we need the support, companionship and warmth of our clan – that is to say our family and close friends.  Having a dog that needs to be walked will not only encourage you to exercise all year around but also has added health benefits associated with caring for a pet.

I appreciate that for those working full-time it is difficult to establish a regular exercise pattern but if you really want to feel alive and vital through these next few months (Australians and South Africans are of course are exempt as they move into summer) then you are going to have to find ways to get outside during the daylight hours and get some exercise. So lunchtimes will have to be – 30 minutes brisk walk and then back for a protein, vegetable or salad, moderate carbohydrate lunch.

Filling your lungs with oxygen and maintaining flexibility are two very important factors as we age and if you suffer from arthritis or any other joint related disease, gentle but regular movement is essential.  (you will find a link to some breathing exercises at the end of the post)

flexibility

You can go to the gym, a swimming pool and if you do not have access to that sort of facility then buy a treadmill, second hand ones are quite reasonable, or simply put your favourite music on and dance like no-one is watching!!

INTERACTION WITH OTHERS

The clan would have worked together, sitting by the fires which produced the only light, telling stories, educating the young, working on the first tools and fashioning utensils from natural sources such as the autumn gourds. Even perhaps, making drums from those gourds and producing the first beats of music. I am sure that laughter was part of those dark days and nights as humour cannot just have developed in our modern world. The dynamics of the relationships within the clan can only be imagined because despite all the evidence found, we simply were not there!

The good news is that even if you are separated by thousands of miles or even a few hundred you can still keep in touch with your clan members and friends. The virtual cave we all live in now offers a wonderful opportunity to stay engaged with the world, learn new skills online, have conference calls via Skype, catch up with gossip on Twitter or Facebook and communicate. Keeping our brain exercised, eating a nutrient rich diet and taking a 30 minute brisk walk daily may keep us whole in body, mind and soul our entire lives.

I firmly believe that our bodies contain ancestral memory. And, because our DNA mutates so infrequently every 10,000 years or so, like instinctive behaviour in all animals, we do have deep seated and essential needs for certain foods, nutrients, activities, emotional connections and mental stimulation that we still must provide to be healthy physically and mentally and to be simply happy. However, you cannot just sit passively and wait for all these elements to come together magically. You have to grab with both hands and participate.

So you now have the components for the plan to make this winter healthier and mentally manageable.

I have given you the elements for the project – but you are the one who needs to put it into practice. It will not be easy to change habits of a lifetime, or get into a new routine with new foods having given up those you feel you get comfort from. However, many years ago I had to make those same decisions and now winter is simply a beautiful season that is to be enjoyed and not feared.

As an additional tool I have put together a shopping list with a difference. You can cut and paste in to your word documents and then print off to take with you next time you buy food.

market stallWHEN YOU SHOP FOR FOOD – BY A BAG OF VITAMIN A, C AND E – A BUNCH OF VITAMIN K AND A BAR OF ANTI-OXIDANTS!

Most of us make a shopping list based on our preferences, tastes and sometimes pocket. But I have a slightly different method that you might find useful. The chemical interactions within our body that are essential for life – including the healthy functioning of our immune system – are only made possible by the raw ingredients in our diet. Even if you are having the occasional food fest, if your basic diet contains the right raw ingredients it won’t matter to your body. It is the everyday ingestion of sugars, Trans fats and white starches that cripples the system – remember the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time your body is getting what it needs, 20% of the time you can have what your heart and taste buds would like too. Here are three lists – the nutrients we need – then the foods that are some of the best sources for those nutrients and then a basic shopping list that will provide your body with the raw ingredients for long term health.

FIRST THE BASIC NUTRIENTS WE NEED FOR ENERGY AND HEALTHY FUNCTIONING OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND ORGANS.

Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,
Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
Amino Acids –   Essential Fatty Acids – Bioflavonoids – very strong anti-oxidants.

BEST FOOD SOURCES FOR THOSE NUTRIENTS

Quite a few foods fall into several categories so I will give you the top sources within the groups- these are the foods that should make up your basic shopping with seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.

spinach

For example, spinach has Vitamin A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – I have included in the first group only. (Popeye knew what he was doing)
Vitamin A – carrots, red peppers, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, nectarines, peaches and spinach. Cashew nuts.
Vitamin B1 – Pineapple, watermelon, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, eggs, lean ham and pork.
B2 – All green leafy vegetables, fish, milk, wheat germ, liver and kidney
B3 – Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wholegrain bread and cereals. Turkey, Salmon, tuna, and cheese.
B5 – Corn, Cauliflower, Brewer’s yeast, avocado, duck, soybeans, lobster and strawberries.
B6 – Walnuts, bananas, lamb
B9 (folate) – nuts, beans and dark green vegetables.
B12 – offal, dairy, marmite,
Vitamin C – virtually all fruit and vegetables already mentioned but also blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, grapefruits, oranges and watercress.
Vitamin D – Eggs, tinned salmon – fresh and tinned herrings.
Vitamin E – almonds, maize, apples, onions, shell fish, sunflower oil.
Vitamin K – dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, eggs.

Scan-130611-0002

MINERALS
Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.
Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork
Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.
Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.
Iron – shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.
Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.
Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.
Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.
Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.
Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.
Sodium – usually enough in our food but no more than 1 level teaspoon a day.
Zinc– seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.

pumpkin seeds

Essential fatty acids –
Omega 3 – flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, dark green vegetables, poultry and salmon.
Omega 6 – olive oil and some of the above.
Omega 9 – avocado, olives, almonds.
Amino Acids – dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, soybeans, nuts and seeds.

THE SHOPPING LIST
To ensure that you have everything in your basic diet to provide the nutrients you need your shopping list would look something like the following. Aim for at least 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day not five. If you eat these foods each week you will be providing your body with the basic nutrients it needs to be healthy – you can obviously add other foods when you are eating out or for variety. Do try and avoid processed foods – pre-cut vegetables (lost high percentage of nutrients) and make sauces from these fresh ingredients for pasta and rice dishes. Make your own whole grain pizza base with fresh toppings. You will notice the difference in flavour.

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes.

Fruit – Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. When in season – pineapples, apricots, cantaloupe melon, watermelon.

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – Weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. If you make your own bread then use wholegrain flour. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness.

Fish – Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals.

Meat and poultry and Tofu- chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non-vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

Dairy and Eggs- milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff.

Honey and extras – rather than spoonfuls of sugar on your cereal etc, try honey. Try and find a local honey to you. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. Cocoa is great with some hot milk before bed – antioxidants and melatonin in a cup.

I know how devastating the effects of the dark months can be, not just on those who suffer the symptoms but for the people in their lives. Having read the last week or so of blogs, I hope you will find a new way of eating and living that will help you.

Here is the link to the last two SAD posts and one on the importance of breathing correctly.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/seasonal-affective-disorder/
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/holding-onto-your-marbles-and-the-gentle-detox-you-are-alive-so-you-must-be-breathing-right/

If you need any more information or need some help then you are very welcome to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Please leave your comments and also reblog if you feel that others might find this series of interest.

Thank you Sally