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 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.



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.


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!



Size Matters -Serialisation – Chapter Sixteen. Healthy food does not mean tasteless food


Chapter Sixteen – Healthy Food does not mean tasteless food.

There is no need to use rich, high-fat ingredients to produce interesting and tasty dishes. Although the supermarkets are packed with low-fat alternatives and sugar substitutes I have moved away from using these in recent years. I am not a fan of what I term Industrial Food which is mass produced and chemically enhanced. What I do believe in is a ‘Cook from Scratch’ approach to healthy eating.

The more I have researched food manufacturing standards – and the chemical additives that saturate most processed foods – the more I have reverted to using the real stuff, but just less of it.

I don’t have a problem with semi-skimmed milk or low-fat yoghurts although I buy whole fat varieties and organic when I do use them. I use olive oil for cooking and on bread, potatoes and salads so have no need for reduced fat alternatives, which are loaded with hydrogenated fats, more dangerous than eating the real stuff.

If you like butter then learn to use a scrape instead of half a pound and this is more about your willpower than the fat content. Use full fat cheddar but slice it thinly or just sprinkle some grated cheese on your pizza or potato. Your taste buds will change as you reduce the amount of fats, sugars and salt in your diet and you will be amazed at how sweet and salty you will find processed food after a very short time.

You need healthy fats for most of the processes within your body and certainly the mistaken advice of the 80s which turned us into a fatphobic generation and carbohydrate addicts is one of the main reasons we are facing the obesity crisis today.

Use herbs, spices and basic salt and pepper seasoning to ensure that the food that you eat is tasty. Do not forget however; if you suffer from high blood pressure you need to cut back your salt to around one level teaspoon a day across all your meals. This means that you definitely should not eat any industrially prepared foods.


This is another area where you can gain weight-saving advantages simply by making your own sauces from natural ingredients. There is so much sugar in prepared sauces that you might as well sit down with a bag of sugar and a dessertspoon and work your way through it.

Make your own pasta sauces with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, red peppers and 10 ml olive oil. Season with Mediterranean herbs like basil and you will have produced a low fat and low sugar version that would delight any Italian.

Pasta and Rice

Please use whole grain pasta and brown rice as so many of the essential nutrients are removed from white starchy foods during processing. In fact, with white rice they have to re-fortify with B-vitamins after removing all the natural stuff. Brown rice is wonderfully nutty and full of fibre and health benefits.

You will see some ideas for portion sizes for these carbohydrates in the section on designing your own programme in the link at the end of the post, but if you add lots of fresh steamed vegetables to your dish you will find that there is more than enough on your plate.

Jams and marmalades

There is no getting away from it; jams and marmalades have lots of sugar in them. Eating them once in a while is fine but try and use a mashed banana, sliced tomato, sliced egg or a little honey instead. If you are going to have marmalade on your toast in the morning then have a scrape of butter and a teaspoon of the spread. If you are exercising and following the eating programme at least 80% of the time you can afford to enjoy the taste of real strawberry jam or marmalade as part of it. Again, it is down to you and your willpower. You know what a teaspoon is and it is up to you to be sensible as after all it is your weight you are trying to lose not mine.

As an alternative to jams and marmalades you might like to adopt one of the typical breakfasts here in Spain.

Most of us associate a continental breakfast with breads, butter and jams or perhaps sliced meats and cheese. However, here is Spain a very common breakfast or mid-morning snack is Toasted bread with olive oil and a spread made from tomatoes.


It is something we eat frequently when we are out for coffee instead of something sweet and because I usually do not eat traditional breakfast now at 8.00 in the morning breaking my fast at 11.00 or 12.00 suits me better. Over the years I have developed various recipes for this simple dish and it is so easy to whip up and so packed with nutrients that I thought you might like to find out more about it.

Although the dish is really easy to make and serve, it is absolutely packed with nutrients that work on so many levels in your body and benefit virtually every major organ, your skeleton and your immune system. Tomatoes, onions, Garlic, Red Peppers and olive oil. Mega nutritious and delicious.

You can make several days’ worth and store in an airtight container in the fridge. As there are no artificial additives and refined sugars it is a great alternative to other spreads and you can enjoy any time of the day. We have eaten in the evening for a supper from time to time.

I tend to use my own homemade Irish Soda bread which is yeast and sugar free. It can be a little crumbly but delicious with the tomatoes.

Basic Tomato recipe.

You will need one tomato per serving. Using up tomatoes that have gone a little soft is great and just wash and take out the central stem. Based on four tomatoes cut into cubes and put into a blender. Add 1 dessertspoon of Extra Virgin Olive oil and a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of mild pimiento powder. Blend until a puree. The skin of the tomatoes will solidify the mix so scrape into a dish or a storage container.

Red pepper addition with onion and garlic.

To make the tomato spread especially rich and also even more nutritionally dense chop up half a red pepper, half an onion and a clove of garlic and cook off with a little sunflower oil in a pan or in a microwave without oil but a little water for 10 minutes. Add to your tomatoes and blitz it all up together.

Take a fairly thick slice of either homemade wholegrain or from a bakery where it has been made on the supermarket premises (no additives) Toast both sides and then drizzle a little olive oil over the hot bread. Use a spoon and add a good amount of the tomato spread making sure that it covers all the top of the toast.


meat and fish

Red meat

If you are vegetarian then make sure that you are using an alternative to meat, such as tofu or some other fermented Soya protein, so that you are obtaining the B-vitamins. Eating lean red meat as part of your eating programme is absolutely fine as long as you cut off most of the spare fat before cooking. I advocate lots of variety and if you are eating chicken, turkey, salmon, white fish during the week that only leaves a couple of days to eat lamb and beef anyway. Use about 6 oz. uncooked weight – and grill or roast.

Fried foods

I know that many people like a traditional cooked breakfast. If you feel you really must occasionally indulge in one, try to make it lower in fat by grilling the bacon and poaching the egg. Ideally you should stay away from bacon, sausage and black pudding on a daily basis and regard as a Sunday special. Better choices are a poached egg on toast with sugar-free baked beans, or scrambled egg on toast with grilled tomatoes.

Grill or cook in the oven, rather than frying. You will soon find that you have lost your taste for all the fat you were eating and you will notice the flavour of the food much more.

You can also use a microwave. Most items can be cooked in this way, but make sure that you get the right cooking containers.

The unbeatable fruit salad

fruit and veg banner

There is much in the media about not eating too much fruit… I agree a diet that entirely comprises fruit is not going to give you the balanced diet that you need for health. However, fresh fruit that is in season has been part of the human diet since we first were able to pick it off the trees or bushes. That is a lot longer than the so called ‘guardians’ of our food intake have been. Fresh fruit as part of your daily diet is very important and is less calorific that drinking a large glass of the same fruit that has been juiced from four or five portions.

One of the most useful dishes I have eaten from childhood is fresh fruit salad. Growing up in South Africa enabled me to sample fresh peaches and grapes straight from the orchard or vine. The first time I made fruit salad for myself, I found it a bit of a chore, but after the first week I was hooked. I am going to give you the two versions that I enjoy the most, and they are really simple.

The fruit salad can be kept in the refrigerator in a large sealed container, and it will last for four or five days. I eat it for breakfast sometimes, or for a snack. It is also something to pick at when I am cooking dinner and feel tempted whilst waiting for the meal to be ready. Not only does it taste refreshing, but it is good for you. The apple juice is cleansing for the liver because of the pectin it contains and all the fruit has vitamins and fibre, which are essential in any healthy diet.

You can eat one or two small bowls day, and if you want a change you can top it with a yogurt. I often use as a supper and add a tablespoon of cooked brown rice to the mix with a yoghurt. You will find that the preparation time spent once or twice a week is the best half-hour you will ever invest in your diet.

Normal version

Two red and two green apples, a bunch of seedless grapes, one fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple chunks in fruit juice, two pears, six plums and two large oranges. Cut all the fruit into pieces and add to sufficient apple juice to cover it. I recommend that you use fresh squeezed juice if you can and if you do not have a juicer then try one from the supermarket fresh produce counter. You do not need to use much just enough to make sure the fruit is kept moist.

Soft version

Two peaches, one melon, a large punnet of strawberries, six plums, two mangoes, two papayas, a bunch of seedless grapes and four mandarin oranges. Cut into pieces and add to sufficient unsweetened juice to cover the fruit.

You can use whatever fruit you wish. This is your alternative to chocolate and biscuits. Its natural sweetness is easily processed by our bodies. Fruit still has a calorie value, but a breakfast bowl will only be about 100 calories and is ideal for a snack or extra filler if you are hungry.

There are other ways of using fruit in your everyday diet which are appetising and nutritious. As an alternative to fizzy, canned drinks, you can dilute fresh squeezed juices with sparkling mineral water.

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001 – 2015

You can find the previous fifteen chapters in the directory.

I hope that you are finding the posts useful and if you have any questions please put into the comments section. If you would like to ask a question offline then happy to help via

Thanks for dropping by.



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.

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.


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.

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)

images and






Candida Albicans – Alcohol and Sugars – Your liver’s health comes first.

Today a brief summary of the sugars in our diet and the similarity between sugar’s effect on the body, and that of ethanol, the active ingredient in alcohol beverages. Candida is a yeast and thrives on sugars – but the worst offenders are not natural sugars but those contained within our processed foods. To understand the role of these sugars you need to become aware of the impact of every mouthful you ingest on one of the most important organs of the body including the liver which is the guardian of our health.

I have mentioned the liver before in relation to cholesterol but it is very important that you develop an understanding of the vital role it plays in maintaining your health and learn to respect it.

We tend to eat and drink mindlessly – it is all about the taste and the immediate gratification or even high. When we are young we rarely think of long-term consequences of our actions. However, our over consumption of sugars in our daily diet and the current binge drinking culture in some of our countries, is going to manifest in a great many health problems. Not just those in middle to old age, but for a younger and younger generation.

I am talking about 10 and 11 year olds who regularly consume 16oz or 24oz fizzy drinks showing signs of liver disease, normally associated with alcoholics. Young people buying cheap spirits to drink before heading out for a night out resulting in high levels of hospital admissions for serious liver disease. Add in the rapid rise in obesity, heart disease, dementia and other related lifestyle related health issues, and we have the potential for a perfect storm.

Liver in Torso

Why is your liver so important?

The liver is the largest and heaviest gland in the body weighing around 1.5kg. It is a multitasking organ that is capable of around 500 functions. It is also the only organ in the body capable of regenerating itself provided it has been taken care of.

However, since we live in a modern age with a diet full of preservatives in our food, toxins in the food chain, excess sugar, alcohol and lousy fats, keeping our liver functioning well requires attention to both diet and lifestyle.

Without this firewall in your body you would die very quickly. Here are just a few of its many tasks that it carries out every single moment of the day.

  • It stores extra blood in case you need it in an emergency.
  • Stores Vitamins, minerals and sugars that are timed released.
  • It maintains the electrolyte balance in your blood so that minerals, such as calcium and potassium, maintain a healthy heart beat.
  • It processes fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E.
  • Helps maintain a healthy hormone balance. Too much sugar causes a sex hormone binding globulin to shut down causing an imbalance leading to skin problems, infertility, impotence and heart disease.
  • The liver is part of the bile management system that helps break down fats that your consume.
  • Waste removal from the body is crucial otherwise toxins accumulate in the system leading to disease and death.
  • If you liver is not functioning you will be more prone to infections and recovery time will be impaired.

If your liver develops scarring resulting from cirrhosis a common outcome of heavy drinking, all of the above functions with be severely compromised and you are likely to suffer from an earlier death than you had hoped. One of the devastating effects is on the brain, plaque in the blood vessels resulting in vascular dementia.

What happens to the liver when you consume either ethanol or sugar?

Studies have shown that the liver reacts in a very similar way to Ethanol (Alcohol consumption) and Fructose (sugars)

A major role of the liver is to keep blood sugar stable. Without the liver you could suffer from Diabetes. Even one fizzy drink a day can raise your risk of developing diabetes by 1%.

Sugar is composed of two molecules … glucose and fructose.

Glucose can be metabolized by all the cells of the body but the only organ that can process fructose is the liver. It turns any excess into glycogen which is stored until needed.

Unfortunately today with the high level of sugars we are consuming most of our livers are full of glycogen and unless you are extremely active and are utilising the stores, any fructose will be turned into fat – hence our epidemic obesity rates.

The fat that is released into the blood stream is in the form of triglycerides – but some remains in the organ contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This results in inflammation within the organ and if not reversed by changes in diet and lifestyle can lead to fibrosis causing early signs of scarring. Further into the cycle and you will develop full blown cirrhosis with excess scarring and the real danger of liver failure. The liver cannot regenerate scarred tissue at that point and even changes in diet and lifestyle will not be effective.

At some point if not reversed your liver will also become insulin resistant – levels of insulin rise all over your body resulting in the pancreas failing to secrete enough insulin to drive blood glucose into the cells, causing high blood sugar levels and diabetes.

Should you eat fruit and drink alcohol if you have an overgrowth of Candida?

There is little evidence to suggest that natural fructose in the form of fruit, eaten as part of a balanced diet is going to cause you problems with your liver.

However, if you have a Candida overgrowth, I do suggest that you limit your intake of fruit to two pieces a day of the lowest fructose content. This way you will obtain all the benefits for your immune system without giving too much to the fungus. Increase your vegetable intake instead, particularly of dark green varieties such as broccoli and spinach.

Certain fruits have lower fructose content and here are some suggestions:-

lemons and limesLime and Lemons (great with hot water first thing in the morning) – cranberries (on your cereal) – Slice of Cantaloupe melon – raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, strawberries, grapefruit.

I firmly believe that even the higher fructose fruits must play a part in our recovery from a severe overgrowth but I tend to recommend that you introduce a couple of bananas a week by week three and also some citrus in the form of mandarins or a medium orange.

If you are not taking in any other sugars in processed foods in the form of cakes, sweets, chocolate and biscuits, please do not exclude fruit from your diet.

When you have reduced your levels of the overgrowth then maintaining that level is important – eating the occasional piece of dark chocolate and enjoying all fruits is healthy.

As to alcohol – if you have a severe overgrowth, I do recommend that you give up drinking for at least six weeks to give your liver a chance to recuperate and, if not under daily pressure, it will regenerate areas that are not scarred.

If and when you start drinking again – it is better to have one glass of good quality wine, spirit or beer (Guinness for example) per day rather than save it all up for the weekend and consume a bottle or several. That will simply overwhelm your liver and result in several days of feeling hung over and open to infections.

If you feel that your alcohol consumption is currently more than two glasses every day then you might think about the serious impact not just on your liver, but your long term health. If you feel that you cannot reduce your intake on your own then talk to your doctor as there are some counselling services that will work with you.

I have seen the devastation to body and mind that excess alcohol can deliver, including vascular dementia a subject for another day, and also the increasing pervasive nature of refined sugar in our processed diet. Please ask for help if you need it.

If you are the person who is shopping and cooking for others, then please take a long hard look at your shopping trolley and estimate the levels of processed sugars you are about to give them. Children in particular, will eat anything put in front of them and the younger you can re-educate their palate away from excess sugars the better.

The previous posts in the sugars and Candida series can be found here.

If you have any questions please put into the comments section or if you prefer you can contact me privately via the email in ‘about me’ – I do not charge fees and am more than happy to help in any way that I can if you have a health issue that is related.



The Cholesterol Myth – Carbohydrates – Not all are demons….

So far I hope that I have established that cholesterol is important for many areas of our health and that it is the LDL (low density lipoprotein) with its smaller particles, particularly when those particles are oxidized, that causes plaque build-up in the arteries.

This oxidation occurs when we have a diet high in white fat and white carbohydrates, sugar and indulge in activities such as smoking. Since the white fat diet is the most popular today – flavoured latte’s with muffins – cookies, high sugar white cereals, etc etc, the LDL levels of a great many people is going to cause health problems eventually.



Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies us with energy in the form of calories to the body. Along with proteins and fats they provide the human body with the main elements required to be healthy. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars (simple carbohydrates), starches (complex carbohydrates) and fibre. If you take the fibre out of the formula through over processing you are just left with the sugars.. These are intense and result in blood glucose fluctuations. You may have experienced this for yourself after a heavy lunch with lots of white rice followed by a rich and sugary dessert. You become light headed and feel faint requiring a top up around 4pm in the afternoon!

To lower cholesterol levels naturally you need to eat carbohydrates that have retained the fibre element as this helps absorb some of the sugars and prevent blood glucose fluctuations.

Carbohydrates are not the demons that some would make out. They have essential elements that are required to make the perfect fuel mix for our bodies.

However,our requirement for carbohydrates will change as we get older. When we are children and young adults our growing bodies require a supercharged fuel – carbohydrates are also needed in higher concentration during periods of high activity as you get older but should be allied to that particular period of exercise. When men and women pass through the mid-life change the requirement certainly drops but levels again depend on how active your life style is.

If someone is a total couch potato drifting from bed to table, table to car, car to desk, desk to car, car to sofa – then putting a high octane fuel into the body will simply be converted to fat. However, stopping all carbohydrates is wrong – there are certain nutrients and fibre within wholegrain carbohydrates that the body needs so that the chemical balance is maintained. Here is the link to Food Pharmacy – Brown Rice and this will show you what is actually removed from the grain.

As far as LDL cholesterol is concerned there is some evidence that a lower carbohydrate intake can decrease the numbers.  I think that this is likely to be because of the reduction of sugars when the carbohydrates usually consumed are white without the fibre and B-vitamins element. However, a certain amount of wholegrain carbohydrate with the fibre attached should still be eaten in certain quantities.

Going back to the last post on the liver – the organ that is vital in converting the carbohydrates into energy – keeping the liver healthy is extremely important and if it is working efficiently your carbohydrate uptake can be less but still effective.

I am afraid I do not class white carbohydrates as a food group – they are sugars pure and simple and most have little or no nutritional value. By the time the wholegrain has been stripped of its fibre, vitamin B and other nutrients to suit today’s palate you have nothing but white stodge on a plate. There are exceptions – those of an Italian origin have been eating white pasta made with a specific flour for generations but it is offset too by their love of olive oil, lots of tomatoes, onions and garlic etc which is actual the predominant part of their diet not the pasta.

It is important that the grain carbohydrates should be wholegrain – rice, wheat and oats. However, wheat is one of the newer grains and does not suit everybody’s digestion –


Gluten is a protein present in grains such as wheat, barley and rye and it can be very difficult for some people to digest. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that can ultimately badly damage the intestines. Having one parent or close relative with celiac disease your chances of being affected are around 1 in 25. An interesting study in China where the grain of choice is rice, has noted an increase in celiac disease and also the less severe gluten intolerance. There is some evidence to suggest that as more people adopt a western diet with industrially produced bread products they are developing this rarely reported reaction.

If you are reading this and you are an adult, have eaten wheat products all your life, have never suffered from prolonged bloating, stomach upsets and fatigue, then the chances are that you are not sensitive to gluten. If on the other hand you are suffering from these symptoms look at your food for the last few weeks and circle all items that contain wheat, especially industrially  processed.

I am personally better with home-made bread made from good quality organic flour than I am with commercial sliced bread of any kind which tends to have many more additives.

Back to carbohydrates.

Whatever age you are, if you are very active you can eat a diet of wholegrain carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats and plenty of vegetables with some fruit to obtain the nutrition needed for optimal fuel.

Breakfast – Porridge oats (buy guaranteed gluten free – they may be contaminated if milled in the same place as wheat) – or homemade muesli with nuts, seeds and a small amount of fruits – go easy on the dried fruit as it has higher concentration of sugars.

Oats contain soluble fibre and this works on your cholesterol in a couple of ways – If both your HDL and LDL are on the high side – the fibre will reduce the total absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream but it will also reduce the LDL cholesterol which is what you should be aiming for.   You need about 10 grams of soluble fibre a day and by having a bowl of porridge (6grams) and a banana (4 grams) you will have started the day well.

If you enjoy a cooked breakfast then one slice of wholegrain toast with a scrape of butter and a poached egg and perhaps a tomato…


Lunch – I medium potato with lots of green vegetables and some carrots or perhaps two tablespoons of brown rice with lean protein is all that is needed. If you enjoy pasta than buy a high quality italian variety or better still wholegrain.  Limit yourself to around 75gm and eat with lots of tomato sauce and onions. Avoid pies and other pastries unless you have made yourself with wholegrain flour and real butter (not margerine).

Supper -A bowl of homemade vegetable soup. A large salad with roast chicken. Salmon and green vegetables.  If you are going to be enjoying a night on the sofa and television the carbohydrate is not going anywhere except your waistline.

If you are working out three times a week then add another spoonful of wholegrain rice to your dinner the night before – eat a banana before your workout.

Other carbohydrates

nuts and seeds

Other foods to include with your carbohydrates are nuts and seeds – walnuts are great, beans, but only a handful, certain fruits such as apples (contain pectin which helps keep your bile ducts healthy) and prunes, and my favourite, banana, again not huge amounts but the fibre from all of these will not only help keep the LDL numbers in balance but also keep the bowels working and healthy.

Next time the greatest myth about cholesterol… that all fats are bad for you..

Here is part one and two in the cholesterol series.

©sallygeorginacronin Just Food for Health 2008