Nutrition For Children

My daughter’s friend works in a children’s nursery locally to me. She suggested to the manager that it might be beneficial to the parents and staff, if they had some help with planning meals for the children and understanding what nutrition means for them. As we all know, feeding children nutritious food can be challenging! The mum’s were great and I have to hand it to them, they are really doing their best. It was great to see a good turn-out too. These mums really wanted to extend their knowledge.

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The variety of nutrients for a child is the same as for an adult, but some become more important. Adults need to maintain their health but children need to grow satisfactorily. Nutrition for both is vitally important but as adults, we can change little about our structure. Children are forming their structure, so for their future health and mental development, certain nutrients are paramount.

 

There are nine essential amino acids for building bodies

Growth requires building blocks and these come from proteins and fats. Proteins are made up of amino acids and there are nine which are essential – the body cannot make them so they must be taken in the diet. There are another eleven that we need but the body can synthesize these. The essential amino acids are easily obtained from animal proteins, as they contain all nine together. Vegetarians must be aware that these are not present all together in vegetable proteins. Beans or nuts should be eaten with grains at the same meal for all to be present. Better still, dairy products and eggs should be a major part of the diet.

 

 Animal fats make hormones, line our cells and more

The fatty acids from fats are another vital component for our structure. They line our cells, supply much-needed cholesterol, contribute to our immune systems and make hormones to name a few. Quite apart from these physiological requirements, fats make food taste good. Our taste-buds have a purpose – of natural foods, they tell us what we need. Unfortunately, we can fool our taste-buds when all food groups are mixed together – as in a cake for example. They detect the fat and protein (eggs and butter) but get confused with the addition of carbohydrates (sugar and flour). That doesn’t mean we should never eat cake (perish the thought!). What we need to remember is that we can easily overeat these mixed foods, which can be detrimental to our health. If you try to overeat double cream – lovely though it is – you won’t be able to eat much or you will be sick! The body has these mechanisms in place to ensure that we stay healthy.

It is also worth remembering that butter or cheese mixed with well-cooked vegetables not only makes them taste better to a child, but also helps release nutrients and their uptake.

Animal fats contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D3, E and K2. These vitamins work together to channel minerals into bones and teeth. They allow absorption of calcium and other minerals, direct them to the skeleton and set the minerals into the bone. All of these stages are vital. Cheese has everything needed for this process. So simple!

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Carbohydrates can be included but they are not “essential”

Carbohydrates are the food group to be wary of. They are reduced to sugar by the body for easy absorption.  Children need energy but they will get some from fats. Including a few potatoes at dinner, a couple of slices of sourdough bread (easier to digest) for lunch, or a bowl of porridge with cream in the morning is fine. Please take care though – it is easy to add too many of these foods into the diet, leaving no room for those they really need. There are no essential carbohydrates.

 

Other foods

Vegetables are always difficult for children. To be honest, if they are eating meat, liver, fish and lots of animal fats, they will come to no harm without them. However, we want to get them used to eating some as they do have lots of nutrients for us. Cook them well, add butter or cheese, make pureed soups or a frittata.

Drinks can be an issue for children. Sweet fizzy drinks should not be introduced. Milk can be great for children but please buy organic, unhomogenised or preferably raw milk if you can find it. Encourage water drinking, very weak tea or at a push, very dilute apple juice.

The sun

Not food, but still nutrition. Let children play in the sun with no sunscreen and very little clothing for a while. They must not burn, but they will get a huge dose of vitamin D3 which no food can supply. Don’t be afraid of it – if there were no sun, there would be no us. We need it!

One last word, please buy organic food whenever possible. Children do not need pesticides, herbicides, antibiotic and hormone residues. They need nutritious, fresh, preferably local foods that will only do them good, not harm.

 

The Ins and Outs of Cholesterol

Firstly, let’s get some perspective on cholesterol. It is a “lipid” or type of fat that is needed deepfriedbutterby almost every cell in the body. Cholesterol has so many functions in the body that we can’t live without it and as we need so much, we manufacture (up to 75%) and recycle what is necessary in addition to what is eaten in the diet. Some of its functions are:  providing a lining inside our cells to allow the free flowing of nutrients in and waste products out; nerve insulation and brain function (the brain needs lots of cholesterol), producing bile, hormone production (including sex hormones), the formation of vitamin D3 in our skin in sunlight (UVB rays) and contributing to a healthy immune system. Low levels of blood cholesterol can indicate an underlying disease and needs investigation. (There is more here about the benefits of cholesterol to the body.)

“I can’t help saying “what’s next?”

We have been able to test the blood cholesterol levels since the early to middle of the twentieth century, but at that time and for many years subsequently, total cholesterol was the “important” factor. The upper limit for total cholesterol was decided upon but then changed in the 1990s. Since then, many more things have changed. The ratio of high-density lipoprotein (hdl or so-called “good” cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein (ldl or so-called “bad” cholesterol) became vital.  Then someone decided that, actually, it was the ratio between hdl, ldl and triglycerides (another blood fat) that was important. Moving rapidly on – today the important thing is the ratio between the two types of bad cholesterol and that’s where we are now. I told myself I would try not to put too much of my own slant on these facts, but I can’t help saying “what’s next”? We thought we knew the facts about illness 100 years ago and 50 years ago…and we think the same now. This is why I believe perspective is important when you are faced with health decisions. Our ancestors had no idea what their cholesterols were – they didn’t need to because when the correct diet is eaten, the body looks after itself – and they had no choice with their diet. They just ate what was available, which was a far cry from the diet we eat today. WE have not evolved sufficiently for this diet and that is where the trouble lies.

Eating our modern diet has played havoc with our cholesterol levels and there is no doubt that this disruption is harmful. Total cholesterol is not a good indicator of potential heart file0001982270186disease but raised triglycerides are. It has been shown that the two types of ldl particles are important – one being light and fluffy and the other being small and dense. The light fluffy ldl is not a problem at all, but the small dense type is the problem associated with heart disease as it creates inflammation in the body – and the body does not like inflammation. In the arteries (or anywhere for that matter), inflammation will summon all the repair mechanisms at its disposal – including cholesterol and then BINGO! Long-term, cardio-vascular disease will ensue.

A total cholesterol reading can only ever be a guide so if you have been advised that you should see a doctor regarding your test it would be a very good idea to ask if you can have your triglycerides and the two types of ldl particles differentiated.  Worth a mention – half of first-time heart attack patients have total cholesterol levels within the normal range. What does that lead you to think?

Be mindful that, due to the body’s great need for cholesterol, it will manufacture it from any food you eat. If you are supplying your body with the wrong building blocks, you may end up with the wrong stuff or the wrong ratios. I have met a vegan with “high cholesterol! NO animal fat in the diet.

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Cavemen Didn’t Eat Cornflakes

Do we actually need science to tell us how we got here or what we should eat today? My view is that the evidence is embedded within our history and it doesn’t need to be proved. WE ARE HERE! That said, everything I write here is backed by science and is referenced. The trouble with this sort of research is that it won’t make anyone rich, so it remains buried for the most part.

P1140137We are uniquely equipped for life in our world. Evolution has ensured that we are a finely honed animal species – capable of evaluating and responding to a multitude of stimuli.  There are numerous mechanisms in place, within and beyond our control, to ensure survival. Here are a few:

  1. Insulin production in the pancreas.  This preserved our lives thousands of years ago by storing a surplus of available carbohydrates (fruit or honey maybe) as fat reserves. Today however, the very same hormone is killing us. We now store far too much glucose which results from carbohydrate digestion – and we store it (in part) as fat, which never has a chance to be used up. Obesity and diabetes can result with all the health issues that accompany these illnesses.
  2. The Omega fatty acids – the balance of these ensures that we can deal with a microbial attack by providing inflammation and anti-inflammation.
  3. Cholesterol – the balance of hdl (“good” cholesterol) and ldl (“bad” cholesterol) ensures that we can form hormones (including the “new” pre-steroid hormone Vitamin D), line our cells, repair damage to our bodies and more. Cholesterol is so important that we not only manufacture it, but we also recycle it.
  4. The starvation sequence – every stage of this is designed to preserve life. Low calorie diets fire up this reaction.
  5. Thirst, to ensure we stay hydrated.
  6. Hunger, to ensure that we obtain the necessary nutrients.
  7. Sensing heat and cold, to ensure that we take measures to control our temperatures.
  8. Sensing pain, to tell us that the woolly mammoth is standing on our foot!

We take them as a given – no one would argue this. They are, by and large, proven and accepted by all -  health professionals,  scientists and the general public So why do we choose to either ignore these instincts or fight them? For example, we only think that we have done enough if we have endured some discomfort or even pain when we exercise. Evolution tells us to STOP when this happens.

Why must we employ our brains when their use is unnecessary? We think we’re so clever, outdoing nature but in reality we are creating problems for ourselves or even making ourselves ill. Instincts are ignored at our peril – we must listen to our bodies.

001_3Genetically, we are still programmed for the diet we ate 10,000 years ago. People living at that time did not have dieticians, the internet or governments to tell them what they should eat, when they should eat it or how much they should eat. Consider this; wild animals don’t need this help; they just get on with it, responding to their instinctive needs – and, interestingly, neither do they generally suffer chronic illness, but domestic animals do. I’ll leave that one for another time but of course, it involves us!

The diet we are programmed for is the hunter-gatherer diet. What was good for us then is good for us now. Taste buds were the only guide to the foods that contained the necessary nutrients in a form that would be easy to absorb.

Imagine that you knew nothing of nutrition. You are stranded in the wilderness and there is an abundance of plants and animals. You have fire to cook with, so how will you decide what to eat? You can try a few leaves and some grass but your taste buds will tell you in no uncertain terms that you do not have the correct digestive system to deal with these “foods”. There may be a few roots that you could dig up, but whilst they may be sweeter than the leaves, you still are unlikely to make a feast of them. Are you going to look for seeds or grain? You could starve by the time you have enough to make a meal for the family especially if it is spring time!  In any case, grain is indigestible without lengthy preparation and really only became a part of everyday food when we settled into a life of farming 10,000 years ago. Corn did not exist as it does today – it is “man-made” – so don’t waste your time looking for it! (Dairy foods were introduced soon after this time, but that’s another story too.)

Now you see a duck swimming on a river. If you accurately throw a hefty stone at it (my apologies to the vegetarians but I am trying to create a realistic scene), you have a meal. After removing the feathers and roasting it, even your sense of smell will tell you that this is the real deal. Your digestive juices and enzymes prepare you for digestion even before you have even tasted it. This is nature working the way it should. The fat and skin are the most delicious (and nutritious) part of a duck and there is no way you are going to remove them before eating – as we are advised now.

IMG_2645If you had lobbed a rock at a wild pig for your meal, I think we might see the same dining-room scene as we see now – the whole family arguing over the last piece of crackling! In those times of course, they would have eaten the lot. Everything that was chewable and tasted good would have been eaten as waste was just not an option and organ meats are the most nutrient-dense part of the animal.

It is doubtful that our ancient ancestors had the sense of squeamishness that we do, because they ate what was available and did not have the preconceived ideas of what was not “nice”. This just means that they would have eaten lungs, kidneys, liver, gonads, eyes (great source of vitamin A), ears, brain and every other morsel possible.  They would all have tasted good but we are now conditioned, for many reasons, to consider these parts at best unhealthy (due to the BSE problem years ago) and at worst, disgusting!  It is a sad fact that we, in the Western World, now choose muscle meats over offal. Offal, historically and amongst primitive people today, was and is, highly prized as a magnificent source of nutrients. Now, we take frequent trips to the supermarket which means that we can have our choice of foods available all the time – in our fridges, or in cans and packets in our cupboards. Offal – even organic offal, is cheap.

Our conditioning is, at least in part, to blame for our confused taste buds. Children of the Inuit are used to the taste and texture of raw seal liver and relish it – because they have always had it. Our children gain the taste for baby rice – and just where does that lead? To a lifetime of seeking out simple, nutrient-poor carbohydrate foods at the expense of proper nutrient-dense food! How on earth did babies born 10,000 years ago manage without it?! Breast feeding would have been offered for longer than present day. I suspect that as teeth began to form, mothers would have partially chewed their baby’s food to make weaning easier – and that food would have been the full hunter-gatherer diet.

“When we eat cake, we unconsciously detect that some of the right nutrients are there. Mixing food groups together like this, our taste-buds are fooled.”

Nutritionists and dieticians are fond of blaming “processed foods” for the devastating effects on our health, but just what does that mean? Much processed food is made from poor quality ingredients combined and flavoured to make cheap food appealing to our confused, modern palates. Breakfast cereals and bread are highly processed foods – even if they do claim to be free of added chemicals. Remember too, that it is perfectly possible to use the best quality organic butter, flour, eggs and sugar to make a cake or biscuits. Does this make them better for us?  They taste good because we naturally like sweet things and fats (probably due stored information about breast milk). The fats that taste the best are the ones that have the most nutrients – animal fats, butter in this case, but when we eat cake, we unconsciously detect that some of the right nutrients are there. Mixing food groups together like this, fools our taste-buds. Even if margarine has been used, the less-than-pleasant taste is disguised with sugar and we happily have a second helping.

So, what’s on the menu for you in the wilderness? Exactly what we should be eating now 00067– meat, offal, fat, fish, shellfish, eggs, nuts, seeds (if they are a reasonable size and taste good), some leaves and a few roots, fruits when in season and honey once in a while. Fortunately we have evolved as omnivores which meant that during the times when our genetic diet was scarce, we could live for a while, on foods that were less nutrient-dense.This means that today, on the odd occasion, we can still enjoy an ice-cream or piece of cake without any lasting damage. And just what would life be without these treats?

 

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This article was originally published in Positive Health PH Online Issue 186 – Sept 2011 – the present.

Dietary Madness

­Is it really so surprising that people have lost faith in dietary recommendations from the government? I am constantly hearing “They keep changing their minds” and “eggs are full of cholesterol” and “I have to eat five-a-day”. The latest of course, butter is good, margarine is not.

 

Organic ButterMargarine

 

or…

 

 

The bee in my bonnet keeps on buzzing. My aim is to help people stay healthy by thinking for themselves and not just going along with the latest food guidelines. I’m hearing arguments based on the government recommendations or even quoting programmes on the television. Even my son told me I should rethink some of my recommendations based on a TV programme he’d seen!

Let’s take this point by point:
“They keep changing their minds.” When I was pregnant with my son twenty-seven years ago, I remember sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s surgery. As a nurse, I interestedly read the leaflets and posters that were displayed. One poster was about what you should and shouldn’t eat for your heart-health. Now I’m not talking about a long time ago, but the advice then was all about cutting down on fats generally and the fat you should have if you have any, was polyunsaturated – the vegetable oils. So included in the list of no-nos was avocados. AVOCADOS!! Avocados are very rich in monounsaturated fat. Also, all meat must be trimmed of visible fat and actually, just reduce red meat. Don’t eat butter – eat margarine and use polyunsaturated vegetable oils for cooking. All dairy products must be low-fat. Of course, it is not just fat about which advice has changed – there are many other foods too.

Recent reports that have hit the newspapers and TV news, (a review of available research), show that there is absolutely no hard evidence that saturated fat from animals contributes to heart disease or illness of any sort. It also showed that added polyunsaturated fats have never been shown conclusively to protect from heart disease or illness of any sort (and there are many studies that show quite the reverse). The polyunsaturated fat contained in foods such as nuts and seeds, is fine in moderation as these foods also contain other valuable nutrients. Monounsaturated fat is still there in the middle but should stay as it occurs naturally in some foods. Unsaturated fats are unstable when heated and can become toxic. Saturated fats are much more stable.

“Eggs are full of cholesterol.” When I was young, the advert was “go to work on an egg”. Enter the “cholesterol” buzz-word and “salmonella in eggs” scandal of the 80s.  In my view, this did untold damage. Families went from serving a nourishing and sustaining breakfast, to serving cereals with skimmed milk and toast (which are nutrient-poor) which would probably last until mid-morning when hunger would again, kick in. If I told you that there was an article in the Nursing Times (info reaches the NT after the British Medical Journal) about ten years ago, telling health professionals that eggs are no longer a food which contributed to high cholesterol, would you be surprised? This is a great article from the doctor who really knows about cholesterol. Doctor Malcolm Kendrick celebrates the passing of the  Cholesterolasaurus. Worth a read!

“I have to eat five-a-day.” Well, to start with, other countries have different guidelines – some say six, some ten, some separate the veg and fruit – so who’s right? This recommendation came about in the early nineties in an attempt to improve the nation’s nutritional status. Not a bad idea but this pushed people to more poor nutritional behaviour. Three bananas and a pint of orange juice? A can of baked beans and smoothie? A large jacket potato with tomato sauce and sweetcorn? I could go on. The five-a-day recommendation was not based on good science.

“Mum, you need to rethink the advice you give.” Please, when you watch a television programme about diet, nutrition or any other health issue, you need to think about why the programme was made in the first place. Does it benefit anyone in particular? (Think food manufacturers, programme makers etc.) Is it good viewing – after all, who wants to sit and watch a dry documentary? Television programmes are sound-bites and cannot possibly show a balanced view of the subject in the given time frame. Unfortunately, many TV programmes about health are sensationalist at best and exploitation of unfortunate human beings, at worst.

The advice I give wavers very little as it is based more in history (and pre-history) than science. Science can be so amazing and illuminating but it can also be poorly carried out or interpreted and the results of poor science can often influence our whole lives. This is very much what has happened with conventional nutritional advice.

My advice is, eat real food. Grow fruit and veg yourself or buy organic. There is absolutely no point in eating five-a-day if you are eating genetically modified food or that grown with the use of pesticides, in fact you will be doing yourself more harm than good. Buy meat from animals that have been reared the way they are supposed to live – on grass, in forests, trees and fields, living outside for the most part. Organic meat producers only administer medication if their animals are sick, unlike the conventional farming methods which see the animals given cocktails of drugs on a regular basis. Eat organic eggs from hens living in a pasture. Dairy food is wonderfully nutritious but buy raw milk products if possible or at least organic.

Spring LambsThe other requirement is cookery skills. Please learn to cook and ensure that your children do the same. This is the only way that we increase our chances of living healthy, disease-free lives and ultimately, survive a bit longer as a species.

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Cholesterol and Statin Drugs

Is this the substance sent from hell to plague our lives or could it possibly be that we cannot live without it in substantial amounts? The fact is that cholesterol is vital for many processes that go on in our bodies. It helps with immunity, hormones, brain and nerve function/maintenance and more. This article outlines how its many uses in the body and the dangers of low cholesterol.

file0002064028494So what of statins – the drugs that reduce blood cholesterol? Why are they so popular and so readily prescribed if cholesterol is needed by the body? It’s a long story but nowhere in this tale is our health truly considered. The main thread is….profit. Read this.

There may be a use for statins and that is in (rare) cases of hypercholesterolaemia – a genetic problem of exceptionally high cholesterol. This is not diagnosed by a one-off test but with tests over a period of time with the levels remaining abnormally high.

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How Charitable are Charities?

America’s 50 Worst Charities Exposed

Doesn’t this make your blood boil? Most of us want to do something for those less fortunate that ourselves but when we do, we need to know that the gift we donate is being used for the purpose advertised. What a shock then, to learn that so much of our donation goes to the charity organizers and solicitors. This story is US based but make no mistake, this happens here too.

I know this is slightly off topic for me, but charities are businesses that are usually concerned with illness and this for me is the rub. No one – it appears – is looking for lifestyle measures that truly maintain wellness. Please someone, show me even one, that does!

Charities are often associated with big businesses – make no mistake about this. Just look at this list of “partners” for Heart UK – the cholesterol charity.  This is just one charity that I have selected at random.
1414425_74248645These are huge and very rich conglomerates (many of which are pharmaceutical and food manufacturers) using the charity as a “shop window”. Money paid into this charity will almost certainly be used for “research” that shows that cholesterol must be lowered thus promoting their products. Why are they there otherwise? With this charity, the first mistake is believing that cholesterol is an issue at all. There is a library’s worth of evidence showing the benefits of having cholesterol levels above 5mmol per litre of blood – but that’s another story.

Take a good look at the charities they you have supported. Check their websites and look for the clues. Do their sponsors/partners/trustees involve big businesses? Does the information supplied refer to specific drugs? Are particular branded foods recommended? Are disease “cures” being searched for? Are disease prevention medications and branded foods being advocated? This is the case with so many charities and I would urge you rethink how you donate your money.
The charities worthy of help are the ones that are searching for preventative natural solutions and those providing direct care to the sick, be they animals or humans. Local small charities are often the most needy as they don’t attract the multi-national companies. Please do your homework before donating.

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The Price of Health – part 2

Last week I outlined those factors that I believe are responsible for our chronically poor health. This week I have elaborated on some of these points

1)    Our food has been bastardised. Foods that we take for granted such as bread and milk, are a far cry from the bread and milk that were widely available fifty years ago.
Milk is pasteurised and homogenised rendering it not only devoid of its health-giving enzymes and some of its vitamin content, but it is structurally altered too making it hard or even, for some, impossible to digest.
Meat is often full of chemicals and other additives. Vegetables and fruit are treated with chemicals and are devoid of nutrients as they are grown on nutritionally poor soil.
Microwave meals have become the norm instead of an occasional time-saver. There are many more examples but this blog is not just about food.

2)    Medications. Oh dear where do I start? Chronic illness needs a drip-feed of medication for ever – and these drugs can cause other chronic states.  Good for the pharmaceutical companies but a disaster for good health. (I am not including emergency treatment for life-threatening illnesses.) It is difficult to overstate this factor. Millions of pounds are invested in new drugs by the pharmaceutical companies and this has to be recouped. In the U.S., television advertisements showing the “benefits” of these medications are commonplace, but there are many ways of encouraging doctors to prescribe specific drugs here too.
Keeping it topical, consider the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Twenty years ago, no one had heard of them. Now they are obtainable over the counter. This state of affairs has come about through the (pseudo) “science” that insists that high cholesterol is bad. So we now have a drug (and there are others) which is freely available and millions of us are taking them, which is based on bad science. Make no mistake – there are massive health problems with this – both with reducing blood cholesterol and with the sometimes devastating side effects of the drugs themselves.

3)    We have been told to stay out of the sun. On its own, this may be responsible for many chronic illnesses. With the cholesterol in the skin, the sun creates huge quantities of vitamin D3 which the body uses for a multitude of functions. This happens because nature requires it for our existence. Those of you who have read my blogs before will know my feelings regarding this imperative vitamin. I will keep banging on about it until the message has reached the widest audience possible. Your vitamin D levels will only be good enough if you sunbathe.

4)    We have been told to eat a diet that is largely unsuitable for humans. Since this is the topic that I write about the most, I will keep this brief and to the point here.
Our genetic make-up has changed around 0.01% in the last 40,000 years. Our diet has changed around 90%. I invented that figure, but you get my gist. You only have to look around a chemist to see all the medications for gut disturbances to know that the situation is very wrong now.

As I seem to have written quite a bit, I will, after all, have to make this a three-part blog! So, until next time – good health!

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Should You Take Statins?

Statin drugs have been created to reduce the cholesterol in our blood.

This short video is important viewing if you value your health. Try to remember that health is our right not something we should struggle with. Wellness is our natural state and in order to get it right we have to ignore those trying to sell us something. Hard to do I know when we have advertisements and hype pushed in our faces all the time. Fortunately there are a few professionals that truly have our well-being at heart (pun intended!) and those featured here are just such people.

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Butter

Well this is the evil substance from hell isn’t it? The diet “authorities” tell us that it clogs our arteries, increases our cholesterol and makes us fat as it is very high in calories. But this is simply not relevant or not true, as surfacing research is starting to show.

 

Quite apart from the valuable nutrients that it contains – fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and K2 – butter (and other animal fats) contribute to the correct workings of the body – the formation of hormones, strengthening the immune system, the lining of cells, the absorption and proper usage of other nutrients. There is more too – it tastes wonderful! The deeper the colour, the more vitamin rich it will be.

Butter and other animal fats do not “clog” our arteries. Our body temperature ensures that it becomes liquid on ingestion and the digestion process breaks it down to an absorbable and completely harmless form for use in the body. An emulsion is created for ease of absorption. This is achieved by enzyme and bile activity in the gut which acts a bit like adding washing-up liquid to warm water and greasy plates! Incidentally, the gall bladder is kept healthy by frequent ingestion of animal fats. If it is being emptied of the stored bile on a regular basis, there is less likelihood of stone formation – a very painful condition often requiring surgery.

“It increases our cholesterol.” Well, yes it does. It helps to even up the balance of high and low-density lipoproteins (good and bad cholesterol) by increasing the good stuff. The subject of cholesterol is massive but to keep it simple for now, it is your diet and lifestylethat are imperative to healthy life and if you concentrate on this, cholesterol will not be injurious, so just forget about it.

“It is high in calories and makes us fat.” It is indeed high in calories. But as usual, the relevance of this statement is dependent upon a piece of pre-conceived misinformation and that is that the “calories in versus calories out” determines our weight – which is completely misleading. When a high carbohydrate diet is consumed (as advised by nutritionists and dieticians), calories will count but reducing calories – as in a typical slimming diet, valuable nutrients are also reduced. When the diet taken is the one that we are uniquely equipped to benefit from – our evolutionary diet (which involved lots of animal fat), calories cease to have a meaning.

When did you last hear of a wild animal consulting an authority on what, when, and how much to eat?

Further reading about butter is found here.
For advice about our evolutionary diet, come and see me!

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Coconuts

The coconut palm and its relatives have been in existence for millions of years, in fact all of the time that we have been evolving.

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Primitive hominids undoubtedly used coconuts for food and the shells would have been employed as drinking vessels or receptacles for collecting shellfish/berries/nuts etc. Even the palm leaves would have been used in building shelters, wrapping foods for cooking and so on.

Today, the coconut itself yields even more “products”. The flesh as it is or grated and pressed to make coconut milk and cream. Oriental and Indian cookery often feature these to flavour and thicken sauces. The milk can be cultured into “yogurt”.

The oil that the coconut produces is highly saturated. It won’t spoil, it is not harmful to health and it is very stable – even at high temperatures. Coconut oil is also quite unique in its nutritional components. Lauric acid can increase the “good” cholesterol in the blood stream. This in addition to capric and caprylic acid provides a very effective prevention or treatment for harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeasts (ie. Candida) whether they are on the skin or in the gut. A pot of organic coconut oil can be extraordinarily useful! Use it in stir-fries or curries or in smoothies and other recipes.
Make sure you keep some in the bathroom too – it makes a great face and body moisturiser, hair conditioner and a brilliant toothpaste when mixed with baking soda. “Oil pulling” is a traditional way to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. Take a teaspoon of the oil and when it is in your mouth it will melt. Then just swoosh it around your mouth and “pull” it through your teeth. Spit it out after a few minutes.

The water in the centre of a coconut is wonderfully refreshing any time but is also a great sports drink. It has minimal sugars but has lots of quickly absorbed electrolytes, which are lost through sweat during exercise.  It would be a good supplement for those with stomach upsets, when other food cannot be taken.

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Try using coconut flour in baking – it is very high in fibre and nutrients. It is important to remember that coconut flour can’t just be substituted for wheat flour in a recipe. Due to its high fibre content, it will absorb lots of moisture. For this reason, it is better to find recipes specifically for coconut flour – there are lots on the net. Coconut flour has no gluten, making it ideal for those who are gluten-sensitive. Bread can be made but not a yeasted bread – eggs and baking soda will give the rise.

Coconut palm sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut tree. It is a superior product to white sugar as it does keep a few of its nutrients during the processing – some of the B vitamins and the minerals zinc, iron, calcium and potassium.

Coconut products have nourished us for all of our time. Most are inexpensive – even if they are organic. Time to put this wonderful food back into our diet!

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