Saturday, 28 September 2013

2 Simple Healthy Deserts

When im looking for something more indulgent to eat, i like to whip up a quick desert using the ingredients below.

I have two main staple deserts, which are healthy, loaded with gut and immune supportive beneficial bacteria, vitamins, minerals, heart healthy good fats such as omega 3 and monounsatured fatty acids, phyto-nutrients and antioxidants.

Not bad for desert eh ?

The first desert is live, natural yogurt with crushed walnuts and mixed berries.

The second desert is again live, natural yogurt for the base, crushed walnuts and half a lovechock raw chocolate bar sprinkled over the top. The almond and fig is the best flavor.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Is A Raw Food Diet Healthy ?

Raw Food Diets have hit there peak popularity, with celebs and sports stars advocating the diet, but does the raw food diet really hold up and does anyone actually manage to make it work successfully long term ?

One of the most obvious problems with following a raw food diet is of course the potential for developing nutrient deficiencies. This doesn't just apply to raw food diets, but any restrictive or extreme dieting. Once you start removing whole or several food groups in the diet, you significantly increase your chances of becoming deficient in vital nutrients.

Common nutrient deficiencies associated with raw vegan diets include Vitamin B12, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Copper Toxicity/Bio-Chemical Imbalances(exacerbated by low Zinc intake), pre-formed nutrients such as Vitamin A & D, Omega-3's such as EPA/DHA and conditionally essential amino acids such as Taurine. It is very difficult to paper over all the potential cracks in your diet with supplements. A natural diet should also not have to be reliant on supplementation just in order to obtain balanced nutrition. Supplements as the name suggests are to supplement an already healthy balanced diet.

A typical raw vegan food diet is not nutritionally complete without supplementation such as Vitamin B12 and even then like i say it often proves to not be enough long term to sustain health.

You can get all the benefits that wholefoods have to offer as part of a healthy balanced diet. You don't need to restrict the diet to the point of deficiency to receive the wonderful health benefits that these plant foods have to offer. With health you get no prizes for extremity, extreme yoyo dieting will only further impact your health, mood and stress levels.

Including raw foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables should be an integral part of any healthy plant-based diet, but there are many foods which are better for you cooked. For example the dark greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale etc, are all significantly more digestible when lightly cooked. Steaming or light cooking helps to break down the tough fibers, not only making digestion easier but significantly increasing nutrient bio-availability. You get about 8 times more nutrients from lightly cooked green vegetables than you do in there raw form. Light steaming also inactivates anti-nutrients and the majority of goitrogens(substances that interfere with thyroid health) in as little as 10 minutes.

Another potential problem is the excessive amount of fiber, which obviously occurs in an all raw food based diet. Fiber has many benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of degenerative diseases and aiding toxin elimination, many individuals don't get enough on a standard diet. That being said too much fiber is also a problem and can impair nutrient absorption. In order to get enough calories with a raw food diet, you need to consume very large quantities of food, all of which are very rich in fiber.

Another potential problem with many raw food diets is that they can be excessively rich in Potassium, whilst being low in Sodium by comparison. For many individuals coming from the standard diet which is often excessively high in sodium this may be a good thing. But for other individuals with adrenal insufficiency or low blood pressure for example would likely have problems with the excessive potassium intake and the lack of sodium by comparison.  

Raw food diets are often encouraged for detoxification, but the reality is a diet lacking or low in nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Zinc and certain amino acids actually impairs the bodies detoxification processes such as those involving the liver. Individuals with blood sugar regulation problems and adrenal fatigue will find it hard to stabilize blood sugar in absence of protein rich foods. Infact many raw food diets are excessively high in carbohydrates, whilst being low in protein and fats such as with 80/10/10.

Many raw vegan food guru's and advocates don't recommend consuming any Vitamin B12 at all and have many unproven theories about where to obtain this vitamin. This is very dangerous because deficiencies in Vitamin B12 can cause irreparable nervous system damage and an increase in homo-cysteine which leads to heart disease. For example 80/10/10 author Doug Graham suggests that we can get all the Vitamin B12 we need from the air we breathe. Yet air doesn't contain any Vitamin B12 from typical composition.

Any diet which is not nutritionally complete will cause problems long term. Many individuals don't notice problems initially because the liver for example can hold stores of Vitamin B12 for years. Deficiencies also don't develop over-night, but are a significant issue long term with these type of restrictive diets.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Bimuno Prebiotic Review

I started using Bimuno a few years ago, when i was researching various Prebiotics to help kick start my gut flora or lack of.

During my search i stumbled upon an over the counter product called Bimuno, which is a unique second generation prebiotic which works by feeding and energizing the immunity boosting bacteria in your gut whilst simultaneously reducing your bad bacteria .This aids gut health, general well-being and provides a natural support to your body’s self-defences.

Bimuno is a very effective and you start seeing results in about 7 days. I used a high dose of Bimuno to overcome my gut flora and digestive problems. I started noticing my stomach acid levels increasing, thus aiding digestion. Gut motility and bowel consistency was all dramatically improved.

I will probably continue to use Bimuno for the rest of my life, to supplement my diet with prebiotic fibers. It is fairly cheap and worth the money, my digestive problems started when i was a teenager, all of sudden after some chronic stress and antibiotics, i started having candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, dysbiosis, cystic acne, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.

From there my gut flora and lack of stomach acid continued to get worse, no doubt allowing more opportunistic pathogens to take hold, which caused my health to significantly get worse. I have done alot of research on the role of the gut flora in regards to not only digestive health, but its role as part of the immune system. Inflammation in the gut causes increased intestinal permeability also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, which wrecks havoc with health and has been implicated in many diseases such as auto-immune disorders and even heart disease.

Supporting the balance of the gut flora is one of the best things you can do for your health. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, will help to increase your diet with prebiotic fibers. Probiotics are also very helpful but i still feel that prebiotics are more important, because they are what feed and stimulate the activity of the beneficial gut flora. Good sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as kefir, raw sauerkraut and miso.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has used prebiotics to overcome chronic health problems. Other popular prebiotics include FOS and Inulin.

Bimuno Prebiotic Powder can be purchased from Amazon below.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

20 Tips For Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue

20 Tips For Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue by The Natural Health Blogger.

  1. Eat protein at every meal to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  2. Rest and nap more, instead of reaching for stimulants.
  3. Activate the para-sympathetic nervous system (meditation, deep breathing etc).
  4. Eat Vitamin C rich foods(amla, berries, kiwis, vegetables) 
  5. Use high-quality unrefined salt such as Himalayan(trace/ultra-trace mineral source).
  6. Ditch the low-fat diets, fats and cholesterol are extremely important co-factors in the synthesis of adrenal hormones.
  7. Preferably get to sleep by 9-10pm, this avoids getting into the "second wave" and staying up late.
  8. Adopt a positive and optimistic attitude, drop the negative thoughts and emotions.
  9. Identify and remove stressors(bad relationships, dietary stress, toxic load, alcohol, stimulant and drug use).
  10. Consume foods rich in B Vitamins and in particular Vitamin B5, which is the second most important nutrient for healthy adrenal gland function. Good sources include bee pollen, nettle and nutritional yeast.
  11. Take Kelp Seaweed for nutritional support. Kelp is a great source of minerals, trace/ultra-trace elements, vitamins, amino acids and other beneficial compounds such as algin and fucoidan).
  12. Try to get around 30 minutes of sunlight a day to maintain Vitamin D levels.
  13. Reduce stress levels by doing things you enjoy. 
  14. Explore and research adaptogenic herbs such as Korean Red Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Schizandra Berry and so on). Adaptogen herbs help to increase the bodies resistance to stress and support the overall endocrine system balance.
  15. Reduce or remove stimulating activities such as playing video games, watching scary movies, listening to loud music and excessive sex are some of the common stimulants.
  16. Drink Nettle leaf tea daily. Nettle is an amazing highly nutritive general tonic herb, which helps to support the liver, kidneys, lungs, adrenal and thyroid glands.
  17. Like most who are sympathetically burned out, there is a tendency to over-worry and think the worst of things. Stop this bad habit, techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are very effective for shutting of the sympathetic nervous system.
  18. Gentle exercise such as walking can be beneficial for reducing stress and maintaining cardiovascular health, vigorous exercise however is depleting to the adrenal glands and is not recommended during burnout.
  19. Emotions such as fear, worry and guilt can be stimulating and activate the sympathetic branch of the nervous system. Work on addressing these problematic emotions.
  20. Don't skip breakfast, this puts alot of stress on the adrenal glands. Consume protein at breakfast also.