Ditch pills to beat heart disease?  

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“Consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Dame Sue Bailey made the call in a manifesto for change. IN 2013, Dr. Malhotra wrote in the British Medical Journal that saturated fat was not responsible for heart disease, it was instead driven by sugar and starchy foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. It made international headlines. He also stated that our obsession with cholesterol has led to millions being overmedicated with statin drugs that cause unacceptable side-effects in at least one in five patients. A global campaign over 40 years to lower cholesterol has failed to curb heart disease. In fact, research published in 2016 revealed that in people over 60, cholesterol not only had no association with heart disease but protected against an early death, probably through its crucial role in the immune system. Heart disease remains the worst killer in the western world because we have ignored the most important risk factor, insulin resistance.

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/975646/health-advice-news-stop-taking-prescription-drugs-heart-disease-prevention

Good to see more and more articles like this. My own father, after he nearly lost his ability to walk because of statins, and now after an episode of unstable angina, followed by a stent, is doing very well indeed just with cod liver oil and low carb diet. No doctor was able to answer his questions about whether his super-healthy low carb high fat diet, together with certain supplements could replace the medication he was prescribed following his stent, and so after the first year, he decided to come of all pills. He is doing very well.

Saturday barbecue menu, home-made kebabs and lemon cheesecake

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It wanted to post these photos just to show you how so very simple a delicious meal can be. My teenagers organised a small barbecue with friends yesterday. The menu contained lamb and chicken kebabs with two types of home-made sauces, chili and garlic sauce. They also had some good quality sausages and a big green salad.  For dessert, they had lemon cheesecake and strawberries. They had drinks made of fizzy water, with a small amount of apple juice in the bottom of the glass.

It is amazing how these teens have learned to appreciate real food when growing up. Although we have not had any sugary cakes or biscuits, or drinks like coke ever in the house and they have never had any breakfast cereals, I have never “forced” my ideas of healthy eating on to my children. We do always openly discuss about the problems with for example sugary drinks of course, as we too have had those times when they have come home asking for coke because that is what every one else drink… It’s cool. But now that they are older, 15 and 17, they choose the healthy options themselves. They very rarely buy anything sweet themselves because of the way sweets make them feel and they do ask their friend drinking energy drinks whether they have actually looked at the ingredients list before drinking. They have never learned to like sweet foods or processed foods. They are happy and calm children, don’t cause any problems or worry. They are not interested in alcohol or smoking. In my opinion, it is greatly down to eating the right food. Oh, they do have a massive appetite and they do enjoy good food, and cooking it, but know what is good for them and what is not.

Home-made kebab

For the chili sauce, sauté small amount of fine chopped onion and chili (the amount you like) in a small sauce pain, in olive oil. Add a dash of vinegar, tin of  tomato passata, bring to boil and simmer in low heat for 20 min. or sauce. Season with salt and pepper. For the garlic sauce, mix together one tub of good quality creme fraiche, tiny bit of cream, 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and a dash of lemon juice.

For the skewers they had lamb, peppers and onions in some of them and chicken and peppers in others. They only added some salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil.

 

Green salad and olive oil

Lemon cheesecake

This is very easy to make. For the base, mix 50g of melted butter, 2,5 dl of almond flour (ground almond) and the contents of vanilla pod, or little dash of vanilla extract. Press into a cake tin lined with baking paper. Our tin is quite small, so if you are using a larger tin, you might want to do double base.

For the filling, you need 280-300g of creme cheese, such as Philadelphia and 500g of thick cream. You also need 7 gelatine leaves, vanilla and 2 juicy organic lemons.

Place all gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water. Mix together the cream cheese and cream. Add lemon juice and grated lemon zest, as much as you like and some vanilla. You can sweeten this slightly with stevia if you like. My teens added two teaspoons of local honey. Heat a small amount of cream in a sauce pan and once hot, stir in the soft gelatine leaves (remember to squeeze out all excess water first). Once the gelatines are completely dissolved into the cream, carefully mix into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, on top of the base, covet the tin with cling film and put the tin into the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.

This cake is not sweet, but it is delicious. We enjoyed this with good British strawberries.

 

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Why proper nutrition is so important when fighting against cancer

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Cancer is understood to always start from a single stem cell, not just any cell. The cause for a stem cell to turn into a cancer cell is likely to  be caused by chronic inflammation in the body. Cancer treatment works effectively agains the tumour, but have no effect on the stem cell and it seems that this is why cancer often returns after even successful treatment. Ketogenic diet to prevent this inflammation and that way target the abnormal stem cell, is therefore found to be very effective when fighting against cancer. If cancer treatment is given together with good diet therapy, the chances of beating cancer are much higher. It seems cancer is not a genetic disease as previously thought, but in fact a metabolic disease.

It is known that insulin resistance and diabetes increase risk of cancer significantly. Sugar and over-consumption of carbohydrates cause insulin resistance which is the first sign of a disfunction of the metabolic system and will lead to diabetes. Cancer is most likely a consequence of the reactions caused by sugar and insulin resistance in the body. As it burns, sugar increases the amount of free radicals in the body massively which damages the mitochondria, cell membranes and DNA. This will lead to many illnesses, including cancer. Diabetes medication do lower blood sugar, but have no effect on insulin resistance. They only way to treat insulin resistance is to follow a diet low in carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet.

The basic treatment for cancer should be ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting. This diet also supports traditional cancer treatments very well and increases the success of these treatments. Traditional treatment helps in removing the tumour, but you need ketogenic diet to change the body functions to become unfavourable for cancer, to ensure cancer does not return after treatment. Sugar, but also wrong unhealthy fats and their high omega 6 content produce free radicals and cause inflammation in the body. Do avoid them. Make sure you don’t eat more than 50g of carbohydrates a day. Also eat vegetable, green leafy vegetables and cabbage in particular, healthy spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger and garlic and drink green tea. Don’t forget that the quality of food is extremely important. Choose organic and free range. Always avoid GMO and very processed food.  Exercise is good for mitochondria health, especially HIIT in great. In addition to these, good stress management would be extremely beneficial. More about stress later.

For those who are interested, this Thomas Seyfield video very well explains how energy metabolism can be targeted in brain cancer.

Butter health benefits

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If you care about your health, you do not eat margarine. All artificial man-made fats are unhealthy, as explained before.  It has been proven that there is absolutely no association between saturated fat like butter and cardiovascular disease. Unlike margarine, butter does not clog you arteries, but is actually very good for you. Don’t believe any food industry marketing, but use your common sense. Good quality butter is natural food, extremely healthy and it tastes great!

Butter is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K2 and selenium which protect you against many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and tooth decay. Butter contains important fatty acids needed for development and proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Those fatty acids also have anti-tumour properties and strengthen the immune system. CLA, conjugated linoleic acids are particularly healthy.

All health benefits are the highest when eating free range, good quality butter. When talking about butter, however, I must mention that when following a low carb diet, some people have found dairy products to be problematic when trying to lose weight. Why that is, has been unclear, but mostly likely it is because of problems with processing dairy, including butter, such as homogenising. If using dairy products, always use unhomogenised products and if you still struggle to lose weight, try to eliminate all dairy from your diet, including butter. If that is the case, you might want to try clarified butter, ghee, to enjoy the same health benefits as with butter. Ghee has a very good nutritional profile without any lactose or casein so people sensitive to those too can enjoy the benefits of butter this way.

Strawberry pannacotta

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As you know, we don’t eat any sugar or any artificial sweeteners. We do enjoy delicious desserts though every now and then, particularly on the weekends. For our recipes we  often use berries or apples which are very sweet naturally. A good example is this lovely and very easy pannacotta recipe.

You will need 2 dl cream, 2 dl thick yoghurt, 2 dl mashed strawberries, fresh or thawed, 1 vanilla stick and 3 fine leaves of gelatine. Firstly, place the gelatine leaves in to a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. In the meanwhile carefully heat up the cream (with the contents of the vanilla stick) in a small saucepan, until hot. Take off the heat and stir in the soft gelatine leaves. Add the yoghurt and stir. It is best to spoon the mixture into the serving dishes at this point and place them in the fridge for a few hours, to set. Then, add the mashed strawberries (I often use the blender to make a nice smooth sauce), decorate and serve.

You can try this recipe with any berries you like. You can also add the berries mixture with the yoghurt before cooling.

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How sugar affects your mind

It is obvious that the consumption of sugar is absolutely massive everywhere in the western world. Since returning to the UK though, we did notice that it seems to be even worse here than elsewhere in Europe. Everyone eats so much sugar, all the time, from breakfast cereals to ready made meals, everything packed with sugar. Cakes and biscuits every day, chocolate bars, supermarket bread, salad dressings, yoghurts, everything. And not just sugar, but all other sweet stuff,  all kinds of syrups, glucose, fructose, dextrose…

You also see the affects of sugar everywhere. Irritable, out-of-control children, moody and upset adults, tired and low teenagers. This is actually what my teenage children noticed soon after starting in their new school in the UK. So many people seemed so low and dark. It must be the way they eat, my kids thought, thinking about the packed lunches they’d seen. And they are absolutely right because there is actually quite a lot of evidence already that high levels of sugar consumption, amongst many other health problems that it causes, can also have a very negative effect on brain health — from cognitive function to psychological wellbeing.

Sugar creates a vicious cycle of intense cravings.

Sugar is extremely addictive.  Just like with other addictions, this is of course not the case with everyone, but for most of us, sugar is addictive. You only have to follow ketogenic diet for a few days and most of the cravings are gone. And you don’t feel hungry. It is almost impossible to stick to the meal plan when following a diet full of carbohydrates and low in fat, because of the constant hunger and cravings. There is also evidence that excessive sugar intake causes other dependencies too.

To beat sugar addiction (or any addiction), try following ketogenic diet. Only eat three times a day, no snacking! Avoid ready-made meals as they very often contain sugar. Eat real food and plenty of natural fat. Enjoy occasional sugar free, home made desserts. Avoid everything sweet, including artificial sweeteners. Not only are they very harmful for your health, but usually keeps up the cravings. Make sure you get enough vitamin D, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Avoid alcohol because alcohol often increases sugar cravings. This is because alcohol lowers blood sugar. Sleep well. We often crave sweet foods when tired.

Sugar impairs memory and learning skills.

A 2012 study conducted by researchers at UCLA, found that a diet high in fructose hinders learning and memory by literally slowing down the brain. The researchers found that rats who over-consumed fructose had damaged synaptic activity in the brain, meaning that communication among brain cells was impaired. Heavy sugar intake also caused the rats to develop a resistance to insulin. High-sugar diet harms the brain as well as the body.

Sugar may cause or contribute to depression and anxiety.

Sudden peaks and drops in blood sugar levels can cause you to experience symptoms like irritability, mood swings, brain fog and fatigue. That’s because eating a sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike upon consumption and then plummet. When your blood sugar inevitably dips back down, you may find yourself feeling very anxious, moody or even depressed.

It is clear that stress contributes to development of depression, but it has actually been found that sugar and starchy food also cause depression.  Depression can be a part of the metabolic problem caused by sugar. Chronically high blood sugar levels have been linked to inflammation in the brain and as some research has suggested, neuroinflammation may be one possible cause of depression. Teenagers may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of sugar on mood. What happens in the body, happens in the mind too. Another reason for depression is gluten. Deficiency in some micronutrients such as vitamin D and C, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc has also been found to cause depression. I feel that nutrition should be understood much better before treating depression with potentially very harmful antidepressants. Ketogenic diet has been found to have very positive effects on mind and help in at least schizophrenia, anxiety,  depression, autism, ADHD and Alzheimers.

Here is a very interesting video about psychological medication to whoever is interested in the subject.

 

Sugar is also a risk factor for age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

Dementia is not a part of normal ageing.  but caused by wrong diet. Dementia has been referred to as the diabetes of the brain. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome cause dementia. In prevention of dementia it is important to include enough animal fats in your diet as several studies have found a link between low cholesterol and dementia. You also need to make sure you have enough folate, vitamin B12 and omega 3, so apart from meat, also eat organ meat such as liver and oily fish. But in addition to this, it is important to avoid sugar and excess carbohydrates. Diabetes increases the risk of dementia at least 2-5 times, so insulin resistance is harmful

More about dementia later.

 

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Beautiful Summer

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Summer has finally arrived. For me and my family, summer is all about enjoying the sunshine, walking in beautiful nature and eating delicious vegetables and berries that are in season. There is something so calming in those warm summer evenings too.  We like to sit outside with a nice drink and just listen to the birds. Sometimes we have our dinner outside, the whole family, good food and company, good conversations.  It is proper “joie de vivre”. Who needs TV or mobile phones!

We sometimes forget to appreciate all these beautiful things around us. I try and take my teenagers out for a walk in the woods every weekend, so they learn to appreciate nature and enjoy this lovely time of year.

 

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Cabbage stir fry

 

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We love cabbage! It’s tasty, cheap and full of nutrients. This is an easy, tasty and very quick option for a busy evening.  You can use any cabbage you like, we opted for good spring pointed cabbage. Kale is very good too. All kinds of cabbage, especially kale, and also broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts have high contents of particular health-promoting phytochemicals and so they efficiently protect your heart and prevent cancer. Cabbage also has a high content of vitamins C and K for efficient antioxidant properties and to support cardiovascular health.

For this dish, brown some mince in a frying pan, in general amount of butter. Season with salt and pepper, any herbs you like, and some chili powder. Add some sliced onion if you like. Slice the cabbage, you’ll need thin slices. Add the cabbage and some broccoli florets into the pan. Cook until the vegetable are softer. Add some crushed garlic. Sprinkle with some good cheddar cheese.

Watch this video if you are more interested in kale. It is quite good.

Acid reflux

 

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Reflux and all kinds of indigestion problems are so common these days that different kinds of medication to relieve these symptoms are sold over the counter, without the need for a prescription. This is not necessarily a good thing because most of us don’t know that these medicines are not risk free at all, but can potentially be dangerous.

Basically two types of medication is used for reflux problems, the “old-fashioned” H2 blockers such as ranitidine (Zantac), and the more common these days, PPI’s, proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole (Nexium) and pantoprazole (Pantoloc). For these medicines you don’t need a prescription which is why people tend to think they are harmless. I don’t think they are and I would be concerned about the effects of a long term use of these medicines. The reason is that this type of medication has actually been linked to increased risk for stomach cancer. When searching, I also came across with one study, done to examine risk of death among the users of PPI’s, such as omeprazole. This study was done with US veterans and it seems that PPI’s did clearly increase overall mortality quite significantly. This was not found with H2 blockers. Risk of dementia rose among those using PPI’s, there was also a risk of difficult bowel infections, caused by bacteria such as antibiotic resistant c-difficile, increased risk of pneumonia, heart disease, kidney problems and lack of iron, calcium and vitamin B12.

In my experience, it is quite clear that grain-free and sugar-free nutritious diet low in carbohydrates reduces reflux or indigestion symptoms significantly, better than any medication. These type of symptoms are nearly always caused by something you eat, so you should give this diet a try if you constantly suffer with reflux problems and your doctor has ruled out any other cause ( such as H.Pylori infection).

PPI’s are often also prescribed with anti-inflammatories, to protect the stomach lining and prevent ulcers caused by anti-inflammatories. Don’t forget that this diet significantly reduces inflammation and is very beneficial in many conditions requiring constant anti-inflammatories. Also I found no studies on what the long-term effects of these two medications together would be, so rather than any medication, I would always try this diet first.

Food is your medicine!

Asparagus

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Asparagus is still in season so worth eating as often as you can for that reason. It is delicious and also very healthy. You can find it in almost every store at the moment. Asparagus contains a lot of vitamins B1, B3, C, E, K and lots of folate. A lack of folate has been linked to peripheral arterial disease, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, so it is worth including asparagus into your diet when you can. Asparagus is also a source of prebiotic which stimulates the growth of good bacteria in your gut.  There are also studies that have found asparagus to be effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells. Asparagus has anti-inflammatory , anti-fungal and diuretic properties and prevents DNA damage. It also protects your liver against the harmful effects of alcohol as asparagus has been found to protect liver cells.

The best way to eat asparagus, in my opinion, is steamed, with melted butter and with some good ham. You can find lovely Italian or Spanish proper ham in the shops, but please be careful to choose proper ham that does not contain sugar such as good parma ham. Believe it or not, most ham in our supermarkets does contain sugar although you do not need any sugar to make tasty and good ham, just good salt. So do read the labels and choose carefully.

Without the ham, asparagus makes a delicious side for any dish and is so good even in a quiche or as a soup.

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