healthy diet

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My Sugar Concerns

Posted by on 18 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: healthy diet

sugar concernsOver the last few months, I’ve become more and more concerned about the consumption of sugar. I’m not talking about whole populations at large, at least not in this paragraph. I’m talking about myself. You see, over the last few years, while my main, staple diet has always remained very good and I very rarely ever eat foods that you would call “processed”, I had included some foods that were high in sugar.

Now, they never really gave me any problems and my weight has always remained fairly stable over the last 10 years. I put that down to not overeating, not drinking any soda and getting some daily exercise to counterbalance the fact that I spend several hours at the computer to do my job. But as I read more into the potential time bomb that is refined sugar, the more concerned I became until I decided it was time to call “Time” on the sugar!

Toxic Sugar

In a previous post where I talked about the importance of eating more fresh fruit in our diet, I also mentioned some things about refined sugar and pointed to a controversial article published a while ago on the New Your Times calling sugar “toxic”. I’ve added a link to that article at the bottom of this post so you can read it if you like. That and some other things I’ve read lately have really gotten me thinking about the whole sugar debate.

I suppose I really became interested on a personal level when I last had a checkup with my doctor earlier in the summer and a blood test revealed a higher than normal PSA reading. For those that don’t know what that is, its an indicator of an enlarged prostate gland. Now when men of my age (over 50) get that kind of news, it’s time to sit up and listen.

Research Time

If I ever wanted to know anything about prostate cancer, that was the time. I delved into recent research and a lot of information pointed to the way in which tumor cells are enriched by our old friend, refined sugar. That means sucrose or fructose, at the least the version found in high fructose corn syrup or HFCS for short. Add to the potential danger the now known fact that cancer cells don’t just grow when you feed them sugar, but they also divide and multiply faster the more sugar they get.

I wasn’t so concerned about HFCS as I rarely consumed anything that contains it. But I was consuming stuff with plenty of sucrose, namely chocolate, home baked cake and cookies. Remember, I’m only referring to reined sugars here. Not natural fruit sugars or carbs or anything else. Just the refined stuff!

Anyhow, I thought to myself, why don’t these findings ring very loud alarm bells for the researchers and anyone with any authority? Am I the only one to see the very obvious link here?

Sugar + tumor = bigger tumor!

Wait. More research has revealed that when a tumor is starved of its main source of fuel, namely sugar, it stops reproducing and actually shrinks. Isn’t this obvious too?

No sugar + tumor = smaller tumor!

Is this not an already documented fact? I read about it, so I guess it must be (see references, below). Well. I decided I’m not waiting for some caring government official to break the news. I decided to act.

No More Sugar

chocolate cakeSo for me, no more chocolate, no more home baking and cold turkey on anything that has sucrose or HFCS in it. Was it tough? Nope! It was and still is surprisingly easy. I just decided to stop eating that stuff and I did.

A couple months later another blood test showed PSA levels normal. Whew!

Whoa… hold on there boy! Did I just write something significant? I believe I just did.

Now, before you go out and start lynching your doctor for not telling you this, you have to understand this is only my own little experiment on little old me. What I did was break an old habit and in the process staved my body of refined sugar and I got a happy result. It doesn’t mean anyone else will and it doesn’t prove anything.

Just for the record, its been about 3 months into this new anti-sugar eating regime for me. I first noticed I was more tired and lacked energy, but this soon passed and now I feel more awake and alert and I also feel like I have more energy. I lost a few pounds too. Nice by-product!

More kinda interesting stuff:

My total blood cholesterol levels dropped, with a slight drop in LDL and a slight rise in HDL, so all good there. My blood pressure is normal (no change). My levels of visceral fat has dropped significantly. Yea! Well, no real surprise there.

It’s worth noting here that visceral fat is also believed to be a potential cause of colon and breast cancer (just saying). Excess sugar causes greater visceral fat levels unless its burned off with excess exercise. I guess my daily dog walking wasn’t enough to do that. Now it is!

What can someone take away with them from reading about my own experience?

That you can certainly lose weight by cutting out all foods that contain refined sugars. Duh. I doubt I’ll get any argument on that point. That you can potentially reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you’re a guy over 50. Not saying that’s a given, just a possibility.

ALWAYS check that one with your doctor. It is NOT something you should leave to chance.

It was a very good choice for me to make. A good decision. A very good decision, I think. It also proved something to me: that I could break a habit just like that, not by exerting any power of will… but by making a firm and positive decision. And sticking by it.

Now, that’s real power!

Terry Didcott

References:

Here’s the link to the toxic sugar article in the NYT: Is Sugar Toxic?

Here’s a link to an article on prostate cancer you might find interesting: Food for Thought

Fruits With More Vitamin C Than Oranges

Posted by on 18 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: healthy diet

It is widely recognized that oranges are packed with vitamin C. It’s definitely true that they’re a good source of this vitamin. But did you know that there are other fruits that contain even greater quantities?

I was quite surprised myself when I found out. Now, I’m in no way suggesting that we shouldn’t eat citrus fruits. What I am wanting to make clear however is that if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, in addition to oranges, there are some other great options that are available to you.

The USDA Nutrient Database is an excellent resource. It’s where I go when I want to get accurate information on the nutritional values of the foods I eat.

In the case of raw Navel oranges, the amount of vit C that they contain per 100 grams is 59.1 mg. If we compare this to say a raw apple, it has more than 10 times the amount of this vitamin. So while the humble orange is a great source of vitamin C, it just is not the best.

Some of the other well known fruits that have high levels of vitC are:

Strawberries: 58.8 mg

Papayas: 60.9 mg

Kiwi fruits: 92.7 mg

Blackcurrants: 181.0 mg

Acerola, (west indian cherry), raw: 1677.6 mg

As you can see, we do have a choice when we need a nutrient boost. Oranges are a good choice, but they’re not the only choice!

Choosing to purchase a juicer and make a fruit juice is a great method to consume high levels of vitamin C. Just think about it for a moment. How many oranges do you think you could eat in one sitting?

Whatever the number, you’re bound to be able to drink the juice of more of this fruit than you could eat. This is why juicing fruits and vegetables is seen as beneficial for our health.

In addition to this, it is also worth noting that you can maintain a good level of health by keeping up with your daily intake of nutrients by simply eating a healthy, balanced diet. That means staying away from all processed foods and those that contain high levels of sugars.

As long as you are able to do that you can keep your body in better balance without the need to supplement with pills or even juiced fruit. And while you are about it stop drinking fizzy drinks like soda or popular brands that shall remain nameless here! Stay with plain water and your body will be eternally grateful to you!

Buying a Juicer in the U.K.

Posted by on 29 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: healthy diet

For a long time, Americans have always had the best choice when it comes to consumer goods and groceries. The choice and price in the States is simply wider and cheaper than in the U.K. At the same time, health enthusiasts in Britain can actually get hold of the best juicers and blenders as long as they know where to look.

Omega are a well known company in the U.S. Their juicers are regarded as some of the highest quality and best value models available. While U.K. customers might not be able to find these machines in department stores at the moment, they can be ordered online for specialist retailers.

Picking a juicer is an exciting process. There are different styles which each have their own particular features. The owner of the Juice Fiend U.K. Juicer Store recommends the Omega VRT350HD as the best juicer.

This is a somewhat subjective judgement. Although this is understandable because we all have varying needs when it comes to juicing. The beauty of this particular machine is its marriage of speed, ease of use and versatility. Not to mention the fact that the juice it makes, tastes great. This particular model is a masticating juicer.

As people become more aware of the need to eat a healthy diet if they are to enjoy the best of health, it is likely that more and more of us will turn to juicing as a way to improve the quality of the nutrition consume. The way these appliances work is to give us a concentrated dose of vitamins and minerals.

Eating fruits and vegetables is best. Getting whole food nutrition means we get all the goodness that fruits and vegetables have to offer. However juicing does have some unique advantages. While eating ten oranges might seem somewhat extreme to many people, drinking the juice from ten oranges, about one litre, is a lot more realistic. In fact, juicing is a great way for us to consume lots of fruit and vegetable goodness.

Picking a juicer needn’t be a difficult process. There are a few variables that you have to think about:

  • how much can you afford?
  • what sorts of juices would you like to make?
  • is speed an issue?
  • do you require a quiet juicer?

Even though it may be easier for people to find juicers to buy in the U.S, if you know where to look, you can find a great choice of the best products on sale in the United Kingdom. Don’t you owe it to yourself to invest in your own health?

Dietary Protection Against Disease

Posted by on 16 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: healthy diet

We are bombarded every day with information about diets – exercise programs – pills that can help us loose weight – superfoods – and so on. It can be hard to be sure which route we should take to enjoy the best of health. In many cases, there is an ulterior motive behind certain recommendations that so called gurus provide. Often they are promoting a specific product.

One that caught my attention recently was a health guru named David Wolfe who promotes deer placenta capsules. Would you seriously consider eating a deer placenta? Regardless of the nutrients that this may contain – some foods or even superfoods are just wrong.

Rather than having to kill animals for our nutrition, is it possible to stay healthy eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables? Despite what some people are telling you, the answer is yes! In fact, the scientific evidence now points towards a vegan diet being the best for short term well being as well as long term health.

When we take a look at what is going on in the Western world, we see that there are increasing cases of Type 2 Diabetes – and now a days childern are often being affected – where previously, this disease was known as adult onset diabetes. More and more evidence is being uncovered displaying results that whole food, plant based diets are the most effective if we want to stay clear of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer! The thing is, there is no money in this sort of diet. That’s why we’re being told to take all these supersupplements and supercapsules. We’re being encouraged to continue eating as much animal fat and processed foods as we want – “but just take these super pills, at only $49.95” and all will be well.

The truth is that this is just flat out wrong. If you want to learn a language, is it more effective to study a little every day or spend a fortune on some audio course? I hope you said, the former. When we want something, we have to work for it – not take a pill. That’s why if we want to stay fit, healthy and full of energy – we have to think about what we are eating. If something has absolutely no nutritional benefit to our body – why would you want to eat it? Oh yeah, “it tastes good”. Drugs make you feel good, does this make you want to become a junkie? I hope not. We have to realize though that food IS a drug.

Improving your health needn’t be hard nor expensive. Eating more fresh produce and less processed crap is the way to go. Check out some juicer reviews to find out more about how these machines can help you reach your health and fitness goals. The more fruit and vegetables we consume, the fitter and healthier we’ll become. Not only that, but we are protecting ourself from disease at the same time.

Tasty and healthy vegetables

A BBC news article reports that Broccoli may undo diabetes damage. Doesn’t this sound exciting? It’s not just saying that we can protect ourself from diabetes – but we can actually CURE diabetes just by improving our diet. What this means is that it’s never too late.

Reference: Find the recipe for the tasty broccoli salad above at Pinch my Salt.

Can Green Tea Help You With Weight Loss?

Posted by on 04 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: healthy diet

The Chinese have been using a lot of different herbs to achieve specific things in their bodies. Most of their herbal remedies are meant to be used on a regular basis and they will help you improve your overall health, but a lot of them also have other properties that have been discovered thousands of years later. Green tea is one of the best known Chinese herbs.

It has been used for weight loss, but only recently the modern scientists have found a myriad of health benefits that range from cancer prevention to improvement in overall immune functions.┬áIn this article my main purpose is to focus on using green tea for weight loss, although I will go through some of the other health benefits of it – they normally go hand in hand with the slimming effects.

One of the most common reasons for people to think that this beverage works for weight loss is the fact that it contains caffeine. Even though caffeine has been shown to be quite effective in boosting the oxidization of triglycerides in your adipose tissue, this is not the most biggest reason for this magic tea to work. The reason is epigallocatechin 3-gallate, commonly known as EGCG.

All teas come from the same plant, but are treated different during the manufacturing process – almost all other teas are fermented, but this tea is dried. The fermentation in other teas results in the absence of EGCG, causing them to have less of the positive effects that this one has. This compound is also responsible for a number of the green tea health benefits, and is currently under extensive research.

EGCG in the tea directly boosts the oxidization of fat cells, but it also works in a lot of other ways to increase the fat burning in ones body. It is a strong antioxidant, and boosts the immune system. If you are doing regular exercise to boost your slimming results, your body needs to be able to recover as fast as possible to get the most out of your next workouts. When your immune system is working properly, your recovery rate is increased and you are able to perform better and burn more calories during your workouts.

Even though this brew contains a lot less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, when combined with EGCG it has a refreshing effect that is superior to coffee. Most people only experience the inability to fall asleep when they drink coffee, but with this tea they feel refreshed and like they have slept better than they did last night.

Studies shown that in lab rats, drinking green teas before performing a physical activity improved the results by almost 42%. These results are never directly comparable to humans, but they do give you a good idea on what you can expect. Animals tend to get better results, but we get similar results but only weaker.

All in all, the green version of tea can be quite a potent weight management agent as long as you remember to use it on a regular basis. The effects of the caffeine will wear down in a few weeks as your body builds up tolerance for it, but EGCG will keep on working. Drinking three to four cups of green tea during the day should be enough to help you get notable acceleration in your weight loss, but also help with your overall health.

Healthy Eating

Posted by on 31 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: healthy diet

Following on from my last post here, where I looked at getting the ball rolling and you into a healthy way of life. Ok, this is not rocket science and most of it is common sense, but until someone tells you how easy it is to do this and actually get fit and healthy easily, then are you going to do it? No!

So consider yourself told!

In this installment, we’ll look at some easy to apply healthy eating tips to keep you in tip top condition, living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

First up you need to throw out all those sweet, sugary processed foods like cakes, biscuits, pastries etc that you habitually snack on. Yes you do have to do that! What’s more your really should replace them with fresh fruits, berries, seeds and nuts.

Why would you do that?

Well, for starters, snacking becomes a habit that is hard to stop, so by placing yourself on a strict diet that will make you cut out all snacking in between meals, you end up fighting the habit the hard way. What often happens is the habit is so deep seated that you find yourself craving the foods that you were habitually snacking on and breaking your diet to get them.

Better to substitute these bad foods with healthy options.

Fruit that is fresh is a great option. That’s because it satisfies your body’s craving for sugar and gives you a good energy boost as well. And it does it without all the bad fats, salt and preservatives that come in biscuits and pastries etc that clog up your arteries and pile on the pounds.

Berries like blueberries and cranberries are packed full of antioxidants to help prevent cancer cells from forming as well as gut protecting proteins that can help alleviate problems such as IBS and Crohn’s disease. Strawberries make a great snack and are full of vitamin C as well.

Nuts and seeds (unsalted) make perfect snacks as a handful of sunflower seeds is rich in protein and minerals and low in fat. Unsalted peanuts are also high in protein and as long as you go easy will not make you anywhere near as fat as eating biscuits pound for pound.

All things are relative, so rather than cut out, switch over and cut down instead and lose weight slowly and healthily.

So now you’re substituting all those bad, high sugar, high salt, high fat snacks like biscuits, pastries and cakes for healthy options like fresh fruit, berries, nuts and seeds. Let’s look at those home cooked, fresh vegetables on your dinner plate and their importance in your diet.

This one is a no brainer. You know in yourself, deep down, that eating all those fried, fatty foods and fast junk food from the multitude of takeaways that litter every shopping mall, high street and out of town supermarket complex is bad for you and your health. Pizza, hamburgers, fries, fried chicken… the list goes on.

All of this crap is killing you.

It’s rotting your insides and piling on the pounds. It’s loading up your arteries with bad cholesterol, leading to down the path to diabetes and sending down heart attack alley. You have to stop eating that crap before it kills you – and it will!

If you can’t cook, get off your lazy backside and learn how to! Then come back here.

When you know how to cook simple food and I’m not talking about being a top chef here, then you can start to change your diet into a healthy one. When you cook for yourself and your family, you use fresh ingredients like vegetables that you have to peel yourself, meat that you have to cut up yourself. That sort of thing.

If that sounds like hard work, then get off this channel and go back to your fast food. Maybe I’ll come to your funeral in a few years, because if you keep eating junk food you’ll be dead long before your time.

If you’re still with me, you’ll know deep in your heart that I’m telling you the truth. Fresh vegetables with every main meal of the day are the way to get yourself back into a healthy way of life.

Why?

Vegetables contain the vitamins and minerals that your body needs and can absorb much more easily than it can from taking pills. They contain fiber that helps your gut work more efficiently to clear out all the crap (literally) that has been stuck in there for who knows how long.

Fact: The average American is walking around with seven pounds of undigested red meat in their colon. If that’s you, then you had better start doing something about it NOW, or colon cancer is coming your way!

Have I shocked you into thinking a little differently about the way you eat?

Good. Then you can start today by going to the grocery store and buying some vegetables and cooking them with your main meal (hint: which should NOT be pizza).