Category Archives: Disease prevention

Can 3 minutes of exercise a day make children fitter?

Background

In a recent module of study for the ISSN diploma in sports nutrition, I came across some really interesting research into how effective High Intensity Training can be for training adults to improve their aerobic fitness. Basically you sprint really hard for a short period and you rest for a while before repeating the process a number of times. Research has shown that people can get really fit as a result. It is very effective for people short on time and whilst hard, it can be fun to participate in.

It got me thinking; maybe I could do something similar in school. As I am a primary school teacher based in the north inner city of Dublin, l thought why not use the poor children as test guinea pigs! Irish teachers have very busy schedules trying to accommodate the many subject areas into the week but I figured I could manage to fit the experiment into the timetable as it was not very time intensive.

My 5th class boys were delighted to engage in this science project with them as the test subjects.

Our objective was to see if we could improve fitness levels in the space of four weeks by exercising for only three minutes a day, five days a week. This amounted to only 15 minutes a week and 60 minutes in total.

The Test

Initially we needed to get a baseline measure for our aerobic fitness levels. I decided to do a beep test. Children had to run 20m shuttles whilst listening to a beep. The children should have reached the line before the beep. When they pulled out or failed to hit the line before the beep, their score was recorded. I also weighed each student just to see if the daily exercise had any effect on their weight. The children were also asked to give up drinking fizzy drinks as part of the challenge. Parents were encouraged to monitor this and initial a record sheet as they attempted to resist the lure of the sugary beverage. As part of the challenge, they were allowed one day off per week to enjoy an occasional treat and to encourage compliance!

To validate the test, I needed a control group. Another class were summoned to fulfil his role. They were the going to do the pre and post-test but would not do any of the training or dietary measures.

We did the fitness tests on the 7th of January, on the first week after Christmas. The results varied greatly. Some of the scores in the test were scary as they were shockingly low. Many of the kids languished in the lowest category for their own age group and if they were pitted against the norms for 65 year olds or older, amazingly a few were still in the ‘least fit’ for that age group. It was clearly obvious that the children with the most sedentary lives were displaying the dangerous low levels of aerobic fitness. This would obviously potentially pose huge problems to their health as they get older.

The Training

We started the training on Monday the 11th of January

Every morning for four weeks at 10.05 we would go down to the yard. The boys would run up and down for 30 seconds and then take a break for 30 seconds. Six bouts of 30 second running were completed each day. The effort was varied. Some boys loved the challenge whilst others found it very difficult.

After a few days, the boys were saying how they felt better after they ran and ‘felt faster’ and ‘fitter’. They still found it difficult as the mornings were quite cold but they persevered. They were getting a break from the class room and were happy to get their extra exercise on yard.

On the 8th February we did the retest. We did the same protocol as before. The boys did the beep test and we measured their weight. I also did the test on the other class to see how they performed compared to their initial test.

The Results

Training group: improved their aerobic fitness by 19%.

Control group: improved their aerobic fitness by 12%.

Training group: average weight reduced by 0.01 kg

Control group: average weight increased by 0.6 kg

Conclusion

Both groups hugely increased their fitness levels, but the training group improved by a massive 19% due in many respects to the 3 minutes of exercise a day. The 12% increase seen by the control group was also quite a jump with no ‘formal training’. This is probably due to the fact that the initial test was done immediately post-Christmas. Both groups would probably not have done much activity over this period and were naturally going to be more active in the January period (resuming football training, walking to school etc), thus an increase was always likely.

The weight loss seen by the training group was interesting also. It was good to see that the short amounts of exercise and an emphasis on drinking water and milk resulted in slight weight loss. The objective was not to see if we could lose a lot of weight as the children are growing and increasing weight naturally but it was good to see that some of the kids who were a bit overweight for their height managed to lose some all the same.

Overall, the challenge was a great success. We clearly saw that with only three minutes of exercise a day for four weeks, the children’s fitness levels improved by 7% over the control group. Imagine what each child could do in a few months.

The important message is that short bursts of intense exercise can make a massive impact on aerobic fitness and health levels. Never use lack of time as a reason not to exercise. This applies also to adults as well as children.

I hope to continue and refine this training protocol so I look forward to see how I can improve the training regime and ensure that it is as fun as possible as well as being an effective training tool.

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12 ‘to do’ Checklist for Today

1. Get 30 minutes exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is, run, walk, trampoline, cage fighting, just do your heart and lungs a favour and move a bit.

2. Eat vegetables for lunch and dinner. Seriously stop acting like an 8 year old and just do it. Opt for a salad or soup for lunch instead of the sandwich, eat a lot of colourful veg for the dinner and less spuds, pasta or rice. Bonus points for breakfast veggies.

3. Go to bed half an hour earlier than usual. I’m sure whatever is on tv isn’t that good anyway. You can record it if you really want.

4. Eat a hand sized portion of protein at each meal. Men can have two. 3 eggs, meat, fish, 3 tbsp of Greek yogurt, scoop of protein powder, cup of beans/nuts will all do the job as a portion.

5. Drink lots of water. Hardly groundbreaking stuff and I’ll not sell a book on the back of that recommendation but just do it anyway.

6. Call your parents (if you are lucky enough to still have them) and ask them about their day.

7. Get outside for 30 minutes. I’m not talking about doing yoga along the babbling stream or anything, just get out, get some fresh air and plug yourself out for a while.

8. Give three people genuine compliments. ‘That frock you are wearing is lovely’ ‘you’re hair is looking so clean this week’ are not good examples. Please think of better ones.

9. Laugh at something. Share a joke or have the craic with your buddies. Alternatively watch this. https://youtu.be/1B4PkbqLlPs

10. Do one thing that has been on your mind for ages. Something that you have been meaning to do for a long time. It will be a great weight off your shoulders even if it’s just a small thing. I certainly have a long list that I can immediately tackle.

11. Give yourself a challenge to target. Aim to do 10 full press ups by January. Do a 5k race by the end of the year. Run a marathon in 2016. Climb Kilimamjaro during lunch. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Nothing focuses the mind like a challenge with a deadline.

12. Eat a few pieces of fruit. Go mad and try something different like a kiwi, a melon or a peach.

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Childhood Obesity – Who is to blame?

Obesity is a huge fat problem in Ireland today. With 40% of all adults overweight and 25% classified as obese. Using your maths skills you would have worked out that around 2 out of every 3 Irish adults are above their correct weight!
Alarm bells should be ringing in your head I hope!!…this is not good. This trend is getting worse and has increased considerably since the 1990s.
How are children fairing out? Well not so good. According to the ‘Growing up in Ireland study’ 20 per cent of 9 year olds were overweight in 2011 and a further 7 per cent are obese. Again we see that 1 in every 4 children have a weight issue.

This will obviously lead to a poorer quality of life and a higher likelihood of illness and sickness.

So who is to blame?

This is a hot topic in the media at the moment, people are looking for scapegoats to pin the responsibility on. Here we look at the possible candidates.
FT83_2_parents_children(1)

1. Parents: the primary provider for the child. They are the ones feeding the child the food, surely it is their fault that the child is overweight? They create the environment around the child which determines how much exercise they do. Do parents do enough or take responsibility for this role? Are they limited by lack of education, certain financial strain or a particular environmental or social situation?
Could they possibly be the ones making their child obese? Can we fathom a situation where parents are knowingly poisoning their children with harmful foods by making them obese or do they just not know the difference between foods that nourish and foods that harm?
Maybe it is not just the parents fault, maybe they are just shaped by their environment and are just pawns in the bigger picture that they are struggling to control?

>cereal killers

2. Food Companies: Big Corporate food companies. McDonalds, Dominos, Coca Cola, Mars etc. etc.
Are the majority of us obese because of the big money making globo-conglomerate monsters that are everywhere in society today? The food they provide tastes good and sure if its a ‘treat’ then isn’t it fine once in a while!? Our shops and society are laden with these processed, sugar filled foods which are highly addictive. We are being constantly bombarded with flashy advertisements directed at our youth with happy people eating these shiny tasty food! Parents are told some of these foods are low in salt, low in fat, low in calories, are fortified with this that and the other and ‘should be eaten as part of a balanced diet’. Are we being brainwashed by the these companies into thinking that these foods are just part and parcel of modern life? Are we supposed to eat cereal for breakfast? Do we have to drink coke and eat popcorn at the cinema? Do we really need to drink sugar bomb sports drinks before/during/after exercise to fuel our bodies? This what the advertisements say, surely they can’t be wrong, can they?
FoodPyramid2006_large[1]
3. Government The Government of our country.
Could they possibly be responsible for the obesity epidemic which is taking place at this current time. Is it not in their interests to have a have a healthy strong workforce of people instead of a group that fat and sick? One would think so. Most governments in the world endorse the food pyramid. We all know what it looks like, it has been drilled into us for years. We see it in school books, we see it in medical documents and on government websites. It basically says eat loads of grains and don’t eat much fats. If we were to jump into a time machine and travel back 10,000 years ago (prior to the agricultural revolution, when we started cultivating grains) into human history, we would see that humans did not eat many grains. We obviously survived for millions of years and became the strongest race on the planet without eating them but now they are considered the ‘staple’ according to our government guidelines. Our DNA has not changed that much in the last 40,000 years. At that time we ate a diet full of protein, fats, nuts and vegetables whilst now we are being told by our government to eat a diet with a predominance of refined carbohydrates in the form of pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. Why are we being told to eat these grains? Who decided that they are good for us? How did people do before Government guidelines came in? Read my blog here on traditional diets

Broccoli child
4. The Child The child themselves.
The children of our country. Are they at fault? Are they responsible for their own declining health?
Those extra sweets and chocolates they ate at the party, surely they should have shown restraint? Did they not realise that they were very bad for them !
Why didn’t they ask for a bike for Christmas instead of a Playstation 4, did they not realise that the extra exercise they could have done would have been better for their health instead of sitting inside watching a screen!
Surely they should have kicked up a fuss looking for green vegetables as they wandered the stalls in the supermarket with their mother as she was doing the shopping. Then the child would have had something better to eat for dinner!
The children today are not to blame as you may have noted from the tone of my sarcasm above. They are products of their environment. Unfortunately the environment that many children grow up in is not very conducive to health or for alleviating obesity and they are suffering as a result.

Vending machine
5. Our Environment Is the environment to blame?
We live in a world where convenience and speed has become so important. We want everything now and get aggrieved if we have to spend time working for it. The same thinking has evolved with our relationship to food. With our hectic lifestyles and busy jobs, eating has become a secondary concept. We eat to alleviate the symptoms of hunger as opposed to eating to keep us healthy and nourished. Our world has sped up and the quality of food and attention to our food has declined as a result. Some people would rather sleep in an extra half hour rather than getting up to prepare a healthy breakfast. At lunch we grab a sandwich rather than preparing a healthier alternative in advance. For dinner we may eat whatever the local chipper has to offer or get a ready meal for the microwave to cook.
Also for children the options are pretty desperate if they were looking for something to eat. At schools there may be a vending machine full of sugary food or the local chipper. The shop may have some healthy food such as fruit but the child will be instantly drawn to the tasty treats that line the counter.
We live in a society where it is acceptable to be overweight. We are normalised by the customs and habits of the people that we typically spend our time with. If all your friends eat take away, smoke cigarettes, drink fizzy drinks etc. then you will be conditioned to think that everyone does it and that it is fine. Whereas if your friends eat well, exercise, then you will judge yourself based on them. The same applies with our weight and our children’s weight. If the majority of children in our society are overweight, we tend to look at a typical overweight child as the ‘norm’, just average and therefore consider it ok and pass no heed on it. Unfortunately the ‘norm’ weight has been increasing for many years.
Child computers

6. Sedentary Lifestyle– Is an inactive lifestyle to blame?
When I was a young lad growing up, I regularly built massive big tree houses with loads of rooms, played football for a minimum of eight hours every day during the summer, wore a groove 3 inches deep in the road with all the cycling and mowed so many lawns that the mound of grass was the size of a small house!
I think we all look back at our childhood with some degree of rose tinted glass syndrome regarding our own activity levels but I think it is quite clear that children today are not exposed to or engaged in the same levels of exercise and activity that children were years ago. As a primary school teacher I regularly see children who struggle to run for a short period of time or have difficulty walking up a few flights of stairs without bursting into a sweat. I am aware that many parents have concerns for safety in their neighbourhoods and children are not free to roam as they were years ago, but does that mean that they should just leave them inside watching the television?
Although many children regularly participate in sports clubs, the research suggests that only 3 in 10 children get the recommended 1 hour of physical activity per day. Televisions, phones, computers are becoming increasingly more integral part of children’s lives and parents are allowing this to happen. Schools also are restricted in the time they can give to exercise. The curriculum guidelines suggest 1 hour of exercise per week. This will not make much dent in the 7 hours recommended per week!
Where will our children get more exercise? Is it the parents fault? Is it our society and our schools that is to blame?

So who really is to blame???
who-is-to-blame-1a[1]

As you may have read, I think there are a combination of reasons why obesity is rising especially amongst children but realistically the parents must shoulder the responsibility. Parents have the power to change their children’s lives for the better. They are in charge of what the child eats, what the child does on a daily basis and must have the courage and conviction to make the correct decisions to enable their children lives their lives free from disease and obesity.
Unfortunately if 2/3 of adults are overweight themselves, can we realistically expect these people to be effective role models and instruct their children to make right decisions when they seem to be incapable of doing so themselves?
Lets hope so but it’s important that they know what they are doing.
Education is the key thing and although most parents want the best for their child, some are unwittingly doing damage without realising it. In part 2, I hope to present some simple steps parents can use in their lives which will help themselves and their children get back to full health and escape the dangers of obesity.

Note: I’m not a parent and I don’t pretend to suggest parenting is an easy job. This post is not intended to criticise parents but help them see how they can help their children!

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Time to get off the low fat train!

Two trains are about to arrive at the platform, the low fat train and the full fat train. Which train do you choose?

Up until a 40 years ago there was no such thing as the low fat train and everybody travelled full fat. But since the 70’s and 80’s there has been a shift towards the low fat bandwagon. The full fat that we eat naturally in animal foods (that humans have been eating for millions of years) suddenly became the culprit for heart disease and obesity. Some studies including ‘The seven Countries Study’ which have since been disproven seemed to suggest that it was the fat and the cholesterol in our food that was causing these problems. In 1977 the ‘McGovern Committee’ in America gave the first clear guidelines to the American government that the ‘low fat, high carb’ was the way to go despite protests from others who stated that sugar was the problem not the fat. The governments of the world and many food companies soon realised that there was a lot of money to be made from this ‘low fat movement’ and within a few years fat was enemy number one and grain food were the golden child. But did everyone get healthier and leaner following the new food pyramid which promoted grains and demonised fats? 

Check out this short video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8WA5wcaHp4 which explains how fat is not a problem.

Take a look at the chart below and see for yourself, although correlation does not prove causation it does make a good argument.   

Image

Source: National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2009 Mar. Chartbook.

Nowadays we have a situation where we are being told from an early age to eat according to the government issued food pyramid. Children are being indoctrinated with the notion that fat is bad and that eating loads of bread/pasta/cereals are good. Doctors who do not get very much nutrition coaching in medical school advise patients to eat ‘healthy’- to follow the food pyramid. Unfortunately we as a nation are seeing a continued rise in obesity, cancer, diabetes and other diseases.  

When I talk about fat, I am referring to naturally occurring fats that are in all animal products. In butter, meats, eggs, dairy, fish, nuts, seeds, olive, coconut and palm oil. Processed oils and trans fats are very dangerous to the body and should not be eaten.

If you are not convinced, here are some reasons why you should full fat foods.

1. Low fat foods are full of sugar and other chemicals

When the low fat movement came out and the manufacturers decided to remove the fat from the various products, they discovered that they tasted crap. They replaced the fat with lots of sugar and flavourings and other crap to make them palatable. These made the product taste good but now the original food has became a processed piece of garbage. Low fat foods are basically foods with the goodness removed and extra rubbish put in.

2. Low fat can raise chances of getting heart disease and other autoimmune disease

Heart disease is the most common form of death in the western world. Traditional population who ate diets high in fat had near minimum levels of heart disease. Once these people were exposed to western low fat type diets, their levels of disease soared. They got obese, became diabetic and levels of heart disease rose. Read more about the work of Weston Price in my article here.

3. Low fat foods make us fat

A low fat diet is pretty much a high carb diet. Many people in this modern world live sedentary lives and have jobs and lifestyles which have a low energy output. These carbs that are consumed by the body are turned into glucose. Glucose is stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver cells and becomes available for energy whenever required. If this glycogen store does not get used up then the cells , then the additional glucose consumed cannot fit into the cells and gets put into fat storage. Alternatively consuming a diet with a higher percentage of fats can make us less likely to overeat as fat and protein consumption regulate hormones which make us feel full and reduce hunger.

4. Low fat can mean higher cholesterol

For years consumption of dietary fat and cholesterol were considered the number one cause of high cholesterol in our body. We were told to lower our intake of saturated fats in eggs, red meat and butter. We were also told to eat lots of whole grains, and eat heart healthy vegetable spreads. Again the information was wrong!

In actual fact eating more fat will lead to an increase in ‘HDL’ cholesterol which is the good cholesterol and shows an decreased risk of heart disease. Also a higher fat diet can change the particle size of ‘LDL’ cholesterol from small dense particles (which are dangerous) to dense fluffy ones (which are nice and friendly)!

5. Low fat can lead to brain disfunction

Low levels of DHA, a fat found in omega 3 fatty acids has been associated with memory loss, difficulty concentrating, Alzheimer’s disease and other mood problems.

To wrap up, we need to get back to basics regarding our fat intake. Food should be there to enjoy as nature intended. Fat is not meant to be removed from milk or yogurt, real butter is not going to make you fat, eggs will not give you high cholesterol. Stay away from anything marketed as ‘low fat’ as it is more than likely a Frankenstein food with a multitude of other crap thrown in. Eat real, unprocessed, locally produced, real, whole foods as much as possible and you will not go wrong.  

You are back standing on the platform at the train station. The man on the loudspeaker shouts out: “the low fat train will be departing Platform 2 in 5 minutes and Is stopping at Low energy, Obesity, High Triglycerides, High Cholesterol, Sickness, and Heart Disease”

“The full fat train is departing Platform 1 and is going express to Optimal Health”

…I know where I want to go!

 

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Weston A Price and a traditional diet

Weston A Price

One of the biggest influences of my beliefs about nutrition comes from the work done by a man named Weston A Price. He was a dentist from Cleveland in America. At the beginning of the 20th century Price was getting presented with an increasing number of people with dental cavities and physical degeneration. This he considered was due to a shift in the way food was being manufactured and the type of food people were consuming. In a short space of time people were beginning to consume more refined sugars, flours and processed foods. Local agricultural practices were being replaced by larger industrialised food processing methods.

In his search for answers to best practice, Price decided to visit the most isolated and primitive communities in the world that were free from western influences to study their diet and see how this impacted the quality of their teeth and their health in general.

Price studied isolated mountain people in Switzerland, island communities in the Outer Hebrides, members of the Maasai tribe and other African peoples, native Americans, the Inuit populations, Australian Aborigines and some South American tribes.

What Price discovered and this should come as no surprise to anyone was that these populations who rigidly their unprocessed, traditional foods had exceptional levels of health.

He found that these peoples who enjoyed an unrefined, unprocessed diet consumed an incredibly higher amount of vitamins and minerals than those consuming the manufactured and processed foods. They were robust and healthy, they had wide jaws and a full set of teeth with zero to no cavities. They had strong resistance to tuberculosis which was rampant at the time and showed no signs of the modern diseases which were becoming prevalent in western societies around the world. He also noticed that when the natives began eating foods other than those they traditionally ate, thing began to go wrong.  Once strong and healthy individual exposed to manufactured sugary, flour based foods with vegetable oils were sick more often and showed far less immunity to disease. They also displayed extremely deformed teeth structure.

Difference in teeth

What was interesting was that the diets varied in terms macronutrients content, I.e. the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate but what was critical was the fact that the all foods were unprocessed, unrefined and ‘organic’.

If milk was consumed, it was raw or cultured. Animal sources were of huge importance and the whole animal was eaten, including organ meats and bones for broth. Animals were reared in their natural habitat and not extensively farmed or given foods to fatten them, Any grains consumed were whole grains and were only used after soaking or fermenting. All fruits and vegetables were grown naturally without artificial fertiliser or herbicide and eaten in season.

Many of the diets did have large quantities of fat compared to modern diets. The Inuit people consumed up to 80 per cent of their diet from animal fat (sea mammals, fish, land animals and birds) and very little fruit and vegetables due to the nature of the harsh cold climate. This high consumption of fat might scare the hell of most of us today but these people had no cancer, obesity, heart disease, cognitive disfunction or infertility. Unfortunately since then, they have been exposed to many of the ‘great’ new manufactured foods of western society and their once successful social structure and health has begun to unravel. Diabetes and obesity is extremely common amongst modern Inuit and they are succumbing to the diseases which are prevalent in western society.

Nutrition and physical degeneration

The main message that Weston Price tried to convey in his book ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ was that a diet full of nutrient dense foods was critical to maintaining optimum health. These traditional foods were chock full of vitamins and minerals and this ensured that the bodies who consumed them were free from strong and free from illness.

Take home message: most of us do not live on an isolated island or a jungle tribe so we will be exposed to ‘bad’ foods on a regular basis. To best ensure we maximise the quality of the food we consume we can try to follow some of these principals.

1. Eat in season, organically grown, locally produced fruit and vegetables.

2. Eat beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry, eggs from pasture raised animals.

3. Eat full fat milk products from pasture fed cows, raw milk, yogurt, cheese.

4. Use animal fats such as butter liberally. (Not margarine or pretend butter crap!)

5. Eat whole unprocessed foods.

For a full list of recommendations you can read the Weston A Price homepage.

http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/principles-of-healthy-diets

 

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Where has it all gone wrong?

With all the technological developments that have taken place in the world over the past hundred years, the human population has gone through a period of incredible growth. An abundant and readily accessible food supply has enabled us to multiply like never before. We are living longer here in Ireland than ever but are we healthier?

Irish life expectancy

Are we living a life full of energy and vitality into our late years or are we barely surviving?

Modern advancement in medicine has been remarkable and has enabled us to treat many ailments and increase our lifespan. Despite these advances in medicine, chronic disease is not abating, rather it is speeding up.

According to the book ‘The Health Delusion’,

  • more than one in three has cardiovascular disease
  • one in six has high cholesterol
  • six out of ten has high blood pressure
  • one out of ten has diabetes  and almost 4 out those 10 may be on the verge of diabetes
  • two out every five will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives

More than half our 50’s are currently living with two or more chronic diseases (diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease) and this figure is likely to dramatically increase by the end of the decade.

http://www.thejournal.ie/chronic-disease-1119276-Oct2013/

Are we supposed to be sick? Why is this happening? What can we do to reduce our chances and our family’s chances of being one of these chronic illness statistics?

Many of us go through life with a blinkered approach. We eat and drink what is socially acceptable, consume processed crap that is advertised as food in the media and follow outdated and misguided government guidelines. We assume that if it’s in a pack, it must be ok to eat and we do not take responsibility for our own health and wellness.

Then BOOM!…suddenly we get sick. We wonder why and blame bad luck!

Sickness

We don’t just get sick by accident, there isn’t a magic illness dice that spins and suddenly lands on us. We get sick because our body is struggling to deal with problems brought on by environmental, physical, mental or emotional stresses. These stresses are determined by our nutrition and lifestyle and our interaction with the world around us. In nearly all cases we are in control of these factors!

Genetics also play a role and this why our own health as parents plays a huge role in the makeup of our future kids. Any sicknesses we have will be transported in our genes to our future offspring making them more susceptible. It is a blue print for our children. If your parents had any chronic disease such diabetes or heart disease, you will have a higher risk factor of contracting these illnesses as you grow older. Epigenetics though suggest there are switches in our genetic make up that can be turned on or off based on our dietary and environmental choices. Therefore just because your parent had diabetes or heart disease doesn’t mean you will have it too.

My belief is that we can all shape the destiny of our lives and live healthier and happier lives.

Illness/health

What factors can determine our likelihood of contracting disease?

  • Nutrition – eating a diet full of sugar, refined grains, trans fats, additives and alcohol can lead to huge problems. Alternatively eating foods that are locally sourced, minimally processed, nutrient dense plant and whole animal foods, nuts, seeds and good fats can be like medicine for our body and enable it to function the way it was designed.
  • Exercise – sedentary lifestyles are a recipe for disaster. An increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are just some of the dangers. There is a magic solution – move more! Sitting for hours on end can be detrimental for our health. Do whatever exercise you enjoy and make it a regular part of your life.
  • Stress and Emotional Wellbeing- people who suffer from continuous long-term emotional, physical or mental stress will exacerbate the likelihood of chronic illness. Solution – chill out, all that stress is doing you harm! Do some yoga, meditate, go for a walk, worry less, and laugh more. Give thanks, don’t hold grudges, do voluntary work and smile;)
  • Sleep – Poor quality sleep can put people at an increased risk of depression and anxiety. It can lead to an increased chance of immune deficiency and heart disease. Quality sleep enables out body to recover and regenerate. We should be aiming for 8 hours sleep every night. We should be try to go to sleep earlier and try to avoid caffeine, white light(unnatural light produced by computers, tv and light) and rigorous exercise near bedtime. If we can do so, our bodies will be able to produce the hormone melatonin, while at the same time reduce our levels of cortisol as we near bedtime. Our bodies will be primed for sleep and we can maximise its benefits.
  • Environmental toxicity – we are being exposed to a huge amount of toxins. Over exposure to these toxins can make us sick.

Toxins where, I hear you say?

Avoid: Chemicals in our foods such as herbicides and pesticides. Antibiotics in farmed animals. Poisonous additives which increase shelf life. Eat fresh, organically grown and minimally processed

Avoid: Cosmetic products contain dangerous chemicals such as oxybenzone and parabens which can be toxic in the body.

Avoid: PFOA – Perflourooctanoic Acid, used in Teflon non-stick coatings, avoid high heat when using Teflon or better again use a stainless steel pan.

Avoid: Certain plastics such as BPA used in certain food containers and bottles should be avoided. Chemicals can leach out into our food and drink especially if exposed to high temperature or light. Studies have shown huge dangers to brain and infant and child development. Glass is a safer alternative.

Don’t accept illness as a ‘normal’ part of your life. Take control and do something about it.

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