Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beware the Miracle Foods Fads

Can you tell me what you think of the nutritional or medicinal value of Chia seeds?

I shall tell you about Chia what i tell everyone about 'miracle foods': Noni juice, Kombucha tea, Goji Berries, Chia seeds...

The only thing they have in common is that some greedy capitalists do excellent marketing on those 'healing foods'. People buy them in earnest for a lot of money and then after a while, when they realise that they didn't get the miracles they were expecting, they give up.

Meanwhile, the sharks have another product ready to market and it's alway the same: has been used for thousands of years by the ancients Aztecs/ Polynesians/ Egyptians/ Eskimos; has everything: protein/antioxidants/ omegas. They seem to always contain high levels of the nutrients currently fashionable in the popular media: so while Goji berries were touted to be full of antioxidants, Chia are full of omegas, and so on.

Let me give you an example: a couple of years ago Goji berries were sold for about $100 for a 100mls bottle of extract in fancy packaging in health food shops. Now you can buy them loose for $20 / kilo in supermarkets!

See what i mean? Next year people will feed Chia seeds to their chickens (just like the Aztec did actually).

This is the sort of things that give natural therapies a bad name. All whole foods are good for you: blueberries will give you more antioxidants than Goji berries, organic wholemeal bread is certainly better for you than white bread made with bleached flour 'enriched' with Chia seeds or any other ancient just discovered ingredient.

So beware the miracle cure. Again!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Desire for Sweets during a Weight Loss Diet

I've decided to start a section on weight loss. It's not going to follow any particular pattern, just as brilliant thoughts strike me.

Let's say you are following a weight reduction diet and suddenly you have a craving for sweets. You've just had a great breakfast/lunch/dinner with protein in it and you are taking your (naturopath prescribed) supplements regularly and you are not hungry right now.

So what is it?

Simple! If you have already started losing weight. it's your metabolism being lazy. Yes, a bit like a bloody teenager bugging his mum to get him something out of the fridge. Now if mum says: "Get it yourself!", the kid is going to have to get it or go without. It's the same with your metabolism. If you have already started losing weight, that means you are making your metabolism work more, and it's rebelling. It wants more calories now but it doesn't want to go and break down your fat reserves, it wants the calories to be delivered to it now just like the teenager sitting on his ass.

So your choice is: either you use the excuse to have something sweet (which is how you got the extra weight in the first place), or you tell your metabolism to get off its derriere and go burn some fat. I guarantee that if you can hold out for an hour, the sweet craving will go. Absolute proof that your metabolism was trying to free load.

I am vindicated on cod liver oil

Right! Let's rewind a bit. One of my first posts was about vitamin A, was it poisonous or not and i gave you the whole low down. So go and check it.

Now let's rewind further still. I see a lot of pregnant women and their babies (After all i did write the book "Natural Childcare"). Because of this absurd fear of vitamin A poisoning in the past 10 years or so, pregnant women have absolutely stayed away from cod liver oil.

Mind you i have to put an interjection here, and you wouldn't love me so much if it wasn't for my interjections, BUT i am always amazed to see that many women are prepared to give away things like vitamins because it may be bad for the baby but somehow they are not so keen to give up alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, cannabis or pain killers. Funny about that. Glad i got that out!

Back to cod liver oil, which, remember, contains both A and D in the correct proportion. Why am i vindicated? Because recent research has shown that vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy may be one of the causes of problems such as allergies, asthma and possibly autism and ADHD in the resulting child. Ha! Told you so told you so told you so!

So, what does Grannie suggest? Simple: you can be neurotic about not taking cod liver oil in the first half of the pregnancy (after all, i keep supplements for pregnant women to a minimum myself in the first 20 weeks), that will make you feel safer, always a good thing. But after week 20 it is a good idea to get back to taking cod liver oil. And make sure it's a good clean brand, not one that contains synthetic A to boost the count. One capsule or one teaspoon a day will do. This way you will be having about 4,500 iu of A and 450 iu of D every day. Because if you are not spending enough time exposed to the sun you will be D deficient.

But vitamin D deficiency is definitely another blog.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beware Those Attractive Supplements

OK guys! I am the first to say that we need supplements. First of all, there are not enough nutrients in the food we purchase and even if there was, because of the busy and stressful life we lead we need more help. For instance, have a cold, take more vitamin C; get older and have joint problems: take glucosamine, fish oils and calcium. These sorts of things.

It goes bad when people, from a genuine desire to help themselves and take responsibility for their own health, are taken in by wonderfully marketed products which are inevitably wrapped in very attractive packaging and which contain? CRAP!! Crap! crap! crap!

I've just spent almost an hour checking and rechecking the products a patient of mine has been taking (obviously if she's just become a patient of mine, she hasn't had much result from them) and my mind has been boggling and my blood has been boiling. Good thing I take the right nutrients.

For instance: a supplement which is meant to be full of antioxidants contains a piddly 500 micrograms of Lycopene. Now if you get one medium size tomato, you will absorb 2000 more time Lycopene. Even tomato sauce out of a bottle has hundreds of times more Lycopene per teaspoon!

Her calcium supplement (and we all know how calcium supplements are important to us who are no longer 30); well, that calcium supplement was made of calcium citrate and calcium carbonate. Both really cheap and calcium carbonate practically impossible to absorb by the human digestive tract; calcium carbonate is only good as a buffer for other supplements. What's good about them? They are cheap! Oh, no! Not cheap to you silly! Cheap to the manufacturer. Here it is: I buy calcium carbonate for my chickens (i would not give it to my horses or dogs or humans) and it costs me $13/ 5 kilos. But if you are a manufacturer and you buy it by the ton, it will only cost a few cents per kilo. Cheap indeed, but for whom? Of course someone has to pay for all the marketing and the shiny labels. Silly me!

So what to do?

First of all, avoid what i call: "kitchen sink formulae" all these 'nutrients' packed in a little pill are usually in amounts too small to be effective. Also a lot of them are antagonistic to each other; for instance if a supplement contains iron and vitamin E, then you won't get either, because iron and E make an insoluble compound that your body cannot absorb. Zinc should be taken on its own because most nutrients are antagonist to zinc.

I could go on but i won't. Just remember that when you take supplements 'simple' is the best and get the opinion of a qualified naturopath and if the naturopath gives you a 'kitchen sink' supplement, find another naturopath.

And now i'll go and take some anti-high blood pressure supplement in the form of a cup of lemon verbena tea. (although i would prefer a gin and tonic ;o) and i'm going to have a large dose of anti-oxidants in the shape of a punnet of bluberries.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Help! Getting woken up through the night by very nasty mosquitoes in the new place. I've got this great stuff from the states- B.. Anti Bug Balm- but even that is not deterring them they are so desperate they are getting into any naked crevasse where the balm has not been put- like in between fingers and toes!!Ahhh!. Is it true that mozzies love people who are low in Vit B? a girl in a health shop told me that a while ago. What do you think? Catherine
That's absolute crap. I piss the stuff and they adore me. In fact recent science has shown that the little bitches are attracted to people who have a high level of B12 and Folate in their blood. Can you believe this? the bitches want to make sure their offspring don't get neural tube defect. Unbelievable. You knew only female mozzies bite, didn't you? (the boys are just born, mate and die, what a short sweet life).
So how do you protect yourself? well, apart from having screens on every window, you know those things you plug in electric sockets, and you put a little mat of insecticide in? They work really well. "But! i hear you say, shouldn't we avoid chemicals?" Yes, as much as possible, but we are going to use some anyway and remember mosquitoes carry lots of diseases (such as Ross River, Dengue Fever, Barmah Forest, Australian Encephalitis, to name a few) and if you react badly to their bites this aggravates your immune system, which then causes a drop in your immune response to other things. And there is all the aggravation of not getting a good night sleep. Also you will be absorbing a lot of the 'balm' through your skin anyway. The mosquito 'zappers' are actually species specific and they don't touch other insects such as fleas for instance. So i doubt they would have much of a deleterious effect on humans. Kill them! (obviously this is not a blog favoured by strict Buddhists, but when i dispatch a loathsome insect, I always say: "Off you go, to a better reincarnation!"

Monday, February 1, 2010




Dear Kaye, there are three rules for the successful intake of supplements:

Absorption, absorption, ABSORPTION!

Yes, coffee (and to a lesser extend tea,) stops the absorption of: iron, calcium, most B vitamins, especially B12, and Folic acid. Of course this happens not only with tablets but also with the nutrients in regular food. So if you must have coffee, have it between meals.

In general, supplements should be taken AFTER a meal, this way they get plenty of time to be broken down with the food and absorbed properly. Otherwise they go straight where your friend found them!

If you want to know more about caffeine check my website.

Im back!

Hello Everyone!

People have emailed me and wondered why i suddenly stopped posting on my blog. Well, it's pretty sad really, but my beautiful little colt, Alois, who was only 10 months old had a dreadful accident and had to be euthanised. After that i really didn't feel like going on the net and being all funny and witty. Lots of beer and gin was more what i felt like really. Good thing i am such a goodie two shoes naturopath, or i would have succumbed.

Actually, i did. Just a bit.

Unfortunately for me i know how to cope with grief, my younger daughter died ten years ago, so losing a little horse is not comparable but it did hit exactly on that same scar.

I have had a couple of patients with grief since then so here is an article I wrote on grief, unfortunately some one you know might need it, you'll find it here:

And now I just know that you want me to say something funny and witty. Don't you? Well, i'll just say something positive, howzat? Wasn't 2009 a hell of a year? (did i say positive? wait, it's coming) it was! and it's still happening of course and why? Because the Chinese New Year hasn't happened yet. But it's close! the 14th of Feb, Year of the Tiger So here's a good thing to do: tidy up. Tidy up anything and everything, even if it's only your desktop or your knickers draws. Get rid of useless stuff give it to St Vinnies, somebody will like it. Pretend that The Tiger is going to be a house guest (as long as it isn't a golfing tiger, you'll be safe ;o) and you getting the place ready. An honoured guest will behave honourable and generously (old Elyane proverb)

There you are, off you go and i promise i'll post regularly from now on.