Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another reason to “go organic”

This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about the potentially disastrous health effects of Monsanto’s Roundup (e.g. blocking the body’s detoxification pathways). But now new evidence links Roundup - to male infertility. This effect and the many others which include male reproductive malformations such as undescended testes, have been found at levels of Roundup considered safe by US Environmental Protection Agency food safety levels!

Yet Roundup continues to be much used. Yes, I’ve even found it in friends’ tool sheds and garages, which mean they use it on their kitchen garden...Time for a rethink people. This stuff is toxic and even though organic may cost more initially, the savings you can expect to make long-term by avoiding spending on compromised health are not only beyond calculation but beyond price!

I’m on my personal soapbox here, but in my 66 years on the planet, I’ve been hospitalised for one night (shattered my patella) and in the last 12 years I’ve never used my Medicare card (until the patella incident). My sons (now 28 and 24) have visited a doctor a total number of six times in their combined 52 years (the same number of visits the average child makes to a GP in thir first year of life).

Organic, in season, whole, fresh, low food miles, healthy food from healthy soil, whatever descriptor you like, it all starts with what you put into your mouth and if you want to give the next generation a better health legacy, get started before conception. Right now, couples spend more time, energy and money on preparing for their wedding day than they spend on preparing for the conception of a baby! Give your baby something better - a lifetime of better physical and mental health!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vitamin D ... under the microscope again!

I’ve blogged numerous times on the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency (sunscreen, sun-avoidance, indoor lifestyles etc.) and on the multiple benefits of ensuring vitamin D status before conception, during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. I’ve also posted the most recent dosing recommendations from researchers at GrassRootsHealth, whose work now spans more than 3 decades. So the latest report in the BMJ stating that “universal conclusions about its [vitamin D’s] benefits cannot be drawn” made me angry.

It made lots of other health professionals angry too - with assertions that this major meta-analysis was never going to show anything meaningful when “there were so many underpowered and poorly designed trials in the mix.”  The identified flaws included low doses, large differences in baseline plasma concentrations and contamination with private use of vitamin D. 

Here’s the word from GrassRootsHealth on the appropriate dosages (if you're supplementing) and for a continuing appropriate relationship between your skin and the sun:

Minimize UVA while allowing UVB
10-15 minutes exposure/day between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm
Expose 40 percent of skin area
Ensure it’s a clear day without pollution

If this isn’t possible, use oral supplements of D3 to achieve 40-60ng/ml (100-150nMols/L)

RULE OF THUMB: For every 100IU ingested, there is increase of 1ng/ml
ADULT DOSE: 2,000IU/day

I'm going for the appropriate sun exposure - something that feels so wonderful has to be good for you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

While I'm on the subject of cows...

Just back from a quick trip to China - launching an 8-product range of Ogni Organic Milk Powders out of New Zealand. The organic message is a powerful one and particularly welcome to a lot of Chinese consumers who are understandable wary of locally produced milk products. But seeing the increasing desire for milk products in a market that has not been a traditional consumer of dairy, makes me wonder about the long term health effects. At the same time, the massive rise in the use of infant formula is certainly linked to China’s rapid development and women in the work-force but also to the population’s mysterious desire for everything perceived as Western (and thus progressive).

I can’t but wonder how long it will take public health authorities to figure out that in their population’s helter-skelter embrace of infant formula, a much healthier, clean, green and FREE resource has been discarded. How long will it be before the tide turns ... for example, UAE has just passed legislation that requires women to breastfeed for two years, in South Africa, infant formula can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription, in the USA women who breastfeed are given food coupons ...

Are the very recent Chinese government regulations, designed to reduce the number of IF brands on the market from thousands to a handful, a sign of something stronger to come? Time will tell...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cows making methane? There's more to the story

Yep, no doubt you’ve read about the massive levels of methane that herds of cattle emit and their likely contribution to green house gas levels. But there’s more to it and it may come as a surprise. It seems that we could actually reduce the CO2 levels if we got cattle back onto the land, let them graze naturally (no more feed lots) and let their symbiotic relationship with the earth restore barren, unproductive lands to verdant pasture (and to more photosynthesis which in turn leads to lower levels of carbon dioxide)!

To make it simple, look no further than the work of Judith Schwartz, freelance writer and author of the book Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth. Judith recounts the findings of Allan Savory of the Savory Institute in Boulder Colorado:  "It occurred to him that the land needed the animals in the same way that the animals needed the land. He began to really observe how animals functioned on land, and came to understand the really intricate dynamics, the system, that had been naturally in operation.

Basically, when grazing animals graze, they're nibbling on the grasses in a way that exposes their growth points to sunlight and stimulates growth... Their trampling [of the land also] did several things: it breaks any capped earth so that the soil is aerated. It presses in seeds [giving them] a chance to germinate, so you have a greater diversity of plants. [Grazing herds] also press down dying and decaying grasses, so that they can be better acted upon by microorganisms in the soil. It keeps the decaying process going. Their waste also fertilizes the soil."

Makes perfect sense to me, and presumably those chooks that you might now have running around you back garden are doing much the same thing!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bring on the Zinc Taste Test

I’ve been saying it for 30 years, but now it’s official - kids who prefer sweeter foods also prefer saltier foods AND the researchers say taste preferences seem to be linked to periods of increased bone growth.

But will the researchers ever connect the dots? Those kids with compromised taste sensation (i.e. zinc deficiency) will always go for the sweeter/saltier tastes, simply because the more subtle flavours of fruits and vegetables are lost on them. And no points for guessing what mineral is involved (along with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D for bone growth) - of course it’s zinc!

Solution for those kids making the lousy food choices - get the Zinc Taste Test, confirm zinc deficiency, then supplement with a liquid zinc product. Switch to supplementing with tablets when zinc status (and optimal taste sensation) are restored. Remember to add a robust combination of other trace elements and vitamins - dose daily!

Simple, cheap and guaranteed to get kids interested in eating corn and cauliflower instead of crisps and chocolate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fast food - a drain on the public purse in more ways than one

Well we might have seen the last of ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempts to improve the diets of the city’s residents, but maybe McDonalds can step into the breach.

Recently, diet and lifestyle advice appeared on the McDonalds employees’ website that could potentially put the nail in the coffin of the fast food giant if folk were to heed it. The advice suggests that salads and water are preferred, healthier options, citing fries+burgers as an “unhealthy choice”.

But if McDonalds know that when employees regularly eat what they serve, the payouts in sickness benefits down the track could cripple the company, they needn't worry. The low wages received by McDonalds employees (in the US at least, 70 percent of whom are adults, not high school students), also means that at least 50 percent of fast food workers are enrolled in some form of public assistance program, costing the government $7 billion annually. So the fast food companies who continue to serve up unhealthy rubbish and underpay workers are well and truly subsidised by the US taxpayer. And WalMart is another US behemoth whose workers scramble for extra government benefits due to the pittance they receive as wages, yet the company trots out the likes of Hugh Jackman and Tom Cruise to spruik its "virtues" at the AGM. Can things get any crazier?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You don't say??

A healthy diet packed with fruit, vegetables, and omega-3 rich fish could help to reduce the risk of pre-term babies, according to new research.

And researchers were actually paid to "discover" this? Stating the bleeding obvious, self-evident and common-sense if you ask me! While they were about it, they might have mentioned the other issues that would be resolved if those healthy eating habits extended across the preconception period and included the prospective dad.

Of course the knowledge that healthy parents make healthy babies only dates back a few thousand years ... what might be valuable instead of re-inventing the wheel, would be ways to encourage all prospective parents to act on this knowledge. Now that's research that would have some real value!