Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

There’s no doubt in my mind that the battle against obesity begins in the gut (or to be more precise, with the whole microbiome). And that optimally healthy microbiome is established during a normal, vaginal birth and is supported by ongoing breastfeeding. Watch the Microbirth documentary - you won’t be disappointed. 

Of course taking the microbiome’s establishment back a step further, the work I’ve been doing for more than 30 years to get prospective parents into great shape (including optimising their gut health) before conception makes more sense than ever. So scientists tinkering with the bacteria that inhabit the gut, as a means to deal with the obesity epidemic is a bit creepy. It's also shutting the door after the horse has well and truly bolted!

I’m right in the middle of reading Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public. This is Steven Druker’s riveting exposé of how GM organisms have been released on an unsuspecting public under the GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) clause, when there has never been consensus amongst scientists about their safety (an absolute prerequisite for GRAS). The subtitle of this excellent book really sums it up.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Aging passionately

Yes you can keep the show on the road to vitality and longevity with the help of a healthy gut, great nutrition, clean water, regular exposure to sunlight, reduced chemical load, daily exercise, sound sleep, satisfying sex (all the stuff I write about in this blog) but at the end of the day, attitude is everything. Eloquently put by Isabel Allende! Watch her!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Your skincare routine - is it healthy or harmful?

Way overdue to resurrect the Better Babies blog! No better time than to share my new endeavour ... PR for a chemical-free, locally-made, professional range of skin care products. 

Often forgotten in the desire for smoother, plumper, younger looking skin is the potential for chemical-exposure. It's
 estimated
 that
 an
 average
 woman
 using
 12
 personal
 care
 products 
every 
day 
will 
expose herself 
to 
175 
chemicals! When
 you’re
 shopping
 for
 personal
 and skin care
 products
 ‐
 look
 for
 ones
 that
 are
 free
 of 
the ingredients 
in 
the 
following 
list.
Alcohol 
or 
isopropyl
 alcohol 
Collagen

DEA,
MEA,
TEA
 

Formaldehyde 

Fragrances

Imidazolidinyl
urea 
and 
DMDM 
hydantoin

Lanolin
Methyl,
 propyl,
 butyl
 and 
ethyl
 paraben

Mineral
 oil
 

Padimate‐O
 also 
known 
as
 octyl
 dimethyl
 PABA
(found
 mostly 
in 
sunscreens) 
Petrolatum
Phthalates
Propylene
 glycol
Sodium 
lauryl 
sulphate
 (SLS)

Synthetic 
colours

David Deans is available online and will not only reduce your chemical-exposure, but you will be supporting an Australian family business that involves three generations and has total of over 100 years experience and expertise in this area!


 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Married to our bacteria

What better way to break the Better Babies Blog drought than with a post on one of my favourite topics...the gut microbiota. Katrina Ray, Acting Chief Editor of Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology poses the question “are we more microbe than man?” then answers that while we are outnumbered 10:1 on a cellular level by microorganisms, the microbial and human cells actually work intimately together to foster optimal physical and mental health! Ray also emphasises the vital part that the mother plays in establishing a healthy gut population in her infant. She suggests this process actually begins in utero, which confirms my recommendation that the mother must ensure her own gut health well before conception. Only then can she hope to establish the healthiest possible gut population in her child, which should be healthily well-established by age 2-3 years. It also makes sense that the best probiotic for the job is one that contains multiple human strains, and that those strains are the most fragile ones, those most easily destroyed by modern diets and lifestyles. Progurt ... for the whole family, 15 billion good bacteria in one teaspoonful of a yoghurt you simply make at home.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The cycle of life

It’s been a while since my last post. It’s been a tumultuous half year. My beautiful grandson Louis arrived January 29, while at the other end of the life cycle, his great grandmother (my Mum) exited this lifetime a month short of her 90th birthday. The cycle of life prompted some thinking.
Louis is a perfect example of all that I promote and Mum went out untroubled by doctors and nurses, another theme that runs in the family. But let’s go back to the beginning of my interest in health and wellbeing. As a young emigrant from the smog of Glasgow, the Australian climate had not worked the miracle cure. My maternal grandmother was incapacitated by severe asthma, until in desperation she consulted a naturopath. It was a decision considered remarkably daring in the 30s, but one that would have a dramatic effect on my grandmother’s health, and one that would also significantly affect my own health and the course of my life. My grandmother adhered faithfully to the naturopath’s recommendations and lived out her 86 years in rude good health. 
My Mum, who was as a consequence, raised on a wholefood diet, saw no reason for her own children to eat differently. The meals that Mum served up consisted largely of loads of fresh vegetables and fruit, some wholemeal bread, fish and a little cheese. A barbecue on Sundays provided our only red meat, and with it, ironically, enough carcinogens to kill us all – my Dad never understanding any degree of ‘doneness’ other than charred. But apart from this one transgression, our diet was a daring model for its time. Mum used no salt in her cooking and a cake made with wholemeal flour and raw sugar was an infrequent treat. All our meals, including school lunches, were prepared at home from scratch. I was the only child at school who didn’t drink the milk provided and who never ate the sandwiches from the canteen – although I did long for chocolate spread on white bread. At the school Christmas party I always hoped Mum would bake cupcakes with blue icing and silver balls on top – surprisingly, it was my own plate of brown bread and red salmon that always disappeared from the party table first. 
In the weeks since Mum died, I’ve been involved in the sort out of her home and have had frequent cause to reflect on the legacy she left, which of course has nothing to do with the many “things” but everything to do with the people she touched and how she touched them. Mum was a hoarder, never throwing anything away but all of her hoardings were as nothing compared to the devoted mothering that her daughters, her grandsons and great grandsons and daughter received. Her passion for looking after her own health and wellbeing has also carried down through generations. Vale Stan.

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
PREGNANCY DOSE: 4,000IU/day
BREASTFEEDING DOSE: 6,000IU/day

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