I’ve moved!

Hi All,

I’ve made the decision to start afresh over at integrativenutritionsydney.com.au. Green & Juicy just didn’t feel right for me anymore because so many of my ideas about nutrition and health have evolved and changed since beginning this blog and studying Nutritional Medicine. Of course, some of the content here I will probably end up repeating, however there’s so many new ideas and information that I was to share. The new site will be a platform for when I graduate as a Clinical Nutritionist. Hope you like!

Any questions, you can reach me at the address below.

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A Reassessment: jumping on the omnivorous bandwagon and embracing saturated animal fats.

This is a post I’ve been weighing up in my mind for a while now, and I’m writing it even though I realise it seems to go against convictions and ideas about nutrition I’ve had in the past, it’s controversial, and may fly in the face of many readers’ beliefs. Please, I do not mean to offend, and I honestly encourage debate and questions on this topic. I am new to these ideas myself.

Basically, I’ve been learning about the benefits of including animal products in our diets, how and why they were a part of ancient cultural diets, and also why there is such a negative stigma associated with full fat animal products, real dairy, saturated fats, etc.  Many of you who read this blog will probably cringe and disagree, but my own thoughts on veganism (or diets very low in natural animal products) are taking turn and slowly evolving. More and more, studying nutritional medicine and hearing the personal stories of those around me, plus taking the time to truly notice my own body’s response to a mostly plant-based diet, I’ve started to have to question my views. (I don’t mean to vilify the vegan diet, however I am beginning to notice the benefits and history of the inclusion of animal foods from a nutritional standpoint). Once, I did think that a high raw vegan diet was optimal, but I’m veering off this course. When I read The China Study, I rushed to eliminate animal products from my diet as much as possible. Since then, I feel like I have a better grasp on both sides of the story, as I’ve been looking into studies that break down the arguments for veganism put forward by Dr T. Colin Campbell in this book. I highly recommend checking out the responses of both Chris Masterjohn and Denise Minger if you’d like to learn more. I’m also hearing more of people not doing so well on a purely vegan diet, talk of which I’d dismissed in the past. People feeling low, exhausted and like they are missing something. One lecturer who I particularly admire, voiced frustration about treating vegans, when she would love to prescribe them a diet with just a little animal product, thinking it might give their health the boost they are looking for. There is of course no ‘perfect’ diet that suits us all, we do not all have identical nutritional needs, and what might work well for one individual may not be right for the next.

I cannot state strongly enough that if people choose to avoid animal products for ethical reasons, then I completely and utterly support that. Myself, I will not support the consumption of mistreated, misfed and misused animals and animal products. Sadly, these ethically sub-standard practices dominate our animal food supply these days, however I applaud the handful of producers and farmers who go out of their way to provide animal food products that can be called cruelty-free, sustainably managed and locally produced.

The discovery of the work of Dr. Weston A. Price has been somewhat of a lightbulb moment for me. He was an American dentist who devoted years of his life to traveling to remote and isolated parts of the earth where the inhabitants had no contact with ‘civilization’ and therefore no contact yet with Western dietary ideas. Price was in a unique situation, more than sixty years ago, where he was able to observe both the Western, ‘civilized’ diet (although of course not at the extremes it has reached today with processed foods, fast foods and the like) and by contrast, those traditional diets preserved by cultural and geographic isolation. Price traveled to Swiss villages, Scottish islands, all over Europe, Canada and America. He even investigated the diets of far flung Eskimos, Aborigines in Australia, Maoris in New Zealand, Peruvian and Amazonian Indians and tribesmen in Africa. Suffice to say, he observed many, many vastly contrasting traditional diets worldwide. The photographic and written notes he took documented ancient tribes in prime physical health and the almost complete absence of lifestyle diseases in these far flung pockets of the world.

Dr. Price consistently found that healthy isolated peoples, whose diets contained adequate nutrients from animal protein and fat, not only enjoyed excellent health but also had a cheerful, positive attitude to life.

He noted that those populations who, when invaded by Western dietary cultures, shunned their traditional foods in favour of processed grains, refined sugars, canned foods, pasteurized milk and devitalized fats and oil, experienced a rapid decline in health. In these people, Price observed dramatic tooth decay, degenerative illnesses, infections, deformities of bone structure (particularly overcrowding of the teeth and narrowing of the face) and reduced immunity to disease. And these deteriorative signs of health were only manifested in the offspring of these peoples. Obviously, these changes had little to do with race, and everything to do with the effects of a devitalized, modern commercial diet.

Of course, the diets of all these healthy ‘primitives’ were vastly different to each other before each coming into contact with Western ‘civilization’. The Swiss had thrived on rich, unpasteurized cheese, butter and cream, dense rye bread, bone broths and few vegetables. Eskimos did similarly well on large amounts of fish, marine animas, seal oil and blubber. In Australia, Africa and the Amazon, hunter-gatherers flourished on game, organ meats, tubers, vegetables and fruits available to them. Price discovered that the traditional diets of these cultures had one thing in common: they included whole, natural foods – meat with fat, organ meats, blood, whole, raw milk products, fish, insects, whole grains, tubers, vegetable and fruits – not modern foods of convenience synthesized with chemicals and concocted from white sugar, refined flour and rancid oils.

The photographs of Dr. Weston Price illustrate the difference in facial structure between those on their native diets and those whose parents had adopted the "civilized" diets of devitalized processed foods. The "primitive" Seminole girl (left) and Samoan boy (third from left) have wide, handsome faces with plenty of room for the dental arches. The "modernized" Seminole girl (second from left) and Samoan boy (right), born to parents who had abandoned their traditional diets, have narrowed faces, crowded teeth and a reduced immunity to disease.

These native, natural foods of each race were found to contain at least four times the minerals and water soluble vitamins as the American diet of his day (no doubt this would be ever more vastly different by comparison to today’s supermarket ‘foodstuffs’ and the depletion of the soils in which our whole foods are grown). Furthermore, the way in which these foods were prepared varied greatly to the standard American way of cooking (and this was before modern ‘fast food’ really took off). Traditional, healthy people based their diets around processes such as soaking, fermenting, sprouting and souring.

Here’s the kicker in regards to animal products: when Price analyzed the fat soluble vitamins he found that these traditional ‘uncivilized’ healthy native groups contained at least ten times more vitamin A and vitamin D than the American diet of his day. These vitamins are found only in animal fats – pure butter, lard, egg yolks, fish oils, organ meats, fish eggs and shellfish – food we widely shun today in favour of low fat, processed alternatives. Price documented these fat-soluble vitamins as catalysts upon which the assimilation and absorption of all other nutrients depended – protein, minerals ad vitamins. Without the dietary factors found in animal fats, all the other nutrients largely go to waste in the body.

When humans are taken off their natural, cultural diets they experience de-evolution in terms of their overall health, immunity to disease, state of happiness and physical strength. Look at studies performed on groups of cats fed mainly raw milk and raw meats, compared to groups fed diets that included higher amounts of cooked meat and pasteurized milk (note, this is not to say that humans should exist entirely on raw foods, the point being made is that these animals were forced to stray from their natural diet). Or the state of cattle fattened up in mainstream agriculture on an unnatural diet of soy, grains and corn, which is a huge problem prevalent in our meat industry today. These animals encounter the same decline in health, becoming plagued with parasites, experiencing weakened bones and ligaments, difficult pregnancies, and a wide variety of diseases and physical deformities (and of course then having to be pumped with antibiotics and other drugs to keep up with the ill effects of these ailments).

The meats and animal products derived from these creatures consequently are greatly lacking in nutritional value, which of course is passed on to us when we consume these substances. (We are not just what we eat, but what we eat eats as well, which is something well worth thinking about).

More and more, the findings of Weston Price, while ignored at the time, are being profoundly proven to be correct. Natural animal fats are not something to condemn. We now know that Vitamin A is essential for the cultivation of healthy babies, protecting them against birth defects and aiding in growth and development. Vitamin A is also necessary for immune health and proper gland functions. The precursors to vitamin A, carotenes in plant foods, cannot be convered to true vitamin A by infants and children. Instead, scientists have now shown that this nutrient must be supplied by animal fats. Diabetics and people with thyroid conditions similarly cannot convert carotenes to the fat-soluble form of vitamin A, instead these individual are told to beware animal fats. Sadly, the low-fat obsession in all its craziness prevails!

After years of veganism, a good friend told me of the energy and new vitality she discovered via the addition of raw milk, cultured butters, high quality beef and raw egg yolks to her diet. She has retained her love for an abundance of raw vegetable juices and plant foods, yet without these nutrient dense, high quality animal fats she felt like she was not thriving. Heather of Sweetly Raw wrote an inspiring and honest post about coming to terms with ending her 13-year long affair with veganism and her personal struggle with this. Debbie Young of Grass Fed Momma recounts a similar journey off the path of veganism and has likewise embraced high-quality animal products. (for more converts, see here, here and here).

I too have felt like I was missing some key dietary ingredient(s?), and experienced a lack of energy and depleted mood while I was near exclusively consuming plant foods, believing that this would lead to optimal health. I noticed whilst away in New Zealand how wonderful I felt when I relaxed the rules a little, enjoying plenty of oily fish, pure cream, biodynamic eggs, fresh shellfish and organic yoghurt, along with the usual abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I cannot tell you how much more energized I felt, and the only thing I really tweaked in my diet was the addition of plenty of high quality animal proteins and fats. I feel truly satiated eating this way, in a way I was not experiencing before, and these foods have not weighed heavily on my digestion system like I imagined they might. Quite the opposite, actually.

I’ve been enjoying real, cultured butter, made from the milk of pastured, grass-grazing jersey cows. After a lifetime of shying away from this delicious treat, I was thrilled to learn that natural, real butterfat is rich in both vitamins A and D, conjugated linoleic acid (a powerful protectant against cancer), trace minerals, Vitamin K2 and glycospingolipids (which aid digestion).  Saturated fats from these kinds of animal sources form a vital part of cell membranes in the human body, they protect the immune system and enhance the utilization of essential fatty acids. They are necessary for proper brain and nervous system functions and provide energy for the heart. Over half of the fat in the human brain is saturated fat. Mother’s milk, the perfect food for the developing infant, is not only rich in cholesterol, but also contains special enzymes that aid in the absorption of cholesterol from the intestinal tract. Cholesterol helps to repair weakened and damaged arteries (which flies in the face of cholesterol being spotlighted as a precursor to clogged arteries), it’s a powerful antioxidant, the precurser to bile salts (needed for fat digestion), and helps form adrenal hormones which help elevate our mood, enhance sexual function and protect us from stress.

In the case of increased risk of heart disease, the finger should not be pointed at cholesterol and saturated fats from traditional animal products (and I realize this statement will likely be rejected by some). These kinds of fats have been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and far and away pre-date heart disease. When saturated animal fats were spotlighted and widely rejected in recent history, did the incidence of this disease reduce? Certainly not. In fact, it only increased, and at a rapid rate as the trend favouring ‘low-fat’ commercial products grew. Butter consumption at the turn of the century was eighteen pounds (~8kg) per person per year, while vegetable oils were almost nonexistent, and cancer and heart disease were considered rare. Today, it hovers at just over four pounds (~2kg) per person per year with vegetable oil consumption higher than ever and the incidence of cancer and heart disease have reached endemic levels. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are molecularly unstable and toxic to the body when heated, and the excessive consumption of these commercial oils is directly associated with increasing rates of cancer and heart disease, as well as hormone dysfunction and weight gain. Atherosclerosis, the buildup of hardened plaque in the artery walls, cannot be blamed on saturated fat or cholesterol, with very little of this plaque matter being cholesterol. Since 1994, it’s be widely known that almost three quarters of the fat in artery clogs is unsaturated, that is, not due to animal fats but vegetable oils. (Note, this does not mean traditional oils such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, sesame, flax, coconut oil and the like. I refer instead to modern, commercial and particularly hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils – soy, corn, canola etc – that we consume so much of today). These commercial vegetable oils make up just one pillar of the three big nasties within with the Western diet, the other two being refined sweeteners/sugars, and white flour.

“The diet-heart hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.” –George Mann, ScD, MD, Former Co-Director, The Framingham Study

I still don’t believe that huge quantities of animal products are necessary in any diet, and I do strongly feel that generally, we consume far too many poor-quality animal products as a part of the modern, Western diet. Animal products in general – meat, dairy and the like – are acidic in the body. However, I realize now that I placed too much emphasis on consuming almost exclusively alkaline foods. The human body boasts an effective buffer system, a dynamic equilibrium of weak carbonic acid and bicarbonate ions that work together to maintain an optimum blood pH. Acidosis is a grim condition (and probably all too common today due to the overconsumption of low-quality meats, pasteurized dairy and refined sugars and grains), however alkalosis is just as serious. Our diet must contain both alkaline and acid-forming foods, not just one or the other. A western diet is highly acidic, however the answer to this does not lie in the consumption of a purely alkaline diet as I might once have believed.

More than ever my own nutritional journey is proving to be a constantly evolving one, which is a good thing! As you all know, I’ve been a loud advocate of vegetable juices as a wonderful source of live enzymes, and fabulous for detoxing a heavily acidic body. Fresh, organic vegetable juices are brimming with wonderful nutrients, however they’re not the be all and end all when it comes to live enzymes, I’ve since discovered. Cultured, fermented natural foods play host to a wealth of beneficial bacteria, and far more live enzymes that your giant salad or green juice could possibly contain. Vegetables and fruits contain enzymes, yes.  But not in the huge amounts I used to believe.

Further still, consuming huge amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables, kale or broccoli for example, might not be ideal. While the nutritional profiles of these vegetables look wonderful on paper, we’ve got to take into account what our bodies can actually receive and absorb, nutritionally speaking, from these foods. I know from my own experience, that I cannot digest and properly assimilate large amounts of kale in my salads. To put it crudely, it comes out the same as it goes in. Plus, vegetables such as kale and broccoli, when taken into the body raw, actually hinder our nutrient absorption. This has been a huge revelation for me. Really, our digestive tract does not have the natural capacity to pass large amounts of hard to break down vegetable mulch, in the form of raw cruciferous or collard vegetables (cooked is another story). It is widely acknowledged that vegetables are of course an amazing source of vitamins and minerals. This is absolutely true! However, many of the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables cannot be absorbed without fat, and the plant protein in these foods cannot be assimilated without fat. The body needs an abundant supply of the fat-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble activators found only in animal fats to be able to make the most of what vegetables and other foods have to offer us nutritionally. For a vegetarian (I never have, and probably never will enjoy much meat in my diet), these can be found in raw dairy products and organic eggs. I will probably be howled down for this, by my general consensus at the moment is that for a vegan diet to be nutritionally viable, supplementation of these essential vitamins is necessary.

Choosing quality animal products is absolutely imperative. I would never advocate consuming mainstream meat products, for example, or conventional supermarket dairy. These products are highly toxic, near unrecognizable versions of traditional foods; homogenized, ultra-pasteurised milk bearing very little resemblance to traditional, fresh, raw milk, for example. Soy-fed chickens, and grain-fed beef, pumped with antibiotics and hormones, are biologically different species that do not compare to free-range grain-fed chickens and happy, healthy, grass-fed cows. If domestic animals are not fed green grass, vitamins A and K will largely missing from their fat, meat, butter and egg yolks. If these animals are raised in indoor factory farms or cages, vitamin D will be similarly missing from these foods.

Well! Sorry for the insanely long virtual essay, I hope I didn’t lose too many readers along the way. I’m still coming to grips with all these new ideas and how much I’ve had to question my own nutritional thoughts and conditioning. I have so much more to learn and to write about, but I’ll hold back for another day. I really urge you all to look in to the work of Dr Weston Price, as well as people like Sally Fallon Morell (author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats).

Oh and I just thought I’d put it in here, to conclude, a quick breakdown of the characteristics of Traditional Diets, according to Dr. Price:

-       No refined or denatured foods or ingredients, such as refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or lowfat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins; toxic additives and colourings.
–       Some sort of animal foods. The whole animal is consumed – muscle meat, organs, bones and fats, with the organ meats and fats preferred.
–       Contain at least four times the minerals and water-soluble vitamins, and TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins found in animal fats (vitamins A, D and K2) than the average American diet (note that this is based on the standard American diet over 60 years ago, the nutritional potency of which has degenerated rapidly since this time due to poor farming practices, depleted soils and the increased consumption of devitalized packaged and processed foods).
–       Some cooked foods but also a portion of raw animal foods.
–       A high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
–       Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
–       Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 to 80 percent of calories but only about 4 percent of calories from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables.
–       Nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids (note, we consume a far greater proportion of omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids today, a topic I will cover in a later post)
–       All traditional diets contain natural salt.

There’s a full list of dietary guidelines (what to eat, what not to eat), at the Weston A. Price Foundation website, which is an absolutely invaluable resource by the way, for anyone who would like to read up further on traditional diets and the proper consumption of whole foods and natural animal products. See this page in particular for reference.

Posted in acidosis, agriculture, animal fats, dairy, life, nutritional value, protein, real food, traditional diets | 10 Comments

$$ Weighing in on the cost of decent nutrition

Further to my last post on organics, I’ve been weighing up a few issues of my own I’ve been having in regards to putting the organics ‘pledge’ into practice.

In short, yes, I believe that we have a ‘duty of care’, so to speak, to promote state of health through a diet filled with clean, organic foods and as little toxins as possible.  There is no doubt in my mind that generations of poor food and lifestyle choices have compromised our overall well-being today, and that our choices in our own lifetime will affect the health of future generations. What’s more, there are huge ethical ramifications spurred by our approach to organic agricultural practices and sustainability. I want to commit to as ‘clean’ and natural a lifestyle as possible, commit to dietary choices that benefit both me, our race and our planet. Yet, when it comes to buying organic foods, I find I’m still torn at the checkout between my intentions, beliefs and… my ever-thinning wallet. Expensive? Well, yes. Even when doing my best to stock up on farmers’ market produce each weekend. On a day-to-day basis, buying mostly or exclusively organic is tough on the purse-strings!

Today, I stumbled upon the following article by Brendan Brazier on Kris Carr’s fabulous blog, Crazy Sexy Life. If you’re not already familiar with this site, get acquainted! These words were just what I needed to hear, faced with my student-budget-versus-organic-nutrition dilemma. I know that these words do not directly pertain to organics per se, more to natural foods in general vs. “cheaper” processed food products (which is the giant first step!!). However, for where I’m at, Brendan’s advice can really be applied to heightening the nutritional value of a whole foods diet by placing emphasis on the selection of clean, toxin-free, organic produce. Thank-you Brendan Brazier, for putting the perceived immediate price of health in perspective for me. Hopefully this can help me keep the long-term and big picture benefits in mind when making daily choices at the checkout.

For the full article, click on the link below, it’s well worth a read.

Solid Nutrition: The Base for Economic Recovery
Brendan Brazier

As you might expect, low-quality diet is one of the main reasons for the increase in obesity among the poor. Many processed and highly refined foods (or what, in some cases, are more properly referred to as edible food-like substances) are cheaper than whole, fresh, and natural options. People with less money are more likely to buy the cheaper foods.

This is problematic for two reasons. First: highly-processed and refined foods generally have little to no nutritional value. As a result, you will have to consume considerably more food to satisfy the body’s need for nutrients. Only when the body has the nutrients it requires does it switch off its hunger signal. The negative short-term effect is that more food will be consumed, which leads quickly to weight gain. In addition, the digestion of this, low-nutrient food robs the body of energy without providing much energy in return. The result is that the person feels less full and has to spend more money to buy additional food to stay satiated. If that person were to gradually switch over to a diet comprised of more expensive whole foods, he or she would no longer be in a constant state of hunger and therefore would naturally choose to consume less. The financial saving gained from buying cheap processed foods quickly evaporates.

Second, the consumption of these processed foods contributes to long-term health risks. If a person has relied on processed foods to reconstruct the body day in and day out for decades, that body will falter later in life. Disease of some form will almost certainly be the result. Type II diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and the many offshoots of cardiovascular disease are the most common to develop. The drugs needed to treat these ailments commonly cost several thousand dollars per month. And that’s just to alleviate the symptoms; the underlying disease continues to progress. Admittedly, there are rare cases when drugs can eradicate the disease; however, what caused the disease in the first place has not been addressed, therefore it may return.

To put it simply, replacing refined, processed foods with natural, whole foods is a form of health insurance. You will stack the odds in your favor and save money in the long run. In the short term, you will have more energy and greater mental clarity, both of which can significantly improve productivity. Some people may choose to put a dollar value on that.”

Hope you enjoy the article as much as I did, it was just what I needed to hear. While you’re browsing, check out Nutrition: The Future of Medicine by Dr T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study), for a commentary on the real value of nutrition and the arrogance which surround personal food choice.

It might seem like I’ve got organics on the brain at the moment, but I’ve been doing some reading up on the Australian official ‘Certified Organic’ guidelines – I’ll be sure to do a post soon on some of the things I’ve discovered. For the meat, poultry, fish, dairy and egg eaters amongst us, it’s information highly worthwhile taking note of, especially when it comes to food choices that organic in spirit, not just in letter. In the meantime, have a fabulous weekend!

Posted in detox, nutritional value, organics, produce, real food, sustainability, toxicity | 2 Comments

Organics: why the fuss? Linking health and agriculture

So sorry about the lack of posts, I’ve been thrown headfirst (a week late) into studying Nutritional Medicine at an institute of Natural Health, woohoo! Both the teachers and students are utterly inspiring and I’m finally lapping up yards of health knowledge on a (near) daily basis, which is a dream come true!

Apart from the joys of sifting through hours of chemistry and biochemistry, anatomy charts and nutritional stats, the most exciting thing about my course has been the fact that some of my astoundingly clued-up health lecturers have verified a lot of the of the nutritional info I’ve dug up myself from various sources, and the validation has given me a that extra confidence in my own knowledge and findings that I share through this blog. Plus, meeting up with the gorgeous Katey, Natural Health enthusiast and blogger extraordinaire from over at Bonne Sante, has inspired me to commit to writing again! Be sure to check her fabulous guest posts at High on Health!

Today I took part in a particularly riveting discussion that revolved around organic agriculture, synthetic pesticide usage, GM foods and toxicity in the body. All fascinating stuff so I thought I’d do a little recap!

Basically, for those not in the know, a certified organic stamp on a food means that that product cannot have been manufactured with the use of artificial or synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, it cannot be genetically modified or have been cultivated using growth promoters or regulators, and, in the case of animals products, the animal itself cannot have been injected with or fed antibiotics (unless truly unwell) and no hormone stimulants can have been used in production.

Of course, the nutritional profile of organic versus conventional food is difficult to measure, as all soil varies in quality. There is always a small risk of cross-contamination from neighbouring lands, as well as from underground water sources. However, foods grown in organic soil that has been allowed to properly regenerate are generally considered to be of significantly higher nutrient value and carry a drastically reduced amount of toxic residue (which I’ll come back to shortly). This all relates back to what Kyle Valli suggested about ‘nutritient potency’ being one of the three key factors in determining a particular food’s health-giving properties (the other two being that food’s digestibility and our own digestive efficiency), but I’ve covered this already.

The question was raised today about the need to feed an ever-growing population, and whether organic foods could indeed meet this demand. This triggered a somewhat controversial discussion regarding the overpopulation of our planet, and the problem of far too many mouths to feed. Perhaps Nature is saying, if we can grow our foods in accordance with Natural Laws (ie organically) and feed a certain population, is that then the population we should not exceed for the planet to remain in natural balance? I honestly don’t know the answer. I do however know that food wastage is a huge problem in developed nations. We apparently produce enough bread to feed the world three times over, yet so much of this is carelessly discarded while people in other nations go hungry. Also, I believe that if we reduced our animal product consumption drastically, the world would thrive on an abundance of vegetarian and vegan food sources with far less of these resources and the soil required to produce them going into the production of animal food products. Not to mention that this would also be conducive to higher levels of human health in the long run, in my opinion.

People have perhaps mislaid their concerns about making the switch to organic farming practices worldwide in regards to sustainability, as it is entirely valid that more and more ecologists are now warning seriously about the maintenance of soil fertility being critical to the sustainability of our food supply. While conventional agriculture corporations rape the natural land, sights set on yield, profit and individual gain with total disregard for Nature’s laws, our soil quality is rapidly being depleted (perhaps eventually to the point of no return which is a scary thought). Without sufficient crop rotation and with the increased saturation of soil with unnatural chemical fertilizers, poor soil health has peaked in a nutritional crisis of our own making. The fertilizers widely used today are made up of primarily three nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, and as Charlotte Gerson asks in the documentary Food Matters (watch it!), “Where are the rest of the 52 minerals needed for optimum soil health? They are missing!”.  So, poor soil health leads to poor plant health, to poor animal health, human health and so on. Health crusader Jerome I. Rodale, founder of Prevention Magazine, sums it up quite nicely, “The health of the people is dependent upon the quality of the food they consume. And the quality of the their foods depends on the quality of the soil on which that food is grown”. It is now estimated that more than 3 billion tons of topsoil is eroded from US farmlands each year and that soil is eroding seven times faster than it is being built up naturally. With soil the foundation of the food chain, this leaves me cringing at the possibility of a future without organic and sustainable agriculture for the health of generations to come.

But organic food is generally more expensive, you say? Damn. True, you may face a higher price tag because of the greater labour costs, smaller crop yields and specialist skills required for production. Well, firstly think about the cost in the long run in terms of healthcare and illness down the line caused by toxic residue in the body (wait, it’s coming!). Next, I’ve found that by talking to the local providors at farmers markets in Sydney, you often are paying a hefty markup purely for the certified organic logo. That is to say that many smaller businesses operate within the organic guidelines, yet have not registered and paid for the official stamp of approval.  If the price still irks you, check out the list of the ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and vegetables that, on average, have been found to carry higher amounts of toxic residue from pesticides and the ‘clean 15’ that are a little safer to buy conventional. If you have a garden, get growing! For those that can afford it and to whom organic produce is available, I feel like we have a duty to vote with out wallets. When society speaks, manufacturers have to listen, and I do believe that we have a voice, a choice and an influence in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and organic farming.

The subject of genetically modified (GM) foods is a tricky one. On the one hand, there seem to be immediate gains from the use of GM methods of food production, however these likely align with the short-sighted visions of modern agricultural systems as pointed out above. Yes, pesticide usage may be initially reduced with increased crop resistance, and the possible yield gains may seem tempting to begin with. But the disruption of the natural ecosystem at a genetic level can very quickly lead to mutational species, new diseases, allergens and superbugs (setting us back at square one anyway), and end products that the body no longer recognizes on a biochemical level, not to mention the ethical concerns raised when you cross genetic material from different plant and animal species. In my mind, the overall question should be asked: should we really be deviating from Nature’s blueprint? And, if so, at what cost down the line?

In conclusion, is the toxicity from conventially farmed foods really something we have to worry about? Well, yes! I’ve discussed in many a post the huge issue of toxicity and acidic waste build-up in our bodies today (see here, here and here for more), toxic substances of course being anything that enters the body which the body cannot recognize, break down and eliminate in its entirety. We may no longer dilute our flour with limestone or preserve it with borax (ant killer), as we did in the 1800s. ‘Poisins’ are now monitored, but this doesn’t give assurance against the possibility of finding out another ten, twenty or 100 years down the track that we shouldn’t have been allowing certain materials in our food. This concern aside, the FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) does a good job of strictly regulating the amounts of today’s ‘allowable toxins’ in most foods, ensuring that they must be below a certain level. But… here’s the clincher: this level of toxicity is measured outside the human body, and does not take into account the fact that many toxins fail to be eliminated by the body, and are stored in fat cells (the body’s way in which it attempts to protect vital organs from toxic substance), which greatly compounds the levels of bodily toxicity over time. These toxins, now of course at much higher levels than what is FSANZ approved as ‘safe’, do not just naturally ‘fade away’ somehow. Today, traces of the chemical DDT, a highly toxic synthesized insecticide that was banned from use back in 1972, are still being found in the fat tissue of animals carrying the genetic material of a past generation of creatures exposed. It is the same for humans: stored toxins greatly compromise our overall blood chemistry at a cellular level. This toxicity is passed on from generation to generation (it is the foetus that is affected the most by the toxicity of the mother’s blood), which means that today we now are all suffering from generations worth of compromised and toxic blood. For how many more generations do you think our bodies will be able to withstand becoming increasingly toxic before they begin to break down, which indeed is already a problem manifesting in the form of rapidly growing rates of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, stroke and cancer? When you think about it, do we not have a duty of care to future generations to try and reduce the toxic load on our own bodies, and that which will be passed on genetically to our offspring?

With all this in mind, I’ve jumped on the pro-organic bandwagon again with gusto. If it’s a case of taking one for the team, I’ll take the worms in my apples and a few more dollars out of my wallet, if not for my own health but for the good of future generation and the planet, please.

Posted in agriculture, cellular cleansing, detox, nutritional value, produce, real food, sustainability, toxicity | 3 Comments

Kia Ora, how’s it going mate?

Tēnā Koutou (hello), and apologies for the hiatus! I haven’t carked it, I’ve been living it up in En Zed – that is, New Zealand!! Our cuz one coo-ey across the Tasman, home of silver ferns, jandals, the All Blacks, bickies, lamingtons and pavs (debatable), ‘tramping’, beached-as and choice bros, ‘fush’, ‘chups’, and ‘grotty grunds’ (undies). I’ve learnt that some words just sound better when said with a Kiwi accent. And others do not (ah dear ‘Bin (Ben), so sorry to laugh, but the way you said your name amused me to no end!).

A little Kiwi trivia for you: To ensure the survival of New Zealand’s rich population of  river trout, the NZ govenment put a total ban on the trade of this species, making it illegal to buy or sell trout altogether. Zero market value means that the trout population is almost completely protected from overfishing and exploitation.

I feasted on the freshest kai-moana (seafood); crayfish, grilled by the side of the road just a few short steps from where it had been brought ashore, the most succulent, giant green mussels, and raw, live oysters, plucked by yours truly straight from the sounds to be shucked on the spot (by a helpful local who knew what they were doing!). The fresh produce was amazing and the variety of top notch wines sparked an enthusiastic new personal interest in viticulture. Beyond the edible and drinkable, New Zealand probably ranked as the most awe-inspiring, naturally beautiful country I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. I hiked and kayaked the stunning Queen Charlotte Sounds (at the north-east tip of the South Island), which was, without a doubt, one of the most fantastic experiences of my life to date. And the locals were hands-down the friendliest bunch around!

Just some pictures to amuse, I promise a wordier post soon. E noho rā


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Kyle Vialli: What In The World Am I Meant To Eat?

Kyle Vialli is a vitality ‘agent’ and coach hailing from the UK – a philosopher, cosmologist, media and cultural scientist, humanitarian and lecturer in the human potential movement. He’s in the country at the moment, giving talks and seminars nation-wide (organised by Julie at Conscious Choice). The particular seminar I attended yesterday focused on nutrition, but we were reminded that nutrition is just one of the (extremely important!) sectors in the larger spectrum of factors that contribute to overall vitality.

The most profound nugget of information I took away from Kyle’s talk today I thought I’d share: The Three Dimensions of Nutrition. Basically, he explains that there are three main factors that contribute to the way a food can increase (or decrease) our vitality, and how we can utilize what we put in our systems, and they are as follows:

1. NUTRIENT POTENCY – consume foods that are as potent in nutrition (minerals) as possible. Things like organic soil, biodynamic farming practices, seasonality, the distance a food has had to travel etc all have an impact on this. We want to be eating foods that provide the body with a full quota of organic minerals, so that these minerals do not have to be leached from the body (alkaline* substances such as calcium, magnesium, potassium etc) in order for digestion and assimilation to occur.

2. A FOOD’S DIGESTIBILITY – Digestibility has been a key theme on my blog since the beginning. Kyle reiterated, We are not what we eat. We are what we assimilate. I’ve said it before but I really do think it’s a shame when raw foodists shun all cooked foods in favour of dense, raw concoctions (high in nuts and seeds and often poorly combined), which are actually quite hard for the body to break down and assimilate. On the other hand, lightly cooked vegetables and even some lightly cooked animal products such as biodynamic, free-range eggs or high-quality grains are actually easier on digestion than the aforementioned raw favourites. Factors that effect the natural digestibility of foods include:
– The anti-nutrient (enzyme-inhibitor) content of a food

- The organic water content of a food and its density
– Eating certain foods in the company of enzyme-rich raw vegetables

For example, conventional soy products, which are often spotlighted as health foods by the media, are actually full of anti-nutrients, making them incredibly hard for the body to break down and therefore highly mucus-forming. Remember, if we can’t break down something and eliminate it completely, it contributes to the build up of mucoid plaque in the body and a continued state of acidosis and toxicity, as well as making it terribly difficult for our digestive system to absorb vital nutrients. On the other hand, ripe, organic fruits and young tender greens and leaves are the only foods that are immediately able to be readily digested and assimilated by the body as we receive them straight from nature. The digestibility of foods can often be increased by techniques such as juicing**, blending and culturing (as is the case with soy products in the form of fermented miso and tempeh). Culturing a food by adding organic sea salt and inoculating it with good bacteria actually causes some of the enzyme inhibitors to be broken down, resulting in a food that is ‘pre-digested’, ie slightly wilted and fibrously softer for more efficient assimilation in the body. (PS. I’m keen to give raw sauerkraut and real cultured butter a go, yum!)


3. OUR DIGESTIVE EFFICIENCY – as covered in this post, years of accumulation of inorganic waste matter in the colon (which eventually seeps into the bloodstream and becomes a systemic problem throughout the body as we become more toxic) compromises our ability to digest vital nutrients from food. It’s estimated that the average person only assimilates around about 30% of what they put into their bodies, and this is not even purely because of what we have been fed and how we have lived during our own lifetime. Generations upon generations of poor nutrition and toxic lifestyles has compromised our blood chemistry: we were all born into a poor situation no matter how well we eat in this day and age. Of course, the only way to improve our digestive efficiency is to remove these blockages in the intestines, as well as at a cellular level throughout the body, by awakening (through raw, alkaline plant foods and their juices) and releasing the impacted waste matter in the body. Of course, our digestive efficiency can further be improved by implementing basic food-combining principles, which promote the body’s natural digestive efficiency.

Now, here’s the punchline: these three dimensions of nutrition make up a powerful formula. When the components are multiplied together, you basically can calibrate the nutritional quality of any food and how it contributes to our physical vitality.

Nutrient Potency A Food’s Digestibility Our Digestive Efficiency

Therefore, you can actually increase or decrease the vitality-giving potential of any food by changing one or more of the above components. Does that make sense? I’m pretty sure Kyle made it a lot easier to understand! Perhaps you take the humble egg, choosing a biodynamic, free-range local variety for nutrient potency, cooking it lightly and consuming it in the presence of raw or cultured vegetables to increase its digestibility, and eating it as a part of a properly-combined meal to increase our digestive efficiency. Of course, the vitality of a seemingly healthful, high vibration food can be disrupted by applying these principles in reverse, perhaps by stripping it’s nutrient potency with pasteurization and heavy processing, adding toxic preservatives and taking it into a highly acidic, impacted intestinal system. The point being, each individual food can be manipulated on the scale of health-generating vitality to a certain extent, as can our overall diets.

Am I the only one who find this stuff totally fascinating?!

*Just to clarify again, ALKALINE substances naturally carry a negative electromagnetic charge, ie at a subatomic level they contain more negatively charged electrons in each atom than positively charged protons. When a substance carries more protons than electrons, and therefore is positively charged and ACIDIC, these extra protons act as ‘free radicals’ in the body, and are widely linked with the aging and degeneration process. The beauty of highly ALKALINE, or negatively-charged foods such as green vegetables and their juices, is that the free electrons in these substances act to attract and neutralise free radicals, literally electromagnetically attracting and pulling the acidic waste matter into the channels of elimination for removal from the body.


**
A side note on juicing (because we all know I’m a fan, and apparently, so is Kyle!): many of the key alkaline parts of green vegetables are bound up in the fibrous structure of the plant and cannot be assimilated by the body. A big kale salad will not necessarily contribute much to your overall health if you cannot assimilate the nutrients from the fibrous kale as is, no matter how much you chew! The purpose of nutrition is to harness the amazing phytochemicals in these superfoods and absorb them into the bloodstream as efficiently as possible, and juicing provides the vehicle for this. No, we don’t have juices in nature and the whole process may seem utterly radical, but today our bodies are compromised like never before (see above!). Juicing is necessary in a world where our digestion is compromised by toxic waste in the body and we are already deficient in vital minerals. Bypass the digestive process with juicing and voila! Vital minerals reach the bloodstream with ease, which is crucial for cleansing and nourishing the body on a cellular level.

Kyle’s book, What In The World are we Supposed to Eat: The Truth About Nutrition, will be out later this year – I’ll definitely be checking it out! – and keep an eye out for his TV program called Vitality Agent that’s currently in the works.

Next up, I’m keen to do a review of Kris Carr’s new book, Crazy Sexy Diet, so stay tuned! I assume the next few nights will be spent burrowed away in my room glued to my e-copy… will post again when I eventually emerge (hopefully enlightened and with knowledge to share!).

Posted in acidosis, cellular cleansing, cleanse, colon health, detox, digestion, food combining, green juice, life force energy, nutritional value, raw food, toxicity, transition | 16 Comments

I’m back! Time to share…

Ok, ok. So it took this…

…from my favourite separated-at-birth bloggy twin Katey over at Bonne Sante to finally drag me back to the blog-world. Hurrah!

I’m required to reveal 7 random facts about myself, then pass on to 7 other bloggerinos.

So, 7 random things that I have not previously disclosed in the blog-world. Probably for good reason, we shall see. Here goes….

ONE. I am ridiculously uptight and annoyingly anal about many things. My co-workers didn’t coin the phrase “Meltdown Mondays” in reference to my early-week antics in the office for nothing! I have been known to be pushed to the brink of tears over the loss of my favourite hole-punch, and then finally reach melting point after finding out our intern has managed to use said hole-punch to punch documents ever-so-slightly out of line to how I like them. In my defence, I did sit down with the girl for ten minutes to explain how to use the “hole-punching guide” to “measure up” so that your documents can be pristinely aligned! Although, it has been suggested that this was what drove her to purposely “disobey” my narky instructions. What cheek!

All the above aside, when it comes to others areas of my life, the scale tips wayyyy over into the other side of the spectrum.

I am shamelessly, ridonkulously messy. (Just ask my ex-boyfriend!). I’m known to leave a trail of scattered chaos in my wake, but I’m learning to keep it to the confines of my own bedroom for the sake of my housemates’ sanity.


Shocker.

TWO. I have really dark hair now, but if I let it be it would look a little more like this…


(I’m on the right). In keeping with my more ‘natural’ lifestyle, I can only assume that one day soon I’ll be reverting back to my genetic roots when it comes to the colour of my mane.

THREE. I have a thing for snacking on sun-dried tomatoes – the really, really dried out chewy kind. In bed.


FOUR. Speaking of beds, this is the view from the window above said bed in my attic room (in the rain, apologies for poor photo).


And from the park just down from our front door….


FIVE. I’m proud of the fact that I’m as cool as a cucumber around all kinds of spiders, leeches and other creepy crawlies, but the thought of snakes makes my skin crawl. Blame it on the movie Anaconda, which no 8-year-old should ever witness. I even used to make my dad do a snake-check of my bed each night (not that any were ever spotted)… and I may have just inadvertently pulled my feet up away from the dark-place-under-the-bed-where-snakes-may-be-lurking while typing this.


Minutes after this photo was taken, a slithery tail was sighted and I have never run up a hill so fast in my life. A Swiss Alp to be precise! Note to self and future personal trainers: an acute phobia will force me to partake in strenuous physical exercise.

SIX. I grocery shop twice-daily. Yes, twice-daily. I love it! I pick up my lunch goodies on my way to work, and my dinner ingredients on the way home. Yes it’s probably more expensive, and yes it means I often buy conventional produce (usually from high-end grocers or smaller fruit and veg shops – I avoid mainstream supermarkets). But, I’m a fickle girl. This way when mealtimes roll around, there’s less chance I’ll change my mind about what I want to have!


SEVEN. I may have already mentioned it here, but my co-workers think I’m mental. Yes, they’ve dubbed my green juices “Shrek drinks”, and yes, they are always utterly flabbergasted at the size of my salads (“is that really ALL for you?????”). But now they’ve gone public with their disbelief via facebook.

Just call me Bugs Bunny :)

Now, without further ado, onto seven other lovely ladies!

Megan at Healthy Hoggin for introducing me to Natalia Rose’s books, which changed my life!! I owe you BIG time Megan!!

Anna at White Green and Me for her beautiful approach to a cleansing, healthy lifestyle

Emily at Emily Eats for her stunning healthy eats and delicious-looking food

Hannah at Wayfaring Chocolate for her undying love affair with chocolate!

Katharina at Katharina’s Food Adventures for her drool-worthy foodie posts and all-round awesome attitude

Robyn at Girl on Raw for her totally raw-some recipes, and for being a fellow Aussie raw food enthusiast, yay!

Lori at What Runs Lori for her contagious enthusiasm and general hilarity

Can’t wait to see what you all post!

Posted in life | 14 Comments