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245 articles in health

Eat Fat And Thrive

Eat Fat And Thrive

In the so-called civilized world, the population continues to grow sicker by the year, while food manufacturers, government bodies and the mainstream medical profession keep telling us that we need to eat more low-fat-high-carb foods as well as lots of unsaturated oils and stay away from saturated fats and oils if we want to stay healthy. So people go on buying convenience foods chock full of carbs and sugars, the golden oils and products containing them all the while believing that they are doing the right thing if want to protect themselves from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all the other degenerative diseases that plague the Western World. Well, my friends, all such advice is not only untrue. It is positively dangerous. To stay healthy, protect yourself from obesity, degenerative conditions and early aging, you must dump the starchy carbs and hidden sugars, all those highly processed unsaturated oils and the packaged convenience foods which contains them. It’s time to get savvy about the right kind of fats and introduce them to your meals. They can bring energy, beautiful skin, and real protection from early aging and chronic illnesses. By the way, they can also make your meals taste great. STOP BLAMING YOURSELF In case you think it’s your fault that you happen to be suffering with a chronic condition or you are overweight, think again. Like most conscientious human beings, you have only been trying to follow the guidelines that doctors, governments and the media tells us will keep us well, slim and protected from heart disease. Here’s the truth: The guidelines we have been given ever since World War II have not only been all wrong, they have been truly dangerous to our health. The powers-that-be have instilled in us irrational fear of fat, largely as a result of the poor research and conclusions drawn back in the 1960s—when Ancel Keys and others were trying to figure out how to prevent heart disease. One group of so-called experts jumped to the conclusion that dietary fat was the culprit. Before long, their rash assumptions were turned into a quasi-religious dogma that has stuck. The low-fat, high-carb-and-sugar eating propounded by them, instead of protecting us from heart disease, obesity and other degenerative conditions, has made us highly susceptible to all of them. LIES CONTINUE Here’s another common fat fallacy: “The Western diet has increased in saturated fat over the last century.” Just the opposite is true. At the turn of the last century, most of the population still got their fatty acids from saturated animal-based sources, such as lard, butter, and tallow. They were better off for it. Then, from 1910 to 1970 in the United States, the proportion of animal fats eaten declined from 83% of all fats eaten to 62%, and butter consumption went from 18 to 4 pounds per person per year—all because of the invention and promotion of margarines. Meanwhile, what did increase exponentially was the quantity of fats we began to take in, in the form of chemically refined unsaturated vegetable oils, margarines, trans-fatty acids and junk fats. The results of all this? Our health has continued to decline. By the way, it’s worthwhile taking a look at how well we’ve fared in combating heart disease and obesity since we began shunning animal fats and eating the masses of the carbs they recommended. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that, since 1980, obesity alone has grown to epic proportions, right from the very year the government’s guidelines were published. THE SKINNY ON FATS From the 1960s onwards, governments worldwide have been telling us to eat less fat and more carbohydrate which they figured would make up for the fat we no longer ate. Low-fat foods began to appear on our supermarket shelves for keen and hungry consumers; they quickly became a major financial success story for food manufacturers. We ate baked potatoes instead of fries with our meals, and thought that we were taking the healthy option. We ate low-fat foods thinking that these were good for us, without realizing that food manufacturers, in preparing their low-fat menus, had replaced the fat with sugar. Meanwhile, we were warned against all saturated fats, told that they are dangerous, and urged to eat more polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil—all those golden oils that still fill our supermarket shelves. These oils and margarines were held up as beneficial for protecting us from heart disease. Both of these directives turned out to be big fat lies. BEWARE PROCESSED OILS Polyunsaturated fats and oils—which we have long been urged to eat—turn rancid quickly when heated. All the golden oils most people still believe are good for them turn into health-destroying sources of free-radicals that can do the body a great deal of harm. They attack our cells and damage our DNA. Recent, reliable scientific studies show a link between consumption of these processed polyunsaturates and cancer as well as heart disease. DUMP THE GOLDEN OILS Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils all tend to be badly processed, using all sorts of unpleasant chemicals. Avoid them. Canola oil, which fills many of our ready-made food products, has been associated with fibrotic heart lesions. It is high in sulfur and turns rancid easily. Margarines are full of trans-fatty acids. Shun them. There’s something else we now know about these oils that will probably surprise you. Analysis of the fat in clogged arteries reveals that only about 26% is saturated fat. The rest is made up of polyunsaturates. So here’s the bottom line: The heart’s preferred source of food when under stress is good old “unhealthy” saturated fat. OMEGA 3 BENEFITS Omega-6 and omega 3 fatty acids, when in the right balance, help your body in all sorts of ways. They increase your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, helping your body regulate its blood sugar. They increase metabolic rate and fat metabolism, so more of your stored fat can be burnt as energy. Natural foods rich in the omega-6 oils include avocados, nuts, flax seeds, and spirulina. Paleontologists have discovered that our ancestors consumed them in the ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 (omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids). However today, in our Western diets, the balance between these two fatty acids has become all screwed up. Modern diets contain a ratio of about 22:1—far too high for optimal health. This excess can cause all sorts of problems, from weight gain to cancer. What can we do about it? For a start, you never have to worry about getting enough omega-6s. They’re everywhere. What you do need to do is increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids]. A great way of doing this is to start taking a good-quality fish oil supplement. EAT IN ABUNDANCE Have no fear of the saturated fats found in meat and butter from grass-fed animals, and tropical oils like coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is great for salad dressings. Eaten on their own, or together with protein, but without an abundance of starchy carbohydrates, good quality natural fats alleviate hunger and act as an excellent source of energy throughout the day. Eating too little good fat cab lead to the experience of sitting down to a meal and, no matter how much you eat, still craving food at the end of it. Good natural fats let you know when your body is satisfied. Introducing the right kind of fats to your meals also helps balance hormones while significantly enhancing how you look and feel. MEET THE GOOD OILS Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed walnut oil, cold-pressed fax-seed oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and coconut oil are all excellent for salad dressings. Eat them and thrive. Olive oil is monounsaturated rather than polyunsaturated—one of the safest vegetable oils you can use. It is well-suited to dressings and can be heated, but only to moderate temperatures. Make sure the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you buy is cloudy (not filtered) and a golden-yellow color. Sesame oil is reasonably stable and can also be used on salads as can cold-pressed walnut oil and avocado oil. Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil/fat and is the safest, healthiest choice for cooking, because it remains stable even at high temperatures. It also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties. DON’T FORGET BUTTER Millions of shoppers buy margarine in the belief that it’s “better for you than butter.” This is another baseless opinion, forced upon us by bad science and multinational food manufacturers. The process used to turn out margarine, known as hydrogenation, does horrendous things to the already-rancid vegetable oils it is made from. Margarines also contain all sorts of additives you wouldn’t want in your body. It is not surprising that they have now become associated with the development of both cancer and heart disease. Butter on the other hand contains many essential nutrients. Look for butter made from the milk of grass-fed animals if you can find it. Experiments comparing the health of margarine eaters with butter eaters continually find in butter’s favor. In one study, the risk of developing heart disease for butter users was half that of eaters of margarine. Infants and children especially benefit from butter, which fosters normal growth and development. Use this delicious stuff liberally—and without guilt—in the knowledge that your body will thank you for it. THE LAST WORD OF ADVICE Fats and starchy carbs like pasta, bread, and pizza do not mix. Eating them together bring about what is known as the Randle Effect: When lots of fat and carbohydrates are eaten together, as they often are in the standard Western diet, the fats get burnt as fuel, while the carbohydrates are converted to glucose. The glucose in turn is converted into more body fat, throwing any overweight, insulin-resistant person into a terrible vicious circle, where hunger and carbohydrate cravings lead to overeating, followed by an inevitable increase in blood sugar and insulin levels as well as body fat deposits and yet more cravings. The irony is that, for a long time, we have been blaming dietary fat for this, when this phenomenon is actually caused by a high starchy carbohydrate intake, especially in the presence of the junk fats found in margarines, golden oils, and convenience foods. Natural fats eaten on their own or together with protein, but without an abundance of carbohydrates, do not cause the laying down of fat in the body. Nor do they cause insulin resistance. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp for those of us who have been highly schooled in the high-carbs-low-fat approach to weight loss and age protection. Yet, when it comes to staying well it is essential to understand.

My Love Affair With Plants

My Love Affair With Plants

For more than a million years, our ancestors lived with herbs. They cooked with them, healed with them, used them to scent their bodies and sanctify their prayers. On a molecular level, the human body recognizes herbs when we take them. Get to know the nature of a few specific plants and they will enhance your life immeasurably. In a very real sense, we can come to know an herb the way a woman knows her lover. The spirit of a plant meets the spirit of a human. Expect magic. You won’t be disappointed. A FINE ROMANCE My own passion for herbs began when I discovered the help they could bring me and my family. Simple plants such as nettle or golden rod (Solidago virgauria) have a natural cleansing and diuretic effect on my body. Traveling on airplanes, my ankles used to swell up. I discovered when I got home and made a cup of golden rod or nettle tea, the swelling would vanish. Fascinated, I began to read about what herbs can do for the immune system. I began to experiment with other plants—goldenseal and echinacea, burdock and shiitake mushrooms. I began to give herbs to my whole family whenever any of us threatened to come down with flu or a cold. I discovered that, provided we took them in time, one or a combination of plants would clear the problem before the full force of any illness hit. A doctor friend, Gordon Latto, taught me that gargling with red sage and sticking a clove of garlic in its paper shell in between the teeth and the inside of the mouth for a few hours a day would clear a sore throat and nip throat infections in the bud. I began to wonder just how many other remarkable things plants could do for us. THE SUPERB ADAPTOGENS I was lucky enough to meet with the famous Russian scientist I.I. Brekhman, expert in adaptogenic herbs, who won the Lenin Prize for Science. From him I learned that the adaptogens such as ginseng, eluthrococcus or Siberian Ginseng, and Suma from South America strengthen a person’s ability to resist illness as well as making it possible for us to work and play longer and harder without experiencing the negative effects of prolonged stress. That was thirty years ago. Since then I have come to use herbs and flowers, fresh raw juices and vegetables, water and tender loving care to help the body protect itself from illness, heal a sickness when it struck, calm an agitated mind, induce slumber when unable to sleep, clear depression, and care for my skin. I have also learned to use herbs to decorate my house and sanctify my working space. I also fell in love with photographing them. Meanwhile, I raised four children without antibiotics or over-the-counter drugs thanks to the blessings of herbs. DAZZLING POWER The classic definition of an herb is ‘a non-woody plant which dies down to its roots each winter’. This definition is far too limiting. It was probably made up by 19th century European botanists who had never seen the rainforest in which, of course, there is no winter to die back in. Neither had they ever heard of woody trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, ginkgo and elder, which provide us with some of the best-selling herbs on the market these days. My own definition of an herb is simply a medicinal plant. It can come from any climate and be a leaf, a bark, a flower or a root. It can be home-grown or wild—a weed, a spice, a plant which is used for its healing, culinary or beautifying properties. So powerful are the health-enhancing capacities of herbs that a vast number of common prescription drugs have been derived from a mere 90 species of plants. According to Professor Norman Farnsworth—leading American expert in pharmacognosy at University of Illinois —74% of common drugs have been developed directly out of traditional native herb folklore. In the United States alone, the annual sales of prescription drugs developed from plant products used by tribal cultures is already in excess of $6 billion. Unlike prescription drugs, whose side-effects can be devastating, most herbs are both safe and simple to use. Most carry no side-effects at all. MEDICAL FAILURE The way we have thought about health and healing for the past century—what the experts call our biomedical model—has come to the limits of its usefulness. Conventional medical practices view the body as a collections of structures—bones and blood, cells and tissues. Common medical treatment consists of acting on these structures in a symptomatic way. Doctors give one drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, another to get rid of headaches or put you to sleep. Whether these drugs are medically prescribed or over-the-counter products, virtually all carry negative side effects. Most have no concern with genuine healing. They instead focus on ‘managing’ illness by suppressing symptoms. Herbal treatment, like all of the great natural approaches to health through history, looks at things differently. It insists that at every level of biological organisation—from chromosomes in our DNA all the way up to our eyes and toes, stomach and liver—the body has a stunning capacity for self-treatment. It is capable of removing damaged structures and renewing them on its own. The natural capacity of living organisms as complex as ours to regenerate themselves is something that symptomatic drug-based medicine ignores altogether. Yet self-regeneration lies at the very core of using natural foods, water, air and movement therapies, and of course herbs, to strengthen, balance or heal. Chinese medicine is functional medicine; it did not develop along structural lines as Western 20th century medicine did. So is Ayurvedic and Unani medicine from India, and nature-cure in the West. The Chinese pharmacopoeia is the richest in the world. Chinese doctors value plants for their ability to strengthen the body’s functioning, heighten its own defences and improve immunity. They use herbs, as we are only now beginning to in the West, to extend longevity, to increase resistance to illness, to heighten energy, and to calm disturbed emotions. BRING MAGIC INTO YOUR LIFE There is an endless parade of different ways you can use herbs. In the health food store and mail order catalogue you can find a confusing array of capsules, pills, tablets, extracts, tinctures and ‘whole herbs’ or ‘bulk herbs’, none of which seem to relate to the ‘infusion’ you have decided you would like to take. And what about the herbs you have growing in your garden? Here is a rough guide to finding your way through the confusion. First, find yourself a reputable supplier. I have a passion for iHerb.com, since the variety of herbal products they offer are the best and cheapest anywhere, and they ship worldwide. Personally, I’m wary of buying herbs in health food stores or pharmacies unless they come from a manufacturer or supplier I know. With a supplier you trust and with whom you can discuss your needs, you can be sure you are getting a good potency and that the herbs have not been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for months. BULK/DRIED/WHOLE HERBS What you are buying is a bag or box of a specific weight of dried herb, either in its whole form, crushed or powdered. This is the best way to purchase herbs if you want to make teas (infusions), decoctions, or your own capsules, or if you want to use them in potpourris and sachets. It is also about the cheapest way to buy dried herbs. TINCTURES A tincture uses alcohol diluted in water to draw out the plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. You can buy tinctures by the bottle and they are pretty potent. You take from several drops to 1 teaspoon or more of a tincture in a little water several times a day if needed. Tinctures are best bought from a reputable supplier. You can make them yourself, but the process is less accurate than when they are professionally produced. I buy many herbs in tincture form as I find them so convenient. You will sometimes find a figure such as 1:4 on a bottle of tincture. This gives you the ratio of the weight of the herb—in this instance 1 part of herb—to alcohol/water mix. An herbalist may suggest you take a specific ratio in which case your supplier can advise, but for general usage you don’t need to know the ratio. EXTRACTS Extracts are easy to confuse with tinctures. They are far more concentrated. They aim to contain all the active chemicals of the plant, not only those that will dissolve in alcohol. Extraction processes vary from pressure rolling to heat treatment to vacuum extraction. These are best left to the experts. Extracts have a limited shelf life. They should be kept in the fridge. Herbalists often prescribe extracts during an illness, rather than using them for prevention. Extracts can also be useful to add to a cream or salve for external use: ¼ extract to ¾ base. They are pretty strong in their action. TABLETS, PILLS & CAPSULES Tablets, pills and capsules are often more readily than the loose dried herbs themselves. Tablets, pills and capsules usually contain the whole herb, not just the constituents extracted in a tincture or infusion. Therefore, in taking them, you are making use of the synergy in action between all the constituents of each plant. Choose those from a reputable manufacturer/supplier. Tablets are made from dried plant material—leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers—mixed with a base, sometimes lactose, both to help you hold them in your hand to take them and to aid absorption in the stomach. Pills are, basically, tablets with a coating. If the plant is sticky, smelly, or tastes dreadful—or all three—it is more likely to come in pill form than tablet form as the protein or sugar coating disguises less pleasant aspects of the plant. Usually I avoid these, since sugar in any form is far from beneficial. Capsules, made of gelatine or a vegetarian equivalent, are filled with dried herbs—even the stickier, smellier ones. They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but they preserve herbs well. You can buy gelatine capsules from a chemist and fill them yourself, either with herbs you have dried yourself or with dried herbs you have bought in bulk. The standard 00 size capsule holds about ½ gram (500mg) of herb. Make sure the herb is ground into as fine a powder as possible before filling, so that it can be easily absorbed by the body. A WONDROUS WORLD Plants speak volumes when you know how to listen. One of the great joys of our herbal tradition has been the love affair that takes place when the spirit of an herb meets the spirit of the person using it. It is an old art by which, using your intuition and trusting your instinct, you can move towards an awareness of the central nature of a plant and how best it can be used. For example—the herb Leonurus cardiaca is a powerful strengthener of the heart, reducing tachycardia and hypertension and promoting normal heart action. The essence of its personality, however, is better expressed in its common name—motherwort. This herb has the ability to bring a sense of absolute security—the way a baby feels lying in the arms of its mother—during periods of deep and unsettling change. Every plant has secret wisdom and power. It will tell you its tales and offer its richness to you as you open your heart to it.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 18,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 13 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 18th of September 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.71 lb
for women
-1.05 lb
for men
-0.71 lb
for women
-1.05 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 18th of September 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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