Archive: Nov 2010

  1. It’s not all about nutrition.. its often about liberty

    Leave a Comment

    Although this article above is taken from the daily mail, do some research – google TSA stuff, watch the youtube clips. This is disgusting – I urge you all to quietly protest if it starts happening to you, your loved ones or people you see in front of you in the queue – get angry. Some of the stories coming out of the US this week are horrific and cannot be written about here. Let’s just say they are employing some pretty dodgy people to feel you up. Molesting young children, humiliating adults, putting them through allegedly high dose radiation – this is not done to keep us safe- ask to “opt out” those are the words you have to say to avoid the x ray scanners, then you will be subjected to a pat down – if you feel you are being “mishandled” – threaten to call the police, write letters to the airlines, say you wont fly – just please do not put up with this nonsense in the name of terrorism. For more details go to

  2. Feeling uncomfortable

    Leave a Comment

    I do try to watch, read and research things before I make comment so last night I sat down for half an hour and watched I’m a Celebrity and a bit of X-factor and I began to feel very uncomfortable indeed. For a second I too became a member of the Colosseum watching people being torn apart by the lions (because thats whats really going on here) and then I stopped. Nigel Havers not wanting to wear a black and white striped outfit and sit behind bars because he thought he would be humiliating himself infront of his wife – surely he’s a bad sport – surely he knew what he was letting himself in for everyone cries. And yet… and yet Nigel, yes it is extremely humiliating and I get that at nearly 60 yrs old you shouldnt need to do this. Watching Gillian “fainting” or whatever she was doing on live TV was awful – no matter if it was staged or for real the whole thing is a far cry from the wonderful carol thatcher who powered through the trials a few years ago. Then I watched a little x-factor – again very colosseum like – you now cant hear the judges for the screaming – so they might as well not be there at all. The front of the Observer this weekend has Mr Cowell on the front stroking a white cat. Is anyone sick to death of this “hetrosexual” meglomaniac – I know I am. The article inside is pretty damning about manipulating peoples feeling of needing community and saturday and sunday night we are drawn into a fake community where we think we are a part of something special and big – we are not alone any more – pretty much like facebook – you have a thousand friends so alls ok – when actually you have in reality only a handful of friends that would get up in the night and take you to the hospital if you were ill.

    It was with a real sense of unease that I watched these programmes and wondered how many people were watching Channel 4’s brilliant Any Human Heart. Oh dear….

  3. Radio 4: Case notes: Dr Mark Porter – Vitamin D

    Leave a Comment

    It’s official nearly 30 million people in the UK have sub-optimal levels of
    vitamin D.

    If your GP can’t do the test – it can be done privately and at not too much expense.

  4. Please support Hughs fish fight campaign!

    Leave a Comment

    Hugh F-W’s latest campaign – see link above -please support – you can sign up his petition on the River Cottage website or on his facebook page

  5. Supermarkets snub mega dairy

    Leave a Comment

    Good to see that the supermarkets are at the moment saying they will not buy milk from Nocton. If you are not aware there are plans afoot to launch the first mega diary in lincolnshire – its a terrifying prospect for the UK and would mark the first of super size industrial farming – the consequences to the british farmer, to animal welfare are obvious – and or course it will not be organic. More on this later.

  6. Gillian McKeith heads to the jungle

    Leave a Comment

    TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith has decided to join I’m A Celebrity.. at this point I’m not too sure why and what it is she has to gain from this. Not a follower of her career, perhaps she’s looking for a push to do a new tv series, perhaps she is trying to overcome her seemingly many phobias or perhaps she’s trying to get the public to like her – see the “real” Gillian.

    Why anyone would admit to all these fears and phobias to a home audience just waiting to dial her number is beyond me. You see she comes from the bullying school of nutrition, the let’s look at your poo because it makes good tv nutrition. People dont like to be told what to do, and certainly if they do, they pay me to tell them. It’s funny but often I get asked – Kate you are a bit blunt but I thought you were going to be like Gillian McKeith so I was really nervous coming to see you – Great! So if I hear someone is nervous on the phone I automatically tell them that there is no judgement, no cane, no telling off. The very fact someone has made a decision to sort out their health is, I think, amazing and should be congratulated! As you can tell I’m not a fan, don’t get me wrong, her books are excellent and her series (apart from the non scientific poo bit) is sound in principle but when you’re sat in the first row of an audience seeing the comedian Dara O’Brien (athiest/man of science and Dawkins follower) trust me its not good. When he says “There arent any nutritionists in the audience are there”? I wince as he lets off a tirade of abuse at this so called “doctor”. I remember wriggling further down in my seat so no one accidentally saw me and pointed to me and went “Theres one – burn the witch”.. Oh dear!!

    ps have just watched ten minutes of her and oh dear she is a complete nightmare!!

  7. Scientists find a new greediness gene

    Leave a Comment

    Well thats fine then, we can all sleep ok at night. Being overweight is genetic so let’s change our genes and be done with it. I think this is ludicrous. It’s as stupid as saying people who are overweight are greedy and lazy. It’s just not true. Being overweight is so much more complex.

    Years ago I went to a 1940’s fancy dress party and when I visited a very large and well known dress hire shop in London I was astounded to see that the miles and miles of womens uniforms (I was trying to go as a WAFF) only came in teeny weeny sizes. I think a 12/14 was the very largest I could find. At nearly 6ft and a size 12 there was just nothing for me to wear, so I had to hire a man’s uniform instead. What’s my point in telling you this – genes dont’ change that fast – from the 1940’s to the 2010 ask yourself what has changed? and there is your answer.

    As you have read on this blog over the years, we already know why there is an obesity crisis, it’s just very difficult to get to the truth when everyone is bombarded with different biased facts. Even if there is a so called “greediness gene” what percentage of the population do you really think is carrying it? I doubt very many.

  8. McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy

    Leave a Comment

    Saturdays Guardian ran with this piece on the front page and I have to say it slightly ruined my breakfast. As I can’t seem to cut and paste you the link I’ll just quote the first sentence:

    ” The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies Mcdonalds and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as Pepsico, Kelloggs, Unilever Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity alcohol and diet related disease”.

    “In an overhaul of public health said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five responsibility deal networks with business co chaired by ministers to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month”.

    I hope you all agree there are just no words for this outrageous flagrant abuse of power by Mr Lansley. I urge you to write to him and tell him your thoughts. Do you think it’s right for the companies responsible for some of the obesity to be writing government policy – how bias can you get?

    Ok enough, I’m off to have a mini stroke.

  9. All about Joints – november newsletter

    Leave a Comment

    Welcome to my November newsletter

    As I sit writing this months newsletter there is a howling gale outside – it’s feeling cold and damp and miserable and for those of you suffering any kind of joint problem, this weather does not help! So this month pre my Christmas newsletter I thought I’d talk a little about osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s a huge subject as you can imagine and cannot be covered here in full, but I’ll do my best to outline the key symptoms and some basic tips for you.

    As my regular readers are no doubt aware (!), good nutrition plays a vital role in the prevention of disease and the reduction of symptoms. Arthritis and osteoporosis cost the NHS billions each year and much can be done to help not only prevention but alleviate pain. There are many factors to be taken into consideration with these complicated diseases and wear and tear and hereditary factors also have a role to play. Often overlooked and crucial to recovery is looking at gut health as this is where inflammation can start.


    Almost three million people in the UK are estimated to have osteoporosis. In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone mainly because of poor bone health. Osteoporosis costs the NHS and the government £2.3 billion a year – that’s a staggering £6 million per day. It’s a silent disease that can rob your skeleton of up to 25% of its core mass by the time you reach fifty. Bones become porous due to the progressive loss of minerals, mass and density, which can subsequently result in fractures of the hip, shoulder, ribs, vertebrae, ankle and wrist. Ankle and wrist fractures are common in young middle aged women often after a minor bump or fall. Vertebral fractures are more common in the over 50’s and can be debilitating and painful. Women are more at risk of osteoporosis as the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are protective to women’s bones. From the age of 35 onwards women regularly fail to ovulate which leads to minimal production of progesterone, the major hormone for bones. Major risk factors include: an early menopause, anorexia, bulimia, over dieting, over/under exercising, smoking, high alcohol intake and high use of steroids.

    The most common treatment for osteoporosis is calcium supplementation and sometimes HRT will still be considered. Both treatments have a sound basis. However they are simplistic approaches to a complex health crisis. Looking at nutrition and mineral balance is key in prevention of this disease. There are for example factors that can affect calcium balance and these can include a lack of: vitamins and minerals, thyroid and parathyroid hormones, oestrogen, exercise, sunlight, or an excess of protein, refined carbohydrates, stress, alcohol and stimulants.

    Taking calcium is not the “cure all” answer as calcium absorption is a complicated process. Calcium needs a balance of phosphorous and magnesium to work properly. As junk foods are high in phosphorous and dairy produce high in calcium but low in magnesium, eating these foods in excess can cause an imbalance. Magnesium is needed to absorb and use calcium in the body. Nuts, seeds and green vegetables are rich sources of both calcium and magnesium. Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” is vital for absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Therefore calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are all needed in the right balance for healthy bones. More and more patients that I test have low levels of Vitamin D. Recently Gwyneth Paltrow has hit the headlines as having the beginnings of osteoporosis. We seem to be scared of getting out in the sun and as our winters can be long its really important to expose yourself to sunlight. So get outdoors as much as you can!

    Tips for Osteoporosis

    Take regular exercise, including weight bearing if possible
    Eat plenty of whole grain foods
    Eat plenty of nuts, seeds and vegetables with colour and green leafy vegetables
    Include soya milk and tofu
    Limit the amount of animal protein. Eskimos are typical of a high protein diet. Although they have a low rate of heart disease, they have a high rate of osteoporosis, as their diet is high in seal meat and fish and low in fruit and vegetables
    Avoid junk foods, smoking and limit alcohol and caffeine intake
    Take a good calcium and magnesium supplement plus vitamin D
    Get outside in the sunlight every day
    If you suspect that you are at risk of developing osteoporosis ask your GP for a bone mineral density scan.


    More than 6 million people in the UK have painful OA in one or both knees. One in five adults between 50-59 yrs and one in two adults aged 80 yrs + have OA in their knees. It usually develops gradually, over time. Several different joints can be affected, but it’s most frequently seen in the hands, knees, hips, feet and spine.

    Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but the condition may settle down after a number of years and there is plenty you can do to relieve your symptoms. It can develop at any age, although it occurs more frequently in older people. There are a few factors that can increase your chances of getting OA – these include: Poor lubrication of joints, hormonal balance, allergies and sensitivities, free radical damage, wear and tear, infection from a virus or bacteria, bone strain and deformities, bowel health and state of mind – (hidden anger, fear or worry often accompanies the beginning of arthritis).

    Tips for arthritis

    Eat more sulphur containing foods such as asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions. Sulphur is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue and it also aids in the absorption of calcium. Other good foods include fresh fruit and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables which supply vitamin K), non acidic fresh fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, soybeans and avocadoes.

    Eat fresh pineapple. This contains bromelain, an enzyme which is excellent in the reduction of inflammation. The pineapple must be fresh, freezing and canning destroys the enzyme.

    Eat some form of fibre daily such as ground flaxseeds, oat bran or rice bran.

    Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Do not consume milk, dairy products or red meat and avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and white sugar.

    Avoid the nightshade vegetables e.g. peppers, aubergine, tomatoes and white potatoes. People suffering from arthritis can be highly sensitive to this group of foods (although it does not work with everyone).

    For pain relief: Try cold gel packs, castor oil packs, hot tubs/baths. Physiotherapy and accupuncture can help together with NSAID’s in pill or topical form.

    Check for possible food allergies. Many sufferers of neck and shoulder pain have found relief when they eliminate certain foods which trigger inflammation – this is especially true in rheumatoid arthritis (see below).

    Get regular moderate exercise – it is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration. Cycling, walking and water exercises are good choices.

    If you are overweight lose the excess pounds. Being overweight can aggravate osteoarthritis.

    Omega 3 and 6 may ease symptoms by suppressing the production of prostaglandins that trigger inflammation. Evening primrose oil and borage seed oil contain GLA and omega 3 is found in fish oil or flaxseed oil.

    Helpful supplements
    (please get professional advice before starting a supplement plan). These include bromelain, chondroitin, essential fatty acids, glucosamine sulphate, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium and vitamin B complex.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis

    There are around 400,000 adults in the UK with rheumatoid arthritis. Prevalence is more common in women than men by a factor of 3:1. RA is now considered an auto immune disease whereby antibodies develop against components of joint tissue. What triggers this autoimmune reaction remains largely unknown. Speculation and investigation have centred around genetic factors, abnormal bowel permeability, lifestyle and nutritional factors and food allergies etc. RA is a classic example of a mutlifactorial disease i.e. there are many causes.

    About 70% of patients have a genetic marker (HLA- DRw4). The fact that a person has a strong genetic predisposition for RA does not mean that he or she will go on to develop it. Individuals with RA tend to have increased intestinal permeability to dietary and bacterial components against which the body forms antibodies. It is prevalent in people under 40 yrs and can occur after a stressful event or viral infection. Symptoms include; Morning stiffness, pain on motion or tenderness in at least one joint, swelling in a least one joint, nodules under the skin, x ray changes include bony decalcification, positive RA blood test and raised ESR (blood tests for inflammation).

    Tips for RA (see tips for arthritis as well)

    Virtually any food can aggravate RA, the most common offenders are wheat, corn, milk and other dairy products, beef, the nightshade family and gluten.

    Opt for a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables and fibre, and low in sugar, meat, refined carbohydrates and animal fats. Cold water fish e.g. mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon and fruit including berries; cherries, blueberries and blackberries are particularly useful.

    Several anti inflammatory compounds e.g. curcumin, bromelain and ginger have shown positive effects in treating RA.

    Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Do not consume milk, dairy products or red meat as these are particularly hard to digest if gut permeability is relevant to your condition. Also avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and everything containing refined white sugar (if you can!).

    Avoid taking iron supplements or a multivitamin containing iron. Iron is suspected of being involved in pain/swelling and joint destruction. Consume iron in foods instead. Good sources include blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans and peas.

    Spend as much time outside – exposure to the sun prompts the synthesis of vitamin D which is needed for proper bone formation.

    In a recent study people with RA were found to have lower levels of folic acid, protein, and zinc then healthy people. The researchers concluded that drugs prescribed for arthritis had bought about biochemical changes in the subjects bodies increasing their need for nutrients. So watch out for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

    With all these diseases it is vital to have a healthy gut. This means a bowel that is not inflamed, has enough good bacteria, is not sensitive to any foods and is not constipated. Often particularly with OA and RA and indeed fibromyalgia it’s the gut that needs looking at first. That may seem an odd place to start but we need to work out where the inflammation is coming from, often it is localised as in a wear and tear situation but more often than not it is systemic. It is often useful to have a stool test to assess the state of the gut . Diet is also crucial – an anti-inflammatory diet is what is needed. Do not self medicate with supplements – do get professional help as some can make the pain worse.

    Swede – vegetable of the month

    The swede is thought to have originated in central Europe and has a relatively short culinary history compared with many vegetables. It was known in France and England in the seventeenth century and became an important European crop by the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century it reached the USA (where it is known as rutabaga) and then Canada. To this day it is a much more popular food in North and East Europe than any other region. A member of the Cruciferae family, Brassica napus is a hardy plant that is frost-tolerant and thrives in moist soil.

    Swede has a good mineral content including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. It is low in saturated fat and relatively high in sugars. It also provides some fibre and vitamins A and C. Really this is all you need to do with swede – mash it with a few herbs!:

    1 large swede, peeled and chopped into chunks
    75g butter
    plenty of freshly ground white pepper
    For the butter with sage
    75g butter the leaves taken from a small bunch of sage

    Boil the swede in salted water until very tender. Drain well in a colander for at least five minutes. Now pass it through the coarsest blade of a vegetable mill (mouli-legumes) or by using various other manual methods; please, do not electrically work swede into the consistency of baby-food, as it seems to lose all credibility when treated so luxuriously. Beat in the butter and pepper and spoon into a heated vegetable dish. To complete the dish, melt the final amount of butter and, once it has begun to froth, throw in the sage leaves and allow to crisp in the fat until they have darkened slightly and are giving off every last vestige of their scent. Spoon over the mashed swede and serve up promptly.

    See you next month for my pre christmas bumper newsletter!