‘Obesity is not because it runs in the family, it is because no one runs in the family.Anon

All across the planet there are groups working to make our world a little greener, to slow things down so we can enjoy home-cooked meals and the pleasures of outdoor living.

But counteracting everything the green movement is accomplishing, are other harsh realities that stand between you and a smooth-running body machine.

Let’s start with the oversized food portions in many of the neighborhood diners of the world. Good value is equated with lots of food, so that platter of fish and chips you order is piled so high it could feed one family instead of one person.

But you don’t want to waste it; after all, you work hard for your money. And it is deep-fried and tantalizingly good, so you eat it all.

You order popcorn at your local movie theatre and you need a wheelbarrow to carry it to your seat. Your regular size hot dog at the local filling station is now a foot long instead of six inches.

When you eat portions far in excess of what even feels comfortable, you are taking in far too many calories.

Doggy bags aren’t just for doggies. Ask for one and eat the second portion they so generously provided at home on another day.

At the same time that some places are over-feeding you, you may have trouble gaining access to farm-fresh foods that will enhance your health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful at major city supermarkets, but if you live in rural areas where there are only small grocery outlets, they will have a tendency to rely on packaged foods with a longer shelf life.

Make an effort now to secure a source of fresh food. When cost is a factor, and that is usually the case, lower your investment by always purchasing fresh foods that are in season in the area where you live.

If you are living in northern countries and you want to buy blueberries in May, you will have to pay an outrageous price for them. But if you want the taste and flavor of fresh spring, local rhubarb will be showing up in the stores soon and will make a lovely substitute.

Keep in mind that the foods that are supported with the most advertising are likely the foods you should avoid. There’s a reason for the hard sell. Sugar-laced sweets and drinks presented attractively to lure you and your children to purchase them are often just full of calories and contain very little of the actual nutrition that your body needs for fuel.

Pre-packaged snacks seem like a saviour to the lunch-packing parents of the world, but the processed foods and sweets they contain are just setting up your child for a life-long addiction to the wrong tastes.

Effective repair

  1. Take control of what you eat in restaurants. Ask the waiter to remove the bread. Get a side order of veg or have two starters instead of a main meal. Don’t feel obliged to eat everything on your plate.
  2. Secure a source for fresh vegetables and fruit and purchase and eat them every day. Buy local foods in the season they are plentiful.
  3. Avoid sugar-laced, calorie-heavy, over-processed foods that are well advertised.
  4. Cut down on all fruit juices because they have no fiber and they have high sugar content.

I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any. Mark Twain – Author

Working extra movement into our lives is not easy in our modern communities.  In many places walking is discouraged by the lack of sidewalks and safe walking trails. Green space is sacrificed for even more building development, and there are few parks for children and adults alike to walk and play.

The price of fitness programs and gyms can be prohibitive to people struggling to make ends meet. Shift work encroaches on normal family living, and parents sacrifice their activity time for time spent inside just to see their children before tucking them into bed.

The way people have been overworked in their jobs by companies determined to squeeze every last ounce of energy from them leaves them too tired to go out again. Requests for more overtime at work and lengthy commutes eat into their potential time for activity as well. So instead, they slouch exhausted in front of the television for a blessed relief before they sleep and wake tomorrow to do it all again.

All over the world, people are living like hamsters on a wheel, just trying to provide the essentials for themselves and their families, and caring for their own bodies falls lower and lower on their priority list.

Effective repair

  1. Figure out one part of your day, no matter how small, in which you could take yourself and your family outdoors for a bit of physical exercise.
  2. Start small. Even if it’s only a Sunday afternoon outing, it’s better than nothing.
  3. Try walking home from work one night a week or take the family for a walk in the park on Saturday morning.
  4. Walk up the stairs at work instead of taking an elevator. Park as far away from the door as possible when you go to the supermarket.

The important thing now is that you try. We know you can’t completely change your life on a whim. But when your car is on empty and you’re short of cash, how many times have you just put €20 in to tide you over to the next payday?

One evening of exercise, one run up the stairs at your workplace, or one walk around your neighborhood with your children is the beginning of filling up your personal energy tank again.

You can get started today.

It͛’s not the load that breaks you down, it͛s the way you carry it͛. Lou Holtz – American Football Coach

Too often we equate exercise with expensive gym memberships and highly sculpted bodies running around in leotards and tank tops and lifting weights and posing on balance balls. If that is your scene, go for it. But if you don’t feel comfortable in such an environment, you still have lots of options to get into the fitness game. You can get your positive endorphins flowing just by playing sports in your neighborhood, washing your car, running on the treadmill in your basement or pulling weeds out of your back garden. You can stroll, walk, jog or spring around your neighborhood. You can hike country trails, go rock climbing or take up just a nightly thirty-minute walk.

The Mayo Clinic experts advise us that engaging in exercise helps alleviate stress in a number of ways besides increasing feel good hormones. It helps you gain confidence that you can meet your goals; it takes your mind off the things that stress you, it helps you socialize with others and that is encouraging. It helps you cope because of the positivity it creates.

The lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy͛. Tom Hardy – Actor and Producer

There are two kinds of complex carbs that will fuel your body best over the long haul. The first is starch, and it is longer-lasting than bad carbs because it needs to be broken down in your body’s digestive system before it turns into glucose. You get it when you eat vegetables like potatoes, peas, corn and dry beans and breads, cereals and grains. The second kind of complex carb is dietary fiber.

There are two kinds of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble (roughage). Fiber from vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods. Specific foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal and oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds, fruits like apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries. Insoluble fiber comes from fruits and most vegetables, whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, wheat bran, couscous, whole grain cereals, and seeds.

Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, (what your grandparents called roughage) does not dissolve in water. You need a healthy amount of insoluble fiber in your diet because it is what gives you a feeling of being full and it also feeds the good bacteria in your gut. It serves as kind of an interior sponge in your body, soaking up to 15 times its weight in water, and stopping you from wanting to eat more. The importance of fiber in our diets caught the attention of doctors in England just after 1890 when they witnessed a whole range of common diseases flaring up in the time after a new milling process removed fiber from traditional whole grain flour to produce white flour.

Of all the foods we take into our bodies, none have endured the universal disdain of fat.

Yet a certain amount of fat helps keep your body running smoothly. It helps you grow, it helps you absorb certain vitamins like A, D, E and K, and it fuels your body with energy. Not only that, in their own way, some of the fats are like brain food, helping your thinking and learning power.

But most of its bad press is also well deserved. Too much of the wrong kind of fat can hurt you badly, setting you up for life-threatening diseases.

Even good fats need to be taken in moderation because of their high caloric content. There are nine calories in every gram of fat compared to four calories per gram of protein or carbohydrate. However, as popular diets like Atkins point out, when you do eat foods that contain some fat, you are more likely to feel full for a longer period of time and less likely to return for snacks than if you rely totally on no-fat food. They also point out, and correctly so, that many fat free foods actually contained more calories than other foods, since the fat that has been removed is replaced with sugar or other carbohydrates to enhance the taste.

Good Fats: What Are They?

You will recognize good fats on a food label by such distinctions as ͞monounsaturated͟ fat and ͞polyunsaturated͟ fat. You get monounsaturated fat when you eat nuts and seeds (peanuts, cashews, almonds and pecans), vegetable oils (sunflower, canola, olive, sesame, safflower, and peanut oils) and avocados.You also get polyunsaturated fat from the vegetable oils listed above and the same nuts and seeds as listed above. Furthermore, you can get them from fish oils and from fatty fish itself, such as trout, mackerel, herring, smelt and salmon.

Good fats give your body a dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and these are vital in healthy cell growth. If you don’t have sufficient amounts of these fats in your body, you can never look the glowing picture of good health. Instead, you will have dry and lifeless hair, breaking and brittle nails and dry, flaky skin. It is important to get the ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 correct.

Even more important than how you will look outside is how you will feel inside. Vitamin D, so vital for the growth and strength of your bones and teeth and essential for your body to absorb the calcium and phosphorous it needs, cannot be absorbed into your body unless you have a certain amount of ͞good͟ fat in it. Failure to absorb calcium and vitamin D leaves you prey to painful and crippling diseases like osteoporosis.

Fat also is needed to move vitamin A, E, and K (as well as D) through your bloodstream. It is Vitamin A that helps your skin to stay healthy and nourished, Vitamin E that ensures the proper functioning of your cells with its antioxidant properties, and Vitamin K which is essential for your blood to clot when you sustain a cut or scrape.

Good fats also have been found to sharpen your brain’s cognitive skills. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied 6,000 women aged 45 and older for four years, asking them to perform a cognitive functioning test every two years. They discovered that by substituting good fat for bad fat, a decline in memory could be avoided. Your brain needs both Omega-3 fatty acids (a form of polyunsaturated fat) to function and good sources are fish, nuts, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. Omega-3 is instrumental in ensuring that nerve signals reach the brain for adequate responses. These vital connections are enhanced with new supplies of fatty acids.

Too Much of A Good Thing Is A Problem

If monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat is so useful to your body, why not just go unabashedly after all those high fat dishes we love and enjoy them?

Because like so many things in life, even too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. If you eat more good fat than your body needs, it is stored in your fat cells as well as your plasma, your blood and other body cells. Too much fat in storage means you become overweight and then obese. When you are overweight and obese, you become at risk for heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, and even dementia. The American Heart Association recommends that you get between 19 and 28 percent of your calories from unsaturated fats, and no more than seven per cent of your daily calories from saturated fat.

Bad Fats: Where They Are and Why You Want Them

There are two kinds of bad fats: saturated fats and trans fat. You find bad fats in meat and poultry, palm and palm kernel oils, shortening and lard.

Trans fat, which is recognized on food labels by the words ͞partially hydrogenated͟ means that a solid fat has been created from a liquid oil by means of a chemical process. Most of the trans fat found in a typical United Kingdom diet until recently came from commercially fried foods (yes, the beloved fish and chips), margarines, and bakery products such as cakes, cookies and doughnuts and snack foods made with partially hydrogenated oils and fats. In the United Kingdom, where 150,000 people die every year from coronary heart disease and stroke, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) commenced work in 2001 to develop healthy food strategies within the food industry Fats are a complicated subject in any nutrition manual because of the varying types, the complexity of their makeup and their contradictory nature (small amounts of some are good, larger amounts are bad).

Everyone looks for quick and easy rules to guide them, and it is difficult on the subject of fats, although we do offer effective repairs below.

Effective Repair

1. Try to have a moderate intake of saturated fats and totally eliminate trans fats from your diet. There is little or no good that will follow from the consumption of trans fat.

2. Eat a very little amount of unsaturated fats each day.

That means a handful of nuts or seeds, a small portion of salmon or mackerel or other fatty fish, and a sprinkling of vegetable oils.

3. Read food labels carefully to determine just how much fat and what kind of fat is in each product you purchase.

4. Choose lean cuts of meat; cut the skin off poultry prior to cooking.

5. Try to eat fish once a week.

6. Using small amounts of butter is better (more natural product) than margarine (which is highly processed and totally unnatural). However, this is not a license to add butter at will to foods – limit intake.

7. Make as many meals from scratch as you can. Heavily processed ready-to-eat foods and fast foods normally contain far more fat than the food you cook closer to its natural state.

8. Ensure that the bulk of your diet is comprised of vegetables, whole grain products and fruit.

9. Try at least one or two nights a week to enjoy a meatless meal using high-protein alternatives like nuts, seeds, or beans and lentils.

10. Instead of using high-fat commercially prepared salad dressings, create your own using olive oil with a bit of balsamic or other flavoured vinegar and a bit of lemon juice and herbs from your pantry.

11. Try eating a few walnuts or adding a bit of flax-seed to your baking to keep up your intake of omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).

  1. Contain Vitamins, Minerals, Phytochemicals and Iron
  2. Low in Calories
  3. Contain Antioxidants
  4. Contain essential Chlorophyll
  5. Contain the chemical, Nitrate

Going for green is the healthiest move you can make to keep your body operating in peak condition. That’s because green, leafy vegetables contain an extremely high proportion of all the essential elements we need for healthy living.

Almost every essential vitamin, mineral and phytochemical we need can be found in leafy green vegetables. They are also rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, folate, and calcium.

They keep us strong, fighting anaemia because of their iron and preventing cancer with their flavonoids that impede the growth of cancerous cells.

Greens are low in calories and that makes them essential in weight control. They deliver the nutrients but not the calories of many other foods. And because of their high water content, they make you feel full longer.

The antioxidants in greens also strengthen your immune system. Greens even improve your eyesight because they contain essential chemicals like zeaxanthin that stave off cataracts and vision problems.

It is your green vegetables’ primary ingredient, chlorophyll; however, that is its greatest gift. It works to improve your blood circulation and keep your blood pure, to detoxify your body and stop bacteria from growing. It helps your liver function and helps to fight disease by tackling inflammatory conditions.

Leafy greens benefit you in other ways as well.

A study conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that eating your greens can minimize tissue damage from a heart attack. That is because green vegetables contain the chemical, nitrate.

The scientists believe that nitrate is the secret to the improved heart health witnessed in people who embrace the Mediterranean Diet. Nitrate is especially plentiful in spinach, lettuce and other leafy greens.

The researchers discovered that building up nitrate stores in heart muscles could make the difference between a mild heart attack and one that causes serious damage or death. They theorized that since nitrate also accumulates in the brain, it could potentially help minimize the damage from strokes as well.

Earlier studies have linked the eating of leafy, green vegetables with lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease, lower risks of certain cancers, eye diseases and digestive problems, reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss, higher scores on cognitive tests, and higher antioxidant levels.

As the trend to healthy eating continues, more and more food stores are stocking more leafy, green choices than the humble head of lettuce. Our choices now include Swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, rocket and bok choy. Expand your leafy green repertoire. Try a variety of different greens and keep notes on your favourites. Select the freshest vegetables available and eat them lightly steamed or in a juice/smoothie within a day or two after purchase for the best nutritional value.

Eat your leafy green vegetables raw whenever possible by incorporating them into juices/smoothies, adding green leaves to salads etc. so you can receive all the other health benefits mentioned.

Whenever possible, select organic vegetables. If there is no supply available, purchase fresh non-organic greens and other green vegetables and wash them thoroughly before eating.


Successful weight loss takes programming, not willpower͛ – Phil McGraw – American Psychologist & TV Star

If you want to start making changes to your weight, what is the quickest, surest way to reach the goals you want? You can start by adopting our 15-point starter’s manual for change.

1. Limit the number of calories you take in from hidden sugars (see Labels on packaging).

2. Eat more vegetables and fruits as well as legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

3. Ensure that as an adult you get a minimum of 2 ½ hours of physical activity each week. If you are making the change as a family, ensure that your children get an hour a day of physical activity.

4. As a citizen, advocate for a greater change for the greater good. Support the implementation of parks and walking, running and biking trails in your neighbourhood. Ensure that income is not a gauge of gaining options for physical activity in your community. Support programs that supplement low income families and ensure that public facilities remain accessible to all.

In times of great stress or adversity, it͛s always best to keep busy, to plough your anger and your energy into something positive͛. Lee Iacocca – American Businessman

It is impossible to avoid stress in our lives, but how do we know when we are tipping the cart from normal, safe levels to the danger zone of serious health problems and imminent collapse?

Here are some signs that mean you are in enough stress for it to have negative impacts on your body:

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Constant jaw clenching
  • Grinding teeth
  • Trembling hands and lips
  • Neck and back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dizziness and faintness
  • Ringing and popping sounds
  • Sweating excessively
  • Icy cold feet and hands
  • Sweaty feet and hands
  • Problems swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Rashes and hives
  • Frequent allergy attacks
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Excessive gas
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Chest pain
  • Racing pulse
  • Frequent urination
  • Diminished sexual interest
  • Cravings for certain foods
  • Increased or decreased appetite

Mental symptoms

  • Stammering, unable to come up with words
  • Panic attacks
  • Constant worrying
  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Anger at the least little thing
  • Feelings of hostility
  • Frustration at your life and things around you
  • Wild mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Racing thoughts
  • Problems concentrating
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • General feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Crying spells
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of failure or being unworthy
  • Overreaction to petty little things
  • Being overly defensive to criticism
  • Being overly suspicious of others
  • Problems sharing
  • Problems communicating

Other warning signs

  • You catch frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of interest in appearance
  • Chronic lateness without caring
  • Mumbled speech
  • More minor accidents
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviour
  • Reduced productivity at work
  • Difficulty focusing on the job at hand
  • Lying to cover up work that is not completed
  • Withdrawing from society
  • Increased excessive behavior as in gambling, drinking, taking drugs.

How we self-medicate stress with comfort food

If you recognized yourself on the list of symptoms above, the next question is how do you fix it? While we know it is unrealistic to expect that we could eliminate all major stress from our lives, how do we wrestle the stress demon down to manageable size?

If you are like most people, you reach for your comfort foods and drinks, most of them high in sugar and fat.You know you have too many plates spinning above your head. There’s not one that you can allow to crash just now and nobody to take over keeping some of them spinning for you. So you go to your neighborhood pub and order the biggest slab of shepherd’s pie you can find, wash it down with a decidedly non-low carb beer, and you feel better already.

Or maybe you stop at the local fast-food outlet on the way home and order a double burger loaded, a large fries and a half a dozen cookies. And don’t forget the hot fudge sundae for good measure! In fact, a 2011 study at the University of California San Francisco concluded that people facing chronic stress tend to eat more comfort foods that are high in sugar and fat.

Dr. Elissa Epel, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry there, discovered that this tendency, in the long term, dampens down the body’s stress response which is governed by cortisol, a hormone. So we really do feel better, but this is a bad fix.

That’s because the increased amount of cortisol is also linked to increased abdominal fat, and that is very bad for you in the long term. Epel concluded that food is our cheap drug of choice because it makes us feel better for a little while. The researchers discovered that in their study, the women who were the most stressed were most likely to acknowledge they ate to ease their stress. These women had higher levels of abdominal fat, making them at risk in the long term of suffering from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and gallbladder surgery. What are the preferred comfort foods? It turns out that regardless of the country, there is a similar theme.

People under stress reach for sweet foods such as chocolate or candy bars, desserts, cookies and muffins and fruit. They also reach for what researchers call ͞mixed dishes͟ such as burgers and chips, pizza, casseroles such as Shepherd’s Pie or lasagne, tacos, and fried foods.

Effective Repair

1.Reduce stress by addressing its sources and looking for solutions.

2.Practice mindfulness: live in the moment – start with 10 minutes a day.

3.Increase your physical activity – exercise is a stress reliever.

4.Embrace relaxation techniques. Take up yoga or tai chi or other mind/body exercise.

5.Eat a balanced diet, get sufficient sleep, and avoid tobacco and excessive caffeine and alcohol.

6.You time – take 15 minutes each day to do something specifically for your spirit / soul i.e. reading, gardening, cooking, helping others, walking etc.


  1. Retain Minerals
  2. Retain Enzymes
  3. Retain Vitamins
  4. Retain Fiber

Research shows that some vegetables are healthier raw than cooked.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry as far back as 2007 showed that heat damages the enzyme myrosinase in broccoli.

We need myrosinase because it breaks down glucosinates (glucose and amino acid compounds) into sulforaphane, which has been found to kill precancerous cells. It also breaks down the bacterium which causes ulcers and thus decreases your risk of stomach cancer.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is an essential step to wellness, but it is enhanced if you make room on your plate for lots of raw ones.

As a general rule, besides the anti-cancer causing properties of raw fruits and vegetables, they contain more minerals and other enzymes than their cooked counterparts. They also contain more vitamins and have more fiber than those which are cooked. The fiber aids your digestive system and lowers your cardiovascular disease risk.

Raw fruits and vegetables also contain phytonutrients that help your body fight disease and protect the health of your cells.

Foods that are particularly healthful, besides fresh fruits and vegetables, are raw fruit juices, raw nuts, dried and sun-dried fruits and grains. Raw nuts have been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

In the big picture looking at our overall planet, eating raw is important as well because it involves little or no packaging which is a major source of pollution today.

Begin your commitment to eating raw the day you purchase your groceries. Select sufficient raw fruit and vegetables to last for a few days and spend time putting them away.

Instead of boiling the life out of vegetables, lightly steaming is a better way to cook, making food edible while preserving the nutrients.

The more vegetables you can eat raw, the better.

That is because vitamins, of all the food groups, are especially sensitive to over-cooking. Even normal, low-cooking of vitamins can deplete Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins because they are water soluble. All of their benefits will be lost as they leach into the cooking water.

In general with vegetables, the longer you cook them, the fewer nutrients they will have. You may buy your carrots farm-fresh, for example, and then overcook them and throw all their good nutrition down the drain.

Try to introduce new vegetables and fruits into your diet for variety. To keep costs reasonable, pick up whatever is in season and enjoy the fruit or vegetable in its natural state. Get your children used to a seasonal snack of fresh blueberries, apples in season, and even kiwi, star fruit and fresh cherries when they are affordable.