Ask Roger a Question
How do I reduce high uric acid?
Gout, gouty arthritis and arthritic gout all refer to inflammation of the joints caused specifically by excess uric acid in the blood. Some of the excess, usually as sodium urate, precipitates into the tissues, especially those adjacent to the joints and the tissues of the kidneys.
Certain foods are high in purines which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA in the nuclei of cells. Purines are degraded by the liver into uric acid, which is removed from the body via the kidneys. Consuming excessive amounts of purines will result in high levels of uric acid in the blood and the risk of uric acid or urate compounds depositing as crystals in joints.
Foods rich in purines include organ meats, particularly liver and kidneys, shellfish, poultry, red meat, legumes and yeast. Yeast is particularly high in purines.
The more protein that is consumed, the more efficient is the conversion of purines to uric acid, so the risk spirals. Further, large amounts of the sugar, fructose, arising from the digestion of large amounts of refined sugar or from foods containing high-fructose corn syrup, also increase the uric acid level. Alcohol and deficiency of vitamin B1 inhibit the excretion of uric acid. Liquid protein diets, low-carbohydrate diets, obesity and kidney disease can all increase uric acid levels.
When the level reaches a certain point, uric acid or sodium urate precipitates out of solution to form minute, needle-like crystals which tend to deposit in joints that are low in the limbs. The resulting irritation causes inflammation, localised fever and pain that can be excruciating.
Heredity is not the cause of gout, although some people inherit the tendency to convert purines to uric acid more readily than others and also eliminate uric acid more slowly. High uric acid levels and gout do not occur in people who eat low-protein and low-purine foods.
Sometimes an unexpected attack of gout will occur after a person begins to lose weight. Stored uric acid is released into the bloodstream, leading temporarily to high uric acid levels, even after a low-purine diet has been started.
In summary, gout is the result of abundant rich meats, highly sweetened foods and alcohol, the hallmarks of affluent living. That is why it is known as the ’disease of kings’. Unfortunately, the consequent suffering is not what kings would choose, and no amount of money can buy back good health.
In year 2000, it was realised that insulin resistance is frequently implicated in gout. Because insulin resistance most commonly results from a high intake of refined carbohydrate and because high sugar intake is a factor in excessive uric acid levels, the association is to be expected. This adds weight to the view that a high intake of refined sugar is a significant contributor to gout.
Arthritic gout, like all inflammatory conditions, also responds well to the lowering of toxaemia. When the dietary causes of gout are avoided, uric acid levels can be expected to fall. As the systemic acidity eases, the sharp crystals begin to dissolve and the inflammation to fade away.
Initially it is essential to avoid all major sources of purines, along with alcohol and any form of refined sugar. Drinking plenty of pure water, but within sensible limits, will tend to flush out of the kidneys any urate stones that may have formed.
A Johannesburg study in 2000, involving 13 men, produced broad dietary recommendations for dealing with gout (Ann Rheum Dis 2000 Jul; 59(7): 539 – 43). These consisted of restricting energy intake to 1600 calories daily with 40% of calories derived from carbohydrate, 30% from protein and 30% from fat. Refined carbohydrates were replaced with whole-grain foods, and saturated fats were replaced with beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Note that a calorie intake close to this level is not far below that of the longest-living and healthiest populations the world has seen. Most importantly, three-quarters of total food intake needs to be (alkali-forming) fresh vegetables and fruits.
After 16 weeks, weight loss averaged 7.7 kg, gout attacks reduced from 2.1 to 0.6 per month on average, triglycerides dropped from 4.7 to 1.9 and blood uric acid decreased from 0.57 to 0.47mmol/l. These results also indicate a likely improvement in insulin resistance.
The researchers concluded that weight reduction along with reduced sources of purines and reduced calorie intake (as recommended to correct insulin resistance) are beneficial in reducing the uric acid levels and lipid abnormalities associated with gout.
The full story of the causes, mechanisms and reversal of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and arthritic gout were presented in the article, Arthritis and Rheumatism: The Way to Drug-Free Recovery, published in the Spring 2006 issue of New Vegetarian and Natural Health, pages 30 – 37. Copies are also available from the Natural Health Society for a price incl. postage of $5. If you would like to make recovery more rapid, the detox program at the not-for-profit Hopewood Health Retreat, Wallacia NSW, can be very effective. In my years as manager there, I saw a severe case of gout overcome in a few weeks and the man saved a lot of further suffering.
I live in an upstairs apartment and use the rebounder. How much impact does the unit have on the floor (my neighbor’s ceiling)? They’ve never complained, but I’m curious.
This is something that you might have to ask your neighbour. Is your floor thick concrete or is it timber? – this will make a big difference. Do you bounce very high and hard or lightly? The ReboundOz has rubber tips on the legs which would soften the impact on the floor, so this would help.
Otherwise, there is no way I can have any better idea than you.
Where you get wild salmon as I thought I could indulge in as once a fortnight would be a drop in the ocean (which is now so polluted).
– M. B.
All the fresh salmon in Australian is farmed off the coast of Tasmania, so rule that out. The only way to get wild salmon is in a can in which the words ‘Alaska’, ‘USA’ or ‘Canada’ are pressed into the metal in the lid of the can. All other canned fish is farmed.
In some cases it will also be stated on the label as the Paramount brand does.
You will find that wild salmon is readily available in cans.
I have heard that some nuts should not be eaten without being soaked as the body cannot fully absorb the nutrients. Is this correct, and if so what nuts are they and is there a specific soaking time – number of hours or overnight or other?
– F. P.
Yes, it is correct that some nuts yield more of their nutrients if they are soaked. Like all seeds, nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that compromise our digestive enzymes. Nature puts these in all seeds to prevent them from rotting while they sit on or in the soil waiting for conditions to be right for germination.
Notice how, if you chuck an apple on the earth, the flesh will rot away in a matter of days, but the seeds will remain intact for months or years until they germinate.
Enzymes are ubiquitous in living tissue because all changes in living tissue – without exception – require enzymes to trigger them off; they are biological catalysts.
The highest levels of enzyme inhibitors in our common foods are in soya beans and peanuts, both of which are legumes. Soya beans are indigestible raw. Raw peanuts upset some people and this is why.
Enzyme inhibitors are mostly destroyed by cooking and totally destroyed by sprouting. It is because sprouting is initiated by soaking that soaking gets rid of most of them. If any seeds can be sprouted, this is the ideal way to eat them – hence the popularity of alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, lentil sprouts, etc.
Back to nuts.
Peanuts, which are not a true nut, are greatly improved by soaking.
Almonds respond well to soaking and are much improved.
Hazel nuts ditto.
Cashews are never raw and cannot be soaked as they just turn slushy and it achieves nothing anyway. What we call ‘raw’ cashews have been heated in the extraction process, so are actually cooked. Roasted cashews are cooked more still.
Walnuts, pecans, Brazils and macadamias are around two thirds fat/oil, so they might get a bit slushy if over-soaked. However, as long as the kernel is intact, they can be soaked and their nutrition will be improved. If the kernels are broken, as in walnut pieces or halves, they won’t respond to soaking.
Pine nuts are also very high in oil, but do respond very well to soaking.
I haven’t tried soaking all these nuts, but have done so with almonds a lot. They not only become more nutritious, but also more crunchy and pleasing to the palate.
There is nothing specific in the soaking time. Overnight is the common practice because it is convenient. If the time is too long, the nuts will begin to decompose. I can only guess that around 24 hours might be getting to be too long.
I am suffering from chronic kidney failure, and people around me find me smelling badly, but I do not notice a smell. Is there any way by which I can get rid of this smell?
When the skin is producing an odour of this kind, it almost always means that the kidneys are unable to cope with the eliminative load and the skin takes some of the load. The skin is one of the body’s four organs of elimination and sweat contains waste products and is akin to an extremely dilute urine.
As your kidneys are failing and substantially underperforming, it is a fairly clear cut case of the skin taking a lot of the load, which produces body odour.
The only solution that I can see for the odour is to restore the kidneys to normal function. You have given me no details of the extent of your kidney failure, so I cannot know what might be involved. In any case, restoring failed kidneys is a major lifestyle project – assuming it is possible in the particular case. However, I have seen it achieved in an advanced case, and it required close professional supervision.
This is as far as I can go in making suggestions. If you would like to phone me, I can explain what I have seen achieved and how it was done.
One thing I have seen stand out in reviving kidneys is the consumption of green vegetable juices. However, any approach would need professional supervision to be sure that it is appropriate for you.
I was wondering if you knew anything about treating nasal polyps? I have lots, according to a CT scan, and the specialist told me, if I had an operation to remove them, (which I don’t want!) I could go blind or possibly have a stroke!! He scared me to death. I have started some supplement therapy, with vitamin C, Echinacea, etc, but it’s taking a long time to see any changes, as I am fairly well blocked up, especially in the left nostril. Any ideas on how I can proceed from here? – Karen.
Nasal polyps are small bags of fluid and mucus that protrude into the nasal cavity from the side wall of the nose. There may be one or a lot. They are harmless growths unless they interfere with breathing. They are not cancer. Nasal polyps can block nasal airways creating breathing difficulties and also blocking drainage, producing stagnant secretions that stay in the sinus cavities and can lead to infection and sinusitis.
When it becomes difficult to breathe, the nose constantly drips thick discoloured mucus and the sense of smell is fading, this might be an indication of nasal polyps.
Other symptoms include itchiness, and, if the sinus opening is blocked, pain in the face and headaches.
The basic cause of nasal polyps is a chronic inflammation of the nasal membranes and sinuses. The inflammation could be the body’s response to allergies to dairy products, grain foods, air pollution, dust, etc. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is at least partly an allergic reaction of the nose to irritating particles in the atmosphere, involving irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the sinuses and nasal cavity. These polyps most commonly occur in adults with a history of hay fever.
Fluid retention (oedema) in the nasal membranes can cause polyps to become swollen and engorged with fluid. Bags of fluid can enlarge and break out through the mucous lining into the nasal cavity forming nasal polyps.
Irritants such as alcohol and tobacco may cause nasal membranesto become engorged and susceptible to infection.
Orthodox medical treatment is based on drugs to treat allergic disorders, particularly corticosteroids (cortisone). Aspirin should be avoided because of the possibility of allergy to aspirin. Surgery is usually reserved for failed medication treatment.
Needless to say, Natural Health would only use these methods as a last resort, although if surgery is considered to be safe, it is probably just that – safe enough.
Mim advises avoiding milk and sugar to reduce mucus formation and avoiding alcohol which swells the mucous lining. Check for allergies to salicylates, milk and wheat, and drink plenty of fluids especially clear, hot fluids. In the diet, include chilies, ginger, garlic and onions.
Mim’s suggested list of herbs and supplements is:
Vitamin C to help to reduce the size of the polyp (build up to 2000 mg three times daily – which is a lot);
Echinacea to help build the immune system to ward off colds and sinusitis.
Quercetin for inflammation (3 tablets daily).
The homoeopathic remedy, Thuja 30, is specific for polyps (take seven drops under the tongue twice daily before meals for two weeks).
Kali mur tissue salt (1 tablet 3 times daily).
Mim lists these steps as well:
Retention breathing is excellent for treating polyps.
Place a vaporiser beside your bed to improve breathing through the night. Use plain water or add a couple of drops of eucalyptus or thyme oil to the water.
To keep your nostrils and sinuses clear, use a Neti pot each morning. If you have a nasal polyp, you are allergic to something in the air. Go to an allergy specialist for a desensitising treatment program.
If any of Mim’s points need clarifying, you could contact Mim through her website or perhaps consult her at her Bowral clinic or occasionally at Double Bay in Sydney, phone 02 4861 6730.
A herbal company named Spectrum Herbal puts out a Nasal Drops Formula that contains golden seal extract, bayberry, myrrh and extract of propolis. Possibly a local naturopath could make a similar herbal mix.
Is kelp really good for you !!
– S. P.
Is it ever! Being simply dried sea kelp, it contains more than 60 essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements, including virtually all the minerals from the sea. These are the minerals that our bodies need, and they are in about the right proportions. Further, the minerals are in an organic form, which is the way our bodies need them.
A mineral of outstanding value in sea kelp is iodine. If this is deficient, we get goitre which involves low thyroid function and all the problems of slow metabolism that this can bring.
Considering that the Japanese diet contains an abundance of sea-kelp (‘seaweed’), and has done for centuries, it is easy to see why the Japanese have in the past been such healthy people. One of the remarkable features of Japanese health is that the level of breast cancer is about five to ten times less than for American women. Researchers have sheeted this freedom from cancer squarely home to the Japanese diet.
Sea kelp can help compensate for the deficiency of minerals and vitamins in the typical Australian diet.
Some of the health problems for which kelp has been found to be useful include headaches, stress, constipation, overweight, ulcers, indigestion and malfunctions of kidneys, liver, respiratory system and thyroid gland. Kelp can sometimes help irritability, depression and lack of energy.
If sea kelp comes from polluted seas, arsenic can be a problem, so the kelp needs to be harvested from ‘pristine’ ocean. Because a brand that is described in past articles in our magazine is harvested in very clean waters along the beaches of Narooma, NSW, we are confident in the quality of this brand. I use it personally, knowing that I am consuming a very nutritious, safe food.
The brand is Sea Health Products. It is a family business that was founded by a Natural Health Society member, Betty Long, 35 years ago, and is now operated by her son and his wife. To contact this company, write to:
Can one treat a slipped disc and a protruding disc with diet and certain exercises?
This is a question for an osteopath who is also a naturopath. A suggestion is to consult the osteopath/naturopath at Hopewood Health Retreat at Wallacia NSW (20 minutes south of Penrith by car or bus). He has undoubtedly treated dozens if not hundreds of ‘slipped’ discs. If you live remote from Sydney, you could email your question to him. Hopewood’s phone number is 02 4773 8401 and email is www.hopewood.com.au
I am not satisfied with my work, and want to change my career to something that inspires me. I have a deep passion for the ‘alternative’ life compared to how we live in the mainstream. There are so many organisations offering many different courses on naturopathy, herbalism, homeopathy, etc, that I don’t know where to start. Do you know of any educational organisation that offers unbiased education in the natural heath field? – Kathryn
There are a few natural therapies colleges that are highly reputable and are providing thorough training for people who want to be practitioners of natural therapies. These colleges offer courses in a very wide range of natural therapies. There are also two naturopaths who are offering straight Natural Health courses.
My own nutrition diploma was gained years ago at the New South Wales College of Natural Therapies, which suffered financial difficulties and had to fold, but nevertheless was a remarkably thorough and correctly informed course.
NATURE CARE COLLEGEThis college offers classroom and distance learning for a wide range of courses, approximately 85 altogether, including naturopathy, advanced naturopathy and many other courses, both professional and general interest. Progression to bachelor degrees at certain universities is possible for some courses.
Postal Address is PO Box 815, Helensvale, QLD 4212
I used to have a keen sense of smell but have noticed over the last few years that it’s not as good. I often can’t smell something burning and am the last to smell something that others can. It worries me, as I don’t have any nasal problems or mucus buildup. I remember seeing a program mentioning some studies finding this to be an indicator in leading to Alzheimer’s disease (I think). I am only 41 and I noticed this problem after having had children.
The US National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders gives a good account of the subject.
There are various forms of smell disorder. Reduced sense of smell is called hyposmia. Total inability to detect odour is anosmia. For some people familiar odours become distorted. In others an odour that usually smells pleasant instead smells foul. Still other people may perceive a smell that isn’t present at all.
Sense of smell is important because it serves as a first warning signal of the appearance of smoke or a leak of gas or toxic fumes. Smell disorders can in some cases be a signal associated with a serious health problem, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, malnutrition, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis. There seems to be no reason to particularly suspect Alzheimer’s
To determine if a person has a smell disorder, there are medical tests that measure the smallest amount of odour that a person can detect as well as their accuracy in identifying different smells.
What causes smell disorders? There are numerous possible causes, most of which can’t apply in your case, but I will be general. Here is a broad list of possible causes:
A recent upper respiratory infection or a head injury is the most common;
Nasal polyps, sinus infection, hormonal disturbances or dental problems;
Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as insecticides and solvents;
Drugs such as amphetamines, oestrogen (the Pill), naphazoline and phenothiazines and prolonged use of nasal decongestants;
Radiotherapy for head and neck cancers;
Nasal or sinus surgery;
Tumours of the nose or brain;
Ageing normally causes some loss of smell.
As most people have discovered, temporary loss of the sense of smell is normal with colds and nasal allergies such as hay fever.
At age 41, you may be able to identify an appropriate possible cause from the above list.
Restoring sense of smell depends on identifying the cause and remedying that.
Sometimes sense of smell recovers naturally. If illness is the cause, it should recover when the illness resolves. Nasal obstructions such as polyps can be removed surgically to restore airflow. If the cause is drugs, change the medication or find an alternative treatment. If injury is the cause, there may be spontaneous recovery when the damage has healed.
My 59-year-old brother suffers from severe osteoporosis. I am 55, eat extremely well, do weights and running, and have no evidence of osteoporosis. I am in the middle of menopause and am wondering whether I should be taking calcium supplements – any suggestions?
– C. Flanagan
This is a good question. In the huge Harvard Nurses Health Study, involving 78,000 nurses, it was found that women with higher dietary calcium intakes tended to have a higher risk of hip fractures, rather than a reduced risk as most nutritionists would expect. This demonstrated that dairy products are not the answer to preventing osteoporosis.
In Africa the Bantu people have low calcium intakes and have the lowest incidence of osteoporosis in the world. In contrast, Eskimos have double the RDA of calcium and have one of the highest incidences on the world.
To understand how to prevent osteoporosis, we suggest that you have a look at the article by osteopath, Greg Fitzgerald, in the Spring 2007 issue of our magazine. He spells it all out there.
If a person chooses to take calcium supplements, the calcium should always be balanced by magnesium. The ratio that is widely agreed on is to have half as much magnesium as calcium by weight. This matches the balance that occurs in a typical plant-based diet. So a supplement could contain 500 mg calcium and 250 mg magnesium or for larger doses 1000 mg calcium accompanied by 500 mg magnesium.
It may be appropriate to take a modest dose of calcium 500 mg and magnesium 250 mg. This could be good prevention.
The critical thing with osteoporosis is to maintain the correct balance of acid-forming to alkali-forming foods in the diet, which boils down to three-quarters of total food intake being fresh vegetables and fruits and the remaining one-quarter being the concentrated foods that supply our protein, carbohydrate and fat.
So have a look at Greg’s article and also look at the Natural Health Dietary Guidelines in the Autumn 2004 issue of our mag.
In the last issue of your magazine there is an article about osteoporosis drugs by Greg Fitzgerald. Having recently sustained a fracture of the femur, and as a result my doctor advising I take one of these drugs, I am very interested in the subject.
Unfortunately, the article does not give any advice re alternatives to these drugs or even the best way to minimise the risk. Do you have any information on the subject, please?
Although it was not mentioned in the article on the dangers of osteoporosis drugs, Greg had already written a detailed account of the prevention of osteoporosis in the Spring 2007 issue of our magazine.
Members of the NHS can access these articles by simply clicking on the links above. Alternatively, these two issues of our magazine are readily available from the Natural Health Society for a price including postage of $10. Simply send us a note saying which issue you want, add your name, address and phone number, and include postage stamps to the value of $10 or just a $10 note. We will post your copies of the magazine.
I’m confused about what type of water to drink. I’m no longer drinking tap water so as to avoid the chlorine but started drinking Pureau water by Noble Beverages. It claims to be free of all chemicals and minerals including calcium and magnesium.
I have recently read your answer to a person using an ioniser that included reference to an American study that concluded that ideal drinking water should be rich in calcium and magnesium but low in sodium.
What constitutes good drinking water to be consistent with maintaining the ideal alkaline state in the body?
– Eric Traise
In the ideal case, Nature provides us with the best drinking water in the form of spring water, which contains useful minerals although at very low levels, typically including calcium and magnesium (in the form of chlorides and possibly sulphates and others). Because we drink relatively large volumes of water, the total amount of minerals consumed through spring water is significant for health.
Unfortunately, tap water is far removed from spring water. Thanks, but no thanks, to chemical companies, it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals, and thanks to the authorities being fooled by the fluoridation promoters, tap water is contaminated with highly toxic fluoride compounds. In order to disinfect the water (which is necessary), the authorities add chlorine, which also has a number of harmful effects.
It is important to remove these toxic chemicals from tap water. Pureau does this extremely efficiently using reverse osmosis (RO), which is the tried-and-true industrial method of removing virtually all impurities from large volumes of water. It is the process used in desalination plants, such as Sydney’s.
Along with removing toxic impurities, RO also removes the beneficial minerals. There is no method that gives us the best of both worlds – removing the nasties and keeping the good guys.
The Natural Health Society’s guideline has long been to remove the nasties with RO (or distillation – which uses a lot of electricity) and compensate for the loss of minerals by having a diet that is very high in vegetables and fruits. These are mineral-rich foods that keep our bodies in the correct alkaline state to which you refer.
For better results still, also consume the juices of veges, that is, the green, red and yellow veges such as spinach, silverbeet, celery, parsley, broccoli, carrot, beetroot and any others that are palatable in juice and are available. Juicing means that we drag out much more of the minerals and vitamins from the veges than we do by chewing.
In addition, it would be a good idea to consume a multi-mineral supplement on a regular basis.
By doing as much of this as we are prepared to bother with, we can have the safe, pure water and also obtain adequate of these alkaline minerals that are so vital for good health.
I am currently experiencing a problem of the ends of my nails becoming very yellow so that it looks as though I am a smoker (I am not), nor do I wear or use nail polish.
I cannot think of any chemical that could be causing this problem, nor am I on any pharmaceutical medications. I take supplements of powdered vitamin C, fish oil capsules and am taking a course of chromium tablets. I don’t think these could be the cause.
I am not eating an over abundance of yellow vegetables, that is, carrots, etc., as was suggested when I consulted a doctor regarding this problem. Also this is not ‘yellow nail syndrome’ – I have had extensive blood tests to cover this possibility.
So I am stumped, and so are the regular GPs. Do you have any ideas? I remember you from my days as a visitor to Hopewood Health Retreat.
InterClinical Laboratories in Alexandria, Sydney (phone 02 9693 2888), specialise in hair analysis, but did suggest that I ask you if your blood tests included liver function tests to look for jaundice. If there is jaundice, the yellow would be on the bed of the nails rather than the tips and the whites of the eyes would most likely also be yellowish.
Another question they ask is, what are your nails exposed to every day. Is there any chemical solution in your home or workplace that might turn nails yellow?
Fingernails reflect our state of general health state and also the way we care for our nails day by day. There are a number of common causes of fingernails turning yellow as follows:
An underlying health problem. Yellow nails can be an indication of liver trouble, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or nutritional deficiencies, most likely of iron or zinc. Although it is uncommon for these conditions to cause yellow nails, blood tests can be used to make sure.
Fungal infection. Yellow or brown discoloration of the fingernails can be a very early sign of this. If the cause is fungus embedded under the nails, eventually there may be more symptoms, such as flaking of the nails and an unpleasant odour.
Yellow nail syndrome. You say that you have been tested for this, but I will cover it anyway. The nails are yellow or green, lack a cuticle, grow slowly and are loose or detached. The cause is typically lymphatic congestion or defective lymph drainage, which may reflect one of the underlying health problems mentioned above. Yellow nails can indicate such problems long before other symptoms appear.
Nail polish over-use. Wearing nail polish constantly (which you have said you don’t use) deprives the nails of oxygen, and the pink is replaced by yellow. Nail polish is the most common cause of fingernails turning yellow.
Smoking (which you have said you don’t do) is a common cause yellow fingernails.
Home remedies for yellow fingernails
The first approach for correcting yellow fingernails is to identify the cause and remedy that. If there is any doubt as to the cause, it would be a good idea to consult a practitioner – as you have done.
For those cases in which the cause is not obvious, there are a number of ways to whiten the nails. Home remedies for whitening yellow fingernails work for some people and not for others.
Denture tablets whiten and brighten dentures, and can do the same for fingernails. Dissolve a denture tablet in water according to the instructions, and soak the nails for several minutes. Repeat this until the colour of the nails has improved.
Lemon juice has a slight bleaching effect that can help whiten yellow nails. Soak nails in lemon juice for several minutes and rinse hands afterwards. Repeat as often as necessary. Apply a lotion that will replenish moisture.
Lemon essential oil. To moisturise nails and cuticles, try lemon essential oil. Pour it into a shallow dish, and soak nails for several minutes. Repeat as required.
Light buffing. Fingernails can be lightly buffed to remove slight discoloration. But it is necessary to be careful because buffing promotes nail growth and can leave the nails too thin. Do the buffing in one direction only, do it lightly and not too often so as not to weaken the nails.
Cosmetic pencils designed to whiten the tips of yellow nails may be found in some chemists.
Remedying nail polish problems. The sure way is to not use nail polish at all. Another option that appears to reduce yellowing is to apply a clear base coat before applying nail polish. The base provides a layer of protection and keeps the nails healthier.
I recently purchased Sleepytime bath aromatherapy to put in my baby’s bath. It is made in New Zealand and has other oils in it including lavender, geranium and eucalyptus. Is it safe to use in a baby’s bath, as you only use 1 capful which would be about 10 ml?
Yes is the short answer. This is a preservative which is reasonable gentle; it’s not a natural substance but should be OK even for babies. It is registered in many countries around the world, including in Japan where the authorities are very cautious with chemicals.
For what it’s worth, the Tri Nature range of household cleaning and skincare products that we stock in the Natural Health Society shop includes items that we believe would do just the job that you want. The health-minded Tri Nature chemist suggests that a few drops of ‘Kyphi’ lavender oil put in a teaspoon of oil dispersant and added to the baby’s bath is the best choice. This is because lavender oil is the best oil for sleeping, relaxing and settling down the baby.
If you wish to purchase these from our shop, the code numbers for ordering are:
lavender aromatherapy oil code 808
oil dispersant 867.
Question: I've recently being hearing about the benefits of taking acai berry supplements especially in cases of weight control. Are acai berry supplements truly beneficial, and do you know any Australian stores that stock any such supplements without having to order online?
My friend has a salty taste in her mouth all the time. She has checked her fillings and has been given the all clear. What do you think it could be?
Fortunately, taste changes are rarely a sign of a serious underlying problem. However, they are annoying and can impair your enjoyment of food. A salty taste in the mouth can occur briefly or for long periods; it can last for days, weeks or months. Sometimes the salty taste will simply disappear. If it persists, it would be wise to consult a naturopath, wholistic doctor or dentist.
The salty taste originates in the mouth, or in rare cases the brain, but does not come from sense of smell where many tastes are experienced. Many ‘phantom’ tastes are, in fact, ‘phantom’ smells, but not salty taste.
A persistent salty taste in the mouth can have many possible causes, including:
1. Dehydration is a likely cause. The normal low level of salt in the saliva becomes concentrated to the point where the salt can be tasted. It may be due to inadequate water intake or excessive fluid loss. Some people don’t drink water, they drink only coffee, caffeine-laced soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics that leach water from the body. Alcohol is well known for this. Excessive intake of these can cause the saliva to become saltier.
2. The salinity of saliva may be a side effect of certain medications, such as high-dose anti-thyroid drugs and chemotherapy.
3. Sinusitis can result in bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth, especially if it is bacterial. Nasal drainage into the throat due to allergic rhinitis might be salty. Mucus congestion to this degree is likely to be fairly obvious – you would be ‘full of mucus’.
4. Salty saliva can be caused by diseases of the salivary glands, such as Sjogren’s syndrome or bacterial infection (sialadenitis). Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disorder characterized by dry mouth and dry eye. The dry mouth may in some cases be associated with an underlying autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma. There is no medical cure for Sjogren’s syndrome.
5. The tear ducts drain into the nasal cavity, and tear fluid is very salty. Over-production of tears is possible, although unlikely. Interestingly, we produce tears constantly; it is only when we cry that they are visible.
6. A very unlikely possibility is that the sensation of salty taste is produced in the brain. There is a slim chance that it is associated with migraine, epilepsy or a brain tumour.
7. Another rare cause of salty taste is nutritional deficiency.
Home remedies for salty taste in the mouth
Some home remedies that can be tried include the following:
First and foremost, look at your fluid intake and consider whether it needs to be increased. This could easily eliminate the problem.
Just rinsing the mouth with pure water may reduce the saltiness to a certain extent.
Maintain your dental and oral health.
If the cause is a bacterial infection, this will need to be overcome. Detoxing the body pulls the rug out from under the infection or there may be topical ways it can be done with natural remedies. The salty taste should them fade away. [Professional supervision for detoxing is available at the Hopewood Health Retreat, Wallacia NSW, which is not-for-profit and closely affiliated with the Natural Health Society.]
In the case of sinus congestion, try cutting out dairy products. Many natural therapists have observed a connection between dairy products and mucus production in mucus-prone people.
If the salty taste is due to medication, try changing the drugs, or, better still, seek professional help to find drug-free alternative methods.
If the problem persists despite trying the home remedies, it would be desirable to consult a practitioner to attempt to find the root cause and treat accordingly.
I love being on a healthy vegetarian eating plan. My problem is that every time I do, I gain weight. How can I overcome this?
My nutritional intake is a follows: breakfast is cereal such as quinoa with soaked prunes or eggs on toast. Lunch is a salad roll or bean casserole, or similar. Dinner is tofu stir-fry with vegies and rice or noodles. Snacks are fruit or nuts. I exercise three times a week. What is happening and why? – E. Gilchrist
Losing weight or maintaining weight can be an exasperating business when you are making an effort to do everything right and still remaining overweight or, as in your case, putting it on.
If you are underweight now, this would explain why you put on weight when you go vegetarian. Your body is simply moving towards normal.
However, assuming that this is not the case and you are normal weight or overweight now, it is difficult to explain. The only obvious possibility that I can see for improvement is to increase the quantity of vegetables and fruits in your diet and reduce the quantity of grain. Also increasing the variety of protein may help.
How would you feel about having a breakfast of fresh fruit only – or fruit plus 30 – 50 grams ground LSA (3 parts linseed/flaxseed, 2 parts sunflower seeds and 1 part almonds)? Keep up the soaked prunes.
A large salad (300 – 350 gms) is desirable every day, so with you salad roll, I suggest you add a side salad including a wide variety of veges. When you have bean casserole for lunch, have a salad with it – unless the casserole is full of veges. A salad dressing might make the salad more appealing.
A good dressing for salad or steamed veges is 2 dessertspoons flax oil, one dsp apple cider vinegar and half dsp tamari (pure soya sauce). Or get a copy of the Spring 2004 issue of our magazine and look at the wide range of dressings presented.
For dinner try tempeh instead tofu (being fermented, tempeh is much more digestible and better nutrition). Once or twice a week, you could have free-range eggs (omelet or any other way) with veges or have the eggs on toast if you wish. If you don’t have the LSA for breakfast, try it over steamed veges at dinner. Perhaps once or twice a week also include some other nuts. If you have any indication that the nuts (with their high fat content, even though unsaturated) are increasing weight gain, omit them.
Avoid nuts as snacks, and only snack on fruit.
In terms of quantity, the overall aim is to consume each day:
approximately one kg or more of veges and fruits;
approximately 100 – 150 grams of protein food (this is the amount of protein food served on your plate). Protein foods in a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet are legumes, seeds (sunflower, sesame, pepitas and flax), nuts, free-range eggs and/or soft cheese. Variety of protein foods is important;
approximately 100 – 120 gms grain foods OR larger quantities of starchy veges, namely, potato, sweet potato and pumpkin. In summer, because starchy foods are heating foods more suitable for cold weather, grains can be replaced with fresh fruits provided this is appealing to the individual.
For ‘nature’s confectionery’, a small amount of dried fruits may be consumed, but they are high-ish in calories at around. 75% sugar content.
There are thousands of possible combinations of daily meal plans. The above is an attempt to incorporate mainly the foods you apparently enjoy.
Is your exercise substantial? To raise metabolic rate (and burn calories faster), it is necessary at least three days a week to have 20 – 30 minutes of vigorous activity or every day walk briskly for 30 minutes.
Did you see the article on how to lose weight in the Winter 2008 issue of our magazine? It was designed to cover all the common causes of overweight and obesity and how to correct them.
Please let us know how you go.
A friend recommended Raynor massage for my back problems. Can you tell me more about it.
A man named Brandon Raynor has established Brandon Raynor’s School of Massage and Natural Therapies. The website for this college states the following:
“Brandon Raynor’s School of Massage and Natural Therapies is a world leader in massage therapy training, providing high quality individual training across the world. Due to the demand for Raynor Massage and for intensive and high quality massage training, our massage school has rapidly grown and expanded in just over 10 years from its humble origins as a small massage school in Bondi Beach, Sydney, to become the world’s leading international massage and natural therapies school. We now operate in over 40 locations across 5 continents world-wide.
“Brandon Raynor massage has taken the most powerful techniques from massage styles all over the world and from different traditions and developed them into this unique style of massage.
"Raynor massage has the goal of finding every tight muscle in the body and loosening it, and uses massage and natural healing techniques from across the world to achieve that goal.
“There are a multitude of massage techniques throughout the world, some excellent, some good, some mediocre and some plain bizarre! Brandon Raynor has tried and tested pretty much all of them, undertaking training in the most important techniques from masters of the individual styles. Drawing on, integrating and adapting techniques seen in Swedish massage, Remedial, Therapeutic and Deep Tissue massage, Oriental styles of massage such as Shiatsu, Tui Na, Thai and Chinese massage and Hawaiian massage called Lomi Lomi, Raynor massage continues to evolve making it one of the most powerful and comprehensive massage techniques available in the world today. Training with the Brandon Raynor school gives you access to a depth of knowledge and experience unique to this school.”
These are very impressive claims and the therapy could be very helpful. However, I have no personal knowledge of it and therefore cannot make any recommendation or comment either way. It is up to you to decide whether or not to give it a try.
A video in the website shows that the massage is very vigorous and also can involve spinal manipulation. In Australia spinal manipulation can only be done by a registered chiropractor or osteopath, so I am puzzled by this. If making an inquiry, this could be a question to ask.
Contact details are:
PO Box 389, Miami QLD 4220. Phone 07 5530 5828. Free call 1800 987 987
NSW 02 8011 4833
Vic 03 9018 7108
Qld 07 3102 3987
New Zealand64 09 889 2108
Does Devil’s claw work for pain and inflammation?
This is a question for a trained herbalist. Herbalists are trained by courses that run for a number of years which shows just how much there is to learn about herbs. Practitioners of herbalism need to know which herbs help which conditions, doses and when to take, contra-indications for herbs, interactions between herbs and medical drugs and numerous other things about the use of herbs.
As I am not trained in herbalism, you will need to find a professional herbalist who, I am sure, would have no trouble answering this question.
Herbalists are listed in the Yellow Pages under “Herbalists”. Or you could contact one of the professional natural therapists associations or a natural therapies college:
The National Herbalists Association of Australia 02 8765 0071
The Australian Traditional Medicine Society, free call 1800 456 855
The Australian Natural Therapists Association, free call 1800 817 577
Nature Care College 02 9438 3333
Australasian College of Natural Therapies, phone 02 9218 8888
However, something for you to consider is whether you would like to deal with the underlying caused of the inflammation, rather than merely treat the symptom. Remember that the inflammation is not the disease; inflammation is the healing process brought about by the body to deal with some underlying irritant/s (toxins). These are usually excessive amounts of acidic metabolic waste products and toxic man-made chemicals. When detoxification is carried out correctly, the tissues no longer need the inflammation and it fades away.
In the 1970s, during my seven years as manager of Hopewood Health Retreat at Wallacia, NSW, I saw many people thrilled with the easing of their symptoms of a wide range of inflammatory conditions, always without drugs. If you would like to contact Hopewood for inquiry or to book an out-patient consultation, the phone number is 02 4773 8401, website www.hopewood.com.au. Hopewood is not-for-profit and closely affiliated with the Natural Health Society. If you still want a natural pain reliever, I recently discoveredSimply Flower Power Pain Relief & Moisturising Cream.This is described in some detail in the Spring 2008 issue of our magazine, Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, page 24. The cream contains twelve flower essences which, when added to a cream base and applied topically, have been found to relieve some types of physical pain.
This cream should not be used if there is allergy to lavender or to nuts, as lavender oil and sweet almond oil are ingredients. The cream is not to be used on broken skin and is for external use only.
Simply Flower Power cream is available from the distributor, healthmatters, on 1300 792 930 using a credit card, or write to Simply Flower Power, PO Box 222, Mt Martha Vic 3934. For more information go to www.simplyflowerpower.com.au. In Victoria the cream is available in most health food stores.
Every time I shave my legs, over the next few days my legs become very itchy. What can I use to stop this?
For a bloke to answer this question was a bit difficult – until I thought of asking a leg-shaving shop. I’m sorry about the long delay.
For some women, the skin on their legs is sensitive to having the surface layer/s of skin removed by the razor. This can lead to the itchiness that you are experiencing.
The solution to prevent the irritation is to either apply a soothing oil before shaving with a blade or to use and electric shaver. Electric shavers don’t remove a layer of skin, so normally don’t irritate.
Available in shops is shaving oil that is manufactured specifically for the purpose of leg shaving. It has a mix of oils selected for the purpose. There are quite a few brands on shop shelves. One that I picked up contains sunflower oil, sandalwood oil, avocado oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, olive oil, borage oil, lavender oil, cinnamon oil and clove oil. These oils are accompanied by vitamin E, menthol and C12-15 alkyl benzoate. The last of these might be a spreader, I’m not sure.
The 13-year-old daughter of a staff member has just given the shaving oil a test run. She normally has itching within minutes after blade shaving, but after trying the oil, she was delighted to find her skin itch-free.
Why go to all the trouble of lowering your pH with charts, diets, special drinks and juices and supplements, when I find I can more simply, quickly and cheaply get my pH down by taking the following drink recipe, well away from meals: 1 litre of water, 1 gram of sodium bicarbonate, 1 gram of potassium bicarbonate, a pinch (below bowel tolerance) Epsom salts (Magnesium sulphate) and a pinch of citric acid. I drink this over one day and the next morning my urine pH is 7, not the usual 6.4 (these figures derived from the very effective new pH kits provided by NHS).
Given that my blood pressure is normal, is there any harm in getting your pH near 7 quickly this way and using it to keep it around 7? Also if you don’t like the sodium component there may be magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate instead? I am wondering if lowering your pH by this fast means is like cheating or short-circuiting the health benefits one gets from ideal pH gained purely through food and lifestyle changes? Or if this drink is useful as an adjunct to the NHS approach for the normally over-acidic person with limited resources?
– Peter, Nelson Bay.
You have me in largely uncharted territory, here, Peter. I know that Nature will not be cheated, and can only postulate why in the case you are proposing.
The starting point is that acidity in tissue fluids is the result of a build-up of waste products from an excessive intake of fat, protein and carbohydrate, aided and abetted by deficiencies of minerals and vitamins due to food refining. In particular, the shortage of the alkaline minerals, potassium, magnesium and calcium, leaves the acidic waste products with insufficient alkaline minerals to neutralise them.
Looking at this in perspective, in the starving countries of the world, people are dying from deficiencies of protein, carbohydrate and fat. In affluent countries like ours, as far as nutrition is concerned, people are dying from surpluses of fat, protein and carbohydrate.
Consuming simple inorganic chemicals may make the urine neutral, but won’t remove the acidic, toxic wastes that are at the core of our health problems. These alkaline salts will apparently neutralise the urine – as you have demonstrated (well done!) – but that may be all, except for supplying shots of useful minerals.
The magnesium supplied can be very useful, although I am wary about the sodium and potassium. Both can cause problems. Potassium in supplemental form tends to be toxic, so is not normally given as a supplement. Sodium is already at levels in the Australian diet that are much too high. Not a single natural food contains more sodium than potassium, yet most of us take in more sodium than potassium – due to added table salt. But magnesium we can take heaps of – to wit, Dr Sandra Cabot’s remarkable book, Magnesium, the Miracle Mineral (reviewed in Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, Autumn 2008, page 73).
In the Monaro region of New South Wales, where sheep and cattle were thriving because of high levels of magnesium bicarbonate in the spring water, the animals were consuming diets of very natural foods, namely, grass and perhaps clover. We humans are almost all consuming a little or a lot of processed food, and don’t have the underlying advantage of a completely natural diet.
Another key part of the answer is that all plant foods contain thousands of nutrients which act in harmony with each other (just like members of an orchestra), and all of which we need. This is why it is so difficult to take short cuts with health. In the vast majority of cases, short cuts do amount to ‘cheating’ nature, resulting in penalties to health in one way or another.
I had hypothyroidism for about 7 years. In January this year, I had an assault on my body and had to put together all my strength to not fall to the ground. After this day, my thyroid function turned over to hyperthyroidism. The T3 went up to 24 and the T4 to 38 [which is very high – Roger].
I take Neo-Mercazole tablets to push down the hormone level, but this is causing the hormones to jump all the time, once high, once down to 7.5. My doctor suggested radioactive capsules, or taking out the thyroid. I don’t want either. I asked my doctor why I can’t continue taking Neo-Mercazole and he said it is because this medicine if taken for a longer period will attack the bone marrow.
What should I do? – Jessica
You are in the medical world now and entirely outside my field in health. The practitioners who can advise you best are ‘wholistic’ medical doctors.
Because the web does not give any indication of where you live, as does the mail, I cannot make any suggestions for practitioners. However, there is a wholistic doctor in Adelaide who has made a special study of thyroid problems and written a book which is in our bookshop, entitled, It Could Still Be Your Thyroid; the author is Dr Peter Baratosy. You could phone his clinic and see if Dr Baratosy can offer any advice over the phone. The phone no. is 08 8258 9103 or 08 8410 0202.
You may still require a wholistic doctor in your own area. The way to find one is to phone the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine on 03 9597 0363. This college trains wholistic doctors and can advise those who are closest to your address.
There is a naturopath at Jannali in Sydney who has written about thyroid problems in our magazine, Winter 2004 issue. She is Robyn Chuter and her phone no. is 9528 8927. Robyn follows true Natural Health and does over-the-phone consultations. She, too, could be very helpful.
I wish you success in overcoming the hyperthyroid.
Hello Roger. My sister in law has given me your wonderful book as a birthday gift and loved reading it.
My question is regarding my son and my self. We have been following the healthy lifestyle changes by adding lots of fruit and vegies raw nuts etc in our diet, but I have found that my son seems to have changed in his temperament. I have been doing some internet research and have come across some really interesting information regarding sensitivities to naturally occurring chemicals in the foods we eat, for example amines, salicylates and glutamates and how some children (and adults) react to them.
The symptoms are very close to how my son is currently behaving. I have made some changes to his diet, by eliminating the offending foods, and have noticed the change in his behaviour, but I’m very concerned about the lack of variety of fresh food and missing out on all the nutrients being offered from the fruit and vegies we have eliminated.
What are your thoughts on these naturally occuring chemical in our fresh fruit and vegetables. Thank you for your time.
This is one of the greatest problems in nutrition – being sensitive to ‘almost everything’ and needing to put together a healthy diet. However, there are solutions if you and your son are prepared to persevere.
Looking at these problem chemicals one at a time, I will commence with salicylates – which happen to be in the most vital of foods, fruits and veges.
All the lists below are not exhaustive, they only include relatively common food items.
Salicylates are at high levels in the fruits:
Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples, custard apples, persimmons, lemons, figs, mangoes, passionfruit and some less common fruits.
Salicylates are at very high levels in the fruits:
sultanas, raisins, currants, red currants, blackcurrants, prunes, dates, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, oranges, apricots, rockmelons, grapes, pineapples, plums and some less common fruits.
Salicylates are at high levels in the following veges:
eggplant, watercress, cucumbers, broadbeans, alfalfa sprouts, canned asparagus, canned sweet corn, tomatoes in cans and some brands of tomato pastes, soups and sauces.
Salicylates are at very high levels in the following veges:
gherkin, endive, champignons, radish, olives, capsicums, zucchini, hot pepper and some brands of tomato pastes and sauces.
Spices and teas are generally very high in salicylates.
Nuts that are very high are almonds, water chestnuts, fresh peanuts.
Foods high in amines are:
Fruits – avocadoes, bananas, figs, grapes, lemons, pineapples, plums, raspberries.
Veges – eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach.
Cheese – virtually all cheeses except cottage and ricotta.
Fats – coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil.
Condiments – soy sauce, Marmite, vegemite, Bonox.
Milk chocolate is high; dark chocolate is very high.
Drinks – alcohol, cordials, colas.
Meats – pork, bacon, most fish, anchovies, sausages.
These nerve ‘excitotoxins are at various levels in: MSG (pure glutamate, additive no. 631), other glutamates for which additive numbers are 620 to 635, whey protein isolate, hydrolysed protein, textured proteins, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy sauce extract, pectin, malt extract, malt flavouring, maltodextrin, yeast food, seasonings, spice extracts, vegetable powders, milk solids, stock, carrageenan, ‘natural’ pork and beef flavourings.
According to former MSG sufferer, David Lofberg, who wrote a detailed explanation of the harm being caused by glutamates in this magazine, Summer 2007-08 issue, pages 30 – 32, MSG may be responsible for the unexplained rise in obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and a raft of other disorders.
David says that the only way to determine if any of the above substances could be affecting you is to exclude all of them from your diet for 10 days and look for any easing of symptoms.
Avoidance is not a simple matter because the labels, “no added MSG” and “all natural”, do not mean that MSG is not present – it only means that it has not been added in pure form. A loophole in our labeling laws allows this.
HOW TO REDUCE FOOD SENSITIVITIES
Once food sensitivities have been identified, it is tempting to avoid the offending substances entirely. However, total avoidance can cause more sensitivities than the person started with because the body no longer needs to produce any of the enzymes necessary to break down those substances.
How to ease sensitivities was explained by Hopewood Health Retreat naturopath, Wendy Hannah in this magazine, Summer 1999-2000, pages 27 – 28. The desensitising procedure relates to amines, but presumably it can also be applied for sensitivity to salicylates. The procedure is as follows.
The aim is for the diet to be as normal as possible rather than very restrictive.
Avoid any foods and substance that may be causing problems and keep to a low- to moderate-amine diet and see how the person goes on this. If they do well and don’t have reactions, bring in high-amine foods, trying a small amount at a time and waiting a week to see if there is a reaction. Be sure to only bring in these higher sources when the person is tolerating the lower sources.
If there is a reaction and it is small, try the food again a week later and then no more than every third day, providing the reaction remains small.
For a high-amine food that is tolerated, consuming it no more than once in three days prevents a build-up in the body.
Through these procedures, it may be possible to find a diet that does not produce significant reactions, but does contain some amines so that the person gradually becomes more accustomed to them and therefore more tolerant.
The healthier the way of eating in general, the more rapid the improvement is likely to be. Eventually – which may mean years – the intolerance to amines could be overcome altogether.
Could you tell me the best place to buy maca. I want to make sure that I don’t get a product which isn’t as pure as it could be.
– Sonia Parker
Maca powder is available in health food stores and through websites.
The two websites that I quote in the current Spring 2008 issue of our magazine, page 22, look like reliable sources because they have explained the merits of maca in detail and appear to know what they are talking about. They are www.macapower.com.au and www.menstruation.com.au
If buying in a health store, check the source. If it comes from the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of around 4,000 metres, this is a good start. It is unlikely that the elevation will be given on the packet, but it might be helpful to know this just in case.
Whether maca from the Andes is always pure is the tricky part. I can only suggest that you get to know your local health food store people to the point where you can trust them and ask them to find out what is the quality of the maca they have on offer.
Apart from this, if you find any more specific guides to purchasing maca, please let us know.
My friend in his 60s has chronic liver disease. He is slim and fit and eats really well. Since the doctors say they can do nothing for him, I am wondering is there something that Natural Health could advise that he could do to save his liver and have a normal lifespan. – Barbara
The liver is a mighty important organ – it is the body’s detoxifying organ and chemical laboratory. The liver processes all our food. It regulates and stores proteins, carbohydrates and fats and it stores minerals and vitamins. In its eliminatory role, it filters toxic substances out of the blood, attempts to detoxify them, and then returns the less toxic compounds to the bloodstream to be filtered out by the kidneys and eliminated via the urine.
The liver has an abundant capacity to cope with natural toxins, meaning waste products from the metabolism of food and natural toxins in foods, but it cannot do much with highly toxic chemicals that are unnatural and quite foreign to it, such as synthetic pesticides.
All chemical changes in the body, including the breakdown of toxic substances, are triggered by enzymes. Because modern synthetic pesticides have only been around for about 50 years or less, the liver has not had time to develop the necessary enzymes to break them down. Consequently, they tend to build up in the liver and cause damage, in the extreme case, cirrhosis and ultimately death. Alcoholism is not the only cause of cirrhosis.
If the liver is diseased, it is easy to see why the health can be in quite a mess.
Fortunately, even the liver is capable of self-healing, something that modern medicine does not recognise, hence the doctors’ advice to your friend that they could do nothing for him. Through Natural Health, a lot can be done.
The first thing that I suggest anyone with liver trouble does is read the article, ‘Love Your Liver’ in the Spring 2004 issue of this magazine. The article can be accessed online by members, or back copies are readily available from the Natural Health Society for a posted price of $5. This article covers all the major liver diseases and their causes.
The second thing that I suggest is an outpatient consultation with a naturopath at the Hopewood Health Retreat at Wallacia, NSW (not-for-profit and closely affiliated with the Natural Health Society). I understand that liver troubles respond quite well to the detoxification methods available at Hopewood.
In my former years as manager of Hopewood between 1975 and 1983, I saw a middle-aged man, David, who had been given 6 to 12 months to live by his doctor because of cirrhosis that was not due to alcohol. After a month’s stay, David’s pain had gone and follow-up liver function tests showed that his liver was then normal. The doctor was astonished at this unheard-of recovery. Years later, David was still fit and well. It became apparent that the cirrhosis was cause by pesticide accumulation in the liver during David’s many years of growing flowers.
So the liver can heal itself of even the moat serious problems, but only if provided with the right conditions for self-healing. As in all health matters, nothing can be guaranteed, but the way to give the liver the chance to heal is well understood in Natural Health.
I’m on a few meds that I’ve heard cause weight gain, they are: Seroquel, Kalma, Nexium and Fluoximine. Can you tell me which ones contribute to my weight?
This question is one for a medical practitioner to answer. The Natural Health Society’s field is the prevention of illness through lifestyle and lifestyle to remove the causes of existing illness. None of our guidelines involve the use of drugs.
If drugs are required, such as in the case of life-threatening infection, this is a matter for a medical doctor. Doctors are trained in drug use and have manuals providing all the necessary information about drugs. The basic one of these is called ‘MIMS’.
On a somewhat different tack, you may or may not be aware that we have just published an article in our magazine on ‘How to Lose Weight Naturally’ (available on line to members), or a copy of the magazine can be obtained at a cost of $5 including postage.
I had the great pleasure of attending the Blue Mountains Cancer Help Conference in Katoomba 28-09-08. I was very impressed with your commonsense way of presenting your information on nutrition and cancer care.
I had breast cancer last year and have finished with the assault on my body that is conventional cancer treatment. I am feeling great and feel positive that I am cancer free. My son in Queensland has just become a distributor of MonaVie blended juice and he is keen for me to begin using it, as he believes it has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Does this juice blend, made predominantly from the acai berry, contain enough of these benefits in the dose recommended to ensure you get nutrients you may be lacking?
I eat a healthy, fresh diet and see supplements as something you add to the diet to top-up important nutrients. I know that in some cases to get large doses of certain nutrients is impractical from the normal diet, due to the sheer volume of food that would be required. I am open to the idea of using a juice, but don’t want to waste time and money on something that is no more beneficial than eating a plate of fresh fruit.
Love your ideals, your magazine and your down to earth delivery, that’s what we ordinary folk need.
In short, no one food will ensure an abundance of all the vital minerals, vitamins and other antioxidants. The açaí berry is not a miracle food, but does look like a good source of valuable nutrients, including antioxidants, so it could make a very helpful contribution to your nutrient intake.
The acai berry one of the latest health ‘fashions’ along with pomegranate juice. The acai palm is native to Brazil and Peru and grows mainly in floodplains and swamps. Brazilians regard the acai berry as ’the milk of the Amazon’, having used it traditionally to treat skin conditions and digestive disorders. Recent studies have found a very high antioxidant activity, giving it the potential to be anti-aging and anti-cancer.
Acai berries do not keep for long so the fresh fruit is not available outside Brazil. For export, the pulp or juice is frozen, freeze-dried or dried for transport, then processed abroad. The dried berries can be powdered to provide a nutritional supplement. Buying the frozen fruit pulp is the most reliable option as this is more likely to be 100% acai berries. Of course, the blended juices that your son is offering could be a good mix – check the contents.
The powdered freeze-dried açaí fruit pulp and skin are reported to contain 530 calories per 100 gm of fruit, more than half is carbohydrates, 8% is protein, 33% is fat (oil) and there is significant fibre. There are substantial levels of calcium, iron and carotenoids as well as the amino acids aspartic acid and glutamic acid. The exceptionally high oil content is mainly monounsaturated oleic acid, and there is a large amount of the sterol, beta-sitosterol.
An analysis of a variety of fruit pulps found that the antioxidant potency of açaí is lower than that of acerola, blueberry, pomegranate, mango, strawberry, grape and red wine; açaí is equivalent to black cherry and cranberry; and is higher than guava, mulberry, passionfruit, pineapple, orange, apple and tea. So acai is intermediate as a fruit in its antioxidant potency.
Antioxidants in raw açaí include dense concentrations of polyphenols such as proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins (making the fruit purple) and low levels of beneficial resveratrol. Acai is also high in the antioxidant, glutathione, which is a strong healing agent and arrests the formation of free radicals (that cause cancer, artery disease and other conditions). The purple variety of acai is most often used commercially and both pulp and seeds have shown excellent activity against destructive free radicals. A recent University of Florida study found that the extract triggered the destruction of leukaemia cells.
The bottom line for obtaining adequate minerals, vitamins and other phytonutrients is to go for a variety of different vibrantly-coloured fruit and vegetables, one of which could be acai for its considerable benefits.
I have taken supplements for years and felt the benefits. What do you think about the acid/alkali theory and personal health? I also wondered if you would like to have a look at this link: www.teamsizzle.com/thomas; there are some wonderful supplements I think you will find interesting. Thanks again and keep up the great work!
The acid/alkali theory of health is the foundation of the Natural Health approach to health and disease. In our magazine it comes up in almost every article dealing with an illness.
It is almost the case that if the bodily fluids are at their correct pH (the measure of acid/alkali level), there can be no degenerative disease. This may not be universally true because there are always exceptions to every rule, although I can’t think of one off the top of my head.
Almost the entire Australian population is in an acidic state as a result of an imbalance of acid-forming to alkali-forming foods in the modern diet. This is known as acidic toxaemia and is the consequence of a relatively high intake of acid-forming protein-, fat- and starch-rich foods compared to alkali-forming vegetables and fruits.
Many natural health writers have similar beliefs. One well-known author, Ross Horne, wrote in his book, Cancer-Proof Your Body, that if there is no toxaemia, cancer cannot develop. (Again, there could possibly be exceptions to this.)
For a brief look at the Natural Health Society’s explanation of acid/alkali balance in the body, I suggest you look at the following articles in our magazine – all of which are readily available from the Natural Health Society:
There is a whole lot more that we have published about acidic toxaemia, but the above is a good start to present the principles involved.
Regarding the supplement brand that you mention, I cannot make any assessment from the website, and in any case, we don’t comment on individual brands as a matter of policy.
A friend mentioned a genetically inherited disorder whereby the body is not able to digest fat in any form. However, I cannot find anything on the web about it. Is there such a thing, or is it maybe very rare? Aren’t fats, like sugars, relatively easy to digest?
Digestion of fats is not easy, it is more complex than that of the other major nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates.
Most fat digestion takes place in the small intestine. For it to occur properly, the fat must first be emulsified, that is, broken down into minute droplets so that a large surface area is presented to the digestive enzymes. Emulsification is accomplished by bile, secreted of the liver, and increases the surface area of the fat globules by an estimated 10,000 times.
Bile is made in the liver from cholesterol and stored in the gall bladder. Its secondary function is to carry waste products out of the liver and into the intestine to be eliminated. If a meal contains a lot of fat, the gall bladder can empty completely in about an hour, then slowly fill up again, ready for the next meal.
Fats as they occur in food cannot be absorbed by the intestine. After emulsification, they must be broken down into their building blocks, fatty acids, this process being brought about by the enzyme, pancreatic lipase. Once emulsification and lipase have converted the fats into fatty acids, the digestion of fats is then complete.
For fatty acids to be absorbed, they need to be made soluble in water. In the intestinal wall, fatty acids are joined with small amounts of protein and formed into compounds called lipoproteins which are soluble in water. To enter the lymph system, these are re-built into triglycerides, in which form they eventually enter the bloodstream.
What can impair the digestion of fats?
In the case of an inherited disorder, either the liver is not producing enough bile or the pancreas is not functioning properly – unless perhaps there is a defect in the intestinal wall. If protein and starch are digesting normally, this tends to indicate that the pancreas is functioning well enough.
Gall bladder problems include inflammation and stones. Stones can obstruct the flow of bile, causing a deficiency of bile. Inflammation may be the result of harmful trans-fats or an excess of polyunsaturated oils.
Essential fatty acids are required for fat absorption, so if saturated fats are high in the diet and omega-3s and polyunsaturated oils are deficient, there can be malabsorption.
If the pancreas is inflamed – pancreatitis – there will be a shortage of pancreatic lipase.
Coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease mean that the intestinal wall is inflamed and unable to do its job properly.
Fried foods contain oxidised fats (rancid fats) which can damage the gut wall.
Calcium can be a factor in fat malabsorption – if there is too little or too much in the diet, fat can’t be fully absorbed.
To improve absorption when there is no specific medical cause of malabsorption
Have small meals, perhaps more frequently than the usual three per day.
Include vegetable juices (which are easily absorbed) to increase the absorption of minerals and vitamins so as to improve the tone of the intestinal wall.
Fast for two to four days to allow the intestine to rest and heal. (See NHVL, Spring 2008 issue, page 12.) Professional supervision is virtually essential for fasting.
Take supplements of probiotics, particularly acidophilus and bifidobacteria.
Take digestive enzymes in the form of supplements of pancreatic enzymes.
In the case of fully-fledged genetic enzyme deficiency, the enzyme supplements are probably the essence of improving fat absorption.
Why is it that in the morning after taking a multi-B-vitamin supplement our urine is yellow?
This is a well known phenomenon. I am personally very familiar with it.
The bright orange-yellow colour is due to consuming more than is required of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which has this colour. Taking excess is not a problem because B2 is easily excreted – which is exactly what we are seeing when the urine is this colour.
Because of its easy excretion, B2 has no known toxicity. However, I must admit that instinct tells me not to overdo the supplement, so I usually take half a tablet so as to minimise the colour in the urine.
A B-complex is a good supplement to take. All the B-vitamins are water soluble and easily eliminated when in excess. Consequently, none have toxicity, unless perhaps when taken in ridiculous quantities.
Further, the numerous B-vitamins have such a huge range of vital functions in the body that it is a very good idea to ensure that there is no deficiency. This is why I take a B-complex regularly along with vitamins C and E, a multi-mineral and chelated forms of zinc, calcium, magnesium and selenium.
I also take a digestive enzyme supplement with my largest meal of the day. If I was a young person, I probably wouldn’t take this unless I knew I had digestion problems.
I have had type-1 diabetes for 32 years, with minimal or no complications. Lately, however, I have developed a high reading for HbA1C of 9.7. Although eating vegetarian for years, my iron is OK and I have no need for vitamin B12 injections; in the past I have required them. I know that exercise helps if done daily, but I have been a bit slack over winter.
I have high stress levels due to a full-time job, motherhood, etc, but feel my vegetarian diet usually does me well. Any suggestions for reducing the increased blood sugar level?
Type-I diabetes used to be called ‘insulin-dependent diabetes’ (lDDM) because the pancreas produces very little or no insulin. Another older term for type-I diabetes is ‘juvenile-onset diabetes’, because it is often diagnosed in children and young adults.
In orthodox medicine, type-I diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease, in which something causes the body’s immune system to destroy normal insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. People with type-I diabetes need insulin injections to control their disease.
The test called HbA1c indicates how well the diabetes is being controlled. It measures a type of haemoglobin called A1c (HbA1c) which forms when glucose attaches to haemoglobin. This happens only when blood glucose levels are high. Haemoglobin is the red pigment in blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Normal HbA1c values are approximately 4.0 – 6.2 percent. In people with diabetes, it should be kept below 7 to help prevent the complications of diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is easier to overcome than type-1 because in type-2 the insulin is there, but just not working. Nevertheless, the dietary approach for type-2 can make a difference for type-1. The US doctor, Joel Fuhrman, who has made a thorough study of diabetes, states that with the right diet, it is possible for 95% of people with type-2 diabetes to come of all medication, and in the case of type-1, the person can typically reduce his/her insulin doses by about half.
Dr Fuhrman’s diet for his diabetic patients is a natural plant-based diet with an abundance of fresh, raw vegetables in the form of large salads every day. Avoided are vegetable oils, nuts, avocadoes and foods containing refined sugar. Fruit juices are limited or avoided.
This kind of diet gets fat down to the very low level of 10% or less of total calories.
A middle-aged man, who I know personally, fully overcame type-2 diabetes on this kind of diet. He ate fresh vegetables and fruits at a level of around three-quarters of total food intake. Protein was derived mainly from legumes, almonds and sunflower seeds. Grain foods included wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta and brown rice. Dishes were flavoured with herbs and spices. His drinks were pure water, diluted lemon juice, carrot/apple/celery juice, tomato juice and cereal coffee.
He consumed no red meat, eggs, dairy products, dried fruits or anything sweetened with refined sugar.
Extras in his diet were psyllium hulls, wheatgrass powder, garlic and flax oil.
Dr Fuhrman explains that along with the high probability that insulin can be reduced on this kind of diet, overall health can be expected to greatly improve. Part of this improvement should be a reduced risk of the heart disease and the other complications that can accompany diabetes.
You do need to regularly exercise lightly and also to learn to relax. Relaxation can be difficult to achieve in the rat race, but it can be helped by relaxation tapes, meditation and so on.
I have been diagnosed with kidney stones, and my doctor wants to insert a stent. I would prefer to have the stones removed by other means. What would you suggest?
This is a medical question that requires an answer by a medical practitioner. You may be offered a wider range of choices by a wholistic medical practitioner. There are medical techniques to break up the stones so that they can be passed, such as ultrasound, shock waves and others. However, it is possible that your doctor has reason to believe that these would not work in your case.
If you don’t know of a wholistic GP, it is possible to locate one in your area or somewhere near your area by contacting the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine which trains wholistic doctors. The referral number of ACNEM is 03 9597 0363 or go to the website, www.acnem.org.au.
To cause the body to dissolve the stones sufficiently for them to be passed would be a tall order and possibly too difficult, although the American Life Extension says that it can be done in some cases. I don’t know of it having been achieved. I can only talk about the prevention of kidney stones in the first place.
Most kidney stones are either calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate or uric acid. Animal proteins mostly have poor calcium-to-phosphorous ratios, causing in a higher-than-normal rate of elimination of calcium, which means a lot of calcium going through the kidneys. In certain conditions, this can result in precipitation of calcium compounds in the kidneys – kidney stones.
One of these adverse conditions is a high intake of animal protein foods. Another is a high intake of oxalic acid from foods including rhubarb, bitter spinach, bitter parsley, coffee, tea and chocolate (oxalic acid is in the cocoa).
Excessive uric acid – that causes arthritic gout – is the result of high levels of purines which are breakdown products of proteins. Precipitation of uric acid crystals is likely when large amounts of foods that yield a lot of purines are consumed over many years. These foods are organ meats, red meat, poultry, seafoods, legumes and yeasts.
Additional factors that predispose to the precipitation of stones include:
- highly concentrated urine, mainly from drinking too little water, which is very common, especially in hot tropical climates;
- deficiencies of magnesium and vitamin B6;
- the urine being too acidic or too alkaline;
- bacterial infection.
To help reduce the chances of stone formation – assuming you don’t know the kind of stone – the following are appropriate steps:
- minimise or avoid flesh foods, and consume enough, but no more than enough, of other protein foods;
- drink plenty of pure water; even as much as 12 glasses a day has been suggested;
- ensure plenty of magnesium and vitamin B6;
- avoid oxalate foods;
- regularly consume ‘carrot and chlorophyll’ juice (silverbeet, celery, a little parsley, carrot and beetroot; avoid silverbeet or parsley if bitter).
There is no need to reduce calcium intake. The well known Harvard Nurses’ Health Study (of 92,000 nurses) found that higher calcium intakes were associated with lower risk of stones. The reason is that calcium combines with oxalic acid inside the digestive tract and prevents the oxalic acid being assimilated into the bloodstream and making its way to the kidneys.
The Life Extension Foundation mentions that a South African study found that even mineral water containing calcium and magnesium tended to prevent rather than cause calcium oxalate kidney stones. I would caution that mineral-rich mineral water should be consumed only in moderation.
The above is a very brief account of kidney stones; there is much more to it than this. Guidance by an informed, lifestyle-minded practitioner is virtually essential.
I have two friends that suffer with Rosacea that have tried many ways to heal themselves with not much success. Have you any suggestions that could help?
Rosacea is quite common. More than 14 million people in North America have this chronic skin condition. Women and fair-skinned people between the ages of 30 and 60 are more likely to be affected.
Symptoms and signs of rosacea include:
· Areas of redness on your face
· Small red bumps or pustules on your nose, cheeks, forehead, and/or chin
· Small blood vessels on your nose and/or cheeks
· Tendency to flush or blush
Rosacea may also result in a red, bulbous nose or a burning or gritty sensation in your eyes.
A New Treatment by FaceDoctor
A new treatment for rosacea, developed by a company called FaceDoctor, seems promising. The public relations coordinator for FaceDoctor, Derek Lepage, explains the following.
Most facial afflictions are misdiagnosed as adult acne when the rash is actually rosacea.
Until now, rosacea has been addressed as a bacterial infection. However, it has been found that a parasite, Demodex folliculorum, that normally exists in the hair follicles of facial skin, is found in greater numbers within rosacea papules. These hair follicle mites live under the skin and feed off the oil found inside the hair follicle. The redness appears when the parasite chews its way through an oil gland. The pore becomes enlarged and then plugged with bacteria, and that’s when rosacea develops.
It is a myth that rosacea is hereditary.
People usually become infected with the mite as a result of close contact with others when they are babies, such as mothers breastfeeding their children. The parasite can live under the skin and not appear for years.
The National Rosacea Society has found that the most common triggers for rosacea are sun exposure, emotional stress, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, heavy exercise, hot baths, heated beverages and certain skin-care products. In other words, almost anything that is potentially stimulating and increases heart rate can be a trigger.
If a person with rosacea is treated for a bacterial infection, their skin will clear up while they are on the medication, but the rash will come back because the parasite has not been treated. FaceDoctor has developed a product to kill the parasite – a soap with a special ingredient that kills the parasite, seabuckthorn oil.
"The oil in the soap is clinically proven to destroy 80 percent of the parasite in people with normal skin," said Derek Lepage. "For people with rosacea, it allows their skin to return back to its normal skin tone."
Seabuckthorn oil can be used not only for acne but for dry, itchy skin, eczema, burns, cuts and post-partum pigmentation as well.
For more information on the FaceDoctor soap or to purchase it on-line, visit: www.facedoctor.ca
Natural Treatments from Cathy Wong, for About.com
This is another source and it lists a range of frequently used natural treatments for rosacea. It is not recommended to try them simultaneously.
Chrysanthellum indicum herbal cream. A large study of people with rosacea found that the cream significantly improved rosacea symptoms, including facial redness. Any adverse reactions were mild.
Niacinamide Cream. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 used topically for rosacea, is thought to improve the skin barrier, improve the skin’s moisture level and reduce inflammation.
Inadequate riboflavin (vitamin B2) may be associated with rosacea. It has been found that the Demodex folliculorum mites are more likely to affect the skin if riboflavin is deficient. The vitamin is taken orally as a supplement.
Licorice. Another topical treatment is the herb licorice. In a study of people with mild to moderate facial redness, there was significant improvement in redness when assessed at four and eight weeks.
Digestive Enzymes. Some people with rosacea have indigestion, especially after eating fatty foods. One study found a deficiency of the pancreatic enzyme, lipase, that digests fat. When the rosacea patients were given pancreatic enzyme supplements with meals, their symptoms of indigestion and rosacea both improved.
Food Intolerances. Certain foods may be associated with rosacea symptoms. They are foods that cause dilation of blood vessels and consequent flushing. Food intolerances may be identified through an elimination and challenge diet, which involves removing allergenic foods from the diet for one to two weeks, then systematically reintroducing them one by one to identify those that cause reactions. The guidance of a health practitioner is recommended.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Taken orally, this is used as a home remedy for rosacea. It is thought to stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and help normalize the bacterial balance in the intestines. Consult a health practitioner before trying apple cider vinegar.
Other Natural Treatments for Rosacea include the use of aloe vera, burdock, chamomile, red clover, rose hips, selenium and zinc.
Can you tell me if enamel, or porcelain-enamel, cookware is safe? I want to get an ’on the stove’ kettle in a nice colour. I know stainless steel would be safest.
Enamelware is made from metals coated with glazes, the glazes being a form of glass.
Health Canada states that the only health concern about using enamelware (or glassware) comes from minor components that might be used in their manufacture, glazing or decorating, such as pigments, lead, or cadmium. However, because these substances are harmful to health, the risk of them entering food is controlled during the manufacturing process.
These days enamel cookware does not contain lead, except in some glazes for slow-cooking pots (crock-pots). Nevertheless, the amount of lead leached into food from these pots is not permitted to exceed USFDA standards.
In the 1970s excessive levels of potentially toxic cadmium were found in the red, yellow and orange pigments used to colour enamel cookware that was manufactured overseas. Fortunately, most manufacturers have discontinued the use of cadmium, so the enamelware now on the market is usually cadmium free.
The best materials for pots and pans for cooking are stainless steel, cast iron and enamel. If enamel is on an aluminium pot, it is OK until the enamel chips and then the food will be exposed to aluminium, which is not OK. Enamel on a cast-iron pot should be fine.
Enamel-coated iron and steel is colourful, stain- and scratch-resistant and does not pick up food odours. It is easily cleaned and resists wear and corrosion. It can be heated to fairly high temperatures and safely used on all types of heat sources, including ceramic and induction cook-tops. Enamel cookware can be placed in the dishwasher.
The enamel layer allows the cooking of tomatoes and other acidic ingredients that would react unfavourably with plain cast iron.
The advice of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is that cookware made properly of enamel-coated iron and steel is safe to cook with. But because some countries do not have strict lead and cadmium limits, if you bring in glazed ceramic cookware from abroad, be aware that it may not meet permitted levels for lead and cadmium.
Will eating certain fruits and vegetables at the same time cause nausea, digestive distress, etc?
No, it shouldn’t. Consuming fruits and vegetables in the one meal is not an ideal combination, but any adverse effect in the stomach should be slight.
In Natural Health Dietary Guidelines, meals are based on either vegetables or fruits, but not both. However, any effects of combining them in the same meal does not usually cause problems.
The exception could be if your digestion is particularly sensitive and not robust. Then perhaps you might notice a reaction.
However, if the fruit is acidic (citrus, pineapple, sour berries, tomatoes) and is combined with starchy unripe banana or a starchy vegetable (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn), a reaction is very likely. In fact, the most nauseating combination for me personally is orange juice and a starchy food. Note that, strictly speaking, potatoes, etc, are not classified as ‘vegetables’ but as ‘starchy carbohydrates’.
Starch requires a close-to-neutral medium in the stomach for the ptyalin from the salivary glands to work. If acid is added from acid fruit or the stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to digest protein, the action of ptyalin is likely to be suppressed, and the starch remains largely or wholly undigested in the stomach. This could cause your symptoms.
Use trial-and-error to find out what is happening. Mix one fruit and one vegetable at the same time and watch for a reaction.
Hi Roger,I have been consuming well over 500g of pumpkin and carrot each day for a number of years, as they are my favourite vegetables!
Although I am aware that variety is important, would this be likely to cause any problems in the long term?
I just wondered because I have heard that a high intake of beta carotene is not always a good thing.
That is a lot of pumpkin and carrot – and, yes, a lot of beta-carotene too.
Your intake of vegetables and fruits is unbalanced because, out of a recommended intake of around a kilo a day of veges and fruits, half this quantity is just two veges.
You would not be able to fit into your day’s eating a variety of lettuce, silverbeet, parsley, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, carrot, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and any other water-rich, bulky veges as well as a variety of fresh fruits.
When the intake of these foods is unbalanced, important minerals, vitamins and other antioxidants are likely to be out of balance. You may not be consuming enough vitamin C, other antioxidants or the vital alkaline minerals, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
But most of all in this area, your intake of the mighty carotenoid family may be way out of balance. This family includes the well-known beta-carotene in carrots, but there are about 600 members altogether, and we need them all.
Carrots contain mostly alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, the total content of carotenoids being around 10,000 micrograms (μg) per 100 gm of carrots.
Pumpkin contains 2,500 to 3,000 μg per 100 gm. These are very high levels of these nutrients. For comparison, silverbeet contains 430 μg. The consequence of this high intake of a few carotenoids means that the other carotenoids are probably quite low. This is one reason why we need a wide range of veges and fruits.
Might you be getting too much alpha- and beta-carotene?
Yes, it is possible. If too much is consumed, the body cannot convert these two carotenes into vitamin A, so they build up in the body and the skin turns yellow, called carotenaemia. Provided the intake is promptly cut right down, the skin usually clears and there is no problem. But if you continue a high intake, there could be a risk of harm.
I would urge you to cut down your pumpkin and carrot intake and increase other veges and fruits, with the more variety the better, especially as indicated by colour. Bright colours in natural foods indicate nutrients – and there are plenty of different colours.
If 0.8 grams of protein is the RDA per kilo of body weight, is it correct to count chick-peas,eggs,linseed,almonds and vegetables as complete protein or are they non-essential protein ad not tobe counted?
If I am deficient in protein after 18 yrs of following a diet of close to being a vegan with only small amounts of goats cheese and the very occasional egg, am I able to restore my muscle and overall health by increasing my protein intake?
It sure is correct to count the foods that you mention as effective protein sources, except for the vegetables. By ‘vegetables’ we mean the bulky, water-rich green, yellow and red veges like lettuce, tomato, carrot, broccoli, etc. These contain only one or two percent protein; nevertheless, because we can (and should) eat large quantities of them, they can make a useful contribution to our protein intake..
The chickpeas, linseed and almonds you are having are very good ‘protein foods’, containing substantial amounts of protein along with carbohydrate, unsaturated fats and fibre and good levels of minerals and vitamins. Like all seeds, they are highly concentrated foods with a wide range of nutrients. Eggs and cheese are also protein foods, but their fat is mainly saturated and they contain no fibre.
However, if the above are your only protein sources, they may be too limited to supply all the eight essential amino acids. (Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our bodies make hundreds of different proteins simply by assembling different combinations of amino acids.) Variety truly is the ‘spice’ of good nutrition.
Because most protein foods are low in some of the essential amino acids, we need a mix of protein foods each day, but preferably a digestion-compatible mix. We achieve this if we have a variety of legumes one day, a variety of nuts another and a mix of seeds another. Eggs can stand alone because they are almost a complete protein. Cheese is pretty good too.
To clarify the above, here are the protein contents of a few members of each of the categories of protein foods. To show how adequate are plant sources, I also include animal protein sources for comparison.
NUTS: almonds 20%; Brazil nuts 14%; cashews 17%; hazelnuts 15%; macadamias 8%; pistachios 20; pine nuts 13%; walnuts 14%.
LEGUMES (dried): Soya beans 31% (the richest in protein of all foods); lentils 24%; kidney beans 22%; lima beans 21%; chickpeas 21%.
SEEDS: sunflower 23%; sesame 22%; flaxseed 18%; pepitas 29%
EGGS (whole): 13%
CHEESES: cheddar 25%; cottage 15%; ricotta 11%; feta 18%
MEATS: steak 21%; lamb 22%; chicken 21%; fish 21%.
The above figures show that a variety of plant protein foods can supply as much protein as a variety of animal protein foods. Not to mention the huge benefits of the fibre in plant foods, their unsaturated fats and generally higher levels of minerals. In a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet (also containing eggs and cheese), there is a wider variety of protein foods with the addition of vitamin B12 which does not occur in plant foods.
To be deficient in muscle after 18 years on a close-to-vegan diet suggests too narrow a range of proteins and/or poor absorption. Malabsorption is a full subject in itself. The most common causes are stress (nervous exhaustion), over-eating, poor intestinal tone from lack of fibre and deficiencies of minerals and vitamins and poor food combinations.
A most valuable thing we can try with protein deficiency in the muscles and organs, when we don’t know the cause, is to take digestive enzymes. Read the article on enzymes in the Winter 2006 issue of the Society’s magazine and see just how helpful enzymes can be. And look at the brand mentioned and see why I am using them myself with my protein meal each day.
Whether you can rebuild your muscles and immune and hormone systems with improved protein intake and digestion is something that only time will tell. Every person is so different that we can only know what we need to do and then see how much can be achieved.
It would be a really good idea to have some tests done by a doctor to find if something is missing. At least have checked your blood levels of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12 and haemoglobin. If haemoglobin – which is a protein compound – is low, you will be anaemic and feel tired and lethargic.
Note that when we look slightly skinny by today’s social standards, we may, in fact, be at the best weight for health and wellbeing. Go to the article on how to lose weight in the Winter 2008 issue of our magazine and work out your ‘Body Mass Index’ (see ‘Ideal Weight’, page 17). You may get a pleasant surprise.
I recently attended Hopewood Health Retreat where I sat in on one of your lectures, it was very interesting and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge on us poor souls. I have been getting cramps in my toes on both feet quite a lot of late and was wondering what the cause might be and how would I treat it.
Leanne McIntosh Perth
The majority of cases of muscle cramps are to do with the mineral, magnesium. This is such a critical mineral that the remarkable Dr Sandra Cabot has written an entire book about it entitled, Magnesium – the Miracle Mineral. [This was reviewed in our magazine, Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, Autumn 2008 issue, page 73, and is available for $21.95 incl. postage.]
Dr Sandra’s explanation of muscle cramps puts it beautifully. For a muscle to work properly, it must have the proper levels of all three alkaline minerals – potassium, magnesium and calcium. And this is where the problem with cramps begins. “While most of us generally have adequate amounts of calcium and potassium, the same is not true of magnesium – yet magnesium has been called the key that unlocks muscle cells and lets in the calcium and potassium so they can do their jobs. Without the key – magnesium – your muscles may be in less than perfect health. Hence muscle cramps.”
Dr Sandra says that studies show that magnesium does reduce leg-cramp distress in people including pregnant women. Increasing the intake of this mineral can relieve cramping almost immediately, or it might take a month or more to reverse a long-standing deficiency and see any results. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.
What is a muscle cramp? It is caused by the involuntary – and usually brief – contraction of a muscle. Although very painful at times, cramps are not dangerous unless you are swimming or driving or they constantly wake you at night.
I (Roger) have come to understand that high calcium intake can be part of the magnesium problem. If calcium supplements are taken or there is a high intake of dairy products without accompanying magnesium, this can create a significant mineral imbalance. The balance in our diets that we require is a ratio of calcium to magnesium of approximately 2 to 1, matching that found in a balanced diet of plant foods. Unfortunately, the ratio in cows’ milk is approximately 10 to 1, creating potential problems.
The best sources of magnesium are whole foods, the richest in order being sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, oat bran, soya beans, pine nuts, lima beans, walnuts, kidney beans, oats, wholemeal flour, brown rice and most other nuts and legumes. Green vegetables – which are green because of magnesium – can also be a substantial source because, although lower in content, we can consume a lot of them. The juices of green, yellow (carrot) and red (beetroot) veges provide highly assimilable minerals.
Topping up with a supplement of chelated calcium and magnesium in the ratio of 2 to 1 can be a very good idea. If in doubt, seek a practitioner’s guidance.
So much for magnesium. There are also other things that can lead to cramps. They include vitamin E deficiency, smoking, inactivity, poor circulation or various diseases such as anaemia, fibromyalgia, arthritis, arteriosclerosis (hardened arteries), dehydration, heat stroke, hypothyroidism or varicose veins. Diuretic drugs for high blood pressure or heart disease can lead to cramps.
To reduce the problem of cramping, in addition to the suggestions above re magnesium, there are generalised steps that can be taken:
· Ensure adequate water intake to flush toxins out of muscles – but don’t over-do it either.
· Take vitamin E as a regular supplement.
· Herbs good for circulation are alfalfa, dong quai, elderberry, ginkgo biloba, horsetail and saffron.
· Taking valerian tablets at bedtime helps to relax muscles – and helps you sleep.
· Use heat to relieve the muscle pain.
· Rub pure, extra-virgin olive oil or flax oil into your muscles before and after strenuous exercise.
· Have a hot bath containing Epsom salts just before retiring to bed.
If you get cramps during physical activity, consult a practitioner, as this could be a sign of impaired circulation or artery disease.
I just came across your website and see that you are a very wise man who may be able to help me with my question.
I am currently researching comprehensive nutrition courses which have an eastern and western philosophy. Can you please recommend what are the best schools to study at in Australia.
Thanks for your time...
There is a number of colleges offering a variety of courses on nutrition, some oriented towards natural therapies. I can’t always assess this and I can’t judge any as the best. You will need to contact them and suss this out yourself. As well, there are sure to be other colleges not listed below.
Most of the following courses are quite advanced. If you happen to be looking for a relatively short course for a lay person, you could ask these colleges if they have certificate courses in nutrition. Nothing I can find suggests any course covers Eastern nutrition. Again, ask and you may find!
NATURE CARE COLLEGE (Sydney)
Nature Care College
46 Nicholson Street
St Leonards NSW 2065
Phone 02 9438 3333
Fax 02 9436 0503
57 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
PO Box K1356
Haymarket NSW 1240
Phone 02 9218 8888 or 1800 46 2268
Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine
This course complies with the standards of the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA).
The course covers the history and principles of herbal medicine and compares the traditions of the major stems of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Students will learn the principles of plant identification, actions, indications and prescriptions of hundreds of herbs, as well as how to manufacture a range of herbal preparations.
Students will also cover toxicology and drug interaction; investigating any adverse effects that may be found in herbs and their interaction with synthetic drugs. In addition there is biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pathology and symptomatology.
Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine
This is a very comprehensive course with advanced training in nutrition and diet-related fields, health sciences, diagnostics as well as treatment modalities.
Numerous additional areas are also covered, including Bach Flowers, Australian Bushflowers and Schuessler Tissue Salts.
A person who wishes to become a fully qualified nutritionist through this college will need to complete the Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine course.
Advanced Certificate in Nutritional Sciences
This course is designed specifically for graduates of other professional courses who seek a grounding in basic naturopathic nutrition.
ADVANCED CERTIFICATE OF NURTIOTIONAL SCIENCES
Can be done by distance education or at the college involving four hours per week for 16 weeks. This is for people who would like an elementary knowledge of nutrition for their own use.
HEALTH SCHOOLS AUSTRALIA
THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL THERAPIES
The Academy of Natural Therapies offers wholistic health services to the general public and students enrolled at the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE.
The focus of naturopathy is to the improve wellbeing of the whole person including physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels. Students give lifestyle advice and prescribe natural medicines and knowledge to empower the individual to live a healthier life.
I was born with a curved spine and all my life have had back problems and now I have become alergic to anything with sulphur thats from 220 to 229 .
I have started an all organic diet and I have been feeling a lot improved, but I still do not sleep at night as it it very painfull.
Is there any thing that I can take to help relieve my pain that does not included any sulphur?
Please help, I have not had a good sleep for over 25 years and now it has become worse.
The first thing for you to consider is whether you are prepared to make the effort to ‘pull the rug out from under’ the arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition caused by a build-up of acidic metabolic waste products and possibly man-made toxic chemicals as well. When detoxification is carried out correctly, these are the very things that the body tries to get rid of. Once the toxaemia is lowered, the tissues no longer need the inflammation and it fades away.
The most significant point is that the inflammation is not the disease; inflammation is the healing process brought about by the body to deal with some underlying irritant/s (or toxin/s). The medical approach of using anti-inflammatory drugs, is treating the symptom only, while totally ignoring the underlying causes.
In the 1970s, during my seven years as manager of Hopewood Health Retreat at Wallacia, NSW, I saw many people thrilled with the easing of their arthritic symptoms without any drugs. Of course, there can never be guarantees with any health problem because there is a vast number of factors at work in the body. If you would like to contact Hopewood for inquiry or to book an out-patient consultation, the phone number is 02 4773 8401, website www.hopewood.com.au.
For a detailed explanation of the causes, mechanism and possible reversal of arthritis, see our article, ‘Arthritis and Rheumatism – the way to drug-free recovery’, New Vegetarian and Natural Health, Spring 2006, pages 30 – 37. (Also available from the Natural Health Society for $5 incl. postage.)
In the meantime, if you want to try a natural painkiller, there are some on the market. I have dug up a couple of brands that I would be happy to use myself. There are sure to be other suitable brands, these are just two that I will mention.
The first is JOINT COMFORT from Nature’s Sunshine, a firm we hold in high regard. Joint Comfort provides herbs and nutrients that have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to relieve pain in the joints.
Nature’s Sunshine also sells the herb, willow bark, which can be combined with Joint Comfort for greater effect.
The ingredients in Joint Comfort are:
· Curcumin – derived from the herb, turmeric (that can gives cooking a yellow colour). It has been found to be effective, when combined with other herbs, to assist in relieving the inflammation that contributes to joint pain.
· Devil’s Claw – been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and often used to relieve joint pain.
· Boswellia has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, and is often used for its anti-inflammatory properties to relieve inflammation of joints.
· Celery Seed is a diuretic and has traditionally been used to relieve joint pain.
· Bromelain and hesperidin have both been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain is derived from pineapple, while hesperidin is a flavonoid.
Nature’s Sunshine advises that it is important to consult your health practitioner before starting, changing or altering your personal health regimen.
Another very natural pain reliever is a product called, SIMPLY FLOWER POWER PAIN RELIEF & MOISTURISING CREAM. It contains twelve flower essences that address some of the following emotions: shock, grief, fear, anger, overwhelm, fear for one’s survival and exhaustion. Also, when these flower remedies are added to a cream base as a carrier and applied topically, they have been found to relieve some types of physical pain.
The manufacturer explains the following.
How do flower essences work? By soaking a flower head in water, the frequency – or unique vibration – of the flower is transferred to the water. The flower head is then discarded. The water has been imprinted with the frequency. Mixing this water with an equal amount of brandy or other strong alcohol holds the vibration in the water. A flower essence is akin to a homeopathic remedy.
Contra-indications to the use of this cream include if there is allergy to lavender or to nuts, as lavender oil and sweet almond oil are ingredients. A jar of cream without lavender oil can be made on special request. The cream is not to be used on broken skin and is for external use only.
Can Simply Flower Power Pain Relief & Moisturising Cream be used routinely?
Yes, says the manufacturer, many people use it regularly on areas of their body where they have problems.
People are often amazed at how fast they feel the pain decrease. With longstanding pain, you may need to apply the cream two to four times over an hour to get relief. Apply it again if the pain returns.
Simply Flower Power Pain Relief & Moisturising Cream has helped many skin problems to become at least more tolerable.
No animal testing has been done on the cream or any of its ingredients, and it is classed as a vegan product. It may also be used on animals for their aches and pains.
It is Australian made and owned. The flower remedies were all made from flowers growing on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
Where to buy. Order from the distributor, healthmatters, on 1300 792 930 to purchase with a credit card, or write to Simply Flower Power, PO Box 222, Mt Martha Vic 3934. For more information go to www.simplyflowerpower.com.au. In Victoria the cream is available in most health food stores.
is there any research connecting the use of coconut oil to high blood pressure
Yes, I have located one study – and there may well be others – that assesses coconut fat in relation to high blood pressure (hypertension). Its title is ‘Association of higher saturated fat intake with higher risk of hypertension in an urban population of Trivandrum in South India’, author is R. Beegom, and it was published in the International Journal of Cardiology, Vol 58, Issue 1, Pages 63 – 70
The study, involving 1497 randomly selected subjects (737 males and 760 females) of 25 – 64 years of age, found that certain dietary components were significantly associated with hypertension. They were total fat, saturated fat, coconut oil, butter, flesh foods, milk, yogurt, sugar and jaggery. In contrast, the foods that were not associated with high blood pressure were fruits, vegetables, legumes and coconuts.
This is very interesting. Coconut fat (oil) was found to be associated with hypertension, yet coconuts themselves were not. Apparently the whole food is OK, but not the extracted oil – or is there a flaw here?
An explanation is given in the website, www.diagnose-me.com/T22114.html as follows:
“All current research data declaring the harmfulness of coconut oil has been compiled from studies using hydrogenated oils. The conclusions drawn in these studies cannot factually be applied to the use of unprocessed tropical oils, because all hydrogenated fats and oils, including margarine, shortening and all other hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils found in cookies, candies, baked goods, boxed-to-bake items, canned foods and most restaurant foods contribute to degenerative diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke, depression, hypoglycaemia, thyroid disorders and cancer.”
If this doesn’t spell out a very plausible explanation, nothing does.
Coconut oil has some remarkably beneficial effects. It tends to prevent weight-gain and overcome obesity because it stimulates metabolism. Whenever a study has used natural, unprocessed coconut oil, the result has been a normalizing of blood sugar levels and also blood pressure. The same applies to extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil and avocado oil.
Coconut oil that has been kept at room temperature for a year has shown no evidence of rancidity. In fact, it functions like an antioxidant. There is evidence that unprocessed coconut and its oils tend to prevent the development of both malignant and benign tumours.
The evidence indicates that it is pretty good stuff.
I’m in Nature and Society Forum in Canberra and would be interested in your views on the following email. I use organic soy milk, but the email below has me questioning the safety in that.
– M. M.
[The following is the essence of an email from Dr Al Sears, MD, 12794 Forest Hill Blvd, Suite 16 Wellington, Fl 33414. March 31, 2008.]
Many people think of soymilk as a healthy substitute for cows’ milk, but soymilk is bad for you. It’s an unnatural byproduct of soy that your body can’t digest without processing. If you were to eat unprocessed soy, it would cause cramping, nausea, and can cause more serious health problems.
A pamphlet I [Dr Sears] found in a shop makes false claims about soymilk; here are two of them:
Claim: “In countries where soy is a dietary staple, such as China and Indonesia, soy consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases.”
Fact: This is only half true. The soybean itself is inedible. It contains toxins meant to ward off insect predators. These include:
• anti-nutrients that prevent your body from absorbing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
• enzyme inhibitors that make it harder for your body to absorb protein. Both of these substances can give you abdominal pain, gas, nausea, cramps, and other gastrointestinal problems.
• haemagglutinin, a substance that promotes blood clots.
• goitrogens, which can cause gout and other thyroid problems.
Populations that depend heavily on soy-based foods use traditional preparation methods thousands of years old that neutralize or eliminate these substances. Tempeh, miso, natto and soy sauce are fermented products. The fermentation process destroys the toxins.
Tofu comes from the pressed ‘curds’ of the soybean. The rest is thrown out – and the bad stuff along with it. Compare this with the industrial processes that go into making soymilk: washing the beans in alkali or boiling them in a petroleum-based solvent; bleaching, deodorizing and pumping them full of additives; heat-blasting and crushing them into flakes; and then mixing them with water to make ‘milk’. This only adds more chemicals without removing any of soy’s natural toxins. This is not a ‘dietary staple’ in China, Indonesia or any other country.
Claim: “Also, interest in soy is rising because scientists have discovered that soy components called isoflavones appears to reduce the risk of certain diseases.”
Fact: The opposite is true. Recent science suggests soy isoflavones are dangerous to your health. Isoflavones are phyto-estrogens, plant-based compounds that mimic the female hormone, oestrogen. Eat enough of these and you’ll upset your body’s hormonal balance. The young are especially vulnerable. Research published last year found that soy-based phytoestrogens can cause “precocious puberty”. The study focused on a four-and-a-half-year-old girl who had developed breasts because her parents fed her too much soy formula.(1) Clinical research also links two of these phytoestrogens, genistein and daidzein, to childhood leukemia(2) and breast cancer.(3)
However, the traditional fermented soy products like tempeh, miso and soy sauces are safe and healthy. And go organic if you can.
1. Fortes et al. ‘High intake of phytoestrogens and precocious thelarche: case report with a possible correlation.’ Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia 2007. 51(3):500-3
2. Abe, T. ‘Infantile leukemia and soybeans – a hypothesis [editorial].’ Leukemia 1999. 13:317-20.
3. Hsieh et al. ‘Estrogenic effects of genistein on the growth of estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells in vitro and in vivo.’ Cancer Research. 1998. 58:17 3833-8.
There is no doubt that soya beans do have their good and bad aspects. Firstly, I will clarify a few of the above points.
“Anti-nutrients” refers mainly to phytic acid which forms insoluble phytates with some minerals and renders them unavailable to the body. Some researches say that only a minor portion of the mineral content is lost in this way.
Enzyme inhibitors occur in all seeds to prevent them from rotting while they sit in soil waiting for conditions to be right for germination. In soya beans they occur in higher levels than most other seeds and do make the beans difficult to digest. It is somewhat similar with peanuts which are also legumes like soya beans. Normal cooking destroys about 90% of the enzyme inhibitors, so all legumes should be cooked before eating – and soy milk should be made from cooked beans. Sprouting completely destroys these trypsin inhibitors.
Similarly, the haemagglutinin and other lectins that cause clotting and inhibit growth are also destroyed by both cooking and sprouting.
Soya beans are goitrogenic, meaning that they contain substances that reduce the production of thyroxine by the thyroid gland, thus depressing metabolic rate. There are plenty of other goitrogenic foods – including cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas, mustard seeds, cassava root, millet, pine nuts and peanuts. Cooking usually largely inactivates goitrogens.
Japanese researchers have reported that as little as 30 grams of soya beans a day for one month resulted in significant decreases in thyroxine production. Goitre and hypothyroidism appeared in some of the subjects, even though their iodine intake was adequate. Other research has confirmed that the two isoflavones, genistein and diadzen. are the goitrogenic compounds in soya beans.
What about the low rates of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases in Asian populations that consume soya products rather than red meat? The answer is simple. Asian people don’t consume a large serve of soya foods and a litre of soya milk every day. Rather, their intake is quite low – typically eight grams of soya protein a day in Japan and something like nine grams a day in China.
In contrast to Dr Sears’ views, it was reported at the Fourth International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease, held in San Diego in November 2001, that a high intake of soya products is more protective against breast cancer than a lower intake. A study of 3,000 women in China found that those who consumed higher levels of soya products in their adolescent years had a 50% lower risk of breast cancer in adulthood compared to those who consumed lower levels in adolescence. [No reference was given in the summary report.]
However, there is evidence that for a post-menopausal woman with an oestrogen-dependent tumour, phytoestrogens can stimulate tumour growth.
A number of studies have found that post-menopausal women drinking soya milk suffer less bone loss. In a University of Cincinnati study, conducted by Dr Kenneth Setchell over a two-year period, women drinking 500 ml of soya milk daily maintained bone density, whereas those not drinking soya milk lost around 4% of their bone density.
The bottom line is that soya beans are highly concentrated sources of nutrients (they contain more protein than any other food) and are also rich in phytochemicals including phytoestrogens. On the negative side, they also contain substances that can cause harm in large amounts, and their phytoestrogens can cause harm when in large amounts for the wrong people, particularly infants. Consequently, some nutritionists love them and some hate them.
The view of the Natural Health Society is that soya beans and soya products appear to be good foods in small quantities, but are potentially harmful in large quantities – especially for children. For adults, it is probably safe to consume up to 100 grams of soya beans or products a week or a glass of whole-bean milk daily, but if there is any hint of hypothyroid problems, it would be wise to avoid these foods almost entirely. The critical point is – small quantities. For infants and young children, soya products are best avoided altogether.
On the other hand, the traditional fermented soya products like tempeh, miso, natto and pure soy sauce (tamari) are safe and healthy, at least for adults. And, as Dr Sears says, go organic if you possibly can.
[For an in-depth assessment of the merits and demerits of soya beans and their products, see New Vegetarian and Natural Health, Summer 2000-01 issue, pages 44 – 47. References are given.]
Hi Roger, great fan of yours!!
My husband of 37 years old, had a small stroke two weeks ago! We’re all very worried, as he’s so young!
His diet is good 90% of the time, juices, fresh fruit and juice only until lunch time, salad of veg soup for lunch, and veg dinner, no meat, no dairy!
He has, however, been smoking at work, 5 days per week!!!! And although he’s a slim fit looking man, who walks a bit at work, he hasn’t done regular excersise for quite a while!
He stopped the smoking immediately, and has been attending the gym or walking most days. Is there anything else he can do to try and stop any further strokes or problems?
He has 4 tests in the next month, including an MRI scan of his brain. The brain scan they did in hospital has shown two places in which they think the stroke has damaged his brain, but we don’t know what has caused it yet, until the results are explanied to us!
We don’t want him to be on medication, not even asprin, so can you give me ANY advice at all to try and keep him off medication?
We would be very grateful indeed for your reply.Thank you very much - Danielle W-B
A stroke is a very scary thing, so your concern is super-understandable. Fortunately, there are things that he can do to reduce the risk of further strokes. A “small stroke” sounds like a transient ischaemic attack, which is the name given to a mini stroke that is a form of ischemic stroke. Symptoms last for a few minutes to a few hours and then disappear. A TIA is often a sign that a more damaging stroke could be on its way, though not necessarily.
‘Stroke’ means that there has been an interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain. The brain cells downstream of the blocked artery die because they are deprived of oxygen. The dead area that results from stroke is known as an ‘infarct’.
There are three different kinds of stroke according to how this occurs:
Haemorrhagic stroke – an artery may rupture and cause bleeding into brain tissue.
Ischaemic stroke caused by atherosclerosis – artery walls swell and reduce the flow of blood.
Ischaemic stroke caused by a blood clot that has travelled from another part of the body (an embolism). The clot blocks an artery that supplies part of the brain.
Most stroke risk factors are lifestyle related, so everyone can reduce their risk.
Our genes – or family history – cannot be controlled, but they don’t cause strokes anyway. Our genes only predispose us, making us more susceptible to lifestyle causes.
The risk factors that can be controlled – directly or indirectly – are all lifestyle related. Looking at strokes in general, they include:
High blood pressure
High blood homocysteine levels
Heavy alcohol consumption
A high fat diet, low in fibre
Lack of exercise
Use of birth control pills.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is the most significant of the above list. Over time, the high pressure weakens and damages blood vessel walls, which can lead to cerebral haemorrhage. Bringing high blood pressure down involves reducing salt intake, achieving a safe weight, exercising, watching fat intake, consuming plenty of fibre (eat largely from the plant kingdom), minimising alcohol and not smoking. [See ‘High Blood Pressure – how to lower it without drugs’, Autumn 2008 issue of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, page 12.]
Smoking is, unfortunately, extremely harmful because it is a massive generator of free radicals that damage artery walls and cause cancer and numerous other degenerative conditions. After quitting, there are things that can minimise the harm. I’ll come back to these.
High blood levels of homocysteine are a well established major cause of stroke, along with heart attack and deep vein thrombosis. Reducing homocysteine is two-pronged:
- Minimise the intake of animal foods, because these supply high levels of the amino acid, methionine, that converts to homocysteine. Your husband obviously has this well under control.
- Ensure abundant intake of three B-vitamins – B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. These enable the body to convert homocysteine back to methionine, which is exactly what you want.
It is unlikely that homocysteine is a problem for you, although it is something that everyone would be wise to have checked by a doctor.
So what can your husband do to assist his body to ‘reverse’ that smoking damage? Fortunately, these same things that he can do will also assist his brain tissue to regenerate, assuming that this is possible, which it usually is to some extent.
Firstly, minimise the production of free radicals, which are very aggressive chemicals in the body that cause major damage. A short list of the causes of free radicals is: cigarette smoke (produces a mass of them); the chlorine in tap water; the benzene in petrol; very toxic pesticides; other toxic man-made chemicals; ionising radiation (as in X-rays and other nuclear radiation); surplus iron in the body (mainly from a high intake of red meat).
Secondly, minimise your exposure to man-made chemicals right across the board – chemicals are in food, water, the home and possibly clothing. A detailed explanation of this was given in the Summer 2005/06 issue of our magazine, New Vegetarian and Natural Health.
Thirdly, avoid deep-fried foods and minimise consumption of overcooked and browned food.
Fourthly, consume enough calories for your needs and no more. The more calories we consume above our needs, the greater the occurrence of genetic damage. The Natural Health Dietary Guidelines are designed to make it relatively easy to have enough calories and all the necessary food constituents without overeating.
Fifthly, eat an abundance of fresh, green, yellow and red vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits, including red, blue and purple ones when in season (or even frozen when out of season). Consume at lease one kilo in total per day of veges and fruits (amount for an adult of average size). For motivation to hoe into veges and fruits, see the article ‘Anti-Cancer Foods’ in the Autumn 2007 issue of NHVL. Modest amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat are also essential in the diet – as laid out in the dietary guidelines.
Sixthly, increase the intake of protective nutrients by regularly consuming the juices of organically-grown green, yellow and red vegetables. Always consume fluids on an empty stomach and at least an hour before meals.
Seventh, consider supplements to top up key antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, vitamin E, the carotenoid complex, zinc, selenium, B-vitamins (especially folic acid) and a multi-mineral. Have your levels of vitamin B12 checked by a doctor. When selecting a mineral supplement, always choose a chelated form.
Eighth, have regular, moderate physical activity.
Ninth, use meditation, visualisation, affirmations, etc., to deal with anxiety, worry and other harmful forms of stress.
Nature is very forgiving. When we do the best that we can along the above lines, the rewards are usually well worth the effort required.
I believe there is a plant which can get rid of silverfish. Do you know of it or anything else which repels these pests?
You are correct, there are plants that do this, in fact, more than one plant.
Silverfish are repelled by bay leaves, cloves and the oils of lavender, eucalyptus and citronella. These oils are available in chemists and health shops, although you may have to ask the shop to get them in for you. Epsom salts also repels silverfish.
Another way is to try sprinkling borax or alum powder behind books and papers and in corners and crevices where silverfish hide. Or mix equal parts of bicarbonate of soda and sugar and place behind books and papers.
Do what you can to keep cupboards, shelves and books well aired. The more you disturb the paperwork, the more the silverfish don’t like it.
Do you have the details of any Gerson practitioners and/or institutes in Australia, Sydney in particular?
Thanks and regards..
To be qualified to practise Gerson Therapy for cancer, a practitioner has to do a special course at the Gerson Institute in California. It involves one week of lectures and then doing clinical work at the Gerson Clinic in Mexico.
It appears that there are no qualified Gerson practitioners in Sydney – or anywhere in New South Wales.
For information regarding Queensland, contact Kathryn Alexander by email: Living Proof
, to describe his experiences and include an outline of the Gerson program. This book is available in the Natural Health Society’s bookshop.
Hello Roger my sister has cancer of both breasts, both lungs, brain, neck and now has spread to glands in her back near her liver.
Needless to say she feels very bad, after just finishing her last course of radiotherapy!
She is living in UK at the moment, but is hopefully being brought here to Australia to stay with us for as long as she has!
I would give anything to be able to take her to Hopewood Health Retreat, but could never aford it, but is there anything you think that could help her.
I do alot of juicing with my Champion juicer, but fear she wouldn’t believe in it to help her!
From your description of the extent of the cancer in her body, it has apparently spread far and wide. To reverse it would be quite a feat by the body in self-healing – and it would require a lot of determination by your sister. She really needs to have faith that it can be worth the effort required. I will come back to that.
The essence of recovery – assuming that it is possible – is to reduce the causes of cancer and support the body’s self-healing powers. There are numerous things that can be done.
Firstly, minimise the production of free radicals, which are very aggressive chemicals in the body that are major causes of the genetic damage turning abnormal cells into a cancer cells. A short list of the causes of free radicals is: cigarette smoke; the chlorine in tap water; the benzene in petrol; very toxic pesticides; other toxic man-made chemicals; ionising radiation (as in X-rays and other nuclear radiation); surplus iron in the body.
Re iron, because it can be a major cause of free radicals, I think everyone would be wise to have their blood levels checked by a doctor. If they are normal, be careful to not take iron supplements and to not consume iron in significant amounts in a multi-mineral supplement. The major source of surplus iron for most people is from a large intake of red meat.
Secondly, minimise your exposure to man-made chemicals right across the board. A detailed explanation of this was given in the Summer 2005/06 issue of our magazine, New Vegetarian and Natural Health.
Thirdly, eat enough foods for your needs and no more. The more calories we consume above our needs, the greater the occurrence of genetic damage. The Natural Health Dietary Guidelines are designed to make it relatively easy to have enough calories without overeating. These Guidelines include all the necessary food categories.
Fourthly, avoid deep-fried foods and minimise consumption of overcooked and browned food.
Fifthly, eat an abundance of fresh, green, yellow and red vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits, including red, blue and purple ones when in season. Consume approximately one kilo in total per day of veges and fruits (amount for an adult of average size). For motivation to hoe into veges and fruits, see the article ‘Anti-Cancer Foods’ in the Autumn 2007 issue of NHVL.
Sixthly, increase the intake of protective nutrients by regularly consuming the juices of organically-grown green, yellow and red vegetables.
Seventh, consider supplements to top up key vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, vitamin E, the carotenoid complex, zinc, selenium, B-vitamins (especially folic acid) and a multi-mineral. Have your levels of vitamin B12 checked by a doctor.
Eighth, have regular, moderate physical activity.
Ninth, use meditation, visualisation, affirmations, etc., to deal with anxiety, worry and other harmful forms of stress.
All the above is simply a very healthy lifestyle to support every normal function in the human body including healing.
[NOTE that my information in relation to cancer is based on a study of medical and nutritional literature looking at the causes, mechanism and prevention of cancer. For the documented account, see New Vegetarian and Natural Health, Winter 2004 issue.]
In Mexico there is a cancer clinic that employs nutrition and other natural methods that are not permitted in Western countries. It is the Gerson Clinic and its methods are precisely what the research indicates to be necessary to remove causes and promote self-healing. The methods are not popular with the drug companies because they don’t involve drugs. Fortunately, the Clinic has produced a 90-minute DVD that shows what causes cancer, how they deal with it and numerous successful case stories. The DVD is entitled, The Gerson Miracle, and is available in the Natural Health Society’s bookshop (for $32 incl. postage – or less 10% to subscribers).
The great offerings in this film are that it gives a good idea of the Gerson method and also shows first-hand successful recoveries. If a person is ever going to be convinced that nutrition, etc, can possibly work, this film should surely achieve that.
Compared to the lifestyle described above, the Gerson program relies heavily on the juices of organically-grown veges and fruits. The details of the program have been published in a book written by an ex-cancer sufferer who lives in Adelaide. His name is John Cirocco and the book is Living Proof. This is also available in the NHS bookshop, the posted price being $29 (less 10% to subscribers).
An American health site extols the virtues of enameled cast-iron cookware and offers a 5-piece set for $US 247. Do you agree this is the best way to cook? Which is the best brand available in Australia?
The best materials for pots and pans for cooking are stainless steel, cast iron and enamel. If enamel is on an aluminium pot, it is OK until the enamel chips and then the food will be exposed to aluminium. Enamel on a cast-iron pot should be very good. So your choice sounds fine.
Just a word on non-stick. Teflon has come in for some very bad health press in recent years – see Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, Autumn 2007, page 60 – so the only non-stick pans we could recommend are those composed of hardened metal surfaces, such as Scanpan. There other brands too, including a new being advertised currently, and they could all be just as satisfactory as far as we know.
Best brand? Sorry, but I have to pass on this question because it requires the resources of the Australian Consumers’ Association and their magazine, Choice, to carry out the highly technical and liability-ridden task of assessing brands.
Question: Hi Roger, where would i found to bay fresh vegetables and fresh fruit organic and no pesticides or spry or any other chemicals. Oround North West of Sydney? Peter my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: There are now many suppliers of organic foods in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. Some of them deliver beyond the Metropolitan Area as well. For convenience, the following list gives the suppliers’ full range of food items. This list is not comprehensive, there are sure to be other suppliers as well. More Health Organics; Can supply fruit, vegetables, grocery items, poultry and meat – a very wide range of food items. Certified by ORGAA. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area. Contact: phone 9764 3891; email email@example.com. The Organic Grocer: Fruit, vegetables, grocery items, meats – a wide range of food items. Certified by NASAA. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area and Central Coast. Delivery runs are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, covering different suburbs. Contact: phone 1300 881 161; web www.theOrganicGrocer.com.au. The Organic Food and Produce Company: Fruit, vegetables, grocery items and dairy products. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area from Berowra in north to Cronulla and Bankstown in South. Also Blue Mountains to Katoomba. Contact: phone 9967 9967 or 0414 637 195; email firstname.lastname@example.org; web www.organicfood.com.au The Organic Food and Produce Company is also commencing in theMELBOURNE METROPOLITAN AREA. Doorstep Organics: Fruit, vegetables, grocery items, dairy products, poultry and meats. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area and South Coast to Berry. Courier for outlying areas. Contact: phone 1800 463 733; email email@example.com; web www.doorstep.com.au. Lettuce Deliver Organics: Fruit, vegetables, grocery items, poultry and meats. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area. Contact: phone 9763 7337; email firstname.lastname@example.org; web www.lettucedeliver.com.au. The Organic Family: Based in Penrith NSW. Fruit, vegetables, grocery items, dairy products, poultry and meats. Wide range. Delivery to north side of Sydney Harbour to Dural and Richmond, south to Lurnea, and to Penrith and Blue Mountains to Mt Victoria. Contact; phone 4727 1886; email email@example.com; web www.organicfamily.com.au. Penrith Organic Health: Some fruit and vegetables, some grocery items, juices, bulk items in a wide range (flours, beans, grains, confectionery), organic meats. Specialises in gluten-free foods. Over-the-counter only. Not deliver. Contact: phone 4722 6363. Location 437 High St, Penrith NSW. Abundant Organics: Fruit, vegetables, grocery items, meats. Delivery to Sydney Metropolitan Area. Courier for outlying areas. Contact: phone 1300 558 312; web www.abundantorganics.com.au. Location Emu Plains. Blue Mountains Food Co-op: Wide range of foods of most kinds.Over-the-counter only. Not deliver. Location Shop 1, Happeny Lane, Katoomba NSW.
Question: A dear friend (73) has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The doctor prescribed pain killers - these are affecting her kidneys - so she would like a better way of coping with this problem. She has also been told not to exercise, very difficult for a person who has always been very active. If the magazine has published any articles on this please let me know the date as I have quite a few year’s copies. Thank you
Answer: Information on fibromyalgia can be found in Your Questions Answered on page 20 of our Spring 2003 magazine. The key to recovery is to deal with the underlying cuase of the inflammation. This is explained in two other detailed on pages 30-37 of Spring 2006, and pages 48-54 of Winter 2003.
Question: hello, just to let anyone who is interested in getting information on eleotin or products or advice in Australia, Peter C Nicholls now has the offical site up and running, so please visit and do not hesitate to ask any questions, after Peter cured himself of Diabetes using Eleotin, his intention is to help as many people as possible. Good Luck, Alkira Lilly
I have read Michael Sichel’s BITTER SWEET PROFITS. Do you stock the diabetes type 2 reversal herbs called ELEOTIN (P-700) If not, do you know where I can get this scientif ic blend of 15 natural herbs?
Eleotin (P-700) is manufactured in Canada by Eastwood Companies. Ypu can find lots of information on Eleotin, including the do’s and don’ts on their website at http://www.eastwoodcompanies.com/eleotin/index.php. For supplies of Eleotin, Eastwood Companies advises Australians to contact their Australian distributor, Peter Nicholls, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.For others who want to know more, Bitter Sweet Profits is an astonishing account by a highly respected naturopath of a new herbal remedy for facilitating recovery from diabetes. The herbal combination, Eleotin, was tested in human trials and produced remarkable results. This small book of 180 pages covers all the main aspects of diabetes and is very readable. It is written for the lay person and is in short sections. Copies can be obtained from the Natural Health Society for $31 for non-members and $27.50 for members (prices include postage and handling.) Copies can be purchased through our online store.
Question: Hallo, I was wondering, when is the next seminar in Ryde this year?Thank you very much.Barbara
Answer: The Natural Health Society’s 2008 Natural Health Seminar will be held at North Ryde Golf Club on Sunday, 29 June. An advance notice of the one-day seminar appears on page 19 of the Autumn issue of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life. Full details on the seminar and a registration form will appear in the Winter issue of the magazine, and will also be posted on this webiste. We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Question: We have recently purchased an alkalising/ionising water filter. We have been using it now for about 6 weeks and we are both feeling excessively tired We realise that we might be detoxing, but our diet is excellent and we shouldnd’t have too many toxins in our systems. Have you done any research into ionized water? Wer are concerned that we might be laying down excessive calcium in our arteries etc. Especially as the latest information seems to point to the fact that too much calcium may lead to heart problems.
Answer: There is a stack of evidence supporting the health benefits of water being ‘hard’, that is, containing a high level of alkaline minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium. For a start, most of the Pandora’s box of health problems in Australia have at their foundation excess acidity of the bodily fluids, due partly to deficiency of the alkaline minerals, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and a surplus of the acidic minerals, sulphur, chlorine and phosphorous. The remedies for this lie in reducing the intake of acid-forming foods and increasing alkali-forming foods (see the Summer 2006/07 issue of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, page 13). The scientific evidence indicates that consuming water containing good levels of calcium and magnesium helps to correct the deficiency of alkaline minerals. At the ‘grass roots’ level literally, the CSIRO found many years ago that in the Monaro region of NSW, sheep and cattle in particular paddocks were living 30% to 100% longer than animals in adjacent areas. It was discovered that the difference was a high level of magnesium bicarbonate in the spring water they were drinking. A string of studies in Sweden, Japan and Taiwan have found that humans drinking hard water have significantly lower incidences of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and stroke. An American review of the relevant studies in 1998 summarised that the ideal drinking water should be rich in magnesium and calcium and low in sodium (Am J Med 1998 Aug; 105(2): 125-30 A). The ionised property of the water you are drinking gives the water a natural ‘crystal’ structure matching that occurring in fruits and vegetables. It enters the bodily cells more readily, taking in more minerals and hydrating the cells better. This is a very good remedy for the cellular dehydration that is endemic in Australian society. The remaining question is – is it the alkaline property of your drinking water causing tiredness. It may be. Firstly, if you have the appliance set to produce very alkaline water, such as pH 10, this might be causing alkalosis, the opposite of what you are aiming to correct. As your diet is very good – presumably at least three-quarters veges and fruits – you may be making your bodies too alkaline. One recommendation is that the pH be in the range 9 to 9.5, but I would be cautious and set a level somewhere between 8 and 9.Secondly, if there is much more calcium in the water than magnesium, I have come to understand that this can be harmful. In natural plant foods, on average, there is a balance between calcium and magnesium in the ratio of around 2:1. Unbalanced calcium could possibly cause significant problems. I suggest you consider the pH setting and find out just what minerals are present in the water you are drinking.