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Christmas Reflection

Less than 6 weeks to Xmas and a great time to reflect on not only what 2013 has presented to you but also how your health has been over this last year. If you feel it has been a bit “iffy” then it is time to be more conscious of your diet and lifestyle, cut down on the amount of refined carbs  and hydrogenated fats you are consuming and add more plant based foods to your daily intake.

Yes, Xmas and festivities are upon us but we can still be sensible and compensate for our overindulgence by drinking a lot more water, being consistent with exercise and ensuring that meals that don’t involve “party” are the most nutritious that you can prepare. So, some of the reasons to eat more plant-based foods:

· More easily digested especially if raw, assisting the body to produce more energy. Highly processed refined foods require more energy to break them down. Increased fibre also helps digestion and can bind onto excessive fats in the blood.

· Balanced nutrition from alkalising plant based foods assist with detoxification, decreased inflammation, improve cortisol levels and ultimately the quality of sleep.

· More plant based foods can decrease the risk of diabetes type 2 and can assist with mental health.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 01:24PM

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U.S. FDA bans Trans fats in Processed Foods

It’s taken a while, and hopefully not too late, for medical research to catch up with nutritional and naturopathic scientific knowledge, to acknowledge that a major health issue is the excessive consumption of trans fatty acids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fats in processed foods, should not be used in food unless authorised by regulation.

“.......artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not ’generally recognised as safe’ for use in food”.

Trans fats have been shown to cause heart disease and diabetes and contribute to obesity and other chronic degenerative conditions. They are used by processed food manufacturers to stabilise shelf life and the hydrogenated oils are in solid form and so want leak out of packaging. They are often referred to as plasticised fats. Some examples include: fast food hamburgers, microwave popcorn, some frozen desserts, baking mixes, cake frostings and of course marjarines.

The processed food industry has been slowly poisoning its customers with not only hydrogenated oils but many other nasty chemicals including: sodium nitrate, MSG, aspartame, preservatives, artificial food colourings etc.

It may take time for the health risks of these additives to be medically recognised let alone the stink that will be caused by processed food manufacturers. Hopefully, Australia will take steps to follow suit.

The lesson is, and always will be, eat fresh and from the source. Not from the box, can, bottle or drive thru.


Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 06:02PM

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Low Carb Diet Improves In Vitro Fertilisation

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — Reducing carbohydrates and boosting protein intake can significantly improve a woman's chance of conception and birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a new study.

The effect is "at the egg level," said lead investigator Jeffrey Russell, MD, from the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Newark. He presented the findings here at American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 61st Annual Clinical Meeting.

Carbohydrate-loaded diets create a hostile oocyte environment even before conception or implantation, he explained.

"Eggs and embryos are not going to do well in a high-glucose environment." By lowering carbs and increasing protein, "you're bathing your egg in good, healthy, nutritious supplements," he said.

Eggs and embryos are not going to do well in a high-glucose environment.

Dr. Russell said this study was prompted by the poor quality of embryos he was seeing in young, healthy women who came through his IVF program. "We couldn't figure out why. They weren't overweight, they weren't diabetic," he said.

The 120 women in the study, who were 36 and 37 years of age, completed a 3-day dietary log. It revealed that for some, their daily diet was 60% to 70% carbohydrates. "They were eating oatmeal for breakfast, a bagel for lunch, pasta for dinner, and no protein," Dr. Russell explained.

Patients were categorized into 1 of 2 groups: those whose average diet was more than 25% protein (n = 48), and those whose average diet was less than 25% protein (n = 72). There was no difference in average body mass index between the 2 groups (approximately 26 kg/m²).

There were significant differences in IVF response between the 2 groups. Blastocyst development was higher in the high-protein group than in the low-protein group (64% vs 33.8%; P < .002), as were clinical pregnancy rates (66.6% vs 31.9%; P < .0005) and live birth rates (58.3% vs 11.3%; P < .0005).

When protein intake was more than 25% of the diet and carbohydrate intake was less than 40%, the clinical pregnancy rate shot up to 80%, he reported.     

Dr. Russell now counsels all IVF patients to cut down on carbohydrate intake and increase protein intake.

"There is no caloric restriction, but they have to get above 25% protein. This is not a weight-loss program, it's a nutritional program. This is not about losing weight to get pregnant, it's about eating healthier to get pregnant," he said.

Back to Basics

In a study presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) meeting last year, IVF patients who switched to a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet and then underwent another cycle increased their blastocyst formation rate from 19% to 45% and their clinical pregnancy rate from 17% to 83% (Fertil Steril. 2012;98[Suppl]:S47).

Even non-IVF patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome have improved pregnancy rates after making this lifestyle change, Dr. Russell noted.

This "draws attention to a previously understudied area of reproduction...and opens the way for understanding a host of dietary factors that may be related to improved outcomes in the assisted reproductive technologies," ASRM president-elect Richard Reindollar, MD, who is chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, told Medscape Medical News.

"These studies demonstrate how little we know about the effect of micronutrients in our diets on various aspects of reproduction. They demonstrate a field wide open for future research and beg questions such as whether, for example, it is carbohydrates in general or the inflammatory effects of gluten in grain carbohydrates that are deleterious to IVF outcomes," said Dr. Reindollar.

The study's connection between high blood glucose to IVF success is "an interesting finding that deserves to be evaluated further," said Sharon Phelan, MD, from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, who is a member of the ACOG Scientific Program Committee. She was asked by Medscape Medical News to comment on the findings.

"Although the blood glucose is not high enough to be in the diabetic range, it is enough to be toxic to the developing blastocyst," she added." Perhaps this is a call for us to get back to our 'roots,' or basic diets, again."

Dr. Russell, Dr. Reindollar, and Dr. Phelan have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 61st Annual Clinical Meeting: Abstract 96. Presented May 6, 2013.

Reference:  Medscape Medical News


Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 07:33PM

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Why refined Grains are Harmful + Gluten free Wholegrain Alternatives

“The whiter the bread the sooner you're dead”.

Dramatic as this jingle may appear, unfortunately these days a common staple in most people’s diets provides little to no nutritive properties and cannot support animal or human life.

Wheat is a key ingredient in Western diets. We consume it in the form of bread, pies, cakes, biscuits, pasta ,cereals and sauces after it has been heated, fractioned, fragmented until it is almost impossible to recognise it as its original form. This processing strips most of the nutrients from the grain.

Why refined grain products are harmful:

1. They can be excessively starchy and high in gluten ( a topic for another blog but in a nut shell greater than 40% of the population have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten causing varying degrees of digestive disturbances an potentially enhancing the development of many chronic diseases).

2.  Nutritionally Imbalanced

3. With refining, grains can contribute to the development of many degenerative diseases. Altered calcium-phosphorus balance in these products leaches calcium from bones and teeth. Also, sugar which is often added to these foods can not only impact the progression of tooth decay but is now recognised to promote diabetes, obesity and other inflammatory health conditions.

A Loaf of Chemicals

Let’s just list a few:

• Bleaches

• Nitrogen dioxide

• Azocarbonamide


Also added to refined grain products are salt, skim milk powder, enzyme activators, sulphates, chloride and bromate.

The real question is:

Is the shelf-life of products more important in our economy than the health and wellbeing of people?

I would suggest that refined grain products are a burden to our economy as a result of the general populations degenerating health and the subsequent increases in health costs to individuals and the government.

Next time you go shopping, consider these healthy, gluten free whole grain alternatives:

1. Amaranth

2. Buckwheat

3. Corn

4. Millet

5. Quinoa

6. Rice

7. Wild rice

8. Oats (oats are inherently gluten free but may be contaminated with wheat during processing).


Here’s to happy tummies and healthy long life!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 07:33PM

Health & Fertility Matters