To Everyone a wonderful festive season and holidays with good food and company! Have a great New Year 2013, may it bring all of you lots of good health, success, love, happiness and more time for yourself and your loved ones!
Here’s to a New Year – let it roll on 2013!
Enjoy a spicy winter warming mulled for the colder days! This is my super easy recipe, my favourite German winter drink, great for having some people over. Can be served as a pre-Christmas party treat or a dinner accompaniment. Though this recipe requires some sugar to balance the tangy acidity of the wine, I have used Xylitol, a natural fruit sugar from the birch tree, and a Swedish adaptation to add a few almonds to each portion to help balance blood sugar.
Ingredients: 1 bottle of red wine, 1 ltr of orange juice, 1 orange (sliced), 1 apple (sliced) [alternatively can be made with 200g of frozen mixed berries], 60-70g of Xylitol, 2 bags of mulled wine spice (e.g. from Schwartz), 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1-2 tsp ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger and/or mixed spice. Additionally: 3-4 almonds to add per glass.
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large sauce pan (you can use double the recipe if you want to cater for more!)
2. Lightly simmer for at least 30 minutes (do not boil)
3. Serve in a nice mug or glass and put some almonds in (the Swedish way!)
4. Should anything be left over you can sieve out the fruit and fill it up in your empty wine bottles. Great for presents or keep in the fridge up to 2 weeks for usage as needed.
[05Feb12] Today’s BBC article “Campaign warns of drinking ‘little too much’ alcohol” reiterates it again: “People should not regularly exceed the daily limit of 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women”. This is also reflected in the current Department of Health (DoH) alcohol advice guidance.”
This is on the back of previous media articles from last year, where it was also advised to, for example, ‘give your liver a break’ from alcohol for at least 3 days a week (see more here and a BBC News video here).
These reports came up after the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) started a briefing meeting on minimum pricing of alcohol in 2009 and following various lobbying and alliance efforts, when their Science & Technology Select Committee published evidence to the inquiry on alcohol guidelines in 2011. More information on th RCP article can also be found here on NHS Choices.
Though a glass (of red wine) in moderation was thought to be cardio protective, latest research into alcohol consumption and particularly cancer (but also various other diseases) correlated the ‘little bit too much’ then the ‘moderate’ one glass (= 125ml). Cancer Research UK (CRUK) pointed out that around 9% of cancers in the UK may be linked to unhealthy diets and around 4% are linked to alcohol consumption. This was based on a study in December 2011 from Parkin et al.
Alcohol is well established as a cause of cancer. Also published around the same time from Parkin in the Journal of Cancer, it was estimated that around 12,500 cancer cases in the UK each year are linked to alcohol consumption. This was highest for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx (around 30%), although bowel cancers accounted for the greatest number of linked cases (around 4,650 cases). 
Risk of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (oesophagus, oral cavity, pharynx and larynx) increases linearly with quantity of alcohol consumed above 25g/day. Someone drinking 100 g/day has a 4-6-fold increased risk of these cancers compared to light or non-drinkers. 
Further information on ‘Diet, alcohol and cancer in the UK – statitics’ can also be found on the CRUK website. Alcohol consumption has also considerable psychotropic effects, and can be linked to mood disorders and psychological distress. Long-term consumption of alcohol produces alcohol dependence with comorbidity such as mood disorder, schizophrenic disorder and neurotic disorder. 
If dependency is becoming an issue, it may be best to get help either from a trained professional or via group work. There are various UK bodies that offer help, e.g. see here.
Overall, one could perhaps say that ‘proper’ moderation is everything. This means not only ‘how much’ we drink, or ‘what’ we drink, but also ‘how’ and ‘when’ we chose to drink. It is clear that each of us may metabolise alcohol differently depending on genetic variation and individual environmental, metabolic and emotional circumstances. But e.g. chosing some very good quality (preferably organic and sulphite free) red wine with a good nutrient dense meal (with good amounts of vegetables and fish and other good fats, bit Mediterranean style) chatting animatedly among friends, will likely be better metabolised then pouring down some cheap pub wine with a bag of crisps in one hand and a fag in the other hand after work… There may be a lot of social peer pressure, particularly in the UK culture, however, drinking alcohol should be a ‘choice’. Keeping it to ‘one’ glass (=125ml) is often not easy for many people. Though when sitting down for a proper meal and chatting with friends this may be easier. If you still find it hard, try a ‘wine spritzer’ (50% with sparkling water). If you prefer normally spirits as you don’t cope well with red wine, perhaps you can tolerate a small white wine spritzer better.
If you like to get help on how to track your units and find out more about alcohol consumption guidelines, also check out the NHS Live Well pages here. If you don’t know what a unit of alcohol is – in the picture blow you can roughly see what it would be, depending on choice of drink. For a more thorough calculation, there are various alcohol unit calculators available online.
If you require a litte more help than just knowing how to drink ‘safely’, how to put it into action and combine it with a healthy lifestyle, considering your various lifestyle choices, pressures and other potential stress factors, feel free to contact us for a suitable personalised nutrition or therapeutic coaching programme.
Here’s to good health!
 Parkin, D.M., Boyd, L., Walker, L.C. (2011) The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010. Summary and conclusions. Br J Cancer, 6 Dec; 105 (S2):S77-S81; doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.489
 Parkin, D.M. (2011) Cancers attributable to consumption of alcohol in the UK in 2010. Br J Cancer, 6 Dec; 105 (S2):S14-S18; doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.476
 Boffetta, P. and Hashibe, M. (2006), Alcohol and cancer. Lancet Oncol, 7(2): p. 149-56.
 Shibasaki M, Kurokawa K, Ohkuma S. (2011) [Functional homology between alcohol dependence and mood disorder]. [Article in Japanese] Nihon Arukoru Yakubutsu Igakkai Zasshi. Jun;46(3):337-46.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
[28-Jan-12] The year 2012 started with some turbulences in the Nutrition Health arena (in the USA and European-wide), with media articles and various blogs running over with comments and opinions from both public and different health care professionals. Most of our clients often seem confused, with a common question: “I just want to eat well and be healthy, what’s the big fuss and what really IS the difference between a dietician, nutritional therapist (NT) and nutritionist?” (a place to find out may be here and here).
And why all this competitive bickering when ideally we should all aim to work together, specialising in our own areas of expertise, while respecting and enhancing each others strenghts – together – rather than against each other? There was a nice e-bulletin last week on ‘Recognising Diversity‘ between these professions. Reading through some of the blog comments (Which?, FSA, and various others online), it poses the question – is this predominantly about egos, politics, and vested interests while it should really be about the patient and consumer seeking better long-term health outcomes?
Some of the bias made by the recent Which? article was recently reviewed succinctly by a well respected Nutrition Consultant (MSc Nutritional Medicine, University of Surrey) here, who also did a very good job at responding to critical comments from Which? panelists and well-known professional anti-NT camp bloggers. Also a recent article of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) tried to bash Nutritional Medicine, while even the medical professions’ own lot, for example experts like Dr Mike Stroud (FRCP Consultant Gastroenterologist and Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Nutrition, Southampton, and Chair of the NICE GDG on Nutrition Support) was expressing his opinion about the article.
The point is that there are indeed ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practitioners in all professions. Ideally sifting out the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ from the ‘good’ should of course be a priority in ensuring patient interest and safety. However, it appeared that the Which? article contained many inaccuracies and biases. There was an enlightening article published this week, aiming to explain the difference between main-stream dieticians and nutritional therapists, giving insight into current challenges in ‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ in the current scientific paradigm and the ‘new’ (well, more than 30 years old…) Functional Medicine paradigm for improved and integrative medicine (also with a a video link to Dr Jeffrey Bland, Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)):
As we pointed out in our article on the recent Which? investigation of nutritional therapists (NTs) in the UK, NTs and dieticians are very different animals. Although the Which? article contained many inaccuracies and biases, what shone out clearly from the investigation was that anyone visiting a dietician with a particular condition would likely receive very different advice if they went to see an NT. But why is this? This article attempts to shed some light on the different approaches of NTs and dieticians… Read more…
One of the comments was particularly intersting from a non-NT/non-dietican and non-healthcare professional (‘just’ a PhD Physics with 25 years of R+D experience; at the time of writing comment number 570!): Guy says,
“… In terms of confirming the effectiveness of NT, the orthodox method would be to carry out randomised trials. However these are not a suitable measurement method since NT practitioners will make a set of recommendations which are suited to each patient and in most cases these contain several different dietary/ [lifestyle and]/ supplement changes. To judge NT in a reductionist manner based on randomised trials (with a single variable) would be about as relevant as testing a car by how well it runs on rails. In the industry that I work in (IT hardware/consumer electronics) there are numerous examples of where product testing methods have been hijacked by one particular company/cartel in order to ensure their products stand out amongst rivals. Thus government regulations often end up protecting the industry against the public rather than protecting the public against the industry … The sickness (healthcare) industry is massively falling behind public opinion now that the internet has made information free to all. People are no longer accepting poor advice but are now taking control of their own healthcare. This ‘Arab Spring’ revolution in continuing to gather momentum. It would be great if the NHS could really get on board with this so that the ‘G’ in ‘GP’ can finally start to mean ‘general’ (as opposed to ‘generating wealth for pharmaceutical shareholders’).”
Other ‘anti-dietician’ documents are now appearing, questioning how up to date the profession’s evidence and science-based practice is and claiming vested interests from big food and pharma companies (one of them here). To the consumer’s eye, this must seem like an embarrassing and petty call for a competitive media stunt, aiming to tarr a whole profession that in their growing numbers are working all over the world now (many with excellent BSc(Hons), MSc and PhD degrees), becoming an increasing threat to the once sole professionals ‘allowed’ to give nutrition advice…
The final conclusion of the recent ANH article makes some valuable comments: “Dietetics and nutritional therapy are two different theories and worldviews that attempt to bring some sense to the immensely complex area of human nutrition. We shall see in time which approach turns out to be the more valid, effective and ‘evidence-based’, and also which provides the most appropriate answer to the complex epigenetics facing modern humans. In the meantime, we encourage prospective patients to follow their instincts and choose the nutritional path that feels the most appropriate to their circumstances. And to remember that the rapport between the patient and the practitioner is a key part of the process, so take time to choose the right practitioner too.”
For ‘patient’s’ sake, can’t we just all work together utilising the ‘good’ and positives in what all of us are striving to do?
Rather than just pointing to the ‘bad’ and the ‘uglies’ offering largely ‘generalisations’, ‘deletions’ and ‘distortions’ for our existing worldviews (‘realities’)? Would it be good if we actually moved forward AND keep improving in line with latest scientific findings for individual patient needs, keeping common goals in mind rather than just the differences? It will be the informed and educated patient and consumer who will ultimately drive demand for their own needs, whatever that may mean to them…
I believe we can.
[24-Dec-11] This is an amazingly simple but tasty chocolate treat – that also counts to your 5-A-Day (and is completely gluten-free)! Most are astonished tasting this and then finding that all it takes is 3 main ingredients (plus some additional spices depending on taste, and some ‘healthy’ decoration) – the main one being – Sweet potato! To have it ready for Christmas day as an additional desert for after dinner or served with coffee or tea – make it the day before and keep in the fridge overnight (it is better served cold). Enjoy a healthy chocolate treat!
750g Sweet potatoes (washed, scrubbed, slightly peeled, cut into chunks)
300g Dark chocolate (e.g. 2x 150g Green and Black’s Cooking chocolate, 72%; OR: 2x 100g 70% chocolate plus 1x Green & Black’s Maya Gold)
200g Dairy butter or coconut butter (add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
Depending on the sweetness of the potatoes and chosen chocolate, you don’t have to add any additional sugar. If you however prefer it sweeter you could add 1 Tbs of Manuka Honey or 1-1.5 Tbs of Xylitol (birch sugar, available from the health shop).
Christmas Spices: 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of Allspice, 1/4 tsp of natural almond essence, 1/2 tsp or orange essence
Alcoholic Option: 2-3 Tbs of rum or 1/2 cup of previously rum-soaked raisins
For Decoration: Pumpkin seeds, Hazelnuts, and desiccated Coconut
How to do it
1. Steam the potatoes for roughly 15 minutes and leave to cool
2. In the meantime get the chocolate into a bain-marie (just break it all up into small chunks into a bowl, placed into a saucepan with boiling water so that the hot water only touches the bowl, stir occasionally)
3. Add the butter in pieces to the chocolate so it all melts (takes about 15-25 minutes)
4. Puree the sweet potatoes (in blender) and add the melted butter and chocolate. Add all other spices. If using rum-raisins add at the end and fold into the mix.
5. Use a baking sheet to line and oil (coconut oil) a square brownie dish (or any dish about 3-4 cm high) and spread out the mix evenly.
6. Decorate half with pumpkin seeds, some hazelnuts and the other half with coconut – or as preferred.
7. Chill in the fridge over night.
8. Next day cut into small chunks (about 3cm and finger width) served one its own or optionally with some plain yoghurt and red berries.
Have a very Christmas and a very happy, healthy, successful, exciting and prosperous New Year 2012!!
[28-Nov-11] Enjoy a winter warming soup with a edge! As a starter or main – its a delicious and nourishing meal that is tasty as well as healthy with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Ingredients: 2 medium white onions, 4-6 garlic cloves, 2 medium carrots, 2 medium potatoes, 1 small parsnip, 1 large (or 2 small to medium) cauliflower, 2 Tbs bouillion powder or stock cubes, 6-8 strips of anchovies, 1/2 Stilton or blue cheese, 2 tsp of tumeric, 1/2 tsp cloves, some nutmeg, black pepper, thyme (fresh or dry). Additionally: some pumpkin seeds and oil, plain yoghurt and nutmeg.
1. Dice the onions and lightly fry in olive oil for 5 minutes then add the garlic (whole)
2. Now add all remaining vegetables, roughly diced, bouillion powder, spices and 1-1.5 ltr of boiling water
3. Gently simmer for about 25-35 minutes
4. Add anchovies, stilton and thyme at the end and stirr
5. With a hand blended whizz to the desidered consistency
6. Serve with some pumkin seed oil and pumpkin (or sunflower) seeds sprinkled over and 1 Tbs of plain yoghurt and some nutmeg grated over
[15-Nov-11] “The Real Girl – She is what she eats!” - Currently we are working on a new project with Nike Training Club supporting a 30 year old London Girl training for her first ever half-marathon in February 2012! She has never attempted much exercise and looked much at her diet but wanted to get some inputs in the way eating could help with her performance. Some other nice side-effects may be also to help with her skin and hormonal health. We have designed a three session programme over the coming months to support her with her training goals, and so far things are going well! To read her testimonial about our session and to follow the “The Real Girl” diary on Facebook, see here.
If you like to have a copy of the high-density nutrition and protein brownie recipe or if you are interested in nutritional support to enhance performance, please contact us.
[06-Nov-11] On November 17 the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust London is hosting a conference on Vitamin D - The speakers will include Professor Reinhold Vieth, who has studied and lectured about Vitamin D for more than 20 years and Professor Nick Bishop from Sheffield who is the only UK professor of children’s medical bone disease. A range of other experts will explain the impact of Vitamin D deficiency in babies, children and adults – with practical guidance on how to prevent many of the problems.
Learn about current policy regarding who should have blood levels checked, who should have supplements and whether these should be prescribed by doctors or other health professionals. Understand the recommendations for Vitamin D dosage and duration of the treatment in cases of deficiency and gain knowledge of the blood levels which indicate insufficiency or deficiency. Hear about research on the role that Vitamin D plays in many illnesses such as gestational diabetes, plus toxicity and safe blood serum levels. Share your knowledge and clinical experiences by participating in an open discussion about new treatment guidelines and protocols.
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital treats patients from across the UK, so doctors, health visitors, midwives, pharmacists, public health and other health professionals from far and wide will be attending. Invited Faculty include: Professor Reinhold Vieth, Professor Nick Bishop, Dr Colin Michie, Dr Robert Moy, Dr Richard Keen, Dr Benjamin Jacobs, Dr Priscilla Julies. The conference will be held over two sessions, from 2:00-5:00pm and then repeated from 6:00-8:15pm. This will enable you to choose a time that is most convenient for you. More details here, and see here for a full brochure.
FREE Tickets for BANT Members (practitioner or students)!! Please contact Rufus Greenbaum, Vitamin D Project Manager.
[02Nov11] If you haven’t had a chance to watch last night’s (Tuesday 1st November) new new primetime Channel 4 “The Food Hospital”, please do so (online) and watch out for weekly episodes. More information about this and also your chance to participate in the food trials depending on what your condition or health goal is you can find on their website.
(Set your TV tuner on record and perhaps if you are interested followed by Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’). Here is also some more information from the Radio times: http://bit.ly/uBPWbm
The first episode showed big success and differences by changing people’s diet who were suffering of: Breast Cancer, Diabetes Type 2, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and recurrent Migraines.
These are amazing steps (hopefully and finally!) towards increasing awareness and acceptance of the role that food can play in health and disease. It was presented by a GP Consultant, a Specialist Surgeon and a Dietician who appear to have a more integrative approach to achieve patient outcomes and medication reduction at their hearts.
If you are interested how food could help with specific conditions (alongside your medical intervention, we must caution): e.g. Cancer, Obesity, Heart Disease, IBS, High Cholesterol, Migraines, PCOS – find educational information, cases and recipes about it, see more here.
“Let food by thy medicine, let medicine be thy food” – however was already known over 2500 years ago (Hippocrates, 460 B.C) and much has moved on from there in terms of scientific knowledge. An article in the Reader’s Digest this August “Drugged-Up Britain” brings home that currently we spend at least £22 million on drugs in this country, it also looks at some nutrition factors, see the Article page.
I’d be interested to see if we have some critics piping up, and certainly it’s what some pharmaceutical companies may not necessarily like to hear? However, one could argue the pharmaceutical business will remain one of the biggest influential industries in politics and continues to thrive no doubt. However, it could be good news for local healthcare policy makers and most importantly you would think, for the people – and anyone suffering from a health condition or just lost their ability to ‘thrive’. Since we clearly can’t seem (YET!) to successfully control the rising epidemic of metabolic diseases and conditions, seeing the continued and extortionate rise of the countries’ healthcare costs, particularly in the industrialised (Western) nations, shouldn’t we try something else or ‘different’ to see if that would work?
It will also be interesting how nutrition professionals are starting to find more common ground, which appear currently still politically divided, residing largely in different ‘camps’ of thinking (the spectrum ranging from conservative/more ‘orthodox’/one-size-fits all to latest research/more ‘open-minded’/personalised medicine and biochemical individuality).
Here’s to a more integrated healthcare future that will look at helping people to get healthier, that looks at managing ‘the person’ and not just ‘the disease’ based on pharmaceutical symptom control alone.
Here’s to health! Please share!
[30Oct11] Happy Halloween! This is a nourishing and colourful stew – perfect for your slow cooker! I found these amazing wild rabbits at Borough Market the other day (£8 for 2 decent sized rabbits). Its a delicious dish providing good protein from lean meat with a different mild but distincitve flavour, many nutrients from plenty of vegetables and pulses, adding some warmth with a pinch of chillis, plenty of mushroom and herbs, rounded of with some French red wine for an earthy wintery flavour – perfect for the autumn months…enjoy!
Ingredients: 1 medium – large organic or wild rabbit (you can leave it on the bone, just cut into 4 pieces, as with chicken), 2 large onions, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 2-4 medium carrots, 4-8 cloves of garlic, 1-2 stock cubes (or 2-3 Tbs of stock powder), 200g mushrooms (flat or shitake), 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 1 tin broad beans or canellini beans, pinch cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste, 30g Coriander, few sprigs of thyme and oregano; For garnishing: Rocket salad and baby spinach leaves, with 1/2 tomato sliced (or cherry tomatoes); Serve with: 1 Tbs of plain yoghurt, optional: with a side of french green beans, a small glass of Beaujoulais Village (or other wine)
- Cut onions roughly and layer together with the washed and diced carrots and potatoes and sliced garlic into your slow cooker (or large cooking pot).
- Add chopped tomatoes
- Add 1 liter of boiling water with 2 vegetable stock cubes or 3 Tbs of powdered stock
- For slow cooker: leave in juices for 3 hours at low heat — For normal cooker on stove: lighly simmer for 2 hours medium heat
- Add sliced mushroom and beans Let it simmer for a further 20-25 minutes
- Add salt, pepper, cayenne, chopped fresh herbs cover with a lid and let it stand to cool down a little.
- Prepare the (optional french beans, steamed) and salad garnish
- Serve while hot and add the yoghurt and some herbs on top
[16-Aug-11] An exciting new conference organised by the Centre for Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Management (CNELM) to celebrate their 10th Anniversary on 10th September 2011: Good Science: Good Practice conference. The event will be held in Central London at the Cavendish Conference Centre. See here for the detailed conference flyer.
The conference is for industry professionals and we trust that as many of you will be able to join us as possible for the first of which we envisage to be an ongoing series of Good Science: Good Practice conferences representative of our profession. The conference will be available for access online shortly after the conference.
This conference is seen as a pivotal turning point for nutritional therapy providing an opportunity for all practitioners to engage in contributing to building a solid evidence base for a person centred approach to nutrition. Many respected presenters are contributing to the day to demonstrate their commitment to supporting an evidence base for our profession. If you are unable to join us on the day you will be able to purchase the day to view online shortly after the event. To book your place call CNELM on 0118 9798686 or you can register directly on the CNELM website.
Registration details are also included on the attached flyer which gives a comprehensive overview of the day and speaker biographies.
[20-Apr-11] The Vitamin D Association is organising 2 conferences in London in May that might be of interest to you and your colleagues. More details and flyers about the 2 conferences are also here.
Vitamin D & Obstetrics – Improving Pregnancy & Childbirth (17th May 2011, London) Some of the world’s foremost experts will show the strong evidence that higher levels of Vitamin D lead to easier conception, easier pregnancy, less gestational diabetes, less pre-eclampsia, reduced risk of emergency C-sections and an easier delivery, followed by less depression in the mother and a larger, healthier baby. There is also evidence that the risk of Type-1 Diabetes in the child is reduced and that the child will have stronger bones and teeth.
Professor Bruce Hollis will discuss findings from his recent Trials on vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding. He is the director of Paediatric Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and has studied vitamin D metabolism and nutrition for the past 35 years. He has published significant scientific papers on the biomarkers of Vitamin D in the body as they relate to a number of illnesses
Professor Reinhold Vieth is Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. His current research focuses on the roles played by vitamin D in many illnesses and especially gestational diabetes, plus toxicity and safe blood serum levels.
Professor Hollis and Professor Vieth will release findings of their recent work on what mothers and health professionals need to know about vitamin D – information that they hope will help clarify new guidelines for safe sun exposure, supplementation and suitable dietary sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin D & Cancer – Treatment & Prevention (18th May 2011, London) Long-term Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many cancers, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, heart disease, respiratory infections, muscle weakness, mood and cognitive function and infectious diseases such as influenza. There is strong evidence that high levels of Vitamin D both help the body recover from cancer and also play a major part in preventing cancer.
Professor Joan Lappe is professor of medicine at Creighton University in USA. She will report on the results of a major Level 1 Randomised Controlled Trial that showed the preventive actions of Vitamin D and calcium against cancer.
Dr. Enikö Kállay will provide practical advice for Oncologists and other medical professionals about the latest genetic tests for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. She is Assistant Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Patho-physiology and Allergy Research, where she studies the role of Vitamin D and dietary calcium in the prevention and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer, with special emphasis on the CYP24 gene.
More also at: www.vitamindassociation.org/events
[28-Jan-11] Last week research published in the Nutrition Journal, reported preliminary data from the Personalized Medicine Research Project (PMRP). It is a population-based DNA, plasma and serum biobank designed to facilitate genetic epidemiology and pharmacogenetic studies. With genetic variation among individuals research increasingly recognises how gene-environment interactions could inform predictors of future health outcomes. Gaining insights into how environmental factors including diet and lifestyle can interact with our genes can provide valuable tools for personalised medicine in regards to potential disease prevention efforts .
Detailed dietary history data are available for more than 11,000 adult participants in a biobank with DNA, plasma and serum samples linked to a comprehensive electronic health record. The cohort is representative of the local population (central Wisconsin, USA). The published data provides some information on Apolipoprotein E (APOE) which is one of the most commonly researched genes in studies of gene-environment interactions, and is linked cholesterol and fat management in the body, while it can also be associated with CHD and Alzheimer’s (APOE4 allele). In addition to health outcome predictors based on analysis of genetic variation, it is important to quantify gene-environment interactions that modify genetic associations. Dietary intake is associated with multiple health outcomes and is one of the critical, potentially modifiable, environmental exposures to consider in gene-environment studies . E.g. interactions involving alcohol intake as an environmental factor have been studied to illustrate its impact on development of certain health outcomes . Another common, modifiable, environmental risk factor for consideration in gene-environment studies is smoking; and dietary intake has been shown to vary by smoking status .
We still have a way to go and need more research over longer periods of time, to draw conclusion for reliable health outcome predictors particularly in regards to diet, lifestyle and genetic variation in populations and individuals. However, the PMRP dietary data can benefit studies of gene-environment interactions and future correlation studies in regards to predictors for the development of common diseases.
NEW: Genetic Counselling Services: Diagnostic Testing – it is now possible to do a genetic profile specifically in regards to certain common conditions. Your nutrition consultant, if appropriately trained, can provide appropriate genetic profiling tests from a UK recognised laboratories (e.g. Genova Diagnostics). Knowledge and awareness about our genetic variation and ‘type’ can provide you with the tremendous opportunity to create greater awareness and a more effectively tailored therapeutic programme in regards to diet and lifestyle.
If you are interested in genetic profiling, if you would like your programme as personally tailored according to your heritage and family history, contact us now for any further questions. For a patient brochure, click here.
 Strobush L, Berg R, Cross D, et al. (2011). Dietary intake in the Personalized Medicine Research Project: a resource for studies of gene-diet interaction. Nutrition Journal. January 28 [ahead of publishing]
 Tucker KL: Assessment of usual dietary intake in population studies of gene-diet interaction. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2007, 17:74-81.
 Talmund, PJ. and S.E. Humphries: Gene:Environment interactions and coronary heart disease risk. World Rev Nutr Diet 2004, 93:29-40.
 Talmud PJ: How to identify gene-environment interactions in a multifactorial disease: CHD as an example. Proc Nutr Soc 2004, 63(1):5-10.
[27-Jan-11] This is a delicious and colourful soup: one of my favourite recipes from Austria. It is an excellent nourishing dish with warming spices, rounded off with smooth taste of the yoghurt cream, with a hinted tangy bite from the horseradish. Beetroot is good for cardiovascular system, helps detoxification and supports the immunity. In a new placebo-controlled trial, the Journal of Applied Physiology purported its positive effects on blood pressure and energy levels [1,2]. Beetroot juice and other ‘nitrate’ containing foods have been of interest for cardiovascular health for a while . Spices like garlic, horseradish, ginger and cayenne pepper are anti-inflammatory agents with anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties – perfect for the winter months…enjoy and get warm!
Ingredients: 2 medium red onions, 2 medium red potatoes, 2 medium carrots, 4-6 medium-large beet roots, 1-2 stock cubes (or 2-3 Tbs of stock powder), 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1-2cm of ginger root, pinch cayenne pepper, salt and sepper to taste; For garnishing: Horseradish-Yoghurt-Cream: 1 Tbs grated horseradish, 200ml of sour cream (or greek yoghurt), 100ml of whipped cream, ½ lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; Optional herbs: some thyme or parsley
If you can’t find any in the local shop perhaps grow it yourself (can buy it pre-grown at some of the large home/garden centres – 2-4cm root) else find a good quality ready made one (but watch the label for additional flavourings, sugars and preservatives!) –best making your own and it’s dead easy. If you are using fresh beet – e.g. using uncooked beet, steam or boil for 30-40 minutes in water first, then take off the skin and cut off the end bits before dicing to add to the soup.
- Cut onions roughly and fry lightly for 3-5 minutes in some coconut or olive oil
- Wash and dice potatoes and slice carrots and add to the onions, and fry for a further 3-5 minutes
- Add 1 liter of boiling water with 2 vegetable stock cubes or 3 Tbs of powdered stock
- Cut garlic, grate ginger and leave aside for later
- Add the beetroot diced
- Let it simmer for a further 20-25 minutes
- Add garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, cayenne, cover with a lid and let it stand to cool down a little.
- Now prepare the yoghurt-cream sauce
- Serve while hot and add the cream and some herbs
 Ferreira LF, Behnke BJ. (2010). A toast to health and performance! Beetroot juice lowers blood pressure and the O2 cost of exercise. J Appl Physiol. Dec 23.
 Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Fulford J, et al. (2010). Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol. Nov 11
 Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S. (2008). Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Hypertension Mar;51(3):784-90.
22-Jan-11: Hormones are our chemical messenger molecules, that together with neurotransmitters and many other chemicals, orchestrate our body’s functions. Female and male hormone balance is not only important for reproductive health, they also affect our mood, energy and feelings of wellbeing. Hormonal imbalances are common, ranging from mood swings and energy dips, to PMS, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, infertility and cancer. Causes of hormonal imbalances are complex and multi-factorial, ranging from environmental, dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors.
This saturday we delivered a hormone health seminar for industry professionals including nutritionists, naturopaths, colon therapists, nurses and medical doctors (see more in the Events Calendar section). The seminar was sponsored by Bionutri, who produces neutraceutical products according to nutrition scientific and naturopathic principles. I covered the morning session, discussing some of the biochemistry ‘basiscs’, investigating how imbalances can happen at various sites (upstream or further downstream), addressing brain, gladular, enzyme, receptor, liver biotranformation and gut functions. These are inturn affected by the factors discussed above. The second session, covered certain hormone related conditions in more detail. We concluded with an update on the latest European food supplements and health claims legislation, all in all making it a very interesting seminar.
14-Dec-10: Here is a great “Low GL” (Glycaemic Load) recipe for a delicious Christmas Chocolate brownie for those who are on a Low GL diet or just like to watch your carb-intake over the Christmas festivities. It makes about 12 pieces in a 22cm (9 inch) square baking tin. Enjoy and induge!!
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (or gas mark 4). Oil a square baking tin (with coconut butter, or butter) and sprinkle a bit of ground almond flour onto it).
2. Melt 100-150g organic dark chocolate (>70%, e.g. Green and Black’s, cut into smaller pieces) in a bain marie (in a pot over hot water).
3. Blend 150g coconut butter (or normal butter) with 50-75g Xylitol until soft; then add 2 bananas (mashed), 4 eggs (large, ideally organic free-range omega-3), 2 tsp vanilla extract. Add the melted chocolate, 150g ground almonds, 2 tsp baking powder, 1-2 Tbs of cocoa powder and 200g chopped hazelnuts. Optionally for Christmas: 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp of mixed spices, zest of 2 large organic unwaxed oranges (add juice of 1/2 orange), 1 large handful of sugar free dried sour cherries (e.g. from CherryActive) and if you fancy 1-2 shots of Rum or Brandy.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle a handful of any or all of the following: almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds over the top. Bake for around 20-30 minutes until the mixture no longer ‘wobbles’ when shaken. The top should be firm to touch, not over cooked – to keep them ‘soft and slightly gooey’.
5. Leave to cool and serve each brownie with natural yoghurt and 1-2 Tbs of raspberries (fresh or defrosted, you can also heat them up as a contrast with the cool yoghurt). Garnish with some holly leaves and berries (or mint sprig) for ‘looks’.
Enjoy & Happy Christmas 2010!
12-Dec-10: It is the festive season and we are excited about many Christmas dinners and parties to come. Unfortunately, many of us fear the hangover on the day after, which is more frequently than not hard to avoid… or is it not? Here are 10 tips of what you can do to prevent the horrible ‘day after’ hangover to enable you to enjoy your parties intelligently for longer – and more of them!!
1. SLEEP! Aim to get a good night’s sleep before the party (at least 8 hours). If you can’t have a lie-in the next day, try to take have an afternoon nap or an early night.
2. WATER! Drink plenty of water throughout the party and when you return home before going to bed.
3. EAT! At the party have a proper wholesome meal (at least 1/2 plate of a diverse, colourful range of vegetables, and a good quarter of your plate or more of protein; choose some fruit with your desert if you are having any).
4. MOVE & LAUGH! Have a good boogie and a laugh!
5. ALCOHOL... Watch your alcohol units and keep your alcoholic drinks to less than 2-5 small glasses. Halve your alcohol intake by opting for white wine sprizters instead or have alternate glasses of water in between your drinks.
6. SUPPORTING SUPPLEMENTS… Take some Vitamin C, Milkthistle and Magnesium the day before, after the party before going to bed and the next morning when waking up (with food). A good multimineral and -vitamin can be supportive.
7. BREAKFAST! For ‘the morning after’ breakfast have a wholesome and nutritious one! (e.g. a healthy fry-up with lean organic good quality protein (e.g. meat, eggs, baked beans) and brown/wholegrain/rye bread) or natural yoghurt, nuts and fruit compote. Don’t eat something too sugary, you need the protein, fat and all the nutrients to support your liver metabolism.
8. GOOD FOOD & FAT! Eat regularly throughout the day, about every 3-4 hours with some protein contained in every snack or meal. Add 2-4 Tbs of good oils (“3-6-9″ oil, nuts/seed or fish oils) to your food.
9. RELAX! Relax, do some gentle exercises (Pilates, Yoga, Sauna, Swim) or go for a walk in the countryside.
10. RECHARGE! Have an Epsom Salt bath (2-4 handfuls) especially if you are going to another party the next day again. Also light some candles, natural essence oils, listen to some calming music…enjoy some ‘me’-time before going to bed for an early good night’s sleep, ready for the next event looking radiant, healthy & beautiful!
Enjoy your Christmas and have a happy, successful, hangover-free and healthy New Year 2011!!
28-Oct-10: The Michael Pittilo Essay Award is presented annually for the best student essay on integrated health and care. In line with Michael Pittilo’s vision of integrating conventional and complementary approaches, the award is open to both medical and complementary therapy students. Excitingly, Dr Michael Dixon presented me with a merit award today, at the launch of the new College of Medicine, (fittingly) in the Cabinet War Rooms of the Churchill Museum, London. Dr Dixon’s comments on the achievements: “Ladies and Gentlemen”, pointing at the winners, three medical students (UCL, Imperial, Newcastle) and a now graduated nutritional therapist (Middlesex), “you are looking at the future of healthcare.”
My essay was entitled “Nutritional Therapy For Integrated Health: Creating Sustainable Behaviour Changes”. For more on the essay and full access, have a look at the article section.
The event was packed with prominent speakers and attendees.
Sir Graeme Catto (President of the College of Medicine, and former president of the General Medical Council (GMC), 2001-2009), Dr Michael Dixon (Chair of Council, and Chairman of the NHS Alliance), Sir Donald Irvine (College’s Advisory Council and a former GMC President), Professor Mustafa Djamgoz (Professor of Cancer Biology at Imperial College, London and a member of Council), Professor Andrew Miles (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Social Medicine, and is a member of the College’s Science Advisory Council), Professor Jane Plant (Professor of Geochemistry at Imperial College, London, Chair of the College’s Patients’ Council), Professor George Lewith (Vice-Chair of the College of Medicine, and leader of the internationally respected Integrated Medicine research group at Southampton University), Professor David Peters (Clinical Director of the School of Integrated Health at Westminster University, member of Council and former Chair of the British Holistic Medicine Association), Simon Mills (Medical herbalist and project lead for the Department of Health’s Integrated Self Care in Family Practice research project, and MD of SustainCare), Professor Aidan Halligan (former Deputy Chief Medical Office for England, member of Council and leads the Faculty for Homeless Care).
For more on the programme, speakers and their biographies, see here.
The new College of Medicine brings is a new college that aims to bring together doctors, nurses and other health professionals with patients and scientists. No other health body does that. The College is unique – aiming to redefine what good medicine means. That includes a renewal of the traditional values of service, commitment and compassion. Their mission is to focus on patients, believing that science, systems and structures must fit patients’ needs – rather than forcing patients to fit the needs of technology and administration. It aims to ensure that patients are at the centre of medicine and of all of healthcare policies and systems. The College promises to support a new breed of health professional who respects the culture, belief and choices of every patient, and promotes self-healing and health improvement wherever possible. Full members can be statutory registered health professionails as well as professions regulated by the Health Professions Council (HPC). Certain Complementary Medicine Practitioners can join as Associate members, subject to some rigorous requirements and criteria. With a Patients’ Panel there will also be scientist members and student members.
24-Sep-10: As explained in my previous thread (“Eat Fat! Beauty comes from Within…”) – where I talk about ‘good fats’ (e.g. omega 3 from fish other sources) here another recent scientific journal article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which shows that saturated fats (e.g. butter, milk, animal sources) are not necessarily linked to heart disease http://bit.ly/bNQ9me
Yes, ok it’s in Japanese men that are thought to have still a better diet and lifestyle (and probably gene pool) then us here in the West – BUT it’s another study that could crush the still popular myth that ‘FAT’ (=saturated fat) and dietary cholesterol is ‘bad’ for your heart. Good news! It isn’t! [Though of course you should watch your intake of it if you are overweight and if you planning to have it as your main source of calorific intake ].
Dr Briffa offers again some great thoughts and explanations around this new study: http://bit.ly/9gy10Z
So why ‘heart disease’? Forget the ‘cholesterol’ myth when thinking about eggs. Eggs are a fantastic protein food, but choose organic free-range (ideally ‘omega-3′) versions. Only roughly 20% of dietary cholesterol may be absorbed. The rest you produce ‘in-house’. Some of the biggest factors of increased cholesterol levels are stress and excess sugar in your diet. There are other markers and tests that can helpf identify your cardiovascular risk. However, overall, multifactorial factors are involved. This can include genetic factors – but often chronic inflammatory processes are some of the underlying causes. Having a family history of cardiovascular events could certainly encourage you to go get your heart health checked. Ask a qualified nutritional therapist (BANT registered) in your area for a healthy dietary approach. If you have serious concerns, go to your GP and request a routine check.
23-Sep-10: FAT is good for you – but the ‘GOOD’ stuff – e.g. from oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil! Latest news on good fats versus bad fats – it’s astonishing again how big companies try to massage some research to continue with big bucks for their products on our shelves… A study with heart patients, which could be awarded a ‘Bad Science’ badge, in the respectable New England Journal of Medicine recently dismissed heart health properties of omega-3; though they have been using fortified margarine as the main source of this important source of fat! For more see study here: http://bit.ly/cVTOrv and a good explanation why this is contradictory to good scientific biochemistry knowledge: http://bit.ly/c1UV4T.
Time for you to throw away the margarine for good (despite its label recommending ‘polyunsaturated fats’ (PUFAs) or ‘healthy’ or ‘rich in omega 3′). Don’t be fooled! What the manufacturers don’t tell you is, that after processing the PUFA’s change to a chemically unnatural structure that disrupt the body’s normal fatty acid metabolism pathways – you may have heard of those BAD FATs = Trans fats (= hydrogenated vegetable fats). Choose some ‘GOOD’ oils from oily fish, olive oils and those from nuts and seeds instead! It’s important for every single cell ‘insight’ and outside of your body, so get those brain cells working (>60% of our brain is ‘FAT’) – as well as for beautiful skin!
For a good book explaining of why “Fat doesn’t make you FAT” see http://amzn.to/bTcdHP.