How Much Protein Should You Actually Be Getting and Is All Protein Created Equal?

ANC How Much Protien Pic 01 by Kate Grainger

There is a lot of conflicting information about what is a balanced diet – and with all the differing meal plans and diet schemes it’s important to remember that a good rule of thumb is moderation. Seek advice from a professional with a proven track record if you are confused. Validate sources.

Nutrition trends are ever-changing, but at this point, there are some truths nearly everyone can agree upon: Refined carbs and sugar should be limited, veggies and fruit can and should be eaten liberally for their fibre and micronutrients, fats from quality sources definitely have a place in your diet, and protein is key for curbing hunger and maintaining a healthy body composition.

But of all these truths, there’s still a surprising amount of confusion about protein – especially how much you should be eating (spoiler: maybe a bit more than you think); the best food sources (steak is not a requirement); and what it can do for your health even if you don’t care that much about muscle.

“Most of us think of protein in the context of building muscle, but it also plays a key role in maintaining and repairing cells, the production of antibodies needed for immune function, and creating hormones and neurotransmitters,” says registered dietitian Abby Cannon, R.D. It’s also particularly important when you’re trying to lose weight.

All of which is to say: You can’t afford to overlook protein – even if the rise in diets like keto has you thinking all about increasing fats and slashing carbs and not much else. Here, we dive into the latest research, recommendations, and lesser-known facts about protein from functional dietitians, some of the top protein researchers in the country. Get ready, nutrition nerds, you’re in for a ride.

Protein Has Unique Properties That Increase Lean Muscle, Aid Weight Loss and Boost Mood

Protein is one of three macronutrients (the others being fats and carbohydrates) that provide energy for our bodies. When we consume protein-rich foods like seafood, eggs, and legumes, we break their protein down into its individual amino acids, which our bodies then utilise to perform countless functions, including building our own muscle (via muscle protein synthesis).

Additionally, researchers are finding that prioritising protein seems to be quite important for losing fat and keeping it off while preserving muscle, slowing the ageing process, reducing risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and even offsetting some of the damage of a sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some of the most compelling science-backed benefits and lesser-known facts about this multitasking macro:

  1. Your Body Burns Calories Simply By Digesting Protein

Whenever we eat something, our bodies expend a certain amount of energy (i.e. burn a certain amount of calories) just by breaking them down and digesting them. This is known as the thermic effect of food, or dietary-induced thermogenesis. Turns out, protein has the highest thermic effect of all the macronutrients because it takes more energy to break it down into its individual amino acids and then build those back up into amino acid chains in your body.

“With fat and carbs, about 5% of their calories get burned through thermogenesis, while about 15% of protein gets burned through thermogenesis,” says Donald Layman, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois (although some studies say it may be a bit higher). “It means you can eat about 100 more calories a day if it’s coming from protein than if it’s coming from carbs, so it’s not insignificant.”

Alone, experts don’t think protein’s thermic effect is enough to trigger any significant weight loss. But it’s definitely one piece of the puzzle that makes protein-rich foods weight-loss-friendly, and some research suggests it’s part of the reason protein is so dang satiating.

  1. Protein Is The Most Satiating Macronutrient, Which Can Help You Lose Weight

“There’s pretty good agreement that protein has a higher satiety value, and nobody really knows why for sure,” says Layman. Basically, this means protein has been found to keep you fuller and more satisfied than consuming an equal amount of carbs or fat.

This satiating effect is likely due to a combination of factors, including protein’s thermic effect, mentioned above. According to a recent research review on protein and weight management, when you experience greater diet-induced thermogenesis, your body is expending more energy and increasing its oxygen consumption. And, oddly enough, researchers say this ‘oxygen deprivation’ may translate into feelings of satiety.

Additionally, “studies show that eating a higher protein meal (compared to a higher carbohydrate meal) stimulates the secretion of a number of satiety hormones like PYY and GLP-1,” says Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin who studies protein’s effects on weight and satiety. “These hormones are associated with increased feelings of fullness and satiety and have been shown to decrease subsequent food intake. Post-meal improvements in glycemic control [blood sugar control] have also been reported with higher vs. normal protein diets.”

All of this suggests that replacing some refined carbs with protein-rich foods can be super beneficial.

But this absolutely does not mean you should skimp on vegetables, fruit, and other fibre-rich, whole-food carbs. “I think the quantity of the protein in combination with what other foods are included within the meal are critical factors,” says Leidy. “Specifically, there seems to be a synergistic effect with eating foods rich in protein and fibre for satiety.”

  1. Protein Helps Build Metabolically Active Lean Muscle, Making It Easier To Maintain Weight Loss

As you know by now, increased protein consumption also stimulates protein synthesis, which helps build and preserve lean body mass. And the more lean mass you have, the more calories you naturally burn at rest.

  1. Protein Can Help Offset Muscle Loss Associated With A Sedentary Lifestyle

While you may think it’s important to focus on protein intake only if you’re working out all the time, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you’re a desk jockey, getting your fill of protein has big benefits.

During bed-rest studies, middle-aged people can lose up to 2 pounds of muscle just from their legs in seven days,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“But some of the pretty new research coming out suggests that if we give additional protein, we can partially protect this muscle mass. This extends to people who live a sedentary lifestyle.”

Being sedentary also impairs your body’s ability to use blood glucose, says Paddon-Jones, so if you add more protein-rich foods in place of unhealthy carbs, that’s even better.

  1. Protein Can Boost Functionality And Quality Of Life As You Age

“Adequate protein as you age can also help prevent sarcopenia, a condition characterised by the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that can drastically reduce quality of life and even lead to premature death. “Sarcopenia is sort of like osteoporosis but for muscles,” explains Paddon-Jones. “It starts to appear in your 40s, but it’s a subtle insidious loss of muscle, less than 1% per year. So if you’re not quite getting your protein requirements, you’re not going to notice this slow, gradual reduction; it sneaks up on you.”

  1. Protein Is A Key Dietary Component For Managing Anxiety And Mood

Amino acids act as a major building block for almost every biological process in the body. For instance, “amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin,” says Miller. “For this reason, those deficient in protein are also deficient in neurotransmitters that can drive hunger and cravings leading to weight gain and can even impact mood, anxiety, and sleep.”

Many experts believe anxiety is also partially driven by imbalanced blood sugar. So, ensuring you get enough protein in your diet (along with healthy fats and plenty of fibre) can offset some of these anxiety-inducing spikes and dips.

  1. Replacing Carbs With Protein May Reduce Risk Factors For CVD And Diabetes

Recent articles also illustrate improvements in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors with the daily consumption of increased dietary protein.

A new study found that by making a moderate macronutrient shift by substituting carbohydrates with protein and fat for six weeks, patients with type 2 diabetes experienced a reduction in HbA1c levels (higher levels are associated with diabetes) and liver fat content.

Another recent study found that high-protein, low-carb diets were more effective for losing weight and keeping it off than low-calorie diets among obese individuals, suggesting that they’re a sustainable dietary strategy for reducing cardiovascular disease risk

So, how much protein should you eat to reap the benefits? First, let’s be clear: Your specific protein needs will vary depending on a bunch of factors like age, body weight, body composition goals, physical activity levels, and whether or not you’re pregnant.

Your needs will also somewhat depend on the quality of the protein you’re eating (more on that later). But one thing that all of the protein researchers we spoke with agreed on was that most people will benefit from eating more than the RDA for protein, which is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.36 grams per pound body weight). Think of the RDA for protein as a minimum, not an optimal goal.

You’ve undoubtedly read articles stating that most Americans meet the RDA and therefore get “more than enough” protein. But, researchers say, these claims are at least somewhat flawed in that they misconstrue what RDA actually means.

“The RDA is defined as the minimum amount of protein to prevent a deficiency, and it does that,” says Layman. “People who get the RDA don’t show any visible signs of deficiency, but it’s not the same as being ideal for preventing things like risk of diabetes or obesity, or muscle wasting and sarcopenia for older adults, especially as we become more sedentary.”

This, of course, raises the question: If you’re aiming for optimal health and not just covering your bases, what’s a good protein range to strive for? ”

Most of the data says you want to be consuming 1½ to 2 times the RDA,” says Layman. “The RDA is 0.8 g/kg, so we think the ideal range is between 1.2 and 1.6 g/kg.”

Layman isn’t alone in this thinking: “From a weight management perspective, eating nearly twice the RDA has been shown to be beneficial,” says Leidy, who coauthored a 2016 paper stating that protein intake in the 1.2 to 1.6 g/kg range is a more ideal target for adults, helping promote healthy ageing, appetite regulation, weight management, and athletic performance goals.

This range holds true even if you’re not very active, as recent research (mentioned above) has shown adequate protein intake helps stave off muscle loss even in sedentary individuals.

But what do nutrition experts outside of the protein field think? According to Miller, “The RDA is likely ample to support biological and structural need for weight maintenance. However, when looking for weight loss goals, it would be important to consider an increase of 1 to 1.4 g/kg to ensure muscle sparing and maintain an active metabolic rate.” Cannon somewhat agrees but adds that even though the RDA doesn’t necessarily represent how much we should eat every day, it’s still a good baseline number.

If you’re an athlete – or you work your body hard every day – you may need to go higher, but even then, you shouldn’t exceed 2 g/kg without consulting a registered dietitian, says Nancy Rodriguez, R.D., Ph.D., nutritional sciences professor and director of the sports nutrition program at the University of Connecticut.

It’s not that this amount of protein is going to cause you harm (research has largely dispelled the long-held beliefs that eating protein above your needs causes bone loss or kidney problems, unless you already have kidney disease), but it may end up stored as fat if your increased protein intake pushes you beyond your caloric needs.

What do these recommendations look like in real life?

Let’s use a 150-pound (68-kg) person as an example. Depending on their specific goals and health status, they would likely opt to consume 0.8, 1.2, or 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Here’s what their daily protein quota would be in each of those scenarios:

  • 0.8 g/kg: 54 grams of protein per day
  • 1.2 g/kg: 75 grams of protein per day
  • 1.6 g/kg: 105 grams of protein per day

Pro tip: To calculate your protein intake based on the g/kg model, first convert your weight to kilograms (your weight in pounds ÷ 2.2) and then multiply that by the g/kg recommendation that makes sense for your lifestyle.

How you spread out your protein in a day is key.

Further, it turns out, it’s not exactly optimal to simply figure out your protein needs and then cram it in whenever. To reap the most benefit in terms of satiety, blood sugar balance, and muscle protein synthesis, you want to spread out your protein over the course of the day.

Your best bet: Aim to get around 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize the benefits. “Thirty grams of protein at a meal are what we think it takes to trigger maximum muscle protein synthesis and maximum thermogenic effect for the least amount of calories,” says Layman.

Consuming more than that amount in one sitting may be counterproductive.

A groundbreaking 2009 study found that people consuming 90 grams of protein at one meal experienced the same benefit as eating 30 grams. “Both turned on muscle protein synthesis the same,” says Paddon-Jones, who was the study author. “Your ability to consume, digest, and then use the amino acids in the protein is really limited to three to four hours surrounding the meal. So even if you eat an entire chicken at breakfast, those amino acids aren’t available at dinner,” he says.

What if you don’t eat according to a traditional three-meal-a-day schedule? That’s fine, but at least try to consume 25 to 30 grams of protein on two separate eating occasions (and more via snacks, if necessary), suggests Layman.

Also, make your first meal of the day, whether that happens in the morning or noon, protein-rich. A 2015 study authored by Leidy found that people who ate about 30 grams of protein at breakfast for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in daily hunger, naturally consumed fewer calories, and did not gain fat compared to people eating 13 grams of protein (the typical American gets just 10 grams at breakfast).

How Intermittent Fasting, Keto, And Other Dietary Strategies Affect Your Protein Needs

Something you may find surprising: If you’re reducing your calorie intake with something like a time-restricted eating form of intermittent fasting (think 16:8 fasting, where you eat all your food within an eight-hour window), that doesn’t mean your protein intake should go down proportionally – unless you were eating too much protein to begin with.

“Unlike fat and carbs, the recommendation for protein is more of an absolute number,” says Layman. “It’s grams per kilogram of body weight. So even if you eat less calories, you still need the same protein,” says Layman. Paddon-Jones agrees: “You still have to hit that gram amount per meal to maintain lean mass.” And remember, that lean muscle mass helps you burn more calories, even while you’re at rest.

Maintaining adequate protein on keto is also crucial. Miller says people may not be eating enough protein when they shift to a low-carb, high-fat keto diet.

“If you’re following a classic ketogenic diet, which was developed more for epilepsy and neurological disease management, it’s often too protein-restricted,” says Miller. “What happens, often with women, is that their appetite is regulated and they don’t have organic hunger. So they undereat—and they under-eat protein pretty dramatically.” This, in turn, can lead to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and even hair loss.

All of this might have you wondering: How do more intense fasting plans (think a day or longer) affect your ability to maintain muscle mass? Most of the experts we spoke with said there’s just not enough research to be sure. While, in theory, it makes sense that going a day or longer without protein would cause a decrease in muscle protein synthesis and an increase in muscle breakdown, “there seem to be some muscle-sparing effects that come into play,” says Miller.

But, the extent to which these muscle-sparing effects would be able to offset muscle breakdown over the long term isn’t clear.

“I think a 25- or 30-year-old might be just fine, but I would never recommend fasting for a 55- or 60-year-old,” says Layman. “The older you get, any muscle loss tends to be permanent, but a younger person tends to recover pretty quickly.”

Are all protein-containing foods created equal? No, and here’s why.

In the nutritional science world, researchers tend to describe protein as ‘high quality’ or ‘low quality.’ A high-quality protein would be a food that contains a high proportion of all the essential amino acids. There are 20 total amino acids used by the body, nine of which are essential (meaning we need to obtain them from food), and all nine have to be present in a food or a meal to trigger muscle protein synthesis.

Nearly all animal-based protein sources, such as yogurt, cheese, meats, fish, and eggs contain all nine essential amino acids and thus are considered high quality. Most plant-based sources of protein, on the other hand, don’t contain a high proportion of all essential amino acids, which makes them incomplete, and, at least in this particular sense, ‘low quality.’

There’s an exception, though. “The highest quality non-animal protein is still soy,” says Rodriguez. “It has all of the essentials and an amino acid profile that’s more similar to what you’d see in dairy, eggs, or meat.”

Animal-based proteins also tend to contain more protein for fewer carbohydrates and calories. For example, you can get about 25 grams of protein in 3 ounces of meat, but you’d need to eat almost 3 cups of black beans to hit that number, says Rodriguez.

Selecting The Best Animal-Based Protein Sources

Even though animal-based protein is considered ‘high quality’ in the nutritional science world, loading up on grilled chicken breast isn’t necessarily your best bet – there’s a different type of ‘quality’ you should also consider, particularly when it comes to meat.

“Proteins in their whole-food form with the fewest parts removed are going to be the most balancing for the body. For instance, consuming a bone-in, skin-on, pasture-raised chicken thigh will provide more of the amino acids glycine and proline, found in an animal’s connective tissue, than just eating the muscle meat,” says Miller. “The whole-food delivery aids in balancing out amino acids in the body and preventing dominance of the amino acid methionine, which is prevalent in muscle tissue and can drive more inflammatory processes in the body. So overall, taking a snout-to-tail approach to animal consumption provides the most nutrient density and supports a more sustainable model of meat consumption.”

Nutritional researcher and wellness entrepreneur Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., expresses a similar sentiment on his website, stating that excessive methionine actually depletes glycine, and another good approach to balance these amino acids is to add a serving of collagen powder or bone broth to your daily diet. “Collagen, found abundantly in the skin, bones, and other connective tissue of animals, provides 25 times as much glycine as methionine,” he says.

And there are even more reasons to love grass-fed collagen. While it’s not a complete protein (it doesn’t contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin), grass-fed collagen does have unique therapeutic properties in its own right that make it a worthy addition to smoothies, soups, oatmeal, and baked goods. “The medical literature on collagen is significant, with research supporting its ability to help minimize cellulite, alleviate joint pain and inflammation, strengthen nails and hair, and maintain gut lining integrity,” says Miller. “I make sure I get 2 grams of collagen per day as a sort of insurance policy.”

Other animal-based proteins to consider that are both high quality and sustainable to consider adding to your diet include:

  • pasture-raised eggs and poultry
  • grass-fed, grass-finished meat
  • sustainable wild-caught fish
  • grass-fed dairy and whey protein

Selecting The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources

To be clear, no one’s actually bashing plant protein, even though it’s received the whole ‘low-quality’ designation in certain circles. “There are so many good reasons to adopt a more plant-based diet, but if you exclude all animal-based proteins and you’re not smart about how you plan your plant-based diet, you can run into problems really quickly,” says Paddon-Jones.

So on a vegan diet, combining a variety of protein-rich, plant-based foods is key, as they ‘complement’ one another to give you the full spectrum of essential amino acids your body needs.

Some experts say you simply need to consume a variety of plant-based proteins over the course of a day to get this benefit, but others don’t believe this is very efficient, including Paddon-Jones. “The smarter, more pragmatic approach is to combine different protein sources at each meal,” he says. “It just makes sense on so many levels, not just for protein but for diversifying overall nutrient intake.”

Also important to note is that the protein in plant foods is a bit less bioavailable than protein from animal foods due to the structure of the plant itself, such as the presence of phytates in legumes, which interfere with protein absorption, says Miller.

“If you’re choosing to stay vegan, some of the best proteins are soaked and sprouted legumes and lentils; and you should consider a plant protein powder blend including pea protein and hemp seed.”

Cannon, who personally follows a plant-based diet, recommends incorporating some of the following protein-rich plant foods into your diet as well – whether you’re vegan or not:

  • legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and beans—kidney, black, adzuki, butter, pinto, fava beans)
  • peas
  • whole soy (organic, non-GMO tofu, tempeh, edamame beans)
  • nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts)
  • seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia, sesame)
  • whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, farro, wild rice)
  • a plant-protein blend, ideally free of added sugars

If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough protein on your plant-based diet, consult with a registered dietitian.

Also, Layman recommends bumping up your resistance training: “Because maintaining a healthy proportion of lean muscle mass is a result of both consuming dietary protein and exercising, if you’re committed to doing a lot of resistance exercise, you can actually get away with a little less protein,” he says.

We get it; this is a lot to take in. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about protein, right? But what it essentially comes down to is this:

The amino acids in protein perform countless functions within the body that boost both physical and mental health and help you reach or maintain a healthy weight without feeling deprived—particularly when they replace unhealthy carbs and are eaten alongside good fats and plenty of fibre. And while many people are hitting their baseline protein intake with the RDA, the current research suggests most people could benefit from eating more protein (from the animal- and plant-based options listed above) and by dividing that protein among two or three separate meals.

But just remember, like any other food or nutrient, protein in isolation isn’t a miracle cure for anything—and loading up on it while disregarding other aspects of your diet, or to the point that you exceed your caloric needs, could be counterproductive.

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Fasting Shown to Drastically Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Fasting Shown to Drastically Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer by Kate Grainger

I’ve been reading a lot of different articles lately dealing with ways to help combat breast cancer naturally. Every body is different, every cancer is different. But helping to build up weapons in our arsenal to combat cancers is definitely a good thing.

“Improving the metabolic health of postmenopausal women with obesity may mitigate their risk for breast cancer. Time-restricted eating may be more successful than calorie restriction in controlling the negative effects of obesity, due to the hunger and irritability that makes it more difficult to stick with long-term calorie restriction. The results suggest the anti-tumour effect of time-restricted eating is at least partially due to lower levels of insulin, suggesting this intervention may be effective in breast cancer prevention and therapy. Exploring the ability of time-restricted eating to prevent breast cancer could provide an inexpensive but effective strategy to prevent cancer impacting a wide range of patients and represents a ground-breaking advance in breast cancer research.” -Dr. Manasi Das (University of California, San Diego)

A team lead by Dr. Manasi presented their research at the Endocrine Society’s  annual meeting on March 23, 2019 conducted three separate experiments on mice whose ovaries had been removed to simulate a postmenapausal state – showing a link between insulin resistance and cancer.

In the first experiment, the mice were first fattened up with a high-fat diet, after which they were divided into two groups: One had access to food around the clock, while the other had eight-hour access to chow at night (the time of highest physical activity). The control group consisted of lean mice given access to a low-fat diet 24 hours a day. Three weeks into the experiment, all of the animals were injected with breast cancer cells.

Results showed time-restricted feeding, also known as intermittent fasting, reduced tumour growth in the obese mice to levels similar to those in the lean mice.

In the second experiment, they used mice that were genetically modified to develop breast cancer. As before, half of them had round-the-clock access to a high-fat diet while the others had access to food for eight hours. Here, they also assessed the impact of insulin by artificially raising insulin in some mice using an insulin pump, while lowering it in others using the drug diazoxide.

In the third experiment, mice fed a low-fat diet were either given insulin via an insulin pump or saline as a control, while mice on a high-fat diet were either given diazoxide to lower their insulin levels, or no drug as the control. As you’d suspect, higher insulin levels fuelled tumour development, while lower levels inhibited cancer growth. As reported by the New York Post:

“The results add to a growing body of evidence that indicates obesity and metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that increase the chance of developing heart disease stroke and diabetes, are also risk factors for cancer, particularly postmenopausal breast cancer.”

Indeed, other studies have found intermittent fasting is a powerful anti-cancer strategy, and researchers are even working on getting it approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an adjunct to cancer treatment to improve long-term survival rates.

Dr. Mercola et. al.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Increasing growth hormone by as much as 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men,thereby promoting muscle development and vitality
  • Upregulating autophagy and mitophagy, which will help protect against most diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration
  • Lowering oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Improving metabolic efficiency and body composition, modulating levels of dangerous visceral fat, and significantly reducing body weight in obese individuals
  • Protecting against cardiovascular disease
  • Synchronising your body’s biological clocks
  • Releasing ketones into your bloodstream, which help preserve brain function and protect against epileptic seizures, cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases
  • Lowering insulin and improving your insulin sensitivity; studies have shown intermittent fasting can both prevent and reverse Type 2 diabetes, which is rooted in insulin resistance
  • Shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal
  • Improving circulating glucose and lipid levels
  • Reproducing some of the cardiovascular benefits associated with exercise
  • Reducing low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol
  • Eliminating sugar cravings as your body adapts to burning fat instead of sugar
  • Boosting the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates creation of new brain cells and triggers brain chemicals that protect against brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Increasing growth hormone by as much as 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men,thereby promoting muscle development and vitality
  • Increasing levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which helps your body break down fat to be used as fuel, and benefits your metabolism
  • Boosting mitochondrial energy efficiency and biosynthesis
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Regenerating the pancreas and improving pancreatic function
  • Improving immune function
  • Increases Longevity — There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalising insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the ageing process

Intermittent fasting, that is, following a meal-timing schedule where you’re fasting for at least 16 hours every day and eating all of your meals within eight consecutive hours, has a long list of confirmed health benefits.

There are also other intermittent fasting plans where you dramatically cut back on your calories for a certain number of days each week, while eating normally during the remainder. The 5-to-2 intermittent fasting plan is one such example. The fasting mimicking diet, developed to match the effects of water-only fasting, is another.

Intermittent Fasting Considerations

While intermittent fasting is likely to be beneficial for most people, there are some points to consider:

  • Intermittent fasting does not have to be a form of calorie restrictionIt’s a practice that should make you feel good. If your fasting strategy is making you feel weak and lethargic, re-evaluate your approach.
  • Sugar cravings are temporary

Your hunger and craving for sugar will slowly dissipate as your body starts burning fat as its primary fuel. Once your body has successfully shifted into fat burning mode, it will be easier for you to fast for as long as 18 hours and still feel satiated.

  • When intermittent fasting, it’s important to eat real food

While intermittent fasting may sound like a panacea against ill health and excess weight, it alone may not provide you with all of these benefits. The quality of your diet plays an important role if you’re looking for more than mere weight loss.

It’s critical to avoid processed foods, particularly refined carbohydrates, sugar/fructose and grains. Focus your diet on vegetable carbohydrates, healthy protein in moderate amounts, and healthy fats such as butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and raw nuts.

It not only highlights healthy eating and an active lifestyle aids in this process but in overall health and longevity. Do you take the time to really look at what you are eating – some preliminary research on packet ingredients my shock and surprise you.

Happy health and living to all.

Cinnamon’s Infection and Diabetes-Fighting Properties Revealed

I came a cross this article by Sayer Ji that I found interesting reading:

Cinnamon health benefits by Kate Grainger

Cinnamon’s medicinal potential is as rich and complex as its flavour and aroma, with balancing blood sugar and fighting infection at the top of the list. Cinnamon is a familiar spice, but few are aware of just how diverse its medicinal properties are. The US National Library of Medicine houses well over 1300 abstracts which demonstrate cinnamon’s potential health benefits.

Firstly however, it should be clarified that there are a wide range of plants whose bark are sold as cinnamon. The first though less used form is known as Cinnamomum verum (literally ‘true cinnamon’). This is sometimes called Ceylon (the ancient name of Sri Lanka) cinnamon, as it is named after the geographic region where it was first commonly cultivated. Due to its rarity, this cinnamon is more expensive and harder to find on the market. Other forms include:

  • C. cassia (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon)
    • C. burmannii ( Indonesian cinnamon)
    • C. loureiroi (Vietnamese cinnamon)

One of the major differences between C. verum and varieties such as C. burmannii and C. cassia is that the latter types contain much higher levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring phytochemical with blood-thinning properties. This has prompted European health agencies to warn against consuming large amounts of cinnamon varieties such as cassia.

Natural blood-thinning activity, of course, within the proper context can be life-saving, but when mixed with already dangerous blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin, it can be a recipe for disaster.

All the more reason why when using spices and herbs in ‘pharmacological’ or heroic doses you should consult a medical herbalist, or physician with a nuanced understanding of the benefits and potential harms of using high-dose herbal therapies.

Another issue that the U.S. buyer of spices must be fully aware of is the likelihood that, unless explicitly labelled ‘USDA certified organic’, the cinnamon they are purchasing may have been exposed to toxic levels of gamma irradiation in a controversial process known as “electronic” or “cold” pasteurisation.

Lastly, be mindful of the differences between the powdered whole herb, various water or alcohol extracts, and the oil itself. Some of the studies below focus solely on the oil component (90% of the oil is the therapeutic substance known as cinnamaldehyde) whereas others use water soluble components. The information listed below is not provided as medical advice but to illustrate the vast potential natural substances have to be used in a therapeutic manner.

Blood Sugar Disorders

Probably the most well-known health benefit of cinnamon is for blood sugar disorders. And this is for good reason. There is now a rather substantial body of clinical and preclinical research showing that it may help to improve the condition of both type 2 and type 1 diabetics in the following ways:

  • Type 2 Diabetics

Improve fasting blood sugar, reduce glycated haemoglobin (A1C) and blood pressure, increase glucose optimisation in a manner similar to metformin, improve insulin signalling and sensitivity, and improve blood lipid profiles.

  • Type 1 Diabetics

Protect against hypertension, protect against diabetes-associated kidney damage, suppress post-meal blood sugar elevations, and contribute to ongoing reduction in blood sugar.

Infections

While there is extant folk medical lore indicating that honey mixed with cinnamon can help relieve a sore throat, or fight off infection, few realise it has been confirmed to have extensive anti-infective properties against a wide range of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

It makes sense that cinnamon bark would protect against infection, as one of the major biological functions of plant bark is as defence against predation (ie. infection).

What follows is an impressive range of pathogens that appear to succumb to cinnamon:

  • Aspergillus niger
    • Campylobacter Infections
    • Candida Infection
    • Coronaviridae (SARS-associated) Infections
    • Escherichia coli Infections
    • H1N1 Infection
    • Head Lice
    • HIV Infections
    • Insect Bites: Repellent
    • Klebsiella Infections
    • Legionnaires’ disease
    • MRSA
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Staphylococcal Infections

Like many natural spices that have been used for thousands of years, we are only now just beginning to comprehend through scientific research how important they are, not simply for flavouring our foods but for helping keep us free of disease.

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Kate Grainger & Sayer Ji 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Grainger and Sayer Ji with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to Boost Brain Health and Reverse Neurological Disease Without Drugs

I came across this article by Dr Joseph Mercola and just had to share – it gives some great information…

Boost Your Brain by Kate Grainger

The less inflammatory your diet is, the faster you’re going to get well, because inflammation is nearly always a contributor to neurological dysfunction. Your brain is a really important part of your body. I’m sure no one would disagree with that. In this interview, Dr. Lee Cowden, cofounder of the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine (ACIM)*, discusses some really simple and inexpensive strategies that boost brain health and support neuroregeneration.

*The Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine was founded in 2008 with the vision of educating integrative practitioners around the globe, for the most part online. “Many practitioners are so busy that they can never take the time to go to all of the meetings they need to go to, to learn what they need to learn,” Cowden says, “so we decided to start putting educational courses online.”

“Everything we’re doing this year is focused on the brain [and] neuroregeneration,” Cowden says. “With integrative medicine, we look at the causation, and see if we can resolve the causation of the illness. Once the cause goes away, usually the illness goes away.”

“The tendency of the American public is to look for a magic bullet. But really, for neurological diseases, I haven’t found a magic bullet. There’s a lot of very important pieces. I call those the foundational pieces: Diet, removing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from the patient’s surroundings, physical activity, as well as brain games. There are a lot of other emotional issues that impact chronic neurological conditions that we need to address as well.”

Quenching Inflammation is a Key Fundamental Step

With regard to diet, the less inflammatory it is, the faster you’re going to get well, because inflammation is nearly always a contributor to neurological dysfunction.

The most inflammatory of all foods is probably sugar, followed by damaged, oxidised omega-6 oils, trans fats and processed vegetable oils. These all need to be strictly avoided. In addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, nutritional and herbal supplements can offer targeted support.

“Eating a ketogenic diet with clean fats and oils, doing some [intermittent] fasting throughout the week and getting rid of the inflammation-creating things – sugars, omega-6 oils, peanut products that have high arachidonic acid can make a great start in getting a patient’s neurological condition improved,” Cowden says.

“In 1988, I had a colleague who had a father in a nursing home in Louisiana who had advanced Alzheimer’s. He was a full-care case. In the morning, the nurses would have to get him out of bed, dress him and feed him. He was always pooping and peeing in his pants. He couldn’t remember the names of the nurses, the family members or anybody. My colleague said, “Can you give me some ideas of things that will help my father?”

I said, the problem is that it’s going to take a lot of intervention, and getting that at a nursing home is not likely to happen. He said, “I’m pretty sure it will happen, because the head nurse of the nursing home has a mother, just like my dad, with severe dementia. She wants to see if what I try on my dad works, so that she can try it on her mom.”

I recommended the following regimen: Dietary changes, supplemental nutrients and proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food, magnesium, vitamin D3, tocotrienols, tocopherols, bacopa monieri, other herbs, homeopathics and some things to get the metals out … chlorella … dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). I said, “You need to get your dad out of bed and walk him every day. Get the nurses to do this. Get them to play brain games with him.”

He called me back about four months later and said, “I’ve got to give you an update on this … My dad now gets out of bed, dresses himself, feeds himself, does not poop or pee in his pants anymore. He walks around with the nurses and helps them take care of the other patients in the nursing home. Then he sits down and plays cards with the nurses, and sometimes wins. That’s a big shift in just four months’ time, [and] we’ve had lots of other cases like that with dementia.”

Can You Reverse Autism?

Cowden has also seen near-magical improvements in children with autism. A remarkable case is that of a young man named Bryan. Cowden first met Bryan’s dad when Bryan was just 7 years old. He had neither speech nor socialisation skills.

His dad was a restaurant owner who went back to school to become a naturopathic doctor in a desperate attempt to help his son after all of his allopathic doctors told him there was no hope for Bryan – he’d never graduate high school, go to college, hold a job, get married or have children of his own.

Cowden worked with Bryan’s father, and not only did Bryan start speaking within a year or two, he graduated high school at 18, played football in college on a scholarship and got B’s in school. After college, he became a massage therapist; fell in love, married and had two children. He is now helping autistic children and adult patients with neurological disease to recover. I’ve met Bryan, and this story is all the more remarkable by the fact that he’s one of the healthiest people I have ever met.

There is a very objective heart rate variability test that measures the fitness of your autonomic nervous system and a variety of other variables called HeartQuest. Bryan scored virtually a perfect score on this test. From being an autistic child at age 7 to someone who’s one of the healthiest people around is a rather dramatic example showing that if you apply these principles, they really can work.

“After his dad helped him get to the point where he was able to do a lot of things for himself, Bryan became highly motivated to eat a clean diet, to do a physical activity, to drink enough water, to get enough sleep and so on,” Cowden notes. “He lives right.”

A Simple Stress Reduction Technique That Pays Dividends

The beauty of integrative medicine is that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of tools available, and sometimes the simplest, least expensive ones are among the most effective. One fundamental aspect of good health is stress reduction. A stress reduction technique I learned from Cowden that has helped me decrease my sleep latency, allowing me to fall asleep really quickly when practised before bed, is performed as follows:

  • Place your left index finger and thumb together, then grasp a hold of these two fingers with your right hand It’s important to use your left fingers, as the left side of your body entrains the right side of your body rather quickly, whereas the right side entrains the left very slowly.
  • Place your hands on your lap and breathe deeply in through your nose. Hold your breath for one second before breathing out through your mouth. Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth while visualising yourself in the most relaxing place you have ever been. Be sure to include sound, taste, touch and smell in your visualisation and not just the visual component. Really remember that place with all of your senses.

Doing this for four to five minutes before each meal will help improve your digestion and absorption of nutrients, boost your immune function and relax your body. Done before bedtime, it’ll improve how fast you fall asleep, how deeply you fall asleep, and the amount of healing your body can get while asleep as it boosts your immune function. For very little time, energy and effort, at no cost, you can get a lot of improvement. Cowden explains the rationale for these specific finger holds:

“On the index finger, on the middle-finger finger side, the dorsal surface, is the energy pathway for your nervous system. On the palm-side surface of the index finger is the energy pathway for your neurotransmitter system. On the thumb, on the outer aspect, is the pathway for your lymphatic system.

Everybody who is chronically stressed has a stressed-out nervous system, stressed-out neurotransmitters and a clogged lymphatic system.

When you hold [your left index finger and thumb] with your right hand, you’re taking the excess energy that’s usually in these other pathways and dissipating that into the pathways that run on the palm surface of your right hand. If there are areas or pathways that are deficient in energy, then energy comes out of the pathways in your right hand and goes into the pathways in your left hand.

The principle is balancing the energy pathways. The Chinese have said for 3,000 years that disease develops whenever energy stagnates. If you stagnate energy, then you’re going to have all kinds of problems, including maldigestion and insomnia …

This helps, probably more than anything I’ve found, to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic is what causes the fight-or-flight. The parasympathetic, which is to balance out the sympathetic, is responsible for digestion, relaxation, sleep and the calming parts of our nervous system. So many people have almost exclusively, sympathetic and almost no parasympathetic function.”

5-HTP Boosts Melatonin and Helps Optimise Sleep

Another gem I learned from Cowden during a visit to my home was the use of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). My deep sleep measured at zero minutes, despite spending time at the beach daily to expose myself to bright sunshine and using blackout drapes to sleep in the dark. I also turn off all electricity to my bedroom. I thought that’s all you needed to optimise melatonin. It turns out that’s not the case when you get older. Cowden explains:

“Tryptophan, which you find in turkey and pumpkin seeds, gets converted to 5-HTP. 5-HTP is converted to 5-hydroxytryptamine, also called serotonin. 5-hydroxytryptamine finally gets converted into melatonin. However, as we age, toxins pile up in the enzymes [responsible for these conversions] and prevent those enzymes from performing the work they need to do.

You have, over time, lower and lower levels of 5-HTP, serotonin and melatonin, even though you’re doing everything else right. So, yes, we have to continually detoxify, and also, sometimes, support those enzyme systems by what we call excessive precursor supply. You boost the building blocks to make the final product.

Melatonin is not very well absorbed out of the gut. Some people take melatonin, but some people have kind of a paradoxical response from that. But if they take 5-HTP, they can actually make as much 5-hydroxytryptamine as they need to fairly easily, and then they have the serotonin and melatonin.”

Low Serotonin Will Impede Melatonin Production

Once I began taking 100 milligrams of 5-HTP about 20 minutes before bed, my deep sleep rapidly increased. Since then I’ve also painted my bedroom with grounded shielding paint that provides an ultra-low EMF environment. Turning off the electricity wasn’t enough, as assessed by measuring the electric field’s influence on my body voltage. Hopefully that’ll improve my deep sleep further.

Many are aware that serotonin is important for mood, but if you don’t have enough of it, you can’t make melatonin either, and melatonin is the most important antioxidant nutrient in the brain. As noted by Cowden, melatonin is far more important than the oral antioxidants you may take. It’s even more important than glutathione and superoxide dismutase, because it’s fat-soluble.

Melatonin provides the best protection for your neurons against free radical damage, and you need a healthy release of melatonin through the night to calm and heal your brain. The enzyme that converts 5-HTP to serotonin requires vitamin B6 as a cofactor, so if you’re taking 5-HTP and not seeing results, that means you probably need to take some coenzymated B6 (pyridoxal 5′-phosphate) sublingually to get enough of the active form of B6 to enable the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin.

The Many Benefits of Magnesium

Another supplement that is helpful for sleep is magnesium. Cowden prefers magnesium malate, which is what I use, but you can also use magnesium threonate. There are literally dozens of different types of magnesium supplements. Magnesium threonate has the added benefit of providing some antiretroviral activity, and retroviruses tend to be a challenge inherent with many neurodegenerative diseases. Threonate is also a neurotransmitter, in addition to being an amino acid.

To avoid creating an imbalance, it’s wise to alternate between different forms of magnesium.

Cowden prefers magnesium malate because malic acid is a Krebs citric acid cycle intermediate and actually helps generate more ATP energy. If you’re deficient in malic acid inside the cell and you take a magnesium malate, the malic acid is drawn into the interior of the mitochondria and will drag the magnesium in with it. Without a doubt, magnesium is essential for mitochondrial ATP production. About 50 percent of the metabolic enzymes in your body require magnesium as a cofactor, so it’s a really important nutrient. It’s also required for conduction of nerve impulses and the contraction-relaxation cycle of muscles, including your heart muscle. There’s also compelling evidence suggesting magnesium may reduce the impacts and side effects of EMF exposure. Importantly, if you don’t have enough magnesium, your body also cannot absorb potassium. Cowden explains:

“If a person is deficient in magnesium and potassium, you can give them potassium in large amounts on an ongoing basis, and their potassium levels never come up. But if you give them magnesium and get it repleted, and then give them potassium, then their potassium levels come up.

That’s because the kidney tubules selectively hold on to magnesium. However they waste potassium into the toilet in order to retain the magnesium because apparently, the body sees the magnesium as being a more vital nutrient than potassium.

One more thing. A lot of people in the United States are on some form of diuretic medication, either for blood pressure, swelling of their legs or for some other reason. When you take a diuretic, it has a magnesium and potassium-wasting effect on the kidneys. They’re wasting both magnesium and potassium into the toilet. But most doctors only give potassium. They don’t give the magnesium.”

Alternatives to Diuretics

Diuretics are frequently prescribed for high blood pressure and/or swelling in the extremities. As in most cases, drugs are not necessary for treating these conditions.

Swelling of the legs is often due to congestion in your lymphatic system, or kidney toxicity preventing your kidneys from properly processing water. Hence the water is retained in your tissues. Sometimes, it’s just severe toxicity in the tissues.

“One of the ways the body protects itself from toxic overload is to allow water to go out into the tissues where the toxins are, to dilute the toxins. If you have enough toxicity in your legs, then you’re going to have fluid accumulation there to try to dilute those toxins,” Cowden explains. “The lymphatic system can get clogged up for lots of different reasons.

The lymphatic system is commonly clogged up in people in the United States, because they have a love affair with dairy products and wheat products, both of which produce thick sticky mucoid material in the lymphatic system, which clogs it up. If they get rid of the dairy and wheat products, then the lymphatic system becomes more fluid and able to clear toxins from the tissues through the lymphatic system.”

If you have an extremely weak heart, you may not be able to pump blood properly. This is also known as right-sided congestive heart failure. A very common cause of that is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency.

According to Cowden, taking CoQ10, addressing any emotional issues and eliminating heavy metals will help the swelling to go away even in these more serious cases.

Why Diuretics are Not Ideal for Treatment of Hypertension

Hypertension is a more complex issue. The first line of treatment and the No. 1 recommended drug for treating hypertension is taking a thiazide diuretic. However, thiazide diuretics cause chromium wasting, which then creates insulin resistance, which in turn raises your blood pressure. As noted by Cowden:

“That seems to be a pretty oxymoronic way to do that. We really need to try to find a better solution. Most people who have hypertension emotionally feel under pressure to do something or not do something. If they can recognise what that is and resolve that emotional conflict, their blood pressure usually goes down quite a bit …

If you get the plaque reversed in the arteries, then the [arteries] are no longer stiff, so then you don’t have a systolic hypertension. You don’t need the drug, because your blood pressure comes down just by getting rid of the plaque in the arteries.

How do you do that? In the early ’90s, I was giving patients with advanced atherosclerotic disease proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food, a clean diet, supplements, nutrients, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and reversing 80 to 90 percent plaque in the arteries down to 20 and 30 percent plaque in just three or four months.

We proved that with the ultrasound Doppler duplex imaging. If we can do that, then why are we doing open heart surgeries, carotid endarterectomies and all that other stuff? It’s because people are not educated about what’s possible. If they haven’t been told that this could be done by their medical doctor, then they don’t believe that it’s possible. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things the medical doctor doesn’t know, because they weren’t taught it in medical school.”

The Benefits of Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes are an effective strategy not only for decreasing atherosclerotic plaque but also for thinning your blood and lowering your risk of a blood clot. Cowden’s father was placed on Coumadin by his doctor, which caused him to bleed profusely whenever he hurt himself working outside. Cowden suggested proteolytic enzymes instead, which his father was eager to try.

“He started that when he was about 60. He lived to be 80. He was on proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food twice a day for 20 years, without any more clots, without any more of the symptoms for which he was being treated with the sodium warfarin or the Coumadin.

Since then, I’ve treated several dozen other patients with the same strategy. As far as I know, there’s no peer-reviewed literature proving that this is so, but we have lots of anecdotal evidence … As far as I know, everybody has remained plaque-free.”

The enzymes Cowden uses for this purpose, in order of effectiveness are:

  1. Lumbrokinase, made from bacteria that live in the gut of the earthworm
  2. Nattokinase, a fermented soy product
  3. Serrapeptase, made from bacteria that grow in the gut of the silkworm
  4. Bromelain, obtained from pineapple stems
  5. Papaya leaf enzyme

“A person can be energetically tested for several of these enzymes to see which pair is the best pair and just rotate back and forth. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday the other. If they do enough of those, then usually they’ll have no clot formation,” he says. Proteolytic enzymes also combat tiny clots, frequently caused by chronic infections. The infection, wherever it is located, causes your body to produce excessive amounts of fibrin, a clot-producing agent.

This fibrin can plaster itself up against the capillary walls, restricting the delivery of oxygen from red blood cells through the capillary wall into the tissues.

The above-mentioned enzymes will strip away fibrin, allowing oxygen delivery through the capillary walls into tissues. Once the tissues are no longer starved of oxygen, they can go into aerobic metabolism instead of anaerobic metabolism, and when you’re in anaerobic metabolism, you don’t stimulate cancer growth and microbial growth. So, there are many related health benefits.

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes – The Natural Way

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 01 by Kate Grainger

Type 2 diabetes – also known as adult-onset diabetes – does not have to be permanent. Caloric restriction and Fasting can help control blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and even help reverse type 2 diabetes. Before we get into how fasting can undo the threat of type 2 diabetes, we first need to understand how type 2 diabetes affects the body.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 07 by Kate Grainger.jpg

Diabetes develops when fat accumulates in areas of the body that shouldn’t accumulate fat. A strong indicator, and the beginning phase is an abundance of fat in your muscle tissue. Typically this is the result of a family history, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, or a combination of these. This fat is called intramuscular fat. Imagine the marbling on a steak, it’s like that, only it’s inside your muscles, and causes insulin resistance — the characteristic that distinguishes type 1 diabetes from type 2. Additionally, intramuscular fat causes muscles to produce toxic fat metabolites like ceramide and diacylglycerol (DAG). These toxins also contribute to insulin resistance.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 08 by Kate Grainger

When you have high blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin to lower blood sugar. Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 02 by Kate GraingerHowever, insulin resistance causes the liver to stop responding to insulin. In fact, the liver keeps producing sugar despite a high level of sugar in the blood.

When the liver accumulates fat, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can develop. When non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is present, the liver releases fat into the bloodstream where it’s distributed to other organs and they, just like the liver, stop responding to insulin. Especially affected is the pancreas.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 09 by Kate Grainger

As fat builds up in the pancreas, its function is compromised; and since the pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, this is a major issue.

Predictably, insulin production drops.

Normalise your blood sugar to reduce body fat is what is needed, but many people begin insulin injections instead. Insulin injections aid in the short-term, but also contribute to fat formation. Including in the liver and pancreas, which leads to other health issues. It can feel like a catch-22 situation. Fortunately, there are alternatives…

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 03 by Kate Grainger

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 10 by Kate Grainger

Even though fasting, for me, is a dirty word because I love my food. For around 150 years, studies have shown that fasting provides serious benefits for those with diabetes. In the 1870’s, Dr. Appollinaire Bouchardet, an expert on diabetes during his time, noticed that fasting produced positive results for his diabetic patients.

Dr. Elliott Joslin published research (over 100 years ago) with a conclusion that fasting could reverse diabetes. He was among the first to realise that fasting detoxes your tissues and organs of fatty deposits.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 04 by Kate GraingerWhen you start metabolising the fat in your organs, you can restore insulin sensitivity. And once you restore insulin sensitivity, you can get your blood sugar back on track.

But it’s not all smooth sailing – there can be some complications to be aware of. Fasting with type 2 diabetes comes with a few potential health consequences, which is why you should only begin a fasting regimen under the watchful eye of a General Practitioner (doctor) or certified health professional who has experience and expertise with helping diabetics through this process. Don’t risk your health with unhealthy yo-yo dieting and fasting. Ensure you surround yourself with the right people to support you to success.

Ideally, have your blood tested throughout the day to monitor your blood composition and overall health.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 11 by Kate Grainger

Fasting works similarly to bariatric surgery, a gastric surgery that effectively reduces the size of your stomach. Some studies have found that bariatric surgery helped around 73% of patients go into diabetic remission. This kind of surgery, however, is invasive and comes with all the risks of surgical procedures training the patient to manage nutrition afterwards.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 05 by Kate GraingerPersonally I’d try the post-bariatric surgery eating philosophy to see if it yields results before resorting to solutions found in an operating theatre.

After seven days of reduced calorie intake (about 500-600 calories a day), fasting glucose normalises. Furthermore, after two months on this diet, your pancreas can start producing a normal level of insulin to control blood sugar.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 12 by Kate Grainger

In recent years, medical and nutritional researchers have found that reversing pancreatic damage is possible. Once you clean out the fat, the insulin-producing cells start pumping out insulin again. Fasting can undo the damage to your liver and pancreas to the point that they begin to function normally again.

Because it takes a few months to detox your organs of accumulated fat, intermittent fasting is the way to go.

With a fasting diet, you can sustain the fast long enough to get rid of the excess fat deposits that lead to type 2 diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure. Break your fast if your blood sugar exceeds 300 mg/dl or drops below 70 mg/dl.

A reduced-calorie plant-based diet may also help repair the damage from diabetes. Remarkably, one study found that a well-planned vegan diet can lower insulin dependence by over 60% in just two weeks — without losing any weight.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 13 by Kate Grainger

Small changes lead to small improvements, moderate changes yield moderate improvements, but significant changes lead to extraordinary results:

Do what’s right for your body. Follow a healthy diet to supply energy to an active lifestyle. Cut out or reduce refined sugar, starches, and meat and cheese — all of which are consistently shown to promote diabetes.

You can restore your health with a little determination, the right support team and observing your dietary intake. Accept the challenge to transform your life today.

Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Pic 06 by Kate Grainger

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Kate Grainger 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Amp up your vitality

Amp up your vitality Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle and Kate Grainger.jpg

One of my friends recently posed a question – besides grabbing some greens at salad bar, I don’t really eat as healthy as I should and cooking balanced meals seems like a lot of work. Any ideas?

 I know for me – since I’m not doing a lot of meal preparation as much of the time I only have to fend for myself it would be easy to fall into the trap of snacking on low nutrition or sugary foods constantly. But I’ve found a few ways to help avoid that without feeling like I’m spending hours in the kitchen. Apart from gabbing a piece of fruit instead of a biscuit (and believe me sometimes I stare at each in contemplation before deciding on the worse choice) here are some tips to help swing your diet to the nourishing end of the scale. We all want that trim body and alert mind – well this may help:

“Eat the Rainbow”

 I’m sure you’ve all heard of that saying before – basic macronutrients are relatively easy to get in wholesome formats—fish and eggs provide protein; avocado and nut butters provide fat; and sweet potatoes and brown rice provide carbs. But healthy bodies need a vast array of minerals and vitamins that act as co-factors in the complex panoply of biochemical pathways that comprise tissue building and repair. And that’s why veggies are so important.

Fresh vegetables are high in key micronutrients that get processed out of packaged foods. Most vegetables are goldmines of fibre, minerals, and vitamins. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Veggies are also packed with natural pigments: red is lycopene; orange and yellow are bioflavonoids; green is chlorophyll; and blue is anthocyanidins.

This rainbow display of naturally occurring pigments is important for plant health. Plants are constantly exposed to the elements, and over the eons, they developed pigmentation that not only allows them to become more complex (and thus more adaptable to their environments), but also protects them from radiation from the sun’s rays. And when humans eat those plant colours, we gain

some of their protective prowess against radiation and other agents of cellular damage. This is the single most important reason to make the eff ort to eat 1–2 cups of vegetables at least twice daily.

Plan Ahead

 I spend a few hours and cook up a few meals or prepare cold/salad meals – usually to last me a week of snacks, lunch (even dinner). One large meal will give me four portions. It stops me from overeating, ensures my ingredients are fresh (and organic), I get to include all the desired food groups to satisfy a balanced meal. And best of all, it’s ready at a moment’s notice during the week ahead, and I don’t have to bother with instant noodles or something like that when I’m low on energy and couldn’t be bothered cooking.

 

Also I prep raw food and seal them in baggies to freeze, later I can steam them with a protein of my choice If I am in the mood to create a meal (almost) from scratch. It’s all about reducing the time I spend in my kitchen for when I’m feeling lazy and likely to grab something less nutritious.

Amp up your vitality Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle and Kate Grainger

Soups & Smoothies

Another terrific way to prepare veggies (or use them up before they’re past their prime) is to make soups and smoothies. If you don’t own a slow cooker, get one. They’re wonderful for cooking vegetables and spices together for a long time over low heat. This gentle heating opens the plants’ cell walls and allows their myriad healthy elements to meld together. And there’s nothing better than coming home to the aroma of a stew or thick soup that has been slowly cooking all day.

I quickly wash and chop up a variety of veggies, throw them in to the slow cooker with either chicken or another meat of choice, season and leave it to cook while I’m at work. When I get home, dinner is served! There are also enough portions left over to freeze meal sized servings to last a week.

Needless to say my freezer is well stocked with a plethora of healthy meal choices!

I’m not one to make smoothies, but my friend loves them – her favourite tool for making smoothies is a Vitamix blender, but most other blenders will also do the job. Her favourite smoothie is base roughly two parts  water, 1 part yogurt, and either lemon juice and salt for a savoury shake, or cinnamon and honey for a sweet one. The sweet blend can also feature fruit – try bananas, blueberries, or mango chunks – but cooked yam and a little maple syrup are also nice for a change. A savoury blend can feature spinach, kale, cabbage, sprouts, garlic, tomato, cilantro, radishes, and/or any leftover cooked veggies. She says a nice thick smoothie makes a good meal replacement for calorie conscious days, and can also serve as a wonderful snack or appetizer.

Top of the Morning

And who says you can’t have veggies for breakfast? Consider keeping a glass container of finely chopped onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, and maybe grated carrot of jicama in your fridge to easily toss into an omelette or tortilla – or even over a bowl of warm whole grains.

If you plan on having whole grains for breakfast (e.g. oats, buckwheat millet, etc) soak them overnight using 4 parts water to 1 part grain. This makes them easier to cook- and digest. This ‘soupy’ porridge (known as cnongee in Ayurvedic medicine) is a perfect vector for any number of toppings. Try something simple such as raisins and cinnamon, or go fancier with pecans, sprouts, and a spoonful of kimchi, pickled beets, or marinated artichoke hearts, plus a big pinch of arugula.

So there are many quick ways to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet – it just takes a little imagination, some preparation, and fun experimenting J

I’d love to hear any easy, low preparation methods you have used to amp up your diet – share your tips below in the comments section..

 Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Kate Grainger & Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pomegranate – Steeped in Mythology, but very Medicinal

ANC Pomegranate 01 by Kate Grainger.jpg

The pomegranate is such an unusual fruit, and had been speculated to be the Tree of Life, and there are beliefs that it was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden Its Latin name literally means ‘seeded apple’. It is a symbol of hope, one of the ‘three lessed fruits’ in Buddhism, and a symbol of resurrection in Christianity. It’s easy to see why this odd morsel has remained in our culture throughout history when steeped in such strong belief systems.

It has an amazing history and features in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings. Numerous papyrus references state that it was used as a medicine and a food, and refer to it as a religious symbol and a symbol of fertility. Thus it became a food recommended for the childless woman, and was grown in early places of worship. Pomegranates were also said to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

But regardless of the mythology and its origins, I am fascinated by the rearing and properties of this humble fruit and how it can benefit our health.

MEDICINAL USES

 Ancient Greek physicians used pomegranate juice and seeds to treat bronchitis, as an anti-inflammatory, as a cough suppressant and for diarrhoea and dysentery. Medical research today confirms all the above uses, as well as pomegranate’s benefit in cases of night sweats, atherosclerosis, asthma, tonsillitis and chest ailments. It also strengthens the capillaries and, surprisingly, activates bone regeneration. I’ve used it in my skin creams to clear acne, to regenerate the skin, to give it a glow, and to soothe sunburn.

Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and is a superb treatment for prostate problems, particularly prostate cancer, and it slows the rate of tumour formation. The fruit and juice are simply incredible during menopause and post-menopause, and the dried seed contains oestrogen-type compounds. Researchers have found that the ellagic acid in fresh pomegranate seed juice helps to prevent the earliest chemical reactions within the body that may lead to breast cancer, particularly in families where breast cancer is a reality, and scientists and doctors have recorded reduced incidence of breast cancer with pomegranate intake.

CULINARY USES

 Pressed pomegranate juice, drunk immediately after juicing and with no sugar or preservatives added, is like drinking gold – it is so valuable for all age groups. Eat a teaspoonful or two of the sun-dried seeds daily and add them to seed and spice mixes. In a grinder, mix equal quantities of dried pomegranate seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Grind this over plain breakfast yoghurt or porridge; in this way you can enjoy pomegranate seeds all year round. The brilliant fresh seeds can be sprinkled on salads and fruit salads, and are used in smoothies and beverages, in baking, and as a food garnish. The taste ranges from sweet to sour, depending on ripeness and cultivar.

ANC Pomegranate 02 by Kate Grainger.jpgCULTIVATION

 The little trees need to be spaced two to three metres apart, closer if you want a hedge. Plant each tree in a large, deep hole filled with good, old compost mixed with topsoil. Add a cup of rock dust, sprinkled around the hole, as you sink the tree into it. Fill the hole with water to wet the roots thoroughly; then build a ‘dam’ around it to retain water. I find that sinking a metre-long, wide plastic pipe into the hole at an angle helps to get water deep down to the roots. Insert a hose into the pipe once a week. Water at least three times a week in the summer and once or twice a week in winter. Dig in a small barrow of compost around each tree, three times a year, to ensure a good fruiting crop. The spring flowers are vividly orange and indicate a rich harvest. We sell the little trees throughout the summer, reminding each buyer of their blessing and symbolism of life, longevity, fertility and wisdom.

PROPAGATION

 Strip off a short twig with a little ‘heel’ and press it carefully into a pot or bag of moist, rich soil. Keep it shaded and protected, and water daily or on alternate days, depending on how well the soil holds moisture. The young tree should be ready for planting in about three years. There is something infinitely satisfying about propagating pomegranates.

HARVESTING AND PROCESSING

 Dry the ripe seeds spread out on a tray in a warm place. Shake the tray daily to ensure even drying and, once dry, store the seeds in a glass screw-top jar.

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

© Kate Grainger & Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.