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are carbs healthy or unhealthy

There’s a lot of confusion about carbs.  The leading food bodies are telling us to eat more carbs…Yet there seems to be an increasing body of compelling evidence showing that carbs may be a leading cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle illnesses. It’s all really confusing and hard to know what to believe.  To answer some common questions like – Are they healthy or unhealthy? Do they make us fat? – and to clear up any confusion lets dive deeper and get clear about carbs.

It’s about a 5 minute read, here’s a brief outline.

  • What are Carbs?
  • Are they Healthy or Unhealthy?
  • Do Carbs Make Us Fat?
  • Healthy Carbs
  • Unhealthy Carbs
  • Why We Need to Avoid Unhealthy Carbs Like the Plague
  • In a Nutshell
  • The Harsh Truth

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which carbs are good

What Are Carbs?

Carbs. is short for Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are one of the 3 food macronutrients.   

Macronutrients are nutrients the body needs in large quantities for energy. 

We also have micronutrients, which are nutrients the body needs but in smaller quantities. (vitamins, minerals…)

The other 2 macronutrients are Fat and Protein. Most food is made up of a mixture of these 3 macronutrients in varying quantities.

When we talk about a particular food being ‘carb’ its  because it is high in carbohydrates rather than being exclusively carbohydrate.

Below we can see an example of this  in raw oats.  Oats are thought of as a carb but as you can see they also have fat and protein in them, along with many micronutrients which aren’t listed here. 

Nutritional profile of 100 grams of raw oats, (taken from Healthline.com)

  • Calories: 389
  • Water: 8%
  • Protein: 16.9 grams
  • Carbs: 66.3 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 10.6 grams
  • Fat: 6.9 grams

There are 3 types of Carbohydrate in Food.

  1. Sugars (provide energy)
  2. Starches (provide energy)
  3. Dietary Fibres (mainly helps with digestive health)
can I eat bread

Are Carbs Healthy or Unhealthy?

To answer most of the questions and clear up the confusion about Carbs. there is just one important thing to learn.

Some Carbs are healthy, Some are ok in moderation and Some Carbs are unhealthy, VERY UNHEALTHY.

Healthy carbs = Carbs that are whole, unrefined, REAL foods.

Unhealthy Carbs = Carbs that are refined, processed foods.

Healthy carbs are beneficial to the body, providing us with the required energy and dietary fibre. They help prevent illness and help us live happy and healthy lives.

Unhealthy Carbs do the opposite. Although they do still provide us with energy it is not in good form and comes with grave health consequences. I can’t think of any unhealthy carbs that provide us with dietary fibre.

Eating unhealthy, refined carbs has been linked with many lifestyle diseases including a higher risk of poor heart health, high blood sugar, insulin resistance and obesity.

Do Carbs Make us Fat

Again it depends on What carbs we are eating.

Wholefood carbs do not make us fat.

Refined food carbs will make us fat, for a variety of reasons we will look at further down.

But

I have additional interesting point to make when considering Do carbs make us fat?

NOT ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL.

Heres why?

Your body uses energy just to digest the food you eat.

That means some of the calories are ‘free’!!!

So a percentage of the calories you are eating are used up just in the process of eating and digesting it and …

…this percentage varies with each macronutrient.

Have a look:🤓

  • Protein. – 20-30% of the calories are used up in digestion.
  • Carbs – 5-10% of the calories are used up in digestion.
  • Fat – 0-3% of the calories are used up in digestion.

So

  • 1000 calories of protein will give you approx. 700-800 calories.
  • 1000 calories of carbohydrate will give you approx. 900-950 calories.
  • 1000 calories of fat will give you 970-1000 calories.

I’m just saying!!!🤓

Clearly, for the above reason (and others), eating quality protein is a great choice to make when trying to loose weight…and ‘unrefined’ carbs come in second…

…but

…Before you rush off and stop eating fat, hold up!!!. Just because fat gives the most calories doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it.

Quality fat is essential for us and there are other factors about it which makes it great for weight loss.

To find out more click here to read my recent blog post Is fat Healthy? Get the skinny on fats and oils

What I am saying is that when someone tells you all calories are equal and its a simple matter of calories in and calories out that’s not true.

What you eat matters!

which carbs are healthy

Healthy Carbs

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, (potatoes, sweet potatoes, pulses, peas, beans etc)
  • Whole oats
  • Brown rice, whole quinoa and other whole grains
  • Whole nuts and seeds (relatively low in carb but good fibre content)

These are all excellent healthy carb choices that will contribute to a healthy body and help prevent disease. The soluble dietary fibre in these types of carb helps with weight control and a healthy heart and is thought to contribute to a healthy gut.

There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that a healthy gut = a healthy body. Full Stop. Click here to find out more about the importance of a healthy gut to our overall health.

Personally, I go very easy on the starchy veg, whole oats and grains. Use moderate portions and try to eat the whole item i.e. eat the skin with the potato. The amounts of this type of carb individuals can tolerate without gaining weight varies from person to person, you would have to play about to see what suits you personally.

Ok Carbs

  • Wholemeal flours
  • Wholemeal pastas
  • Homemade wholemeal breads and flat breads.

Grains – Please make sure that any grain you consume is a WHOLEgrain. This means that it should contain all 3 parts of the grain: The Following is taken from a Healthline article click here to read more.

Whole-grain kernels have three parts (2Trusted Source):

Bran. This is the hard, outer shell. It contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

Endosperm. The middle layer of the grain is mostly made up of carbs.

Germ. This inner layer has vitamins, minerals, protein, and plant compounds.

Without these 3 parts present the grain is simply a refined processed food which causes havoc in our body. (more below)

Personally, I treat bread and pasta as an occasional ‘treat’. It’s very hard to find anything in the shops that comes up to standard. It’s a good idea to make them yourself and buy the very best WHOLE flour you can find. (click here for a list in of UK Farms supplying quality milled flours)

bad carbs

Unhealthy Carbs

Here’s a list of common unhealthy carbs.

Why We Need To Avoid Unhealthy Carbs Like the Plague

The first problem with these is the processing – the added sugar, the chemicals and addictive substances that go into them. They are a Frankenstein concoction that the body does not recognise as food. Mainly because it is NOT FOOD. To read more about this Click here for my post on processed food.

The sugar added to them is a huge problem. You may be shocked at how much sugar is added to your slice of bread or ready made meal. Even meat products have sugar added to them. Processed sugar is the worst, unhealthiest carb. Click here for my recent blog post Is sugar bad for you?

But even without the added sugar and other additives they are extremely unhealthy!!!

Why?

These foods – refined grains – the white flour and all its many products, the white rice, the white pasta, the noodles, the bread…stripped of all their natural fibre (and nutrition)…

…they have the same reaction in our bodies as if they were sugar.

 You may as well be eating sugar!!!

These types of refined carbs hit our bloodstream alarmingly fast causing the same sugar and insulin spikes as if you were eating straight up processed sugar. They also cause exactly the same associated negative health consequences.

Why

Because we need the fibre…

… in the whole food item to slow down the sugar and starch carbohydrates (which turn into a form of sugar) as it enters our system.

When the fibre is present the whole digestion process is slowed down thereby avoiding the sugar and insulin spikes and all the problems that go with them.

In a Nutshell – Avoid Refined Grain Carbs Because:-

  •  They cause blood sugar and insulin spikes because they’ve had the natural fibre removed. This plays havoc with our body, causing us many problems including weight gain and ultimately type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease.
  • They’re mainly empty calories (devoid of nutrition) since they’ve had all the nutrients stripped out. (because the parts of the grain with the most nutrition are removed during the processing).
  • They are very fattening. (The feeling of ‘full’ is fleeting because of rapid digestion thereby causing overeating… The insulin spikes, insulin is the main fat storing hormone… Your body crying out for ‘real’ food resulting in overeating)
  • They are very low in fibre. Fibre is essential for a healthy working body and fighting off disease. Remember – a healthy gut=a healthy body.

Cutting out the cakes and buns and all the things you know contain the sugar, yes that’s great!…  But you have to cut out the white bread, white rice, white pasta and noodles as well, because eating these is just like eating straight sugar with the same negative health affects… And they have all the chemical nasties of processed food too.

This type of food is cheap and easy, and I know it’s many peoples comfort food. It may be hard to give up, But you just have to…

The Harsh Truth

  • If you don’t want to be fat don’t eat unhealthy carbs.
  • If you want glowing, healthy skin don’t eat unhealthy carbs.
  • If you want to feel healthy and vibrant don’t eat unhealthy carbs.
  • If you want to have energy the whole day long don’t eat unhealthy carbs.
  • If you want to give yourself the best chance of avoiding type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other lifestyle illnesses, DONT EAT UNHEALTHY CARBS.

That’s It!!

Note: Of course people who have diabetes or are gluten intolerant and other similiar conditions will have their own special rules regarding carbohydrate intake.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, comments and questions in the comments box below. xxx

Fermented foods are now widely accepted and acknowledged to be hugely beneficial to our health. It’s a great idea to include more in our diet. Sauerkraut is one of the most popular and easily accessible fermented foods out there. Lets look at Its amazing health benefits and How to Make it. Click here to download my Wild Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe.

It’s short and sweet this week at just a 3.5 minute read. Here’s a brief outline.

  • What is Fermented Food
  • Sauerkraut
  • Why Eat Sauerkraut
  • How to get Sauerkraut into Your Diet.

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I’m also giving away my free Wild Fermented Sauerkraut recipe to all new subscribers this week. Subscribe below! (existing subscribers, just ask!!!)

What is Fermented Food

Humans have been fermenting food as a method of preserving it for thousands of years.  During the natural fermentation process microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria change carbohydrates like sugars and starches into acids or alcohol.

Common Fermented Foods

  • Sauerkraut – A cabbage dish popular in Germany
  • Kimchi- A cabbage dish from Korea and popular throughout Asia
  • Butter  – cultured dairy (for more click for my recent blog post)
  • Yoghurt -cultured dairy
  • Cheese – cultured dairy
  • Kefir  – a fermented drink often made with milk. (click for more)
  • Kombucha – a fermented drink, (click to read more)
  • Sourdough bread – made with natural yeasts
  • Beer and Wine – are also popular fermented drinks
Wild fermented sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

In this post I’m going to be concentrating on Sauerkraut:

  • It’s incredibly healthy,
  • It’s easily accessible and
  • It’s something I make and eat personally on a regular basis. 

Sauerkraut is popular in Germany and translates as Sour Cabbage

Kimchi is very similar to Sauerkraut with just two additions, a lot of raw garlic and a special chilli powder.(pictured below)

It’s the Asian version of Sauerkraut, or it’s probably more accurate to say Sauerkraut is the European version of Kimchi since Sour Cabbage is thought to have originated in Asia.

kimchi chilli powder

During Sauerkraut fermentation, the natural bacterias  and yeasts present on the cabbage, the air around and the hands of the person making it convert the sugars present in the cabbage into lactic acid.

 It’s this lactic acid that preserves the cabbage and gives the sauerkraut  its funky flavour. 

It also becomes a nutritional powerhouse.

Why Eat Sauerkraut

1. It tastes good.

Sauerkraut has a tangy, pungent taste. You would swear it’s in vinegar but it’s not. A basic sauerkraut has just 2 ingredients, cabbage and salt.

2. It’s very convenient.

I love having a jar of this stuff in my fridge. Once made it will keep for months. It doesn’t last long in my house!!!

I like to eat raw vegetables with my evening meal. If I have none left or Im in a hurry I always have my sauerkraut sitting ready made and waiting for me in the fridge I also just add it to my regular salad.

You need to eat just a little every day for maximum health benefits.

3. Its very healthy

1 cup of sauerkraut gives the following (taken from Healthline.com)

  • Calories: 27
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 39% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 35% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 23% of the RDI
  • Iron: 12% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
  • Folate: 9% of the RDI
  • Copper: 7% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 7% of the RDI

Health Benefits

For maximum health benefits you need to be eating wild fermented, raw, unpasteurised Sauerkraut.

‘Wild Fermented’ just means that ONLY the natural present yeasts and bacteria are used. Nothing is ADDED to start the process.

In addition to all the nutrients already present in a raw cabbage, Sauerkraut is also a great source of probiotics, friendly bacteria and enzymes all of which are good news for keeping our bodies in tip top condition.

wild fermented sauerkraut

Digestibility

The fermentation process increases the digestibility of all the nutrients of the food. This mean that the body is more able to use all the goodies it offers thereby increasing its nutritional value.

Sauerkraut delivers more nutrients than simple raw cabbage.

Gut Health

Sauerkraut promotes healthy gut flora. The link between a healthy gut and good overall health is now widely accepted.

A healthy gut is crucial for a healthy body.

I totally recommend this ground breaking book “Gut” by Giulia Enders. This is not a drearily boring rendition all about the gut, its surprisingly entertaining and full of jaw dropping information delivered in such a digestible (forgive the pun) format. I read/listened to it on Audible.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Although Sauerkraut may initially cause bloating and gas…

… it is actually thought to be helpful in relieving the symptoms of IBS.

Vitamin K2 – Healthy Heart and Bones

K2 is a vitamin that is quite hard to come by. Sauerkraut is a good source of Vitamin K2 which is only found in fermented foods and animal foods. It is thought to have vital health benefits including promoting good heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and Blood pressure.

Vitamin K2 is also know to support strong and healthy bones and teeth.

Click here to read more about the wonderful Vitamin K2.

Mental Health

Studies are increasingly showing a link between good gut health and good brain health. Click here for an article exploring this in greater detail.

Immune System

The probiotics in Sauerkraut help give us a healthy gut

A healthy gut = A healthy Immune system.

The vitamin c and iron found in Sauerkraut also aid a stronger immune system.

Weight Loss

Sauerkraut is high in fibre and low in calories. Making you feel full for very few calories.

There are some studies showing that the probiotics found in foods like Sauerkraut may aid in weight loss too. Click to read more.

CANCER

Studies are showing that consuming Sauerkraut, cabbage and Sauerkraut juice may lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Heres a link to the results of one such study. published by the National Centre for Biotechnology.

homemade sauerkraut
massaging the vegetables

How to get Sauerkraut into your diet

Shop bought

Most shop bought sauerkraut (and indeed fermented foods) are pasteurised,  The pasteurisation process destroys most if not all of health benefits fermentation offers.  Also beware of added sugars and other chemical nasties.

It may be possible to buy a good sauerkraut from specialist suppliers.

However making your own is sooo cheap and easy and is always going to be safer and more reliable, not to mention tastier too.

Make Your Own

Why not give making your own a go. I highly recommend it. Click here to download my Wild Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe.

This is one of those things that it’s much better to show you rather than tell you. I will be including a video recipe in my soon to be launched Healthy and Loving It online course.

Enjoy!!!

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As always I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, questions below. If you have any questions regarding the recipe you can also pop these down below.

is olive oil healthy

I’m happy to say that I didn’t pay much attention to the ‘low fat’,’ fat free’ madness of the 80’s and 90’s.  It didn’t make any sense to me and anyway the food they were touting tasted crap. That being said it’s bound to have got through on some levels such was the veracity of the messages coming at us from every angle.  And it turns out they were wrong… very wrong…dangerously wrong!!! Lets bust some myths and Get The Skinny on Fats and Oils.

It’s about a 7 minute read, here’s a brief outline:-

  • The Madness of Low Fat and Fat Free
  • Why You Shouldn’t be Scared to Eat Fats and Oils
  • What Fats Are Healthy
  • What Fats Should We Avoid
  • It’s Just Common Sense

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The Madness of Low Fat and Fat Free

In the 80s we were told that low fat and fat free was the healthiest diet and that eating fat made you fat and sick. We were advised to stop eating whole foods containing lots of fat. Saturated fat was especially demonised…👿.

On a practical level we were advised to replace whole foods containing natural fats like meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, coconut, olives and avocados with low fat or fat free alternatives like low fat/fat free dairy, we were told to cut off all fat from meat or choose lean cuts, eat low fat snacks like crisps rather than nuts. Natural fats and oils were replaced with bastardised versions of ‘plant’ oils… Well, you get the picture…you were probably there…😢

It also gave rise to the skimmed and semi skimmed milks found in our supermarkets today. This is just more unnecessary processing in which they remove all the fat from the milk and then reinject the fat to standardised proportions. Did you know that the difference in fat percentage between full fat milk and skimmed milk averages just 3%?. Read more in my recent blog post ‘Should We Eat Dairy?’

To put this advice in a nutshell, they told us to replace thousands of years of natural, nourishing tradition and wisdom with grotesquely processed, Frankenstein food that taste like sh…

and it made us sick and obese…

We were the subject of an unofficial experiment that went tragically wrong and they still won’t own up to it…

It seems that the official bodies put out this food advice based on scientific research which, upon reexamination was untested and sketchy to say the least. I know this advice came from our leading nutritional bodies but they got it completely wrong and this fact is widely accepted and acknowledged now. Click here to read more.

More recently the biggest research of low fat versus traditional full fat was done in Spain. Heres a quote summarising how it went.

There are sadly very few of them, but the Spanish government funded the biggest study of its kind called the PREDIMED study based on 7,000 men and women aged 60 at risk of heart disease. They were randomly allocated to one of two diets: a medically approved low-fat diet without dairy or fatty meats or a high-fat Mediterranean diet with lots of cheese, yoghurt, nuts and extra virgin olive oil. The study was stopped early after five years because one diet group was dying more and had a third more diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer — you guessed it: the low-fat group. (The Spectator click to read full article)

For me it’s just common sense. I don’t need a scientist to tell me I’m better off eating what Mother Nature offers us for nourishment rather than something bastardised in a factory for profit maximisation!!!

churching my own raw butter
making my own butter from 100% grass fed raw cream

Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared To Eat Quality Fats and Oils

So, It’s now widely accepted that eating the correct types of quality fats is very healthy in fact VITAL and DOES NOT make you fat. 

WHY

Fats and Oils are one of the 5 essential food groups needed to keep the human body healthy and operating satisfactorily. If you miss out on an essential food group you will eventually reap the consequences in some form of ill health. It’s inevitable

Essential means that the body NEEDS it to survive intact.

Quality Fats do not make you sick – We now know that it’s sugar, processed foods and tampered with fats and oils that are making us sick not whole food fats.

Saturated fats do not clog your arteries and cause heart disease. More on this down below…

FAT DOESNT make you fat.

In fact some evidence tends to suggest it may help with weight loss:-

  • Fat makes food taste good and gives a great mouth feel making you feel content and less likely to overeat or snack between meals.
  • It is also very calorific but this is a good thing because a small amount makes you feel full up, satiated and satisfied not stuffed full like a turkey. 
  • Because it’s so dense it takes longer (than carbohydrates) to digest so that satisfying full up feeling lasts longer thereby curbing snacking.   
  • Low fat versions of anything normally replace fat with sugar.   Processed sugar is the main enemy of weight loss and good health not quality wholefood fats.  Click here to read my recent blog post Is Sugar Bad For You.

Of course if you were to sit and eat jars of straight up coconut oil by the truck load or any fat for that matter, that would be very unhealthy and you would undoubtedly put on weight. It’s all about being sensible and eating as part of a whole food balanced diet.

What Fats Are Healthy?

All minimally processed fats and oils that derive from healthy wholefood sources are healthy.

Saturated, Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats

Most foods contain a blend of these healthy dietary fats in varying proportions. i.e. most of the fat in butter is saturated but it also contains some mono and polyunsaturated fats.

but lets look closer:-

is coconut oil healthy

Saturated Fat

Back in the day they demonised saturated fats claiming that eating it raised cholesterol in our blood, clogged our arteries and was the leading cause of heart disease. This has been conclusively disproved

The link between saturated fat and heart disease has been studied intensely for decades, but the biggest and best studies show that there is no statistically significant association.” I took this quote from Healthline, click to read full article,

Evidence (and common sense) suggests that whole foods including those that are naturally high in saturated fats are very healthy and nutritious. Saturated fat is also the better choice for cooking as it is more stable at high temperatures than other fats.

Good sources of Saturated Fats

  • Fatty cuts of Meats poultry (from organic, grass fed/free range sources)
  • Animal fats such as lard and tallow (from organic grass fed sources)
  • Coconuts
  • Whole fat dairy (from organic, grass fed sources)

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated ‘Fats

You’ll find these healthy fats in abundance in whole natural foods like:-

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Avocados
  • Olives and Olive Oil

Click her for a great article all about monounsaturated fats.

Do Eat…

The best way to eat fat is in it’s natural container.

This is the natural way and it will always best way to deliver nutritional benefits to your body. So for example

Get your avocado oil by eating an avocado…

or your healthy animal fats from eating a piece of meat…

or your coconut oil by eating coconut…

For the amazing benefits of fish oil eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines…

Get the nutty benefits of seed and nut oil by eating nuts and seeds…

what is the best way to eat fat and oil

It just makes sense…

However, sometimes you do need to use pure fats or oils for eating, dressing or cooking so here’s my recommendations.

Best for Cooking as can tolerate high temperatures. Hard fats such as:-

  • Coconut Oil. (Extra virgin, cold pressed, organic is best)
  • Butter (make your own with quality cream, click for more, Kerrygold is the best mainstream variety as their cows are mainly grass-fed)
  • Animal fats such as lard, tallow, poultry fats. (from quality sources, ie organic and grass fed or free range, all available online or make your own)

Great for pouring as salad dressings but not good for cooking as the oil is damaged at high temperatures.

  • Olive Oil – Organic, cold pressed extra virgin
  • Rapeseed oil – Organic, cold pressed, extra virgin
  • Avocado oil – organic, cold pressed extra virgin

In truth you are looking for anything pure with minimal processing.

is saturated fat good for you

What Fats Should We Avoid?

It’s now well established that it was/is in fact the new Frankenstein like ultra processed liquid ‘vegetable’ oils and manufactured hard fats (trans fats) that were/are the cause of heart disease and many modern day illness.

Surprise Surprise

Nature versus Profit Margin…Choose which one you trust…

This is what the Weston Price Foundation has to say,

‘Humans need saturated fats because we are warm blooded. Our bodies do not function at room temperature, but at a tropical temperature. Saturated fats provide the appropriate stiffness and structure to our cell membranes and tissues. When we consume a lot of liquid unsaturated oils, our cell membranes do not have structural integrity to function properly, they become too “floppy,” and when we consume a lot of trans fat, which is not as soft as saturated fats at body temperature, our cell membranes become too “stiff.”

Weston Price Foundation is a non profit making charity, founded in 1999 ‘The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.’ Click here to read more about them.

So… Avoid At All Costs

If you take one thing from this post let it be this, Trans Fats are lethal!!!

Click here for a very up to date article by The Telegraph calling for a total ban on Trans Fats which it calls ‘the tobacco of nutrition’

Trans Fats are manufactured fats often found in processed foods:-

  • Margarines
  • Vegetable oils and shortenings
  • coffee creamers (dairy and non dairy)
  • Cakes
  • Doughnuts
  • Pastries
  • Ice cream
  • Bread
  • Crisps and packet savoury snacks
  • Pies
  • Ready to use dough
  • Fried fast foods

nb. there is a small amount of natural trans fats found in some whole foods, this is not a cause for concern. It’s the manufactured trans fats that are dangerous.

Check the Label

Trans fats have been totally banned in the whole of the USA and Canada. Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and Iceland have also implemented a total ban.

Unfortunately it’s still in our food supply here in the UK and much of Europe. At present it is not clearly labelled as trans fats. Look for and avoid ingredients like ‘mono and diglycerides of fatty acids’ and ‘partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils’.

Uk food manufacturers have volunteered to cut trans fat out of their products and this appears to be slowly happening but there are still many products which include them.

The easiest way to avoid trans fat is to quit processed food. Click here Read more about this in my recent blog post.

quit processed food to avoid trans fats
Quit Processed Food

Also Avoid processed liquid ‘vegetable’ and Polyunsaturated Seed Oils

Why?

  • Processed liquid vegetable oil is full of free radicals as a result of the processing. This causes inflammation and disease.
  • Some scientists and nutritionists believe we have a major imbalance of Omega 3s and Omega 6 fatty acids – For optimum health we need an equal balance of both these essential nutrients. but because of the demonisation of animal fats over the past decades it seems we now eat way too many omega 6 and way too little omega 3. This is causing imbalance, inflammation and disease.

Avoid oils like:-

  • Processed vegetable oils in all guises (anything labelled vegetable oil)
  • sunflower seed oil
  • soybean oil
  • corn oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • peanut oil
  • sesame oil
  • rice bran oil

Again I reiterate you can eat the whole product in it’s shell. Eat the sunflower seeds and the sesame seeds and the almonds etc . I personally do not eat corn or soy bean due to the farming methods and genetic modification of most of these crops.

It’s Just Common Sense

As usual it just boils down to common sense really.  If we stick to what nature gave us we won’t go far wrong.

Fat and oil doesn’t make you fat if you eat it in a normal fashion as part of a wider healthy wholefood diet.

Its always best to eat the fat in its natural container, ie in an avocado, in a lamb chop, in a chicken meal, in a coconut , in an olive. It’s the safest delivery method and the surest way to reap maximum nutritional benefits.

Common sense dictates that man made never trumps nature.

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Further Reading

For a more in-depth view of what I eat click here

Theres a hell of a lot of debate and controversy surrounding dairy. People become emotional about it and have very black and white views. They take sides. I have a more relaxed and balanced stance. The main question in the debate is Should We Eat Dairy? My answer to that is YES…BUT…

  1. Only if you want to!!! If you hate it, don’t eat it. Your bones won’t crumble if you don’t take dairy. There are plenty other food sources for the nutrition it offers.
  2. You MUST choose high quality dairy if you’re going to eat it.

Today I’m mostly looking at number 2. Choosing High Quality Dairy and the amazing health benefits that offers. I’m not arguing the case for or against eating dairy, that decision is entirely yours…

Like I said, if you don’t like it don’t eat it but don’t be scared to eat it either, you just need to find the right dairy.

You definitely don’t need to eat it from a nutritional point of view.

You can get the same nutrition from other sources if you eat a healthy, balanced diet. There are many cultures across the world with zero dairy in their diets and they do perfectly well thank you.

Its about a 6 minute read, Here’s a brief outline:

  • Is it ‘unnatural’ to drink milk
  • About Dairy
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • The Fat Question
  • Mainstream Milk and Dairy
  • Organic Milk and Dairy
  • Grass Fed Milk and Dairy
  • Raw Milk and Dairy
  • Benefits of Raw Dairy
  • Dangers of Eating Raw Dary
  • My Personal Relationship with Dairy

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Is It Unnatural to Drink Milk?

A common argument used against dairy is that its unnatural for us as human adults to be consuming cows milk and its products. They argue that milk is indeed a perfect food…for cows not humans. I do also take onboard the argument that we are the only species to consume milk after infancy.  Milk is for babies not adults, that’s true.

But 

As a species we do a lot of things that aren’t all that ‘natural but are still deemed pretty healthy:- Running long distances for no reason other than personal fitness, lifting heavy weights in order to look good, cooking our food , dressing our raw vegetables, we’re the only species that makes green smoothies, we’re the only species to take vitamins and nutrients in little plastic capsules…

We’re the only species to eat processed food…(well apart from seagulls, rats…😂

Is it more ‘natural’ to eat a highly processed tofu burger than it is to drink milk?

Well that depends on the milk you choose…

About Dairy

By Dairy I mean cows milk and the products derived or made from it such as milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, ice cream, kefir milk…

Just How Nutritious is Milk?

Quality Milk is truly brimming full of easily absorbed nutrition.  

Its a complete meal in itself.

Nutrition in Quality Milk

Lactose Intolerance

On the downside a whopping 75% of the worlds population cannot digest milk properly (they are actually intolerant to lactose the naturally occurring sugar found in milk).

However, please note:  It’s generally Asians, Africans and South Americans that are lactose intolerant.  People of European descent can normally tolerate lactose just fine. 

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:

  • Sinus problems
  • postnasal drip
  • Headache
  • Nausea ,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Bloating

Lactose Intolerance and other Dairy Products

Just because you are lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you can’t eat dairy although it probably means you shouldn’t drink milk. 

If you suffer when eating or drinking anything of course you should stop eating it.

 But 

You may still be able to eat butter, hard, high fat cheese and cream which are all very high in fat. Its not the dairy fat that holds the lactose so any these may still be tolerated.  In cultured products like yoghurt and milk kefir, some of the lactose is consumed by the live beneficial bacteria so again you may be able to tolerate these. Click for more on Dairy and Lactose Intolerance.

Always eat full fat dairy of the very highest quality for the best digestibility.

The Fat Question

One of the best things about milks’ nutrition is its essential fatty acids.  For this reason…

Always consume full fat milk to benefit fully from the healthy fats it contains.

All cows milk contains different levels of fat and is completely dependant on the individual cow and what it has eaten. Skimmed and semi skimmed milks have a set amount of fat % and in order to maintain this standardisation fat is removed from the milk and then reintroduced at the correct amounts

It’s just more unnecessary processing.

In case you don’t already know this, we need healthy fats in our diet.  Skimmed and semi skimmed milk are not the ‘healthy’ choices they are marketed as.  Quite the reverse.  But even if low fat was the healthy choice, which it’s not, the difference in percentage between full fat milk and skimmed is 3%, !!!  Yes 3% , sounds like a marketing trick to me!!! (Actually the fat standardisation varies from country to country, but this is fairly typical)

Mainstream Milk and Dairy

By mainstream milk I mean the regular stuff that you can buy in the shops and supermarkets.

I wouldn’t touch that with a bargepole!!!…

Why?

  • It’s highly processed.
  • The animals it comes from are unhealthy and don’t have a good life
  • The milk may contain chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones (via the unhealthy animals)
  • Missing nutrients -The pasteurisation process destroys many of the nutrients.
  • Homogenisation – another additional process which changes the nature of the natural fats. I like my foods natural not denatured, this may cause digestability problems. 

Organic Milk and Dairy

Organic milk from the supermarkets is still missing lots of valuable nutrients because of the pasteurisation process. It may also be homogenised.  However…at least you don’t need to worry about added nasties like growth hormones, chemicals and antibiotics.  Organic cows also eat more grass and it’s an undisputed fact that the more grass eaten the higher the nutritional profile.

100% Grass fed Milk and Dairy

Grass fed cows milk has a superior nutritional profile than mainstream.  The more grass the cows eat the higher the nutrition so 100% is the definitely the ‘creme de la creme” 😀 It is particularly higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and protein.

Raw Milk and Dairy

Controversial but has by far the  superior nutritional profile.

 Raw milk is minimally processed and controversial because it is not pasteurised.  Milk is pasteurised to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.  The problem with this is that it also destroys all the beneficial bacteria plus many of the fantastic nutrients as well.

We’ll look at the dangers shortly but first let’s talk about the benefits. 

When we talk about drinking/eating raw dairy it’s a different ball game.  

It has to be Raw, Organic and 100% grass fed. This stuff is nutritional gold.  

Benefits of raw Dairy

  • Full of beneficial Enzymes. Heating (pasteurisation) destroys them.
  • Proteins are 100% available. Heat destroys many.
  • Full of Essential Fatty acids which are all fully available to your body in raw milk. Many essential fatty acids are destroyed in pasteurisation.
  • All vitamins in raw milk 100% available.  Water soluble vitamins are lost in pasteurisation as are some fat soluble ones. Vitamin K2 which is very important for calcium metabolism and heart/bone health is not found in pasteurised milk.
  • 100% of milks minerals are available.  Pasteurisation can reduce minerals by up to 50%.
  • Raw contains more CLA (conjugated Linoleic acid) than pasteurised and is only found in grass fed. Please click here for more of the health benefits of CLAs
  • Raw milk actually lasts longer because of the ‘good’ bacteria it contains
  • Buying from a quality, trusted source makes danger from bacterial infection minimal.
  • Claims have been made that consuming raw dairy can clear up asthma, eczema, hay fever and other allergies. These are made from individuals, not scientific research…

‘Dangers’ of Eating Raw Dairy

Let me start by saying that YES there would be a huge danger in consuming raw milk FROM CONVENTIONAL COWS.  Of course there is you would be eating the milk of an animal kept in cramped conditions ripe for passing on bacterial infection, that’s why they pump them full of antibiotics all the time.

Of course they have to pasteurise the milk of already unhealthy, diseased animals.  They couldn’t possibly sell that for human consumption.  I wouldn’t touch it pasteurised never mind raw.

But

If you are buying raw milk from a quality source that look after their cows and the whole process meticulously then, in my personal opinion, the danger is minimal and the benefits outweigh it. If you do want to consume raw dairy just make sure it is organic and grass fed and from a quality, trusted source. I will give some hints on sources later.

These are my personal opinions after doing the research to decide whether I personally will go ahead and eat raw dairy. YOU MUST do you own research before making a decision. There are a lot of articles from leading bodies warning against it…

Below are some articles discussing this subject. One from the Uk and one from USA.

Click here for a very balanced article by The Guardian

click here for an article from the world famous Weston Price Organisation 

Personally , Ive been using it for around 6 years now without one incident.

If like me you’re not much of a milk drinker but want to enjoy the amazing health benefits of raw milk you can eat raw  cream for example with strawberries or you can eat raw butter.  Yummy!!!

Churning my raw cream butter.

Sourcing Raw Milk, Cream and Butter

Due to strict regulations, you will not find raw milk, cream or butter in UK supermarkets. You will find raw milk cheeses though, particularly in Waitrose.

 In England and Wales you can buy raw milk, cream and butter direct from the farmer.  This is great news.   Many of these farmers sell online so if you don’t happen to live near one you can still get some.

In some countries such as Australia there is a total ban. In Scotland also but you can buy your raw milk online from England and have it delivered. If you live somewhere like this and want access to raw milk don’t despair, there are lots of raw milk campaign movements going on around the world. They seem to be winning their battles. Just google raw, organic grass fed milk, and you will find them.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed by an Australian resident that you can now buy raw dairy direct from the farmer. I’d love some more confirmation of this from Australians out there.

I currently buy from Gazegill farm in the north of England.

There are several farmers supplying quality raw milk in England , just google raw milk, you may find a farmer nearby that you can go and visit for yourself.

If you’re in the USA please use the link below to help you find a trusted supplier.

https://secure.westonaprice.org/cvweb_weston/cgi-bin/utilities.dll/openpage?wrp=chapter_dir.htm

Milk -Many farmers are online and  do a milk delivery service. 

Cream  – The best cream is in the spring, around May when the grass is freshly grown.  This is when the nutritional value is at premium  and, luckily, when there is plenty cream around to buy.  I buy around 6 litres of spring cream and freeze it for future butter making to last me the year.  Freezing the cream does not harm any of the nutrients. 

Butter – You may be able to find a farmer that makes and sells raw butter but it will be much cheaper, easier and more fun to make it yourself from the raw cream.

You can freeze your raw milk and cream without any destruction of nutrients.

My Personal Relationship With Dairy

I’m not a milk drinker and never really have been. . I don’t really like the taste.  When I need milk in my day to day life for example in chia seed breakfast, oats , hot drinks etc, I use plant based milks, mostly coconut or almond milk, which I make myself. The cover photo of me drinking milk is in fact my home made coconut milk. You can find out how I do it in this blog post.

  I don’t  use shop bought processed plant based milks. 

I do however, 100% believe in the amazing  nutritional benefits of raw dairy and for that reason I do make my own absolutely delicious homemade butter out of 100% grass fed raw organic cream.  I also eat the cream with fresh fruit sometimes as a dessert.  

The butter means that I have a constant source of this valuable food stuff at my finger tips at all times, all year round. I also slightly culture the butter which adds a whole new dimension of health benefits but that’s another story for a future post.

Once per week I will have organic cheddar cheese  in an omelette.  

As a general rule that’s it.  So really I don’t eat very much dairy but I do eat it and when I do I’m generally eating the very best.

Associated reading

Food List, What I Eat

How to Eat Healthy 3 Simple Rules

Why Eat Organic

Healthy Glowing Skin, Some of the best benefits of Eating Raw (produce)

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why eat organic

There’s a bit of a debate about whether or not it’s worthwhile paying out the extra money to buy organic. Is it more nutritious? Does it taste better? Is it healthier?…Why Eat Organic? Let’s find out🤓…

Its about a 3 minute read.  Here’s a brief outline:-

  • What is organic food?
  • Toxic chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers and GM free.
  • You are what you eat and so are the animals.
  • Nutrition.
  • Taste.
  • Eating Non Organic Food.
  • Grow Your Own.

Subscribe below to receive my weekly blog post direct to your inbox.  You will also receive my downloadable ‘Processed Food Spectrum’ as a guide to making good food choices.

what is organic food

What is Organic Food?

Basically, Organic food is grown or reared without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers and should not contain GM (genetically modified) ingredients. 

The UK Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.

This describes organic food that is purchased. Home grown and foraged foods are usually also organic.

Toxic Chemicals, Pesticides, Fertilisers and GM Free

The main reason for choosing to eat organic is to avoid adding additional toxins, chemicals and GM ingredients to our bodies.  

Non organic produce (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds)  is sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilisers which we then ingest into our systems.  This is obviously not healthy for our bodies and amongst many other things can contribute to oxidative stress which is known to  be a cause of many of todays lifestyle diseases. (more on this later)

organic meat

You are What You Eat – and so are the Animals

Organic meat, poultry, eggs, dairy are produced from animals/birds that only eat organic produce.  They are also given GMO free feeds. The  better food the animal eats, the healthier it will be, which makes it a better quality food choice for us to eat.

 Organic animals are guaranteed to have better living conditions – more natural living conditions, less cramped, less disease and not given routine antibiotics. This also makes for a healthier animal and from an environmental (given that they and their feeds are chemical free) and humane viewpoint organic meat is a far superior choice.

To summarise – they are much healthier and happier animals which make a much better, higher quality food choice for our health and for the environment.

Fish

Wild fish is by far the best choice to make.  Totally organic and in their wild habitat eating and living as nature intended.  If you are buying farmed fish though,  organic is  a much healthier choice for all the exact same reasons as above with the meat and poultry. 

Tip – the best section in the supermarket to find wild fish (especially if you are on a budget)  is the freezer section.  

Nutrition

The nutritional profile of organic and non organic can be pretty similiar, with organic just making it as the more nutritious choice. This varies widely from product to product and nutrient to nutrient.

However…

… it does seem that organic produce (fruit, veg, nuts, seeds) does offer a higher amount of antioxidants (20-40% more) which are crucial for fighting oxidative stress. Click here for more detail.

Oxidative stress is known to cause most of todays lifestyle diseases including diabetes, cancers, Parkinson’s, Alzeimers…it also contributes to ageing. Click here for a detailed article on Oxidative stress.

This reason alone is enough for me personally, to seek out organic.

Note: When you grow your own organic produce, the nutritional profile will be far superior to anything you buy in the shops depending on how well you fertilise your garden.

grow your own

Taste

In some cases organic and non organic food tastes pretty much the same, you can’t tell the difference between them.  There are exceptions though especially when it comes to meat, fish and poultry where there are notable taste differences with the organic being far superior.

Note: Except when you grow your own organic produce  and eat it directly from the garden. The taste is outstanding.

Eating non organic food

Sometimes it’s not always possible to eat organic food. This can be for many reasons. Maybe because you can’t afford it or it’s just not available for you to buy.  This is fine.  It’s far better to live on a diet of non organic fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat, fish, poultry and eggs than on a diet of processed packet food.

grow your own

Grow Your Own

There is no better way to KNOW that your food is chemical and GMO free than to grown your own.

It’s also very cheap.

I recommend a fabulous website www.realseeds.co.uk for buying your seeds. They sell heirloom and heritage seeds for home gardeners that are guaranteed not to be hybrids or genetically modified. And… because they are non hybrid you can save your own seeds for using in future years. This is great news for those on a very tight budget.

I’m a huge fan of growing your own, it just doesn’t get any healthier than this. It tastes better, its much more nutritious, its cheap and just so damn satisfying to work the garden and produce your own food.

It feels quite rebellious because you’re saying no to the mass produced, profit hungry food industry and their poisonous food. I know you’re not self sufficient but it’s a start, it’s something…

Growing your own food; Its like your very own little revolution!!!

Benefits of growing your own organic vegetable garden

  • Excercise
  • Being Outside In fresh air.
  • Connecting with nature.
  • Being Outside in natural daylight.
  • Tending your plants outside in nature is a form of meditation.
  • You are Creating. You are creating your own food.
  • It tastes a zillion times better than the shop bought equivalent.
  • The nutritional profile will be a zillion times better than the shop bought equivalent.
  • It’s very cheap.
  • You will know it is chemical free, and GM free.
  • You get to be a rebel😎

So…

For all the above reasons its well worth eating organic, if your health isn’t worth a little extra money what is???

If you can’t afford to buy organic then grow your own organic produce for the best nutrition and taste.

If you can afford it grow your own anyway, It doesn’t get any better.

For tips on how to eat healthy and how to eat organic click here to read my blog post ‘How to Eat Healthy, 3 Simple Rules’.

Subscribe below to receive my weekly blog posts directly to you inbox, you will also receive my “Processed Food Spectrum’ to help you make good food choices.

Further Reading

Let Food be Thy Medicine

Reset Your Tastebuds, Ditch the Processed Food

Secrets of Amazing Health, Peace of Mind

how to eat healthy

How to eat healthy isn’t complicated it really is quite simple. There’s so much clutter out there so let’s cut through all the noise and just get down to the basics. What follows are 3 simple rules that, if you follow them say 85% of the time, will put you well and truly on the road to eating healthy and amazing health.

Its about a 3.5 minute read and includes a ‘Processed Food Spectrum” downloadable giveaway.

Here’s a brief outline and the 3 simple rules for eating healthy:-

  • 1. Quit Processed Food
  • 2. Eat More Raw Produce
  • 3. Try to Eat Organic
how do I eat healthy

Subscribe below to receive my weekly blog post direct to your inbox. You will also receive my downloadable ‘Processed Food Spectrum’ as featured below.

Quit Processed Food

If I had to choose the most important of the 3 rules this would win hands down. In fact doing just this one rule will make you one million times healthier. The other 2 are just the icing on the cake.

It’s much easier to tell you what is not processed food than give you a long list of all the processed foods of the world.

Everything that’s not a whole food in its purest natural form is processed food…

…But

Think of Processed food as on a spectrum from unprocessed whole foods to lightly processed all the way through to medium processed which we can tolerate in small doses and ultra processed  “junk’ foods, chemically laden, sugar laden, salt laden and full of bad fats which we should aim never to eat.

processed food spectrum

Eat always from the top 2 green boxes, sometimes from the amber box and never from the red box, and you’ll be eating healthy.

85% Green is a good target.

Why?

  • Processed foods are addictive
  • They are crammed full of all the things that have been scientifically proven to cause illness, obesity and higher risk of early death. Sugar, the bad fats, too much salt, chemicals to preserve them, colour them, flavour them and to add texture.
  • They are very low if not devoid of nutrition. We need nutrition to keep us healthy and ALIVE.
  • It tastes disgusting, nothing can beat the flavours of real foods.
  • Bad for the Environment
  • You will just feel much better on a regular day to day basis. This on top of the fact that you will be protecting yourself from the epidemic of lifestyle disease plaguing our society

For much more insight into the problems with processed food read my blog post ‘Reset Your Tastebuds, Ditch the Processed Food.

How?

  • Use the Processed Food Spectrum as a guide. Eat mostly from the green boxes.
  • Use Your common sense.
  • Check labels.

As a general rule of thumb the less ingredients there are the less processed it is and if you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t eat it😂. But remember the 85% rule. You don’t have to be perfect😁

eat more raw raw bananas

Eat More Raw

When I say raw I mean raw produce, or to be specific fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Yes, of course you can cook your veg. and still be healthy but eating much more of your produce raw just makes you feel and look amazing and for that reason alone it’s worth doing.

Everyone can benefit from eating more raw. There are some essential vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and enzymes that are destroyed during the cooking process. So, to protect us from illness and just for our general health and wellbeing it’s a really good idea to try and up our raw game.

Note that I say Eat MORE raw not Eat ALL raw.  You don’t have to be perfect!!!

Why?

  • It’s alive – all nutrients intact.
  • You will Look amazing.
  • You will Feel amazing.
  • Helps weight control – High in fibre, low in calories. win win!!!
  • It’s fast food. Nothing quicker and more convenient than just picking up and eating or chopping and eating. NO heating up, no cooking…
  • It just tastes better. Raw produce tastes juicy and fresh. With a lifestyle reset you really learn to appreciate this.

Click here to read my blog post Healthy Glowing Skin, some of the best benefits of eating more raw.

How?

There are numerous ways for you to eat more raw. If easier, you can start small and slowly increase it.

Try to work up to 5 raw a day.

Here’s a few of my favourites.

  • Drink a Green Juice or Green Smoothie every day.
  • Swap out cooked veg. for your favourite salad with every weekday dinner.
  • Make some raw chocolate brownies or other raw dessert.
  • Chia seed pudding with fruit for breakfast.
  • Have a salad for lunch everyday.

For more detail click here to read my blog post Rawlicious,5 easy and delicious ways to eat more raw.

Try to Eat Organic

Basically Organic food is food grown or reared without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers and should not contain genetically modified ingredients.

Click here for what Wikipedia has to say about Organic food.

The UK Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. 

DEFRA – Crown Copyright

Why?

  • To avoid consuming toxic chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers.
  • You are what you eat and so are the animals. A healthier animal/vegetable = a healthier meat/vegetable = a healthier YOU.
  • Nutrition. Organic produce does generally have superior nutritional value. Although sometimes it’s minimal.
  • Taste – Generally organic tastes better but it can be subtle or even non existent.
  • Organic farming is more humane and environmentally sound.

I’m currently writing a more detailed post on ‘Why You Should Eat Organic’. Look out for that next week.

How?

  • You can buy products labelled organic in the shops. Even the budget supermarkets have jumped on the bandwagon.
  • You can buy online and get it delivered to your door. Companies like Abel and Cole, or local farmers sometimes do a vegetable box delivery.
  • Go to your local farmers market and speak to the farmers. Many of their produce is in fact organic but they can’t afford to get the organic certification. Use your intuition to guide you.
  • Eat wild fish from the fish counter or freezer section or things like tinned wild salmon. Wild = organic, actually, it trumps it.
  • Grow your own. There is no better way to know that your food is chemical and GM free than to grown your own. You are in control of what goes in your soil. It tastes better and is conveniently local and cheap. More on this next week.
  • There are some fruit and veg. that you really don’t need to buy organic. It’s generally those with really thick skins which prevent the chemicals seeping through to the parts we eat. Click for a list on my blog post food list what I eat.

You are what you eat. The healthier the food you eat, the healthier your body will be. It’s really that simple!!!

Subscribe below to receive my weekly blog post direct to your inbox. You will also receive the above ‘Processed Food Spectrum’ in downloadable form.

I would love to hear your ideas, suggestions, comments and questions in the comments section below.

is sugar bad for me

Is Sugar Bad For You? Is sugar Like a Drug? Do they put Sugar in Cigarettes?

Yes! Yes! Yes! and more…Read on…

There are loads of detailed, measured articles out there about how sugar can destroy your health but I’m in the mood for a bit of a rant😠. It’s how I feel about the whole subject. It’ll take around 2.5 minutes to read it. Here’s a brief outline:-

  • Sugar is Not a Food Group
  • The ACTUAL 5 Food Groups
  • The White Death
  • Sugar as a Drug
  • Smoke Anyone???

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is sugar unhealthy

Sugar is NOT A Food Group

I came across a post on social media not along ago having a pop at people for avoiding whole food groups. I agreed with the core message of the post. Avoiding food groups completely isn’t the best idea.

But…

…then I looked closer.

They had included sugar as a food group. WTF Erm…SUGAR IS NOT A FOOD GROUP.

For Your Information...

The ACTUAL 5 Food Groups

  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Proteins (e.g. fish, eggs ,meat, nuts, seeds, legumes)
  • Carbohydrates (e.g. grains, bread, oats , starchy veg.)
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
  • Fats and oils

Sugar, the white stuff, it’s not even a real food!!! it’s a mass produced, processed product made for massive profit and, unfortunately for us, mass human consumption.

sugar is not a food group

The White Death

I’ve heard it called ‘The White Death’… It’s dramatic, I know, and I normally err on the side of reason but in this case, I have to agree IT…

…and when I say IT I mean the white processed stuff and all of it’s offshoots(1) NOT natural sugars contained in their natural containers…

…is the root of most of our health problems.

Perhaps the social media post was written by some sugar lobbyist keen to keep the profits rolling in. But it could equally be just your average Josephine, making herself feel better for her own consumption. Keen to justify and protect her precious sugar and her addiction to it from the constant attacks it receives.

And it’s true, sugar really is under fire from all angles. It’s easy to understand why people are defensive nowadays. Everything seems to come under fire from somewhere or someone even the things we thought were healthy or were last weeks darling superfoods.

It can all be very confusing but don’t let this mask the actual facts, don’t let it be an excuse for you to ignore all warnings.

Sometimes the attack, the criticisms, the warnings, are for real.  In the case of sugar…and I’m really sorry… but the case is undeniable!!!

IT’S BAD FOR YOU FULL STOP

A DISASTER for your health

Makes You Fat,

Bad for your Teeth.

A disaster for your looks.

But you already knew that…

At what point in your life did you ever think or believe that sugar wasn’t bad for you. You’ve always known it.

Of course it’s bad for you!!! Have you noticed how addicted you are to it. How you crave it. Nothing with that much pull over you can possibly be good news for you.

is sugar like a drug

IT’S LIKE A DRUG !!!

Apparently, sugar hits all the same buttons as drugs like cocaine. Giving us that feel good high. The idea of sugar as one of if not THE most dangerous drugs in our society is really gaining traction. Click here for a short but concise Healthline article.

There are those who argue that sugar can’t be like a drug because it’s a food and our bodies need food to survive unlike drugs.

But…

That white processed substance IS NOT A FOOD.

We don’t need it, it has no nutrition at all. As my old food and nutrition teacher Mrs Bell was fond of telling us

ITS AN EMPTY CALORIE.

No nutrition zero, zilch, nada!

is there sugar in cigarettes

Smoke Anyone?

Did you know that they add sugar to cigarettes to make them easier to inhale , more ‘appealing’??? It also makes them EVEN more toxic and EVEN more addictive.

I MEAN PLEEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEE…WTAF

Below is a quote from an article by the American Association for Cancer Research:-

Sugars are commonly added to American-blended cigarettes, and the presence of sugars in cigarettes increases the appeal, toxicity, and addictive potential of smoking

Click here to read the full article, it’s short and concise. https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/27/3/357.1

Who knows what that means to Diabetics…I believe there is ongoing research.

Scientists are also researching the link between the sugar in the cigarettes and Cancers…

Look!

I’m not saying you need to cut every grain of sugar out of your life, not at all. I’m just saying we need to be aware of its true nature and act accordingly. For a start, let’s at least know when we are eating it, there’s so much of it hidden in surprising places like savoury meats, and pre cooked foods (and cigarettes😌.

I am most definitely not saying that we should stop eating natural sugar containing foods like fruit out of our diets. Quite the reverse, these and the sugar within them are essential to our wellness.

Notes

(1) Anything ending in “ose is basically processed sugar or worse. Like sucrose, dextrose…

Further Reading

Reset Your Tastebuds and Ditch the Processed Food

Because You Deserve It, Marketing Bad Habits

Let Food be Thy Medicine

As always I would love to hear your comments, questions and suggestions below.

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Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog of the year. As a new decade dawns and the excesses of the holiday season fade into the distance it’s the time of year that we start thinking about getting healthy. We tend to concentrate a lot on what we will eat but what we drink is important too. I thought a few healthy drinks suggestions would be useful so I’ve gathered together a collection of Healthy Drinks You Will Love.

For those in a hurry here’s a brief outline, its about a 10 minute read.

  • Reasons Why You Need Healthy Drinks Alternatives
  • The Ultimate Way to Drink Your Water
  • To replace the alcohol
  • To replace the coffee and tea
  • To replace the sugary drinks

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Reasons Why You Need Healthy Drinks Alternatives

We talk a lot about what we should eat to stay healthy and to help us stay slim but what we are drinking counts too.

For me this post on this particular week is doubly meaningful because on Monday January 6th I celebrate one year…52 weeks…365 days without alcohol!!! It’s my Soberversary!!! A fact I can hardly believe myself, but it’s true. Cheers🥳

I can’t say it’s been hard because really it hasn’t, it’s been a doddle. You might expect me to talk in detail about how I struggled without alcohol at parties and social occasions, but for the most part that’s not true. In actual fact I’ve been loving my life without it.

What has helped alot though, especially in the early days while I was still getting used to the idea, was the replacement drinks I chose. I hate fizzy sweet drinks, well, all sweet drinks actually.

I replaced my alcoholic drinks with grown up drinks drinks that made me feel specialdrinks that felt special to drink drinks that looked special, that added a bit of theatre to the occasion.

Of course healthy drinking isn’t just about excellent replacements for alcohol. I gave up tea and coffee many moons ago so I have a fair few alternatives for this type of drink up my sleeve too.

And as I said I hate sweet drinks so I have several drinks that I drink when others would choose a sweet, soft drink.

There are many reasons to be looking for healthy drinks alternatives. Here’s a few:-

  • Avoiding or cutting down on sugar laden drinks.
  • Avoiding too much caffeine.
  • Finding alternatives to alcohol for the drivers.
  • Finding alternatives to alcohol for those on a break from alcohol or those who want to quit altogether.
  • If you just want to cut down on your coffee or tea or give it up altogether
  • if youre trying to avoid dairy or if you’re lactose intolerant.

What follows now are my suggestions for healthy drinks alternatives. Most of these are my personal favourites and I wholeheartedly recommend them.

The Ultimate Way to Drink Water

We need water to live but it can be a bit boring right? A nice glass of chilled sparkling water with a slice of lemon and/or lime can really hit the spot when out and about but you don’t really want to be having your full recommended daily water intake with gas included!!! It’s a good idea to find a still water drink that you like to help you reach your recommended daily water intake of 6-8 glasses per day.

The Ultimate Way to Drink Water – Not only does it taste great but your adding extra nutrients too. I give you;-

Fruit Infused water

  • Get a Mason Jar
  • Add one lemon sliced and/or
  • One lime sliced
  • Fresh Mint (a large handful)
  • Add Water to the top of the jar
  • Chill and infuse over night, wake up and start sipping as soon as you wake up and for the rest of the day. Honestly delcious!

As an alternative to lemon, lime and mint try:

  • Orange slices and cardomam
  • Berries and basil
  • Lemon and rosemary
  • Cucumber and mint or dill
  • Anything you fancy

To Replace the Alcohol

What I’ve discovered over my alcohol free year is that alot of it is just about theatre when it comes to our drinks. We want something pretty to look at , something that looks special so that we can treat ourselves after a hard day, or that feels like it goes with that amazing meal we’ve just cooked. I’ve come up with some wine replacements and mocktails that do just that, here are a few of my favourites.

healthy drinks you will love
freixenet zero alcohol cava

Bubbly
Friexenet Alcohol Free Cava – as an ex wine drinker and cava lover I can honestly say that this is great. It’s not sweet, it tastes like cava without the poisonous aftertaste, it’s fairly inexpensive (currently £4.50 from Tesco or Morrisons), it looks the part and it comes guilt and hangover free. You can buy it in Rose or White, both are lovely. I serve mine with a frozen organic raspberry at the bottom of my glass and the best thing is… you can even drink it for breakfast!!!

Hibiscus TeaRed Wine
I first came across Hibiscus in Phuket, Thailand. It was in a fantastic little cafe that served organic food and amazing, raw desserts. After ordering a set meal of soup , curry and salad it came with a drink on the side called Rosella, which I found out later was in fact cold hibiscus tea. The drink was served with a jug of syrup to sweeten it. When I tasted it, it was very bitter, but what I found is that if I drank it after I ate some food it was really good at cleaning the palate and the bitterness was not an issue. It tastes good too a bit like unsweetened cranberry juice.

healthy drinks you will love
hibiscus tea

For me it has several similiarities to red wine. As you can see from the above picture which is in fact hibiscus tea not red wine, it looks exactly like it. This really helps with the theatre at the table. It looks the part and feels very familiar. It also washes down and cuts through the food in the same way as red wine does.

You may have to work to like it (in much the same way as you probably worked to like red wine) but it is worth it.

Hibiscus has some truly amazing health benefits. It is full of anti-oxidants and is particularly renowned for lowering the blood pressure Personally, I already have quite low blood pressure so I make sure not to drink too much of it. I stick to just one large glass per day with my evening meal. Click Here to read an excellent article which outlines the many benefits of drinking hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus Tea – How to Make It:-

  • I use a glass teapot with an infuser section
  • Fill the infuser section half full with hibiscus flowers
  • Add boiling water to fill the teapot
  • Leave to cool and refrigerate overnight
  • You can bottle this, it will keep for a few days

Notes -Apparently you can use the flowers a few times although I don’t, I use a fresh batch every time. I like it strong.

It’s important that you buy quality tea. Not teabags with hibiscus dust mixed with god knows what. You can buy organic, whole dried hibiscus flowers. If you have no local supplier you can buy them on Amazon.

Please note:- I have no affiliate links with any company whatsover. I’m genuinely recommending where I buy them from myself to help you out in sourcing the best ones.

Mines a ‘Gin and Tonic

lemons
healthy drinks alternatives

Sometimes I have a healthy ‘gin’ and tonic or should I say seedlip and fevertree light. I’ve noticed these are becoming pretty mainstream but thought I’d mention them here for those who haven’t come across them yet.

Seedlip is an alcohol free ‘gin’ which comes in three varieties = grove, garden and spice. Each of these have different botanicals and flavours, there are no calories in them and the ingredient list seems relatively harmless.


Fevertree light offers many different varieties of tonic water (and a mean ginger ale). The great thing about them is that they don’t use unhealthy artificial sweeteners neither are they laden with sugar. Instead they have a little sugar in them which makes them taste much better, and of course they are much better for your health and your waistline. Just be careful though you have to pick the fevertree light options as they also do full sugar versions too.

Seedlip and Fevertree light are widely available at most supermarkets in the UK.

mocktails
skinny virgin mojito
healthy drinks suggestions

Mocktails
Of course there’s loads and loads of mocktails you can make with various fresh fruits, juices and herbs. My favourite is a skinny virgin mojito.

Skinny Virgin Mojito

  • Juice of 1 fresh lime.
  • Raw honey to taste (suggest half teaspoon).
  • Handful of mint. Crush it in a tall glass along with the lime and honey.
  • Add ice to three quarters up the glass.
  • Fill remainder with fevertree light or sparkling water.
  • Decorate top with a sprig of mint and a slice of lime

Make Your Drinks interesting and colourful

Use natural colours and flavours to make them exciting, that’s fairly easy when using natural products like fruits and herbs.

You can also use Butterfly peas flowers (another Thai discovery) to colour other wise boring drinks. They turn drinks various shades of blue or purple/pink when mixed with citrus. You can buy these dried flowers from Amazon, they last forever since you only need a few to colour your drinks.

butterfly pea flower 
make healthy drinks

To Replace Coffee or Tea


Of course there is nothing wrong with drinking tea and coffee in moderation but here’s some healthy alternatives in case you want to cut down or just for a change.

Coconut MilkMy homemade Recipe

  • Dried coconut (unsweetened chips or dessicated)
  • Water
  • Vanilla, a few drops to taste (fresh,essence, paste…)

Put all ingredients in your blender (high speed works best) at the highest setting and blitz until your milk starts to get warm. Squeeze milk through a nut milk bag into a large jug and that’s it made. Transfer into a sealable glass bottle and store in the fridge. It should keep fresh for around 3 days but will probably be gone by then.

Some more tips:-

  • Drink it warmed but don’t overheat it, it tastes better and will preserve all nutrients.
  • You can add spices like cinamon and dried ginger.
  • If you really want to you can sweeten with a little raw honey or coconut sugar. Personlly I find it sweet enough.

You can also make the very popular Golden Turmeric Latte.

Golden Latte
Contains turmeric, a much revered superfood. Click here for my recipe from a recent blog post of mine which was all about the health and beauty benefits of coconut.

Cocoa
We all know how to make this. The trick is don’t buy sugary hot chocolate powder buy actual cocoa powder and skip adding sugar. I make it just with boiling water and just drink it straight or add a little of my homemade coconut milk. There are a few good brands, I always use Green and Blacks Organic Cocoa.

Espresso
If you enjoy a coffee espresso shot you will probably enjoy a chocolate one even more. Here’s how:-

  • Around 25g (about one quarter of one of the blocks) of Willies 100% Cacao (available at Waitrose)
  • An espresso shot cup of water
  • Put both in a pot and heat until chocolate is melted and mixed into the water.
  • Pour into an espresso shot cup and drink.

Genmaicha – Japanese brown rice tea,
A personal favourite and again I discoverd this in Asia, this time Penang, Malaysia. If you like the burnt sticky rice at the bottom of your rice cooking pot you’ll love this. If not try it anyway, it’s funky and really grows on you.

You can drink it hot or cold to suit yourself. It’s basically green tea mixed with popped brown rice. Click here to find out more about it in wikipedia.

To make it you steep in boiled water for a few minutes to taste. You can buy good quality Genmaicha from Amazon. Yamamotoyama brand is the only one I’ve tried and very good. I’ve generally bought mine on my travels in Asia and it lasts forever. You could also try your local chinese supermarket or Japanese restaurant.

Pukka Organic herbal teas

There is a huge variety and all are good according to your own personal taste. My favourites are three ginger and wild apple and cinamon. Pukka is a good solid company with high food and environmental standards.

You can buy it online or at your local supermarket.

To Replace the Sugary Drinks


Drinking our calories is really bad news. Especially when the calories are coming from the sugar. If you’re addicted to sugary, sweet drinks I definately advise you to wean yourself off this habit as a matter of urgency. Drinking sugar is a major cause of obesity and it’s related health issues. Not to mention the damage drinking sugar is doing to your teeth. Below are a few suggestions for healthy replacements:-

Fruit Infused Water
As described above. This is my number one recommendation. It doesn’t get any better.

Fevertree Lights
An excellent brand of soft drinks with the light variety being very low in sugar rather than full of chemical artificial sweeteners. A staple in my drinks cabinet. As a soft drink replacement I would choose Ginger Ale Light or you could try mixing the following delicious drink.

Grapefruit Fizz

  • Half fill a tall glass with ice
  • Squeeze in juice of half a grapefruit
  • Fill glass with fevertree aromatic light.
  • Decorate top with a stick of rosemary or a stick of lemon grass
healthy drinks you will love
coconut water

Coconut Water
Fresh out of the coconut is premium… but the chances are you don’t live in an area that has these readily available. If you live in the UK Marks and Spencer do a coconut water fresh in the coconut. Pricey but nice if you can afford it or for a treat.

You can also buy from a carton. To be honest it’s not something I do alot as it is processed but I will occasionally have one of these. Check the carton, you’re looking for ‘not made from concentrate’ and you also don’t want added sugar or chemicals. Here’s an excellent article on the best coconut waters if you are interested in learning more.

Kombucha
I have to fess up here and say I still haven’t made my own kombucha. I guess that means I don’t need it in my life… I have to mention it here though as Kombucha has many heathy benefits and apparently tastes awesome and so is an excellent healthy drink. I really must get around to making it. Here’s an excellent article on why.

Important Note:

Please don’t replace your sugary soft drinks with the diet versions. These are proven to be extremely unhealthy and do not help keep you slim. Below is an clip from my earlier blog post ‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’ click here to read the whole post.

Soft drinks were also under fire this month, September 2019, when the public were urged to drink water instead. A massive scientific study has found a higher risk of early death linked with both sugary and artificially sweetened soft drinks. The sugary ones most linked with digestive issues (like liver disease) and the artificially sweetened ones with cardiovascular disease. Read a balanced article about if here by The GUARDIAN

So there you have my Healthy Drinks You Will Love suggestions. I hope you try them out and love them. Let me know how you get on in the comments section below and I would also love to see your healthy drinks suggestions down there.

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resolutions that stick

We all make New Years Resolutions but how many of our healthy resolutions stick. How many are successful? It’s a great idea, the whole new year/new start thing. I totally love it. I don’t do the raucous Hogmany party any more! As a Scot. this is almost blasphemy but there you have it. I prefer a light celebration on the 31st (which is also my birthday)…

…Then I wake up as fresh as a Daisy on New Years day and can really feel into and appreciate the specialness of that new fresh day, that new fresh year, that new fresh start…

We can use that feeling as a booster to make a healthy New Years Resolution that will stick. Resolutions that will become more than resolutions that will become a part of your success story, a new habit, a new and healthier path and lifestyle.

So today, Im doing a very short post about how we can make resolutions that we can keep. A short post because I know you’re busy enjoying yourselves. Here’s a brief outline it’s about a 2.5 minute read.

  • Make Them Easily Achievable and Be Persistant
  • Focus on Gaining Not Losing
  • Reflect on and Celebrate Your Wins, no matter how small
  • Get Some Company

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successful healthy resolutions

Make Them Easily Achievable and Be Persistent

  • Make lots of very achievable goals – So rather than making one big goal that you are bound to fail on within days, make an initial, much smaller goal that feels achievable to you.
  • When you achieve that goal make a new one and so on and so on until you have achieved your goal. It may take a while but you will be improving all the time.
  • Keep the time frames short so that you are never far away from success. Go slowly but surely, step by step and action by action so that you build up a natural momentum of success, achievement and progress.
  • Strong and slow wins the race and lots and lots of small wins eventually equal one huge big achievement.
  • If you fall or fail, start again. Persistency is the key.

You can do this by either drawing up an overall plan with each step and goal already plotted or you can just concentrate on your first goal and when you get there make up the next one and so on as you go along. The one you choose depends on the type of person you are. Both are equally valid.

Focus on Gaining Not Losing

Let your resolutions be about what you will gain rather than what you will loose. Let them be about how your life will improve rather than what you will miss out on. Let me give you an example to show you what I mean:

Resolution- I want to stop smoking.

Change this to:-

  • I want to breathe normally again
  • I want my time back (we spend alot of time smoking)
  • I want to feel good about myself
  • I want peace of mind and not to worry about my health
  • I want to smell fresh
  • I want to look healthy

and so on…there are many more gains from stopping smoking.

resolutions that are successful

Reflect and Celebrate Your Wins No Matter How Small

Me Time
Take 10 minutes every day to reflect on your resolutions and how you are progressing with them. If you are doing well and have achieved them, no matter how small, congratulate yourself and celebrate this success (in a healthy way). If you havn’t done so well, rethink it, make changes to your goal that will make it easier for you to succeed and start again. Remember Persistence is the key.

Healthy AND Happy
You will never stick to anything that you are not happy with. You have to be happy with what you are doing, your lifestyle choices, what you are eating… The reason I stick at my healthy lifestyle is that I’m happy in it, there is no willpower needed and no struggle involved.

Involve Other People

You’re much more likely to succeed if you involve other people. That may be just by telling them so that they can support you or it may be that they will come along for the ride with you. Everything seems much more achievable and fun when you have company right?

Resolutions that involve starting good habits and stopping bad habits will have much more chance of success if you have accountability. Someone to report to, someone who will hold you accountable for your actions. If it’s a joint effort you can be each others accountability buddies.

My online course ‘Healthy and Loving It’ is close to being ready to launch. Although it will be packed with useful information, in actual fact, I can see that my students success will be hugely due to the online classroom full of accountability buddies including myself.

If you would like to hear about my course launch please subscribe below. You will also receive my weekly blog post direct to your inbox.

In a Nutshell

New Year is a great time to make healthy resolutions that will stick. Applying the above ideas should really help make achieving yours real and long lasting.

Good Luck with your Resolutions and a very Happy New Year when it comes.

Further Reading

Starting Good Habits Stopping Bad Habits

Boredom and Bad Habits, Are We Just Bored

Life with Crutches, Whats it Like to Break Free from Bad Habits

Because You DeserveIt, Marketing Bad Habits

Step By Step, The Slow but Powerful Path to Success

The Wine Witch, Pink Fluffy Clouds and Wine O’Clock, When You Stop Drinking Wine

Wikipedia – About New Years Resolutions

I would love to hear about your New Years Resolutions below, Plus any comments,, thoughts, suggestions or comments. xxx

chocolate is a superfood
shona hagan visit to chocolate farm and factory, grenada
@amazinglyhealthylife

It’s Xmas so let’s talk about the crazily awesome health benefits of Chocolate. Chocolate is a superfood and that’s not just some trendy label that everyone just blindly follows it actually means something. It’s called a superfood because it really does have superhero levels of nutrition within. Nutrition that genuinely helps us reach and maintain our best health. But there is a but…it’s the cacao in the chocolate that is the superfood rather than the actual chocolate bar itself. Don’t despair…all is not lost… Read on there is hope!

I know you’re busy with all your xmas stuff so heres a brief outline. It’s about a 3.5 minute read.

  • What is Chocolate/Cacao/Cocoa
  • Why We Should Eat It
  • Cacao is a star – Its’ highlights
  • Megadose of Antioxidants
  • Makes You Happy and Fights Depression
  • Healthy Heart and Brain
  • Helps You Look Good
  • Even More Highlights
  • The Bottom Line
  • How to Take Action
  • Further Reading

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cacao tree
cacao fruit
chocolate is healthy
cacao is a superfood

What is Cacao/Cocoa/Chocolate

Chocolate is made from cacao which is grown on the cacao tree the theobroma cacao which translates to ‘Food of the Gods’ a justified name I’m sure we all agree.

  • Cacao is the fruit that comes from the Cacao tree. The flesh tastes deliciously sweet, the beans are what’s used to make cocoa and chocolate.
  • Cacao nibs are crumbled raw cacao beans with a strong bitter taste a bit like coffee.
  • Cacao powder is made from cold pressed cacao beans. It is raw and unprocessed.
  • Cocoa powder is made from roasted, processed cacao beans. It’s what most chocolate bars are made of although you can buy raw chocolate bars.

Cacao is healthier because it’s raw and untreated so retains its full nutritional profile, but cocoa still retains some good health benefits and therefore so does chocolate.

cocoa sign, chocolate farm and factory grenada

Why We Should Eat It


Cacao is incredibly healthy for you, a superfood in fact. It is exceptional in its health boosting, anti-ageing and disease fighting properties.

Cacao is rich in healthy nutrients including:

  • Anti oxidants,
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Carotene
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Magnesium
  • Sulphur
  • Flavonoids
  • Essential fatty acids

It’s thought to improve your health in multiple ways including;

  • Heart health
  • Cholesterol levels,
  • Stress levels,
  • Reducing the inflammation that can lead to multiple lifestyle diseases
  • Improves and balances moods
  • Increases happiness levels

So cacao really is a star, here’s some of its highlights

Contains Mega Doses of Anti-Oxidants

It has one of the best anti-oxidant profiles of any food in the world with 20 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries. Anti-oxidants help fight oxidative stress which is thought to be behind a multitude of todays lifestyle diseases including Depression, Alzheimers and some Cancers. The anti-oxidants alone are enough reason to eat it.

Cacao is the best source but good quality cocoa and dark chocolate also deliver anti-oxidants. In general, the higher the level of cocoa in the chocolate the more antioxidants it will contain.

raw cacao beans, chocolate factory, grenada

Can make you happy and fight depression


We all know eating chocolate makes us feel good and we might hit the chocolate when we are down. Well, it turns out that there is a scientific reason for that.Cacao releases several feel good chemicals in our brains, 2 of which are seratonin and PEA (phenylethiamine).

When you fall in love your brain produces PEA which then tells the body to release feel good endorphins. PEA also metabolises into serotonin which is great for balancing your moods and is known as the happy chemical. So when we eat chocolate our body mimics the feeling of falling head over heels in love and that sense of happiness, wellbeing and euphoria associated with it.


Happy Natural High – There is a venue in Berlin which runs a monthly event on a Sunday afternoon. 200 people drink cacao together, meditate, and then have a six-hour electronic music dance-off, before going home to sleep. How awesome is that? I want to go.

Healthy Heart and Brain

Magnesium, the cacao flavonoids and other important nutrients found in abundance in cacao have been shown to improve heart health and brain functions.


Eating chocolate can lower blood pressure according to research by Harvard University but the chocolate needs to be a minimum of 50% cocoa for it to get results. In the tests it worked better in those who already had high blood pressure.


During a British Psychologists study, eating dark chocolate was shown to improve partiipants mental maths.

Helps you Look Good


Anti-Ageing and glowing skin – contains anti-ageing anti-oxidants, which fight free radicals and protect skin from sun damage so less fine lines, wrinkles and more even skin tone.


There is research suggesting that regularly eating Cacao can help weight loss and prevention of type 2 diabetes. (not the sugary chocolate bars of course)


Those mood enhancing chemicals make you feel good, when you feel good you look good.

More Highlights

Cacao is THE highest plant based source of iron.

Great news for the non-meat eaters out there!

Cacao has more calcium than cows milk.

Again, great news for non-meat eaters and those who are lactose intolerant.

Cacao, cocoa and chocolate are treats and healthy treats are a godsend.


It tastes delicious and is very filling and satiating.

chocolate is delicious, healthy and filling

The Bottom Line


To get the maximum benefits of the superfood cacao, you have to eat it in its raw form as cacao rather than cocoa or chocolate. However, there are still great health benefits to eating quality cocoa and chocolate. The better the quality, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better the benefits. Also, the higher the percentage of chocolate the lower the percentage of sugar which is of course another huge advantage.

How to take Action

  1. Actively seek to eat more raw cacao, it’s health benefits are off the chart.
  2. Eat good quality cocoa and chocolate moderately as a treat.
  3. Actively seek high percentage chocolate which will also be much lower in sugar.

Further Reading

Cacao versus Cocoa excellent article

Click here for my food recommendations

Click here for the benefits of eating raw produce

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

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I would love to hear your comments, thoughts, suggestion and questions below. x