Whole Foods as Anti-Depressants?

I was shocked to read in the National Post (January 2014) that Canada is one of the top three consumers of anti depressants (behind Iceland and Australia). We take twice as many antidepressants as Italians, and more than the Germans, French or English. As a former ex-pat of this fine country I find this incredulous news. Aren’t we one of the most abundant, free, financially stable, diverse, and well-cared for countries on the planet? I have to ponder, why then, are we so depressed? Apparently, even our top psychiatrists, like Dr. Joel Paris of McGill University, are speaking out to say that too many Canadians are treating life’s normal spells of misery the way they would handle something cosmetic they dislike about their bodies –by asking a doctor for a quick fix. His article states that psychotropic drugs are too easily dispensed by family physicians and that “over diagnosis is much more common now than under diagnosis”. What is depression anyway? Depression in itself is not a true emotion. It is an amalgamation of many different emotions, including sadness, grief, loneliness, anxiousness, discouragement, and perhaps even suppressed anger. Saying you’re depressed takes away your responsibility for finding the underlying cause. It negates the emotion you are feeling and your empowerment to change it. Human emotions are meant to be felt. They are a normal and healthy way of dealing with life experiences. I often witness my 3 year old twin granddaughters exhibit a roller coaster of emotions in a very brief span of time. They can go from gleeful exuberance to abject crying spells and back to joy in a...

5 Steps to a Slim and Healthy New Year

With Christmas over and New Year’s approaching what’s the easiest and most effective thing you can do to recover from the excesses of overeating, and the blame, shame and self criticism that goes with it? Here are some simple actions you can take to change your habit and jump start your way toward a healthier, slimmer, happier 2017. #1 Do not step on the scale.   Why rub it in? #2 Do not give up on yourself. Ever. This should actually be # 1. #3 Throw out the “frankenfoods” (not made by nature) in your fridge and cupboard and do not replace with same. A good place to start your hit list would be anything that contains canola, safflower, soybean and cottonseed oils. These are the worst offenders, and have contributed largely to our overweight and malnourished population. You will find them in practically every un-food on the shelf. Unfortunately, and contrary to marketing myths, chemistry does not improve on nature when it comes to food. #4 Start your day with whole foods, eat all you want of those, and then, repeat. Simple!   Purchase only quality whole foods and you will save on your grocery budget as you buy and eat a lot less. #5. Eat Mindfully. This is the hardest step, but if mastered, can create the most change. How to eat mindfully?   Pay very close attention to your eating behavior.  Slow down the process and really notice how you act around food. How quickly do you reach (or grab) for the next bite? How fast do you bring it to your mouth? What size of bite do you...

“Got Milk?” – the Untold Story…

Most people believe they need to consume large, daily quantities of milk to achieve good health. Unfortunately, except in times of famine, we have no need at all for cow’s milk and with today’s milk processing methods; it is actually quite harmful to our health. Anthropologically, we are the only species that continues to drink milk past weaning and the only species to drink the milk of another species. This is just not part of nature’s design. Cow’s milk is perfect for cows. It is a high fat fluid exquisitely designed to turn a 65 lb baby calf into a 400 lb cow in one year. When you look at commercial milk today, compared to 50 years ago it doesn’t even look the same. I remember when the milkman brought the bottles to our doorstep. The thick yellow white cream (which contains the healthy fat soluble vitamins) sat on top and my siblings and I would argue over who got to have the tastier, richer cream. Nowadays commercial milk looks kind of blue and it is much thinner. We children hated the taste of skimmed milk when it first appeared. The longer shelf life and bigger profits meant nothing to our palates. But, the Dairy Council did such a great job of marketing it as a healthier and necessary product that we eventually and reluctantly learned to tolerate the taste. Sometimes children are wiser than adults. Who was to know that losing local dairy sources would have such a drastic effect on our health? The cows in large corporate dairies are overworked and kept to quotas by artificial means....

Keep Warm and Healthy this Winter Without Eating Inflammatory Foods

As winter approaches and the air feels brisk and chilly, it seems natural to think about curling up on the couch with a bowl of warm and spicy soup. Winter is a time for comfort foods which help to warm the body and support immunity and digestion. The abundance of squash and pumpkins in our gardens and grocery are chock full of nutrients our bodies need to keep our systems healthy and strong throughout the cold months. Spices help with digestion of cooked foods, but they can also provide excellent nutritive value in themselves. One such spice is turmeric, the yellow-pigmented “curry spice” often used in Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains curcumin, the active component which exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. As an immunity booster, turmeric is nearly 8 times stronger than Vitamin C or E! Curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and holds promise as a neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders. This is very good news for those suffering from collateral damage to the brain from long term drug intervention. When they first noticed that the rate of Alzheimer’s among older adults in India is more than four times lower than in North America, scientists began studying the beneficial effects of curcumin on Parkinson’s and other degenerative brain conditions. With its inflammatory properties, curcumin may also help with gallstones, Crohn’s disease, cataracts, IBS, and rheumatoid arthritis. Along with using turmeric as a healthy spice, it is important to include black pepper, which increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000 times. Black pepper stimulates the production of...

What about the Latest Magic Molecule?

Almost daily I am asked by someone what I think of the latest magic potion for what ails them.  (Today someone asked about Vitamin C and lysine for their heart because there was an article in the paper expounding on the benefits of these combined items). My answer to the question of the latest miracle discovery is this:  the work of nutrition has already been done.  There is nothing new and secret that we haven’t learned that you absolutely need that isn’t already provided by Nature.  It’s all there.  Everything we need, nicely packaged, whole and balanced just for us. Did you know that scientists have been able to take apart a whole apple to identify and isolate more than 424 different compounds (including lysine, vitamin C, co-enzyme Q and many of the other latest nutrient “discoveries” of our times?) We like to take things apart to find out how they work.  But taking apart whole foods and mimicking, replacing, reducing or isolating the various pieces is not a good idea. Once I took a bicycle apart. The pieces lying about the floor certainly did not resemble a bicycle nor were they functioning as a bicycle in that separated state. And even when I put those exact original pieces back together again to resemble my bicycle, I was left with 3 or 4 bolts and washers in my hand!  Oops.  Sure enough, some miles ride down the road that bike broke down. That is what scientists do when they create nutraceuticals.  They take a piece or pieces of a “natural source” ( such as carbon atoms from coal tar)...

The REAL- FOOD- ONLY Challenge

The typical Canadian Diet can make life a rough road paved with malnutrition, obesity and disease.   The sad fact is that this is unnecessary. We have been at this eating game since the beginning of time, why are we so confused about what we should eat? Maybe the problem begins with a misunderstanding of what food really is. The dictionary defines food as”any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal or human for nutrition or pleasure.” Really? “Substances” can be products passed off as food, which neither nourish, nor heal, but simply give us a taste experience that makes us think we are nourishing ourselves.   When we substitute the eating of products instead of real food, we create deficiencies, fatigue and cravings for the nutrient complexes we really need to survive and thrive. True “foods” nourish and heal. They are the raw materials the body needs to rebuild cells, replace parts and replenish our tissues. How do we tell the difference between a product and real food? You know you are eating a product if it is designed or adulterated by man. A whole apple is made by nature. Applesauce in a jar with additives for shelf life is a product. An egg is a food. Boiled quinoa grains that have not been genetically engineered are whole foods. Pasta is a product….any refined flour, breads, sugars; dairy products are products …and so on. So what should we eat? The answer to this question simply lies in nature and not in the research laboratory.  For starters begin to...