Saturday, March 19, 2016

Does Everything in Moderation Really Work?

When it comes to consuming unhealthy foods and making unhealthy choices, “everything in moderation” is believed to be the key to weight loss success. This can work in some cases, but it can also sabotage your health goals. When we deprive ourselves of our favorite unhealthy foods, we may desire them more. And when the floodgates eventually open and we give in to our cravings, we eat too much, too often.

What Is Moderation?
Moderation is “the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior.” Is this how we need to eat?

Here’s a common situation people find themselves in:

1. Monday: a creamy latte in the afternoon due to Monday-itis
2. Tuesday: a slice of cake in the office for someone’s birthday
3. Wednesday: a few potato chips on the side of your meal
4. Thursday: a small piece of chocolate as you’re running errands
5. Friday: an ice cream after dinner, because, after all, it’s Friday
6. Weekend: Well, it’s the weekend, isn’t it? So it’s drinks, snacks, and maybe takeout.

It’s easy to view this as moderation because you only had cake once, then only ate chocolate that next day, and of course you can’t say no to your favorite Chinese takeout as your weekend indulgence. This is the sneaky truth of what moderation means to many. But this is no longer “in moderation,” it’s more like a lifestyle choice! You generally don’t think about what you ate two or three days ago, so you forget you already gave yourself that treat.

When it comes to eating in moderation, you should grant yourself a few treats, no more than one to three times per week at the most, and be sure these treats are consumed in small quantities. However, this guideline also depends on your current health.

Why Moderation Might Not Be the Answer
Everything in moderation gives people permission to eat less-nutritious food more often. Frustration then develops, as they view their unhealthy eating as infrequent and don’t understand why they aren’t losing weight or why their health problems aren’t improving.

So, What Are You to Do?
It’s important to classify all unhealthy foods as just that—unhealthy—and make foods from this category something you consume very occasionally, rather than several times over the course of the week. Healthy needs to be our new normal. To support an excellent mood, a healthy weight, and great energy, most of the food you eat needs to be nutritious and promote health.

Foods that contain toxic compounds, artificial ingredients, and empty calories only cause inflammation and stress the normal physiology of the body, so it’s important to keep your consumption of these to a minimum and to maximize your consumption of healthy, nutrient-dense food.

Reward Yourself with “Good”
People often want to reward themselves with unhealthy “bad” food after they have been “good”. This is the normal practice after a diet and will quickly unravel the positive steps forward. When you reach for your weak spots in terms of food, there’s normally an emotional aspect involved, so it is important to find other means to support your happiness. Keep in mind that emotional eating occurs suddenly, is food specific, and persists past an adequate snack or meal. It’s better to reward yourself with non-food-related treats that make you feel good, such as time to yourself, hobbies, a massage, a new book, an early night in, an aromatic bath, or a new outfit—the list goes on.

Love Yourself No Matter What
It’s important to remember that making important health choices for yourself is an act of self-love, nourishment, and kindness. Judging yourself as good or bad neither supports you nor creates success, so it would be more beneficial to make it about how “I show myself kindness and love by feeding myself nourishing and supportive foods!”

And remember, enjoy an occasional treat—just don’t make it an everyday occurrence.

Claire Georgiou is an Australian naturopath, nutritionist, and herbalist. Claire has a Bachelor of Health Science (Complementary Medicine) and an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and Nutrition. Claire is a nutritionist with Reboot with Joe and also privately consults patients at the Rosebery Holistic Medical Practice in Sydney. Claire specializes in liver dysfunction, digestive health, weight loss, thyroid, and hormone imbalances.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

How Our Stored Fat Harms Our Health

Fat tissue is the body’s way of storing long-term energy, and is also considered anendocrine organ. Fat tissue produces substances that affect the function of other cells and tissues, and too much fat causes health problems.
You’ve likely heard that an overweight person with an “apple” body shape is in more danger than someone of a similar weight with a “pear” shape, with fat distributed more in the hips and thighs.
Our body fat is indeed different depending on its location. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat just under the skin, all over the body. Visceral fat is located deep in the abdominal cavity around the organs.
We have a limited amount of control over the distribution of our body fat. Body fat distribution varies by age, gender, ethnicity and genetics.
You may have a normal BMI – thinking your weight is not putting your health at risk – but have a waist circumference that indicates abdominal obesity. By waist circumference, abdominal obesity is defined as 35 inches for women, 40 for men. Abdominal obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and later life dementia.12 A large waist circumference has been linked to negative outcomes even among people with normal BMI numbers. Additionally, some studies have compared two groups of obese patients with the same total body fat, but low or high levels of visceral fat. The high visceral fat groups were found to have evidence of greater insulin resistance than the low visceral fat groups, indicating a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.1
Visceral Fat’s Many Dangers
To be clear, excess body fat is problematic no matter what its location.. Obesity creates a state of low-grade chronic inflammation, and inflammation is a key component of some of our most common diseases and leading causes of death, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
As fat tissue grows, more pro-inflammatory compounds are produced, elevating the risk of these diseases. Visceral fat is thought to be more harmful to health than subcutaneous fat; more biologically active and more pro-inflammatory.34 5   Visceral fat specifically is linked to cardiovascular risk factors, such as increased circulating triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol.
To get rid of visceral fat, eat healthfully and exercise often
The strategy for losing visceral fat is the same for fat loss in general. Losing visceral fat and keeping it off takes a permanent and real commitment to healthy eating and exercise. The way to maintain a healthy weight for life is to follow a nutritarian (nutrient-dense, plant-rich) diet for life. A Nutritarian diet is designed to maximize protection against heart disease and cancer and promote longevity.  When you eat for health and longevity, the result is healthy weight that remains stable.   A recent study found that 75 obese patients who had switched to a nutrient-dense plant-rich diet reported their average weight loss was 55 pounds, and none had gained back any lost weight three years later.7 Exercise is an essential component also, as regular exercise has been shown to reduce waist circumference, even if there is no change in BMI.8
My book, The End of Dieting, explains exactly how to break out of the cycle of yo-yo dieting, overeating and food addiction — and how to keep the weight you lose off, permanently.
1.               Tchernof A, Despres JP. Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an update. Physiol Rev 2013,93:359-404.
2.               Zeki Al Hazzouri A, Haan MN, Whitmer RA, et al. Central obesity, leptin and cognitive decline: the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2012, 33:400-409.
3.               Coelho M, Oliveira T, Fernandes R. Biochemistry of adipose tissue: an endocrine organ. Arch Med Sci2013, 9:191-200.
4.               Strohacker K, Carpenter KC, McFarlin BK. Consequences of Weight Cycling: An Increase in Disease Risk? Int J Exerc Sci 2009, 2:191-201.
5.               Strohacker K, McFarlin BK. Influence of obesity, physical inactivity, and weight cycling on chronic inflammation. Front Biosci (Elite Ed) 2010, 2:98-104.
6.               Bergman RN, Kim SP, Catalano KJ, et al. Why visceral fat is bad: mechanisms of the metabolic syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2006, 14 Suppl 1:16S-19S.
7.               Fuhrman J, Singer M. Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
8.               Ross R, Janiszewski PM. Is weight loss the optimal target for obesity-related cardiovascular disease risk reduction? Can J Cardiol 2008, 24 Suppl D:25D-31D.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Marieke Hardy's home kitchen

Marieke Hardy, 39, went vegan for a dare eight years ago and she hasn't looked back. "I wasn't even vegetarian," she recalls of the transformation. "I went straight from eating blood orange duck at Billy Kwong's and pork belly at Vue de Monde to nothing." Hardy, known for being a panellist on the ABC's The Book Club and co-producer of Women of Letters, a series of public events, began her animal-free diet during World Vegetarian Week, October 2008. Egged on by her vegetarian friend, Lindsay McDougall, Hardy says she experienced an interior "click" of realisation. "I really love animals and I really love food." Veganism is on the rise, with 480,000 Australians currently estimated to practise the animal-free lifestyle diet (2 million call themselves vegetarians). Hardy, a self-described "total glutton and hedonist" now happily cooks vegan dishes for herself and friends in her Happy Days-meets-Jetsons Victorian country kitchen, designed and built by close friend Sime Nugent, of Sime Nugent Furniture.   
The staples 
My pantry 
You'll find nutritional yeast (an inactive yeast also known as "nooch"), which gives everything a lovely, cheesy flavour, liquid smoke (great for barbecue sauces) and several different Massel stocks. I'm a salt freak and they make everything taste good. It's hard to slow-cook a lot of vegan stuff but I use the beef-style stock to make a beautiful portobello mushroom bourguignon. 
My fridge
There's usually Bonsoy and almond milk, Damona almond feta, Botanical Cuisine lemon, dill and cashew cheese and Daiya cheddar-style shreds (great for melting). But the cheese I would put on a cheeseboard is Vegusto – it's f---ing delicious. I'll put out a platter with mushroom pate, Vegusto, some olives, maybe some roasted garlic hummus or some tahini with preserved lemon and garlic and crackers. There's also Nuttelex and Vegenaise (no egg, no dairy). 
Secret vice
Barbecue Shapes, but it's no secret, they're vegan. I don't consume a lot but they're great road-trip food. 
Last night's dinner 
I had smoky barbecue-grilled tempeh, marinated in stock, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, oil, maple syrup and liquid smoke. I roasted brussels sprouts in heaps of oil and salt until crispy and then stirred through a spoon each of tahini and maple syrup. It was amazing.
I'm drinking
I'm a white wine drinker: pinot grigio, pinot gris and in warmer weather I like riesling and champagne. Yalumba does vegan wines [clarified without using egg, fish or milk] but it's become second nature to turn the bottle around and check. I'm drinking a "The Ned" sauvignon blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand at the moment. I also like whiskey and port and nice hot toddy in winter.
My toolkit
I love my food processor and blender, especially for making cheese sauces. And spatulas! They're one of my favourite things in the kitchen (I love a plastic spatch, they're so malleable and great). Otherwise, I think Scanpans are the best and I have a great glass jug that measures up to four cups.   
My inspiration 
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, was one of my first cookbooks when I turned vegan and the two girls that put it together (also behind website the Post Punk Kitchen) are vegan high priestesses in America. And there was an Australian blogger called Carla who did a website called I would give her recipes to anyone considering becoming a vegan. 
My Bob Hawke "take the piss out of Bob" wine keg. Someone gave it to me years ago. I'm a real politics junkie so any kind of accoutrement that is based somewhere in politics is exciting to me. It's so kitsch. 
Most unforgettable meal
I get very emotional when I eat really delicious food. Last year I went to Crossroads Kitchen, this absolutely amazing vegan fine-dining restaurant in Los Angeles run by Oprah's former chef. After the meal I got so emotional, I asked to see the chef. I hugged him and I cried on him a little bit. He was very nice about it.
Recipe stalwart
The Ottolenghi artichoke pilaf. I've been cooking it a lot lately for non-vegans because it's a kind of really rich introduction and it doesn't freak them out. It's really simple: it's artichokes and I put smoked almonds and olives in there and make a paste of green chilli, preserved lemons and garlic. It's very comforting to have on your own, too.
So Delicious cashew-milk ice-cream has been a bit of a game-changer. In my persistent search for palate pleasure it doesn't just taste like a poor man's substitute for something that was once rich and creamy. I've tasted a lot of terrible vegan ice-creams, so when you come across something that's really beautiful and rich and satisfying it's just a thrilling experience. 

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Vegan diet cuts prostate cancer risk:study

Men who follow a vegan diet may cut their risk of prostate cancer, research suggests.
A study found a 35 per cent lower risk of the cancer for those who followed a vegan diet, which is based on plants and includes vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits.
Vegans avoid food that comes from animals, including dairy products, meat and eggs.
The research, funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), comes as a separate study suggests men who have radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer could be at risk of secondary cancers of the bladder, bowel area and rectum.
The WCRF study examined data for more than 26,000 men and looked at the relationship between prostate cancer, meat-eating, fish-based diets and vegan diets.
In total, 1079 cases of prostate cancer were identified among the group. About eight per cent of the men studied said they followed a vegan diet.
Researchers from Loma Linda University in California found men who followed a vegan diet had a "statistically significant protective association", with a 35 per cent reduced risk of developing the disease.
Professor Gary Fraser, who led the study, said: "This new research makes a significant step in linking a vegan diet to reduced prostate cancer risk.
"What we now need is more research into this area to determine to the extent a vegan diet could reduce the number of men developing this cancer."
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 47,000 new cases each year.
More than 10,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.
In the second study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers said they had found a possible link between radiotherapy for prostate cancer and an increased risk of developing secondary cancers of the bladder, colorectal tract and rectum.
But they said the absolute rates of these secondary cancers remained very low.
Experts in Canada and the US analysed the results of 21 studies looking at a possible link.
They found an increased risk of cancers of the bladder, colorectum, and rectum, but not cancers of the lung or blood system, after radiotherapy compared with patients having no radiotherapy or surgery.
In an accompanying editorial, Christine Eyler and Anthony Zietman from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Programme in Boston, said concern about secondary cancers "should not stand in the way of an effective and well-studied treatment being given to men with higher grade, lethal prostate cancer for whom the potential benefit simply dwarfs the risk."
Originally published as Vegan diet cuts prostate cancer risk:study