Did you guess the health food rights from the ingredients answers revealed-min

Did you guess the health foods right?

Last week I showed you the ingredients from five “health” foods – did you guess them right? Well, none of them are what I would class as a health food. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Product one – this will help you lose weight

Atkins: Endulge Caramel Nut Chew Bar

Another reason why Atkins just isn’t paleo. Just because it’s low carb, doesn’t make it healthy as the chemicals in this ingredients list demonstrate. What ever happened to eating real food?

atkins_endulge_bar_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

S-26: Gold Soy Baby Formula

I assume for babies who are intolerant to dairy or for vegan parents? Introducing Soy baby formula….
s-26_gold_soy_formula_baby_milk_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

Product three – start your day the right way

Sanitarium: Up & Go Chocolate Flavoured Milk

This is marketed as a good nutritious way to start your day. Right. I think I’ll just have a normal paleo breakfast instead, thanks…
sanitarium_up_&_go_chocolate_flavoured_breakfast_milk_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Cottee’s: Coola No Added Sugar Cordial

No added sugar – so it must be good for you, right? Surely no one needs any of these chemicals. Is it so hard to drink water?
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Product five – watch your cholesterol

Flora: Salt Reduced Sunflower Margarine Tub

And the biggest scam of them all. Avoid butter and have margarine instead….
flora_salt_reduced_margarine_guess_health_product_ingredients_paleo_conventional_wisdom_healthy_answers

 

How many did you guess the health food from the ingredients right? Any “health” foods with ingredients that shock you? Share in the comments below!

Guess the health food from the ingredients-min

Guess the health foods from the ingredients

There are a lot of “food” products out there with health claims, and sadly a lot of people who take the claims on face value – and don’t give much thought to the ingredients….

I’ve found five popular products (I cringe to call them foods) with health claims in my local grocery store and I’d love you to take a guess as to what each product is…

Guess the health food from the ingredients labels-min

Product one – this will help you lose weight

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Chocolate [Sweeteners (Maltitol, Sucralose), Chocolate Mass, Cocoa Butter, Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin, Flavourings, Salt], 14% Roasted Peanuts, Sweeteners (Maltitol Syrup, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Neotame, Whey Protein Isolate, Inulin, Bulking Agent (Polydextrose), Butter (Cream, Salt), Water, Palm Kernel Oil, Peanut Butter [Peanuts, Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides), Salt, Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols)], Non-fat Dry Milk, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Salt, Flavouring

Product two – it’s never too young to start being healthy

guess-ingredients

Ingredients: Corn Syrup Solids; Vegetable Oils [Palm, Soybean, Coconut, Oleic Sunflower, Oleic Safflower]; Soy Protein Isolate; Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin); L-Methionine; L-Tyrosine; Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids from single-cell sources [Arachidonic Acid (AA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)]; Taurine; Nucleotides (Cytidine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Uridine-5′-Monophosphate; Adenosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Inosine-5′-Monophosphate; Disodium Guanosine-5′-Monophosphate); L-Carnitine; Antioxidants (Mixed Tocopherols concentrate, Ascorbyl Palmitate); Lutein. Minerals: Calcium Phosphate; Sodium Citrate; Magnesium Chloride; Potassium Chloride; Potassium Citrate; Potassium Hydroxide; Potassium Bicarbonate; Ferrous Sulphate; Zinc Sulphate; Copper Sulphate; Potassium Iodide; Sodium Selenite. Vitamins: Vitamin C; Choline; Inositol; Vitamin E; Niacin; Pantothenic Acid; Vitamin A; Vitamin B2; Vitamin B1; Vitamin B6; Vitamin D; Beta-Carotene; Folate; Vitamin K; Biotin; Vitamin B12.

Product three – start your day the right way

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Skim Milk Powder, Cane Sugar, Wheat Maltodextrin, Soy Protein, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Canola), Hi-Maize? starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Inulin, Fructose, Cocoa (0.5%), Cereals (Oat Flour, Barley Beta Glucan), Minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus), Food Acid (332), Flavour, Vegetable Gums (460, 466, 407), Vitamins (C,A, Niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, Folate), Salt.

Product four – the best bet for children everywhere

Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product
Ingredients: Water, Food Acids (Citric Acid, Malic Acid), Flavour, Sweeteners (Calcium Cyclamate, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose), Thickener (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose), Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Colours (Tartrazine, Brilliant Blue).

Product five – watch your cholesterol
Paleo diet helath foods guess ingredients product

Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (34%); Water; Vegetable Oils; Salt; Milk Solids; Emulsifiers (471, Soy Lecithin); Preservative (202); Food Acid (Lactic Acid); Colours (Annatto, Curcumin); Vitamins (A,D); Flavours.

So what do you reckon the healthy food products are? Make your guess in the comments below – and watch this space for the answers next week!

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Dessert for diabetics

My gran is just about to start receiving “Meals on Wheels”, which is a great service. In principle. Vulnerable people (mainly the elderly) are provided with a cooked nutritious meal at lunchtime. For many recipients, this will be the main nutrition they get in that day, so it’s really important that the meal provides the nutrition they need. Especially for those with conditions like diabetes, you’d think?

Dessert for diabetics sugar paleo

Each day (it’s even available on Saturdays and Sunday’s) they offer a choice of a main course and a choice of dessert. The main course choices, as you might expect are a traditional meat based meal, or a vegetarian option. And the desserts? Yep, hot, cold or diabetic.

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I was really shocked to see diabetic desserts – and even more surprised to see what they are. You’d maybe expect low-carb options, like a cheese board perhaps. But no, they’re traditional sweet desserts, such as cakes and pies.

Looking at the definition I found on the web of what the diabetic options should consist of, it’s clear the providers of nutrition are stuck with conventional wisdom. “Desserts for diabetics must be sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sweeteners combined with a minimal amount of sugar”.

Diabetic definitions meals on wheels

How about making desserts sugar (and sweetener free) entirely – or even swapping the dessert out for a starter instead!? Where did the idea that all meals must be finished with a dessert come from anyway?

As meals on wheels only provides one meal a day, they have some helpful recommendations as to what diabetics should eat for the rest of their meals:

Diabetic-recommendations

That’s right – diabetics should get 6-11 servings of bread and grains a day! DIABETICS! Also, note the low-fat recommendations. Those diabetics have got to steer well clear of anything so much as resembling fat, and instead go for low-fat options, that have replaced the fat with carbohydrates. Oh, and fruit – go right ahead.

I’d love to hear our comments on the diabetic nutrition for the most vulnerable diabetics in our communities. What meals do you think they should be offered?

Are you a severe night owl LSPD late sleep phase disorder insomnia

Are you an extreme night owl?

In my quest to understand more about my slow metabolism, I’ve been looking more and more at my circadian rhythms.




I’ve always been a night owl and tend to come alive late at night becoming super productive and creative, when everyone else is asleep. When I’ve worked long hours in the city – and had to get up early, I would often try to go to bed at a sensible time. But I’d just lie in bed feeling wide awake and frustrated that sleep didn’t come. Until much, much later.

When you Google struggling to sleep, you come up with lots of hits for insomnia. Insomnia didn’t quite feel right, but what else could it be? Insomniacs often wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep. Once I’m asleep, I don’t wake up until my sleep is abruptly ended by an alarm, or I have the rare luxury of waking up naturally.

I noticed when I wasn’t working, and was able to follow my natural routine, I’d eventually feel tired in the early hours of the morning, and wake up around 11:34am. When I say around, I mean precisely. Every single day. So I was getting a decent 8 or so hours sleep. It just wasn’t at a socially acceptable time. Doesn’t sound so much like insomnia.

Are you a severe night owl LSPD late sleep phase disorder insomnia

It has a name?

After researching this further, I eventually found out about other people who sleep like this too. And it has a name: Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD – but most definitely not to be confused with the other DSPD – Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder). DSPD is exactly what I have been experiencing. A complete shift of the socially acceptable sleeping time several hours to the right. Core body temperature, hormones, alertness, energy levels – all happening at the “wrong” time.

Jetlag reset

I recently travelling halfway round the world from Australia to the UK. I had expected to be able to use jetlag to my advantage and “reset” my sleep times. The first few days it all went to plan, I’d be unable to fight off the tiredness by 8pm – and would be wide awake by 5am. But, after just a few days I fell back into my middle of the night to 11:34am routine. After researching DSPD, this seems to be the same issue across the board. Changing time zones is not a fix.

Curing DSPS?

It’s all quite gloomy on most sites, as many people believe there is no cure. They suggest getting a job to fit in with your natural sleeping times, rather than trying to work a conventional job with a 6am alarm call. The most common “cure” recommends you force yourself to stay up for an extra hour or two each night, with the idea being that after a few weeks you could stop adding on the time when you get to your preferred new bedtime, perhaps 10pm? But that seems like a bit of a hard core solution. In the middle of that transition you’d be sleeping over the entire daylight hours. That can’t be good!?

My solution

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out my own method of solving this – and I’ve made some really good progress.

The answer seems to be in Circadian Rhythms. We get our cues from daylight as to what time of day it is, and crucially the early morning sun is completely different to late afternoon sun. There is far more blue light in the mornings, which I simply never got to see. Also at night, all the artificial street lights come on, TV’s, computer screens, smartphone – and we’re bathed in artificial blue light signalling to our brain that it’s morning and we should be at the peak of our alertness!

So it was clear to me that I needed to get natural sunlight as early as possible in the mornings. As soon as I wake up, I now head straight outside, barefoot, and walk for about an hour. I’ve also stopped wearing sunglasses, to make sure I’m getting as much natural light in as I possibly can, particularly in the first half of the day. After sunset, I try to reduce artificial blue light as much as I can.

Whilst I’m not at conventional sleeping hours yet, I am definitely slowly shifting my times to the left.  I’m starting to feel sleepy earlier and waking up naturally quite a lot earlier too. The biggest improvement has been my energy levels. I feel so much more alert and energetic during the morning and daytime. I’m also feeling a lot warmer during the day, which I think is a good indication that I may be on the track to normalising my circadian rhythm.

I’m never going to be an “Early Bird” naturally waking up at 5:30am everyday, weekend or weekday. But I hope to be able to shift my sleep and waking hours to something far more reasonable – and in turn increase my daytime metabolic rate and energy levels.

I’d love to hear more about your natural sleeping patterns in the comments, below. Are you a severe night owl (DSPD) too? Do you just live with it, or have you had any success in changing it? Any nuggets of information you have on circadian rhythms – I’d really like to hear!

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FREE Health Events This Week

Ever given much thought to the Psychology of Eating?

It’s time for a whole new understanding of our relationship with food, with this weeks free online Psychology of Eating event.

Obesity, overeating, body image concerns, emotional challenges with food, and diet-related health issues are with us more than ever. People have abundant access to nutrition facts and information, but need to search long and hard for true healing wisdom.

It’s time for an approach that honors all of who we are as eaters – body, mind, heart and soul. Get inspired by speakers from a variety of disciplines who have something unique and innovative to share.

2nd Annual Online Eating Psychology Conference

Some topics include:

  • A Deeper Dive into Body Image
  • Neuroscience and Personal Change
  • A Holistic Approach to Eating Disorders
  • The Healing Power of Embodiment
  • Mindfulness based approaches to overeating
  • Sexuality and the Psychology of Eating
  • New insights into Weight
  • Culture, emotional health and metabolism
  • Hormones, Eating and Inner Health
  • The Gut-Psychology Connection
  • Spirituality and Nutrition
  • The Hidden Politics of Food
  • New Approaches to Nutritional Health
  • And much more…

Dates: July 21 – 26
Price: FREE
Where: Online!
Find Out More Here: http://paleo.com.au/Eating-Psychology

Also…

Functional Health Summit Free Online Event

The Functional Health Summit is another free online event that has been running for the last few days – but there are still two days left.

In this event 39 leading experts in functional medicine, nutrition, exercise physiology, dentistry, immunology/allergy, psychiatry, mind-body medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and much, much more share their knowledge  in a way that you can understand and implement.

The Functional Health Summit Will Teach You–

  • Why weight loss is never a one size fits all approach
  • Why your gut status is the key to restoring health
  • How to prevent disease before it happens
  • How medications can cause Leaky Gut
  • The common myths the food industry helps perpetuate
  • Why using an environmental dentist is crucial to oral health
  • Why everything you thought you knew about exercise is wrong

The schedule for the last two days:

Tuesday July 22 – Foods and Eating

• Kathy Smart – Change What You Eat, Change Your Life
• Dr. Jonathan Tait – How Eating the Wrong Food Can Cause Arthritis and Chronic Pain
• Ymis Barroeta – The Future of Food: Clean Eating Without Toxins
• Dr. Russell Jaffe – Food and Chemicals: A Hidden Cause of Disease

Wednesday July 23 – Aging Well

• John Rowley – Power of positive fitness
• Dan Ritchie, PhD – Exercises to Improve Your Balance, Mobility and Agility at Any Age
• Dr. Jeffrey Moss – Sarcopenia: How Age-Related Muscle Loss Contributes to Chronic Health Issues
• Dr. John Brimhall – 6 Steps to Maintaining Wellness At Any Age

Dates: July 14 – 23
Price: FREE
Where: Online!
Find Out More Here: http://paleo.com.au/Functional-Health

So even if you can only spare half an hour this week, check out these two free events – you never know, it could change your life!

Recipe paleo herbal Cardamom, Black Pepper and Coconut Milk Tea-min

Recipe: Cardamom, Black Pepper and Coconut Milk Tea

I’m a big fan of herbal tea, and one of my favourite blends is Chai. This is a twist on the classic that is slightly sweeter and creamier thanks to the coconut milk. It still retains all the spiced, warming goodness of standard chai though, so brew up a cup for everyone and unwind for the evening. If, like me, you’re a former chai latte fan, but no longer consuming dairy, this could be exactly the alternative you’ve been searching for. If only my local coffee shop could put this on the menu…

Recipe: Cardamom, Black Pepper and Coconut Milk Tea
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 100ml full fat coconut milk
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
Instructions
  1. Add the coconut milk to a saucepan with the cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, boil your kettle and pour 750ml hot water into a teapot over the cloves and cinnamon. Leave to infuse for a couple of minutes - or until it reaches your desired strength.
  3. Strain the tea into four cups, and pour in the milk. Taste, and adjust the sweetness if necessary.

I’d love to know what you drink during a typical (working?) day? Do you stick to water, or mix it up with some different types of teas and coffee?

So many people tell me that they really struggle with giving up soda when they make the transition to paleo. One thing that seems to help is making sure you have some good herbal teas to hand to help you get over the diet coke addiction! Another thing that I’ve seen recommended is soda water (or sparkling water) with some fresh lime.

Recipe paleo herbal Cardamom, Black Pepper and Coconut Milk Tea-min

The thyroid summit online paleo diet primal event-min

The Thyroid Summit

The more I’ve been looking into my own health (which all started with my inability to lose weight), the more thyroid issues seem to be involved. The standard tests show everything is “normal”, which clearly isn’t the case. Which is why it’s great timing that the Thyroid Summit is about to start.





The Thyroid Summit is going to be more educational and more informative than any health event in the past decade. It’s fun, it’s life-changing and better yet, it’s ONLINE and FREE from 2nd to 9th June 2014*.
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America’s Pharmacist Suzy Cohen and Dr. David Brownstein created The Thyroid Summit because they both had personal experiences with undiagnosed thyroid illness. The frustration of chronic illness and the lack of proper testing and treatment leaves people sick and tired for many years. They want to stop the madness and help people, so they’re on this mission to spread the word of good health! It’s a great feeling to pay it forward, and you can help!

 WHY ATTEND?

The Thyroid Summit brings together more than 30 of the world’s leading authorities on thyroid wellness. You don’t have to fly anywhere. You don’t have to wait in long lines. You don’t have to watch from the back of a room. You don’t have to spend another dime to hear what the experts have to say. It’s all free!

  • Why conventional medicine has failed most thyroid patients
  • What are the best lab tests to order
  • Which blood test you don’t need
  • Why you’re always the coldest one in the room
  • What are the best ranges for certain blood tests (because your lab “normals” are not ideal)

It doesn’t stop there! You’ll get the most up-to-date information about:

  • Which natural remedies work for Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, and cancer
  • The connection between thyroid hormones and pregnancy, PMS and post-partum depression
  • How to finally lose those last few pounds or more!
  • What supplements can make your hair and nails grow faster
  • How to relieve anxiety, depression and other emotional problems related to low thyroid
  • And much more!

Sounds amazing, right?

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Here are a few of the incredible presenters:

David Brownstein, MD
Holistic Options for Thyroid Disease and Cancer

Suzy Cohen, RPh
Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
Shine Program: 5 Simple Steps to Overcome Fatigue and Thyroid Disorders

Kent Holtorf, MD
Don’t Fall Through the Cracks: Safely and Effectively Treat Your Thyroid Condition

Hyla Cass, MD
A Holistic Psychiatrist’s Approach to Thyroid Disorders

Jean Dodds, DVM
Our Pets: Could Your Dog or Cat Have Thyroid Disease?

Greg Emerson, MD
Stress, Anxiety, Anger and the Relationship to Thyroid Hormone

Jonathan Wright, MD
How to Optimize Thyroid Function

Ben Lynch, ND
Folic Acid, Methylation and the Connection to Low Thyroid

Aristo Vojdani, PhD, MSc, MT
The Most Important Lab Tests You Should Take and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

With over 30 additional presenters sharing their wealth of knowledge. This invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for men and women everywhere!

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFT as soon as you register!
Mike Adams, Health Ranger from NaturalNews.com, is bold enough to tell the world the truth about “Everyday Pollutants that Poison Your Thyroid,” and what you can do to protect yourself.

  • The impact of radiation from Fukushima on your thyroid
  • Strange fibers and fragments in your food that make you sick
  • The dangers of vaccinating your child and the flu vaccine
  • How fluoride is hidden in your medicine, food, water and thyroid gland

Come listen to The Thyroid Summit ONLINE for FREE and be inspired from 2nd to 9th June, 2014

I’ll see you at the Summit!

*Note a different 4/ 5 presentations are shown each day, each available for 24 hours only – so I highly recommend you work out which ones you’re most interested in (see the schedule here) to make sure you don’t miss them!

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood

Forget Goji Berries, Spirulina and Peruvian Maca Root, there is one ‘Superfood’ that you can guarantee your ancestors would have consumed in abundance that you’re probably not getting enough of now – Gelatin. As conventional wisdom has seen us spurn traditional cuts in favour of lean muscle meat, our intake of gelatin has dropped to almost zero. However, the body still craves it – and here’s why.




Found in the connective tissue, bones and cartilage of animals, gelatin is extremely nourishing in a number of ways. It is the best source of dietary collagen, which has been proven to increase the elasticity of the skin and therefore keep you looking young. In fact, the amino acid profile of gelatin, in combination with its high levels of collagen make for great support for healthy skin, hair and nails. It contains 6 grams of protein per tablespoon – and whilst not a complete protein in itself, it helps create a more balanced amino acid profile when taken with other proteins and therefore optimise assimilation. Maybe that’s why roast beef and gravy taste so good!

Gelatin is also fantastic for anyone who suffers from digestive problems. It is unique in the way in which it attracts water molecules during digestion, consequently improving the rate in which food moves through the digestive tract. What’s more, gelatin has been proved to carry gut healing properties, and has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing a food allergy or intolerance. Strongly anti-inflammatory, Gelatin has also shown to play a significant part in healing Asthma, Chron’s and Colitis.

Gelatin – The Secret Superfood bone broth paleo primal nutrition healthy-min

How to increase your intake

The obvious way to increase your intake of gelatin is by making your own home made stock and bone broth. Pay a visit to your local butchers, and pick up any gelatin rich cuts you can lay your hands on – chicken and pigs feet, ox tail, or even any leftover bones they have out the back. Simmer them very gently for at least 24 hours in a stock pot with hot water, herbs and veggies, and you’ll have plenty of nourishing broth to see you through the week. Drink it as it is, or use it as a base for soups, sauces and gravies.

If time and logistics are against you making your own bone broth, consider taking a high quality gelatin supplement. You can add this by the spoonful to smoothies, or make your own Paleo approved gummies by using gelatin and fruit juice!

Oil pulling health beauty regime teeth oral health paleo natural primal-min

Do you do this health & beauty ritual?

The ancient concept of Oil Pulling is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in the modern health movement. The concept is a simple enough; you use a high quality, plant based oil (i.e. coconut oil) as a ‘mouthwash’ for between 15 and 20 minutes. But are there more benefits to this tradition than you might expect?

The practice of Oil Pulling originated in India thousands of years ago. It is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts, first referred to as Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. It is used mainly for improving oral health; it has been proven to cut through plaque and toxins in the mouth very effectively. It is also a natural teeth whitener, and has a profound impact on halitosis – whilst more serious conditions such as mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and even gingivitis have been treated using Oil Pulling.

However, research a little further, and you will find that Oil Pulling can be used as a detoxifier not just for the mouth, but for the whole body. Oil Pulling has been shown to benefit troublesome skin conditions, such as eczema and acne, as well as hormonal imbalances – particularly those associated with the thyroid gland. Look a little further again, and you’ll find people who have used Oil Pulling to treat bacterial infections, breathing difficulties and to improve their kidney function. The practice is now attracting plenty of attention, especially from Holistic Practitioners, due to the wide range of conditions it has been shown to improve.

Oil pulling health beauty regime teeth oral health paleo natural primal-min

How to Oil Pull

If you’re interested in trying out Oil Pulling for yourself, it’s a very simple (albeit relatively time consuming) practice to follow. Select a high quality, cold pressed oil; extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and sesame oil are all great choices, but personally, I opt for melted coconut oil. Its antimicrobial powers are already proven, there’s always some in my cupboard, and I love the taste!

Take 1 – 2 tbsp of the oil in your mouth, and swish for 20 minutes. According to research, this time period is crucial. Any shorter, and there is not adequate time to break down the toxins and bacteria. Any longer, and these toxins may be reabsorbed into the body. 20 minutes may seem like a fairly long time, but it goes pretty quickly if you incorporate it with other tasks, such as a leisurely morning walk. Just try not to bump into anyone who wants to chat along the way! Once the 20 minutes are up, rinse well with warm water before brushing as normal.

Ideally, this process should be repeated at least three times per week for best results. Due to the powerful detoxing effects oil pulling has on the body, some people have reported symptoms of a detox reaction during their first few days of Oil Pulling. These symptoms are pretty rare however, and don’t seem to reach any further than sinus problems (such as congestion) and minor headaches.

I’d love to hear your opinions on Oil Pulling. Have you tried it? Have you had any success? Let me know below!

MTHFR genetic testing DNA paleo mutation methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase heterozygous 1298C 677T weight loss-min

MTHFR – say what?

If you’ve been following my series on investigating my inability to lose weight, you’ll have read about my blood test results last week. (Catch up on the other posts in the series here, here , here , here and here). Well, the other component to those test results was the genetic results…

I knew these results were fine too, as I’d scanned through them when they arrived in the post and didn’t see any words like “fault” or “mutation”. Wrong again. That innocuous word “heterozygous” in the results column, does not mean “nothing to see here, move on!”

MTHFR genetic testing DNA paleo mutation methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase heterozygous 1298C 677T weight loss-min

Introducing MTHFR…

One of the gene sequences they tested for was the gene MTHFR (methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase). Yep, I’d never heard of it either. There are more than 50 known MTHFR variants, and they seem to only test for a few of these (with 677T and 1298C being the most common). It turns out I am heterozygous for MTHFR 1298C. Heterozygous means I have one affected gene and one normal gene, whereas homozygous would mean both genes are affected. Being heterozygous, it’s quite possible I could have no issues whatsoever, but having looked through the list of symptoms and seeing pulmonary embolisms feature, it’s clear I am affected by this mutation.

Having had two unexplained “random” pulmonary embolisms and none of the risk factors (as I wrote about recently) I am shocked and upset that this was not uncovered before. I had the genetic tests before and didn’t see them myself, but was told they were fine. It’s clear to me now that they would only have told me if I has a homozygous result!

The MTHFR enzyme works in a process called the methylation pathway, and basically seems to explain why my B12 (and therefore Iron) are so low, as a mutation means B vitamins aren’t processed properly. I’m no scientist, so I highly recommend reading this excellent MTHFR website. The treatment is to take B12 supplements, but in the active form of Methyl B12, and I’ve also started taking another supplement called “Methyl-Guard Plus” that works with the B12. Luckily iherb sell both, so I was able to get them and start taking them quickly.

Interestingly fortified folic acid or folate foods have a further detrimental effect on this pathway and are to be strictly avoided as you’re not able to process they folic acid. The folic acid then has no where to go, so causes inflammation and increased homocysteine levels. I can’t help wondering how many expectant mothers diligently taking folic acid also have MTHFR mutations and are doing a lot more damage than good with these well intended supplements…

In a few weeks time I’m going to have a repeat of all of the tests (and a few extra) to see how the treatment and supplements have been working. Depending on the results I’m also going to look into having further testing into some of the other 50 known MTHFR variants. After my Pulmonary Embolism experience I want to know as much as I possibly can about my health and genetics, to avoid that ever happening again.

How is this related to my weight?

On the surface, it’s not completely clear – there is just so much going on. But given how many things seem to be linked, the doctor and naturopath seemed to think it likely that this is all related to my weight. If things aren’t working properly, it makes sense that my bodies process for fat loss is not efficient either. And now that I have several biochemical reasons as to why I am so frequently tired – perhaps this is also related to my low metabolism? A low metabolism must have a significant bearing on weight loss…
Have you had genetic testing? What did you find out – and what have you done about it since finding out?