Paleo Diet Primal Grounding Earthing Barefoot Health Nature Connect-min

Grounding: When Did You Last Connect?

Have you heard of grounding, or earthing? Perhaps you already do it – maybe without even realising? It might sound a bit new age and made up, but the more I've read about it – and tried it – the more sense it makes.

Earthing is where you allow you your body to be in direct contact with the Earth. You can do this by walking around barefoot, sitting outside outside on the lawn or the sand, or sleeping under the stars (in direct contact with the Earth). Advocates of grounding recommended you do it for at least 30 minutes a day for optimal benefits.

So many people wake up in a high rise house, put their shoes on, drive to work, sit at a desk all day in an insulated office block, drive home – and repeat. Even exercise is often exclusively done indoors in a gym. How many people go weeks without any direct contact to the Earth? Our ancestors walked barefoot and slept on the ground – very different.

The idea behind grounding, is that the Earth has a negative charge. When a person, with an excessive negative charge, walks around in contact with the Earth, the excess of electrons will supposedly be absorbed by the Earth’s surface. By balancing out your body chemistry using the earth, the idea is that you will feel more relaxed and at ease – and with improved sleep.

There are (of course!) lots of companies who have jumped on the grounding/ earthing bandwagon to produce artificial products to mimic the effects of earthing. You can get a grounding mat to put under your desk at work, or earthing sheets, to have the same effect as sleeping on the ground. However, with it being so easy to connect to the Earth naturally, why fake it? The only exception to man made products, that I would put in this category is barefoot shoes. Barefoot shoes like Vibram Five Fingers (VFF’s) are a great way to safely walk around, without worrying about stepping in something you shouldn't.

Paleo Diet Primal Grounding Earthing Barefoot Health Nature Connect-min

It doesn't have to be a huge thing to schedule in your day. Find ways to incorporate earthing with what you already do in your daily life. If you enjoy walking, then walk along the beach barefoot. If you write on a daily basis or read, then just change your environment and enjoy doing those activities while sitting on grass. If you just want some time to relax in your day go outside and enjoy nature for a while.

Whether or not you agree with the science behind earthing – you have to agree walking around barefooted in cool grass feels great?

There are several benefits of earthing/grounding that you won’t discover until you get outdoors and take your shoes off!

Do you regularly connect with the Earth? Does it make you feel better? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

Another Nail in the Coffin for Soft Drinks?

It’s good to see yet another study on the detrimental effects of Soft Drinks.  This time a study from the University of Oklahoma compared two groups of women over a five year period.  One group in the 4,000 strong study consumed two or more sugary soft drinks, whilst the other group drank one or less.  The participants had their weight, waist size, cholesterol & triglyceride levels measured and compared over the course of the study.  The study concludes that woman drinking two or more soft drinks a day are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

The study indicates that whilst the woman’s weight didn't necessarily increase on this soft drink regime, their risk of developing high triglycerides increased four-fold – therefore bodily fat doesn't appear to be the sole reason for the risk.

An observational study like this has far too many variables, yet it is still useful, especially if it leads to further (ideally clinical) studies.  It’s also useful if it makes those who consume soft drinks question their nutrition.   I think it likely a woman who consumes several soft drinks a day isn't likely to be following a healthy Paleo diet in every other aspect of her nutrition.  This makes it impossible to attribute the declining health of that group to their soft drink consumption alone.  I also have trouble with the category of “one of less” soft drinks, as I’d consider one soft drink a day to be very high use – especially where those drinks contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)!  I look forward to the full peer reviewed study which may address some of these points.

I think a lot of slim people consider themselves healthy and have an attitude that they can “get away” with a poor diet, including drinking regular soft drinks.  This study goes some way to challenge those views, and perhaps might help make people realise even though they may feel healthy today, they may be storing up problems for their future health.  I just hope studies like this don’t lead to diverted consumption of diet soft drinks, which in my opinion are often even more harmful.

What’s wrong with drinking water?

What do you think of observational studies like this?  Do you think they will they one day start to change nutrition en masse?

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

Soft Drinks and Violence?

I was interested to hear about a study linking consumption of non-diet soft drinks with violence in teenagers.  The study found teenagers who drank soft drinks frequently were 9 – 15% more likely to engage in violent activities, than those who were not frequent drinkers.  Almost one in three pupils in the study group of 1,878 drank over five cans of soft drink a week. And if that's one in three, presumably many of the people in the study group must get the majority of their hydration from soft drinks.

What's so bad about soft drinks fizzy coke paleo not healthy-min

This was an observational study, so perhaps the ingredients in the soft drink caused the anti-social behaviour in those who consumed it;  or perhaps the anti-social behaviour lead to those teenagers drinking more soft drinks?

But surely with such a high correlation, it has to be beneficial to prevent soft drinks being so accessible to teens? Even more of a problem seems to be the prevalence of energy drinks that seem especially popular with young people. I'd love to see some studies into the effects of these chemically laden drinks.

Limit Soft Drinks?

Do you think teenagers should be given a free rein, or should soft drinks consumption be limited somehow?

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health!

I really shouldn't read health supplements any more.  They generally just annoy me.  But I could resist.  I found this gem in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.


Just before I ditched Paleo and went out to buy some soy and margarine, I thought I'd see if I could find out a bit more about the study.

So it appears the study split 351 men & post menopausal women into two groups for the six-month period.  One ate low fat, the other low fat – with “special cholesterol lowering foods”.  Hmm, interesting, low fat compared to low fat…  The group with the special cholesterol lowering foods lowered their LDL by 13%.  But then there was also a 22.6% drop out rate.  This is taking me back to Tom Naughton's Science for Smart People lecture at the AHS…

The group with the “special food” also received sessions with a dietitian.  The other low fat group did not.

They summed up saying that because the diet was complex, researchers couldn't tell which foods made a difference in lowering cholesterol.  Excellent.  Regardless, write ups of the study, like the one I saw are still identify these foods as being proven to help lower LDL: –

  • Soy proteins such as soy milk and tofu.
  • Viscous or “sticky” fibres from oats, barley and psyllium.
  • Nuts, including tree nuts and peanuts.
  • Plant sterols in margarine.

Whilst Loblaw (a Canadian food retailer), Solae (who sell Soy products) and Unilever (who own lots of products, including margarine) sponsored the study and provided some of the foods used, that obviously had no impact on the study.  Whatsoever.

I think I'll stick to my high fat diet…

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min