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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Muswell Hill

I have finally found a new therapy room in North London from which to practise. As well as being in Northwood, I shall also be practising from therapy rooms in Muswell Hill.

The address of the new clinic in Muswell Hill is:

The McNeil Therapy Rooms
Flat 2, 56 Queens Avenue
Muswell Hill
London N10 3NU

tel: 020 8347 8866 or 07899 073 136

It is easily accessible by public transport and there is free parking too.

I will be there on Tuesday evenings, so if you would like to make an appointment or know someone else who would, then please get in touch.



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Is milk good for us?

Hi there

Here is an excerpt from one of Patrick Holford's 100% Health emails. His views on milk-drinking echo my own.

See what you think...

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More than any other food, milk is controversial. We guzzle it by the gallon, spending almost £3 billion a year on dairy products, and many people believe it's vital in pregnancy, for growing children and for keeping your bones healthy in later life. Yet, two thirds of the world's population, including some of the healthiest nations, don't eat dairy products.

So, what's the truth about milk? Thanks to Dr Justine Butler, whose comprehensive scientific report on the health consequences of consuming milk has just been published, you can find out for yourself. Dr Butler's extensive report, available free on-line at http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/, goes through a long list of health concerns - from acne to osteoporosis - and examines the evidence, or the lack of it in the case of preventing osteoporosis. It makes for very interesting reading - but beware, it might put you off your pint.

Apart from the clear evidence that consumption of dairy products is linked to increased risk of cancer - especially breast, prostate and colorectal cancers - cardiovascular disease and numerous digestive disorders from Crohn's to constipation and colic in babies, you will learn that today's cows are literally milked to death.

Selective breeding and high protein feeds has increased the average daily yield of a cow from 9 litres to 22 litres - that's 39 pints a day from just one animal! On top of this, while a cow is designed, like humans, to produce milk for the first few months after a nine month pregnancy, today's intensive dairy farming means that cows are both pregnant and being milked at the same time for most of each year. There are two consequences of this: the first is that today's dairy cows only live for about five years, compared to 20 or 30 years natural life expectancy; and secondly, this tremendous strain increases the risk of infections causing mastitis. These infections mean there is a significant amount of somatic - or pus - cells in milk. The official maximum allowed is 400,000 cells per millilitre, which means that a litre of milk containing 400 million pus cells can be sold legally for human consumption. That's equivalent to two million pus cells in one teaspoon.

This situation is even worse in the US where cows are given Bovine Somatotrophin (BST), a growth hormone to further increase milk yields and profits. While it is illegal to import BST enhanced dairy products from the US into Britain, dairy products from the US can be sold to other EU countries, then imported into the UK. If you do decide to drink milk, my strong advice would be to limit the quantity and only buy organic milk products.

Not Recommended for BabiesOf all the cow's milk myths, possibly most damaging is the belief that it can be substituted for breast milk. Cow's milk is designed for calves, and is very different from human milk in a number of respects, including its protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and essential fatty acid content. Early feeding of human babies on cow's milk is now known to increase the likelihood of developing a cow's milk allergy, which affects close to one in ten babies. Common symptoms of such an allergy include diarrhoea, vomiting, persistent colic, eczema, urticaria, catarrh, bronchitis, asthma and sleeplessness. The American Society of Microbiologists has even suggested that some cot deaths may be attributable to cow's milk allergy. Cow's milk should not be given to infants under four months in any circumstances. There is also evidence that, in those genetically susceptible, it may increase the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.
Conversely, breast milk is nothing but good news. A breast-fed baby has, on average, a four point higher IQ. This advantage can be doubled by giving the pregnant and breastfeeding mother a supplement of Omega 3 fish oils.

Not a good source of mineralsWhile milk is a good source of calcium, it is not a very good source of other minerals. Manganese, chromium, selenium and magnesium are all found in higher levels in fruit and vegetables. Most important is magnesium, which works alongside calcium. The ideal calcium to magnesium ratio is 2:1 - ie you need twice as much calcium as magnesium. Milk's ratio is 10:1, while cheese is 28:1. Relying on dairy products for calcium is likely to lead to magnesium deficiency and imbalance. Seeds, nuts and crunchy vegetables like kale, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower give us both these minerals and others, more in line with our needs. Milk is, after all, designed for young calves - not adult humans.

From the current evidence and given the present state of intensive farming, milk (especially for young children) should not be staple foods if you really want to pursue optimum nutrition. But this is no loss - not only is it possible to have a healthy diet without including dairy produce, it's also almost certainly going to decrease your risk of the common killer diseases. You can substitute organic soya or rice milk, or buy organic milk and have much less of it. If you suspect you might be allergic, stay off all dairy produce for 14 days. If it makes no difference, limit your intake of milk to 1 pint a week
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**Bring your dreams to life!**


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Thursday, September 21, 2006

New practice

I have just moved to Crouch End, and although I will keep my practice in Northwood, I am looking to build up a client base more local to home as well. So if you live close to Crouch End and were thinking about seeing a Nutritional Therapist then do get in touch. Similarly, if you know someone who lives in the area who would like to address their health problems using diet and supplements, then please pass on my details.




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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is Coke Zero Nutrition?

Here is an extract from an email from Patrick Holford. And I agree wholeheartedly!!

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Is the new Coke Zero zero nutrition, or zero natural ingredients or zero good for you? Of course, the idea is, by containing no actual sugar it’s meant to be good for you. ‘The stag night without the wedding’ says one ad.
Personally, I had a lot more fun on my stag night than you are likely to get from a combination of chemicals in a can of Coke Zero, or Diet Coke, which is basically the same thing. The marketers have obviously decided to push a new angle. Here’s the ingredients:

Aspartame
Acesulfame K
Phosphoric acid
Citric acid
Caffeine
Sodium benzoate (E211)
Sulphate ammonia caramel (E150d)
Water

You can’t knock water - but cooked up with this family of chemicals?

Aspartame
It’s widely used as a sweetener in snacks, sweets, desserts, ‘diet’ foods. Aspartame may affect people with PKU (phenylketonuria). Recent reports show the possibility of headaches, blindness, and seizures with long-term, high-dose aspartame. Another study reports raised risk of a rare kind of brain tumour, called lymphoma. The EU have given it a clean bill of health, but clearly, some people react badly.

Acesulfame K
This is another sweetener that causes cancer in animals. Acetoacetamide, which is a breakdown product, causes thyroid problems in animals. It’s commonly mixed with aspartame but no-one really knows how safe this is.

Phosphoric acid
High intakes erode teeth enamel and bones. Hence the link with high fizzy drink consumption and low bone density in children. A child consuming 1.5 litres of phosphorated drinks a day has five times the chances of having low calcium levels.

Citric acid
This is quite harmless on it’s own. Found in fruit. But, combined with sodium benzoate, especially at high temperatures, could produce carcinogenic benzene.

Caffeine
An addictive stimulant with all sorts of downsides in excess. There’s about 10mg per 100ml, so a 330ml can is 30mg, and a 1.5 litre bottle is 150mg. That’s the equivalent of two coffees.

Sodium Benzoate
It’s widely used as a preservative in many foods, including drinks, low-sugar products, cereals, meat products. Can temporarily inhibit the function of digestive enzymes and may deplete glycine levels. Should be avoided by those with allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives and asthma.

Sulphite ammonia caramel
This is made by heating sugar and is not ‘technically’ sugar. Ammonia is highly toxic. This colouring has not been fully evaluated for its potential carcinogenicity or reproductive toxicity.

That’s it. I recommend anyone with half a brain to avoid it like the plague.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Probiotics

There have been a lot of articles in the press recently about probiotics. The headlines have been eye catching, things like '50% of probiotics do not work' 'Consumers warned over probiotics'. These titles are slightly misleading because if you read the whole article, you will find that only a minority of probiotic products are being discredited. I agree with these articles which say that probiotics supplied from large, well known manufacturers will be subject to strict quality controls and will be of high quality. However, probiotics made by unheard-of companies, particularly those making wild and unbelievable claims, are most likely to be of very poor quality and containing low numbers of viable bacteria. I have seen many such products on the internet, particularly in relation to treating candida infection. Just think - if the claims these products were making were true, why are these products only being supplied by small, unknown companies? Surely the more reputable manufacturers would be in on the action! As with all probiotics, the important things to note and consider are:

- how many bacteria does the product contain?
- what strains of bacteria does the product contain?

Probiotics form a major part of a lot of nutritional therapy, and I am glad they are becoming more popular.


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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Curry

I love curries of all types and I am always on the look out for healthy recipes. I recently bought a book by Slimming World called 'Curry Feast' and it is full of delicious, healthy recipes (if you exclude the artificial sweetener they use in the recipes!).

I was delighted to find a recipe for onion bhajis, which doesn't involve deep frying. Here is it - why not give it a go?
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200g/7oz onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
50g/2oz gram flour
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp deseeded and chopped green chilli
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves
1/4 tsp baking powder
salt
Fry Light (or other oil spray)
Pinch of paprika to serve


1. Place the onions, gram flour, lemon juice, cumin, coriander seeds, green chilli, chopped coriander and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Season wiht salt and add a few tablespoons of water to form a thick batter that coats the onion. Leave to rest for 15 minutes and then, using your fingers, mix again to combine thoroughly.

2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C/ gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and using your fingers or a dessert spoon, drop small mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet to give you 12 bhajis.

3. Spray with Fry Light (or other oil spray) and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately sprinkled wih the paprika.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Savvy Shopper


I have recently bought a book called 'The Savvy Shopper' by Rose Prince. This is not a nutrition book per se, but contains a directory of foods and gives details about their manufacture. It is intended to be used as a guide to purchasing ethically responsible food, and also those which have the safest processing methods. For example, we have all heard stories about apples being kept in cold storage for up to a year before reaching our supermarket shelves, well this book will tell you exactly how apples are harvested and where they come from. And it covers a whole range of foods and drinks.

An extremely useful book!




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Conference Season

Last week I was at the British Dietetic Association Annual conference, which was very interesting actually. It was a good opportunity to meet with other therapists and learn about latest nutrition research. The trade exhibition was also good, and I picked up some information about new products.

Next week I am away again, this time in Aberdeen for the Nutrition Society Summer meeting. I think this might be more academic, but will be good to learn about new developments in the field of nutrition.



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Friday, June 02, 2006

More Journalists Like this Please!

Here is an extract from an email from Patrick Holford:

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No doubt some of you will have all the anti-alternative medicine propaganda in the papers. I wholeheartedly agree that good medicine needs to be properly proven to work, which is why I abhor the fact that almost a third of all drugs are prescribed ‘off label’, meaning that they are given to groups of people for whom no benefit has been proven.
I thought the most astute response to this cry against alternative medicine was that made in the Times by Jerome Burne, kindly reproduced below:

‘Professor Michael Baum, who laid into alternative medicine, is quite right to be concerned about wasting scarce NHS funds on “unproven or disproved” treatments. Unfortunately he has the wrong target in his sights. If he’s looking to root out marketing dressed up as science and protect patients from being damaged by side-effect that have been deliberately kept hidden, he would do far better to focus on problems with prescription drugs.

While some are life-saving, far too many are marginally effective and carry risks out of proportion to the conditions they are designed to treat. Drug side-effects now kill around 10,000 people a year in the UK – three times the number killed on the roads - and cost the NHS over £4 billion. Patients are being perfectly rational in seeking alternatives and it is simply out-dated medical arrogance to condemn them for it.

Only last week it emerged that one of the anti-depressant SSRI drugs actually increased the risk of young adults committing suicide – a possibility the companies had always strenuously denied even though in 2003 doctors had been advised not to give these drugs to anyone under 18 because of a suicide link. The evidence for that official ruling dated to 1996 but had never been published. During the intervening years UK doctors were prescribing more SSRIs to children than any other country in Europe and yet there was no proper evidence base for this at all. Treating those children by changing their diet or with acupuncture seems sane and responsible by comparison.

The scandal surrounding the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx - withdrawn from the market in 2004 because it doubled the risk of developing heart disease and other vascular problems – is another example of a drug that was heavily over-hyped prescribed to millions for whom it was not appropriate. Evidence that there was a danger was once again downplayed or ignored; one expert estimate puts just the number of Americans killed or damaged by a drug they took to ease aching joints at 140,000.

Professor Baum demonstrates no understanding why people are searching for alternatives to his remedies. In any other business, blaming your customers for deserting you would be regarded as a bizarre and self-defeating management strategy. If he’s serious about patient safety and cutting costs, he could start by demanding that drug disasters are followed by an official enquiry and that testing of promising non-drug therapies is properly funded.’

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Healthy Crisps?

Hello all

I have recently been written to by the company nutritionist at Walkers crisps, with information about how they have made healthier changes to their products. I assume I have not been singled out personally but that this is a national mailshot!

It is true that they have made changes to lower the fat and salt content, and in that respect the crisps are now 'healthier'. However, crisps should never form a substantial part of the diet, and should still be an occasional snack rather than an everyday staple. Which makes me wonder why they have written to people like me! Am I to start recommending people eat more crisps?!

Although I am being slightly disparaging, it is good to see that major food companies are taking steps to reduce the levels of salt and fat. Birdseye is another company that is advertising its committment to making healthy changes to their foods.

I think that we might start to see changes in people's health if food like bread and breakfast cereals, that people consume in substantial amounts, had levels of salt and sugar reduced.


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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Free Treatments

As part of my ongoing training in health kinesiology, I need people to volunteer for case studies. If you would like to have a free session of health kinesiology, then please email me at melanie@nutritional-therapist.com. Health kinesiology is an energy therapy which can address many different problems in the body, primarily by balancing the body's innate subtle energy system. If you are interested, I recommend you have a look here www.hk4health.co.uk for more information.



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Saturday, March 11, 2006

I passed!

This week I received the good news that I have passed my foundation kinesiology course. I am really pleased about this, and it is the first step in my future study of this fantastic therapy.

More details about kinesiology can be found at: http://www.kinesiologyfederation.org/explaining_kinesiology.php

And information about health kinesiology (which I am going to study) can be found here: http://www.hk4health.co.uk/whatis.htm


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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Health and Goodness

As you may or may not know, I am studying kinesiolgoy. Kinesiology is a wonderful therapy that uses muscle testing to get information about the body. It also uses the accupucnture system of energy meridians to rebalance the body.

A good website that I often look at is www.healthandgoodness.com. It is written by a kinesiologist called Jane Thurnell-Read and contains lots of useful information and tips, not only about kinesiology but also nutrition, health and wellbeing.



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Monday, January 30, 2006

SHEIS

On Saturday I travelled to South London to take part in a SHEIS meeting. SHEIS is a group for women to meet and exchange ideas. The theme of their meeting this month was 'nutrition'.

I gave the ladies an overview of what nutritional therapy is and what it does, and then talked in more detail about nutrition in relation to pregnancy. They then had a chance to ask more general questions about nutrition. People are often confused about conflicting information about food and nutrition, and I am always glad to clear up any misunderstandings!


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Monday, January 23, 2006

How Healthy Are Nutritional Therapists?

Well, the short answer is 'very'! But I would say that. Though I can tell you that I never need to take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, and very rarely get ill.

I came across this article which is trying to show the efficacy of nutritional therapy, by surveying the health of nutritional therapists. The premise being that the therapists follow their own therapy.

http://www.nutprac.com/LizInce%20rev.pdf




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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Basic Soup Recipe

I always suggest that people try to make their own soups. Soup makes a very nutritious meal, and once you get the hang of it, very easy too. It is an excellent way of consuming plenty of vegetables, and a great way of using up left over veg at the end of the week.

So here is a basic (easy!) soup recipe…..


Lentil Soup (serves 1, quantities may be doubled for two people)

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients5ml / 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
50g / 4 tablespoons red lentils
450ml water
Chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
Pepper to season


Method
Heat the oil in a saucepan.
Add the onion and carrot and fry on a low heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add all the other ingredients, put a lid on the pan and turn up the heat until the soup is boiling. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 35 minutes or until the lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if required.
For a smoother soup put in a blender or through a sieve.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and black pepper before .


This recipe can form the basis of any type of soup you want to make. Just add any extra vegetables or pulses (adding more water to get the desired consistency). You might not be used to cooking without salt, and at first this soup might taste bland. Use spices (especially garlic) to increase the flavour, but NO SALT!

The handblender I mentioned below is ideal for quick and easy soup making.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I promise it's not scary

Visiting a therapist for the first time can be quite a daunting prospect, especially if you have not been to an alternative health practitioner before. Many of my patients have been apprehensive about what their appointment with me will entail. But I understand this, and my aim is to make my patients feel as comfortable as possible. It's important for me that you feel relaxed, and I will do by best to put you at ease.

Many people also think that I will recoil in horror, or be judgemental, when they divulge some of their eating habits. I can certainly assure you that this is not the case!! Remember, that my job entails listening to many people's accounts of what they eat, and I am genuinely interested. People come to see me to improve their eating habits, so we have to start somewhere!

And although some of our principles are the same, the harsh style of Gillian McKeith is not something I adopt either. So don't worry, no name calling and no tears.



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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A very useful piece of kit

One of the best Christmas presents I received this year was a hand blender (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000178TWI/qid=1136296302/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_10_5/026-0225372-9402011). Of course, the person buying it for me did have a pretty good idea that this was exactly what I wanted!

This blender makes it much easier to make soups as you can do everything in one saucepan, without the need to transfer everything into a liquidiser goblet. And the one I’ve got has also got a chopper attachment, which is absolutely fantastic for chopping nuts, seeds and dried fruit (perfect for making home made muesli). It is also ideal for grinding linseeds which are a very good bowel cleanser, as I mentioned below.

In short, this is a very useful addition to the kitchen of anyone interested in healthy eating.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Sorry, but it has to be said........time for detox!!!!

New Year is traditionally the time when people embark on detox programmes, and for good reason. Almost everyone over indulges at Christmas time, and the new year is a time to cleanse your body and give it a rest from too much food and too much drink.

Detox programmes come in many forms, and I would definitely advise steering clear of any products which claim to help you detox without making changes to your diet. I have even seen detox patches which claim to draw toxins from your body whilst you sleep! A good detox programme can cost you nothing, whilst also having a very powerful effect on the body.

The bowel is the body's main route for getting toxic material out of the body. So it would make sense to start by cleansing the bowel. Drinking plenty of plain water is very important here as it helps to keep the contents of the bowel soft and therefore easier to eliminate. Avoiding animal products is a good idea because these can cause the wrong types of bacteria to proliferate in the bowel, and they are also more work for the body to digest. Plenty of vegetable matter is the key. Something that is very good for the bowel is linseeds. They are soothing to the bowel wall, and they also swell up which helps the muscles in the bowel wall to work better.

When your bowel is working efficiently, the body has a chance to eliminate toxins easily. This affects every cell in the body.

More advanced detox programmes form the basis of many of the therapeutic programmes I devise for patients. And I have certainly seen the benefits.

Whatever you do, remember that detoxing can be done easily at home without the need for expensive products. Carol Vorderman's books are a good place to start if you want to try a healthy detox.

Happy Healthy New Year!



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