Optimised Nutrition For Prevention, Protection and Pro-active Health

An increasing amount of people today know that official diet advice is phony, putting industry interests before public health. The state of capitalism today is that corporates have a legal obligation to their shareholders to keep driving up their profits and driving down or off-loading their costs. This means that multinational corporations who produce, prepare, package and distribute food to large retailers have to align all their efforts with enriching their shareholders, despite diminishing the wellbeing of their customers.

Freedom to be healthy and happy enjoying company and activity outdoors – Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Sadly, that is not going to stop happening on our current trajectory. It is the job of governments to balance the cost of healthcare provided to consumers against the tax paid by those same consumers. How is it that unhealthy items such as processed food, alcohol, gambling and medications require so much official support and a huge budget spent on lobbying, advertising, promotion and publicity? Meanwhile, healthy activities, lifestyle, nutrition, organisations and community are criticsed and attacked, while healthy products sell themselves.

NHS costs from unhealthy lifestyle House of Lords report (2017):
* £3.5bn from alcohol related issues
* £2bn from tobacco related issues, which causes 80,000 premature deaths a year
* £5.1bn a year directly spent tackling obesity and an estimated £27bn from related costs.

We need to bear in mind factors, which influence how we respond to different foods. In my view, macronutrients: protein (amino acids), fats (fatty acids) and carbohydrates (saccharides) can guide us to types of foods, which suit our gene type or might signal supplementation because the foods we need are not available locally, at that time of year or suited to our lifestyle.

Food preferences can come from our genes, when our ancestors lived in the same climate and environment for long enough – IImage by swiftsciencewriting from Pixabay

Interestingly, food fads have led to removing all 3 macronutrients: gluten-free is removing the protein in grains not the sugar or starch, which damage the liver through the production of glucose, which is used for immediate energy or stored as fat in the liver or elsewhere.

Fat-free has devastated healthy eating, by removing healthy fats and good cholesterol, which perform vital health functions, such as absorbing Vitamins A,D,E and K and dietary fat provides natural flavour to food. Sugar-free has opened the door to all kinds of artificial sweetener production and promotion. Lastly, meat-free plant protein alternatives do not suit everyone and there is not enough information out there to point people to missing nutrients when they exclude a main food group.

We vary so much as a species, that our food journeys may exclude one of these – Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay

The good news is that today there are supplements, which make any diet involving real food potentially healthy. The trouble is that there is an overwhelming amount of products on the market, but we are rarely given the whole story, which is that we need a range of vitamins, macrominerals and trace elements for optimal mental and physical health.

Human beings are highly diverse genetically and DNA wellbeing tests and nutritional scientists such as Zoe Global are finding ways to personalise nutrition by correcting deficiencies and suggesting alternatives to food intolerances or allergies.

However, macronutrients: protein, fats and carbohydrates, are the best way to describe the variation in diet we need according to our genes, geography and current climate. When the weather is hot we all eat less and people, such as the Sámi, who live in arctic conditions eat a more animal fat than a person living near the equator who spends time outdoors all year round and probably avoids oily fish and nuts, which provide fat soluble vitamins they get from constant sunshine on their skin.

Spending time outside is a vital part of life – Image by Cheryl Holt from Pixabay

We do need to consider foods in terms of our age, genetics and lifestyles. For example, an athlete may need more readily available energy, which would be store as fat in a person without much muscle who sits in an office all day. It is well-known now that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ healthy eating regime does not exist.

However, the top new year’s resolution for people in the United Kingdom and United States is to eat more healthily, which received more votes than popular goals such as finding love, earning more money, getting a better job, losing weight or affording a bigger house.

Although health covers mind and body and our brains and physical symptoms work together, healthy eating and physical activity are only considered in relation to physical, not mental health.

Both outdoor activity and nutritious food improve our physical and mental health – Image by chezbeate from Pixabay

Flip-flopping in the press, which tells us we can or cannot eat chocolate or drink coffee or red wine applies the same treatment to physical activity. The Guardian newspaper published articles on working out in the gym being unnecessary and then another article saying that regular walkers weren’t getting enough exercise.

Gems of information can be so hard to find, that we don’t know they are there until they are mentioned in passing in relation to something else. For example, this article on gaining weight as we aged provides a nugget of information, which may explain how many healthy people’s immune systems got put out of whack when lockdowns took millions of people who commuted to work from daily outdoor physical activity to being policed for leaving their homes for an hour a day.

The best way to preserve our health is to trust our instincts, listen to our bodies and work together – Image by Brad Dorsey from Pixabay

In addition, Greendale says that as we age the immune system can get out of whack, turning on an inflammatory response when there are no bacteria or viruses to kill, and keeping it on long after the body’s invaders have left.

Such an inappropriate inflammatory response can actually damage one’s own cells in whatever part of the body the inflammation occurs, whether it’s in muscles, joints or organs.

Ensuring such muscle and joint strength can also help fight this and other unfortunate aspects of aging, arthritis and inflammation.

Why We Gain Weight As We Age (2010) – Patti Neighmond for NPR

The ultimate question in terms of keeping people healthy, reducing cost burden on healthcare from treating avoidable diseases and preventing severe disease from virus pandemics is whether good public health messaging plays a role in prevention alongside vaccination and effective treatments. In terms of transmission, a healthy immune system reduces the viruses’ chances of becoming established and spreading via that person.

Finally, nutrition (eg, dietary recommendations) to boost the immune system should be explored and recommended

“Immune response in COVID-19: A review’ Chowdhury et al. 2020. Science Direct

It seems Science Direct was not alone in recommending nutrition as a way to reduce or prevent COVID-19, while recongising huge challenges in meeting these suggestions. “In the current global context with limited movements, it is difficult to obtain a balanced and varied diet. Therefore, achieving recommended amounts of calories and micronutrient will be a challenge and elective micronutrient supplementations may be beneficial especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly.” National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2020). “Enhancing immunity in viral infections, with special emphasis on COVID-19: A review” Jayawardena et al.

Study Says Nutritious Diet Worth Thousands of steps A Day

Finally, researchers show that eating healthy foods counts towards our fitness. It is generally known that eating the right foods can make a world of difference to our health and prevent disease, but I’d like to get the message straight.

Firstly, what is healthy eating? In my view, as a result of research, trial and error, the answer is both subjective and objective

Objectively speaking, I propose that all humans need essential nutrients each day for optimal health. For example, we need the fat soluble vitamins; A, D, E and K, which we store, but we only absorb them orally if taken with foods containing fatty acids; olives, avocado, sunflower, pumpkin, nuts, seeds, fish, dairy, meat and beans.

Also, objectively speaking, where we live and where our ancestors came from has a bearing on how we access micronutrients, such as Vitamin D. For those in hot, sunny climates, where time is spent outside, we’ll get enough vitamin D each day. This is not the same for people with dark skin, living in colder countries with weak sunlight, who stay indoors and cover their skin when they go outside. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to fatigue, weak bones, depression and, in extreme cases ricketts.

We do not want to be deficient in Vitamin D at the end of the winter, especially when an infectious virus is circulating as our weakened bodies won’t fight it very well. It is important for people to receive facts to make informed choices. In the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight to make vitamin D from October to March each year and ought to take a 10mcg supplement (NHS February 2020). We cannot get enough vitamin D from food and need to eat items containing mono-unsaturated, polyunsaturated or saturated fats to absorb the dietary supplement.

Further, we need enough vitamin D to regulate calcium and phosphorus in our bodies. This information needs to be delivered clearly to the public and healthcare workers to ensure unnecessary vitamin D deficiency doesn’t impact our health.

In terms of water soluble vitamins, C and the Bs (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12), these can be taken at any time in supplement form, however they also come from a range of real foods from vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, dairy and grains.

Then we have the macronutrients we need each day and finally the trace elements, which we need in tiny amounts. Knowing which foods deliver what can leave us with a clear idea of the supplements to take to fill gaps in any diet.

For example, the micronutrients, which vegans miss tend to include vitamin B12 and iron. Both of these are essential nutrients and can be taken each day as a supplement. It is important to note, for vegans, which foods include the dietary fats to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, such as olives, avocados, sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseeds and nuts.

Vegans can also get complete protein from quinoa, buckwheat and processed soy products such as tempeh or tofu. (Soy can vaccuum nutrients from the gut from its own natural pesticide system, so requires fermentation or other processing to do its work and many people are intolerant to soy based products.

The article linked to the top of this post states, without presenting evidence, that everyone ought to eat fruit, vegetables and grains. This brings me to the subjective basis of information, which we eat need to discover for ourselves.

If you know which nutrients we need as a species, then you can choose what foods you need to eat and the supplements to fill gaps left by diet and lifestyle. If you get some sunshine everyday, forest bathe and swim in the sea, perhaps some fat soluble vitamins will be absorbed through your skin. Only trial and error or, if it was available, level testing could define what nutrition you gain from your lifestyle.

Essentially, more of a good thing is not a better thing. We all need a certain amount of essential nutrients, but we vary, like cars using electric, hybrid, petrol, wind, manpower or diesel to run, in what fuel we need. The wrong fuel can be as damaging as too little or too much.

When we get the nutrients we need, this can leave us satisfied and happy. Cravings experienced by pregnant mums is not just a baby thing. We all get cravings. The internet is full of cravings converters telling us what our body is asking for when we crave junk food and how to get the nutrient we need.

If you have ever had tapas, meze or thali, you may notice how much quicker you feel full. Eating a variety of foods is a great way to give your body what it wants with the minimum of calories consumed.

Lastly, on the article reporting the recent study on nutritious eating counting for 4,000 steps a day: fruit and vegetables were known as “respiratory” foods in Victorian Times (William Banting and Dr William Harvey) and meat was known as “plastics” before plastic as we know it was invented of course.

Some people might find they get respiratory symptoms after eating carbohydrates such as milk, malt and sugar. These foods deliver minimal nutrient for their calorie load and also cause reactions in some people.

Food intolerance may sound like an unwanted dinner guest, but cutting out foods, which cause a range of uncomfortable, embarrassing or annoying reactions a day or two later can be identified using the Elimination Diet (Dr John Mansfield).

There is so much we can do to be healthy and live our best lives. I believe that facts create choice.

Making the Most of The Micronutrient Path by Hearth

Hi there, you may have heard about my app about the vitamins and minerals we all need to be healthy, which provides information on the foods we get them from and supplement RDAs to fill the gaps?

Here is my podcast about the idea behind my app.

If you’re using my pilot, please could you fill in this survey if you have a moment: My typeform survey

I am testing some pilots in a program called Appsheet, which turns my data into a mobile app. This is just for data and I’d like you to test the functions using pen and paper.

The functions of the app being built so far are;

  • Shopping list maker – you can either choose by eating preference; vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, omnivore, keto or Atkins, or create your own by ticking items. You could go through the vitamins and minerals and select foods you like. Once a micronutrient has been selected, it would grey out. The aim could also be to farm out shopping lists for delivery.
  • Meal planner – once items have been bought, the app will show you what’s in your larder. You can then select foods for a meal. The aim is to get all the water soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace elements at each meal to be satisfied and so, by selecting items for a meal (when in or dining out) the app can tell you any micronutrients you aren’t currently accessing to buy a supplement
  • Menu creator – this could influence caterers, eateries and street food sellers to focus on the nutrient content of meals they serve. Particularly for festivals, this could reduce waste by focusing on essential ingredients and making fillers and entertainment food a separate purchase.
  • Micronutrient diary – hindsight can be useful when it comes to food, particularly over a longer period of time. By creating a record of what you’ve bought and/or eaten, you could look back and see any patterns emerging, such as food intolerances or cravings.

We all know ourselves best, so The Micronutrient Path can accompany you on your own food journey. I think “facts create choice”. We all know an orange provides vitamin C but not everyone likes or can afford oranges everyday. If you know you need vitamin C everyday, as our bodies don’t store it, this means you can choose how you want to or are able to get it each day, even when at a party or dining out.

Therefore, once you enter the app, you have a menu on the bottom of the screen. The first page lists the micronutrients we need each day to be healthy, the aim – which could become a game for younger people in a later version of the app – is to ensure we get all 26 vitamins and minerals each day.

This may seem like a lot of food, but they are called micronutrients for a reason. We only need a small quantity of each one. The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K need to be eaten with or after dietary fats;

  • monounsaturated: olives, avocados, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • polyunsaturated: oily fish, pulses, beans, nuts
  • saturated: non-oily fish, meat and poultry, cheese, eggs, milk, butter and cream
  • Trans fats are the ones to avoid, however red meat has a tiny percentage of trans fat, which comes from the rumination process. Unhealthy trans fats include partially hydrogenated oils and artificial fats, junk and ultra-processed food containing refined and processed fat and sugar.

As we store vitamins A, D, E and K, it isn’t essential we get these everyday. That comes down to various factors you can determine for yourself. Eating organ meat, for example, can provide enough vitamin A for a week. Other factors, which determine what and how much we eat include:

  • Variety – if you like tapas, meze, thali or delicatessen style food, you’ll know how difficult it is to eat too much as the wide range of foods can be satisfying, tasty and nutritious. An assortment of foods is an excellent way to minimise the calories required to be satisfied by quickly attaining micronutrients through more than one source.
  • Climate – We all know now that we don’t get enough sunlight in the UK to make vitamin D between Octdober and March each year. If you stay inside all day, wear clothing that covers all your skin or the darker the shade of skin, the more days a year it would be good to take a vitamin D3 or D2 supplement. As our bodies store it, this can be done in different ways.. Personally, I’ll have about 35mcg of D3 after a meal containing dietary fats when I’m not getting out into the sunshine.
  • Seasons – Someone from a hot country will find staying indoors in the cold British winter more impactful on their health than someone from the Orkneys. Although it is not said explicitly, BAME people living in the UK during 2020 suffered worse outcomes from COVID-19 and a solution could be recommending daily intake of essential nutrients. However, initiatives to provide vitamins such as Healthy Start were quietly withdrawn during 2020.
  • Lifestyle – The only bit of ‘diet advice’ we get from official sources seems to be about calories. There is no differentiation made between good or bad calories, also known as ’empty calories’ which don’t include any micronutrients. Surely, anyone wanting to restrict their calorie intake could say “bye-bye” to the ones that aren’t pulling their weight. Sudden changes to daily routine, such as during a lockdown or ending full-time employment can start the gradual process of gaining weight, which is best prevented by establishing a new routine to leave the house each day to prevent. It is unwittingly sinking into self-employment or a lockdown, which can wage a lengthy battle of the bulge as we gain weight just as slowly as we put it on.
  • Genes – where your ancestors lived can play a part in determining what foods are best to eat, as people from hot, sunny countries would get vitamins from their environment and be able to process sweeter foods, as tropical fruits contain fats, carbohydrates and protein. In the cold north, particularly during the winter, colds and other illnesses can be prevented through getting a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals each day from food, or supplements to fill gaps left by diet and lifestyle.

If you have a few minutes, please could you fill in my survey to help me make the best possible app.

When Coronavirus Research Was Transparent

The following blog looks back over the two decades leading up to 2020 to see what was said about SARS, vaccines and coronaviruses.

Coronavirus illustration with blue proteins
How long have we really been living with COVID for? – Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

After the SARS outbreaks of 2002 and 2003, understandably, many scientists started researching SARS-COV1, writing papers, looking at vaccine design and evaluating the risks of further outbreaks. The SARS outbreak of 2002 was miniscule compared to COVID-19. According to Peter Hotez, MD, funding for research dried up in 2005, shown in this 2020 article here.

I really want to find out why coronavirus research stopped so soon after SARS-cov-1. The first paper I’m going to share stands out for me because of how transparent it is. Written in 2005 by Shibo Jiang, Yuxian He, and Shuwen Liu, called SARS Vaccine Development, it starts:

Quote: Developing effective and safe vaccines is urgently needed to prevent infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)–associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The inactivated SARS-CoV vaccine may be the first one available for clinical use because it is easy to generate; however, safety is the main concern. End quote.

Strategies to roll out the vaccine would have been more without the constraints on public health from capitalism – Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

Recently, the UK government made the extraordinary claim that they did not know covid-19 could transmit asymptomatically. Use of the term “asymptomatic” transmission causes untold confusion and division, with Twitter trolls angrily stating “asymptomatic means healthy!” However, as far back as December 2003, the CDC’s MMWR says “In the clinical criteria, “early” illness replaces “asymptomatic” or “mild” illness.”

Why would Boris Johnson suggest that 20 minutes hand-washing was the best defence if he could avoid someone with symptoms, suggest they wear a mask correctly or ensure sick people stay at home on statutory sick pay?

With telecommunications, call centres, Internet connectivity and a huge workforce, could public information, the media and a telephone network not have provided everyone with the means to information about COVID-19, to work together to reduce transmission? It seems as if the UK government had been preparing for a pandemic with a simulation called Operation Cygnus in 2016. When the spread of SARS-COV2 was announced by the World Health Organisation in January 2020, what strategy was in place?

Small independent businesses such as pubs suffered during the Pandemic – Image by Peter Pruzina from Pixabay

If you search online, various articles appear, mostly written after the original SARS-cov-1 outbreak. Firstly, I’ll return to the article mentioned earlier called Sars Vaccine Development to pull some quotes.

Quote: The global outbreak of SARS seriously threatened public health and socioeconomic stability worldwide. Although this outbreak was eventually brought under control in 2003, several isolated outbreaks of SARS subsequently occurred because of accidental releases of the SARS-CoV isolates from laboratories in Taiwan, Singapore, and mainland China. End quote.

It is worth noting that, although this is in a medical journal, the WHO and CDC links both go to error pages. Why this is I don’t know. Would there not be archives for something like this? Would it not be explained that the links no longer worked for today’s reader?

The WHO page on SARS is now here. Disease outbreaks are found via a menu item lower down. The NIAID biodefense research webpage, mentioning SARS as a Category C pathogen is now here. The CDC’s MMWR information about SARS outbreaks can be found here.

Quote: In late 2003 and early 2004, new infections in persons who had contact with animals infected with SARS-CoV strains significantly different from those predominating in the 2002–2003 outbreak were reported in Guangdong, China (1). These events indicate that a SARS epidemic may recur at any time in the future, either by the virus escaping from laboratory samples or by SARS-CoV isolates evolving from SARS-CoV–like virus in animal hosts. End quote.

SARS Vaccine Development 2005. Was that a warning? Wouldn’t this possibility put people on red alert? I suggest you read on as there is plenty of information about the early evolution of SARS-cov-1, such as:

Quote: The SARS-CoV–like virus that exists in animals does not cause typical SARS-like disease in the natural hosts and is not transmitted from animals to humans. Under certain conditions, the virus may have evolved into the early human SARS-CoV, with the ability to be transmitted from animals to humans or even from humans to humans, resulting in localized outbreaks and mild human disease. Under selective pressure in humans, the early human SARS-CoV may further evolve into the late human SARS-CoV, which can cause local or even global outbreaks and typical SARS in humans with high death rates. End quote.

I’d like to know what certain conditions were and what under selective pressure in humans referred to. This table below appears shows findings about SARS-cov-1, which have never been put so clearly and simply since 2020. Link to the table here.

Screenshot 2023-01-11 at 11.42.34Screenshot 2023-01-11 at 11.42.51

Reasons given for vaccine development.

The worries seem to focus on two areas: accidental release or bioterrorism. See this:

Quote: SARS-CoV can be efficiently grown in cell culture (1) and rapidly spread from person to person (7). It can survive in feces and urine at room temperature for >2 days  and may cause serious, even fatal, disease. SARS-CoV, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Biodefense Category C priority pathogen could be used by bioterrorists as a biological weapon. Therefore, development of effective and safe vaccines is urgently needed to prevent a new SARS epidemic and for biodefense preparedness. Currently, 3 major classes of SARS vaccines are under development: 1) inactivated SARS-CoV (Figure 1), 2) full-length S protein (Figure 2A), and 3) those based on fragments containing neutralizing epitopes (Figure 2B). End quote.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a little surprising these links are also broken, like the WHO and CDC ones in the earlier quote. http://www2.niaid.nih.gov/Biodefense/bandc_priority.htm and http://www.who.int/csr/sars/en I used Wayback Machine to see when and where they had disappeared. This one below can no longer be found.

Please note above the statement that SARS-cov can be efficiently grown in cell culture. This does not seem like the same coronavirus that came from civets, see the table above – so why is an animal origin so emphatically attributed 15 years later?

The article above then goes on to discuss 3 routes to vaccination, which is worth reading for background without drawing any firm conclusions as the picture I’m painting is in no way complete. The WHO’s SARS page was at the same URL until mid 2020.

Coronavirus Vaccine History – Back in 2004, SARS vaccine trial spotlights continued peril by Helen Pearson was published in the science press.

Quote: But public-health experts remain concerned that a second wave of infections could erupt, either from human contact with infected animals or by the virus escaping from laboratory samples. End quote.

Pearson, Helen SARS vaccine trial spotlights continued peril. Nature 2004.

Also in 2004, SARS vaccine trials were carried out on ferrets. SARS vaccine linked to liver damage in ferret study More from 2004: Animal coronavirus vaccines: lessons for SARS

Quote: Such immunity is often short-lived, requires frequent boosting and may not prevent re-infection, all factors complicating CoV vaccine design. End quote.

Saif LJ. Animal coronavirus vaccines: lessons for SARS. Dev Biol (Basel). 2004;119:129-40. PMID: 15742624.

Moving onto 2005: Vaccine design for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus by Yuxian He 1 Shibo Jiang in Viral Immunol.

Quote: Although the global outbreak of SARS has been contained, there are serious concerns over its re-emergence and bioterrorism potential. Several live attenuated, genetically engineered or vector vaccines encoding the SARS-CoV spike (S) protein have been in pre-clinical studies. End quote.

Vaccine design for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus by Yuxian He 1 Shibo Jiang in Viral Immunol. 2005.

The same article continues:

Quote: These vaccine candidates are effective in terms of eliciting protective immunity in the vaccinated animals. However, caution should be taken with the safety of whole virus or full-length S protein-based immunogens in humans because they may induce harmful immune or inflammatory responses. End quote.

Vaccine design for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus by Yuxian He 1 Shibo Jiang in Viral Immunol. 2005.

It is worth reading the above Vaccine Design article in full to see how many points you recognise about the platforms used and predicted responses in human beings. Nature pleads caution in 2005: Caution raised over SARS vaccine

Quote: A cautionary note has been sounded for those developing vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Some vaccines could prove useless against certain strains, or even worsen the infection, a preliminary study suggests. End quote

PEARSON, Helen Caution raised over SARS vaccine. Nature 2005.

Therefore, by 2005, threats of bioterrorism has been mentioned, as have samples escaping from laboratories. Vaccines being ineffective against certain strains and worsening the infection.

By 2008 there had been human trials for a SARS Vaccine. 2008: A SARS DNA vaccine induces neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses in healthy adults in a Phase I clinical trial

Quote: Based on serologic data from samples collected prior to the outbreak and retrospectively analyzed, up to 40% of individuals working in the animal trade were seropositive but had no history of illness [3], indicating that SARS may be either extremely mild or asymptomatic in some cases. End quote.

Martin, et al. A SARS DNA vaccine induces neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses in healthy adults in a Phase I clinical trial. Vaccine. 2008.

Despite the claimed success of the above mentioned trial in 2008, research done on mice was still raising concerns about use in humans in 2012.

More warnings from 2012: Immunization with SARS Coronavirus Vaccines Leads to Pulmonary Immunopathology on Challenge with the SARS Virus. PLos One. 2005.

Quote: Because of a concern for reemergence or a deliberate release of the SARS coronavirus, vaccine development was initiated. End quote.

Tseng et al Because of a concern for reemergence or a deliberate release of the SARS coronavirus, vaccine development was initiated. PLos One 2012.

I realise that is quite a lot to read, without even following links. The point of this blog post or podcast is to start a discussion about what changed in 2005 to stop scientists, researchers and other practitioners preparing for a coronavirus outbreak, as vaccine research had started in the 60s and SARS was not the first coronavirus, it has now emerged, to cause a global pandemic. It is suspected that a bad flu in 1889-90 could in fact have been human coronavirus OC43, which killed 1 million people globally out of a population of 1.5billion.

Quote: Contemporary medical reports from Britain and Germany on patients suffering from a pandemic infection between 1889 and 1891, which was historically referred to as the Russian flu, share a number of characteristics with COVID-19. End quote.

Harald BrüssowLutz Brüssow 13 July 2021. Clinical evidence that the pandemic from 1889 to 1891 commonly called the Russian flu might have been an earlier coronavirus pandemic. Applied Microbiology International.

My conclusion is that transparency would be the best policy, funding scientists and researchers to carry out independent, unbiased studies on COVID-19, immunisations and treatments available to find the best solutions for the most people to end this pandemic.

From Sickcare to Self-care – facts create choice

The first piece of information, which inspired me to turn all the information about the micronutrients we needed to be healthy into a spreadsheet with sources, foods and supplement doses was seeing the following information on the NHS website:

Quote NHS website on Vitamin D

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.

But between October and early March we do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. End quote.

At the time I first saw this message in February 2020, I was a health conscious 49 year old wondering how this message had never reached me. In March 2020, we went into lockdown where people in built up areas were policed leaving their home for more than an hour a day.

By 23 April 2020, this unclear message had been added:


Consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.

This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day.

There have been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. However, there is no evidence that this is the case.

Do not buy more vitamin D than you need. End of quote

If people, particularly children under the age of 4, those with darker skins, people in care homes or unable to leave the house, or people who wear clothing covering all their skin, are deficient in vitamin D in March every year, why would this message be deflected during a pandemic. Like me, not many people had heard we didn’t get enough vitamin D between September and March each year.

Before 2020, there had been high profile articles about vitamin D protecting us against respiratory viruses.

On 15th February 2017, an article appeared in the Harvard Gazette

Quote: A recent study by a global team of researchers has found that Vitamin D supplements, already widely prescribed for a variety of ailments, are effective in preventing respiratory diseases.

That is very clear indeed.

Here is a quote from an article about a study, which was actually attacked and discredited during the pandemic. Is that in the BEST interests of the public?


Recent research Trusted Source discovered a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk of COVID-19. Now, another new study has found the same — noting that more than 80 percent of people with COVID-19 didn’t have adequate levels of the “sunshine vitamin” in their blood.

As part of the new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers looked at 216 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain. The scientists matched the patients to controls from another dataset.

Of all the patients, 82.2 percent were deficient in vitamin D.

In the research, men had lower vitamin D levels compared to women. End quote.

During the hot, sunny Easter of 2020, parks were shut and seats cordoned off.

If we cannot get sunlight indoors and weren’t allowed to spend time in the sunshine during a pandemic, the information on vitamin D deficiency was being willfully ignored. In March, after 6 months of winter without sufficient sunlight, our levels of vitamin D would be at their lowest. Then there was lockdown.

At the time, Facebook and Twitter were censoring information about sitting outside in the sun and branding them misinformation and conspiracy theories. Of all things, with articles clearly stating why Vitamin D had been confirmed during global studies to protect us against respiratory diseases (to quote a Harvard Gazette article from 2017) why was ensuring we were not deficient in vitamin D not made a priority during the spread of a new respiratory virus?

This is beyond weird. Totally incomprehensible.

Personally, I find if I am outdoors in the sunshine, I have more energy and my mood is better. Generally, the United Kingdom has been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but has anyone looked at vitamin D deficiency as a cause?

Surely, sending a clear message about vitamin D deficiency over the winter in the UK would ease strain on the NHS? What happened to prevention rather than cure?

Without facts, which help people make informed choices, how are people supposed to take better responsibility for their health and take care of themselves?

The burden on the NHS from treating preventable diseases, through better self-care runs into billiions of pounds. Each

In my view, a mild cold in a healthy person can still be lethal for someone who is sick. Surely, this has always been known? How a virus presents itself would depend on the health of the individual surely? Isn’t this why we keep people with colds away from those who are sick?

Since the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, many crucial health messages delivering information for self-care have been obscured, censored or politicised, which must have cost people their health, earnings and even lives.

Why would the best efforts not be made to prevent sickness, hospitalisation and death in a population? We must look at all factors that cause increased suffering and find ways to tackle it.

Travels With Dyspraxia

I was inspired to make this podcast when I heard the experiences of a lady called Sinead on Twitter, who faced much more pressure, it seemed, to conform and learn in the traditional way taught in her school.

Here is my journey, from how I learned my times tables and spelling and on through secondary school then an art degree before heading out into the world of work. My story shows how Dyspraxia, which was detected when I was 35, influenced my choices and thinking, which led to me seek out innovative ideas to improve quality of life through collaboration and interaction.

My earliest experiences of school were of not fitting in. I had bounds of energy and didn’t want to sleep after lunch. I was born with hearing loss, which meant I didn’t hear the break bell go and an early disempowering experience was the teacher appointing a classmate Fiona to be my nanny.

After the disaster of me struggling to tie a shoe-lace in front of class, I questioned how we were being taught and allowed to learn. At this point, school friends were being diagnosed with Dyslexia and the detooling of their education begun. They were told they couldn’t do this or would find that hard. I have friends now who were told they would never be able to ride a bicycle.

Chanting times tables didn’t work for me, so I worked out how to remember them for myself. I also learned how to spell by understanding why something was so and then I could remember it. Ronald Davies’ book The Gift of Learning shows how learning is creation and if I reached the objective of reciting a times table, it didn’t matter how I got there.

I was the last person in my class to be allowed to use an ink pen and before that all important day, I was made to do handwriting exercises. I would be kept in at breaktime to do a row of e’s. OK, that sounds wrong in today’s context. I would do rows of letters, but this did not save me from bad A’level grades from illegible handwriting. I must add, here, that my grandfather, who qualified as a doctor in 1931 and marked hundreds of exam. papers had barely legible handwriting.

One area of dyspraxia is hand-to-eye co-ordination but I made it into the sports teams and played rounders, tennis, netball, basketball and lacrosse but constant practice and confidence helped enormously as I would be picked in games for teams until I changed schools. I realised from then on that my confidence had worn off over the winter and I didn’t perform to a new, fresh audience. I would also win little children’s golf competitions on holiday in Kent. Perhaps hand-eye co-ordination didn’t come naturally to me but was learnt with application and practice.

Not fitting in at primary school seemed to translate into not getting votes for positions of responsibility. It’s my opinion that greater confidence in landing jobs as an adult could be formed through equal distribution of authority at primary school instead of popularity or conformity contests.

Recently, I read that self-acceptance stems from our first eight years of life for children who spend time with grandparents. Having raised their own children, grandparents can be our greatest cheerleaders, saying Oh come on, she’s such a sweet little thing, let her have a go when our parents are learning on the job and giving us a hard time. In fact, the Spanish have a saying: Los Niños con abluelos son mas seguros, meaning children with grandparents are more secure.

Another person suggested that children with Dyspraxia, who can wear their clothes in an uneven or dishevelled way, may not be sending regular signals from their skin, when they were held by their parents. This could result in a restless child or one, who feels unloved or neglected.

At primary school, I was enthusiastic and engaged in every activity whether I was good at it or not. I would shoot my hand up to read out in class but I don’t think it was easy to follow what I was saying as the fashion was to put a lot of expression and inflection in the voice, but I wouldn’t have processed what I was reading that quickly to make sense.

I’m jumping now to choosing O’levels at secondary school, as my science teachers were all saying: do this subject and find a cure for the common cold. I didn’t do biology because I was squeamish and would get myself sent out of the room during dissections. Chemistry wasn’t suitable as I was clumsy and my memory didn’t serve to remember all the elements, let alone which letters represented them. I had a continual runny nose all the way through school, which turned out to be a casein intolerance.

I disagreed with the way O’level choices would clash and my choice of physics, art and Latin was impossible. However, these were three subjects that allowed me to problem solve and work out the answers. If someone had said to me at primary school that learning by rote would be important for structuring essays, I might have applied myself but still I remember through pictures, sound or smell, not words. During History of Art, however, I could remember a timeline of paintings by date, artist and title, but this information didn’t stick around for long.

With hindsight, I realise I learned immersively, which meant it took me at least 20 minutes to stop thinking about one class subject, such as maths, and start focusing on history. I loved history but didn’t want to regurgitate the teachers’ interpretations of events and dates onto an exam paper, but to write my own response to the set question. In addition to having illegible handwriting, I got an E for history twice. The same happened with History of Art A’level.

Therefore, I went through school and subsequent degrees avoiding any suggestion I may have dyslexia because I thought it was a label used to disempower creative people. As Ronald Davies shows in the Gift of Dyslexia, learning difficulties are actually teaching difficulties. Academics do not tend to allow neurodiversity and a visual cognitive style is framed as a problem, but not one they wanted to solve.

Ronald Davies’ books led me to Thomas Hartmann, an educational psychologist who wrote a book originally titled The Edison Gene, A Hunter Child in a Farmer’s World. This showed how the modern education system was created to feed the industrial revolution. In order to work on a factory assembly line, a person needed to be able to not think. In his book, Hartmann mentions Robert Woolf, who went to meet the Sn’goi tribe of Malaysia, whose community only died out in the 1980s. Subsequently, I read the incredible book by Woolf called Original Wisdom, An Ancient Way of Knowing.

Like when a friend phones you when you were just thinking about them, Woolf’s book documents all the instinctive ways the Sn’goi would know things, without being told what to think. The ancient way of knowing came from community, not just one person. For example, the single members of the tribe would sleep with their heads in the centre of their homes and share their dreams in the morning. That way, a visitor, bad weather or a flower coming out in the forest would be sensed. The Sn’goi also warned against monoculture farming, saying that the rainforests weren’t lush because of the rain, but all the different plants growing, exchanging minerals with the soil.

I found out I had dyspraxia in 2006, when I was working on a careers magazine for graduates with disabilities. I had a test at the London Dyslexia Teaching Centre, which took 4 hours and was set by a lady called Sandie. One test required me to copy a 3-dimensional picture with red and white diamonds, which I did just outside the time. Sandie explained how every student at London’s top art, film, music, dance, fashion and photography colleges would have a similar educational profile, flying ahead at primary school and difficulty kicking in before GCSEs when moving attention between subjects, requirements for structure and memorising rote learning such as history dates were required.

After this test, I found a Icelandic man called Axel, who taught Ronald Davies technique a short walk from where I lived and my brother agreed to pay for the course. I learned that in Iceland, 20% of children are gifted and 5% in remedial classes, the complete opposite of in England. In conventional teaching, only one of the 5 ways to learn is used: visual: auditory, written, kinesthetic and multimodal. Education is all done through written learning.

I think academia has diverged away from nature and in fact now rejects it. Inquisitive explorers such as Graham Hancock or Dr Martin Sweatman are discredited by mainstream historians or archeologists. Traditional medicine, which is based on inoculation rather than attacking symptoms is damned by official bodies.

We seem to be taught there is only one answer and that comes from consensus not evidence. There doesn’t seem to be the burden of proof on accepted doctrine. In my mind, this is more like religion than science, when we are told what to think, not how to think.

At my secondary school, careers talks were always about secretarial. We were told we could get to the top of any company by becoming an executive’s personal assistant. I learned how to type but was the slowest and took the longest. It was just practice, trial and error and building muscle memory. I learn by doing and watching. I failed my driving test mock then passed first time after I watched my instructor drive around. I went through the most competitive journalist college in the country without a hearing aid or knowing I had Dyspraxia.

Did you know that 99% of young offenders in institutions have undiagnosed dyslexia? This was announced at the Ministry of Peace, which I attended in 2005. This is because of disorientation, when the understanding of a visual mind would be more literal than a verbal one. If someone tells me to call them at 3pm and when I do they are unavailable, I would get angry, anxious and become confused. Until I heard about disorientation – the disconnect between verbal and visual processing – I lived in dread of a dark part of my personality raising its head. I learned to recognise the feeling, which feels to me like a swirl, and would say “I am disorientated”. This experience ought to be a protected characteristic as I find jobsworths on helplines can target this cognitive dissonance to wind me up with their red tape and bureaucracy.

One of the greatest things I learned from Ronal Davies was about order and disorder. Learning this confirmed that things needed a place and so I went home and sorted my whole flat out, buying cupboards to put things in and giving everything a place. Before this I lived in chaos as the only way to find anything is for it picture where I put it.

After seeing a play about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I formed the idea that many of us have this type of disorientating experience. Imagine cleaning your teeth. Can you remember when you last did this? If you do it first and last thing each day, it is likely this is a habit. Rituals carried out by people with OCD seem like habit. Before I leave the house, I have to work through a checklist of actions, otherwise I will constantly worry I’ll return to a burned house or leave a tap running. If I am distracted during this process, something will happen such as forgetting important overnight stuff and end up swallowing my contact lenses, which I left soaking in the hotel tooth mug.

I learn things when I have built up a complete picture and understand why they are a particular way. In other words, I internalise information and it becomes second nature, otherwise I forget it. I don’t store trivial in my mind and archive information, which requires a prompt to recall. I enjoy being able to work things out.

To conclude, I think I am lucky that I didn’t discover I had Dyspraxia until I was 35 and had had a chance to explore things for myself. I don’t believe the education system supports or caters for visual thinkers, even though industry now needs this type of cognitive thinking. We need to solve problems. We need diversity. The wisdom of crowds requires a broad range of experiences and viewpoints. Today’s politicians seem to mostly come through King’s College Oxford reading Politics Philosophy and Economics. We need diversity.

I’m glad I didn’t fit in as an outsider’s perspective on life can be a big bonus. It is very hard to see things objectively when you are stuck in the middle. I think Dyspraxia is just a way of describing a natural human being who has not conformed and what a wonderful world it would be if we celebrated the rich colour, tapestry and variety of life.

Responding to Our Bodies’ Messages

Many people think we can eat whatever we want during their childhood. Although many children get sick and. Mountains of sweets, beans on toast, burgers and fries, milkshakes, sweet drinks and potatos in every form will be consumed and very likely the glucose will be burned off. However, our lifestyles are getting more sedantry, with gaming, computers and social media replacing the need to get out and spend time playing and exploring with friends.

The existence of pain-killers might, in my view, kill messages from our bodies reaching us if we reach for the bottle to shut them up. If we reach for painkillers the moment a new ache emerges, it could prevent us from working out the cause of the pain.

I remember back to my parents and other people mentioning pains. My mother had both hips replaced before she was 50 and was immobilised afterwards. My father had a hip replaced in his 60s, which stopped his regular sporting activities of tennis and cricket and made short walks painful. This led to inactivity and then yoyo dieting ending with the monotonous Duchan Diet when he died.

A French illuminated manuscript from the 1400s depicts witches in flight. Martin le Franc/Le Champion des Dames/Wikimedia Commons

During the late 1980s, my parents stumbled across Fit For LIfe, which was a holistic lifestyle idea by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. Much maligned by funded medical people, something dating back to witch trials and the persecution of people mixing herbal remedies and other potions in medieval times, Fit For Life recommended an ancestral style of eating accompanied by a product designed to deliver all the vitamins and minerals we needed called Life Source Complete. The Diamonds’ ideas were more about longevity than weight loss.

In 1863, William Banting, a 66 year old funeral director, released the first of four pamphlets called Letters on Corpulence Addressed to the Public. This dietary regime was the result of his success with recommendations from Dr William Harvey of Soho Square, who Banting consulted for hearing loss. The diet prescribed by Dr Harvey had learned this eating regime for diabetes management from attending the Paris lectures of physiologist Claude Bernard, who was the first man of science to be bestowed a pubic funeral in France. (Souce: Wikipedia). As a result of the crowing from medical men, who ridiculed claims to be cured by food, in 1872 Dr Harvey published a paper called On Corpulence In Relation To Disease: With Some Remarks On Diet which is available in print and can be downloaded here.

Despite the success of the diet on Banting’s health, mobility, longevity and weight, there was ridicule. Cogpunk Steamscribe blog on Banting

The essences of Banting’s colourful testimonial with Harvey’s dietary regime are to avoid dissacharides, which are high glycemic carbohydrates requiring the enzymes lactase, sucrase and maltase to break down. The main foods in this category are dairy milk, table sugar and starchy foods such as potato, rice, root vegetables and bread. Since the Victorian Age, many more complex carbohydrates have been created such as polysaccharides, which require even more breaking down or fermentation in the gut to process.

Another way to avoid ailments or reactions is to eliminate food intolerances. Sadly, food intolerance has become the tiresome dinner party companion of food allergies, who at least get a seat at the table. Meanwhile, the nerdy foody intolerance are banished to the kitchen to avoid embarrassing guests or not invited at all. They are snorted at and disrespected but their ignored existence is akin to Mother Nature provoked to whirl up a thunderstorm.

Real foods included in the Elimination Diet to reduce reactions from food intolerance

As healthcare does not provide means to test for food intolerance as a means for preventing pains, sickness or discomfort, people use the Elimination Diet to uncover the culprits of their ailments. Like a car crash, which turns out to be a deliberate “Crash for Cash”, the way to discover food intolerances is to experience them by feasting for 7 days on 42 foods deemed safe for a northern, caucasian audience. These include nuts, meat, fish, salad, fruit and vegetables.

The absence of some foods seems to be because of industrialised farming, which results in the use of pesticides and anti-biotics for animals as well as unnatural conditions the animals are kept in and what they are fed on. These practices have reaped many micronutrients from our food system, rending many calories devoid of nutrition, therefore leaving the eater less satisfied.

We eat to get the nutrients we need. Everything else we consume is pure entertainment.

My main aim here is to provide a few facts to provide more choice about a healthy lifestyle. To quote a 2022 paper about Spanish social media messaging about health:

Nevertheless, consumers find themselves feeling overwhelmed, as a result of the saturation of health consciousness information shared by institutions, health professionals, companies, and the general public [5,6].

Promoting Sustainable Lifestyle Habits: “Real Food” and Social Media in Spain – María Segovia-Villarreal1 and Isabel María Rosa-Díaz2 Published online 2022 Jan 14. doi: 10.3390/foods11020224 Foods.
  • Keeping muscle cells strong to slow age-related muscle loss “From the age of around 30, “The amount of lean muscle we have begins to decline by 3 to 8 percent per decade after age 30” – More info is in this link.
  • Preventing cycles of yo-yo dieting. Calorie restricted diets will slow the metabolism and when usual eating patterns are resumed after a period of self-deprivation, more weight will be gained than lost.
  • By ensuring we get all the nutrients we need we could reduce or prevent infection and disease and recover more easily from illness and injury. Micronutrient deficiency can come from the climate, where we live, where our ancestors lived and what food, sunlight and other sources of nutrients are affordable and available.
  • As we age, our bodies, muslces, cells, bones, joints and organs will respond more to tobacco, alcohol, sugar, saturated fats, partially hydrogenated oils and other hidden ingredients in ultra-processed foods and anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are plants, which release a poison to try to prevent insects eating them, such as soy beans, rice and cabbage, which are often fermented or soaked to remove the anti-nutrient, which hoovers good nutrients and bacteria from the gut. After illness or infection, reactions such as inflammation can be more severe and extra self-care needed for recovery. Women also face the menopause, which is only starting to be recognised by employers as a cause of people being absent or leaving their jobs. Our organs work hard to fight disease, depleting our stores of nutrients, so we need to give them extra care by avoiding foods, which agitate while and after we are ill.
  • When the thermoreceptors under our skin cool down as a result of swimming in the sea, they release serotonin, boost our immune system and we can also absorb minerals, as St Michael’s resort explain: “It contains minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate that work as natural cosmetics for the skin. Magnesium-rich seawater promotes the retention of moisture in the skin whilst absorbing toxins and reducing inflammation, leaving the skin fresh and vibrant” – Benefits of Sea Swimming

Sitting by the sea has many health benefits from the fresh air and sunshine
Being by the sea has multiple benefits, as does swimming when sewage levels are low enough – Image by OyeHaHa from Pixabay

Various natural products can provide enjoyable alternatives to alcohol, such as Impossibrew, which produces nootropic beer. These natural lift alternatives to booze have 0.5% alcohol, the same as a banana, as we ferment plants in our gut to process them. There’s also Yerba Mate tea, which provides matteine instead of caffeine.

OK. All this information is taken from sources and I remember things because they help complete a picture. I may have a puzzle with pieces missing for years and then have an experience, a swollen knee, or remember something I read or heard and search for information. However, today Google is a glorified shopping channel and those nuggets of wisdom become I M P O S S I B L E to recover or they are tucked away, hidden, changed or removed. Therefore apologies for gaps in the sources of information and if you know or find any, please send them to me.

Ancestral Eating – Food For Thought

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Paleo, Keto, Hay and Fit For Life diets? Allen “Easyway” Carr wrote about eating like our ancestors in a book called The Easyweight to Lose Weight and others about food. These are essentially based on what our ancestors ate, alongside the blood group diet and other ideas along similar lines.

I will include a glossary of all the books I have read, which focus on ancestral eating, such as these.

For a while I have been curious about the relationship between our genetics, DNA and foods that benefit us more than others. My quest is to find what I ought to eat, avoid and do for me personally. Objective facts help but all advice or opinion would be subjective to someone else. Therefore, please read this as subjective to me and not advice. If you relate to something, please explore it for yourself before making your mind up.

I used LivingDNA and they seem to have updated this information about made it more accessible on their website – LivingDNA.com

Today, DNA companies provide wellbeing tests, which tell us about genetic micronutrient deficiencies. They even propose to sell monthly bespoke multi-vitamin tablets set to our genetic needs. I believe we can work out for ourselves what to eat, avoid and supplements to take. That is the point behind my app The Micronutrient Path. People with allergies are usually aware of what to avoid, as do people with diabetes and Celiac Disease. The best way to cut our food intolerances out of our diet, I believe, is through the Elimination Diet or Dr Zoë Harcombe’s The Harcombe Diet.

This is an exploration of the subject, as I would prefer to avoid adding more noisy to an already vocal issue. Therefore, I will consider various points as questions to be food for thought.

Already a lot of noise as we all have opinions about food in the plenty.

This particularly journey for me, started in 2016, when I was searching for information about seasonal tiredness. At that point I had no idea that we don’t get enough sunlight to make Vitamin D in the winter in the United Kingdom. This message is not delivered by the NHS where this information is available. In turn, I had no idea that having insufficient Vitamin D also means the body does not regulate calcium or phosphate. The last piece of this jigsaw is the fact that vitamin Dis fat soluble, which means if it is taken orally, it must be accompanied by dietary fat.

I think facts create choice. However, it seems that so many health facts are kept from us by gatekeepers who want to exploit these facts for profit. Therefore, I’d like to include any facts I’ve found to round out the picture and put them with some of my own ideas.

A plant sapling shoots through rock
We forget how recent ancestors survived through world wars and rationing, while ancient ancestors lived through climatic upheaval – Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay

Firstly, I think human beings are so varied today. Our ancestors have lived through constant change and had to adapt. During the last hundred years, we have had wars, rationing, an explosion in food manufacturing, commercial fertilizer, pesticide, flavouring and additives. Industrial farming has drained food of the abundant nutrients it once contained.

According to my DNA, my mother line originates in the Altai Mountains, the gateway between Asia, the Middle East and Europe, more than 20,000 years ago during the Ice Age.

Therefore, I need to imagine what this means for me physically. My DNA, supposedly, has mutated little between the Ice Age and now. 11,000 years ago, Cheddar Man was on Somerset soil and scientists believe he had dark skin and blue eyes.

Our ancestors were much more connected with nature and other species than we are today – Image by David Mark from Pixabay

There is a school of thought, presenting the evidence of a black mat in the land record covering North America and Europe from before the start of agriculture. The catastrophists propose that this event caused the Young Dryas, a cold period of over 1,000 years after the end of the Ice Age. This could have been the result of a comet or asteroid strike, that would not have been as large as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. How do we know this might have happened?

Firstly, skin colour. How did people become fair skinned? This would allow people to absorb vitamin D from the sun more easily and store it. Have you wondered why people from Africa or the Caribbean get conditions such as ricketts, living in the UK? During the pandemic, ethnic minorities suffered more from severe covid compared to lighter skinned people. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hospitalisation from COVID.

Vitamin D deficiency in the UK, a country, which doesn’t get enough sunlight to make vitamin D during the colder half of the year, would result in more severe COVID-19 – Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

If you originate from Africa, do you have an allergy to foods containing vitamin D? Could this be why people from hot countries get nourishment from sweet food such as tropical fruit, which are considered superfoods as they contain fat, protein and carbohydrate? Is this why people from cold northern countries eat and drink fermented products such as sauerkraut and alcohol? Is this why dark skinned people have lower alcohol tolerance from fermented substances, while light skinned people who spend more time indoors react to foods containing starch and sugar?

I think it is well worth letting our imaginations go and considering what our own ancestors ate and drank and why? Alcohol and fermented products would have acted to preserve. They also would have performed the function that our gut provides to digest fibre. Alcohol can make people feel warmer. People vary in terms of enzymes to break down a type of carbohydrate called Dissacharide. The enzymes are lactase, sucrase and maltase. The food and drinks we need to break down into single blocks of carbohydrate include beer, milk, rice, potato, pasta, bread, cereal, grains, beans, root vegetables and sugar.

Since the Agricultural Revolution, we have become dependent on agriculture and made many animal species dependent on it as well – Image by Elias Shariff Falla Mardini from Pixabay

By contrast, fruit and honey are already bioavailable carbohydrates that can be absorbed into the blood as glucose without requiring enzymes to break them down. The first weight reduction diet was pioneered in 1872 by Dr William Harvey, for his patient William Banting, who sought help for hearing loss. Banting was 66 years old, debilitated by obesity and had to reverse down stairs, walk with sticks and had an umbilical injury. After a year on Harvey’s dietary regime, Banting was restored to health.

As the medical establishment of the day attacked Banting for his pamphlets Letters on Corpulence, written to help his fellow creatures and from which every penny was donated to charity and declared, William Harvey wrote a medical report to provide evidence, inviting peer review. This is the only place I have read about liver health and the physical impacts of starch, lactose and sugar in association with weight loss.

Hippocrates said “Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food” or similar, meaning medicine grows naturally around us and animals use what they need – Image by Peter Stanic from Pixabay

William Harvey’s excellent and flavourful book On Corpulence in Relation To Disease has been republished and is available. I love how voices from 150 years ago are so vivid and speak with so much authenticity, vulnerability and integrity. There are no conflicts of interest Harvey or Banting’s writings and they survived the test of time and stand out against detractors, who still exist amongst official health bodies and corporate agendas today. Think of the witch hunts of the 1600s as the Tudor equivalent of today’s attacks on natural health practitioners, which coincidentally we still call witch hunts.

Therefore, in summary, I’ve worked out for myself:
1. That I am built to be active, moving around everyday, not sitting working at home.
2. That I have a system, which would have extracted nutrients from whatever food I could find to survive.
3. Variety would be built in.
4. No additives, anti-biotics, preservatives or fertiliser, therefore organic.
5. I seem to get sugar from just about anything except fish or meat, meaning I am storing excess glucose and retaining water to store it.
6. I get cold symptoms when I eat cereals, grains, milk or root vegetables, which can be useful to clear out my system after an infection, illness or toxins from excess nutrition.
7. That the quantity of food would be much smaller than a 21st Century diet and the nutrient quality of food would be much higher.
8. That we would listen to our bodies to point us to what foods to eat, as animals in the wild do.
9. We still get cravings today even though they may be badly misdiagnosed.
10. Depending on our genetics, some people like me need much less food than we enjoy.

For thousands of years, humans would have migrated with energy from food they could forage or hunt – Image by Hamsterfreund from Pixabay

It seems and has been tested and proven that conventional weight loss diets do not work. The setting is wrong. Between one and three generations ago faced world wars, rationing, official bodies issuing diet advice, scientifically incorrect links between cholesterol and heart disease, an aggressive sugar and ultra-processed food lobby, industrialised farmed products such as soy and palm oil and junk food. We also live much more sedantary lives, compared to even our parents. The human body is not designed for 21st century life in a developed country.

Therefore, looking at where our ancestors originate from, what foods are seasonal where we live, the time of year, the climate, what our grandparents ate and how active people used to be would help us create new lifestyles for ourselves. Today we have gyms, access to sea swimming, foods from around the world and dietary supplements to help us follow our own food journeys, with a little help from real food facts to piece together our own ancestral eating picture.

Tropical Inspired Chicken Recipe

Hi there, I’d like to share a recipe for a chicken curry I’ve arrived at after trying many different flavours and variations of herbs, spices and vegetables with the organic Riverford’s chicken leg chunks I’ve received for the last few years.

I got a braising pan with a lid from the supermarket, which meant I was no longer frying the chicken chunks. Then I tried combinations of herbs, spices, fats and oils, water and vegetables.

Ingredients ready to be chopped

The following recipe is the one, which excites me the most to cook and eat and I recently read that the spices I use, ginger and tumeric are both good for the health of our liver. Other items, which protect the liver include dandelion, milk thistle and beetroot according to this blog post intended to sell a supplement for liver health.

All of the ingredients can be bought from Riverford Farm at the moment. I cannot guarantee they will all be available all year round. Seasonal greens can be added to taste. The Hungry Gap Kale I added today has a powerful, distinctive flavour so I’ll keep it to steam and eat with plainer foods.

Chopped ready to start cooking with coconut oil


  • Chop the following before starting to cook:
  • Coconut oil
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Chilli
  • Tumeric
  • Ginger
  • Lemon juice
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Black pepper


Chopping up all the vegetables, with onion, chilli and pepper, grated ginger and tumeric on one side with garlic, coriander, mushrooms and a leek on the other. Then put half a lemon nearby and the other half can be kept in tinfoil for a few days.

Add a dollop of coconut oil to the braising pan on a medium heat – this creates the tropical aroma with the ginger and tumeric.

After the oil has turned liquid, add chopped onions, pepper, chilli, ginger and tumeric and stir for a bit.

Next add the chicken chunks and stir everything. If like to add more tumeric and ginger, go ahead. To make it a little hotter can use Scotch Bonnet or add a little cayenne pepper or hot paprika.

After stirring this for a few minutes, add the juice of half a lemon. A reasonably priced device is an electric citrus juicer, popular in Spain and quick for making freshly squeezed juice. However, using a knife and hands can get all the juice out.

After stirring this for another minute or two, add some water to the pan, half a pint to a pint works. Then finally, before simmering add the mushrooms and a chopped leek or two and grind on some black pepper.

After the lemon juice, I’d add the garlic and coriander.

Then put the lid on and simmer for 30 minutes on the lowest hob heat. The water will bubble gently and ensure the chicken is cooked through. The herbs, spices and vegetables will all integrate with the sauce from natural juices, oils and water.

Finally, add some plain yogurt. Ideally, this could be goat’s or sheep’s yogurt, or organic plain cow’s yogurt or Kefir from a farm with grass fed dairy cows for the best nutrition. Stir the yogurt in to make the source creamy, which goes well with the chicken, leeks and mushrooms all in a tasty, satisfying and nutritious, natural creamy, hot and spicey sauce set against an aroma of coconut.

All natural ingredients, including the spices, which came from Riverford Farms

Nutrition notes – Micronutrients

Tumeric and Ginger root are both good for the liver, to protect it from the ravages of glucose production to deal with the modern diet and lifestyle. We take in more foods containing glucose as a planet than any previous generations.

Chicken: Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, K, Choline, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc
Onion: Vitamin C, B9, Potassium
Ginger: Vitamins B3, B6, B2, A, E, C, B9, Zinc, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron
Tumeric: Manganese, B6, Zinc, Phosphorus, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, B3, Phosphorus, Zinc
Mushrooms: Choline, B vitamins, copper, potassium, selenium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin D.

Quick and easy information for new year’s health eating resolutions

Happy New Year. This aims to be an inclusive post as essential micronutrients apply to everyone, whatever you choose to eat and wherever you live.

I personally believe that by providing context with information, you can build a fuller picture of what healthy eating means, specifically to you. The benefits of improved diet are many, to families, individuals, governments, healthcare and industries although there have not been enough studies because we are all so genetically and geographically unique.

Indigenous families will often have deeply rooted eating traditions that suit their climate and health – Image by Herbert Bieser from Pixabay

What are the principles of healthy eating, which apply to human beings in general? Firstly, we all need fuel, but that fuel varies according to genes, geography, climate and lifestyle in the same way that a machine needs the right fuel to run, according to its specific requirements.


It could be safe to say we live in a very different climate and environment from that of our ancestors, which means that we don’t access all the micronutrients we need naturally in our daily lives. This is becoming starkly evident with mental health and obesity, which both point to micronutrient deficiencies.

Daily routines help us regulate our response to food – Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

This is not just about food, but also environment, lifestyle and genetics. If you are built to be outside in hot sun most of the year and live in Iceland, careful planning would be required to maintain your health, particularly in terms of vitamin D.

Countries with a food culture stretching back over generations may not need to think about daily nutrients to the same extent as those living in countries such as the United Kingdom, which has only been successively settled since the Ice Age.

If the muscular horse represents nutrients, then it can be seen pulling the cart full of food, which could be the calories – Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Another image, which works for any dietary preference or lifestyle, is the horse and cart. This shows how the horse, which represents nutrients, pulls the cart full of food, which represents calories. The more nutritious the food, the stronger the horse and the less effort to pull the cart. If the horse is weaker, the cart needs to contain less calories if it is going to move.

While the western diet may be considered fun to eat, the ratio of calories to nutrients means that many calories are eaten to gain few nutrients. Think of an underfed, overworked horse. This means the organs are having to work very hard to process the food and extract the nutrients. In turn, this requires more training to build up the muscles to burn the calories.

What is the solution?

Micronutrients are the key to healthy eating, which lead to optimal physical and mental health. Wellbeing can be enhanced, of course, with regular, outdoor activity, exposure to sunlight, swimming in the sea and spending time in forests.

An Indian Thali is tasty, satisfying and nutritious, providing a range of nutrients on one plate. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Looking at food cultures from around the world, assortment and variety seems to be a constant theme. Think of meze, delicatessen, thali or tapas. Small quantities of many different foods can deliver a wider spectrum of micronutrients, therefore requiring a smaller overall quantity before satisfying the eater.

When people eat empty calories or ultraprocessed food, very little nutrition is received, which means hunger is not satisfied. Additionally, foods that increase production of glucose and insulin can drive hunger, even past when the person feels full. By keeping the proportion of glucose producing foods starch, sugar and lactose low in the mix allows the body to absorb both fat and water soluble vitamins and minerals into the system.

Buckwheat contains all 9 amino acids we need for protein and is used to make anything requiring flour – Image by Schwoaze from Pixabay

Imagine a full English breakfast, with eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, beans and toast. Perhaps if you are a vegan, you may have some quinoa with fruit and nuts, a buckwheat pancake with honey and some tofu with avocado, tomato, mushrooms and toast. In this way you are getting all three macronutrients, with complete protein, essentially fatty acids and some carbohydrate.

To plan meals, organise food for a party, design a menu or to create in the kitchen, I will send you a free chart to see what micronutrients we need, foods they come from and RDAs for dietary supplements to fill the gaps. This information originates from the NHS website vitamins and minerals pages (which they tucked into their Conditions section in August 2020 and downplayed vitamin D in a country rife with deficiency in sunlight for half the year, especially during lockdowns).

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