Insurmountable Obstacles

by J.Still

Closing the Gap

In younger years, I explored every avenue that opened up before me. The wilderness of mountains and forests where few tread increasingly became a living metaphor for me. Through all my experimentation with the physical, emotional, and psychological worlds, I persistently found privacy and deep contemplation in nature’s beauty. I, also, experienced the most remarkable elation just being in nature.

Naturally, I pursued such an experience over and over again. As a result, unexpected experiences perpetually unfolded. Consequently, I kept setting up the conditions to get back to the wilderness. I accepted jobs and roles that I did not conceive of myself being involved in ...prior to stepping in to the various positions. Of course, every job required me to expand my own idea of what I was capable of! and took me down new paths of learning and increasing my awareness.

It was only a matter of time before I found myself pursuing a more responsible version of being in the wilderness. Why not make the wilderness my occupation? So, I signed up for mountaineering school. I don’t recall how I chose the mountaineering school I chose; however, I absolutely recall my astonishment at how rigorous my chosen school turned out to be. Again, another opportunity to break my mental conception of what I can do.

You may have anticipated that this is not a sharing of the specifics of rigorous mountaineering though. My dad fondly called me “fearless.” But I knew differently. I saw the external worlds of humans as intolerable, as unwelcoming, as a constant defeat before I rose from my bed each morning. All the same, I set about succeeding at this mountaineering stuff, because of this dread of my failure to know any real happiness in life.

Initially, technical rope climbing to reach the peaks of bald mountains floored me by its danger. Am I really willing to die for this? I asked myself. At every peak, a new level of elation spurred me further and so much deeper IN to my purpose in being here. There were challenges too in the competitiveness of my fellow students. I recognized the core of their challenge. Like myself, like all humans, they were desirous of outer confirmation, of external world approval. I surprised myself by meeting their challenges and receiving some acclaim for my accomplishments.

Yet, there were challenges in which I had to address, my perception of as insurmountable. My purpose in sharing this experience is to humbly express …gratitude and recognition to anyone who, like myself, is climbing the proverbial mountain, flagging some times, going through all kinds of emotions and intellectual obstacles, falling backwards, stopping, and giving up. You are all a reflection of something vital to me. You are, whether you perceive this or not, coming Home to your true self, to your true nature, to your own version of unconditional Love. Over this odd and peculiar lifetime, these experiences caused me to recognize that who I am was embedded in me long before I was born. Who I Am is embedded in the core of my being. . .. in all of our beingness.

I cannot confirm for you the Truth and the value of this revelation. I am just standing here staring at an overhang and suddenly, I have it! There is another path to my peak experience. Simply stop resisting who I Am. The Real win is Knowing my true Self, not the limitations of the external world. At the “top of the mountain,” the view is unutterably amazing. Easily I perceive I have never been alone. I am whole and, therefore, free to love my true self. Now, I can love ALL of the experiences that brought me here.  


Posted on June 19, 2018 .

Momentum Despite Resistance

walkabout beach.jpg

Changing your lifestyle meets resistance from the outer world in odd and surprising ways.

Anyone trying to lose weight is well aware of this resistance! One's very own body seems to rise up like Darth Vader standing in your pathway. Like a monster in your dreams, former unhealthy choices hound the best laid plans. Hunger, cravings, comfort foods, and well meaning friends and family seem to come out of the woodwork carrying temptation on a platter ... a very 'yummy-looking' platter. Help! the dieter is heard moaning, as he/she crumbles again. And asks me, "What momentum?"

To achieve momentum despite resistance, the hopeful healthy soul could use some back-up. Self awareness, educated support, clever strategy... all are truly beneficial. But in my journey to health at a new phase in my life the last decade, I hit upon something almost akin to magic! that made this whole temptation thing see-through, basically stealing my habits' power away. Hunger. in Real satiation! I mean to say, satisfying my body's hunger. Let me explain...

I knew that, since my teens, I had not actually felt real hunger anymore. My teen years is the timing of when the whole low-fat fad became promoted. My family, being good folk that wanted to support health for the whole family, fell right in with the new protocols. Of course they did! Low fat options were somewhat limited initially, but the big labels got busy filling the gaps. Shortly thereafter, my athletic teen body started putting on weight! Heaven forbid! I was a follower of Seventeen magazine! Fat was simply wrong, so I set about dieting at the tender age of 14.

Long story short, my own cycle of dieting, weight gain, dieting began.... but also, a constant search for the true healthy way to eat. I tried everything, vegetarianism, veganism (12 years of it), pescatarianism, fruitarian, fasting regularly, Atkins & South Beach, macrobiotics, more.... the list is too long! Through it all, I never actually experienced real hunger again (yep, even fasting). Years later, after nearly starving myself for years, and more overweight than ever!! I took a good long look at myself in the mirror before my birthday. I did not recognize this body. Thinking of my kids as well as personal goals, I made a covenant to get after nutrition research more deeply yet.

Deep research meant current research as well as research into the history of how we arrived at the current conflict between research, disease, lifestyle, regulatory bodies, and food manufacturers. As I read, I followed a mostly macrobiotic style of eating and worked hard at losing weight, working out, exercising, and firmly refusing temptation. Still I only lost 9 and 1/2 pounds in a year. Meanwhile, I discovered this thing called Banting; also known as High Fat Low Carb (HFLC), ketogenic diet, and a host of other names. Suspiciously, this sounded so much like how my family ate BEFORE the low fat fad took off. When my spouse took off for a long work trip, I took the alone time to try out Banting.

Bottom Line: In the following four months, I lost 40 pounds.

Holy Moly! Now I remembered hunger... NOT from starving but from satiation! Real satiation of my body's nutritional needs. Happy satiation that made cravings disappear! Satiation that made when and how much to eat vividly obvious.  Coinciding with this wonderful experience, energy returned, mental clarity returned, frequent illness and allergic inflammation became minimal now, and the chronic pain of an old back injury with its associated fibromyalgia and rheumatism dialed down to very tolerable.

Lifestyle Modification Support (LMS) has been sharing the research some years now in these blog pages. So, I will not take this blog to go over it right now. But I would like to share a heartfelt post from someone who has recently experienced success. This share comes through the twitter community that is very active around HFLC (See Richard Lesar's happy tweet in the photo below). I also would like to share some of the resources 'out there' of medical and nutritional experts spreading this way of eating in detail.

The last thing I want to share is, as ridiculous as this is going to sound, I actually already knew of how to use ketogenics for medical reasons. In my nursing and medical practice, I referred certain patients to specialists who advised this very diet to manage epilepsy, inflammatory conditions, diabetes, and rapid weight loss management for those scheduled to go through bariatric surgery. But as I described above, my own body's long journey away from balanced health had become a monster I could only run from, rather than face. I had to turn around and face my monster directly, with dead seriousness. What is it going to take for you? to stop running scared and make a controlling decision to face down your overwhelming reason for dieting?

I wish you all the Best in your goals of rediscovering Balance. If I can answer questions or help you find what you are looking for to accomplish your goal, please contact me and ask. I am honoured to help.

Diabetic Code image from patient.jpg
Posted on April 17, 2018 and filed under discussions, janet's writing, resources.

Check List for Losing Weight by Banting

Click the link above to see what RealMeal Revolutions members do to lose crazy weight fast ... while staying very Well-Fed!

I have summed it up here, but loads of awe-inspiring links are including in the article by RealMeal Revolution to help you stay on top of your weight loss and to love doing it. This way of eating is all the yummiest food that truly satiates. Eating this way improves your health! You must understand the 'diet' and comprehend the medical science and/or have informed support to be one of the many many success stories. I lost 40 pounds in 4 months by changing the way I eat. Note: I did NOT increase my exercise; in fact, I did NOT even create an exercise program for myself! I am not advocating no exercise, but I want you to understand... the ketogenic way of eating is about altering your metabolism back to its balanced state. IS it a 'diet'? In my experience, this is returning to the old way of eating, not a diet but Balance.

Monday : throw out the trash from your kitchen .... and Eat Something Delicious.

Tuesday : track your intake (before making changes) .... and Eat Something Delicious.

Wednesday : Weigh and Measure .... and Eat Something Delicious.

Thursday : Check in to the forums of others banting so you can be inspired! ... and Eat Something Delicious.

Friday : Get a new meal plan for the week, mMMmmmm! and Eat Something Delicious!

Saturday : Keep watching the videos & reading the stories online that teach the HOW for all types of bodies & constitutions .... and Eat Something Delicious.

Sunday : Make a special Sunday meal .... and Eat Something Delicious!

Having trouble believing this is possible? or just wishing for more direction or support? or just need some answers to your concerns/questions? Please do contact me.

Remember: Be balanced, and BE well.
Posted on July 20, 2017 .

FAT - the old New Truth about healthy eating

 Smile... there is always a way to find balance!

Smile... there is always a way to find balance!

What is UP with the news lately? How to make heads or tails of it? Eat Fat? not sugar.... and Sugar DOES cause obesity, and can lead to diabetes, hypertension, poor immune response, as well as contribute to a host of other diseases "on the rise" since the 1960s. As usual, all the news stories can become a bit heady. Stick to the basics. But what are the basics anymore? (Be sure to click on the orange lettered link above the kewt kitty photo! for a very informative video by Dr Robert Lustig about fat's role in Your Good Health).

And read labels! Another necessity to be healthy??? The trick on us has been exposed. Reading labels is the only way to get ahead of eliminating sugar from your diet. But no worries! Right here in this blog, and in the blogs of many many others sincerely doing our best to get the info in your hands and the healthiest food In your body, the science is revealed. Food manufacturers can rename sugar and even place it lower in the ingredient list by splitting up the types of sugar they added to a food substance to trick your tongue and brain into ...WANTING MORE.

Bottom line: In late 1950s, early 1960s, some research about the impact of eating sugar was brushed under the rug. The sugar industry paid some influential folk to say that fat is the problem-causing substance, not sugar. [ See these links as well as others provided throughout Lifestyle Modification Support : Sugar Lobby Paid Scientists to Blur Sugar's Role... and JAMA's articles ] Then food manufacturers got busy! Changing food into food substances that would be so addictive (as the lab rats revealed) that people just could NOT get enough became as easy as train robberies in the old wild west!

So, if you cannot get enough of that food you are eating, ask yourself, what about this experience is any different than being hooked on drugs, alcohol, or gambling? We do have the chemistry to become an addict. We also have consciousness, if we wake up and decide that: balanced and healthy, life might actually be doable. If we do decide we have at least an obligation to do the best we can do, we can make an effort to use REAL science to return to health. And realise something really sweet.... You have been doing your best. But misleading information has been hand-fed to you. Question authority! Do NOT take my word for it. There is so much information now, there is not far to go to find it. The video that I began this article with, Dr Robert Lustig's third episode on "The Skinny On Obesity" is made for regular people to listen to and understand. And go to your search engine and start looking up things like "Whole Fat" and "The Sugar Problem"...

One more thing, before I go. I cannot reiterate enough that low fat products have LOADS of Sugar in them! Look up the many other names for sugar that can be used on the ingredients lists of foods. STOP eating low fat foods! That is, stop eating them, if your goal is to lose weight and, literally, feel much much better.

Be Well, friends

 Janet's Eye on the media

Janet's Eye on the media

Posted on March 12, 2017 and filed under discussions, janet's writing, Research studies, information.

Need To Know!

"Enzymes exist on raw foods, meats and milks. Enzymes eradicate biofilms. When we have a diet deficient in enzymes, while we eat processed packaged foods, we are feeding pathogens and promoting biofilm growth." ¬Becky Plotner from her article Internal Biofilms May Be Making You Sick.

A colleague of mine, who has been experiencing a multitude of chronic symptoms over recent years, an aftermath from an exposure to a deadly pathogen, shared a link with me on using enzymes to break up the biofilm in my intestines as a way to end so many of the symptoms that I, too, have been attempting to balance since arthritis became the recent winner of a few health battles. I tell arthritis that it may have won the battle, ...but the war is not over! The article sparked a flurry or research reviews. As I do, I looked for an article that is easier to understand to share with my audience in this website.

Becky Plotner's article, Internal Biofilms May Be Making You Sick, is easy to understand and quite specific in the last portion where she kindly shares many natural sources of enzymes that you can use now (without buying into a costly supplement program).

Always, BE Well! in spirit, mind, heart and body... Balance is the key. ¬janet

Always, BE Well! in spirit, mind, heart and body... Balance is the key. ¬janet
Posted on January 16, 2017 .

Holiday Eating Tips:

 These ideas are smart AND balanced for Anyone! <3 Be healthy and happy this celebratory time of the year! All the very Best to you and Yours!!

These ideas are smart AND balanced for Anyone! <3
Be healthy and happy this celebratory time of the year!
All the very Best to you and Yours!!

Posted on December 14, 2016 .

Why You Want to Break Your Sugar Addiction

Hah! you harumpf, I have no such desire... I love sugar. Yes, you and anyone that has been persistently ingesting sugar, knowingly or unknowingly, definitely have learned to "love" sugar! And currently, you may be pulling off remaining free of disease, illness, obesity, and/or discomfort. Meanwhile, within your body, sugar is busily converting your metabolism. Oh please! do NOT take my word for it! Just educate yourself on the facts.

As a Medical Provider in California, we educated the parents of children to NOT give fruit juice, ever, to their children. Yep, fruit juice. Contemplate the evolution of humans. Sugar was a rare commodity in nature; and when it did make an appearance, it was quickly gobbled up by many different species. Then, all of a sudden in history, sugar became wildly many different types and forms. However, human physiology does NOT adapt that suddenly to environmental changes. Sure, we had a way to take care of the effect of glucose in our bodies, but we had not developed a way to keep the body constantly metabolising the effects indefinitely.

I have chosen this particular report of the "dirty science" that went down in the 1960s, financially brought to you by your friendly sugar industry! because it is going to be easier to read for the non-science crowd. There are also many links to documents and the peer reviewed reports on the whole history in this particular article I've chosen to share with you. Over the next few years, I truly hope this will become common news. In the meantime, I will keep adding info and links here in the blog.

 Bees on our wild berries in the backyard.

Bees on our wild berries in the backyard.


Always, BE Well! in spirit, mind, heart and body.... Balance is the key. ¬BIG LOVE from janet
Posted on November 22, 2016 .

Protect Your Gut! for your gut protects you...

 Pearl the Golden... loving the sands and Ocean... origin of our elemental bodies.

Pearl the Golden... loving the sands and Ocean... origin of our elemental bodies.

If you are reading this site for the first time, you either are wondering when I might get off this subject!! Or you are curious as to how I could be making such a claim as this: Protect Your Gut! for your gut protects you...

I am including yet another review of the ongoing, ever blossoming revelations, of research on just how vital our gut's ecology is to our physical well being. In fact, there is an increasing body of data to support that the microbiome of the gut is very much the contributor to our mental well being as well.  So, please, dear readers, read these shares and contributions on the widespread expansion of knowledge regarding the intricacies of how to support your intestinal health in order to improve many many types of symptoms you may be experiencing... especially this upcoming winter season in the northern hemisphere.

And, always, dear readers, Be Well!

From Shann's Chuckling Goat site.... "Scientists have found that supplementing with probiotics can: 

  1. Shorten the duration of cold by two days
  2. Lessen severity of cold symptoms by 34%
  3. Result in a higher quality of life and fewer missed school days 

"Probiotics are secret weapon for fighting symptoms of the common cold in college students, study suggests."  - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)."


Posted on September 23, 2016 and filed under janet's writing, discussions, Research studies.

How You Eat Greens

Heads Up! my, sweet juicers and green-drink, peoples.....

My herbalist guru, Susun Weed, always a step ahead of the misinformation crowds, is speaking up on the TEN Worst Diet & Healthcare Choices. This one addresses a pet peeve of mine. Whipping up your greens to quickly get them down, done, and off your check list is not very smart for a number of reasons. I will let Susun explain it to you via this link. Her words, also as always, are backed up with current research. In this quickie blurb, the CDC wholly supports her redirection. Not to worry, Susun doesn't leave you without alternatives!

Thanks to openphoto and Nancy Moore for the kale photo!

Posted on August 3, 2016 .

"Watch the Low-Carb Movie: Cereal Killers"

 Good to be back!

Good to be back!

My apologies for the absence! First of summer is always about solo caring for my mother-in-law who has dementia... wow! that is seriously time-consuming!!! Then I decided the time had come to transfer from my domain server (because they were so NOT socially aware) to supporting a more balanced domain server. I had no idea how much time that would take or I would have slipped in a blog before I initiated the change.

So, what have I been up to? (I mean besides caring for mum). In that interim, I lost ten, that's right, count 'em, 10! pounds easy as can be. And I am not finished. From late last August to when I started the low carb high fat 'diet' I had only managed to lose ten pounds over ten & 1/2 months...a pound a month is not bad, but it is hardly sustainable. I lost those ten pounds so achingly slow eating a macrobiotic diet of mostly carbohydrates: pasta (gluten-free to be sure), rice (LOTS), beans and legumes, and veggies. Gosh, folks, I was still so sluggish and in pain so frequently that it was really impossible to get much done in a day. [Edit point: Remaining on the HFLC way of eating, I lost 50 pounds in 5 months.]

Low Carb High Fat or LCHF... or also known as the ketogenic diet is not new nor a secret. There are plenty of studies to support the benefits of real fat, whole fat. But the concept of relying mostly on whole fats as most of one's diet: to lose weight/obesity; and to prevent, alter, or manage diabetes is at least 100 years old (actually older). To manage inflammatory conditions and also prevent cardiac and cholesterol imbalances, the LowCarbHighFat diet has been used in varying permutations over the years. And prior to bariatric surgery, patients are placed on this diet to get ahead of the massive over-insulin condition of obesity, which can be dangerous to anyone, but is especially so when recovering from the surgery whilst losing weight in crazy fast amounts.

But you don't have to take my word for it!! There are so many sources now to assist one in this diet. The focus is simplifying the concept in order to get more people healthier and happier. That is, if you WANT to be healthier and happier? I recognise that some people really seem more at ease in their dis-ease. So, this information is shared only for those ready for serious change. I will be adding my before and after pics in here and on facebook in a bout a month. Why? heads up, people! - I have dropped two sizes in clothes just since I lost my second ten pounds in 6-8 weeks.

I will be posting links at the bottom of this article, like I always do, of resources and legitimate references. For now, I leave you with this very helpful film. The "Cereal Killers" is one of a series of five very helpful LCHF educational videos on this way of eating and living. All of these are well produced and made for the layman to make easy use of them. Enjoy!

  In the meantime, stay Balanced and stay alive!

Posted on July 24, 2016 .

Point of View

Walking In Someone Else's Shoes

Invisible Physical Conditions

Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, CRPS, Migraines, Fibromyalgia, high functioning Autism…. The list is long. And media is always slow about getting the facts across to people. Perhaps too few are reading what is shared on the latest information about chronic illnesses. Honestly, this is another example of sleepwalking, isn’t it? For why bother thinking about another at all? Until it is you or your loved one that is disabled. And no reason to consider all the manifestations of physical conditions, again, unless you or your loved one is experiencing a condition that is not obvious to the naked eye, to the common observer on the street. So, if you don’t have time to learn about why someone that looks perfectly fine to your point of view is struggling and could use, at least, your understanding… stop reading here.

If, on the other hand, you and someone you care about could use this article …to share with those you know that cannot accept your physical condition; or maybe just to expand your viewpoint a little bit more and learn some more coping techniques… Read on.

Nothing So Strange As Folk

My spouse’s father used to say this all the time…. “Nothing so strange as folk.” And frankly, this is perhaps a careful way of putting it! But over my experiences in this life, I have also come to see the saying from the perspective that of course everyone is a stranger. We are all focused in on our own experiences, conditions, dreams, and desires… and rightly so. We cannot not truly know anyone until we know the very ‘person’ looking back at us in the mirror each day. Maturity evolves and hopefully one begins to recognise that judging another is just as awkward as when another judges you. Meanwhile, we are often guilty of harshly judging ourselves sometimes too! Where does this uncomfortable circle lead?

All sides, and there are ALWAYS more than just two sides, have meaning for the side that is giving the perspective. Compassion is easily given, usually, by that human with the hidden disability. They know you cannot see their condition because you probably have never even heard of it. How do they know this? Because they never heard of it either, before they got ‘the diagnosis’! You may be under a lot of pressure at work or in an important relationship. Who has time to know about all the ways the physical is imperfect… when after all, the dream is perfection in our modern society. So, rather than educate about the many conditions, this article is meant to educate that the stranger on the street may have as much or more going on in their little world as you have.

Mirror, Mirror

The photograph I share with this story is of my face while walking. I chose it, and actually the photo inspired this writing, because I look so ‘normal’ and happy as well! in the picture. The list of secondary physical conditions that accompany my presumed ‘diagnosis’ of Ankylosing Spondylitis is amusingly long. I laugh, now, understanding that this stranger, ankylosing spondylitis, has been sneaking in and about my house for far longer than I or any of my doctors recognised.

Imagine your life right now and there have been illnesses here or there, maybe some injuries, but nothing you couldn’t handle. Then you cross some imaginary border that you never saw coming …when the doc comes into the exam room and announces a ‘diagnosis’ like it is the child you have been waiting to birth.

For the physician, see, all those minor complaints have coalesced into a known condition. He or she can name it for you. For the patient, this news is like opening the front door of your home to see a really dangerous looking character standing on your front porch. . . waiting to come inside. No! I didn’t invite you, you say. He pulls out some papers… lab results, research statistics, medical protocols, …it all goes murky in your vision. You come back in to the exam room reality as the smiling physician hands you some prescriptions and a careplan guide for your ‘diagnosis’. Oh, and a list of various numbers or clinic website links you can go to for more information…. Because the doc is busy with way too many patients and your appointment time is up.

Now, I can’t say about you, but for me…this is when I get the eerie feeling that I am walking in someone else’s shoes!!! Who is this person in the mirror? Everyone has their own variety pack of coping mechanisms. Key word there: mechanisms, because most of us have not penetrated the source of our thinking, much less the source of our emotions and reactions. At this point in the article, you might want to pause for a second and ask yourself, “wait..what does she mean the source of my emotions? I am human; I Am emotional, right?” My apologies to those of you who already have this down that you have a say in your behavior. But this would be the upshot of this article! Yes, we DO have a say in our thinking, which is why self-improvement activities get so much attention.

But Really?

Adaptability is touted as the penultimate talent of the human species. However, change, you may have observed, does not seem to come easily to most people. Especially when the change is something entirely unacceptable to the individual. For the traveler experiencing no physical impediments, just having to slow down to wait for someone to make it through the door or up a curb, can seem extraordinarily frustrating. Imagine how the person in that body feels about it!

For your friend or loved one whose physical condition is not visible, imagine having to explain for the tenth, 100th, 1000th …time! the reasons why they cannot go out for a movie tonight even though you are having such a grand time with them walking in town today. In case you missed it, they had to save up their tasks and energy, and balance them, so that they could enjoy this walk with you today. You must be very special to them. Because now it may be a week or possibly longer before they can do something like this again.

For the living breathing soul going through the lessons that this stranger, ‘the diagnosis’, has brought for their evolution …Point of View is all of this and more. The stranger may have moved in. The stranger may be the reflection in your mirror. The stranger may be the life you hadn’t planned on. But just like the unexpected last child, becoming aware of your Point of View is a conscious choice to awaken to a greater picture of the purpose in your life, …a conscious choice to adjust your point of view. Yes, it does take a hero of sorts, this attitude adjustment. Guess what? The reason the hero in all the stories tends to be reluctant…. is that what is required of them now is not what they planned.

Oh hey, that sounds like a stranger entered their reality and imposed its condition on them.

The Picture

If you enjoy hero tales, then you remember that there needs to be a guiding principle, a higher standard, or simply a reason to look beyond one’s small world. Or the hero will not pull the story’s desired ending off. The hero could even be the antagonist (aka bad guy) instead. I mentioned conscious choice above like it is an everyday thing. People do seem to think it is; yet, the very fact that change comes with effort reveals that actually conscious choice is unfamiliar. Aw shux, give it up then; I can be the bad guy. There must be a sequel where I win the lotto, right?

If you are the bad guy, I am surprised you read this far. Truly impressive, that would be. I suspect that, in truth, you are the hero of your story. Every day, use your mirror to remember who you really are. Discover the mystery behind this curious condition, the stranger, that has caused you to change all your life plans. Why? What else might I be instead? ‘The diagnosis’ I received like a wrapped package on my doorstep has insisted I change everything about how I live life. But please hear me when I say this: I could not have done this alone. My personal coping skills evolved into conscious choice… by the daily practice of looking to see the Greater in the picture I have.

The smile on my face above is not because of anything in the physical condition. Believe it or not, I am in physical pain there and laughing at the irony of it. I am smiling because I am discovering the way to live my own truth through the house, the body, the irony! I have been gifted to live in. And this hero’s journey, though immensely challenging, has morphed into a wondrous self discovery. Now THAT is a gift.

The next time, someone gets in your way …stop, pause, and check in. What are you going to choose about your point of view of this momentary awareness? Maybe walk in their shoes or alongside them a few steps of the way? For just a little bit, you could be their hero of the day. How sweet is that? In so doing, you might also discover that your own problems aren’t as heavy as you imagined.


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

¬A teaching story of Rumi translated by Coleman Barks©



Posted on April 18, 2016 .

Poop Matters! or What is Microbiome?

Photo by Art-Of-Photo/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Art-Of-Photo/iStock / Getty Images

Poop Matters! or What is Microbiome?

What do the topics of diet, weight loss, Probiotics, gut health, and Prevention have in common? Not long ago, we would have been hardput to answer this question. Today, the link in these topics is the latest shot of adrenaline to the study of health promotion. And oh yes, scientists, health promotion aficionados, healthcare providers, nutritionists, and those strange folk that actually want a high quality of life experience (You) are excited by the ongoing stream of information coming through more and more research studies. 

Just to get your attention? is the subject of "poop" brazenly broached! And well, this is the very kernel of the science behind Probiotics that has opened a storm of revelation. To say it as plainly as possible, your poop, like the revered oracle of ancient Greece (must laugh, yes?) tells the story of your current health condition like lines in the tea leaves... like bones in the bowl... like the colours of a sunset... Forgive the poetic hyperbole haha! but this is the facts of it. The poop must be healthy! or the patient is not... healthy, that is.

Wait, really?! YES, really. There is supposed to be a whole host of healthy/normal micro-organisms living in our guts...our intestines. And these organisms are not merely passersby, these teeny lifeforms must be able to establish colonies and symbiotic connections to one another and to the individual human body of the intestines (the host). I think of it as similar to how those various small fish and other creatures live on the most fearsome predators of the seas. Without them, the predator could not be healthy, because these little creatures perform vital tasks to maintain the host fish's health. Of course, what they do keeps them alive, too. And so it is with our microbiome.... that is what we call this village of gut bacteria living in our intestines- our microbiome.

Okay, whatever...Why should I care? And what can I do about keeping the wee boogars happy in my bod? Quite a bit, it turns out. Oh yeah, and what if I do NOT do these things? !Voila`! you get sick, really sick after awhile, if your poop and its environment allow the naughty microbes to move in. Well, that seems simple, right? And really it is.... except that knew this was coming if you have been paying attention in this blog and others on the same vein.... Our modern diet does NOT promote healthy gut microbiomes.

Please, Keep It Simple, Sweetie! Alright, here is the short and sweet list of do's and dont's. And if you are like me and want convincing, follow up the Resources and Ideas links at the end of this post as well as the many links in the Meet Probiotics article and the other posts/reviews shared in Lifestyle Modification Support website.....

DO -

  • Choose the freshest locally grown food that is NOT using agricultural methods that kill off the soil and plant microbiome.
  • Cook your food as lightly as possible. Heat kills food's naturally occurring pre- and probiotics
  • Drink and eat naturally fermented foods and beverages. Fermentation means that healthy micro-organisms are thriving in the food and will transfer to your gut to set up housekeeping :)
  • Supplement, if necessary, with multi-strain probiotics products.
  • If you must take antibiotics, use probiotics during and after the unfortunate situation.
  • Become a food label reader! Learn all the code names for sugar.


  • Don't have sugar in your food choices. Period. Wherever you catch it as an ingredient, find another way to eat that food without sugar, because it will ruin your microbiome.
  • Don't cook on high unless you need to boil water for pasta for example. Slow, low heat makes all the sumptuous flavours remain and blend into your dish...& saves the nutrients for your microbiome.
  • Don't beg your medical provider for antibiotics! If the doc says antibiotics are not called for, guess what? The doc is trying to SAVE YOUR HEALTH! Antibiotics kill the microbiome.

The problem with simple lists is that they leave out the whys and wherefores. So, ask for more info... and Read everything on the topic of your poop's happiness and well-being! And come on, you can be a researcher, too, of your own body. Try out some of the healthy suggestions for keeping your guts happy.

Resources and Ideas

The Healing Power of Poop May Surprise You; friendly article on the focus for understanding our gut's health. Retrieved from:

A storm of research continues, but where to begin? How about at the beginning? What did you eat today? Consider prebiotic sources of food choices to fatten up the good microbes your gut is already hosting... and and

Healthy suggestions... just remember to take all the info with a grain of ....healthy microbes!!

Posted on March 22, 2016 .

Meet Probiotics

You may have only recently heard about probiotics. But modern research into the missing element in, not only the physical health of our homo sapiens species but also into the diminishing health of domestic species and even of the ecosystems that homo sapiens relies on, became an earnest study for scientific research in the 1980s. Japan, historically as an island nation, tends to penetrate to the source of the whole survival cycle of humans, because islands must manage resources for self-sustainability. In the 1980s, microbiologists in Japan expanded discussions in food production to investigate the key elements necessary for maintaining the vitality of the ecosystem that provided food. In-depth research revealed an intimate connection between the human gut and the bacteria that enabled healthy plant growth. Long story short (for now), this initiated what has now become the new thriving market of pre- and probiotic products.

This month of March, Lifestyle Modification Support presents the evolution of human health, with an intense focus on how food production matters to whole health for long high-quality lifestyle.

This post is short today, but as always, I am adding links below to get you looking into some of the new and historical viewpoints and investigation of food's connection to physical health. During March, my focus will be on organising for You the information and the concepts such that the facts are easily that You can use this current information to make conscious choices for your own well-being.

Until later, life, Love, laughter! live well and Be well. ¬jstill


Probiotics: the Magic Pill?

Probiotics - Supplements Galore!

Or Probiotics 'the way nature intended' in our soils, foods, and bodies?!!

Meet other island nations' research on how to restore the health of their ecosystems and thereby the health and well-being of their people :

Probiotics for a Better Pregnancy - A new study call for participants at:

And yes, this is big business as well as big news! Read one of the many articles on Food Business News about the impact of probiotic research at:{7F4E9C92-D651-4978-A7F9-9F3EA3BC7EDD}&cck=1

Japan's version of this news :

Of course, even agriculture benefits from providing the Best quality product!



Posted on February 22, 2016 .

A High Fat Diet Reverses ALL Coronary Risk Factors

A High Fat Diet Reverses ALL coronary risk factors...why? This video presentation is a simple (and therefore, hopefully, easy to understand...let me know) update on some of the latest research backing up the already well known regarding vagaries of nutritional counseling. In the video, Dr Noakes shares a number of recent resources on this topic.

Take-home points:
  • Obesity is a brain disorder
  • Obesity has specific causes from our modern diet
  • Diabetes is compounded by the same dietary conditions
  • FOLLOW THE MONEY to see why our current food supply has changed
  • Gliaden/gluten in wheat may be the cause of a wide range of chronic diseases with currently unknown causes
  • A High Fat diet reverses ALL coronary risk factors
  • Lipid count is unrelated to your risk of heart disease
  • Examples of a high fat diet changing bodies
And more.....

Did you open the infographics from Lifestyle Modification Support's Welcome page? Most of them are specifically related to this topic, such as and

You might also want to investigate Leaky Gut Syndrome further ...

A great place to get started on cooking and eating truly healthier .... enjoy a peek at Theresa Niccassio's website, YUM at:

See the resources:

Davis, William (2011). The Wheat Belly. Can also read more from several places: and to get you started!

Noakes, Tim (2014). The Real Meal Revolution. Enjoy this link to his book:  retrieved from

Rothberg, MB. (2013). Coronary artery disease as clogged pipes: A misconceptual model; from Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes; 6: 129-132.

Teicholz, Nina (2014). The Big Fat Surprise. Information can also be retrieved from


Posted on February 11, 2016 and filed under discussions, Research studies.

Maybe a lil dirt doesn't hurt after all!

Maybe a lil dirt doesn't hurt after all!


Or maybe there is ALWAYS a whole lot more to learn about our bodies, health, and disease! In preparation for an upcoming podcast on probiotics and the healthy gut microbiome, I am reviewing quite a few scholarly articles from the huge influx of recent research results about how the health of the bacteria in and on our bodies turns out to be the key to disease prevention. You read that aright! the KEY ...And I do mean that healthy micro-organisms (like micro-organisms found in the dirt o.O) have a very important role in our physical balance. 

Thinking of so many people that ask me about their particular condition .... how folks ask, too, how nutrition could assist them in improving the progression of their disease; .... I have found some articles to share with you that are not so full of scientific jargon. These articles are from the various Foundations, healthcare groups, or science sections of reputable news rooms that support folks with diseases, so that you are reading expert agreed-upon information in these. This is a short post add-on to supplement this month's articles and writing. I will see if I can add my podcast link too when it is completed!

Remember these are layman articles to make for easier reading for you. I am also including actual research links at the end of this brief post...


Arthritis, yes, wonderfully, probiotics has a huge benefit! Read the Arthritis Foundation review...

Crohn's and Colitis, too...

Even depression and anxiety can benefit from a healthy microbiome... There are many articles and new research on this subject! Here is an easy read from the Huffington Post Science section...

Immunity is the main BIG news from microbiome research. This article is from the NIH website and includes a lecture by the respected Patricia Hibberd MD PhD. Please be aware this one is much like going back to university!

Obesity is the new area invaded by probiotic results! What?! on

Psoriasis your issue? Look at this recent top story from the National Psoriasis Foundation:

And loads more reliable sources are talking about how the health of your microbiome, especially your gut microbiome, is intricately connected to your overall health and well-being.


Akkasheh, G; Kashani-Poor, Z; Tajadadi-Ebrahimi, M; Jafari, P; Akbari, H;Taghizadeh, M; Memarzadeh, MR; Asemi, Z; and Esmaillzadeh, A (2015). Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic administration in patients with major depressive disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Nutrition.

Castellazzi, AM; Valsecchi, C; Caimmi, S; Licari, A; Marseglia, A; Leoni, MC; Caimmi, D; Miraglia del Guidice, MM; Leonardi, S; La Rosa, M; and Marseglia, GL. (2014).  Probiotics and food allergy in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics 39(47).

Floch, MH; Walker, WA; Sanders, ME; Nieuwdorp, M; Kim, AS; Brenner, DA; Qamar, AA; Miloh, TA; Guarino, A; Guslandi, M; Dieleman, LA; Ringel, Y; Quigley, E; and Lawrence J (2015). Recommendations for Probiotic Use—2015 Update: Proceedings and Consensus Opinion in Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 49; S69-S73.

Frei, R; Akdis, M; and O’Mahony, L. (2015). Prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics, and the immune system: experimental data and clinical evidence in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, 31(2); 153-158.

Gill, T; Asquith, M; Rosenbaum, J; and Colbert, RA (2015). The intestinal microbiome in spondyloarthritis in Current Opinion in Rheumatology 27(4); 319-325.

Gomes, AC;  Bueno,AA; Machado de Souza, RG; and Mota, JF (2014). Gut microbiota, probiotics and diabetes in Nutrition Journal 13(60); 1475-2891.

Luna, RA and Foster, JA (2015). Gut brain axis: diet microbiota interactions and implications for modulation of anxiety and depression; in Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 32; 35-41.

Park, S and Bae JH (2015). Probiotics for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis in Nutrition Research 35(7); 566-75.

Zhang, H; Wang, H; Shepherd, M; Wen, K; Li, G; Yang, X; Kocher, J; Giri-Rachman, E. Dickerman, A; Settlage, R; and Yuan, L. (2014). Probiotics and virulent human rotavirus modulate the transplanted human gut microbiota in gnotobiotic pigs. Article in the Gut Pathogens section of the BioMed Central site. Retrieved from:*~hmac=8d951c6f738c58994e40b29287b7d26cb2232845ac8375da49d7f12df9f6f546

Posted on November 30, 2015 .

How We Survived

Photo by estt/iStock / Getty Images

How We Survived


Today’s hunt nearly cost us our two youngest stalkers, the promise of tomorrow lives in their strength and cunning. We have been without sufficient food for two days. How much longer can the young ones be convinced to share any harvest with all of us? I can only hope the gatherers succeeded in discovering a good supply of roots or our families may not remain alive to see another full year.


Astounding to imagine what survival entailed on a day to day basis in the formative years of our species’ evolution. Yet survive our species did, or we would not be overrunning the planet today. Was it merely persistence and blind luck? There are many theories; however, there is consensus that our intelligence assisted in our ability to learn from mistakes and discover what foods were the easiest and safest to rely upon to awaken to another day….by day …by day.

What if we had insisted on eating food-like substances with little or no nutrient value, would we have succeeded to the degree we realise now? When early hominids consistently ate lesser quality substances, they tended to sicken, starve or weaken so much so that their care became a burden. Some of these unfortunates did manage to reproduce, but courtship rituals for early hominids had to be much like all mammals reproduction rites: a display of the traits most likely to provide success for the offspring. In our case, physical prowess is vital but equally so, applied intelligence still stands strong.

Correct or not, the fact of our present survival insists that our sentience played an important role. This utilisation of problem-solving, memory, and experimentation is the outstanding feature of our species that we believe guides our choices even now. Without diving too deep into future conjecture, this article is to open discussion on the purpose of Lifestyle Modification Support’s choice of health articles. Because, in order to sustain our species’ survival record, we surely cannot leave behind all practical use of our intelligence!

Oxford Dictionaries defines intelligence as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2015). Thus, the popularity of books, periodicals, videos, blogs and social media reflects our inherent appetite for knowledge. You might object that such mediums do not necessarily lend any credible information. Acquiring knowledge certainly requires astute discrimination of the source of information. Whether the information is empirically derived or the product of an active imagination lends further cred to its long-term usefulness. I have heard some argue that knowledge is useless if misunderstood or simply not applied.

Services page link

About page link

With all these implicit parameters embracing Lifestyle Modification Support’s intentions, the goal and purpose of all the health articles available in our website are to assist the individual with a steady source of defining research on balanced lifestyle, especially in the area of choosing Real nutrition to support your body’s intelligent chemical homeostasis. When you are healthy, your future and that of those relying on you is secured. Many readers are educated and practiced at application of knowledge; others require support. Please know that Lifestyle Modification Support is available to answer your individual questions; to speak or write for your educational events; and/or to provide professional advocacy/guidance on a case by case basis. The Services page and the About page offer contact details.



Oxford Dictionaries (2015). Intelligence, retrieved from:

Posted on November 17, 2015 and filed under janet's writing, discussions, mission statements.

Imagine Our World if We Taught It How to Eat

News from the on Medscape > Heartfelt with Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley


Imagine Our World if We Taught It How to Eat

Melissa Walton-Shirley

I attended a session yesterday at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2015 Congress entitled, "What should you eat to live a heart-healthy life?" By all accounts, accolades, and high-fives following the presentation, it was life-changing. Dr Neil Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK), Dr Steen Stender (University of Copenhagen, Hellerup, Denmark), Dr Simon Poole (Cambridge, UK), and Prof T Meinert Larsen (University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark)—all nutrition gurus and scientists—spent 67 minutes teaching us how to save the world. It was probably the most important series of the entire ESC 2015 meeting because they advocated for nutrients whose side effects are nil (for most) and are readily available for mass consumption (in most places). They demonstrated how a population of unsuspecting individuals could be sickened when a government allows a food supply to become tainted by commerce and ignored by politicians. They proselytized with proof and enthusiasm that we need to educate and legislate on the topic of nutrition to save millions upon millions of lives and dollars.

You may say I'm a dreamer

Dr Steen Stender dreams of a world without trans fat. He knows why it has been favored by the food industry: it's cheap, can hold its shape as a semisolid at room temp, has an ultralong shelf life, and stands up to repeated heating. Dr Stender also understands why the 2006 Nurses' Health Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated a 33% increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease when 5 g or more of trans fat per day is consumed. Its ability to increase LDL and decrease HDL levels is a negative double-whammy in the lipid arena.

Because Dr Stender stood up to big commerce, he is now a superhero in the world of trans-fat legislation. As chair of the Danish Nutrition Council's subgroup dealing with trans fats and health, he convinced the country of Denmark to approve a ban there effective January 1, 2004. It is now illegal for any food to contain more than 2% trans fats, and offenders face hefty fines and even incarceration. Proof of the downside of taking a hard stand on trans fat is the fact that he was sued after he outed the content of a favorite snack wafer. He likened the public's risk of consuming it to that of smoking 10 cigarettes per day. Sales plummeted, and the company sued him for $1 million. Then, in a stunning turnaround, in 3 months, it dropped the suit and removed 100% of the trans fat in its product.

The number of Danes who died from cardiovascular disease fell by 70% between 1985 and 2009. No EU member state has recorded a greater decline in mortality. Could the ban on trans fats in 2003 be the cause? Indeed, it seems that Dr Stender's dream for Denmark may have already come true.

But I'm not the only one

In my office, I have a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid at checkout for every new patient. Many established patients who suffer from metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, or obesity receive a second or even a third copy. I spend hours teaching the simple mechanics of nutrition. I stress that it's more impactful on longevity than any metal scaffold electively deployed into a coronary artery. I found a kindred spirit in Dr Simon Poole. His salient points came rapid fire, finding their mark and leaving quite an impression.

"If patients with coronary artery disease came out of the office of a practicing physician or cardiologist not on a statin, you could argue that's a negligent practice, but I'd argue that most have no advice on diet. I lay down the gauntlet. We as physicians need to emphasize diet," he began. He then lauded Dr Stender by saying, "Steen has done remarkably well with his government. Our secretary of state wanted to make an impact. We were shuffled into a room to discuss how to decrease mortality in 2.5 years. We emphasized "brave legislation" (hinting at labeling, reduction in trans-fat content, and education). The reply was a terse, "Well, we don't do social engineering." Someone in the group argued, "If you look at eye-level in a market at the packaging of chocolates for children . . . if that isn't social engineering, I don't know what is."

He made the salient points that simple things like irrigation of olives decreases the antioxidant content of olive oil, which can ruin even good foods. When UV light replaces natural sunlight, it can be impactful. Furthermore, he consumes up to 50 cc of olive oil per day and recommends frying fish in it and pouring it on pasta. He doesn't count calories.

I quickly asked the expert if anything about my usual dietary recommendations could be improved. I told him that I advocate for cutting in half the consumption of bread, sweets, potatoes, pasta, and rice and to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I recommend a maximum of four eggs per week and no more than one serving of red meat per month.

Dr Poole replied, "I don't discourage consuming pasta if they drizzle olive oil on it because it lowers the glycemic load. I'd die without having red meat once per week but the portion is very, very small," he said, pointing to a small portion of the palm of his hand. "It's always grass fed," he added and quipped, "I always know what my food ate." Further critiquing my recommendations, he added, "I would go for more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Butternut squash, for instance, and cucumbers are fruits of sorts. As for eggs, they are back on the menu."

His friend Dr Aseem Malhotra (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Camberley, UK), who was standing nearby, added, "Following an MI, for mortality lowering, a high-fat Mediterranean diet is more effective than aspirin, statins, and coronary stents." It was a statement thrown like a fastball toward home plate, its implication staggering and dead on target.

Dr Poole concluded his presentation today by stating, "We need broader professional leadership and access to resources. Education is key. We need to take responsibility."

I hope someday you'll join us

Dr Neil Thomas emphasized the importance of respecting the many randomized controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to reduce all cause mortality. The impact of uneven recommendations and the impact of the media's influence cannot be underestimated. He cautions against supplements, stating that, "The media regularly reports on omega-3 fatty acids for prevention and treatment of CV disease, but there are no interventional studies that demonstrate a reduction in mortality. The US Preventive Services Task Force found no evidence of a positive effect of any nutritional supplement. Although there was a 7% reduction in all-cause mortality in one study that included vitamin D, those studies included simultaneous calcium supplementation. Those with vitamin D alone are all negative," he said, then added, "There are two larger trials upcoming that will be definitive regarding whether it's beneficial." He concluded by saying, "With regard to beta carotene, as soon as you start giving it in interventional trials it actually increased the risk of death."

Dr Thomas Larsen is studying multiple dietary combinations like high- or low-glycemic-index diets combined with higher or lower fatty- and protein-content diets. According to the DIOGENES trial, he noted, patients who followed a low-protein and high-glycemic index diet were more likely to gain weight. He then added, "High-protein diets, not low-glycemic-index diets, are the most promising for regulation of fat mass and abdominal height." He concluded that based on the Diogenes diet and others, "a high-protein, low-glycemic-index diet may have additive effects to improve body-weight regulation, is more successfully maintained, and may be more likely to lower CVD risk factors if followed long term."

And the world will be as one

I challenge you take this information into your exam rooms tomorrow. Bring along a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Talk to patients about how adding extra virgin olive oil blunts the glycemic index of whole-wheat pasta. Advocate against unfounded claims for dietary supplements. Strike up a conversation with your local congressional representatives. Imagine how we as clinicians and practitioners can change the world one conversation at a time, one politician at a time, and one act of legislation at a time. If you can see the future, you can make it happen. Imagine how the world would eat and live if we all did that tomorrow. Just imagine.


Yes, imagine a world where wellness is revered and respected again!

Thank you, Melissa Walton-Shirley, for one of the most exciting and inspiring reviews I have read in some time!!

Photo by yaruta/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by yaruta/iStock / Getty Images
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under discussions, information, Research studies, resources, visions.

6 Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouses

6 Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouses

Clean eating can put out the fire that's making you sick.

By Editors of Prevention August 24, 2015

Sweet potato Photo by Thinkstock


Chronic inflammation has been associated with an increased risk of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and cancer. Sure, some inflammation is good—like the acute kind is a form of self-protection, your body's immune response to a cut or pathogens entering the body. Chronic inflammation, however, means that your body is constantly producing immune cells, which can damage the body. This harmful inflammation is a result of never-ending stress, being overweight, or a diet high in things like sugar, trans fats, and various toxins.

But while the wrong diet promotes excessive inflammation, a diet rich in clean foods can help reduce it and its harmful effects on your body. The following foods in particular are anti-inflammatory powerhouses:

Spices and Herbs
Herbs and spices like basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, turmeric, peppercorns, ginger, and cinnamon are loaded with all sorts of antioxidants that have even been found to reduce pro-inflammatory compounds that build up on meat during grilling. And ginger and turmeric, in particular, have been linked to joint pain relief. Add them to marinades, dressings, spice rubs, and teas for a dose of health and flavor.

Soy can reduce the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. Incorporate clean sources of soy into your diet, such as tempeh or edamame.

More: The Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Cold-Water Fish
Salmon, black cod, sardines, and anchovies are full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a particularly good choice—its rosy pink color comes from carotenoids, which also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins C and E and the carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene, all of which reduce inflammation and promote healthy, vibrant skin.

More: 11 Weird Things Inflamming Your Body

Walnuts contain alpha- linolenic acid--an omega-3 fatty acid that reduces inflammation and is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Green, black, and white teas contain free radical-fighting catechins, which have recently been associated with reduced muscle inflammation and a speedier recovery after exercise.

Adapted from Eat Clean, Stay Lean

Article retrieved from:

Posted on September 8, 2015 and filed under discussions, information.

Eating Processed Foods

Processed foods aren't just microwave meals and other ready meals. The term 'processed food' applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience. This means you may be eating more processed food than you realise.

Processed foods aren't necessarily unhealthy, but anything that’s been processed may contain added salt, sugar and fat.

One advantage of cooking food from scratch at home is that you know exactly what is going into it, including the amount of added salt or sugar.

However, even homemade food sometimes uses processed ingredients. Read on to find out how you can eat processed foods as part of a healthy diet.


What counts as processed food?

Most shop-bought foods will have been processed in some way.

Examples of common processed foods include:

  • breakfast cereals
  • cheese
  • tinned vegetables
  • bread
  • savoury snacks, such as crisps 
  • meat products, such as bacon
  • "convenience foods", such as microwave meals or ready meals
  • drinks, such as milk or soft drinks

Food processing techniques include freezing, canning, baking, drying and pasteurising products. 

Dietitian Sian Porter says: "Not all processed food is a bad choice. Some foods need processing to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurised to remove harmful bacteria. Other foods need processing to make them suitable for use, such as pressing seeds to make oil.

"Freezing fruit and veg preserves most vitamins, while tinned produce (choose those without added sugar and salt) can mean convenient storage, cooking and choice to eat all year round, with less waste and cost than fresh."

What makes some processed foods less healthy?

Ingredients such as salt, sugar and fat are sometimes added to processed foods to make their flavour more appealing and to prolong their shelf life, or in some cases to contribute to the food's structure, such as salt in bread or sugar in cakes.

This can lead to people eating more than the recommended amounts for these additives, as they may not be aware of how much has been added to the food they are buying and eating. These foods can also be higher in calories due to the high amounts of added sugar or fat in them.

Furthermore, a diet high in red and processed meat (regularly eating more than 90g a day) has also been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer. Some studies have also shown that eating a large amount of processed meat may be linked to a higher risk of cancer or heart disease

What is processed meat?

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.

The Department of Health recommends that if you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day, that you cut down to 70g a day. This is equivalent to two or three rashers of bacon, or a little over two slices of roast lamb, beef or pork, with each about the size of half a slice of bread.

However, it's important to remember that the term "processed" applies to a very broad range of foods, many of which can be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

How can I eat processed foods as part of a healthy diet?

Reading nutrition labels can help you choose between processed products and keep a check on the amount of processed foods you're eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.

Adding tinned tomatoes to your shopping basket, for example, is a great way to boost your 5 a day. They can also be stored for longer and cost less than fresh tomatoes – just check the label to make sure there's no added salt or sugar.

Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging.

This type of label includes information on energy (kJ/kcal), fat, saturates (saturated fat), carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt. It may also provide additional information on certain nutrients such as fibre. All nutrition information is provided per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food.

How do I know if a processed food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?

There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high or low in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar. These are:

Total fat

High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g

Saturated fat

High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g 


High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g


High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)

For example, if you are trying to cut down on saturated fat, try to limit the amount of foods you eat that have more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.

If the processed food you want to buy has a nutrition label that uses colour-coding, you will often find a mixture of red, amber and green. So, when you're choosing between similar products, try to go for more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, if you want to make a healthier choice. 

However, even healthier ready meals may be higher in fat and other additives than a homemade equivalent. That's not to say that homemade foods can't also be high in calories, fat, salt and sugar, but if you make the meal yourself, you'll have a much better idea of what's gone into it. You could even save yourself some money, too. 

When cooking food at home...

For tips on how to eat healthily on a budget, read our healthy recipe ideas and check out the Eat4Cheap challenge.

Page last reviewed: 01/06/2014

Next review due: 01/06/2016

   Another janet's eye on the media share....

Another janet's eye on the media share....

Posted on September 6, 2015 and filed under discussions, information.

Are You Eating Good Fats or Bad Fats?

For years, we’ve heard that saturated fatis bad for our hearts and that unsaturated fat is good. But experts’ views on dietary fat are changing. It’s easy to be confused. Learn which fats you can eat more of and which fats to avoid. And enjoy useful tips on heart-healthy eating, cooking and shopping from preventive cardiology dietitians Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, and Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD.

Are You Eating Good Fats or Bad Fats? #infographic
Are You Eating Good Fats or Bad Fats? #infographic
Posted on August 24, 2015 and filed under discussions, information, Research studies, resources.