Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease, which literally means “porous bone” whereby the density and quality of bone are diminished. As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively often with no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is now diagnosed at earlier ages and its precursor Osteopenia seen in young adults in their twenties and thirties. Approximately one out of three women over 50 will have a fracture due to osteoporosis as will one out of five men over 50. Although genetic factors largely determine the size and density of your bones, lifestyle, nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol also play a key role.
At every stage of life, a nutritious, broad diet promotes strong, healthy bones. This includes eating enough calories to sustain your frame throughout your life, moderate protein intake, healthy fat, as well as vitamins D and K and minerals - calcium, magnesium, zinc and boron. In childhood and adolescence, proper nutrition helps to build peak bone mass (maximum bone density, attained in the early 20's) thereby reducing vulnerability to osteoporosis later in life. This is not to say that there are not measures available to older adults but puberty is the optimum time in our lives to build great bones! Restrictive diets, fizzy drinks, caffeine and junk food, most associated with the teenage years, are a recipe for poor bone strength and inhibit the absorption of bone building nutrients at this critical time of growth.
Most of the nutrients needed for bone strength are dependent on healthy fats to aid their absorption and assimilation into the body. A diet that includes nuts, seeds, oily fish, olives, avocado and good quality oils helps build and preserve bone integrity. For those who have had a fracture, it aids recovery and reduces the risk of having another fracture.
Dietary factors that contribute to Osteoporosis include low calcium intake, excess sodium and phosphorous (found in fizzy drinks), high protein diets and trace mineral deficiencies. High protein diets strongly encouraged for weight-loss and body building need to be reviewed to ensure the long-term health of our skeletal frame is not compromised by the short-term gains of these type of diets.
There is inconsistent evidence that the pH of body fluids plays a role in mineral loss from our bones. It has been said that bone loss as well as other diseases, occurs when the body is too acidic, mainly from eating too much meat, dairy, processed foods and refined sugars. While the debate rages on, it is worthwhile to note the words of one great physiologist Homer W Smith who wrote ‘It is no exaggeration to say that the composition of the body fluids is determined not by what the mouth takes in but by what the kidneys keep: they are the master chemists of our internal environment. When, among other duties, they excrete the ashes of our body fires, or remove from the blood the infinite variety of foreign substances that are constantly absorbed from our indiscriminate gastrointestinal tracts, these excretory operations are incidental to the major task of keeping our internal environment in an ideal, balanced state.’ (From Fish to Philosopher, 1953). His theory ties in with ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that connects bone health to kidney health. Although he does not allude to TCM in any of his research, it is interesting that this and much more recent research demonstrates that nutrients which support the smooth running of our kidneys are the same nutrients that promote bone strength. And conversely, foods that are taxing on the kidneys are associated with increased risk of bone disease.
Sea vegetables, tofu, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, kale, sprouts, sesame and pumpkin seeds provide more nutrients for bone health than any other natural wholefood. Not only are they rich in calcium, they also provide, boron, magnesium and vitamin K. Our bones are made up of minerals we get directly from land and sea plants – or indirectly from the animal products we eat that feed on the same. It makes sense that these are more easily derived straight from the source rather eating our way through the animal kingdom in order to get a good supply. It is worth mentioning that bone broth made from the long-simmering of animal/fish bones in liquid, provides an easily assimilated mineral-rich supply, as the minerals from the boiling bones are leached into the water over time. Other nutrients include collagen, vitamin C and omega 3, which allows for allows for flexibility and elasticity to be maintained in bone tissue. It is easier to break a dried-out, rigid stick than one that can bend and flex when pressure is applied.
Don’t forget your Vitamin D, necessary for the absorption of calcium and involved in many functions associated with bone health. Routine testing and appropriate supplementation are necessary at all stages of life, whether you are building bone, maintaining bone or re-building bone again. As Halloween draws near, all these happy smiley skeletons with their intact bones can be a reminder to take care of our own skeleton by enjoying a (mainly) plant-based diet and regular outdoor exercise for enduring, strong bones and the greater quality of life that comes with them.
It appears that dieting is a modern phenomenon and that every year a new craze hits our world, claiming to be the one and only route to losing weight. Indeed, with modern technology, news spreads fast and the accessibility to diet information is at everyone’s fingertips. However, long before recent developments in the diet industry, people were trying out different diet tricks to help squeeze into corsets and increase their “attraction factor” for hundreds of years. The early 1900’s saw a definite upturn for dieting in terms of a controlled eating regime, as people prospered and nutrition improved. The fashion of the 1920’s and Hollywood icons with slim boy-like figures sent many a curvy lady into a bit of a spin. Every decade since then right up to today has been marked by some crazy or scary fad diet yet has consistently failed to tackle the real cause of weight gain or offer a sustainable route back to good health.
The diet industry, the business of selling plans, pills and promises, didn’t really take off until processed foods began to come to the fore in the 1960’s. Not surprisingly, the major players in the food processing industry also became the major players in the dieting industry, in particular with Weight Watchers/Heinz and Nestlé/Lean Cuisine. The correlation between processed foods and the rise in obesity is as plain as daylight, yet many diet programmes are based on eating even more processed foods, meal replacers, fat binding pills or restricting food groups altogether. All in all, it is a confusing and distorted business that has profited hugely from our failures to maintain a healthy weight.
As Ireland tops the tubby polls, we really need to come up with something different because despite all our low fat, low carb, fasting, liquids and cabbage soup diets we are fatter than ever! Celebrity-led fashionable dieting continues to distort our relationship with food and its function as a means to supply energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals to maintain health and sustain life. For a weight loss diet to be truly successful you would only have to do it one time. The idea that people return to weight loss programmes time and time again is evident of their fundamental failure to deliver a sustainable way of eating to maintain a healthy weight.
It is from this worrying perspective, much research, cooking and eating that I would like to direct you back to the table and offer something new, well, old really!
FITFOOD Autumn Winter is an eight-week Health and Weight Loss Programme, based on easily sourced ingredients with a seasonal flair! Even though this programme spans eight weeks our goal is lifelong! During the programme, participants will learn all the skills required to choose, plan, prepare and eat food as Nature intended with ease. Losing weight is part of the plan to greater health, energy and wellbeing.
Yes, we will monitor fat percentages and track fat loss in terms of kilos and pounds, but we also tackle the reasons for excess fat storage so that no matter how much or little you need to lose, you will clearly understand the whys and see the path to reaching your goals.
Real success, not only comes from hitting your personal goals, but in maintaining them long-term! This does not happen with fad dieting as we lose interest faster than we lose weight, returning to bad habits and ultimately putting on more weight. Adapting to a healthier, balanced approach to your everyday meals means that food is exciting, appealing, ever changing with the seasons and nourishes the whole body in more ways than one. Success also comes from support, from your group, friends and family as this is not a diet to be endured alone but a celebration of good food in great company.
Losing weight need not be a losing battle when you shift the goal away from the scales and onto your plate!
FITFOOD AUTUMN WINTER is available from October 8th
Suitable for individuals, friends, groups or workmates Click below to check out the programme, what's involved and cost!
THURSDAY MORNINGS (starting 19th September)
7.00am to 8.15am Rise and Shine Flow
A quick burst of energy to start your day! 45 mins of breath work, Kyria, Asana, Laya and Chi movement, linked with the Vinyasa flows to activate our mental, energetic and physical bodies and set a positive mindset for the day ahead
9.30am to 10.40am Welcoming Vitality Flow
A grounded yet vibrant practice which allows us to arrive into radical presence to carry throughout the day. 70 mins of holistic practice which includes Meditation, Breathwork, Kriya, Himalayan Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya, Chi & Freedom Movements linked with Vinyasa Flow which allows us to penetrate all layers of our beings to ignite inner radiance and vitality to carry us through our day.
€12 drop in. €65 for a block of 6 classes.
To book/info CALL/TEXT Oonagh 086 2666466
Rooted Soul Yoga and Holistic Wellness was founded by Oonagh O’Sullivan as she rooted back into her birthplace of Co. Kerry, on the Wild West Coast of Ireland after having spent more than six years studying, travelling, and experiencing the wonders this beautiful world has to offer. She holds a BSc in Psychology, a Diploma in Principles of Art Therapy and is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Just before her return back to Ireland, Oonagh spent 9 months living in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, studying and teaching Yoga, Meditation, Sound Healing, and many other Sacred Practices of the Vedantic and Tantric traditions. Oonagh aims to combine her training in Western Psychology with Yogic Philosophy and Practice to facilitate authentic healing and empowerment.
When not on the yoga mat or meditation cushion, you may find Oonagh consciously connecting with the Divine anywhere in nature, wandering barefoot as the soles of her feet connect with the Soul of Mother Earth, praying in the form of wild, hypnotic dance, laughing from her womb uncontrollably, making art with anything she can get her hands on, as well as through words and sound, or nourishing her body with amazingly delicious plant-based delights.
Find the courage to authentically be who you are
With the tools of Alexander Technique, come explore your sound, breath, movement and passion, and the secret well of who you ultimately are. Whether you secretly wish you could sing or dance, or speak with more ease, or suffer chronic pain, or a musician who feels they are holding back, this workshop will shine a light into blind spots within the body and soul to help you open up and meet yourself in a more meaningful way. You will leave this workshop with new inspiration, with tools of how to practice and play the instrument of your being.
www.deborahjeanne.com and www.creativehealthyliving.com
Deborah Jeanne Weitzman is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and teaches workshops in USA, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and more. She’s toured as a singer-songwriter and teacher of the Alexander Technique, Voice, Theatre and Movement since 1988. She specializes in helping people overcome stage fright and debilitating perfectionism. Her book: Pandora Learns to Sing is available on Amazon.
One Day Workshop €80 or both days €120 - Bookings Ré Nua Natural Health 066 9151360 or text 086 1662562
Set Your Voice and Your Self Free
Exploring spontaneity and joy with the Alexander Technique With Deborah Jeanne Weitzma
Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September 2019
10am – 5pm
Ré Nua Natural Health, Goat Street, Dingle
As we move from Summer to Autumn, it is a good time to give yourself a health check to make sure you are prepared for the longer, darker days ahead. Keep the joy of Summer with you as you move through the season through gentle reflections, movement, seasonal eating and mindfulness. We have workshops and classes coming up that will guide you and allow you the space to explore the possibilities.
Join us for a wonderful weekend to explore the technique and benefits of Qi Gong. This gentle art will focus on breath and movement, in harmony, to bring about a whole body sense of wellness and calm.
You can indulge in the full weekend programme and come away with a good understanding and skill level in Qi GOng. Or you can choose a class of your choice!
Lunch in available on Saturday 31st August at a group rate, exclusive to participants of the Qi Gong weekend at €15 pp.
All classes are available to book individually at €25 per class. Full weekend pass is €80 (save €20). Lunch at Thyme Out, Dingle €15
All options available online Qi Gong Weekend or call Maria 087 7953589
Phoar! It's hot! I have been busy working on a few recipes for dairy free ice creams! Went a bit mad, but managed to keep my cool working on these babies! Feel free to download the Dairy Free Ice Cream recipes, all I ask is that you enjoy them and let me know what you think! If you like to post pics, go ahead! Keep in touch with us by signing up to our email list! Happy Summer Days, Irene :)
This article was written by Irene for the latest edition of West & Mid Kerry Live! Inspired by many people who have sought nutrition advice to manage Haemachromatosis.
For a while there has been a raging debate in genetics as to whether Hereditary Haemochromastosis is a Celtic thing or was it introduced to the Celts by Viking invaders and other colonizers. Hereditary haemochromatosis (HH) is a genetic disease that alters the body's ability to regulate iron absorption, resulting in excessive iron building up in cells overtime. What we do know is that the genetic variant (a glitch in our genetic coding) responsible for HH, identified in 1996 as C282Y, only occurred after our ancestors migrated from Central Africa to Northern and Central Europe, 60 to 70 generations ago. Up until then, there is no evidence that HH was in our genes. We also know that countries with the highest prevalence for HH around the North Sea and Western Europe, lie in the path of the once-marauding Vikings, which suggest that the Viking travel had something to do with introducing the defective gene into populations. However, the timeline does not fully explain how the gene mutation is present in Celtic Irish ancestral remains from Rathlin Island dating back to 3000 years before the Vikings hit our shores. The Irish have the highest frequency of C282Y mutation in the world, and specifically in the male population of Connaught.
Although it is known as the “Celtic Curse”, the enhanced ability to store iron probably provided advantages at the time of our first migration to Europe. In particular, it would have helped us adapt to low-iron intakes in our new environment and ward off deficiencies. There is evidence that HH provided resistance to tuberculosis and typhoid infections, as these bacteria require free iron for growth and the way the body stores excess iron, makes it unavailable to these bacteria. The first diagnosis of Haemochromatosis was made during the 1800s through autopsies which showed accumulations of iron in the liver, pancreas, joints and skin. Early physicians established that iron overloads accumulated over a period of 30 to 40 years so symptoms of HH were not seen until life expectancy improved. Our early ancestors would have died long before the effects of excessive iron were apparent.
Nowadays, blood analysis and genetic testing can identify the rogue gene responsible for HH. It is the most common genetic disease in Ireland with 1 out of every 83 people predisposed to HH, yet most people are only diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50 years when symptoms of iron overload become apparent. Women tend to be diagnosed later due to blood loss through menstruation and pregnancy. Symptoms include chronic pain, joint pain, loss of libido, diabetes, enlarged liver and irregular heartbeat. Iron deposits affect the liver, heart, pancreas, endocrine glands and joints leading to impaired function and eventually disease or organ failure. Treatment involves regular blood-letting (phlebotomy). Initially, treatment may be required weekly or bi-weekly but once safe iron levels are established, may only be needed a few times per year, with regular monitoring.
Along with phlebotomy, it is a good idea to adopt a dietary protocol to manage Haemochromatosis and to protect organs from free radical damage caused by excess iron levels. A wholefood, plant-based diet full of colour, anti-oxidants and unprocessed foods will offer the best protection in the long run. Limit iron-rich foods in the diet, especially heme-iron found in animal meats and offal. Heme-iron is more bioavailable in the human body - it is easier to absorb than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is a type of iron found mostly in plant foods. Non-heme iron is more difficult to absorb. Some vegetables considered high in iron (non-heme) such as spinach, chard, black beans and green lentils may be eaten in moderation as the phytates and fibre present in these foods inhibit iron absorption. Wholegrains too can be eaten for the same reason.
Increased fibre intake, from a plant-based diet can bind with excess iron for elimination and inhibit the absorption of iron from food. Other foods that inhibit iron absorption include tannins in black tea, calcium-rich foods and healthy fats. Seek advice about using psyllium husk, calcium and any other supplements to minimize iron absorption, as you may well be inhibiting the absorption of other minerals and vital nutrients. Limit or avoid alcohol as it increases the uptake of iron and also may contain iron. Alcohol is an added burden to the liver which is one of the organs most affected by iron-overload.
Avoid “fortified” and “enriched” cereals, breads, flour and other foods. Fortification is added to refined grain products – keep ingredients very natural and as whole as possible to avoid unnecessary addition of iron and vitamin C to everyday foods. Likewise, be wary of supplements which may contain iron and/or vitamin C. Vitamin C rich foods should not be eaten with meat dishes as it increases iron absorption. Yet, vitamin C is needed for many other functions and must not be completely avoided. Use iron-free cookware, ceramic is best but stainless steel is a handier option for most cooking.
While HH is still considered a curse, particularly to those who are affected, it is part of who we are and helped us survive through challenging times. Modern treatment options and advances in genetics will make it less of a curse in the future and hopefully downgrade its risk to the same status as our pale skin and freckles!
A little snippet of what we get up to on Mondays! What a way to start the week! Totally blissed out and focused on making everyday a great day! Join us on Monday Mornings for three hours of bliss!
"It hath flown against me. It hath attacked me. O seven heavens, seven earths, seven winds, seven fires, by heaven be ye exorcised." If you suffered from Tinnitus in Mesopotamian times (4000BC-500BC), this chant would be whispered in your ear until the demon spirit was expelled or the patient faked recovery, favouring the illness over the cure! In ancient Egypt they used infused oil, frankincense, tree sap, herbs and soil and administered the mixture via a reed stalk that they put in the external ear.
The Greco-Roman medicine folk were first to distinguish two types of tinnitus, one stemming from a cold (respiratory) and the other from the head (vascular) – either way, their cure was placing radish, cucumber juice, honey and vinegar in the ear and hoping for the best. In the Middle Ages, they continued with this pouring of things into the ear - a Welsh treatment recommended to take “a loaf of hot bread, divide it in two, and put it in each ear as hot as you could take it and thus perspire and by the help of God you would be cured”! These days, a cure for tinnitus remains elusive and treatment options are as varied as the people who suffer from it, but nutrition can play a positive role its management although it has more to do with eating the right food rather than sticking it in your ear!
Tinnitus is the perception of noise, buzzing, hissing or ringing in the ears, coming from within the ear rather than an external source. Affecting around 20% of the population, tinnitus isn't a condition itself per se, rather it is a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury, wax build-up or cardiovascular system disorder. There is good information of risk factors – prolonged exposure to loud noises, stress, ear wax and blockages, smoking and the natural aging process. Medical conditions associated with tinnitus include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, anaemia, allergies, an underactive thyroid gland and diabetes. Conventional treatment is largely dependent on these risk factors and the management of underlying issues with medication. Nutrition is an overlooked option for many yet most of the associated health conditions are well managed through diet and lifestyle measures.
Excess consumption of sodium is directly linked to tinnitus. It restricts blood vessels, increases blood pressure, and significantly reduces blood flow to the cochlea in the ear. It is also involved in the maintenance of cellular fluid balance which can affect the ear as well as other areas in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidney and ear are associated organs – not only are they similar in appearance, but also share common adversaries. A low-sodium diet involves using little or no salt in cooking, and never adding salt to your food at the table. Processed meats, ready-made foods, canned/powder soups, commercial bread products, many breakfast cereals and certain cheese are especially high in salt which is used as a preservative to increase shelf life.
Sugar metabolism is a factor worth noting, particularly if you also have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. The cochlea of the ear affected by tinnitus have a limited supply of nutrition, with only oxygen and glucose really making any impact to support proper function. Impaired sugar metabolism can directly affect the ear, as it can contribute to many of the conditions associated with tinnitus including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Do not be tempted to substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, even though it is marketed as a diabetic-friendly option. Aspartame and flavour-enhancer MSG are excitatory neurotransmitters. That is, they excite brain neurons and increase levels of electrical activity in the brain and the auditory cortex, the area where tinnitus is perceived. Studies have shown that people with tinnitus may have an elevated level of electrical activity and reducing this activity is helpful. Increasing electrical activity increases intensity and duration of tinnitus.
A diet rich in saturated animal fats and trans fats have a detrimental effect on our vascular system, clogging up the blood vessels and inhibiting the smooth flow of blood and nutrients to organs including the ear. Similarly, elimination of toxins out of organs can be impeded by restricted blood flow to and from organs. Healthy fats such omega 3 from oily fish, nuts and seeds, maintains blood flow by keeping blood thinner and supporting the walls of blood vessels for optimal circulation. A Mediterranean-style diet is the most studied and appropriate diet for both cardiovascular health and tinnitus as it can help prevent many of their common risk factors.
Eating foods that are close to their natural state, varied wholefoods, vegetables and fruits and simple, uncomplicated ingredients offer the best overall management for tinnitus and many of the conditions that are linked with it. For those unwilling to look to diet, I refer you back to the chanting and wish you luck!
Researched and written by Irene :)
Ré Nua Natural Health Blog
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