Hello <<First Name>>,
Spring is the ideal time to renew your enthusiasm for good food and good health! We can all do with little reminders and motivational boosts to stay focused on the goal. Check out this issue to learn about:
- New hope for MS
- A special cookshop to help put your kitchen on a health kick
- The best vegies for detox
- Why now is a sweet time for honeydew melons
- Our exposé on cooking methods
- Skinnybiks to the rescue
A New Hope for MS
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an unpredictable and degenerative autoimmune disease where your body’s central nervous system attacks its own nerves. It is often described as an inflammatory demyelinating condition.
Demyelination refers to the myelin sheath around our nerves. Our nerves are wrapped in a protective layer of fats (lipids) which are influenced by the type of fat we eat. In a person who eats a diet where the fats are mostly saturated, their cell membranes become more rigid and inflexible, and prone to inflammatory and degenerative changes.
MS can be very unpredictable in the sense that you can never tell which area of your body will become affected. We have nerves everywhere and if you combine that with inflammation (which may also affect surrounding nerves), where the illness strikes next is anybody’s guess. Symptoms may include tingling, numbness, loss of balance, difficulty walking, weakness, loss of bladder control, pain and fatigue.
Drug therapies, such as interferon, gatiramer and other immune-modulating agents are the more accepted method of treatment. These drugs can be expensive and often ineffective. Chemo drugs have even been used as a course of treatment but these tend to come along with nasty side effects – in fact a study published in Neurology in 2010 showed that one in eight people who took mitoxantrone would develop irreversible heart damage!
If only we had a safer and more effective way to prevent the progression of this frightening disease…
The latest evidence – what’s old is new again
Dr Roy Swank was a highly regarded neurologist who began looking at the link between diet and MS as far back as 1950. He worked with MS patients, prescribing them a plant-based diet low in saturated fat and found that those who stuck with the diet had significantly better outcomes many years later. In one of Dr Swank’s published studies with a 50-year follow up period, he concluded that “in all probability, MS was caused largely by consumption of saturated animal fat.”
This conclusion appears to still ring true today. And many health professionals are going back to Dr Swank’s earlier work to continue important research in this are. While saturated fat (or the foods it usually comes from) may be a key trigger, it clearly isn’t the only one, and other dietary and lifestyle aspects also need to be considered. One doctor of note with a keen interest in this area is Professor George Jelinek who has written a book – Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis – based on his own journey with MS and drawing on Dr Swank’s results and those of other scientifically published research.
6 diet tips to slow progression
While all the answers are not in yet, based on Dr Swank’s work and more recent studies into diet and mechanisms, here are six top tips we think could greatly help to slow progression of MS in those affected:
- Consume a plant-based diet low in saturated fat
Since Dr Swank’s early work, many studies have been conducted, including those of scientist Dr Catherine Kousamine, which reinforce the value of a diet low in saturated fat. Dr Kousamine published a book noting her 55 cases of patients successfully treated with a Swank-ian dietary method. To help dampen inflammation and limit demyelination, we also suggest you avoid all sources of saturated fats and hidden trans fat in foods, including butter, processed meat, cakes, biscuits, chips, fast foods and ultra-processed snacks. Instead, try including sources of unsaturated fats from wholefoods like fish, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil.
- Supplement with omega-3
Dr Kousamine used a supplement of 1-2 tablespoons of cold pressed oil rich in omega-3. A supplement helps tip the balance of healthy fats in favour of the anti-inflammatory omega-3s. These types of fats help to make the nerves more pliable and resistant to immune attack. We also recommend you supplement your diet with 20 ml (1 tablespoon) of flaxseed or fish oil daily.
- Avoid dairy
Research suggests the protein in dairy may be as problematic for MS as saturated fat. Instead look to dairy alternatives such as fortified soy milk or rice milk, cashew nut cream or sunflower seed sour cream.
- Vital vitamin D
Vitamin D levels in your body can be easily measured by a simple blood test. It has become clear in more recent times that vitamin D has a distinct effect on the immune system and even brain function. Getting enough sunlight is vital for slowing the progression of MS. In general, aim for a daily dose of sunshine 3-5 times per week for 15 minutes. Discuss with your doctor and dietitian re taking a supplement if your vitamin D is low.
- Essential vitamin B12
Often lacking in MS sufferers, vitamin B12 is essential for normal brain function and has been shown to play an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids, helping to maintain the myelin of nerves. A long-term deficiency can cause serious neurological damage. Include reliable plant-based food sources such as fortified soy milk or consider a daily supplement. Ask your dietitian for a level that’s right for you.
- Regular exercise
Aim for 20-30 minutes of planned walking five times per week in addition to avoiding extended periods of sedentary behaviour.
A new hope
While there is no cure for MS, research to date suggests that proactive dietary changes are likely to impact the speed of progression of this condition and can provide hope for sufferers and a better quality of life.
“Wisdom is the power that enables us to use our knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and others.” - Thomas J. Watson
What’s Cooking? – Setting Up A Healthy Kitchen + Menu Planning for Wellness & Weight Loss
Are your clothes feeling a little tight after winter? Does your pantry need an overhaul to improve your health and wellbeing? Perhaps you need to put your kitchen on a diet!
At this popular and practical cookshop with Sue Radd we will show you dietetic tricks to set up a ‘wellbeing’ kitchen so you can be healthier at any weight and better fight chronic disease.
Also, find out why you need to eat in sync with your body clock to be more successful with your efforts to reduce insulin resistance and excess body fat.
What you will learn:
- Common kitchen traps and how to avoid them
- How to conduct a kitchen audit
- Restocking your pantry – what to include
- Using smart shopping lists
- Menu planning to save time
Plus, discover safer food storage containers, bottles, bags and food wrapping you should be using that won’t leach nasty chemicals, like BPA and phthalates (linked to multiple health problems!), into your food.
Who should attend? This event is perfect if you want to get healthier for any reason or to clean up your diet. After attending this event you will know more ways in the kitchen to better manage your diabetes, fatty liver or cholesterol, or how to lose weight naturally by improving the quality of the calories you eat!
When: Tuesday 10th November 2015, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic, Castle Hill (Sydney)
Learn more about our cookshops
You will just love our delicious menu and enjoy tasting plates from entrée through to dessert, plus take home free recipes and handouts! Please don’t eat before coming!
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your seat. Bring a friend and make it a date!
Food Matters with Sue Radd – A Cruciferous Crush
Thinking about a spring detox? You really should learn about cruciferous vegies you can eat all year round. Read Sue Radd’s article and discover why.
What’s Fresh – Honeydew Melon
You’ve heard of watermelon and rockmelon, but honeydew melon may not be as common in your kitchen. As spring kicks off this season of honeydew melons, we are spreading the word about this delicious and nutritious fruit.
Firstly, it has a great name. “Honeydew” conjures up images of sweetness and juiciness – a perfect way to describe this melon. The fruit is round and oval in shape, with a pale green flesh enclosed in a smooth skin which ranges in colour from whitish-green to yellowish-orange.
Honeydew melon packs a good amount of vitamin C as well as many antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation in your body. Adding honeydew to your fruit quota for the day can help you fight chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
It can be hard to choose a good quality honeydew. Quality is usually determined by a nice round shape and a skin devoid of bruises and scars. For the juiciest melon look for one that feels heavy for its size. It’s best stored at room temperature whole, but make sure you refrigerate it after cutting.
4 fun ways with honeydew melon:
- Eat it raw! Honeydew melon is tasty enough on its own as a sweet treat.
- Ball it! Slice open your honeydew, remove the seeds and then scoop the flesh into balls with an ice cream scoop. A fun new way to eat fruit that the kids will love!
- Chop it up! Try throwing it into a fruit salad. It adds a tasty new flavour to an old favourite.
- Cube it! Cut up your honeydew into cubes and freeze. A fancy “ice cube” can making drinking water all the more interesting.
Food InFocus – Exposé on Cooking Methods
It’s not just what you cook but how you cook it that affects your health! Watch this short TV episode with Sue Radd before firing up the barbeque!
Product Review – Skinnybiks
What are they?
Skinny Biks are a new snack food developed by Melbourne-based Accredited Practising Dietitian, Associate professor Antigone Kouris-Blazos. Unlike most bikkies or cookies, these are a specialty gluten-free product to help cater for cookie lovers out there who have specific dietary restrictions.
What flavours are available?
Skinnybiks come in three delicious flavours – Lupin, cranberry and rose; Spelt, date and butterscotch; and Lupin, cocoa and dark chocolate chip. There is also now a brand new savoury flavour available – Lupin, turmeric and chia!
These cookies are soft baked so they have a soft, cakey texture. Each biscuit has a pleasant sweetish flavour. For example, you can taste hints of rose in the cranberry and rose biscuit, sweet flavours of butterscotch in the date cookies and a nice hint of chocolate in the choc chip cookie, which chocoholics will appreciate.
Skinnybiks provide around 113 Cal per serve (2 cookies). And just 2 cookies will give you 10% of your fibre for the day (the equivalent to 2 slices of wholegrain bread!). They are lower in sugar than most other biscuits you will find at the supermarket. But their unique feature is the nutritional quality of their ingredients. The cranberry and chocolate cookies are both made with a special flour from lupin (lupin is an ancient legume). This means they are naturally gluten-free and suitable for people with coeliac disease as well as providing some of the benefits of eating legumes. The spelt cookie is also gluten free and low in FODMAPs (see Issue 59, October 2014).
Where do you get them?
At this stage skinnybiks are available online at www.skinnybik.com with free delivery anywhere in Australia.
How much do they cost?
Skinnybiks are quite affordable at $17 for a pack of 2 boxes or $37 for a pack of 5 boxes.
Skinnybiks have been awarded a 4.5 (out of 5) health star rating and we can sure see why. These biscuits are made from wholesome ingredients and provide a tasty snack for biscuit lovers without breaking special dietary requirements.