Healthy Aging Resources

Live Life to the Full in Optimal Health

  • Oct 28

    Is a low carb high/healthy fat diet (LCHHF) a healthy option? Diets are always big news.  From Scarsdale, Atkins, South Beach, Ornish, Zone, flexitarian, pescatarian, and paleo ….

    But shaking up the diet world this year is the idea that fat is healthy; grains and sugars are unhealthy. For as long as I can remember, there are continual contradictions in the media about what we should be eating.  It becomes very difficult to work out who is correct. On the one hand we have the Heart Foundation and the Dietitians Association telling us that we should be eating wholegrains and low fat food, and then on the other….

    When I was in my twenties, I became a vegetarian for five years – not out of concern for animal welfare, but because I lived in England and meat was expensive. Then I met Simon, who came from a sheep farm in New Zealand, and for a while we alternated vegetarian and meat meals until we had our first child.  From then on, we roughly followed the so-called Mediterranean Diet – meat, veggies, fruit and whole grains.

    However this did not serve us well. We both started becoming larger. And my husband suffered a minor heart attack at the age of 47. Once I hit 50 years of age, I was very unhappy about my size and wasn’t cheered by my husband telling me that it was because I was getting old!

    Then in July 2012, we changed to a Low Carb HEALTHY Fats diet.

    After my husband had undergone a five bypass heart operation (and was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2), we both began following Dr Steven Gundry’s program “Diet Evolution”.  In hospital the dietitian gave the same old advice which was to eat whole grains and low fat foods (ref:Low carbohydrate diets: going against the grain). Which we ignored because that’s what we had been doing, and it hadn’t stopped my husband getting heart disease and diabetes type 2.

    My husband has since reduced his weight by 20 kgs and I have dropped from a size 14 to size 12. We both feel well and my husband’s blood test results are continually improving. We both have always thought we had a healthy diet, but it wasn’t until I stopped eating my wholemeal bread sandwich for lunch (which I thought I could get away with) that I started to lose my “wheat belly” and my sticking out backside. We haven’t had to do a whole lot of exercise either – we both walk (and could do with lifting weights).

    Some of the “problems” we experienced and our solutions:
    Constipation – we increased our magnesium supplements, took probiotics and ate fermented foods (constipation is due to the previous damage caused by the fibre in grains).

    I wasn’t losing weight initially – I got my tape measure out and found that I was dropping inches before pounds. I had about 5kgs that I wanted to release, and eventually over about 6 months that occurred.

    Low thyroid – fortunately I was able to get treatment for a low thyroid before embarking on our new eating programme. I would have found it difficult to reduce weight if this hadn’t been resolved (ask your doctor to be tested).

    Low blood sugar – My cousin’s husband was taking medication for high blood sugar. Unfortunately he was not monitored by his doctor and suffered a scare when his blood sugar became extremely low. If you are taking blood sugar and/or blood pressure medication, be sure to continually monitor with your doctor as you may need to decrease your medication.

    We have stopped eating low fat foods, cooked root vegetables, all grains, all sweeteners. We have very rarely eaten processed foods and very little take-away foods. We eat heaps of fresh veggies as well as healthy fats –  avocados, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil; and a small amount of animal protein. We do have to continually read labels on food products like dried herbs, spices and chili sauce to watch out for added wheat and sugar! We eat fruit very occasionally, and Simon is a big fan of fresh lemon juice (which is “allowed”). Food is now interesting and nutritious.

    More and more evidence is pointing to how our high grain/high sugar diet is causing major health issues and obesity. It’s not how much we are eating, it is what we are eating. There are now many studies pointing out that our diets need to change. My husband is a dentist and is also aware of the damage that the current dietary guidelines have on our oral health.

    Since we changed to a low carb healthy/high fat diet my husband and I do not have the cravings, the hunger pains and the blood sugar swings that we used to have, and we have heaps more energy. Take a look as you walk around the streets at the damage our current dietary guidelines are doing to people.

    Get familiar with the science – read the books (I have read the books listed below) and watch the videos to learn what Dr Steven Gundry , Dr David Perlmutter (Video 1 and Video 2), Dr Jeff Volek and Dr William Davis and so many other health professionals have to say about the recommended food pyramid.

    Suggested Reading:
    Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline (read my review here)

    Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health (read my review here)

    Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan

    Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers

    The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

    Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life

    Other resources:
    Prof Grant Schofield
    Sugar: Hiding in plain sight – Robert Lustig (video) 
    Saturated Fat Phobia Lacks Scientific Basis – Dr Joseph Mercola
    Chef Pete Evans (for paleo recipes) and The Paleo Mom

    Christine Cronau – Author of The Fat Revolution

    Diet Evolution friendly recipes on my Pinterest page.

  • Sep 4

    What does it take to release weight? Do you have one of these at home?  For years I have been wishing for my husband to downsize, and instead he just kept on piling on the weight.  It wasn’t that he ate junk food, it was more that he ate too much meat, too many relishes, sauces and chutneys, and too much food generally. Combine that with lack of exercise, and slowly a health scare began forming.

    (He also takes advanced quality nutritional supplements that include heart healthy CoQ10, Omega-3 and magnesium plus others. But that’s not all that is required for prevention: 10 Healthy Aging strategies).

    He didn’t tell me that over the last 15 months he had been experiencing angina upon exertion.  But I did know that he was putting himself at risk of becoming diabetic (and it was getting very challenging finding size 3XL shirts).

    What does it take to release weight? The bingo experience.

    It took the death of his much-loved 55 year old cousin (a sudden fatal heart attack) in May this year, to wake him up (not his wife’s nagging…).  He contacted his cardiologist and told him to forget the treadmill, take him straight in for an angiogram. And the results were grim.  As the cardiologist said, ‘a bit of mischief has been going on’ (my husband had two stents placed in 1997 so was on the heart watch list).

    Four weeks later it was into hospital and 5 bypass grafts were performed.  (If you know anything about bypass operations, they do not perform a graft unless there is a 70% or more blockage.)  For the next 7 days, the pain of recovering began.

    Back home again and then a visit to the GP’s nurse to check the stitches and get a blood test done.  Diabetes Type 2 was diagnosed.

    30/7/2012 Blood test results:
    Total Cholesterol 5.8 mmol/L
    HDL: 0.87 mmol/L
    LDL: 3.8 mmol/L
    Chol/HDL Ratio: 6.7 (high)
    Triglyceride: 2.5 mmol/L (high – normal < 2.0)
    Glucose: 8.0 mmol/L (High – normal 3.5 to 7.7)
    HbA1c: 56 mmol/L (high – normal 20-40)

    Meanwhile, I had recommended that hubby reads a book – Dr Steven Gundry’s Diet Evolution.

    Bingo!  The time has come to release weight. Now he is on a “no grains, starchy vegetables, sugar and fruit” regime.  And boy, is it working!  The day of the operation he weighed 125 kgs and now he weighs just under 113kgs.  In less than 6 weeks. He has found it easy to do because he enjoys growing and eating vegetables, and importantly he doesn’t feel hungry. Here is a list of Heart Healthy Food Groups.

    We are now waiting for next set of blood to be taken and tested. (Last weekend he had a home blood sugar test done and his result was 6.3 – normal!).

    “The research actually shows that it’s the sugar and grains (which turn to sugar in our bodies) that cause high cholesterol as well as weight gain and type 2 diabetes, NOT the animal fats. If you eat animal products along with sugars and grains, that *will* cause your cholesterol and blood sugar to rise.”

    And yet when we look at the food pyramid we have grains taking up the large portion.  What if we put vegetables where the grains are, and put grains in with the sugars at the top.  And how about including more healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and nuts in our diet? Do you think that would solve many of our chronic health issues?  I believe it would.

    “Apparently wheat causes all sorts of issues, even if you don’t have a known allergy or intolerance to it….or I guess, you just don’t realize it is wheat causing trouble.”

    When you visit the supermarket, how many aisles hold products based on wheat? – breads, biscuits, cakes, muffins, crackers, bagels, pasta, pizzas, cereals, ready made meals, sauces…wheat is everywhere – you could even say… “ingrained”.

    “Check out the book Wheat Belly by William Davis MD.  He says the (very) genetically modified strains of wheat used everywhere these days cause havoc worldwide with the human immune system which has not been able to keep up with the change in structure of wheat products.”

    “It’s interesting information at worst and very enlightening at best.  Dr Davis says going wheat free leads to weight loss, alleviation of things like diabetes, colitis and celiac disease, improvement in cholesterol, reduction of inflammation and arthritis pain.., and so on.”

    Meanwhile, I began supporting my husband on the 8th August by following the same eating regime. I do have about 5kgs that I would like to release, and I have been fighting a pot belly for the last 10 years. So far, I have released 1kg and 3cms from my waist – the pot belly is flattening out!


  • Apr 30

    What is it about weight gain and aging? We are constantly being told to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and if you are doing that, you will be feeling the benefits. Eating healthy food is anti-aging. You will also know that it is important to eat in ‘technicolour” that is eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables – not just your favourites. And the reason for that is so that our body’s cells can get all the nutrients they need for healthy cell growth. And we need to bathe our cells with good clean water – it helps to keep our skin hydrated and flush out toxins.

    One of the problems many women in our age group face is weight gain. You can blame some of that on our hormones. Sometimes though, it is what and how much we put in our mouth. Dr Libby Weaver in her book Accidentally Overweight explains weight gain as pieces of a puzzle and we have to figure out which pieces relate to us. I have found her book both fascinating and helpful.

    What we eat also can put us at risk of getting a disease that is on the increase – Diabetes Type 2. However you can modify your diet so that you can be a healthy weight. If this is a concern for you (and it is a continuing battle for me) then here is a daily menu outline.

    Breakfast (to be eaten between 6am and 8am) – fresh fruit, plain yoghurt and a small mixture of seeds and nuts.
    Lunch (to be eaten between 12 noon and 2pm) – fresh veggies (salads are very good) with a small amount of protein – egg, white cheese, fish, chicken
    Evening meal (to be eaten between 5pm and 6.30pm (yes, that is a challenge for some of you) – again fresh veggies, small portion of protein and a healthy grain like quinoa or legumes like chick peas and lentils.

    This is a simple eating plan that can be modified to your taste. I also use meal replacement shakes to counter my ‘naughty’ meals – those ones where you are out socialising with friends.

    Eating ‘low glycemic (Low GI)’ foods help to maintain weight too. Low GI foods are foods are low in sugar – some high GI foods are white rice, white flour (found in bread, cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins), white potato, processed cereals and of course, sugar. Read the label carefully on drinks – many drinks – from flavoured milk to coke are high in sugar – they need to be avoided.

    If you need further motivation to manage your weight here is some new research from the Women’s Health Initiative hormone trials. “The message is obesity and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) are not good for your cognition and your memory,” said lead author Diana Kerwin, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and a physician at Northwestern Medicine.”

    Good, clean water is vital for our body’s health. Depending on our weight, we need to drink about 2 litres a day. Water flushes out toxins and if you are a supplement taker, it helps to bathe our cells with nutrients. Water refreshes us and also helps to prevent tiredness.

    Healthy eating needs to be part of our healthy aging plan. Keep it simple, and keep it fresh.

    For women 40+ who want to live life to the full and stay younger longer

    If you would like to find out which nutritional supplements are recommended to add to your healthy eating plan, please request my free eBook, by completing the form on your top right.

    I trust you found this helpful. If you did, please share it with others by clicking on the Facebook and/or Twitter icons below. And be sure to leave your comments and questions below. Thank you!

  • Apr 24

    What is an antiaging skin diet? As I have become older, I have found it harder to control weight gain. Because of this, I began to research what causes this constant battle. Whereas in our teens and early 20’s we have a hunger for carbs however, as we age we do need to be more discerning about the types of carbs we eat. I love the smell of freshly baked bread but that is one of the things I have learned to reduce in my diet and to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables. As you will read here, not only is a low glycemic diet helpful for weight management but it also keeps our skin healthier and less wrinkled too.

    The Great Skin Diet

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 11:33am

    AVOID HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS ~ Carbs and sugars
    Carbs are found in foods like white bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Not surprisingly, sweet treats, such as cookies, cake and candy, are full of sugar.

    HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS: Our bodies convert carbs and sugar to blood glucose very quickly. The measure of how long this takes is called the glycemic index. Foods quickly converted to glucose are high-glycemic.

    o If we load up on carbs and sugars, our glucose levels go up. When the glucose level is too high, the body increases its production of insulin to get it back down.

    o So what happens to skin when our insulin levels are too high? Oil production rises and skin cells die quicker. Oil and dead skin cells block pores, which can lead to acne breakouts. Not surprisingly, studies show a correlation between a high-glycemic diet and acne.

    RISK OF WRINKLES: Sugar binds to skin protein, causing wrinkles, a binding process called glycation.

    o After these sugar/skin protein bonds are made, damaging structures called advanced glycation end products — or AGEs, for short — are formed. AGEs destroy collagen (which keeps skin firm), causing wrinkles. Then, free radicals are created, which damage skin cells.

    o Particularly in people over age 35, the effects of glycation become stronger. Diabetics are also highly affected by glycation: they “can have up to 50 times the number of AGEs in their skin as those who don’t have diabetes.

    o Cut down high glycemic foods if you’ve got: Oily skin, acne or wrinkles. Keep added sugar to no more than 10 percent of total calories you consume in a day. Also, limit other types of sugar, including like corn syrup and dextrose.

    o Enjoy clear, wrinkle-free skin by avoiding high glycemic foods ~ you’ll thank me later! 😀

    Marie Bertrand
    Microbiologist and Skin Scientist
    SkinScience Clinic |

    For women 40+ who want to live life to the full and stay younger longer

    If you would like to find out which nutritional supplements are recommended for healthy beautiful skin, please request my free eBook, by completing the form on your top right.

    I trust you found this helpful. If you did, please share it with others by clicking on the Facebook and/or Twitter icons below. And be sure to leave your comments and questions below. Thank you!