Are You Taking Statins?

Hypercholesterolaemia is a condition characterised by an excess of cholesterol in the blood. An alternative term is dyslipidaemia, which encompasses elevated triglycerides, low levels of HDL-C, and high LDL-C (1).

Hypercholesterolaemia is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and arterial disease and is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States (2).

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How SAD is the Standard American Diet?

America is in a troubled place right now.

Leaving aside the recent chaos that began in Minneapolis, and the leadership crisis they have in the White house, its 328 million people are under siege from their own food choices. While the temporary nature of the rioting will pass when the media eventually gets bored of covering it or it no longer stimulates clicks, likes, posts and reactions across the fickle social media world, the deep systemic problems arising from the food culture in America will be its ultimate demise in my opinion.

I once heard the fantastic Dr. Zach Bush tell Rich Roll on his podcast, that the Russians now believe that the biggest threat to US national security is its healthcare system as over time, as the health of America declines rapidly due to its toxic and disease promoting food culture, the healthcare system will suck every available dollar up from government department budgets, leaving national security underfunded and vulnerable. If that scenario does indeed come to pass, the dark days of today will seem like shining lights of the past.

So what is the SAD anyway?

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Is Turmeric Good For You?

Following on from Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype? comes the mighty Turmeric. Turmeric is a plant from the same family as ginger and grows natively in the India and Southeast Asia region. It looks very similar to the ginger root, with the bright orange colour of turmeric being the main physical difference.

It comes in many forms now – ground up spices, capsules to pop just like pills, shot drinks and many other forms.

So what is it about this strange little orange spice that seems to benefit us humans?

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Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype?

Much has been touted about the benefits of this little plant compound over the years with lots of claims about its protective influence against cancers, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The headlines seem to always revolve around drinking wine, unsurprisingly – it’s almost as if we just want to be told to drink more wine, it’s good for you!

It reminds me of the ballsy ad campaigns from Guinness back in the day claiming all sorts of crazy benefits. It was an advertiser’s dream to work for Guinness back in the old days, not so much anymore with all the advertising regulations.

You could claim anything for your product back in the old days…
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The Mediterranean Diet: It’s Not Just the Food

While the exact mechanisms by which the components of this diet may improve cardiovascular health does require further research, the cumulative effects of higher fibre intake, antioxidants, healthy fats including the essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein and complex carbohydrates all appear to contribute to an overall reduction in inflammatory markers (hs-CRP, IL-6,7,18), oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, blood pressure, insulin resistance, blood glucose dysregulation, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol levels and body weight (3, 4, 6, 7).

Legumes, specifically beans are good sources of potassium and magnesium, which may help reduce BP (21, 22) and due to their low glycaemic load, they are likely to result in lower postprandial insulin levels, associated with lower salt retention and lower BP (23, 24).

So what’s different about the MD?

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The Mediterranean Diet

Cardiovascular disease is a favourite topic of mine so when it comes to dietary interventions to prevent and reverse heart disease, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is right up there, alongside a whole-food plant based diet low in sugars as the best dietary choices available.

The MD has been extensively studied, going back as far as the 1990s with the Lyon Diet Heart Study. A PubMed search for the term “Mediterranean diet” yields over 5,000 results. When you include “cardiovascular disease”, the search returns over 1,600 results. There is a lot of information on this out there so it can be hard to distill the reliable, trustworthy sources from the rest of the noise in the world of nutritional science.

Here’s my take on this dietary approach.

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Going Dairy Free

I’ve done a lot of self-experiments over the years – gluten free, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, paleo, 365 days alcohol free, standing vs seating desks, smartphone vs dumb phone, caffeine free, 30 day fitness challenges. I have learnt a lot from doing these trials and testing out what works or doesn’t work for me. A human guinea pig if you will. 

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The Gift in the Pause

I haven’t written in nearly 6 weeks which is a record for me. Why is this? Well the last 6 weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind haven’t they?

  • I have been adjusting to working from home full time
  • In a house with 3 small loud playful kids and 1 amazing wife
  • My kids are now experts at video conferencing
  • We are restricted to movement within a 2km radius of home
  • No social gatherings
  • Physical distancing from everybody
  • Food shopping has become very strange
  • I am never washing my hands again after all of this 🙂
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A Letter from Father to Son

This letter is dedicated to my son, Jacob.

When you change from being a man to being a Dad, something slowly turns inside of you. Things are very different. You see life through an altogether different lens. It is incredibly rewarding and you sense that this is really what life is all about, it’s what is meant to happen.

So this is a letter from me to you Jacob, just in case, for some crazy reason, we get separated somewhere along life’s path and I am no longer there to hold your hand, to tell you it’ll be ok, to smother you in my love. This letter can be your blueprint for living a good life and I hope you find it useful as you experience everything this beautiful life has to offer.

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