British food industry and climate change

I recently had the privilege to hear Sir David Attenborough speak to bankers and financiers in London, pleading for all the successful entrepreneurs in the room to invest in companies trying to save animals, the planet and our health.

It was incredible to listen to a 93-year-old man who has dedicated his life to warning us about what is now actually happening to our world. He said all the solutions are there – but all of us have to do something about it – and we can achieve this by our choices in our everyday lives.

A lot of people don’t think about where the food on their plate comes from. But every purchase we make affects our livelihood, our economy. Britons stood up and shouted for Brexit yet, day after day, they buy imported food rather than home-grown produce.

The nation shouts and marches for climate change, then so many pop to the shop afterwards and don’t even read the label to see where their food comes from, or even stop to consider their own carbon footprint.

Supermarkets are still buying from all over Europe and not supporting British manufacturing or farmers.

At my company Vbites, we have invested heavily in UK-based production, creating hundreds of jobs in theNorth East. We have taken huge risks in investing in this country to help farmers grow oats, peas and potatoes that we can make into protein isolates and put into our products to feed the nation.

Meanwhile, some supermarkets continue to unnecessarily import food when they could so easily support the farmers and manufacturers in the UK which, in turn, supports the economy and the survival of this nation.

So next time you’re out in the supermarket take a look at the packet and see where the product was made. Because it’s down to you to bring about change in consumer demand – a change that could ultimately help save our planet.

The benefits of seaweed

Seaweed offers us one of the best sources of iodine, which can help support your thyroid gland. The vitamins and minerals it contains include vitamins K and B, zinc and iron, and many antioxidants.

It has been eaten in Asian countries, such as Japan and China, for centuries, and finally it’s becoming more and more popular in the western world. Many studies have shown that it helps increase weight loss because it contains a substance called fucoxanthin that apparently increases the protein that metabolises fat – benefiting people with Type 2 diabetes.

It also contains a substance called alginate which can help prevent bloodsugar spikes, which in turn may reduce the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Scientific tests have shown that the carbohydrate in seaweed called fucans may help prevent blood-clotting, which can cause heart disease.

Be careful where you source your seaweed – some can contain a lot of heavy metals. There is a lot of scaremongering about consuming too much iodine, but what is not promoted is the fact that many of us are walking round with an extreme iodine deficiency.

Heating food can kill 90% of the iodine we think we are consuming. It’s really important to understand its huge health benefits and wake up to the fact that the Japanese, as a nation, are far healthier than us, so why don’t we start learning from those that know more about nutrition? Next time you go out for a Japanese, order the kelp salad or, if you can’t hack the taste, get the miso soup with lots of seaweed in it – and know you will be chewing on something that has huge health benefits.

If you want to get creative, it’s very easy to find Nori sheets and follow an online recipe for avocado Maki wrapped in Nori. Like all food products, it’s important to know what you’re buying and, in my opinion, the best and cleanest seaweed source I have found to date is seaweedandco.com.

Is a vegan diet is suitable for everyone?

This week campaigner and food writer Heather Mills asks if a vegan diet is suitable for everyone When I first became a vegan I believed veganism could help everybody. But there are a number of factors you must be aware of before you go down the vegan path.

We know that vegans must take vitamin B12 to supplement their diet. However, following this way of life may mean you can’t convert short-chain fatty acids, such as flaxseed, into a long-chain fatty acid such as those found in oily fish. Oily fish such as salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid but this can be found in vegetable oils and nuts too (especially walnuts).

Depending on your digestive system and ability to produce enough enzymes, you may be one of the small percentage at risk of not getting enough DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) too. Vegetable-based omega-3s come from ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid) which are then converted to a long- chain fatty acid such as DHA or EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

I became concerned about people who couldn’t make this conversion, especially when it comes to the area of mental health and brain function. Then I discovered that omega-3 does not come from the fish itself, it comes from the algae the fish eat. I then wondered why are we killing billions of fish to squeeze oil out of them to put into capsules when we could just eat the algae directly?

The next problem I found was not all algaes are equal. Many have low levels of DHA. I decided to scour the world for the best algae and invested millions towards helping to solve the problem. This was motivated by a friend with serious mental health problems who wanted to go vegan.

Now 12 years on we have come up with the perfect DHA algal oil vegan capsule called V-Mega 3. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. If you’re still not convinced, imagine how much taking these will help marine ecosystems from all the overfishing.

It’s one thing to discuss enjoying a piece of fish on a plate but there is no discussion to be had over whether you should you take the original omega-3 source from the algae or the secondary source from the fish. For more information visit vbites.com

Let’s talk about the menopause

The menopause is one of the most important changes in a woman’s life, a time to re-evaluate and enter a new phase of maturity, wisdom and success. It’s a time to reassess health and nutrition to minimise anxieties. We can even start to revise any outdated beliefs and habits by improving diet and lifestyle, and begin to focus on the deeper issues of life.

Sometimes changes in one’s marital relationship, children growing up and leaving home, caring for ailing parents or employment-related issues may coincide with hormonal changes. And if, previously, a woman had been living an unhealthy lifestyle or had a poor diet and hadn’t developed major health problems, she wouldn’t be able to carry on the same during and after menopause. That’s why it’s so important to reassess your health and nutrition today to minimise any potential problems or imbalances that may have been suppressed or left unnoticed.

Menopause is not a sign of becoming overwhelmed or the body becoming useless, it simply prevents a woman from conceiving any more children. It could also be a time when you could develop and mature new, formerly untapped skills and capabilities.

If you have been lucky enough to understand the effect food has on hormones and follow a healthy diet, you will most likely have the least extreme symptoms throughout menopause. However, stress alone can greatly affect the endocrine system. This controls blood sugar levels and affects mood, energy levels, calcium balance, weight and sex hormones.

Too much alcohol, coffee, nicotine, sugar, chocolate, soft drinks, sport drinks and foods containing artificial sweeteners like aspartame may interfere with hormone production and are also sufficient to trigger symptoms. Smoking is known to accelerate the destruction of oestrogen too. A plant-based diet has been proven to decrease menopausal hot flushes – that’s why lots of doctors give soy tablets to normalise oestrogen levels. If you’re suffering, focus on your diet. In just a few months you will feel an improvement. And try and embrace this time, it does bring a lot of freedom too.

Soy versus dairy

The Chinese and Japanese consumed soy and avoided dairy for thousands of years until recent times. There was no obesity crisis in either country until they were flooded with western fast food chains. Over 20 years ago when I discussed the dairy debate and the benefits of plant-based proteins with Dr Hilary Jones and Lorraine Kelly on GMTV they looked at me in disbelief.

Now it’s accepted, finally, that a plant based diet is far healthier. Shares of vegan burger maker Beyond Meat rose by more than 160% after making their stock market debut recently and it’s been the fastest growing IPO in years. However VBites foods have been making vegan burgers for years. Soy burgers are currently the only plant-based burger with a complete amino acid chain.

The benefits of soy include lowering cholesterol and protecting heart health. It also provides you with good protein and B vitamins. There were a lot of sensational headlines created by those who wish to demonise the soybean – such as man boobs caused by the increase in oestrogen. However this is a myth. Instead, we overlook the fact we pump massive doses of phytoestrogens, which are plant hormones, into animals. The oestrogen in dairy and meat is thousands of times stronger than that found in soy.

What we should be concerned about is that science shows milk and dairy intake is proven to raise levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1), a hormone that controls growth and development in cows and humans. However, we do not grow at the same rate as a cow so these large doses have been linked with breast and prostate cancers.

Now I am 51, I’ll be going into the menopause soon but my doctor says that having consumed soy for over 20 years I probably won’t feel the same effects of hot flushes. In fact, he regularly prescribes soy tablets to decrease these symptoms in patients. Surely that alone is a good enough reason to reduce meat consumption and go for more soy alternatives.

The body's relationship with salt

This week, campaigner and food writer Heather Mills explains the body’s relationship with salt

There has been a lot of debate and confusion about the benefits and detrimental effects of salt. These constantly conflicting messages

have made many people reduce their salt consumption to such a degree that they are suffering numerous other ailments because of it.

We need salt (NHS recommends adults eat no more than 6g salt a day) but it has to be the right type...

I used to add a pinch of Celtic sea salt and alternate it with a pinch of Himalayan salt (more potassium) in my bottle of water when I was high altitude ski racing.

The intensity of this training meant that if I didn’t I would get severe cramps in my foot. However, I am still surprised how many people use nutrient-deficient sodium table salt.

Natural sea salt contains 92 essential minerals whereas table salt – usually a byproduct of the chemical industry – contains only sodium and chlorine.

When your cells suffer from a dietary deficiency of trace elements, they lose their ability to
control ions. This has serious consequences as cells in the body begin to burst. This can lead to nervous disorders, brain damage or muscle spasms, as well as, in the longer term, breakdown of cell regeneration.

Natural sea salt allows liquids to freely cross body membranes and blood vessel walls, and move freely through organs such as the kidneys.

Refined table salt can prevent the free crossing of liquids and minerals thereby causing fluids to accumulate and stagnate in the joints, lymphatic ducts, lymph nodes and kidneys.

The dehydrating effect of commercial salt can lead to gallstone formation, weight increase, high blood pressure and other health problems.

The body requires salt to properly digest carbohydrates. In the presence of saliva and gastric juices, natural salt is able to break down the fibrous parts of carbs. In its dissolved and ionised form, salt aids the digestive process and sanitises the digestive system.

So try and stick to Celtic sea salt and Himalayan varieties. And remember, you will be taking in plenty of processed salt in most foods when you eat out.

Refined table salt can lead to fluid in the joints

@heatherofficial @Vbitesfoods Website heathermills.org

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The beauty of bananas

Compared to an apple, the banana has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the amount of other vitamins and minerals.

A banana is rich in potassium and probably one of the best value fruits around. They contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose. Packed with fibre in its natural form, a banana gives an instant and continual energy boost. Research reveals just two can provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.

Bananas are also good for…

Mild depression

Many people often feel better after a banana as it contains tryptophan, a protein the body converts into the feelgood chemical serotonin. PMS Vitamin B6 in the fruit helps regulate blood glucose levels, which can calm the nervous system. Anaemia High in organic iron (inorganic is used in supplements), bananas can stimulate production of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body.

Blood pressure and brain power

High in potassium yet low in sodium, bananas help balance blood pressure. Students have been found to be more alert, getting better results, when eating them regularly. Constipation High fibre bananas help restore normal bowel function in some sufferers.

Heartburn

Bananas have a natural antacid effect, reducing irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Morning sickness Snacking on bananas helps keep blood sugar levels up and reduces the chance of nausea. Mosquito bites Try rubbing a bite with the inside of a banana skin. It is known to help reduce swelling and irritation. Quit smoking The B6, B12, potassium and magnesium in them help the body recover from nicotine withdrawal.

Stress

When stressed our metabolicrate rises, and potassium levels drop.The fruit’s potassium helps normalisethe heartbeat and sends oxygen to the brain.

So what more reason do we need? Let’s go bananas!

Coconut Oil Massages

Coconut Oil Massages

This week campaigner and food writer Heather Mills talks to us about massage with coconut oil

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the benefits of coconut oil due to its saturated fat content. But this fat is different to that found in animal fat, and makes a great substitute in cooking and even massage. While I was visiting India for the first time 30 years ago, I fell in love with Ayurvedic massage. Two ladies massaged me from head to toe with a perfectly timed rhythm. I then decided to introduce it into my own daily routine as I learned it helps prevent the accumulation of physiological toxins and also lubricates and promotes flexibility in the muscles, tissues and joints.

When cooking with coconut oil, it’s all about using it in moderation in your diet. It’s still a saturated fat, though one of the healthiest. Try one teaspoon a day to reap the benefits. But you can use it with abundance for massage, from your hair to your toes. When applied to the skin, the oil passes through the various layers into underlying connective tissues. It then combines with toxins present, especially fat-soluble ones. Within minutes of massaging the skin, the oil will leave the skin along with toxins. The skin is connected to every part of the body through thousands of cutaneous nerves.

This means a daily massage can help to balance the two major systems of the body, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Ideally, it is always good to brush your body with a loofah to get rid of any dead skin cells before self- massage and then take a warm shower. After the shower you should be left with a thin film of oil on the skin that remains beneficial for toning the skin and keeps the body muscles warm throughout the day. If you find you have applied too much oil, you can towel-dry some off. As a result, you will still get the full benefits of the coconut oil on your skin without looking like a greaseball when you head to work. Enjoy!

Positive experiences with homeopathy

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Campaigner and food writer Heather Mills on her positive experiences of homeopathy Boosting immune systems during the winter is essential Ever since I was a child I have relied on homeopathy. My mum left us when I was young, but she ended up at the Royal Marsden Hospital to help heal patients’ wounds from mastectomies with acupuncture and homeopathy.

As kids, we suffered from conjunctivitis and it was Pulsatilla that worked for us, alternating with Euphrasia. I believe some medicines mask symptoms until the body heals itself, and what is scary now is how many people are given drugs for the slightest cold. Boosting your immune system during winter is essential. Doctors may throw antibiotics at bacterial viruses, but inappropriate use has helped create diseases that are resistant to treatment. When a virus enters your body it invades some of your cells and takes over the cell machinery to reduce it, e.g. chickenpox and the common cold. In some cases, it may be difficult to work out if you have a virus or bacterium causing your symptoms. Obviously it’s best to check with your doctor but on some occasions, homoeopathy can heal the symptoms, whereas drugs may make you antibiotic resistant.

I highly suggest investing time with a homoeopathic doctor. It’s easy to learn the basics before you jump straight into taking antibiotics for a cold. You can also look into herbs like goldenseal and echinacea. Goldenseal is a perennial herb from the buttercup family. When it enters the liver, it destroys pathogens, both bacterial and viral. Echinacea is a member of the daisy family and very helpful with respiratory infections when you have a cold or flu. It is known for encouraging the immune system which in turn reduces symptoms of colds and flu and a number of other conditions. Do not use either when you’re pregnant and don’t use on babies.

The bottom line is you need to keep your immune system boosted. Colds and flu cannot enter or survive in your body if your immune system is strong – it’s as simple as that. Homeopathy and herbs are all available at Holland & Barrett or any natural health food store.

Looking after your liver

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Campaigner and food writer Heather mills advises on how best to look after your liver...

Most people know that alcohol is a huge liver stressor, but not everybody knows life’s daily stressors deplete the

liver and put incredible pressure on it to work so much harder.

Your liver does most of its work at night. It’s about the size of a football and sits under your lower rib cage on the right hand side. It helps clean your blood of chemicals and makes liquid bile, which breaks down fat in the blood.

It also stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost, so it’s important to break the fast you have had while sleeping – gently. Simple and effective ways to give the liver a break are avoiding fats in the morning and high proteins, which generally contain fats too. Save these for lunch and dinner.

Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is key – that’s why grazing on healthy foods is so critical to healing. When your blood sugar levels drop and your liver’s glucose reserves are low, your adrenals are going to be strained and produce excess adrenaline to make up for it. This can be a big strain on your liver. You can also try adding a few drops of liquid zinc into a glass of water before going to bed – your liver will love it.

Nagging hunger usually happens when you’re not getting enough glucose or because you’re consuming too many fats in the morning that ultimately block glucose absorption and storage.

If you can focus your morning on fresh fruits and vegetables rich in natural glucose, it will give your liver a chance to collect and store the good sugars needed to keep your blood sugar levels stable and running efficiently.

Research some yummy smoothies made of fruit and/or vegetables that you love, and if you’re really ravenous, throw in some pre-soaked sugar-free and gluten-free oats in the blender.

If you are really depleted, it may take time – as it does to fill up an empty tank of fuel – so please be patient if fruit and vegetable juicing doesn’t fill you up initially. In time, your stomach will shrink and your energy will be boosted.

 

Moderating Alcohol Intake | Live Healthy with Heather - Daily Mirror Column

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Heather’s bi-weekly column on all things plant-based health related - Exclusively in the daily mirror.

Campaigner and food writer Heather mills advises moderating your alcohol intake...

Alcohol is one of the fixed-in-society ways of calming down after a stressful day or celebrating a special occasion. But how do we moderate it and do we know exactly what is in it? Probably not.

I am not trying to get you to stop drinking wine altogether, I just want you to know the facts and inspire you to choose the right wines and drink in moderation so you will feel great.

Did you know many wines are made using fining agents such as blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fibre from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts) and isinglass (gelatine from fish bladder membranes).

The good news is you can buy some great wines which don’t use this process – just ask if they are vegan. Zizzi restaurants and Greene King pubs, for example, proudly advertise their vegan wines. Even Guinness has stopped using fish guts in its filtration process and is 100% vegan.

It’s a big temptation to reach for a glass of alcohol at the end of the day, but the only way to help moderate your drinking is to eliminate it from the house Monday to Friday and save it for the weekends and special occasions.

One important reminder is to always drink a glass of water or two between each glass of wine. Alcohol dehydrates our bodies and makes us want to grab an extra glass too quickly, creating a domino effect and an unnecessary hangover the next day.

Another top tip is to always have a pot of plant-based milk thistle by the side of your bed. Your liver does all its work at night and this will assist greatly in minimising the stress this particular organ is going through.

I find the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one, so go to the gym or for a run, or even a leisurely stroll – anything to stop you from reaching for that wine on a
daily basis.

You may roll your eyes but you will love me for it when you’re back in control and feeling amazing.

The Protein Myth | Live Healthy with Heather - Daily Mirror Column

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Heather’s bi-weekly column on all things plant-based health related - Exclusively in the daily mirror.

Putting as many plants on your plate as possible is the whey to go.

Campaigner and food writer Heather mills on whey protein vs plant-based alternatives...

Many years ago I was contacted by scientist Professor T colin campbell. He had conducted a collaborative study between America, the UK and china on the benefits of dairy, from cornell University in New York. Growing up on a dairy farm, he hoped and believed his study would show that dairy was a healthy product. In his words to me, he had discovered – after analysing the biggest study in history of its kind – that we could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk. Being brought up on a dairy farm initially made these statistics horrifying for him, but they were now fact. Other findings included the fact that although milk had calcium in it, it leeched the bones of calcium when consumed – meaning your body was in a deficit. “People who ate the most animal-based foods suffered the most chronic disease. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest,” the authors state. Whether you’re going vegan or not, they suggest putting as many plants on your plate as possible at every meal. Many gym goers are hooked on buying huge packs of whey protein and casein – not connecting the dots when some of them get severe acne or a lot of mucus. All this aside from the scientifically proven fact that ditching dairy can help reduce the risk and even reverse heart disease by adding a wholefood plant-based diet. It’s really easy to find your favourite food replacements in most supermarkets or online at Ocado. Morrison’s has launched a new allergen-free, plant-based cheese in numerous flavours in selected stores. If you need a whey protein replacement, try fitdelis.com chocolate protein powder – that’s my daily breakfast. On a cold day, I mix it into my porridge for a chocolate protein boost. I doubt in your busy lives you will have time to read The china study by Professor T-colin campbell, and it is certainly not a holiday beach read, however, you can google the information or watch his speech online to get more facts than I can write in this column.

Animal vs Plant Protein | Live Healthy with Heather - Daily Mirror Column

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Heather’s bi-weekly column on all things plant-based health related - Exclusively in the daily mirror.

Campaigner and food writer Heather Mills on animal vs plants, the protein myth, for a healthier happier you...

Ever since becoming a vegan, the number one question I get asked is where to get protein on a plant-based diet. It's important to get protein regularly as we don't store it for long enough in our bodies, but it doesn't have to come from an animal.

Professor Colin Campbell, who co-wrote the international bestseller ‘The China Study’, spent 30 years analysing why we have so much illness in the western world compared to that seen in the Far East. He concluded that it was all down to the excess meat and dairy we consume, which contributes to heart disease and high cholesterol among other diseases.

Many meat and dairy lovers would struggle with a healthy diet of nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and tofu. That's why I developed over 540 meat, dairy and fish alternatives to satisfy many palates in 24 countries, packing many of them with more protein than meat and dairy.

Life these days is crazily busy, so if we have to resort to a fast food diet we need to make it as healthy as possible with tasty alternatives to burgers and pizzas.

And the good news is you'll crave less and less of these as your body goes through the transition. I know this for a fact from when I donated Elm worth of foods to feed a healthier diet to poverty stricken families living in the Bronx. Over the years we saw huge improvements with Type 2 diabetes being reversed in three months. Also, Type 1 sufferers had to use less insulin on a healthy plant-based diet, minimising the risk of limb amputations in later years, it even reduced eczema and asthma amongst other ailments. With the Hunts Point Alliance for Children we created rooftop gardens so the kids could grow vegetables to eat alongside their Vbites Vegan Burgers, transitioning to 90% whole food products within one year. This was way back in 2006. Now, new meat alternatives can surpass many animal and fish-based proteins. Plant-based products are also more alkaline in the body whereas meat is more acidic. In my sports career I'd have vitamin B12 injections in my bootie, but if you don't want to look like a water sprinkler I'd recommend taking a daily vitamin B 12 capsule or liquid drops. Aside from this - and omega-3 from an algae-based source - there is very little else you will need on a plant-based diet. Unlike the multitude of vitamins so many carnivores are readily gobbling.


Gut Health on a Plant-Based Diet | Live Healthy with Heather - Daily Mirror Column

Heather’s bi-weekly column on all things plant-based health related - Exclusively in the daily mirror.

Heather Mills - Founder & Director, VBites Foods

Heather Mills - Founder & Director, VBites Foods

In the first of a fabulous new series of fortnightly columns, campaigner and food writer Heather Mills on why taking care of our gut could be the secret behind feeling more healthy and happy.

Time and time again I am asked I a number of questions.

How do you stay fit and healthy at 50? How do you overcome living with a disability? How do you stay strong when life throws everything at you?

Over the coming weeks, I hope to help by sharing my life experiences - to let you know how I have found solutions for illnesses that conventional medicine has been unable to help me with. So, I am writing this column in the hope I can save you the suffering I've had to endure. What I have come to realise is that we are all unique and there is not one cure for all. There is, however, a common thread of easy non-medicated solutions for severe digestive disorders other than antacids. The saying "you are what you eat" is 100% true, but if you can't digest the best food in the world, it all ends up a rotten stinking compost. Many people suffer from acid reflux due to an inefficient digestive system, and are either unaware of it, as in secret reflux, or embarrassed to talk about it. If you suffer from heartburn or keep losing your voice, or bloat and cramp within 30 minutes of eating you may have acid reflux or SIBO (visit mindbodygreen.com and search SIBO for more information). A safe and easy test is to squeeze a lemon in a 1/4 glass of water and drink it within five minutes of eating your meal. If it feels soothing and warm and you do not get reflux, lemon is enough. But if like me your digestive system is a mess from life's stress, try a hydrochloric acid capsule (like Holland & Barrett MultiDigestive Enzyme £8.49 for 90 Tablets) to break down the proteins in your food. These also contain a digestive enzyme to break down carbs. You can also pick these up at most natural health food stores, and for me, and so many I have advised, it has been life-changing. When you eat and you have very little hydrochloric acid available, the food, no matter how healthy, can't digest and ferments, creating gas, bloating, diarrhoea and then constipation. So to find out why you're suffering, try the lemon and water first and then a hydrochloric acid capsule. Let me know how you get on, and I hope you'll soon be feeling pain free.

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