May Blog 2011


By Clive Lindley-Jones | May 4, 2011 10:17 am


Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?… Does your diet socially isolate you?

With these two questions you may be able to start to diagnose a new eating disorder according to former sufferer Dr. Steve Bratman…Orthorexia nervosa .  If your answers to both questions are yes, Bradman  thinks you might be suffering from this as yet, not fully accepted, but interesting take on eating disorders. BBC – Newsbeat – Orthorexia: Worries about ‘healthy eating’ disorder.

So, in writing such blogs as this are we guilty of causing eating disorders in others or do we have such disorders ourselves? Hopefully neither. However it is a useful reminder of how obsessive compulsive traits can so easily attach to something like food and fitness and, like almost anything else, become a form of obsession. So I welcome Bratman’s observations.

In reality the reason we are still struggling so much with obesity and for some, confusion, over what and how to eat healthily, is because over the last half century or so, we have lost what food culture we had and come increasingly to rely on what Michael Pollen so elequently calls, Nutritionism.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

This is how Pollan sums up his bottom line food guidance in his brilliant 2007 New York Times article Unhappy Meals | Michael Pollan.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

In this way with these seven words Pollan states his highly condensed wisdom fleshed out  in his  brilliant essay on how we in the UK and  more especially our friends in his native USA, have got into such a pickle over food and are so well on the way to dying in such large numbers from  the results of this confusion.

I know he has to take several thousand words to explain the journey, culture, political chicanery and science behind these seven wise words and if you really want the nine key point summary you can get them here.

Michael Pollan’s nine key points – Megnut.However if you care about food and the environment, what you put into your body and that of your children, and want to know how we got to this absurd state of miss understanding, I really do encourage your to put the time into hearing Pollan out. Here in a few thousand  wise words is the answer to orthorexia nervosa and why such a strange condition could ever grow up in our confused and distorted nonfood non culture in the first place.

Pollan, who you will have seen if you say Food Inc my film of the month for February 2010,Food Inc. review | Health & Wellness from Helix House writes about food in a clear and sane manner outlining, from a USA perspective, (we are not too far behind that dire food culture in the UK, unlike our saner European neighbours) how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it.

Waist to Hip Ratio

The much used Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. However an equally simple approach is gaining in popularity as a cheap and effective tool to assess your health and your chances of retaining or gaining it, and that is the waist to hip ratio measurement. This even seems to suggest a correlation between low ratio  in mothers and  the intelligence in their offspring!Waist–hip ratio – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In January 2010 I wrote in these blogs about Apple and Pear shape bodies and how the distribution of fat Feast or famine? | Health & Wellness from Helix House. has a bearing on issues of inflammation etc. and so impacts upon your health. So perhaps all you really need to stay in great shape is a measure tape and then go onto this useful site  BBC – Health: Waist to hip ratio calculator. and you can quickly learn a lot about your health and prospects for free. If you have a measurement too high, don’t worry, if all fails come and see us at Helix House and we can advise you and coach your towards a more perfect and healthy ratio that will aid you in reaching a ripe old age. If you are confused about the role of exercise v diet then don’t be. The good news is it is getting clearer and clearer that the old adage that you must  “Eat right and get plenty of exercise” is the cornerstone of improved physical function.   According to the results of new study [1]. The combination of weight loss and exercise provided greater improvements in physical function and ameliorated frailty more than either intervention alone, although weight loss and exercise alone were beneficial, report investigators.

Published in the March 31, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the randomized, controlled trial included 107 obese adults aged 65 years of age of older. Patients were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: weight loss alone, exercise alone, weight loss and exercise together, or a control arm. The purpose of the trial was to assess changes on a modified Physical Performance Test (PPT) at one year, as well as to assess measures of frailty, body composition, bone-mineral density, and quality of life.

After one year, the diet-and-exercise individuals had PPT scores 21% higher from baseline, where higher scores indicate improved physical performance, while exercise-treated individuals had 15% higher scores and the diet-treated patients had 12% higher scores (p<0.001 for the between-group differences). Similarly, scores on a functional status questionnaire–with higher scores indicating better physical function–also improved more in subjects who exercised and lost weight.

Body weight decreased about 10% in the diet and diet-exercise study groups but did not decrease in the exercise and control arms. Finally, lean body mass and bone-mineral density at the hip also decreased 3% and 1%, respectively, in the diet-exercise group, less than the 5% and 3% reduction observed in the diet group alone, suggesting that the addition of exercise attenuated the loss of lean tissue and augmented physical function.

“The current study suggests that weight loss alone or exercise alone can reverse frailty, but that the combination of weight loss and exercise is more effective than either individual intervention,” However what they don’t say is that, as I have mentioned numerous times over the years our food chain is so adulterated with non foods that  mess with our glycemic load and kick off our insulin in inordinate ways that you really need to know more, as Michael Pollan points out, than the bland phrase ‘eat right’ to know how to do just that!

If you want to know why to bother with exercise check out our four page guide to find the best exercise that will fit you…..Publications – Helix House Natural Health Centre, Oxford, UK.

Book of the Month.

“What is God? The eternal One Life underneath all the forms of life. What is love? To feel the presence of that One Life deep within yourself and within all creatures. to be it. Therefore, all love is the love of God.” Eckhart Tolle.

The Power Of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

By Eckhart Tolle  The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment: Eckhart Tolle: Books.

Published in 1999, Tolle’s brilliant book is a guide, through words, to that which is beyond words.

Now a modern classic,  taken up by millions with TV coverage  thanks to Oprah Winfrey, you might be tempted to steer clear of this book and chalk it up as more new-age psycho- babble. Don’t, you would be wrong.

I have returned to it and enjoying it and absorbing its wisdom all over again, just as fresh as it was when I read it twelve years ago. Tolle speaks, in the modern idiom, clearly and with authenticity, from experience. If you ever wonder about the great questions of existence and wish to go beyond the great books of wisdom of any faith or none you could do a lot worse than read this wonderful book.