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UK Blog Awards for Health & Social Care

The UK Blog Awards 2016 are now open for nominations, and we’re hugely pleased to announce that Hammersmith Health Books will be sponsoring the Health & Social Care category.

We love the variety and quality of blogs on all aspects of health and caring in the UK, and the UK Blog Awards are a fantastic opportunity to give much needed recognition to the blogs that mean the most to their readers. We’re so excited to be involved!

Nominated blogs pass a public vote round before the final awards are decided by specialist judging panels for each category. This year, our founder and director Georgina Bentliff will be on the Health & Social Care judging panel.

All short listed blogs will gain exposure and reach new audiences, as well as having the chance to connect with more brands.

The UK Blog Awards were created in 2014 to recognise true viral style and creative excellence across 16 UK industries, as well as awarding two sub-categories: Best Storyteller and Most Innovative award. The awards are more than an event, but a digital outreach platform that connects blogs with brands. There will also be Blog of the Year Award, sponsored by Odeon, giving winners from each category the chance to win extra prestige in the blogging community.

We’ve also teamed up with Action PR to co-host a blogger event in London where hopeful award winners can learn more about what the judges will be looking for, and network with brands and other bloggers. There’ll be a selection of our books available for bloggers to take away and read on health issues from chronic fatigue to irritable bowel syndrome, dementia care to vegan food, and everything in between.

If you’d like to follow some of our authors’ blogs check out:

Max Tuck, The Raw Food Scientist, author of Love Your Bones and The Whole Body Solution

Martyn Hooper, Chair of the Pernicious Anaemia Society, author of Pernicious Anaemia – The Forgotten Disease, Living with Pernicious Anaemia, and What You Need to Know About Pernicious Anaemia

Jenna Farmer, A Balanced Belly, book on IBS and IBD coming soon.

Dr Megan Arroll, psychologist and author of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Navigating Your Way to Health

For more info on the awards and how to enter click here, and browse all our health and social care titles here.

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How to work out what’s wrong with your bowel

Apart from the red flag symptoms listed in the previous blog, where do you start when trying to work out what’s up with your gut?

You can help yourself and your doctor by:

Keeping a diary of your symptoms.

It helps your doctor make a diagnosis if you can be specific about how long you’ve had your symptoms, what they are, what seems to trigger them or whether they are present all the time, and how much weight you have lost. Keeping a diary of your gut symptoms will help you remember and give your doctor valuable information. One gastroenterologist has told how increasingly patients will photograph or video their bloated stomachs on their mobile phones to document their symptoms.

Not being embarrassed.

People literally die of embarrassment because they can’t get their heads round describing their stools/piles/diarrhoea to their doctors. Get over it. If you don’t like describing what your poo looks like ask your doctor if you can point it out on the Bristol Stool Chart.

Mentioning any family history of gut disease to your doctor.

Some complaints do have a genetic basis so it will be another piece in the jigsaw for your doctor if you can supply details of conditions such as bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases in your immediate family. (Volunteer this if they don’t ask you first.)

Not cutting out food groups on a hunch.

If you do have an autoimmune condition, such as coeliac disease, where the body reacts to gluten and causes bowel symptoms, it’s important you don’t cut out any foods you suspect are to blame, such as bread or breakfast cereals, until your condition has been fully investigated. This is because you may need a gut biopsy to confirm your diagnosis (the villi – fingerlike projections in the gut which absorb nutrients – will be damaged and shrunken if you have coeliac disease) and if you have stopped eating gluten they may have returned to normal, giving a false negative diagnosis.

Being persistent.

If your doctor has told you to eat more bran to help with constipation and your symptoms are getting worse, go back and tell him or her. Whilst eating more fibre helps in a lot of cases of constipation, in up to 30 per cent of cases it doesn’t. (The cause could be slow transit in the gut, in which case too much fibre will make it worse!)

Not self-medicating for the long term.

Obviously it’s fine to buy over-the-counter remedies if your gut problems are short term, but if you are relying on laxatives, antacids or anti-diarrhoea medication in the long term it’s advisable to see a doctor and find out the underlying cause.

Finding reliable sources of information.

There are an awful lot of ‘snake oil’ salesmen out there on the internet, peddling dodgy cures or extreme diets with no good science to recommend them. Charities are good sources of accurate information about managing your condition and their online resources are written in a reader-friendly consumer style. Don’t forget organisations such as NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) produce guideline summaries on the management of health conditions written especially for patients, setting out clearly what investigations and treatments are recommended.

For more information and advice on how to manage difficult bowel symptoms and improve gut health problems such as IBS and IBD, read What’s Up With Your Gut, out now.

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Recognising red flags when suffering from bowel problems

There are some gut symptoms associated with bowel problems you should never ignore and we thought it best to flag them up here – if you are think these symptoms may apply to you talk to your doctor. Chances are it’s nothing to worry about, but better safe than sorry.

New symptoms

A lot of people endure symptoms such as pain, alternating bowel habits and food intolerance. These may have gone on for a long time, fluctuating in intensity and are sometimes helped by one or two dietary changes, and sometimes not. But recent changes are likely to be more serious than something that has persisted for years. If you had similar problems in your 20s to those in your 50s  and in between), it is unfortunate that you may have had to wait so long to get any answers, but it is not likely to be a life-threatening condition. If the symptoms have just started, it is far more worrying.

Don’t be embarrassed. Help your GP assess what needs to be done. Be sure to describe how long you have had the symptoms and explain exactly what you mean. In particular, be sure to tell your GP about the following symptoms as they may indicate a serious condition:

  • abdominal pain and fever
  • anaemia
  • blood in your stools
  • change in bowel habits
  • jaundice and definite lumps you can feel
  • unexplained weight loss.

Abdominal pain and fever

Fever and sharp, stabbing abdominal pain can have several causes and you may need to go to A&E or even call an ambulance if these are severe and sudden in onset.

Anaemia

Anaemia, which will make you look pale and feel tired, may be due to hidden (‘occult’) blood loss, and your GP may organise for you to have an endoscopy and/or colonoscopy, together with blood tests for coeliac disease, iron, B12 and folate deficiency.

Blood in your stools

Blood in your stools must be investigated. If it occurs only on wiping the anus with toilet tissue, it may just be haemorrhoids (piles) or an anal fissure (tear), but this should be checked by an examination, and then perhaps by a limited flexible sigmoidoscopy. If there is blood mixed in with the stools, you should be referred to a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon and have further tests, such as colonoscopy (or possibly a CT scan), to be certain bowel cancer and ulcerative colitis have been excluded. These are major diseases which are much more successfully treated if caught early and are not difficult to diagnose with the proper tests, so get your GP to refer you to a gastroenterologist if you suspect one of these. Although bowel cancer increases in likelihood as you get older, it is common enough that people aged 40 to 50 or younger can get it. If you know that you have a family history of bowel cancer you are also more at risk. The good news is that, when you have had a colonoscopy, you can be sure for quite a long time (several years) that this has been excluded as the cause of your symptoms. The faecal calprotectin test is now also useful in predicting if you do need a colonoscopy. If you are older, be sure to get the routine screening tests that are now offered.

Change in bowel habits

If you have a recent change in your bowel habit, then tell your GP and be prepared to get more tests. Clearly, if everyone in your family has just got the same symptoms after eating the same food, or you have just come back from an area where gastroenteritis is common, and the symptoms are not too bad, you can wait a week or two to see whether things go back to normal. But if they do not, and particularly if there is blood in the stools, then you MUST get tests.

Jaundice and definite lumps you can feel

Jaundice symptoms (yellow eyes and skin) and definite lumps, particularly if they are tender, must not be ignored. The lumps may turn out to be only hard faeces but you want to be sure that a definite diagnosis is made in case it might be an inflamed gall bladder, an ovarian or another cyst, or possibly a stomach or bowel tumour. Hernias in the groin or in other places in the abdomen may also feel like painful lumps and can also cause problems until they are treated.

Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss is important and will lead to other blood tests and probably hospital referral. Sometimes there is a gut disease (coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease, for instance) or cancer, but in other cases can be due to an endocrine disorder, such as an over-active thyroid, or to a wide range of other disorders, including neurological or mental health problems (you cannot buy, cook or chew your food), or cannot easily eat (dental problems, for instance or Alzheimer’s). These should be fairly easy for your GP to diagnose.

It can be very hard to start figuring out what’s up with your gut, so listen to your body and be aware of any possible symptoms that you should tell a doctor or other health professional who may be able to help. For less serious conditions, just keeping track of how you feel can help you to improve your symptoms on your own.

For more advice on how to track your symptoms and get to the bottom of your bowel issues read our next blog: Working out what’s wrong with your bowel, and order your copy of What’s Up With Your Gut? by Jo Waters and Professor Julian Walters.

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The Truth about Vitamin D and Sun Exposure

Vitamin D and strong bones

This is the vitamin we have all heard of in relation to strong bones. It is actually a hormone, made from cholesterol. Vitamin D is made in the skin upon exposure to ultraviolet light (UVB rays). Vitamin D deficiency is becoming rife in our society, and it has been linked to numerous other medical problems.

From the skin where it is formed, Vitamin D travels to the liver, where it is converted to a ‘storage’ form. When vitamin D is needed, some of the stored form is transported to the kidneys, where it is converted by an enzyme to a ‘supercharged’ form known as 1,25 D, which is 1000 times more active.

If the diet is high in animal protein, the converting enzyme cannot function effectively and the process of producing 1,25 D is adversely affected. Likewise, those with high levels of stress might be inadvertently affecting their vitamin D levels due to high levels of cortisol, which reduces vitamin D absorption.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption in the gut and its deposition into the bones. If calcium consumption is too high (such as with overuse of chalk-based supplements) it lowers the activity of the kidney converting enzyme, and the levels of 1,25 D fall, indicating that high calcium diets are not necessarily better for us.

Raw plant diets and Vitamin D

About 90% of our vitamin D supplies come from sun exposure, not food. However, certain mushrooms have been shown to have relatively good levels and are used in supplementation regimes. The humble stinging nettle gives a good supply, so put some gloves on and pick some fresh nettles to go in your daily green juice. You may hear that the only food source of vitamin D is from animal products. This is not actually the case – we just have to be a bit more resourceful in where we look. In fact, an interesting study indicated that people following a living-foods, uncooked plant-based diet absorbed and maintained higher levels of vitamin D.

There exists considerable controversy about sun exposure. How many times have we heard that we have to wear at least factor 15 sunblock before we consider venturing outside, even in the UK in winter? We seem to have become so consumed with the fear of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, that many of us get insufficient sun exposure to stimulate adequate vitamin D production.

Vitamin D deficiency

It is estimated that half the population of the UK is deficient in vitamin D in the winter, with as many as one in six being classified as severely deficient. Those more at risk are the dark skinned who live too far away from the equator, women who use a traditional religious dress which prevents any exposure of their skin to the sun, and anyone who lives at latitudes greater than 40 degrees north or south of the equator.

Additionally, those living in a polluted environment will have less exposure to UVB, since air pollution blocks some of the UVB rays reaching us. Older people also seem to have a lower rate of production of vitamin D in the skin when exposed to sunlight.

Use some common sense. Do not go out in the sun at midday at the equator and stay there for three hours; build up gradually. After a long winter, expose slowly, for a few minutes a day, if you have very pale skin. Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm as a general rule. But do expose!

Sunblock and Vitamin D production

Regarding sunblock, avoid chemical sunblocks, since the skin will absorb practically everything you put onto it. Personally I never use sunblock unless I am up a mountain (altitude increases your ‘dose’ of UVB rays), and I am well known for my love of being out in the sun. My favourite form of protection is close-woven cotton clothes, as recommended by the Vitamin D Council.

A final word of warning regarding sun exposure supplying you with adequate vitamin D is that if you shower within 12 hours of the sun exposure, you wash off the oils in the skin that are being converted. New studies even indicate that it could be up to 48 hours before the vitamin D has been absorbed, and most people would certainly have showered by then. The advice therefore would be to go out in the sun early in the day, and not shower until the following morning.

I recommend that anyone concerned about their vitamin D levels, and whether they should be supplementing, get tested for 1,25 D. I advise against indiscriminate supplementation with vitamin D, particularly if you have regular sun exposure. When you take vitamin D, the body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in the body. Without vitamin K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so their benefits are unrealised. This is why, when supplementing, I recommend supplements that contain 1,25 D and K2 together, for the best health benefits. Taken together, these two nutrients keep the calcium in your bones and improve heart health by preventing the arteries and other soft tissues from becoming calcified.

For more information on raw plant diets and natural ways to support your health read Max Tuck’s books Love Your Bones and The Whole Body Solution, and follow @MaxTuck on twitter.

This extract is taken from Love Your Bones, the essential guide to ending osteoporosis and building a healthy skeleton available as ebook and paperback.

Further Reading:

15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D, According to Science (+15 Best Vitamin D Foods)

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Prevent, reverse and treat diabetes and its precursor: metabolic syndrome

Most people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome conditions regard them as inevitable evils and agree to take the medicine – or inject the insulin – when the time comes. But it need not be that way. Sustainable medicine expert Dr Myhill explains in her new book steps anyone can take not only to prevent the onset of the disease, but to actually reverse and treat diabetes, and the condition that underlies it: metabolic syndrome.

Self help to prevent and treat diabetes

As Dr Myhill writes: ‘All medical therapies should start with diet. Modern Western diets are driving our modern epidemics of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia; this process is called metabolic syndrome. In Prevent and Cure Diabetes: Delicious Diets, Not Dangerous Drugs I explain in detail why and how we have arrived at a situation where the real weapons of mass destruction can be found in our kitchens. Importantly, the book describes the vital steps every one of us can make to reverse the situation so that life can be lived to its full potential.’

To celebrate Dr Sarah Myhill’s latest book we want to share some of the key things you can do to help yourself prevent onset and treat diabetes. Looking after our own bodies is not just a cost effective and sustainable approach to health care, but a responsibility we have to ourselves and our loved ones. After all,

‘Prevention is better than cure.’

– Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536)

  1. Keep your gut healthy and reduce the carbohydrate load from the gut by

    • eating a low glycaemic index (GI) diet;
    • avoiding a sugar rush;
    • including more fat in the diet;
    • eating more vegetable fibre.
  2. Improve your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar by

    • only eating carbohydrates at one meal a day (and no snacking) and going without starchy carbs for one day a week;
    • exercising;
    • taking nutritional supplements for essential micronutrients that are deficient in the diet.
    • avoiding particular prescription drugs that induce insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
    • detoxify the body from the outside too with regular hot showers, sauna-ing and/or Epsom salt baths.
  3. Ensure your thyroid and adrenal glands are healthy and functioning well.

  4. Prevent inflammation by doing all the above, ensuring good quality sleep, exercise, sunshine, and love and laughter.

  5. Adopt strategies that encourage fat burning, which is highly protective against too low blood sugar levels.

For more from Dr Myhill visit her website and read the first chapter for free before ordering your copy of Prevent and Cure Diabetes: Delicious Diets, Not Dangerous Drugs available in paperback and ebook.

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10 Foods IBS Sufferers Should Avoid

It can be frustrating and take quite some time to discover if certain foods are affecting your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. Some dietary changes may work for one person but not another. Below we outline the safest foods for IBS sufferers, and the foods you should avoid – those that have the most chance of aggravating your IBS symptoms.

Information is taken from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Navigating Your Way to Recovery by Professor Christine Dancey and Dr Megan Arroll. Dancey is Professor Emeritus of Chronic Illness Research at the University of East London (UEL). As a researcher into invisible long-term conditions and a mis-diagnosed sufferer, she has a unique insight into what people with IBS want and need to know.

Dr Megan Arroll is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at BPP University and is a member of the Health and Illness Research Team (HIRT), a group that works to better understand IBS and other invisible long-term conditions.

The most commonly recommended way to find out if you have a food intolerance is an exclusion, or ‘elimination’ diet, where you cut out certain types of food from your diet for three to four weeks and slowly reintroduce them one by one to see if any of your symptoms come back or worsen.

Safe Foods for IBS

The foods which are considered the safest for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include:

Rice and quinoa

Rice milk

Fish, lamb, venison and duck

Pine nuts, flax seeds

All vegetables except nightshade vegetables (see above)

Non-citrus fruits

Herbal tea

 

Foods to Avoid for IBS

The ten foods, or food groups, generally considered the worst for aggravating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are:

Foods containing gluten, such as wheat, corn, barley and rye

Dairy products and eggs

Soy and soy products such as tofu

Meats such as pork, beef and chicken

Beans and lentils

Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines and peppers

Citrus fruits

Caffeine

Alcohol

Refined sugars

Doing an exclusion diet isn’t easy, especially at first, so it is worth preparing foods you can eat in advance. After three to four weeks, you can add one type of food back into your diet. It is worth keeping a food diary as you reintroduce foods and seeing if your symptoms reoccur. It is essential to be methodical and keep a food diary, so for a full list of foods and a more detailed guide through the elimination diet for IBS order your copy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Navigating Your Way to Recovery.

Follow @HHealthBooks and @DrMegHealthPsy on twitter for the latest updates on IBS and chronic illness.

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5 Unexpected Health Benefits of Lemons

Our latest release, Nature Cures, is full of amazing alternative remedies for many of the common ailments that cause us malaise in this modern age. Many natural foods have unexpected healing properties and surprising applications around the house, as author Nat H Hawes shares in her research on lemons.

What few people know about lemons (citrus limonum) is that they were originally developed as a cross between the lime and the citron. They are thought to have originated in China or India, having been cultivated in these regions for about 2,500 years. Although acidic, lemons can act as an anti-acid for digestive problems and as a liver tonic. They have antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. They also work to cleanse the blood, lymph glands and kidneys, and act as a natural diuretic.

Traditionally, lemon peel oil has been used to discourage intestinal parasites, while the vitamin C-rich juice and rind can increase bone mineral density. The abundance of phytochemical antioxidants and dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble, is helpful in reducing the risk for cancers and many chronic diseases. Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer properties which slow the growth of tumours. Lemons can help to treat and protect against acne, anxiety, arthritis, bacterial infections, constipation and fungal infections, amongst other ailments.

When lemon juice is added to green or herbal teas it can increase the beneficial properties tenfold. It is recommended that the juice of at least half a lemon is consumed every day (including the rind and the pith) in teas and on brown rice, fish or salad dishes, to gain the health benefits they possess. Lemons are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C and K, but it is important to remember to add lemon juice after cooking so that the vitamin content is not destroyed. They are also rich in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

5 Unexpected Ways to Use Lemons for Health and Wellbeing:

  1. Helping to stop bleeding
  2. Rebalancing greasy skin (as an essential oil)
  3. Treating a verruca
  4. Mosquito repellent (a slice or two of lemon in a bowl of water next to the bed can deter mosquitos during the night)
  5. Cleaning dishcloths (the antibacterial properties of lemon juice can keep dishcloths clean, instead of using bleach, if soaked in a bowl of water and lemon juice overnight)

For more natural health remedies buy Nature Cures: The A-Z of Ailments and Natural Foods from £14.99 and follow @NatureCuresAll on twitter.

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Dr Myhill’s book Sustainable Medicine reviewed

Sustainable Medicine by Dr Myhill

We’re very pleased to be able to share this review of Sustainable Medicine by Dr Myhill, sent in by retired NHS GP and former President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine Dr Sybil Birtwhistle:

“This is a practical book explaining how the body works, not the anatomy, but the invisible biochemicals which are keeping us alive and well. In spite of modern medicine, sometimes because of it, too many people, including young ones, are just not very well these days and really serious illnesses are more and more common at all ages. It is these not absolutely new but much more frequent illnesses, such as allergies, cancers, heart diseases and chronic fatigue that respond to the techniques described here. Thanks to modern medicine we are living longer but mostly not better. By understanding the mechanisms described here it is possible to begin to change our environment, including our diets, in such a way that we could be much healthier.

“This is explained carefully and clearly with lots of links and references for more detail. Even patients who initially knew next to nothing about this should be able to understand enough about the possibilities for staying well, or making their discomforts go away, rather than having to suppress their symptoms with drugs for ever. If only more patients could understand how much of our own behaviour is responsible for our ill health some of the current problems for the NHS would surely diminish.

“The book is written mainly for patients but I suggest doctors look first at the case histories in Chapter 5. They will surely be impressed by such outcomes and I hope some will want to learn how to do it.”

Sybil Birtwistle

 

Preview the first chapter for free and buy Sustainable Medicine by Dr Myhill as ebook or paperback from £4.50.

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Healthy Christmas ideas from The Zone Diet

Dr Barry Sears’ latest book, The Mediterranean Zone, is packed full of recipes, meal ideas and healthy eating habits that combine the Mediterranean style diet with the principles of the Zone Diet. No matter what time of year, following the simple trick of balancing lean protein and colourful carbohydrates can help reduce inflammation in the body. This not only helps you achieve hormonal balance and maintain a healthy weight but improves immune function and helps ward off many common diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

zone-diet-plateBy staying in ‘the zone’ you needn’t worry so much about restricting food or counting calories – and if you do give in to starchy carbohydrates or sugary treats, you’re only a few hours away from getting back into the healthy, anti-inflammatory zone. Never is temptation more difficult to resist than over the Christmas period, so here are some tasty foods you can enjoy over the festive season and stay ‘in the zone’!

Buffet Table
Choose several items from each category. Garnish your dishes with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and sprigs of rosemary for a festive, holiday look. Holly and poinsettias are toxic plants. It’s best to keep them off the table, especially when children are around.

 

Meats, fish, eggs
Deli style turkey
Lean deli-style ham or prosciutto
Poached wild-caught salmon, served cold
Smoked salmon
Smoked trout
Sardines (packed in water)
Herring (avoid those with added fats and sweeteners)
Shrimp cocktail platter garnished with lemon wedges
Tuna salad: Canned water-packed tuna, drained and mixed with some olive oil and capers
Egg whites filed with hummus (discard yolks)

Vegetables and Salads
Crudites; colorful peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes, served with a dip of plain yogurt with garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper and herbs mixed in.
Fennel salad: Toss 2 heads raw fennel thinly sliced, 1 chopped green apple and two chopped stalks celery with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, 1 minced clove garlic and salt and pepper
Cherry tomatoes, halved and tossed with a little olive oil, torn basil and cracked pepper
Antipasto platter of roasted red and yellow peppers, a variety of olives, marinated mushrooms, pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, marinated asparagus spears, cherry peppers and bite-sized ovals of fresh mozzarella (avoid items packed in oil)
Caprese salad: Slices of fresh mozzarella and flavourful tomatoes layered overlapping on a platter and topped with torn basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Condiments
One bottle each of extra-virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar with spouts appropriate for drizzling
Peppercorns in a grinder
Crumbled reduced-fat feta
Hummus
Dijon mustard

Drinks
Still water
Sparkling water, plain or a variety with fruit-flavored essences added (avoid sweetened water)
Water with thinly sliced lemon served in a drink dispenser
Red wine
White wine
Lemon and lime wedges
Ice bucket filled with spring-water ice cubes

Dessert Table
Fresh pears cut in thick wedges, served with reduced-fat fresh goat cheese
Assorted varieties of grapes paired with several-reduced fat cheeses
Oversized strawberries served with the green tops on raw or roasted almonds, marcona almonds, spiced or curried almonds, macadamia nuts and cashews (avoid those with added fats and sweeteners)
An assortment of herbal teas — ginger, peppermint and chamomile are good choices, also the candy-cane green teas
Baked custard — If desired, serve raspberries or sliced strawberries alongside as a topping.

Baked Custard
Makes 8, 1-block servings of balanced protein, carbohydrate and fat. Serve warm or cold.

Ingredients

2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups 2% milk
A few dashes of ground nutmeg

Optional, you can substitute 4 egg whites for the two whole eggs, giving a total of 8 egg whites in the whole recipe.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C.

2. In a large mixing bowl using a whisk vigorously beat together the eggs, agave syrup and vanilla.
3. Whisk the milk into the egg mixture.
4. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.
5. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.
6. Bake at 325 in a pan of hot water for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the custard comes out clean.

For more information on the Zone Diet and the health benefits of anti-inflammatory food buy The Mediterranean Zone, available now as paperback or ebook.

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Zone Diet goes Mediterranean

The Zone Diet: Eating for a longer, leaner, healthier life

The Mediterranean Zone represents the final part of Dr. Sears’ trilogy on anti-inflammation nutrition that started with his first book, The Zone, written in 1995. The Zone Diet is for anyone looking to take control of his or her life. It is germane to weight loss, managing chronic disease, or improving athletic performance. All three areas are ultimately controlled by the ability to reduce inflammation. The Mediterranean Zone provides the final part of his dietary roadmap to a longer and better life, as described by The Zone Diet.

The newest book on the Zone Diet: The Mediterranean Zone by Dr Barry SearsThe focus of The Mediterranean Zone is on the emerging role of polyphenols in both improving human health and slowing the aging process. Polyphenols are the chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their color. We now know that at higher levels they are critical for controlling gene expression, especially those genes involved in the synthesis of anti-oxidative enzymes, controlling inflammation, and activating anti-aging defense mechanisms as well as controlling the microbes in our gut.

Why is it more important to eat omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6?

Whereas omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. However, you need a balance to maintain a stable inflammatory response. Ideally the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet should be about 2:1. Today in the developed world it is closer to 20:1. That’s why our diets have become more pro-inflammatory.

The reason that an individual stops any diet is because they are always hungry and tired. This is not the case following the dietary guidelines in The Mediterranean Zone, or in any Zone Diet. By stabilizing blood sugar, balancing hormonal levels, and reducing inflammation you are never tired or hungry between meals. The benefit of that freedom from hunger and fatigue is that you will also live a longer and better life.

Welcome to the Zone!

The Mediterranean Zone is available now or for more information on Dr Sears visit www.drsears.com.