Can processed food cause cancer?

Last week the British Medical Journal published a research paper saying there is, “a direct association between intake of ultra-processed food and incidence of total cancer and breast cancer.”

This was discussed in the press and has since faded away and been forgotten. Yet this is absolutely enormous news.

I decided to head to a local ‘not so super – market’ to see how they had changed their behaviour as a result of this report. Of course, nothing had changed. I found within the first 10 metres or so of the first aisle all this dead food.

Dead food is food that provides your calories and precious little else.

It does not create any vitality but actually stresses your body’s balance systems that have to deal with all this weird artificial nothingness.

Most of this rubbish is full of sugar, highly processed salt and bad, unbalanced, cheap fats.

This convenience food is designed to attract you and make you spend money. It is not designed with any sense that we derive our health from what we eat.

Whoever comes up with this stuff uses simple criteria: profit and shelf life (which is all about profit anyway.)

Is it any wonder we have epidemic obesity problems, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease and countless other chronic problems when this stuff is let loose on us in a totally unregulated way.

Food is the number one route to poor health, along with lack of movement and these monstrous food producers could not care less.

Eat rubbish and you will feel rubbish. You will have low energy, low happiness and feel sluggish all the time which will leave you more inclined to sit staring at the television whilst eating more horror foods.

Many people simply never relate how they feel to what they’ve eaten but if they had a car and put the wrong fuel in it it would break down. The same is true for your body.

And the easiest way to test this is to eat a bunch of processed foods for breakfast and monitor how you feel an hour or so later. You will probably start to get cravings for something sweet or salty. You may feel tired or have a brain fog or even feel unsettled and a little anxious.

You will almost certainly spend your day looking for snacks, and more food as your blood sugars go on a day long, unhealthy, roller coaster ride.

Then the next day ensure you start your day with real food, with a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate, whether that be a cooked breakfast or fresh avocado, coconut oil and berries added to a smoothie. I guarantee you will feel different.

I see so many people who put how they are feeling down to their age or stress at work when it is in fact their food causing most of their trouble. Years of eating vile processed nonsense and thinking it is real food dulls your pallet and robs you of vitality in later life.

It is a drip feed of slow food poisoning. Yet people will say they are unwell or tired or lacking ‘va va voom’ because of their age. This is wrong. It is because you have fed dead food to your body for years. It is SLOW food poisoning.

When these kind of revelations are delivered to the processed food manufacturers they normally turn out the usual nonsense about there being nothing wrong with such food when we use it in moderation in a balanced healthy diet. However, they also know that people are not very good at moderating. In fact, we are useless at it! So much so that we make wrong choices and eat too much of this stuff which leads to poor health. It is not acceptable to knowingly manipulate a population into eating this stuff too much then using the ‘moderation’ excuse. Look at the pictures  of the aisles – there is NO moderation coming from the manufacturers or the stores is there?

The good news is that this is more evidence to show you can have profound influence on your chances of getting cancer with your lifestyle. It does not have to be bad luck that brings you this awful disease. Over to you – make your choices sensible and healthful where you can.

Have a good day,

Nick Tofalos

Pass on the pasta sauce…

In my work as an osteopath I am forever asking people about their diets. Food is so critical to your health that we should all be looking for the right diet for ourselves. Unfortunately we are bombarded by conflicting information and powerful and misleading advertising. As well as subliminal messages about what is good to eat.

A case in point about the sly way we are manipulated by food companies is to watch any generic American teen drama…remember ‘Saved by the Bell’?

Where do all those beautiful, slim, attractive teenagers all inevitably meet up to talk? The diner! What are they eating? Burgers, fries, milk shakes and sodas.

Yet I can guarantee that those slim, beautiful people hardly ever touch those foods in real life – the problem being they put across an image that makes it seem like they do. So we think it’s okay to follow suit.

The same is true of our supermarket shelves – rows and rows of processed foods wrapped up as family recipe pasta sauces or home cooked curry. When we look at all this food on the shelves we, quite understandably, assume that because they are allowed to sell it and it’s there in front of us, it is perfectly fine to eat. It must be safe because it’s there.

However, the only criteria for it being on the shelf is from the food safety aspect of toxic bacteria such as salmonella and e coli (there are others). As long as it is free from such dangers it can be sold. Yet its nutritional content may be so poor that it should be labelled as dangerous to eat, because not only does it have precious little goodness in it, it is laden with weird chemicals, sugar, salt and cheap, bad fats.

A case in point is this pasta sauce:

Notice how it is labelled ‘per 100g’ rather than the entire contents of the jar. This is so at a quick glance we think the amounts of bad stuff in it are small, after all, 5.8g of sugar is only a little over a teaspoon so we can dismiss that as almost irrelevant.

The problem being that most people, most of the time, will not measure out a 100g portion but will chuck the entire jar on their pasta which means they have effectively sprinkled six teaspoons of sugar on their meal! There is also almost an entire teaspoon of salt. Who EVER puts an entire teaspoon of salt in such a small amount of food when they cook for themselves.

So a family sit down to what they think is a healthy, low fat, meal of pasta (carbohydrate heavy) and tomato sauce (Carbohydrate heavy) not realising they’re only getting one macronutrient in their body – that of carbohydrates, which causes blood sugar spikes which effectively mean their body rapidly converts all the carbohydrates to fat. Yes folks, your body makes fat from a low fat meal.

Here is an even worse example:

Notice how they give you the percentages of all the vegetables but not the sugar? Even though this sauce is 13% sugar! Which is over ten teaspoons of sugar in one jar! This is horrific.

And do you know why all this sugar is added? I’ll take the pasta sauce as a case in point: The tomatoes are cooked to a very high temperature to pasteurise them. This is to ensure they will have a long shelf life – the fact it destroys the goodness of the tomatoes is irrelevant to the manufacturer.

Next lemon juice is added as a preservative. This creates an unpalatable, bitter sauce.

At this point let us draw breath and take stock: The expert chefs at this company have worked out how to create a vile tasting, inedible, overcooked tomato mush. At this point you and I would be throwing whatever was in the pan in the bin and starting again.

However, our friendly processed food manufacturer has a trick up their sleeve – add sugar! The sugar makes it taste nice again. Hurray for sugar. So you get a product with a long shelf life that tastes like a tomato sauce – it’s simple trickery to fool us into buying it.

The criteria it meets allow it to be sold – you will not get a bout of acute food poisoning from this jar. You will, however, get long term, slow food poisoning and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even arthritis from such horror products. You will also become obese.

Yet all the time we are thinking we’re eating a balanced diet and being healthy. WRONG.

Cook your food from scratch. Never trust a processed food manufacturer to provide your one and only body with any form of good nutrition.

Ensure each meal you have has some fat, some carb and some protein in it – THAT, is a balanced diet.

Immune boosting through the winter months…

The snow, wind, ice and rain is well and truly upon us in the wintry north! So as we hunker down to chestnuts roasting on an open fire, twinkly Christmas lights and the festive season my thoughts turn to maintaining good health when the darkness and cold challenge us the most.

Do make sure you wear appropriate clothing, wherever you may be in the world – the saying ‘there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes’ is very true. Getting too cold weakens your immune system leaving you vulnerable.

In the north we also suffer from a lack of sunlight right now so make sure you are getting some Vitamin D from a supplement.

If you really must overindulge (nobody actually needs to) then you can aid recovery by taking milk thistle extract which is great for cleansing the liver – I hesitate to say it is a hangover cure because I’m not here to encourage hangovers in the first place….however, I am realistic enough to realise it goes on – so before you go to the office party take some milk thistle extract and take some the next morning and make sure for every alcoholic drink you have you also have an equivalent drink of water which can work wonders.

Upping your intake of garlic is also a good idea, either in your cooking or with a supplement like Allicinmax which is a superb quality garlic product which does not leave any garlic smell afterwards.

Many people also take echinacea which you can get as a tincture, tablets or as a throat spray. Take daily through the winter OR when you feel a cold coming on start taking it and research shows it shortens the length of a cold and can even nip it in the bud.

We must also throw CBD into the mix too which, because of the widespread nature of the endocannabinoid system, has a very beneficial effect on your whole system – so take a little every day for preventative purposes. I call it Vitamin CBD (it is NOT a vitamin!) because I firmly believe we should all take it just like we would take a vitamin supplement – daily.

If you’re feeling a little rundown opt for the nicely energising effects of our Absorb range – if you’re stressed out and anxious then go for the gently calming Signature blends.

CBD One's Signature Blend CBD Oils

I’m worried about trying CBD…

I speak to many people who are genuinely concerned and worried about trying CBD – mainly because it comes connected to the name Cannabis.

We have been educated to believe that Cannabis is dangerous, bad for us and is an introductory drug into a whole world of trouble and addiction. In the media you do not have to look very far to find scary headlines such as “cannabis killed my son” (it did not when you read the full story) and ‘dangerous drug linked to dozens of deaths’ (actually an article pointing out that synthetic cannabis may help sleep problems).

Stepping aside from this controversial topic it must be pointed out that CBD is NOT psychoactive and you cannot get high or stoned from it. The cannabinoid THC that gets you high has been removed so there is less than 0.2% in the legal CBD sold in the UK. Tweet: CBD is NOT psychoactive and you cannot get high or stoned from it. The cannabinoid THC that gets you high has been removed so there is less than 0.2% in the legal CBD sold in the UK

This means that when you take CBD there is no change in your state of mind – except perhaps feeling pleasantly relaxed and de stressed!

It is non addictive and is also not a cure all for living an unhealthy lifestyle.

I have encountered people who are curious about CBD and keen to try it all the way through to people who get very angry and dismissive when cannabis is mentioned.

However, I would say that if you are in anyway worried about trying CBD but have heard it may be of some benefit to you, rest assured there really is nothing to worry about. It is incredibly safe as it is a plant extract and such food supplements tend to be gentle acting. Hence their effects may take more time but their risks are far less than a modern pharmaceutical.

I would be more worried about taking an Ibuprofen tablet over CBD – thousands die every year taking ibuprofen – there are no such figures for CBD.

So it is safe.

You cannot get high on it.

It is non addictive.

If you do not know where to start – do send me a message via our healthcare advice page and I’ll do my best to help.

Have a great day,

Nick Tofalos

Health Confusions – A thought…

I stopped by my local coffee shop this morning to grab a Flat White before my working day began. Whilst I was waiting for it to be made I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation at a nearby table.

An elderly gentleman was explaining to his friends at the table that he had read in the paper last week that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day are good for you and can help prevent cancer and heart disease amongst other things.

What struck me about this was not the subject matter he was talking about – though if I had six cups of coffee a day I’d be zipping around faster than roadrunner – but the fact he had garnered this snippet of information from a newspaper.

These little gems of health information are drip fed to us regularly in the media – presumably because they have nothing important to write about and to my mind they are responsible for confusing people about how to maintain health.

In the last few months in my health food shop in Garstang I have seen demand suddenly rise then fall after a while for kefir (it is good for your gut and immune system) and inulin (it helps you sleep) – we had inulin last year too as it helps burn off brown fat! I won’t bore you with the details about that but the information is out there if you want to find it.

Before that it was raspberry ketones for weight loss! All these trends come and go over a few months as people look for a magic bullet to help their health improve. It is human nature to look for the easy options and a magic pill is so tempting to many of us but I have news for you….there is no magic bullet. There is no magic pill that will give you extraordinary good health all your life.

In my opinion much of this idea stems from the pharmaceutical industry who by stealth have brainwashed us into thinking our health is maintained by taking pills. It is not. They have bought up our healthcare systems and turned them into massive dispensing systems for countless drugs handed out without thought or logic.

A simple example of this is that millions of people are given anti inflammatory drugs when they have an injury. So let’s unravel the almost pavlovian response from many people to take such a drug when they have pain:

First of all, what is acute inflammation? It is a rapid response by your body to an injury – it causes swelling, immobility, redness, heat and pain – but why does it do this? Simple – the acute inflammatory response happens to heal your injury, yes, that’s right, it is a HEALING response. Which begs the question…if acute inflammation heals you why on earth would you take an anti inflammatory that actually suppresses your body’s attempts at fixing you. There is no logic in doing this and in my experience, repeatedly suppressing your body in this way leads to worse trouble down the line such as damaged joints, weakened soft tissues and chronic pain. However, it is inconvenient to think of it like this so we are fed the message that pain is bad so get rid of the pain with a pill.

Yet pain is our friend…just look at the terrible condition called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) where children with this problem will eat scalding hot food or bite off their own tongue! Pain protects us so look for WHY you have pain and get it fixed if you can.

Sadly, because of media bombardments and misleading advertising along with a medical system that focuses on disease, we are left without any sense of how to maintain health and look for snippets of miracle cures in the media.

But good health is not a pill – it is a way of life – actually a pleasurable way of life. Take joy in cooking real food from raw, high quality organic ingredients. Ensure you have a balanced diet (and yes, CBD undoubtedly has a role to play in a balanced diet) Exercise and stretch your body every day and laugh a lot! Ensure your relationships are based on mutual respect and love and live in a clean environment. You own the keys to your health, not snippets in newspapers or pills from drug companies.

Enjoy your days

Nick Tofalos

Cannabis Trade Association Member

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