Archive for Clark Russell

JR Ultra Touch 3 Quantum Induction Blender – A Xmas Must

I don’t normally get too excited by products, but I have to make an exception in this case.

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To give you some background, the first e-book I wrote was mainly on fat loss and that’s when I took an interest in smoothies and juices due to their versatility, convenience, time saving and health promoting aspects.

I therefore embarked upon the search for a blender to start developing smoothie recipes with a view to creating a smoothie book for family nutrition. However the blender I purchased was the high end blender, The Boss by Sage by Heston Blumenthal, which simply couldn’t perform some of the tasks I needed to be able to develop this recipe book for smoothies. It was a let down on many fronts e.g. making nut butters, the blender jug moves while mounted on the base.

I was therefore spending a fortune on nut butters while testing and developing the recipes. Coincidentally I received a juicer as a birthday present; the JR 8000S juicer from Juicy Retreats, which I have been really impressed with. See here.

In my quest for a solution to the blender problem, I turned to the Juicy Retreats website and noticed a new generation of blenders including the JR Ultra Touch 3 Quantum Induction blender.

After some extremely positive comments/feedback, I decided to give this blender a bash, albeit reluctantly after my previous disappointment.

Well for the past few weeks since receiving the blender, I have found my new “toy” of choice.

My first task was to make nut butter using the cyclone jug, which is a revelation and is only offered by one other blender company. Macadamia and raw almond butter in about 30 seconds, using the pre-set Grind/Sauce programme. A nice heaped teaspoon of each separately was subsequently added to the large blender jug, resulting in two silky, creamy smoothies namely “Banana and Macadamia Mania and “Pear, Chocolate & Ginger”. Delicious!

I can now see my smoothie book coming to fruition after all. My renewed faith has given me the impetus to finish the book and hopefully secure a publishing deal, thanks to this latest addition to the blender market.

I also wanted to offer healthy ice creams in the book as a way of enticing kids who may take some getting used to the smoothie idea; once again the JR induction blender excelled; fresh pecan maple ice cream (no sugar) in 90 seconds. Delicious!

But the compliments don’t stop there;this feat of engineering was so quiet when I first used it, I immediately thought there was something wrong. Not so fast; this welcomed feature, especially after the jumbo jet blender of the past is actually a product of the brushless technology, making the JR Ultra Touch 3 Quantum Induction blender unique to the blender market.

Furthermore, I contacted the customer service rep on their website before acquiring the blender to ask more about the brushless technology. The chap was informative and prompt and told me that with a brushed motor like a Vitamix or Blendtec for example, lots of power is used to create an rpm of approx 40,000, this will then drop to approx 15,000 rpm during the blend when the blades are in contact with the food. With the JR blenders’ brushless induction technology, the high tech blades will maintain a constant 25,000 rpm even when in contact with the food; the bottom line is that you get a better blend, resulting in better results. Last, but not least, brushless induction is also more reliable.

The digital touch panel and touch slider screen also make it relatively unique. Both features endow this blender with modern finesse, to complement the aesthetic elegance and robust build design as evidenced by the company’s 10 year motor and 7 year parts domestic warranty combined with a one year commercial warranty, making it fairly unique to the market.

I loved the hot drinks function; fresh soup (sweet potato and macadamia nut butter I previously  made using the pre-set Grind/Sauce programme), made in about six minutes and more importantly, healthy and filling soup with most of the nutrients preserved, thanks to a low heat blending process; the only heat generated comes from blade induced friction.

All plastic parts are BPA free, which is a big plus since BPA is a well known carcinogen.

Finally, it is easy to clean; just add a small dash of washing up liquid and a couple of cups of water, and run on the Total Juice cycle.

If you are looking for that life changing product either for you or your family, maybe for Christmas or to kick start your New Year’s resolutions, then look no further than this new generation blender.

Remember 80% of health and weight loss is attributed to diet and not hours in the gym.

Forget the big screen TV’s, ipads and iphones this Christmas, and take your health to a new level by treating yourself and your family to the JR Ultra Touch 3 Quantum Induction blender.

After all, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” – Mahatma Ghandi

Although this blender is not cheap, it is a step up in class and performance to any other blender I have came across. You get a lot of machine for your money and in my opinion, money well spent.

JR 8000S Juicer

I received this Juicy Retreats juicer as a present a couple of years ago and I simply can’t find anything to fault it.

This juicer meets the four criteria I would consider paramount when assessing the quality of a juicer.

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The first thing to point out is that the JR 8000S is a slow or masticating juicer, and that’s important when it comes to performance compared to the older, outdated centrifugal juicers.

Centrifugal juicers produce much more heat than the slow or masticating juicers, and this is an important distinction due to the fact that delicate nutrients like enzymes and phytochemicals are easily damaged when subjected to heat.

Secondly the level of juice extraction as evidenced by the dryness of the pulp is a strong indicator of the level of nutrient extraction. You have to remember that some plants especially green leafy plants have very strong cellular walls and these walls need to be broken down in order to extract key nutrients. The JR 8000S excels in this second indicator of quality.

Thirdly the ease of assembly and disassembly is also a consideration. I always find it a bonus when products are easy to either assemble or operate, because I am absolutely useless with my hands and figuring out technical details. Therefore when I discovered how easy the assembly and operation of this machine was, it came as a relief. Roughly 30 seconds and you have the machine ready to go, and when it comes to disassembly it’s even quicker.

Last but not least, how easy the juicer is to clean is more important than you may think. If you think of the psychology behind buying the new “toy”; you are very excited at first and any inconvenience you may perceive (cleaning it) can be offset by the initial excitement of receiving and using that product. However this wears off, and that’s why ease of cleaning the juicer actually becomes a very important criterion in whether you will continue to use that juicer on a regular basis, rather than it gathering dust.

Juicers v blenders

Juicers and blenders are the perfect marriage, as they both complement each other. If you’re really working to optimise your health, then both a juicer and blender are a must. Juicers have advantages over blenders, and similarly blenders have advantages over juicers. Juicers really do a great job of breaking down the cell walls of plants, rendering the nutrients more bioavailable than blenders. This allows the body to use more of the nutrients for absorption into the cells; the lack of fibre in juices also helps with this process.

Where blenders excel is in the wider variation of ingredients you can use and that includes proteins (including powders), fats and carbohydrates. A blended smoothie will also offer you the fibre that is stripped out in the juicing process, which obviously plays many key roles in the body, including gut health. However you won’t extract as many nutrients from a blended smoothie as you would from a juice due to less cell wall breakdown, but due to the smoothie’s ability to incorporate more ingredients, you will have a wider variety of nutrients. So all in all, they both play an integral part in optimal health and disease prevention.

Modern medicine: How good is it?

PPI’s: A Health Disaster

Sugar is NOT Dangerous: The Nutty Professor

The following blog discusses the comments on the BBC1 programme, The Big Questions on 29th January, 2016, which addressed the question, “Should sugar be treated as a dangerous drug?”

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To give you some background, I have taken issue in a previous post with this man’s (Prof Mike Lean of Glasgow University School of Nutrition) £2.5 Million research award from Diabetes UK, researching a low calorie diet and its effects on obesity and reversing type 2 diabetes. You can read the absurdity of this award here.

The show was hosted by Nicky Campbell and the following transcript only involves both Nicky and Prof Mike Lean; NC denotes Nicky Campbell and PML denotes Professor Mike Lean. My personal comments are denoted by CR and are not part of the transcript from the programme.

You can watch it on the YouTube link here.

Should sugar be treated as a dangerous drug?

NC – Sugar causes diabetes

PML – Well that is, dismiss that one completely

CR – Seriously? A professor of nutrition is saying that sugar has no causal link to diabetes is nothing short of disgraceful. See here and here.

NC – What?

PML – The firmest science that we have is called a meta-analysis, when you take all the data that has been done since research started, in this case about the 1980’s; put it all together, re-analyse it and say where is the truth in all this.

CR – This meta-analysis that PML is referring to can be seen here (see section 6.23), but unfortunately it only uses three studies; hardly a meta-analysis, which usually collates many studies and in this case you would definitely expect more studies since PML also mentions that the research goes back to the 1980’s.

The problems are that this still DOESN’T prove that sugar does not cause diabetes. It offers “limited evidence” (3 studies) of “no consistent evidence of association” with heterogeneity too high and the studies too few to pool results. So there are two issues; firstly the study is not really a meta-analysis, certainly not a peer reviewed meta-analysis and secondly, lack of evidence for association is not evidence for no causation.

NC – So the NHS website is wrong

PML – If it has said that sugar causes diabetes, then it is wrong; Diabetes UK is correct on this, so is The European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the World Health Authority, which conducted a review last year. A very major meta-analysis has been conducted on this, and the answer is there is no evidence that sugar causes diabetes.

CR – Sugar DOES cause diabetes and here is a large (larger than PML’s aforementioned study) meta-analysis of 17 studies.

NC – Is sugar killing us; how dangerous is it?

PML – Sugar is not killing us; sugar has been, was created, invented roughly 450 years ago; it came to Europe on boats. Until that time, sweeteners, which is what you guys like Nicky, you like sweeteners, and the addiction is not to sugar, the addiction is, there was a very nice study at Aberdeen, the addiction to food, yes thank goodness we are addicted to food, or we would have died out as a species years ago.

So the sugar came over on these boats and suddenly, what do we do with it, and of course since then, people have been writing books, claiming that sugar causes every disease under its spell.

CR – Sorry, but sugar is killing us alright; see here. No Professor, sugar is a major part of food addiction and hijacks the brain’s reward centre; see here and here. In fact sugar is known to be more addictive than cocaine; see here.

NC – Causes obesity, causes obesity, does it cause obesity?

PML – And the answer is one by one, you go through these, and say no, I’m afraid it DOESN’T cause cancer, and it DOESN’T cause heart disease and no it DOESN’T cause diabetes.

What it DOES do is, if you eat excess calories from sugar, then you will gain weight, and the evidence says about 0.8Kg of weight, not obesity, and can I just finish this because what is important is the sugar if you analyse it says that; however if you look at sugary drinks, then you’ll find that greater consumption of sugary drinks does cause weight gain in children. Interesting!

What we’re seeing is an increase in food consumption; there is an addiction to food, there are foods you like and foods you don’t like. People who like more food like more food, and sugar is one of the things that contributes to weight gain if you eat more calories.

CR – Sorry PML, you can waffle on by stating the obvious, “if you eat excess calories from sugar, then you will gain weight”, “there is an addiction to food, there are foods you like and foods you don’t like” etc, but unfortunately sugar DOES cause cancer; see here , DOES cause heart disease; see here, here and here and DOES cause diabetes; see here.

Yes there is an addiction to foods and the main driver is sugar; see my previous comment above.

NC – Some foods are not going to make you fat

PML – If you swap sugar for other calories, and this has been subject again of a meta-analysis, there is no difference in weight. What is important is that sugary drinks are associated with greater weight gain in children and that is very important, because what it tells us is that it’s not the sugar, but the pattern of eating, which is associated with weight gain and ultimately diabetes.

We’ve been demonising sugar for centuries; the science says it’s not dangerous, but I’m not a lover of sugar. Do you know I’m probably the only person here that’s never tasted Cocoa Cola or Pepsi Cola or any other Cola in my life? Is there anyone else here that could claim never having tasted the wretched stuff. It is very bad for teeth, it is absolutely tragic for Scottish teeth, in a country which has no fluoride and you know we are a fluoride deficient nation, and we will lose our teeth if we eat sugar. I’m no supporter of the sugar industry and no supporter to sugar addition to foods.

CR – PML states that if you swap sugar for other calories, there is no weight difference. This is complete nonsense and I would like to see this meta-analysis. The quality of calories is far more important than quantity; see here. The body processes an avocado differently than a Snicker bar and they both have similar amounts of calories.

He, PML is back on the sugary drinks and weight gain in children theme; he seems to have hammered this blatantly obvious point. However he omits the fact that all drinks, sugar or diet will not only affect children, but also adults as will sugary foods. He mentions the pattern of eating as the cause of weight gain and diabetes; I have no idea what he is waffling, but I suspect he is using this as some sort of smokescreen or he just doesn’t have a clue, a bit of both in my opinion.

He, PML also states that “the science says it’s not dangerous”. What a load of nonsense and we have covered this throughout the blog as to why it is nonsense. After his apparent personal disdain for sugar, another irrelevance, he makes the point about the lack of fluoride in Scottish water and appears to blame this for the incidence of tooth decay. Well if he had only the slightest clue on the damage fluoride can do to the body and brain, then he would not make such a silly statement.

Flouride has an endless list of health dangers including brain damage, thyroid damage, cancers and hormone damage to name a few. See here.

NC – Are we being puritanical?

PML – Well you’ve just got the science up the creek; the science says, I’m sorry it DOESN’T cause cancer, it DOESN’T cause heart disease and it DOESN’T cause type 2 diabetes and quite correct. If it contributes to extra calories, then it’s a very bad thing and we need to limit it for that reason.

CR – No we did not get the science up the creek, you, PML have and sugar DOES cause all of the aforementioned health conditions. Yes it DOES contribute towards many extra calories since it is addictive. Even if it wasn’t addictive, it would still make you eat more calories since sugar is devoid of nutrition and the body will crave more calories as a result.

Sugar also depletes magnesium, see here, the body’s most important mineral that is responsible for over 300 metabolic reactions, and magnesium deficiency is linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes; see here.

Incidentally magnesium is depleted by soft drinks, sugar or diet types due to caffeine and phosphates, which are present in both. See here. Therefore irrespective of the sugar element, soft drinks have other issues involved in the potential onset of diabetes.

This man, PML is either in the pockets of big business or deluded; not sure which to be honest. One thing for sure is that he (Glasgow University) received £2.5 million for a red herring study from Diabetes UK.

He, PML rants on about a meta-analysis with only 3 studies, he waffles about how sugar came across on boats and has been with us for 450 years that have absolutely no relevance to the debate and the issues at hand and he mentions that everyone is conspiring against sugar.

He repeats the sugary drinks and weight gain in children connection, which is only part of the picture, in an attempt to detract from the bigger picture.

This reeks of a man who is hiding an agenda and clearly on the back foot in this programme. He is involved in a “healthy” pizza company; take a look here. Talk about a misnomer and a conflict of interest.

If this is the level of knowledge and/or deceit that is influencing our decision making ability regarding our health and wellbeing, then God help us.

Academics should be taken with a pinch of salt. They have spent too much time sheltered from reality with no accountability for their actions and conclusions. They are also surrounded by vested interests in their continual quest to attract research funding, which in its very nature leads to biased findings.

You find a similar scenario in drug research; where the efficacy and safety of most drugs are grossly exaggerated.

Folic Acid Fortification: A Pandora’s Box

The news was awash recently with the story concerning the consideration by the Scottish Government to add folic acid to flour, in an attempt to thwart a potential rise in birth defects.

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Folic acid plays a role in preventing brain and spine defects including spina bifida; however 85% of women don’t have an adequate intake, which has been recommended as 400mcg per day.

There seems to be the absence of an important distinction in all the recent media coverage; demonstrating that the health and medical professionals don’t seem to appreciate that folic acid and folate are two quite different substances or molecules.

So what are folic acid and folate?

Folic acid is basically a synthetic (made in a lab) form of vitamin B9, often used in cheap dietary supplements or in food and beverage fortification. In contrast folate is the natural B9 metabolite found in natural food sources, including leafy green plants and liver.

What is the difference?

The importance of favouring folate over folic acid can be recognised by how the body metabolises (or breaks down) both versions.

Natural plant based folate is broken down to tetrahydrofolate in the gut lining of the small intestine, whereas the synthetic folic acid form starts it’s breakdown in the liver. However the problem is that the enzyme (dihydrofolate reductase) required in breaking it down, is in short supply in the liver.

The lack of enzymatic breakdown combined with a high intake of folic acid through supplementation or fortification, may result in unnatural levels of non-metabolised folic acid entering the circulation; this has been demonstrated in several studies.

Our bodies are very smart machines, which have evolved over millions of years; hence the reason they are too smart to be fooled by synthetic substances, posing as legitimate natural plant derivatives. Natural plants and their constituents represent the true essence of the human diet, and simply won’t be replaced by laboratory chemicals masquerading as nutrients.

What are the health implications?

Although the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the United States has been significantly reduced due to the introduction of folic acid fortification in 1998, there have nevertheless been concerns about the safety of chronic dosing of high levels of folic acid from fortified foods, drinks and dietary supplements. See here.

Believe it or not there is an increased risk of cancer from excessive consumption of folic acid; see here. In some counties, including the USA, Canada and Chile, there was an increased rate of colon cancer associated with the introduction of folic acid supplementation programmes. See here and here.

In another study, which involved a randomised control, researchers found that supplementing with 1mg of folic acid resulted in an associated higher risk of prostate cancer.

One of the mechanisms in which high folic acid levels promoted cancers was proposed in one study, where it was postulated that folic acid destroys natural killer cells (NKCs); NKCs play a key role in our immune arsenal, responsible for the destruction of cancer cells and tumours. See here.

A high intake of folic acid can mask detection of vitamin B12 deficiency, leading to a deterioration of the central nervous system in the elderly. See here.

Benefits of folate

Folate represents the best option for preventing brain and spinal conditions in your child, whether you are thinking about starting a family or are pregnant. It is important to boost your folate intake well in advance of pregnancy.

Not only are folate containing foods protective for your foetus and baby, but they also offer many other health benefits including the correct source of fibre (not from grains), a good variety of vitamins and minerals and chemo (cancer) protective compounds.

What types of foods are rich in folate?

Excellent sources of dietary folate include; Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, lentils and liver. Liver has by far the highest amounts; about 250mcg per 100g of liver; liver is often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”.

It is possible to top up your folate intake if your dietary intake is inadequate. Just make sure you avoid folic acid and choose brands that stipulate “5-methyltetrahydrofolate” or “5-MTHF” on the label.

NB Most multivitamins contain the folic acid version of B9, which is as previously discussed, fraught with dangers.

What are the correct dosages?

Well in terms of folate, our healthy alternative to synthetic folic acid, anywhere between the 800mcg and 1,200mcg range on a daily basis is about right for women planning a pregnancy and they should ideally start a few months before becoming pregnant. During pregnancy the same dosage applies.

Now this is quite a lot to glean from foods alone unless you are regularly consuming the aforementioned foods, especially liver at least a couple of times per week and plenty leafy greens.

Therefore if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, I would suggest supplementing with 600-800mcg of folate per day, depending on your dietary intake.

For everyone else other than pregnant women, they should be able obtain plenty of folate in a diet rich with vegetables including leafy greens, and shouldn’t really need to supplement.

Other problems with fortification

Specifically in the case of folic acid, the Scottish Government’s consideration on adding it to flour is  concerning on many levels. Flours, which are mainly used in breads and baked goods have many detrimental health issues. We cite three below and their impact on mother and foetus (and child).

Bromine – Flours and their products like breads contain bromine, which is added to modern day flours as a flour improver, apparently. Unfortunately bromine is toxic and not only that, it depletes iodine in the body; iodine is a critical nutrient and one that has seen widespread deficiencies in the Western World. Iodine deficiency is linked to thyroid disease, increasing rates of cancer of the thyroid, stomach, breast and prostate. See here.

Iodine is essential to every cell in your body, but it’s especially important to your thyroid gland, which makes the hormones, T3 and T4 that regulate your entire body’s metabolism.

Iodine levels in the UK and the U.S. have dropped 50% in the last 30 years. During the same period, breast cancer rates have tripled, and the percentage of pregnant women with low iodine levels has increased 690%. Many studies have shown that children born to these mothers run a significant risk of being born with lowered intellectual ability. One such study measured a 13.5 point difference in IQ scores. In utero iodine deficiency has been associated with a host of childhood ailments including ADD/ADHD, depression, cretinism, dwarfism and mental retardation. See here and here.

Blood sugar and insulin response – The Scottish Government’s recently launched website dedicated to informing better food choices ran a radio ad campaign which claimed that, “A wholemeal wrap boosts energy levels and keeps you fuller for longer.”

This is basically nonsense; regardless of whether the breads are white or brown, theyproduce similar insulin responses (very high), which leads to a quick surge of energy, followed by a crash; hence the term “afternoon crash” or “3pm slump”.

Opposite shows a graph of blood insulin responses after oral glucose, white bread, wholewheat bread, and bread made from a finely ground flour that the researchers called “ultra-fine ground whole-grain wheat flour.”

The study was carried out by a group at the USDA to study whether the particle size of wheat made any difference on blood sugar, insulin and other measures; however I think it demonstrates something different.

Here’s the effect of these four study foods on insulin, which is often referred to as “the fat storing hormone”.

All four study foods increased insulin approximately four fold or by 400%. That’s a huge insulin spike, and did you notice what food increased insulin the most? Surprisingly to most people, it was the whole wheat bread, even without the fine grind.

The health impact of chronically high insulin and associated glucose levels are huge; in short it leads to a higher risk of cancers, obesity (including dangerous visceral fat accumulation), diabetes, Alzheimer’s (often referred to as type 3 diabetes) and heart disease to name a very few. See here, here, here and here.

A 2012 study found a link between the maternal size of women, before and during pregnancy and obesity and other associated health risks e.g. heart conditions in their young adult offspring.

Also highly processed foods including wheat flour products fuel the growth of the yeast, Candida, which can be passed from mother to foetus; this can lead to autism in utero or after birth. See here.

Gluten – Finally gluten, it could be argued is even worse than sugar and is contained in most flours including wheat, which we have just demonstrated above is a disaster for blood sugar, insulin and general health.

Taking a snapshot of gluten and it’s damaging effects to health.

  • Gluten causes autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
  • Gluten causes leaky gut syndrome, which in turn is associated with over 200 disease conditions. See here.
  • Gluten sensitivity is enough to produce antibodies (allergic reaction) andstudies have been published, concluding that everyone has gluten sensitivity to some degree. See here.
  • Gluten is a known neurotoxin. See here.
  • Gluten has been confirmed to cause weight gain. See here.
  • Gluten is linked to depression. See here.
  • Gluten is linked to Alzheimer’s. See here.
  • Gluten can make you infertile. See here.
  • Gluten contains addictive opiates (exorphins), stimulating hunger and increased consumption. See here.


I realise that the Government have the best of intentions here. However that doesn’t excuse the lack of understanding of the many issues and health implications of adopting this policy.

The first problem is the decision to consider folic acid (the synthetic, unnatural and low absorption form) and not folate (the natural, high absorption form found in plant and other foods such as liver), which as we have alluded to above is a major issue on its own.

If we then consider that this problematic form of B9 is being considered for fortification with bread flours, we have the potential for opening up a Pandora’s Box of other health problems for mother, foetus and child.

By encouraging women to consume more nutrient deficient wheat flour, which is among the most damaging “foods” on the planet, they are exposing them to a host of health issues including high blood sugar and insulin levels, bromine and gluten.

As if it was not bad enough that women may consciously choose to eat more wheat to meet their daily folic acid needs, they are subconsciously being hooked on it, due to the fact that wheat contains gluten exorphins, which are opiate like peptides, responsible for increased hunger, cravings and consumption.

We are seeing a parallel between the fortification of flour issue and the Scottish Government’s consideration and subsequent decision not to fluoridate the public water supply.

Regarding the fluoridation issue, common sense, proper risk and scientific analysis and putting the onus on the public to take control of their own health, all prevailed.

Fluoride is a toxic carcinogen and brain robbing chemical and has no place in anything, let alone the public water supply. See here and here.

There is an opportunity to apply the same criteria used in declining the option to fluoridate, to declining the option to fortify the flour (a damaging ingredient on its own) supplies with a synthetic and potentially damaging chemical, folic acid.

The question is whether the same result as the fluoridation issue produced will be replicated.

England and Wales made a huge mistake adopting water fluoridation; now they have an opportunity to make some amends by rejecting the Scottish Government’s request for UK wide fortification of flour.