angry chef made me angry – processed foods

I stepped upon “The Angry Chef” e-book couple times in my local library, and eventually decided to borrow it, simply because other I wanted to borrow were unavailable. The whole title is: “The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating” and it’s written by Anthony Warner – blogger and a chef with 20 years of experience. I’ve never heard about him before, so I was curious about why his anger is so big?

If you’ve never heard about Angry Chef I will briefly outline what the book is about, so you can see what we are talking about. I will use a description from the back of the book:

“Never before have we had so much information available to us about food and health. There’s GAPS, paleo, detox, gluten-free, alkaline, the sugar conspiracy, clean eating… Unfortunately, a lot of it is not only wrong but actually harmful. So why do so many of us believe this bad science?”

So basically author tries to debunk nonsensical pseudoscience that diets are based on. I’m not going to talk about the style or form of how it’s been written, because that’s not the point. The point is that Angry Chef made me thinking about some things, which is good, but also made me angry about others. But we will get there. I would really like this post to be the start for discussion rather than the way to unbosom my frustration. Because I feel like there’s a lot to discuss, and Angry Chef rises a lot of important issues in this book, although I cannot agree with lots of his opinions. I have an impression, but maybe I’m wrong, that the book is dominated by the author’s opinions, not facts established by scientific research. Because as Angry Chef claims established scientific research should be the only source of knowledge and opinions of sensible and intelligent people. So it’s going to be a lot of reading, if you’re ready for it, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and dive in.

Actually it’s very good that I don’t agree with Angry Chef’s opinions, because at this point we can discuss (not in the conversation though but still) all the different points of view. I have this strange trait, that I always try to look on a given situation or person’s behaviour from a different (than others) point of view.

Angry Chef vs processed foods vs me

Processed foods, are widely discussed in the book and it’s quite sensitive subject as Angry Chef is employed by one of the food manufacturers. The author praises processed foods, as a rescue from diseases, lack of hygiene and poorness. As if processed foods would not exist we would still be sitting at the table next to the gutter with rats and poo as our entourage.

Photo by hitesh choudhary on

Don’t confuse the processes thanks to which food can be kept and transported in a safe and hygienic way, with processes in which couple different chemical substances are joined together to become something that looks like food. But Angry Chef likes extreme examples to prove his theory.

As one of the book reviewers from Good Reads (yes, I read the reviews to see if it’s me or the book) noticed that it’s “incredibly naive in his thinking that governments wouldn’t allow something into the market that wasn’t good for us. He greatly underestimates the phenomenal power and influence that the lobbyists of these multi-billion conglomerates employ.”

I’m the most naive person I know, but even I know that in global food industry (in every big industry actually) the only thing that counts is money. The same Good Read reviewer Keen gives a perfect example of tobacco industry: “remember that big tobacco claimed for decades to have health benefits in moderation, using images of babies, Santa and it was endorsed by athletes, and doctors in the US who publicly advocated the health benefits of smoking. They were doing this for years and this was still happening in the second half of the 20th century. These are not the rantings of conspiracy theorists, or paranoid extremists. These are highly educated people with power and influence.” Sadly I have to agree, even though I would like to think, that governments, manufacturers and simply people who runs this world wants only our own good. I think 2020 showed us in what a mess we live in, like monkeys in the circus. But obviously “The Angry Chef” was published in 2017, so the author haven’t experienced 2020 yet.

Money, money, money as ABBA sings

When I started digging deeper after Keen’s review I stepped upon New York Times article (link is down below) from 2016 about documents that has been discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. According to them a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. And they were not some kind of scientist that nobody knows. One of them become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, another one was the chairman of Harvard’s nutrition department. You might say: that was over 50 years ago, that was an incident.

Here you have: another New York Times article (again link down below) revealed that Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, had provided millions of dollars in funding to researchers who sought to play down the link between sugary drinks and obesity. Even though Sugar Association still claims that sugar “does not have a unique role in heart disease.” In June 2016, The Associated Press reported that candy makers were funding studies that claimed that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not. Can you believe it?

So what it tells us? That documents published in very prominent and popular scientific journals does not give us any guarantee, that what is written in them is true. Not because scientists might be wrong, or make a mistake, they might be wrong on purpose.

As Angry Chef writes: “facts produced by science will always change, sometimes fundamentally”…”because they are based on evidence-based scientific research and the sort of systematic reviews of evidence that get us as close to the truth as possible”. What I can say: follow the money. If facts produced by science changes frequently and fundamentally, that should ring us a bell that something might be wrong in that science business. And the word “business” is the key.

Bring your papers

That’s why it’s hard for me to understand why Angry Chef puts so much trust in titles. Having MD or PhD before your name doesn’t make you last instance of knowledge. And not having a history of writing for medical journals or being approved by some kind of authority does not mean that your knowledge is less valuable. Even though author plays down medical doctors he mention in his book and glorifies the ones with titles or registered with authorities: “All registered nutritionist I have met over the years have a passion for rising evidence-based to improve people’s health through diet”.

It’s like you would say someone is not an artist because his art work wasn’t shown in National Gallery. It’s like not holding the title of a well-known university excludes having great knowledge and passion in helping people. Obviously it should be controlled somehow, since you cannot harm anyone with art, but you can with bad treatment. But such claims are grossly unfair for those doctors whose diploma has not been approved in a given country (he gives example of a Russian doctor practising in UK), as well as for those who have great knowledge, very often from many different fields but doesn’t have a diploma of a prominent university.

McDonald’s again?

I know I still didn’t start talking about processed foods but, believe me I’m getting there. It’s just that highly unfair opinions like that (not scientifically proven by the way) makes me feel sad and angry.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

OK, lets get to the point. This should be written on every McDonald’s happy meal bag ( if happy meal still exists). After Angry Chef:

“As I write these words I am sat in McDonald’s on a bright Summer’s evening toward the end of Summer school holidays. I am watching the succesions of families returning from action-packed busy days, many irreplaceable and fractious, yet all full of irreplaceable and joyous memories of time well spent. They are rounding of their day with the unhealthiest of convenience foods: burgers, fries and sugar-laden drinks. They are doing this for pleasure and because they want to be filled without having to think about it. They are willing to trade away the healthier option of a scratched-cooked meal because the memories they have created today are vastly more important. This is not an illogical choice, it is more than worth a trade. Conveniences foods enhances lifes because it frees people to live them how they choose.”

That should be an ad of McDonald’s – don’t use your head, just fill up your belly. Seriously Angry Chef? Maybe I’m the only weird person who value more sitting in the park on the grass with homemade sandwiches? Through the whole book Angry Chef tries to prove us that we should not draw conclusions from random situations, and secondly, the fact that something happened (accidentally) does not mean that it always happens:

  1. Anecdotes are not evidence – his almost idyllic McDonald’s story is just an anecdote. His subjective assessment of this situation, unless he interviewed whole family to prove that his image of that situation was actually truth.
  2. Correlation is not causation – Angry Chef keeps saying this million times – end of Summer holidays and family visiting this “restaurant” does not mean that it’s their special day “full of irreplaceable and joyous memories of time well spent”. Maybe they come there every second day, because parents don’t want to be bothered to cook? We don’t know that unless we make a research and ask at least a hundred families about their reasons and frequency of visiting McDonald’s. At his point it’s the only facts we have, is that it was end of Summer school holidays and that the family visited McDonalds, the rest is a story imagined by the author. There’s no science there.

And one more thing “Conveniences foods enhances lifes because it frees people to live them how they choose” – I’m really glad that when I was a kid there was no McDonald’s and no conveniences foods (in the 80’s and beginning of 90’s there was no such thing as ready meals and first McDonald’s was built in my home town last year) and my grandma was making sandwiches for my school trips. They were wrapped in paper that become greasy from the butter, but they were delicious and made with love – butter tasted like butter not margarine and tomatoes smelled from far away with their red juiciness. So Angry Chef if you let them eat in McDonald’s, also give me a freedom to eat paleo, GASP, no sugar or any other, OK? Without judgement.

BTW don’t you think that we’ve been modified to this impatient and demanding society that wants everything right now and right here? Like burger from McD. Meanwhile cooking from scratch is not only time consuming activity that’s only purpose is to fill our stomach. But it also socialize people, teach them how to care about each other. Cooking is spending time together and bonding relations.

After idyllic McDonald’s scene I’ve been even more motivated to dig deeper and deeper. And I stepped upon another article, this time The Guardian (link down below).

Over half of Britons eats highly processed foods

Cambridge University Press in 2017 published a research about “Household availability of ultra-processed foods and obesity in nineteen European countries”. Estimates of highly processed foods was calculated from national household budget surveys conducted between 1991 and 2008, so quite a long time ago. And I’m really curious how it looks right now, I hope that someone will make that research so we could compare it with this one.

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This article leaded me to professor Carlos Monteiro from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, who led the research team. Professor Monteiro used a method of food classification called NOVA. This puts foods or ingredients in to one of four categories depending on their level of processing:

  1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods (e.g. fruits, grains, meat, milk) – natural products which may have been processed in some way but have had no sugar, salts, fats or oils added.
  2. Processed culinary ingredients – ingredients derived from nature usually used in combination with ingredients from the group above – examples are salt, sugar, honey, vegetable oil.
  3. Processed foods – ‘relatively simple’ products made by adding ingredients from category 2 to category 1 – usually two to three ingredients. Examples include canned vegetables, fruits in syrup, cheese, freshly made bread, salted/sugared nuts or seeds, smoked fish and cured meats (preserved, pickled, fermented or salted foods).
  4. Ultra-processed food and drink products – described as ‘industrial formulations’ with five or more ingredients: for example, ice-cream, chocolate, sweets. This also includes foods from category 3 which have had ‘cosmetic/sensory additives’ added. Ingredients from category 2 are now transformed through colours, emulsifiers, flavourings and other additives to become more palatable. They contain ingredients unfamiliar to domestic kitchens such as soy protein isolate (in cereal bars or shakes with added protein) and “mechanically separated meat” (turkey hotdogs, sausage rolls). Examples include yoghurt with added sweeteners and non-artisanal bread. 

Anyway, what they discovered? Half of all the food bought by families in the UK is highly processed (exactly 50.4%), made in a factory with industrial ingredients and additives invented by food technologists. After the research:

“A significant positive association was found between national household availability of ultra-processed foods and national prevalence of obesity among adults. After adjustment for national income, prevalence of physical inactivity, prevalence of smoking, measured or self-reported prevalence of obesity, and time lag between estimates on household food availability and obesity, each percentage point increase in the household availability of ultra-processed foods resulted in an increase of 0·25 percentage points in obesity prevalence.”

Researchers concludes that the consumption of highly processed foods is associated with an increased risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases. And that there’s need for public policies and actions to promote consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and make highly processed foods less available and affordable.

However British Nutrition Foundation has found a number of issues because of “correlation is not causation” statement:

  • cross-sectional study, it can only show that there is a relationship between these variables; it cannot show whether availability of ultra-processed foods actually caused an increase in levels of obesity,
  • looking at averages within populations, it cannot show that individuals within countries who consume the ultra-processed foods are most likely to be obese,
  • for many of the countries studied the data on obesity and food availability were not from the same year, in fact they were sometimes 5 years apart. While the authors stated that they used methods to account for this time difference, this means that the paper only provides a theoretical snapshot of these factors in time,
  • most of the data on obesity was self-reported and so likely to be inaccurate,
  • NOVA classification does not take the nutrient content of foods into account,
  • study suggests an association between ultra-processed foods and obesity, it cannot tell us anything about why this association might exist, as it provides no information about the levels of macronutrients or energy in the foods within the different categories.

These doubts are obviously logic, but it doesn’t mean that we should throw the whole study to rubbish and go for happy meal.

Everything comes from China 😉

I would like to mention about China Study. “The China Study” book is based on “China-Oxford-Cornell Study on Dietary, Lifestyle and Disease Mortality Characteristics in 65 Rural Chinese Counties,” In 1983 two villages were chosen at random in each of 65 rural counties in China, and 50 families were chosen at random in each village for a total of 6,500 people. The dietary habits of one adult member of each family were examined—half male, half female—and the results compared to the death rates in those counties from around 48 forms of cancers and other diseases during 1973–75. The study compared the health consequences of diets rich in animal-based foods to diets rich in plant-based foods among people who were genetically similar. You’ll find lots of different statements about if this study conclusion is truth or not, and lots of debunking opinions. And I’m not going to debate about is the plant – based diet the healthiest in the world or not. But I want to mention about other things, that I noticed in that book, because by accident I read it couple years ago, that is in my opinion can refer to highly processed foods.

Dr Campbell and his team discovered couple very interesting facts:

“Atlas of cancer and morality in the People’s Republic of China. An aid for cancer control and research.” was created in the 1970s and contained information on mortality from more than 60 different diseases. Thanks to this data, Campbell team was able to distinguish two groups of diseases:

  • diseases that usually occur in more economically developed areas (diseases of civilization) like cancer (anus, lung, breast, brain, stomach, liver), diabetes, heart disease
  • and diseases that usually occur in rural areas (poverty diseases): pneumonia, digestive disorders, peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, parasitic diseases, rheumatic fever, birth complications, etc.

The results were interesting enough because the differences in numbers turned out to be huge. The provinces with the highest cancer rates had over one hundred times more cancer than the provinces with the lowest cancer rates. For comparison, in the USA, the incidence of cancer in different regions of the country will not exceed two or three times.

Study also showed that when over the years the more civilized cities of eastern China began to include highly processed western diet, it caused an increase in the so-called civilization diseases. Chinese consumers prefer the imported products than the local ones due to the impression of the product’s reputation of foreign brands. I fully understand it, because in the country I come from, for many years there there was a belief that everything that comes from the West is better (and this belief still exists unfortunately). On a China Highlights website you can find an information that there are now more KFCs in China than even in the USA and more get built every week. We can read there: “only few Chinese have ever been to a Western country. While having dinner at a “Western restaurant”, they might happily eat something no Westerner has ever seen…”, “McDonald’s is a big chain in China. They’ve had about 25 years to experiment with their food. Younger people especially like their hamburgers. It is said to be made with real beef patties, and it tastes authentic”. So we should not be surprised to see that in China, one in five children is classified as obese. This is even more shocking when you consider that back in 1995, that number was only 1 out of 20 children.

What’s wrong with this food?

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OK, so let us go back to ultra-processed foods. I found an article related to Dr. Monteiro’s research, the author Bee Wilson, just wrote everything I’ve been thinking about in this subject. Author recalls the times of her childhood full of toasted bread, Pringles and breakfast cereals. The guilt she had after eating with no limits made her thinking there must be something wrong with her. Today she asks: what’s wrong with this food?

“As I ate my Pringles and my white bread, I felt like a failure for not being able to stop. I had no idea that there would one day be a technical explanation for why I found them so hard to resist”. Do you recall anything like that in your life? I do.

We eat processed food every single day, cooking is a process, fermenting is a process, peeling is a process. And it just came into my mind, so please don’t feel offended, but that’s a comparison that popped into my mind. It’s like you have two beautiful woman, one is full of her natural beauty, the other one is…uhm…spiced up here and there by plastic surgeon. Hyaluron lips, silicon breasts, maybe silicon bum, one pair of ribs less to make waist thinner, maybe some extension hair and glam make up for nicer finish. Honestly, which one would you like to spend your time every day until the rest of your life?

After Bee: what characterises ultra-processed foods is that they are so altered that it can be hard to recognise the underlying ingredients. These are concoctions of concoctions, engineered from ingredients that are already highly refined, such as cheap vegetable oils, flours, whey proteins and sugars, which are then whipped up into something more appetising with the help of industrial additives such as emulsifiers”.

And lots of these ultra processed products are existing in our everyday life. I just ate Quorn mince for my dinner and have long life plant milk in my fridge. It’s really difficult to eliminate all the processed foods from our diet. The question is what happens with the body when these foods replace unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits and meat? Question number two that Bee asks is: “consumers may blame themselves for overindulging in these foods, but what if it is in the nature of these products to be overeaten?” Moreover, there’s “adage repeated constantly by the food industry and adopted by politicians – that there’s no such thing as bad food, just too much food – Bee said. It’s like with alcohol and cigarettes – they are strongly addictive, but politicians, health care providers tells us it’s our fault that we drink and smoke too much. The truth is that no one cares about you, the only one who should truly care about you is YOU.

Life is difficult

And here we are going back to Dr Monteiro. He had started off in the 70’s treating poor people in rural villages, and was startled to see how quickly the problems of malnutrition were replaced by those of tooth decay and obesity, particularly among children. When Monteiro looked at the foods that had increased the most in the Brazilian diet – from cookies and sodas to crackers and savoury snacks – what they had in common was that they were all highly processed. And what’s even wore they are advertised as a replace to freshly made regular meals and dishes, with snacking any time, anywhere.

Soon after the arrival in Nepal of brightly coloured packages that, as Victor Aguayo, chief of nutrition at Unicef describes them, “look like food for children: the cookies, the savoury snacks, the cereals”, aid workers started to see an epidemic of “both overweight and micronutrient deficiency” including anaemia among Nepalese children under the age of five. That’s another example.

But as I already mention lots of people decided that Monteiro’s classification makes no sense. Bee reminds a story of Kevin Hall of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland who was very sceptic about ultra-processed foods theory. Just because people who eat a lot of ultra-processed foods are more likely to be obese or get cancer does not mean that obesity and cancer are caused by ultra-processed foods. At the end of 2018, Hall and his colleagues became the first scientists to test whether diets high in ultra-processed foods could actually cause overeating and weight gain.

For four weeks, 10 men and 10 women agreed to be confined to a clinic under Hall’s care and agreed to eat only what they were given. For two weeks, Hall’s participants ate mostly ultra-processed meals and for another two weeks they ate mostly unprocessed food. The subjects were told to eat as much or as little as they liked. It turned out that, during the weeks of the ultra-processed diet, the volunteers ate an extra 500 calories a day, equivalent to a whole quarter pounder with cheese. Blood tests showed that the hormones in the body responsible for hunger remained elevated on the ultra-processed diet compared to the unprocessed diet, which confirms the feeling I used to have that however much I ate, these foods didn’t sate my hunger. Over just two weeks, the subjects gained an average of 1kg. Came out that after publication of Hall’s study results, Monteiro’s study started being treated more seriously.

I think I know why my perception of processed foods is so different that Angry Chef. I grew in a country where highly processed foods started being sold in the 90’s, so in the culture of my country homemade, cooked from scratch meals are the one that we love, the one that are our soul food. In Britain or USA highly processed foods where normal from the 60’s, so their food memories are much different than mine. So when Bee dreams about Iced Gems (ultra-processed cookies topped with ultra-processed frosting), I dream about juicy, red tomatoes that had a smell and taste as real tomato. Not wrapped in plastic tomato-looking veg that taste like absolutely nothing. Or little wild strawberries and blueberries that grandma was bringing from the forest.


What was a surprise when at the end of Bee Wilson’s article I stepped upon the information that Angry Chef, the same Angry Chef from my book, argued that Nova was stoking fear and guilt about food and “adding to the stress of already difficult lives” by making people feel judged for their food choices (it’s like he’s not judging everyone in his book about their food choices). Moreover after having read Kevin Hall’s study, Angry Chef wrote an article in May 2019 admitting: “I was wrong about ultra-processed food – it really is making you fat.”

Ta! daa! What can I say?

And what do you think about processed foods and this luckless McDonald’s? Shall we eat whatever we want, because we have only one life and it’s already hard? I know people from both sides of the spectrum, some of them are surprised that I don’t go to McDonald’s, they eat whatever they want and complain how bad they feel. But that’s their thing. Thanks God in the subject of food we still have freedom of choice 😉

Source of knowledge:

10 eating habits to improve your health (even if you don’t want to be on any diet)

There’s hundreds of diets in this world. You don’t believe that? Have a look at Wikipedia list of diet. “Not all diets are considered healthy. Some people follow unhealthy diets through habit, rather than through a conscious choice to eat unhealthily” – good point Wikipedia! Some diets are obviously unhealthy, and you don’t need to be a doctor to know that: “junk food diet” or “Western diet”, aren’t the best choices in therms of eating habits.

Being on a diet become very popular and in some environments is trendy, which I believe is not the best idea. Nevertheless , not everyone needs to be on a certain diet and not everyone wants to be on a diet (I was that person), and no one should feel bad because of that. No one should feel bad because people around him are on some kind of diet, and he is not. Changing of eating habits should be a concious decision, backed up with knowledge drawn from various sources. If you start being on a certain diet just because everyone else are, you might not only harm your body but also your mind. But as I said, not everyone want to restrict themselves to certain eating rules, and that’s fine. No one wants to be restricted and feel forced to anything. Including me.

But if you’d like to try to make a small changes to your eating habits and see if they’ll make you feel better, I have 10 eating habits for you. If you have digestive problems like bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or you constantly tired, you have cravings, you joints are stiff and painful, take a look at this list. Even if you implement one habit, it might help you a lot. You don’t need to reorganize your whole world, try to adapt one small habit you think would help you the most. Some of them might seem to be more complicated at the beginning, but I can assure you that you’ll quite easily get used to them. Especially if you start feeling better. But don’t force yourself, remember it needs to be your concious decision. Make your research, read some more informations, listen to other people who’s also implement these habits in their lives. An try yourself.

The lack of scientific evidence is not proof that something is not happening, and the other way – if there is a scientific evidence that something works, it doesn’t mean that it will work for everybody.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

10 eating habits to improve your health

(even if you don’t want to be on any diet)

1. Drink apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apples, its main active substance is acetic acid, but also lactic acid, citric acid, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and bacteria friendly to our digestive system. Good quality apple cider vinegar is cloudy (unfiltered), unpasteurized and has a dark orange colour (sediment at the bottom of the bottle it’s called “the mother”).

Vinegar has a long history of use as a disinfectant and natural food preservative. According to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, Department of Hospital Epidemiology in the US, vinegar has a strong antimicrobial effect and can kill certain strains of bacteria.

The best health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been found in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels, both due to insulin resistance and the inability to produce insulin. However, elevated blood sugar levels can also be a problem for people who do not have diabetes … high blood sugar is believed to be the main cause of ageing of the body and the cause of various chronic diseases. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain the proper level of sugar in blood. In particular, it improves insulin sensitivity during a meal with a high carbohydrate content of 19-34%, and thus significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as lowers blood sugar by 34% after consuming 50 g of white bread. In addition, taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime may reduce your fasting blood sugar by 4%. As a consequence, it is beneficial for blood sugar levels, it does not spike after meals and build up in the form of adipose tissue. If you are currently taking medications to lower blood sugar levels, consult your doctor before introducing apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Drinking apple cider vinegar helps with digestion as it produces more gastric juices, but if you start to experience diarrhoea, reduce your dose or stop drinking it for a few days.

Typical doses are 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day. Always drink diluted vinegar (maximum 2 tablespoons for about 200 ml of water). Have a drink before meals (especially high-protein) or twice a day (e.g. morning and evening). If you’ve never tried drinking apple cider vinegar start with 1 teaspoon, and see how you feel. Slowly increase the amount of vinegar up to 2 tablespoons. You’ll see significant difference if you tend to feel heavy after meals, especially if you eat a lot of meat, and your stomach is not producing enough stomach acid. Which leads me to the second one.

2. Don’t drink while you eat

There’s many theories about you should drink while eating a meal or not. What I’ve noticed from my own experience, that drinking a glass of tea, juice, coffee or large amounts of water during my meal or just after, makes me feel heavy, bloated and uncomfortable. So if you drink a lot (also fizzy drinks) with a meal and it makes you feel worse, you have abdominal pain and bloating, try not to drink anything while you eat and just after. Although if you feel like you need to drink something, have a couple sips of water. Always observe your body and decide, if it’s a habit or your body really needs water.

3. Say no to highly processed food

Humans has been processing food for centuries: cutting, cooking, baking, drying, chopping. Food processing that we can carry out at home are natural processes. E.g. pickling, pasteurization, drying, salting, smoking etc.
Highly processed food is one that we are not able to “produce” at home, special conditions, machines and substances are needed for this. Such industrial processes are: mechanical separation, spray drying, sterilization, freeze drying, vacuum packing, food treatment, radiation, infrared treatment. Food is not only subjected to unnatural processes, but also various types of food additives are used, which are not a natural food ingredient but are added to obtain specific effects. Food additives are defined differently in different countries. For example, in the European Union, a food additive is “a substance that is not normally eaten but is intentionally added to food for technological reasons“, while in the United States food additives are “substances whose intended use causes, or can reasonably be expected to will make it directly or indirectly an ingredient of food or otherwise affect the properties of food “(Wikipedia). Such substances include: flavouring compositions, dyes, emulsifiers, thickeners, raising agents and other substances that are intended to thicken the product, also preservatives, antioxidants and stabilizers, compounds that are to extend the life of products. These compounds have different origins, sometimes they are made from natural products, and sometimes synthetic. Importantly, they never occur naturally.
There are many misconceptions and contradictions when it comes to explaining which food additives and in what amounts are harmful to human health. It is generally accepted that everything that is in the product you buy in the store is not harmful and does not pose any threat to your life. Logically looking – why would they inform about the fact that what is added to food is not necessarily healthy?

Let’s look at these facts: boric acid was widely used as a food preservative from the 1870s to the 1920s, but was banned after World War I due to its toxicity, as demonstrated in animal and human studies. During World War II, the urgent need for cheap, available food preservatives led to it being used again (!), but it was finally banned in the 1950s. In 1938 US government decided that no carcinogenic substances should be used in food production, however, after the banning of cyclamates in the United States and Britain in 1969, saccharin, the only remaining legal artificial sweetener at the time, was found to cause cancer in rats. But they have found in 2000, that saccharin is carcinogenic in rats due only to their unique urine chemistry. (Wikipedia) So how can we be sure that if something will be fine for rats, will be also fine for humans? Especially in long term?

Do you know, that there’s over 300 different food additives? Which one you should avoid the most?

  • Sodium nitrites – check all the deli meat products, and meat products in general – I can guarantee that 99% of them will have sodium nitrite. Have you noticed that homemade deli meat never have such a pink glowing colour, like the one from the shop? It’s mostly because the additives. Naturally prepared deli meat always gets this greyish colour after cooking. But we got so used to what we see in the shop, we start thinking that there’s something wrong with the meat that we cook at home, because it’s not as pink and doesn’t have as strong flavour as the one from the shop. When sodium nitrite is heated at high temperatures or combined with stomach acid, starts producing nitrosamines. They are linked to an increased risk of pancreatic and colorectal cancer.
  • Sulfites – are a preservative many people are sensitive to (especially people with asthma). Their use on fresh fruits and vegetables is banned in the United States, but sulfites are present in other foods (also avoid sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite or sodium sulfite)
  • Trans fats – it’s cheap, they do not go rancid, they can be repeatedly heated and cooled without any harm, and the products prepared with their use are durable and have a long shelf life. There is only one but – this type of fat is really very harmful to health. If you eat a lot of them, and for longer periods you can get diabetes, heart disease, hardening of blood vessels and inflammation. It also reduces your body’s ability to lose weight. Most trans fats are found in all confectionery, cakes, potato fries and fast food.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – this substance enhance flavour and texture in processed foods (especially Asian foods are known from using MSG generously). People sensitive to MSG can experience nausea, breathing problems and other reactions. You can read about it also in this post.
  • E102, E110 (also known as FD&C yellow no. 5 and no. 6) – these artificial coloring agents can cause severe allergic reactions in those with asthma. Some research also suggests a link with hyperactivity in children, but this has not been proven. What’s interesting E110 is not only used in food but also in production of condoms, cosmetics, and drugs (Wikipiedia). Products containing E102 commonly include processed commercial foods that have an artificial yellow or green colour, or that consumers expect to be brown or creamy looking (!). It has been frequently used in the bright yellow colouring of imitation lemon filling in baked goods. E102 is widely use in cosmetic industry, household cleaning products, paper plates, pet foods, crayons, inks for writing instruments, stamp dyes, face paints, envelope glues, and deodorants (Wikipedia). Considering that, how much of E102 a human can absorb not only in food and medications, but also through skin contact?

Now if you eat a lot of processed foods, go to the kitchen and have a look on the labels, how many of these substances you find in your food?

4. Eat when you’re hungry

Depending on the opinion of the dietitian, we are told to eat 5 times a day, or 3 times a day. We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that the first meal should be eaten before 9am and the last one no later than 6pm, and so on. All the experts has their own opinions you should be listening to. Such a single pattern that could be applied to every person could make sense only if everyone functioned in exactly the same way. Meanwhile, each of us functions completely different. We have different sleeping patterns (for example, if someone works in shifts), our work is different in terms of time and effort, we have different eating habits and we live in various climate. It is impossible for one scheme to fit all.
For some people, eating 5 meals a day is almost impossible. Depending of how your diet is – more carbohydrate based, or fat based (or both), if you work from home, and you sit most of the time, or you do physical work and need a lot of energy.

What if you would become your own expert? Isn’t you the one who knows your body the best? What if you’re absolutely not hungry in the morning, and you need to force yourself to eat something, when your body’s metabolism didn’t wake up yet?

So if you feel like you have to force yourself to eat 5 times a day, or to have a giant breakfast before 9am, consider thinking through your own body needs and prepare your own schedule that’s the best for you and your lifestyle. Become your own expert. And this leads me to a next one…

5. Observe and be mindful

to become your own expert start observing how you feel, after eating certain foods, also observe your hunger.

Ask yourself if:

  • your body is hungry for food?
  • or maybe you’re dehydrated?
  • or (if you eat a lot of sweets) your mind craves sugar?
  • or maybe you’re just bored?

We tend to be so unaware of our own body, that even if we’re on certain diet we do not recognise what it’s trying to tell us. We often mindlessly subordinate to the rules of chosen diet, without listening to how our body responds. As I have been writing here, before keto diet I didn’t stop and think how eating certain food makes me feel. Why the hell I feel so sleepy after dinner? Why I feel like I would explode after this delicious lentil soup? Why my stomach is heavy and painful after x or y? I’ve never thought about that. I thought it’s normal. If you feel bad after eating certain foods it is not normal. The food you eat should be nutritious for your body, make you feel energised and full of live.

6. Use a lot of herbs & spices

Even if you’re not a masterchef, and your cooking skills leave something to be desired, spices can take your kitchen to the next level. Not only that, spices have healing properties, they support your health, facilitate metabolism and even destroy microbes that are hostile to your body. 2017 research showed that essential oils and extracts of some spices contain active compounds like piperine, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, linalool, thymoquinones, curcumin, allicin. These compounds acts like natural preventive components of several diseases and represent as antioxidants in body cells.

According to this research which spices has the most healing properties?

  • Black Cumin Seeds (Nigella sativa) – helps to treat common cold, infections of the trachea, bron-chitis, urinary tract, and reproductive system. Some skin dis-orders such as warts and hair losses. Egyptians used it to treat stomachaches, inflammations, intestinal worms, and migraines. Modern researches showed that black cumin seeds are potentially antioxidant, hepatoprotec-tive, anticancer, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, analgesic, antiulcer and antihistaminic.
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – widely use in India. Leaves are used to add flavors to medicinal drinks, decoctions, and as flavouring wrappers in the preparation of traditional sweets. Aparft for its internal healing properties, turmeric can be used on the skin as a natural anti-septic. It can be applied topically for the treatment of acne,wounds, boils, bruises, blisters, ulcers, eczema, insect bites,and skin diseases like herpes. Researches showed that curcumin (active compound of turmeric) is highly anti-inflammatory, works against a number of pathogenic bacteria (for example Helicobacter pylori).
  • Garlic (Allium sativum L) – has antifungal and antiparasitic properties, it’s also anticancer and antioxidant abilities, can control cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent gastritis. It’s a natural antibiotic.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – it comes from the same family as turmeric. Its antimicrobial, for example fights Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori which is the main reason for peptic ulcer, dyspepsia, and gastric/stomach cancer.
  • Star Anise (Illicium verum) – has carminative, antifungal, antibacterial, analgesic, sedative, anticarcinogenic,and antioxidant properties. Seed from the star anise floret is known to contain about 55%fatty oils along with oleic acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid, andstearic acid.
  • Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) – good for head-aches, bad breath, and fever. Also extracts of nutmeg seed showed antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) – it has antiseptic properties, and its potential for antibacterial and antifungal activity has been tested in laboratories by a number of researchers. Piperine extracts from black pep-per showed maximum antibacterial activity against multidrugresistant gram-positive bacteria.
  • Cloves (Syzigium aromaticum) – it’s known to control nausea,vomiting, cough, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, stomach dis-tension, and gastrointestinal spasm. It is recognized to possessanticarcinogenic, antioxidant, and antiparasitic properties. Active compound in cloves is eugenol, that has antibacterial and antifungal activity.
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum,C cassia,C zeylanicum,C loureirii) – antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood purifying and blood thinningproperties, and it is also used in reducing blood sugar levels andcholesterols. However, excess consumption of cinnamon can be toxic to bodyorgans.

Also there’s plenty of culinary herbs that has healing properties (contains polyphenols) and helps our body to digest the food.

  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) – control of swellings, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, anaemia, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders. Traditional Chinese Medicine the leaves were used to stimulate the appetite, promote digestion and to strengthen the spleen and stomach. The seeds were similarly used to soothe the stomach, relieve nausea, for intestinal cramping and constipation.
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens L.) – used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver problems, and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for urinary tract disorders including kidney disease and painful or difficult urination. Other uses for dill include treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders.
  • Oregano (Wild Majoram) (Origanum vulgare L.) – Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions.
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum (P. Mill.)) – vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin K, some folate (a B vitamin), and iron. It’s high in antioxidants which can reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress markers. If you’re feeling bloated, parsley’s anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) – n terms of vitamins, fresh rosemary contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and other B vitamins such as folate and thiamin. Also improves digestion, rosemary in a tea is great to treat an upset stomach or nausea.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis L.) – increase memory recall and retention, normalise cholesterol levels, treat symptoms of menopause, and improve blood sugar, anti-inflammatory properties as well as plenty of antioxidants.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) – considered as medicinal plant due to their pharmacological and biological properties. Its properties are due to its main components, thymol and carvacrol. Fresh Thyme has the highest level of antioxidants among all herbs. Fresh Thyme contains Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Phosphorus, vitamin A, B, K and vitamin C. Extracts from Thyme have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis and for the treatment of other pathologies thanks to several properties such as antiseptic, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidative and antiviral.

7. Reduce sugar

It won’t be a great discovery if I say that sugar is harmful. Sugar addiction is compared to drug addiction.

People who eat large amounts of sweets very often struggle with gastrointestinal fungal infections. It is associated with the overgrowth of the yeast from the Candida albicans family. Probably few people are aware that they are present in the body of every human being from birth. When the immune system is functioning properly, fungi do not multiply, so they are not dangerous – normal bacterial flora keeps them in check. The situation changes radically when we disrupt this balance. Taking various types of medications, such as antibiotics, also causes disturbances in our digestive system, making the body extremely susceptible to the development of yeast. The second factor is eating large amounts of simple sugars that Candida is fed. Long term exposure of the body to yeast and fungus overgrowth causes chronic inflammation and, consequently, many dangerous diseases.

If you eat a lot of sweets and notice any of these symptoms, it is very likely that your body has been attacked by Candida:

  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • yeast infections of the genitals (especially in women)
  • feeling of constant fatigue
  • stiff neck
  • migraines
  • ear, throat and nose problems
  • white raid on the tongue
  • metallic taste and bad breath
  • bloating and gas
  • craving for sweets, pasta and bread combined with irritability, drowsiness, decreased concentration, fatigue and mood changes.

How to get rid of yeast overgrowth?

Traditional medicine, of course, will propose a set of drugs that give you a somewhat miserable feeling that you only need to swallow the pill and your problems will disappear. But the best, most effective and at the same time the cheapest, although not the easiest way, is to change your diet.

How can you prevent yeast infections of the digestive system? Avoid:

  • sugars and products containing it (chocolate, candies, jam, fruit juices), as simple sugars are an ideal breeding ground for yeast and fungi
  • wheat flour products: white bread, pancakes, dumplings, cakes
  • blue cheeses and fruit containing a lot of sugar (oranges, bananas, plums, dried fruit)

It is also important to drink a about of 2 litres of water each day, to help remove toxins from the body that are produced by fungi.

You can make a simple home test, to check the presence of active Candida in the body.

In the evening, put ½ glass of water next to your bed. Immediately after waking up, spit out quickly what you have in our mouth into the glass – do not collect saliva, but only spit out what you have in your mouth. Let the glass rest for 15 minutes. After this time, gently twist the contents of the glass. If the saliva rises on the surface of the water, it’s all fine. But if the water has become cloudy and the saliva has fallen to the bottom, you are most probably dealing with Candida imbalance in our body.

Make a test and stop eating sugar (it means sweets, bakery, flour products, pasta, rice) for a month and see how your body will response.

8. Use a bone broth as a base for your soups

Every two weeks I make beef bones broth that I get from the butcher. I simmer bones in a giant pot for 24 hours, with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the acid helps to etch the bone marrow). Than I make a few portions of broth, freeze it, and use it for soups. Longer you cook the bones, you’ll get more powerful broth (you can simmer it up to 36 hours). This broth warms the spleen and gives you plenty of nutrients and natural collagen. Such a soup is a mineral bomb. A glass of collagen every day will improve the quality of every part of your body. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy). It also helps with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. Collagen also maintains healthy skin.

So instead of using stock cubes, pods or granules as a base of your soups, which apart from artificial flavour doesn’t have much to give, start making your own soup base. Check your local butcher, usually you won’t need to pay anything or a small amount of money for a giant bone. You’ll get couple litres of broth you can use as a base for the soup, half and half with water (broth is usually quite strong and thick, depending of the part of the bone you use to make it).

9. Eat fermented foods

One of the biggest benefits of fermented foods comes from probiotics. The digestive tract is teeming with some 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms, says Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Changes to the population of gut microbes may create an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria, leading to many health problems. When the digestive tract has an unhealthy mix of organisms, it can actually lead to a weakening of the walls of the intestines, which start to leak their contents into the bloodstream — a condition referred to, not surprisingly, as leaky gut syndrome. Chronic exposure to these substances leaking out from the intestines has been linked to a host of health problems, ranging from asthma and eczema to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. Ludwig.

With fermented foods you can not only prevent from getting autoimmune diseases, but also built your immunity to different bacteria and viruses. Have a look at this post where I’m writing about Dr. Jean Bousquet Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Montpellier in France was looking for association between consumption of fermented vegetables and COVID-19 mortality at a country level in Europe. Also check this recipe for homemade sauerkraut juice and couple informations about its healing properties.

10. Give yourself a fast day

Long time ago people did not have continuous access to food, so fasting was a natural state for the body. In the modern world, when we have continuous and unlimited access to food, it happens that we spend most of our day eating. In such a situation, our body is forced to constantly digest the food we eat and it is not possible to “focus” on regeneration. All energy is used for digestion – if you provide your body with processed food, difficult to digest and stuffed with chemicals and toxins, the body accumulates them, without having enough time or energy to get rid of them.
Even though there’s been already researches about benefits coming from intentional fasting, there’s still a lot of disinformation and controversy around this subject and doctors who advocates to natural medicine, fasting and other alternative to modern medicine widely used and recognized as effective.

There are different types of fasting:

  • eating window (intermittent fasting) – for 6-8 hours a day you eat meals, the rest of the time you fast, giving your body time to digest and regenerate,
  • one-day fasting – e.g. once a week,
  • multi-day fasts – from 48 to several dozen hours.

Benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • increases insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for health, because insulin resistance, i.e. poor cell sensitivity to insulin, contributes to the development of many chronic diseases,
  • normalizes the level of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone”, thus reducing the feeling of hunger,
  • improves blood sugar management,
  • increases the production of human growth hormone,
  • inhibits inflammation and reduces oxidative damage,
  • supports autophagy and mitophagy – natural cleansing processes necessary for optimal cell renewal and function,
  • accelerates fat burning, improves metabolic efficiency and body composition, including by significantly reducing visceral fat and body weight in obese people,
  • prevents the development of type 2 diabetes and slows down its progression,
  • improves the functioning of the immune system,
  • reduces the risk of heart disease,
  • reduces the risk of cancer,
  • regenerates the pancreas and improves its function,
  • protects against neurological diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease through the production of ketone bodies,
  • eliminates carbohydrate hunger.

I highly recommend Dr. Berg’s publications on his YouTube channel – the source of vast knowledge presented in an accessible and understandable way. Not only about intermittent fasting, but also plenty health problems, with holistic point of view.

I hope you’ve managed to read up to the end, and somehow you find it useful. I would be very happy if any of these tips and habits would help you to feel better in your body. If you have other habits that are helpful for you, please write them in the comment section below.

Source of knowledge:


keto coconut flour cheesecake #glutenfree #lowcarb

Before keto, apart from meringue, cheesecake was one of my favorite cakes. Oh moisten, fluffy and almost velvety cheesecake (any kind) melting in your mouth – that’s heaven.

Most of the keto cakes recipes are based on almond flour. That what annoys me in keto – you can replace flour only with two options – almond flour or coconut flour. First one is very expensive, consistency and properties of the other one, are so much different than traditional flour, that it’s impossible to get the same result. Oh I will never forget this disappointment, trying to make pizza or pancakes with coconut flour. After few defeats I decided, I’m not gonna fool myself that with coconut flour I will achieve the same outcome.

But some time passed and self isolation has awaken my baking desire. So I started looking for inspiration for using coconut flour in a cake. And I found this recipe, did some adjustments, wouldn’t be myself if not changing something here and there (I didn’t have sour cream for example). And surprisingly for myself (as I told you in my semifreddo recipe, happens to me to be a master of disaster when it comes to baking) the result was very good.

Of course with coconut flour you cannot expect this velvety texture, when using traditional flour. However it came out nicely moist, quite light but also not very sweet. Consider that I’ve added tiny bit of sugar replacement comparing to original recipe. So if you decide to make it yourself, and you want it to be sweet as traditional cheesecake, definitely add more.

This attempt was a success, without doubt. Encouraged me to experiment more, so expect more recipes like that in the near future. Especially that looks like isolation will last for few more weeks, so we all need something to comfort us.

keto coconut flour cheesecake

keto coconut flour cheesecake #glutenfree #lowcarb

Remember that all the ingredients should have the same room temperature (although my cream cheese and mascarpone was straight from the fridge).

Also a note: I use the same 250 ml cup to measure all ingredients (it’s regular glass size), so if you see 1/2 cup means it’s half of 250 ml.

INGREDIENTS (for 7.5 inch round silicon baking tray)

  • 4 free range eggs (medium size)
  • 400 g creme cheese (I used two packs of Asda Creamy Original Soft Cheese)
  • 3 tbsp clarified butter
  • little bit less than 1/2 cup of xylitol (my measuring cup is 250 ml)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder


low carb cheesecake


I’ve melted butter (of course I forgot to take it out from the fridge early enough to get soft) and left it for a while to cool down. It worked, so you can do the same.

Preheat the oven to 170°C or 150°C with the fan. My oven has only fan option so I always have to lower the heat. But as I always say – every oven is different so keep an eye on it!

Beat the eggs using handheld mixer, when they become nice and fluffy add sugar replacement and beat for another while, so the sugar will combine nicely. Then add creme cheese, mascarpone, pinch of salt, vanilla, baking powder and butter. Mix for another while until it gets uniform.

At the end add coconut flour. Do it slowly, and wait a while before you add more because coconut flour absorbs plenty of liquid. We don’t want it to be too thick, because cheesecake will get dry. Batter will be quite thick, but you should be able to pour it to the baking tray. Kind of consistency like a cottage cheese you can buy in the supermarket.

If happened that you’ve added to much coconut flour – add some milk.

I used round silicon baking tray, and baked for about an 1 hour (in this case could be even less because I’ve noticed that when I bake in silicone trays it’s quicker). If you’d like to use loaf baking tray, you’ll need to bake for longer. Silicone baking tray doesn’t need to be greased, but if you use traditional one grease it with butter.

During baking it will grow and start to crack on the surface – that’s normal. Later on will collapse more or less, and it’s also normal, so no worries. How to check when cheesecake is ready? Take a toothpick or a skewer (I always use wooden skewer) and insert into cheesecake, if it comes out clean – it means it’s ready. If you still have some batter leftovers – means that it needs couple more minutes.

If your cheesecake gets to dark on top and it’s still not ready, you can cover it with tin foil or piece of baking paper.

Don’t take it out straight away after finish baking (it might collapse even more). Let it slowly to cool down, I always put a wooden spoon between the door, and leave it for an hour or two.

After all this hassle (oh it can be stressful!) you can finally enjoy a piece of cheesecake 🙂

keto cheesecake

coconut flour cheesecake