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Newsletter 14, February 2008

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. Sinusitis: fungal infection - the hidden culprit
  2. Do you need special diet foods from the supermarket, drugstore or chemist?
  3. Latest bread and breakfast recipes in the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook
  4. Your successes, requests and questions
  5. Tell us what you think
  6. Visit our newsletter archive

1) Sinusitis: Fungal Infection - The Hidden Culprit

Sinusitis affects millions of people every year. An inflammation of the nasal passages, it can cause headaches, facial pain, cough, fever, bad breath, nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip and even toothache and an impaired sense of smell and taste. For many it can become a chronic problem which seriously affects their quality of life.

Most cases of sinusitis are treated with antibiotics, but unfortunately these only help if bacteria are the cause of the infection. Where the cause is a virus, antibiotics do not help. Sinusitis is also known to be caused by allergies such as hay fever or pollutants such as nasal sprays which irritate the nasal passages. However, new research points to yet another cause which may in fact be the hidden culprit in most cases of chronic sinusitis - fungus.

We are all exposed to fungus and mould spores in the air, and most of us have fungi in the mucous membranes of our sinuses as a result. However, in some people the fungi trigger inflammation and the symptoms of sinusitis. In these cases, antibiotics not only fail to help, but make the problem worse.

It is hoped that this new research will lead to the development of new antifungal medications to treat sinusitis. However, naturopathic doctors suggest that there are simple steps we can take to avoid the root cause of the problem by helping our bodies to keep fungus under control. Here are some tips for doing this:

  • Eliminate intake of sugar and reduce carbohydrates such as flour, rice, corn or maize, pasta, pizza, potatoes, cakes and cookies. These all break down into glucose (a form of sugar) in our body - the sugar is what the fungi feed on
  • Take good quality cod liver or fish oil each day to boost levels of the omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for a healthy immune system
  • Use coconut oil for cooking (but ensure it is made from fresh coconuts, not dried ones). The lauric acid it contains is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Avoid eating foods which are often contaminated with fungal toxins called mycotoxins, such as alcohol, corn, wheat, barley, sugar, sorghum, peanuts, rye, cottonseed oil and mouldy hard cheese
  • Take regular exercise - physical activity causes sinuses to expand and helps air and cleansing mucus to move through them

If your sinuses are congested, wash them out with saline solution. This treatment has been used in Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine for many years and is now being recommended by many western doctors. Use half to one teaspoon of salt to two cups of tepid water. Adding a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can also help to break up the mucus. Inhaling steam for 10 minutes two to four times a day from a bowl of boiled water with a towel over your head to prevent the steam escaping, or taking a hot, steamy shower can also help.

2) Do You Need Special Diet Foods From The Supermarket, Drugstore Or Chemist?

When you first start a special diet, whether it's wheat-free, an allergy elimination diet, the Stone Age Diet for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a low carb diet or any other diet which restricts a certain type of food, planning your meals can seem an insurmountable obstacle.

Unless you already make all your meals yourself and aren't fazed by trying new ingredients and recipes, your first thought is probably to seek out substitute products in your local supermarket, chemist or drugstore. The temptation can be very strong to settle for meal-replacement drinks, soups and bars, snacks, pre-prepared meals and other heavily processed, ready-made special diet foods.

Is relying on shop-bought special diet foods such a good idea, though? Take low carb diets, for example. The basis of true low carb dieting is eating healthily, avoiding processed and junk foods, and focusing on fresh, natural, unprocessed ingredients. Unfortunately, food manufacturers who have rushed to cash in on the low carb bandwagon with meal replacement products, snacks and other products claiming to be suitable for low carb diets all too often fill their products with artificial additives, preservatives and colorants. These products are not what true low carbing is all about, but many low carb dieters are sadly unaware of this.

If you are on an allergy elimination diet, it is even more important to avoid processed foods. And if you have been prescribed the 'Stone Age Diet' for allergy, IBS or candida-related problems, then avoiding man-made chemicals is a fundamental part of your new eating regime.

However, making your food yourself may seem like a terrible chore if you aren't used to doing this already. You may feel you are too busy and don't have time. But don't you owe it to yourself and your family to be healthy?

Besides, cooking doesn't need to take up a lot of your time. The most important thing is to find a cookbook containing quick and easy recipes which have been tried and tested by a cook with personal knowledge of your diet. The free recipes in internet recipe rooms and forums can rarely give this assurance and a good cookbook will reward your investment many times over.

When choosing your cookbook, check the contents list carefully. Many special diet cookbooks disappoint because they simply repeat recipes you could find in 'normal' cookbooks. To help you keep to your diet and make it a success, you need a cookbook which takes full advantage of the many substitute ingredients which are available. In this way, you get the motivation of enjoying your favorite foods (suitably adapted for your diet using alternative ingredients) while broadening your nutrient intake and eliminating man-made chemicals.

If you are following a wheat-free, allergy elimination, Stone Age or low carb diet and want to reap the full health benefits of this change in your way of eating, then two cookbooks which definitely won't disappoint are the Stone Age Diet is Easy Cookbook and the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook.

3) Latest Bread And Breakfast Recipes In The Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook

January is always the top month of the year for people to start diets. Unfortunately, February is the top month for people to abandon their diets when they start to get bored and fed up with limited food choices.

So which two foods do people doing the Atkins Diet or other low carb diets most miss? Bread is number one, with recipes for something quick and easy for breakfast that are not bacon and eggs a close second!

But Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook owners know there's no need to miss out on these favorites. The trick is to know how to make best use of the low carb alternative ingredients that are increasingly available. For instance, the latest recipes released into the Cookbook include Wholegrain Bread with Hemp, and Breakfast Almond Muffins. They join many other delicious low carb bread and breakfast recipes such as Flat Breads, Flax Meal Rolls, Flax Muffins, Almond Bread, Flax Scones, Hemp and Sesame Flaxbreads, Porridge and Granola Breakfast Cereal. All of these recipes are suitable for Atkins Induction and other very low carb diets, unlike many shop-bought breads which claim to be low carb but in reality are too high in carbs for many dieters.

For those of our readers who are subscribers to the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook, these great new recipes will already be in your Cookbook next time you log in.

4) Your Successes, Requests And Questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

  • Q Some of the shop breads say Low Carbs but the carbs seem pretty high. Are they OK on the Low GI diet as well as Low Carb?
  • A Whether shop-bought bread is ok for your low carb or low GI (glycemic index) diet depends on your individual tolerance for carbohydrate foods. Both low carb and low GI diets are about keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels low and steady. High insulin levels signal your body to store fat and prevent fat from being released when you try to lose weight. However many people find that a low GI diet, which restricts intake of high GI carbohydrates, is not enough. They find that to lose weight they need to limit all carbohydrates except vegetables and salads, at least in the early phases of the diet (aka a low carb diet). So while bread (the wholemeal sort with a high fiber content) is OK on low GI, it's too high in GI and carbs for most people on a low carb diet.

    Why not try low GI and see! If you don't lose weight switching to a low GI diet, you may find you do better on a low carb diet. You can find out more about how low carb and low GI diets work and the science behind them, which diet is likely to suit you best and how to get started in the Easy Guide to Low Carb, Low GI and Low GL Diets.

    If it's just missing out on bread that's worrying you about going low carb, then that's not a problem. You can easily make your own tasty bread that's amazingly low in carbs, low enough even for the induction phase of the Atkins Diet. No tricky yeast to worry about, no time-consuming kneading or proving of dough. Not even an automatic breadmaker required! Find out how in the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook.

5) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

6) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director,

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