Sunday, 6 December 2020

Is British Candy Healthier?


During the Christmas season the local Red Apple Department store starts getting lots of wine gums in stock. And I stock up on these all natural British Wine Gums when they arrive!

 Boxing Day 2019 is  when I began this post. One year later the world is a much different place with the Covid pandemic but quality food is as important as ever. Maybe more so! 

I can tell you I still have a tea spoon of berry powder (at least a teaspoon) and some of the green power blend too. Once you get in the groove it's an automatic part of the day.

One thing about this pandemic is that there is extra time to follow these daily doses of superfoods. During a lockdown I found time  to do things like artwork, making a 1980s themed room complete with VCR and Atari 2600, and yes, work on this blog. 

But  now it's Christmas season in 2020. When you buy candies as Christmas gifts, don't you feel better when you know they are free of anything unhealthy?

This is   a time where many of us are eating the chocolates and other goodies we received. For me,  living in North America, there are TOO many  artificial ingredients in our foods. Europe by comparison usually has all natural ingredients and even non GMO areas. 


 These are the ingredients in British Waterbridge Wine Gums. They also make Canada themed wine gums with shapes like hockey skates and beavers. Those Canada themed wine gums are also Vegan, since they do not contain gelatin. Gelatin is usually animal sourced. 


 The wine gums that Maynard's  makes in Canada are tasty, but some of the ingredients are really bad and discourage me from buying them more often. When you bite into a Waterbridge Wine gums you can TELL right away that it's real fruit flavouring. 

And even though I'll be right up front that the flavouring from these ingredients probably isn't  in large enough quantities to affect health, these are some of the healthiest superfoods you could  possibly include in your diet. 

So what are they?Extracts from berries, fruits, and veggies.

 No harm in me highlighting the berries anytime they show up!

And later on we'll look at  what's in those other made in North America Wine gums. Wine gums are found more in commonwealth countries than America though. Oftentimes Americans have never heard of Wine Gums.  

So while the colours and flavours in British Wine gums are natural, there is still  syrup and other things  there so remember to brush your teeth. This particular pack did contain gelatine which is not suitable for vegetarians as it is an animal product but the good news is that Waterbridge does make Canada themed vegan wine gums that have the same flavourings as the others!

My favourite fruit is raspberries so lets start with them.  First on the list and my favourite fruit. You know it if you have read my other posts about raspberries. I personally eat some freeze dried raspberry powder every day. It's tangy but doesn't contain a lot of sugar, has more antioxidants than most other fruits, and contains a good mixture of vitamins, minerals and fibre. The most amazing thing though is it's cancer fighting properties. In lab studies rats fed a diet of 10% freeze dried raspberries saw their tumors decrease in size by up to 70%!

This article details some of the protective qualities of berries in your diet. Nih is a very reputable source for scientific information.


Besides the berries you also have delicious flavour from lemon, lime, orange, and blackcurrents. All of these are great sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. British Sailors in the 19th century knew that citrus was a source of this essential vitamin and took fruits like these on their  ships to ward off deficiency known as Scurvy. That's why they had the nickname Limeys!

These fruits are also great sources of fibre which is thought to help weight loss by making you feel fuller.

 So those are  the natural flavours but what about the colours? They are also all natural and interesting too. We have anthocyanin which are the antioxidants that give fruits their attractive and vibrant colours, and other things too like Paprika and curcumin.

Antioxidants are thought to improve general health and may even slow down age related diseases. The more colourful the vegetable is when you're out shopping at the supermarket the better. As a general rule of course! So pick red onions over white ones, and red potatoes over the regular white ones.

Paprika  is a spice that's loaded with beneficial antioxidants and has some that help the eyes in particular. Those are things like beta carotene and lutein. These antioxidants clean up free radical debris that can cloud vision. Blueberries are also great for vision by the way. I use Paprika in my cooking often. My favourite is in a simple yogurt drip with paprika, garlic, salt, something green like parsley or chives, and a little lemon juice. One of my go to movie watching snacks for sure. Thanks Chris for introducing that to me!  In the colouring we also have curcumin which is found in the famous curry spice Turmeric. It's thought to be effective at reducing joint pain especially when consumed with black pepper. 

And you know what? Even if it wasn't, the human mind is such a powerful that you just have to THINK that you are doing something positive and you will feel some benefits!


Now that we've seen Waterbridge's well thought out ingredients lets look at the Maynard's wine gums. Only quickly because it won't take long to show you what the difference is.


I'll be right up front. The Maynards Wine Gums are delicious and addictive. I used to gobble down free ones that were given to me. But all the same the ingredients just aren't as natural as the British wine gums. 

Considering the John Maynard started making wine gums in 1909 they should have figured out how to make them the best by now. But sadly when large companies are allowed to cut corners and use less expensive artificial ingredients they sometimes will. Some bean counter will get a promotion that way as my old employer Bob would explain in his own words. 

Here are the ingredients in Maynard's wine gums sold in Canada


In Britain Maynards wine gums contain beneficial natural ingredients like the ones I mentioned earlier. But when you look at the ones sold in Canada it's a little bit of a different story. There are artificial flavours that may include chemicals, and artifical colours too. 

 As you can see Tartrazine is specifically mentioned in that department and is probably legally required to be identified there.

Tartrazine is mentioned in the ingredient list for Canadian Maynards Wine gums for a reason. It's thought to cause health issues like hyperactivity in children and possibly some other conditions like allergies and asthma.  I avoid all foods with tartrazine if I can. Even Kraft Dinner has taken it out of it's Mac and Cheese now. It's what gave it that bright  yellow colour! But Kraft has found alternative natural colourings that give it that same distinctive colour now. I avoid the bright yellow cheeses in grocery stores for the same reason, and you can find these artificial colours in drinks too if you look. Here is a study that hints at the link between Tartrazine and child hyperactivity.


It's alarming also that Tartrazine could cause liver damage. That alone should be enough to deter consumers from buying ANY products that contain it. Here is a study that provides evidence of this.


I know for a fact that British wine gums are available in Canadian stores, including stores like Bulk Barn, Red Apple and Shoppers Drug Mart. 

So at the end of the day the Maynard's Wine Gums are tasty, but could easily be made better with the elimination of artificial colouring like Tartrazine. It's just a matter of consumers saying no to artificial ingredients.  Given the choice I think the English Wine Gums are healthier for this simple reason.

The Waterbridge Wine Gums were equally tasty but my all time Wine Gum favourites were the ones sold in the Marks and Spencer shop in Bayshore mall in the 80s. One more reason to add to the list of reasons to time travel back to 1985....

Note : The information contained in this blog is not medical advice. It is composed of personal opinion and is intended to encourage the reader to read more about the subject so they can draw their own opinions. Consult a medical professional with questions about diet.



Friday, 3 July 2015

This Combo Could Help Beat Cancer

 Today I Saw This Berry Beat Back Cancer Again

We all know someone who had cancer, and many have had pets that died of cancer. It's a troubling time, and I became interested after a family Rottweiler went through great pain battling cancer. We blamed it on artificial ingredients in his food.

But what if the solution to managing this terrible disease  was as simple as a berry? New studies have scientists excited as lab animals showed huge reductions in tumor size when their diet was converted to 10 percent freeze dried raspberries. In combination with a tincture of wormwood I have seen for myself that it can be a big help in managing pet cancers.

Ever since I learned about this I have strived to gain even more knowledge and observe the positive impact this potent duo can make for pets with cancer. Both of these cancer fighting compounds  have scientific evidence documenting how they destroyed cancer cells in animal studies, and this week I got yet more confirmation of it's effectiveness. Several weeks ago a girl I know showed me a tumor almost half the size of a ping pong ball on her small  dog. I suggested she try the raspberry/wormwood tincture combination and I got thrilling news today :  The tumor was already gone! Though I expected a gradual reduction even I didn't think a tumor that size could be beaten back so quickly.

Over and over I have seen the cancer beating properties of berries in action. One of the first times was with a very old family  cat diagnosed with a stomach tumor. Every day he was given some berry powder and the tincture with his wet food. He managed to live happily for another year before dying and this is significant because he was well into his twenties. Another small dog had cancerous bumps on his body. After a few weeks of this remedy, the bumps were shrinking away and the light was back in his eyes. Another time someone told me their vet had told them their dog would die in few weeks from his cancer. One year later the dog was still alive after using the tincture. Someone else's small dog had cysts on his body, which an herbalist told me are usually related to an underlying tumor. With the use of berry powder the cysts shrank away. Just a few of the remarkable stories I have heard. And since most things that benefit the health of a dog also translate to human health benefits  it's very exciting!

Scientists think a compound called Ellagic Acid found in largest amounts in Raspberries and Strawberries induces cell death in cancer cells (apoptosis). This is important because normally cancer cells do not die after cell division unlike normal cells.  Ellagic acid should be obtained from whole foods whether they are fresh organic berries or organic freeze dried berry powder. Berries are often sprayed with very large amounts of pesticides so that is why organic is better most times.

 In the case of wormwood it's a free radical reaction with iron within cancer cells that causes them to virtually self destruct. It's an interesting story because scientists stumbled on this after a discovery of an ancient Chinese malaria recipe. They theorized that since the interaction with iron was responsible for its success against malaria, it might also be a powerful cancer killer since cancer cells also use large amounts of iron in their replication processes. And they were right, Artemisinin is like a stealth bomber against cancer cells.  Aren't you glad there are so many scientists out there today?

Cancer is a very serious condition and while I would not refer to the anti cancerous properties of these substances as a cure, I think you can have a reasonable expectation that they are tools that could help you to manage the condition in a life extending and improving way. Much depends on factors like the subject's age and the strength of their immune system. In the case of an owner of a pet with cancer with hard financial conditions, a nutritional approach like this to reducing tumor size may be the most affordable option available. While berry powder is not bargain basement cheap, it should still be in an acceptable price range for most people to purchase. 

Over the years I have held a belief that berries should be an essential component of my diet. Every morning I have a spoonful of organic freeze dried berry powder with some green powder in vegetable juice. Not just for the anti-cancer properties, but because they are chock full of antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber. These nutrients include thing like Vitamin C, and eyesight protecting antioxidants. 

Raspberry powder can be mixed into teas or smoothies easily in the morning, or just washed down with a glass of water. Plus raspberry powder is as delicious as candy!

If you have pets mix in the powder as a preventive measure in their wet food, but you should not use the wormwood tincture unless it is known for sure  that your pet has cancer as it is mildly toxic. It is best taken on an empty stomach so that it goes more directly into the bloodstream. I give the family pets a teaspoon of berry powder in their canned food and take a teaspoon for myself at the same time. Mixing in the powder with yogurt is another great way to work it into your diet, or to make an inexpensive treat for your pets.

Eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy your berries !

Here are some links to clinical studies with lab animals and with human cancer cells

Cancer inhibited  with berry powder

 Wormwood extract called Arteminin selectively destroys cancer cells

 Ongoing Human Trial with Lung Cancer Survivors

For further reading on another site about other benefits of Raspberries
plus complete nutritional content and recipes

This post is not intended to replace professional medical advice in any way. It is a reflection of my personal experiences and learning with this subject.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Interesting Dental Health Link

Can Teeth be Remineralized Naturally?

Lately I have been particularly interested in dental health and remineralizing teeth. Can it be done? Some bloggers think that you can do it with dietary changes and things like oil pulling. The most common elements are swishing with coconut oil for 20 minutes every day, taking a fermented cod liver oil supplement for the Vitamin D, butter oil, a calcium source like raw dairy or bone broth, and avoiding foods high in phytic acid. The last is very important and turns a lot of what you have learned about nutrition on its head. Beans and grains are high in phytic acid and have to be soaked before consuming if at all. What the diet comes down to is basically the Paleo Diet and this explains in part why cavities seemed unusual for cavemen.

Check out the link below for some more detailed discussion on this fascinating topic

Friday, 28 November 2014

Foods That Prevent Prostate and Other Types of Cancers

It's movember, the month many men grow moustaches to show awareness of prostate cancer. Overall people have become more aware of risk factors to cancer, but prostate cancer is still the second most common cancer. This interesting map shows rates of incidence of most different types of cancer

The map is interesting because it shows rates that are sometimes significantly different in similarly developed countries in different regions of the world, and because certain ethnic groups have much higher or lower rates of cancers. I was especially struck by the high rates of liver cancer in Mongolia. It has an incidence rate of 78 per 100,000 people compared to just 22 per 100,000 in neighbouring China.
According to this article it is due to high rates of hepatitis infection

 An important thing to remember though is that sometimes lower incidence rates mean lower detection rates or that people are just dying earlier of other causes before the cancer can develop. Increasingly though nutrition is being linked to lower rates of certain types of cancers. The book "The China Study" linked the consumption of animal products in western society to higher rates of cancer. The book's conclusions are controversial but the evidence of higher cancer rates in western influenced Japan compared to China are compelling.

Much research is being done now that is slowly revealing that particular foods will have special effects on particular or many different types of cancers. Foods like berries and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage seem to have tumor shrinking properties in animal studies. Tomato consumption seems to result in lower rates of lung cancer, and habanero peppers caused prostate tumors to self destruct by blocking testosterone from entering them and other factors. And the list goes on. Indeed Mexico with it's high habanero consumption seems to have a very low rate of prostate cancer as the aforementioned map shows.

But for all this readily available information doesn't seem to be getting publicized a lot even during this month of prostate cancer awareness. There are a few good articles out there to read like the one I link to here.

As you can see this list included tomatoes and broccoli (cruciferous) as well as Green Tea which some theorized was a factor in China having lower rates of certain types of cancer compared to the west. Antioxidant rich food like pomegranates or berries could also be a factor in the prevention of cancer causing damage to your cells. As for myself  I drink green tea, eat berries, and try to get some organic greens every day. I find broccoli to be a very versatile food and it is known to be rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It's inexpensive and I always chop up the stems as well to add to stir fries or steam them with garlic and butter which is very tasty too. A good part of getting the proper nutrients is establishing a routine for yourself to get all these important things into you over the course of a day. In my case I start out the day with a spoonful of berry powder, and work in other things in like tomato juice with Omega3s (anti inflammatory) stirred in. Once your own routine is established you should start to see the effects of these antioxidant rich foods on your own outward appearance like better hair and skin quality.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Best Foods For Dental Health

So I noticed the other day that my molar was wearing down and it got me thinking about what I could do naturally to reverse this condition. An ugly cavity I missed at the back of my mouth. I was already aware that our teeth can re-mineralize on their own because typically when I feel something is coming on, I increase my consumption of calcium with milk and other supplements. I am surprised about this particular tooth though because I have largely eliminated refined sugar from my diet. What I didn't know though was that the best re-mineralization results were achieved when grains, nuts, and beans were also eliminated or largely reduced. This is because these foods will result in high amounts of Phytic Acid in the body, which in turns binds with calcium that would otherwise be used to maintain the teeth. Interesting isn't it. Other minerals in turn are less readily absorbed as well, and this has the greatest effects on children's health. Sadly for vegans the ideal diet for dental health is more difficult to achieve as the foods with the lowest amounts of phytic acid are things like meat, fish, and raw dairy. As some commenters say this is very close to the paleo diet. Vegans often consume large amounts of tofu (bean curd) and grains which could result in high amounts of Phytic Acid. There are however calcium supplements on the market which could help. My largest problem has been finding one that is unflavoured in stores where I live though. So far they all seem to be flavoured with Stevia or Citric Acid (even when that package said unflavoured!). Very annoying. I am taking some of that though, along with extra milk, using a Sensodyne toothpaste labelled repair and protect (it contains calcium as well), and using a natural dental gel  that kills cavity forming bacteria with essential plant oils. For me it would take too long to wait and see if this tooth repairs itself though so I will need to get a filling from the dentist. All the same though my diet is changing as much as possible.

Check out the graph showing the cavity/remineralization rates with various diets in this article about reversing tooth decay.

Just for fun I also looked up whether people could make their own fillings. Turns out that they can! And very simple as well too!

For people who do not have coverage for dental operations, maybe this temporary filling could help. It only involves zinc powder and clove oil so it is not expensive and such information could save some teeth !

Another important issue for dental health is the use and consumption of sweeteners. Lately I have been using a calcium supplement sweetened with stevia. I had been searching for a totally unsweetened calcium powder but I had to settle for the Natural Balance SeaCal. It seemed to be the closest thing but after doing some reading online about stevia I won't be buying this product again. It appears that Stevia may have all sorts of negative effects for overall health! Even for diabetics because there is evidence that sweeteners other than refined sugar can still cause an insulin response. And according to this blog below liquid stevias may contain glycerine that may interfere with the remineralization of teeth. Not a concern in the case of the Natural Balance powder, but still something to be aware of.

And although Stevia does not provide nutrition for bacteria that help create cavities, some dentists have warned that their has not been sufficient studies to guarantee that stevia does not harm teeth in other ways.

There is xylitol also but that is an artificial ingredient so that does not really attract me much to it.

We do still need glucose for proper body function though so things like fruit in moderation and raw honey may be the best option. Milk surprisingly will feed the bacteria causing cavities so you have to be careful to brush after drinking it. The calcium is important though for building strong bones and teeth.

I have also bought coconut oil to swish and Cod liver oil for Vitamin D. Apparently the Coconut Oil swishing removes a lot of toxins and acts against bacteria. Great article about it here.

For further reading this site also has a lot of general information about the way bacteria harm your teeth.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Does farming crops kill more animals than raising livestock animals?

When it comes to vegetarianism vs meat eating the costs to animals is not always very clear cut. While vegans can often be quite sure of themselves when eating a bowl of oatmeal there are other consequences that they may not have considered. Growing crops may kill more animals and living creatures than pasturing cows in a field. Here is why. Large scale farming involves the use of heavy machinery and vehicles that will run over many small animals in the fields. Groundhogs, mice, voles, snakes just to name a few. Grain farmers will also poison millions of mice periodically, which will also result in their offspring perishing. Pesticides used on non organic farms will also kill billions of insects. Using a field to grow crops will also drastically alter the ecosystem and natural plant life while using the same field for pasture will largely preserve those things.

Not so black and white is it ?

Consider that this situation only involves grass fed cattle though. It's easy to see that factory farms for chickens are far more harmful than that cattle pasture. And some farms do not use machinery and instead just have people harvesting by hand. My personal philosophy is about minimizing the damage to other living creatures. Vegetarians would be well advised to think more closely about how the food on their plate came to be there and make their food choices accordingly. I got some great stats on the question of whether crops or raising livestock is responsible for more harm to animals here. Sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

Gorillas: The Muscular Vegans. How do they do it?

How can gorillas and chimpanzees  be so closely related to humans but are so strong and muscular on a vegan diet?

When people try to survive on the same diet as their close genetic relatives the gorilla they tend to wind up weak and scrawny. The diet these people consume is called the fruititarian diet. Even vegetarians and vegans must use a carefully planned mix of food and often must also add supplements to their food to avoid becoming deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. Gorillas eat a diet primarily consisting of leaves and fruit and yet a gorilla is stronger than practically any human. Where did our diets diverge and why? I asked this question on a great site called Quora and got a very well written explanation. Link to it here