Forgive to Live

To make a point about forgiveness, Jesus told a parable about a servant who was forgiven a large debt by his king but was, himself, unwilling to forgive a fellow servant a small debt to him. On hearing what the unmerciful servant had done,

“….In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” Jesus then says something very interesting….

“This is how my heavenly father will treat each

of  you unless you forgive your brother from

your heart.”

What! Does he really mean that I’m going to be thrown into Prison and tortured every time I fail to forgive someone? If this was true then the government would have a real “Prison Crisis” on its hands, with more people locked up in prison than free! Surely he’s made a mistake……..

……….or has he?

As a doctor it’s very common for me to see patients with all sorts of unexplained ailments; headaches, heart palpitations, abdominal pains, insomnia etc. Once the physical causes for these complaints have been eliminated I always like to ask the question, “ Is there anything that you are concerned or worried about?” Often, as the patient opens up they reveal some hurt, bitterness or even hate they have toward someone who they feel has wronged them in some way. The emotional & psychological stress is now being expressed in physical symptoms. This is not news. We know that when we are nervous we get “Butterflies in our tummies.” Or a simple lie can be detected on a machine by monitoring the change in our pulse, blood pressure and the amount that we perspire.

Our bodies respond to stresses of any kind by our pituitary gland in our brain sending a signal to our adrenal glands, which sit on top of our kidneys, to release Cortisol & Adrenaline. These chemicals work together to prepare our bodies for “ Fight or Flight” meaning that they prepare us for fighting or running away. They do this by raising the blood pressure and pulse rate, diverting blood away from the gut and towards the muscles, suppressing the immune system so that we will not bruise so easily when struck. These adaptations, and many more, form what we call a “Stress Response”. It is a perfect way that God has designed to help us respond to a changing environment.

The problem comes when this Stress Response is constantly at work. This happens when we harbor negative emotions toward each other such as bitterness, anger, hate & vengeance the root of these feelings is unforgiveness. When this happens we are constantly releasing cortisol & adrenaline into our blood. This leads to many serious problems:

Hypertension (high blood pressure), as adrenaline continues to over-stimulate the heart and cause the arteries to constrict, our blood pressure slowly rises. This can lead to strokes, heart disease & kidney failure.

Constant high levels of cortisol raise our blood sugar levels and may induce Diabetes.

As Cortisol lowers our immune response, the body then becomes more susceptible to infections & Cancer.

The unforgiving nature can also lead us into Depression, solitude & isolation

It seems evident that by not forgiving we expose ourselves to a life of torment, torture & imprisonment through disease. One man said:

“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting

your enemy die from it.”

It only hurts us! That’s why Jesus was so keen for us to forgive, so that we could be released from prison.

Nobody says that it’s easy but just think of the debt that has been paid for us on the cross by Christ so that we can be forgiven. Whatever has been done to us cannot compare to that.

“Unless you forgive, you cannot be forgiven.”

Matthew 6:14 & 15

Release yourself from prison today, Forgive & Live.



Sweetie, Sugar-pie, Honey……there’s no end to these sugar-related terms of endearment. To say that someone is Sweet is always a positive, unless it’s a potential girl-friend describing you which translates as “No way!”

Despite our love of sugary terms, we are beginning to understand that our sweet old friend is plotting our bitter end!

Added Sugar, that’s sugar that we consume on top of the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, grains etc, is responsible for a whole host of health problems. The word “Added” is key here, our bodies need sugar to survive and this is derived from blood glucose which is a result of the digestion of complex carbohydrates in our diets. Today we consume about 70 Kg of added sugar per year! In 1900 it was 40Kg; in 1800 it was 10Kg; in 1700 it was 1.5Kg! so our consumption has risen to astronomical levels. This is why the western world is now suffering an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc. If you try to kick the Sugar habit you’ll find it an up hill struggle. Because of the biochemical pathways in the brain that sugar activates, it has been shown that sugar can be as addictive as Cocaine!

One of the biggest culprits for this rapid rise in sugar consumption is the advent of the ubiquitous High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  which is present in many sweet things especially fizzy drinks. This refined form of fructose cannot be metabolized by any cells other than the liver. This is why HFCS is the 2nd biggest cause of fatty liver after alcohol. In fact HFCS programs our bodies to produce more fat!

With all of this information one would think that the best thing to do is to switch to the diet drinks with “zero sugar”. Well if there’s one thing worse than drinking sugary drinks, it’s having drinks with artificial sweeteners. These chemicals such as Aspartame are responsible for minor problems such as palpitations, headaches, abdominal pains etc. More seriously they are implicated in conditions such as brain cancers, seizures, strokes, depression & anxiety. A recent Harvard study showed a link between Aspartame and Leukemia in Men! Artificial sweeteners are especially toxic for children as their brains are developing and are able to absorb the toxin a lot easier than adult brains.

The craziest thing about artificial sweeteners is that all the research studies show that they cause even MORE WEIGHT GAIN than sugary drinks! They increase our appetite for sweet things, so we end up consuming more! So you go through all of those health risks thinking that you’ll lose weight only to find that you put more weight on!

So what’s the answer for those with a sweet tooth?

  • If you must have something sweet, try increasing your fruit intake.
  • Stevia is a natural, non-toxic sweet ingredient.
  • Try to avoid drinking fizzy drinks of any kind, it’s one of the quickest ways to lose that gut.

As a “Sweet tooth” myself I know how difficult it can be to kick the habit, but by cutting down our sugar intake gradually our taste buds start to adapt and eventually you no longer have that craving. So if you want a Sweet Life, get rid of the Sweet Tooth.


To Eat, or Not to Eat?

I often get asked many questions as a Lifestyle Doctor. “How do I avoid cancer?”, “What’s the best cure for heart disease?” or “How do I reverse my diabetes?” However, the most common question I get asked is:

“What’s the easiest way to lose weight?” By “easiest” they mean “without exercise!” Now I always recommend a healthy exercise programme along with dieting but the truth is that 80% of weight loss is to do with what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat. Here are 3 of my best tips for losing weight without exercise:

1) Eat more Weigh Less!

Our problem is not that we eat too much, it’s that we eat too much calorie-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, beans & grains contain all the nutrients we need to live a happy and healthy life. The great news is that they also have very little fat. You can eat large quantities of these foods without putting on weight. So the trick is to eat more of the right food which will help you lose weight.

2) Eat when you’re Hungry!

This sounds like a very simple piece of advice, perhaps even simplistic. The problem is that this is advice that few of us actually follow. Many of us eat when it’s time to eat rather than when we are hungry. Or we’ll eat when we are bored or when watching TV. For many of us, our bodies rarely experience hunger as it has a constant supply of food.

During hunger our bodies are saying “ I really need some energy so if I don’t get it from food I’ll get it from the stores of fat in your body.” That is exactly what we want to happen. You’re your body an opportunity to break down some fat during the day. This may mean eating only twice a day, sometimes only once!

3) Avoid Sugar!

in a desperate attempt to avoid eating fat, many people load up on sugar. Sugar should be avoided for many reasons:

  1. It’s converted into fat.
  2. It increases circulating insulin levels which is a hormone that makes more fat.
  3. It raises your blood pressure and lowers your immune system.

“How do I avoid sugar?” I hear you ask. The best way I’ve found is when you have that craving for something sweet (ie) a biscuit, Say to yourself “Yes I’ll have that biscuit….but in half an hour” (telling yourself you can’t have something only reinforces your desire). At the same time eat an apple. This will slowly release sugar into your blood stream so that in half an hour you’ll have enough sugar in your system to overcome the craving for something sweet. So you:



Choose to


It but



The D.R.C.H.I.D.I. method. It works!

These are just 3 excellent tips that will lead you onto the path of a healthier you.

Healthy New Year!



Postcards are funny things, on the one hand they’re a very good way to let friends & family know that you’re thinking of them even though you may be far away. On the other hand they’re excellent tools to rub everyone you knows face in the fact that you’re off on a sunny holiday whilst they are back in cold, dark & dreary Britain. With this thought in mind, I’m writing this article on the balcony of a sun-drenched villa overlooking the crystal clear sea from this beautiful Island in the Maldives. The beaches have perfect white sand, the sea is sapphire blue and the food is absolutely amazing.

Whilst taking long walks on the beach, I get talking to several couples and, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, a common theme seemed to emerge. They all talk about having to “Prepare” for the holiday. Now I’m not talking about packing their suitcases or getting factor 500 sun cream. No! I’m talking about getting their bodies in shape and the most important part for most men is Getting the Six-Pack!

Actually, given it’s reported affect on women, it should be called:


If there’s one thing that separates the Men from the Boys, it’s the Six-Pack. To many of us, it appears to be an unobtainable dream that is reserved for young athletes, models or film stars. Well in this Olympic year where sport and health are being preached across the country, here are a few tips on how to achieve that elusive six-pack:

1)We ALL have a 6-Pack

That’s right, it doesn’t matter what sort of shape you are in, you have a 6-pack. It’s just that it’s probably hidden under a few layers of fat or it hasn’t been worked enough to become visible. Knowing this info helps us understand that simply doing 1,000 sit-ups per day will not get you the abdomen that you desire. You can build up your abdominal muscles quite well but nobody will see them as they will be covered in fat.

2) With food, “Less is More”

If you are serious about having a cracking 6-pack, watch what you eat. Any body builder will tell you that when competition time comes they cut out all added sugars or fats. This allows their bodies to use up any excess fat that they have onboard and therefore increase their muscle definition, this is key for achieving a 6-pack.

3) Exercise Fast & Light and Slow & Heavy

Many guys do sit-ups all day long with very little visible improvement. This is because:

  1. the load on the abs is too light, therefore the muscle is not able to bulk up. to overcome this, put a weight on your chest to increase your strength during sit-ups.
  • b) they are moving too slow. If you are doing sit-ups without weights then make them as fast as possible, this not only puts the muscles under more stress but also helps to increase definition.

4) Don’t forget your Back

By exercising your back as well as your abs you will build up greater core strength, improve your posture & prevent injuries.

So whilst you’re watching Usain Bolt being beaten by Yohan Blake (yes I did say it), remember that their abs can be your abs too.

Now, back to the sea, wish you were here 😉


The Importance of Impotence

After watching too many episodes of “Law & Order” one could be forgiven for thinking that there are only two forces that drive most men. The desire for Money and the desire for Sex. To lose a job or to lose the ability earn money is a serious thing. To lose the ability to make love is a Disaster!

Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance. A penile erection is achieved by the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in the sponge-like bodies within the penis. This causes the penis to become hard and erect to aid sexual intercourse. In – The Massachusetts Male Ageing Study- it was shown that 52% of men (aged 40-70) had experienced ED (mild 17%; moderate 25%; severe 10%).

There can be many reasons for ED such as side-effects of medication,  MS, Depression & Stress. By far the biggest cause of ED (>50%) is Atherosclerosis, that’s where the arteries which supply the penis are narrowed due to deposits of cholesterol & fat in the vessel walls.

This is obviously serious because if the arteries supplying the penis are getting blocked, then so are the arteries supplying your Heart, Brain, Kidneys etc. this means that you are at high risk of heart disease, hypertension and stroke. In fact the research tells us that 25% of men diagnosed with ED will have a stroke within 5 years! Very serious indeed.

So, what do you do if you have ED? The first thing to do is see your GP immediately. Do not wait a few months or years like many men do due to embarrassment. Believe me, your doctor has seen it all before and should make you feel at ease. The good news is that just as heart disease (clogged arteries to the heart) is reversible, so is the clogged arteries to the penis reversible. By changing your diet to a low fat Plant-Based Diet, high in vegetables, beans & whole-grains & increasing your daily aerobic exercise to 30-45min per day, those arteries will quickly start to open up again. Just by increasing the radius of the artery by 7% can give an increase in blood volume of >200%. If you’re able to make these simple changes you may be able to avoid medication or at least reduce the dose and length of time on them. It will also help your heart and all of your organs to keep Pumping away!