As we approach the final days of 2015, it’s a perfect time to review the year’s natural health highlights in relation to our campaigns and other activities. Our mission is about acting as a catalyst to bring about a fundamental shift in how healthcare functions in society, inspiring, educating, researching, communicating and advocating. This year, we’ve organised the highlights from the perspective of our main campaign areas.
Thank you to those who regularly support us financially, and to those who give invaluable one-off donations. We couldn’t do what we do without you! Thank you also to others who’ve made invaluable contributions in various ways, by offering support, information, technical knowledge, artwork — and sometimes even humour. We say it often, because there is so much to be gained from it, but sharing our information widely is one of the most important contributions anyone can make, over and above any other support offered — and it costs nothing but few moments of your time.
Without further ado, here’s our wrap-up of 2015!
Our food supply has been drastically altered in recent decades, owing to the globalisation of the world’s food supply and increasing control of it by a small number of corporations. Most of the chronic disease we experience is the result of poor dietary choices, and there is an enormous amount we can do to make careful choices and reclaim our right to natural health. There’s never been a more important time to be informed and choose what we put on our plates.
- In January, we published our Food4Health plate for adults. We’ve been very happy to see the extent of take-up, not only by consumers but also by nutritionists and other heath practitioners. The plate was even featured in the UK’s Metro. We produced a series of articles linked to our recommendations, including 4-way comparison against the UK, US and Harvard guidelines, highlighting where these may not be great for your health.
Our Food4Health plate for adults
- On the back of the successful uptake of the adult plate , we were asked what we’d recommend for children. We released our kids’ food guidelines in October. Becca Pilkington attended a childhood obesity panel discussion to discuss our recommendations with other experts and the magazine Educatering, which goes out to all school caterers in the UK. The magazine interviewed our founder, Rob Verkerk on the same subject.
- In September, we participated in a record 4 events at the UK’s biggest expo for complementary and alternative medicine, CAMexpo in London’s Olympia. Amongst these, Rob Verkerk gave two lectures, one on the differences between synthetic, food state and whole-food nutrients, the other to help people burn fat (‘keto-adapt’) by altering their diets, feeding frequency, exercise and lifestyle patterns.
- Public Health England released their report on carbohydrates in July. We evaluated it and were pleasantly surprised to find a harsh yet entirely rational stand against sugar in the diet.
- We compiled a database on acrylamide levels in the UK, EU and US food, to help consumers avoid this ‘probable carcinogen’.
- We participated in a podcast with Paul Burgess (clinical nutritionist and performance coach) explaining how to we can work together to make global changes in health.
- Our scientific director and founder – Rob Verkerk, cycled from London to Paris in under 24 hours to show what a ketogenic diet can do for your body
At ANH, we have long followed the adage that we should be working with—not against—nature. Through what we do, we aim to encourage healthcare approaches that are compatible with our bodies and our environment – something orthodox healthcare is failing to do in many instances.
- Together with integrated cancer support charity Yes to Life, we set up Nuhealth2 – a think tank of internationally-recognised clinicians and health experts, tasked with setting out their ideas for resolving the deepening crisis in mainstream healthcare. The weekend event was held in London in March. Also part of the weekend event, was a practitioner masterclass by Dr Jonathan Wright
- Before the UK election in May, we looked at why the current pharmaceutical-dominated approach to medicine is failing – and why that must change
- In October, members of the ANH team attended the third ‘Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice’ (AFMCP) training module hosted by the Institute of Functional medicine (IFM) in London. This functional medicine model has been put into practice by UK GP/Nuhealth2 participant Dr Rangan Chatterjee. It was good to see the results of this in the ‘Doctor in the House’ series, which was aired on UK TV in during November
- As a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN), Rob Verkerk presented at the American College of Nutrition’s annual conference in November in Orlanda (FL, USA), focusing on mental health and brain disorders, now among the biggest burdens on healthcare
At ANH we believe that everyone should have accurate and complete information so as to be able to make a fully informed choice when it comes to vaccination decisions.
- It has become more evident this year that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine is causing huge concern around the world. ANH have looked closely at the facts, and have encouraged a sharing of information.
- We have supported the families of those teenagers who have become ill since having this vaccination, by asking the questions that need to be asked of the UK government.
- And we added our voice to calls for a moratorium pending further urgent research and investigations.
The grassroots has been the single most influential factor preventing roll-out of GM foods into the human food supply in the EU. Critical to that is maintaining a level of information, disseminated particularly via the internet and social media, that counters the Big Biotech’s claims that GM foods are both safe for humans and harmless to the environment. We uphold that the outdoor release of GM organisms probably represents the biggest uncontrolled experiment ever conducted by humans. Contrary to what pro-GM governments and Big Biotech like to claim, the consequences and costs are likely to be unknown for years.
- Rob Verkerk witnessed the launch of a new treatise exposing the scientific fraud on which the global trade of GM foods is based, when he attended the release of ‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truth’ by lawyer Steven Druker
- We used tables of maximum residual levels for glyphosate in the US and EU to draw up a list of foods most likely to contain this controversial chemical. Glyphosate is used on crops that have been genetically modified to withstand doses of the herbicide (most commonly sold as Roundup Ready crops).
- We also caught up with James Beckett (of Beckett films) to hear about the making and story behind his documentary ‘The Seeds of Vandana Shiva’. The film features activist and scientist Dr Vandana Shiva in her quest for an international sustainable food supply and safeguarding a diverse genetic stock of non-GM food plants.
Among our first and longest-lived campaigns at ANH-Intl, Health Choice is about maintaining our freedom to choose natural health treatments and products.
- Cancer treatments are one area where people are really feeling restrictions. Following Jon Lord’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2012, ANH has been involved in setting up a research fellowship to investigate the integrative management of the disease and provide evidence to support a new paradigm of integrated health care for such cancers.
- At the Natural and Organic Products show in April, it was clear that while the natural products industry is growing, the food supplements sector is shrinking. Rob Verkerk’s presentation on how to negotiate the EU regulatory minefield and maintain innovative product development was well attended by interested delegates.
- Elsewhere in Europe companies are feeling the squeeze too, Sweden being one. Rob Verkerk was involved in the development of an educational, advocacy and legal strategy aiming to work in the interests of Swedish consumers determined to manage their health by natural means.
- In September, we published a fictional story illustrating the barriers posed by EU laws to those entering the sector. We continue to raise awareness of, and lobby for the need for EU law reform to allow freedom of choice and freedom of expression in natural health.
We believe that science should be both objective and appropriate. Oftentimes, science is distorted for the benefit of certain corporations and governments, at the expense of the public. We highlight when poor science is used as a basis for pushing corporate agendas, government health guidelines, and for restrictions on natural health.
- ANH has been highly critical of existing approaches to determine maximum safe levels of vitamins and minerals, and proposed a new risk/ benefit model. The Dutch research organisation TNO has been commissioned to develop this new approach, and this work and fund-raising to support the project has been ongoing throughout the year.
- 2015 also saw the unveiling of the Toxxscan project, for which an important crowdfunding appeal was launched at the beginning of December. Toxxscan is a revolutionary new database and technology that is ultimately about helping the public make more informed choices and reduce their chemical load. It can also help manufacturers select safer ingredients in manufactured products. Please help this exciting project to become a reality.
- Folate, as the key nutrient driving one-carbon metabolism responsible for human life, is never far from the nutritional headlines. Rob Verkerk prepared a submission for the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) consultation in the USA, giving scientific input about folic acid’s complicated interactions with our health. Then in September, ANH submitted comments to the UK government’s Vitamin D consultation.
Regular rebuttals always form part of our Good Science campaign. This year we commented on and highlighted flaws in various studies, including:
- A critique of the proposal that cancer is more down to ‘bad luck’, than poor genes and lifestyles,
- ‘Middle-aged spread’ and dementia risk,
- A meta-analysis used for vitamin bashing,
- High protein Mediterranean diets,
- The case for increasing protein intake,
- Australian mouse study and the high carb diet,
- The US NIH paper supporting low fat over low carb diets,
- Fish oils and cognitive decline.
- We evaluated the Cochrane Review on water fluoridation, which found little or no evidence that fluoride reduces tooth decay in children. As many of us have known for decades, it is the act of brushing teeth twice daily while minimising sugar intake that is so critical to children’s dental health. We highlighted the review as evidence that the practice of water fluoridation should be stopped
- We told the story of parents known to ANH, who decided to take control and remove their children from school over the risk wi-fi posed to their health
Oh, and there was another important highlight, Sophie, our campaign coordinator of 7 years standing gave birth to baby Samuel in November! Both baby and mum are doing very well!
Health is one of our greatest assets, and those of us who choose to manage it by natural means must fight hard to preserve this right. Doing nothing is not an option. Our ability to manage our health through natural means is permanently at risk, as are the tools we need to do it.
We look forward to your support in 2016 and we wish you all the very best for the festive season, along with a peaceful and natural start to 2016!