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Category: Ask A Nutritionist

What are the benefits of coffee?

coffee break

Like many people in the UK, coffee is my go to morning drink. I love the smell, the taste and the ritual of making a lovely cup of joe. There’s also the sheer weekend pleasure of having the time to sip on a hot cup of black coffee while reading the newspaper.

 

It pains me to say this because I love it so much, but coffee is a much-maligned drink, with the downside more frequently talked about than the many positives. A recent review of studies in the BMJ showed that moderate coffee drinking is okay and has some benefits, but like all good things, you need to know when to stop.

 

So what are the benefits? 

1. A cup of coffee is so much more than just hot black water. A cup of coffee contains riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3). Coffee is also packed with antioxidants.

 

2. Coffee can improve brain function. Caffeine blocks one type of neurotransmitter that can hold you back and increases noradrenaline and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

 

3. Coffee could lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. A number of observational studies show that coffee drinkers have as much as a 62% lower risk of developing this disease; one of the biggest health problems of our time, which is characterised by raised blood sugar and the inability to secrete insulin to lower blood sugar levels. A daily cup can typically lower your risk by 7%.

 

4. Coffee can help you burn fat. Caffeine is found in almost every fat loss supplement because it’s one of a very small number of substances proven to help with fat burning. Research shows that it can boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%, and raise the amount of fat you burn by between 10% in overweight people and 29% in lean people. The downside is that the effects are likely to diminish with time in regular coffee drinkers.

 

5. The caffeine in coffee can boost your physical performance. Caffeine stimulates production of adrenaline. This is one of the stress hormones, but primes you for physical activity. A cup of coffee can improve physical performance by up to 12%. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, telling it to break down the fat stored in fat cells and making the energy more available to be used as fuel. A cup of black coffee before a workout could improve your performance in the gym!

 

What’s the best way to enjoy coffee?

No coffee after 2pm. It is, after all, a stimulant and, if you drink it too late in the day, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep, or your ability to get to sleep in the first place.

 

Ditch the sugar. A sure fire way to undo all the good a cup of coffee can do is to add a few spoons of the white stuff. The downside to sugar is now pretty well documented. In a nutshell, it increases inflammation in the body, and can lead to obesity and diabetes.

 

Go organic. Coffee is routinely heavily sprayed with pesticides, so go for organic whenever you can.

 

How much can I drink?

The amount of caffeine in a single cup of coffee varies enormously. A small home brewed cup is likely to contain around 50mg per cup (unless you have an amazing coffee machine), while a large one from a coffee shop might have over 400mg. You’d expect the average cup to have around 100mg.

 

A number of studies suggest up to 400mg a day (that’s about 4 cups) is safe for most people but many people are able to enjoy more without any ill effects. Do bear in mind that tea, chocolate and some soft drinks and prescription drugs also contain caffeine, so you need to view your coffee intake in light of other things you are eating and drinking.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you!

 

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How well do you know your menstrual cycle?

swan at the round pond

This isn’t a trick question!

 

There are a few signs that tell you it’s worth becoming more familiar with your menstrual cycle.

 

Are you surprised every month when your period arrives? Do you get hit like a brick with PMS every month, feeling like it’s come out of nowhere? Do you track your period by when you get PMS symptoms?

 

Ladies, there is a better way!

 

Knowing more about your menstrual cycle and embracing it can benefit you in so many ways.

 

Firstly, I encourage you to download one of the many period tracker apps out there and start tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms. At the very least, you won’t be surprised when your period arrives every month #whitejeansallyear

 

After a few months, you start to get a sense of the length of your cycle. And it’s really important to know  that not every woman has a 28 day cycle. Some women’s cycles can be as short as 21 days and as long as 35 days. Every woman’s cycle is different so don’t compare yourself or your cycle to your friends.

 

Once you know when your period is scheduled to arrive, you can then start tackling your PMS. Many women get PMS in the 7 days before their periods, with symptoms like bloating, anger, irritability, brain fog, weepiness, pain and acne. PMS is a sign that something is wrong, so please don’t accept it as normal!

 

But your cycle isn’t just about when you get your period. Did you know that you have four phases to your cycle, where each of your sex hormones will peak or decrease depending on the phase?  This is why you might have more or less physical and emotional energy at certain times of your cycle or your libido might be higher or lower. It’s all connected to your hormones.

 

Knowledge is power. Knowing the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle can help you manage it better, get to grips with PMS, period pain, heavy bleeding and emotional ups and downs.

 

Do you need help understanding your cycle and your hormones? Book in for a free 20 minute Hormone Health Review!

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Alcohol and your hormones

christmas lights

We’re creeping up on Christmas party season, traditionally a time when many of us indulge in a tipple or two and let our hair down.

 

We all know that alcohol is a toxin. Yes, I said it! It tastes great and can loosen you up, but your body has to work hard to clear this toxin from your body. And guess what organ does most of the work? Your liver!

 

Your liver is an incredible organ. It has over 200 functions, including cholesterol production and fat & protein metabolism. For women, the liver is where we metabolise or break down hormones like oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone and remove the excess from our bodies.

 

Because the liver does so much for us, when we drink alcohol, we put an extra burden on our livers. Alcohol is very toxic and cannot be stored by the body, so the liver prioritises clearing it from your body above its many other functions.

 

The thing is, if you have PMS, heavy & painful periods, PCOS or are perimenopausal or menopausal, alcohol can throw a spanner in the works, affecting your hormones and throwing them out of balance.

 

So when you drink a lot, your liver’s number one priority is removing alcohol in the form of ethanol from your body. And while it’s doing that, it can’t do things get rid of excess oestrogen that might by causing PMS or perimenopause symptoms.

 

More bad news: all of this means that your oestrogen levels are raised and your body’s capacity to burn fat slows down.

 

So what does this mean for you?  If you’re having hormonal issues, it’s time to think about much alcohol you drink. If you’re worried about losing weight, then it’s also time to think about how much alcohol you drink.

 

The British government recommend a maximum of 14 units of alcohol each week for men and women, which is the equivalent of 6 pints or 6 small glasses of wine. Not in one session, mind!

 

Have you found that alcohol has had an effect on your PMS or perimenopause symptoms?

 

Are your hormones getting the better of you? Get in touch for to book a free 20 minute health & hormone review to find out more about how you can get things back into balance.

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Do you get enough sleep?

do you sleep enough

How many hours do you sleep a night?  Ideally, according to the World Health Organisation, we should be sleeping at least 8 hours a night, uninterrupted. Anything less counts as sleep deprivation. And guess what: on average, most of us get 7 or fewer hours of sleep a night.

 

According to Matthew Walker, the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, we are suffering from a sleep deprivation epidemic in the Western world. We work longer hours, have less down time, are more stressed and spend our evenings staring at screens emitting blue light. All of this effects our sleep length and quality.

 

And to be clear: sleep deprivation is not heroic, despite the machismo around getting by on as little sleep as possible.

 

Sleep deprivation reduces the body’s ability to repair and heal itself, as most of these processes happen at night. It also increases the risk of insulin resistance, susceptibility to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and developing Alzheimer’s, amongst many other morbidities.

 

So what can you do to get more and better quality sleep?

 

1. Go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time, even on the weekends. Deep sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, especially between 12am – 4am, so get to bed before midnight!

 

2. Create a digital sunset: turn off your devices at least 1 – 2 hours before bedtime. If you have to use your devices, use night shift mode to reduce the blue light, which affects melatonin production (this is the hormone that helps you get to sleep!).

 

3. Get your bedtime routine down pat: Unwind with a book (a physical one) or a bit of journaling, have a hot bath with a few scoops of magnesium salts (magnesium is a great relaxer), get some cosy, clean pyjamas and make sure your room is cool and pitch black, as even the smallest amount of light affects your circadian rhythms.

 

4. Try a lavender spray on your pillow. It’s not woo: lavender contains compounds that have a sedative effect.

 

5.  If you have kids that still wake up in the night (still in that boat!), go to bed a bit earlier so you’re getting an extra hour or two of sleep. It’s hard to sacrifice that time you get to unwind with your partner in the evening, but the health benefits are worth it!

 

6.  Stop drinking coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages after midday, as these stimulants can affect your circadian rhythms. I love a cup of Pukka Night Time tea just before bed.

 

7.  Eat tryptophan foods. Tryptophan converts to serotonin and melatonin, to help you feel good and sleep well. Try adding some of these foods to your meals and see how you feel: almonds, organic chicken & turkey, wild salmon, avocado, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.

 

What are your top tips for getting a good night’s kip? Here’s what happened when I tried going to bed early and prioritising a good night’s sleep.

 

Get in touch for to book a free 20 minute health & energy review to find out more about how you can improve your sleep and reduce your stress.

 

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How can I make Autumn meal planning and preparation easier?

autumn salad

I was recently asked to share my top tips for Autumn health and wellness with Motherhood Reconstructed. I love what Tamu and Leah are doing to share diverse stories of motherhood in the UK. Go check out their site and events!

 

The kids are back in school and it’s time to think about lunchboxes and proper meal preparation. Here are my top tips for Autumn health and wellness.

 

Remember: you don’t have to do everything at once – just start with the first tip and then add in the others when you feel ready. The point of this is not to feel overwhelmed, but to give you a helping hand and feel better in yourself.

 

1. Preparation is key! 

Get a sheet of A4 and write out your meal ideas for the week’s packed lunches and evening meals. You can go further and add breakfast to this list – but if cereal is all you can manage in the morning, don’t stress! This meal planning chart will help you figure what ingredients you already have and what you need to add your shopping list.

 

2. Make meal prepping your best friend. 

A good meal prepping session on Sunday afternoon means that when you open the fridge / freezer after work during the week, you have plenty of meal options you can just reheat in 15 minutes or less. Here are some ideas:

  • Steam a big batch of veggies such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or green beans so that you always have vegetables to hand.

 

  • Make freezer worthy meals like Bolognese sauce, stews, soups and casseroles, that are easy to pull out and reheat.

 

  • Prep easy protein options like meatballs, roast chicken and pulled pork that you can build meals around.

 

3. Rethink breakfast. 

Once you’ve got the hang of the meal planning and prepping, start thinking about your breakfast options. A smoothie is a quick way to pack loads of nutrients into your morning meal. Here’s a fast smoothie recipe to make in your blender or Nutribullet:

1 small banana

A handful of frozen berries, like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries

A big handful of spinach

1/2 an avocado

200mL milk (I like almond milk)

1 tablespoon of nut butter (I like almond butter)

Drop it all into your blender cup, whizz it together and enjoy! You can even make this the night before and pull it out of the fridge and eat while you’re making breakfast for your kids.

 

 4. Eat a rainbow. 

Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, building up to a minimum of 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of vegetables each day. If that seems like a lot, just try to add two servings to each meal and build in more over time.

 

5. Be gentle with yourself and try to achieve an 80 / 20 balance. 

If you do all of this 80% of the time, you’ll be successful! Finding a healthy lifestyle that works for you, including good nutrition, self-care and rest, is really a marathon not a race, so be gentle with yourself and give yourself a bit of grace.

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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Are you more stressed than you realise?

bus tickets at london transport museum

How do you feel right now? Check your breath. Is it shallow, taking short, little breaths through your nose? Check your hands and teeth – are they clenched? Check your shoulders – are they tensed up towards your ears?

 

If you answered yes to two of the above questions, you might be more stressed that you think you are.

 

Stress is a funny thing. One day, you can feel it, in your head, in your stomach, in your jaw. Then the next day, you feel like you’ve gone back to your normal self. That’s the thing about stress:  it’s adaptive. In its fight to maintain stability, the status quo, your body adapts to stress. It produces more hormones to keep you on an even keel, so that the stress level that’s got you all over the place one day, could feel normal the next.

 

But all that stress that you’ve adapted to has a negative effective in the long term. When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone. When your body produces high levels of cortisol on an ongoing basis, i.e. when you’re constantly stressed, bad things happen. Your immune system doesn’t work as well, you put on weight around the middle, your ability to get pregnant is reduced and your mood is affected.

 

So now that you know about stress and how your body can adapt to it, how can you keep it under control?

 

1.  If you can’t reduce stressful events in your life like work, school or family, you can change how you react to these stressors. Being gentle on yourself and having perspective on what really matters can help reduce your response to stressful things like a big work project, a looming school deadline or unruly children (or parents!).

 

2. Take a deep breath. This is a quick thing you can do when you feel overwhelmed. Deep breathing supports your nervous system and gets your body back into parasympathetic mode.

 

3. Don’t reach for the biscuit tin. Sugary foods will exacerbate your stress. Nourish your body and eat foods that boost the happy hormones like avocado, wild salmon and almonds.

 

4. Take a break. Take 5 minutes from your desk and go for a little walk (leave your mobile at your desk too). Your emails still be there when you get back but in the meantime, you’ll have stretched out your legs and gotten a little perspective on whatever’s troubling you.

 

5. Stretch it out. A regular yoga or pilates practice will support the release of endorphins and happy hormones like serotonin and melatonin.

 

6. Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Fatigue can change our perspective, push us into negativity and make stress worse.  After a good night’s sleep, the things that are causing you stress may not have disappeared, however being rested will hopefully give you a better perspective on how to tackle your stressors.

 

7. Develop a good self-care routine. Everyone’s self-care routine is different but having one is a must. Doing small things for yourself is a fantastic way to lower your stress. Take a hot bath, light a lovely candle, have a long conversation with a good friend, go for a nature walk. Find a way to do something that makes you feel good and that doesn’t add to your stress levels.

 

How do you manage your stress levels?

Get in touch to book a free 20 minute health and energy review  with me to find out more about how you can improve your health and wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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How much water do you drink a day?

richmond bunting

Conventional wisdom suggests that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or about 1.5 – 2L. How much water do you drink a day?

For a lot of people, even drinking a litre of water a day is tricky. When I first my husband, he didn’t drink any water, but insisted that his 8 cups of milky, English Breakfast tea met his daily water requirement. I took me a while to convince him that tea is a diuretic 😳.

One thing to consider is that if you’re already eating a good portion of fruit and vegetables a day, you’ll also be getting the water in the produce, along with the fibre, micro and macronutrients too.

Some fruit and veg contain more water than others.

For example, 1 medium sized apple contains 86% water, whilst a slice of watermelon (the clue’s in the name!) is 97% water. Courgette, radish and celery are 95% water and cauliflower, peppers and spinach are 92% water. To contrast, a banana contains 74% water.

So if you’re eating 7 to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, do you also need to be drinking 8 glasses of water a day?

As ever, it’s important to consider how you feel on an individual level and listen to what your body is telling you.

In general, if your pee isn’t clear or a light straw colour, then you probably need to up your water intake either through food or water itself. If you’re eating lots of fruit and veg that are high in water content and you’re still thirsty with dark pee, then you probably need to up your water intake. If you’re very active or outside on a hot day, it’s probably worth increasing your water intake.

Just as you can drink too little water and end up dehydrated, you can also drink too much water and end up with something called hyponatremia, where the cells become completely waterlogged, throwing the sodium-potassium balance in the cells off, which can be fatal. So the moral of the story: observe your body’s signs, consider how much fruit and veg you eat a day and tailor your water consumption to your own lifestyle and thirst.

And a note of caution: excess thirst can be a sign of diabetes, so if you’re experiencing this, I highly recommend going to see your GP.

How much water do you drink a day?

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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How many portions of fruit and vegetables do you eat each day?

vegetable smorgasbord

 

This isn’t a trick question! The NHS recommend at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day and a recent study by Imperial College London went all the way up to 10 portions per day.

 

Does that sound like a lot?

 

Let’s put in in the context of what a portion of fruit and veg actually is. 10 portions is 800g of fruit and veg. What does that add up to across the day?

 

Here is how these ten portions of veg could factor into one day’s meals.

 

Breakfast: this could be incorporated into a big smoothie or onto a big bowl of porridge. Or you could mix things up by having a vegetable omelette or frittata instead!  

1 banana

1 handful of berries, like blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

 

Snack

1 large nectarine

 

Lunch: this could be a big salad with some grilled chicken or fish 

1 medium tomato

1/2 head of broccoli

1 carrot, grated

2 big handfuls of mixed leaves, such as spinach, watercress or kale

 

Snack

1 medium apple

 

Dinner: this could be a part of a typical meat and two veg meal

1/2 head of cauliflower

1 sweet potato

 

Is this achievable for you? If it seems intimidating, build up to it, adding another portion each week until you’ve hit the 10 a day target. And if you can’t eat 10 a day every day, don’t worry about it. Even four or five days a week is better than nothing at all!

 

Try to eat organic if possible. But if you can’t, wash your fruit and veg throughly before eating or cooking with them. I like this fruit and veg wash.

 

There are no shortcuts in health, but adding in fruit and veg to your daily diet has loads of benefits, including increasing the antioxidants in your body to fight free radical damage, help to balance hormones, reducing constipation (the fibre!), supporting your immune system and feeding the good bacteria in your gut.

 

Have you tried eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day? How did you find it?

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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How To Manage PMS

 

train in west london

Do you dread the week before your period? How much do you dread it?

 

I used to count down the days, waiting for the familiar aches in my back, bloated belly and throughly grumpy mood.

 

I used to think all women suffered this way and that PMS was just a part of life that I had to accept.

 

I’m now here to assure you that it doesn’t need to be this way. You don’t need to suffer through your periods or the week before your period.

 

Here what I did:

1. Cycle monitoring:  I started to monitor my cycle by using a menstrual cycle tracking app to better understand my cycle and what symptoms I was experiencing at certain points in my cycle.

 

2. More anti-inflammatory foods: I increased the anti-inflammatory foods in my diet: fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, citrus fruit, wild salmon and at least 2L of water per day.

 

3. More vegetables, a bit more fruit: I gave myself the goal of eating at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day – 7 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit.

 

4. Sleep, sleep, sleep: I tried to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The more sleep you get, the better your body responds to insulin and the better your energy levels.

 

5. Less sugar, less alcohol: Excess sugar and alcohol create inflammation in the body (NB: inflammation is when your immune system over responds and remains switched on, usually due to an external stimulus) and inflammation drives many PMS symptoms.

 

6. Get moving: Light exercise, such as yoga, stretching, pilates and walking will reduce cortisol, the stress hormone and produce endorphins, one of the feel good hormones. Keeping cortisol at bay is really important because it can be a driver of inflammation. I tried to take at 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day in active walking and latent movement (you’d be surprised how much running you do when you’re chasing a three year old around the house!).

 

7. Support the liver: The liver is your body’s tool for detoxifying – it’s very important for women because your body uses the liver to break down oestrogen to a less potent form so it can be excreted in your daily bowel movement. I added lots of green, leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower to my diet as these have compounds that support the liver’s detoxification process.

 

8. Poop everyday: Adding in fruit, veg and lots of water made sure I was able to have a bowel movement every morning, which is really important because this is the way the body gets rid of excess estrogen after it gets metabolised by the liver. Too much oestrogen can be a driver of PMS symptoms.

 

Have you tried any of these tips to manage your PMS? What’s worked for you?

 

Do you have PMS? Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your menstrual health & wellbeing.

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Let’s drop the food guilt resolutions.

merrygoround

So it’s that time of the year again. Resolution time. Do you make resolutions? As a nutritional therapist, I often hear people making resolutions to ‘do better’ with food, to eat healthier, to ‘be good’. These resolutions often come with a huge side of guilt. Guilt and shame.

 

Let’s stop all of this.

 

These boom-bust, famine-feast attitudes towards food are robbing us of the pleasure of eating.

 

There are no ‘bad’ foods. There are foods that are better than others, absolutely. And this will vary for each person. For every person that can eat a slice of cake in ‘moderation’, there’s another person that cannot.

 

The only thing that’s bad, is a guilty attitude around food that undercuts the true pleasure you can get from eating. This pleasure can come from biting into a crisp piece of celery with creamy peanut butter, to the umami taste in a steaming bowl of ramen. I love the pleasure of really savouring food, enjoying the taste, smell, look, mouthfeel and of course, that lovely warm feeling at the end of a meal when I know I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve eaten.

 

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the pleasure of eating should ideally last from the moment of anticipation when you first put the food into your mouth through to the lovely feeling of satiety when you’ve finished the meal. If there’s a disconnect, then the pleasure becomes bittersweet, doesn’t it? I love eating ice cream, but it’s just not worth the hours I’ll spend afterwards running back and forth to the loo.

 

So ditch the short-term resolutions and start thinking about a long-term change in attitude toward food and eating instead.

 

And get rid of the guilt. Enjoy the food you do eat and find pleasure in the making and eating of your meals.

 

Are you ready to make a change in your health in 2018? Get in touch for a free 20 minute call where I can help you make positive changes to your health!

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Don’t detox, just eat better.

At this time of the year, newspapers and magazines are filled with weight loss, fitness and detox stories. And I’ll admit, I do enjoy reading them and seeing what nutrition & exercise (mis)information is being passed around.

 

One of my biggest gripes is seeing articles that talk about needing to detox post Christmas, with claims that a 3, 5, 7, 10 (you choose a number of days!) day detox will cure everything that ails you.

 

The biological reality is that your body is constantly detoxifying itself – that’s what your liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs and skin are for. And the by-products of this perpetual detoxification are stool, urine and sweat (really! they’re not just annoyances!).

 

The liver is the body’s waste purification plant and it is perpetually in motion, 24 hours a day. The more toxins you put in, the harder the liver has to work to remove them. By toxins, I mean products and by-products of the digestive system (excess sugar, trans-fatty acids and gut dysbiosis), alcohol, cigarette smoke by-products, environmental toxins (lead, chlorine, fluorine, insecticides, herbicides, solvents, metals, mould, pollen, algae) and oxidative stress (free radicals).

 

Your body really doesn’t want toxins to build up. So much so that the liver has a two stage detoxification process to make sure all the waste is removed – anything from alcohol to heavy metals to pesticides to the by-products of medication to hormones like xenoestrogens. The liver is continuously converting these substances to inactive forms for excretion in urine or stool.

 

 

So knowing all this, the real question (which is less of a quick fix and not as sexy a ‘detox’): how can I consistently support my liver, lungs, skin, digestive system, bowels and kidneys?

  1. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Most people are slightly dehydrated and often mistake thirst for hunger, so the bare minimum to aim for is 1.5L of water across the day.
  2. Eat green leafy vegetables. These contain the micronutrients and enzymes that support the first stage of liver detoxification and kickstart the second stage.
  3. Eat more nuts and seeds. Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and nuts like almonds, cashews, Brazils and hazelnuts have micronutrients that help your liver work better.
  4. Eat enough protein. Red meat, nuts, eggs and fish are amongst some of the protein sources that contain the amino acids needed for the second stage of liver detoxification.
  5. Don’t drink alcohol every day. Metabolising alcohol puts pressure on the liver and diverts it from its other important functions, such as bile secretion, which is helps the body digest fats.
  6. Support your gut. A good balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut supports your immune and digestive systems and helps improve the quality of your skin.
  7. Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Sleep is when your body has a chance to repair and regenerate and this supports its detoxification systems.
  8. Get sweaty at least 3 times a week. A good excuse for a run, a spin class or a shag!

 

Are you ready to make a change in your health in 2018? Get in touch for a free 20 minute call where I can help you make positive changes to your health!

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Green Smoothies For Beginners

green smoothie with figs

Since last August, I’ve been on a massive smoothie kick. It started when I got a bit of food poisoning after eating some dodgy mangosteen that I brought back from Jakarta. I had having omelettes for breakfast most mornings, but just couldn’t stomach them after the food poisoning.

 

So I’ve been experimenting with smoothies of all kinds ever since, and have hit upon some winning recipes, based on the protein – fat – carbohydrate formula.

 

Why protein, fat and carbohydrate? Proteins and fats take longer to digest, so you’re fuller for longer. The carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and vegetables, are the source of important micronutrients and fibre.

 

A satiating morning smoothie should ideally see you all the way through to lunch, with no need for snacks, unless you’ve done a really intense work out.

 

Building blocks

 

The building blocks of a good, nourishing smoothie are generally 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat. Here are some good examples of ingredients for each of the macronutrient building blocks – use organic ingredients where you can!

  • Protein: Nuts (almonds or cashews, in butter or whole form) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflowers, flaxseeds, chia, in seed form), organic full fat greek yoghurt
  • Fat: Coconut butter, coconut oil, avocado, almond milk, coconut meat
  • Carbohydrates:

Fruit: Go for low GI fruits like blueberries and raspberries, bananas for thickness, use high GI, very sweet fruit like dates, pineapple and mango sparingly – a little goes a long way!

Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, watercress & chard, beetroot and cucumber. These should make up the majority (80-90%!) of the carbohydrate you add to your smoothie!

 

The rest

 

  • Liquids: Nut mylks, coconut water, full fat milk and even water can reduce the thickness of a smoothie, depending on your personal preferences.
  • Extras (if you want to add some more oomph to your smoothie): Bee pollen, lucuma, cacao, collagen powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, maca, chlorella and  spirulina are all nice additions to a smoothie. All of these boosters have different nutritional benefits, such as immune support and skin health support, and can give your smoothie a nice kick!

 

One for you to try

Here’s my current go-to morning smoothie recipe – try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 small banana

1/4 cup mixed berries

2 handfuls of kale

1/2 avocado

1 (heaping) tbsp almond butter

1 small knob of ginger

2 small 5 pence sized discs of turmeric

200ml almond milk

1 tbsp collagen powder

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender (I prefer the NutriBullet!)
  2. Blend for 30 -60 seconds, depending on your preferred thickness
  3. Pour into a cup
  4. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon
  5. Enjoy!

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