I’m still on a pumpkin kick, adding it into as many dishes as possible to fully capture that lovely autumn feeling. They’re such an amazing vegetable, full of energy producing B vitamins, immune boosting zinc and fibre for your digestive system. And the seeds are […]
Do you ever have nights where your mind is whirring and it’s tricky to drop off to sleep? I do. I’ve been trying the 4-7-8 deep breathing method to help me get to sleep and it’s been really helpful! Pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, the […]
I am so excited to share my first e-book, Six Ways To Improve Your Period Pain! In it, you’ll find six ways to get started on improving your period pain, including ways to integrate these changes into your life.
Period pain is so common and it needn’t be. I’m passionate about helping women get to a place where they understand their menstrual cycles, their periods are pain-free and they know more about how their bodies work. Use this link to download my book.
Want to know more and have a more personalised session? Get in touch for a free 20 minute period health review!
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.
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.
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 […]
When people ask me for shortcuts for getting healthier and feeling better, I tell them two things. Firstly, that there are no shortcuts and health should be lifelong pursuit. Then, once I’ve stepped off my high horse 😎, I tell them to eat more vegetables.
I’ve talked before about the importance of eating at least 7-10 portions of fruit and mostly vegetables per day, and one of the easiest ways of upping your daily veg count is by adding in a big salad for lunch or dinner. You could even go off-piste and have a salad for breakfast!
I like to follow the protein-fat-carbohydrate formula to build my salads. Why protein, fat and carbohydrate? Proteins and fats take longer to digest, so you’re fuller for longer. The carbohydrates, in the form of vegetables, are the source of important micronutrients and fibre.
A satiating salad at lunch should ideally see you all the way through to dinner, with no need for snacks (unless you’ve done a really intense workout!)
The building blocks of a good, nourishing salad 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: Shredded chicken, pork or beef, legumes, pulses, crumbled feta, sliced mozzarella, sliced hard boiled eggs, slices of smoked salmon or anchovies
Fats: Sliced avocado, nuts, such as walnuts, crushed pistachios, almonds or cashews, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds, olive oil
- Grated cabbage, carrots, beetroot or kohlrabi
- Sliced radish, cucumber, red pepper, tomato, olive or red onions
- Steamed green beans, broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower
- Roasted and cubed potato, sweet potato or squash
- And of course, loads of greens. I’m a fan of spinach, cos, bibb or romaine lettuce, and have also been known to drop in a little radicchio or escarole, depending on what’s in season. The one lettuce I never recommend is iceberg. It generally lacks flavour and doesn’t really add much to a salad.
- If grains suit you, you can add a cup of cooked quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or couscous.
- Fermented veg like kimchi, sauerkraut or pickles
- Dressings: I tend to prefer a simple squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt & pepper. If you have the time, you could premake a lemon vinagrette and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can start by whisking together 3 tablespoons of EVOO and one tablespoon of lemon juice and then tweaking from there. Or substitute red wine or balsamic vinegar if you don’t fancy lemon juice.
- Extras (if you want to add some more oomph to your salad): Chopped herbs like basil, dill, coriander, rosemary and chives are nice to sprinkle over, as are sliced bell peppers or chilli flakes.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to a big ass salad. Just open your fridge door, use the protein, fat, carbohydrate formula and see how you get on!
Here’s one for you to try:
Autumn Squash Salad (serves 1 – 2)
5 cups mixed greens
1 large diced tomato
4 sliced radishes (I used a mandoline to slice mine)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted squash
1/2 cup shredded roast chicken (use the leftovers from your Sunday roast!)
3-4 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette
Toss together in a bowl and enjoy!
What are your favourite autumn salads?
If you live in a big city like London, you’ll be familiar with the annoyances of limescale and the need for some kind of water filter to reduce the hardness of the water.
Our lightbulb moment came when we had friends over and saw that all of our glasses were streaked with limescale stains. It was then that we decided that when we bought our house (we were renting at the time), we would get a water softener installed.
And so we did. We live an aggressively hard water area in London, so decided the best course of action would be a water softener solution that would soften all the water in the house. We got a Harvey’s Water Softener system plumbed into our water system, which has been great. We could immediately feel the difference in the softness of our skin, hair and clothes and of course, no more streaks on our glasses.
But then we decided to have a child. And because the Harvey’s water softeners uses cylinders that are made up of microscopic beads that form a resin that traps magnesium and calcium and replaces them with the sodium from the block salt that is part of the water softener, we needed to find another solution for drinking water. The sodium levels are fine for adults, but are slightly too high for young children.
For the past three years, we been buying 10L boxes of Harrogate Spring Water for J to use as drinking water, which has never sat well with me as the most eco-friendly or economical solution.
Enter the Berkey water filter. This is an eco-friendly drinking water solution that removes pathogenic bacteria, parasites, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, radon 222, VOCs and trihalomethanes. It also removes chlorine, fluoride and arsenic, as well as reduces lead and mercury. Another benefit of the system is that it removes pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, BPAs, triclosan, progesterone and ibuprofen and reduces synthetic oestrogens from the filtered drinking water.
It was delivered on Friday and took 5 minutes to put together.
At £253, the Big Berkey is definitely an investment. For us, the math works out: we’ve been spending £4.29 a week for the past three years, buying 10L boxes of water, so the cost of our Big Berkey works out to one year of buying 10L boxes of water. The Big Berkey holds 8.5L of water at a time, however they also sell 12, 17 and 23L solutions for larger families and offices.
The water is really delicious. Sounds bizarre to say that about water, but it’s true – I already notice the difference compared to bottled and tap water.
Do you have a water softener? Has it made a difference in the quality of your drinking water?