Lots of us start the New Year with all kinds of good intentions regarding our diet and it’s amazing how quickly we fall back into our old habits. What you eat and when you eat has a big impact on our general health on a daily basis affecting our energy levels, mood and ability to think and function properly.
The subject of breakfast is a controversial one ….. some nutritionists swear that it’s the most important meal of the day whereas others recommend missing out and making your first meal a bit later on.
My advice – as always – is listen to what your body is telling you. Do you wake up hungry? Then satisfy that hunger and help raise up your blood sugar levels. If you don’t, then wait a little later until you’re ready to eat. Do make sure that you are hydrated so starting the day with hot water and lemon juice or a herbal tea is a good choice.
I think the most important rule here is to make sure your first meal of the day – regardless of the time – is a nutrient dense feast to feed your body and mind and give you sustainable energy.
So here are a few ideas that will help give you energy and avoid fatigue without raising insulin levels and setting you on the path of endless snacking. Continue reading
As a Registered Nutritional Therapist I have to complete a certain number of hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) annually in order to meet the professional requirements of my governing body, BANT (www.bant.org.uk).
This week I have completed several hours on the subject of cancer – including prevention, dietary and nutrition strategies to deal with the condition including advice on how to make changes in lifestyle and diet.
One was an online lecture from the Royal Society of Medicine that was focusing on gut health particularly probiotics, prebiotics and the health of the microbiome as well as dietary manipulation with emphasis on gut cancers.
I also attended a very interesting lecture by Dr Michelle Kohn and Meredy Birdi at the LOC (leaders in Oncology Care) in Harley Street, London.
What is HPA Axis Dysregulation?
You may be familiar with the term “Adrenal Fatigue” and it probably conjures up images of a state of total physical and mental exhaustion as a result of exposure to high cortisol, one of our stress hormones. However, the picture is a little more complicated and in this blog I hope to give you a better understanding of what is going on in the body and the mind.
When tests are carried out for Adrenal Fatigue it is most common to see spikes of the hormone cortisol. Even when cortisol is low, it’s not necessarily due to the adrenals being “fatigued” or ‘exhausted’ and unable to produce the hormone.
We know there are many other mechanisms for regulating cortisol production including in the brain and central nervous system. Regulation of inflammation and blood sugar dysregulation are other issues that need to be addressed when considering the body’s response to stress. Continue reading
Many of my clients have been asking me about prebiotics and their role in improving sleep so I thought I would write some more on this subject as insomnia seems to be an increasing problem.
Many of you will have seen the BBC programme where Michael Mosley explored insomnia and gave some ideas of what to do about it.
He used prebiotics in supplement form and and found them helpful as was shown when his sleep cycle was analysed. Continue reading
A lovely warming drink I concocted this winter for all my family who have been down with coughs and sore throats……
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- sprig or two of fresh thyme (dried will do)
- sprig of fresh sage
- knob of fresh ginger grated
- spoon of raw natural honey
- herbal tea bag: lemon, honey and ginger
Put everything except the honey into a small tea pot.
Fill with boiling water and let it steep for at least 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Put a spoon of honey into a mug, add the tea and sip slowly.
The thyme is very soothing for a sore throat and chesty cough, and the ginger is anti-inflammatory, lemon provides Vitamin C and antioxidants. Sage is also useful for soothing sore, red, scratchy throats.
Some grated fresh turmeric would be nice or a 1/2 teaspoon of dried – see my blog on the health benefits of this lovely spice:
I can’t remember when I first came across this recipe but there are various versions online. I have made a couple of changes to the original one.
A slice of this loaf is a very satisfying alternative to bread. It’s very flavoursome so you can eat on its own or with a poached egg or little nut butter spread on top. It is an excellent source of protein, good fats and fibre.
The holiday season is approaching fast and it is at times like these that our good intentions with food choices and diet can go completely awry! Its one thing to have a few treats but another when those treats derail your ability to avoid your ‘trigger foods” which then sends you into downward spiral of going back to your old habits.
I can’t guarantee these tips will help you to avoid too much Christmas cake and mince pies but a little mindfulness beforehand may be helpful in the long run.
An interesting webinar recently about autoimmune disease gave me a new and timely insight into how ‘functional’ foods are and what wonderful healing properties they have.
I was watching the talk while sitting at my kitchen table in full view of a bramley apple tree in my garden laden with fruit, when my ears pricked up as the speaker, Dr Michael Ash, started describing the incredible anti-inflammatory effect of stewed apple on the gastro intestinal tract and health of the micro biome.
Dr Ash described how two stewed apples daily could induce the equivalent effect of 10-15mg of steroid anti-inflammatory control in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and this was due to the pectin content of the apples.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the spice, Turmeric (curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family which is commonly used in curries and gives them flavor and a yellow colour. It is also found to a lesser extent ginger. The active polyphenols in turmeric are known as ‘curcuminoids’.
There have been numerous studies that show curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties and has multiple uses for many health conditions.
I was looking for a quick snack just now and having looked through my cupboard and fridge came up with these – super quick and and easy to make. Whilst they are not free of sugar the dates and prunes are unrefined (try to get the best quality organic) and there is plenty of protein and good fats to help balance them out.
Date and almond protein balls
- 12 soft dates (remove stones)
- 3 soft prunes (remove stones)
- 200g ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 7.5ml vanilla extract
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5ml ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of mixed seed butter (Carley’s is a nice one)
- dessicated coconut
What you do
Put the dates and prunes which you have chopped roughly into a food processor along with the lemon juice, vanilla extract, coconut oil, cinnamon and mixed seed butter. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed but not completely smooth. Gradually add the ground almonds until the mixture thickens and starts to form a ball.
The mixture will be sticky and moist.
Put dessicated coconut into a bowl.
Remove from the food processor and put into a bowl. Take a teaspoon and mould the mixture into bite size balls and then roll in the dessicated coconut until coated.
Place on a tray and put in the freezer until firm.
Put the balls into a lidded container and keep in the freezer.
Great for a sweet snack or after-gym protein hit.
- Use any kind of ground nut instead of almonds – I have used hazelnut, pistachios or cashews or a mix depending on what I have in the cupboard
- Add a scoop of unflavoured protein powder to increase protein
- I like to use dates as a base but you can use any other soft dried fruit instead of the prunes but always use ‘unsulphured’ and organic if possible.
- You could use the juice of an orange instead of lemon
- Add a tablespoon of cacao powder if you want a chocolately version