Category Archives: Health

Smoothies vs Juicing: Which One Is Better For You?

This is a question I often get asked by my clients. Both smoothies and juices are more popular than ever with everyone going on juice cleanses and detoxes. Which one is better for you? Both offer benefits in different ways. Here below I explain the differences.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

It is important to remember that fibre in your diet is important so if you tend to have lots of juices remember to also eat your greens.

Smoothies

Smoothies are fantastic especially in the morning as they are super quick to prepare. You just throw everything into a blender and blend away. You can really include all sorts of goodies in your smoothie. You can add chia seeds, nut butters, oats, superfood powders like spirulina and wheatgrass, protein powders. The list goes on.

The fibre in a smoothie releases nutrients into the blood stream slowly balancing blood sugar levels avoiding spikes. You pack in less fruit and vegetables into a smoothie but smoothies are more filling keeping you fuller for longer. A juice can leave you feeling hungry.

With both juices and smoothies it is important to drink them within 15 minutes so the nutrients to do not get destroyed.

I hope this helps and keep enjoying both your smoothies and juices.

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Gluten Free Pancakes

Everyone loves pancakes. These are simple, easy to make and healthy pancakes so you can have them without feeling guilty.

Ingredients

1 cup of gluten free flour – I used Doves flour and a small mug

2 teaspoons of gluten free powder

2 tablespoons of coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon of himalayan salt

1 cup of rice or almond milk

2 tablespoons of melted and cooled coconut oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 eggs

For the topping

Banana

strawberries

Melted dark chocolate – I used Green and Black’s

Maple syrup

Method

Start by putting the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl and whisk making sure all the ingredients mix well together.

In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients: eggs, coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Whisk the ingredients well and then combine them with the dry ingredients and mix.

Heat a pan over medium heat and using a spoon, spoon the batter onto the pan, Cook the pancakes until they are golden on both sides. Serve with the toppings and enjoy.

8 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight on Holiday

Going on holiday can always be tricky and lets be realistic, you are not going to be losing weight on vacation. However this does not mean that you have to put on an extra kilo or two or deprive yourself of the foods you love. It is about being sensible and indulging in moderation. I divide my time between Italy and London and often tend to eat a little too much pasta and pizza when in Italy but I always manage to stay the same weight. Here below are a few tips that have helped me and I hope you will find useful.

Always have a healthy breakfast

The body is at its most acidic in the mornings so it is important to keep it alkaline. Therefore make sure you start the day right by always making it a healthy meal. Start your morning with warm water and lemon followed by a smoothie, fruit and chia pudding, avocado on toast with a poached egg or a bowl of porridge.

Indulge in moderation

Your are on holiday so no one expects you not to have a treat. All you have to do is to make  sure you make sensible choices. If you want to have a treat like a dessert or carbohydrates I suggest you have them during the day preferably at lunch time. When having a treat it doesn’t mean you have to binge on your favourite foods. If you fancy some cake have a slice not the whole cake. If you want to have lasagna have a small portion and do not have seconds. If you have pasta do not eat bread with it. Whatever treat you decide to enjoy always remember to include lots of vegetables and salads with your meals. Keep your portions small.

Alcohol

It is no secret that alcohol is full of hidden calories and is no good for the liver, however most people do like to enjoy a drink or two especially when on holiday. With alcohol moderation is key. When choosing alcoholic beverages choose wisely. Cocktails taste great but they are very high in calories so remember to be sensible. If you want to enjoy a drink I would recommend drinking vodka with sparkling water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I would limit it to 2 drinks. Too much alcohol is not only bad for the liver but it is extremely dehydrating especially in warm weather when you need to stay hydrated. To keep well hydrated it is important to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

Exercise

Most of you will be looking at this thinking that you want to relax on holiday, not workout. I am not suggesting you turn your holiday into a bootcamp vacation. However if you want to indulge in your favourite foods you must do some form of exercise. If you are on a beach or by a pool you can swim. Go for an early morning run or brisk walk on the beach. The more active you are the more calories you burn. I tend to go for 2-3 hour hikes, I am actually more active when I am away. You do not have to kill yourself. I am not suggesting you do 2 hours a day. You can fit in just a 20minute HIIT workout daily to keep the weight off.

Keep healthy snacks in your cupboards

If you know you have a sweet tooth do not keep your cupboards full of cakes and biscuits. Opt for healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruit, hummus and vegetables. The less unhealthy treats you have lying around the better. If you feel hungry have some hummus with carrot sticks or half an avocado. These are both filling and healthy. I do not eat a lot of dairy but I do have a soft spot for cheddar cheese. I therefore make sure I don’t keep it in the house otherwise I will end up eating the whole lot. This of course does not mean I never treat myself to a little cheese now and again. I just do not keep it in the house.

Stay away from salad dressings

You will definitely not be putting on any weight eating salads but beware of salad dressings. They taste great but are hidden with calories. Keep it simple and just use a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar for salads.

Simple is always best when eating out

Try to stay away from rich, heavy sauces and opt for grilled or steamed dishes when going out for a meal. There will always be healthy options on the menu. Many people use the excuse of dining out to stuff their faces with everything on the menu. Be sensible. Stay away from the bread basket and if going for a dessert make sure you have a healthy main like a grilled fish. Remember to always be sensible and keep your food choices simple and healthy.

Do not raid the buffet

Buffets have all sorts of foods and it can be so tempting to just keep eating everything! We have all done it. However do try to be sensible. Go for lots of salads and vegetables and protein so you become full quickly. As mentioned before this does not mean that you cannot enjoy your favourite foods. You just have to be sensible. Do not refill your plate 3 or 4 times.

It is important to remember that when you are on holiday you should enjoy yourself and not become obsessed with counting calories and starving yourself to keep your bikini body. Of course you want to enjoy a drink or two, have an ice cream or a pizza. You just have to remember that with everything in life moderation and balance are important. The older we become the more important it is to look after our health. If you would like a bespoke nutritional plan email me.

5 Tips to a Good Night’s Sleep

It is fair to say that all of us at some point in our lives have experienced sleepless nights or suffered from insomnia. I certainly have in the past when I was younger. Living in a city like London can often be very stressful leading to anxiety. It is so important that we switch off when we go to bed. Overthinking is not good and the more we can’t sleep the more we tend to analyse and stress as to why we are not falling asleep. Prolonged lack of sleep can have drastic effects on our health. It can leave us feeling confused affecting our day to day performance leading to inflammation in the body and lowering our immune system.

The reason for restless nights vary from person to person. Some reasons include: Stress and anxiety,  Lack of  calcium and magnesium (nature’s tranquilisers), stimulants like caffeine,  over thinking, depression, bladder problems, certain diseases like over active thyroid, Here below are a few tips I hope will help.

Keeping a sleep routine

It is important to go to bed at the same time every day and wake up in the mornings at the same time. When I was suffering from insomnia I was going to bed at all sorts of different times. It is important to let the body get used to the the same sleep routine. If at first you find this difficult, do not over stress that you are not falling asleep, simply get up and relax for 10 minutes, You can meditate or listen to some classical music. No going online or chatting on whatsapp. You want to relax your mind not stimulate it.

Foods to avoid and foods to include

Avoid having massive meals late at night. This not only will disrupt your sleep but it will place an enormous strain on the digestive system. You have to go to bed that you are feeling not too hungry and not too full. Caffeine is a big stimulant and should not be consumed after 5pm. Caffeine is not just present in coffee and regular tea. It is found in coca cola, chocolate, cocoa and energy drinks. So eating chocolate at night in front of the tv is not such a great idea. Avoid eating foods that are hard to digest like cheese late at night. Alcohol is another stimulant that should be avoided. Most people have alcohol to help them distress when in actual fact it does the opposite. You may feel it helps you fall asleep but it will only make you wake up 2-3 hours later feeling dehydrated and thirsty.

Friendly foods to include in your diet: Avocado, fish, turkey, beans, bananas, wheatgerm sprinkled onto your porridge, gluten free oats. You can even have a little bowl of porridge with a chopped banana in the evening, You do not have to have porridge only for breakfast. Drink more herbal teas like camomile tea.

Switch off all technology

In todays modern world this is rather challenging. I for one spend far to much time on my phone and computer. Most people after a long day at work, come home have a bite to eat and go online straightaway or watch tv. In order to get a good night’s sleep it is essential to relax a few hours before bed. This means no lap tops in bed. No whatsapp with friends, no tv. You want to create a relaxing bed time ritual. Going online will only stimulate your mind even more making you more awake. You want to fall asleep remember.

Creating a relaxing bed time environment

This is carrying on from the above point. So you have switched off your mobile phone, closed your computer for the day and switched off your tv. Now you are ready to relax. I would suggest a relaxing bath with epsom salts. This is truly relaxing before bed. Do not have a shower. Showers are for the mornings when you want to wake up. Play some soothing classical music. You can have music for every mood and bed  time music should be relaxing so no techno. Make sure your room is dark and comfortable. You do not want it to be too cold or to warm.

Manage your stress levels

This is extremely important. Some people keep on going until they completely exhaust themselves. You must leave your work at the office. Your mind must switch off. No bringing work papers to bed. You must learn to delegate tasks. Do not try to do everything by yourself. If you do not manage your stress it can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Regular exercise every day can help you de stress especially yoga. Regular exercise will make you feel and look great. However do not do any exercise  before going to bed as you will be too energised

I hope the above helps. I am a qualified nutritional therapist so if you would like an initial consultation please email me.

 

 

Why Diets do not Work

Most of my clients come to me to help them lose weight. I do not believe or like the word diet. I do not believe in diets. What I do believe in is healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle which is essential in preventing disease. When you are healthy and active you will have an abundance of energy. Fad diets mess up your metabolism and are restrictive depleting the body of vital nutrients.

Diets mess up your metabolism

Most women make the mistake in thinking that by starving they will lose weight quicker and become obsessed with counting calories. When the body goes into starvation mode due to lack of calorie intake it will start to use up muscle and lean tissue thus resulting in muscle tone loss.  You need to be eating every 3-4 hours to speed up your metabolism. By starving your body you are actually slowing down your metabolism making it harder to lose weight in the long term. A balanced healthy diet consists of 3 main meals and 2 snacks.

Too restrictive

Most fad diets tend to eliminate food groups mainly carbohydrates and tend to be very restrictive leading a person feeling deprived. When on these fad diets a person will be even more sensitive to food and if they feel too restricted they will tend to crave all the wrong foods and will often have a massive binge.

Can be harmful

A restrictive diet like the Atkins diet which was a fad a while back can cause serious health problems. A diet that is too high in animal protein like the Atkins diet can cause an enormous strain on the kidneys leading to kidney stones and other problems. Your kidneys filter your blood getting rid of all unwanted waste and toxins via the urine. Eating a diet very high in saturated fats like meats can also lead to heart disease. This is why you need a balanced diet.

Cause nutrient deficiencies 

Following on from above, a balanced diet is essential for staying healthy. You need a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins and good fats. A restrictive diet will leave you feeling tired and deprived.

Carbohydrates are absolutely necessary for energy and endurance. You need carbohydrates for physical activity. Most women look at carbs horrified and underestimate their importance in a healthy diet. I am not referring to refined sugars such as white bread, white pasta, cakes, pies and processed foods which have zero nutritional value. They supply that quick burst of energy by raising your blood sugar levels followed by a quick dip in energy. This is why complex carbohydrates are what you should be fuelling your body. Complex carbohydrates are slow releasing and do not raise blood sugar levels thus resulting in energy for longer periods of time. Good sources include: Sweet potatoes, brown rice, porridge, stone ground wholemeal breads.

Protein is important for muscle repair and healing. Protein is needed to stop muscle tone loss. Good sources of protein are lean meats – please ensure you go for organic meats. You do not want to eat meat that has been injected with hormones and antibiotics. Other good sources: Tofu, lentils, beans, eggs and quinoa. Another is the super food spirulina, which is a blue-green algae rich in protein, iron and B12.

Healthy fats – your good omega 3 fats known as essential fatty acids act as an anti inflammatory by protecting your joints, ligaments and tendons. They are also good for brain function, cardiovascular health, endurance and stamina. Good healthy sources include: Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, avocados, flax seeds, linseeds, pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds.

I hope you have now understood the importance of a healthy balanced way of eating that a fad diet lacks. As mentioned above you need a healthy eating plan that incorporates all the food groups. You cannot isolate one or two groups and just have one. This will lead to health and anxiety problems as a person feels deprived, restricted and unhappy. Another thing that most fad diets do not mention is the importance of exercise. Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand to maintain a healthy active body and mind.

If you require a bespoke healthy nutritional plan you can purchase my Initial consultation plan on my website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beginner’s Guide to Meal Prepping

If you learn to become more organised in the kitchen and start planning and preparing all of your meals for you and your family ahead of time, life will no doubt become easier, especially if you have children. You come home late for work and you want to whip up a super quick, healthy but  tasty meal. Yes healthy food does not have to be boring.

What you will need

You will need to invest in good tupperware, glass containers, jars, bottles and freezer bags. How many you buy depends how many people you are cooking for. To start off do not go crazy, invest in little to see how  you get on.

Plan

Start by planning what you intend to eat the week ahead. I suggest drawing up a weekly food planner where you write down all the breakfasts, snacks, lunch and dinners for the whole week. Since you are new to meal prepping stick to recipes that you are familiar with. Once you have written down your meal plan it is time to list all the shopping ingredients you will need. Remember to make your meals varied so you do not get bored and to include vegetables, good sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. In a healthy diet you need them all.

Good vegetables to include in your meal plan:  Bok choy, cavolo nero, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, dandelion greens, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage and rucola.

When it comes to protein if you decide to go for meat please make sure it is organic. You do not want your meat to be injected with hormones and antibiotics so always go organic. Good sources of protein are: Wild salmon, prawns, turkey, chicken, beef, fish, tempeh,  tofu, chickpeas, lentils, edamame and all other beans and quinoa.

Complex carbohydrates go for: sweet potatoes, brown rice, try gluten free pasta like millet and quinoa fusilli or rice and quinoa pasta, amaranth and buckwheat.

Good sources of healthy fats: Avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, selenium nuts, pecans, pumpkin, sesame, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Flax oil in salads or smoothies. Olive oil and coconut oil.

Prep

Once you have all your ingredients for your meals it is time to get started in the kitchen. If you are new to meal prepping I suggest you prepare food for 3 days at a time until you get the hang of it or you can prepare your lunches and dinners the night before. At first it may be daunting but trust me once you get the hang of it life will become so much easier! Your fridge and freezer will be packed full of healthy meals.

Make large batches of meat balls and burgers. These are great to have in the freezer with a delicious tomato sauce. I suggest you cook all your sauces separately. Make a jar full of your favourite sauce and keep it in the fridge for the week. Remember to always make sure to sterilise the jars. You can make batches of tomato sauce and keep it in the freezer. Soup is another good option for a quick meal. All you need to do is take it out of the freezer in the morning  and cook it when you come home. You can’t get quicker than that.

Cook all your protein in advance and I suggest to keep it simple like grilled and you can season it on the day. By keeping it simple it will last longer rather than cooking it in a sauce and leaving it in the fridge for a few days. Use spices and herbs to enhance the flavour, use cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, garlic powder.

Hard boiled eggs are excellent to have on the go and a great sauce of protein. I suggest you cook them for a few days in advance, so you can use them in the morning if you do not have time for breakfast or as a snack with some spinach.

Oats are great as they are so versatile and easy to prepare. To make breakfast easier in the morning you can prepare overnight oats which last in the fridge for 3 days. If you prepare porridge in the morning, prepare your bowl the night before with all your chopped fruit and just put it in a pan with water the next day. Get organised as much as possible to minimise time especially if you have to rush to work in the mornings.

Chop all your fruit and vegetables to make it easier for cooking. You can chop bananas, strawberries, blueberries , avocados and other fruit of your choice and freeze them, this will  make it easier to prepare smoothies. Chop all your vegetables and put store them in containers in the fridge so that if you fancy a stir fry when you come home from work you have all the ingredients you need. You can marinate some prawns or chicken pieces the night before for your stir fry as well. As you get the hang of  you will decide what works best for you. There are no fixed rules. You do what suits you.

It is important to note that meal prep does not mean you have to eat all your meals cold. As mentioned above you can have a hot breakfast. You may decide that lunches and snacks are the only cold meals you want and you prefer a hot dinner.

I hope the above tips help and good luck to your meal prepping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Drinking Water

Our bodies are made up of around 60% water. Water makes up about 90% of the blood. We cannot survive without water. As we age our cells are not able to absorb water well. This is due to all the toxins that a person absorbs over the years from their diet, environment and chemicals that can be found in water like fluoride, chlorine and pesticides. Hormonal residues from the pill can also be found in water. This is why it is important  to drink good quality water as the better the quality the better it will be absorbed by the cells leading to good hydration. You can tell by how well hydrated you are by the colour of your urine. If it is dark it means you need to drink more. Your urine should be a light pale colour. We lose around 3 litres of water a day. We lose water every day through breathing, urine, stools and sweating, especially during strenuous exercise. In the warmer weather we tend to drink more as we tend to sweat more. In winter we tend to want to drink less as we assume that as it is cold we do not need to drink as much. We actually need to be well hydrated all year round. You should aim to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day. Water is vital for your cells, tissues, blood, lymph and glandular secretions.

Water flushes out toxins

By drinking more water the body is able to flush out all the toxins. In order for the kidneys to function properly it is important that the tubules do not become clogged up or damaged. The liver is the major organ of detoxification. If we are not well hydrated the liver will not be able to get rid of all the toxins and you will become toxic leading to feeling unwell with headaches, feeling bloated and having water retention and cellulite build up.

Increase fruit and vegetables in your diet

By eating 4 pieces of fruit and having 4 portions of vegetables on a daily basis is a litre of water. Foods high in water are: Tomatoes, melons, lettuce, carrots and broccoli. In general all fruit and vegetables are good to eat.

Improves mental function

If you deprive the body of water you will feel tired with no energy. Your mental function will be impaired. You will experience headaches or wake up with a clouded head as though you are hung over. Starving the brain of water creates mental confusion,  lack of memory and concentration.

Improves physical activity

When you exercise you lose a large amount of water especially if you do strenuous  exercise and sweat a lot. If the muscles are not well hydrated you will  not be able to perform your best as you will be too tired to have a good workout. In order to get the most out of your workout you need to drink water before, during and after exercise.

Improves constipation

If you are not drinking enough water faeces will become dry and hard causing constipation. By being well hydrated you will have better bowel movements.

Keeps joints lubricated

By not drinking enough water your joints will become stiff and painful. Most people associate joint pain with arthritis but sometimes all you have to do is actually drink more water and the joints become less stiff, less painful.

Keeps  your blood fluid

Water makes up approximately 90% of your blood. If you do not drink enough water then your blood risks becoming thick. If blood is too thick you run the risk of blood clots and heart disease.

Regulates body temperature and transports nutrients

Water helps limit changes in your body temperature when you are exposed to a warm or cold environment. When you are hot the body will release sweat and the evaporation of the water from the surface of the skin will cool the body. Water is the main transporter of nutrients throughout the body.

Is good for the skin

If the cells are deprived of water they will shrink and become dry. Lack of hydration will make the skin dry and wrinkles more prominent.

Alcohol and caffeine

These substances dehydrate the body enormously so consumption should be moderate and plenty of water should be consumed when drinking alcohol or beverages that contain caffeine.

Tips on how to drink more water

Always carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and sip on it through out the day. It is best to sip on water slowly than drinking it all at once.

Add lemon, cucumber, strawberries etc to your water to improve the taste.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.