Category Archives: Health

Immune Boosting Smoothie

This is a great simple smoothie that will boost your immune system.

ingredients

1 carrot peeled and chopped

1 whole orange peeled and cut

1/2 a lemon peeled and cut

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

an inch of ginger

Ewater

Place  all the ingredients in the blender and  blend until lovely and smooth.

 

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5 Immune Boosting Foods

Winter is a time when it is very easy to catch a cold or the flu. If you have a strong immune system you are unlikely to become ill. A diet high in sugar, processed foods and too much caffeine will lower your immune system and open the door to illness. There are a lot of immune supporting foods. I wanted to keep it simple and chose five of my favourites.

Garlic

Garlic has to be my all time favourite. I love it so much I eat it raw rubbed on toast with cherry tomatoes. Many shy away from garlic due to getting garlic breath but your health is important. A useful tip is to chew fresh parsley after having eaten garlic, this helps to take away the odour. Garlic is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It strengthens your immune system and is excellent for colds and flu. It is rich in vitamin C and selenium. Selenium prevents cancer.

Ginger

Make sure to include fresh ginger to your smoothies and cooking. It is super healthy and another great immune booster fighting colds and flu. It also aids digestion and is very good for nausea. It also contains compounds that are called gingerols making it a very powerful anti-inflammatory. It has a strong flavour so if using it in your smoothies you will need a small piece.

Lemons

Lemon juice mixed with ginger is a very powerful remedy to fight of a cold, flu or  sore throat. Lemons are packed full of vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Lemons are also good for the skin, bleeding gums and help in wound healing. Lemons are also very good for the liver.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a very powerful spice that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is good for bloating, colds, diarrhoea and fighting cancer. You can use it in your cooking.  I always start my morning with warm water and lemon and a little turmeric. It really energises me.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass  is probably my favourite superfood as it has endless benefits. It is extremely alkalising, rejuvenating and rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll cleanses and fortifies the organs and blood increasing red blood count. Chlorophyll is a very powerful detoxifier, detoxifying the liver and hence improving metabolism.

Looking after your health is so important that I can never stress it enough! It is so important to keep the body alkaline by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. You want to prevent disease creeping in.

If you would like a bespoke nutritional plan email me.

 

Detox Smoothie

As we continue with detox January this is another alkalising smoothie packed full of goodness.

Ingredients

A big handful of Kale

2 small pears

1/2 avocado

Juice of 1 lemon

1 celery stalk

A piece of cucumber

1 tablespoon of mixed seeds: pumpkin, sunflower and sesame

1 teaspoon of hemp seeds

3 sprigs of parsley

Place all the ingredients in a blender with some ice and blend until lovely and smooth.

3 Day Cleanse

A 3 day cleanse is great for giving the digestive system a rest and rebooting your health especially after a period like Christmas where we all tend to over indulge. You can actually do this cleanse any time during the year. Change of season is a good time to do a cleanse or any time we feel we need to detox from toxins. 3 days is a short period which is ideal for busy people and I would suggest starting on a Friday. If 3 days is too daunting for some 1 – 2 days is fine. If you have never done a cleanse before then I would recommend starting with 1 day.

When embarking on any detox it is important to prepare at least one- two weeks before, especially if you have a diet high in meat, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. So you may want to cut down on these slowly. For example if you drink a lot of coffee cut it back to 1 cup a day in the two weeks leading up to the detox. The reason for this is that during a detox it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms. You can experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, dizziness, skin outbreaks, constipation or diarrhoea (mainly diarrhoea as your intake of fibre increases), coated tongue and bad breath as the toxins are released into the blood stream. This is perfectly normal. It means the detox is working. The more toxic you are the more you are likely to suffer from the above symptoms. These symptoms normally last for about 24 – 72 hours. After this time period you will start to feel better.

During the cleanse do not drink alcohol, coffee, any fizzy drinks. Do not eat sugar, cakes, ready made meals. No meat or animal products as these place a strain on the digestive system defeating the whole purpose of a cleanse.  If at any time you find yourself really struggling, have a piece of fruit or vegetable with some nuts.

Make sure you are drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of water through out the day. Drink detox teas, peppermint tea and green tea. Peppermint tea is good after a meal as it aids digestion.

I would also suggest a relaxing bath before bedtime with Epsom salts. Make sure you skin brush your body before the bath to get the circulation going and it is great for the lymphatic system getting rid of toxins.

Make sure you are in a relaxed environment. Do not do a cleanse if you are working or in a stressed environment. Make sure you get plenty of rest.

Day 1

Morning

Warm water with lemon and turmeric.  20 minutes later a Cleansing Green Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 celery stalk chopped

1/4  of a cucumber peeled and chopped

1 apple peeled and cored

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 of a piece of ginger

2 romaine leaves chopped

5 kale leaves chopped

1/2 a tablespoon of flax seeds

Coconut water

Bee pollen for the topping

Optional

1 teaspoon of Neil’s Yard Super Greens Complex

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add some ice to improve the taste.

Mid morning

Beetroot Apple and Carrot Juice

2 small beetroots

2 carrots peeled

Remove the hard skin from the beetroots, If the apple are organic leave the skin on, cut into piece and remove the seeds. Place all the ingredients into the juicer , serve and drink.

After the juice take 15 drops of A Vogel milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Cleansing Salad:

Handful of spinach

Handful of rucola (rocket salad)

Half a fennel sliced

1 carrot grated

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

Place ingredients in a bowl and season with olive oil and apple cider  vinegar.

Dinner

Cavolo Nero, Broccoli and Barlotti Bean Soup

2-3 Tablespoons of extra virgin oil

100g of cavolo nero

100g of tender stem broccoli

1/2 a can of barlotti beans

1/2 a white onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

Small piece of ginger finely chopped

cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1 1/2 tsp of bouillon powder

3 cups of water

Start by placing the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper in a saucepan and sauté’ adding a little water for 2minutes, then add the chopped tender stem broccoli, cavolo nero and beans and sauté’ for 5 minutes adding a little more water if it has been absorbed. Then add 3 cups of water and bouillon powder. Bring to the boil for 15 minutes. Blend the soup with a hand blender and serve.

Day 2

Breakfast

Warm water with lemon and turmeric upon rising and 20 minutes later a Avocado Smoothie:

Ingredients:

A handful of kale

1 small avocado

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 cup of coconut water ( you can add more to adjust the consistency)

1-2 red apples (depending on how sweet you like it)

A handful of cashew nuts

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender, add ice, blend until smooth and enjoy.

Mid morning:

A handful of collard greens

2 apples

3 sprigs of coriander

3 sprigs of parsley

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

coconut water

Place the ingredients in the blender and blitz until lovely and smooth.

After the smoothie take 15 drops of milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Sweet Potato and carrot Soup:

1 sweet potato peeled and chopped

2 Carrots peeled and chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1 tsp of cumin

cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp of bouillon powder or vegetable broth

Coriander

500ml of water

Olive oil

Saute’ the garlic, onion, for a minute then add the sweet potatoes, carrots, cumin, coriander, 1/4 cup of water, bouillon powder and sauté’ for another 7 minutes then add 500ml of water and simmer for 40 minutes. Once the sweet potatoes are tender blend the soup with a hand blender.

Dinner

Steamed asparagus with olive oil and lemon.

Day 3

Breakfast

Warm water with lemon and turmeric, After 20 minutes Spinach, Kale and Mango Smoothie:

A handful of Kale

A handful of Spinach

1/2 a banana

A handful of mango chunks

Just place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until lovely and smooth.

Mid Morning:

Berry Smoothie:

1 cup of blueberries

2 tablespoons of coyo coconut yoghurt

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 a banana

1 tablespoons of linseeds, pumpkins and sunflower seeds.

chia seeds to sprinkle on top.

Place all the ingredients in the blender except for the chia seeds and blend until smooth.

After the smoothie 15 drops of A Vogel milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Quinoa Salad:

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa

A handful of rocket salad

1 small avocado

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

A handful of steamed baby asparagus

Dressing: Olive oil and apple cider Vinegar.

Dinner

Zucchini Soup with Pine Kernels

3 medium sized courgettes sliced

2-3 garlic cloves finely choppped

cayenne pepper

1 tsp of bouillon powder or you can use vegetable broth

A generous amount of olive oil

Pine kernels

saute’ the garlic with the courgettes, olive oil, cayenne pepper for 7 minutes with 1/4 water. Add 500ml of water and once cooked blend with a hand blender. Serve and sprinkle with pine kernels.

I do online consultations so if you would like a bespoke nutritional plan please email me.

PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects many women world wide. My sister and I both have been diagnosed with the condition although I do not have any cysts on my ovaries, but I do have the symptoms. Apparently I have had it for a long time without realising it. Looking back I did have acne in my 20s and very irregular periods and at times a thinning scalp which I put down to over straightening my hair.  There is no cure for PCOS but you can manage it very well with diet and exercise. You just have to be more determined and disciplined because if untreated it can lead to  serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes. I have met many women who live normal healthy lives and have gone on to have babies. When I do not eat right my symptoms come back. When I am super healthy I feel great. So please do not feel that PCOS is a death sentence because it is not. With a healthy lifestyle you can go on to live a very happy and fulfilling life!

What is PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is when there is a hormonal imbalance in the body.  Small cysts grow on the ovaries. These cysts are benign and do not carry  health implications. They just cause hormonal imbalance and affect how a woman’s ovaries work. A women with PCOS will have high levels of male hormones known as androgens.

Symptoms of PCOS

Irregular periods

cysts on the ovaries

Abdominal pain

Acne

Weight gain

Excess facial and body hair

Fatigue

Depression

Anxiety

Hair loss

No ovulation

Aching joints

dizziness

Problems PCOS can cause

Infertility

miscarriages

Heart disease

Diabetes

Endometrial cancer

What can you do to prevent the above 

Eat healthy

Exercise regularly

Avoid smoking and excess alcohol

Foods to Avoid

Lower your intake or avoid red meat, pork, salami, all cured meats, all animal fats, all full fat dairy.

Avoid all fried foods. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing heart problems so very important to avoid all fats and fried foods.

Avoid all refined sugar as this disrupts hormones and places a strain on the liver. Avoid all sweets, cakes, croissants, pastries, white pasta, white bread, When shopping read food labels properly making sure there is no added sugar.

Avoid alcohol. If you really cannot then only have 1 glass of organic red wine with your meal.

Avoid drinking too much caffeine found in coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and chocolate.

Avoid over loading the liver with toxins like painkillers, headache tablets and fatty foods. Looking after your liver will help balance hormones.

Foods to include into your diet

As mentioned previously you should look after your liver by eating smaller meals. If you look through my posts you can find a post I did on the liver and a liver detox diet. These would be helpful to look at.

You should eat everything baked, grilled or steamed. No fried  foods or foods cooked in heavy sauces.

Introduce complex carbs into your diet like brown rice, sweet potatoes, millet. Complex carbohydrates help to regulate blood sugar levels reducing insulin therefore avoiding weight gain. The size of complex carbs should be the size of your fist.

Include good quality protein into your diet like fish, eggs, organic chicken or turkey without the skin,  lentils, chickpeas, all beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds. Again protein intake per meal should be the size of your fist. Try not to eat too many animal protein. I tend to mix it up.

Include more vegetables into your diet. A good point to note is that half of your plate should always be vegetables, a quarter should be your complex carbs or protein. Good vegetables to include are the brassica family: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and watercress.

Include Omega 3 in your diet. Good sources are: flaxseeds, hemp seeds, wild salmon, sardines.

Try to eat organic as non organic fruit and vegetables tend to be sprayed more with pesticides. Meat should always be organic as non organic is injected with hormones and antibiotics. These are all things that contribute in causing a hormonal imbalance.

Useful advice

Avoid keeping food wrapped in cling film or stored in plastic containers. Never heat plastic in a microwave.

Get plenty of exercise. Join a gym or a class. You must exercise regularly to help with weight loss, cardiovascular health and  keeping you in a good mood.

Take a good multi vitamin for women. Biocare do a very good multi vitamin for women.

B complex formula by Biocare.

Take a high strength probiotic.

 

I hope the above information is useful. For a bespoke nutritional plan email me. I do online consultations.

 

 

 

Tips on Reading Food Labels

How many of you actually stop to read the labels on the food you purchase? With diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity on the rise it is so important to fuel the body with the correct nutrients, I am a strong advocate of cooking everything fresh from scratch so you know exactly what you have put in your meal. It is so important to look after your body from the inside so you feel well and full of energy. You would be surprised what consumers put into breads, sauces, tinned foods. cereals, snack bars and all processed foods. Even a seemingly healthy granola bar or protein bar can have hidden ingredients which are bad for your health. When you buy a ready made meal you really do not know what is inside. Remember the horse meat scandal?! Here below are a few tips to help you know what to look out for.

Salt 

Salt is added to everything to increase shelf life. Have you noticed when you bake something fresh yourself it goes off after a few days but some products from the supermarket can last for weeks. Salt is added to tinned foods, sauces, salad dressings, pretty much everything!  Too much sodium based salts are bad for you as they disrupt your potassium balance. A diet hight in sodium based salt can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, water retention and cellulite.  Personally myself I would not buy anything with added salt. I prefer to add himalayan pink salt, kelp or nori flakes to my cooking.

Sugar

Sugar is another culprit that just like salt is added to everything. It is important when reading food labels to watch out for all the different starches and sugars which come under the name of: dextrose, all syrups, honey, malt, fructose, cane sugar. You may be thinking you are buying a healthy cereal or oat bar and its full of sugar.  if a product has 12.5g of sugar per 100g it is too high. Sugar is a big poison for the body. It is incredibly addictive and can cause depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. it also causes blood sugar inbalance, giving you a spike of energy and then making you crash back down. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and do not exercise the sugar gets stored as fat. I buy nothing that has sugar in it. Even a simple healthy bar or a protein bar can have sugar. So always read the label. I prefer to make my own oat bars and protein bars so I know what sweetener I use and how much I put in.

Unhealthy fats

Watch out for hydrogenated fats which are very bad for you. These fats clog up your arteries leading to heart disease, strokes and cancer. You can find these in biscuits, cakes, margarine and in lots of ready made meals and processed foods. I would not buy anything that has any vegetable oil added to it. Again I would stress the importance of cooking everything fresh using extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to cook with.

Colourings, Flavourings and Preservatives

Watch out for all colourings, flavourings and preservatives. They all start with the letter E followed by 3 numbers e.g. E129 which is a colouring.  Other names to look out for in this category are: Monosodium glutamate (MSG), benzoic acid, sodium sulphite, sulphur dioxide, aspartame. saccharin etc. Basically any name you are not familiar with do not buy the product. All these have a negative impact on your health affecting your mood which can cause depression. Also children who suffer from  ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) should stay away from these products as it will make them even more restless and hyper.

Too many ingredients do not buy

If a product has an endless list of ingredients put it back on the shelf immediately. A healthy product will not have a long list of ingredients but a short one.

Hope the above helps you to make healthier food choices.

 

 

Food For The Brain

With all the recent  talk about dementia in the news lately due to the fact that life expectancy has increased meaning that there will be a higher percentage of people over the age of 70 suffering from dementia, I thought I would put together a small and simple post. Dementia affects the brain, affecting memory, especially short term memory. As dementia progresses the person will experience agitation, confusion, loss of logic and co – ordination, will forget names and not be able to recognise family members and friends which makes it so heart breaking and sad. There are different forms of dementia with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common.  What many people do not realise is that onset of disease does not happen over night.  It is a build up over a lifetime of  lifestyle and diet. How you live your life in your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. will have an impact on your health later on in life.

Initial Symptoms:

Absent –  mindedness

Trouble learning new things

mood swings

social and intellectual impairment

Later stages of the disease:

Loss of memory

Poor co-ordination

Not remembering who you are

Not remembering family and friends

Detachment from surroundings

Speech becomes impaired

Become bed bound

Some Contributing Factors

Genetics

Metal toxicity especially aluminium and mercury

Free radicals

Fatty deposits build up on blood vessel walls

Poor diet

Not enough blood supply to the brain

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol in the body

Trauma to the head ( accident, injury, sports like boxing)

Stroke ( this does not always lead to dementia)

Alcohol and drug abuse

Foods to avoid:

All processed foods

Refined sugar – white bread, white pasta, cakes, biscuits

All food stored and heated food in aluminium containers

Reduce saturated fats

Consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation

Foods to include:

The brain is made up of around 60% fats so EFAs – Essential fatty acids are very important for brain health. Most common sources:

Almonds

Brazil nuts

Walnuts

Flaxseed oil – you can put in salads or a tablespoon in some orange juice. Never heat flax seed oil. Only use cold.

Flax seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds

Avocado

Wheatgerm

Mackerel

Salmon

Sardines

A vital brain nutrient called Acetylcholine that is found in oats, cabbage and cauliflower.

Lecithin granules sprinkled on salads, porridge, smoothies and cereals

Useful advice

Good circulation is essential for brain function. You need good blood supply to the brain otherwise it will starve. This is why it is important to exercise regularly and keep fit. Find the exercise that works for you, even if all you do is just 30 minutes a day it is good. Ball room dancing is another fun way of exercising especially for older people.

Avoid storing and heating aluminium containers. Avoid all kitchen utensils and pans. Aluminium can also be found in certain deodorants, cosmetics, toothpaste and baking powder.

Keep your brain active by exercising it on a regular basis. It is not just your body that needs exercise. Crosswords and doing daily arithmetic exercises are great for the brain.

Useful books to read:

The Better Brain Book by David Perlmutter and Carol Colman.

The Alzheimer’s Preventation Plan by Patrick Holdford

Hope the above information is helpful. I am a qualified nutritional therapist and naturopath and I offer online consultations, so please feel free to email me should you require a bespoke nutritional plan.