Category Archives: Health

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Beginner’s Guide to being Healthy

January was all about new year resolutions but how many have actually been able to stick to their resolutions? Most people believe that once the new year kicks in they have to become super healthy and fit. The first week they will throw away all the foods in their kitchen cupboards, go on a 7 day juice fast and kill themselves at the gym. No wonder this leads to numerous individuals going back to old habits after just one week! It is not about being perfect it is about making small realistic changes that will lead to a better, healthier lifestyle.

Ask yourselves the following questions:

Why do I want to become healthier?

Can I cope with change?

Do I have an addictive personality?

Do I want to change for me or for others?

You have to be really honest with yourself and keep your plan simple and realistic. If you have an addictive personality you will always be drawn to the things that are bad for you, thus making it more challenging. As mentioned before it is not about being perfect. Even if all you do is one small change towards becoming healthier that is ok. It is best to start slowly so you stay committed for longer.  A drastic change can lead to binging on the wrong foods which is not what we want. It is important that any change happens because you want it and not because society or someone else wants it! For some people being healthy is easy but for others it can be a life long struggle. Why is it important to become healthier? Because you want to remain active and disease free for the rest of your life! This does not mean that you should never ever have a treat. I eat everything in moderation but 80% of the time I am super healthy and I work out 6 days a week. This way if I do have a treat from time to time I do not feel guilty at all.

Be realistic and make small changes at a time

Don’t feel that you suddenly have to throw all your coffee, pasta, sweets and every food in the kitchen away and just live on green juice. This will only lead to you craving certain foods even more. You have to sit down and seriously  analise your diet and lifestyle. Ask the following questions:

How much alcohol am I consuming per day, per week?

How many coffees do I drink during the day?

Am I addicted to sugary foods?

How many cigarettes do I smoke?

Am I exercising enough?

Am I drinking enough water?

What foods do I crave the most?

Only you can answer these questions honestly. If a person’s diet is extremely unhealthy I do not advise any drastic action where an individual suddenly goes on a cleansing detox diet. You need to prepare the body otherwise it will be a shock to the system resulting in being ill and having cravings which will lead to binge eating. I suggest you cut down on the alcohol and coffee slowly. Do not eliminate it completely. If you are drinking 4 cups a day cut it down to 3 a day and eventually 1 a day. If this is the only change you make in a week that is ok. Eventually you can experiment with coffee substitutes  like dandelion coffee. When you are ready do the same with alcohol. Alcohol has a devastating effect on the liver. A healthier liver will give you more energy and regulate your metabolism. Do the same with smoking until you eventually quit.  Make sure you are well hydrated and start drinking more water. Stay away from all fizzy sugary drinks. Include more herbal teas in your diet. Start with little changes at a time. Don’t feel you have to give up your favourite foods for life. You don’t. Moderation is key. Exercise is also important for circulation and your lymphatic system. If you are new to exercise you can have a read of my previous post: A beginner’s guide to exercise. Again start slowly. Start with a brisk 30 minute walk. It is better to do something healthy everyday no matter how little rather than try to make unrealistic changes where you end up throwing in the towel after a week.

Make breakfast the most important meal of the day

A coffee with a danish pastry or a croissant is not a healthy breakfast. It will taste good but do no wonders for your health. You want to remain alert, active and sharp during your day, especially if you are going to work. Sugary foods will give you a momentary burst of energy and then suddenly make you feel sleepy and tired. It is ok to have a sweet treat once in a while but try foods like porridge, eggs or a smoothie in the mornings. Smoothies are very quick to prepare  and you can even take them to work with you. I have heard so many people say that they do not have time to prepare breakfast in the morning because they are in a hurry. Trust me when I say that investing a little time in your health will benefit you enormously in the long run. Our health is the most valuable thing we have in life.

Include more fresh whole foods into your diet

Try to cook everything fresh from scratch. If you fancy a burger or chips make them yourself. They will be much healthier than the ones you buy from the supermarkets. By cooking meals yourself you will see exactly what goes into your food, how much salt you use. Include garlic, ginger and turmeric in your cooking. Try to increase your vegetable intake. If this is the only change you make it is still good. Ideally, half of your plate should be vegetables or salad. Always make sure you wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly especially if not organic. Non organic produce has more pesticides. Wash with apple cider vinegar or bicarbonate of soda. This is very important to avoid toxins. Include more raw foods in your diet. This is easier to do in the summer as the weather is warmer. It is normal to crave warming foods in the winter but maybe a smoothie a day can help you have more raw foods.

Stay away from all processed ready made meals

Ready made meals in the supermarkets may be cheap but they are full of rubbish. They are full of salt, sugar, colourings and flavourings. I would definitely cut back and eventually eliminate them. As mentioned above cook everything fresh yourself.

Have protein with every meal

Protein with every meal is important  as it balances blood sugar levels. Remember that the protein should be the size of your palm and no bigger. It is important not to have too much animal protein. Try to mix it up with plant based protein. You can have eggs for breakfast, quinoa for lunch and some chickpeas for dinner. If you do go for animal protein make sure it is of good quality. If you decide to have meat please go organic. This is very important as non organic meat is injected with hormones and antibiotics.

I hope the above advice helps you towards your journey of health and fitness. If you would like more advice or a bespoke nutritional plan please email me.

Different Methods of Detoxification

As Detox January comes to a close I have put together a post about all the different ways you can detoxify the body. Detoxification is a great way of giving the digestive system a rest and ridding the body of accumulated toxins. I will be talking about fasting, juicing,  colon detoxification, skin brushing and more.

When embarking on any detox it is important to prepare at least 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. If you are new to any cleanse only do it for 1 day. Make sure you are drinking 2 litres of water a day when detoxing.

Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity

Chronic fatigue

Waking up constantly tired

Irritable bowl syndrome

Anything that appears on the skin like: acne, psoriasis and eczema is sign of liver toxicity

Foul smelling stools

Bad breath

Headaches

Cancer

Liver disease

Fasting

There are different fasts that can be done. I would recommend a fast one day a week or  a month. This is really a good way to give the digestive system a rest. Some people do a water fast but I would strongly recommend doing a fast based on fruit and vegetables. Different fasts include: liquid fasts which consist of fruit and vegetable drinks. Another fast is when you choose one fruit or vegetable per day and eat only that all day. Or a vegetable and fruit day. Many people when embarking on a fast go for liquid only.

Liquid fasts are quite hard to do and it is perfectly fine for people to have a piece of fruit. If you suffer from blood sugar imbalances then it is very important that you do not go hungry for long periods. This is very important!

If you are planning on embarking on a fast that will last longer than 2 days you should be supervised.

If you are on any type of medication you must speak to your doctor before embarking on a fast. When fasting no medication or supplements should be taken. However I do not encourage anyone to stop taking medication that has been prescribed by their doctor. An example is a diabetic that is insulin dependent. This applies to all fasts, even if it is just for one day. ALWAYS tell your doctor if you are about to fast.

Contraindications to fasting:

Pregnant, breast feeding

Diabetes (especially if insulin dependent)

Anyone taking prescription drugs

Anyone taking recreational drugs

People suffering from eating disorders

Children

People with severe liver or kidney disease

As mentioned before, always contact your doctor before embarking on a fast or any detox diet, especially if you are on medication.

Make sure that you are in a relaxed environment when doing a fast. You want to be relaxed. No intense exercise.

The results of fasting is clearer skin, an abundance of energy, memory and concentration improve, becoming less acidic and more alkaline and a stronger immune system.

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 and want to give their digestive system a rest. Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are often 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. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems.

Colon Detoxification

The best way for colon detoxification is colon hydrotherapy. it consists of water inserted via the rectum. This allows the whole colon to be washed. The benefits are: Softens, loosens and expels faecal matter, tones and exercises the colon.

The following conditions can be improved by colonic irrigation:

Diarrhoea

Constipation

Bloating

Chronic fatigue

Headaches

Diverticulitis

Liver congestion

Cellulite

It is important that you go to a qualified practitioner for your colonic irrigation. The first time you have one will feel strange, you will feel your abdomen expand and you will have the feeling you want to go to the toilet. It takes time to get used to but is very good at eliminating toxins.

Skin Brushing

Skin brushing is great for the lymphatic system, it stimulates the circulation. Skin brushing removes dead skin cells thus opening the pores so the skin can eliminate toxins. It is done by using a bristle brush starting from the lower legs brushing in circular motions working the way up towards the heart. This should be done before a shower or bath. Skin brushing should be done on a daily basis.

Saunas and Steam Baths

These are great for getting you to sweat out  the toxins from the skin. Saunas are  considered to be better and they make you sweat naturally. It allows the pores to open and sweat out all the toxins. To get the best benefit it is ideal to have a cold shower afterwards washing away the toxins. A lymphatic drainage massage after a sauna is the ideal to get the lymphatic system moving and increase blood circulation. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards to flush out all the toxins. There is a sauna called infra red which is far superior to normal saunas and is really good for a number of health issues like arthritis.

Contraindications are:

Low blood pressure

Pregnancy

Heart disease

Kidney disease

Exercise

Daily movement is an excellent way to eliminate toxins, improve the lymphatic system and circulation. If your lymphatic system is clogged up you are more likely to store toxins and have cellulite. Athletes do not have body fat or cellulite due to the enormous amount of exercise they do. Naturally we are not athletes and I do not expect any one to go and spend hours working out until they drop dead. Moderation is key. Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Enjoying what you do always makes it easier and fun. It can be running, swimming, yoga, dancing, tennis, football, pilates, gym etc.

I would like to mention that with everything moderation is key. Detoxification is good for eliminating toxins however, you have to build after a detox making the body stronger through a healthy lifestyle. Some people detox 24/7 and this is not healthy. Too much of anything whether it is healthy can be harmful. Another important point to note is that everyone is different, what suits one person may not suit another. Don’t feel that you have to go on a fast to be healthy. You do what suits you. Personally myself  I do not do any intense detox. Every Friday I make sure I eat no animal protein, I have very light meals. A smoothie in the morning followed by a salad in the summer or some steamed vegetables with chickpeas or other beans for lunch during winter, and another salad or vegetable soup in the evening. I keep my portions small. This is my ways of cleansing. Every so often if I feel I have over indulged I eat like this for 3 days.

I hope the above helps. If you would like a bespoke nutritional plan please email me.

 

 

 

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.