Tag Archives: Health

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 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.


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.


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 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  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.



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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


Steamed asparagus with olive oil and lemon.

Day 3


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.


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.


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.

Tips to Beat Depression

Anxiety and depression are very common in the Uk. There are many different levels of depression and since we are all different the signs are not always so obvious. It is sometimes difficult to realise the extent of a person’s depression. There is a huge difference between feeling a little down after a bad day and full blown depression. Women tend to be affected more by depression. Depression can be a severe mental illness that if untreated can become very destructive, destroying a persons life and the lives of those around them.

Causes for depression

Loss of loved one

Poor nutrition

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Nutrient deficiencies

Blood sugar imbalance


Symptoms of depression

Constant feeling of being sad

feeling incompetent, inadequate and worthless

constantly thinking about suicide

difficulty concentrating

Loss of interest in everything

frequent crying spells

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Neurotransmitters are responsible for mood function:

Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well being, your mood and sleep.

Adrenalin, Noradrenalin and Dopamine are responsible for alertness and motivation.

Melatonin is responsible for the sleep, wake cycle.

Histamine is responsible for motivation and metabolism.

GABA is responsible for anti-anxiety and relaxation.

Acetylcholine is responsible for memory and learning.

If your neurotransmitters are out of balance this will alter your brain chemistry affecting your mood and behaviour causing anxiety, stress and depression. Contributing factors include: recreational drugs, sugar and stimulants like coffee and alcohol, lack of sleep and stress.

Foods to avoid

Avoid all ready made meals. Cook everything fresh so you know exactly what ingredients go into your cooking. Avoid all refined sugar like cakes, pastries, biscuits, white pasta, bread and rice. Avoid all fizzy drinks and foods that contain colourings and flavourings as these can alter mood. Alcohol is a depressant therefore drink in moderation or avoid altogether if you have feelings of depression. Avoid drinking too much coffee and all caffeine drinks.

Friendly foods to include in your diet

Since the brain is made up of mainly fat it needs healthy fats to function so include foods that are rich in Essential Fatty acids: almonds, selenium nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, avocado, wheatgerm, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, wild salmon, sardines and mackerel.

Include more fruits and vegetables into your diet as well as quinoa, brown rice, millet, gluten free oats. to increase your levels of serotonin eat foods that contain tryptophan, such as, chicken, bananas, turkey, tahini, avocados, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, walnuts.

Include super foods into your diet, such as, wheat grass, spirulina, barley grass, bee pollen. Drink green smoothies on a daily basis. Drink plenty of water to flush out all toxins.

A poor diet will result in malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies. Lack of the B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and magnesium can all lead to depression.

Blood sugar balance

Make sure to not to skip breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day. Eat healthy and try to include protein with every meal as protein makes you feel full for longer. Try to eat regularly. Do not skip meals. Have 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Try to eat every 4 hours.


Do not underestimate the healing power of nature. Studies show that people that live in colder climates are most likely to suffer from depression and be suicidal. Have you noticed how the warmer weather seems to put everyone in a good mood?! So take advantage and go outdoors. Go for a walk or jog in the park. If you are working in an office all day have regular breaks and go outside for some fresh air and sunlight.


Regular exercise is excellent for depression. Exercise release endorphins which act like a natural antidepressant. All you need to do is 30 minutes a day to see the benefits. Try to walk to work. I would also recommend yoga as it relaxes the mind.

Other helpful hints

Watch comedy shows and funny movies that make you laugh. There is nothing like laughter to make you feel better. Avoid movies that will provoke feelings of sadness.

Be sure to get plenty of quality sleep. This is so important to keep the brain functioning properly. Lack of sleep will make you tired, stressed, lower your immune system and cause depression.

I hope the above information is useful. If you suffer from severe depression you must seek help from your GP who will refer you to a counsellor. Do not be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with a good network of family and friends.

If you require more information or a bespoke nutritional plan please email me for an online consultation.

Quinoa Pizza

Being Italian there are certain foods I could never completely give up and  real pizza is one of them!  However I will only indulge in the occasional wheat pizza when I am in Italy once in a while. It always leaves me feeling bloated so I have decided to come up with a healthy alternative. I eat a lot of quinoa, I simply love it.  It is high in fibre and rich in protein so ideal for vegans and vegetarians. It is so versatile. You can use it in salads, burgers and pizzas. The good thing about quinoa apart from being incredibly healthy is that it leaves you feeling light and fulfilled.


For the crust:

2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 egg

1/4 white onion

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of olive oil

a handful of basil

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

1/4 thyme



For the topping:

tomato puree or sauce

a handful of goats cheese

a handful of rocket

a handful of black olives

a handful of artichokes

Place all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and blend till smooth. Put baking paper in your pizza tray and pour the mixture spreading it evenly and keeping it thin. This is important so the crust does not remain soft in the middle. You want a firm base. Place it in the oven at 190C. It will cook rather quickly so keep an eye on it. It should take about 20 minutes.

Once the pizza crust is ready remove it from the oven and place your chosen toppings. You can either pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or leave your toppings raw. I like to put mine back in the oven with the tomato sauce and goats cheese so the cheese melts and I then put the rest of the ingredients on top after. You can choose any topping you like. This not only is a healthier way to eat your pizza but it is also delicious! Enjoy!






The Health Benefits of Garlic

Maybe it is because I am Italian but I just love garlic especially raw garlic. I just put it everywhere. It is so good for you. Not everyone finds it easy to digest and most people worry about having garlic breath. The secret is to get  your partner and everyone around you to eat it that way no one can smell it. The health benefits are endless so if you do not enjoy eating it raw or cooked you can take it in supplement form.

Health benefits of garlic

It is good against athletes foot.
It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Protects the liver.
Lowers cholesterol.
Is a natural blood thinner.
Is good for the circulation.
It is good for yeast infections.
Strengthens the immune system.
Good for colds and flu.
Good for earaches.

Vitamins and minerals found in garlic

Vitamin C
Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12.

How to use garlic

Garlic is best used in cooking. In order to get all the health benefits it is best eaten raw. if you do not like it raw you can add it to your cooking towards the end so it still retains the goodness. You can also use garlic as a tincture or take it in a supplement form.

Precautions and side affects

Culinary quantities of garlic are safe but if you take it in larger doses you have to remember that it is a natural blood thinner and will interact with blood thinning medication like warfarin. If you are on any type of medication  please always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

As I always say, too much of any one thing no matter how healthy can be a bad thing. So please be sensible. Don’t go eating 10 garlic cloves all in one go.  All you need is to use 1-3 cloves in your cooking daily.

Food philosophy

I have written this post to try to help people become healthier. While for some of us eating healthy is a way of life, for many others it becomes a life long battle. I was lucky that I grew up with a mother who has always been incredibly healthy and she taught me the importance of cooking everything fresh. Ready made meals and a microwave were banned in our house and I will never forget when a friend microwaved me a cup of tea. I was utterly shocked! In the following paragraphs I will talk about why I do not believe in diets but do believe in food intolerance tests and the importance of having a healthy relationship with food.

The Importance of a balanced diet

It is so important to fuel your body with the correct nutrients if you want it to function properly. This is why a balanced diet composed of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are essential! I know so many women who are absolutely petrified of the word “carbs” but they shouldn’t be. First of all I am not talking  about your refined carbohydrates like sugar, white pasta, bread, pies, cakes and biscuits. I am talking about complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy and endurance. Proteins are important for muscle repair and healing, especially after exercising. Good sources include: tofu, lean organic meats, eggs, lentils, chickpeas and quinoa. When I say fats I do not mean bacon and sausages. I refer to healthy fats – omega 3 known as essential fatty acids which are vital for healthy brain function,  joints, tendons and cardiovascular health. Good sources include: wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, avocados, flax, chia, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, almonds.

When studying nutrition at college I was taught that half of your plate should always consist of either vegetables or a salad and that protein and complex carbs should be the size of your fist and no bigger. Your good fats should be just a quarter. This is the rule that I always follow and I find it works very well.

Foods that I would avoid like the plague are all ready made meals and fizzy drinks that have zero nutritional value. Try to cook everything fresh so you can see exactly what goes into your food. Use fresh herbs and spices which are very good for you and add flavour to your cooking. If you fancy something that is not healthy like a burger or fries cook them from scratch yourself. It will always be healthier than a ready made burger or those awful frozen fries that damage your health. I will always say to try to buy organic especially when it comes to meat, as it tends to be injected with hormones and antibiotics and it is so important to know what meat you are buying.

Acid – Alkaline Balance

It is so important to keep your body alkaline to protect you from the onset of disease. The ratio I follow is 70-30 which means 70% of the time I am super healthy. An over acidic body will cause your hair and skin to look dull, you may experience headaches, loss of memory, insomnia, joint pains, gout and  you can even go on to develop more serious diseases like cancer.  The best alkaline foods include: kale, watercress, parsley, celery, endive, cabbage, asparagus, papaya, melons, dried dates, lemons and limes.

Food Intolerance test

I advise all my clients to take a food intolerance test. You may be eating a food that is healthy but it may not be good for you and you are not aware of it. Signs and symptoms may include: bloating, headaches and migraines, joint pain, irritable bowl syndrome, fatigue, acne, eczema or itchy skin. Every Food can be both good or bad. We are all individual and no diet plan fits all. What is good for one person may not be good for another. A good  company that do food intolerance tests is: www.yorktest.com

Why I do not believe in diets

Not only do I not believe in diets but do not like the word ‘diet’ at all! All these fad diets just mess up your metabolism and create an unhealthy obsession and relationship with food which can often result in eating disorders. You should eat to be healthy and not skinny. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. You can be petite, tall, curvy. athletic and still be beautiful. It is so important to love and accept your body shape and be realistic. Beauty and youth fade but health remains for ever if we look after ourselves. And it is our health that will be the most important! We live in a society where young girls grow up wanting to look like celebrities or models they see in magazines. Reality is all those pictures are retouched.

I believe in eating healthy. I have three meals a day and 2 snacks. I have been the same weight for years. So many young girls think that by starving they will lose weight and I see them smoke and drink coffee all day. Well this is a recipe for disaster. By starving yourself you will only end up looking emaciated and old faster than you can blink. I don’t think women like Sofia Loren and Monica Bellucci starved themselves, do you? So always be sensible.

Why it is ok to have a treat

My motto has always been everything in moderation. Yes I am very healthy and I exercise daily because for me it’s a normal way of life and I totally enjoy it. I feel great. Does this mean I never enjoy a treat? I do not have a sweet tooth so rarely eat many cakes but being Italian I can never quite give up home made pasta, pizza, pecorino and parmesan cheese. I am dairy intolerant so rarely have cheese but when I am in Italy I will occasionally indulge in a delicious home made lasagna or pizza without feeling guilty because I know that 70-80% of the time I am super healthy. Treats once in  while are ok as long as you are not living off of your treats. Be sensible, if you fancy a biscuit have one not the whole pack.

How do I start being more healthy?

For some people like myself eating healthy is normal. For others it can be  a real struggle. For those kind of people I will never say go and have a glass of wheatgrass as it will probably put them off being healthy for life. I always study my clients and offer a realistic diet plan based on the individual in front of me. Here below are some simple guide lines I normally offer clients that are not too health prone:

Do not eliminate coffee completely but slowly cut down till you drink no more than 2 cups a day.

Limit alcohol consumption especially if you enjoy your alcohol too much. Again do it slowly. Simply cut back. Ideal would be 1 glass of organic red wine with your meal but we have to be realistic. if you are drinking 2 bottles a day cut it down to 1.

Avoid fizzy drinks at all costs. They remove calcium from the bones and can lead to diabetes.

Avoid all ready made meals. Cook everything fresh yourself even if you are cooking something unhealthy, it will always be better than a ready made meal full of artificial colours and flavourings.

Try to include more fruit and vegetables slowly into your diet. Find the fruits and vegetables you like. Even if the only fruit is an apple a day it is a good start.

No cooking food in the microwave.

Always have  good quality protein with your meal as this will help to regulate blood sugar levels.

Try to eat fresh and whole foods.

Avoid deep fried foods. Sautee your food instead.

Try to eat more oven baked or steamed foods.

My pantry staples

Fruit and vegetables

Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil

Almond milk and almond butter

Raw cacao powder



Buckwheat, spelt and millet pasta

Brown rice

Chia and flax seeds

Italian herbs

Spirulina, wheatgrass, baobab and maca powder

Books I recommend

There are so many excellent books out there. Here I have included some of my favourites:

Fats that heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus.

The china Study by Colin Campbell.

The Nature Doctor by Alfred Vogel.

Say No to Cancer by Patrick Holford.

I hope all this has helped. Remember that life is short and food is one of the many pleasures it offers so it is to be enjoyed!

Health benefits of parsley

I thought I would write a very simple short post on the health benefits of parsley.  Parsley is a wonderful herb that I use on a daily basis. I usually sprinkle it on salads, vegetables or simply put a little into my green smoothie/juice every morning. Parsley is packed full of vitamins and minerals and is a very powerful detoxifier.

Health benefits of parsley

Detoxifies the body from toxicity.
Good for urinary tract infections.
Good against tumors especially lung cancer.
Protects against carcinogens.
Freshens breath.
Fights free radical damage.
Antibacterial and anti fungal.
Acts as a diuretic.
Reduces blood sugar levels especially in diabetics.
It is good for gum disease and teeth as it acts as an antiseptic.

Vitamins and minerals found in parsley

Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin K
Potassium and folates

How to use parsley

You can use parsley sprinkled on salads, soups, vegetables, sauces, smoothies and juices.

Precautions and side effects

Do not consume large amounts of parsley if you are pregnant. Just use small amounts in cooking as large amounts could trigger abortion.

Do not take parsley if you are on blood thinning medication like warfarin.

Parsley is a natural diuretic so be careful not to consume large amounts of parsley if you are taking water pills.  Losing too much water from the body can make you feell ill and will lower your blood pressure.

Now do not go out and buy tons of parsley. Everything in moderation. Too much of any one thing no matter how healthy is never good. All you need to do is just sprinkle some in your cooking and add a small amount to your smoothie if you like. Hope you found the information helpful.