Prevention is Better than Cure

Prevention is Better than Cure

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Cold and Flu Fighting this Winter

Boosting your immune system all year will reduce your risk of catching colds or worse the dreaded flu during the colder months. Flu season peaks in the months of January and February within the UK and can cause serious illness for the young, old and at-risk groups. If you fall into one of these categories it is recommended you receive the flu jag. However, we can take steps to help ourselves by leading a healthy lifestyle by eating a nutrient dense diet, getting plenty of exercise, ensuring adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low.

Here are some of my top tips to help you boost your immune system this winter.

Eat your veggies Keeping your body well-nourished helps with more than just weight control; it also supports your body with energy, digestion, immune function and disease prevention.  One of the most significant things you can do to start implementing an immune-boosting diet is to add fresh, whole foods when possible.  Start with vegetables because they’re one of the foods that are typically missing in most diets (or we just don’t get enough of them) there are so many benefits for your overall health and well-being by consuming at least 5 servings of vegetables each day. Green fruits and vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse and contain lots of the vitamins (including A, C, K and folate) and minerals (even calcium!) we need every day. This includes magnesium and iron, which are highly beneficial for fighting tiredness and energy slumps. Leafy greens like spinach are also a good source of vitamins A, C and K, for strengthening your immunity, supporting your eye health and even helping other vitamins to be absorbed well. An array of green vegetables to choose from include: kale, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, celery, broccoli, cucumber, artichokes, leafy greens (lettuce varieties, collards), peas, and green peppers just to name a few. It’s not just veggies that add more greens to your plate though – don’t forget about your fruits such as green apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, limes, avocado. Foods from the yellow/orange group are also packed with vitamin C, a natural immune booster. Try pumpkin, oranges, pepper, cantaloupe, mango, squash, sweet potato, papaya, pineapple, carrots and lemon. Stocking up on citrus fruits during the colder months or start the day with a half lemon squeezed in some water each day all year round to boost your immunity.

 

 

Eat enough protein Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones. Protein is found in both animal and plant foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy products, legumes, grains and some vegetables. Try to include protein at each meal to feel the benefits.

 

 

Good Fats Consuming sufficient amounts of fat in the right forms and proper proportions have been shown to offer significant health benefits.  Among other things, it can strengthen the immune system. Healthy fats are found in foods such as meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oily fish, like salmon. Purchase the highest quality you can if your budget allows.

Other good fat sources include olive oil, coconut oil and avocado (i.e. olive oil as part of salad dressing; coconut oil for cooking, baking and more; and avocado in smoothies or on your sandwich or salad). Remember you only need to eat a little of these to get all the benefits from fat.

 

 

Exercise reduces infections Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.

Reducing stress There is a growing amount of research on the effect of stress on our physical bodies. For example, feeling overly worried can trigger stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline/epinephrine. It can also activate the “fight or flight” part of our nervous systems (called the “sympathetic” nervous system). When these are activated, they can physically suppress our immune systems, and make us more susceptible to infections. Try including 10 minutes of yoga or meditation each day to help reduce stress levels.

Improve the quality of sleep Poor sleep can lower immunity. If you seem to get every cough and cold going, your sleep habits may be to blame. Researchers deliberately exposed people to the common cold virus to see how likely they were to go on to develop a cold. Participants who had been sleeping for less than 7 hours per night had lower immunity and were almost 3 times more likely to be impacted. Even a small sleep debt has been linked to lower immunity.

Wash your hands regularly wash your hands to ensure you are not spreading germs. Germs can live for up to 8 hours on any surface, so getting into the habit of washing your hands after your morning commute particularly if you travel by public transport, after using the bathroom and avoid touching your face as much as possible.

 

 If you are struggling to implement any of these changes to your diet and lifestyle, please book a free consultation call with me and see how I can support you.

Best wishes,

Christy x

It is the best decision I have made in years

It is the best decision I have made in years

Blog Inspiration Testimonial

“I have followed every diet under the sun and my weight has gone up and down for years. No matter which diet I was on I always wanted to reach my goal weight so that I could stop starving myself! As soon as I came off the diet the pounds piled on again. Now I have found a way of eating that I know I can sustain for the rest of my life. The food is delicious and I never feel hungry. My friends are all commenting on how well I look and how much weight I have lost. I can’t thank Christy enough for introducing me to this way of eating.
So if like me you are fed up being on the diet yo-yo then take the plunge and contact Lose It and Love It.

It is the best decision I have made in years.

Thank you Christy.”

MOIRA PARK

To read more client testimonials click here.

Understanding Fermented Foods

Understanding Fermented Foods

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Your Quick Guide to Choosing the Ones That Are Right for You

Fermented foods are unique. For many years, fermenting was considered just a way to preserve food. Now we know that fermenting allows beneficial bacteria and sometimes yeast strains to build up in the food, turning it into a powerhouse of nutrients that helps the gut and the rest of the body.

Research does exist for fermented foods, plus there is a lot of historical information as to how they have been used in the past.

Most fermented foods are made with an anaerobic process, meaning the good bacteria build up lactic acid bacteria and other acids without oxygen. This means that there are no moulds or bad bacteria present.

Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, and cultured vegetables are generally made with a salt brine, although homemade versions can be made from whey (strained from yoghurt) or a vegetable starter.

Milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha also use an anaerobic process but must be made with a “SCOBY” (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). This means that both beneficial strains of bacteria and yeast are present.

Sourdough bread is made with a “starter” using an aerobic process. Oxygen is needed for the development of the wild yeasts. Wine and beer are also made with an aerobic process.

Most fermented foods contain various types of lactic acid bacteria which means they produce lactic acid. Wine and vinegars like apple cider vinegar or real balsamic vinegar have strains that produce acetic acid. All are beneficial.

As for the benefits, three different studies have compared the microbiomes of rural Africans, Japanese, and South Americans consuming a traditional diet with plenty of fermented foods. Researchers found that those consuming the traditional diet had higher levels of beneficial lactobacillus and bifidus strains and lower levels of pathogenic strains such as clostridium than people living in western urban centres.

Individually, each fermented food has been studied and found to be helpful in a number of ways. Some of the benefits for each fermented food are highlighted below. Learning more about each should make it easier for you to choose the right ones. However, the best way to choose is to try them.

How Do You Use Fermented Foods?

  • Fermented foods can be consumed on their own as a snack or served with a meal to aid digestion of the meal.
  • Kefir, yoghurt, kombucha, and pureed sauerkraut or sauerkraut juice work well in salad dressings, replacing some of the vinegar because they are all acids too, just not as strong.
  • Sauerkraut, cultured vegetables, and kimchi can be added to soups. Add after the soup has been ladled into the bowl.
  • Yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and beet kvass can be added to smoothies.
  • A delicious beverage can be made by adding fresh juice to water kefir or kombucha.

Are the Benefits of Fermented Foods Lost When Cooked?

No. You will lose the enzymes,  beneficial bacteria, and yeast strains. However, the microorganisms produce beneficial metabolites during the fermentation process, and these remain available to provide health benefits for the body. Also, the food that is fermented is somewhat predigested, and the nutrients in the food have been made more bioavailable. These benefits remain in the food even if it has been cooked.

What Is the Best Serving Size?

Try to consume 75g for sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt, and kefir. For beverages such as water kefir and kombucha, 224 ml is a good amount. For beet kvass, 56–112 ml.

The Easiest Fermented Foods to Buy:

Many good-quality fermented foods are easy to find in the health food stores and many supermarkets. Real fermented foods, with the exception of wine, will be found in the refrigerated area. Those found on the shelf have been pasteurised and will no longer have the active bacteria. These are the ones you will most likely find:

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made by “sweating” the juice out of the cabbage with salt to create a brine. This is a simple process of rubbing cabbage with the salt. All the benefits of cabbage are present but in a more bioavailable form. Other vegetables or herbs can be used to add to the flavour and to increase nutrient diversity.

Sauerkraut has many benefits. It is antimicrobial and antifungal, and the juice can be used to preserve other foods. Phytonutrients found in cabbage, known as isothiocyanates, may have anticancer benefits and may be helpful with ulcers.

Sauerkraut aids digestion and helps digestion of other foods in the meal. It also contains prebiotics which helps feed our own good bacteria.

Kimchi

The benefits of kimchi come from several key foods as it is a combination of cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, daikon radish, and hot red pepper powder (capsaicin). It helps carbohydrate metabolism, and the capsaicin in the red pepper powder may boost the body’s metabolism. It also contains the same isothiocyanates as sauerkraut which may help stomach cancer.

Kimchi can help boost the immune system. It aids digestion of all the food in the meal, has antimicrobial properties, aids intestinal health, and helps prevent constipation. A study found that Bacillus Pumilus, a strain found in kimchi, helped detox carcinogens and estrogen-mimicker Bisphenol A (found in plastic).

Kombucha

Kombucha is unique as it is made with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), tea (with caffeine), and sugar. It aids digestion, helps stabilise blood sugar, and has antimicrobial properties. It may also help with cholesterol, and it offers beneficial antioxidant protection.

Research of kombucha focusses on the polyphenols found in black tea. They are more bioavailable in kombucha which can explain a lot of the health benefits.

 

Milk Kefir

Milk kefir originated from the Caucasus mountains in Russia. Despite attempts to duplicate them, only kefir grains can make traditional kefir. They are a symbiotic combination of 32 strains of good bacteria (both lactic acid and acetic acid strains) and yeast strains.

Kefir has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce histamine, the chemical released during an allergic reaction. It may aid those who are lactose intolerant. Kefir is well-researched and has been shown to have anticancer properties, help reduce inflammation and stabilise blood sugar. It also helps inhibit candida albicans. And like all fermented foods, it aids digestion.

Kefir works best when made with cow and goat milk as the lactose and GOS help feed the grains. It can be made with coconut milk,  but some type of carbohydrate such as date puree must be added to feed the grains.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt is one of the oldest fermented foods and is made from at least two to four strains of good bacteria. It is common to more cultures than any other types of fermented food except perhaps wine or cheese. Different cultures use different strains for making yoghurt. Cow, sheep, yak, goat milk – all have been traditionally used for yoghurt. In North America, yoghurt is typically made with the strains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

Commercial yoghurt may be fermented in as little as an hour with thickening agents such as gelatin or modified cornstarch being added. In order to break down enough lactose and have a significant amount of good bacteria, yoghurt must be fermented for at least four hours or longer. Speciality yoghurts like Mediterranean and Greek are also popular –  both involve the process of straining whey to make it thicker. Zero per cent Greek yoghurt is made with non-fat milk. Whole milk yoghurts have more nutrients than low-fat Greek.

Real yoghurt should only contain two ingredients: milk and bacterial culture.

Studies on yoghurt are inconsistent – mainly because they do not specify what type of yoghurt was studied. What is known is that it aids digestion and helps support immune function. It may also be helpful for ulcers.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough is made from a starter of flour and water that has been fermented by wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. A good starter or “sponge” can last for decades and be passed down from one generation to another. The fermentation process changes how the grain is used by the body.

It makes the nutrients in the grains such as zinc, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and phytonutrients more available to be absorbed into the body. The yeast actually produces the B vitamins (even in white bread). It also helps break down the gluten and starches making the bread more digestible. Many people who have digestive issues with wheat have no issues with sourdough bread made with wheat.

Research has shown that sourdough does not spike blood sugar and insulin release, even when made with white flour. One study found that consuming sourdough in one meal positively affected blood sugar for that meal and the next. (Breakfast may be the best time to consume it.)

Look for sourdough bread at local bakeries. Some supermarkets and health food stores are now selling sourdough bread. It may also be available online and sold frozen.

Wine and Beer

Is there a place for wine and beer in a healthy diet? Yes. Both are traditionally fermented foods. Both are low in alcohol (in comparison to hard liquor).

Beer

To be beneficial for gut health, beer must be unpasteurised. This ensures that the good bacteria and yeast are present. Many commercial beers are pasteurised so be careful when choosing. Beer contains B vitamins and silicon which blocks the uptake of aluminium and may help prevent Alzheimer’s. Beer also contains hops which are anti-inflammatory and may help with sleep.

Wine

The health benefits of red wine are well known: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-ageing,

anticancer, and may help prevent heart disease. This is due to the phytonutrients known as the polyphenols which also happen to be prebiotic and feed good bacteria in the gut.

Wine is traditionally served with a meal to aid digestion. Most studies are on red wine, but white wine has high phenolic values as well. As long as they are consumed in moderation, red and white wine can be part of a healthy diet.

Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar with mother (meaning it has the remnants of the apple in it) is a true fermented food. The same is true of an aged balsamic vinegar. There are other vinegars that are fermented, but these two are the easiest to find, have many health benefits, and are rich in nutrients. Even though we only consume a small amount, they are still worthwhile to add to our diet.

Don’t Forget About Cheese

All real cheese is made from a fermented process, but it’s the hard, aged cheeses like natural cheddar and parmesan that have the most benefits. The older the cheese, the more the lactose is broken down and the more enzymes and beneficial bacteria are present. Look for cheeses made from raw milk, preferably organic, as these are the very best. Milk has many properties that are good for the gut and consuming a fermented version makes it more digestible.

How Much Should You Consume?

A study looked at people who consumed at least three different types of fermented food and had at least five servings per week. The fermented foods were removed for two weeks, and the immune response was lowered. Yoghurt was added back first and while immune response improved, it did not return to previous levels until all the fermented foods were added back in. Quantity and diversity matter.

Easiest plan: Have a serving of one fermented food every day, and choose three different types to rotate throughout the week. For more tips on how you can improve your gut health check out my recent blog Better Gut Health & Well-Being

I created the Sugar Detox and Weight Loss plans to help provide my clients with the knowledge that allows them to understand how to support their bodies more effectively. Gut health is an ever-evolving topic. The research is coming so fast and furiously that it may seem impossible to keep up. My goal is to help you find the foods that work best for you.

Different cookie-cutter diets are being recommended, but the long-term results show that this doesn’t work. I focus on taking a more foundational approach allowing the body to correct itself. This requires patience and customisation.

For more details on my one to one coaching plans click here.

Best wishes,

Christy x

Better Gut Health & Well-Being

Better Gut Health & Well-Being

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Learning to support your gut and the beneficial bacteria that live there is the best thing you can do for your health.

The good news is that feeding the gut with foods can be fun. Good bacteria love so many delicious fruits, grains, legumes, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Beneficial fats found in butter, olive oil, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, avocado oil, and coconut oil provide nutrients that nourish the gut and, of course, protein is always needed to build a healthy home for the bacteria.

Maybe you react to certain foods. That is a sign you do not have the needed good bacteria to digest the food properly. Working on your gut health may help you to stop reacting. So, what do you have to lose? Feed your gut and feel the rewards.

In a perfect world, we would all have known more about the beneficial microbes in and on our body and how to look after them. We would know how to feed them, and we would be reaping the amazing health they help us achieve.

Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in, and many of us live with results of poor gut management and the symptoms that go with it – gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and inflammation.

This is a complex issue, and what we know is that poor gut health is being linked as a factor to every other health condition. No matter what health condition you may have, being nice to your gut microbes should be part of any plan for repair and recovery.

Refined and processed foods:  They do not feed the microbes properly so that they can thrive and protect us.

Antibiotics: They deplete both good and bad bacteria and for some reason, the bad recover faster from antibiotic use than the good.

Other Medications: Corticosteroids, birth control pills, aspirin, ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interfere with the mucus lining – the home of the good bacteria where they reproduce.

Stress: In today’s world, we run around like crazy with too many activities and responsibilities and it’s taking its toll. Amongst many other things, excess stress depletes good bacteria levels. In return, too much bad bacteria stimulates cortisol production, our main stress hormone.

Poor Sleeping Habits: Our gut bacteria sleep when we sleep, and just one night of no sleep can lower the quality and quantity of our gut microbes. Think about what it must mean when poor- quality sleep occurs night after night for many years.

Bad Digestive Habits: Chewing food properly is key to digesting good food properly. Forty-five per cent of the bacteria in the gut is seeded by the bacteria in the mouth. And to make sure the bacteria is primarily beneficial, we need to secrete lots of antimicrobial saliva to keep the bad bacteria levels low. Chewing stimulates saliva production and we need to chew more.

Exercise: Too little or too much doesn’t help us maintain our good bacteria levels. Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best option.

What you need to know:

There are two types of beneficial bacteria:

Residential bacteria are native to you, and this is what you need to build and maintain long-term health.

Transient bacteria are found in probiotic supplements and fermented foods – they help while they are there, but they’re just passing through.

Do you suffer from foods sensitivities or allergies?

Food sensitivities are not caused by the food. They are a digestive issue due to lack of enzymes and/or lack of good bacteria. We do not know what strains any one person is missing, but we do know that different strains help us digest different foods. For example, lactose intolerance is due to lack of the good bacteria that helps break down lactose. Improving the quantity and quality of the strains will improve the ability to digest all types of foods.

What is dysbiosis?

It’s the name given to the condition in the gut when there is no longer the right ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria. The gut should have 85 per cent beneficial microbes. Anything less than this can result in symptoms, and as the ratio gets further out of balance, more symptoms occur. Dysbiosis has been linked to all major health conditions.

It’s residential bacteria that need to be re-established. Probiotic supplements can help in the short term, but the permanent solution is finding the right balance of foods and lifestyle that the gut requires to function at it best on its own.

What do residential bacteria like to eat?

They like fibre like FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides), polyphenols, and resistant starch. Dairy products contain two types of food for bacteria – lactose and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) They also function best with lots of vitamins and minerals. So, load up on the fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

The key to a healthy gut is increasing the number and diversity of strains. Different foods feed different strains so variety is the key.

 Instructions: Take a look at the suggestions in each section. Pick the ones that are easiest for you to add to your daily life. Add one at a time if that is what works best for you. The goal is to add more suggestions as you go until you find the right combination for you. Look for your digestive, elimination and energy functions to improve. To view the above table click on this link 3 Best Steps To Better Gut Health and Well.

If you need further help and support please get in touch with me.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

 

6 Simple Tips For Adding  Healthy, Whole Foods

6 Simple Tips For Adding Healthy, Whole Foods

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The dietary changes you’re making should not feel restrictive, overwhelming or hard to live with.

Most Britains have grown up on processed foods. This may be a big change for you, so take it a step at a time. Pick 1 or 2 changes to make now, and once those are in place, pick 1 or 2 more.  This is the best way to make it part of a lifestyle change and something you can totally live with.  

Transitioning to a healthier way of eating may seem daunting so here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Eat vegetables at most meals. Think salads, side dishes, soups, or even adding veggies to your sandwich or wrap.
  2. When you are having a craving for something sweet, opt for a serving of fruit to satisfy your craving.
  3. When you eat meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free so you get the maximum nutrients possible without the harmful pesticides residue, antibiotics, hormones, etc.
  4. Fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Snacks like nuts, seeds, or fruit are good for ‘grab and go’.
  5. Never leave the house without food if you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours. Remember, eating healthy foods on a regular basis will help you avoid unhealthy choices. Make up some of your own trail mix (avoid ready-made trail mix as most of them have hydrogenated oils and other undesirable, processed ingredients) or bring a small cooler to keep in the car.
  6. Most importantly, don’t be too rigid. Making small changes over time will make a huge difference and it makes the changes easier to stick to.

If you need some help implementing these changes, please get in touch here.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight

How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight

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What you eat can affect many areas of your health from your mood to how well you sleep. Your body needs a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep you in great physical and mental condition so it’s important to nourish it with the right foods and drinks. Here’s how your food can affect your mood, sleep, concentration and even your chances of developing depression.

How Food Affects Your Mood

If your blood sugar fluctuates too much, it can leave you feeling tired and irritable. Ideally, you want to be eating foods that keep your blood sugar stable which includes complex carbs such as brown rice, oats and whole grains. Nuts and seeds are also great for this.

Some foods can have a direct effect on your mood too. Fatty fish is packed with omega 3 fatty acids that affect the production of neurotransmitters in your brain, especially serotonin and dopamine. Both of these have a really strong link with your mood and low levels are linked to mood disorders. Fatty fish isn’t the only food that gives you an omega 3 boost; flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts also count. For dopamine, make sure you’re getting plenty of poultry, fish, eggs and leafy greens in your diet.

Protein is another nutrient that can affect your mood. A lot of foods with protein contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help your body to produce more serotonin and dopamine. Chicken and turkey are good sources but if you’re a vegetarian, you can eat beans, lentils and quinoa to reap the benefits.

What you’re not eating can also be important. According to studies, not getting enough folate or B vitamins, in general, can make you more prone to depression and have a negative impact on your sleep and energy levels. Greens are a great source of folate so be sure to include plenty of leafy greens, broccoli and peas if you’re struggling with low mood.  Low selenium levels are also linked to fatigue, anxiety and even depression. Snack on walnuts or a handful of Brazil nuts to get your selenium levels up.

Depression may be linked to chemical imbalances in the brain but some nutrients are thought to make this more likely, especially if you’re deficient in them. For example, low levels of vitamin D are linked to a higher risk of depression and experts believe that getting enough vitamin D can be crucial for a healthy mind. Natural sunlight is the best option but you can also get vitamin D from your diet through fatty fish, eggs and liver. This is the better option when the sun isn’t out in colder climates.

How Food Affects Sleep

You might not realise it but what you eat can have a big impact on how well you sleep. Some foods are known to encourage sleep because of the nutrients they contain and anything containing magnesium is a good bet, according to studies. Need a magnesium boost? Go for leafy greens (especially spinach), almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and high-quality dark chocolate.

Another important nutrient is vitamin B6, which your body uses to make both melatonin and serotonin. If you’re not aware of melatonin and its role in the body, it’s known as the “sleep hormone”. This gives you an indication of how important it is for sleep! Our melatonin levels can be disrupted by “blue light” from screens and devices and as low levels of melatonin can make it hard to sleep well, it’s definitely something you want to be producing a decent amount of.

When it comes to melatonin, tryptophan helps here too (not just with mood!) as it helps your body to make more melatonin.  Chicken, turkey, milk, nuts and seeds all contain tryptophan and can help more melatonin be produced.

How Food Affects Concentration

If you find yourself struggling with concentration and focus, it’s time to look at your diet and whether you’re eating foods that are known to help.

A 2013 study found that people who were drinking 2 cups of cacao every day for a month were able to improve blood flow to their brains, which led to better results in memory tests. If you’d rather not drink a cup of cacao, a square of high-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cacao) can have a similar effect as long as there aren’t high sugars or other additives.

In a 2012 report, drinking blueberry juice daily for two months also led to better performance on memory and learning tests. This means that snacking on blueberries can be perfect if you need a focus boost!

And of course, there’s always water! Dehydration can cause tiredness and concentration problems, even if you’re only slightly dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water could be all you need to get more focused if dehydration is the problem.

Food wise, the omega 3 fatty acids in salmon can reduce cognitive decline and keep your brain sharp and focused. Another good reason to eat fatty fish a couple of times per week!

Now that you know how food impacts your mood, what did you notice you might need to add to your diet this week to counteract your nutritional imbalance?

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

Sugar, the dangerous ingredient in almost everything

Sugar, the dangerous ingredient in almost everything

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As a whole, we consume massive amounts of sugar in our diet each day even though it has been linked to a slew of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer just to name a few.

Sugar is a carb that is naturally found in many foods, including lactose (in milk) and fructose (in fruit). These aren’t necessarily the big problem for your health; it’s the processed and added sugars that pose the biggest dangers and it’s not as easy as you may think to avoid them.

Sugar is in so many foods – much more than you may realise. Soft drinks are the obvious culprits, with just one can of fizzy juice having as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar – but that’s not all you need to watch out for.

Low fat “diet” meals often contain plenty of sugar to make up for the lower fat content and to stop it tasting bland. Processed foods, in general, have added sugar, including tinned soups and ready-made sauces. You may not realise, but even bread can be a victim of sugar! This is why checking your food labels is key to ensure your diet isn’t falling victim to sugar.

What Does Sugar Do to Your Health?

Too much sugar essentially spikes your blood sugar levels and then leads to a big dip. You might get a sugar high in the short term but it’ll be followed by a crash that affects your mood and makes you crave more sugar. This vicious cycle is one of the main reasons why sugar is so heavily linked to obesity as it encourages you to keep eating more sugar.

The health problems associated with sugar can go far beyond this though. One of the main concerns is focused on high fructose corn syrup. Fructose in fruits isn’t all that bad and this can fool you into thinking that high fructose corn syrup can’t be that dangerous either.  In reality, it’s one of the worst types of sugar you can consume. It’s a major ingredient in a lot of foods these days as it’s cheap to produce, so it’s definitely one to watch out and stay away from as much as you can.

Why is it a problem?

Our ancestors didn’t eat fructose other than the amount that was naturally included in fruit and some vegetables. Your liver can metabolise fructose to a large extent but when it reaches the tipping point, it starts turning it into fat instead and this is where the health problems begin. In the modern world, a lot of us eat more fructose than the body can handle.

Eating too much fructose can make your liver inflamed and start building up fat. It also encourages uric acid to be produced, which raises your blood pressure and even lead to gout. More worryingly, it also affects blood lipids and cholesterol levels,  which can lead to cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.

Even fruit juice can contribute to this as it is high in fructose. According to studies, its fructose content can encourage the body to store abdominal fat, especially the type that surrounds organs.

You’re better off choosing whole fruits (rather than fruit juices) or juice your own fruits as the fructose in these is naturally occurring and in no way a danger to your health. You’ll also get more fibre from whole fruits and you’d have to eat an unrealistic amount for their fructose content to become a cause for concern.

TIP: Mix natural sugars with protein to balance your blood sugar levels and to stop the sugar being absorbed into your bloodstream as quickly. For example, team a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts or some yoghurt. This can also help to curb cravings too.

What to Look For

Sugar often won’t be included on the ingredients as sugar. Food manufacturing companies are getting crafty when it comes to labelling their products. Sugar can be labelled as a long list of other names and it can be hard to really understand what you’re eating. Anything ending in “ose” is an obvious giveaway, including glucose, sucrose (better known as table sugar), fructose and maltose.

Less obvious signs that something contains sugar are syrups such as rice syrup and corn syrup. And then there’s the big one – high fructose corn syrup.

“Sugar-free” foods generally contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame. Studies have suggested that these don’t do a lot to satisfy sugar cravings and may actually make you overeat. There are also concerns that they may pave the way for health problems.

If these type of ingredients are high up on the list, meaning they are in the first few ingredients listed, then you know that there’s a good amount of sugar hiding in the food!

Today, go through your pantry and check your labels. What has hidden sugar in it?

I provide one to one sugar detox and weight loss plans. If you are at a loss as to where to start, or you have tried everything then feel free to book a free telephone consultation with me and let’s discuss your situation in more detail and find out how I can help you. BOOK NOW!

Binge Eating vs Emotional Eating

Binge Eating vs Emotional Eating

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When does indulging in your favourite snack cross the line from comfort to concern?

The difference between emotional eating and binge eating lies mainly in how much food you consume. But, other key features may help you distinguish between the two and put an end to unhealthy snacking.

Emotional Eating

Stress manifests in different ways, but most of us can relate to the concept of emotional eating. Ever catch yourself wallowing in a container full of ice cream after a particularly stressful day? Emotional eating or stress eating is when you consume food not out of hunger, but out of anxiety, frustration, or sadness. For some, emotional eating is triggered by a particularly traumatic event but for others, it can just be a habitual reaction to financial or emotional turbulence.

But don’t worry- emotional eating is somewhat normal, and in some cases, better for your mental health depending on how you handle it.

In fact, emotional eating can be great for relieving stress with THE RIGHT FOODS, provided it doesn’t get too out of hand. Eating puts our body into a state of relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nerves. Indulging in and savouring the flavours of food feels good and can lift our moods instantly.

But when emotional eating no longer relieves but rather contributes to stress, it can get out of hand.

At a point, emotional eating gives way to self-loathing as we feel ashamed of our indulgence. We want to hide our “binging” episodes, but because of a lack of other emotional coping mechanisms, they spiral out of our control.

To prevent emotional eating from advancing to the next stage, we need to tackle the problem at its roots: stress, frustration, and other emotional ruts.

Take up meditation or yoga to simultaneously tackle stress and improve your self-discipline. Engage in a stress-free activity like painting or fishing and take plenty of time to distance yourself from whatever may be causing your stress – whether that is work, a stressful home environment, or relationship woes.

To make sure your stress eating never borders on binge eating, keep a food journal. Records of your day-to-day eating choices will help prevent you from putting on unwanted pounds and improve your overall mindfulness when it comes to consumption.

And finally, to manage your emotional eating in a far more healthier way, look for healthy alternatives to your favourite go-to snacks such as oven baked sweet potato fries instead of the regular deep fried kind or carrot sticks and hummus instead of crisps.

Binge Eating

Binge eating, unlike stress eating, is considered by nutritionists as a potentially severe eating disorder. Characterised by constant overconsumption, BED (Binge Eating Disorder) involves consuming huge quantities of food in a relatively short span of time. It’s not just your average bloated belly after a heavy dinner, but a constant overeating that leaves the body uncomfortable and unhealthy.

The transition from emotional eating to binge eating occurs when you lose your sense of control: you move from being conscious of your reason for eating and how much you eat, to eating without any control over intake. It often leads to guilty eating, which is worse for your mental health and stress levels as well. This leads to a vicious cycle: your stress turns into binge eating, and your binge eating fuels your stress.

What’s worse is that the guilt of binge eating (which usually occurs when alone) traps us in a “shame cage”- we don’t want to reach out to friends or family for fear of revealing ourselves.

But the BED is too serious of a condition to keep under wraps. Instead, it is vital to talk to someone if you are experiencing any one of its symptoms. Your attitude towards your body image, your history with other mental health complications, and eating habits, in general, could be contributing to BED.

Total recovery from binge eating is absolutely possible. It doesn’t need to take over your life. To start your healing process I encourage you to keep a food journal to track your habits to work out the emotional triggers that affect your binge eating and the thoughts and feelings you have while on a binge episode. This gives you amazing insights into the WHY of your situation so that you can easily manage the HOW of getting out of it.

Remember to remain body-positive. I am always here to talk if you need to. You can take advantage of my free consultation call if you feel you need some 1:1 guidance. It’s my way of giving back – I’ve been on the binge eating path and having someone to lean on is the only way forward.

Christy x

My Personal Journey to Health and Happiness

My Personal Journey to Health and Happiness

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I have made the decision to share my personal journey with you all. This wasn’t easy to write as I am a very private person but as a coach, I feel it is important to be able to relate to my client’s struggles and be able to offer support and encouragement from a place of personal experience. I see so many people struggle with their own health and weight loss issues for lots of different reasons. Healthy eating and managing your weight isn’t just about what we put in our mouths. It’s so much more than that.

After having my second child I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and generalised anxiety. I lived in a constant state of fear.  I can only describe it as living with that same sensation of that split second a car pulls out in front of you. You slam on your breaks, you get a fright, your heart is thumping, you can’t breathe and your legs are shaking. Depending on how big a fright you get this sensation of panic will pass. However, for me, I lived in this constant state of ‘fear’ day in and day out. I stopped leaving the house and was utterly terrified my kids and I would be killed in a tragic accident. We stopped going to the shops, I stopped walking with the buggy and we stayed in the house all day long. I lived like this for around 6 months before getting help.

Help for me came in the form of antidepressants, a particularly nasty kind because I was breastfeeding. After about three weeks the sense of impending doom lifted and I was able to function again. I went back to work a few months later and things were good. I was a bit of a zombie and gained a lot of weight which I couldn’t shift on my medication. Looking back now, I wish I knew then what I know now about the true powers of exercise and good nutrition.

When I was well and feeling better I weened myself off the antidepressants. My diet at this time was poor, highly processed and I consumed a LOT of sugar! I tried various diets and they worked for a few weeks but were unsustainable long term. I would lose some weight then put it back on, or I would reach my ‘goal weight’ then revert back to my old ways and pile it back on and feel like a failure. A common story for so many people. That diet treadmill is a horrible cycle to be stuck in.

Fast forward one year and I fell pregnant with my third child Charlie, he was a pleasant surprise, however, I was scared post-natal depression would rear its ugly head again. Fortunately, it didn’t. In fact, I felt amazing. I had three gorgeous boys and I felt really good. This came as a big relief to me, I was more sociable, outgoing and generally a much happier mummy. I believed my days of depression were behind me at last.

Five months later my world was turned upside down in a split second when I discovered my husband was having an affair with someone I viewed as a friend and had been since before I fell pregnant with Charlie.

My husband and I separated almost overnight and I found myself a new place to live. Due to the situation, I also made the decision to move my kids to a different school and nursery. (This all happened in a matter of weeks, 2 weeks to be exact!)  This was such a difficult time for me mentally, I was terrified of the thought of being a single mum, bringing up three wee boys all by myself. It wasn’t how I thought my life was going to turn out. Silly things would sadden me, like family holidays, how would I ever manage two weeks on my own in Spain with three kids, silly I know but I felt like my dreams of a family life had been taken away from me.

At first, I muddled on the adrenaline got me throw the first few weeks but as the dust settled I could feel myself slipping down ‘that’ horrible road again. I just couldn’t go through all that again, my kids needed me more than ever! They needed a fully functioning, happy, loving mum. They also needed me to support them through this sudden change to their family life. Everyone I confided in about my concerns for my children, told me how resilient kids are and to not worry about them too much. How right were they, thank goodness!

After several trips to the doctor, I was prescribed another course of antidepressants. I reluctantly accepted them as I felt it was my only option.  After arriving home from the doctor’s surgery clutching my prescription, I sat at my kitchen table staring at them, not wanting to take them but also not wanting to feel this bad either, I wanted the old me back.

I knew deep down this depression was caused by a situation in my life that I knew in time would get easier. I made the choice to researched how to help improve my depression and anxiety without medication. It became very clear quickly, that exercise was up there as one of the main ways to help improve mood and reduce anxiety.  Nutrition also played a massive roll in alleviating the symptoms of depression. So that was it I was hooked! I threw my anti-depressants to the back of the cupboard and decided to get myself through this with healthy eating and exercise and it worked, it worked fast. I am not saying anti-depressants are bad or should be avoided because they helped me in the past. This time I wanted to help myself in a way that I knew would benefit me long term. I would not recommend coming off medication without consulting your doctor first.

So my journey to a happy, healthy Christy began nearly 5 years ago. I started walking every day with the buggy, then running and I started training weights, lifting heavy weights made me feel strong, with no man around the house I needed to be strong physically as well as mentally. I cut sugar from my diet and cut out alcohol Monday to Friday. I started my journey by eating clean, cutting all processed food from my diet, including flour, sugar, bread, pasta and avoiding preservatives, colour additives and fat replaces. I felt amazing, strong and above all HAPPY. At a time where I could have easily gone in the other direction, I managed to help myself through self-care and love. I nourished my body with everything it deserved. I was so passionate about how wonderful I felt I wanted to support others through their own struggles and help them make positive changes to their diet and lifestyle. I knew I could do this because I had gone through the changes myself. I 100% do not view this type of eating as a diet but as a lifestyle approach to food.

Honestly, I can say I felt amazing almost instantly, more energy, alert, I was losing pounds every week, my hair and skin started to glow. It truly did change my life and relationship with food forever. I was so pleased with my results and keen to learn more I went onto to study Nutrition.

It was at this point I decided to create Lose It and Love It, I wanted to help others achieve what I had with my health goals. My mission was to help my clients feel fabulous by nourishing their bodies with wholesome foods. My approach to weight loss, nutrition, my one to one coaching and accountability helps clients make lasting changes to their diet and lifestyle. I feel so privileged to have helped so many women make the change.

Life throws so many curve balls and that’s what life is about, right? I hope my personal journey has shown you that things have not been smooth sailing for me and that I struggle sometimes but I always know that if I focus on a healthy balance of exercise and good food I will feel better again very quickly. If you are struggling just now my biggest piece of advice is to start taking good care of YOU.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

Getting Back on Plan

Getting Back on Plan

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WOW……NO MORE SNOW DAYS PLEASE!!!

Have you fell off the plan? I have big time BUT don’t fret, these things happen and lets be honest before the cabin fever set in it was fun, right? Don’t be hard on yourself or feel disappointed just get back to the plan. This is so important, the quicker you do that the quicker you will feel better.

So often, we set goals only to be quickly get distracted, thrown off track and find ourselves unmotivated again – and frustrated!

Before you even set your goals, it’s important to look at your priorities first.

Why? If you have a goal to get in shape and lose 20 pounds, but you haven’t made that possible by way of your other priorities, it’s not going to happen. Sometimes, a shift in priorities can be a huge eye opener.

As you pinpoint your goals, and revisit your priorities, decide on ONE healthy habit to focus on this for the week.

Some ideas include (pick ONE, or come up with your own).

1. Get at least 20 minutes of physical activity each day
2. Replace at least one sweetened drink with water
3. Prepare more meals at home
4. Add more veggies to at least one meal each day
5. Slow down when you eat, and chew your food more
6. Get enough sleep
7. Bring a healthy snack or meal with you when you leave the house.

These are just some simple steps to get you back on track!

Healthy Eating on the Go

Healthy Eating on the Go

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How to fuel your body for better health and more energy even when you have a crazy busy schedule.

One of the biggest struggles that most people face today is a hectic schedule.

We are so busy that it makes eating healthy a real challenge. Quick and convenient foods end up taking the place of healthy, nourishing food when we are on the go, go, go all the time. These less-than-ideal food choices put us on the hamster wheel of experiencing low energy, weight gain, and potential health problems.

What if I told you it didn’t have to be this way? You don’t have to be a slave to your schedule and resort to fast food or processed foods on a regular basis.

It’s possible to eat healthy foods, even with a jam-packed schedule. It just requires a little bit of pre-planning to ensure success. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and your waistline will thank you too.

When you start fuelling your body with healthier choices, you’ll probably also find that you don’t have that 3 PM slump or need that afternoon caffeine boost.

I’ve included a list of healthy snack ideas to get you started, so keep reading.

Eating Healthy When You’re Not Home

There are plenty of circumstances that will take you away from home, and make it more challenging to eat healthy food. Take the time to plan ahead and you can relax knowing that you won’t be derailing your healthy living efforts by consuming empty calories that only make you hungry again a short time later.

Daily Activities

Most of us spend several hours in our vehicles every week running errands, stuck in traffic or shuttling kids back and forth between activities. If we don’t plan ahead, it is easy to fall into the trap of swinging through the closest drive through when you (or your family) are hungry.

Don’t wait until the point that you’re starving to make food choices, as this will almost always lead to bad decisions. Instead, plan ahead, so you don’t have to rely on your willpower alone to keep you on track. Pack easy to carry healthy snacks. This way you always have healthy choices right at your fingertips.

Long Car Journeys

Just because you’re on holiday or travelling, doesn’t mean you should take a total hiatus from your health goals. You can still live a healthy lifestyle on road trips by packing healthy foods to eat in the car. You can pack a cooler to keep handy so you have easy access to snacks while on the road. If you’re planning on stopping at rest areas along the way, pack a nutritious picnic lunch to eat before you head back out on the next leg of your trip.

Airports

Even though you can’t pack liquids in your carry-on bag, there are still plenty of options for what you can bring. You can pack wrapped whole food snack bars, nuts, seeds or even pieces of fruit in your hand luggage. With a little creative planning, you can keep your nutrition on track, and save yourself a bundle of money you would have otherwise spent on pricey (and often unhealthy) airport food and snacks.

Foods That Are Easy to Pack

The following items are all easy to prepare, and convenient to take on the go. Feel free to experiment, and find out which snacks best fit your preference and lifestyle. Mix and match options to see what works for you. Be sure to keep any perishable foods in a cooler or use an ice pack.

Easy transportable snack ideas:

  • Sliced or whole apples with peanut butter
  • Carrot and cucumber sticks with houmous
  • Clementine or mandarin oranges
  • Grapes
  • Sliced or whole pears
  • Smoothie (if you plan to drink it within 30 mins or so)
  • Nuts and raisins (you can make your own trail mix)
  • Pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds
  • Low sugar protein bar
  • Sandwiches or wraps (whole meal)
  • Cheese
  • High quality beef jerky
  • Cut-up pieces of chicken
  • Hard boiled eggs

 

Make Midweek Meals Easy

Just because you have had a busy day doesn’t mean you have to resort to fast food or processed foods for dinner. With a little forethought, you can make sure your family has healthy meals ready to go when you walk in the door.

 There are thousands of healthy one pot meal ideas available for free. Do a quick search and see what recipes may interest you and your family. If you prep everything the night before, or even earlier in the morning, you can come home to a delicious home-cooked meal that is ready to serve.

TIME SAVER TIP: Batch cook and plan for leftovers. When you do have time to cook, simply double the recipe and set the extras aside to use later in the week on a particularly busy day. It takes very little extra effort to double the recipe, and you will reap the benefits of time savings later in the week.

cream cod-min

Make Healthy Eating Strategies Work for You

Even with a busy schedule, you can still make sure that you are eating healthy, nutritious meals. By putting in a little bit planning, you can ensure that you and your family enjoy healthy foods that support your lifestyle and your goals.

You can do this!

Let me know if you need my help.

4 Simple Steps to Regain Control of Your Diet

4 Simple Steps to Regain Control of Your Diet

Blog From the Author

It is that time of year again, the holidays are a distant memory, the kids are all back at school and dare I say it Christmas is fast approaching!! Yes, I did just mention the C word. As wonderful as the summer months are, it becomes more challenging to stay focused on your diet and exercise regime. We all naturally thrive with good routines and habits. I know I am far more efficient when I’m busy and have some proper structure in my day, as the saying goes “If you want something done ask a busy person”

I try very hard to live a healthy balanced lifestyle. I eat well and exercise daily. However, if I am perfectly honest the holidays have taken their toll on me. I enjoyed a few extra glasses of wine, my food choices were not always perfect and fitting in plenty of exercise was tricky. I knew this was not a long-term issue for me and as soon as I felt ready to get back into my routine I would bounce back quickly because for me I much prefer how I feel on the inside when I’m in control of my diet and lifestyle.

Regaining control for me is not about jumping on the new latest food fad, chugging down carrot juice, meal replacements and food supplements in the hope I drop a dress size in three days, because lets be honest we have all been there and know it doesn’t work! It doesn’t have to be so drastic……

Diet

I want to share 4 steps with you on how I get focused in the hope it inspires you to regain control and start to feel more energised, motivated and generally healthier while dropping a few pounds along the way.

BE REALISTIC

Don’t set yourself unrealistic weight loss goals. Be honest with yourself based on previous weight loss attempts. Set yourself short, medium and long-term goals. These goals don’t need to be focused purely on the dream number on the dreaded scales. For example, your short-term goal could simply be to eat a healthy breakfast every day, medium goal, to drop a dress size in 6 weeks and long-term goal to run your first 10k in 12 weeks. Research shows that those who write down their goals in a meaningful way increase their chances of achieving them by 30%, this can increase your success ratio by 60%.

 So, get planning and smash those goals!

GO BACK TO BASICS

We have all been there, it is Monday and we have started our ‘diet’ once again! This process normally starts with massively reducing calories, fat intake and signing up to every exercise class possible only to crash and burn within a week. This is due to complete exhaustion, boredom at lack of food choices which ultimately zaps your motivation and makes you give up altogether. Going full throttle like this is so common and is one of the reasons many people have such negative feelings associated with healthy eating and being active because they have failed time and time again.

I recommend rather than making massive changes and going full steam ahead, you make simple easy achievable changes that will make a big impact with minimal effort.

  • Drink 2 litres of water a day Hydrate to Lose Weight
  • Load your plate with greens
  • Consume good lean sources of protein at every meal
  • Exercise daily
  • Swap the afternoon biscuit for a piece of fruit
  • Get some early nights

Diet

DON’T OVER RESTRICT

The biggest reason we all fail or give up is we restrict ourselves too much. I’m not saying its ok to carry on eating whatever you like, whenever you like. It is all about balance, 80% good 20% naughty! This can be spread out over the week or saved up for a cheeky curry on a Saturday night, whatever floats your boat. My 20% is a big juicy pizza and a bottle of red!

Too many people in society are tipping the scale in the opposite direction. If you give yourself that treat, own it, enjoy it and commit to making your next food choice as healthy as possible. Don’t let one treat derail your entire weight loss plan, it does not have to be like that. Research shows that banning your favourite treat can cause guilt eating which leads to binging and ultimately more weight gain in the long run. Enjoyment around your food and food choices is essential to lasting weight loss. This strategy is scientifically known as “flexible control.”

Life is too short to never eat cake again!

Lastly – DESTRESS AND MAKE TIME FOR YOU

We all have responsibilities and in this day and age we just don’t stop. We often put our own health and wellbeing at the bottom of our massive to do list, if it even makes an appearance on the it’s at all. Stress is associated with higher cortisol levels, suppressed immune function, decreased sleep, increased consumption of comfort foods, high blood pressure, higher BMI all of these are a massive risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important when undertaking any changes in our diet and lifestyle to look at all associated factors. Managing stress levels and reducing triggers to ‘self-medicate’ by using foods as a pacifier. Here are some simple tips to reduce stress.

  •  Undertake some moderate exercise for example go for a brisk walk, do some yoga or take up palates.
  • Try undertaking some kind of resistance training which will help burn fat and any fatty acids that are released during times of stress. Increasing the levels of serotonin will also help improve mood and help you relax.
  • Sleep is so important you must aim for a minimum of 8 hours per night, a good night’s sleep reduces cortisol levels, boosts the growth hormone which helps burn fat. If that’s not a reason to hit the sack early every night I don’t know what is.!!
  • Keep a diary of your emotions, this will help you establish triggers that may result in over eating. Writing down your emotions also helps you release negative feelings while distracting you from your temptations. Getting a good understanding of your behaviours and triggers associated with emotional eating will help you gain some self-control.

As you can see from the above it isn’t just as simple as watching what you eat to lose weight, there are many other factors that come into play. The next time you start a diet remember the steps I have suggested and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Diet

You can’t out train a bad diet

You can’t out train a bad diet

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When we think about fat loss we think about diet and exercise.  But just how much does your diet and exercise influence your weight loss?

You might be surprised to hear that nutrition accounts for 80% of the fat loss the other 20% is from exercise.

If you are that person who pounds the treadmill day in and day out and you are not seeing the pounds shift, it is most probably down to nutrition. Weight loss is not magic; it isn’t something that just happens. It is a science, calories in verses calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight if you consume less you will lose weight. So why are so many people getting it wrong?

Firstly the biggest mistake people can make is not being aware of  what they are consuming every day, underestimating the calories in foods, through lack of knowledge, portion size and denial.

Clients who keep a food diary are 50% more likely to lose weight than those who don’t. Food diaries can be a fantastic insight into your calorie intake, portion size, day to day habits; good and bad, macronutrient intake, emotional triggers and lots more.

To lose one pound a week you need to burn on average 500kcal per day. This amount of calories burnt through exercise can be difficult to achieve for most people. However cutting our diet by 500 calories a day is much easier, especially with the right knowledge and advice. You can create this kind of deficit by food swapping and cutting back on high sugar foods containing lots of empty calories, by doing this you will not feel deprived or hungry,  in fact you will feel all the benefits of properly nourishing your body.

Exercise is an integral part of our overall health and wellbeing. There are so many benefits of exercise, including reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lowers blood pressure, reduces cancer risk, strengthens muscles, improves mood, helps reduce body fat to name but a few. I recommend to all my clients’ that they undertake a min of 30 minutes of exercise every day. Incorporate this with the perfect nutrition plan and support and you will see the pounds melt away. We are all given a calorie allowance each day, spend them wisely.

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Beetroot

The Benefits of Beetroot

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Is beetroot part of your balanced diet? If not, it should be!

Beetroot is one of those foods that has come to the forefront of nutrition in recent years, and for a good reason, beetroot can lower blood pressure, has cancer fighting properties, is packed full of anti-oxidants  and has been hailed the new sports supper juice!

beet 1               beet 6               beet 4              beet 3

Beetroot Nutrition

Beet bulbs are not much bigger than a small onion, they have a stock of leafy greens attached, and theses leafy greens are crammed full of calcium, vitamins A + C and iron. The beetroot bulb itself is packed full of folic acid, fibre and potassium, thus making this vegetable ideal for improving bowel functions and lowering the bodies cholesterol levels.

Beet the Hypertension

A lesser known health benefit of fresh beetroot is its ability to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Beetroot is packed full  of Inorganic Nitrate, when we consume beetroot the Inorganic Nitrate converts into Nitric Oxide, this process dilates and relaxes blood vessels.

One glass of fresh beetroot juice per day could significantly reduce the effects of hypersensitivity reducing your blood pressure in a natural way.

Beetroot and Athletic Performance

Beetroot is very popular with athletes, with its ability to increase the size of your blood vessels thus leading to and increased flow of oxygen.

It is recommended to drink 300ml to 500ml of beetroot juice 2-3 hours prior to a sporting activity, to help performance by up to 2-3%.

Cancer Fighting Properties

Beetroot contains a compound called Betacyanin this aids cell respiration and reduces the growth of cancer cells within the body.

How to Consume Beetroot

You can grate beetroot into a salad, steam chopped beetroot and serve on the side of any meal, avoid over cooking as this may damage the vital nutrients. Fresh beetroot with its stalks removed will last up to 4 days in the fridge, make sure when you purchase your beets, they have the greens attached, and they are firm, smooth and red/purple in colour.

To increase your consumption of beetroot juice I would recommend juicing the beetroot. Three to four bulbs will give you 300-500ml of fresh juice. Sip this through a straw to avoid the temporary red staining of your beautiful white teeth! You can add celery, carrot, lemon or lime to your juice to enhance the flavour.

The Negative Side Effects

With all those positive side effects of consuming beetroot, it’s hard to believe there would be any negatives, however if you consume a lot of beetroot juice, you may notice a pink red tinge to your urine and stools, this is completely harmless however can be alarming if you aren’t aware that this is due to the betalain pigment.

If you suffer from low blood pressure, high levels of beetroot juice are not recommended due to the blood pressure lowering affects; this may make your condition worse.

As always please consult your GP before making changes to your diet.