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Kick cravings into touch

Kick cravings into touch

Everyone gets cravings from time to time. Sometimes you kid yourself that it is your body telling you that you need to have something (and there is some truth in this – more on that later). Most of the time, however, it is habit. There are some simple steps you can take to manage cravings and avoid binges. Using a combination of these steps will be most effective and some techniques will work better than others for you, so it’s best to experiment.

“But I need it…’

Your body needs a steady flow of energy throughout the day. When you eat too many things that turn quickly into sugar (whether it’s sugar or starchy carbohydrates), this creates a blood sugar spike and the body produces insulin to take the excess sugar out of your blood, and it stores it as fat. Sometimes too much of this sugar is packed away, which leads to blood sugar levels becoming too low, resulting in tiredness, low mood, a drop in concentration – and cravings. The cravings are nearly always for sugary foods or starchy carbs; anything the body can quickly convert to sugar to get blood sugar levels up again. Eating continually in this way causes a blood sugar rollercoaster. Switching to a low GL (glycaemic load) diet based on whole foods like meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans and so on with vegetables and fruit, with smaller amounts of wholegrain starches like brown rice and wholemeal bread will help enormously. However, you also need to deal with your triggers and the emotional aspect of eating …

How to manage your cravings

1 Forget ‘willpower’

Willpower in itself is not enough. Instead, learn to be in control of your actions. The first, most simple step is to make sure you don’t get hungry, so eat regular meals.

2 Identify and write down your triggers

Are they emotional triggers? Food triggers? Habits? Triggers in certain places or situations? Identifying what your triggers are helps you take control of them and change the outcome. What is it that you need? What strategies can you put in place now to support yourself?

3 Get rid of your trigger foods

If you don’t have control of a food then it is controlling you. If it triggered a binge in the past, it will do so again. Get rid of it and don’t buy it – for you or your family. It’s OK to throw away food that is bad for you. A smoker wouldn’t keep packets of cigarettes around the house if they were trying to break the habit – why do that with trigger foods?

4 Plan what you are going to eat in advance

This is so important. Eventually, your healthy eating will become second nature, but you need to support yourself until your new habits are firmly in place.

5 Identify crave / binge thoughts

To take control, you need to be ready to respond to these with a more positive alternative. Here are some examples:

  • “I’m so stressed” – being miserable because I’m fatter won’t help.
  • “I had far too many biscuits, I may as well just keep going” – that’s in the past now, rescue the rest of the day.
  • “I’ve been really good. I deserve a reward” – being slim and in control is my best reward.
  • “I’ve got PMS. I need chocolate” – eating sugar will make me feel worse.
  • “One slice is not too bad” – but I know it’ll end up being 4 slices!

6 Choose to eat or not

“A biscuit would be nice but I choose not to have one right now”.

Don’t take orders from a packet of biscuits! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.

7 Develop short, key phrases to help you make new choices

The more you use a phrase, the more it becomes a part of what you now do, so develop phrases such as “Don’t start, don’t get the taste” or “I actually don’t want this” or “I am not hungry, so I will not eat for the moment”. Creating a mental picture can also help, e.g. visualising yourself slamming a cupboard door on the unhealthy foods you are now choosing to avoid. Practise this until it becomes second nature.

8 Use displacement activities

If you get a crave/ binge thought, do something else (paint your nails, go for a walk, clean out the fridge, put on some music, write a letter, for example). Simply giving yourself a few moments may relieve the pressure and stop the chain reaction. Find something that works for you, write these down to reinforce them and commit to doing them.

9 Accept your slips

Unless you are superhuman, there will be the odd time that you slip and have more than you should. Slim people over indulge too – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally. Remember, the occasional slice of cake or a portion that is too big is not going to make you put on a few pounds, but a huge binge will. Plus, binges on sugary or salty food will make you retain water – making you look and feel heavier than you really are. It’s just not worth it. If you have a slip you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”. Reaffirm your resolve to make a different choice next time.

10 Practise, practise, practise

…until your new found control feels completely normal, which it will! It takes at least 21 times of doing something to create a new habit. It feels weird at first and takes a lot of conscious effort. But eventually, your brain ‘gets it’ and you will do it without thinking!

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We learn nothing about nutrition…

…claim medical students

Nutrition education is woefully lacking at medical schools

This article highlights how little training doctors get about nutrition in medical school.  I was even told this when I was studying my Dietetics degree *ahem* many years ago!

This is especially alarming since so many chronic illnesses that doctors are having to treat these days are directly related to diet and lifestyle factors. And yet when something goes wrong with their health, many people still fall back on the idea that “the doctor should fix me”.

Well, maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking… and a new approach to health care. Doctors certainly need more training in this area – and to collaborate with nutrition professionals and dietitians. And people need to take a bit more personal responsibility for their own health.

My two pence for today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43504125

nutritioneducation

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Good health begins as a thought

The mind-body connection

Achieving long-term health and energy is a balancing act.   You have to look after your mind-body connection as much as you look after what you eat.

Quite simply, what you put into your mind may have as much of an impact as the food and supplements you feed your body.

Many studies have been conducted on the mind-body connection. What we know for sure is that a positive attitude works – when we remember to nurture it.

Wholesome food, avoiding sugar and toxins are obvious tools for great health but how should you deal with the consequences of negative thinking and stress?

Experts rate exercise, sufficient sleep, controlling negative thoughts and building a strong social support as some of the best ways to decrease stress and boost immunity – so paying attention to your feelings and needs is as vital as drinking enough water and avoiding junk food.

Winning ways to promote good mind-body health

EXERCISE

The release of endorphins during exercise promotes a sense of wellbeing, which has the added benefit of boosting your immune system.

During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do.

A recent study from a North Carolina university showed that people who exercised for five or more days weekly experienced 43% fewer days of upper respiratory infections.

Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels. This in turn puts less pressure on your immune system.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

According to an American Psychological Association study, stress is what keeps more than 40% of adults awake at night.

  • To aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night
  • avoid caffeine,
  • avoid digital screens, and
  • try to turn in at the same time each evening.

FOCUS ON SELF-CARE

Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness.

Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents.  If you battle with guilt when you take an hour off to read, go for a manicure or have a coffee with a friend, remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Simple, but effective.

MINDFULNESS

You cut in half the chances of catching a cold by meditating. A University of Wisconsin study showed that people who practised mindfulness – a type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – noted 13 fewer illnesses and took 51 fewer sick days. Researchers concluded that this reduced the physical effects of stress. Stress weakens the immune system.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.

Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice. This alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation.

Ongoing stress is also a contributing factor to many chronic diseases.  And it is seriously not helpful if you are trying to lose weight.

 

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”

– Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer.

 

PS If there is anything that has come up for you as a result of this post, please get in touch. I warmly invite you to book in for a free 30-minute call.  We can discuss to see if a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan might help. You can book yourself directly into my diary by clicking right here http://bit.ly/tnt-bookcall.

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To be or not to be…

Should I go vegetarian?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, it can’t have escaped your notice that being vegan, vegetarian or at least mostly meat free has been big news. Giving up meat in favour of veggie alternatives has also been huge in the recipe book business, and glamorous protagonists include (Deliciously) Ella Woodward and Madeline Shaw.

But could you take the plunge, and should you, even if you could?

Food for thought (pun intended):

People become vegan or vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religion, concerns about animal welfare, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Others follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can’t afford to eat much meat.

Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets. Plus a whole lotta media coverage.

A number of scientific studies have shown that going meat free has definite benefits (which I will cover in the next couple of days). However, a vegetarian diet isn’t necessarily healthy. A diet of sugary, fizzy drinks, pizza and cake can be technically vegetarian. For health, just like any other diet, it is important to focus on eating a rainbow of vegetables, balanced sources of protein (see tomorrow’s post!), smaller amounts of starchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, and healthy fats like those found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.

Plant-based sources of protein
  • Tofu, miso and tempeh
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa (say ‘keen-wa’)
  • Peas and beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds and seed butters, including flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and tahini
  • Leafy green veg
  • Novel proteins (those that have been manufactured from vegetable sources to resemble animal proteins in texture) like TVP (textured vegetable protein, derived from soy), seitan (wheat gluten) and Quorn mycoprotein (derived from a fungus). All are manufactured and processed and have same issues as all processed foods.

 

Enjoy the benefits without going veggie

You can get many of the health benefits of being vegetarian without going all the way. A Mediterranean diet, for example, features a greater emphasis on plant foods with more limited use of meat and associated with longer life and reduced risk of chronic illness.

If you don’t want to become a complete vegetarian, you can steer your diet in that direction with a few simple substitutions, such as plant-based sources of protein instead of meat a couple of times a week.

Although, strictly speaking, vegetarians do not eat any meat, poultry, fish or seafood at all, some people go part the way towards being vegetarian and call themselves vegetarian, so let’s get really clear on the distinctions…

  • Vegans eat no meat, poultry, fish, seafood or any products derived from animals, including honey, eggs and dairy products.
  • Vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood or any products derived from dead animals. Sub-groups of vegetarianism are:
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood but they do eat eggs and consume dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry, fish or seafood but they do eat dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry, fish or seafood and avoid dairy, but they do eat eggs.
  • Pesco-vegetarians (or pescatarians) are not vegetarians, because they eat fish and seafood (dead animals), they also usually eat eggs and dairy, but no meat or poultry .
Is going vegetarian healthier?    

Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more vitamins C and E, dietary fibre, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. As a result, they tend to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

However, we now know that eating saturated fat and cholesterol neither leads to heart disease nor an increase in cholesterol levels. The good results vegetarians and vegans have with heart health may simply be due to the fact that they have a much healthier diet than the average person on the Western diet, they are better informed about nutrition and particularly for vegans much junk is off the menu (as much of it contains dairy or egg). Vegetarians and vegans are also less likely to smoke or drink excessively, and are likely to take more exercise. These factors, too, are life preserving.

A huge number of studies point to eating more fruit and veg to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.  And, if you stop eating red meat (whether or not you become a vegetarian), you’ll eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer. It’s not clear whether avoiding all animal products reduces the risk further.

Vegetarianism & Nutrient Deficiencies

Some women worry they won’t get enough calcium to support bone health if they don’t eat dairy. Women would have to get their calcium from vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, spring greens, and kale. Tofu and sesame seed (incl. tahini) are great sources of calcium.

People who follow a vegetarian diet (and especially a vegan diet) may be at risk of getting insufficient vitamin D and vitamin K, both needed for bone health. Although green leafy vegetables contain some vitamin K, vegans may also need to rely on fortified foods, including some types of soy milk, rice milk, organic orange juice, and breakfast cereals. They may also want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

The biggest problem for vegans is a lack of vitamin B12 as there are zero plant sources for it. It has to be supplemented or come from fortified foods.

Diets that include no fish or eggs are low in EPA and DHA. Your body can convert ALA in plant foods to EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. Vegans can get DHA from algae supplements, which increase blood levels of DHA as well as EPA. Good ALA sources include flaxseed, walnuts, rapeseed oil, and soy.

Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is very much a personal choice, but one thing is clear, we would all benefit from increasing the amount of vegetables (and fruit) in our diets. They contain an array of life-enhancing plant chemicals, vitamins and minerals that help in the fight against disease; fill you up by activating the satiety hormone leptin;   make it easier to eliminate waste via the colon; and help mop up excess hormones in the body, making them essential in the detoxification process. How can you squeeze an extra portion into your diet today?

veggie

 

 

 

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I-B-S

IBS

As April is IBS Awareness month, let’s talk about it.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a problem I see so often in clinic. And it is problematic on many different levels. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may well have been suffering with it for years.  While a diagnosis can – at first– offer comfort in finally having a recognised problem, the satisfaction is short-lived because often that’s where all support ends. You’re left no further forward in actually fixing what the problem is. Or worse, they are told “it’s due to stress so learn to manage the stress” and then left to get on with it.

Stress

And yes, stress is an exacerbating factor for many people.  I see it as a “perfect storm” for many – one or more things has gone wrong with their digestive system and they may limp along for a while without many major symptoms – or at least nothing too disruptive to their lives.  And WHAM! A stressful event occurs and suddenly their IBS becomes a very debilitating condition causing some people to miss work; to start restricting foods to the point they are eating a very limited diet; and to avoid going out so they don’t need to be far from a toilet.

(would you believe that April is also Stress Awareness Month?)

What is IBS?

The difficulty begins because IBS is essentially meaningless; it’s a catch-all term used to encompass a huge variety of digestive issues. If you’re serious about getting to the bottom of the problem (no pun intended), get in touch. I’m happy to discuss your symptoms and help find a way forward. You can book a free IBS health check with me by clicking here http://bit.ly/tnt-bookcall.

In my experience, it’s likely to be one of the following five conditions.

 1 SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)

Around 60% of people with IBS will have SIBO. Though you might have heard about good (and bad) bacteria in the gut, really what experts are talking about is the balance of bacteria in the large intestine: the colon. The small intestine shouldn’t have any bacteria.

Each day the body should perform a flush to sweep bacteria from the small intestine and into the large intestine. This flush is called the ‘migrating motor complex’. For a huge variety of reasons (historic food poisoning being the most common, but also low levels of stomach acid or adhesions play a role, among others) the bacteria are not swept away. The trouble is that these bacteria can ferment the food in your small intestine, causing gas, belching, bloating, pain and a variety of other symptoms, including constipation and/or loose stools, and even anxiety.

A breath test can establish which gases are present, and we can devise an action plan based on your results.

2 Lactose intolerance

This is when your body is not able to tolerate lactose, a type of sugar found naturally in milk and other dairy products. Essentially, bacteria in your intestine feed on these milk sugars, leading to a host of IBS symptoms, like bloating and gas, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea. It can go hand in hand with other digestive complaints, such as coeliac disease or increased intestinal permeability at a microscopic level (‘leaky gut’).  A simple at-home breath test can determine lactose intolerance.

3 Fructose malabsorption

The symptoms are very similar to lactose intolerance. Fructose (which is found in fruit, honey and many processed foods) is a sugar, which, like lactose, is digested in the small intestine. Some people cannot absorb fructose, and what is not absorbed is fermented by intestinal bacteria, causing bloating, cramping, gas and distension of the stomach. You might also experience brain fog and headaches. A breath test will detect this condition.

4 Dysbiosis

This is an imbalance in the levels of beneficial (good) and pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the large intestine or colon. This is now common due to overuse of antibiotics and alcohol, an increase in high sugar diets, and stress. Symptoms can vary from a sluggish bowel or diarrhoea, pain, bloating and flatulence, to chronic bad breath, joint pain, and fatigue and food sensitivities. Dysbiosis is also implicated in a variety of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A stool test can help establish whether your gut bacteria are out of balance.  It can also show a host of other markers that might be useful in getting to the root of your digestive problems.

5 Yeast overgrowth

Where the gut environment becomes out of balance (due to dysbiosis), yeast can thrive. Diets high in sugar feed the yeast. Although if you think you might have a yeast overgrowth, it’s worth noting that long-term yeast problems can mean that the yeast cells are pathogenic or disease causing.  The yeast has switched its metabolism to also be able to digest protein and fat. Symptoms of yeast overgrowth include recurring thrush, gas or bloating, fatigue, bad breath, cravings for sweet foods, joint pain and brain fog. A stool test can establish the presence of candida or other yeast overgrowth.

 

Some people struggle with digestive problems for years. If you are ready to make fixing your gut health a priority, I would love to work with you. Please click the link here http://bit.ly/tnt-bookcall to book your free IBS health check now.

 

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Hellllooooooo Sugar!

Hellllooooooo Sugar!

Sugar Substitutes – Natural or Artificial

People often ask me about sugar substitutes.  The classic question is “Surely honey is healthy?” So here’s the low down on some of those sugar replacements you might think are healthy (and some that definitely aren’t).

Honey
  • Honey has a lot going for it in some regards. It contains amino acids, electrolytes and antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds that can support your health. To get these extra benefits, you’ll want to choose a raw (unprocessed) local honey. It may also help relieve allergy symptoms, specifically hay fever, because the bees feast on the local pollen, and taking raw local honey can help you develop natural immunity over time. But, whichever way you cut it, honey is sugar. It may be natural, but sugar it is, and it behaves that way in your body, spiking blood sugar exactly as actual sugar would.
Dates
  • Dates are a popular feature of many paleo or natural sugar-free bars, because they are naturally very sweet. They have the highest nutritional benefit of all natural sweeteners, because they also contain minerals like selenium, copper, potassium and magnesium. Dates also provide fibre to slow the speed at which the sugars hit your bloodstream. Medjool dates have featured heavily in many a trendy recipe book. These are sweeter and tend to be softer than regular dates. However dates, too, raise blood sugar levels and trigger insulin release.
Maple syrup
  • This is one of the best sugar substitutes (if indeed you need to use any) because it contains antioxidants (24 in fact), which are helpful in the fight against cell-damaging free radicals. There is absolutely no nutritional value to actual sugar. So maple syrup is one of the better natural sugar substitutes. While studies show it does not spike your blood sugar levels as much, it is still wise to use sparingly. You’ll want grade A (lighter in flavour) or B (nutritionally better and with a more intense flavour). Avoid maple flavoured syrups as these are not the same.
Coconut sugar
  • Coconut sugar has become very trendy of late and brings a lovely caramel flavour to your food. It is perfect for baking with and has a lesser impact on your blood sugar levels than regular sugar, but it is still sugar, so use sparingly.
Palmyra Jaggery
  • This is the crystalized nectar collected from the flower of the Palmyra palm and you may not even have heard of it. You use it exactly as you would sugar, and often you can reduce the amount needed by up to a half. Palmyra jaggery is full of B vitamins and has a much lower GL than table sugar.
Brown rice syrup
  • This has found its way into ‘healthy’ recipes. It’s made from fermented, cooked rice. Brown rice syrup is not a particularly good option as a sweetener as it’s highly processed, contains very little in the way of nutrition benefits and the effect on blood sugar is almost identical to standard sugar.
Agave syrup
  • Agave syrup comes from a cactus, and the syrup is made from the pulp of the leaf. It’s very highly processed and is mainly fructose, which needs to be processed by the liver, causing more stress for an already over-worked organ. Fructose is actually worse for you than glucose. Agave syrup (or nectar) is very similar to the (deservedly) much-demonised high fructose corn syrup that has contributed greatly to the obesity epidemic in the US.  This is arguably the worst of the natural sugar substitutes.  My advice? Do not use it!                                [Table sugar (sucrose) is 50% glucose, 50% fructose.]
Stevia
  • This is another natural sweetener. There a number of different types of stevia. Ideally you want full, green leaf stevia that is unadulterated with other sweeteners. Pure stevia will not unbalance your blood sugar levels, thus avoiding an energy rollercoaster.
Xylitol
  • Often found in the UK under the brand names Total Sweet or Xyla, xylitol is a sugar alcohol. It’s a little sweeter than sugar, has fewer calories and (the important part) 75% less carbohydrate. Therefore, its impact on blood sugar levels is lower than it would be if you were to eat the same amount compared to real sugar. It’s the same stuff used in sugar free chewing gum, thanks to its antibacterial properties. The downside is it is very highly processed. Also some people can be sensitive to large amounts and may find they get bloated or experience diarrhea, if they eat too much. Note as well that it is toxic for dogs.
Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and saccharin)
  • People usually resort to artificial sweeteners in a bid to cut calories. This is bad news for a number of reasons, but I’ll mention the two biggies here. Research into some of them shows a correlation with cancer (weak, perhaps, and refuted by the food industry, but still a posibility). And secondly, nutrition science conclusively proves that weight gain/ loss has little to do with calories in and out but what happens hormonally inside the body – how much insulin your body makes (insulin being the fat storage hormone that also sabotages fat burning). Recent research shows that these artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar (and consequently insulin) levels more than normal sugar. So really, what is the point? My advice is to stop now …

BUT…

The very best scenario of all is that you wean yourself off sweeteners of any kind.  This will help you appreciate and embrace natural sweetness from real food. If you continue to eat sweet things, your taste buds will always want sweet things. It’s as simple as that. If you need a sugar fix, find it in real, natural foods.

In addition to phasing out not only sugary foods, but check the labels on convenience foods to see where sugar has been added. If your diet has traditionally been quite high in the white stuff, the first few weeks can be a little tricky as your body (and brain and taste buds) starts to adjust – but bear with it.

* Deliciously Ella’s Cinnamon Pecan Granola https://deliciouslyella.com/nutty-cinnamon-granola

sugar substitutes - a healthier option

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What’s your DNA report telling you?

What’s your DNA report telling you?

Companies like 23andMe, which produce DNA report based on your genes, give you a lot of data and point out some important genetic markers, but they are not allowed to give any health advice as regulated by the FDA. They do give some reports on potentially inherited conditions. But, genetic potential is only part of the picture.

Your genes are not your destiny

DNA is a molecular code containing the “recipes” that tell your body how to make proteins – the molecular workhorses that do the heavy lifting inside your cells. Your unique DNA code shapes who you are and how you grow.A section of DNA that contains a complete recipe for a particular protein is known as a gene.

But… Not all of your genes are read all of the time. Different genes may be “expressed” (turned on) or “silent” (turned off).

DNA report

Sure, genes which code for things like your eye colour or hair colour, are not going to change, but what about the genes which tell your body how to run its various biochemical pathways and how to replicate your cells? These genes must be “expressing” – that is turned “on”. Diet and lifestyle factors can impact the expression of these genes greatly. This is known as “epigenetics” (please see the link and the infographic below).

Do you know what changes you need to make to try to stave off health problems in the future?

 

You can expect

We will have a one-to-one 90-minute consultation, either in person or over Skype, to discuss your DNA report in a nutritional framework. What SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) do you have that may be a concern for your future health? I will analyse your DNA report and give you diet and lifestyle coaching. The idea is to optimise your current health and hopefully prevent or minimise other potential health issues in the future.

I will also ask you to fill in a questionnaire about medical history, family history, etc, just as I do with a regular nutritional therapy session. This will help me in our consultation to tailor your programme.

Before the consultation

Before the consultation, we need a DNA report (at least) so I will need to organise some tests for you. The price for these tests is already included in my price plans. However, if you already have these test results a deduction can be made from my fees.

More info on epigenetics, shown with great easy to understand infographic: click here

Genetics vs. Epigenetics infographic
from “Hidden Switches in the Mind” by Eric J. Nestler. Scientific American 305, 76 – 83 (2011) doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1211-76 Protect My Future
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Food of the gods

Food of the gods

Chocolate – the ultimate comfort food, a guilty pleasure… and the good news is that the right kind can actually be good for you!

History of Chocolate

It comes from the cocoa bean, which literally means ‘food of the gods’. And, historically, it was so prized, cacao seeds were used as a form of currency (and, of course, some enterprising sorts even found a way to make counterfeit cocoa). It turns out those Mayans and Aztecs knew a thing or two because modern scientific research is finding new ways in which chocolate – good quality chocolate, at least – can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to your health.

Health Benefits

The healthiest forms are dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) and cacao nibs, the original, natural form. (Just in case you are wondering, the health benefits of milk or white chocolate, and any of the processed sweetened stuff are slim to none!)
Here’s what it can do for your health:

Fights Against Disease

Dark chocolate and cacao nibs are high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. Two groups of these antioxidants are flavonoids and polyphenols.  Chocolate contains greater amounts of these than either tea or red wine. The higher the percentage of cocoa in your chocolate bar, the greater the number of antioxidants.

Good For Heart Health

Research also shows the flavonols in dark chocolate have a positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart and making blood less sticky and able to clot.

May Help Lower Cholesterol

The polyphenols in chocolate are thought to be involved in cholesterol control. In one scientific study, researchers found a decrease in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol of 6.5% and 7.5%, respectively.

Better Brain Function

Eating chocolate also increases the flow of blood to the grey matter in the brain. Cocoa flavonols may benefit conditions associated with reduced blood flow to the brain. These conditions include dementia and stroke. A study of the elderly that looked at consumption of flavonols (in dark chocolate, tea and red wine) lead to better cognitive function.

Makes You Happy

The essential amino acids in dark chocolate help increase the production of the happy hormone serotonin.  This  can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. It also contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which occurs naturally in your body and gives you the same boost you feel when you fall in love!

 

Free eBook

If you’d love 10 yummy recipes, then please click here: http://bit.ly/tnt-10choctreat
In this guide, I share with you some of my favourite healthy recipes, so you can get your chocolate hit without a side order of guilt.
10 yummy guilt-free chocolate recipes free ebook
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Avoid the Easter binge

Avoid the Easter binge

Easter is going to turn up, whether you like it or not. Chocolate and hot cross buns are all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.

Of course, chocolate is available all year round. The trouble seems to come when there’s too much chocolate, as is the case at this time of year, which leads to too much temptation, eating too much in one go, then feeling miserable because you over indulged. The worst parts of a binge are the feelings of guilt and failure that you feel afterwards. So let’s fix that.

Let’s accept that Easter will mean chocolate indulgence on one level or another. Here’s how to make the best of it.

  1. Try to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you. This puts you back in control of how much you have.
  2. Ideally you’ll want to choose the darker chocolate eggs or chocolate selection. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less room there is for sugar. Aim for over 70%.
  3. Quality is important. Darker eggs from higher quality suppliers, like Green & Black’s, have less sugar, so won’t throw out your blood sugar as much.
  4. Don’t to eat too much in one go with the intention of getting “rid” of the chocolate sooner.  Eating a whole egg will lead to an energy crash later on, not to mention, for many, feelings of disappointment in yourself that you “gave in” or “failed” with your diet.   It’s healthier all round, both for your body and mindset so have a small amount of chocolate more regularly and try to cancel out the sugar rush by eating a small handful of nuts at the same time (protein slows the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream).
  5. Save Easter eggs for pudding. Eating chocolate on an empty stomach spikes blood sugar levels. Have yours after a protein and veg-based meal.

Plan so you can make the right choices. Don’t give yourself the excuse that there was nothing else to eat. Ensure you have plenty of your usual healthy foods to hand.

Make sure your decision to eat chocolate is a conscious one. “Some chocolate would be nice, but I choose not to have one right now”. Don’t take orders from an Easter egg! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.

If the Easter egg (and everything that goes with it) genuinely plays a big part in your family’s tradition, consider doing something a bit different this year.  Here are some great alternatives to the traditional Easter egg hunt https://www.parenthub.com.au/education/easter-egg-hunt-alternatives/.

Consider that even the healthiest people over indulge – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally.

Even after an Easter indulgence, you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”.  Easter is ONE DAY, that’s all. Don’t be on the rollercoaster for the rest of the month.

But most of all, enjoy the chocolate you do have and you know that the only way you can feel good in body and soul about it is to eat consciously. Don’t forget that small amounts of the best quality, dark chocolate has the following benefits: anti ageing, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, is packed with antioxidants and important minerals like iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine; the same chemical your brain creates when you’re falling in love …

P.S. If you are the kind of person who KNOWS you will have a problem with the Easter binge because this kind of bingeing and self sabotage is what you do or you need some help to get healthy, click here http://bit.ly/tnt-bookcall