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How meal planning can help you lose weight

Ok, I realise this is a bit of a sweeping 'miracle-cure' statement but meal planning really can help you lose weight. And I'm not talking about calorie-counting, or cabbage soup or any of those horrendous 'meal replacement shake' diets. Nor am I promising that you'll drop a dress size in 3 days, be bikini-ready in a week, or back to your pre-wedding weight in a fortnight. I'm not silly enough to make those kinds of claims (and nor should you be silly enough to fall for them).

This is about good, old-fashioned sensible eating and a little bit of advanced planning. 

Here are some key ways in which meal planning can help you lose weight:

  • Meal planning takes the stress out of choosing what to eat. Long-term stress is a contributing factor in weight gain. Less stress = less weight!
  • Planning balanced meals means no more getting home, staring at an empty fridge and reaching for a takeaway, standard stodgy pasta supper or packet of biscuits for dinner. Less crap = less weight!
  • ...
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7 ways to kick your sugar habit

If you want to quit sugar for good, then you need to read this post! I am sharing with you my 7 top tips for kicking your sugar habit. 

Are you sick of getting uncontrollable cravings for the sweet stuff? Are you on a rollercoaster of energy, fuelling up on sugary treats and caffeine? Are you convincing yourself that your diet is healthy because you eat lots of fruit, drink fresh juices and only sweeten your food with honey and maple syrup? (it's all still sugar by the way!) Read on. 

1. Don't drink your sugar

It's quite simple. In order to reduce the sheer volume of sugar you consume in a day, ditch the sugary drinks. I'm talking fizzy drinks, squashes, cordial, juice (yep, juice!), energy drinks. Anything with 'sugar' in its list of ingredients. Yes, water might be boring but you can jazz it up by infusing it with slices of lemon, lime or orange, and flavours such as ginger and mint leaves. Herbal teas are also fine.

2. Stop adding sugar to foods and drinks

If you're...

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Grain free granola recipe and my personal thyroid story

Why am I making a grain free granola? And what's it got to do with my thyroid?

I have been asked this question a few times in the last couple of days when I mentioned I had made a grain free granola, as I have decided to go grain-free for January (and possibly longer). Does it have oats in it? What are grains in? What's wrong with grains, and why are you giving them up? Aren't you already gluten free, what's the difference?

Whoa! So many questions! I realised, however, that I live in my little nutrition bubble where I assume that everyone knows what grains are, and what paleo is, and what a grain free granola is! But it's actually only the other people in my nutrition bubble who know what I am on about, and the vast majority of the population just think I am slightly bonkers.

So, before I get to the recipe for this delicious, grain-free granola, I thought I would give you a little background as to why I am going grain free. It's a bit personal and it's about my health. But...

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Bone Broth Soup – Gut-Healing and Immune-Boosting

There seems to have been a flurry of winter bugs doing the rounds, so you definitely need this gut-healing, immune boosting Leek, Mushroom and Bone Broth Soup to ward them off.

The vegetables I have selected for this soup will have your immune system ready to attack any virus that comes its way, and your healthy gut bacteria doing a little victory dance all over your digestive system. Not only does this soup help boost immune activity, but it is a powerful restorative remedy if you have been struck down with a tummy bug or respiratory virus.

Here's a run-down of the nutritional superstars that make up this Leek, Mushroom and Bone Broth Soup:

Leeks- leeks are in a category of foods known as "prebiotics". This means that they stimulate the growth of the healthy bacteria (PRObiotics) throughout the digestive system (primarily the small intestine). Having a good population of beneficial gut bacteria strengthens the immune system. 

Mushrooms- mushrooms have been used...

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Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Soup

I was so excited to find this gorgeous selection of different pumpkins, they were just screaming at me to be turned into a Roasted Pumpkin Soup!

As we know, the season of ghosts and ghouls is not just about dressing up in scary, polyester costumes and letting your children eat more sweets than they would consume across the entire year. The falling leaves and the chill in the air also bring a whole new selection of sumptuous seasonal foods. And pumpkins are not just for carving! 

This Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe is so simple; it's all bringing out the flavour of the pumpkin with complementary spices.

Simply slice the pumpkins in half, drizzle with a light oil, and sprinkle with spices - I used smoked paprika, nutmeg and caraway seeds. Roast them in the oven for a delicious smokey flavour, and scoop out the flesh into the softened onions and garlic, and simmer in stock before you blend. Full instructions can be found in the recipe below.

The soup is delicious...

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5 tips to balance hormones naturally

One of the questions I get asked most often in my clinic is 'can you balance hormones naturally?' Well, that's not strictly true. The question usually goes something like 'I've got bitchin' PMS. CAN YOU HELP ME???'.

The answer is yes. Yes, I can help you. There is lots that nutrition can do to help with symptoms of hormonal imbalance such as PMS, mood swings, acne, painful or heavy periods, skipped periods, PCOS etc. Unfortunately, many of these issues may have been masked over the years by taking the contraceptive Pill - the 'cure' for any type of hormonal imbalance. Sadly the Pill doesn't actually balance your hormones, it just stops them from working so that you don't get the symptoms anymore. It really only papers over the cracks. The minute you come off the Pill, hey presto, so do all of your symptoms.

I'm not a paper over the cracks kinda gal. I'm a get down and dirty and figure what's causing the cracks in the first place kinda gal.

Your reproductive hormones all...

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Gluten-Free Blueberry and Almond Butter Porridge

Serves 1
A wholesome, warming autumnal breakfast
Total Time
10 min
  1. 1/4 cup/21g brown rice flakes (such as Big Oz)
  2. 1/4 cup/21g quinoa flakes (such as Amisa)
  3. 1 cup/240ml non-dairy milk of choice (such as Koko)
  4. Big handful frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice)
  5. 2 tsp almond butter
  6. 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (Biona)
  7. 1 nectarine
  8. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Place all the ingredients except the nectarine and the cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the milk has been absorbed and the rice/quinoa flakes are cooked.
  3. Top with nectarine and cinnamon.

So, the mornings are getting a little cooler and I've been getting a bit of a hankering for some warm, wholesome porridge. After a little experimentation I've come up with this delicious blueberry and almond butter porridge. Don't get me wrong, I still love my Nutribullet smoothies, but sometimes you need something a little more substantial of an autumn...

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Great Kids’ Day Out – Pick Your Own

health and wellbeing kids Aug 09, 2015

With the summer holidays in full flow, if you’re looking for a great kids’ day out, I can highly recommend Pick Your Own. We visited Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire and it was absolutely fantastic.

If you’ve never been to Pick Your Own before (and can you believe it? I hadn’t!), it’s exactly that. You head out into the fields of a working farm and help yourself to their freshly grown produce, which you then pay for by the kilo at the end of the day. 

There are so many wonderful benefits to picking your own fruit and vegetables including, to name but a few:

  • Children learn where fruit and veg come from and get to experience the different ways that they are grown – on trees, in the ground, on hedges etc.
  • Fussy eaters may just be tempted to try a little raspberry, or get involved with making a recipe from their pickings at home later on.
  • The produce is seasonal and local. This means they have a higher...
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The ‘Oh She Glows’ Cookbook Review

Where do I get my inspiration for the healthy meals that I make? By trying out lots of different cookbooks such as The Oh She Glows Cookbook, a feast of vegan deliciousness.

I’m certainly no trained chef but I do love to cook and experiment with new flavours. Cookbooks are obviously a great way of trying out ingredients that you’ve never used before and building up your repertoire of new dishes. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of rolling out the same five meals.

I am lucky enough to be part of a Facebook group which tests out different healthy cookbooks each month and we share the recipes and thoughts on these with each other. This month is the turn of Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy a vegan cookbook! I love vegan food because I love my vegetables and I don’t eat much dairy or eggs so it’s wonderful to get some flavour inspiration for purely plant sources.

There is lots of garlic...

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My 5 favourite Nutribullet recipes

I’m a bit obsessed with my Nutribullet and I’m always being asked about smoothies so I thought it was only fair to share my 5 favourite Nutribullet recipes with you. 

There are lots of other blenders out there in various price ranges so there’s no need to feel left out. I’ve recently been introduced to the Breville Blend-Active which comes with portable spouted bottles that I personally feel are less cumbersome than the large Nutribullet cup. However, I do so love my Bullet!

Smoothies are such a versatile food/drink. They are great for breakfast but equally fab for a mid-afternoon snack instead of a slab of sugary cake. They’re also great for sneaking extra veg into kids without them realising! Who knew you could hide spinach in a blueberry milkshake?!

The key to making a well-balanced smoothie is to make sure you include the following components:

– Vegetables – you really can blend any veg. Green leafy veg like spinach and...

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