The gut. Admittedly not the nicest of words. But us nutritional therapists use it freely to describe your digestive system or, if you’re really squeamish, your tummy! It is so important to look after your gut.
In nutrition college we learnt that the gut is ‘the seat of health’ and Hippocrates taught ‘All disease begins in the gut’. Without a properly functioning digestive system, the rest of your body is not going function properly either. And if we were ever presented with a really tricky case and didn’t know where to start, we were always told to start with the gut. It never failed!
There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body (eeww) and most them reside in your intestines. The food you eat determines the kind of bacteria that enters your gut, and the bacteria is responsible for the overall function of your digestive system (eg. pooing) as well as your immune system, your mood, nutrient absorption, hormone...
It’s no secret that eating too much sugar is quite bad for you. Study after study is now revealing that quitting sugar is so much better for your health. And yet, despite this, we’re still having a pretty hard time giving up.
We now know that sugar is an addictive substance, and when consumed in excessive amounts, causes the release of dopamine in the brain which makes you feel like a rockstar. For about 3 seconds. If that.
And then the brain says, ‘Ooh more of that please, I want to feel like that again’. So you feed it more sugar but the good feeling doesn’t really ever come back and you’re just left with an empty jumbo bag of Minstrels and a huge portion of self-loathing wondering why on earth you did that and promising yourself you’ll never do it again.
A bit like a stinking hangover.
Until the next time.
So maybe instead of focusing on all the terrible things that sugar can do to you – because that’s clearly not...
Tell me if you’re familiar with this picture?
You spend weeks slimming down for your holiday, avoiding all the carbs, upping your gym sessions, picturing yourself in that bikini and keeping your eye on the prize.
“I WILL be thin for my holiday, I WILL be thin for my holiday”
Off you go, suitcase packed, bikini and all, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. The hard work paid off, you’re feeling hot in your swimwear, you don’t have to suck your stomach in *too* much and, as long you don’t actually sit down, you’re fairly chuffed with your pre-holiday efforts.
You’ve also completely convinced yourself that you are going STAY thin all holiday.
Fast forward two weeks….
You’ve eaten your weight in the breakfast buffet, drunk your weight in poolside daquiris and are coming home wearing a moo-moo that feels ‘snug’. And now you have to start all over again, but because you...
When transitioning to a gluten free diet, many people are often horrified at the thought of giving up toast for breakfast. But is gluten free bread healthy? Gluten free bread is so widely available now, and some of it is not bad, why wouldn’t you just swap your normal bread for this, slap on some jam, and carry on as you were?
Before delving into this, I want to clear a few things up about toast for breakfast in general. I’m not talking about your artisan, organic, stoneground, bread made in a 17th century mill in the Pennines (this is pretty good stuff), I mean your bog-standard, ubiquitous supermarket loaf.
The concept of bread, and toast in particular, is so deeply entrenched in the British psyche that to suggest removing it is tantamount to chopping an arm off. Yes, there is some fibre in the wholewheat varieties – which we’re told is very good for us – and some might be fortified with a few vitamins and minerals, but on the whole I consider...
If your little ones are imminently breaking up for the summer, and the thought of this is just ever so slightly causing you to rock and back forth and stare longingly at the gin (at 9am), then read on for my Summer Holiday Survival Guide.
Sadly, I cannot promise to eradicate back-of-the-car squabbling, lengthy queues at theme parks, or incessant demands for ice cream, but I can offer some help in keeping your health and wellbeing on track. It's a lot easier to stay on top of your healthy eating when you're in a routine, but this can easily go out the window during the holidays when all the structure has gone AWOL.
Just follow these top sanity-saving tips in my Summer Holiday Survival Guide and you'll be all set for a happy and healthy summer break:
If your usual food shopping routine is going to be disrupted as a result of the kids being around more, then having a bit of forethought on your meals for the week and doing the shopping online will save...
If your holiday is looming and you're starting to panic about getting into a swimsuit and revealing your sausage thighs to the world, then you'll be wanting my 4 tips for getting in shape for summer.
The trick is not to panic and go on some awful cabbage soup or raw courgette diet. Give yourself a good month of being diligent and you should be able to get in shape and shift few a pounds in time for B-day (that's Beach-day!) Be realistic though, if you have got ALOT of weight to lose, you probably should have started a few months ago, so this really is if you need a bit of a flatter tummy and to feel slightly less wobbly when you're doing you're best Pamela Anderson impression.
If you're feeling a bit bunged up in the bottom department, this can cause unnecessary bloating which could be contributing to your muffin top. Getting enough water, and getting things 'moving' dans la...
...when you've fallen off it in quite a spectacular way. I'm writing this for myself as much I am for you because, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have recently fallen off said wagon and I am in the process of climbing back on to it. I say climb, it's more of a hoik.
So what's happened?, I hear you cry! You are The Fairy Food Mother, our shining beacon of glowing health, here to guide us on the path of greatness, one green smoothie at a time! Yes, 'tis true. I am she. However, I am also a human person, with flaws and weaknesses (HUH?!), stress and overwhelm, and absolutely zero willpower when it comes to Easter eggs.
These delectable, oval mouthfuls of chocolatey munchiness have been my complete downfall over the last 3 weeks and have tantalisingly tempted me straight back on to the sugar train which has left me feeling fatigued, fat and fed up. Despite knowing that this continuous excess was doing me no good, I just could not seem to stop myself. The combination of...
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.
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.
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.
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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