Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Month: November 2015 (Page 2 of 2)

Are Food Issues Really About Food

Are Food Issues Really About Food?

Do you think you have ‘food issues’? Do you find yourself wondering why you just can’t keep away from the Nutella pot?

You know you’re not really ‘meant’ to eat too many carbs or too much sugar… but what the heck? Are you always eating more than you ‘should’? If so, you’re not alone…

And, most of the time, we blame it on our lack of willpower, or on the food itself. But are food issues about food?

“If Nutella wasn’t so yummy, I’d be able to stop… If I had more willpower, I wouldn’t have eaten four slices of cake at the office party” … and so on… and on… and on…

Are food issues about food? Well, I’ve got news for you. News that may completely change your perspective.

Food Issues Aren’t Really About Food

And it’s not about eating, or the fact that you need more willpower around the office cakes. It’s something else. I know that can be hard to hear. But if it was about food, then you could just find the perfect diet, and everything would be fixed.

But your food problem isn’t really about food. And until you work out what is going on with the Everything Else that’s causing you to have a Food Issue, you will always have a food issue.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is going on with my relationships? With my career?
  • With my feelings around ambition, authenticity, success?
  • Who do I think I ‘should’ be in the world, and who actually am I?
  • What about your family and their expectations, and your friends and their needs?
  • What is going on with how you spend your day and how you’d like to spend your morning, evening, and night?

CBT for weight lossLet me put this another way:

Are you dressing, moving, talking, laughing, loving, walking, sleeping, working, thinking and striving in a way that expresses your deepest, most truthful self?

Most of us generally find that our food issue isn’t really about food at all. It is much more a sign that our lives are not in balance.

Of course there are things that we need to do to look at our eating in more detail (like eating when we’re hungry, stopping when we’re full, and eating without distractions), but often, the point of those practices is that they are the warning sign.

  • If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, something else is going on.
  • If you’re still eating when you’re full, something else is going on.
  • If you always need to be distracted, something else is going on.

So, if you find it uncomfortable to even contemplate not reading or fiddling with your phone while you eat lunch, you might want to work out what’s up.

  • Is it uncomfortable to think about eating without distractions because you never get any time to yourself and this is your time to relax and have fun?
  • Or maybe when you write down your distractions, all kinds of thoughts and feelings come up that are completely overwhelming?
  • Or perhaps you feel rather awkward eating without distractions because nobody else at your office does?

Whatever your answer, it gives you a whole insight about how you spend your day, how you deal with feelings and thoughts, and what your relationship to your job is.

  • You may need more time to relax.
  • You may need to deeply investigate your thoughts.
  • You may need to re-evaluate what you want out of your job.

What I’m interested in is your ‘deepest’ truth, your wants and needs and desires and everything you hate but think you should love.

I’m not particularly interested in dieting, although metabolic typing and healthy eating can be an extremely useful. What I am interested in is helping you understand core, essential insights about what you do and do not want from life.

And if you seize that opportunity — if you truly look deeply into what is driving your behavior around food — you have the potential to make peace with your food, and radically improve your life as a whole.

And who doesn’t want that? If you need some help, the next 8-week CBT for Weight Loss Programme starts Monday. Or if you feel you need one-to-one help and can set aside 30 minutes each week for a Skype or phone consultation drop me a line on the contact page and we can have a chat and work out an individual plan for you.

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

These healthy vegan sweet potato brownies make the perfect substitute for the refined high sugar brownies you usually eat. What’s not to like? A chocolate brownie that’s good for you! So, let’s take a break from pumpkin. These brownies are baked with a burst of rich flavors and perfect for the chilly Autumn weather. Paired, of course, with your favorite tea or coffee.


1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
150 g dark chocolate, chopped
25g coconut oil, melted
100 ml maple syrup
2 tbs ground flax seed + 6 tbs water
100 g almond flour
1/4 cup (30 g) cacao powder
2 tbs (21 g) espresso powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
Chopped nuts (optional)
Sliced figs (optional)

1. Boil the sweet potato cubes for around 10 minutes, until soft. Drain and mash until smooth, then set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC)

3. Mix the flax seed and water. Let it set for about 15 minutes.

4. Melt chopped chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Take off the heat then stir the melted coconut oil and maple syrup into the chocolate.

5. Stir the chocolate mixture into the sweet potato, add the flax mixture, then fold in the almond flour, baking powder, cacao powder, salt and cinnamon.

6. Pour mixture into a square pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts and sliced figs, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the brownie is crusted on the outside. Allow to cool, then cut into squares.

How To Look After Your Eyes

How To Look After Your Eyes

It’s National Eye Health Week and like all of the other systems in your body, your eyes can be affected by what and how you eat.

Most of us have been told, “carrots help you to see in the dark” at some point but let’s take a look at some of the other foods and nutrients that are essential for good eye health.

Antioxidants are integral to good eye health, particularly carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are potent free-radical busters so they prevent damage to the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the found in green leafy vegetables, avocados and green peppers. Make sure that you have some kind of oil with them as this helps with the absorption of the antioxidants.

Look After your Eyes — Cataracts and B vitamins

A recent study shows that B vitamins could have a protective effect against cataracts. The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology was large, involving over 3000 people and looked at vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 .

The researchers, led by Tanya Glaser, MD, found that the B vitamins could slow down the development of cataracts. The results showed B2 and B12 lowered the risk of moderate cataracts by 38% and B6 lowered the risk of cataracts by 33%.

Cataracts are often the result of oxidative stress and B vitamins may work with antioxidants as co-factors to combat damage to the eye. It is more convenient to take a B complex supplement rather than individual B vitamins.

But don’t forget to eat your carrots!

garlic and urinary tract infections

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections? Try garlic

If you suffer from urinary tract infections (UTI’s) caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria there could be new hope on the horizon in the form of garlic.

A recent paper by scientists at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in India found garlic extract (even crude garlic) to be effective against bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics. It is the allicin and other sulphur compounds that are the antimicrobial components of garlic.

In the study 56% of the 166 UTI bacteria were resistant to antibiotics but 82% of these resistant bacteria succumbed to the power of garlic. The research team finish the study by saying there is further work needed but for now their discovery shows promise.

If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections try adding a couple of cloves of garlic to your food every day or if you prefer, you can take it in capsule form.

How to prevent migranes

How to Prevent Migraines

A migraine is a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. 

Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.

So, how to prevent migraines starting? Here are three things that may that reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and possibly prevent them altogether:

  • Omega 3 fish oils can reduce both severity and frequency of your headaches. I would recommend including at least three portions of oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel and sardines) and taking a good quality omega-3 supplement.
  • A low-fat diet with just under 30g of fat per day could also be useful.
  • Low blood sugar levels or hypoglycaemia can be another factor that could cause migraine headaches. If you know that your blood sugar is erratic it may be worth supplementing with chromium — chromium picolinate is the best form to take.

If you suspect a specific trigger is causing your migraines, such as stress or a certain type of food, avoiding this trigger may help reduce your risk of experiencing migraines.

It may also help to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sleep and meals, as well as ensuring you stay well hydrated and limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Here is a list of five common triggers:

  • Tyramine and phenylalaline – these amino acids can cause problems for most migraine sufferers. Found in chocolate, aged cheeses (blue, cheddar brie etc.), soy foods, nuts, citrus fruits, vinegar and alcohol.
  • Nitrites – preservatives found in processed meats, such as sausages, bacon and ham.
  • Sulphites – another preservative often used in dried fruits and processed foods and can be found in wine.
  • Caffeine – found in black tea, coffee, green tea, colas and energy drinks. If you’re sensitive to caffeine it can be a problem but it’s worth noting that some people find that coffee may stop a migraine if it’s drunk as the headache is developing. I am in no way advocating that you drink lots of coffee, besides, too much caffeine will trigger migraines as well.
  • Food additives such as MSG found in processed and fast foods.

As well as trying to avoid the foods in this list it would be worth keeping a food diary to see if you can identify any other foods that could trigger migraine attacks. Keep a note of symptoms alongside the food you eat.

the effects of stress and inflammation on health

The Effects of Stress and Inflammation on Health

It is National Stress Awareness Day so let’s look at the negative impact that stress can have on your health.

Chronic stress can rob your body of its ability to fight inflammation and make you susceptible to illness.

Studies carried out by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University put 276 healthy adults through an intensive stress interview before exposing them to a virus that causes the common cold. The participants were kept in quarantine and monitored for 5 days for signs of infection and illness.

The Effects of Stress and Inflammation on Health

The research team found that exposure to a prolonged stressful event was associated with the hormonal signals that regulate inflammation not being picked up by the immune cells. This meant that those taking part in the study were more likely to become ill. Inflammation is behind other illnesses including cardiovascular disease, asthma and autoimmune diseases.

You will have your own unique threshold to stress so what you find stressful may differ from others. It’s important that you have good coping strategies to lessen the impact of stress. Things like exercise, relaxing, spending time with family and friends can be good ways to protect yourself.

Good foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet include: salmon and other oily fish, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats such as olive oil.

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