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a week of healthy snacks

Kat and I are not really snackers, but with 5 children between us and busy schedules we know that they are often a necessity to keep us all going, mums and children alike. However, with so many supermarkets and health shops increasing their range of so called "healthier option" snacks, it is easy to get confused with the often misleading claim on the front of the packets.The nutritional labels at the back are so often just as confusing. The solution to ensure you know exactly what you eat? Make your own snacks and get the kids involved with flavours. Many of the snack bars sold in the supermarkets or health shops as "healthy" are often still very high in sugar due to the dried fruit content or sugar alternatives used. We have so many great options on the website, baked snacks, raw options, all gluten free and mostly nut-free for a school policy compliant lunch box. We believe that a good nourishing snack should always include protein.

a week of courgette/zucchini recipes

For anyone that grows their own or has family that grows their own vegetables you will be very familiar with how quickly you can suddenly have far too many courgettes (or zucchini as it's known in the States and Australia) to deal with! A couple of years ago I planted for too many courgette plants and I was making everything with courgettes in from cakes to hummus to curries and salads. Well you'll be pleased to know that lots of our recipes contain courgette and here we've compiled them all in one place just for you. The only thing that's missing from the recipes below is a courgette cake - but don't worry we're working on one!!

fat soluble vitamins

If you follow us on Instagram you will know that we recently posted a series called Nutrient Spotlight, where we took each vitamin and mineral in turn and spoke of how it is used in our body, why we need it and any symptoms of deficiency - also most importantly how you can find these nutrients in your food. The series was so popular that we have added them to our blog so you'll be able to access them easily. This week we spotlight the fat soluble vitamins – Vitamins A, D, E and K. It's very important to remember that these vitamins are stored in our body (in the liver) and so it's very easy to reach high and potentially toxic levels.

Let's talk about fat

For those of us growing up in the 70s, 80s and 90s we were told that eating a low fat diet was healthy and we switched from high fat butter to margarine, full fat milk to skimmed milk and we stopped drizzling oil and butter on our salads and vegetables. Thankfully those days are now behind us and finally the message that eating low fat is healthy is starting to be replaced by the message that eating healthy fats is good for you. However, I still find there are many people that cling onto eating a low fat diet and have a fear of eating any fat. The idea that eating fat makes us fat was first touted in the 1950s and since this low fat message we have seen a rise in obesity, a rise in dementia-related illnesses and a rise in heart conditions.​​​​​​​ 

a week of salads

We love salads at The Health Boost and nearly every day will have one for lunch and in the summer for supper too. However there's no limp lettuce and starving ourselves with our salads. The key to a good salad is to get the right balance of protein, healthy fats and some slow release healthy carbohydrates so that you aren't hungry again by 3pm. Every salad must contain a palm-sized amount of protein.

making sure your holiday is healthy

With holidays looming now is the time to start preparing your body for its annual holiday. We all need some sunlight on our body to help provide our bodies with vitamin D. This important mineral helps to maintain calcium levels in the body and ensure we have healthy bones and teeth. However it doesn’t take too much time to increase our levels and sunscreen is essential to avoid sunburn. When our skin cells are exposed to too much sunlight, UVA and UVB wavelengths, our skin cells experience stress and shut down. This stress can overload our antioxidant nutrient supplies and so it’s important to make sure these are topped up before we head off on our summer holidays. 

is gluten free healthier?

The gluten free aisle in the supermarket is huge, and is growing larger every month. In 2016 the global gluten free market was worth $14.95 billion and is expected to grow at an annual rate of just over 9% every year. This rise in the gluten free market has also seen a rise in people claiming they are eating gluten free without being diagnosed as coeliac or intolerant to gluten. So is eating gluten free healthier for you?

It's exam season - help!

All over the country, teenagers and adults are preparing for a summer of exams, whether it’s finals, A levels, GCSEs or end of year exams. Make sure your brain is in tip top condition by following our simple tips below to boost your brain and give yourself the best chance for success.

Ready for a challenge?

I started writing this post back in January, and decided to leave it until now, early April, as days are longer and brighter. Why? because this is NOT a story of January resolutions forgottenand abandoned come February. At the Health Boost, we don't believe in quick fixes, we are passionate about making small changes for long term, long lasting benefits. Personally, I am not a big fan of the word resolution. I prefer stronger, more positive and upbeat words like goals and challenges and changing the mindset. Like strategy and tactics, goals and challenges work hand in hand: they range from a daily challenge to a milestone goal or never attempted before challenge. They can be very personal or shared with family and friends.

Looking after your heart

Heart disease is unfortunately still on the rise and is still the leading cause of death for both men and women in the world. Nutritionally there is much that you can do to protect yourself and since prevention is invariably better than cure it’s time to protect your heart.

a week of healthy breakfasts

You've all heard the saying "breakfast like a king". However the typical Western diet breakfast of cereal with skimmed milk or a piece of toast grabbed on the way out of the door is not eating like a king. I understand that time is a particular worry when you're trying to get to work and ferry children to school. However I often find that cooking a breakfast for the children results in cleaner plates much quicker and we are usually out of the door earlier. The key is to get the children involved. Get them to stir the eggs, while you unload the dishwasher or do their hair! My husband leaves the house at a ridiculous hour of the morning so he takes his breakfast in, which he eats after his 8am meeting. Many of the breakfasts below are easily portable in a container and carried into work.

are you eating enough vegetables?

Whatever diet you are on... paleo, vegan, vegetarian, nordic, LCHF or a typical Western diet there's no doubt that increasing your vegetable intake is something that will benefit you. The benefits for our cardiovascular system, immune system, brain health and weight are huge and we should be aiming at hitting at least 10 portions of different vegetables a day into our diet. Ten I hear you say, that’s impossible! But actually it’s much easier than you think, as I will outline later. Eating an abundant rainbow of vegetables really will leave you feeling so much better.

what supplements should I take?

I am often about taking supplements and which ones I recommend to take regularly. It’s a difficult question to answer as everyone’s diet and requirements are different. I also believe that a good diet should play the most important part in good health. You can’t supplement your way out of a poor diet and we need to make sure we get most of our micronutrients from our diet. Often the nutrients we get from food sources are better absorbed than a pill. Supplements, if taken, should supplement your diet and not replace good food.

Do you prioritise sleep and relaxation?

You might think that the key to optimal health is eating well and getting plenty of exercise. While these play a very important part, if you don’t also prioritise your sleep and relaxation you could be putting your health at risk. Modern day life is hectic and often relaxation is seen as a luxury and sleep is cut to squeeze even more activities into our busy days. However long-term lack of sleep and relaxation can impact your health in many ways.

The essential for life - water

We are made up of over 60% water and every cell in our body requires water just to function. Even the smallest degree of water loss can impair both physical and mental function. If you go for a run and at the start weigh 72.5kg and then after 20 miles weigh in at 70kg then this equates to a 4% body weight loss. A 4% body weight loss will mean that your exercise performance will be cut by about 25% - not something you need during a long race! There is no doubt that water is essential to life, but still there are many people that don’t drink enough.

pre and post surgery tips

I am writing this a month after surgery on my foot. My recovery has been excellent according to my surgeon and my follow up appointment was fast tracked due to great healing. Obviously this could be done to a variety of factors, but I thought I would write down what I did as a nutritional therapist to help prepare my body for surgery.

Fego healthy menu launch

We were very excited to be asked to launch Fego's new healthy menu options on 8 November along with 20 of our guests in their Sevenoaks branch. We were treated to a delicious five course sampling menu, ranging from breakfast options to healthy lunches and even a pudding! As a nutritional therapist I spoke about the health benefits of each course to give our guests an idea of why these might be a healthy option.

Do you get enough?

When talking about the mineral magnesium, the answer is most likely to be “no”. Magnesium is an extremely important mineral that is involved in over 300 reactions in the body. However, deficiency has been found in over 70% of the population. It is often very difficult to test for since only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood. Most is found in the bones (60%) and in muscles (26%).  

Do you batch cook?

I first got into batch cooking when my children were babies and toddlers to make my life easier when it came to meal times. Batch cooking to me, doesn't just mean making larger portions of dishes and putting half in the freezer, which I also do most of the time. It also means dedicating a morning or afternoon to have a big cook off. If the oven's on then it makes sense to make use of it and put several dishes in at once! Having your freezer stocked with wholesome and nutritious meals means that you don't have to resort to poor food choices when you are tired, hungry and there's nothing left in the fridge.

why visit a nutritional therapist?

Often people only think of seeing a nutritional therapist if they suspect a food allergy or intolerance. However, there is so much more that we can do to help you feel in optimal health. I have listed below some reasons that you might wish to seek a consultation. A nutritional therapist never uses one diet for all, they recognise that everyone is unique. They look into every aspect of your past history and help to come up with an individualised plan that will work for you.