All in Nutrition

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.​​​​​​​ 

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.

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.

genetic testing - the key to personalised nutrition?

Genetic testing has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years and has started to lead the way into finding the perfect diet for everyone.  By testing your genes you can unlock the way to finding out how your body works and achieving optimal health. I have been very excited about genetic testing and what it can tell us since the beginning of the year when we touched on the subject as part of my course. Since qualifying I have done further study and had my own genetic profile analysed. So what did I learn and how can it help you?

a week of healthy packed lunches

It's back to school time and for some that means the return of the packed lunches. How do you make them healthy, but still taste good so your children actually eat them? We have come up with some healthy ideas here, that will hopefully inspire you to change things up. The key is to be organised. Get the bag ready the night before and put in anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Fill up a water bottle and leave it to chill overnight in the fridge - small things will make a difference. All the meals are nut free and most are gluten free and dairy free. We have also tried to make them full of fruit and vegetables – and colour, which is lacking in so many lunch boxes that we see.

5 tips for a healthier kitchen

As well as looking at the food we put into our bodies, it's also worth thinking about minimising toxins from our kitchen. There have been many studies showing that your home can be more toxic than your office. Chemicals in our home have been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and dementia. These can either be directly or by damaging the beneficial bacteria in our gut, which helps to keep us healthy.

good night's sleep

I believe that sleep is the most important thing we can get right for our health. Often when seeing clients I will also give them tips for a better night's sleep as well as help with their nutrition. If you aren't getting enough sleep than how can you be expected to have the energy to cook yourself nutritious meals and look after your family? Poor sleep is implicated in a range of health conditions such as heart disease, poor immunity and insulin resistance.

you don't have to put a name on it

What I am writing about today is not a rant, not a judgement, not scientific just an account of my very personal experience with food sensitivities over the past 10 years. With access to information facilitated by technology, and the rise of fad diets, health trends and fancy buzz words spreading across social media, I sometimes find myself facing harsh criticism and negative reactions when I ask about the gluten content of my order when eating out.