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Confused about gluten and dairy? Should you or shouldn’t you?

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There’s a LOT of conflicting information out there about gluten and dairy, a lot of comes from people without the proper knowledge or qualifications to be talking about, whilst a lot of it comes from credible sources, but can you to know the difference? Hopefully that’s where I come in!

When  one of my clients is suffering from digestive issues and they really want to address them once and for all, then the two main foods I suggest they eliminate (usually along with many other suggestions that all work in unison with eachother) are gluten and diary.

I’ll ask them to cut these foods for about 6 weeks, to allow their gut to reset and have some ‘time off’ from having to work hard to digest 2 of the most difficult food to break down.

So you might already know that gluten and dairy aren’t all that helpful for gut health but maybe you don’t really understand why? I hope this helps to clarify it for you.

When it comes to dairy the main and most common issue is the lactose. This is the natural milk sugar found in dairy. Some people lack the enzyme needed to break this type of sugar down (lactase), and that can cause some horrible digestive trouble such as bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, and gas/flatulence. This is basically a result of the undigested lactose in the colon. Note that this is an ‘intolerance’ to NOT an allergy to dairy. A person might lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose due to their genes, or it can be a result of ageing, damage and inflammation of the small intestine or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which can all cause issues in producing the enzyme.

So, you might be genetically lactose intolerant or your issues with dairy might be due to poor diet (typical Western style of refined carbs and low fibre and diversity of vegetables, low healthy fats etc.), chronic stress, alcohol, infections, oral contraceptive pill medications including the oral contraceptive pill and antibiotics.

So, if your intolerance to lactose isn’t genetic then you can reverse the issue by working on your diet and lifestyle in favour of the balance of bacteria in your gut e.g. increasing the good guys and forcing out the bad guys, as well as increasing levels of digestive enzymes.

When it comes to other issues with dairy e.g. immune type reactions like eczema or hives for example, this is more likely to be due to casein which is a protein found in dairy. Immune reactions are not happening within the gut, they’re happening in the blood stream – so this means the protein casein would need to have seeped into the blood stream from the gut in order to cause the immune reaction. So the gut/intestinal wall/lining would need to be ‘leaky’ for this to happen (known as leaky gut or intestinal permeability).

If your gut lining is ‘leaky’ then things can now pass through into the blood stream that shouldn’t be allowed into your body, such as proteins like gluten and casein, bad bacteria, toxic waste and undigested foods particles. These things will cause immune reactions.

So, if you or someone you know are having immune reactions to dairy or gluten (knowingly or unknowingly) then chances are you have an imbalanced gut, because a ‘leaky gut’ is the cause, and the cause of the leaky gut is with dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) and inflammation.

This is why I don’t really do food intolerance testing, because if the gut is leaky then the test will likely show positive for a lot of different foods, and simply cutting those foods out wont actually address the cause of the problem in the first place. We need to address the leaky gut and then the reactions to certain foods will stop, unless of course its genetic lactose intolerance for example.

Immune mediated reactions to dairy might only be temporary. So, if we can rebalance and re-populate the gut environment with more beneficial bacteria and less bad guys, plus increase digestive enzymes, reduce the inflammation within the gut, and heal the gut lining then we can fix the problem.
There are some great new testing options available for gluten intolerance but as per the food intolerance testing, I would favour simply a trial removal of gluten for 4-6 weeks, whilst also working on rebalancing the gut, and then a re-introduction of gluten to see if any symptoms come back –much cheaper!!

So what are some symptoms of a dairy intolerance (whether genuine or due to an imbalanced gut)?

Well, the obvious signs would be the one’s I’ve mentioned above like bloating, diarrhoea, pain, nausea, and gas/flatulence, immune-mediated reactions to multiple foods (so not just dairy although we are talking about dairy in particular today), but also symptoms of inflammation within the entire body such as:

  • Achy joints
  • Fatigue (this was me in my 20’s and little did I know it was because of gluten!)
  • Foggy head
  • PMS
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Skin issues
  • Weight gain and or trouble losing weight
  • Water retention
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune conditions e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s
  • Depressions and other mood changes or disorders

The most effective way in my book to find out whether or not you’d do better without gluten and or dairy would be to take them out of your diet COMPLETELY for 4 weeks.

During this work on your digestion and gut health by:

  • Increasing foods that help to build up the beneficial bacteria in our gut like plenty of, and variety of, fibrous vegetables as well as fermented foods – my favourites are fermented vegetables like raw sauerkraut and kimchi, and coconut or water kefir.
  • Possibly supplementing with a good quality digestive enzyme and or hydrochloric acid incase your stomach acid is low (very common!) but its important to get advice from a properly qualified Nutritional Therapist on this.
  • Help the gut lining to repair and reduce inflammation of it by adding L-glutamine, homemade bone broth, and increasing foods rich in vitamin A (organic chicken or beef liver is super rich in vitamin A, then your brightly and darkly coloured fruit and veg too), zinc (good quality red meat and poultry, oysters! plus chick peas and pumpkin seeds), and turmeric, ginger, bromelain (pineapple) essential fatty acids from oily fish to help reduce inflammation.
  • Rebalance your life! Address the sources of stress and how you can reduce their impact. Start getting outdoors in nature more, listen to your favourite music, have relaxing baths, read books, listen to audio books and podcasts that inspire and lift you. Don’t be a slave to your calendar, see how you can strip things back and carve out more time for yourself. Are you over-exercising? Too much of the wrong kinds of exercise can be unhelpful for digestive health and gut lining integrity so address this if you need to. Remember, a body with an unhealthy gut is a body that will struggle to burn body fat.

Then after the 4 weeks (continue with the above for life please!) start to slowly re-introduce gluten and dairy back, but do it one by one. Wait up to 72 hours to check for any symptoms before you re-introduce the other one. Keep watching for symptoms as you SLOWLY build foods back in that you feel you want to bring back in, but if you’re happy without gluten and or dairy then don’t bother bringing them back!

Butter and ghee are usually better tolerated (yay) because they have much smaller amounts of dairy proteins and sugars, same goes for fermented yoghurts and milk kefir, I would just say always go for organic to minimize hormone exposure. Hard cheese usually has less in the way of lactose whereas softer cheeses, yoghurts and milk will be higher in lactose. So, if you re-introduce dairy slowly and type by type, you’re more likely to identify certain culprits and work out whether you can still include some but maybe not all dairy, or none at all and so on.

It’s so important to work on resetting your digestive health with the above steps AND sticking to it for life even once you might re-introduce dairy and or gluten foods back in from time to time. Your gut health should be looked after ongoing not just for a short period, much the same as a detox, we should be doing things DAILY to assist our liver, not just once a year for 7 days!

My stance on gluten and dairy?

I grew up eating pasta, bread, cereal, wraps and biscuits everyday, it wasn’t until I was about 23 when I trialed a month without any gluten and it changed my health and weight that was for sure! I decided that gluten could not come back into my diet on the scale I was used to but that I didn’t want to live without it completely, I’m not celiac so why be so strict I felt. So, I personally avoid gluten for the most part, about 80% of the time, BUT I enjoy a lovely sourdough toast with a weekend cooked breakfast probably about once or twice a month, I don’t say no to a bit of cake when its offered, and I love a good quality pizza or burger out from time to time too. Compared to the amount I used to eat this is nothing, and it doesn’t cause symptoms for me because I’m just not having it often enough for it to. In terms or dairy I have cheese occasionally (when I fancy it) and my cheese of choice is mozzarella, feta and haloumi, and I use organic grass fed butter a few times a week. I use coconut or nut milks and yogurts rather than dairy, and I opt for plant-based protein powders over whey for daily use with the occasional use of (organic) whey protein powder (I use Pulsin), I’m by no means neurotic about anything when it comes to food and nor should you be.

Dairy, your hormonal health and your weight:

So we’ve talked about dairy and your gut health but dairy can also cause or exacerbate hormonal imbalances, which isn’t good news for our waistlines or health. 

Dairy can increase a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and sometimes also other growth hormones and antibiotics (usually found in non-organic dairy hence why I always say to go for organic if having. If you have hormonal issues or conditions such as acne or PCOS then I would suggest reducing or eliminating dairy as much as possible for this reason, you just don’t need to be adding any more fuel to the fire. Dairy is quite what’s known as ‘insulinogenic’ which means it has the ability to spike our insulin levels rather high and this is thought to be due to the amount of lactose (milk sugar) as well as the dairy proteins. Any foods that spike insulin can cause the storage of fat around the middle, so just something to be aware of if you’re relying on dairy every single day and struggling with your weight.

A lot of people ask me about calcium when we talk about reducing or cutting out dairy. I get a lot of concerned faces asking how will they get enough! Do not fret, there are PLENTY of foods that contain calcium and some even more so than milk. Its just long been drummed into us that milk is the only good source of it.

Here’s a list of calcium foods and the amount per (very achievable) portion size (the recommended daily calcium intake is 700mg):

  • 1 cup of cooked kale – 245 mg
  • 56g of sardines (with bones) – 217 mg
  • 170ml or grams of natural organic yogurt or milk kefir – 300 mg
  • 1 ½ cup cooked broccoli – 93 mg
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (throw into a smoothie) – 87.8 mg
  • 1 cup of watercress 41 mg
  • 1 spinach leaf – 9.9 mg
  • 30g of cheese 224 mg
  • 1 cup of bok Choy 74 mg
  • 1 cup of okra 82 mg
  • 30g of almonds (about 23 almonds) 76 mg

So there you have it I really hope this has been helpful! I know this was a LONG one so I hope you didn’t drift off and you managed to stick with me.

Jump on a call with me and we can discuss you biggest challenges when it comes to your health and weight, and or gluten and dairy questions! I offer complimentary 40 minute phone sessions so why not take advantage? Click here to book your slot. 

Super Scrambled Eggs

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This nutritious breakfast of eggs and vegetables will really set you up well for the day ahead. It provides some protein, healthy fat, fibre, as well as health promoting antioxidants.

What you’ll need (serves 1):

  • 3 large free range organic eggs
  • 1/2 a small red onion, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  • About 4 mushrooms, chopped
  • Handful of spinach leaves
  • Virgin coconut oil
  • Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • Black pepper and sea salt to season
  • 1/2 an avocado

What to do:

  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of thyme
  • Gently heat a dessertspoon of extra virgin coconut oil in a frying pan (low – medium heat)
  • Add the chopped baby cherry tomatoes, red onion, and mushrooms and sauté for about a minute
  • Add the eggs and the spinach leaves and gently stir over the heat until cooked
  • Chop or slice the avocado and add to your plate with the scrambled eggs
  • season with sae salt and black pepper to taste

You CAN Enjoy the Party Season – without rolling into January feeling and looking rubbish!

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I couldn’t believe it when immediately after Halloween I noticed Starbucks had their Christmas cups out already! The sugar laden Christmas flavoured lattes are out and adverts for mulled wine and Bailey’s, and Christmas party food are all over our screens. Party season has landed!

Whilst its great to have an entire month when you just let it all go and enjoy 4 weeks of guilt-free living (I’m all for that), its also undeniable that we roll (literally) into January feeling bloated, tired, and overweight, making a vow to turn things around now that it’s the New Year.

You CAN enjoy the parties, your work team Christmas lunches, the Christmas dinners with friends, and then the inevitable day itself, and still feel and look great all the way through….bounding into the New Year having still had a ball!

Here are my 5 Smart Tips for Feeling Fabulous all Season Long

  1. Keep your blood sugar balanced at all times
  2. Stay hydrated throughout
  3. Make smart alcohol choices
  4. Be choosey about your celebration days
  5. Don’t totally snub your exercise routine

1) Keep your blood sugar balanced at all times

Balancing your blood sugar levels really is the key to sustained energy and weight management. If your blood sugar is fluctuating up and down throughout the day then so is your energy, and you can bet that fat is being stored on your body, mainly around your middle. You can of course enjoy extra treats and sweets in during the party season, I know I certainly will be, but it doesn’t have to cost you your energy and weight if you do it right.

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a smart Christmas and New Year:

Eat protein with every meal and snack, including the treats! So that means including a piece of meat or fish, eggs, or tempeh (a healthier version of tofu), nuts and seeds, good quality clean protein powder, legumes, with each meal and snack, and when the cakes or chocolates get passed around in the office enjoy yours in the presence of some protein, so with your lunch or a snack rather than on an empty stomach. This will help to slow the release of sugar from the treat into your blood stream, which can help to minimize the insulin spike (our fat storing hormone).

Include healthy fats with every meal and snack such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, coconut milk/oil/cream/butter/yogurt, grass-fed butter.

Eat good quality carbs only with meals and have them make up one quarter of your plate. Examples are brown rice, quinoa, brown pasta, sweet potato, squash.

Include plenty of what I like to call ‘nutrient-dense’ carbs, which are non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, chard, leeks, cauliflower….basically any vegetable that isn’t a root vegetable or a potato, and have these make up half of your plate.

Aim to leave no more than 3-4 hours between meals and snacks, so that might look like eating 4 times a day (3 meals and 1 snack), or sometimes 5 if needed. If you feel irritable, get cravings or feel your energy dipping then this is a sign that your blood sugar is dropping quite low, so make sure you are actually eating every 3-4 hours and that you’re including enough protein and healthy fats, whilst keeping carbs (especially refined and sugary foods) to a minimum (only as treats).

2) Stay hydrated throughout

Sip filtered water from morning, and include herbal teas, you’re aiming to take in a good 2 litres of water each day, even when you’re drinking alcohol, you’ll need a bit more in this case. It’s so important to be hydrated throughout the party season (and all year round please!) in order to keep toxins flushing through the body and to hydrate all your body’s cells. If the body isn’t hydrated it simply cannot burn fat. Also, help to fen off unwanted hangover headaches, which are basically due to dehydration.

 3) Make smart alcohol choices

Alcohol causes rapid spikes in blood sugar levels in much the same way that refined carbs and sugary foods do. So the trick here is to avoid sugary choices and stick to the lowest sugar choices, and stay hydrated by having a glass of water in between each drink. Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach and aim to eat protein beforehand. Stick to these 3 principles:

  • If wine is your tipple then go for a good quality red and avoid white if you can. Dry and sparkling is also a better choice (an excuse to go for a good quality champagne then!)
  • Use pure spirits such as vodka and gin and preferably with ice, soda water and fresh lime as this really limits your sugar intake. Use pure whiskeys and sip it on the rocks and pass on the mixers.
  • Stay away from cocktails, mixers like coke, Fanta, lemonade (including the diet versions) etc., Baileys and other creamy drinks, and liqueurs – these are all laden with sugar.

4) Be choosey about your celebration days

During the party season it can be so easy to say “right I’m going to let everything go for the entire month” (or even 6 weeks for some people), and this is when we really can ‘roll’ into January feeling and looking pretty rubbish! It really doesn’t have to be like this. We can have a lot of fun and still feel and look good, and give ourselves a pat on the back in the new year when we don’t have to go searching for the nearest detox programme or start training for the nearest half marathon just to feel better about ourselves. These really are extreme measures that just don’t need to be taken if we keep things balanced. Look at diary for the week ahead and decide the days when you’re going socialize and the days when you’re not, on the days that you’re not then keep things clean (follow these points), sleep well, stay hydrated, no alcohol or treats. Then on the days that you decide you are socialiazing – keep things clean (follow these points), stay hydrated, whilst also including some alcohol and treats, if that’s what the event entails. Just because there’s a box of Celebrations at the end of your desk at 10am on Monday doesn’t mean you have to take any, if you fuel yourself properly with a protein based breakfast and have a protein based (an healthy fat) snack at hand for mid morning then you will feel immensely proud of yourself for not following the crowd! Then reward yourself in January with something non-food related like a new outfit, a day at a spa, a ticket to a match or the theatre with a friend….but only if you’ve gone through the party season like a superstar and followed these tips!

5) Don’t totally snub your exercise routine

You don’t have to use December as an excuse to totally shun any exercise with the intention to go mad in January to make up for it. Again this is an extreme measure that just doesn’t have to be the case, and nor should it. If you wont manage to get to your usual 3-4 gym sessions a week that’s fine, but how about managing 1-2 sessions instead, rather than none? You can increase walking but getting off the bus or tube a stop earlier to walk to and from work. You can also download the Tabata Timer app on your phone, pick a pair of body weight exercises and do a 4 minutetabata session some mornings before hitting the shower, go get your heart rate and metabolism up ready for some fat burning!

I hope these tips have been useful and that you will take them on board and come out of the party season feeling great, and proud of yourself!

Let me know if you have any questions!

With love,

Francesca x

Trying to lose weight? Change your approach with these nourishing principles

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Every Body is Different – Calories v’s Nutrients

The world of weight loss can be a confusing and overwhelming place; with so many different diets all claiming to be the new best approach. The problem is that every body is different and the biological needs of one person wont be the same as the another, and that needs to be taken into account when embarking on any weight loss plan. Many people can got through their adult life following diet after diet and getting no where, or losing some weight but then gaining it back again when they return to ‘normal’ eating, because lets face it, most of these ‘diets’ are difficult (and no fun!) to follow long term. When it comes to diets and calorie restriction many people could be wreaking havoc on their thyroid and adrenal gland health. We need to provide the body with the right environment for it to start burning fat.

Here are 3 principles that I hope will change your approach to weight loss.

1) Switch the focus to nourishment rather than calories

Focus on food that nourishes your body, giving it what it needs to thrive, burn fat and balance your energy and mood. Huge improvements in health and wellbeing can be seen from switching the focus over to nourishment from real whole foods, containing good fats, quality protein, and plenty of vegetables, and good quality carbohydrates, rather than counting calories. This shift will leave you feeling more satisfied, and help you to think more clearly and be more productive, because our brain needs to be nourished. You will probably end up eating more calories than you would think you should or ever have before, but once you see the old stubborn fat coming off and you start to feel great, and your cravings diminish, you will see that calorie counting wasn’t the key after all. For some people, restricting calories does indeed lead to weight loss, but this isn’t usually true fat loss, more water and muscle, and the loss is almost always unsustainable unless and not to mention unhealthy, the weight usually piles back on with a vengeance. Calorie restriction usually signals to our body that we are in some state of famine or distress and our bodies are very cleverly designed to deal with this.

Let me explain more – If we are highly stressed, or we are simply just under eating, the body goes into fat preservation mode. It does this to protect you and help you, only when we are desperately trying to lose weight/body fat we don’t really appreciate this, and unknowingly we are causing this to happen. It’s usually at this point that we blame ourselves and conclude that we’re not working hard enough i.e. we’re not restricting calories enough and exercising hard enough – we either give up or we start pounding the pavements more often and for longer, and eating less. This just makes the situation a whole lot worse, not to mention how bad it feels! The key is to provide the body with the right nutrition for it to feel safe and not perceive famine or stress, which just knocks hormones out of balance and triggering your body to hold onto your fat stores.

2) Understand how your body reacts to different foods, irrespective of their calorie content

For example, when you eat a bowl of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes or a can of Fanta, the body absorbs the sugars quickly which raises the level of sugar in our blood stream to above its ideal level (which is about 1 tsp at any one time). This calls upon the hormone insulin to move the excess sugar out of the blood stream. Insulin looks to our body’s cells when moving the sugar, and it heads mostly our fat cells around our middle, insulin has an important job to do but it is a fat storing hormone. This scenario will increases inflammation in the body, raises triglycerides (fat in your blood), and blocks the appetite controlling hormone leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain when we are satisfied i.e. that we’ve eaten enough food. If the brain can’t receive this message then the body will most likely continue to feel hungry and we will continue to eat. So, can you see how calories have no relevance here? If this scenario of high sugar food choices is then repeated many times throughout the day, it will lead to weight gain (and stubborn midriff fat stores) and most likely lead to disease, seeing as inflammation, and fat in the blood will continue to rise, and leptin will continue to be blocked.

3) Make a shift away from the wrong carbs, but understand why

Carbs come in all shapes and sizes. The important thing to know is which carbs to avoid and which ones to include. The majority of people today are eating a low fat and carb heavy diet, and whilst they think they might be doing the right thing (according to mainstream media), they’re not. The government ‘Eatwell Plate’ is extremely out of date and incorrect, with its suggestion to keep fats low and have a third of our plate made up of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or other starchy food. This will only increase the scenario mentioned in point 1 above (fat storage!). The BANT wellness plate is much more up to date and supported by up to date research, you have a look at this here. It suggests that a quarter of our plate should be made up of whole grains and root vegetables, a quarter should be leafy green vegetables, a quarter of other veg, and a quarter of it protein making fish, poultry and eggs your principal sources of protein. Most people who eat a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates (as per the government Eatwell plate) may feel like they’re never really full or satisfied long after eating, this is probably because leptin is having trouble getting through to the brain (see above). Instead of bread, white rice, white potatoes and pasta use whole grains like rye, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and oats, use root veg like sweet potato and beetroot, plenty of vegetables with lots of dark green leafy stuff, and use low sugar fruits like berries, apples and pears. These types of carbohydrate foods do not spike blood sugar levels in the way that starchy and refined carbs do, plus they offer a whole heap of vitamins and minerals that we so desperately need on a daily basis. Snack on nuts and seeds, hummus, avocado, cottage cheese, rather than carb heavy snacks like bread, cakes, biscuits and muffins etc.

If we stop focusing on calories and we focus on eating whole, real foods that nourish the body we are much more likely to be and feel healthy and keep our weight under control. The body has an in-built system that controls our appetite but by eating refined foods high in sugar, and keep fats low, we are messing with this system. Some foods that are highest in fat and calories are the most nourishing of foods that work WITH our system not against it, supporting our metabolism, rather than slowing it. These foods are much more likely to promote weight loss and decrease our risk of heart disease and diabetes, such as avocados, which is a fantastic example.

So, if you have trouble with weight around the middle then take a look at your approach to your diet, are you counting calories rather than nourishment? Is your diet high in sugar and carbs and low in fats? Is it high in hidden sugars coming from refined carbs like wraps or white bread, sauces in jars or packets, regular cereals we see advertised on TV? Check labels to look for the ‘of which sugars’ content and know that 1 teaspoon of sugar equates to about 4.4g of sugar, so if the label tells you there is 16g of sugar in the portion of that food you’ll eat then that’s a out 4 teaspoons in one go, that’s only going to spike your blood sugar and call upon insulin. ‘Low fat’ usually means high sugar/high insulin spike, so be aware! Keeping insulin at bay, and supporting the body’s natural hormonal system is a whole lot more effective than any calorie counting.

I hope you found this useful and it helps to steer you in the right direction :-)

Why I don’t like the word ‘diet’ and the principles I live by

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People always ask me what ‘diet’ I follow, or what are my views on this diet or that diet. The ‘diet’ world can be a confusing and frustrating place. There are so many diet companies out there claiming to have the answer! I don’t like the word diet because it is usually associated with restriction of calories, or food groups, and counting. So my answer to the question of what diet do I follow is that I don’t ‘diet’. I live by certain principles yes, but I don’t restrict or count anything e.g. calories or food groups (apart from gluten because it upsets my brain and digestive system). I like life to be simple and fun, if I was to follow a strict eating regime then it just would be.

Here are the principles I live (or eat!) by:

Eat Real, Whole Foods in their Natural Form

I don’t eat processed foods, or I like the term ‘frankenfoods’, these are foods that have been interfered with by humans in food labs and factories and contain an ingredients list as long as your arm with most being unrecognizable. If we don’t recognize something on a label then we probably shouldn’t be eating it. There is plenty of real food available to us; we really don’t need to look to processed foods. I try to buy organic as much as I can, especially important for animal products such as chicken, yogurt, and eggs because the farming process can invite antibiotics and hormones to be pumped into the animals, and we really don’t need or want to be taking these in and adding them to our toxic load. When I’m vegetable shopping I like to make sure I’m not buying foods sprayed with pesticides and I follow the ‘Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen’ shopping guide (more on that here) which means I don’t have to buy EVERYTHING organic if I cant always manage it. I also like to choose locally grown fruits and vegetables rather than items that have been flown in from the other side of the world. You might be wondering why that’s important? Ideally, crops are harvested at the point in the plant’s development when the level of nutrients is highest, then immediately after harvest the nutritional value begins to fall. So, produce that’s transported to our supermarkets or stalls from far away will spend a longer time losing their nutritional value before it even gets to us, and furthermore it’s usually picked well before it reaches it’s peak of nutrition so that it won’t wilt or spoil before it is sold L

Do it right when you can but relax when you can’t

This is my favourite, no one can be perfect 100% of the time, and if they were then they’re probably not having that much fun. I love it when I’m in control of what I buy and what I eat, I feel good about that both physically and mentally. BUT, there are times when I’m not in control of what I eat for example when visiting family or friends, and this is when I just relax and get on with it, and I DON’T feel bad about it. Obviously if you have an allergy or intolerance to certain foods then you might need to make that known beforehand, but other than that, just relax. I know that 80-90% of the time I’m eating whole, real, nourishing foods that work with my body and make me feel good, so the times when I’m not in control just aren’t a big deal, I take what I’m given and enjoy it! I don’t feel guilty or sweat about it, life would be too dull if I didn’t and couldn’t relax and enjoy everything a little bit. There’s nothing more damaging to health that negative talk, so beating yourself up about ‘failure’ will make matters worse. There’s no such thing as failure, you just learn, take note and move on, don’t look back and don’t dwell! J

Stay hydrated

This one is so important, no matter what else might slip, always keep this one going. About 2 litres of water per day is good for a 60kg person, if you weight more, or your quite active, then more is required. Basically just use the colour of your pee to guide you! You pee should always be a very pale yellow almost clear, if its dark yellow then you’re dehydrated, if its always pale (apart from maybe first thing in the morning), then you’re doing well. Every cell in your body needs hydrating, all day everyday. This can include herbal teas, just not regular tea (or coffee).

Keep it simple

So in a nutshell, stick to real foods like vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, good quality meat and fish, eggs, full fat natural yogurt, healthy oils found in avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds like chia and flax, fatty fish, and coconut oil, water, and whole grains. My food is mostly home-prepared. Avoid sugar it all its forms (most of the time – see above point), I don’t eat gluten because it doesn’t work for me, I don’t take caffeine apart from green tea. I move every day whether it’s a full workout in the gym, a bit of jumping around in my living room using an app on my phone, or just walking.

Francesca x :-)

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