Exhausted? Some lifestyle tips to get your energy back [Part 3]

In my previous blog I went through some dietary tips to help the exhausted adrenal glands recover and in another blog I spoke about the effects that ongoing stress has on the body and how it can affect the adrenals.

Are you constantly tired? Do you not wake up feeling fully refreshed? Do you feel like you are dragging a heavy ball of lead behind you all day long? Or are you ticking lots of the questions on this questionnaire? If yes, then you might benefit from the tips below.

When clients come to me with symptoms of adrenal fatigue, they often want a quick solution to feeling better. Unfortunately there is no one magic pill to take that will restore energy levels in a few days. Recovery is possible through making small lifestyle stages one step at a time. Think about the habits developed over time that may have brought you to exhaustion. Are you constantly worrying for days and months on end about a situation in your life? Are you pushing yourself to your limits at work? Are you in the midst of a stressful life event with no support to help you through it? Are you not sleeping properly and allowing the body to regenerate over night? Are you drinking lots of caffeine and eating lots of convenience and processed foods e.g. foods high in added sugar, salt and bad fats to help give you some artificial energy to get through each day? These habits take time to undo. And it takes time for the body to heal.

You can have the best nutrition plan in the world but if you are not implementing some of the lifestyle changes below you won’t be giving your body a chance to fully heal. I’ve seen it with some of my clients who have the best diets e.g. they’ve cut out all processed foods and reduced or eliminated alcohol and caffeine. However if they are constant worriers, perfectionists and don’t have some downtime or fun times then their adrenals can’t fully heal.

Lifestyle tips to restore the exhausted adrenals

  • Lie down during work breaks – (obviously not possible for everyone but aim to do this at least at weekends)
    Brief (15-30 minute rest) at 10am and
    Brief (15-30 minute rest) between 3-5.30pm
  • Exercise three times per week for 20-30 minutes or less depending on level of fatigue. This should not be high intensity (running, aerobics) as this can put further stress on the adrenals. Exercise can include brisk walking, swimming or yoga/pilates as this sort of exercise promotes and encourages balanced adrenal glands.
  • N.B. Sleep. Regular sleep patterns are a must. It is important to go to sleep by 10.30pm every night. This is because the adrenal glands kick in for a “second wind” to keep us going from 11pm to 1am. This puts tremendous stress on the adrenals. Between 10pm and 1am the adrenals work the hardest to repair the body. Sleep in until 8.30am or 9am whenever possible.
  • have_funLaughter – very important to healing (movies, books, humorous people, etc). If you are constantly working, looking after the family, pushing yourself to achieve targets with no time for some fun, then it’s time to build in what I call “Golden days”. So take a Saturday and plan for the best Saturday you’ve had in decades and do the things that you genuinely love doing.
  • Minimise worry. Worrying makes the adrenal glands work. Relaxing and thinking peaceful thoughts enables them to rest and heal. That’s why yoga and meditation are so good for you. Try not to worry about things over which you have no control. It’s the amount of worry and not necessarily the size of the problem that stresses your adrenal glands. If you worry a lot about little problems, you do as much damage to your adrenal glands as someone who really has a lot of stress. If you can control your worrying when under stress, you minimise the damage stress does to your health. A wise man once said that worry is interest paid in advance on money you haven’t even borrowed yet.
  • Do not get out of bed in the morning until you think of something pleasant – affirmations great to say first thing.
  • Daily break for enjoyment
  • Build in relaxation as part of your day for a minimum of 15 minutes – e.g. reading, bathing with lavender oil & Epsom salts, listening to music, massage.
  • take a deep breathBreathing exercises – do before eating and in times of stress. Check out Dr Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise
  • Locate the “energy robbers” in your life. It can be anything from a food to a perfume, an activity, a nagging memory, a co-worker or a spouse, a building, a room, a situation.
  • Seek some counselling to help deal with or relieve stressors
  • Try Yoga, meditation, prayer, Tai Chi
  • Use reframing techniques to shift your framework
  • Do relaxation response exercises regularly
  • Keep a gratitude journal

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Quinoa & carrot salad

I20170405_221436ngredients
(serves 1)
1/3 cup (60g) quinoa rinsed
1 large carrot grated
1 small tin of chickpeas
Juice ½ lemon
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp honey
1 dessertspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp mint
1 tbsp dried cranberries or sultanas or pomegranate seeds

Method

  1. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, allspice, honey and oil and mix well.
  2. Combine the 1/3 cup of quinoa with 2/3 cup (120mls) of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa well and place in a bowl
  3. Add your grated carrot, cranberries or sultanas, chickpeas and dressing to the quinoa. Mix everything well and season.
  4. Stir through the mint and enjoy.

Health benefits of quinoa

  • Excellent source of protein – contains all the essential amino acids
  • Source of calcium, fibre, iron, vitamin E and the anti-stress B vitamins
  • Higher essential fat content than other grains
  • Gluten free
  • Helps keep you fuller for longer, sustains energy levels, mood and concentration.

Exhausted? Some nutrition tips to get your energy back [Part 2]

In my previous blog I mentioned the Hypothalamic-Pituitary -Adrenal (HPA) axis that controls how the body handles and responds to stress. Overstimulation of the HPA axis over a long period of time may lead to nutrient deficiencies especially magnesium, chromium, B vitamins (especially B5), Vitamin C and the amino acid L-tyrosine, all of which are needed for the adrenal hormone cascade. It can also lower thyroid and immune function as well as blood sugar balance issues, and if the body is unable to adapt to the stress, exhaustion and adrenal fatigue will eventually kick in.

How to support the exhausted adrenals
Unfortunately in the run up to exhaustion most people have been fuelling themselves with stimulants to help keep up that false sense of energy. Have you ever had that “wired but tired” feeling? Wired by stimulants but yet tired all the time. The common stimulants include caffeine, cigarettes and foods high in added sugar. I remember drinking 5 cups of coffee a day to keep myself going and craving a daily bar of chocolate to get my sugar hit! Little did I know at that time that this was only making things worse and accelerating my body into adrenal fatigue.

Fuelling your body to recovery
It goes without saying that a good well balanced diet is important but it’s also important to remember that we are all biochemically different and that your nutrient needs will not be the same as others. Your nutrient needs depend on your age, gender, health history, environment (e.g. living in a polluted city v’s country, stress levels at home/work). Learning to tune in and listen to your body is also important, and we need down time to do this. If you are rushing around, constantly busy or stressed then this will be a struggle. I will talk more about the lifestyle habits to focus on in my next blog, for now I’ll share some nutrition tips.

Nutrition tips to boost your energy

  • Combine good quality protein (red meat, fish, lentils, eggs) and oils (nuts and seeds) with unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains) at most meals. If you feel you cannot tolerate even wholegrains then talk to a Nutritional Therapist who can provide support to help heal your digestive system. Having protein at every meal slows down the rate at which the stomach empties its food into the next part of the digestive tract, so slowing the passage of the carbohydrates with it and slowing the release of sugar into the blood stream. As soon as you add a protein (animal or vegetable) to a carbohydrate you change it into a slow-releasing carbohydrate helping you to stay fuller for longer.
  • Use cold pressed oils on your raw salads – olive, walnut, flax
  • Increase vegetables (alkaline foods) aiming for 5-6 servings of veggies per day
  • People with adrenal fatigue often have salt cravings and can feel light headed or dizzy with possibly low blood pressure. Try adding a good quality salt e.g. sea salt, celtic salt, himalayan salt or sea salt with kelp powder to your food or water. Add 1/8 to ¼ tsp to a 6oz glass of water. As your adrenals improve your desire for salt will go down so you can then reduce it. If you have any heart issues e.g. high blood pressure then it’s important to avoid this.
  • Eat in a relaxed manner and chew your food thoroughly. Chewing food releases digestive enzymes that help breakdown food and increases nutrient absorption.
  • Eat small regular meals throughout the day to maintain energy levels, mood, decrease tiredness and fatigue, decrease cravings and decrease fat storage.
  • Avoid chocolate if you feel your blood sugar levels are dropping – have a handful of nuts instead or liquorice bars from your local health store. Liquorice supports the adrenals and you’ll sometimes find it in herbal remedies that support adrenal function.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, foods high in sugar as they stimulate the adrenal glands that sit just above your kidneys. People with weak adrenal glands often crave coffee and sugar in particular, as well as salt. Sugar and caffeine stimulate the adrenal glands. It’s as if you adrenal glands are two horses towing a wagon load of bricks up a mountain. Sugar or caffeine is the whip you use to get the horses to keep trying. What they really need to get to the top of the mountain is nourishment and a rest period.  Your adrenals need to rest to recover.
  • Foods with the following nutrients are particularly good for the adrenal glands: magnesium, Vitamin C, and the B vitamins especially B5 – all found in wholegrains, nuts, fruit and veg.

Disclaimer: The advice given in this article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should always consult your General Practitioner or primary healthcare provider if you require medical attention or have symptoms which are causing concern.

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Your stress response, what stage are you at? And can it affect your health? [Part 1]

My first light bulb moment – learning about stress & adrenal fatigue

When I had my first really bad bout of fatigue in 2006 I had never even heard of the term of adrenal fatigue. At the time of my fatigue my B12 levels were low and I was diagnosed by my GP with “Pernicious Anaemia”. The B12 injections and some rest did help initially but then I found that any time I put my body under extra pressure e.g. working harder, running or studying for long periods I would hit that wall of constant fatigue again. It wasn’t just my energy levels that were affected but my digestion, liver function and hormones. I will talk more on the impact it had on these body systems in another blog. For now I’ll explain more about the link between stress and the adrenals.

What’s the role of the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands sit just above your kidneys and secrete hormones called adrenaline, cortisol and DHEA. All hormones that give us that get up and go! Cortisol has powerful anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties through its action on the immune system, and also controls the way in which body proteins and carbohydrates are broken down to produce heat and energy.

When should Adrenal Fatigue be considered?
If you have a history of traumatic events, long periods of stress or illnesses in your life it is worth reviewing the health of your adrenal glands.

3 Stress Stages – which one are you in?
1fight or flight response) Alarm Stage
If you experience any physical or mental stress (e.g. a stressful day at work, an argument with a loved one, a job interview, running a marathon) then this will trigger an immediate set of reactions, initially called ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This results in the adrenal glands producing extra amounts of the hormones – adrenaline, cortisol and DHEA that have many roles. This will help to increase the oxygen supply to your organs that are involved in the stress response, e.g. the brain, heart, lungs and muscles. Circulation is moved away from your digestive system and it stops performing many of its functions, for example producing enzymes that help breakdown food. The body thinks it is going to fight that tiger and it diverts the energy to the muscles instead so you can run away! The immune system also becomes suppressed and inflammatory responses are damped. After the stress factor has been removed, everything returns to normal.

2) Resistance (adaptation) Stage
This stage is your long-term reaction to stress. If the stress factor is not removed, the resistance (adaptation) stage will begin. Examples of stressors in this phase might include a stressful childhood growing up, anxious type with busy mind, threat of redundancies at work – high pressured job, unhappy marriage, poor diet and nutrient deficiencies causing stress on the body.

During this stage, cortisol levels continue to rise at the expense of the hormone DHEA, which initially stays stable but then starts to fall. Cortisol levels have an impact on our other hormones e.g. DHEA, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, as the body prioritises cortisol production over these hormones. During this stage our hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal Axis is activated which helps us deal with stress.

Some symptoms of HIGH cortisol
• Fat around the middle
• Irritability
• Cravings for sugar & sweets
• Mid afternoon slumps
• Sleep disturbances

Blood sugar levels also increase to sustain energy (resulting in symptoms above) and raise blood pressure. Eventually, though sometimes rather quickly, we adapt to stress, and there’s actually a tendency to become more resistant to illness and disease. If this adaptation phase continues for a prolonged period of time without periods of relaxation and rest to counterbalance the stress response (e.g. are you overworking for extended periods with little play or relaxation?) sufferers become prone to fatigue, concentration lapses, irritability and lethargy.

This phase of resistance might continue for several months or even years. It depends on the person – your physiology, life history. In my case this resistance stage lasted about a year before I hit the exhaustion stage. During the 12 months in my early 30’s I was constantly worrying about a situation in my personal life. I was running daily and not counteracting this with relaxation, and I wasn’t eating the right foods to help my body recover from the high impact exercise. My immune system started to weaken and I was getting chest infections that I previously had as a child.

If you can recognise the ongoing stressor in this stage and either remove it or learn to manage it, then you are preventing yourself hitting the exhaustion stage.

afternoon_slump

3) Exhaustion Stage
This occurs finally after the body has depleted much of its reserves, energy and immunity. You may feel that you can’t cope with anything mentally, physically or emotionally. You can’t cope with the slightest amount of stress that was never an issue previously. The adrenal glands become depleted and cortisol levels tend to remain low all day long. No-one experiences exactly the same resistance and tolerance to stress, but everyone’s immunity at some point collapses following prolonged stress reactions. By changing our body functions, stress disrupts the natural balance – the homeostasis that is so important for wellbeing.

Some symptoms of LOW cortisol:
• Tired all the time
• Hypoglycaemia
• Poor concentration
• Fatigued not relieved by sleeping
• Cravings for salt or sugar

A Nutritional Therapist or Functional Medicine Doctor can measure your Cortisol and DHEA levels through a saliva test, see gdx link below.

In my next two blogs I will cover some dietary and lifestyle tips to help prevent you reaching the exhaustion phase.

Further information

https://adrenalfatigue.org/take-the-adrenal-fatigue-questionnaire/
https://www.gdx.net/uk/product/adrenal-stress-profile

Disclaimer: The advice given in this article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should always consult your General Practitioner or primary healthcare provider if you require medical attention or have symptoms which are causing concern.

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Time to spring clean your body

detox, healthy eating, spring clean

Spring clean your body

Horray! it’s now officially spring time and we can start saying goodbye to those dark evenings. Here in Wicklow we’re having a wet start to the season with lots of rain and grey skies but don’t let that dampen your spirits. It’s now time to come out of winter hibernation mode and welcome the spring. Our bodies tend to get sluggish during the winter months, we spend less time moving and tend to opt for those comfort foods. So now is the time to spring into action! You might be thinking of spring cleaning the house but why not also stop and think about some ways to help spring clean your body.

Why the need?
We need to give our liver a good boost. Our liver is the largest organ in the body and it works hard performing over 500 metabolic functions. Some of these include the following: produces and excretes bile to help emulsify and absorb fats, filters the blood, helps regulate blood glucose levels, breaksdown protein, it makes cholesterol and helps breakdown fatty acids to produce energy, breaksdown toxins, activates Vitamin D, produces heat (the main heat producing organ of the body), stores glucose in the form of glycogen, and it stores vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K, iron and copper.
Signs that you might need some liver support
Change in texture of your hair, skin conditions (rashes, eczema or psoriasis), headaches, nausea, sensitivity to chemicals, perfumes or tobacco smoke, hangovers easily from alcohol, strong reaction to caffeine.

Top tips for your spring clean
1. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water (herbal teas count) a day and aim for more if doing strenuous exercise. It’s amazing the difference this simple change can make. I’ve had clients report that their energy levels improve and aches and pain start to ease when this simple change is made.

2. Reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. The maximum amount of added sugar a day recommended by the World Health Organisation that we should be consuming is a max of 6 teaspoons i.e. 24g. 4g = 1 tsp. It’s worth getting into the habit of reading food labels and buying wholefoods. Sugar is a toxin and artificial sweeteners are even worse. They both trigger the release of insulin which in turn stores fat. Sugar also feeds our bad gut bacteria which can lead to lots of digestive problems e.g. bloating, irregular bowel movements, acid reflux. Why not swap your usual chocolate treat for 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate or a healthy chocolate mousse – my go to favourite (blend ½ avocado with ½ banana and 2 tsps of raw cacao powder, squeeze of lemon juice) or 1 or 2 stewed apples with cinnamon.

3. Cut down on the caffeine especially if you have symptoms like acid reflux, feel jittery, have problems sleeping or have gastritis. Caffeine is filtered and detoxified through the glutathione pathway in the liver. This pathway depends on food sources like onions, garlic, root vegetables to boost glutathione levels.

4. Increase your fibre as it’s great for bowel health. It’s important that you are having at least one bowel movement every day, otherwise toxins will re-circulate in your body and you’ll start to have symptoms of ill health (e.g. tired, headaches, irritable, itchy skin). Increasing fibre also helps with pumping fats and cholesterol out through the bowels.

5. Specific therapeutic nutrients that help boost and support liver function include: milk thistle (has silymarin which boosts detoxification by preventing glutathione from depleting), N-acetyl cysteine (glutathione is made in the body from NAC), artichoke extract, dandelion root (take as a tea), B vitamins (increase cellular energy enough to kick start change), aloe vera (natural laxative and calms inflammation). I usually recommend taking one of these nutrients for 4 weeks only and stop. Then rotate to a different nutrient next time you feel you need a boost and review what works best for you.

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Set your goals and make this the year of action!

Forget about New Year’s resolutions.
Why? Well most of them fall by the way side by the end of January. Have you ever noticed the increase in gym membership at the start of every year. There is a mad rush to get on the nearest available treadmill but then 4 weeks later the crowds have suddenly disappeared! It’s very easy to make a resolution but the issue is that it may not be that specific or realistic, and no plan of action has been made to follow it through.

Setting goals
I worked in the corporate world for many years and setting business goals and plans was the key to business success. Every November time was set aside to agree on the action plan for the year ahead. So why don’t we take the time to apply this to our personal lives.

Vision

 

 

 

 

Tip 1 – Create a positive vision
This is the fun part and worth taking the time to think through. What do you really want to create this year?

If you create a vision for yourself, you are creating your future. So, if anything were possible – quickly, easily, and now – what would your ideal life look like? Who would be in it? What would you be doing? Where would you be living? What would you look and feel like? What does your day look like?

Focus on what you want and feeling good, rather than on what you don’t want and feeling bad.

Have a clear picture of how you want to live your life and what you want to become i.e. to be a healthy weight of xxx by xxx date. Build a positive image of yourself (your true self-image) that is aligned with your goal. It is important to have a goal in mind and even better if you have an inspiring motivation or emotional attachment to it, a connection to your deepest values with those things most important to you e.g. I want to become healthy for my children so they have a healthy role model on which they can pattern their lives.

Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it more effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day? Go through magazines, google images and print/cut out pictures and phrases that match your vision. Stick these onto a large piece of cardboard or pin board and voila you have your vision board! Make sure to place this somewhere in your home where you can look at it every day. Or take a photo of your vision and have as your laptop or mobile screen saver.

writting goalsTip 2 – Write down your goals once you’ve completed your vision
Take your vision and turn it into a written list of concrete goals. According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals. Once written, post them up in a place where you will read them daily.

Reading your goals regularly plants them more firmly in your subconscious mind, all helping you to attract more of the goal you’ve set.

Tip 3 – Make sure you write specific goals
“I want to lose 10 pounds weight,” is hugely different than, “I want to lose 10 pounds of weight in the next eight weeks.”

The second is specific and gives you a deadline that will push you to take action.

Tip 4 – Are they realistic?
Make sure to set yourself up for success by creating goals that are realistic and achievable in the given time-frame.
Rather than say I want to lose 10 pounds weight in 2 weeks a more realistic goal would be to lose the weight more slowly e.g. over 8 weeks for sustainable weight loss and develop new lifestyle habits that are not just quick fixes but changes that you can sustain long term.

Tip 5 – Always put deadlines in your written goals.
For the reason pointed out above. Make sure these deadlines are somehow realistic. Put a deadline that is challenging enough to push you and motivate you to take action, without being extremely tough to achieve. If it’s too tough you will only beat yourself up when you haven’t achieved it and worse still may not even set the goal again.

a-single-step-graphicTip 6 – Break into small actionable steps
Break your goals into small actionable steps and assign realistic deadlines to each. This way your overall goal is less overwhelming. You can now easily see how it can be achievable over time. Create a checklist to follow. You don’t have to do a lot, but every day, every week, every month, you should be making progress in the direction of your clearly-defined goals by ticking off those tasks you’ve set.

Continue to break big steps into smaller and smaller steps until goals seem less daunting and achievable. You might find you are moving more quickly or slowly than expected. That’s not a problem, you can adjust! Accept that it’s ok to adjust your timeline.

For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds of weight in eight weeks, you could write:
– I will fill half my dinner plate with vegetables every day.
– I will eat junk food and sweet treats only once per week.
– I will cut out fizzy drinks.
– I will walk for 45 minutes every day with a friend

When breaking your goals into these small steps also have a think about
Can you start and do it by yourself?
Have you ever done this before?
Do you know anyone who has?
Can you act as if you have it?

Tip 7 – acknowledge achievements and celebrate with rewards
After all your hard work don’t forget about celebrating! It’s the most important part of goal setting. Have a think about how you will celebrate once you’ve reached your goal and this will help to motivate you further especially on those difficult days.
On your weekly activity planner include a column for “reward” no matter how small e.g. have a relaxing bath, go the cinema, watch a comedy. Clap yourself on the back for achieving those tasks that you’ve accomplished as they are all helping you on your way to achieving your main goal.

“The secret of making something work in your life is, first of all, the deep desire to make it work, then the faith and belief that it can work; then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out step by step, without one doubt or disbelief.”
Eileen Caddy

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Magnesium powers your cells!

magnesium-copyDid you know that many of the chemical reactions in your body depend on a mineral called magnesium. To explain the science bit a little, magnesium is a “co-factor” for the enzymes that produce energy for your cells. Enzymes are protein molecules that make it easier for chemical reactions to take place in the body, including chemical reactions that produce energy. The “Co-factors” are nutrients that link up with enzymes in order for those enzymes to function. So our enzymes depend on these co-factor nutrients.

The focus here is on magnesium as I find that it’s a common mineral that tends to be low in a lot of the clients that I see in my clinical practice.

The typical signs of magnesium deficiency include
• Muscle cramps/tremors/weakness
• Nervousness, irritability, anxiety
• Low mood
• Insomnia
• Constipation
• Osteoporosis

Think of magnesium as nature’s tranquilliser. It has a calming effect on the body and helps to calm the nervous system which is why it can help some people to sleep better and it can help to reduce anxiety. Studies are also starting to support magnesium in the treatment of depression.

What foods are high in magnesium?
It is found in a variety of whole foods, such as
• Green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale
• Nuts & Seeds (pumpkin seeds are the highest!)
• Brown rice
• Quinoa
• Whole wheat pasta
• Beans and lentils
• Fish (especially salmon, mackerel)

Food amount, source (amount of magnesium)
60ml pumpkin seeds (317mg)
2 tbsp flaxseeds (78mg)
2 tbsp cashew nut butter (84mg)
75g salmon (92mg)
60ml sunflower seeds (119mg)
125ml (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa (47mg)
125ml (1/2 cup) cooked spinach (83g)
1 medium potato with skin cooked – (47mg)

A typical meal plan that gets you the right amount of magnesium
The recommended daily amount that we need to get from food is 300mgs*. So what would a typical meal plan for the day look like if you were to aim for at least 300mgs of magnesium? *note this varies according to your age, gender, if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Breakfast: 40g porridge (11mg) with 2 tbsp flaxseeds (78g) and handful of blueberries, 1 tsp cinnamon.

Lunch: ½ plate of salad (lots of different colours for variety of antioxidants and phyto nutrients), palm size portion of chicken breast, 125ml (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa (47mg)

Dinner: 75g salmon (92mg) with ½ cup steamed spinach (83g), asparagus, and peppers and 1 medium potato (47mg)

Total magnesium from above 3 meals = 358mg

Optional snack: 175g yoghurt (70mg) with 20ml – approx 4 teaspoons (106mg) ground pumpkin seeds and some berries

And did you know?

Magnesium is needed to activate vitamin D in your body.  We need Vitamin D to help lift our moods and boost our immune system.  So if you are boosting your Vitamin D by sunlight or a supplement make sure you are getting enough magnesium!

Tip: try to avoid All-bran as a source of magnesium as it is high in phytates which can rob your body of magnesium. Typical All-bran cereals are also high in added sugar.

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

Curry chips – full of goodness!

bakedceleriacchipsOk, so not your standard chip – these are made from Celeriac, sometimes called celery root or knob celery.  It’s an odd looking root vegetable that someone recently mentioned, looks a bit like a brain!  It has a taste similar to regular celery stalks, and can be enjoyed in the same ways as most root vegetables.

 

Health benefits

  • Compared to other root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, celeriac is very low in calories, as it is only 5-6% starch by weight. It can therefore be used in place of other starchy root vegetables to cut down on calories, or as a carb option for people with diabetes.
  • Celeriac is very good source of vitamin K. 100 g root provides about 34% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-K improves bone health.
  • It is full of fiber too, helping to keep those bowel movements regular, and it also helps to regulate the absorption of nutrients. Very useful in dampening down hunger pangs!

Organic elery (root and leaves)

Ingredients  (serves 4)

  • 1 celeriac
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil or melted coconut oil (coconut oil helps kill yeast infections)
  • 1 tablespoon of mild curry powder

Method

  1. Chop the celeriac vegetable into thumb sizes pieces
  2. Bring salted water to the boil and blanch – boil rapidly uncovered for 1 to 2 minutes
  3. Drain and throw the vegetables back into the saucepan.
  4. Add the oil, curry powder and sea salt and toss well
  5. Spread over a large baking tray (leaving plenty of space between the chips) and cook for 30 to 35 minutes at 210c in a fan oven.

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

Protein – are you getting the right balance?

lean-protein-sourcesSo why is protein so important? It’s needed not just for muscle tissue but for your hormones, immune system and enzymes that start biochemical reactions e.g. they help breakdown foods so you are absorbing all of your nutrients. It is also needed by the body for carrying vital substances such as haemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your blood.

How much protein do we need?
The amount of protein that you need depends on your age, weight, gender and activity levels. As a general rule the European Food Safety Authority state that 0.83g per kg of adult body weight is enough to support normal body processes.
So on a practical level this means that the average man requires around 68g of protein a day and the average woman needs around 52g a day.

Higher amounts
There are times in your life when you may need more protein e.g. during ill health, trauma, during childhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, sports. If you do regular strenuous exercise such as resistance training or cardiovascular exercise, protein requirements can be around 1.2-1.6g per kg of bodyweight per day. So if you are 9 stone 4 pounds (60kg) you would need approx 84 grams of protein per day (based on 1.4g/kg).

However something to watch out for is over dosing on protein! This is becoming a trend at the moment especially with young people taking in too much protein in the form of protein powders and protein milks. Too much protein is as bad as not enough. When protein is broken down it leaves substances such as ammonia, which the liver and kidneys have to process and excrete. Too much protein puts excess pressure on the liver and kidneys and can increase the probability of forming kidney stones. It can also lead to an increase in calcium excretion due to acidic amino acid breakdown. The calcium may then get lodged in joints and I’ve seen a few young people complain of aching joints, so this may be down to having too much protein and not enough magnesium rich foods like wholegrains and green vegetables.

Low protein diets
If you are not having enough protein in your diet or have problems digesting and absorbing protein, the body may start to show signs and symptoms such as – poor hair quality (hair may become brittle thin and fall out), dry, scaly skin and flaking nails, frequent colds and infections. If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet this is something to watch out for. To find out more about protein in foods that are not meat based, check out this link to my facebook and see the post from 24/03/16 and the list below.

protein orchestra

Getting the balance right
The key to ensuring a good protein intake is all about quality and portion size. Protein rich foods should be around 150 – 200g per portion, which is usually enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

As an example a breakfast of 50g oats with 200ml of full fat milk has 15g of protein. Two poached eggs on two slices of toast will give 21g of protein. A lunch of baked salmon with salad will give around 35g of protein.

Food sources/weight/grams of protein
Chicken breast/150g/45g
Turkey breast (half)/150g/33g
Beef (lean)/200g/30g
Salmon fillet/150g/30g
Egg/1 medium/6g
Lentils/150g/12g
Beans/200g/9.7g
Quinoa/100g/11g
Wholebread/slice/4.7g
Yoghurt/150g/7g
Oats/50g/6g

Need some support?
Just book an appointment by clicking here
I can personalise some meal plan options for you to make sure you have enough protein and a nutritious varied diet for optimal health.

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

Your body bugs may be causing your ill health

Have you ever thought about how your body bugs – that’s your good and bad bacteria, may be causing your digestive symptoms like constant bloating, irregular bowel movements, stomach cramps or symptoms like fatigue, constant colds or even problems with shifting those few extra pounds of weight.

gut flora

 

 

 

 

 

Facts

  • We have around 500 species of bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, that is 3 metres long, and make up the “gut flora”
  • In the average adult the bacteria weigh about 1kg
  • We have 10 times more bacteria in the body than human cells

Like everything in life it is all about balance. We need the right balance of good and bad bacteria in our GI tract for good health.

These good bacteria are often referred to as friendly bacteria, intestinal flora, gut flora or probiotics, and mostly have names beginning with ‘Lactobacillus’ or ‘Bifidobacteria’. You probably already know that these are found in yoghurts as the food companies tend to highlight this in their marketing campaigns, but they are also found in a number of other foods which I have listed below.

Where do these trillions of bacteria come from?
Up until birth, we receive pre-digested foods from our mothers and are born with a sterile digestive tract. The trip down the birth canal initiates us into the world of microbes that thrive everywhere. Babies are exposed to bacteria in breast milk and formula and when sucking on nipples, fingers and toes. Within a week of birth, bifidobacteria and other strains of good bacteria are established in bottle fed babies. Breast-fed infants have increased numbers of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains.

bacteriaWhy do we need friendly/good bacteria?
These friendly bacteria have lots and lots of different functions. I have listed their main benefits below, but there are many more. We’re still learning with new research coming out every year on their health benefits.

 

They help to

  • Produce B vitamins (energy)
  • Produce Vitamin K (blood clotting, bone health)
  • Strengthen our immune system to help fight infection
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria increase the absorption of minerals that need acid for absorption, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
  • Digest lactose and dairy products
  • Regulate peristalsis (helps to move food down our GI tract) and bowel movements
  • Prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections
  • Prevent production and absorption of toxins produced by disease-causing bacteria, which reduces the toxic load of the liver.

Why do they become imbalanced?
The bad bacteria in your body will start to outweigh the good bacteria if you have a history of one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotic usage
  • Alcohol – consumed in large amounts
  • Constant high levels of stress
  • Poor diet
  • Surgery

Also there are theories that say that spending less time outdoors in nature means we are not exposed to the multitude of bacteria in our environment that help to strengthen our immune system. And there is the ‘Hygiene’ hypothesis which refers to the fact that we now live in environments that are too clean & hygienic. We need a certain amount of bad bacteria to strengthen our immunity.

During a consultation with a Nutritional Therapist, a full review of your health history, current health symptoms, diet and lifestyle is done to help identify if an imbalance in your gut bacteria is causing your health symptoms. A comprehensive stool analysis may also be recommended depending on the extent of your health problems.

Comprehensive Stool Analysis Test
Here is an example of a stool test result from a client of mine who had very low levels of good bacteria (beneficial flora). She had zero levels of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains, when they should be 3+. The test also checked for yeast infections and parasites for which she was clear. By changing her diet and boosting her good bacteria with a good quality probiotic for a set period of time her digestion improved and her energy levels returned to normal.

Doctors Data bacteria levels

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition recommendations for healthy gut flora
Avoiding processed foods and foods high in added sugar is the first starting point as sugar feeds bad bacteria, yeasts and fungi causing them to increase. So if you are having constant sugar cravings, this is an area to investigate. Prebiotics work with probiotics and studies have found that prebiotics stimulate the growth of good bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, while promoting a reduction in disease-producing bacteria.

Foods to include in your shopping trolley for healthy happy gut flora!
Prebiotic foods: garlic, fruit, asparagus, peas, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, leeks, legumes
Probiotic foods: sauerkraut, cottage cheese, yoghurt, tofu, miso

Further reading

If you are interesting in reading more into how the health of your digestive system has an impact on your overall health, these are two excellent books worth reading.

  1. Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D (clinical nutritionist)
  2. Hard to Stomach, real solutions to your digestive problems by Dr John McKenna (trained medical doctor practising nutritional medicine for over 25 years)

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

The Power of belief to bring action

The-Power-of-BeliefIt wasn’t all in my head!
Before I was diagnosed by my GP with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I went for endless blood tests to find out what could potentially be causing my ill health. What did show up in standard medical blood tests was low B12 and positive antinuclear factor. The positive antinuclear factor I realised afterwards was a good thing as it meant that my GP didn’t think I had an illness that was all in my head! A gastroenterologist said the good news is that nothing has showed up you just have a bit of IBS. At this stage I felt disillusioned by the standard medical approach. Ok so I was left with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue but I needed answers as to what was causing my long list of symptoms like muscular pain in legs, arms and back, headaches, digestive problems, poor liver function, fatigue unrelieved by rest, nausea, sensitivities to light and sound.

The medical professionals didn’t have the answers
Chronic fatigue is just a name for a list of symptoms. My GP acknowledge that he didn’t have all the answers and that I was best to look at alternative approaches. There was nothing he could do for me only give the occasional B12 injection and certify time off work to try and regain my stamina.

When I was at my lowest point of ill health in 2008, I had to take a year off work to try and give my body some time to heal. On most days I had about 2 hours of energy when I could get off the couch and do a few things. Thankfully I had my parents to fall back on, you could say they “watered and fed” me for the year so at least I didn’t have to worry about how I could find the energy to get to the shops and cook. On better days after resting more I could get out and about and meet friends for a drink (had to be caffeine and alcohol free as these drinks no longer agreed with me – my body was simply allergic to toxins of any kind as my liver function was poor) or do some research on how to recover. But then after these days of physical or mental exertion my body would crash immediately and back I went to lying on that couch again.

The moments of stillness that brought a new vision
On those days of no energy, no stamina or strength in my body to get up and what I did have plenty of was time to lie still and reflect and eventually my mind did go still. Back then I didn’t even realise it but I was naturally going into a meditative state. When I look back in the years before this I was quite the opposite, I never stopped. Always doing and always thinking. So lying there on that couch and staring at the four walls I began to form a vision of my new healthy self and believe that recovery was possible. I also remember a doctor asking me if I had hope of recovery, I see now why he asked that question. It’s those with hope and belief that have a much higher chance of recovery. The hope gets you through those bad days, it makes you seek out help, it gets you to move forward, to ask questions, to never give up.

Avoid the negative stories
If you have been given a label for an illness by a trusted medical professional, the first thing we do now in our world of technology is search for the term on the internet. Unfortunately what is found mostly are the worse doom and gloom stories. I was given a label for my illness and it was called “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or M.E.”. But this list was a name for a list of symptoms and I realised over time the best approach was to not attach myself to this label but to search for and find the root cause to them.

The challenging thing about having a label such as CFS is the lack of understanding of the illness. Ok so it wasn’t an illness that was terminal, but it was affecting my quality of life and the ability to do things that we take for granted like work full time, a clear mind to make decisions, energy to exercise, socialise and do the shopping. The medical profession say there is no cure, there is a lack of scientific evidence behind treatments to help recovery, and there is a lack of empathy and general understanding towards the illness as the person who has it can often look well on the outside – the illness is invisible. So why am I saying all this, it is because when you have lack of understanding, no immediate answers, then this is the time when it is so important to have belief that recovery is possible. It’s ignoring the negative stories from someone who has battled the illness for years and not recovered, ignoring advice that you have to accept it and learn to live with the illness. Instead believe that recovery is possible and you will attract all that is good to help make it happen.
dont-give-up

Belief” is how you find the way
I remember the days when all the hard work I put in to recovering would result in weeks of good health but then I would go back to my old ways and ill health would kick in again. What kept me going on those days that I faced setbacks? It was my determination to get up again, put the negative thoughts like “I have to live with this illness for the rest of my life”, “I will never be able to work full time” to the back of my mind and get on with life, creating a new vision and dream for my future and believing that recovery was possible. I didn’t know how long it was going to take but I believed that I would recover. It took 7 years for my health to recover fully and everyday now I’m thankful for my good health. I don’t take it for granted anymore and the journey gave me more confidence to follow my dreams, listen to my intuition and take risks.

So if you are facing a health challenge that is having an impact on your quality of life, I hope that my blog posts will encourage you to take action, to move forward, to ask questions, to make lifestyle changes, and have hope that recovery is possible.

If you want success in any area of your life be it health, wealth, happiness then this poem is one to remember!

The man who thinks he can [Walter D Wintle]
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost a cinch that you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can!

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

Lovely Lemon Cake!

lemon cake

Thanks to Susan Jane White and her latest book “The Virtuous Tart” for this delicious recipe. It makes up 16 servings and I love the idea of adding in the turmeric to give it that bit of glow.

It’s dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and still tastes fab. I love that it’s so easy to make, you just pop everything in a blender and that’s it!

The sweetness comes from the honey and the recipe works out at about 1 teaspoon of honey per serving. Honey counts towards added sugar and don’t forget that the maximum amount of added sugar a day recommended by the World Health Organisation is 6 teaspoons a day. So it’s perfect to have as a treat, just watch those portion sizes!

Ingredients
3 cups (300g) ground almonds (found in baking section of supermarket or you can ground your own by popping whole almonds into a blender)
4 eggs
Juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon
6 tablespoons of coconut oil
Up to 3 tablespoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of himalayan salt

For the drizzle:
Juice of 1 lemon
Approx 2 tablespoons of raw honey

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan or 340F. Line a 20cm x 20cm square brownie tin with non-stick paper.
  2. Blend everything in a food processor or electric blender.
  3. Pour into the tin and bake for 22-25 minutes, removing it from the oven before it browns. Leave to cool in the tin.
  4. Then gently warm the lemon juice with the honey in a small saucepan. Pour over your cake while still warm. Pierce the cake with a fork to let the drizzle dressing soak in and taste!

Tips for long term weight loss

I have been working with a number of weight loss clients over the past 4 years and these are just some of the tips that have helped them reach their weight loss goals.

  1. Be prepared to change eating habits for goodeat-real-food
  2. Cut out all junk / processed foods, or severely limit. Why? Well processed foods have lots of chemicals which the liver needs to filter. The liver also plays a role in breaking down fat. So if its too busy filtering chemicals, then it won’t break down fat as effectively and so fat will store in your body.
  3. Main drink should be water, and plenty of it (1.5 to 2 litres per day). Limit alcohol.
  4. Swap regular tea for green tea, lots of research shows it helps to burn fat & boost metabolism.
  5. Base diet around wholefoods e.g. fresh root and leafy vegetables, wholegrain products, beans, fish and/or meat, eggs, fruits, also small amounts of seeds and nuts.
  6. Whilst trying to achieve your weight loss target avoid following fruits as high in sugar – avoid bananas, grapes, melon, pineapple.
  7. Eat the right kind of fat in the right proportions = burn fat (e.g. olive oil, real butter, coconut oil, avocado, nuts). Eat the wrong kind of fat = store fat (e.g. hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil, margarine, substitute fake butter)
  8. Take foods rich in essential fatty acids (e.g. olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds). However watch portion sizes of nuts for weight loss, max 1 handful of almonds/walnuts i.e. 10 nuts per day. Limit brazil and cashew nuts as higher in calories.
  9. Reduce foods with a high glycemic index (i.e. carbohydrates). When we consume a much higher ratio of carbohydrates (specifically the processed variety) over healthy protein & fats, that’s indeed what our bodies get trained to burn for fuel, never reaching the stored fat, contributing to weight loss resistance. High GI foods raise insulin levels which happen to be our only fat STORING hormone. When insulin is up, fat burning is down.
  10. Don’t eat late at night
  11. Don’t eat in a rush or whilst watching T.V., – practice mindful eating, chew your food well. See tip below from Padraig O’Morain (minfulness practitioner)*
  12. Stop eating when 80% full.
  13. Cut out take-aways / eating in fast food restaurants
  14. Don’t eat with your fingers!
    portion sizes
  15. Watch portion sizes – see safefood.eu for recommendations. You might be surprised to hear that a portion size of potatoes is 1 medium potato or 2 baby potatoes.
  16. Stop using food as a reward or comfort
  17. In bed between 10.30 and 11pm (late to bed, will leave you tired the next day which will increase desire for stimulants (chocolate, biscuits etc). Good quality sleep important.
  18. Recognise negative thought patterns and link to over eating – try to turn negatives to positives. Recognise link between irrational beliefs (what we think) and unhealthy emotions (how we are feeling) and learn to change to healthy emotions and rational beliefs (good book worth reading is “How to stick to a diet” by Deborah Steinberg and Dr Windy Dryden)
  19. Avoid listening to the news (bad news – recent research reveals that listening to bad news leads us to want more calories!)

*Next time you are eating, notice what your food tastes like against your tongue. Food eaten without awareness is still nourishing, assuming it was nourishing to begin with. But we miss out so much on the enjoyment of food when we eat as though we’re in a trance or when we wolf it down. We can be so out of touch with taste that we need to eat quite strong or sharp foods to get a kick out of eating. Noticing the taste and aroma (which contributes to the taste) opens up a whole new world of sensation to us. It is also likely to slow down our eating so that we do not consume more than we want (it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full).

If you want to go deeper, take a small square square of chocolate or a raisin and see if you can spend two minutes eating it, with awareness of taste, texture and any aroma. Notice how strong the temptation is to gobble it down. Notice how much more you experience when you slow down the process and eat mindfully.
(from Mindulness on the Go by Padraig O’Morain, May 2014)

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

Broccoli, sweet potato and ginger soup

broccoli sweet potato soup

Many thanks to The Happy Pear  guys in Greystones for this tasty recipe.  The celeriac is a great way to give the soup a healthy creamy texture. 

 


I
ngredients (serves 4)
1 onion
¼ of  a celeriac or 3 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1 head of broccoli
1 medium carrot
300g sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4-5cm piece of ginger
1.5 litres vegetable stock or water

Method

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, celeriac and garlic. Roughly chop the broccoli florets and cut the stem up nice and small. Roughly chop the carrot and sweet potatoes.
  2. Pour the oil into a large family size pan and put on a medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celeriac and garlic and stir. Cover with a lid, then turn the heat to low and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broccoli and sweet potatoes along with the salt, black pepper and cumin and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.  Finely grate the ginger.  Add the stock and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and blend until smooth, using a stick blender.  If it seems too thick, add a little water to reach the desired consistency.
  5. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Caroline Seale BA Hons DipNT mNTOI

The run that changed my life

Quote

It all started back in April 2006 when I turned the last corner, on the last stage of a 10km charity race around the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Determined to cross the finish line in just under 60 minutes, I pushed my body to its then limits, and ignored the signs that my 33 year old body was saying, “Caroline don’t do it, you’re just about to push your body one step too far”. Little did I know as I approached that final hurdle that my life would totally change and take a different road into the future.

Didn’t realise the impact stress has on the body!
In the months leading up to this tipping point, my body was showing signs of fatigue as a result of a number of personal stresses that unfortunately all landed together in the space of one year. Little did I know during this time the impact that mental stresses like worry, anxiety, and fear can have on the body. They were causing physical fatigue where my energy levels and stamina were not the same as the year before and also my immune system had weakened. During the few weeks before the run I had developed a chest cold, taken antibiotics, and was just recovering from the infection when I ran that 10km race. I pushed my immune system to its limits by placing more physical stress on it with a long run.

After that race, I woke up the next day a different person. I suffered from constant chronic muscle pain that started in my legs and then followed into most of the muscles in my body. The fatigue I now had was chronic, it was not relieved after periods of rest and I had a long list of symptoms (digestive issues, poor stamina, brain fog, poor memory, sensitivity to light and sound, muscle pain, intolerance to alcohol, nausea) that resulted in my GP eventually diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as M.E. That race you could say was the final straw that broke the camel’s back!

Facing a future of uncertainty
I will always remember the first time I googled the term “chronic fatigue syndrome”, it was at my parent’s computer in their upstairs landing as I looked out their window at the beautiful landscape. Little did I realise how that landscape would change in the space of a few minutes as I opened the first webpage with a sad story of how a person described their life with this invisible illness. Tears strolled down my face; I wept alone, suddenly realising that there was no quick fix cure. All I could feel was a sense of hopelessness and despair as I was unsure how I was going to manage life into the future.

Taking lessons from life challenges
Looking back I believe that everything happens for a reason and the key is to take lessons from life challenges, grow from them and form a vision of how you wish to face the future. Some say you create your own luck, and looking back I firmly agree with this. Having said that I’m so grateful to the forces that be, that gave me hope and belief that I would one day recover my full health.

Health fully recovered
It took 7 years of research to learn what I needed to do to fully recover. My vision when I left my marketing career in banking in 2012 to set up a nutrition & health practice was to bring health, happiness and inspiration to as many people as possible, and it continues to be my vision to this day. Living with ill health for 7 years brought so many learnings both mentally, physically and spiritually.

Helping you to reach optimal health
I now work with people with all sorts of health problems – digestive, hormonal, weight issues and fatigue. My aim is to provide support to help get to the root cause of the health issue. The basis of my work is nutrition focused but I’m also a reiki master and energy healing is a therapy that I bring to my practice for those who are open to receiving it. Over the next year I plan to share with you what I have learned so far. So if you are interested in following then check out my blog posts here, for posts that I hope will help to fast track your health journey, and inspire you to follow the path to fully recover from whatever health challenge you are facing. I also send out a monthly newsletter, if you would like to subscribe to this just sign up under free updates here.

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom”. George S Patton

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Caroline Seale 2016. This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 2000, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exercised without the permission of the author.

Immune boosting sweet potato soup

Immune boosting sweet potato soup

Immune boosting sweet potato soup

 

When you see any orange coloured vegetables think immune boosting carotenes that help to keep those bugs at bay.

 

 

 

Health benefits:

  • Rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potato)
  • Anti-inflammatory (onions, garlic, ginger)
  • Medium chain triglycerides to help provide energy and fight infection (coconut milk)

Ingredients (serves 2 to 3)
1 tbsp coconut oil or medium (not extra virgin) olive oil
½ red onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large carrot or 2 small-medium ones, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small-medium ones, not peeled, chopped to the same size as the carrot to ensure even cooking
1 heaped tsp grated fresh root ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp Marigold Reduced Salt Vegetable Bouillon powder
½ red pepper, diced
75ml (2 ½ floz) coconut milk

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they start to soften by do not turn brown.
2. Add the carrot, sweet potato, ginger, turmeric and bouillon powder. Just cover with boiling water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
3. Add the red pepper and coconut milk, then blend until smooth and thick.

Enjoy!

What’s So Super About Superfoods?

We’ve all seen the adverts promoting how great superfoods are for us – everything from slowing aging to promoting weight loss.  The marketing guru’s love to position these foods as a must have if you want to look good and have super health!   In my previous career I worked as a marketing manager for the big corporates and so I know all too well the tricks of the trade when it comes to selling a product.   With nutrition at the forefront of my daily life over the last number of years I thought I would take some time to share my views on the topic.

So what are Superfoods?

superfoods14

Superfoods are mostly plant-based foods, thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. Blueberries, wheatgrass, goji berries, kelp, salmon, kale and acai berries are just a few examples of these types of foods.

However, it’s not an official term and there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood.

 

The first step – reduce the processed foods

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these foods branded “super” will protect you from chronic diseases and health problems.  Eating one or two of these nutrient dense foods on top of a poor diet is not the answer.

Eating too much of one type of food may prevent you from getting the nutrients you need.  From my clinical nutrition experience I’ve noticed that many people in Ireland, don’t get enough dietary fibre, and minerals like magnesium, found in a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

The aim should be to include these  “Super” foods into a healthy diet that’s balanced with wholefoods like protein from meat, fish, beans & lentils and dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and good healthy fats.

Superfoods

Choose Real Wholefoods

As a Nutritional Therapist my aim first and foremost is to encourage everyone to eat a healthy balanced diet.  Unfortunately in today’s fast paced society, the first choice of food is often convenient and processed.  We want something quick, and food choices are often made on “auto pilot” mode, filling ones trolley with the same type of foods and not aware that nutritious wholesome foods really do fuel our cells to function at their best.  Processed foods (e.g. cereals, jarred & packet sauces, breads, pizza, micro waved meals, packaged sliced meats, soft drinks) are high in sugar, salt and chemicals to preserve them.  In my one to one consultations and educational talks I highlight the negative effects these foods are having on our health and the benefits that everyone will get by switching to real wholesome foods.

The second step – top up on nutrient dense foods

Ok so you’ve a balanced diet, with no processed foods and you want to make sure all of your body systems are working optimally, you want to recover from a health condition or manage an existing one better or maybe you just want to pack in as much nutrients as your body can absorb to help prevent disease.  Then this is the time to top up with more nutrient dense foods or so called “Super” foods as the marketing guys like to call them.

As mentioned earlier, there are no standard criteria or approved list of super foods so it’s really down to learning what nutrients you need to pack in more of.  For example if you suffer from low moods you might want to increase your intake Omega 3 fats by increasing oily fish (like salmon, mackerel or herring) and adding chia seeds or ground flaxseeds to your porridge or yoghurt.   This is where you might need the support of a nutritional therapist to advice you on specific nutrients that you need more of to help you reach optimal health.

Lifestyle factors like binge drinking on alcohol, smoking, ongoing stress, or drinking large amounts of caffeine can rob our bodies of certain nutrients.  For example smokers need higher amounts of Vitamin C.  And ongoing stress depletes many B vitamins that are essential for energy.

Word of caution for those on medication

Healthy foods can cause problems with some people.  For example if you are taking certain medications e.g. blood thinners and are on “Warfarin” you cannot suddenly start loading yourself up with lots of green vegetables (e.g. spinach, kale, lettuce, brussel sprouts) that are high in Vitamin K.  Foods that are high in vitamin K can affect the way warfarin works in your body. Vitamin K helps your blood clot and works against warfarin. The more vitamin K-rich foods you eat, the lower the levels of warfarin in your body. This means your INR reading will be lower, and you will be more likely to form a blood clot.

Also some medications e.g. oral contraceptive pills lower the absorption of B vitamins (B2, B6, B12 and folic acid)  so you want to ensure you are topping up with lots of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, green vegetables to get those extra B’s.

We are all unique! So in a nut shell, it’s about getting back to basics and cooking smart with a variety of real simple nutritious foods.  Of course each and every one of us is biochemically different, and so you may have extra nutrient requirements based on your lifestyle, medical and health  history. This is where the support from a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist will help you to reach optimal health.  If you are interested in a personalised consultation I would be delighted to help you, just give me a call on 056 7780658 or 087 1266525 or email caroline@discovernutrition.ie

Caroline Seale image for blogs

‘Nutrition for Energy’ Talk – 16th September 2015 in Kilkenny

Nutrition For Energy Talk 16th September 2015

Lots of nutrition & health events on as part of the first official Nutritional Therapy Awareness Week taking place nationwide from the 14th till the 21st September. If you want to find out more about the importance nutrition plays in our overall health check out the list of events on www.ntoi.ie

In Kilkenny I will be out and about giving

1) FREE mini health consultations in The Good Earth on Kieran St on Monday 14th Sept from 11am to 1.30pm (booking in advance through The Good Earth) and

2) A talk “Nutrition for Energy” on Wednesday 16th September at 7pm in Butler House, 16 Patrick St (€5 entry fee).

The talk will include a free handout for all attendees plus the chance to get my first e-book of “energy boosting” recipes.

Look forward to meeting you at one of these events.

Caroline
Tel: 056 7780658 or 087 1266525

Water Watch For The Summer Holiday Season

 

 

If you want to stay healthy whilst you are away on holiday this year, then remember water as one tip to help prevent any holiday health hiccups.

 

 

Unsure of water quality?
If you are holidaying in a place where you are unsure of the water quality, stick to bottled drinking water and avoid eating salads, or having ice cubes in drinks that may have been washed in, or made with the local tap water.

Dehydration
Dehydration can also cause diarrhoea, so make sure you stay well hydrated, particularly if you are spending time in the sun. Even more vital if you are enjoying some summer cocktails, as alcohol is very dehydrating.

Change in environment
For some people the change in environment and eating and drinking habits can have the opposite effect, and they end up with constipation. This is even more likely if you are somewhere warmer and don’t up your fluid intake to compensate for the heat. Increasing your water intake and including extra fibre should help to get things moving again. Fill up on extra vegetables and fruit and have a natural fibre supplement to hand should you need it. Flax seeds and probiotic bacteria make a great combination for helping to maintain regular bowel movements.

If after drinking more water you still have irregular bowel movements, then try this remedy out. I often recommend it to my clients who find it works!

Flax & Prune Mousse (to help regulate bowel movements)
1. Put 2 heaped dessertspoons of ground flaxseeds in a small bowl, pot or ramekin
2. Cover with half a cup pressed prune juice
3. Soak 12 hours (overnight), eat with spoon
4. Repeat once/twice a day until bowel movements restored.

Drinking water outside of holiday season
Water is really the only drink we should be drinking. Aim to avoid or reduce fizzy, sweet drinks, alcohol and caffeinated drinks that remove water from your body. Your body is 50-70 per cent water and it’s there to help with important bodily functions.

  • Check colour of urine: urine should be veering on the clear side except for first thing in morning, if not drink more water
  • Aim for 6 to 8 glasses and more when exercising. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty!
  • Not having enough fluid in your body, leads to: headaches, fatigue, reduced concentration, constipation, sugar cravings
  • If you are trying to lose weight aim to drink more water, it will help to reduce your appetite and will help balance blood sugar levels. However it is all about moderation! Don’t drink too much. Too much water can flush out important nutrients and unbalance electrolytes all important for health. So stick to the tips above like checking urine colour and drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day or more to replace water lost through sweating during exercise.
  • Drinking water may also help to reduce or eliminate aching muscles and joints. In my own nutrition practice I came across a client who was very sporty but not drinking enough water and by simply increasing her water intake her muscle and joint pain disappeared!

Finally here is what a highly respected medical doctor based in New York had to say about water…

“If we allow that water provides the spark for energy creation, we must reconsider the potentially short and long term catastrophic effects of even borderline dehydration that compromises cellular energetics, cellular efficiency, and inevitably our own health.”
Dr Gonzalez, MD.

 

 

Energy Booster Day 9th May 2015 (Thurles)

I’m delighted to get the chance to share my nutrition knowledge, by hosting a one day “Energy Booster” workshop on Saturday 9th May, at a fabulous nature reserve – Cabragh Wetlands Trust, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

The workshop starts at 10am and will finish at 4pm.

During the day I will cover the key areas that are important when it comes to boosting our energy levels. This is a topic close to my heart as I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. for 7 years. Through nutrition and lifestyle changes I learnt how to recover fully from the illness. The insights and knowledge that I gained can be applied to anyone suffering from any level of fatigue who would like a natural holistic approach to regain their energy.

Topics include:
Beat the Fatigue

  • Find out the healthy nutrients that fuel your cells for energy.
  • What causes blood sugar imbalances and how food & lifestyle changes can help to restore energy.
  • How to break the sugar habit.
  • Hormonal imbalances – Thyroid hormones and adrenal fatigue.

Digestive system – you are what you eat, digest and absorb

  • Learn how the digestive system functions and its various roles
  • Find out more about leaky gut syndrome and the difference between food allergies and food intolerances
  • Good bacteria and their importance in our digestive health
  • Solutions to digestive problems (IBS, acid reflux, candida)

Detoxification and healing

  • Did you know the liver performs over 500 functions?
  • Learn how your liver detoxifies and the sources of internal and external toxins
  • Detox check questionnaire
  • Detox nutrients
  • How to detoxify the healthy way

On the day you’ll receive handouts,
a healthy food demo and
we’ll host a raffle.

Fee: €80 or bring a friend and you both get a discounted rate of €50.

PAYMENT REQUIRED IN ADVANCE PLEASE
To secure a place
, please pay by paypal by clicking on the link below. Or if you prefer drop an email to caroline@discovernutrition.ie to pay by bank transfer.

Further information available by calling Caroline on 0871266525 or 056 7780658.

Please note that a limited number of places are available, so early booking is advisable.

Further information on Cabragh Wetlands Trust can be found by clicking here http://www.cabraghwetlands.ie/blog/about/  or on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CabraghWetlandsTrust


Energy Booster (nutrition) Day




Fans of Nutella…here is a healthier alternative!

Cleantella

Did you know that in 2 tablespoons of Nutella there is a whopping 21 grams of sugar. That’s just over 5 teaspoons of sugar!

The World Health Organisation recommends a max of 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for a woman and 8 teaspoons for a man, and it’s very easy to reach the limit when you buy processed and convenient foods.

But the good news is that you can still get your chocolate fix by making your own “Cleantella”

Cleantella

Ingredients
2 cups raw hazelnuts (240g)
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup of raw local honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: 2tsp coconut oil (for extra smoothness although it’s still very smooth without the addition of the coconut oil)
1/2 cup of milk of your choice (almond milk works well)

Instructions

  1. Roast hazelnuts for 6-8 minutes at 400F
  2. Rub them together in a paper towel to get the skin off.
  3. In a blender or food processor blend the nuts until they turn into butter
  4. Then add all other ingredients and blend for quite some time, till it gets as smooth as Nutella. This will take about 2 minutes.
  5. Enjoy without the sugar guilt trip!

Thanks to ‘healthy and hip’ for this yummy recipe!

Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes - Caroline Seale (www.discovernutrition.ie)

 

Pancakes are so easy to make and this recipe uses only a few ingredients.  Buckwheat flour can be found in your local health store or the health food section of some supermarkets. What’s great about buckwheat is that it is gluten free, so it’s good for anyone suffering with digestive problems.

 

 

Some more health benefits of buckwheat:

  • contains 2 flavonoids (rutin and quercetin). They act as antioxidants and help Vitamin C to work better. They increase blood flow, helping to prevent  blood clots and they protect LDL – the bad cholesterol from free radical oxidation, i.e. turning into potentially harmful cholesterol
  • Very good source of protein and has all 8 amino acids
  • Very good source of magnesium which helps to increase our energy

Ingredients (serves 6 large pancakes)
335ml of water
3 tbsp. coconut oil
120g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
1. Blend all ingredients together to make a batter.
2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add spoonful’s of batter to make pancakes about 8-10cm across. Cook for a couple of minutes until set on the bottom and bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook on the other side. Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven while you finish up the batter.

Serve:
With berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries) and a sprinkle of cinnamon
or
Spread of all natural peanut butter / almond butter or pumpkin seed butter

Cee’s homemade granola

Cee's homemade granola

 

There is nothing like the taste of homemade granola, fresh and full of goodness. It’s a great kick start to the day, to boost those energy levels. It’s low GL (glycemic load), helping to keep you fuller for longer so you shouldn’t have any of those mid morning sugar cravings. This recipe is adapted from Susan Jane White’s version and proved a hit with the family over the festive hols.

 

 

 

Ingredients (20 servings)
2 cups mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
2 1/2 cups jumbo oats
1 cup buckwheat flakes
1 cup of mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
5 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds (also known as linseeds)
1 cup coconut flakes
Pinch of himalayan salt
3/4 cup raw honey or 100% pure organic maple syrup
3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
grated zest of lemon
1/2 cup of dried cranberries or chopped dates

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170c/150c fan/340f. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Roughly chop any big nuts and add to a large bowl with the oats, buckwheat flakes, seeds, and ground flaxseeds and salt.
  3. Gently warm the honey, oil and orange zest together (the orange zest adds a lovely taste to it). Pour over the bowl of oats and mix well.
  4. Spread thinly on the baking trays and place in the middle of the oven and bake for 17 – 20 minutes. Shake the trays after 8 minutes to prevent burning. Aiming for a light golden colour.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before tossing through the cranberries/dates. I only add 1/2 cup of dried fruit as it’s quite high in sugar.

Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks. Serve with milk or yoghurt.

Weight Loss Success Stories from 2014

Here are some success stories from clients that I supported in 2014 to help achieve their weight loss goal.

The goal set was to lose a minimum of 10 pounds in 8 weeks – a realistic, healthy and achievable target. As you can see they all over achieved their target, with their dedication and commitment to the programme.

 

Ginta – working 6 days a week, 13 hour days in 2 part time sales assistant jobs with 1 young daughter. Cycling to and from work. Husband studying full time. Stress a big factor. Diet very high in stimulants – cravings lots of sweet foods, daily headaches, very overweight, pms issues, digestive problems. Lost a total of 14 pounds over the 8 weeks, no longer craves stimulants, headaches rare, digestion hugely improved and pms symptoms improving.

Dolores – a full time carer. Very tired all the time, going through menopause with hot flushes and over weight. Lost a total of 11 pounds over the 8 weeks, lots more energy, hot flushes not as frequent and when we spoke 4 months later she had continued to lose the weight to reach her target of 10 stone.

Martin – retired, very overweight, on 5 different medications to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and managed a heart condition. Martin on warfarin drug so had to closely monitor warfarin blood levels under supervision of GP to ensure not too many foods high in vitamin K (e.g. green vegetables) that thin the blood. A challenging client as green vegetables are recommended on the programme! Martin lost a total of 16 pounds in the 8 weeks and is now at a weight that he can get out and walk more, so he’s enjoying daily exercise.

Marian – office worker, frequent headaches, bloating, little exercise, poor sleep. Overweight. Lost a total of 16 pounds over 8 weeks. Cleaned up diet, regular eating patterns, digestion improved, sleeping much better, no headaches and enjoying daily walks.

Mary – previously a full time carer but Mum now in nursing home so has time now to prioritise her health. Overweight, constipation and diarrhoea, very poor digestion, high cholesterol, tired all the time, stress from past and poor sleep. I also do reiki energy healing and did 4 treatments to help calm the body and boost energy. This helped in Mary’s case with further weight loss as we could measure direct change from one week to the next. Also encouraged more walking daily outdoors.
Total weight loss was 18 pounds over 8 weeks. Mary is a different person, more confident & happier, energy hugely improved, and she is sleeping better.

If you would like further information on my 8 week Shape Up Programme, just give me a call on 056 7780658 or 0871266525 and I can talk you through the details.

Sugar Detox & Weight Loss Workshop with Caroline Seale (Nutritional Therapist)

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Saturday 10th January 2015 (10am to 1pm)
Venue: Flipside Studios, Colliers Lane, Kilkenny

Are you struggling with any of the following?
Then this workshop is just for you.

  • Low energy
  • Weight gain
  • Spotty skin
  • Sugar cravings
  • Bloated stomach
  • Headaches
  • Regular colds or flu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Workshop will cover:
* Negative effects of sugar on your health
* Hidden sugars, recommended daily amount, label reading
* Demo of healthy but tasty “sugar free” snack options
* Tips, tricks, techniques to help you eliminate sugar for good
* Plus lots more!

What you’ll take away

  • Sugar Detox Programme Information Pack with ‘healthy foods’ list, sugar free recipes, menu planner, shopping list, food diary, follow-up health questionnaire.
  • Plenty of knowledge & inspiration to help you make the leap to healthy, sugar-free living.
  • Follow sugar detox programme for 4 weeks and feel the pounds drop off and your health improve.
  • Get a complimentary support call (15 minutes) after 2 weeks to check in how you are doing.

Optional (follow-up consultation*): at the end of 4 weeks have a personalised one to one consultation with Caroline to review progress and get expert advice on further dietary & lifestyle recommendations if needed. 20% discount to sugar detox workshop participants. *additional fee

Workshop Cost: €45
Limited number of places available. Early booking is advisable.
Last date for receipt of bookings is Wednesday 7th January 2015.

For more information or to book a place:
Call: 056 7780658 / 087 1266525
Email: caroline@discovernutrition.ie

Caroline Seale (BA DipNT mNTOI) is a fully qualified
and experienced Nutritional Therapist.

 

10 Tips to boost energy levels during the winter months

Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist, BA DipNT mNTOI

 

It’s that time of year when the days are shorter, the evenings darker, you’re frantically trying to get through the Christmas “to do” list, socialising more and with that you start to notice a drop in your energy levels. This is when it’s far too tempting to reach out for the sugary snack or cup of coffee to get that get up and go! Before you know it you are on what’s called the blood sugar rollercoaster, hitting energy highs and lows throughout the day.

So if you want to build up the stamina to put in a good hard days work, juggle the  “to do” list and squeeze in some fitness classes, it is all about feeding your body with the right nutrients to balance energy levels, along with adopting a couple of key lifestyle habits.

 

Here are some tips to help boost up your energy levels throughout the winter months.

  1. Remember to have protein with every meal and snack.
    Protein is important for virtually all biological processes in the body. All enzymes are proteins and are vital for the body’s metabolism to break down and absorb what we eat so we can get energy from our food.
    As soon as you add a protein (e.g. chicken or hummus) to a carbohydrate (e.g. oat cake or spelt cracker) you change it into a slow-releasing carbohydrate helping you to stay fuller for longer and this helps balance energy levels.
  2. Have a healthy snack before your workout to give your body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can. Grab a snack with protein and carbohydrates about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout e.g. 1 pear with handful of almonds, cup of full fat greek yoghurt with ½ cup fresh blueberries, 1 apple sliced and cover with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter or a pumpkin seed nut butter from your local health store.
  3. Look after your mitochondria. They supply energy to our cells to help our body systems work at their best. Think of your body as a car. What supplies the energy and the power to make the car work is the engine. Mitochondria are effectively the engines of our cells – they power every cell in the body. The mitochondria need certain nutrients to stay healthy, the key nutrients include B vitamins, magnesium and Coenzyme Q10. Beef, herring and chicken are high in Coenzyme Q10.  B vitamins and magnesium are found in wholegrains, green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds.
  4. Eat lots of green leafy vegetablese.g. broccoli, cabbage, kale, pak choi, spinach as they are high in magnesium to help boost energy. They are also rich in chlorophyll – this is the green pigment in plants and it binds to toxins to help remove them from our system. Less toxins = more energy!
  5. Cut down on the stimulants(sugar, caffeine, alcohol). The more stimulants the more energy highs, and the higher the highs the lower the lows! And you’ll find it harder to get off that blood sugar rollercoaster! Watch food labels and remember that the maximum amount of added sugar that a woman should consume each day is 6 teaspoons, that’s 24 grams. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar. Go for full fat yoghurts and add in fresh berries, watch those energy drinks and bars. A 380ml bottle of Lucozade energy drink has 64 grams of sugar, that’s 16 teaspoons of added sugar! Believe it or not but the low fat yoghurts have more sugar than full fat. Take the fat out and you’re left with lactose i.e. sugar.
  6. Drink plenty of filtered non carbonated wateraiming for 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. This maybe less depending on colour of urine – urine should be veering on the clear side except for first thing in morning and drink more if exercising.
  7. Feed your gut with plenty of good bacteria.
    90% of your body is actually made up of bacteria and the remaining 10% of your body is human cells.  So we have nine times more bacterial cells than human cells.  A history of antibiotics, ongoing stress, or a poor diet, are some reasons why you maybe low in good bacteria.
    Good bacteria are important for a strong immune system and they also help to make a range of B vitamins important for our nervous system and for energy.  Good bacteria is found in live cultured (fermented) milk products e.g. live yoghurt, buttermilk, soured milk, cottage cheese, kefir (also has lots of enzymes to help breakdown food for energy), unpasteurised goats milk (pasteurised milk doesn’t have living bacteria in it).  If you want more go for Sauerkraut rather than cabbage, cottage cheese and yoghurt rather than milk.  Also eat foods high in pre-biotics – they help feed good bacteria and are high in foods like garlic, fruit, asparagus, peas, onions, leeks, bananas and aubergine.
  8. Review your training and rest days. If you are on a fitness programme or are training for a marathon and you notice your energy levels are dropping, then take a look at your exercise regime.  Rest one day every week and use alternating hard and easy days of training, try to avoid more than three hard training sessions in a row without a rest day.
  9. Go to bed early.  Aim to be in bed by 10.30pm and asleep by 11pm. Getting to sleep by 11pm helps to rest the adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and pump out adrenaline and cortisol to give us that get up and go! They kick in for a “second wind” to keep us going from 11pm to 1am – ever noticed this happening if you stay up past 11pm? It is during the hours of 11pm and 1am that the adrenals work the hardest to repair the body so resting them during this time is important.
  10. Understand that we are all biochemically individual – i.e. we are all unique and different and have different nutrient needs. One size never fits all when it comes to the health of our bodies. Have you every wondered why some people seem to do well on one type of diet, then another person will feel bad on the very same diet. Some people swear by a high raw, vegetarian diet and others by a high protein Paleolithic type diet. Why? Because we are all metabolically and genetically different. 

So if you’ve an ongoing health issue e.g. constant fatigue and no diet changes have worked, then it may be worth booking a nutrition consultation. I’m a qualified and experienced Nutritional Therapist and will review your health history, diet and lifestyle, look for the potential causes of the problem and will personalise a health plan to help you reach your full health potential.

For more information just give me a call (Caroline Seale)
on 087 1266525 or 056 7780658

Vietnamese Chicken Coconut Curry

Healthy chicken coconut curry vietnamese style!

I’ve taken this recipe from the Happy Pear recipe book and adapted it a bit by swapping the tempeh for chicken and I swapped the low fat coconut milk to full fat. Latest research is that there is a lack of evidence that links saturated fat to heart disease. On my 8 week weight loss programme, clients can enjoy full fat milk, yoghurt and coconut milk, helping to keep them fuller for longer, and at the same time loose weight and have healthy cholesterol levels. We need a healthy amount of cholesterol for our cells, to help manufacture Vitamin D and for our sex hormones.

Ingredients
3 cloves of garlic
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger
1 medium pumpkin (approx 1.5kg) or butternut squash or sweet potatoes
2 x 400ml tins of full fat coconut milk
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons tamari, Bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce
4 breasts of free range or organic chicken chopped into small pieces
1/2 a head of pak choi (chinese cabbage)
6 scallions or spring onions
bunch of fresh corriander
1 tablespoon cornflour, arrowroot or potato starch, mixed with 1.5 tablespoons of water

Method
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6

1) Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and finely grate or chop the ginger.
2) Wash the pumpkin, cut off any blemishes and slice off the top. Usually there is no need to peel it, as the skin goes soft when cooked. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into bite-size pieces. (if using butternut squash or sweet potatoes, leave the skin on and cut into bite-size pieces.) Put on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
3) Put the garlic, ginger, coconut milk, lime juice, honey, curry powder, salt and tamari into a blender and whiz until everything is smooth.
4) Put the chicken pieces into a large casserol dish and stir fry in coconut oil over a medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, pour over half the coconut dressing and mix well to ensure each piece is full of flavour.
5) Put the dish of chicken ino the oven where the pumpkin is already baking and bake for 15 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes to ensure that the dressing is well dispersed. Meanwhile, pour the other half of the dressing into a large pan – this will become the sauce, along with any remaining sauce from the chicken dish. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and reduce to a simmer.
6) Once the chicken and pumpkin are done, transfer them to the simmering sauce and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly.
7) Finely chop the pak choi, scallions, spring onions and coriander. Add the pak choi and the cornflour mixture to the pan and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, until it thickens. Serve sprinkled with the scallions or spring onions and the coriander.

Serve with wholegrain brown rice or quinoa and enjoy!

Tips for a Healthier Barbeque

Now, I hate to put a downer on this fabulous sunny weather we are having, but I thought this blog would be perfectly timed given BBQ’s are popular during the good weather.  So if well-done burgers or charred sausages are your thing, it may be worth knowing that there is evidence to suggest that a heavy intake of barbecued meat could increase cancer risk.

Why oh why you might ask?? Well, cooking meat at a high temperature causes chemicals called HCA’s (heterocyclic amines) and PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form. These carcinogenic compounds can cause changes in the DNA that can lead to cancer. Research to date shows exposure to high levels of HCA’s and PAH’s can cause cancer in animals, but, whether such exposure causes cancer in humans remains unclear.

However, a University of Minnesota study which tracked the eating habits of more than 62,000 people over a nine-year period found that regularly consuming well-done or charred meat may increase human risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 60 percent, so, it’s worth it to be at least aware of the potential risks!

But don’t worry, I’m not remotely suggesting that you go packing your barbecue back into the shed just yet. You can have your barbecue and your health too! By following some simple guidelines below, you can cut the health risks right down and enjoy as many barbecues in this fab Irish weather while it lasts!

6 steps to a healthier barbeque:

Marinade before cooking
If you’re cooking meat or poultry, marinate it in olive oil and lemon juice beforehand. As well as adding flavour and moisture, research shows that these two items reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds by up to 99% while cooking. Add fresh or dried herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary, thyme or oregano to the marinade to further reduce the formation of HCA’s.

Keep it lean
Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off any excess fat before barbecuing because when fat and juice drip from meat, flames flare up and create more smoke, which is what leads to carcinogen formation.

Turn down the heat
Use low to medium cooking temperatures, avoid flare ups and flip every few minutes. Cook thoroughly but don’t overcook foods. The charred bits on foods are the largest sources of PAH’s and HCA’s, so, if you have charred sections of meat, cut them off.

Surf & turf
Go beyond bangers and burgers by throwing some fish on the barbie for a healthy change. Beef, pork and poultry tend to form more HCA’s than seafood because of their higher amino acid content and longer grilling times. Fishes that barbecue particularly well are salmon, halibut, tuna and swordfish. Stick them on a skewer with some chopped courgettes and onion as an alternative to the usual burger.

Clean before you cook
Clean your grill prior to every use. Not only is it more appetising to eat food that’s been cooked on a clean grill, but you’ll reduce the amount of char that you’ll be eating.

Balance your barbecue
One of the easiest ways to cancer-proof your barbecue is to add anti-oxidant rich veggies. Skewered kebabs are a great way to do this. You can alternate chunks of meat with onions, peppers, courgette, and mushrooms. Also try serving your meat/fish with a large green salad.


Broccoli pesto

Here is a handy recipe to up those greens. Green vegetables are alkalising and detoxing and important to have on our plates at least once a day.

 

 

It’s really quick to make up and if stored in a sealed container in the fridge will keep for up to 1 week. This could be a good option for the kids too if you are struggling to get them to eat their veg.

Ingredients:
2 cups (350g) broccoli florets
2 medium spring onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup (75g) cashews, soaked in water for 1-4 hours and drained. Or 25g grated parmesan.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:
Steam the broccoli florets. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until creamy and smooth.

Option: can freeze but just cover with a layer of oil beforehand

Taken from Sarah Wilson’s “I quite sugar” book. Thanks Sarah for this tasty recipe.

8 week “Summer Shape Up” Programme

Due to popular demand, I’ve extended my offer on the 8 week “Summer Shape Up” programme until the end of August 2014. It’s €199 until 31/08/14 and €239 thereafter. This is ideally suited to anyone who wants to shape up the healthy way and the aim is for long term weight loss, better health and well-being.

I’m based in Kilkenny city on the Waterford Rd, close to The Springhill Clinic. If you would like further info on what’s involved in the 8 week programme, just email caroline@discovernutrition.ie or call 087 1266525 and I can send you on a one page outline with full details.
You can also find details on my facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverNutritionKilkenny?ref=hl#!/DiscoverNutritionKilkenny

Hummus and Aubergine Smash

Thanks to Domini Kemp for sharing this recipe which I immediately liked for it’s nutritious ingredients.

Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fiber and this recipe works well as a lunchtime option because it’s full of protein from the chickpeas helping to keep you fuller for longer.  You also won’t get that post lunch slump as it’s very low in carbohydrates and a low carb option is good too if you want to loose some weight. Research has also found aubergines to be high in an anthocyanin flavonoid called nasunin – a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, it helps to protect our cell membranes from damage!

This recipe serves two so I made it one evening to have the following day for lunch. It was so yummy I had it two days in a row! No need to heat, I found it fine served cold.

Ingredients (for 2)

1 aubergine, sliced into 1 cm-thick rounds
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
half tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin seeds 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas 4
  2. Brush the aubergine well with olive oil, season and sprinkle with half the rosemary and the garlic.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and just tender, making sure to turn them halfway through.
  4. Blitz half the cooked aubergines together with half the chickpeas in a blender with olive oil, the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if it’s not tangy enough.
  5. Meanwhile, roast the remainder of the chickpeas in the oven with the cumin, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, for about 10 – 15 minutes.

To serve: place a generous blob of the smash on top of the sliced, cooked aubergine and sprinkle with the oven-roasted chickpeas.

How to loose weight (top 10 tips)

It wasn’t an easy task to condense these tips down to 10 and the list is in no particular order.

The clients whom I’ve had the pleasure in seeing at my nutrition and health clinic that embraced all of these tips, reached their weight loss target.

They also had a strong believe in, and an emotional connection to their weight loss goal.

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it,
I know I can achieve it.”

So here goes my Top 10 Tips

Tip 1
Cut out all junk / processed, or severely limit. Why? Well processed foods have lots of chemicals which the liver needs to filter. The liver also plays a role in breaking down fat. So if its too busy filtering chemicals, then it won’t break down fat as effectively and so fat will store in your body.

Also every cell in our body is made up of food and food talks to our genes (bad genes can be turned off and good genes turned on by the foods we eat) so start with a good whole foods diet with just some treats here and there. Every day eat at least 80 to 90% of your foods as real food. That means whole foods: so, fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, good quality oils, nuts and seeds, beans, and unrefined whole grains.

Tip 2
Review your lifestyle and link it to your need for stimulants that drive down energy reserves, leading to unhealthy food and lifestyle choices. In my clinical experience, it’s the people who live demanding lifestyles and try to pack too much into one day who struggle here. They need the stimulants to keep them going (e.g. coffee, cigarettes, high sugar snacks, high energy soft drinks, alcohol, – resulting in poor sleep patterns). The more stimulants the higher our blood sugars rise, and the higher they rise the lower they drop, so more stimulants are needed. It’s like you are on a blood sugar rollercoaster and can’t get off.

Tip 3
Forget calorie counting. Once you’ve learned what foods are healthy and nutritious just focus on portion sizes. As a general rule, remember the palm trick – your protein portion should measure no more than the size of your palm. Your vegetable portion should measure the size of your whole hand. Your carbohydrate portion should measure only the area of your fingers on one hand.

TIP 4
Eat little and often
This is something many lifelong dieters find hard to do. Crash dieting, starving yourself for most of the day and yo-yo diets all have one thing in common – they slow your metabolism right down. When you do finally sit down to eat, your body, thinking it was going through a famine, stores as much of the meal as it can as fat.

Tip 5
Eat protein with every meal and snack.
Protein has amino acids, the building blocks of protein. They are needed for all our body’s cells, muscles, bones, hair, skin and even hormones. Because your muscles are, in effect, made up of protein, if you want to maintain a healthy muscle mass, boost your metabolism and encourage fat loss, you need to ensure you are getting the right amount, and types of protein foods.

Tip 6
Full fat foods are good for you
Eating the right kind of fat is vital for optimal health.
Essential fats are needed for hormones, immune function, pain and inflammation reduction, blood sugar balancing – less energy dips, healthy heart and blood vessel function. Plus nerve cells are high in fat. Lots of low fat products are high in sugar so you are back on that blood sugar rollercoaster. Good fats keep you fuller for longer so you will be less tempted to eat unhealthily. E.g. nuts and seeds, oily fish, nuts & seeds, cold pressed seed oils, avocado, olives.

Tip 7
Get organised
It takes planning to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cook dinners up in batches and freeze in single portion sizes. Prepare lunches the night before. Delegate household chores amongst the family. Keep lists, plan food for the week. Stock up on store cupboard essentials – herbs and spices essential to flavour wholesome unprocessed food.

Tip 8
Get moving. Exercise is not to be forgotten when focus is on loosing lots of body fat.
We need to exercise to burn fat, so for the average sedentary person who is 1 to 2 stone overweight exercise is key. If you are in the obese category, tendency is that your bones and joints are suffering, you may have osteoarthritis, diabetes plus numerous other health problems and so a specialised exercise and nutrition programme is needed. It’s important to find an activity that you enjoy, to boost even further those feel good hormones so you can stay motivated to keep up your new health regime!

Tip 9
Eat mindfully. Turn off the T.V., don’t eat in a rush. Pay attention to what you eat and really enjoy each bite! This also means noticing when you are almost full and laying down your fork. By eating slowly you will also support your digestive system so it can easily breakdown your food and absorb the nutrients, needed for health and vitality.

Tip 10
Recognise negative thought patterns and link to over eating – try to turn negatives to positives. If you need some extra support in this area, try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The Cognitive-Behavioural approach or school of thought holds that virtually all emotional and behavioural problems directly stem from confused thinking. It pays particular attention to the role that cognitions (or thoughts) play in the development and maintenance of peoples’ behavioural and emotional problems.

Client feedback
Check out some feedback on this link from star clients of mine (female, aged 38 and female age 33) whose hard work paid off. They followed these tips and were delighted to achieve their weight loss goals!
http://www.discovernutrition.ie/feedback.php

If you would like to follow my 8 weight loss programme,
that is one-to-one and personalised to you, just get in touch and I can explain what’s involved.

Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist BA (Hons) DipNT mNTOI
087 1266525 or 056 7780658

Homemade chocolate treats (gluten & dairy free!)

These are gluten free, wheat free, dairy free and still yummy!! They definitely satisfy my chocolate cravings!

They also pack a wonderful punch of health benefits! Raw Virgin Organic Coconut Oil has countless benefits that include helping with weight loss, acting as a natural anti-fungal, reducing inflammation, and countless more benefits listed here: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

And Raw Cacao is another super food that provides your body with antioxidant flavonoids, more magnesium than any other known food, and many more feel good benefits listed here: http://livesuperfoods.com/raw-cacao-powder.html

Quick and easy to make, takes less than 10 minutes.  Makes approx 12 chocolates and 2 are enough to satisfy those choc cravings!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw cocoa powder (e.g. The Raw chocolate company or Natasha’s both available in health food shops)
  • ½ cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of ground hazelnuts (I used the roasted ones from health food shop but you can use any type)
  • 1 pinch of Himalyan crystal salt
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a pan
  2. When melted,whisk in all other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour into ice cube moulds, sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  4. Put into freezer for half an hour until set.
  5. Take out and enjoy!

Like  https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverNutritionKilkenny?ref=hl for lots more nutrition and health tips!

Is there a cure for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?

Is there a cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal health condition that I come across in my nutrition & health clinic. I know it far too well as I was personally diagnosed with it by a gastroenterologist in 2008. Not happy just to live with the symptoms I was keen to find a route to reaching my optimum health.

The news you might not want to hear is that there is no quick and easy magic cure for IBS. However there are many routes to explore to get to the root cause and if you get there, you will learn so much more about how to reduce the risk and prevent the flair up of symptoms. The changes are nutrition and lifestyle based and once embraced, will really benefit your overall health, joy in living and longevity.

So what is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
It is characterized by recurrent irritation and inflammation of the large intestine, resulting in abdominal bloating and pain that is relieved by bowel movements.

Cause/Risk factors

  • Disturbed bacterial microflora as a result of antibiotic or antacid usage
  • Laxative abuse
  • Stress and emotional conflict that results in anxiety or depression
  • Food intolerance
  • Carbohydrate maldigestion &/or malabsorption
  • Disease promoting diet
  • Refined sugar intake – leading to bacterial overgrowth
  • Stress – disrupts digestive enzymes that are released to breakdown food
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Genetic link
  • Candida
  • Parasites
  • Metabolic disorders, such as adrenal insufficiency, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism
  • Mechanical causes, such as fecal impaction.

As you can see from the above list, many of these causes are interrelated, and often there’s no single root cause of IBS. Because getting to the root can be complex, I recommend that you find a Nutritional Therapist in your area to help uncover the root cause and support you through the various stages to help you reach optimum health. I’m a fully qualified and experienced Nutritional Therapist based in Kilkenny city. I also do skype consultations for clients who may not wish to travel.

NB. It’s important that you have consulted your GP first to properly diagnose IBS and to rule out any other condition that may mimic IBS e.g. cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Cramp like pain in the middle or to one side of the lower abdomen
  • Pain usually relieved with bowel movements
  • Loose or more frequent painful bowel movements
  • Diarrhea or constipation, usually alternating
  • Symptoms of upset stomach: flatulence, nausea, loss of appetite
  • Headache, backache
  • Rectal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Varying degrees of anxiety or depression
  • Excessive secretion of colonic mucus

Did you know?
A Nutritional Therapist can recommend and interpret the following functional tests (to help uncover the root cause of your IBS symptoms). The type of test recommended is based on a comprehensive review of your health history, current diet and symptoms.
– Comprehensive Stool Analysis + Comprehensive Parasitology
– Small intestinal bowl overgrowth (SIBO) test
– Food intolerance tests
– Adrenal stress tests

Preventative Measures

  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and simple sugars (refined foods)
  2. Get adequate sleep (8 hours nightly). Poor sleep quality correlates with an increase in both the severity and frequency of IBS symptoms
  3. Don’t smoke.
  4. Learn to deal with stress constructively. Meditate, pray, learn stress reduction techniques, exercise. Take the time to discover which practices help and build them into a lifestyle to improve your overall health.
  5. Choose a health-promoting diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods.
  6. Under supervision of a Nutritional Therapist, identify and eliminate allergenic foods as the majority of patients with IBS have at least one food allergy. It is also important to follow a protocol to heal the gut lining once foods are removed so that the immune & digestive system can be restored to optimum health and where possible the foods can then be re-introduced. Nutritional Therapists are well trained to support here.
  7. FODMAPs help but are they the solution? FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-,Di and Mono-saccharides, and Polyols) are a collection of molecules in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. If these molecules are incompletely digested they can be fermented by gut bacteria causing some of the main symptoms of IBS(1). It is accepted as an effective treatment for IBS and provides relief for about 75% of patients (2) but the effect is reversed with re-introduction. So is this getting to the root cause or just a sticky plaster? A nutritional therapist is trained to look for the root cause as mentioned earlier.
  8. Eat 4 hours before bedtime sleep and no later.

For a comprehensive nutrition and health consultation, contact
Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist Kilkenny, BA DipNT, mNTOI
On 087 1266525 or 056 7780658

1. Gibson R & Shepherd S Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2010;25.
2. Rangnekar AS et al Gastroenterology 2009;137

Food Allergy and Food Intolerances

Image

What is food intolerance?
Although not life threatening like food allergy, food intolerance should never be underestimated as its impact on sufferers can be significant, severely impacting on their ability to live normal healthy lives. Food intolerance is extremely widespread and it is estimated that 45% of the population could be affected*. Many people with food intolerance experience more than one symptom. Symptoms can often be vague and the root cause of the problem, food, is not always correctly diagnosed. Sufferers often complain of seeming to be in a ‘fog’, feeling bloated and being tired all the time.

When foods and drinks are digested the proteins within them are broken down into smaller fragments for easy absorption by the body. However larger fragments can sometimes pass through without breaking down, and sometimes our body reacts to them as though they are invaders – attacking them with antibodies also known as “immunoglobulins (IgG)”. Over time, the antibodies may form immune complexes, which can become deposited in joints, tissues and organs, leading to inflammation and a wide spread of the symptoms that are seen in food intolerance, including headaches, digestive problems, IBS, bloating, itchy skin, joint pain, weight gain and low mood to name but a few.

Food intolerance symptoms often develop within 24 to 76 hours after eating the food, which is why it can be difficult to identify the specific food trigger.

*according to the leading medical charity Allergy UK

What is Food allergy?
A classical food allergy (such as peanut or shellfish allergy) is usually characterised by an immediate and often severe reaction of the immune system to exposure to a specific food.

The symptoms of food allergy include sneezing, rashes, skin irritation, swelling, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting. Normally symptoms occur within a few minutes of eating or coming in to contact with the offending food, although they can be delayed by up to two hours.

Food allergy is quite rare with only about 2.5% of the population being diagnosed with the condition. The most common instances of food allergy are to peanuts, tree nuts (almonds and brazils), eggs, milk, fish and shellfish.
When exposed to the source of food allergy the body makes specific antibodies (IgE) to ‘fight off’ the allergens found in these foods. When the food is next eaten it triggers an immune system response which results in the release of histamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the body. Allergic reactions to food can vary considerably in their severity and some can be fatal.

Food intolerance test

Process for a food intolerance test
This is a simple finger prick blood test where the sample can be taken in your own home or at my nutrition clinic. The sample is then posted back to the Lorisian laboratory (in a pre-paid envelope) where it is tested and analysed for IgG antibody reactions to a maximum of 150 food and drink ingredients.

The test is a laboratory analysed test. It is hospital standard and clinically validated. Results are available within 10 working days on receipt of sample. Included with your results is a 12 week food diary and support guide book. Colour coded test results highlight foods you need to avoid, limit or enjoy.

Quality of test results
False positive results are the biggest challenge for test providers. Lorisian use a proprietary formulation during the ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) test manufacturing process in order to block non-specific binding (false positive results).

The ELISA method detects circulating antibodies, which recognise and bind to purified food antigens. This method is used extensively in immunology and biochemistry.

They have data sets supporting a reproducibility of greater than 98%. This is achieved by using consistent and controlled manufacturing processes and operating procedures. Reproducibility performance is supported with regular routine quality control checks.

4 Options to choose from
1) Lorisian 50 (€149) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 50 food ingredients
2) Lorisian 75 (€199) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 75 food ingredients
3) Lorisian 100 (€249) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 100 food ingredients
4) Lorisian 150 (€299) – analyses your IgG antibody reaction to 150 food ingredients

To order a test call Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist at Discover Nutrition
on 087 1266525 or 056 7780658

Survey results

An independent customer survey conducted by AllergyUK(2007), carried out on 5,286 people – the results were then divided into patient groups and the findings are summarised below.

Main Medical Condition Reported % of People who reported moderate to high benefit
Gastro-intestinal e.g. IBS, bloating etc 80%
Respiratory e.g.   Asthma, breathing difficulties, Rhinitis 72%
Neurological e.g. Migraine, headaches 78%
Dermatological e.g. eczema, acne, psoriasis 76%
Musculo-skeletal e.g. Arthritis, Rheumatism 64%
Psychological e.g. depression, ADHD, Panic attacks 81%
Others e.g. tired all the time,   general feeling of malaise 79%

Optional (30 minute, follow on consultation for €30)
Following your results you have the option of a full one to one consultation with Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist and owner of Discover Nutrition to support symptoms and provide support in making dietary changes. If more than one food intolerance is detected then you may wish to follow guidance from a Nutritional Therapist who is trained in a protocol to help heal the gut lining so that the persons digestive system fully heals.  If a number of food intolerances exist then this may be a sign of what’s termed “leaky gut syndrome”, and a Nutritional Therapist can provide advice to support. This is done under the supervision of a Nutritional Therapist through removing the offending foods, replacing the foods with nutritious alternatives, and re-inoculating and repairing the gut lining. After a period of time the foods are re-introduced to monitor if symptoms return.

Further Reading….

All our immune systems are not the same
With an efficient immune response (i.e. a healthy person), the half-life of an immune complex (formed over time from antibodies) may be a few minutes which may NOT elicit symptoms.
However, an overload of antigen or poor immunity, will lead to deposits in joints, tissues and organs that maybe responsible for many of the symptoms that are seen in food intolerances.

The Role of IgG
One study assessed IgG levels in 114 patients with a history of delayed food allergies i.e. food intolerances*
An elimination diet based on these results, produced a 71% overall success rate.
In a sub group of these patients with chronic symptoms previously unresponsive to therapy – 20% experienced 100% relief.

*DixonHS. Treatment of delayed food allergy based on specific immunoglobulin G RAST Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 Jul;123:48-54.

 

 

 

 

 

Food intolerance testing and advice

I offer food intolerance testing that is hospital standard, involving a pin prick blood test. Prices start from €149 for 50 foods.  More info to follow shortly. In the meantime if you have any queries, just give me a call on 087 1266525 or 056 7780658.

2 healthy tips for the year ahead

This afternoon I briefly covered these two tips on the John Masterson Saturday brunch show on KCLR96fm. Here they are in more detail.

Tip 1 – “Ditch the sugar habit!”
Sugar is the new tobacco, it’s highly addictive and I’d recommend it as the number one food to reduce in 2014. Most of the people I see in my nutrition clinic have cravings for sugar. There is more and more evidence coming out about sugar sweetened foods being linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can even lower your immune system by up to 50%. So if you get lots of colds and flu, watch this space!

How much sugar do we consume?
A typical person consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar a day and some adults have as many as 46!* The maximum intake recommended by the World Health Organisation is 10 and last month they indicated that this maybe lowered to 5 teaspoons a day. So we really need to become aware of the types of foods that have high amounts of sugar.

Where is it found?
Processed foods e.g. cereals, canned foods, microwaved foods, drinks, cakes, sweets, chocolate bars and even foods labelled as healthy!
So if you have cereal for breakfast check out the food label. Approx 4g sugar = 1 teaspoon.
– A 30g serving of of frosties has 4 teaspoons of sugar.
– Some nutri-grain cereal bars have 4.5 teaspoons.
A healthier option might be to go for porridge, shredded wheat, wheatabix, oatabix or sugar free muesli with some berries for added sweetness and a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you really need a bit of sweetness add just 1 teaspoon of sugar and then eventually replace with 1 teaspoon of honey.
– Even some zero fat yoghurts can have 5 teaspoons of sugar.
– Hot drinking chocolate can have 6 teaspoons.
– You might be surprised how much sugar is in these drinks – a small carton of Ribena and Capri Sun 200ml pouches have 5 teaspoons!

What can I take to help reduce sugar cravings?
If you do have sugar cravings – two tips to help reduce them are to 1) add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your low sugar cereal or porridge or 2) take a mineral supplement called “chromium”. They both help to bring glucose into your cells so that it’s not left floating around in the blood causing blood sugar levels to rise.

Also follow a blood sugar balancing diet that a Nutritional Therapist can talk you through during a consultation.

Did you know?
Fructose, a sugar found in small quantities in fruit, is sweeter than glucose and often added to processed foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is the worst offender! It is easily converted to fat in our liver. Large amounts impair our ability to control our weight.
High fructose corn syrup is much cheaper to produce than standard sugar so food manufacturers are adding it our foods. Keep an eye on those food labels!

The problem is that sugar is tasty and desirable and we eat lots of eat quickly. It doesn’t fill us up and the more we eat the more our blood sugars rise, the more they rise the lower they drop which leads to a dip in energy levels so you crave more to give you the energy lift. It’s like you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster.

Eating too much sugar can switch off a hormone called leptin that sends a message from our gut to our brain to say that we are full. So we end up eating more than we should and gain weight.

Tip 2 – “Go Green

Aim to include more green leafy and cruciferous vegetables in your diet. Aim for at least 2 servings a day. E.g. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, kale, bok choy, alfalfa sprouts. I’m a big fan of Kale, it’s nutritious, filling and very easy to cook. What seems like boring green veg can be made tastier by adding spices and natural flavours. Check out a nice Kale salad recipe on my facebook page “Discover Nutrition Kilkenny”. Or you might be converted to a lover of brussel sprouts if you try out the “Chinese brussel sprouts” recipe on my blog at discovernutrition.ie

Health benefits
Green vegetables are full of magnesium that provides energy to our cells, they also have calcium and iron. They are rich in chlorophyll that helps cleanse and detoxify the body.

They are alkalising and can help counter the over-acidity of many processed foods, sugar and alcohol. A body that is very acidic encourages disease. Good to have lots of greens in your diet at this time of year, especially after the Christmas when we’ve indulged in lots of acidic foods like sugar and alcohol and caffeine.

Green juice option
If you really can’t face eating green foods then you could try having them in a juice. I have a great “Body cleanse” juice – perfect for this time of year on my blog at discovernutrition.ie

It includes some fruit to add a bit of sweetness so perfect for the first time juicer. You can also add a teaspoon of a powdered super food like Spirulina (one of the most nutrient rich foods, high in protein and iron), Chlorella, barley grass or wheat grass to give that extra boost. These powdered super foods can be found in your local health store.

Wishing you a happy and healthy year ahead!

*US-UK Campaign group “Action on Sugar” study

“Body cleansing” green juice

It is generally considered better to use more vegetable rather than fruit in combinations juices. Fruit juices tend to be more acidic and have a higher sugar content which can cause energy imbalances, strain the kidneys, plus weaken the enamel on our teeth!
Vegetable juices (especially green) cleanse the blood, alkalise the system and also encourage liver detoxification. Perfect for this time of year as a gentle detox after the Christmas season.

The recipes below make up 500ml, just bigger than a pint glass.

Body cleanser

  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 ¼ beetroot chopped
  • 2 broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 ½ carrots, chopped
  • ½ celery stalk, chopped
  • ¼ courgette, chopped
  • ¼ cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cm of ginger, peeled and  chopped
  • A handful of kale
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • A handful of parsley
  • A handful of spinach

Place all the ingredients in a juicer and pour over ice.

Pure Green Super Juice (not for the first time juicer! more for the experienced one)

  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • Handful of kale
  • Handful of spinach
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder

Place all the ingredients in a juicer and pour over ice.

Chinese Brussel sprouts

Bored with plain boiled sprouts! Try pepping them up Chinese-style with this unusual stir-fried method.
They are an excellent source of folic acid, vitamins C and K, and beta-carotene. Sprouts are also a very good source of vitamin B6, fibre, thiamine and potassium. Plus they have numerous cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

Ingredients (serves 4)
450g/1 lb Brussel sprouts
5ml/1 tsp sesame oil or olive oil
2 spring onions, sliced
2.5ml/ ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
15ml/1 tbsp light soy sauce

Method
1.Trim the Brussel sprouts, then shred them finely using a large sharp knife or a food processor.
2.Heat the oil and add the sprouts and spring onions. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, without allowing the mixture to brown.
3.Stir in the five-spice powder and soy sauce, then cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes until just tender. Serve hot.

Thanks to Cathy a client of mine who kindly shared this recipe.

Healthy lunch box ideas for school children

It’s hard to believe the summer is officially over now the children are back to school. A summer of glorious sunshine, an outdoor lifestyle to keep the young ones entertained, sure we can’t complain! But often with summer holidays the healthy regimes tend to go by the wayside, so it’s time now to get into health mode again as we change into the Autumn season.

So why not start with preparing some nutritious immune boosting meals for your school children’s lunch box.

The foods to concentrate on in your school-age child’s diet are:

  • protein
  • complex carbohydrates and fibre
  • and plenty of antioxidants.

All of which will help to maintain an even blood sugar level to help with concentration & mood, and to sustain energy levels throughout the day. This will also help to boost immune function, preventing colds and germs from developing and spreading to all in sundry!

One week of easy, healthy lunch box ideas

Monday: Wholemeal pitta pocket with hummus (see recipe below) and cucumber. Carrot stick. Snack bar (see recipe below). Water bottle.
Tuesday: Chicken, basil, sweetcorn and peas mixed with flaxseed oil and wholegrain pasta. Water bottle.
Wednesday: Couscous salad (see recipe below). Flapjack, banana. Water bottle.
Thursday: Wholemeal baguette chunk filled with mashed egg, grated cheese and salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, grated carrot). Tub of favourite fruit pieces. Water bottle.
Friday: Salad (as above) with chopped turkey, olive oil dressing, and 1 or 2 slices of wholegrain McAmbridges bread on the side. Plain live organic yoghurt with berries added. Water bottle.

Note: I have opted for water above as opposed to milk and suggest including a glass of milk with breakfast instead, as it has protein. As the school day is a long one its best to start the day with a good amount of protein e.g. milk (if there are no food allergies or intolerances to it) and a good breakfast like boiled egg on toast, peanut/almond butter on toast, porridge with some grounds seeds or oatabix/wheatabix and milk. If you include milk at lunchtime you may run the risk of your child being too full and not eating the essential nutrients they will get from their lunch box. If you want them to have another glass of milk save it for when they get home from school & include with a healthy snack.

Unsweetened pure fruit juice is another healthy drink option to have occasionally, just make sure it is diluted with plenty of water (1 part juice to 4-5 parts water).

Hummus (serves 2 adults, 2 children)
 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
 1 tin cooked chickpeas (no sugar, no salt variety)
 2 cloves garlic, peeled
 1 tablespoon light tahini
 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a pestle and mortar, grind up the cumin seeds to a fine powder. Put all the ingredients in a liquidiser or food processor and whizz up together until smooth. Drizzle a little more olive oil if it is too thick.

Serve with cucumber/carrot/celery sticks or strips of red and yellow peppers, pitta bread fingers or plain tortilla chips.

Pineapple and grape sticks
You’ll need
 a packet of cocktail sticks
 two slices of pineapples into chunks
 a handful of seedless grapes

Put a grape and a chunk of pineapple on a cocktail stick and arrange several on a plate.

Roasted nut and vegetable couscous
(always good to have a vegetarian option and include at least once a week, this is packed full of all-important essential fatty acids)

Serves 2 adults and 2 children
 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
 4 courgettes
 5 small aubergines
 1 red pepper
 1 green pepper
 2 red onions, peeled
 4 cloves garlic, peeled
 3-4 fresh cherry tomatoes
 A hanful of basil
 2 portions of cooked couscous
 1 litre stock made from low-salt Marigold swiss vegetable bouillon powder
 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
 A handful chopped parsley
 2 handfuls chopped walnuts or cashews or sunflower and pumpkin seeds, lightly roasted.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C/425 degrees F/Gas 7. Chop the vegetables but leave the garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes whole. Place on a baking tray, scatter with shredded basil and cover lightly with olive oil. Bake for 1 hour until brown around the edges and sticky. Soak the couscous in the hot vegetable stock for 5 minutes, then drain and pile in a large flat serving dish. Add the poppy seeds and parsley for colour. Pile the vegetables on top, and sprinkle with the roasted nuts and seeds over the top of everything.

Healthy snack bar
Ingredients:
• 100g jumbo oats
• 50g quinoa flakes
• 100g sultanas (or 50g sultanas, 50g goji berries)
• 30g unsulphured apricots
• 30g desiccated coconut
• 50g each of sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds
• 1 banana and/ or 1 punnet raspberries (or any other berries) OR 4 tablespoons apple concentrate

Quinoa flakes, unsulphured apricots, desiccated coconut all available from your local health food store.

Method:
1. Soak the fruit in boiling water for approx 20-30 mins, drain
2. Mix jumbo oats and quinoa flakes together
3. Blend seeds in a blender, add millet/rice/jumbo oats, quinoa flakes, desiccated coconut, drained fruit and continue to blend until mixture is firmish
4. Add fruit or apple concentrate and combine for 30 more secs. Press onto greaseproof paper lined baking tray and place in oven for 20 mins at 180c until lightly golden
5. Cool and store in airtight container. If fresh fruit used – store container in the fridge.

Heart health risk assessments

Heart disease develops in silence, over many years and is usually very advanced by the time people experience any symptoms.

But did you know that up to 80% of the incidence of Heart Disease can be prevented through modifying risk factors like your diet and lifestyle.

If you are over 35 years of age, or you have an issue with cholesterol, blood pressure, angina, fatigue, chest pain, poor circulation, have diabetes or have a family history of heart disease, then why not consider a heart health risk assessment that is non invasive, quick and affordable.

The assessment uses Pulse wave analysis technology that is clinically proven to measure your Central Aortic Systolic blood pressure (CASP) and is 99% as accurate as an angiogram. CASP is a strong risk factor for heart attacks, and reducing this can reduce your risk. It also measures arterial stiffness (augmentation index), heart rhythm and standard blood pressure.

It is non-invasive, a cuff is simply applied to your upper bear arm, taking readings from your left and right arm, and takes less than 15 minutes. The cost is €15.

To book an appointment, just call Caroline Seale, Nutritional Therapist at Discover Nutrition on 087 1266525 or 056 7780658.

Please note that 4 hours prior to test you will need to avoid the following:
Smoking, coffee or any caffeinated beverages, food, exercise, alcohol or any non steroid anti inflammatory drugs or antihistamines. It is fine to drink water.

Disclaimer: We do not offer diagnosis or medical intervention and suggest clients refer to their physician where assessments indicate abnormalities such as higher than average blood pressure or higher than average central aortic blood pressure, a high pulse rate or an irregular heartbeat.

Coconut and lentil Dhal with toasted almonds

This is my favourite lentil dish! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. Once you have stocked up on all the spices & herbs, it’s just lentils, coconut milk and some veg.
Try this dish on a meat free Monday. Lentils are an excellent source of cholesterol lowering fibre. Not only do they help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood sugar levels since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. This way you stay fuller for longer and avoid those sugary snack cravings.

Ingredients (4 people)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2.5cm/1 in fresh root ginger, grated
2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup red split lentils (soak for an hour before cooking)
2/3 cups of water
2/3 cups of coconut milk (or half bar organic creamed coconut)
5 tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onion for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, carrot, cumin and mustard seeds, and
2. ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring until the seeds being to pop and the carrot softens slightly.
3. Stir in the ground tumeric, chilli powder and garam masala, and cook for 1 minute or until the flavours begin to mingle, stirring to prevent the spices burning.
4. Add the lentils, water, coconut milk and tomatoes, and season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking.
5. Stir in the lime juice and 3 tbsp of the fresh coriander, and then check the seasoning. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the lentils soften and become tender. To serve, sprinkle with the remaining coriander and the flaked almonds.

Serving suggestions: basmati, wild rice or quinoa

Probiotics offer potential treatment for eczema & allergies in children

Have you noticed the increase in children with eczema?
Did you know that probiotics can help to reduce the incidence of eczema & allergic reactions developing?

Most children develop allergic sensitivity in the first 2 years of life. If a child is diagnosed with atopic eczema during this time, then there is a great than 50% likelihood of progressing to develop asthma by the age of 12.

Key factors that contribute to this include the mothers predisposition to allergies, whopping cough, immunisation and antibiotic use. If there is maternal allergy it increases risk of allergy from 22 to 32%. Use of antibiotics before 2 years old is an even greater risk, increasing to an overall 38%. And a combination of all factors gives an overall risk factor of 67%[1].

What’s interesting about this is the role of antibiotics. Antibotics destroy all microflora (bacteria) both good and bad. We need a balance of microflora, the right type and the right amount for a healthy immune system and to help prevent it becoming “allergic”. The health of the mothers gut and microflora also play a role to ensure that adequate amounts are passed onto the infant. Research has shown that supplementing with probiotics can help to promote the correct development of the immune system and potentially lower the risk of allergy. Studies from 1998, 2001, 2007, 2009 and 2012 have revealed this.

A recent (2012) large, well-designed study revealed that those who took the Lab4b strain of probiotic were 57% less likely to develop allergic eczema that those receiving the dummy product and 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to the common allergens including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite. In this study half of the mothers took 10 billion of the Lab4b probiotic per day during the last trimester and then gave the same probiotic to their newborn babies every day for 6 months following birth [2].

Biocare is a good quality brand regularly recommended by Nutritional Therapists. They have a product called “AnteNatal BioFlora” – a new specialised probiotic for use by women during pregnancy and it contains LAB4B. They also stock “Baby BioFlora” which has LAB4B and is suitable from birth.

Top tip from Discover Nutrition: avoid any hot drinks when taking your probiotic supplement as hot drinks can kill the probiotic microorganisms.

For regular updates just Like ‘Discover Nutrition‘ on facebook.

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1. Farooqi & Hopkin (1998) Early childhood infection and atopic disorder. Thorax 53:927-932

2. Allen SJ et al (2012) Probiotics and atopic eczema: a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood 97: Suppl 1 A2

Post Christmas Detox Tips…

It’s that time of year when we feel sluggish, bloated, tired and run down after indulging ourselves over the festive season.  This can cause our liver to become overburdened as it has to work hard to break down and get rid of toxins as well as performing many of its other tasks.

The liver is a very important organ in the body and multi-tasks, performing over 500 metabolic functions. As a result its function has an incredibly important impact on our health. The following are the liver’s main functions:

  • Breaking down and eliminating toxins (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, high meat diets, saturated and damaged fats, processed foods, recreational and medicinal drugs, cigarette smoke, pesticides and fertilisers found on non-organic foods etc.).
  • Breaking down and eliminating excess hormones
  • Balancing blood sugar – if the liver is overworked and then fails to balance blood sugar levels, it can lead to chronic fatigue, sugar cravings, weight gain and ultimately diabetes.
  • Producing bile – helps digestion by breaking down fat and removing excess cholesterol.
  • Storing nutrients – such as iron, copper, vitamins A, B12, D, E and K.

To help rejuvenate your liver, feed it with what it loves!

  • Rehydrate and drink fluids regularly such as water, raw juices and teas (green tea, herbal tea is fine). Aim for 1 litre of fluid daily to help avoid constipation problems and help your kidneys to eliminate the toxins that the liver has broken down. Filtered water is preferable. Be careful not to over-hydrate.
  • Have a tablespoon of ground seeds (e.g. flaxseeds, sunflower seeds) every day.
  • Have a serving of cruciferous vegetables every day: broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower.
  • Sulphur up your diet with garlic, onions, shallots or spring onions every day to help supply nutrients to the sulphation chemical pathway in your liver allowing your body to process toxins through this pathway better.
  • Eat artichokes – they have compounds that increase bile flow
  • Juicing
  • Exercise; alternating your choice and keep stretched
  • Steam fry or steam your vegetables

Top detox tips

  • Eat nothing unless it will spoil or rot and eat it before it does!
  • SWEAT- with exercise, steam rooms and sauna.
  • Use organic cosmetics and household cleaning products where possible.
  • Increase amount of fibre in your diet to speed up the passage of toxins out of the bowels and reduce the ability of these toxins to re-circulate back to the liver.
  • Use the 80/20 rule – eat healthy 80% of the time.
  • Let go and deal with past regrets, upsets and disappointments. Don’t hold onto stuff that doesn’t serve you in the right direction.
  • Mind Body check everyday using breathing methods.
  • Make skin brushing part of your daily habit
  • Eat organic where possible
  • Avoid stimulants past 12pm
  • Watch the sweet tooth and avoid refined white sugar, fizzy drinks, cakes and biscuits made with refined sugars.
  • Make your own food and keep organised
  • Reduce alcohol and if drinking drink water too…. Best choices clean spirits, sulphite free red wine or champagne.
  • Avoid refined sugar and watch the so called ‘healthy choices’. If you do have a treat have an extra glass of water with lemon.

Build in some relaxation to your life and help detoxify your mind.
Relaxation tips

  • Morning stretches or meditation
  • Focusing your mind on your breathing
  • Rationalize your thought process on a situation that maybe irritating you
  • Walk in the fresh air
  • Try Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Lavender oil on a piece of tissue paper or use in Epsom salt baths
  • Time for yourself
  • Massage
  • Avoiding anxious situations
  • Writing your thoughts or to do lists
  • Go to bed by 10pm
  • Steam rooms & saunas
  • Spend time with friends
  • Plan breaks from your routine/holiday

If you would like a full nutrition and health consultation, book an appointment with me today. Just call 0871266525 or email caroline@discovernutrition.ie

 

 

Arthritis Ireland Info Evening Wed 24th Oct 2012 at Hotel Kilkenny

The newly established Arthritis Ireland Kilkenny Branch are hosting an evening this Wednesday with guest speakers: Mr Stuart Edwards, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, and Siobhan O’Doherty, Chartered Physiotherapist. The focus of the talk will be on Joint Replacement and Rehabilitation.

You will also get the chance to meet with local health professionals in the areas of Physiotherapy, Nutritional Therapy and Acupuncture.

If you are interested in finding out more about how nutrition can help to reduce the pain and inflammation that arthritis causes, please drop in this Wednesday evening. I will be on hand to explain the benefits of a personalised natural nutrition plan, and what’s involved in a Nutritional Therapy consultation.

Look forward to meeting with you then.

Date: Wednesday 24th October 2012
Venue: City Suite, Hotel Kilkenny
Time: Doors open 6.30pm, Speakers: 7.15pm

Stress and its negative effect on health

We all need a bit of stress in our lives to give us that get up and go, and to motivate us to get things done. Some people can handle more stress than others. However ONGOING STRESS is not good for our health.


For example, it can deplete nutrient levels like B vitamins, needed for energy and brain health. It can reduce our good bacteria which in turn weakens our digestion. It can temporarily shuts down our immune and digestive systems. It increases the release of glucose and fatty acides into the bloodsteam. Stress is a stimulant and too much will shoot up our blood sugar levels leading to those energy dips during the day and then cravings for sugar & sweet things to keep us going.

If you would like an information sheet on ways to help reduce or manage stress in your life, just drop an email to caroline@discovernutrition.ie

 

Tips on how to buy healthy food

Yesterday morning on the Sue Nunn show on KCLR, I shared some of these tips with their listeners – all part of the Irish Times/Pfizer Healthy towns initiative which is on here in Kilkenny until the 11th November 2012.

12 Tips on how to buy healthy food

1. Have a plan – create a weekly meal plan based on eating well around the four food groups: vegetables and fruit, whole-grain products, lower-fat dairy products and lean meats & fish.

2. Make a list – use your meal plan to making a grocery shopping list. Organize your shopping list by grouping items that are found in the same area of the store.

3. Don’t shop when hungry! An empty tummy often results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest!

4. Focus your time in the fresh food areas
Spend most of your time shopping in the outer aisles where you’ll find all the fresh foods i.e. bread, fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy. The inner aisles are usually full of processed foods, which you want to avoid.

5. Enjoy plenty of vegetables and fruit
Choose the most colorful fruits and vegetables, the more varied the colors, the better. The colors reflect the different vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content of each fruit or vegetable.

6. Choose whole grain foods
When choosing whole-grain cereals, aim for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving, and the less sugar, the better.
Look for the words whole grain, whole wheat flour, whole rye, whole oat or oatmeal, whole corn, whole barley, etc., at the beginning of the ingredient list on packaged grain products and choose grain products that are low in fat, sugar and salt.

7. Oils and Fats
Consume in small amounts. Choose 2 servings per day. 1 portion = 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp spread. Mayonnaise and salad dressings count towards oil intake. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated spreads and oils which are lower in saturated fat (olive, rapeseed, sunflower, corn), however don’t overuse as they are still high in fat!

8. Select lean meat and alternatives
Buy leaner meats (with fat trimmed and poultry with skin removed) and enjoy alternatives such as beans and lentils. Eat at least two servings of oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines each week. Avoid battered fish. Buy low sodium canned beans or try dried beans, peas and lentils.

9. Dairy foods (milk, cheese, yoghurts)
Choose milk and yoghurts more often that cheese due to its high fat content. Avoid fruit yoghurts due to added sugar – instead add berries to the yoghurt.

10. Limit food and drink choices that are less healthy
Food and drinks that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt (sodium) should be limited but can be enjoyed at times. These include cakes and pastries, chocolate and candies, cookies and granola bars, doughnuts and muffins, ice cream and frozen desserts, french fries, potato chips, nachos and other salty snacks, alcohol, fruit flavoured drinks, soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and sweetened hot or cold drinks. Beware of salt hidden in processed meats – limit salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, sausages and smoked salmon.

11. Read the food labels
Choose nutritious products with less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium. Look for the number of grams of sugar on a label – 4 grams is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. If possible buy foods that contain 5 grams or less.

Look for sugars in all its different forms on the label. A variety of different versions of refined sugars are often used to trick you into thinking that there is not much sugar in the product. Here are some of the different versions of refined sugar – cane sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, date sugar, grape sugar, glucose, sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, dextran, dextrose, sorbitol, corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, barley malt, caramel, carob syrup and sorghum syrup.

12. And finally….avoid any UFO’s!!
Unidentified food objects – things with artificial, unpronounceable ingredients

Delicious immune boosting autumn soup!

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is now in season, rich in antioxidant Vitamin C to support immune system and full of fibre for good digestion. It’s also a good source of B vitamins to boost those energy levels! If you don’t fancy the squash suggest swapping it for pumpkin.

Serves 6
Ingredients
2 butternut squash (about 3.5 lbs) peeled, halved, deseeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup onion, chopped
3 tblsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tblsp fresh ginger root peeled and grated
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tsp fresh nutmeg grated
stock cube (or even better 4 tsp Marigold Reduced Salt Vegetable Bouillon powder – available in health food shops and some supermarkets)
Sea salt
freshly milled black pepper

Method

  • Put the squash into a large saucepan and put in enough water to cover.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  • Drain the squash and reserve the liquid.
  • Saute the onion in the oil gently until soft.
  • Add the ginger, apple, nutmeg and squash and cook for one minute, stirring all the time.
  • Add enough water to the reserved cooking liquid to make up 750ml
  • Add the liquid and stock to the squash mixture and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Liquidise with a hand blender.
  • Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Tip for preparing the squash: remove the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Use a sharp kitchen knife to then cut into ½ inch pieces. It’s really worth investing in a sharp knife and will make life so much easier!

The health benefits of Tumeric

So how can you introduce this to your meals?
Simply add it to water when cooking rice, quinoa. Add a teaspoon to hummous, add it to your stir fries, curry dishes and soups. Goes great with sweet potato or butternut squash soup.

Special Health Programmes Now available

“Low GL 12 week weight loss programme”
Emphasis on foods that keep you fuller for longer to avoid those energy dips and sugar cravings. Nutritious and tasty recipes, motivation and coaching, science based knowledge, NLP techniques to break lifetime habits. Learn how to change what you eat so that you not only shed those pounds but stay healthier for life. Consultation every week for 12 weeks.

“Digestive Wellness programme”
4 consultations over 4 months. Identify possible causes of your digestive problems. We are not just “what we eat” but “what we absorb from what we eat”. Advice given on foods to support healthy digestion and foods to avoid. Biochemical tests (e.g. food intolerance, comprehensive stool analysis) recommended if required* and results interpreted with follow-up protocol.

“Living Well with M.E.(Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”
6 to 12 month personalised programme (one session per month) that includes Nutrition & Lifestyle advice, Reiki energy healing, NLP techniques, guided meditation and health coaching. Biochemical tests* recommended if required. The programme aims to empower you with advice and support for living well and where possible recovering fully from CFS/ME.

For more details and information on consultation fees, just call me on 087 1266525.

*additional cost for tests

Kilkenny selected for Irelands first healthy town initiative

Events start on Monday 10th September

Having recently set up a nutrition clinic in Kilkenny, I’m delighted to see that Kilkenny has been selected as a pilot project to focus on improving the health of the local community.

Health checks for those interested in taking part in Kilkenny start next Monday 10th and take place over the next two weeks. Those who take part in a health check can follow an eight week programme and their results will be reviewed at the end to see what improvements they experienced.

This is a great community initiative and I would encourage anyone of any age to get involved and check out the event calendar on www.irishtimes.com/blogs/healthy-towns

Events set up range from city walks, cookery demos to advice from nutritionists, talks from Irish Heart Foundations and more.

The events start on Monday 10th September and run through to 11th November.

Tasty gluten free Quinoa salad

Quinoa is a grain and is a great alternative to pasta, rice or couscous and has many health benefits such as…

  • Excellent protein content – contains all the essential amino acids
  • More calcium that milk
  • Good quantities of fibre, iron, vitamin E and the anti-stress B vitamins
  • Higher essential fat content than other grains
  • Gluten free
  • Helps keep you fuller for longer

You can buy Quinoa in any health food shop and sometimes it’s found in the health food section of supermarkets.

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa (optional – add ½ tsp of tumeric spice to give colour to dish)
6 tomatoes
4 inch long piece of cucumber
2 cups of fresh parsley
2 cups of spring onions
Juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of fresh mint

Method
Bring quinoa to the boil in a saucepan of water. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 min, or until water has been absorbed. Finely chop the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and spring onions. Add lemon juice, oil, and mint to the tomatoes mixture. Stir in cooked quinoa. Mix well and chill before serving.