anxiety, blood pressure, Children, Health and Wellbeing, nutritional therapy

Parenting, Building Confidence in Children, and Future Health

Build up self-esteem in your child through positive body language and kind words.

I’ve just read a blog post by Brene Brown about an Oprah interview with author Toni Morrison which really made me think about my behaviour as a parent.

In the interview with Oprah, Toni speaks about how we can influence a child’s confidence and their self-image in ways that we don’t even realise. Here’s the link to the original post by Brene.

According to Toni, children gather information about their parents’ feeling towards them based on their initial reactions (whether they be positive or negative) on each meeting.

For instance, as a parent, do you immediately pick up on your child’s uncombed hair, food stained clothes, muddy shoes etc?

Or do you smile, happy to see them, first?

When I read this, I thought to my own behaviour, and recognised that I can be quick to criticise, without even intending to.

The problem isn’t with the criticism itself – as parents, we need to be able to tell our children not to get mud on the carpet etc – but what’s important is that the criticism isn’t the first thing they always hear.

What is that criticism (if it’s the first thing out of your mouth) telling them about themselves and what you think about them? Does your body language, or do your words, demonstrate your love, or does it tell them there is something wrong with their appearance, behaviour or choices?

If you don’t think well of them, how can they think well of themselves? And how will these micro-criticisms impact their self-esteem in the long term?

This interests me, not only as a parent, but as a nutritional therapist. A person’s health and wellbeing is all tied up in self-esteem and stress.

If we don’t think well of ourselves we send ourselves negative messages:

You’re such a mess.

Why can’t you do a simple thing like that?

What an idiot!

These self-criticisms – where we can’t be kind to ourselves – become a form of stress.

As I’ve mentioned previously, stress affects cortisol levels which, if not managed, can negatively impacts health – both mental and physical.

So how can we help our kids to develop better attitudes towards themselves and as a result, become healthier adults?

Well, I suppose initially, that lies with us and our behaviour towards them. The way we react to our kids can either enhance of undermine self-image and resilience. If we manage our reactions positively, this ultimately has a beneficial impact on their future health.

As Brene says in her blog post, don’t let the first comment to your child each time you see them be a negative one. By being kind to them, we teach them to be kind to themselves.

Say something nice, or “flash a smile” before you ask them to move their belongings (that have taken up residence on the living room floor for the last three days!)

Even if they don’t show it, your smile or kind words will mean so much, and it’s another way of telling them you love them.

Plus, it also takes the sting out of the fact they’ve got to clear up after themselves!

I’m going to try it.

What about you?

Health and Wellbeing, Interview, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, Wellness

Interview with Three Valley Vegans

Interview between Three Valley Vegans and myself.

When I took part in the Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival last weekend, I was approached by Elizabeth King from Three Valley Vegans to do an interview for their blog and newsletter, and also, to arrange a talk in Hebden Bridge for next year. I’m always extremely happy to do these events because I love getting out there to encourage the general population to eat more healthily and help everyone understand how easy it can actually be.

Although the majority of my client’s aren’t vegan, I’ve been vegan for over 5 years, and I love to share the health benefits of eating a diet higher in plant based foods. Just adding a few more fruits and vegetables into your diet can make a huge difference to wellbeing.

Here in the interview I talk about why I became vegan, why I became a nutritional therapist, why we become ill, why chronic disease is on the rise, how we can help our bodies to fight disease, and why we sometimes find it difficult to stick to a healthy eating regime. I’ve also added a link to the popular Chickpea Blondie recipe I take as a taster to events. It’s simple to make and healthy too.

This film available on Netflix is my initial motivation for becoming vegan – health, animals and environment.

Hope you enjoy both the recipe and the interview! Let me know what you think.

Here’s the link to the interview:

Health and Wellbeing, nutritional therapy, Uncategorised, Wellness

Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival

So tomorrow I’m going to be at the first Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival. I’m very excited about this.

The Rochdale area where I live isn’t renowned for being at the forefront of health and wellness – in fact, I think it’s one of the top unhealthy places in the country – but recently there has been an surge of interest, and this is the second festival I will attend this year (the third will be at Hollingworth Lake in September – watch this space!)

The festival will take place in Milnrow Park, and fortunately, the weather is forecast to be sunny, which is GREAT! Sunny weather means more people are likely to come to learn about all the good things that can be done to help both your physical and mental wellbeing.

There are going to be lots of tasters and sessions for people to join in with. Bring your trainers and look at the schedule when you get there if you’d like to participate in the Zumba or Yoga! No need to bring your mats though as these are being provided by a local company.

I can’t wait to meet like-minded people from the local area. On my stall I’ll have information about ways to improve your diet and relieve stress (a huge factor in poor health), plus some recipes for healthy snacks and desserts. I’ll be handing out some sweet treats too that are actually good for you, and offering a chance for someone to win an initial consultation worth over £100. If you’re interested in improving a health condition, please take part. There’s no greater investment than looking after yourself.

So, that’s all for now, but if you are attending the festival tomorrow, please come over and say hello. It would be a real pleasure to meet you.

food, Health and Wellbeing, insomnia, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, pain management, sleep, stress, Uncategorised, Wellness

Are You On a Diet, Or is it a Fad?

I just had an experience that got me thinking …

My online food shop was delivered and the driver was helping me to unpack.

‘This is a lot of fruit and veg,’ he said.

‘Mmmm, yes it is.’ (In our house, we individually eat about 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which is the recommended amount for good health).

‘Are you on a diet,’ he said, ‘or is it a fad?’

‘No – nope, this is how we eat all the time.’

His jaw dropped.

I can’t read minds, but I could sense that he thought I was one strange cookie.

I thought it was funny as it happened, but now a little while later, I’m wondering why it’s considered ‘a fad’ (for ‘fad’ read ‘weird’) to have lots of fruits and vegetables as a regular part of your diet.

If my shopping had been full of processed foods – cakes, biscuits, crisps, white bread, sausages, ready meals etc – he wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. It’s certainly a sad state of affairs that a week’s worth of processed foods, to him, would be considered a ‘normal diet’.

I don’t think he’s alone in this. Over the years I’ve had lot of comments made on my food choices by cashiers as I pass my shopping through the checkout.

I wonder what’s happening to us as a society that we see foods containing lots of artificial additives and sweeteners as the norm (while some of the ingredients are not even recognisable as real foods), yet if we eat a diet of simple, fresh produce it’s seen as questionable behaviour?

If eating ‘junk’ is a normal way of eating, no wonder we are witnessing a rise in chronic diseases, including bowel cancer in the young. This has been found to be directly related to lifestyle factors (including ‘worsening diet‘), and is worrying for the next generations, who will pick up the eating habits of their parents. I wonder if eventually our young will even know what a fresh fruit or vegetable looks like? We already have a situation where many young people can’t identify what animal particular meat products come from. We are becoming increasingly dislocated from our natural food sources.

It’s definitely time we start rethinking the way we look at food.

I like the fact that I am in a position through my work to help people to learn the benefits of healthier eating and guide them to make better choices. It can take a little time to get your head around it, but often my clients are surprised at how easy it can be. Understanding the purpose of healthy eating is the main thing (people don’t realise there is a link between diet and issues such as insomnia, anxiety, joint pains, stress, fatigue, depression etc) which is where I come in as a nutritional therapist.

If you don’t eat a lot of fresh produce, why not make a start by adding a portion of fruit or veg to your day today?

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

food, Health and Wellbeing, nutritional therapy, Wellness

Kitchenzest & True To Your Health – same ethos approached from two different angles.

The logo of Kitchenzest is written with 'kitchen' in green  and 'zest' in yellow, with an image of half a lemon slice suspended slightly above it.  It represents health and vitality.
Kitchenzest is the brainchild of Rochdalian ex-community nurse, Alison Maughan. She co-founded the healthy ready-meal company with her son one year ago, after giving up 20 years of nursing. Her view was to start something she believed in – to provide good value and uncompromisingly nutritious meals to the people of the local area.

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with Alison Maughan from Kitchenzest. Like me, she has a passion for health, eating foods for vitality, and improving people’s lives. We’re just approaching it from different angles, that’s all.

Alison makes uncompromisingly healthy ready meals (for individual requirements if necessary) which she decided to do after recognising a gap in the market, and her business has taken off locally. This tells me that people want to eat healthy food – they just don’t always have the time or energy to prepare and cook it.

From communications by text prior to our meet-up, I already knew Alison was a lovely person. In real life, however, she exceeded my expectations. She’s completely sincere and passionate about what she does, which always works for me.

We chatted like we’d known each other for years, and came up with some great ideas about how we can potentially work together.

I can’t wait for the next step.

The future’s exciting… so watch this space!!! 🤩 #kitchenzest#collaborate#healthyeating#innovate#youarewhatyoueat#eatwellfeelgreat#rochdale#localbusiness#inspire#nutrition#nutritionaltherapy#nutritionaltherapypractitioner

If you would like to learn more about Alison and her company, please click the hyperlink on her name/company name above.

Children, Health and Wellbeing, Uncategorised

Kids and New Foods

I just thought I’d share this fabulous image from the Wellness Festival I attended on Sunday. A mum and her son came to try my healthy snack tasters and became really interested in the ingredients in the recipe sheets. The foods weren’t something the little boy had tried before, and the blondies contained chickpeas, which were a foreign thing in a sweet snack to both adults and kids.

It was lovely to see them together talking about food, which is important for a child to develop an interest in food and a willingness to try new things.

It’s important to have an open attitude to food and your children will follow your lead.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get children to try foods which fall outside their familiar meals and snacks. You may have tried to introduce more of a variety, but you keep hitting a brick wall, which can be extremely frustrating, when you’ve spent a long time cooking.

I always found with my own children that if they didn’t like a particular food, I’d put a very small amount on the plate – alongside their much loved meals – which I’d ask them to at least try. They didn’t have to eat much of it – just taste it and leave the rest. Even if they didn’t like it, I’d keep reintroducing that same food (never in large amounts) at meal times. Often they’d develop a liking for it but sometimes they wouldn’t (sweet potatoes and tomatoes are two examples of this with my youngest).

What we have to remember (which is difficult in our busy modern lives) is that it takes around 10 tastes of a food for a child to be able to accept it. Just because they say they don’t like it the first time doesn’t mean they can’t ever like it.

However, it’s important not to make too much of an issue of it. If you come to realise that it’s a food they aren’t ready for, praise them for trying it, and move on. Children’s tastebuds are far more sensitive than an adult’s – maybe they don’t like that food right now, but when they’re older, it may just be their favourite (as olives are with me!)

Health and Wellbeing, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, Uncategorised, Wellness

Littleborough Wellness Festival

Yesterday was a fantastic day. It was the first Littleborough Wellness Festival at Littleborough Cricket Club, organised by Littleborough and Area Ladies Circle, with all proceeds going to Rochdale & District Mind. I met some great people, both the stallholders and people who came to visit.

I was blown away by how many people were looking for more natural ways to deal with their ill health or improve their health. There’s a lot of interest out there for changes to the way we eat and live our lives. What I was hearing, however, was that there is so much conflicting information out there that people often get confused and don’t know where to start.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. A good starting point is with the BANT Wellness Plate and their 7-a-day Eat a Rainbow handouts. I was explaining to the people who came to chat with me that half their daily intake of food should be focused on fruits and vegetables, but also, that it’s important to eat a wide range of colours and types of plant-based foods. Our gut bacteria thrives on different varieties of fibres and polyphenols within plant-based foods, so diversity is key. The spectrum of colours available in fruits and vegetables offer different benefits – helping immunity, mood, energy, hormones, digestion, cardiovascular and skeletal health etc.

The healthy snacks tasters I made – energy balls and chickpea & cashew blondies – went down a treat

Although eating like this is beneficial to everyone, sometimes it doesn’t improve the symptoms we may be experiencing. Depending on what’s going on in our bodies, it may even make things worse. At this point it’s advisable to see a professional who, during their consultation, will try to identify the potential root cause of your issues. We are all individuals, so a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. The triggers and drivers for our illnesses differ from person-to-person, even if they are suffering with the same condition.

Just before the doors open. Everyone’s just finishing setting up!

One of my favourite parts of the day was talking to representatives from MIND and the University of the Third Age who expressed interest in me participating in workshops and talks with the general public. This is very exciting, as it means I can spread the word about the benefits of dietary and lifestyle interventions to a greater audience. Nutrition has an important role in mental health and healthy ageing, but it’s not always so easy to be able to implement dietary advice when you might be living alone or struggling with mental health issues. It would be great to offer support and strategies to these groups in ways that suit their individual needs.

Finally, I’d like to thank my friends Natasha Sophia Sarak (of Prestwich Health Heroes) and Pauline Holt, who turned up yesterday to support me. Cheerleaders help us move forward, and feel positive and focused! I really appreciate them taking precious time out of their day and I certainly felt the love. Thanks guys!

Really appreciate the support I got from my fellow nutritional therapy buddy