covid-19, health, Uncategorised

Supporting the Immune System through Diet

Here’s the link for my blog post on the Physio & Therapies website. It focuses on the changes you can make to your diet to help support your health through the COVID pandemic and beyond.

Healthy plant foods are colourful. These colours are created by polyphenols – important inflammation-fighting compounds that are part of the immune system’s toolbox.
exercise, Uncategorised, yoga

30 Days of Yoga With Adriene

Recently, I completed 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene.

Was it easy? Sometimes.

Did I enjoy it? Yes.

Would I carry on? Yes.

Am I carrying on? Yes.

In my younger days, I always used to enjoy exercising (enjoy? Really? Is that the right word. Ok, no. Compelled is probably the right word. I wanted to be fit, and look healthy. I’m also very motivated to remain slim, but I like my food, so exercise helps).

However, as I got older and busier – family, work, you know the story – the exercise slipped by the wayside. But you know what, even though I don’t really love exercising, I don’t like the way I feel when I don’t do it either. I sit down a lot for my job, so I feel sluggish, slow, a bit limp. You know what I’m talking about?

Trying to maintain the running and weights workouts I’d previously done didn’t work for me, and to be honest, I found these forms of exercise were sapping my energy. And the gym is so boring (sorry, gym lovers). A few years ago, I developed a love for yoga, but I found as life became busier, I was talking myself out of attending the class on a regular basis. The only thing I was committing to was a walk about 4-5 times per week. It wasn’t enough.

And then lockdown happened.

Well, you all know the story. If you have a family, you basically become a slave to your kitchen. Cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning. With a bit of work, home-schooling and hysteria thrown in for good measure.

I started off with good intentions, and went for some lovely walks in the glorious hills around where I live, but then it began to slip. Lockdown can get so…. samey… can’t it?

In the end, I decided I had to take action. I was sitting down much of the day, and I was feeling very stiff after so much time at the computer, which is exactly the opposite of what I tell my clients to do. I needed a kick up the pants. Or at the very least, a solution. A friend recommended I do a YouTube 30 day yoga course.

Ok, I thought, they are short sessions so they can definitely fit around my family and working life. No excuses!

I started off on the first day of 30 Days of Yoga, thinking it was a challenge I was going to be doing by myself, but by Day 3 my husband joined in, and by day 15, my younger daughter decided to have a go too. Some nights it was really hard to motivate ourselves, but one of us always wanted to do it, so we got the others into the swing of it, and helped each other through. You always feel the benefit of the session: more energised but also relaxed, if that makes sense.

One thing I noticed in particular was my flexibility, strength and stamina quickly improved (within a few days). My balance, however, is another matter. I definitely need more focus on that. Haha!

My husband said that the exercise was also making him want to look after himself in other ways too – like eating better and getting into a better bedtime routine. (Yay! He’s definitely harder to motivate to eat well than the other people in our house).

Some of the days we had to miss because we were away, but it didn’t matter because we simply caught up when we got back. Having a gap in the sessions didn’t mean we ended up giving up entirely. Because the sessions are short, it isn’t an onerous task, so it compels you to carry on.

I’d say, if you want to exercise, but you are struggling to motivate yourself, you should start off with the Yoga With Adriene series. The sessions are between 15-30 minutes, and you can work at your own level, so they aren’t off-putting. I’m not saying they are always easy, but she gives suggestions for different physical capabilities, so it’s up to you what you do really.

Go on, give it a go. Like me, it may just be the inspiration you need to carry on with a more regular exercise practise. I’m even thinking about going back to my yoga class.

If it’s something you fancy doing, you can find all the free yoga videos here: https://yogawithadriene.com

health talk, Uncategorised

Health Event with 3 Valley Vegans

Health Event with 3 Valley Vegans

My image in the video hasn’t been frozen in the most attractive pose, but…

Come along to listen to my talk organised by 3 Valley Vegans at Todfellows Hall at 7.30pm on the 18th March.

Places are limited and tickets should be booked inadvance by contacting info@3valleyvegns.org.uk.

Donations of £3 towards the cost of the room. Hope to see you there!

3VV FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/187009912667535/

Like my FB page for health updates and articles: https://www.facebook.com/truetoyourhealthuk/

anxiety, chronic conditons, Health and Wellbeing, insomnia, nutritional therapy, personalised nutrition, Uncategorised, wellbeing, Wellness

I want to try nutritional therapy but… it’s so expensive…

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Compared to some therapies, clients coming to see me for an initial appointment may feel like they are paying more than they would for, say, physiotherapy or massage.

Why’s it so expensive just to get some direction with healthy eating? I could go to Slimming World and it would only cost me a few pounds.

The thing is, nutritional therapy is not just about healthy eating… It’s not about dieting either… (though I can help you with both of these). It’s about personalised care. If you’re not sure what this means, let me explain.

There are healthy eating guidelines in many countries. In Britain, this means you are advised to:

  • Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat lean proteins
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats
  • Don’t eat too many refined, processed, or sugary foods

And yes, these guidelines can help many people stay in good health, but there are many more people who:

  • Struggle to maintain this way of eating, and think they are lazy and lack willpower
  • Eat this way and still feel unhealthy, have symptoms they can’t improve, feel permanently tired, or struggle to lose weight
  • Have a diagnosed health condition that they want to improve but nothing they do changes their health status. In fact, in many cases, it’s getting worse.

There are many reasons for this, and it’s the job of a nutritional therapist to find out what is the root cause of the problem is, find a solution (through evidence-based nutritional and lifestyle science), and then work together with their client to use this information in a way that best suits the client’s lifestyle.

All of this takes time. For every hour you spend with a nutritional therapist, they will be spending at least another hour (usually more) trying to get to the crux of your problem through research, and then creating a plan that gets you results. And that’s even before you consider the time they spend talking to supplement companies to find the best nutrients to support you, or talking to functional testing companies to find out the best test for your health issues (then discussing your results); or even writing to your GP or other health professionals if necessary (all with your permission).

Health is also more than just about food. Yes, we all know we should try to reduce our stress and get more sleep, and I can support you to do that. But what if presently, it’s impossible to change these things because of certain uncontrollable factors in your life. Well, nutritional therapy can often improve symptoms like anxiety, stress and insomnia through herbs, plant compounds, and specific nutrients that help to support the nervous system until life starts to revert back to normal. Once stress and sleep are under control, other aspects of health usually improve too. The knowledge as to which nutrients and compounds are required takes training, as well as an understanding of the factors in your life that are leading to symptoms. A nutritional therapist will look at you as an individual and your symptoms and base their recommendations on that. You can’t get this individualised care from attending a dieting group, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

People don’t realise, but under stress, we need better eating habits, because the body burns through nutrients extra quickly at these times. But what do we do instead? We turn to chocolate, crisps, cake, alcohol, and other processed foods, because they satisfy us in the short term, but they don’t do us any good in the long term, or even help to reduce stress (in fact, they deplete nutrients even more, because the body has to work extra hard to get rid of them out of our systems). Nutritional therapy deals with this to find foods that will satisfy these cravings but also nourish you, so you aren’t feeding your nervous tension, but your body. A nutritional therapist will create resources for you to use during the times when you need alternatives to the comfort foods you currently turn to. When you feel more relaxed (because of a better nutrient status), it’s also easier to make better eating choices in the future.

Nutritional therapy isn’t about deprivation. It’s about:

  • learning why you feel the way you do, and what your personal, familial and medical history, plus your current life, has to do with this.
  • finding ways to enjoy the foods you love, but in a healthier way (so if you like sweet treats, I’ll offer you healthier recipes that are rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and fibre for instance; or if you’re lacking in time, direct you to protein bars that are loaded with goodness, not sugar).
  • giving you the knowledge about yourself and food so you can go away and independently make choices that best serve your health in the future. What’s even better, is that this knowledge is then passed on to entire families, so I’m helping more than just one individual! Once people understand the negative effects of poor nutrition to their physical and mental health, and they feel the huge positive effects of good eating, they are also more likely to stick to it long term.
  • Supporting you between consultations so you have a chance to share your progress with someone who understands, and ask questions about things that you are uncertain about.

All this takes time. Some of the work happens in the consultation, but a lot of it happens outside of it.

So what else are you paying for:

  • professional registrations to say that the person you are seeing is accredited (so trained to a particular standard) and upholds certain professional standards. In my case, BANT, ANP, CNHC, GNC.
  • registration with the ICO (an organisation that ensures I am fully GDPR compliant, so your personal data is fully secure – eg. through a professional client platform).
  • regular continuing professional development to keep skills up-to-date (CPD). I am directed to do 30 hours a year, but in reality, do a 100+ hours per year.
  • full professional insurance

People are often reticent about nutritional therapy because of the cost, but don’t think of it as an extravagance, but as an investment in yourself.

I see improvements in people all the time, whose health issues have been disabling them and their enjoyment of life. Weight loss is often a lovely side effect of your body getting into balance (even if you’ve been struggling to lose weight, or keep weight off for years).

You wouldn’t expect your car to keep going forever without a regular service, regular oil fills, and the right grade of fuel. You know that patching up a tyre is only a temporary measure.

If you don’t expect your car to run perfectly without investment and regular care, why do expect that of yourself?

Uncategorised

Upcoming Event in March

Three Valley Vegans are hosting an event where I’ll be doing a talk about “Good Nutrition As Your Superpower”:

Date: Wednesday 18th March 2020

Time: 19.30 – 21.00

Place: The Todfellows Space, Oxford Street, Todmorden, OL14 5PU

Cost: suggested £3 donation

The venue is really easy to find and close to the centre of Todmorden.

Over the course of the half hour, I’ll cover:

– How familial ill health led to me becoming a registered nutritional therapist, and how it helped improve everyone’s health.
– Why poor food choices are our own personal Kryptonite
– Why genetics aren’t the main reason we succumb to chronic illnesses
– What we can do to change our health to more positive outcomes

As well as my talk, there’ll be a film to watch, healthy recipes to try, and I’ll also be answering questions about healthy eating, and for those who are interested, how to transfer to a healthy plant-based diet.

It will be great if you can make it.