Monday, 29 June 2009


As promised here's a short blogpost on superfoods for my lovely friend Paul.

There is no official or scientific definition of the term 'superfoods' (despite the fact that is one of the most used words in nutrition currently. The lists quoted often contain a diverse range of foods, from walnuts to salmon, spinach to blueberries.

So what is a 'superfood' - basically a food bursting with goodness and therefore high levels of nutrients and especially antioxidants (those clever things that are able to disarm free radicals and so help boost our immune systems and ultimately help cancer prevention).

Superfoods are all available in supermarkets, no specialist health food shops need to be visited, but please don't stray down the centre aisles full of C.R.A.P. foods.

You will not find any superfoods there. By the way if you've not read my previous blogs C.R.A.P. stands for caffeine, refined, alcohol, and processed. The more processed a food is the more of an anti nutrient food it is and far removed from a superfood.Even foods that have been fortified with vitamins don't count. What's the point of taking all the goodness out to process it and then attempt to put artificial goodness back in??

Anyway, back to superfoods - two of the most seasonal at the moment are asparagus and strawberries; both full of goodness. I think this is obvious by looking at them - fresh, colourful, moist and healthy looking. Put up against Wotsits and marshmallows there's no contest is there?

"The foods we eat are the first line of defense from the negative effects of lifestyle stress, pollution, radiation, and toxic chemicals". So says Amanda Hamilton, nutritionist to the stars.

And so the more superfoods we eat versus processed foods devoid of nutrients, the stronger our immune systems and the greater our chances of staying dis-ease free. Isn't that what we ALL want? Surely no-one wants to be ill, sick, dis-ease ridden and in pain because of a bad diet if they can help it. If we can help ourselves by eating well, and eating right for our types (see Metabolic Typing blogs), we can go a long way to maintaining the healthy body's we need for a long and fulfilling life.

The 'best' diet contains a varied mix of superfoods (and yes OK a small proportion of the other stuff) and the more colourful the better. Aim for five plus of fruit and vegetables a day, ten would be even better, mixed with protein to keep blood sugar stable.

So here's a list of a sample of superfoods - how many have you eaten today?..........

Apples,avocados,broccoli,wild salmon,turkey,seeds,nuts,kiwi fruit,garlic,cinnamon,green tea,dark chocolate (the darker the better 70% cocoa plus),oats,quinoa,pumpkin,spinach,tomatoes,beans and pulses and one of the most quoted : blueberries.

We still have plenty of strawberries by the way but not for much longer, come get them quick.

Today's Tip : have at least two superfoods with each meal, every day. Bet you feel better!

Friday, 19 June 2009


We have a little strawberry farm going on in our garden at the moment, and my five year old, Nat, is well in charge of it. Every morning he's out there in his pyjamas with a great big bowl picking the most beautifully sweet, red, strawberries before the birds pinch them.

We're giving them away to family and friends because we can't eat them quick enough!

So, today's blog is about how nutritious these fruits are and how we could all do with including them in our diets (unless you have an allergy to them - apparently it's the protein that forms the structure of the plant that could be responsible).

The ancient Greeks called strawberries 'komaros' meaning 'a mouthful' and they are a perfect size - particularly for children, and so sweet and succulent, what's not to love about them?

The best news in, they are really, really good for us; a true superfood:

Medicinally they are considered to have cleansing properties, due to a combination of their laxative and diuretic actions, and they can be very calming on the skin so useful for treating sunburn and insect bites.

They're rich in the minerals iron,magnesium,potassium and calcium, and are also rich in vitamins A and C. They actually contain more vitamin C per weight than citrus fruit helping the iron in them to be more readily absorbed.

They are extremely low in calories (if this is your thing!) and are also a low GL food meaning they will not spike your blood sugar levels shortly after eating. In fact I recommend strawberries and a few nuts as a mid morning or afternoon snack to clients - a whole punnet of them is the equivalent in GL points to a few dates!

Antioxidant vitamins A and C can help in the mopping up of free radicals, so strawberries can be a good anti cancer food. They are also rich in the soluble fibre, pectin, which can help with cholesterol. This makes them effective against heart and circulatory disease.

One little tip that I learnt just the other day ; when you pick them ,leave the green 'caps' on, as when they are removed an enzyme is activated that destroys vitamin C.

So enjoy them as part of your healthy nutrituous diet, safe in the knowledge that your body will thank you, and if you're a protein type feel free to add some good quality double cream too. I have mine with coconut milk, toasted dessicated coconut, a few nuts and some cinnamon sprinkled on the top. Lovely!

Enjoy. RX

Thursday, 18 June 2009


It's great wehn you first start out on a new fitness and health 'regime'. You're motivated, you're doing something different and if you stick to it strictly (and it's a good, sensible plan for you) you WILL get results. Eventually though, however much you stick to your plan you'll reach a plateau, a frustrating plateau! This is because the body is great at adapting, and this is what it's done. It's got used to the change and thinks this is now the norm so less effort is required.

So today's short blog is purely to give you a few pointers to overcoming a plateau :

1. Shape up your exercise - make sure you're doing regular sessions; is it possible to squeeze another one in, in the week?. Government recommendations are five times a week for 30 minutes, but if you're smart you can do less and achieve more. It comes down to intensity - forget the steady state cardio ie. running at the same pace for the duration of your exercise session.

2. Push through your comfort zone - that's what us personal trainers are here for. To help you go further than you would if you were working out on your own. I often get clients saying part way through a session " I would have stopped by now if you weren't here".

3. Do the opposite of what you're currently doing. Give your body a shock! If you're currently working out using a stability ball use dumbbells instead. If you're using a rowing machine, get on a bike instead. Shake it up a bit and your body doesn't know what to expect so the adaptation process can't happen.

4. Eat more, but the right stuff. If you're eating right for your body type you should be able to eat regualr meals of adequate proportions to fill you up, so you don't feel as if you're depriving yourself. Metabolic Typing does not use calorie counting, traffic light systems, or any type of food restricting etc.

5. Keep a food diary. Record every morsel that passes your lips, food and drink, and review it regularly. You may be very suprised at how much 'non nutrient'food you are snacking on, even if your main meals are home prepared.

6. Plan - it really is all in the planning. I set out my exercise plan at the beginning of each week, and work out all my meals and snacks for the following day, the night before. Sounds a bit dull but you soon get used to it, and it means YOU are in control. Take a little time to plan ahead and reap the benefits.


Monday, 15 June 2009


I've been hearing alot of people talking about carbs over the last week or so and how you should 'load up' on carbs before you do any endurance exercise. That may work for some people but if I did that I'd be flagging virtually immediately.

My body needs dense protein, it's taken me a while to work it out. I couldn't understand for years why when I eat pasta for lunch I feel dreadful an hour or so later -sluggish, sleepy, lethargic, definitely not up for doing anything energetic. The pasta party the night before the Great North Run would definitely have to be an invitation I'd decline.

However, I have a friend who is a vegetarian and she is also a marathon runner. She copes very well on a bowl of pasta for a meal, it'll last her for hours.She's a carb type through and through and she's worked out what foods do it for her.

So carbs are right for some people, but it's not a rule that they MUST be eaten before endurance sport. We are all different; we look different on the outside and so we are just as different on the inside which is why some ways of eating work well for some people and not for others. Put me on the Atkins diet and I'd do really well, but my friend definitely would not.

Most people are a bit confused as to which foods 'work' for them because when you put processed foods into the mix it messes things up. They confuse the body, they stimulate it with chemicals, they raise blood sugar levels and then drop them from a great height, they help to dehydrate, they alter moods - all of this prevents us from being in tune with what our body's really need.

One thing's for sure though, we don't need the amount of refined carbohydrates that we consume as a nation. Crisps, white bread, white rice, white pasta, cakes, muffins, buns, confectionary, alcohol, chocolate, the majority of breakfast cereals etc. = refined carbs.

And these are the foods that are making us fat, in the main. Our body's process them like sugar,so ultimately we can become insulin resistant and diabetic (apart from all the other health issues they raise). The rise in the number of people who have diabetes and those that are going to get it in the near future is scary, and alot of these statistics will be children.

This can be prevented by eating a diet of Low Glycaemic Index foods ie. slow release energy foods, such as oats, brown rice, wholewheat, spelt, buckwheat pasta, wholegrain/rye/spelt breads. Basically denser, heavier, more fibrous foods that take more time to be digested and therefore offer more sustenance to the body keeping it fuller for longer.

I know that when my children eat crisps they will be hungry shortly afterwards; the same goes for a piece of cake or a white bread bun. If they eat oatcakes with cheese they will not. Adults are exactly the same.

Processed foods send messages to the body that say " ok, well I've got some food but it's not the food I need so I'm assuming something better is coming along". If we continue to eat processed foods, the body continues to think this way, which is why people have the capacity to eat ENORMOUS amounts of C.R.A.P. foods which make them fat but don't satisfy them.

How about cutting out processed foods for a week, all of them, just as an experiment to see how your body reacts. You'll get very clear meassages then telling you which unprocessed foods are working for you, which ones you need to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel and which ones make you feel below par.

This is where Metabolic Typing can help. Bet you were wondering when I was going to mention it!

I know I harp on about it alot but it really is such a tried and tested method of eating. No calorie counting, no gimmicks, no bars, no shakes, no points, no traffic light systems, no humiliating jump on the scales each week in front of a load of strangers. Just a list of foods that are right for your body, gained from answering some questions on your psychological, dietary and physical traits. Very straight forward, it really is.

If you've been struggling with your weight, with bloating, with abdominal discomfort, with food cravings, with mood swings, with low energy levels,lethargy, insomnia and many other symptoms METABOLIC TYPING could be just the thing for you.

Call or text or email me to discuss. It can be done remotely, as well as face to face.

Today's Tip : Take charge of your eating - starting today. I guarantee you'll feel better for it, ultimately.

Friday, 5 June 2009


"The formula for change is when the desire for change is greater than the resistance to change".
Brad Sugar Australain Business Consultant

If I can recommend one book to you all out there out of literally hundreds of health/lifestyle/fitness books I have read it would be this :

How To Eat Move And Be Healthy - Your personalised four step guide to looking and feeling great from the inside out. By Paul Chek.

If you feel ready to make changes to your life - to become healthy and to feel vital, to have more energy, to be more focussed,to help the world be a better place, to be happy - READ IT!

If you're happy to plod along being fat, tired, lacking in energy, moaning about your life (how many people do you hear every day doing this!?), making excuses, being unhealthy, popping pills for a quick fix, eating non nutrient food - then stick with what you're doing because as the saying goes " If you always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you've always got".

Paul Chek is amazing. He's a complete inspiration. I've done CHEK courses : Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Levels one and two, and the information imparted is mind blowing.

I heard him speak at the Fitpro convention last month. He stood up and read a poem, and showed slides to go with it. It was one of the most intoxicating, beautiful, amazingly interesting and profound poems I have ever heard (poems are not normally my thing at all). He silenced a hall of several hundred people for a good forty five minutes - no mean feat.

At the end of it, I felt so inpired that I sat while others were filing out, and wrote my own poem to a close friend who inspires me. Something I have never done before.

His book, How To Eat Move And Be Healthy, is very easy to follow. It's not rocket science; it makes perfect sense and it covers subjects that we all take hugely for granted in this frantic world of ours. It teaches us to love ourselves to take time out for ourselves and to look after our body's. They so want to be healthy, if we'd only just let them.

TODAY'S TIP : I invite you to read this book for yourselves. sell it and it won't break the bank. Alternatively come to me for Holistic Lifestyle Coaching (contact me for details or see earlier blog posts) and you'll get a copy thrown in for free.


Why is it acceptable for middle aged men (and women) to have big bellies. To lots of people it's ok and just a part of getting older.

Rubbish, there is no medical reason why the tummy should get any bigger as we get older. I listened to two women talking in the supermarket yesterday, about dieting. One of them said " ooh I can't get into that dieting thing, I get sat in front of my computer with my food and that's me settled for the day. This women was the size of a house - honestly. I am fattist and I make no bones about it. Unless someone has a medical reason for being overweight there is no excuse!

I remember working with a guy who was a big fit strapping rugby player and he once said he was looking forward to letting himself go and getting a big beer belly when he got older. What an aspiration!

The thing is, not only is it disgusting to look at, very uncool, very unattractive, and lots of other adjectives it suggests there are big problems going on in the digestive system, and elsewhere in the body AND so it's highly dangerous.

It's unhealthy because some of it is visceral fat which means it is located deeper in the body than ordinary fat and is laid down around the vital organs.

Here it can release harmful toxins that increase the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Waist to hip ratio has become popular - lots of medical on line sites have calculators that'll work it out for you. They divide the waist measurement by your hip measurement and give you the resulting figure. Check out

Current guidelines are .75 to .8 for women and .85 to .9 for men . Anything above these figures is too high, and something needs to be done.

It's a more accurate health measurement than BMI.

To prevent 'middle aged spread' the government guidelines are to exercise five times a week for 30 minutes. Not alot that, and actually if you're working hard enough in your session you don't need to even do this (see a personal trainer - ie me! for guidelines on intensity) . How many people in this country are doing the minimum recommended amount each week? Very very few.

In addition to exercise eating right for your body types is KEY, so key I can;t emphasise it enough. See all my previous blogs on METABOLIC TYPING or contact me for more information. We're all different on the outside and so we're very different on the inside and require different foods for optimum energy and health benefits.

TODAY'S TIP : take a long hard look at your diet and exercise regime. Does it stand up to scrutiny? If not and your waist measurement is too high, start today and do something about it. RX

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


I've been on a course today and had to sit for four hours in a blistering hot room. Of course we were given lots of drink breaks and guess what was top of the list : tea and coffee, those great 'get me through the day' beverages. I also observed many of the group had brought their own drinks - mainly fizzy soda type stuff, Gatorade, Lucozade, Coca Cola, Fanta etc. Looking around the room (this was a more interesting study than the course) there was very little of what we are designed to drink - plain old WATER.

It seems the majority of the population have forgotten the humble drink of water such is the power of advertising and the great range of carbonated, sugar/sweetener/colouring/flavouring filled range of drinks that are so readily available to us today.

But these things along with tea and coffee (in large amounts) come with adverse health affects, when they displace water, these include :

tooth decay - who cleans their teeth after a can of coke?

sugar addiction - and boy is it addictive

caffeine addiction - likewise

insomnia - if you're still buzzing how can you expect your mind to switch off?

attention deficit disorder - stimulants lead to a 'jumpy' brain

insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes - this is far more common than most people are aware

Used within the 80/20 rule these drinks are fine, if the rest of the time the body is being hydrated by water and herbal and fruit teas. Become dependent on these drinks to 'keep you going' which is what many people use them for, and you run the risk of developing health problems long term.

One of the main issues is the damage they can do to the adrenal glands which are responsible for our stress response. In cave man times we needed this 'fight or flight' stress response to run away from attacking wild animals. Stress hormones were released that elevated our heart rate and blood pressure and diverted blood away from the internal organs and out to the skin and muscles allowing us to literally run for our lives. This was short lived and then our bodys relaxed again.

What happens when we take in alot of stimulants, particularly in the form of caffeine, on a regular basis, and also eat inadequately, is the adrenals are in 'stress mode' more or less permanently and can become fatigued. We have created a state in our bodys that is the modern equivalent of running away from a hungry bear!

When we omit breakfast this creates low blood sugar, and low energy levels leaving you NEEDING that next cup of coffee. The coffee gives you a temporary 'high', and you feel good again but soon will get the repeated energy slump.This yo yo syndrome will continue all day if sufficient nutrients are not ingested, and the coffee drinking 'need' increases leaving you wide awake in the evening when you should be sleeping.

This whole stress cycle disrupts digestion, sleeping patterns, energy levels, accerbates mood swings and a whole host of other minor health problems which will leave you feeling well below par, and can turn into more major health problems when this cycle is sustained for long periods.

In short, long term stress on the body and mind in any way shape or form is really not good.

So think about how you want to feel. How much would you like unlimited energy levels, to have a clear head, to have a digestive system that works smoothly and ultimately have no cravings?.

To look healthy on the outside and feel, and be, healthy on the inside?.

You HAVE to want it badly to get it, because temptation is everywhere. We are surrounded by fast food outlets, supermarket shelves stocking processed 'anti nutrient' foods, vending machines in offices offering nothing with ANY goodness, petrol stations - ditto. We are becoming a nation of very unhealthy people and it's scary. The NHS is drained enough and we look set to drain it some more if we carry on with our unhealthy eating and drinking regimes.

Why not make a small step today to improve what you ingest. You get one body and it so wants to be healthy - let it?

Today's Tip : Go cold turkey for a few days - you may feel shocking so plan to do it when you're not busy(?). Drink only water and herbal and fruit tea. Peppermint will give you a buzz in the morning,its a natural stimulant, as will green tea which whilst containing some caffeine has many, many healthy properties.I did it years ago and have never looked back. Good luck. RX