Monday, 31 August 2009


I went to a wedding reception on Saturday night; and a great time was had by all.

However, I woke up on sunday morning with foul smelling hair from the night before - cigarette smoke, yuk! Not had that for ages, since before they banned people smoking in bars and clubs (not that I frequented them all that much but..........).

It was probably my fault for going to stand outside with the smokers at the wedding (and there seemed to be alot), but that's where most of the interesting conversations were taking place.

It reminded me of a chat I'd had with some friends a while before about smoking, and drinking coffee. And how the two things go hand in hand for what seems like still too many people.

So, another blog on why it really, really is not a good idea for your body to be pumped full of nicotine and caffeine on a regular basis (yes alcohol and sugar are terrible too but that another days blog; before you start Lucy).

Someone had read an article that said that caffeine improves your memory. I've read up on this and apparently it does in fact stimulate regions of the brain that regulate mood, concentration, arousal and alertness. A good thing, temporarily?

Especially in my case; after three children I sometimes feel as if many of my brain cells have left my head permanently! But lets hang on a minute - this needs to be weighed up against the side effects of drinking too much coffee. Way too much can make you get the shakes (and I've witnessed this in an addicted friend). It can also cause anxiety and stress and mess about with your ability to concentrate.

Moderation is the key then?

What happens if we look at drinking coffee from a different angle? What if you're a regular exerciser, so to all intents and purposes looking after your body; but you also drink a shed load of coffee to get you through your day?

What's happening here is that you're possibly putting a bit of pressure and stress on your adrenal glands. Exercise is a cortisol producer in the short term (the stress hormone) AND so is coffee so you're getting a double whammy if you're doing both.

Rest after exercise reduces this and allows your muscles to recover and grow stronger etc. but if you're drinking coffee your body is likely to be in 'fight or flight' stress mode virtually all the time, which gives it a limited ability to rest and repair.

Long term adrenal fatigue can lead to all sorts of health problems like sleep disturbances, being tired but wired, depression, cravings - for caffeine!, poor immune system function and also weight gain.

This doesn't sound too good does it? And if you smoke as well as exercise and drink coffee. on.

We all know, or should do by now that smoking damages the lungs, and what do we need to exercise effectively and efficiently? A jolly good pair of lungs, amongst other things. Your cardiovascular system is damaged by smoking - fact. Smoking fills your body up with nasty toxins, reduces its ability to effectively transport oxygen in the blood and it stimulates the adrenals - just like coffee. Which is why we get a kick from it, and go back for more!

So if you're a smoker, if you like to drink lots of coffee and you also exercise, you're doing ONE really great thing. Pat yourself on the back, and then let's have a look at what you can do about the two things that you know need addressing if you want to be fit, and healthy, on the inside, long term.


Keep a diary - write down when you have a fag, when you have a cup of coffee and if you are able to work out why you felt the need for either or both then write this down too. If you can work out what triggers your desires, great, it can be worked on from here.

Try to substitute a cup of coffee for a cup of something else, say a herbal tea. Peppermint is a stimulant, as is green tea (and green contains a small amount of caffeine too). Sometimes, if it's a drink for comfort or relaxation that you're after, this may work for you, you can still clutch a Starbucks takeaway cup, and pretend!

If you wake up gagging for a fag and a coffee to kick start you in the morning, distract yourself. Book to see a personal trainer like me. You'd hardly want to turn up for a fitness session smelling of smoke and coughing your guts up now would you?

This sounds crazy but humour me. Give your fag packet to someone else at work. That way you may think twice about having to go and ask for one, than if they were within easy reach on your desk.

Maybe you use smoking as a relaxant after a hard day at the office. Try to find another way of relaxing. How about a swim, a massage, meet a friend whose company you enjoy in a place where you know you can't smoke, Anything.

Meditation, or yoga are great 'mind over matter' tools which could be helpful with both coffee and smoking. And EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, a type of counselling which helps to let go of the negative emotion attached to events/habits etc in our lives. Perhaps you started smoking when your relationship broke down, or you lost your job, and it's now become a crutch. I can't recommend EFT highly enough, and if anyone would like further details I can recommend a great lady who does it.

Hypnotherapy can be another great way to help you get off the stimulants. It's also sooooo relaxing. Contact me for a great guy who is able to help.

Patrick Holford, a leading nutritionist, has written a book on how to quit addictions - effectively called How To Quit Without Feeling S***. I think many many people are extremely worried about what will happen to them if they do quit their coffee/smoking habit. They know the 'come down'/detox is not going to be at all pleasant and this can put people off for years. Your body becomes dependent on substances that you fill it with very quickly and its not easy just to go cold turkey.

Patricks book aims to help by offering nutritonal and supplement recommendations to help 'take the place' of the substance you are trying to get away from. It's a thick book, and he's sold thousands of copies. Yes it is a big problem so please don't beat yourself up about it.

And that brings me on to my last point (hurray you might be saying). To quit smoking or drinking coffee YOU HAVE TO WANT TO WITH ALL YOUR HEART. When I ask clients , "on a scale of 1-10 how much do you want to give .......... up" and they say 5 out of 10, I know they are not ready. We go through goal setting, what will help, waht will hinder etc and for some it may take a health scare or shock to make them realise how serious a problem it is for them. For others, they may just wake up one day with the sheer determination, or have an earth shattering, light bulb moment that makes them ready.

Hope this has been food for thought............RX

Sunday, 23 August 2009


I've been severely reprimanded this week on facebook for a comment I made about my lunch the other day. I had asparagus, and as my friend Pete pointed out in a rather barbed comment, it is currently out of season here. He suggested I think of the planet, and the airmiles from Peru to here, which is where it had come from.

Fair enough, wrists justly slapped. I didn't think. I love asparagus, bought it in a rush from the supermarket, cooked it , ate it, and it was, as usual, delicious. But, it had come a long way to get to me and that's far from a good thing!

Especially as there are plenty of vegetables, and fruits, that are in season here just now, and so are readily available without all the transporting overseas, packaging etc.

Peter grows his own vegetables, pretty much organically and currently has the following available on his doorstep :

runner beans

So, really I have no excuse eating asparagus when these veggies and more can be grown and bought here. Cucumber, brocolli, peppers, and tomatoes are also in season - so much to choose from.

Fruit is also in abundance just now. Our strawberries have unfortunately finished, but they are still available elsewhere in the country, along with other berries such as raspberries and blackberries. Also plums, peaches and cherries too.

So, from now on note to self : I will think consciously before I buy. I am good, mostly, but I'm only human and make the odd mistake; in future I'll make a conserted effort to buy local, in season fruit and veg.

These colourful foods are so full of goodness, in the form of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients,fibre etc.- they are an essential part of our diet, and a tasty, joyful, versatile, mouthwatering experience. Buying locally and organic, and eating them fresh, ensures the maximum amount of goodness is maintained.

The recommendation is to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but ideally aim higher and make it mostly vegetables, preferably the dark green variety.
Juicing is a great way to get all five in. I like to start the day with organic carrot, green apple and ginger juice - adds a zing to breakfast.

So, Petes going to deliver some of his produce to me; can't wait. And a client gave me some of her garden lettuce for my lunch today, again organically grown, and it tasted so fresh. And lastly (short blog today)I've found a lovely shop/cafe in Harrogate called Fodder, who only sell produce grown/made in Yorkshire, including cheeses, fruit and veg, meats and even chocolate. A bit pricey but you get what you pay for, and it tastes delicious.

Promise I won't slip up again, Pete.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I've got alot, alot of stress in my life just now and have had for some time. I really believe if I wasn't in this line of work I'd have gone under by now. I work hard at positivity, goal setting, saying "I can" instead of "I can't" and looking after my body, mind and soul with regular doses of TLC. It works.

Have you ever noticed how really difficult it is to feel optimistic when you're tired and lacking in energy and how different foods can help balance things significantly. Ever wondered why you get that dreadful energy slump mid to late afternoon? Look back; could it be the low- in- nutrients lunch you ate a few hours before? And what do hangovers do to your optimism levels? I can't really remember what a hangover feels like but can remember struggling big time the day after one (my halo is clear for everyone to see!).

Food affects mood, and energy levels, definitely. Every morsel you put between your lips has a direct correlation to how you're going to feel later.My children are a good example of this; if they eat sweets they are on a high for twenty minutes, but then (and this is when it's time to take cover) they crash and burn and I have to pick up the pieces. Life is not good at this point. Their negativity increases, they are less productive, have less concentration skills and lower energy levels.

What happens here usually with an adult is that they'll reach for more of the stuff that's created this state in the first place and so these peaks and troughs continue.

Food affects mood, I repeat,for lots of scientific reasons which I won't bore you with but ultimately the aim of the game is to BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS. Eating low Glycaemic Index foods helps with this; these are foods that release their energy slowly avoiding those peaks and troughs, and wholegrain carbohydrates are helpful here.

They allow for the absorption of tryptophan, which is a mood boosting amino acid found in foods such as turkey, beef,fish,eggs, milk and cheese, brown rice and nuts, and in turn to make the feel-good brian chemical seretonin.

So one of the ways to success is to cut out all refined carbohydrates ie. the white ones - white rice, white bread, white pasta etc.(very little nutritional value) in favour of the wholgrain,'brown' variety.

The top ten foods to help boost your happy hormones are :
sunflower seeds, dark chocolate (yes, there is a reason to live!), prawns and other seafood, oats, apricots,oily fish, brewers yeast, cottage cheese,turkey, and eggs. Give them a try see how you feel.

In summary, next time you're down in the dumps and your glass is always half empty, take a look at your diet. Revise it using the tips above and you're sure to feel better.

Oh and the odd glass of wine won't hurt either, just as long as it IS just the odd glass. Hangovers are pants in anyones book, aren't they?

And one last thing, to improve things even further EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE by following the METABOLIC TYPING DIET. See previous blogs for details, or contact me.

Today's tip : start a food diary and record everything that passes your lips, liquid or solid (and cigarettes). Take a look at the end of each day, and aim to improve the day after. After all tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


I've been on Radio Leeds again today. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience but feel the need to blog as a result. Bearing in mind that this station has a heavy bias towards middle aged females upwards, the majority of the questions put to me this time and the last were about carrying weight around the middle and how to get rid of it.

No suprises here really, just take a look around you when you're out and about! Check out all the muffin tops, the bursting bellies, the rotund shapes (and actually its not just middle aged ladies). Terrible scenes really; we are a nation of increasing waistlines.

Is it any suprise when there is so much junk food on offer? It's so accessible, it's readily available and very, very cheap. It saves people time, it tastes great (if you like that kind of thing...........think I'm in the minority here) so why shouldn't we eat it all the time? the main it has very few nutrients in it for our bodys to use to stay healthy and give us the required amounts of energy we need to exist in a happy,healthy state.

Processed foods, foods that have been tampered with, are basically non-nutrients. Our bodys don't recognise them as foods but as they are filled with salty and sugary flavourings it stimulates something in us to want more, and more. Basically until some good nutrition comes along. And some bodys are waiting a very long time for this to happen!

So if you are interested in finding some shape again (because it IS there somewhere), and being able to wear what you want, to feel better about yourself, to have more energy,and to be healthier in the long run, here are some top tips :

Cut out the CRAP foods (caffeine,refined,alcohol and processed)

Drink lots of pure water and herbal teas

Reduce the amount of refined wheat products you consume

Reduce the amount of processed dairy foods you consume

Reduce, drastically, the amount of processed sugary products you consume- *massively important*

Exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week - include some resistance and some interval training in this. Stick to it, make it a habit.

Get some good quality sleep each night (repair sleep = 10.30pm until 2am, physical repair, 2 until 6am mental repair)

Keep a food diary. This will highlight those biscuits you forget you've eaten or the fourth glass of wine you drank. Just keeps it all real.

Don't do thousands of abdominal crunches - THEY WILL NOT GIVE you A SIX PACK or any definition you require! You need to lower your overall body fat to have a defined stomach. Simple as.

Ok so there's some stuff to be going on with. Hope it helps. And by the way if you're intimidated by gyms, don't go - you can do all you need to do from home.
Call me.