Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sugar Free Baking

I spent the whole of yesterday in the kitchen, baking. It's such a grounding, fulfilling activity, I love it. I had my eighties greatest hits playing all day and sang along (good job I was on my own! ) whilst whisking, melting, stirring, blending..... And successfully created eight sugarfree desserts and sweets.
And today I delivered them to Diet Express. They're running an event at a gym for members, and as my 'treats' are all low GL, contain no refined carbohydrates, no refined sugar and only natural , wholesome ingredients they're perfect for people on diets, with blood sugar issues, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and anyone else who cares about their health enough to eat well.
Regular sweets and treats primarily use refined sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maltose , dextrose and sugar in other guises too! Difficult to keep tabs on all the different names, which basically equal refined, empty calorie, no nutritional value sugar. All processed foods contain it; that's why I bake so much, from scratch. I have a sweet tooth, and it needs satisfying but for health reasons I cannot put sugar in to my body.
The exciting thing for me is that with research, practice, trial and error it's possible to create the most amazingly tasty food to satisfy me . Ok, it took abit of getting used to, I cant pretend it didnt , we get so used to the really sweet taste of processed foods, but when you use a whole host of natural flavours such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, raw honey, food tastes so much more full of flavour. And no harm is being done to your body, no inflammatory build up that over time can create dis-ease. One less thing to worry about!! Lol!
Have a great day!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

How much sweet stuff do you consume?

I always love getting new clients and not just for the obvious reasons. As part of the consultation process I ask that they fill in a food diary for a week with every single thing that's passed their lips written down in black and white. Quite a daunting, scary exercise to some! And very revealing to me!
It's human nature to push aside things that we don't want to focus on for whatever reason. It's easy to 'forget' the couple of biscuits with morning coffee, or the extra slice of white toast at breakfast, and very easy to lose track of the number of glasses of wine by the end of the night out! This tends to be most people's downfall where diet is concerned.
Most of this additional,forgotten food is laden with sugar, caffeine, or refined carbohydrates (same thing to your body). The following fictitious food diary, may ring some bells with you. Are you in denial where sugar/carbs/stimulants are concerned? Are they keeping you going? Are they giving you quick bursts of energy for you then to 'slump' and need another?

Ok here goes - is this the average British persons daily diet? :

6.45am - alarm goes off, you feel groggy, got to have that strong coffee with milk and sugar, maybe two cups!

8am - need to leave for work,quick breakfast; bowl of sugared cereal with milk, and a slice of white toast with butter and jam.

9am -arrive at work and grab another coffee before you start

10am- someone's birthday today and they've brought cake in, how kind! How can you refuse!

11am - client meeting, more coffee,and a plate of biscuits; don't mind if I do!

12.30 - lunchtime, no time for anything substantial, so you pop to the nearest sandwich shop and grab a ham and cheese in white, a packet of crisps and a Flapjack. That should keep you going, right?

3pm - bit jaded, need something to give you a lift? How about a can of coke and a snickers bar from the vending machine?

6pm - phew that's the working day over. Few colleagues going for a quick drink, that would be nice and sociable. Couple of glasses of wine ok.

7.45pm - bit late to start making dinner from scratch now, maybe pick up a pizza or a ready pasta meal on the way home.

10pm - totally wiped up but you still feel hungry. What's in the fridge? Cheese and crackers? Sugar laden yoghurt? Or maybe it's the biscuit tin that's calling you. Washed down with another coke.

I really hope that this doesn't sound familiar to you, but I do know that this is how lots of people exist on a daily basis. This kind of eating, long term is dangerous; it throws your blood sugar totally out of kilter, spiking it and then plunging it into the depths and then spiking it again. You become reliant on stimulants to keep you going. All the time this is stressing your organs. Eventually, and this may take years, there will be signs of dis-ease. Disease is a result of continued poor choices, not something that happens over night. Your body is very resilient, it will always attempt to right itself, but given enough CRAP (caffeine, refined, alcohol and processed foods) it will eventually be overwhelmed.
Do the challenge and see how you fair. For one day take out all stimulants, all sugars, all refined carbs and eat pure and simple real food. If you start to get cravings, headaches, feel lethargic, anxious, sleepy, bad tempered, and really not yourself , you're probably relying too much on artificial 'pep you ups' to keep you going.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Orange Fruit

I've just been recommended a fruit I've never tried before in my life. How did I manage to avoid it all these years, I wonder. It's called a Persimmon, its orange, and I've just bought two! I rushed home cut one open and guess what: it's gorgeous!! There are two types, I've since researched. I got the only type Morrisons in Wetherby have and that's the larger apple type persimmon. It needs to be ripe to eat it otherwise its a little astringent. It's really fresh, juicy and so sweet- for someone who can't have sugar it's a real find!!!
This time of year is just great for orange fruit. We have all types of oranges, the big regular ones, blood, valencia etc and the smaller ones ; clementines, satsumas and tangerines. My mum tells me she used to get tangerines in her Christmas stocking when she was little!! There are mangoes, oh so messy to eat (best eaten on a beach!), and apricots all packing a healthy punch of nutrients.
The orange colour is what makes them so good for us, like carrots and peppers they all contain betacarotene which is a potent antioxidant. It helps big time with the fight against free radicals, those cell damaging chemicals we all need to avoid.
Eating fruit and vegetables every day that are laden with betacarotene is so highly recommended.
It helps the immune system, fight colds and flu, skin disorders, ageing and many infections.
Orange foods are also a good source of potassium, helping blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart attacks.
All round orange foods get my vote.
Just googled persimmon recipes and have found plenty. Most are laden with refined sugar so I'll be adapting them, getting good at that now, and think perhaps I'll start with Persimmon Upside Down Cake. Makes a change from pineapple.
Rush out for your persimmons today, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fresh Air

Every year when the clocks go back my heart sinks. I'm such a hot house flower; love, love, love the sunshine. Don't get me wrong I love the seasons we get in this country but the dark mornings and short days don't sit well with me.
Yesterday morning, however, was such a joy! I went for a dog walk with one of my oldest and dearest friends , Maria, and at 7.30am the sun was shining, it was vaguely warm and the combinations of her delightful doggies, exercise, and being able to chat was just what I needed. Nat, my eight year old even decided to join us and got 45 minutes of fresh air before being cooped up in a classroom at school. Win win all round.
I returned home afterwards with a glow inside and completely ready to start my day. I felt more focused, enthusiastic, and ready for the challenges that lay ahead, all because of a simple choice I made to get up and get out in the fresh air.
So this morning, in an hour and a halfs time,I'm exercising with another lovely friend and her gorgeous son. We're going for a bike ride to get the most out of the day.......
How do you start your day? Rx

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sugar Free And Oh -So -Tasty

My children had Marks and Spencer's blueberry muffins after tea this evening. Long story but .... anyway I felt extremely left out. White flour and sugar are both no nos for me so there was no way I could justify it, try as I might!
So I made a little impromptu dessert, which turned out way better than expected, and I didn't miss the muffins. Really.
Take a baked apple ( I keep them already baked, with coconut oil and the core stuffed with nuts, in the freezer) , warm in the oven for ten minutes. Take it out, pour over coconut cream, or the thick white part of coconut milk that sits at the top of the can. Sprinkle over sliced, toasted almonds, and cinnamon and that's it. Enjoy! So simple but so tasty!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sugar and Alcohol Free Cocktail

In Rome last week for a fabulous, mind blowing experience but, equally, as a person eating what can be called a 'special diet' it was a major challenge!
And it started at the airport.... there are coffee shops selling the obvious range of drinks, and cakes and pastries to go with them. Full of sugar!
There are self service restaurants selling pizza, coated chicken pieces, burgers in white processed buns, chips, sandwiches in white baguettes etc etc. All refined carbohydrates are treated by the body as sugar- I couldn't eat anything!!
I managed to find some cashew nuts ... eventually ; that was literally it!
In Rome itself there were restaurants galore all advertising fantastic, authentic pasta and pizza dishes, especially for the tourists. Italian wine is rather tasty too, as are the coffees... I could have none of it.
We ended up in the Hard Rock Cafe one night; suffice to say that wasn't my idea!! But, as it turned out not only was my faith in human nature increased, but the meal was tasty too.
After perusing the cocktails menu, a strawberry daiquiri style drink caught my eye- it included fresh pureed strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, basil, lime, lemonade and alcohol. Ok so I couldn't drink it but wondered whether it could be adapted for me!
The children cringed as I questioned the waitress (they hate it when I try to deviate off menu, which is generally always!) . She kept blocking my suggestions until eventually, realising how desperate I was to have something other than mineral water, she said leave it with me.
She was gone for ages, and eventually appeared, tall glass in hand full of a pink looking liquid. She presented it to me, said she'd made it all herself from scratch and it contained NO alcohol and NO sugar. It did contain puréed strawberries, lemon, lime, sea salt, sparkling mineral water and basil. And a straw.....
Wow! It was fabulous and so was the attitude of the waitress. I was bowled over that she'd gone to so much trouble, and thought completely out of the box. Suffice to say I smiled through the meal and her tip was rather large!
Must try replicating it at home.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Six Doctors Of Health

Just back from a few days in Rome, and didn't have a clear idea what I was going to blog about- have so much swimming around my head!
Then I found some writing on the kitchen table by John's six year old daughter Daisy(see photo below) and it reminded me of a post I'd seen on Facebook whilst I was away.
"The best six doctors in the world are : air, rest, sunshine, exercise, diet, and water". Fit Yummy Mummy.
The similarity is amazing, but more so I was blown away that a six year old girl could write such a simple, but incredibly profound list of how we all should live our lives! If we follow her advice we could lose weight, improve posture, gain fitness, and generally live long, happy and healthy lives.
Why not pick one of these this week and make a change- 21 days of doing it and it'll be a habit for life.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

No Accounting For Taste

I've developed a little panel of people who are busy tasting my no sugar baking 'experiments'! I've become a 'treat fairy' around Wetherby, leaving paper plates with a variety of (what I think are) goodies on doorsteps as I'm passing.
John tries everything first but he's used to me and my eating and he now chooses to eat in a similar way. Took a while to get there but men are so pliable!!! That's a joke by the way, just in case he reads this... He's lost his sweet tooth to a large extent and really does enjoy virtually everything I make. Although one of department heads gives out chocolate as a reward for good work(that would so make me work harder, not!! ) and he does enjoy this!
What I've found from my panel is that the biggest successes have come from the food that tastes the sweetest or the richest in terms of flavour. Texture is a biggy ..... too lumpy, too soggy, too earthy ; Pete (chief taster)even described one of my earlier biscuit concoctions as only suitable for cattle feed and that was largely down to texture! I like him so I let him off.
Appearance is obviously a big deal too- colour can be very appealing or not, and appearance can also be very deceptive- chocolate treats can look heavenly but when it's 100% cocoa can taste very bitter and give the taste buds a shock.
Overall though, the recipes that John and I have really liked the look, texture ,and taste, of have been the most popular. Red velvet cake scored a whopping 9/10 (average), and the same for the chocolate tart. Pecan pieces and macaroons did similarly well, and date and cinnamon loaf was up there near the top. All good stuff.
And they haven't even tasted almond bread yet... delicious warm with butter(see photograph) . That was a real find for me because I hadn't had bread for months and did feel slightly deprived in that department.
So, today I'm creating a whole host of recipes to be let loose on a dozen people tomorrow at some friends get together..... hope they're open minded and haven't got too sweet a tooth!
Anyone who would like to join the tasting panel and lives locally, or works in an office and has a group who may be interested please do let me know.
Have a great Friday.... Honey meringues first up today.... Rx

Monday, 22 October 2012

Sugar : The Enemy?

Everyone (at least I think everyone) is aware that sugar doesn't do you any good. We all know, don't we, that it's empty calories , no nutrition food ... But that it tastes really good!
My eight year old ,Nat, says to me frequently " Mummy, if sugar is so bad for us then why do they make it taste so nice?". Good question.
There's no doubting that it tastes great, there's no doubting that refined sugar is extremely versatile and used in many, many processed foods now to enhance flavour; cheaply.
But eating lots of sugar comes at a price: a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar, regular headaches, IBS, teeth problems, eczema, psoriasis, reflux, indigestion, obesity, diabetes, constipation, diarrhoea... to name but a few health challenges that sugar can be heavily involved in.
It also promotes premature ageing of the skin by damaging collagen and elastin, the building blocks of skin. A sugar rich diet can make collagen brittle and dry leading to wrinkles and sagging, so if you're a smoker, a drinker, and a sunbather, beware!! (I admit to being all of these a good few years ago...)
I talk to my kids regularly about the 80/20 rule- if they eat good stuff 80% of the time, then they can eat sugary stuff the other 20% of the time- sounds good to me! But the challenge comes from 'hidden' sugar. Starting to look at the labels of the foods you're buying is a good start in making you aware of the huge number of products that contain sugar in its many guises: maltose, sucrose, maple syrup, golden syrup, erthyritol, fructose, white sugar, palm sugar, Demerara sugar, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup ( and anything else ending in 'ose').
So to cut back on sugar we need to watch foods other than the obvious; cereals, rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits, crackers and crispbreads, yoghurts (generally nothing more than liquid candy!) and alcohol.
Reducing highly refined products and substituting for more dense foods particularly proteins such as eggs, fish and chicken will help curb sugar cravings and leave you fuller for longer. If you go for six smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones this can also help to
balance blood sugar keeping energy levels consistent thoughout the day.
I remember that 3-4pm energy 'slump' and how I'd grab the nearest fast food to pick me up and get me through my working day. Now I use foods such as nuts and seeds, alongside fruit, between meals, and my moods are way better!!
Apple and a handful of toasted almonds can taste yummy when you get used to it, as can a punnet of strawberries with some
sunflower seeds. Try it for a week and see how much better you feel.
I think the biggest deal with all of his is becoming more aware. Often we blindly feed food into our mouths without thinking for one moment of the consequences. Doing this occasionally is fine, but several times a day, every day of the week, month and year over many years will definitely take its toll in some way shape or form... Food for thought?
Check out my snack today ... Yum and nothing to upset blood sugar levels just antioxidants in the 100% chocolate and also in the green apple.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Last night Lauren and Nat wanted to bake. They sat at the kitchen table pouring over recipe books and exclaiming over cakes, buns, biscuits all full of refined sugars and syrups.
Settling on ginger biscuits (thank goodness as it was already 7.15pm) we set about making them.
I don't have refined sugar in my kitchen as I never use it so we improvised abit and they were happy to mix up the biscuit dough together.
I'm discovering that there are so many ingredients that can be used instead of refined sugars and the taste they offer is just fabulous. If you have trained yourself over the years to have an extremely sweet tooth (as I did) it may take time to 'get' the new sweet taste. But believe me it's worth persevering!
Check these out- don't they look fabulous?

Monday, 15 October 2012


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day -Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper as the saying goes. It breaks the fast from the night, and gets your digestive system going again for the day.
I used to love eating pancakes with berries for breakfast. I'd make them with oat flour and almond or oat milk, and whisk up with an egg - simple . Spread butter on them, pile on a lots of berries, sprinkle on some cinnamon and a little maple or honey or agave syrup.
Oat flour is low GL, much lower than white, wheat flour which is really refined so this meal would last me the morning.
For the last few months since I've stopped eating sugar and anything my body turns to sugar I've not been able to eat pancakes. Huff!
The oat flour is out of bounds as is maple, agave and honey.
So I've been experimenting with other ingredients, lots have gone in the bin! They ended up as a 'mush' in the pan, or burnt too quickly or just didn't even make it further than the mixing bowl....
Having researched lots in recipe books and online (I'm grateful for the Internet Every day) I finally hit the jackpot this morning and after fiddling with a basic recipe have found one that works and I'm very happy with.
Almond flour is an ingredient I CAN eat, it's not available in the shops as far as I can tell but you can whizz up almond meal in a food processor to make it more fine- but you have to be careful not it over whizz or you'll get almond butter, which is nice but not what we want here! It is available on the Internet, even from places like Amazon, and it's organic too. It can be used just like normal flour, so great for cakes and buns too! Yippee!!!!
So this morning I've had blueberry pancakes , with butter and cinnamon. No sugar but I didn't even notice.
Chuffed to bits as they say in Yorkshire!!
If you'd like the recipe please message me.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Skin Brushing

Hi there, not blogged for a couple of days. I'm really busy developing my no sugar recipes and having so much fun with it!
I think I may have covered todays subject before,a few years ago,but as its become a habit for me I thought I'd blog about it today.
Along with my gut issues I've also had a lot of skin challenges over the years. As our skin is the largest organ of the the body if it's not as it should be we certainly notice very quickly. As do other people. I spent years at school feeling self conscious of my eczema which was often very visible.
By the time my eczema was 'under control' I was left with very dry skin. So I started really looking after it, with lotions and potions. I'm sure I've tried every cream on the market from E45 to Creme De La Mere... and eventually learnt that skin needs to be fed from within.
If we are eating,digesting and absorbing great, healthy, clean food it is reflected in the state of our skin.
And whilst moisturising the skin is very important , it needs internal assistance.
Skin brushing can also help. Big time!!
I've got a great big, long handled, brush from the Body Shop and my aim is to use it every day - realistically I probably manage 5 days a week.
I love it! It takes minutes and you feel some of the benefits immediately.
Our skin is responsible for 1/4 of the body's detoxification every day. It's one of the most important elimination organs we have, and when our blood is full of toxins it's seen in the skin in the form of eczema, psoriasis, dryness, redness, soreness, spots and pimples, acne, sores ...
So why skin brush? :
- it smooths the skin and can make it appear more 'shiny' and healthy looking
- it increases the circulation, encouraging the discharge of waste material which helps lymph drainage
- it helps tighten the skin
- it helps reduce the appearance of cellulite ( cellulite is caused by toxins)
- it helps muscle tone and a more even distribution of fat deposits
-it encourages the shedding of dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal
-it helps eliminate clogged pores so can aid nutrient absorption
- some even say it's as good as a mini workout!
So with all those benefits,
and for just a couple of minutes a day, isn't it worth rushing out for a skin brush ( if you don't already have one lurking in your bathroom not currently being used)?

How to use a skin brush :
Use large sweeping strokes, always on dry skin (it will drag on wet and be most uncomfortable , I've tried it), and start on your feet. Yes it may tickle abit to start with but you'll get used to it. Always work upwards towards your heart as this helps the flow of blood and therefore toxins within it to move through the body.
Cover the whole of your body and enjoy the tingling, stimulating, invigorating feelings you get from just a couple of minutes each day.
Have fun!

Monday, 8 October 2012


Ok, so I went to see Emma last week and we discussed my progress. She did various tests and the up shot is I have to remain on my no sugar diet. I kind of knew that's what she was going to say so wasn't too disappointed. I had visions of being allowed the odd glass of champagne but it's not to be.... yet.
I know things are shifting in me,and it's going in the right direction,so I'm happy to continue with what has become more or less a way of life.
Yesterday was a tough one though; my sister and family were down from Scotland for the weekend and my mum cooked Sunday lunch. It's always a lavish affair when my mum entertains; she loves it and it shows!
I could eat the three different types of roast meat, and all the veggies. Just couldn't touch the Yorkshire puddings or the beautiful looking roast potatoes. Or more importantly the Christmas pudding and white sauce (yes I know it's October...) or the fruit crumble or the ice cream, or custard. Or the white or red wine, or the Baileys my mum was drinking during lunch ( this is not normal behaviour but she's moving house and 'using up' what she has in her cupboards!!! Logic in there somewhere!) Or the chocolates to go with coffee .... or the coffee for that matter.
The good news was that I didn't feel 'stuffed' and my sister described it afterwards when we took the kids to the park.
My health is more important than a moment of food on my lips. I know I'm going to crack this 'thing' and so am busy experimenting with lots of foods that I CAN eat, that benefit me, and my health, and are pushing me in the right direction.
For breakfast I played with the omlette concept. I love eggs, I love fluffing up the whites, and John makes the most beautiful savoury souffle omlette. So I tried one this morning with berries and coconut and cinnamon. Despite the kids asking what on earth I was eating for breakfast it was most enjoyable.
I'm calling it Breakfast Berry Souffle and it took minutes to make but was very satisfying . I ate it 3 hours ago and I'm not hungry yet...
Here's a pic for you- if you'd like to try it message me and I'll give the recipe out.
More soon..... Bye for now. Rx

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Day Forty Two - Completed!!!

Hey hey! Today is the last day of my six week no sugar challenge.
I've completed it by eating 95% guaranteed no sugar in my diet from processed food (none), alcohol (a sip of Petes mead), white flour (a bite of a piece of buttered toast) ,white pasta (none), white sugar (4 smarties!! And a few randoms ) ... But mainly ivevbeen eating clean foods; organic locally sourced meat, local and organic vegetables, where possible and berries and green apples. Coconut products have also featured heavily as have nuts and seeds. Xylitol has been included in some of my recipes as a sugar substitute but needs careful monitoring as because it's a sugar alcohol (it has a very low glycemic index compared to regular sugars) it can cause bloating.
I feel like rushing out and buying a very expensive bottle of pink fizz! However, need to hold my horses, as my mum would say, and wait for the go ahead from Emma, my digestive health guru. I have an appointment with her on the 4th October when she'll run some tests and she mentioned something about me fasting for twelve hours before. Oh joy!
The results will tell us whether the last six weeks have shown a positive result. Here's hoping and praying. It may be,however, that I have to continue for longer and do you know what, that's fine. I've got used to this way of life, it suits me.. Unless there's a chilled glass of Camel Valley Rose in front of me...
Today's food :
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Cacao nibs and cashew nuts
Lunch: turkey and spinach in butter, with tomatoes and basil.
Snack: Impossible pie (very small piece)
Dinner: Bolognaise sauce and iceberg lettuce
Snack : Bite of Laurens chocolate lolly from M and S to celebrate the end of six weeks! Only one bite!
Day forty two down...... Six weeks completed!!!

Day Thirty Six - Kick Sugar's Butt

Here are some ideas to help you get the dreaded sweet stuff out of your daily diet :
Get your mindset right - know what you want to achieve, write it down, make it big.
Go through your cupboards and separate out the CRAP food from the clean food. Get rid of the CRAP stuff - go on, dare you!!
Restock your kitchen with the good stuff!
Whilst shopping check ingredients, there is often hidden sugar in things you least expect.
Tell other people what you are doing, for their support!
Change your eating balance, go for more savoury food, less sweet.
Make sugar free desserts as a treat.Message me for any of the ones I've mentioned and I'll let you have the recipe.
Get lots of sleep - it helps stop cravings!
Stay hydrated, you'll want to eat less. We often think we're hungry when in fact we're just thirsty.
Get on with it! Just do it! Don't think too hard!
Today's food:
Bacon and spinach, hot water with lemon and aloe Vera gel. Peppermint tea
Lunch: Roast turkey with salad
Dinner: Bean Bolognaise with ice berg lettuce
Snacks: Nuts and cacao nibs, blueberries, peppermint chocolate circles (made with xylitol chocolate)
Drinks : fizzy water with lime, peppermint tea.
Day thirty six down- six days to go!

Day Thirty Seven - Quotes

Keeping it simple today. Three quotes for you; profound though!

" Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness". Edward Stanley.

"Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork". English Proverb.

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meal". Benjamin Franklin.

Food for thought!!

Day Thirty Eight - The Pooh Train

Ok, so todays blog is on a subject most people will find pretty revolting, but its one of my fave subjects! Ha ha! : bowel habits.
Us English people tend to be a little prudish where such subjects are concerned, however as we all pooh and all have to pooh to be fully functioning human beings it's not a subject I shy away from.
On my CHEK health course I learnt about the 'Pooh Train' and how each time we eat a meal (ie three times a day) our digestive system is stimulated and a bowel movement should be activated. This is if all is in order!
Babies are a great example of this. I remember when I breast fed my three, (they'll love to read this!) , after each feed they would produce a dirty nappy. That's a great sign that good digestion is taking place.
However, as we get older this can go slightly, or very much awray .
Things like being busy, eating the wrong food, drinking too much alcohol, too much coffee, smoking, lack of exercise, and suppressing the urge to go to the toilet, can all interfere with our 'regularity ' in this area. It can also be down to social conditioning. My dad was telling me last night that Indian women are only 'allowed' to pooh at night! So I guess their bodies have to get used to that.
If we regularly suppress the urge we can become constipated. Lack of fibre and water in the diet can also lead to a sluggish bowel and constipation. This is why the over the counter market for constipation remedies is worth millions and millions of pounds a year. However, the body soon becomes reliant on the medication and won't work naturally without them. I know because I've been there, and had to wean myself off them and re-educate my bowel to work on its own.
Constipation can also result in skin issues; eczema, psoriasis and acne can all be made worse by a sluggish digestive system, holding onto toxins inside. Yuck, not great when you think about it is it?
So top tips to get your 'pooh train' on the right track :
Drink several litres of pure water each day.
Eat good quality fibre from low glycemic carbohydrates and lots of fibrous vegetables.
Keep processed white flour to a minimum.
Keep processed sugars to a minimum.
Allow yourself time after each meal to go to the toilet ( or whenever you get the urge).
Don't suppress the urge - ever.
Dont rely on OTC medication. Ultimately it will not serve you.
Get adequate sleep, and rest.
Exercise regularly, even if it's just a brisk walk a day.
Keep stress levels down. This can result is a 'distressed' digestive system.
I came across a great video on YouTube the other day, by a guy called CainCarroll. Google him. He does yoga to improve the digestive system and demonstrates positions such as 'thunderbolt' and a deep squat that can help a sluggish bowel. Amazing and very effective. The natural way is always preferable to medication.
Today's food:
Steak with courgettes in tempura batter and asparagus - yum dum dammer!
Day thirty eight down, four to go!

Day Thirty Nine- No Alcohol

John is excited! He's largely been following the same 'diet' as me and whilst he's lost a lot of weight he's looking forward to a 'night off'. We're going to a wedding reception this evening and beer is calling; loudly!
Im dreading it in a way, which sounds like I rely on alcohol to enjoy myself! It's not that, it's just nice to have a glass of champagne, and I do admit to finding it relaxes me. Especially when I don't know too many people!!
I'll be sticking to mineral water, however, and feeling virtuous tonight (when many people will be making fools of themselves!lol!), and tomorrow morning (when they're nursing their hangovers!!).
On the up side alcohol does relax, and is a pretty sociable indulgence, in small doses. On the down side it's empty calories, full of sugar, and your body uses it rapidly for energy, leaving food to turn to fat. Ooh nice. And it makes some people completely change their personality!
Today's food :
Breakfast: coconut cream, berries and nuts
Aloe Vera gel, hot water and lemon
Lunch : hummus and carrots, picnic of tomato salsa, bean salad in the peak district. Peppermint tea
Dinner: at a wedding reception : Ham and salad!
5 fizzy mineral waters with a piece of lime!!!!
Peppermint tea
Day thirty nine down, three days to go!

Day Forty -Hungover!

Most bizarre, I woke up this morning with what felt very much like a hangover; after drinking five glasses of sparkling mineral water with pieces of lime in them. How does that happen then?
I did stay up until 1 o'clock so am beginning to wonder whether its a myth that alcohol gives you a hangover and actually its just lack of sleep, as they tend to go hand in hand!
Anyway, spent most of the day feeling a little vacant and I have to say because of the way I was feeling I craved comfort food: carbohydrates. I had to work very hard indeed to stay away, and did succumb to a tiny piece of white bread smothered in butter, and it was yum!
Not pleased with myself but am not going to lose any sleep over it at this stage in the game.
Move forward!
Today's food:
Breakfast: poached eggs, sausage and tomatoes
Lunch: Yoghurt with berries and nuts (I was doing an event and wasn't very organised)
Mid afternoon: Sliced ham, hummus and salad.
Dinner: chicken and spinach curry
Dessert: Home made chocolate mousse
Drinks: lots of peppermint tea, lots and lots.

Day forty one Chocolate The Health Food

Contrary to popular belief, cacao, the main ingredient that makes up chocolate, is actually good for us - without the sugar etc thats added to commercially produced bars, I might add!
Cacao is the unique,and irreplaceable , ingredient that comes from the bean of the Amazonian cacao tree. Pure cacao powder delivers a powerful dose of natural flavonols that have been found to help prevent clogged arteries, improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.
Raw cacao is high in magnesium, iron, chromium, tryptophan, and antioxidants. It's also high in the mineral sulphur associated with strong nails, healthy, shiny hair, and a clean liver and pancreas.
Wow!!!! Impressive! So how come we've learnt to abuse it by mixing it with so many CRAP ingredients which are now responsible for the likes of diabetes, obesity, IBS, acid reflux, constipation and many many more wide spread health challenges?

In its natural state it can help your health - raw cacao can be bought in powder form (like cocoa powder) or as 'nibs', both of which can be bought on line from the likes of I love cacao nibs as a mid morning snack mixed with toasted cashew nuts, and use cacao powder in recipes for cakes, buns, pancakes and mousses. It can even be added to the likes of chilli!
There is no evidence that when eaten in this way the cacao bean is linked to obesity - but abuse it in commercial chocolate bars sold in their millions every day in this country alone and you have a very different story!
Yes the cacao bean contains some caffeine but not in great amounts, it's actually considered a poor source. It doesn't elevate the blood sugar in the same way that other stronger caffeine containing products do, unless mixed in the commercial bars already mentioned.
So why not go ahead and try some- I believe you'll be most pleasantly surprised.
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake aloe Vera
Lunch : Turkey, tomatoes, basil and rocket salad
Dinner roast pork with crackling , roasted vegetables: carrots, onions, courgettes, garlic
Snacks: nuts, cacao nibs, chocolate and nut cookie, blueberries and strawberries.
Day forty one down, one day to go!!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Day Thirty Five- What Are You Made Up Of?

Most people eat sugar and processed food as part of their daily diet without thinking twice about it, and certainly without thinking what its doing inside of them.
We really are what we eat, to borrow Gillian Mckeiths famous line (slightly annoying woman!?) but to be even more specific we are what we absorb. And if that's sugar, white flour, and alcohol most of the time we're heading for health problems. Not today, not the next day necessarily but some time in the future.
Small symptoms will start to appear- a runny nose, regular acid reflux, sinus problems, migraines,headaches, slight nausea, aches and pains, constipation, diarrohea, IBS, and many, many more that we spend a fortune on over the counter remedies for. That quick fix just suppresses the symptoms but the cause is being largely ignored.
The cause is usually what is being put into our digestive symptoms where we hold most of our immune systems.
How about this little exercise- go to your cupboards and your fridge and check out what your food is made up of. Separate the sugary, starchy, processed, alcoholic products from the wholesome clean foods and look at the proportion. For a healthy diet 80/20% in favour of the latter is where we need to be. If yours is the other way round.... the bin is usually in the corner of the kitchen.....
It's always possible to improve on where we are currently by making small
changes- not buying multiple packs of crisps, cutting down on packet biscuits( how about making your own), swapping white pasta for whole wheat or spelt, trying whole wheat and seeded breads and crackers instead of the white bleached processed flour variety. How about a small change each week or month until its a habit.
Today's food:
Breakfast: poached egg spinach and spelt toast and butter
Lunch: vegetable chilli
Snack: blackberry and apple cake
Dinner: vegetable chilli and chicken
Snacks: cacao nibs with cashew nuts
And spelt cracker with cashew nut butter
Peppermint tea/ fizzy water/coconut water/aloe Vera gel .
Day thirty five down, 7 days to go!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day Thirty Four - Pill Popping

I get the occasional headache, and if its bad enough and I know why I've got it then I may pop a couple of headache tablets; this is very seldom - probably just half a dozen times a year.
On the radio and in the newspapers today its being reported by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) that over 10 million people take painkillers (such as aspirin, paracetamol, and triptans) on a daily basis, and most of them for headaches. We seem to have become a nation requiring a 'quick fix' for everything and this includes our health.
Headaches are there for a reason - the headache itself is a symptom and there is always a cause. In my experience, and through my health related courses the most usual cause is linked to diet; food and drink, frequency of eating, quantities, type of food, amount of drink, and also sleep deprivation or broken sleep, and stress or anxiety. To pop a couple of pills will not eradicate the cause it will merely mask the symptoms for a couple of hours. Your brain is fooled into thinking all is well. It is not, unless it's a very temporary condition for example a hangover (which by the way is caused primarily by dehydration).
If you read the side effects for headache tablets the number one is usually headaches- most bizarre! No wonder people are needing to take them every day.
Headache tablets are made up primarily of chemicals that our livers have to de-tox. A build up over months and years can cause havoc inside us but a simple pain killer is very rarely 'blamed'. I'm really pleased that our attention has been brought to how dangerous these 'over the counter ' products can be. Maybe now we can all start to clean up our diets and lifestyles with a view to supporting our health naturally and not popping a pill to get us through the day.

Today's food : Cashew nut cream, raspberries and mixed nuts and cinnamon. Aloe Vera gel and hot water.
Snack: Spelt crackers with hummus and rocket leaves. Blackberries
Lunch: Peppermint tea. Turkey slices, beef tomatoes and lots of fresh basil.
Snack: Bits of baking!! peppermint tea.
Dinner: Vegetarian chilli with iceberg lettuce. Fizzy water and lime.
Dessert: Apple and cinnamon cake.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day Thirty Three- Baking

I've totally revived my interest in baking with this six week health challenge diet. Believe it or not I used to make children's birthday cakes as a bit of a paid hobby. I can't begin to imagine how much white flour and sugar I used in all the cakes, let alone the buttercream and ready rolled icing. Luckily the children only ever ate a small piece each (I hope).
I remember making a Batman cake; it was in the deep Batman blue colour, and the mum who ordered it rang to tell me that all the kids at the party were doing blue poohs for days after eating it! Whoops- not good!
My baking now consists of very little refined ingredients full stop. I'm loving concoctions including avocado (makes a great cream substitute), coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut cream and the dessicated variety too(what a super food; and its lauric acid content means the fat is good for you and your body will use it rapidly for energy), nuts and seeds, 100% cocoa chocolate, spelt flour, berries, limes, apples, lemons, xylitol, cacao powder, cinnamon.... I could go on. Who needs white, wheat flour and granulated, refined, no nutrient sugar.
My No Sugar Dessert Recipe Book is coming along nicely.
I have had a few 'epic fails' (my kids words) but apparently every successful person has failed lots to get there. Although John seems to genuinely like everything I concoct! And tested a few out on my mate Pete the other day and he was, in the main quite complementary, especially about the apple and cinnamon cake. I'll keep experimenting! Any ideas please message me.
Today's Food:
Spelt toast with butter and avacado.
Protein shake . Aloe Vera. Hot water with lemon.
Snack: 100% cocoa chocolate
Lunch : Chicken stir fry. Peppermint tea.
Tea: Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce straight from the fridge. This is seriously my favourite tea!!
Dessert: Bits of my baking today!
Day thirty three down! Nine days to go!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Day Thirty Two - Listen To Your Body

I'm not boasting but I've always been pretty intuitive, it's just something that's in me. I get a strong sense about something and will always go with my gut instinct - it serves me well. This applies to how I'm feeling in my mind and body too, and how I knew something was out of kilter inside.
It's important not to ignore signs that your body gives you. Many people suffer from niggly health problems for years and years and pop pain killers to sort them, or rub some prescribed cream on, rather than getting to the bottom of what the real issue is. I've done this too, and ultimately it is never a good thing.
"Ignoring the natural messages of the body lies at the basis of most illnesses today", says Andreas Moritz, an Amercian Heath guru whose book, Timeless Secrets Of Health and Rejuvenation, makes The most fascinating read/reference book. It can be anything from ignoring signs to go to the toilet ( which if done frequently enough can result in chronic constipation) to eating when your body is telling you it's not hungry. Andreas says that "ignoring the body's basic instincts means the mind will look for substitutes, which causes (legitimate) cravings for or addictions to foods, beverages, stimulants, sex etc. By giving a little extra attention to your body, it will soon tell you the difference between a balanced and an unbalanced influence or message".
So try listening to your body today instead of just doing what you've always done, it will pay you back in kind.
Today's food:
Breakfast : Spelt and linseed bread with butter, poached egg and spinach. Divine! Protein shake with cinnamon.
Peppermint tea.
Snack: No sugar home made chocolate mousse with blueberries.
Lunch: Left over poached salmon and veggies. Peppermint tea.
Dinner: Stir fried chicken with pak choi, onions, broccoli and green beans with a nut butter 'satay' sauce (I can't eat peanuts).
Day thirty two down! Ten to go!!

Day Thirty One- Bread

Yippee! Emma has said I can start to introduce low glycemic carbohydrates into my diet, slowly and carefully.
So made some spelt and linseed bread in my bread maker today- wow it's gorgeous. John is my super taster and is loving all the recipes I'm conjuring up at the moment, and this is a definite favourite. It's very dense but so tasty, especially with good quality butter on it!
I'm going to experiment with other breads this week and see what I can come up with.
Rick Stein's cafe in Cornwall serves the most beautiful walnut bread with breakfast, so that's going to be my challenge. With no wheat in it!
There are so many different flours available, even in supermarkets now, that it's so easy to eat wheat free. As a nation we are pretty much dependent on wheat, some people for every meal. When I'm analysing clients' diets I'm never surprised to see wheat in many different guises at every meal; toast for breakfast, pasta for lunch, cake for a snack, and breaded fish for tea. The body is being drip fed a very (in the main)7 processed grain and it can over time produce an intolerance. How about trying some different grains; rye and spelt breads are available everywhere, and lots of seeded ones too. Try shaking up your diet, it makes life more interesting if nothing else. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same old thing every day.
Today's Food: Protein shake, Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Hazelnut butter on spelt cracker. Peppermint tea (flask whilst watching Ben play footy)
Lunch : Fizzy water. Roast chicken and heaps of vegetables in the Scott's Arms.
Snack: 100% chocolate covered nuts.
Dinner: Poached salmon with roasted vegetables; courgettes, asparagus, onion and carrots.
Peppermint tea.
Day thirty one down - eleven to go!!

Day Twenty Nine - Mood Swings

John deserves a medal for being so patient with me last night and today. My moods have been so erratic, ive been Flying off the handle at the slightest thing, crying, the works. Dont get me wrong I'm never ultra laid back, and calm but even I have to say I'm no joy to live with at the moment. I don't think I've been managing my blood sugar levels very well, and in the past I've perhaps reached for something that will quickly raise them, ie quick release carbs, whereas now everything I'm eating is more slow release.
Slow release is very much better but if I leave it too long between meals and snacks it shows!
So my plan is to eat every few hours; it works for me and should make me more easy to be around (phew, says John!).
Breakfast: Protein shake, coconut cream, berries and cinnamon.
Lunch : Poached salmon, tomato, basil, avacado and cucumber salad.
Dinner : scallops and prawns in herb butter, and chilli, with asparagus .
Drinks: Aloe Vera gel, peppermint tea, water, sparkling water, chamomile tea.
Day twenty nine down - 13 to go!!

Day Thirty - Booze

Wow I can't believe I've done almost thirty days without sugar in my diet. I'm really proud of myself and actually feel that I could quite easily make it a way of life; apart from the occasional glass of quality pink champagne!!
I went out for dinner this evening with a group of girlies; all drinking apart from me (great free taxi home I was!!). This is the first time since starting my diet that I've been out with a crowd who have been drinking. John in the main has been abstaining, to support me, and lose weight himself.
Anyway, I was strong, and to be honest not even tempted to indulge in even a glass. We ended up having a conversation about hangovers and how sulphites(preservatives) in wines are what causes them primarily. That was why a few years ago I started drinking pink champagne, good quality ones at that. They are made using 'turning' methods that create the bubbles and nothing is added. So clear head in the morning! It's also possible to buy organic wines that don't include sulphites (plenty of sites on the Internet).
Holidaying in France is great for hangover free wine, as John and I discovered last year. The local rose was €1.5 a litre, and had no additives! So we had a week drinking with no hangovers in sight.
Todays food :
Breakfast : Protein shake, Aloe Vera gel. Peppermint tea.
Lunch : Sausage casserole. Peppermint and green tea.
Snack: Nuts and blueberries.
Dinner: (Saint Angelo) Garlic chicken with green beans and peas.
Fizzy water, and lime.
Day thirty down, twelve to go!!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Day Twenty Eight - Physio

Just had a great session with a Physio who was recommended by Emma to take a look what's going on with me. I've been a personal trainer for approx six years now and always kept fit and healthy. But for the past two years or more I've had a niggly 'thing' going on in my left hip. It comes and goes, sometimes really painful, sometimes not at all, other times it affects down my leg when I'm driving and into my back at other times. It's been so bad at times that I went privately and had a laparoscopy and a bowel check done to rule out anything sinister. All came back clear. I've had massage, Physio, acupuncture and it relieved it for a while, but didn't totally eliminate it.
I had thought it was connected to my tummy and what's been going on there, and Emma confirmed my suspicion by sending me to this Physio who specialises in visceral work.
Turns out she's been working with Jess Ennis through the Olympics and for the best part of eight years, so I'm in good company.
She manipulated me and reported her findings: my left kidney (the side I feel the hip 'thing') doesn't move at all, and they should both move to a certain extent when we breathe etc. Likewise with my uterus, and the left side of my head and neck is not as it should be either. So, she did some exercises with me, manipulated me, got me to do some breathing .... And my tummy started rumbling; a good sign. This took an hour and already I feel much better in the way my hip is moving. She said this could have been caused by childbirth/an exploratory operation where they pump you full of air, past trauma, car accident etc. but is sure it will be cleared completely in a few sessions. Yeah! Happy with that!
She also said it will help my intestines to operate more optimally, and that was the best news for me because it fits with everything Emma is doing with me.
I so love complementary therapies, and how they can work together holistically. I've never popped pain killers for anything, as it just lulls you into thinking everything's ok when actually its still going on you just can't feel it.
I even opted to have my three children without ANY pain relief because I believed my body was made for child birth and it would know what to do without medical intervention; I was right. Yes, it was painful but not unbearably so and soon forgotten about when baby is born (obviously some people have no choice and this is where for me conventional 'medicine' comes into its own).
Today's food:
Breakfast: Emma's protein shake
Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Coconut pieces with strawberries, cinnamon and coconut cream.
Peppermint tea
Lunch : Left over Bolognaise sauce with ice berg lettuce.
Snack: green apple with hazelnut butter
Dinner: Sausage casserole - home made with courgette, onion, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, green beans and 100% organic meat sausages. Yum.
Day twenty eight down. Fourteen to go!!

Day Twenty Seven- Addictions

I have a client who I've worked with for a number of years, teaching him how to cook healthy meals from scratch. It's most enjoyable for both of us, but for me getting paid for what I love to do anyway (exercise and cook) is fantastic) . When my children ask me what they should do when they grow up, I always say choose something you're passionate about. What's the point of spending years of your life doing something you don't enjoy?
Anyway this particular client was a smoker when I met him; a heavy smoker. But not only was he addicted to nicotine, he was addicted to caffeine too and they went hand in hand. Coffee and a cigarette is lots of people's idea of heaven! My idea of hell but then each to their own....
He works next to a Starbucks too so it makes it easy to fuel his habit.
He never wanted to give up; said when he was told he had a serious health problem then perhaps he might....
This is the same for a lot of people who are 'addicted'. The thought of stopping is just too horrendous to even contemplate. Its their comfort blanket, their security, their best friend. Actually as it turned out for me, the reality is way less scary, but the mind set has to be right. Thats where a book by one of my favourite nutrition chaps comes in . Patrick Holford (who I've mentioned before) has written a book called How To Quit Without Feeling S**T, and its all about ending addictions to sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, illicit or prescription drugs. It's excellent, and his step by step no nonsense approach works so well. For me it highlights what a big 'problem' it is and I know over a million copies of Patricks health books have been sold, in over 36 countries around the world. Definitely an author to look out for.
Breakfast: Protein shake
Lunch: Omlette with watercress,avacado turkey, tomato.
Snack: Crunchy chocolate nuts( macadamia and line nuts coated in 100% chocolate, melted).
Dinner: Bolognaise with iceberg lettuce. This is one of my all time favourites; real comfort food.
Day twenty seven down, fifteen to go.

Day Twenty Six - Variety

I didn't eat many vegetables when I was younger, but have always been into fruit. I'm making up for it now as an adult; veggies are my favourite foods. No really. There is such variety, so many different tastes and they are so versatile. We need variety in our diets and apparently not many of us get it. Its that old 80/20 rule again, that can be applied to anything in life. We eat the same small group of foods around 80% of the time; quite sad given the long list of foods we have available at our finger tips.
I've never eaten so many vegetables before as I am doing at the moment but reading through my blogs today I've realised that I'm tending to eat the same things over and over. I'm loving avacados for their good fat, and tomato and basil salad drizzled with olive oil and always eat heaps of spinach. But the body needs variety and so I'm going to be more mindful of the veg I'm choosing and try to vary my list. That way I'm getting my vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, and my taste buds will never get bored!
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake , aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Lunch: scrambled egg, tomato, onion, lettuce, turkey.
Snack: Xylitol covered chocolate nuts
Dinner: Chicken fajitas without the tortillas! Just chicken and lots of veg, watching the kids make the fajitas!
Dessert: strawberries, coconut cream, 100% chocolate grated.
Day twenty six down, sixteen to go!

Day Twenty Five - Immune System

Wow I can't believe I'm on day twenty five already. Could really do with a glass of champagne! Ha ha only joking, I'm doing just fine without alcohol. I'd rather have a bar of Green and Blacks!
I've just realised today that I've not had a headache since I started this eating plan, my bloated tummy is way better, my nails are long for the first time in ages, my hair is fab and the skin on my face looks 'fresh' ( well as much as it can at 45! Lol!) . I'm eventually sleeping better. I go to bed at 10.30pm and used to work frequently up until midnight, and my energy is constant throughout the day.
I know I'm absorbing my food better and as the saying goes "we are what we absorb", not just what we eat.
We hold over 70% of our immune systems in our gut so the food we put into it can make or break our resistance to niggly health problems and dis-ease. If we constantly bombard our gut with CRAP food, little health issues will occur ; these could be anything from the following list, and they make up why so much money is spent on over-the-counter medication. If this continues the little health issues can develop into full blown disease. Toxic symptoms: headaches, migraines, joint pain, acne, dry skin, fatigue, mood swings, anger, irritability, bad breath, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, sweating, food bingeing , heart burn, indigestion, athletes foot, jock itch, broken sleep, shortness of breath, lack of motivation... and I could go on.Some of these symptoms can be down to other causes but by changing your diet to a clean food/drink one, can eliminate many, many of these symptoms without the need to pop over the counter pills every day.
How much is your health worth to you? It is beginning to become apparent that, as a nation, we are finally coming around to the fact that if we don't have out health we don't have anything. How can we lead long happy independent lives if we are constantly challenged by health issues? and popping pills is not the answer; they can give long term side effects (as I experienced with steroids) which are totally avoidable.
How about investing in your health from today and see how different you feel?
Today's food :
Coconut yoghurt, strawberries, dessicated coconut and cinnamon. Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Lunch : chicken and salad, home made.
Peppermint tea
Snack: apple slices with hazelnut butter.
Dinner: pork chop with onions, green beans, broccoli in sesame oil.
Dessert: strawberries in coconut cream with berries.
Fizzy water with lime.
Day twenty five down, seventeen to go!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Day Twenty Four - Protein

Yesterday I ate bacon (organic), salmon, chicken and steak . Wow that sounds like a lot of protein and certainly way more than I'm used to eating. But you know what I actually feel better for it. It's all top quality stuff; organic and local where possible.
Protein is so necessary for the body to function properly. It's needed for brain function, muscles and tissue to repair, build and maintain, and it keeps the blood sugar stable so you feel fuller for longer (to name but a few).That's the biggest bonus in terms of how you can stick to an eating plan. When we overload with carbs we get a quick rise in blood sugar, an instant 'energy release feeling' but with refined carbs this rise quickly drops leaving you wanting more to get that 'feeling' again. The body is never fully satisfied with a diet heavy in refined carbs; it's always wanting more and more and more.... and we miss out on the good stuff that we need.
Carbohydrates obviously have their place, and are one of the major fuel groups allowing the body energy but it's easy to get hooked on the wrong types. The best ones for slower energy relates (low GL) are : whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat/seeded breads, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, basically avoid the white refined stuff unless it's in the 20% of your diet. I always suggest to clients that if they feel the need to eat refined carbs that they do it immediately after a heavy workout. Blood sugar is low here so you can get away with eating something that will offer quick energy. However within 45 minutes of exercising protein needs to consumed as well for recovery.
Today's food :
Breakfast: Aloe Vera gel. Hot water with lemon. Protein shake. Sausages with tomato and greens.
Lunch : Poached salmon and a mixed salad. Peppermint and green tea.
Strawberries and coconut.
Snack: Cashew nuts and cacao nibs.
Dinner: Roast chicken with green beans, broccoli and carrots. Fizzy mineral water with a piece of lime.
Day Twenty four down! Twenty to go!

Day Twenty Three - Whoops

Hurray! My blogger app is working again. Don't know what happened there but the screen froze for some reason.
Anyway, I'm still on the programme!
Had a bit of a challenge today though, and blew it but very temporarily. The kids had a tiny Smartie cake between them after tea (dad bought it, not me) and I cleared the plate away. There were four tiny smarties left on the plate... And I ate them.... Without even thinking about it. And then felt hugely guilty to the point where I wanted to cry. I'm self critical at the best of times and gave myself a real telling off. Have I ruined the whole six weeks, will I have to start again from scratch or will the minimal amount of sugar that I consumed mean if I just get back on the programme all will be ok?
In the end I resorted to reading a chapter of Beyond Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett (who I've quoted before) and she maintains we need to "give ourselves compassion no matter what". We human beings are not perfect. Slips ups are normal,and most people will slip up at some point when
on such a strict programme. Phew! That made me feel a bit better.
Connie says that " self compassion is so critical to your success that from now on, you want to spend a few minutes every day giving it to yourself".
And this is how (again taken from Beyond Sugar Shock) :
- Give yourself some TLC
- Hug yourself
- Accept that everyone makes mistakes
-Silently reassure yourself
-Act like a compassionate figure or someone who loves you
-Do tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique
-Play a favourite soothing tune
And any other ways you can think of, just don't beat yourself up too much.
I immediately got back on my programme and planned my food carefully for the next few days. I realised that when I ate the Smarties I did it almost subconsciously - it wasn't a calculated decision; I realised too late that I'd just popped them in my mouth. How many times do people do this with CRAP food? An extra biscuit, another glass of wine, another piece of chocolate. That's why planning and keeping a record is so key to sticking (in the main) to a programme. It reduces, if not stops (mostly!!!!) this happening because you become more aware of what you're doing.
Today's food :
Breakfast : Aloe Vera. Bacon and iceberg lettuce. Hot water and lemon
Lunch: poached salmon and salad - love this! It's such 'clean' food.
Snack : Strawberries, coconut cream and dessicated coconut with cinnamon.
Dinner: BBQ chicken and steak with salad sitting in the evening sun. Fizzy water.
Peppermint tea during the day and lots of it.
Day twenty three down, nineteen to go!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Day Twenty Two- Exercise

I've been a big follower of a great fitness guru called Craig Ballantyne for years now.Not sure how I first came across him but he tells it like it is where exercise and diet are concerned; I've taken his advice a lot over the years. One of his biggest covered subjects is that you can't 'Out Cardio A Bad Diet' - meaning that all the exercise in the world will not get you ripped/fit/toned/healthy if your diet is made up of CRAP foods (caffeine, refined, alcohol and processed). Since qualifying as a personal
trainer I've given this advice to clients and coach them to use the 80/20 rule. That is eating well for 80% of the time, means your body is able to handle other 'stuff' the rest of the time. You can have a 'cheat day' a week if this works for you, or you can just have the odd 'treat' during the week to suit. If you're continually eating from the CRAP foods list though, however many times you visit the gym, go for a run etc.. You'll never get a fit and healthy body.
On my No Sugar diet however I'm not even allowed the usual treat foods as they will undoubtedly contain sugar, refined carbs or alcohol. That's why I've been inventing my own sweets, that taste great and it is a treat to eat them but they don't contain any rubbish. It can be done!! Message me if you'd like help cleaning up your diet. It's so easy to get into bad habits, but good habits are not so hard to get into either, and it takes 28 days to create one.. So what are you waiting for?
Breakfast: mixed berries with nuts. Water with lemon.
Lunch :Spaghetti Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce. I love this combination and it's packed full of veggies and top quality grass fed organic beef.
Tea:Salmon tikka with salad, followed by chicken shashlik, lots of onions, tomatoes. Sparkling water with a piece of lime x 2.
Piece of home made chocolate and apple cake- so yummy and the apples make it really moist.
Day twenty to down- twenty to go!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Day Twenty One- Mornings

Johns started his new job this week in teaching; he's hugely excited and I'm sure he'll be amazing. He now has a really early start though and the alarm goes off at 6am! Middle of the night for me; I'm not a morning person. But according to my lovely friend Maria, it's the best time of the day! So in order to spend a bit of time with my lovely man before he gets suited and booted and dashes out of the door I'm getting up with him.....and I'm actually really enjoying it. This morning , in peace and quiet I've been 'inventing' in the kitchen. I've made coconut and berry ice cream, chocolate covered nuts, chocolathe and apple cake and seed crunch cookies, and that's all before 8am! And there's no sugar or refined flour in sight! Wow, even I'm impressed.
Today's food:
Breakfast:Hot water with lemon. Organic nitrate free bacon, avacado, tomato and raw spinach. Water with lemon.
Peppermint tea with Mikey B down by the river in the sun.
Snack: Berries and coconut yoghurt.
Lunch: Garlic prawns with mixed salad
Peppermint tea- two pots with my old friend Pauline, whilst we put the world to rights! (she's not old by the way I've just known her a long time!)
Dinner: Poached salmon with stir fried veggies- onion, asparagus, spinach, peppers, chillies, in sesame oil (John cooked - delicious)
Dessert : Half a chocolate cookie- home made , no sugar.
Day twenty one down, half way there!!! 21 days to go! Yeah!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day Twenty- Six Basic Human Needs

Earlier this year I went on a two
day course in London, Unleash The Power Within, run by Tony Robbins. My already enlightened friend, Lindsey, recommended it to me knowing I was not in a good place in my life. Tony is the most amazing speaker and coach. He has a gigantic personality, incredible presence and awesome people skills. He's also larger than life - a giant of a man in every sense (please YouTube him- it will be worth it).
I think I learnt more in one weekend than I've ever learnt in my life before until now, and all of it relevant and useful to real life(rather than the square route of something or how to mould perspex to make a mirror stand...)
And the most memorable part is , I believe, relevant to anyone who has sugar cravings, a very sweet tooth, or are addicted to CRAP foods (caffeine, refined, alcohol, processed).
We human beings, Tony Robbins identified, have six basic needs : certainty, uncertainty/variety, significance, love/affection, contribution and growth. Whilst we all have the same six needs, they vary by individual as to how important they are. If your needs, and particularly your key needs, are being met, chances are you'll be happy and content. If they're not, however, it can throw your life completely out of balance. And boy do I know how challenging that is!
Having got divorced five years ago, even though it was civilised, friendly and respectful on both parts (we're still good friends and holiday with our three children together) it threw me big time! All of a sudden I had no security,and no certainty, and I've worked out that these along with love/affection are my key needs. I had a 'wobble', a major 'wobble' for a long time.
I was eating very little and what I did eat, wasn't full of nutrition. I craved sweets and chocolate, and even pink fizz to give me comfort/security/good feelings....and it did, but very temporarily. That's the key word here. Sweet food hits the spot but it's rubbish to your body so your body asks for more food. When you give it more sweet,empty,no nutrient stuff it keeps asking for more, until it gets good food to satisfy. That's how many people, particularly obese people can 'put away' so much fast food. It doesn't satisfy them, so they keep eating. There is no STOP button! So inside emotionally I still felt empty. I lost weight and my skin condition deteriorated, and my moods were very up and down.
To cut a long story short I'm much better than I was, but still am challenged with the security and certainty issues. I now feel loved, but keep pushing to get the other two in all areas of my life, and it's slow coming.
Tony helped amazingly by helping me change my pattern. It's easy for us to get stuck in a rut of negative behaviour and food is often playing a very large part in this. My six week no sugar journey has thrown up my insecurities again, as I have lost my 'crutch'. John is great; he's helping me through my mood swings by being patient and reassuring.
How about you take a look at your needs and which are most important to you. Tony suggests scoring them out of ten in terms of importance, and then scoring them out of ten, positive ten or negative ten as to whether they are currently being met! It's an enlightening exercise and may throw up some stuff that you don't really want to deal with. Are you comforting yourself with food? Are you making up for aspects of your life not meeting a need by drinking too much alcohol? By eating too much cake? By reaching for the biscuits? Food for thought.
Tony has many books available on the Internet. I can highly recommend any and all of them. He also has a CD/DVD collection available to help personal relationships. It challenges everything about us and how we work/live/love/co-habit with others, and why and how we live with certain learnt behaviour and patterns that create the structure of our lives. It's often something that can be changed very simply and easily and he offers techniques to do this. Tony prides himself on helping as many people around the world as he possibly can, and has a special passion to make the world a better place. I'm not worthy.......
Today's food:
Breakfast : Protein shake/blueberries
Lunch: turkey, asparagus, hummus, black olives, grated carrot. Coconut pudding.
Dinner: Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce. Chocolate mousse. Mineral water with lime.
Lots of cold water because it's been so hot today.
Day twenty done! Twenty two days to go!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Day Nineteen - Thank you

I'm delighted that my blog is creating so much positive interest. Thanks for all your messages and feedback. I'm almost half way there - although I have more tests at the end of six weeks to see if it's been successful. My gut feels better and my skin is showing signs of improvement. Nothing done naturally is ever a quick fix, not like chemical medicines that sometimes just push the symptoms down or away from the surface temporarily. Emma did warn me to be patient, and I have to say its not one of my strong points!
But I've surprised myself with my will power and am loving looking at food in a different way. What I'm eating is giving me sustained energy and not a quick burst like a lot of processed foods do. Sugary foods will always spike blood sugar, and give a temporary 'lift' but the reason we often reach for more quite quickly is because your blood sugar will drop again rapidly.
Alcohol and white flour products,that are heavily refined,will do just the same. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle of 'topping up' rather than using real food that your body will recognise as good food and thank you for, by being satisfied for longer.
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake (Emma's recommendation ) with blueberries.
Lunch : Thai fish cakes left over from
Last night, with basil and tomato salad with olive oil. Water.
Dessert: Possible Pie with blackberries. My mum makes a sweet called Impossible Pie; coconuts , eggs, sugar etc and it separates as it cooks and ends up in layers. I adapted the recipe and used coconut flour, coconut milk and xylitol instead of the traditional ingredients to see what would happen. The result was that it didn't separate but it tastes delicious! So I named it Possible Pie.
Snack: Mixed nuts and peppermint tea.
Litre of cold water this afternoon in the sun!
Dinner: White fish (from M and S, can't remember the name but it began with a p) Thai butter, and asparagus and oak choi. Delicious . Sparkling mineral water with lime.
Tonight we attempted to make a chocolate biscuit recipe. It was an interesting experiment ; John loved the cookie dough before it was cooked, my kids didn't like it at all, and I liked the end result but they are extremely rich. Recipe to follow at a later date.
Day Nineteen down! 23 days to go!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Day Eighteen - Hydration

Just realised over the last few days I've been feeling really thirsty, and it's definitely not from too much salt in my diet ! Lol! I think I've been so focused on my food I've been neglecting my liquid intake.
I love peppermint tea so much I could have it intravenously and my body prefers warm drinks to cold, so if I don't have a kettle or flask near by I have a tendency not to get enough fluids in (apart from during and after exercising). I'm blogging about it as a reminder to me but also to you guys- getting water on board and in sufficient quantities is vital . If we don't our body's cant function properly and it can lead to all sorts of malfunctions; the most common for me are headaches and constipation, neither of which I want thank you very much.
So, as awareness is the first step for change, here goes...tomorrow I'll be taking a litre bottle of water out and about with me, alongside my hot herbal teas. Easy to gauge how much you have if you take it with you.
Today's food:
Breakfast: Emma's protein shake with blueberries and oils. Peppermint tea. Aloe Vera gel.
Snack: Mixed nuts. Chamomile tea.
Lunch: Thinly sliced turkey with loads of tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Green tea.
Mid afternoon: Two cups of peppermint tea, small piece of leftover Fake key lime pie.
Dinner : Coq au vin at my mums : delicious! With broccoli and carrots.Water.
Dessert : Blueberries and strawberries whilst everyone else tucked into lemon pudding/impossible pie/ice cream/Celebrations chocolates. Ooh do I feel virtuous! Peppermint tea.
Feel asleep at 9.30pm with Nat!
Day Eighteen down, 24 to go!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Day Seventeen - Freshness

John and I have become super efficient at choosing and chopping fruit and vegetables, and daily visits to buy fresh produce is the norm. We're getting through so much fruit and veg I wish we grew our own. Unfortunately my fingers are decidedly not of the green variety. We're also including far more in the way of herbs to enhance flavour, as everything's being made entirely from scratch. Ninety nine per cent of bought sauces and pastes include hidden sugars so the use of them is prohibited for me. Herbs provide all of the flavour enhancement you need, along with garlic and ginger, to make a meal really tasty.
I love a really simple tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and basil, and coriander is my other favourite. I make a mean salsa!
I'm finding that I'm really properly tasting food at the moment, and being grateful for it. I've always eaten reasonably healthily but lapsed/got lazy every now and again. Now I'm refocusing on what's great for my mind and body and it's feeling really good!
Today's food:
Breakfast : Protein shake (Emma recommended) with frozen berries and fish oils added. Hot water. Chamomile tea.
Lunch : Tomato and basil salad, with iceberg lettuce. Avocado. Prawns in garlic and ginger. Hummus. (This was a prepared picnic eaten on a large rock at Brimham Rocks).
Followed by strawberries.
Sparkling mineral water.
Snack : Two squares of Xylitol sweetened dark chocolate.
Mineral water.
Dinner: Stir fried chicken in garlic, sesame oil and ginger with pak choi, courgette, spring onion and red onion, bean sprouts, and broccoli . Divine!!
Dessert : Melt In The Mouth - Chocolate Delight.
Peppermint tea x 3.
Total fruit and vegetables today : a whopping 13!!!!
Day seventeen down! 25 to go!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Day Sixteen - Make It Ten A Day

With careful planning it's so easy to get your Government recommended five fruit and vegetables a day. This is actually the minimum we need to eat to stay in optimum health; ideally it should be doubled to ten! This gives us antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates in abundance. This ensures that a large proportion of your diet is made up of natural, living foods and not chemically enhanced processed rubbish.
Breakfast: Mackerel fillet with poached egg and watercress. Peppermint tea.
Lunch : Cold turkey slices with left over ratatouille. Pau D'Arco tea x 2
Snack : Fake key lime pie, leftover from yesterday. Green tea. Coconut water- can from health food shop.
Dinner: Bolognaise sauce - John made it and it contained five vegetables; grated carrot, peppers, tomatoes, onion and spinach. Get your five a day in one meal!! Instead of spaghetti, I had ice berg lettuce straight from the fridge(full of minerals) and used the leaves to make 'parcels' with the bolognaise. Yum!
Dessert : Baked apple (exploded in the oven because I forgot to prick them so no picture but they tasted amazing!) stuffed with ground nuts, butter and coconut oil served with egg custard. All home made. No Sugar. Coconut water and mineral water mix to drink.
I felt SO full after dinner and for the rest of the evening- probably on reflection didn't need the two courses this evening!! Piggy!!
Day sixteen down- 26 to go!

Day Fifteen - A Third Of The Way There!

Yeah! I'm just over a third of my way to my six week goal. I'm really getting into experimenting with food, particularly desserts and puddings, as I've said before I do have a sweet tooth. Probably the worst thing you can say to someone with a sweet tooth is that they must give up sugar! But, it is possible to eat healthily and still get the 'sweet' taste that most of the world crave!
I was asked today if I'd lost weight doing this eating plan- yes I have. I've lost four pounds which takes me back down to what I call my 'fighting weight'.I'm happy with this.
If you have excess weight to lose taking processed foods, alcohol and sugar out of your diet will release weight, guaranteed. Your body loses empty non nutrient foods so can concentrate on using nutrient rich foods as its fuel source instead. Try it for a week! I've also found that my nails have grown longer and stronger, and my skin feels more nourished. My moods are still a little irrational and my sleep patterns too but I'm sure this will even out given time. Emma says it's important to feel grounded to get good sleep. I'm a little hyper most of the time, so walking barefoot on the grass or sand is a great way to calm, soothe and ground me. I walked a long way on Filey beach and at Robin Hoods Bay today, both barefoot. It was bliss to paddle in the freezing water and feel the sand between my toes; here's to a great night sleep tonight!
My food intake today:
Berries with coconut flakes and a few nuts with peppermint tea(in the hotel).
Lunch: hummus with olive and tomato salad with peppermint tea(in a cafe at Robin Hoods Bay).
Snack: Coconut yoghurt with black currants, sprinkled with cinnamon (ordered from Goodness Direct, they make a great, creamy, tasty snack and are just sweetened with a little Xylitol- most yoghurts are just liquid candy! Check the sugar content!)
Dinner: Swordfish steak with home made ratatouille.
Dessert: Fake Key Lime Pie - John and I made this up! Very proud. It tasted so delicious I have to give you the recipe to try for yourselves.
Walnuts and brazil nuts, dessicated coconut.
Coconut oil and butter.
Creamed coconut
Fresh lime juice
Grated Xylitol chocolate to sprinkle on the top.

Put the nuts and coconut in a blender, and blend to a 'dough'.
Melt butter and coconut oil in a pan and add the nut mixture.
Press into an oven proof dish and bake for approx 15 minutes on 180 degrees to form a 'biscuit' base.
Blend the coconut cream, avocado, and lime juice until smooth.
When the base is cooled pour the topping over the base and leave to set in the fridge for a few hours.
Just before serving sprinkle grated chocolate over the top, and add a couple of slices of lime for decoration.

All of the ingredients in this pudding are from natural food sources and it contains no harmful non-nutrients. Eat it knowing your body and mind will thank you for it.
Day Fifteen down, 27 to go!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Day Fourteen - Preparation

To keep on track of my eating 'programme' I'm having to be well prepared, and that's the case with any 'diet' (don't like that word as it suggests denying yourself, and as soon as we deny ourselves we crave what we've taken out).
A trip to the coast today needed careful thought; we packed drinks and food so that I know what I'm eating. Tonight's meal will be in a restaurant so careful choice will be needed but lunch and snacks are catered for!
I'm missing Green and Black's Dark Chocolate big time but the Xylitol sweetened stuff is kind of doing it for me even though I can only have it occasionally as a treat (Emma's rules).
I'm reading an amazing book just now called Timeless Secrets Of Health and Rejuvenation by an American guy called Andreas Moritz. He talks about the benefits of Xylitol versus processed sugars "Xylitol is a sugar alternative that looks and tastes like real sugar but contains less than 40% of the calories. It does not rob the body's nutrients and energy resources. Xylitol contains calories but its slow release into the blood gives it a much lower glycemic index. If taken in moderation, Xylitol is unlikely to pose a problem".
This plant based sweetener is available in most supermarkets, and health food shops, and can be used in cooking and baking just like normal sugar. It adds a whole new dimension to the kitchen!
Xylitol is used in some chewing gums, making it more healthy for the teeth and gums. I discovered several brands of chocolate now use it too, available either from larger health food shops or on line. It tastes remarkably good too! More on healthy websites later.

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs , aloe Vera gel.
Lunch: Avacado, prawns in garlic with spinach, home made salsa, hummus.
Left over crumble and sheep's yoghurt
Snack : cashew nuts - sat in traffic on the A64!!
Dinner: At Desi Spice, Filey. Sea bass tikka with salad, chicken in coconut, ground almond and tomato sauce.
1 piece of mint chocolate (xylitol sweetened) with peppermint tea back at the hotel.
Fabulous day, fabulous company , fabulous weather and fabulous food. Smiling.
Fourteen days down, 28 days to go!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Day Thirteen -

John and I are having so much fun experimenting with food just now. He's being so supportive, and virtually following the same eating plan as me apart from the odd glass of red wine, and a bit of bread.
We'd planned to spring clean the house and I knew he was less than inspired at the thought, but did put one hundred percent effort into our dietary requirements!
Breakfast had become a little predictable for me, either bacon and eggs or berries and yoghurt. So today John made tortilla - with tomato,spinach ,bacon and red onion - amazing!! So tasty and set me up for the spring clean!

I had a protein shake mid morning, and was so busy on my mission at lunchtime, and John had fallen asleep (to get out of helping me!) that I skipped eating.Bad, bad move - my blood sugar had dropped so low by dinner at 7pm that I was physically shaking, and shovelled food in as quickly as possible. It was delicious!
I'd asked John to replicate a dish I used to eat in the Flying Pizza years ago and what he made was equally as good:

Food :
Breakfast : egg,spinach,tomato tortilla
Mid morning snack : protein shake
Dinner: cod in tomato and garlic sauce with buttered asparagus, and mange tout.
Snack: chocolate covered cashew and pine nuts (Xylitol sweetened chocolate- no processed sugar to alter blood sugar)

Dessert: home made (this was a joint effort) mixed berry crumble with a blob of sheep's yoghurt.
Ingredients: dessicated coconut, pumpkin seeds, ground almonds rubbed into soft butter to make the 'crumble'. Sprinkled over mixed berries and baked.

Day thirteen done, 29 days to go!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Day Twelve- Experimenting

John and I had some fun in the kitchen today! I'm missing having desserts, other than berries, which seem to have become part of my staple diet (even though I love them to bits!). So we flicked through some recipe books and in the end made our own healthy version of *chocolate mousse. You may be put off by the list of ingredients, but honestly the overall look, taste and texture was spectacular, and really finished off the meal so well.
Coconut water
Macadamia nuts
Raw cacao powder
Coconut oil
Vanilla pod seeds
Blend them all together in a food processor, pour into a bowl and put in the fridge. Just before serving sprinkle with dessicated coconut and raw cacao nibs. Delicious! And NO sugar in sight; it's power packed with nutrients instead.

Today's Food :
Breakfast: protein shake
Lunch: lentil soup with egg mayonnaise and salad (at Fodder, Harrogate) . Very tasty!
Dinner: Chicken casserole (again home made by John).
Dessert: *Chocolate mousse, with dedicated coconut and cocoa nibs.
Day twelve down and 30 to go!