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Getting started

To get you started, I thought it would be helpful to share some easy tips with you, that you can start incorporating into your day to day, along with your personalised programme:

You may notice, that I refer to the food industry occasionally on this page,  and their desire to have you believe that certain foods are good for you.  Please do not learn from the food industry, learn from a qualified professional who is not marketing a product and has your good health at heart.

Digestion:digest
Digestion may be compromised, over active or under active.  The easiest place to begin with on all fronts are these :
1 We digest our food with our sense of smell first; savor the smell and really enjoy what is on your plate (the smell of food stimulates digestion)
2 Next is chewing, this is important.  Enzymes in our saliva, break down carbohydrates and make them more easily digestible.  The act of chewing also turns food  into a paste (if you chew properly) ready for your stomach to do the rest
3 Chewing also stimulates our digestive enzymes within the stomach and the pancreas. These enzymes break down fats, protein and carbohydrates further, to ensure we can absorb the nutrients effectively
4 Chewing our food also helps to stimulate peristalsis, the muscular  movement of the digestive tract.  This moves food along the small intestine, into the large intestine and in an ideal world, removes the waste product of our food, in the form of daily stools.  For some clients this process is speeded up, when they over eat, leaving them rushing to the toilet, others are sluggish or just stuck.

Breakfast:my breakfast 2013
Many of my clients find breakfast the most challenging meal of the day, perhaps the main reason is that we get up and need to rush  to get to work on time?  For others they just don’t feel hungry and find eating a real struggle first thing.

1 Breakfast is a very important meal, there are many studies that show eating a good breakfast improves performance during the day
2 Eating first thing helps to balance blood sugar levels, and takes the pressure off your adrenal glands, which have to release stress hormones to raise sugar levels in your blood to help with your energy levels, if you don’t eat.  Of course this can cause weight gain too, even without eating
3 To support my clients I suggest eating slice of toast with coconut butter and pumpkin seed butter and very thin slices of bananas.  You can even eat this walking down the road or in the car.  Obviously, eating it at the table with a nice cup of rooibos tea would be ideal
4 Breakfast shakes and smoothies, these can also be incorporated into your plan, but we can discuss this when we meet.  I have a range of options for you depending on your goal and health status.

Fats and oils:getty_rf_photo_of_various_fats_oils
Do you use the best oil to cook with and the best oil to make dressings?  I have many confused clients doing what they think is the healthiest options, and sadly the food industry promote with misleading information.

Best oils/fats to cook with (at high temperatures the most stable of fats) you will notice that all of these are solid at room temperature

  1. Coconut oil Butter/Ghee, Cocoa butter
  2. Beef fat (suet)
  3. Palm oil
  4. Pork fat (lard)
  5. Duck Fat

Good for low heat cooking – moderately stable fats, you will notice that all of these are liquid at room temperature, these should only be used if cold pressed:

  1. Avocado oil
  2. Macadamia nut oil
  3. Extra virgin olive oil (also good for dressings)
  4. Rice bran oil

Oils that I would not recommend you consume, due to the processing methods, which leaves the oils damaged and in some cases contaminated.  *Unless these have been coldpressed and organic

  1. *Safflower oil (low heat cooking)
  2. *Sesame seed oil
  3. *Sunflower oil
  4. Vegetable shortening/margarine
  5. Canola oil

Hunger or blood sugar dips?

healthy foodClients often experience blood sugar dips, and respond to this by eating sweet snacks or reaching for a coffee.

What is really going on here is that blood sugar levels are unstable, you have a dip, usually caused by a sugar high, and this pattern continues throughout the day.  I set my clients the challenge, after assessing their health, to feel hungry so they can identify what real hunger feels like, it’s quite a revelation.  This pattern occurs partly due to our diets and lifestyle, and many of us experience ‘dysglycemia’, which means unbalanced blood sugar levels.

This isn’t diabetes, but may, for some of my clients, be the start of what might evolve into fully blown type II diabetes if balance is not achieved.  So how do we find the balance?

Usually, but not always, I get my clients to go on a blood sugar balancing diet.  This involves eating regular nutritious meals and snacks, the main rule is to eat protein with everything.  Using healthy proteins like nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas etc as well as fish, organic poultry, meat and eggs.  We can then focus on more of the underlying problems, once we find this balance.

Blood sugar balancingglycemic index pic
Using the glycemic index, foods which are low GI (low on the glycemic index)

Low GI Fruit
Apples and pears
Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, kiwis

Most sugars are high GI, glucose being 100% carbohydrate
There are no one exceptions.  Sugar and sugar substitutes are avoided

Foods which are low GI
Whole grains like wholemeal bread, oatcakes, wholemeal pasta, oats, and pumpernickel bread and any bread with a whole meal base with added seeds and and oats.  Proteins are also low GI, chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, fish, all animal products, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans pulses.

Foods that are high GI
Baked wholegrain, wheatabix, cornflakes, rice crispies, cheerios, shredded wheat, crisp breads, gluten free cereals. They are high GI as they have been baked at high heat.  Consider all cereals as high GI except wholegrain oats.

Cereal barscereal bars
Check the back of the packets.  Marketed as healthy snacks, they are far from that.

Firstly snacking is not healthy for most of us, secondly these are laden with sugar, whether from grapes, apple juice or sugar cane, the carbohydrate is drastically higher than the protein content.   They often use clever marketing terms like ‘nutri’ or ‘ made with real milk’ ‘great for lunch boxes’ ‘real ingredients’.    Snacking was invented in the 1970’s to market products, not to enhance our health.

Please avoid these sugar devils, they will not help improve your health, blood sugar levels or your weight.  When my clients need a snack in between meals I recommend a range of options from berries and nuts, oatcakes and humous, carrots and dips, celery and tomato juice and a few seeds, all delicious and nutritious and balance your blood sugar levels, until you can do without the snacks.  I also offer recipes for home made bars that contain few ingredients and are super tasty and nutritious.

Hydrationwater
One of THE most easy ways to feel better is stay hydrated!  I recommend you drink 1 large glass of water when you wake up, and one before you go to sleep.  Of course drinking water during the day is important, but to give your body a drink before and after sleep has to be the easiest way to improve hydration.  Remember the longer you are asleep the longer you haven’t had a drink of water, perhaps that’s why when you sleep for longer you don’t always feel so good?  Dehydration will make any ones symptoms worse, and can even contribute to heart attacks and stroke.  Not sure how much to drink?  Your pee should have a light hay colour, be clear and have no odour.  If your pee smells, is darker in colour or cloudy, you need some water!  Dehydration doesn’t happen over night, its accumulative.

For further information, and a personalised programme contact me on nutritionaltherapylink@gmail.com

To your health and happiness, Julie