Hi there and a Happy New Year to you all! So, Andrew asked me to do a series of articles about nutrition and everyday health, I’m a Nutritional Therapist so I guess he thought I'd be a good person to ask. I’m not going to tell you to eat ‘lots of vegetables’ although it wouldn’t do you any harm, as I guess you all do that anyway! I truly believe, and I’ve seen it in my clients, that foods can either harm you or heal you. This 6 week series of topics will just skim the surface of the world of nutrition but is intended to show just how important a good diet is for health and well being. It won’t be complicated and I will give you 3 tips each week to address whatever we are talking about. Sustainable Weight Loss So the first week, as the week that’s in it, has of course got to be weight loss. For those who are going to ‘start the diet in the new year’, the concept of eating a certain way for a limited amount of time, then stopping and going back to how you ate before, just to start all over again in 6months is frustrating to many. I’ve had countless clients who have always struggled and have tried ‘every diet’ but of course they are ‘diets’ and are not designed to last. Nobody should have to endure drinking a shake and 2 carrots per day for the rest of their life or having a calculator to hand every time they sit down for lunch. Many people do this without knowing why they keep putting on weight or why they can’t lose it, nobody has told them the what, why and how. Of course the calories in and out, as we all know, is now outdated. The 63 calories in a digestive biscuit gets metabolised in the body completely differently than the 63 calories in a boiled egg. Back in the day I could easily go through 5 digestives in a sitting with a cuppa but try 5 boiled eggs? not a chance. It's not about calories It’s what’s in the calories that is the most important thing. Food is not calories. I have found time and time again in my one to one practice and my group weight loss programmes that if somebody understands what is happening in the body when they eat certain foods, they can then go forward making informed decisions and in the end win out on not just weight loss but energy, mood & sleep. They are eating well for their overall health not just for 6 weeks. My participants eat lots of calories and without fail, all lose a minimum healthy 2-3llb per week consistently. Knowledge is power. The key to losing weight is balancing hormones and keeping satiated so the need to snack (always a problem) is removed. When we eat refined carbohydrates, (white bread, pasta, rice, cereal etc.), without additional protein and fats, our body uses that energy as an immediate fuel injection, for example, toast for breakfast with a coffee. Our blood sugars spike up and insulin, the fat storing hormone is released, the sugars crash, cortisol is released and we’re hungry again and so begins the daily graze. I always had this pattern of eating and I had a ‘cortisol belly’ to show for it, I changed to having proteins and fats with every meal and that belly is a distant memory. Carbohydrates burn like paper Carbohydrates on their own are like a piece of paper being thrown on a fire, a bright flame that doesn’t last long. However, if we have a mix of protein and fats, e.g. eggs with smoked salmon or avocado for breakfast, these take much longer to metabolise, they are not a quick fuel. These are the big fire log, burning for a good 4/5 hours. Some people can happily go through life munching on lots of white bread, etc and never put on weight, for others, it is more difficult. Obviously it’s never that simple and there are lots of other factors involved, including digestion, sleep, stress, exercise and gut health. I address all of these topics in the group programmes as they contribute to weight loss and our well being. I’ll be covering these topics in less detail here over the next 6 weeks. Try these simple 3 tips and see how you feel. 1: Protein breakfast - eg. scrambled egg with smoked salmon or avocado or tinned sardines and seeded bread (see my wonder recipe below) see how full you feel till lunch. 2: Nutrient dense snacks - If having a snack, make it a nutrient dense one, apple slices with almond butter, or handful of blueberries with a piece of cheese (protein,fats and carbs, remember we want the log on the fire not the quick burning cracker or toast). 3: Avoid late snacks - Finish your last meal no later than 7pm and try not to eat until the morning. Many of my clients find once they break this habit of sofa/netflix, grazing, they see amazing results not just in weight but in energy and cognition. If you do need to have something, a chamomile tea and a handful (2-3) of pecans or walnuts will likely do the trick. Sometimes we think we’re hungry but we could just be thirsty. Good luck in trying the above tips, let me know how you get on. I’ll be back next week to talk about digestion and the most common complaint I see in my practice, bloating, what causes it and how to prevent it. If you are interested in seriously losing weight and gaining your health back, here are details of programmes starting this January. Nourish Nurture & Glow If you are reading this, use this coupon code to get a whopping €20 off Nourish, Nurture & Glow programme. Code - Quick21 If I can be of any help with any other aspect of your health or well being including sustainable weight loss, digestion, sleep, mood, low energy or skin problems please feel free to contact me through my website. There are a very wide range of common troubles that can be effectively managed by simple diet changes, I think you would be surprised at how powerful food can be! If you would like to contact me please click the button below, I look forward to hearing from you! Seeded Nut Bread Here's the best gluten free seeded bread I've found, a client of mine recently said this bread was a life changer for her as she lost nearly 2 stone without the cravings and feeling hungry all the time. Nut bread is very easy to make, has a perfect balance of good fats and protein, tastes amazing and fills you up. What's not to like? I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Ingredients 80g - 1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon either olive oil or coconut oil 160g - 2⁄3 cup raw almonds 160g - 2⁄3 cup raw hazelnuts 160g - 2⁄3 cup raw walnuts 80g - 1⁄3 cup raw pistachios 160g - 2⁄3 cup raw sunflower seeds 160g - 2⁄3 cup raw pumpkin seeds 125g - 1/2 cup sesame seeds 60g - 1⁄4 cup whole chia seeds 125g - 1⁄2 cup whole flaxseeds 2 tablespoons cumin seeds (optional) 6 large organic eggs (if possible, otherwise free range) 1⁄2 tsp Cider Vinegar 1/1/2 teaspoons of sea salt. 1 tbsp Flaxseed Crunch(sold in Aldi /lidl / Dunnes Stores) Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, the seeds can be mixed up and substituted eg. double the amount of pumpkin and sunflower seeds in place of the hazelnuts and pistachios, still works very well. Grease a standard loaf pan with some coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.In a food processor combine almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios(shelled), Pulse 7 times - or put in a blender / nutri bullet and blend for 3-5 secs - careful not to overblend as you will get powder. In a bowl mix sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame, chia and flax. Add this mix to the processed nut mix. Stir together to combine. In a separate bowl, beat remaining oil - 1/3cup with the eggs and cider vinegar and salt until the eggs are frothy. Add in the nut and seed mix and mix well. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Top with the tablespoon of flax crunch. Bake for 50 mins until the skewer comes out clean in the middle. Allow to cool and slice and freeze if not using at once.