The Nutrition Coach Blog London Nutritionist The Nutrition Coach offers advice on healthy living, nutrition and diet issues such as IBS, bloating, gluten intolerance and more.

probiotics, prebiotics and antibiotics

January 19, 2010

onionsThe balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is of vital importance when it comes to optimal health. If and when bad bacteria overcrowds the good ones you could run the risk of bowel problems.

I recently had a client who suffered with constant bloating and it couldn’t be pinpointed by anything specific in her diet. I did suspect dysbiosis due to the fact that she had food poisoning in Zanzibar and that is when the bloating started. A stool analysis confirmed that she had no parasites or other nasties, but that she had no growth of the essential lactobacillus bacteria species.

Long term use of antibiotics (which destroys not only bad but also good bacteria) the pill, alcohol and drug abuse, stress and even a trip to an exotic country can affect the delicate balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.

Certain types of vegetables act as a fermentable source of food which helps to promote the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria.

The extracts inulin and oligofructose from these foods are called pre-biotics because they travel through the digestive system intact and when they enter the large intestine they are converted to probiotics where they start doing their work.

They also act as a food source for friendly bacteria which already exists in your bowel therefore extending their life and activity.

Which foods act as pre-biotics? Onions, leeks, garlic, artichoke and chicory do, and eating sauerkraut and live probiotic yoghurt is a sure way of obtaining good sources of good bacteria in the gut.

Remember to include fibre, water and plenty of these prebiotic forming vegetables into your daily diet for optimal bowel health, and most importantly…..chew, chew, chew!

Metabolic Balance Diet Programme

January 15, 2010

By now, we probably all agree that if weight loss was as easy as balancing your calories in and calories out, we’d not even be talking about the whole topic.

In reality, the way we metabolise foods and consequently either put on or lose weight, is dependant on a variety of factors.

Insulin for example, is the hormone that helps transport energy from the foods you’ve ingested into your cells, where it’s needed for fuel.  It’s also the hormone that helps convert any excess energy into fat.  Generally, if your insulin levels are consistently up, you get more cravings, are more likely to store incoming energy as fat and less able to access excess fat (i.e. the weight you wanted to lose) as a source of energy.

It would therefore make sense to get your insulin levels to cooperate with your weight loss goals.  This is where we come to the role of stress.  The hormones secreted during periods of stress can increase your insulin levels.  Knowing what we now know about raised insulin levels creating cravings and making weight loss more difficult, it does look like stress can also play a part in your ability (or the lack of) to lose weight.

The other interesting fact to bear in mind is that excessive physical exercise can also stress your body out, creating a supply of the same stress hormones that can negatively impact your insulin levels.  Which means that too much exercise might not be helpful either if you want to lose weight.

So what’s the answer?  The best one I’ve found so far is the Metabolic Balance diet programme.  It’s based on solid scientific evidence, and helps create rapid changes in your metabolism and hormonal system which help you lose weight and more importantly, also keep it off.  Each client’s programme is unique to them, based on extensive blood test results and personal health information.

The next great thing to a foodie like myself is that this programme is all about eating a good varied diet of normal foods without starving yourself, or relying on some odd meal replacements.

The end result is exactly what it should be – healthy, sustainable weight loss.  Having said everything I did above though, I wouldn’t be as foolish as to claim that it works for absolutely everybody.  However, I would be happy to say that it is one of the better, more scientifically based programmes out there, and because it’s based on eating a healthy normal diet, I have no problems recommending it to my clients.  And by the way, everyone I’ve coached through it so far has indeed lost weight, and has been very happy with the results.

If you are interested, do get in touch and book in for your complimentary session.

Are you getting enough fibre?

January 12, 2010

flax seedsThe recommended amount of daily fibre is 26-35g, a number which not nearly enough of us are reaching.

There are two main types of fibre: Soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is more water retentive and therefore more viscous which makes it gentler on the digestive system. A good example is oats.

Insoluble fibre on the other hand is fibrous material which is indigestible by us. Think of the fibrous part of broccoli, that stringy part of the celery (the only time I would peel these are when serving as a crudité at a fancy schmancy dinner party, however I do find it quite funny when someone has a stringy piece dangling from the corners of their mouths not knowing exactly what to do next) – (slight diversion) or beans and pulses. These act like a brush in your gut and sweeps the intestines clean.

In the 1930’s and 40’s white bread became fashionable, some even thought it was healthier than good old whole wheat. However, in the 1970’s fibre made a comeback when Dr. Birkett studied black Africans and discovered that compared to Western Europe they had virtually no bowel disease. After this study was published more people started eating fibre.

Three ways to ensure you are getting enough fibre:

  • Add ground or soaked flax seeds to your porridge or yoghurt in the morning
  • Snack on raw veggies such as peppers, sugar snaps and broccoli
  • Have one portion of beans or pulses everyday.

Remember to increase your water intake when you eat more fibre. Fibre without enough water will be like ‘cement’ and contribute to the stool being very hard to pass.

Good bowel health may need more than only fibre, it also needs lots of friendly bacteria. Join me next week to find out more.

If you have uncomfortable or painful and unresolved issues with your tummy why not book a private consultation and nip the problem in the butt once and for all.

Six steps to becoming better Self-Disciplined

January 11, 2010

self-discipline

Six Steps to Becoming More Self-Disciplined

Discipline is the bridge between your goals and accomplishments.

Discipline, willpower, self-control – Whatever you call it, self-discipline is difficult for many people. Some days you think you simply don’t have it in you to make those 10 cold calls, and other days it seems much easier to drive by the gym than to go in and do a work out.

Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure. So, how do you become more self-disciplined?

These are not tasks to cross off as “completed”; instead, they are principles to use to guide your daily life.

1. Pace Yourself – Sometimes we have so much to do, we feel overwhelmed. For example, look at your business plan for the entire year. If it looks like an impossible undertaking, you might be tempted to give it a half-hearted effort. After all, it won’t work anyway, so why try, right? If approaching a project on the global scale intimidates you, don’t let it. Instead, take it one day, or if necessary, one hour at a time.

2. Organize – When lacking willpower, any minor setback will completely derail your efforts. So plan your day and then you won’t waste time or become discouraged. Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish. Review the list and be realistic about what you can and will do. As you evaluate the tasks, look for any entries that are what you want to do, rather than what you need to do.

3. Be Honest – Self-discipline is powered by motivation; therefore, be honest about what motivates you. If its money, admit it and don’t think you need to apologize. If the admiration of others keeps you going, embrace that and use it to propel you even further

4. Be Flexible – Continually re-evaluate your list of tasks and do them because they are the right things to do, not because you might feel like a failure if you don’t complete a task on your list. Too many times we fall into a routine of doing things simply because it’s what we’ve always done, without examining if the reasons why we did them are still valid. Our goals and visions continually change, so our responsibilities might need to as well. If you lack willpower or self-discipline, it might be because you are trying to do something no longer in line with your goals and beliefs.

5. Take Responsibility – As you work toward your goals, be mindful of your effect on others. Take responsibility for your actions and, if necessary, apologize or change your behaviour. If left unresolved, a sour experience will become much bigger than the original event. Handle it now, and it won’t require a lot of willpower or discipline in the future.

6. Reward Yourself – Being self-disciplined is hard. You deserve credit for doing things you don’t want to do, or don’t feel like doing right now. Give yourself praise and a reward when you accomplish tasks. Don’t wait for others to notice, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!

You may also like to consider some of my recent tweets on Discipline.

DISCIPLINE

  • Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
  • We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
  • All disciplines affect each other. Mistakenly the man says, “This is the only area where I let down.” Not true. Every let down affects the rest. Not to think so is naive.
  • Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.
  • Discipline has within it the potential for creating future miracles.
  • The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong.
  • One discipline always leads to another discipline.
  • Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.
  • You don’t have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.
  • The least lack of discipline starts to erode our self-esteem.

Ultimately the price of excellence is discipline.

More information about me can be found here and here

How to get the most benefit from your omega-3 rich fish

January 9, 2010

New research released from the American Heart Association has shown that the cardiovascular health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish are affected by how the fish is cooked.  Researchers found that baked or boiled fish is more effective at delivering omega-3 fatty acids than fried, salted or dried fish. 

The reason for this is that when unsaturated fats, such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, are heated to high temperatures they become denatured and essentially rancid.  These denatured fats, and saturated fats used in frying, actually compete with the beneficial fats to be used by cells.  This is also the reason why polyunsaturated oils, such as flax or pumpkin-seed oil, should not be heated. 

Therefore, when cooking omega-3 rich fish, such as sardines, mackerel or salmon, try baking it rather than frying for maximum benefit of the essential fatty acids.  Omega-3 fats have so many health benefits.  Not only are they good for the heart, but also help balance hormones, reduce depression, and help with weight loss.

Contact us to find out more or to book an appointment at one of our London nutrition clinics.

Julia

The new kid on the block for successful weight loss

January 7, 2010

I’ve always found the topic of weight loss and the huge commercial industry built around it fascinating.  Why is there such an array of different diets, weird and wonderful meal replacements and other programmes that all promise to be the ultimate answer to the age-old question of ‘how do I lose weight in the easiest, quickest way?’

I think the simple answer is because different approaches work for different people.  Most of the diets claiming to be the ultimate answer to everyone’s weight loss problems are in fact the ultimate answer to the weight loss problems of a certain segment of the population, whose metabolic make-up the particular diet suits.

It really isn’t as simple as calories in versus calories out.  If calorie-controlled diets worked, we’d all be slim by now!  To understand weight loss, you need to look at metabolism, and not just fat metabolism but cellular metabolism – how the “engine” of your body will burn fat.  This metabolism is affected by many factors – your hormonal balance, the way you produce insulin, and any health problems you may have.

If you are reading this, with your new year’s resolution of the new, slimmer and healthier you in mind, here’s my top tip – get to work on your insulin metabolism.  Insulin is the hormone that helps transport energy from the foods you’ve ingested into your cells.  It’s also the hormone that helps convert any excess energy into fat.  Generally, if your insulin levels are consistently up, you get more cravings, are more likely to store incoming energy as fat and less able to access excess fat as a source of energy.

You are metabolically unique, and therefore the diet you follow should also be tailored to your unique needs.  For that reason, I was very excited to discover a programme called Metabolic Balance.  It’s been developed by German doctors and nutritionists, and is individually tailored to suit your body chemistry, based on a set of blood test results and other personal health information.  This diet is all about eating a good varied diet of ‘normal’ foods without starving yourself, or relying on some odd meal replacements.

The end result is exactly what it should be – healthy, sustainable weight loss.

You can find more information about the programme at our web-site.  If interested, do book in for a free call to work out whether this programme could help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Nutrition coach
© 2016 The Nutrition Coach Ltd. All rights reserved. Web development by CreaCom Design.