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.

What should you eat for depression?

November 13, 2009

A recent report in the Archives of General Psychiatry has shown that eating a traditional Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a lower risk of developing depression.  The key to a Mediterranean diet is to focus on eating vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, wholegrains and legumes.  The diet is low in meat and dairy products, and with only moderate alcohol intake.  The low intake of meat and dairy and high intake of olive oil, nuts and fish means the diet is low in saturated fat but high in beneficial mono and poly unsaturated fats.  Last year I lived in Cyprus where I was hosting detox retreats and nutrition consultations at a leading hotel.  My personal experience and observations of clients certainly confirms that following a Mediterranean diet can make you feel fantastic (… and the Mediterranean sun helps too!).

Other important steps to help lift your mood include eating a good breakfast, getting enough quality protein and avoiding short lived stimulates such as sugar, caffeine and refined foods.

Find out more about how diet and nutrition can help relieve depression, or contact us to book an appointment at one of our London nutrition clinics.

Julia Alderman

Nutrition help for IBS

November 12, 2009

One of the most common complaints clients come to see a nutritionist with is IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  It seems to be one of those terms that get used when no other explanation can be easily found for continued problems with constipation, diarrhoea, cramping and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.  If you’ve walked out of your GP surgery with the words ‘I think it’s IBS’ ringing in your ears, this will all be very familiar to you.

As the name implies, IBS is a syndrome, in other words a collection of symptoms.  However, knowing your symptoms will not necessarily offer answers as to how to alleviate them.  Many put up with IBS symptoms simply because of lack of awareness of different options available to treat them.  As it’s not the most glamorous subject to bring up and won’t really lift the tone of any dinner party conversation, many don’t even realise that something can be done to restore their digestive health.

Food intolerances often get mentioned in the same sentence with IBS, and many people end up on unnecessarily restrictive diets in an attempt to improve their digestive health.  Often, all this ends up achieving is lot of frustration with having only few ‘safe’ foods to eat without providing a real long-term solution to the problem.

The culprit is often elsewhere, usually either in the form of imbalanced bacterial colonies in your digestive tract, or some unwanted visitors such as parasites.  A comprehensive stool test can help to uncover these, and there are many ways to treat these issues through focused supplementation.

If you are suffering from IBS, here are my top tips for easing the symptoms:

  1. Refined wheat is usually the biggest problem, followed by cow’s milk.  Cut these two from your diet for two weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
  2. Any type of flour tends to slow down the bowel in sensitive individuals, so for the first seven days avoid all foods containing flour.
  3. Instead eat more brown rice, potatoes, fish, lean poultry, fruit and vegetables.
  4. Citrus fruits can also cause problems.  Instead, opt for berries and bananas, both of which have been found useful for easing symptoms.
  5. Peppermint, fennel, camomile and rosemary teas can all enhance digestion and ease discomfort.

If you think you could benefit from some further help, do get in touch with me.

Personal Discipline

November 11, 2009

discipline

DISCIPLINE

The price of excellence is discipline.
The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.

  • 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.

Go here for more information about Ian Dickson

The Art of Active Listening

November 9, 2009

Active Listening

listening

Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more that hearing. It occurs when the receiver or the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as music, story telling, television, or being polite.

People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute, but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute (WPM). Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift – thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening – which involves listening with a purpose.

It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding.

It actually takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. The following are a few traits of active listeners:

  • Spends more time listening than talking.
  • Do not finish the sentence of others.
  • Do not answer questions with questions.
  • Are aware of biases. We all have them…we need to control them.
  • Never daydreams or become preoccupied with their own thoughts when others talk.
  • Lets the other speaker talk. Does not dominate the conversation.
  • Plans responses after the other person has finished speaking…NOT while they are speaking.
  • Provides feedback, but does not interrupt incessantly.
  • Analyzes by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended questions. Walks the person through your analysis (summarize).
  • Keeps the conversation on what the speaker says…NOT on what interests them.
  • Takes brief notes. This forces them to concentrate on what is being said.

Go here for more information about Ian Dickson

Balancing hormones naturally

November 8, 2009

An essential step in balancing female hormones is avoiding exposure to xenoestrogens.  Xenoestrogens are oestrogen-like chemicals found in plastics, some chemicals and pesticides and have an effect on hormonal balance.  In the wild this has been clearly demonstrated with some fish, for example, now growing both male and female sex organs.  A number of steps can be taken to avoid additional exposure to xenoestrogens, and a detox programme can help to eliminate those already stored in the body that may be contributing to your health problems (e.g. PMS, endometriosis, fibroids). 

To avoid exposure to xenoestrogens try to:

1. Eat organic food wherever possible to avoid consuming pesticides

2. Avoid heating food in plastic containers

3. Avoid storing food wrapped in plastic, especially fatty food such as cheese, meat or oily fish

4. Use natural organic skincare products

5. Use natural cleaning products

It’s also important to make sure have enough fibre in your diet and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage to help eliminate xenoestrogens.

Find out more about how a detox diet can help balance hormones, or contact us to make an appointment at one of our London nutrition clinics.

Julia

The RADAR of your Brain

November 5, 2009

Part of your brain is known as the Reticular Activating System or RAS. Your RAS plays a vital part in your ability to achieve goals.

Imagine that you’re walking through a busy noise airport passenger terminal. Think of all the noise – hundreds of people talking, music, announcements, luggage carriers. How much of this noise is brought to your attention? Not a lot. True, you can hear a general background noise, but not many of us bother to listen to each individual sound.

But then a new announcement comes over the public address system – saying your name or maybe your flight. Suddenly your attention is full on. Your RAS is the automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention.

Your reticular activating system is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. For example, the instruction might be, “listen out for anyone saying my name“.
There are some interesting points about your reticular activating system that make it an essential tool for achieving goals.

First, you can deliberately program the reticular activating system by choosing the exact messages you send from your conscious mind. For example, you can set goals, or say affirmations, or visualize your goals. Napoleon Hill said that we can achieve any realistic goal if we keep on thinking of that goal, and stop thinking any negative thoughts about it. Of course, if we keep thinking that we can’t achieve a goal, our subconscious will help us – not achieve it.

Second, your reticular activating system cannot distinguish between ‘real events’ and ‘synthetic’ reality. In other words it tends to believe whatever message you give it. Imagine that you’re going to be giving a speech. You can practice giving that speech by visualizing it in your mind. This ‘pretend’ practice should improve your ability to give the speech.

What we need to do is to create a very specific picture of our goal in our conscious mind. The RAS will then pass this on to our subconscious – which will then help us achieve the goal. It does this by bringing to our attention all the relevant information which otherwise might have remained as ‘background noise’.

Go here for more information about Ian Dickson

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