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.

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.


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

The new way of losing weight

November 5, 2009

There have been new weight loss programmes for as long as I can remember.  However, I’m really excited to be telling you about one that I think will stand apart from many of the rest.

The programme has been developed by nutritionists and doctors in Germany, and is now being brought over to the UK. It’s all about stabilising your insulin metabolism and getting you to burn fat instead of storing it. All well and good, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before!

So what’s the difference? I have been trialling the diet on some of my clients, friends and myself with great results. The weight is coming off, and it’s staying off, and no one is going hungry. And it’s all happening pretty quickly too – a colleague of mine lost a stone in about 3 weeks, and a client of mine lost 2 stones in less than 2 months.

It is based on an individual programme that is constructed based on a set of measurements and blood test results.  It aims to re-set your metabolism, making you burn fat instead of storing it.  Unlike simple calorie restriction diets, this one really works on re-booting your metabolism, and therefore the results last, rather than getting you yet another yo-yo diet band-wagon.

So watch this space for further announcements, and if you are interested, get in touch with me!

10 top tips to improve your memory

November 3, 2009



Four simple truths about memory:

  1. It is normal to forget.
  2. You can remember more and retain more for a longer period of time than you probably think you can.
  3. A few memory aids that many people have found useful may work for you.
  4. The best memory technique may be one you create for yourself, one that corresponds to your learning style.

Top 10 tips

The following is a list of strategies that have worked for many people:

  1. Decide to remember. Resist passivity. Become an active learner by making a conscious, deliberate decision to remember. Follow through on this decision.
  2. Combine memorizing with a physical activity. Each sense that you use while reviewing provides another pathway for information to reach your brain. Recite either silently or aloud, while riding a bicycle, while doing aerobics or calisthenics (floor exercises like sit-ups and jumping jacks), and while walking or running. Feel good about yourself for keeping fit and for exercising your mind.
  3. Use mnemonics. Mnemonics are tricks, games, or rhymes that help you remember things. You learned some as a child—“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
  4. Use acronyms. An acronym is a word formed by the first letters of other words or items that you want to remember. For example, “TEAM” is an acronym for –
    “Together Everyone Achieves More”.
  5. Associate to remember. Association is the process of connecting new information that you want to remember to something that you already know. An association is often
    personal. For example, use something personal to you to remember something unrelated. A friends name or a place you know can be used to trigger the association.
  6. Visualize. Form an image, or picture, in your mind of something that you want to remember. Visualization is an especially good way to link names with places or parts with locations. Draw things on a board or in a book that will remind you of the thing you need to remember rather than listing in words what needs to be remembered.
  7. Use an organizational technique. Organize information in a meaningful pattern that shows how each item relates to the others. List steps in a process. Outline complex
    materials. Make charts, diagrams, and information maps that show the relationships of parts to a whole or one part to another.
  8. Sleep on it. Reviewing before sleep helps you retain information. Because you are relaxed, concentration is focused. The information stays in your mind while you sleep. When you awaken, try to recall what you reviewed the night before. Chances are good that you will remember.
  9. Remember key words. Sometimes you have to remember a series of connected ideas and explanations. To recall items stated in phrases or sentences, select a key word to two in each item that sums up the whole phrase. Recalling key words will help you recall the whole item.
  10. Memorize. Useful for recalling certain kinds of information, memorization can be an effective tool if it is combined with other memory techniques. Memorization works best when recalling spelling, definitions, maths and facts about historical events, life cycles, etc.

Remember: A flexible memory system is best. The basic elements of successful memory work also include the following:

  • Be organized. Information that is organized is easier to find.
  • Be physical. Learning is an active process. Get all of your senses involved.
  • Be clear. You can reduce the background noise that may interfere with recall.
  • Be smart. Intelligent application of memory techniques can save work.

Your memory is a muscle.. if you exercise it, it will become bigger and stronger… Exercise your memory daily…

By improving your memory, you can find greater success in your career and in your personal life.

Go here for more information about Ian Dickson

Are you drinking enough water?

November 2, 2009

The most important nutrient for the body is water, and its consumption is vital for our existence. An average man weighing 75kg is 45 litres water. Two thirds of this is within the cells of the body, sustaining the chemical reactions that are essential for life. Water loss of as little as 1-2% of body weight can impair mental and physical function. Losses of 7% will disrupt physiology and result in total body collapse. Dehydration of a muscle by 3% can result in a 10% loss of contractile strength and an 8% loss of speed!

Most people operate with low-grade dehydration, with a bulk of their fluid intake being ones that are dehydrating – caffeine and alcohol. These drinks cause a greater loss of water than the amount they replace.  Unfortunately, by the time you feel thirsty you are already significantly dehydrated, Which makes it all the more important to develop a habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day.

So, how much water should we be drinking?  Adults should drink at least 1.5 – 2 litres of uncarbonated bottled or filtered water per day, and more when exercising or when the weather is hot.  Drinking enough water is also hugely important when the body is healing or when detoxing.

Find out more about our detox programmes and retreat, or contact us to make an appointment at one of our London clinics.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind

October 30, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

Be Careful What You Wish For!

The Subconscious Mind – 6 Basic Functions

The subconscious refers to that part of the brain which directs behaviour performed reflexively or without conscious awareness. There is now considerable evidence to suggest that the subconscious forms the sum total of all our past experiences and guides the majority of our daily thinking, information processing and behaviour. Taken in concert, research suggests that the subconscious performs a number of functions:

1. Recording and storing: The first function of the subconscious is to record and store our interpretation of reality, much like a computer hard drive. It has been estimated that the human brain contains 10–14 billion neuron cells and that each of these cells can store one to two million bits of information. This automatic recording process begins operating before birth and stores all our experiences, including what we think about and feel in response to those experiences. We might think of the subconscious starting life as a blank canvas, each experience then adds a brush stroke to our picture of reality, which we then call the ‘truth’. This picture or reality stored in the neuron structure of the brain may not be the absolute truth, however, it is only the truth as seen and remembered by us.

2. Habits: A second function of the subconscious is to handle automatic functions (heart-beat, breathing, circulation, digestion, blinking) and learned automatic functions (tying shoes, walking, driving, playing a guitar, multiplication tables). All of these learned functions begin on the conscious level then, through repetition, are turned over to the subconscious and become habits. Most of the time habits are helpful and assist with greater efficiency. Sometimes however, habits stored on the subconscious level can also be barriers to change, adjusting to new situations and to safety.

3. Auto-pilot personality: The third function of the subconscious is to maintain our perception of reality by making us act as the person we believe ourselves to be. This picture is based upon our current dominant image of the ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ as recorded from our subjective interpretation of the world. For example, if an individual believes that they are a poor public speaker, this will drive their approach to a public speaking engagement, creating feelings of anxiety and nervousness, which impact negatively on the individual’s performance during the speech. This effectively reinforces the original belief that they are a poor public speaker. In a similar fashion, the subconscious also drives the commonly cited ‘risk-taking’ personality. In this case, a ‘risk taker’ will approach a potentially risky situation believing that they ‘enjoy taking risks, it is a part of their personality, and that they will survive the experience’. These thoughts cause a release of chemicals that the individual interprets as heightened arousal and excitement, which in turn, confirms their belief that they enjoy taking risks.

4. Creative problem-solver: The fourth function of the subconscious is to solve problems creatively. Just like a researcher, the creative subconscious scans one’s memory banks for information in order to piece together bits of information into a possible solution. Effectively, problems can be solved without conscious effort and daily challenges and new experiences are more likely to be accepted.

5. Energy source: The fifth function of the subconscious is to provide drive and energy to resolve conflicts and accomplish goals. If an activity is not DIPI (dangerous, important, pleasurable, and interesting) the subconscious mind will release no energy to complete the activity. This is the science behind procrastination, whereby people avoid tasks and experience little drive to complete them until shortly before the due date. As the deadline approaches, the potential danger and importance of the task increases, and the subconscious releases more energy to complete the task. The challenge therefore, is to work with this function rather than against it. What this means is that instead of considering the negative, hard, or mundane aspects of important activities, emphasise the important, interesting and potentially pleasurable aspects of completing such activities.

6. Goal-seeker: The sixth function of the subconscious is to ensure human beings are goal oriented and achievement striving. This function operates in conjunction with that described above, in that goals ensure that an activity remains ‘DIPI’, ensuring energy is released to complete the activity and achieve the goal. With the conscious mind having such a limited processing capacity, it is the subconscious that drives almost all of our daily processes. Indeed, given that the conscious is limited to processing seven units of information at any one time, the subconscious drives more than 99.7 per cent of daily functioning. This means that we essentially are our subconscious. As the subconscious is comprised of memory and habits, and memory and habits are basically types of thinking patterns (attitudes), it is therefore also true to say that we are our thinking patterns. Hence, an understanding of thinking patterns is crucial for effective leadership and improving safety performance.

The GIGO principle originates from the computer industry and stands for ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’. That’s what computer experts refer to when a computer is programmed with the wrong information and hence gives the wrong result. The computer is an incredible machine that can only work with the information you give it. GIGO is true of the human mind too, with the relationship between the subconscious and conscious often likened to that between a computer and its programmer. That is, garbage thinking patterns in: garbage results out and good thinking patterns in: good results out.

Go here for more information about Ian Dickson

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