5 Ways to Beat Christmas Weight-gain

Food, the Forgotten Medicine©

Christmas Cat

Cold weather, shorter days and festive cheer is the perfect excuse to overeat at this time of year, but if we understand our bodies a little better we can enjoy ourselves without over the top weight-gain.

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Leptin Deficient Mousey & A very Normal Mousey

Your appetite – like most things – is controlled by hormones…principally ‘Ghrelin’ and ‘Leptin’.

They work on a feedback loop – when your stomach is empty, Ghrelin is produced and this signals the brain that it’s time to eat.  Leptin, on the other hand tells the brain to stop eating if we start gaining too much fat.  In other words, Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite, whilst Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite – if you want to lose weight, you want LESS Ghrelin in your system.

 

Here’s my top FIVE ways to look after your hormones this Christmas…

 

ONE – Sleep more!

Sleep deprivation is a great way to increase the production of ghrelin and decrease leptin production   If you’re going to a few parties these next few weeks then you’d better find time to throw some afternoon naps in the mix – buffets and increased ghrelin aren’t a great idea!

TWO – Avoid *Hyperpalatable Foods

If you really want your brain chemistry messed with, eat highly processed foods.

Food manufacturers know that fat, sugar, and salt send our reward centers crazy, meaning we always want more.  Essentially, we can’t ‘hear’ the signals from our gut through all the dopamine ‘noise’.

Stay away from highly processed foods altogether –  better still make your own treats and you’ll know exactly whats gone in them!  Check out this blog post for Festive Treats.

THREE – Eat Slower

If you choose to eat like an industrial hoover then it’s inevitable you’ll get a LOT of calories down your neck before your brains even received the signal that your stomach is full – best advice here is to chew your food and appreciate the textures and flavours.

FOUR – Eat Mindfully 

It’s a good idea to stop eating (not always) before you’re completely full, and that requires a focused dialogue from gut to brain.  Watching TV, messaging on FB, or driving whilst eating, are a sure-fire way to break that connection!

FIVE – Keep Your Balance – Energy Balance that is!

Bear in mind that you can’t out-train a sloppy diet – not even the magic of Christmas allows this! 

However, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t powerful stuff, and i wouldn’t wait until the New Year to start…even if its just 5 minutes, do something today, and by the time January roles around, your body will not be thrown to the bootcamp HIIT wolves!

Talking about intensity (HIIT), shorter exercise durations at medium-to-high intensities has been shown to illicit less cravings – particularly in women.  So, if your idea of fat-loss is hours of treadmill or cycling, you might want to consider how that impacts your appetite later that day and wether you increase your meals and snacks to compensate!  Your best bet is to keep the duration relatively short and ramp up the intensity.

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image & data courtesy of suppversity.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

Finally, what if there was an activity that not only got us moving, but aided our digestive health too!

To many, Yoga is about being bendy – or perhaps graceful & bendy – but for me it’s more an internal practice – check out these 14 yoga postures that aid digestion.

Of course there are Yoga teachers who are focused on the bendy-aesthetic, and Yoga Teachers who are focused on the intelligent side of yoga, so choose your class accordingly!  If you’re located in the North East of England, then Jambo Yoga certainly fits the latter!

 

Whatever your journey, have an AMAZING time!!!

 

Happy Christmas!

 

Magic ‘The Grinch’ Manos

 

 

*Hyperpalatable foods is a term coined by Harvard-trained pediatrician, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD

Glorious Golden Milk

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

 

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, and is also found in limited amounts in Ginger. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and cancer preventative molecule, and similar to Fish Oil it seems to be an effective metabolic syndrome band-aid. Black Pepper greatly enhances absorption. — examine.com

 

Huge bag of the wonder spice!

Huge bag of the wonder spice!

 

Turmeric has hit the headlines as a power spice recently for it’s reported immune boosting properties…it’s another example of us in the West cottoning onto something that actually finds it’s roots in ancient healing and medicine, specifically Siddha Medicine.

Turmeric has many health benefits including acting as a detoxer of the liver and helping maintain a healthy digestive system.

Here’s a warming winter recipe for you to try, it tastes pleasant, I think you’ll like it…

Glorious Golden Milk

Serves two

X 2 cups of raw (unpasteurised) cows milk ideally or use unsweetened almond milk

x 1 tsp coconut oil

X 1 tsp ground turmeric

X 1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg & black pepper (*don’t forget the black pepper at it greatly increases the biovailability of curcumin!)

X 1 tsp maple syrup (omit if cutting sugar)

A spoonful of spice helps the medicine go down!

A spoonful of spice helps the medicine go down!

 

Heat the milk gently in a saucepan and whisk in the dry ingredients, warm through for a few minutes…enjoy on it’s own on a rainy afternoon or as a pre bedtime treat with a piece of high quality dark chocolate!

Et Voila - winter warming perfection!

Et Voila – winter warming perfection!

Water – The Essence of Life

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

 

Water is the largest single constitute of the human body and is essential for cellular homeostasis and life.

Despite this, there is no agreed recommended daily intake for adults in the UK.

Water Man

 

Part of the problem is that we all vary so differently as to how much water we can excrete and hydration can be maintained over a wide range of water intakes. Not surprising when you consider all the different variables at play – metabolic rate, body mass, size…then there’s the environmental conditions – humidity, wind, solar load, clothing, heat acclimatisation status, fitness levels, diet etc etc…

However, the maximum amount anyone should drink is well understood as the kidney’s maximal excretion rate is 0.7 – 1.0L per hour. Acute water toxicity has been reported at above these rates with tragic consequences.

“A 28-year-old California woman died after competing in a radio station’s on-air water-drinking contest. After downing some 6ltrs of water in 3 hours in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” (Nintendo game console) contest, Jennifer Strange vomited, went home with a splitting headache, and died from so-called water intoxication.” — Scientific American

 
With the obligatory health warning out the way… lets look at the little water intake recommendations there are…
The US survey recommends Adequate Intake (AI) Fluids (drinking water and beverages) provided 3.0 L and 2.2 L per day for men and women, respectively (another 20% of fluid on top comes from food).

Our NHS suggests a lot less – women 1.6L and men 2L per day – and references the European Food Safety Authority for this statistic.  http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1459.htm

Hmmm…i smell a rat! …1.6L is the same as the well-trumpeted advice of 8 glasses (200ml) of water…does anybody know the mythical research that came up with 8 glasses per day?!

…even more bizarrely, if you take the time to check (nobody but yours truly is that sad!) the European Food Safety Authority doesn’t actually advise 1.6 or 2L of water per day…but rather 2L and 2.5L for women and men respectively (2010) – which is a lot closer to the US survey of 2.2L and 3.0L for women and men.

My own experience tells me that recommended intakes for anything (RDA’s, RDI, AI) tend to be on the very conservative side – the aim is always the minimum dose that will prevent sickness. However, the minimum dose to prevent sickness is unlikely to be the same dose for optimum health…especially for those training hard.

***

The formula that works for me and my clients is 30-35ml of water per KG of bodyweight.

So for me – at 80kg – i’m aiming for 2.8L per day – with a good deal more if i’m training hard (around 4ltrs)

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10925&page=R1

Fermented Foods, Homemade Kombucha Tea!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

Fermented foods are an everyday part of my diet…I have homemade sauerkraut and this kombucha tea drink everyday.

 

It's ALIVE!

It’s ALIVE!

These additions to a healthy diet can be SO simple to make and blast all your pro-biotic yoghurt based drinks out of the park in terms of GOOD bacteria!

Kombucha Tea Drink

You will need;

Bottled mineral water – x 2 litres
Organic black loose leaf tea (you can use organic tea bags if you like, must be black) x 4
Organic sugar x 1 cup
X1 SCOBY (I can give you this if you’re on one of my plans or you can order from a reputable company online)

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!

 

The method;

Boil half the mineral water and add to the sugar and tea in a ceramic bowl to infuse for 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the cool mineral water and leave until completely cool.

Strain out the tea or tea bags using a PLASTIC (BPA free) sieve. (Kombucha does’t like metal at any stage of the process).

Add your Kombucha to a clean sterilised jar with your SCOBY. Do not seal completely but drape a clean tea towel or muslin cloth over it to protect from bacteria.  Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Kombucha does not like cold!

Your Kombucha is ready full of probiotics in 5days but in terms of your own personal taste, the longer you leave it the stronger tasting the brew will be! You can keep it on the counter or in the fridge after it’s reached your desired taste.

Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid - great for storing your delicious drink!

Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid – great for storing your delicious drink!

 

The benefits!

The main benefits of this tasty elixir as well as it being JAM PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS are vast;

1. It contains TONNES of probiotics

2. It can alkalize the body to balance your internal pH

3. It detoxes the liver

4. It will increase metabolism, improve digestion and keep you regular!

5. It can rebuild connective tissue – help with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

6. Reduce blood pressure

7. Relieves headaches & migraines

8. Heal eczema – can be applied directly to the skin

9. Help clear up candida, yeast infections & group strep b in pregnancy

10. Help with healthy cell regeneration

 

How to be ‘BULLET-Proof’!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

As someone who doesn’t tolerate supermarket milk, I’ve been putting butter in my coffee for years.  It might seem like a radical new thing to do, but the Tibetans have been putting butter in their hot drinks for hundreds of years – yet another traditional forgotten food!

Dave Asprey is credited with the resurgence of this ancient practice by his clever branding and it is now popularly referred to as ”Bullet-Proof’ Coffee.

Growing in popularity and spreading like wild fire due to it’s amazing health benefits and taste, I wanted to share my method and my motivation for drinking this lovely stuff!!  You can read more about the original inventor and his products here. 

So… what is Bullet Proof Coffee – well it’s essentially delicious coffee whizzed up with butter and coconut oil but the science is so much more interesting that that…

But why oh why would we put butter in our coffee and not milk or cream?

Well…it’s a morning kick start of beautiful coffee, essential fats and actually promotes fat burn and optimises cholesterol levels! (*)

Great news eh?!

Want to have a go for yourself?  Read on…

Brewing delicious FAIR TRADE coffee and tea for 250 years with OVER 50 different types of beans!

My coffee of choice – FAIR TRADE coffee in the North East for over 250 years

 

You will need…

  • Your favourite morning mug
  • Responsibly sourced Coffee Beans – I like Pumphrey’s Espresso Crema beans and buy them in bulk from the Blaydon store
  • V60 dripper and filter (or your favourite brewing method)
  • Just boiled filtered water
  • 1 tsp grass fed butter (*)
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Hand held blender

The North East Bullet Proof method…

  • Grind your Pumphrey’s coffee beans fresh
  • Pour your just boiled water through your filter into your mug; for essential mug warming and rinsing of the paper, discard the water after a couple of minutes
  • Add a measure of your ground beans to your filter
  • SLOWLY pour over the water until your mug is full
  • Pour into a bowl and add the butter and coconut oil
  • Whizz up for a good few minutes with a blender or if you’re lucky enough to have one a nutri-bullet or similar
  • Pour into your favourite morning mug
  • ENJOY and step forth into your day in the knowledge you’ve already started in one of the best ways possible…
Be Bulletproof

Be Bulletproof

(*) ..as a caveat to bulletproof coffee…and any individual food really…it needs to be considered in context of the overall diet.  If we’re still eating a typical diet, whacking extra fat on top is not bulletproof!

(*) Only use grass-fed butter like Kerrygold. Butter from grain-fed cows has a completely different fat make-up and it won’t taste anywhere near as smashing!!

 

Dairy Free – Almond Milk Recipe

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c) 

My 28 days later programme involves cutting out dairy completely.  I advocate Almond Milk (*) and homemade is best so here’s a method I’ve found works really well..

 

HOW TO; Make your own dairy free Almond Milk 

soak, drain, whiz, strain and your'e there!

soak, drain, whiz, strain and your’e there!

 

  • Pre-soak organic skin on almonds (1 cup) for 12hrs
  • Repeatedly drain and rinse at least 3 times over the 12 hours
  • Blend almonds & 1 cup water (depending how watery/strong you like it) for around 2mins in a food processor
  • Strain through muslin cloth (*)
  • Beautiful homemade Almond Milk is yours!
  • Dry almond pulp in oven  – 10 mins at 180’c should do it
  • Almond pulp can be used as a cereal substitute or in baking as an almond flour

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Delicious in chai tea!

(*) if you don’t have time for homemade, always buy the ‘unsweetened’ variety and check the ingredients carefully!

(*) you can buy a special nutbag online if you like.  I use this one!

Avocado Cucumber & Variety Tomato Salad

 

“Food is the Forgotten Medicine” ©

 

Tomatoes in box

Tomatoes come in all shapes & sizes!

 

Clients tell me that salads don’t fill them up…and after i look at them blankly for a few minutes, i give them this no hassle recipe! ;)

 

Ingredients:

2 cups Organic cherry or cocktail tomatoes

2 big Organic Heritage tomatoes (available at Lidl)

2 Avocados

3-4 large Organic cucumber

1/2 – 1 cup fresh basil leaves

Optional if you’re looking to impress someone! add Arugula Flowers for a dash of white colour and a lovely Peppery flavour!

Edible Argula flowers

Edible Argula flowers

 

The Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil – get the fancy stuff…you’ll be pleased you did!

1 lemon, halved & juiced

1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 clove of crushed garlic

 

Directions:

  • Start by washing the tomatoes and cucumber…yes i know they’re organic….organic produce can pick up chemicals in the packaging & transport process!

 

Spray clean your veg…it’s a 30 second 20pence investment in your health!

 

Take a spray bottle -the kind you’d mist your plants with – fill it with three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar.  Spray just enough to coat the surface — and then rinses it under the cold tap! :)

 

  • Slice the tomatoes in different shapes and sizes for variety and textures (half some cherry toms and leave some whole).  Slice & quarter the cucumbers.

 

  • For basil again think variety….some whole leaves some finely chopped!

 

  • Same goes for avocado…some chunky some not so chunky!

 

  • Whack it all in a big bowl and add the dressing and toss with clean hands to coat evenly

 

  • Add salt and pepper slowly to taste and serve!!

 

Best to eat straight away but should keep fairly crisp for around 3days…and if soggy salads are your thing, maybe even a few days after that!

 

Enjoy!

 

If you try this, let me know how much it costs from your grocers or supermarket…i’m always keen to hear about the best place for organic produce in the UK

The River Tyne – A Big River

 

 

GreatNorthMillionLOGO-July2014TrevBootsFacebook_zpsbd964a8d

Great North Run: Million – The iconic Tyne Bridge – like the Sydney harbour bridge only smaller!

 

The Great North Run (GNR) has been, come, & gone for yet another year.  Starting with humble beginnings, this year the GNR clocked up a remarkable historic milestone – the first ever running event to reach it’s millionth finisher!

 

And with the iconic Tyne Bridge defining the starting point of this half-marathon, i thought, what better time to announce expanding my Nutritional Therapy practice to both sides of the river!

 

…but before i do, i thought i’d share my personal story as one of those million finishers!

 

Great North Run T-shirt Designs

Great North Run T-shirt Designs over the Years – can you spot your year?

 

The year was 1994 and i still have my T-shirt ( pictured above) … I was 17yrs old, and the Great North Run was the first organised race i’d entered outside of school.  I knew very little about the race other than people got very excited about it.  I’m pretty sure i didn’t even know what a half-marathon was, but i used to run to school everyday so how hard could it be!

I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of people, it seemed to take 10minutes before i’d even crossed the start line!  It wasn’t easy to settle into my own pace with all the frenzy and i remember spending the first few miles avoiding tripping over other runners until the course spread out a little.  

 

Fast forward to the finish line and i noticed the official clock….1hr44 -from memory – i had no reference point wether this time was good or bad (still don’t!), so it was a meaningless number really, but i took a mental note of it anyway.

 

As i looked around at all the smiling, exhausted faces, my sense of pride turned to bemusement as i realised that i was at the seaside…hmmm…did i mention i knew nothing about the run!  At no point over the last 13miles had i wondered where i was going to end up!  All the runs i’d done before had started and finished at the same place, and here i was some 13 miles from home, with know one to pick me up, and  no money for public transport!  It was also an era before the ubiquitous mobile phone – hard to imagine i know!!

 

I would have to come up with a plan quickly…my running vest and shorts were damp with sweat, and i was starting to shiver as my muscles cooled, the North East coastal winds were whipping in…there was only one thing to do…

 

Run home!!!

 

The first mile home was pleasing enough as my temperature picked back up, but the pleasantness didn’t last too long as my muscles hadn’t taken too kindly to stopping and then staring again.  Now running the opposite way, I recall the odd looks by the clean-up team – the good folks you don’t normally see who’s job it is to pick up the countless plastic drinks cups and bottles thrown on the ground, before the roads could be opened again. “Let’s get home before this road opens back up i thought!”

 

Home was conveniently, or inconveniently – depending on how you looked at it 13.4miles from the South Shields finish line….which meant all told, my first half-marathon attempt, bizarrely resulted in a complete marathon distance!  

 

My parents abiding memory of the aftermath of the run is of me essentially camping in bed for a week ,whilst they ferried food up to me – Thanks mum! :*  Personally, my blisters soon healed and all i was left with was a funny story, and  a tiny regret that i didn’t technically qualify for 2 t-shirts! ;)

 

______

Back to my original announcement….

 

Jesmond Natural Health & Fertility

As i mentioned at the start of the blog-post, I’m very excited to announce expanding my practice.  Joining Laura Bicker and her amazing team on Osbourne Road – Jesmond Natural Health & Fertility which will allow me to conveniently  reach people on both sides of the river.

 

Even in the car, i still get a nervous s twitch whenever i cross the Tyne Bridge but it can’t match the excitement i’m feeling for this brand new venture!!

 

It’s all about the Adventure!!

 

Manos :)

Fast Forward – one mans 10 day journey without food

Sunday 25 May 2014

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Following my ignoble false-start, I had to pick myself up, dust myself down, and start Day 1 of my 10 day fast with renewed vigour!

The previous 2 days of no dairy, no meat, no processed food, was plain sailing on a sea of steamed vegetables and kale soups.

I start the day as I will do everyday for the next 10days with 500ml of water, 4 tablets of Essential Amino Acids, and 20 tabs of Cracked Cell Chlorella.

‘Essential’ means they can’t be manufactured by the body, – and there’s no calories in them so nothing to digest – so it seems sensible to include a supplement.

2 hours later I’ll have more aminos in the form of spirulina and wheat grass powder which I’ll mix into 500ml of water.

That green drink is accompanied by 15 drops of what tastes like battery acid but which I’m informed is a very concentrated mix of sea and plant minerals – largely magnesium.

Actually I’m informed that it’s ‘Supercharged activated fulvic acid; ocean and plant derived magnesium with over 72 ionic trace minerals’ but I prefer my description!

I do this water/aminos/minerals ritual 3x per day in all, and each night I have a tablespoon of powdered fibre blend – I don’t want the bacteria in my gut going hungry – they haven’t signed up for this!

And finally the cherry on top night-cap -literally- is 2 tablespoons of super concentrated sour/tart cherries in 200ml of water.

There is about 70calories in this powerful hit of antioxidants but I feel important to include for a couple of reasons…

One, the surprising levels of melatonin will give me a good nights sleep each night which may or may not be a factor when trying to sleep on an empty stomach. Two, and perhaps more importantly it will assist with uric acid metabolism – serum uric acid will has been shown to be elevated during prolonged therapeutic fasting.

We’re getting into technical waters but uric acid has a main role of protecting high-oxygen tissues such as the brain from damage (fairly important then!).

Hopefully the nitty-gritty above is useful information for anyone attempting their own fast (although it doesn’t need to be technical, plenty of people do water only fasts), but for me the important thing is remaining mindful over the 10 days.

Mindful of why I’m on this journey of self discovery and mindful of any shifts that may come my way whilst I’m on it.

Not so Fast! – The mini-blog of a man going without food for 10 days

DAY ONE (Thurs 22 May 2014)

Image

 

Day one rolled around for the start of my 10 day fast – super excited to start, i dove straight in and didn’t have breakfast!  That’s the funny thing about a fast – all dressed up and know-where to go…or at least all fired up and nothing to do!

 

You’ll be pleased to note, my excitement didn’t last too long. 

 

It seemed all was not well at Parcel Delivery-towers and key supplements didn’t arrive on time.  When they eventually came i realised i should’ve taken some in the morning, then again at mid-day…so it’s about 5pm i haven’t eaten since yesterday, I’m staring down the barrel of 10 days without food but in my heart i know that #i’mdoingitwrong!

 

At this point, I also notice i should’ve done a two day lead-in – 48hrs of no dairy, no meat and no processed foods…doh, doh and doh!!

 

So ignoring the fact i was so under-prepared for such an exciting undertaking i considered my options… 1) ignore the fact I’d missed part of the protocol and carry on not eating,or 2) feel like a failure and quit …please don’t make me quit on day one!!

 

Actually there was a third option, let go of my ego (at least for a while) and do the damn protocol as it was meant to be done and forgot about the very notion of success and failure!  They’re imaginary concepts anyway!

 

That’s what i would’ve advised any of my clients to do, but it’s hard to see wood for the trees when your self-directed…note to self, get a life coach.  I also can’t judge the protocol if I’ve tinkered with it or modified it around me – so let’s do this properly!

 

OK so drama averted! Today gets scratched.  Tomorrow no dairy, no meat and no processed foods and Saturday likewise.  Then, come Sunday its on like Donkey KonG!!!!