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.
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…
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.
Finally, what if there was an activity that not only got us moving, but aided our digestive health too!
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!!!
Magic ‘The Grinch’ Manos
*Hyperpalatable foods is a term coined by Harvard-trained pediatrician, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD
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! 😉
2 cups Organic cherry or cocktail tomatoes
2 big Organic Heritage tomatoes (available at Lidl)
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!
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
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!
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
If you have read it, and haven’t slept since Christmas waiting for the sequel, then fear not, here it is!!!
Here’s the inside scoop… my correspondence with Chewie’s distressed owner – she’s graciously let me share it here so we can heal doggies all over the World one tummy at a time!
Hope you’re well! 🙂
Dogs are essentially wolves – They prize organ meats, and they actually get a lot of their energy from undigested grass and plants in the tummy of their prey. They are great survivors and not afraid of a bit of scavenging -berries, herbs, grasses, plants and the odd worm!
Whilst farmers have historically shot wolves to protect their sheep I’ve yet to find one who was worried about wolves decimating their wheat fields.
And yet wheat, along with oats and corn (cereals), are the main ingredients in commercial dog foods. It’s not hard to see why – cheap to produce, easy to store and transport & bulky, they look good value for money!
To that end, lets remove the grains, and replace with organ meats and plant material (vegetables) – which we’ll need to cook as Chewie’s never been exposed to raw food – and see how he’s doing in a months time.
Remember to consult with your vet, but here’s what I feed my two beauties!
THE PROTEIN & FATS
1lbs CATERING MINCE (the fattier the better!)
Find your largest pan. Fry the mince before adding the other ingredients. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic (helps with digestion, fleas & ticks – too much is toxic), and a tablespoon of dried parsley (anti-inflammatory) or mint (doggy breath!).
Mix everything together as it’s cooking. Cover and cook for a further 45mins. Stir periodically to stop sticking.
3 LARGE POTATOES
4 CARROTS – top & tail
1 SWEDE – peeled
1 LARGE TURNIP
1 PACK OF CELERY
1 PACK OF LEEKS
2 APPLES – Cored
HANDFUL OF BERRIES – Optional
Keep things simple – peel if you need to, chop everything the same size, place in large pan and cover with water. Boil and simmer until soft. Drain water and blend with hand blender (wand type) or similar food processor.
This little lot will pack your pup with fibre (soluble – the good kind!) and keep a spring in his step.
Look for a glossy coat and an extra bounce (I’m serious!) in a few weeks!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Yours in healing
Chewie’s owner followed the guidelines above to the letter and guess what?
NO MORE EXPENSIVE VET VISITS
Chewie made a complete recovery…YAY!!!
This recovery didn’t surprise me if I’m’ honest.
However the speed of recovery was remarkable – within a week Chewie’s welts had all but dissipated and, he’d stopped scratching his ears.
Luckily Chewie had youth on his side, and so was able to demonstrate an astonishing ability to self-heal – A few more years on commercial dog food and it would’ve been a different story!
If you have, or know, a dog with similar ailments, at least consider the dogs diet before pumping the poor thing with drugs – consult a holistic veterinarian for professional advice.
Meet Chewie…AKA Mr Choo, Choo-baroo, or to give him his full title …*Chewbacca.
Chewbacca is an adorable 3yr old Border Terrier with a wonderfully calm, yet playful temperament.
His owner explained how that playful spirit had all but disappeared lately.
Welts and bald patches plagued his back, and his ears were red-raw from constant scratching. Despite a cocktail – of expensive – drugs and numerous trips to the vets, he was clearly still in a great deal of distress. Frustrated, worried, and tired from middle of the night bathing and ointment sessions, the owner didn’t know who else to turn to.
Now I’m no vet, but – thanks to ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates – i knew one thing…
All disease begins in the gut.
I also new that, as a small dog, it wouldn’t take much to overwhelm the tiny surface area of Chewie’s gut.
The most rudimentary Google search reveals the main cause of psoriasis in dogs is T-cells that divide too rapidly -essentially they build up before they can be shed, causing the itchy rash. There are genetic factors to consider, but mostly it’s caused by an allergy that compromises the dog’s immune system – sounds like leaky gut to me!
With allergies, human or animal, you essentially have two choices.
Option 1: Expensive allergy tests …the vet/doctor will then advise you to avoid allergens.
Option 2: Remove allergens and see how you get on
Most vets know that dogs with psoriasis are allergic to ingredients in commercial dog food but recommending a change in diet doesn’t generate them any income. So they treat the symptoms – with creams and tablets – and never address the underlying cause...hmmm now where have i heard this story before?
I had a clear plan of how to fix Chewie and knew his future was bright!
Watch this space to see which option we went down, what changes we made…and if Chewie’s ears ever stopped itching!
*Bonus fact for the Star Wars Geeks out there- George Lucas’s created Chewbacca after seeing his dog sit up in the passenger seat of his car – his name derives from the russian word for dog, ‘собака’ pronounced something like suh-BAH-ku.
For a lot of people – me included- exercise involves donning an elaborate and well thought out costume. Lycra leggings, compression-tops, running shorts, weightlifting shoes, running shoes, cross-training shoes, even my socks are hand-picked athletic apparel.
Personally, I like dressing up in my Superhero workout costumes – I don’t take them too seriously and they make me feel good.
However, I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need special clothes – or a special building (a gym) for that matter – in order to move.
You’re a human animal and movement is in your DNA. When a bus stop is a place to do pull-ups, or a tree, the perfect handstand partner, you will never worry about missing a gym session again.
Squat whilst brushing your teeth – make every moment an opportunity to train and express who you are.
You know the holiday drill by now…eat, eat, drink, eat, be merry, eat, drink, eat, eat, be merry some more, eat, get sick of eating, drink, get sick of drinking, eat some more, feel terrible… January D E T O X
Come the New Year you’ve eaten so much crap that paying someone £75 to wrap you in cling-film, and tell you to eat nothing but lemon & maple syrup for a month seems like good advice.
Detoxes have been described as pseudoscience and, whilst I agree that there’s a lot of quackery out there, a detox is simply screening what we eat and having faith that our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves given half a chance.
If done correctly, a decent detox reminds us that it’s normal to have lots of energy, and that it’s not natural to feel bloated, sluggish, or suffer brain-fog on a day-to-day basis.
Why don’t you join me here in January to see how I fine-tune my system ready for the New Year ahead.
Add a dollop of unsweetened whipping cream for fun!
Bring the coconut milk and chopped date to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat.
Gently boil the coconut milk for a few minutes then turn off the heat. Let the date soak in the milk for ten minutes to soften.
Pour the coconut milk and date into a blender and blend at medium or high speed for twenty-five seconds or more until the date pieces completely dissolve in the milk.
Add vanilla and cocoa powder.
Blend again until combined and frothy.
Heat gently on the stove
Pour into your favourite festive mug and delight in the warm chocolate glow!
Here’s some trivia to go with your hot drink of dreams…
One British study estimated that since 1940 the copper content of dairy products has declined by 90%, veg by 76% and meats by 55%!
30g of dark chocolate (85%cocoa) will provide 1 milligram of copper.
You could meet your copper quota with 115g of chicken/duck/goose liver per week together with a daily 30g dark chocolate helping.