A Parliamentary briefing paper “Obesity Statistics” by Carl Baker, 20 January 2017, reports that men are more overweight than women, with 68% of men being classed as overweight or obese against 58% of women. But how many men do you know who are on a diet or attend slimming clubs? If the answer is not…
Us women spend much of our lives trying to be fit, or healthy, or to be slim. Many feel self-conscious for so many years and just as we finally accept our bodies we get punched in the face by the menopause and it’s many challenges!
From hot flush, sweating and struggles of sleep, and headaches to the dreaded weight gain! Unfortunately, weight gain is very common as our body releases new hormones and many of us are horrified when we step on the scales during this time. BUT… it doesn’t mean that we have to accept this weight gain. As with all previous years, if we care and maintain our health and well-being, we can control our weight gain.
There are three primary hormones in our bodies; insulin, adrenaline and cortisol. These three hormones control our stress and blood sugar levels. As our bodies change, so do our hormones and as such, we struggle with the ability to produce optimal levels of secondary hormones; oestrogen and progesterone.
Let’s look at oestrogen and progesterone and their affects in menopause… While oestrogen is responsible for lowering our blood glucose level, progesterone is responsible for increasing it. So, as our hormones impact one another, the levels of oestrogen being produced in the ovaries begins to decline, affecting our cells’ sensitivity to insulin.
These hormonal changes can affect blood sugar levels differently for each woman. Weight gain can commonly occur at menopause as it can trigger your metabolic system to slow down.
So, for women heading towards perimenopause, you have to consider how to tackle weight gain before you hit full menopause. Your body will start to store more fat in readiness to ensure your body has enough for the hormone changes, which is likely to result in food cravings and pangs of hunger, in particular higher sugar cravings. The good news is that there are a number of steps to take in order to prepare for the menopause. These include:
- Making healthy lifestyle changes
It seems pretty straight forward, but by reducing your alcohol intake and quitting smoking, to keeping active and eating a nutritious and balanced diet, these great factors can help you feel both physically and spiritually your best.
- Avoid high sugar and processed foods
Put down the cans of pop, ready meals and all junk food that’s going to aid in weight gain.
- Lower your cholesterol levels
Start by choosing fibre-rich foods that are packed with healthy fats and omega-3s over saturated fats.
Research has noted that eating, and avoiding, certain types of foods can make the menopause a lot more bearable.
Eat more healthy fats
I would suggest eating beans, avocados, nuts and seeds (my favourites include pumpkin, cashews and almonds as they contain vitamin E, zinc and calcium). The nutrients found in these healthy fats will keep you feeling satisfied and revived throughout the day, and normalise hormone levels.
Avoid consuming sugary, processed foods and stop adding sugar to food and drink all together, as this can leave you feeling constantly tired and drained. If you cannot resist, opt for a handful of mixed berries and nuts to crave your sweet tooth.
Avoid eating foods that are likely to trigger hot flushes and night sweats, such as coffee, alcohol and spicy foods, especially just before going to bed.
If you are currently going through the menopause and are struggling to satisfy your cravings, my private client programmes could be perfect for you. Tailored to suit your personal changes, tastes, behaviours and likes, a completely bespoke service to help you stay healthy and happy as your body changes.
Email me here email@example.com to book in a free consultation to discuss.
For this feature we are talking about productivity in the workplace, but the same applies to productivity in all aspects of our lives; from housework to play time with the children, or simple time out with friends or at the gym.
How productive are your days? Do you find you have some days where you are more productive than others? There are many factors that can contribute to workplace productivity, including how much sleep we have had and natural light in the workplace, but an important factor surprisingly is what we eat throughout the day.
When a car runs out of fuel, it simply stops moving. Food is our fuel needed to keep us going, but many of us don’t understand the different food types, the benefits of their nutrients (or lack of in many instances), and what we should be eating to help us achieve the maximum output.
So how does your day pan out?
- Do you have breakfast? If so, is it high sugar (cereals)? Is it high in processed carbs (white toast / pastries)? Or is it a healthy balanced breakfast (proteins, wholegrains, full fat natural yoghurt, fruit)? Or maybe you have no time for breakfast and skip it altogether!
- Do you get hungry between breakfast and lunch? Do you snack in between?
- What do you eat for lunch?
- Do you get hungry again before you finish work? Do you snack in the afternoon?
- Do you get tired after lunch and struggle to stay motivated and focused?
All of the above will affect how productive or non productive you are and how you day pans out! A key author in this field of study is Ron Freidman. He tells us that the food we eat has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. This is because the food we eat is broken down by our digestive system into glucose. The glucose is what we need for our brains to stay active. When we run low on glucose we struggle to stay focused and our attention span is shortened.
The foods we eat are all broken down at different rates depending on the food type. Some foods release their glucose quickly (high fructose foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, fizzy drinks) which is where the links of the sugar rush and the sugar crash kick in – you get a quick burst of energy followed by a massive slump in energy shortly after. Whilst other foods (fast-food, unhealthy fats) take longer to digest so provide more sustained energy, BUT reduces oxygen levels in the brain which makes us groggy.
Reuters, 2014, shared this photo of the then President Barack Obama, who had a strict food regime understanding how the food we eat affects how we think.
Business Insider confirm that the highly successful people do not rely on impulsive food decisions, they build constructive routines in advance taking away the need to decide at that moment.
So for a day’s working productivity, a healthy, nutritious breakfast leaves us with higher energy levels and brain power for longer, supporting us through a morning without losing focus and feeling hungry; a healthy lunch stops us from getting the mid afternoon slump and keeps us going for the rest of the day, along with balanced snacking options (full fat natural yoghurt, fruit, nuts).
The hardest part is understanding the different food types and what they actually do to our productivity levels. In work, we often run on a day-to-day basis grabbing food and snacks to fit into our day. BUT THIS IS NOT PRODUCTIVE! Taking a break and eating healthy will actually result in more efficient work being done than an unhealthy meal as you work, or skipping meals altogether.
If you want further support to lead a healthier lifestyle I can offer the following for you:
- My membership packages offer meal plans, recipes and even a shopping list, allowing you to become more successful as I take the decision making process away from you! As long as you prepare the meals in advance to take to work, it is all there for you and for only £15 a month!!!
- I can offer a company membership scheme at a discounted rate where the management make sure their staff are as healthy and productive as possible.
- A half-day workshop at your place of work, delivering a full training programme, the understanding of cooking healthy, unprocessed meals, with a full low-sugar lunch provided.
Still deciding? Why not try my FREE 5-Day Weight Loss Programme as a taster into the understanding? This is about natural weight-loss not a diet, so the training provided is what we need to do to lead a natural, more energetic, more productive lifestyle.
I am so excited!!! For a while now I have been working on some new services to offer you and I am now in a position to go live with these!!!!
After some great feedback about my free educational guide, I still felt I wanted to offer you more! I am so proud of these new programmes! The first one is my fantastic new informative FREE 5-Day Weight Loss Programme!
- Are you ready to say “NO MORE!” to fad diets?
- Do you want to feel healthy, motivated, happy in yourself and full of energy?
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This is an infographic created to show the changes in sugar consumption from the 60’s to 2010 and what it has done to our bodies, in America. I wanted to share this with you as although it is America, research carried out shows we are close in statistics proportionately…
Diets and social changes have been blamed for the drastic rise in obesity levels where traditional, local fresh foods were replaced with imported foods and rice, sugar, canned fruits, soft drinks, alcohol, and more… (Davies, M. 2015)
YES you CAN!
“All that we are today is the result of what we have thought,” (Guatama Budda).
Well, sometime ago I read this quote and it was a light bulb moment for me. Ever since, I have made a conscious effort to control my thoughts and my spoken words, making them more positive, and boy or boy it really makes a difference to your everyday life and the people around you.
All of us have thousands of different thoughts running through our minds every day and it’s understandable that most of the time we pay little attention to what these thoughts actually say or mean. Nevertheless, whether we are consciously aware or not, our thoughts and our spoken words do shape how we feel, how we act and ultimately, what we can achieve.
With all this in mind, there are two very small words that, even though they slip off the tong very easily and seem harmless enough, can be much more poisonous to our well-being than we realise; these two words are ‘I can’t’.
I am sure you are all nodding to yourselves right now, because we all know that we use these words flippantly and for some people it can be many times a day. Obviously, in some context, these words are perfectly fine… For example, when you are in an important meeting and your son texts you and asks to be picked up early from school (this is a regular occurrence once the little blighters are in six form😉) and you say, “I can’t love, I’m a tad busy at the moment!” Well, this is perfectly reasonable. But what about when it’s in the following context?
- I tried and tried, but I can’t lose the weight!
- I can’t give up chocolate!
- I can’t find time to exercise!
- I can’t get in the right mind set!
- I can’t go out to dinner, I’m too fat!
- I can’t get in my favourite jeans!
So when you next find yourself saying or thinking ‘I can’t,’ I want you to stop and think. Either replace it with I CAN, even if at first it may feel a bit silly or a bit wrong, or get into the habit of rephrasing it in a different way by replace the words with ‘I won’t’ or ‘I choose not to’. This way we start to own our excuses and facing this challenge is the first step of the journey to a new, positive, healthier, happier, and slimmer you.
So… there is no such thing as I CAN’T, you most definitely CAN!
LOOK WHAT THEY’RE EATING WHEN WE’RE NOT WATCHING!
What our kids are eating today…
A typical morning for me starts off with a walk with my three dogs, where I can breathe in the fresh air and get a bit of exercise done before starting my day. The route that I frequent boasts a skate park where the regulars are teenagers, in particular boys.
This morning, I was rather mortified at the array of empty crisps packets, chocolate wrappers, fizzy pop bottles and packed sandwich wrappers that created a junk food carpet along the skate park. Not only was I horrified that kids could litter so casually, but what really dawned on me was that our kids today are not choosing to snack on the raw, healthy and nutritious groups of food but instead they are drawn to the cheap, processed products for a quick pick me up, or even as a meal.
If you compare and contrast what our main supermarkets are charging for their healthy snacks as opposed to their unhealthy, it is rather apparent as to why a large percentage of teenagers wouldn’t be enticed by the healthier options. For example, a standard pack of fruit salad in a leading supermarket will cost around £3, whereas deals and offers where you can pick and choose three bags of sweets will only cost a teenager £1. That incentive alone already hints that you’re getting a better deal out of your money.
However, back in 2014, Tesco banned any form of sweets and chocolate from their aisles for parents to avoid their children’s attempts at adding some unhealthy snacks into their trolley as a last minute purchase. This was in a bid to tackle child obesity.
To put it simply; junk food is more appealing because of its convenience, low price and taste, especially for teenagers and young children who aren’t always aware of the health consequences of their eating habits.
The daily consumption of junk food can be addictive and can lead to many complications such as obesity, chronic illness and even depression. This habit can also have a significant effect on how our children are performing in school and extracurricular activities. The importance of what you put in your body could not be more apparent at this stage in a person’s life.
Energy, focus and concentration are all especially crucial during school, but the consumption of junk food and food groups with high level sugar completely reduce energy levels and the ability to fully concentrate. This then affects how they engage in physical activities as the lack of sufficient nutrients in junk food alters their performance.
Being on a sugar free and chemical free diet has drastically changed my health and well being and cooking tasty, nutritious meals for my two boys allows me to know exactly what they’re consuming… well, when they’re in the house anyway. However, I do firmly hope that my way of eating will influence them to favour the natural and healthy groups of food when they’re not with me.
FINDING A CLEAN, WHOLEMEAL BREAD RECIPE
Giving up sugar is not an easy process for most and one of the most common questions I get asked is, “what type of bread can I eat?”
I usually offer my seeded loaf recipe which is truly delicious, but it is a bit long winded to make, can be expensive and sometimes it’s tricky to get all the ingredients in the general supermarket. So……I’ve decided to try and find a wholemeal bread recipe to try out myself first, and then share.
Finding a suitable sugar free recipe was not as easy as it sounds. Most recipes, even the ones that said they were ‘sugar free’ contained honey or maple syrup, and of cause, these ingredients are not acceptable on a sugar free program as they spike the blood sugar in the same way that sugar does. This is very misleading for some and confuses the whole sugar free concept!!
Like most people, bread is part of my daily diet and I understand that whole grains are essential to maintaining my health. Therefore, by making my own wholemeal bread, I can be absolutely sure of what’s going in it. NO sugar, NO emulsifiers, NO hydrogenated fats, NO preservatives and NO other nasties.
Most shop bought loaves are not so healthy and are packed full of the above undesirables. Therefore, I will be thrilled to find an easy to make, clean, wholemeal bread I can offer as part of my sugar free plan.
People trying to cut sugar out of their diets do struggle at first with what to eat at breakfast or lunch if bread is not on the menu. Therefore, it is fundamental to sugar free success that I find a recipe that works and is dead tasty for me to share with you.
The recipe I have found, and will be baking tomorrow in my new bread maker is the following:
1 teaspoon Easy Bake/Fast Action Yeast suitable for bread makers
500 grams Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
15 grams Organic Unsalted Butter
380 ml Water
1.Place all of the ingredients into the bread maker in the order stated above. (or whatever order your bread maker suggests).
2.Turn the bread maker on to a 100% wholemeal setting – mine takes 5 hours.
3.After 5 hours (or when your bread is finished) take the bread out and allow it to cool before serving or storing.
Bye for now, Jules
BRING BACK BEETROOT
Sadly, I think beetroot has become one of our forgotten vegetables. First cultivated in Roman times, this deliciously sweet crimson ball of loveliness, when cooked correctly is scrumptiously sweet, full of healthy properties and is so versatile it can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes.
Jamie Oliver explained, “When most people think about beetroot, they think of big vinegary crinkle-cut chunks from a jar and immediately say no! But remember, beetroots are only vinegary when they’re pickled. When simply boiled or roasted they are juicy and sweet as you like. Raw beetroot is amazing in salads, giving you a deep, earthy, mineral flavour, lots of crunch and, of course, incredible colours”.And he is so right, the beetroot in a jar is the type we all remember growing up, and it wasn’t very pleasant.
But, fresh beetroot, the delicious stuff I am talking about today, is delicious but has became no longer fashionable and people just don’t know what to do with it.
Whether you make cake with it, roast it, add it to salads, blend it into a soup or drink it as juice like the athletes do – you can’t get away from the fact that fresh beetroot is full of vitamins and minerals and crammed with powerful antioxidants – this is a super food giant and we need to make it fashionable once again.
There are so many lovely things you can do with beetroot and we will discuss them a little later, but first let’s take a look at a few of the health benefits it has.
Its high in antioxidants
Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot that amazing colour is an antioxidant and is believed to reduce the oxidisation of LDL cholesterol, and therefore reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It reduces blood pressure
Research has shown that beetroot can hel p reduce blood pressure a well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks.
Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Beetroot contains the mineral silica. This helps the body to utilise calcium, which is important for musculoskeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s an aphrodisiac
One of the earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all myth, as it has been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
It slows the progression of dementia
The high content of nitrates in beetroot may also help fight the progression of dementia. A recent study by Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA has shown that the high content of nitrates in beetroot may also help fight the progression of dementia, as nitric oxide in the blood (produced by the nitrates in beetroot) also helps increase blood flow to the brain. Beetroot’s folic acid may also play a part as studies suggest it can help protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
So, on top of it being so wonderfully nutritious……..what can we make with it?
Surprisingly, it is gorgeous in cakes, showing off that indulgent rich crimson colour. Try beetroot cupcakes, beetroot and chocolate brownies, beetroot and chocolate cake, there are so many recipes out there for beetroot based cakes, but the above suggestions are all linked to recipes I have tested and like!
Using Beetroot in savoury dishes, is much more acknowledged. To cook it, either pop the raw beetroot in a large saucepan and boil until you can push a sharp knife all the way through or, my favourite way of cooking is to peel it, cut it into chunks, pop it on a baking tray, season and drizzle with oil and bake in the oven at 180 degree celsius for about half an hour, this really intensifies the flavours……..it really is sweet and yummy!!
Roasted or boiled beetroot is fantastic in salads (really good with halloumi cheese), soups and sandwiches and it is also great in savoury rice and couscous recipes, I have even served roast beetroot with a Sunday lunch, you should try it, it does work.
So, try and incorporate a few portions of beetroot into your weekly diet, it’s good for you and so delicious!!
If you need any more recipe suggestions, please drop me a line.