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Yoghurt - a fermented food!

Can consumption of fermented foods such as yoghurt reduce the risk of chronic diseases?

(May 13, 2018) - Fermentation – an age-old process with a healthy twist! There has been a revival of fermented foods and this is quite possibly going to a long term trend! Fermented foods such as yoghurt, cheese, wine and beer have been around for centuries. Fermentation involves added a controlled amount of a microorganism to a food, such as yeasts or bacteria. These microorganisms then ‘feed ‘on the food, producing several by products which give a fermented food its characteristic taste. Fermentation improves shelf-life and the nutritional properties of a food Fermentation increases both the shelf life, safety and organoleptic (smell, taste, touch) of a food. There is also increasing evidence that the fermentation process enhances the nutritional properties of a food which in turn can help to optimise health. Yoghurt – an ancient, natural fermented food product Yoghurt is an ancient fermented food believed to date from 500 BC when it was discovered that the curdling of milk helped to preserve the milk. Roll forward to modern times and yoghurt is produced by adding two main types of bacterial species, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria. These bacteria break down the lactose, a type of sugar naturally present in milk and convert […]
calorie counting

Calorie counting or Diet Quality?!

(March 22, 2018) - There’s been a lot of discussion recently regarding calorie counting.   It is one of the most used methods of weight control and numerous apps exist to help people record and monitor their calorie intake.  The average woman/man needs approximately 2,000/2,500 kcalories (ie energy) a day to maintain their weight, so consuming less calories than this (in theory) should help people to lose weight. Public Health England have been actively campaigning for a greater awareness of calories to help combat rising obesity levels, particularly when it comes to snacks between meals, which is when many people end up consuming more calories than they realise. The counter argument to counting calories is that it is ineffective for long term weight control and can result in an obsessive focus on food.  It can also lead to the consumption of ‘lower dietary quality’ type of foods because the emphasis is on calorie intake as opposed to nutrient intake. Overweight and Obesity But, we need to do something to tackle the rising levels of obesity and overweight throughout the world. The latest WHO report highlights that obesity rates worldwide have tripled since 1975 and that in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and […]
registered nutritionist

Registered Nutritionist – a true nutrition expert !

(November 27, 2017) - I am a Registered Nutritionist with both a degree in Nutrition Science and a Masters in Nutrition.  I’d like to think that I do know a few things about nutrition!  I wholeheartedly cheer on anyone who is trying to improve their health and diet and will happily share advice and information.  However, I also find it incredibly frustrating that people are so quick to believe non-experts who dish out nutrition advice when they a) do not have any formal qualifications in dietetics or nutrition and b) often recommend restrictive diets along the lines of – no gluten/no dairy/no sugar/clean/alkaline/detox/juicing……. Nutritionist is not a protected term, so look for a Registered Nutritionist! It should be highlighted repeatedly that the term ‘Nutritionist’ is not a protected one, either in France or in the UK. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.  You could read a book on nutrition or do a weekend online course and start calling yourself a nutritionist. Equally, you could do nothing at all and just wake up one morning and decide to call yourself a nutritionist. Hence the confusion!   The term ‘Nutritionist’ is meaningless on its own. Unlike ‘nutritionist’, the title of dietitian is protected by law.  In the UK, […]
nutrition and yoga programme

A nutrition and yoga programme to refresh and restore!

(September 21, 2017) - A 5 day nutrition and yoga programme to help you refresh and reboot after the Summer! After a busy summer of sun, fun and slightly too much rosé (!), I like to keep my September calm and uncluttered.  This precious time helps me to recharge and set my goals for the rest of the year. Nutrition is one of the 4 pillars of health along with sleep, stress management and physical activity.  A yoga practice helps to improve our flexibility and physical strength.  There’s also evidence to show that yoga can help to reduce stress through the reduction of cortisol levels.  There are further studies demonstrating that a regular yoga practice can help to improve the quality of our sleep.  The combination of a nutrition and yoga is indeed a powerful one for supporting our health!  So, with a drum roll, I’ve put together a 5 day nutrition and yoga programme which I thought you might enjoy with the aim of helping you to reboot and refresh ready for Autumn.  It contains Mediterranean style recipes together with suggestions for short morning and evening yoga classes, lasting about 10-15 minutes and which are suitable for all levels.  These yoga classes have been selected from […]
weight loss diets

The best diet for weight loss

(May 26, 2017) - It’s that time of year where social and traditional media are full of articles on weight loss – getting a ‘beach body’ or ‘burning fat’ and ‘toning up’ and ‘getting ripped’. In many cases, sadly, it’s about getting ‘ripped off’ (!) and there is truly very little evidence to justify buying creams and pills to help you lose weight. This article from Authority Nutrition has an excellent summary on the latest dieting supplements. The general consensus is that the benefits, if any, tend to be modest and there currently is no weight loss supplement or pill which truly works for weight loss. Mince alors! So what diet does work for weight loss? Weight Loss is complicated We-ll, says the no nonsense nutritionist in Paris, weight loss is complicated and certainly not as easy as ‘eat less and move more’ as many, many people will testify. Weight loss can seem like a hard, relentless and frustrating slog. And, the statistics indicate that *90% of people regain their weight within 3-4 years. Deep sigh. So if diets don’t work, what can you do instead? Here are a few thoughts and ideas which might help – a kinder, more realistic and effective way […]

Does diet help depression and anxiety?

(January 30, 2017) - There’s increasing interest in nutrition and the link with mental health.  What we know so far is that nutrition is associated with being protective for certain diseases, such as dementia and possibly supportive for anxiety and depression. The word to underline here is support, not a cure or an alternative.   Despite ‘Dr Google’ and thousands of articles on the internet, clinical anxiety and clinical depression are serious and complex conditions which require multifaceted solutions, medications and support. What causes depression and anxiety? We don’t really know what causes depression and anxiety and these two conditions often go hand in hand. Its causes are complex, linked with genetics, neurotransmitters and life events. Fear and worry can trigger anxiety and in turn cause depression, feelings of sadness and hopelessness.  It becomes clinical when the symptoms become so overwhelming that an individual struggles to function.  Telling someone with clinical depression to get a ‘perspective’, ‘go for a walk’ or ‘eat more kale’ displays a staggering lack of understanding.  It’s like telling someone with a compound leg fracture to put a plaster over the wound. Clinical depression and anxiety require kindness, support and understanding Some of the confusion might stem from how the labels […]

New Year’s Resolutions – No.1 How to detox your social network!

(December 30, 2016) - I can’t quite believe I’ve got to my ripe old age and I’m still having to fight back tears when dealing with some typical ‘toxic personalities’ in my social network. Hence my New Year’s resolution. I’d like to detox my social network. Not by avoiding people, but by coming up with strategies to neutralise their stings. I want to develop a super hero protective shield to stop myself and people around me from being hurt from the barbed and cruel comments which are thrown our way. If this sounds strange, let’s just remind ourselves of what a rollercoaster 2016 has been. It’s been a divisive and poisonous year politically and socially. Strong opinions have polarised my social network. People’s thoughts and actions have made me despair at certain points this year and feel overwhelmed with misery. After this ‘cauchemar (nightmare) ’ of a year, more than ever I need to toughen up, move on and bounce back. I’ve wanted to ‘stop all the clocks, cut off the phone’ (and internet) and just get away from everyone. But, I also recognise that I need people. An active social network is as much a necessity as breathing. While some people have made […]

An insider’s guide to detecting nutrition myths and ‘foodoo’ in a ‘post facts and post truths’ era

(November 27, 2016) - Nutrition myths are bad science! It’s been an ‘interesting’ year!  A dawning realization of the powerful role social media is playing in sharing information and opinions. Sadly, this information is open to bias and manipulation and the responsibility falls on each of us to develop the ability to critically analyse and assess the ‘evidence’ we are given. We have particularly seen the impact of this in politics and I am also seeing this increasingly in the field of nutrition.  We are flooded with ‘clean, raw, detox, juicing, low carb and paleo diets’.  There’s an army of ‘experts’ quick to share there their stories on what we should be eating to experience a life changing transformation, have a squeaky clean digestive system and the ‘ripped’ body of a professional athlete. ‘Foodoo’ definition – ‘the inappropriate promotion of diet and nutrition myths’ I am passionate about the role nutrition can play in promoting health but this white magic or ‘foodoo’ overload makes me despair. It is full of rules and contradictions. It is humourless, bullying and smug. It promotes restriction, pain, hunger and guilt. It confuses people so much that they are no longer know what ‘a balanced and healthy diet is’. […]

How to manage stress and weight gain

(October 21, 2016) - A second post by the wonderful Angela Stathakis Porisse which looks at the effect of stress on our weight. We know stress has many negative effects on our physical and emotional health. And most of us are aware that stress also has a significant effect our weight. There are many reasons why we gain weight when we are stressed. Let us look at some reasons why it can cause weight gain, and some strategies for determining and dealing with stress or emotional eating. Although acute stress can initially eliminate our appetite, studies have shown that chronic stress regularly leads to weight gain. There are some physiological reasons chronic stress causes us to gain weight. Elevated cortisol levels in our blood over a long period of time affects our metabolism, slowing it down. Not only can stress cause us to gain weight, it also has an effect on where we gain weight. We tend to store ‘stress fat’ around the mid-section. This is known as visceral fat. This fat type of fat storage poses the greatest health risks as it covers our internal organs and can lead to many illnesses such as increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and hormone imbalances, to […]

Seven tips for reducing stress and improving your health and vitality!

(October 4, 2016) - This week we are looking at stress. What is stress? What causes stress and how can we manage it?!  Thank you Angela Stathakis Porisse for this wonderful article! The stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline There are two types of stress, ‘immediate stress’ (acute stress), and ‘every day stress’ (chronic stress) which trigger the release of two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. The role of adrenaline is in the short term to • Increase heart rate • Increase blood pressure The role of cortisol is in the long term to • replenish lost energy stores • organise bodily systems (immune, circulation, lungs, heart, metabolism…) Our bodies need a steady and predictable daily secretion of cortisol in our blood to function. Cortisol works as an anti-inflammatory, it mobilizes white blood cells (our little infection fighting soldiers) and positions them in the body where there may be a perceived threat of infection. These stress response hormones were critical in prehistoric times when our ancestors were faced with immediate threats in the wild, and the brain activated a ‘fight or flight’ response.  We still require these hormone responses today, for example, when faced with a life or death situation. Being faced with an immediate threat, […]