Can nutrition help psoriasis? Tune into the Psoriasis Podcast!

Can nutrition help psoriasis? Tune into the Psoriasis Podcast!

Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Gemma Boak (scientist, psoriasis patient expert, and anti-inflammatory lifestyle blogger) for her series the Psoriasis Podcast.  Gemma_snp

Gemma and I had fantastic discussion about the influence of nutrition on psoriasis, immune health, and inflammatory skin conditions; covering everything from fasting and juice diets to bodycare products and food diaries!

You can listen to the interview over at Podbean…

EPISODE 3 – THE PSORIASIS PODCAST

And catch up with all of Gemma’s other interviews too.

If you’re dealing with psoriasis or any other inflammatory auto-immune condition you might also like;

   Eat a Rainbow – #1 Small step

A lovely list of tips to help you pack more nutrients and anti-inflammatory antioxidants into your diet

   Your FREE food, mood & movement tracker – #1 Small Step

Gemma and I discuss using a tracker to help pinpoint any food triggers for symptoms

   Food intolerance or sensitivity?

Are you one of the 45% of UK adults with a food sensitivity?

Enjoy the Psoriasis Podcast, and if you have any questions or queries feel free to email me at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or join in the Facebook group.

Stay up to date on psoriasis news with Gemma via Twitter – @gemma_boak

Behind the scenes at Nutty Health Almond Milk

Behind the scenes at Nutty Health Almond Milk

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kim Broderick, co-founder of Nutty Health almond milk, and learned the inside secrets behind their amazing products.

The story began when Kim received an unusual gift for Mothering Sunday last year: a bottle of homemade almond milk.

Her daughter-in-law was missing the rich nutty taste of New York almond milk, so decided to make her own – and Kim was more than impressed with the result.

Fast forward a few months to September 2017 and ‘Nutty Health’ launched themselves at the York Food & Drink Festival.  “I was full of doubts when we arrived at the Festival” says Kim, “but we sold out within hours.”

NuttyHealthI met Kim at Nutty Health HQ: her immaculate kitchen workshop in the beautiful South Yorkshire countryside.  As we chat, Kim dons her rubber gloves and gives me a demo of how the milks are made.

Unlike any of the standard supermarket milks which only contain 2% almonds, Nutty Health is made with 14% high quality Californian almonds – a difference which is immediately noticeable in the rich creamy taste.

The nuts are soaked in spring water for 11-20 hours, before being rinsed, blended, strained twice through a cheesecloth bag, then pressed through a custom made fruit press.  The only additive is a tiny amount of sunflower oil (1ml per 250ml bottle of milk) which acts as a natural preservative, giving the product an 8 day shelf life.

Kim now has the milk-making process down to a fine art; while listening to Ken Bruce on Radio 2 (of course!) she can now produce 200 bottles in just 4 hours!  That’s a lot of almond-milking!

No artificial sweeteners, sugars or thickeners are added – the milk is beautifully simple and pure, brimming with vitamin E antioxidant goodness.  And the almond pulp doesn’t go to waste – Kim uses this to make energy balls to sell at Festivals and shows alongside the milks.

The plain almond milk is accompanied by 3 flavoured varieties: cacao made with organic raw cacao; vanilla, and organic green matcha – a flavour which is surprisingly popular with male customers and cyclists!  Flavoured milks

Since launching last year, Nutty Health has blossomed and expanded into health stores and farm shops across our region (you can find a list of stockists here).  Kim offers a delivery service in Leeds and York, allowing customers to buy direct if the products aren’t available locally.

To find out more about the Nutty Health range, contact Kim at https://www.nuttyhealth.co.uk/

If you have any top tips for making dairy-free milks do share your thoughts in the comments below or come and join the conversation in the Facebook group 🙂

 

 

Wake Up Water! Inspiring ideas to help you drink more water everyday – #1 Small Step

Wake Up Water! Inspiring ideas to help you drink more water everyday – #1 Small Step

It’s easy to get to the end of the day and realise you haven’t drunk enough water. 

The familiar sensations of a mid-afternoon energy slump, headache, muscle aches and cramps are all signs that your body needs a drink (of water!).

The debate continues about whether tap, filtered, or mineral is best for our health, and there are pros and cons on both sides.

Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a natural spring, good quality mineral water usually (with a few exceptions) comes in single-use plastic bottles.  As a result, the environmental consequences and exposure to plastic chemicals far outweighs the beneficial mineral content of the drink.

Filtered water has lower levels of chemical residues, but again, filter jugs are usually plastic.  Glass ones are becoming more widely available though, and it’s worth investing in one if you can.

There’s no easy solution to the conundrum of plastic bottles and I don’t have clear answers!  But, I do know we all need to hydrate regularly over the day, especially when managing low energy or digestive problems like constipation.

Aim to sip regularly rather than gulping down a large glass in one go, and limit drinks at mealtimes to avoid diluting your digestive juices.

Drinking more water is a simple and easy first step to take on the road to wellbeing.

If you find plain water a bit dull try these natural alternatives to wake it up!

Use a large glass Mason jar, or glass bottle and leave to infuse for 3-4 hours or overnight for full flavour.  Pop them in the fridge, or if like me you don’t like cold water, leave the bottle at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.

  • Fresh lemon & lemon balm zingy and calming at the same time. Lemon balm is traditionally used to soothe nerves and calm anxiety.
  • Fresh lemon and mint perfect pick-me-up for when you’re tired and flagging, or as an after dinner digestive aid.
  • Fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and mint squeeze the fruit and scoop out the seeds to add to a salad. Mix the juice with water and mint leaves.  Pomegranate is packed with antioxidants to help us process toxins.
  • Cucumber, mint, and lime another cooling, uplifting drink.
  • Raspberries and strawberries chop larger fruits in half, add to water and mix vigorously for a naturally sweet, antioxidant-rich drink.
  • Pineapple & orange sweet and tropical – even in Yorkshire!

Keep taking
1 Small Step at a time and you’ll get to where you want to be!

You might also enjoy;

Does Food Affect Your Mood? Find out with this FREE Food, Mood and Movement Tracker #1SmallStep

Get Organised with this FREE 7-Day Meal Planner! #1SmallStep

7 Energy Boosting Breakfasts – #1SmallStep

 

Share your progress in the friendly Nutrition in York Facebook group, we’d love to know how you get on!

 

Does Food Affect Your Mood? Find out with this FREE Food, Mood & Movement Tracker – #1 Small Step

FoodMoodMovement_HeaderAre you curious about the connections between what you eat and how you feel?

Do some foods cause energy slumps, bloating, crazy bowel habits or skin breakouts, but you can’t pinpoint the culprits?

Keeping track of how your body responds to foods and drinks for a week or even a month can reveal these connections, and help you discover hidden patterns between eating habits, moods, and uncomfortable symptoms.

It’s easy to blame low energy and erratic digestion on work stresses, or the kids driving you crazy (and these may be perfectly good reasons!) but how much is linked to poor hydration, grazing on snacks, or only eating two servings of vegetables each day?

Writing down what you eat, when you move, how you relax, and how you feel provides a powerful insight into the way you are choosing to nourish yourself. 

To help you discover these connections I’ve created a Food, Mood & Movement Tracker.  Simply download the document, read through the example provided, and print out as many copies of the tracker chart as you need.  Complete it each day, then look back and see if any patterns are emerging between foods and symptoms.

Once you’ve highlighted the areas that need working on (more movement, more relaxation, more green vegetables…) you can decide how to do this, and what support you need – whether that’s nutrition guidance, food intolerance investigations, an exercise plan, or help with relaxation and mindfulness.

It’s a simple tool, and is #1 Small Step on your journey to better health!

Download your free Food, Mood & Movement Tracker – no sign up required – and start discovering what your body is telling you today!

DOWNLOAD HERE:  Food_Mood_Movement_Tracker 

Food intolerance or sensitivity?

Food intolerance or sensitivity?

According to Allergy UK an estimated 45% of the UK adult population have food intolerances and a further 2% suffer an allergy.ibscare

Symptoms of food intolerance can vary from mild bloating and wind to severe migraines, low mood, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation, and skin rashes, with the effects often not being visible until 2 or 3 days after a problem food has been eaten.

Diagnosis of food intolerance can be tricky especially if a reaction to the food doesn’t occur immediately.  Keeping a ‘Food, Mood & Movement Tracker’ for a month can help as it may be possible to notice links between what has been eaten and any symptoms that later occur.  Observing lifestyle factors such as stress and sleep patterns is also important.  For women, symptoms may be influenced by the menstrual cycle.

Food intolerances can be caused by different factors, including;

 – Inadequate digestion: for example low levels of lactase, the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose, can cause lactose intolerance.

 – Excess histamine: we all have histamine in our bodies as it’s a vital chemical messenger and neurotransmitter BUT chronic stress and poor digestion can impair histamine breakdown causing levels to build up.  Eating foods high in histamine can then cause problems.

 – Reactions to pesticides in foods: your liver has a hard time dealing with pesticide residues and their pervasive effects can contribute to all kinds of health issues.  Organic foods may not be widely available (or affordable) but do choose them if you can.

The Environmental Working Group produce a fantastic ‘Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen’ list detailing which foods are best bought organic due to high pesticide load, and which are okay to eat as non-organic.  You can access the guide here.

 – Reactions to naturally occuring compounds like alkaloids in the Deadly Nightshade family.

 – An imbalanced response by your immune system.  Our immune system is a complex team of cells and chemical messengers that can overreact to certain proteins in foods, causing either a strong immediate life-threatening reaction (an allergic response) or a more low-grade chronic response: a food sensitivity or intolerance.

It is thought that Ig-G antibodies are involved in some kinds of sensitivity reactions.   Measuring levels of Ig-G can give clues as to which foods may be over-stimulating the immune system.

In Clinic I use a simple pin-prick ELISA blood test to help identify whether your immune system is producing too many Ig-G antibodies to certain foods, which may then be Food Detective testaggravating your symptoms.  There are a range of tests available from the basic Food Detective Test that looks at reactions to the top 59 reactive foods and gives results within an hour, to the more in-depth FoodPrint tests which are laboratory analysed.

To find out more information on food intolerances or ELISA testing, call or email me today on;

T: 07910 705272

E: sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

 

Get organised with this FREE 7 Day Meal Planner – #1 Small Step

Get organised with this FREE 7 Day Meal Planner – #1 Small Step

BlogHead_Nutrition Planning

When clients come for Follow On sessions, they tell me how planning and organisation have been the keys to making successful changes in their diet and lifestyle.

Planning and organising are the foundations to your new way of eating.  You will repeatedly thank yourself during a hectic week when you get home late and take a batch-cooked homemade soup out the freezer rather than a sad, beige, ready meal.

There are two main areas to focus on when it comes to planning ahead;

  1. How you organise your kitchen

  2. Meal planning and shopping

Before we look at the finer details of kitchen organisation, grab a pen and download the free meal planner;

7 Day Meal Planner_pdf

To inspire your shopping the Planner includes;

Planning chart

‘Eat a Rainbow’ food suggestions

Which foods have the highest pesticide residues and which are okay to buy non-organic

Now, lets look at your kitchen…

In the world of the Internet, everyone has a kitchen like this

neatkitchen_snip

In reality, it’s probably more like this;

messykitchen_snip

You may live alone, in which case great – all the cupboard space is yours!  However if you’re in a family of 6, there’s going to be several different food tastes and requirements that need catering for so space may be at a premium.

Firstly, go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and get rid of anything past its ‘Use By’ date (‘Best Before’ is a lot more flexible and can be safely eaten for a good while after the date has past – use your own judgment on this), and anything that no longer fits with your new eating plan.

If your cupboards are full of junk snacks it’s going to be harder to hold your nerve and resist them.

Give anything still usable to friends and family or donate to your local food bank or shelter.

Next, place on your worktops the utensils you need to make your new healthful meals and snacks.

  • Cutting out caffeine? Put the teabags and coffeemaker at the back of a cupboard and bring out the water filter, herbal teas and juicer.

  • Snacking on homemade protein smoothies? Place your blender jug next to the plug socket, ready to use.

  • Batch cooking meals? Sharpen knives, make space for the chopping board and have pans and cooking trays within easy reach of the oven.

  • Taking new supplements? Place the packets of supplements next to the kettle or sink (unless they need to be stored in the fridge) so you see them when you get a drink.

  • Organise your storage containers.                                             Many of us (me included) know only too well the sinking feeling that comes when you open the Tupperware cupboard and find mismatched lids and cracked boxes.  Invest in glassware containers for fridge and freezer storage; IKEA do a reasonably priced range and I use old glass jars for freezing soups and sauces.   Over the years I’ve gathered several 1970’s style brown ceramic bowls with lids from charity shops: perfect for storing leftovers in the fridge.

  • The Zero Waste Chef has a great blog post all about freezing goods in non-plastic containers, see HERE for the details.  Admittedly, plastic tubs are lighter and easier for packed lunches, and you can easily find BPA-free ranges.

Now that your kitchen is clear and organised, it’s time to plan those meals!

Before you do the shopping, whether its online or a proper trip to the store, take 30 mins to sketch out your meals and snacks for the week ahead.

 7 Day Meal Planner_pdf

If one of your aims is to include more variety in your meals, browse a few recipe sites or cookbooks, pick 1 new meal to try, and add the ingredients to your list.

With online shopping you can save time by storing your ‘favourites’ or previous shopping lists in the software so you don’t have to type it all in again the following week.

Veg box schemes provide organic, or locally grown (or both) vegetables and fruits, and often inspire new meal ideas – after all, once a new veggie has arrived on your doorstep you’ll need to find a way to use it!

Consider stocking up on some ‘emergency’ ingredients – things that can be quickly thrown together to make a meal – for those occasions when (and it is when, not if!) your best laid plans go awry.

Ideas include;

  • Baking potatoes: they keep for weeks in a cold dark place and can easily accompany a leftover chilli, ratatouille, frozen fish and vegetables…

  • Frozen vegetables: peas, sweetcorn and cauliflower florets have a pretty much permanent home in my freezer.

    For tips on which vegetables freeze well and which are best left fresh, see here

  • Frozen white fish (sustainably caught): this cooks from frozen in 25mins and is delicious smothered in a tomato & vegetable sauce served with that baking potato you bought earlier or sweet potato wedges and broccoli…

  • Tinned tomatoes, red lentils and vegetable stock: here you have the base of a vegetable and lentil broth. Add chicken or a selection of leftover vegetables and you have a nourishing, warming meal.

  • Vegetarians and vegans: buy extra tofu to drain and freeze, so you have a versatile protein source to hand when needed. Not frozen tofu before?  Follow the steps here.

What are your top tips for getting organised in the kitchen?  

Email me at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or share them in the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/nutritioninyork

If you’d like to know more about how we can work together to tailor your nutrition needs check out the consultation options or email or call today – 07910 705272 – and let’s get started!

 

Menopause mayhem? Get back in balance with natural nutrition

Menopause_Mayhem

As if we ladies haven’t got enough to do in our 40s and 50s, juggling jobs, homes, family and fitness whilst finally (finally!) not caring what other people think of us, along comes the hormonal havoc of menopause.

Hot flushes.  Mood swings.  Crazy irregular periods.  Hair thinning.  Forgetfulness.  Anxiety.  Just a few of the delights we can experience as we transition through this phase of life.

Taking HRT is an option, but not everyone wants it, and I have to say I’ve seen many clients who’ve taken it for years, come off it, and gotten all the symptoms of menopause back again because the artificial hormones have merely delayed the process.

HRT was originally created purely as a product to preserve youth and beauty – which says a lot about how women are viewed and valued once menstruation ends, and is not an attitude I subscribe to.  At this stage of life we have strength, experience, and wisdom on our side: a fact to be celebrated!  We just need to strip off the duvet and open windows more often.

So, let’s explore the stages of menopause, and how nutrition can help you through it…

Perimenopause

This stage can start quite early for some women, in their early 40s.  As there are fewer menstrual cycles where ovulation takes place, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone become  increasingly imbalanced.  Early signs that things are changing include periods becoming longer, heavier, more frequent, or more painful – and PMS symptoms can change too.

Perimenopause continues until egg production and ovulation stop altogether, and you enter menopause.  After 12 months with no periods, you are considered to have gone through menopause.

Because perimenopause to menopause is a transitional phase, the symptoms can fluctuate and change as you move through.  The more common menopausal symptoms include;

– Hot flushes (power surges!) caused by changing hormone levels affecting the temperature regulation system in the brain

– Fatigue

– Mood swings, anxiety, depression, apathy

– Weight gain

– Insomnia (often caused by hot flushes)

– Low libido

– Vaginal dryness and shrinkage

– Changes to hair & skin; lower levels of oestrogen affect skin elasticity and moisture levels, causing skin to be thinner and slower to heal.  Hair growth slows, and it can change in texture too

 Add to this list the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, and you can see the extent to which menopause affects health.

Thyroid function

An underfunctioning thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can produce symptoms similar to menopause: weight gain, tiredness, poor memory, constipation, for example.  Equally, menopause can accelerate any changes that may have been happening to your thyroid gland, and hypothyroidism often goes undetected as the symptoms get attributed to menopause.  If you suspect poor thyroid function, do look at getting it tested either with your GP or privately (please contact me for more details about private lab tests).

Stress

When does stress ever make things better?  Never!  And certainly not with menopause.  Hot flushes can be triggered by high levels of adrenaline, and chronic stress can lead to extra weight gain.

Creating time each day for 30-60mins of downtime is crucial when dealing with ongoing stress.  Reading, walking in nature, journalling, yoga, meditation – all are brilliant at helping your body downregulate the stress response and focus on healing and balance.

What to eat?

Phytoestrogens to support hormone balance

Certain foods contain high levels of ‘phytoestrogens’ – compounds with a similar structure to oestrogen, but a much weaker effect in the body.

There are 3 main classes of phytoestrogen;

 – isoflavones: found in chickpeas, lentils, red clover, kidney and aduki beans, and naturally fermented soya products like tofu and tempeh.

 – coumestans: alfalfa and mung bean sprouts are good sources Sprouts_snip

 – lignans: milled golden flaxseeds are packed with lignans plus essential fats and protein, making them an ideal seed to include regularly.

Phytoestrogens are not stimulative or overwhelming like synthetic oestrogens, and despite what the internet says, will not make any men who eat them grow enormous breasts!  Phytoestrogens are considered to act as ‘selective oestrogen receptor modulators’, exerting a balancing action on fluctuating hormone levels.  Isoflavones are the most widely studied type of phytoestrogen, with studies linking their actions to reduced cardiovascular disease risk in diabetic women, and beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.

Soya is a controversial food, but we’re talking here about traditional soya products being used in sensible moderation within a balanced nutrition plan, not the highly processed textured soya protein products.

As ever with nutrition, the research into phytoestrogens is limited and varies in quality.  However, the inclusion of phytoestrogen foods is seen overall as being beneficial for women transitioning through menopause.

Greens for energy and hormone detox

Green veggies in the cruciferous family – think broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts – support hormone detoxification and clearance through the liver.  This is particlarly important in Food choicesearly menopause, when low levels of progesterone can lead to a relative oestrogen excess.

More broadly speaking, all types of green vegetables are a good source of magnesium – the ‘anti-stress’ mineral that helps with energy production and keeping calm.

Helpful Herbs

Sage: organically grown whole herb sage supplements can be helpful for reducing hot flushes and sweats, thanks to the influence of sage on the temperature regulator in the brain.

Shatavari: this beautiful herb is from the Ayurvedic tradition in India.  The name shatavari loosley translates as ‘she who has 100 husbands’!  (Blimey!)  It is thought to support hormonal balance and act as a nourishing adaptogen for women.  See Pukka Herbs for more details.

Rose water: again, another idea from Ayurveda; spraying rose water on the back of your neck and face when a hot flush begins can stop it taking hold and cool you down.  Rose is traditionally seen as been a flower to support female health.

Siberian Ginseng: this gentle adaptogenic herb helps the body cope with different mental, physical, and emotional stresses, and can support energy levels.

Passiflora: a calming, soothing herb, suited to low or fluctuating mood and frayed nerves.

As with all herbal remedies, please seek advice from a herbal advisor or your GP before using alongside prescription medications.  The advice given here is not intended to replace that of a medical practitioner.

And a few tips for more specific female health conditions..

Thrush

Thanks to the close proximity of the vaginal tract to the bowel and the subsequent easy movement of unfriendly bowel bacteria, we ladies are particularly prone to thrush.  Antibiotics, stress, hormonal fluctuations and a diet high in sugary foods also contribute to yeast overgrowth and thrush symptoms.

  • Support bacterial balance from the inside by eating fermented foods

  • Avoid refined sugar, excess fruit sugar (1-2 pieces of whole fruit per day may be ok), fruit juices, yeast extract and alcohol

  • Use a non-perfumed simple cleanser instead of soap or regular shower gel: ‘Green People’ ‘Akin’ and ‘Dr. Bronner’ make wonderful organic, chemical free bodycare products

  • Drink plenty of water and address any bowel issues such as constipation or diarrhoea

  • If periods are still happening, opt for organic cotton tampons or sanitary pads – or escape tampons and pads altogether with an amazing reusable environmentally friendly Mooncup

Cystitis

Like thrush, cystitis can be triggered by antibiotics, stress, constipation, diarrhoea and hormonal fluctuations.  The menopausal drop in oestrogen levels affects the lining of the bladder, making it more prone to sensitivity and inflammation.

  • Avoid tea, coffee (regular and decaffeinated), alcohol, soft drinks and fruit juice.

  • Plain water and chamomile tea are soothing for the bladder whilst horsetail herb tea has bladder strengthening properties

  • Take a multi strain high potency beneficial bacteria supplement

  • If an overgrowth of E.Coli bacteria is responsible, cranberry extract (dried extract, not juice) can stop the bacteria clinging to the bladder wall

  • Check for food intolerances; gluten has been implicated in cases of overactive and sensitive bladder

  • If symptoms persist and are affected by your menstrual cycle ask your GP for a scan to investigate endometriosis: endometrial tissue can grow on the bladder, affecting its function.

Painful Sex

During the menopause the vagina shrinks and becomes drier as the moisturising effects of oestrogen are lost.  This can lead to small tears in the vaginal wall and painful sex.  Certain auto-immune conditions such as Sjogrens Syndrome also affect vaginal lubrication, so if you are experiencing dry mouth and dry sore eyes, see your GP for further investigations into Sjogrens.

  • Sea buckthorn extract is rich in omega-7, a type of fatty acid that maintains moisture levels in skin membranes: supplement with this for at least 3 months to support vaginal lubrication

  • Drink plenty of water and include omega-3 rich foods too (oily fish, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds)

  • Opt for a chemical free water based lubricant: ‘Yes’ offer a range of lubricants, some of which may be available on prescription in the UK.

If you’d like friendly support with your transition through menopause drop me a line today… Call on 07910 705272 or email sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

Join in the nutrition conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/nutritioninyork

 

Fermented Foods with fermenting expert Rachel Dickson from Loaded Table

Fermented Foods with fermenting expert Rachel Dickson from Loaded Table

Fermented Foods

A few years ago, my husband had an unpleasant encounter with kimchi in Korea.  I’ll spare you the details, suffice to say it involved a rotting buried cabbage being dug up and served for dinner.  It certainly made for a memorable meal but he didn’t order seconds.

Fortunately for him, this method of fermenting food is at the far end of a varied spectrum, and delicious, easy-to-use ferments are now readily available!

Fermented foods are part of many culinary traditions – including our own here in the UK – because fermentation is a simple way to preserve foods, extending their life and ensuring food availability during times of scarcity.

Nowadays, fridges and freezers have largely replaced the need for fermentation, but these conveniences mean we eat far fewer fermented foods and this has negative consequences for the billions of bacteria living in our guts.

The fermentation process allows lactic-acid-producing bacteria to develop.  These bacteria form a vital part of the microbiota – the billions of bacteria living inside us.

Our microbiota work incredibly hard at;

  • Absorbing nutrients

  • Producing vitamin K, and some B-vitamins

  • Ensuring smooth, comfortable bowel movements

  • Regulating our immune and inflammatory responses

Supporting levels and diversity of our good bugs with the right kinds of foods is a vital part of preventative healthcare.

 To investigate further, I spoke to Rachel Dickson, fermented foods specialist at Loaded Table about her range of ferments, and why they are so important for health…

Rachel from The Loaded Table

Sally: Hi Rachel, can you tell me a little about why you started your business, and what attracted you to fermented foods?

Rachel: Sure.  Well, I’ve always been health conscious, but it wasn’t until I had health problems of my own that I really started to focus on good nutrition and lifestyle changes.  Several years ago, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids, and spent a year eating organic food, doing yoga, and having acupuncture.  At the end of this year, the fibroids had reduced by 25%.  I realised that stress was having a major impact too, and this led me to think about what measures I could have taken to prevent my health problems in the first place.  After a lot of exploration, my journey led me to fermented foods as a way of supporting the good bugs in our digestion that play such a major role in health.

S: And what did you think of them?

R: Initially I thought they tasted disgusting!  But, with practice, I’ve created some beautiful ferments that taste delicious.

S: When did you launch ‘Loaded Table’?

R: I spent a few years perfecting my recipes, trying them out on friends and family, and when I moved to the UK earlier this year, I launched Loaded Table.  I now supply a number of health stores in the North, including Alligator Wholefoods (on Fishergate in York), and have a stall at Acomb Market, on the 4th Saturday of every month.

S: Tell me about your products.

R: I produce kombucha, kimchi (vegetable ferments), sauerkraut, and some prebiotic ferments – asparagus, onion, and garlic.  All the ferments are tested to ensure they have the right types and levels of bacteria, and they come with a shelf life to prevent spoilage and the growth of bad bacteria.

S: How do you recommend people use your products?

R: The kombucha is really popular, and is great for kids too – they love the ginger and turmeric flavours!  Adults can take 100ml a day, and kids 50ml.  With the vegetable ferments, just add a tablespoonful to a salad, or have it alongside a cooked meal.  The prebiotic ferments are a little different: I suggest 5-10g per day, and mix these in with dips, relishes, or sauces – but don’t cook them as this destroys the fibres that will feed the probiotics.  My kimchi is delicious – I’ve added my own Yorkshire twist to it!

S: I love the sound of that!  What’s the Yorkshire twist?

R: There’s less chilli, and a whole range of different warming spices, including fenugreek which gives it a distinctive flavour.

S: Any plans to offer online shopping?

R: Yes, that’s coming very soon, along with some new flavours for the kombucha and vegetable ferments, and I’m planning to offer workshops to help people make their own ferments.

S: Thank you Rachel!

For more details about Rachel’s products, and to download recipes go to www.loadedtable.co.uk

If you’re dealing with digestive problems, low energy, or stress, remember to download your FREE copy of ‘Your 3 Easy Steps to All Day Energy’ and schedule a FREE 20min no-obligation telephone call with me to discuss how nutritional therapy may be able to help!

 

Your Route to Thyroid Health

Your Route to Thyroid Health

Are you exhausted all day?

Struggling to concentrate and remember things?

Sluggish digestion?

Thin, weak hair and fragile nails?

Feel like your brain is made from fuzzy wool?

Your thyroid may be underfunctioning.

Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is a common condition with a wide range of symptoms including;

  • Constipation

  • Low energy no matter how much you rest or sleep

  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight

  • ‘Brain fog’ – poor memory and lack of concentration

  • Dry skin, brittle nails and falling hair

  • High cholesterol

Your thyroid gland regulates your metabolic rate – similar to how the accelerator regulates the speed of a car.  When it’s underactive, all your body processes slow down, as if you had taken your foot off the gas.

The standard treatment is Levothyroxine a synthetic version of T4, one of your thyroid hormones.  However this is only prescribed if you fall below certain parameters on blood tests and many people suffer with sub-clinical hypothyroidism where their thyroid is underfunctioning but not badly enough to receive medication.

Simply taking Levothyroxine is only part of the picture of managing low thyroid function.  Your body converts T4 to T3, the more biologically active hormone, and this conversion step is problematic for many people.

Issues such as stress, poor digestion, and a lack of the necessary vitamins and minerals all impair the conversion of T4 to T3;

Blog_Thyroid_snipSimply replacing T4 by taking Levothyroxine is just the first step in managing hypothyroidism.  A whole-body approach focusing on healthy digestion, the right foods to support thyroid function and hormone conversion, relaxation, and movement is the most positive way forward for true thyroid balance.

If you’re struggling with thyroid problems, join me for the interactive workshop ‘Your Route to Thyroid Health’ taking place on Friday 29th September here in central York.

We will be covering;

 – The signs, symptoms and causes of thyroid imbalance – both underactive and overactive

 – What medications are available

 – The links between thyroid function and other health conditions such as chronic stress, chronic fatigue syndrome and cardiovascular health

 – Natural nutritional support for thyroid hormone production, conversion and function

 – Supportive lifestyle techniques to help with relaxation and stress management

Dates & times;

 – Friday 29th September 2017

 – 10am – 12pm

 – The Garden Room, Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York, YO1 9RG

 – Detailed handouts are provided, and there will be plenty of opportunities for questions


Tickets: £20


For more information and to book your place contact me via email at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or on 07910 705272

Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

Eat A Rainbow – #1 Small Step

Eat A Rainbow – #1 Small Step

Eat a Rainbow

Ever wondered why doctors and nutrition-people (like me!) keep talking about how important it is to ‘eat a rainbow’?  (A phrase which is dangerously close to the slogan for Skittles – ‘taste a rainbow’- which will have quite the opposite effect on your health!).

It’s because brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain an array of natural compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that are all bound up with what colour they are.

Food choicesSo for example, orange and yellow veggies like peppers, carrots, and butternut squash are rich in beta-carotene, an immune-bosting antioxidant compound that’s a member of the carotenoid family, whilst dark bluberries and red grapes contain cyanidin – another protective antioxidant compound.

Including at least 1 food from each colour group everyday means you will be nourishing yourself with a vast range of naturally powerful ingredients, giving your body the support it needs to cope with modern life!

Pick any one of these top 10 practical tips to start increasing the colour, variety and nutrient load of your diet;

  1. Green powders are helpful if you struggle to get enough greens into your day: mix spirulina, chlorella, barley grass or wheatgrass powder into pesto to boost the antioxidant and protein levels.

  2. To support blood sugar stability and reduce reliance on refined carbohydrates, swap to higher protein alternatives. Mung bean pasta, lentil pasta, quinoa, or wild rice are good alternatives.

  3. If you’re dealing with intestinal yeast overgrowth (and this is best confirmed with a stool test rather than trying to guess), think foods before supplements: natural anti-microbials such as garlic, ginger, oregano and marjoram can be added easily to salads, soups, casseroles – even herbal infusions.

  4. The anti-inflammatory actions of turmeric and cinnamon are well documented; these spices blend well with warmed almond milk to make a simple chai-style beverage.

  5. Seaweed flakes can be sprinkled into salads, soups or casseroles, and Nori sheets make a good alternative to wheat wraps, instantly increasing the iodine, zinc and magnesium content of your meal – perfect for thyroid support.

  6. Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil into 25g of butter creates a spreadable butter rich in oleic acid – with none of the negative effects associated with margarine or poorly processed vegetable oils.

  7. Encourage children to explore different coloured vegetables by using a picture colour chart and negotiating which coloured veggies to try next.

  8. Nourish your friendly gut bacteria with pre- and probiotic food. Add a tablespoon of sauerkraut to grilled salmon and roasted vegetables; use unfiltered apple cider vinegar in salad dressings with lemon juice and fresh herbs; or mix kefir into a morning smoothie.

  9. Green vegetables can be problematic for many people, especially supertasters. A basic smoothie made from baby spinach, banana and almond milk is a gentle option to begin with, and is packed with folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the antioxidant compound lutein.  If you’re managing IBS, add fennel or caraway seeds when steaming brassica greens as this helps to soften the taste and aid digestion, reducing bloating and wind.

  10. To eat different foods you have to buy different foods. A vegetable or fruit box delivery scheme is a hassle-free way to have new ingredients delivered direct to your door. Many schemes offer inspiring recipe ideas too.

Remember, the idea behind #1 Small Step is to encourage steady change and growth whilst side-stepping overwhelm.  So pick 1 new idea to try, and build up those changes gradually!

If you’ve enjoyed this post you might also like;

#1 Small Step – Plan Your Way to Nutrition Success

#1 Small Step – How You Can & Why It’s Good To Eat Mindfully

#1 Small Step – 7 Energy Boosting Breakfasts

What Small Step can you take today?

Tweet me at @nutritioninyork or drop me a line via sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

A shorter version of this post was originally produced for Nutrition I-Mag (July/August 2017 edition) downloadable HERE