Using Sea Vegetables for Health

Vegetables don’t just grow on land; sea vegetables make a tasty and nutritious addition to all kinds of meals: quiches, sauces, soups, stews, casseroles…

The different types of seaweed are rich in minerals – particularly magnesium, iron, iodine and zinc; B-vitamins, antioxidants, long chain fatty acids (omegas 6 and 3), prebiotic fibres and certain types of carbohydrates called fucans. 

Fucans have been shown to possess a range of positive effects including:

– reducing inflammation

– supporting immunity through anti-viral actions

– supporting healthy blood flow and circulation

– helping to maintain our friendly gut flora through modulation of intestinal pH, short chain fatty acid production and the gut mucous secretions.

(Lordan S et al (2011) Marine Bioactives as Functional Food Ingredients: Potential to Reduce the Incidence of Chronic Diseases Marine Drugs vol 9(6):1056-1100)

You don’t need to eat vast quantities of seaweeds to gain these benefits.  In traditional Japanese meals, small amounts of sea vegetables are used to lift and strengthen the flavours of the meal and enhance digestion.

Nori flakes, mixed sea vegetable flakes and kombu strips are the easiest ones to start with.  The flakes can be sprinkled over soups, casseroles, scrambled eggs and even mashed potato!  Add a 2″ piece of kombu to the pan when simmering beans or pulses; the seaweed nutrients help to breakdown some of the tough starches in the legumes, making them easier to digest (i.e. they will cause much less flatulence!).

Sheets of nori are used to make sushi and also offer an interesting alternative to bread for making sandwiches – ideal for a gluten free option!  Simply place your filling on the sheet and roll it up, adding a dab of water to stick the end of the roll in place.

The mixture of minerals found in sea vegetables makes them ideal for optimising energy and wellbeing – particularly if you are struggling with an under active thyroid.  The iodine, zinc and magnesium found in sea veggies support thyroid hormone formation and function, giving your thyroid gland a much needed boost!

Discover the benefits of a Seasonal Cleanse

Spring and autumn are nature’s seasons of change and transformation.  We can tap into these natural rhythms and enjoy a cleansing programme of our own to boost circulation, digestion, energy and vitality.

An effective cleanse is more than just drinking plenty of water and taking a few supplements, it involves supporting all the detoxification pathways in your body from the cellular level right through to actual wastes being eliminated via stools, urine and sweat.

So, what are the benefits of a seasonal cleanse?

 – Simplifying your diet by removing refined sugar, wheat, dairy and processed foods gives your hardworking digestive system a well earned break.  At the end of the cleanse, if you start to reintroduce these foods you may be able to pinpoint any that cause particular problems or intolerances for you.

 – Boosting lymphatic circulation with dry skin brushing and regular movement can improve skin appearance and texture giving you a wonderful fresh glow!

 – Your liver works tirelessly to process and detox hormones, nutrients, medications and alcohol.  By avoiding alcohol for the duration of the cleanse and enjoying luxury levels of vitamins, minerals and amino acids needed for liver function you are supporting these vital detox pathways.

 – Caring for your immune system: around 80% of your immune system is located in your gut!  Healthy digestion and beneficial gut bacteria = a strong, robust immune system: helpful when faced with spring allergies like hayfever or the onset of the cold & flu season in winter!

More energy! Think of your body as a complex machine.  Any machine that is serviced and well oiled will run effectively and the same goes for your amazing body: give it plenty of vital nutrients, regularly remove the wastes and tend to any weak spots.  Energy is produced in each cell of your body and requires a constant supply of magnesium, B-vitamins, co-enzyme Q10, vitamin C and zinc – to name but a few of the nutrients involved.

Are you ready to enjoy a seasonal cleanse?

Drop me a line at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or on 07910 705272 and lets get you started!

Your 5 Step Christmas Survival Guide!

The Christmas ‘to-do’ list is a mile long, presents are waiting to be wrapped and you’ve just found out a gluten-free vegan is coming for lunch.  All feelings of peace and joy have rapidly evaporated – what can you do to cope with festive stresses?

Let’s look at 5 top tips for coping with Christmas:

  1. Stress: This is a particularly tough time of year for anyone suffering with depression or bereavement.  The pressures of work and managing big family gatherings also ramp up the stress levels. Magnesium and B-vitamins are fantastic for soothing your nervous system; green leafy vegetables, cashew nuts, mushrooms and brown rice are all good sources.  Bathing in Epsom salts is a traditional remedy and a great way to absorb magnesium through your skin!  Add in a few drops of lavender oil too, then lie back and soak for a good 20 minutes.
  2. Overindulgence: indigestion can be incredibly painful – even mistaken for a heart attack in severe cases!  Chamomile and fennel teas are wonderfully soothing for sore or upset stomachs and can relieve painful trapped wind.  Milk thistle offers herbal support for liver function and easing hangovers – do check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any herbal remedies alongside prescription medications though.
  3. Special diets: you’re hosting a Christmas party and suddenly realise several guests are gluten and dairy free – what can they eat?  Panic not, healthfood stores like Tullivers in York and Goodness Direct online now offer a full range of festive treats designed to meet specific dietary needs including gluten-free gravy granules, oat cream, soya cream, rice flour for making pastry, dairy free chocolate advent calendars and gluten-free Christmas puddings.
  4. Colds and flu: ‘tis the season to be jolly unless you’re struck down with a virus!  Homemade chicken and vegetable soup is a fantastic immune booster.  Broccoli, peppers, kiwi fruit, mushrooms and sweet potatoes are all packed with antioxidant nutrients that help us fight off bugs.  Top up your vitamin D with an oral spray supplement and keep some manuka honey to hand for making honey and lemon drinks to soothe croaky throats and coughs.
  5. Headaches; stuffy atmospheres, stress, alcohol, sugary foods and dehydration can all trigger headaches.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day, pace yourself with sweet treats and make time for a relaxing Epsom salt bath to ease tense neck and shoulder muscles.
  6. One extra tip from personal experience….I once had bad flu over Christmas, it was rotten but made me realise that the world doesn’t end if you don’t send cards or presents or make it to parties. Friends and family still love you and thats all that matters!

Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Christmas 🙂

 

(This article is adapted from a column I wrote for York Press 1/12/2014)

6 Tasty Foods To Ease Joint Pains

Running, swimming, tennis, football….all are fun until the moment injury strikes or you overdo it with the training!

Joint-nourishing foods can easily be incorporated into meals and snacks to support and improve strength, stamina and recovery from both training and injuries.

Try these 6 tasty choices

1. Cherries: Montmorency cherries are packed with anthocyanins, natural antioxidant compounds which have been proven to reduce inflammation and soreness, and aid muscle recovery after training.  Add ‘CherryActive’ to your post workout smoothie for a muscle boost!

2. Beetroot: this vibrant root vegetable is rich in nitric oxide, a natural compound that encourages circulation, increases stamina and maintains healthy blood pressure.  Many sports teams (including the 2010 England Rugby squad!) include shots of beetroot juice in their training regimes 7-14 days before an event.  Of course you can use it every day if you wish! Drink raw beetroot juice for maximum benefit and try adding a little apple or carrot juice if the taste is a bit ‘earthy’ for you.

3. Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, herrings, trout and pilchards are all packed with anti-inflammatory Omega 3 oils – perfect for both mind and body.  For all you athletic vegetarians and vegans, flax oil is a fantastic source of omega-3 essential fats.  It musn’t be heated up but tastes great drizzled over porridge or a baked potato or blended in a smoothie.

4. Spirulina: this microscopic cyanobacteria grows on freshwater lakes all over the world.  It contains 22 amino acids, vital for muscle function and repair alongside anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.  Like beetroot, it has a slightly ‘earthy’ taste but blends well with apple juice, dried fruits or in a banana smoothie.

5. Turmeric: the golden spice has the pain killing and anti-inflammatory effects of over the counter NSAID’s but without the nasty side effects. Add generous amounts to homemade curries!

6. Ginger: another anti-inflammatory and warming spice, grated ginger with hot water and lemon juice is a perfect way to start the day and give your sore, dehydrated muscles a boost.

Questions?  Thoughts?  Want to find out if a personalised Nutrition Plan can get you running that extra mile?

Drop me a line via the Contact Form or pop over to the ‘Nutrition in York’ Facebook Page and ask away 🙂

 

Keep Sugar Cravings at Bay!

Removing refined sugary foods from your meals and snacks can revolutionise your energy levels, mood balance, concentration and sleep patterns.  Quitting the white stuff can be tough though.  It is important to look at why you are craving sugar in the first place:

Let’s focus on the top 3 reasons…

1. Skipping breakfast and not eating regularly; this means your body has to produce extra stress hormones in order to mobilise stored sugars and keep your energy up.  Long term, this puts strain on your adrenal glands, pancreas and liver.  Eating a balanced healthy breakfast including good quality protein and natural slow releasing sugars provides a steady supply of fuel to last you till lunchtime.

Good options include:

  • poached eggs, spinach and oatcakes
  • porridge with added seeds, nuts and fresh berries
  • or if you’re pushed for time, a homemade smoothie packed with fruit, ground seeds nut butter and milk.

2. Relying on caffeinated drinks and sugary snacks; sharp spikes in sugar intake give a rush of energy which is always followed by a deep slump where you feel even worse than before! Gradually cut down on caffeinated drinks and replace these with water, herb teas and green tea.  Green tea does still contain caffeine but this stimulative effect is counterbalanced by an amino acid called theanine which has a calming effect on the brain, boosting mental clarity and concentration.  Snack options include fruit and nut mixes, crudités with houmous or bean dips and brown rice cakes with nut butter.  These ideas combine protein with carbohydrates which provides a steady release of sugar into your bloodstream thereby avoiding spikes and slumps.

 

3. Anxiety, depression, PMT; these types of cravings are associated with low levels of mood hormones such as serotonin.  To make serotonin your brain needs particular proteins which can only get into the brain with the help of insulin. The fastest way to get insulin released is to eat sugary foods so your body craves sugar!  To avoid this effect, include foods rich in the proteins needed for mood hormone formation so your brain has a steady supply; chicken, turkey, lentils, spirulina, cottage cheese, almonds, pumpkin seeds are all good sources.

Once you have established the cause of our cravings plan meals and snacks accordingly so you know in advance what to eat and don’t risk desperately grabbing the nearest sugar fix.

If you need friendly support and guidance with kicking the sugar habit drop me a line at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk or call on 07910 705272 today!

Pop over to the Facebook page for more discussions and ideas or follow me on Twitter @nutritioninyork 🙂

Cleansing and Re-Energising Yourself!

 Noticed a slump in your energy levels lately?  Struggling to lose that last bit of weight?  Or maybe you’ve had a particularly stressful time and relied too heavily on caffeine, sugary snacks and alcohol?

Your body is cleansing and detoxifying day in, day out and sometimes it needs extra help.  Skin breakouts, difficulty losing weight, joint aches and pains, sluggish digestion and headaches can all be signs that your liver, kidneys, skin and bowels are struggling to handle your natural wastes.

Using foods and nutrients to support these organs can make a huge difference to your energy and vitality – and a detox plan does not have to be all about plain water and pale broths!

The holistic approach to cleansing and detoxification is gentle and practical and involves energising tasty foods, detoxification techniques and mindful forms of exercise like yoga, tai chi and walking in nature to support your body, mind and spirit.

The Detox Nutritional Support Programme is a fantastic way to get started as it provides everything you need for both a 3-Day Pre-Cleanse (to help your system adjust to the effects of an alkalising and cleansing diet) and a 7-Day Cleanse;

  • ‘Pro-Otic’ probiotic bacteria to support your digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • ‘Alka-Greens’ a powerful alkalising, energising and cleansing green food combination rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • ‘Detox Support Formula’ a blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that support the detoxification and energy-making processes in your cells
  • ‘Colex’ a combination of natural botanicals designed to support digestion and bowel health
  • Dry skin brush for stimulating your lymphatic circulation – perfect for battling cellulite and pepping up your blood flow!
  • Support booklet packed with meal ideas and detoxification information to guide you through your plan

Add to this a personal 1 hour Nutrition Consultation to discuss your health goals, how to effectively use the kit, additional naturopathic cleansing and relaxation techniques and a healthy sustainable food plan…AND a 20 minute follow-up telephone call after you have completed your Cleanse and you have the ideal way to get cleansed and energised!

The investment cost for the entire Plan is only £135 – fantastic value and a fabulous way to kickstart your health!

If you have any questions or would like a free no-obligation call to discuss the Plan or how nutritional therapy may benefit YOU, just drop me a line with your details.

**Please note, this cleansing plan is not suitable if you are pregnant, actively trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding.  Please inform me of any ongoing medical conditions so we can assess whether the plan is suitable for you at this time.**

 

 

Seven-layer Dip

egg, gluten, dairy and nut free

This colourful tasty dip is ideal for parties or make a smaller version for your own vibrant light lunch!  The recipe is from Alice Sherwood’s ‘Allergy-free Cookbook’ which has a wealth of ideas for gluten, dairy, egg and nut free meals, snacks and desserts.

For a party sized dish you will need:

3 avocadoes

juice of 1 lemon or lime

450g can refried beans (or use a mixed bean salad and crush the mixture up)

500ml dairy-free soured cream or plain soya yoghurt

1/4 tsp chilli powder

2 green peppers, chopped

340g drained, pitted and halved black olives

8 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

750g dairy-free cheese, coarsely grated

chopped coriander and spring onions to garnish

Peel and mash the avocadoes with the lemon or lime juice.  In a glass bowl, layer the ingredients starting with the beans as the base, then the avocadoes, soured cream or yoghurt, green peppers, olives, tomatoes and red onion.  Top it all with cheese, coriander and spring onions.

 

 

Expert Help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome!

Are you looking for natural solutions for your IBS symptoms?

Fed up of pain, bloating, fatigue and upset bowel movements interfering with your life?

Help is at hand! 

Join us on Tuesday 17th June for an evening of helpful practical information on natural solutions for IBS. 

I’ll be there talking about how foods and nutrients can support your bowels and give you smooth, comfortable digestion, and I’m joined by…

  • Tiziana Bertinotti from York Traditional Acupuncture who will be sharing her wealth of knowledge and skills about how acupuncture provides fantastic relief for IBS sufferers

  • Jo Morrell, a registered nurse, Hypnotherapist and EFT practitioner who will be sharing fantastic techniques for managing stress and anxiety and relieving IBS symptoms

The event is taking place at Millers Yard, Gillygate, York – to book your place see our Eventbrite page.  There will be light refreshments and plenty of time to ask questions and find out what you really need to know about managing IBS.  We look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions about the event or about how natural solutions can help with IBS call me on 07910 705272 or email me at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – What Can You Do?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the umbrella term used to describe a collection of symptoms including pain, bloating, excess wind and altered bowel habits; constipation, diarrhoea, sudden urgency to pass stools and incomplete bowel movements. 

However, problems with bowel function impact upon your entire system and other symptoms linked with IBS include headaches, fatigue, low mood, stress and anxiety.  Stress and anxiety can be causing IBS and / or be brought on by it.

So what can you do to relieve these symptoms?

Firstly, remember that your digestive system works like a factory production line.  If one part of it goes wrong, it will throw the rest of the line out of sync!  For instance, if you are eating hurriedly and not chewing properly then foods will have a hard time being broken down in your stomach and intestines and end up feeding the unfriendly bacteria in your gut that love to produce gas.

Stomach acid and digestive enzymes are crucial for breaking food down and dealing with harmful bugs that can be found in foods.  Do you find yourself regularly reaching for the Rennies?  If you take time to relax and eat steadily rather than grabbing food on the go, your stomach has time to produce the right amount of stomach acid which won’t then reflux and cause heartburn.

Friendly gut bacteria really are the rulers of your digestion and another term for IBS is ‘gut dysbiosis’ or imbalanced gut bacteria.  With over 400 different microbial species living in your gut you are in fact made up of more bacterial cells than human cells!  And these tiny organisms need to be kept in balance in order for your to enjoy smooth, comfortable, pain free digestion.

What about FODMAPs?

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols, all of which are types of sugars easily fermented by certain bacteria in the small intestine.  A condition called SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) can be worsened by eating a lot of high FODMAP foods because the bacteria feast on the sugars, producing excess gas and a variety of unpleasent symptoms.

Identifying SIBO is not easy; one method is to take a breath test that tracks levels of methane produced by the bacteria after consumptoms of high FODMAP foods.

Managing SIBO is similar to managing IBS: remove problematic foods, replace with suitable alternatives, and rebalance the bacteria.  Natural antibacterial agents that reduce numbers of ‘unfriendly’ bacteria may also be needed, such as oregano, garlic or citricidal.

Alongside the bacteria, certain nutrients support your digestive processes and combining herbs and nutrients with food and lifestyle changes gives you a powerful set of techniques with which to manage your IBS symptoms.

  • Magnesium; this mineral is used by the muscles in your intestines to squeeze rhythmically and move food along.  Constipation can be caused by a lack of magnesium and chronic stress depletes levels too.

  • Vitamin A to support the health of the membranes lining your digestive tract

  • Chromium; this plays a vital role in balancing blood sugar levels.  Fluctuating blood sugars can trigger IBS symptoms.

  • B-vitamins; vital for your nervous system and managing stress and anxiety.

  • Omega-3 oils; for reducing any inflammation present in your digestive tract.

A nutritional therapy plan looks at the foods providing these nutrients whilst reducing anything that’s hard to digest.  This may mean avoiding wheat, dairy, gluten, high FODMAP foods or caffeine to name but a few – however the idea is to focus on the huge range of foods you can eat!  Foods you can enjoy eating and which make you feel well again!

Start your journey back to vitality & wellbeing – for a no-obligation 15min telephone chat about your digestive health and how nutritional therapy may be of benefit email me today at sallyduffin@nutritioninyork.co.uk

Nourish Your Skin From Within

Soft, smooth glowing skin comes from within; what you choose to eat and supplement with has a direct impact upon your skin health.  Using the latest expensive skin cream will only get you so far- if you love McDonalds and Cola too much your skin will suffer no matter what you slather on it!

If your skin is suffering try these simple tips and techniques for soothing and restoring your glow…

  •  Lets start with the basics – drink plenty of water!  Think of how an old uneaten orange looks all wrinkled and shrivelled – thats what happens to your skin cells when they dehydrate.  Tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol all serve to dehydrate your skin and any sugar content has a double whammy effect as sugar damages the protein matrix forming your skin’s structure.
  •  Oils; even if oily skin and acne is your problem you still need plenty of healthy oils.  The essential fats found in fish, krill, flaxseed, pumpkin seed and nut oils help maintain your skins natural oil levels and reduce inflammation.  Diets low in oils mean the skin has to work harder to maintain its oil balance and can over produce, causing excess oiliness.  Eczema or psoriasis? Try massaging your skin with coconut oil.  Naturally solid at room temperature, coconut oil melts on contact with the skin and is rich in a wide variety of fatty acids that support skin hydration and healing.
  •  Blueberries, strawberries, kiwi fruit, peppers, watercress, parsley….all delightfully tasty and packed with vitamin C to help with skin healing and collagen formation.  Collagen plumps out your skin; vitamin C aids its formation and protects it from damage.  This is why so many anti-ageing creams contain vitamin C!  To really make a difference to your skin you need to be getting plenty of it from your foods – no skin cream can make up for a poor diet.
  •  Zinc.  The super mineral for acne and skin healing.  Teenage hormone fluctuations increase the need for zinc whilst skin infections benefit from both the healing powers and immune supporting benefits of this mineral found in nuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken and shellfish.
  • Aloe Vera – a wonderful skin nourishing and anti-inflammatory herb that can be taken internally and used as a gel on your skin to relieve itching, redness and sunburn.  Aloe vera soothes sore inflammed skin, supports vitamin C and vitamin E absorption and acts as a natural anti-histamine – perfect for urticaria and rashes!
  • Opt for high quality natural skincare products; be mindful to read labels and examine ingredients when it comes to skincare products as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ can mean as little as only 3% of the ingredients are naturally derived!  Chemicals in skin creams and lotions add to your body’s toxic load and need to be metabolised and detoxified.  Even though many harmful ingredients are only present in tiny amounts they have an accumulative effect in your body, leading to problems long term.  Personally I love and trust the Green People, Weleda (who do excellent baby skincare products) and A’kin ranges to care for my skin.  Along with the right foods and a good night’s sleep of course!

 

What are your top tips for healthy skin?  Feel free to share here or over on the Facebook page!