Nutrition Brought to Life is the first book from holistic nutritional therapist Kirsten Chick – and it’s fantastic!
Written in Kirsten’s trademark accessible style, the book provides a firm grounding in natural nutrition, and how we can truly nourish ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Part 1 begins with the digestive system – the foundation of all health and wellbeing. Kirsten then skillfully guides us through energy production, the highs and lows of sugar, managing our stress response, adrenal support, the gut microbiome, inflammation, immunity, “liver whispering” (brilliant!), hormone balancing, and creating our own personal action plan for health. Part 2 provides 50 different recipes; from soups and main meals, to nourishing smoothies, salads, and warming drinks, all designed to support optimum health and vitality.
Each chapter includes a few reflective questions to help readers think about what they’ve just learnt, and how they can start making manageable changes for better health.
This isn’t just a book to flick through and put down; it’s a book that can help you transform how you nourish yourself, on every level, and get back in touch with what your body is telling you.
Kirsten has been working as a nutritional therapist since 2003, and combines private nutrition practice with teaching, writing, public speaking, and whizzing up recipes in her kitchen. Her areas of expertise include fertility, pregnancy, cancer care, and general nutrition. She’s kindly agreed to let me include an excerpt of the book here so you can get a taster of what to expect…
Sugar – the highs and lowdown
When life is sweet I don’t seem to crave so much sugar. I may enjoy sweet foods from time to time, but I don’t actively seek it out. When my mood or zest for life drop, when I feel let down, or when I feel like the ground has fallen away beneath me, my thoughts turn to sugar. It’s a pattern I learnt when I was very small, and reinforced with abandon as I grew up. It’s one I now smile at like an old friend I have drifted away from. We sometimes hang out for a brief while, but I spend more time with my other friends these days. They don’t challenge my insulin pathways so much.
Insulin and glucagon – balancing blood sugar
When you eat, your pancreas releases hormones that directly affect your energy pathways and fat levels. Remember that your pancreas sits near your stomach, and most of it is busy producing digestive enzymes to squirt into your small intestine. A small section of it, however, has a specialist role in balancing blood sugar.
About 2-3% of your pancreas, an exotic resort called the Islets of Langerhans, releases blood sugar regulating hormones called insulin and glucagon, plus a moderating hormone called somatostatin. These hormones then course through your bloodstream, with instructions for what to do with glucose, the sugar released from your latest meal or snack.
When you have high levels of glucose in your blood:
– insulin can trigger some of it to be sent into your cells to make ATP ‘energy batteries’
– any excess with be converted to a substance called glycogen in your liver, where you can keep a store cupboard of about a day’s supply
– if there’s still more glucose left over, insulin will turn it into fats, which are sent to your fat cells (aka adipose cells) for more long-term storage – this is how sugar can make you fat.
To carry on reading Nutrition Brought to Life order your copy today from one of the stockists listed on Kirsten’s website, or Amazon. And listen along to the Nutrition Brought to Life podcast too!
Ginger is a fabulous spice for digestive health. It has a long history of traditional use for easing nausea, wind, bloating, and indigestion, and promoting the secretion of digestive juices that help breakdown food. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used to ignite the “digestive fire” to aid sluggish digestion and support healthy metabolism.
This simple recipe for ginger pickle comes form nutritionist and Ayurvedic practitioner Sabine Horner at Asana Nutrition. There’s only 3 ingredients – fresh ginger, lime juice, and salt – and it keeps for up to a week in the fridge. If you’re experiencing bloating, indigestion, wind, or a sluggish digestion, enjoy a slice of this pickle before each meal to give your digestion a helping hand.
Preparation time: 5 minutes Ingredients:
approx.. 2 inch of fresh ginger (peeled)
2 pinch of mineral salt
Instructions Slice the ginger into long, thin strips and place in a jar. Cover the slices with the juice of half a lime and sprinkle with some salt to marinate. Shake well and keep in the fridge for up to a week. Eat one slice of pickled ginger before lunch and dinner.
Find out more about why and how these ingredients work so well together to support digestion in this short video from Sabine. And to find out more about Sabine’s work, catch her at email@example.com or 07539347643 or on:
For real bread lovers, giving up the loaf is one of the hardest changes to make when going gluten free. The smell, texture, crust, and crumb are impossible to replicate in gluten free versions, and the results can be disappointing.
So what to eat instead?
Here are 6 interesting and tasty naturally gluten free alternatives to bread…
Sweet potato toast – simple and ever so easy to make. Slice a sweet potato lengthways into 5mm thick slices. Pop them in a toaster or under the grill, and toast until golden and slightly crispy. Top with nut butter, butter, tuna mayonnaise, mashed sardines, poached egg…
Nori sheets bring some sushi flavours to your meal with nori wraps. Nori, like all sea vegetables, is rich in iodine, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, plus several different B-vitamins. It also contains fucans, a type of carbohydrate unique to sea vegetables that has anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting benefits. To use the nori sheets, lay them out flat and top with shredded vegetables, meat or fish, houmous, salad leaves, and maybe some pickles or sauerkraut. Or go full on sushi and make your own sushi rolls!
Socca – also called farinata, this is a simple flatbread made from chickpea (garbanzo) flour, oil, water, and a dash of salt. Add herbs and spices as you wish for extra flavour. There’s recipes available here and here.
Crackers – there’s so many to choose from now; rice ,corn, oat (make sure they are certified gluten free), buckwheat – we need never get bored with crackers again.
Flaxseed muffins – packed with fibre, protein, essential fats, and phytoestrogens, ground flax is your hormone-balancing friend. These muffins are ideal for breakfast or a light, balanced, snack. This recipe is from There Is Life After Wheat
Gluten free scones can be savoury or sweet, as these recipes from Jody Vassallo on the Jamie Oliver blog show. For the savoury version, if pumpkin isn’t in season try using mashed sweet potato or butternut squash instead.
Do you have a favourite gluten free alternative to bread? Let me know in the comments below or over on FB or Twitter!
If I had a magic time machine I’d go back to the early 90s and have a quiet word with myself about food.
I’d also have a quiet word about hairstyles and picking at spots, but food would be first.
At age 14 I was a terrible pescetarian. I lived on tuna pasta bake, Linda McCartney Country Pies (*instant bloating*) Findus cheese pancakes, baked beans, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Black, two sugars.
I carried on eating like this into my late teens and early twenties. My repertoire expanded a little when I moved out of home and lived with people who introduced me to houmous and feta cheese.
As you might expect, my health wasn’t exactly dazzling. Every month I had 10-14 days of pre-menstrual tension symptoms of anger, depression, forgetfulness, brain fuzz, bloating and spots. This was followed by heavy painful periods lasting 7-8 days. I ping-ponged through the day on sugar-caffeine highs followed by exhausting slumps, and my bowels could tick off every type of poo on the Bristol Stool Scale.
If I’d known then what I know now, I would have abso-flippin’-lutely eaten differently. The cheese pancakes would have been accompanied by broccoli for a start.
Nutritional gems I’d share with my Pearl Jam fan-girl, rubbish-pescatarian 14yr old self:
Drink some water. I lived on coffee & tea, both of which were playing havoc with my digestion and blocking iron absorption (not a great combo with heavy periods). Drinking at least 1l of water a day would have done my digestion, energy, and skin a whole lot of good.
Eat greens, everyday. Mum always included at least 1 green veggie with our evening meal, however I could have been a lot more pro-active myself. Brassica veggies in particular (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, rocket) are packed with nutrients that support oestrogen processing in the liver – essential for hormone balance and managing PMT.
Ease up on sugar. Adding 2 sugars to every black coffee really racked up my sugar intake and contributed to the bloating and teen spots. Add in white bread, white pasta, and other refined carbs and the sugar total was HUGE! Swapping to herbal teas and complex carbs would have made a significant difference to energy, digestion, skin health, and hormone balance.
Eat Real Food. Back then, as a pescetarian I really needed to be eating a lot more fish, eggs, beans, pulses, and colourful fruits & veggies and none of that processed fake food marketed to vegetarians.
Protein, protein, protein! Again, the fish, beans, pulses and eggs would have helped with this, alongside nuts and seeds. I was in dire need of protein building blocks for healthy skin, zingy energy levels, and stable moods, and my diet wasn’t supplying them!
Prep a proper packed lunch. A typical lunch consisted of cheese sandwiches with white bread, cake, and maybe a piece of fruit (maybe). Then I’d come home at 4pm and feast on chocolate spread sandwiches. Blimey, my pancreas was working overtime! Better options would have been wholemeal pittas with salad & fish / eggs / fruit salad with nuts & seeds / houmous / guacamole / and a lot less chocolate spread!
What nutritional gems would you share with your teenage self?
It’s that time of year again…the ninth month… it’s Sourdough September!
This month-long celebration of all things sourdough is a national event run by the Real Bread Campaign with the aim of encouraging people to enjoy genuine sourdough products and support the independent bakers who produce them.
Now I’m certainly no baker. I can talk about food, write about food, and on the whole, produce tasty nutritious meals – but baking? No. No. And again no. My skills are seriously lacking. But this doesn’t stop me enjoying the occasional slice or two of a good quality sourdough bread. With butter. Natch.
True sourdough bread contains only flour, water, salt, and the starter culture that triggers the fermentation process and natural leavening. Compare this with the litany of ingredients in mass produced breads: emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilisers, improvers, bleaching agents, acidifiers, colourings – the list is looong.
Why are all these ingredients used?
Because of the Chorleywood process. Since its creation in 1961, the vast majority of bread made in the UK is done so by this process. It’s a time-saving method of producing dough with minimal fermentation time, and is needed to meet our (apparently) insatiable demand for processed bread. The process requires all these extra goodies in order to work. Plus preservatives and mould inhibitors to give the loaf a longer shelf-life.
Baking a sourdough loaf requires time and patience and brings with it an understanding of what real food – slow food – truly is. The process cannot be rushed, the end results are different every time, but the flavour and taste are worth the effort!
A potential nutritional advantage of true sourdough is the way the fermentation process reduces gluten levels. The natural bacteria in the starter culture ferment and breakdown a lot of the wheat proteins, including gluten, making them easier to digest.
Italian research from 2007 explored the gluten-degrading powers of fermentation microbes. The study results show how bread made by the sourdough fermentation process had residual gluten levels of 12ppm (parts per million). Anything below 20ppm is classed as ‘gluten-free’. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every sourdough loaf out there contains such tiny amounts of gluten, but it does illustrate the gluten reducing powers of natural sourdough fermentation.
When buying sourdough do watch out for what the Real Bread Campaign call ‘sourfraux’ – fake sourdough bread. Thanks to the rise in popularity of artisan breads like sourdough, many supermarkets and bakers are producing imitation sourdoughs that still include additives and haven’t gone through the full fermentation process. It is worth asking how the bread has been made and whether the proper starter culture has been used, so you can be confident of buying a genuine sourdough loaf.
Care to share any marvellous bread baking tips?
Do you have a sourdough starter you’d like to pass on?
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