Nutrition tips I’d share with my 14 year old self!

Nutrition tips I’d share with my 14 year old self!

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?

We’ve had some fun discussions about our teen diets over in the Facebook group: come and join us! 


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…


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 or join in the Facebook group.

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

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!