Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas taken its toll?

Today is the day to sign up for 
Eat Clean January!

£30 for the whole month - that's less than a pound a day for as many sessions as you need and a personalised, adaptive, easy to follow and easy to maintain nutrition plan that is completely unique to you.

At least one weekly meeting (online via Skype or FaceTime or in person at my house or yours) for a coffee and weigh-in and dialogue about what you have ound easy and what you have found hard in order to tailor the program so it fits you and your life.  No two people will follow the plan in the same way.

Help and tips whenever you need them - contact me whenever you need a question answered or a kick up the backside by text or email.

The K-Loss plan helps re-educate you so that healthy choices become not only second-nature but also more appealing than non-healthy choices.  The K-Loss plan really does stop you dieting and helps you make permanent changes for life!

So make that commitment, for one month, and ring in the changes for 2013!

Isn't it worth less than £1 a day to change your life?

Contact me for more information.

Top Paleo Packed Lunches

Another tricky thing to cater for is packed lunches. No wheat means no bread, no grains means no oat cakes.  No sugar means no lots of things, no starchy carbs menas no crisps and no dairy means no yoghurt or cheese.  I've had to be quite creative to make sure my kids get enough to eat to keep them going without resorting to non-paleo ingredients - especially as it's a nut-free school!  Here are my top favourite lunches for the kids.

Paleo sushi - tuna mayo (homemade mayo if poss to avoid the sugar) with raw salmon and chopped veggies rolled in sushi seaweed paper.  With chopped raw veggies, toasted seeds and coconut with raisins, orange juice and a banana.

Paleo rice (ground cauliflower) with chicken stew kept warm in a flask, fruit juice, banana and toasted seeds and raisins.

Chicken mayo with chopped raw veggies, a coconut flour muffin (1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp honey, 6 eggs and 1/2 a cup of frozen blueberries) with fruit juice and a banana.
Paleo flatbread (1/4 cup coconut flour, 1/4 ground flax seeds, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder - baked in dollops until golden) with ham and cucumber or pate and cucumber, with chopped raw veggies, kale crisps (bake kale with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until crispy) paleo fruity bars (seeds dates, honey and cocoa in a food processor until pretty smooth and frozen in bars, then cut and wrapped in foil), fruit juice and an apple.

Chicken kebabs layered with courgette, peppers and onion, with some (non really paleo) buckwheat crackers, a paleo chocolate muffin (1/4 cup coconut flour, 1.4 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp honey, chopped 90% cocoa chocolate, 6 eggs,) fruit juice and a pear.
Gluten-free sausages (from with chopped purple carrots, paleo cookies (1/4 cup coconut flour, 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup raisins) fruit juice and a banana.

I also make soups regularly for them and they are happy to have chunks of raw salmon.  This is how I plan their lunches.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Top Ten Paleo Breakfasts

Breakfast is a very important meal and one we often don't have time for.  However, once you get your head around making time rather than finding time, these breakfasts are actually pretty easy - I have to remember to get some of them ready in advance, make sure I have enough eggs or defrost meat the night before.

These are our favourite breakfasts.

Boiled egg, baked salmon, asparagus and chopped raw veggies.

Breakfast muffin (1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 large grated carrot, 1 cup of raisins, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 heaped tbsp honey, 1 tsp mixed spice, 6 eggs)
chopped apple, pear and kiwi.

Warm berry smoothie (frozen cherries, blueberries and strawberries in the blender with one banana, 1 can coconut milk and 1 tbsp honey) topped with toasted seeds, coconut and almonds.

Chicken curry (sauteed onions, garam masala, ground corrinader, ground cumin, turmeric, chicken stock, diced chicken, coconut cream) with paleo rice (steamed ground cauliflower).

Grilled lamb chops with poached egg and chopped raw veggies.

Banana pancakes (150g ground almonds, 2 mashed bananas, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 chopped banana, 3 eggs) with berries and maple syrup.

Paleo Bircher muesli (grated carrot, grated apple, grated pear, raisins, toasted seeds and toasted coconut, toasted almonds, warm berries with a little honey and coconut cream).

Thai fish cakes (fish pie mix in the food processor with grated rind of 1 lime, lime juice, grated ginger, 1 chopped chilli, lemongrass, 1 tbsp fish sauce) with non paleo chilli dipping sauce and chopped raw veggies.

Nut-free paleo granola (200g ground mix seeds, 200g mixed seeds, grated rind of 2 oranges plus juice, 2 tbp melted coconut oil) spread over bottom of a large baking tray and bake until golden, stirring occasionally - watch carefully so it doesn't burn.  Once cooked, add 2 cups of raisins and cool.  Serve with chilled coconut milk diluted with water.

Baked egg omelette with mixed veg (mainly onion, courgette, peppers and leeks).  Mix up 6 eggs and pour over veg once sauteed, add unbroken eggs and continue cooking - finish off under the grill.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Drug Addiction and My Family

Remember Dougal from the Magic Roundabout battling with himself over lumps of sugar?  Just one lump can't harm, can it?  Just one tiny lump...

I always assumed that this was a parable - a metaphor for drug addiction.  But it doesn't need to be a metaphor at all.  Sugar releases the same pleasure chemicals in your brain as cocaine - your body builds up a tolerance to it just like addictive drugs.  Even savoury foods we buy have been laced with this insidious sweetener, keeping us hooked and reliant on food manufacturers and their processed product for our hit.

Since becoming a paleo family, we have pretty much entirely avoided sugar in its processed form.  We still use honey from time to time - I see it as our nicotine patch - and we still eat fruit.  But this avoidance of sugar becomes harder at Christmas, doesn't it?

Christmas, for me, is all about recreating warm feelings from our childhood and about making new ones for our own kids and about spending quality time with friends and family - I'm ignoring the Christian aspect of Christmas as I'm an atheist and Christmas to me is also about spreading a little bit of sparkle in the middle of the dark bit - a festival of lights, if you will.

Feelings of comfort from our childhoods are triggered by the senses.  Christmas lights sparkling; the scent of cinnamon, orange and spice; the sounds of jingling bells and carols; the soft feeling of warm jumpers, snugly slippers and toasty blankets and the taste of our favourite foods.

The thing is that now we have decided to live a paleo lifestyle, a lot of the foods that really shout Christmas are off limits.

So we had a choice: continue with paleo throughout the festive period or relent a bit and indulge some.

I think if it had been just me, on my own, I wouldn't have strayed far from the paleo path but being that my husband really does like cheese and biscuits and thinks boxing day cold cuts are incomplete without crinkle cut oven chips and the fact that all my kids' friends will be eating crisps and sweets and biscuits and cakes and ice cream and chocolate this Christmas, I felt mean sticking to my guns.

So I stocked up on paleo things as well: beef and ham and turkey and veggies and salad and fruit and nuts.  I also made paleo Christmas puds and paleo Christmas cake and paleo mince pies.

But I did decide to 'treat' the family so bought pizzas for emergency-can't-be-bothered-meals and cheese and oatcakes (at least not wheat crackers) and crinkle cut oven chips.  We made real flour gingerbread houses and covered them with real sugar sweets.  We made a chocolate bombe from ice cream, sweets, swiss rolls and chocolate.  And as chocolate brioche and croissants and coffee used to be a favourite weekend breakfast for us, we decided on pastries and croissants instead of our usual scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for Christmas morning breakfast.  We had visitors coming so bought beer and cider and wine and then we settled down to indulge.

Behaviour levels (normally pretty good) and tantrum episodes (generally unheard of) spiralled a little out of control after sugar binges and wheat splurges and my youngest, Jake instantly went back to the tummy troubles he used to have before we eschewed wheat.

Russ got fed up with the oven chips after the second meal with them.  The kids ate only the ice cream, discarding the swiss roll, of the chocolate bombe.  There are still oat cakes, croissants and pastries in the cupboard and the gingerbread houses are still standing.  There are still several bottles of wine, cider and lager sitting in the kitchen, undrunk.

Last night, the kids begged for some raw veggies.  Jake asked for a tuna salad instead of pizza and Liv asked for turkey and raw veggies for breakfast.

We have learnt a lot about or family's relationships with paleo this Christmas.

There have been a lot of changes that we have become used to, that have become such an intrinsic part of our lives now that we find it uncomfortable to stray from them.

My kids genuinely crave vegetables.  Jake is genuinely turned off wheat.  They can happily turn down pastry and traditional cakes, in fact they all said they prefer my palo versions but the monkey still clinging to their backs is sugar!

It's amazing to me how successful those clever ad men have been in brainwashing the entire population of this planet into thinking that breakfast should consist of a wheat product with some sort of dairy product, that Christmas is about wheat and sugar, that children want these things more than they want the natural goodness of protein, fibrous carbohydrate and healthy fats.

It's crazy how ubiquitous sugar has become and how natural a part of childhood it seems to be.  Kids have to have sweets, don't they?  We all love doughnuts and pies and cakes and pastries, don't we?  We have been very convincingly and comprehensively brainwashed by the corn and sugar industry into believing that high fructose corn syrup, inverse glucose syrup etc. are the cornerstone of every nutritious meal.

There's even a section for it on the food pyramid!  What a load of rubbish!  We won't die without sugar and wheat!  Processed sugar is not part of a healthy, balanced diet.  A balanced diet consists of the things we need to keep us alive and healthy.  Processed sugar just does not figure in that!

I can plainly see the physical and emotional and behavioural response my kids make to non paleo foods so clearly after this Christmas binge - highlighted by the contrast to their normal nutritional intake - and it's scary the effects these things have on my family.
It's easy the rest of the year and in the home to stick to paleo.  But I think from now on, I am going to make more of a concerted effort to help my kids to make paleo choices out of the home as well.

Or, I could just go with Calvin on this...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

You Make it Happen!

I used to make jewellery and I once made a ring with 'You Make it Happen' stamped on it; because it's true.  You really do make it happen.  No one else.

With this in mind, my thoughts are turning to New Year's Resolutions.  This year I am making SMART* goals for myself so that hopefully I have more chance of making them happen.

*SMART - Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Specific - You can even add Evaluate and Reevaluate to turn them into SMARTER goals!

I will be making sure I not only say what it is I hope to achieve but that I give myself a time frame and a method of completion.  This may sound a little overly organised for daft wishes we all make at what is, in universal terms, an arbitrary point of time reference: new year.  However, I really want to make things happen, I really want to make changes and the only way to ensure my success is to plan.

Fail to plan, plan to fail!

I have 4 goals: personal, business, physical and dream.

I just have to get off my arse and make sure they happen.  That's all there is to it: getting off my behind and making them happen.  
It's that easy.  Easy...isn't it?

Some people like to have a SMART partner, someone they can rely on to keep them on-track, someone to hold them accountable.  This could be as informal as a friend who checks up on your progress every once in a while or a running buddy; it could be someone you check in with on a regular basis for support and evaluation; it could be a trainer or teacher.

I find it hard to have someone I am accountable to as I have control issues, ha ha!  I do not like to be told what to do - it makes me all...stubborn.  

However, my nutrition clients find that coming to see me once a week to discuss what has worked well and what has been tricky, to work through ways to approach sticking ponts and to be weighed is enough to keep them on track (I don't normally advocate using scales as they are often counter-productive but if it helps in the initial stages of weight loss, then I'll relent).  
My PT clients find that coming to me once, twice or three times a week forces them to stick to a program that makes them feel better, stronger, fitter and more in control.  

If you are looking to make changes in 2013 and you are like me, stubborn and bloody minded, then you might find you can go it alone better than you could with someone telling you what to do.

If, however, you find it harder to stay motivated, if you really want to succeed but
know in your heart you find it difficult to stay on track, then perhaps Personal Training or Nutrition Management are just what you need to keep you focused.

It's my job as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Manager to make sure my clients find ways to stay motivated and focused on their goals.  I use many of the strategies I learned and developed as a teacher to help my clients to achieve things they didn't think were possible, things they didn't believe they could achieve.  It's my aim to keep sessions interesting and varied enough to motivate even the slouchiest of couch potatoes!

So if you are ready to make a commitment, if you are ready to genuinely change your life, be it getting fit, losing weight or just becoming more active, and you need a helping hand to cement that motivation, get in touch and make 2013 the year you really make it happen

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas guilt

First of all, merry Christmas!

Now, how many of you ate whatever you wanted and thought: sod it?
How many of you ate what you wanted and then felt horribly guilty?
How many of you let that guilt simmer all day?
How many of you experience this guilt so regularly so that it starts eating away at you?

How did your Christmas day go?

Mine was a typical mix of stress, calm, eating, drinking, family, friends and a a dash of guilt every now and again when I snapped at the kids, forgot to top up a guest's drink, ate too many sweets off the gingerbread house, used too much non-recyclable wrapping paper unnecessarily...the list goes on...

Do I feel guilty for not sticking to an entirely paleo Christmas?

I am conscious that my kids never eat cereals any more and that they don't ever get chocolate brioche, pains au chocolat and croissants any more so I thought (as I used to love croissants and coffee of a weekend morning) that this Christmas morning, instead of the traditional Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon (perfectly paleo) we would have a selection of pastries.

Not nearly as nice as I was expecting.  I think we would all have preferred the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs scenario.

This breakfast was followed by a lunch of turkey, sausages in bacon, mashed carrots and swede, sprouts with bacon and chestnuts (so far so good) potatoes (I didn't have any) home made cranberry sauce with no sugar and
definitely non paleo bread sauce and gravy - which I did have.

I had paleo Christmas pudding with coconut cream and non paleo brandy butter,  I had two glasses of wine.

I ate a few chocolates.

I've also had two or three clementines and a few coffees.

I made some concessions to our paleo life and I said sod-it to others.

I like the sod it.  It won't carry on much past tomorrow as I feel stuffed.  I prefer feeling like I've eaten clean.  I feel les heavy, less bloated and, yes, I feel less guilty.

I really think feeling guilty about food is a dangerous game to play, especially if you have control issues.  However, personally, I find a little bit of guilt day to day keeps me in check.  It stops me yelling too much at my kids (most of the time!).  It stops me eating the entire box of chocolates in one sitting without sharing them out first and it makes me go to the gym when I don't really feel like it.  A dash of guilt and a sprinkling of remorse can help keep things in check.  Just don't let it ruin your Christmas and wreck your life!

How was your Christmas day?

Monday, 24 December 2012


Want to survive Christmas without piling on the pounds?

Exercise a little restraint.  

Try to remember that Christmas dinner is about the people you spend it with, not the food.

To avoid the sugar crash post lunch, cut the number of potatoes you have, limit the amount of Christmas pudding you devour and fill up on turkey and veg and make sure you plan healthy snacks to keep you from bingeing.

Try to remember that the point of any fancy meal - be it at a restaurant or at home and the point of Christmas lunch (especially if you don't have to cook it) is spending time with friends and family, not the actual food itself.

Often, the food we associate with Christmas  helps us get back to that cosy comforting place of our youth.  However, you don't have to eat the entire box of Ferrero Rocher to get there!

Exercise some restraint.

Many of my clients have made enormous steps in getting fitter and healthier in the run up to Christmas.  It really shouldn't be necessary to take yourself back to square one in January.

You can get through Christmas without piling on the pounds but you need to remember:

  • you are in control, you are in charge of your body.
  • you can exercise restraint and still enjoy delicious food
  • you can enjoy the company of friends and family more than the food you consume
  • if you plan healthy snacks, the peanuts, crisps, pies and choccies shouldn't be a problem

So enjoy Christmas and all that it entails but keep it in proportion.  Remind yourself of all you have achieved so far, remind yourself of what you hope to achieve in the future and exercise restraint.

Having said that, it is Christmas and to spend the entire holiday period beating yourself up is pointless and counter-productive.  

Do what you can, be in control and have a plan!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!