Monday, 9 December 2013

Dairy and Grain Free fruit and nut muffins

I made these cakes for a new client last week to illustrate that you can still enjoy a cake now and again whilst sticking with a grain and dairy free diet. They are packed full of nourishing healthy ingredients and taste very good with a cup of black or green tea.

You will need:

30g coconut oil melted
3 tablespoons coconut milk
3 medium eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
 30g coconut flour (tiana do a good one)
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar (again tiana do a good one)
25g raisins or dried cranberries
25g chopped mixed nuts (or any combination, I use walnuts)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Handful sunflower seeds


Mix together the coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla essence 

In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, coconut sugar, chopped nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Spoon into cake cases and bake for approx 12 minutes  at 170 degrees C or until firm to the touch.

Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Grain Free Granola

Many of my clients find it difficult to eat eggs every morning and even though I believe that eggs are best way to start the day sometimes it is good to get some variety and have something different. Typical breakfast foods such as bagels, cereals and toast are high in carbohydrates (and often sugar) and can lead to a mid morning crash involving hunger and cravings for more carbs. If you fancy something delicious that is similar to cereal but that is healthy and nutritious and will keep you full until lunchtime this fits the bill. You can add any nuts, seeds and dried fruits you like. A word of caution though, if you are trying to lose weight eat this sparingly, a little goes and long way. Eat sprinkled on full fat natural yoghurt, on its own or with a little milk of your choice (if you avoid dairy then coconut milk is a great alternative).

You will need:

150g mixed nuts and seeds
100g mixed dried fruit
50 g shredded coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp cinnamon


Chop or pulse the nuts and seeds
Add the dried fruit and coconut flakes to the nuts and mix well
In a saucepan slowly melt the coconut oil, cinnamon and honey until it foams
Add the oil and honey mix to the dry ingredients and mix well
Spoon into a baking tray and press down. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then break up into small pieces and store in an airtight container.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

What kind of diet saboteur are you?

In a previous post I talked about those people who are doing really well with eating healthy foods in sensible quantities, finding themselves losing fat and fitting better into their clothes and then BAM! something happens and they find themselves tucking into a burger, fries and milkshake or a huge piece of cake and then deciding that they might as well eat whatever they like because they have ruined their 'diet' anyway. This is self sabotage. 

I've just read a very inspirational book called 'Finding the Future that Fits' by one of the UK's leading life coaches, Louise Presley-Turner. In the book she talks about how we sabotage our best efforts to move our lives forwards and how she tends to come across certain sabotaging styles when working with clients. I could really identify with these sabotaging behaviours in our efforts to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. So which kind of diet saboteur are you?

Procrastinator - these people are always going to start eating well tomorrow, or after their exams, or after their house move or after their birthday or holiday. There is always a reason to start another day. The best way to deal with this is to just start NOW! Start now and then make some adjustments around the event you were waiting for and then get back to the plan as soon as it's over. You can enjoy a holiday or a birthday just as much if you are eating well and allowing yourself a few treats, in fact you may enjoy it more as you should be feeling much more healthy.

Perfectionist - this is when you expect 100% adherence with a diet plan and won't settle for anything less. It generally means an all or nothing approach to weight loss, if you are not on a strict calorie controlled diet you might as well eat whatever you like whenever you like. Instead focus on an 80/20 approach, if you eat a paleo style diet of fresh unprocessed foods 80% of the time you can have some flexibility to eat out with friends or have a glass or two of wine at the weekends. You are far more likely to stick with it.

Dreamer - this person spends so much time thinking how great life will be when they lose the extra weight they are carrying. Instead enjoy life NOW and live in the moment as much as possible. Be aware of the benefits of being a healthy weight and eating good food but don't put your life on hold until you reach these goals, it may be that taking the pressure off will enable you to change your behaviour to support your goals.

Lazybones/Blaming others - it's our partner's fault because we have to cook for them, our parents fault for passing on a genetic predisposition to carrying excess weight, our boss's/children's fault for making us stressed so we comfort eat etc etc etc. Its very easy to blame others but we have to take responsibility for our bodies and our lives. We are the ones who put the food into our mouths, we are the ones responsible for making sure that food supports our health.

Airhead - you are disorganised and never get around to buying the right supportive foods or organising yourself so you have good healthy food with you and don't have to resort to eating junk foods. Eating well does require some planning, use the weekend to spend some time looking at your week and planning packed lunches, snacks and main meals that will support your health and weight loss goals. Cook some batches of healthy muffins, soups and casseroles that you can freeze. Put some raw nuts such as walnuts, almonds and madadamia nuts in a pot and  take them everywhere with you in case you find yourself hungry and with no other options.

Identifying if you are one of the above (or a mixture of some or all of the above!) may help you recognise the signs and stop the endless cycle of diet and diet sabotage that some people are on. The very best way to avoid this cycle is to a eat diet of fresh unprocessed foods with plenty of protein, good fats and vegetables and to avoid grains and sugar as much as possible. If you eat like this at least 80% of the time you will find you body gets used to being nourished and doesn't fight against you like it does when you count calories and eat 'diet' foods.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Carrot and sunflower seed muffins

These muffins are so light and moist and packed full of nutritionally dense ingredients such as carrots, seeds, coconut oil and coconut flour. They are gluten and wheat free - a sweet treat for those who want to try and cut grains from their diet.

You will need:

50 g coconut nectar (I used Tiana from Holland and Barrett)
70 g coconut oil
30g coconut flour (also Tiana from Holland and Barrett)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
40g sunflower seeds
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs beaten
110g grated carrots (about 2 medium sized carrots)
50g raisins (optional)


Preheat oven to 180 degrees (170 fan oven)

Mix the coconut sugar and coconut oil together until well combined

Add the eggs and beat well until eggs are mixed in. Add vanilla essence.

Mix together the coconut flour, baking powder, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, mixed spice, raisins (if using) and salt.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Mix in the grated carrots.

Spoon mixture into cake cases or muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes for cakes and 20 minutes for muffins or until a skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


The tag line on my promotional postcards reads 'make this the last diet you ever have to do'. Nourishing your body with the right foods is the physiological part of the plan - but what about the psychological part, the voice inside your head that makes you reach for the biscuits and cakes when you might not even like them, makes you sabotage your efforts when you have been doing so well? Here are some strategies to use to help you overcome this inner sabotage.

1. Successful weight loss and good health are made up of small steps and decisions you take each day. Every time you make a good decision that will support your health and weight loss goals use your inner voice to praise yourself. Tell yourself how that decision was the first of many that will help you to reach your goals.Really give yourself a very strong pat on the back, most of us are very bad at being nice to ourselves.

2. Find a goal that is about weight loss and good health as a means to an end rather than the end itself. Although a large majority of people say they would love to lose some weight the fact that most don't do it or that they do and put it back on again points to the fact that the goal is not compelling and important enough in itself. Three very good motivators for me personally are remaining in good health into old age, being able to fit into my clothes comfortably and, probably the most compelling one, keeping my IBS at bay. Find your motivators yourself, or work with a friend or a coach to find them. These will keep you on track much more than just 'I want to lose half a stone'.

3. Ditch the guilt when you do eat something that is not on plan. Make a conscious decision to eat it and then savour every mouthful. See this as a choice not a mindless action. One meal or one day off the plan won't sabotage your goals too much but one week or one month sure will. Remember - progress not perfection!

4. There is evidence to suggest that good healthy habits need to be formed over a period of time. In the same way that you may be in the habit of having a biscuit every time you have a cup of tea or a glass of wine (or two) every night at dinner you can make new more supportive habits. Replace the biscuit with a small portion of nuts. Replace the wine with a glass of cold sparkling water with fresh lime. Do these things every day for a couple of weeks and they will become new habits.

5.You may having limiting beliefs at the core or your identity about your ability to be slimmer and more healthy. For example you may just know 'I'm not someone who exercises' or 'I'm not meant to be slim' or 'I don't deserve to be slim'. Replace this with some positive self talk such as 'I am someone who consistently chooses healthy foods to support my health and weight', I am someone who exercises every day to support my health and weight' and choose actions that match. For me personally when I see bread or pasta now I just know that 'I am someone who doesn't eat grains'. After a year this is a core belief. 

6 DO NOT put your life on hold until you lose weight!!! This is so important. Yes losing weight may make you feel better about yourself and hopefully you may feel many other benefits to your health that will improve your quality of life. However life is going on around you NOW and your future is made up of what is happening in the NOW. Try and be in the present as much as you can, make consistently healthy choices NOW and you will reach your goals. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins

These muffins are very tasty and satisfying. They make a great snack or even a meal replacement if you are in a rush. They are a great on the go breakfast option. 

200g almond flour (ground almonds)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp runny honey (raw organic is best)
Juice and zest of one large organic unwaxed lemon
60ml good oil (olive oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp poppy seeds


Heat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan oven)

In a large bowl mix almond flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt 

In another bowl mix honey, lemon juice, oil, eggs and vanilla essence

Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well

Add poppy seeds and lemon zest and mix well

Spoon into muffin cases

Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

All these ingredients can be bought from the mainstream supermarkets in the UK. Ground almonds are usually found with the nuts. Avocado oil is in some supermarkets and macadamia nut oil can be found online.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spanish Chicken Stew

This is a really nice easy dish and is great either in summer or winter. Serve with cauliflower rice or sweet potato wedges and a green salad or green veg. This dish can be prepared in the morning and cooked on low in a slow cooker all day. Who needs processed convenience foods?

Spanish Chicken Stew

Serves 4
You will need:
12 chicken drumsticks/thighs (I use a mixture of each)
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1-2 tsp paprika (smoked paprika is nice)
2 slices smoked bacon chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 litre sugar free chicken stock (home made is best)
65g pitted black olives (optional)
Salt and pepper
In a large casserole dish fry the chicken in batches until browned then set aside.
Add bacon, onion, paprika and garlic to the pan and fry gently until  the bacon and onion are cooked.
Add the chicken back into the pan stir in chopped tomatoes, olives (if using) and stock, season well and simmer on the hob for 1 hour until chicken is thoroughly cooked thorough.
(I also added some cooked sausage left over from last night about half an hour before the end of cooking.)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What to do when your motivation deserts you........

You know how it is, you are going full steam ahead with your diet and exercise programme, eating well and going to the gym/exercising a few times each week. Then wham, something (or sometimes several things) happen which de-rail your efforts and you stop or reduce the exercise and start eating foods you know will not support your weight loss efforts. This happened to me recently (coaches are not exempt from these blips!) so I thought it was worth sharing. Setbacks are all part of life but you can recover before all your efforts are totally wasted.

A few weeks ago I had a bad bout of flu, the first illness for years that forced me to stay in bed, probably brought about by some intense stress I had been under. I actually find being ill a personal affront to my healthy lifestyle which is quite irrational but probably brought about by me telling people 'I never get ill'!! 

Once I was feeling a bit better I was really hungry all the time, normally my protein and fat based breakfast of eggs, veggies and coconut oil will see me through until lunchtime but I was finding myself hungry by 10.30am and wanting to pick at food. Same mid afternoon, by 4pm I was craving something to eat. I also found myself wanting to drink a lot of tea. 

I was snacking too much and picking at food far too much and had started gaining some weight. So what to do about it? These tips will help you to manage your lack of motivation and hopefully help you to find it again:

Take small steps to gain your momentum back. If you try and do it all in one go you might find it too overwhelming. Make one change a week. For example I know that if I drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning it supports my digestion and helps with elimination. For some reason I had got out of this habit and started drinking tea first thing in the morning. So, this week I have started drinking the lemon water again, starting the day as I mean to go on. Every one of these small steps will support your health and weight loss goals and will become habits if you repeat them every day.

Be kind to yourself - if a friend was telling you a story about being under a lot of stress and then being ill for a couple of weeks you would sympathise with them and say things like 'your body needs time to recover' and 'take it easy for a while until you are much better'. Why then don't we give ourselves this kindness? From now imagine you are your own best friend and not your own worst enemy. Make that voice in your head kind and loving not harsh and critical.

Try not to have an all or nothing mentality about healthy eating - for example 'if I can't eat well/stick to my diet all the time I might as well not bother at all'. This will sabotage all your efforts. Eat well as often as you can. 

If you are hungry between meals make your snacks nutritionally worthwhile if you can, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, raw veggies and dips, natural yogurt. Snacking on sugary grain based foods, even those advertised as healthy options such as cereal bars, granola, flapjacks etc will cause you to crave food even more.

If you're not hungry but just want to eat try and do something else instead. Have a drink of sparkling water or herbal tea and move away from the kitchen. 

Think of eating a healthy diet and avoiding grains, sugar and processed foods as supporting good health first and foremost rather than focusing on weight loss. Eating well will do so much more than help you stay a good weight. Improving energy levels, alleviating joint problems, longevity, disease prevention - a good clean diet will support your long term health and well being. Good health is the most important factor in your quality of life; every aspect of your life is adversely affected if you don't have good health. Many people find when they remove the emphasis from weight loss and focus on improving their health their motivation becomes much stronger.

Listen to your body when it comes to exercise. If you normally run three times a week but don't feel up to it walk instead. Swim and have a sauna if you can. Weight train with slightly lighter weights until you get your energy levels back. Remember to be kind to yourself when your voice in your head tries to tell you that it's not good enough. 

Do things you like to do whenever possible. The pace of life today means we don't get much time to ourselves to pursue what we like to do most.  

Open your mind to stress relief techniques like meditation. Read a self-help book (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle will help you live more in the present and banish the worries and anxieties about the future). You may think these things have nothing to do with healthy eating and weight loss but stress and the quality of sleep have a huge impact on hormones which need to be in balance if we want to be lean and well.

Whatever you do don't try to go for a quick fix by starting a low-fat calorie controlled diet or a meal replacement diet. These kinds of diets are unsustainable and will end up giving you uncontrollable cravings for unhealthy foods. Eat real food at every meal, listen to your body, be forgiving of yourself, manage your stress and get 7-8 hours sleep each night and slowly your body will respond.

So do I have my mojo back? Well partially, but not quite. I am taking small steps every day to get back to full health, eating cleanly, listening to my body, exercising lightly. My appetite is slowly getting back to normal so the weight I gained is slowly disappearing.  In the past a 'blip' like this would have spelled the end of sensible eating for several months which would have taken me back to square one with my health and weight loss goals. Now I have a good foundation with the paleo style of eating I can get back on track reasonably quickly. Motivation is easier because I eat well and exercise consistently so that is the norm for me, healthy habits are formed and my body will unconsciously seek to retain this healthy equilibrium. 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Healthy (and yummy) chocolate muffins

How to get your kids to eat healthy food? It's the age old problem and one that is particularly important to me as a nutritional advisor who eats mainly paleo style and would like to pass the benefits on to my kids (who are twins of nearly eleven). Dinners are not too difficult, meat and veggies and some carbs are staples and good sources of proteins and fats, vitamins and minerals. However it's the snacks that are so difficult, shop bought biscuits and cakes often contain undesirable fats such as corn oil and always contain refined flour and sugar and worst of all artificial colours and sweeteners which can be toxic to the body over time. So I decided to try and find a cake recipe that they would like, contains healthy ingredients and would be packed full of good nutrition and this is it!
I have adapted my recipe from this one, I just added some dark choc chips and some melted dark chocolate on the top to add to the chocolate experience. I didn't tell the kids that these were 'paleo' cakes, just waited until they tried them and said how lovely they were and then let them in in the secret! Now when I put a cake in their lunchbox I don't feel so guilty!

You will need:

150g ground almonds
21g cocoa powder (I used green and blacks)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 free range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp honey
60ml avocado oil, macadamia nut oil or good olive oil
60ml milk, either dairy, coconut or unsweetened almond
50g dark chocolate chips
50g dark chocolate, melted


Mix the ground almonds, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and baking powder together 
Mix the eggs, vanilla essence, milk, oil and honey and add to the dry ingredients
Spoon into 12 cup cake cases or 8 muffin cases
Bake for approximately 20 minutes on 180 degrees C (160 fan oven)
Allow the cakes to cool
Melt the dark chocolate in a pan over a saucepan of hot water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water)
Spread the melted chocolate over the cakes and allow to set 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Shas's chicken curry with raita

Thanks to Shas for this authentic curry recipe passed down from her mother. This is a really delicious fresh and healthy curry which is so tasty. Eat with natural yogurt raita and salad for a low carbohydrate paleo friendly meal. Don't be put off if it looks complicated because it has quite a lot of ingredients, it is actually pretty quick and easy to make.

For the sauce you will need:

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm piece ginger, chopped small
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 red chilli, chopped, seeds removed or 1/2 tsp flaked chillis
1 bayleaf
3 green cardamon pods
1 black cardamon pod
1/4  tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves
cinnamon stick
10 black peppercorns
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
10 curry leaves

To make the sauce
Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil and add the onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices and fry for a further 3 minutes, stirring to coat everything with oil.
Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.
Add 10 curry leaves and 1/2 tsp of salt cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in two tablespoons natural yogurt.
Add the chicken (see below) to the sauce and mix together.
Note: Dry roast and grind the dried spices together in a pestle and mortar before adding to the onion and garlic if you prefer ground spices to whole.

For the chicken:

You will need:
4 chicken breasts
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion
3/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp turmeric

Melt the coconut oil and fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft.
Add the spices and stir fry for 2 minutes being careful not to burn the spices.
Add the chicken and stir fry for 10 minutes until cooked through.
Stir the chicken into the curry sauce.

For the raita

You will need:
4 tablespoons full fat natural yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin

Mix the cumin into the yogurt until it is well distributed.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

So what has the paleo diet done for me?

Whilst I was running through the benefits of the paleo diet with a prospective client and coming up with more and more positives to tell her I was reminded of the part in the Monty Python film Life of Brian where they ask 'So, what have the Romans ever done for us?'. Of course the reply comes 'well there was the aqueducts  then the sewers, then the roads, sanitation, irrigation, education, public baths, peace, etc etc. The reason I'm bringing this up is because it is how the Paleo diet feels to me, there are just so many important benefits that have been life changing for me (maybe not quite as important as the ones the Romans brought to humanity!)

Firstly my long standing IBS symptoms have gone after about 20 years suffering from stomach pains, bloating, gas and all the other unpleasant symptoms of this really debilitating condition. I used to have a bloated stomach every evening and would go thorough phases where the pain was so bad I would need a hot water bottle on it. I can honestly say that since cutting out grains and sugar about 90% of the time I haven't had any IBS attacks and my stomach is pretty flat (for someone who has given birth to twins!).

I can eat a lot of food and still stay lean! I love my food and hate being hungry. If ever I was 'on a diet' in the past I always felt hungry about 2-3 hours after meals because I was following the low fat calorie counting type of diet. I now eat low carb, moderate protein and high fat and I can stay a very good weight, I don't get too hungry between meals and I really enjoy all my food. 

My 'all or nothing' approach to dieting has been replaced by eating 80-90% paleo throughout the year and then eating other foods I enjoy such as crisps, paleo cake, dark chocolate, red wine, crackers and cheese the other 10% of the time. I used to eat very sensibly for a few months never deviating, but then I would eat pretty badly for another three months. I now believe that my body was rebelling and trying to regain lost weight to make up for deficiencies in nutrients. I find it easy to get right back on track now after my 'cheat's'.

My cellulite has disappeared! Although I have always been fairly slim I always had unsightly cellulite in my thighs. My thighs are now the best they have been for years and I feel so much happier showing them in public.

I have energy and enthusiasm for life most of the time and I don't get mood swings. Previously I did have times when I felt low but I can honestly say that I generally feel 'up' and I am sure that is to do with feeding my brain with good fats and eating in a way that balances my hormones.

I have learnt to listen to my body and most of the time give it what it needs. If I'm hungry I give it food, if I'm not hungry I wait until I am. Years of having an unhealthy relationship with food meant that I would always eat at mealtimes or when there was food around regardless of whether I really needed it or not.

So when anyone asks what a paleo style diet means to me you can understand why it's quite hard to shut me up! I started EatRealFoodUK so I can pass on all these positive benefits to as many people as possible. If you would like help and support in the transition to paleo style eating to help you to lose weight and gain better health contact me on

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Can you have your (paleo) cake and eat it?

A new client was asking me about a muffin recipe that I had given her Nut and raisin muffins (press ctrl + click to view recipe). She was a bit confused that the recipe contains raisins and honey which are on the list of foods to eat rarely or never as they are very high in sugar and carbohydrates. As the Internet is chock full of cakes and desserts tagged as paleo friendly I thought I would clear up this confusion and explain my position on the place these baked goods have in your healthy eating and weight loss journey.

When you first take on a new way of eating, especially if it supporting any weight loss goals you have, you are normally full of good intentions and often find it easy to do for a few weeks. However on traditional calorie controlled or low fat high carbohydrate diets the fact you are often hungry and your body is not getting the nourishment it needs will mean that you end up 'crashing' your diet and eating all the wrong foods again, often quickly gaining weight you have lost. There is also the psychological factors, not being able to go out to eat for example and for many people the agony of NOT HAVING CAKE! Tea and cake is a very British tradition and often can be a social event with friends and family. Therefore on my EatRealFood plan I advocate following the paleo style guidelines strictly 80% of the time and then enjoying other types of food (namely CAKE) 20% of the time.

So does this mean you can devour a whole chocolate fudge cake from the supermarket? I wouldn't advise it for many reasons. Shop bought cakes contain a wide range of processed fats, refined carbs such as sugar and sugar substitutes, additives, grains and all sorts of other questionable ingredients. They raise your insulin levels sky high and put your body into fat storage mode. They will probably make you feel quite ill now you have been eating paleo style for a while. 

Of course there may be times when eating a piece of shop bought cake is unavoidable, birthdays for example, and this is fine. Just have a moderate amount, enjoy it guilt free and then go back to the plan. Just remember shop bought cakes and other baked goodies are empty of nutrients where as the paleo cakes will still provide you with healthy fats and vitamins and minerals and will not sabotage your weight loss efforts as they shouldn't cause nasty sugar cravings. 

Search for paleo brownies, muffins, cookies, fruit cake whatever is your particular favourite.  Most recipes use coconut flour or almond flour which you can get online if you can't find it in your local supermarket or health food shop. These nut flours are much lower in carbohydrate than grain based flours. The recipes use healthy fats such as butter or coconut oil and natural sweeteners such as honey and dried fruit. The end products are usually very filling and nutrient dense. (I would always use paleo/primal recipe sites as low carb web sites often still use artificial sweeteners in recipes which should be avoided).

A word of warning. These goodies are still high in calories and although this diet doesn't count calories they do still matter in the overall scheme of things. If you are just replacing a  cake habit with a paleo cake habit and eating them every day it's unlikely you will see much weight loss. They are still a treat food, maybe saved for weekends or holidays. It is important that 80% of your diet is based around meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats Ctrl click to see this post if you want more information about the paleo style of eating).

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Beetroot Soup with Stilton

This recipe is one of the quickest easiest soup recipes I have ever made, it is done in about 10 minutes and the only prep involved really is chopping an onion. Not only does this soup taste really great but beetroot is a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C so you are on to a win win situation, healthy and tasty!

You will need:

250g pack cooked beetroot, roughly chopped or sliced
1 onion, diced
 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (or pinch garlic granules)
1 tbsp healthy oil (butter, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil)
375ml sugar free vegetable stock
25g grated cheese (I used stilton which complemented the soup perfectly)


Cook the onion in the oil for about 10 minutes until soft.

Add the garlic to the pan and gently fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the beetroot and stock and bring to the boil. 

Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese. Makes two servings.

If you don't eat dairy you can swirl a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk or cream into the soup instead of the cheese.

Curried Squash and Swede Stew

This is a really lovely dish which you can modify by adding more or less curry powder and also adding different root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots or different green veggies such as broccoli or cabbage. 

You will need:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
450g swede, peeled and diced
2-4 tsp curry powder to taste
600ml sugar free vegetable stock
450g squash, peeled and diced
Pack green beans, diced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges or some cherry tomatoes

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan, add the seeds and cook for 1 minute.

Add the onion and garlic and chilli and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.

Stir in the swede and cook for 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the squash and green beans and simmer briskly for a further 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season to taste. 

I had a bowl of this stew with a diced chicken breast cooked in coconut oil but you could serve with courgettes or cauliflower for a completely vegetarian meal. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

A day in the life of a paleo diet.....

When I say to people that I don't eat sugar, grains or processed foods they often say 'what on earth do you eat then'?. I thought it would be good to post pictures of what I have eaten today, all really tasty meals that are very nutritious and will enable me to maintain a healthy weight and give my body what it needs to be strong and healthy.

So, breakfast......

Scrambled Eggs, smoked salmon and watercress
I added a teaspoon of butter to the scrambled eggs both for taste and to keep me from getting hungry until lunchtime. Good fats such as butter, coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil and avocado oil can be added to all meals instead of high carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, bread and pasta. Your body will learn to burn the fat in your food and on your body rather than using carbohydrate for fuel. Fats take longer to burn and so will keep you full for longer and don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels which tend to make you hungry and can cause symptoms of hypoglycemia such as headaches and shaking.


Goats cheese and roasted vegetable salad
.I used a mixture of salad leaves, some cherry tomatoes and celery and then added roasted onions and peppers left over from a meal of fajitas last night (a good meal for all the family, I just substitute large salad leaves for the wheat tortillas to make it paleo friendly). Whenever I have a salad I always add a good serving of my home made salad dressing which I make up with 1 part olive oil, 1 part avocado oil,1 part macadamia nut oil and 1 part apple cider vinegar (raw if possible but the normal stuff you get in the supermarket will do). If you find the avocado and macadamia nut oil too expensive just use all olive oil, the best you can afford. 


Mackerel fillet, braised red cabbage, courgettes and broccoli
Oily fish makes a great choice for a filling meal and is packed full of nutrients. I braised the red cabbage with spices and steamed the green veg, then added a tablespoon full of coconut oil.

Snacks during the day were a handful of mixed nuts and a miniature bar of green and blacks 85% cocoa solids chocolate. I drank two cups of builders tea with a tiny splash of milk and two cups of green tea. Also had hot water with lemon when I got up and a couple of mugs of nettle tea and about 6 medium glasses of water.

I really enjoyed all my meals, felt satisfied but not stuffed and all these foods will support my efforts to lose the couple of pounds I put on over Xmas and get me back on track with clean eating. It's not completely perfect with the builders tea and chocolate but it's the little things like that that make it sustainable long term. Without those small but healthy(ish) treats the deprivation often gets the better of us and we then start to binge eat the things we miss. Consuming small amounts of these foods or drinks regularly is better than being super strict for a few weeks and then caving in and giving up completely. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Use this effective technique to stop those cravings...

You know how it is, you've been cutting back on unhealthy foods and alcohol for a couple of weeks or even months; clothes are feeling looser and the scale is going down. Then suddenly you get a strong craving to eat or drink something that is off plan even though you are not hungry. The following technique is from a book called 'Pause Button Therapy' by Dr Martin Shirran and I have tried it out a couple of times and it really works!

So before you go to the fridge/cupboard to reach for chocolate/crisps/wine or whatever is your particular foodie weakness STOP and imagine you are watching yourself on a film and press the PAUSE button. Then press FAST FORWARD and imagine how you will feel both physically and mentally after you have eaten/drunk whatever it is you are craving; frustrated, disappointed, further away from your weight loss goals, nauseous, headachey. Then press REWIND and imagine yourself walking away from the temptation and how you will feel then, calm, pleased with yourself, a little bit nearer to your goals, a boost for your self esteem, healthy. Now press PLAY again and get on with it, I think 9 times out of 10 you will choose the second scenario and can walk away.

Of course there are times when eating non supportive foods has its place, for example Xmas, birthdays, meals out and special occasions, this is part of the 80/20 rule that I advocate to ensure this lifestyle is sustainable long term. These are planned indulgences based around special events or weekends. However if you struggle on a day by day basis to stick to your weight loss plan then this technique is well worth trying.

The EatRealFood diet plan based on primal style eating will help cut the physiological cravings that happen when you eat a diet high in grains, sugars, starches and processed foods. If you can then tackle the psychological aspects of food cravings by having some effective techniques up your sleeve then you can't fail!

If you'd like more information about the EatRealFood diet plan just drop me a line on

Let me know by leaving me a comment if you find the technique above works for you (or  if it doesn't).

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sweet potato and chilli soup

his soup has to be one of the nicest I have ever tasted. I adapted it from a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and it was really lovely. It is very thick, almost like a puree so if you like your soup a bit thinner then you can add some more water. If you are trying to avoid dairy then add some coconut cream/milk/oil instead of the cheese and double cream. It is important to add good fats to soups to make them more sustaining as without bread you can often feel hungry again quite quickly. Sweet potatoes are quite high in carbohydrates so this soup would be great on a day when you are going to be active.

You will need:

1 tablespoon good oil (butter, avocado or macadamia nut oil)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped (or pinch chilli flakes to taste)
750g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
800 - 1000ml sugar free vegetable stock or water
Pinch paprika, sprinkle of cheese and double cream to taste (I added one tablespoon of cream as I don't like my soups too creamy)


In a large pan heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, coriander and chilli until soft.

Add the sweet potatoes and stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

Mash or blend until smooth. Add more water if it is too thick for your liking.

Before serving add double cream, cheese and paprika to each bowl.

I'll eat healthily and lose weight when........

So you are eating well, avoiding alcohol and sugar and losing weight and feeling less bloated and pretty pleased with yourself. Then something stressful happens in your life and wham you are back to drinking every evening and eating all the wrong foods. The weight starts to creep back on but you think and say to people 'I can't diet at the moment, my life is too stressful'. What you are fact saying is that your health and weight loss goals are not that important because you are allowing other things to get in the way. You are also saying that you are using food as an emotional crutch to help you through the bad times.

So what about saying to yourself 'My health and weight loss goals are important enough to me not to allow myself to be sidetracked by life. If I continue with my supportive habits and continue to feel better and lose weight at least one bit of my life will be going well. I have control about how much I let the outside influences affect my eating habits, it's not something that just happens by itself'. Of course life can be difficult and stressful at times but the idea that chocolate and crisps will make one iota of difference to those stresses is wrong. In fact it will just add to them because you will be angry and frustrated that you have allowed your weight loss goals to slip and the sugar and alcohol will cause mood swings which will put you on even more of an emotional rollercoaster.

So, next time this happens to you take a deep breath and say to yourself 'this is a bad time for me at the moment but my health and self esteem are very important to me. Rewarding myself with food may help for about 2 seconds while it is in my mouth but after that it will only add to my problems. I am going to reward myself with other things I enjoy, a nice walk, hot bath, massage, favourite TV programme. I am going to continue to eat supportively and reach my goals DESPITE everything else that is going on in my life'.