Thursday, 10 March 2016

I lost 4kgs in weight - and that wasn't the best thing about the Eat Real Food plan....

I want to share with you a story written from the heart by one of my clients. One of the best things about my job is helping people to a better quality of life, this client is managing her long time digestive issues and as a bonus has dropped a dress size and looks and feels better than she did twenty years ago!!
"I’ve always been reasonably fit and healthy, eaten organic veg and followed government eating guidelines.  Nonetheless I was always carrying a bit more weight than I wanted to – probably due to my love of pints!
Over two years ago I started feeling unwell, with stomach pain like a stomach bug / gastroenteritis, many symptoms went away eventually but the stomach pains never did.
After 6 months (and lots of trips to the doctors, with no success with a whole host of medicines and scans) I went to see Julie.  We talked about my diet – what foods might be triggering or exacerbating the problem, and how I could improve my health generally.  As well as being hugely informative, it was also nice to have some support and feel that I could – at last - do something proactive to help myself.
The first couple of weeks were tough – I didn’t know how I was going to manage without some of the foods I relied on (and some of which I had proactively chosen to eat because I had been taught they were good for me).  I definitely went through a major carb detox.  But Julie gave me strategies to cope and was on hand for my questions (and whinging!).
After a couple of weeks I was able to introduce some new foods (and lager – sorry Julie).  But, what surprised me most was that I didn’t have the cravings that I had initially had.  It was actually becoming easier to make positive choices. 
After a month or so I found that I felt much healthier.  I felt stronger inside and less bloated – like ‘Pilates for the insides’.  And I was starting to change shape – a bonus!
After a couple of months I had dropped a dress size (and lost 4 kilos).  Remember that this this was not my main objective and I was eating as much as I wanted to.  The pains were harder to deal with, however.
Two years on, I am still following my diet.  I feel so healthy that I can’t imagine ever going back.  I have maintained my weight (which is just as well as I couldn’t afford to replace my clothes again!).  More importantly, my pains have faded and I rarely experience them now.  I believe that the improvement in my gut health has allowed my body to deal with the stomach problems I incurred.

What are my top tips?

Plan ahead – make sure you have good choices ready; make lunch in the morning – don’t wait until your only choice is to grab a sandwich.

Adopt Julie’s pragmatic approach – unless you are doing food exclusions, it’s OK to have treats but try to stick to your plans most of the time.  Don’t give up because you’ve had a bad meal / day – they are allowed.  Every meal is an opportunity to improve your health, so every good choice counts". 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Gluten free savoury pancake

Makes 1 good size pancake, serve with savoury filling of your choice. You could use this instead of a wheat tortilla for fajitas. This can be make dairy free by using coconut milk instead of cream. 

You will need:

1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons double cream (or coconut milk)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon coconut flour
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon coconut oil, avocado oil or macadamia nut oil for cooking


Mix the double cream into the beaten egg. Add the water

Add the coconut flour, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese and blend well

Heat the oil in a pancake pan until it smokes slightly

Turn the hob down slightly, add the mixture and cook for a few minutes until it is puffy and leaving the bottom of the pan (be careful it doesn't burn)

Flip over (it should flip in one piece if it is cooked enough) and cook for another couple of minutes.

Fold over and add toppings 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Spicy Real Food Soup

I wasn't sure what to call this soup as it has so many bits and pieces in it but it's all real food so I settled for Spicy Real Food Soup. Its fabulously warming and packed full of good ingredients. The base for the soup was a packet of chopped veg that I bought in Sainsbury's reduced section, one of the criticisms of a real food diet is that it is expensive and time consuming;  this recipe proves that neither has to be true! Using ready prepared veg sometimes if you are short of time is a really good way of making sure you are still eating a good variety of fresh veggies. If you can find them in the reduced aisle even better! Once you have made the soup base with the uncooked veg, water and spices you can then add absolutely anything you have in the fridge! Adding cooked meat gives you a protein source that will keep you full up into the afternoon.

Soup base:

1 bag ready prepared vegetable broth mix
1 tbsp coconut oil/butter
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala

I added:

Left over sprouts
Left over cooked minced beef
1 slice good quality ham
Curry leaves
(Anything else you have in the fridge!)


In a saucepan melt coconut oil/butter 
Add the vegetables, cumin and coriander and mix round the pan for a few seconds
Add 500ml boiling water, season and bring to boil
Simmer for 45 mins 
Add garam masala and any left over cooked meat or veggies (optional), taste and re-season if required and simmer for another 15 minutes before serving. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Three good reasons why throwing away your scales could be the best thing you can do for long term weight loss....

You might think I've gone crazy telling you to get rid of your scales when you are trying to get back into your skinny jeans again. "How will I know whether I am successful or not" I hear you cry! Well, easily actually, by the way you look, feel and how your clothes fit.

Your weight isn't always the best indication of whether you are losing inches and fat which at the end of the day is exactly what you want to be losing. 

Here are three very good reasons why you should throw away the scales, or at the very least banish them to the loft, if you want to bring about long term changes to your health and weight loss goals:

Number 1the number on the scale is not always a true reflection of how your body is changing when you are eating cleanly and doing more weight bearing exercise (which is exactly what you should be doing if you want to be successful with weight loss). I have seen clients who look and feel leaner and are wearing a smaller dress size but they have lost very little weight on the scales. There is a great example in the testimonial below that was posted on my EatRealFoodUK Facebook page by one of my clients.
"I'm very pleased to post that I have now been able to send all my 14s to the loft in disgrace as I am comfortably back in my 12s now !!!!!!! I even brought a bag down which has 10s in and dared to to try them on and could get into a few items, though not to wear comfortably yet............maybe another month ???? Soo pleased with the results...........very strange because I haven't actually lost lots of weight according to the scales but my clothes and mirror certainly tell me I'm doing well. Thank u Julie". Debra

Number 2 - weighing yourself can become how you define yourself and whether you are a success or failure. If you weigh yourself every day and are affected by what you see on the scale - stop immediately!! You are so much more than how much you weigh and this kind of thinking can lead you into a spiral of self loathing that is very unhealthy for your mental health. 

Number 3weighing yourself with a target weight in mind denotes a start and end to your efforts - ie "when I am xx weight then I have achieved my goal". This can lead to see saw dieting; once you get to the target weight you return to your old eating habits which led you carry more fat in the first place and so the cycle goes on. 

So, what to do instead of obsessing over the scales and target weight? Cultivate good habits, practice them EVERY day, take small steps and make good choices. Eat mindfully, enjoy your food and treat it like a friend not an enemy! There should be no start and end in mind, just constancy which will lead to long term success! I dare you to liberate yourself from your scales! I'd love to hear how you get on.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Leftover lamb and sweet potato soup

This is a wonderfully spicy, warming and filling soup ideal for winter evenings and it's pretty simple to make. You can make it as hot and spicy as you like it by adding more curry powder and black pepper. It's packed full of vitamins and minerals. I used lamb because that's what I had and I think lamb works really well with sweet potato but you could use any left over meat. You could also use savoy cabbage instead of the kale.

You will need:

Chopped cooked lamb (or other leftover meat)
1 sweet potato peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot peeled and roughly chopped
500ml stock or vegetable boullion
1 tbsp (or to taste) medium curry powder 
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp (or to taste) garam masala
8 curry leaves (optional, I already had some so added them)
2 handfuls kale
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp natural yogurt or coconut milk/cream (optional)


Add lamb, sweet potato, carrot, stock and curry powder to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 mins.

Add the tin of tomatoes, bring back to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the curry leaves and kale and simmer for 10 mins. Turn off the heat, add the garam masala and black pepper, stir and leave to stand for 5 minutes with the lid on before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Stir in yogurt or coconut milk if you like a creamy soup.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why the paleo way of life isn't another fad low carb diet

I was recently reading a BBC news report on diets that dropped in a comment about low carbohydrate diets 'like Atkins and the Paleo diet'. I always cringe when I read something like this that is likely to put people off trying a paleo style diet, thinking they will be stuffing fat and protein down like crazy and not able to eat foods like vegetables, fruit and salads.

 A very low carbohydrate diet may be suitable for some people, those with high blood glucose levels and pre diabetes or those who are very obese and looking to drop weight without being permanently hungry. However my experience of a very low carb eating plan is that can be difficult to maintain and for me being able to stick to healthy eating long term is the most important thing when changing the way you eat.

My take on the paleo way of eating is to pack my diet full of starchy veggies such as potatoes, parsnips, squash, sweet potatoes, beetroots, carrots and non starchy veggies such as greens, cabbage, sprouts broccoli, cauliflower and salads. Eating plenty of these vegetables but cutting out (or cutting down) cereals, pasta, rice and bread that can irritate the gut lining and cause IBS as well as raising blood sugar levels leading to highs and lows of hunger and energy levels during the day will enable you to keep your carbohydrate levels to a mid range rather than very high or very low. 

If you keep it simple and clean by eating foods like meat, fish, eggs, all vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds in their natural state whenever possible, listening to your body and eating when you are hungry you will find you will look and feel better than you can imagine.