Natural Health | Life Hacks | Things I like

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Year, New Skin - article on MSN Style

Yesterday I featured in an article on about what you can do to keep your skin looking great in the coming year. I was actually slightly mis-quoted in the article so my information doesn't quite make sense! My actual words are:

"I believe that good skin can only really come from the inside, and poor skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside the body. Treating skin from the outside is a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted. From a naturopathic point of view, the skin is an organ of elimination, and when it is not in good shape this shows that too many toxins are being excreted through this route.

The favoured routes of elimination for the body are the bowel, liver and kidneys and when these are overloaded or not functioning well, the skin is the next route used. So when treating skin problems, it’s vital to make sure the bowel and liver are working properly.

This means that if you are constipated, it needs to be addressed straight away. So eating plenty of brown rice and vegetables, and drinking plenty of plain water can be a great way to get the bowel moving.

As well as improving general detoxification mechanisms in the body, it’s also important to look at protein requirements; after all, the skin is made of protein and to maintain proper skin integrity, you need to make sure you are eating adequate amounts of protein. Fish is a great protein choice because it is fairly easily digested, it’s low in fat and oily fish has the added benefits of containing omega 3 fatty acids which are also beneficial for skin health.

Specific nutrients that have been found to benefit the skin are the zinc and vitamin C. These can be obtained from any healthy diet, but it’s sometimes worth taking a supplement to boost levels initially."

Read the article in full here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Discount on everything at the Nutricentre!

The Nutricentre is located on the lower ground floor of the world renowned Hale Clinic in Regents Park. It is the UK's largest supplier of nutritional products of all kinds, and it also supplies organic and natural body care products, books, herbs and all manner of other products related to natural health and wellbeing.

Through their practitioner partnership programme, I have negotiated a fantastic 20% discount on all products available at the Nutricentre for my clients and contacts.

To take advantage of this discount, simply set up an account using this link.  And that's it!  

There really are some great products available, including my favourite Jason Natural Citrus Satin Body Wash.

Happy shopping!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Health Care Cash Plan

I have just discovered, through one of my clients, that Kinesiology & Nutritional Therapy treatment are covered under the 'wellbeing' section of Health Shield's Health Care Cash Plan. This is slightly different to health insurance, it's a cash plan that reimburses you for costs incurred paying for healthcare. I had always believed that these kinds of companies would not be interested in alternative therapies, but apparently because so many of their members are having these kinds of treatments they have changed their proceedures.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Heinz Reduced Salt Ketchup

Whilst doing some research on the salt content of foods, I found that 'Heinz Reduced Salt Tomato Ketchup' contains more salt than Morrisons own brand tomato ketchup, which does not claim to be low salt.

Food marketing can be very confusing, but this shows that it pays to look at the nutrition information labels!


English Breakfasts and Bowel Cancer Risk

There has been a lot of media attention recently about the dangers of consuming too much processed meats. Processed meats are any meats that have had 'something done' to them before you buy them. So, this includes ham, bacon and sausages - even expensive, lean, organic ones - as well as more obvious things like Pepperami and salami.

It is thought that it is the chemicals used in processing the meats have a toxic effect on the cells in the bowel, and can cause cancerous changes. These meats are also high in fat, and being overweight is a big risk factor for many types of cancer.

The evidence for the link between consuming processed meats and bowel cancer is now so strong that we are being advised to limit our consumption. The most recent research states that eating 150g of processed meats like bacon and sausages daily increases the risk of bowel cancer by 63%.

There is similar evidence for red meat too, which is reinforcing the message that the healthy option is always fish and poultry.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

my new therapy room is now open!

I am very glad and proud to say that my new therapy room in Great Portland Street is now open!

It is newly decorated, and I believe it is a lovely space to see clients.

You can have a look at some pictures here:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Artificial Sweeteners - you don't get something for nothing

I have always known that artificial sweeteners are not good for us. Before I had any scientific or nutritional knowledge, the taste alone told me that these chemicals were not exactly healthy and bore no resemblence to what 'real' food tasted like at all.

Then over the years there have been various studies and conspiracy theories telling of how these chemicals are harmful to health causing a whole manner of ailments from depression to brain tumours.

But an editorial published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that the use of sweeteners could actually be contributing to the current obesity epidemic, rather than controlling it. And, another study just released in the journal 'Neurimage' has found that sugar better stimulates the areas of the brain related to expectation and desire. The authors of the study also proposed that when consuming sweeteners, this lack of feedback from the brain which normally tells us we are satisfied and full, could lead the consumer to overeat.

This new information concurs with what I have long believed - your body will just not be satisfied with something fake, and you will be left wanting more. If you want to have something sweet, then have it in it's full sugar, full fat form. It will satisfy you more and you will be less likely to eat more sweet things throughout the rest of the day.

Yet another study earlier this year found that male rats fed yoghurt containing sweeteners were seen to gain body weight and body fat. "The data clearly indicates that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar," wrote Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). Very interesting indeed!

I can confidently say from my own anecdotal research that it is generally only overweight people that consume diet or artificially sweetened food and drinks, whereas slim people tend to go for the full sugar versions.

Now, I'm not saying that consuming sugary foods and drinks is the way to lose weight, but it certainly now seems that consuming 'diet' foods is not either.

Sadly, through clever marketing many people now rely on 'diet' foods and drinks to limit their calorie intake, but as usual, nature has ensured that it's just not possible to cheat the body. If you think that you can get away with eating sweet foods because they are artificially sweetened, then think again.

Journal of the American Medical Association
May 14 2008, Volume 299, No 18, doi: 10:1001/jama.299.18.2137
"Sugar substitutes linked to weight gain"
Author: Tracy Hampton
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume 61, Pages 691-700, doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602649
"Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight"
Authors: F. Bellisle and A. Drewnowski

2008; 39(4): 1559-1569
"Sucrose activates human taste pathways differently from artificial sweetener"
Authors: Frank GK, Oberndorfer TA, Simmons AN, Paulus MP, Fudge JL, Yang TT, Kaye WH

Behavioural Neuroscience
February 2008, Volume 122, Number 1, doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.00.0.000
"A Role for Sweet Taste: Calorie Predictive Relations in Energy Regulation by Rats"
Authors: SE Swithers, TL Davidson

Monday, May 19, 2008

the white stuff

I thought I'd write a post about salt just to remind everyone that it really is something we should be looking out for in our diets.

The government recommends that we consume no more than 6g of salt per day. This is about a teaspoon. You may think that is quite a lot, and that you would never use that much salt in a day, but 75% of the salt we eat each day comes as an ingredient in manufactured food which you can't actually see. The standard lunch option of a ham and cheese sandwich may contain around 3g, coupled with an evening meal of microwave lasagne which probably contains about the same, gets you to your daily 6g easily. And that's ignoring the 0.5g in a slice of bread, or 0.5g in a bowl of cereal or the bag of crisps you have when you get home from work.

Salt is well known for causing high blood pressure, but it also negatively affects the workings of many different enzyme systems within our cells. Salt is another of those things that we just haven't evolved to deal with, in the amounts we eat today. Pre-historic man would have had very few sources of salt in his diet, and our bodies are designed to hold onto as much salt as possible. Today, salt is in abundance, and we eat far too much of it which is why problems arise.

A good alternative to normal salt is something called 'Herbamare Diet'. It is a potassium salt and contains very little sodium, and it is very healthy (although people with certain kidney heart problems should check with their doctors first).

Another thing that can is a good replacement for salt is lemon or lime juice. Sqeeze a lemon or a lime onto your food in place of salt or salty condiments. It's especially good on chicken, fish or salads. Instead of using ready made cooking sauces, why not try making your own sauces using tinned tomatoes as a base, and then adding herbs and spices for flavour. This way you know exactly what's going into your food, and you can adjust the flavours to your own taste. Schwartz make some excellent salt-free seasonings which are a convenient way to add instant flavour to your food.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT is a simple therapy which I have recently learnt. It is mainly used for releasing unhelpful negative emotions that may be holding us back, but can also be used to reduce stress, pain, anxiety, fear and physical problems too.

It involves tapping on specific acupressure points whilst repeating an affirmation related to your feelings. The first time I tried it on myself I was astounded at the change in feeling! And it’s so quick and easy too. For example, if you are worried about a forthcoming job interview, you simply tap the acupressure points whilst repeating something like ‘I’m so worried about the job interview next week’. After the procedure, the stress or worry is very much reduced. Sometimes it’s hard to understand that you had the worry in the first place!

Of course I will be using this wonderful technique with my clients!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Recent Bad Press About Nutritional Supplements...

If you are one of my clients, you will know that I often recommend nutritional supplements as part of a nutritional therapy programme. I have used them with myself and clients for years and I think they are extremely useful, safe and effective.

Recently we have been confronted with headlines such as 'Vitamin Supplements May Increase Mortality'. This kind of headline is designed solely to sell newspapers, and fortunately the science behind it is unsound and misleading.

Here is an excerpt from a newsletter I have just been sent, regarding this recent review:


The "study" was led by Serbian scientist and "visiting researcher" at Copenhagen University Hospital, Goran Bjelakovic, whose name is now synonymous with vitamin meta-analyses (studies of other studies) which appear to show that vitamin supplements either don't work or end up increasing your risk of death.

The Danish researchers reviewed 67 trials dating back to 1977 in which the effect of antioxidants were analysed, and have come to the conclusion that beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E may increase mortality. The strangest thing about this review is that the relative mortality risk, which forms the basis of the claims that vitamins decrease life expectancy, is calculated using information from studies which sometimes quote the exact opposite. For example, the trial with the highest increased mortality risk of 3.3% (1 patient in a study of 12) was conducted by Prince et al(1) who clearly concluded that “one patient died from unrelated causes during active treatment”.

Another trial which the review claims found an increased mortality rate was by Chylak et al(2). A closer inspection reveals that what the researchers actually recorded was that “twelve patients died during the course of the five year trial. Fishers exact test did not reach significance for the difference between treatment groups”. They even go on to say that “there were no serious safety issues during the trial”.

Mooney et al(3), while having one of the highest mortality risk increases according to the Danish reviewers, actually records a section in the full report entitled “Adverse events” which goes on to clarify that “one participant died from a myocardial infarct and 2 cancers were identified during the study. It is unlikely that these events were associated with vitamin supplementations due to the short exposure before diagnosis and the long latency of cancer”. Not only that - this trial actually found that taking vitamins E and C could significantly reduce the levels of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are elevated in smokers, “suggesting that antioxidant supplementation may mitigate some of the procarcinogenic effects of exposure”.

If you look a little further into the full text of a study by Manuel-y-Keenoy et al(4), which has been recorded by the reviewers as resulting in a 3% increase in mortality risk, you can see that nowhere in the study does it state that anyone even died. It does record that “during the course of the study one patient from each group dropped out, one due to thyroid dysfunction and one due to an accident. These two patients are not included in the statistical analysis”.

While being used by the Danish researchers as further evidence of the danger of antioxidants, what Salonen et al (5) actually say in their study is that “Both the vitamin E and C were safe. There were neither excess deaths nor excess of other adverse events in the groups randomised to supplements”. It is interesting just to note that the authors of this trial concluded that “this randomised clinical trial shows that long term supplementation of hypercholesterolemic persons with reasonable doses of both vitamin E and slow- release vitamin C combined can retard the progression of common carotid atherosclerosis, especially in men”.


(1.) Prince MI, Mitchison HC, Ashley D, et al. Oral antioxidant supplementation for fatigue associated with primary biliary cirrhosis: results of a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003;17:137-143

(2.) Chylak LT Jr, Brown NP, Bron A, et al. The Roche European American Cataract Trial (REACT): a randomised clinical trial to investigate the efficacy of an oral antioxidant micronutrient mixture to slow progression of age-related cataract. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2002;9:49-80
(3.) Mooney LA, Madsen AM, Tang D, et al. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation reduces benzo(a)pyrene-DNA adducts and potential cancer risk in female smokers. Cancer Epidemiol BioMarkers Prev. 2005;14:237-242

(4.) Manuel-y-Keenoy B, Vinckx M, Vertommen J, Van Gaal L, De Leeuw I. Impact of vitamin E supplementation on lipoprotein peroxidation and composition in type I diabetic patients treated with atorvasstatin. Atherosclerosis. 2004;175:369-376

(5.) Salonen RM, Nyyssonen K, Kaikkonen J, et al. Antioxidant supplmentation in atherosclerosis prevention study:six year effect of combined vitamin A and E supplementation on therosclerotic progression: the Antioxidant Supplementation in Atherosclerosis Prevention (ASAP) Study. Circulation. 2003;107:947-953


This information was provided Nutri. If you have any questions about the use of nutritional supplements, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Cats More Effective than Cholesterol Meds for Preventing Heart Disease Deaths

During my research I came across this article, which I just love.

"A research study found that having a cat can reduce stress in people's lives, and consequently lowers the risk of having a heart attack or stroke or developing a heart disease. The findings are based on a 10-year study, carried out by the researchers at the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota. The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40 percent higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30 percent greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat. The study was presented at the American Stroke Association meeting in New Orleans. Unfortunately, in this study owning a dog did not have the same heart protective benefits.
Several studies have confirmed that owning a pet reduces stress, decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduces risk of depression. This makes cats (and other natural methods) much safer, cheaper and more fun than cholesterol lowering medications!"


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Free advice from Alternative Practitioners!

Yes, free advice, freely available.

All you need to do is join everybodybetter and ask a question on one of the forums there.

It's such a great site - I answer questions there myself. Gives me a chance to show off my knowledge! And there are common interest groups to join so that you can discuss health related matters with like-minded people. And there's up to the minute news about natural health issues.

Go on and register - it's free!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Health Kinesiology for PMS

I have just witnessed another excellent outcome whilst treating a client for PMS with kinesiology. The lady came to see me because she was having terrible PMS symptoms; for 14 days every month she would be like a different person - unable to withstand any kind of stress, mood swings, aggressive to her family, tearful, vulnerable and depressed.

In the space of just three sessions, those symptoms have pretty much disappeared. After her last session she told me that the treatment had been 'life changing'.

PMS can sometimes be alleviated with nutrition, but there is often quite a strong emotional and psychological element to it which I think is why health kinesiology can be so successful in helping to resolve the condition. In most cases there will be a mixture of psychological work, allergy corrections, and corrections to help rebalance the magnetic field of the body (amongst other things) during the sessions. Nutritional supplements are often used too.

Do give me a call if this is something you'd like to discuss further.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Detox Retreats

Detox retreats involving juice fasts, colonic hydrotherapy, meditation and yoga are very popular. I know a few people who have done these kind of retreats in Thailand and other exotic countries. Travelling so far away is often prohibitively expensive though, and can eat up a large portion of precious annual leave.

There is a company called Vitality Detox Retreats who run four and seven day juice fasts in West Sussex. A whole range of therapies are available (including colon hydrotherapy) to support the fast and ensure that maximum, safe cleansing is achieved. This kind of retreat can be beneficial for a whole range of problems associated with a a toxic liver and bowel, and also for general health maintenance.

These retreats are excellent value for money, and can be much more convenient than travelling to a country far away.

Their website contains more information: If you decide to book, they will ask which practitioner referred you so please be sure to mention my name.


Mongolian BBQ

I just thought a I'd share with you one of the worst food horror stories I've heard in a long while.

One of my clients is working abroad at the moment. En route to China, she passed through Mongolia where there are very few fresh fruits or vegetables available. She was often confronted with large plates of deep fried pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in Mongolia it is considered rude not to finish everything on your plate. I might add at this point, that this lady is recovering from an eating disorder and until recently would not even consider eating a small plate of normal pasta, let alone deep fried! So although a large portion of deep fried pasta might not be your ideal choice, for this lady it was a much bigger challenge. Still, she managed to eat everything she was confronted with, which is a significant achievement.

However, a bigger challenge lay ahead - the next time I heard from her, she reported she had been made to suck the marrow out of goat bones. For breakfast. Did I mention that she is also a vegetarian? Horrendous! I am not sure if I would be that brave in the same situation.

So, if you feel like a food challenge, and being taken well away from your comfort zone, I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Mongolia.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cook yourself thin!

There is a TV programme on Channel 4 called 'Cook Yourself Thin'. I have overlooked it in the past, having not been very inspired by its title. However, I watched an episode a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic! The basic premise is that if you substitute unhealthy foods and ingredients with healthy ones, it is possible to lose weight by eating plenty of delicious food.

It is not a programme about detoxing or deprivation, it is about being sensible, eating well and enjoying your meals. This is the aim for my nutritional therapy clients; there might be some restriction or detoxing at the beginning of a nutritional therapy plan, but in the end food should be a source of enjoyment in your life. And healthy food certainly can be very enjoyable!

I recommend watching this programme for ideas and inspiration.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

An easy way to manage your affirmations

I have just come across a fabulous piece of software called the Dream Manifesto Wizard. It is based on the Law of Attraction, which states that what you project and believe comes back to you in some way. For example, if you if you want that perfect job, you put out a 'manifestation' where you visualise every aspect of the new job, and you might schedule some time each day to think about it in detail. It often helps to write down your manifestations so that you remember to focus on them. This is where the Dream Manifesto Wizard comes in...

The wizard helps you to craft manifestations to help you achieve your goals, and keeps them all in one place, on your computer. Then, you can schedule them to appear on-screen at regular intervals so that you remember to focus on what you want to achieve.

I think it's great - I often have lists of things I'd like to achieve, scribbled down in various notebooks, or important places (that I soon forget!). As I spend quite a bit of time by my computer, being reminded automatically of my intentions is very useful.

Ideal for people interested in manifestations, the law of attraction and quantum physics, and who work on a computer for periods each day.

Have a look here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nutrigold Education

One of the companies that supply supplements to my clients, Nutrigold, has just launched a fab new website called 'Nutrigold Education'. It is an informative website, giving information on nutrients, including optimum daily amounts, interactions, and an A-Z of illnesses. There is also a section about the latest legislation on food supplements, which is quite a hot topic at the moment.

The site is free to use, you just need to register first.

Take a look by clicking here.

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