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How I stay well

A week before Christmas I came down with flu (shivering, aching, headache, nausea). I was hoping that it would pass before the big day and it did. In fact, I was better after four days. There’s lots of health experts who suggest different strategies that may help you through the flu season. However, this is what helps me. During flu I only ate bone stock with vegetables – 3 times per day. I drank warm water with lemon and ginger too. I took the following supplements – I like to keep it simple during an illness My Daily Practices

Books from 2023

Yes To Life – in spite of everything: Viktor E Frankl“In spite of everything”! That’s what drew me to the book. And there is a lot of “in spite of” at the moment climate change, war, polarisation, as well as our own personal challenges. Frankl is well qualified to help us find hope and meaning. He is a psychoanalyst and holocaust survivor.  His book unfolds his basic conviction that every crisis contains opportunity. Hearburn: Nora Ephron Nora Emphron wrote When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. This book is hilarious and has Nora’s sassy, Jewish-American humour. It’s autobiographical and marries humour with adultery, revenge, group therapy, and food. I also listened to the audiobook which is magnificently read by Meryl Streep! “So, twice a week, I go to a beauty salon and have my hair blown dry. It’s cheaper by far than psychoanalysis, and much more uplifting”. The Adrenal Reset Diet: Alan Christianson I read this on the recommendation of a colleague and, although, some of it wasn’t new to me, I enjoyed finding a new language to be able to convey how stress, blood sugar, lifestyle can affect many aspects of our health. It’s an accessible and practical guide which can help in cases of burn-out. Where the Crawdads Sing: Delia Owen I want to go to North Carolina! I know this book has been on the best seller lists for a while and it’s not so much the story that compelled me to continue reading it but …

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How to break up with your phone.

I have a confession to make. I was obsessed with my iPhone. A few months ago, I noticed my brain wasn’t working so well. My thinking was scattered, I couldn’t focus for long periods – having to re-read passages of text – and my memory was failing. The change was significant enough to make me feel worried and agitated. Then I went to London to see the ABBA Voyage concert and found the answer! During the weekend we stayed in an Air B&B owned by a fellow nutritional therapist and on her coffee table was a book How to Break Up With Your Phone. I opened a chapter called ‘Your phone is changing your brain’, and it outlined the symptoms I was experiencing and how my brain was being rewired “if you wanted to create a society of people who were perpetually distracted, isolated, and overtired, if you wanted to weaken our memories and damage our capacity for focus and deep thought, if you wanted to reduce empathy, encourage self-absorption, and redraw the lines of social etiquette, you’d likely end up with a smartphone”. The confession: I was on my phone A LOT! First thing in the morning for an hour, lunch times, evenings and anytime when I had a minute – even when watching TV and last thing at night!!! The impulse to constantly pick it up was draining and anxiety-inducing but I didn’t realise it because I liked picking it up. And this is the most odious aspect …

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Quick fixes for brain fog

Quick fixes for brain fog can work pretty quickly unless there is an underlying condition. In which case, it’s worth investigating further with your GP or healthcare provider. Although brain fog can happen to us all, it’s the persistent and constant brain fog which can cause a lack of confidence and unhappiness that I am addressing here. This can be related to post-Covid infection, menopause, fatigue, too much screen time, diet, blood sugar balance and insomnia. Here are some quick fix solutions that can help. Blood sugar – yes, I know I keep bringing this up! If you eat foods that spike your blood sugar (and whatever goes up has to come down), you will then get a dip and reach for more food to compensate. This leads to a day of roller-coasting insulin and peaking and slumping energy levels. Sugar spikes and dips hinders mental capacity, memory and focus. It also makes it harder for you to concentrate on anything for a long period of time. High spikes raise serotonin and GABA to the point of sleepiness, and hormones such as cortisol, glucagon, and adrenalin are produced to try and mitigate the rapid drop in blood sugar – and cortisol and adrenalin can leave you feeling wired (even though you are tired) i.e. in fight or flight. Solution: include protein, fat and fibre in every meal i.e. not just cereal for breakfast or pasta for lunch. Snack on nuts and seeds. See more on flattening blood sugar spikes or …

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My journey through the Zoe programme

Before Covid and lockdowns, I put my name down to participate in the Zoe Programme. A study carried out by King’s College and headed by Prof Tim Spector (the man who wrote The Diet Myth etc) and who is an expert in the gut microbiome. I’m fascinated by how the microbiome affects our physical and mental health. This programme gives you the opportunity to test three important markers: the diversity of your gut microbiome, your blood sugar metabolism and blood fats clearance. Using these personalised insights, you are then advised what foods improve all those markers. From my Zoe results I learnt that I have: a very diverse and healthy microbiome that I am one of the 31% of the population which has a ‘healthy’ pathogen called Blastocystis which is correlated with less visceral fat and better metabolism. I have two not-so-healthy bugs which hinder my sugar and fat clearance. I then received personalised advice about how to address this via diet Whilst wearing a blood glucose monitor and doing various challenges, I discovered how I can control my blood sugar responses. See challenges below: Morning 1 – eat a bowl of porridge made with water. Result: my blood sugar monitor showed that blood sugar spiked considerably Morning 2 – eat same amount of porridge and go for a 30 minute walk. Result: no blood sugar spike Morning 3 – eat same amount of porridge and have 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a little water beforehand. Result: no blood sugar spike …

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