Friday, 10 July 2015

Elimination Diets

Food sensitivities are more common than you might think; and they can cause acne, allergies, migraines and more.

Elimination diets are a great and simple way to find out if you need to adjust your regular menu.

The idea of an elimination diet is to remove certain foods from your diet for a given period (3-4 weeks), and then re-introduce them in a controlled manner, one at a time, to see if you have any adverse reactions to them.

As a basic guide (and it really doesn’t need to be more complicated than this), here is what to do if you suspect you may have a food sensitivity, or have a chronic condition that you can’t figure out the cause of.

Cut out the following foods for 3-4 weeks (completely!):

Citrus fruits; 
white potatoes; 
wheat/corn/barley/oats (and all other gluten-containing products); 
Legumes (all beans/tofu/soy/peas/lentils); 
all nuts and seeds; 
all processed meats; 
Milk; Cheese; Cream; Yoghurt; Butter; Margarine and other spreads; 
and anything else you suspect may pose a problem for you, or anything you eat on a regular basis (you can actually develop a sensitivity if you overeat something) .

I know this is a big, scary list! But focus on what you CAN have, and remember it’s only for a short time, and the benefits will be well worth it if you find something that’s been causing you grief for years.

What you CAN eat:

Almost all fresh fruit; 
Almost all fresh, raw, steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables; 
Wild game; 
Unsweetened rice or coconut milk; 
Olive Oil; Coconut oil; Flaxseed oil; 
Fresh water; Herbal teas; 
Sea salt; Fresh pepper; Fresh herbs and spices.

Follow this strictly for 3 weeks and monitor your symptoms/how you feel.

In week 4, introduce a single food/food group for ONE DAY ONLY, then monitor your symptoms for 2 days. Continue this process with different foods and food groups until you figure out what is causing you issues. The fewer foods you re-introduce at one time, the more accurately you’ll be able to pinpoint the problem, but it will take longer.

Pay attention to your mood, concentration, gut/bowels, joints, skin, insomnia, headaches, sinuses, and energy levels.

This is not a restrictive diet (calorie-wise) – do NOT use it as a weight loss tool, but be aware that by eliminating foods you are sensitive to you will allow your body to detoxify more efficiently, and weight loss may occur.

Give this a try and see how you get on.

If you need more help, visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Overfed and Under-nourished

The general belief these days is that if you cut calories, you’ll lose weight.

Whilst this IS true, it’s not as simple as that. Where your calories come from is, in fact, much more important. Hormones dictate whether you’ll burn fat, store fat, build muscle, or lose muscle (as well as myriad other things). And what you eat will have a huge effect on what your hormones do.

Most people who eat too many calories and gain weight are in fact still under-nourished. If you’re eating the wrong foods it’s easy to over-consume calories, and still get very little actual nutrition.

A typical junk food meal from any well-known fast food restaurant could easily clock up 1500 calories yet you’ll get very little if any nutritional value from the meal.

This is why you can put away so much food and still be hungry; because your body is still crying out for fuel and nutrition even after you’ve eaten a huge meal. And also why it’s so easy to gain [the wrong kind of] weight.

Given that many people make bad food choices and over-consume calories whilst under-consuming nutrients, cutting calories (i.e. going on a “Diet”) will lead to even fewer nutrients being eaten. This WILL lead to muscle loss, a drop in energy levels, and poor health, as well as slowing down your metabolism and leaving you malnourished (and no, a smoothie/juice/shake WON’T make up for this deficit!).

The key is to select nutritious foods over the less nutritious foods. Fresh vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories – eat more of these – a LOT more. Fill up on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods and you’ll struggle to over-eat or surpass your calorie requirements, and you’ll also get the many benefits of giving your body all the nutrition it needs (along with, obviously, fats and protein).

Avoid calorie-dense, low nutrient foods – mainly sweets, cakes, biscuits, fast-food, fizzy drinks etc.

It’s possible to “under-eat” (i.e. drop calories) and still get adequate nutrition IF you choose the right foods. But keep your calories up, with nutritious foods, and you’ll reap far more benefits than you would from dropping calories! Weight loss will be from fat rather than muscle, and your energy levels and mood will improve dramatically. And you won’t have to deal with the usual post-“Diet” weight (re)gain afterwards.

If you need more help, visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.