NO New Year’s resolutions! Lifestyle detox is the MUST in 2015

New Year’s resolutions suck and in 2015 I will use common sense to detox my lifestyle and live better. At the end of the day health is the most important thing in life! I have made a list of the key ingredients to live 2015 to the max.

Linking my annual rant about lifestyle detox to Sandra’s recent article Will this be your last New Year diet ever? here are my top tips to make simple but yet radical change to your life.

New Year's resolutions lifestyle detox

Avoid Food Intolerance

Strictly star, Kristina Rihanoff, has recently revealed that she once suffered from fatigue, bloating, headaches and a weak immune system. Once she’d hit her 30s, Kristina began to notice a number of debilitating health problems. After struggling with her symptoms and busy schedule, she was shocked when a routine test uncovered that despite her healthy diet, she had developed a number of food intolerances to foods that she was eating regularly, not only that but this could potentially be the cause behind her ill health.

New Year's resolutions Kristina rihanoff

Now, a picture of health, Kristina says that in previous years, she wouldn’t have been able to maintain the tough demands of the Strictly schedule, but taking a food intolerance test led her to completely overhaul her diet and she is now feeling better than ever.

With 45% of the UK suffering from food intolerance, it’s clear that Kristina isn’t the only victim of this hidden epidemic. Food Intolerance doesn’t just mean a bloated, painful stomach, it can cause a huge range of symptoms, many of which can be extremely distressing and can dramatically impact on your quality of life. Common symptoms include weight gain, nausea, symptoms associated with IBS, skin rashes and irritation, increased tiredness and lethargy, and headaches. Sufferers are often unaware that they are affected by food intolerance and suffer in silence for years without seeking help.

Kristina said: ‘I’ve always followed a healthy diet and combined with my job as a dancer and choreographer, I always thought that made me very healthy. But when I hit my 30s I kept getting headaches and picking up coughs and colds. I felt bloated and tired all the time and despite my dancing I never had any energy. I was exhausted all the time.’

‘I’ve always believed in the phrase “You are what you eat”, but I was stunned when I got the results. The test I took showed I was intolerant to a number of things, including wheat and dairy, the sort of foods I had previously thought were healthy.

‘In my mind I was a healthy eater. But here I was being told by a nutritionist that so many of the foods I ate, and that I thought were good for me, could have been the cause of my problems all along.

‘I was advised to avoid dairy and looked into alternatives. I decided to swap cow’s milk for almond or hemp milk and I stopped eating wheat and instead went for other grains, that YorkTest recommended like quinoa and barley.’

Kristina decided to follow a new diet for three months to test the effects, but within weeks she began to notice a difference, as well as losing weight.

‘When I started the diet I was wearing a dress size 10. Within a few weeks my stomach felt flatter and the puffiness I’d felt before had gone and I could get into a size eight.’


Get an app to monitor what you eat

A friend recently showed me the app MyFitnessPal that monitors your food intake in a simple way and I have quickly become addicted to the tool. I am not a big fans of apps but this one is very good if you want to loose some weight. Within a few weeks I lost 2 kg due to the fact that the app showed me the chart indicating how many carbohydrates, protein and fat I should be eat every day.


Avoid Sugar

sugar food recipe no sugar

This might sound pedantic and repetitive but since eliminating almost completely my sugar intake I feel a lot more energetic and generally healthier. Various London Mums’ experts and contributors have written interesting features about this topic:

10 negative ways sugar affects your health

Why Our Addiction To Sugar Is All In The Mind

Believe it or not, sugar is everywhere, even in things you would not expect it to be. According to a recent survey carried out for a health campaign group found that 57 out of the 203 supermarket drinks tested had as much sugar as Coca-Cola, or more. A quarter of the drinks tested had at least six teaspoons for every 200ml glass, which is the maximum adult daily intake recommended by the World Health Organisation.

For me this is quite shocking as many parents feed their offspring smoothies thinking they are healthy for them.

diet - losing weight

With this in mind, we’ve been speaking to Mr Rupert Allen, Lead Dietitian at The Lister Hospital London, to find to out about our recommended daily sugar intake and about the dangers of drinking fruit juice. With rising concerns that a high sugar intake is fuelling sharp increases in obesity rates, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, news that parents may be unknowingly feeding children smoothies with as much as 8 tsps of sugar, Mr Allen urges people and parents to eat fresh fruit rather than drink fruit juice.

What is the current daily recommended sugar intake?

“The current recommendations for ‘added sugar’ is up to 10% of daily calories, which works out to be approximately 70g sugar per day for men and 50g sugar per day for women. Although a new report (from SACN – Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) suggests this should be reduced to 5%.”

How much sugar is there in a glass of fruit juice?

“A glass of fruit juice contains around 13g sugar (typical serving 150ml, around 9g per 100g), although some fruit juice drinks may contain added sugar. A 150ml glass of fruit juice counts as 1 of your 5 a day and therefore provides vitamins and minerals.  Unsweetened Fruit juice can also be a source of fibre, particularly if they contain fruit pulp.”

Are there any health benefits to drinking fruit juice? Is it more beneficial to eat fresh fruit instead of drinking juice, or is this still too high in sugar?

“Fresh fruit is generally more beneficial as the sugar is contained within the fruit structure, and is slower to be absorbed.  Also fresh fruit will contain lots of fibre, which has many health benefits.  Fruit will also fill you up more than fruit juice which may reduce the tendency to snack on other high sugar / high fat foods.”

Is there a difference between shop-bought juice and homemade fruit juice? Which is better for you and why?

“Fruit juice made at home is likely to be better for you, as it will contain plenty of pulp and flesh and therefore will be higher in fibre.  You can also guarantee what and how much fruit is in the drink and therefore be assured there is no added sugar.”

What are the dangers of a high sugar intake?

“High sugar foods can cause tooth decay, especially if consumed regularly as a snack.  High sugar foods also tend to be high in calories and therefore can contribute to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.   Also people who tend to have a high sugar intake tend to have a diet lower in other nutrients.”

Check your Vitamin D Levels 

It is well known that low Vitamin D levels can lead to tiredness and weaker immune system during the winter months. I got it checked by my GP through a simple blood test and I found out that I had low levels due to the British climate. I am not alone. During the winter months 80% of people in the UK suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to tiredness and reduced productivity. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. The problem is though, that given the UK’s location (our northerly latitude to be precise) and limited number of sunshine hours it can be difficult for us to produce enough of this important vitamin.

However, the good news is that vitamin D is found in dietary sources such as lean red meat, so incorporating red meat into your diet can help increase vitamin D levels and help address any winter tiredness. You can try and make a few home recipes to support this in addition to taking supplements (check first with your GP how much Vitamin D supplements you need).

Vitamin D super recipes:

Spicy beef stir-fry with noodles

Spicy Meatball Soup

Fillet Steak with Green Olive Tapenade

Fragata steak and green olive tapenade Valentine Menu copy

Italian Pesto Burger with Roasted Peppers

Heston’s Roast leg of lamb

Speedy lamb tagine


Top tips for combatting that winter tiredness feeling

  • Eating vitamin D rich foods such as lean red meat, margarines, milks and cereals regularly i.e. on a daily basis may help to improve vitamin D status.  Make sure plenty of these foods are eaten in the winter months
  • Red meat often gets forgotten as a source of vitamin D.  It also provides vitamin B12 which contributes to energy production, helping to prevent tiredness and fatigue.  Adding meat to soups and stews during the winter months is a tasty way to help boost vitamin D status
  • Exercising outside regularly is another way to assists with endogenous production of vitamin D

Did you know?

  • The option of using sunlight to create vitamin D  is practically non-existent for five months of the year  – and limited to just four to five hours each day in the summer.
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage and citrus fruits like oranges don’t actually contain any vitamin D
  • Red meat is one of the few foods which provides useful quantities of vitamin D

·        A Meat Advisory Panel survey found that only 12% of people realise that red meat is an important source of vitamin D.

  • Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • A study has found that low levels of vitamin D increased the risk of heart disease by 40% and the risk of suffering a heart attack by 64%[5] <#_ftn5>

·        Insufficient vitamin D has been linked with bone pain and muscle weakness.
·        There’s a growing body of evidence indicating that vitamin D has an important role in maintaining bone health, ameliorating cell ageing and preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune dysfunction and certain cancers .

Awareness is the word … if you want to be fit!

There’s a new trend in town for people who want to get fit. Forget about dieting or going to the gym. The key to being fit seems to be exercising during our daily routines when we are not necessarily aware of. Awareness seems to be crucial to be fit and lots of technology and devices are at hand to serve this purpose. A group of London Mums have tested some new products to find out what works and what doesn’t. I am determined not to wait until the Spring to start preparing my body for the Summer exposure and as I am heading off to Winter Sun destination I have decided to keep up with the good work from the Autumn onwards.

Essential gadget to help you keep fit – Malory band

Even if you don’t need to watch your weight, you still need to watch your waist.

New Year's resolutions no diet bikini tilted right with beach

What does ‘waistline’ mean to most of us? Does it evoke curvy hourglass figures from the silver screen or simply that part of our body somewhat north of where we wear our jeans?

Impossibly tiny waists and the corsetry that achieved them are, largely, a thing of the past. The invention of lycra together with fashion’s incredible progress has provided us with myriad clothing opportunities and a society where every shape and size can find something to suit.

So why do we need to watch our waists? The size of your waist as an indicator of your general health, is a concept that is widely recognised by the medical profession. The UK’s Department for Health says: “Carrying too much fat around your middle (waist) can increase your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

Where a person stores their fat has graduated in importance from the previous ‘apple- and pear-shape’ story. According to the Department for Health, if you’re overweight and apple-shaped, you have a higher risk of health problems than if you’re pear-shaped. There is a higher risk of health problems if a man has a waist size over 37” and a woman over 31.5”.

This is not new news. The New York Times ran a story back in August 2010 which cited a study from the American Cancer Society, which tracked the health of more than 100,000 people over nine years. It said, “Even if you don’t need to watch your weight, you still need to watch your waist.”

Until now, there has been no product available on the market to address this problem. The Malory Band is the non-dietary, non-supplement, non-invasive answer. The band is worn around your middle and feels tighter as you eat, keeping you conscious of the quantity of food that you consume. It acts as a psychological alarm bell to your conscious mind, reminding you not to over-eat. The band encourages good posture as it motivates you to  stand tall, pull in your abs and maintain a stable core.

It can be worn 24/7 as its fabric is washable and durable; even in the shower. The band is 100% polyester that won’t stretch, break, rub, rot, fray or retain water. It has a hypoallergenic button that fits through the unique button-hole cord, making it adjustable as you lose the inches.

It’s both functional and decorative, simple, yet effective. It’s an alternative to diets, food grouping, food omission, pills and surgery. You can’t change your body’s DNA but you can influence your own awareness of your intake and choose to make conscious decisions about cutting down.

People are reminded of their posture if they catch sight of themselves in a mirror or as they massage taut neck and back muscles after a day at the office. Moments later, the reminder is forgotten and the poor posture returns.

There is a new product on the market that offers constant awareness of your posture and sends reminders when you slouch. Malory Band – originally intended as a weight loss product – is a narrow cord worn around your middle that feels tighter as you eat. The band does not stretch so the wearer naturally stands up taller and straighter to avoid the tension of the band. When seated, the wearer is encouraged to sit upright with a straight back.

Malory Band is manufactured in the UK and is available from at a cost of £24.95.


Sleep more & better

New Year's resolutions Dreams Baby sleeping purple background

Last but not least… Let’s face it! Sleep is essential. People who are well-rested are more likely to make healthy choices.

As mums we never get enough, and this can lead to a detrimental effect on our work, health and relationships which is compounded by the stresses and strains of our daily lives caring for the family. We should set ourselves the grand goal to get a little bit more sleep this year and we will find other aspects of our life will improve as a result.

In order to sleep better we need to take a few steps starting from the first hours of our day: have proper breakfast because skipping breakfast or eating breakfast too late (an hour after your get up) suppresses the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and causes the body to produce stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. People who don’t eat breakfast never feel like eating so it’s a vicious cycle. Include protein in your breakfast to help to optimise melatonin production. Another important step is to drink enough water to keep dehydrated and restful. It is incredible and a bit daunting but the recommended amount of water we should drink is two to three litres per day.

Get some rest – working or pushing yourself relentlessly throughout the day overstimulates your nervous system leading to that ‘tired but wired’ feeling when you get into bed. Take three to five minute breaks every 90mins throughout the day – move, close your eyes, eat something nourishing but most importantly, try to get away from technology. Your sleep at night will be deeper and more restful.

Reduce technology before bed – electronic devices overload the ‘working memory’ of the brain and leads to noisy thought-filled sleep. Aim for an electronic sundown of 60-90mins before getting into bed.

Don’t take emotional baggage to bed – write your worries or ‘to do’ lists down before going to bed and think of all of the small positive things that happened in your day as you drift off to sleep, let go, let go, let go…

Practice all or at least two or three of these tips every day for the next 21 days to notice lasting benefits.

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