How to adapt your diet during menopause

Menopause, like any other big hormonal transition, is a time that can be very taxing on your body. During this time, your diet and lifestyle can make or break how well your body deals with big hormonal changes. It also can make a big difference in how well you age and how your body comes out of menopause, which traditionally can be a more perilous time for women health-wise because of the reduced protection from key hormones which serve to reduce major health issues. Women are therefore more vulnerable to chronic diseases and cognitive decline.

Menopause, like any other big hormonal transition, is a time that can be very taxing on your body. During this time, your diet and lifestyle can make or break how well your body deals with big hormonal changes. It also can make a big difference in how well you age and how your body comes out of menopause, which traditionally can be a more perilous time for women health-wise because of the reduced protection from key hormones which serve to reduce major health issues. Women are therefore more vulnerable to chronic diseases and cognitive decline.

  1. Eat your vitamins. Eating well not only helps you to feel better, more energised and fuller of vitality, it also helps your body to maintain immunity and good brain function for longer. Ensuring good vitamin intake on a daily basis means that your immune system is best powered to protect you from viruses, bacteria, toxins and chronic diseases (such as cancer and diabetes) (6). Although we’ve all been told that we should eat our five a day, recent research has actually suggested that eating 10 portions (a portion = a fistful) of mostly vegetables (7-8 portions) with some seasonal fruit (1-3 portions) is what really helps to prevent the more deadly chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and to keep us looking more youthful, thanks to all the antioxidants and polyphenols in plants (7). Your skin too thrives on plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, so eating better also means looking younger for longer (which we all want of course). Because life is often busy and we don’t always manage a regular daily intake that matches what our body, skin and brain needs, as a Nutritional Therapist, I normally advise clients to supplement with both a daily multivitamin and other supplements targeted to their specific needs. For women going through menopause or perimenopause, the ideal would be to take the Women’s Essentials Duo which includes our top selling one a day multivitamin: Women’s Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support Supplement alongside the Women’s Menosupport + Renewal Supplement – which is full of phytoestrogens and other key vitamins to help ease peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms and to help balance hormones. If wanting to improve skin quality as well, a Hair, Skin + Nails Supplement is ideal. But be careful as not all skin supplements are created equal. Make sure that any you choose contains skin-boosting ingredients. The Anatome one is chock full with benefits, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. Grape seed, bioflavonoids, which help to optimise digestion and immunity, as well as other key nutrients, are also included and will show up as better-quality skin in the long-run. Looking after joints is also key during the transition and the Anatome Joint Supplement has what’s necessary to improve joint health and reduce inflammation.
  • Try adding fasting to your week. While plants do a body good, calorie restriction through fasting can actually slow cognitive decline and ageing overall. Intermittent fasting has been shown to protect the body from neurodegenerative diseases and to slow down cell ageing. This could have something to do with the fact that our body when in a fasting state activates adaptive cellular stress responses and improves how the mitochondria works and how energy is utilised (8). It also helps our good gut bacteria to survive over the bad guys (more on that below). Intermittent fasting also allows our digestion to have a long rest and to rebuild and blood-sugar to even out, as opposed to when food is constantly coming in causing perpetual insulin raises to process sugar and simple carbs. Fasting does not need to be difficult or onerous. One can choose to follow the 5-2 diet, for instance, which involves eating normally 5 days a week and choosing 2 days to restrict intake to one big or two small meals (ideally within a window of 500-800 calories max for that day) which are primarily plant based and naturally low in calories. Another option is eating within a restricted eating window, such as within 12 hours or less: the aim eventually being to limit eating to within an 8-hour window, so that 16 hours of the day (including when sleeping) our body is fasting and we are not eating at all in that time (drinking calorie-free drinks such as tea and water is fine). Begin with fasting for as long as you can and reduce to one hour less each week. Avoiding snacking between meals also helps to improve blood-sugar balance and gives digestion a rest between meals. Be careful with these if low blood-sugar is an issue, however, or if on insulin injections. When in doubt, always take the advice of your doctor.
  • Cut out the CRAP. To ensure good health before, during and especially after menopause, what you DON’T eat is even more important than what you do. This means cutting out food and drink that is labelled as CRAP: a great acronym that represents Carbonated beverages, Refined sugars, Artificial foods and Processed foods. These foods are filled with toxins and other ingredients which your body can’t process adequately, which raise your insulin levels unnecessarily and which lead you to gain weight and feel sluggish and tired. They can also lead to premature ageing of cells and to reduced immunity and more prevalence towards chronic diseases. CRAP feeds bad gut bacteria as well as parasites and even cancer cells. If cutting all of this out of your diet long-term feels like an impossible endeavour, start small. Perhaps do a 5-2 type week where for 5 days you eat cleanly while allowing yourself 2 days to indulge. Or if even that feels too hard, maybe allow one indulgence a day initially, moving down to one every other day, then every third day, etc. Eventually, your taste buds will change and adapt to desiring more healthy food and you’ll also notice how food better for you makes you feel better. CRAP foods also have been paralleled with low mood and poor mental health, so the less you indulge the better, especially during a big hormonal transition where mood and sleep are already so heavily affected.
  • Indulge in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are compounds found in certain plants the behave similarly to oestradiol (which is a type of oestrogen). The most prevalent (and most studied) type is isoflavones, which can be found in soybeans (primary source), chickpeas, alfalfa and red clover (9). Soy (and tofu, a type of soy protein) once became popular due to the strength of isoflavones and the phytoestrogenic benefits of eating this. Countries where women eat more soy have less prevalence of certain chronic diseases, obesity, diabetes and early mortality. They are also known for women suffering less during and after menopause. A daily dose of phytoestrogens can improve menopause symptoms and even bone health post-menopause. However, should trying to fit these into your diet seem like too much to ask, you can rest assured that these have now made their way into many women’s menopause blends. The Anatome Women’s Menosupport + Renewal Supplement, for instance, has a full daily serving of soy, along with other supplements to help ease the transition, such as evening primrose oil to balance hormones and B vitamins and ginseng for energy.
  • Feed your gut buddies. Your gut microbiome is key to keeping you youthful, healthy and feeling good and full of vitality. Your gut bacteria balance can affect your mental health (with a poor balance potentially leading to low mood, depression and anxiety) and even determines your food cravings (the bad guys crave sugar and processed foods, while the good guys prefer high-fibre foods such as vegetables). What you eat affects which side will flourish and which side will perish. If you’ve just been through a round of antibiotics or two (or if you’ve been through many long rounds in the past), you likely killed off gut bacteria, which often allows the bad guys to settle in first. That’s when it’s especially crucial to replenish using pre and probiotics. Prebiotics include fermented and high-fibre foods while probiotics, which include most yogurts and kefirs, are best taken in through a probiotic supplement. Preferably, a good probiotic will contain billions of bacteria made up of multiple strains. The Anatome Daily Biotic + Gut Support Supplement contains 11.5 billion bacteria through 7 strains. A good probiotic will help to relieve digestive symptoms while improving immunity, mental health and the body’s ability to handle stress. Considering that menopause is a huge stressor on the body which can lead to many negative symptoms, any relief possible is a big help. There is also a large body of research that connects gut microbiome balance with cognitive health as well as to improved mood, so that the better the balance the less the chances of cognitive decline or depression (10).

Taking care of your diet during the menopause transition is incredibly important, both for how you feel during the transition and for how healthy you come out of it. While all the work you have to do, and particularly some of the food – that’s not so great for you – that you may need to sacrifice may seem somewhat daunting, consider the benefits of looking after your health: which include looking and feeling better long-term. If this all feels very confusing, I now run a clinic in Anatome once weekly focused on helping women with advice about what to expect and how to take care of themselves best before, during and after this key time.

Julia Keller bio

Dipt Naturopathy, Dipt Nutritional Therapy, Dipt Clinical Hypnotherapy

Nutritional Therapist specialising in Skin, Sleep, Stress Management, Women’s Health and optimal ageing

Julia has been working in the Wellness field since 2015, having first qualified as a Transformational and Wellness Coach and NLP Practitioner. She qualified a year later as a Stress Management Specialist and then a Clinical Hypnotherapist. While working to help clients with sleep, stress and weight issues, she began to notice that often problems with mental health manifested in physical health and soon embarked on a study of Nutrition and Naturopathy at CNM in London. Julia focused most of her clinical work and studies on skin and ageing-related disorders and soon became fascinated with how to help clients to maintain youthfulness and vitality as they age. So that their biological age was much younger than their chronological age. She decided to embark on a MSc in Personalised Nutrition at CNELM (affiliated with Middlesex University) to research the effects of gut health and inflammation on the ageing process and ageing-related disorders, among other research.

Julia believes strongly in the power of the Mind-Body-Gut connection and that all need to be in harmony with each other and their surroundings in order for the body and mind to function optimally. She is a great proponent of antiaging from the inside out and believes that many ageing-related disorders can be prevented through optimal lifestyle, nutrition, stress management and adequate sleep. With this in mind, Julia runs a clinic on Wednesdays helping clients with sleep, stress, skin, menopause transition and other issues at Anatome and is the brand wellness specialist working across the brand’s various locations. 

Julia is a truly compassionate and caring practitioner aiming to help her clients towards optimising their physical, mental and skin health.

How to sleep better during menopause

Sleep is such a vital part of our health. Good quality sleep is key to keeping our mind and body in good shape; lack of adequate sleep can lead to illness, problems with memory and concentration and even mental health issues. That’s because adequate sleep helps to process thoughts, learnings, memories and with mood and healing. Our body and mind crave sleep and ideal is approximately eight hours of balanced sleep a night (1). Unfortunately, many menopausal women report suffering from sleep issues when going through the transition, and even before (during peri-menopause) and after (post-menopause). Hormonal changes impact on the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This means that cell reparation and brain improvements that are necessary to staying youthful and healthy are all impaired as we age (2). This explains why post-menopausal women are almost twice as likely as men to be struck with Alzheimer’s, with prevalence increasing with ageing (3). However, all is not lost. There are ways to improve sleep that most women can benefit from, with Anatome dedicated to helping customers to sleep better. Here are 5 tips for better sleep prior, during and after the menopause transition.

  1. Stay active during the day, but slow down by evening. Exercise may sound like an unusual addition to sleep, but in fact our bodies are built for movement and activity helps our minds to think clearer and our bodies to tire out for when the sun goes down. Ideally, moderate exercise is best with regular movement during the day. 30-90 minutes daily with part of that targeting muscle strengthening keeps our metabolism working at peak and helps our bodies to then be happily tired and ready for bed when bedtime calls. Exercise during the day helps to promote sleep at night while also reducing daytime drowsiness (4). HIIT workouts are great when time is limited. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime though as that could actually keep you awake. If that’s the only time available, opt for calmer workouts, such as yoga or pilates, which help stretch the body while calming the mind.
  • Give your digestion time to rest. Going through the change is already taxing on your body and takes a lot out of you. Hot flashes and night sweats may keep you awake at night but your digestion doesn’t have to. Eating just before bed not only is likely to lead to acid reflux and other stomach issues as you lay down with a full belly, but also severely interferes with sleep. While normally sleep should prioritise your mind, with thoughts and learnings being put into order, instead your body needs to focus on digesting your food, which means less restorative and effective sleep (5). This then leads to tiredness the following day because of sleep that wasn’t deep enough to be restful. Help your body towards better sleep by giving your digestion a rest before bed. Ideally, this means stopping eating approximately 3-4 hours before laying down to sleep. If that’s not in the cards every day, try skipping dinner (or eating it early) several times a week, or at least ensure dinner is your smallest meal (not your biggest as many do).
  • Keep a healthy sleep ritual. Let’s be honest, much of what we do, we do because it’s part of a daily routine. Having a regular routine means that our body often responds with hunger at certain usual times of the day because that’s when we normally eat. Well we can create a similar routine for our sleep, so that our body responds with sleepiness exactly when we should be getting ready for bed. If we’re normally night owls, it may initially be difficult to shift sleep cycles. That’s why the Anatome sleep products are so helpful, as they assist in shifting your current rhythm to a healthier one. The Reset, Relax and Sleep supplement (which should be taken an hour before your desired bedtime) serves to guide your body into that natural sleep rhythm. The Lavender Pillow Spray, Sleep Candle, Sleep Diffuser and Sleep Diffuser Oil all help your body to relax into sleep by emitting a soporific aroma into the air that your body then interprets as a sign of bedtime. Anatome also has 4 Sleep Essential Oil Blends specially dedicated to different obstacles people encounter while trying to sleep that can be applied to the body or used in a bath alongside the Relax + Sleep Bath Salts. In fact, soaking in a comfortable bath before bed is a great way to soothe tired muscles while also moving our body into a relax and sleep mode. There’s also a Sleep Tea that promotes relaxation and sleep that is the ideal blend for after dinner. Every Anatome Retail Consultant is trained to help with basic questions about sleep products offered, and for a more dedicated session clients are invited into the clinic available once weekly with a dedicated Sleep and Wellness Specialist.
  • Get your daily dose of melatonin. Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep hormone which ideally should be produced as the sun goes down. Sadly, melatonin production starts to decline in women at around the age of 35, which means good quality sleep will begin to decline soon after (2). However, that doesn’t mean that sleep will elude us ever after. In fact, one way towards more effective melatonin production is through sun exposure. Another is by keeping a healthy sleep ritual so that our body is accustomed to a certain circadian rhythm. This is why those who work night shifts or travel through different timezones often suffer with bouts of insomnia when attempting to settle into a regular rhythm again. Not to worry, Anatome’s Sleep Supplement contains 5-HTP which helps the body to produce melatonin when it needs it, alongside other key sleep aids, such as magnesium, valerian, ashwagandha (an adaptogen that promotes either relaxation or sleep depending on use), chamomile and lavender (both known for their rest-inducing effects).
  • Make your place of sleep very sleep-friendly. Good quality sleep begins with a sleep-friendly environment. If the last thing you want is to get into your bed, then postponing sleep will become the norm. Hence, focus on creating that ideal, comfortable sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom, and especially your bed, are clean, comfortable and welcoming and that your mattress is one you enjoy laying on. Pillows should be soft but not too high and some cultures remove pillows entirely when they sleep to encourage a flatter sleep surface. Use blackout blinds to keep the light out while you sleep and opt for a sleep mask to cover your eyes during the hours that you want them shut. Opt for sheets and pillow cases that are a high cotton count and spray them 5 minutes before bed with the Lavender Pillow Spray to further induce sleep. A silk sleep mask will likely feel nicest on eyes and you can add a small dab of your favourite Sleep Oil to the sides (avoid dabbing too close to eyes) for additional sleep help. Keep technology on airplane mode or silent mode while you’re in bed to avoid being disturbed while you sleep, as any sleep disturbance at night will interfere with the depth of sleep necessary for full restoration of mind and body.

Sleep is such a crucial part of keeping you healthy, youthful and feeling full of vitality that it is something that needs to be prioritised on a regular basis. Though sleep inevitably worsens as we age, there is much we can do to maintain good quality sleep and Anatome is built around the desire to help customers towards that elusive ideal rest.

How to look after your skin this summer

However, our skin is actually the barometer of what’s happening underneath the surface, hence looking after your skin starts from the inside in what you eat and drink and how you live and take care of yourself in general.

Beauty may be more than skin deep, but it certainly starts with your skin. Your skin is what people first see and touch when greeting you, so it’s important to take care of it well to keep it healthy. This is where it shows first if your lifestyle and/or diet haven’t been great for some time. As teenagers, when hormones are raging, a poor diet/lifestyle will show up as acne and other skin conditions. As we age, this may manifest as premature wrinkles. In the summer, much more of our skin is on display, so taking care of our outside becomes that much more critical. However, our skin is actually the barometer of what’s happening underneath the surface, hence looking after your skin starts from the inside in what you eat and drink and how you live and take care of yourself in general. Below some dos and don’ts for healthy-looking summer skin that glows.

1. Eat your vitamins. Your skin speaks miles as to what your body is going through. Eating well not only helps you to feel better, more energised and fuller of vitality, it also helps your skin to stay beautiful and healthy. But the best part is that ensuring good vitamin intake on a daily basis means that your immune system is also powered best to protect you from viruses, bacteria and toxins that you may be exposed to (1). Although we’ve all been told that we should eat our five a day, recent research has actually suggested that eating 10 portions (a portion = a fistful) of mostly vegetables (7-8 portions) with some seasonal fruit (1-3 portions) is what really helps to prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and to keep us looking more youthful (2). Your skin too thrives on plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Because life is often busy and we don’t always manage a regular daily intake that matches what our body and skin needs, as a Nutritional Therapist, I normally advise clients to supplement with both a daily multivitamin and other supplements targeted to their specific needs. For beautiful skin, you can’t beat a skin supplement. But be careful as not all skin supplements are created equal. Make sure that any you choose contains skin-boosting ingredients, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. Grape seed, bioflavonoids, which help to optimise digestion and immunity, as well as other key nutrients, will show up as better-quality skin in the long-run.

2. Moisturise from the inside out. Every optimum function in your body relies on moisture, which comes from water. Hence, it’s no surprise that hydration shows up first on your skin. If your skin is often dry or itchy, you may want to look at how much filtered water you’re drinking daily. You may also want to consider what else you’re drinking that may be actually dehydrating you. While the optimum amount of water intake is 1.5 to 2 litres daily, you may want to opt for the higher end of that if you’re drinking many dehydrating beverages: such as coffee, alcohol or processed fizzy drinks (coke, pepsi, energy drinks…). Processed drinks – especially if filled with sugar, sweeteners or caffeine – will strip the hydration right out of you and will rear the results on your skin: showing up as dry, blotchy, sometimes itchy, broken out or wrinkly skin. If you want beautiful skin, limit coffee intake to max 2 cups daily and avoid processed fizzy drinks like the plague as they are bad for both body and skin (as well as teeth and long-term brain health). Green tea, though also a source of caffeine, is chock full of antioxidants which help to boost immunity, aid in weight loss and help your skin look more youthful (3). Herbal teas too – especially those helpful for detox, relaxation, immunity and sleep – are also good for skin health. And because they are caffeine-free, they can be counted towards your 2L/day clean liquid requirement. 

3. Stick to a copious beauty ritual morning and evening. Skin health starts from the inside but finishes on the outside. It’s important to remove all makeup nightly and to keep to a healthy skin ritual which includes cleansing with a mild cleanser, followed by toner or facial mist, then a serum and moisturiser for the day mixed with a strong SPF for summer time to avoid skin damage (and premature ageing) from the sun and a moisture mask or skin oil for the night. Ensure all products used on your skin are natural and clean: everything put on skin can eventually end up inside your system as it slips through your pores. Make sure to take care of body skin too by using a natural cleanser or soap in the shower followed by a clean moisturiser post-shower. Moisturising the body before bed with a thicker cream or oil is a great way to give your body 7-8 full hours of dedicated moisture. No matter how tired or pressed for time you are, don’t skimp on the skin routine as that sets your skin up for better ageing years to come. While using sun protection is key for preventing premature ageing, especially on your face, neck, shoulders and typical exposed areas, ensure that some skin that is exposed and less likely to burn remains sunscreen-free for at least 20 minutes a day in milder sunshine (longer for more pigmented skin) to allow for access to that ever-important vitamin D. If enough sunshine eludes you even in summer months, consider taking a vitamin D supplement, which promotes healthy immunity (as well as prevention of many chronic disorders), bone health and improved skin quality (4).

4. Moderate exercise and regular stress management does a body (and skin) good.

Exercise may sound like an unusual addition to healthy skin, but is actually unsurprising as it helps to ensure skin remains toned (even as you age) and boosts circulation. However, don’t over-exercise as that can cause skin to over-react and be careful of overdoing sports such as running, or ones prone to injury which have been shown to cause skin issues if not careful (5). Moderate exercise is best for most people. Opt for regular movement of 30-90 minutes daily with part of that targeting muscle strengthening. HIIT workouts are great when time is limited. Stress management and adequate sleep are also key for skin health. When someone is tired or stressed, that normally shows up on skin and both chronic under-sleeping (less than 7-8 hours nightly) and regular stress will show up on skin as lines and premature ageing. People who are calm and happy generally look and feel younger, age better and have better immunity and less likelihood of chronic disease, so allow time daily for meditation, yoga or some kind of stress management (6) and spend time with friends, community and loved ones whenever possible as this boosts mental health, which in turn boosts overall health and skin quality. According to copious research, the happy hormone linked to love has also been shown to improve both mental, physical and skin health (8)!

5. Cut out the skin (and body) destroyers. As your skin is a barometer of what is happening below the surface, whatever is bad for your body (and your overall health) is equally bad for your skin. That includes the obvious offenders: smoking (vaping too!) and over-indulging on drugs or alcohol (more than 1-2, max 3 units daily). It also includes not sleeping enough on a regular basis. Even one all-nighter that includes less than the suggested 7-9 hours sleep nightly can show up on your skin. Not sleeping enough on a regular basis can surface as premature age lines, dark circles and sagging skin. It also plays havoc on your memory, concentration, immunity and even weight (chronic under-sleeping can supress your ability to control appetite) (7). Processed food and fizzy drinks, all which cause damage from within, will show up both on your skin, your body and your brain health (fuzzy brain, anyone?) so try to eat as cleanly and naturally as possible. Choose food which has mostly natural ingredients or create your own if you can. If you eat out or order in, opt for as many vegetables as you can as these will help gut health, which then helps immunity, mind, body and of course skin.

Taking care of skin goes hand in hand with taking care of overall health, so anything that boosts your immunity and wellbeing will also help your skin to look better. Looking after yourself from the inside out hence helps to create that healthy glow on the outside too.

Is curcumin the anti-inflammatory compound we all should be taking?

Curcumin is also being studied for reducing the inflammation that accompanies other chronic diseases, including dementias and cognitive decline as well as heart disease and even type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

Chances are that even if you’re not that clued in to what the latest buzz words in nutrition are, you’ve probably heard quite a bit of buzz about curcumin, the active compound that gives turmeric it’s’ lovely orangey pigment and potency. Turmeric has been utilised in Ayurvedic medicine for its’ anti-inflammatory benefits for many decades and it has become synonymous with health over the last 5 years.

Many studies have linked curcumin with reducing inflammation of all kinds, including in chronic disorders and even reducing cancer tumours. In fact, it’s being studies alongside chemotherapy and has been shown to be more effective with chemo than chemotherapy alone. 

Curcumin is also being studied for reducing the inflammation that accompanies other chronic diseases, including dementias and cognitive decline as well as heart disease and even type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disorders. It’s also recently been linked with anti-aging, as technically reducing inflammation also reduces the rapidity of the ageing process. It’s no wonder that the turmeric latte is being touted as your latest “health” drink.

Although turmeric (and curcumin), which is used in a vast degree in Indian cuisine, is in fact very helpful in reducing inflammation, it is not without its’ negatives. For one, the solubility and actual effectiveness of normal turmeric, as used in cooking or in that turmeric latte, is difficult to gauge. There is work being done on creating medicinal analogues with set pre-determined quantities to be used for inflammation reduction where solubility (how much of it you actually get into your body) and stability can be set, but this is still in testing mode despite curcumin being added to many supplements.

Curcumin supplements may also not be for everyone. For example, those on statins should exercise caution when taking curcumin as it theoretically can cause liver issues or keep the statins in the system longer than intended. Also, there is research with mice showing that curcumin could potentially cause lung cancer growth in those who smoke regularly. This is directly contradictory to research that showcases that curcumin reduces tumours from prostrate, breast, pancreatic and other cancers. But it still should be considered.

Want to know if curcumin is appropriate for your specific situation? Click here to book in a free call with Julia Keller, Nutritional Therapist, Naturopath and Clinical Hypnotherapist.

What your ability to sleep well has to do with your heart health (and vice versa)

To protect our heart, we need to improve both our sleep and our HRV. This means cutting down on that which negatively affects both — such as excess caffeine, alcohol, drugs, energy drinks…

Just when you thought that the only negative of not getting enough sleep was being tired the next day and having trouble functioning at work/school, now I’m here to tell you that your sleep has a significant effect on your heart. Not only that, but your heart health also shows up in how well, or how badly, you sleep.

As the resident Sleep and Wellness Specialist at Anatome, I’ve spent quite a lot of time learning much of what there is to know about sleep, but this latest finding about the correlation between sleep and heart health is a key finding even for me. It means that those who struggle with sleep may be inadvertently damaging their heart over time. It also means that those who come to me of an elder age with sleep issues may have impending heart issues they are not yet aware of. It also is important information for those who take the importance of sleep for granted, prefering instead to burn the candle at both ends for whatever reason.

On the bright side, however, there is quite a lot that we can do to improve both sleep and heart health. The article attached here gives some ideas of how to improve HRV (heart rate variability), which is a measure of how healthy a heart is and means the variation between each heartbeat. The higher one’s HRV, the healthier the heart. A higher HRV basically means fewer heart beats in a minute, a slower pumping heart, so longer spaces between beats. When we’re relaxed or sleeping, our heart beats slower. That’s good for our heart as it has a chance to relax and has less pressure on it. Lower HRV, so when the heart is beating faster, usually happens when we’re stressed (and also when we’ve had too much caffeine). If our heart beats too fast for too long, it will eventually get tired or overwhelmed: something that happens to many as they age. Chronic stress, anxiety, too much caffeine, obesity, even over-exercising when your body isn’t ready for that level of exercise… are all ways of over-working the heart. A chronically low HRV, or a chronically fast-beating heart is also a constant inflammation on the body and can potentially be linked with blocked arteries: all of which build up over time as we age.


Sleep is our body’s way of resting properly, digesting all of what we’ve learned and taken in during the day and healing whatever ails us. If we constantly skimp on sleep over the years, or miss out on necessary sleep cycles by either going to bed too late (skimping on deep NREM sleep) or waking up too early (skimping on REM sleep), we may be harming more than just our brains (sleep issues linked with Alzheimers) and our immunity, we may also be harming our heart, which means cutting down on our survival. After all, how long can we really live with a heart that isn’t working?

To protect our heart, we need to improve both our sleep and our HRV. This means cutting down on that which negatively affects both — such as excess caffeine, alcohol, drugs, energy drinks… It also means doing more of that which positively affects both — such as increasing moderate exercise (try dancing or a HIIT workout), learning to relax (meditation, yoga, deep breathing regularly), drinking sufficient water (1.5-2L daily) and spending time in nature and with friends/family that make us feel good. Anything that helps us relax and feel good, helps our heart and our sleep. That’s why some experts suggest gratitude meditation or journaling so that we focus on that which makes us happy. Others suggest volunteering with the less fortunate as giving of our time can make us feel better both about ourselves and our situation and the world in general. Hot cold hydrotherapy is also an easy way to boost HRV. This can be done through sauna/steamroom followed by a cold shower or bath or through alternating hot/cold shower.

Whatever you choose, the key is to make sure to never take sleep or heart health for granted and to constantly manage stress. Need help? I’m also a Stress Management Specialist and a Clinical Hypnotherapist with years of experience helping stressed-out executives to relax and sleep better. Book a free 20 minute call with me here to find out more of how I can help you too. Trust me, your heart will thank you.

No such thing as a magic pill

I have collected a group of these doctor heroes who have been brave enough to stand up against many peers and say that enough is enough and that we need to educate clients on the fact that there is no magic pill that will take away their ailments because the only magic comes from a change in diet and lifestyle.

It’s taken it’s fair time, but finally we are moving more into a time when more doctors than ever are starting not practice something I saw misnamed as “anti-medicine”. This sounds worse than what it is but it is seen as basically speaking up against overly-zealous often unnecessary, and mostly without educating the client, medical intervention. Over the course of my years of training and practice in the world of natural therapy (coaching, hypnosis, NLP, nutritional therapy…) I have collected a group of these doctor heroes who have been brave enough to stand up against many peers and say that enough is enough and that we need to educate clients on the fact that there is no magic pill that will take away their ailments because the only magic comes from a change in diet and lifestyle.

Interestingly enough, most of the diet and lifestyle recommendations that these doctors suggest are simple and super effective. They are also my bread and butter and what all Nutritional Therapists spend their entire practice advising clients on. The fact that my profession exists and that there are now multiple schools educating hundreds every year on just these simple but extremely necessary changes is a testament to how sought after they actually are. The age of Covid, with its proof of the need to think about health always, has made us all hyper-aware how ill health can literally be deadly with just a single big ugly seemingly-uncontrollable disease. Those who had the most significant health issues were the first to be seriously affected, while those who benefited from good health, youth and vitality were mostly totally spared (some completely without symptoms at all).

Suddenly immune health has become a topic of discussion among not just those of us who make it our life work. Just as suddenly everyone has started to become hyper aware of certain supplements and vitamin depletions. More and more medical doctors have began speaking up about the importance of taking care of health through diet and lifestyle. And this article attached is an ode to another one of the heroes joining the fold making my job of educating clients that much easier. Dr Aseem Malhotra, a Cardiologist, resonates in his new book in his personal battle against the over-prescribing of statins and the under-prescribing of key diet and lifestyle changes.


I’ve raged my own battle too, but on ageing. My complete pursuit in helping people to stay youthful and full of vitality and not propped up by drugs as they age has brought me to pursue my masters focusing on boosting longevity. And as I move forward in my research, so will the information I share with you all here. So stay tuned. I’m also launching a very informative online program soon that will take you through 12 weeks towards a healthier, more youthful you. I’ll be starting pre-launch of this soon. Meanwhile, you can now work with me onlin or now in person at a new venue (with another new venue coming soon). Details to follow in upcoming newsletters or if you can’t wait, book a free call with me here:

What have I been up to lately ?

After years of working on my own, I finally made the decision that to reach the awareness I seek to make happen in the field of healthy anti-ageing, I may need to join a bigger team. In December I joined a retailer called Anatomē, which specialises in Sleep and Wellness, as their Sleep and Nutrition Specialist opening a wellness clinic for them and running some sleep and health workshops specifically for women. It’s been an exciting journey so far and the clinic is growing in popularity every month and we’re planning workshops in the future with hypnotherapy for sleep, healthy ageing workshops and a workshop for Women’s health specifically. We’re also working with a local organisation to do more workshops for corporates in the area. So all in all it’s been an exciting time.

A key benefit for those of you on my mailing list is that I can now see clients in person at one of the two retail outlets (not just online) I work in and that my clients can benefit from a special client discount in store. I’ll also be sharing here some of the newsletters I write for them highlighting some of my favourite products in the future. And any research that I do for them as well.

Basically, it’s an exciting time of growth and we flourish together. So here’s to more to come! And if you wish to book an online or in-person consultation with me, you can first book your free call with me here

What’s health got to do with it?

In what I do, there’s a concept known as “inflammaging” that describes what causes many to become so unhealthy as they get older.

Someone I know closely was ill, so ill in fact that we went to visit this person at hospital. The thing about being in a hospital thinking about illness is that it brings you back to where illness begins…

In essence, illness is in fact the absence of health to some degree. To become ill, our health has to be dampened somewhat, that can be by a virus or an infection or some kind of pathogen that we come into contact with. Normally a strong immune system will be able to fight off such a pathogen and keep our health intact and we stay healthy and none the wiser. Our body is an incredible machine: take care of it properly and it will keep us together long term.

But as soon as we are depleted, weaker than usual, or our immune system is compromised in some way, then we leave it vulnerable and our health is like an army under attack who hasn’t eaten or slept for days: tired, weak and easy to conquer. Unfortunately weakening our immune system is something that’s done much too easily. Stressing too much over an upcoming deadline, exams, work…? Partying too hard for a few days/weeks? Chronically underslept (fewer than 7-8 hours per night for more than a week)? Exercising too little (or too much)? Have a loss in the family or other emotional turmoil? Eating a not so great diet on a regular basis? Holding onto too much extra weight? Well you get the idea. It’s very easy to live a less than ideally healthy life. And I didn’t even mention toxins from living in a big city or breathing in unclean air, drinking unfiltered water, drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs (illegal or prescribed), eating processed food, drinking processed beverages and so much more. With all that can break our immune system down, it’s surprising all of us aren’t chronically ill… Or are we?

The truth is although the mortality rate has dropped somewhat thanks to modern medicine, people aren’t necessarily living longer and they’re certainly not living healthier. In fact most over a certain age are being propped up by medications which have plenty of known side effects (normally dealt with by being prescribed other medications that are there to handle these side effects). Recently a well-meaning man in his early 60s on statins said to me “of course I’m on a statin. Everyone over 50 should be on a statin; it’s just safer”. Unfortunately, the doctor who put him on the statin had no time to educate him on the potential long-term side effects and the fact that his very slightly-elevated cholesterol could be lowered by much healthier ways: such as changes in diet and more exercise.

The truth is it’s easy to be convinced that there’s some magic pill that will solve our health issues and help us live longer without any sacrifices of giving up an unhealthy lifestyle. Most people become very attached to their bad habits and think the find enjoyment in them because they don’t realise just how much pleasure there is in feeling healthy and youthful even as you age. I’ve seen enough healthy elderly to know it’s possible for all of us, but of course it means giving up some bad habits that we may have grown attached to.

In what I do, there’s a concept known as “inflammaging” that describes what causes many to become so unhealthy as they get older. Over time, unresolved chronic inflammation just grows and causes premature ageing, joint and bone issues, plaques on arteries, debilitated lungs, brain problems, etc. That inflammation causes the ageing that we see and want to avoid.

So while there really is no magic pill to fix your health issues (despite what the pharmaceutical industry would have you believe), the magic that we seek is within (and without) and is our personal power to change our health and actually live healthier longer, staying youthful and staying active.

My goal in what I do is to empower you to do just that. That’s why I’m soon launching my 12 week program for slowing down ageing. Trust me, if you’re over 40, this is something you will want to see. Soon I’ll be telling you how you can access this pre-launch at incredible pre-launch prices. Stay tuned. And please forward this email to whoever you think can benefit.

“Toxic Neighbours; Toxi War” – Experience Living In Georgia During The Ukrainian War

A Newsletter by Marija, our team member who lives in Georgia, Tbilisi.

“Living with a toxic neighbouring country is a lot like living with a toxic person in a small, confined space. Tension never leaves you because the feeling of not knowing how your day may proceed is nerve-wracking. You are constantly on vigil, checking news and social media platforms: facebook, instagram, telegram, personal calls, chats in the street, shop queues, bus rides, family meetings, television… Checking to make sure that as as soon as a real threat arises you will instantly know. 

The reason you need to instantly know is to be able to act – while you still can – your action becoming that last control you have of your life when the world feels so out of control. Is it time to leave? Do we pack up and uproot our family now? But where would we go? 

The war is actually not here yet, in Georgia, so no one is as supportive of us as of people who need relief and help instantly. Are we exaggerating by holding onto this fear? Should we attempt calm and rationality instead?Will it even happen at all? You can go through your day to day activities, morning breakfast, news, counting casualties, which cities have been bombed, going to work, checking the news, has there been a deal yet? Wondering will sanctions hit us now? Will we be next? What about our funds? Should we move money so that we don’t end up penniless? Will my husband be sent to war? Will I end up alone? 

Being in constant vigil is a way not to miss any pivotal information.  But it also is a route towards persistent stress. My head has been aching perpetually and I constantly wonder if I should find a way to relax instead, to manage this stress as Julia says often, deep breaths…

But this fear everyone is feeling is persistently surrounding us. We go out to protest. Stand hours in the streets with people supporting Ukraine, all shaken up by fear. Conversations circle around what our escape plans would be if war hit us next and would we be next or would there be other countries first closer to Ukraine. Whatever happens to Ukraine could happen to Georgia too, to the Baltics, to Poland… 

And what about Corona? Suddenly it has almost disappeared from news and it feels that Corona would be a nicer, simpler problem to worry about rather than war. At least you feel more in control with Corona as you can always improve your health and thereby your immunity. War is so much more difficult to control, especially when it is raged by someone as uncontrollable as Putin.

This feeling on unknown is a persistent stressor threatening to hit and devour you at any time. Isn’t it funny that now, what seemed so tremendously stressful now seems so much more familiar and controllable? 

So how to cope with so much doubt, fear, uncertainty? 
The truth is, I do not have control of any of this…. I have to trust my body to react correctly when the time comes. I have to trust my mind to react when the time comes.  Perhaps these years of global crises: Pandemic, War with Russia is teaching us that stability cannot be found externally (as Julia always says) – it is like the laws of nature: everything changes, destructs itself and yet life goes on. 

The witnessing of war from a distance, with a very high chance of being the next target, is a separate phenomenon that needs be studying. In this experience, we see the reality which is a high possibility, and combine it with our imagination – which for me is a deadly combination. By now, we know just how much our imagination and thoughts influence our lives. That is why we practice awareness, thoughtfulness, meditation, positive thinking . WE have acknowledged that change of  mind patterns influences individual’s life too. But we are yet to acknowledge just how much the negative thoughts, fears, constant news stream, images of war damage us because they trigger the most powerful tool of all – imagination.

So perhaps the answers to peace can only be found within. I continue my quest. Today yoga and meditation is on the agenda.”

Finding peace within in a time of war

Just when we thought the uncertainty in our world was coming to an end, it has sprung a new beginning. War is happening on foreign shores but the threat of its’ presence moving closer is paramount. For those reading this with loved ones in either country, my heart goes out to you and yours.

Many of my family and friends, living in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, are waiting and watching in trepidation to see if the invasion moves closer to their land. Many of us outside of these war zones are also watching, both in anxiety for what this war could mean for the rest of the world but also in sadness for the horrible circumstances that have claimed so many lives.

Right now as we sit outside the war zones again stricken by fear, this time not because of a disease that may get us, but because of a dictator who may cause havoc in our world, there is no better time to remind ourselves that no matter the uncertainty of the world around us, nothing can strip us of the peace we can possess within. 

Although I believe looking for permanent inner peace may be beyond most of us, even holding that peace and calm for a short time is already good for our physical and mental health. In fact both meditation and yoga (which encourage breathing and moving to the parasympathetic state of calm) have both been linked with improved mental health, stronger immunity and even longevity. Plus finding inner peace feels good, especially when the norm in our time seems to be anxiety and fear. 

If you don’t have time for yoga or a long meditation, consider taking 10 minutes before bed to imagine yourself going somewhere peaceful and calm, or where you find happiness. And if you find yourself stressing out about anything during the day, try taking several deep breaths to reach a little bit of inner peace even in a challenging moment. 

It is through finding peace within ourselves that we can escape for even a minute from the havoc and panic around us.

Can you actually slow down ageing?

We’ve spent quite a lot of time putting this series together and we can’t wait for you to see it! The plan is to release in time for spring/summer just as the weather gets warm and the layers of clothes come off and you want to look your best.

Can you actually slow down ageing?

Ok it’s true, I’m kind of obsessed with both staying younger longer and with helping people to stay healthy and full of vitality for as long as they can. So it’s no surprise that I’ve decided to focus my Nutrition Masters research specifically into that area. It’s also no surprise that I’m passing much of what I learn onto you, my dear readers and loyal followers.

So if you’re even slightly concerned about how you too can stay youthful and healthy as you age, you’ll be excited to learn that I’m coming out with a video series where I’ve interviewed a vast number of other specialists in different areas of medicine and nutrition that play a part in helping you to age well.

We’ve spent quite a lot of time putting this series together and we can’t wait for you to see it! The plan is to release in time for spring/summer just as the weather gets warm and the layers of clothes come off and you want to look your best. As clearly what you need to stay healthy longer is also what will help you to GET HEALTHY NOW!

So here’s a little preview of what’s to come and what you’ll learn.

  1. How to get and stay fit from the inside out.
  2. What to eat for maximum health benefit.
  3. What to stop eating and doing that could be ageing you.
  4. How your thoughts impact your health.
  5. What lifestyle secrets to adapt to keep you healthy and active longer.

Take care of your heart this Valentine’s Day!

Hi there!

On Valentine’s Day, the temptation may be to think of your heart in terms of love. After all, that’s what the heart symbol stands for on this day which aims to celebrate couples and make everyone who isn’t part of one feel more alone than usual.

But your heart isn’t just the organ most associated with falling in love, it’s actually also one of the most important organs to help your body pump blood and oxygen where it needs and hence to help you stay alive. So this Valentine’s Day, why not be kinder to your heart than ever, especially if you’re guilty of over-indulging on processed foods or beverages or in particularly heart-unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much or eating too much meat, too much salt (and too few vegetables) on a regular basis. 

These bad habits, combined with low exercise or too much stress (or both) can lead to issues such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol. Normally, when these issues get really bad, your doctor will then prescribe some kind of pill: either statins to lower your cholesterol or anti-hypertensives to reduce blood pressure. The problem is that every medication you take will come with some kind of not so great side effect (which your doctor will often prescribe another pill to relieve). 

The end result can hence become (as we see often in many elderly) a polypharmacy situation of perpetual pills to control or reduce the side-effects of other pills. There are many reasons why this isn’t particularly great for your health (and especially not for your liver, which is almost as important as your heart in keeping you alive).

Luckily, there’s quite a lot you can do naturally by changing your diet and lifestyle either before you’re on this road to multiple pills and even if you’re already partially there. For more information as to how you can help yourself, watch this video below. Want more help to get your heart into gear the healthy way?

Statins: The most prescribed drug to try and avoid if you can

In fact, this incredible man turned out to be in his late 70s but looked about 45. That was when I knew what my niche would be: helping people to age as well as he’d managed to.

When I was studying Naturopathy, before I knew too much about the many chronic diseases I’d be helping people manage or try to avoid in the future, I had a favourite lecturer who I knew was rather old, but looked and moved very young. In fact, this incredible man turned out to be in his late 70s but looked about 45. That was when I knew what my niche would be: helping people to age as well as he’d managed to.

This lecturer had already outlived most of his genetic plan (most men on his family line died around middle age from one of many chronic diseases, propped up by several prescription drugs from their 40s). He was “as fit as a fiddle” and he knew his body well and worked hard to keep it in optimal shape. I was incredibly impressed to say the least!

This was also the first time I’d heard a lecturer speak quite as candidly and vocally about the negative effects of statins. Most of my Nutrition lecturers skirted around the issue telling us how to help clients on statins so that they could avoid the all too often repercussions of dementia and prevalence towards other chronic issues. This lecturer, however didn’t hold back. “Statins are dispensed now like candy because doctors don’t bother to distinguish between the different forms of cholesterol or to educate patients on how to keep their cholesterol in check. No one wants to do the work of actually staying healthy. They just want to eat whatever they want and lay in front of the TV. Then they just pop their pills and think everything will be better when actually the pills make it all worse. The only patients who should ever be on statins are those with familial hypercholesterolaemia, and even those we can make a big difference to if caught early enough.” The focus of my work into longevity began right then and there.

Clearly it would be an uphill battle. Convincing clients that what they eat and how they live their life today will affect 10+ years from then was already a challenge. Getting them to change how they eat and sacrifice foods that have no nutritional benefits and many downsides, but that taste great and are highly addictive (processed foods) makes the challenge even greater. Add to it the health benefits of plant foods that don’t taste quite as captivating that I have to convince my clients to learn to enjoy and the challenge seems downright impossible, especially when many clients think they can just pop a pill and make every issue go away (without any thought to the side effects).

Luckily I’m made of strong stock and don’t mind a challenge. Lucky too is that I find this to be my calling. And to boost that, research is on my side. The health benefits of simple, but critical, lifestyle changes and diet changes cannot be overstated and have been studied in droves. The side effects of drugs, like statins, are also now being uncovered and there are plenty of functionally-oriented medical doctors who are happily singing the same tune as us Nutritional Therapists. 

Plus the wellness industry is growing and viruses like Covid killing off the unhealthy first are bringing awareness of the importance of health like never before. So maybe this is finally the right time to help people take care of their health today to ensure a better tomorrow.

Are you on statins or other drugs you’re having second thoughts about now? Book a free phone call with me here to discuss your options.

The nutrient your body needs to function.

Magnesium is key for keeping your body working, your brain in peak performance and your mental health in top form

Our body is a miraculous thing. It is what we show the world of who we are and if taken care of properly, our body will take care of us. While we are born with a certain level of predestination in what our genes will and can manifest, much of what becomes of our body (and consequently of our essence) is up to us. That’s why taking good care of what we’re born into is so important.

Magnesium is one nutrient that is incredibly important for how well our body functions. Our muscles, our cells, our sensations and even our brain and mental health are all dependent on sufficient magnesium intake.

The article below discusses the many version of magnesium supplements available when what we’re taking in isn’t sufficient. However, magnesium can be found in so many foods that help to keep us healthy. Dark chocolate is probably the most popular treat where magnesium can be found. In fact, a craving for chocolate can often actually be your body’s way of telling you that your magnesium intake is insufficient.

Many fruit and vegetables also have magnesium, among them avocados (which are surprisingly a fruit not a vegetable and which are a favourite to add to smoothies) benefitting from the highest levels, as well as well as bananas (eat them before they’re ripe to avoid the sugar overload) and leafy greens. Other foods with high magnesium levels are nuts and seeds, tofu, legumes, fatty fish and some whole grains.

Magnesium is key for keeping your body working, your brain in peak performance and your mental health in top form. If you’re not sure you’re getting enough, consider boosting levels with a magnesium supplement (check out the various supplements on the market in the attached article).

Want to know how else you can keep yourself in optimal shape to be healthy for now and many years from now? Book a free call with me here.

Happy New Year everyone

I don’t believe in New Years resolutions. Rather I believe in changes that stay with you for a lifetime.

It’s almost 2022 and the end of the year is off to an interesting finish. We start 2022 off in a strange state of unknown. Where last year we were mostly all surviving quarantine, this year we aren’t really sure where we stand. 

The latest covid strand, Omicron, seems to have infected a vast amount of people and politicians are bracing themselves for dire statistics which may or may not come. So far, thankfully, the results don’t seem to be too dire. Though infections are at a high, deaths are not and neither are hospitals 🏥 overflowing. Omicron so far is mostly having mild effects. So much so that the quarantine rules have even been reduced in a sense. So does that mean that soon hopefully pandemic panic will be reduced? Well, all we can do is hope and improve our health and our immunity.

And that brings me to the main crux of this newsletter. And that is the part where I empower you all to make 2022 different from the years before. As I’ve always said, I don’t believe in New Years resolutions. Rather I believe in changes that stay with you for a lifetime and commitments that actually matter enough to keep them. So don’t promise yourself to eat better and go to the gym more often, instead change your approach to your health so that you get to hold onto good health and vitality for longer. 

And don’t wait until your health is gone to finally focus on it, pay attention now while you still can. The longer you wait to really take care of yourself, the more difficult it will be to get back what you’ve let go. Trust me, I’ve seen it all the time with my elderly clients. I remember one client who thought he was living healthy when in truth he’d been sabotaging his health through his poor diet and lack of sleep for years. The only thing he’d done right was spend a lot of time exercising. However, once the poor diet and minimal sleep caught up with him, his dwindling energy and poor joint health caused by chronic inflammation caught up with him until even climbing stairs became too difficult. 

Don’t let that be you! Help your health by taking care of it fully now while you still have it. On multiple medications? Speak with your doctor about having these reviewed to make sure you’re still using meds you need and in the right doses. Starting to not feel great? It may be time to speak to an expert. You can book a free 20 minute call with me here to discuss where minor changes to diet and lifestyle can make a major difference.

Start your new year off right. New year; New you!

Being mindful of our blessings this Christmas

Being mindful of our blessings this Christmas

Ok I’m the first to admit it: 2021 has been a challenging year. Just as we thought 2020 wasn’t easy, 2021 wasn’t much better. So it’s not always easy to know where to look for what we can count as our blessings this Christmas.

But perhaps we can start with just the fact that we can celebrate with our loved ones in closer contact this time around, which is already better than last year. Perhaps somewhere in the confusion of what’s passed, what’s worked and what hasn’t and the fear/hope of what’s to come, we can find a space to be grateful for what we have right now.

Sometimes in between the fear for tomorrow and the worry about yesterday, we forget to look at the joy of today. While I’m not advocating living just for the moment without any future planning, we often miss the moment because we’re scrambling between regretting the past and planning the future. So we miss the opportunity to enjoy the today. That could be a precious moment or a wonderful adventure missed.

So let’s celebrate today just for the simple goodness of it being just before another Christmas. And even if Christmas isn’t your thing or it just makes you feel more lonely, think of it as a day off that you can relax and unwind and just enjoy calmly. And if your health isn’t one of the areas you’re grateful for right now, book a free 20 minutes call with me here and let’s get that better for the coming year and beyond.

Have a watch of the Christmas video below and follow us for more advice and tips on Facebook and Instagram at @healthyagingnutrition.

Whatever makes you feel good about yourself is good for your health

Whatever makes you feel good about yourself is good for your health.

As we get older, we sometimes worry about not looking as good as we used to or not feeling as great. All of these are sadly realities of ageing that we can’t change completely but we can have some control over. That’s why as we age taking care of ourselves with copious self-care is just so important. 

Those moments that we give to ourselves, after so many given to others, are like little presents that remind us that we are still important and loved. One of the downsides of getting older is that people around us are no longer as healthy or as present and there is often a lot of loss of loved ones. It can feel grim and sad at times and loneliness unfortunately is much more a reality the older we get. That’s why the little  gifts of self-care that we can give ourselves are so important for helping us to feel better. 

Not only does relaxing and taking care of ourselves and allowing ourselves to be taken care of, feel good and help us to look better and stay happier longer, but those moments of downtime are actually really good for our health. 

If you’re a typical parent/giver/taker carer of others, your life is filled with moments looking after those around you. This means many moments of concern for the welfare of family/friends/coworkers/clients. It also probably means stress and running around. Or if you’re now older and retired so that those moments of being with others are more seldom, you may not realise that you even deserve the self-care. But those little moments of stopping, breathing, relaxing are essential for your mental and physical well-being. They help the body to rest, digest, relax… And we need a good balance of run vs relax in our lives to age well and stay healthy. 

Our gut buddies (the healthy gut bacteria that help us by supporting our immunity and healthy ageing) need our moments of calm. And our health depends on it. So take the time to breathe, meditate, relax, practice some yoga or Pilates, go get that facial or massage and by all means go and get your nails done and enjoy that massage chair if it makes you feel good. 

Taking care of you shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure, it should be a daily activity counted towards the bucket of taking care if your health. So go ahead and indulge; it’s good for you! And it’ll help you to stay happier as you age and happiness is great for your health! 

Why women benefit from phytoestrogens

If you’re reading this and you’re a woman 40 or above, you’ve probably heard at least a bit about the benefits of phytoestrogens. If you’re reading this and you’re a man, don’t ignore this article as it can be useful for a woman in your life. And if you’re a woman under the age of 40, read ahead as every piece of advice I give works best if started early, so the earlier you give these things a go, the better you’ll fare as you age.

So what are phytoestrogens and why are they a big deal?

Well first of all, let’s consider why women began looking for phytoestrogens in the first place. These days with all of us, particularly women, living longer, while not necessarily changing how long our reproductive cycle is (more on this later), it means that we spend much more time living through and after menopause: which is a somewhat uncomfortable thought for many women. While changes in diet and lifestyle can make a significant difference in how we live, how long we have to reproduce is dependant primarily on our genetics and when we first started menstruating as it is highly reliant on our quantity of eggs. So if you look at your mother and your mother’s mother and consider when they went into menopause, most likely yours will be at around the same time, give or take. There are lifestyle and diet changes, however, that can not only shorten how long we have until menopause, but can also prolong it. If you wish to postpone your menopause as much as you can given your genetics and youth, book a free call with me here to find out more. For instance, women who smoke tend to reach menopause earlier than women who don’t, with average age of menopause in general around 51.4 years old. Chemotherapy, radiation and physical removal of the ovaries will also accelerate menopause, as can higher BMI.

For women who have already began menopause, particularly when that menopause is uncomfortable and causing issues, the medical world has developed HRT. HRT can help to reduce such issues as fractures and bone loss, as well as cardiovascular issues and even dementia. However, unfortunately, HRT has had some very bad press due to some rather nasty side effects, such as breast and ovarian cancers being more likely, along with DVTs, strokes and other issues. To avoid serious side-effects as much as possible, women are told not to use HRT for longer than necessary, so that they have a time limit on how long they should be on the hormones. Some time later, the medical community came up with a more natural approach using bio-identical hormones, which is a safer alternative, although the long-term effects of this are still being researched, with the research so far looking rather promising with much fewer consequences over HRT and similar benefits.

So what if you don’t wish to use hormones at all and want a more natural approach? Well that’s where phytoestrogens come in. In a review conducted by Moreira et al., 2014, phytoestrogens are described as compounds in various foods that resemble estradiol. The foods that contain the most phytoestrogens are soy-based products, such as soybeans, tofu, tempeh… In the countries where these are eaten the most, women suffer fewer menopause-related issues and easier transitions, as well as later menopause.

Moreira et al., 2014, goes on to categorise phytoestrogens into 4 categories: isoflavones, lignans, coumestans and stilbenes. While isoflavones are based mainly on soy and soy derivatives, they are also present in clover and alfalfa. Lignans, another category, are the most prevalent in nature, and are present in many plants: including flaxseed, oat and berries. Coumestans and stilbenes are less prevalent in the diet and are less well-studied. While Coumestrol is found in clover and alfalfa sprouts and lima bean and sunflower seeds, among other sources, Resveratrol is the most studied stilbene, present in grapes, peanuts and cranberries, as well as in wine (and could be the secret to the health benefits of red wine — in moderation of course).

Although more research is needed on just how many phytoestrogen-based foods one needs to consume to make a significant difference in menopause symptoms and to prevent serious post-menopause related issues, the current research coming out has been very positive in the effect of phytoestrogens as a natural alternative to hormone therapies. Obviously, each woman must choose what’s right for her on an individual basis. If you’d like help with this process, book your free call with me here:

Thanksgiving Is A Chance To Practice Being Thankful

For me, confronted with health issues of my children, my immediate instincts of someone constantly studying the latest in wellness and health instantly kicked in. I learned more about how to heal Corona quickly by trying it out on my daughter. I learned more about protecting the rest of us in the family from becoming sick by trying remedies out on myself and my youngest.

Thanksgiving is a chance to practice being thankful. 

Recently, my eldest daughter was sick with covid. It wasn’t a particularly great time for her being ill as holidays were coming up and their trip abroad with dad was booked.  I, in turn, had way too much on my plate to be able to stay home and be sick, not to mention a small dog that no one else was going to walk for me. “I have no time to be sick!” was my usual retort when friends and relatives inquired concerned about our health. While my younger one could hide out in other rooms of the house, as a mother, my first job was to care for my children and ensure they got well. Hence I spent much time in looking after my daughter putting her health concerns above mine.

It’s interesting how we tend to pay more attention to something when it’s missing than when it’s as and where we expect it to be. As a Nutritional Therapist, I spend most of my time these days dealing with health in one way or another, always aware of what is out there health wise and doing my best to ensure optimum health for me and my family, along with for my clients. But while I ensure that we all live a healthy lifestyle and eat a mostly healthy diet at home, I don’t focus specifically in on our health until something isn’t working.

Isn’t this how most of us have lived up until the Corona crisis began? Health was something we didn’t pay much attention to when we had it. It wasn’t a particular concern for most until suddenly the entire world was presented with a health crisis that no one knew exactly how to get out of. Suddenly, all of society, including all the normal rules of living were changed to protect what few had even considered much before: health. 

For me, confronted with health issues of my children, my immediate instincts of someone constantly studying the latest in wellness and health instantly kicked in. I learned more about how to heal Corona quickly by trying it out on my daughter. I learned more about protecting the rest of us in the family from becoming sick by trying remedies out on myself and my youngest. As it happens, my experiments proved highly successful for our small family. My sick daughter was very quickly better, while myself and the other child managed to stay healthy and not get sick. The children were able to go away on holidays as planned and my dog didn’t have to miss any of his usual walks.

Whether it was due to my knowledge of nutrition or due to my persistent focus on keeping my family healthy, we were luckier than most and came through Corona relatively unscathed. I was grateful for the health we’d protected up to that point and I added a gratitude meditation and thanked the universe again for the journey that brought me to the direct awareness of the importance of health that happened before the entire world began suffering from this serious health epidemic that has claimed so many.

These days media and news of all kinds focuses in on fear, not on hope. So that everyone walks around being scared of being sick rather than grateful for being healthy. As a believer of the Law of Attraction, I can see how what we focus on tends to be what is realised. This focus is true for the use of language as well. Gratitude should be used abundantly in both the way you think and the way you speak.

According to the Law of Attraction, we tend to attract what we think, whether it is positive or negative and whether it is thought consciously or even very unconsciously. Hence, focusing on the fear of becoming ill is exactly what gives strength to the growth of illness. Gratitude is a way to turn that feeling of fear on its’ heel and to force us to look for that which we value and for what we do have. Once we realise what we have, we can then work better to protect it. Hence we begin to look after our health not because we fear losing it but because we want to keep healthy for as long as possible. And if not already healthy, focusing on health helps to bring us closer towards what we want (not what we lack).

Now that we’re soon to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving, it’s a wonderful time to focus on learning how to focus on the art of being thankful, as it is in fact an art. Learning to look for what we like rather than focusing on what we lack or what we fear is something that most don’t do naturally but need to learn to. 

The upcoming festive holidays and the New Year, is a great time to think about what we value most in our lives and in the people that we are close to. When I spend time thinking about what annoys me about my kids, they seem to become more annoying. However, as soon as I consider the many aspects of their unique and interesting personalities that I adore, I suddenly realise again just how special they are, and how grateful I am for having them.

Gratitude has the magic ability to help us see the world through rose-coloured glasses, suddenly becoming keenly aware of how beautiful and wonderful it really is. Wouldn’t you rather see things that way than through the other glasses that come from complaining and irritation: those that leave your life feeling empty and your soul constantly wanting? Even more so, wouldn’t you rather focus in on what you want more of than what you want less of. Well the choice of focus is up to you, so choose well. 

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“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” — Thornton Wilder

~ Julia

The FINAL rule of the POWER 9!

According to several studies about behaviour, conditions that you wouldn’t think could be contagious actually are (but not in the way you think).  This is relating to both negative conditions, such as obesity, and negative habits, such as overeating, smoking, drinking too much and even indulging in the wrong kinds of foods (diet soda, anyone?). The same is true for positive lifestyle habits, such as exercising, eating right and even thinking proactive, positive thoughts. 

That’s why the people you surround yourself with make such a significant difference to how well you yourself live and the habits you adapt. If you end up in a group where everyone is always complaining about everything, you find yourself more inclined to find something yourself to complain about (by the way, complaining and negative mindset takes years off your life). On the other hand, if the group of people you hang out with practice gratitude meditation and think positively of the world around them, you end up also feeling grateful and positive about the world and the people in it (gratitude and positivity can add up to 30% more life into your years). 

So who you choose to surround yourself with makes a big difference. That’s not to say that you should cut all negative people out of your life completely (especially if they include family and old friends), but perhaps consider limiting time spent with them if you can and take what they say with a grain of salt and don’t let them infect you with their negativity disease (which is all too easy to catch if you let yourself).

Remember that it’s very difficult to convince a negative person of the benefits of being positive. Most negative people think of themselves as “realistic” and they believe anyone too positive is not seeing the horrible world for what it truly is. They may accuse you of being trapped in a fake reality or in a “happy bubble”. Well it turns out that being blind to negativity can add serious years of health to your life. In fact, most of the centenarians in the Blue Zones (and in general) suffer from this same blindness. They may face hardship like everyone else, but they focus on the positive and get on with things with as much optimism as is possible in the situation. Spend your time with these positive people and catch what they have instead. Trust me, it’s much better for your health.

So that’s the last point of our 9 point series on how to age healthier. But that’s just one piece of research and just the start. Stay tuned as I’ll be bringing you plenty more in due course.


Ready to get started with ensuring you age well, book a free wellness taster call with me here and find out how you’re likely to age based on your current diet & lifestyle.