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. 

Need help focusing on health and improving it. Book a free call with me here:

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

~ Julia

Rule No5: Plant Based Diet!

If you’ve read anything about health lately, including any books on the topic or any of my newsletters or social media, you probably already know about the importance of a plant-based diet and a plant slant to the way you eat.

While eating too much meat (especially red and processed meat) in your diet has been linked with inflammation and cardiovascular issues and increased cholesterol, plants (and fungi) have almost all been linked with positive benefits. These benefits aren’t limited to reducing inflammation and improving metabolic health, they also extend to improving your gut health. In fact, plants (including tubers, fungi, leaves, cruciferous…) are what your gut buddies prefer to eat over all other food. 

The more plant-based your diet, the more you feed the good gut bacteria responsible for boosting health and longevity. Conversely, the more inflammatory your diet (full of sugar, processed food and drinks, copious not organic meat…) the shorter your healthy lifespan will be. 

It’s no surprise then that all five of the Blue Zones have a plant slant to the way they eat. Meat is a rare enjoyment eaten maximum once weekly (and in most of the Blue Zones even less often). 

So in case you missed the main point: in areas of the world where more people than anywhere else in the world live to be over a hundred (without the help of medications propping them up), these people eat a mostly plant-based diet. That means loads of salads, plant-based protein and copious vegetables. If this hasn’t sold the idea of plant-based eating to you, I’m not sure what will. 

How about that plants extend longevity thanks to copious antioxidants, gut-friendly fibre, inflammation-lowering vitamins and minerals and so much more. 

Should you need examples: broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have been studied in depth for their cancer-preventing properties, kale has been linked to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol naturally (as has avocado, sweet potato, beetroot, garlic and other leafy greens, among others). Mushrooms have been so well studied for their amazing anti microbial, anti parasitic, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties that they now have quite a few studies (mainly from Asia where the life-giving benefits of mushrooms have been revered for centuries) showcasing their effectiveness to boost the success of cancer-fighting traditional medical interventions (such as chemotherapy) and their ability to encourage cancer cell apoptosis (the dying off of cancer cells). 

Plants (and I include tubers and fungi in this category) are limitless in their health-boosting potential and you should consider it your daily duty to eat at least 8-10 servings (fistfuls) of them if you want to live a healthy and long life filled with youthfulness and vitality.

Rule 4: Eat Until 80% Full

In the majority of the Western world, we seem to have a tendency towards overeating. Anyone who’s spent enough time in the US is well aware of the favourite holiday dedicated to the art of over-eating: Thanksgiving. And of course obesity is unfortunately now becoming much too common an epidemic of those who overindulge on a regular basis.

In the Blue Zones, where both obesity and chronic diseases of all kinds are much less prevalent, people follow the rule of eating until 80% full. Calorie restriction is a regular practice that doesn’t have to be planned and that has incredible longevity-boosting benefits.

I’ve always found calorie restriction as one of the easiest ways to improve health while also improving the waist line. Limiting eating to 2-3 meals daily (with no snacking in between) and increasing the time between the last meal and the first one, from 12-16 hours, is a great way to improve insulin resistance (reducing the chances of diabetes or metabolic disorders later on). Weight reduction is one added benefit, but so is improving your appetite response so that your body knows when it’s full and tells you so (which reduces the chances of over-eating in the future). Allowing your body rest between meals and a longer fast is also good to give your digestive system a break. It also helps your gut microbiome to improve its’ balance and your good gut bacteria likes the break while the bad gut bacteria wants you to keep feeding (especially on processed food and sugar).

Stopping eating when only 80% full will give you a better sense of just how much food you actually need. It also means often limiting food to the healthier parts: salad and protein, preferably stopping before desert (which will again favour good gut bacteria as the bad guys live on sugar and processed carbs). Remember that your gut microbiome impacts not just your weight (poor gut microbiome mix has been linked with obesity in many studies) but also your immunity (reducing inflammation as one of the benefits of improved mix). In the Blue Zones, where people live healthier longer and where most are at their ideal weight, this is a regular practice. Isn’t it time to try this easy practice for yourself? Try eating slower and make meals more of a stand-alone activity (rather than eating on the run). This will help you to limit food intake and stop in time.

Need more help with this? I also do hypnotherapy to reduce cravings. To book a free call to find out more, click here:

Rule 3: Downshift from that stress

Let’s just be real here. Unless you’re a munk living on top of a mountain (and if you’re reading this you’re probably not), stress is likely a regular part of your life. Most likely, it’s a much more regular part than you’d like to admit (even to yourself) and one that you haven’t been managing particularly well up to now.

Rest assured though that it isn’t the lack of stress that leads to long healthy life but the adequate management of that stress. The people who live in the Blue Zones aren’t naturally gifted with a stress free life; they just know how to downshift from that stress on a regular daily basis.

Each Blue Zones area downshifts in a different way. For some it’s prayer, for some meditation or yoga (or tai chi). For others it’s just a mid-day nap, called a siesta. The idea is the same, however. To stop whatever is causing stress and just take a much needed break to tune out and tune back into whatever makes you true to you: whatever makes you tick and drives you in the first place. It’s a time to tune into breath, into hope, into rest (and hence into the the much needed parasympathetic sense inside you).

Adding some parasympathetic into our very sympathetic-dominated lives is key to staying youthful and healthy longer. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga… have all been linked with improving our gut microbiome and our gut microbiome being healthy and well-balanced has been linked with us being healthy and well-balanced. That includes positive mental health as well as good physical health. Who would have thought it can be as easy as 1-2-3 (rule number 3 that is).

Need help downshifting? I was a hypnotherapist even before I was a Nutritional Therapist, helping stressed out corporates to downshift through meditation and those who wanted to reach goals that seemed too far away to do so through visualisation.

Rule 2: Live a life full of purpose

We all have different things in life that keep us going and give us a reason to wake up in the morning: whether it be our work, our hobbies, a great relationship, our children or grandchildren or some passion or dreams we live for. The idea is to find something with enough meaning for us to keep us going day in day out.

As we age, our bodies don’t quite work as they used to and we don’t continue to look as we used to. There are many things to moan and complain about as ageing itself is definitely not a fun process. So we need something we’re excited and passionate about to keep us going and to keep us vibrant and youthful.

Youth is excitement and passion after all: it’s having something that drives us and keeps us motivated. That’s why having a purpose to live and keep going for is so important. It keeps us feeling younger and more excited about life. It also makes us way more interesting to be around. People with drive have that natural spark in their eyes; they’re more fun and exciting to be with too. They’re usually not the ones waiting for something to happen because they have something that drives them forward. One of the complaints about people retiring is that they lose their spark as they lose their something to live for. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Retirement can be the ideal opportunity to finally pursue one’s hobby or true interest. Most important is to find some purpose to keep you going, wherever it comes from.

For me that purpose is partially my family (especially my kids and adorable puppy) and partially my drive to help everyone live healthier and stay youthful longer. What’s your purpose? Share what drives you with us by replying to this newsletter or by adding what drives you below this message for your chance to win a free Nutritional assessment session (worth £179).

The power 9: rule#1

As I mentioned some time back, I’m now pursuing my masters in Personalised Nutrition. My focus is of course on how to help us all to age in the best way possible in order to promote longevity and health span.

One of the great benefits of the masters is the access I have to the latest research on the topic. One of my most prized findings was some research from Dan Buettner and others about the 5 “Blue Zones”: 5 areas
in the world where there live the most centenarians. These areas are: Sardinia, Italy; Icaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California (Seventh-Day Adventists).

Buettner uncovered something he named “the power 9”: 9 key things that most people who live to a ripe old age in all 5 Blue Zones do that helps them to age so well that they live to their 90s and beyond. Over the course of the coming months I’ll be sharing these 9 key things with you each week so stay tuned, but here is the first of the nine:

Rule 1: Include regular movement in your day

Let’s be honest, we’re all busy people with too few hours in a day and too much to do. We don’t really have time to put too many anti-aging changes into place; but at the same time we also don’t like the idea of ageing. If we could choose, we’d remain young and fit forever, yet we don’t want the sacrifices we make to stay youthful to be too big.

Let’s be honest again. Very very few of us even think about sacrificing anything we love to stay young and fit for longer until it’s much too late and time has already caught up with us.

As a Nutritional Therapist, Hypnotherapist and Naturopath specialising in helping people to age more slowly and to stay healthy longer, I have a very tight fine line to walk with what I can advise that people will actually follow. Give a weight loss plan that will ensure weight loss (being overweight is highly ageing) but also that demands sacrifice and buy in will be limited. Give a plan that demands less sacrifice and results will be limited. It’s a tough balance.

That’s one of the reasons why I so love the data coming out of the Blue Zones: 5 areas where people live longer better and where there live the highest number of centenarians globally. Because people in these areas just live a healthier life naturally, without the need for feeling like they’re sacrificing anything.

And, after all, why should giving up processed junk food, fake sugar (or sweetener) filled fizzy drinks, cigarettes and other unhealthy habits feel like such a sacrifice? But mostly why should adding regular daily movement into every single day feel like something that’s difficult or challenging to do?

People in the Blue Zones don’t have gym memberships and they don’t force themselves to train for marathons. They just walk regularly instead of driving somewhere. They work in their gardens. They put together their own furniture. And they walk to and from local shops with their groceries instead of having them delivered. Movement is something naturally and easily added to their every day. They dance with friends when they feel like it or when music inspires them. They walk in nature and to visit friends and family. Movement is something naturally included in every day.

So why should adding movement be something difficult or challenging to do? And if they can do it, why can’t all of us? Adding movement into every day shouldn’t be something we need to measure with an Apple Watch or Fitbit, but if it helps you get inspired by closing circles or measuring steps, by all means. I shouldn’t have to tell clients an amount of time to minimally move, but about 60-90 minutes a day is ideal and 30 minutes a minimum.

That means any movement by the way. Even just getting up to make yourself a tea is a start. If you need inspiration, take a walk every day for at least a half hour in nature somewhere if you can, or even just to your local shops or around your nearest shopping centre if that’s all you have. Another half hour of movement you can get by bouncing around, dancing, doing a workout on YouTube or spending time in the gym (if you enjoy it). And the last half hour you can get just by moving around your home if you make sure to add some regular movement. Time yourself if you must, or just make sure and move. This is one of the easiest additions you can make to your life that will have a tremendous benefit to your weight.

More additions coming in the next weeks with each of the Power 9 rules uncovered from the “Blue Zones” research.

Want to get started on living longer better and staying healthier and more youthful?

What do heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and stroke have in common?

Have you ever wondered aloud what you’re likely to die from one day? Most of us below 50 rarely like to consider what might one day lead to our demise. In fact, until life whacks us a punch in the form of ill health, we mainly just live in a way that quenches our appetite, makes us lick our lips in ravenous delight or just feeds our current need for sustenance. Unfortunately, however, adhering to the traditional Western diet has not done anyone any good, as showcased by the top 5 killers in the Western world.

So what do heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and stroke have in common? Well, they’re all in the top 5. In the UK, that top 5 looks like this:

  1. Ischaemic heart attack
  2. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  3. Malignancies caused by cancer
  4. Cerebrovascular diseases (or stroke)
  5. Chronic respiratory diseases (such as COPD) -***

Other than being in the top 5, these diseases have something else important in common: they are all caused by a mixture of inflammation and oxidative stress caused by years and years of poor diet and lifestyle: all factors that are within our control and for the most part preventable.

As a Nutritional Therapist, I spend a lot of time telling people that although sacrificing some foods that they may like (such as processed carbs, over-indulgent sweets and soda and energy drinks) may not be fun, it could end up saving their life one day. I get A LOT of questions of why this sacrifice is necessary, particularly from clients who are not overweight. I hear A LOT of “but isn’t everything ok in moderation?”.

The answer is a confusing one: well yes… and no. While some things in moderation are ok (like animal products), other things even in moderation are just bad for you (like sweetened beverages such as soda and energy drinks and highly processed foods, especially sugared foods). So if you insist on eating them every once in a while, just treat them as the catalyst towards ill health that they are. If you keep that in mind and choose to eat them anyway, then at least you approach them differently and with caution.

The real problem is that the food industry doesn’t really care about our health at all except in the way that it helps them make more money. So if they can sell something as a “healthier alternative” without getting caught in a lie, they will. We can’t blame them either because the only thing a corporation is supposed to care about is taking care of its’ shareholders and making money to progress its’ business. So if what’s required is adding a couple of key ingredients to make the product they sell more tasty so that it sells better, why not? Think “healthier” cereals and anything made by Heinz (which just tastes better than the leading organic, sugar free alternative).

However, although the please of eating more palpable foods is clear, it is also highly fleeting and creates in our body a kind of addictive reaction where we begin to crave those same manufactured flavours (good for the corporations selling those foods, but not very good for our health). AGEs (advanced glycated end products: such as anything made to be more tasty with added sugars) have been linked both with premature ageing (including wrinkles, loss of collagen…) and ageing-related diseases (such as the top 5 killers). Also linked with the top 5 killers are smoking, lack of exercise and calorie excess (especially when linked with nutritional deficiency). Still think your diet and lifestyle has nothing to do with how you age or even when you’ll die and what you’ll die from?

If you’re still not convinced, consider that there are 5 places in the world with the most people living past 100 in a healthy way (no or almost no meds or diseases). The diet in these places, known as the Blue Zones, is considerably different from the typical Western diet. Their lifestyle is very different too, with minimised stress and both exercise and calorie restriction being a normal part of every day.

I certainly don’t expect to change the world in a day, but my mission in what I do is to bring the Blue Zones home. That’s why I’m soon to launch a program helping people to slow down ageing in just 12 weeks of changes. Stay tuned. And if you want an early preview or to book a free 20 minute call with me, click here:

Genetic testing: For or against?

Genetic testing: For or against?

Genetic testing seems to be the new test on the block that many Nutritional Therapists and Naturopaths are becoming excited about thanks to the potential for predicting what could potentially happen health wise. But is your genetic pool really a code for your future health risks, or is it more just a hint of warnings to heed to ensure optimal health?

Many of those not trained in Naturopathy or Nutrition are now more aware than ever of certain genes, such as the BRCA gene mutation thanks to Angelina Jolie’s decision to have both breasts removed to prevent breast cancer, having discovered she’s a carrier of the SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism or mutation one is born with). But this is only one gene mutation in a host of many that can have significant impact on your health depending on likelihood of expression. There are genes, for example, that code for how you handle acrylamides present in BBQ prepared foods, smoking and even toast, which explain why some people can get away with smoking for years while others end up with cancer just from passive smoke and eating some browned toast and bbq. The acrylamide processing mutation has been linked with ovarian, lung and other cancers, for instance.

Genes that tell you how quickly medication and drugs (and even coffee and alcohol) go through your system can help your doctor properly dose your medication and are considered a new frontier in modern medicine being explored through pharmacogenomics.

The methylation gene mutation can mean that you are unable to perform certain common liver processes that help with detox. If your detoxification pathways are slow and toxins are left stuck in your system, this can then predispose you to inflammation and quite a few chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart diseases, autoimmune diseases and many cancers. While the homocysteine gene mutation could make you more prone to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack.

However, before you run to get your genetic code tested by screening companies like Lifecode GX or 23 and Me in great trepidation of what you might uncover, know that your genetics is just a plausible blueprint of what could happen and not what definitely will happen. That part is entirely dependent on what YOU DO WITH YOUR GENES and not just the genes you’ve been given.

So what can you do to protect yourself from deadly diseases whatever your genetic codes may be? Well that all comes back to diet and lifestyle of course. How you eat and how you live is what determines how well you live even to a ripe old age. In fact what you do with your genes is much more important than your genes to begin with. The power of switching genes on or off is completely up to us.

Need help knowing how to maximise the potential of your genes and minimise negative reactions? Book a free 20 minute call with me.

How to lower your cholesterol naturally

Let’s be honest, high cholesterol is a problem that many have just started to associate with ageing. So much so that many GPs just assume that people over a certain age should be prescribed statins, some of the most prescribed drugs for people over 60.

As a Nutritional Therapist, high cholesterol is a very common issue I expect to see in clinic. What’s incredible about high cholesterol, however, is that not only is it one of the most common issues in people over 50, but it’s also one of the easiest issues to treat naturally (see article below for a start on some natural remedies).

There are also quite a few misunderstandings about high cholesterol which should be cleared up. For one, cholesterol itself isn’t a bad thing: it’s your body’s natural response to inflammation. So if, for instance, you break a limb, the body would naturally send cholesterol to the area to make the rest of your body aware of the issue. The problem really is when the inflammation becomes chronic, which is when we tend to see certain cholesterol markers (what your GP will call “high cholesterol”) getting elevated. In other words, it isn’t the high cholesterol that’s the real issue, but the inflammation that is creating the high cholesterol as a response. So taking statins to fix the cholesterol issue is therefore often (not always and some people on statins really need them) akin to putting a plaster on a broken arm with a small cut on it too. The plaster will deal with one of the symptoms of the issue, but it’s certainly NOT addressing the issue overall. To do that, we’ll need to reset the broken bone. In the same way, to fix the cholesterol issue, we need to address the real core issue: the inflammation that is causing it. And that’s a whole other concern and the bread and butter of us Nutritional Therapists.

In addition, not all cholesterol is created equal or means the same thing. While LDL (low density lipoprotein) moves cholesterol to your arteries, where it can build up along artery walls causing many health issues, including heart disease, HDL (high density lipoprotein) helps rid your body of excess cholesterol. Hence why we want a significantly higher reading for HDL than for LDL. What we really don’t want is a high reading for TGs (triglycerides) as that can mean your arteries are hardening, and metabolic syndrome, resulting in heart diseases, stroke and other issues.

While much of the advice out there is to avoid fat if you want to avoid high cholesterol, not all fats are equally bad for you. In fact, the low fat versions of some foods (such as dairy products) are actually worse for you than their normal fat equivalents (I’ll do another newsletter to explain this). Natural whole fats that come from tree nuts, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado are very good for your health and your brain. Trans fats, however, that come from processed foods, fast food, sweetened beverages and many typical cooking oils (sunflower, peanut, corn…) when they go rancid (which they do without you realising often before you even bring them home) are what your body doesn’t like and doesn’t want: hence leading to issues and ill health if over-consumed.

Anyway, this is just a small glimpse into how important what you put into your body is and how that food can affect your health.

Want to find out more about how your body has been affected up to now and what you can do about it? Book a free 20 minute call with me here:

Distilling Aims & Managing Transitions with Declan Barry

In life we are constantly greeted with different transitions, some more difficult to face than others. Many of these transitions are not just difficult to face but they are also often unexpected and undesirable. While we have very little control over what is “done to us”, we have plenty of control over “what we do about it”. This includes even how we approach the challenge or situation.

In fact, how we approach difficulty or challenge of any kind is precisely what sets apart those who thrive versus those who just survive, or worse: don’t survive and get pushed under instead. State of mind (and our thoughts in general) are so key not just to our mental and emotion wellbeing but also to our physical health overall. In fact “How we think” is so key to ageing well that it is one of the main areas that we tackle in the “Slow Down Ageing in 12 weeks” series that I’m launching soon.

In this video about “Managing Transitions”, Declan Barry, an Executive Coach who helps clients to make the most of difficult transitions, explains why transitions are challenging but necessary and how we all can look at them as opportunities and make the most of them by working on how we approach these changes.

Want help dealing with transitions from a mental and physical health standpoint, book a free 20 minute call with me here:

Is there an ideal amount of alcohol for health?

The question of how much alcohol is good for you before it becomes bad for you is one that has been debated throughout the decades. While in the time of Prohibition in the turn of the 20th century, all alcohol was considered bad for you (though fun for sure), many things have changed since then. With the advent of the research on the Blue Zones (the areas where people tend to live the healthiest the longest and where there are the most centenarians), alcohol if drank moderately, has been given more of a thumbs up.

Recently, different studies have come to light, including those saying again that no alcohol is healthy and others estolling the virtues of wine (red wine in particular) thanks to its’ content of resveratrol and other benefits for a healthy heart.

Those who enjoy the occasional glass of wine will be pleased that the latest research seems to once again give wine the thumbs up (the darker the better). But, and that “but” is key, only in very moderate amounts. How moderate? Well one review of many studies found that the ideal amount seems to be under 20g for women and 40g for men daily (sorry, ladies, the gentlemen get to have more fun in this case). What that means in glass amount is something each should try for themselves (and let me know when you figure it out please).

On the positive side, this amount of wine consumed on regular occasions as a daily maximum was actually (surprisingly) considered healthier than no wine at all. However, that doesn’t mean that you can stockpile and have the full lot of a whole week’s worth on the weekend. It is especially the moderate consumption that makes the big difference to health. Any over-consumption in a single sitting and there are grave repercussions to both liver and overall health (and skin too). In fact, the studies demonstrate that better to er on the side of under-consumption than over-consumption for ideal health. So while one glass of wine on occasion is better than none, 4 or more glasses once a week is actually worse than not drinking at all.

Want to understand more about how your diet and lifestyle is affecting your health, book a free 20 minute call with me here:

How we are finding new ways of talking to one another – interview with Rafe Offer & Harry Yeff.

Even though most of us have spent loads of time knowing how to “talk” to one another, do we really know how to “communicate”? 

Do you sometimes feel like though you’re speaking with someone, the communication is pretty poor and you’re not really “getting” one another? And at other times do you feel like you just “click” with someone when you speak with one another?

During the lockdown period of Covid, we all have had to find new ways to communicate with one another. Not only were we not allowed to meet others who weren’t part of our household in person, especially not indoors, but we were even asked to socially distance in places where we could see people, such as in the supermarket or on a walk outside. Connecting with someone else became something we had to learn to do in another way. 

The world suddenly became both a bigger and smaller place. Smaller because our friends who may live abroad or somewhere else far away suddenly became just as close as those who live just 15 minutes away. Both were equally as accessible by phone or zoom and we were equally unable to visit with either. Suddenly, communication needed to be reinvented.

Rafe Offer and his business partner, Harry Yeff, for this particular project, are two heroes who decided together to question how people in general communicate and to look for new means to enable this communication. To learn more about their new venture and how it changes everything for all of us and makes us begin to question how we communicate (and even IF we truly communicate), watch the video below.

Need help encouraging your mind and body to communicate better for improved health, book a free 20 minute call with me here:

Are you doing your Ketogenic diet wrong?

The ketogenic diet has become pretty popular lately. Along with the paleo diet, the vegan diet and even the South Beach diet, it’s become one of the favourites of how to lose weight and is even sold as a healthier approach to eating. But does it really work? And is there a right and a wrong way to go ketogenic?

Well, first of all the idea behind the ketogenic diet is that our body will burn ketones (fat) if not given carbohydrates or protein to burn. This happens when the body goes into ketosis, a state of pseudo hunger when it has no energy coming in from either sugars or proteins. The advantage is that our natural fat stores then get used up, aiding in weight loss. There are also ample advantages for brain function and the ketogenic diet is used often for patients who suffer epilepsy, brain cancers and other brain disorders, including Alzeihmer’s and other dementias. 

Getting into a state of ketosis at times can also be helpful for longevity and general well-being, as well as healing in certain states of illness. For example, diabetics can benefit from ketosis as they then avoid the need for insulin to digest glucose, thereby allowing insulin and glucose levels to get more under control.

However, there are different ideas behind the ketogenic approach. The traditional “Ketogenic Diet” as it’s been sold allows for one to eat both protein and fat. But can one actually reach a state of ketosis if protein is available to be digested? Well, Dr Gundry would say “no” and does so in his series of books, beginning with The Plant Paradox. According to him one cannot actually reach ketosis if animal protein is consumed as both animal proteins and sugars keep insulin levels high, which stop us from reaching the necessary level for ketosis. In fact, the idea behind ketosis is that the body must burn stored fat for energy and this only happens if both glucose and protein are not available to burn.

Dr Gundry’s ketogenic approach of his gut-friendly diet is reduction of animal protein, but including ample healthy fats, such as avocados, select nuts and certain oils (MCT, coconut, macadamia, perilla, olive, ghee) for optimum results. 

The beauty behind this approach is not only that insulin levels can become stabilised, but also that the brain benefits significantly from the medium chain triglycerides (MCT, coconut oil, butter and ghee and palm kernel oil along with some others). Long chain triglycerides (such as in fish oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil) are also good for the brain, but they take longer to be absorbed by the body because of their longer carbon chains. That’s why MCT oil (which is the highest potency of them all and is derived from coconut oil) is becoming so popular as an additive to healthy smoothies these days.

Now if you’re eating animal protein AND fat and trying to get into ketosis, it’s probably not happening very well for you because your body is still using insulin to digest that protein. In order to help your body towards a better ketosis, you may want to stop eating the animal protein for a while. See what happens and how you feel. It seems a bit counterintuitive that in order to burn the most stored fat, you need to actually focus on eating mostly fat, but it isn’t for your body that is. Well, as long as you’re eating the right fat at least. So while coconut oil is good, processed fats in bad for you fatty foods are not.

How long do you do this for? Well it depends what you’re doing it for? Dr Gundry uses his ketogenic intensive diet to help those suffering from serious illnesses and puts them on this plan for months, sometimes life. But if your goal is simply to improve weight loss, then start with going fully ketogenic for a week a month and see how you feel. 

Eat all the vegetables you want, by the way, as long as they’re not nightshades or vegetables with seeds (which are actually fruit, such as cucumbers and tomatoes). Stick with greens and cruciferous veg and even some resistant starches, such as sweet potatoes. Include avocadoes and most nuts (no peanuts or cashews) and avoid animal products (except butter and ghee) for about a week. You can do less if you want, but a week is ideal. Do this once a month if you can; even 3 days in a row monthly is a good start. For best results and safety, ensure you do this while supervised by a Nutritional Therapist trained in this approach.

Benefits of fasting for body and mind

It does seem that the idea of intermittent fasting is everywhere these days, popularised by Michael Mosley and other proponents of intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and the 5:2 diet, fasting is becoming mainstreamed. But not everyone is convinced yet. If the idea of being happy to be hungry is still frightening for you, then perhaps you need more convincing on the benefits of fasting.

First of all, before I even list the top 10 benefits, let’s just remember that though it’s only recently that fasting has become the new “in” diet, the practice of fasting has actually been around longer than most of us, our parents, and even our grandparents. In fact, many religions include fasting as a norm in their culture. The Jews have Yom Kippur, along with other fasting days that are less well known and more practiced by the Orthodox. Muslims have the month of Ramadan when fasting takes place from dawn to dusk and Christians have a modified fast (well more of a sacrifice of some foods) with Lent. However, even predating religion, it is believed that our cavemen forefathers fasted regularly, mainly because food was less available. It’s only in modern times of food being plentiful that hunger feels like something scary.

However, hunger may actually be beneficial to one’s health. In fact, studies point to fasting and calorie restriction as methods to improve health, lose weight, reduce markers of metabolic syndrome, improve brain function, eliminate inflammation, improve our microbiome and even possibly prevent cancer. While most research up to now has been done on animals, the work is incredibly promising and even shows signs that fasting may slow down ageing and improve longevity. Now these may sound like mighty claims, but those who participate in fasting regularly swear by its’ healing and energising potential (not to mention the benefits for weight management). While there are many ways to practice fasting, the majority of research about its’ benefits exists around intermittent fasting (such as the 5:2 diet or 12-16 hour fasts or even short eating windows) along with calorie restrictive diets and water-only fasting diets that are occasional or temporary. Part of the idea is also to trick the body into burning ketones (or fats stored) without convincing it that you’ll be starving forever so much so that it slows the metabolism. 

For those who want the benefits, here are my top 10:

1. Reduces insulin resistance, encouraging blood sugar control. Reducing food ingested means reducing the need for insulin spikes when digesting the food, which encourages insulin sensitivity. This is especially useful for diabetes or other insulin resistance disorders.

2. Encourages weight loss and could potentially boost metabolism. Reducing calorie intake should equate to weight reduction on its’ own. However, added to that, if no glucose or protein is coming in, the body will naturally burn ketones (fats) for fuel, encouraging ketosis. This means that your stored fat is then burned, reducing fat, and weight with it. Some studies found that metabolism also increased due to increases in norepinephrine, which further enhances weight loss.

3. Improves brain function and could prevent dementias. Though most research is on animals, it demonstrates that fasting protects the brain and can even improve brain health and reduce the chances of dementias. This is very positive considering the increase of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias that we’ve been seeing year on year.

4. Reduces inflammation, improving health. Studies have linked fasting with reduction in inflammatory markers and episodes of inflammation in some chronic inflammatory conditions. These include Multiple Sclerosis, among others.

5. Improves markers of metabolic syndrome. Along with reducing insulin resistance and improving blood sugar, fasting can also reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

6. Naturally increases HGH levels. Human growth hormone, which is key to overall health, metabolism, weight management and muscle strength, is increased with fasting. Fasting also helps to increase HGH by improving blood sugar and insulin levels.

7. May prevent cancer development. Many cancer cells live on sugars, carbs and other calorie dense processed foods. By reducing caloric intake, fasting helps to promote apoptosis and reduce tumour growth. It helps alongside chemotherapy to improve outcomes, but research on animals have also shown it to be as effective as chemo for killing cancer cells.

8. Promotes longevity and delays ageing. While most of this research is again mainly done on animals, it is hugely promising for those who wish to slow down the ageing process. Some animal studies demonstrated ageing on animals that fasted every other day so reduced that they lived over 80% longer (and healthier) than non-fasting animals.

9. Improves energy (if done correctly). Helps our body to run more efficiently during certain times and makes our brain more alert. Some animal studies demonstrated that rats subjected to fasting performed better on mazes and other skill tests than rats fed a normal calorie diet. This was especially true for female rats. This may have something to do with what our bodies prioritise when food is scarce, giving energy to our brain and muscles first.

10. Improves gut microbiome by improving bio diversity. We are made up of various bacteria. Depending on which research and books you read, some claim that only 10% of us is human cells, while the remainder is bacteria. Many of these bacteria are good for us, while some are hurtful. The hurtful bacteria live on sugars, processed foods, simple carbs… The positive bacteria, however, can live without food or on healthier foods, such as fibre. Hence, starving our bodies temporarily helps to eliminate these foods and improves the balance of our gut bacteria to more of the healthy bacteria that improves overall immunity and mental health, starving the bad bacteria that lead to reduced immunity and low mood.

***But be warned that all fasting isn’t for everyone and should be supervised by a trained practitioner.

Convinced and want help on getting started on this easy health-giving practice, book a free 20 minute call with me here