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.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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.

READ FULL ARTICLE

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).

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1530690/statins-side-effects-soft-skin-tissue-infections-risk/amp

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).

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-types

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: https://healthyageing.as.me/schedule.php

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: https://healthyageing.as.me/schedule.php

“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?