Probiotics – What Is Your Gut Telling You?


By Amie Richmond - Senior Nutritionist at Body Fabulous

When I opened my nutritional health clinic, Body Fabulous in 2014 I already had a good understanding of gut health and the importance of our microbiome but as the range of health complaints I started to see in clinic increased, I realised so many of these patients had one thing in common – their gut.

Suggesting probiotics and probiotic rich foods to patients who were taking or had recently taken antibiotics was already widespread practice in our clinic and the results never failed to amaze me.

Antibiotics can sometimes wipe out the protective gut bacteria, resulting in diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal issues but could these probiotics do more? I was keen to find out and began some research of my own.

Antibiotics are medicines (such as penicillin or its derivatives) that inhibit the growth of or destroy microorganisms. Improving a patient’s gut health after antibiotics is one thing but I subsequently found that treating other illnesses and conditions with these good bacteria has proved to be massively beneficial.

So what is a probiotic? Simply put it is substance which stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties (such as those of the intestinal flora). So antibiotics destroy microorganisims and probiotics stimulate their growth. There is a time and a place for antibiotics and they save many lives but over use of them in our society has caused massive issues. Antibiotics kill off the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microorganisims leading to a host of other health complaints in some patients.

My initial research into probiotics involved me understanding the different strains of these bacteria.  With well over 500 strains of probiotics, it would be impossible for a supplement to contain them all so which one’s are the best?

The most important aspect of understanding probiotics is to identify the main species required to treat a patient and then the correct strain of that species. I identified 4 major species to research in clinic and looked closely at supporting evidence to their effectiveness;

  • The predominant and most important bacteria that reside in the small intestine are the Lactobacillus species. There are over 180 strains in this species including L. acidophilus, L. fermentum, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, L. salivarius, L. paracasei, L. gasseri and  L. reuteri. The Lactobacillius species is used in clinic for overall digestion, nutrient absorption, relief from occasional cramping, gas and diarrhoea, immune health, urinary and vaginal health, detoxification, oral health and liver health.

  • The Bifidobacterium species are another majorly important group of probiotics found in the walls of the large intestine. Like the Lactobacillus strain, Bifidobacterium produce lactic acid, which provides up to 70 percent of the energy required by cells that line the intestinal wall. Bifidobacterium also produce B-complex vitamins and vitamin K. This species also helps with digestion, immunity, detoxification and diarrhoea but I most commonly use them for nutrient absorption issues and relief from bloating and constipation. There are over 40 strains in this species but the commonly applied bifidobacterial probiotics on the market include B. longum, B. bifidum and B. infantis.

  • The Bacillus species are spore-bearing bacteria that are highly resistant to heat, moisture and light, making them highly resistant to stomach acid. Mainly found in the small intestine, Bacillus also resides in the body longer than other bacteria and is excreted slowly. There are over 200 strains of the Bacillius species and in clinic we use it for treating certain digestive issues, for relief from occasional constipation and for vaginal health.

  • Streptoccocus Species is found in the oral cavity’s mucus membranes and is known for its ability to produce BLIS (bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances), which inhibit the ability of other undesirable bacteria to grow. Great for overall oral health and immunity there are over 50 strains in this species including S. Salivarius K12 and S. Salivarius M18.

In years gone by we would be exposed to far more of these bacteria naturally but as our daily lives have become so sanitised it is clear that we are ALL deficient in some strains of good bacteria.

My first research patient was a young boy with attention deficit disorder (ADD). At 12 years old the child presented with acute behavioural issues resulting in difficulties at school and in friendship groups. His mother brought him in to see me and after research into his gut health I discovered some classic irritable bowel syndrome issues otherwise known as IBS.

Countless strong medications had been prescribed to the child from his GP to help calm his outbursts and temper issues but his difficulty in concentrating and sitting still was very evident on meeting him. Whilst medications were helping in some respects the child’s bowel health had not been treated.

The boy had regular diarrhoea which started after a 30 day course of antibiotics for a previous infection unrelated to his ADD. In researching his condition further I was struck to find this quote on the NHS website;

“Preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD)

There's fairly good evidence that taking high doses of some probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii) while taking antibiotics can help prevent children getting AAD.

Without probiotics, antibiotics can sometimes wipe out the protective gut bacteria, resulting in diarrhoea. 

Probiotics given with antibiotics may also reduce the risk of developing a Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection.”

I subsequently suggested to the patient’s mother that a course of probiotics that included the strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii could be tried to treat the diarrhoea.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most widely used probiotic strains. Various health effects are well documented including the prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhoea and stimulation of immune responses. Saccharomyces boulardii, or S. boulardii, is actually not a type of bacteria. It's a yeast that happens to function like a probiotic in the body. 

Within 2 weeks of taking this combination of bacteria and yeast the child’s diarrhoea had completely gone but the unexpected results included a marked improvement in behaviour. Whilst there is no scientific evidence to support this theory that the balance of bacteria had improved his ADD condition, it was certainly a welcome side effect and a great relief to his mother!

You can get probiotics from supplements, as well as foods that are prepared by bacterial fermentation such as some yogurts, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.

The gut flora actually performs many functions that are important for health. It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. Most of the gut flora is found in the colon, or large intestine, the last part of the digestive tract.

To help me understand if these probiotics could help with other conditions I looked at patients suffering with obesity.

Mary aged 51 presented with a well balanced food diary with no obvious signs that her portion sizes were excessive. After years suffering with obesity and obesity related illnesses, Mary was desperate for help and advice.

I started studying nutrition after losing 65kg myself so I was well aware of the emotional and physical problems related to obesity but Mary’s well balanced diet and exercise regime was puzzling me. Mary presented with very slender arms and legs but significant weight around her waist area.

My research took me to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Their most impressive study on this was published in 2013. It was a study of 210 individuals with central obesity (fat around the middle).

In this study, taking the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri caused people to lose 8.5% of their belly fat mass over a period of 12 weeks.

Lactobacillus gasseri is a species in the genus Lactobacillus, which is a type of bacteria naturally present in the human digestive, urinary, and genital systems.

Mary decided to start taking a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus gasseri and was delighted to find that after 14 weeks she had lost over 5 inches from her waist.

Again further studies must be undertaken to prove that this strain is effective at treating weigh loss but initial research is promising. The NHS themselves declare ‘it does seem that for most people probiotics appear to be safe. If you wish to try them – and you have a healthy immune system – they shouldn't cause any unpleasant side effects.’

My next patient case came several months later with a gentleman in his 40s suffering with severe lactose intolerance diagnosed using our igG testing. The patient complained of stomach cramps, flatulence and diarrhoea after consuming even the tiniest amounts of lactose and was finding it hard to avoid all sources in his diet.

We were able to identify hidden sources of lactose in his crisps and gravy powder but we also decided to trial Lactobacillus acidophilus to see if it would help.

A 2016 double-blind placebo* control trial assessed the effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 on alleviating lactose intolerance symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, flatulence and abdominal cramps. The study involved 38 participants with lactose intolerance and they all got a chance to take the placebo and the probiotic supplement containing 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 as it was a 2-arm crossover study. They found a statistically significant improvement in diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and overall symptom scores compared to the placebo group.

This time after just 7 days of taking the probiotic Lactobacillius Acidophilus, the patient was able to consume very small amounts of lactose with no uncomfortable side effects, allowing him to enjoy some of his favourite treats again! Whilst by no means a cure for lactose intolerance again the results indicate a marked improvement in tolerance levels.

Aware that a growing number of my patients were being offered prescription medication for anxiety or depression, I then set about researching the ‘brain gut axis’ and the links between low mood and a poor diversity of bacteria in the gut.

B. Longum is one of the species researched for the role of probiotics in the gut brain axis. A report from University College Cork found in a study of healthy men that supplementing with B. Longum 1714 caused stress levels to decrease and memory to improve.

In the study, healthy men took a daily capsule of a billion probiotic bacteria for a month, and then switched over to a placebo for a month, or vice versa. None of the men knew which pill they were getting. At the start and after the first and second months, their stress levels and memories were tested, along with brain activity via an EEG machine and results showed a marked improvement.

“When they were given these bacteria they were less anxious and their capacity to memorise material seemed to be enhanced.” The findings were released at the Society for Neuroscience.

David 34, had been on antidepressants for over 6 years and came to our clinic to see if there was any way he could improve his mood naturally. I started him on B. Longum powder and in conjunction with his GP he slowly reduced his medication, eventually stopping all medication after just 6 months of starting his probiotics.

David and his supportive GP where delighted with the results, however It is fair to say that this strain has not been effective for all my patients therefore more research needs to be done in this area.

Over 300 researchers, physicians, dietitians and other healthcare professionals gathered in Rome last March, for the 7th edition of the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2018. They discussed the latest developments in the field of gut microbiota and their application to clinical practice. There conclusions found that although more research and clinical studies are required, the gut microbiota is key in diagnosing, managing and treating disease.

In conclusion I feel that probiotics could be an exciting new field of treatment for those suffering with a range of health complaints and our research work at The Body Fabulous Health Clinic will continue to investigate and research new findings.


Bibliography References;

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

*M. N. Pakdaman, J. K. Udani, P. M. Jhanna and S. Michael , “The effects of the DDS-1 strain of lactobacillus on symptomatic relief for lactose intolerance - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial,” Nutrition Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 1-11, 2016

Amie's Grown Up Beetroot Avocado Brownies


Amie’s Low GI Grown Up Beetroot & Avocado Brownies


1 extra large, raw beetroot (or 3 small)

1 small, ripe avocado

1 shot of strong coffee

50g extra virgin coconut oil

3 tbsp carob syrup

3 organic medium eggs

150g buckwheat flour

50g finely ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

6 tbsp organic 100% cocoa powder

½ tsp Himalayan salt

75g of 85% dark chocolate


For the topping:

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1/2 ripe avocado

20g coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp carob syrup

3 tbsp organic 100% cocoa powder



Heat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a square shallow baking tray with coconut oil.

Cut the skin off the beetroot but leave it whole. Peel and grate the beetroot and put to one side.

Melt the coconut oil over a low heat in a saucepan.

Blend together the avocado, coconut oil, carob syrup and coffee until smooth.

Beat the eggs together.

Transfer the avocado mixture to a large bowl and gently whisk in the grated beetroot and beaten eggs.

In a separate bowl mix together the buckwheat flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt thoroughly.

Add the flour mix to the beetroot mixture and fold in gently with a metal spoon.

Roughly chop the chocolate into small chunks.

Stir the chocolate into the mixture.

Spoon into the baking tray, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 25 mins until the brownie is well risen, coming away from the tin.

Allow to cool on a metal rack.


For the topping:

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender until it forms a thick and glossy paste. Spread the topping over the cooled brownie.

Cut the brownie into squares and enjoy!

Nutrition For Mental Health


We caught up with Salisbury Health Hero Amie Richmond from Body Fabulous to talk about the impact nutrition has on our mental health.

Balance Is Key - Nutrition For Mental Health

With 1 out of 7 of us suffering from depression symptoms at some point in our lives, mental health is fast becoming a pressing health concern. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will become the second most prevalent disease worldwide by the year 2020.

Antidepressants however are not the only option, as we increasingly look to diet and supplements for a more natural solution.

"1 out of 7 of us will suffer from depression symptoms at some point in our lives"

My Top Tips For Improving Mental Health With Holistic Nutrition

What to Include -

This may sound obvious but restricting certain nutrients can massively affect our mood. It is important to make sure you have all your macro nutrients so ensure lean proteins, carbohydrates and good fats are all incorporated into your diet. Eat foods that support your neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s messengers that control your mood and energy levels. These include Omega-3 rich foods such as wild salmon, mackerel or herring as well as nuts & seeds and eggs. Don’t fancy any of these foods? Don’t panic you can take a supplement instead!

A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your intake of vital nutrients that support your mood. Fruits and veggies high in folate, promote the brain’s metabolic processes so you should include foods like spinach, asparagus, avocado, beetroot and broccoli. Eating probiotic foods is also a great step forward as they increase energy levels, support cognitive function and promote mental wellness. Some of the top probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut.

And finally, don’t forget your vitamins! Research has shown great mental health benefits from taking Vitamins B12 & D3.

"Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms"

"Try not to consume more than 30g of sugar per day"

What to avoid

Refined carbohydrates and sugars such as those found in crisps and chocolate, trigger a release of serotonin which does improve your mood….but only for the moment. The side effect to these foods are weight gain, issues with sleep and low energy levels, therefore making your depression symptoms worse in the long run.

Diets that are high in refined sugars are actually harmful to your brain because they promote inflammation and oxidative stress.

To reduce depressive symptoms, avoid eating packaged and processed foods that are made with refined carbohydrates and sugars. Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms. Try not to consume more than 30g of sugar per day, check out the ‘Change 4 Life’ app to help you track how much sugar you are consuming

By Amie Richmond, Senior Nutritionist at Body Fabulous

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes With Diet


A diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes can be very scary but I have worked with so many patients now that I KNOW you can reverse it with the correct diet and some exercise. Don't resign yourself to a lifetime of medication - take control of your diet and get your health back.

Real Patient Account:

I went to see Amie in December 2017 as I was struggling to lose weight with my own efforts. At that point I was 3.5 stone over my healthy weight. I was very tired all the time, with very little energy, not sleeping well and generally feeling very low and run down. Amie’s screening process picked up that my blood sugars were too high and she advised me to see my GP for a possible diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. She explained that many of the foods I was eating were spiking my blood sugars, but reassured me that type 2 diabetes is fully reversible with diet.

I was officially diagnosed soon after Christmas, with two HbA1c readings - one at 72, which is pretty high, and then another soon after at 62! It was a shock, but I was determined to improve the situation. In fact, the second reading, which was only 2 weeks after the first, showed a good drop already as the changes to my diet had started the moment I left Amie’s clinic. I knew just how serious diabetes is and wanted to turn things around as quickly as possible. Amie advised me to eat unprocessed, organic, food and gave me many ideas for healthy, satisfying, meals and snacks within her very comprehensive report. She also advised on some supplements to help improve my insulin sensitivity and digestion.

Within a few days I started to feel better, in fact after just 5 days I felt amazing, with more energy than I’d experienced for years. I no longer suffered from food cravings, whereas before I was constantly hungry and snacking all day long. I decided to get a blood glucose meter so I could check roughly how I was doing with certain meals  – I started testing myself about a month after changing my diet and was delighted to see nearly normal blood sugar levels. By that time I had also lost a stone in weight! For exercise I upped my daily walk with my dog to twice a day to increase my step count – I now intend to add some strength training into the mix as I continue my weight loss regime. 

Just under four months after my first appointment with Amie I had my HbA1c blood test taken again – it was 42, which means I have reversed my diabetes, and am in fact only just within the lowest level that pre-diabetes begins – my diabetes nurse is delighted with me! I have now lost 30 pounds with around 20 more pounds to go before achieving a healthy weight and I expect my next HbA1c to be even lower as my day-to-day blood testings are showing normal levels. My blood pressure, which was high, has now also normalised. All this has been achieved with diet and gentle exercise. I will never go back to my old habits as I haven’t felt this well for years, and have no intention of letting my diabetes return!

Healing from Stress & Anxiety


Article by Andrea Burton, Nutritionist at

Today I’m going to talk stress! I know, I know… it’s one of those subjects that brings out emotions and lots of “I’m not THAT stressed” comments but now, more than ever, we live in an age of high stress and I firmly believe that the right nutrition can have a dramatic impact on your ability to cope with it. So I put together my top 5 nutrients that may help your body to have a balanced response to stress, helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed.

Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety, while also playing an essential role in hormone and energy production. Nuts - particularly Brazil nuts - are high in magnesium, as are beans and lentils, wholegrains and leafy greens. A lack of either calcium or magnesium can make you more nervous, irritable and aggressive. Research into stress and diet shows that calcium may be able to help reduce certain symptoms, such as muscle tension and anxiety. So include plenty of calcium rich foods in your diet such as cooked spinach, basil, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus.

B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for helping to cope with stress in a balanced way and can be found in bananas, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in particular is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands (the part of the body that manages the stress response).

Vitamin C
The largest store of vitamin C is in the adrenal glands, so keep these glands healthy by eating plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and broccoli. This nutrient is rapidly depleted during chemical, emotional, psychological or physiological stress and it is particularly important to supply high quantities during these times to cope with increased demand.

L-theanine is a relaxing, health-promoting amino acid found in tea. Studies have shown that when theanine is absorbed by the body, it can help to bring about an alert, yet totally relaxed state of mind. L-theanine may help to support balance and improve the quality of sleep.

For more help and support on dealing with stress naturally check out our next event Saturday April 21st -

January Reset!


On average a whopping 7000 calories are consumed on Christmas Day - add to that all the other lovely excesses of December - many of us are feeling sluggish and bloated, our bodies more of a skip than a temple.

Rather than panic and start skipping meals (and therefore vital nutrients) here are my top tips to get back on track!

1. Re-alkalise

Post-Christmas, our bodies are usually very acidic thanks to all the extra sugar we have consumed. This leaves our immune system depressed and less able to deal with colds and flu.

To re-alkalise your system try adding in a supergreen powder to your morning routine which you can purchase at any health food shop.

These supergreens are a mixture of plant algaes, which help your body detoxify quickly and safely and have the added bonus of increasing your energy levels.

Start your day with hot water and add fresh lemon and ginger to flush your system then get those supergreens in you to fight the fatigue.

2. Drink to your success

There is no magic pill to lose weight but increasing your water intake is definitely a step in the right direction!

Excess sugar in the body leads to dehydration, so try having one pint of water every time you feel hungry.

If you are still hungry afterwards then it's time to eat.

Make sure you are consuming at least two litres of water per day to help flush the toxins from your body and rehydrate your cells.

Not only will you feel healthier and more energetic, but it should also improve your skin and hair.

3. Start Moving

You don’t have to be a gym bunny to move. If the gym is not your thing then purchase a pedometer and try to hit a target of 10,000 steps a day.

Not only will you burn through those Christmas calories faster, but you will also increase your muscle mass and metabolic rate, leaving you feeling fitter, healthier, and stronger.

If you are short on time then try out some an online workout you can do at home or try a quick HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, which is effective in a short amount of time.

4. Clean out your cupboards

If you have flooded your body with alcohol, sugar and fatty foods, your body will be full of toxins. Give your liver a rest from dealing with these toxins by laying off the alcohol and putting some colour back in your fridge.

Bin all 'beige' leftovers including anything breaded, fried, battered or pastry encrusted and replace with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, eggs, seeds, pulses, and fish.

Reduce your complex carbohydrates like pasta and rice and try something new like lentil, chickpea pasta or quinoa which have higher protein content and will help you feel full for longer.

5. Set realistic goals

Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect the indulgences of a month to fall off instantly.

According to the British Dietetic Association the average person will gain up to 5lbs over the Christmas period, the good news is that with a balanced calorie controlled diet your body can return to it's 'pre-Christmas' shape in just a few weeks.

Set a weight loss goal of 2lbs a week and weigh yourself once a week to check you are on track.

Best of luck with your New Years goals - if you need any additional help or advice please do not hesitate to contact the nutrition team here at Body Fabulous for a personalised plan. For more information on keeping your immunity high post Christmas check out this article from probiotic experts Optibac - click here

Eat your way to a better night’s sleep


By Andrea Burton - Nutritionist at Body Fabulous

For many people, this time of year is quite stressful and can lead to occasional sleeping issues; be it difficulty falling asleep or frequent or early waking. And as we all know lack of sleep can make you feel pretty terrible. It’s hard to concentrate, make decisions and cope with small setbacks that would otherwise be manageable and you reach for comfort food to give yourself a boost because you just feel too tired to cook from fresh. These habits keep you in a poor sleep-exhaustion cycle.

If you wake up during the night or very early it could be related to a drop in your blood sugars in the night, or other changes in your normal eating patterns and daily routines.

Eat to improve your sleep

  • Balance blood sugars - If you wake up due to blood sugar falling, often after drinking alcohol, it might help to ditch the simple carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, potatoes, white rice) at your evening meal and replace them with complex carbohydrates (think sweet potato, wholemeal pasta). It may also help to eat a small protein and carbohydrate snack an hour before bed such as 10 almonds and 10 grapes to maintain consistent blood glucose and stop that dip that might wake you up.
  • Build up your hormones - Serotonin helps to us to get to sleep by producing melatonin, our sleep hormone. To make enough serotonin we need tryptophan rich foods such as turkey, eggs, pulses or bananas. Also get some daylight during the day with a walk outside if you can, to help reset your circadian rhythm.
  • Ensure adequate magnesium intake – Some studies have shown that taking a magnesium supplement can help reduce night time waking, early morning waking and improve how refreshed you feel in the morning. Magnesium is essential for muscle relaxation and can help you wind down and is depleted by alcohol. Include magnesium rich foods during the day like leafy green vegetables such as spinach, chard, coriander; seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds; quinoa, cashew nuts and black beans. Lamberts Magnesium is available in our online shop


Tips For Better Sleep

  • Avoid any stimulants such as caffeine from at least 6 hours before going to bed.
  • Limit refined sugars. Also avoid heavy meals late at night because you’ll be digesting as you sleep and you need to give your digestive system a rest.
  • Make sure your room is warm but not hot and keep your bedroom well ventilated. Keep lights as low as possible and making sure the room is as quiet and dark as you can make it. Close any gaps in the curtains, try blackout blinds or use an eye mask. This is because light supresses melatonin production, and if our circadian rhythms are knocked out it can affect sleep times and quality.
  • Try different relaxation techniques to find something that suits you – either deep breathing exercises, relaxation apps like Headspace, reading a book or journal writing.
  • Avoid blue screens, including smart phones and tablets, for two hours before bed to help stop the light disrupting your melatonin production. Even if you use f.lux on your PC or change the light settings on your Apple device, the light can still disrupt your sleep patterns.
  • Use aromatherapy oils such as lavender and chamomile in the room and in warm baths.

Have a fabulous festive time everyone and ‘see’ you all again in the New Year x

Managing My Dairy Intolerance

 Article contributed by Jim Marshall

Article contributed by Jim Marshall

Our thanks to Jim for giving this interview on how he's doing after his food intolerance test last month showed a strong reaction to dairy. 

Says Jim, "When Amie asked me if I would like to have a food intolerance blood test done for a You Tube video I was intrigued to see if I had any reactions to the basic 46 foods. To be honest I have had tummy troubles on and off for years but I had learnt to live with the bloated, gassy feelings and acid reflux. My answer was just to reach for the Gaviscon or Rennie!"

Continues Jim, "The test itself was very simple and only involved a finger prick so not painful. The results only took 50 minutes to develop but those 50 minutes have changed my life and the way I eat now! The reaction tray showed a strong reaction to dairy and for those that have not seen the You Tube video of my test - click here to watch  - .Before we did the test I explained my symptoms to Amie and she predicted cow's milk would show up but the reality of seeing it in black and white made me realise how much my body had been struggling. I started excluding dairy straight away and as it was a strong reaction I have to remove it from my diet for 12 weeks. My greatest fear was no milk in tea and giving up cheese but I soon read up on what I could replace it with and began to relax."

Adds Jim, "Within 7 days of removing cow's milk from my diet I started to notice the difference, no more gurgling tummy and much less bloating and gas. I was really motivated to continue but I missed cheese so much that about 2 weeks in I buckled and indulged in 3 slices of cheesy pizza. It tasted delicious at the time but the following 4 hours were very painful and made me realise that because my reaction to dairy was very significant I was going to have to ban it entirely whilst my body repaired." 

"8 weeks in now it has got easier to manage my dairy free lifestyle and I am no longer tempted to indulge - I don't want that bloating back again thank you! Its true what they say about planning ahead and part of that planning is checking labels, I've been amazed the number of things I've found cow's milk in. Crisps, gravy powder even some salamis have milk in so I am much more vigilant now. I use the Food Maestro app to help me identify foods with dairy in and I have let my friends and family know I am dairy free for a while so that helps when eating at other people's homes. If you are also following a food intolerance programme I really suggest you find alternatives to your favourite or most missed items. Also ask for the allergy details when you're in a restaurant as the good ones have a full list of what's in each dish."

Jim's Top Tips;

Milk for tea - I have found oat milk is a very palatable alternative, coconut milk just doesn't work for me but I do like it in coffee. Rude Health's range of nut and oat milks are the best I've found. 

Breakfast - Coconut milk is great in cereal and I have swapped my Greek yoghurt for nut based yoghurts made from coconut or almonds which are very tasty and still high protein. The only downside to nut yoghurts is the price but that's a small price to pay now I'm feeling so much better. Best brands are CoYo and KoKo.

Ice Cream - I have tried quite a few and found some very tasty options but I was absolutely shocked with how much sugar is added to the 'non dairy' versions. I now stick to natural no added sugar sorbet to be on the safe side or Perfect World carrot cake ice cream is amazing!

Cheese - I can still eat Goats and Sheep's cheese, there are some very tasty alternatives that I've tried but I've also fallen foul of one sheeps cheese made with raw milk (Roquefort), that didn't agree with me at all! I have learnt some things by trial and error but I know one thing for sure, vegan plant based cheese is not for me. Tastes of nothing!

Chocolate - Thank goodness there are some fabulous dairy free chocolates out there now but Salisbury based 'Heavenly Chocolate' is my favourite - and just down the road!

I'm currently working on my gut repair programme which means including foods and drinks I had never heard of before but that add good bacteria and healing properties. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and bone broth are now part of my daily food intake, I never thought I was say that!

My next step with Amie's help will be trial a few items to distinguish if I have a full dairy intolerance or just a lactose intolerance. It's been an interesting health journey so far with the added bonus that I have dropped 4kg in the process!


What Are The Best Supplements For Depression


My top 7 natural supplements for depression: 

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  New research has confirmed the positive effects of EPA on mood, even more so than DHA, as it provides a natural balance to omega-6 arachidonic acid. Lamberts or Eskimo are my favourite brands.

2. Probiotics. It is crucial to keep your bowels in good shape because your brain is only as healthy as your gut. The nerve cells in our gut manufacture 80 to 90% of our body’s serotonin, the neurotransmitter we need to balance mood. That’s more than our brain makes. The gut is in constant communication with the brain, sending it information that most definitely affects your mood. Good brands include Optibac and Bio-Kult.

3. Vitamin B-12. Bestselling author Mark Hyman, MD, calls Folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 the “mighty methylators for mental health.” He mentions a remarkable study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that found that 27% of severely depressed women over the age of 65 were deficient in B-12. I recommend professional strength B Complex from Lamberts

4. Turmeric (Curcuma longa).  Used for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Turmeric is your brain’s best friend because of its ability to produce antioxidants and reduce inflammation, which then protect our precious mitochondria, the tiny organelles in our cells that generate chemical energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Again I prefer the Lamberts professional range.

5. Vitamin D. A deficiency in vitamin D will feel very much like depression. Lots of studies have found a close association between depression and vitamin D deficiencies. And as many as three-quarters of UK teens and adults are deficient. This one is so important that again, I suggest the professional dose of 4000IU from Lamberts.

6. Magnesium. Up to half of the UK today don’t get enough of magnesium because stress, caffeine, sugar and alcohol all deplete it. Unless you eat lots of seaweed and green beans, it’s wise to bulk up on magnesium because it is considered to be the most powerful relaxation mineral that exists. Solgar do an excellent magnesium supplement.

7. Melatonin. Anyone who has ever experienced insomnia knows about melatonin. It helps us get to sleep and regulates the sleep-wake cycle naturally without the use of sleeping pills. Unfortunately you need a prescription for this in the UK so speak to your GP about prescribing Pharma Nord to you.

Can Food Help Shift Anxiety?


Anxiety symptoms can make you feel very unwell and run down. Coping with anxiety can be a challenge not just for you but also for your family. Anxiety can leave you feeling powerless but by making some lifestyle changes you can get your power back! There aren't any diet changes that can cure anxiety, but watching what you eat may help.

Here are my top tips

1. Eating protein at breakfast can help you feel fuller longer and help keep your blood sugar steady so that you have more energy as you start your day. Eggs, Greek yoghurt, nuts and seeds are great options. Protein helps stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which, like serotonin, are neurotransmitters and carry impulses between nerve cells.

2. Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as oats, quinoa, whole-grain breads and whole-grain cereals.

3. Try and eat a healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. It is especially important to include foods that are rich in the B vitamins, such as beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts, eggs, whole grains, nuts and fish. A deficiency in B vitamins such as folic acid and B12 can trigger depression in some people. Vitamin B supplements can be very useful to add to your diet if you feel you are not eating enough vitamin B rich food.

4. Increase omega 3 in your diet. Evidence continues to mount that consuming omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, can be uplifting and enhance your mood.

5. Tryptophan can have a positive effect on stress because this amino acid helps your brain produce feel-good chemicals. You will find tryptophan in a variety of foods such as turkey, chicken, bananas, milk, oats, cheese, nuts, peanut butter, and sesame seeds.

6. Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety. If in doubt contact us to arrange a food intolerance blood test.

7. Could processed foods such as hot dogs, sausage rolls, pork pies and cakes cause anxiety or other mental health issues? Researchers in London found that eating a diet of processed and fatty foods increases the risk for depression. In the study, people who mainly ate fried food, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sweetened desserts had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate "whole" foods such as fish and vegetables.To help lift mood and calm anxiety, keep away from processed foods and eat more natural products.

8. Although drinking alcohol seems to have a calming effect short term, it dehydrates the body and can actually end up acting as a depressant. Alcohol can also interfere with sleep so moderate it in your diet.

9. Sugar is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. The absorption causes an initial high or surge of energy. But that surge wears off as the body increases its insulin production to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. The result: You're left feeling tired and low. Avoid fizzy drinks loaded with sugar, instead drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated.

10. Reduce caffeine in your diet as this can make you feel jittery and nervous and can interfere with sleep. The problem is that caffeine has been shown to inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain, and when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable.

Try these 10 top tips and always remember - feelings by there very nature come and go. This too shall pass.

What I Eat in A Day

I get asked quite a lot about what I eat personally so this month's blog is a snapshot 'What I Eat In A Day'. If you follow me on Instagram @body_fabulous or Facebook @mybodyfabulous you will see that normally I just photograph odd meals I have in the day - mainly to provide different meal and snack ideas and to review new products that offer health benefits. Today you have a list of everything I have eaten and more importantly WHY. I'm very relaxed about food and I have a real 80/20 approach. I am not vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or dairy free. So this is me on an average day working from home;
BREAKFAST - 2 stewed apples a handful of blackcurrants from the garden with mixed pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds, 3 tablespoons plain GF organic oats and 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt. Why Greek? It's very high in protein so much more filling than other yoghurt brands. The brand I use (Total Fage) has no added sugars but it made with skimmed milk thus keeping the calories down. - calories = 345 - GF (Gluten Free) - Vegetarian (for vegan swap to coconut yoghurt)
SNACK - I always have 2 snacks a day and I try and make sure they have protein, carbs and good fat in them, small banana and a boiled egg is a great combo for me. Organic eggs ALWAYS - twice the omega 3 content over free range. calories = 155 GF - Vegan - DF (Dairy Free)
LUNCH - I love the Soupologie range - this one is curried sweet potato with coconut and raw cacao, super tasty and no added sugars. Today I added dried seaweed for an extra iodine boost as this mineral supports the thyroid gland. I also added a handful of sprouted seeds. Sprouting whole grains reduces the amount of starch they contain and boosts their nutritional value. Along side I added the 'Rude Health' chickpea and lentil crackers which are just 21 calories each and glower GI (sugar spike) than standard rice cakes. calories 438 - Vegan, GF, DF
SNACK - pineapple slices and some organic chicken - granted not an obvious combo 😂. Actually there is a method to my madness though as pineapple contains bromelain which works as a tenderiser and breaks down other foods in your digestive system quicker. Organic chicken only - remember if you are a meat eater then you are what THEY eat! I don't want to be full of antibiotics, growth hormones or steroids so I stick to organic wherever possible. calories = 172 GF, DF
* you may notice that I have protein from the chicken and carbs from the pineapple but no fats so I added 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to my black coffee after lunch to help regulate my blood sugar and stop cravings. calories = 12
DINNER - Chickpea pasta with turkey breast strips made with 'Mr Organics' pasta sauce which has no added sugars - I added a mixed green salad with 1/2 avocado. calories = 495 in total (325 consumed) - GF, DF .I was raised in an era where we did not leave the table if we had not finished eating - hands up if you are with me 🙋‍♀️ - I still find it hard to leave food but I got 2 thirds through and stopped because I was FULL - cling film and back in the fridge - I will add more salad and finish it off for lunch tomorrow. I am not a dustbin - my job is not to dispose of leftover food. My job is to feed and nourish my body so I have the vitality and health to live a productive and happy life 🙌🙏.
TOTALS - 1447 CALS CONSUMED - fat 59.3g carb 158.8g protein 80.4g

Coffee - Good or Bad?

Coffee swings from being beneficial to harmful in the nutrition world so what is the truth about our morning pick me up?

The Down Side to Coffee.

A cup of coffee contains up to 200 mg of caffeine, a cup of tea up to 80 mg and coca cola around 55 mg of caffeine. Due to it’s high caffeine content excessive quantities of coffee can cause unpleasant side effects such as restlessness, anxiety, sleep disturbances tremors and problems with blood pressure.

If you are a regular coffee drinker, you likely are aware that the caffeine in coffee is also highly addictive. Coffee is so addictive that even individuals who consume just one cup per day can go through severe withdrawals symptoms if they eliminate their daily cup. Who remembers my whinging when I did the juice fast sans coffee?!

The ultimate pick me up?

On the plus side coffee is packed full of antioxidants which studies show help protect against free radical damage and therefore diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Caffeine can also help improve your memory and mood. When you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. Once in the brain the caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which in turn allows an increase in your alertness and memory. 

According to studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, drinking coffee on a daily basis also lowers your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 7%.

However, it's important to remember we are all different, meaning some people are slower caffeine metabolisers than others. Caffeine is metabolised in the liver through an enzyme called cytochrome P4501A2 (CYP1A2). This enzyme is responsible for 95 percent of the metabolism process for caffeine and differences in our genetic makeup decide how much of this enzyme we have. If you don’t happen to know your genetic predisposition to this enzyme then my advice is to stick to one good quality organic coffee per day. 

The Link Between Sleep and Weight Loss


The debate about the best way to achieve a healthy weight always revolves around eating and movement. If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple. Sometimes between living your life, working and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35% of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it’s easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.

It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly. When you don't sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food. At the same time, lack of sleep causes us to be short tempered, more irritable and far more likely to choose unhealthy snack options.

A recent study carried out by researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland looked at the associations between sleep, stress and success at sticking to a weight loss program. They found overwhelmingly that people who had less than six hours sleep per day were less likely to achieve weight loss than those who had between six and eight hours. The researchers also concurred that high stress levels also affected weight loss. When combined with poor sleep, stressed people were about half as likely to be successful at weight loss than their less stressed counterparts who got between six and eight hours of sleep.

Of course weight issues are not all the fault of poor sleep patterns. Your bulging waistline could equally be caused by any number of different factors including sneaky snacking, poor genetics, stress, night shifts, food addictions, sugary drinks, too much alcohol, a food intolerance or an imbalance in gut bacteria. However one thing is clear if you are getting less than 6 hours quality sleep every night then your body will not be in prime 'fat burning' mode. Try and get a good sleep routine to help you manage your weight for effectively and if you need help please arrange to come in to see me for a one to one sleep consultation



Nutrition & Self Worth

When it comes to food and healthy diets you may be surprised to hear ‘self worth’ rather than ‘low fat’ or ‘low calorie’ is actually the key to long term health. We all know that fruit and vegetables are healthy and processed foods are not – so why do we overindulge in the very things that cause us harm? The answer is linked to low levels of self esteem and self worth.

When we learn to love ourselves and respect our bodies we are more inclined to take better care of ourselves with good nutrition and sensible exercise. When we let food control us however, every time we are low or distressed there is a tendency to turn to food for comfort. We have all done it at some point. Bad day at work, falling out with your friends or breaking up with your partner can all trigger food binges as we try to use sugar and fat to plug the emotional gap that has been created. Chocolate and ice cream may produce short term gratification, but the results of that tub of Ben & Jerry’s will sit firmly on your thighs and give you yet another reason to feel low again.

Think about the times you have caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror or your reflection in a shop front and followed that up with a negative thought about how you look. When you berate yourself for gaining weight or not fitting into an outfit you are sending negative messages to your body that you are failing and letting yourself down. Physically speaking you produce more of the hormone cortisol when you are critical of your appearance and in a stressed state. Studies show that high cortisol levels make it very hard to lose weight and can even lead you to gain weight. Think carefully about how you speak to yourself – if you would not say it to a friend, then do not say it to yourself. Practice self love, self worth and self appreciation and your health will thank you for it.

Treating Acne Holistically

Studies show that consuming excess amounts of sugar can feed yeast and inflammation in the body, increasing acne. Sugar is added to almost all packaged foods so it’s very hard to avoid totally but be sugar smart and use tools like the NHS Sugar Smart app which is free to download and shows you how much sugar is added to packaged foods by scanning the bar code. Healthy adults should consuming no more than 30g of sugar per day (approx. 4 teaspoons). Remember even though you can’t see it there is often sugar added to bread, flavoured waters, tinned soups and breakfast cereals so start reading food labels and cutting back where you can.

Conventional dairy is very mucus forming in the body so replace cows milk with nut, rice or oat milks and look at replacing your yoghurts with coconut based dairy free yoghurts which have the added benefit of high protein levels. Chocolate is particularly high in compounds that can trigger acne so eliminate chocolate completely if possible but if you consume it then make sure it’s pure dark chocolate 70% or above. If you have particularly bad acne then you should go a step further and reduce gluten and wheat from your diet and avoid fried and fast foods which contain a number of ingredients that cause inflammation including hydrogenated oils, sodium, flavorings and of course, sugar.

Acne is a result of toxins leaving our body so by increasing the amount of plain, filtered water you drink you can help flush these toxins out of your body quicker before they build up. How much you should drink varies considerably from person to person but as a general rule keep sipping throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts in one go. It’s very important the water you drink is filtered though. Although safe to drink, tap water in the UK has a number of added chemicals in it so to reduce the toxins you are consuming opt for water that has been through a carbon filter.

Organic, unpasteurised (unless you are pregnant then opt for pasteurised) apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ in it is amazing at reducing inflammation and clearing up problem skin. Use it as a salad dressing or be brave and down it like a shot but either way make sure you are consuming 2 tablespoons per day. If you are already suffering with break outs then you can also use apple cider vinegar directly onto your acne by diluting it with 1 part vinegar 2 parts water then applying to a cotton pad. This will reduce the redness and scarring very quickly. Adding probiotic rich foods to your diet like Kefir and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut will help crowd out yeast and bad bacteria which lead to acne.

My other top tip is to include zinc rich foods like sprouted pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds which improve immunity and help heal gut issues which cause acne in the first place. Spinach, carrots and beef liver are high in vitamin A which supports healthy skin and fiber rich foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds support cleansing the colon and growth of good bacteria in the gut which can help eliminate acne. Remember it’s toxins we want to avoid for clear skin so rather than expensive face creams buy organic foods and start from the inside.

Are you gaining 'Sugar' Fat?

Sugar – Not As Sweet As We Think

Now that the myth that fat makes you fat has been put to bed by industry experts we can all focus on the real culprit…sugar!

According to The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) two thirds of the UK population are obese or overweight. The statistics are scary and the health implications are even worse, so if sugar is so bad for us why is in added to so many food products?

The answer is simple and is sadly all down to money. Added sugars help extend the shelf life of foods like bread, breakfast cereals and tinned fruit and vegetables plus it helps disguise the blander taste of foods that have had the fat removed and rebranded as ‘low fat’ options. Because of this, many foods we think of as wholesome – like yoghurt, cereal bars, low-fat snacks and fruit-flavoured water may actually contain much more sugar than we think

Here are my top tips for cutting down on your sugar intake;

            1. Eat Real Food

It sounds obvious but the only way to know for sure that you are not consuming foods with added sugar in them is to eat ‘real’ food. This means food which is not processed, so start by filling your fridge with fresh vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish and eggs. Cooking from scratch ensures the only sugars you are consuming are natural sugars from fructose which is found in fruits and vegetables. For those who are not keen on being tied to the kitchen look at a meal delivery service like BodyChef who provide freshly made meals delivered straight to your door, all calorie counted for you, no mess, no waste and low sugar options available.

2. Get Smart

There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon. Read ingredients labels to find out how much sugar has been added to the food you are eating. NHS guidelines in the UK suggest no more than 30 grams of sugar per day in our diet but did you know there can be up to 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar in just one bowl of ‘healthy’ breakfast cereal? Just because you are not sprinkling sugar on your food it does not mean you are not consuming any, so work out where your hidden sugars are coming from and remember, sugar can be called many things so watch out for the following, they are all sugars! Glucose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, honey, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, fructose & molasses.

3. Watch your drinks

Fizzy drinks like are filled with added sugar (a 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 13 teaspoons of sugar) but alarmingly flavoured waters can have large amounts of added sugar as well. Flavoured water now accounts for 30 per cent of all bottled water sales in the UK with some leading brands containing 9 teaspoons of added sugar in a 440ml bottle. Don’t be fooled by the pictures of fruit on the bottle and when in doubt stick to plain filtered water, ideally at least 2 liters per day.

4. Use natural alternatives

If you use sugar in your hot drinks try swapping to Stevia, a plant based sweetener or Xylitol. Made from the Silver Birch tree Xylitol has a very low glycaemic index (GI) meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar levels like refined sugar and has the added bonus of having 40% less calories in than sugar. If you are a syrup or honey fan then try switching to Yacon syrup. With only one third of the calorific content of sugar, Yacon syrup is made from the root of a South American plant and has a glycaemic index of just 1 whereas granulated sugar ranks at around 60.

 5. Ditch the fake

When looking to lower your sugar intake don’t be tempted to go for zero sugar options as these are regularly sweetened with artificial sweeteners which some studies suggest may damage your health and in the long term lead to weight gain. Limit your intake of acesulfame K, aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol and sucralose. Instead get your sugars from natural sources like fruits and vegetables and check the ingredients of products which are branded ‘naturally sweetened’ or ‘contains no added sugars’.

 6. Stay Natural

Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly and then drop quickly, leaving you hungry. To minimize this rapid rise and fall, pair protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meal, all of which can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer. Focus on fats like avocados, nuts, seeds and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil. Still craving sugar? Add 1tsp of cinnamon to your daily diet to help regulate blood sugar levels and stop that afternoon biscuit craving!

Treating Kidney Infections

 Top tips for naturally treating kidney infections;

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid which has certain antibacterial properties. Although a vinegar it is actually an alkaline so can therefore assist the body in getting rid of the infection.

Apple cider vinegar can also be taken for urinary bladder infection in order to prevent the infection from spreading into the kidneys. It also helps in resolving bladder infection and in promoting a speedy recovery.

You can take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of water. Take this drink twice in a day.

2. Garlic

Garlic is a strong natural remedy that has the potential to help resolve kidney infections.

Garlic contains an active ingredient called allicin that acts as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent. It is also an antioxidant that cures a wide range of diseases.

Allicin Max garlic supplements are excellent.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a potent natural remedy that can resolve kidney infection and speed up the recovery process.

Turmeric contains an active ingredient known as curcumin which is a strong anti-bacterial agent. Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent that helps in inhibiting the growth and spread of all kinds of microbes.

You can either consume pure turmeric powder or mix it with food. Alternatively, you can also take turmeric supplements in the form of capsules.

4. Diet

Your diet should be as low sugar as possible. This is because sugar encourages the development of bacteria. Avoid food items like cakes, biscuits, chocolates, soft drinks and alcohol.

Add more probiotics to your diet. Foodstuffs like yogurt, tofu and kefir contain lots of probiotics. Probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and promote the spread of healthy bacteria.

5. Ginger

Ginger is an effective remedy for kidney infections.

Ginger contains an active ingredient known as gingerols which is an antibacterial agent that inhibits the spread of bacteria within the kidneys.

Try fresh ginger and lemon in warm water to start your day as this will act as an excellent digestive cleanse.

For more help with kidney infections please contact Amie Richmond to book a private consultation

Fat Loss Programmes

The question you should start with when embarking on a fat loss programme is ‘do I want to be thin or do I want to be healthy’? You can’t ‘out train’ a poor diet in the long term so putting your health first and fuelling your body with the nutrients it requires is key.

70% of how we look is based on what we eat and 30% is down to movement and exercise. Both diet and exercise are important for our overall health and well being, but when embarking on a fat loss programme it is vital that food habits change in order to see real lasting change. Extreme regimes of any kind rarely last and are almost impossible to keep up in the long term so healthy balanced meals containing protein, carbohydrates and good fats are essential to lose the fat and keep it off.

When someone has a large amount of weight to lose this balance is of even greater importance as the skin needs the correct nutrition in order to shrink and tighten effectively. Losing weight too quickly by under eating, over exercising or skipping meals can lead to excess skin folds on the body where it has shrunk too quickly. Extreme exercising also puts increased pressure on your adrenal glands and you can end up stressing the body with high cortisol levels that can lead to future health problems.

When deciding to lose weight It is very important to choose a food plan based on real food, as near to nature as you can. If it was made IN a plant DON’T eat it, if it was made FROM a plant then DO! Eating 3 meals per day with 2 small snacks is ideal as this ensures your blood sugar levels do not drop leading to ‘snack’ impulse eating.

Change your eating habits by cutting out processed foods and refined sugars. Start by reading labels and knowing what goes into the food you are eating. Where possible make your meals from scratch but If you are not a cook or are ‘time poor’ then make sure you purchase homemade fresh foods without additives and preservatives added. Watch your salt intake and be mindful of your calorie consumption and make changes today that your body will thank you for, not just this time next year but this time the year after and for many years to come.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerance, unliketrue food allergy can have a number of different causes.

A food intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them. It is much more common than food allergy and is not caused by the immune system. The onset of symptoms is usually slower, and may be delayed by many hours after eating the offending food. The symptoms may also last for several hours, even into the next day and sometimes longer. Intolerance to several foods or a group of foods is not uncommon.

With food intolerance, some people can tolerate a reasonable amount of the food, but if they eat too much (or too often) they get symptoms because their body cannot tolerate unlimited amounts.

The symptoms caused by food intolerance are varied. They usually cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel and can include skin rashes and sometimes fatigue, joint pains, dark circles under the eyes, night sweats and other chronic conditions.

The number of people who believe they have a food intolerance has risen dramatically over recent years, but it's hard to know how many people are truly affected. If you feel you may be suffering with a food intolerance contact Amie Richmond to arrange a blood test


Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve. There are two main types: typical and atypical trigeminal neuralgia. The typical form results in episodes of severe, sudden, shock like pain in one side of the face that lasts for seconds to a few minutes.

Diet Intake
“Pain-safe” foods include brown rice, cooked or dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, pears and prunes, and cooked vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, lettuce, spinach, beans, squash and sweet potatoes.

Monounsaturated fatty acids should be included in your diet as these are high in essential fatty acids necessary for efficient metabolism thus helps in reducing inflammation. Monounsaturated fats are found in natural foods like nuts and avocados, grape seed oil, ground nut oil, sesame oil, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts. Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B are required to strengthen the cranial nerves, including the trigeminal nerve.
The fruits and vegetables that are rich in Omega 3 and Vitamin B are eggs, milk, yogurt, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, brussel sprouts, kale , mint , parsley ,legumes, nuts, whole grains and leafy greens. Vitamin A rich foods would also be beneficial for boosting the immune system so apricots, carrots, cabbage, frozen peas, mango, parsley, tomatoes are great to include.

Foods to avoid
Diet rich in saturated fats and high glycemic index foods stimulate inflammation i.e., excessive saturated fats blocks the body from repairing the damage caused to the nerves in the face. Foods that contain a high proportion of saturated fat are butter, ghee, suet, lard, dairy products (especially cream and cheese), fatty meats as well as prepared foods like microwave meals. Foods that are rich in high glycemic index are soft drinks, white bread/rice, potatoes, beer, cake, commercial cereals etc.
Since the trigeminal nerve and its fibers are responsible for almost all sensations in the face, anything that creates a significant change in the mouth is a potential pain trigger. That includes foods that cause sensations of heat (salsa, chili, and hot sauce), cold (mint), sweetness, and sourness. The sharper the sensation, the more likely the food is to activate signals that set off the pain triggering fibers. Some patients have reported trouble with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and black pepper. People whose primary trigger zone is the nose may get pain when eating foods with strong odours or from steamy foods.

The effect of diet upon facial pain is individualised, so the things that stimulate one person’s pain may not affect another. Some facial pain patients have said they were able to reduce their pain by reducing or avoiding intake of fatty foods, caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and many soft drinks) and aspartame, the artificial sweetener.

Alternative treatments
Alternative treatments for trigeminal neuralgia are similar to those for occipital neuralgia, although there are some differences as the pain of trigeminal neuralgia is in the face rather than the back of the head. Some of these treatments include:
1. Homeopathy has been known to help some patients. Remedies are tailored to the person’s overall constitution and symptoms rather than to specific conditions so it is better to see a qualified homeopath who will take a medical history.
2. Acupuncture may help. A study at Tsurumi University School of Dental Medicine found that five out of 10 trigeminal neuralgia patients were restored to a pain-free state, four had a reduction in pain and the remaining one still had severe pain. They concluded: "meridian acupuncture treatment is useful and can be one therapeutic approach in the management of trigeminal neuralgia."

1. Vitamin B12 supplementation. This vitamin helps promote healthy nerve function.
2. Omega 3. To help strengthen nerves and ease inflammation.
3. St. John’s wort. It is a herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat depression and nerve pain. However please note if you are on anti-depressants, heart medication, anti-epileptics, anti-coagulants or anti-rejection drugs, it may interact with these and is then not suitable for use.