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Kickstarting Your Health in 2016: Week Two

This post will be relatively short and sweet, mainly because I am procrastinating about a talk I am giving in two days time... well, they say a little bit of stress is good for you ;) (note: 'they' lie!)

This week I wanted to share some recipes with you, which is something which will come later in the week. I also want to talk about super ingredients and how to make the most of what you eat: you are what you absorb after all!

I have purposly not used the words 'super foods' because you google this and a whole heap of stuff comes up about how lemon juice cures cancer; this is NOT what I am about! I want to highlight that certain foods are super for you, but I don't want to imply that a diet of lemon juice will cure you of all that ails you.

Stage Three: Eat Smart with Super Ingredients

Super ingredients to me are things which are relatively easy to come by and really nutrient rich. Think blueberries, think spinach. These are both species which grow well in the UK, can be added to your daily diet without overhauling it too wildly. You can add things like this into your meals and you're getting a heap of nutrients from just one little addition. For example: when I think of bread, it's almost an empty food group. It doesn't really fill you up and is of very little nutrient value, your supers though are quite the opposite and packed full of the good stuff without needing to eat kilos of them to get the benefit.

My favourites are:

Berries - go for frozen if they're out of season. Blueberries, raspberries, elderberries - a colourful mix of all is brilliant

Spinach - again, I use frozen when out of season

Peppers - multicoloured! Add colour and taste to everyday foods

Kiwis - really high in vitamin C, moreso than oranges!

Brocolli/Cabbage/Cruciferous veg - great for you...but avoid if it is really detrimental to your guts!

Turmeric - Deciding whether to add this to 'food' but what the heck. Turmeric has long been used for its antiinflammatory action, scientists are studying this incredibly useful culinary spice for its contribution to healthcare. I will say no more on this here! It's great stuff - throw into soups, curries, stews and enjoy!

Garlic - strongly antimicrobial, good for your heart and circulation. It's best as raw as possibly and crushed...if you love it as much as I do, then try it crushed and added to roast veg when it comes out of the oven. It takes the bitter edge off of it, but it raw enough to still have maximum health benefits

Onions - Also antimicrobial, great for coughs and colds. Red onions slightly less eye watering for little ones

Honey - organic and locally produced if poss. Antimicrobial and soothing

Of course I would say the more organically grown and locally produced the better, but we do live in a cold climate here in the UK and so wanting these foods year round is just not possible. This is partly why I use frozen when it's off-season not to mention that it's more convenient!

Stage Four: Know your Supplements!

Moving on slightly to supplementation. This is something that I speak to my patients about frequently. Not only are the ethics of a supplement company something that I question, but also their ingredients. You would be amazed at how many of the common supermarket brands are producing nothing more than expensive wee! The best way for you to get nutrients is in food: the second best way is in a food-state supplement. I know of one company who market their products as concentrated food extracts: when you look closely in fact their 'complete' formulae are far from that, also having very poorly absorbed nutrients at one heck of a hefty price tag... a very clever marketing tactic.

Having been (dangerously) incorrectly advised to take supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding is also something I have come across: I can't stress enough that you need to speak to a qualified person for correct advice. Don't take the word of a salesperson telling you that large amounts of soya are great for pregnant women, that essential oils are fine to take internally or that peppermint and sage won't effect your milk supply... speak to a professional. I would much rather lose a few quid and safeguard someones health and wellbeing, than sell a product I wasn't 100% behind.

(as a footnote - not all salespeople are bad, but check your facts first: I have had this firsthand and it's worrying! A Degree certificate and regulation by a professional body are the best ways of knowing if someone is qualified - speak to me for more specific info on particular disciplines)

So key points for this week

* Cram in your super ingredients! Find ways of incorporating them to your everyday life, berries in your cereal, spinach in your sauces, garlic crushed onto foods

* Supplements - check that you're getting good quality products! I have a list of recommended ones which I use. I am not tied to any brand, so these are ones which I have tried and tested and have great feedback on

* Check with a pro! You wouldn't let your hair stylist pull out your teeth, or let your dentist cut your hair! Get real advice from people who know their stuff.

Later in the week - healthy, nutritious recipes....and some feedback from me on how the talk went! Wish me luck

Love, health and happiness

Jo xxx

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