Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Good mood food

Everyone I meet at the moment seems to be going through a stressful time, whether it's moving house, getting married, changing jobs or just general work stress, so I thought a blog on some stress support was called for.

Firstly what should you eat?

- number one on the list is wholegrains such as oats, brown rice, wholegrain bread and pasta - these are rich in B vitamins which you use up double time when you're stressed leaving you feeling tired and emotional.

- fish, eggs and pulses are also good sources of B vits and both good sources of protein which you'll need to help balance out your blood sugar, helping your meals sustain you through your rushing around

- seeds contain B vitamins, essential fats and minerals - a triple wammy of anti-stress nutrients. Sprinkle them on every meal you can.

- green vegetables are a must, especially leafy ones such as spinach and watercress, these are rich in magnesium which you need to be able to relax physically, plus plenty of chlorophyll a great source of energy.

- salt - really? Isn't sodium a food baddie? Well yes it is in excess but your adrenal glands use it in your stress response so if you're usually on a very low salt diet have a palmful of salted nuts or some miso soup to give them some support.

- bananas and turkey .. Probably not together! But both are rich in tryptophan and amino acid precursor to serotonin which is the 'happy and relaxed' hormone, definitely something you need more of if you're stressed

What else can you do?
You need ten minutes a day where you don't do anything or think about anything to help calm your nervous system ... well at least not work or anything stressful. Sit or lie down somewhere comfy, no tv, no radio, no interruptions and day dream in a positive way - maybe think of a holiday or visualize yourself somewhere very relaxing.

Also take 30 deep breaths in a row - when you're stressed your breathing is more shallow so you'll end up taking in less oxygen. Slow breathing is also a great way to calm the nervous system.

Make sure you have some me time - do something indulgent just for yourself - take a long bubble bath, read a trashy novel, watch an episode of friends whilst enjoying a cup of tea and some dark chocolate. It's so important to show yourself a bit of love and you'll feel a lot more centred for it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Breakfast baloney

I'm not usually the one to come home and crash infront of the tv but this evening if was all I was good for. Inbetween watching Love Actually I got to see the usual ridiculous advertising that we are subjected to.

As usual there wasn't anything healthy being advertised, although there was some unhealthy food disguised as healthy food. Prime culprit was the Nutri-Grain breakfast bars - cereal and milk combined into a biscuit. These are basically biscuits, flour, sugar, vegetable oil.  They have added some vitamins for good measure and to be fair they have used some oat flour to up the fibre content, but it still contains more fat than fibre.

Pretty much most manufactured cereals and breakfast products are primarily made of refined wheat with sugar and you're much better off with a breakfast of a no sugar muesli (such as Dorset cereals or Alara or Neals Yard) or whole oat porridge with lots of nice nuts and dried fruit to add flavour and crunch.  It'll keep you full til lunch instead of sending you off on a sugary biscuit fuelled blood sugar rollercoaster! 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Your secret weapon in the kitchen

I definitely go through phases where I'm super enthusiastic about food and go and raid the supermarket for ingredients and spend the evening chopping and cooking but for some reason I'm feeling rather uninspired in the kitchen at the moment and lazy about cooking properly.

Luckily I have hot doc to step in when i'm feeling uninspired and last night he served up this lovely moroccan chicken stew.

It turns out that the bbc good food website is his secret weapon in the kitchen providing a wealth of easy recipes and he's actually impressed me with quite a few recipes from the site.  They also get rated so if you only choose to cook the ones that are 4 or more stars and rated as 'easy' then you're onto a pretty good thing.

They have loads of different selections, including a section of low GI recipes, veggie recipes and recipes for people with intolerances, am pretty sure that even I can find something on there to inspire me!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Overweight but starving

It might seem strange to suggest that obese people can be malnourished, but unfortunately this is increasingly becoming the case.  Whilst some real food foodies get overweight through pure over-indulgence but still fundamentally eat real wholefoods such as vegetables, fruit and wholegrains, most people who are obese are that way because they are eating highly refined diets of processed and junk foods that have had most of the beneficial nutrients processed or cooked out of them.

Eating this kind of diet can lead into a downward spiral of obesity and ill health, as the lack of nutrients is detected by your body as a threat to it's survival. Consequently if you don't eat enough micronutrients you will store a higher percentage of the calories that you eat as fat (the amount of food eaten that is stored as fat can vary tremendously between people) and your appetite will also upregulate as your body tries to increase your increase of vitamins and minerals by increasing your intake of food.

This is why it's so important to make sure you get your micronutrients by eating wholefoods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and wholegrains.  Eating superfoods, which are wholefoods with particularly high micronutrient levels, can also help keep you keep your levels up.
It's a bit of a marketing term but some foods I'd call super are below:
green tea
sweet potatoes
goji berries
chia seeds

Still with the best will in the world we don't always eat as healthily as we should so this is why taking a comprehensive multivitamin & mineral everyday is important to keep you in good health and to keep you slim.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bite size

The ability to multi-task is a pretty standard requirement in job specs these days as the way we work requires jumping between tasks and constantly re-prioritizing.

Once we get home we're then juggling chores, family, paperwork .. I'm writing this blog whilst listening to the rolling stones on my ipod and walking through bank tube station (note to self must re-read the power of now!)

I have a theory that as a result a lot of us have lost our powers of concentration and usually end up prioritizing the smaller/quicker tasks over the ones that will take a concerted effort.

Extending this to health, setting really achievable mini tasks will make you so much more likely to tick them off the list. For example committing to a full on detox feels like a big effort as is doing the pre-requisite fridge stocking. However buying an extra piece of fruit when you buy your lunch to have as your afternoon snack instead of a chocolate bar is pretty negligible in the effort stakes.

Here are a few more bite size tasks you can easily tick off the list:

Buy a 1.5litre bottle of water whilst you buy your brekkie, keep it on your desk, you'll drink it if you see it

Always buy some fresh fruit or veg when you're in the supermarket, you'll eat it rather than wasting it and it'll crowd out other not so good foods

When chopping veg for dinner chop some extra to nibble on whilst you wait for your meal to cook, or pack as a snack for work the next day.

Another one for whilst you cook -
dress some salad with olive oil and balsamic and eat it as an appetizer.

Always order an extra side of veg when ordering your main course in a restaurant.

Always ask for a glass of water when someone offers you a drink, ask for alcohol too if you want but this will help you pace yourself and you won't have to carry it back from the bar!

Keep a shopping list in your phone of health foods you can't get at the supermarket, then if you find yourself passing a health food store you can pop in and quickly stock up.

Jog to the corner shop for your weekend paper - you were going anyway, this will make it quicker and get your heart rate up.

Take the stairs for just one escalator in the tube on your way into work, or walk just one flight of stairs at work.

Do 10 situps whenever you watch tv, everyone can manage 10.

Hold one yoga pose for five breaths before you go to bed.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Silver linings

Another set of leaving drinks in the seemingly never ending dismantling of investment banking has left me sad at the departure of some wonderful colleagues and nostalgic for the good old days when people got promoted rather than let go and we had a free drinks trolley on friday afternoon!

I don't expect any sympathy and from the outside I can see why it's hard to feel any. But anyone who's worked in the city through the last five years can't help but feel weighed down by the collective stress of the city losing 100,000 jobs.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I've been cheered by my departing colleagues positive attitudes. Some have already lined up new jobs, some are taking the chance to try out their dream careers, others are taking a much needed and earned holiday.

Losing your job at some point in your career may be par for the course for city folk but it is still a very disruptive event.

Seeing any kind of change as an opportunity is one of the best ways of dealing with the associated stress and is also more likely to bring you success and happiness in life. You never know, it may be the jolt you needed to change your life the better.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Seeking silence

After a hectic day at the office I found myself craving peace and quiet at home and banished myself to the bedroom for some proper R&R.

The city can be hyper-stimulating for the senses and so it is important to counter it with some sensory downtime. This means no tv, no radio, preferably natural or non-harsh light and some proper silence.

It can feel very strange to sit in silence when you work in a noisy/busy environment, but once you get used to it it is very relaxing. It puts your nervous system into the parasympathetic rest and repair mode which you need to be in in order to get restful sleep and help your body recover from the days stressors.

Interestingly a lack of tolerance to sound or bright light can be a symptom of fatigued adrenal glands so if you find yourself turning the volume down on the tv of wearing your shades on a cloudy day you may want to do an adrenal stress test.

It is also possible test whether someone is adrenally impaired by checking their pupillary response too light.

You get them to close their eyes in a darkish room and then after 15 seconds open them whilst shining a suitable light (an opticians test light for example, not a torch!) into their eye.

The pupil should shrink and then stay small in response to the light.
If the pupil shrinks and then pulses, alternating between dilation and contraction then it may may be a sign of adrenal fatigue. If it shrinks but then quick quickly dilates and stays dilated over 30 seconds that may be a sign of adrenal exhaustion in which case some serious downtime is needed.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Not missing out

I'm not a vegetarian but I don't generally eat meat.
This stance often confuses people, they assume people who don't eat meat do so on ethical grounds or because they don't like the taste of it, whereas I avoid it for health reasons.

I do have ethical objections as well and as a result was vegetarian as a student for six months, but that went out the window when I became anaemic and was told by my doctor to start eating meat.

At the time I was eating a typical student diet and not taking the mineral supplements needed for health if you're meat free. Now I regularly supplement so know I'm not missing out on any nutrients from eating meat-free.

So what am I missing out on?
Well apart from the taste of a good steak, I'm actually not missing out on a lot.

Modern reared meat comes with the added extras of antibiotics and growth hormones. Even organic varieties may contain these but at much lower levels.

Meat is also a great source of saturated fats which are pro-inflammmatory and can clog your arteries as well as inhibit fat burning. You do need a small amount of saturated fats but you can get these by eating natural vegana sources such as coconut fat (I use for cooking) or cocoa butter (who doesn't like chocolate!) or shellfish.

Processed meat such as sausages, ham, pre-made burgers are the most unhealthy. Research quoted by Patrick Holford states eating one serving of processed meat a day increases the chance of mortality by 20 per cent, the equivalent of losing half an hour of your life every day or smoking two cigarettes!

In contrast vegetarians have a 12% lower cancer risk than meat eaters and fish eating vegetarians have a 18% lower risk, probably in thanks to having more omega3fats in their diet.

I generally only eat meat when there isn't an alternative on offer or as part of a particularly special meal. If you're a total carnivore the idea of giving up meat and eating just as part of your 20% treat meals may be unthinkable. But maybe start with meat-free Mondays and see how you go.

If you can work up to being meat-free monday morning to friday lunchtime you can then still enjoy meat when eating out or for any weekend treats like a sunday morning bacon buttie!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Intolerance tip off

I'm intolerant to various degrees to quite a few foods. Some I can eat occasionally without major ill effect and some have more instant effects.
Either way various food intolerance tests along the way haven't identified them all and instead I've worked them out through the powers of deduction and elimination. In case any of you share any of these symptoms or allergies I thought I'd share how I worked them out.

Gluten - major tiredness after meals containing alot of gluten, bloating, water retention, all went after two weeks of no gluten
Dairy - skin breakouts, headaches, water retention, diarhoea. I thought this was just a lactose intolerance so allowed myself hard cheese and butter for a long time which helped my digestion, but when I gave it up entirely my skin totally cleared up
Raw onions/raw chillies/rocket and mustard - this was easy to work out - I get a headache within 10 minutes of eating a meal with either in. Interestingly these also give me a blood sugar low 20-30 minutes after eating them, which means fatigue and major sugar cravings. I've known garlic induce a similar response in others, so watch out for sudden blood sugar drops as a sign of an intolerance.
Oranges - proper allergy, tingly eyes and throat, hot face, and in extreme cases, sweating!

I can as it happens eat cooked onion and chilli, but sadly as a consequence of my raw intolerances I couldn't enjoy hot doc's Mango Salsa this weekend but it went down a treat with some homemade burgers so thought I'd share it:
One mango, peeled, deseeded and diced into 1cm cubes
1/2 a red onion, raw, diced
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely diced
100g roasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
Coriander leaves, whole, one palmful

Mix in a bowl, leave to sit for 15 minutes, then serve.

Goes well with homemade burgers or any steamed or grilled white fish.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bienvenue a l'Angleterre

According to all the papers a French invasion will shortly be upon us as the richer echelons of French society take refuge from the 75 per cent tax rate.

And fair dues to them ... if I was a multi-millionaire I wouldn't want to have to pay £750,000 out of every million to the tax payer (oh to be in that position)!

Plus it's good for Britain, if they move here they'll be lining our tax coffers instead, bravo!

But there may be other benefits of this invasion. The french have extremely high standards when it comes to food, both what they buy in the supermarkets and the standard when they eat out. So if they invade London then they may bring their high standards with them. Certainly we can hope for some new french restaurants, cafes, bakeries, patisseries and fromageries.

Whilst these will mostly supply foods that for me are savoured as occasional treats you can guarantee they'll be of the highest quality, are made with the freshest produce and taste delicious to boot. Who wouldn't welcome that!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Decisions decisions

Following on from yesterday's blog here's some examples on how to make good food choices based on some reader questions. As usual please feel free to send in any questions you want answered on the blog.

At work if I have a choice of white rice or noodles with my stir fry which is better?
It depends if the rice is basmati rice. Quick cook white rice can have a GI of 70+, whereas basmati is 45-55, so if it's not basmati then the egg noodles are a better option, they are processed so not a wholegrain but still an okayish  GI of 57.
See to check the GI of foods.
Noodles will contain wheat and egg so you'll need to have rice if you have an intolerance to either.
Wheat can make even those not intolerant fairly sleepy so check how you feel.

What are the best carbs to cook with dinner?
When choosing carbs to cook with you want to go with those which have the least processing and the lowest glycemic index. Good choices are new or sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and bulgar wheat. If you're having pasta go for wholegrain or al dente spaghetti which is also low GI. Couscous is refined wheat so quinoa or brown rice are better options.

What is the healthiest way to cook fish – bake in a foil, or shallow fry in coconut oil?

Baking is better as it won't get to as high temperatures as frying. The higher the temperature the more free radicals will be created and the heat also damages the healthy fats making them harmful, so when cooking foods with fats in be conscious of the temperature.  When you do fry coconut oil is a good option though - as a saturated fat it oxidizes at a higher temperature than olive oil.

What are good breakfast options to bring into work for someone who has to eat at their desk? Is a 0% fat yoghurt with a banana a good choice?

This is a good combo of carbs and protein - natural yoghurt is a good protein choice as it's low in saturated fats and has beneficial bacteria, but not if you have a lactose intolerance. Look for natural unflavoured yoghurts, rather than just low fat, as the flavoured ones always have added sugar. A banana is also a good option, tropical fruit is higher in the glycemic index and therefore best eaten in the morning or before or after exercise.
Eating dairy everyday could lead to an intolerance so it's a good idea to mix up your options. Without a canteen hot options like eggs or porridge aren't available but there are plenty of other portable solutions:

- Keep some muesli (low GI and wholegrain) at work, find one with plenty of nuts and seeds for protein and essential fats, buy gluten free if regular muesli makes you feel tired. Serve with organic soy milk if you aren't intolerant for extra protein. Cereals are another easy option but most contain wheat, added sugar and/or highly refined carbohydrates.

- Make yourself some high protein breakfast bars such as these from Elanas pantry and have with a piece of fruit
- bake some high protein paleo bread and make a jam and nut butter sarni with slices of apple and meridian cashew or almond butter (essential fats).
- Sandwiches are another option - this may seem odd for brekkie but they are highly portable and quick to make at home. Go for low-fat high protein fillings such as tuna, boiled eggs (1 yolk per 2 whites), salmon, mackerel, tofu, hummous and add some raw salad veggies. Make with wholegrain veg (low GI), gluten-free if you're gluten intolerant, even better toast it first to make the bread even lower GI.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Inside the mind of a nutritional therapist

The inner workings of my mind are probably not something I should be sharing! But when it comes to food I and all other nutritionists are constantly making choices based on a myriad of factors.

I'm sure that alot of nutrition clients start out the process wanting someone else to make their food decisions for them. Certainly someone else telling you what to eat every day for every meal, or even better delivering the food to your house, makes life easy and takes away the agonizing when it's time to make a selection.

But any good nutritional therapist won't want their client to have that kind of dependency on them. Instead the objective should be to teach the individual how to make a good decision every time they are faced with a food choice.

For me there's quite a few factors at play when making food choices;

- presence of allergens or hard to digest ingredients: gluten, dairy, chocolate, soy (depends on your sensitivities)
- animal fat content (high is bad), I don't tend to look at labels, generally fish good, meat and dairy bad, unless I've cooked the meat at home so know the fat content
- essential fat content - a plus
- level of processing (brown rice good, easy cook white rice bad), this usually goes hand in hand with:
- glycemic index (how quickly food digests), fibre content can be used as a good proxy
- sugar content (I avoid added sugar whenever possible)
- fruit/veg content
- freshness, how recently was it prepared
- any added nasties -e numbers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, all bad
- is it organic? Can I get an organic version?
- what are my macronutrient needs for that meal/snack, do I need protein, do I need carbs, have I had enough essential fats?

So as you can see it's fairly complex, but actually much like learning to drive - it seems super difficult at first, but becomes second nature with practice.

Tomorrow I'll give some examples as to how it works in practice.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


I hope you all enjoyed the lovely weather this weekend. Unfortunately I fear that may be the end of summer (if we actually had one) and there was definite chill in the air this evening, which left me fancying soup for supper for the first time in months.

Soups are a wonderful way of getting some veg into your diet whilst eating something warm and comforting. They are also a great way to up the veg and fibre quotient of your nearest and dearest, most people will eat a bowl of soup as a started if you put it in front of them.

Hot doc whizzes up veggie soups at home and freezes them in portions - I am however not so adept in the kitchen and most of my past attempts have turned out somewhat bland, I'm also fairly lazy in the kitchen and like food that can be ready in minutes.

Frustratingly most supermarket soup brands, including Covent Garden, add sugar, dairy or wheat to pretty much every variety ruling them off my shopping list.

However M&S is much better and it's Green Soup and Spicy Lentil soup are both free of all three and any other nasties and taste good to boot. Served with one of their wheat free rolls they make a nice lunch or light supper with almost zero effort. Just the thing for a chilly September evening.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Oh dear

Even us nutritional therapists have bad food days but seriously today was so bad I'm too embarrassed to even tell you what I ate! To give you and idea 80 per cent could have been purchased from a vending machine. Yes that bad!

How did this happen? The combination of a very long and busy day, no time to prepare any food for work last night and having eaten up all my healthy desk snacks.

To be fair these are all excuses ... I could have popped out for five minutes to pickup a healthy lunch, but I just didn't feel like eating a proper meal and had cravings for junk food.

Stress does tend to propel us to salty or sweet foods making us more likely to reach for crisps or chocolate. Sodium is used up by the adrenal glands so you get through it a lot quickly. On the flipside you may crave sweet food as an instant source of energy when you can't face eating anything substantial (as the stress of being so busy is suppressing your digestion). Unfortunately very sugary foods may then set you up for an energy slump 1-2hours later, leaving you reaching for another choccie bar.

As a one off day I think I can let myself off, but if you find yourself regularly eating at work in this snacky way it's time to take action and learn from my mistakes.

The first rule is to not eat unless you have time to stop what you're doing, take five deep breaths and eat your food uninterrupted. All my food was eaten today whilst working which means my digestive system would have been impaired and therefore stressed by eating.

You might feel like you can't take a break, but even taking 10 minutes in the coffee room to eat a sandwich for lunch is better than scarfing it at your desk.

If you really can't get away then more easily digestible foods such as smoothies, fruit and natural yoghurt are good options until you have time for a proper meal.

Secondly don't forget your protein - in my whole snackfood diet of today I didn't eat one proper source of protein, but protein is important in regulating blood sugar and therefore stress levels, so having some nuts in my desk to snack on would have been a wise move, as well as taking the time to get a proper lunch.

Thirdly be prepared. If you know you won't have time to go out and buy lunch then pack some lunch from home. Making sandwiches in the evening will take only a couple of minutes, although best if you can make them with wheat free bread sao they don't make you sleepy. Snack wise stock your desk with nuts, seeds and health bars, if I'd had some healthy snacks in my desk today I don't think my diet would have gone so awry!


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Are you a professional athlete?

I'd love it if I did have some professional sports people on my recipient list but I suspect I don't (please do correct me!).

So most of you will exercise for fun, for health, to stay slim or as an outlet for your competitive streak! But you're not making a living out of sport or trying to break some world records.

What's my point? Well unless you're a professional there's really no need to waste your cash on overpriced sports drinks and aspartame fulled protein shakes. Obviously if you're spending time training you want to make sure your nutrition is optimal, but most sports products sold on the high street are unnecessary and may even be bad for you.

Sports drinks - isotonic/sports fuel/recovery drinks ... Whatever you call them they are all essentially just sugar in water. Some will have electrolytes, but unless you're training 1hr+ daily and on a salt restricted diet you don't need these.
What do you need? Simple sugars post-exercise do help you recover more quickly but a regular fruit squash will do the trick, you only need to worry about isotonic ratios if you're drinking these instead of water during a long exercise session. Even better avoid the sugar altogether and have some fresh fruit juice diluted half with water.

Protein shakes - you want to bulk up so you buy the latest olympian endorsed protein shake. Read the label carefully and you'll probably find it's mainly milk powder, flavours and sweeteners ... really not good for your digestive system or worth the money.
What do you need?
Eating some easily absorbable protein within an hour of exercise will help build and repair muscle. Shakes are a good option because your digestion is impaired post exercise but all you need is a plain protein powder, either whey or rice protein, with no additives at all (check the label). Blend this into a fruit smoothie, or buy a ready made smoothie, drink a bit out the top, add a scoop of protein, shake and drink - voila a super quick and healthy recovery shake.

Protein and energy bars - bars are a handy way to have a snack and top up your nutrients before or after training, but most energy bars are high sugar and full of additives whilst protein bars are full of artificial sweeteners and indigestible bulking agents. Instead of these go for fruit or oat based bars for energy such as 9 bars, fruitus bars, laar bars or nak'd bars. For a protein top up on the run again look for the more natural bars such as Luna bars, Cliff bars and bounce balls.

Even these heathy bars are pretty pricey, but nature gives us everything we need - all you need is a banana for an energy fix and a mini pack of almonds for protein!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Why we're not all stick thin!

Logging onto yahoo this evening to check my emails I saw an article entitled 'Top 10 reasons why you're not losing weight'.  I clicked on it expecting to read the usual media clap trap recommending a super low fat or low calorie diet, and was surprised to find a very sensible article.

Read it for yourself here but let me summarize for those of you who don't have time:

1 - You overcompensate for exercise ... you do a big spinning class so you reward yourself with a big dinner with a chocolate pudding
2 - You’re not getting enough sleep ... you burn the candle at both ends and think you're getting away from it
3 - You’re drinking too many sugary drinks ... surely iced tea or your gingerbread latte are virtually calorie free
4 - You’re eating large portions - it's lowfat so you can eat the same volume as a professional rugby player
5 - You’re eating too little - you're following the latest 900 cal celebrity diet and can't work out why you're not losing the pounds
6 - You’re not consistent - diet one day, but fall off the wagon and binge the next
7 - You don’t vary your workouts - why your 80s aerobics workout is no longer doing for it
8 - You don’t need to lose weight - alot of us are probably a naturally healthy weight - it's just the pictures of stick thin celebs that make us feel that we need to lose weight
9 - Your weight isn't a true reflection of body fat - muscle weighs alot more than fat, so you can get heavier and less fat at the same time - it's fairly usual if you start exercising more and eating more healthily to stay the same weight but reduce your body fat 
10 - You have a medical condition - hypothyroidism, hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue are all common barriers to weight loss

These are infact all valid points that I want to cover in more detail in some future blogs, particularly points 8 and 9 - our perception of the weight we should be is very warped, and our focus on weight and BMI also is not necessarily a true measure of our fat levels or our health.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Beautiful burritos

Those of you who can eat happily eat gluten are such lucky people - hot buttered toast, pizza, fresh baguette, cake ... you can eat all the tastiest foods.

Sadly I am not so lucky, and neither are a good deal of you. Modern wheat has been developed to be very high in gluten which is a gut irritant for most people to varying degrees. As a consequence it can leave a lot of people with aggravated intestines, fatigue and water retention.

I can tell alot more people are obviously getting clued into this and turning gluten free from the number of different brands of gluten free products in the shops. I now enjoy toast (waitrose seeded load), sandwich rolls (tesco brown), pasta (doves farm or asda) and pita breads (sainsburys) without pining for the originals (although I'm yet to find an authentic tasting french baguette).

However something that's been missing for me is the tortilla wrap. I used to love eating wraps, either instead of sarnies or as fajitas or burritos, but to this day I haven't seen a shop selling plain corn tortillas. Interestingly in Mexico the plain corn tortilla is ubiquitous, but here we like our tortillas super soft and stretchy and this requires gluten.

The good news is that trough the wonderful power of the internet I have tracked down some 100per cent corn tortillas from who handily will send them to your door. You have to order fairly large quantities but they are ridiculously cheap and are best fresh but were ok frozen and then defrosted.

For me this is a happy milestone ... I look forward to the day when I can walk into Wahaca and order a gluten free Burrito :-)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Mood music

Watching the paralympics on Saturday was pretty inspiring and made me feel pretty unfit having had a busy gym free week.  During the buildup to Saturday nights athletics events they showed clips in the stadium of interviews with the athletes saying how they prepared for the event - as with the Olympians music features fairly high on the pre-race must haves.

Music is a pretty universal motivator ... I have a couple of tracks on my ipod that I just can't help but dance too and some others that just make me really want to go for it on the rowing machine.  Clement Marfo's Champion is my current Rocky style pre-gym motivator.

Even if you're not trying to psyche yourself up for a major gym session, music can be a wonderful mood lifter and give you a boost when you're flagging.  Ipods should be a handbag essential ... 2 minutes after a bad day can get you into a totally new mood and negate the need to take a spoon to the Ben & Jerrys!