Thursday, 10 March 2016

I lost 4kgs in weight - and that wasn't the best thing about the Eat Real Food plan....

I want to share with you a story written from the heart by one of my clients. One of the best things about my job is helping people to a better quality of life, this client is managing her long time digestive issues and as a bonus has dropped a dress size and looks and feels better than she did twenty years ago!!
"I’ve always been reasonably fit and healthy, eaten organic veg and followed government eating guidelines.  Nonetheless I was always carrying a bit more weight than I wanted to – probably due to my love of pints!
Over two years ago I started feeling unwell, with stomach pain like a stomach bug / gastroenteritis, many symptoms went away eventually but the stomach pains never did.
After 6 months (and lots of trips to the doctors, with no success with a whole host of medicines and scans) I went to see Julie.  We talked about my diet – what foods might be triggering or exacerbating the problem, and how I could improve my health generally.  As well as being hugely informative, it was also nice to have some support and feel that I could – at last - do something proactive to help myself.
The first couple of weeks were tough – I didn’t know how I was going to manage without some of the foods I relied on (and some of which I had proactively chosen to eat because I had been taught they were good for me).  I definitely went through a major carb detox.  But Julie gave me strategies to cope and was on hand for my questions (and whinging!).
After a couple of weeks I was able to introduce some new foods (and lager – sorry Julie).  But, what surprised me most was that I didn’t have the cravings that I had initially had.  It was actually becoming easier to make positive choices. 
After a month or so I found that I felt much healthier.  I felt stronger inside and less bloated – like ‘Pilates for the insides’.  And I was starting to change shape – a bonus!
After a couple of months I had dropped a dress size (and lost 4 kilos).  Remember that this this was not my main objective and I was eating as much as I wanted to.  The pains were harder to deal with, however.
Two years on, I am still following my diet.  I feel so healthy that I can’t imagine ever going back.  I have maintained my weight (which is just as well as I couldn’t afford to replace my clothes again!).  More importantly, my pains have faded and I rarely experience them now.  I believe that the improvement in my gut health has allowed my body to deal with the stomach problems I incurred.

What are my top tips?

Plan ahead – make sure you have good choices ready; make lunch in the morning – don’t wait until your only choice is to grab a sandwich.

Adopt Julie’s pragmatic approach – unless you are doing food exclusions, it’s OK to have treats but try to stick to your plans most of the time.  Don’t give up because you’ve had a bad meal / day – they are allowed.  Every meal is an opportunity to improve your health, so every good choice counts". 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Gluten free savoury pancake

Makes 1 good size pancake, serve with savoury filling of your choice. You could use this instead of a wheat tortilla for fajitas. This can be make dairy free by using coconut milk instead of cream. 

You will need:

1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons double cream (or coconut milk)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon coconut flour
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon coconut oil, avocado oil or macadamia nut oil for cooking


Mix the double cream into the beaten egg. Add the water

Add the coconut flour, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese and blend well

Heat the oil in a pancake pan until it smokes slightly

Turn the hob down slightly, add the mixture and cook for a few minutes until it is puffy and leaving the bottom of the pan (be careful it doesn't burn)

Flip over (it should flip in one piece if it is cooked enough) and cook for another couple of minutes.

Fold over and add toppings 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Spicy Real Food Soup

I wasn't sure what to call this soup as it has so many bits and pieces in it but it's all real food so I settled for Spicy Real Food Soup. Its fabulously warming and packed full of good ingredients. The base for the soup was a packet of chopped veg that I bought in Sainsbury's reduced section, one of the criticisms of a real food diet is that it is expensive and time consuming;  this recipe proves that neither has to be true! Using ready prepared veg sometimes if you are short of time is a really good way of making sure you are still eating a good variety of fresh veggies. If you can find them in the reduced aisle even better! Once you have made the soup base with the uncooked veg, water and spices you can then add absolutely anything you have in the fridge! Adding cooked meat gives you a protein source that will keep you full up into the afternoon.

Soup base:

1 bag ready prepared vegetable broth mix
1 tbsp coconut oil/butter
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala

I added:

Left over sprouts
Left over cooked minced beef
1 slice good quality ham
Curry leaves
(Anything else you have in the fridge!)


In a saucepan melt coconut oil/butter 
Add the vegetables, cumin and coriander and mix round the pan for a few seconds
Add 500ml boiling water, season and bring to boil
Simmer for 45 mins 
Add garam masala and any left over cooked meat or veggies (optional), taste and re-season if required and simmer for another 15 minutes before serving. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Three good reasons why throwing away your scales could be the best thing you can do for long term weight loss....

You might think I've gone crazy telling you to get rid of your scales when you are trying to get back into your skinny jeans again. "How will I know whether I am successful or not" I hear you cry! Well, easily actually, by the way you look, feel and how your clothes fit.

Your weight isn't always the best indication of whether you are losing inches and fat which at the end of the day is exactly what you want to be losing. 

Here are three very good reasons why you should throw away the scales, or at the very least banish them to the loft, if you want to bring about long term changes to your health and weight loss goals:

Number 1the number on the scale is not always a true reflection of how your body is changing when you are eating cleanly and doing more weight bearing exercise (which is exactly what you should be doing if you want to be successful with weight loss). I have seen clients who look and feel leaner and are wearing a smaller dress size but they have lost very little weight on the scales. There is a great example in the testimonial below that was posted on my EatRealFoodUK Facebook page by one of my clients.
"I'm very pleased to post that I have now been able to send all my 14s to the loft in disgrace as I am comfortably back in my 12s now !!!!!!! I even brought a bag down which has 10s in and dared to to try them on and could get into a few items, though not to wear comfortably yet............maybe another month ???? Soo pleased with the results...........very strange because I haven't actually lost lots of weight according to the scales but my clothes and mirror certainly tell me I'm doing well. Thank u Julie". Debra

Number 2 - weighing yourself can become how you define yourself and whether you are a success or failure. If you weigh yourself every day and are affected by what you see on the scale - stop immediately!! You are so much more than how much you weigh and this kind of thinking can lead you into a spiral of self loathing that is very unhealthy for your mental health. 

Number 3weighing yourself with a target weight in mind denotes a start and end to your efforts - ie "when I am xx weight then I have achieved my goal". This can lead to see saw dieting; once you get to the target weight you return to your old eating habits which led you carry more fat in the first place and so the cycle goes on. 

So, what to do instead of obsessing over the scales and target weight? Cultivate good habits, practice them EVERY day, take small steps and make good choices. Eat mindfully, enjoy your food and treat it like a friend not an enemy! There should be no start and end in mind, just constancy which will lead to long term success! I dare you to liberate yourself from your scales! I'd love to hear how you get on.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Leftover lamb and sweet potato soup

This is a wonderfully spicy, warming and filling soup ideal for winter evenings and it's pretty simple to make. You can make it as hot and spicy as you like it by adding more curry powder and black pepper. It's packed full of vitamins and minerals. I used lamb because that's what I had and I think lamb works really well with sweet potato but you could use any left over meat. You could also use savoy cabbage instead of the kale.

You will need:

Chopped cooked lamb (or other leftover meat)
1 sweet potato peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot peeled and roughly chopped
500ml stock or vegetable boullion
1 tbsp (or to taste) medium curry powder 
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp (or to taste) garam masala
8 curry leaves (optional, I already had some so added them)
2 handfuls kale
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp natural yogurt or coconut milk/cream (optional)


Add lamb, sweet potato, carrot, stock and curry powder to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 mins.

Add the tin of tomatoes, bring back to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the curry leaves and kale and simmer for 10 mins. Turn off the heat, add the garam masala and black pepper, stir and leave to stand for 5 minutes with the lid on before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Stir in yogurt or coconut milk if you like a creamy soup.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why the paleo way of life isn't another fad low carb diet

I was recently reading a BBC news report on diets that dropped in a comment about low carbohydrate diets 'like Atkins and the Paleo diet'. I always cringe when I read something like this that is likely to put people off trying a paleo style diet, thinking they will be stuffing fat and protein down like crazy and not able to eat foods like vegetables, fruit and salads.

 A very low carbohydrate diet may be suitable for some people, those with high blood glucose levels and pre diabetes or those who are very obese and looking to drop weight without being permanently hungry. However my experience of a very low carb eating plan is that can be difficult to maintain and for me being able to stick to healthy eating long term is the most important thing when changing the way you eat.

My take on the paleo way of eating is to pack my diet full of starchy veggies such as potatoes, parsnips, squash, sweet potatoes, beetroots, carrots and non starchy veggies such as greens, cabbage, sprouts broccoli, cauliflower and salads. Eating plenty of these vegetables but cutting out (or cutting down) cereals, pasta, rice and bread that can irritate the gut lining and cause IBS as well as raising blood sugar levels leading to highs and lows of hunger and energy levels during the day will enable you to keep your carbohydrate levels to a mid range rather than very high or very low. 

If you keep it simple and clean by eating foods like meat, fish, eggs, all vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds in their natural state whenever possible, listening to your body and eating when you are hungry you will find you will look and feel better than you can imagine.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Coconut Flour Carrot Loaf Cakes

These cakes are very tasty and contain healthy ingredients like butter, eggs, carrots, coconut flour and raisins and no refined grains or sugars. They are wheat and gluten free and contain coconut flour but if you don't like coconut don't worry - they don't taste of coconut at all!

Ingredients (makes 6 loaf cakes or 8 muffins)

·         50g butter, melted

·         3 tbsp coconut milk

·         3 medium free range eggs beaten

·         3 tbsp honey (raw is best)

·         Zest of one large orange

·         1 tsp ground cinnamon

·         ½ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated for best flavour)

·         35g coconut flour

·         Pinch Salt

·         1 tsp gluten free baking powder

·         2 medium carrots, grated

·         50g raisins (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (adjust accordingly for fan oven)

Blend together the butter, coconut milk, eggs, honey and orange zest

Combine together the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there are no lumps

Add the grated carrot and raisins and mix in well

Bake for 15 minutes on the middle shelf

Monday, 22 June 2015

Five reasons why a paleo diet doesn't include grains and legumes

One of the main tenets of the paleo diet is the exclusion of grains, beans and legumes. This can seem to be a bit drastic to some people and is contrary to nutritional advice given in the UK and the US.
So, why does the paleo approach go against the official government advice and exclude these particular foods? Here are five very good reasons why:

1  Grains and legumes are high in lectins (gluten is probably the best known lectin) which over time can damage the lining of the gut leading to increased permeability (leaky gut) where incompletely indigested food and other substances are able to cross over into the bloodstream. There is a strong link between leaky gut and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis and if you have any autoimmune disease the first step should be to avoid all grains and legumes.

2  Grains and legumes are high in phytic acid which binds to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc making these minerals unavailable to be used by the body. These are important minerals that are increasingly deficient in our population. 

3  Grain based foods contain digestive enzyme inhibitors that can block the breakdown of food into smaller particles before it can be used effectively by the body. This can cause nutritional deficiency, damage the gut barrier and lead to an imbalance in gut flora.

4  Grain based foods are less nutritionally dense than meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and good fats. Gram for gram animal based protein foods and most vegetables will provide many more valuable nutritents to keep your immune system strong and your body healthy.

5  95% of seratonin production is carried out in the gut. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter vital in preventing depression and anxiety; therefore a healthy digestive system is important in keeping the mind healthy.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Easy Peasy Sauerkraut

I resisted making sauerkraut for a long time as I thought it looked a bit time consuming and complicated. In the end I decided that the benefits for my gut were worth it and set about finding an easy foolproof way to make it. It took a couple of batches but this is a simple and relatively quick way of making tasty healthy sauerkraut.

You will need:
800g chopped cabbage (keep the large outside leaves)
1 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1 x 1 litre clip top preserving jar (I used Bormioli Fido)

Put the chopped cabbage into a large bowl and add the salt. Mix together and leave to stand for a few hours or overnight. This will  help the cabbage to release moisture to form the brine in order to allow  the sauerkraut to ferment.

Using your hands squeeze the cabbage for a few minutes to release the moisture. Add the cabbage and the brine to the jar a bit at a time pressing it down with your hands or a mortar as you go.

When you've added all the cabbage to the jar roll up the large outside cabbage leaves and add to the top of the jar, again pushing down as you go. (When you close the lid it should be a tight fit to force the cabbage down into the brine). 

Put the jar in a cupboard or on the worktop to ferment for around 21 days. 

Once opened store in the fridge, it should keep for a few weeks.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Want to jump off the diet treadmill? Read on....

OK, so here's a scenario;

You are out all morning and very busy, its lunch time and your stomach is growling at you and you are feeling a bit wired and shaky and VERY grumpy. You need some food but don't have any with you. You are trying to eat much more healthily and have been doing pretty well, you had some belvita biscuits for breakfast, all the adverts say they are very healthy and keep you going all morning but you have reached the end of your patience with being hungry. You stop at a garage and look for something healthy but there are just rows of sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bars and some amazing looking cookies and doughnuts. You buy a sandwich, it looks healthy as its made with brown bread and has some salad in it and you get some of the special low calorie crisps, only 99 calories per pack. You avoid the cakes and feel virtuous because you bought a cereal bar instead. You get back in the car and eat it all very quickly as you are so hungry. By 4pm you are hungry and again and your hands are shaking and you've got a headache. Unfortunately you are in the car and have nothing to eat. By the time you get home you head straight for the fridge, you were going to make something healthy but you can't be bothered and need to eat right now so you open a big bag of 'lower fat' crisps and a dip and munch your way through those while you are buzzing about doing chores. As you've eaten those you don't want any dinner but just before bed are feeling peckish again so you have another 'healthy' diet cereal bar and crash out in bed exhausted.

So what is wrong with this scenario? Why are your weight loss efforts not working? You think you are making much more healthy choices and eating special low fat diet foods but you are still struggling with your weight and quite frankly are feeling quite tired and drained - not what you were expecting.

This is how many people approach weight loss. The food industry has created all sorts of special 'diet' foods that purport to fill you up and keep you full, release energy slowly and give you all the nourishment you need with synthetic added vitamins and minerals. You are actually eating the worst possible diet for health and weight loss; what your body needs is real food that we were designed to eat and that will nourish us and help us maintain a healthy weight for us.

Here is another scenario;

You make yourself a 2 or 3 egg omelette in the morning cooked in healthy fat like coconut oil and with mushrooms, tomatoes and in fact anything you have hanging round in the fridge. Sounds time consuming but actually takes minutes. You are busy all morning but you don't get the growling hunger like you do when you eat cereal or toast. You feel hungry by lunchtime but you have brought a large salad with you with a tin of tuna, an avocado and some olive oil dressing. You eat this and feel satisfied. Mid afternoon you are feeling a little peckish so you have a handful of mixed raw nuts that you keep in a pot and take everywhere with you. Good job you do as the trains are delayed and you are hungry at the station, you nibble on a few more nuts to keep you going until you get home. When you get home you griddle a steak, wilt some spinach and cook some mushrooms in butter and have with some sweet potato wedges you have in the fridge from yesterday (you always cook more than you need and put some in the fridge for the next day). It only takes ten minutes and you feel satisfied and all the food you have eaten today will support your health and weight loss goals.

Moral of the story - ditch the diet foods and processed foods marketed as health foods and eat real food! Your body will be nourished, satisfied and happy so cutting cravings and binges that sabotage your long term goals.

Go on, give it a try! What do you have to lose. If you want help transitioning to a new way of eating that will improve your health and wellbeing contact me on

PS See my next post for an explanation of why the second scenario will help you achieve your long term health and weight loss goals and why the first will keep you stuck on the diet treadmill forever.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Coconut Flour Chocolate Muffins

 Note: if you don't like the taste of coconut please don't worry - these really don't taste of coconut at all! They are light and moist and taste heavenly!

Ingredients (makes about 8 muffins)

·         50g butter (or coconut oil for dairy free cakes) melted
·         2 tablespoons coconut milk
·         3 medium free range eggs beaten
·         1 tsp vanilla essence
·         3 tbsp honey (raw is best)
·         20g coconut flour
·         20g organic cocoa powder
·         Pinch salt
·         1 tsp gluten free baking powder
·         50g dark chocolate (70% solids or above) chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

Blend together melted butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla essence and honey 

Combine together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no lumps

Add the chopped chocolate (or good quality chocolate chips)

Pour batter into 8 muffin cases (silicone is good as its non-stick)

Bake for 12 mins on the middle shelf