Category Archives: Tips & Advice

Epic Alternative USes For Table Salt Waste-Free Health Feature Images (1)

Epic Alternative Uses For Table Salt: Waste-Free Health

One of the first things most of us do when embarking on a health kick is to try to reduce the amount of salt we eat. If you’re trying to lessen the salt in your diet but don’t want to waste the buckets of table salt sitting in your cupboard, here are some great, waste-free alternative uses for it…

Fresh Egg Test

Eggs are one of those things: you seem to either be constantly running out, or have the odd one or two that have been loitering in the fridge for an age. If the latter happens, you’re never quite sure if you should eat them or not. Salt provides an excellent way to quickly test their freshness. Add two teaspoons of salt to a bowl of water and pop in your eggs. If they float, they’ve gone off, and you shouldn’t eat them. If they sink, it means they’re still fresh.

Tackle Smelly Hands

When you’ve been cooking with onion or garlic, and your hands smell funky, wash them with soap and water then mix a quick combination of salt and vinegar and rub it over your hands. Rinse it off, and voila –  an insanely simple solution to an irritating problem!

Sink Drains

Pour salt water down your kitchen sink regularly and it will quickly deodorise the drain and prevent the buildup of grease.

Water Rings

Mix salt with vegetable oil to form a thin paste, and rub it on the white marks created on wooden surfaces by hot dishes and glasses.

Greasy Pans

If you have a greasy pan, sprinkle a good amount of salt over it and rub it with a paper towel before washing as usual.

Stained Mugs

Mix a little washing up liquid with some salt and use it to scrub stubborn tea and coffee stains off your mugs.

Sparkling Fridge

A combination of soda water and salt is an excellent way to wipe the inside of your fridge. It’s deodorising and will beautifully remove any mess without putting chemical-filled cleaners near your food.

Brass And Copper

Use a mixture of equal parts of salt, vinegar, and flour to form a paste. Rub it on any brass and copper items you have that need cleaning, leave it for an hour, then use a soft cloth to brush it off. Buff it after with a dry cloth for a sparkling finish.

Remove Rust

An easy mix of salt and cream of tartar, with a splash of water, is a great way to remove rust. Rub it on, leave it to dry, brush it off, then buff it with a soft cloth. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use lemon juice instead.

Wine Spills

Salt is also great for removing wine stains. Blot up as much of the wine as you can immediately after the spill, then cover the stain with a pile of salt. This will absorb the remaining wine. Leave it for an hour or two, then soak it in cold water for half an hour before washing as usual.

Drying Clothes In Winter

Add salt to your rinse when washing clothes if you intend to dry them on an outside line during winter – this will stop them freezing.

Blood Stains

Saltwater is great for removing blood stains. Soak the item in cold saltwater, and wash as usual. If the stained item is made from natural fibres such as linen or cotton, you can also boil them following the wash for the best possible results.

Non-Drip Candles

Soak your new candles in strong saltwater for several hours, ensure they fully dry, and you will find they hardly drip when burned.

Arranging Artificial Flowers

Pour salt into the base of your vase, followed by a small amount of cold water. Arrange the flowers as usual – when the salt dries it will form a solid base that holds your flowers in place.

Play Dough

A genius use for salt for anyone with an artistic streak or children to amuse, mix half a cup of salt with a cup of flour, a cup of water, two tablespoons of cream of tartar, and two tablespoons of oil, and you have an awesome play dough.

Just sift the dry ingredients together, add the oil, and slowly mix in the water. If you want coloured dough, add a little food colouring. Cook it over medium heat until it grows stiff, then spread over wax paper to cool. Knead it until it’s the right consistency, and let your inner artist loose.

For more great tips on waste-free health, check out my post on alternative uses for sugar

Awesome Alternative Uses For Sugar Waste-Free Health (3)

Awesome Alternative Uses For Sugar: Waste-Free Health

You’ve committed yourself to the cause: no more refined sugar. It’s no good, you know you shouldn’t be eating it, but there it is loitering in the cupboard, tempting you to fall off the wellness wagon.

You consider throwing it out – cold turkey is best, right? But it seems like such a waste.

Good news! There are loads of marvellous things you can do with sugar besides eating it…

Alternative Uses For Sugar…

First Aid

Treat Your Wounds With Sugar…

A sprinkling of sugar over a wound can aid the healing process. I know, it sounds like an Old Wives’ tale, but studies have shown that granulated sugar can kill the bacteria. That bacteria is what causes chronic pain, and prevents wounds from healing. Using sugar on open wounds has proven very beneficial for a lot of people, and sugar paste is still used by some nurses as a standard treatment.

Cleanliness

Wash Away Grease And Grime…

When you have seriously grimy hands, slather your hands in a soap and sugar mix. The easiest way to do it is to add granulated sugar to a half empty bottle of liquid soap and mix it in (don’t over-mix!). Lather up the soap and scrub away all the muck – the sugar will form a natural abrasive.

Moisturise Tired Hands…

If your hands are dehydrated, trade the soap for olive oil (in equal amount to the sugar) and use it as a moisturiser.

Cleaning Coffee Grinders…

Grinders for spices and coffee beans quickly collect intense flavours and oil that can be difficult to clean. Sugar is seriously the easiest way to deal with this pesky problem! It will absorb all the unwanted elements in your grinders and leave them wonderfully clean. Just pour half a cup of sugar into your grinder, let it chew on it for two or three minutes, then dump it out and give it a quick wipe.

Simple!

Remove Grass Stains…

The bane of all parents, grass stains can be removed using a paste of sugar and warm water. Apply the paste of the stain, leave it for at least an hour (tough stains will need longer), then wash the garment as usual.

Beauty

Make A Scrumptious Banana Body Scrub…

I love bananas  (in smoothies, on toast, and as a snack!) but even I have to admit defeat eventually. When they’re past the point of being edible and I’ve forgotten to freeze them for smoothies, I repurpose them for a little pampering. Banana is an excellent moisturiser, making it perfect for creating a body scrub. Simply mash up a ripe banana with three tablespoons of the sweet stuff and a teaspoon of olive oil (careful, it’s easy to over-mix it!), and smother it over your skin. Rinse off in the shower and enjoy smooth skin and smelling delicious for the rest of the day!

Kissable Lips…

If you want a treat for your lips, blend caster sugar, olive oil, a spot of jojoba and a dab of vanilla extract or peppermint into a paste. Smother your lips, massage it in and after a few minutes, wash it off..technically you could also lick it off, but that would be rather counter productive!

Gardening

Flower Food…

Sugar is perfect for flowers. Add a mixture of white wine vinegar and sugar to the water you place your fresh cut flowers in and they will last longer. For every litre of water use two tablespoons of vinegar and three teaspoons of sugar. The vinegar will prevent bacteria from growing while the sugar feeds your flowers.

Butterfly Food…

If you love butterflies and like to make your garden as friendly as possible for them, here’s a great recipe for butterfly food, courtesy of The Butterfly Garden, by Matthew Tekulsky. The main ingredient? Sugar!

  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1-2 cans of stale beer
  • 3 overripe bananas (mashed)
  • 12 tablespoons of syrup
  • 12 tablespoons of fruit juice
  • 1 shot of rum

Simply mix all the ingredients together (no fear you will over-mix this one!) and paint it across your garden on trees, stumps, fence posts or rocks. Alternatively, use a sponge to soak it all up and hang it from a tree.

 

Did I miss anything? If you have any more great alternative uses for sugar, pop a comment below and let me know!

The new years resolution to improve your fitness that you’re probably already doing!

OK, hands up… who ate one mince pie too many, or drank too much prosecco over Christmas? I know I did!

In past years the 1st January would have seen me resolving to lose those post-Christmas pounds and improve my fitness by getting back into some kind of exercise. This year though, I have far too any excuses…

I’m self employed and run two businesses – I don’t have the time to exercise!

I have two young children.

I’m permanently knackered thanks to those two children providing me with endless broken nights of sleep.

etc etc….

But the real reason for me is that I have recently been diagnosed with adult hip dysplasia, and right now my surgeon says walking and swimming are my only fitness options. And I hate getting my face wet in the swimming pool!

So this year, as I could feel the mince pie guilt creeping in, I was overjoyed to stumble across an article in RED magazine which suggested it was possible to get fitter without wearing lycra or getting wet in the swimming pool, but simply by moving more.

Reading on, the article discussed METs – metabolic equivalent units. Forget hours in the gym, or steps on your FitBit, METs are the measurement of how much oxygen an activity uses, and therefore can be used to measure intensity per minute. And the best news is that apart from sleeping or sitting (sitting is being called the new smoking after all! ), every movement has a MET value and contributes to your fitness – including all those tasks you’re probably doing already on a daily basis such as hanging/folding laundry, cooking, clearing the table, washing up, popping up/down stairs, hoovering, walking, grocery shopping, and even fidgeting at your desk!!!

You can find a comprehensive list of activities, and their associated MET values here, but remember not to include anything with a value or 1 MET or less. Research shows that moving more than 600 METs per week not only increases your fitness, but also dramatically reduces your risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

But how does it work? Well let’s look at meal preparation – we all have to eat after all! Cooking a meal that requires moderate effort such as mashing potatoes, chopping ingredients and generally pottering around the kitchen to fetch ingredients and utensils, clocks in at 3.3 METs per minute. Since I have food intolerances that make eating “convenience” or “ready made” foods difficult, I make every meal from scratch and that can take me 30 minutes or longer, so I’m racking up 30 x 3.3 = 99 METs each time I cook. Add in laying the table, clearing the table, washing up, and those METs are starting to add up.

In fact, a quick tot-up of my average day showed I was doing over 1000 METs without even trying… and if I was to move more or even just walk faster, I could improve on that score and my fitness. So say “hello” to my new years resolution! Why not make it yours?

Happy new year!

Kate x

How to go gluten-free without going broke!

I was working with a client recently, and her face dropped when her test results showed she would need to go gluten-free.

“But it’s so expensive to go gluten-free!” she cried.

And indeed, it can work out expensive.

Visit any supermarket and you’ll find a section dedicated to gluten-free breads, pastas, cereals, biscuits, and cakes. Take a look at their price tags and you’ll likely need to take a lie down to recover from shock! Gluten-free bread is rarely less than £2 for a tiny loaf of miniature slices, while a 500g bag of gluten-free pasta also hovers around the £2 mark, and it’s hard to know which brands will turn to mush when you cook them. And don’t get me started on the lack of nutrients in most gluten-free products… it seems to be a case of remove the gluten, and replace it with a bunch of sugar and/or incredibly refined carbohydrates, add a handful of weird chemicals for flavour and texture, then stick on a huge price tag.

But is it really necessary to buy all your products from the gluten-free section of the supermarket?

I don’t think it is, and here are four of my favourite inexpensive purchases for going gluten-free without going broke:

1. Courgettes. Not the coolest of veggies, but grab a julienne peeler or a spiralizer and you can make your own nutrient dense noodles that will soak up a good bolognese sauce and add flavour to your meal. You can also use those gadgets to make noodles out of butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

2. Rice. For many people avoiding gluten, this is can be a staple go-to as it is naturally gluten-free and generally inexpensive. Some clients with a gluten intolerance will cross-react with rice, but if you’re ok with rice then always go for brown rice for extra nutrient density.

3. Lettuce. Again, not a particularly cool veggie, but makes a great alternative to bread or tortilla wraps. Stuff a large crisp lettuce leaf with whatever you fancy (burrito style) or layer with ham and roll together (like a savoury swiss-roll!)

4. Oats. Gluten free oats and gluten-free oat cakes are widely available, and make a great breakfast alternative to the high sugar gluten-free breakfast cereals and gluten-free biscuits found in the gluten-free section of the supermarket. Sadly, gluten-free oats are not suitable for all, so always check your test results before tucking in!

If you’re not sure whether you should be avoiding gluten, you can book an appointment with us to find out your food intolerances in just 60 minutes!

Kate

 

8 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

All nutritional therapists are obliged to refer a client to their GP to investigate further, if any “red flags” are mentioned during a clinic appointment. This blog covers 8 of those “red flag” symptoms.

In clinic, we often see clients with symptoms from this list, who don’t want to waste their GPs time or worry that their GP won’t take them seriously. We’ve all heard that GPs are busy people, working long hours and seeing lots of patients everyday and the last thing anyone wants to do is to waste their time, talking about their health concerns. But if you have a symptom in this list, or any other symptom that has come on suddenly or is causing you concern, then you must make that appointment.

1. Pain
Any pain which is persistent and/or severe, that occurs anywhere in the body, should never be ignored. The most concerning pains are those in the head (including eyes and temples), abdomen, and central chest. Your GP will be able to refer you to the appropriate specialist to explore the underlying cause of your pain.

2. Blood
Whether it’s red, brown or black, thick, thin or lumpy, just a few spots or several cupfuls, any and all unexpected blood loss needs to be checked out as soon as possible.
There may be red blood in your vomit, urine or bowel movements, or you might have seen brown or black “coffee grounds” in your vomit (a sign of coagulated blood). And if your bowel movements have become black and tarry (and you’re definitely not taking an iron supplement), then you should see your GP straightaway.

3. Sudden Changes in bowel habit
A sudden change in bowel habit, whether it be the frequency, type, colour etc. should be reported to your GP. They may request a sample to send away for analysis or to check for parasitic infection.

4. Change in a skin lesion
A change in size, shape, colour, itching, bleeding or pain in a skin lesion such as a mole should always be shown to your GP, who will refer you to a dermatologist (skin specialist) if necessary.

5. Unexplained Weight Loss
We’d all like to lose weight easily, without even trying, but if you’re losing more than 1lb (0.5kg) per week without any major dietary changes, then your GP needs to know. Routine blood tests will be used initially to rule out issues such as overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and further investigations will take place if these initial tests are negative.

6. Recurring Cystitis
Women are much more likely to get cystitis than men, because their urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder. More than half of all women will experience cystitis at least once in their lifetime, but women who experience cystitis that recurs more than 3 times need to have their case examined thoroughly by a urologist (urinary tract specialist) to see if there is an underlying kidney or bladder issue.

7. Non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
Whether you’re between periods, postmenopausal, pregnant, or using hormonal contraception, any vaginal bleeding not associated with menstruation should be reported to your GP, who may then consider ultrasound scans and blood tests for the underlying cause.

8. Breathlessness
We all get breathless from time to time, but if you’re finding walking up a short flight of stairs has you gasping for air, or you struggle to catch your breath on a short walk down the road, then you should ask your GP for some routine blood tests to rule out anaemia (serum ferritin, serum B12 and serum folate should all be checked). If those come back negative, your GP will need to explore other causes for the breathlessness.

Health and happiness to you all!

Kate x

5 Things That Could Be Causing Your Food Intolerances

Many of us experience food intolerances (non-allergic food hypersensitivity) that result in difficulty digesting a particular type of food. This isn’t the same as an allergy, which triggers the immune system and can have serious consequences. Food intolerances aren’t usually as severe, however they can cause some extremely unpleasant symptoms, such as migraines and headaches, irritable bowel, bloating, stomach ache, hives, and coughs, runny noses and a general feeling of being ‘under the weather’.

While food allergies can be triggered by even a tiny amount of food and have immediate and obvious consequences, intolerances usually take longer to manifest. Symptoms are often dismissed as being everyday irritants, or assumed to be caused by something else. If you have an intolerance, identify it, and put a stop to it, you will experience a greater feeling of overall wellness and feel so much more comfortable!

We can help you with identifying your food intolerances, but what we’re really passionate about is working out what is causing your food intolerances!

Unlike allergies, which are caused by the body’s immune system reacting to a particular substance as if it were harmful, intolerances can be caused by several different things. Getting to the bottom of what’s causing your intolerance is as important as identifying the type of food you’re struggling with.

Here are five things that may be causing your food intolerances:

#1 – Low or Absent Digestive Enzymes

In order to fully digest our food our bodies require certain digestive enzymes. When we are missing these digestive enzymes, or have an insufficient amount in our digestive system, our bodies struggle to digest our food properly.

For example, lactose intolerance is cause by too little lactase, which is the digestive enzyme our bodies use to break milk sugar (lactose) down into small molecules our bodies are able to further breakdown and absorb once they reach the intestines. If this doesn’t happen, problems arise once digestion reaches the gut, as lactose cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream without first being broken down in this manner. Instead, the lactose remains in the gut and causes stomach ache, bloating, diarrhoea, wind, and spasms.

The body requires one of several specific digestive enzymes in order to digest most foods. An absence or deficiency in any of these vital digestive enzymes causes a reaction similar to that found in lactose intolerant individuals, so much so that the British Allergy Foundation identifies enzyme deficiencies as a common cause of food intolerances.

#2 – Liver Disease

Studies have shown that individuals with liver disease are four to six times more likely to develop an intolerance to gluten, and Celiac disease (the autoimmune reaction to dietary gluten). On the flipside, individuals with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are two to six times more likely to develop liver disease.

This clearly links an intolerance to gluten with the development of liver disease, and vice versa. If you have gluten sensitivity (or full blown Celiac disease) it’s well worth getting your liver function checked to ensure your intolerance isn’t being caused by your liver.

#3 – Naturally Occurring Histamine

Sensitivity to histamine is quite common. Allergy medication contains antihistamines that work to combat histamines when they enter your system, preventing the reaction in the immune system that causes symptoms of an allergic reaction. But histamine is also found in the gut, where it regulates physiological function and acts as a neurotransmitter. Some foods contain histamine naturally (such as fish, which can accumulate histamine if it hasn’t been properly stored), causing something similar to an allergic reaction when that food is consumed. Anyone with a sensitivity to histamine could present symptoms ranging from abdominal cramps and sinus issues, to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and (in extreme cases) anaphylaxis.

#4 – Leaky Gut

Leaky gut (intestinal permeability) is a common cause of food intolerances. When the lining of our digestive tracts becomes porous and inflamed, undigested foods, yeast, bacteria, and other toxins are able to get through the gut wall and into our bloodstream, which should be sterile. In response to this, our immune systems attack the toxins, causing inflammation throughout the body. Leaky gut is extremely common and causes heartburn, wind, bloating, pain, constipation, and diarrhoea. Due to the damage in the gut and the passage of undigested food into the blood stream, the body starts to react to the presence of particular foods – in particular gluten.

#5 – Parasites

Your food intolerances could also be caused by parasites infecting your intestines. Parasitic infection causes inflammation which increases the permeability of your small intestines, leading to the same problems that come with Leaky Gut (see above).

You can book an appointment with us today or call Kate on 07951 740423 to discuss your symptoms and find out how we can help you.

 

As featured on Huffington Post: Are You Tired of Being Tired?

When was the last time you felt full of energy? Perhaps not the kind of energy that children seem to have from dawn to dusk, but the kind that sees you through the day without needing to press the snooze button on your alarm clock in the morning, or the kind that stops that feeling you need to take a little nap after lunch. Continue reading As featured on Huffington Post: Are You Tired of Being Tired?

As featured on Yahoo Style!

Everyone knows that a night out on an empty stomach usually equals a one-way ticket to vomit town. There are the standard tricks to help ease a hangover: glass of milk before drinking alcohol, don’t follow wine with beer, toast and two pints of water before bed, blah blah blah.

There’s only one way to guarantee no hangover, and that’s not drinking alcohol at all… but what are the best foods to stave off your hangover if you do drink?

Read my thoughts from a nutrition perspective here on Yahoo Style.

Kate x

5 ways to slow down when you just don’t have time!

Yesterday morning, on my way into clinic, I witnessed a young lady in her mid-20’s being knocked off her feet by a cyclist. The cyclist hadn’t jumped a traffic light, nor was he cycling on the pavement. The lady, presumably on her way into work, was in such a rush that she chose not to wait for the lights to change at the junction and attempted to cross the busy road while the traffic was moving. A handful of city-workers helped her to her feet, the cyclist apologised, and everyone continued their morning rush.

The lady was fine, but as she dusted off her knees and continued on her journey, I wondered if it would change her approach to life. Would she take more time, be more mindful, and appreciate the now?

As I walked further up Bishopsgate towards Liverpool Street, I noticed just how many more people were in a hurry, rushing here, there, and everywhere. And it reminded me that I’ve been there. 10 years ago, that was me. Rushing into work an hour early, never taking lunch breaks, all in the hope of getting home on time. For me, it never worked. My days were just even longer, and I ended up in a state of burnout with a myriad of health issues and my work suffered because I was just too tired to do anything. And then I realised, I’m almost pushing myself back to that point again – I have two young children (one of whom has currently forgotten how to sleep!), I’m studying for my mid-year exams, I’m running two businesses and doing some mini-courses alongside them, and I’m not taking time for myself again.

With hindsight, I can see that rushing into work early and not taking breaks, is a recipe for disaster. But seeing that unfortunate lady get knocked off her feet, made me realise that whether we work in the City or not, we need to take the time to be mindful, slow down a little bit, take the time to appreciate good food and good company, do regular yoga and meditation, and preserve our wellbeing… but who has time for all of that AND their work?!

So here are 5 simple ways to slow down, in a busy world:

1. Shower in the dark

This is without a doubt, my favourite way to switch off and remove myself from stress.

2. Mindfulness Apps

Download one of the many available (I like Headspace, but there are many others) and take 10 minutes during your commute to listen to the guided meditation session.

3. Take regular short breaks

If you can’t manage a full hour for lunch, take a short 10 minute break every two hours. Go for a short walk, get some fresh air (and some vitamin D if the sun is shining!), do some deep breathing, perhaps a few yoga stretches if you can find somewhere to do them.

4. Eat well

Batch cook at the weekend – spend an hour making a huge pot of soup with vegetables, lentils, perhaps a little meat or fish. Then everyday, take at least 20 minutes away from whatever you are doing, and have a portion of that soup for lunch. So much more nourishing than a meal-deal grabbed from the shop and eaten at your desk while you catch up on emails. For evenings, make a stir-fry, or invest in a slow cooker so you can arrive home to a homecooked ready meal.

5. Cut the caffeine

If you’re using coffee or caffeinated drinks as a crutch to get you through the day, to get you going or to keep you going, then there’s a problem. Try switching to green tea (I love Pukka’s Green Tea with Matcha tea bags) which contains a lower amount of caffeine and an amino acid known as L-Theanine, which relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas, and maybe the drive to make some changes to your life. And if you have any other ideas for slowing down in our busy world, I’d love to hear from you!

Kate x

References: Effects of L-Theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses