fbpx

Resources

Let’s be clear, when I was growing up in the 70s Health Coaching didn’t exist. Little kids did not say that they wanted to be a Health Coach when they grew up. For the record I had aspirations to be a spy… But I found myself drawn to the world of health and wellness as a result of managing chronic health conditions both for myself and my children. The regular GP route with referral to individual specialists didn’t work for us. We were all still ill.

I saw a Functional Medicine practitioner in the UK, Dr Sarah Davies, https://www.drsarahdavies.co.uk/ which ignited my interest in this area of lifestyle medicine. Perhaps more importantly we started to get better. This was all of the evidence that I needed. But I wasn’t about to retrain as a doctor… After working with a Functional Medicine Health Coach in the US I was really keen to help bring that level of care and service to the UK.

I joined the second cohort of the ADAPT program at the Kresser Institute as my research showed that it was the best health coach course available. I was looking for academic rigour without the wishy-washy woo woo component. (That’s not a technical description…).

In a nutshell I support my clients to make critical lifestyle and behavior changes to enable them to reach their health goals. For example, we all know what a healthy lifestyle looks like:

  • Eating unprocessed whole foods
  • Adequate exercise
  • Enough sleep
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting alcohol

So if we all already know this, how come we’re not all the absolute healthiest that we can be? We all have that same information. Simply put, information alone cannot create change. A coach will help you to understand and prioritise which health goal is most important for you at this particular time in your life.

As a coach my role is to empower you to uncover your own knowledge and strengths, support you without judging, help you to devise your own solutions to issues and hold you accountable to your goals. By making micro changes we’re able to tiptoe past your amygdala bypassing the freeze, fight or flight response.

How is coaching different to having a chat with a friend over coffee? For a start while your friend obviously likes spending time with you they are not at all invested in helping you to find your inner knowledge and innate strengths.

So you might tell your friend that you ended up having three glasses of Pinot on Friday, when you only meant to have one small glass… She will likely respond with a similar story of when she had too much wine as well. There will be no conversation around how you felt when you poured that second glass or what you were thinking about by the time the third glass came around.

Coaching creates the space to have that conversation and understand the motivations regarding why you chose not to stick to your original plan. It will explore how you felt afterwards, and provide some options for the next time that this situation comes up which gives you opportunities to respond differently.

Those of us that aren’t key workers have likely found that we have more time on our hands due to events being cancelled and the complete reduction of commute times as work and study have both moved into the home. What are you going to do with this time? What have you always put off because you didn’t have enough ‘time’. What’s perhaps more interesting is what’s stopping you now, if you still haven’t kicked off that project?

One of the things that I’ve done is rewatch a film that I saw once back in 1991. I was actually afraid because I loved it so much! I was worried that I wouldn’t like it as much as I remembered. As all of my usual excuses vanished I sat down with my teenage daughter and we watched it together. It was a completely different experience, I saw different nuances to the storyline, but thankfully still loved it.

What’s on your to-do list? How do you want to spend your time during this unique stretch of history? What kind of person do you want to be as you come out of the other side? How could your health be improved? As a functional medicine health coach I can support you to answer these and other questions that you haven’t even thought to ask yet.

Upon finding a bald spot in your hair, your first thought probably isn’t to reach for Rosemary Essential Oil… Typically in the UK if you visit your GP with a suspected case of alopecia, you’ll likely be referred to a dermatologist. If you’re lucky enough to receive a referral you will likely be prescribed with Minoxidil.

One of the standard treatments is Minoxidil (this is the active ingredient in over the counter Rogaine). This strategy is treating the end result of alopecia versus finding and treating the root cause. The tricky part of managing alopecia is that everyone will have a different trigger for the cause of their alopecia. It takes time and effort to unpick and get to the bottom of your root cause. It’s much easier to prescribe Minoxidil.

This means that when you stop using Minoxidil there is every possibility that your hair will start to shed again. When my son first received a diagnosis and tried it, it had no effect whatsoever. Although he started with the ophiasis pattern once the patchy circular areata pattern started he lost all of his hair incredibly quickly.

While he’s currently having amazing regrowth there’s a couple of stubborn patches which are requiring some additional encouragement. On these two areas we’re using rosemary essential oil in a carrier of black seed oil. Before you think that I’ve completely lost my marbles, gone all Woo Woo, and are scoffing at ‘essential oil’ as a means for hair growth, let me point you towards the science.

Historically rosemary essential oil has been used as a folk medicine treatment. In a 2015 study participants with androgenic alopecia were treated with either rosemary oil or Minoxidil 2.0%. Interestingly after 6 months the oil produced equal results with regards to Minoxidil with regards to the number of hairs that grew. Even better the oil didn’t have Minoxidil’s side effects.

We’ve just started this regime, and expect that it will take time to show results. I wanted to flag this alternative treatment as most people will be struggling to obtain a doctor’s appointment and/or prescription at this time. It’s also a more cost effective solution with fewer side effects (like irritated itchy scalp). Note: Only use rosemary oil in a carrier oil like grapeseed or jojoba. Do not use neat on skin.

Source: http://europepmc.org/article/med/25842469

Everyone needs a great gluten free brownie recipe in their back pocket! Here’s a secret… brownies are one of the very few baked goods that taste better without gluten.

I’ve spent more time than I care to admit baking gluten free brownies. I have three recipes in my book alone… But, I like this one because it gives you that chocolatey hit and you probably have most of the ingredients in already. It doesn’t need any gums to act as binders, and it’s more economical than a recipe which is basically melted chocolate held together with cocoa powder and eggs.

I was actually surprised by how passionate people became about their favourite brownie. When I owned a bakery, customers would be deeply unhappy whenever I tweaked a recipe.

This is a modified version of Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies first published in Bittersweet in 2003. https://www.amazon.com/Bittersweet-Recipes-Tales-Life-Chocolate/dp/1579651607

Ingredients:

140g melted butter (or coconut oil for dairy free – avoid margarine)

200g coconut sugar or brown sugar

80g cocoa powder – sifted

salt – pinch

0.5 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

65g cornflour – sifted

Optional: 50g nuts/chocolate chips/cherries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 celsius
  2. Either line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment, or use a silicone square container.
  3. Place butter, sugar, sifted cocoa and salt in a large heat-proof bowl above a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally to help the butter to melt, you are literally just gently warming the mixture through.
  4. It will look a bit gritty, remember the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Don’t Panic!
  5. Take off the heat, add the vanilla extract.
  6. Add each egg individually and beat it into the mixture as if your life depended on it.
  7. Add the cornflour and use a spatula to incorporate into the chocolatey batter. When there are no more visible specks of flour, use the spatula to beat 40 more times. Feel free to count out loud.
  8. Add any optional ingredients like nuts or chocolate chips. I used slivered honey almonds in the brownie pictured.
  9. Spoon into your prepared tin, and help it to spread into the corners.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes, it may look a little underdone at this point. Don’t worry it will firm up more as it cools.
  11. DO NOT OVERBAKE! I feel quite strongly about this as my daughter always overbakes brownies, and that gives you a dry texture that’s more like an overly thick cookie.
  12. Let it cool completely before attempting to slice.
  13. Enjoy!

Try it and let me know how it compares to your current favourite gluten free brownie!

There has literally never been a better time to start making sourdough bread. Literally. Never. After a couple of months of trying the keto diet, I could feel homemade carbs calling my name. I always keep a small stash of gluten free sourdough starter in the freezer to be used in case of emergencies. I feel that current times classify as such.

So why bother making your own sourdough? Well, you don’t have to go to the shops for bread, you don’t need to keep a stock of yeast, you’re saving yourself from all of the mystery ingredients in supermarket bread and let’s face it most of us are at home with extra time on our hands. (I’ve gained around three hours every day due to not having the school run and after school sports activities).

“Think of your starter as a low-maintenance pet…” Yes, I’m actually quoting myself. Who does that?! It’s from my book The Twice as Nice Guide: Gluten Free and Dairy Free Baking. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twice-Nice-Guide-Winning-Recipes/dp/1912009978/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=twice+as+nice+guide+gluten+free&qid=1584978302&sr=8-1

There are many different ways to begin making a starter. This is an updated version from my book. Did I mention my book yet?

Ingredients:

500g millet/sorghum/teff/buckwheat flour (use whichever gluten free wholegrain flour you have to hand)

500g white and brown rice flour by Dove’s Farm

1 litre bottled water

Kit:

Freezer bags (the kind that close like Ziploc) Medium size

Large thermos flask (I like to use an Easiyo yoghurt making container)

Instructions – Day 1:

Measure 25g of the wholegrain flour and 25g of the rice flour into a freezer bag. Add 120g of water, and mix well. Seal the bag. Mix again. Open and release any air. Reseal.

Place this bag into a second bag, seal, release any air and reseal.

Fill your flask three quarters full with hand hot water, and place the double-bagged flour and water into it. Seal the flask. Check it every few hours and make sure that the water stays warm.

24 hours later:

Fish out your flour and water bag from the flask. There may be a few bubbles, and maybe some yeasty aromas. Carefully open the bag, add 25g of the wholegrain flour, 25g of the rice flour and 80g of bottled water.

Mix, seal the bag, mix some more. Let out any air. Reseal. Return to the second bag, seal, let out any excess air from the second bag.

Refill your flask with hand hot water. Place the double-bagged flour mix into the flask, and periodically check to make sure that it stays warm.

24 hours later:

Weigh the flour mix, discard half. Put the remaining half into a clean (not sanitised – it’s not jam) lidded container. I like to use a Kilner jar without the rubber seal.

Add 25g wholegrain flour, 25g rice flour and 50g bottled water mix using a wooden spoon.

Close the lid and leave on the kitchen counter for an additional 24 hours. Do not use the locking mechanism.

Your starter is now ready to bake with! If you’re going to be using it regularly it’s fine to leave it on the kitchen counter. Every day remove a tablespoon of starter, and add a tablespoon of flour and water each day. If you know that you won’t be using it for a while place it in the fridge with the lid loose. Each week discard a couple of spoonfuls of the starter and add a couple of flour and water.

Keep using the flour mix of 50% wholegrain and 50% rice flour. After about a month it’s okay to move to tap water.

I find it helpful to freeze a couple of tablespoonfuls of starter in case something happens to it. You can then just defrost it and two tablespoons of the flour mix, and two tablespoons of water to kick it off again.

You’re now ready to bake which is where the fun starts. Please do message me with any questions.

I’m lucky enough to have two parents in their 70s. My Dad, in particular, is part of the at risk group for coronavirus, as he used to smoke 40+ a day for 40+ years and my Mum was exposed to all of that second-hand smoke. Right now no-one in my immediate family is taking an immunosuppressant which would increase their risk of picking up any cold or virus going. So which vitamins and minerals support your immune system?

This is how we’re staying as healthy as possible. In addition to the common sense steps recommended by the WHO (not THE WHO) https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses we’re taking the following vitamins. While ordinarily I’d recommend a food first approach, I’m using these vitamins as back-up in case of a lack of access to fresh food.

Vitamin A: Supports cell growth, it acts as an antioxidant and is critical in maintaining the structure of mucosal cells (like those which line your respiratory and GI tracts). A lack of this vitamin results in poor night vision, keratosis pilaris aka ‘chicken skin’ that appears on the back of arms, dry skin, dry eyes, eczema, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease and infertility. 

Best food source: Liver (from cows, sheep, chickens, geese, turkeys or fish) followed by egg yolks, it’s a fat soluble compound so requires fat to be absorbed.

Note: Taking Vitamin A along with Vitamins D and K2 significantly reduces the potential risk of vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin D: Increases intestinal absorption of calcium and is a known immune modulator. If your levels of Vitamin D are outside of the optimal range then your immunity can be compromised which increases your risk of infections. You can find this vitamin in food, sun and supplements. I like the dminder app which calculates how much Vitamin D you’re being exposed to depending on your skin type, location and clothes. This article by Chris Kresser will give you more info on Vitamin D https://chriskresser.com/vitamin-d-the-new-super-nutrient/.

Best food source: Cod liver oil, fish, shellfish, grass-fed meat.

Vitamin K2: Works in synergy with Vitamins A and D. It may prevent toxicity from these other two fat-soluble vitamins.

Best food source: Natto (Japanese fermented soy product), Gouda, Brie, Poultry liver

Vitamin C: Probably the best known vitamin for supporting the immune system. It’s an antioxidant and a cofactor for many enzymatic reactions like producing collagen and neurotransmitters. It’s not stored in the body so we have to obtain it from our diet or supplements as we can’t produce it ourselves. A deficiency results in poor wound healing and fatigue. Good levels of Vitamin C reduces all causes mortality risk. That said, there’s some controversial evidence that large doses of this vitamin can block the actions of anticoagulant drugs. I prefer to take liposomal Vitamin C, but given the cost of purchasing this form I’m choosing to alternate with other types.

Best food source: Red peppers, citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, grapefruit.

Vitamin E: Another fat soluble vitamin that’s needed to maintain proper immune function. Are you seeing a theme here?

Best food source: Avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.

Zinc: This mineral is necessary for both the development and function of immune cells. It functions as a cofactor for over 300 enzymes and chemical reactions. Like Vitamin C it can’t be stored in the body and so you need to make sure that you’re consuming it regularly or supplementing. Zinc is a cofactor that helps to convert Vitamin A to its active form.

Best food source: Oysters, red meat, cheese, crab, turkey.

While I would always prefer to obtain these vitamins from food which increases their bio-availability, I’m trying to cover my bases by having them on hand in case of drastic measures such as isolation. You can see that the majority of best food sources come from animal products, so veggies and vegans should be ready to start supplementation. These vitamins and minerals are necessary to support your immune system.

Here's 9 tips to take action on Hair Loss now!