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What’s Belly Fat Got To Do With Food Sensitivities?

Wow, what a week. I did my very first webinar last Saturday, thank you very much to those who were there. I’m happy to say I didn’t muck up the technology! Here’s some of the feedback:

“Awesome info.”

“I have just listened to the webinar session, and I have to let you know it was absolutely FANTASTIC!!!  I have taken notes, and will put them into action.”

“It was really excellent! The subject matter and presentation. Also, loved the client stories. I think my sisters would be very interested to watch the recording, too.“

The webinar was specifically for smart women approaching 50 (shhh!) and the topic was, “How to Have Peace of Mind Around Food And Curb Your Cravings Without Depending On Willpower.” If it interests you at all to pick up some useful information that you can apply to your everyday which will make a difference, here’s the link to the webinar replay. I don’t know how long this replay will be up for, and this is the only time you’ll catch me on my very first webinar! Lol.

So, what have I been denying?

Well, one of the things I shared on the webinar was the idea of food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are when your immune system has a response to the food you’re eating. It causes inflammation which can show up in numerous ways – a runny nose, puffy eyes, fatigue, bloating, general puffiness, foggy thinking, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, poor memory, itchy skin, eczema, a rumbly tummy… The trouble with food sensitivities is that they can be hard to track and because we often think that our symptoms are a “normal” part of life, that it’s just “something that one gets”, we don’t recognize that those symptoms could be the result of eating foods that don’t agree with us.

Inflammation is actually a healthy response from our immune system. We all know, for example, when we’ve sprained an ankle, and our ankle goes red, swells up, feels hot to the touch and is painful, that it’s a normal part of the healing process. It can also save our life. But the inflammation that comes from food sensitivities is often ongoing when we continue to eat those very foods that cause the inflammation in the first place. In other words, the inflammation becomes chronic. What’s more, it is often also at a low level, which enables us to either not notice it or ignore it.

Here’s the thing about inflammation. It can be what’s causing you to hold on to that excess weight. Who would have thought, right?

Simplifying it as much as possible, inflammation cause physiological stress in your body, which in turn causes your stress hormone, cortisol, to be elevated. This in turn raises your blood sugar levels, which then also raises the level of another hormone, insulin. It’s the interaction of these two hormones being chronically elevated that then causes your body to deposit fat around the middle and to hold on to it.

As this process continues and we pack more fat into the cells, the fat cells expand until they are “full up” and then, they themselves start to get inflamed, kicking off another cycle of inflammation.

And what is good for you to know is that there is increasing evidence that this kind of systemic inflammation plays a central role in other more serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

So, how can you reduce inflammation?

Here’s the long and short of it.

  1. Discover if you have any food sensitivities and remove those foods temporarily in order to help your digestive system to heal. A good way to do this is by following an elimination protocol. Here’s one resource – Tom Malterre’s book (and if you happen to consult it, I’d personally leave out Phase 1).
  2. Significantly reduce or remove inflammatory foods from your diet, such as refined sugar, foods cooked at a high temperature, processed meats, artificial trans-fats which can be found in hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, refined carbohydrates, excessive alcohol.
  3. Include as many anti-inflammatory foods in your meals as you can. These are foods that help your body to quell the fires of inflammation, such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, coriander (cilantro), blueberries, turmeric, bone broth, foods that are rich in omega-3 fats like salmon, matcha tea.

Now that said, I really don’t like having to say, “Don’t eat this or that.” So, instead, I’m going to ask you to focus primarily on (3) and raise your awareness to be able to do (1). Then eat, eat and eat all the foods that are good for you – nutrient-dense, real, whole foods. You can start today, by upping your vegetable intake. Just add one or two more servings, or three! With some delicious butter!

There, that feels so very much better, doesn’t it? 😉

Make your next years your best years.

Stressed? Then you have to read this

Sometimes I think that there must be some kind of “blanket” that envelopes us all. That can be the only explanation for how it can sometimes seem as if everyone is going through the same thing, all at the same time. This week, so many people I know seem to have had a tough time, be they colleagues, friends or family.

Whether it’s been miscommunication or unwanted surprises, it’s all boiled down to the same thing – feeling horribly stressed and perhaps also overwhelmed.

We have a lot on our plates. We are asked to lean in, to be a breadwinner (if not also the main breadwinner), to be a leader, a mum, and the very many roles we take on in our lives. We are so good at multi-tasking, that we often overlook that we’ve taken on too much, and often forget to put ourselves into the picture.

If this is you, here’s what I really want for you to hear.

You deserve to put yourself first. Take time for yourself. Be kind, to yourself.

Sometimes, this might mean not striving 100% of the time, because 80% is perfect. When I was growing up, I remember hearing someone say that even God took a break on the seventh day. 🙂

Giving ourselves a break – physically, mentally and emotionally – is truly central to de-stressing. The funny thing is, getting tense and stressed is unconscious. It’s like breathing. It happens without you thinking about it at all. But destressing and relaxing is conscious, and what this means is that you have a choice. You can choose to turn relaxation on.

But because we are so busy, we often choose not to. We cut ourselves off from the neck down, ignoring our body’s messages that it needs a break, and we carry on, pushing through tiredness, hunger, anxiety, pain….

I’ve been there too. Not even that long ago, and because this week has been so stressful for so many people I know, I wanted to remind you, to invite you, to take a break and to destress.

The key is to begin to make it a habit – to build in reminders throughout the day to step back, if only for a moment, to take that break, and to bring your body into a more relaxed place. Over time, as you begin to tune back in to your body’s messages and you begin to notice your stress levels starting to rise, take that break. The best thing of all is that you can begin to reverse the impact that stress has had on your life.

Here are some things you can do when you take that break, to bring your body into a relaxed state. Pick and mix, if you’d like.

  1. Breathe the 6/7/8 – Sit upright in your seat, feet placed flat on the floor, relax your head, neck, shoulders, body, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes. Now, take a deep breath for the count of 6, hold it for the count of 7 and then exhale for the count of 8. Repeat this 5 times. How do you feel now?
  2. Stand up, stretch and gently bend backwards. Hold for the count of 3. Repeat 3 times.
  3. Shrug and roll your shoulders a few times, then gently bend your neck backwards, stretch your neck and look up. Hold for the count of 7.
  4. Close your eyes, and visualize somewhere peaceful and serene – the beach, a meadow, the forest, a lake…the choice is yours. Allow your mind to calm down and watch any thoughts that may arise float off into the distance. You’ll know when to open your eyes again 😉
  5. Tense all your muscles at the same time – clench your fists, your buttocks, straighten your arms and your legs, squeeze your eyes, scrunch your face, and hold for the count of 5, then release. Repeat 3 times.

There. Just a few ideas. What others might you have?

And of course, there’s food. What you eat, how you eat and when you eat, all have an impact on your stress levels too. Remember:

  • Eat within ½ and hour to an hour of waking up.
  • Eat protein, healthy fat and fibre with every meal and snack.
  • Eat regularly throughout the day, to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Typically, this means breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks.
  • Minimise the junk food, refined carbs, caffeine and alcohol, which mess with your hormones.
  • Try out one of my favourite snacks – an orange with a teaspoon full of almond or cashew butter. Yum!

Not too much biochemistry this week, haha. Now, over to you. Let me know how you go.

Make your next years your best years.

 

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Recipe: Chocolate Coconut Ice-Cream

Evidently it’s Chocolate Ice Cream Day today, June 7. Who knew?

I certainly didn’t. Did you? And anyway, do you care? Haha!

But I think it’s a good excuse to share a chocolate ice-cream recipe with you. I love this ice-cream because it’s so easy to make. Plus it’s healthy, because it contains protein, healthy fats and many valuable nutrients.

It’s dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and preservative-free. However, it’s not sugar-free, as it uses honey as a sweetener, which, according to Nutrition Data, is 82% sugar by weight, with about half of that being fructose. But, here’s the thing – the recipe doesn’t use any old honey, but raw honey.

Raw honey contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, and also antioxidants. It also has anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, and also possesses other properties that can support health. However, most honeys sold in the average supermarket are pasteurized and highly processed, to the extent that any potential benefits are lost, leaving only the sugar elements behind. So be sure to use raw honey in this recipe, to ensure that you are making a healthy version of the ice-cream.

If you’d like to read more about the differences between raw and processed honey, here is a great article from http://permaculturenews.org/2014/02/08/shocking-differences-raw-honey-processed-golden-honey-found-grocery-retailers/

Now back to the ice-cream. It also contains almond butter and coconut milk. Almond butter is a good source of protein, with one tablespoon containing about the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat, and it also has dietary fibre and other nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E and iron. Coconut milk also has magnesium and iron, plus manganese, copper, phosphorus, and potassium. It is high in saturated fat that is mostly in the form of medium-chain fatty acids, which is easily used for energy. It also contains lauric acid which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial and may therefore help protect the body from infections.

The bottom-line is, if you’re going to eat an ice-cream, then this is the recipe for you. It’s delicious and it’s also quite rich in depth and flavor, so I find that I don’t need as large a serving in order to feel satisfied – perfect for a guiltless treat every now and again.

Ready for it? Here goes.

Chocolate Coconut Ice-Cream

Ingredients

1 can full-fat coconut milk (400g) – look for one without any additives or preservatives
1/4 cup raw honey (and ideally, organic)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond butter
2 tbsp unsweetened organic cocoa powder or cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Simply stir everything together using a whisk, freeze and then remove from the freezer and stir it up again every couple of hours or so. To serve, remove it from the freezer about 20 minutes beforehand to allow it to soften up sufficiently for scooping.

Well, as it’s National Chocolate Ice-Cream Day, I’m going to have some tonight with some fresh raspberries and a light sprinkling of toasted coconut. Like the photo? (Lol, we couldn’t wait for it to be ready so we had it as a summer iced soup dessert!)

Now, over to you. If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Love

Veronica
xo

How Bone Broths Can Keep You Out Of Trouble

I have to confess that since living to Malaysia, there are a few things I’ve been missing. We don’t have an oven in my new home, so I’ve been missing roasting a chicken for dinner, and therefore, also my beloved bone broth.

I use my bone broth as a base for many of my meals. Not only is it delicious and gives great depth to the taste of the meal – be it a soup-based dish, a gravy to go with the roast or something like a chilli – it’s also highly nutritious. There’s a reason grandma would put on a pot of homemade chicken soup when someone got sick. And it’s also good for the soul.

But more than anything, bone broth is good for healing the gut. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “All health begins in the gut,” and if nothing else, this is surely the reason to indulge in bone broth – apart from that it’s tastes so dang good, that is.

Why is our gut so important?

If you think about it, although our gut is inside our body, it’s exposed to the outside – in that, we bring things from the outside into our bodies through our gut. Hence, it is a barrier between the outside world and the rest of our body. Then, it also digests our food and absorbs nutrients. If we don’t keep our gut healthy, our digestion could be impaired and so could our ability to absorb those precious nutrients – which means that even if you’re eating all the right foods, you might not be getting benefit from them, because of a damaged or less than healthy gut lining.

Step up, bone broth, to keep you out of trouble.

Bone broth is packed full of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Then there’s collagen, gelatin, amino acids, and other compounds such as glucosamine. All these nutrients help to keep our skin and hair look amazing and to keep our joints healthy, while also being healing to our gut and throughout our body. Add to that the immunity boosting properties of a good cup of broth and it’s no wonder this has been praised for centuries.

The biggest difference between bone broth and regular stock is that bone broth is cooked for a much longer period of time – for 12-24 hours, and even up to 72 hours. It’s this lengthy cooking time that draws out all the goodness from the bones. You can use the bones from chicken, turkey, pork or beef, even fish, and it’s best to use bones from organically raised or grass-fed animals to ensure the highest quality of nutrients possible.

How to Make Bone Broth

It’s ridiculously easy to make, especially if you use a slow-cooker and you can then pretty much set it and forget it – until it’s done.

I find the easiest way to make bone broth is to start with a cooked chicken – hence my roast chicken dinners. But you could just as easily get chicken carcasses and use those instead. If using a roast or cooked chicken, simply pull the cooked meat off the chicken and serve it for dinner. Store any leftover meat in the fridge to use later on in a salad or use it for a quick chicken soup-based meal with the bone broth you’re about to make.

Put everything that’s left – all the bones and any remaining bits and pieces of meat – into a large pot that has a lid, or into your slow cooker. Make sure that your pot or slow cooker can hold enough water to fully cover the bones by about a couple of inches. Fill with plenty of cold water. The more water you add, the more broth you’ll get in the end and leave an inch of gap at the top or you risk the liquid bubbling over.

Next, add a good splash of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This step is optional. If you don’t have the vinegar in your pantry don’t worry about it. You can add a splash of red wine or white vinegar if you’d like. The vinegar helps get all the minerals out of the bones and into the broth. But again, it’s OK if you don’t have it. Your broth will be just as tasty and almost as good for you without it.

As a variation and to add a different flavor to your broth, you could also throw in some vegetables – a carrot, a stick or two of celery, an onion or a leek. Or flavor it with peppercorns and a bay leaf. But again, you really don’t need to.

Cover the pot with the lid and crank up the heat until everything comes to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. If you’re using a slow cooker, set it on medium. Cook your bone broth for a minimum of 12 hours.

If you’re using a pot, be sure to keep an eye on the water level and that there’s always plenty of liquid in your pot and that the bones are always covered.

Of course you don’t want to simmer the broth while you’re out of the house or sleeping. Start the broth in the morning on a day when you know you’ll be home. Simmer it all day until you’re ready to go to bed. Turn off the burner for the night, but keep the broth sitting on the stove. In the morning, bring the liquid back to a boil and continue simmering. After it has cooked for at least 12 hours, the broth is ready, woo hoo!

You’ll have a clear, rich golden-yellow colored broth (if using chicken bones). You can either use it immediately or leave it to cool, and then strain the liquid into a mason jar or a kilner jar and store it in the fridge. After it’s been in the fridge for a few hours, you’ll notice that the broth takes on a jelly-like texture, which is exactly what you want. A layer of fat will form on the top – this is perfectly nutritious too.

Your broth will keep for several days in the fridge, or you can freeze it too and it’ll keep for a month.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on with it!

Food Really Can Be Your Medicine

If you could turn back the clock to become healthier, more energetic, more youthful and have a better quality of life, would you? And what if you could make changes to the extent of increasing your life expectancy while reducing the medication you need?

You may or may not have heard of “functional medicine” before. This is medicine which gets down to the root cause of the issue, instead of only treating the symptoms. Of course, there are times when it is absolutely appropriate to help alleviate the symptoms, but identifying and then resolving the root cause of the issue is generally not addressed at all.

Food-Is-Medicine

The good news is that “how we do medicine” appears to be changing. The Cleveland Clinic in the US, started a Functional Medicine faculty earlier this year. And here in the UK, the BBC broadcast a programme called, “Doctor In The House,” which shows how Functional Medicine works – by taking time to really understand the individuals, their needs and their lifestyles. And this takes much more time than the average GP (physician) currently has for each time slot of less than ten minutes per patient.

On the show, we saw a man who had been diagnosed with diabetes some 12 years ago and was on 3 medications, yet his blood sugar levels were too high. But by the end of the show, having tackled the root cause of his disease, by changing what he ate, how he ate, and adding in appropriate movement to his days, he lost weight, and more importantly, his visceral fat levels were significantly reduced (visceral fat is fat that surrounds the organs and are associated with risks for certain health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), his blood sugar levels had returned to normal and as a result, he was able to stop taking two of the three medications.

He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physician. (Chinese proverb)

Here’s the thing. Getting down to the root cause and then making changes in diet and lifestyle can make quick and significant impacts on health, for the better – even to the extent of reversing the markers of chronic health issues, such as diabetes, and reducing the medication needed. (I understand that the programme will be broadcast on BBC America in the new year, so be sure to watch that space).

Dr Chatterjee, the “doctor in the house” has summarised the main principles of his approach. It’s not rocket science, and the most important piece that underlies it all, is that of personal responsibility – making the decision that making the changes you need to make are worth it, so that you can have more energy, better health, improved longevity. So, here are Dr Chaterjee’s principles:

1. Eat well
2. Move well
3. Sleep well
4. Relax well.

They’re totally aligned with the 6 Keystone Tips which you can download here, if you haven’t already done so, to get you started.

Now your turn. What changes are you going to make to uplevel your health this week? What is it that you perhaps already know would be good for you to do, but you just haven’t made that step as yet? Come on over to the Facebook page and share.

Love

Veronica
xo

Organic? Grass-Fed? Confused?

Which of these are better for you? Organic or non-organic, grass-fed or grain-fed?

I was chatting with my Mum last week (we live 6,000 miles apart) and was rather pleasantly surprised when she said that she had been to the market with my sister-in-law and picked up a bunch of organic veg. My sister-in-law said, “Mum, did you mean to take that? It’s organic and more expensive.” And my Mum said, “Yes”!

I’d been telling her a few weeks before why I prefer to buy organic whenever I can. Did you know that the amount of nutrition in non-organic vegetables these days have dropped significantly because of the way that we are farming them? Intensive farming, soil depletion, lack of rotation or crops all contribute. Plus, have you ever noticed how many vegetables from your local supermarket can somehow still look “fresh” after a couple of weeks? What are they being sprayed with that they enables them to still look green after two weeks?

[Tweet “Whatever is in the food that you eat becomes the raw material for your body”]

Our bodies need good nutrition in order be healthy and to remain healthy. When we go on a diet, for example, many of us may think that a calorie is a calorie and that it doesn’t make any difference where that calorie comes from, as long as you eat the right number of calories that your body needs. But that is not true. A calorie is not a calorie, because the quality of the calorie counts. Eating food with little or no nutritional value, while packed with calories, will leave your body nutritionally starved.

This I know, first-hand, from many years of yo-yo dieting.

Ageing is the result of our cells not being sufficiently replenished. Think wrinkles, “thin” soles of the feet, dry skin, diminishing health and well being… what is it that causes our cells (bodies) to be insufficiently replenished? One of the major causes is not eating nutritious and wholesome foods. These foods are the raw material that our bodies use to get back what we’ve used up, not just in terms of calories or energy, but also, in terms of re-building itself. In other words, we can turn back the clock through eating real food, and so regenerate and rejuvenate our cells.

So, is it better to eat organic? Or grass-fed? Have a read of the infographic below and decide for yourself.

organic-infographic

Does it mean that you should never eat non-organic or that you should never eat an empty calorie again? Well, I know that when I try to cut out my favourite foods and change too many things all at the same time, I fail dismally. So, instead, why not take just one step, and let that be that you actually start eating more, not less. Add in some real, wholesome and delicious foods to your current diet and notice the difference in taste. As your body starts to replenish and heal, you’ll most likely find that you’ll naturally start making different and more healthful food choices.

Learn about how organic foods, eating healthy, exercise, sleep and mindset affect your Vitality at Well.org.
Read the Associated Well.org post

Is Fruit Really Good for You?

“Of course,” many people would say, “It’s part of my five-a-day.” The “five-a-day” is one of the best known dietary messages publicised by the UK Government – five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, for healthy eating. But wait, the Government doesn’t care whether that’s five portions of only vegetables in total, five portions of only fruit in total, or five of both fruit and vegetables together in total.

So, according to those recommendations, you could eat five servings of fruit each day and consider that healthy based on that guideline.

Let me be clear. Five portions of non-starchy vegetables a day – in fact, ten servings of non-starchy vegetables a day – go for it! But five servings of fruit a day? Maybe, maybe not.

What’s the story?

Fruit contains glucose and fructose, the sugars found in fruit. Further, different fruits have different levels of fructose relative to glucose. In order to understand fruit and its impact on our bodies better, we need to understand how fruit is metabolised (processed) in our bodies, namely, the fructose. I’ll keep it simple, I promise.

Your body metabolises fructose differently to glucose.

Unlike glucose, fructose does not properly stimulate an insulin response, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t trigger leptin (the “satiety hormone”) production in your body. These hormones are crucial for sending signals to your body to tell you when you’re full.

The result? You eat more.

I remember deciding to eat an apple for a mid-afternoon snack when I was in my twenties and going through one of my eat-more-healthily phases. I soon gave that up because I found that the apple left me feeling hungrier than before and craving more food. At first I thought it was just me, when a colleague in the office, upon spotting me snacking on my apple, commented that she often felt hungrier after eating a fruit than if she didn’t. Coincidence? Well, now I understand why.

What’s more fructose goes straight to your liver to be processed where it is more rapidly absorbed than regular sugar.

Your liver can handle about 15 grams of fructose. Beyond that and your liver gets overwhelmed, it just can’t keep up. To cope, it shovels it into your fat cells to keep you safe (fat cells are inert and so putting the excess into your fat cells will stop overload because now your liver doesn’t have to deal with it any further). The stress from this overwhelm in turn causes low-level inflammation. And did you know that inflammation is thought to be behind many visible signs of ageing?

Fructose also increases glycation (the way protein molecules bond with sugar molecules in our body) which in turn has been implicated in many age-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. It also sets you up for insulin resistance and eventually Type 2 diabetes.

[Tweet “To put it very simply, our bodies cannot cope with too much fructose.”]

Fructose on its own is not evil; it’s excessive fructose that can make us fat and/or sick.

So Should You Stop Eating Fruit Altogether?

No. But what would be good for you to consider is which fruit you’re eating, how you’re consuming it and how much. Your limits will depend also on your own bio-individuality. For example, many a raw foodist who eats a very clean diet and exercises well is able to consume a considerable level of fruit and remain healthy.

Fruit – especially organic fruit – does have a lot going for it. It’s rich in fibre, vitamins and other nutrients that are good for us. They can also help us to satisfy our desire for something sweet.

As a guideline, if your aim is to lose some fat, then you’ll want to limit yourself to one to two servings a day and keep to the fruits with a lower glycaemic level, such as berries. This translates to approximately 5 grams of sugar per serving (about a teaspoon).

As an example, three ounces of grapes have about 12.5 grams of sugar compared to three ounces of strawberries, which have only about 4 grams of sugar.

Ideally, you’ll also want to consume your fruit in its original form, meaning, eat fresh fruit. Dried fruit is concentrated sugar and boy, it’s so easy to eat a lot of those without even noticing. As for fruit in the form of fruit juices, please be very mindful of these. Not only do they go down quickly, but the processing removes much of the fibre and a lot of the nutrients are lost, leaving you with a high level of fructose.

An annoyance of mine is how marketing campaigns would have you think that drinking fruit juice contributes to one of your five a day. Unsuspecting and well-meaning parents give their young children fruit juice, thinking that it is good and healthy for them when this may lead to the over-consumption of fructose. Unknowingly, they may be setting their children up for future health challenges. This makes me mad!

Here’s a chart, extracted from The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick by Robert Johnson, MD so you can gauge the level of fructose in fruit.

fruits-gi-01

fruits-gi-02

fruits-gi-03

fruits-gi-04

You can still eat, say, mangoes, for example. I love mangoes! But just don’t eat it everyday. Consider the fact that many fruits are seasonal, which means that were it not for modern methods, we certainly wouldn’t be eating fruit every day and all year round. Also, consider buffering the sugar load by eating it with protein and fat. For example, eat your apple with some plain Greek yogurt or a yummy sweet pear in a delicious halloumi salad. Or eat your fruit with some nuts, or put some berries in a smoothie with flax or chia seeds.

So there we have it. Eat your fruit, enjoy your fruit. But be mindful of how much you’re eating, how you’re consuming it and how much you’re downing. The recommended five-a-day may perhaps be too much for you.

If you want to make it really simple, then just do this.

Stick to the citrus and the berries and savour up to three servings a day.

No One Size Fits All

Have you ever noticed how many diet books there are on the market? It seems that a whole plethora of new diets emerge each year, all promising essentially the same thing. Perhaps you’ve even tried many of them yourself. I have… each time with renewed hope that maybe this time, it will be different, and maybe this time, I’ll lose the weight once and for all.

The truth of the matter is I’ve lost the same pounds over and over again and then gained a few more each time to boot. Eventually, I ended with diet fatigue. I just could not try another diet, simply because they somehow all stopped working. What had worked the year before now didn’t work anymore.

You know that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? I finally copped on to how insane all my dieting had been. More so because I didn’t feel that I could continue that way anymore, rather than because I was really smart, I decided that would never diet again.

So I stopped searching for a diet to lose weight with, and started looking for a way of eating more healthily. I confess that my search was still tinged with the idea that maybe I could still lose my excess weight.

What I did not know would emerge from my research was that through my many years of dieting, I’d been unknowingly starving myself; nutritionally starving myself. I thought, for example, that if I just ate fewer calories, no matter where it came from, then I’d be fine. Uh-uh, nope.

Instead, because my body was nutritionally starving, it craved more food, any food, so it could get whatever it possibly could to keep me going. Everything else got shovelled into my fat cells, so that it could ask for yet more food to try and get that nutrition it was starving for. In my quest to diet and be slim, I had inadvertently been sabotaging my own efforts.

What I have found and discover more and more each day, is that there truly is no one size fits all. What works for one person, be it paleo, primal, raw, low carb, high fat or something else, is not necessarily going to work for another. The bottom line is that our bodies are highly intuitive and will actually tell us what it wants and needs… once we’ve got past that period of stuffing our faces on anything and everything because we’ve been depriving ourselves for so long!

If you think about it, you’ll notice that even you yourself had different nutritional wants and needs over time. What your body needed in your 20s was different to in your 30s. A child needs (and can handle) different foods than when they get older, just as a man’s requirements are different to a woman’s. Similarly, what our body craves in the spring may well be different to what it craves in the winter. For example, many people swear by eating plenty of fruit everyday. Yet, my nephew’s girlfriend who’s in her twenties, and highly active, has noticed that when she eats fruit everyday, she starts to store fat.

Have you noticed how one nutritional expert might say that whole grains are good for us, while another might say the exact opposite, that we should steer completely clear of grains? For each piece of nutritional research, thee appears to be another one debunking the first one.

Is it any wonder that so many of us are confused?

So here it is. We are all individuals with different needs at different times of our life. What works for each one of us is for each one of us, as individuals, to find out for ourselves what works most effectively and what doesn’t. Our bodies have the innate wisdom to know exactly what we need… and the best news of all, is that it does not necessarily mean that we have to give up all the tastes we love. (I’ll write about how we can eat well and healthily and still enjoy delicious foods another day).

No one size fits all. This is bio-individuality.

There is no such thing as “good” food or “bad” food, as such, just food that is right for you, in the proportions that are right for you. Mind you, I will put a caveat on that – because when I say, “food”, I do mean real food, not processed or artificial edible products that pass off as food (more on that another time too!)

[Tweet “When we eat the foods that are right for us, the sugar cravings disappear…”]

…we get to eat more (oh yes!), we have more energy, we feel clearer and brighter, our vision may well improve and as our body naturally heals from the inside out, not only do some of our ailments, such as eczema or psoriasis, clear up, but our body also starts to release those excess pounds and clearing out what it had deemed to be toxins that it shovelled away into our fat cells. In short, you’ll most likely lose some inches.

So what does your body want? A higher level of fat and lower carb with moderate protein? Or higher level of protein, lower carb and moderate fat? It’s up to you to experiment and discover what works for you, what makes you feel good.

You deserve to eat the food that nourishes the amazing person you are.