Why Nutritional Coaching is the new Black

Nutrition. Nutrition.Nutrition.

It’s everywhere! And for good reason of course. Most of us know that good nutrition is extremely important for literally every aspect of our lives. We don’t need any convincing here.

But what we do need to be aware of is that there are a lot of different nutritional experts out there who practice nutrition in very different ways.

The intention of this post is to draw your attention to some of the different types of nutritional services around so that you can choose the type that suits your needs best.

Nutrition Experts and Services they offer

Clinical Dieticians/ Dieticians – These are the most regulated type of professionals. Usually they work in a clinical setting with either healthy or sick patients. If you have a very specific nutritional need for example you have coeliac disease or kidney problems etc… then these are the people to go to.

Registered Nutritionists – These are people who have done an approved nutrition course and have registered with a professional body. They usually work with healthy patients and with groups of people to promote optimal health and nutrition. They usually work privately but recently many government programmes are beginning to involve Nutritionists in clinical settings. An example of this is the Healthier You programme and the Diabetes Prevention Programme by the NHS in the UK.

Nutritional/Health Coach – This is a relatively new profession, created by the sheer demand of it. These are people who are usually registered Nutritionists and who want to take it a step further and offer a more hands on approach to their practice. They work mostly with healthy individuals who want to lose weight, reduce body fat percentage or simply optimise their diet.

The demand created by today’s society

Let’s be honest here. Most of us know what is healthy for us to eat and what is not. Buuuut we slip off the healthy bandwagon one too many times.

We need accountability. We need someone to keep pushing us and keep reminding us of our goals so we can keep going. We need that emergency contact to reach out to when we feel we’re about to sway or if we feel the dreaded taste of guilt after a binge.

That’s what Nutritional Coaches are here for.

Reasons why Nutritional Coaching is a must in today’s world

  • They will give you a flexible healthy nutritional plan that is designed to be easily integrated into your lifestyle.
  • They will bring you back in for follow-ups at regular intervals. This is very important as those sessions are extremely motivational. You will share the struggles you experienced since your previous session and your coach will offer you tips and tricks on how to tackle them. You will leave the follow-up feeling super excited and pumped to continue your healthy lifestyle.
  • You will have body composition measurements taken at every follow-up. Your coach will keep a track of your progress. Simply seeing the changes from week to week will give you that extra boost in confidence and motivation.
  • You will never feel alone on your journey. Usually nutritional coaches organise facebook groups, WhatsApp groups or some other type of social media page and encourage all participants to share their journey, ask questions or simply chat with other fellow health enthusiasts.
  • They will help you change your lifestyle for good. You will quite literally have your hand held at every step of the way until you feel confident and comfortable enough to continue your healthy lifestyle on your own.

How to find a good Nutritional Coach

This really depends on where you live, although there are many excellent experts that operate online too. The only difference with online coaches is that the progress tracking would need to be done by you rather than your coach. And for some people, particularly if they lack the necessary tools such as machine analysing body fat percentage – it may be a problem. Nevertheless, something is better than nothing.

In the UK, Australia and USA a simple online search will undoubtedly yield a large number of potentially great nutritional coaches. Make sure you read their reviews and check whether they fulfil all the key points mentioned above.

If you are in Cyprus you are welcome to come and see me. My background is in Herbal Medicine and I am a Registered Nutritionist. I’ve worked for the Healthier You and Diabetes Prevention Programme in the UK which is a big reason I believe nutritional coaching is so important. Because it works and I’ve seen it work time and time again.

If you are anywhere else in the world – perhaps visit your primary care practitioner and see whether they are aware of such professions or search online as well.

The sacred ritual of eating


Eating – The most natural thing in the world.

We’ve been doing it since we can remember ourselves and we continue to do so every single day.

Most people will agree that eating is an important part of life. It’s our sustenance, we need it to live. But nowadays, eating is a lot more than that. Eating is part of almost every event, celebration or occasion. Going out to eat is probably most people’s favourite pastime when they’re not working. We eat on our desks at work, we eat when we’re watching movies, we snack while we commute, we eat at parties and we even have midnight feasts.

Most of us will agree that we don’t just eat to live though.. we eat because of the delicious taste of food, we eat out of habit, we eat to be social.. etc etc.

Food is just such a normal everyday thing that everyone around us and ourselves included do every single day. And with so many people now learning about the importance of good nutrition and healthy diet – they want to make some changes. The truth however, is that most people fail to make changes. In fact, I recently read a ridiculous statistic of something like 95% of people who try to change their diet and maintain the change – fail. We are failing at such epic rates that it’s strange that it doesn’t occur to us that this is weird and something is very off.

And it’s not that your nutritionist didn’t give you a good diet plan – in fact almost any healthy diet plan, if maintained, will give you the results you seek. It’s not that you do not have access to information about what to eat and what not to eat – do you. It’s also not that you are lazy or have no will power – you do.

So what is it?!

Back to basics

Eating is one of the most intimate acts of self care that we can practice.

Our body cells renew themselves all the time. And where do they get the energy and materials to do that? From the food we eat.

We eat to build ourselves, literally.

Every bite we take is a foundation laid for new cells, new organs, new hormones, new skin, new hair… new you.

Perspective

Whoever said we should be grazing all day long – is wrong. Sorry for the bluntness but it’s true.

Food and eating is so special and should be treated as such. Since you are literally creating and re-creating yourself with every meal you take, don’t you think you ought to treat the whole thing with a little more grandness, more wonder, more respect?

A sacred daily ritual

Make each and every meal you take an occasion.

Eat your meals with the people you love – what happened to family meals?

Present your meals nicely – arrange everything on the plate in a way that is pleasing to you.

Use your very best plates and cups and cutlery – yes, those “special occasion” ones you have in the back of your cupboard. Every meal is a special occasion.

Lay out the table nicely and watch how all of a sudden, without intending to, you’ll summon the whole household (hehe).

And then sit and look at your food. Look at the delicious, healthy, natural food which soon will become a part of you, and say thank you. Thank you to the supermarket worker who put your food out on the shelves, thank you to the people responsible for transporting your food from the farm to the supermarket. Thank you to the people who picked your food from the soil. Thank you for the food itself, for growing, for giving you its nutrients and lastly thank you to the sun – the main source of nourishment for giving you it’s life-sustaining energy. (Interesting fact – It has been proven that if you bless or thank your meal before consuming it you actually absorb a much higher percentage of the nutrients in the food!)

Finally eat your food slowly and mindfully. Enjoy each bite and enjoy the company of the people you love around you.

Do this and watch your health, your relationships, your overall well-being turn around completely. Like magic.

7 Simple Habits that could add 20 years to your life

20 extra years of life, who wouldn’t want that! Every day there are new life-extending products being launched on the market. From extreme fad diets claiming to reverse ageing to new pills that promise to keep you young forever.

All of that is pretty understandable. Longevity is a hot topic at the moment and rightly so! Never before have we as humans thought about our own mortality so earnestly. As life seems to keep accelerating, one cannot be blamed for wanting a few extra years to enjoy.

The issue with most “new” longevity products and services out at the moment is in their title. They’re new. And as with many new things, they probably haven’t been tested. It’s ridiculous to claim that something can make a person live until 100 years of age when the product itself has been around for hardly a year.

This post is not a new product

Just saying.

The 7 habits that I’m about to share with you are time-proven. They’ve been gathered from years and years of research on health and longevity. And just as the title of this post suggests, they’re simple. Too simple if you ask me! But as with many other things in life, the key is in simplicity and consistency.

Now before you get so excited and rush off to read what these habits are all about, let me just warn you. Just because they’re super simple doesn’t mean that if you incorporate them into your life for a week your job is done. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. But if you begin incorporating as many of them as possible into your daily life, that’s when the magic happens!

The 7 Habits

  1. Sleeping seven or eight hours a night
  2. Eating regular meals at regular times
  3. Not eating between meals
  4. Maintaining normal weight – i.e. not more than 5 percent underweight, and no more than 10 to 20 percent overweight (the lower number is for women and the higher for men)
  5. Regular physical activity – i.e. engaging often in active sports, long walks, gardening or any other exercise
  6. Moderate drinking – i.e. taking no more than two alcoholic drinks a day
  7. Never smoking cigarettes

This is a super brief list of simple habits, the kind that you would learn as a child and yet many of us tend to overlook them.

If you already consistently engage in 5 or more of those habits, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, do not get disheartened, it’s never too late to make positive changes to your life! Just start today!

I would be happy to answer any questions regarding the habits in the comment section below!

Sweet Summer Superfood Salad

Salad… What pops up in your mind when you think of salad?

Most people would probably say boring, restrictive diet food. And they would be 100% correct if all they know is salads made only with lettuce, cucumber and tomato.

I absolutely love salads! I could even go as far and say that salads are my favourite meals. But not simple salads. I love rich and wholesome ones. The kind that have everything inside from dried fruits, seeds and nuts to leafy greens, organic cheeses and even crackers.

So, to help ignite your perhaps dormant passion for salads, I’d like to share one of my favourite superfood salad recipes (and yes, there are many! :))

Ingredients

Salad base

  • Lettuce and salad leaves
  • Baby Spinach leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Apple cut into cubes
  • Avocado
  • Dried fruits; Raisins, Cranberries, Goji berries (you can put a little of each)
  • Figs (fresh is best but dried will also do)
  • Pomegranate
  • Organic goat’s cheese
  • Mixed seeds
  • Walnuts

Salad dressing

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic honey

Method

  1. Firstly, take out your favourite bowl.
  2. Cook the quinoa.
  3. Wash all the fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  4. Put the lettuce, salad leaves and spinach at the bottom of the bowl as a base.
  5. Then add the cooked quinoa.
  6. Cut up all the fruits and veg and start layering them on top.
  7. Add the nuts and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  8. Finish off by pouring the simple dressing over the whole salad.
  9. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, look at your creation, admire it, marvel at it, be grateful for it and Enjoy every single bite!

Why having a fast metabolism isn’t as good as you may think!

When I think of fast metabolism I automatically think of those people out there that are able to eat almost anything without gaining a single pound. How lucky they are, I used to think. I can’t complain about having a slow metabolism myself, but I certainly cannot eat anything and remain slim! For years I used to think that my average speed metabolism had me at a disadvantage when compared to those lucky few out there who operate at the speed of light. Recently, however, as my understanding of the functioning of the body and metabolism has grown I’ve come to new conclusions. Positive ones, I must say!

This post will, hopefully, bring a huge breath of relief for those with slowish/average metabolisms.

So, let’s begin at the very beginning.

What is metabolism?

The metabolism is essentially the rate at which all chemical processes occur in the body. Usually however, when we talk about metabolism in this context we are referring to resting metabolic rate. This is the number of calories that our bodies burn just to keep us alive.

The faster the metabolism the better?

Most people believe that it is desirable to have a very fast metabolism. We see it everywhere, new posts come up almost every day with the heading:

  • 5 foods to speed up your metabolism
  • Eat 8 meals a day to have a fast metabolism
  • Eat 30g of protein upon waking to rev up your metabolism

I don’t think I’d be lying if I said I’ve heard it all! Now I’m not at all trying to say that these methods do not work. They probably work too well! But, apart from burning more calories at rest, is there any other benefit of having a fast metabolism? Absolutely not! Nothing! How surprising, right!

In fact, there are actually disadvantages of a fast metabolism. Research suggests that the faster your metabolism, the shorter your lifespan. This isn’t even new research or new theory! Max Rubner came up with the rate of living theory in 1908! Buuuuut, sadly there is no money in slow metabolisms. Nothing to sell. Haha, so before we get carried away with conspiracy conversations, let’s leave this topic right where it is!

Slower metabolism, longer life?

So why is it that a slower metabolism is associated with longer life and faster metabolism with a shorter one, I hear you asking. Well, cellular energy production results in the creation of byproducts, some of which are toxic. This basically means that every time you eat and your body turns that food into energy there are some toxic byproducts that are produced. Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants to help combat those reactive oxygen species however, when everything is happening too fast, our bodies may not be able to produce enough antioxidants to keep up with the demand. That’s when oxidative damage occurs. Our DNA, our proteins and lipids get damaged. And we know one thing for sure. Oxidative damage accelerates ageing! So you can see how the story goes from here on. The faster your body ages, the shorter your life.

On the plus side, the opposite is also true. When you have a slower metabolism and enough supply of antioxidants it is expected that your lifespan will be longer.

Now before you start thinking that I am trying to basically tell you to crash your metabolism and become fat so that you live longer, let me clarify.

Eating less may be the way forward

I know! This sounds so counter-everything you’ve probably read or heard, but hear me out. In order to be slim and lean AND have a slow metabolism (you can most definitely have both!) you need to consume less food than “normal”. Because, if you have a slow metabolism and eat what you usually eat you will gain weight. So the key here is to eat less and burn less. And anyway, in modern days we are eating way too much! Think sustainability. If you slow down your metabolism slightly, your body wouldn’t need so much food. You’ll be helping the environment and you’ll also be saving money.

What about exercise? Exercise is fantastic obviously and it is probably the safest way to increase your metabolism. Now before you get totally confused, what I mean by safest way, is that exercise will not give you those toxic byproducts of cellular energy production and thus no oxidative damage. So exercise is good, don’t stop exercising. But, I think we can agree that most of us are consuming more food than our bodies require. What’s more is that usually that food isn’t overly healthy either!

Suggestion

The whole point behind this post is to provide an alternative view of things or a little food for thought if you like. Forget the fitness industry or the whatever industry, I’m not in the business of anything. I am solely interested in my own health and the health of others. With that in mind, here’s are a few suggestions derived from this topic:

  • Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Consume less calories. You will notice that once you quit the junk/processed food, cutting calories will occur naturally because natural food isn’t usually calorically dense.
  • Use exercise to maintain healthy weight.

Give it a thought and do your own research.

Personally, the more I research the topic the more I see how much sense this makes. This is what those 120 year old yogis do! They live SLOWLY! They breathe slowly and deeply, they eat slowly, they move their bodies slowly and gently (yoga) and in this way they preserve themselves for longer.

There’s a saying that goes, “live fast, die young” and I think I kind of agree. Let me know your thoughts! I’d love to hear what you guys think on the topic!