30 Oct

Halloween Health

Sleep tips

Sleep may be disturbed at this time of year, the thoughts of ghosts and goblins, scarey movies and the sound of fireworks may affect sleep. Here are some tips to help you find a peaceful night’s sleep:

  • Eat good quality proteins at each meal
  • Eat complex carbohydrates – oats, brown rice, quinoa, beans, pulses, lentils
  • Eat good quality fats – olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds
  • Avoid white refined processed foods – sugar, white bread, pasta, cakes, chocolate and pastries – these spike your blood sugar increasing the risk of waking up in the middle of the night
  • If you have trouble getting to sleep – try a sleep inducing snack before bed – banana on an oatcake or 1 slice of wholemeal toast spread with tahini
  • 1 new potato – believe it not, this may work, new potatoes are rich in tryptophan, this is a chemical used by the brain, it is converted into another mood supporting chemical called serotonin and then this is converted into our sleep hormone called melatonin.
  • Montmorency cherries are rich in melatonin – try CherryActive
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium, vitamin B6 and zinc as they all help convert tryptophan into serotonin – green leafy vegetables, avocado’s, pumpkin seeds, chicken, fish, nuts, beans and brown basmati rice
  • Switch off tablets and phones 1 hour before bed, the blue light tricks the mind into thinking its still day light.
  • Have a relaxing Epsom Salts bath before bed, Epsom salts contain magnesium, a calming, relaxing mineral.


Halloween does not have to be all about sweets; in my day we duked for apples, and you were mega excited it you got a tangerine in your collection of goodies from the neighbours. Try to include healthy snacks for guisers (Halloween visitors) – apples, tangerines, dates, healthy chocolate brownies are examples of healthier treats plus the ones on this link. Last year I had a bowl of apples ready and I was pleasantly surprised at the reactions, question is will they be back this year? Oh and make them sing, say a poem tell a ‘good’ joke for their treat none of this trick or treat business.

No waste

Make pumpkin soup with the left over pumpkin or use a turnip instead to make scary faces – this is the Scottish version. Use the seeds, click to see how.

Happy Halloween – with a scary laugh thrown in.


29 Oct

A FODMAP Journey

Over the next 3 weeks I am going to try a diet that was originally discovered by the Monash University in Australia in an attempt to help people reduce their symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I do not have IBS but have a lot of clients who do. I do however at times have some digestive symptoms IBS presents so while I am doing this in the interest of my clients I may benefit as well. This is run by Nutri Advanced and I am taking part with other practitioners so we will be able to share out stories.

I mentioned to my GP I was doing it and he was keen to hear how I get on as he also advises people to try FODMAPs but didn’t know a lot about it. Below is a brief explanation of FODMAPs. I am going to diarise my FODMAP journey and share it, so that if people are interested they can gain from my experience as well.


Carbohydrates have long-chain or short-chain structures. Short chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) rapidly move through the small intestine where they are not readily absorbed, they reach the large intestine and ferment giving of gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide that may cause symptoms: wind, bloating, diarrhoea, heartburn and/or constipation.

What does FODMAP actually stand for?

Fermentable Oligo-Di-Mono Saccharides And Polyols

 How does this translate into foods?


  • Fructans – wheat, bread, pastries and cookies, onions, artichokes
  • Galactans – legumes, soy, chickpeas, lentils, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage


  • Lactose – milk sugar, chocolate, ice-cream, sweets, beer, prepared soups and sauces


  • Fructose: honey, dried fruits – prunes, figs, dates and raisins, apples, pears, sweet cherries, peaches, agave syrup, watermelon and papaya, commercial fizzy drinks

Sugar Alcohols

  • Polyols – artificial sweeteners – mannitol, sorbitol, erthriotol, glycol, xylitol

 The idea is to eliminate these high FODMAP foods from the diet for 3 weeks and then re-introduce. At the same time I am going to be doing some other healing work on my gut.

Follow this blog if you are interested in the results. I will blog regularly, highlighting, the highs, lows, how easy/hard it is and how I feel through out. I will also blog recipes as well.

Open studies have suggested that 3 out of 4 people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) see signs of improvement when reducing FODMAPS foods (Pizzorno and Murray 2012) so it will be interesting to see the results.