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Get my fab new e-book

Get my new e-Book: EAT to turn BACK the clockIt's free!There’s a lot to like about getting older. But do you…

Posted by Sharon Strahan – Thrive Nutritional Therapy on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Click here to get your free guide to ageing more healthily –
EAT to turn BACK the clock:

There’s a lot to like about getting older. But do you find yourself wishing ‘if only…’ in relation to your health and wellness?

Click on the link above, enter your email and I’ll send you this fab e-book straight to your inbox.

You’ll also get my fab monthly newsletter full of news, articles, nutrition and health tips, recipes, ebooks, and handouts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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BBQ Time!

Barbecue Recipes

As soon as the sun comes out our thoughts naturally turn to eating – and cooking – outdoors. Summer is synonymous with good old-fashioned back garden barbecuing in the company of friends and family. Barbecuing has come a long way, and it’s now not good enough to throw a few boring bangers on the grill. There’s no better way to eat well in the summertime than to combine deliciously marinated cuts of meat, fish or veggies with a variety of eye-catching salads.

If you’re a guest at a barbecue party, that doesn’t have to mean the end of all good healthy eating intentions. There’s no reason you can’t take your own food to a party. Make enough for sharing, and the host will probably thank you for it. Remember that this way of eating is both nutritious AND delicious. Don’t feel you need to explain to anyone who will listen about why you had to bring your own food. They probably haven’t even noticed! Here are my favourite summer barbecue recipes that are guaranteed to steal the show. And proof indeed that eating healthily is anything but boring!

If you’d love 15 delicious & healthy BBQ recipes, then please click HERE

PS it’s not just meat… there are some lovely veg and salads too.


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What’s all the fuss about?

Many children are fussy eaters. Although it is entirely normal, it can be frustrating and hard to handle – particularly when there’s always at least one mother whose angelic offspring eats everything and still asks for second helpings of broccoli.

What you need to know is that, most of the time, fussy eating isn’t about food, and it’s (usually) not about you either. It’s about children wanting to be independent.

If you’re graced with a fussy eater in the family, I’d like to share some tips on how to handle it.

First, a word about fussy eating…

Children frequently object to the shape, colour or texture (and sometimes all of them) of particular foods.

You might also find they will like something perfectly well one day, but dislike it the next, refuse new foods, and eat more or less from day to day. It might drive you insane, but this is all part of a child’s development. It’s a way of exploring their environment and asserting their independence. And – as a side issue – it’s also because their appetites go up and down, depending on how much they’re growing and how active they are.

It WILL get better, I promise. Fussy eating is generally something that children grow out of. Their palates change as they get older and they don’t need to exert quite the same level of control over their environment and, very gradually, something resembling normal family eating can resume …


 How to make mealtimes better

Your child’s willingness to try food will depend partly on the eating environment. There will be times when you want to tear your hair out. This will have the opposite effect of what you are hoping to achieve. Try these steps for a low-stress mealtime.

  • Make mealtimes happy, regular and social occasions. Don’t worry about mess made on tables or drinks spilled on the floor.
  • Never force your child to try a food.
  • Have realistic expectations. Ask your child to lick a piece of food, and work up to trying a mouthful over time. Don’t forget to praise your child for every small effort, like trying a new food.
  • If your child is fussing, ignore it as much as you can. Giving attention to fussy eating can encourage your child to keep behaving this way.
  • Make healthy foods fun – whenever you have the time. Cut sandwiches into interesting shapes, or let your child help prepare some of the meal.
  • Turn the TV off, so family members can talk to each other instead.
  • Set a time limit of about 20 minutes for meals. Anything that goes on too long isn’t fun. If your child hasn’t eaten the food in this time, take it away – but don’t offer your child more food until the next planned meal or snack time.
  • Put a small amount of any new food on the plate with familiar food your child already likes – a piece of broccoli alongside some mashed potato. Encourage your child to touch, smell or take a lick of the new food.
  • Make the food attractive. Offer your child a variety of different colours, shapes and sizes and let your child choose what they eat from the plate.
  • Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Keep offering foods that have been refused before. It can take 10 to 15 times before they even try a taste of a food they previously refused. Frustrating? Yes! Consider that you are training them for the future.

Sometimes your child will refuse food just because this gets an interesting reaction from you. If children refuse to eat a food, it doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike it – after all, they might not have even tasted it yet. They might just be putting on a show of independence to see what you’ll do. Be prepared and consider what your response will be  – this scenario will occur!

Consider this: children learn by testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. It’s all part of their social, intellectual and emotional development.

How to introduce new foods to fussy eaters

  • When possible, look for opportunities for your child to share meals and snacks with other children – they might be more willing to try a food if other children are eating it.
  • Serve your child the same meal the family is eating, but in a portion size your child will eat. Sometimes children need to take their cue from parents ­ – play the game of vocalizing how yummy the food is.
  • Don’t let your child fill up on drinks, snacks or treat foods before introducing new foods. They are more likely to try the food if they’re hungry and there isn’t a better option around the corner.

Punishments & rewards

Punishing your child for refusing to try new foods can turn new foods into a negative thing. If your child refuses to eat it, you can offer it to them again another time.

It’s tempting to offer your child food treats just so he ‘eats something’ – for example ‘If you eat your vegetables, you can have a biscuit’. But this can make your child more interested in treats than healthy food. Of course, you have to decide on your house rules, but this sends the message that eating healthy food is a chore.

It’s easy to worry, if your child refuses food, whether they are actually eating what they need to grow and thrive. If your child has enough energy to play and learn, they are probably eating enough. If your child eats an incredibly limited range or foods or refuses entire food groups for a prolonged period of time, it might be worth booking to see your GP or health visitor.


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Kick cravings into touch

Kick cravings into touch

Everyone gets cravings from time to time. Sometimes you kid yourself that it is your body telling you that you need to have something (and there is some truth in this – more on that later). Most of the time, however, it is habit. There are some simple steps you can take to manage cravings and avoid binges. Using a combination of these steps will be most effective and some techniques will work better than others for you, so it’s best to experiment.

“But I need it…’

Your body needs a steady flow of energy throughout the day. When you eat too many things that turn quickly into sugar (whether it’s sugar or starchy carbohydrates), this creates a blood sugar spike and the body produces insulin to take the excess sugar out of your blood, and it stores it as fat. Sometimes too much of this sugar is packed away, which leads to blood sugar levels becoming too low, resulting in tiredness, low mood, a drop in concentration – and cravings. The cravings are nearly always for sugary foods or starchy carbs; anything the body can quickly convert to sugar to get blood sugar levels up again. Eating continually in this way causes a blood sugar rollercoaster. Switching to a low GL (glycaemic load) diet based on whole foods like meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans and so on with vegetables and fruit, with smaller amounts of wholegrain starches like brown rice and wholemeal bread will help enormously. However, you also need to deal with your triggers and the emotional aspect of eating …

How to manage your cravings

1 Forget ‘willpower’

Willpower in itself is not enough. Instead, learn to be in control of your actions. The first, most simple step is to make sure you don’t get hungry, so eat regular meals.

2 Identify and write down your triggers

Are they emotional triggers? Food triggers? Habits? Triggers in certain places or situations? Identifying what your triggers are helps you take control of them and change the outcome. What is it that you need? What strategies can you put in place now to support yourself?

3 Get rid of your trigger foods

If you don’t have control of a food then it is controlling you. If it triggered a binge in the past, it will do so again. Get rid of it and don’t buy it – for you or your family. It’s OK to throw away food that is bad for you. A smoker wouldn’t keep packets of cigarettes around the house if they were trying to break the habit – why do that with trigger foods?

4 Plan what you are going to eat in advance

This is so important. Eventually, your healthy eating will become second nature, but you need to support yourself until your new habits are firmly in place.

5 Identify crave / binge thoughts

To take control, you need to be ready to respond to these with a more positive alternative. Here are some examples:

  • “I’m so stressed” – being miserable because I’m fatter won’t help.
  • “I had far too many biscuits, I may as well just keep going” – that’s in the past now, rescue the rest of the day.
  • “I’ve been really good. I deserve a reward” – being slim and in control is my best reward.
  • “I’ve got PMS. I need chocolate” – eating sugar will make me feel worse.
  • “One slice is not too bad” – but I know it’ll end up being 4 slices!

6 Choose to eat or not

“A biscuit would be nice but I choose not to have one right now”.

Don’t take orders from a packet of biscuits! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.

7 Develop short, key phrases to help you make new choices

The more you use a phrase, the more it becomes a part of what you now do, so develop phrases such as “Don’t start, don’t get the taste” or “I actually don’t want this” or “I am not hungry, so I will not eat for the moment”. Creating a mental picture can also help, e.g. visualising yourself slamming a cupboard door on the unhealthy foods you are now choosing to avoid. Practise this until it becomes second nature.

8 Use displacement activities

If you get a crave/ binge thought, do something else (paint your nails, go for a walk, clean out the fridge, put on some music, write a letter, for example). Simply giving yourself a few moments may relieve the pressure and stop the chain reaction. Find something that works for you, write these down to reinforce them and commit to doing them.

9 Accept your slips

Unless you are superhuman, there will be the odd time that you slip and have more than you should. Slim people over indulge too – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally. Remember, the occasional slice of cake or a portion that is too big is not going to make you put on a few pounds, but a huge binge will. Plus, binges on sugary or salty food will make you retain water – making you look and feel heavier than you really are. It’s just not worth it. If you have a slip you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”. Reaffirm your resolve to make a different choice next time.

10 Practise, practise, practise

…until your new found control feels completely normal, which it will! It takes at least 21 times of doing something to create a new habit. It feels weird at first and takes a lot of conscious effort. But eventually, your brain ‘gets it’ and you will do it without thinking!

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We learn nothing about nutrition…

…claim medical students

Nutrition education is woefully lacking at medical schools

This article highlights how little training doctors get about nutrition in medical school.  I was even told this when I was studying my Dietetics degree *ahem* many years ago!

This is especially alarming since so many chronic illnesses that doctors are having to treat these days are directly related to diet and lifestyle factors. And yet when something goes wrong with their health, many people still fall back on the idea that “the doctor should fix me”.

Well, maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking… and a new approach to health care. Doctors certainly need more training in this area – and to collaborate with nutrition professionals and dietitians. And people need to take a bit more personal responsibility for their own health.

My two pence for today.


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To be or not to be…

Should I go vegetarian?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, it can’t have escaped your notice that being vegan, vegetarian or at least mostly meat free has been big news. Giving up meat in favour of veggie alternatives has also been huge in the recipe book business, and glamorous protagonists include (Deliciously) Ella Woodward and Madeline Shaw.

But could you take the plunge, and should you, even if you could?

Food for thought (pun intended):

People become vegan or vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religion, concerns about animal welfare, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Others follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can’t afford to eat much meat.

Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets. Plus a whole lotta media coverage.

A number of scientific studies have shown that going meat free has definite benefits (which I will cover in the next couple of days). However, a vegetarian diet isn’t necessarily healthy. A diet of sugary, fizzy drinks, pizza and cake can be technically vegetarian. For health, just like any other diet, it is important to focus on eating a rainbow of vegetables, balanced sources of protein (see tomorrow’s post!), smaller amounts of starchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, and healthy fats like those found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.

Plant-based sources of protein
  • Tofu, miso and tempeh
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa (say ‘keen-wa’)
  • Peas and beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds and seed butters, including flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and tahini
  • Leafy green veg
  • Novel proteins (those that have been manufactured from vegetable sources to resemble animal proteins in texture) like TVP (textured vegetable protein, derived from soy), seitan (wheat gluten) and Quorn mycoprotein (derived from a fungus). All are manufactured and processed and have same issues as all processed foods.


Enjoy the benefits without going veggie

You can get many of the health benefits of being vegetarian without going all the way. A Mediterranean diet, for example, features a greater emphasis on plant foods with more limited use of meat and associated with longer life and reduced risk of chronic illness.

If you don’t want to become a complete vegetarian, you can steer your diet in that direction with a few simple substitutions, such as plant-based sources of protein instead of meat a couple of times a week.

Although, strictly speaking, vegetarians do not eat any meat, poultry, fish or seafood at all, some people go part the way towards being vegetarian and call themselves vegetarian, so let’s get really clear on the distinctions…

  • Vegans eat no meat, poultry, fish, seafood or any products derived from animals, including honey, eggs and dairy products.
  • Vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood or any products derived from dead animals. Sub-groups of vegetarianism are:
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood but they do eat eggs and consume dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry, fish or seafood but they do eat dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarians eat no meat, poultry, fish or seafood and avoid dairy, but they do eat eggs.
  • Pesco-vegetarians (or pescatarians) are not vegetarians, because they eat fish and seafood (dead animals), they also usually eat eggs and dairy, but no meat or poultry .
Is going vegetarian healthier?    

Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more vitamins C and E, dietary fibre, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. As a result, they tend to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

However, we now know that eating saturated fat and cholesterol neither leads to heart disease nor an increase in cholesterol levels. The good results vegetarians and vegans have with heart health may simply be due to the fact that they have a much healthier diet than the average person on the Western diet, they are better informed about nutrition and particularly for vegans much junk is off the menu (as much of it contains dairy or egg). Vegetarians and vegans are also less likely to smoke or drink excessively, and are likely to take more exercise. These factors, too, are life preserving.

A huge number of studies point to eating more fruit and veg to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.  And, if you stop eating red meat (whether or not you become a vegetarian), you’ll eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer. It’s not clear whether avoiding all animal products reduces the risk further.

Vegetarianism & Nutrient Deficiencies

Some women worry they won’t get enough calcium to support bone health if they don’t eat dairy. Women would have to get their calcium from vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, spring greens, and kale. Tofu and sesame seed (incl. tahini) are great sources of calcium.

People who follow a vegetarian diet (and especially a vegan diet) may be at risk of getting insufficient vitamin D and vitamin K, both needed for bone health. Although green leafy vegetables contain some vitamin K, vegans may also need to rely on fortified foods, including some types of soy milk, rice milk, organic orange juice, and breakfast cereals. They may also want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

The biggest problem for vegans is a lack of vitamin B12 as there are zero plant sources for it. It has to be supplemented or come from fortified foods.

Diets that include no fish or eggs are low in EPA and DHA. Your body can convert ALA in plant foods to EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. Vegans can get DHA from algae supplements, which increase blood levels of DHA as well as EPA. Good ALA sources include flaxseed, walnuts, rapeseed oil, and soy.

Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is very much a personal choice, but one thing is clear, we would all benefit from increasing the amount of vegetables (and fruit) in our diets. They contain an array of life-enhancing plant chemicals, vitamins and minerals that help in the fight against disease; fill you up by activating the satiety hormone leptin;   make it easier to eliminate waste via the colon; and help mop up excess hormones in the body, making them essential in the detoxification process. How can you squeeze an extra portion into your diet today?





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Hellllooooooo Sugar!

Hellllooooooo Sugar!

Sugar Substitutes – Natural or Artificial

People often ask me about sugar substitutes.  The classic question is “Surely honey is healthy?” So here’s the low down on some of those sugar replacements you might think are healthy (and some that definitely aren’t).

  • Honey has a lot going for it in some regards. It contains amino acids, electrolytes and antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds that can support your health. To get these extra benefits, you’ll want to choose a raw (unprocessed) local honey. It may also help relieve allergy symptoms, specifically hay fever, because the bees feast on the local pollen, and taking raw local honey can help you develop natural immunity over time. But, whichever way you cut it, honey is sugar. It may be natural, but sugar it is, and it behaves that way in your body, spiking blood sugar exactly as actual sugar would.
  • Dates are a popular feature of many paleo or natural sugar-free bars, because they are naturally very sweet. They have the highest nutritional benefit of all natural sweeteners, because they also contain minerals like selenium, copper, potassium and magnesium. Dates also provide fibre to slow the speed at which the sugars hit your bloodstream. Medjool dates have featured heavily in many a trendy recipe book. These are sweeter and tend to be softer than regular dates. However dates, too, raise blood sugar levels and trigger insulin release.
Maple syrup
  • This is one of the best sugar substitutes (if indeed you need to use any) because it contains antioxidants (24 in fact), which are helpful in the fight against cell-damaging free radicals. There is absolutely no nutritional value to actual sugar. So maple syrup is one of the better natural sugar substitutes. While studies show it does not spike your blood sugar levels as much, it is still wise to use sparingly. You’ll want grade A (lighter in flavour) or B (nutritionally better and with a more intense flavour). Avoid maple flavoured syrups as these are not the same.
Coconut sugar
  • Coconut sugar has become very trendy of late and brings a lovely caramel flavour to your food. It is perfect for baking with and has a lesser impact on your blood sugar levels than regular sugar, but it is still sugar, so use sparingly.
Palmyra Jaggery
  • This is the crystalized nectar collected from the flower of the Palmyra palm and you may not even have heard of it. You use it exactly as you would sugar, and often you can reduce the amount needed by up to a half. Palmyra jaggery is full of B vitamins and has a much lower GL than table sugar.
Brown rice syrup
  • This has found its way into ‘healthy’ recipes. It’s made from fermented, cooked rice. Brown rice syrup is not a particularly good option as a sweetener as it’s highly processed, contains very little in the way of nutrition benefits and the effect on blood sugar is almost identical to standard sugar.
Agave syrup
  • Agave syrup comes from a cactus, and the syrup is made from the pulp of the leaf. It’s very highly processed and is mainly fructose, which needs to be processed by the liver, causing more stress for an already over-worked organ. Fructose is actually worse for you than glucose. Agave syrup (or nectar) is very similar to the (deservedly) much-demonised high fructose corn syrup that has contributed greatly to the obesity epidemic in the US.  This is arguably the worst of the natural sugar substitutes.  My advice? Do not use it!                                [Table sugar (sucrose) is 50% glucose, 50% fructose.]
  • This is another natural sweetener. There a number of different types of stevia. Ideally you want full, green leaf stevia that is unadulterated with other sweeteners. Pure stevia will not unbalance your blood sugar levels, thus avoiding an energy rollercoaster.
  • Often found in the UK under the brand names Total Sweet or Xyla, xylitol is a sugar alcohol. It’s a little sweeter than sugar, has fewer calories and (the important part) 75% less carbohydrate. Therefore, its impact on blood sugar levels is lower than it would be if you were to eat the same amount compared to real sugar. It’s the same stuff used in sugar free chewing gum, thanks to its antibacterial properties. The downside is it is very highly processed. Also some people can be sensitive to large amounts and may find they get bloated or experience diarrhea, if they eat too much. Note as well that it is toxic for dogs.
Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and saccharin)
  • People usually resort to artificial sweeteners in a bid to cut calories. This is bad news for a number of reasons, but I’ll mention the two biggies here. Research into some of them shows a correlation with cancer (weak, perhaps, and refuted by the food industry, but still a posibility). And secondly, nutrition science conclusively proves that weight gain/ loss has little to do with calories in and out but what happens hormonally inside the body – how much insulin your body makes (insulin being the fat storage hormone that also sabotages fat burning). Recent research shows that these artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar (and consequently insulin) levels more than normal sugar. So really, what is the point? My advice is to stop now …


The very best scenario of all is that you wean yourself off sweeteners of any kind.  This will help you appreciate and embrace natural sweetness from real food. If you continue to eat sweet things, your taste buds will always want sweet things. It’s as simple as that. If you need a sugar fix, find it in real, natural foods.

In addition to phasing out not only sugary foods, but check the labels on convenience foods to see where sugar has been added. If your diet has traditionally been quite high in the white stuff, the first few weeks can be a little tricky as your body (and brain and taste buds) starts to adjust – but bear with it.

* Deliciously Ella’s Cinnamon Pecan Granola

sugar substitutes - a healthier option

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Food of the gods

Food of the gods

Chocolate – the ultimate comfort food, a guilty pleasure… and the good news is that the right kind can actually be good for you!

History of Chocolate

It comes from the cocoa bean, which literally means ‘food of the gods’. And, historically, it was so prized, cacao seeds were used as a form of currency (and, of course, some enterprising sorts even found a way to make counterfeit cocoa). It turns out those Mayans and Aztecs knew a thing or two because modern scientific research is finding new ways in which chocolate – good quality chocolate, at least – can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to your health.

Health Benefits

The healthiest forms are dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) and cacao nibs, the original, natural form. (Just in case you are wondering, the health benefits of milk or white chocolate, and any of the processed sweetened stuff are slim to none!)
Here’s what it can do for your health:

Fights Against Disease

Dark chocolate and cacao nibs are high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. Two groups of these antioxidants are flavonoids and polyphenols.  Chocolate contains greater amounts of these than either tea or red wine. The higher the percentage of cocoa in your chocolate bar, the greater the number of antioxidants.

Good For Heart Health

Research also shows the flavonols in dark chocolate have a positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart and making blood less sticky and able to clot.

May Help Lower Cholesterol

The polyphenols in chocolate are thought to be involved in cholesterol control. In one scientific study, researchers found a decrease in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol of 6.5% and 7.5%, respectively.

Better Brain Function

Eating chocolate also increases the flow of blood to the grey matter in the brain. Cocoa flavonols may benefit conditions associated with reduced blood flow to the brain. These conditions include dementia and stroke. A study of the elderly that looked at consumption of flavonols (in dark chocolate, tea and red wine) lead to better cognitive function.

Makes You Happy

The essential amino acids in dark chocolate help increase the production of the happy hormone serotonin.  This  can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. It also contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which occurs naturally in your body and gives you the same boost you feel when you fall in love!


Free eBook

If you’d love 10 yummy recipes, then please click here:
In this guide, I share with you some of my favourite healthy recipes, so you can get your chocolate hit without a side order of guilt.
10 yummy guilt-free chocolate recipes free ebook
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Avoid the Easter binge

Avoid the Easter binge

Easter is going to turn up, whether you like it or not. Chocolate and hot cross buns are all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.

Of course, chocolate is available all year round. The trouble seems to come when there’s too much chocolate, as is the case at this time of year, which leads to too much temptation, eating too much in one go, then feeling miserable because you over indulged. The worst parts of a binge are the feelings of guilt and failure that you feel afterwards. So let’s fix that.

Let’s accept that Easter will mean chocolate indulgence on one level or another. Here’s how to make the best of it.

  1. Try to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you. This puts you back in control of how much you have.
  2. Ideally you’ll want to choose the darker chocolate eggs or chocolate selection. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less room there is for sugar. Aim for over 70%.
  3. Quality is important. Darker eggs from higher quality suppliers, like Green & Black’s, have less sugar, so won’t throw out your blood sugar as much.
  4. Don’t to eat too much in one go with the intention of getting “rid” of the chocolate sooner.  Eating a whole egg will lead to an energy crash later on, not to mention, for many, feelings of disappointment in yourself that you “gave in” or “failed” with your diet.   It’s healthier all round, both for your body and mindset so have a small amount of chocolate more regularly and try to cancel out the sugar rush by eating a small handful of nuts at the same time (protein slows the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream).
  5. Save Easter eggs for pudding. Eating chocolate on an empty stomach spikes blood sugar levels. Have yours after a protein and veg-based meal.

Plan so you can make the right choices. Don’t give yourself the excuse that there was nothing else to eat. Ensure you have plenty of your usual healthy foods to hand.

Make sure your decision to eat chocolate is a conscious one. “Some chocolate would be nice, but I choose not to have one right now”. Don’t take orders from an Easter egg! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.

If the Easter egg (and everything that goes with it) genuinely plays a big part in your family’s tradition, consider doing something a bit different this year.  Here are some great alternatives to the traditional Easter egg hunt

Consider that even the healthiest people over indulge – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally.

Even after an Easter indulgence, you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”.  Easter is ONE DAY, that’s all. Don’t be on the rollercoaster for the rest of the month.

But most of all, enjoy the chocolate you do have and you know that the only way you can feel good in body and soul about it is to eat consciously. Don’t forget that small amounts of the best quality, dark chocolate has the following benefits: anti ageing, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, is packed with antioxidants and important minerals like iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine; the same chemical your brain creates when you’re falling in love …

P.S. If you are the kind of person who KNOWS you will have a problem with the Easter binge because this kind of bingeing and self sabotage is what you do or you need some help to get healthy, click here



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Desserts Spelled Backwards


… is not desserts spelled backwards

(well, it is, but that’s not my point)

We often allow stress to control our lives and are reactive to whatever is going on around us. You can improve the quality of your life and reduce stress moment by moment by living mindfully, taking control of your emotions and having a choice over how you feel and how you react to things. You can then meet your real needs in the best possible ways.

If these are the times you are likely to use food in response to stress, practise taking the time out to calm yourself and ask yourself:

What do I really need?

  • To take some space
  • Go for walk
  • Take some other form of exercise
  • Sit somewhere peaceful
  • Lie down
  • Distract myself
  • To talk to someone whom I trust
  • Write my feelings down
  • Listen to music / put the radio on
  • Do a gratitude list
  • Meditate
  • Read
  • Get out of the house