Did you know that when you chop up kale and inhale the aroma, your body produces exactly the right enzymes to digest the kale? A cool fact I learnt recently from hormone expert Dr. Sara Gottfried.
Science might tell us that digestion starts in the mouth, but I believe it starts long before that.
When the smell of sizzling onions greets you at the door, does your stomach not start to grumble in response? Similarly, if you’re watching the Great British Bake Off, are you not salivating by the first ad break?
It could be argued that digestion begins in the brain, and when your mind is calm and focused on the food you’re about to eat, your stomach is ready.
Unfortunately, stress can shut down our digestive system – freezing the production of enzymes and diverting energy to the brain and muscles. This can lead to bloating and indigestion.
So even if you don’t cook your next meal from scratch – take five minutes to properly savour it. I encourage my health-coaching clients to breathe in deeply for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four and exhale for a count of four. Then imagine the first delicious bite you are going to take.
On the topic of kale I thought I’d briefly mention Goitrogens. These substances – found in kale and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and rocket – can interfere with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland, which can ultimately lead to a sluggish thyroid.
But I thought Broccoli was a superfood!?
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are jam packed with compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates, which have been shown to help prevent and reverse breast cancer. Broccoli sprouts might even be able to take on cancer stem cells according to the latest research. So how do you reap the benefits, while safeguarding your thyroid?
Steaming or lightly sautéing cruciferous vegetables will deactivate most of the goitrogenic properties. It will of course denature some of the enzymes and nutrients, so to get the most out of your veg I suggest you aim for balance.
If you’re a juice lover like me, limit the raw kale, broccoli sprouts etc to twice a week and try sautéing them for dinner the rest of the time.
You can also try ‘stir steaming,’ a great tip I learned from Natasha Corrett founder of Honestly Healthy. Simply add a splash of water to cool the pan down as your stir-fry the vegetables.
Laura Bond is a journalist, author and Nutritional Therapist. She specialises in helping clients beat stress, reduce their toxic load and prepare their bodies for babies. To find out more, click here.
In the process of writing my book Mum’s Not Having Chemo I came across research showing strong links to cancer.
Cancer, a Western Disease?
The countries with the highest rates of cancer may provide a clue to the dairy-link. Denmark, France, Australia, Belgium and Norway (in that order) have the highest rates of cancer according to 2012 figures. They also happen to be countries who love their milk, cream and cheese, Japan, on the other hand, comes right down the bottom of the list; it’s a country for whom dairy didn’t exist until recent decades.
So why are dairy products such bad news for cancer?
Mostly, it’s due to the huge amount of hormones and growth factors they contain – more specifically, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
IGF-1 naturally circulates in the human blood. During puberty, IGF-1 stimulates the growth of breasts and it’s also present in human breast milk – it’s part of nature’s formula to ensure the growth of a newborn.
But as we get older our IGF-1 levels naturally drop off, unless we consume large amounts of dairy…
In 1998 an American and Canadian research team found that among premenopausal women, those with the highest IGF-1 concentration in their blood had almost three times the risk of developing breast cancer – among women younger than 50, the risk was increased seven times.
Of course there are other reasons modern dairy is a massive concern.
According to the PETA website, the majority of cows raised by the dairy industry are intensely confined and ‘treated like milk-producing machines and are genetically manipulated and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that cause them to produce more milk.’
So should you swap diary for soya milk? Read on…
These FERMENTED soy products can lower cholesterol, alkalinize the blood and produce anti-carcinogenic activity.
Natto, in particular, is known as a potent blood thinner.
Soy milk, however, is not fermented. In fact, it’s usually ‘Franken-soy’ we’re eating according to Dr Al Sears. In other words, it usually comes from Genetically Modified Monsanto soy beans (a whole other story).
Modern research has also suggested that non-fermented soy can depress thyroid function, cause reproductive problems (in men and women) increase heart disease and cancer risk and loss of libido.
The soy in processed food has also often been cooked in a petroleum-based hexane solvent, bleached and ‘deodorized’ (to remove the solvent and soy’s ghastly smell).
Thinking twice about your soy latte?
Oat milk is not a bad option, since it contains literally oats, water and celtic sea salt – and tastes quite nice with porridge.
My personal favourite is almond milk and it’s so easy to make your own:
What you need
Muslin cloth or Nut milk bag
1 cup of almonds
1 litre of water
Soak the almonds overnight in a bowl of filtered water.
Rinse the almonds then place in a high speed blender with one litre of fresh filtered water. Blend until smooth (this usually takes about one and a half minutes). Strain the contents through the muslin cloth or nut milk bag.
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Talk of vitamins can be divisive.
Many people remain skeptical about their value, believing a good diet ‘will do.’
Others invest huge amounts in endless tubs – only to leave them gathering dust and guilty glances as probiotics, fish oil or whatever Gwyneth is taking, becomes the new thing.
So I thought I’d share with you my thoughts and the latest research on the topic, and explain my reasons for taking these six supplements every day.
How Environmental Toxins Deplete Nutrients
The world we live in is very different from the world our grandparents grew up in.
Fruits and vegetables contain far less vitamins and minerals than they did 100 years ago. An apple today is said to contain 83 less magnesium than an apple 100 years ago. ( The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away by Dr. Rashid A. Buttar, pg 71)
We’re also surrounded by chemicals and pesticides, which not only down regulate our immune systems but have been shown to deplete us of certain nutrients.
For example, exposure to plastic can knock-out vitamin D.
That’s right, the latest science is showing that excessive levels of chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) in your system might actually inactivate vitamin D (via cytochrome P450 enzyme disruption for those who are interested).
BPA has been linked to a slew of health problems including cancer (brain, breast, prostate), obesity and premature birth.
How many of you touched plastic this morning?
Even as someone who is hyper vigilant about avoiding BPA (I use glass and steel containers, wear spectacles – not contact lenses – and carry parachute bags around with me everywhere) exposure still adds up.
At a rough estimate, I’d say I touched plastic ten times before breakfast this morning: the travel card I used on the bus, the receipt I grabbed at the newsagents, flicking off my bedside alarm clock…. Are just a few examples that spring to mind.
It might be better than drinking from a BPA-lined water bottle or adding another Sainsbury’s bag to the ocean, but it’s still exposing my body to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
So there you have one good reason to take vitamin D, before you even get to the fact that most of us are deficient in this sunshine vitamin thanks to the nature (or lack of it) in our modern working life.
BPA can also mess with the methylation process in our body – a reason I suggest people take (methyl) B vitamins. This is ESPECIALLY important for smokers too.
Next up? Round-up.
The pesticide is routinely sprayed on kid’s playgrounds, communal areas and non-organic crops. Aside from consistent studies linking glyphosate (the active ingredient) to neurological disorders and cancer it has also been shown to compromise healthy gut bacteria and in particular shut down a pathway associated with tryptophan production (a pre-cursor to that feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin).
So there’s your argument for probiotics (or eating sauerkraut, which is my personal preference).
Thanks to our changing environment we need to adapt – and provide our systems with extra support – if we want to thrive.
So here are the six supplements I take everyday.
Although I always emphasise everyone is different and there is no perfect diet/supplement regime for everyone – based on my extensive research I would argue these are the ones most of us are missing today.
Enzymes: The modern diet is largely devoid of enzymes thanks to pasteurization, heating, microwaving and other chemical processes. I’ve written about how you can get more enzymes into your diet here, however I believe that unless you are 75 per cent raw, supplementing is necessary.
Enzymes not only help us digest food (and beat the bloat) they also help break down the fibrin that coats cancer cells so immune cells can get in and do their work.
Enzymes are a huge part of Mum’s anti-cancer plan and she recently found a potent supplement called Masszymes, which I now also take.
Magnesium: You need this mineral to activate pancreatic enzymes. Magnesium is also crucial for your heart, your bones, for helping you sleep and dialing down stress. Seventy per cent of us are now deficient in magnesium because our soil is so depleted. Try using this spray after a shower in the morning – or have a magnesium bath.
Medicinal Mushrooms: Known as adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms help your body ‘adapt’ to stress – both environmental and psychological. For centuries they have been used for their calming qualities and life-extending properties and research shows they provide broad-spectrum protection against cancer (see this article).
I take a few drops of ‘Stress Defense’ twice a day with hot tea. The potent tincture contains extracts of 5 organic medicinal mushrooms – Chaga, Reishi, Agaricus Blazei, Cordyceps and Maitake – along with 7 organic essential oils known for their anti-cancer benefits including wild frankincense oil and black cumin oil. You can read more here: www.gethealthyagain.com
Vitamin D: We need it for our bones (did you see that rickets are back?) our mood and our immune system. Over 800 studies show it can prevent cancer. I take 3000iu of D3 every day unless I’m spending a lot of time in the sun (It’s one I don’t tend to pack on holiday – Better You D Llx 1000)
FYI: You need to take vitamin D with food to absorb it properly.
Eco-Detox: This supplement helps pull poisons out of the body through supporting the body’s methyl pathways. Methyl what? ‘Methylation helps the body rid itself of toxins and assures that the new cells you make everyday are exact copies of the ones that are being replaced,’ explains Dr. Garry Gordon, co-founder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
You can read more about the very important difference between folic acid and folate and regular B12 and methyl B12 here (the former contains small amounts of cyanide). I take about five of these capsules (Eco-Detox) each day with food – essential to absorb the Bs.
Liposomal C: Touted as the ‘take-home vitamin injection’ this is a great one for those on a budget, or those on the road. The innovative nano-sphere technology allows for maximum absorption and eliminates the need for binders, fillers and gelatins. Snip the sachet, mix in water and take on an empty stomach. British readers can go to Abundance and Health and Australians can purchase the product here: www.livonlabs.com
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the launch of two new vitamin ranges. One is made entirely from wholefood sources, and the other is a great all-in-one supplement for kids, developed by Leonora Bamford, editor of Mybaba and fertility expert Zita West.
Here is a little on both, which I will be trialing this week.
Real Health Wholefood Women’s Multi: Produced using only fruits, vegetables and herbs (mostly from India, according to the expert I spoke too) this vitamin is said to boost mental performance, improve skin and benefit thyroid health. It also contains cranberry to help prevent UTIs (more on that topic in a newsletter soon).
MyBaba Children’s Multivitamin and Multibiotic Powder: Although developed for children this can be taken by adults too. It contains 12.5 billion Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterim and helps support brain health and the release of energy from foods (No artificial colours, preservatives, gluten or yeast).
Laura Bond is a freelance journalist, qualified health coach and author of the acclaimed book Mum’s Not Having Chemo. She is now available for one-on-one health coaching sessions and specialises in foods to beat stress and anxiety and pre-natal nutrition. To find out more or to book a session click here.
Laura Bond is a journalist, author and Nutritional Therapist. She specialises in helping clients beat stress, reduce their toxic load and prepare their bodies for babies. To find out more, click here.
Have you, like me, started looking forward to Monday night? It’s become the beacon that offsets the Sunday blues, all thanks to Game of Thrones.
So what is it about the hit HBO series – set in the mythical, medieval land of Westeros – that has us in its thrall?
Could it be its ability to catapult us from our ordinary lives into a fantasy epoch; where we can forget, temporarily, our deadlines and to-do lists and lose ourselves in wonder?
When we fully immerse ourselves in an activity and lose track of time, we enter a brain state that health experts are just beginning to recognize as powerfully healing.
‘Do I have enough play in my life?’ That’s what patients need to ask themselves,’ says Dr. Bernie Siegel, best-selling author and cancer surgeon. ‘So find things that help you lose track of time. Because then you’re in a trance state, and that’s the healthiest state to be in.’
It sounds so simple, but with the relentless pressures of 21st century life many of us have forgotten what it means to let go.
Patients often ask Toronto-based physician, Dr. Alexander Mostovoy: ‘What should I do to relax?’
‘I encourage patients to remember a time when they were little – perhaps playing with a doll- when nothing else existed and they had no care. It’s about finding that feeling again, that’s your place of healing,’ says Mostovoy.
We tend to associate getting healthy with slogging it out at the gym and eating a joy-less diet, but the latest research is showing that giving in to pleasure can be just as important.
In fact, having a sense of joy is the second most important factor for predicting cancer survival, according to research from Sandra Levy, associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
In other research, ‘mirthful laughter’ has been compared to ‘internal jogging’ for its ability to lower stress, blood pressure and cholesterol.
INCREASE THE BLISS, FEEL BETTER
Find a Passion
‘You are generally healthier and more alive when you’re in love,’ says Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist who previously taught at Stanford.
In his latest book The Honeymoon Effect Lipton explains that when we’re in love the brain secretes neurochemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin and growth hormone into the blood. When these chemicals are added to cells in a laboratory, the cells exhibit robust, healthy growth.
Currently sleeping alone? Fear not.
These same chemicals can be unleashed by falling in love with a project or following a passion, according to Lipton. That could be as simple as starting a new exercise class, penning the first page of that book you’ve been wanting to write or even babysitting someone else’s puppy – surely the quickest way to induce that ‘fall in love’ feeling.
Enjoy what you Eat
How often have you said something like the following? ‘ I just look at a piece of chocolate cake and gain weight.’ According to Pam Grout author of the New York Times best-selling book E-Squared, we ought to watch our words rather than count calories:
‘What you think and say about yourself, your body, and your food is the hinge upon which your health turns.’
Not buying it? A landmark study from Harvard proved that mind-set matters when it comes to weight loss.
In the 2007 study, researchers informed one group of cleaners working in hotels that the work they did was good exercise. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Although actual behavior did not change, 4 weeks after the intervention, those who were told their work provided a ‘work-out’ showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.
Take away tip? Try swapping ‘it’s really hard for me to lose weight’ with ‘I’m getting fitter for summer’ and your subconscious at least will be on your side.
Try beating sugar cravings with these Paleo Banana Muffins with Raw Cacao and Walnuts
Make a New Playlist
I guarantee the process will make you:
A) reflect on happy memories associated with your favourite tunes
B) get your body moving first thing in the morning
C) incentivise you to have friends over for dinner/BBQ; and, according to research from best-selling author Lynne McTaggart, staying socially connected might be a better predictor of health and longevity than diet or whether you smoke.
Laura Bond is a freelance journalist, qualified health coach and author of the acclaimed book ‘Mum’s Not Having Chemo‘. She is now available for one-on-one health coaching sessions and specialises in foods to beat stress and anxiety and pre-natal nutrition. To find out more or to book a session go to www.laura-bond.com
Laura Bond is a journalist, author and Nutritional Therapist. She specialises in helping clients beat stress, reduce their toxic load and prepare their bodies for babies. To find out more, click here.
As a fledgling model living in New York, Elle Macpherson used to carry around a trail mix of nuts as she went from casting studio to casting studio, to keep hunger pangs at bay.
We tend to think of nuts as fattening, but the latest research is showing Elle – still a knockout at fifty – was onto something; that nuts might be the ideal snack.
Women who include nuts in their diet tend to weigh less than those who avoid them. That’s the message from Harvard Researchers who tracked more than 75, 000 women from 1980 to 2010. The nut-eating women also had a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer according to results from the study.
Nuts are heart healthy too. People who eat nuts more than three times a week have a reduced risk of dying from cancer AND cardiovascular disease according to one longitudinal study published in the journal BMC Medicine in 2013.
So next time you’re feeling peckish swap your usual snack – be it popcorn; crackers and cheese; hummus and carrots (or, perish the thought, a packet of crisps) – for a handful of crunchy, phytochemical-packed nuts instead. It might just be one of the best natural ways to keep cancer at bay, improve heart health and stay nourished and slim.
Here are just few benefits from some of our favourite nuts:
Walnuts: Some believe the physical characteristics of certain foods, point to their nutritional properties. Ergo, avocado is said to boost uterine health, pomegranate is good for the ovaries and walnuts – beneficial for the brain. Certainly, they are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which are essential for normal neural function. Walnuts have also been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, and cut the risk of prostate cancer by 60 percent.
They’re great in salads (walnuts, roasted beetroot, rocket and avocado is my go-to) and might even help regulate sleep/wake cycles thanks to a form of melatonin they contain. Being exposed to computer screens disrupts our levels of melatonin – so if you’ve been up checking emails, try a handful of walnuts before bed. Higher levels of melatonin have been shown to reduce the risk for some cancers too.
Almonds: Not technically a true nut (the seed of the almond is what we eat) almonds are the only alkaline-forming nut you will find. They’re also a great choice for when you’re feeling stressed – the magnesium helps calm your nerves – plus the zinc and vitamin E give you glowing skin while the protein helps ward off hunger. They might also help with high cholesterol – according to research. Try celery sticks and almond butter for a superfood snack.
Brazil Nuts: You only need 4 of these nuts to get your daily dose of selenium, the importance of which cannot be overstated: ‘If every girl in this country took 200mcg of selenium in one generation we’d eliminate breast cancer by 82 per cent,’ says Dr Peter Glidden, a naturopathic physician and author of The MD Emperor Has No Clothes. Epidemiological research reveals people who live in areas of selenium-rich or magnesium-rich soils are indeed many times less likely to get cancer.
These rich creamy nuts are also great for skin and hair and may even offset fluoride toxicity.
Macadamia Nuts: Growing up in Sydney, macadamias were a staple recess snack. Previously, I considered them an occasional indulgence, believing the high fat content rendered them unhealthy. However it’s their unique fatty acid profile that in fact makes them a health food. Several studies have now found that a diet rich in macadamia nuts reduces total and LDL cholesterol.
Macadamias also improve the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are a good source of fibre and can be soaked and blended in water to make a creamy alternative to almond milk.
Alternatively, you could try Sarah Wilson’s Macademia and coconut muffins with coconut butter.
Cashews: Boyfriend just dumped you? Two handfuls of cashews will give you a happy fix. It’s the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of Prozac according to Dave Sommers from Food Matters. Cashews contains L-tryptophan which is made into serotonin in the body – known as the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter.
Cashews also help banish dangerous bacteria responsible for acne, tooth decay, tuberculosis and pneumonia. In addition, cashews have also been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and certain types of cancer. A good all-rounder – and oh so tasty with an organic craft ale (rebellion is good, in moderation).
Of course not all nuts are created equal.
You want to be eating organic raw nuts – free from chemicals and nasty funguses – that haven’t been roasted and salted.
And ideally, you want to activate your nuts too. In their natural state, raw nuts are hard to digest due to the enzyme inhibitors they contain – but by soaking them overnight you make them more digestible and the nutrients more bio-available.
Australia and America spearheaded the activated nut trend – I’ve spent years squirrelling 2Die4 Activated Nuts in my suitcase back to London – but thank fully they are now available at various health food stores and organic supermarkets across the globe.
My Nut-tastic Breakfast (picture at top):
I’ve been following the advice of a Melbourne nutritionist for nine years now by starting my day with a specific blend of activated nuts.
Previously I was embarrassed about my slightly OCD-addiction to this breakfast, but in recent years research has shown I’m not so nutty. It’s certainly an upgrade on most cereals – which are nutrient-void, pesticide packed, sugar-coated delusions of fibre.
So for those of you who are interested, here is what I have every morning:
3 Brazil Nuts
1 tsp pumpkin seeds
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp cacoa nibs
1 tsp goji berries
1 tsp of maca powder
Blueberries (if I can find affordable organic ones)
Sprinkle of Rude Health organic muesli (I’ve met the makers, been to their HQ and trust their products entirely)
All covered in creamy homemade almond milk
The combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, oxygen boosting molecules, protein and magnesium in this colourful bowl gives me all the energy I need to power on until lunch.
For those of you who prefer a smoothie in the morning you could also try Natasha Corrett’s delicious Almond Butter Milkshake – she has generously allowed me to share the recipe on my website.
What more could you need to get out of bed?
Ever wondered how the judges make it through Masterchef? Enzymes apparently.
Gregg Wallace from Materchef Britain revealed to me that he ‘swallowed a couple of digestive enzymes’ before judging the pudding section – the day I interviewed him he had to get through 15 sticky cakes.
Most of us have heard that enzymes can help our digestion. But did you know they are also powerfully anti-cancer, can help lower pain as well as boost sports performance?
Here are five reasons to start taking them now:
1) Unless your diet is 75% raw – you are probably deficient: So many foods today are devoid of enzymes thanks to pasteurization, heating, microwaving and other chemical processes. Heating your food above 46 degrees C renders most enzymes inactive. But making just a few simple changes can significantly increase your daily count. Here are some ideas:
*Snack on celery with nut butter instead of crisps
* Choose a juicer with a slow RPM – lower than 80 – to preserve the fragile enzymes in your beetroot and celery juice. I’ve been using an Angel Juicer for the last few years, although if I had my time again I’d buy a Hurom slow juicer. Click here to see a brand comparison chart. For on-the-go greens, choose cold-pressed, or freshly made. I like Raw Press, since they come in glass bottles and are organic.
*Try activated nuts
When you soak nuts, then dehydrate them at low temperatures, it activates enzymes that make them easier to digest and metabolize. More nutritious and much more crunchy.
* Choose sprouted rice, grains and cereals
2) To lower Inflammation: The second most popular pain reliever in Germany is Wobenzym – an enzyme formula derived from an extract of the calf thymus gland, papaya plant enzymes, and the pancreas of cows and pigs. Only Aspirin outsells this natural alternative.
Serrepeptase – an enzyme which comes from the intestinal bacteria of the silk moth – is also gaining popularity amongst holistic health experts. It’s dubbed the ‘miracle enzyme’ thanks to its massive anti-inflammatory abilities – science says it can help with everything from pain and swelling to heart disease and staphylococcal infections.
So how does Serrapeptase reduce pain and inflammation? It is able to digest non-living scar tissue. In fact the silk worm uses it to dissolve the hard shell of its cocoon. Transformative stuff.
3) Help prevent and treat cancer: Enzymes help break down the fibrin that coats cancer cells, allowing the immune cells to get in and do their work. There a countless studies attesting to the anti-cancer properties of enzymes – including papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple.
Researchers believe this enzyme could block the growth of a broad range of tumor cells, including breast, lung, colon, ovarian and melanoma.
Enzymes have been a huge part of Mum’s anti-cancer protocol and anyone who is interested in researching this topic further should look up Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez in New York, who has pioneered enzyme therapy for cancer patients. The testimonials he shares in ‘Mums Not Having Chemo’ are eye-opening.
4) Improve Sports Performance: Enzymes not only help the body digest protein – they also provide muscle-building protein. In fact, they’re increasingly being recognized as a way to help tone the body as well as prevent and heal athletic injuries.
5) Aid Weight Loss: Adequate enzymes help break down excess fat, escort toxins from the body and provide energy to get you off the sofa – when you feel you’re running on empty.
Essentially the body stays healthy when it has adequate levels of these super nutrients. I am quite evangelical about enzymes and personally take Serrapeptase and a broad-spectrum enzyme daily between meals; one hour before eating.
The upshot has been an an increase in energy and also less bloating and stomach gurgling at night.
I am now booking new health coaching clients for March and am available to those in America and Australia via phone consultations. Click here for more details.
For those in London, I will be sharing more of my tips on how to transform your health in 2015 at Planet Organic, Notting Hill on Tuesday 24th February 7pm-8pm.
Are you bored of hot lemon and water? Do you want to start 2015 with more of a zing?
If you are looking for a January detox that is all of the fun and none of the deprivation – then look no further.
This January I’m teaming up elite athlete Christina Hinds to share with you a very special 7 day Urban Retreat.
It’s been months – if not years – in the making.
I made London my home in 2006 and for the last 9 years have been spent my free time trying out different yoga studios, scouring health shops for the best supplements and fresh ingredients and making friends with those who have both educated and inspired me about fitness and nutrition.
So it is with GREAT excitement that I can now share with you our Superfit Superfood Tour of London.
I’m looking forward to finally meeting some of you there!
The Superfit Superfood Tour of London
26th January – 1st February
Discover London’s hottest health spots with elite athlete Christina Hinds and health coach and author Laura Bond.
Together they share with you their secret spots for spiced coconut porridge and daikon ravioli, give you access to exclusive health clubs and cutting edge fitness classes and introduce you to celebrity trainers and energy healers – who A-listers like Millie Mackintosh and Annie Lennox rely on to keep them toned and spiritually aligned.
This unique 7-day urban retreat will rev up your metabolism, excite the system with new invigorating workouts and give you recipes, food and lifestyle tips to get you through the winter.
Throughout each day Christina and Laura, who are both qualified health coaches, will be on hand to share their expert knowledge and provide one-on-one guidance on how to reach new levels of health and vitality.
NOTE: Spaces are limited. We are keeping numbers small to ensure you get the best individual attention and guidance.
£85 per day or £495 for the seven-day experience
Purchase the entire seven day retreat and you save £100!
What you get:
- The individual attention of London’s top celebrity trainers, yoga and pilates instructors and dance and BodyBarre teachers
- Access to exclusive studios, gyms and ‘wellness pods’ in West London
- Cold pressed-juices, sprouted, activated and anti-oxidant rich goodies plus new recipes and workout routines daily
- One-on-one health coaching throughout the week with Laura and Christina
- Healthy lunches daily, focusing on organic, enzyme rich food (mostly wheat, dairy and gluten free).
- Organic supermarket tours where we share our tips on the best paleo bread, fresh ingredients and life-extending supplements
- Quick recipes for after work & tips for making tasty gluten and dairy free meals
- Bookings at London’s new wave of raw vegan eateries
- An intimate cooking class and immune boosting workshop with Laura Bond, author of Mum’s Not Having Chemo
- A dynamic workout with Olympic beach volley ball player Christina Hinds, focusing on balancing, breathing and core activation
- Gift bags daily
Drawing on more than a decade of journalistic research and her training with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, Laura Bond encourages clients to swap fear and procrastination for knowledge and action.
Her first book ‘Mum’s Not Having Chemo’ comes highly recommended from Dr. Jonathan Wright, Harvard graduate and pioneer in nutritional medicine, and her features have appeared in The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, Psychologies Magazine, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health Magazine.
Celebrity life coach and Olympic beach volleyball player, Christina Hinds, uses her elite training plus psychology and nutrition degrees to create unique experiences that enhance the daily well being of her clients.
Her laid back style and engaging routines have trained the bodies and minds of A List actors, models, and tech entrepreneurs worldwide.
Monday 26th January
Touted by Tatler as London’s hottest new fitness address, Paola’s BodyBarre in Fulham offers the quickest route to a tight, chiseled body. Paola Di Lanzo’s signature routine combines moves from dynamic pilates, ballet and dance to challenge you to the core.
After the class you will be treated to a healthy lunch at Hally’s where you will have the opportunity to quiz Laura and Christina about your health. Throughout the week we will be on hand to provide specific tips to help you make 2015 your healthiest year ever.
Start location: Paola’s BodyBarre, 70 Rosaline Road, SW6 7QT
End location: Hally’s, 60 New Kings Road, SW6 4L
Tuesday 27th January
Fitness: The Skinny Bitch Collective (SBC)
Food: An intimate cooking class and immune boosting workshop with Laura Bond, author of Mum’s Not Having Chemo
Prepare to unleash your inner animal with squatting, crawling and tugs of war in this exclusive, unconventional class with the Skinny Bitch Collective. Fashionistas like Millie Mackintosh and Suki Waterhouse swear by SBC to keep them strong and red-carpet ready.
Following the session Laura will satisfy your hunger with an Asian inspired cooking class and share with you tips for making gluten and dairy free recipes that everyone in your house will want to eat.
Location: Kensington Church Street, W8
Wednesday 28th January
Daniele counts Annie Lennox, Lily Cole and Colin Firth among his clients and believes pilates can help release emotion trapped in the muscle. Expect your inner thighs to have words with you the next day – his class is tough.
We’ve secured a table at Nama after the class (sshh they don’t usually take lunch bookings). At this raw food paradise in the heart of Notting Hill you’ll find raw pizza, kohlrabi rice curry, fermented blueberry cheesecake and more. Warning: menu envy is inevitable.
Start location: Kensington Church Street, W8
End location: Nama, 110 Talbot Road, W11 1JR
Thursday 29th January
Start the morning with a cold-pressed juice at Lomax – a bespoke fitness, nutrition & wellbeing centre in the heart of Chelsea.
Then learn how to move just like in a music video in one of Lomax private pods. Joelle is a commercial dancer who loves spreading his style to newbies. He’ll have you sliding down walls, shaking your booty and looking like a pro by the end. No experience – or alcohol – required.
Tanya’s Living Food Café down the road will be serving lunch at 12.45. Prepare for some serious life-force food –think inside out pumpkin dumplings with pine-nut cream, kale fibre crackers and marinated mushroom kebabs.
Start location: Lomax Chelsea, 293 Fulham road, SW10 9PZ
End location: Tanya’s Cafe, 35 Ixworth Place, SW3 3QX
Friday 30th January
Experience: Tour of Planet Organic
Food: Bespoke lunch at Planet Organic with Laura and Christina
Does your apple cider vinegar contain ‘the mother’? Is your magnesium supplement absorbed at a cellular level? What does fresh turmeric look like and what do you do with it?
Join Christina and Laura for a sweep of London’s largest fully certified organic supermarket in the UK. During the morning we show you how to navigate the aisles –how to choose the best sprouted bread, find the most potent aloe vera supplement and pick the perfect foods for a packed lunch.
Former elite athlete Christina knows how to keep a body in top condition and will be on hand to answer your questions on the best post-work out smoothies, supplements and more.
For those who want tips on keeping their immune system firing Laura can help you with cutting edge nutritional strategies. Having interviewed over 60 experts around the world, most of whom were doctors, Laura is clued-up on how to keep the body oxygenated, alkalized and energised for 21st century life.
As regulars at Planet Organic, Christina and Laura have tried and tested countless products – from bee-pollen to nut milk bags – and can help you save money with smart purchases.
Location: Planet Organic
Saturday 31st January
Fitness: Workout with Christina Hinds
Food: Honestly Healthy Lunch
Christina brings her elite training as an Olympic beach volleyball player to your home, backyard, or alleyway. This do-it-anywhere dynamic workout activates the mind and muscles to balance and tone from the inside out. Her breathing techniques, core activation, and balancing exercises have toned the bodies of LA based A listers – no we can’t mention names. This hour of varied exercises keeps you fresh and having fun, while miraculously waking up fit and energized the following morning.
Honestly Healthy, a company which has pioneered alkaline eating, will provide us with lunch and a guilt-free dessert. The founder, Natasha Corrett, has brought beetroot brownies and almond milk smoothies to the masses – and helped celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Robbie Williams look and feel their best.
Location: Kensington Church Street, W8
Sunday 1st February
Ease your way into Sunday morning with good tunes and some dynamic sun salutations. Expect to be challenged in this fast-paced and original class with Melody as she guides you through a Jivamukti practice to help stretch and strengthen your body and soothe your busy mind.
Afterwards enjoy fashion-friendly cuisine from Peardrop London – the company behind Fare Healthy. Stella McCartney and Thandie Newton are fans of the delicious deliveries – think turmeric pickled courgettes, quinoa burgers and salted caramel banana trifles – which will leave you feeling both satisfied and saintly.
Following lunch there’ll be twenty minute ‘blast’ sessions with Christina and Laura. Here is the opportunity to work, one-on-one with us to pin-point 3 lifestyle changes to transform your health in 2015.
Location: Kensington Church Street, W8
My mother is a nature lover, she always has been.
Every Spring she feeds the baby magpies, ‘it’s so hard on the mothers you know’ she’ll say as she rushes outside in her jim-jams with a pinch of organic meat between her fingers.
The dogs enjoy fish for breakfast, greens (whatever doesn’t make it into the juicer) and alternative therapies; the rescue greyhound, ‘ling’ has embraced Pulsed- Electro Magnetic Field Therapy, for her post-racing arthritis.
This year she also gave money to build a ‘maternity enclosure’ for a bear-cub and his mother at a sanctuary in Romania.
So I wasn’t surprised when Mum told me she’d bought a possum box.
‘We had to drive out to the Darling ranges to pick it up and Peter (Mum’s boyfriend) spent the day attaching it to the gum-tree.’
The possum has been living in the roof of the granny flat for years, but with an expanding family coming to visit this Christmas, it was time to relocate.
But things didn’t go to plan.
After getting up at 1am to seal off the entrance, Peter and Mum awoke at 6am to find said possum bewildered and wandering around the garage entrance, like it had been evicted.
So did it eventually make its way to the new digs?
‘It curled up in a corner of the garage amongst some bark and now… I think it’s settled in the roof of my bedroom,’ Mum said, sheepishly.
You may be wondering what this has to do with health?
Taking the time to notice and appreciate Mother-Nature’s wonders is nectar for the body and soul.
Shutting down the windows on your computer, opening the ones in your office, getting your vitamin D and flooding your body with the feel-good negative ions from the natural environment, recharges the batteries and switches off stress signals, like nothing else.
But it’s only part of the solution.
You can also eat to beat stress, lower your exposure to major stress toxins (multitasking is one of them) and boost your intake of minerals – so you don’t end up wired, overwhelmed and strangling the air like Ari Gold from Entourage.
I don’t need to tell you – my clued up readers – how important this is.
Cortisol stimulates appetite and leads to weight gain, is linked with depression and anxiety, stops you sleeping, lowers your immunity and is known as ‘the ageing hormone.’ Adrenalin – the fight or flight hormone – can even make cancer resistant to treatment.
So what can you do about it?
On Saturday November 15th, I’m teaming up with medical doctor and mindfulness expert Dr. Barbara Mariposa to lead a workshop:
In just three hours (we know you don’t have all day) you will:
– Discover foods to protect your brain from stress
– Learn the recipe for the ultimate de-stress smoothie
– Stop shallow breathing and boost your brain-power
– Experience how mindfulness cuts through the stress response
– Discover the best supplements to keep you grounded
There will also be a give-away and books on sale at the event
Spaces are limited and tickets are now available through Eventbrite
I look forward to finally meeting some of you there!
Last week a client came to me following an abnormal pap smear. Any nutritional advice – she asked?
I suggested she consider taking folate and B12, since studies show the combination can help with the prevention of cervical cancer.
But I made sure she opted for the right B12, and the right folate.
In other words the methyl version of these vitamins – the natural form your body knows how to use.
Methylation is how your body manages to stay in balance.
When you’re blood sugar is high, you rely on the process of methylation to release insulin; when your body is burdened with toxins, you need healthy methylation to detox and methyl enzymes are essential to convert and absorb key nutrients.
‘Methylation helps the body rid itself of toxins and assures that the new cells you make everyday are exact copies of the ones that are being replaced,’ explains Dr. Garry Gordon, co-founder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM).
‘Amazingly, many doctors today still know nothing about the methyl form of folic acid and why I insist on giving it along with the sublingual methyl form of B12.’
Along with getting enough B vitamins – we’ll cover that in a second – there are other factors that affect methylation.
4 Factors that Mess with Methylation
Low stomach acid: Stomach acid is necessary to digest food and help you absorb vital nutrients including B12. Age can reduce stomach acid as well as certain health conditions and medications including antacids.
Plastics Bisphenyl A (BPA) found in plastic water bottles can disrupt the methylation process, triggering DNA changes. In one landmark study, scientist Randy Jirtle and his group of researchers exposed pregnant mice to bisphenol A and watched as more of their offspring developed into yellow, obese mice (Dolinoy et al., 2007). Start sipping from stainless steel now.
Smoking The carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke inactivates vitamin B6.
Heavy Metals Especially mercury, which binds to the amino acid methionine and interferes with methylation.
Unfortunately we’re constantly exposed to this neurotoxic metal – mercury is in mascara, your favourite sushi restaurant, in the water you drink and the air you breathe (16 per cent of airborne mercury in the UK is estimated to be from crematoria burning fillings and teeth).
So how do you protect the vital methylation processes in your body?
Improve your stomach aid by taking digestive enzymes or increasing your intake of bitter foods like lemons, rocket and apple cider vinegar; reduce your exposure to plastics and mercury (for instance swap plastic Tupperware for Pyrex and choose low mercury fish) quit smoking and most importantly up your intake of B vitamins.
Foods rich in B vitamins include the following:
For Folate, think fibre. You need to eat plenty of dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, bok choy, parsley and mustard greens to get your dose.
Good sources of B12 include organic eggs, oily fish (preferably line caught and low in mercury) mussels, oysters and organic meat.
For B6, eat more sunflower seeds, salmon and sweet potato.
However you may still want to consider a supplement, for the following reasons:
If you are vegan it can be hard to get adequate levels of B12 through food – in fact some argue it’s impossible.
If you have been on the contraceptive pill you might want to take folate – since oral contraceptives interfere with folate metabolism. In addition, a common gene mutation means many people cannot convert food folate into the usable methyl form.
Going supplement shopping? Here’s your crib sheet:
Look for supplements that contain methyl folate ie 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF. Such as Methyl-Pro5-MTHF Extrafolate-S® 5mg.
Avoid products that say ‘folic acid’ – most multivitamins contain this synthetic form, which has been linked to cancer. In the US, rates of colorectal cancer began to increase in 1996 and the same happened in Canada in 1998 following folic acid fortification of foods.
Look for supplements that contain methyl cobalamin. Such as Better You Boost B12 Oral Spray.
Avoid products containing cyanocobalamin, which is found in 99 per cent of the vitamins on the market containing B12.
Not only does cyanocobalamin contain cyanide, but it is made from recovered activated sewage sludge or ‘produced through total chemical synthesis’ according to health researcher Sayer Ji from GreenMedInfo.
In addition, a study published in 1997 in the journal Blood, found that cyanocobalamin ‘antagonizes vitamin B12 in vitro and causes cell death from methionine deficiency.’
Bottom line, you’ll feel better with methyl vitamins according to a growing number of holistic physicians. Dr. Richard Moore is one of them. At his clinic in Bondi Juntion Sydney, he offers a range of intravenous nutrition including methyl B12 shots: ‘The methyl group of vitamins are necessary for serotonin production – the feel good hormone – so sometimes B12 can really help people with mood issues.’
Research is increasingly showing that diet is intimately linked with our mental health – probiotics being hailed as the new Prozac is a case in point – but it’s also true that our mental state affects our biochemistry. For instance when we’re stressed we burn through C and B vitamins as well as selenium and essential fatty acids.
That’s why as a health coach I look beyond food: sometimes I’m there to talk supplements other times it’s stress – I will work with a client to identify triggers and find strategies to help them manage fist-bighting situations better.
That in turn can help with everything from losing weight and balancing hormones, to boosting immunity and slowing hair loss.
For a short time only – until the end of this year – I have dropped my health coaching prices. If you are interested in booking a session with me, you can find out more here
If there’s one thing I recommend you throw in your suitcase this summer its Aloe Vera – whether it’s in the form of a gel, cream or a supplement.
The desert growing plant contains over 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids believed to benefit your skin. So when you’re lying on a sun lounger soaking up your vacay vitamin D, make sure you have aloe on hand to alleviate any burns (of course it’s better not to burn in the first place but some people – ahem the Brits – are helpless in the face of heat) or take a supplement to provide your skin with extra protection.
Aloe vera can also soothe mosquito bites and calm a dodgy stomach thanks to its powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Plus, since aloe acts as a prebiotic – which help healthy probiotics flourish – the juicy plant can also boost your immune system and improve your absorption of nutrients.
Live to one hundred?
The ancient Egyptians are credited with discovering the benefits of aloe vera – it was in Cleopatra’s beauty bag – and its healing properties have been documented in books and Mesopotanian clay tablets in countries around the world.
The Essenes (a spiritual sect known by the Egyptians as the ‘healers and doctors’) reportedly consumed copious amounts of aloe vera. ‘ The Essenes ate raw and living foods, smelted metals, experimented with chemistry and consumed aloe as their primary superfood…’ writes David Wolfe in his book Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. He goes on to say that the Essenes often lived to be one hundred and twenty-five years of age, during a time when the average life span was thirty-nine years.
Wars have even been fought over aloe vera; Alexander the Great apparently conquered the island of Socotra in order to procure aloe and during campaigns it was applied to the wounds of his soldiers. It’s also been used over the centuries to treat a hair loss, skin infections, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal pain and sinusitis.
The latest scientific papers are giving credence to the legendary benefits of aloe vera.
In one study published in the journal Annals of Dermatology in 2009, healthy female subjects over the age of 45 were given either a low dose of aloe vera 1,200mg or a high dose 3,600 g (less than a teaspoon) for ninety days. The result? The researchers concluded that:
‘After aloe gel intake, the facial wrinkles improved significantly (p<0.05) in both groups, and facial elasticity improved in the lower-dose group… Aloe gel significantly improves wrinkles and elasticity in photoaged human skin.’
But the benefits of this desert succulent go way beyond the superficial with evidence suggesting it can help over 50 different conditions ranging from diabetes and ulcerative colitis to multiple sclerosis and cancer.
In one study, Dr. Paolo Lissoni, one of the top oncologists in the world, used a combination of aloe vera and raw honey on 240 patients. The study showed that the formula inhibited the proliferation of errant cells, exhibited immune-stimulating and antioxidant effects … enhanced patients’ survival time … and reduced toxicities, as proven by radiological evaluations. (In Vivo, 2009)
Growing up in Australia we’d snap off a leaf of Mum’s aloe plant at the first sign of redness from a burn or bite (I remember it working wonders on a jelly fish sting) but I’ve since learned there are many other ways to enjoy this juicy, collagen promoting plant.
Aloe Vera 5 Ways
The Smoothie: ‘Fillet’ the aloe vera by cutting a portion from the aloe leaf, removing the thorns on either side and separating the gel form the skin with your knife. Then add it into your choice of smoothie – it has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor and gels well with cucumber and pineapple. If you’re buying bottled aloe vera look for an organic, unprocessed product since processing will destroy the valuable healing polysaccharides.
The Salad: David Wolfe suggests mixing tiny cubes of raw aloe vera gel into a salsa or salad. I love this idea. I make a spicy tomato salsa with roasted peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, basil and chilli (Mum’s recipe) and am going to try a little aloe to offset the heat.
The Skin Tonic: Aloe Vera can help with everything from psoriasis and acne to ageing and eczema. Margo Marrone, a pharmacist, homeopath and founder of The Organic Pharmacy, originally created the Ultra Dry Skin Cream to treat her son’s eczema using aloe as the main ingredient. It smells divine and I won’t go anywhere without it having seen how it transformed cracked heels and a scaly patch on my hand (in one week).
The Supplement: There are many aloe pills on the market. Look for an organic, food-based supplement made using juice taken from the inner leaf. I’m currently trying Pukka Wholistic Aloe Vera capsules – which smell reassuringly like the real thing.
The Elixer: Aloe vera is also one of the 45 key ingredients in The Super Elixer, a food based alkaline powder created by Elle Macpherson and Harley street physician Dr. Simone Laubscher. The supplement also contains organic wheatgrass, prebiotics, probiotics, Chinese herbs and medicinal mushrooms and can be consumed daily in juice or water.
Last weekend the Sunday Times Australia published my feature about the benefits of an alkaline diet – you can read it here:
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