Saturday, 1 October 2016

5 Ways to Boost Immune System Function this Autumn.

Autumn is most definitely here. There has been a noticeable change in the weather and it has been a lot chiller in the past few days.

With the colder weather comes the inevitable cold and flu season complete with the unenviable red swollen nose! 

Follow these 5 tips to boost your immune system and ensure you don't succumb to the sniffles this cold and flu season! 

1.   Eat Fermented Foods 

A huge portion of your body's immunity is in your gut. There is a delicate balance between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" guys with many factors impacting the ratios. These include stress, diet, genetics and medication. An imbalance or dysbiosis can contribute to poor absorption of nutrients and a compromised immunity. It is therefore vital that we eat fermented foods to ensure we get a good intake of healthy bacteria. Fermented foods include kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut. All can be purchased in a good health food shop or made quite easily at home. If fermented foods really is not your thing take a good probiotic supplement instead with as many bacteria strains as possible.

Get a better gut and be better prepared for fighting off those ailments! Find out how to make sauerkraut here

2. Eat The Rainbow
Colourful fruit and vegetables contain important nutrients and anti-oxidants which are very important to improving immune health such as Vitamin C and Zinc. The more colourful your food, the more different anti-oxidants you take in, so try to pack as many as you can into your meals. Why not try a tasty rainbow salad with tri-colour peppers, beetroot, tomatoes, red onion, rocket and avocado?

3. Vitamin D
Studies show that a great portion of those living in the Northern Hemisphere are lacking in Vitamin D. Whilst our bodies can manufacture Vitamin D from sun exposure, shorter days and lower sun height mean we cannot make the levels required for proper immune function. Take a good Vitamin D supplement providing around 1000IU during the winter months to ensure you get adequate levels and don't forget the kids too! Look for an oil based supplement and take with food to ensure good absorption.

4. Get Plenty Of Sleep 
Sleep plays a vital part in ensuring we stay fit and healthy. Sleep deprivation suppresses the bodies natural immune function and increases inflammation. This all means that the more late nights you pull, the less likely your body is to fight off cold and flu. Not only does it affect how often we catch a cold, it also affects how quickly we get over an illness when we get one.
So get enough kip! Aim for 8 hours sleep each night.

5. Drink Bone Broth 
Homemade bone broth has been used by different cultures through history as a way to build immunity and fight off illness. Bone broth is made by simmering bones slowly, in doing so breaking down bones and collagen. Doing so allows the bone marrow to release minerals, proteins and fats - which are all benefital and healing to the body. Collagen present in the broth also benefits the digestion and is absorbed quickly and easily. Most importantly bone broth also helps to improve the immune system by carrying oxygen to blood cells in the body.
So use that chicken carcass this weekend and make some bone broth, it really couldn't be easier!

I hope this helps you all fend off those colds!


If you feel your immune system needs additional support, why not book a one-on-one consultation with me? E:

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Benefits of Bone Broth

Original Image:

Benefits of Bone Broth

Bone broth or “stock” is very much an “in vogue” health food at the moment. With bone broth stands now cropping up at various locations around New York City as a daily ritual now akin to the morning coffee, this superfood is being acknowledged for its many health benefits.

Bone broth is far from a new phenomenon of course. Often cited as “Jewish penicillin” and praised in South American proverbs with it being deemed “good broth will resurrect the dead” the health benefits of this wonderful food have been attested for many centuries.

“Broth is a liquid food preparation, typically consisting of water, in which bones, meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been simmered. Broth is used as a basis for other edible liquids such as soup, gravy, or sauce”. [1]

From Eastern Asia to Britain and everywhere in between, the humble stock has long been seen as not simply a cure it all but as a tasty base for soups, stews and casseroles. Along with the introduction of convenience foods came the introduction of commercial stocks and then that of the dried stock in the early 20th Century by companies such as Maggi and Oxo. Unfortunately, as with most commercial ventures, quality suffered as a result, and the benefits of this beautiful healing food were lost along the way.

What are the benefits of this wonderful food and why should I be consuming it regularly?

1.       Inhibits Infection

Alluded to in above in its ability to cure all infections in the Jewish traditions, bone broth has been shown to be fantastic for curing infection. One particular study showed a fresh chicken soup (made with chicken broth) as displaying inhibitory properties over neutrophil activity in the case of colds and flus. This suggested that chicken stock does indeed have a medicinal effect on the body and did indeed promote healing through anti-inflammatory mechanisms[2]. The old adage that chicken soup cured a cold therefore has scientific backing, meaning a good homemade chicken soup will shorten your recovery time from a cold or flu and promote a speedy recovery from respiratory issues. Chicken broth is also rich in an amino acid called cysteine which helps to thin mucus in the lungs and make it easier to expel.

2.       Helps to Heal and Seal The Gut

“All disease begins in the gut” or so Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was known to say.

As a nutritional therapist I understand the huge importance of gut health in the development of all illness, not least that of autoimmune conditions, diagnosis of which are greatly rising in recent times.

Healing and sealing up the gut wall which is often more permeable than it should be, is a key objective in most of my clients protocols and one which I greatly promote for overall health.

Hailed as an important component of the Gut and Phycology Syndrome (GAPS) protocol by neurologist Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, healing the gut is also seen as an extremely important component of the healing process for neurological conditions such as autism, where the toxicity of the gut leads to issues with behaviour issues [3] by healing and sealing up the gut lining. The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid meaning it attracts and holds liquids including digestive enzymes, promoting more effective digestion and improved healing.

3.       Reduces joint pain and promoting bone health

Bone broths play an important part in reducing join pain and improving bone health. Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation explains that bone broths contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and silicon as well as chondroitin and glucosamine, all of which are easily absorbed into your body and promote joint and bone health as well as prevent arthritis and osteoporosis.

4.       Reduces Inflammation

Many chronic conditions are driven by inflammation. Reducing chronic inflammation is key to preventing the development of illness in the long run. Amino acids such as glycine and arginine have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in bone broth.

5.       Rich in Gelatin

We are all familiar with collagen and its benefits for skin, hair and nail health. The beauty industry has long since promoted its merits and it is often found in anti-aging products. Collagen is found in the tendons and skin of meats and is released into bone broth as gelatin during cooking. The longer you cook your bone broth the more gelatin is released. Therefore regularly eating bone broth can help to reduce aging and promote skin, nail and hair health!

Making Your Own Bone Broth

Now that you know the benefits of bone broth, how can you make it a useful tool in your Paleo plan or overall health promotion lifestyle? Firstly, it is best to make it yourself. Commercial stocks do not possess the same benefits and are often full of taste enhancer, hidden gluten and other nasty extras.

People often get a little squeamish when I recommend making your own bone broth. It is really easy to do and quickly becomes just another routine job you can incorporate into your lifestyle.

Bones can be raw or uncooked but organic is best as animals store toxins in their bone marrow, which will then be released into your broth. I like to use the cooked carcass from my roast chicken dinner. In this way it just becomes another routine – the night after my chicken dinner I strip the meat off and make my broth.

Larger bones like beef bones need to be broken up to allow the marrow to be penetrated. Ask your butcher to do this or break it yourself with a kitchen saw or clean hammer.

Browning the bones by roasting them prior to cooking is a useful way to impart more flavour and colour into your finished broth.

Add an acid – it is important to add an acid to the water to aid the release of minerals from the bones. I like to use an organic apple cider vinegar. This is an important step.

The longer you cook a broth the better it becomes. It may be cooked on the hob, pressure cooker or in a slow cooker. I personally like to make 24 hour bone broth in my slow cooker and I find it the most economical and easiest way to make broth. If you don’t have time to wait or do not own a slow cooker, I recommend the pressure method.

Bone Broth


1-2 organic chicken carcasses

Filtered water, enough to cover

1-2 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves

1 carrot

1 onion

2 celery sticks

2 Bay Leaves

Slow Cooker


Place your bones in your slow cooker. 

Just cover with cold filtered water

Add the vinegar (this leaches the minerals from bone easier)

Place on a low heat for 24 hours.

When cooked pass through a fine sieve to remove any sediment. 

Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days. 

Freeze if desired for backup if a cold hits! 

Use as a base for soups and sauces, as a drink daily or as a cold/flu remedy. 

Alternatives: Add vegetables such as celery, carrots and onions to your stock also to add flavour if desired. 

[1] Rombauer, Irma S.; Marion Rombauer Becker; Ethan Becker (1997). Joy of Cooking. 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020: Scribner. p. 42. ISBN 0-684-81870-1.
[2] Rennard, BO; Chest. et al (2000) Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. In Journal for American College of Chest Physicians Oct;118(4):1150-7. Retrieved from
[3] Campbell McBride, N. (2004) Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Schizophrenia Medinform Publishing ISBN13: 9780954852009

Monday, 1 August 2016

Eating Out and Staying on Plan

We all like to enjoy a meal out from time to time. It is a nice treat to be able to have someone else cook for us, and even better – no clean up.

However it is important to remember that the only way to be healthy in the long run is to get into the habit of actually cooking our own food from scratch. While eating the occasional meal out is a must for most, the majority of your meals should be cooked by YOU. It is the only way to ensure you know exactly what is in your food and how it is cooked.

If you do eat out follow these tips to ensure you don’t overdo it or even worse, undo all the good work you have done so far.

1.       Don’t Go To The Restaurant Hungry!
This is something we all tend to do. Going for dinner? Better skip lunch. So you don’t eat anything all day and arrive to the restaurant starving. This leads to you overeating and choosing all the worst foods not to mention hitting the bread basket before you even start your meal!

Overcome this by having a light lunch such as a salad with protein or a bowl of soup and grab a quick snack in the afternoon such as an apple and nut butter. You will be far less likely to overindulge at dinner and will be happier for it!

2.       Avoid Breaded Dishes or Dishes Covered in Sauces
Go for plain proteins such as fish or chicken and avoid those sauces. You have no idea what is in them! Avoid salads drenched in sauce such as Caesar salad. I often hear people say “Oh I only had a Caesar salad for starter” without considering that it is covered in sauce and croutons and is about as far removed from a healthy salad as bread roll in my opinion. Ask for some olive oil on the side and add it yourself.

3.       Practice Portion Control
Portions have got larger and larger over the years leading to a situation where restaurants now provide us with huge portions of meals to keep us happy and coming for more. The issue with this is we often over eat at these meals, ignoring our natural instincts to stop eating when full. Eat three quarters of what is on your plate and then stop. This is an easy way to stop overeating but will ensure you are still satisfied. 

Dining Out

4.       Don't be afraid to ask.
Restaurants cater for all kinds of special requests — all you have to do is speak up. Order your food grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried. Ask for dishes to be cooked with a little olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Request extra veggies and less potato.  
Remember, it is their job to get you what you want. That is what you are paying for! 

5. Check Before You Go.
Upcoming Event and worrying about what you will eat? Look the restaurant up online and check out their menu. That way you have full control over what you intend to order before you go and it makes it a lot easier to stay on track. Nothing on the menu suitable? Call the restaurant and tell them you have specific needs and would they be willing to get you something alternative to eat? Restaurants appreciate the heads up and will be more than happy to accommodate you if possible.

6.       Eat Slowly
Enjoy the food and your company. Eating your food too fast leads to overeating as you do not register the food until you are overfull. Make the evening an experience!

For further information and tips on how to maintain a healthy diet contact me on for a consultation.