Wednesday, 14 December 2016

4 Tips To Enjoying Your Christmas Without Food Guilt!




With Christmas literally just around the corner it can be a daunting and stressful time for those of us trying our best not to go off the food rails. With all the festive cheer and boozy nights comes much temptation and trying to stay "healthy" is basically impossible. And do you know what? Why should we? I am a firm believer in enjoying yourself at Christmas, and after all if you can't enjoy this time of year without food guilt what is the point?!

However it could be easy to completely go off the rails and consume your body weight in chocolate over the holidays which definitely isn't a good idea either! Balance is key over this period and learning how to enjoy a few extra treats without going absolutely crazy is what I recommend.

But where to start!? Do not despair! Help is at hand! Here are my tips for keeping your Christmas as healthy as possible without putting a complete dampener on your festivities. 

1. Christmas Is Actually Just One Day! 
First things first - Christmas is not a month long blow out and excuse to eat everything in sight while murmuring "Feck it, its Christmas" between each mince pie filled mouthful. Whatever we may convince ourselves of, and no matter how much we are sucked into the marketing, Christmas itself is only one day! By keeping this in mind we can limit the damage we inflict on ourselves! Of course this is a time of a little more indulgence and treats - we all deserve a little bit of fun at Christmas time. The important thing is not to get sucked in too early or you could find yourself on a massive food binge with nothing to show for it except a larger muffin top and bad indigestion. 

Tip: Limit your indulgences to the weekends and adopt an 80/20 approach. Keep most of your food as healthy as you can with room for one or two treats thrown in too.  I like to try and keep my main meals as "on plan" as possible which allows me to then choose to have a treat or two in between. If you know you have a party approaching keep things as clean and good as possible in the run up to it, avoid the bread basket, keep your starter and main as healthy as possible and have a nice dessert as a treat. By keeping it mostly healthy at these events you will limit the damage while still enjoying yourself. I also limit alcohol to weekends (something I do year round anyway) so as to limit the alcohol indulgences too!

2. Fail To Prepare, and Yule Prepare To Fail 
If healthy eating is something you are passionate about you are aware that conventional food doesn't always meet our nutrition needs. Parties can be one area where we are forgotten about with little to choose from except maybe some salad options and cold meats (if we are lucky!) 

Tip: One way to avoid making a bee-line for the mince pies is to bring something along to the party that we can definitely eat. Pack a tray of roasted sweet potatoes or a pot of delicious curry and you will be fully prepared for the party food. Your host won't mind and it might even create a conversation starter to encourage others to our way of eating! 


3. Plan Where You Will Indulge And Stick To It
The worst thing you can do on Christmas day is approach it with a plan to eat all in sight without consequence. Sure we all want to enjoy our day. We all want to take part in the family traditions and feel that we can have the treats we always associate with Christmas. But we should not go overboard. Apart from anything else there is no need to go crazy binging on foods like we can never eat again. There will still be plenty of food left the next day and the next! Secondly, too much sugar will lead to a greater chance of developing a nasty cold as it weakens our immunity. 

Tip: Decide what areas you will indulgenge in. For example maybe your pancake breakfast is one area and tradition you are not willing to miss, but maybe you will choose to skip dessert after dinner. Who really has space for dessert anyway? Maybe you can't wait to have some stuffing with your turkey but you will skip the gravy and have butter on your vegetables instead. Choose wisely and you won't even feel like you are missing out! 


4. One Day Of Indulgence Wont Screw Up Your Goals 
One day of eating a little outside the healthy eating box is not going to destroy all of your goals (unless of course you are trying to cure your gut for health reasons, in which case it may set you back a little). 
As long as you do not go crazy for weeks at a time (see point above!) one day of eating a little off plan is not going to send you back to the beginning of your health journey (however long that may be). 

Tip: Enjoy the day itself without going too crazy and take up your healthy eating ways the following day. 

It goes without saying that you should enjoy your day with your family. Stressing too much about what you should and shouldn't eat will not a happy Christmas make! Whatever decisions you make with your eating, make your peace with it, do not have regrets and remember the New Year will be a great chance to kick start your health for the future.

And if you DO over react, remember you can reset and get back on track in the New Year by signing up to my 30 Day Paleo Challenge! Sign up here >>>> http://bit.ly/SignUpJan17

Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas, 

Denise 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Easy Recipe - Avocado Chocolate Mousse










Looking for a chocolate hit but without the resulting sugar crash?

With just three ingredients we have a delicious treat which is high in good fats and antioxidants but is satisfying enough that you have your chocolate hit all at the same time! :)





Ingredients
1 ripe avocado
2 tbsb raw organic honey
1/4 cup organic cacao powder

In a blender blend all the ingredients until smooth. It might be best to blend the avocado first and then follow with the cacao and honey.

Place in a bowl and chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Taste the chocolatey goodness. :)




Enjoy!






Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tips For Grocery Shopping On A Budget


Image result for happy lady trolley

One area that people often struggle with when switching to a unprocessed lifestyle is that food costs too much. While it is true that you need to spend a little more, I always say that cheap food will eventually catch up with you health wise, meaning that you end of spending more on the doctor and medication in the long run. And of course, you cannot put a price on health.

Here are some of my tips to help keep your budget down while still feeding your family with the healthiest diet you can afford.

Buy produce on sale or special offer: This will save you money in the long run, particularly if it can be frozen or is a jarred item. If it is a perishable item which goes off quickly and which you know you will not use in time, do not waste your money! You will most likely throw it out!

If you have extra money buy in bulk. Things like meat or fish usually work out less expensive the more you buy. We buy our meat monthly in bulk and freeze it. We usually save around 10-15% this way.

Choose fresh produce which is in season. Fruits and vegetables which are in season are often priced more competitively than produce which is more difficult to source.

Buy local! Buying direct from the farmer or from a farmer’s market means you cut out the middle man. This means the produce is often more affordable.

Make your own sauces, spice mixes and rubs – they work out a lot cheaper and you have control over what is going into them.

Avoid impulse buys – keep a shopping list of what you want for the week ahead. Having a rough plan of what you plan to cook for main meals will cut down on unnecessary spending.

Avoid shopping when hungry! If you are hungry you are more likely to opt for processed foods or be enticed by baked goods which may smell delicious but are not healthy. Eat before you shop and reduce the cost of your bill!

Avoid buying ready meals or prepared foods such as quiches etc. These foods are much more expensive than if you make them yourself. You are paying for convenience.

Avoid processed foods as much as possible. These types of foods are MUCH more expensive than fresh produce to buy. People often exclaim that fresh foods are expensive but processed food is FAR more expensive. Consider that a 7.5kg of potatoes costs around €5 (67c/kg) and a packet of crisps costs 0.78c (€21.10 per kg) that is a huge 3000+% difference!

Steer away from pre-prepared vegetables/fruit or salads. These are always overpriced. Buy and prepare your own.

Shop the outside aisles as much as possible. This is where the fresh and healthy foods are such as fruit and vegetables and eggs. Avoid the inner aisles which is where all the processed foods are kept. You don’t need them!

Buy cheaper cuts of meats such as stewing beef or shoulder lamb chops or chicken thighs and drumsticks. These are usually much cheaper but if cooked right are much tastier than other cuts. The cheaper cuts usually require longer cooking times (stews, soups) but taste delicious – the bone adds flavour you just won’t get in other cuts.

Make your own fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir and make bone broth. These incredibly nourishing foods are cheap as the proverbial chips (cooked in coconut oil obviously ;) ) but pack real bang for their buck!

Experiment with offal such as liver and kidney which are very inexpensive but very nutritious

Family favorites are very easy to make inexpensively such as spaghetti bolognaise, soups and stews

Look in the special offer section of the supermarket meat aisle. There are often perfectly good cuts of meat reduced which you can buy for a steal!

Make friends with your butcher! They will often have deals to avail of and if you are friendly they might even throw in some free chicken bones which you can make stock from! Buying direct from a butcher also ensures you cut out the middle man so prices are more competitive.

Keep an eye on prices. Each store can have huge variation on prices. Check prices and be a smarter shopper!

Read the store offers before you start your shop. There may be something you can avail of in their weekly offers.

Simple changes can make a big difference and go a long way to ensuring you and your family continue to eat healthy nourishing food but without the massive food bill!

Monday, 3 October 2016

IPG 21 Day Sugar Detox





Are you addicted to sugar?
Do you take sugar in your tea and drink several cups a day?!
Do you regularly binge on sugary foods when the kids go to bed!?
Do you hide sweets in your handbag or in cupboards for when you need a "fix"?
Do you rely on sugary treats to "perk you up" or get you through the day?
...
Are you struggling with fatigue and 3pm slump?
Are you finding it difficult to lose weight?
If you answered "yes" to 3 or more of the above questions, you may have a sugar addiction!!
Cut yourself loose from those sugar demons!!



Time to join my NEW PLAN aimed at those looking for a reset, a movement away from processed eating or just to CUT LOOSE from a constant reliance on sugar.

Developed by a Nutritional Therapist, this plan includes full access to meal plans with recipes for dozens of tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, suitable for you and all the family!



  • Learn tips on how to move towards unprocessed eating - cook from scratch
  • Learn strategies for managing cravings
  • Learn how to ensure you are full and satisfied without the need for refined foods.
  • Learn how to move away from DIETS and still feel great about yourself - no syns, points or weighing of foods.
  • Join a friendly community to motivate, inspire and keep you on track.
  • Get lots of support and advice from a Nutritional Therapist.
  • Improve your sleep, energy levels and move away from reliance on stimulants such as coffee, sugar and refined carbs to get you through the day!
Will it be challenging? Yes
Is it is all very achievable if you put your mind to it and prepare? Absolutely!

I have guided literally 1000s of people on my plans over the past 4 years. People from all walks of life: mums, active people, career people. What have the successful people all had in common? A drive to change and work at it.

Do you have that desire? Then this plan is for you! The only person who can get in your way is YOU!

21 Days of unprocessed eating with simple strategies to remove sugar and improve your health.

Sign up now >>>>> http://bit.ly/21DaysSugarSignUp [Paypal Link]

Questions? >>>> theirishpaleo@gmail.com

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PLAN IS NOT A 100% PALEO FOCUSED PLAN SO LEAVES IT OPEN TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO MOVE TOWARDS CLEANER, LESS PROCESSED LIVING BUT ARE NOT READY FOR 100% PALEO EATING.

If you are looking for a challenge like this check out >>>>> http://bit.ly/Healthyin60



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!

Denise

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

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Benefits of Bone Broth



Original Image: urbanremedy.com

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

Ingredients: 

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



Method: 

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 http://journal.publications.chestnet.org/article.aspx?articleid=1079188
[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 theirishpaleo@gmail.com for a consultation.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

NEW PROGRAM: Healthy in 60





Looking to reset your nutrition?

Struggling to get in shape despite working out several times a week?

Do you know "something" you eat isn't "agreeing" with you but can't pinpoint what?

Have you an autoimmune condition or digestive issues and just want to fix it once and for all through nutrition?

Have you a keen interest in nutrition but your head is fried trying to figure it all out?!

If you answered yes to any (or all!) of the above the Healthy in 60 challenge is for you.

60 days of healthy nutrition, meal plans, recipes, support, community.
This is not a diet. This is lifelong changes. Make the change. Heal your body.

New program! A new 60 Day program aimed at resetting the body, learning new habits and making lifelong changes.

First 30 Days (Stage 1) includes meal plans, recipes, support, community and lots of tips.
100% Paleo Protocol - No Cheats. Great results. More than a diet  emphasis on HEALTH, gut healing and long term change.

A 100% Paleo protocol aimed at eliminating sugar cravings once and for all, banishing inflammation, identifying and alleviating common food allergens and losing those stubborn inches! Whether it is to lower body fat support autoimmune disorders, improve digestion or overcome inflammatory issues such as skin irritation, IBS or respiratory issues, the Paleo diet can help you achieve your goals and enjoy the health you deserve.

Second 30 Days (Stages 2 & 3) includes full reintroduction of foods to determine YOUR personal protocol. Ongoing support and accountability to ensure you learn how to make these wonderful tips long term changes.

NEXT CHALLENGE STARTS Monday 4th July


To read more on what Paleo is click here
To read more on why you should do this here


What Will It Involve
A closed group is a page on Facebook where only those who sign up or are given access to the area can see content. This means that only those of us participating in the group can actually post or read anything written in the page. This can be reassuring for those who may not wish for others to see what they are doing or who may be shy about their health issues or weight concerns. Everyone in there will have a shared goal of improving their health and will be a source of encouragement and support for each other. Having all the information in one place means we will never miss a post (we will be notified when a member posts something) and we can catch up easily on a conversation at a later date. It also means Facebook won't decide not to show you certain content or your news feed will hide content.


How Many People Will Take Part?
There will be a limited places available - small enough to all get to know each other but big enough that we have enough input from group participants. I want to make this the biggest and best session EVER with new recipes and tips!


What Will I Get From It?
The closed group on Facebook will be a place for those of you who decide to sign up to participate in a private group with unique access to the following:


1. Weekly Meal Plans and Shopping List - At the beginning of the challenge I post all the meal plans, complete with recipes. The meal plans have varied recipe ideas and some firm favourites include Coconut & Sweet Potato Curry, Crustless Quiche and Coconut Yogurt. I also post new recipes at various times throughout the week to keep things interesting.


2. Access to LIVE Q and A sessions - Post your questions over the course of the challenge and I will get back to you. Support is on going from myself and other group members making it a great little community to be a part of!


3. Access to Group Recipes - Part of a successful group or community is the sharing of daily food photos and recipe ideas. Even if every person only shared one recipe or photo over the course of the week that would be 30 extra recipes for you to take away. The success of the group will depend on the level of participation from each member. The more we post and support each other the more each person will benefit. I will also post recipe cards on the closed group at various times throughout the 30 days to keep you all interested!


4. Daily Tips To Success - I will be posting unique daily tips and hints which will only be available in the closed group. While I will still be updating my blog and facebook page the emphasis will be on the success of those signed up to the 30 day Challenge group during the 30 day time frame.

5. Access to Practical Information - You will have access to a Meal Plan, recipes and information on where to start and how to prepare as well tips of meal planning. Once signed up you will receive all this information about one week before the start date, to give you time to shop and get ready for the challenge (unless of course you are late to sign up!)

6. Group Support and Encouragement - This aspect will be a very important component to your success. Everyone knows that having someone to encourage you who is following the same journey as you are can substantially increase your chances of meeting your goals. Sharing mutual concerns or challenges can also be incredibly helpful. It is a great little community full of diverse people sharing a common goal!

How Much Will It Cost Me?
The 60 Day plan costs €99.  The level of support is very high and is rare in such groups. I have also completely updated the program with dozens of new recipes. They have been met with huge appraise from the current pilot group and I think you will enjoy it. I think it will be a good investment for you and your health and I promise to give you my all in the month ahead.

What Have Past Participants Said About It?


"I found the IPG challenge brilliant, it has totally changed my life and inspired me to stay paleo. Denise was a great support and very inspirational".


"You were v supportive Denise and gave v unselfishly of your time on a 24/7 basis which is to be commended. You didn't just stick to the hour q+a per day. Thank you".


"The recipes were a life saver for someone not paleo-savvy".


"I would highly recommend this to everyone! Denise has a fantastic approach; always at hand to help you, gives great advice and a super motivator! I really enjoyed the support of the group too. A big thumbs up from me"




You can read more reviews from past participants here:https://www.facebook.com/IrishPaleoGirl/reviews

How Will I Pay?
All payments will be made safely and securely through Paypal.


How Do I Sign Up

Click "Add to Cart" below to be brought directly to the Paypal checkout:


****SPEAK TO ME ABOUT PAYING IN INSTALLMENTS >>>>> theirishpaleo@gmail.com

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Recipe: Fermented Ketchup



So as we all know, fermented foods are very much "in Vogue" right now. The healthy gut is really having it's moment in the sun, and rightly so. A healthy gut is very much linked to overall health and wellness; from digestion to mental health, the gut is where it is at. Read more on the impact of gut health on your overall health here

Ketchup is very much a hit in this house. From the small man to the big man, ketchup is liberally dolloped on every plate from burgers to steak. However despite the taste we know it is full of sugar and other nasties such as preservatives, additives and sweeteners. NOT something we want our little ones to be enjoying in large quantities (and as we know, there are plenty who eat their ketchup with a side of chips, rather than the other way around!)

I decided to try making my own and to add in some naturally occurring probiotics in the way of kefir whey.

Here is the recipe! (Original Recipe from Food Renegade)

Ingredients:
600g organic tomato puree
80g honey or maple syrup
60ml of whey (plus 2 tbsp reserved for top) drained from milk kefir (this is the probiotic element. Place milk kefir in muslin cloth and allow to drain for 24 hours until the clear liquid whey gathers)
2 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar (I use Biona) - use extra for thinning the ketchup if preferred.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice

Mix the tomato puree and maple syrup in a bowl.
Add whey, vinegar, spices and salt and mix well to combine.
Transfer to an airtight jar (I use Kilner) and cover the top of the mixture with the remaining whey.

Put lid back on and place on your counter for 3-5 days.

After 3-5 days open and mix well. Store in the fridge for several months.

Use immediately if desired on burgers, chicken and steak!





*This post contains affiliate links.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Why My Diet is Not Perfect and I Am Healthier As A Result


I have been playing with the idea of posting this for a long time. I have started the post and deleted it, banishing it to the black cyber hole where countless unfinished and unloved posts go to die.

Why?

Mostly because of a fear of losing credibility.

For fear of arrest by the Paleo police.

For fear of going against my deeply ingrained need to strive for perfection. That if I wasn't "perfect" I was somehow failing. Failing not only in nutrition but also as a Nutritional Therapist.

But now I am ready. I am ready to admit that yes I promote Paleo nutrition and living, the power of good nutrition and the healing properties of healthy eating. I promote that food can be both medicine and poison. However, I am NOT perfect. My diet is not 100% Paleo. I sometimes eat chips. I sometimes eat cake. And I definitely like chocolate.

And. That. Is. Ok.

Why Now?
I have been following a Paleo lifestyle for the past 5 years now. I am as passionate about it now as I have ever been. I have changed my life as a result of this lifestyle, retrained in Nutrition, left my job and started my own business. I learned the tools to ensure I promote health for my family, something which will hopefully never be lost on them. As a result of finding this great lifestyle I learned the importance of breastfeeding for the health of my baby (now 9 months and still going strong) and the importance of good gut health and nutrition in preventing illness. My family are rarely sick thankfully and I credit finding Paleo nutrition with all of that.

Failing
However in recent months I have found myself stressed about food. I felt I couldn't eat anything which was not strictly Paleo or I was in some way failing and a bad example. I felt I had to beat myself up if I decided to have a piece of porridge bread, ate some hummus or heaven forbid I have a slice of my husband's birthday cake. I felt that if I was out meeting friends I couldn't have a gluten free muffin for fear of judgement. I felt like if I did decide to taste my husband's dessert I had to make sure no one recognised me! I felt I couldn't satisfy my breastfeeding induced sweet tooth with 85% chocolate.  

Since when did organic high cocoa chocolate have to instil guilt? It doesn't. I had created that guilt all on my own. I found myself feeling a little down about it all. Felt my passion dwindle a little. I understood how clients sometimes feel when I provide them with a protocol they may struggle with. I know this isn't a unique circumstance. Many people do my 30 Day Challenge (a 100% Paleo Challenge) and do fantastically only to feel like they are failing constantly afterwards by eating things off plan. As a result they end of giving up altogether, feeling they have somehow failed the whole protocol. I realised it was time to STOP!


Something Clicked.....
Something clicked lately for me. Maybe it was talking to friends about it. Maybe I just stopped putting so much damn pressure on myself. Whatever it was I am grateful I reached this conclusion. I don't need to be perfect. No one is perfect. And if they say they are they are probably lying.

Does this mean I go around eating white ham sandwiches spread with margarine followed by a plate of chips and ketchup and daily muffins? No. I know the only person who would be negatively impacted by that would be me. I would merely be kidding myself. What I am trying to achieve is BALANCE.

Not Perfect
I have adopted a healthier approach to eating. Instead of constantly trying to aim for perfection and the 100% I struggled with for so long I am aiming for 80% "good" with room for items off plan. And I actually feel healthier. Stressing over perfection probably does more harm than any diet so it is important not to allow nutrition to become another stressor!

Of course it is important to remember that if you are in healing protocol being strict IS important in the short term. While you work on gut healing and allowing your body to address any underlying issues. But in time you may be able to reintroduce these foods with no ill effect.

I have no underlying issues thankfully.

It is also so important to remember that everyone's nutrition is very unique. Some people do fine with dairy. Others are perfectly fine with legumes. And you know what? It is actually ok to put them in your diet if you feel good on them and you have no ill effects. Yes, even if they are not Paleo!

Diet should not be rigid. It should be unprocessed, clean and healthy. But it need not be rigid.

Take that Paleo Police!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Recipe: Coconutty Granola






I have to say I love a good Granola. Yes I realise that Granola is cereal like and something which should be banished from the Paleo pantry but sometimes I enjoy eating it as a snack. However buying a good quality one is difficult. Many use nasty vegetable oils which completely ruins the health benefits in my opinion. Also, they can be quite high in natural sugars so it is nice to control that by making yourself. 

Here is my delicious attempt at Granola which went down a storm in our house. Hope you enjoy it too! You can basically substitute any of your favourite nuts or seeds but use unsalted ones. 

Ingredients
50g almonds
50g hazelnuts, 
50g walnuts
50g cashews 
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
100g shredded coconut 
1 tbsp sesame seeds
75g dried un-sulphured apricots
25g dried prunes
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp maple syrup (Reduce if desired) 

Preheat oven to 190C
Chop up the nuts roughly. You want to leave some texture so leave some large pieces as well as small. 
Chop up the dried fruit into small pieces. 
On a tray add the nuts, shredded coconut, dried fruit and seeds in a single layer. 
Pour on the maple syrup and coconut oil and stir well to coat everything. 
Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes stirring every few minutes to prevent burning. Roast until browned but be careful as the coconut can burn very easy! 

Allow to cook and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks (if it survives that long!) 

Delicious served with coconut milk or sprinkled on a fruit salad. 


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Meal Planning and Batching - Simple Strategies to Embracing Home Cooking Without The Stress!




I hear it time and time again. With the best intentions you want to get back into the kitchen cooking your family's meals from scratch. You know food is important and you know that you are spending a fortune on takeaways and processed foods. Monday begins with you cooking up a storm like a domestic goddess, proudly watching your other half tuck into your beautifully prepared fare, basking in Nigella-esque prowless. Tuesday you get caught in traffic and stumble in the door with big plans to cook a wholesome Paleo Shepard's pie only to discover you forgot the sweet potatoes. You resort to frozen burgers for the second time in a week. By Wednesday you have forgotten to defrost the meat so succumb to defeat and order pizza. Next week will be better. 

We have all been there. Busy days, unforeseen setbacks, panic and the inevitable "Mam I'm STAAARVING" floating in from the living room. Sound familiar? It is. However, dare I say it, most of it could probably be prevented if we were a little more organised. 

Here are my Top tips to making life easier in the kitchen and embracing your inner Delia. 

5. Meal Plan For the Week Ahead


Do you find you have nothing to cook a meal with despite having just done the grocery shopping? Do you buy all the fresh ingredients on shopping day but throw it in the compost a fortnight later because you forgot to use it? 

Meal planning would help.

I recommend sitting down on a Saturday (or just before grocery shopping) and doing a meal plan of what you and your family intend to eat for the week. Literally sit down with your list and plan it. I like to provide clients with a simple template to work of with days of the week, meals (Breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner) and shopping list next to it. 

Decide what your breakfast foods will be first as these tend to be easy - in my house this might be things like scrambled eggs, omelettes etc. After this write down the ingredients you need to buy eg eggs, veggies like spinach, peppers, onions, sauerkraut, coconut milk, butter.  

Then move to snack options eg nuts, fresh fruit etc. 

Lastly do your dinners. These tend to be the most expensive components of the shop but also the ones which tend to cause the most waste due to poor planning. First decide on the main component of the meal eg Cottage Pie. Write down minced beef, followed by other ingredients required. Remember to check your store cupboard for items that you may already have - no need to pick up items you don't require (how many of us have 6 tins of coconut milk in the pantry?!) Then focus on starches and greens. 

Making a plan really helps to reduce the waste and stress and will really help cut down on the dreaded waste of throwing away food. Not to mention the fact that you wont need to buy last minute takeaways any more either!

Get into the habit of giving your plan a quick skim at night and ensuring you have taken out the required meat from the freezer if necessary. Nothing worse than forgetting! 

4. Choose a Cooking Day

If you work full time or are just super busy with school runs, extra curricular activities and laundry, meal times can become a bit of a chore during the week. I recommend taking a little time on a Sunday afternoon to prepare for the week ahead and ensure you hit the ground running. Even making a batch of soup or curry and freezing it or having it ready for a midweek dinner can really help. Get some vegetables prepared too by chopping up carrots, onions, courgettes and peppers and leaving them in a tray ready to pop into the oven with some chicken thighs or fish. Easy dinner sorted for Monday.

Make up a batch of savoury muffins, make a big salad and have it in the fridge as a side or fast lunch and voila! You're half way there to a wholesome delicious dinner the next day!

I find that an hour or two on a Sunday really helps and is the equivalent of hours on a week day!


3. Batch Cook 

Following on from the previous post, batch cooking is a wonderful way to make life a lot easier during the busyness of the working week.  There are a few meal types which lend themselves especially well to batch cooking. Things like curries, casseroles, stews and soups are fantastic foods to have on reserve for those busy days when you haven't a second to cook anything from scratch or are seconds away from dialling your local takeaway. They're easy to make extras of to ensure you have plenty and lend themselves well to reheating. Once cooled fully decant into Tupperware containers or if worried about using plastics use glass (I like to save passata bottles and freeze in them. Just remember to leave expansion room) 

Why not get together with a couple of friends, open a bottle of wine and batch cook a few meals and swap them? This means you have lots of different meal options in your freezer to whack on with less time spent prepping!

Know you will have a busy day? Just take out one of your frozen stash,  reheat, stick on some veggies and relax. Its sorted. 

2. Make Extras
Making extras is a great way to reduce time spent in the kitchen. Make enough so that you can either have some for lunch the next day or even better, get a day off the dinner cooking. This is real smug territory! Cooking? Nah, I plan on putting my feet up and eating yesterday's dinner. And minimal washing. Bliss.

1. Invest in a Slow Cooker! 

This is single handedly the most important piece of advice on here for busy people! Slow cookers are SO useful in these circumstances. Yes they take a little bit of forward thinking (you can't decide you want to cook a chicken in it 2 hours before dinner) but it is very useful to have your food popped into in the morning and to have it ready when you get home! NOTHING makes me feel as virtuous (and hey, a little smug!) as knowing I already have dinner ready at 10am! Want to be even more organised? You could even get all your ingredients ready for a few slow cooker meals and freeze in ziplock bags (think chopped veggies, meat and sauce ingredients all pre prepared) and just throw the bag in in the morning, switch on and voilà. Hows that for organisation!? 

Wondering what slow cooker to buy? They are so accessible at the moment and are available everywhere from Tesco to Currys. Look for a large one if you are feeding a family. At least 5 litres. I also recommend buying one with a timer so it switches off automatically should you be delayed coming home from work. Here is the one I have >>> Click (Affiliate link)  


Hope you enjoyed my tips to making healthy eating and getting back in the kitchen a little easier!
If you are ready to embrace health through nutrition but need meal plan and recipe ideas along with lots of support, why not join my up and coming 60 day program which starts next Tuesday 7th June?

Details here: Healthy in 60

Sign up today and get 10% off!

Sign up here:

If you wish to speak to me in person about changing your diet phone 0877184523 or email theirishpaleo@gmail.com 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Why Avoid Gluten If I Am Not Coeliac?



So you visit your GP and tell him you feel fantastic on your new eating regime. When pressed you exclaim that you have found the Paleo Diet and are now avoiding grains and therefore gluten as well as dairy, processed food and sugar. There is no arguing against the processed foods and sugar (the dairy debate is one for another day!) but why give up gluten if you are not coeliac he/she asks?

You explain you had issues with gluten but tests show you are not coeliac. Your doctor is not on board! This is a very common issue. The patient knows that gluten and grains in general play havoc on their digestive system but because they are not TESTING positive for coeliac markers their doctor is not willing to recommend a gluten free diet.


What exactly is the difference between coeliac disease and gluten intolerance? 

It is possible to test negative for coeliac disease but to still display signs of gluten intolerance.
While coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes immune specific inflammation of the intestines and can therefore be detected on blood testing, gluten intolerance cannot be tested for.
While coeliac disease does involve an immune response to the protein in gluten, gluten sensitivity affects the immune system in different ways.

What is an allergy?
An allergy is any immune response which involves the immune system. Classic markers are Immunoglobulin-E (IgEs). These are blood borne molecules which attach themselves to mast cells (an immune cell) which release histamine. Histamine causes symptoms of an allergy such as skin rashes, hay fever, asthma etc.

Severe food intolerances can cause immediate effects on the gastrointestinal tract or cause swelling in the nose or throat.

Not all allergens are IgE specific. Some are IgG based which do not exert an immediate reaction, but are more long reaching symptoms and can take up to three days to appear. They are sometimes referred to as intolerances.

In the case of gluten sensitivity there is immune responses present, although there does not appear to be any damage to intestinal walls.

Inflammation will develop however which increases chances of developing chronic disease.
There are many reasons for intolerances to develop:

Immune imbalances leading to hyper-sensitivity of the immune system
Immune dysregulation stemming from gastro-intestinal system dysfunction.

Coeliac and Gluten Sensitivity have very similar symptoms: 
Abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence
Diarrhoea, constipation
Headaches
Fatigue

Of course a Paleo approach will help if you do have issues around gluten as it naturally eliminates all grains and therefore gluten. This will greatly improve your gut health and promote healing.

If you want to do  more research in this area I really recommend the Gluten Summit. Check it out here http://theglutensummit.com/

If you feel you have issues around gluten or grains in general and want support eliminating and healing your gut contact me via email on theirishpaleo@gmail.com or 0877184523 



Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Gut: The Gateway to Health





I have not been blogging as regularly as I would like in recent months. I have been a little distracted. Probably with my 7 month old mostly and trying to make it through the day in one piece! Things are getting much easier now and I feel like the cogs in my brain are slowly starting to turn again so I will be back here blogging more regularly! 

It hit me the other day as I brainstormed ideas for this post that I had somehow completely overlooked a post on the gut and its huge importance in overall health. This surprises me. Mostly because I am obsessed with this whole area and have become known as the "probiotic queen" in some circles as I literally constantly recommend probiotics for every ailment! 

There is good reason for my penchant for "following my gut" when it comes to health. In my opinion the gut is the gateway to overall health and must be nourished and treated with respect if we are to obtain full health. 

"All Disease Begins in The Gut" - Hippocrate, the Father of Modern Medicine stated this way back over 2000 years ago but it has somehow been overlooked by modern day medicine, at the expense of our health. 

Obviously not all disease begins in the gut (genetic disease for example does not) but it certainly holds the answers in a lot of cases. 

So many issues can be linked back to the gut - food allergies, seasonal allergies such as hayfever, food intolerances, autoimmune conditions, mental health issues and compromised immunity to name just a handful. With so many diseases being linked to the digestive system, it always surprises me how little conventional medicine does to investigate and support this area. While conventional medicine has slowly started to move back towards understanding the importance of beneficial bacteria after an antibiotic, it still has a long way to go to providing this area with the attention it deserves. 

But how can seemingly unrelated areas of health such as mental health or autoimmunity be linked back to our digestive systems? And how can gut health help me ensure overall health as well as disease prevention?

Two hugely important factors in this are the integrity of the gut lining and the balance of the bacteria in the gut itself. 



The Gut Lining 
Let us first look towards the lining of our "gut" or large intestine for answers. Our gut makes up a huge surface area in our bodies. 6-7 metres in length and with a surface area 10 times that of our skin, this huge organ plays a vital role in disease prevention and health. The lining or epithelium of the gut itself plays a protective role acting as a barrier to circulation. It is extremely selective in what it allows to be transported across this lining - allowing nutrients, ions, water and other useful substances to enter the lumen and enter circulation. This lining should remain selectively permeable and is controlled largely through the control of specialised inter cellular structures called "tight junctions". Once this integrity is sound immune function is optimised as foreign substances are not permitted to enter circulation. Issues arise when the gut lining is more permeable and these foreign substances or undigested proteins enter the circulating immune complex where they increase inflammation, increase risk of autoimmune disease and can cross the Blood Brain Barrier. This is where ailments such as hayfever (body launches an OTT attack on pollen, something it should be able to tolerate easily) food intolerances (reactions to food, often multiple foods) and eventually autoimmunity result (where body attacks its self) There is also a huge link between gut health and mental health (ever wonder why you experience butterflies in times of stress?)

Tackling increased gut permeability is very important and ensuring our tight junctions remain tightly closed is one part of the guts role in gut permeability. There are a few things we can do through nutritional therapy to do so:

Bone Broths - Bone broths are rich in collagen and amino acids which help to heal and seal the gut lining and reduce the instance of excessive permeability. Bone broths are easy to make but delicious and nourishing. Read how to make it here.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D plays a crucial role in enhancing the structural integrity of the gut as well as maintaining the mucosa integrity of the gut. (1) Exposure to sunlight and consideration of Vitamin D supplementation are important tools in tackling excess permeability.

Consider Fermented Cod Liver Oil - Vitamins A and D help reduce inflammation in the gut and promote healing.



Gut Bacteria Balance

The delicate balance of the bacteria in your gut also plays an important role in your health. Each person's gut contains an eco-system of bacteria and yeasts, both beneficial and pathogenic. It is important to have the correct balance in order to promote overall health. Certain factors such as medication (antibiotics), OCP use, alcohol, sugar and starchy foods can negatively effect the balance of good and bad bacteria leading to digestive issues like constipation, diarrhoea and flatulence as well as compromised nutrient absorption and compromised immune system function such as autoimmunity and allergies.

Thankfully Nutritional Therapy strategies can help rebalance gut flora and promote better health and immunity.

Introduce "good" bacteria - Abundant in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Also available in probiotic supplementation. This helped to replenish healthy beneficial bacteria.

Avoid sugar and starches - these foods feed bad bacteria in the gut causing them to thrive. Omit sugars and refined carbohydrates. Reduce reliance on grains. Consider properly preparing grains by soaking or sprouting prior to eating.

Increase soluble fibres such as apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, nuts, seeds, blueberries, celery and carrots. These foods provide a food source to good bacteria, allowing them to flourish.

The Gut-Brain Link 

Did you ever wonder why you have butterflies when nervous or why people on antidepressants often experience digestive discomfort? This is because your gut is linked to your brain. Major neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are actually found in your gut as well as the body's natural opiates meaning the health of your digestive system literally ties in with your mental health? Pretty remarkable eh? Major links have been identified between gut health and disorders such as autism and ADHD.

Your Gut: The Gateway to Your Health
Your gut health can affect your health in ways you may never have considered before. If you have digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence, burping after meals, sluggish digestion or reflux, your gut health is compromised and you are putting yourself at risk of developing more serious issues down the line.

If you wish for some support in this area, why not book a consultation with me today.

Its time to wise up and heal that gut today. Follow your "Gut Feeling"!

Email: theirishpaleo@gmail.com
Phone: 0877184523






1 Kong et al (2008) Novel role of the vitamin D receptor in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier http://ajpgi.physiology.org/content/294/1/G208.short