From the journal

Health and Wellbeing Top Tips

This week is world wellbeing week and at Transformation Chef we’re passionate about taking a 360 degree approach to health and wellbeing. Our mission is to make healthy eating as delicious, easy and convenient for you. Unfortunately, we can’t take complete control of your health and there are some additional habits which you can incorporate into your daily routines to support your mental, social and physical wellbeing.

You don’t have to tackle these all at once. Finding your version of health is often a journey and not something which occurs overnight. Wherever you are along your road stay consistent, mix things up and start or continue to look after yourself in the best way you know how.

Get your 8 hours 

Sleep is very much underrated when it comes to overall health and during busy periods sleep is often the first thing to go. Sleep is essential for repair and recovery and is even more important if you’re a regular exerciser. Poor sleep has been associated with altered appetite related hormones. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (the satiety hormone) meaning that you’re more likely to consume more food. The research has also shown that you’re more likely to crave high sugar foods to help boost your energy levels too. Try and ensure that you’re sleeping around 8 hours per night.

Time out

With so much going on in today’s society it can feel near impossible to take time out for yourself. Although taking time out is vital for your overall health. Chronic stress can lead to risk of deficiencies, risk of adrenal fatigue, poor mental health and prolonged excess food intake. It’s so important that you manage your stress levels as much as possible by taking time for yourself. Do something everyday you enjoy – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, taking a bath or just going for a walk.

Healthy gut

There is a lot of research now to show the strong link between the gut and the brain. The relationship is by directional although more messages are sent from the gut to the brain than vice versa. Aside from digestive function gut health has also been associated with mental wellbeing. Impaired or unbalanced microbiota in the gut can cause poor mental wellbeing. We also know that 90% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, consequently if you don’t support your gut health you’re at risk of impaired serotonin production which can have lasting affects on your mental wellbeing. Support your gut by consuming a wide range of plant and fibre rich foods. Ensure that you’re also consuming some live cultures in the form of yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented foods.

Move your body

Exercise is vital for your overall wellbeing. We know that exercise releases endorphins which are also referred to as ‘the feel good’ hormone. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, support your bones, joint and heart health for later on in life. You don’t have to pound it out in the gym if that’s not your style. Instead try and Yoga class, a YouTube pilates session, a walk in the park or a play with the dog! It all counts.

Make small dietary changes

As there’s so much information around nutrition in the media and on social media it can seem all too confusing. Before making a complete overnight overhaul to your diet try making small changes which are more likely to be sustainable in the long run. Whether this be increasing your water intake to 2L per day, hitting your 5-aday, consuming 30g of fibre per day, reducing your alcohol intake or limiting your sugar consumption. Try tackling one goal at a time and you’ll begin to notice big differences.

Remember start small, this is a journey. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and remember to enjoy the process.

 

References:

Crispim, C. A., Zimberg, I. Z., dos Reis, B. G., Diniz, R. M., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 7(6), 659.

Golem, D. L., Martin-Biggers, J. T., Koenings, M. M., Davis, K. F., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2014). An integrative review of sleep for nutrition professionals. Advances in Nutrition, 5(6), 742-759.

 

Read more

This week is world wellbeing week and at Transformation Chef we’re passionate about taking a 360 degree approach to health and wellbeing. Our mission is to make healthy eating as delicious, easy and convenient for you. Unfortunately, we can’t take complete control of your health and there are some additional habits which you can incorporate into your daily routines to support your mental, social and physical wellbeing.

You don’t have to tackle these all at once. Finding your version of health is often a journey and not something which occurs overnight. Wherever you are along your road stay consistent, mix things up and start or continue to look after yourself in the best way you know how.

Get your 8 hours 

Sleep is very much underrated when it comes to overall health and during busy periods sleep is often the first thing to go. Sleep is essential for repair and recovery and is even more important if you’re a regular exerciser. Poor sleep has been associated with altered appetite related hormones. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (the satiety hormone) meaning that you’re more likely to consume more food. The research has also shown that you’re more likely to crave high sugar foods to help boost your energy levels too. Try and ensure that you’re sleeping around 8 hours per night.

Time out

With so much going on in today’s society it can feel near impossible to take time out for yourself. Although taking time out is vital for your overall health. Chronic stress can lead to risk of deficiencies, risk of adrenal fatigue, poor mental health and prolonged excess food intake. It’s so important that you manage your stress levels as much as possible by taking time for yourself. Do something everyday you enjoy – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, taking a bath or just going for a walk.

Healthy gut

There is a lot of research now to show the strong link between the gut and the brain. The relationship is by directional although more messages are sent from the gut to the brain than vice versa. Aside from digestive function gut health has also been associated with mental wellbeing. Impaired or unbalanced microbiota in the gut can cause poor mental wellbeing. We also know that 90% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, consequently if you don’t support your gut health you’re at risk of impaired serotonin production which can have lasting affects on your mental wellbeing. Support your gut by consuming a wide range of plant and fibre rich foods. Ensure that you’re also consuming some live cultures in the form of yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented foods.

Move your body

Exercise is vital for your overall wellbeing. We know that exercise releases endorphins which are also referred to as ‘the feel good’ hormone. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, support your bones, joint and heart health for later on in life. You don’t have to pound it out in the gym if that’s not your style. Instead try and Yoga class, a YouTube pilates session, a walk in the park or a play with the dog! It all counts.

Make small dietary changes

As there’s so much information around nutrition in the media and on social media it can seem all too confusing. Before making a complete overnight overhaul to your diet try making small changes which are more likely to be sustainable in the long run. Whether this be increasing your water intake to 2L per day, hitting your 5-aday, consuming 30g of fibre per day, reducing your alcohol intake or limiting your sugar consumption. Try tackling one goal at a time and you’ll begin to notice big differences.

Remember start small, this is a journey. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and remember to enjoy the process.

 

References:

Crispim, C. A., Zimberg, I. Z., dos Reis, B. G., Diniz, R. M., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 7(6), 659.

Golem, D. L., Martin-Biggers, J. T., Koenings, M. M., Davis, K. F., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2014). An integrative review of sleep for nutrition professionals. Advances in Nutrition, 5(6), 742-759.

 

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Fitness Tips for Females from Gym 66

With years of experience and thousands of coaching hours Gym66 takes a no-nonsense approach to getting clients results, giving them what they need and not what they want to hear. So here are some top tips to getting started with lifting weights...

Ditch The Cardio:

Yes, going to the gym and spending an hour trudging away on the cross trainer is better than not going to the gym at all, but it’s not the best bang for your buck… and its definitely no fun!

We work with women wanting to lose fat and build strong, sexy legs and better bums. To do this, you need to work out with intensity! You need to get a sweat on, get out of breath, and work hard.

If you insist on sticking to your cardio machines, choose interval training over a steady state session. If you really want to step it up a gear, then keep reading.

Don’t be scared to lift weights:

“I don’t want to get too big” and “will I look like a man?” are questions we hear working in the fitness industry all the time. It couldn’t be further from the truth… especially if you pay attention to our third tip.

Resistance training (lifting weights) is a fantastic way to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time, build muscle in areas you want to look good, and keep your training interesting for longer!

We would recommend training the muscle groups you want to improve 2-3 times per week. Focusing on maintaining perfect form and working in the 8-12 rep range to start.

Focus on the areas you want to look good:

Far too many people fall short of their goal, because they are not actually working towards it! Sound crazy? Let us explain.

Let’s say you want to build a perkier bum, neither sitting on a bike for an hour or copying your boyfriend’s weights programme is directly training your glutes (bum). So although you’re hitting to the gym, you’re not working towards YOUR goal and will be disappointed with the results.

Using our example, we would recommend you train your glutes directly using exercises such as glute bridges, lateral lunges and side lying abduction 2-3 per week.

Have a Plan:

You’ve decided to ditch the boring cross trainer sessions and give weight training a go. You know that you need to be training the muscles you want to look good directly. And you might throw in some interval training every now and then to get your heart rate up… Now its time to make a plan!

Decide how many times a week you can train, what exercises you are going to do on what days, and stick to it. Record what you do, and try and push a little harder each week. Consistency is the key!

 

Photo credit: @Fionacolephotography

Read more

With years of experience and thousands of coaching hours Gym66 takes a no-nonsense approach to getting clients results, giving them what they need and not what they want to hear. So here are some top tips to getting started with lifting weights...

Ditch The Cardio:

Yes, going to the gym and spending an hour trudging away on the cross trainer is better than not going to the gym at all, but it’s not the best bang for your buck… and its definitely no fun!

We work with women wanting to lose fat and build strong, sexy legs and better bums. To do this, you need to work out with intensity! You need to get a sweat on, get out of breath, and work hard.

If you insist on sticking to your cardio machines, choose interval training over a steady state session. If you really want to step it up a gear, then keep reading.

Don’t be scared to lift weights:

“I don’t want to get too big” and “will I look like a man?” are questions we hear working in the fitness industry all the time. It couldn’t be further from the truth… especially if you pay attention to our third tip.

Resistance training (lifting weights) is a fantastic way to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time, build muscle in areas you want to look good, and keep your training interesting for longer!

We would recommend training the muscle groups you want to improve 2-3 times per week. Focusing on maintaining perfect form and working in the 8-12 rep range to start.

Focus on the areas you want to look good:

Far too many people fall short of their goal, because they are not actually working towards it! Sound crazy? Let us explain.

Let’s say you want to build a perkier bum, neither sitting on a bike for an hour or copying your boyfriend’s weights programme is directly training your glutes (bum). So although you’re hitting to the gym, you’re not working towards YOUR goal and will be disappointed with the results.

Using our example, we would recommend you train your glutes directly using exercises such as glute bridges, lateral lunges and side lying abduction 2-3 per week.

Have a Plan:

You’ve decided to ditch the boring cross trainer sessions and give weight training a go. You know that you need to be training the muscles you want to look good directly. And you might throw in some interval training every now and then to get your heart rate up… Now its time to make a plan!

Decide how many times a week you can train, what exercises you are going to do on what days, and stick to it. Record what you do, and try and push a little harder each week. Consistency is the key!

 

Photo credit: @Fionacolephotography

Read more


Eat for a Healthy Heart

It’s no secret that what you eat can play a role in how healthy your heart is. In fact, this is something which we have been aware of for many years although the messages in the media seem to have become very muddled, confusing and conflicting. In light of The British Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week we thought we would share our top tips for small dietary changes which you can make to support your heart health.

Eat Your Monos

We’re often hearing about healthy fats but sometimes it can be difficult to identify what makes a fat healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have heart protecting benefits as they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to boost HDL (the good cholesterol). Foods such as olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. Aim for 1-2 portions per day to support your heart health.

Omega-3

You may have heard about omega-3 for brain health but it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and has been found to reduce triglycerides (fat droplets) in the blood, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Ensure that you’re consuming at least 1 portion of oily fish per week and try and incorporate almonds, walnuts and seeds into your daily diet to boost your omega-3 status. Our Harissa Roast Salmon dish is a great way to pack in your omega-3.

Fibre

Fibre is commonly associated with supporting healthy digestion and gut function although it can also play a vital role in supporting your heart health too. Fibre can be found in two forms insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is particularly important in helping to lower cholesterol levels.  Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables are all key sources of fibre. You should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day to support a healthy gut and a healthy heart.

Beta-glucans

Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre which have been found to have profound effects on reducing cholesterol levels as they help to bind to cholesterol to prevent it being absorbed. Oats, wholegrains and sea vegetables are rich in beta-glucans. Our banana and hemp pancakes are a simple way to increase your beta-glucan consumption as they’re made with oat bran.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is very much underestimated when it comes to supporting your heart health. When your body is sufficiently hydrated it’s easier for your heart to pump blood around the body to the working muscles and organs. On the flip side when you’re dehydrated or hypo-hydrated (if we’re getting technical) your heart is required to work much harder to deliver the same blood around the body and you’re increasing the strain on your heart. Aim for around 2L of water per day although if you’re exercising you will need to adjust this accordingly.

There you have our top tips for supporting a healthy heart. Remember you don’t have to do all of these all at once but try and take on one of the challenges. Your heart will thank you for it in the long run!

Read more

It’s no secret that what you eat can play a role in how healthy your heart is. In fact, this is something which we have been aware of for many years although the messages in the media seem to have become very muddled, confusing and conflicting. In light of The British Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week we thought we would share our top tips for small dietary changes which you can make to support your heart health.

Eat Your Monos

We’re often hearing about healthy fats but sometimes it can be difficult to identify what makes a fat healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have heart protecting benefits as they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to boost HDL (the good cholesterol). Foods such as olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. Aim for 1-2 portions per day to support your heart health.

Omega-3

You may have heard about omega-3 for brain health but it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and has been found to reduce triglycerides (fat droplets) in the blood, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Ensure that you’re consuming at least 1 portion of oily fish per week and try and incorporate almonds, walnuts and seeds into your daily diet to boost your omega-3 status. Our Harissa Roast Salmon dish is a great way to pack in your omega-3.

Fibre

Fibre is commonly associated with supporting healthy digestion and gut function although it can also play a vital role in supporting your heart health too. Fibre can be found in two forms insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is particularly important in helping to lower cholesterol levels.  Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables are all key sources of fibre. You should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day to support a healthy gut and a healthy heart.

Beta-glucans

Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre which have been found to have profound effects on reducing cholesterol levels as they help to bind to cholesterol to prevent it being absorbed. Oats, wholegrains and sea vegetables are rich in beta-glucans. Our banana and hemp pancakes are a simple way to increase your beta-glucan consumption as they’re made with oat bran.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is very much underestimated when it comes to supporting your heart health. When your body is sufficiently hydrated it’s easier for your heart to pump blood around the body to the working muscles and organs. On the flip side when you’re dehydrated or hypo-hydrated (if we’re getting technical) your heart is required to work much harder to deliver the same blood around the body and you’re increasing the strain on your heart. Aim for around 2L of water per day although if you’re exercising you will need to adjust this accordingly.

There you have our top tips for supporting a healthy heart. Remember you don’t have to do all of these all at once but try and take on one of the challenges. Your heart will thank you for it in the long run!

Read more


Mental Health Awareness: Stress & Nutrition

In acknowledgement of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek this latest KNOWLEDGE BITE from Jenna looks at how your daily life might be enhancing your stress and how you can use nutrition to combat it. 

Stress affects the majority of the UK population in some way or another; whether it be work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, home stress, family stress or emotional or physical stress it’s a word which is used in everyday conversation. Although, stress isn’t always a bad thing and often the stress response created by the body is what drives our ability to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ during stressful situations. During stressful situations the brain inhibits any unnecessary pathways (e.g. digestion, food requirement and reproduction) and concentrates on releasing hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol), increases blood flow and oxygen to the working muscles in order to tackle the situation.

Following an acute stressor, the release of cortisol is inhibited and the brain switches back on our food requirements, digestion and reproduction mechanisms.

Historically this stress response was there to protect us from being attacked in the jungle or running from a wild animal. However, in today’s society many of us are triggering our stress response continuously over issues which happen at work and home and even rude people in the supermarket.

As a result of a chronic stress response we’re significantly increasing our risks of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and even addiction. Furthermore stress may increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, micronutrient deficiencies, weight gain, headaches, weakened immune function, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

The management of stress is essential and understanding how our daily lives may be contributing to our stress levels is essential:

Too much coffee

    Coffee stimulates cortisol production, cortisol is the stress hormone. For individuals who are slow metabolisers of coffee it is recommended that they witch their caffeine hit from coffee to green tea as this contains a compound called L-theanine which promotes the release of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA exerts calming effects on the brain. Coffee may also impair sleep when consumed after 2pm. Therefore, for particularly stressed individuals I recommend consuming herbal teas rather than coffee in the afternoon and evening.

    Too much HIIT

      HIIT (high intensity interval training) has crept up a lot in the media recently as it has been found to stimulate weight loss. Whilst it may be beneficial in reducing weight it also promotes excess cortisol. For a less stressed individual this isn’t a major issue but for someone with already high cortisol levels this will heighten them further. A prolonged release of excess cortisol will promote abdominal fat storage. Ever wondered why you’re training hard but losing no weight? This might just be the answer. For particularly stressed individuals I recommend swapping your HIIT sessions for yoga, pilates or weight training.

      Too much sugar

        Consuming too much sugar may lead to increased insulin resistance and spiked cortisol levels. Consequently, this may lead to excess weight gain. Be aware that excess sugar consumption is likely to contribute to weight gain aside from stress levels.

        Too little sleep

          Chronic sleep disruption has been associated with an increased risk of stress and higher cortisol awakening levels. Research has suggested that even a few days of sleep deprivation can drive up appetite, caloric intake, blood glucose and insulin response and increase inflammation in young individual. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase oxidative stress and free radicals in the body.

          So what can you do to help reduce your perception of stress?

          Eat your oily fish

            Oily fish is rich in omega-3 which helps to reduce inflammation produced as a result of excess cortisol. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines are great sources. Avocados, nuts and seeds are vegan sources of healthy fats which contribute to a reduction of inflammation and improved brain health.

            Eat your greens (and a few squares of dark chocolate)

              Green leafy vegetables, beans pulses and dark chocolate are great sources of magnesium. Magnesium helps to promote muscle and nerve relaxation to help reduce the effects of stress.

              Eat your carbs

                Carbohydrates play a role in the synthesis of serotonin (the happy hormone), low carbohydrate food intake often lead to mood swings due to low levels of serotonin. Low mood can often impair our ability to deal with stressful situations or life stressors. Serotonin is also required to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) and may therefore help aid sleep.

                Ensure adequate calcium status

                  Research has shown that excess cortisol may reduce calcium absorption and promote urinary calcium excretion. Ensure you’re consuming a range of nuts seeds, green leafy vegetables and high quality dairy to top up lost calcium.

                  Eat your oranges

                    Cortisol and chronic stress reduces immune function. Ensure you’re consuming a range of fruits and vegetables (not just oranges) to promote optimum immunity.

                    It’s important to note that if you’re experiencing extreme chronic stress please seek more personalised advice.

                     

                    Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N. (2014). Dissecting the impact of sleep and stress on the cortisol awakening response in young adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology40, 10-16.

                    McEwen, B. S., & Karatsoreos, I. N. (2015). Sleep deprivation and circadian disruption: stress, allostasis, and allostatic load. Sleep medicine clinics10(1), 1-10.

                    Yau, Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva endocrinologica, 38(3), 255.

                    Nagvanshi, D., & Tiwari, A. (2015). IMPACT OF FOOD IN STRESS BEHAVIOUR. International Education and Research Journal, 1(4), 37-38.

                    Grases, G., Pérez-Castelló, J. A., Sanchis, P., Casero, A., Perelló, J., Isern, B., ... & Grases, F. (2006). Anxiety and stress among science students. Study of calcium and magnesium alterations. Magnesium research19(2), 102-106.

                    Read more

                    In acknowledgement of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek this latest KNOWLEDGE BITE from Jenna looks at how your daily life might be enhancing your stress and how you can use nutrition to combat it. 

                    Stress affects the majority of the UK population in some way or another; whether it be work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, home stress, family stress or emotional or physical stress it’s a word which is used in everyday conversation. Although, stress isn’t always a bad thing and often the stress response created by the body is what drives our ability to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ during stressful situations. During stressful situations the brain inhibits any unnecessary pathways (e.g. digestion, food requirement and reproduction) and concentrates on releasing hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol), increases blood flow and oxygen to the working muscles in order to tackle the situation.

                    Following an acute stressor, the release of cortisol is inhibited and the brain switches back on our food requirements, digestion and reproduction mechanisms.

                    Historically this stress response was there to protect us from being attacked in the jungle or running from a wild animal. However, in today’s society many of us are triggering our stress response continuously over issues which happen at work and home and even rude people in the supermarket.

                    As a result of a chronic stress response we’re significantly increasing our risks of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and even addiction. Furthermore stress may increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, micronutrient deficiencies, weight gain, headaches, weakened immune function, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

                    The management of stress is essential and understanding how our daily lives may be contributing to our stress levels is essential:

                    Too much coffee

                      Coffee stimulates cortisol production, cortisol is the stress hormone. For individuals who are slow metabolisers of coffee it is recommended that they witch their caffeine hit from coffee to green tea as this contains a compound called L-theanine which promotes the release of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA exerts calming effects on the brain. Coffee may also impair sleep when consumed after 2pm. Therefore, for particularly stressed individuals I recommend consuming herbal teas rather than coffee in the afternoon and evening.

                      Too much HIIT

                        HIIT (high intensity interval training) has crept up a lot in the media recently as it has been found to stimulate weight loss. Whilst it may be beneficial in reducing weight it also promotes excess cortisol. For a less stressed individual this isn’t a major issue but for someone with already high cortisol levels this will heighten them further. A prolonged release of excess cortisol will promote abdominal fat storage. Ever wondered why you’re training hard but losing no weight? This might just be the answer. For particularly stressed individuals I recommend swapping your HIIT sessions for yoga, pilates or weight training.

                        Too much sugar

                          Consuming too much sugar may lead to increased insulin resistance and spiked cortisol levels. Consequently, this may lead to excess weight gain. Be aware that excess sugar consumption is likely to contribute to weight gain aside from stress levels.

                          Too little sleep

                            Chronic sleep disruption has been associated with an increased risk of stress and higher cortisol awakening levels. Research has suggested that even a few days of sleep deprivation can drive up appetite, caloric intake, blood glucose and insulin response and increase inflammation in young individual. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been shown to increase oxidative stress and free radicals in the body.

                            So what can you do to help reduce your perception of stress?

                            Eat your oily fish

                              Oily fish is rich in omega-3 which helps to reduce inflammation produced as a result of excess cortisol. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines are great sources. Avocados, nuts and seeds are vegan sources of healthy fats which contribute to a reduction of inflammation and improved brain health.

                              Eat your greens (and a few squares of dark chocolate)

                                Green leafy vegetables, beans pulses and dark chocolate are great sources of magnesium. Magnesium helps to promote muscle and nerve relaxation to help reduce the effects of stress.

                                Eat your carbs

                                  Carbohydrates play a role in the synthesis of serotonin (the happy hormone), low carbohydrate food intake often lead to mood swings due to low levels of serotonin. Low mood can often impair our ability to deal with stressful situations or life stressors. Serotonin is also required to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) and may therefore help aid sleep.

                                  Ensure adequate calcium status

                                    Research has shown that excess cortisol may reduce calcium absorption and promote urinary calcium excretion. Ensure you’re consuming a range of nuts seeds, green leafy vegetables and high quality dairy to top up lost calcium.

                                    Eat your oranges

                                      Cortisol and chronic stress reduces immune function. Ensure you’re consuming a range of fruits and vegetables (not just oranges) to promote optimum immunity.

                                      It’s important to note that if you’re experiencing extreme chronic stress please seek more personalised advice.

                                       

                                      Vargas, I., & Lopez-Duran, N. (2014). Dissecting the impact of sleep and stress on the cortisol awakening response in young adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology40, 10-16.

                                      McEwen, B. S., & Karatsoreos, I. N. (2015). Sleep deprivation and circadian disruption: stress, allostasis, and allostatic load. Sleep medicine clinics10(1), 1-10.

                                      Yau, Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. (2013). Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva endocrinologica, 38(3), 255.

                                      Nagvanshi, D., & Tiwari, A. (2015). IMPACT OF FOOD IN STRESS BEHAVIOUR. International Education and Research Journal, 1(4), 37-38.

                                      Grases, G., Pérez-Castelló, J. A., Sanchis, P., Casero, A., Perelló, J., Isern, B., ... & Grases, F. (2006). Anxiety and stress among science students. Study of calcium and magnesium alterations. Magnesium research19(2), 102-106.

                                      Read more


                                      Vegan Recipe: Energy Bars

                                      We all get a little peckish at times throughout the day so we thought we'd share a recipe for a little afternoon pick-me up to keep your energy levels up as they dip before the end of the working day. These yummy morsels are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free to boot; what's not to like!

                                       

                                      Ingredients

                                      200g pecans

                                      150g dried apricots

                                      150g dates

                                      1/2tsp cinnamon

                                      1/2 tsp vanilla

                                      25g tahini

                                      40g buckwheat flour (or alternative should you prefer)

                                       

                                      Method

                                      1. Blitz the pecan nuts in a food processor
                                      2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse in the food processor until well combined
                                      3. Once a dough-like texture forms, remove and flatten into a square mould
                                      4. Chill and cut in to 9 pieces
                                      5. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea (lemon and ginger seems to be the TTC favourite at the moment - yum!)

                                       

                                      Can't cook, won't cook? The Transformation Chef has you covered and these delicious bars are available to buy on our snacks page:

                                       

                                      Read more

                                      We all get a little peckish at times throughout the day so we thought we'd share a recipe for a little afternoon pick-me up to keep your energy levels up as they dip before the end of the working day. These yummy morsels are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free to boot; what's not to like!

                                       

                                      Ingredients

                                      200g pecans

                                      150g dried apricots

                                      150g dates

                                      1/2tsp cinnamon

                                      1/2 tsp vanilla

                                      25g tahini

                                      40g buckwheat flour (or alternative should you prefer)

                                       

                                      Method

                                      1. Blitz the pecan nuts in a food processor
                                      2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse in the food processor until well combined
                                      3. Once a dough-like texture forms, remove and flatten into a square mould
                                      4. Chill and cut in to 9 pieces
                                      5. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea (lemon and ginger seems to be the TTC favourite at the moment - yum!)

                                       

                                      Can't cook, won't cook? The Transformation Chef has you covered and these delicious bars are available to buy on our snacks page:

                                       

                                      Read more