From the journal

Cholesterol. Everything You Need To Know

October was National Cholesterol Awareness Month which means the media throw out multiple scaremongering headlines, which is why here at TTC we’ve got your back and want to share with you the ins and outs of cholesterol.

We want you to make light of some these messages and realise it might not be all that bad. In fact, despite the fact cholesterol often getting a bad rep it’s actually vital to our overall health. Let us explain:

 

  1. Cholesterol is essential for our hormone production. It allows our adrenals and sex organs to produce hormones such as cortisol, testosterone and oestrogen to name a few.
  2. Cholesterol is also essential in the production of bile. Bile is essential for the absorption and digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. E.g. vitamins A,D, E and K.
  3. Cholesterol is also vital for contributing to our cell structure and helps to protect the outside of the cells.

 

The different types of cholesterol

 

You may have heard about ‘good cholesterol’ and ‘bad cholesterol’. There are multiple types of cholesterol but without going to Einstein on you we’ve broken it down into the most important types.

 

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-  often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’. This type can stick to the inside of blood vessels which in turn will increase the risks of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Smoking, lack of exercise and diet can play a role in raising LDL. With regards to diet consuming too much saturated and trans fats in the forms of hydrogenated vegetable oils, processed foods, red meat, cheese etc. all contributed to raised LDL.

 

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)- often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol. A key role of HDL is to remove LDL. Therefore if you have raised HDL this is actually beneficial for you as it means there’s more to remove the LDL which can prevent plaque build up. Foods which contribute to raised HDL include: nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, avocados, hummus etc.

 

How to lower high cholesterol?

 

This might be the key reason you’re reading this article. It’s important to note that each case is unique and some forms of high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia is genetic although for the most part here are our top tips.

Firstly, you should ask your GP for a breakdown of your total cholesterol. This means that you want to see the values for LDL and HDL. Your main concern should be if your LDL is higher than 3mmol.L. Some research has suggested that by lowering your LDL by 1mmol.L you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 22%.

 

Top tips for lowering cholesterol…

 

Limit saturated fat intake

 

Focus on limiting your intake of red and processed meat, cheese, butter, palm oil and hydrogenated vegetable oils in processed foods. Swap butter for fortified spreads or peanut butter. Peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fats which contributes to increasing HDL. It’s important that you start reading labels to understand the amount of saturated fats in the foods you’re consuming regularly. Foods which contain more than 5g per 100g of saturated fat are considered high. Foods which contain 1.5g or less are considered low. It’s also recommended to start incorporating more beans and pulses into your diet too. 

 

Plant Sterols and Stanols

 

Plant sterols and stanols have been shown to help lower cholesterol as they block it’s absorption into the blood. As a result more cholesterol is excreted rather than being absorbed. Plant sterols and stanols can be found in fortified foods such as spreads, yoghurts and drinks although be aware that some contain large amounts of sugar and should not be over consumed.

 

Consume beta-glucans

 

Beta-glucans are fibres which are found naturally in plants. These work in a way which is similar to the plant stanols as they too prevent the uptake of cholesterol into the blood. Research has demonstrated that beta-glucans help to reduce LDL cholesterol but have no effect on raising HDL. Individuals with diabetes showed to have even greater effects from consuming beta-glucans. Oats, barely, mushrooms and seaweed are all rich in beta-glucans.

 

Consume your 5-a-day

 

It’s no surprise that fruits and vegetables are a good source of fibre. As a result they help to keep you fuller for longer meaning that this can help you to consume less processed foods. Research has also shown an association with those who consumed more than four portions of fruit and vegetables a day having a lower LDL cholesterol.

 

Move Regularly

 

Whilst this isn’t exactly nutrition related. Here at The Transformation Chef we believe that health requires a 360˚ approach. Aerobic exercise has been shown to have positive effects on HDL cholesterol.  The NICE guidelines suggest that you engage in 120 minutes of of aerobic exercise a week. That doesn’t  mean that you have to pound it out in the gym it can be a simple half an hour walk, a yoga session online or even an activity such as rock climbing. It’s important that you enjoy your movement!

 

Often, being told you have high cholesterol can leave you feeling scared and lost. However, through dietary and lifestyle changes you can help to lower your cholesterol. Please do pass this article on to any of your friends or family who may be concerned about their cholesterol. Knowledge is power!

 

Smet, E. D., Mensink, R. P., & Plat, J. (2012). Effects of plant sterols and stanols on intestinal cholesterol metabolism: suggested mechanisms from past to present. Molecular nutrition & food research56(7), 1058-1072.

 

Whitehead, A., Beck, E. J., Tosh, S., & Wolever, T. M. (2014). Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials–. The American journal of clinical nutrition100(6), 1413-1421.

 

Othman, R. A., Moghadasian, M. H., & Jones, P. J. (2011). Cholesterol‐lowering effects of oat β‐glucan. Nutrition reviews69(6), 299-309.

 

Djoussé, L., Arnett, D. K., Coon, H., Province, M. A., Moore, L. L., & Ellison, R. C. (2004). Fruit and vegetable consumption and LDL cholesterol: the national heart, lung, and blood institute family heart study. The American journal of clinical nutrition79(2), 213-217.

 

Kodama, S., Tanaka, S., Saito, K., Shu, M., Sone, Y., Onitake, F., ... & Ohashi, Y. (2007). Effect of aerobic exercise training on serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine167(10), 999-1008.

 

Read more

October was National Cholesterol Awareness Month which means the media throw out multiple scaremongering headlines, which is why here at TTC we’ve got your back and want to share with you the ins and outs of cholesterol.

We want you to make light of some these messages and realise it might not be all that bad. In fact, despite the fact cholesterol often getting a bad rep it’s actually vital to our overall health. Let us explain:

 

  1. Cholesterol is essential for our hormone production. It allows our adrenals and sex organs to produce hormones such as cortisol, testosterone and oestrogen to name a few.
  2. Cholesterol is also essential in the production of bile. Bile is essential for the absorption and digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. E.g. vitamins A,D, E and K.
  3. Cholesterol is also vital for contributing to our cell structure and helps to protect the outside of the cells.

 

The different types of cholesterol

 

You may have heard about ‘good cholesterol’ and ‘bad cholesterol’. There are multiple types of cholesterol but without going to Einstein on you we’ve broken it down into the most important types.

 

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-  often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’. This type can stick to the inside of blood vessels which in turn will increase the risks of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Smoking, lack of exercise and diet can play a role in raising LDL. With regards to diet consuming too much saturated and trans fats in the forms of hydrogenated vegetable oils, processed foods, red meat, cheese etc. all contributed to raised LDL.

 

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)- often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol. A key role of HDL is to remove LDL. Therefore if you have raised HDL this is actually beneficial for you as it means there’s more to remove the LDL which can prevent plaque build up. Foods which contribute to raised HDL include: nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, avocados, hummus etc.

 

How to lower high cholesterol?

 

This might be the key reason you’re reading this article. It’s important to note that each case is unique and some forms of high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia is genetic although for the most part here are our top tips.

Firstly, you should ask your GP for a breakdown of your total cholesterol. This means that you want to see the values for LDL and HDL. Your main concern should be if your LDL is higher than 3mmol.L. Some research has suggested that by lowering your LDL by 1mmol.L you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 22%.

 

Top tips for lowering cholesterol…

 

Limit saturated fat intake

 

Focus on limiting your intake of red and processed meat, cheese, butter, palm oil and hydrogenated vegetable oils in processed foods. Swap butter for fortified spreads or peanut butter. Peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fats which contributes to increasing HDL. It’s important that you start reading labels to understand the amount of saturated fats in the foods you’re consuming regularly. Foods which contain more than 5g per 100g of saturated fat are considered high. Foods which contain 1.5g or less are considered low. It’s also recommended to start incorporating more beans and pulses into your diet too. 

 

Plant Sterols and Stanols

 

Plant sterols and stanols have been shown to help lower cholesterol as they block it’s absorption into the blood. As a result more cholesterol is excreted rather than being absorbed. Plant sterols and stanols can be found in fortified foods such as spreads, yoghurts and drinks although be aware that some contain large amounts of sugar and should not be over consumed.

 

Consume beta-glucans

 

Beta-glucans are fibres which are found naturally in plants. These work in a way which is similar to the plant stanols as they too prevent the uptake of cholesterol into the blood. Research has demonstrated that beta-glucans help to reduce LDL cholesterol but have no effect on raising HDL. Individuals with diabetes showed to have even greater effects from consuming beta-glucans. Oats, barely, mushrooms and seaweed are all rich in beta-glucans.

 

Consume your 5-a-day

 

It’s no surprise that fruits and vegetables are a good source of fibre. As a result they help to keep you fuller for longer meaning that this can help you to consume less processed foods. Research has also shown an association with those who consumed more than four portions of fruit and vegetables a day having a lower LDL cholesterol.

 

Move Regularly

 

Whilst this isn’t exactly nutrition related. Here at The Transformation Chef we believe that health requires a 360˚ approach. Aerobic exercise has been shown to have positive effects on HDL cholesterol.  The NICE guidelines suggest that you engage in 120 minutes of of aerobic exercise a week. That doesn’t  mean that you have to pound it out in the gym it can be a simple half an hour walk, a yoga session online or even an activity such as rock climbing. It’s important that you enjoy your movement!

 

Often, being told you have high cholesterol can leave you feeling scared and lost. However, through dietary and lifestyle changes you can help to lower your cholesterol. Please do pass this article on to any of your friends or family who may be concerned about their cholesterol. Knowledge is power!

 

Smet, E. D., Mensink, R. P., & Plat, J. (2012). Effects of plant sterols and stanols on intestinal cholesterol metabolism: suggested mechanisms from past to present. Molecular nutrition & food research56(7), 1058-1072.

 

Whitehead, A., Beck, E. J., Tosh, S., & Wolever, T. M. (2014). Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials–. The American journal of clinical nutrition100(6), 1413-1421.

 

Othman, R. A., Moghadasian, M. H., & Jones, P. J. (2011). Cholesterol‐lowering effects of oat β‐glucan. Nutrition reviews69(6), 299-309.

 

Djoussé, L., Arnett, D. K., Coon, H., Province, M. A., Moore, L. L., & Ellison, R. C. (2004). Fruit and vegetable consumption and LDL cholesterol: the national heart, lung, and blood institute family heart study. The American journal of clinical nutrition79(2), 213-217.

 

Kodama, S., Tanaka, S., Saito, K., Shu, M., Sone, Y., Onitake, F., ... & Ohashi, Y. (2007). Effect of aerobic exercise training on serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine167(10), 999-1008.

 

Read more


We’re Serving Up Better Mental Health

With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health condition each year it’s essential that we start to approach mental health with a 360˚ view. Whilst drugs can be highly effective, we also now understand the importance of a healthy diet and key nutrients to support overall mental wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety and improving general mood. 

Read more

With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health condition each year it’s essential that we start to approach mental health with a 360˚ view. Whilst drugs can be highly effective, we also now understand the importance of a healthy diet and key nutrients to support overall mental wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety and improving general mood. 

Read more


Why We’ve Gone Frozen

If you’re following us on social media you may have already picked up that we’re switching our fresh meals to frozen meals.

Although, due to the history of frozen ready meals they seem to have a pretty bad rep. Yet, we’re very excited and proud to be making big waves within the ready meal industry to show you that convenience meals can be healthy, fresh and just as nutritious. This week we’re here to dispel some common myths associated with frozen meals and show you how we plan on leading the frozen ready meal market. 

You’re probably not surprised to hear that freezing food isn’t a modern-day revolution. Our ancestors have been freezing food for years by using snow and ice to help preserve their catch of the day. With the development of quick freezing, our methods have become a safer way to help to prevent the development of microbes. So let’s take a look at how freezing can help to preserve some of the nutrients in food and why it’s not quite what it used to be.

 

1. Helps to reduce spoilage and development of microbes

When food is fresh microbes can grow through the presence of the water. Although in frozen food the water is frozen meaning that it becomes unavailable for the microbes to grow. In the same way the freezing process prevents food spoilage for the most part. Parasites are the exception which can still grow under frozen conditions. 

 

2. Nutrient profiles 

For the most part nutrients are protected or unaffected during the freezing process. If a food is blanched before being frozen then Vitamin C may be slightly damaged. Yet when food is fresh the vitamin C degrades as a result of being exposed to oxygen. Some research was carried out on frozen blueberries vs fresh blueberries. The researchers concluded that the anthocyanins were unaffected by the freezing process. 

 

3. Protected proteins in meat and fish 

The nutritional profiles of meat and fish are kept in tact during the freezing process due to the proteins and fat-soluble nutrients which are unaffected. 

 

4. Promotes seasonal eating 

Freezing foods help to promote seasonal eating. As food lasts in the freezer for 3-4 months you can purchase meals which are in season and should you not get round to consuming it the nutrients will be of higher quality when foods are in season. Seasonal produce come from local farms which means that they’re picked closer to their ripening time. This means that more of the nutrients have been developed. 

 

5. Reduces food waste 

We live in world where food waste is becoming more and more important. The Courtauld Commitment have set out to reduce food waste by 20% per person between 2015 and 2025! In 2015 as a population we were wasting 156kg of food per person per year! Freezing food allows you to save the dish for another time rather than throwing it away due to microbial spoilage. We have more information coming this month on how to reduce your food waste. 


As you can see there are a number of reasons as to why we have decided to make our meals frozen. Not only is this more convenient for you, it helps to reduce waste and becomes more cost effective should your plans change and you not end up eating the meal. 

If you have any questions on our new frozen meals please do get in touch.



Read more

If you’re following us on social media you may have already picked up that we’re switching our fresh meals to frozen meals.

Although, due to the history of frozen ready meals they seem to have a pretty bad rep. Yet, we’re very excited and proud to be making big waves within the ready meal industry to show you that convenience meals can be healthy, fresh and just as nutritious. This week we’re here to dispel some common myths associated with frozen meals and show you how we plan on leading the frozen ready meal market. 

You’re probably not surprised to hear that freezing food isn’t a modern-day revolution. Our ancestors have been freezing food for years by using snow and ice to help preserve their catch of the day. With the development of quick freezing, our methods have become a safer way to help to prevent the development of microbes. So let’s take a look at how freezing can help to preserve some of the nutrients in food and why it’s not quite what it used to be.

 

1. Helps to reduce spoilage and development of microbes

When food is fresh microbes can grow through the presence of the water. Although in frozen food the water is frozen meaning that it becomes unavailable for the microbes to grow. In the same way the freezing process prevents food spoilage for the most part. Parasites are the exception which can still grow under frozen conditions. 

 

2. Nutrient profiles 

For the most part nutrients are protected or unaffected during the freezing process. If a food is blanched before being frozen then Vitamin C may be slightly damaged. Yet when food is fresh the vitamin C degrades as a result of being exposed to oxygen. Some research was carried out on frozen blueberries vs fresh blueberries. The researchers concluded that the anthocyanins were unaffected by the freezing process. 

 

3. Protected proteins in meat and fish 

The nutritional profiles of meat and fish are kept in tact during the freezing process due to the proteins and fat-soluble nutrients which are unaffected. 

 

4. Promotes seasonal eating 

Freezing foods help to promote seasonal eating. As food lasts in the freezer for 3-4 months you can purchase meals which are in season and should you not get round to consuming it the nutrients will be of higher quality when foods are in season. Seasonal produce come from local farms which means that they’re picked closer to their ripening time. This means that more of the nutrients have been developed. 

 

5. Reduces food waste 

We live in world where food waste is becoming more and more important. The Courtauld Commitment have set out to reduce food waste by 20% per person between 2015 and 2025! In 2015 as a population we were wasting 156kg of food per person per year! Freezing food allows you to save the dish for another time rather than throwing it away due to microbial spoilage. We have more information coming this month on how to reduce your food waste. 


As you can see there are a number of reasons as to why we have decided to make our meals frozen. Not only is this more convenient for you, it helps to reduce waste and becomes more cost effective should your plans change and you not end up eating the meal. 

If you have any questions on our new frozen meals please do get in touch.



Read more


Reduce your food waste

Optimising health, limiting food waste and promoting a healthy balanced lifestyle is at the heart of what we do at The Transformation Chef.

We strongly feel that food waste is on the rise and we all need to play a role in helping The Courtauld Commitment achieve their aim of reducing food waste by 20% per person between 2015 to 2025. Below are some facts from the latest WRAP report which really emphasises the importance of working to reduce food waste. 

  • 41 million tonnes of food is purchased each year with nearly a quarter being wasted! 
  • 10 million tonnes of food is wasted each year (7.1million tonnes of this are from household waste!)
  • 70% of food wasted is considered acceptable to eat.
  • £20billion of food is wasted per year.
  • 9% of strawberries and 19% of lettuces grown are wasted each year. 

As you can see food waste is becoming more and more problematic. Not only is this causing a strain on our environment through the production of greenhouse gases (25million tonnes are utilised to remove food waste) it’s also causing a greater strain on our forever growing population. As this week is Recycle Awareness Week we’ve put together our most simple tips which can help you to limit your food waste and upcycle your meals, optimise your recycling schemes and help to contribute towards a healthier planet:

  1. Avoid BOGOFs and over buying when you shop – unfortunately when it comes to bogofs we end up buying more because it’s ‘free’ and the truth of it is that the second one often gets wasted. 
  2. Prep your meals before your shop – prepping your meals can help you streamline your shop and prevent you buying more food than you need. You’ll also save money too. 
  3. Be aware of portion sizes – avoid over serving food to yourself and your guests. Once it’s on the plate you can’t re-use the dish for lunch the following day. It’s always better to underserve and opt for seconds rather than overserving.
  4. Get creative with leftovers – if you’ve got a small amount of veggies left but perhaps not a enough for a whole meal try making it into an omelette, a pasta dish or even a soup for the freezer. 
  5. Be aware of food storage. Storing your food properly can help to limit food spoiling before their time and therefore reduce food waste. 
  6. Get to know your dates. Best before dates are not the same as use by dates. Best before dates mean that the food is still edible after that time. Take initiative if the food appears, smells and tastes normal then it’s more than likely perfectly fine to eat. 

There you have our top tips for helping to limit our food waste. Next time you’re purchasing food think twice about whether you really need everything in your basket. 


Reference: 

http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20Surplus%20and%20Waste%20in%20the%20UK%20Key%20Facts%2014%205%2019.pdf



Read more

Optimising health, limiting food waste and promoting a healthy balanced lifestyle is at the heart of what we do at The Transformation Chef.

We strongly feel that food waste is on the rise and we all need to play a role in helping The Courtauld Commitment achieve their aim of reducing food waste by 20% per person between 2015 to 2025. Below are some facts from the latest WRAP report which really emphasises the importance of working to reduce food waste. 

  • 41 million tonnes of food is purchased each year with nearly a quarter being wasted! 
  • 10 million tonnes of food is wasted each year (7.1million tonnes of this are from household waste!)
  • 70% of food wasted is considered acceptable to eat.
  • £20billion of food is wasted per year.
  • 9% of strawberries and 19% of lettuces grown are wasted each year. 

As you can see food waste is becoming more and more problematic. Not only is this causing a strain on our environment through the production of greenhouse gases (25million tonnes are utilised to remove food waste) it’s also causing a greater strain on our forever growing population. As this week is Recycle Awareness Week we’ve put together our most simple tips which can help you to limit your food waste and upcycle your meals, optimise your recycling schemes and help to contribute towards a healthier planet:

  1. Avoid BOGOFs and over buying when you shop – unfortunately when it comes to bogofs we end up buying more because it’s ‘free’ and the truth of it is that the second one often gets wasted. 
  2. Prep your meals before your shop – prepping your meals can help you streamline your shop and prevent you buying more food than you need. You’ll also save money too. 
  3. Be aware of portion sizes – avoid over serving food to yourself and your guests. Once it’s on the plate you can’t re-use the dish for lunch the following day. It’s always better to underserve and opt for seconds rather than overserving.
  4. Get creative with leftovers – if you’ve got a small amount of veggies left but perhaps not a enough for a whole meal try making it into an omelette, a pasta dish or even a soup for the freezer. 
  5. Be aware of food storage. Storing your food properly can help to limit food spoiling before their time and therefore reduce food waste. 
  6. Get to know your dates. Best before dates are not the same as use by dates. Best before dates mean that the food is still edible after that time. Take initiative if the food appears, smells and tastes normal then it’s more than likely perfectly fine to eat. 

There you have our top tips for helping to limit our food waste. Next time you’re purchasing food think twice about whether you really need everything in your basket. 


Reference: 

http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20Surplus%20and%20Waste%20in%20the%20UK%20Key%20Facts%2014%205%2019.pdf



Read more


Taking a Balanced Approach To Food

We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

  1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
  2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
  3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

Check in with your cravings...

Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

Opt for self-care... 

Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

Don’t deny yourself...

Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

#Balance... 

Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

Be yourself...

Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

    These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

     

    Read more

    We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

    To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

    So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

    Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

    When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

    1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
    2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
    3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

    From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

    Check in with your cravings...

    Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

    Opt for self-care... 

    Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

    Don’t deny yourself...

    Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

    #Balance... 

    Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

    Be yourself...

    Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

      These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

       

      Read more