Healthy For Life


Well, what an absolutely crazy week it has been, it started last Friday when I got stuck in traffic and almost got out my car to go and swear at a police officer-refrained and therefore did not spend the week in jail.

How are you getting on with eating for your body type? I will be back writing on this theme next week I just wanted to go off topic a little this week. If your not a deep thinker look away now.

A few things happened this week that have highlighted a few life lessons that we probably all know but often forget when we are just trying to cope with the daily grind.

Firstly, after losing a goat a few weeks ago to illness (yes I keep goats I know it’s weird ) then on Sunday night lost one of my ponies very suddenly and she was only 3 years old and therefore way too young to have been taken. Thankfully I had given her a cuddle that morning for no other reason than because I love her, and I got to say goodbye that night as she was put out of pain.

Secondly, I was talking to a friend who has a job she sometimes spends long hours at and also has a young son and husband (her husband isn’t young just her son!) , she has been signed off work with exhaustion.

Thirdly, I have been with a client this week who I have trained for many years and although she has never showed any signs of ill health we have both known she could have made improvements to her diet, although we were making gains on the exercise so it’s not like she was doing nothing to help her health. Anyway said client had by chance come across a blood pressure monitor and found her’s to be high, and following a trip to the doctor with further tests she also has some liver damage. Scary thought when again she is showing no outward signs of ill health.

It is this third point I’m going to start with. You see, when I am speaking to people about their diet and we discuss their intake of takeaways, alcohol, processed foods, sweets etc many of them say “you only live once” and “a little bit of what you fancy does you good”. Well, yes correct we do only live once (I’m not going to go down a reincarnation route their other places for that!) and if you want that life to be a long, healthy one free of illness and pain then you need to look after yourself.  And it is fact that eating processed foods, takeaways, alcohol  and sugar is bad for your health.  So while I am not saying you can never drink wine, eat cake etc I am saying be aware of what you consider moderation.  One or two glasses of wine a week won’t kill you but one or two bottles just might. Combine that with a takeaway, that daily biscuit or two you have, and the microwave meals you sometimes have during the week and actually that is putting a lot of strain on you liver. ( I will cover this in more detail another time).  Just because you aren’t feeling the effects now doesn’t mean they won’t come back to haunt you later on.  (Pictures Big Mac covered in Ghostly Sheet following you round)

This brings me on to the second point, you see what I said to me friend was firstly she needed to look after herself more in order to be able to do everything she needs to do. He classic answer-I don’t have time! First I said my classic answer of if you don’t have time to look after yourself then your gonna have to make time to be ill! Then I gave her a practical example. I regularly work 15-16 hour days up at 5am home 9.30-10pm, 4-5 days per week adding up to somewhere depending on the week to a 50-70 hour week. I am very fortune that I enjoy my job however that doesn’t stop it being exhausting. So I make sure I do everything I can to keep my health and therefore my energy levels in tip top condition. I have coconut oil in my coffee to help my immune system, I eat predominantely  natural foods-meat, veg, fruit, eggs and goats dairy (cows doesn’t agree with me) and of course I exercise. And bar the odd week of extreme stress i.e this one! I don’t consider my long hours an issue as I’m full of energy to get everything done.

So your lesson on this, if you look after your health the extra stress of your life will be much easier to deal with and won’t seem as much of a problem.

Onto what is really a joint lesson on the first and second point. You do only live once and even the most healthy person could well not be here tomorrow for whatever reason. So, you should consider what is important to you in your life and fill your life abundantly with it. Like I said to my friend, when she said she had really enjoyed picking her son up from school for the first time-do you really have to work full time, classic response-yes I need to make money. I said realistically though if you looked at your finances I bet you could manage on less income, if me and Mr A have survived this far after I left my very well paid job to start a business from scratch I reckon most people can survive on much less. And what we learnt during that time was money doesn’t make you happy, yes it gives you options but really it’s life’s little things that make us happy. For my friend picking her son up from school, me cuddling something fluffy – cat, dog, pony, donkey, goat, Mr A, so long as it’s fluffy.

So, think about what matters to you and spend more time doing it. Trust me no one dies if you don’t hoover the living room and spend time with your kids instead, the world does not end if you leave the washing up to curl up on the sofa with your partner.

You do only live once and for that reason we should spend as much of it happy and with those we love as much as possible, and if we look after our health we are more likely to live a long and healthy life.

So for me that’s more animals less housework(what’s new?) and after proving again this week how amazing he is Mr A your bloody stuck with me and our motley crew.


Nicola x

PS. Ooooh the competition has been fierce this week but I think the accolade has to go to code name Mark Morrison aka Return of the Mack for losing close to 2 stone so far including a two week holiday in there! Seriously Awesome!

Weight Loss-Portion Control

So how did you get on with adapting your macro nutrients (carbs, fats, protein) to fit your body type?

Did you notice any difference? I did! I’m still firing on all cylinders and have dropped another kilo (that’s 2lb) no serious effort required! Oh and I checked my measurements and I’m down an inch at my waist too!

So, it has come up a few times, that old calorie counting just won’t go away! But unless you are 1000’s over your guideline total on a daily basis it really isn’t relevant. Whether you have eaten natural, whole foods or processed junk all day is!

However, I do understand some of may you need some sort of guideline to stop you going off the rails. So instead I am going to give you portion guidelines and again relate it back to your body type nutrition prescription.

So here goes….

We are going to use your hand as a measurement guide.

Now you may be thinking well surely that means if my hands are big I’d be eating more? Well yes, as your nutrition requirements will be based on your size not just a generic formula that stretches from 5ft man to 6ft5 man!   Your hand is a personalized (and portable unless you leave them at home??) measuring device for your food intake.

True, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size.  But mostly our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone – the whole package (ahem).

However if you are a 5ft female with hands like shovels do perhaps adjust your measure a little!

Your palm determines your protein portions.

Your fist determines your veggie portions.

Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.

Your thumb determines your fat portions.


So how does this relate to the body type eating protocol.

Ectomorph Man:

2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal

2 fists of vegetables at each meal

3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal

1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal

Ectomorph women:

1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal

1 fist of vegetables at each meal

2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal

0.5 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.


Mesomorph Man:

2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal

2 fists of vegetables at each meal

2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal

2 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal

Mesomorph women :

1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal

1 fist of vegetables at each meal

1 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal

1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal


Endomorph men begin by eating:

2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;

2 fists of vegetables at each meal;

1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;

3 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.


Endomorph women begin by eating:

1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;

1 fist of vegetables at each meal;

0.5 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;

2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

Again I will reiterate this is not an exact science, we are all genetically different and you will need to be a little experimental (not in that way!) to find what works best for you. And  to be honest although I have given a guideline for veg you really couldn’t eat too many, so if you find your still hungry add more veg to your meals and see if that helps.

Again don’t forget to add me on myfitnesspal search for ChuddyCharlton, you get to spy on me as much as I can spy on you!


Nicola x


Body Type Nutrition

One Size Doesn’t fit all Part 2.

So following on from last week, I’m now going to go into some loose guidelines upon which to base you’re eating on dependant on your body type. If you fall into more than one category start by using the most dominant and then if after s few weeks nothing has changed or you don’t feel energised tinker with the ratio’s based on your other body type tendency (but don’t go the whole hog) and see what happens. As I have mentioned there really isn’t an exact science so it will require a little trial and error.

So here are your starting points plus a recap of the body types.

Ectomorphs tend to be long and lean like your typical endurance athlete. They have a fast metabolic rate and a usually a high carbohydrate tolerance.

So a basic structure for this would be high carbs, moderate protein and low fat. Ratios could be 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. Don’t overcalcculate the percentages just use them as a guide of where you should be.

Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure and hold muscle easily.  Think wrestlers – Triple H not Yokozuna.

Mesomorphs typically do best on an even balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A split of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat is a good starting point.

Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Think Props in rugby and Power lifters. Endomorphs generally have a low carbohydrate tolerance.

Endomorphs should focus on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed (e.g., after exercise). When I say fat I mean good fats from animal produce, dairy, nuts and oils-I’m currently adding coconut oil to my morning coffee.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat.

So I have been following a higher fat, high protein, low carb diet for a week now. Some days where higher carb than others but most days my highest percentage came from fat.

How has that worked out for me?

Well I feel amazing! The difference in my mental clarity and concentration has been outstanding; I was sooooo productive last week despite various things cropping up that would normally send me off course. I haven’t felt the need for more carbs during the day, they have mostly come from fruit and veg and I have been saving my starchy carbs rice, potatoes etc. for my evening meal  which I have after usually 14-15 hour day (carbs after 6 I know its madness!). I have also found it that meal is seriously carb heavy (Mr A seemed intent on feeding me a lot of Gluten Free Garlic Bread last week!) I actually woke up feeling a little groggy the day after………….interesting.

So I know what you all really want to know is how that affected the scales etc. Well I lost 2kg and my body fat dropped by around 8%! And even more interestingly according to myfitnesspals guidelines (which I imagine are based on some outdated government nonsense) I overate most of last week-In your face calorie counting! So I will carry on this way perhaps just upping my protein intake a little as it was slightly low compared to my fat intake and we shall see what happens.

So don’t forget to add me on myfitnesspal if you’re on there, search for ChuddyCharlton cute pony picture comes up. And let’s crack your nutritional code!

Nicola x

PS. A certain someone is going to sulk about this but well done to Anne for implementing my advice and adding in some short 20 min gym sessions into her week-it all adds up!



Eating for Your Body Type

One size doesn’t fit all.

So I’ve been doing lots of nutrition research of late, and from most of the respected nutrition coaches in the health and fitness industry there is a common theme when answering peoples questions on their diet – Should be I eating this, do I need to start eating like this, and the answer is………………………… depends! Very frustrating I know, but it is actually a very honest answer and one that considers how genetically different each and every person is.

You see there is no one way of eating specifically that will work for everyone. Other than sticking with the basic of fresh, whole foods, avoiding processed foods etc. no specific breakdown of macronutrients i.e. fat, carbs and protein will work for every single person.

You see we are all genetically different.

In his book, ‘Atlas of Men’ published in 1954, American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon grouped people’s body types into three areas which he called Somatotypes.


Characterised by long and thin muscles/limbs and low fat storage; usually referred to as slim. They struggle to store muscle OR fat.


Characterised by medium bones, solid torso, wide shoulders with a narrow waist; usually referred to as muscular. Mesomorphs are predisposed to build muscle but not store fat. They can also drop fat relatively easy.


Characterised by increased fat storage, a wide waist and a large bone structure, usually referred to as fat. Endomorphs are predisposed to storing fat.

You can then also fall into more than one category.

Using myself as an example I would say I was a mix of a Mesomorph and an endomorph. I am fairly well built with a narrow waist, with a pair of legs that wouldn’t look out of place on the men’s England rugby team. However I also find it very easy to put on body fat and extremely difficult to lose it so I also have very much endomorph tendencies.

Take this and then my individual genetic makeup, hormone function (flippin mental I’m a woman after all!), gut bacteria –mines flawed and rubbish quite frankly and then my lifestyle which is fairly active compared to most peoples into account and how can I possible expect to get results long term from a diet protocol that may have been tested on someone who is an ectomorph, so skinny with a high metabolism (these people can still carry body fat it just tends to be perhaps just on the stomach) who has good hormone function-probably a man! Has a fairly balanced gut and leads a sedentary lifestyle. We can’t possibly have the same nutritional needs!!!!!!!!!!!


So instead of me going on and on about this for pages and you all nodding off, not reading it and forgetting the whole thing I’ll drip feed this information to you over the next few weeks, months…’s a complicated area but I’ll do my best to keep it light.

For now I want you to join me in some diet experimentation. I have signed myself back up to  you can use it online or as an app on your smart phone. My privacy settings are set to public. I am recording everything I eat, drink and all exercise every day. Using the graph button I am going to analyse my macronutrient breakdown. I am going to try and see how a higher fat and protein diet affects me, my energy levels, body fat etc. I am also using it to see how much sugar I’m really still eating……….

So this is where the team work begins, if you want to join me on there and let me have a look at your diet and see if there are areas I think you could improve here is what you have to do.

Sign yourself up and get a user name/login. Make sure your privacy settings are set at public-it’s just your diary I can see nothing else.

Search for friends.

My user name on there is Chuddycharlton (my first pony’s name). If you want to sign up and add me on there and also set your diary to public.

Just record everything you eat and drink, and your exercise and you will get a nutritional profile of your day.

Personally, and it is the opinion of many other people in the fitness industry you should ignore whether myfitnesspal tells you, you are eating too much protein, not enough carbs etc. as it is based on a generic, government set (read wrong!) guideline. Also when setting goals if it is for weight loss just put in you would like to lose 1lb a week otherwise I think the calorie counter is set too low.

Also, please don’t worry too much about how over or under your calorie goal you are unless you are vastly out either way, seriously being 45 calories over will not make a huge difference! I also want you to be mindful of how those calories added up, if I’m over my goal but I ate fresh, whole food all day I don’t worry about it, no one’s diet downfall was ever that bit of salmon they had a lunch trust me!

What I am more interested in is how your macro nutrients look, what percentage are your carbs, fats and protein and also your vitamin and mineral profile. Just have a look at how that breaks down, and consider how you feel on those days energy wise etc. and see if you can spot a pattern.

Some people are more tolerant of carbs than others, usually if you are endomorph biased you will not be and will need more fat (yes fat!) and protein but see how you feel as again it really is unique to you. You may find you feel better on more carbs, or more protein, maybe you realise you eat a lot of sugar without realising and have very little iron which can affect your energy levels.

So let’s not worry too much about tinkering just yet, let’s just get signed up and start recording!


Nicola x

PS: You’re all lacking in specific awesomeness of late, however I will say to my personal clients who I see regularly you have continually continued to inspire me and spark ideas in my head without possibly even realising. So thank you for the inspiration and when I finally get rich with one of these ideas I promise to send you a postcard from my remote dairy goat farm in the country.



Nutrition Tips-Just 3 Ingredients

Well I’ve been in the kitchen this week, Mr A bought me a food processor – he does spoil me! I made frozen goats milk yoghurt with damsons I had frozen from a previous year’s home grown glut. We also made Damson Vodka with the same glut……what did you think I had in my travel mug training you lot outside in the winter?

Anyway I was having a conversation with a good friend, who runs an Organic Veg enterprise, and we were essentially considering where we may have shared opinions on food, as on the face of we don’t – she is vegan and I am an avid Steak eater. But we do however share a lot of similar beliefs about food. When discussing first the vegan thing, I did agree that although I do eat meat (my dad would probably disown me if I didn’t) I do believe that animals should be kept as naturally as possible and should be fed a natural diet and not filled with additional hormones etc;  as I do not want this carrying through to the meat that I eat. Because of this I buy my meat from a good quality butcher in case you’re nosey and seriously you can taste the difference, and it doesn’t shrink when you cook it either. And it also doesn’t cost a fortune, unless I send Mr A in alone and he then falls foul of the butcher’s excellent upselling technique “do you want 4 of them steaks…….yes why not”

Also, we discussed disease and how we both believed that many of our modern day illness problems i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, skin conditions, hormonal imbalances and many forms of cancer can be solved with proper nutrition. With a revert back to food in its natural state free from processing and added chemicals.

And I guess that’s all I want this message to be. When people ask me what they should eat to lose weight I feel like they want some miracle formula and often they don’t really get the answer I think they want.  I actually think if I told them to drink their own pee and stand on their head for an hour a day they would take my advice more than the answer I give, which is take out all processed food from your diet, and eat fresh fruit and vegetables, full fat dairy (I use goat and sheep dairy as I find the smaller lactose molecules easier on my digestion) and proper unprocessed meat.

So anyway, the point of my general rambling is this. I want you to have a really good look at your diet, how much of what you eat has been processed in some way? How many ingredients are in the foods you eat?

I also want to set you a challenge.  I want you try as much as possible to eat only foods with 3 ingredients or less (that’s each individual food component not your total meal), so that’s all fruit and veg in, unprocessed meat and good quality dairy (check the label) and anything else check the label. Now you know why I made my own frozen yoghurt. Recipe below for anyone that wants it.


Nicola x

Frozen Yoghurt.

First you make the fruit butter which can be used for a number of things.

Fruit Butter:

1kilo of Damsons or whatever fruit you’re using.

Stevia or xylitol (a pure alternative to sugar).


Chop fruit and just cover with water in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer.

Puree in blender and weigh.

Return fruit to pan and add half its weight in your chosen sweetener

Simmer gently until it thickens into a paste.

Leave it to cool completely.

Once cooled add it to either a natural, Greek or goats milk yoghurt, blend together and pour into a pot and put in the freezer.



Fitness Made Simple

The KISS Principle. Fitness Made Simple

Now some of you may know I manage some corporate gyms which have been a great opportunity for me as it allows me to engage with people who would not normally be my target market. They range from the heavy lifters to the ironman to the older folk who just want a plod on the treadmill. All of these people I get to speak to about their health and fitness goals, their training programmes and how it works for them.  From this I can see whether various different approaches lead to results and why. And I’ve spotted a pattern in every training protocol of all of the different kinds of training and people doing them that determines whether it works or not…………………….Simplicity and Consistency. Or as I like to call it Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).

You see what some of these guys are doing is not revolutionary in terms of systems and routines, but those that are getting results are the ones that come in regularly and do a workout whatever it may be. In fact sometimes they don’t do their full routine, very often they will pop in for a quick 20mins on the bike, rower, do a circuit, lift some weights whatever because that’s all they’ve got time for, but they have maintained the habit of exercising consistently and that is why the system works.

Too often people will commit themselves to an overly complicated and lengthy routine and start skipping sessions because they didn’t have time to do a full hour or they didn’t have the energy to do an hour of HIIT training, so instead they did nothing! In turn they have given themselves permission to skip sessions and before you know it that becomes the new pattern, off the wagon, results = nil.

So my dear readers I encourage you this week to commit to simplicity and consistency. By that I mean I want you to plan how many times a week you would like to work out and stick to it. If you usually like to go all out with some circuits great go for it, but if training day comes round and you don’t feel up to it, turn up anyway and go for a walk, or a more gentle routine, as long as you’ve done something that day. Usually work out for an hour but run out of time, do 20mins, even if it’s in the living room with corrie in the background just some squats, press ups, lunges, tricep dips and a plank will make a great full body workout that can be done every ad break.

The key is to stop thinking you need to be running at an 8min mile for 45 mins twice per week and incorporating a strength routine of abs and back day, legs day, chest and biceps, shoulders and triceps (still with me?) otherwise you may as well not bother. You should still bother, all activity will help you to keep fit, if Zumba is your thing great, just do it consistently week in week out, whatever is your bag I don’t care just stick at it and keep moving whether it is what your programme says or something you feel more like doing that day.

And if you are doing the abs and back, legs day, chest and biceps, shoulders and triceps plus some fasted cardio, great that is also fine just do it consistently!

So on this note I set myself a little challenge this week to do half an hour of exercise per day no matter what it is, so I have done some High Impact Pilates which were sessions with a client (almost cheating but I promise I got a serious sweat on!), a full body resistance routine and a short row, and some running with the dogs, let’s see what the weekend brings……

Why don’t you set yourself something similar even if it is just to do 1 min plank every day or 20 mins of exercise 4 x next week. Just remember KISS!

Nicola x

PS:  To one of my readers Ruth, who used to come to my Stretch and Tone Class back in the day, alas with me having only one functioning wrist it is no more. But she has been reading these emails, taken my advice (at least someone does) and has got herself into great shape and I’m sure with more to come. So well done Ruth who had to text me to tell me I’d driven past her because no I didn’t recognise your new svelte figure at first!



Sleep Deprivation is classed as less than 5 hours per night. As well as slowing down reaction times and affecting concentration, lack of sleep has also been linked to many other illnesses including depression, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, chronic pain, diabetes and cancer. Many of this could be down to the unhealthy food choices we make when tired. As our body craves energy we essentially crave sugar…….muffin and latte for breakfast, mid-morning kit kat……………….. This results in bad eating habits leading to blood sugar level spikes, long story short leading to insulin resistance type 2 diabetes and obesity, which then follow onto the heart disease, chronic pain, and cancer. So the saying “you can sleep when you’re dead” may well be true it’s just if you don’t do enough of it whilst you’re alive you may be into eternal sleep sooner than you expected.

Due to our 24 hour society many people can find it difficult to switch off, we have constant entertainment provided by the internet, shops and takeaways and even the gym is now available 24hrs a day.

So what can you do if you struggle to drop off at night?

  • Turn off electrical devices 1hour before bed, that means no late night TV or internet surfing (minds out the gutter please I meant Facebooking and The Big Bang Theory). Not only does the bright screen of these devices tell your brain its daylight preventing it from releasing sleep hormones but it is also encouraging your mind to stay active.
  • Limit your caffeine intake after lunchtime. If you find it difficult to drop off at night try to stop caffeine after lunch, if you don’t have much of a problem after 6pm so do.
  • As much as possible try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your body clock will get used to the routine and automatically starts to wind down and wake up at the allotted time. That’s why I tend to wake up at 6am naturally on a weekend!
  • Avoid alcohol. Many people think that an alcoholic drink will relax them and help them sleep however although you may drift off your quality of sleep will be compromised and you will not achieve R.E.M (Rapid eye movement, not the 90’s band!) which is the deep sleep you need to fully recharge.

Which brings me to another point, perhaps you are getting plenty of sleep but still seem to be tired.  As well as looking at other diet and lifestyle factors, your quality of sleep may be an issue.

FitBit or a Jawbone comes as clip on device or as a wrist band and it keeps track of the steps you take over the course of the day and how active you are overall. It also generates reports and feedback on your activity levels. They will both also sync with MYFITNESSPAL in order to seamlessly log your diet and exercise for a whole lifestyle review.

Sleep Cycle is an iOS app that works by motion monitoring so the app will know when you toss and turn and when you wake in the middle of the night. The app collects its data and provides graphs, and lets you even mark conditions for the night, including behaviours you may have changed, so you can see their effect on your night’s rest. The app also functions as an alarm clock, and will wake you to your own music or any one of their own soothing alarm melodies for a gentle start to the day.

SleepBot for Android users will for track your sleep patterns and measuring how well you sleep over the course of several nights. The app tracks you sleep, but it also tracks movement overnight, auto-recording so you can hear whether you snore or if you’re having breathing problems overnight (or if you’re talking in your sleep-could be an interesting listen), and also gives you tips to help improve your sleep patterns and sleep quality.  It also pairs with the Sleepbot webapp for even more detailed analysis.

So time to stop reading, unplug the kettle and go to some restful sleep.

Nicola x

PS. Inspiring me this week is Clive on holiday using a large water bottle as a makeshift kettlebell so he can still get a workout, made me feel a bit lazy really!



Fake Sugars

Find out why Fake Sugars are are bad for your health.


Ok, I’ll admit this is another return to form from me ranting on about nutrition and the chemicals in food, but seriously it makes mad and it really is a big issue, the sooner we go back to eating real, natural food the sooner we stop putting so much pressure on our NHS with obesity related illness.  So I shall rant away……

I have written previously on the dangers of aspartame – causing near divorce in the supermarket now because of that one!

So, I’m going to highlight a few other sweeteners that you need to look out for and avoid. (What can I say I’ve got a good divorce lawyer that wants referrals ha ha)

First up.


Acesulfame Potassium (K) was approved for use by the FDA as a safe artificial sweetener in July, 1988. It is a derivative of acetoacetic acid. Unfortunately, several potential problems associated with the use of acesulfame have been raised. They are based largely on animal studies since testing on humans remains limited. The findings showed that Acesulfame K stimulates insulin secretion in a thereby possibly aggravating hypoglycaemia. This may well have something to do with the rise of type 2 diabetes whereby people have raised insulin levels for so long their bodies become resistant to it. In has been shown that type 2 Diabetes is reversible through significant diet modifications-i.e. less junk more real food. Anyhow I digress.

Acesulfame K apparently produced tumours of organs (such as the thymus gland), several forms of leukaemia and chronic respiratory disease in several rodent studies; even when less than maximum doses were given.  Due to aforementioned limited human studies no evidence can be given to show whether it causes tumours in humans but I’m not taking my chances.  It is found in Pepsi Max, Coca-Cola Zero, Diet Coke, Trident gum, and sugar free Jelly and many others.

Sucralose (also known commercially as Splenda) is a synthetic additive created by chlorinating sugar. Manufacturers say the chlorine in sucralose is no different from that in table salt.

However, stop right there you know I never believe the money makers in this.

In fact the chemical structure of the chlorine in sucralose is almost the same as that in the now-banned pesticide DDT. (I wonder then if you took a pee on your garden you could use it as a pesticide? Admittedly, it wouldn’t be particularly good for you, it should be Organic veg all the way but worth some thought……) I shall speak to my crop doctor.

Reported side effects include Head and muscle aches, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness and inflammation. Further to this research has shown sucralose can cause shrinking of the thymus gland, an important immune system regulator, and liver and kidney dysfunction. A recent study by Duke University found sucralose reduces healthy intestinal bacteria, which are needed for proper digestion and can impact the effectiveness of prescription and other drugs.  Upset Gut Bacteria can actually cause a whole host of problems but most notably food intolerances hence the above mentioned side effects. It is found in most “diet” products.

Saccharin is a sulpha-based sweetener; its primary ingredient is benzoic sulfimide.  For those with sulpha allergies, saccharin may cause nausea, diarrhoea, skin problems or other allergy-related symptoms. Early safety studies of saccharin showed the sweetener caused bladder cancer in rats.  At one point Saccharin was actually required to be labelled as potentially carcinogenic. However the FDA has now lifted this-shame. The link between saccharin and bladder cancer has contributed to saccharin being the most investigated of all artificial sweeteners. To date, no connection between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans has been proven.  However it has been shown to be toxic to children, and it has been recommended that intake of saccharin is limited in young children and pregnant women. I’ll be honest, you’re thinking well they haven’t shown a danger in adult humans so surely I’m fine, but realistically that is because no long term trials have been carried out and if it is toxic in children why do we think suddenly we hit 18 and it will no longer harm us?

High Fructose Corn Syrup.  There is a whole film dedicated to this sweetener (King Corn – available on YouTube if you have 90mins to spare!)

Due to what was originally a subsidy programme from the government, farmers have now created an excess of corn and so manufacturers decided to find a use for it-in theory a great idea, in reality they declared war on their own people.

Scientists discovered by processing and refining the corn, it could be turned into a sugar alternative, called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Despite the name, high fructose corn syrup is actually composed of equal parts of fructose and equal parts glucose.

Due to the government subsidizing farmers to produce corn, the cheap price of HFCS created a MUCH cheaper alternative for food producers compared to regular sugar.

Unfortunately, it turns out that HFCS, despite being molecularly similar to regular sugar, does not affect the body the same way as table sugar.  Princeton University conducted an experiment with Rats. They found that Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.  High Levels of Triglycerides causes Heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Stroke.

FYI.  Some Foods containing HFCS – McVitie’s Hobnobs, Jaffa Cakes and Classic Rich Tea biscuits, Carte D’Or ice cream, Lucozade Energy Orange and Apple flavours, Yop yoghurts, McDonald’s Big Mac sauce, two flavours of Kellogg’s Special K bars and Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Soft & Fruity (You know those heavily marketed healthy products….), Mr Kipling Bakewell Slices (You should be ashamed Mr Kipling!) And probably millions more!

So really there are just 2 take home messages with this.

  • Avoid processed food as much as possible
  • And if you must indulge, be sure to check the label!

NS-PT are a qualified nutritionist liverpool based – We are also fully qualified personal trainers in Liverpool

For more information about what we do have a look around our site










Gastric Bands & Seasonal Salads

Well, I am back in one piece, me and Mr A (who we must now refer to as Mr Awesome) survived 13.2 miles of scenic Coniston.

Now, I am guessing that many of you spend the week like a holiday, not eating clean and becoming unlean, well I did a little too but I actually was on holiday!

Anyway, I hope you didn’t miss me too  much and wonder what my thoughts were on any health related topics brought up in the news as I know many of you look forward to my ranting on those…………….so I won’t disappoint you.

The NHS has revealed they will start doling out gastric bands to help prevent the obesity crisis. Now to be fair considering the cost of having to treat all of the health related diseases they will have to treat as a result of obesity versus the cost of putting bands in anyone classed as morbidly obese in terms of general number crunching they may well be onto something. However, what hasn’t been taken into account has firstly the fact that not everyone who has a band successfully loses enough weight to be considered healthy as there are way of cheating them-liquids slip right through, and also the reasons why a person may be obese in the first place.

Now I speak from some experience on this as I have trained more than one person with a gastric band, and also others who were told they had to lose some weight before they could have one fitted to make the operation safe.

All of these people had issues with food, whether that be emotional eating or genuine junk food addiction and then a following obsession with the calorie content and a reward/punishment system with food (think well I’ve been to the gym so I will have a bar of chocolate or I ate too much yesterday so I will not eat tomorrow). It is not a healthy cycle and is actually a formation of mental illness. And herein lies the problem, if the emotional or addiction problem is not dealt with these people will not be able to successfully lose enough weight and be healthy just be having a gastric band. As I mentioned earlier, there are ways of cheating it, they can stretch a little over time and the person hasn’t had to really think about what they are putting into their bodies other than they may only be able to fit less of it in at a time. Their bad relationship with food is still there. Don’t get me wrong I know some people do successfully lose weight with a gastric band and keep it off, but people have also lost vast amounts of weight the old fashion way of eat less and move more but apparently that isn’t a viable suggestion?

Anyway I’m not going to harp on instead we are all going to get back on track with our clean eating. Starting with some seasonal eating, as you veg growers will know potatoes are all ready for digging right now and New potatoes are a great addition to a lunch time salad with if you’ve got a busy afternoon ahead.

Salmon and New Potato Salad – Serves 4

1kg new potatoes

1½tbsp capers in brine, drained

12 olives, roughly chopped

8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2tbsp olive oil

6 spring onions, sliced

Handful of parsley, chopped

400g Salmon (steam, bake or grilled)

100g (3½oz) watercress

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, drain well, return to pan.

While potatoes are still warm, add rinsed capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, juice, oil, onions and parsley. Season and mix everything together well. Cool slightly.

Flake the salmon and gently stir it and the watercress through the salad. Serve with lemon wedges.

Rainbow New Potato Salad-Serves 4

250g Jersey Royal potatoes

150g approx. drained weight chickpeas from can

140g beetroot

140g courgettes

100g peppers

1tbsp olive oil

150g small vine tomatoes

Handful rocket or other leaf

2tbsp crème fraiche

Bunch coriander, chopped

Sprinkling mixed seeds

Heat oven to Gas 4, 180°C, fan160°C. Simmer potatoes for 20 minutes, add chickpeas and bring to the boil. Drain and keep warm until needed.

Wash beetroot, cut off top and tail, chop into wedges. Roughly chop courgettes into 2•5cm (1in) chunks and cut peppers into strips. Place in a roasting pan, add oil and toss.

Roast for 20 minutes, add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes. Mix together crème fraiche and chopped coriander. Place rocket, potatoes, chickpeas and roasted veg on a plate, sprinkle with seeds. Serve dressing in small bowl.

These should both keep in an airtight lunchbox in the fridge for a couple of days so you can make ahead.

Any other veg you’ve got in abundance on your patch you need me to recipize for you? (recipize made up word but if I keep using it people will just accept it)

Nicola x

PS: Well I had the pressure on just before I went away, my lovely client Sue started training with me back in April when she told me she had bought her wedding dress for her July Wedding and at that point it did not fit, so it was my job to make sure it did. (No pressure Nicola!) And I am relieved and very happy to report that it did fit and bet she looked dam fine in it too! Congratulations to Sue and Derek!



The Conspiracy Theory

So this week the TV did my job for me by showing “The world’s best diet” on Channel 4.

I watched it taking notes-yes I am that sad! To see if I could spot the patterns, problems and the key to a good diet. And to be fair it was glaringly obvious! Anywhere with access to processed food, fast food and lots of snacking had an obesity problem-Quelle Surprise? The countries eating fresh fish, vegetables and shock horror animal fats (FATS!!!!!!!!!! Its madness!!!!) As their staple diet were all lithe and slender. I mean the French were sat there having a 3 course 2 hour lunch break of seriously rich food, but they didn’t snack between meals and they took the time to enjoy their food and appreciate what they were eating. Has anyone really ever totally appreciated a McDonalds I mean really appreciated it, like it was the best meal you’ve ever eaten. No I very much doubt it, and if you have please go out back and have a chat with yourself! You have probably eaten one in less than 5 minutes then been bloated for an hour then starving again straight after.

The Italians were making their own proper pasta by hand! Which means it isn’t the same as the low quality, over processed rubbish we get fed over here. I actually have a friend who is gluten intolerant like me go on holiday to Italy and he found he didn’t experience the same symptoms eating proper Italian pasta and Pizza as he does over here. He can only put that down to the quality of the ingredients and lack of chemical additives-read the back of your bread packet it makes for scary reading.

So firstly, it makes me wonder why the government, health bodies, doctors etc. still can’t spot this obvious link to rising disease and obesity and therefore be able to give out the right message? (Money, politics…..conspiracy theory).  And also why we as a nation still trying fight against this obvious answer like we can’t believe it is that straight forward?

I do get this a lot in my job and many people have said that it is basic common sense when it comes to your diet, but there is so much mass marketing and conflicting advice from the NHS, Government, Doctors Etc. that it confuses your brain to think the common sense route must be wrong?

It sort of goes like this……”So your telling me I should just eat real, natural food like fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and dairy in their natural state as grown on the land for hundreds of years instead of chemically enhanced, factory processed, manmade mass marketed food that makes billions of pounds every year? Hmmm that’s an interesting theory Nicola but I may need some time to think about how that can be possible……………………….

Anyway, I am not going to simply rant on about my thoughts on food marketing, conspiracy theories etc. as I run the risk of sounding like one of those people that doubts Neil Armstrong’s moon landing (I bet at least one of you reading this is one of those people and I’m going to get the full hit next time I see you) I just want you to spend the next week or so (whilst I’m not here spying on you) really looking at what you’re eating, read your food labels, look at where your food is coming from in the bulk of your diet and consider how much of what you eat is as nature intended bar the cooking process.

Nicola x

PS. Now I know all of my clients are breathing a sigh of relief that I will be away for the next week, but just remember, I will come back rested and refreshed and raring to go-if you think I’m tough when I’m tired imagine what rested is like…………………………

PPS. I’m going to say well done to my client who will know who they are but I can’t say for legal reasons (otherwise I have to say other clients are available a la` the BBC) for having to put two extra holes in the belt due to some awesome weight loss goings on-Yey!