Don’t Cut Out Food Groups
The biggest mistake I see women making with their diet is cutting out food groups without a medical reason, or following faddy diets. There is something called ‘biochemical individuality’, meaning we are all different – one woman’s meat is another woman’s poison. You cannot cut out a food group without getting tested for intolerances or allergies, both of which are genuine reasons for cutting something out. If you do all of this on your own accord, however, you risk becoming deficient in vital nutrients. If you are keen to cut back on a food group for whatever reason, try to cut back on portion size instead of eliminating it completely. For example, I find cow’s milk doesn’t agree with me but can still eat a small amount of cheese and yoghurt. Keep it small and not too often, and the body will tolerate it better.
Think About Your Blood Sugar
Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is fundamental to good health. If you are constantly tired, this is a key sign your levels are out of whack. Try to cut back on processed foods and consider taking Jambola by Physica Energetics, a natural supplement that is proven to promote normal blood glucose levels and reduce the tendency to insulin resistance.
Invest In A Multivitamin
Think of a multivitamin like an insurance policy – we could all do with a helping hand because no one’s diet is perfect and it’s good to cover all bases. Aim for a full-spectrum multinutrient such as ONE by Pure Encapsulations or Biocare’s Adult Multivitamin and Minerals.
Up Your Vitamin D
Due to a lack of sunlight in the UK throughout the winter months, it could be worth taking a supplement, and your GP can test your levels if you think you're deficient. When the sun does come out, try to get outside first thing in the morning, without any sun cream for around 30 minutes as the best way to absorb vitamin D is through the skin. Mushrooms are also a potent source of vitamin D2. Try to pop your mushrooms on a windowsill so they can absorb the sun’s rays – this will boost their vitamin D content.
Trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chromium, selenium, iron and zinc may not seem as important as your standard ‘vitamins’, but they are crucial for countless bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood pressure balance, healthy bones, teeth, immunity and energy. Beans, grains, nuts and seeds, avocado, tofu, cheese, shellfish and even dark chocolate are all rich in essential minerals – eat more of these.
Aim For 7-A-Day
You should be aiming to eat around seven portions of vegetables per day. At every meal, around half your plate should be plant-based. When it comes to nutrition, the aim of the game is to keep inflammation at bay; increasing your antioxidant levels is an easy way to do this. Try to eat the rainbow every day.
Give Your Gut Some TLC
You’ve heard it before, but looking after your gut is vital for optimal health. Around 70% of your immune system lives in your gut, so it is crucial to keep your healthy bacteria thriving. Include plenty of probiotic foods in your diet – think kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso and beans – as well as prebiotic foods, which feed the good bacteria and reduce inflammation. Good sources of prebiotics include asparagus, bananas, chicory, onions, garlic and leeks. If you feel your gut is compromised (this can be because of stress, grief, illness or countless other reasons) it could be worth trying Symprove. If you have just been on a course of antibiotics or have been under the weather, try VSL 3. If you tend to suffer from tummy troubles when travelling, take Flora Syntropy by Physica Energetics a week or two before you head off, and throughout your trip – this is a shelf-stable probiotic so won’t need refrigeration, which is ideal for travelling.
Far too many women are not drinking enough water. If you weigh 60kg, aim for three litres daily. Remember you are constantly losing fluids through sweat, urine and breathing.
Don’t Neglect Carbs
Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel and should account for 45-65% of your diet. Ensure you are eating the right kind of carbs, ideally from plants, complex starches and wholegrains. When serving yourself at mealtimes, around a quarter of your plate should be made up of healthy carbs: around two heaped tablespoons of cooked grains – such as quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice – or sweet or root vegetables is the ideal portion size, but feel free to increase this if you are very active.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
If you don’t wake up hungry, don’t force yourself to eat, but it’s worth prepping something to have mid-morning to save you from reaching for unhealthy snacks. Even something as simple as a boiled egg with some grapefruit or a breakfast smoothie made from oats, flaxseeds, almond milk, some nut butter and berries is a great place to start. If you are very active or conscious of your protein intake, try adding a tablespoon of Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder.
Know the ‘Dirty Dozen’
The benefits of organic food are well documented – fewer pesticides, better nutrition and kinder to the environment – but you don’t need to buy organic everything. The ‘dirty dozen’ is a global ranking of the fruits and vegetables that absorb the most pesticides. The list is updated annually, but the same culprits crop up year in, year out, with strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, tomatoes and potatoes up there. On the flip side, foods like avocados, pineapples, onions, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli and mushrooms tend to carry fewer pesticides and are referred to as the ‘Clean 15’.
Don’t Be Afraid To Snack
Another mistake I see women making with their diet is obsessively counting calories and then ‘forgetting’ about the calories in alcohol and other drinks like lattes and smoothies, which tend to offer minimal nutrition. Instead, think about your snacks. My favourites include: slices of chicken or cheese wrapped in lettuce leaves; a handful of nuts with a crispy apple; and carrots or cucumber with a portion of hummus or guacamole. Mint dark chocolate with coffee or green tea is also a great idea for an afternoon snack.
Don’t Ditch Alcohol
There is absolutely a place for alcohol in the diet. In fact, research has suggested moderate drinking is correlated with lower stress levels and may help you live longer. I would just advise sticking to weekends, high days and holidays, otherwise it becomes habitual drinking.
Try Alternative Therapies
I am a huge fan of colonics. They are a great way to clear a compromised gut and make way for the good bacteria to thrive. A colonic can kick-start a healthy lifestyle, relieving bloating, IBS and constipation, and boosting your ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Reflexology is also a great way to improve hormonal balance, while infrared saunas can improve circulation and boost metabolism. Manual lymphatic drainage, meanwhile, will strengthen the immune system and improve skin conditions.
Shop Amanda’s top supplement picks here…
Find Amanda at the Khera Griggs Cleanse Clinic at UrbanRetreat.co.uk. *Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programmes.