Happy New Year Everyone!
If you are a regular customer and have been visiting my website regularly, you will have seen quite a few changes over the last year. A new design (thank you www.blacknovadesigns.co.uk) and then a change of direction for Alexis Prior Nutrition in the last quarter, to focus on my tribe – Women over 40 – and the health challenges we face, whether that’s hormone imbalances, digestive health issues, or more complex areas such as autoimmune conditions.
I also completed the Institute For Functional Medicine – Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice module, for which I’m proudly displaying my badge on my Home Page. It is my intention to complete the other Advanced Practice Modules with a view to full certification in the coming years.
With a view to helping more people towards optimum health in an affordable way, I launched 2 group programmes.
Firstly, my Hot Women groups, aimed at surviving the menopause and finding support and laughter from other like-minded people experiencing the same thing! This is an informative and fun 5-week course, based around Bath and Corsham. Details of further dates to be confirmed.
Then this year sees the first official round of Fresh Start – a 3-week online programme aimed at getting back on track with, or starting, a healthy eating plan, whilst identifying key food sensitivities, adding to your repertoire of go-to delicious and healthy recipes, and enjoying the support of 2 Nutritional Therapists (myself and Amanda Ryder) and a community of other Fresh Starters. We’re very excited about this, our pilot scheme went brilliantly and we look forward to helping more people feel great throughout 2019. Our first one starts 14th January, and there will be more throughout the year. Email me on [email protected] if you’d like to book now.
With an upgrade to my website comes the opportunity to start this new blog. I will be focussing on the health of women over 40 and will cover a wide range of topics with focus on practical tips and advice, a mixture of education, advice, ideas, recipes, recommendations and general pointers to help you move towards the healthiest lifestyle possible.
So with this in mind, here’s my 5 simple top tips for surviving January!
1. Cut Out The Sugar! – Sorry about that, let’s get that out of the way first! It seriously messes with our hormone balance, energy, mood and digestive systems, not to mention the size of our midriff. It forces us to produce more of the hormone insulin to clear the sugar from our blood stream and insulin is a driver of inflammatory conditions, whether that’s arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, other autoimmune conditions, mental health issues or obesity.
If you’re brave, go cold turkey. If you need to gradually wean off the white stuff, here’s some tips
- Try tea with liquorice in for a sweet taste – Pukka teas mostly have liquorice in them and it can be a calming herb
- Replace mince pies with a portion of whole fruit – maximum 3 portions a day with your main meal. Yes, there’s fruit sugar in there, but there’s also wonderful vitamins and fibre which will support your immune system – more benefits than negatives if you eat the fruit whole.
- Have a snack of a small handful of pecans, almonds or pistachios which do have a natural sweetness and will support hormone balance
- Replace the dairy milk with 100% chocolate – I like Montezumas 100%. I promise you that whilst it’s bitter to start with, if you slowly let it melt in the mouth, after a while you can sense the natural sweetness and you get an amazing chocolate hit from a square or two. Chocolate is rich in polyphenols which support our helpful gut bacteria (our micro biome)
2. Breathe! – I know, but it’s seriously under-rated! Breathing well and mindfully can support our digestion, calm us down, energise us and help us distract ourselves from sugar cravings (well it’s worth a go!)
- If you have 1 minute try a simple 4:8 breathing pattern. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, a straight back and relax your shoulders. Breathe in for a slow count of 4, hold a while and then out for a slow, gentle count of 8 without forcing, and whilst further relaxing your body. Repeat at least 5-10 times. This simple technique helps put us in parasympathetic mode (a relaxed state), rather than the sympathetic (go, go, go state) that we’re normally rushing around in. If you suffer with digestive discomfort, doing this before your meal will help optimise your digestive function.
- If you have 10 minutes, a short meditation using an App will help. There are so many free apps to chose from. Insight Timer has thousands of free meditations so you can choose the style and voice that you prefer!
3. Get outside as often as possible – Even if it’s a 10-minute walk at lunch time. Being in nature, especially in wooded areas or by water really gives us a lift, which in turn supports a reduction in stress and helps our immune systems function well.
4. Eat protein with each meal – This will help balance blood sugar which in turn supports hormone balance, energy and mood. Aim for a quarter of your plate to be good quality protein. Organic or wild (animal protein) if possible – poultry, fish, meat, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, good quality collagen powder or protein powder (in smoothies). This is one of the most simple and effective strategies for anyone struggling with energy issues.
5. Move in different ways! – If you have been cooped up over Xmas and you’re feeling a bit stiff, there are things you can do at home to get some movement back into your life, even if you are embarking on a new exercise regime.
- Put your favourite music on while you’re cooking or pottering – dance around like a loon (maybe close the curtains first) wave your arms, swing your pants and gyrate. This will make you (and your family) smile and will loosen you up.
- If you’re hibernating and reading or watching TV in the evenings, try sitting on the floor. I’ve personally been trying a bit of ‘ground dwelling’ recently. Sitting and lying on the floor isn’t brilliantly comfortable to start with so you’ll find yourself moving around quite a bit, which can give you a natural stretch and a bit of a massage especially in your glutes and hips. I’m more likely to do some natural stretches whilst I’m there, which is something I still struggle to incorporate into a daily routine. If you can get up off the floor without using hands, knees or elbows you get brownie points!
- If you haven’t come across Dr Rangan Chatterjee – check out his 5-minute kitchen workout which is a series of easy movements that can literally be done whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.
I hope you find these tips helpful and that they help you get through a tough month. Do let us know if you can share any other healthy tips for surviving January!
With very best wishes