Healthy eating plan participant Charlotte Grant"I am still in shock at the success of this healthy eating plan! I have lost over a stone and a half & my BMI & Body Fat are now normal."

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Hair in your Bread?

Do you know what bread consists off?  There is quite a discussion about this. As always there are advocates and opponents and lots of contradictory information. And to be honest … what could be the problem; generations have grown up with it? True but … also many people have become sick of it and still do daily nowadays … Time to take a closer look at bread. What is actually in it?


Ingredients in bread

In 99 out of 100 cases bread is made from cereals. Think of wheat, rye, spelt, rice, corn, etc. Many of these grains contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that makes the bread dough elastic and rise. And because the consumer is nowadays increasingly asking for (yet) more airy bread, additional gluten powder is added to the dough. In addition to being a rising agent, the gluten protein is also a flavour enhancer causing you to want to eat more. And we are not finished here. On top of that L-cysteine is added which keeps bread fresh for a week, it is a bread-enhancer. Very useful for the consumer and beneficial to the trade. Long-lasting bread reduces the cost of the production process, which ultimately yields more profit for the food industry. Logically, companies want to earn money. What I find less laudable is that money is being made over the back of the less knowledgeable and often good-natured consumer and that it can endanger his or her health. But bread is okay isn’t it? The whole-meal lobby unfortunately isn’t quite that honest with its message.


I’ hear you say: “I am not bothered about gluten and I can tolerate them very well”. I hear this a lot from my clients who come into the practice for the first time. People often think that as long as they do not have coeliac disease they can tolerate gluten. Coeliac sufferers (a long term autoimmune disorder primarily affecting the small intestine that occurs in people who are genetically predisposed) can absolutely not eat any bread, not even a crumb. They will get unbearable complaints such as chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distention, malabsorption, loss of appetite, and among children failure to grow normally. But for the majority of people gluten are just as harmful and complaints might only occur at a later age.

L-cysteine: the bread-enhancer

Bread is a stable in most people’s diet. But unless you’re buying limited batch loaves from a local bakery, chances are you won’t be able to be sure what’s in it. If you’re buying your loaf from a commercial producer, it’ll probably contain human hair. You heard. Amino acids are the building blocks of life, but they’re not all created in the same way. L-cysteine, for example, is an amino acid used to extend shelf-life in things like commercial, factory-made bread, and its most often synthesised from human hair (as well as duck feathers, cow horns and pig bristles). The hair—mostly gathered from the floors of hair salons in China, it seems—is dissolved in acid and, through chemical isolation; the L-cysteine is isolated, packed up and shipped off to commercial bread producers.

But I can’t miss my bread

Wheat has the ability to completely destroy your health. The big problem is that bread can be very addictive. In the past I also thought “Help, I cannot do without bread!” And many of my clients say the same: “What am I going to do without MY bread?” In practise however bread is hardly ever missed if you decide not to eat it any longer. I have a wonderful recipe for making bread; my chia nut bread which is sugar and gluten free (see My CookWright recipe book) And next year I will be able to offer ready made EatWright bread mixes to make life even easier for you.   Still loving that delicious fluffy and light bread that stays fresh for a week?  Please watch the video below. Not normal isn’t it? Duck feathers and human hair!!! Can it become crazier?

Has it always been like this?

That whole gluten story … has it always been like this? No certainly not. So why has this suddenly become more of a problem? It has only become a problem in the last 50 years. In the past, you had long-grassed wheat that waved in the wind, small grains and a low yield. But through modern science, spraying agents have been developed that makes the wheat grass shorter.  Short straw, bigger grains and more yield for the farmers as less earth is needed:  quite understandable. But this genetic engineering has increased the amount of gluten in wheat. Add the gluten powder and L-cysteine and you understand what the consequences will be for the health of the consumer.


What can the complaints be?

The short or long-term side effect of eating bread (gluten) may be:

  • Stimulation of appetite, and partly because of it
  • Obesity
  • Excessive increase in blood sugar levels and partly because of this
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Encourages inflammation
  • Has an acidifying effect on the body
  • Consequently, cartilage loss and
  • Bone injury
  • A disturbed immune system
  • Destruction of the intestinal flora
  • Consequently, in some cases coeliac disease
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cardiac disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Skin rash
  • Eliminating delusions, including schizophrenia

I realise that I am making some strong claims here. If you are in doubt and want to investigate these issues more I highly recommend you read: Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis, a prominent cardiologist.

What are the alternatives for bread?

Don’t make it too difficult or complicated; it’s really not worth it. I am a fan of salads or leftovers from a hot meal I had the day before. A lot of vegetable dishes are very suitable to be eaten cold or hot for lunch the next day. Nevertheless, there are always people who are really fond of their sandwiches. Then you can consider the bread baking mixes of The EatWright Plan that will be available soon or take a few gluten-free crackers or oatcakes to work. Alternatively few cold banana pancakes are ideal. Or maybe a cold omelette, a bowl of yoghurt or cottage cheese with nuts and fruit. There are plenty of options to replace your lunch.

Any questions or concerns; ping me a message and I will be very happy to give you advice.

Yours is good Health,



Obesity crisis among Children; 12 Tips for turning it around.

Unfortunately more and more children are overweight or obese. The latest research shows that more than 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they begin school. Almost 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. And obesity rates are highest in the most deprived 10% of the population – approximately twice that of the least deprived 10%. These are frightening statistics. Being obese or overweight as a child can have serious implications for the physical and mental health of a child, which can then follow on into adulthood. The numbers of children, who continue to have an unhealthy, and potentially dangerous, weight, is a national public health concern. In this article I want to take a closer look at the causes and consequences and whether children can really eat differently.

Children’s eating habits have changed over the years.  Burgers and snacks are available at many schools, or there are shops nearby where children go in the breaks to get sweets. In addition, many children spend more pocket money than before. For many children, food has become a stimulant and sometimes even a status symbol.

Whose fault is this?

Sometimes it is difficult to find out why children are overweight. There are several causes. Parents often do their best. There is one thing I want to make clear. It is not always the parents fault Most children will follow their parents example but if the parents do not know what is the ‘right’ thing to do, how can they be blamed.  Just look at how many different opinions there around on all kinds of health issues. Years ago we were told to eat less fat so we could lose weight; nowadays it is the other way around. And there is much more conflicting information around. Who do you believe and what is the right thing to do?

Is it the time we live in?

It is not easy to know what the healthiest food choices for your children are. Most people will by their groceries at the supermarket which is one big jungle. And the entire food industry is focused on child marketing. Have you noticed how products for children are advertised at their height? In addition, children move less than they did in the past. I still remember that when I used to play outside and my mom called me for dinner, I was really not happy. I always wanted to play outside for longer. And nowadays? You can’t get them to play outside; playing on the computer or tablet is far more interesting.

Can something be done?

You wonder if there’s a way back. I think it is not easy.  Parents need to be re-educated and informed so they know what food is best for their children. If they know and set an example, the children will follow. I see it as my mission to give lectures throughout the country to make people aware of the role of nutrition, exercise, a positive mind set, enough relaxation and what impact this can have on their health.  I’m 100% convinced that there’s a way back.

What are the causes of being overweight or obese?

Let’s have a look at what causes obesity, specifically in children:

  • Heredity
  • Nutrition
  • Drinking: children tend to drink more and more fizzy drinks and fruit juices. These are full of sugar.
  • The amount of sugar that children consume on a daily basis is a major contributing factor to gaining weight. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that sugary drinks account for 30% of 4 to 10 year olds’ daily sugar intake. Children’s consumption of added or processed sugars (non-milk extrinsic sugars) significantly exceeds the maximum recommended level. Their consumption of saturated fat, as part of their daily food energy, significantly exceeds the maximum recommended level of 11% of total food energy.
  • Advertising and temptations: The food industry plays an important role here. Marketing campaigns are aimed at tempting parents to buy things that they could better leave in the supermarket.
  • Children don’t exercise enough due to spending a lot of time on social media and computer games. Low levels of physical activity, and increased sedentary behaviours, of children and young people exacerbate the problems of poor diet and nutrition. In England, only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5 to 15 achieve recommended levels of physical activity. As children grow older, the decrease in activity levels is greater for girls than boys: 23% of girls aged 5 to 7 meet the recommended levels of activity, but by ages 13 to 15 only 8% still do.
  • Disturbance of the melatonin in our children due to using screens (laptop, phones and tablets). Not having a good night sleep can cause weight gain.
  • Depression again caused by disturbance of the melatonin levels. As a result, children are less able to relieve stress, which causes emotional eating, which causes the child becoming overweight and uncertain, which in turn causes depression. A vicious circle.
  • Medication
  • Setting a bad example. If parents set a good example the children will follow. But because they don’t know what is right or wrong either, you cannot be blaming them entirely.

What are the risks?

Obesity and being overweight are linked to a wide range of diseases, most notably:

  • diabetes (type 2)
  • asthma
  • hypertension
  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • stroke

Obesity is also associated with poor psychological and emotional health, poor sleep, and many children experience bullying linked to their weight. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.

Is there a way out?

I’m 100% convinced that there is a way out. I am sure that both parents and children can adopt a new lifestyle.

Here 12 tips that might help:

  1. Involve the children in the determining what to eat and in making a shopping list.
  2. Take your children with you to the supermarket and only buy what is on the shopping list.
  3. Teach children to read the labels.
  4. Make shopping fun and make a game out of it i.e. who is the first to find the carrots or I spy with my little eye etc.
  5. Make sure you fill your trolley with all the colours of the rainbow. The more colour in your choice of vegetables and fruits the better it is. Each fruit and vegetable contains different nutrients.
  6. Involve the children in preparing and cooking a meal.
  7. Give them ‘cool’ things to eat at school in ‘cool’ lunch boxes.
  8. Get them moving more. You could give them a pedometer and see who does the most steps.
  9. When they get treats given to them by others tell them not to eat it all at once and allow them to have one treat a day.
  10. Join in as a family and do not focus just on the child(ren).
  11. Reward the children when they are doing well by taking them to the cinema or park.
  12. Work with lots of colour and hide vegetables in soup.

I am therefore convinced that there really is a way back. The most important tip however is not to be too strict. The occasional sweet or fizzy drink is fine; it will not harm them. I allowed our children 1-2 treats a day consisting of a packet of crisps or/and a sweet.  What is important is that in their early years you create habits that don’t have them craving for sweet things so that they will be less in need of it later. They will benefit from this their entire life.

Please feel free to share this post with those you think might be interested.

To Better Health,

Leonie x

Worried about your waistline while on holiday; don’t be. 8 tips to help you.

At the beginning of this month my husband and I went on holiday to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It was in one word: fantastic. Beautiful scenery, lovely people and delicious food. We had a fabulous time although it was very hot: around 30 degrees most days but I wore my sun hat, sun cream and my new sunglasses to protect me from the rays. The emphasis is on new sunglasses as on the way to the airport I realised that I forgot to pack them. Wearing contact lenses, I absolutely need them otherwise I get headaches. So I bought myself a trendy, new pair at Gatwick airport.

So where am I going with this story you might think? Well, that it is really important to plan and prepare what you take on holiday, the same you need to do when you’re changing your lifestyle in order to get healthier and feel great again. If you don’t plan and prepare the foods you are going to eat beforehand, you will most certainly make, or will be forced to make, the ‘wrong’ choice and go for the unhealthy food options. I’m referring of course to those which are highly addictive and full of refined sugar, bad fats and salt. The funny thing is that I had planned what to bring food-wise but then I forgot my sunglasses, which shows you where my priorities lie!

Typically when we go away on holiday, many of us are concerned about eating and drinking more than we would at home. We’re out of our normal routine and don’t know if we can find the healthy foods that we are used to and which are available at home.

How can you minimise weight gain and maybe even return home lighter?

With these 8 Tips you can enjoy your holiday without feeling guilty or have any nasty surprises upon your return.

  1. Bring emergency provisions. I always bring some food with me that I can have in case I am hungry when “out and about”. These are, just to mention a few, nuts, seeds, a couple of tins with fish and some small individually wrapped little pieces of low fat cheese.
  2. Breakfast. What do you eat for breakfast when at home? Porridge? Yoghurt with seeds and fruit? All fine. Why should you change that for a croissant, a glass of orange juice, a piece of fruit and a slice of toast with marmalade? A breakfast like this will cause an enormous spike in your blood sugar level, you will feel tired and you risk putting on weight. Choose eggs, scrambled, boiled or as an omelette with vegetables, plain yoghurt with fruit and or nuts for breakfast and you will be full of energy to take on the day.
  3. Snacks. When you have had a healthy breakfast you will not need a cake with your 11.00 am coffee or tea. However if you feel peckish take some nuts (30g), a boiled egg or a piece of fruit with you. That way you avoid that tempting piece of cake or ice cream.
  4. All-inclusive resort. When staying in a resort where food is included and available all day, choose to eat fish, chicken or meat, vegetables or salad or fruit from the buffet rather than the tempting desserts and biscuits. Plan the times you want to eat beforehand to avoid grazing all day and don’t over eat.
  5. Eating out. Going out for a meal often means having a pizza, fish and chips, a burger etc. When eating out try the following:
    1. avoid bread and butter before your meal,
    2. drink a glass of water with every glass of alcohol,
    3. choose a protein such as fish, meat or chicken as a main course and combine with vegetables or a salad
    4. avoid chips, potatoes, white rice and pasta. They contain starch which will be transferred into sugar once in the body and therefore will raise your blood sugar level.
  6. Alcohol. Lovely to sit down and relax with a cocktail, a glass of wine or a beer. It is just such a shame that these drinks contain loads of sugar and that the body doesn’t like it as much as you do. It will try to flush out the alcohol as soon as it can and will use the water in your body to do so. This can cause dehydration. Be careful with alcohol consumption and drink lots of water. Allow yourself a fixed number of drinks and don’t drink before dinner. Start your day with 2 large glasses of lukewarm water and have a glass of water every time before you eat.
  7. Exercise. Stay active while on holiday. Here is how:
    1. Explore your surroundings by foot or bike and when visiting a town or village go on foot. You avoid the traffic jams and buses with sweaty tourists
    2. Go for a swim and do some lengths. Avoid hanging at the pool bar!
    3. Participate in beach activities.
    4. Keep on the move; it will give you more satisfaction. You will see more of your surroundings, you will burn off excess energy and you will feel a lot fitter.
  8. Enjoy and don’t go on a diet. If you assume you will put on weight while on holiday and plan to go on a diet once you’re home, you give yourself permission to eat what you feel like. This is called the ‘last supper syndrome’. Do you recognise this? You are allowing yourself to eat and drink as much as you like and as a result you will have put on a stone in weight rather than the 4 pounds you expected to put on. It is not a problem because once you’re back home you will sort yourself out and go on a diet. Please don’t!

My advice is to follow the 80/20 rule; if you eat healthily for 80% of the time then you may eat less healthily for the other 20%.

I hope you find these tips helpful and if you have any other tips you would like to share please do let me know.

Enjoy your well-deserved break. After all holiday is a time for relaxation and rest and not for worries.

Gluten Free or Not: what is all the fuss about?

Before 1996 not many people were aware that feeling bloated or tired, dizziness, swelling of your joints or mood issues could be caused by gluten.

What is it and should you avoid it?

Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The prevalence of wheat and wheat products, especially processed and refined varieties, have led to a greater percentage of the population developing gluten intolerance or an allergy to gluten.

I am sure that if you have made biscuits or baked bread, you know that the dough sticks to your fingers – this is caused by gluten. Gluten makes bread rise and is also used as a filler and binding agent in many processed foods. Did you know, for example, that tomato ketchup has gluten in it?


Coeliac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance and is in fact a gluten allergy – a serious digestive disorder that is increasing all the time. For someone who has coeliac disease, gluten causes an immune reaction that targets the intestinal villi. These finger-like projections are responsible for nutrient absorption. The damage flattens the villi over time so malnutrition is a serious result of coeliac disease. Around one per cent of Britons have it and they face a string of debilitating symptoms including vomiting, nerve problems, anaemia, inflammation and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Some estimates put the proportion of adults adhering to gluten-free diets in the UK at more than 12 per cent.

Gluten Intolerance is 30 times more prevalent than coeliac disease. 1 in 7 people are sensitive to gluten and suffer many of the same symptoms, albeit to a lesser extent, as those suffering from coeliac disease. People of European or Anglo-Celtic ancestry are more likely to have gluten intolerance or coeliac disease in their families.

If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and even constipation.
  2. ‘Chicken skin’ on the back of your arms. This tends be as a result of a fatty acid and vitamin A deficiency, secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple Sclerosis.
  5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or a feeling of being off-balance.
  6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
  7. Migraine headaches.
  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

How can you test if you’re gluten intolerant?

The best way is to eliminate any products containing gluten from your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better. This is what the famous tennis player Novak Djokovic did; as a result he increased his energy levels and mid-match collapses were a thing of the past.

If you want to avoid gluten, stay away from the following:

  • Wheat—including barley, einkorn, emmer, rye and spelt;
  • Wheat Products: bran, bromated flour, durum flour, enriched flour, farina, phosphate flour, plain flour, self-rising flour, and white flour;
  • Beer and ale;
  • Malt.

What can you eat if you want to eat gluten-free:


Foods that are branded “gluten-free” should not always be considered healthy substitutes to regular food because they often contain high amounts of fat and sugar and low levels of protein. Check the label carefully before you make your purchase!

Give it a go and see what happens

Most of us are not aware that we might be gluten intolerant. You might have health issues and eating too much gluten could be the cause of it. As mentioned, I would recommend you try to omit gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks and then slowly re-introduce it step by step. See if you notice any difference. You might feel more energetic, you might no longer feel bloated as often as you previously did, or you might notice an improvement in a health issue you might have. Give it a try.

If you need any help with cutting gluten out of your diet, let me know and I can help you on your way.

A Simple Elixir to Better Health.

65% of your body consists of water and your brain is made up of about 75% of water. That is why it is very important to keep yourself well hydrated. And I am afraid smoothies, fruit juices and coffee simply won’t do. In this blog I will explain what dehydration is, what the symptoms are and what you can do about it. The solution is simple and just one change away.

What is dehydration?

Water plays a large part in your normal functions, such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and facilitating proper digestion. Once the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can affect the way you will perform.

If your body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.

Dehydration happens when you’ve lost too much water in your body without replacing it, preventing your body to perform its normal functions. Mild dehydration can easily be treated but if it reaches extreme levels, it can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Unfortunately we are no longer in tune with our body as much as our ancestors were and very often we do not recognise the symptoms of dehydration.

The major symptoms of dehydration are the obvious ones like:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Sweating too much
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Feeling tired

But some symptoms are more difficult to recognise as symptoms of dehydration and they are:

  • Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Autoimmune disease such as chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis
  • Premature aging
  • High cholesterol and High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Joint pain or stiffness

So what causes dehydration?

There are various reasons for dehydration of which intense physical activity is the obvious one as by sweating you lose a lot of water. Other causes are:

  • Diarrhoea. It prevents your intestinal tract from absorbing water from the foods that you eat, which makes it the most common cause of dehydration.
  • Vomiting. Common causes include food-borne illnesses, nausea, and alcohol poisoning
  • Sweating. Vigorous sweating may happen due to various reasons like fever and engaging in intense physical activity. Profuse sweating can also occur when you are working in a hot condition.
  • Diabetes. Aside from having high blood sugar levels, some medications for diabetes like diuretics may cause diabetics to frequently urinate.
  • Frequent urination.It can be cause by alcohol and certain drugs like antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and anti-psychotics.

Which people are most at risk?

Of course everyone can be prone to dehydration but there are certain people that are at higher risk than others. People such as athletes and mountain climbers (due to the high altitude and its’ pressure they will lose more sweat and breath harder), infants and children, the elderly and people who are ill.

So how do we prevent dehydration?

Since dehydration can be a life-threatening condition, it is important that you replenish your body with water immediately after you’ve lost so much. Water plays an immense role in your bodily functions, making it an essential part of your everyday life.

Always bring a bottle of water with you during exercise or any physical activity, especially when the temperature’s too hot. The above bottle is stainless steel and BPA free and can be purchased true A Fine Choice. One good rule of thumb to prevent dehydration is to drink as much water until your urine turns light yellow. Dark urine means that your kidney is retaining liquids in order for your body to perform its normal functions.

It is especially important to pay attention to people who are sick with fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea, so they may not become dehydrated. They should be given lots of water to replace the liquids that they’ve lost.

And as I said before smoothies, fruit juices and sport drinks do not count towards hydrating your body. They can contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar and sugar substitutes which are extremely damaging to the body and ultimately may make you feel thirsty again. And I am afraid coffee and caffeinated teas also do not count as water; they actually dehydrate your body. That is why the Italians serve a glass or water with their espresso!

Dehydration is preventable if you develop a regular daily habit of drinking 30ml per kg/2 pounds you weigh, per day,  which converts into 2-2 ½ litre of purified water.

Most of us simply do not drink enough water to stay hydrated.

In addition, the type of water you drink does make a difference. Mineral balance in the body is also essential for proper hydration. Thus, it is important to drink water that is mineral rich rather than de-mineralized water.

Filtered water can hydrate the body up to six times more effectively than regular water and it is free from chemicals, toxic metal salts, hormones and pesticides.

So start drinking healthy water and buy that filter. Cheers!

If you need any help or advice on improving your health through food by reducing your sugar intake, contact me