Fit Body Fresh Mind
Maddy
12:42 AM

Is meat good or bad? My honest opinion.

So I don´t know about you but I feel like saying that you´re a meat eater doesn´t seem to go down so well these days. Most of us will at least have one vegan friend who will bombard us with guilt and try and convince us to follow their path. Now I totally believe that we could all do with reducing our consumption of meat but I don´t think going vegetarian or vegan is for all of us. It´s certainly not for me...

I agree that the way animals are being treated in slaughterhouses is shocking and I don´t agree with any of the suffering they are being put through before ending up on our plates. I don´t think it´s good for our environment to be such large consumers of meat, nor that it´s particularly beneficial to our health. But instead of trying to convert myself and others to becoming strict vegetarians or vegans, I think the solution lies in becoming more mindful of our consumption of animal products, both when it comes to the quantities and the sourcing of it.

All the way through history meat has been considered a luxury and something we enjoyed occasionally as part of festivities or on a special night of the week, like Sunday roasts. The trouble is that in recent years as our demand for meat has grown, so has the supply for cheap meat, so now we´re knocking back chicken breasts and steaks like it was going out of fashion, which it hopefully is.

In my work as a Health Coach, I often get asked if meat is good or bad. My answer is always that it depends on where you get your meat from and how much of it you eat. If you get 2 Euros/USD/GBP steaks at the supermarket for your supper 5 days a week, it´s probably not going to be the best quality meat. You´re probably eating a mix of hormones & antibiotics that have been given to a cow that has lived its life in conditions similar to those of a concentration camp. Now if we really are what we eat, which I believe we are, then eating that cow is not going to make you the happiest, healthiest person on Earth.

If on the other hand, we could all be a bit more mindful of the sourcing of our meat and be prepared to spend the extra money by getting free range chicken (preferably from a farmer who actually lets his chickens run free) and doing so less occasionally, then I think we might be on to something. This would benefit the farmers who haven´t bought into factory farming, make a difference for our planet, for our health & for the wellbeing of the animals before they get killed.

Meat has come under a lot of fire recently because of its supposedly bad effect on our health but I think we should be mindful of not throwing out the baby with the bath water here. Yes most of us are consuming too much of it but I also think it´s been creating havoc on our health because of the way it is being produced today! Every time we eat meat we also ingest all the products that these poor animals are being injected with to grow faster and to survive long enough until they are ready to get killed. We are what we eat eats.

Hence why it´s probably worth noting that most cows these days are being fed grains even though they are not designed for this and that it´s creating havoc on their digestion... So they are being given drugs. A grass fed cow will not be subject to these problems. The nutritional value between a grain & grass fed cow differs too. The nutritional value of grass fed beef generally contain LESS TOTAL FAT but up to 5 times MORE HEALTHY FATS in the form of Omega 3s than grain fed beef. So going grass fed is definitely a better choice when it comes to your health, and theirs.

For moral reasons, I truly wish I could say that I don´t eat any animal products but after a few weeks on a vegan diet I start feeling weak, even though I´m always mindful of eating a lot of protein in the form of lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, quinoa & hemp. I just feel like there´s something missing and I feel much stronger, more alert and have more energy as soon as I reintroduce a tiny bit of chicken, fish, meat or eggs, even just one or two servings a week. 

It might have to do with the fact that I´m a blood type O which means I´m a natural "meat-eater" and strive on a hunter-gatherer style diet. Blood type As strive on grains and often find it easier to let go of animal products but it really depends from one person to another. The best way to find out is to experiment for yourself and see how it makes you feel. 

So in essence I don´t think meat is bad for us but I think our overconsumption of it and modern farming is where the problem lies. And the only way we can do anything about this is to reduce our consumption and to be more mindful of where we source from. I ´ve reduced my consumption of animal products by 90% in the past 4 to 5 years so it´s a slow process but I feel much better for it. Even though I´m a carnivore, I was having way too much of it and by replacing most of it with vegan sources and only keeping it as an occasional treat, I feel lighter, my digestion has improved and so have my energy levels. I hope this inspires you to do the same.

Maddy
6:45 AM

Why I decided to become a Health Coach

Even though I studied Politics and thought I would make my career working for the UN, I´ve always been passionate about health & fitness and working as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach makes me feel like I´ve finally found my vocation. 

Supporting others in feeling better in their bodies and getting rid of any symptoms by improving their diet & lifestyle is something I really love and I feel I was made for. But I didn´t get to this point without having to go through my own struggles first. So here is a little glimpse of what it took!

When I was in my early twenties I was a bit obsessed with eating healthy. I was eating “low fat” & “low calorie” foods and working out to “burn calories” yet I was feeling like crap. I was obsessed with my health yet I was feeling worse than ever and suffering from candida. Candida overgrowth is a common condition that relates to imbalances in the gut flora.

After several rounds of medication, I got referred to a naturopath who suggested the cause of my disease was in my diet. Needless to say that this came as a massive surprise since I thought I was eating very healthy. It turned out that even though most of the food I was eating was labeled as healthy, it couldn´t be further from it. It was actually what was feeding my disease!

After two consultations with the naturopath I got sent home with a piece of paper saying I needed to eliminate all sugar, caffeine, gluten and dairy from my diet for a year. I was allowed 1 piece of fruit a day and told to be creative. Thanks.

I was in pieces and I had no idea where to start but I was determined to give it a shot since I really wanted to feel better. The first 3 weeks were tough. I had no clue what to eat and the first week I felt like a druggie because I was craving sugar so bad. I was moody, angry and had no one to turn to for support but I was determined to see things through.

Within less than a month, all my symptoms completely disappeared and along with it the bloating, the extra weight & the fatigue. Suddenly I started feeling lighter and my mind cleared up. Every day I started waking up a little fresher and slowly I was starting to feel much happier again. It was like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders, and my belly.

I´ve never really been fat but in those days I had some stubborn puppyfat stuck around my waist that had been causing me some grief but that suddenly vanished. My body had finally gotten rid of the toxins that were making me ill and I was back to being happy & full of beans again.

Even though the benefits were huge, the road there was not the easiest. I had very little support and was pretty much left to my own devices so I started devouring books, trying new recipes and learning as much as I could about how food can either cause or cure inflammation in our bodies. I realized that a lot of the information we are being fed by the media and the food industry today is extremely confusing and most often doesn't benefit our health.

Sure you might lose some weight by eating powders, pills or diet bars but will it really benefit your health? No. This is why I wanted to develop a program that would help others with the prime objective of improving their health & happiness, not just to lose weight. The weight loss becomes the byproduct. Once the inflammation reduces as a result of a healthier diet, our digestion improves and everything starts working better so the weight comes off naturally.

Chronic inflammation is the underlying issue to most diseases and also the reason why many people are holding on to unwanted weight. I wasn´t carrying those extra 5kgs because I wasn´t working out enough or because I was eating too many calories. I was running up to 70kms a week, going to the gym every day and eating less than 2000 calories a day. The reason I was sick & carrying a little extra weight was because I was eating the wrong foods and putting my body under too much stress from the toxins they contained but also from overtraining.

It took me a long time to make sense of this because we are all led to believe that fat storage is a result of too many calories in V not enough calories out. While this might be true if you study a mechanical engine, it doesn´t work for humans because we have so much else going on that affects how we burn calories including what we eat, our emotions and how many toxins our bodies are trying to process at the same time.

It´s been over 8 years since I turned around my diet and even though the first few weeks were hard, I would never go back to the way I was eating and training before. It was way too hard work and too frustrating. Now I´ve realized what my body is meant to feel like and I´ve connected the dots between eating crap & feeling like crap there is no turning back.

I still sometimes have a little something I know might not be the best for my health like ice cream or chocolate cake but I do so without any feelings of guilt or shame. I know that most of the foods I choose to eat are good for me so the little exceptions here & there are not going to mess that up.

It feels liberating to finally be free from calorie counting & worrying about fat content and to focus my attention on eating foods that make me healthy & happy instead! I´ve probably had a little cold only 2 or 3 times in the past 8 years which is a massive change since I would pick up every single bug when I was younger.

Every time we eat we have the choice to either enhance inflammation or reduce it and even though it´s an evolving journey, I´ve finally come to understand what works for me. And this is what I help others achieve too. It´s not so much about the quantities that we eat as it is about the quality of our food. Knowing what is good for our bodies and what isn´t is an individual journey but one I am passionate about leading others onto.

Keen on finding out what a healthier diet could do for you? I am currently offering a 50% discount on discovery calls. You can fill in a health history form and sign up for a call here.

Maddy
8:47 AM

Eat alive food, not dead food


If it doesn't go bad, don't eat it. Why? Because "dead" foods generally offer very little in terms of nutrition and sometimes contain artificial substances that extend their shelf life but can screw up our digestive & endocrine system.

By "dead" food I mean processed, packaged, artificially colored food stuff like replacement bars or breakfast cereals. These foods may taste ok and have lots of wonderful health claims on them but some of them shouldn't even be called food because they will actually do more harm than good to our health.


In recent years we have seen an incredible rise in “lifestyle induced” diseases like diabetes, obesity, infertility, cancer and more. It is hard to ignore the correlation between the rising popularity of “modern food” and these illnesses and the link between our health and the quality of the food we eat.

By choosing foods that are “alive”, we provide our bodies with nutrients in a form that is natural and that our bodies can process. These types of food don´t only contribute to our overall state of health but to our longevity too. 

By alive foods I mean foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. These types of food grow in the dirt, or on a tree or come from the sea or walk on legs. Think broccoli or sweet potatoes, or eggs or wild salmon or even some packaged foods like nut butter (provided that they only contain nuts and maybe a hint of salt). These foods are rich in antioxidants which helps reduce ageing and benefit our immune system too! 

The concept of living on “alive” foods may seem overwhelming at first as it sometimes requires some planning but generally the way I start with clients is that I encourage them to replace their packaged meals with “alive” foods one step at a time. Instead of grabbing a berry & nut snack bar, they´ll have a handful of berries & some almonds for example. And instead of eating a packaged cereal for breakfast, they´ll make a smoothie with ingredients that are “alive” such as berries, avocado, banana, coconut & almond butter for example. For some inspiration, check out my very berry smoothie recipe here!

There are tons of ways we can replace “dead” foods with antioxidant rich, nutritious & natural food. I recently made a spaghetti recipe replacing the “dead” pasta with some courgetti. It was super easy to make, tasted badass and the recipe can be found here.

Start with one meal at the time and steadily you will start feeling the benefits in the form of better digestion, more energy, clearer skin & less hunger! Yes by filling up on nutrient rich foods your body will start asking for less of it and no longer be reliant on the toxic hunger caused by some “modern foods”.

So go ahead, give it a go! Summer is the best time of the year for it since we have so many wonderful fruits & vegetables to replace the “dead” food with!

Want some personalised support? Fill out a health form & book a 50´discovery call with me to get inspired & empowered to start living a healthier life now!

Maddy x 

Integrative Nutrition
10:25 AM

Take the Breakfast Experiment

In the world of modern nutrition, almost everyone is on one diet or another, and people dwell on fats, proteins, and lists of “good” and “bad” foods. Low fat, low carb, Paleo, vegan, Atkins…. Read More

Maddy
3:35 PM

Why everyone can benefit from a Health Coach... including you!



I often get asked what the difference is between a Health Coach and a Dietitian or a Nutritionist and I guess the short answer is that as a Health Coach I look at a bigger picture than just the food on your plate. I help my clients make improvements to all the elements that affect their wellbeing including sleep, stress, hydration & exercise as well.

Most of us already have a rough idea of what we should be doing to improve our diet but a lot of the times we fail to take the steps required because we forget what our motivations are and we don´t have anyone to be accountable to. A lot of the times we´ll also take the most extreme measures to “detox” or lose weight only to give up a few days later because it´s not compatible with our social life, or our life in general and that we decide that being happy is more important than eating "healthy" and being miserable.


This is where a Health Coach can step in and help you understand your motivations and make changes that are sustainable and suit YOUR unique needs. Everyone is different and today´s constant stream of information about diets, superfoods and coconut oil craziness can get very confusing. Through my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I haven´t just learned about over 100 dietary theories, I´ve also been trained to coach my clients by abiding to the following principles:

·      Bio individuality: One person´s food can be another person´s poison. We are all unique and what works for you may not work for your neighbor nor for your sister or brother. My job is to help you discover which foods make you strive and which ones wear you down. There are some general guidelines that are true for everyone (we can all benefit from eating less crap a.k.a processed food & sugar) but we all react differently to meat, whole grains and certain other foods too.

·      Primary food: We´ve all been there… we feel like crap and we reach for the tub of ice-cream, a glass (or a bottle…) of wine or our favorite snack. We´re not hungry, we just need something to make ourselves feel a little better.  As a Health Coach I help my clients address the issues that are making them feel crap at times so that they don´t reach for food (or booze) for comfort. Some of the areas we work together to seek improvements to are relationships, exercise & careers but also having a spiritual practice like meditation if the client is open to this. When we are fulfilled in all these areas in our lives, we are less likely to reach for food for comfort. The food we eat becomes secondary.

·      Practical information: So you need to add more greens to your diet but besides boiling broccoli you´re not feeling so creative about it? This is where I provide you with lots of easy, delicious and quick recipes that suit your unique needs and tips for what to order when you eat out as well. I will even write you a shopping list or if you´re one of my VIP clients I will come over to your house and empty your kitchen of any crap to replace it with healthy ingredients along with super duper easy recipes for you to make on a whim. Or if you´re lucky enough to have a private chef who prepares your food, I will consult with them to consistently improve your diet to suit YOUR specific needs.

·      Empowerment: My objective is not just to give you a list of foods to eat & not to eat but to empower you with the knowledge you need to make better choices for yourself, forever. Once you will have experienced what it´s like to nourish yourself with foods that truly make you feel lighter, happier & more energised, you will no longer want to eat the foods that were wearing you down and you will understand why. We really are what we eat so improving your diet will not only improve your digestion, your weight & your skin but your thoughts and your energy levels too!

So in short, my job is to get to know my clients the best I can and to be their biggest cheerleader in their quest to become healthier & happier by providing them with all the motivation, accountability, knowledge & practical advice they need to do so!

Sounds like something of interest to you? I have different packages to suit all budgets & needs. Find out more by signing up for an initial consultation at a 50% discount here

Integrative Nutrition
8:47 AM

Yes, There’s Plastic in Your Seafood

Researchers have been warning about the dangers of ocean pollution – especially the accumulation of plastic – for decades. However, it is only recently that comprehensive studies have begun to emerge showing just how contaminated life in the ocean has become. Read More

Integrative Nutrition
12:23 PM

Forest Bathing: What It Is and Why It's Healthy

Wellness trends come and go, but we can always look to nature for timeless wisdom that’ll never go out of style. If you’ve taken a walk in the woods lately, you probably know what we mean. Read More

Maddy
1:13 AM

How to get a good night sleep even after a shitty day!

Go to bed happy

What are your last thoughts before you go to sleep? Are they positive? Or are they anxious and negative?

Did you know that the quality of the thoughts you have before you go to sleep will not only affect the quality of your sleep but also the mood you are likely to wake up in?

This is why having positive thoughts before going to bed is so important! I've been practicing gratitude before I go to sleep ever since I read the book "The monk who sold his Ferrari" (if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!).

Gratitude practice is a fancy name for a very simple practice. Basically all you do is take a few minutes of your time to focus on the things in life you are grateful for. You can do this in many different ways but what I recommend is the following. 

Before you go to sleep, think of 5 things to be grateful for in your life or in your day. Think of how lucky you are to have them and how happy they make you. Then let yourself go to sleep thinking about them. It's that easy! If you want to go one step further, get a journal and write them down. Keep the journal next to your bed and if you wake up during the night, open your journal and read them. And if you feel anxiety waking up, read them again. 

Even on a really shitty day we can all find things to be grateful for, like the fact that we live in a safe environment with a roof above our head and not in a war zone, that we have a warm blanket and a comfortable bed to sleep in, or the fact that we have a loving family & friends we can count on.

By shifting our thoughts to these positive elements in our lives it doesn't just put things back into perspective but it can help us get a good night sleep even after the shittiest day! And sleep is the nuts I say. We all know how much the quality of our sleep will affect our day so it's totally worth investing in!

We might not have the ability to choose what sometimes happens to us in life but we always have the ability to choose how we decide to view it and how much importance we let it take. 

I hope this is helpful in some way!

Maddy x





Maddy
3:17 PM

May is meditation month!

Meditation matrix - how does it serve your body
Meditation is said to decrease stress, improve mental clarity, provide more energy, and foster creativity! It has also been scientifically proven to mitigate addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, cognitive function and even eating disorders!

Maddy
3:47 AM

Why we should stop using the C-word (it´s not what you think)



In my initial consultations with clients I generally start with going through their current eating habits and their dieting history... so I get to hear a lot of stories about failed diet attempts that brought on frustrations, unhappiness and feelings of failure. And among all the people I´ve met and the stories I´ve heard there´s one thing that they all have in common: CALORIE COUNTING.


If you´ve ever been on a calorie counting diet you´ll know what I´m talking about... they´re not only a waste of time but they´re fcuking annoying and frustrating too. Who the hell would want to live that way? In addition to that, it´s a very reductionist way of looking at food because it only takes into account its energy content. It´s like looking at a Ferrari & a Renault and saying that they both have the same amount of fuel in them. Does this make any sense to you?

Well this is how we look at food if we only refer ourselves to calories. By looking at food this way, we don´t take into account what the food does to our bodies, how it stimulates us and how well we digest it. It doesn´t either take into account the amount of nutrients, vitamins or the amount of crap it contains for that matter either!


When you consider that 125 grams of avocado (approximately 1 avocado) approximately has the same amount of calories as 40g of Doritos (about ¼ of a pack) then you can maybe see why relying solely on calories to determine the quality of a food becomes a problem.

Doritos_copy

Imagine yourself eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos. Wait, who the hell eats ¼ of a pack of Doritos? Don´t you just open the pack and the next thing you know it´s gone? Or at best, you share it with a friend and it´s gone? Ok aside from the fact that eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos takes a lot of discipline (this is why calorie counting diets require discipline…), now imagine the sensation it will give you. Will it leave you full and satisfied? Or will you be hungry for more? Maybe have the rest of the ¾ of that pack? Anyone?

Avocado

Now imagine eating an avocado. Wait, who eats a whole avocado? I mean it´s possible and I´ve certainly managed but it´s pretty filling right? It´s not really a sensation that is comparable to the on you would get from eating the Doritos. Right?

Ok so aside from the feeling of fullness, let´s look at the ingredients. When you eat the Doritos you get the added bonus of "Acidity regulators, colorings and other flavor enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate & Disodium 5´-Ribonucleotide"... Wait, wtf is that? Well Monosodium Glutamate is MSG. It was traditionally used in Chinese restaurants to encourage people to eat more (it triggers insulin to make you feel hungry) and has often been blamed for causing a range of nasty side effects including headache, nausea & even brain damage.

Now the Food Regulation Authorities still allow it to be used in our food but it needs to be listed, which obviously makes it a lot less harmful to our health (right…) I´m not going to get into the nitty gritty of MSG here and I think we are all allowed to make our own opinion of it but for what it´s worth, here is mine: MSG is shit and anything that contains it is too.

Which brings us back to avocado. What are the ingredients in avocado? Well, avocado. Ok and what is avocado known for? Well avocados are known for being high in heart healthy fats and for helping to reduce bad cholesterol. They contain more potassium than bananas and also contain Folate & Vitamin B5, B6, C, E & K. The healthy fat in avocado can also help with "oiling your pipes" (if you know what I mean...) and can therefore contribute to weight loss.

So now that you know all this, would you recommend someone who is trying eat healthier and maybe lose some weight to eat the avocado or the “1/4” of the pack of Doritos?

Well those who advocate for calorie counting will argue that they´re both equal because they both contain the same amount of calories. And if you´re lucky enough, like some of my clients have been, your diet advisor might try sell you some manufactured products as a substitute for real food because it contains less calories than the food they are currently eating. Basically it´s something like:

“Here, stop eating those avocados that are full of calories & fat and eat this chemical shit bomb that´s got all this made up shit that is basically dead because you can leave it in your handbag for 7 weeks and still eat it! But it´s only got 100 calories! Yeah!" 

Sounds like a really healthy choice right?


I think we can all agree that it´s not. And that´s the problem with the diet industry and the people who are encouraging us to make food choices based on calories (pretty much anyone who is trying to sell packaged foods these days...). The whole concept is flawed because it completely ignores the quality of the food and whether it is going to fill us up with a bunch of vitamins & nutrients or just make us more hungry because it´s full of shit (like MSG…). This is why losing weight by trying to reduce calories is not only difficult but it also often makes people feel like shit.

The good news is that people are starting to wake up to this reality and to realise that weight loss and making healthier choices doesn´t have to be hard, nor does it have to make us feel like shit. It just requires us to be smart and to stop believing all the bullshit that is being thrown around in the diet industry.

When you think about it, the only reason this industry is surviving is because of our confusion. If we all got smart and started listening to our bodies and stopped giving a FCUK about the C-word, we´d stop consuming all the crap that is being manufactured for the sake of it being “low calorie”, “low sugar” or “low fat”. We´d all eat REAL foods filled with vitamins & nutrients and we´d be in vibrant health & full of energy! We´d eat what we feel like when we are hungry and our minds would be free to focus on more important shit than worrying about what we should be eating to be "healthy"!


If this sounds like an appealing state of mind, the first step you can take today is to cut out the CRAP (aka the processed foods) by downloading my free cleanse cheat sheet here. It contains 9 simple steps to start cutting out the crap from your diet and to help you start a new relationship with food that focuses on quality, taste & satisfaction, rather than calories. And as a result you will feel healthier, leaner, happier & even more badass than you already are!

Good luck!

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