Fit Body Fresh Mind
2:00 AM

Eat like a wild child and turn into a lean machine!

Primal diet

I recently listened to Mark Sisson, the founder of the Primal Blueprint, giving a lecture about human evolution and our diet.

Mark´s theory is based on the assumption that we all have a DNA “recipe” to build a healthy human and that the key in doing so is to switch genes on & off based on signals that we give them.

In other words, he believes that our body is designed to be healthy but that our genetic blueprint was set up for us to survive in the wild and not in the type of society that we live in today. So his theory is based on looking at how populations were surviving and striving before agriculture and reproducing this type of behaviour today in order to maintain health and lose any excess weight.

I must say that I strongly believe in this theory and that a lot of the ways I have adapted my own diet has been based on thinking about how we are designed to survive in the wild.

During the 100,000 years we were living in the wild, we would hunt for our food and mainly survive on animals, plants (roots, vegetables, fruits, plants, nuts & seeds). There was no refined sugar, dairy or grains and we did not rely on a specific schedule to eat.

Our food supply varied with the seasons and we ate when there was food available. This often led to periods without food where the human hunter-gatherer would rely on stored fat for energy. It´s only since the start of the agricultural era that humans have had access to grains and have therefore started relying on the sugars derived from carbohydrate for fuel.

This is a pretty simplistic way of explaining Mark´s theory but the bottom line is that he believes that by changing the type of foods that we eat to what was available to us as hunter gatherers and by changing the way we eat to only eating when we are hungry, as opposed to on a set schedule, we can convert our body back to being efficient fat burners. In theory it takes 21 days for this to happen.

I truly believe in looking at our bodies from Mark´s perspective and that the reason a lot of people are struggling to lose weight today is because their bodies are using the food they are eating as fuel instead of digging into their body fat. They are sugar burners instead of fat burners.

And the answer isn´t as simple as skipping a meal here and there or eating less quantity, it´s about overturning the whole system and breaking with some of the guidelines we are given by society in terms of the frequency and content of our meals and start listening to our bodies instead. It´s about breaking the rules and following our guts!

Integrative Nutrition
9:38 AM

Black Garlic: A New Superfood?

At first glimpse, you might not be so enthralled to put black garlic on your dinner plate. But looks can be deceiving. Does it resemble little jelly-like pebbles of coal? Sure. But its sweet, non-acrid taste and nutritional benefits might make you a believer... Read More

11:28 AM

In defense of chocolate!

In defense of chocolate_copy

As you probably know, chocolate is something that is very close to my heart and that I feel quite strongly about. I believe it doesn´t just taste delicious and feed the soul but I also believe it has many health benefits! I was therefore very surprised to see that it´s the food that the British Heart Foundation encourages people to stop in order to raise money.

I´m all for raising money for a good cause but the fact that they have chosen chocolate as the food people should stop eating is a little silly because it sends the message that eating chocolate is bad and that we should stay away from it, which I believe is wrong.

I appreciate that a lot of the chocolate that is being sold today is full of sugar, dairy and even worse things such as high fructose corn syrup but the cocoa itself is not the culprit! It´s everything else that it comes with! So it really annoys me that such a respectable society as the British Heart Foundation picks on cocoa! Cocoa is not the problem!

Pick on sugar, processed foods and encourage people to stop eating refined carbs but please please please don’t pick on chocolate… Dark chocolate (we´re talking 75-80% cacao) has many health benefits including:

·      High levels of antioxidants that help prevent premature ageing and reduce inflammation.

·      A study by Ried K, et al. found that it can help lower blood pressure and another study found it can help reduce cholesterol, both of which can help prevent heart disease. Hellooooo!??! British HEART foundation!!!???

·      Another study at Harvard Medical School showed that drinking hot chocolate improves brain health and reduces memory loss in people in their seventies.

·      Finally, a study by Martin FP, et al found that drinking hot chocolate can help reduce cortisol levels, one of our primary stress hormones. Can anybody relate to the fact that consuming chocolate makes them chill out???

I encourage you to share this with your friends & family and to show your support for chocolate, REAL chocolate. Let´s not go down the same road as we did with FAT whereby we were told that all fats were bad for us to then later realize that it was wrong and that a good dose of healthy fats is actually essential for our health!

All fats are not created equal just like all chocolate is not created equal. The good stuff is truly good and the bad stuff is truly not so good. So let´s get the facts right and not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

5:09 AM

The big elephant in the room when it comes to healthy eating

Michael Pollan - if it comes from a plant

I listened to a really interesting lecture by Mark Bittman last week. He´s a food writer and spoke about how a lot of the food that is being sold today, shouldn´t even be allowed to be called food because it doesn´t fulfill its role of being nutritious.

What he means by that is that a lot of modern foods are exempt of real nutrients and filled with crap instead! I´m talking high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, trans fats, colorings and preservatives. These things are added to our foods to make them tastier, more appealing and to last longer on our shelves but they are creating havoc on our health!

And what I´ve noticed from working with clients is that instead of addressing this issue first, most people are much more concerned about whether they are getting enough protein, or if they´re eating too many calories or too many carbs. But these concerns are completely irrelevant if you eat foods that are full of chemical crap that are ruining your health and screwing up your metabolism!

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is “how much processing has what I´m eating had to go through in order to reach my plate?” If we´re looking at vegetables, fruits, beans and even meat and fish, the answer is: not a lot. If it´s white bread or a bagel, it´s considerably more and if it´s something that comes in a shiny packaging with a list of 17 ingredients, the answer is probably a lot. It doesn´t matter if they have “healthy”, “natural”, “low fat”, or “gluten free” written on them. Most of these terms are completely unregulated (or very loosely regulated) and what we should look out for is not what they are exempt of, but what has been added in instead!

Our bodies were designed to digest food, REAL food, not chemical shit bombs. Every time we eat, we have the choice to either support our health and immunity by eating foods that are natural, filled with nutrients & free of chemical crap or to feed it with “empty calories” that will leave us craving for more. Because that´s what most of these foods were designed to do. 

So if you´re struggling with your weight or just generally want to eat healthier, the single most powerful thing you can do is to cut out the processed crap!

You can still eat delicious foods and even have meat, wine and whatever hell you want. Just eat more vegetables and focus on REAL food!

And by eating this way your body will naturally lead you to the foods it needs and any concerns about protein, vitamins or any other micronutrients will mostly sort themselves out by themselves!




1:20 AM

You think we have enough food?

Girl surrendered by snacks_copy4

Up until a few years ago, my mind was constantly spinning with the following questions: “am I getting enough protein if I eat this?” “crap I haven´t eaten in 4 hours is my body going into starvation mode?” “Should I be eating more superfoods?” “maybe I should have a snack?” “omg I skipped breakfast, how am I going to survive today?”

From speaking with clients I´ve come to realize that this is a common way of thinking. It seems like one of our biggest fears is running out of food and not getting enough of it. I think we were genetically programmed to think that way. When we were hunter-gatherers, our mind needed to be fully focused on the task of finding food or else we risked starvation. But today it´s not exactly something we need to worry about, is it?

If you´re lucky enough to live in a developed country, I think we can all agree that food is absolutely EVERYWHERE. Yet a lot of us are still walking around thinking about how we are going to get our next meal. And given that we live in a consumer society, the concept that we are “not getting enough” and that we always “need more” is being exploited to always make us want more. We are being led to believe that by consuming more we will be healthier, feel better and be sexier.

But does that make any sense in a society where over half the population is either obese or overweight? Is consuming more really the answer? When was the last time you heard of someone die of starvation? I agree that a lot of people are deficient in certain nutrients but that´s not going to get solved by the type of foods we are being encouraged to buy.  If anything, consuming more is only going to increase the number of people who are obese and suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other diseases linked to it.

So how do we deal with this? Well the first thing we can do is to let go of our fear of starvation. We are NOT going to run out of food and we are NOT going to die from not getting enough of it. If you live in a developed country you are more likely to eat yourself to death than the opposite.

Secondly, I encourage you to relax. A lot of us get a bit nervous about getting our next meal. This is normal as mentioned above but it´s no longer relevant as we are no longer hunter-gatherers. So next time your mind starts worrying about where you are going to get your next meal from, ask yourself if you are truly hungry. If you are not, just thank your mind for looking out for your survival and move on.

Finally, sometimes it helps to experience what it´s like to go without food for us to realize that we probably don´t need as much of it as we think. I´m not a massive advocate of fasting but sometimes skipping a meal can make us realize that we can still fully function without it. In fact, maybe consuming less will make you feel better. Whatever you do, trust your intuition and stick to what feels good for YOU. And remember, food is there and you can have as much of it as you want, but that doesn´t mean you have to have it all.

1:45 PM

“No pain, no gain” really?

The fitness industry has made us buy into the idea that exercise is all about “no pain no gain” and throwing up during a workout has somehow become and admirable thing to do… While I have a lot of respect for the people who indulge in this type of training, I sometimes wonder why some people do it? I mean if you´re an athlete, ok. But if you´re just an average Joe who wants to feel good in your body then I don´t really see the point, unless you truly enjoy it.  

We all know that exercise plays an integral part in staying fit and healthy but as with food, I believe it´s all about finding the right balance! And as with food, our choice of exercise comes down to our personal preferences. While some people may really enjoy being pushed to the limit and having the occasional puke, others may not enjoy it so much... I have experimented with both ends of the spectrum and this is what I have learnt:

  • The best exercise is the exercise you actually enjoy
  • Don´t exercise for the sole sake of “burning calories”. Exercise should be about making your body feel good by keeping it strong, flexible and sexy! If you want to lose weight, address your diet. No amount of exercise will make up for a bad diet.
  • It´s not because you don´t push your body to its limits that you won´t see results. That´s just b…shit. If anything, pushing yourself to the limit may result in injury. Exercising with restraint and listening to your body and its limits is smart, and does not make you a pussy.
  • Exercising doesn´t have to involve going to the gym or using any fancy equipment. A walk around the park, getting off the bus a few stops early or doing a few stretches when you wake up still counts as exercise!
  • Exercise should make your body feel better, not worse. By that I mean that it should make you feel stronger, more flexible, mobile and energized, not all beaten up and battered!
  • Variety is the spice of life… Doing different types of exercises will benefit your body and your mind in different ways. Ideally you want to be doing a bit of cardio, a bit of strengthening and some stretching every week.
  • Less is sometimes more. If you´re spending hours training and not getting the results you want, you may simply be overdoing it. Reduce your sessions or incorporate some Yoga for a week or two and see how it makes you feel.  
  • Stretching is exercise! You´d be amazed at how beneficial stretching is to your body! If there´s one thing you shouldn´t skip, it´s stretching!
  • If something doesn´t feel right, stop. I know it´s sometimes difficult in the heat of the moment when the trainer is telling you to push harder but if it doesn´t feel right, listen to your body and back off!
  • Exercise from a place of love… Ok so without wanting to sound too hippy here, consider the thoughts that are going through your mind when you are exercising. If they come from a place of hate and that you are somehow using exercise to punish yourself (this may seem like a weird concept for those who have never experienced it…) then try dig a little deeper to understand where this is coming from and address it. Your body doesn´t deserve to be beaten up only because you are unhappy in certain areas of your life. Use exercise as a form of self-love and think of movement as a way to nurture your body, not as a way to destroy it!

Again, exercise is a very personal thing and only YOU will know what you enjoy and what feels good on your body. And while it´s great to get inspiration and tips from others, don´t let it distract you from your own path. Stick to what feels good for YOU and listen to your body! It´s YOUR vessel for LIFE and the only place YOU have to LIVE so listen to it and treat it with care!

Maddy x

Integrative Nutrition
9:16 AM

5 Examples of Everyday Mindfulness (That Aren’t Meditation)

Mindfulness has entered our everyday conversations in a powerful way. But what does it really mean? Jon Kabbat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), defines it as such... Read More

3:07 PM

FCUK this shit, let´s meditate

"When shit hits the fan on the outside, we can still find peace on the inside"

I think a lot of people have good reasons to be pretty pissed off right now and taking action against what we believe is unfair is admirable but trying to figure out how we got here in the first place is an interesting question too. 

The Dalai Lama once said that if all children were taught to meditate by the age of 8, we would eliminate violence in one generation. Right now, this seems like a really good idea.

I know it may come as a strange suggestion but if anyone´s got a direct line to the man in the White House then I´m pretty sure the whole World would benefit from him doing it too. 

I´m not exactly an expert in the art of meditation since I only took it up about a year ago but to me it feels like taking a massive chill pill for my mind. And I feel like the whole World could benefit from one of those right now! Including our new friend in the White House. 

I´m pretty sure he wouldn´t be taken by my idea and I don´t blame him. I used to think people who meditated were complete fruit loops but thankfully that has now changed :) 

As those of you who know me will know, sitting still is not my thing and “wasting” precious time I could be spending doing other stuff is not either so meditation is not exactly something that came to me naturally. But the benefits have been immense and have not only had an impact on my own wellbeing but on that of those around me as well.

I´m less stressed, more present in my work and with my friends, less likely to snap and bite the head off anyone who doesn´t agree with me and less likely to make irrational decisions on a whim because I´m pissed off with someone, something or maybe even with myself. All in all, the kind of stuff that´s kind of useful, especially if you´re in charge of nukes (which I personally am not). 

So if you´re intrigued about how it can benefit you or if you want to pass on the message to the man at the top then here are my top tips for starting:

·      Download an app on your phone (I use Headspace but there´s also Zenfie & probably others too)

·      Commit to 30 days.

·      Set the intention of practicing every day but don´t beat yourself up if you occasionally miss a day. The more consistent you are, the more beneficial it will be.

·      Put it in the diary and treat it as an appointment with a very important person: yourself.

·      Just get on with it, don´t procrastinate, put it off or wait for the perfect moment. There is no perfect moment. Just set aside 10-15 minutes a day and get on with it

·      Try doing it every day at the same time. This makes it easier to stick with.

·      No one knows what they´re doing when they start. Start anyway and just keep going, even if you feel like it´s not bringing you anything.

·      There´s no such thing as “being bad” at meditation. I get people tell me that they can´t meditate because they constantly have thoughts going through their mind and that they´re just “not good at it”. Welcome to the club. We´re just about 7 billion of us in the same situation.

·      It´s about the experience, not the theory. Talking or reading about it is not the same thing as doing it. Just get on with it.

·      Everyone´s experience is unique and this is the one thing in your life that is between you & you. Honor that time and don´t feel like you are doing anything wrong if you don´t feel any benefits immediately.

·      There is no such thing as “doing it wrong”. Setting aside the time and doing it consistently is what matters.

·      Results will come when you expect them the least. Focus on the practice, not on the outcome.

I hope this will inspire some of you to take on the practice and if you do, please let me know how you get on and how it has benefited you!

Peace out. 

Maddy x

1:04 AM

It´s ok not to be ok

I spoke with a dear friend last night who I reached out to because I was feeling down. She kindly listened to me as I poured my heart out for an hour and these were her parting words... And I wanted to share them with you because they truly stuck with me.

I think we all like to make others believe that our life is perfect and that we're always happy, and social media is a perfect outlet for that. I'm definitely guilty of that because I don't think anyone enjoys reading negative things or people's rants. I also feel like it's my job to help others see the positive and to lift them up so this is what I try to do. But I've realized that this can sometimes lead us to believe that there's something wrong with us when we're experiencing lows. But there's not.

Everyone has ups & downs in their life and anyone who tells you the contrary is lying, mainly to themselves. Nobody has a perfect life and sometimes things happen that are really shit. 2016 was a real shit year for me on many levels, most of which I did not share on social media, and my approach was to push though and focus on the positive. I reached out to a couple of friends at the end of last year and their advice came from a really good place and was always along the lines of "maybe you need to meditate more", "focus on the positive" "sleep more" "do more yoga". These are all great recommendations and ones I would probably have given to others too. But actually all I needed was the reassurance that it's ok to sometimes not be ok.

Focusing on the positive is a good approach but at the same time I think that by resisting sadness it kind of makes it persist even more. So let's allow ourselves to not be ok sometimes. I like to think that everyone has a good heart and that by focusing on the positive in everyone and every situation the negative will fade. But not everyone is made of sugar & honey. And sometimes it's ok to feel disappointed in others & in ourselves and instead of resisting that, let's embrace it and accept it. This is the space I want to be in and create for others to express themselves too. Nobody's got this thing called life down to a T, even those that live in Monaco, eat healthy, drink green smoothies, meditate and do Pilates & Yoga :)

So let's support each other, grow from our mistakes and let each other know that sometimes it's ok not to be ok. On that note, I wish you a badass day ❤

1:40 PM

Good calories V bad calories

Have you ever been for lunch with a really skinny person and asked yourself how the hell they can eat all that food and still remain thin? Or have you ever been for a meal with a heavily overweight person and asked yourself how the hell they can be so big when they eat so little? I think a lot of us can relate to this.

Some will say that this is down to genetics and to some extent I believe that this is true but not entirely. We´ve always been told that the number of calories we eat need to equate the number of calories out or else we will put on or lose weight. It kind of makes sense but what if all calories weren´t created equal and that some were more easily “burnt” off than others? And what if the type of food we eat had an effect on the hormones in charge of fat storage? In other words, what if some foods trigger fat storage and others just give you energy and happily pass through your system to come out the other end?

In my mind, it makes more sense to look at weight gain/loss in those terms than just calories in/out. And the more I talk with clients, the more I realize that people who eat a lot of white flour, processed foods & sugar tend to have more trouble going to the loo than those who eat natural foods. In fact, one of the first things people tend to tell me when they clean up their diet is that suddenly their bowels start functioning again… Ok so this might not be the sexiest subject for a blog post but I thought it was worth putting those thoughts out there! J Haha!

The bottom line is that eating cleaner foods and ditching the processed foods is a much more productive way of addressing your weight & health concerns rather than counting calories. This is why most calorie counting diets don´t work and why my approach is focused on the quality of calories rather than quantity. Once you start improving the quality of what you eat, your body will automatically start being more responsive to quantities and you will no longer experience the toxic hunger that comes with sugar laden processed foods. And that´s when the weight will naturally start coming off and your mind will start to freshen up too!

If you are interested in learning more about Good calories V Bad calories, I highly recommend reading this book by Gary Taubes.

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