For most of us, our working day has changed drastically and we’re dealing with various pressures, stressors and commitments. Here are my top tips to help you work well from home.
Get some good routines in place
A great place to start if you're new to working from home is to simply stick to regular meal times. While stress and anxiety can lead to a loss in appetite, sticking to set mealtimes is important for our mental wellbeing.
Skipping meals can trigger a drop in blood sugar and this can really interfere with our mood, increasing anxiety levels (especially if we add coffee and sugar to the mix) - so please do not skip meals.
A nourishing breakfast, lunch and dinner will help you work more efficiently from home and keep you feeling energised and upbeat. Keep a jug of water on the table so you stay hydrated, and keep coffees to 1-2 per day.
Cannot stay away from the fridge while working from home?
If you’re prone to grazing or boredom snacking while working from home, keep healthy snacks in the house. The quality of the snack really counts so choose something that contains a little protein to help curb your appetite and keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
Some examples of healthy snacks could be:
Back to those good routines:
Wake up feeling hungry, not sluggish
Spending more time at home increases the chances of late nights, and mindless snacking while watching Netflix.
Consider fasting for 12-14 hours overnight. For example, finish dinner by 7pm and eat breakfast between 7am and 9am.
Structuring your meal times and fasting overnight for 12 hours will:
Fasting overnight has shown to improve blood sugar response, weight loss and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, including type two diabetes. Why not commit to it for one week and see how you feel?
Want to create healthy habits and routine at home?
NOW more than ever is the time to prioritise your health. With time spared from commuting, why not use this extra half hour for creating a delicious wholesome meal for yourself?
Flick through those recipe books and check out some recipes online. I'd love you to join my free online cookery demos for more inspiration and tips.
Use this as time to unwind and listen to your favourite podcast or music. Far more uplifting than the news channel!
How to meal plan and save money
To prevent unnecessary trips to the shops now is the perfect time to get back into meal planning. If you’ve not tried meal planning before, I challenge you to trial it for two weeks. I promise you will:
You’ll find loads of helpful meal planning tips, templates and ideas, as well as healthy cookery demos in my Facebook group, The Gut Health Club. Come join us here.
New to meal planning? Start by:
Meals like stews, soups and roasted vegetables make convenient yet deliciously healthy choices that serve multiple portions.
Take your list with you to the supermarket and stick to it. It’s a great way to limit impulse purchases on multipack buys and treats you don’t really need.
Nourish your body with all the right foods
If you have lots of tinned beans and pulses in your cupboards at the moment look for creative ways to use these. For example:
Focus on injecting these cupboard essentials with flavoursome herbs, spices and vegetables (fresh or frozen). You’ll easily:
If you're looking for more inspiration and help with meal ideas, join my Facebook group The Gut Health Club. I'll be running free cookery demos each month. If you can't make them live you can still receive the recipes and watch the replays here.
You may also be interested in my up-coming online nutrition classes. The next one is all about supporting our immune system. Further details of all my online events can be found here.
Have you ever felt 'sick to your stomach' with worry or anxiety? Maybe around an exam, money worries, important meetings or a marathon?
Stress has a huge impact on our ability to digest food, and can even trigger IBS flare-ups in some people. Symptoms may include:
When stressed, the body switches off unnecessary functions (like digesting lunch) in order to power the legs and major muscle groups with oxygenated blood because it’s tricked into thinking we are in fight or flight mode. There is no 'room' for digestion when we are about to be attacked by a sabre-tooth tiger.
When we are sitting at our desk feeling tense and anxious because we have a demanding schedule with impossible deadlines or an overbearing boss, our body is in fight-or-flight mode.
Sub-consciously, we're now busy producing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, not digestive juices. The gut is literally 'starved' of oxygenated blood when we are sitting tensely for long periods of time, our blood pressure increases, and our breathing naturally becomes shallower.
So what can we do??
Rest and Digest
Next time you are about to eat, ensure you are in 'rest and digest' mode: switch off email, put the phone down, don’t multi task and eat mindfully (see below).
Before eating, take three deep belly breaths. See if you can prolong the out breath. For example, breath in for a count of three and out for a count of six. This slows the heart rate and helps switch off the stress response. Then check-in with how you are feeling.
Take a short walk before lunch if you need to clear the head, relax and unwind. And after lunch, take a short walk outside to help your digestion, when you can.
Mindfulness is the buzzword of the moment and it's so important in so many ways. Mindful eating means being present as you eat.
Really notice the smell, taste and texture of your food. We are all guilty of literally 'inhaling' our food from time to time. Take a moment to truly focus on chewing and enjoying the sensation, texture, and flavour of your food. It's way more enjoyable and chances are you'll suffer much less unwanted bloating and uncomfortable wind.
Saliva is Essential
Gulping down big gasps of air with every bite because you're in a hurry will inevitably create gas, cramping and bloating. Savour each mouthful and chew for longer because this mixes more saliva with the food you are eating.
Saliva is essential for good digestion as it starts the enzymatic breakdown of your food. Without it you will be more prone to stomach cramps, bloating and gas.
Taking your time and chewing food properly also helps signal your brain that you are full and that it is time to stop eating. So if your discomfort is linked to overeating, this should really start to make a difference.
Still having stomach problems?
If you feel you are already following these steps and still have issues, despite getting the all clear from your GP then there could be an underlying gut problem.
Common issues that aren't picked-up in a routine GP or GI Consultant appointment include: digestive enzyme deficiency, bile insufficiency, a parasite or bacterial imbalance in the gut, and/or food intolerance. These are all possible underlying factors and comprehensive stool analysis and other tests can be helpful.
If you suspect food intolerances, these can be identified through elimination diets under strict management and through testing. This is a measured, managed, personalised health plan and requires guidance and regular support. Check out the various packages here.
You may also enjoy reading:
Tune up your digestion in five simple steps
My top 5 tips to prevent bloating
Now more than ever it is important to look after our health.
And with this in mind I have decided to provide a free online nutritional therapy consultation to:
As these are some of the most vulnerable groups in our community at this time, I'd like to be able to help where I can and keep our community healthy and feeling supported (not isolated or fearful).
I have been running online consultations for a number of years so I am fully able to provide my support and nutrition services by Zoom video consultation.
As my regular nutrition practice has been inundated with requests for nutritional advice, I am increasing my clinic hours on a Monday so I can offer this free service to the people who need it most.
This is for you if:
As your Nutritional Therapist, I’ll help you get clear on exactly what you need to do to energise your life. And I'll help you create a healthier more balanced relationship with food so you feel confident you’re nourishing your body with all the right foods.
Please follow the links below to book in your free online Nutritional Therapy Consultation.* Places will be filled on a first come first served basis.
There has never been a more important time to put your health first.
Book your free Nutritional Therapy Consultation here.
Terms and Conditions Apply
(I have completed additional NTEC accredited professional training in Nutrition and Cancer, 2018). Find out more about the work I do for the cancer charity Rainbow Valley here.
Want to find out more about my other online nutrition packages?
Find out more about my other nutrition packages, which are all available as online consultations here. Sending you all love, Mary x
Food elimination diets and food diaries are a great place to start when you have gut health issues or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They're often the place I start with my clients because it helps reduce some of the irritation and inflammation in the gut and provides symptomatic relief, which is great. But the long-game needs to be a multi-pronged approach.
If you've already read my blog post: ‘The single biggest reason you keep getting gut issues you've never realised' you'll understand why simply removing lots of foods from your diet alone is not going to sort your gut health problems in the longterm. It's simply step one. The likelihood is there could be numerous underlying risk factors at play which may need addressing in a step-by-step approach.
If you have been trialling free-from diets like the low-FODMAP diet or gluten and dairy-free diets for a while now, with some, or minimal progress, it’s definitely time to move on to the next step!
Here are FIVE REASONS WHY you need to stop stressing over food elimination diets only and rethink your gut healing strategy.
1. You don’t want to be cutting foods out forever.
If you have food intolerances that trigger digestive problems, including IBS, it suggests you may have a leaky gut. Cutting foods out may help reduce immediate symptoms in the short-term, but it isn’t solving the root of the problem – the leaky gut.
Food intolerance is usually just a symptom of an unhappy gut. The heart of the issue is often to do with a leaky gut, which I've talked about before here.
I'll be sharing my 5-step gut healing plan at my up-coming gut health event, Learn to Love your Gut.
2. The low-FODMAP diet is not a cure-all.
The low-FODMAP diet can sometimes be helpful when there is chronic bloating, IBS and/or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). However, the Low-FODMAP diet is not recommended for long-term use (> 6 weeks).
This is because the low-FODMAP diet is a low fibre diet and gut bacteria need fibre to flourish. Long-term use of the low-FODMAP diet has a negative impact on the diversity of bacteria in your gut. It's also incredibly challenging and it can make food anxiety much worse. It really worries me when clients tell me they have been following a low-FODMAP diet for months on end in a bid to control their digestive symptoms. Book a call and we can chat through some options!!
3. Acid-blocking drugs are not a long-term solution.
Many clients need to take acid blocking drugs, for example, to control digestive symptoms in the short-term or to control the side effects of other medications*. However, acid blocking drugs are really only meant for short-term use.
We need acid. It is our first line of defence against infection and helps us absorb protein and vitamin B12 from our food. Long-term low stomach acid increases the risk of bacterial imbalance in the gut e.g. ‘gut dysbiosis’ or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, (SIBO) because opportunistic bacteria thrive in low acid conditions.
If you are on acid-blocking medication such as Omeprazole or Lansoprazole, purely for acid reflux or acid indigestion and not for any other reasons it is totally possible to balance stomach acid naturally. Check out my blog post on acid reflux or get in touch to find out more.
*Do not discontinue any medication especially without speaking to your doctor first.
4. You're Experiencing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Restrictive diets, including the low-FODMAP diet, can greatly increase the risk of social anxiety. Many people understandably worry about what they can and can’t eat, and where the nearest loo is. So much so they start to fear going out with friends. Eating out starts to feel like a huge no-go. I don't want you to feel like you're missing out on life. My 5-step gut healing plan will help you wave bye-bye to FOMO.
5. You've been told "there's nothing you can do".
This recently published review points to several treatable underlying triggers for IBS which if given the right support (i.e. personalised care) can be identified and addressed!
My learn to love your gut event is designed to help you get to the root cause of your digestive problems and support your gut health in five clear steps. Get your ticket now before it's too late. Can't make it? Get in touch with me here instead and we can arrange a chat. Don't normalise your symptoms any longer.
Hello! Welcome to Stellar Health.
Want to know what foods best support the immune system? Get my top 5 tips here.
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