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sugar free

Sugar Free Skinny Chicken Tandoori, with Yogurt & Mint Dip

From my 5 Day Sugar Free Shift Plan, try this Skinny Chicken Tandoori. I am not a ‘diet’ kinda woman, I don’t even like the ‘d’word. I am a Wellness Warrior (I love that phrase!). Wellness comes through the balance of physical and emotional health, however food is obviously a HUGE part of wellness and the very best change we can make to promote our optimum wellness is to remover SUGAR from our diets – including alcohol sugars.

I find that people are daunted by the thought though, they feel, as with alcohol that they will be missing out on something. I promise you, the way you will look and feel will remove any doubts.

A sugar free life really is so simple and is easily achieved just a few tweaks. The focus is on whole foods, simply prepared, minus all the processed crap. By removing simple carbs (which break down quickly into sugars in your body), and upping your healthy fats – no low fat rubbish here, you will feel fuller longer and your waist will literally shrink!

Just 5 days on my Sugar Free Shift Plan and the physical cravings you didn’t even know you had will be gone. I promise you.

Now, I need to say here that the physical craving is easily dealt with, but if you find yourself returning to high sugar foods when your mood is lower, you need to check out my End Emotional Eating page and my Break Free From Emotional Food Habits page. I don’t want to be a quick fix and both the emotional and physical cravings need to be addressed for long term health, wellness and that shrunk waist.

So to whet your appetite, and to show you how super easy my 5 Day Sugar Free Shift Plan is, here’s  sugar free family curried chicken which is absolutely delicious – can you imagine any takeaway being as healthy? Or any shop bought sauce being sugar free? – hell no!

I serve this either with cauli rice, mixed with chopped avocado & chilli mixed in, or a huge salad or just left over steamed veg, and of course with my cooling Yogurt & Mint dip. Happy eating xx

Sugar Free Skinny Tandoori Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • juice 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 red onions, finely chopped
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • vegetable oil, for brushing

For the marinade

  • 150ml Greek yogurt
  • large piece ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp either mild or medium curry powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Yogurt & Mint Dip

  • 3 x tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 x clove of garlic minced
  • 1 x handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 x tbsp squeezed lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Mix the lemon juice with the paprika and red onions in a large shallow dish. Slash each chicken thigh three times, then turn them in the juice and set aside for 10 mins.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and place in a large plastic sandwich bag, add the chicken and massage together lightly.  Chill for at least 1 hr or overnight as this can be done up to a day in advance.

Either wrap in foil and bake in a pre-heated over 200 / 180 for 25 mins, or heat the grill. Lift the chicken pieces onto a rack over a baking tray. Brush over a little oil and grill for 8 mins on each side or until lightly charred and completely cooked through.

Yogurt & Mint Dip 

Simply place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Leave to chill for 30 mins.

My 5 Day Sugar Free Shift Plan is £35 and includes a 15 minute Complimentary Sugar Free Discovery Telephone Call

Click here for my Contact Details
or call me on 00 44 (0) 7973359135. x

emotional cleanse

An Emotional Cleanse – the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

We can spend a fortune on cleanses for our bodies.  We detox our overloaded physical selves with juices, smoothies, excellent nutrition, and the latest wonder products, because we want to look and feel our best.

However, to really feel our best, we need an emotional cleanse.  A clearing out of our  unhappy thoughts and memories that hold us back from being the happy, confident, in balance selves we deserve to be.


  • Imagine letting go of all your old Anger, Hurt, Sadness, Pain, Guilt & Fear in one stress free session.
  • Imagine how much easier it would be to make better choices and decisions in the moment and future when you are no longer influenced by old negative emotions.
  • Imagine how light you would feel without having to drag around all your old emotional baggage.

You will feel better immediately after an Emotional Cleanse session, and with the better feeling in place, everything becomes much less of a struggle, including weight loss, cutting down on alcohol and simple life stresses.

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An Emotional Cleanse changes the way you think and feel with very little effort and immediately.  Without exception, every client has said they feel emotionally ‘lighter’ before they even leave the room.  Their personal rucksack carrying boulders of  old negative emotions has been emptied.  Something no-one thinks is possible.

Then, when clients see and feel one change easily in themselves,  it moves their emotional blinkers to the possibility of other changes.  The possibilities of a different life free from the excesses of the food and alcohol we use to comfort ourselves.

An Emotional Cleanser powers you forward with compassion and care for yourself and enables you to make better choices.

What is an Emotional Cleanse?

My Emotional Cleanse is a formidable enabler of  personal change.  For my clients it has proven to produce long lasting transformation quickly.  It is not a ‘therapy’ which requires them to unburden themselves to me, it is about shifting how information is stored.  The ‘how’ of the emotions stored, not the situation itself, not the ‘what’.  And because there is no ‘unburdening’ my approach has the absolute minimum of discomfort.

What is an Emotional Cleanses  Role in Weight Loss & Cutting Down Drinking?

I know from my own recovery from alcoholism, and subsequent research, that behavioural change in an individual takes place at an unconscious level. People don’t change consciously.

Clients come to me because they are stuck in their unhappy thoughts and habits.  They often see no way forward and feel paralyzed in their unhappy behaviour (think food, alcohol, shopping), without understanding why.

Often they recognize, on an intellectual level, that it is not the alcohol or food that is the root cause of their problem drinking/eating, and they are also often able to identify their triggers with my help and support. But, being able to understand and identify stress points, is not enough to make the deep internal change which leads to external behaviour transformation.

Recognition doesn’t address or alter the feelings they experience in the moment when they have to make a choice whether or not to pick up that glass or wine or piece of cake.

In the moment of decision making, all the intellectual information acquired, all the acceptance and understanding of their triggers can be of no assistance in change.  This is because the old behaviours are complexly entangled in the way they feel about their poison of choice.  How it comforts them, supports them, relaxes them – even when the reality is completely the opposite.

And further, because of their past experiences of trying to make successful changes long term, they either feel that either some miracle has to occur or some dire punishment threatened, maybe divorce, ill-health or even death, before they will be able to make the transformation they long for.

Through my Emotional Cleanse,  I show  clients, in one 90-minute session, that they can change long held beliefs and negative emotions permanently.  The five emotions removed are anger, sadness, hurt, fear & guilt – the very emotions that are often the fuel that keeps the fire of their habits raging.

Douse that fire and new possibilities and perspectives open up without effort or willpower.  My Emotional Cleanse is the equivalent of an emotional ‘clean sweep’, removing all the rubbish that holds up back from the healthy, sober peaceful life we all deserve.

I have had huge success with moving clients forward using my Emotional Cleanse, approach, take a look at some of my testimonials.

TESTIMONIALS

“I feel so positive with a sense of lightness, I am walking with a spring in my step.  There has been a definite shift in my thinking.  I have noticed how much kinder I am being to myself – my internal voice is not giving me a hard time. I am feeling so much more at peace with myself. This is quite an amazing feeling. Thank you for helping me to feel like this! J Dickie

I had an Emotional Cleanse with Sonia which I found to be incredibly profound form of treatment and very successful in treating me with my issue. The experience was enhanced as Sonia has a very warm and lovely manner, which enabled me to get the most out of the sessions in a safe environment. I would highly recommend an Emotional Cleanse session with Sonia to anyone. M Greene

Sonia made me feel relaxed, calm and very safe to explore my emotions. She took me through the process, carefully explaining each step of the way and was so lovely and kind that I felt able to say just what I needed to without feeling self-conscious – quite an achievement believe me. I can highly recommend this treatment as an emotional spring clean to help you to look to the future with a renewed enthusiasm.” J Ellis

“I cannot believe how I feel.  I am so much kinder to myself, feel so much more self-worth and all my old hurt is gone.  I feel amazing”.  A Thomas

“Incredible experience! I feel less anxious and stressed and feel back in control of my life.  Sonia you are amazing” N Thompson

I DEFINITELY feel so much better, my old heavy emotional baggage has gone.  I feel so much lighter and more capable.  I am making better choices in life and that is wonderful. K Morris

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  • A life changing 90 minute session is £135
  • (very occasionally it does take longer, and the cost is £40 per extra half hour).
  • Consultations can be done in my offices, your work offices or by Skype.

If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs, news & offers, click on the link for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter

wellness

Health & Wellness Coaching, Your Company’s Best Investment

  • Would you like your staff to be more motivated, energized and less stressed?
  • Would you like your absenteeism rate to be lower? if the answers are yes,

Invest in a Corporate Health & Wellness Coach.

Employees are your greatest asset.  No matter how amazing your product or service is, without your staff pushing it out there, promoting and supporting your company from production all the way through to delivery, your product or service means very little.

There will always be another company who offers something similar, (unless you happen to be Elon Musk), and if that company has more energized and enthusiastic people on board, giving it their all, well, we buy from people, so that’s where our hard earned cash and loyalty will go.

Companies can spend a fortune on training their staff into top industry professionals, from your potential customers first point of contact, Reception / Call Centers, to their high flying sales people.  However, if employees don’t feel valued and supported in return, your investment can easily be wasted, and your company profits undermined, if they leave taking their skills with them to another company who does value them.

My role as a Corporate Wellness Coach, is to support both staff and employers in maximizing  people potential, by advising on simple nutrition and lifestyle changes as well as stress management and mindfulness strategies in whatever form necessary.  It could be weight loss plans and handouts designed and written by me, sourcing audible books to de-stress / motivate.  Whatever the companies needs, I source the resource.

My plans are bespoke and tailored to individual companies needs and usually entail me  spending  2 – 4 hours per week at each company.  That might mean a lunch time Weight Loss Club, 1-2-1  nutritional / wellness coaching support or, if your staff are on the road/remotely based, Skype sessions to guide them into making the best choices in the moment during a stressful day.

The bottom line is that staff who feel listened to and understood, are more productive, loyal and the work environment a happier more peaceful space.

As a Nutritionist, NLP Practitioner & Health Coach, I have a bulging toolkit to offer whatever support is required.

Recent Testimonials

Claire Ginelly – Airflow High Wycombe

As part of our staff Wellbeing package we agreed to have a nutritionist, wellness coach visit our offices to help mentor the staff. After reading Sonia’s blog and having met with her we decided to embark on an 8 Week Wellness Clinic.

This proved thoroughly successful, all the staff totally engaged and took on board Sonia’s plan and came away feeling motivated, with the added bonus of losing weight!

Dianne – Accountant, High Wycombe

I can honestly say that in the 8 weeks that I saw Sonia, I learned more from her than any book or article on nutrition and wellness than I have ever read (and I have read plenty).

For the first time in 23 years I feel truly liberated in having no idea of what I weigh but my clothes are staying loose, my energy levels are increased. Treat yourself and sign up.

Elizabeth Hughes – CaliSouthWest, Bedford

Sonia worked with our staff for 3 months offering in-house and Skype consultations. She is intuitive and energizing and has an inspiring outlook, acceptance & understanding of our staff’s widely varying needs. A great success for us.


Fee Structure Includes

Hourly fee of £150 – during which I can work with up to 3 employees per hour on a 1-2-1 basis  in your offices

A one hour Lunchtime Club, at your offices,  for up to 10 staff is £300 per person for 6 weeks.  Weight loss plans/handouts etc produced and provided by me.

Skype sessions of £100 per hour for remote staff

Other fees to be discussed in accordance with your needs.

pain

Pain or Pleasure, What is Eating to you?

When you think about eating how do you feel?  What emotions run through your mind? For some women it can be a huge spectrum from pleasure to pain, sadly far too often tipping more towards the pain end.

Take a look at these questions, which ones do you answer yes too?

  1. When you think of eating, do you feel happy anticipation of something tasty to savour, something that will nourish you, make you healthy and physically and emotionally strong?
  2. Or does the thought of eating, and making food choices, fill you with a low-level dread?
  3. Do you feel a lack of control or trust in your food choices, maybe even fear of the consequences of what you eat?
  4. Is food a cause of stress and anxiety, thinking that what you eat will make you look and feel unattractive and yet you feel powerless to make a healthier choice?
  5. Is food your friend, a safe, fun enjoyable experience?
  6. Or has food become your enemy, something to be watched over vigilantly, because if you don’t it will turn on you and make you feel a failure?
  7. Does food make you smile or does it make you cry.
  8. Do you eat in secret, ashamed and embarrassed, hiding wrappers?
  9. Or do you eat with confidence and enjoyment?
  10. Does a slice of cake with a coffee throw you into emotional chaos, make you feel a failure and derail all your good intentions?
  11. Or do you just view it as a lovely one-off treat that has no bearing on the rest of your day or week food choices?

Far too many women experience truly painful negative emotions around food.  I have clients who are either euphoric over a pound lost or reduced to tears by a single pound gained on that awful scale.  But of course, it is not the single pound that brings them to their knees, it is that they view the woefully inadequate weighing scale as a microcosm of their lives.  That extra pound reinforces all their belief about themselves that they can’t do it, they can’t change.  That they are failures because they feel they cannot control the simple act of what they put into their mouths.

Imagine now removing all those unhappy, negative emotions without therapy sessions, delving into your past – exhausting, time consuming and expensive!  What would life be like for you when you easily choose the foods you need to nourish you as well as enjoying the occasional treat? Where you don’t have the out of control ‘smash and grab’ moments in times of stress/boredom and all the rest?

How do you think you would feel then?  How do you think you will look?  What do you think you will say to yourselves?  Imagine being proud of yourself, leaner,  less stressed and anxious.

I know all the painful feelings of being out of control far too well.  I was an addict to drugs and alcohol for almost 30 years (see my book, This Isn’t Me).  I did all the equivalents of a yo-yo dieter. I attended class, therapies, took pills (not fun) and waved candles (literally) and none of it made a single bit of difference.  Yes, I was sober at times, but I always went back to my only known ‘coping’ mechanism.  I still drank ‘poison’ – you still eat crap.

Why, oh, why?  We are all intelligent woman, successful in other areas of our lives and yet none of us seem capable of not doing the very thing, (me drinking, you food intake), that cause us so much pain.

Now, though, after becoming gloriously and easily sober I KNOW exactly the ‘Why’ and even better for you, how to address it.  How to end the pull between what I wanted to do and what at the very same time, didn’t want to do and the stress and pain that came with it.  Again, me drink, you eat.

I understand now the emotional attachments we have to drink/food – what comfort, support, easing of unpleasant feelings that we think we will get from what we put into our mouths, whilst at almost the very same moment, knowing the reality of what the actual consequences are in terms of both emotional and physical upset.

My passion is to help other women break free from their emotional issues around behaviors that cause them pain, and with YOUtrition it is with food and weight.

I mentor women on understanding why you make the choices you make at certain times, and how to change those choices. To help you understand how you rationalize those choices in the moment and change those too.  I  explain why some of my clients hands seem to uncontrollably hover over the very stuff they don’t want to eat, plus so much more.

I know, from my own life experiences that having knowledge is not enough. Knowledge is everywhere, in every recipe book and it makes very little difference.  I also know that really understanding how we tick, if you choose to take it on board is.

So, please, if any of the above is you, if you are struggling with  emotional pain that you just can seem to change around food, take the first step to freedom,  book a consultation and let’s get rid of those exhausting, conflicting and damaging around food.

I use my expertise in nutrition, my long and painful experience and understanding as an addict and the powerful interventions I have mastered as an NLP Practitioner to bring you back to the whole person you were before those negative emotions overwhelmed you. To a place of peace and confidence in yourself around food.  My mission is to end emotional pain, and I now know absolutely how too.

I offer consultations at my home in Beaconsfield, by Skype and telephone call.  Distance is no barrier to the you you deserve to be!

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New You – How’s that going?

New Year, New You – so, it’s the first week of 2018 and I suspect most of us are bursting with new resolutions, hopes, dreams, determination for a NEW US, as well as holiday food and booze.

The fact that we have mostly stopped quaffing and scoffing the ‘finer’ things in life, sadly does not mean we are not still wearing them snugly around our waists/hips/busts – sod it, everywhere we can conceivably carry on our persons this excess of ‘fineness’.

Fear not though, we know the problem and we know the solution! We are determined on regular visits to the gym (full of machines we have no idea how to use). We have committed to a brisk daily walk.  A thrice weekly swim.  A dance class, maybe boxing.  Whatever, we have a plan and we are going to stick with it, aren’t we?  Just like last year, so um, maybe not.

Most of our wonderfully planned New Year, New Us, resolutions are over by 3rd January.  Mine, to stop eating mince pies, was over on the 2nd when I found all my favourite brand pies reduced to 10p in Sainsbury’s, yes, just 10p from £2.50 – heaven came knocking on my door again.

I bought 12 (as you do) for the freezer to enjoy every now and then throughout the year with a coffee in front of the TV.  Except that I had eaten them all 2 days later!  Of course I had.  Thank goodness the shop has now sold out otherwise I would eating out of date mince pies until, well, the store ran dry. Oh God!

From the above total failure to stick with my resolution, you might have concluded that I am weeping in a corner, having jumped from the size of a small terraced house to the size of say, Downton Abbey.  I am not.  And, whilst  I have possibly added a small ‘extension’ to my frame, I won’t be imposing rules and limitations on myself (aka, New Year’s Resolutions), to dismantle it.

I know that by making hard, inflexibly strict rules I am setting myself up for failure, for disappointment, for feelings of cravings and deprivation.  I would be preparing myself to be miserable. Heck no!  Instead, I acknowledge my weight gain, go back to my normal eating habits, move a little bit more and give thanks for the wonderfully, happy Christmas and New Year I have been allowed to enjoy with my loved ones.

I will move forward with my health & weight goals by being consistent in my helpful, healthy food and lifestyle choices, and by consigning the unhelpful, unhealthier ones to celebratory occasions such as birthday’s, weddings etc that crop up during the year.

By remaining calm about any weight changes that have occurred over the holidays, and by making good food and movement choices without being frantic and panicky, my weight and health will easily re-balance and I will look and feel exactly how I want to feel without punishing myself physically or emotionally.  I am not useless, or a failure and my world won’t come crashing down because my jeans are a little (actually, quite a lot), tighter for a few weeks.

To give you a boost, here are my top 10 tips to get you back on track. Let’s go smash this New Year thing. Here’s to 2018!! xx

  • Eat breakfast – include a protein to keep you fuller longer, egg/oats/chicken
  • Limit caffeine to 1 – 2 cups a day.  Switch to herbal teas, give your over worked body and brain a rest from stimulants.
  • Drink WATER throughout the day – the first sign of dehydration is hunger. Drink first, wait, then eat only if you are still hungry
  • Keep small snacks with you, palmful of nuts (healthy fats), small banana, apple, oatcakes
  • Eat lunch – make a huge salad filled with a wide variety of colours and textures and portion up each day. Add a tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon.  Or make a big pot of homemade veggie soup to portion out.
  • Whole foods only. Packed with fibre and nutrients these will get you slim and glowing in no time.  If it comes packaged with a list of ingredients, its not a whole food.
  • Dinner – fill your plate with 2/3 with steamed veg, add a protein – baked salmon or chicken in foil is soooo easy.
  • Use smaller plates – invest in some cheap smaller dinner plates and put the bigger ones out of sight. You will not notice the reduction in food that way.
  • Avoid sugary sweets/snacks – these and alcohol are the ultimate diet saboteurs.
  • MOVE – walk a little more every day. Use a phone app and count your steps, aim for a minimum of 10,000.  Buddy up and have a competition to see who can complete the most in a day.  Loser buys the coffee!
  • Think positive. Your weight at any one time is just a snapshot.  It is not your ‘for ever’ weight unless you choose it to be!
hangovers

Sugar Hangovers – They do exist!

As a recovering alcoholic of over 27 years, I know more than most how debilitating hangovers can be.  Not just physically, but emotionally as well.  It feels now as though I awoke, almost every week, of every month of every year for 27 years with a pounding headache, swollen eyes, parched dry mouth, dehydrated yet profusely sweating, unrefreshed as well as with no energy or zest for the day ahead. Now though, just over 2 gloriously, easy years of sobriety, which is not dependant on any interventions, support or therapies, I wake almost every morning refreshed, with a clear brain and eyes, fresh skinned and raring to go.  Not so great for my son, who is not a morning person, but perfect for my puppy, Gorby, who is!

In short, my life has changed completely and I feel amazing. Until recently. Since I started to research sugar and its affects on our weight and physical and emotional health, I have made an astounding discovery.  If I eat too much sugar regularly, I wake up with almost the exact same symptoms as a vodka binge! I am experiencing sugar hangovers.  This is incredible to me.

I started my nutrition and weight loss practice, YOUtrition, after realizing that making simple, easy and straightforward changes to the foods I ate made a huge difference on every level to my health (at the beginning this was as a rear-guard action to counter balance the damage caused by my drinking), as well as my weight. And whilst this has now become a way of life that keeps me slim and in tip top physical shape, I have also noticed a huge shift in my emotional wellbeing.

Then of course, the better I feel, the better able I am to make the best food/lifestyle choices, as I love the way I feel now and I am thriving on every level.  So, sugar has been relegated to a small corner of my nutritional intake, a small slice of birthday cake or slice of occasional pizza – I am very  sociable.  Becoming sugar free was not even a conscious decision, it just came about because the wholefoods I choose to eat and love, don’t come with any pre-packed, processed nasties.

That is all well and good, but to write about sugar and its affects, I needed to actually eat the stuff, so I made a deliberate decision to include in my daily diet, for just one week, some of the food products I rarely eat.  Bread, shop bought cakes with my coffee on dates with friends, refined pasta, shop bought sauces etc.  I didn’t over eat, I just can’t, my body knows when to stop and sends very clear signals, which I cannot ignore, but still I ate differently and my God, the change I felt was almost immediate.

I am bloated (though no extra weight yet), my waist is thicker, my skin is duller, my hair (never anyone’s idea of a crowning glory), lifeless, my eyes are puffy in the morning, I feel sluggish and dehydrated and worst of all, I have no energy, little enthusiasm and my mood is lower. In short,  I have woken every day this week sufffering from sugar hangovers and the only thing that shifts them is either a huge jolt of caffeine, or a “sugar hair of the dog” in the form of a sugary breakfast that then starts the depressing and depressive cyle all over again.

I am only aware of this change because this is not my natural way of living/eating. And  I know I can’t live like this. My body is under siege from the assault of rubbish it now has to process and get rid of –  this stuff has literally nowhere to go, or has any use in my poor body so can only be stored as fat, mainly around my waistline (just where I want it most!). Plus, and by far the worst aspect for me, my emotional wellbeing is struggling too.  This then is a complete no brainer, I eat rubbish, I feel like rubbish.  End of experiment.  End of the sugar hangovers.

One week later, back to my normal eating habits, I feel amazing again.  Fresh, relaxed, my humour intact again and raring to go. Up and ready for my early morning puppy walk – let’s do this Gorby.

Give yourself just five days of eliminating processed foods – and they are all sugar/salt drenched, they have to be for longevity on the shelves and to compensate for the taste that’s lost through processing, and you will see and feel an amazing difference.  Don’t just trust me, trust our body, it will literally change a gear and whiz you towards where you want to be with your weight and health.

If you need any help or support in ditching your sugar hangovers and living an easy sugar free life – and it is easy as well as much less expensive, contact me.  I want you to feel the way I do every single day. I deserve to feel this way and so do you!

sugary

Sugar Addiction Questionnaire from my A Simply Sugar Free Life recipe book

As part of my YOUtrition, A Simply Sugar Free Life recipe book, I have devised a simple questionnaire to help you identify your triggers, moods and feelings around sugary foods (well, actually if they are not whole foods, they are “food products”), and on how much these “food products” feature in your life.

How much control does sugar seem to have over you? How much do you think about these foods and how often do you consume them?

By completing this questionnaire honestly, you are taking a first huge step towards acknowledging the power and prominence sugar has in your life and then, with my help, starting to make the changes in both foods and behaviours that will get you living a slim and healthy Simply Sugar Free Life.

Don’t overthink your answers, a simple Yes or No, (your immediate response) is all that is needed.

When you have finished, look back and review your answers.  There are no right or wrongs, it’s just about you, what you eat and how you feel about what and why you eat.

If you would like to send me your completed questionnaire, email me through my website, I will send you back a quick summary which will depend on how many Yes answers you have!

Do you have a sugary food/drink every day? Yes No
Do you feel you need sugary foods to get you going? Yes No
Are you aware if you haven’t eaten a sugary food on any day? Yes No
Do you feel proud of yourself if you haven’t eaten a sugary food on any day? Yes No
Do you often think about your next sugary treat? Yes No
Can you stop after two sugary treats or does it trigger a binge? Yes No
Do you feel guilty after eating sugary foods? Yes No
Do you feel that sugar has control of you? Yes No
Do you go out of your way, even when you are tired or fed up to buy sugary foods? Yes No
Do you think eating sugary foods will make you feel happy on a bad day? Yes No
Does your energy crash after breakfast/ lunch? Yes No
Do you choose sugary foods that you know are unhealthy over healthier choices? Yes No
Do you think you a sugary food will make you feel better or comforted? Yes No
Have you ever tried stopping eating sugar and not been able to stick with it? Yes No
Do you feel drawn to sugar foods even when you don’t feel like eating? Yes No
Do you find it difficult to resist a dessert even after a big meal in a restaurant? Yes No
Does eating sugar affect your mood, either by not having some or overindulging? Yes No
Do you feel upset and guilty when you have eaten a sugar food? Yes No
Are you often tired and lacking energy? Yes No
Do you hide how much sugar you eat? Yes No

* A Simply Sugar Free Life to be published in November 2017

 

 

 

Gluten

Going Gluten Free? What else are you cutting out?

Recently I was in LA, in what appeared to be the gluten free capital of the world.  The restaurants there offer a huge selection of innovative healthy meals which were completely delicious to a sometime health freak (who also does like a little something sweet to finish with), and I truly thrived on the foods. I write that because of one of the biggest challenges I face when I travel, which is a lot, is eating out.  I want to maintain the feeling of physical and mental wellbeing I have at home where I am in control of my eating, but obviously it can be more of a minefield when I am away. Whilst I know how to make the best choices, if the restaurant isn’t particularly good, even their best choice can arrive sugar and salt soaked from the definitely not homemade ingredients.  Anyhoo, no point in complaining and spoiling my trips or my companions, I just re-adjust when home.

Back to LA.  I was really struck by the amount of gluten free foods. Almost every meal had a gluten free option.  There must be a Coeliac epidemic in LA, or, if not that, an overwhelming preponderance of gluten sensitivity.  Maybe there is something in the water……….. Strangely, the few I met that I knew well enough to ask without offending, if they had been tested, all said no.

Self-diagnosis can be a tricky experiment and give wildly inaccurate results. It is estimated that only 10% of all those who go gluten free have Coeliacs’s disease.

Coeliac is a hereditary autoimmune disease with potentially serious consequences, such as Type 1 diabetes, MS and some intestinal cancers to name a few, so it is imperative Coeliac ‘s stick to a gluten free diet. Then there is gluten sensitivity, much more common and definitely a real condition where people can experience extremely unpleasant symptoms such as depression, abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea if they eat gluten, so they also need to avoid it.

My concern with the gluten free bandwagon is that too many who cut out gluten seem blissfully and dangerously unaware of the necessary vitamins they are depriving their bodies of, and that they may well need to boost with other foods.  So, below are my top vitamin boosting recommendations to living the healthiest life if you are gluten free.

B6 – needed to fight infections, found in chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken breast and turkey.

Folate – Another B vitamin, need for cell growth. Think green to boost your folate levels: spinach, asparagus and brussels sprouts all are high in the nutrient, as are green peas and broccoli. If you eat 10 spears of asparagus or two-thirds of a cup of boiled spinach, you’ll be more than halfway to your daily folate goal.

Vitamin D – sunshine vitamin. Studies have shown that people with Coeliac’s or gluten intolernance are often very deficient in this vitamin.  Few foods naturally contain much vitamin D, but there are exceptions including cold water fish like swordfish and sockeye salmon, which contain substantial amounts. An egg yolk contains about 10% of the vitamin D you need each day. If you consume dairy products, you can look for products fortified with vitamin D.

Calcium – Bone strength. Like vitamin D, calcium is found in dairy products, milk, cheese, yogurt etc, be careful though if you are lactose intolerant. If you are, look for tofu or canned fish with bones. Some orange juice brands also contain added calcium (as with vitamin D-fortified products, just make sure to buy only gluten free).

Iron – Oxygen carrier. Anaemia is a common symptom of Coeliac disease, so those who suffer from it need to be more careful than average to get enough iron, either through their diets or through supplements. People who don’t have Coeliac but who are following the gluten-free diet also need to be careful. Iron is easy to get if you eat meat: beef and turkey contain plenty. Oysters also are high in iron, and tuna contains some iron. If you follow a gluten-free vegetarian diet, you can obtain iron from soybeans and legumes.

Vitamin B12 – Fight fatigue. Vitamin B12 helps maintain your nerve and blood cells, and those who are particularly deficient in B12 can find themselves fighting constant fatigue. Meat, fish and dairy products tend to be the best sources of vitamin B12, so vegetarians and vegans often are more deficient. A meal-sized portion (4 oz. or more) of salmon or trout will provide 100% of your recommended daily intake, while 6 oz. of beef will give you half of what you need. A cup of milk or an ounce of hard cheese will provide about 15% of your vitamin B12 requirements.

So, please, before you decide to exclude any food group, do check what else you will be removing from your diet. Make sure that you are not missing out on any other vital vitamins or minerals. If you are, your health will suffer in ways you may not be expecting.

sugar

A Simply Sugar Free Life – My recipe book & guide to the life you deserve.

I recently started to research sugar, and sugar addiction for my new A Simply Sugar Free Life (scheduled for October release) recipe book.   I want to write a straightforward, no-nonsense, easy to follow book that will really make a difference.  A game changer hopefully (well, that is my aim anyway). I want it to be a mix of the science behind how sugar affects the brain and keeps us coming back for more after the first bite, the potential consequences to our health and the definite consequences to our weight.

“Ok”, I thought, “Jump in Sonia, go sugar free yourself”.  So, I did.  I gave myself one last dinner out and, fairly unusually for me, had a creamy, yummy dessert which, whilst it tasted pretty darn good for all of five minutes, left me feeling somewhat low and uncomfortable afterwards.  Been there anyone???? Anyway, the next day  I went sugar free.

First things first.  Off to the shops, no sugar shopping for me.  I had researched all the sneaky sugars and knew what to avoid.  And then as I wandered around the shops, a slow realisation came over me.  I was buying exactly the same foods I bought every week!  There was literally no change.  It suddenly hit me that I do, at least 90% of the time, live a sugar free life!  What on earth……..

So, a sugar free life is ultimately a life without processed foods.  It is as simple as that.  I don’t buy shop made sauces, I don’t buy processed cereals, I eat very little bread, I don’t buy cakes or sweets – instead I always treat myself to once piece of fresh, juicy, sweet and often exotic fruit each day and I love full fat yogurt with a teaspoon of honey or a good sprinkle of cinnamon and maybe, if I am going crazy a chopped strawberry or inch of chopped banana.  All of which satisfy my sweet tooth and leave me feeling good and positive afterwards.

I have to say, this was quite a revelation and also a slight worry.  How on earth was I now going to write the definitive book on a sugar free life?  I now knew that with a little re-thinking, as well as some tasty alternative recipes to guide my readers into the speed, ease and inexpensive way of making homemade sauces, dips and meals bursting with  texture, colour and flavour sans the sugar and salt that drowns out the taste of any shop bought ones, that I was done. In fact, I have just written it in this blog.  Read this, take it on board and a sugar free life is yours!

But of course, the food information is not the complete answer to a sugar free life, in fact on the whole it is only about 10% of it.  There is the science of addiction as well, how the brain responds to the sweet poison.  There are the types of sugar that we need to avoid, think fructose as well as sweeteners.  Then there is the sugar that we do need in the form of glucose for energy and brain function.  This information offers probably another 10% at best towards a sugar free life.

So, we are left with a huge 80% to deal with, and that it is where my expertise really kicks in. My first book, This Isn’t Me, is currently being published and is due for release in September 2017.  It is my memoir and deals with my 27 year battle, first with heroin addiction and then alcohol addiction. I write about my total desperation to be sober, especially after my glorious son, Christopher, was born and my total failure to be so even when armed with all the information, researched by myself, as to the devastating consequences both physically to myself and emotionally to him.  And still I just couldn’t stop.  And then I did.  I understood my addiction and just like that, I stopped.

That understanding of my addiction was the 80% that was missing, and it is the same with all behaviours.  Please trust me on this.

It is not about what you know about what you do, it is about why you do it.  It is about what you feel, about what you do, be it drink, drugs or food.  It is about what you think it gives you. It is about how you think it makes you feel, even when all the evidence points you in another direction.  It is about understanding you, and finding alternative ways of thinking. It is about your mindset.

When you have that knowledge, that understanding, you have the elusive 80%.  Then with the science to back it up and the recipes to support you, you have your 100%, and as we are talking about sugar here, you have your simple sugar free life.

I would love to hear any questions you would like addressed in my A Simply Sugar Free Life book.  The more I have, the more I can help. I can write from my perspective, but I want to help you.  Have a think and email me through my website.

Believe me, my alcohol free life is easy, every day.  Your sugar free life can to too. x

 

 

me

This Isn’t Me – A painful, yet inspiring personal memoir on alcoholism and recovery.

This Isn’t Me details my journey into a heroin addiction and recovery, and then subsequent alcohol addiction that lasted 27 years.  It is about the  horrifying shock of realizing that my alcoholism was impossible to overcome, even with all the available interventions and professional support I engaged with for over 15 years, when I had successfully overcome heroin with none.

It details the relationship between myself and my now 19 year old son. It is about being a single mother and the absolute joy of the gift of him. A joy that turned into the crippling nightmare of severe post-natal depression, requiring in-house psychiatric care on two occasions, and my return to drinking and then self-harm to cope.

It tells of my despair on realizing that I would die an alcoholic after being informed that my liver was damaged. Of the deceptions and self-disgust, of my complete desperation to be different.  Of how it affected my son’s life before he realized it was alcohol that changed his mother from the daytime loving, caring one into the cold and emotionally unavailable shell I became in the evenings.  Of his realization, during his teenage years that alcohol came before him and that I was unable to stop, even when he begged me too.

It then details the miraculous, magenta moment just over two years ago when I just stopped drinking.  No last drink, I just stopped.  Of the “how” and “why” of my stopping.

It is about my son’s initial distrust in my sobriety and my determination to show him that I was sober, by changing my behaviour, by doing something different.  As part of my apology and acknowledgment of the damage I had done, I started my own nutrition and weight loss business YOUtrition and together we are building our brand.

It tells of my total commitment to helping him heal as much as possible in a healthy way where his hurts and confusion are discussed and talked through, as and when he needs those conversations.

I write about where I am now, where we are now in our relationship, our closeness, our friendship, our love and understanding.

My sobriety is easy and I do not attend any interventions or have any therapy or support.  I just don’t drink.  Even after my first sober, truly painful experience of loss of a loved one, alcohol did not enter my mind. I even have alcohol in the house, I just don’t see it.

My book is not a “woe is me” exercise. I do not attempt to deflect responsibility away from myself or to apportion blame to anyone else for my choices.  I own both my drunkenness and my sobriety.

It is simply honest, painful, uplifting and inspiring. It offers a different view on recovery, which works for me so easily where accepted interventions didn’t.

It is ultimately a letter of love to my son, an apology , which he can re-read as he grows stronger, one that will help him know and understand that he always was, and always will be my Number One.