When I first started to look at nutrition and study it, I was taken aback by the huge amount of information out there and the contradictions in opinions and even proven studies. At one point I was totally confused and felt that there was no chance of ever really knowing what the right choices of good food actually were.

However, I have come out on the other side now having completed a Diploma which taught me the nutritional science and how different food groups have different impacts on the body and also how vitamin and minerals work. What I have then had to develop is the information on how the processes in which food goes before it ends up on our plates can change the impact it has and also how different bodies react in different ways.

I should start by explaining that I am really into the gym and go at last 5 times a week for 1 hour. I lift weights and do 30 minutes of cardio. I am not bragging when I say I am pretty damn fit because I have worked really hard for it and here is a picture of my sort of abs, although they maybe more of a 4 pack or even a 2 pack than a 6 pack!

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So anyway, what I am getting at is that I need to eat the right food to train like I do and then run around for work the rest of the time. I am a size 6 UK and whist some might say that is too skinny, it suits me fine and I go for what I refer to as the LONG’N’LEAN look achieved through a certain type of training which I will elaborate on in a future blog. I do not aim to look starvation skinny, I aim to look fit and so this means the right food and surprisingly quite a lot of it.

The right food is quite simply about balance, moderation and understanding. By that I mean eating from all the food groups and not focussing solely on just one or two. By not eating excessive amounts of everything. By listening and understanding your body’s reactions to foods .

I will share lots of tips, lots of yummy recipes and lots of secrets on this blog but just as a starter here are 4 easy to do changes that will make a significant difference to the way you look and feel

Change 1: I think that there has been such a focus on high protein diets with people including it in every meal. The reality is you can have too much protein and the liver has to struggle to deal with the excess nitrate in protein which ultimately places stress on the body and excessive acid levels which can lead to all sort of bad things including premature ageing! if you have to eat animal protein limit it to one portion a day – the average female weighing around 63kg only needs 48g of protein. 100g of nuts or seeds is 33g of protein!  Other foods do have protein in them including pulses and green vegetables.   Personally, I eat chick peas and broccoli and almonds, brazil nuts etc to get my protein. Give your liver a break and you will feel the difference.

Change 2: I believe that we consume too much diary now, particularly as coffee is all over the place and many of us swig down 3 or 4 cups a day. In ye olden days people milked the probably quite local cow and drank the milk but now cows are kept in very different purposely build facilities where they are pumped with medicine to prevent the spread of disease, are milked and drained of everything so we are now drinking a very different thing. Also in those golden days people had some milk in tea and then some porridge perhaps or a touch of milk in a cake. Now we have numerous cups of tea and coffee, deserts made from nearly 100% diary, porridge, custard, chocolate and so on. I think we have overdosed on diary and it is difficult for a large majority of us to digest. Milk is acidic and this goes against all the propaganda we have been literally been fed by the diary industry who promoted the calcium benefits. At an early age, around 3 years, the human body stops creating the right levels of lactase to deal with the diary intake which is an enzyme needed to break down the sugars in milk. Additionally, when diary is consumed as it is acidic, the body has to neutralise it using the alkaline calcium from the bones! So actually in truth the effect of eating diary is a loss of calcium! The solution? Almond milk – low in fat and tasty. It took me ages to find the right milk replacement as I do like coffee and I do like porridge and I do like things like semolina! Almond milk actually tastes better in porridge than milk and all of my friends do not even notice I have used it in deserts and puddings.  As a result of cutting our diary I have much better skin, less allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes and no horrible side affects like bloating, wind or indigestion.

Change 3: Do not cut fat out your diet – just eat the right fats. I did cut fat out as a food group when I first started on my training and the consequence was an aged look and skin which lacked radiance as well as hair loss. Yuck! Now I have coconut milk in smoothies and porridge, toasted coconut flakes in the porridge and in any health bars I make and I eat avocado, vegan butter, cashew nut butter. I make treats like peanut butter cakes and use oil in my cooking. The right fats will not literally make you fat.In fact good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect and play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.  I top up everyday with an Omega 3 supplement which is vegetarian and brilliant http://www.amazon.co.uk/Together-Omega-Rich-Algae-Softgels/dp/B00CBXAA40

Point 4: Eat food as pure to nature as you can. Cut out all the sweetener rubbish and all the low fat stuff as quite frankly it makes no difference at all! Sweetener is a man made artificial product which the body is not used to dealing with and it contains all sorts of things that sound horrible like aspartame and phenylalanine. If you have to have sugar get it as close to that which grows from the natural ground which is dark sugar or use raw honey. With anything you buy look at the label and if the list of ingredients is too long put it back in the shelf. Peanut butter is an easy example – I found the usual stuff had sugar and salt and other things added to it but you can get 100% nut butter which is just as yummy. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meridian-Natures-Energy-Smooth-Almond/dp/B0069RW9UM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1385074385&sr=8-2&keywords=nut+butters

As a closing point, the secret is not to go on some extreme diet (been there done that!) but to realise that there are so many amazing food options and choices out there that eating conscientiously does not have to be boring and does not have to mean missing out. There are lots of treats which are healthy than a stodgy doughnut, lots of lunch options which are as tasty yet less fattening than a cheese and ham panini, lots of deserts which have natural ingredients with health benefits and nowadays lots of health little snacks. Eating with thought actually becomes exciting and you look forward to meals knowing that they won’t be followed by guilt or feeling bloated.