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What makes it easier to recover from an eating disorder?

“Recovery is like riding a wild stallion. It is unpredictable, you will likely fall off many times. You will go through emotions ranging from fear to excitement, feeling out of control at times and clinging on to anything you can. Keep getting back on the horse, keep holding tight, sit up tall and go with the ride.”

There are many times in my working life that I just wish I had a magic wand to make recovery easier. The fact is, recovery is hard, damn hard and it takes a lot of guts, determination and hard work to even make a start on it. Once you start it can feel like it just gets harder at points, so you really need to plan and have support in place to help guide you and keep you going. Here are some things that can help the ride.

Have a social support structure in place

Deciding to make changes to your eating may sound simple, but once you plan it and then actually have to put it into place, it really gets harder. Having people around you who you are accountable to, people who will sit with you in the hard moments, challenge you to keep going and celebrate with you too. True friends and family who love you for you but want to see you healed up and able to live life to the full.

Have professional support

Yes you can do it on your own. However an eating disorder is an isolating illness, it can be a long and lonely path. So having a professional or a team of professionals who you trust is a good idea. People you can get the right information from and trust it, people who will challenge your thoughts, assumptions and beliefs and believe that you can do this. 

Being in the right place at the right point 

There is a cycle of change that I often use with people to talk through how you need to be in the right mindset and the right point of your life to begin recovery. This is especially key if you are in the community, recovering at home. In a eating disorders unit things are a little different and you have more support and encouragement. Take a look at the  phases below and see if you can identify where you are. Recovery can be a cyclical process where you move forward 5 spaces and then back 2 spaces, but do not give up, this is normal. 

Stages of ED recovery 

  1. I don’t think I have a problem
  2. I might have a problem but I’m ignoring it or I don’t care
  3. I don’t know how to change but I  want to
  4. I tried to change but it didn’t work
  5. I can stop some of the behaviours but not all of them
  6. I can stop the behaviours but not the thoughts
  7. I can be free from my eatind disorder some, but not all the time
  8. I am free from behaviours and thoughts = recovered

Have goals in mind

You need something to aim for. Why do you want to get better? What will life be like when you are free from your eating disorder? What do you want to do with your life that you cannot currently do. I recommend writing out or creating a vision board showing where you want to get to. Write out your dreams and dream big. Then use this as a motivational tool, put it up where you can see it. 

Surround yourself with the positive things

Part of recovery is about changing your mindset and the way you view life. It can be so easy to see the negatives about your life and yourself, then use food as a way to help with this. Or to get drawn into the negatives about weight gain. I challenge you to instead see the positives. Why is weight gain good? What does it mean for your body and your life? Grab hold of those negatives and turn them upside down. Having motivational phrases and images around you can be really helpful on those days that thinking is too tricky.

Go do it. I believe you can.

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2017 Food Trends: the hot, the not and the ones to spot.

According to those in the know these are some of the food trends coming our way in 2017. In my cynical mind this usually means things to be wary of or foods that will become super expensive.  However there are also some interesting new foods on the horizon which I’m looking forward to trying.

Wellness Tonics 

Meaning any drink, juice, potion, shot or magical elixir that can boost your health. This year the money is on using alternative medicine’s roots, shoots and leaves. Products such as maca, holy basil, apple cider vinegar, medicinal mushrooms and kava are tipped to be added into the mix. 

Photo by Milo McDowell
Photo by Milo McDowell

Priya says: These alternative medicines are alternative as we don’t have enough research and evidence to prove their benefits. A lot of these drinks are unlikely to contain enough of these ingredients to have a benefit on the body and are likely to be a marketing ploy. There may be some good ones out there, but remember that water is always the best drink to be having, follow that up with plenty of fruit and veggies to pack yourself a wellness punch.

Using up the byproducts 

The waste from making products will be turned into new products. For example using the leftover water from chickpeas as an egg replacement or the left over whey from making Greek yoghurt to create a probiotic drink.

Priya says: I like this. We need to cut down on our food waste, using all the leftovers is a brilliant idea. It is what I try to do in my kitchen and we are all encouraged to do it, so why shouldn’t food manufacturers try too?

Coconut 

Yes the humble coconut is still hot to trot in 2017 with novel products continuing to come out. Tortilla wraps, butter, ice-creams, coconut flour and sugar are all set to be popular. I just hope there are enough coconuts being grown to support this craze.

Photo by Max Lakutin
Photo by Max Lakutin

Priya says: Whilst there is nothing wrong with coconut, in fact it is very nutritious, I do have an issue with it being over-used. We do not need to be having coconut versions of everything and adding coconut oil to foods when it is not needed. Coconut products such as sugar and flour do have some good features such as their low glycaemic index, however the coconut is high in saturated fat and so with all foods it is best to consume it in moderation and wisely.

All things Japanese 

Sushi has been popular for a while (it’s one of my children’s fav meals). Now in 2017 Japanese condiments, pickles and different types of seaweed are coming our way. Mirin, Miso, sesame oil and plum vinegar may not be unheard of in your kitchen but are set to be more popular in our store cupboards.

Photo by Leio Ohshima McLaren
Photo by Leio Ohshima McLaren

Nori is already available in the supermarkets, but more seaweeds such as kelp, wake and dulse are set to follow suit. I personally would love it if there was more of a trend for foraging these for ourselves. Now who wants to show me which seaweed I can pick up off the beach and how to use it?

Priya says: Savoury Japanese flavours such a matcha tea, green tea, azuki bean and mochi are likely to be popping up in recipes for cakes, desserts and breakfasts. All in all I’m excited about this one and look forward to trying new combinations out. 

Condiment Heaven 

Condiments look like they will be big news in 2017. With rare, traditional and new flavours of sauces and dips coming out. Apparently we have pomegranate molasses, beet salsa, mexican hot chocolate spread, plum jam with chia seeds and habanero jam. 

Photo by Ashim de Silva
Photo by Ashim de Silva

Priya says: These all sound exciting but may not fit with the current thinking on reducing sugar intake as many condiments are high in sugar content. Again it is all about how much of these products you have and how often you use them. They can certainly bring flavour and interest to a meal, just remember that a little can go a long way.

Alternative grain pasta 

Ancient and different grains have been increasing in popularity. Partially fuelled by the clean eating brigade, plant based eaters and the gluten free movement.  Quinoa, lentils, chickpeas flour are making popular noodles. Also spiralized veggies will continue to rise and seaweed noodles are set to make headlines. 

Priya says: It is great to have all this variety.  Using different grains is great at it brings more variety into the diet and with that, a broader way to get good quality nutrition into the diet. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with wheat based pasta, using these other forms of noodles opens up things for people on vegetarian, gluten free and specialist diets plus it makes it more interesting when making meals. 

Purple Foods 

If you like purple then you are in for a treat as purple cauliflower,  black rice, asparagus, carrots, elderberries, beetroot, corn and potatoes are the foods to watch in 2017. 

 

Photot by Peter Hershey
Photo by Peter Hershey

Why purple? The colour indicates higher antioxidant content, it comes from anthocyanins which are action packed nutrients aiding in fighting ageing, cancer and chronic diseases. For example, purple potatoes are high in iron and antioxidants. 

Priya says: Purple foods are an interesting trend and very nutritious so I would certainly recommend eating them. Hopefully this trend may helps make fruit and vegetables more appealing to some people and increase their intake of these foods. Remember that we need to eat a range of fruit and vegetables so focus on eating a rainbow and not just purple foods.

 

What are your fav food trends?

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Make your own healthy “graze” snack boxes

So snacking, it’s one of those things I definitely do. I tend to eat my 3 meals and at least 2 snacks a day. Which means my snacks need to be healthy, well most of them! Currently I am breastfeeding which makes me quite hungry at times. It is those moments when I have children clamouring for me, a baby wanting to feed and I know I need to eat that I need a ready to grab and go snack. That moment when it could be biscuits. Although I do eat my share of those too, I’ve recently discovered a wheat free dark chocolate and stem ginger cookie… dangerously nice. So to keep me on the straight and narrow I’ve started making snack boxes. This is something I often recommed to clients and many find them so useful. You can literally make a pile up for the week and take one to work each day, keep them in your bag or just on the worktop if you are at home.

Here are some of my favourite combos:

Cranberry.almond.choc
15g Dried cranberries, 15 almonds and 10g dark chocolate

 

Pecan,apple.edam
15g pecans, 15g dried apple, 1 tbsp dried edamame beans

 

Cashew.mango
15g cashews, 15g dried mango, 1 tsp mixed seeds

 

Brazil.apricot
5 brazil nuts, 3 dried apricots, 1 tsp mixed seeds

Here is me trying out Facebook Live and showing off my not so great phone video skills:

Love to hear your healthy snack box combos. Leave me a message/comment so I can steal your ideas too 😉

I tend to buy my nuts and dried fruit in bulk online (it is cheaper per kg but costs a bit up front) and I store a supply in the cupboard and a supply in glass jars on my shelf. Which looks pretty and also means we all see them and are more likely to eat them instead of reaching into the biscuit tin. 

“Keep healthy food – In plain sight so it is in your mind to eat it”

A good example of this is my toddler boy who often asks for “prawns” and points at the jars… he means prunes! 

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Priya stars on BBC1’s Food Truth or Scare.

So if you weren’t watching BBC1 on Thurs 25th Feb at 9.15am then where were you? 

Oh yes, probably at work or out living life 😉

Well you missed watching me talking about red meat with Chris Bavin on the TV…. but don’t worry because if you are in the UK you can watch it back for the next 28 days or so. So get on over to BBC iplayer and check it out.

Dietitian UK : Food truth or scare 2

 

Dietitian UK: Food truth or scare 1

I would love to know your thoughts so please do leave me a comment.

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When did healthy eating become so complicated?

Healthy Eating is meant to be straightforward and a common sense approach to eating. Right? However when you look on Pinterest, blog sites and the internet you are suddenly confronted with complicated recipes using all kinds of specialist expensive ingredients and equipment – agave, coconut oil, himalyan sea salt, seaweed, the latest berries, spiralizers etc. Now I quite like a bit of faffing around in the kitchen and I’m all for experimenting with new foods…. but this isn’t something you can do everyday and I wonder how many people think this is how you have to cook to eat a healthily?

Dry tomatoes

Recently at a lecture I was reminded by the speaker how in the war, rationing meant that people had no choice but to eat less fat and sugar, grow their own vegetables, could afford less meat and had to make the most of the food they had. When rationing stopped there was a sudden binge on foods like sugar and butter, biscuits and cake!

Dietitan UK: War rationing

When I went to University I started out with minimal equipment, a small budget and I pretty much cooked all my own meals from scratch as it was the cheapest way to do things. Lots of vegetable and bean stir frys, pasta dishes, jacket potatoes and anything I could cook with a pack of minced beef! Chopped tomatoes, tins of pulses and beans and the local green grocer were my friend. It was a simple and enjoyable way of cooking with no real pressure, especially as I was mainly cooking for just myself.

Now I have to cater for a growing family. Fancy meals really do not work. We have our basic staple meals that work every time. Pasta with roasted veggies. Lentil bolognaise. Risotto done in many ways. Salmon Parcels

So what do you need in order to eat a healthy, balanced diet?

1. Fancy equipment is often nice to have but not needed! A good knife, peeler, spoons to stir with, a grater and a tin opener is enough to start with. 

2. A store cupboad with the basics in: chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, baked beans, tinned pulses, dried mixed herbs, tuna, pasta, rice, curry powder, olive oil are all things I have in mine right now.

3. A menu plan. Look for some simple recipes on sites like BBC Good Food and the supermarkets websites. Get hold of a cookery book that doesn’t have hundreds of ingredients per recipe and the meals can be cooked in 30 minutes. Make up a folder or use pinterest to save the ideas you like and use to build your weekly plan and shopping list. Think about foods you really like and the time you have on each night.

4. There is no need to be fancy on a daily basis! Save that for a weekend 😉

5. Cooking from scratch may seem like hard work at first but it really is worth it. Base your meals around your vegetables, add some meat and some carbohydrates on the side. Job done.

In the words of the great saying. 

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

 

 

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Priya talks about heart health on Sky News.

The other week I had a lot of fun taking part in a media interview day for a fruit juice  called Sirco. These guys have made a drink that contains tomato extracts with a health claim of it helping aid blood circulation and so it could reduce the risk of heart disease.

I love media work. You have to be on your toes, ready to answer the unknown questions and able to adapt your thinking and words. I find it exciting, full of energy and a great way to get health messages out to a large audience.

So if you missed my moment of fame, here is the clip. I’m talking with TV presenter Anna Williamson (who is lovely). The 2 of us spent the day hanging out, chatting a lot and doing media interviews in a tag-team style.

Then I got to chill for an hour on the train and eat a yummy lunch…. in peace. What more could I want from a days work?

 

Disclaimer: this interview was part of paid work conducted for SIRCO, a fruit juice drink with an EFSA health claim for heart health.

Cocoa-nut Naked Balls

You know those weeks when you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, you are feeling pretty exhausted and craving something chocolately? That’s me right now so today I created these healthy, delicious balls full of raw ingredients, goodness yet with that chocolate taste too. Inspired by the Nakd bar range, I decided it couldn’t be that hard to make my own version – turns out it isn’t!

These are gluten free (if you use gluten free oats), wheat free and easy to make if you have a food processor. I ued the nuts/seeds grinder on my Kenwood Chef. Drove my kids nuts with the noise – slighly payback for the times they drive me nuts with their noise 😉 Top tip, soak the prunes first and it will make life easier. I didn’t and had to do a lot of scraping them back down the grinder pot.

Dietitian UK: Cocoa-nut naked balls

Cocoa-nut Naked Balls
Yields 5
Raw balls of goodness with a chocolate kick. These are based on Nakd bars or Lara bars. Easy to make though a little messy!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
137 calories
26 g
0 g
4 g
4 g
0 g
42 g
2 g
3 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
42g
Yields
5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 137
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
5%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 3g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
3%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 75 g prunes
  2. 50g oats
  3. 25g almonds
  4. 25g raisins
  5. 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  6. 2 tbsp warm water
Instructions
  1. Soak the prunes in the warm water for 15-30 minutes depending on how much time you have.
  2. Drain the water but reserve it.
  3. Add the nuts to a food processor or nut/seed grinder and grind. Then add the oats and grind. Add the rest of the ingredients and grind. You may need to add a little of the reserved liquid to help it along but not too much as you don't want it sloppy.
  4. Now roll into balls and place onto greaseproof paper on a plate or baking tray.
  5. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.
beta
calories
137
fat
4g
protein
4g
carbs
26g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/