Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Why is your child so FAT!?

Yes I said it. 
Why is your child so Fat!!??  
This has been something on my mind for a little while but it is a delicate subject to say the least. 
But, before you jump on me or attack me, I am not body shaming any gorgeous child. 
A child is beautiful no matter what size and shape and they are truly gifts and miracles.
My question is aimed at YOU, the parents. Why is your child over weight, obese and carrying excess fat?  Why did you allow that to happen?
And for the record, I do not include any child with a chronic illness where obesity is a side effect, I am talking about all the otherwise healthy children who are overweight in Britain.

Why am I even talking about this?

Firstly, here are the facts about Obesity so you can get an idea why I am even writing this article in the first place.

Bottom line is obesity can result in premature death. I have never looked at someone and felt the need to say anything about how they physically look because that is irrelevant to me. There is beauty in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes I do feel like asking if they are aware they are shortening there life span?

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the association between mortality and BMI for adults BMI

Schematic illustration of the association between mortality and BMI for adults BMI

Around one in every 10 deaths in the UK is now linked to carrying excess fat - 50%  more than the rate in France. Experts also warned that the number of fatalities due to obesity may soon, for the first time, exceed those caused by smoking!!

Prof Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that a “normalisation” of being overweight meant many people did not recognise that they weighed too much, and that the extra pounds could shorten their life. (

To me that's a big enough reason to watch what my child eats and teach him about healthy food options but some would say that is a scaremongering tactic so lets just scale it down now and talk about the smaller issues if EARLY  DEATH doesn't strike a chord with you.

Taken from the NHS wesbite.

Risks of Obesity include but are not limited to
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • coronary heart disease 
  • some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer
  • stroke
  • breathlessness
  • increased sweating
  • snoring
  • difficulty doing physical activity
  • feeling very tired a lot of the time
  • joint and back pain
  • low confidence and self-esteem
  • feeling isolated
Now let me ask you this, would you as a parent, or a future parent, want any of those to happen to your beloved child or children? Of course not! we love our children dearly! So why let them over eat and why let them eat saturated fats, why let them have excess sugar, why not teach them the importance of healthy food choices!?

Lets break it down a step further then.

Whats the problem with type 2 diabetes?

-Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It's the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age. 
-Diabetes is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents).
-People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to have cardiovascular disease (such as a stroke) than those without diabetes.
-Pregnant women with diabetes have an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. If your blood glucose level isn't carefully controlled during the early stages of pregnancy, there's also an increased risk of the baby developing a birth defect.

Again, I ask you..would you want your child or future child to suffer these symtoms? Most definitely not.
Not enough? We have talked alot about the physical, now lets talk about an emotional side - Depression and low self esteem.
What is depression?
The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between people. But as a general rule, if you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.The symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life.
Psychological symptoms include:

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem 
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others 
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried 
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • Physical symptoms include:
  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual 
  • change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) 
  • constipation 
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy or lack of interest in sex (loss of libido)
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)
  • Social symptoms include:
  • not doing well at work
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life

So let's do a quick check again, would you want your child, children or future children to experience any of those things? No of course not! Never in a million years would any parent want their child to suffer with any kind of depression. 
So, whats my point?
Now we have covered just a small number of issues that can come with being obese and over weight...I would like you to read these stats that sent me into a rage and filled me with a genuine concern over the welfare of our British children

How many CHILDREN  are over weight and obese in the UK?

The latest figures, for 2013/14, show that
  • 19.1% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were obese
  • 14.4% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were overweight. 
  • 9.5% of children in Reception (aged 4-5)  were obese
  • 13.1%  of children in Reception (aged 4-5) were overweight
This means a THIRD of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese. To add to that a MASSIVE 30% of children are obese by the time they started secondary school (aged 11 and 12).

Something is seriously wrong with that and here is why. 

1. Obese/overweight  children tend to grow up to be obese/overweight adults2. They then lead on to have overweight and obese children3. They will then grow up to have overweight and obese children....see the trend here? Every heard of families saying that they are all just big boned ? and it is just the way they are, it runs in the family? No! It is more likely to be years and years of bad eating habits manifested through generations over time.

"The number of children who are obese is growing and has more than tripled in England over the past 25 years. Worldwide, over 42 million children under five were overweight in 2013. If the current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese children will increase to 70 million by 2025" (

These are the statistics on obesity in Adults in case you are wondering.

"There was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were obese from 13.2 per cent in 1993 to 26.0 per cent in 2013 for men, and from 16.4 per cent to 23.8 per cent for women. The proportions that were overweight including obese increased from 57.6 per cent to 67.1 per cent in men and from 48.6 per cent to 57.2 per cent in women"

So let me ask you again, Why is your child so fat!???  They do not need to be, you as the parent feeds them, you cook for them, you do the shopping, YOU are teaching them their LIFE habits. It is time some parents take off their rose tinted glasses and took a good look at their kids. Unless they have some sort of illness that contributes to their weight or over eating, the problem is YOU!!

It makes me so sad when I see an over weight mother or father sitting in MacDonald or Burger King with their over weight children. I feel frustrated when I see overweight families buying frozen or ready made meals in the supermarket. And I just get down right furious when I see a child under 6 drinking a fizzy drink or sucking on a lollipop, eating sweets and chocolates.

What does that teach your darling children about their health? 
You are showing them that it doesn't matter and that they can eat what they like without any consequences.

Well, now you KNOW the consequences, no more excuses. No more rose tinted glasses. No more heads in the sand. The facts and the stats are here for all to see. It is time we start to really focus on teaching our children about their health before it is too late.

If you give your children fruit and veg from a young age, they will LOVE it! If you give them sweets and chocolate from a young age they will LOVE it too! What do you want your child to love best?

I am certainly no perfect mother but I certainly feel very proud when my son asks for desserts after dinner and I know he means a fruit salad! He is nearly 4 and he's never had chocolate (apart from when his naughty uncle gave it to him), he's never had sweets, he's never had a fizzy pop, hes not even had a pack of crisps apart from the baby versions with no added salt. I have been told I am depriving him of the "joy of childhood" by not indulging him with sugar/salty treats but I see it the another way.

I feel that by giving my son all those high sugar, fatty and salty foods, I would be in fact depriving him and robbing him of the best quality of life, which I am simply not prepared to do.
I want my son to live a life to his fullest potential and I will do everything in my power to make that happen..... and if that means taking the sweets out his party bags for as long as I can get away with it, then that is what I will do. I love that my son loves fruit ad veg smoothies and to him it is exactly the same as having a sugary fattening milkshake! He doesn't know the difference, no child would know the difference if you stopped giving them the latter!

I urge you reading this to take it to heart and make a change with your children if you haven't already. If you don't have children yet, I urge you to forward this to someone who does.
Knowledge is power.
Now that you know the facts and stats, YOU can do something about it.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Are your "healthy" foods really healthy?

So many of us are doing our best to lead healthy lives and eat the healthy foods, which is amazing! However, the food companies are against us in the battle of good and evil and consistently try to sabotage our efforts to take our health to the next level. 
There is s much conflicting information online, we don't really understand the food label jargon and we are easily distracted by clever protect placements and advertising.
The time has come for us to stand up and fight back. We need to become more aware of the realities behind the masquerade of "health food" marketing! But where to start? This can be a hard quest to begin so lets get it kick started right here and right now and go through some basic facts which you may not know. It is time to take a trip down the rabbit hole to find the truth behind these so called "health foods"
I am going to cover TWO UNDER COVER DANGERS which are my personal pet hates. Two things that are major tricks of the industry that fool so many people into thinking you  are being healthy when in fact you might be making a really bad health choice

Under Cover Danger 1 

Low fat is quite possibly the biggest marketing scam of the century. I sometimes have vision of going into supermarkets with a mega phone and slapping low fat products out of the hand of un-suspecting shoppers and announcing the truth behind the label. When the low-fat guidelines first came out, food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. They wanted to bring “healthy” low-fat foods to the market, in order to sell to the health conscious crowd.
However, there is one big problem with foods that have had the fat removed from them… they taste HORRIBLE.For this reason, the food manufacturers added sugar and sweetners instead.
Sugar is not a fat, it’s a carbohydrate. Therefore, a product can be labelled “low fat” even though it is loaded with sugar. Those refined sugar and carbs turn to fat in the body anyway! YIKES!!
“Low fat” foods lowers your guard and tricks you into thinking you are eating something good for you. The added refined sugars will lead to blood sugar swings and cravings making it more difficult to control our overall food intake - which means that third or forth 'low fat' biscuit starts to look very tempting!
A diet too high in these “low fat” products can be just as unhealthy as a high-fat diet because it increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and causes high cholesterol levels.

Suspect no. 1 - McVities Digestive
McVitie's DigestivesEach biscuit (14.8g) contains of an adult's reference intake
  • ENERGY298kJ71kcal4%
  • Fat3.2g5%
  • Saturate1.5g8%
  • Sugars2.5g3%
  • Salt0.2g3%


Flour (54%) , (Wheat Flour, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin) , Vegetable Oil (Palm) , Wholemeal Wheat Flour (16%) , Sugar , Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Malic Acid, Ammonium Bicarbonate) , Salt , Dried Skimmed Milk .

Nutritional Values

Jargon Breakdown 
7 Ingredients. Sugar is the 4th ingredient which is fairly low on the list. The fat is the 2nd ingredient on the list but still only 5% of your daily intake. Over all, for a biscuit, these are really not that bad. Enjoy one or two your cheat day. I know I do!

Lets check out the Light version
McVitie's Digestives LightEach biscuit (14.8g) contains of an adults reference intake
  • ENERGY278kJ66kcal3%
  • Fat2.1g3%
  • Saturate0.2g1%
  • Sugars3.0g3%
  • Salt0.2g3%


Flour (60%) (Wheat Flour, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin) , Sugar , Wholemeal Wheat Flour (13%) , Vegetable Oil (Sunflower) , Glucose-Fructose Syrup , Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Malic Acid) , Emulsifier (E472e) , Salt .

Nutritional Values

Jargon Breakdown
We now have 8 ingredients instead of 7 which is the first interesting thing to note. When looking for healthy foods, you want the product with the least ingredients as possible. Whats this mysterious added ingredient? AN E NUMBER!!!! This particular E number which they have added is like a binding agent which help bind the ingredients together but is also linked to possible liver and kidney problems which in my opinion I would rather do without.
The second thing to note that although yes there is less fact, sugar has now bumped it's way up to the 2nd ingredient instead of the 4th. Not only that but they have also added a sweetener called Glucose Fructose syrup. There have been some studies suggesting fructose may not be as satiating (producing a feeling of fullness) as other sugars because it does not stimulate the hormones that affect hunger and food intake (such as insulin), and therefore could be factor which causes people to eat or drink more instead of feeling fuller. As a result, it is sometimes refereed to as the crack of sweetness and is also used in coca cola...which we all know is NOT  a health food. 

My Summary?
The healthier option out of these two biscuits for me would be the regular full fat version. Both versions have almost the same calories anyway, so I would rather have a little bit extra fat and less sugar than an E number and sweeter syrup which tricks my brain into wanting more to eat. 

Suspect no. 2 - Coca Cola - Life and Diet
I often hear my clients tell me that it is ok to have diet coke because it is diet and has less sugar. That
may be so, but lets take a look at what else is added.

Here we are in the middle of regular coke and diet coke where we can see three red flags...
Red Flag 1
Regular has 6 Ingredients
Diet has 8 Ingredients
Red Flag 2
Regular yes contains sugar
Diet, however contains Aspartame is covered below in more detail but it is a sweetener linked to varies illness and disease. 

Red Flag 3

Diet also contains another sweetener; Acesulfame-K which is a known  Carcinogen. Known as "Ace-K",  it is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, Acesulfame-K is not the same thing as Aspartame, but quite often, BOTH are found in the same products. Reported side effects of "sweet devil" Acesulfame-K are frightening: "Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia."  (
Also, of all the artificial sweeteners out there, Acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a link to multiple cancer developments in lab animals. If you have any doubts whatsoever, remember this; humans have 99% the same DNA as the lab mice and rats tested. The "proof is in the pudding!" The research is concrete on this and ignorance is NOT bliss! ( This carcinogen, so cutely nicknamed "Ace-K," is derived from Aceto-acetic acid and Fluoro-sulfonyl Iso-Cyanate. Say that last part again and it sounds like you're eating cyanide. Consider your TOTAL health risks before consuming ANY artificial sweetener. Better safe than sorry!

Now lets have a quick look at the newest coke  - Coke Life. While I would positively say this is better than diet coke, it still contains a whopping 5 and a half teaspoons of sugar per can! So yes this is 3 teaspoons less than regular coke, it is still far too much sugar to be consuming in one go and will still spike your insulin levels which in turn can lead to weight gain! The problem with this is the way it is marketed. Once you know this information you can make an educated decision of how much you would like to consume but from the outside, so many people will over consume believing that this a a "healthy" coke. While it is health-IER than the other cokes, it is certainly not "healthy", so proceed with caution.

Under Cover Danger 2 
Souped up "health" or "slimming" drinks

Desperate times calls for desperate measures and many give into meal replacement slimming shakes. There are one or two brands out their that deliver TOP QUALITY meal replacement shakes with very little or zero junk. However, 99% of the slimming drinks out there are basically fizzy drinks with a little fat and protein mixed in when you look more closely 

Suspect no. 1 -  Slimfast
Very popular as a go to drink, widely available and fairly affordable so "why not!?" is what most would say.  Here are the FACTS. Not my opinion, plain and simple facts. Sugar is the first ingredient. When you understand and acknowledge that ingredients are listed in order of highest to lowest quantity this is absolutely HORRIFYING to say the least. Over consuming sugar is the route to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and more. If that's not enough lets read on. They have protein from milk. Milk can also a contributing factor to weight gain as well as being linked to gut problems and acne and other skin problems. Last and not least, lets talk about the Aspartame. I do not even know where to begin with this other than to let you know that it is also linked to weight gain. Other side effects include but not limited to  fatigue, nausea, joint pain, loss of taste and loss of memory. For the full low down click here.  Over all, I really cannot say this is a health drink or a healthy way to diet or lose weight

Sugar, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin, Gum Arabic, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Soy Fiber, Buttermilk Powder, Potassium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Salt, Guar Gum, Soybean Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Carrageenan, Sodium Phosphate, Acesulfame Potassium (A Non Nutritive Sweetner) and Aspartame.

Suspect no 2 - Forever Lite
Another interesting "healthy" drink out which is widely used and also affordable. What the problem here?
While these are much better than the slim fast, I feel there are two major factors which need to addressed with this meal replacement. The first is the Soy Protein. Soy has been under fire of late, and for very good reason. 
Here are a few pointers.
·         Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones. For men, this can lead to a testosterone imbalance, infertility, low sperm count, and increased risk of cancers. For women, it can cause estrogen dominance, which has been linked to infertility, menstrual troubles and cancer…
·         These phytoestrogens are so strong that a baby consuming only soy formula is consuming the equivalent hormones of 4 birth control pills a day!
·         The high levels of phytic acid in soy inhibit the body’s ability to absorb important minerals, including zinc, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium (which many people are dangerously deficient in already). This also means that it may cancel out many of the amazing added minerals they have added to this drink.
      The second point I would need to bring up at this point is the fructose which is madly mis understood in the health world. Sugar (sucrose) and High Fructose Corn Syrup both supply a significant portion of the total calories in a standard western diet. They both consist of two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.Glucose also comes from starches like potatoes, our bodies produce it and every cell on the face of the earth has glucose in it. Glucose is a molecule absolutely vital to life.
Fructose however, is not. Humans don’t produce fructose and throughout evolutionary history have never consumed it except seasonally when fruit were ripe.
Glucose and fructose are metabolized very differently by the body.
The key thing to realize, is that while every cell in the body can use glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.When people eat a diet that is high in calories and high in fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat.
Some scientists believe that excess fructose consumption may be a key driver of many of the most serious diseases of today, including: obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. 
PLEASE NOTE - It’s important to realize that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. Fruits aren’t just watery bags of fructose, they are real foods with a low energy density and lots of fiber. They’re hard to overeat on and you’d have to eat ridiculous amounts to reach harmful levels of fructose. In general, fruit is a minor source of fructose in the diet compared to added sugars. The harmful effects of fructose apply to a western diet supplying excess calories and added sugars. It does NOT apply to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Period.
So with all that in mind, would you really want to consume fructose and soy on a regular daily basis in a "health" drink?
Suspect no. 3 - Innocent Smoothies
There is nothing "Innocent" about these little tasty drinks and I would change that halo to spiky devil horns given half the chance - clever marketing at its best! These teeny tiny little bottles contain 34.4g of sugar which is equivalent to 3 and half Krispy Kreme donuts or in other words  EIGHT AND A HALF teaspoons of sugar. WOWZERS! That is 30% more sugar than a coca cola. 250ml of not so innocent is your entire Recommended daily sugar allowance and then some more on top. Need we go any further?  Let's just say you are far better off grabbing an apple instead and please please don't give it to your kids!
So what can you do about all this?
It is time YOU take control of the foods you are eating. It can be a mind field out their so Here are our FIVE TOPS TIPS to a truly healthier diet
1. Learn how to READ YOUR LABELS! The more you read, the more you understand and the more your rose tinted glasses will begin to clear up. Just because it has  green coloured packaging and marketed as a health product, you do not have to take their word for it. t is your prerogative to know what is going inside your body
2.Cook from scratch. Packet foods are full of added sugar, salt and preservatives. Nothing better than a home cooked meal
3. Eat Fresh! If it has no label you know that what you see is what you get. ie - an apple or a cucumber doesn't need an ingredient list!
4. The less ingredients the better. Ideally you want your basic products to 5 ingredients or less. This doesn't included added vitamins and minerals which should be eaten in abundance!
5. Avoid chemicals, additives, and sweeteners. They usually come with a massive side effects tag which wont be on the label I can assure you!
Until next time, continue your journey to take your Health to the Next Level; one step at a time!
Ahisha xxx

Monday, 9 November 2015

Our bodies are quietly talking. When will we shut up and listen?

Many people I know are having very small health complaints, they choose to live with them  or brush their symptoms under the carpet. I have been culprit to doing this myself so I can't point the finger at anyone else without accepting that I too have been there.

This time last year I had a flare up on my forehead. It was something my GP didn't recognize. It was a patch of very dry, itchy, bumpy and flaky skin. It bothered me, yes, but did I really try and do something about it? Not enough in my opinion. It started off as a very small patch smaller than the size of a 5p coin. That was the first message from my body. Did I listen? No. "Its just a small itch" I said to myself. It stared to grow and get worst week by week until it was the bigger than a 50p coin. And still I said to myself "It will go away on its own eventually" and "It'll clear up soon". Yet, here it was getting worse and worse and worse. My breaking point was when I realized I was styling my hair to cover it up. I was conscious  of people seeing it so I decided I would cover it up. Looking in the mirror one morning I decided enough was enough and it had to go!
I started with a food diary and  made  note of when it was worse and when it improved. I started to LISTEN to my body and take note of the signs it was giving me. Cut a long story short, it turns out it was being caused by not drinking enough water and consuming too much sugar! It was something so simple that I could change and it has not come back since! If I had simply relied on the steroid  cream from my GP, chances are I would still have it to this very day.

Your body is like a machine. Machine's need to be well looked after, serviced, MOT'ed and treated right. The same is said for you body. If you don't look after it, you will get your self in trouble. Listen to your body and hear the signs. It will give you signs that it is in just have to listen. If you have digestive complaints such as constipation, stomach pains, gas or bloating. If you have energy dips and food cravings . If you have dry skin, acne or rashes. These are all signs from your body in distress.
Here are my TOP signs that you probably ignore from your body.
1. You are catch every little cold and flu going around
We’re all exposed to viruses and bacteria every day, but a healthy individual should be able to fight off these pathogens the majority of the time. If you’re that person who catches every cold your friends have or gets sick every time your kids do, your immune system may not be functioning optimally, which can put you at risk not only of infectious diseases, but of life-threatening body yells like cancer.
2. Your urine is dark yellow
Hydration is essential to maintaining a healthy body, and when you’re well hydrated, your urine should be almost completely clear. If you peer into the toilet and see a lot of yellow, you’re probably not drinking enough fluids. Remember, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages are DE-hydrating, and sodas are full of chemicals, so stick to water, herbal or green tea, coconut water, or green veggie juices
3. Your bowels only move once or day (or every other day)
Healthy bowels move every time you eat a meal. It’s called the “gastro-colic reflex.” When you insert food into the digestive tract, healthy bowels move to eliminate toxins and make room for new nutrition. Otherwise, you wind up… well…full of you-know-what. When you’re constipated, toxins in the body can seep through the lining of the bowel, enter the bloodstream, and cause inflammation, which can put you at risk of a whole host of body-yelling health conditions.
4 Your skin seems to be always breaking out!
If you have frequent outbreaks of acne, psoriasis, eczema, or other rashes, your inner health may be on the fritz. Your skin is the body’s largest organ of toxin elimination, and if it’s acting up, your body is trying to tell you something to listen! Your skin may signal food or other allergies, but your skin is also very often a sign that your nervous system is in stress response. When you are filling your body with vitamins and minerals, the skin is the last place it goes. So if your skin isn't at its best, you can be almost certain your inner health isn't in check either
5 You have Energy dips and tiredness
Sure, your fatigue might be the result of burning the midnight oil and then getting up early for a spin class or child care. You could be tired because your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, your adrenal glands are burned out, or your body is exhausted from expending all your resources trying to protect you from the toxic overload you’re bombarding your system with because of processed foods, cigarettes, alcohol, or environmental exposures.
We can all feel these signs that our body gives us. Let us all LISTEN to the sign because we believe that prevention is better than a cure. If w listen to the signs NOW we can avoid much worse long term illness and disease.
The choice is always YOURS - take some time out to Listen to what your body is saying.

Take your health to the next level.

Ahisha xx