– Have some big health, fitness and weight loss goals? QUICK – I am just reopening the doors to my ‘Be Healthy, fit & slim for life program’. If you check out this page, there is more information on the program and a look inside. https://mummywhisperer.com/be-healthy-course/
Plus here is a video explaining exactly why you would want to work with me (or not, as the case may be!).
– Have a business that needs a kickstart or boost? – message me – I have a new program about to start, with an amazing offer, that makes the summer holiday lull no problem from a time and financial perspective – but when I open the doors on it, it will be very limited, so make sure you don’t miss out!
– Remember there is my FREE ‘Magic Switch’ course in my facebook group #MUMMYWHISPERER Tips – this will definitely help keep you sane when the kids go feral LOL!
Very big hugs and remember that you deserve to have a wonderful summer holidays AND be happy AND be healthy AND have a successful business!
So back at Radio Verulam today with the Gorgeous Danny Smith and I was inspired to chat about ‘investments’ by Curly Headed Boy.
It’s spring time, maybe you need a fresh look at your life and a bit of an overhaul?
The question is how to invest in yourself?
We are quite strict that even from pocket money, our kids have to put something aside. It’s just so that it becomes second nature to them and eventually when they start to earn money, they naturally expect to be putting a minimum of 10% away. Otherwise, his head will be automatically working out how he can spend every penny. Instead, he will automatically assume that some money goes into savings.
It’s not about how much money you earn.
Its about the amount of value that you get from it.
And how much money is left at the end of your month!
As he looks like he would prefer a creative career, he is going to definitely have to manage his money really well to weather the highs and lows, as it’s unlikely to be consistent.
Yes, he might be really successful, but it might not be long term, or he might get one big windfall, that he could blow through really quickly. In fact we had an award system, where he earn’t quite a lot of money, and what inspired this post was that he agreed to put 50% of it away into savings.
Imagine if you’d put aside all that money since you were a kid? At 45, I’d have a lot more going on! Women need to be especially aware of the fact that we have a tendency to not prioritise our pensions ahead of the needs of our relationships or families.
If you would like to start, but can’t afford 10%, just work towards it. £5 is enough, as it’s a step in the right direction.
Try to create 2 different savings options:
1) Savings forever (not to be touched apart from investing in houses/education)
2) Savings for fun (don’t pay for Christmas and holidays afterwards when the fun is over)
Check out the rest of my money saving tips here. I have no doubt that they’ll help you out of a financial hole, make sure that you have more value from the money that you spend, and help you to be financially healthier.
This should actually come first in my opinion. There’s no point in saving money if you don’t have a good quality or long enough life.
I know that things happen, and we can’t plan for everything. But there is no doubt that your quality of life will be better if you drink water, eat healthily, and exercise.
Then you need to remember that everyone needs downtime, otherwise the levels of cortisol (stress) just get higher and higher and higher. That affects your immune system and leaves you open to illnesses and diseases, like my Fibromyalgia. I know you will get stressed again. But there will have been a dip, and that is what is important.
Remember, that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!
Have you heard the theory that if you spend 15mins extra a day learning something, then you will overtake your 99% of your peers within a couple of years?
That’s how I did so well in IT. I wasn’t a natural at it, but I studied every night, and within a few years they’d forgotten my initial struggles. Eventually I became a global guru – crazy!
You see it at school every day with kids. The teachers nag parents to read once a night with their children, just for 5-10 mins. It sounds like so little, that it’s easy to drop. However, 3-4 years down the line, it’s really obvious which children did or didn’t get that time. (I know that parents are often busy and it’s not always easy to fit in time with the kids).
However, as old readers will know, I’m not sure about the idea of pushing yourself to pay for a private education, as I’m not convinced it always pays off. Hence we moved Curly Headed Boy from private back into the state sector. So don’t assume that education has to cost lots. Mind you, him being so keen on dancing is a bit of an investment!
I see it as an employer all the time. Those in my team with a passion for learning are on Youtube and keeping up to date and improving constantly. The others are just fine, but they don’t do as well and naturally don’t attract as many customers.
It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time. Just lots of little consistent bits, is what adds up eventually.
I must admit that I believe that what you give out you get back. If I smile at people, I tend to mainly get smiles back. There are a few grumpy people, but the smiles I get back cheer me up. It’s not any extra pressure on my day to make this little effort, and I get rewarded in bucket loads.
The same goes for ‘paying it forward’. I don’t believe it’s right to be a martyr, or give so much of yourself that you damage your health and family. But our community is important, and there are always things that you can do , however little.
Maybe it’s in helping to spread the word about a new small business on Facebook? A simple share of one of my posts for Espiritu, is amazingly helpful. I have lovely clients who regularly mention us whenever someone asks for a local hair/beauty salon or Spa. I’m really lucky, so I like to help out other businesses where I can.
Perhaps you support the local charity shop where you can by buying from there and giving them things that you are finished with. I’ve made amazing purchases in charity shops in the past, and my kids love them. There was a really interesting post though over on a friend of mine’s blog, where she was feeling guilty about wanting to sell some more expensive items. No you should never feel guilty – it’s not right to put yourself in trouble.
Or maybe it’s helping out at your kids school a couple of hours a week if you have the flexibility?
Remember, you don’t have to solve a WHOLE problem – that’s what often stops people from helping out, donating or volunteering. Just help a little – and all the little bits add up.
What do you think that you should invest in?
What have I missed out?
Friendships? – I kind of fit that in with community, but many invest much more in their friendships.
Clothes? – I recently bought some clothes, as there is an expectation that I look a certain way for work, but I’ve never bought anything outrageously expensive, as I’m way too tight fisted.
Relationships? – So difficult to juggle with a family and kids, but they can last a lifetime, so worth investing in.
Houses? – With all the changes in our economy, maybe it isn’t a priority anymore to invest in bricks and mortar?
Watching TV – there is social side to this, where you can feel left out if you don’t know what’s going on!
Yesterday I asked what I thought was a pretty innocuous question on facebook and twitter ” I’d love all the reasons / excuses why you ended up unhealthy, unfit and overweight?”.
I was just looking to finish a list for my book, and expecting a couple of reasons. I must have had 100 answers by the end of the day!
I was so inspired by the number of answers that I decided to change what we talked about on Radio Verulam’s drive time show with Danny Smith and discuss this instead.
Whilst there were the typical ones:
Timing – basically having too much on and being unable to focus on one more thing
Lethargy and lack of prioritising- not being able to get motivated and never putting themselves first
Circumstances – Financial problems, and lack of support at home or with childcare
There were also a HUGE number of mums with illnesses, diseases, injuries, disabilities, mental health issues, stress, exhaustion etc.
Actually this makes sense.
Giving birth is tough on the body. It’s also tough on the stress levels and mental health. So it makes sense that actually there might be more mums struggling with these sorts of challenges.
Listen here for the re-run:
I totally agree with this. There is no point adding another stressor to life by feeling guilty when you can’t prioritise getting healthy and fit at the same time as already having an overloaded life. It would actually be ‘unhealthy’ to add more to your plate.
As long as you know you won’t leave it too long; i.e. no longer than a year or two, I think this is a perfectly reasonable ‘excuse’.
Also it doesn’t have to be so black and white. Rather than aiming for some image of amazing ‘health’, why not try a couple of things gradually added over a 3 month period?
I would like to lose half a stone at the moment. My body is focussed on getting healthier. I look MUCH healthier, but the weight loss as you can see from my vlogs is going at the amazingly slow pace of 1lb per month argh! Guess it knows best ;o)
Lethargy and Prioritising
We get tired. We put the family first. We get more tired. It’s a vicious circle.
It does seem to get easier when the kids are all at school – you can tell the school mums who’s kids are all school age and who still has little ones by the muffin tops!
Remember the reason for doing this is not like it was at school; it’s not about being good at sport and winning. It’s about having some fun, and feeling better in ourselves so that we can enjoy life more.
If you don’t want to use my exercises to sort your motivation out, then hows about trying one of the hypnotherapy apps available for phones (I like Andrew Johnson’s because of the scottish accent!). Or EFT (tapping on the meridian points while discussing a problem) can be very helpful in breaking down barriers to weight loss.
I was surprised that not as many people as I might have expected blamed finances on not being able to afford healthy food. But it is definitely a problem for example I saw an organic apple was 50p the other day. So in a family of 4 it would cost £2 per day and £730 per year – that is ridiculous!
Luckily there are all sorts of blogs appearing on a daily basis with hints and tips for feeding a family on a budget (feel free to add yours in the comments). There are also food banks and options appearing in many cities where you can buy a bowl fool of fruit or veg at massively subsidised prices. For anyone struggling to buy food I would ask you to put aside any guilt / pride you might have and take all the options available to you.
Luckily walking is free (although if you have an injury you might want a pair of trainers). Aim for 10,000 steps per day (check out my Fibromyalgia posts for the supplement lists that helped me to manage to walk every day).
Playing with the kids is also free – mine will play tag every day if I offer.
If you have no child care, then it might be that you need to explain to your kids that you are going to exercise for 30 minutes a couple of times a week and they either join you or play on their own for a bit. You can always steal the kids xBox or Wii and do an exercise game!
When the body is stressed it releases sugar into the body – not helpful for weight loss. It also shuts down all non-neccessary functions e.g. digestion and focusses on what it needs for ‘fight or flight’. If this goes on for too long, then it can definitely make healthy weight loss more difficult.
So I don’t want to add extra stress by making you feel guilty heh!
But I also don’t want you to stay a ‘victim’ of the problem for the rest of your life. I totally understand how difficult it can be – I whined about having PCOS for 10yrs before losing the weight, and have certainly been upset about the chronic pain from Fibromyalgia.
So let’s look at it this way:
It may be more difficult.
It may mean working our way around limitations and challenges.
But if we don’t do it, things will only get worse.
So it’s worth the effort?
Loads can be done purely with nutrition and hydration if you are physically challenged. You can definitely get to a healthier weight purely using them.
It might be also be worth focussing on the problems causing the exhaustion and stress first, and putting in things to reduce them first.
There are also professionals who can help you with tips on supplements and exercise e.g. health food shops, nutritionists, naturopaths, physiotherapists etc. This is especially important if you have an illness or medications which actually affect your weight and hunger levels. But it’s always important to check with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication. For instance I take 5-htp for my sleep, but it can’t be mixed with certain anti-depressants, and things like epilepsy meds are extremely vulnerable to supplements.
Always listen to your intuition as well. For instance, my body is NOT the kind that enjoys fasting, in fact ‘boom and bust’ is a bad habit of people with Fibromyalgia. However one of my best friends felt at her fittest when doing a diet that meant eating less for a couple of days per week. There is also the concept that come of us are more suited to certain foods, and I think that there maybe something in that: my husband is definitely better with more protein for instance. Never ignore that small voice inside, but question it if it is suggesting something extreme, fadish or ‘quick fix’.
I am not a nutritionist. I’m not a personal trainer. I’m just someone who has struggled with health, fitness and weight for years, and happened to learn the ‘secrets’.
My aim is to help the mums who are ‘under average’ healthy to improve their health; not to make them the healthiest in the world.
Someone rightly mentioned that there are many versions of what is considered ‘healthy’. My version of what is ‘healthy’ is a well balanced meal, including all food types. I’m a fan of moderation and balance. There are MUCH ‘healthier’ options out there. I just don’t think that they are practical for everyone. But I’m hoping that some people will learn the basics from me and then go on to learn even more. Meanwhile the rest of us will be much healthier than the average person on the street, with enough energy and vigour to enjoy being mums.
We have all used excuses/reasons to avoid getting healthier and fitter (apart from a few!) – but we don’t have to do it forever!
This week’s chat with the lovely Danny Smith on his drive time show over at Radio Verulam was about nutrition and a few things that people might not know about SUGAR and SWEETENERS.
The problem is they are HIDDEN in lots of things that we eat and people don’t know.
Plus there are BIG health problems attached to them.
But don’t worry, you know me, I’m not into extremes, so I do have some ideas for alternatives.
If you fancy listening to us, then it’s about 15 minutes including music. Otherwise, I’ve written it up below with some extra information I found afterwards:
Did you know that sweeteners are bad for you?
They are full of chemicals, that build up in your body and do it no good whatsoever. There are tonnes of people talking in much more technical terms about this on the internet, so I’m not going to go into lots of biology about it, but basically they are toxins that build up in your body.
They are ironically NOT good for long term balanced weight as the body gets confused by eating something sweet that then has no calories. Plus as you get more and more of these in the body, they will make weight loss more difficult as the body can’t work as well.
So DO NOT drink diet drinks. Never ever ever. Go for full sugar if you have to have a fizzy drink, or find something else or a different alcoholic drink that needs a different mixer. Water is of course a great alternative! I also talk about being careful of how much caffeine you drink later on in the day.
Watch out for low fat or low sugar foods. In fact ANYTHING that LOOKS HEALTHY is probably packed with sweeteners and therefore bad for you!
Watch out for SQUASH because it often has sneaky sweeteners in it. Instead look for a good fruit juice from concentrate (water it down if you like) or a squash with sugar.
So if you need sweetness I would actually advise sugar, just less of it so that it doesn’t affect your weight, insulin levels or health!
Problem is that sugar isn’t too good for you either.
Too much of it (like too much fat) affects the glyceamic index and insulin levels in the body that can aggravate or cause illnesses like Polycystic ovarian syndrome, IBS and Diabetes.
But most of all it is TERRIBLE for the immune system. Us mums already have the bio weapons of mass destruction bringing every bug known to mankind back from school, and waking us up at night. We don’t need something else that will literally inflame the insides of our bodies.
So if you need sugar use brown sugar, because that is marginally better for you than the white stuff and CUT out daily sugary treats, instead having a weekly one.
Now earlier on I said don’t drink diet drinks, so what about the others? Well, be warned, often the healthy ones are packed with sugar especially those ‘water with a hint of something’ drinks that make you feel so self-righteous!
Plus if like Danny you like a can of coke you are looking at about the equivalent of 10 teaspoonfuls of sugar, which is 40g of sugar. That is A LOT OF SUGAR. Added to that is the caffeine. So if you have any problems with your weight, sleep, emotional/mental health definitely don’t drink any after 4pm and consider finding something else that you like but which is a lot lower.
The NHS recommend the following: 70g for men and 50g for women depending on your height. That means that 1 can of coke leaves you with very little leeway to have ANYTHING else in the day. E.g. There could be another 4-5gs in one slice of bread, so if you have a sandwich you are done for the day and can’t add ketchup to your evening meal!
Remember that it is hidden in all sorts of things; always check the INGREDIENTS list. I was over at Nanny Bets house the other day, helping her look through her cupboards. The healthy cereal she had picked had added sugar. The porridge was the ground up easy to put in a microwave stuff with none of the benefits of real porridge.
If you check the labels, the NHS recommends that:
more than 15g of total sugars per 100g is high
5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low
I am not saying give up sweet! Phew, you say!
If you have an immune system disease like me, then I would say that ALL sugar and ALL sweeteners have to go from your diet.
If you tend to be very up and down emotionally or are dealing with depression, then I would warn you to make sure that you always include something that is low in the Glyceamic Index when you have something that is high sugar or high fat, as it will only make things worse.
For the rest of you, it’s about cutting it down the sugar, cake and biscuits instead.
Here are some natural alternatives:
Honey – high GI, but natural and Manuka honey can be great for the immunity
Maple Syrup – comes from trees, rather than our traditional golden syrup, again high GI but natural
Stevia – is a natural sweetener, but I’m not keen because it doesn’t have ANY calories and I think that it will confuse the body
Xylitol – is the one I’m using at the moment for my 3 cups of tea a day.
There are definitely others: always worth a check at your local health food shop and by googling to see if anything new has arrived on the scene.
Quitting Sweetness Altogether?
You will find a LOT of stuff on the internet about how sugar, fructose, glucose, sucrose, carbohydrates and anything sweet, starchy or down right yummy is bad for you.
I totally DISAGREE! What would life be like without a little sweetness? Why on earth were bees created if not to bring a little pleasure into our lives?
Long term I’m convinced that those low carbohydrate diets are positively unhealthy and damage the body.
Check out this book called ‘I didn’t Quit Sugar‘, it gives some really good advice, lots of technical information and they are about to bring out a recipe book too.
So what do you think about sugars and sweeteners?
Have you ever tried to those low carb diets?
Have I given you enough of a kick to try cutting back on your sugar and adding a few other alternatives?
I must admit that after writing a few background blog posts I got a little distracted. But I’m back in the game and over the next 6 months I’ll be adding all the basic recipes I use to feed my family in a healthy way, but without any cooking ability or more than 3 ingredients at a time. (hint hint, subscribe now so that you don’t miss out).
The media only loves an extreme story (normally), so I’m incredibly chuffed that Woman and Home magazine have noticed me, even just a little bit.
I don’t know why chefs have to over complicate things and have more than 3 ingredients in every recipe. But there is a serious ramification; it puts people who are rubbish off cooking and sends them straight to the ready meal section.
The majority also seem incapable of putting together a meal which actually has healthy proportions of food. So people aren’t even used to seeing a balanced plate.
Jamie Olivers 15 minute meals are plainly more like an hour for someone as incompetent as me (I do love you though Jamie!).
I thought that maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall might be onto something with ‘3 Good Things’; but that should be called ‘3 Things I wouldn’t want to eat anyway’.
Nigella is gorgeous, but her food would kill me of diabetes and heart attack really quickly.
Oh and don’t get me talking about Annabel Karmel, just note that when she is dolled up to the nines cooking her ‘easy’ meals, there isn’t a toddler clinging to her leg!
So rubbish cooks never fear; I am here and I’m going to get you healthy!
Good Cooks, you might want to check my stuff out anyway; you can always add extra ingredients to make the recipes clever!
And Congrats to all the ‘proper’ cooks in the list!
I received an email from a Mum a week or so ago that reminded me so much of what many of us feel at times in our lives:
I feel like I’ve lost myself and really can’t do anything, be a good mum, work or even decorate our house which we moved in last year. I don’t really think I’m depressed, but just can’t find my feet.
I got a little more information from her, and here are the cliff notes, which I bet many of you can relate to as well:
2.5yr old daughter who is not a good sleeper and goes to nursery two days per week
started her own consultancy business that her husband joined, but stopped working when had daughter and now feels unneeded in the business, although does some admin for it. Can’t think of what to start instead and doesn’t have the confidence in herself as feels she is out of date now.
about a stone heavier than before having baby, size 14, doesn’t drink enough enough water, doesn’t priorities exercise each week
does wear makeup, but doesn’t spend much on self
organising building work on house
no nearby family support, a few friends
closeness is lacking with husband and intimacy is limited
Such a classic situation don’t you think bless her heart?
Don’t feel bad lovely, this is such a normal way to feel and place to be, it doesn’t mean you have done something wrong or aren’t a good mother. For a start having children changes our priorities and values, which can be very discombobulating. It means that things that were once important to us aren’t anymore, so we have a bit of an identity crisis. We also lose power in our relationships because we often feel like we are contributing less. Plus we have to do a pile of stuff that is just plain boring and doesn’t light our fires. Then we add to that whole mess by not taking care of ourselves, and so the spiral continues down and down.
I like to work within our limitations, rather than rage against them. So the idea is to find you ways of improving how you feel whilst you are still the major caretaker of your daughter, as things naturally shift when they start school.
There are several issues here, and this is the priority that I would look at them in:
1) Health and Fitness
2) Beginning to research ideas for work that can blossom when your daughter goes to school
3) Spend more time with husband
4) Sort out intimacy
The reason I’ve put them in that order is because if you gain confidence in yourself, the relationship will improve, if not disappear altogether. The key is to start with yourself, even if all/some of the problems seem to be ‘out there’. The key to when we are feeling so low is to give ourselves a fighting chance by strengthening the body; it’s amazing how that can help with how we feel emotionally and mentally.
When you says you are not ‘depressed’; hmmm who knows where the thin line between being down and being depressed really is. I would warn you that you are close to that line. I’m going to assume that you are well enough to be able to sort it out yourself when given clear action steps to follow. HOWEVER, if this doesn’t work, please come back to me and I’ll give you a way of motivating yourself. If that doesn’t work then I’ll know what to do, so don’t worry; it just means we need to tackle a few confidence issues directly.
You are that tired that I think you might need some supplements. Pop to a health food shop with a shop assistant who knows lots about it. Also read my posts about getting more energy and supplements.
My favourite immediate energy boosters are:
Blueberries – magic little creatures!
2xcup Epsom salts in bath – buy a BIG bag from health food shop when you are there.
Floradix – magic in a bottle
Omega 3,6 & 9 – otherwise my brain doesn’t work
Your body can’t take in all those lovely vitamins and minerals unless you drink enough liquid. It’s like trying to run a car without oil. So you need to reduce the coffee by 1 or 2 cups, and not drink after late afternoon and drink more water. Check out my post about why hydration is so important.
My top tips for adding water into your day is:
Drink water when you and your daughter brush your teeth – that’s three extra glasses.
Have a bottle of water in the car for when you go on the nursery run or to the shops.
Have a specific time of day mid-morning where you have a glass of water.
It doesn’t sound like you need to lose weight, but I reckon your eating isn’t helping the situation. There is lots more information in my section called ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘, but here are the most important points:
Eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day (one with breakfast, one for snack mid morning and mid afternoon, then one or two with dinner and/or lunch)
Use a good fruit juice not from concentrate (counts as 1x5aday)
Eat different colours of fruit and vegetables
Eat something for breakfast however small
Eat a balanced meal with Protein AND Carbs AND half a plate of vegetables/salad (or fruit for dessert)
Cut back on the sugar – it’s a big downer (I’d say the same for alcohol if you were drinking much)
A certain amount of exercise will get you healthier, a bit more will get you fit. I know that you are running around with your daughter, but that won’t give you the endorphins or fun that exercise can give you.
On the days when she is at nursery your FIRST priority is to go to the gym or somewhere and do a fun class like dance/zumba or something that will calm your worries like yoga. No cleaning or admin for the company until this is done!
EVERY day go outside for a 15 minute walk – even with your daughter
5) Ideas To Blossom
You aren’t ready to ‘find something to do’ yet. So let’s get realistic and let’s get you researching ideas as your confidence improves.
Get yourself a notebook and write in it every idea you’ve ever had on what you could do. DO NOT discount any ideas, even if you think you are unqualified now or you think they are pipe dreams. Then keep adding ideas.
For each idea write the Pro’s and Con’s down. There should be the SAME number of Pro’s as Con’s. If not, you need to think a bit more about that idea to find more.
Also write what qualifications, skills or experience you have that might help and the additional training or experience needed that you don’t have.
Get into the habit of counting 3 blessings every night, even on a bad day there might have been a lovely rainbow, or good cup of coffee or hug from your daughter. You can write them down if you like.
Get some of the rubbish out of your head and onto paper 1-5 times per week by writing all your worries and stresses down. 3 pages minimum. Do it at least once per week.
I’m really not keen on you doing the ‘admin’ for your company, considering you started it initially and a virtual assistant is £20ph. I see the logic in your doing it, but I don’t think that it’s good for your psychology. We’ll chat more about this next time!
Come back and let me know how you are doing regularly (you can comment on this blog anonymously). Once you are feeling stronger in yourself, we are going to look at subtly shifting the power in your relationship with a clever trick that I know and getting you more sparkly. Then we can look at your relationship itself – I have a few blog posts scheduled that you are going to like, so make sure that you have subscribed to my blog by email as well!
I’ve heard people talk about Probiotics for years. I bet you’ve seen them on the TV talking about yogurt that has this special stuff in it. You might even have heard of Prebiotics as something slightly different.
The main thing I’d heard was that you should take them after antibiotics, but when I went to investigate I got very confused and ran away from the health food shop.
Then last year I met a lovely blogger at an awards ceremony (which you are welcome to vote for me again for *hint hint*), who mentioned how they had helped settle her son who has aspergers. I mentioned that the big hairy northern one had just come of antibiotics due to having shingles, Curly Headed Boy sometimes seemed to get into a bit of a tizwaz and that I’d been having regular stomach cramps. She immediately put me in touch with OptiBac on twitter.
I had a long chat with the OptiBac lady and she explained somethings that I didn’t know:
There are lots of types of Probiotics. So you might need different ones, depending on your situation.
Probiotic yogurts have sugar in them, so are kind of counteracting the good they can do.
They kindly offered to send me enough for the whole family to try, and we then faffed around for a good few months before taking them. Eventually my stomach cramps got so bad that I did start, and when there was an obvious change quite quickly I popped my son on them. Within a month or so husband was taking them too.
So did they make a difference?
For me with my stomach cramps – YES. It took about 3 months for a complete fix, but I noticed a difference immediately. I reckon I must have had the beginnings of IBS (which I’ve had before) because I often had an upset stomach too. When this stopped I realised I had to drink a lot more water, to not go the other way, so I must have been a bit dehydrated. Very soon my tummy was behaving perfectly and I didn’t have to watch what I ate as much. Also, I could now drink wine again – yay!!! By the way, if you are an IBS sufferer, and also have PCOS and also sometimes get hyperglycaemic, that’s because they are inter-related. Check out my ‘healthy eating for rubbish cooks‘ section for ideas on ways to eat which will help all three.
For Curly Headed Boy – I’m not sure. But I would definitely give him these powders again after antibiotics. He complained of stomach pains a few weeks ago, and literally a couple of weeks of the children’s powders seemed to have him back up to scratch. It’s great that he didn’t mind the taste mixed in with orange juice.
For the Big Hairy Northern one – again I’m not sure, but would definitely give him them again after antibiotics.
BTW I lost lots of weight last year, but hurt my back and was worried about putting it back on. I have a sneaky suspicion that the improvement in my gut is what enabled me to keep my weight sorted until I was back up to exercising again. I can’t prove it, but my intuition suggests it might be good for anyone wanting to lose weight. The hairy one has definitely lost weight over the last 2 months, and although he is (ATLAST!) following my tips, I do think that there could be a connection with the probiotics. I don’t think he takes them reliably though.
Also I was watching the ‘Food Hospital’ on Channel 4 last year and they had an amazing case of a girl with Alopecia caused by stress (they said it could also be from lack of zinc or genetic causes), who after taking the Probiotics grew her hair back. This is because there is a relationship between some kinds of stress and stomach problems. Isn’t it fascinating that supporting the gut helped reduce her stress? If you want to know what other supplements might work for you, I did a post here.
Ultimately, the final proof is that I’m now spending my hard earned cash, despite cutting costs, on buying my own. Now here I’m going to admit something terrible. After OptiBac being so kind, I was then really lazy and bought my second pack from the health food shop who didn’t have OptiBac. But I got my own just desserts as my stomach cramps came back. Shhhh, don’t tell them!
Obtibac probiotics are available from them or super drug and there is tonnes of much more in-depth information on their site for you including research on how it has helped with reducing childhood infections, constipation, eczema, food intolerances, weight loss, and stress mgmt. They have different ones for:
Daily well being
Daily well being extra strength
Flat stomach (you know that bloated feeling!)
Have you ever taken probiotics, I’d love to know what you think?
Disclaimer: I received a bottle for me, my husband and a packet of children’s probiotics from OptiBac, but no financial payment. I’ve waited a long time before doing this review, so that I could really be sure how it had helped my family. Luckily, they were very patient; in fact they didn’t actually request a review or demand that I did one in return for the products.
So if you follow all my tips on eating healthily in my ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘ Series, does that mean you don’t need to take supplements, minerals or vitamins?
The answer is: use your common sense (which isn’t the same as ignoring it or over-worrying about it). You don’t need every supplement, and health food shops are full to the brim of ideas for you to spend your money on.
If you follow my tips on healthy eating, weight loss and exercise and you are feeling in tip top condition, then no, I doubt you need a supplement.
But if you are exhausted and have tried all my tips to get more energy, are sleep deprived and generally feel rubbish, then yes, maybe it would be a good plan. The sorts of things that can be helped are PMT, joint pains, digestive issues, skin problems, depression, I even saw them help Alopecia on ‘The Food Hospital’ on Channel 4.
My top tip on supplementation is to ASK someone who knows more than you and knows more than the internet. Sometimes the people who work in health food shops can be really helpful. Sometimes you might actually want to talk to a nutritionist, homeopath or medical herbalist. You might even have a great doctor who is willing to do a test for you to check how you are doing, as general exhaustion can also be a sign of deeper problems. If they won’t do a check on your body’s nutrients, then you will find that there are private professionals who will; but make sure that you use someone with loads of experience who has come well recommended to you.
I think that the biggest question is whether to take a multi-vitamin or not. Some people claim that you can get all the vitamins that you need from a healthy balanced diet. Some claim that unless you eat totally organic, the quality of our vegetables and meat is not good enough any more and you will need vitamins. My answer is; does your body feel healthy and vital? If not, what’s wrong with it? Maybe consider a supplement or vitamin.
I do use supplements, so I’m going to list what I use here or have used. For all of them there is a really obvious reason, I’m not just supplementing for no reason. Plus I have asked professionals about the combination of them.
Bear in mind that I haven’t slept through the night in 6 yrs, I have 2 young children (6yo and 2yo), I co-sleep and am an extended breast-feeder, as well as working from home when you look at my list!
1) Floradix: A liquid mineral and iron supplement: This is magic in a bottle for me when I’m breast feeding, and it doesn’t constipate you like iron can. Without it I was getting HUGE bruises, but within a couple of weeks of going back on it I had tonnes more energy and the bruises were gone.
2) Vitamins: I take the ones for breast-feeding women as those little tikes do tend to suck all the good bits out of our bodies.
3) Omega 3, 6 and 9: My brain works better with these, REALLY noticeably!
4) Vitamin C: My body really likes me taking vitamin C, despite the fact that I pretty much always hit my 5 a day. Maybe it’s habit, but I don’t feel as good starting the day without it.
5) Probiotic: A proper ‘pill’ one, rather than a yogurt with sugar. Mine come from Optibac who kindly sent me a couple of packs to try for free. I’d been having stomach cramps and this totally fixed it. I’m going to write a proper post all about what probiotics are in the next couple of weeks for you.
I was talking to a friend today about the fact that she reckoned that supplements had helped her depression. I know of loads of people who swear by whatever it is that they take. There is a possibility that it is a case of the vitamins being a placebo. But then there is research to show that even operations can be placebos because of the power of the mind. I don’t really care, what is most important is that the proof is in the pudding. There will be times in your life when you need a little extra help. If the help is there and available, then I think it’s well worth it.
BUT, I’ll say again; it’s wise to get advise because herbs, vitamins, minerals and supplements are actually a lot more powerful than you might think. You can take the wrong things that might make the symptoms worse or disagree with something else you are taking.
One final word: If you are pregnant, then it’s crucial that you take a multi-vitamin that is tailored for your needs and includes folic acid. If you are pregnant with twins, get professional advice about whether you need more.
What are your favourite supplements?
Or do you think that it should be possible to survive without them?
In my first post on ‘healthy eating for rubbish cooks‘, I gave you the top 15 rules to aim for 5 fruit and vegetables a day and suggested mixing up the colours? (The science behind the colours is to make sure that you are getting a mixture of vitamins and nutrients). Well as I know it’s not always as easy as it sounds, I thought I’d give you some pointers. Feel free to add yours and help out other Mums too!
7 Top Tips For Getting The Family Motivated
1) Take it step by step and don’t aim straight for 5 a day straight away if you are nowhere near it. Start with an objective of 3 or 4 and work up over a couple of months. After a while it becomes a habit and it’s no longer something you have to work at and you’ll find that when they start school, they’ll get told all about how important 5 a day is too.
2) Put the little ones in charge of it, I made Curly Headed Boy the boss of the 5 a day in our house for a while; the hairy northern hubby needed some encouraging too, so it was perfect to have my son involved.
3) Add stars/stickers for success; There are some lovely charts that you can make or buy to help you out
4) Have a fruit snack for morning snack, and save the treats for the afternoon (i.e. relatively healthy biscuit) and make it a ‘rule’. Because it’s a ‘rule’ it has eventually been accepted as gospel in our house, plus it means I can save all potential forms of bribery until later in the day (yep, I am a sneaky mummy!).
5) Maybe this is a big change in the way your household works, but you’re the parent, so you have the right to change it. Explain why it’s important to you that everyone in the house is healthy, and how it will help them with their concentration/fitness/sport/health/skin/parents health. Then make sure that you are certain and confident as you tell them that it’s going to change, and from then on STICK to it, and be CONSISTENT!
6) If each meal has some kind of 5 a day aspect to it, and you have a snack that is fruit based as well, then you only have to add 1 more portion in to one of the meals.
7) Make Dessert always fruit based at dinner time. If you don’t have dessert, consider doing so because it helps reduce your adult portions of a main meal, and gives a chance to eat a little more until you are full. It also helps kids that are easily bored by food. If you tend to have sweet desserts as in cakes, pies or puddings every night, then this might be a big change, but really those should only be treats once a week or less, not every night. Your kids are very likely to grow up with a weight problem if they get into a habit like that.
10 Top Ideas On Where To Eat The 5 A Day
1) Different types of the same fruit or vegetable can taste very different; make sure that you explain this to a child, and for their first taste get the best option. For instance the hairy northern one didn’t like broccoli, but when I got him eating tender stream broccoli he started to be interested in the plain stuff. Berries are notoriously bland or sharp sometimes, so it’s worth first of all buying the expensive ones and then risking a cheaper version. Apples and oranges come in amazingly different tastes and sizes.
2) Don’t get put off by an initial refusal, just keep trying or try alternative presentation or cooking methods. E.g. Roasted vegetables are much tastier than boiled, and my son will only eat uncooked carrots.
3) Breakfast on the run: school runs argggh! I don’t like food in the morning, so my top tip is to switch breakfast and fruit snack around if you feel the same. So I’ll have an apple or banana for breakfast and toast later as a snack. Teenagers might prefer this too; just give them something larger for snack, like a healthy granola bar (see the post on snacks coming soon!)
4) Fruit Juice: not from concentrate is an easy way to start the day for the whole family and is an immediate tick. If you are struggling it can be another tick later on, just make sure it is a different fruit.
5) Uncooked is fine: I always have cucumber and carrots in the house, so that on a busy night I can be sure they have some vegetables; even pizza night
6) Tinned is a good back up plan: Tinned sweetcorn (with no added sugar or salt if possible), is another tip as my kids will eat it cold or hot and it can be added to pretty much any meal.
7) Frozen favourites: Adding peas or sweetcorn to pasta or rice in the last few minutes is a great way to quickly include vegetables
8) Clever Sauces: Better cooks than me just whizz up the vegetables into a sauce so that the kids don’t know they are eating it. My option is to use tinned tomatoes as the base for a sauce.
9) Fun drinks: Fruit can be added to milkshakes or you can make your own juices if you are feeling creative and imaginative and the kids will probably really enjoy getting involved.
10) Add something to it: To make fruit for Dessert more tasty add a good probiotic yogurt with no or little added sugar. Use honey or manuka honey to sweeten if needed.
It can be done. It’s just about taking it day by day, some determination, a bit of subtlety, imagination and a degree of sneakiness! But to keep you going, just remember that you are investing in your future with your kids and their future health; that kind of makes it worth while. The great thing is that as a side-effect you will feel healthier and have more energy, especially if there were a lot of less healthy snacks in there beforehand. Any questions let me know. Any ideas, feel free to share!
As part of my series on ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘ I’m starting with a description of what on earth healthy eating might look like. This isn’t a whole treatise on nutrition, just a set of simple rules for a family to look at and apply as many as are reasonably possible.
15 Simple Rules To Remember
What are the rules I try to follow that make my cooking healthy?
Eat 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day (a portion of fruit is probably a handful, otherwise it’s obvious with apples/ bananas/oranges)
Eat different colours of fruit and vegetables a day
Limit the wheat intake per day so not cereal, plus a sandwich, plus pasta for dinner
Eat the brown version: bread, sugar, rice, pasta
Assume any ready meal or ready sauce will have extra sugar and fat, so don’t buy them apart from emergencies
Cook from scratch as often as possible
Don’t buy low fat, it’s probably high in sugar
Don’t buy low sugar, it’s probably high in fat
Don’t buy low fat, low sugar, it’s high in bad stuff for you
Don’t eat stuff with chemicals in it or has had loads of chemical processing
Don’t fry in fat where grill/oven/stir fry would work just as well
Eat a **mixture of carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables
Have snacks in the morning and evening
Eat at least something little in the morning for breakfast
Treats are fine, just not every day and not all day
**Definitions of the ‘mixtures’
Carbohydrates are things like potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, cereals, porridge.
Whole Grain Carbohydrates is full of fibre and very good for your digestion (i.e the brown versions of things)
Protein is meat, fish, eggs, beans
Dairy is milk, cheese, yogurt
Weaning babies only need to balance their weekly intake of food, as they grow older you will look to balance their daily intake, until eventually most meals are balanced as adults or teens.
So What Would A Main Meal Look Like?
One portion of protein the size of your *palm
One portion of carbohydrates the size of your *palm
Half a plate of salad or vegetables
A Palm is not your HAND! It’s the middle bit where there are no fingers!
My kids probably eat more like a quarter of a plate of vegetables, but then eat more fruit than me for dessert
So it’s pretty simple isn’t it with just 15 rules? I know that there are fabulous nutritionists out there who have written massive books on this subject. So when the kids have grown up and you’ve got more time you can go and find out loads more. But in the meantime these simple rules will keep you on the straight and narrow, plus I’ve got a pile more posts to come to help you when tackling a few more specific issues with healthy eating in a family.