Do you need a Sports Drink?

With every big sports event, we will usually see our favourite athletes grab a bottle of their favourite brand of sports drink to quench their first during those brief moments in between races or games. Inspired by our greatest sports men and women, many of us also reach for a sports drink during a session at the gym or a running session. But what are sports drinks and do the general public need to incorporate one into their gym routine? My blog today explores the different types of sports drinks and their ideal uses:

What are sports drinks?

The definition of a sports drink according to the British Soft Drink Association is “Sports drinks are functional drinks specifically designed to help athletes and other active people hydrate before, during and after exercise.” ( These drinks have added minerals to ensure optimum replacement of lost nutrients through sweat.

There are three types of sports drinks:

  • Hypotonic
  • Isotonic
  • Hypertonic


Hypotonic sports drinks are designed to replace fluids quickly during exercise. They contain very low amounts of carbohydrate and a high concentration of sugar and salt.


Isotonic sports drinks are designed to quickly replace fluids lost during exercise. In comparison to hypotonic drinks, they contain higher amounts of carbohydrate and lower amounts of salt and sugar.


Hypertonic sports drinks are designed to supplement daily carbohydrate intake. They contain the highest amount of carbohydrate and lowest amount of salt and sugar out of all the drinks. This type of drink is best drunk after exercise so it can help replace glycogen levels quickly after exercise.

When should I use a sports drink?

The general guidelines for sports drinks are to be used if you are training for 90mins+ (as you are more likely to burn more energy that needs to be restored) and if it is a hot day or particularly sweaty workout (as you will lose more salt through sweat). Otherwise, you should be fine with water.

What about diet sports drinks?

Diet versions of sports drinks are sweetened with sweetener rather than sugar so they have a lower carbohydrate content. That means they will not be suitable for restoring carbohydrate levels lost during an intense workout. You can use them for quenching your thirst during shorter, less intense workouts. However, make sure to check the ingredients list of these drinks. Some contain sweeteners such as aspartame which have been linked to ailments such as weight gain and cancer.

My homemade sports drink

I have started to include a sports drink into my 2x 2 hour long dance and gymnastics training sessions to give me a bit of a boost and to re-hydrate (Michelle from DNAFit recommended I should get around 30g carbohydrates from a sports drink during these longer sessions). I decided to make my own so I have control over the ingredients in it. Here’s how I make it:

  • 250ml fruit juice (not from concentrate) – can be orange, pineapple, apple, etc.
  • 250ml water

I do have to say that I find including my sports drink comes in handy when I have 2 hour training sessions and I do get a boost (in a natural way). The point I am trying to make is that if you have a long or sweaty training session, you may benefit from a sports drink. The important thing is to listen to your own body and see if it works for you as they may not benefit everyone. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with good old water.

I tried DNA testing … How did I get on?

With every new year comes new diet and fitness trends. Shows such as “Trust Me: I’m A Doctor” and ITV’s Tonight programme have talked about the concept of DNA testing for your nutritional and fitness needs. It works on the idea that our DNA can determine what type of exercise best suits us and whether we are more sensitive to certain foods. Using this information, we can alter our exercise and eating habits to live healthier and happier lives.


I am clearly happy to receive my DNAFit kit

Intrigued by the concept, I thought I’d give it a go. I got in touch with a company called “DNAFit”. They were very helpful explaining how it all works. Once you send off your DNA sample, they will test the sample against 38 different gene variants which relate to different aspects of diet and fitness such macronutrient sensitivities, exercise type that suits you best, etc. These results are presented to you in the form of booklets which explain the genes tested and how you can change your habits according to the results. You will also receive a telephone consultation from one of their sports scientists or dieticians to help you interpret the results and incorporate them into your life.

Sounds good to me … So I thought I’d give it a go.

I decided to go for the DNAFit Diet Pro as part of their New Year New You promotion. This package includes:

  • The full diet package which tests:
    • The most suitable diet type for you
    • Carbohydrate sensitivity
    • Fat sensitivity
    • Lactose tolerance
    • Coeliac predisposition
    • Detoxification ability
    • Antioxidant needs
    • B vitamin needs
    • Vitamin D needs
    • Omega 3 needs
    • Salt, caffeine and alcohol sensitivity
  • The full fitness package which tests:
    • Training intensity response
    • Aerobic response
    • Post-exercise recovery
    • Injury predisposition

As part of their New Year New You promotion, they also included their brand new Stress Report.

Once I put in the order, a few days later I received a kit which included a swab that you use to take a sample from your cheek, a container for the swab, a capsule which you put in the container to keep the sample fresh, a form to fill out, a label to stick on the sample for identification purposes and an envelope to send the sample and form back to the lab. Once I took my swab, I registered the number on the sample label on the DNAFit website and sent it off. It was quick and easy to do.


The DNA testing kit

After about 10 days, I received an email saying my results were in and I was able to download and view them. So excited!

I received a colourful infographic which gave a brief overview of the results and three reports detailing all the genes tested and what my results show with recommendations. There are also added extras such as a shopping list and a guide to my specific dietary recommendation with the option of purchasing a meal planner and a fitness plan.

A couple of weeks later, I had my complementary consultation with Michelle, one of the sports scientists at DNAFit. She was extremely helpful and explained the reports fully offering specific advice once she got to know me and my lifestyle needs.

Here is a rundown of my results:

Diet Report

  • My ideal diet type is the low carbohydrate plan (this does not mean I cannot have any form of carbohydrate. The consultant recommended percentages of my macros so I can work out how many grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat I should have depending on height, weight and activity level)
  • I have a high sensitivity to carbohydrates – this means that I am more likely to gain weight from high carbohydrate intake, specifically refined carbohydrates
  • I have a low sensitivity to fat – this means that I am able to eat more fat than some people without gaining weight (although it’s still best to limit saturated fat)
  • I am at a higher risk of DNA damage from smoked and chargrilled meat (good thing I’m mostly vegetarian)
  • My detoxification ability is normal
  • I have an increased need for antioxidants (which include Vitamins A, C and E and Selenium)
  • I have a raised need for Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • I have normal Vitamin B requirements
  • I have a raised need for Vitamin D
  • I have a normal salt sensitivity – this means that salt has less of an effect on my blood pressure than for some people (although it is still recommended I stick to the standard guideline of maximum 6g per day)
  • Alcohol has a positive effect on my cholesterol if I were to have 1-2 units of alcohol a day (or up to 3 times a week)
  • I am a fast metabolizer of caffeine – this means that it will only stay in my system for around 1-2 hours but may stay in longer for slower metabolisers. It’s still recommended I have no more than 300mg per day
  • I am lactose tolerant – this means that I don’t have a primary intolerance to lactose (found in dairy products) and that if I do experience symptoms, it is a secondary intolerance following an illness
  • I have a negative result for Coeliac Disease – this means I have a less than 1 in 2000 chance to develop coeliac so there may still be a chance of me developing coeliac. I know that I definitely have an intolerance to gluten if it isn’t coeliac. I will keep an eye on any signs that it could be coeliac and get tested accordingly

Fitness Report

  • I am suited to more power based activities (60% power and 40% endurance). This includes activities such as weight training, sprinting and track cycling. This makes complete sense to me with my gymnastics. Michelle also told me that this means that I am more likely to put on muscle and maintain it (but don’t panic – you won’t see a picture of me looking like the Hulk). She recommended I do a 2:1 split on my power and endurance. For example, if I was training 5 days a week, I should do power training 3 days and endurance 2 days
  • I have a medium VO2 Max aerobic potential. VO2 Max is a test used by scientists to measure maximum or optimum rate an individual can effectively use oxygen during exercise. Mine is in the middle. Including a mixture of power and endurance can help me to improve my VO2 Max
  • I recover from exercise quickly. This is good to hear but DNAFit still gave me recommendations to include in my diet to help with recovery such as Omega 3 and Beta Carotene
  • I have a high injury risk (that explains a lot – I do tend to hurt myself quite easily). Michelle recommended I do some eccentric training in my resistance training sessions (during the last set) as this will help with strengthening my joints and muscles and preventing injuries. This involves you slowing down the returning to start position phase of an exercise. For example, when doing a bicep curl, lift the weights up for one count then lower for 3 counts

Stress Report

Overall, I have a low/medium stress response, presenting a mixture of strategist and warrior responses. I guess this makes sense to me as I do manage to come up with strategies during stressful times. Some stress reducing strategies are suggested in the report such as meditation and exercise.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I found DNA testing a very interesting experience. It was fascinating to see what my genetics say about my body’s response to diet and fitness and seeing how it actually fits in my lifestyle. The support I got from Michelle during the consultation was great and she offers to continue that support afterwards through email which is great so I don’t feel like I am struggling on my own. I look forward to trying all of the recommended advice and see if it makes any difference to my overall shape and tone and sports performance.

Would I recommend it to anyone else? It does come with a price tag with plans starting from £99 so I would certainly recommend looking at your finances to see if you really can afford it before buying. While I am only at the starting point of the DNAFit journey so am yet to see if the recommendations have the desired effects, just from the amount of information, recommendations and support I was given, I believe it was money well spent.


For more information, see

World Cancer Day

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Today is World Cancer Day. Cancer occurs as a result of genetic mutations where abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way and may spread to other tissues. There are 5 main types of cancer groups. These are:

  • Carcinoma – Cancer that starts in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs
  • Sarcoma – Cancer that begins in bone, fat, muscle or blood vessels
  • Leukaemia – Cancer that starts in bone marrow
  • Lymphoma and Myeloma – Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system
  • Brain and Spinal Cord cancers

Cancers are generally classified according to where they start in the body such as lung cancer or breast cancer.

Risk Factors?

There are many factors in our life that can lead to an increased risk of cancer. These include:

  • Poor diet – Red meat, burnt food, low fibre, N-nitroso compounds (e.g. cured meats), refined sugars, dairy, table salt, pesticides and aspartame
  • Genetic factors/family history – BRCA gene
  • Chronic inflammation – Gastritis, Irritable Bowel Disease, etc.
  • Radiation – Phones, medical, environmental, etc.
  • Smoking
  • Drugs and Cosmetics
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Obesity
  • Excess alcohol

Plus more…


Symptoms can vary depending on the location of the cancer. The most important thing is knowing your body. If you notice a change, go see your doctor as spotting cancer early means that treatment will more likely be successful. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • A lump
  • Breathlessness
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent heartburn or indigestion
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Changes in bowel movements i.e. looser stools
  • Appetite loss
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blood in your stools
  • A new mole or changes to an existing mole i.e. colour or shape

Plus more…


There are numerous tests for cancers, ranging from blood tests to ultrasounds to biopsies. The UK currently has 3 screening programmes:

  • Bowel cancer screening – Offered to men and women aged 60-74 in England and 50-74 in Scotland
  • Cervical cancer screening – Offered to women aged 25-64 in England and 20-60 in Scotland
  • Breast cancer screening – Offered to women aged 50-70


Treatment will be individualised depending on type and severity of the disease. Conventional treatment aims to remove or reduce the cancer. These include:

  • Surgery – Removal of tumour, surrounding tissue and lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy – Targets rapidly dividing cells
  • Radiotherapy – Aims to stop cancer cell reproduction
  • Drug treatment – Includes hormones, Biologic Response Modifiers and Analgesics

Complementary Treatment?

Complementary treatment can help support medical treatment for cancer and help to prevent the risk of developing cancer in the first place. It is always best to seek the advice of a qualified nutritional therapist in combination with your doctor as some complementary treatments can interact with drugs. Some alternative treatment options include:

  • Nutrition – Phytonutrients, antioxidants, fibre, anti-inflammatory foods, whole plant foods, cutting out refined sugar, etc.
  • Herbs
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • Ayurveda
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Reflexology

Plus more…

How Can I Support Cancer Research?

There are lots of ways to help support cancer research and people suffering from cancer:

  • Cancer Research UK have brought out Unity Bands. The money raised will go towards research to help beat cancer (I’ve ordered mine. I can’t wait for it to arrive!)
  • Macmillan Cancer Support hold The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning which asks members of the public to host their own coffee mornings with the donations being given to Macmillan who provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support for cancer sufferers
  • The Little Princess Trust is a charity which makes wigs for children and young adults who have lost their hair to cancer. Members of the public can donate their hair to be made into wigs
  • Many of these charities hold races and other events to help raise funds and opportunities to volunteer


Remember that there is support out there for people who are dealing with cancer from charities, doctors and even friends and family. Also, always keep an eye on your body. If something doesn’t seem right, go get it checked out. It’s better to get it checked out and it be nothing rather than ignore it and for something to be wrong.

For more information, visit:

Raynaud’s Syndrome

Image result for raynaud's syndrome

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month. 1 in 6 people suffer with Raynaud’s but many people are unaware they have it. I recently discovered that I have this condition after experiencing symptoms for at least a couple of years. But what is it? This blog will give you an introduction to the condition and how you can spot the signs and help yourself if you suffer from it.

Please take into consideration that I was only diagnosed last month so I am still working out the little magic tricks to help lessen my symptoms. Symptoms also differ between each individual person and some may experience more severe symptoms than others. The key is experimenting with different treatments to see what works for you.

What is Raynaud’s Syndrome?

Raynaud’s Syndrome (also known as Raynaud’s Disease, Raynaud’s Phenomenon or simply Raynaud’s) is a condition where the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to temperature changes, the cold and sometimes stress. These blood vessels constrict and this triggers the symptoms of Raynaud’s. These symptoms usually effect the fingers and toes but can often affect hands, feet, nose, tongue, nipples and ears.

The symptoms include:

  • Colour changes – Often white, blue and red
  • Cold extremities
  • Tingling, pain and/or numbness
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The common colour changes in Raynaud’s

You may not experience all of these symptoms and you may only be affected in a small area (such as only a couple of fingers).

There are two types of Raynaud’s; primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s is usually mild and manageable. It is a stand alone condition which means it is not related to another condition. Secondary Raynaud’s is related to another condition, often an autoimmune condition and may have other complications such as ulcerations or sores.

How is it diagnosed?

Raynaud’s is usually diagnosed by a GP after an examination of your history and symptoms. Blood tests may be arranged if your GP suspects that your symptoms may be related to another condition.

How is it treated?

Depending on how severe your symptoms are, your GP may prescribe you medication to help manage them. These include:

  • Calcium Channel Blockers – Help to relax and open small blood vessels
  • Vasodilators – Relaxes blood vessels
  • Beta Blockers
  • Alpha Blockers

Natural Treatments

There are many different natural treatments that can help with the symptoms of Raynaud’s. These include:

  • Nutritional support – Some vitamins have an antioxidant effect (vitamins C and E) which help to minimise damage to blood vessels and promote oxygen flow. Warming foods such as ginger are also said to help with symptoms. Always seek the advise of a nutritionist or kinesiologist to find out the safest method and amount of obtaining these nutrients
  • Wrap up warm – The cold can trigger the symptoms but we can’t completely avoid it. Wear several thin layers of clothing rather than one thick layer. Wear a couple of pairs of gloves. You could also invest in some thermal gloves and socks. Silver fibre gloves (which are sold on the Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK website) are also self-insulating.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid smoking – Can reduce body temperature
  • Avoid stress – Some people find that stress can trigger their symptoms. While we can’t completely avoid stress, we can use various methods to help us relax and minimise the effects. These include: meditation, colouring books, massage, exercise, etc.
  • Exercise – Exercise can help stimulate the circulation. This can be walking with the arms swinging by the sides, yoga, etc.
  • Acupuncture – There have been studies to suggest that acupuncture can help to increase circulation and reduce inflammation in Raynaud’s

My experience

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt the cold more than anyone else around me. Then over the last couple of years, I noticed that my fingers and toes would go a bluey-purple tinge and would go tingly when cold or when I was stressed. I didn’t think anything of it until people around me told me it wasn’t normal. I decided to go to the doctors last month where she told me about Raynaud’s. It made complete sense. Mine is very mild with it mostly affecting my toes (they tend to be cold all the time, go a whitey/yellow colour then purple and go tingly). I am currently trying out different methods to help manage it:

  • I practise a short meditation routine every night to help me relax.
  • I’ve started getting acupuncture inbetween my fingers and toes to help stimulate my circulation (I know, sounds weird). I’ve only had one session so far so I’ll see how it works
  • I wear lots of layers. I wear two pairs of gloves and socks when I go out (including a pair of silver fibre gloves and socks)
  • I keep my feet covered as much as possible. When I’m at my gymnastics class, if my feet haven’t warmed up, I will keep my socks on floor and wear specialised gymnastics shoes on beam
  • I have a hot water bottle in my bed each night
  • I am trying to work on my nutritional support by including foods that contain antioxidants and are warming

I am still researching and working out different methods to help my individual case.

To find out more information, head over to


When you think of important minerals, what is the first to spring to mind? Calcium? Iron? One mineral that is often neglected is Iodine.

What is Iodine?

Iodine is needed to support your thyroid. It is specifically important for the production of thyroid hormone which helps to support our metabolism, growth and development and development of a baby’s brain during pregnancy and early life.

Here in the UK, research has shown there is a mild deficiency amongst girls and women. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), adults require 150mcg per day while pregnant and breastfeeding women require 200mcg.

What are the risks of Iodine Deficiency?

A deficiency over a long period of time can mean that the thyroid has to work harder to be able to produce the adequate amounts of thyroid hormone in the blood. Have you ever seen someone with a large lump in their throat? This is a goitre. It is caused by the thyroid increasing in size to trap Iodine.

32558857 - goiter

Other risks include:

  • Thyroid disease, particularly Hypothyroidism (symptoms include weight gain, fatigue and muscle aches)
  • Lowered brain development in babies
  • Pregnancy complications (e.g. miscarriage and infertility)

How do I get more Iodine in my diet?

Iodine is found in a number of different foods. In this week’s episode of Trust Me: I’m a Doctor, Dr Michael Mosley teamed up with Dr Emilie Combert from the University of Glasgow to conduct an experiment to see what is the best source of Iodine. Three groups of volunteers ate either milk, white fish or seaweed. These are the most known sources of Iodine. They then collected their urine over the next 36 hours to be tested to see how much Iodine is extracted. The results showed that while all three foods are good sources of Iodine, our bodies seem more capable of extracting more Iodine from white fish and milk compared to seaweed.

Other sources include:

  • “Iodised” salt (table salt with added Iodine)
  • Other dairy products (yoghurt and cheese)
  • Other types of fish and shellfish (haddock and scampi)
  • Eggs
  • Meat/poultry
  • Bread
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Navy beans

Of course, the levels of Iodine in each food differs so some foods are higher than others.

Is there a risk of too much Iodine?

Getting too much Iodine in the diet can be just as bad as not getting enough. Too much Iodine can cause damage to the thyroid which may result in some of the same problems caused by Iodine deficiency.

If you are unsure about your Iodine levels, get them tested by a GP or Nutritionist and seek their advice on how much you should be having and how best to get it.

What’s Happening In January?

With a new year comes resolutions. For many of us, we decide January is the time to make changes to our lifestyles whether that be food, drink or other lifestyle factors. This January, there are two charity pledges looking to make us healthier and happier:



Veganuary is a campaign that was launched in 2014 and encourages people to try going vegan for 31 days. By signing up to the pledge, you will be given tips on how to eat as a vegan without suffering from nutritional deficiencies. These are the reasons they give to try the vegan diet:

  • To prevent animal suffering
  • To help combat health problems
  • To help protect our planet

If you choose to take on the Veganuary pledge, here are my top tips:

  • Fill your plate with lots of colourful fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure you are getting protein. These can come from nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, legumes and lentils. Many vegetables also contain small amounts of protein
  • Ensure you’re getting your essential nutrients that you may be at risk of missing out on:
    • Vitamin B12 – Can be found in fortified products such as cereals, milk alternatives and nutritional yeast (marmite)
    • Vitamin D – Our main source is sunlight
    • Vitamin A – Found in carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe and kale
    • Iodine – Found in seaweed
    • Iron – Found in leafy green veg, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, peas, tofu, dried fruit, beans and pumpkin seeds
    • Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids – Found in flaxseeds, nuts, chia seeds and sunflower oil
    • Selenium – Found in Brazil nuts
    • Zinc – Found in legumes, nuts, seeds, oats and leafy green veg
  • You may need to supplement some nutrients but always get the advice of a dietician or nutritionist
  • Search for recipes to get some ideas

For more information and advice, go to

Dry January


The Dry January campaign originated in 2012 and involves giving up alcohol for 31 days. The benefits according to Alcohol Concern include:

  • It enables you to take control of your relationship with alcohol
  • Makes you think about why you drink alcohol and how you can reduce it in the future
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Help to improve your skin
  • Saves you money
  • Helps you feel a sense of achievement

If you sign up for the campaign, you will receive support and advice and you will have access to an app which will allow you to track the month.

For more information and advice, go to


So, will you be taking on any of these campaigns or do you have a resolution of your own this January?

How to Lose Weight Healthily


Now that Christmas is over, many people are looking to shed those post-Christmas pounds as soon as the new year begins. Many people even have weight loss as one of their New Year’s Resolutions. But what is the best way to lose weight? Here are my top tips for healthy weight loss:

  • Fill your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables. They are high in essential nutrients and low in calories so you would need to eat a lot in order to gain weight compared to a chocolate bar. Try to have more veg than fruit as fruit contains sugars (which are natural but too much is not ideal). If you’re not one for fruit and veg, try to hide it in food such as cottage pie or smoothies.
  • Think about what you’re drinking. Liquid calories count too. Many soft drinks contain large amounts of sugar which cause them to be very calorific. If you’re not keen on plain water, add some natural favourings such as lemon juice.
  • Include protein in all of your meals. Protein is slower digesting so will keep you feeling fuller for longer. That means we’ll be less likely to reach for the biscuit tin. Examples include white poultry (i.e. chicken), eggs, beans, lentils and nuts.
  • Choose unrefined carbohydrates (i.e. wholegrain breads and pasta or brown rice) over refined sugar carbohydrates (i.e. white breads and pasta, cakes and pastries).
  • Take a packed lunch to work with you so you won’t feel tempted by the unhealthy options in the canteen or local shops.
  • If you need to have a snack in between meals, don’t reach for the chocolate bar and opt for carrot sticks and hummus or a mix of dried fruit and nuts.
  • Get some exercise in. This could be walking, the gym, swimming, yoga, etc.
  • Don’t become obsessed with scales. Scales will measure your overall weight but will not take into account your level of body fat or muscle. Measure your body to be able to see inch loss.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

What’s the Best Milk Alternative?

Many of us are deciding to give up cow’s milk. This could be because of allergies, intolerances or moving towards a vegan diet. Luckily, these days there’s a large variety of plant-based alternative milk products available in our supermarkets, but what type is best?

Cow’s Milk

Let’s first take a look at cow’s milk. It is widely available in supermarket shops and comes in three varieties – full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed. Cow’s milk is a well-known source of calcium and protein as well as vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, iodine and vitamin B12. Cow’s milk is not suitable for anyone with a dairy or lactose allergy or intolerance and reduction may be recommended for people suffering from skin conditions such as eczema (always seek advice of a dietician or nutritionist).

Soya Milk

Soya milk is made from hulled soya beans. It is close nutritionally to cow’s milk in terms of macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat – however, it tends to be lower in calcium, iodine and B vitamins. Many varieties are fortified with these micronutrients so these are the best types to go for. This type of milk tends to be sweeter because it comes from a plant source so you don’t normally need to add extra sugar or sweetener. Soya milk is not suitable for anyone with a soya allergy or intolerance but is perfect for anyone who struggles with dairy. Soya milk is very versatile and can be added to tea, smoothies and cereal.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds which are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and other nutrients. However, experts warn that the process of making hemp seeds into milk can strip many of the essential nutrients so it is best to find a fortified version. It does, however, contain high levels of protein and more essential fatty acids than soya milk. The good fats in hemp milk can help boost our cardiovascular health. Hemp is suitable for anyone with dairy or soya allergies or intolerances. Hemp milk can add a sweet nutty taste to tea or baking.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made from oats which contains beta-glucan – this contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Oat milk naturally contains more B vitamins than soya milk and coconut milk but has lower levels of protein and other vitamins and minerals. While it is suitable for people with milk or soya issues, it may not be suitable for people with gluten allergies or intolerances or celiac disease. It’s good added to your baked goods.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made from almonds which contains high levels of protein, fats and flavonoids. However, most almond milks are made with only 2% almonds so contains little almond and will not boast the large amounts of nutrients. There are many varieties out there which are fortified with vitamins and minerals. It is suitable for milk and soya allergy/intolerance sufferers but not for nut allergy sufferers. It adds a great nutty taste to cereals and smoothies.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from coconut cream. It probably has one of the lowest nutritional values out of all the milk alternatives. It contains almost no protein, higher amounts of fat (including saturated fat) and you would need to ensure that you get a fortified version to make up for the lack of nutrition. It also tends to be one of the most expensive. It is suitable for milk and soya allergy/intolerances but possibly not for nut allergies. It can be used for baking and making homemade curries.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from rice. It is the least likely to cause allergies as it contains no milk, soya and nuts. It doesn’t naturally contain good amounts of nutrients but is often fortified. It has a higher carbohydrate content so would not be suitable for diabetics. It’s texture resembles cow’s milk so is good in tea and smoothies.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from cashews and is one of the newer kids on the block. It is not naturally high in nutrients but is usually fortified. It has a creamy texture that is similar to cow’s milk and has a subtler taste than almond milk. It is suitable for milk and soya allergy/intolerance sufferers but not nut allergy sufferers. It is very versatile and can be included in tea, baking, cereals, smoothies, etc.


If you do decide to move away from dairy, seek the advise of a dietician or nutritionist and ensure that you find a brand that is fortified with vitamins and minerals to enure you’re not missing out on essential nutrients such as calcium and B vitamins.

National Vegan Day

Today is National Vegan Day so in celebration, I thought I’d write a blog telling you all about this specific lifestyle:


What is a Vegan Diet?

Veganism is a way of life which excludes all products which come from animals. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey. As well as food, vegans will also exclude clothing which comes from animals such as leather and wool.

So What Do Vegans Eat?

Alternatives to animal products include:

  • Tofu/soya meat alternatives
  • Quorn meat alternatives
  • Dairy alternatives (soya, almond, cashew, coconut, rice, hemp)
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Can you Suffer with Nutritional Deficiencies on a Vegan Diet?

The Vegan diet can give you a boost of many nutrients such as Vitamin C and fibre because you are eating a predominantly plant-based diet. However, you could be at risk of being deficient in some nutrients which you would mainly get from animal alternatives such as:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty Acids

To ensure you are getting all of these vitamins and minerals in your diet, include:

  • fortified cereals (fortified means they have added vitamins and minerals)
  • fortified milk alternatives
  • yeast extracts such as Marmite (which contains B12)
  • pulses (which contains iron and calcium)
  • leafy green veg (which contains iron)
  • nuts (which contains iron)
  • flaxseeds (which contain Omega 3s)
  • chia seeds (which contains Omega 3s)

You may need to supplement vitamins and minerals if you struggle to get sufficient amounts in your diet but I would always advise visiting a nutritionist or dietician to get advise about this.


As long as you plan it, you can live a healthy life on a vegan diet. It would be difficult to turn vegan overnight so I suggest you look into all the alternatives, try out some meals and seek advise from a practitioner to help you create a balanced plan. If you worry you’re going to miss some of your favourite meaty dinners, don’t be. There are lots of great meat-free alternatives to your favourite dishes. I personally love my lentil cottage pie.

Let’s Celebrate National Egg Day


Today is National Egg Day. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. Here are some of the reasons to include eggs in your diet:


They contain a great amount of protein which is important for muscle and tissue maintenance and repair. It can also be a useful tool for weight loss because protein can keep you fuller for longer and combining protein with carbohydrates will slow down the rate of blood glucose (sugar) being released into the blood stream so will release steady energy rather than make your blood sugar spike. This makes you less likely to crash and feeling like you need that quick sugar fix.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Eggs are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are needed for heart health and brain health.

Healthy Immune System

Eggs also contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals which help to maintain a healthy immune system. These include Vitamins B12 and A and minerals such as Biotin and Selenium. This is especially important as we enter the winter months and we become more susceptible to those nasty viruses.

Healthy Bones

Eggs contain Vitamin D which is important for bone health. D aids the absorption of calcium so a deficiency may cause you to be at risk of fractures.

Great for veggies

This is a great meat alternative for vegetarians because of it’s protein content and it contains many of the nutrients that meat contains such as B12.

Other Nutrients

Other nutrients that eggs include are:

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  • Vitamin E
  • Choline
  • Folic Acid
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous

They’re so versatile

There are many ways to include eggs in your diet. Here are some of the ways to enjoy your eggs:

  • Boiled
  • Scrambled
  • Omelette
  • Eggy bread (French toast)
  • In your baking (pancakes, healthy cakes, etc.)