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06 Jan, 2022

Celebrating the pillars of health: Phoebe Liebling's guide to navigating nutrition

The first pillar of health is nutrition. We asked Nutritional Therapist and Clinical Director, Phoebe Liebling, on what to focus on in your diet to help cleanse and replenish in the New Year. There is so much information on nutrition and it can sometimes feel overwhelming especially when you layer on the fact that we are all different and there is no one-size fits all. As Phoebe states, “perfection in nutrition is a fallacy” and that “the road there will be multifaceted and vastly different to our friends’ and family’s versions.” Therefore, here she breaks down her two main focal points to help with your nutrition journey.

Health

Add More, It Doesn’t Matter What (within reason)

Here I’m talking about the diversity of fresh veg, fruit, whole grains and other natural whole foods like nuts and seeds. As I said above, there was a point in time when we decided that there were superior species, like avocado and sweet potato, that landed you more firmly into the ‘Healthy Cool Club’ and that just isn’t true. In fact, this fixation can often actually prove to be counterproductive.

When looking at fostering optimal probiotic bacteria numbers what we want is as much variety as we can reasonably achieve. Each different plant based food we consume is rich in prebiotic fibre (as well as other nutrients) and this fuels those omnipotent microorganisms. In a similar way to the integral nature of water, our health status is directly impacted by the abundance of the commensal species in our digestive tract. If we decide that ‘broccoli is best’ and then only eat broccoli, we will actually do ourselves a disservice compared to someone who despises the stuff and avoids it like the plague, but in its place eats onions, courgettes, green beans and carrots.

My simple trick here is to assess your starting point and expand from there. Take an A4 sheet of paper and create a table with 30 boxes. Over the course of a week fill in the different plant foods you have, if you’re a repeater of the same 5 things you can then aim to increase your repertoire by 4-6 foods per week, and if you find you are eating a variety but they are more fruits and nuts then the week after aim for more veg and whole grains.

Drink Diligently

Not exactly fresh advice but it isn’t often we actually reinvent the wheel these days.

Our cells are bathed in liquid, which allows them to communicate with each other. Blood pressure is a mechanism of charged minerals creating gradients that shuttle fluid into and out of tissues and blood vessels. We produce actual litres of digestive secretions each day to be able to break down and absorb our nutrition. Sweating and going to the bathroom (in both senses) is how we excrete our waste. And all of this relies on ….yep you guessed it. Water.

When we aren’t topping up our hydration levels enough, then the above will start to stall. We feel lethargic, recirculate that waste, our skin dries/breaks out, those toilet trips become less frequent, and we can also mistake thirst for hunger. This leads into a negative cycle of over triggering our blood sugar response.

My advice - if you know drinking isn’t your strong suit and you’re having 4 glasses per day at a push then don’t say ‘tomorrow I WILL achieve 2 litres’. Chances are you won’t, and then you’ll be annoyed with yourself. However if you aim for 6 glasses, build that in as a habit, and then aim for 8 - you will never go back to 4. And, you will experience a sense of positive reinforcement every time you successfully achieve your daily goal. Pop a measured amount in your eye-line whilst working, or on a kitchen counter, anywhere that’s prominent and can act as a visual reminder. This is your support system whilst you cement this new character attribute into being.

Not everyone likes plain water though. So try infusing with fresh herbs (rosemary is fab!), cucumber, or even brewing herbal tea and then letting this go cold and sipping on that instead. If you’re used to dilutable squash, swap this for a splash of fresh juice (not citrus all day though, for your dental health) to begin then gradually phase that out, or my favourite is to use frozen berries as little ice cubes. If you find plain water isn’t refreshing and you’re drinking a lot, or you prefer fizzy water, do check your electrolyte levels are optimal too.

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Ready to start focusing on your health and getting back on track again? Let us help you on that journey with our Ultimate Reset package. Our four week package will help you to feel the best version of yourself again and improve your overall wellbeing by supporting your nutrition, sleep, movement and mood with 20 days of our home delivery food and supporting gifts from our brand partners, including Caudalie, Neom Organics and Form Nutrition. To find out more about our Ultimate Reset plans, CLICK HERE. Here's to starting the year with the best of intentions, and creating healthy habits that last.