Super-charge the extraordinary healing powers of garlic by chopping, crushing or grating & leave exposed to the air for at least 10 minutes. The allicin, the active compound that revs up immunity, helps protect from cancer, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol management, is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal & anti-viral becomes 100x more potent when you break open the cells of the garlic & expose to the air. Even better, the garlic retains its potency even during cooking if you do this. So prep your garlic before you do anything else and then add it to your dish after at least 10 minutes. Get garlicking everyone!
Whenever I mention in my health talks that oats aren’t ‘all that’, people are often shocked and horrified. ‘But oats are really healthy aren’t they?…’ I hear over and over again.
Well, yes and no. There is something useful, even healthful in oats; a very specific type of soluble fibre called Beta Glucan. It has been well studied and thought to help manage levels of fat in the blood.
Some products like yogurts, spreads and those expensive, sweet yogurty drinks proudly include beta glucan, making the product a ‘Functional Food’ that apparently does you good. The reality is, we need very high levels of beta glucan on a daily basis to have any bearing on blood fats. The amount would challenge even the most ardent porridge fan, so the reality is that most people are in no way eating the levels required to have any real effect on cholesterol… and just to confuse further, there is still a huge amount of debate regarding the merit of lowering blood cholesterol levels any way – low does not necessarily mean healthy (that’s a different blog!). So to be doggedly eating oats for their cholesterol-lowering benefits and certainly choosing to eat those highly processed ‘functional foods’ that are full of nasties, in the belief you will help your health, I think you need to re-think.
So, why not have oats anyway? Surely a daily dose of oats, a big steaming bowl of creamy, warming, filling porridge sweetened with a big spoon of honey, must be doing some good, right? Well, it all depends. If you have been working the land for a few hours before breakfast or chopping down trees, or have been training for a marathon, then yes, your body would welcome the massive hit of carbohydrate (read: energy for your body to replenish what you’ve burnt up from working the body hard) that the oats and honey (or any sugar) will offer and as a bonus, there will be a decent dose of fibre to help with digestive function and feed your beneficial bacteria. Fibre is extremely important and often lacking in the diet, so yes, go for fibre-rich foods, but they come in may shapes and forms and diversity is absolutely key.
But, and it’s a big one, if you are making yourself a big bowl of porridge, cooked in water or skimmed milk (aka sugar water) for breakfast and then spending the day in a fairly sedentary way, then there’s a huge amount of fuel in your body that is not being put to good use, so will be stored for later – as body fat.
Oats are grains. Grains are seeds of grasses. That means every single oat, or grain of rice, wheat, rye, barley, corn (they are all grains) is a seed that can grow in to a plant. That means there is a lot of energy stored in that seed to feed that plant as it grows. Think how many grains are in your breakfast bowl… that’s a huge amount of energy going in to you and there’s only so much your body can burn before storing it away for later use – that’s body fat.
If you really want your oats, here are a few must dos:
• Use whole / jumbo oats. These are minimally processed. Porridge oats or flaked oats are whole oats that have been cut up to cook more quickly and make a smoother porridge. That means less chewing and digestion is required from you and the energy in the oats is therefore released more quickly. This results in a more detrimental effect on blood sugar, triggering a quicker response to turning the energy from the oats in to energy stored as fat. Especially undesirable are the sachets of quick cook oats. They are highly processed, pre-cooked and are almost always laced with sugar and artificial flavorings.
• My mantra for health eating is to focus on FAT, FIBRE & PROTEIN. The carbs come effortlessly in our food these days in the form of fruits, veg, grains, starchy veg and sweet foods, so no-one I ever meet struggles to get enough of the carbs. Instead think, ‘where’s my healthy fat, where’s my fibre, where’s my protein?’… In oats, you’ve got some nice fibre, as I’ve said, but virtually no protein and no fat. To make a balanced breakfast, have a small amount of whole oats, ideally soaked overnight in water (super-charges the fibre). Cook slowly with some whole organic milk, or full-fat coconut milk (it won’t need much cooking if pre-soaked) and then add in more fat and some protein with some organic full-fat natural yogurt / coconut yogurt and mix in a range of nuts, seeds and a little fruit, or follow with a couple of eggs. Now you have a balanced, highly nutritious, blood sugar balancing breakfast that offers a great range of fats, fibre and protein and ensures the energy in the oats are released slowly in to the bloodstream to provide your body with long-term energy rather than adding to your waistline.
Click here to find my ‘What’s in This’ video on oatcakes.
A new year and as usual a mad frenzy of media, TV and articles on the latest must-do extreme diets; extreme exercise regimes; dubious explanations of what works, what doesn’t, ugghh! I find it so wearing and can only imagine that most other people do too? It is no wonder that this overwhelm of largely contradictory information leaves people so frustrated that they give up by mid-Jan and go straight back to previous habits, good or bad.
So I feel now is the time to remind you of my 4 Fundamentals to Good Health which, if you manage to address over time, your body will give back with bountiful energy, stabilized weight, optimal body fat levels and great balance of brain chemistry and hormones – what more could you ask for? Also, if you create the habit of these principles, whether it’s Christmas, Easter, birthday celebrations or commiserations, there will never be a need to ‘blow it’ and then have to claw back your ‘good habits’ and have that gut-clenching feeling of ‘oh no, why I did I do that to myself … here we go again’…..
So here goes with a pared down super-simple reminder of what it takes to help your body help itself and a few new little gems that I have come across since I wrote the book: ….
1/ Keep you blood glucose (the sugar in your blood) under control: You can achieve this by greatly reducing your GPS foods Grains, Potatoes / Parsnips Sugars / Sweet Foods.
Understand the significance of eating foods that significantly increase blood glucose levels:high blood glucose = insulin response = turning on your fat storage system and turning off your fat burning capacity. Depending on how many diets you’ve tried and failed on; how much greater your waist measurement is to your hip measurement; how long you have been eating GPS foods on a daily basis; how long you’ve been on a low fat diet – then you may have a degree of insulin resistance, meaning you are in a high insulin and therefore fat storage state for hours at a time. But this is not only an issue of fat burning, or not, high blood glucose levels are highly inflammatory, trigger issues throughout the body, including in the brain – hence Alzheimer’s being spoken of as type three diabetes.
2/ Nurture & nourish your beneficial gut bacteria on a daily basis: do not underestimate the power and importance of having healthy gut bacteria. From enhanced mood, sustained concentration, reduction in anxiety and better capacity to cope with stress, through to improving insulin sensitivity and fat burning, increasing energy, enhanced digestion and better balanced immune system. Our gut bacteria influence every system in the body, If you look after them, they will look after you.
This means avoiding or greatly limiting the foods that preferentially feed the nasties that are inevitably living in your gut, which funnily enough are largely GPS foods and meanwhile super-charge your beneficial bacteria by following the 3Fs:
F no.1 is Fibre-rich food for their PRE-biotic content:
Plenty of pre-biotic foods to improve the good gut cultures. Prebiotics are fibres that your good bacteria feed and thrive on and in return they produce wonderfully beneficial by-products. Diversity is key, so go for a wide range of fibre-rich foods rather than just lots of one of two kinds.
Prebiotic foods include
• A rainbow of vegetables i.e. a wide range of colours and textures. Different veg have different types of fibre that offer arrange of benefits.
• Nuts and seeds of all kinds contain lovely fibre. To super-charge the power of the fibre, soak nuts and seeds overnight inn water at room temperature with a spritz of lemon or lime juice. In soaking, you are not only make the nuts & seeds more digestible with fewer anti-nutrients, you also have swollen fibres, full of water that goes to the gut to feed your bacteria. Chia and flax seeds are especially good to soak. They attract a lot of water and then create mucilage, a lovey gloop full of gel water – highly hydrating and soothing for the gut.
• Pulses – known to be windy because of the high fiber content that can be challenging digestively if the balance of your gut bacteria favours the less than good. Some people have to limit pulses while some gut restoration goes on, but once assuming beans and lentils do not cause uncomfortable bloating or reactive bowel function, they provide great prebiotic fibres. Make sure they are really well cooked.
• Inulin-rich foods – inulin is a well researched highly soluble fibre that has many gut health benefits. Again, it can be challenging with those with IBS-type issues, so use with caution. Rich in leeks, onions & garlic, under-ripe bananas, plantain, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes.
F No. 2 is for Fermented Foods:
Certain foods contain PRObiotic i.e. live, beneficial bacteria. The devil is in the details here, so look at labels to check for unpasteurized and raw. A live food, is a fermented food and if it is still live, it will have to be in the chiller cabinet of a shop, so anything on a shelf with a long shelf life will not be live. All fermented foods should also taste sour as the fermentation removes the natural sugars in the food. Fermented food include:
• Organic natural live yogurt
• Dairy kefir (a potent fermented dairy drink)
• Coconut Kefir -a non-dairy version of the above
• Fermented raw veg like sauerkraut, Kimchi and these days there are some
fabulous raw slaws becoming more readily available.
• Kombucha -a fermented tea (watch for the sugar content)
• Mature cheeses, esp. if made from unpasteurized milk.
F No. 3 is Fasting:
By eat less, or less often, the gut bacteria get a chance to a bit of super-charging and regenerating. The power of intermittent fasting is so significant and far-reaching that it is the third of my Four Fundamentals:
3/ Regular Intermittent Fasting
Allow your body to rest and renew by regularly practicing intermittent fasting:
Throughout all of history there is evidence of peoples all around the world fasting. It may have been for religious reasons, as part of significant ceremonies, to help purify and cleanse. Today many scientific studies have shown multiple and significant health benefits to fasting on a regular basis.
Benefits are very far-reaching if practiced on a long-term, regular basis. They include:
• Helps to heal the gut wall / ‘cleans-up’ mucus lining improving absorption of
nutrients and the environment for the beneficial gut bacteria to thrive.
• Down regulates inflammation
• Encourages better immune function
• Improves hormone sensitivity esp. insulin, leptin & ghrelin
• Increases autophagy activity (the body’s cells dying off once damaged – this is
• Increases production of growth hormone
• Improves ability to burn fat
• Offers many cognitive benefits including some protection from neuro-degenerative
diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Intermittent fasting is a way of initiating all of the health benefits of fasting using various short-term fasting techniques that makes the process practical for the long-term. One of the most well-known the 5:2 protocol where 2, non-consecutive days a week, you eat about a quarter of your normal food intake. Based on the average female daily consumption of 2000 calories and men, 2,500 then women should aim to eat no more than 500 calories on a fasting day and 600 calories for men. The calories can be split throughout the day or eaten as one meal.
The 5:2 protocol allows your gut to rest 2 days a week as you are putting relatively little load through your system on a regular basis. Having bone broth on these days is highly recommended on fasting days as it is highly nourishing but low in calories.
The 16:8 protocol is what is known as time-restricted fasting. You do not reduce the amount you eat necessarily, but you restrict the time in which you eat. The 8 hour window when you can eat, allows for 2 good meals and a snack in the middle if necessary. The longer you practice this system of intermittent fasting, the less likely you are to need to snack in between, which will further enhance the benefits. If you feel you can exercise towards the end of your fasting period you will also enhance the benefits. Once you get good at this, try for 18:6 a couple of days a week for added benefit.
4/ Move more, exercise less:
Moving regularly, limiting long periods of sitting to no longer than 50 – 60 minutes without getting up and moving around a little. Doing some structured exercise is key, but doing lots and lots of something that is not very demanding has limited benefit.
Short intense and muscularly demanding of big muscle groups is the way to go for triggering the fat burning switch, building muscle and improving overall health. This is known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). There are many ways to do it, but classic HIIT exercise include the good but grim Burpees, squat jumps, high knee sprints etc. So much good info on-line about this type of training now, but something that is key to remember is to do short, hard bursts to trigger a metabolic response that goes on for hours and days. It’s the after-effect that counts, the post-training response is where the magic happens, so doing more, more often is not the answer.
So there you go – take it gradually, work through these points and make them part of your life, not something to do like crazy and then stop and once you are comfortable and familiar with each change, then get going on something new.
Getting good sleep, managing stress and improving the quality of your down-time are also massively key to long-term good health, I’ll write more on these soon – here’s to your very best and prolonged health in 2018 onwards.
Fermenting is quite a thing these days. Kefir has been a big topic on The Archers for months now, so clearly the time has arrived to embrace the world of fermented foods. You can see my own dairy kefir here in my YouTube series ‘What’s In This’.
This very ancient process of preserving foods is now well established to be astonishingly beneficial for our health. Many things, be it milk, vegetables, tea or even water can be transformed in to highly functional foods teaming with beneficial, health-enhancing bacteria.
The process of natural fermentation encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast to eat up the natural sugars in foods and in the process of the bacteria and yeast breaking down the sugars, they produce really beneficial microbes that support our gut health. Good gut health equals good health throughout the body, esp. important for strong digestion, well balanced immune system and brain health.
Pictured here are the 2 ferments I make every day. There’s dairy kefir – a highly complex sour yogurt-type drink that is teaming not only in very high numbers of probiotic bacteria but importantly, dairy kefir has a wide range of beneficial bacteria too. Your standard shop-bought yogurt will have 2 – 3 strains of bacteria. Dairy kefir can have more than 20!
Kefir, as with ANY and ALL fermented foods should be SOUR. Through the process of the fermentation, sugars are eaten up. I am somewhat dismayed that the push for fermented foods commercially has resulted in bottles of dairy kefir now being readily available, but due to the challenging nature of dairy kefir i.e. a very sour, slightly fizzy, thin yogurt-style drink, this is quite a hard sell, so many commercial makers are not leaving the process of fermentation long enough for the sugars to be eaten up. This not only leaves way too much lactose (milk sugar) present, but more importantly, means that the beneficial bacteria count will be very poor. Ironically kefir means ‘pleasure drink’, but due to our modern palettes being so used to sweetness, the sourness of real kefir can be more challenging than pleasurable.
If you have been buying kefir, merrily swigging away a delicious, creamy buttermilk type drink, you really are not getting the benefits of true dairy kefir.
It is extremely simple to make. Those odd little slimy white balls in the photo are dairy kefir grains (I got mine from Happy Kombucha. This specific SCOBY – symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast, are what eat up milk sugar. Therefore, you put these little magical bundles in some organic full fat milk, preferably non-homogenized, leave at room temperature for a couple of days and the job’s done. Strain off the kefir, put more milk in with the kefir and off you go again.
These are living, breathing organisms that need to be fed. If they are not kept in milk, they will die. And once they have consumed all the milk sugar, they will need to be re-homed in new milk fairly quickly. What is so staggering about making true milk kefir with these grains, is that you can’t create the dairy kefir. These bacterial bundles are ancient are believed to have originated many centuries ago in the Caucasus Mountains. Every dairy kefir colony today has to have originated from the ferments from way back then. This makes sense as the kefir grains quickly grow through the process of eating up the lactose. This means that anyone making kefir with grains (rather than the powder) very quickly find they have too many grains to cope with, so pass on thier kefir grains to friends and family and so it keeps on going.
Just 120ml a day of a good dairy kefir is enough for a therapeutic dose of beneficial bugs. You can use it in smoothies, add to yogurt, and blend up with berries or just drink. Your taste buds will quickly adjust. If buying commercially, look on the back of the bottle and see how much sugar is in the drink. The sugar content per 100ml should be below 1 gram. This is quite hard to find. For a really good product, try Chucking Goat – extremely therapeutic.
The other kefir in my picture is water kefir. This has a similar taste to Kombucha, which is fermented tea, but a different SCOBY and I think easier to make. Kombucha is also gaining popularity and again, often has way too much sugar in it. To make Kombucha, sugar is added to tea and the Kombucha SCOBY, a big slimy disc, eats up the sugar and leaves fizzy, live tea. But as with dairy kefir, to make it more commercial timing wise and taste wise, there is way too much sugar remaining.
Water kefir is also easy to make at home. You have to buy the water kefir grains, these are like little jelly crystals, and they eat up sucrose (sugar) rather than lactose. So to make water kefir, I put the grains in a glass jar with water and raw Muscovado sugar (this contains minerals as well as sugar) and the kefir grains eat up the sugar and thrive on the minerals and in the process, burp out lots of fabulous beneficial bacteria. The water becomes fizzy, sour and so, so delicious.
As above, after a couple of days at room temperature, the kefir is drained off, the grains are put back in a clean jar, more water, more sugar and off you go again. I like to add lime or lemon juice to mine, which provides more fuel for the kefir to feed on and adds flavour and nutrients.
The other well-known and now readily available ferments are live yogurts, both organic dairy and coconut are good, but check for no added sugars. Then there are the fermented veggies – sauerkraut, fermented cabbage; Kimchi, a spicy fermented Korean dish and variations on these such a my favourite, Beet Kraut made by Laurie’s Foods – so tasty, so live and fizzing, you just know it’s doing you good – but don’t heat, you don’t want to kill off those beneficial bacteria.
Raw apple cider vinegar, another great way to get live bacteria in to the system, and even mature cheeses contain good bacteria. Get your taste buds tuned in to these foods. The benefits are truly staggering and something to be made a part of your daily meals where possible.
With Easter weekend upon us, I had some time to bake. I NEVER bake. Largely because I choose not to eat flours or sugars, so options are a little limited, although since the Paleo movement has taken off, there are a plethora of non-grain, low sugar recipes available online. Most of these Paleo recipes use almond flour (ground almonds) and coconut flour, this recipe is no exception. Don’t be tempted to replace wheat-flour with almond and coconut flours in a recipe that asks for normal flour as the non-grain fours absorb a lot more fluid so the recipe won’t work.
However, even a Paleo recipe rarely becomes a priority for me, but when I heard about this flour and sugar-free ‘bread’ from sister, I couldn’t wait to make it. She lives in the US, so the recipe is using cups for measuring. I like using measuring cups. They are so quick and easy and readily available in the UK.
In case you don’t know, zucchini is courgette. I imagine any number of other veg would also work, like carrot or beetroot, but I don’t want sweet bread, so courgette works for me. The original recipe also includes banana and some honey. I chose not to use either, so it’s more a savoury bread than a cake, but texture wise it is quite cakey, so up to you what you want to add in.
This is so good ‘naked’ or with lashings of grass-fed butter. It is very filling, nourishing, full of fibre and good fats – what’s not to love?!
Zucchini (courgette) Bread
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.
Line a loaf pan with grease proof paper (I used one small loaf tin and 4 individual loaf tins).
1 cup zucchini grated
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup pecans – roughly chopped
1/3 cup shredded (dessicated) unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey ( not really necessary – I use no sweetening agent)
1 banana mashed (leave it out if you like, or use a greenish / very pale yellow banana as this is low in sugar but high in resistant starch – great fuel for gut bacteria)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp almond butter (I didn’t have any so I used Cashew Butter)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional )
Sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds (my sister only mentioned this after I’d baked it, hence non in the photo, but toasted pumpkin seeds are so good, it’s a great idea).
Squeeze any excess moisture out of grated zucchini (I put it in a tea towel and squeeze).
Whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut, pecans, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs, honey, banana, coconut oil, almond butter and cinnamon. Use a hand blender to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Fold in the shredded zucchini.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan. My mix was very stiff, so I added a little coconut milk.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the loaf is set. My little tins took 25 minutes.
I am often asked “which alcohol is best” or “how much alcohol is ok”. Well, neither of these questions, as with nutritional science in general, have a straightforward answer. There is very little that is black and white in nutrition and when it comes to alcohol, there is no consensus on whether a moderate amount of alcohol can be beneficial to health. There certainly are some studies that suggest there might be some heart protective and blood pressure lowering benefits to a moderate in take of alcohol. Equally there are many studies that highlight the inflammatory and damaging effect of drinking alcohol along with the potential for increasing caner risk. There is surely something beneficial in the absolute pleasure some people get from having their favourite tipple now and again but what is universally recognized – sola dosis facit venenum – the dose makes the poison.
It has always amazed me that people who know they feel dreadful the following day if they have been drinking, still choose to drink. Some people metabolize alcohol far better than others. There is a certain amount of tolerance that can build with regular exposure, not something to aspire to, but some people are lacking a gene that allows for efficient liver-breakdown of ethanol. It is these people who will get drunk quickly and suffer badly. For those that do have the gene, it doesn’t mean just because you don’t get terrible hangovers, that the alcohol is not taking its toll on the body.
What is considered moderate is a key part of the alcohol conundrum. The recommended weekly units, for both men and women is now given as 14, spread over the week, rather than consumed in one hit, allowing at least 3 days a week alcohol free.
To turn units in to something tangible, an average bottle of wine contains around 11 units, making a large glass of wine (250 ml) around 3.5 units. A pint of beer, obviously dependent on strength, is around 2.5 units, a pint of strong cider around 5 units and a standard (35ml) shot of spirits, 1.5 units.
As alcohol is so deeply entrenched in our social and celebratory habits and our sense of treating ourselves, as a reward or as a means of relaxing, it has become a very normal, acceptable even expected part of many people’s weekly and sometimes daily routine.
This normalizing makes it very easy to forget the indisputable fact that alcohol consumption poses a significant challenge to the body. Alcohol, in its purest form – ethanol, is an aggressive, complex toxin that demands a huge amount of concentrated energy from the liver to break down the ethanol in to something that can be safely eliminated. And while the liver is busy detoxifying alcohol, its many other vital functions are at best on slow-down and at worst, on hold. If you have consumed a lot of alcohol in one sitting, your liver could potentially be engaged in this process for days. If you are then drinking regularly, the liver may never be getting a chance to fully detoxify and regenerate, as it should be doing on a daily basis.
Over time, this can lead to fats building up in the liver, this further affects function and has a negative knock-on effect on blood sugar management (a fatty liver can contribute to type 2 diabetes), and inflammation within the body will increase, which can show up as pain in any number of ways and often weight gain.
So, coming back to the questions, “which alcohol is best” and “how much alcohol is ok”, there really is no best but there are slightly better than others. Much has been made of the health benefits of red wine. The truth is that the antioxidant, Resveratrol found in red wine and associated with heart protection, reduced blood pressure, risk of clots and lowering cholesterol is present in such tiny amounts in wine that to get a therapeutic dose equates to around 15 bottles, so clearly, that’s not an option.
There may still be some benefit gained from the resveratrol in a moderate amount of red wine, but it isn’t a good enough reason to hit the bottle in the belief it’s protecting you from chronic disease.
As above, there is a positive association with the pleasure a nice drink offers but the reality is that alcohol is tough on the body and doubly so when you factor in the sugar found in most alcoholic drinks and/or the mixers added to drinks. In some respects I object more to the juices, like cranberry or orange added to spirits and the artificially sweetened as well as fructose-sweetened tonics, which play havoc with blood sugar, hunger etc., as much as the alcohol itself.
There are a lot of nutrient-devoid calories in alcohol, alcohol stops us absorbing certain nutrients and with such an aggressive inflammatory toxin at the heart of all alcoholic drinks, it makes you wonder if alcohol were discovered now, would it ever be made legal.
Alcohol is preferentially burned off before any other calories and this ensures there’s no chance of burning any fat while there’s alcohol in the system. A big hit if alcohol on a regular basis could inhibit your ability to burn fat 24/7 – and that is not taking in to account the empty calories and the negative effect on blood sugar. That makes it a big no-no for anyone trying to lose weight. Alcohol also increases appetite and inhibits resolve, so the chances of resisting the bag of crisps, chips, kebab …… becomes highly unlikely.
For most people, most of the time, as long as you are healthy, digestively functioning well and eating good, wholesome foods to replace the nutrients that alcohol not only stops you absorbing, but actually utilizes as part of the alcohol being metabolized, then a small amount of alcohol, a few times a week is probably fine. If the body is strong and well nourished, it can cope. However, it is the highly stressed, fatigued, immune-compromised, digestively challenged physically and mentally run-down who are often resorting to alcohol the most as a means to coping with life’s pressures. These are the very people who are most vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol and to the temporary numbing affects becoming addictive – so be warned and be honest with yourself about you drinking habits.
• A simple but effective tip to somewhat ease the harsh impact of alcohol on the body, is to never, never, never drink on an empty stomach. If you know you’re going to be having a pre-dinner drink and you’ve not eaten since lunchtime, then eat a small handful of nuts (even roasted and salted peanuts are better than nothing) or a piece of cheese, some olives – anything that contains fat and protein. This will ensure your stomach is closed and retains the alcohol rather than hitting the bloodstream and liver in one immediate assault.
• As with eating, drink consciously. Mindless swigging will inevitably lead to excesses, so really savour every mouthful. It tends to help if you have something pricey and delicious rather than cheap and average.
• Match all alcoholic drinks consumed with the same quantity of water.
• Take milk thistle or black seed oil before bed whenever consuming alcohol (see below)
• Allow at least 3 days a week of no alcohol.
• Anyone drinking alcohol on a regular basis should take extra measures to support liver function. Milk thistle is a well-studied herb, shown to enhance liver detoxification processes and liver cell renewal. My current favourite liver-booster (also fantastic for pancreatic, immune and inflammatory issues) is Black Seed Oil.