Tag Archives: healthy living

Family Nutrition Q&A with Dr Sarah Brewer‏

One of the hot topics of conversation when I get together with my mummy-mates is food. What will the kids eat, what won’t they eat? Are they eating enough, what will stop them and us getting stinking colds, all of that and more. So when Nurture Drinks gave me the opportunity to have a chat with top nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer, I saw my chance to answer all our questions and more.

Sarah Brewer Family Nutrition Q&A with Dr Sarah Brewer‏

Dr Sarah Brewer

What are the main concerns about family nutrition at the moment?
Lack of vitamin D is a concern, a study in Southampton found that a third of children seen in an orthopaedic clinic had low levels of vitamin D and were at risk of developing rickets, 15 minutes of sensible sun exposure is a healthy way to top up vitamin D levels.

Are supplements for children worth it?
Up to the age of 5 the government currently recommend children take supplements of vitamins A, C and D, a good children’s multivitamin should cover it. Over the age of 5 it depends on how well they eat and how good their diet is. The Imune Nurture drink is a great way for children to top up their vitamin levels too.

Does vitamin C help with colds?
If you’re stressed or have an active lifestyle then it can help, but a balanced, healthy diet is key. Zinc lozenges can reduce the length of cold symptoms too. Olbas oil is excellent to helping with snuffly noses.

What can we do to look after ourselves as parents and boost our immune health?
Take a good multivitamin, don’t skip meals. Taking a rhodiola supplement may help reduce stress. Getting plenty of sleep is the key, but it’s not always easy as a parent. Try meditating before bed, aroma baths and power naps can help too.

How important are Omega 3 oils?
Omega 3 fish oils are really important and key for brain and eye function. There is evidence that omega 3 deficiency can contribute to ADHD, poor attention and behavioural problems. If you can incorporate oily fish in to your families’ diet that will help, so eating homemade salmon fish fingers and nuts are a great way to add omega 3 to diets. Two to four servings of oily fish a week is the current recommendation, though this is less if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

Omega 3 is now added to some follow on milks and if you’re concerned about your family getting enough omega 3, then fish oil supplements are available and there’s an algae supplement for vegetarians. Omega 3 is a brilliant brain booster, and if you take it with evening primrose it can also reduce wrinkles and scaly skin.

Family Nutrition Q&A with Dr Sarah Brewer‏

We like cooking together as a family. What’s good to make together?
Things like homemade chicken nuggets or fish fingers are good, dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs; make your fish fingers from salmon and that’s a great way to get some oily fish into your diet. Pizzas made with your own sauce and fresh toppings are fun to make too.

Should you hide veg in food, or it best to be upfront?
I hide veg, when I make a bolognaise for example I grate veg into the sauce and cook it out, chopped mushrooms are good because they can taste quite meaty, maybe add some soy protein or lentils too. All veg, hidden or not is good.

How should we deal with picky eating phases?
Keep offering healthy options and they’ll eventually eat them, try saying eat half and leave half, some is better than none. Kids won’t go hungry so keep offering them good things.

Fruit and veg. Is it 5 or 7 a day now?
It’s still 5 a day as a minimum, most people average about 4 a day, in America they recommend 10 portions a day. I have an “open fruit” policy at home, I have a large fruit bowl and the family can eat as much fruit from it as they want, variety is important.

Is diluted squash better than pure juices?
Squash is a good option for getting then to drink water, it’s best to dilute more than the bottle recommends, dilute as far as you can get away with. I prefer squash with natural sweeteners. Again with pure juices you should dilute them down, so half juice, half water. Like the Nurture drinks which are half juice and half water.

Is it true you shouldn’t eat after 8pm?
If you do it regularly it’s not great for you, but every so often won’t hurt. It can slow down your metabolism if you consistently eat late at night.

What’s good for strengthening hair and nails?
Nail strength is largely genetic, but biotin, silica and fish oils can help with your nails. Poor hair strength and condition can be a sign that your diet is poor or you’re under stress, a good multivitamin can help, as can eating more protein and taking a protein supplement. Stress causes constriction to the scalp so stimulating the scalp can help as can caffeine shampoo. Nourkrin supplements and treatments are expensive, but can help with hair growth too.

Are there any links between diet and asthma?
I’ve written a book about that subject, Overcoming Asthma: The Complete Complementary Health Program. Sensitivity to certain foods can trigger asthma, for example sulphites such as those found in wine and tartrazine in drinks can have an impact. Coffee, an apple a day, oily fish and a whole food diet can help.

Why do you recommend Nurture drinks?
It’s an exciting new development, Nurture have no added sugar and the no spill cap is great. The flavours are interesting and they can really help boost immune health. They contain beta glucans which can help reduce the chance of catching a cold and can reduce the length of the cold too.

Thank you to Dr Sarah Brewer for kindly giving her time to speak to me. This is not a sponsored post.

Natural Skincare at Healthy Spirit

I hold my hands up, you got me. I ain’t no beauty blogger baby… but I do have skin which at least qualifies me to have an opinion about the stuff I put on it.

I have a simple skincare routine, largely because I’m lazy and I have really sensitive skin, so I’m careful about what I use. Even products made and marketed for sensitive types can bring me right out, so I’m always cautious, but like any woman, I’m always searching for that miracle youth giving, beautifying product.

I went along to a Natural Skincare class held at Healthy Spirit in Didsbury. I was already familiar with the shop as I’ve been a customer since they opened 10 years ago. They’re a lovely, friendly, knowledgeable bunch at Healthy Spirit and they’re always happy to help.

The Natural Skincare class was run by Anne Conway who is a qualified Herbalist and Aromatherapist. We sat in their new Hub Vegetarian Cafe and drank a selection of their herbal teas. The cafe looks good, with some really interesting veggie and vegan food on their menu.

Anne took us through a vast array of facts about our skin as well as a run-down about the chemicals in most modern skincare products, but to surmise; parabens – bad, very bad, avoid if at all possible; sodium lauryl sulphites – bad, try and avoid but they’re not the absolute worst thing and lastly, mineral oils – no evidence that they are terribly good, or terribly bad, but if you wouldn’t drink it why would you rub it on your skin? Fair point.

Healthy Spirit Didsbury

We then met nutritionist Barbara, who recommended drinking plenty of spring water; and depending on your skin requirements, cutting out dairy and meat as well as processed foods and drinking more smoothies, especially green smoothies.

Anne then turned her attention to a table of goodies for us to try, the table was heaving with lotions and potions from natural brands such as Weleda and Faith in Nature. I had a dabble with a few of the creams. I liked the Weleda cleanser which took my make-up off beautifully and left my skin feeling quite lovely. I also liked the Weleda Skin Food which I used on some scars. I confess I already am a Weleda fan.

Anne is setting up a proper natural skincare class in the next few months, I just went to a little taster. A lot of fun was had, I learned lots of new things about looking after myself and my skin, a lot of which I’ve already started putting into practice.

Anne aims to give you more information, allowing you to make informed choices and make changes to what you do and what you use as you feel necessary. She’s really clear that you don’t have to make dramatic, unsustainable changes, just making a small change can have a big impact on you, your health and your skin.

Healthy Spirit Didsbury

Disclaimer: I was invited along to a blogger event at Healthy Spirit to learn more about what they do and of course natural skincare. I have not been financially compensated for this post.

You can find out more about Healthy Spirit, their Cafe and the holistic therapies, treatments and courses they run on their website and Twitter and Facebook pages.