National Eating Disorder Week

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

I'm not sure how many of you know, but this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week, where the aim is to spread knowledge of eating disorders and raise money to help combat them.

Eating disorders are something that have always interested me. Although I do not specifically have one, for a while now I have thought about food in a very precise, detailed manner. I study food labels, choose meals based on nutritional content and calories and keep tabs on my body image. I think about what I am going to have for my next meal, go through periods where I monitor exactly what I am eating and go on rampant binges where I consume everything in sight now and again. I am fully aware that I show traits of someone with an ED, but I have never allowed it to become an unhealthy obsession that gets out of control. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone as people all over the world are suffering from a variety of eating disorders, leading to very extreme health issues.

In my opinion, the media plays a huge part in the onset of an eating disorder. We as a society are being constantly bombarded with messages about losing weight. We spend our time scrolling through pictures of beautiful models posed for online shopping catalogues looking amazing in their size 6 outfits. There is always a story about the latest celeb to loose half their body weight in magazines and Twitter and Instagram are full of the best exercises to drop belly fat. How on earth is anyone supposed to be focussed on anything other than losing weight?

Our society isn't particularly helpful when it comes to overcoming an ED either - mainly for the same reasons. When you can't help but overanalyse the food you are putting in your body anyway and everyone around you is talking about eating 'low carb', calorie restricting and wanting to lose weight for summer, it is twice as hard to do exactly the opposite, even if it is what's best for you. You can't just snap your fingers and suddenly that voice in your head telling you to restrict goes away. It is a constant battle to overcome your own thoughts, let alone go against everything that is being said in the media about losing weight. Since when was 'gaining weight' something to be happy with?

During this week I think it is really important to spread awareness of EDs. Knowing how to spot the onset of them, how to go about starting a recovery process and also just realising that you are not alone and there are people to speak to who can help. More people than you know have struggled with eating problems and can really relate and want to help. Eating disorders go far beyond just anorexia and bulimia and the more we know about them, the more we can start to advertise the importance of weight gain, eating healthy carbs and sticking to your calorie guidelines. Recently we have made a huge step, believing strong is the new skinny- therefore promoting gym work, eating protein and sticking to macros. We need to keep this up and hopefully we can make life easier for ED recovery and limit the number of people suffering.

I am donating to B-eat to help people along their journey and spread awareness of eating disorders. I would love if you could join me:

Give them a call on 01603 753308 or visit their website

Fat & Sugar - Coming to our senses

Fat & Sugar- Coming to Our Senses

For as long as I can remember, fat has been thought of as the nutrient demon among us. People regularly check food labels to see fat and saturated fat contents and will always opt for 'low fat' options over regular varieties. 

This phenomena has been prevalent since the 1980s, when the government convinced the population that high fat diets were to blame for Heart Disease. We were told to reduce our fat intake to 30% and increase our carbohydrate intake to make up for the loss of daily calories, single handily destroying the UK dairy industry. 

If you have read my previous articles - detailing the importance of dietary fats and the dangers of sugar carbohydrates-  you'll know my opinions on this worldly accepted concept. I will go out of my way to add healthy fats into my diet, consuming nuts, avocados, olive oils etc. When I look at food labels, my eyes will be drawn to sugar levels before anything else and I will rarely look at fat content. It astounds me that people can still be under the illusion that a low fat, high carb diet is the way to go and this is a message I am constantly trying to spread - even if I'm fighting a long hard battle. 

However, is today the day where that fight becomes a whole lot easier? 

The media have finally released information scrutinising the dietary guideline advice that was given out back in 1983. They say that the advice to decrease fat content to 30% was off the back of no data whatsoever. There was in fact no evidence to suggest that a high fat diet leads to an increase in cholesterol, heart disease or heart related deaths. They have even taken it as far as saying the advice to increase carbohydrate consumption in place of fat, could in part have led to the obesity epidemic that we are in now. People became too obsessed with limiting fat levels - which as we are starting to understand, do not make you fat - and weren't concerned enough with the amount of sugar they were consuming - which as we now know, have lots of fat storing properties. 

Of course this doesn't mean you have free rain to consume high quantities of saturated fat without any health worries. What it does mean however is that you need to be more wary of other macronutients and not compromise on sugar content for slightly less fat. 

I am extremely glad that this information has come out today. Although there are a large number of us who understand the truth about sugar and fat, the media has been too powerful for the message to really sink in worldwide. Hopefully, if we can get the media to push this new message, it shouldn't be too long until we can begin to change people's deep rooted beliefs. 

Full details of the recall on these advice guidelines can be read here

Cheat Clean

Cheat Clean

There are multiple reasons why one day you might want to stray from your normal, clean eating pattern. Be it a bad day at the office, a way to celebrate some good news or quite simply you are craving it. Unfortunately, no matter how strong your need to eat whatever you like is, for some reason lots of us can't help but feel guilty afterwards and how unfair is that? After a week of strict eating, one bad meal realistically isn't going to change any of the hard work, but yet we find it easy to feel bad about ourselves for doing so. 

I have suffered from this feeling many times, mainly down to my portion control. If I have gone without any 'bad food' for a while, once I get a taste for it, I find it hard to stop, even when I am stuffed. The original desire for the food is usually long gone and all that's left is the taste of guilt.  

However, I have recently come up with a plan. Looking through many healthy eating accounts on instagram, I have come to realise it is totally possible work treats into daily life if you keep them clean and healthy. This way you can have all the joy of treating yourself, without the after guilt. This could potentially eliminate cravings and binges that happen as a result. I decided to look more closely into it and give it a go.

Firstly, I went out and restocked my cupboard with 10 delicious, raw, healthy ingredients:

1. Coconut oil
2. Coconut flour
3. Almond flour
4. Lots of unsalted, untreated nuts – eg. cashews, almonds, pecans etc
5. Almond Milk
6. Cacao Powder
7. Agave Nectar/Honey
8. Any flavour Nut butter
9. Oats
10. Dates

Secondly, I found some recipes which I wanted to replicate and test out and thirdly I started creating some magic. Let me share these with you

2 healthy dessert alternatives

1Raw Twixt Bar Bites 

For the ultimate chocolate lover, these no bake 4 layer bites are unbelievably delicious, containing only raw, healthy ingredients

Bottom Brownie layer
25g Almonds, 25g pecans, 12.5g agave nectar, Drop chocolate extract

2nd Caramel layer
Blend and layer:
1tbsp melted coconut oil, 25dates, 1tbsp almond milk

3rd Cookie Layer
 Blend and layer: 
25g cashews, 25g almonds, 1.5tbsp agave nectar, dash vanilla extract

Chocolate Coat
 Mix and drizzle over cookie layer: tbsp raw cacao powder, 1.5tbsp agave nectar, dash coconut oil

2 healthy dessert alternatives  1

Nutty Apple Pie

These apple pies are perfect for a treat after dinner, containing absolutely no refined sugar or processed carbs. Just what you want from a guilt free delicious dessert.

Nutty Base


8 Dates, 25g cashews, 25g pecans

Apple Filling

Peel and cut up some cooking apples and place in the microwave until soft and juicy. Add cinnamon if you want and fill the tarts.

Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 5-10min and enjoy!

3. Nutty Ganache Slices

Bottom Brownie Layer

6 dates, 100g oats, 40g mixed nuts, 4tbsp almond milk

Ganache Top
1/2tbsp melted coconut oil, 1.5tbsp cacao powder, 1tbsp agave nectar

In 7 days, I ate all 3 of these desserts, never once feeling at all guilty for doing so. Nor did I feel the need to binge at any point, because I knew these weren't specific one off tastes which would have to last a week until the next cheat meal. None of these desserts have anything bad in them- no refined sugar or processed rubbish etc. In essence they were no different from eating a bowl of yoghurt with a handful of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. The only difference was the taste and joy factor that they brought. Indeed I have seen great results this week with my body image and haven't felt like adding in these treats has had any bad impact. 

I urge you to give this a go and try to 'cheat clean'. This way it doesn't have to be a one off treat, as it can be worked into your normal day to day diet. Have a look through the people I follow on instagram ( @nextstopfit4 ), because there are some amazing accounts with some great looking recipes. 

Good luck and let me know how you guys get on making these recipes or trying out your own. Hopefully this way we can beat that guilty feeling and start to feel good about treating ourselves! 

Tweet: @nextstopfit4
Insta: @nextstopfit4