About Me

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Birmingham, United Kingdom
Welcome to my blog, and thank you for stopping by. I hope you find it informative, and if there is anything I have missed or you would like me to talk about please drop me a line of suggestion. After seeing a nutritional therapist I decided from the improvement of my own health that I would like to be there in the same way for others, therefore, I studied two degrees; one in Nutritional Therapy and another in Bioscience Nutrition so that i could be equipped to support a number of health conditions. I now work for a supplement company on a clinical team supporting practitioners and keeping upto date with all new scientific information and provide private consultations too aswel as keeping my blog going :)


Wednesday 2 May 2018

Walking to School Month

Walking to school month is a great idea to get you all fit and healthy, there are some motivating tips below to get you wrapping up warm and bouncing out of the front door

1. exercise before a lesson stimulates circulation and brain activity, therefore children tend to achieve better results in class after running around
2. Being outside in your natural surroundings help boost our mood and encourage some vitamin D production in our skin to boost our immune system
3. Fruit and Vegetables contain vitamin C. Vitamin C just before walking improve energy output meaning you should be able to walk further without feeling that you tire as easily
4. Eating your oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna provide you with omega 3. Omega 3 helps oil our joints a bit like oiling a hinge on a door to make it move easier. The more oily fish you have the more easy your joints can move
5. Walking through woods and fields or being in our garden has a really calming effect by rebalancing our natural energy levels

The seven parts of your personality that make up you!

Our body is cleverly made up of a bundle of chemical messengers that make up our personality. The trick is keeping them in balance. Think of them a bit like the personalities of the seven dwarfs

Something fun:
Before you read on…how many of the seven dwarfs can you remember, no cheating… At the end why don’t you see who can remember which dwarf is for which emotion. It’s a lot of fun watching others and working out which dwarf they tend to be more like

DOC – (leader) He may mix up his words but he is a motivational speaker keeping the dwarfs organised! He is your adrenaline. You need adrenaline to give you energy to get things done.  Too much adrenaline and you could feel a little anxious and mix your words up too, too little adrenaline and you can and be lethargic and lack motivation.
Getting the right balance:
Having fresh fruit infused water containing lemon kick starts digestion to help you get more nutrients from your food. It’s a great twist to water to keep you well hydrated and wont knock your adrenaline levels off balance
Get your blood sugar levels in check as this keeps your energy level stable. Having protein and fat such as tuna and egg pots help to sustain a healthy energy level
Have portions the size of your two fists put together, this is the size of your stomach. When you have carbohydrates (fruit, potatoes other vegetables and rice) mix this with protein and fats (yoghurt, fish, meat and beans, seeds or cream) this combination of food means that energy levels are released in a balanced gradual way so you can stay motivated and focussed.

Dopey (calm as a cucumber) He may have calm a bit too nailed but a balanced level of GABA support a well- rested sleep. Low levels of GABA and you may notice falling asleep or staying asleep is difficult as you are worrying about things.
During the day GABA can help with focus on a task without feeling overwhelmed.  People often look for ways to support their GABA levels when they have exams.
Our gut feeling
Our digestion is paramount to our mood.  When you say you have a ‘gut feeling’ about something, this could be because your gut is classed as your second brain. Messages are sent from your digestive tract to your body to produce chemicals to support the way we think and feel.
Encouraging growth of beneficial bacteria - In our body we have more good bacteria than we have cells. Imagine that!!! Us and the bacteria have a ‘symbiotic relationship’ what this means is we are friends, they look after us and we look after them. Some bacteria in our gut keep us calm by encouraging the release of GABA[i]. To look after our friendly bacteria eat food that feeds them such as bananas, apples, cauliflower, broccoli, kale onion and garlic.

Bashful (shy and sweet and lovable) He is your empathy, the kind and lovable side of your personality.  That warm fussy feeling that you get around people and pets you care about is the release oxytocin.
Do you notice that if you really like someone you want to spend lots of time with them. It’s because being with them helps you release oxytocin which makes you feel good.
When we feel anxious we often put space between us and those we care about, or we don’t acknowledge our surroundings by doing this we reduce the amount of oxytocin we produce
Being kind to others, giving loved ones a cuddle, spending time with your pet, having a warm bath makes you feel better and reduces anxiety as it ups your oxytocin levels.
How can we boost our levels through diet:
Eating foods such as tuna, apples, ginger, plums, tomatoes, chick peas, garlic and oregano support our hormone production to help us feel positive and enriched.ed.

Image result for grumpy
Grumpy (grrrr) He is your moody side when we aren’t releasing enough dopamine. Dopamine gives us that rewarding and motivating feeling to repeat things that we do. The more positive activities and tasks you do that are inline with your thoughts and believes, the more dopamine you release. Guess what….tidying your room or completing your homework can make you feel really good about yourself!!! Hardworking people have been shown to have high levels of dopamine in their reward and motivational part of their brain
Eat yourself happy
Grumpy’ hasn’t had his dose of dopamine, but to encourage yours you can have banana, turkey, fresh coffee, eggs and avocado.
If you are a bit of a foodie the Michelin- starred chef Tom Kerridge dopamine diet, this could be a great book to use to cook at home to keep you motivated on your tasks.


Sneezy (loyal and hardworking)

He is your quick thinking part of your personality (without the sneezing) recalling facts and processing information. He would need to be quick at the mark when he’s busy sneezing all the time. If you find you learn things easily and find paying attention in class easy and have good dream recall it is likely you have lots of acetylcholine.

Eat your way smart
Foods that naturally contain acetylcholine are eggs, yoghurt, milk cauliflower and broccoli. Ideally when it comes to exam time, these are some foods I would be thinking of putting top of your list. Acetylcholine is not only known to help with memory but also reduce stress which is ideal when it comes to revision.

Happy (Positive and upbeat)  
He is the cheery happy part of your personality that always finds the positives in any situation as there are always some! The chemical that you release that makes us feel happy is called serotonin. We produce most serotonin in our gut which can make us have an excited feeling of fluttering butterflies in our tummy when we are looking forward to something!
We all get a little happier in the sun too, that is because the sun also makes us produce serotonin so it is really important to get outside daily to keep you smiling.
As well as making you chirpy serotonin converts to a sleepy chemical at night time to help you go to sleep.
Eat your way to smile on that face and a good nights rest
 Think protein, protein, protein such as fish, meat, lentils and beans. There are some carbohydrates that can be beneficial too such as oats and bananas.

Sleepy ( Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)
Sleepy is the well-rested and recharging part of you that allows you to function
Are you looking at this out of one eye and holding the other open with your fingertips or find that you drift off into daydreams easily. When you feel lethargic and sleepy you are producing a sleepy chemical called melatonin. A common problem is feeling tired during the day and can’t sleep at night! A healthy level of melatonin and you are well rested and freshly energised during the day
Improving sleep
If you have difficulty sleeping limit the use of electronics such as mobiles, tv and tablets an hour before bed as they produce blue light which can affect your sleep. If you are going to use electronics then get a blue light filter app. Just bare in mind our body needs darkness to produce melatonin to rest!
Foods to help get 40 winks
If you find sleep a challenge reduce caffeine intake such as tea and coffee.  Aim to have your last cuppa no later than 2pm, instead have herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint and lemon tea. In addition 30 mins to an hour before bed have a snack of turkey or banana to see if it helps with sleep.

[i] Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF.(2011)nIngestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5. doi:

5 top tips to support the immune system

1. We produce vitamin D in our skin from sun exposure, therefore in the winter a supplement can be a great idea to support our immune system and mood!
2. Eat your fruit and vegetables as they contain an array of antioxidants such as vitamin C that act like our guards protecting our body from infections
3. Buy some local honey or manuka honey. Local honey tends to have the best immune support for you, if you have a sore throat, honey mixed with lemon and ginger can be soothing and healing
4. Chomp on garlic it is a natural antibacterial. The more you cook it, the less effective it is so ideally throw it into a dish and only cook very briefly. Eating the spice - cloves are brilliant at disguising any sign that you have eaten garlic at all!
5. If you do get a cold, cut dairy out for a few days as it is mucus forming and therefore can make you feel more congested.

Do you always need to buy organic - The Clean 15

Is it worth always buying organic? My answer would be – no! It can be quite costly to afford to buy everything organic and sometimes it isn’t that important. There is a list of 15 foods that are classed as the ‘clean 15’meaning they don’t need to be bought organic as they have shown to have very low to no pesticide residue and therefore unlikely to be contaminated.

1. Sweetcorn
2. Avocados
3. Pineapple
4. Cabbage
5. Onions
6. Frozen sweet peas
7. Papayas
8. Asparagus
9. Mangos
10. Aubergine
11. Honeydew Melon
12. Kiwi
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Grapefruit

The Pesticide Data Program — run by the US Department of Agriculture test most popular foods that are eaten by children each year to formulate a list on food and its safety for consumption. The list and testing of food has been generated only in the USA where they use many pesticides that are not permitted with in the UK. It seems that our system is far more stringent on what chemicals are allowed to be used on our food.

Although the clean 15 suggests they don’t have to be bought organic It is important to remember organic produce does also use pesticides, , however,  there are only 35 approved EU organic pesticides and 389 non-organic pesticides.

One question you may be asking is why are the ‘clean 15’ so clean even though they may have just as much pesticide sprayed on them as other foods?  
It’s all in the barrier layer, their skin. Their skin is not overly porous and therefore not absorbing as many chemicals throughout the whole body of the food. With the list of the ‘clean 15’ you would remove an outer layer of leaves or skin before you get to the edible part of the food, therefore stripping back and discarding the contaminated layer.

Blood sugar slumps and how to manage them

Nutrition for flagging

Throughout the day you may notice that at certain times your energy levels have peaks and troughs. It can be an eye opener to keep diary entries to when you are most energetic as it can be from a stress response or diet or often a combination of the two.

Foods that tend to give us temporary boosts of energy are caffeine and carbohydrates with no fat or protein. The only problem with these is what goes up must come down. You may find not long after having these items you have a bit of an energy crash that can also affect your mood.

When glucose (sugar) is released into your bloodstream it gives us a great feeling of get up and go, however, if we don’t utilise sugar affectively ie by running off the sugar high, our body panics that the sugar will do us damage and our little buddy insulin is released. Insulin starts packing sugar from our blood into fat cells to store it for later.

Our aim is to get our energy levels stable and here are some tips on how to do this

  • Cinnamon – put it in and on everything, cinnamon helps to stabilise our blood sugar levels and therefore stabilises our energy
  • Eat fat with every meal and snack, ie: full fat milk, oily fish, seeds, plant oils. Fat keeps you fuller for longer and slows the release of sugar into your blood rather than letting you have one big hit in one go. Fat does not make you fat, it actually helps you lose it
  • Opt for fruit teas and keep hydrated. If you are going to have a tea or coffee, just make sure you have it with full fat milk, or a slightly interesting option that has grown in popularity.. coffee with butter… who would have thought, but it’s meant to do wonders at managing energy levels and counteracts the negative effect from caffeine.
  • Have more veg/salad than white carbs ie pasta and rice on your plate. Vegetables are packed with nutrients such as malic acid and CoQ10 that support energy production.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Sleep Cycles -isit because you are Luna- lunatic or is there something else going on

Booking consultations

Going to bed struggling to fall asleep, tossing and turning, thinking about your day. Before you know it, its 2am and you are scrolling through some mundane drivel on your phone. Next thing you know, its 5am and guess what your blinkers start feeling heavy, but it’s not long till your day is starting and you need to be alert to go again!
What could be potentially going on, below are just a few of the issues I help clients overcome with nutrition consultations :

·         Have you looked at the moon tonight? Time and date is a great website to keep up with what is going on with the luna cycle.  Earth, and us being a part of this seem to be really disrupted by the moon and its cycle. It seems that as we appraoch a full moon we struggle most  with sleep and take longer to reach REM sleep.

·         Dysbiosis/pathogenic overgrowth – our beneficial bacteria has a really positive effect on our neurotransmitters such as serotonin. When we have good levels of serotonin, we tend to also have ample amounts of melotonin to help us sleep when we are in a dark room. Many pathogenic types of bacteria/parasites/yeast have a negative effect on this which can affect sleep.

     Stress one of the most common reasons for a lack of sleep is stress. Stress increases your release of cortisol. Cortisol makes you alert and prevents you from switching off

    lighting tvs, light bulbs, you name it  - anything that gives out unnatural light plays havoc with the circadian rhythm making us think we need to be awake rather than asleep

·       Diabetes – if you are getting up regularly in the night to urinate this is definitely something to explore with your doctor as this may be a marker for poor blood sugar balance

·      Times we are awake according to Chinese medicine this can be related to our organs and how they process during our resting state.
If you are struggling to sleep at a predictable time it may be related to one of the below and emotions related to this

11- 1am your gall bladder is in charge digesting fats.
1-3am your liver is detoxifying away like a trooper,
3-5am your lungs is working on circulation, you may notice you have a pretty poor immune system if you are awake at this time. 

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Managing Addictions

Addictive behaviours
The whistle stop guide for that whirlwind of a carousel

For consultations please follow the link below: 
samantha prior

What is an addiction?

An addiction is classed as a pattern of behaviour or activities you partake in even though they have a detrimental effect on your life.  

Some examples:
Social Media
Online Gaming

Potential factor for repeated negative behaviour

  • Fundamentally your body likes homeostasis. If any of your natural mood boosting chemicals are low or out of kilter the body will encourage behaviours that boost them to help you feel better. It is the body’s logical coping mechanism.  
  • Genetics accounts for 40-60% of addictions. Addictions are classed as a chronic brain disease. GABRG3 gene on chromosome 15 has been linked with alcoholism in families. GABRG3 is involved in GABA movement between neurons. GABA is a brain chemical that gives you a calming effect
  • Low levels of good bacteria are found throughout our body. We have more bacteria in our body than we do cells. Our bacteria has a symbiotic relationship with us, what this means is we look after them and they look after us. Part of their role is to make us feel relaxed or calm by producing certain natural neurochemicals ie: bacteria L.Rhamnosis enhances GABA production to calm us in stressful situations[i].
  • Reduced white brain matter this is the area where impulse control and learning takes place. The more someone drinks the greater the damage to the frontal lobes.
  • Advertisement Your brain processes 400 billion bits of information per second, you only consciously are aware of 2,000 of these, so how much are we absorbing subconsciously from our surroundings?
Neurotransmitters involved in dysregulated/addictive behaviours

Dopamine is your reward - motivating neurotransmitter, it’s that little pat on the back that says ‘good job, shall we do that again’. We naturally release dopamine in response to food or a sexual encounter.  Substance abuse gives an intense surge of dopamine, making it highly rewarding. However, the more unnatural hits you have, the lower your natural dopamine falls and therefore the bigger the chase you have to get for that same dopamine hit! An example being - If you are a smoker, the level of dopamine you will naturally be producing is lower of that to a non-smoker.

GABA  is the calming neurotransmitter of the brain. GABA and adrenaline are supposed to be in balance in the brain. Drinking regularly causes the brain to produce less GABA, because the brain begins to rely on alcohol for part of the calming effect. When you suddenly stop drinking, your brain chemistry is out of balance. You don’t have enough GABA neurotransmitter, and you have a relative excess of adrenaline, which causes all the withdrawal symptoms.

Serotonin your happy chum keeping you in good spirits. As serotonin is released when we eat sugary foods, or carb load, overeating is often linked to depression. We produce between 70 - 90% in our digestive system. This could explain why you get that fluttering feeling when you are super excited about something.

Oxytocin this is your cuddly attachment chemical. It is known as the ‘monogamy hormone’. The more you release when you are with someone through being intimate, the more attached you become to them. Drugs such as MDMA encourage the release of oxytocin to make us feel close to one another.

Below is a table describing the ups and downs of certain neurotransmitters that are involved in negative behaviours. Substances flood the brain with neurotransmitters. When the brain is flooded it becomes less sensitive to the neurotransmitter and therefore needs more to get the same reward.

This is very much a chicken and egg scenario. Did the environment throw everything out of balance or is this genetic. We have many gene mutations but it tends to be environmental factors to them  being switched on or not

Too little
Right balance
Too much
Low levels can be the trigger or the cause of  addictions
Calming effect, reducing fear and anxiety.  No alcohol withdrawal effect
Impaired short term memory, aggressive, poor spatial awareness, unregulated behaviour
Unable to cope with Stress
Low libido
Weight gain
reward- motivation, makes you want to re-inact a behaviour as it gives you pleasure and approval.
Impulsive behaviour to achieve instant gratification
Alcohol Abuse
Disrupted sleep
happy and positive upbeat feeling
Confused, aggressive
Avoids being tactile/intimate
Unable to orgasm
Crave sugary food
Disturbed sleeping patterns
Sexual relationships based on emotion and contact
A feel of connection with people
Sugary addictions
Mechanical rather than emotional connection with sexual interactions
Poor communication
Unable to orgasm


Positive Goals Dopamine is hardwired to be released when you do something positive. Make a list of positive goals you would like to achieve ie: learning a new skill, attending workshops/seminars.

It’s all about the P’s Poor Planning equals poor performance. Therefore give yourself step by step guides on your daily plans. A diary I would highly recommend that includes mindfulness:


Russell brands 12 step guide to recovery

Great listen/read. Pull from it what you will and use what works for you best. Label yourself the best you see respectful to yourself. Sometimes labelling yourself as an addict can be a self-fulfilling or someone elses fulfilling prophecy of you! Be kind to yourself!

Diet Protocol

The dopamine diet – Tom Kerridge

Serotonin boosting foods

Pre and probiotic foods to encourage neurotransmitter synthesis.

[i]Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve.