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 :)


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.


Thursday, 4 January 2018

The January Kick

Happy  New Year everyone. We indulged our way through December, it was fun, but how do we now get back on track with our weight and mood. Below are just a couple of starter points to get you going

Weight management

I find that many clients who come to see me have hit a lull with weightloss and can’t understand why. One aspect can be - the more alcohol, or ‘fake food’ (sweeteners, white pasta, bread, sweets) we consume, the more toxins our liver must process. The quickest and safest mechanism the body has is to store these toxins in fat cells. Fat cells form a protective barrier around a toxin so it can’t cause havoc to the system.  It’s a bit like a prison guarding the trouble maker till its safe to be let out. Trouble makers can’t stand cheery colourful antioxidants that we get from plant food. Antioxidants neutralise their harmful effects and remove them from the body. We are always told aim for your 5 a day. Imperial college recently proved that we need 10-12 different portions a day due to the amount of environmental factors we have impacting on our health. It did go up for discussion to see if it was worth changing the guidelines but so many of us cant achieve 5 a day it was thought this would be too overwhelming to put this pressure on people.  

Top liver supportive foods:

Beetroot, onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables ie cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower. 

Your diet should resemble a rainbow! By consuming plant foods, especially liver supportive ones you are encouraging a fat cell to breakdown, therefore encouraging a healthy and safe weightloss plan:

The feel good factor

Remember that chocolate box and mince pies that disappeared when nobody was looking. You had one and before you knew what was going on, you were rummaging through an empty box of wrappers thinking there must be a secret compartment where all the chocolate went…
When we consume anything sugary it signals to our body to create the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is like your best bud as they always make you feel great, therefore, the more we have the more we want. Sounds like a winning solution doesn’t it - eat sugar, feel great. However, the feeling is very short-lived. When we have too much sugar our body panics and releases insulin to bring the levels in our blood down. Insulin can often overcompensate and take the blood sugar levels too low. When our blood sugar levels are low we tend to hit something I call ‘the black box’. The black box is when your negative emotions surface ie: anger, teary and frustration. This is also the point where you get another craving for something sweet.

Tryptophan food sources

We can naturally boost or encourage serotonin by eating foods that aren’t too rich in carbohydrates and therefore less likely to send our blood sugar levels in a spin. These foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan and perfect for weight management:

Egg, fish, turkey, chicken, hummus, nuts and seeds

Top supplements for January

L-Glutamine powder Lamberts-  to heal the gut lining. Alcohol and sugar can damage the integrity of the gut lining, this stitches it back together. If you are putting new years resolutions in place such as quitting smoking, glutamine is effective in curbing addictions.
Liv- D Biocareto encourage removal of toxins from the body for a healthy weightloss
Biomulsion D Biocareencourages serotonin production. A lack of sunlight means a lack of serotonin production.
Mood Food – Patrick HolfordA lot of people struggle with January, this can be taken as and when you need it to perk up all your happy hormones

Lifestyle choices

Deep tissue massage  - a massage stimulates the lymphatic system to remove toxins from the body.

Walk before work – the festive season can make our minds a little foggy. Walking stimulates the circulatory system and therefore encourages microcirculation in the brain to get you thinking all those groundbreaking ideas again. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

How to Go Vegetarian

Veggie Month

Vegetarianism is basically eating more plant based foods and less animal produce. Plant based diets are ‘growing’ in popularity and below outlines some of the rationale behind this:

1.      There are some wonderful health benefits  from reducing meat consumption
2.      Ethical and moral reasons, this may or may not be related to cultural and religious reasons.
3.      It is becoming increasingly fashionable, yes that is right, it is cool to eat less meat

If you are interested in vegetarian month, I have put below a few potential options you could consider
Flexitarian – this is a very popular approach as it basically means you are flexible, sometimes you eat meat products, dairy and eggs and sometimes you don’t, it is a gentle way to ease in to a stricter vegetarian diet
Lacto vegetarian – you consume dairy and eggs but eliminate all meat and fish. This style of vegetarian diet has recently become one of the most popular diets.
Pollo vegetarian - Eliminating red meat and fish but still consuming poultry (chicken), dairy and eggs
Pesco pollo vegetarian – Eating poultry, fish, dairy and eggs but not consuming red meat.

Potential Health Benefits from reducing meat consumption
·         Too much red meat has been linked to potential inflammation, therefore as with everything, moderation is key
·         Plant food is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre to encourage bowel movement. Regularity in bowel movement is key to managing weight, bloating and reducing toxic load on the body.
·         You digest meat with stomach acid and digestive juices. Digestive juices also support the immune system. Therefore reducing meat or animal produce consumption allows the digestive juices to busy themselves on other jobs they need to do

Some considerations to bare-in mind with a vegetarian diet
·         Iron levels are a common deficiency with all diets, vegetarian diets means you have limited sources of iron. To aim at supporting iron levels mix iron rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C encourages iron to be absorbed in the body. Some combinations could be egg and orange juice, falafel and tomatoes or hummus and lemon juice.
·         If you aren’t consuming meat, fish, dairy and eggs speak with your doctor or a nutritionist about managing your vitamin B12 levels.  Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to low mood and energy, a sore tongue, numbness and tingling. There are no plant foods that provide this essential vitamin. Contrary to believe marmite and sea greens do not contain vitamin B12 in a form that we can use.
·         Including combination of beans, pulses and seeds in meat free meals and snacks throughout the day will provide a good source of protein.

Have fun exploring all the great flavoursome foods that a vegetarian diet has to offer. If you make any wild and wonderful dishes we would love to hear about them. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Nutritional Support for your Breastmilk

If you are a new mother getting support on breastfeeding is so important as initially it can feel alien, confusing and frustrating to do and therefore you need a midwife to show you how to latch your baby and not hurt yourself in the process. Latching can take some time to master. Look for support groups in your area too.

If you are worried in the first few days about milk flow and intake you can get a blood test monitor for your baby from Boots which plugs into your phone and gjves a nice graph on blood sugar levels. My baby had her levels monitored for the first 12hours. She had very little milk and mainly slept but her blood sugars were perfect which suggested she didn’t need feeding.
Breastmilk is such a great food to give to your baby because:
·        It’s free
·         It’s nutrient rich
·         It doesn’t upset your little ones tummy as much as bottle feed
·         It’s more convenient than bottle feeding and its prep time
·         It’s a natural antibiotic, I used it to clear baby sticky eye, by applying it to the tear ducts
·         If you are poorly you produce antibodies that pass across the milk to help your baby fight off what you have

As a mother with a newborn of 5lb 8 ounces I wanted to make sure I could get some chub onto her to get her nice and fighting fit. They said she would lose upto 10% body weight initially, she lost about 4% and was back at her birth weight within 2 days (this can take 10-14 days on average). I am sure a lot of this was down to my survival kit below that helped with the breastmilk flow:

Biocare Pregnancy and Lactation Multi Take a good multivitamin suitable for breastfeeding, this will help replace general nutrient levels such as iron which can be low causing tiredness from bloodloss in childbirth. Vitamin A and zinc which helps with healing. Selenium to cross the breastmilk to support babies thyroid for metabolism (thyroid function is one of the tests the doctors did with the heal prick test on your baby). A few days after birth your babies own thyroid should function independently, prior to this they have your hormones circulating the system to support them.
Solgar Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) taking 3.5grams per day should increase milk flow within 1-3 days. For some woman it can take upto two weeks. You will know that you are taking enough if your urine and sweat has a maple syrup smell to it.
Botanicals Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) helps to tone your uterus back into shape and increases milk supply
Biocare Sea Plasma is more to support the circulation of lymphatic system to reduce risk of blockage and infection in the breast tissue. Sea plankton can also support the hormone prolactin which is produced to stimulate milk production.
Biocare Biomulsion Omegaplex contains omega 6 to increase your natural hormone synthesis, this is important to rebalance hormones to make you more relaxed, a more relaxed mum means more milk production. The omega 3 and 6 will also cross the breastmilk to support your baby brain development and give beautiful skin.  

Lanolin get lots of it, and when you have got lots, get some more! This will save your nipples from getting sore cracked or hurting from any bruising

Foods to avoid and foods to enjoy
Eat healthy this will help with your sleep deprivation for  the next couple of months, also what you eat will affect your babies taste buds, this has been tested with breastfeeding mothers eating garlic and carrots and their infants when weaning having a preference to these flavours.
Avoid chocolate you will give your child that unwanted sweet tooth, soothe cravings with nuts and seeds with fruit instead which will be rich in nutrients for your milk and will give you a boost in energy
Start the day with oats by making a porridge or muesli, Oats help to replenish lost iron levels for milk flow. Oats also contain tryptophan which increases happy hormones. A happy mother has an easier ‘let down’ on her milk supply
Avoid dairy this can prove difficult for your baby to digest if any of the protein lactose from milk goes into the breastmilk. One sign of this is colic.
Neuners Organic Nursing tea Aniseed, fennel, verbena, caraway, (11%) fenugreek seeds this is caffeine free, caffeine is not advised in breastfeeding as it can affect your babies sleep.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Gluten Free Pasta Recipe for Lunch with the Girls

Gluten Free pasta lunch with the girls
Sometimes people feel a little lost when thinking of gluten free options for social gatherings, so I thought I would put up my recipe for luncheons with the girls. This is a new type of pasta dish that I have tried that is so easy to make, it was all ready and in my fridge within 10 mins and didn’t cost much to make. Especially as good health naturally were kind enough to send me a sample of their black bean fusilli pasta

Serves 3
 20 Large Black Olive deseeded and sliced
100g sundried tomatoes
20g of green olive pesto
150g of artichoke
50g peppadew peppers chopped
50g of capers soaked in brine
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Seasoned with black peppercorn to taste
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
125g organic black fusilli pasta

·         Bring pasta to boil and leave to simmer for 5 mins
·         Rinse pasta with a little lemon juice
·         Stir in ingredients
·         Cover and put into fridge
·         Voila…one yummy dish for 3

Some Health benefits of meal:
Contains fats which are good for mind function and good for silky hair and soft smooth skin
Pasta is rich in fibre and protein which means I will be fuller for longer
The dish is full of nutrient rich foods, meaning my body can utilise the food to aid my body to function rather than it being stored as fat
The meal is gluten free making it less likely to make me bloated and uncomfortable win win.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Weightloss Tips

The festive season has passed and our waist size may have expanded slightly from all the treats we have snacked on. It’s now the New Year and with that comes plans for the new us, the pre-Christmas streamline version!

Here are some of our favourite weightloss tips:

Get a blood glucose monitor
These are great, you can buy them online or in Boots and they often link up with smartphones. You can take simple skin blood prick tests throughout the day to monitor your blood glucose levels so that you are eating when you need to. Sometimes you will think you need to eat, but your blood sugar is high, meaning the best you could do is fast at that time and go for a walk to get the metabolism going!
Avoid instant sugar hits
...such as chocolate.  Sugar is stored in all the wobbly bits such as the tummy and thighs. When you eat sugar, and it isn’t used up immediately for energy, such as when you exercise, your body can be in danger of going into hyperglycemia which can cause you to pass out. To prevent this, your body thinks ahead for when you may need some food and cleverly stores the sugar like a packed lunch in your fat cells ready for when you need a big surge of energy. Alas the energy surge is often not that frequent leaving you with lots of prepacked packed lunches to get through!

Cinnamon is your new buddy that goes everywhere with you
Carry this in your pocket and sprinkle a small amount on your food or in your drinks. This slows down sugar release into the blood stream keeping you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to gain fat.

This little mineral is known to have the GTF (glucose tolerance factor) which means it regulates glucose in the blood after eating or when experiencing cravings, making it a popular ingredient to have when hungry or just after eating, to encourage satiety.

Insoluble fibre  
Fibre such as Konjac, alongside water, swells inside the gastrointestinal tract. The swelling makes the body feel full by triggering appetite suppressors.

Get your Zzzs
Sleeping and appetite can easily get confused. There is an appetite stimulator called ghrelin - think of it as the little hunger gremlin in your tummy which makes that rumbling noise. Ghrelin is stimulated by two things, hunger and sleep deprivation to encourage sleep, which can easily confuse you in to thinking you are hungry.