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La Maison Medicale

Do you need a therapist? How to get back in shape after giving birth How to eat an elephant?

Tackling those common tiny tot blues How To Make Work Colleagues Like you

Chocolate: Focus on

and how it affects your wellness wellness nutrition // wellness debate // relationship wellness // emotional wellness

La Maison Medicale

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editor’s note

the gateway to living well

Editor-in-chief Dr Sarah Brewer

Dr. Sarah Brewer

Project Director Michael Kitt

This month’s special focus looks at the wonderful health benefits of chocolate. It’s good to know that, as long as you select good quality dark versions, there’s no need to feel guilty for chocaholic tendencies.

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Elsewhere we offer tips on how to get on with colleagues, look at how to tell if you need a therapist, and share a simple exercise regime that gives great results when keeping fit. We investigate the ancient Hijama therapy, find out how to get back in shape after giving birth, and how to successfully achieve your life goals. This month’s debate asks whether or not fathers should attend the birth of their children, while the nutrition section offers some delicious cocoa-based recipes to continue the chocolate theme.

Art Director Nilesh Parab Graphic Designers Rekha G Bisht Mandar Asabe Staff Writers Dr Arjita Kumari Francine White Jenny Catton Kieran Ball Steve Miscandlon Tracy Morton

Yourwellness is unique in covering all aspects of wellbeing, from health and relationships, through fitness and family, to work and finances. What’s more, we also explore all the options available, from Ancient to Modern and Scientific to Holistic. If you enjoy reading this issue, look for similar articles and features at Why not tell your friends so they can also sit down, take a well-earned break while browsing our pages. Until next month,

Editor PS.: You may notice these three symbols reflect which features relate to

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Disclaimer | yourwellness is dedicated to providing useful, well researched information on every aspect of your wellness. We do not pioneer any particular therapy or school of thought, instead we offer all the options to allow our readers to make an informed choice. All our contents are not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers are always advised to consult their healthcare professionals prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment.




Could Hijama help your family?

Reason to Cycle more

emotional wellness 26 How to eat an elephant? family wellness 32 Fertility & nutrition: Is

your body running on the right fuel?

12 wellness focus on Chocolate

24 emotional wellness Do you need a therapist?

30 Tackling family wellness those common tiny tot blues

36 exercise wellness How to get back in shape after giving birth

exercise wellness 38 Expert advice - simple

exercises for big results

relationship wellness 40 Four Big Love Killers & how to solve them.

42 How To Make Work Colleagues Like you

wellness nutrition 44 Cocoa Cocoa your way to


delicious health

Vive la Difference!

wellness debate 50 Should Fathers attend the Birth of Their Children?

04 wellness news 08 kitchen wellness 10 garden wellness


New Career? There could be a book inside you.

52 wellness experts 54 holistic wellness 56 wellness reviews 60 modern wellness 64 scientific wellness


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Does insomnia increase your risk of breast or prostate cancer? Researchers at the University of Iceland have found a link between insomnia and prostate cancer. In a group of 2000 older men, those suffering from sleep problems were three times more likely to develop the disease. Previous studies have found a similar link between insomnia and breast cancer in women. It appears that a good night’s sleep is vital for your body’s repair systems to work properly.

High energy drinks warning High energy drinks are coming under increased scrutiny as they’ve been linked to serious side effects, and 18 fatalities in the U.S. Most of these products provide a significant dose of caffeine which, although usually safe in moderate amounts, could cause heart palpitations and other health problems in excess. If deciding to have a hi-energy shot or drink, limit yourself to just one and don’t have coffee at the same time. Ideally, stick to water or coconut water instead.

Holidays definitely do you good In the Holiday Health Experiment, designed by tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health, lucky participants were sent on two weeks holiday in Thailand, Peru or the Maldives. Not surprisingly, the holiday lowered their blood pressure, improved sleep quality, energy levels and stress management compared with those who had to stay at work. What’s more, the good effects lasted for at least two weeks after returning home. So if you’re one of the third of workers who do not take their full holiday entitlement each year, you may want to think again.

For some great holiday ideas, visit www.kuoni.

Male dancers strut their stuff to both men and women Psychologists believe that when men dance they give off signals that, rather like a mating display, provide clues to help the opposite sex rate their physical strength and fitness. Researchers from Northumbria University have now found that heterosexual men pick up these same clues when watching other men dance. Apparently this helps them detect potential rivals for the females they’ve got their eye on. So next time you’re on the dance floor, take it easy. Girls - the men are too busy watching each other to notice your cool moves. Boys - you don’t want to give your game away to rivals!




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New Career? There could be a book inside you. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2014 is an essential tool for budding and established authors. As well as providing contact details for Literary Agents and Publishers, you will find helpful articles on how to write a synopsis and get your book published via the traditional route, self-publishing and writing in the digital age. Famous authors share their tips for success so if there’s a book in you – fantasy, crime, chicklit, comic, romantic or even erotic – this will galvanise you into action. Check the website for more advice and details of their frequent writers’ conferences.

Midnight exercise anyone? Thanks to increasingly busy lifestyles, many people find difficulty fitting in regular exercise. But some gyms have responded with 24-hour access so that gym bunnies can pound the treadmills at any time of the day or night. This may sound like an ideal solution for busy professionals and shift workers or those who simply want to avoid busy periods at the gym. But some question how safe it is to work-out in the middle of the night when gym instructors are not on hand to ensure you are exercising properly. There are also concerns that exercising too closely to bedtime might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. However, the National Sleep Foundation recently found that exercising close to bedtime didn’t necessarily affect sleep quality and that any exercise, no matter when it is taken, is better for promoting sleep than no exercise at all.

How big-headed is your boss? To understand your boss a little better, check the size of his or her signature. Researchers from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina analysed 605 company annual reports and other public documents to find that CEOs with big signatures are more likely to be self-obsessed and conceited. Among top US companies, those with the largest sign offs also received the highest pay. Although self-confidence is often viewed as a positive trait for company bosses, those with large signatures tended to be more narcissistic and, in some cases, performed more poorly than CEOs with smaller signatures working in similar industries.

A doodle is good for your noodle There was a time when you could get in trouble for doodling at school, but now it seems that doodling is good for you. Some of history’s greatest thinkers loved letting their mind wander via pencil and paper, and many of the best ideas and art started as a doodle. The overwhelming evidence is that doodling isn’t the action of a wandering mind, but is the action of a mind at work. Researchers at Plymouth University showed that doodling increases our attention span in meetings. Those who doodled had a better recollection of what happened during the meeting. Doodling has also been shown to help children with ADHD and is one of the best ways of brainstorming and developing creative ideas at advertising and design agencies.




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Gadgets to Keep You Healthy Clever

Do you resolve to eat a healthier diet, start with good intentions but then find everyday life gets in the way, so your old habits slide back? Thankfully, a wide range of kitchen gadgets are now available that make healthy eating easier and more fun.

Juicer If you find it difficult to meet the recommended five portions of fruit and veg each day, invest in a juicer. They’re great for making highly-nutritious fruit or vegetable juices and smoothies. Some models allow you to throw fruit in whole, so there’s no chopping or peeling, making them a quick and convenient way to enjoy a wide range of healthy drinks. Grilling Machine Can’t live without a sausages sandwich or weekly fryup? Make these treats healthier by using a grilling machine. Grilling uses less fat than frying as these gadgets are designed to let fat drip away during cooking – channelling it into a separate drip tray so that it doesn’t end up on your plate. Nutrient Scales If you’re counting calories or keeping an eye on the fat content of your food, it can be difficult to calculate the values contained in everything you eat when cooking your own meals from scratch. Nutrient scales take away the guesswork. Simply weigh your ingredients, key in some basic information and the scales provide essential information such as

calorie, fat, carbohydrate and sugar content.

Bread maker When it comes to healthy eating, many people decide to cut down on bread. However, bread is a staple part of a healthy diet and you can make it healthier by baking your own wholegrain versions infused with seeds and nuts, using a bread maker. Not only will it taste better than shop-bought loaves but you’ll know exactly what ingredients have gone into it and avoid artificial additives. Steamer Steaming food preserves the vitamins and other nutrients in your food better than most other cooking methods. An electric steamer makes this really and results in foods with great texture and flavour, as well as more nutrients. Food Processor If you reach for convenience foods and takeaways because you simply don’t have time to cook meals from scratch, invest in a good food processor. This will take the hard work out of preparing, chopping, mixing and blending so you can quickly and easily create your own healthy meals.

For more advice on healthy eating, visit:

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Creating a

Gardener’s First Aid Kit Whether you’re a keen gardener or just like to potter every now and again, it’s a good idea to have a basic garden first aid kit to hand in case of small accidents. You could include this with your household first aid kit or keep it separate in your garden shed, greenhouse or garage so it’s close to hand should you need it. If you plan to store your first aid kit outdoors, choose a suitable container that’s waterproof and rust proof, so the contents stay dry and are ready to use whenever you need them. If you’re stung by a bee, cut yourself pruning, or develop a rash, your first aid kit will quickly help you feel more comfortable.

Sunburn - have a mini bottle

of sunscreen or sunblock wipes handy for hot days. In fact, even on a cooler day it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the sun if you plan to spend several hours outdoors.

Backache - It’s common to

suffer from backache or joint pains after a long day in the garden. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are therefore a useful addition to your first aid kit.

Scratches - Small scratches can be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe, then apply a plaster to keep the scratch clean. Pricks and Splinters -

tweezers are useful for removing small thorns and splinters.

Insect bites - Have an insect bite and sting product in your first aid kit such as a cream designed to take the discomfort out of insect bites. You may also want to use insect repellent wipes or ointments to keep insects at bay. Rashes - Some garden plants can cause skin rashes. An antihistamine tablet could ease

the inflammation, itchiness and discomfort. If the rash is more serious, seek medical advice.

Blisters - often develop, either on your feet from your gardening shoes or on your hands from using garden tools. A blister plaster can ease the discomfort. Hayfever - if you suffer from hayfever or mould allergies, you may find it gets worse after a day in the garden. Keep a supply of your usual hayfever medication to hand. Rubbing a small amount of Vaseline or pollen block around your nostrils can help prevent hayfever symptoms. Dehydration - not part of your first aid kit, but ensure you have a bottle of water to hand to keep you well hydrated when working in the garden. This is particularly important on hot days when it’s easy to fall victim to sunstroke.

Of course, if you suffer from a more serious gardening accident or illness, you should always seek professional medical advice straightaway. For more information about preventing accidents in the home and garden, visit:

- Linda Grayson


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There is nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.

Focus on


A little of what you fancy does you good ‌ ...especially if it’s dark chocolate. Instead of feeling guilty for indulging you can now feel virtuous, as chocolate is officially beneficial for health. Residue in ancient pots suggests the Mayans were drinking chocolate over two thousand years ago. The Aztecs consumed chocolate in the form of a sweetened drink, chicolatl, seasoned with vanilla, chili pepper, honey or fruit, and prized cocoa beans so highly, they were used as currency.


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CHOC Chick’s kits include everything you need to make your own delicious raw chocolate treats that contain just 3.5 calories each. South Americanborn Galia sources her cacao directly from family-farm suppliers in Ecuador, who use bio-dynamic, organic farming methods. Kits contain organic, raw 100% cacao powder and butter straight from the cocoa bean and are free from dairy, gluten, eggs, soya, additives, E-numbers and processed sugars. CHOC Chios kit for kids £9.95, CHOC Chick Starter Kit £11.99 from

The feel-good factor Eating chocolate increases brain levels of several mood-altering chemicals, including • PEA (phenylethylamine, related to amphetamine) which gives a mild, confidence-boosting buzz • serotonin which makes you feel good, and theobromine, a stimulant which peps you up • anandamine, a cannabinoid which stimulates the same brain receptors as marijuana • endorphins, which reduce sensitivity to pain and provide a warm, inner glow • small amounts of caffeine - around ten times less than an average serving of coffee – also increases alertness and reduces your perception of effort and fatigue without interfering with sleep. It’s a wonder it’s still legal! Interestingly, women are more susceptible to the effects of these chemicals than males and are therefore more likely to be chocaholics. Around 40% of women admit to chocolate cravings, compared to only 15% of men.

Mindful Eating Before popping a square of chocolate in your mouth, take a moment to inhale the scent. Then, bite it in half to appreciate the crisp snap, and let the morsel rest in your mouth. Feel it melt over your taste-buds. Luxuriate in the breadth of flavours and textures. Allow time for absorption of the psychoactive, mood-altering chemicals as you revel in that chocolate moment.

- Jill Shalvis

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and you don’t need an appointment.

Stimulate your senses Aristotle originally described five special senses, and - you’ve guessed it – chocolate stimulates every one!

Sight Chocolate is presented as a premium product, appealing to your sense of luxury, making you feel special and indulged. Smell Chocolate has a rich, intensely sweet

and sensual aroma that is calming and helps to release pent up anger and frustration.

Sound The word ‘chocolate’ itself rolls round the mouth and off the tongue; and when you bite into chocolate you hear a satisfying, muted snap that contributes to its oral pleasure. Taste Chocolate contains over 500 distinct

flavour compounds that deliver in a complex blend of flavour and aromas.

Texture Chocolate is virtually unique

in melting at 34° C, just below body temperature. It melts immediately in the mouth, producing a silky, luscious sensation that, according to psychologists, is one of the main reasons why it’s so addictive.

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Devnaa’s unique range of luxury, Indian-inspired confectionery is created using artisan techniques and packaged in vibrant boxes. Devnaa’s Signature Chocolates combine rich flavours such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, coconut, saffron and caramel. Chai Masala Signature Drinking Chocolate Flakes £9.95, Signature Chocolate Assorted Tiffins (16 Pieces) £14.99, Signature Bars (70g) £2.99. Available from Harvey Nichols and

- Miranda Ingram

It’s not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate.

Sleepy Slurp is a hot chocolate drink with a difference. Infused with Hops, Passiflora, and Chamomile, this soothing nightcap is a delicious way to end a stressful day and prepare your body and mind for sleep. £6 for 250g from

Is it really an aphrodisiac? The Aztecs associated chocolate with the goddess of Fertility, Xochiquetzal, and drank it to boost energy levels, invigorate male sexual prowess and help women feel less inhibited. Montezuma reputedly drank fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to enhance his libido, and when Spanish Conquistadors introduced chocolate to Europe, it continued its association with love and romance. If you have difficulty choosing between chocolates and sex, don’t worry. Italian researchers have discovered a scientific link between the two. Urologists from San Raffaele hospital, Milan, questioned 163 women about their consumption of chocolate as well as their degree of sexual fulfilment. Women who ate chocolate regularly, every day, had significantly higher levels of desire than those who did not consume chocolate on a daily basis. The researchers say ‘It’s alluring to believe chocolate can have either a psychological or biological positive impact on women’s sexuality.’ Another possibility, however, is that women who like chocolate are simply more sensually attuned.

When couples in their 20s had their heart rates and brains wired up, having chocolate melted on their tongues caused a more intense and longer lasting ‘buzz’ than kissing - their heart rates doubled! Interestingly, the same reaction to chocolate occurred in both sexes.

FENUGREEK PLUS The active ingredients in the herbal fenugreek seed may stimulate the production of male growth hormones, in a safe and natural way and has been found to boost testosterone levels. Available from Gravitas in convenient capsule form.

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The Health Benefits Chocolate gets the ‘thumbs-up’ from researchers as it contains large quantities of antioxidants. Just 40g of dark chocolate provides more than 300mg of polyphenols – the same type of antioxidant that gives red wine and green tea their heart-friendly reputations. What’s more, these polyphenols are of the super-protective variety known as procyanidin flavonoids. Some of these flavonoids contain just one unit, and are classed as monomers, but the most protective contain two, three or more units and are known as oligomers. Yes, you’ve guessed it, chocolate is especially rich in the oligomers that increase ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol, prevent ‘bad’ LDLcholesterol from furring up your artery walls, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure and reduce unwanted blood clotting. Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that eating a

Interesting research findings As well as making you feel good, adding dark chocolate to your diet might even help you live longer – and there aren’t many indulgences that can make that claim: • According to the University of Copenhagen, dark chocolate creates a feeling of satiety and helps to lessen cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. • Swiss scientists found that when anxious people ate 40g of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were lessened. • Dark chocolate contains theobromine, that helps to dilate

daily meal of seven ingredients, which includes 100g dark chocolate (plus 400g fruit and vegetables, 68g almonds, 2-3 cloves garlic, 150ml wine and fish two to four times per week) could cut your risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 76%. The scientists even predicted this would increase average life expectancy by six and a half years for men, and five years for women. They found clear evidence that eating 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) per day lowers blood pressure. Unfortunately, chocolate does contain a lot of calories. The 100g of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate used in trials provides 510 kcals of energy which, if not worked off through increased exercise, will contribute to weight gain. Even so, eating some chocolate as part of a balanced diet needn’t make you feel too sinful, as long as it’s dark and expensive.

DID YOU KNOW? Dark chocolate has five times more antioxidant activity than the same weight of blueberries.

the airways. An edible spacer device, made from chocolate, was found to improve the effect of reliever inhalers in children with asthma.

men who don’t eat chocolate, and women who eat one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk of heart failure by as much as a third.

• Dark chocolate is a more effective cough-suppressant than codeine, which is a component of over-thecounter cough medicines.

• Older males drinking the most cocoa had a BP 3.7/2.1mmHg lower than in those drinking the least , and were half as likely to die of any illness during a 15 year follow-up.

• Eating 45g dark chocolate per day significantly increases blood flow through the coronary arteries. • Eating 100g dark chocolate per day lowers blood pressure by an average of 5.1/1.8 mmHg, which is enough to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 21%. • Swedish studies show that men who eat chocolate are 19% less likely to experience a stroke during a ten-year follow-up period than

• Among 7,841 male Harvard graduates, those who ate chocolate lived almost a year longer than those who abstained. • A 2007 research project comparing causes of death in mainland Panama with the nearby San Blas islands, where cocoa consumption is especially high, found significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer on the islands.

Obtain all benefits of chocolate without the calories, fat or sugar with Healthspark’s new Choc Extreme. Each capsule contains 400mg of a high strength, patented cocoa extract providing theobromine, caffeine and antioxidant polyphenols. Take 2 capsules before 3pm. £21.49 for 60 vegetarian capsules from Holland & Barrett and online at

Take it one square at a time You can even cook with it - next time you’re making a chilli (with or without meat) throw in a handful of grated dark chocolate or cocoa powder and enjoy the additional richness, along with the health benefits. • Eat chocolate after a meal to offset the effects of dietary fats • Clean your teeth and floss soon afterwards • Buy small sized bars, not family-sized slabs • Eat with fresh fruit – having a chocolate-fondue makes this as easy as possible • Savour the lingering memory of each bite before immediately devouring the next.




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- Anon

When no one understands you, chocolate is there. Handmade in Northamptonshire, Seed & Bean are the UK’s only 100% ethically accredited chocolate company whose awardwinning products offer Fairtrade and organic varieties suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Organic Seed & Bean chocolates are infused with beneficial oils and seeds. Try their Pumpkin Seeds & Hemp Oil bars, Chilli & Lime bars or Mandarin & Ginger bars, £2.35 each from www.

Grab a beauty boost from chocolate, too Research from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that regular consumption of flavanol rich chocolate can protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, to reduce premature skin ageing. Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate flavanols also improved skin thickness and hydration, both of which are important for healthier, younger looking skin. Some brands also infuse their chocolates with superfruits, nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds and hemp oil, for example, are rich in omega-3 that are beneficial for hair, skin and nail, while chilli and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties.

Is chocolate the key to a Nobel Prize? It’s said that Einstein was eating chocolate while he formulated his Theory of Relativity. Scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine have also found that countries with higher chocolate consumption produce more Nobel Prize winners per head of population. University of Nottingham researchers have found that drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for two to three hours, to improve performance and alertness. American Nobel laureate Eric Cornell says, ‘I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume ... if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate!’

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chocol The half-calorie

that tastes just as

London-based maths graduate, Aneesh Popat, has combined his science background and love of chocolate by creating a truffle with almost half the calories of normal chocolaty treats. His secret is to mix the chocolate filling with water rather than the traditional butter and cream. Coated thinly with normal chocolate, the mouth-feel of the Water Ganaches is the same as normal truffles, but the flavour more intense. Why?

Because water has no flavour of its own, allowing the chocolate to do all the speaking. ‘Chocolate plus Water equals Chocolate,’ says Aneesh, ‘In the pursuit of pure flavour, all of my chocolate ganaches are water-based.’ As a result, his chocolate truffles are significantly lower in calories while maintaining the rich indulgence of a creamy chocolate. The standard sized water ganache truffles have 45% less calories ranging from 43-47 calories per truffle compared with an average of 78 calories for than commercially available brands. His latest milk salted caramel water ganache came

in at a mere 38 calories per truffle - over 50% less than the standard truffle, and the fat content was a quarter less (1.5g per truffle versus 6g per commercially available truffles). Aneesh’s mini truffles range are a mere 22-25 calories per truffle. ‘I only select high-quality, fresh ingredients, pairing fine chocolate from Cacao Barry and Valrhona with water, fruit purées, spices, nuts and herbs,’ he says. ‘With no thick cream to mask the flavours, and no butter to coat your palate, the result is a beautifully smooth chocolate which melts luxuriously but does not leave a sticky residue in your mouth.’

522 Shake The 522 Meal Replacement plan from Gravitas is based around the 5:2 Diet plan, encouraging you to eat normally for 5 days and restrict your calorie intake to around 500 for women and 600 for men on the remaining 2 days

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Having tried the Water Ganaches, we promise they are the most flavoursome truffles we have ever tasted. No wonder Aneesh now supplies chocolates to Michelin-starred restaurant Apicius in Cranbrook, Kent, and the five-star Le Meridien hotel in London. His regular commissions include making artisan chocolates for HRH Maharaja of Jodhpur, Rajasthan and a glitter-studded white chocolate skull to celebrate Damien Hirst’s art at The Tate.

Shakes to be enjoyed on 2 non consecutive days of the week More convenient than planning very low calorie meals on your restricted days 2 Meal Replacement Shakes per day Only 220 calories per serving Available in Strawberry or Chocolate Flavours Suitable for Vegetarians 1Kg Tub lasts for 1 month






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- Ayn Rand

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

Do you need

therapi Living a fulfilled life is all about your ability to relate to the world. This occurs on three levels: how you relate to yourself, how you relate to others and how you relate to your environment. The key question to ask yourself is: do you feel there is a problem in the way you relate on any of these three levels? For example: • Are you dependent on others, or do you create unnecessary need in others? • Do you have a healthy means of soothing yourself, or are you always looking at others to soothe you or distract you from your problems? • Are you victimising yourself or do others always make you feel like a victim? • Do you feel persecuted, or does an untapped resource of contempt and anger mean you need to persecute others? • Are you constantly rescuing others? This may sound positive, but is being the constant rescuer and living your life for everyone else a way of avoiding your own core issues, such as guilt or shame?




- by Dr Massimo Stocchi

Active Lifestyle

Staying active, having plenty of energy and good mental alertness are among the most important factors of living a fulfilled life.

• Are you stuck in a persistent guilt trap, either guilt in relation to others or with guilty feelings constantly in your head? • Do you use shame as a method of dealing with day-to-day life? If the answer is yes to any of the situations above, you would benefit from effective professional help. When you find a therapist with whom you wish to embark on the journey of discovery, the nature of the relationship is key. The therapist will help you find the right platform to discharge your emotions and thoughts, so you can digest and understand them, and focus on living your life again - without the startling effects that life’s difficulties can create. Dr Massimo Stocchi is a Counselling Psychologist and the Clinical Director of with practices in Harley Street and Guys Hospital.

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Well as the saying goes, one bite at a time! Have you ever wondered why dieting doesn’t work? Or why most people let their gym memberships lapse shortly after joining? Or why that positive thinking book or seminar wears off a few weeks after you attended it? The reason is usually that you haven’t really committed to change. You have decided to ‘give it a go’ or you have set yourself a shortterm goal. Or you have simply tried to bite off more than you can chew. This often means that what you are trying to change is simply too hard, or there isn’t enough margin for error. Or even worse, you don’t really believe you can make the change stick. If you want to make real change in your life then you need to make a commitment for life. Whatever you decide to change needs to change forever. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? But it needn’t be. The trick is to eat that elephant one bite at a time. This means small steps of continuous and neverending health improvement. So what does this mean for you and your lifestyle changes? Well, the best way to make big changes is to make them slowly, one small step at a time. So pick a small change that is easy for you to make, that you are prepared to make for the rest of your life, and do it. Once you have mastered that one, pick another. If you do this once a month over the course of a year, just imagine how much healthier you will feel in 12 months’ time!

How to eat an

- by Dr Brett Hill

• In the next 21 days create a personal statement of purpose. Repeat this challenge regularly as you will find over time your purpose will gradually change. • Make your exercise more functional. One session a week, for 7 weeks, start incorporating more complex activities (like squats or lunges) and fewer machines. Repeat as many times as it takes until all your exercise is functional. • Drink one extra glass of water each day for the next 21 days. Attempt this challenge as many times as you need until you are drinking 1L of water each day for every 25kg you weigh. • Eat one extra piece of fresh fruit each day for the next 21 days. Attempt this challenge as many times as you need to get to 2-3 pieces of fresh fruit every day. • For the next 21 days focus on communicating rather than talking and focus on solutions that work well for everyone.



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Why three weeks?

You will notice that a number of the How To Eat An Elephant challenges call for three weeks of action. It’s said that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Remember, this is just to break the habit; not to beat the addiction. I have found with myself and my clients that if you are able to do something successfully for 21 days, you have a really good chance of being able to do it long-term. Twenty-one days is enough time for you to not only break a habit, but also to feel the difference. Once you start to feel different you are much more likely to feel good about the change and keep it going. For the weekly challenges I have found that 3 times really isn’t enough for people to create a lifelong habit and I found that 21 weeks was longer than necessary and quite frankly a bit scary for most people. 7 weeks seems to do the trick perfectly. Dr Brett Hill is a wellness expert, chiropractor and the author of How to Eat an Elephant, £12.99

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Hijama therapy is gaining popularity in Hollywood with celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow and Richard Gere showing tell-tale signs of suction marks on their skin. But what is Hijama, and how can it benefit your family?

- George Santayana

The family is one of nature’s masterpieces

Hijama is an Arabic word meaning ‘sucking or vacuum’ and Hijama therapy is a development of the well-known practice of ‘cupping’. It dates back to ancient times when a horn or cup was heated and applied to the skin to draw out blood and pus. Hijama spread to the Greeks and Romans from Egypt and remained popular throughout the Middle Ages. It was a common practice among the indigenous populations of the Americas and Africa as well as traditional Asian healers. Today, it’s used to help many different conditions, with specific points on the body treated at specific times of the month. Hijama is particularly beneficial in beauty therapy as it promotes the production of hormones, encourages blood flow and body




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your family? fluid movement in the bowels and internal organs. This stimulated the removal of toxins associated with premature ageing and other negative conditions. Hijama therapy is also known to stimulate hair growth and to be effective against anxiety and worry.

Caution Hijama should not be performed on open wounds, around skin ulcers or on irritated skin or over sensitive skin. It is best avoided on patients with heart disease and in elderly people with thin, delicate skin, and should never be done directly varicose veins. Britain’s leading Hijama expert, Anthea Kissoon, warns that a rise in unqualified or poorly qualified practitioners could be putting the public at risk and damaging the work of legitimate clinics. Anthea, who was the Complimentary Medicine Association’s (CMA) first accredited Hijama tutor says, ‘As a serious practitioner what I’m most What can Hijama worried about is the risk help? to public health.’ • Fatigue

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Becoming a new parent is one of the greatest challenges you may ever face. Responsibility for a young life is daunting as you get to grips with new daily routines, sleepless nights, feeding and weaning - not to mention childhood health issues ranging from colic and teething to snuffly noses and nasal congestion.Parents whose children suffer from these common complaints know just how exhausting and miserable it is both for themselves and the child.

Tack those comm

tot bl - by Dr Catherine Hood

31 As a mum or dad, you hate to see your child suffering and want to do all you can to help. But you may not be confident in knowing what to do. Child health experts at Dentinox surveyed 1000 mothers with children under the age of 5 years and found that nearly one third didn’t know what colic is, almost three quarters didn’t know how to treat it, and more than one in five admitting they were scared. Fortunately, safe and effective remedies are available. Dentinox, for example, makes over the counter remedies for colic, teething and blocked noses.

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Colic is particularly distressing for one in five otherwise healthy and well-fed babies who develop uncontrollable and excessive crying, sometimes arching their back and clenching their fists. Symptoms usually appear within a few weeks of birth and cease by four to six months, but it’s important to note that colic is not the only condition causing these symptoms. If you have a colicky infant, see your GP to rule out other conditions such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or constipation. The exact cause of colic is unknown but it seems to be related to the intake of air during feeding and the presence of gas bubbles in the gastrointestinal tract. There is no cure for colic so the focus is on treating the symptoms. One approach is to give a baby drops before or with a feed, such as Dentinox Infant Colic Drops. These can be given directly using the included syringe or added to formula milk in the bottle. The activated dimeticone in the drops acts by gently dispersing any gas bubbles in the GI tract.

Teething can start as early as three months and continue up to three years! Symptoms include dribbling, drooling, reddened cheeks, inflamed gums, biting objects and general irritability. No one can predict which babies will suffer and which will simply surprise you with a new tooth. So it’s worth having teething rings and something to numb the pain, such as Dentinox Teething Gel or Dentinox teething toothpaste. All stuffed up... Colds and congestion are tough enough for adults, but for babies and toddlers they can bring extreme discomfort, unrelenting crying and sleepless nights. Very young children have no way of clearing their blocked and stuffy noses – and a Snufflebabe survey of 1000 mothers with children under 5 reveals how difficult the problem is for little ones and parents alike. Parents thought that the worst things about a baby’s stuffy nose were breathing problems and sleep disruption. A traditional, decongestant rubbed on to the chest or throat can help ease nasal congestion. Snuffle babe contains natural ingredients, such as menthol, eucalyptus oil and thyme oil, making it suitable for babies and children aged from three months. Menthol stimulates cold receptors in the upper airways to help nasal passages feel more open, as well as damping down cough. Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties and thyme oil is a proven antibacterial and antimicrobial agent, as well as suppressing inflammation. Last word... I know many mums like me want easy-to-find information when it comes to tackling those common health blues. When a little one is suffering, it’s upsetting for you both. Often there’s a simple explanation for those health blues and there are many common ailments you can spot yourself. However, it is always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional if you have any doubt about your baby’s wellbeing.




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Fertility & nutrition:ru When trying to start a family (either naturally or through assisted conception), it’s important to ensure your body is in the right condition. If you are lacking in certain nutrients or your stress levels are raised, your ability to conceive may be reduced. Here are some top tips to boost your chances of success: Eliminate smoking, alcohol and coffee which make your liver work harder to eliminate toxins. Good liver function is needed to help remove excess hormones from the body, while smoking lowers a man’s sperm count and increases the chance of miscarriage. If you are overweight, reducing your size by just 10% will have a massive effect on your chance of

becoming pregnant, and improve the effectiveness of fertility treatments. Sticking to a healthy eating plan will not only help to reduce weight and rebalance your hormones, it will ensure you are getting the right fertility-boosting nutrients from your diet. Eat lots of fresh and organic foods such leafy vegetables and fruits to obtain the antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial when trying to conceive. Selecting organic products also reduces the amount of pesticides ingested which have a negative impact of fertility. Protein from plant sources such as beans, peas, peanuts and lentils are associated with higher fertility potential, as opposed to animal proteins such as red meat and

poultry. When at least half your daily total calorie intake comes from vegetable protein instead of animal, the risk of infertility due to lack of ovulation drops by more than 50%. Reducing your sugar intake is important as a high level of insulin affects your hormone balance and ovulation. Fats should also be addressed as eating low-fat dairy products increases the risk of ovulatory infertility. This doesn’t mean that all low-fat dairy products should be replaced by full-fat ones, which can increase weight gain and affect ovulation. It is better to swap one low-fat dairy serving per day for one full-fat serving, such as a glass of whole milk.

Green Coffee Time Certain fertility-friendly nutrients are vital for conception Nutrient


Food source


Improves the maturity and health of eggs

Turkey, chicken breasts and nuts


Important for the process of cell division and essential for sperm formation and testosterone production

Brazil nuts, fish, eggs and mushrooms

Vitamin B12

Increases sperm count and mobility

Yoghurt, eggs, fresh salmon and beef

Vitamin C

Improves viability of sperm and neutralise the effects of toxins

Kiwis, oranges, cabbage and asparagus

Improves mobility of sperm and increases overall egg health

Almonds, avocadoes & tomatoes

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Is your body

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Keeping a food and lifestyle diary helps a nutritionist identify any key nutrients that are absent from your diet. It also helps you see where you are going wrong when it’s written down in black and white! It is vital for a woman planning to conceive to take a folic acid supplement (400 mcg daily) as this is essential to reduce the risk of developmental abnormalities known as neural tube defects. Nutrition and lifestyle are important area to address when to trying to conceive, but the benefits of healthy eating not only increase fertility and improve energy and stress levels, it also leaves your body in a far stronger position when becoming pregnant. Neema Savvides, Nutritional Therapist with the Harley Street Fertility Clinic

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- Paul Dudley White

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.

You never forgot how to ride a bike and most of us have a bike tucked away in the back of the garage somewhere. New research shows that regular cycling can halve the number of sick days you take, with the average worker taking 4.5 sick days each year compared to just 2.4 days for cyclists. If you don’t have a bike, check if the organisation you work for offers a ‘cycle to work’ initiative that could help with start-up costs. If not, why not suggest starting one? Sustrans is calling for government-endorsed ‘cycleto-work standards’ to meet the needs of those commuting by bike. According to Sustrans Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd, ‘Employers who encourage cycling can increase their profitability and have employees who take fewer sick days, but too many miss out on these benefits because they don’t provide decent facilities and support. Cycle parking and showers in an office should be as common as a printer and a coffee machine.


35 Making it safer, easier and more enjoyable for people to get to work by bike would unlock huge economic gains and health benefits for the UK. It’s time to make sure all our workplaces are fit for cycling.’ In the meantime, here are some good reasons why you should cycle more from the Bakewell Soap Company who encourage employees and the wider community to cycle with their annual Bike Visibility challenge.

Save money In the current economic climate, getting on your bike will boost your bank balance by eliminating public transport fares and the cost of fuel. You may find you can treat yourself to a holiday with the money you save! Save the environment

Not only does commuting by bike rather than car save your pennies, it also helps the environment as you are not burning fossil fuel (gas/oil) and not adding Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.

Burn off calories and get fit The average 68kg women

will burn 270 calories per hour riding a bike at a leisurely pace. On a three hour bike ride, that’s 810 calories burned and you’ll get toned and have a great time while doing it!

Make it social Stuck for something to do at the weekend? Ride alone, get a group of friends together

or go on a family bike ride - you’ll have hours of fun outdoors and it’s absolutely free.

Cycle for charity Do something for a good cause and raise money for charity by joining in with organised cycling events. Try a cycling holiday

Take your bike with you or book an organised cycling holiday in beautiful places like Scotland or Cornwall. Visit a website like Cycle Scotland which offers fantastic cycling tours, or be more adventurous and do your own Tour de France!

Get your vitamin D

Cycling outdoors is a proven stress reliever, and just half an hour in the sun supplies your daily vitamin D

needs. Recent research suggests it may also have other benefits, too, such as prevention of colds and helping to fight depression.

Beat the queues If you’re fed up being stuck in traffic, hop on your bike and avoid them. Although cars are more convenient for longer journeys, you’ll find that riding a bike is often quicker for shorter trips – especially at peak traffic times. Stay visible and stay safe. Go off-track You can’t get everywhere by car, explore all those places you can’t reach and cycle your way to an adventure. Go for Sunday lunch

Have a Sunday pub lunch and cycle your dinner off on the way home.

To sign the petition to make Britain’s workplaces fit for cycling, visit: See The Bakewell Company’s awardwinning eye gel in this month’s review pages or at

Find someone to share those empty lanes or off-road tracks at Whether you’re a hard-core road cyclist, an adrenaline-seeking mountain biker, a healthconscious commuter or a recreational cyclist, you’ll find someone similar to join you and share the fun. The site is completely free to join, so sign up and start shifting those gears.

Reasons to

cle more


exercise for


get your body back and you do have to put the time in. This section

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Louise Parker knows all about regaining fitness after pregnancy, as she has successfully done this twice before, and just gave birth to her third baby in June. As founder of Louise Parker, an exclusive fitness and weight-loss consultancy based in Belgravia, London, she runs a team of thirty Sports Scientists, Personal trainers and Dieticians. Here she shares her top five points on regaining your body following childbirth:

Timing is everything

First, get the nod from your GP to ensure your abdominals and pelvic floor are ready to start exercising – they are usually OK following your six-week postnatal check-up, but for some this is still too early. Listen to your body – you know better than anyone what you are capable of doing and when. If it doesn’t feel right, stop, and if you’re not sure what you’re doing, seek professional help from a trainer.

Pace yourself While you do want to challenge yourself, start off gently and increase by about 10% of your effort each week, until you are doing at least an hour a day, five days a week. It does take commitment to

Start working your core little and often – a few minutes a day is more beneficial than one killer core class once a week. Within an hour’s session you should aim for roughly 20% core, 40% full body toning work and 40% cardio. Try to tone your entire body in each session, using big movers such as squats that target more than one muscle group at once. Stick to using your bodyweight for resistance or use light weights, but keep the repetitions high (20 are ideal). Keep your heart rate elevated throughout by performing your cardio in short bursts of up to 8 minutes, followed by a couple of toning moves and repeat until the hour is up. Finish with a comprehensive stretch. If you feel lost, invest in some good DVD’s to do in the comfort of your home when baby is sleeping or your partner is home. Finally, avoid impact (the bike, rower or cross trainer are ideal) until your pelvic floor and core are really strong.

You can’t out-train a bad diet If you have weight

to lose, you have to focus strictly and consistently on your diet. Breastfeeding burns 500kcals a day, but you CANNOT restrict your calories when feeding or your milk will be compromised. Until you create a calorific deficit, you won’t lose weight so please, please don’t aim

How to get

for miracles while you are feeding. Once you’re ready to stop feeding you can get serious about your diet. We measure our clients’ metabolism before creating a Food Plan to firstly get the calorific level right. Then focus on eliminating alcohol, all sugar and refined carbohydrates and eat a diet rich in lean protein, essential oils and lots of colourful low GI fruits and vegetables.

Lifestyle Matters You do want to focus on consistency, putting all these factors together each day, but don’t stress if some days you only manage some of these aspects. It’s hard getting it all perfect when you’re sleep deprived and your body is still going through hormonal changes. Focus on what you are doing and reward yourself with a manicure, blow-dry or well needed, middle-ofthe-day sleep. Ask for help to allow you to do all of these things – no one can do it alone. The more you sleep, the better the weight loss, so get to bed early as this is the only way you can control your nightly hours! Drink plenty of water and continue to take a multivitamin supplement for a good few months, and it will all fall into place. Follow these pointers as much as you can and take time to sit down and write a plan of what you intend to do, exercise wise, on each day, along with a few options for each meal. Decide, commit and focus on consistency and with regular practice your body really will adapt at an impressive pace. I wish you all the very best!

back in shape after giving birth

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Expert advice -

simple exercises for

big results James Clynes, lead tutor for nutrition and weight management at Premier Training International, shares some excellent exercises that deliver real benefits. Repeat as many times as you wish, the more the better.


Prisoner Squat

This exercise works lots of muscle mass, pushing that metabolism up and keeping the whole body strong... • Stand upright, chest lifted, shoulder back with hands behind head, fingers interlaced, • Feet around shoulder width distance apart (slightly wider will be easier), • Keeping your back straight, bend at the hips, ankle and knees at the same time • Lower down as far as possible – aim for thighs parallel to floor, keeping heels down.

Walking press ups

This awesome exercise combines cardio, core and upper body strength... • In a standing position, keep your feet still and bend through the spine to put your hands on the floor • Walk your hands all the way forwards until you reach a press-up position • Perform a press up, then walk your hands back towards your feet until you can stand back up.

Side lunge with shoulder press

This exercise fires those glutes, legs and core... and if that wasn’t enough why not give your arms and shoulders a bit of a work out too? • Starting with dumbell weights in line with your ears, palms facing forwards, chest lifted, back straight and feet together • Step a comfortable distance out to one side (wide stance), keeping both feet facing forwards • Shift your weight through the leg you’ve stepped on, bending through the knee, keeping the trailing leg straight, • Go as deep as you can, though the hip, keeping the back straight and pause • Push the weight upwards above your head in a shoulder press action • Return to the start position

Walking plank

A traditional core exercise with a difference... • Adopt a plank position – elbows, forearms and toes on the floor (keep knees on floor to make it easier), knees and feet together, body held straight, looking at the floor • Holding your hips and trunk in line, lift one foot off the floor around a 8-12 inches, • Lower the foot under control and raise the other, repeat. For more information about Premier Training international, visit

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Four Big Lov


& how to solve


When it comes to relationships, the same issues crop up time and time again. Sex, money, sharing the domestic workload and disagreements over raising children are the biggest threats to a mutually rewarding partnership.




41 The best way to solve these problems is by talking each issue over, but laying down some basic rules of engagement will help to avoid communication disasters. The fact is, no couple, no matter how much in love, will agree on everything. If you’re watching TV, reading, always on the phone, playing computer games or surfing the Internet while your partner is trying to talk to you, then you are not communicating. So, if your partner is too busy to discuss a serious issue, arrange a date that neither of you can break. This is a time when you won’t get disturbed and will do nothing except talk to each other. If you think an argument might ensue, it may be an idea to go to a public place such as a café. And always remember, communication means listening too!

Sex - Even perfectly matched couples and those who are head-over-heels in love can be sexually incompatible. Whether it’s unequal sex drives or different sexual tastes, problems arise at some stage in the sex lives of most couples. Unless mutually agreeable, no-sex relationships nearly always fail. Experts advise that even the busiest couple should make time to have sex. Plan ahead and talk, talk, talk. If you can’t resolve your sexual problems, a sex therapist may be the only way forward. Money - The next big arguing point is usually money. Sit down the moment an issue occurs and discuss it frankly and honestly. Don’t hide income or debts. If you do, it will invariably come back to haunt your relationship in the future. There’s two of you now, not one, and if one person earns more than the other, they should be prepared to put extra into the relationship. In every relationship, both parties should have personal pocket money for their own hobbies and interests. Trust - There’s no big secret to nurturing trust. The key is to always do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a particular time, be there. If you say you’re going to do something for your partner, do it. If you say you’re going to be home at a certain time, do so, or call to say you’re running late. Home chores - Even if one of you works and one of you looks after the home, you should expect to do your fair share when you are there. It’s a good idea here to write down a list of chores and discuss which ones you don’t mind doing and which ones you hate. That way you should find some common ground. Bear in mind that some people are better at specific tasks than others. Not everyone is a great handyman (or woman) and not everyone is good with an iron, so take this into account. All these major issues can result in relationship conflicts which can only be resolved through effective communication. Be honest with yourself, as well as your partner. If you’re in the wrong, apologise, and don’t forget to say thank you to show your appreciation too. If you’ve successfully dealt with any of these issues in the past, they can crop up again as your relationship changes. So it’s an idea, from to time, to reappraise your relationship. Date nights are a great way to do and spend time together. Just make sure they don’t turn into bickering matches.

Vive la


In so many relationships - whether it’s with a spouse or friends, family or work colleagues - personal differences can become a source of friction. Different tastes in music or TV shows, different ideas about what constitutes a good night out... not to mention the potential for political or religious differences! Although opposites are supposed to attract, when you disagree about every little thing - and perhaps the big things too - it all becomes hard work. So is there a secret to getting along with someone when there’s so much potential for argument? Well, it’s a good idea to start with understanding and appreciating that everyone is different... and that’s a good thing! In a loving relationship, the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts; and that’s because of the differences, not despite them. That goes for the workplace too. Learning to work with others who have a different outlook and attitude can be difficult, but the best examples of teamwork are where different but complementary skills and knowledge can be pooled together to achieve results. Learn to accept people’s differences and be prepared to compromise, because it’s a pretty safe bet that’s how you would want to be treated. And if things do turn to conflict, always try to understand the opposite point of view. You may never agree, but by taking a step back and looking at things from another perspective, you can learn to truly value the opinions and experience of others.




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How To Make




Be positive. No one likes work all

- Anon

the time, but if you’re the one who’s always moaning, no one will like to spend time with you. Positivity is infectious and when everyone is optimistic, everyone is happy.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Celebrate. Make a big deal of co-workers special events, such as birthdays, engagements, promotions or having a baby. Organise a cake, gift or a drink after work so people feel special.

Being popular at work takes effort. However, there are some simple ways to ensure you don’t end up being the one that no one likes.


Go for surprise. You don’t need a special occasion to bring treats into the office. Sweets, biscuits, fruit and other healthy snacks will brighten everyone’s day. Be a team player. Arrange an office sports team or activity bonding session to bring colleagues together and give them something in common to talk about. Be funny. Humour is a vital part of life – even when deadlines are tight and people are under pressure. Laughter diffuses tension, but only make fun of yourself – never target others. Be nice. Resist the temptation to tell annoying colleagues exactly what you think of them. Remember, an irritating colleague could crop up again in the future at another company – or even as your boss! Do your fair share. If you don’t share the workload, don’t expect to share the love. Don’t come to work sick. You might think it shows you’re committed, but your fellow workers don’t want the germs you’re spreading around. Lead but don’t control. There’s a fine line between showing leadership and being controlling. Talking down to your colleagues certainly won’t help you gain their respect. If you’re not the boss, don’t pretend to be. Avoid touchy subjects. If you don’t know your work colleagues well, don’t broach sensitive issues with them. Leave religion, politics, dirty jokes and sexual remarks out of the workplace.

guesLike You

Be confidential. Don’t expect work colleagues to confide in you if you to talk negatively about other employees behind their backs. But you are naturally doing all of these anyway, aren’t you?




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Coco your way



So how do we choose the right chocolate? Check labels for the following;

- Deanna Troi - Star Trek

I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.

oa y to

Cocoa is credited with an impressive array of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing unwanted blood clotting, improving your mood and helping to prevent cancer – so why has chocolate acquired such a naughty-butnice reputation? Because not all chocolate is created equal. Much of the chocolate on sale is high in sugar and fat with little nutritional value.

1. Cocoa content is king Dark chocolate contains more

antioxidants and less fat and sugar than milk chocolate, so you want to go for a ‘bittersweet’ variety providing at least 50% cocoa solids - but ideally 70% and more. Some are even available containing 99% cocoa solids but are definitely an acquired taste. You can’t eat more than a small square at a time – ideal portion control!

2. Raw is more Cocoa polyphenols are delicate and heatsensitive so can be destroyed in the chocolate-making process. Raw chocolate producers do not raise the temperature of their cocoa above 42ºC to retain as many nutrients as possible. 3. Select sugarless sweetness Too much refined

sugar is harmful, but health conscious chocolate producers have found ways to naturally sweeten their products using foods like agave syrup, xylitol, coconut palm sugar, sweet freedom, stevia, lacuma powder (made from a Peruvian fruit), dried fruit and carob.

4. Friendly Fats Not all fats are bad, so look for chocolates made with the best kinds of fat. Cacao butter is a natural oil containing stearic acid (abundant in olive oil) and high levels of antioxidants. Virgin Coconut Oil may also be used in some good quality chocolates bringing its health benefits to the bar. Cheaper brands usually don’t have high quality cocoa butter and may add hydrogenated oils, extra sugar and milk solids to make it taste better.

s health




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Chocolate Pudding Pie (serves 10-12)

Sweet Freedom is a natural sweetener that tastes like sugar but has 25% fewer calories and a low glycaemic index. Made from naturally-occurring sugars found in apples, grapes and carob, it is available in two versions. Sweet Freedom Original replaces all white sugar and other sweeteners with its neutral taste, while Dark is richer in taste to replace brown sugar, honey, golden and maple syrup. Both multi-purpose syrups can be used for everything from sweetening tea, coffee and hot chocolate through to cooking, baking, drizzling or anything really! £2.99 from Waitrose, ASDA and Morrisons.

This scrumptious chocolate pudding pie looks stunning topped with summer berries and a light dusting of icing sugar.

Ingredients For the base: 80g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 60g Green & Black’s dark (70–85% cocoa solids) chocolate 225g digestive biscuits

For the filling: 180g unsalted butter 180g Green & Black’s dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces 4 medium free-range eggs 180g fairtrade dark muscovado sugar 180ml double cream


Crème fraîche, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/gas mark 4. 2. For the base, melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of

Stevia is a small green plant, native to South America, whose leaves have a delicious and refreshing taste. Extracts are up to 30 times sweeter than sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, NOW BetterStevia is an ultra-low-calorie, natural substitute for table sugar and artificial sweeteners. Just drop into food and drinks to sweeten as desired. £10.44 from Whole Foods & Amazon

barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until completely melted and combined. Crush the biscuits (you can use a blender) into fine crumbs and add to the melted mixture.

3. Butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm loose-based tin. Put the base in the tin, press it down and let it chill for half an hour in the fridge.

4. Meanwhile, for the filling, melt the butter and dark chocolate in the same way.

Put the eggs, sugar and cream in the blender and mix together. Allow the melted chocolate mixture to cool (otherwise you risk the cream curdling). Once cool, add the melted chocolate mixture to the blender and blend together again, making sure that all the sugar is mixed in.

5. Remove the base from the fridge and pour the filling over the base. Put in

the oven and cook for 45 minutes until firm. It will rise up as it cooks but, once removed, will shrink again slightly.

6. Allow to cool and serve with a generous serving of crème fraîche. This is delicious made the day before and means you can avoid last-minute panics.

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Mayan Chocolate Chilli Chicken (Serves 4) The Mayans started the tradition of combining chocolate and chilli nearly 5,000 years ago and nowadays many chefs continue to add it to give depth to meat dishes. This ‘one pot’ recipe adds chicken and some zesty flavours to the classic pair of ingredients for a super-easy and impressive stew.



2 red onions, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 organic chicken thighs

Spice up your food with Farrington’s MELLOW YELLOW Chilli Oil made with cold pressed rapeseed oil. Drizzle on pizza, pasta, salsa or salads. Suitable for high temperature cooking, too. Rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat of olive oil plus balanced levels of omegas 3, 6 and 9 plus vitamin E. £2.95 from delis.

4 organic chicken drumsticks 2 oranges, zest (1) and juice (both) 400g tin chopped tomatoes 3 fresh red chillies, finely chopped 2 tsp dried chilli flakes/2 dried kashmiri chillies 1 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp dark agave syrup/grated black jaggery

Spiced Hot Chocolate Drink

100g 70% + dark chocolate, broken into chunks ½ tsp Himalayan rock salt

(serves 2)

Bunch fresh coriander, chopped

This deliciously rich and warming hot chocolate is the autumn perfect treat. You can experiment with other spices too by adding chilli or ginger for that extra kick.



1. Warm the milk on a low heat

2 sticks cinnamon

with the cinnamon and vanilla bean extract allowing for the flavours to infuse.

2-3 drops vanilla bean extract

2. When the milk is warm add the

2 cups organic whole milk

Agave syrup/Sweet Freedom to taste Pinch grated nutmeg 4 tsp raw cacao powder

cacao powder and then sweeten gradually to taste.

3. Finally stir in the nutmeg and serve in a mug.

In a casserole dish, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil.

2. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.

3. Add the orange juice and

zest, fresh and dried chillies, coriander seeds, tomatoes, and agave syrup/jaggery. Simmer for 5 minutes then cover with the lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Remove the dish from the

oven. Stir in the chunks of chocolate. Serve the chicken with plenty of sauce and sprinkled with coriander . Can be served with brown rice, quinoa or artisan whole grain bread.


Dairy Free Raw Chocolate Ice Cream (serves 12-15 scoops)

This simple ice-cream recipe is really quick to make and even easier if you have an ice-cream maker. You can experiment with how much chocolate you like - for a less intense flavour half the amount of cacao as this recipe is quite rich.

Ingredients ½ cup raw cacao powder 2 cups almonds 1 cup Agave Syrup/Sweet Freedom


2 cups water

1. Soak almonds in warm water for 10 minutes. Remove skins and dry.

¼ tsp Himalayan rock salt

2. Add all the ingredients to a blender and process to a smooth paste.

Tip: Cashews and hazelnuts can be exchanged for almonds in the recipe for a different flavour.

3. Place in freezer. Remove and blend after 1-2 hours to break up any ice crystals. Repeat 3-4 times.

4. Remove ice-cream 10-20 minutes before serving to soften.

Guilt-Free Chocolate Cupcakes (serves 10-12) These rich, moist, divine little bites are gluten free, low GI/GL and more nutritious than your average cupcake. Almonds replace processed white flour, olive oil or coconut oil replaces butter, agave or Sweet Freedom replace sugar, all added to raw cacao powder full of antioxidants! Not-so-naughty after all!

Ingredients 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder 25g raw cacao powder


100g ground almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Place 12 medium sized

50g olive oil or coconut oil 100g Sweet Freedom Natural Syrup/ Agave Syrup 3 medium free range eggs

paper cases into a bun tin.

2. Sift the baking powder and raw cacao into a large bowl. Add the almonds and mix well.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, Sweet Freedom and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until completely combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, about halfway up each one. Tip: Coconut oil will make the buns taste of coconut which isn’t to everyone’s taste

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Recipe from



debate For


Should Fathers attend the Birth of Their Children? Sixty years ago it was almost unheard of for a father to witness the birth of his babies. Today, the opposite is true and fathers are expected to play an active and supporting role during labour. But just because it’s the norm, does that mean fathers should always watch the birth of their children?

Are you For or Against? For: Naomi I think it’s ridiculous to suggest fathers shouldn’t be involved in the labour and birth of their children. After all, they played an active part in conception so they should be there to support their partner through everything that follows. The father can be a great comfort – both physically and emotionally to a woman who is in labour. He can ensure she stays calm, provide massage to help ease discomfort and just be there to provide encouragement. Midwives are often too busy to give all the support that a woman needs during labour so the father of the child should be available to provide all the help he can. And although a woman could take her mother, sister, friend or doula into the labour ward, usually it’s her partner whom she loves and trusts the most that she wants to be with her. Being at the birth is also a great way for a father to bond with his new baby. Seeing a child come into the world is one of the greatest experiences in life and not something any father should miss. By taking an active part in the birth, fathers will find the bonding process much easier than if they are waiting outside, pacing up and down. And in future years, they will be able to tell their son or daughter about the magical moment when they saw them being born.

Against: David Although it has become accepted that a man will be by his partner’s side as she gives birth, there really is no good reason for him to be there. Men simply aren’t experts at giving birth and can’t provide the support a woman needs during labour. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the presence of a man in the delivery suite could actually be harmful to a woman giving birth. If he’s stressed and anxious, his behaviour will be picked up by the woman who will in turn become stressed, making the birthing process more difficult. It’s natural for a man to want the best for his partner so it can be distressing to watch her going through labour. He may therefore suggest medication or intervention that the woman doesn’t necessarily want or need just because he thinks it will help. This can interfere with the natural process of birth and slow things down considerably. A man’s natural instinct is to try and help when quite often all a labouring woman needs is to be left alone in peace to get on with things. I think it’s far better for a woman to be supported through birth by another woman – someone who has gone through it herself and knows the right type of support to give. This is much better than a man, who hasn’t really got a clue, trying to do his best but ultimately making things more difficult for everyone.

What do you think? Are you For or Against fathers being present? Visit to register your vote!




Dr Nerina Ramlakhan,


Shirley Scott,


Dr Tim Robinson, GP

Emily Whitehead, Nutritionist

Julia Johnson,

Relationship Counsellor and Psychotherapist

I am a 26 yr old journalist, freelancing for the past three years since finishing my degree. Over the last year or more I’ve had problems getting to sleep. I often wake round 3am then can’t get back to sleep. The strange thing is I feel really tired but as soon as I get into bed and turn the lights off I feel wide awake. I’m exhausted a lot of the time and seem to get every cold going. I’ve just split up with my boyfriend of two years who said he was fed up of me always complaining of feeling tired or saying I have to work. I love my work and I do work all hours on my laptop and often in bed. In the evenings I spend time on my laptop or on my phone catching up on research or Facebook and Twitter. My phone goes constantly throughout the day with work and social calls. I exercise at least twice a week (running or gym), try to eat healthily although I can never stomach breakfast until about 11am, and only have one cup of coffee first thing in the morning. I’ve got lots of friends and a great family but even they get fed up of me forever cancelling social plans because I’m so tired. Please help.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan says: Your pattern of sleep disruption is typical of those described in my book Tired But Wired and it seems to me that the main culprit in your case is technology and an absence of healthy boundaries. The way you work –in bed with your laptop, probably with your phone and iPad beside you, too - and the ‘wired’ feeling you describe is due to information overload, which affects a particular phase of sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep which is when you dream and process the information of the day. This means that you spend a lot of time in shallow ‘thinking’ sleep instead of getting the rich, deep sleep that is so vital for your health, wellbeing and immune system. I would advise a number of strategies for you to try: firstly, stop working in your bedroom which should be a place of rest; leave all phones, computers etc out of your bedroom. Have an ‘electronic sundown’ for the 60-90 minutes before you get into bed to allow your brain and body to wind down and switch off. Start eating breakfast within thirty minutes of getting up and include a source of protein (eg porridge topped with nuts and seeds or ground almonds, or nut butter on wholemeal toast). These measures will boost the production of melatonin

53 hormone which will help you to get to sleep more easily. If you wake during the night, AVOID checking the time as this wakes you up more fully and then you will start fretting about not sleeping. Allow yourself to rest and relax and breathe deeply from your belly. Finally, take regular breaks from technology (ideally every 90 minutes or so) to avoid information overload. Keep your alerts on silent at certain times of the day and evenings, and check your messages only at certain times during the day rather than constantly. Practice these strategies for the next 21 days and you should see a real improvement.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is a leading authority on sleep and stress. She works at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London ( and is the author of the Tired but Wired (Souvenir Press, £12.99). www.drnerina. com. Nurse Shirley Scott says: The problem with being freelance is that you never have the opportunity to switch off. If you don’t answer your ‘phone, someone else may pick up the job. This could be the time to find fixed, permanent employment which would give more structure to your week. Try to deal with your social diary in the evenings so your social and work lives are separated. You are already finding time to exercise - which is great. Banish the phone and computer from your bedroom and take a warm, scented bath before retiring to unwind and prepare yourself for sleep. As for your diet, it would be best to try and eat breakfast, even if it’s just a banana. Eat low GI foods (wholemeal bread, pasta, rice etc) which release energy throughout the day. Have lots of dark green veg such as broccoli and spinach and snack on almonds or brazil nuts. I strongly suggest you visit your GP for a blood test. You may be anaemic, either from circulating or stored iron. You also may have an underactive thyroid or, more likely, had undiagnosed glandular fever from your university days.

Shirley is a registered nurse who has raised three children.

Dr Tim Robinson says: You obviously enjoy your job but pressure and deadlines are taking their toll. When you get to bed and start turning things over in your head, try the homeopathic remedy, Phosphorus 30c at bed time. Nytol herbal- containing hops, passion flower and valerian – can be very helpful at keeping you asleep. Stress also reduces your energy levels due to continuous tension in your muscles, particularly chest, neck and shoulders. For muscular fatigue take Kali Phos 30c twice daily to help your physical tiredness. I’m glad you exercise as we know that it’s net effect it to increase your energy levels. Twice weekly is good but daily would be better! Take a 20 minute run or dust off the exercise bike! Stress impairs your immunity to infections; I’m glad you are eating well as your diet will provide you with Vitamin B and C, Zinc, Selenium as well as some Vitamin D – all necessary for effective immune function. Despite this you are still getting viral infections; to help you get over them as soon as possible take homeopathic Aconite 30c, one dose 4 hourly at the start of a cold. Recurrent infections can be further helped by having a consultation with a homeopath to treat you constitutionally, the whole person approach.

Dr Tim Robinson MB BS MRCGP DRCOG MFHom is an NHS and private GP who practices homeopathy, nutritional medicine and acupuncture in Dorset. Emily Whitehead says: Many people skip breakfast and, by mid-morning, experience a drop in their blood sugar level and feel tired. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning, helps to increase energy and mental alertness. Try slow-releasing foods which maintain your energy levels throughout the morning. If you can’t stomach food in the morning, why not try a smoothie or a vegetable juice? add some seeds for a different texture, and yoghurt for thickness. Experiment with different fruits or vegetables. This will give you that much needed energy boost without relying on caffeine first thing

in the morning. The adrenal glands produce the stress hormone, cortisol, to meet your daily ‘fight or flight’ demands. However, if you suffer too much stress the adrenal glands do not function properly. To help your energy levels and improve adrenal health, I would recommend a B-complex supplement, magnesium, vitamin C, and zinc too as these are depleted by stress. Dehydration can also cause tiredness. Make sure you drink 2 to 2.5 litres a day, depending on the climate and how much you exercise. Excess coffee can contribute to dehydration and is a natural diuretic.

Emily Whitehead is a nutritionist with a private practice in Plymouth. Her website is www. Julia Johnson says: Did anything happen a year ago that might have triggered some anxiety, or are you carrying your very stimulating days to bed with you? Have a regular time in the evening when you make a conscious decision you have finished work and it is your time; consciously say, ‘This is my time now’. Jot down everything you need to do the following day in a notebook, so you can ‘offload’ it from your mind. A good work/life balance can reduce stress and help you sleep. Draw yourself a pie chart covering the following areas career, money, health, friends/family, partner, personal growth, recreation, spiritual, creativity and environment, divided equally. Now map out how much time you actually spend on each, if they’re way out of balance your life will be out of balance. Not spending time with your partner, friends and family will shrivel those relationships; losing those important relationships will lead to stress, grief and more sleepless nights. It’s really important we aim for some balance; it will boost your work, increase creativity, enhance sleep and you’ll feel energised!

Julia Johnson is a Relationship Counsellor and Psychotherapist in Plymouth. www.

Do you need expert advice? Send your problem, in confidence, to: Problems can only be answered on the page, we are unable to answer personally. You can also visit the forums at and ask advice from other readers online.




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- Lao-Tzu

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

Ginger Could improve Asthma Asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed, leading to constriction and difficulty in breathing. Researchers from Columbia University have found that three separate compounds in ginger (6-gingerol, 8-gingerol and 6-shogaol) are able to suppress an enzyme responsible for airway constriction and asthma symptoms. When combined with beta-agonist medications, such as salbutamol, this could help to boost their effectiveness and improve relaxation and dilation of the airways. While research continues, it’s certainly worth drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements to see if these help.

Homeopathy may boost wound healing Researchers from Herminio Ometto University in Brazil have looked at the effects of two homeopathic remedies, Hypericum perforatum and Arnica Montana, and found they improve wound healing. The research, published in the journal, Homeopathy, found that when applied topically, skin wounds healed more quickly than similar wounds not treated. Interestingly, the effects were greatest when a mild electric current was also applied.

Can Yoga offer Benefits after a Stroke? Recovering from a stroke is often a slow, frustrating process as you try to regain the use of weakened limbs. But a new study has found that practising yoga can help people improve their balance after a stroke so they recover more quickly. When researchers analysed the benefits, people who took part in yoga sessions following a stroke not only showed significant improvements in their balance, they also reported a greater level of independence and improved quality of life. Find yoga sessions in your area via

Natures Super Foods Supplement Natures Super Foods Supplement contains a wonderful combination of berry extracts, bee pollen and green foods to provide you with a wide range of nutrients. Active ingredients include: Acai Berry Extract Maqui Berry Chlorella Powder Spirulina Powder Goji Berry Extract Mangosteen Maca Root Extract Wheatgrass Alfalfa Powder Barley Grass Bee Pollen Powder

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Treat your eyes to extra carrots

Shatavari shatters menstrual symptoms

The Bakewell Soap Company’s award-wining 24 Karrot Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum is an invigorating blend of macerated carrot with carrot seed and rosehip oils. Gentle on the skin, it promotes elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. For best results use as part of your bedtime routine, Apply and leave on overnight and wake up rejuvenated. £9.95 from

The strains of modern living mean life is stressful enough, but factor in monthly hormone swings and you can feel out of control. Pukka’s Shatavari Plus contains Ayurvedic herbs specially selected to regulate the menstrual cycle, treating cyclical symptoms of PMS, emotional ups and downs, menstrual pain and water retention. £15.95 for 90


capsules from Yourwellness verdict: Based on traditional Ayurvedic remedies, this includes Shatavari (a wild asparagus), Turmeric, Rose, Ashwagandha and Ginger. Yourwellness verdict: Rich in vitamins A, D and E plus Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids to encourage firmness, fade age spots and smooth rough skin.

Go overboard for these… If you’ve ever had equipment failures due to sea water, pool splashes or even rain drops, you’ll appreciate the value of OverBoard products. Designed to keep devices safe and dry, the range includes an iPhone Case (£17.49) with a transparent back so you can take crystal-clear pictures underwater. OverBoard’s waterproof Duffel Bags (from £39.99) will keep all your kit dry during boating adventures. To see the full

range of products, visit

Yourwellness verdict: The iPhone case has a slide lock system to keep out water, dust and sand, making it perfect for use by the pool, at the beach or even in the bath. iPad and iPod cases also available.


- Carl Hiaasen

My escape is to just get in a boat and disappear on the water

Active shoes for an active lifestyle KEEN’s new CNX collection features innovative, low-profile, light-weight shoes for an active lifestyle. The Tunari CNX multi-sports shoe for men, and the Haven CNX for women, offer unrivalled agility and comfort for light hiking and walking. Two-millimetre static laces guarantee a noslip secure fit, while multi-directional flex grooves on the nonmarking rubber sole provide reliable traction on a variety of terrains. £90.

… and see clearly underwater, too The stunning colours of coral are now visible to all snorkelers. After years of research, a unique watersport mask promises a whole new experience for swimmers and water sport enthusiasts with less than perfect vision. Aquaviz features a ‘snap in’ insert, containing lenses made to your prescription (including bifocals and varifocals), within comfortable, watertight goggles. Aquaviz Snow Goggles and Snorkel Mask are also available. From

£39.95 at

For stockists call 00800 2255 5336 or visit

Yourwellness verdict: A moisture wicking lining reduces friction and improves breathability, while the foam cushioning layer provides superb underfoot comfort all day long.

Yourwellness verdict: As the ‘snap in’ insert sits the same distance from eyes as regular glasses, your prescription doesn’t have to be adjusted. The goggle lenses also block 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Enjoy some good vibrations Cyclo-Therapy uses a unique, three-dimensional form of circular vibration to massage different parts of the body. The cycloidal vibration penetrates deeply, yet gently into the body to reduce pain, improve circulation and promote relaxation. Cyclo-Therapy units are incorporated into a range of furniture, including adjustable beds, chairs and a Therapy Cyclopad. For more

details visit Yourwellness verdict: Research shows Cyclo-Therapy is helpful for treating back pain, joint pains, improving breathing in respiratory patients, and to improve leg circulation and healing.

Krill Oil Krill Oil is a pure and natural source of Omega 3 with up to 48 times more antioxidant properties than standard Cod Liver Oil. Krill are tiny shrimp like crustaceans that feed on algae. Their wide ranging

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Ezigest provides a unique combination of combination of potent enzymes to help your body to burn and digest excess fats, starches and sugars from the foods that you eat not required by the body.

May also relieve heartburn and indigestion pains. Ezigest provides a soothing blend of ingredients such as Protese, Lipase, Amylase, Papain, Bromelain, Lactase, Amyglucodase and Galactase.

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Lactase Amyglucodase Galactase Rice Flour

25mg 20mg 20mg 100mg

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Can exercise increase survival after cancer? A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology looked at two thousand adults with a diagnosis of invasive, but non-metatastic colon cancer (ie which hadn’t spread) and followed their progress for 16 years. Those who exercised regularly, taking the equivalent of 150 minutes brisk walking each week, had a 42% greater chance of survival overall, than those who sat for more than six hours a day. Similar benefits have previously been found for women with breast cancer. Doctors believe that exercise reduces stress and inflammation, both of which are thought to promote cancer growth.

Regretting that tattoo? A brand new laser treatment, PicoSure PressureWave, is the most effective ever for removing unwanted tattoos. Using ultra-short pulses of energy lasting trillionths of a second, it shatters ink into tiny particles that are easily eliminated by the body. Many tattoos only need a single treatment session, while others need half the number of sessions needed with other systems such as Q-Switched laser. It even works on stubborn blue and green colours that are notoriously hard to erase. Costs from ÂŁ600.

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- Robert Brault

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.

New treatment launched for skin damage One in ten people over the age of 40 have a skin condition known as actinic keratosis (AK), rising to one in four people aged 60 or over. AK is caused by long-term sun or UV exposure and, in some cases, can progress to skin cancer. AK often appears as red, rough, sandpapery patches of skin on areas that are more frequently exposed to the sun such as the face, bald scalp, upper chest, back, hands and forearms, especially in people with fair skin. A new gel treatment, Picato (ingenol mebutate) is now available on prescription to treat AK. Applied once-daily, for two or three days, Picato is derived from the sap of an Australian plant, Euphorbia peplus, traditionally used to treat areas of sun damaged skin. For

more information about sun damage, actinic keratosis and how to check your skin, visit

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Ancient skin care techniques You may assume that skin lotions and creams are a modern luxury, but various moisturising and toning techniques can be traced back to ancient civilisations, with one noticeable difference – ancient skin care products relied entirely upon natural ingredients. No propylene glycol, methylparabens or other E numbers. The Romans’ used sauna-like bath houses where clients washed in lavender-scented water then had olive oil rubbed into their skin and scraped off, taking grime and sweat with it. Oily soaps were used in ancient Africa, neem oil moisturisers in India and rosehip seed oil to soften skin in South America. In the Middle East pomegranate juice was used to close pores and balance the skin after washing, while ancient Greeks applied juniper berry juice for the same purpose.

Qigong still going strong The Chinese discipline of qigong has been used for over 4,000 years to regulate the qi – a life force or energy that flows around the body by way of twenty channels known as meridians. Illness is believed to occur when the qi is blocked, disrupted or otherwise out of balance. Qigong aims to improve the flow of qi and boost health by aligning physical movement, breathing and mental awareness. This is achieved by slow, gentle movements while breathing rhythmically. At the same time, practitioners cultivate a calm mental state and visualise the flow of qi around their body. Still used to aid physical fitness and overall health today, qigong is also said to help with emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.

An Ancestor With A Sweet Tooth People living at least 5000 years ago suffered from the same sugar-related tooth decay as we do today. Research from the University of Zurich shows that cavemen was particularly fond of sugary foods such as honey. Roger Seiler, a dentist from the Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, has now found that the teeth of Ötzi the iceman, whose frozen remains were found in a glacier, suffered from inflammatory gum disease as well as plaque. Both conditions are linked to a diet that includes sugary and starchy foods. Says Dr Seiler, ‘The loss of the periodontium (tissue supporting the teeth) has always been a common disease, as the study of Stone Age skulls has shown.’ But at least dentists today can do more than pull out a rotten tooth. If you haven’t had a check-up in the last six months, make an appointment now!

- Paracelsus, 1493-1541

All that man needs for good health and healing can be found in nature; it is the job of science to find it.




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Praise for the naked mole rat!

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Using bacteria to treat cancer A microbe called Mycobacterium obuense, a relative of the cause of TB, is currently undergoing clinical trials for skin cancer (melanoma) and pancreatic cancer. When used together with radiotherapy, it stimulates the immune system so that patients respond better to treatment. The Mycobacteria stimulate a type of immune cell called a ‘gammadelta’ T-cell which is also capable of killing tumours. Analysis suggests that survival is better than expected in patients treated with mycobacteria. Many longterm survivors have been reported, which justifies further study. For more information and to help with

Scientists are taking a great interest in one of the weirdest looking animals in the world. Naked mole rats are intriguing because they never develop cancer, can survive levels of carbon dioxide that are lethal to humans, don’t feel pain and live for around 30 years – up to 20 times the lifespan of most rodents. These small, almost hairless beasts from Africa have similar pain skin receptors to those found in other mammals but they appear to be switched off. Finding out how these nociceptors work could lead to new treatments for arthritis and other forms of chronic pain. Scientists from New York’s University of Rochester have also identified a sugar-based polysaccharide – hyaluronan - in naked mole rat cells that stops tumours growing. Hyaluronan supplements are currently available to help reduce joint pain, but this is the first time hyaluronan has been linked with cancer protection.

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Diabetes drug could help fight Alzheimer’s Type 2 diabetes is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s dementia, possibly because problems with insulin signalling in the brain causes nerve cell damage. Scientists at the University of Ulster have now discovered an experimental drug that could help treat both conditions. The drug, labelled (Val8)GLP-1 simulates the activity of a protein called GLP-1 which, as well as helping to regulate the body’s response to glucose, also promotes the growth of new cells in the hippocampus - a part of the brain involved in memory. While there’s a long way to go before it can be used clinically, it is welcome news given that both type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s are on the increase.

- Win Borden

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