Kick-Ass Goal Setting for 2017


It’s a new year. And with this fresh new beginning comes the possibility of so much change. Of finally doing the things we’ve been meaning to do but haven’t quite done yet.

And so we make New Year’s Resolutions lists.

With things like: 

∇ Stop smoking

∇ Eat more healthy

∇ Lose 10 kilos

∇ Exercise more

And while they might feel good in the moment, these kind of goals are pretty useless. They just set us up for failure.

But it isn’t because we suck and have no willpower. It’s because we never really learn how to set goals effectively.

My training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the approach I use, has completely changed how I set and accomplish goals. This is not a magic formula of simply visualizing something and expecting it to manifest – it is a scientifically-based approach to values-driven goal-setting.

I like to think of it as also being a more compassionate approach to goal-setting because it actually sets us up for success.

To help you set kick-ass goals for this brand new year, I am sharing a downloadable PDF that you can get here.

And until the end of January, I am offering to read your filled out worksheets and provide feedback.

Here are some ways to make your 2017 goals more kick-ass:  

1. Make sure your goal is part of something bigger that really matters to you

These are your values, your WHY for wanting to achieve a goal. For example, with a goal like ‘eat healthier’, the WHY behind it might be self-care.

If you find yourself choosing out of FOG (Fear, obligation or guilt) and not because this is something that you want to move towards, you are not giving yourself the chance to succeed. You will simply end up sabotaging yourself because you are not following your heart. Guaranteed.

Read more about decisions made through FOG here:

2. Avoid dead man’s goals

These are goals a dead person would do better than you (like stop smoking, cut out sugar) and focus on what you want to do more of instead (breathe pure air, eat more healthy fats and protein).

3. Know that any change brings up discomfort – and be willing to make room for it

This is because our old-school, conservative mind will always resist any kind of newness – even something we rationally know is good for us.

Research shows that identifying the uncomfortable emotions, thoughts and sensations that show up when you try to implement a change and knowing that this is normal and part of the whole experience of making change can help us better deal with it.

Once you’ve identified these, you need to be really honest with yourself: How willing are you to face the discomfort that will inevitably show up when making this change? 

If you are not willing to, if the discomfort is greater than how important this goal is for you, that’s OK. But it does mean that it would be better to pick a different goal because discomfort is part of the whole experience, and cannot be avoided – even if we can learn to better handle the discomfort. If the discomfort is too great, then you will end up fighting an uphill battle with yourself, so make sure you have a goal that brings with it discomfort you can realistically deal with.

4. Break down the goal into the smallest, most tangible step possible.

A step that feels almost too easy is much more likely to lead to the next small step and to encourage us to keep moving towards what matters to us.

This seems counter-intuitive because we tend to be overly optimistic about how much willpower and motivation our Future Selves have! So really try to be realistic – how likely are you to take action towards this goal on a scale of 1-10? If less than 6, break it down even further.

A really tiny step for eating more healthy can look like: Add more vegetables to at least one meal per day. That’s it. It isn’t about overhauling your eating entirely straight away. Once this is mastered, you can then move on to the next tiny step and so on.

For exercising more, it might simply look like attending a zumba class once a week. That’s it. Just start really, really small.

4. To help you during difficult moments, think in advance about how you can cheer yourself on.

Why does it matters to you to do this, what it is in the service of? You can also write this down on a post-it somewhere you can see it or have it on your phone.

For example, with the eating more healthy example:

You deserve to feel your best in your body, to really take care of yourself. 

That’s it!

Make sure you get the FREE worksheet here and try as much as possible to view this as an experiment. If a goal doesn’t work out, that OK. The WHY is probably still true for you, so simply experiment with another goal that can help you move towards this.

And above all, be kind to yourself, always and whatever happens.

Staying True to Me During the Holidays


Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. – Osho

I am definitely writing this blog post mostly for myself!

I am currently visiting my family in Amman, Jordan and while I love being here and seeing my family, I also find it challenging. Challenging to stay true to myself while also getting along with everyone. It feels like a dance between being with others while also being with myself and staying true to what matters to me.

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there with this struggle so I wanted to share a simple approach for making choices when it comes to family – and really anything in life.

It’s very simple, yet not always easy to apply.

Here it is:

Keep FOG – FEAR, OBLIGATION and GUILT – out of decisions and relationships as much as possible

Because FOG is often what drives how we make decisions and interact when it comes to family.

We might choose to spend time with family because we’re afraid of disappointing people, because of a sense of obligation or because we will feel guilty if we don’t.

Yet FOG often leaves us feeling angry and resentful and doesn’t really serve anyone in the long-term. When we choose based on FOG, we don’t really want to be there and we often end up not really being present. It also creates relationships that are built on FOG, which feel heavy and really not much fun.

So how else can we choose? Another way, and the way that I want to live, is by choosing as much as possible based on what really matters to me.

This means moving towards what matters – my values – even when this is uncomfortable, even when there is a risk of disappointing others or having to face fears, or being uncomfortable.

Imagine that you are a boat – you can spend your life just moving away from stuff you want to avoid (FOG) without any clear direction of where you are actually going – or you can actively choose where you are headed, and weather the storms along the way.

Both involve discomfort – but with choices made out of FOG this looks more like resentment in the long-term and being untrue to ourselves, whereas choices made by heading towards what matters are more about the discomfort in the short-term of disappointing people while being true to ourselves.

So for example, I could choose NOT to spend Christmas with my family – and this might mean having an uncomfortable conversation with my mother and perhaps disappointing people, but if this means being true to myself and not making choices based on FOG, then I need to be willing to allow this discomfort to be there – to choose that it is worth having in the service of my values.

I could also reframe what I see as obligations as choices I am making. For example, I could actively choose to spend Christmas with my family because being with my family really matters to me and it becomes something I am moving towards.

I find that when I actively choose to do things (or not), rather than feeling like I have no choice, it makes all the difference in how I approach the situation, in the attitude that I bring and how present I am.

Research shows that our relationship to ourselves directly influences our relationships to others. So it is only when we are being true to ourselves and making choices that are aligned with our values, rather than reacting from FOG that we can be authentic and present with others.

And I can think of no better gift to give people than for us to show up as we are, having actively chosen to be there, FOG-free.


When Gratitude is Unhelpful


I know this probably isn’t very popular to say but I believe gratitude can be unhelpful. It can also be wonderful, and yes, I know about the research from Positive Psychology about the power of gratitude.

Gratitude definitely has its place.

Yet, I find that gratitude is often used as an avoidance technique.

As a way of not contacting difficult emotions, of not fully feeling the injustice of a situation, of trying to force ourselves to accept something that actually isn’t acceptable – or isn’t digested yet.

Almost like a pretty coat of paint used to hide something we find ugly.

And if we want to live from a place of integrity, where we have our own backs and are honest with ourselves, I believe we must first:

Allow ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling. And I really mean whatever is showing up for us. 

Because it is showing up for a reason. Our emotions don’t exist to torture us but to provide valuable information.

So can we be really honest with ourselves and become really curious about:

In this moment, what am I feeling?

What thoughts are showing up?

What sensations?

What does this tell me about my needs or desires?

Does it give me information about something that isn’t working for me? About what I care about in this situation?

Being able to stay with whatever is showing up instead of trying to smother it with a layer of unheartfelt gratitude is much healthier to our psychological well-being. 

Because as humans, we are meant to experience the full spectrum of human emotions.

And we can’t force gratitude. Because as soon as we tell ourselves or other people that we ‘should’ feel grateful, it becomes an obligation, a rigid rule – not a choice.

This can sound like:

Everything happens for a reason

At least you still have xxx

You should be grateful for everything you DO have

Don’t complain, just be grateful that xxx

Please don’t say these things – either to yourself or to another person. Rarely, if ever are such statements helpful for someone going through a dark time.

Because here’s the thing. It’s OK to feel whatever you are feeling – and chances are, if you are going through a dark time, it doesn’t start with gratitude.

It looks more like:

It really sucks that my marriage didn’t work – it isn’t fair that other people seem to make theirs work. Oh…and there is a lot of sadness behind that anger…and grief…and…

It is only when you can honestly work through the difficulty of a situation, that you can allow yourself to feel the anger, the rage, the injustice, sadness or whatever else you are feeling – that maybe, just maybe, later, when it feels in alignment and not like a pretty layer of paint we are trying to use over hurt and pain that is demanding to be felt – can gratitude step in and have a space.

Don’t force it. Don’t insult gratitude by using it as pretty paint. Give it it’s rightful place by allowing it to surface in its own time.

And instead, bring in self-compassion to help you be with what is asking to be met.

Be easy, take your time. You are coming home to yourself. – Nayyirah Waheed

Stressed? This Changed My Life

Hello Stress
Hello Stress.You and I are intimately acquainted. You were my constant companion during the 8 years I worked in the fast paced, crazy advertising/communication world. You are still my companion every time I do something new.

But now I know better. I know who you are, Stress. That the generic word we use to describe you doesn’t really say anything. That you are not an emotion.

I am not saying you don’t exist. Oh, I would never deny your existence!

But I understand now that there is always a good reason you show up. And that you have a message you are trying to convey. And that while you are not an emotion, you always have emotion(s) driving you.

So now, instead of saying, “I’m so stressed!!”, I ask myself: What is really going on? What emotions can I identify BEHIND the stress?

Being able to get specific about the emotions behind stress is removes some of the overwhelm. It helps me feel I am not fighting an invisible enemy.

Some of the emotions behind stress can be:

Are changes coming too quickly? —> Fear

Are you worried about how something will work or what people will think? —> Anxiety

Are your boundaries being threatened? —> Anger

Are you unsure of what to do next? —> Confusion / Overwhelm

Are you refusing to let go of something that no longer works for you? —> Sadness

Have you suffered an irretrievable loss? —> Grief

So perhaps, next time you feel ‘stressed’, instead of saying to yourself or others ‘I’m so stressed!!’ try to pinpoint the emotion behind the stress. What’s really going on? Research shows that simply labelling an emotion we are feeling, without ‘doing’ anything about it, can help defuse some of the power it has over us.

Source: Research on labelling emotions done by UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman

An Intuitive Way of Moving: Interview with Alex Menin

A few weeks ago I participated in a class where I found myself doing movements that felt completely bizarre…and completely natural at the same time.

I loved that the 3 hour session was done barefoot and without machines. It was intense and challenging without feeling like I was pushing my body beyond its natural capacities. In fact, I discovered that my body was capable of movements I didn’t even know were possible! Hello crawling animal-like on hands and tip toes (apparently this is a more effective way of climbing up hills) or lifting 20 kilo bags (I, who have never lifted a weight in my life).

Like Intuitive Eating, MovNat or Natural Movement taps into the body’s natural wisdom and takes us back to a time when humans were moving in a way that was natural to the way our bodies were designed. We didn’t need fancy equipment or gyms – life itself was fitness. Isn’t the idea of replicating this in our modern life appealing?

Curious to know more and wanting to spread the word about this wonderful new form of exercise that just seems to make sense, I asked Alex Menin, Certified MovNat Trainer and Nutritional Therapy Consultant in Geneva, for more information.

image11. What exactly is MovNat?

It is a fitness and physical education system based on the full range of natural human movement skills. It was created by Erwan Le Corre and is based on the Methode Naturelle of Georges Hebert (beginning of the 20th century).

The movements are categorized in three domains and thirteen attitudes:

Locomotive skills: swimming, crawling, balancing, walking, running, jumping, climbing

Manipulative skills: lifting, carrying, throwing, catching

Combative skills: striking, grappling

The apparent simplicity of this categorization may be confusing – it was for me in the beginning. In reality, when these exercises are properly executed, and personalized progressions are followed, it is possible to allow an entry-level person to train in total security (read: injury free) and have fun in the process. And it can also be challenged for more experienced athletes.

2. How did you discover MovNat? What lights you up about it?

This is an interesting story, I’ll start from the beginning. Five years ago I was following the rules of the so called common wisdom, both in terms of nutrition and exercise: a calorie is a calorie, fats will make you fat, cholesterol is the enemy, you need to eat 6 times per day to keep the metabolic flame burning. And similarly: you must train with machines because they are designed to provide the optimal angle, you need to do plenty of cardio because it is good for you and you will eventually out burn dietary excesses. Despite the efforts to adhere to the program, the results were not there. So I started looking for valid alternatives with both nutrition and exercise.

I explored bodyweight training just to notice how out of shape I was. It made me realize: What is the point of lifting a quintal of iron if I can’t move myself unweighted with proper control? In short, I had been doing it wrong all this time. I did calisthenics for one year and that helped me step out of my comfort zone.

One day a friend with whom I talk a lot about fitness showed me some MovNat videos and said “Look at what these guys are doing, THAT is cool”. I had to agree – it was definitely cool although in the beginning I thought they were just a collection of gimmicks which do not really provide serious conditioning. I tried to replicate some of the exercises which looked extremely simple, and discovered they were not so easy to perform. I said to myself: I found it! And decided to get certified. It just happened overnight, like this. I fell in love with the discipline.

What lights me up about MovNat? I think it’s the most characteristic element of first and foremost honouring the foundations of movement in order to create a larger base onto which one can then build true physical competence. People lift impressive weights with poor technique – this cannot be right. The quasi-maniacal observance of proper form in MovNat is what assures constant progression – heavy weights eventually follow.

3. Who is it for? Who is it NOT for?

One of the principles is Universality. As long as one owns a human body, no matter how fit or unfit they are, they can do it.

MovNat is a great entry point for people who haven’t done any sport for years. By working on the foundations, it is possible to effectively undo the damage of a sedentary lifestyle and quickly progress by augmenting the volume, intensity and complexity of the exercises.

Very fit people or elite athletes can also greatly benefit from adding MovNat to their routine: it could be the missing stimulus to break a plateau and perform better.

4. How is it different from other forms of movement?

Well, to answer to this question I’d like to borrow a quote from a fellow coach: we all get excited when we go to the cinema to watch a movie in 3D, yet when we move we force ourselves into 2D movements. Exercise like the stationary bike, the rowing machine and even machines that are apparently more complex like the elliptical trainer may burn calories but is the movement genuine? Are they really challenging every possible shade of physical abilities that our wonderful bodies can express?

In MovNat,  we avoid isolation and we don’t allow machines to drive our movements. In the beginning it may be quite frustrating and feel like we were exercising harder before, but that isn’t true: Just because machines allow us to reach higher levels of volume or intensity, doesn’t mean we are exercising more or better. From this point of view, Movement Proficiency shares a lot with other disciplines that put the accent on complex and multi-articular movements and which fall into the category of Functional Training.

Another important element is Mindfulness. Movements are complex and although with constant practice we can automate them, a certain degree of awareness is always required. Another characteristic of MovNat, which is also another of its principles, is the concept of Environmentality: we value training outdoor whenever possible.


5. Can it only be done in the wild?

Thanks for asking – this is a common misconception and it is important to speak about it.

Moving naturally doesn’t mean that we can bring a bike to the forest and cycle while listening to music: this would still be a 2D movement. The key element of moving naturally is the human body, it is with us every moment and that is what we want to focus on.

Sure, we can train in the woods which definitely poses more challenges and that’s the reason why it should be done only once a certain level of movement proficiency had been acquired. Other nice and safer outdoor settings are a city park, a stadium, a playground, an urban environment, but one can also practice MovNat  in a gym, a yoga studio or why not in one’s living room: every morning I do a short session of mobility drills in my pyjama which helps me to wake-up.

In short, there is no need to run barefoot and shirtless under improbable weather conditions – you can do MovNat with a nice pair of shoes and a white t-shirt.

6. What does a typical session look like?

There are four phases that can be followed:

        1. Warm-up
        2. Emphases (practicing and refining techniques)
        3. Energy systems development
        4. Cool-down

Following these phases is not a strict rule. For example, on rest days I do 30 minutes of pure balancing drills and that don’t require warm-up or cool-down. This doesn’t employ much energy either, however the work done on the techniques is real and the benefits are felt the following day when I lift heavy things.

7. What results can be expected?

I can speak of my personal experience. At the risk of not being believed, I feel my joints are younger today at 42 than they were at 22. My greatest surprise was to see how the dynamic stretching drills improved my mobility. I am referring to true conditioning, not just Range of Motion.

Speaking about conditioning, strength, of course, is another benefit. When a trainee progresses in intensity and volume, more resources are requested from the body which will naturally respond by becoming stronger. However, the conditioning obtained is well balanced: since we are not working in isolation, every time we move we are adapting to the pace of our weakest link.

Agility, dexterity, stability, proprioception are also forms of conditioning and I like mentioning them together with strength. The weakest link is not necessarily a muscle, it may be a skill such as stability: It is important to exercise according to its progression and avoid poor movement patterns for the sake of lifting heavier weights.

MovNat trains real, practical movements that we find in life: lifting uneven and unwieldy objects with efficiency, balancing in non-optimal situations, climbing trees, etc. So an interesting side effect is that we start finding life physically easier!

MovNat also builds self-confidence. Some exercises are challenging from a mental point of view – for example long jumps over a moat, depth jumps from reasonable heights, etc. Another example is vaulting an obstacle – a lot of people are afraid of getting “hooked” by the obstacle with one foot and falling to the ground disgracefully.

We are brainwashed to expect the worst by signs telling us to hold the rail when climbing stairs and in the long run this makes us unaware of what we can achieve with our bodies and we feel insecure and weak. In reality, when the proper progression is respected and we train mindfully, incidents are very rare.

And since many readers might be waiting for this: What about weight loss? For sure! A physically proficient body is a harmonious and beautiful one.

8. How / where can people try it?

MovNat organises official 2-day workshops around the world which are held by Master Instructors.

Otherwise, there is a directory with the list of all MovNat Certified Trainers, you can easily locate one near to you. And the list is growing quickly.

As for me, I give one-on-one movement lessons and occasionally organise half-day workshops in the Geneva area. You can stay in touch through my Facebook page.

split jump

Waiting for Life to Begin

waiting for life
Sometimes, we wait to look or feel a certain way before allowing life to really begin.

I see this a lot with my weight loss clients.

When I lose weight I’ll put myself out there and finally live my dream.

When I lose weight, my life will be perfect.

If you are trying to lose weight, you might have a very precise idea of what your life will look like once you lose weight.

And what if you could already take steps towards the life you want to live once you lose weight – right now?

What if you already acted as if you were worthy of love and belonging – because you ARE – regardless of your size?

What if you worked on developing friendship and love today instead of waiting to look or feel a certain way?

What if instead of waiting for your life to begin once you’ve lost weight, you start making it happen, here and now?

Because acting as if you already were the person you want to be might just be the most effective way of getting there. 

PS – I share my own experience around this in this article.

This is my life, not a fairytale. I must go into the woods and I must meet the wolf or else my life will never begin. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My Top 5 Tips for Healthy Eating

5 tips for healthy eatingIt’s been almost 7 years now that I transformed my M&M’s-for-dinner ways into a much healthier way of living and eating.

The catalyst for this change was discovering I had a genetic kidney disease.

I found out about this completely by chance. I had been travelling for 6 months with my husband on a dream trip around the world when I started feeling really, really tired. Tired in a way where doing even the smallest thing seemed to take superhuman effort.

We were in China at the time and as soon as we reached Shanghai, I went to a clinic.

It turned out to be nothing more exotic than Mononucleosis but it was affecting my liver and spleen and I wasn’t having much fun anymore anyway so we cut our trip short by 2 weeks and went home to Geneva.

In Geneva, the doctors decided to re-do all the ultrasounds, and that is how, completely by chance, I was told I had hundreds of cysts on my kidneys. I barely knew what kidneys did in the body and had never heard of Polycystic Kidney Disease even though it usually runs in families.

The doctors told me to just relax and live a normal life because there wasn’t anything I could really do to prevent this disease from potentially turning into full-blown kidney failure anyway.

This didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t grasp how doctors could tell me there was nothing I could do. Because when I was honest with myself and took a long, hard look at my life, I could see plenty of things I could be doing better.

Starting by not having M&M’s for dinner. By drinking more water instead of mostly sodas and coffees. By eating more vegetables. By educating myself on nutrition and actually discovering that I wasn’t eating enough HEALTHY fats. By experimenting with adding more protein to my diet as a way of curbing my sugar addiction.

And that is how I started making changes to my diet, and even ended up studying nutrition which had never interested me before (my initial degree is in Psychology).

In this blog post, I wanted to share what I have found to be the 5 most important steps to a healthier way of eating.

1. Find your motivating force

This is the first step to making any change. Our natural human tendency is to resist change because it implies the unknown so your motivating force is what will help pull you towards the outcome you want.

What matters to you about eating more healthy? If you were already eating healthy, what would you be DOING differently in your life? What impact would this have on your life?

Acroyoga In a strange way, I now consider myself lucky to have had such a strong motivation to change. Instead of just focusing on ‘not getting sick’ as a motivation, however, I now focus on wanting to fully enjoy my body and take care of it in the best way possible. This motivating force links to vitality and being able to get the most out of life. It goes beyond food and includes movement (like Acroyoga in this photo), self-care and emotional health – all of which are just as important as what we eat.

Linking your motivating force to an overarching goal or value for your life like self-care or vitality or living more fully can be a powerful motivation when change is hard – which it will be in the beginning – guaranteed.

Oh, and make sure your motivating force does not have a “SHOULD” in it. Because, really, there is no obligation to eat healthy. There is no food police. You are the only person here whose opinion matters and if this doesn’t matter enough to you right now, that’s OK. Be honest with yourself. Maybe it means being a lot less ambitious about what you are willing to do. Or maybe it’s about linking healthy eating to something that DOES matter to you like having the energy to play with your children.

2. Be realistic and start with really tiny steps

Which brings me to the next point. The biggest obstacle I see to making healthy change is actually being waaaay too ambitious. Like, expecting to overhaul your entire diet overnight or going from a pretty unhealthy way of eating to a 100% healthy way of eating.

Guess what? This never works in the long-term. Because guess what the only thing we hate more than other people telling us what to do? Telling ourselves what to do. When we use deprivation and excessive willpower, we simply end up rebelling against ourselves in the long-term.

So a better way to go about this is to start with really tiny steps. Decide to make one new healthy recipe per week. Try adding a vegetable-based smoothie to breakfast. Drink one more glass of water every day for a week and build up over the month. Make a batch of quinoa and try using it in different recipes across the week. Just decide on one small step that feels do-able and start there. Then, once this becomes a habit, add the next most do-able step and keep building on this.

When I first started out, I decided to simply add a vegetable juice every day for the 40 days of Lent. That was it: Nothing more! Yet what happened from there was that I naturally started craving more healthy food, and began experimenting with healthier options.

And even if you start with just tiny steps, could you do yourself a favor and let go of the idea that change is linear? Change looks more like this chart – so start to embrace the up’s and down’s as simply a part of the process!

Source: BuzzFeed Life

Source: BuzzFeed Life

3. Experiment!

You know what I find fascinating about nutrition? How unscientific it is. One minute fats are bad, the next they are good. One minute coconut oil is the devil, now it is a panacea.

This used to drive me crazy. Until I realized I had a very powerful tool on hand: Curiosity and the ability to experiment and listen to my body.

Because one of the reasons nutrition is so inconclusive is that no one diet works for everyone.

So instead of only listening to external experts, experiment! Call on your curiosity and try out different ways of eating to find what works best for your body.

Experiment with times of day where it feels better to have bigger or smaller meals. With whether you need a snack or not. With different types of foods and proportions of macronutrients (fat/protein/carbs). The Breakfast Experiment

You could also start by experimenting with different breakfasts – my free online Breakfast Experiment can help you do that.

When you take on this approach you realize that you are never actually eating badly – it’s all part of the experiment called life. Now when I eat something that didn’t work for my body, I don’t beat myself up about it. I simply notice with curiosity that actually, I am better off not eating chocolate so late at night or that having too many fries doesn’t work for my body.

4. Forget perfection

When I first started making healthy changes, I got a little carried away and tried to eat ‘perfectly’. I actually became borderline orthorexic at some point – and this didn’t really work because I would then end up completely losing control and swinging to the other extreme. I call this Boot Camp vs Club Med mentality and I wrote about it here.Bootcamp-or-Club-Med

I also realized that eating healthy food does not necessarily mean having a healthy RELATIONSHIP around food. In fact, I would often eat too much in quantity of healthy food because I was feeling frustrated and deprived. So when I eased up on this and started allowing myself to eat a little less healthy, I was actually able to develop a healthier relationship to food – one that includes the occasional fries or fondue or dessert which I fully enjoy.

Remember that this is not a crash diet. It is your life. And you need to be able to keep eating healthy, which you will only be able to do if you enjoy it. So allow yourself to eat healthy food AND less healthy food. It’s all about balance. And you might notice that when the unhealthy stuff is no longer forbidden and you start really listening to your body, the less healthy stuff loses some of its allure.

5. Rely on habits and organization rather than willpower

This is probably the most important thing I wish I had known starting out.

Healthy eating is more about being organized than a matter of willpower.

When you have a headstart ingredient like a batch of quinoa or pre-chopped vegetables or cooked lentils in your fridge that you can quickly transform into a meal, eating healthy becomes the obvious choice.

This was something I learned after some trial and error and thinking that I was simply lacking in willpower. I was working at a fast-paced job and would come home quite late and didn’t have the courage to start cooking from scratch despite my best intentions. So I started putting aside an hour on Sundays to prepare some headstart ingredients for the week. I would listen to TED talks or good music and turn it into an enjoyable moment.

I have to point out that I am not a naturally organized person, but I knew that this was the only way that I would end up not just making pasta or having a ‘picnic’ dinner instead of an actual meal.

This is still the way I cook now, where I try to have at least one headstart ingredient on hand, to always have the basics in my kitchen and meals that I have frozen in my freezer. This approach truly makes it possible to eat healthy, even during busier periods.

This is the reason I created my step-by-step approach for creative meal planning as a 7 week online course, Healthy in a Hurry: I wanted to make healthy meal preparation accessible and fun by building simple habits, step by step.

Every week for 7 weeks, a new lesson will be released where you will have access to 2-3 short videos + PDFs you can download with guidelines, tips and recipes that will help you make healthy meal planning a reality. Each week’s module also has a simple worksheet you can fill out to help you plan for the week. You will also have access to all the material even after the course is finished so you can come back to it anytime. 

And there’s a free 45 minute Skype call with me plus unlimited access for any questions because accountability is key and I am committed to your success. Find out more here!

I would love to hear from you – what have you found most helpful in eating more healthy?

Weight Loss Without Dieting: 6 Tips

weight loss without dieting tipsSummer seems to bring with it an obsession with weight loss, a desire to be in a thinner, more beautiful, leaner body.

I know the feeling and I also know that diets are sad and don’t work and that most people end up gaining the weight back a few months after the diet.

So how about trying a different approach for weight loss? An approach based on pleasure and kindness instead of deprivation and restriction.

Here are six healthy ways to lose weight without dieting – they may not lead to rapid weight loss, but the weight loss tends to be more sustainable.

1. Focus on what you want to eat MORE OF instead of what’s off limit.

What do you want to include more of in your diet? Vegetables? Protein? Superfoods? More regular meal times? More exercise?

By adding healthy foods and habits instead of focusing on eliminating unhealthy ones, it is easier and more natural to create new habits as less healthy options are ‘crowded out’.

Plus, one of the reasons diets have such a spectacular fail rate is because making food off limit is the best way to become obsessed with it.

So why not identify one small habit you would like to add to your life and start there? Start small and build up.

2. Eat as early and as light as possible in the evening

One of the ways sumo wrestlers gain weight is by skipping breakfast and having a big, late dinner right before going to bed.

If this sounds like you and you are trying to lose weight, try shifting your eating schedule to eating the majority of your food earlier in the day – this could work wonders.

Eating as early and as light as possible in the evening can help you sleep better, digest food better and wake up hungrier for breakfast, when your body’s metabolism is in a better state to handle food. It also enables the liver to go into fat burning mode, a necessary state for weight loss.

3. Slow down and listen to your body

Instead of trying to limit your food, listen to your body’s hunger signals.

Our bodies have an innate wisdom and eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied can boost weight loss without depriving yourself of anything.

This is exactly the opposite of dieting where we deliberately ignore cues like hunger (by limiting food or skipping meals) and satiety (especially on ‘cheat days’ or binges – which are always the consequence of some form of restriction).

Try slowing down and really tasting and enjoying your food. You might be surprised that you actually need less than you thought! By simply being more present to your meals, you can reduce overeating by up to 30% and you will probably have less cravings, too!

4. Bring pleasure to the way you eat and the way you move

If you force yourself to exercise or eat in a way that stresses your body, you actually produce stress hormones, which signal to the body to hold onto fat and not lose weight. So overexercising or punishing yourself with forms of exercise you hate is counterproductive to losing weight.

Move in a way that makes you feel great afterwards, that celebrates your body and everything it does for you, rather than something that feels like a punishment.

Experiment to find movement you enjoy. Experiment with healthy food. Fully enjoy EVERYTHING you eat, regardless of how ‘unhealthy’ it is. There is no point in eating something ‘healthy’ you hate.

The pleasure we get from food has been shown to affect how well we metabolise food and even the nutrients we extract from it. And we can only take pleasure in something when we are present, so practise slowing down and savouring your food!

5. Be super kind to yourself

You may not be where you want to be but be honest: Has whipping yourself into shape been a sustainable solution in the past? This is your body and it deserves love and care right now – after all, does it make sense to take care of something you keep rejecting?

Treat yourself as you would a friend – if you are not able to eat or move as well as you would like, don’t make it worse by beating yourself up. Guilt or feeling bad about slipping up has been shown to lead to more eating in an effort to soothe oneself.

And remember, that there is always a good reason we do what we do, including holding on to extra weight. Be gentle with yourself as you try to uncover these reasons, and know that you were doing the best you could until now.

6. Be realistic – do you really need a ‘perfect’ body?

Finally, I want to urge you to be realistic. Are you willing to put in the effort and sacrifice needed for a perfectly toned body? If you are not, that is perfectly fine: Accept this and aim for something that feels more aligned with your body type and the effort you are willing to put in instead.

I used to criticise myself for not having a magazine perfect body, especially when I first started food coaching.

When I dropped the struggle with myself on this, I recognised that I do not value this enough to make the effort and sacrifices needed to get there. It doesn’t feel kind to myself to spend hours ‘sculpting’ my body because the outcome (a perfectly toned body) isn’t important enough for me.

Once I accepted this, I was able to put my energy into nourishing myself with vibrant food that I love and moving my body in ways I enjoy instead of beating myself up about this. At the moment, the movement I enjoy most include mostly Vinyasa yoga, but also dancing, walking, and some high intensity interval training (HIIT) when I need something more energetic. I focus on how I feel in my body and how my body supports me in doing what matters to me in life, rather than treating it as a clothes hanger that needs to look a certain way to be acceptable.

Now I would love to hear from you:

What weight loss goal feels most sustainable, realistic and kind for you? 

How much effort are you willing to put in for what result? 

How can you start with kindness towards yourself as a way of reaching your weight loss goals? 

What are your favourite non-diet weight loss tips? 

If you would like to find our more about my individual sessions around weight loss in Geneva, book a free 30 minute Skype call to find out whether my approach is right for you!


The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, here, here, here and here

Embracing Summer: Tips + My 12 Favorite Recipes

Embracing Summer

For many of us, summer is the easiest season to embrace. When the sun is out and the weather feels sparkly, everything just seems to take less effort. To feel more light-hearted and relaxed.

Make time for pleasure

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the dominant element of summer is fire. The heat of summer gives us the warmth and capacity to love and be loved, to mature and blossom. This is the time to really embrace life fully. Spend time with the people you love. Make it a priority to bring more playfulness and fun into your life. Reconnect with the carefree feeling you had as a child.

This may sound trivial but it is actually a vital part of health – so much so that it is now being referred to as ‘Vitamin P’ for ‘pleasure’. So many of us feel we have to ‘earn’ pleasure – to work hard first and then maybe if there’s some time left, allow ourselves a tiny bit of pleasure. How about starting with taking pleasure in eating? Studies have shown that actually taking pleasure in what we eat can help absorb nutrients and digest food more effectively. And yes, this applies to indulgences as well. When we allow ourselves to fully enjoy every lick of that ice-cream instead of buying into the feelings of guilt, we actually metabolize food better.

So why not try this instead of eating with guilt: Buy the best quality food you can find and afford and allow yourself to enjoy it fully, no matter how ‘healthy’ it is or not. When you allow yourself to be fully present with your food, chances are that you will actually need to eat less of it than you think. With eating as in all things in life, being fully present in the moment is the only way of feeling pleasure.

Reconnect with nature

Spend as much time outdoors as possible. Walk. Run. Jog. Bike. Rollerblade. Whatever you choose, notice the beauty all around you. Take in the energy of nature. Go into a forest or a place with trees and just be still and listen to all the sounds around you, particularly the birds tweeting (they are the original tweeters!).

Discover a new fruit, vegetable or herb

There are so many fruits and vegetables in season – now is the time to discover something new! The farmer’s markets are teaming with in-season fruits and vegetables. This is a good summary of what’s currently in season in Switzerland. In summer, many of us naturally crave raw foods to counter the summer heat. Raw foods have more active enzymes that make them more ‘alive’ so now is the perfect time to eat fruits, veggies and salads raw. It is feels natural to eat more fruits in summer than in winter, particularly cooling fruit like watermelon, melon or stone fruits like apricots or peaches.

Herbs are also in season right now. Why not try to plant a some herbs on your balcony or garden so that you always have them at hand? Otherwise, next time you go grocery shopping, buy fresh herbs and simply add them to anything – I add them to my smoothies, fresh vegetable juices, salads, as garnishing for dishes etc. Herbs not only add a more interesting flavor to dishes – they actually have great health benefits too. Did you know for example that basil boosts the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, helping to improve mood – and that coriander helps the body get rid of toxins like mercury? Or that parsley is an excellent source of vitamins C, K and A?

You could you also try growing your own sprouts, one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes – true superfoods whose power you can liberate very easily in your kitchen! Get my tutorial here.

My favorite summer recipes

Here are some of my favorite summer recipes:

Perfect for Picnicswatermelon-salad_1-662x441
Sweet Potato Hummus

Watermelon Salad

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Super Fast Dinners:

Zucchini Crust Pizza + Raw Tomato Sauce

Creamy Avocado Pesto

My New Roots’ Best Lentil Salad, Eve

Raw Desserts + Breakfasts:

The 10-Minute Revolutionary Raw Jam

Almost Like Ice-Cream Soft Serve

Raw Chocolate Pie

Raw-Chocolate-Avocado-PieBetter Than Bircher Fruity Chia Pudding


Better Than Starbucks Ice-Coffee

Fruity Fermented Kvass

What about you, how do you embrace summer? How can you add more pleasure to your life this summer?



6 Food Lessons from 6 Weeks in Dubai

I just spent six weeks in Dubai – a city I never desired to visit nor had any hope of loving. 

Yet when my husband was put on a work project here for 6 weeks, we thought it would be a unique experience to share together and I took time away from my sessions to join him.

Healthy living is a collection of small choices you make every day. Out of my normal home context, these decisions became much harder to make. And yet – sometimes letting go of good habits reminds us of why they are important to us in the first place.

So h
ere are some learnings from six weeks of eating away from home.

1. Sometimes, all you can do is your best

My eating was definitely not at the 80% is perfection I usually aim for – perhaps more 60% healthier options and 40% less healthy options. I ate a lot more dairy, white bread and sugar than I would at home and cooked a lot less than I usually do.

Rather than obsess over my less than stellar way of eating, I tried making more effort where I had more control: Home food preparation and by choosing the healthier option at restaurants – because as I have written before, there is always a healthier option. I also tried upgrading on food quality whenever possible, eating mindfully and listening to my body. These are choices that are almost always within our grasp, regardless of where or what we are eating.

Most importantly, I realized I was doing my best in the circumstances and that it was also important for me to be nourished by other aspects of life than just food – especially when being surrounded by so much newness.


2. Sugar is a slippery slope

I have written my story of being addicted to sugar and I realized in Dubai how easy it is to go back down this path. Because our stay in Dubai had a holiday feel to it and sugar is very much linked to celebration and pleasure for me, I found myself ordering a cupcake or ice-cream as a ‘treat’ a few times. After all, it felt like a special occasion every day! And while this was in no way as extreme as when I was really addicted to sugar, it made me realize how quickly bad habits can creep up on healthy ones. It also reminded me of how addictive sugar can be and that the less I eat of it, the less I crave it.

After the second cupcake two days in a row, I realized I needed to find alternative ways of doing something nice for myself so I started becoming a little more creative and found other ways of bringing pleasure to my days – since pleasure is very much linked to sugar (sugar = pleasure for the body). These included discovering a new coffee shop, taking my laptop to the beach and working from there, getting a manicure or pedicure, going to a yoga or pilates class, going swimming, simply noticing the beauty around me, watching the sunset or journaling.


3. Vegetables are the greatest losers

I find that the hardest food group to get enough of when eating out a lot is vegetables. My solution to this was to try and eat as many vegetables as possible at home and to have a fresh vegetable juice whenever I could find one or even a fresh coconut juice. I also ate more fruits than I normally would as it was an easy way to get more nutrients and it felt very natural in such a hot climate.

Still, I very much missed my almost-daily smoothie as an easy way of adding more vegetables, especially green ones, to my diet!


4. Intuitive eating is more important than just eating healthy

I tried viewing my not always so healthy eating experience as an experiment and an opportunity to be in tune with my body through intuitive eating rather than as a failure in healthy eating.

When I paid attention, I noticed that there really is a difference between living food and ‘dead’ food. My body felt more alive and vibrant after eating zucchini noodles at a raw food restaurant than it did after eating regular pasta – even though the regular pasta tasted delicious. Being attentive to how my body felt after eating something as opposed to whether it simply tasted good in the moment helped me make healthier choices, even in the face of temptation.

raw food

5. Food FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is very real

When you are on holiday or somewhere for a limited time and there is a lot of food you want to taste, there is definite FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out.

I found FOMO to be especially strong in a buffet setting where you have unlimited choice. Buffets are quite popular in Dubai and we ended up going to three of them. I ate too much at the first one and ended up feeling bad the rest of the day, so the following times, I made it a point to really listen to my body. Here are some guidelines I found helpful:

♥ Eat only what you REALLY REALLY want – not food that might be interesting but that doesn’t light you up.

♥ Have very small portions – realize you can always have more if you want.

♥ Slow down and eat mindfully – take your time and really taste the food.

♥ Listen to your body and honour your hunger signals over finishing your plate or trying everything out.

♥ Don’t fill up on things like bread or rice (unless they really light you up).

♥ Don’t eat food you can have anytime or somewhere else – eat only what feels unique and special to this buffet.


6. Eating alone can be enjoyable

I had never ordered a meal and eaten out alone and often find it more difficult to eat mindfully when I am alone. I decided to take this on as an experiment, asking myself: I wonder what it will be like to take myself out for lunch and really enjoy my food without distractions?

Even though it was uncomfortable in the beginning and difficult to keep my phone away, eating alone has now become a source of pleasure for me. I started to appreciate it as a way of connecting to myself and my food without distractions – and it also made me appreciate eating with others even more at other occasions.



PS – While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dubai, it was also a productive time for Healthwise. I finished the first draft of an Online Mindful Eating program to launch in January and updated the Healthier Christmas Cookies eBook which will be out next week – make sure you are signed-up for my newsletter to receive it. I also started blogging for the Huffington Post – read my articles here.


The Body’s Way: 5 Reasons to Dance Nia

Guest Post by Katia Mikhailova, Licensed Nia Teacher

In 2010, I realized something in my life was missing, but I couldn’t get a hold on what it was.

I stopped my usual workouts at the gym and started taking some serious Pilates classes in a small studio next to my office. Pilates training works great for me as my body craves exercise and loves discipline and physical effort. I was even considering becoming a Pilates teacher when my husband and I went to see the Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour concert in Wiesbaden, Germany in May 2011. I have a ballet background and have danced and practiced yoga most of my life and I was totally inspired by the dancers, their passion, their ability to express emotions, their incredible body control and physical presence. On the way back, I realized that, in fact, dance was what I was missing and I kept thinking of how I could bring it back into my life.

Then I remembered a ‘movement’ class called Nia that I had tried in California back in 2009. The originality, creativity and physical self-expression of the discipline had enthused me in much the same way. Once back home, I started research on how to become a Nia teacher and signed up for a Nia teacher training course two months later. The further I got into the training, the more it would become apparent that although I had a dance background, I had to let go of my schooled dance moves and let my body guide me.

In other words, I had to learn “My Body’s” way.

Today I am a certified Nia Teacher and have been leading regular weekly classes and participating in creative events since 2011.


So what is a Nia class like?

Nia consists of 52 easy, body-centered moves that draw on Dance Arts, Martial Arts and Healing Arts, like yoga. Nia’s 52 moves include various steps, stances, and foot, hand and finger techniques to name a few. These particular moves, combined with a free dance element make Nia a wholesome practice that helps to bring physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to students. A Nia class works through 7 cycles and is set to music varying from world music to rock and pop. No Nia class is the same and no Nia teacher is alike.  This is what I enjoy the most about being a Nia Teacher. I get to mix and match music and movement, which keeps me in a creative flow for hours while planning my classes and events.

The Body’s Way

One of the main principles of Nia is what is called the “Body’s Way”. Since everybody has different levels of mobility and stability, students are encouraged to pay special attention to their body in order to develop body awareness. At the same time, students need to recognize body sensations such as pleasure and pain. Before I started practicing Nia I wasn’t aware of my body the way I am now. With Nia, I have come to truly understand and love my body through discipline, healthy eating habits, exercise and rest.

I have learned to let go of my negative emotions and allow my body to thrive on joy, love and pleasure – all while dancing. I am wholly focused on helping others find their Body’s Way, and delight in seeing the glowing satisfaction of the students at the conclusion of each workout. Each class features a different emphasis, but it is ultimately up to the individual to follow, or to work with their own particular focus. My job is to guide students through the routine in a relaxed atmosphere with warmth and humor, while exhibiting the different energies found in Nia training.

What is your focus today – is it the joy of movement, forgetting an unpleasant thought or situation, or simply breaking a sweat? You are welcome to dance through it with other members of the non-judgmental Nia community. No dancing experience is necessary to dance your Body’s Way!


Here are my 5 reasons to practice Nia:


When we let our body guide us through movements, our inner ‘dialogue’ will naturally diminish. Just try to free dance at home without attaching to your thoughts and notice how your mind stops roaming and chattering.


Delight in your Nia teacher when she laughs and plays like a child, then follow her lead. Express your personal power by doing arm blocks, chops, and kicks…all while releasing negative emotions in a fun and playful way.


The playfulness of Nia helps to relax your body as you let go of your emotions. This allows you to recharge and rebalance, which in turn helps you to accomplish more in your daily tasks.


Choose your intensity level from 1 to 3, and shape your workout according to your own needs. Sense your own energy of “now” for achieving the best results. If you feel like having an athletic workout today, stick to level 2 and 3. If your focus is body awareness, use level 1 and 2. Your teacher will suggest all three levels in the class.


Have you heard of catching flies, creepy crawlers, and claw hand or spear fingers? These are Nia moves that train the small muscles in your upper extremities. I personally practice these everyday because I spend way too much time on my Mac using repetitive movements. Essential…

Nia is like chocolate – it’s hard to describe, you just have to taste it.

Learn more about Katia’s classes in Geneva on her website or about our joint smoothie and dance class here.

Next class: November 6, at 19:00  –  Kak.Alom Studio, rue de la Navigation 21 bis

Katia Mikhailova, Genève, 2012 © Annik Wetter

Confessions of an Ex-Sugar Addict + Healthy Nutella Recipe

Confessions of a sugar addictI used to be a sugar addict. I needed something sweet after almost every meal and often in the middle of the afternoon.When I was eating alone in the evening, I would have what I called a dessert meal: a big bowl of ice-cream, a pack of M&M’s or Nutella straight out of the jar instead of a real meal.

M&M’s were my favourites- as shown in this photomontage taken at the advertising agency I was working at back then. We had to pose with our favorite brand and sadly, this was mine!

The worst part is, I thought this was OK because I was ‘saving’ the calories from a normal dinner and replacing them with the sweet food of choice that evening.

When I discovered I had a genetic kidney disease and decided to change my diet, I went through phases where I completely banned sugar.

And I realised by doing this how addicted I was and how addictive sugar is.

But I couldn’t keep it up for more than a few weeks.

I realized that radically banning any form of sugar from my life wasn’t the answer for me.

It was about understanding and accepting my relationship to sugar in order to change it instead of trying to fight against it.

I realized how complex our relationship to sugar is because:

♥ Sugar is addictive – 8 times more addictive than cocaine according to Dr Mark Hyman…yet the sweet taste is an integral part of our diet and trying to deny this is like banging your head against a wall.

♥ Sugar cravings are often a sign that something is out of balance with what and how we are eating the rest of the day…yet they also have nothing to do with food and have a very strong emotional component as well.


Healthy Nutella

Healthy Nutella

This recipe is for anyone who loves Nutella and is looking to replace the store-bought kind with a much healthier version that uses only whole foods like hazelnuts and cacao powder and sweetened with a little maple syrup – an unrefined sweetener.

Hazelnuts are supposedly the main ingredient in the real Nutella but they actually account for only about 13% of the ingredients – the number 1 ingredient being sugar, followed by palm oil. I won’t go into how unhealthy store-bought Nutella is – suffice it to say that they have been sued for falsely advertising health claims when in fact, Nutella is more like a candy bar than a nutritious spread.

Meet Healthtella!

The main ingredient in Healthtella is hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are a good source of Vitamin E as well as iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. And because they are made up of 60 – 70% oil, when you whizz them in a food processor for just a minute or two, they quickly turn into a beautiful, creamy spread. To this, we add the cacao powder, melted cacao butter or coconut oil plus a little maple syrup – and voilà – you have Healthtella!


Heat your oven to 135 degrees Celsius.

Measure 1 cup or 200g hazelnuts and place on a tray in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are evenly roasted.
Remove from the oven and rub the hazelnuts between your hands to remove any loose skin.

Once they are completely cool, place them in food processor and grind them until they are liquid. This should take about 1-2 minutes and you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.

Once your hazelnut spread is ready, add the following:

25g melted cacao butter read more about cacao butter and where to buy it here OR melted extra virgin coconut oil

2-3 tbsp maple syrup + 3-4 tbsp water


4 tbsp coconut sugar

2-3 tbsp cacao

Mix everything until it is well combined and you have achieved the right taste and consistency. Store in the fridge but take it out a little before you eat it so it becomes less solid.

Healthy Nutella - collga

I would love to hear from you – what’s your relationship to sugar like? Are you a fan of Nutella?

Healthy Eating Away from Home

Eating out and still eating healthy

It is summer and between travelling and going out, there seem to be more occasions to eat out, wouldn’t you say? Healthy eating away from home doesn’t have to be complicated, unhealthy or boring though. Below are my three main guidelines for eating in restaurants or while traveling and still eating healthy, plus a few additional tips.

Guideline 1: If it is a special occasion, enjoy it and enjoy the company

If you are eating well at least 80% of the time, you have room for indulgence – especially since being with people you love and having a great time is just as important for your health as what you eat. Remember that 80% is perfection.

So if it is your birthday or a special occasion, focus on enjoyment more than on eating healthy. There is no point in having a salad and feeling frustrated. Remember that this is a way of life, not a diet.

Guideline 2: If it is not a special occasion, always make the healthiest choice possible in the context you are in

Cultivate the habit of always choosing the most healthy (or least unhealthy) choice available. Don’t let yourself off the hook just because there isn’t anything you would classify as really ‘healthy’. There is always a ‘healthier’ option and this can actually end up making a big difference in the long run, especially if you eat out a lot.

I find this is especially important in places like airports where healthy choices are quite limited. Choosing nuts or a banana over chips or a chocolate bar is often an option though!

Guideline 3: Always choose the highest quality version of a food you can find and afford

When traveling, instead of obsessing about WHAT you eat, focus instead on eating the best quality possible, regardless of whether you are eating cake or bacon or bread.

This means reading labels, choosing organic and local whenever possible and above all, food that was grown or raised in the best conditions possible. A good question to ask yourself is: If this food could tell a story, what story would it tell?

This is actually a guideline I try to stick to whenever I choose food. As Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating states, “Eating quality food is perhaps the most powerful and foolproof nutritional strategy we can choose.”

If you stick to these three basic guidelines, you should be covered for most eating out occasions. Below are a few additional tips to help out:

Stop eating when you are full

We tend to associate an empty plate with being full, but if you listen to your body’s signals, you might actually feel full before that.

Be clear with your waiter if you need to avoid certain ingredients

Tell your waiter this is a serious food allergy so that you are taken seriously. You can provide a list of ingredients you need to avoid and this can even be translated into the local language.

When I was travelling in countries like China and Japan, I asked at the first hotel we stayed in for the staff to write for me “I don’t eat meat, fish or chicken” on a paper which I kept with me and showed at restaurants where the staff didn’t speak English. This always brought a few sniggers from the staff but at least I had a meal I could eat!

Research restaurants in advance

Most restaurants have their menus posted on their website. For vegetarian or healthier options which often also cater to food allergies, try

Pick the right type of cuisine

If you are avoiding gluten and dairy for example, Asian restaurants have more choice than Italian restaurants.

Construct your custom meal

Most restaurants are more flexible than we expect. Pick a few ingredients from the menu and construct your own dish. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to an order – such as vegetables with steak instead of fries. You can always take inspiration from Meg Ryan ordering food in the movie When Harry Met Sally!

When traveling, bring some of your own food that you can snack on or eat when there aren’t a lot of options

Good choices include raw, unsalted nuts and seeds, fruit and healthier crackers.

If you need to, don’t hesitate to bring your own ingredients

For example, if you are intolerant to gluten, bring your own gluten-free crackers and have them with the hotel breakfast instead of bread.

Avoid sauces, dressings, and dips

They are usually laden with hidden sugars, unhealthy oils or preservatives. Ask for olive oil and lemon instead of dressing or ask for them on the side and add just a little instead of having a salad drowning in unhealthy sauce.

If you are eating at a friend’s or at a potluck, offer to bring something healthy that you can eat

Examples include humus with vegetable sticks, a lentil salad or my secret ingredient chocolate pie for dessert.

I would love to hear from you – how do you eat out and still eat healthy?

Coffee: Friend or Foe? + Iced Coffee Recipe (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

coffee cupAh coffee! There are few smells in this world that make me happier.

I remember waking up at my grandmother’s house in Jordan during the summers we spent there and smelling Turkish coffee. I would find her and my mother sitting in the veranda, sipping coffee and chatting. After every lunch, we had a coffee ritual where we would brew a pot of coffee, set out my grandmother’s little cups and choose something sweet to go with the coffee.

For me, there are few foods or drinks more imbued with memories and sensuality than coffee.

Which brings up this question I hear a lot: What about coffee? Is it healthy? How many cups can I drink?

My usual response to that question with any food or drink is ‘it depends…’ and it is no different with coffee.

Coffee is a great illustration of how nutritional research reveals both sides of a food or drink.

On the plus side…

Coffee has been shown to increase alertness, improve mood and energy, concentration and even athletic performance. It is also a great source of antioxidants and has even been shown to help prevent disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

On the not so sunny side…

Coffee has been shown to increase blood pressure, increases stress response in the body, spike blood sugar levels, can exacerbate gastro-intestinal problems, inhibits the absorption of nutrients, increases the risk of urinary and prostate problems in men and hormone-related problems with women such as PMS.

My own relationship to coffee:

I used to be a real coffee addict, downing 4 cups a day.

I was the typical office employee, heading to the Nespresso machine as soon as I got in, then taking a few more coffee-infused breaks during the day.

I then started noticing some hormonal issues and decided to experiment with cutting down on my coffee consumption.

I started small, simply replacing my morning coffee with a herbal tea.

Once this became a habit, I replaced another of my daily cups with a herbal tea. I actually bought a whole bunch of cool herbal teas to make this new habit more exciting.

I kept going until there were days when I no longer drank coffee in the office and kept it only for when I went to see clients (they had better coffee) or for weekends.

I also made a special condition: Drinking coffee had to be a moment of absolute pleasure – not just a habit or something I did to get a caffeine hit. I didn’t like the idea of being addicted to anything, so I wanted to turn my coffee addiction into a coffee love affair.

This was a few years ago, and I can safely say that I am no longer addicted to coffee…and I still love it. I have about one coffee a day but will sometimes go for a few days without if I am not in a context that offers great coffee. I also upgraded on quality – if you are in Geneva, the best coffee in my opinion is Boréal!

As the research above shows, coffee is neither black nor white. As always, your body is the only true authority on the subject, so why not try experimenting with reducing your coffee consumption to see how you feel? Experiment with how much coffee works for you

Moving from Coffee Addiction to a Coffee Love Affair

♥ Do not quit cold turkey. Start by reducing your intake very slowly, otherwise you can have caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. Caffeine addiction is real!

Focus on what you are replacing your coffee with instead of the coffee you are removing. This could be herbal tea or green tea (which still has caffeine but less than coffee) or even a chicory-based drink that smells and tastes quite similar to coffee.

♥ When you are tempted to have a coffee, ask yourself: Do I really feel like having a coffee right now or is it just a habit or an excuse to take a break? Try to have coffee only when it is pure pleasure.

Upgrade on quality. If you are making it at home, buy the best quality coffee you can find. You can even buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself. If you are having coffee away from home, only drink the best quality you can find.

Try to avoid overly sugary, milky coffee drinks à la Starbucks Caramel Macchiato or Frappucino. A tall soy milk Caramel Macchiato (the smallest size) which sounds harmless enough actually has 24g of sugar – the equivalent of 8 cubes of sugar! If you need your sweet coffee kick, try my recipe for iced coffee below.

♥ If you add sugar to your coffee, use real sugar, not aspartame which is even worse. Even better, try adding half a teaspoon less of sugar until you can have your coffee without sugar.

♥ It is better to avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as this stresses the body and spikes blood sugar levels. If you need your morning coffee, have breakfast first.

♥ Coffee spikes blood sugar, so in general, it is best to avoid having it on an empty stomach. The best time of day to have coffee seems to be after lunch.

♥ Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine and having coffee or even chocolate late in the afternoon can affect sleep.

Better than Starbucks Iced Coffee (dairy, soy & refined sugar-free)

2 tbsp almond butter (made only of ground almonds)

3 dl water

1-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (depending on how sweet you like it)

1 cup coffee – brewed, then left to cool in a bowl

Combine the almond butter and water in a blender and blend until smooth. This is actually a lazy version of almond milk which is better than store-bought almond milk as it has no additives. You can also use 3 dl almond milk instead – I use this recipe to make my own.

Add the coffee and maple syrup or honey. Serve in a glass with ice cubes.

Store leftovers in a jar in the fridge.

I would love to hear from you – what’s your relationship to coffee like? Would you like to make any changes?

Iced Coffee_Final



Zwyghuizen-Doorenbos A, Roehrs TA, Lipschutz L, Timms V, Roth T. Effects of caffeine on alertness. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1990;100(1):36-9.

Merideth A. Addicott and Paul J. Laurienti. A comparison of the effects of caffeine following abstinence and normal caffeine use. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 December 1

“Caffeine – How much is too much?.” MayoClinic. N.p., 3 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine – How much is too much?.” Rice University. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Jennifer, Warner. “Caffeine may ease workout pain and soreness.” WebMD. N.p., 17 Jan 2007. Web. 22 Dec 2011. <>

Boyles, Salynn. “Is Caffeine bad for your heart?.” WebMD. N.p., 01 Aug 2002. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine’s Effects are Long-Lasting and Compound Stress.” DukeHealth. Duke University Health Systems, 03 Nov 2004. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Kassem, Noreen. “Emotional effects of caffeine.” Livestrong. N.p., 24 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Collazo-Clavell, Maria. “Caffeine: Does it affect blood sugar?.” MayoClinic. N.p., 03 Feb 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

McLaughlin, August. “Caffeine and Gastrointestinal Problems.” Livestrong. N.p., 13 Jun 2011. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Coffee and Prostate Health: Is it Bad for You?.” Web BPH. N.p., 02 Mar 2011. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

“Caffeine & Women’s Health.” Food Insight. N.p., 15 Oct 2009. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

MacDougall, Caroline. “Caffeine, Stress & Aging.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

Doyle, Marek. “Caffeine, Stress & Aging.” N.p., 3 Nov 2010. Web. 22 Dec 2011.

A Holistic Approach to Healing PMS Naturally

I teamed up with Carolina Rodriguez Barros from Dare to Glow to take a more holistic view on PMS or Premenstrual Symptoms.

This is an important subject because about 85% of women experience some form of PMS and actually consider it normal to have to suffer every time they get their period.

Pain-free periods can become a reality by taking a holistic view of this time of month, examining the emotional and spiritual aspects linked to embracing your cycle as well as changes you can make to your relationship to your body and what you eat.


You don’t need to eat a perfect diet – try instead to aim for at least 80% healthy foods and fully enjoy the 20% of less healthy foods you allow yourself. Here are some ways to work up to that 80%!


Eating enough of the right fats while avoiding harmful fats is essential to hormonal balance.

Increase good fats such as avocados, olive oil, raw & unsalted nuts and seeds, flaxseed oil, coconut products and oily fish such as salmon and sardines.

Eat the best quality animal products you can find and afford: For example, make sure your beef was grass-fed and your eggs come from chicken who live outside and eat their natural diet.

Fats to avoid or reduce as much as possible include trans fats or processed hydrogenated vegetable oils found in deep-fried foods, processed and take away food, margarine and pre-packaged cakes and cookies with long shelf lives. Use real butter instead of margarine!

And no, fats don’t make you fat – at least not the right ones.


This includes refined carbohydrates (white flour & white sugar), soda (including diet sodas) and refined sugars. Get your sugar from natural sources like fruit and when you need something sweet, opt for natural sweeteners like dates, maple syrup or honey.


Change your regular table salt to unrefined salt which is full of beneficial minerals and should be a little grey or pink in color rather than white.


Magnesium and iron reduce headaches and increase energy levels.

Foods rich in both include green leafy vegetables, beetroot, legumes, nuts, seeds, seafood and pastured red meat.

Magnesium is known as a natural relaxant and can be found in cacao/dark chocolate -one of the reasons women crave chocolate before their periods! Try to choose chocolate that is at least 70% cacao or make your own recipes using raw cacao.


Caffeine is strongly linked to painful, lumpy breasts. Often, coffee is just a habit or a pretext to take a break and replacing it with another habit, like a herbal tea, can be very effective.


Drinking too much alcohol depletes your body of B vitamins and magnesium which makes you more prone to depression. Try to make alcohol an occasional treat only and when you are out, drink a glass of water between each glass of alcohol to pace yourself.


Having a healthy digestion ensures hormones are eliminated from the body. You should be having a bowel movement 1-3 times a day.

If things are sluggish, try increasing foods high in fiber such as whole grains (millet, quinoa, brown rice), chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds, fruits and vegetables.


For some women, reducing dairy, especially in the 2 weeks before their period, can be very helpful in managing symptoms of PMS. When it comes to choosing dairy, always make sure you eat organic, full-fat dairy and avoid fruit yoghurt which is filled with sugar. Add your own fruit to natural yoghurt instead.

Discover delicious milk alternatives such as almond milk, rice milk, quinoa or oat milk which can be found in the non-refrigerated milk section of most supermarkets now. Be careful not to replace dairy with too many soy products like soy milk or tofu though. Unfermented forms of soy tend to be highly processed and mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, leading to hormonal imbalance.

You can discover delicious dairy alternatives at my upcoming workshop in Geneva.

Photo: ©Dare to Glow by Undine Groeger

Photo: ©Dare to Glow by Undine Groeger


Many women actually reject the menstrual cycle they experience every month.

They may feel ashamed, sick, tired and because they hate having their period, they try to avoid any symptom that comes with menstruation. This attitude is often passed down across many generations, and talking about menstruation is a taboo within the family and society in general.

Yet these painful memories, negative thoughts and emotions simply reinforce the physical pain that a woman is experiencing every month.

Additionally, living and working in a society that expects women to be emotionally and mentally consistent all month subtly forces women to adapt to these expectations.

Yet on a biological and physical level, women change every day and resisting these natural fluctuations in our cycle by trying to adapt to societal expectations of stability leads to emotional and mentally exhaustion which merely increases physical pain.

One of the practices of the Self-Actualized Woman involves embracing her womb and cyclical nature to better live up to her potential every month, every day.

Practice : A simple visualization to ease the PMS is the base of the Self Actualized Woman’s practice – get it here.


Many women who experience PMS tend to ignore the bodily experience of the cycle and its signs of heaviness, tiredness, low blood pressure, irritability. They force themselves to  push through these sensations and keep going as usual.

By doing this, they forget that their bodies are cyclical in nature and beautifully adapted to accommodate the bleeding phase of our cycle. In the days leading up to this time and during menstruation, a woman’s womb can almost double in size, expanding from the size of a fist to a fist and a half or more. With these physical changes, it makes sense that the body becomes “bloated” and the abdomen area expands.

Due to the flat stomach obsession in our culture, many women reject and hate their stomach even more during this time, blaming themselves when normal clothes do not fit or become uncomfortable.

Instead of cursing your less-than-flat stomach, consider that your body is merely asking you to slow down and listen, preparing you to withdraw from demanding physical activities and sport.

By honoring your body’s needs and giving it the rest it needs during this time, you will be able to reduce PMS.

The aim of any physical activity during this phase of the cycle is to create the best possible environment for nature to follow its course and bring into balance any disturbances, mental or physical, which may occur in the days before or during menstruation.

For example, the following poses work against the nature of menstruation: Inverted postures, backbends, closed twists and strong abdominal contractions.

Practice: Discover Body Work that reduces PMS get it here.

So where do you start with all these suggestions? Start with whichever point speaks to you most and take it from there, making one small change at a time.

Carolina_Contact_2014This blog post was co-written with Carolina Rodriguez Barros. She founded Dare to Glow in 2009 and now devotes her time to guiding dynamic professional women, helping them tap into their inner source of power, purpose and possibilities.

If you are trying to deal with PMS, these programs might be particularly interesting:

Womb Healing: Awakening to a conscious femininity through liberating old womb memories – find out more here.

Embrace Your Cyclic Nature: The Self Actualized Woman cycle starts again in July in Geneva, read more here.


Intuitive Eating: Life lessons from 85 year old Lydia

lydia2Lydia is my adopted Swiss-German aunt, someone I have had the pleasure of knowing all of my life.

At 85, she embodies the very notion of living in harmony with her body and spirit. She finds simple pleasures in life in a way few people are able to. When it comes to food, she is naturally attuned to her body in a way that I believe is possible for all of us to learn. I find that she is a wonderful example of intuitive eating.

For this reason, I wanted to share a little of Lydia’s philosophy in an interview I did with her in Bern on how she eats and lives.

How would you describe your relationship to food?

When I eat, I am directed by things I like to eat because they make me feel good and happy. It’s that simple. If something is very healthy but I dislike it, I don’t eat it. And if something is unhealthy but makes me happy on some level, I try to eat it in moderation because I know that if I eat too much of it, I will feel bad.

I also think it is important to eat what is healthy without being a fanatic. If I am invited somewhere, I will mostly eat what is served, except certain meats. It’s important to stay realistic.

What eating guidelines do you live by?

I try to eat a great variety of food and the best quality possible. I eat lots of vegetables, whole grain cereals, fruits and nuts every day – I find that walnuts and almonds are especially good for me!

I try to eat very lightly in the evening, just soup or bouillon or yoghurt as I find that this is what works best for me.

Do you have any weaknesses when it comes to food?

I love sweet things! I try not to exaggerate though. I often have a cup of black or green tea after lunch with good quality dark chocolate. I often buy the best quality chocolate from a confiserie – one for each day of the week.  On the weekend, I take great pleasure in buying a piece of quality cake which I fully enjoy.

Do you enjoy cooking?

I am not a great cook, I must say. I like to cook, but it is done in a very simple way. I don’t like to spend so much time in the kitchen.

How do you eat your meals when you are alone?

I take great pleasure in eating and I make sure I don’t have any distractions like TV when I eat. Sometimes I will call my sister to tell her I ate something fantastic, just to ‘share’ the meal with someone though!

What is the link between what you eat and how you feel?

Body and spirit go together. We need to eat a balanced diet, because otherwise, how can our spirit be balanced? You also don’t love yourself if you are harming yourself with too much food.

Food is a wonderful part of life but it isn’t my priority. Spirituality, work that gives satisfaction, people I love and who love me back, being joyful – these are all very important for me.

So where do you find joy?

Everywhere! You have to walk through life with open eyes and look for little things that bring you joy.

And be grateful. People who give thanks for what they have are more joyful.


Things that give me joy:

Having hope for the future. Having a key to my home – a cosy flat I love. Meeting with people at church. Talking to my family and friends. The 93 year old lady I help with her grocery shopping. Going to the market every week and buying fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating good food every day. Reading. Singing. Walking in nature. Feeding the birds in the winter. Playing the piano or guitar every day. Praying as soon as I wake up and being thankful for sleep, life and a new day. My patchwork group which has allowed me to feel productive since retiring. Being able to give to others.

We should also not forget to laugh, even at ourselves. I laugh even when I am by myself and I break something. Nothing is too serious.

Without joy life is too sad to live!

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Boost immunity

Just because it’s getting colder and your co-workers are sniffling does not mean you have to be the next victim.

Here are some natural ways to keep colds and flus at bay this season.

Meet the allium family

Vegetables from the allium family – onion, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, spring onion – are amazing for boosting your immune system. Garlic in particular has been shown to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So add these wonderfully pungent vegetables to your soups, stews, sauces and salads! Try my immune boosting stir-fry using these vegetables.

Get your selenium on

Selenium is one of the most underrated minerals to help boost immunity, yet research shows that it helps the body fight everything, from cancerous cells to the common cold. The easiest and most delicious way to get enough selenium? Eat 1-2 Brazil nuts every day.

Include zinc-rich foods

Zinc helps keep the immune system functioning properly and can shorten the duration of a cold. Make sure you include zinc-rich foods in your meals such as lamb, beef, oysters, almonds, sesame seeds/tahini, pumpkin seeds, oats, turkey, green peas, pine nuts, spinach, beans and raw cacao.

Eat more mushrooms

Mushrooms like shiitake can really give your immune system a boost. Add them to soups, stir-fry’s, sauces or as a side with eggs.

Vitamin C

You’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t you? Did you know that studies are showing that it is actually more effective to get Vitamin C through food than as a supplement and that it is only effective as part of a healthy diet? So there really is no point in eating junk, then taking a Vitamin C supplement…

In season food sources of Vitamin C include: 

♦ Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit

♦ Kiwi

♦ Brussel sprouts

♦ Parsley

♦ Kale

♦ Cauliflower

♦ Fennel

♦ Romaine lettuce

♦ Squash

♦ Swiss Chard

Eat less sugar, especially refined sugar

Sugar actually decreases the ability of infection-fighting white blood cells to fend off harmful bacteria and viruses. Sugar is addictive, so the less you eat, the less you will crave it.

Listen to your body’s need to rest

It’s always important to listen to your body, but especially so when you need to fend off a nasty virus. Honor your body’s need for rest and sleep – most people actually need more down time in the colder, darker months. Say ‘no’ to activities when you feel the need to.

Commit to stressing less

We don’t necessarily associate stress with catching a cold or the flu, but stress actually lowers our immunity, making us more susceptible to catch what’s going around. Take a good look at your life and think of what activities you could say ‘yes’ to more often and what you could say ‘no’ to more.

Make friends with ginger

According to Ayurvedic traditions, ginger helps to cleanse the lymphatic system, which is our body’s sewage system. Adding ginger to meals, smoothies or even drinking it may help prevent the accumulation of the toxins that increase your risk of getting sick.

Here is my recipe for ginger tea, which I make whenever I feel I might be coming down with something.

Ginger Tea

Grate about 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger in 1 cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Cover to allow the ginger to steep, then add some fresh lemon and a little honey. Drink up to 4 cups daily.

And if you do get sick despite your best efforts, my mother’s lentil soup will surely help you feel better!

I would love to hear from you – how do YOU stay healthy in the colder months?



here, here, here and here

Why am I so attractive…to mosquitos?

dragon fly

My husband calls me his favorite mosquito-repellant. As in, when I’m there, he doesn’t need to do anything to keep the mosquitos away because they all prefer me.

So I thought I would look into what actually makes some of us more naturally attractive to mosquitos than others?

Apparently 20% of us are consistently mosquitos’ first pick – here are the most common traits:

♦ Blood Type O’s are most likely to be picked – twice more likely than Blood Type A’s

♦ People who breath out more carbon dioxide because they are doing sport, breath more deeply or due to their bigger size (children are less at risk of mosquito bites than adults because of this)

♦ People with higher body temperature or who sweat more

♦ Beer drinkers become more attractive

♦ Dark colored clothes allows them to spot you more easily

♦ Being pregnant doubles your risk

♦ Wearing perfume, especially floral ones makes you more attractive


On a side note, did you know that only female mosquitos bite?

(I know that the photo is a dragon fly and not a mosquito – I just thought it was prettier!)


Sources: here, here and here

Working with your body’s natural rhythm

RhythmnAlignment with the rhythms of life brings our metabolism into its fullest force.

– Marc David

When it comes to eating, have you ever considered timing? With food, as with so many things in life, timing IS everything. Well maybe not everything, but it can be a simple way to help with weight loss, better digestion and increased energy levels.

So what exactly is timing when it comes to food?

Timing related to food means tapping into your body’s natural metabolic state or body temperature at various moments of the day to help processes such as digestion and burning fat.

Of course, each person is unique and every body will react differently, but here are some general guidelines.


As soon as you wake up, your body temperature begins to rise – your metabolism is gearing up for the day. Eating in the morning actually increases your metabolic rate, enabling you lose weight more easily. Food is like adding wood to a furnace – it makes it burn more efficiently.

As a general rule, the hotter the season or climate, the less people tend to eat for breakfast – you may have noticed this to be the case for you and this is fine if you feel it works for you.

If you have dinner about 3 hours before going to bed, and try to leave 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, you are giving your body the optimum time it needs to burn fat. If you wake up in the morning feeling sluggish and not hungry, try eating less and earlier at dinner.


Body temperature is at its highest when the sun is highest in the sky. Between 12 and 13:30 is your peak metabolic time, which is why it makes sense for lunch to be the biggest meal of the day as it is in many traditional cultures.


Between 14:00 and 17:00, your body is busy digesting lunch and energy levels tend to drop. The natural rhythm of the body is to slow down during this period. You may have noticed that you have less energy after lunch – it might even be your least productive time of day.

Late Afternoon:

Between around 16:00 and 18:00, your body temperature starts rising again and energy levels pick up. If you know you are unable to have dinner until much later, have a small snack with healthy fats and protein so that you have a smaller dinner later in the evening.


This is when our bodies start slowing down in preparation for sleep and our metabolism is actually at its lowest.

It therefore makes sense to eat dinner as early and as light as possible. This will actually help you sleep better and wake up hungrier for breakfast, when your body’s metabolism is in a better state to handle food. It also enables the liver to go into fat burning mode, an crucial state for weight loss.

An interesting side note…

One of the ways sumo wrestlers gain weight is by skipping breakfast and having a big, late dinner right before going to bed. If this sounds like you and you are trying to lose weight, try simply shifting your eating schedule – this could work wonders.

Give it a try

Do you recognize yourself in any of this? If you often find yourself in sumo wrestler mode – skipping breakfast and eating a large dinner late at night, why not try shuffling your food around for a week and see how you feel?


The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy and Weight Loss by Marc David

Hay fever : 7 natural tips

hay fever

After the delay of Spring, sniffling and sneezing season now seems to have started with a vengeance.

You don’t have to suffer stoically though – there are actually a few simple things you can do to manage symptoms of hay fever.


1. Reduce cow’s milk dairy products as much as possible, including milk, cheese and ice-cream. Dairy has actually been shown to increase mucus in some people. Sheep and goat’s milk products are better tolerated and butter in small quantities is usually OK too.

Alternatives: Almond, quinoa, oat or rice milk to replace milk, sheep and  goat cheese to replace cheese and yoghurt.

2. Try to eat as clean a diet as possible, reducing sugar, white flour products and artificial ingredients and eating more vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables.


3. Foods rich in quercetin,  Vitamin C and bromelain which act as natural anti-histamines to help manage symptoms of hay fever.

Sources: Citrus fruits, garlic, pineapple (the core is a good source of bromelain), apples (unpeeled), broccoli, onions, grapes, berries, cherries, capers, tea.

4. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods to help reduce the inflammation brought on by allergic reactions.

Sources: Wild salmon, flaxseeds (always eat them freshly ground), chia seeds, walnuts or a good quality fish oil supplement.

5. Nettle infusion or capsules – this has been shown to help reduce symptoms of hay fever.

6. Probiotics – the gut is being increasingly linked to allergies of all types, so taking a good probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods can make a difference.


7. Eliminating toxins in the body has been shown to help decrease allergy symptoms. You could try colon hydrotherapy or a juice fast/detox to help eliminate toxins. Eating a clean diet will also make the detox more effective.

I would love to hear about your experience with hay fever – have any of these tips worked for you? Is there anything else you have found beneficial?