I’d say I’ve got a fairly decent diet. It’s something I always try to keep improving because I know just how important it is to, well – everything. Diet impacts most things we do from our brainpower and exercise ability to our mood and how we’re feeling. A lot of issues can be improved simply by examining your diet.
I felt the need to speak to a nutritional therapist after I had my baby girl. Pregnancy got me into some bad habits. When I was pregnant I was never like ‘oh I’m eating for two, I’m going to eat whatever crap I want’. I was always mindful of the little bean growing inside me. I wanted to make sure my unborn baby was still getting the good stuff. However, I did listen to my body, and if I felt like I needed to eat something I would. I started eating things I normally try and avoid, like bread and sugar.
After giving birth, it felt like my body was in bits. I’ve always been fit and athletic with a toned stomach, and then suddenly I had a very wobbly belly and a strange body I wasn’t used to. As well as being incredible – it’s also a really intense and testing time having a newborn. Your mood is all over the place thanks to those pesky hormones going mental following birth, you’re emotional and lacking in energy.
I knew I had to do something to help, and I felt like my diet was a good place to start – especially as due to having a C-section I couldn’t really do any exercise. Diet was the only thing I could control. So I got in touch with Jo and she helped give me some direction. I was nervous about cutting out any major foods due to the fact I was breastfeeding. I don’t want to cut something out that my little girl might be benefiting from. And I was relieved to find out that Jo was on board with this, and only suggested reducing certain things, not cutting them out completely.
How did working with a nutritionist help me?
My immune system
Before I fell pregnant I was getting coughs and colds all over the place, and it felt like my immune system was constantly low. When you are breastfeeding a baby several times a day and through the night, the last thing you want to do is get ill – because you have a little person relying on you. I also wanted to get back into exercise when I was able to, and to do this, I needed to be healthy.
Jo looked at my diet and pointed out some potential issues relating to foods that may not be benefiting my immune system. She also pointed out some foods that can help. From my food diary, she could see I was eating a lot of full fat milk and cheese. Her main advice here was to decrease (but not eliminate) my dairy intake and opt for kefir / grass-fed butter / full fat yoghurt over milk or cheese.
My mental health/stress/mood
Over the years I’ve noticed stimulants and sugary foods do not mix well with my emotions. A cup of coffee or a big slice of cake can wreak havoc with my mood and my anxiety. So I’ve worked hard to cut out caffeine and reduce my sugar consumption. Did you know what being stressed and anxious can have a huge impact on your gut? It can downregulate your gut / immune / healing systems.
Jo showed that she looks at the big picture when it comes to nutrition and recommended some breathing techniques and home yoga. She also pointed out that gluten and cheese can alter your mood to some extent. Cheese and gluten may also trigger an opioid response in the brains of some people. Here’s an article if you’re interested in reading about this. Jo recommended one type of gluten food per day max but less if possible.
I wanted suggestions as to how to keep my energy levels up whilst still eating healthily. Jo sent over some healthy snack ideas and also recommended eating more iron-based foods like liver, grass-fed beef, beans, dark leafy greens, lentils.
I’ve had a really positive experience with Jo and I couldn’t recommend her enough. Particularly at the moment, when we are all stuck at home and it’s crucial that we stay healthy. Why not get in touch with Jo to discuss a dietary plan you can follow during lockdown.
She’s also recently written a blog post about how to make meals out of store cupboard staples, which is really handy seeing as many of us are living off of tinned foods etc. I also enjoy following Jo on Instagram because she does plenty of really engaging stories with practical, handy tips and advice. Have a look at her Insta profile here.