Jennifer Hanway

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Cranberry, Pumpkin Seed and Coconut Dark Chocolate Bark

In my opinion, dark chocolate should be a vegetable and can absolutely be counted as one of your nine a day!

But seriously, organic dark chocolate (85% or above) is an amazing source of antioxidants and is super high in magnesium, the much-needed mineral that is used in over 300 metabolic processes in the body, especially those involved with stress management. That's why you feel so great after eating a square (or three)...

Cranberry, Pumpkin Seed and Coconut Dark Chocolate Bark

  • 4 x 3.5oz Bars of Green and Blacks Organic Dark 85% 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut 
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil 

Break chocolate into chunks and melt slowly in a double boiler. Whilst the chocolate is melting very lightly grease a sheet of baking paper with the coconut oil. 

Pour the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, cranberries and coconut. Place gently in the refrigerator, and chill for about 2 hours or until set. 

Looking for more healthy recipes? You will love my Healthy Plant-Based Eggnog! 


Anti Inflammatory Patty with Brussel Sprouts and Avocado Crema

I love recipes that are suitable for all health goals and diets, and this delicious and so easy to make patty fits the bill as it is suitable for plant-based, paleo, primal, vegan and low carb diets alike! 

For the patty

  • 6oz cooked wild salmon or 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients (can use a food processor), shape into patties (approx. 4 palm-sized), and leave to set in the fridge. 

Once firm, cook for 5-7 minutes on each side in coconut oil until golden and crispy.

For the brussel sprouts

Chiffonade fresh brussel sprouts (or any leafy green) and sautee in coconut oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

For the avocado crema

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt 

Place the patty on top of the greens and top with the avocado crema! 

My Top Ten Tips for Reducing Inflammation

1) Reduce consumption of processed foods (packaged goods, items with more than 5 ingredients)
2) Reduce consumption of high carbohydrate / low nutrient value foods (sugar in all forms, pasta, bread, white rice)
3) Eat more veggies, especially leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and chard. My PRIME Principles recommend 8-9 servings a day
4) Eat more good fats such as avocado and salmon
6) Eliminate vegetable and seed oils such as canola, sunflower, and safflower
7) Take a fish oil or algae supplement (order from The Poliquin Group - click here for link)
Improve gut health by taking a probiotic, collagen powder and eating fermented foods
8) Exercise and move your body daily, but not to the point of pain and soreness
9) Manage stress regularly throughout the day
10) Ensure 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night (My Sleep Sessions result in optimum sleep after just one 60 sessions).


Healthy Plant Based Eggnog

Okay, I'll be honest, I've actually never tried traditional Eggnog. It's not really part of British Holiday traditions, and the combination of dairy, sugar and alcohol doesn't appeal to me at all!

My version is a much healthier blend of almonds, cashews and coconut, and the richness of these ingredients combined with a heavy hit of holiday spices means it doesn't even need any sweeteners.

Its such a versatile recipe, you can serve it warm or chilled or even add a scoop of protein to turn it into a Superfood Smoothie and enjoy Eggnog for breakfast!

* 2 cups almond milk
* ½ cup full fat coconut milk
* 1/4 soaked cashews
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Want more tips on staying healthy, energized and balanced over the holiday period? Check out this article over on the blog!

Finding Balance over the Holiday Period

‘Tis the season to be jolly! However, socialising, stress and being out of our usual routine can take its toll on both body and mind. Read on for coping strategies for the holiday period, all those wonderful parties, and how to stay healthy and happy throughout.

Leading up to the big day

Control the controllables! The month of December can feel like a whirlwind of shopping and socialising. By staying mindful of your exercise regime, nutrition, rest and lifestyle you can minimise the damage and stay glowing for the holiday period.

Nutrition: At this time of year temptation is around every corner, but by making smart choices you can indulge without damaging your health and waistline.

Control what you can – by keeping the meals you prepare yourself super clean (lots of lean protein, green vegetables, good fats) you can limit the damage done when eating out and at parties, where good choices may not be that abundant (see below for more advice on eating at parties). By keeping your blood sugar levels steady through eating a combination of lean proteins, good carbohydrates (green vegetables) and good fats you are less likely to give in to temptation.

Be prepared! Make sure you are stocked up at home with the above good choices and include healthy snacks such as nuts and seaweed. Turn to hearty soups and stews instead of comfort foods to make you feel warm and satisfied.

Drink a lot of water! Alcohol, central heating, salty food and lack of sleep can all cause dehydration at this time of year, which can lead to tiredness, bloating, lacklustre skin and make you hold on to body fat. Use an aluminium or BPA free water body to keep you hydrated on the go.

Be mindful! Be aware of what and how much you are eating. Consider keeping a food diary to keep you accountable. Choose your treats wisely, and make them count. Do you really need a hot chocolate and a mince pie? Often just choosing one sweet treat is enough to satisfy you.

Exercise: Endeavour to continue with your exercise regime – if you feel your calorie count is increasing over this period consider adding one more session a week. You could even book in a personal training session with a personal trainer to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts.

If weather or travel means you cannot make your usual workout then consider one of the many online workouts now available – from Barre to Zumba there is no reason to not workout! And don’t dismiss the benefits of a brisk walk in the crisp sunshine (increasing Vitamin D levels and lowering stress).

Short for time? Try a 15-minute circuit of press ups, planks, triceps dips and curl for an effective, fat-burning full body work out.

Lifestyle: This time of year can see us burning the candle at both ends, and this tiredness can lead to stress, weight gain, cause us to make poor food choices and rob us of energy to work out.

Rather than meeting for drinks in the evenings find different ways to catch up with your loved ones; take a class together, catch a feel-good Christmas movie, or go for a brisk walk in the winter sunshine

Ideally, at this time of year, we need nine and a half hours sleep! If this seems like an impossibility then aim to get to bed 30 minutes earlier, and remember that sleep before midnight is of better quality then after midnight.

Keep good sleep habits to ensure every minute counts  - don’t take your phone, tablet or laptop to bed, make sure your room is dark and quiet and consider taking a natural sleep aid such as magnesium if you have trouble with quality sleep.

Look after yourself to enable you to look after your loved ones – consider taking time out for meditation or a relaxing massage to de-stress, look and feel great, and re-charge your batteries at this hectic time of year.

Surviving the Christmas Parties!

Exercise before you go out! Just ten minutes of exercise can raise the metabolism, improve posture, lift and tone muscles and make you glow! Many of my celebrit clients train just before they hit the red carpet to ensure they look their best. Exercising before you hit the party scene can also help you make smart food and drink choices as you are less likely to undo all your hard work.

Eat before you go. A meal of lean protein, good fats and green vegetables will keep blood sugar levels stable, and decrease hunger, again helping you make smart choices. Be fashionably late, or pre-book a taxi for before the night ends so you are not faced with temptation all night.

Choose your drinks wisely. Clear spirits such as vodka and gin have fewer toxins and are less likely to cause a hangover. Red wine contains anti-oxidants and Spanish and Sardinian red wines can help to lower your estrogen levels. Make every second or third drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Canapes can contain a surprising amount of bad calories and saturated fat. Choose protein based canapés, and fill up on crudités. A great trick is to carry a clutch bag – this means you only have one hand to hold a drink OR a canapé!

And lastly, but most importantly, have fun and relax! Take the time to re-connect with friends, laugh, sing, dance and party! 

There are 2 chances to get your balance back with me in the next coming weeks! Join me for the last Superfood Society Brunch on 12/30 where I will be leading you through the Sweat Session, my 60-minute blend of strength training, HIIT, barre and core, followed by a DIY Oats Bar and Q+A session. 

OR start the new year the right way with the return of Sweat and Superfoods on 1/1 as I lead you through a 30-minute lifting technique class and a 60-minute full body workout, followed by Superfood Smoothies and a discussion on the benefits of weightlifting for women. 

To grab your tickets for both these events head to:

I can't wait to see you there! 


Hormonal Health: for Women in Your 20's, 30's, 40's and Beyond, An Introduction

I suggest to all my female clients to consider hormone balance as a key aspect of health from their early 20’s, right through to their mid 50’s. Hormone balance is important for everyone, but especially for women as their bodies may go through huge hormone shifts in these decades, such as pregnancy in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, and pre-menopause (starting from your mid 30’s), peri-menopause and menopause in their early 50’s.

We are also subject to so many more hormonal stressors in today’s modern society, such as environmental toxins, electrical stressors, poor quality food, medications, and inactivity, that we need to be pro-active in our approach to a healthy endocrine system.

I urge female clients to have considered their hormonal health years (not months) before they wish to start a family, or before menopause starts. I have just turned 37 and am really focusing on stabilizing my cortisol and insulin, and managing my estrogen, so I can sail through menopause!

Hormone imbalances can cause:  

  • weight gain or weight loss
  • low energy and fatigue
  • disrupted sleep
  • lowered immune system
  • irregular or painful menstrual cycles
  •  fertility challenges
  •  poor skin, hair, and nails
  • lack of focus and concentration
  • low libido
  • mood swings
  • storage of excess body fat

Factors affecting hormone balance include: 

  • diet
  • lifestyle (e.g. stress, not getting enough sleep)
  • environmental toxins
  • gut health
  • genetics 
  • age
  • exercise
  • supplements

A part of the Endocrine System that we don’t always take into consideration are our fat cells. It wasn’t until quite recently that fat cells were thought to be benign, but we now know they are hormone-producing factories, producing hormones involved with sexual and reproductive function, inflammation regulation, blood clotting, blood pressure, insulting and blood glucose, and energy production from fat. 

Follow my 10 PRIME Principles to help balance Hormonal Health

How to test for hormone imbalances:

 The tricky thing about testing for hormonal imbalances is that quite often symptoms can look very similar from imbalance to imbalance, and as we know if one hormone is out of balance the others will most likely be too. 

Also when we see a conventional doctor for blood panels sometimes they are reluctant to do them, and the ranges they look at are in the ‘surviving range’ as opposed to the ‘thriving range’. 

But I think perhaps the biggest challenge here is the conventional medicine viewpoint on hormonal health, sadly, most of the time you will either be dismissed as just tired or stressed, or given a medication to treat the symptoms (rather than deal with the cause) such as an anti-depressant or the contraceptive pill. 

There are two options here: if you have a doctor willing to do the panels (there will be a co-pay), then you can come to see a nutritionist or health coach like myself, who understands how to read blood work and is experienced in doing it (always ask first).

If you were to come to me I would ask you to keep a diary of symptoms for a couple of weeks, review this, and give you a list of blood tests to ask your doctor for. I would also ask you to bring me your most recent bloodwork from your yearly appointment as there is so much we can tell from fasting glucose levels, inflammation markers, vitamin and mineral status, etc. before we go into specific endocrine panels.

If we do take the hormone testing route, then it will always be a couple of panels, for example, Cortisol and Thyroid, as these imbalances often go hand in hand. Then you can get your tests and bring them back to me, we can go through them looking at them through the lens of being pro-active, preventative, and helping you thrive, not survive. We can then develop a nutrition and supplement, fitness and wellbeing program armed with this information. 

If you do not have a doctor willing to run the bloodwork for you (and take you seriously), then I suggest you find a healthcare provider who does (look for a Functional MD / Integrative / Holistic Doctor. They can then run the bloodwork, then do the same as I would do, or refer you out to someone like me. 


  • Hormonal balance should be a health priority
  • Take small proactive steps every day (such as my PRIME Principles) to balance hormones
  • Prepare for big hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause years (not months) in advance 

This blog post is part of a series on Hormonal Health. For the next part of the series on Cortisol, our stress hormone, head to:

Hormonal Health: How to Manage Stress During the Day For a Great Nights Sleep

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be part of a panel of wellness experts for an event run by the green beauty store Follain. As part of the conversation, we were asked to give our number one self-care tip. As a nutritionist, the rest of the panel was convinced my answer was going to be ‘eat more veggies’, or 'cut out sugar’. Now whilst both of those are great habits, and will certainly improve your health, there is one component of great health that I prize above all, and that is quality sleep. 

Let's qualify and quantify what quality sleep actually means.:

In 2002 a study published in 2002 by the National Sleep Foundation that 7-9 hours of quality sleep is optimum for most individuals.   Now that is not 7-9 hours in bed (resting reading), but 7-9 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep through which you do not wake up.

The same study showed that 67% of Americans experience frequent problems sleeping, and 43% say sleep interferes with their daily activities. Remember that study was published in 2002, 15 years ago, before most of us had Smartphones, Instagram, Snapchat, Game of Thrones, etc…

Unfortunately getting less than adequate sleep during the week, and making up for it over the weekends does not undo the negative consequences of the weekly missed sleep. We cannot repay our sleep debt.

So why is sleep so important?

During sleep almost all of our bodily systems are in a heightened anabolic state (growth and repair), including our immune system, central nervous system and skeletal and muscular systems.

What are the negative consequences associated with too little sleep?

  • 9x more likely to get ill during cold and flu season 
  • athletic performance goes down - no strength or muscle gains in the gym, more likely to get injured, or if you play a sport your performance will suffer
  • increased inflammation - (inflammation is the cause of all chronic disease in the body)
  • resulting in increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and doubles your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
  • poor gut health (constipation, diarrhea, bloating, not digesting food properly or assimilating the nutrients
  • increased bone loss
  • a decrease in insulin sensitivity (how much of the carbohydrate we use as fueler our cells and how much we store as fat) and an increase in the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • increased musculoskeletal aches and pains
  • neurochemical imbalances - mood, irritability, memory, patience, learning, communication, depression and anxiety 
  • weight gain and food cravings - when we don't sleep enough the levels of 2 hormones that control hunger, grehlin and leptin become imbalanced, making us both hungrier and more likely to crave high-calorie food - one study showed that participants who got 4 or fewer hours of sleep at night ate over 300 extra kcals the next day!
  • increased risk of cancer

So that's the bad news. The good news is that there is so much within our power that we can do to improve our quality of sleep, and a number of easy to do nutrition and wellbeing habits that we can all implement on a daily basis. 

The key aspect I want you to take away from the post is that elevated nighttime cortisol causes poor quality sleep. Cortisol is our stress hormone, and just like all of our hormones is neither good or bad, but problems arise when it is out of balance. 

When our bodies produce cortisol throughout the day as a reaction to stressful situations (what we call our 'flight or flight’ mechanism), it leads to us having high levels in our blood at nighttime, preventing us from falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. 

Now,  I can’t reduce the amount of stress you are exposed during the day, but I can give you strategies to help you reduce its negative effects. Likewise, I cannot give you more hours of sleep, but I am going to take you through the holistic health strategies you can implement to manage stress throughout the day, leading to a great nights sleep

On Waking 

Reducing stress and improving sleep quality starts from the moment you wake up. Consider replacing your alarm clock (or your phone) with a natural light alarm clock that wakes you up naturally and gently, without spiking your cortisol.

A 3 min cold shower can improve sleep. If you cant bear cold water work up to the 3 minutes!

Daylight is the master regulator of our circadian rhythm - if you can get outside as soon as you have woken up to expose yourself to the natural light, and this is the perfect time to take a walk or run outside. If this is impossible make sure you open all of your curtains and even switch on all the lights.

Coffee: the caffeine in coffee actually raises our cortisol levels, which is why we should try to limit it to the earlier part of the day. However, 2-3 hours after you wake up is ideal as this is when our cortisol levels and energy naturally drops.

Those with higher cortisol levels and/or adrenal fatigue should avoid coffee as it can put too much of a strain on the body. A good test for this is when your coffee doesn't ‘work’ anymore, or if you feel even more tired after drinking it's a good idea to take a break from it for a while! Coffee can actually be considered a health food for the right person. It is super high in antioxidants, and good quality coffee can be over 7 times higher in antioxidants than green tea.

How to make your coffee healthier: choose an organic, low acid coffee. Coffee is one of the most highly pesticide-sprayed crops, so organic is a must. Coffee is naturally acidic, so choosing a low-acid version is a good idea:

The best alternative to coffee is hot water, lime, and Himalayan salt. This will help to alkalize the body and will give the adrenal system a boost. Another alternative here is to look at some energizing adaptogens such as maca or cordyceps.

Breakfast: make this protein and fat based to keep blood sugar and energy levels constant through the day, think eggs, chicken, avocado, nut butter, or a protein smoothie.

Keeping blood sugar levels steady during the day is a big part of stress management that can often get neglected. Those in high stress and busy jobs can find themselves not eating for long stretches during the day, which causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels and elevated cortisol, and causes cravings for high carb/high-fat foods in the evening.

Start the day right with a breakfast of protein, fibre, and fats, and be sure to keep some healthy snacks handy during the day such as fruit, nuts or jerky if you have a long time between meals.

Being hungry in the mornings is a sign of raised cortisol, which is what we want in the morning and can indicate a healthy cortisol curve, as it raises the amount of the hunger hormone ghrelin in our bloodstream.

Take your foundational supplements after breakfast (see my PRIME Principles

Exercise in the morning: ideally would be a cardio, running, spinning, boxing etc.

During the Day

At lunch: choose a combo of protein, veggies and fat, a maybe a little complex carbohydrates if you are working out in the evening.

A walk outside after lunch is the perfect way to both enhance digestion and to ensure some time in the natural light, especially if you work in an office with limited natural light. We want to aim for at least 30-60 minutes in natural light a day for normal circadian rhythms. The exposure to the sunlight will also help provide some Vitamin D during the summer (anyone from the U.K. or the East Coast of the U.S  are usually deficient in Vitamin D)!

If you find yourself needing to take a 'time out' during the day you can use the box breathing method. This is super simple and you can do this at your desk, whilst commuting, or whenever you feel your stress spiraling out of control.

Box Breathing

  • Inhale for the count of 4
  • Hold for the count of 4
  • Exhale for the count of 4
  • Hold for the count of 4

Introduce a caffeine curfew: for me this time is 11.30pam, for others, it may be later or earlier, depending on your tolerance for caffeine. If you find your mind racing the minute you close your eyes start moving your caffeine curfew back by half an hour to see if it helps, or switch to caffeien free options. 

If you are working out in the evening, try and make it as early as possible to give cortisol and melatonin levels time to normalize before bed, and consider a post-workout supplement to help bring down Cortisol levels. Strength training rather than cardio is going to be better in the evenings, and a yoga class is perfect too. 

Find a way of ‘making space’ between home and work. Have a routine or ‘ritual’ when you get home or on your way home to separate home and work mindset. This can be a great time for a meditation practice (which is clinically proven to reduce stress levels and improve our quality of life in many ways), or even something as simple as changing your clothes the minute you come home or enjoying the same herbal tea every day after work.

In the Evening

Bring down artificial light during after sunset. If you need to use your technology in the evenings you can download an app called f.lux that brings down the blue light on your cell phone and laptop, reducing its impact. You can also buy some very fetching blue blocking glasses such as these (these are the pair I am wearing as I type this):

Your evening meal should be a mixture of complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, rice, quinoa, starchy vegetables, some protein, and veggies is perfect (a turkey is a great option as it contains the amino acid L-Tryptophan which can help us sleep)

The carbohydrates will help release serotonin and dopamine, our feel-good hormones that will help to relax us and make us sleepy, and can be used for muscle repair and growth whilst sleeping

It will also help late night snacking and carbohydrate cravings - sometimes this can be a sign of low serotonin levels (not just lack of willpower), and if you find yourself reaching for a cookie (or three) late at night consider adding in more carbs in your evening meal to raise serotonin levels.

Don't eat dinner any later than 8 pm, or 2 hours prior to going to bed. Eating late in the evening can hinder digestion of the food, disrupting our sleep, and make us more likely to store fat.

You can also look at adding in a herbal tea such as chamomile here, or there has been some great research into tart cherry juice as it contains phytochemicals that reduce inflammation and lead the body to secrete more melatonin.

You could also have a hot bath - soaking in a hot tub raises your body temperature but then cools it rapidly after, this lowering of body temperature mimics the bodies natural drop in temperature, which helps with melatonin secretion.

Choose a regular bedtime and stick to it, even on the weekends. Your body temperature peaks at sunset in order to keep you warm at night, and this coincides with the release of leptin which surpasses hunger and releases fat for burning whilst you are asleep (yes, fat burns whilst we are asleep, another reason to make sure we are getting enough). This is turn reduces melatonin and reduces brain function, readying the body for sleep. Studies have shown that people who have sleep issues can improve quality and quantity of sleep by keeping a set bedtime between 9.30 and 11 pm.

So there you have it, 12 hours of managing cortisol to ensure a wonderful nights sleep! If sleep is your biggest challenge consider booking a Sleep Session with me (they are just $99 for the month of December). 


My 10 PRIME Principles For Your Healthiest, Happiest You!

By now you will have probably heard me talk about my PRIME Principles: my 10 easy to implement, every day, holistic health habits I implement with my clients to ensure endless energy, great gut health, restorative sleep and optimum health. 

Whilst every client receives an individualized program tailored to their health status, needs and goals my PRIME Principles are the cornerstones of health that everyone can benefit from! 

1) Drink 3 Liters of Filtered Water a Day

All other beverages should be in addition to this!

2) Base Every Meal Around Clean Proteins, Vegetables, and a Little Fat

Animal Proteins

·      Pasture Raised Eggs

·      Wild Caught Fish

·      Pasture Raised Organic Chicken

·      Grass Fed Beef

·      Organic Organ Meats

·      Cricket Protein

·      Collagen Protein

Plant Proteins

·      All beans, Lentils and Legumes

·      Quinoa

·      Hemp, Pea, and Rice Protein Powders

Great Fats

·      Avocado

·      Coconut Oil

·      Pasture Raised Butter

·      Ghee

·      Sheep and Goats Dairy

3) Eat 9 Servings of Vegetables and Low Carbs Fruits a Day

Choose organic, locally produced, seasonal produce where possible. Aim for at least one serving of leafy greens with each meal, snack, and smoothie. Choose low carb fruits such as berries, apples, kiwi, peaches, and plums.

For example:

Breakfast: 2 servings - Superfood Smoothie with Spinach and Avocado

Snack: 3 servings – Green Veggie Smoothie with Kale and Apple

Lunch: 3 servings - Large Chicken Salad with Endive, Tomatoes, and Beets

Dinner: 2 servings – Salmon Fillet with Sweet Potato, Roasted Cauliflower, and Fennel

4) Choose ‘Bang for Your Buck’ Foods

Eliminate all processed foods, gluten and cow’s dairy (goats and sheep dairy in moderation are fine if you can tolerate it). Aim to eat organic, seasonal and locally grown food.

Choose options that are as nutrient dense as possible, for example, antioxidant-packed dark green kale over iceberg lettuce, Omega 3 rich wild caught salmon over tilapia.

5) Utilize Nutrient Timing

Eat clean carbohydrates either post workout to replace glycogen stores and repair muscle or in your evening meal to produce serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that will help relax you and prepare you for sleep

Clean Carbohydrates

·      Sweet Potatoes and Yams

·      Starchy Vegetables

·      Quinoa

·      Buckwheat

·      Beans, Lentils, and Pulses

·      Oats

6) Take Foundation Supplements

Foundation Protocol

·      Multi Intense

·      Uber Mag PX

·      D3 Excellence (5000iu in the winter / 1000iu in the summer)

·      High Concentrate EPA-DHA Fish Oil

·      Proflora Excellence

·      Wellness Greens

(all available from:

7) Walk at least 10,000 Steps a Day

8) Strength Train At Least Twice a Week

9) Manage Stress Levels Throughout the Day

Utilize meditation, breathing exercises, walking, yoga, massage and essential oils to manage your stress levels throughout the day

10) Get 7-9 Hours of Quality Sleep a Night

 'd love you to implement even just some of the principles for just a week and let me know how you feel!

If you are looking for personalized holistic health guidance my Solution Sessions are on sale until 12/31 - for more details click here: The Solution Session


6 Steps to Optimize Your Gut Health to Prevent Colds and Flu This Winter

I'm pretty sure 'Cold and Flu Season' was a term coined by pharmaceutical companies who were trying to sell more product! I hate walking past a CVS or Walgreens and seeing the fluorescent warning signs in the window yelling at us to stock up before we have even gotten ill. Way to put it out into the universe! 

But seriously it is not inevitable that you will get sick at the turn of the season. We get ill if our immune system does not function as well as it should do, not because we are turning a page on a calendar. 

But Why Do So Many People Get Sick at This Time of Year? 

Personally, I think how we schedule our year plays a huge role in why we get sick in the Fall and the Winter (especially in Boston). We spend our summers staying up late, grilling out, drinking rose and prioritizing fun, but the minute the day ends on Labor Day we are hard at work at our jobs, at school, or both (believe me, I am feeling that pain right now), not paying our health and wellness the attention it needs because we are so busy, only surfacing at Thanksgiving to enjoy the start of the holiday season...

Recent research shows that the influenza virus does thrive better in a colder, more stable environment such as the fall and the winter, but this is only a tiny part of the puzzle. I believe that if post-summer, we can implement some holistic health habits that result in a robust and thriving immune system we can phase out Cold and Flu Season altogether! 

The Effect of Gut Health on the Immune System

As you probably know by now, over 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut. Our microbiome (often referred to as our gut flora or bacteria) lives within the mucosal barrier of the gut (the cell wall of the gut is just one cell thick) and is responsible for what is let into our bloodstream, and what is kept out. This relates not just to the nutrients from our food, but to pathogens, viruses, and bacteria too. 

If we have an imbalance in this intelligent microbiome, then the signaling can get confused causing the defense mechanism to become compromised. Combine this with the effects of Leaky Gut (when the tight junctions of the gut wall become compromised due to food allergens, stress, environmental toxins, and medications) and our usually robust immune system takes a severe hit. 

Easy Ways to Optimize Our Gut Health

Looking after our gut health doesnt have to be complicated, and by following the steps below you will not only enhance your immune system, but feel more energized, experience less bloating, sleep better and improve your body composition! 

1) Reduce Consumption of Processed Foods

When you reduce your consumption of processed foods you are automatically reducing your consumption of sugar, soy, wheat, dairy and artificial colorings, flavorings and sweeteners that cause microbiome imbalances and that increase symptoms ofLeaky Gut. Aim to base your diet around real, whole foods - those without an ingredients label such as veggies, fruits, organic wild or pasture raised proteins.

2) Chew Your Food

It seems crazy that we have to be reminded of this, but in our fast-paced society where we rarely sit down to eat a meal, chewing is a forgotten art form! Both mechanical and enzymatic digestion takes place in the mouth, and our salivia contains a certain enzyme that is not found anywhere else in the body. Without chewing we do not break down the nutrients in our food, and run the risk of large particles of food being released into the bloodstream, setting off an auto immune response.

If you are eating in a rush, aim for smoothies, yogurts, soups, etc that do not need as much breaking down to be absorbed by the body, but ensure you balance this out with high fiber meals that you sit down and take the time to eat. 

3) Drink More Water

Simple, right? As the temperatures get cooler we tend to decrease our water consumption, but in fact, we need just as much as in the summer to combat the drying effects of cold weather and indoor heat. Ensure your water is clean and filtered (click here for my choices for at both home and whilst traveling), and ensure it is at least room temperature or warmer, as cold water can reduce digestive function. 

4) Give Time For Gastric Clearance

Again, a simple solution, but since the eighties, we have been conditioned to think we need to eat every 2-3 hours to stabilize our blood sugar. This is not the case, as if we eat a diet rich in protein, fiber and good fats it will keep our blood sugar and insulin levels stable for at least 4 hours, but also does not give adequate time for gastric clearance (the food to move through the digestive system). I also like to have at least 12 hours after eating my evening meal before breakfast, so for most of us, this means moving our evening meal a little earlier. If this does not work for you try eating a larger meal at lunch and a lighter meal in the evening. 

5) Eat More Cooked Foods in the Winter

Whilst it is important to utilize the Prime Principle of eating at least 8-9 servings of veggies a day during the colder months make sure at least half of these are coming from cooked veggies. Cooked veggies are actually easier for us to digest, and as such we may absorb more nutrients from them than their raw counterparts. Also if we are eating seasonally we are moving into a season of hearty root vegetables that need to be baked or roasted in a little fat to ensure we are getting all of their goodness. 

6) Increase Pre and Probiotic Foods in the Diet - But Not Too Much! 

In addition to a daily probiotic (click here for my recommendation) I also love to include fermented foods in my client's diet on a daily basis. Technically fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha cannot be labelled as 'probiotic' unless they have been tested in a lab, but they are a great way to ensure you are getting a variety of good bacteria for microbiome health. 

Prebiotics are foods that contain a certain type of fiber that our gut bacteria can digest, but we can't. Whilst I do recommend having some prebiotic fiber everyday (except in the cases of severly compromised gut health or SIBO) in the form of starchy vegetables, proceed with caution and tritate very slowly upwards when adding in prebiotic fibers (especially with potato starches, plantain starches, etc), as too much can cause severe GI distress. 

Should you have any question regarding the info here please commment, or head over to my 'Eat, Exercise, Empower' FB Group to join the conversation! 







Carb Cycling for Beginners

Below is an article I wrote last year for a British Health Magazine - now I can finally share it with you! 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 


Most nutrition plans written by fitness and nutrition professionals usually involve some kind of carb cycling, even if the term is not specifically used. In essence carb cycling (like the majority of diets) is a form of calorie restriction (the foremost principle of weight loss is you need to expend more calories than you consume to see the scale drop). 

Carb Cycling, when referred to by a Dietitian, Nutritionist or Personal Trainer refers to the manipulation of the amounts consumed of the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats), usually determined by the clients bodyweight, body fat to muscle ratio, and frequency and intensity of workouts.

Macronutrients are the building blocks of the foods we eat (micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals) and are classified as follows:

Carbohydrates: the components of carbohydrates are Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. In their original form most carbohydrates come from plants. There are two types of carbohydrate: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body (and in turn raise our blood sugar rapidly, forcing the pancreas to make more insulin) due to their lack of fibre. Complex carbohydrates are a healthier option (and more suitable for weight loss diets) due to their fibre content which slows the rise in blood sugar. 

Great complex carbohydrate choices include: 

  • Organic starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squashes and yams.
  • Gluten free grains such as rice, oats, buckwheat and quinoa.
  • Low GI fruits such as berries, apples and kiwis. 


Protein: protein is made from complex macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. These amino acids are broken down in the digestive system and are used for the essential growth and repair of tissues, and as a secondary energy source.  Animal sources are referred to as ‘complete proteins’ (meaning they contain all 20-22 amino acids), and plant sources are ‘incomplete’ as they do not contain all the amino acids. 

Healthy protein choices include: 

  • Organic, lean cuts of meat 
  • Wild caught fish.
  • Pasture raised eggs
  • Organic, full fat dairy
  • Beans, pulse legumes
  • Whey and Vegan protein powders


Fats: fats consist of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Dietary fat supplies us with essential fatty acids (known as linoleic and and linolenic acid) that cannot be made by the body. Fat is vital in our diets as it aids the absorption of certain vitamins, helps brain development and protects our organs, and is the body’s second most preferred source of energy. It is important to avoid trans fatty acids and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats as they can have negative effects on health. 

Healthy fat choices include: 

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Pasture raised butter
  • Nuts and nut butter 

When looking at any kind of diet for weight loss, choosing foods that have the most ‘bang for your buck’ (the most nutrient dense foods) is of utmost importance. When calories are restricted the quality of those calories are essential not just for weight loss (it is easier for the body to utilize fat burning for energy production when the body is in a healthy state), but for energy, stress levels, good sleep and beautiful hair, skin and nails. Choose single ingredient, unprocessed foods, that are organic and in season.

Carbohydrate intake is usually the first variable changed when dieting for fat loss. Reducing carbohydrates can cause a drop in weight for a number of reasons:  It automatically reduces calories, it limits the amount of processed foods consumed, and is effective if a client is showing signs of insulin resistance. When any type of carbohydrate is consumed our blood sugar levels rise, followed by the release of insulin from the pancreas. The insulin is released to enable the sugar (energy) to get into the muscle cells (insulin literally ‘unlocks’ the cells to enable to energy in). Insulin resistance is the body’s inability to handle carbs efficiently, when blood sugar is raised too quickly and too often the body is unable to handle the amount of energy being produced, it is unable to ‘get into fuel the cells, and therefore is stored as fat.

However, not all carbs are bad for you, and not all carbs are created equally. Refined, processed carbs (white bread, donuts, cookies,) raise blood sugar very quickly, and should not be consumed on a regular basis. Carbohydrates such as sweet potato, oats, squashes and whole grains can be eaten as part of a healthy diet and have some great nutritional benefits.

There is no doubt a low carbohydrate diet can be a great quick fix for some, and the resulting weight loss can give a much needed boost to health, self esteem and insulin sensitivity. However, most on a low carbohydrate diet will start to plateau, and not including carbohydrates in your diet can cause negative effects such as raised cortisol (the stress hormone), lowered thyroid function and poor mood and energy levels. 

Carb cycling has many benefits, and can be successful for both the general population client and the professional body builder! Below is a list of some of the reasons why carb cycling can be an effective approach for most: 

  • It is a great transition from a lower carb to a moderate carb diet - carb cycling reintroduces carbohydrates to the body at a slower rate, important for insulin sensitivity. 
  • As body weight and workout intensity are used to calculate your macros (and therefore your calories) it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it is highly personalised which is essential for weight loss results 
  • Higher carbohydrate foods often contain higher levels of some micronutrients (vitamins and mineral) than proteins and fats such as B Vitamins, magnesium and and beta carotene. 
  • It can prevent catabolism (muscle loss), and even increase muscle growth, important when trying to build muscle and increase metabolism (muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass). 
  • Adding carbohydrates to the diet can breakthrough weight loss plateaus as it can upregulate thyroid function and provide more energy for hard training sessions.
  • Boredom and lack of food variety can be an underestimated player in weight loss, carb cycling reintroduces different foods and meal plans.
  • Its flexibility means you can plan for when you may eat off track, such as dining out, holidays and vacation. 
  • It helps mitigate stress and improve sleep - carbohydrates upregulate the neurotransmitters that control your feel good hormones (serotonin and dopamine), which in turn can also help you get a great night’s sleep and result in more weight loss. 

In the majority of diets ‘low carb’ is considered to be an intake of under 50g of carbohydrates a day, but what is considered high carb can vary greatly, and what is high carb for 1 person may be low carb for another. This is dependent of a variety of factors including: 

  • Bodyweight
  • Body composition (muscle mass to fat ratio)
  • Level of insulin resistance / insulin sensitivity
  • Amount of inflammation in the body
  • Stress levels 
  • Genetic make up
  • Hormone balance
  • Training frequency and intensity 

In this example we will look at 3 different levels of carbohydrate intake, a high carb day, a mid carb day and a low carb day. The more weight you have to lose, the less insulin sensitive you will be. This means your body will be more likely to store carbohydrates as fat rather than muscle. If you have over 20lbs to lose, start out with 1-2 high carb days a week. Those who are leaner who wish to build more muscle can handle more frequent high carb days, and would benefit from 2-3 a week. 

For example, let’s say you strength train 3 times a week in the gym, and on 2 days a week you do cardio for 25-35 minutes. On your 2 most intense strength training days (perhaps your full body workouts or leg day) you will raise your carbohydrate intake, keep protein at mid range, and have little to no fat (ie. your high carb day). This will help increase muscle growth and provide energy for your workouts.  On the 3rd strength training day (your lighter day) you would consume a medium carbohydrate intake, a little more protein and a little more fat (mid carb day). The other days would be your 4 low carb days, keeping insulin levels low and enabling your body to use fat as a fuel source. 

To establish your own macronutrient goals we need 3 pieces of information; your body weight, your somatotype, and the frequency and intensity of your strength training. Somatotypes are a classification of 3 body types in relation to bone size and muscularity, they are detailed below to help you ascertain yours:

Ectomorph: generally lean, a smaller frame and thinner limbs. Has a faster metabolism, your goal is usually to gain muscle instead of losing fat. Ectomorphs should choose 3 high carb days, 3 medium carb days and 1 low carb day a week. 

Mesomorph: athletic looking with a medium sized frame. Stays reasonably lean and muscular without too much effort. Your goal is usually to optimize body composition (increase muscle / decrease fat). Mesomorphs should choose 2 high carb days, 2 medium carb days and 3 low carb day a week.

Endomorph: a larger frame and heavier set. A slower metabolism, you are usually trying to decrease body fat.  Endomorphs should choose 1 high carb day, 1 mid carb, and 5 low carb days a week. 


A suggested calculation for your high, medium and low carb days is as follows:

High Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 1.4 g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: under 30g


Medium Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 0.8g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.5 g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.3g per lb of bodyweight


Low Carb Day

Carbohydrate: Approx 50g carbs coming from non starchy vegetables only

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.5g per lb of bodyweight 


Let’s put this into practice for a 125lb female Mesomorph, whose priority is looking to drop fat whilst maintaining muscle size. Her base calories are 1625 a day as she workouts 5 times a week and is reasonably active. She trains with a high intensity 3 times a week, and does 2 x 35 minute Metabolic Conditioning workouts a week.

Her Carb Cycling breakdown for the week might look like this: 

High Carb Day (2 Days a Week) 

Carbohydrate: 175g

Protein: 175g

Fat: 20g


Medium Carb Day (2 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 100g

Protein: 187.5g

Fat: 37.5g 


Low Carb Day (3 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 50g

Protein: 200g 

Fat: 62.5g 


The nature of carb cycling lends itself to eating smaller meals more frequently and you may find that 5 small meals are easier to digest, especially on on your high carbohydrate days. 

A neglected (but effective) aspect of carb cycling is known as ‘nutrient timing’ - the placing of the carbs at specific times (usually focussed around the workout) for the body to be able to use them most effectively. To utilize nutrient timing eat the majority of your carbohydrates in the two meals after you workout. This could mean adding oats into your post workout shake, and then having another serving of low GI carbs (such as sweet potato) in the next full meal post workout. Keep fats low in these 2 meals so your body can use the carbs to full muscle building effect. With this format the meals furthest away from your workout will consist mostly of protein and fats. 


Below is a suggested meal plan for our 125lb female mesomorph on a high carb day (training mid morning):  


Breakfast: 40g Protein / 10g Fat 

2 large scrambled eggs, 4 slices of turkey bacon with steamed spinach

Post Workout Smoothie: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

2 scoops protein powder, ½ cup oats and a small banana

Lunch: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

3.7oz grilled chicken breast, 1.25 cups sweet potato with a leafy green salad

Mid Afternoon Snack: 30g Protein

1 serving 0% fat greek yoghurt with 0.5 scoop protein powder

Dinner: 35g Protein / 10g Fat

5oz Rump steak, steamed broccoli, green beans and 1 teaspoon butter


There is some math involved, but once you have your individualised calculations you have a very effective guideline to work to.Here are some tips to make the process easier: 

  • Use single ingredient foods in their natural state, this will help to separate and calculate your amounts of protein, fats and carbs
  • Food preparation is key, plan and prepare your meals in advance 
  • Use a calorie tracking app on your smartphone - My Fitness Pal is easy to use, has an enormous database of foods and you can even scan the barcodes of the foods you eat. 
  • No change on the scale? Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, which is why you may not see the drop bodyweight you expected. Track your progress by taking weekly photos in your sportswear and note improvements in the gym and in mood and positivity too.