The Whole Body

After working for a couple of years as a yoga and Pilates teacher, the physicality of the work started to take its toll, and I sought out professional help, both to correct and prevent. I’ve been seeing osteopath Guy Gold on and off for about 2 years, and not only is he an excellent osteopath and my body feels good in his care, he’s also a positive with a great sense of humour, and a generally lovely person to spend time with.

I asked him to explain a little more about osteopathy and what’s involved.

109_mobile

 

What is osteopathy and how does it work?

Osteopathy is a system of healing which realigns the musculoskeletal system to allow the body to heal itself. Our specialisation is within the musculoskeletal framework, but it’s very holistic in its approach, so we’re treating people not conditions and a lot of osteopaths would have concurrently studied naturopathy, which I also studied. Naturopathy is effectively the definition of holistic health, in that we look at the mental, spiritual, emotional, physical and biochemical bodies. The osteopathic part is the musculoskeletal system. So we don’t get people better, we just give people’s bodies a nudge to getting themselves better.

What’s the difference between osteopathy and physiotherapy?

I’ll bring in chiropractics as well, because that’s something else that patients often ask about. We’re all equally good, we’re all specialists within the musculoskeletal field. Physios tend to (and there’s a lot of overlap here, which is important to highlight), but physios tend to provide more remedial exercises – stretching, strengthening and tend to be a bit more hands off and more prescriptive. Chiropractors tend to work more centrally along the spine – they do work peripherally as well, but principally they’re working on the spinal column and the nerve supply to other areas of the body. So their techniques tend to be more manipulations – clicking, popping and so on, but again, there’s often overlap and osteopaths generally are working more with the cardiovascular system and people’s entire body, so whilst we use spinal manipulations and advise people on exercises and so on, we also do lots of massage techniques and stretching techniques. A lot of our work is increasing blood supply to tight areas where there’s no sort of movement and reduced “life”, if you like. But all of them are well placed to treat people suffering from musculoskeletal pain and it’s really down to patient choice. They’re all equally good, just coming in from slightly different angles and slightly different philosophies behind them.

Who can benefit from osteopathy treatments?

I think anyone can. Again, having trained as a naturopath, my approach is very holistic – thus we’re into prevention rather than cure. So typically, I’ll treat from infants to very elderly patients. This week, my youngest patient was four and my eldest patient was ninety-three. In my opinion, I think everyone benefits from osteopathy.

The majority of patients that present to me are patients presenting with pain, ranging from mild discomfort to literally crawling in on their hands and knees in agony. I also treat world-class sports people and they’re in ludicrously good physical shape and they come in for preventative work – so a good osteopath is skilled at kindly observing a patient’s body, reading their body and ascertaining areas of “stuckness”, or restriction that can be freed to enable less stress on other areas. So, for example, someone with a painful knee, you’ll want to look at all of the joints of the lower limbs – so the feet, the ankles, the knee and the articulations of the knee, the hips, the pelvis and the lower back – that’ll be very typical – because it’s all very well and good looking at the knee, but you want to make sure it’s housed in a functioning lower limb and attached to a well-functioning body, in a person that you can guide on what they should and shouldn’t be doing to help to stay well and keep well.

I often see patients who present without pain, or who have been in pain, and want to stay out of pain, and I might see them a few times a year as a preventative measure; it’s less uncomfortable for the patient and they’ll need less treatment across a year; because I’m not curing people, I’m helping people’s bodies to realign so that they can heal themselves and sometimes, with someone who presents for example with arthritis, we can’t impact arthritis in terms of curing it or improving it, but we can help an individual’s body manage it a lot better. And in that respect, there’s often good hope. Some of my patients, for example, might be advised that they need a hip replacement because they’ve got very marked osteoarthritis in the hip and I can help make them more comfortable despite the fact they’ve got that – that means they might not need to be suffering quite as much as they might be in the lead up to requiring surgery.

How will someone usually feel following treatment?

AMAZING! (laughs). The majority of people find it really beneficial. A lot of what we do as osteopaths is education and support. The first and most important job as an osteopath is accurate diagnosis. The most important clinical decision I have to make is “is this patient safe for treatment?” and if they’re not, then where should they be? That’s where osteopathy stands alone in some complimentary medical fields in that we’re primary healthcare practitioners – you go through the same diagnostic triage that a doctor would. We’re not doctors, but we do go through the same triage, so in a typical working week I normally recommend, on average, one or two patients to seek out further scans, or go to the doctor or the hospital. People present things as extreme as broken backs, which is an extreme contraindication for treatment, so in those instances I refer them to get the appropriate checks or treatments before I commence treatment.

So, to answer the question, in the first instance, hopefully people feel reassured by accurate diagnosis so we can know exactly what it is that’s causing a patient’s pain in order to treat the patient safely and effectively. And in the absence of feeling confident in our diagnosis, a good osteopath wouldn’t treat, because a) it’s dangerous, and b) we’re effectively trying to guess a patient better which again is dangerous, inappropriate and ill-advised. In that light, I think the first thing that people often feel is reassured that they are listened to and heard, taken seriously, examined thoroughly and respectfully, that they’re communicated to clearly about what it is that’s going on, what can be done and what can’t be done … given additional advice and modalities as a supportive benefit to moving back to optimum health and wellbeing, and being taken seriously. I always ask if there are any questions or concerns, if people want any further explanation about what I’ve observed, so I think that’s a really important starting point – establishing a really diligent, clear, supportive framework.

And once we start treatment, it really depends on what they present with – there’s different extremes. One patient might just have cricked their neck that morning, we might be able to unclick it and suddenly they feel amazing, and it’s really striking – from agony to feeling brilliant. But that can really vary depending on what it is, how long it’s been there before and how much better I feel we can get that person.

It’s quite a hard question to answer apart from that first part which I think is really important. Normally people feel a bit more spacious, softer, a bit less uncomfortable, a bit more fluid, better quality and quantity and range of motion. On a broader level, in realigning the body, untwisting twisted areas and freeing up stuck areas and helping guide a patient to tighten up loose areas, they can feel like their psyche is housed in a better soma, so the mind’s housed in a better body and quite often you’ll get a sense of someone being more in their midline, more grounded, more relaxed … softer broader breath. Just a kind of more embodied sense. Their sense of wellbeing – there’s a marked broader sense when you observe a patient having done a treatment.

You can also get patients who, because we’re moving blood around already inflamed areas (say for example, there’s a very tight knot that’s inflamed, painful and tender) – by breaking it down, we’re bringing good blood in, so oxygen, nutrients, the ability to drain toxins away – but in bringing in good blood, so bringing inflammation into an already inflamed area – it’s effectively creating more inflammation, so you can be a bit more tender, and in releasing the waste products through metabolism such as lactic acid, that can cause irritation to the surrounding tissue. An osteopathic treatment reaction can be quite common – where someone feels a bit sore, tender, worked on, moved about, for 24 (possibly 48) hours and then that will settle and they’ll tend to feel much better. There can be a slight apparent worsening before they then feel improved.

And in very rare situations, someone might not react well. Obviously, we’re bound by the Hippocratic Oath, and we only treat if we feel that we can genuinely benefit someone. But sometimes it isn’t for everyone. Ideally, you think you can positively impact someone’s health and well-being, you draw up a prognosis, perhaps they need 4-6 treatments and if they’re not following that trajectory that you hope, a good osteopath will review, reconsider, perhaps in confidence talk to an osteopathic colleague, get a second opinion, bring in a doctor, get further investigations. It’s really important that as an osteopath you’re regulating a person’s care and ensuring (kind of auditing, really) that they’re getting better at the rate you anticipate, and if they’re not, you want to look at why not: have you got the diagnosis right? do you need to do further examination? A good osteopath will review the patient’s notes regularly and really think about each individual’s care between sessions. I’ve always got a file of patients that I’m keeping a particularly keen eye on.

What should someone should look for in a practitioner?

Qualified (laughs) … qualified, insured, and registered with a governing body.

Seriously, a good osteopath will be present, aware, engaged, intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, respectful, very diligent, and have a continued commitment to their profession in that they’re doing regular professional development. It’s called an osteopathic practice, and we’re always learning. Our patients are often our teachers, but it’s really important that we continue to develop our skill set and highlight areas of weakness that we can improve. They need to be safe, they need to be kind, they need to listen, be respectful. Stop if a patient is uncomfortable. It’s such a broad question, but an osteopath should be holistic; we’re treating people not conditions. They have to be boundaried, and deeply courteous and respectful to the patients in their care. It’s a significant privilege and honour to be able to do this.

What’s the best thing that happened in the treatment room?

Awww …. it happens every day. Frankly, I feel quite moved by the work I do, not because of what it is, but because it’s inescapably honest, real, humbling – it offers an amazing opportunity for patients to open up, in the strictest of confidence. There are very tender moments, human to human, and there’s a really depth-y human resonance that occurs. Being an osteopath offers an amazing opportunity for … it’s hard to put into words. It’s just extraordinarily humbling. I’ve heard the most remarkable stories of humankind in here – from horrific to amazing to tragic to beautiful. It’s just very real. And it’s a total privilege.

 

Guy Gold practices Osteopathy in London with his associates at triyoga in Camden and Soho.

Pins and Needles

Acupuncture has been around for centuries, but I first discovered it (and the wonderful Julia Oji) when I looked for an alternative to deal with seasonal allergies that conventional medicine couldn’t provide.
Since then, I’ve seen Julia regularly, at times more often than others. Her treatment helps with a wide array of issues, but I also see her when I need a little boost or I’m feeling a bit off.

I asked Julia to explain how acupuncture works and how it can improve wellness and increase vitality.

julia

 

In a nutshell, what is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is one branch of a traditional medical system that has ancient roots in China (other branches of that system include Chinese herbal medicine and ‘tui na’ which is Chinese massage therapy).

This system views the body holistically, the physical and the mental/emotional states intimately connected. Disease is considered to be, in essence, an imbalance of the energies of the internal organs that each have influence over particular physiological processes and mental/emotional realms. Acupuncture, by stimulating the energy or ‘qi’ of the body and its organs via points situated along a network of channels, aims to restore equilibrium and bring the whole system back to health.

What do you recommend for someone who doesn’t like needles?

The first thing to note about the tools of an acupuncturist’s work – the needles – is that they’re nothing like hypodermic needles used for giving injections; they are much finer, hardly thicker than a hair. When the needle punctures the skin you may not even notice; however, there is generally some degree of sensation – sometimes a tingly, electric feeling or a dull ache – when the needle contacts the body’s ‘qi’ or energy.

So, the needle sensation is usually minimal and acupuncture needles are nothing to be scared of (honestly!) Nevertheless, there are some individuals out there who are genuinely ‘needle-phobic’. Luckily, for these people there’s an alternative: ‘tui na’ or traditional Chinese massage is based on all the same principles and theory as acupuncture and uses a variety of pressure techniques to stimulate points and channels, rather than utilising needles. Tui na can be used on its own of course, but in my practice I often combine acupuncture and tui na – especially when treating musculoskeletal conditions – and find the two disciplines complement each other to great effect.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Some of the most common that I encounter are musculoskeletal (backache, frozen shoulder, repetitive strain injuries, traumatic injuries, sciatica and so on), digestive complaints such as irritable bowel, headaches and migraine, insomnia, anxiety, painful periods, infertility, hay fever and rhinitis or sinusitis.

In a sense, we acupuncturists are like your average GP in that we see patients with every type of condition. The ones I’ve mentioned are our ‘bread and butter’ but there’s hardly a month goes by without me meeting a patient with a condition that I’ve not heard of before (chikungunya anybody?)

It’s worth noting that the NHS now commonly refers patients to acupuncturists for pain management, acknowledging that it can be helpful in dealing with chronic musculoskeletal pain for which painkillers are not the long-term answer. If  you fall into this category, why not ask your GP about acupuncture referral? You might be eligible to receive a course of 6 (sometimes more) free appointments. In addition, many private health insurance companies these days offer cover for acupuncture.

How many treatments are needed and how often do you recommend treatment?

There are no hard-and-fast rules but, as a general guideline, if you’ve suffered with your condition for more than a year, an initial course of 4-6 weekly treatments will usually be required, with follow-ups spaced more infrequently after that. A condition that’s recently occurred, on the other hand (e.g. you’ve pulled a muscle in your back whilst gardening at the weekend), may only need one or two sessions to put you back on track.

Unfortunately, there are always those who are looking for a ‘quick fix’. Safe to say, if you’ve had chronic constipation triggered by poor diet and a stressful job/domestic situation for the best part of your adult life, the constipation isn’t going to magically vanish after one or two treatments!

What should someone look for when finding an acupuncturist?

The best recommendation is word-of-mouth. However, it’s also important to check that your practitioner is a registered member of the either the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), or the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) – all governing bodies that demand high standards of safe practice amongst their membership.

Acupuncture has been around for centuries, and over that time different ‘schools’ or styles of practice have developed, not only in China but in countries like Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Your acupuncturist may be a ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)’ practitioner, a ‘Five Element’ practitioner, or they might be a Western medicine-trained practitioner such as a GP or physiotherapist who has learned some basic acupuncture methods to incorporate into their work for the benefit of their patients.

My advice would be to make contact with your therapist before booking an appointment and find out as much as you can, especially with regard to their experience in treating your condition.

What’s the most interesting acupuncture experience that you’ve had?

Where to start? I’ve been in practice over 20 years and never cease to be amazed at what can be achieved with acupuncture, especially when a patient fully takes on board the holistic nature of Chinese medicine, incorporating its principles into their diet, lifestyle and general outlook. I can also vouch for the efficacy of acupuncture from a personal standpoint, having used it to help myself recover from a slipped disc among other things.  

Julia practices acupuncture in London at the Brackenbury Natural Health Clinic and in Canterbury.

Body Work

Continuing on with my focus on influential people/holistic practitioners who have made a positive impact on my personal health, this week I’d like to introduce Rui Reis, a Muscle Activation Technique specialist, Personal Trainer and Biomechanics Consultant.

I first met Rui quite randomly, via an internet search for an MAT Practioner – I had heard of MAT from a friend, and at that point was willing to try anything to help with the pain in my feet. I was working long hours in retail, standing on my feet the whole day, and as part of the store dress code, wearing high heels. I had acute plantar fasciitis, and doctors and podiatrists had prescribed only a new job (not an option at that point) and a pair of ugly orthotics (meaning I couldn’t wear sandals or pretty shoes). The pain was so severe at times, that apart from work, I couldn’t walk for longer than about 10 minutes without needing a break for my feet. I iced them every day and basically got used to living with pain (not particularly fun). I felt like an 80-year old, elderly before my time and unable to walk, run or do activities that I had once enjoyed.

I went for one session with Rui – he poked my muscles and did some strength tests, and when I stood up from the table, there was a noticeable decrease in pain – by about 60%, after just one session! I was overjoyed and continued to see Rui for another 6 months, until I was able to walk without pain and even run. I was also able to ditch the orthotics, and now I can buy shoes based on style rather than practicality 😉

I asked Rui to tell us a little more about MAT, how it works, and who can benefit:-

rui

In a nutshell, what is MAT and how does it work?

MAT is a manual therapy that looks at muscle imbalances and muscle contractibility capacity. When there is a lack of muscle contractibility capacity, the brain goes into protective mode and doesn’t allow the body to go into positions that those muscles would potentially take you. Therefore flexibility is reduced and there is the potential to feel pain. 

MAT works using the premise that the brain may have forgotten about the connection it has with a specific muscle. This causes other muscles to overcompensate and creates imbalances in the body. By using different techniques (some of then from Brain Mapping Training*: origin/insertion, local vibration, imagery, Post Activation Potentiation) we remind the brain of the muscle connection and then use exercise to help strengthen and support the muscle and the muscle/brain connection. Before activating the muscle, we do a series of strength tests to determine which muscles are active (or not), and then re-test afterwards. The difference before and after is often astounding.

What conditions does it treat most successfully?

MAT doesn’t treat pain directly. It finds the root cause of the problem and treats it. Pain reduction occurs often after that. 

The most common cases I see are sciatica, back pain, plantar fasciitis and a lot of fitness/sports people that don’t feel balanced or feel discomfort and pain when exercising. 

How many sessions are involved in treatment, and is there any work/exercises required in between sessions?

I would be lying if I gave you a set number of sessions. It depends a lot on the problem and on the person. 

There is a process where the client is looked after and guided, not only during the sessions but in between.  Bespoke exercises are created for each individual according to their biomechanics. 

What should someone look for when finding an MAT practitioner?

Like any other job it depends a lot on the individual. It is key that the practitioner believes that getting into exercising as soon as possible is important. Endless hours on the treatment table only makes acute adaptations; most people want permanent changes and that only comes with intelligent exercise.  

What do you love most about this form of treatment?

I love that it’s a non-invasive and pain free treatment. Plus it works. Also after years doing it, I now combine it with Brain Mapping Training, making it a super powerful tool.

Rui lives and has his practice in London. In addition to MAT, Rui also offers Personal Training, Brain Mapping Training and Biomechanics Consultancy. To find out more about Rui, or to book a session, please click here.

*Brain Mapping Training is similar to MAT in that it uses range of motion assessment and muscle tests, but instead of the origin/insertion technique (poking the muscle to activate it), it uses local vibration, imagery training and post activation potentiation. The theory and science behind it goes deeper (neuromecanics) and it’s more efficient.

New Year, New You

Happy New Year!

January is often a time for a renewed interest in our health, but where do we start when we want to make positive changes that will last a lifetime, rather than just a few weeks?

Over the next weeks, I’ll be highlighting several influential people/holistic practitioners that have made a postive and lasting impact on my health – they are the people I turn to when something goes wrong in my body, and the people who have helped me on my journey from unhealthy/unhappy to the joyful place I now inhabit.

For me, healthy food is the beginning. When things are going well inside, everything on the outside works a little better too. Good food gives me sustained energy, and has a direct impact on my mood, emotions and clarity of mind. So first up, it’s the beautiful woman who continues to inspire and educate my food choices. She is a big part of the reason that I eventually adopted a plant-based diet, and is responsible for many of the delicious recipes that I regularly make. And if you talk to me about food, her name will undoubtedly come up in about 5 seconds 😉

 

sarah_britton_portrait_lowres_7

 

Sarah Britton is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Nutritional Practitioner, and the award winning blogger behind My New Roots. I asked her all about food, healthy eating and how to make good choices as we navigate the aisles.

 

Can you tell me a little about your background and food philosophy and what led you to this way of eating/cooking?

I grew up in a very standard fare kind of household – lots of pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, canned and frozen food and I actually felt really bad my whole life (without knowing it) because I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

When I went to live on an organic farm in Arizona, everything changed very dramatically within the first few days. Within the first two weeks I had given up processed food, (sort of unwillingly I’ll add), but I just ate what we were growing on the farm, and this fog that had sort of bogged me down my whole life lifted and I felt unbelievable – so energised, awake and clear-headed, and it was incredible.

The initial five weeks turned into one year, and throughout that year, I learned how to cook– I mean my parents cooked a little bit, not a lot really … neither of them like cooking that much – but I was really drawn into it and when you’re farming, you can’t not care about what you’re eating; it’s what you’re dealing with every single day. Food becomes this very central part of your life, and I couldn’t quite believe that I could MAKE stuff that I had previously thought I had to buy in the store. So, I was inspired and excited, but when I got back to Toronto I wasn’t quite sure what to do – I had been living a life so in tune with nature and then suddenly found myself back in a city. I thought I’d take a couple of cooking courses and bide my time until I figured things out, and I actually stumbled across a school called The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (based in Toronto). It seemed a little nuts to sign up because I’d just finished a design degree and spent a year on the farm, but something spoke to me and I said “what the hell … let me just see what this is like”. I knew right away it was the best decision I’d ever made – the curriculum was incredible, it was very interdisciplinary and I loved it.

One thing I didn’t love, however, which ties into my food philosophy, was that I encountered a lot of extremism. In this field of health and wellness, there’s a lot of black and white, and I’m just not into it – I’m not into labels, I’m not into right and wrong – life is lived on a spectrum rather than at the extremes. When you’re transitioning into a healthier way of eating, it’s really important to enjoy it and have fun and embrace the process and embrace the mistakes that you make! If you feel like having a pizza one day, then just get a pizza and enjoy it and move on; it doesn’t make you a bad person. But there’s a lot of people that criticise others for not being vegan or raw or paleo or whatever. That exhausts me – I just do what I do and I like to put that positive energy into the world and hopefully it inspires people to take on the challenge of becoming healthier – not in a drudgery kind of way, but in a fun way – an “I’m going to wake up, and I’m going to feel really good” kind of way.

And after having worked on the farm – having a very clear idea of how food is grown and how it is brought to us, I feel that it’s very important to choose the source of your food carefully, not just from an environmental perspective but from an ethics perspective -there are so many injustices in the food world and understanding how much incredible work – backbreaking work- goes into making something as simple as a tomato, it’s very important to source it carefully. I realise it’s not always realistic all of the time, but these days farmer’s markets are popping up all over the place, and that’s a great sign. Living in big cities where there’s one every day – that’s just unbelievable to me! Connecting with the people who grow our food is one of the most important things we can do. And growing your own food is of course, one of the best things you can do – but if you can’t do that, get to know a farmer, they’re pretty rad people ….

 

How can a plant-based diet improve overall health?

Some time ago, let’s say like late eighties, we were still under the impression that you needed meat to survive – like that’s what gives people life: meat and dairy and eggs. But we’ve figured out that that is not actually true. You can get everything you need from a plant-based diet, and not only that, you’re getting far more nutrient-dense foods, without animal based cholesterol and without animal based fats (which are highly saturated, cause inflammation in the body, and all kinds of issues). With a plant based diet, the benefits are immeasurable, not only for your health, but also for the health of the planet. Eating meat has the biggest impact on the environment, more than any other choice you make – driving a car, flying in planes – it makes a huge difference. Even if you’re just an environmentalist, from that perspective, cutting back on meat and dairy and eggs is a fantastic idea and you’ll probably even feel better – plant based food digests more easily. You’ll feel better, you’ll feel lighter and more clear headed, and your body will run more smoothly.

 

Your recipes are inclusive of labels (i.e. vegan, GF, vegetarian, etc), but, as a collection, they don’t adhere to any one label. What’s the philosophy behind this and do people find it difficult to understand because they can’t categorize it?

Like I said before, I’m just not into labels – labels are for cereal boxes. I think if we put labels on ourselves, we get really frustrated when we veer off-track. Food should be fun and joyful and sexy and awesome and not restrictive. I don’t think the words guilt and food should ever be in the same sentence – eating should be a joy and a celebration – every single time we eat. On the website, I put things in categories so that if my readers are vegan or gluten-free, etc, they can find recipes easily on the site, but myself, I don’t subscribe to any one set of rules because for me it’s limiting and I’m a human and I don’t want to be put in a box. That’s also the reason why I don’t put the calorie count on my recipes (which drives some people crazy) – but the reason I don’t do that is because IT DOESN’T MATTER! Isn’t it refreshing not to think about that? Isn’t it awesome just to know that every single one of the calories that I’ve put into my recipes are good for you? Yay! Freedom! That’s how I feel about it. So, no labels, no calories, no fat grams, no carbs – let’s just eat, let’s just enjoy our food. When you’re eating this way you don’t have to think about that stuff – it’s actually total liberation from the mania surrounding food and diets. And because your body gets everything it needs, your weight will naturally balance itself out and your appetite will regulate itself  (that’s actually the most amazing thing – I used to overeat and by eating this way I just know when I’m full). I’ve actually been the same weight for the last 15 years!

 

What would you recommend as a first step to someone wanting to make their eating habits more nutritious?

I would recommend, that instead of cutting stuff out (which is what we usually think of when we’re trying to be more healthy), the first step is ADDING more food in; adding more greens, adding more root vegetables, adding more citrus, adding more berries. Because when you add in all that good stuff, it just kind of elbows the bad stuff out.

Another thing I’m always trying to convince people of, which is hard to until you try it, is when you start eating healthier food, your cravings for bad food diminish and you get to the point where you don’t even WANT bad food. Case in point, the other day my husband wanted to have a fun breakfast, so I went to the bakery to get big sugary, non-vegan, carb-loaded gluten-loaded cinnamon buns (because they’re delicious). But I got there, and looked at them, and came home with just one. He was like “What’s wrong with you?”, but I just didn’t want it, and that’s what happens 99% of the time. Of course, there’s the odd day when I just really need a cookie or something, but I know it’s going to make me feel sick! Even just looking at that kind of food, I already know I don’t want it. For me, a former sugar addict and junk food addict, this is the most fantastic feeling of freedom. I felt very chained to my addiction for so long and to now look at a chocolate bar with literally no desire to eat it, makes me feel really good. It’s very relieving, because I was a prisoner of my dietary urges, which is no fun at all.

So … adding more stuff, that’s the first step.

And actually, even before that – drinking more water! You don’t even have to buy anything to do this – just drink lots of water. Most people are just insanely dehydrated. We cannot think that coffee and tea and soda are a good source of hydration; yes, they’re based on water but they act differently in our cells. Water is the most important thing. Then we start bringing in all the yummy healthy foods, elbowing out the bad stuff, and THEN start cutting out the other stuff. But you know what? That’s probably going to happen naturally anyway.

 

Which recipe do you make most at home?

It’s definitely the four corners lentil soup – we make it probably once a week in our house … my husband even has it memorized and can make it without looking at the recipe! It’s fast and easy – it makes a ton, you can double or triple the recipe and stick the leftovers in the freezer – and you have something filling and nutritious in about 20 minutes. It’s inexpensive, all the ingredients are readily available at regular grocery stores and you can even keep everything on hand in your cupboard – it’s very much a staple food kind of recipe. We make it all the time. Bam, can’t go wrong.

 

What’s your favourite show-stopper recipe?

Great question! Well … maybe because I just posted it, but I’d say the whole roasted cauliflower with skhug – that was a really good one! It’s just beautiful, and it’s so great anytime of year but perfect for a special occasion. The falafel waffles are also really good – that’s a pretty epic meal. The roasted carrots and fennel with harissa is delicious, I love that recipe too. And I can’t forget, the raw vegan dreamcake – that’s also a good one and looks beautiful.

 

Can you offer any advice on how not to eat an entire batch of your Raw Brownies in one go?

Haha, you’re on your own with that one, I can’t help you! I actually keep the raw brownies in the freezer (although that doesn’t stop me from going in for more, because they’re actually really good frozen!). Just eat until you’re full and enjoy every bite.

 

 

Find out more about Sarah Britton and all of her amazing recipes here. Order the My New Roots cookbook here, pre-order her new book “Naturally Nourished” here or find the My New Roots app on the app store. Naturally Nourished is available February 2017, and the My New Roots Cookbook is available now.