Thursday, 20 August 2015


Are you often stuck for breakfast ideas? Most people think of breakfast as porridge or cereals...I think of high protein, good fats and my good quality decaf coffee of course !! Although porridge is ok for breakfast is can often be too high in carbohydrates and lack in protein and good fats which are the one that keep you full and satisfied for longer avoiding any blood sugar spikes throughout the day...I definitely do not recommend cereals as they are often full of sugar, refined additives and have empty calories with no nutritional value what so ever..I like to alternate my breakfast and never have the same meal every day...I also don't like to have too many smoothies especially in the morning as you body is designed to chew foods in order to have satisfaction and initiate the secretion of digestive enzymes and secrete leptin ( satiety hormone). So by starting your day with a smoothie you could actually be more hungry by 11 o'clock because you are going to break that juice down much faster and it could therefore lead to overeating and possible blood sugar imbalances especially if too much fruit is used in it! 

Here are 3 easy tips to improve your breakfast regime:

- If you decide to go for porridge make sure you add some milled seeds and nuts( at least 1 tbsp ). I particularly like hemp seeds as they are a complete protein source and rich in magnesium. However any blends would be a good choice. Aldi now do a good selections of milled nuts and seeds.

-Have an egg breakfast at least 3 times per week. Go for scrambled or poached egg and always have vegetables with it. My favourite is scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil with a pinch of turmeric and black pepper( very important as it enhance absorption of the cancer fighting benefits of turmeric), beetroot salad with dill and olive oil, steamed broccoli with some balsamic vinegar. Play out with your evening leftovers and don't be afraid of using them...

-If you decide to have a smoothie try to have only 1 portion of fruit only such as one apple, 1pear etc..then build up with your greens ( I personally don't recommend too many raw spinach and kale) or use a Supergreen powder with Spirulina, Chlorella etc..then add your fibre such as 1 tbsp milled chia seeds( absolutely my favourite in terms of fibre content) and your good fats such as 1 avocado or some rich coconut milk. You can use coconut milk, almond milk or rice milk but make sure you buy the unsweetened varieties and good brands.Lime juice is delicious with smoothies and packed with Vitamin C too. You can play out with spiced too such as ginger and cinnamon to add extra flavour and nutrition.
And for the 4th tips I will post an alternative breakfast recipe in the coming days.. In the meantime try to implement some of this tips into your diet and it will make a huge impact on your energy levels,sport performance, digestion and concentration....

Monday, 15 September 2014

Lipedema Challenge: Month 7

Living with Lipedema: Part 2 (The real fight)

It's been a while since I last wrote, being busy with our vegetable allotment, work and cooking.  Oh and of course I got engaged in the meantime too so a lot of exciting planning ahead !!
However I have also being very focused on my fat loss goals and was working out very hard and try to give it my best shot. It was a tough long journey, with weak moments, up and downs and a lot of insecurity of whether Lipedema could actually improve.

Well the results speak for themself, I was shocked to see such a drop on my leg and hip size as to me I was still the same size in the mirror. This goes to show how little WEIGHT loss matters compared to FAT loss. As you can see I am down 3.4kg in 4 months, which is a steady and proper weight loss.

Virginia Lipedema Progress:

Measurements: 75.4 kg
(May 2014)
Measurements: 72 kgs
(September  2014)
35.5 inch
34 inch
32.5 inch
30.5 inch
37.5 inch
34.5 inch
Upper arm
12 inch
11 inch
Upper leg
25.5 inch
22 inch
17.5 inch
17 inch

The REAL results is that I am lifting heavier, feeling stronger, feeling confident and motivated. REAL changes don't happen overnight and quick fixes are the road to failure. As a Lipedema sufferer this is a great achievement for me and keeps me fighting against this horrible and debilitating disease that is poorly understood and dealt with possibly all the wrong advice.

I would like to thank my wonderful and so inspiring  Functional Medicine Doctor for the great interest and effort she put for my case so far. Not to mention my amazing Personal Trainer which doesn't just keep you motivated but understands REAL life challenges and works around them to achieve best results.

Now let's hit the next target ...69 kg of muscles, strength and Lipedema FAT loss!! 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cholesterol myths and actual facts

You have probably heard that high cholesterol is not good for you at this stage and that you should limit foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats  and consume low fat products instead.
These include using margarines instead of butter, restrict your egg intake per week, choose low fat dairy and meat products and reduce alcohol intake.

Unfortunately these recommendations are well dated and there is not current  evidence that high cholesterol and saturated fats are actually the cause of heart disease but it's rather a number of factors that will make the most profound impact.
In order to understand this concept it's essential to understand the role of cholesterol in the body.

What makes cholesterol so important for health?

  • 75% of cholesterol is synthesize in the liver and only 25% account from food intake. Cholesterol is an essential structural component of cell membranes, it aids cell signalling and it's required to maintain cell fluidity and integrity. Every cell in the body requires essential nutrients to survive and function optimally so the structure of each membrane is essential in order to obtain these nutrients into the cells.
  • Cholesterol is a precursor for steroid hormone synthesis such as    cortisol, estrogen , progesterone, testosterone to name a few. If cholesterol levels are too low (usually below 5.2 mmol/L) the manufacturing of these hormones may be impaired and therefore will disrupt hormonal balance. This may lead to Infertility, Chronic fatigue, Pre menstrual syndrome,  Hormone detoxification imbalances, Thyroid imbalances, Immune dysfunctions and skin issues.
  • Cholesterol is a precursor of bile acids which are essential to digest fats properly and regulate gall bladder function. Being on a low fat diet can eventually lead to fat  malabsorption. This means that all the fat soluble vitamins are not going to be absorbed properly including the crucial Vitamin D which we lack from here in Ireland. Supplementation may not be as effective too as it needs fat to be absorbed in the small intestine. Not to mention Vitamin E which is one of the most powerful antioxidants and is usually obtained from good quality oils such as organic sunflower oil,  almond, olive oil and avocado.
So as you can see cholesterol is crucial for optimum health and there is no such a thing of "good"( also called HDL) or "bad" ( also called LDL)  cholesterol as new research is showing that there is actually only one type of cholesterol. However some types of LDL cholesterol can oxidise in the arteries and may cause inflammation and that's why antioxidants are so important in the diet especially from vegetables ( especially green leafy vegetables and rainbow coloured ones) and small fruit berries( blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, acai berries).  Organic raw cacao and red wine are also included on the list but in small amounts otherwise they will rather act as "oxidants" !.

So my recommendation to you is to enjoy organic full fat butter, organic whole milk  yoghurt, green pasture meat, organic and free range eggs. However good quality fat  also needs to  be obtained from vegetarian sources  such as coconut oil( which is one the best oils for cooking), olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

If you would like more information feel free to contact me on my email or phone +353 85 1139088.


Cholesterol and Diet

Avocado: Vitamin E content

Olive oil: Vitamin E content

Sunflower oil: Vitamin E content

Almond oil: Vitamin E content

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Top 5 Superfoods to Boost Fertility Naturally

With infertility being on the rise more couples are now looking at alternative options in order  to conceive naturally  or have the best success trough IVF.
Nutrition plays a huge role in fertility of both Female and Male and is often underestimated.

A stressful lifestyle,poor intake of protein and good fats and high consumption of processed foods are probably the key factors of infertility.
Lack of  vegetables and fruits varieties in the diet is also a key factor that could possibly contribute to low  key vitamins and minerals intake, which would greatly affect the reproductive organs.

However the good news is that you can boost your fertility in just 3 to 6 months with balanced nutrition, supplements and exercise.
There are a number of holistic therapies such as acupuncture and reflexology that can greatly increase your chances of conception too combined with a Nutritional Therapy programme.

Top 5 Superfoods to boost Fertility Naturally :

  1. Maca(Lepidium Meyenii) is a root vegetable member of the Brassica Family. It originates in Peru and is traditionally used to replace flour for bread,cakes and pancakes. It can also be added to soups or smoothies and the gelatinized form is usually the most digestible one as the tough fibres have been removed.
Clinical trials have confirmed it's hormonal balancing effect. 
The mechanism of action is not yet known but it is believed that Maca may act as a toner on the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis which is crucial in the regulation of the reproductive and immune system. It is considered to be an adaptogenic which means it may help to enhance optimal  hormonal balance in the body without being toxic. Estrogen dominance in women  may increase infertility and miscarriage risk due to its progesterone lowering effect. Studies have shown that Maca may help to increase progesterone levels and therefore increase chances of conception and  healthy pregnancy. Estrogen in men increase erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, low sperm count and lowered production of seminal fluid. Studies have shown that men that regularly consume Maca have increased libido and better sperm health. 
  1. Dark Chocolate or Raw Cacao has become very popular recently as it is believed to be the most healthier way of eating chocolate. Ever wondered why women crave chocolate so much especially during their periods?
    There are multiple answer to this but dark chocolate ( 70 to 85 % cocoa content) has significant amount of Magnesium  ( 146 mg per 100g ) along with Flavonols which are naturally occurring chemicals that can increase nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide promotes blood flow and relaxation of the arteries. It is believed that dark chocolate may also raise serotonin, the happy hormone, levels in the brain and the gut. Dark chocolate can therefore reduce stress levels and promote a healthy environment for conception and healthy pregnancy. It is best to enjoy organic varieties as the cocoa bean is one of the most heavily sprayed crop in the world !!
  2. Avocado is possibly one of the best fats you can eat. The high concentration of mono unsaturated fats have been shown to balance immune function, reducing inflammation and therefore increase chances of conception and healthy pregnancy. 
    Avocado also contains significant amount of  Folic acid which have been shown to improve  egg production and reduce ovulatory failure along with the reduction in birth defects.  Considerable amounts of Potassium and Magnesium are also found in avocados which are essential to maintain water balance, reduce fatigue and toxin overload.  The Vitamin E content in avocados act as an antioxidant to protect cell damage and promote egg and sperm health.

  3. Broccoli sprouts are member of the Brassica family, which have shown positive effect on oestrogen metabolism.
    Broccoli are high in glucosinolates which are metabolised into indoles and isothiocyanates. I3C may increase estrogen detoxification from the body and promote hormonal balance. This in turn may increase fertility and healthy menstrual cycles. The sprouting method may increase enzyme activity, produce Vitamin C,  increase  Vitamin B and carotene levels, neutralize phytic acid therefore increasing bioavailability. You can add them to salad or smoothies and it is best not to apply heat as most enzymes will be destroyed.

  4. Organic and free range eggs are a complete protein source containing vital key nutrients. Protein is essential for good quality embryos and eggs. Try to include eggs in your daily diet at breakfast,for lunch or for some dinner omelette.
    B vitamins
    are considerably high in eggs and are involved in energy production and hormone metabolism. Choline is possibly one of the key nutrients in eggs, in relation to fertility, as it is essential in pre conception and pregnancy for nervous system and brain development. Hens raised on a foraging diet of grasses, legumes, worms, insets and grubs produce eggs of superior  nutritional quality, including more  Vitamin E and Omega 3 fats compared to conventional eggs. These nutrients are particularly important for fertility especially for their anti oxidant and anti inflammatory proprieties. 


Maca's hormonal balancing effect

Monounsaturated Fats and Fertility

Dark Chocolate Nutritional values

Folic acid role in Fertility/Pregnancy

Indole 3- Carbinol

Protein Intake and Fertility


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Dairy and Gluten free Goodness Dessert

Coconut and Hazelnut Pie :

I always loved cheesecake but didn't feel so good after eating it, possibly due to the heavy cream and dairy products in it along with loads of sugar. This recipe is absolutely delicious, very simple to make, rich of good fats, protein, low in sugar and sooo creamy.



6-7 large pitted dates (as soft as possible)
100 g of pecan nuts/walnuts
100 grams of desiccated coconut
2 tbsp of melted butter/coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract


1 cup of hazelnut butter
4 tbsp of melted/soft coconut oil
1 cup coyo plain coconut yoghurt
6 large pitted  dates 
3 tbsp raw cacao powder (use a sieve to avoid lumps)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt


Start by making the crust, blending the dates until smooth. Then add pecan or walnuts,  desiccated coconut, butter, vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and then spread mixture evenly into a pie dish.

Then start preparing the filling by blending dates until smooth then add hazelnut butter, coconut oil, coconut yoghurt, cacao powder, vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Blend until smooth or until it has reached a creamy consistency. Add it on the top of the crust and freeze for at least 2 hours.

It best to serve it frozen as it may be too soft otherwise.

Feel free to comment below to let me know how yours turned out.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Paleolithic Lifestyle : Key Health Benefits on Hormonal Health.

What is a Paleolithic Lifestyle?

People that follow a Paleolithic lifestyle usually follow the presumed diet  consumed on the ancient Paleolithic era where modern agriculture did not exist.

Most popular foods included are: grass fed meat, organic and free range fish and eggs, most vegetables, nuts and seeds, good quality oils, plenty of water and herbal teas. All the other food groups are excluded especially grains and processed dairy.

The whole concept of this lifestyle is to eat the least amount of processed foods and include  mainly organic and free range produce.

Key Health Benefits:

  • Improved mood, energy levels and sleeping patterns
There is no doubt, excessive carbohydrate consumption will make you feel tired and sluggish unless you are a marathon runner or an endurance athlete where you constantly need to replenish your glucose stores. In the real world we do not need to consume 5-6 portions of the recommended carbohydrates daily as we simply don't need it and it will end up in our fat storage sites.
When we eat a large carbohydrate meal blood sugar levels spikes for approximatively 2-3 hours (it much depends on the individual person), followed by a severe hypoglycaemia which triggers the hormone cortisol (stress hormone ). This happens because the pancreas has to release  large amount of insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control (which can be dangerous if left on the circulation for too long). If we don't burn off these carbohydrates during the day they will be converted into triglyceride and will be stored in your fat cells.
In the long run it can cause fatigue, low energy especially after lunch, and poor sleeping patterns (usually feeling an energy burst after 9pm). The Paleolithic lifestyle does not include these heavy carbohydrates, instead it includes little amounts from vegetables and fruit. So basically your blood sugar will not spike throughout the day and you will have more energy, feel more concentrated and sleep better.
This could be very beneficial for Lipedema sufferers considering the tendency to have hormonal imbalances, showing high cortisol, low DHEA and estrogens levels. This may may suppress sex hormone synthesis and in turn affect the overall hormonal balance. Therefore the Paleolithic lifestyle could possibly be the best approach to support any hormonal imbalances over a long term period of time.

  • Reduce Overall Inflammation

One of the most important food group to reduce overall inflammation is FAT, not hydrogenated or refined but instead from good sources especially the Omega-3 type.
In the modern world Fat still has a bad reputation, linked to bad health habits and health issues. However more and more health care professionals are now recognising the health benefits of eating a diet high in beneficial fats. For many years low fat diets were promoted in order to loose weight, reduce cholesterol and avoid Health diseases. The results was increased obesity rates, hormonal issues and increase in inflammatory related health conditions.

It is very important to note that a large part of the human body is made of fat, which can only be manufactured from dietary intake, so it is not surprising that we need to get the right amount of the good ones in the diet. The Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from fish like wild salmon, anchovies and sardines, however some amount is contained in nuts and seeds but it is not absorbed as efficiently as the animal one. 

This type of fat helps the body to manufacture anti-inflammatory hormones and suppress the pro inflammatory ones. Recommended intake vary from person to person but as a general rule eating fish at least 3 times a week will provide you a good amount of Omega-3 fats. It is also important to eat both good quality saturated fats (from organic butter and raw coconut oil) and mono unsaturated ones from avocado, olive oil, cold pressed nut and seed oils. These will also provide some key antioxidant fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and K.

Lipedema is an inflammatory condition and it is therefore important to try and minimize inflammation. The Paleolithic lifestyle includes all these essential fats which should be consumed daily so would be highly recommended for this condition.

  • Weight loss particularly fat loss and increased lean mass

Counting calories is a thing of the past as you don't need to do it when you follow a Paleo lifestyle. The focus is to eat more whole foods which make you feel fuller for longer and avoid the need for frequent snacks, which are the ones that tend to cause issues with weight gain. You should be able to have 3 normal meals which includes plenty of vegetables, protein and fat and some fruit. It's the quality of calories that you eat that will have a huge impact on your satiety levels, blood sugars and energy levels and will make you succeed in your fat  loss.

Exercise has a huge impact on fat loss so it is important to have a routine and stick to it, incorporate it to your lifestyle and find the best exercise that suit your body.

Lipedema sufferers often have reduced mobility so it is important to consider a low impact exercise which can be done more frequently. Fat tissue is able to manufacture a number of hormones, as it is composed of live cells, so it's important not to shift too many chemicals too quickly in order to avoid unpleasant side effects.

To have  your personalized plan you can contact me via email: or phone  00353-85-1139088.

Nuts with a kick!

Toasted mixed nuts with Tamari sauce (soya sauce)


1 cup of almonds
1 cup of cashew nuts (or Hazelnuts)
1-2 tbsp of Tamari sauce (Gluten free)


Dry roast the nuts in a non stick pan for at least 3-4 minutes or until lightly brown, stirring them constantly to avoid burning. I use a gas cooker which gives a totally different taste compared to oven roasted or an electric cooker.
Once roasted turn off the gas and simply pour the Tamari sauce, stir it in and enjoy!!

Best to store them in an air tight container once cooled down.