Gut health to boost immunity

Keeping your gut in good condition is essential for good immune health. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your gut? If you find you’re getting ill a lot and catching every bug around, consider booking a Colonic Hydrotherapy treatment to get your gut in tip top condition.

Colonic Hydrotherapy or irrigation is a method of de-toxifing the body to help in its natural healing process. It is a naturopathic treatment that involves the safe, gentle infusion of warm, filtered water into the colon, bathing the bowel and giving is a soothing, cleansing internal massage.

The gentle flow of water works in two ways: firstly it cleans out waste matter, gas, mucus and toxic substances including bad bacteria, parasites, and yeast organisms from the colon, and secondly it stimulates the natural nerve and muscle action of the bowels to encourage proper bowel function.

Colon hydrotherapy works with your body, helping to return your digestive system to a more natural, healthy state. A colonic is as normal and natural as any other part of your regular health and wellbeing regime.

Colonic Hydrotherapy gives many people a sensation of overall wellbeing, energy, and a feeling of lightness. It is often the inspiration for a healthier diet and lifestyle all round. What’s more, since your digestive system is closely linked with the rest of your body’s functions, the therapy may also help you with headaches, allergies, acne, and a range of other health issues, as well as improving cognitive function and increasing energy.

What happens during a treatment?
Warm filtered water is gently introduced into the colon via the rectum whilst the use of special techniques including ultra-sonic massage, acupressure and reflexology points stimulate the release of toxins and stored matter. Herbs can be used to stimulate or relax the bowel depending on whether you have an overactive or underactive bowel, and probiotic implants can be used where dysbiosis (when the bacteria in your gut is out of balance) is indicated. A closed system machine is used, which means clean filtered water is fed gently in to the bowel, and the water and waste is flushed out through a pipe, ensuring no fuss, no mess and no smells.

What conditions can it help with?
Constipation, Diarrhoea, liver complaints, halitosis, flatulence, haemorrhoids, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), Candida, skin problems – acne, eczema and psoriasis, bloating, asthma, allergies, fatigue, depression, anxiety and lethargy may all be helped by the detoxifying effects of Colonic Hydrotherapy.

Many people choose to have a series of Colonic Hydrotherapy to cleanse and detoxify the system rather than to deal with a specific health issue.

Click here to read more about Colonic Hydrotherapy and our Practitioners Lesley Painter and Caroline Shaw.
Article from Nutritional Therapist and Colonic Hydrotherapist Lesley Painter of

A Love Letter to Water

How much water do you drink? Not juice. Not tea. Water! Your body needs water and by mixing sugar, caffeine, bubbles, dairy etc you may be increasing intake of less useful stuff and potentially preventing efficient beneficial hydration and tipping your blood sugars unnecessarily. Whether you should be cutting out caffeine or sugary drinks is personal to your circumstances, but making sure you drink plenty of water is universally beneficial. How much is enough? It depends – how much you exercise, sweat, what else you eat and drink through the day. But why is it so important? If drinking water is so important then why do we all know someone who barely drinks any and seems to still be alive?? Fundamentally it’s the difference between surviving and thriving.

Here’s a dozen reasons to start a love affair with the humble glass of water.

1) Eliminate headaches as well as other pains in the body. Many headaches can be caused by dehydration and so can be reduced by a simple glass of water.

2) Water is vital for the transportation of nutrients to cells and waste products away from cells. Drinking enough water will benefit every mechanism and every organ in the body.

3) As an essential part of the mechanism for flushing toxins out of the body, water in-take can help reduce inflammation and reduce nerve pain.

4) Lubrication and protection of joints is maintained by sufficient water in the system.

5) Did you know that hydration plays a major part in maintaining body temperature? So if you get to hot or too cold then you may find that drinking enough water as a regular routine could help.

6) The subconscious trigger for being thirsty can often be confused with being hungry, causing you to overeat when actually your body is just needing a glass of water. You could prevent overeating by having a glass of water prior to a meal to make sure that the body’s hydration is sated first.

7) Being well hydrated is directly linked to having efficient metabolism and drinking plenty of water every day can help to increase the rate at which you burn calories and maintain energy supplies.

8) Keep your skin looking fresh, hydrate dry skin, and reduce blemishes by increasing the removal of toxins as they can flush through a well hydrated body more easily.

9) Your kidneys filter about 200 litres of fluid EVERY day! drinking enough water will help this process occur to it’s full capacity and could prevent any problems occurring such as infections or kidney stones.

10) Your large intestine is the last place that water is drawn into your body and so if you’re dehydrated then you may end up with very uncomfortable hard, dry poo. Enough water and fibre = joyful poos! And we all love a joyful poo!

11) Water is essential for optimal brain function. You can easily prevent the effects of dehydration such as tiredness, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, confusion, sadness, and irritability. Where drinking coffee can give you a perk up in the short term, it will also have dehydrating effects on the body and will cause tiredness in the longer term. You might find that having some water first thing in the morning before your coffee will be more beneficial for your concentration through the day. Which leads us to our final tip:

 12) A tip from my fellow Kinesiologist, Simon Webb: A couple of warm cups of water first thing in the morning can help to cleanse your system by keeping your over-night waste removal and mineral balancing processes flushing through efficiently. Ideally, have 2 cups of water that is warmer than body temperature but not too hot to drink comfortably, and let it be the first thing that you have in the morning.

 If you can, aim to drink around 2 litres of water each day. Use a bottle or jug so that you can measure the volume and know how many bottles or jugs you need to get through your daily quota. Try not to drink more than a pint in any one hour. Really hate drinking water?? Try adding some cucumber, mint leaves or other herbs or have hot water with lemon or fresh ginger. Or try adding a tiny pinch of rock or sea salt. Note that carbonated water can be useful to get water in, it can also play a role in leaching minerals from the body so not ideal for all your water intake.

Article written by Holistic Health Coach and Systematic Kinesiologist Jeni Howland of

The Power of Vitamin C

We’ve all heard of the benefits that it has on our immune system, but did you know Vitamin C deficiencies can cause depression and cravings for sugar too?

Stress and smoking can really use up our body’s supply of Vitamin C.  Smoking reduces up to 40% of the body’s supply of Vitamin C daily.  A non-smoker needs an average of about 1,000 mg of Vitamin C per day, whereas an average smoker may require about 3000 mg.

Processed foods are extremely low in Vitamin C since it’s a delicate vitamin that is easily destroyed by air and heat and so for many of us, a deficiency is common.

Fresh fruit & vegetables are the main supplier of this wonder vitamin. For optimum Vitamin C benefit it is best to remember the following:

· foods should be eaten raw, steamed or minimally cooked

· fruits and vegetables should be eaten as soon as possible after cutting or juicing. Orange juice, for instance, will lose more vitamin C the longer it is exposed to the air

· foods cooked quickly by steaming or sautéing will retain higher levels of Vitamin C than those cooked at high temperatures for longer periods of time

· when vegetables are boiled the Vitamin C will leach out into the cooking water and will diminish with high heat and long cooking times

What can you do to increase your Vitamin C levels?

· Reduce stress and practise relaxation techniques

· Sleep

· Quit smoking

· Reduce or cut out alcohol

· Eat lots of fresh seasonal and ideally local fruit and vegetables every day. Aim for 7 – 10 servings. Great sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit, but also plants from the cabbage family or brassica: kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, red, white and pointed cabbage. Other excellent sources are bell peppers and potatoes, rosehips, chillies, parsley, kiwi and papaya.

To find out how to tell if you’re deficient in Vitamin C and the best ways to supplement read the full article here 

Article written by Nutritional Therapist Marianne Andrews of

Strengthening Your Immunity

Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease. Strong immunity means that your body is better able to fight off viruses and germs. These days we all want to keep ourselves as healthy as possible, and there are lifestyle steps that we can take to try and strengthen our immune system.

Stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and over-exercising can all be additional burdens on our immune systems. Additionally, gut health is incredibly important to our immune function, given that the cells which help us fight bacteria and viruses are located in our gut mucosa. Vitamin D levels also play an enormous role and catching colds and flu may be symptomatic of an underlying deficiency.

Some easy steps to good immunity:

* Eat at least 5 portions of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Sprouts, broccoli and kale are all surprising sources of good levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a strong anti-oxidant, meaning that it protects our cells & supports the immune system.

Did you know that vitamin C is water soluble, meaning that you excrete it in your urine throughout the day. For that reason it needs to be eaten throughout the day –  every day – not just when you feel a cold coming on.

* Eat at least 3 portions of probiotic foods a week. Natural live yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut or kombucha, and if you are dairy free, coconut kefir or live coconut yoghurt are all good sources.

A good balance of beneficial gut flora can support your immune system.

* Add prebiotic fibre to your diet daily. Prebiotic foods are those which feed the good bacteria, encouraging a good healthy gut. Onions, garlic, bananas, leeks, asparagus, cabbage and lentils all have good levels of prebiotic fibre.

*Add spices – ginger, garlic and turmeric all have anti-inflammatory properties which can aid your body in its fight against infection.

* Check your Vitamin D levels. Chances are that as we leave summer behind your levels of vitamin D levels will plummet. Making sure that your vitamin D level is tip-top will significantly support your immune response. Low levels potentially make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory infections.

Click here to read the article in full.

Article written by Nutritional Therapist Marianne Andrews of


Healthier Minced Pies

Healthier Minced Pies

Filling ingredients

  • 1 large apple, like Braeburn, Gala
  • 75g raisins
  • 75g golden sultanas
  • 75g currants
  • 65g dried, unsweetened cranberries
  • 60g other dried fruit (sour cherries, blueberries, mango, apricots – dried but unsweetened)
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • 50g coconut palm sugar (or 2 tsp Stevia if you’d rather)
  • 4 tbsp organic butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1tbsp brandy

Pastry ingredients

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 75g coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • zest of an orange
  • 115g butter, frozen. Plus a little extra for greasing
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked


Add all of the ingredients above (other than the brandy, if using) into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir.  When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through a Tablespoon of brandy, and decant into sterilized glass jars. Leave to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until you’re ready to use.

Put the ground almonds and coconut flour in a bowl with the sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the orange zest. Grate the frozen butter into the flour and mix together with your fingers till a crumb forms. Stir in the egg and bring together with your hands to form a dough. Divide the dough in half, wrap each in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or overnight).

Pre heat the oven to 175˚C. Grease the moulds of a muffin pan with a little butter.  Remove the dough from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of baking/ greaseproof paper. Roll with a rolling pin to flatten out the dough till it is pie-crust thin.  Using a cookie cutter (or an upturned jam jar – needs to be about 8cm diameter) cut out 25 circles and lightly press into the muffin pan moulds. The pastry can be tricky to work with as there is no gluten holding it together. Be patient. If the pastry splits just push it back together with your fingers and use any pastry scraps to fix it up.

Fill up each pie mould with a heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat. Using the remainder of the dough cut out 25 stars to top each pie. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins, before gently easing them out.

Don’t be tempted to remove from the tin when they come out of the oven. They WILL fall apart!

Recipe by Nutritional Therapist Marianne Andrews

The importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a superstar vitamin. More correctly, it’s actually a hormone. If levels are too low, this is bad news for health. I’m talking cancer, osteoporosis, rickets in children, asthma, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis (and other autoimmune diseases), heart disease, diabetes and dental problems.


  • Sun cream. Your body makes vitamin D after contact with the sun’s UV rays but, as we’re a nation of sun cream fanatics (and this covers the skin, blocking the rays of sunlight from getting through), you might not be getting enough straight-up sun.
  • Age. Among other things that go a bit wrong as you get older, your body is less good at turning the rays from the sun into vitamin D. Specifically, the kidneys are less good with age at turning it to the active form of calcitriol.
  • Kidney or liver disease of any kind also means vitamin D is not converted to the active form.
  • Tummy troubles. Problems with the digestive system (and I’m not talking about disease here – just an imbalance that may cause anything from a few manageable symptoms to more serious trouble ‘downstairs’) mean the digestive tract does not absorb the vitamin D as well.
  • Obesity (technically that’s a BMI or body mass index of 30+) has the fat cells in your body hoover up the vitamin D. So then it’s stored – unusable – in your fat cells and is not whizzing around your body in your blood.
  • Lack of sleep. Just as you need sunlight to make vitamin D, you need sleep to actually use it.
  • Stress. The presence of the stress hormone cortisol reduces the uptake of vitamin D by special vitamin D receptors. It literally sits there, in the body, without being able to be used. What a waste!
  • Your skin colour. The darker your skin, the less vitamin D you will make. This is due to the higher levels of melanin in your skin that protect against UV light. By blocking the sun’s rays, it also curbs the body’s ability to make the pre-cursor to the active vitamin D.
  • Nightshift workers and anyone else who doesn’t spend much time in the sunlight, including children wearing sun cream all the time and babies. Quite simply, you need the sun on your skin.


Research shows you’re 11 times more likely to be depressed if you have low vitamin D than if you don’t.

Vitamin D can put the brakes on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 


  • Depression or anxiety (including mood changes or irritability)
  • Bone softening (low bone density), fractures
  • Feeling tired all the time/ decreased performance
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Joint pain (especially back and knees)
  • Difficulty regulating your blood sugar levels/ post lunch energy crash
  • Low immunity
  • Slow wound healing
  • Low calcium levels in the blood
  • Unexplained weight gain

Symptoms like these are commonly overlooked because they don’t feel life threatening, and they’re often dismissed as normal, everyday aches and pains you have to deal with. But you don’t have to put up with these symptoms of ill health!

If any of the above resonates with you, then you should definitely get tested. You might find your GP will do this for you. My experience is that they are usually amenable to this particular test. If your doctor won’t test, consider getting it checked out privately. In the big scheme of things the test is not expensive but it could change your enjoyment of your life

The test is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test (also known as the 25-OH vitamin D test or Calcidiol 25-hydroxycholecalciferol test). It’s the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body. Your doctor will want to know that there is a valid reason for having you tested. Go back through the list of symptoms and go in strong with this being the reason why you want to be tested.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to ask, feels uncomfortable asking or is just curious to know their levels, you can get the test done privately for £44. It’s a finger prick test, so you can do it easily at home, then get guidance on how much to supplement safely. If this is you, and you want to know more, just hit reply to this email and we’ll talk.

If you do take a test and you’re very low, you’ll need an intense 4-6 weeks supplementation at a high dose and then re-testing to see the impact it’s had. There is such a thing as too much vitamin D (known as vitamin D toxicity). You’d have to be going some way to get there, but it is possible, which is why it is essential you know your levels before you start guzzling any supplements. I know what you’re thinking. Here’s a few of those ‘yes, buts’ you have going on…


  • I already take a vitamin D supplement.
  • I go out in the sun quite a bit
  • Wouldn’t my doctor ask to test me if they thought it were a problem?
  • I’m too busy to take time off to take a test.

If you seriously have nothing wrong with you, if you didn’t identify with any of the symptoms in the list, then don’t bother. But if you did…And here’s a cautionary tale… one of my clients enjoyed sunning herself in the garden this summer with no sun cream (except for her 2 week holiday in August). But in spite of it being mid summer, her levels were only ¼ of what they should have been. The moral of this story is, be tested.


  • Get yourself some sun. Recommended sunlight exposure is between 10 and 30 minutes a day with no sun cream.
  • If getting out in the sun is not an option, sit in front of a light box that supplies 10,000 lux of full-spectrum light for 30 minutes every morning. This is an especially good option for winter months, for night shift.
  • Take a supplement. You can take a generic 1,000 IU dose as an adult (but not children without consulting your GP) BUT, if you’ve no idea what your blood levels are, how to you know how much you should be taking?
  • Eat naturally vitamin D-rich foods like oily fish (salmon, sardines, fresh tuna, trout, halibut, mackerel, et.), high quality cod liver oil, egg yolks and liver. Do not be fooled into thinking the fortified foods are the same or have similar benefits. Fortified foods (like cereals, margarine and some yoghurts) contain a synthetic version of the vitamin known as D2 (the natural form is D3). Research shows this is less effective at raising levels of vitamin D in the blood

Click here to read the full article written by Nutritional Therapist Marianne Andrews of

Staying healthy at Christmas

Strike the balance

Try to stagger your celebrations so you’re giving your body a chance to recover in between and have a couple of days of healthier habits. Don’t let one night of drinking and eating open the floodgates for the entire period. Enjoy yourself by all means but don’t wait until New Year’s Day to get back on it. Make your next meal nutritionally sound and keep pulling yourself back to your ‘healthful’ ways when you can

Stay Hydrated
Key is to stay well hydrated. Try to start the day by drinking 500ml first thing every morning alongside 2000mg of vitamin C  (Viridian Extra C) and 500mg of combined acetyl l-carnitine and lipoic acid, which will help to support energy, detoxification and liver health. Aim to drink a further 1.5l of water throughout the rest of the day, especially when you feel hunger pangs. Adding apple cider vinegar to water will also aid digestion and control sugar cravings.

Eat protein
Have a protein smoothie or a boiled egg before you go out to avoid arriving hungry and reduce the desire to reach for the canapés. This will also help you to make better food choices.  Bananas are also another good pre-party snack as they are rich in potassium, which can help to balance out electrolyte depletion caused by alcohol.

Pre and Probiotic foods
Increase your intake of pre and probiotic foods in the run up to Christmas to help to support your gut microbiome.  Alcohol can really interfere with the gut microbiome.  Foods such as garlic, onions, oats, apples and fermented foods.  Beetroot is a superstar antioxidant and known to have a protective effect on liver cells.

Taking a quality multivitamin can be a good insurance policy, a probiotic to support gut health and an omega-3 to help to reduce inflammation in the body and skin and brain health.

Be mindful of sugar
Keep your blood sugar levels stable by pairing high-GI foods with lower-GI foods.  For example – be sure to eat your roast potatoes with some turkey, salmon or nut loaf  and add a handful of nuts to balance the balance out the sugar spike from your Christmas pudding.

Try to avoid the crisps and pastry-based canapés and choose olives, nuts, hummus and crudités instead where possible.  Don’t be afraid of healthy fats found in olives, nuts and avocado.

Look After Your Liver
Don’t make the mistake of fasting all day to compensate for what you will eat later.  Instead, eat a light and nutritious lunch or brunch, ideally with protein and greens, which are great for liver detoxification. Eggs or smoked mackerel or smoked salmon with dark green vegetables are  great options.  Stock up on Brussels sprouts, kale, cavolo nero and cabbage, which provide incredible support for the liver,

Help your hangover
The liver’s ability to break down alcohol diminishes with age. Be sure to fill up on antioxidant-rich nutrients. A protein smoothie is a great breakfast option (add vitamin-C rich berries, spinach, avocado and ginger).  Drink a glass of water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to help to alkalise the body and flood it with minerals.

Boost Serotonin Levels
We naturally feel more tired on dark, winter days due to less exposure to sunlight, which affects our levels of Vitamin D in the body.  This has as direct effect on our mood and energy levels. Increase your intake of foods such as salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and sauerkraut to trigger your body’s production of serotonin.

Get Outside
Staying motivated to exercise over Christmas can feel near impossible, especially when it gets dark by 4pm. If you can’t fit in or face a workout then make sure you get outside for a reviving 30-minute walk. It can work wonders for your both your mood and energy levels.

Mindful eating
Try to chew your food slowly and take breaks between mouthfuls.  The slower we eat, the more time the body has to tell us we are no longer hungry and the less likely we are to over eat.


Baked Apple with nuts

Baked Apples with Fruit and Nuts


  • 6 large baking apples (preferably organic) unpeeled and cored
  • 20g walnuts
  • 30g dried apricots or dates
  • 25g sultanas
  • 20g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp of water


  • Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F) gas 4.
  • Mix together the walnuts/apricots/dates/sultanas and finely chop to make a paste.
  • Then mix in the pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and orange zest.
  • Stuff the centre of each apple with the mixture, pressing it firmly into the fruit.
  • Place the apples into an ovenproof dish with the water, then drizzle the orange juice over them.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 mins. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 mins.
  • Serve with a dollop of low-fat yoghurt (preferably goats/sheep) or non-dairy alternative.

Recipe by Nutritional Therapist Caroline Shaw of

Winter Chicken Tray Bake

Ingredients (serves three)

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 3 sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped or sliced
  • 2 parsnip chopped or sliced
  • ½ celeriac chopped
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper


  • Assemble prepared/cleaned/chopped/sliced vegetables on large baking tray.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/black pepper. Roll around and coat everything evenly.
  • Sprinkle salt/pepper on either side of chicken thighs.
  • Arrange chicken thighs, skin side up, on top of the vegetables
  • Roast at 425°F (220°C) for about 40-50 minutes or until the chicken skin is crispy and internal temperature reads 165°F (73°C)

Recipe by Nutritional Therapist Caroline Shaw of