Creating some Habits for Life

Habits for life

Summer holidays are just about over and many of us are now turning our attention back to routines and establishing those habits in our day-to-day lives that are perhaps more stabilising and nourishing and less ‘I’m in holiday mode!’

Looking back at my Detoxification module with The Institute for Functional Medicine, here are some of the key ‘take home’ messages that we can implement on a daily basis as a part of a new routine.

  1. WHERE IS THE COLOUR?does your plate look colourful to include all the powerful plant compounds vital for health?

    These compounds called polyphenols have profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.  They also act as prebiotics; supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut; supporting the gut lining and supressing bad bacteria all of which help with regulating and supporting the immune system and inflammation in the body.

    Goal – Try and have at least one colour from each colour group every day.

  1. DIVERSITY – Not the same old vegetables each week!
    Do we have a wide variety of foods each week?  The gut loves diversity to feed the beneficial bacteria which in turn reduces the risk of developing allergies and food intolerances. You can track your weekly intake with this form


    Goal – Aim for 50 plant based foods every week.

  1. WHAT IS YOUR COOKING METHOD? – slow and low is ideal. High heat, fast cooking creates more damaging compounds for our bodies to deal with. Cook with either water, butter, ghee, coconut oil or avocado oil and not olive oil as this is less stable at high temperatures, instead use cold drizzled on vegetables and salad.
  1. USE MORE HERBS AND SPICES – these contain powerful antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, support detoxification and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Jazz up your stir-fries by adding some grated ginger and turmeric. Crushed garlic sliced chilli.
  • In drinks – add turmeric to warm almond milk with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Steep lemon balm or mint in some hot water for tea.
  • In salads – adding herbs like basil, chives, mint and coriander to give salads a real buzz. You can include garlic and ginger in an olive oil dressing with some lemon or apple cider vinegar. Garlic has been linked to improving blood pressure levels and elevated cholesterol.
  • With eggs / scrambled tofu – add some fresh herbs like parsley, basil or chives.
  • Through grains like rice or quinoa – add fresh herbs to flavour or saffron or turmeric to add colour and flavour.

THIS WEEKS ‘EASY TO DO’ LIST;

Look at your plate and ask;

  1. Do I have rainbow on my plate?
  2. Do I have one new item on my plate that I wouldn’t usually have?
  3. Where are my herbs and/or spices?

GAYLE MERCHANT

It is my passion to support people in understanding what is at the root of the health conditions that they are facing. Functional medicine hand in hand with nutritional therapy helps me unearth the reasons for ill health and the obstacles that have been preventing recovery.

I wholeheartedly believe we are a blend of our histories; our food and lifestyle choices and our genetics – in fact, we are unique walking recipes ourselves. Finding the ingredients to help you make the best version of yourself is part of my work, so you can establish a loving friendship with your body and find balance in your life.