All posts in September 2014

  • Red wine loves your gut flora.


    You already know that I LOVE Champagne -If not, click here to know why.

    You know I LOVE red wine too if you have read my 5 Cheat Foods Guide: 

    • One of the most delicious drinks on the planet, red wine is packed with flavonoids and resveratrol. Its powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities protect the artery walls from free radicals.
    • Red wine could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 40% and increase longevity. No surprise the French enjoy longer and healthier lives.
    • No surprise either red wine is currently getting a lot of traction with -finally!- the huge come-back of the Mediterranean diet (which includes the French diet and abides by the French Paradox principles).

    Recent research identified ANOTHER REASON to worship red wine – well… ALWAYS in moderation: red wine is actually highly beneficial for our gut flora by helping good bacteria to flourish while minimising the development of bad ones! Our gut flora affects every cell in our body and can help prevent many diet-related conditions: weight gain, ageing, depression and chronic diseases. Yes, our health starts in our gut:

    Wine for your glut flora.

    One (or two) glass a day.

    • There are about 6,000 strains of bacteria in a healthy gut. Balance and diversity of these bacteria are required to maintain health. Our heavily pasteurised diet and modern lifestyle jeopardise our gut flora: sugar, processed foods, medication, exposure to chemicals and stress dramatically reduce the number of good bacteria.
    • When the gut flora is unbalanced, the digestion is impacted: you aren’t able to make the most of the food you eat, which consequently makes you feel less full and hungrier, increases insulin resistance directly making you fat.
    • The gut flora of an overweight person (i.e. more than 65% of the population in Australia or New Zealand!) will not only have less diversity than in a slimmer person’s flora but will also be more populated with bad bacteria, encouraging inflammation and weight gain. Terrible vicious circle. If you want to know more about how to protect your gut flora, click to go to my recent post here.
    Red wine for gut flora.

    Our gut flora says: MERCI!

    However this is not a permit to binge drinking! You can reap the benefits of red wine if you drink up to 2-3 glasses of red wine per day for men and up to 1-2 for women. More glasses and all health benefits are gone, leaving you with serious health risk associated to the amount of alcohol. So, most of the time, stick to 1 to 2 glasses per day.

    Here are a few other principles to master the art of red wine the French way:

    • Use proper wines glasses and only half or 2/3 full. And, no, I’m not talking about those fish bowls.
    • Then ‘let it breathe': wine needs to be exposed to air to express its full aroma.
    • Enjoy it with your eyes and your nose first. Look at it, its colour, the light going through. Smell it. Close your eyes. 
    • Then drink it slowly, enjoying each sip.
    • Enjoy it WITH food. Never by itself.
    • Try organic with little or no chemicals, in particular sulphites, cause of many allergies. 

    À la vôtre! … And enjoy (in moderation as always!).


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  • Time for a spring detox?


    It’s this time of the year again: everyone is talking about starting a spring detox!

    As you know, I’m not necessarily a big fan of detoxes and other tough cleansing programs, but I do believe that if you’re feeling tired, sluggish, heavy and foggy, it might be a good idea to look at a few gentle options.

    Here are the 10 questions my clients ask me the most frequently about detox. I hope you’ll find the answers helpful!

    Spring detox? Great tips from Food Matters TV.

    1- What exactly is a spring detox if you don’t know?

    Detox is about giving your liver and your digestion system a rest, eliminating toxins mainly accumulated from foods (but also from drinks, pollution, radiation, stress) and replenishing and boosting your body with nutrients, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins which many people lack, in particular after winter. 

    Basically during a detox, you don’t have or you reduce the following foods that add toxins: wheat, sugar, alcohol, refined and processed food, dairy, coffee, sodas (diet sodas included), artificial sweeteners, and animal foods.

    And you’ll stock up on organic, real, whole, fresh and local non-animal foods: a lot of leafy greens, onions, garlic, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, parsley, mint, basil, coriander but also raw nuts, brown rice, quinoa, and healthy fats. You can add organic eggs, wild-caught cold-water fish and grass-fed meat but only in small quantities.

     2- Can a spring detox be dangerous for your health?

     For some people, yes definitely. Always consult your GP before starting any type of cleansing, in particular if you have a medical condition, .

    If you are run-down or anxious, a detox is not a good idea at all. Or at least not a strict detox that looks like punishment and goes with cravings, deprivation and frustration for many and which could be counter-productive if not harmful for your health. Listen to your body. Always. Never punish or you will see rebound effects weeks, months or years later.

     3- Why can a spring detox be necessary after winter?

    During the colder months we all eat way too much while often indulging on alcohol, refined foods, a lot of meat, sugary foods and sweets: a very acidic diet, which promotes oxidation, inflammation and overloads our liver. The problem is this extra burden drastically reduces the liver key jobs: neutralising and eliminating toxins and helping burn fat! So it is very important to get our liver back on track.

    4- What can you eat to help cleanse your liver?

    It is critical to support our liver as its workload has increased dramatically over the last century: it is responsible for eliminating medication, radiation, air/water pollution, pesticides, personal care products, food additives, cleaning products, air freshener and 40,000 chemicals brought into our lives since the 1940s. To assist your liver detox, overcrowd your diet with these liver-friendly foods: avocados, green tea, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens (think kale, spinach, boy choy, rocket), artichokes, ginger, apple cider vinegar and lemon. 

    5- Is there another way to detox than green juices…?

    cosmo logoAbsolutely – I’m not a big fan of green juices myself, so I totally get you! My clients usually love this mild detox (only organic foods): a week of super clean diet with a limited amount of clean animal foods. It was featured in COSMOPOLITAN magazine (click here to read the article):

    • before breakfast: start your day with a hot lemon water with fresh ginger
    • breakfast: avocado, baby spinach + olive oil with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
    • snack: kiwi fruit with raw almonds
    • lunch: pear and rocket salad + organic poached/boiled eggs + Dijon mustard/olive oil/apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    • snack: hummus, carrot sticks or fresh coconut juice and flesh
    • dinner: quinoa salad + pomegranate + walnuts /  strawberries for dessert
    • 2 litres of filtered water throughout the day and or herbal teas)

    6- What is the ideal duration for a quick and effective detox?

    One size definitely doesn’t fit all. Your health condition, your body type, your goals, your lifestyle are unique. For some one day of lemon/ginger water (see Q6) will be enough to feel better. Others will need to cleanse for up to 3 to 6 weeks as the liver replaces itself after 6 weeks and you start seeing real results after 2 weeks (glowing skin, better sleep, high energy, more focused, weight loss). For those who can’t detox for major medical reasons, it will be more about introducing cleansing foods (see Q1) in their daily diet with one day of fasting every month. 

    7- What would a day’s food on a detox look like (drinks, snacks, meals)

    If you really want to go for a 100% alkalising and super cleansing detox, consider this very simple yet highly purifying plan for 3 days. Start your day with hot lemon water. Eat nothing but organic or chemical-free green leafy vegetables (baby spinach, rocket, kale, bok choy…), avocados, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, mint, basil, and coriander. You can also add some fruits (not a lot!): lots of lemons and berries. One banana a day is also allowed. Be inventive and make juices, smoothies, soups, and salads. You’ll be surprised how easy it is (and if it’s not that easy for you, remember it is only for 3 days!). For instance you can have a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, a soup for dinner and have juices for snacks. Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with some olive oil as a very healthy dressing. A whole fresh coconut with the flesh and the juice is also a delicious, satisfying snack. Drink 2 litres of filtered water and as much as organic herbal tea as you want.

    8- Give me one easy tip I can use now?

    These foods (listed in Q7) are rich in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), which require fat to be absorbed properly. So each time you have your juice, smoothie, salad or soup, always add a good quality fat such as coconut oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, fish oil to make the most of these very important vitamins.

    9- How much water or what liquids should you drink while detoxing?

    Water, water, water! Quantity is important (I recommend to drink 2 litres a day) but quality is also paramount for a good detox. Filtered water is the best option or mineral water in glass bottles (to avoid chemicals from plastic bottles). Fat-soluble vitamins (C, Bs) enter your body with water so plenty of filtered water is definitely needed for a detox to work. If you find plain water boring, you have plenty of other options. Organic green tea is one. Herbal teas such as cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, or liquorice tea are fantastic to support digestion while minimising sugar cravings. You also can make your own vitamin water: fresh sliced whole fruits (with skins and flesh) such as lemons (help in the absorption of sugars and calcium and cuts down your cravings for sweets), limes (promote a healthy digestive tract), berries (full of antioxidants), sliced vegetables and herbs such as cucumber (acting as a diuretic and flush fat cells) and mint (natural appetite suppressant that also aids in digestion and helps to keep cool during warmer days), marinated in filtered water overnight and drunken throughout the day. It is delicious and one of my clients’ favourites!


    Yoga and meditation: my detox of choice.

    10- Is detox only about food?

    My ‘nourish, don’t punish’ approach to really work needs to talk to the body and the mind at the same time: every day, practice yoga (so powerful to detoxify the livers, kidneys, gall bladder, lungs…), meditate (5mn a day is a good start), move to aid digestion and stimulate metabolism (an early 30 minutes walk in the park, a swim in the ocean), apply a detoxifying face and body mask, exfoliate and sleep a lot (our liver filters and purifies our blood at night). Stay away from BPA (in plastic containers and cans), pesticides, chlorine, fluoride, parabens/propylene glycol/aluminium (in personal care products), non-stick cookware, and nicotine. Try to get all screens (mobile, tablets, TV, computers) switched off from 7pm until the next day (or 2 hours before going to bed).

    A great tip from my great grandmother, popular cook and health practitioner in the 1920’s: take a walk in the morning dew as often as you can. High in electricity and energy, it is very alkalising for the body… According to Asian traditions, it feeds the kidney meridian, essence of life.

    Are you going to do a detox? Any tip to share? Let me know!

    Talk to you next week.


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  • What Should I Eat?


    “What should I eat? Paleo, 5:2 fast diet, juice cleanse, raw diet, no-sugar…?” I know that feeling. With so many fad diets, how not to be confused?  

    The team of the Good Food magazine was asked to road-test the most popular diets and it’s proven to be a tough time for the journalists. Here’s their verdict: most of these diets don’t work, none of them are sustainable, some are super expensive and they can leave you cranky, tired, hungry … and bored! 

    Interestingly the Good Food team was not allowed to test the olive oil, fish and wine-friendly Mediterranean diet (which abides by the principles of the French Paradox) as it was considered as a walk in the park compared to the other hardcore options.

    I bet they already knew there was nothing worth testing: it works, it’s sustainable. It makes you live longer, look younger and puts a smile on your face. These principles make France one of the healthiest and slimmest countries on the planet: 35% of the French are overweight or obese compared to 65% of Australians and New Zealanders. All without having to live off raw kale and green juices and while still enjoying ‘demonised’ foods like bread (yes, grains and gluten!), cheese and butter (yes, dairy!) and wine (yes, sugar!).

    If you have missed the Good Food article published this week, here are my favourite quotes (for a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of each diet, you can also have a look at the article by clicking here). Hopefully this will help you answer the question: what should I eat?… Or what NOT to eat!

    • No bread is one thing but no cheese either? That’s just rude…


    “My main qualm with the paleo diet is that I found it dull… No bread is one thing but no cheese either? That’s just rude… I don’t know how anyone could pull this off with a family of non-paleo dieters.”

    However the journalist lost some weight and felt better.


    “It’s expensive, time consuming and uncomfortable… How hard is it to eat out? Utterly impossible… I may not eat another vegetable for the next 6 months.”

    However the journalist may choose more salads and veggies in the future.

    • 5:2 FAST DIET

    “Fasting days are so boring…  How hard is it to eat out? On fasting days, don’t even try… Sadly now, I am on the 7:0 diet.”

    However the journalist is considering trying to do one fasting day a week. 

    • NO-SUGAR

    “Expect to spend a large chunk of your Sundays cooking up for the week ahead… I’m easing myself back into sugar.”

    However the journalist felt healthier, and her skin cleared up.

    • VEGAN

    “I’m not quite ready to make the full transition to veganism… Lack of variety when eating out… No more cheese.” 

    However it helped the journalist feel healthier, lighter, and had a positive impact on her mood.

    • Raw, vegan, juice cleanse...

      Raw, vegan, juice cleanse… What a life!

      RAW FOOD

    “I’m sick of nuts even in a cashew ‘cheese’ cake… It’s time consuming… Not ideal when you prepare separate meals for the rest of the family who aren’t concerned about the ravages of ageing.”

    However the journalist’s skin got a little clearer.


    “It’s a lot of work… Very costly, about $110 a day… My kitchen was a mess… How hard is it to eat out? Impossible “

    However from day 3, the journalist felt much healthier, had buckets of energy and her skin looked great.

    • 12WBT

    “Clean the pantry, plan my meals, shop, measure myself, weigh myself, assess my fitness, gear up, write down what I ate, track my exercise, print out the meal plans, cook. It felt like a second job… No carbs = cranky shrew wife with no sense of humour.”

    However the journalist found it was sensible, non-faddish philosophy geared to long-term health.


    “Time consuming, boring flavours, expensive.”

     However it is designed and works very well for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can be life-changing for them.


    a- trusting the time-tested, no-nonsense, no-BS best-kept secret of 60 million people in France now backed by modern research (and all while eating for pleasure),
    or b-  being fooled by the latest boring and non-sustainable fad diets – true tickets to depression?

    No-brainer, isn’t it?

    Have you tried any of these hardcore diets? Did it work for you? I can’t wait to hear what you think?

    Have a great week.


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  • The power of healing foods


    This is a true story and it moved me to tears.

    It is a perfect demonstration of the power of healing foods. If you are not convinced that Food is Medicine, this story is for you. If you’re already convinced, it will make your day. Coming from a doctor, this story might impress you even more. Read until the end as this story could change your life.

    Dr Terry Wahls

    Dr Terry Wahls

    Dr Terry Wahls, Professor of Medicine, University of Iowa, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – for which there’s no cure- back in 2000. She had 2 young children and was the main breadwinner in the family. She could not let this happen… So she saw the best MS experts, took the newest drugs… It helped for a while but then she slowly continued to decline while the disease was progressing. Her health deteriorated to a point where she could not work any longer. She was so exhausted that she had to give up her medical practice. She eventually could not walk any more and ended up in a wheelchair. With no hope to recover one day. Her life was over. She could not accept it. She started doing a lot of research.

    She first discovered papers confirming that if our body is deprived of what she calls the key building blocks -antioxidants, vitamins, essential fats and minerals – the chemistry of life doesn’t happen properly.

    She also found a growing body of research about how factors in the environment speak to our DNA and can turn on some genes and turn off others. Those factors can turn a healthy body into an inflamed, sick, disease prone body… What are those factors?

    The first one is sugar: from 5kg per year per person in the 1700s, we jumped to 25k in the 1950s, 40k in the 70’s and now a whopping 70k! Sugar in all its forms (in particular its hidden forms in take-aways, restaurants, packaged foods)  crowds out the food we need to get the key building blocks.

    – Gluten is also on the list. If you remember I took you through my own ‘one month without gluten’ experimentation  a few months ago (click here if you haven’t read it already). Dr Wahls is talking here about how gluten promotes inflammation and fuels diseases on an already inflamed body.

    – Exposure to toxins: in food, water, air, personal care, house, office…

    – Lack of physical activity: in the past women used to walk 4 to 6 km a day and men 12 to 20 km a day… think of how much you walked today and you’ll understand what Dr Wahls is talking about.

    – Level of stress: we are not programmed to live under chronic stress without being able to go back to a normal rest state. Ongoing stress… Sounds familiar?

    The power of healing foods.

    Healing greens.


    Healing coloured vegetables

    She then decided to take radical actions to address each of those factors: she dramatically reduces her intake of sugar and gluten. She followed a strict diet made of leafy greens, coloured and sulfur vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, organ meats. She went 100% organic for her food and personal care products. She stimulates her muscles (with an electrical muscle stimulation device as she could not walk) and started to meditate every day.

    So now listen to this: In 3 months, her fatigue was gone. 6 months later, she could walk again without a cane. Within 9 months she was riding her bike for the first time in 5 years. And within 12 months she went on a 40-km bicycle holiday with her family. In one year, she went from a wheelchair to a normal, active, healthy life and went off medication.

    Her story changed her as a person but also as a physician and the way she understood diseases. She doesn’t deny the importance of medication but now acknowledge that they address symptoms but not the root cause of diseases.

    The power of healing foods in action.

    The power of healing foods over 12 months only.

    Her conclusion  about the power of healing foods is for everyone who wants to create, reclaim or maintain health: ‘everyday you choose what you eat and what you do. Now that you know, what choices will you make?’ 



    You can watch Dr Wahls’ video by clicking here. Yes, this beautiful story made me cry… And you? Did it move you as much as it moved me?

    Have a great week.. (and if you haven’t done it already, sign up to my weekly newsletter. It’s FREE. Simply enter your first name and your email address at the bottom of this page).


    Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Nothing in my practice and this article is intended to diagnose or treat any disease or a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor or qualified health professional. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, always seek professional medical help.