All posts in March 2015

  • Chips anyone?


    Who said an healthy diet had to be boring, dull and tasteless? Who said you had to give up everything you love? NOT ME!

    Chips anyone?!

    Chips anyone?!

    Pleasure has to be part of the equation if you want any changes in your diet to be sustainable. Many nutrition experts fail to acknowledge the instrumental part it plays in making us healthy. It is however the backbone of the positive attitude to food and life of the French, which contributes to make them one of the slimmest and healthiest countries. 

    Pleasure is a nutritional element requirement, a potent metabolic force and an agent of health. Pleasure catalyses metabolic efficiency. It makes life worth living.” says Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I could not agree more: my formula Real Food + Pleasure = Health has proven to work with so many of my clients.

    One of the best examples is… chips and fries!

    Yes. Chips. And. Fries.

    If ditching already-made potato chips or fast food fries is not negotiable (true fat-bombs made with pro-inflammatory highly refined oils, one of the main causes of diet-related diseases), there are chips and fries that you definitely should have in your diet: chips and fries made at home with super vegetables, super healthy oils and… love: try these super easy, super quick, super healthy and delicious recipes!


    These 3 vegetables packed with nutrients are ideal for chips:

    • Sweet potato: fibre, vitamin C and A, lower GI, anti-cancer phyto-nutrients. Please keep the skin as this is where you have the most nutrients!
    • beetroot: packed with antioxidants, helps detoxify, strengthens immune system.
    • Kale: packed with phyto-nutrients, vitamin A and C, fibre, antioxidants.
    The best chips!

    Beetroot, kale, sweet potato: the best chips!

    You simply need to cut them in fine slices. For the kale, discard the stems. Then toss in organic olive oil for a few minutes. Add sea salt and any other seasoning that you like such as cumin (fat burning), pepper (metabolism booster), fresh herbs (antioxidants) or even parmesan  (helps absorb phyto-nutrients better). Toss again until wet (in particular for the kale).

    Put the raw chips on a tray lined with baking paper in a pre-heated oven (170 to 200 degrees). Cook for 5 minutes. Turn them once to make sure they don’t bake on one side only. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp.

    DUCK FAT SWEET POTATO FRIES from the south west of France.

    This brand of duck fat is available in some health food stores... Delicious.

    This brand of duck fat is available in some health food stores… Delicious.

    Duck fat, one of the healthiest animal fats, is the best to give your fries a to-die-for taste!

    Simply cut the sweet potatoes into finger-shape fries. Again, keep the skin as this is where you have the most nutrients! Toss gently with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Put on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven (180-200 degrees). Check from time to time and turn. Remove from oven and then toss with duck fat, grated garlic (the more grated the more nutrients you’ll get!) and finely minced fresh herbs (think basil, parsley or coriander). Put the fries back into the oven for 12 minutes. Check them again from time to time: don’t let them burn! Serve hot!


    A huge green salad (rocket, baby spinach, dark lettuce) with a healthy dressing (click HERE for recipes) will add a refreshing and alkalising touch to your dish and will enhance the delicious flavour of your chips and fries.


    Try these recipes and let me know what you think. Do you have other recipes of delicious chips? Please don’t be shy, share them with us here!

    As always, bon appetit!


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  • 8 Food Traps To Avoid.


    When my clients come to see me for the first time they often think their diet is not “too bad”. Which happens to be true sometimes. In the vast majority, their diet is not that good…

    And I don’t blame them! I totally get where they’re coming from:

    • I worked for many years in the advertising industry helping big food companies to promote their products. I know all the tricks they use and how good they are in marketing products as healthy when they are not…
    • With so many fads, nutrition books, blogs and so-called experts out there with conflicting opinions, it is impossible not to be confused. 
    • For those who go further and do their own research, even science seems not to be rock-solid when it comes to nutrition. One of my nutrition mentors told me one day: “nutrition science today can be compared to what surgery was in the 17th century”… Scary!

    So today I wanted to share with you 8 food traps to avoid or at least to be aware of… I hope you’ll find them useful.



    They are pure products of the food industry. Highly processed, these oils (often simply called ‘vegetable oil’) promote inflammation, one of the causes of most diet-related diseases. Restaurants -even the good ones- often use these oils as they are cheap and can be re-used many times… The other day I was walking by my favourite Japanese restaurant and their supplier was delivering their cooking oils. I could not help but look at the label: ‘edible vegetable oil’. Needless to say that I will NEVER go back to this restaurant.

    Solution: Even small daily doses of bad oils can severely damage your health and be the cause of these stubborn kilos! It is crucial to invest in the oils you eat. Go for organic extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, organic macadamia oil, organic coconut oil. Organic butter, ghee and duck fat are the healthiest animal fats. More on butter – central to the French traditional diet and cuisine- in one of my previous articles HERE. When you’re out, in particular if you are going to eat fried food, kindly ask what oil the chef uses… If they can’t tell you… RUN!


    When a label says ‘Low Fat’ or ‘Light’ or ‘No Fat’, it’s not a good sign at all! It clearly means that this product is highly processed and most of the time very nutrient-poor. For instance low fat dairy is pure non-sense. To make sure the product still tastes good, sugar is often added – sugar is in addition to refined oils (see trap #1) and exposure to chemicals (from food, air and water) the other main cause of inflammation.

    Solution: ALWAYS go for full-cream, full-fat options. Remember: (good!) fat is critical to good health and… you need (good!) fat to lose fat. 

    The only crackers I eat!

    The only crackers I eat!


    Well, you know my take on gluten. If not, go back to the last 2 weeks’ articles. Gluten-free ready-made products is a big no-no as they are loaded with nasties. 

    Solution: don’t buy any processed gluten-free products. Choose products naturally with no gluten if you decide to avoid gluten: gluten-free Mary’s Gone Crackers is a good example; they are only made with real foods: wholemeal gluten-free grains and seeds. Choose the ones with herbs or pepper for extra flavour.

    TRAP #4: KALE

    Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying kale is not healthy. I’m just saying that you don’t have to feel pressured to binge on kale if, like me, you loathe kale! First of all, there are many other green vegetables much more nutrient-rich. Check this previous blog, if you don’t believe me! Also, kale is one of the vegetables the most exposed to pesticides, greatly increasing your toxic load if you eat a lot of kale!

    Solution: always buy organic! If you don’t like kale, choose other super greens here, they are better than kale.


    Well, what does low sugar really mean? Not much as what the food industry calls ‘low sugar’ or ‘reduced in sugar’ is unfortunately always much higher than the recommended amount of sugar. In addition corn syrup, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, agave are also pure sugar even if they aren’t labelled as sugar… which makes most of these products still super high in sugar.

    Solution: if you want your diet to be healthy, choose products that contain no more than 15g per 100g (you can find this information on all labels, it’s compulsory). If you want to lose weight, you need to look at products that have less than 5g, even better less than 3g. 


    Once again, RUN! They are real sugar bombs – including your morning orange juice. There are NO exceptions. 

    Solution: consider fruit juices as TREATS and serious THREATS to your health and waistline. 

    nosushiTRAP #7: SUSHI

    “Sushi are so healthy, I have sushi several times a week”, one of my new clients told me recently. First of all the fish in sushi is usually farmed – in particular salmon (full of antibiotics, hormones and colourants) or high in heavy metals – in particular tuna, which increases your toxic load. Secondly sushi are sugar bombs: white rice is to be avoided at all cost if you don’t want to experience any afternoon energy crash and maintain a healthy weight.

    Solution: instead of sushi, go for sashimi and instead of several times a week, go for once a month (every fortnight max).


    Not healthy! The ‘croutons’ are often deep-fried in highly refined oils and the sauce is highly processed, loaded with sugar and nasty oils, making this supposedly balanced salad one of the worst food traps!

    Solution: given up on the Caesar salad (unless you make it yourself) and always prefer a green salad with a healthy delicious dressing (a few delicious recipes here).

    One last advice: the best strategy to avoid food traps is to go back as often as you can to the time-tested best approach to food: eat REAL FOOD! And it’s easy as with my motto ‘Real Food + Pleasure = Health’! Email me here if you want to know more:

    Your turn now! What trap do you fall into sometimes? Do you have any other food trap you would like to share with us? Please put your comment in the ‘reply’ box below.

    Have a great week.


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  • Sorry, my paleo friends!


    Given the current anti-gluten craze, I decided to took a gluten-free 30-day challenge a few months ago. Last week I shared with you the first 5 things I learnt from it (Click HERE to find out more)… Let’s look at the last few things I took out this month without gluten:

    • The only crackers I eat!

      The only no-gluten crackers I eat!

      A delicious new permanent staple in my kitchen. Mary’s Crackers. A pure gem without gluten. Made of brown rice, quinoa, flax and sesame seeds, they have the best rich, nutty flavour and always hold their toasty crunch. Perfect with some grass-fed butter, some real cheese or with your favourite dips. They are of course organic and non-GMO.

    • My crowding-out method works. If you know my approach to nutrition, you’ve already heard of my ‘crowing-out’ method: when you eat more of the good stuff first, you simply don’t have enough room to eat other foods. By eliminating my usually substantial intake of bread, and occasional pasta and cakes, I ended up eating more leafy greens, fresh herbs, nuts, root vegetables, legumes, organic eggs and healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil). Great benefit for me from avoiding gluten!
    • I damaged the planet. I surprisingly craved meat so I added some more (grass-fed) lamb and beef in my diet. The livestock industry is one of the main causes if not the root of climate change… So I was not very proud of myself, not to mention moral issues that I sometimes have of animals being killed for unnecessarily food.
    •  Did I lose weight…? Yes. I did lose a bit of weight. But again it might be much more because of my increase of foods promoting weight loss than not eating gluten. By not having any bread, and occasional pasta or cakes, I ate a lot more leafy greens, fresh herbs, nuts, root vegetables, legumes, organic eggs, healthy fats and low GI gluten-free grains (see last week missive). I definitely feel lighter.
    • Grumpy Baker -my favourite bakery in Sydney, here I come! At the end of my gluten-free month I honestly couldn’t see any major benefits. One obsession: I can’t wait to have my organic wholemeal bread and a croissant (or 2!) from the Grumpy Baker again. But since then I made sure to eat more greens!  

    Still feel like going off gluten? Please think twice!

    1- Don’t panic! Even if Australia has one of the world’s highest reported incidences of food allergies, it only affects 2% of the adult population and 1% ONLY are gluten intolerant. Yes, all this fuss about the paleo madness, anti-grain war, carb phobia-  when only 1% of the population is potentially allergic. So please think twice before following the anti-gluten trend. Once again this is nothing but a fad, which ignores the most recent science.

    2- Sorry paleo friends but strong evidence shows that humans used to eat grains more than 4 millions years ago, way before the Paleolithic era, which began about 2.5 million years ago! Then 125,000 years ago, when humans started to use fire and eat cooked grains, they started to get straighter: they literally ‘grew like grains’. The bulk of the science also clearly shows that grains don’t increase inflammation and are consistently found to be healthy: they can help prevent diabetes 2 and cardiovascular diseases while promoting weight loss!

    3- Grains including those with gluten have served to fuel the development of civilisations throughout human history, have been central to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine and still provide superior nutrition, sustained energy, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, soluble fibre, insoluble fiber, lignins…

    4- However all grains are not the same and industrial gluten consumption (which you can find in all processed biscuits, pasta, cereals, but also in ice creams and dairy) is actually directly related to our huge health crisis: the monoculture of mutated modern (GMO) wheat in high quantities and unfermented is at the root of the increasing number of people suffering from gluten intolerance and more importantly the epidemic of diet-related diseases including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, allergies, some cancers, heart disease.

    5- The solution: always go for whole, organic grains (to avoid GMOs). And as always, avoid as much as you can processed foods. So remember one thing before deciding to give up all the delicious foods containing gluten: ‘gluten-free diet is unhealthy for the general population, except for 1% of the population!’ as nutrition expert Dr McDougall put it. So… Croissant, anyone?

    6- Still feel like going off gluten? Just like I do with my clients when they think they are gluten intolerant but aren’t sure, I would encourage you to try the gluten-free month challenge. 

    7- Finally, you might be interested in this great article from Michael Specter published in the New Yorker. Click HERE.

    And you, what is you experience with gluten? Leave your comment or share this article if you liked it.

    All the best and talk to you next week! 



    PS: another delicious recipe – which happens to be gluten-free!

    Parmesan polenta with prosciutto, tomatoes and goat cheese with asparagus

    Ingredients: soft polenta for 4 (see first recipe), 4 slices of prosciutto, 400 grs cherry tomatoes, 8 asparagus, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

    Pour the soft polenta into a baking dish and refrigerate for 1 hour.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Cut the polenta into pieces half the size of your palm and cook until golden and crisp for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Place on a plate. Use the same pan and briefly cook the prosciutto, the tomatoes and the asparagus (previously blanched). Top each piece of polenta with 1 slice of prosciutto, tomatoes, asparagus (cut in 4cm pieces) and some goat’s cheese. Add sea salt, pepper, dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. You can serve with a refreshing green rocket salad and a glass of light red wine (or rose in summer).

    And now close your eyes… Where are you? Yes you’re in Nice on the French Riviera…

    Nice, French Riviera

    Nice, French Riviera