Craving Chocolate or Caffeine? Here’s why.

craving-chocolate-why

Chocolate Cravings
Many of us have heard that chocolate cravings can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.  The cacao bean is a natural source of magnesium but unfortunately by the time it is processed into a milk chocolate block, the amount of magnesium left is minimal, if any.  Still, your body will crave the cacao for it’s magnesium when in a state of deficiency.  And the craving will continue until your magnesium levels are replenished.

Interestingly, many of us women crave chocolate prior to or during our period, a time when muscle cramps are common.  Any guesses as to what nutrient is needed to relax muscle spasms and cramps?  You guessed it – magnesium!  Magnesium is also important during times of stress, so if you’re craving chocolate like crazy, check in on your current stress levels and see if you can reduce those in a healthy, positive way.

Magnesium is naturally high in the following foods: leafy green vegetables, red meat, nuts and seeds, dried seaweed, herbs and spices, beans, legumes and cacao beans (e.g. raw cacao powder and dark chocolate).  Healthy stress management will also help you keep your magnesium levels adequate and prevent chocolate cravings.

Remember:  you may also be craving chocolate due to it’s high fat content, sugar content or caffeine.  It may even be a combination of factors!

Craving Energy Boosters
Coffee, caffeinated soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary foods provide us with a temporary energy boost and can be relied on to “keep us going” each and every day.  If you tend to crave these kinds of foods/drinks, it’s time to check in with yourself and look deeper – what is actually causing your low energy or fatigue?

Are you getting enough sleep each night?  Are you eating enough iron-rich foods or drinking enough water? (A lack of either of these is linked to fatigue and low energy.)  Are you over-worked and stressed?  Are you eating enough calories each day?  Are you over-exercising?

Treating your fatigue and improving your energy from the very cause eliminates the need for temporary energy boosts from foods and drinks.  Instead of just looking at the symptom (tiredness, or craving caffeine etc), look deeper and fix the reason for your fatigue.  That is where long-term health results are found – otherwise you’ll be treating symptoms forever without cure!

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Craving Salty Foods? Here’s why.

salt-cravings-danni-archer

Hot chips, crisps, flavoured savoury biscuits, salted popcorn, fast food products, savoury baked goods like sausage rolls, sauces and marinades and flavourings, or even just plain old salt itself!

Salty food cravings tend to result from high levels of stress and/or adrenal fatigue.  Your adrenal glands are organs that sit next to your kidneys, and under any kind of stress they produce and release a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol helps your body to cope with stress and also prepares you for a fight or flight response – i.e. are you going to run away from your stress (flight) or stay and deal with it (fight).  This is said to come from your ancestors where a stressor was generally either being faced with a predator or some kind of famine.

Cortisol is helpful when produced in healthy amounts, but due to high levels of stress in today’s society, many of us are actually overproducing cortisol to keep up with their busy lives, and as a result your adrenal glands are overworked and become a bit sluggish and slow (hence the term adrenal fatigue).  There are various stages of adrenal fatigue before it becomes a debilitating condition.  The reason all that is important is because your adrenal glands need a variety of minerals to function, and to produce cortisol (stress hormone).

So when you are stressed, and your body is producing lots of cortisol to cope with that stress, you can end up quite deficient in minerals and as a result, start to crave salt!  Natural salts contain a wide variety of minerals – even up to or more than 80 in some salts – and so your body knows that when it is mineral-deficient due to stress, salt may help to replace some of those minerals in your body.  The issue is that table salt, iodised salt and chicken salt, the types that are normally used in the salty foods you crave are highly processed and contain little or no nutritional benefit.

That’s why you will keep craving more and more salt to cope with stress, because your mineral stores are not being replenished through the processed salts and your body doesn’t know what else to do.

What are your stress levels like?  Are you living an extremely busy lifestyle, or are you prone to stress regardless of your workload?  Are you allowing yourself time to relax, unwind and recharge your precious adrenal glands?

Here’s a top tip: spending just 20 minutes outside, whether you are moving your body or just sticking your toes in the sand or grass, has a cortisol-lowering effect for 21 hours afterwards.  21 hours benefit, from just 20 minutes!

Lower cortisol = healthier adrenal glands = less salt cravings

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Getting ‘back on track’ after Easter

danni-archer-weight-loss

Easter was two weeks ago, and it’s usually a time that my clients struggle to stay consistent with their eating habits.  Chocolate is everywhere you look, and even after Easter is done and dusted – there’s all those supermarket sales making it way too tempting to buy some more chocolate.

Children go on Easter egg hunts, and eat chocolate for breakfast, and eat all day until they have a tummy ache!  But us adults – oh, no – we’re much more restrained than that.  We eat our chocolate late at night, when the kids have gone to sleep and hubby is asleep in front of the tv.  We promise ourselves just a couple of eggs, but as the guilt washes over us after that tiny bit of indulgence, we decide to have just a bit more.  And a bit more.  And a little bit more.  And before we know it, we too have a tummy ache from all that chocolate.

Except no one knows but us.

And we just sit there feeling guilty, and shameful, and asking ourselves why we have no self-control.

If that scenario sounds way too familiar, you’re not alone.  I don’t have children yet, but for many years Easter has been a time when I go completely off the rails and fall into bad habits of eating junk food, and craving sugar, and the list goes on.  As soon as I had a little bit of chocolate, I’d convince myself that I might as well just “go all out” and eat whatever I wanted, because I’d already ruined my “diet”.  I had no idea how to enjoy chocolate in moderation, because I was so consumed by guilt and shame every time I ate it.

And that guilt and shame is what made me continue eating more and more and more.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been through my own experiences with weight loss and poor body image and yo-yo dieting.  Well, this Easter just been, I reached another milestone in my journey towards a better relationship with food.

I managed to eat chocolate in moderation, without feeling guilty at all.

And there were a few factors at play here.

Before Easter, I hadn’t been eating a lot of refined sugar, so that definitely helped my taste buds alter.  Your taste buds actually adapt to dietary changes, so when I did have a couple of Lindt milk chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday, they tasted so super sweet and I physically couldn’t eat any more!

Tip #1: When you’re eating a diet high in sugar (or fat, or salt, etc) your body gets used to level of taste response.  When you minimise your intake, your body adapts to that, so when you do have the food again (whether it’s high-sugar, or high-fat, or high-salt) it will be really intense and you won’t want as much of that food as you used to.

I also asked my partner to get me *less* chocolate, but the good kind! So instead of 10 Red Tulip bunnies, I got a large Lindt egg and a bag of solid Lindt eggs.  For me, mindset-wise, it was easier to enjoy Lindt in moderation because it is higher quality.  Eating a cheaper, less satisfying chocolate would have felt completely different, and I probably would have been more likely to feel guilty for it.  It’s like the difference between drinking a $30 glass of red wine versus a whole sack of goon.

Tip #2: Know what works for you and what will work for your mindset.  Plan in advance (like asking your hubby to buy you less chocolate, or only higher quality chocolates) to make it easier for yourself.

And perhaps most importantly, I’ve done a hell of a lot of mindset work.  And it’s ongoing.  I had 25+ years of being programmed to hate my body and hold onto an unhealthy relationship with food, so it’s definitely still a work in progress.  I’m practicing loving and accepting my body just the way it is, right now.  I’m seeing food as fuel and nourishment instead of counting calories or worrying about carbs.  I’m exercising as an act of self-care rather than an act of self-punishment.  Every single day, I am working hard to improve my relationship with my body and with food.  (And every single day, I help my clients do the same thing!)

Tip #3: Accept that these changes aren’t going to happen overnight.  Impatience in the process will only make it harder for you, and it’s important to acknowledge how far you’ve come – rather than constantly looking ahead at how much further you have to go.  Do the work, and little by little, you’ll find yourself changing the way you look at your body and your food.

And one Easter, you’ll be proud of yourself for finding that elusive state of moderation – enjoying chocolate without feeling guilty or shameful or “not strong enough”.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on Facebook

lilly

There’s tonnes of information on Facebook around healthy eating, weight loss, dieting and fitness.  Groups with hundreds of thousands of people wanting to know the ‘secret’ to losing weight.  Pages of companies selling pyramid scheme products without any real knowledge of health or nutritional medicine. Advertisements for weight loss teas and wraps that will dissolve your cellulite.  It’s overwhelming, and it’s kinda scary.  What do you pay attention to?  Who do you follow and which groups are the best? How do you know whether what you’re reading is true or not?

You probably already know that I’m not a big fan of the dieting industry.  And anything that invokes guilt, or shame, or blame, or body-hate is a BIG no-no in my books.  I’m a part of a few weight loss groups, out of interest as to what they are sharing and talking about in there.  And in one of the groups I’m a part of, which is mostly full of young girls, I scrolled across this image:

weight-loss-meme

.. and it broke my heart.

I spend every hour of my working days, every single week, helping women understand why they can’t lose weight, and why it’s not their fault.  Sure, if you’re living on drive-thru meals and bottles of Coke, then you can definitely blame diet.  But my clients aren’t doing that.  They’re doing the very best they can, and STILL can’t lose weight long-term.  They’ve tried strict diets and meal-replacement shakes and pills, and nothing has changed.  And they come to me for a different perspective – an alternative approach – and sometimes as a last resort.

I work with women who have undetected thyroid issues, and once corrected – their weight loss is so much simpler.

I work with women who feel out of control with their food cravings – and once corrected, it’s so much easier for them to stay consistent with their healthy lifestyle.

I work with women who have iron levels so low, I wonder how they get out of bed each morning (let alone exercise for an hour a day and spend 2 hours on meal prep).

I help women overcome insulin resistance and heal their metabolism after years of yo-yo dieting.

I use clinical testing to identify food intolerances – because yes, gluten and other intolerances can cause weight gain and fluid retention.

I teach women what to eat at each meal and throughout the day, so that their bodies are not in ‘starvation mode’ and they are able to lose weight without the dreaded rebound weight gain.

And I help women understand their bodies, and reconnect with their bodies, so that they can make lasting changes to lead to long-term weight loss and better health.

 

So please. don’t feel guilty if you’re struggling to lose that excess weight.

Please, don’t call yourself an asshole.

And please, don’t believe everything you read on Facebook and other social media.  There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand what you’re going through, and are ready to make you feel bad for where you are right now.  I’ve been where you are, and I wasn’t eating like an asshole – I just didn’t know all the things I know now.  I didn’t know what was going on with my body, and I didn’t know why I felt the way I felt.

And that’s why I share it all with you – so you can come out of the ‘not knowing’ and step into a world where health is easy, and simple, and fun.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

A healthy lunch menu!

danni-archer-weight-loss

danni-archer-weight-loss

On the first weekend of March, I had the pleasure of presenting a health workshop and catering lunch to a gorgeous group of women at a retreat run by Dawn of Always You Yoga & Relaxation. The ladies have been begging me for the recipes of everything I gave them for lunch, so I thought I’d share them here with you all.

* everything is gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian

 

ZUCCHINI SLICE

The recipe for my zucchini slice is right here.  It’s always a crowd favourite, and is a great meal or snack, hot or cold. I made it without the cheeses so that it was suitable for the dairy-free attendees 🙂

 

SALADS

I made two salads for the group.  The first is a greens salad with tomato and chickpeas, and a balsamic mustard dressing.  The second is a simple coleslaw with turmeric dressing.

GREENS SALAD

A large bowl of baby spinach and rocket leaves, topped with chickpeas and cherry tomatoes.  As for the dressing:

– 1 tablespoon honey

– 1 tablespoon seeded mustard

– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

– pinch of freshly ground black pepper

SIMPLE COLESLAW

Shredded red and white cabbage, carrots and cucumber made up the base of this coleslaw, with a little bit of kale added in too.  And the very popular turmeric dressing:

– 3/4 cup whole egg mayo

– juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1 tsp ground turmeric (or fresh grated turmeric)

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– pinch of salt and pepper

 

So, there you have it ladies.  All the recipes you need to recreate our scrumptious lunch at Second Valley.  It was a pleasure to meet you all, and I hope you have taken the lessons learnt from the entire weekend and applied at least a little bit to your every day life.

And remember: health is about baby steps forward.

 

If you’d like to keep in touch with me, you’ll find my Facebook page here.

 

Danni xx

It’s Not Just About Calories and Exercise

danni-archer-weight-loss

Speak to many people about weight loss, and they’ll tell you that you just need to eat less and exercise more.  Simple, right?

Well, if it was actually that simple, I wouldn’t be so busy helping women lose weight.  Because honestly, my clients pretty much know what to do.  They understand that a calorie deficit *technically* should cause them to lose weight.  They’re minimising carbs, and eating salads and trying to do all the right things.  And while there is usually a handful of things they need to slightly tweak in their diet, there’s no major bombshells.  Not a whole lot that they haven’t heard before.  They’ve read enough dieting stuff online and in books to know what to do and what not to do.

So if my clients are already reducing their calories and exercising semi-regularly, why aren’t they losing weight?  Why are they sitting in front of my at my clinic, or in front of their computer on a video call with me?  Why are they still looking for answers to their weight?

Because it’s not just about calories (food) and exercise.

There is so much more that can impact your weight – both your likelihood to gain weight, and also how quickly you are able to lose that weight.

  • Thyroid function (a slow thyroid = slow weight loss)
  • Digestion (how often are you pooping?  Seriously, it affects your weight)
  • Liver health (impacts your weight and energy levels)
  • Toxic load (a toxic body wants to hold onto body fat, so this will slow down weight loss)
  • Inflammation (linked to higher body fat percentage)
  • Reproductive hormones (especially for women, when reproductive hormones are out of whack, you’ll have a really hard time losing weight and keeping it off)
  • Food intolerances (can cause fluid retention, weight gain, poor energy and more)
  • Insulin and blood sugar regulation (high insulin production makes it really hard to lose weight)
  • Metabolism and metabolic syndrome (can make you prone to gaining weight!)
  • Nutrient deficiencies (did you know every 2nd woman on the planet is iron deficient?  What you might not know is that iron deficiency impacts your body’s ability to produce essential thyroid hormones, thereby altering thyroid function and metabolism.  There’s lots of other nutrients that are essential to maintain a healthy body weight, too.  And certain nutrients can actually help speed-up weight loss, so if you’re deficient in those ones, you’re really gonna slow your progress.)

The list goes on..

So no, it’s not about calories and exercise alone.  It’s about all the other factors that are impacting your weight, and making it hard for you to lose weight.

If it was just about calories and exercise, wouldn’t we all be our healthiest weight by now?

You’ve tried the calorie restriction and excessive exercising a thousand times, and you’re still here reading this article.  So maybe now it’s time to look at what else is actually going on with your health and your weight, so that you can make long-term changes (not short-term fixes).

In my clinical and personal experience, the key to losing weight long-term is:

  • identifying the factors that are stopping you from losing weight, and
  • correcting those issues so that you are able to lose weight and keep it off, for good

So the next time someone tells you that you just need to eat less and exercise more, slap them!  (Not really, haha, maybe just direct them to this article).

If you’d like help identifying and fixing whatever is holding you back from losing weight, you can book a free introductory session with me by clicking here.

And if food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

Homemade Hummus

Combine: 1 tin rinsed and drained chickpeas, juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil,
1-2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp tahini (optional) in a blender and process until smooth. 

Add water (up to 1/4 cup) until desired consistency. 

Note: Tahini is optional but is recommended as it is a great source of calcium!

Chia Pudding

weight-loss-healthy-snack-ideas

weight-loss-healthy-snack-ideas

This is one of my favourite snacks – high in protein and omega 3 fats, high in fibre and a number of essential minerals, and it kinda tastes like a dessert! Winning.

Note: this is best when made the night before, soaked overnight

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (any colour)
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind) or water
  • your choice of toppings (see below)

Method

  1. Soak chia seeds in liquid – preferably overnight – or until liquid is completely absorbed.  I find the easiest way to do this is put the chia seeds and liquid in a jar, shake it up and leave it soak in there.
  2. Top with whatever you like – my favourite is 3 tbsp greek yoghurt, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1/3 banana (sliced) and a handful of blueberries.  

For toppings, think: plain yoghurt, berries, banana, stone fruit, mango, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter or other nut butters, bee pollen, cacao nibs, buckwheat kernels.. the options are endless!

Tip: If you find it a little bland, add more fruit or a bit of honey.  

Two-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

pancakes-breakfast-healthy-weight-loss

pancakes-breakfast-healthy-weight-loss

I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t love pancakes.  If you’re focusing on weight loss, or just looking for a healthy breakfast idea, these two-ingredient pancakes are perfect for you!  (I’ve also been known to eat these cold, with a slather of almond butter on top.. soooo yummy)

Makes around 4-6 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 3-4 eggs, whisked

Method

  1. Just combine the eggs and banana and cook pancakes in a non-stick pan.  You can top your protein-rich pancakes with berries, nuts and seeds, and a little honey or pure maple syrup.

Note: stay away from artificial ‘maple-flavoured’ syrups in the supermarket – they’re just flavoured high-fructose corn syrup. You’ll have to spend more to get the pure stuff, but it’s so much healthier and tastier.

Easy Egg & Veg Cups

food-eggs-weight-loss

food-eggs-weight-loss

It’s true what they say – eggs really are the original superfood.  Whether you’re eating keto, wanting to lose weight, or just have a really healthy snack – these egg and veg cups are perfect!  Kind of like a cheat’s quiche.  They’re free from gluten and super high in protein and nutrients.  Have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy cold or heated up.  Super simple!

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • large handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 rashers bacon, diced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled into pieces
  • 1/4 cup red capsicum, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs

Method

  1. Grease a 12x muffin tray. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Whisk eggs in a small bowl, season with salt, pepper and dried herbs.
  3. Add spinach, bacon, feta and capsicum to bowl and combine.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tray and bake for 40mins or until slightly browned on top.  Allow to cool slightly in tray before removing. Refrigerate once cooled completely.