Why You Should Be Eating Organic

Glynis Barber: Why You Should Be Eating Organic

Once upon a time, in 1985, there was a furtive group of people who had a common purpose. Their numbers were small, and people scratched their heads when they heard about their ‘peculiarity’. This group consisted of some leftover ‘hippie types’ and Prince Charles. Their ‘peculiarity’ was that they wanted to eat organic food.

The naysayers in the 1980s sounded very much like the naysayers today – the main argument being that organic food has the same nutritional content as conventionally-grown food. In fact, research at Stanford University in 2012 famously showed this to be true. However, I’ve always been taken aback by this argument. I don’t eat organic food because of what it does contain, but rather because of what it doesn’t contain. It seems blindingly obvious to me that consuming chemicals on a daily basis is going to have an adverse impact on your health. And if by any chance organic foods do contain more nutrients, that’s a bonus.

Low and behold it’s now been found that organic fruit and veg contain higher levels of beneficial phenolic phytonutrients. They also contain more antioxidants which play a critical role in the prevention of diseases. Organic berries, for example, appear to suppress the growth of cancer. Organic foods also have much lower levels of cadmium, a known carcinogen that has a number of negative effects on human health. Eating organically-raised meat also reduce your exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria which in turn may minimise your risk of illness.

Pesticides, on the other hand, are associated with a whole host of medical problems. Research has shown an increase in allergic reactions and high sensitivity to foods and the carcinogenicity of pesticide-covered foods has led to concern and debate for many years.

There’s also another big benefit to organic farming – it improves soil diversity and the communities of life that exist within the soil. These are vital to our health and to the nutritional value of the food grown in the soil – It seems like a no-brainer to me.

My top tips

1. Buy organic versions of the ‘dirty dozen’

Apples, celery, bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, and potatoes.

2. Eat organic eggs

These have been found to be more nutritious than non-organic eggs which are also far more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria like salmonella.

3. Stick to organic meat and dairy

It’s been found that these contain markedly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids. According to Professor Chris Seal from Newcastle University, diets high in this are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease and improved neurological and immune function.

Rachel x 

Fatigue Fighting Foods

Do you often find yourself crashing out halfway through the day and struggling to keep your eyes open? A lot of the time those feelings of extreme tiredness and fatigue are down to diet so I’ve rounded up 8 foods you should try to boost your energy levels.



Seriously filling and packed with protein and fibre, oats are great for people who experience blood sugar spikes and drops. Choosing plain versions is best as they have less sugar and you can then get creative and add fruit, honey and milk as you wish.

Pumpkin seeds

A handful of these can help give you an energy surge in the middle of the day. A source of protein, healthy fats, fibre and essential minerals, they can be eaten plain or sprinkled over salads and cereal.


If these aren’t part of your morning routine, they should be. They’re an excellent way to enjoy sustained levels of energy without the insulin spikes or sugar crashes that eating a lot of sweet breakfasts like cereal and pastries can result in.



Popeye had the right idea getting his muscle power from my favourite green. Rich in iron, which improves mitochondrial efficiency, these greens make it easier for cells to convert the food you’re eating into usable energy.

Sweet potatoes

Keep your carbohydrate cravings at bay by bringing more of this under-rated vegetable into your diet. The slowly digested starch can help you feel full and the vitamin C will help fight colds and illnesses which naturally make you feel more tired.

Crimini mushrooms

These are a source of vitamin B6 which is a must for energy production. It protects the mitochondria from damage and in times of stress, supports adrenal glands and niacin which help to convert foods into usable energy.




Great for replenishing and boosting energy post workout, these are perfect for putting electrolytes back into your body that are lost during exercise. They’re filled with protein, fibre and magnesium which keeps your energy levels high and stable too.


If you aren’t getting eight glasses a day, you really need to start! Dehydration is one of the main causes of tiredness, slowing down your metabolism and making your brain run slower.

Rachel x

5 signs you could be vitamin D deficient

If you read my post about food intolerance and intolerance testing then you will know that I am Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is very common, our bodies make vitamin D from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to sunlight. This is all well and good while the sun in shining, but let’s face it – from about September onwards the UK is generally grey and overcast, which is why many of us Brits are deficient in this vital vitamin which supports healthy strong bones, teeth and muscle, heart health and plays a hugely important role in our immune system.

It’s not just the grim weather though – other risk factors for being low in vitamin D include diet, being elderly, always staying indoors and using sunscreen outdoors most of the time, and being overweight or obese.

So how can you tell if you need a boost?

Common signs of deficiency include:

Getting ill often

Lots of studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. This happened to me and it’s because the vitamin interacts with the cells responsible for fighting infection, and so if you find you’re catching everything going round, low levels may be to blame.

Tired all the time

This is a common complaint and another symptom I had, but vitamin D deficiency if often an overlooked cause of fatigue. Quite a lot of studies, both observational and case study-based, have identified low blood levels of the patient to be the cause of their persistent tiredness, and supplementation has been successful in boosting energy levels.

Bone pain

Studies have found relationships between chronic lower back pain in particular and a vitamin D deficiency. It’s thought this is due to its role in helping to maintain bone health. In one experiment, people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range. Muscle pain can also be a symptom.


A large scientific review found that there is a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and depression. They went on to advise that taking a supplement could in some cases improve the disorder.

Slow healing

If you heal slower than normal after an injury for example, it could point to low levels of vitamin D. Research suggests that the vitamin helps with production of compounds that are crucial for new skin forming to heal a wound. Vitamin D’s role in inflammation control and infection fighting are also crucial for healing.

How to increase your Vitamin D

Clearly Vitamin D plays a huge role in your body and its important to maintain sufficient levels. So how do you ensure your that your Vitamin D levels are high enough? Levels  can be tested by your GP, who will most likely recommend taking a supplement if your levels are in a low range.

My deficiency was picked up by my rheumatologist last year and she recommended that I take a supplement, I originally picked up capsules from Holland & Barrett but when I started working with my nutritionist she recommend switching over to Cytoplan plant-based capsules, which I have now been taking for three months. My fatigue has greatly improved, I don’t feel run down and have so much more energy!


Rachel x


Please note: I was not paid not any endorsement of products and you should always consult a doctor prior to taking any supplements. 

Detox Green Smoothie.


The morning after a heavy night of drinking always calls for a Detox Green Smoothie. I love having this smoothie whenever I need a pick me up , it’s bursting with goodness and full of nutrients to give your body a healthy start to the day.


300ml Coconut Water

20g Spinach

10g Rocket

5g Basil

1/2 Avocado

1 Medjool Date


Blend everything together in a Nutribullet  and pour over ice.

Rachel x



Recipe taken from Madeleine Shaw’s website, no copyright infringement intended.



How Do You Make Golden Milk?

Warming spices such as Cayenne, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger help us feel cosier at this time of year, they also improve circulation and can reduce inflammation. You can use these spices in your everyday cooking, but golden milk is a delicious way to get your daily dose!


Here’s my favourite recipe – coconut milk and other nut milks also taste great, however I find rice milk is too thin for this recipe.

Golden Milk

Ingredients for two people:

500 ml almond milk

2 teaspoons turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper, too, if you can handle some zing!

To make:

1. Gently warm the almond milk in a small pot on the stove.

2. Add spices and stir through with a whisk for a couple of minutes.

3. Pour into two mugs and sprinkle some extra nutmeg for garnish.

4. Add an optional teaspoon of raw honey to sweeten.

Rachel x

Food Intolerance & Intolerance Testing


My skin has been so bad over the past few months I made the decision to have food intolerance testing, as most skin conditions are orientated around diet and digestion.

I saw a nutritionist called Nathalie this afternoon for testing, which was non-invasive and completely painless! The best way I can describe the test is that it was like having a ballpoint pen touching the tip of my finger.

The machine Nathalie used was a Di Etx machine, which is a bio-electronic analyser that measures the body’s electrical resistance to over 120 common foods/drinks and other substances like house dust mites and mixed pollens. If a substance is causing a problem, it will affect the body’s electrical resistance.  The test also provided an assessment of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Some of the substances tested included:

wheat – rye – tomatoes – orange – eggs – oats – cow’s milk – cow’s cheese – yogurt – sugar – yeast – coffee – tea – wine – a variety of fruits and vegetables – MSG – aspartame – mixed pollens – pets’ hair.

The consultation lasted just over an hour and included some advice on elimination strategies and alternative foods.  The test had shown that I am intolerant to dairy, bananas, coffee, tuna, onion and cabbage. Nathalie made diet recommendations and gave me advice about supplements, including a prescription for Iron, Magnesium Citrate and Milk Thistle. I have booked a follow-up session with her in four weeks time to review my progress and make adjustments if needed.

What are the signs that you may suffer from a food intolerance or sensitivity?

  1. IBS (stomach cramps, sudden urge to have a bowel movement, a mixture of constipation and diarrhoea etc)
  2. Bloating
  3. Skin issues (Eczema, Athletes’ foot..)
  4. Asthma
  5. Constipation or diarrhoea
  6. Lethargy, constant fatigue
  7. Mood swings or depression
  8. Reoccuring ear or throat infections
  9. Constant mucous, drippy nose
  10. Hay fever
  11. weight issues
  12. migraines and more..

Will I have to avoid certain foods forever?

You may be advised to eliminate one or more foods that could be giving you problems for a period of  six to eight weeks, before carefully re-introducing each substance. Your reactions are monitored during this re-introduction period to assess whether you are better off with or without the food in question. Often people feel fine after the four-six week elimination and are advised to re-introduce the food to their diet.  Others may feel better during that elimination period and decide to leave that food out of their diets.

What’s the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?

A food allergy is usually an obvious reaction to a food but food intolerances can be easily missed with vague symptoms that might seem totally unrelated to digestion.

The simple, painless and non-invasive test can give you immediate answers! The food test targets a different part of the immune system than an allergy test. This is an important difference. Any diet changes are well supported with good nutritional advice and tips on making simple meals and snacks.

Common food intolerance include wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast. It is often the foods we eat most of in our diets that can end up being a trigger. Those foods listed above tend to be the most prolific foods in our diets and with such high exposure, a susceptible digestive system may form an intolerance.

70% of our immune system resides in our gut with more immune reactions happening in our digestive system in a day, than in the rest of our bodies in a year.

This means that our digestive system integrity, balance and function can make us susceptible to the immune response that forms food intolerances. When a child is born, both the digestive system and the immune system is not yet fully developed. This is why allergy and food intolerance symptoms are common when kids are little and seem to ‘grow out’ of them.

Rachel x