How to warm up
Looks like summer is finally over and autumn is taking its grip. We often see quite a few neck related injuries around this time of year as people are only just changing into winter clothing and get caught out on cold nights and early mornings. We can also be outdoors for extended periods, watching the kids play sport and then of course there is Halloween and Guy Fawkes night.  A good idea is always to have a scarf handy to stop the neck muscles from getting cold, they are often the ones most exposed. Cold neck muscles can often result in a very stiff, painful neck. Equally we might still be sleeping with the window open and any draft over muscles will result in them tightening up.

It is often a time when I see an increase in sports related injuries in the clinic. Some of us are taking up sports again after a summer lay off, sprains and strains are common. During the warmth of the summer months there is less need to be properly warmed up as our muscles are already warm. As the temperature cools a proper warm up is essential to avoid injury. It is also important to be wearing the appropriate clothing…a sweat licking base layer is essential!

Warming up prepares the body for subsequent activity. It is often used as an injury prevention strategy and a way of developing sports performance. For the more serious athlete, it can be an effective use of time to focus on fundamental skills and movement patterns that lay the foundations for sports-specific performance.

15 to 20 mins is ideally the time we should put aside to warm up. This should start with a jog of approx 5 mins, fast enough to just break sweat. At this point depending on the activity a selection of stretches should be performed. Researched has showed that dynamic stretching is more effective than static as part of a warm up. Dynamic stretching is including a stretch as part of a continuous movement of the muscles being stretched. For example exaggerated repeated lunges, moving forward from one leg to the other dynamically, stretch most muscles of the lower extremity. For the sport you are about to perform think of the movements you will make and choose a series of exercises to dynamically stretch those muscles. Once these stretches have been performed 10 mins approx, it is a good idea to finish off with a few short sprints, between 6 and 10 over no more than 50 metres, increasing the pace on each one until the last is done at 90%.

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Recipe of the Month: Russian Borscht (beetroot soup)
I shall follow on from the Love your Liver theme. This month’s recipe is full of nutrients that will make your liver hug itself with joy. Beetroot and cabbage are amongst the long list of foods that your liver loves, so I thought what better time to share this wonderful Russian Borscht recipe with you.

Note: From start to finish, this recipe takes about 2hrs. Boiling the beetroots takes around an hr. I tend to boil them the day before and store them in their juice in the fridge.

Russian Borscht (beetroot soup)


  • 2 large or 3 medium beetroots
  • 2 large or 3 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 2 carrots – grated
  • 1/2 head of purple cabbage (white also works) – Finley shredded
  •  380g of cooked kidney beans or a 400g can kidney beans in water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5  litres water plus an additional 900ml broth
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill


  • Fill a large soup pot with about 1.5 ltrs of water. Add beetroots. If you’re using organic beetroots, you can boil them with the skin on otherwise, wash and peel them first. Cover and boil for about 1 hour. Once you can smoothly pierce the beetroots with a butter knife, remove them from the water and leave to cool. Keep the water
  • Add 900ml of chicken or vegetable broth, lemon juice, pepper, bay leaves to the same pot
  • Peel and slice 3 potatoes into bite sized chunks and boil 15-20 minutes
  • When potatoes are half way done, add the thinly shredded ½ cabbage to the pot
  • Grate both carrots and dice the onion. Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to a frying pan and sauté vegetables until they are soft (6-8 minutes). Once almost cooked, stir in tomato purée and sauté for another 2 minutes
  • Next, peel and slice the beetroots into match sticks and add them along with the cooked kidney beans to the pot
  • Add sautéed carrots and onion to the pot along with chopped dill.
  • Cook another 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is done
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream (optional).

Tip:  This soup tastes great fresh but it’s even better the day after!!! When cooled and stored properly, this soup will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.


Kaysha Thomas

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20 Questions: How toxic is your lifestyle?
Toxins enter the body in many ways. Through the food and substances enter our digestive system, through our lungs, they’re even absorbed through our skin.

This quick self-test to help raise awareness of the impact some everyday activities have on the liver. For most, many of these activities form a part of everyday life. Take a look and see how often you may be unknowingly overloading your liver.

Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following questions.

  1. Do you live, exercise or work in a city or by a busy road?
  2. Do you eat any of the following foods / drinks on a daily basis; sugar, sweets, chocolates, white bread, canned foods, frozen foods, microwaved foods, fried foods, biscuits, cakes, coffee, fizzy drinks?
  3. Do you drink unfiltered water?
  4. Do you drink alcohol on a daily basis or regularly binge drink?
  5. Do you smoke and/or live with a smoker?
  6. Do you spend a lot of time in front of a TV, computer or laptop?
  7. Do you spend a lot of time on a mobile phone?
  8. Do you sunbathe a lot?
  9. Are you a frequent flyer?
  10. Are you exposed to chemicals through your work or hobbies?
  11. Do you heat, freeze or wrap food in plastics?
  12. Do you cook or wrap food in aluminium?
  13. Do you regularly use recreational or prescription drugs and / or medication?
  14. Do you regularly consume non-organic foods?
  15. Do you frequently fry or roast food at high temperatures?
  16. Do you regularly eat charred or barbecued foods?
  17. Do you eat oily fish or shellfish more than 3 x a week?
  18. Do you regularly consume artificial sweeteners?
  19. Do you floss your teeth less than once a day?
  20. Do you have any mercury amalgam fillings?

If you answered yes to more than 10 of these questions then your liver is likely to need some TLC. But do not despair; you have now identified the key areas where you should look to reduce your toxic load. You don’t need to go on a radical detoxification programme. Making small changes every day for life is the best way to improve your health long-term.

Please note: This test isn’t a diagnostic tool. If you are concerned about your health of your liver, it’s advisable to visit your GP in the first instance.

If you’d like more information on how to reduce your toxic load, email me at to arrange a call back.

Kaysha Thomas (Dip. IoN)

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Is your liver feeling the love?
As the end of January is almost upon us, let’s take a moment to focus on an organ that some of us may take for granted every now and again. So much so, there is an entire month dedicated to pay homage to it. The organ I’m referring to is the liver. January is National Love your Liver month; where many of us embark on detoxes such as Dry January.

As our second largest organ in the body (after the skin) the liver takes care of us in more ways than we realise. We often associate the liver with detoxification and we’re right to do so. Every toxin that enters our body is processed by our liver. A lesser known fact is that our livers are responsible for over 500 vital functions. Amongst those are; carbohydrate metabolism, hormone metabolism, cholesterol metabolism and the storage of vitamins and minerals.


The liver doesn’t have any nerve endings, so we may not always be aware that it’s under strain. We can often experience symptoms that we don’t always realise relate to back the liver such as:

  • Weight gain – around the abdominal in particular
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion / bloating
  • Constipation
  • Strong reaction to alcohol
  • Breaking / splitting / chipping nails
  • Yellowing whites of eyes
  • Bitter taste in mouth or burning tongue
  • High cholesterol
  • Hives / skin rashes
  • Acne
  • Dark urine
  • Fatty stools that won’t flush
  • Strong body odour

The good news is that our liver is a robust organ; it’s capable of regenerating new cells day in and day out. Plus, there are many simple things that we can do to help out:


  • Eat a clean and nutrient rich diet
  • Eat organic wherever possible. If you can’t, wash non-organic fruits and vegetables in a weak water vinegar solution and / or peel before eating
  • Keep well hydrated with water and herbal teas (dandelion is particularly good for the liver)
  • Reduce intake of saturated and hydrogenated fat. But do include some healthy fats from raw nuts, seeds and oily fish (e.g. sardines, salmon and mackerel)
  • Increase your fibre intake – raw fruits, raw or lightly steamed veg and wholegrain foods (e.g. oats, brown rice, rye and millet)

Below are 5 foods for a healthy liver:



Vegetables from the Brassica family (e.g. cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower)


Lemons / Limes

This list is by no means exhaustive, however,  it’s a good place to start!

For further information check out the Love your Liver website:

Kaysha Thomas (Dip. IoN)

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Nutritional Therapy FAQs
Our Nutritional Therapist Kaysha Thomas (Dip. IoN) offers nutritional consultations at the Lucerne Clinic 8am to 6pm on Saturdays. Call 07583 000 109 for a free 15 minute consultation and see how Nutritional Therapy can help you achieve your health goals.

What is Nutritional Therapy?


Nutritional Therapy applies the knowledge of nutritional science to promote optimum health and well-being. Nutritional Therapists, unlike dietitians, don’t simply treat symptoms: my holistic approach pinpoints the nutritional imbalances that are causing your ailments, and works to devise a nutrition plan to help you gain and maintain long-term health.


What can Nutritional Therapy help me with?


Assessing and making changes to your diet and overall nutrition can have a positive effect on all areas of your body. Your nutrition plan can be tailored, depending on your goals, to help you maintain optimum energy levels, boost your emotional and psychological wellbeing, improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails, increase your overall physical fitness and much more!


What happens in a Nutritional Therapy consultation?


I work on the basis that each person is unique. Consultations are tailored to your needs, tastes, level of motivation and lifestyle. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to individual bodies and lifestyles, and I take time to get to know you and recommend a personalised plan of action.


Initial Consultation


An initial consultation takes 60 to 90 minutes. Here, I identify health goals and ailments which you’d like to address. I assess your general health, family health history, dietary habits and lifestyle. This allows me to create a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan that helps you achieve your ultimate health goal.




It’s recommended that you book a follow-up consultation 4-6 weeks after your Initial Consultation. By this time you will be seeing positive results. I monitor your progress and review your dietary and lifestyle plan. Together, we’ll continue to make adjustments and add new recommendations to keep you on track. If you have been sent for any tests, I would also incorporate their results in your new plan.


Special Introductory Offer: Receive a £10 M&S voucher with your Initial Nutritional Therapy consultation before 16th February 2014.

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Vegetable of the month: Leeks
It was once claimed that girls who slept with a leek under their pillow on St David’s Day would see their future husband in their dreams. Thankfully, we have come a long way since then! Leeks are wonderfully versatile, flavoursome and of course packed full of lots of nutrients.  They belong to the same family of plants as onions and garlic but have a milder taste.

Health benefits

Leeks contain  a number of nutrients that are beneficial to our health. They provide excellent levels of vitamin K and vitamin A. They are also a great source of vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate (B9) and vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

On top of all that, they also contain high amount of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols (protective against heart disease and cancer). And like the rest of the members of its family, the sulphur found in leeks aids detoxification.


Best stored in the fridge. Leeks generally keep for around 4-5 days, after that they start to lose their crunchiness.

Quick ways to cook

Prepare the leaks by removing the outer leaves and slice off roots and about two thirds of the green end. Rinse well. Thinly slice into rounds. Leeks taste great sautéed and added to stews and soups, stir-fries and omelettes.

Recipe: Chilli prawn sauce

This is a quick, easy and versatile sauce. You can substitute the prawns for chicken breasts or even use chickpeas or butter beans for a vegan option.


250g king prawns (uncooked gives the best flavour)

1 lemon or lime
1 medium leek
1 clove of garlic
1 red chilli (or a dash of chilli powder)
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes or a 500g of tomato passata
A handful of fresh parsley
1 courgette
1 yellow bell pepper (red, green or orange work fine too!)
250g box of chestnut mushrooms
A handful of frozen petit pois
1tbsp olive oil


  1. Squeeze lime juice over prawns and set aside
  2. Chop leek and chilli, crush garlic and gently sauté in a medium saucepan for 1-2 mins (be sure to pop       the lid on as the vapour from chillies can cause coughing)
  3. Chop rest of vegetables; add to the pan and sauté for a further 2-3 mins
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil
  5. Add uncooked prawns to the sauce along the with lime / lemon juice
  6. Simmer on med-low heat for 15-20 mins. Stir occasionally to ensure the prawns are covered
  7. Add frozen peas and chopped parsley
  8. Bring back to boil and simmer for around 5-7 mins (until vegetables are cooked)
  9. Serve with side dish of your choice – linguine, rice, couscous, green vegetables, quiona, boiled new  potatoes…Delish!
  10. Contributed by Kaysha Thomas  (Nutritional Therapist at Lucerne Clinic)


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Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Heart?
Heart Disease is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK. Around 2.7 million people in the UK live with coronary heart disease.  Just over half of these people are under 75.

The term Heart Disease encompasses several types of conditions including; heart attacks, stroke and disturbance to your heart’s rhythm.  In most cases, Heart Disease is completely preventable. The earlier you can recognise the symptoms and minimise the risk factors, the easier it is to reverse.


  • Blood pressure above 140/90
  • LDL blood cholesterol level over 2.6mmol/l
  • HDL blood cholesterol above 1.6mmol/l
  • Total cholesterol below 5.2mmol/l
  • Triglyceride levels over 1.7 mmol/l
  • HbA1c percentage below 6.5% (which tells you how well your body is coping with its blood sugar levels)
  • Diet high in sugar and salt
  • High hip to waist ratio
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged periods of stress
  • Genetics

  • Chest pain or discomfort, which may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, stomach or back
  • A dull pain, ache or ‘heavy’ feeling in your chest
  • Chest pain or discomfort which feels like indigestion but makes you feel generally unwell
  • Feeling sick, sweaty, breathless, lightheaded, dizzy or generally unwell as well as pain or discomfort in your chest
And what about saturated fat?

A very interesting subject which really deserves a separate post. But in short, LDL cholesterol is made up of two sub particles. Saturated fats such as the ones we find in red meat, butter and eggs, have been shown to raise large LDL sub particles.  Recent evidence suggests that these particles don’t appear to cause damage to our arteries. Small LDL sub particles, however, do cause damage.  Levels of small LDL sub particles increase when we eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar.  Yes, we should limit the amount of saturated fats we eat,  but cutting them out and replacing them with low fat / high sugar alternatives will do you more harm than good. Hydrogenated should be avoided completely.

How to find out your hip to waist ratio

  1. Measure your hips
  2. Measure your waist
  3. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement
  4. A ratio of 1.0 or more in men or 0.85 or more in women indicates too much weight around the middle of your body. This is an increased risk for CVD
Heart friendly foods

  • Antioxidants: carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, mangoes, berries…The more colours you include, the better!
  • Omega 3: wild salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, sardines, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
  • Wholegrains: brown rice and pastas, quinoa, beans
  • Soluble Fibre: raw fruits and vegetables, oat  or rice bran, flax seeds, psyllium husks raw unsalted nuts and seeds

Heart Protection Strategy

  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Avoid fried food
  • Avoid products that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat or oil on the label
  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption
  • Take regular exercise – At least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week
  • Give up smoking and avoid second hand smoke
  • Seek ways to relieve stress

Heart Disease is responsible for nearly 74,000 deaths in the UK each year, that’s an average of 200 people each day.  Through good nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes, we can greatly reduce those numbers. Details of your blood cholesterol, triglyceride,  HbA1c and blood pressure can all be obtained as part of a regular GP  blood test and check-up.

Contributed by Kaysha Thomas  (Nutritional Therapist at Lucerne Clinic)


British Heart Foundation:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

Health Defence 2nd Edition – Dr Paul Clayton

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