Plant-based milks: 6 top tips

plant milk

There is one section of every supermarket and corner shop that is unrecognisable from ten years ago: plant-based milks. Or ‘mylks’, ‘m*lks’, or sometimes, confusingly, just ‘drinks’. I’m going with ‘milks’, partly for simplicity and partly because it amuses me that this offends some people. Terminology aside, one thing not in question is their unstoppable rise in popularity. Ethical and environmental concerns, dairy allergies and intolerances, and health considerations are all contributing factors here. Anecdotally, I’ve also noticed that friends and family find plant-based milks an appealing option even if they have no intention of going vegan or vegetarian. The […]

Continue Reading

Veganuary 2021

Veganuary is back, and more popular than ever, with over 500,000 people signing up in 2021. Inevitably this also means more backlash than ever from the closed-minded meat-chompers who feel threatened by plant-based diets, but I find it’s best not to rise to the red-faced haters! If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it is hopefully that we should never take our environment, wildlife, or health for granted. OK, so those are three things really, but nevertheless, they are also the three main reasons that people choose to go plant-based. And unlike Dry January, which, although important, only serves […]

Continue Reading

Dietary nitrates and endurance exercise – blog 3 and summary

Can nitrates help running performance?

Well done and thank you for getting this far – I know it’s been stodgy and technical at times, but this third and final nitrates blog should tie it all together nicely. I’ve already covered the impact of exercise assessment type, athlete fitness level, dosage and timing on nitrate’s benefit to endurance performance. The final elements to consider are sport type, intensity and duration, after which I will summarise where we are with some practical tips. In blog 1 I mentioned that nitrate seems to be more effective in sub-maximal ‘time to exhaustion’ assessments than maximum effort time trials. Somewhat […]

Continue Reading

Dietary nitrates and endurance exercise – intro blog

Can beetroot help running performance?

As a curious runner but sceptical scientist, I’m easily drawn to news pieces about enhancing running performance, particularly those that relate to nutrition. I try to view the articles through two pairs of eyes – my own (to critique the evidence and how it’s presented), and perhaps more importantly, those of a running friend or potential client. It’s vital to consider how they would interpret the article, and what questions might soon come my way. Beetroot  juice is a fine example of running nutrition grabbing the headlines in recent years. I had already been following the media stories with interest, […]

Continue Reading

Nuggets of running wisdom (part three)

Following on from blogs one and two, I’ll now bring this mini series of blogs to a close with four final nuggets of wisdom that have helped to inform and improve my running performance. Given my role as a dietitian, I’ve decided to finish up with some ideas on nutrition. I’m not claiming to be an expert on sports nutrition (yet!), but I’m starting to move in that direction at least, so I hope you enjoy my thoughts below. 7. Running on ‘empty’ can be a good thing When we train for a marathon, one of the key things we […]

Continue Reading

Veganism and the plant based revolution (part II)

A week later than planned (as ever), here is the second part to my blog on plant based diets, this time looking at the final four FAQs that come my way as a Registered Dietitian. Some of it is a bit lengthy (and I promise future posts won’t always be), but it’s a huge topic and one that could probably have been split across about five blogs rather than two. I could easily have expanded on all of these answers, but it’s a start at least! Q2. What about protein? Protein remains all the rage, and people often worry that a plant […]

Continue Reading

Minerals & mental health

Following on from last week’s blog, where I discussed the major links between vitamins and brain function, let’s now conclude this topic by looking at the potential role of minerals, trace elements and other dietary components in mental health. Like vitamins, strong associations between mineral deficiencies and mental illness have been seen, although it should be said that in some cases, the mechanisms remain unclear. Chromium is one such example, with deficiencies particularly prevalent in patients with depression. Iodine is absolutely crucial for mental health and development. It is involved in energy metabolism in brain cells, and in development a severe […]

Continue Reading

Vitamins & mental health

Last week I introduced the weighty topic of mental health, and started to consider the important part that nutrition has to play. This week I’m going to look a little closer at vitamins specifically, and their role in mental health (apologies in advance for the unavoidably scientific tone). Let’s first consider some of the water soluble vitamins: Deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine) can result in Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a condition that is similar to dementia, and associated with memory loss, confusion, personality changes, and above all, brain damage. Those with very heavy alcohol use are at particular risk. Vitamins B2 (riboflavin), […]

Continue Reading

Blue Monday

Once upon a time, ‘Blue Monday’ was just a legendary 80s dance track (the highest selling 12 inch single of all time, no less). These days, however, it has come to mean the point in January that apparently marks the most depressing day of the year. Originally coined by Sky Travel as part of a PR campaign, the ‘formula’ for Blue Monday factors in debt, weather, time since Christmas, motivation levels (or lack of) and failing new year’s resolutions, with the perfect storm deemed to be the Monday of the last full week in January. However, clearly it is just […]

Continue Reading

Ketogenic diet

keto diet for runners

A few weeks back, I advised a healthy dose of scepticism when faced with the fad diets of the new year. In fact, many of my blogs from last year carried a barely-hidden negativity towards ‘dieting’, so you could be forgiven for wondering whether dietitians have anything to do with ‘diets’ at all. So, just to clarify a few points… The ‘anti-dieting’ thing is really just my response to the standard media message that ‘diets’ are a short-term, quick-fix towards health goals, as implied by the phrase ‘going on a diet’. Of course the true meaning of the word ‘diet’, […]

Continue Reading