Q. What's this plant based thing about anyway?

A. Good question. 

Frequently asked questions

So I need to go vegan, right?

No. Not initially. And maybe not ever. Vegan is a lifestyle. Few people are truly vegan. If there's any animal products at all in your life then you're not vegan. Another point: there are some very unhealthy vegans. The junk food market has been quick to see the profit in vegan food. Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) is different. It's about whole foods as close as possible to their natural state. Not processed foods. It's about health rather than ethics. Your ethics are for you to decide on. I've researched a lot and am totally convinced WFPB is the healthiest way to eat. Moving in that direction is good for health but how far along that road you travel is your call. I like the phrase that Josh LaJaunie uses: results dictate sufficiency. What he means is if you’re getting the results you want then what you’re doing is good. If not; change something. Experiment. What works for you? If you're not loosing the weight you'd like to it's probably a caloric density issue. It's not about less food; it's about different.

Why do I need a coach anyway?

Maybe you don't; but most of us do. The truth is we get stuck. When we're making changes we often can't see what's in front of us. We have blind spots. It's hard to read the label when you're inside the can - as the saying goes. Making big health changes is difficult. It's hard initially. It will get easier in time but initially it'll be tough. Having a coach who truly believes in you is powerful. A coach is different to a friend. Friends often tell us what we want to hear and don't hold us accountable. A coach will tell you what you don't want to hear and will hold you accountable. But after an introduction call, if we're not right for each other that's fine. If you've failed numerous times before; that's ok. If you believe you can't do this; that's ok. So long as you want to change, we'll get you making progress. Your health destiny is not fixed; you can change it starting now.

Am I too old for this?

Almost definitely not. I've worked with people in their 70s and 80s who have made remarkable changes. If you want to change; you can. If you're motivated to make a big move towards a healthier life then you can do it. It's never too late to cut your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other common age-related illnesses. We start from where we are.

What's the difference between a coach and a personal trainer?

If you’ve never worked with a coach, you’ll find it fascinating. First off; I won’t continually try to motivate you. You’ve seen it in the parks: the trainer standing over the clients cajoling them to do twenty more reps. It works for a while but you’ll be increasingly reliant on the trainer for your motivation. Coaching doesn’t work like that. I don’t want you forever. I want you to thrive on your own. You bring the desire to change. I’ll help with everything else. I like the analogy of the car with a slow puncture. The garage pumps it up and sends you on your way. Then you’re back the next day. And repeat. That’s the problem with continually motivating clients. You’ll need me forever to pump up your tires and even as you’re driving off I’ll hear the sad sound of the slow hiss of air escaping. We’ll work differently. Rather than addressing motivation time and again, we’ll work on systems and techniques that mean that motivation is less critical. You’re motivated. You’re reading this, right? You want to change. But (as I’m sure you know) motivation is fickle. It ebbs and flows. Some days we can’t wait to eat healthily and the next it seems pointless. That’s a fact: motivation is not dependable. We’ll concentrate on the systems that get results regardless of motivation. The big goal is to get you to a place where you become someone who eats well; not someone who continually has to think about food choices. It’ll be your identity. I know that may seem a world away but it does happen. It becomes who you are. And then you won’t need me, and like Nanny McFee, I’ll go (apologies if you don't know Nanny McFee's work).

I've tried a million diets. Why will this work?

This is not a diet. We've been dieting for decades and where has it got us? Most people in our country are now over weight and about 30% of us are obese. A diet is restrictive; a reduction in calories. The problem with that is your body is smart. We evolved in times of hardship; some feast and lots of famine. When calories were available, your ancestors took them. If they hadn't there's every chance they wouldn't have survived and you wouldn't be here. Every one of your thousands of ancestors managed to get enough to eat during these arduous times. We are the result of natural selection and we crave high calorie food. It's in our genes to do so. If we restrict calories our body thinks there's a famine. And what happens when the diet ends and more food is available again? We put the weight back on. There's nothing wrong with you if this happens. It's your body doing what evolution has "designed". So what to do? Well, maybe it's time to not diet; to eat sufficient food so that your body doesn't see famine. You'll need to understand about caloric density, but once you do you'll find you're less often hungry. You'll still crave high calorie foods. We all do. It's in our genes. We will develop strategies to deal with those cravings. Techniques to help in those situations where the rest of the world wants us to conform to its norm. You'll be eating enough food and getting sufficient nutrition. Your brain won't think there's a famine and therefore will be less likely to binge. This isn't a quick fix. However, it relies on proven techniques that becomes easier over time. Eventually it becomes little effort at all.

What exactly is this Whole Foods Plant Based thing, anyway?

It's a way of eating. Two rules: you eat whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible; and you avoid animal products. That's it. Moving towards this is a process. You'll start from where you are. The benefits are stagering: reduced chance of many cancers; prevent (possibly reverse) heart disease; prevent and treat diabetes; lose weight; live longer. There are more but that's a start. Check out nutritionfacts for more information.
This means moving towards eating fruits and vegetables, legumes (chick peas, kidney beans, black beans etc), nuts/seeds and whole grains (brown rice, oats, barley, buckwheat). I understand the concerns. When coming from a standard UK diet this is radical. I've been there. When I started eating this way I had little idea what I was doing. With coaching we take things at your pace. We will incorporate things slowly. By concentrating on tasty plant options you can crowd the unhealthy foods off your plate. And the other great thing: you can eat lots of this stuff. Maybe go easy on the nuts and seeds if weight loss is a goal but the other foods are self limiting. In other words, your body will tell you when you're full.

What about protein?

Put simply: it's in plants. And we don't need as much of it as we might think. Have a look at this video for information. Check this link too. Garth Davis M.D. is a weight loss surgeon and one-time protein addict. Hence the book: Proteinaholic. He explains where our obsession with protein comes from and the damage it's doing. I'll sum up the book for you. Do we need animal protein? No. Where can we get protein from? Plants. It's simple: eat a spread of plants and some beans or lentils and you'll be fine. Quiz to finish. What have the following got in common? Lewis Hamilton; a gorilla; Hector Bellerin (Arsenal footballer); Bill Clinton; Beyonce; Jay-z; an elephant and David Hay (heavy weight boxer). Easy, hey? Yeah, you guessed it: they all get their protein from only plants. If you're still not convinced, check out this.

B12. That proves we're supposed to eat meat, doesn't it?

You could argue it that way. At the risk of upsetting vegans, we didn’t evolve eating just plants. We ate whatever we could get our hands on: meat, plants, insects, fruit, whatever. It was all about survival.

Was our historic diet optimal? Most of our ancestors were dead before 30 so you’d probably say not. But they most likely got their B12 from meat, some from the soil and a bit from water.

Things have changed. Drastically. Most of us live in world of constant abundance. A diet of whole food plants has been shown to prevent and reverse heart disease along with a host of other chronic diseases.

Would it make sense to eat meat just to get some B12 when we can simply supplement? I think not, but everyone has to make their own decisions.

This link is worth a look. And this one.