Nutritional Needs in Pregnancy

When you are planning a pregnancy or find yourself pregnant what sorts of thoughts do you have about your nutrition? You want your baby to thrive, so is it enough to eat a balanced diet as per the Eatwell Guide and let nature do the rest? It’s hard to know where to seek trustworthy information so I was very excited to read this guide about the vegetarian diet, that actually helps everyone find out the essential components of a healthy diet in pregnancy focusing on the babies needs for growth and development. I’m mindful that busy people don’t always prioritise their nutrition, so take a break, sit down and read on. This would have been as useful for my patient who only ate biscuits( and was newly pregnant) , as for those of my pregnant patients who thoughtfully followed a vegetarian or “Eatwell Guide” diet.

Carb cycling- what is it and should you do it?

Carb cycling refers to the practice of eating higher carb amounts on days you do strenuous exercise. As most of my patients are carb intolerant and gain weight easily I don’t advise it. However, you may notice that you can tolerate higher amounts of carbs on an exercise day. For instance, my expert patient Keith notices that he can eat porridge and maintain a normal blood glucose if he goes for a run afterwards. However, I would recommend porridge with nuts such as almonds or walnuts, rather than adding fruit which might push you over the 4-7 limit, 1-2 hours after the meal. Try making it with water one day, and almond milk the next. See if you can stay in the 4-7 range if you are doing strenuous exercise after. If you can’t stick to lower carb breakfasts instead.

Introduction to the 8 week course

This is an 8 week course that helps you change your eating and drinking habits permanently. I get emails from people many months and years down the line telling me they are still doing it and that could be you! It’s not just about food and drink, but also about sleep, movement and exercise, relaxation and stress management and getting over processed food addiction. Addressing these things will help you achieve your goals and so become much healthier.

First up, what does healthier” mean to you….would you think of YOUR hopes, dreams and goals and write them down- how would you like to feel a year from now, what would better look like? Build up a detailed picture in your mind of the things you would like to be doing, who you will be with, and how you will look & feel as this new healthier you.

Ask yourself what you eat and drink now meal by meal, drink by drink, snack by snack? If you eat bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cakes, biscuits or sweets and are ready for change there is a brilliant chance of success. If you secretly eat a lot of junk, you are not alone, and can change with the right approaches.Look here.

What is low carb/ low GI food and drink? What do you know about it? This link will show you. Look at the plate and click through the dots.. 🍽

Clearing your cupboard of processed food is an important first step, so do it with your partner, friend or family and maybe one of them will join you on the 8 week plan. All that sugary and starchy stuff has to go- so pile it up and give it away.

1 recipe- breakfast– and food samples to taste

Breakfast ideas

Set YOUR quit day

and if you try and don’t succeed , try again. It is much easier if you have none of that rubbish food in the house, and you avoid places where you are tempted.

Can you involve the rest of your family- like who does shopping and cooking? Get them on board if you can, and bring them to the group, but if they are not ready, just get on with it yourself.

If you are diabetic, get a blood glucose meter from your practice nurse or online, and check your blood glucose 1-2h after meals and learn what happens. We are aiming for 4-7 and 4 is the floor! Write down your results so you can avoid foods that raise your blood glucose too high- it will vary day to day so try things with & without exercise and learn how your body responds. See your GP with one of my medication letters if you are on medication for diabetes before you start.

Move more- do what do you enjoy, think of what would you like to do that is fun. If you have a lot of weight to lose, start with chair or floor based exercise or walking and build it up gradually. Would you consider giving yoga a go?

Mindful eating– what does it mean to you? To me, it means taking my time, enjoying the tastes and textures, and turning off the TV.

Habit releaser of the week: For one week sit in a different chair when you watch TV or eat a meal. A little habit change like this enables bigger habit changes!

Sleep– try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day from now on as this reduces your stress hormones and improves your health.

Blood requests and record charts- would you like to get your blood tests and measurements done before you start? These include…. weight, height, waist, HBA1C, lipids, liver function and kidney function. Do you want to do BEFORE photos, to compare with your AFTER ones?

Website list, books, social media links Look to the bottom of the page.

Reversing your diabetes

It is a long time since I wrote a blog, because I have had to cope with the illness of someone who is very close to me. I am hoping to get back to regular blogs soon, but I wanted to share something now.
Yesterday, I helped someone I had never even met or spoken to or emailed, and I found out by phone via the friend of a friend. This man has reversed his diabetes via my site. Isn’t that fantastic? I have met and spoken to many people who have reversed their diabetes now, but I want to point something out. The reversal only lasts for as long as you follow the low carbohydrate way of eating. For instance, another person, Keith, an X-pert patient, has continuous blood glucose monitoring and his blood glucose stays firmly in the 4-7(normal) range for as long as he eats low carb food. If he eats cornflakes with skimmed milk and orange juice it goes up to 15. Here is what happened when he ate sandwiches and fruit for lunch.
On the other hand, my uncle thinks his diabetes went away when he cut out sugar. Maybe it went away temporarily, but it has now come back, as confirmed by his blood glucose levels. To get rid of it he needs to cut out sugary and starchy foods all over again.
If you are reading this and are not my patient, ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian specifically for a low carbohydrate plan, or look at DietDoctor or

New group starting in Stockton Heath

Change your Eating in 8 weeks

A behavioural change & low carb approach.

Tuesday 7th August 12-1pm @ St Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath

Just turn up +/- bring a friend or your partner.

Run by Dr JOANNE MCCORMACK of & the charity
7th August, 14th August, 21st August, 28th August

These & future dates to be posted in St Thomas’ church and Stockton Heath Medical centre
Free to all to attend – you do not need to be a member of the church

Children and Sugar

I work in an area where people are generally healthy and people in my practice think hard about bringing their children up in the best possible way. They mostly cook from scratch and never give their children sugar or so they think….

They forget that breakfast cereals, toast and toppings, orange juice, brown bread, wholewheat pasta and rice all break down to sugar in the body. Not forgetting the “occasional” sugary treats.

To cut out sugar for your child, look at the recipes on and

People who have changed over to a low sugar lifestyle for their children experience better behaviour, better concentration, and even better sleep. A head teacher I spoke to told me that the behaviour at his school even improved when they removed the vending machines.

Can’t lose weight on #lowcarb?

Can’t lose weight on LCHF?
When I started a 30g carbs a day way of life, I never imagined the changes it would bring. The weight loss was an unexpected side effect and not my primary concern.
However, not everyone does lose weight with the first version of LCHF they try

If this applies to you have a think:

Do you eat a lot of fat e.g. fat on your chicken, and in your coffee, and cream on your fruit? If you have fat on your body, you don’t need to eat that much fat in your food.
Fat is your friend and protects your body from too much glucose, and it is also a source of fat calories when you want to lose weight.

Are you counting your carbs- e.g. through “Carbs and Cals”( remember you do not ned to count the Cals) How many grams of carbs are you having in a day? 20-30g per day should be enough. Be honest with yourself( photograph everything you eat and drink with your phone and count it up) and cut it back below 30 g a day if need be.

Are you stressed? The high levels of cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline can stop you from losing weight, so how about some relaxation in the form of yoga or mindfulness? When you are stressed you will sleep less well, and have more difficulty sticking to a sensible way of eating.

Are you eating too much protein? You don’t need more than 1g/kg, or 2g/kg if weight building or growing. Some restaurants serve 14oz, which is about 400g- beef steaks- that is not necessary. As a rough guide a piece of meat or fish the size of the palm of your hand will do.

How much healthy fat should you eat?

Where does the healthy fat in #LCHF come from?
Is it from your food, or is it from your body?
What sorts of fats are you comfortable with?

Many people are fat phobic, and fear that fat in food becomes fat on their bodies. The problem is that many people eat a high fat, high carb way and this is definitely fattening for many of us, as is low fat processed food which is high in sugar. Initially, it may be helpful to use recipes like those on DietDoctor but use minimal quantities of the high fat foods, like dairy, and oils, in order to feel comfortable with what is a radical change of lifestyle.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, do not overdo the fat in your food, especially if you dislike eating fat, as it may make you feel sick. Eat low carb, and do not ramp up your fat intake. Avoid those bullet proof coffees, and don’t add copious quantities of butter to your food. Be guided by your individual responses in terms of weight loss( a pound a week is fine), and blood glucose( it should be between 4 and 7).

I find most people are comfortable eating the fats that are in oily fish, olives, avocados and nuts, but are less comfortable with animal fats in butter, lard, beef, pork, lamb and chicken. All are healthy. The fats to avoid are trans-fats found in cakes, biscuits, donuts, and deep fried foods like chips, and also seed oils themselves, which become trans-fats at high temperatures.

For more detail click here.

A different way to to think of your body and mind..

Let’s suppose you are overweight and have accepted it, or you are overweight and still feel bad about your inability to get off the couch, and your inability to stop eating the foods that keep you and your body just the way they are.

If you could press a button and be slim you would, but it just feels too difficult, what with all the pressures of life.

Here is a different way to look at it:

You are not just you…
Your body is a complex ecosystem in which you live with trillions of microorganisms, collectively called the microbiome. There are so many of them that they outnumber your own cells by between 2 and 10:1. So over half of “you” is this microbiome. This microbiome determines how healthy your immune system is, it determines your weight, and even your food cravings. You may think you crave certain foods and drinks, but it may even be the microbiome making your brain crave them.

You can change your microbiome by what you eat and drink in as few as 21 days. You can change it slowly or suddenly and when you do, it can bring about phenomenal health changes.

I will tell you how you can do that in my 8 week plan.

One of my friends did it by becoming a whole food vegan.

Many more people do it, by ditching the carbs