We’re delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the small business category of the TheBusinessDesk.com’s prestigious Yorkshire Business Masters Awards.
The annual Masters Awards black-tie dinner is one of the top events in the region’s business calendar and attracts key influencers, decision makers, business owners and senior managers from a wide range of high-profile companies and business sectors.
Our customers are at the heart of what we do, and everyone at YorkTest drives us forward and works hard to ensure our clients get the best, high-quality service possible.
We may be a small business in terms of headcount, however we trade in 45 countries across the globe with dozens of international partners and are the UK and Europe’s leading provider of food intolerance testing.
We are continually growing and bringing our food intolerance tests to more people worldwide, and as a result are pleased to say we’re investing in our people.
We’re proud to be a Yorkshire born company, with a more than 35-year history, who are now going from strength to strength and growing into international markets. We’re excited to reveal that we plan to expand further with several new country launches scheduled for this year.
The winners of the Yorkshire Business Masters awards will be announced and presented with a trophy at the Business Masters Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 26, at the Queens Hotel in Leeds.
We’re really looking forward to the awards ceremony and meeting with all the other finalists. It will be a great night to celebrate the amazing businesses that Yorkshire holds.
It is great to see that we are being recognised for the continued work that we do in helping improve people’s health and wellbeing.
We’re pleased to tell you that the results of our 2017 customer survey revealed four out of five customers saw improvements in their health following a YorkTest programme.
Out of those who saw positive benefits, 89% did so within a month and 69% did so within just two weeks.
February is always an exciting time. The comedown feeling from Christmas has abated and January, which often feels like 2 years’ long, is finally over. During this month, there are some exciting calendar dates, including Shrove Tuesday (AKA: Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday the following day. Are you participating in Lent this year which starts on the 14th February and ends on the 29th March? February is an exciting month to get more adventurous in the kitchen.
So, what’s in season during February?
This month features several foods which are in their last month of season and a few that are only just starting out. We’ve rounded up the most nutritious foods that are in season and asked Sarah Hughes, one of our BANT* registered Nutritional Therapists, to tell you why you need to incorporate these foods into your dishes and add them to your shopping trolley!
Roast it, steam it, blend it, drink it, beetroot is jam-packed with antioxidants to keep your immune system in check for the last few months of winter. “Beetroot is still in season – full of B vitamins to improve nerve health and iron to strengthen the blood and improve its oxygen uptake. Beetroot juice has been proven to lower blood pressure. Don’t forget to use the leaves as well, lightly steam and eat as a vegetable – full of vitamin K so they are good for strong bones too,” says Sarah.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
“This cruciferous vegetable is high in many nutrients including vitamin C and fibre, so benefits both immunity and digestion. It has the highest levels of carotenoids of all the cabbage family, particularly lutein which benefits eyesight. The purple sprouting variety has more antioxidants than the green varieties but is more prone to nutrient loss when cooked, so only lightly steam for best results,” Sarah advises. Perfect with your Sunday roast, sprinkle some cooked garlic, sesame oil and season with pepper and it’s ready to serve.
Sarah advises that spring lamb is “largely still grass-fed which means it’s lower in cholesterol than many other meats and high in the essential fats omega 3 and 6. Lamb is high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 which aids the prevention of heart disease and are necessary for a strong nervous system”. A great way to incorporate spring lamb into your diet is to make some healthy kebabs. Simply dice the lamb in 2cm chunks, peel the garlic and slowly grate over the lamb with some lemon. Sprinkle some basil and oregano over the lamb and cook until golden brown. Serve with steamed vegetables and grilled halloumi as a side option.
February is the last month you will see apples in season. “Apples contain many minerals and vitamins including vitamin C and iron for immunity and digestion. Eat with the skins on to get maximum nutrients but always wash first. Apples contain pectin which can not only help reduce cholesterol but keep the bowels regular,” Sarah says. So, when they say ‘one apple a day keeps the doctor away’, there is truth to this!
You might catch apples in their last month of season, but peppers are only just starting out. Peppers ‘are a colourful addition to our plate and come in red, yellow, orange and green varieties. Did you know that red bell peppers are actually green peppers that have been left on the vine to ripen? That is why ‘the green has a more bitter taste. High in vitamin A and C, bell peppers are a useful addition to any diet and often a great way of getting children to eat veg when used as crudités’ Sarah says. Bell peppers are perfect for snacking at work or just before dinner. Cut into 2cm slices and add a dollop of hummus or other dipping sauce for further flavour.
Swede is a typical autumn and winter food – similar to parsnips and turnips. February is the last month you can catch swede in season. “The swede or neep is a root vegetable that has been part of our diet for centuries. High in vitamin C it is delicious mashed with carrots,” Sarah mentions. It is a mild and sweet flavoured vegetable full of fibre, calcium and potassium.
“Whiting are fish that come from our North Atlantic seas. Delicious lightly fried with a bit of butter, these small fish are part of the cod family but much more sustainable, so tuck in,” Sarah announces. You can even season the fish with dill, lemon and herbs to add even more depth to the flavour.
Similar to purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower is “another member of the cruciferous family, important for supporting the liver. Cauliflower is a great low carb alternative to mashed potato when steamed and mashed with some grainy mustard,” Sarah recommends. Filled with vitamin C, anti-inflammatory nutrients and choline to boost your brain health, cauliflower needs to make an introduction to your dinner recipes this month.
“Venison is deer meat that is very low in saturated fat. Like other red meats, it’s high in iron, protein and B vitamins, all needed for growth and repair of bone and tissue health as well as nerve function” Sarah says. Not tried venison before? The taste can be confused with beef and it has more protein than any other red meat out there. Venison can work well with Thai dishes; think: chilli, garlic and ginger flavourings.
Not to be confused with clementines, blood oranges only make a relatively short appearance in late winter. They have the sweetest taste in January and February, so now is the time to stock up. Teeming with vitamin C to help you fight through all the winter bugs, they are sweet enough to tuck into as a snack or use as a dressing over your salads.
From new food trends to ingredients you need to add to your basket during February, this year may well see you getting more adventurous in the kitchen, especially if you’re giving up a few food ingredients over Lent. But if you find your stomach is less excited about the changes, there is an easy way to confirm whether new additions to your diet aren’t working for you.
Most of the ingredients mentioned in this article, including deer, lamb and bell peppers, are tested under YorkTest’s Premium Food&DrinkScan programme, which analyses your IgG reactions to 208 foods and drink to pinpoint the foods you need to avoid.
Make 2018 the year you discover your food fingerprint.
*British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapists
New research has found that women in the UK are more likely to consider changing their diet than visiting their GP when confronted with bloating, which is a major symptom of ovarian cancer.
A survey by Target Ovarian Cancer has shown that, when faced with the prospect of persistent bloating, women are more likely to eat more probiotic yoghurts or eliminate gluten, rather than visit their GP.
Half (50 per cent) of UK women questioned by YouGov said they would do something with their diet, whereas one in three (34 per cent) said they would see a doctor if they were concerned about bloating.
While bloating can be a symptom of a food intolerance, here at YorkTest we always advise that anyone with any medical concerns, including bloating, should visit a GP first to rule out any underlying conditions before undertaking one of our programmes.
The reluctance to go to the GP is further demonstrated in our YorkTest 2017 Customer Survey, which also found that many people do not seek advice from their doctors regarding their symptoms. Although 62% of customers sought advice from their GP, 38% however did not.
Again, even though YorkTest is delighted that customers see us a prime point of contact for the food intolerance symptoms they are experiencing, people should always visit their GP in the first instance.
If you have a food intolerance, it can often feel like you’re starting Lent a day early. Whilst everyone else is frying and flipping to their heart’s content, if you have an intolerance to gluten, dairy, or egg, then the majority of classic pancakes are firmly off the menu.
Well, here at YorkTest we’ve decided that enough is enough. At our alternative pancake day, everyone is welcome, with something flat and round on the menu to suit everyone. We’ve got dairy-free pancake recipes, gluten-free pancake recipes, and egg-free pancake recipes, so whatever your trigger, there’s no excuse not to get in on the fun. Take a look at the recipes below:
Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Pancakes
Simple to put together and full of flavour, these are an ideal option if you’re looking for a pancake that kids can get involved in making. By swapping out wheat for rice flour, and replacing the dairy content with rice milk, you can create an easy to put together pancake that’s both gluten and dairy free.
Ingredients (serves 2)
150g rice flour
150ml rice milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 banana, finely diced
1 tbsp. honey
120g dark chocolate (optional dairy free)
1)Beat together the eggs and rice milk with a whisk.
2)Using a sieve, sift the rice flour and baking powder into the egg mixture, continually beating to make sure no lumps are formed.
3)Add the honey and diced banana into the mixture, along with a small handful of the chocolate. Whisk and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
4)While resting, place the rest of the chocolate in a bowl to melt on a low heat in the microwave.
5)Add a small drop of oil to a non-stick frying pan, and pour in a ladleful of the batter, cooking for a minute or so on each side. Once cooked, place on a warmed plate covered with a tea towel whilst you make the rest of the pancakes.
6)When cooked, top each pancake with the melted chocolate and a little extra banana.
Dairy Free Sweet Potato Drop Scones
Drop scones, or scotch pancakes, are smaller, rounder, and fluffier than your average Shrove Tuesday effort. With brown rice flour, no eggs, and no milk, these pancakes are a perfect alternative if you’re intolerant to wheat, gluten, dairy or eggs. What’s more, the addition of sweet potato makes these pancakes pack a real antioxidant punch.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 tsp baking powder
200g brown rice flour
200ml oat milk
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Coconut oil, for frying
1)Boil or steam the sweet potato pieces for about 10 minutes, until really soft – they almost need to be falling apart.
2)When cooked, put the potato in a blender with everything but the coconut oil, and blend for around 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth and thick.
3)Place a non-stick frying pan on the stove and, when hot, place in a small amount of coconut oil.
4)When melted, pour in around 2 tbsp. of the batter, and smooth into a rough circle. Leave to cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes, until the top no longer looks completely runny. Then, flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.
5)Repeat until all the batter is used up, keeping the scones warm on a heated plate. Serve with jam.
Buckwheat and Berry Gluten Free Pancakes
Swapping out the wheat in pancakes isn’t just a great way to make them gluten-free as, depending on what substitutes you use, you could end up giving yourself a health boost too. Buckwheat is a great substitute for wheat flour; as well as being completely gluten-free, buckwheat can help promote healthy digestion and keep blood vessels supple. Coupled with antioxidant rich berries, these pancakes will give you all you need to power on through lent.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
225g buckwheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 large egg
275ml rice milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter
175g fresh berries of your choice (we like raspberries and blackberries)
3 tbsp. honey, to serve (optional)
1)Put the berries in a blender or food processor, then blitz until fairly smooth.
2)Strain the berry mixture through a sieve. If you don’t mind pips, you can leave this step out. Set the mixture aside.
3)Place the buckwheat flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl, and mix together.
4)Whisk the rice milk and egg together in a separate bowl. Then, slowly pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients bit by bit, whisking to make sure everything is well incorporated and you end up with a smooth batter.
5)Heat a non-stick frying pan and melt in a small amount of butter. Then, ladle in a small amount of the pancake batter to make a thin crepe-style pancake. Fry for around 2 minutes then flip over to cook the other side.
6)Serve with maple syrup alongside the berry sauce.
Egg-free Classic Lemon and Sugar Pancakes
If you’re intolerant to egg, you might think you’re automatically ruled out from Pancake Day. No egg? No problem. There’s an alternative Pancake Day for you.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4oz Plain Flour
2 tsb baking powder
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp oil
9floz whole milk
1) Gently sift the flour into the bowl and add the sugar and baking powder
2) Add the water and oil with the milk
3) Once these ingredients are added to the bowl, mix with a whisk until a batter texture forms
4) Add 2tbsp of oil to your frying pan (make sure you use a non-stick pan!) and maintain a medium heat throughout
5) Add a scoop of the pancake mixture into the frying pan. Note: you must be quick and make sure you get your flipping skills in action!
6) When your pancake has turned slightly brown, serve and add your favourite toppings: lemon, sugar and that good ole’ maple syrup!
Is there something about Pancake Day that just doesn’t agree with you? It could be that you have food intolerance. With our Food&DrinkScan food intolerance test, you can find out exactly what foods might be making you ill, and receive up to two nutritional consultation to help you tailor your diet in a way that works for you. That way, there might be something to give up this Lent that you don’t mind losing.
We are seeking an enthusiastic and suitably qualified Child Psychologist to provide telephone consultations to parents who are concerned about their child’s behaviour (age 2-17 years). Applicants must be self-employed, fully insured and HCPC registered.
Digital Marketing Executive
Working as part of the Marketing team, the Digital Marketing Executive will be responsible for driving targeted paid and organic traffic to the website and converting it into quality engagement. The Digital Marketing Executive will also work with the wider marketing team to build and execute campaigns to raise brand awareness and generate online sales.
Working as a part of the Laboratory team, the Laboratory Scientist will work across both the testing and production facilities. They will be responsible for the timely processing of all samples received into the laboratory. They will ensure that all testing and booking in processes comply with the YorkTest strict standard operating procedures, whilst maintaining a high degree of quality and attention to detail in all aspects of work.
The Sales Manager will be responsible for ensuring further success of the company, taking an active part in the day-to-day management of the B2B and B2C teams, whilst driving the growth of our impressive business through effective and impactful customer communications across all channels.
For more information about these vacancies, please contact Nichola Heraty in the YorkTest HR Department on 0800 074 6185 or email email@example.com .
It’s January – home to kickstarting new diets, trying out new hobbies, and staying on track with the New Year’s resolutions you’ve set yourself. The “New Year, New You” motto may seem easy to achieve but, let’s face it, with dark nights starting at 4pm, feeling overly sluggish after devouring all the food over the Christmas period, waiting for payday to finally roll around, and Blue Monday, also known as the most depressing day of the year, it might be difficult to throw yourself into the new year with 100% motivation.
Fear not. If you’ve started your elimination diet to remove your troublesome food reactions, or you generally want to be more food conscious but not too sure where to start, we’ve rounded up 5 small ways you can eat a little healthier this month without breaking the bank. January blues can step aside!
1. Eat Out Less
This is at number one, because not everyone will rejoice at the prospect of eating out less, but we promise you it has its perks in the long run! Dining at restaurants or popping into the pub for a quick meal may be an enjoyable mid-week or weekend treat but you’ll be surprised how this can quickly add on the pounds– both in weight and money.
Though dining at restaurants is significantly healthier than grabbing a fast food takeaway, a study published by The Independent showed that “while you may be taking in more nutrients – like vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids depending on what you order – you’re also likely to consume more sodium and cholesterol”. You also take on board 200 more calories on average than if you eat at home.
Eating at home gives you more control over ingredients and preparation methods, so if you’re a few weeks into your elimination diet, you have full confidence what ingredients you’re putting into your food. You’ll also save money – ideal for those whose bank accounts are still suffering from Christmas. It’s a win-win situation.
2. Keep those sugar cravings at bay
If you indulged a little too much over Christmas, you’ve just joined practically everybody else in the country who have done the exact same. The feeling of guilt and regret for devouring all your Christmas chocolates, sweets and wine in a short period of time is enough for anybody to kickstart a diet or detox regime. However, setting ambitious New Year’s dietary resolutions is setting yourself up for failure. After all, they are called crash diets for a reason.
Choosing small, but effective, healthier alternatives can make a big difference. An extreme diet or fasting can leave your body in limbo, especially when your body is already suffering from sugar withdrawals caused by your intake over the Christmas period. An extreme diet strips your body from nutrients and only leads to temporary weight loss and the feeling of zero energy, exacerbating your sugar cravings. Instead, swap out sweets, chocolate or cans of pop for your favourite fruit to combat your sweet tooth. Not only is fruit packed with lots of lovely nutrients and vitamins, but your sugar cravings will be satisfied too.
3. Say no to added salt
The recommended sodium intake is 6g a day (2.4g sodium), according to the NHS (link). Salt can often be a hidden ingredient in many foods which may make it difficult to fully determine your salt intake. A diet high in salt can contribute to high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Herbs and spices can be a great replacement if you often reach for the salt to add flavour to your lunch or dinner. Add basil and oregano to your pasta or Chinese five spice to your stir-fry. You don’t need to rely on salt to get your flavour fix.
4. Sneak vegetables into your favourite dishes
It sounds simple, but we’ve all been guilty of tucking into our favourite dishes and becoming too full towards the end of the meal to start on the side dish of vegetables you steamed earlier. Incorporating vegetables into your favourite dishes is a reliable way to avoid alienating the green stuff. Cooking up a stir fry? Add bell peppers, spring onions and spinach rather than overloading on noodles and chicken. Ready for a Sunday roast? Steam some carrots, broccoli and cabbage and add them onto your plate whilst cutting down on your portions of turkey, Yorkshire puddings and, yes you guessed it, gravy.
Another small but effective tip is to eat the vegetables on your plate before anything else; consider it food prioritisation. This means if you physically can’t eat any more, you’ve already devoured the healthiest foods on your plate.
5. Keep your options open
If you’re starting an elimination diet or simply just trying to eat a little healthier in 2018, it’s easy to slip into a routine of the same foods day-in, day-out. You are more likely to binge eat or break your healthy eating habits when you are restricting the variety of foods you
consume. After all, the eggs you’re cooking up for breakfast 7 days a week is easily going to tempt you into a full English breakfast after a few weeks if you’re not careful. It is true that your body likes routine, but with cravings flying around during the first few weeks of your
diet, it’s important to keep it varied whilst also nutritional.
On a Friday or Sunday, there’s no harm in treating yourself after a successful week. Eliminating dairy? Try a dairy-free chocolate bar or hot chocolate drink that is substituted with soya instead of milk. Cutting out wheat and gluten? Baking your favourite cakes with gluten-free flour is also another way to congratulate yourself on eating healthily throughout the week.
At the end of the day, food is fuel – try not to be harsh on your body. Seeing through your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’ve introduced some new foods recently that your stomach is less excited about, or you have no direction on how to start your elimination diet, there’s an easy way to confirm what your body is trying to tell you.
YorkTest’s Premium Food&DrinkScan programme analyses IgG reactions to 208 food and drink ingredients to pinpoint the foods you need to avoid.
It’s the start of the year and we’ve all been looking to make a few changes to the way we live our lives. Whether you’re aiming big or small, choosing what “new year, new you” changes to make can be a committed decision, especially when trying to improve your health.
There’s the fear of setting too many New Year’s resolutions that quickly descend into a burnout. After all, it’s thought that a fortnight into January, people abandon their gym membership along with their intense exercise regime, fall back into unhealthy eating habits, or reach for that bottle of wine after persuading themselves to partake in Dry January.
Don’t set out for failure. Our 12 simple changes will help you make 2018 the year you find a happier, healthier you. They are simple lifestyle changes that make a difference. Whether you do them all at once or one a month, take baby steps or big leaps, the choice is up to you.
1. Find out what exercise works for you
It’s undeniable that regular exercise is important to health and wellbeing, and getting into the habit can sometimes feel like a chore. However, with the right approach, it’s easy to find an exercise routine you love. Let’s face it, you don’t need to do an insanity session or a full body workout every day to get those endorphins going.
The key is finding a regime that works for you, and it’s a good idea to try out a few things to see what sticks. For example, running isn’t for everyone, so even if your friend is trying to set personal best records in a 10K run, listen to your body and what works for you.
Try a jog outdoors, a cardio workout at the gym, pairing up at badminton, or even a dance class – whatever floats your boat. If you feel that you quickly overheat, or you simply just don’t want to break a full sweat, swimming could be for you. Teeming with cardiovascular health benefits and using most of the muscles in your body, swimming can relieve aching muscles or joints and accommodates to most fitness levels.
Finding the right exercise for you can be a case of trial and error, so if it turns out you’re not enjoying those ultimate Zumba sessions, don’t worry – there’ll be something else out there to try.
2. Find out what foods work for you
There’s no shame in declaring that kale smoothies and quinoa salads aren’t for you. Eating healthily doesn’t have to mean eating foods you don’t like, and it’s easy to make simple changes to foods you already love eating.
This change also works for foods you love that just don’t seem to get along with you, no matter how hard you deny it. Whether it’s bread, milk, something more unsuspecting like kale, beef or coffee, or a food that you can’t quite put your finger on that makes you feel unwell, finding out whether you have a food intolerance once and for all could make your 2018 better than expected. After all, if cow’s milk makes you feel unwell and you have a confirmed food intolerance against this trigger food, there are an array of other alternatives that are on the market, for example: almond milk, rice milk, soya milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, the list goes on.
3. Give your fridge a makeover
Do you find yourself drawn like a moth to the light of the fridge, coming back and forth all evening even though you know you’re not really hungry? It’s time to give your fridge a makeover. Getting rid of those ingredients you can live without is a small but important step to make when trying to optimise your diet.
Plus, stocking up your fridge full of greens and fruits will make you feel healthier already, and is a great way to force yourself into making food that is more nutritious. If you have a sweet tooth, ditch the chocolate bar or packet of sweets for a handful of blueberries or raspberries to satisfy that sweet craving.
4. Start reading labels
This tip is perfect for those out there with magpie tendencies, who find themselves drawn to attractive or stand out packaging, only to get home and find out that the soup you just bought is 2/3 of your daily salt amount.
Knowing what exactly is in your foods will do wonders for your eating habits and is an incredibly easy but beneficial change to make. Food intolerant and don’t know what you should be looking out for on food labels? Read our guide to ensure that you can identify any sneaky and pesky foods which may trigger any uncomfortable symptoms. You’ll be surprise how many other names egg can be disguised as, including Lysozyme E1105 and Ovoglobulin (Don’t worry, once you recognise these other names, finding these on food labels is much easier than pronouncing them!).
5. Reduce food waste
In the UK, we throw out around 7 million tonnes of unused or uneaten food a year. Not only is this habit bad for the environment and our wallets, it’s also bad for our health. We all know the temptation the takeaway menu holds when we open the cupboard on a Friday night and don’t feel like eating any of the food we own. However, only buying the food you know you’ll eat, and more importantly, you know you’ll want to eat, is another key change that can help you on the road to good health.
Planning your meals are another way to reduce food waste as you know exactly what to make and eat on specific days, cutting out the impulsive temptation to purchase unnecessary foods. So just because it’s ‘2-for-1’ or half price, don’t feel like you need to stock up, especially if you know that it will only go to waste.
6. Eat less meat
We’re not suggesting that everyone has to go entirely veggie, but the health factors associated with cutting out meat can’t be stated enough. A reduced likelihood of heart disease, lowered risk of cancer and increased chance of weight loss are all benefits associated with eating less meat, not to mention that veggie and vegan eating can be significantly cheaper.
Elaine Jackson, one of YorkTest’s BANT* registered Nutritional Therapists, predicts that vegan eating will become part of the mainstream during 2018. We’ll see “meat eaters who want to still eat meat but are happy to eat veggie/vegan for a part of the time and they understand the health benefits,” Elaine expresses. Read our guide to find more food trend predictions for 2018.
Happy carnivores needn’t worry too much, as simply introducing two meat free days a week could get you into the healthy habit.
7. Get enough sleep
It’s easy to overstate the benefits of sleep, yet getting the right amount can seem increasingly difficult in today’s hectic world. Whether it’s work, children, or an inability to drag yourself away from that box-set you got for Christmas that’s leaving you feeling tired, getting enough z’s in 2018 should be a goal for everyone.
Not only does sleep recharge our bodies, it’s also extremely important for keeping on top of your mental health and wellbeing, with lack of sleep being a big contributor to feelings of stress and anxiety. Your body likes routine and performs best when it knows exactly when you’re hitting the hay and rise and shining. Set yourself a bed time, stick to it, and aim for a good 8 hours every night; that way, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever the day might throw at you.
Sounding ambitious? If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re actually getting, or the quality of sleep for that matter, there are some great apps which analyse your sleep quality. SleepCycle monitors how often you’re in a deep sleep and the irregularity of it. It’s even useful on those days where you don’t need to get up first thing in the morning, as the app can wake you up when your sleep is at its lightest. Sleep Genius is another great app, which is developed by neuroscientists, and is recommended by NASA as a main health app. It can guide you on the perfect power nap – ideal for those with hectic lifestyles who are conscious of not maintaining their energy levels and alertness.
8. Make time for yourself
With mobile phones, texting and the internet making us accessible anytime, anywhere, it can often feel increasingly difficult to make time for ourselves. It’s easy to fall into a routine of checking your phone first thing in the morning and the last thing you do before you fall asleep. Break away from this cycle, shut off from the outside world, and set some time aside for you.
Something as small as 20 minutes to reflect and catch up with yourself during the day could really help you to de-stress. What you do with this time is up to you; you could meditate, go for a walk, or even take a nap. Just make sure that the time you set out is your time.
9. Make eating an occasion
Another feature of the modern world is that for many of us, a meal is merely sustenance, eaten at a desk or on the move. When we’re busy and grabbing food that is quick, it can be easy to reach for foods that perhaps aren’t the healthiest around. Instead of eating while on the go, make 2018 the year you reinstate breakfast, lunch and dinner as real times and occasions.
Setting aside time to eat with friends or family is a great way to unwind and release stress, and having meals with others also slows down your eating, meaning you’re likely to feel fuller quicker and eat less.
10. Drink More
No, we don’t mean alcohol! Drinking 8 glasses of water a day can significantly improve your energy levels and productivity. Our bodies are roughly 60 percent water, so maintaining this level can effectively help balance and regulate all the amazing things going on within us, including regulating body temperature, flushing out toxins, and digesting food.
Buy yourself a BPA-free (Bisphenol A) plastic water bottle and refill every time you have a bathroom break. Another great way of drinking more water is to add flavour. Avoid water enhancers which can be full of aspartame and artificial flavourings and, instead, opt for fresh fruit to add natural flavouring to water. Simply cut up a lemon or lime and add a few slices to your glass, or dunk in a handful of raspberries or herbs.
If your New Year’s resolution is to stop the unhealthy habit of drinking carbonated, sugary drinks but you’re not quite sure if suddenly going stone-cold is the right way for you, take small steps and dilute your sugary drinks with some good ole’ water. This will slowly decrease your sugar intake without craving a sugar fix. It’s a way of gently weaning yourself away from the sugar-laden drinks whilst also providing you with a healthy dose of water.
11. Get a health buddy
Promising to make a change with someone else can be a great motivator. Whether it’s a fitness coach, member of your family, partner or a complete stranger, sharing a healthy food or fitness plan with someone else can help keep you on track. That way, if you feel like skipping a workout, getting a takeaway, or staying up all night on a school night, your health buddy will be there to help you reconsider.
12. Start small
How many changes you choose to make in 2018 is up to you but it’s important to remember not to overdo it. If you steamroll into a new diet or fitness regime, you’re only likely to burn yourself out quickly. Instead, start by making small changes; cut out foods you know you shouldn’t be eating one by one, increase the amount and variety of exercise you do at your own pace, and don’t forget to reach for that glass of water to rehydrate your body.
Making a change should be enjoyable – not a chore. The more the weeks go by, the more comfortable you’re likely to feel the efforts you’re making and, in a matter of time, sticking to those new routines will feel effortless.
Change is a process, not one big singular action. View every little change you make as a step forward in your health and wellbeing, and remember that any setbacks can and will be recovered from.
Most importantly, believe in yourself, and happiness and health will come naturally. So, get out there, and make 2018 more than just a new year, but also a new you!
Think a food intolerance is setting back your new year, new you goals? With YorkTest’s FirstStep test, this year could mark the start of a new healthier feeling you.
*British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapists
Do you ever remember a time before quinoa and avocado on toast? We don’t either. Over the years we have seen a range of superfoods that are now dominating kitchens, as well as restaurants. In 2017, we saw the emergence of tasty treats that went viral over Instagram and social media, like black ice cream made from charred coconut for a gothic look and galaxy smoothies. But if you can’t make a meal without your beloved kale, hemp seeds, coconut oil or sweet potato, then listen up. Hold on tight – brand new food trends are coming for you this year.
We’ve got the 2018 food trend lowdown from three of our BANT* registered Nutritional Therapists, who have told us what culinary delights they expect to be landing on our plates in 2018.
Vegetarian and vegan eating as part of the mainstream
Gone are the days where you receive a plate of lettuce and tomatoes after ordering the vegan option at a restaurant. Elaine Jackson, one of YorkTest’s Nutritional Therapists, predicts a whole host of vegan options and even vegan-specific restaurants will emerge this year.
We’ll see “meat eaters who want to still eat meat but are happy to eat veggie/vegan for a part of the time and they understand the health benefits. Certainly, in London we see more and more vegetarian and vegan restaurants opening and the food is delicious – mixing colour, taste, variety, spices and health all-in-one”, she says.
Over the years there has been growing exposure on using food as medicine to heal the body, resulting in an influx of innovative ways to eat healthily. Now more than ever, people are taking charge of their health and wellbeing through a clean diet and a range of superfoods to restore their optimum health.
Nutrition and wellness will continue to be a focus in 2018 through using food as medicine to help heal, boost immunity and aid specific health issues like IBS. Elaine expresses that “specifically pre and probiotic foods enhance the digestive tract and boost immunity, such as miso, kombucha, kimchi and yoghurts”. Stock up on these for 2018.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan and you’ve not yet heard of heme, 2018 has a lot in store for you. You may have already come across the phrase ‘the impossible burger’. If you haven’t, you will most definitely have heard it by the end of this year. Impossible Foods have recreated a meat-like burger with the same aroma, texture and flavour as a conventional burger. They’ve made the impossible possible.
Amongst the patty’s main ingredients, which include coconut oil, potatoes and wheat, one of the plant-based patty’s main components is an ingredient called heme, which is taken from the protein gene, leghemohlobin, and derived from the root of a soy plant. This unique iron-containing molecule makes the plant-based meat sizzle, smell, bleed, and also taste deliciously meaty too.
Impossible Foods have coined heme “the magical ingredient that makes the burger a carnivore’s dream”. Not only is this a landmark for vegans and veggies, it’s also a stepping stone for foodies looking to cut down on their meat intake and environmental footprint. It’s due to debut in Asia this year, so expect this to go global.
South American Food
Move aside, Nando’s. It appears South American food is gaining traction and becoming more popular in 2018 with a recent sprinkling of new restaurants and South American-infused dishes. Sarah Hughes, our BANT* registered Nutritional Therapist, explains that we’ve already seen “the popularity of quinoa, which comes from the High Andes mountains. Meat and fish are abundant in South American cooking depending largely whether you’re by the sea or inland, but there is also a high amount of beans in their stews or feijoadas” which is the most traditional dish in Brazil.
“From a nutritional point of view, I am always encouraging my clients to eat smaller amounts of good quality meat with more vegetables and beans bulking up the dish” said Sarah. “And the South American stews are a great example of this”.
Also known as Job’s Tears, this gluten-free grain is another new kid on the block in 2018. The grain is versatile and adaptable, named after Job, a biblical character, who was known to have many sorrows and tears. It’s grown largely in Southeast Asia and “like quinoa, it is very high in protein as well as B vitamins. It doesn’t need much water to grow which also means it’s good for the environment,” Sarah explains.
“It’s beneficial to mix up our grains to get a greater range of nutrients so Job’s Tears will be a welcome addition to our repertoire. I imagine it will be a very useful addition to a vegan diet with its high protein content. The taste is a mix between pearl barley and rice and it is easy to cook, just boil it until chewy,” Sarah advises. Add them into your favourite soup and broth or work them into rice blends.
Not only will using food as medicine be even more prominent in 2018, but fermented foods and a focus on gut health will also continue to be a main food trend.
Ali Orr, one of YorkTest’s Nutritional Consultants, predicts that fermented foods are likely to become more available and likely to be encouraged on a wider scale. “As research into the microbiome continues to show the importance of a healthy gut flora, it seems people are increasingly including fermented foods into their diet to support the bacterial balance. Foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir can all be beneficial and are becoming much more widely available,” she explains.
Staying with gut health, “people are becoming aware of eating a diet that nourishes the gut. Bone broth is part of this approach and is becoming increasingly available with high street coffee shops such as Pret A Manger now getting on board”.
What foods to buy in 2018?
There’s no denying that gut health remains a high priority. On your next shop at the local supermarket, stock up on these foods to take on 2018 the healthy way – whilst being 100% on trend.
Black beans for the Brazilian speciality dish, feijoadas
Sauerkraut and kefir for gut-boosting properties
… and keep your eyes peeled for heme.
From new food trends to New Year’s resolutions, 2018 may well see you getting more adventurous in the kitchen. But if you find your stomach is less excited about the changes, there is an easy way to confirm whether new additions to your diet aren’t working for you. YorkTest’s Food&DrinkScan programme analyses your IgG reactions to 158 food and drink ingredients to pinpoint the foods you need to avoid.
Europe’s market leader in intolerance testing says food intolerances are “very real” in response to chef Raymond Blanc’s comments, saying they are “fashionable”.
Blanc, who runs the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, said “we are a kitchen not a hospital. Of course, now, if you don’t have an allergy, you’re nobody” and that “it’s a very great fashion to have a food intolerance”.
In response to the celebrity chef’s comments, YorkTest Laboratories, which has more than 35 years’ worth of experience in testing for food reactions, has highlighted that it is thought up to 45% of the UK population suffers from intolerances.
Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest, said: “Raymond Blanc’s views on intolerance could make people feel they have to choose between listening to their body and avoiding the food they react to or enjoying a meal out with friends and family.
“Eliminating trigger foods can offer a solution for many people, helping them feel like they are taking back control.”
A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by YorkTest found that nearly one in five (19%) people believe food intolerance and allergies are the same, when in fact they are not.
Dr Hart explained: “Food intolerance and food allergy are often thought to be variations of the same thing but the biological processes behind them, and how they affect you, are very different.
“Food allergy is quite rare, affecting about 2% of the adult population, whilst it is thought that approximately 45% of the population have a food intolerance.
“Unlike allergies, which can potentially be fatal, food intolerance usually involves a delayed biological reaction which, although often uncomfortable and unpleasant, is not life threatening.
“Symptoms of food intolerances are very real. The most common symptoms are digestive, such as IBS, bloating, diarrhoea and stomach pain. But other people may experience migraines, skin problems like acne and eczema, lethargy, fatigue, joint pain and even mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
“Many people are living with food intolerances and their associated symptoms without realising that the food they are eating is the root cause.
“Several high street restaurant chains are offering free from options and some are even partnering with technology platforms to make it easier for people with intolerances to find out where they can eat out.
“If high street restaurants can cater for diners who have food allergies and intolerances why can’t a Michelin-starred restaurant, such as Raymond Blanc’s, do the same?”
YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. The company’s information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. YorkTest recommend that individuals discuss any medical concerns they have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programme.