Health & Wellbeing
We hope that the Health and Wellbeing part of our website will help to encourage you to try more whole foods and a wider variety of foods which can help to make you FEEL better. As with everything, we encourage one step at a time towards your goal. Don’t put yourself under huge amounts of pressure and always discuss things with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.
If chapter 1 suits you then stay with it, if you feel comfortable with the progress you have made with chapter 1 and wish to look into things further then progress to chapter 2 and make use of the Soul Nutrition website which we have partnered with. If you are eventually wanting to look at lowering the amount of carbohydrates you are currently eating then you might be interested in reading through chapter 3 about our involvement with the Public Health Collaboration.
All our chapters will be updated and added to over time – so please keep checking in.
Our choice of food, how much we eat and how often we eat, can have an enormous impact on how we feel from day to day. Relatively simple adjustments can really make a difference, leading to enhanced energy levels, improved weight control and enabling us to feel better equipped to cope with the everyday challenges of life. If you are looking to explore changes, but are not quite sure where to start, then please read on for some tips. Time-wise, it’s worth planning moderate and sustainable meal changes over a period of weeks and months. Quick fix diet changes, rarely adjust our comfortable old habits for long.
For further guidance on making changes that really matter to you, please also refer to Balance by Soul Nutrition as well as the Soul Nutrition website. We would also recommend that you watch the online tutorials on how to use the Soul Nutrition website and you will find them via the above link.
Chapter 1: Guidance on Eating for Health and Wellbeing
The documents in this guidance section have been written by our clinical dietitian Sue Wood RD and we hope that you find them useful when you are wanting to make some basic changes to your diet to try to remove the highly processed foods that are so commonly available now. By simply doing this and making some better choices, you can make yourself FEEL better. See if you can introduce some new foods to your diet. There is also a document which helps you to understand more about the Glycaemic Index of foods and how you could lower this.
Chapter 2: Soul Nutrition
In this chapter we have partnered with the Soul Nutrition website where you can look at your entire lifestyle if you wish and make steps towards a healthier, happier you. The Soul Nutrition website enables you to actually upload photos of your meals, so you can actually see how you are progressing with your choices. There are online tutorials in this chapter so you can watch how to use the website in the best way to benefit YOU.
Chapter 3: Public Health Collaboration – Lower Carbohydrate Eating
As a ketogenic diet charity, Matthew’s Friends come into contact with many that support these types of diets. There is much evidence available giving the benefits of lower carbohydrate eating and the Public Health Collaboration are pushing to have changes made nationally so that the option of lower carbohydrate diets are included within the NHS. You will see links through to their information on this section of our site. At the moment, there seems to be no choice unless you are going on a very specific medical ketogenic diet for drug resistant epilepsy and this is only really available for children at this time.
Matthew’s Friends support the fact that more focus has to be put on nutrition in general when dealing with health issues and we would ideally like to see a dietitian in every GP practice. We believe that nutrition can play a massive part in the health and wellbeing for an individual but guidance is needed and ALL options should be available, including a lower carbohydrate option. We appreciate that lower carbohydrate eating is not for everyone and all diets should be tailored to the individual.
We must also be extremely careful not to confuse the two areas of lower carbohydrate eating and Ketogenic therapy.
Lower Carbohydrate eating can be quite beneficial to an individual for weight management and generally feeling better. This mainly concentrates on getting rid of processed, sugary foods and very high starchy carbohydrate foods such as white rice, white bread and white pasta, but it does have plenty of fruits and vegetables included and this type of diet does not change the metabolism in the body – lower carbohydrate eating normally means that you consume no more than 125g of carbohydrate a day and when you actually look at this type of diet, not much is actually restricted. You are just learning more about the types of foods you are eating and making better choices, which we have already looked at in the previous two chapters.
However, the diets being looked at above must NOT be confused with very low carbohydrate KETOGENIC diets, which should ONLY be managed by an experienced dietitian. These are MEDICAL diets which change the metabolism in the body and can obviously have side effects. This is especially important if you are suffering from any type of chronic illness such as (but not limited to): Epilepsy, Brain Tumour, Diabetes and Parkinson’s. These diets are a PRESCRIBED treatment for the individual and the diet WILL need ongoing fine-tuning for maximum benefit. One diet does NOT fit all.
Always check with your medical team before undertaking any type of dietary changes.