She’s the nutritional therapist A-list celebrities have on speed dial thanks to her revolutionary approach to eating.
Amelia Freer has been credited with the dramatic weight loss and healthy new lifestyle of a string of stars from soul singer Jessie Ware to actor and TV presenter James Corden, who’s revealed he called on Freer to straighten out his diet — and figure — before the launch of his U.S. chat show.
But it was the revelation that award-winning singer Sam Smith had lost a stone in just two weeks of following Freer’s advice (and then shed a further 2st) that confirmed her dietary fame.
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A pioneering new book by a nutritionist the stars swear by reveals the simple steps to looking and feeling fab
What makes Freer’s methods so refreshingly appealing is the fact that she doesn’t advocate strict rules, or harsh deprivation, just a positive attitude and a commitment to eating only food that makes you look and feel great.
That translates into lots of fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit — eaten slowly — in three meals a day (snacking is forbidden) with a healthy disregard for anything packaged, processed or pumped with chemicals.
These are lessons that Freer learned through personal experience. Twelve years ago, she was juggling her job as a personal assistant to the Prince of Wales with an active social life. She got by on a diet of pasta, carbs and ready meals, and often felt tired and groggy as a result.
Freer regards weight loss — which usually happens to those following her regime, and often dramatically — as a bonus, but what she can promise to people who take her nutritional advice is a certain glow.
This glow defies cosmetic surgery and expensive face creams and comes from being truly healthy — mentally and physically — when energy levels are soaring.
No wonder Freer’s first book, Eat. Nourish. Glow. is top of the best-seller list. But it’s not just the stars who can follow her advice — today, and all next week in the Mail, you can read her prescription for how you can eat your way to a brand new, healthy you.
Changing lifelong eating habits takes time and commitment, Amelia Freer (pictured) says
By Amelia Freer
My diet used to be terrible. Throughout my 20s I lived on pasta, ready-meals, croissants and sandwiches — everything was quick, processed and full of wheat and sugar.
Most of the time I felt tired and groggy and I drank endless cups of tea (ten or more a day, with three sugars per cup) to keep me perked up. My idea of a treat meal was a white baguette stuffed with cheese, mayonnaise and crisps, washed down with a glass of wine.
When I think about the nutritional balance of my diet then, it’s little wonder I was shattered, permanently bloated with terrible acne and recurrent colds and infections. I was, to be frank, a mess.
I bounced from doctor to doctor in a quest to find some kind of get up and go, and I tried massage, acupuncture and hypnosis in my attempts to make myself feel better, but nothing helped.
But then a friend recommended a nutritionist who asked about my diet and explained just how much the food I was eating could be affecting my health. I couldn’t believe what she was saying. It all made so much sense and I felt a flame light inside me.
At 28 I went back to college, threw myself into my studies — and four years later graduated as a nutritional therapist.
After much experimenting, tweaking and improving, my diet is now pretty good, and I am very proud to report that I am symptom-free, fighting fit, and in great health. I’m convinced it’s down to what I eat.
I have three meals a day, and aim to consume ten to 13 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, three of which are fruit, one with each meal, and I eat protein with each meal — nuts, seeds, poultry, meat or fish and sometimes pulses.
I no longer eat dairy (almond milk and coconut yoghurt are delicious alternatives), or gluten (why would you want to when there are so many non-gluten grains, breads and flours to savour?). But I enjoy a good cup of coffee and a nice glass of great red wine occasionally.
I can’t imagine going back to my old eating habits now. I don’t miss them or feel like I’m missing out.
The way I see it, I was missing out back then because I was living such a catastrophically unhealthy half-life.
And I can honestly say I’ve never felt healthier. I’m 39 and full of energy and vigour. My skin is clear — and yes, people say I glow.
I adore my job. It’s so rewarding. I get to meet so many lovely people — famous and not-so-famous — but all of them have issues that stem from their food choices. So many people want a quick fix and beg me to tell them ‘the perfect diet’ or the ‘best’ supplements to take.
But changing lifelong habits takes time and commitment.
Some people need me to teach them how to introduce new food and habits while weaning them off addictive foods, and others seem to fear food.
That’s particularly true for the thousands who have yo-yo dieted for years and just don’t know what or how to eat any more. They find they need help to unpick the web of nutritional confusion that has robbed them of their enjoyment of food.
Getting healthy, losing weight — if that’s your goal — and finding your own personal glow is very much an individual quest, but what I can say for sure is that eating food in its most natural form is the very best place to start.
That’s what my healthy eating philosophy is all about. Good healthy food is not boring, tasteless or drab. It’s not hippy food, or diet food. I’d never advocate revolting shakes, plastic microwave meals or dull salads.
When you clean up your diet and change your relationship with food, excess weight can fall off dramatically
I love food and I hate diets and calorie counting. I refuse to go hungry or feel deprived and wouldn’t expect anyone else to either.
I have so often found that when clients follow my nutritional advice they notice improved energy, better sleep, clearer skin, better bowels, focused thinking, less pain and brighter moods — and I hope that the same will be for you.
Yes, weight loss is very common when eating this way, as many of my clients experience. When you clean up your diet, and change your relationship with food, excess weight can fall off dramatically fast — often as much as 7lb in just seven days.
And significantly, it won’t be long before people start to notice your glow. I usually spot the first signs after just a couple of weeks of working with people.
When you are nourishing your body, eating the cleanest diet possible; it impacts your digestive health, and shines through your skin in a profound and magnificent way.
But it’s not just a physical thing. When you know you are doing something really good for yourself it is incredibly empowering, and the switch from abusing your system to honouring it with good, clean food gives you the best glow factor ever.
My philosophy can be broken down into ten simple, easy-to-achieve steps which we will be covering in detail in the Mail over the next five days and which I summarise here.
You don’t have to be virtuous all the time — it’s more realistic to drop your worst habits one at a time and then start adopting a few new good ones. And today I also want to get you thinking about changing the way you eat — and tell you about a kitchen gadget called a spiralizer that will revolutionise your meals, helping you to cut out starchy carbs and rice in an instant for more nutritious alternatives.
One of the biggest barriers to good health is sugar
STEP 1: Do just one thing
The most likely barriers to your health, happiness and glow are: sugar (addictive and destructive in equal measure); gluten (the protein in many grains which is so difficult for our bodies to digest); alcohol (so often a reward for a hard day’s work, and the trigger for poor food choices); dairy products (an unhealthy source of animal fat which many of us may be sensitive to); and caffeine (a stimulant that muddles blood sugar levels, driving us to eat more sugar).
My first piece of advice is to pick one of these, just one, and address it, then reduce it with a view to cutting it out of your diet.
If you are keen to lose weight then I suggest you start with sugar — it’s a really tough one, but in my experience quitting sugar has the greatest impact.
STEP 2: Detox your kitchen
CLEAR your kitchen of junk and unhealthy food. Don’t allow yourself to be a human dustbin — it’s time for you to switch to healthier alternatives.
STEP 3: Be graceful around food
Eating quickly, at your desk, in front of the TV, or without thinking, pausing, even tasting what is going in your mouth is a recipe for nutritional disaster.
STEP 4: Stop snacking
First improve your meals, then improve your snacks, and finally, make your meals so healthy, nourishing and balanced that you don’t need snacks at all. This is another great key to weight loss.
STEP 5: Flip your thinking
Stop thinking of junk food and desserts as a ‘treat’ and salads as ‘virtuous’. Make a pact to eat only the best quality delicious food that leaves you feeling fabulous.
STEP 6: Start to glow
If you make fat your friend and sugar your enemy the impact will show in your skin.
STEP 7: Eat well, feel great
Pack your diet with delicious feel-good foods that make you feel vibrant, energised and alive.
STEP 8: Hydrate with water
Switch your vast repertoire of pseudo drinks (tea, coffee, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, alcohol) for water, and drink plenty every day.
STEP 9: A supplement might help
Even the best diets sometimes need a little boost, and probiotics, vitamin D and omega-3 supplements might be worth considering.
STEP 10: Get moving
You can’t out-train a bad diet, but once you are eating well and your energy levels rise, exercise is most definitely a GOOD thing.
- Eat. Nourish. Glow: 10 Easy Steps For Losing Weight, Looking Younger And Feeling Healthier by Amelia Freer is published by Harper Thorsons at £16.99. © 2015 Amelia Freer. To order a copy for £12.74 (25 per cent discount), visit mailbookshop.co.uk or call 0808 272 0808. Offer until May 9, free pp for a limited time only.
Just drop ONE bad habit at a time
Now if you are rushing through life, living off ready-meals, propped up by caffeine and sugar, drinking too much and eating all the wrong things, as I was, a healthy diet can seem an insurmountable mountain.
But you know that something has to give.
Try keeping a food diary for a few days. It’s a great way to help you pick up patterns of unhealthy eating — you might be skipping meals during the day, then overeating in the evenings or rushing around on a caffeine and sugar roller-coaster, never finding time to sit down for a proper meal.
I’m not going to suggest anyone gives up everything they love — no matter how unhealthy their diet or how much weight they want to lose. All I suggest is you think about how you eat, commit to reducing, and then let go of just one thing and focus on all of the fantastic foods you can include in your diet.
If you focus your efforts on just one thing, you will be making a start, and very often that small step is enough to allow you to break bad-for-you ties and forge new associations with food.
For some clients I suggest cutting back on, then cutting out, takeaways; for others it’s obvious the problem could be sugar, or wheat, or dairy or alcohol.
Addressing, acknowledging and reducing your dependence on any one of these evils is the first step to positive health. Once you cut out one, move on to the next. These are the most common dietary stumbling blocks and the ones I suggest you tackle first — one at a time:
Just a few glasses of wine contains more sugar than a chocolate bar
The white stuff has been corroding our diets and our health for years — it makes us fat, increases our risk of heart disease and diabetes, and is known to contribute towards premature ageing (everything from wrinkles to Alzheimer’s).
It’s being drip-fed into us, often unknowingly, in so many different forms. But it is possible for anyone to break their sugar addiction once they know what and how to eat.
It’s a tough one to quit, but abstinence — for seven days — is the best way. The less sugar you eat, the faster your taste buds will adapt and the quicker your cravings will go.
The results could be improved energy, better sleep, clearer skin, losing weight, better bowels, focused thinking, less pain, and brighter moods. My clients say their taste buds start to change as the cravings diminish and making healthier choices stops being a battle.
If you don’t rely on alcohol and you drink sensibly, then fine, but be aware that a few drinks are a quick route to derailment (both while we’re drinking and when we’re trying to deal with the hangover the next day).
Just a few glasses of wine contains more sugar than a chocolate bar. Alcohol can also lead to huge blood sugar fluctuations, which directly impact your energy levels, food choices and waistline.
If you think you drink a little too much and want to work on improving your health, the best way is abstinence — but only temporarily, especially if you want to lose weight.
In time, you will be able to enjoy wine occasionally, but it’s a good idea to avoid it becoming a nightly habit. If you lead a busy social life, try alternating the nights you drink or cherry pick two nights a week when you can drink.
This protein, found in wheat, rye and barley also crops up in pre-packaged foods and sauces. It can irritate the gut lining even in those who are only mildly sensitive or those suffering from coeliac disease (an auto-immune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten).
Research reports that our bodies struggle to digest gluten and react with bloating, nausea and IBS — more people are suffering because of the huge amount of gluten in their diet.
If you suffer from frequent and unexplained fatigue, head fog, eczema, asthma and joint pain try a period without eating gluten to see how you feel.
Even in those who aren’t wheat sensitive, you should diversify your sources of carbohydrate so you aren’t eating a ‘monochrome’ diet of wheat, with bread, pasta and baked goods at every meal.
Although dairy has many positive attributes, there is increasing evidence to suggest it might be best avoided for some, or at least kept to a minimum.
Milk is one of the seven most allergenic foods and could trigger both digestive and systemic health problems such as eczema, asthma, increased mucus production and low mood.
It’s been estimated that more than two-thirds of the world’s population is sensitive to lactose, the sugar in milk, which may contribute to digestive issues such as diarrhoea and wind.
Despite the protestations of the dairy industry, milk and cheese are not essential for bone health — nuts, seeds, legumes, small fish and greens such as broccoli provide better, more absorbable sources of the calcium your bones need.
There are many reported health benefits of caffeine, so I don’t advise clients to give it up, but it is a good idea to be aware that if you over-use, it you may be in a cycle you need to break.
I recommend limiting yourself to two cups of good-quality tea or coffee a day and keeping it clean (no sugar, milk, syrups or sprinkles).
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