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Category Archives: Food + Fat Loss

Animal Gelatin, Rebuilding Postpartum Collagen, Diastasis Recti… + Vegetarians


Requires adjustments to alignment and load bearing, entire core musculature reconnection and strengthening, great nutrition, hydration… and rebuilding collagen.

Collagen is the stuff that binds together at the front of your abdomen, where all the abdominal muscles meet (or not in the case of a diastasis!). If the collagen doesn’t heal, or regenerate, then the gap can’t close.

The very fabulous Jessica Drummond was my guest speaker at the MuTuVation Houston workshop in October 2014, and her session blew everyone away with new knowledge and insights on hormone health and healing through nutrition. This guest post deals with one of the issues that came up during this session, and that has been raised before in our customer group. Here Jessica shares her extremely educated response to the question:

Jessica Drummond | Guest Post for MuTu System


Guest post for mutusystem.com by Jessica Drummond, MPT, CCN, CHC

There was an exciting discussion a few weeks ago on the Mu Tu Mamas Facebook page about whether or not humans need to eat animal gelatin or collagen directly in order to rebuild their own collagen postpartum. This is really a great question, because it seems odd that if oxen and cattle and other large animals can rebuild their own collagen by eating plants, why can’t humans? The answer is that humans can, it’s just not as efficient. If you’re a new mom, who is vegetarian or vegan, and you’re recovering well, feeling great, and eating a healthy plant-based diet that’s high in protein from nuts, seeds, beans, and sprouted grains, I don’t recommend that you change anything. Cattle and oxen are herbivores. Humans are omnivores, so we can rebuild collagen (for our overstretched abdominals, and strained or torn pelvic floors) more efficiently from animal proteins, especially those from the skin, cartilage, and bones of other animals (aka gelatin.) We have the capacity to rebuild from either plant or animal sources, it’s just a matter of efficiency.

Thus, if you’re a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and you’re working hard to recover your abdomen and pelvic floor postpartum, eat lots of plant protein, take great care of your digestion so that you can best absorb the protein that you’re eating, and get plenty of vitamin C.

On the other hand, if you’re struggling to recover your abdomen or pelvic floor, you would like to eat to optimize your healing, and you don’t mind eating animal products, eating gelatin is a great way to recover faster!

Let’s discuss the specific foods and supplements that can support the healing of your abdomen and pelvic floor after delivery.

1. Drink bone broth or use it in soups or for cooking grains. Bone broth is the absolute best food source for rebuilding collagen. Bone broth contains the gelatin, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid that are necessary to build collagen. Here’s a great recipe for bone broth that you can make in a slow cooker.
2. Supplement with gelatin. The three best brands that provide the highest quality collagen and gelatin powders from pasture raised cows are BulletproofVitalProteins, and Great Lakes. You can add these supplements to your protein smoothies, or those that don’t easily dissolve in cold liquids, can be used to make Paleo gelatin desserts.
3. Finally, if you don’t have time to make bone broth, or you just can’t stomach it, Designs for Health has just released a new product, called PurePaleo. It’s a protein powder made from a high quality source of hydrolyzed beef.

I hope that clears up the gelatin and collagen confusion! Start a delicious pot of bone broth brewing on your stove (or in you slow cooker), and enjoy the nourishment.




Jessica Drummond, MPT, CCN, CHC, the Founder and CEO of The Integrative Pelvic Health Institute, is passionate about caring for and empowering women who struggle with women’s health conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, bladder pain, low libido, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, period pain, painful sex, and post-surgical, orthopedic, or pregnancy related pelvic conditions. She is equally passionate about educating and supporting clinicians in confidently and safely using integrative tools to treat chronic pelvic pain, bowel and bladder, and other women’s health issues. Having over a decade of experience as a women’s and pelvic physical therapist plus owning a private women’s health clinical nutrition and coaching practice gives her a unique perspective on the integrative, conservative options for pelvic pain management. Jessica was educated at the University of Virginia, Emory University, The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and Duke Integrative Medicine.

GetStartedNowShe is also among the medical experts in Women’s Pelvic Health from around the world who endorse and approve MuTu System programs.

Why MuTu System Recommends Thinking Slimmer


Like I tell you how getting more sleep, walking every day and eating the right food makes you look and feel better. It works.

Clinically proven solution Thinking Slimmer is one of things.

Many many women have a relationship with food and dieting that doesn’t nourish their body or their soul.

More than a decade of personal training and coaching experience has shown me that rationally ‘simple’ solutions or strategies are often anything but ‘easy’. Not by a long shot. This might be you. Always on, or about to go on, a diet. Often struggling to make healthy food choices when unhealthy ones feel more comforting or more like a treat. Overeating, binge eating or obsessing over the scales or the latest diet craze.

You may be trying to follow an exercise regime, and you may identify with these feelings, knowing they are stopping you from getting where you want to be and seeing the results as fast as you would like. You’re working out, you’re putting in the effort, but you know your food choices are stopping you from really seeing results.

I have strategies and guidelines and I can coach and motivate and encourage, but sometime the *food thing*, runs too deep for me to help you completely tackle it, certainly through the ether of the Internet…

And this is where the genius of Sandra comes in. Because she (and Trevor, I’ll get to him in a minute) can.

It sounds far too simple and inexpensive to really work. You put your earphones in for 10 minutes every night, listen to a lovely man (that’s Trevor) say reassuring things to soothe and relax you, and drop off to sleep. After a few weeks of doing this, you find your relationship with food has changed for the better. You don’t want to over-eat, you find yourself choosing healthier foods without feeling deprived and stopping eating when you’re full. You want to eat good food, and you want to exercise. Pretty cool. No counting, weighing, diets, surgery, fasting, points, funny drinks, misery or deprivation.

MANY THOUSANDS of women are experiencing lasting, effortless weight loss with a Slimpod. And many thousands worldwide are discovering a restored and strong core, a flatter tummy and all-over tone and fitness with MuTu System. When both are used together – Slimpod and MuTu – your Mummy Mojo is unstoppable!

MuTu System works with Sandra Roycroft-Davis, Harley Street weight loss behavioural change specialist and founder of Thinking Slimmer, to offer you the chance to get what you really deserve: a body that looks and feels the way YOU want it to.

Fat loss without deprivation, diets or hang ups PLUS a fit, strong, sexy body that makes you feel truly confident inside and out.

For the record, I have been asked to recommend or partner with dozens of products and brands, but decline everything I would not personally and without reservation recommend to my friends and clients.

This one is so non-invasive, so effective and so gentle, it was easy.

So go check out Thinking Slimmer. I’m off to have a lie down with Trevor on my Chillpod. Scuse us…

Diets, Deprivation, Weight Loss + Self Righteous Health Experts

Perfectly reasonable, do-able and enjoyable though I might believe the MuTu-Lifestyle to be, occasionally my health and wellness self-righteousness is very rightly challenged by an exasperated and perfectly normal woman throwing her hands up in the air…

REALLY? No wine? No crisps? No high heels? What are you trying to DO to me?’.

Green Smoothie | MuTu System

It’s delicious. Honest it is. And it kicks that hangover into the middle of next week…

My advice extolling the virtues of juicing kale and lifting weights fades to background noise for the dear woman as she starts banging her head slowly against the fridge…

Can’t say I blame her.

I rather enjoy a glass of red, or a bowl of something deep fried and salty, or crumble and custard after a Sunday Roast. So at the risk of digging my hole of self righteousness still deeper, I’m going to soldier on and attempt to inspire rather than drive you to drown your sorrows of deprivation in Hula Hoops and Sauvignon Blanc.

If you want to see results quickly (as in, fat loss, change of body shape, looking and feeling noticeably different to how you do right now), then initially you do need to make some seemingly radical changes. Of course it depends on your starting point and how whole hearted and dedicated you want to be in embracing those changes for the long term. Cutting out processed foods, radically reducing sugar, caffeine and alcohol, walking every day for at least 30 minutes, doing daily core exercises and progressing gradually to additional intensive workouts is quite a lot to take on. And thats before you’ve even started on the breathing right, walking right and  ditching your high heeled shoes… (If you’re still with me, you can read more about the programs that make you do all that stuff here if you like, then come back).

It works – of that I can assure you… but thats not to say its always an easy transition.

It’s a lot to change. It’s a lot because to make big changes, we have to, well, make big changes. “Isn’t there an easier way?” you ask? A quicker, less hassle way? Well… you can go on the-[insert name of any diet]-diet. If you follow it, you’ll consume less food or calories overall and lose weight. That tends to be how most diets work – eat fewer calories over a period of time. They often work very well, often quite quickly. So well in fact, that once you’ve come off them, after a period of time you go back on them, to lose the weight you’ve gained. Because it worked so well the first time… See where I’m going with this?

I’m suggesting we stop the roller coaster. That we work instead to change our relationship with our body and what we put in it that means we never again bore ourselves or others with ‘I’m on a diet’, ‘I’m being good today’ / ‘I’ve been bad today…’, that we try to change the internal indulge-feel-guilty-diet-indulge cycle. The eating in times of stress, loneliness or boredom.

That you set yourself free to do and eat stuff that feels good to do and eat. Not just right now, as you’re eating it, but afterwards too. That we consider ourselves important enough, fabulous enough and worthy enough to take care of  with balance and self love.

For what its worth, heres a snapshot of my weekend. On Saturday we had friends over for dinner. We drank Prosecco out of fancy glasses  – just because.  We had dinner… Italian pork with crackling, piles of buttery pasta and roasted veggies. We drank wine, and then ate cheesecake… had lots of  laughs… then peppermint tea and bed around midnight. Fast forward to a nights sleep that probably wasn’t as long as it should have been, Sunday morning and a drink of hot water and lemon (kinda zingy on my fuzzy mouth), a ginger shot (an apple and an inch of ginger, juiced) and a large green smoothie (kale, spinach, celery, pineapple, lime, apple, pear and avocado) . Out the house at 8.30am for rowing training. Around an hour hard rowing on a choppy sea and all traces of indulgence are well and truly blown away. Later my daughter and I walked and ran and played hide and seek in the woods with the dog.

I won’t bore you further with the minutiae or dinner table of my life – but this is what balance means to me.

I do the juicing vegetables thing and the walking every day, I do the intensive workout thing about 5 times a week. I do less yoga than I intend to, but I do some. I eat pretty much zero processed food. I like meat and butter and green vegetables and dark chocolate and occasionally wine. I really like food and I also really, really like moving a lot. None of this is a chore – its just what feels good.

Many healthier-than-me people choose to never, ever eat sugar or drink alcohol and to always get 8 hours sleep. Some less-healthy-than-me people may have stayed up later, or drunk a little more… they probably wouldn’t have juiced kale and spinach in the morning or done an hour’s intensive exercise in the rain and the cold (fair enough). This is none of my business. I have absolutely no, none, zero, nada, interest or desire to tell anybody how they should go about… well, anything really. I just know what things and foods make me + my loved ones feel good and happy, and try to do that as much as possible.

And in my line of work, I can of course advise others on how to eat and move to look and feel better if thats what you want. On the whole, that works out pretty well but my approach, like anyone’s approach, won’t be for everyone.

If you want to look and feel different, you have to change some  stuff. You have to move and eat differently. HOW differently – well that is entirely, your decision. It depends how different you want to look and feel.

It is NO-one’s damn business what you want to eat or do. If you’re not hurting anybody… and you want to do or eat that (whatever that is) then do it or eat it. Do your thing and be judged by no-one. Don’t feel guilty about what you eat or ashamed or unhappy about your body. Love it – either as it is, or say  ‘Hmm, might like to change that a little’ and then do things differently – things that feel good to do – to change it.

How do you find your balance? Does the mere idea of ‘health and fitness’ feel daunting? Overwhelming? Like deprivation? Or do you love the changes you’ve made? And if you got past the challenges to genuinely enjoying the changes – how did that work for you?

Lose your bulge, not your curves | The truth about the fat around your middle

keep your curves | MuTu SystemIf you’ve gained some weight since pregnancy and motherhood, you want to lose fat… but in the right places! You don’t want your weight loss to show as a gaunt face, or a flat chest, but you do want to ditch the jelly belly. Don’t know about you, but I don’t want skinny – I want strong and fit!

Well, I have a little good news on this front. There are reasons your body is storing disproportionate fat around your middle – and  whilst restricting low quality calories and  exercising smart  have a fundamental role to play, it has just as much  to do with balancing your hormones.

So if you’re waging war on your flab purely by taking a calories in/calories out approach, the chances are you won’t be entirely successful. You might drop a few pounds, but there will be stubborn bulges of fat you just can’t shift.

With mummy tummies – i.e. fat around the stomach area – the most likely stick-in-the-mud is the stress hormone cortisol. Medium to long-term stress (that’s emotional stress, as well as stress on your body caused by a poor diet, lack of sleep and  stress) increases cortisol levels, which in turn raises blood sugar.

Higher blood sugar triggers overproduction of insulin, the ‘fat storage hormone’, which is responsible for wrapping our tummies in a tyre of hard-to-shift fat.

Stress seems pretty unavoidable when you’re a mum. When our children are young, every hour throws us another curveball: a tantrum, sick to mop, a sleepless baby to calm, a rash to examine, a sibling argument to defuse.

Adrenaline pumps – and  that makes us throw a hormonal wobbler!

So, while this is definitely not as ‘easy’ as it may sound ‘simple’, there are a few approaches you can try that will help you balance your hormones (and melt the belly fat!):

  1. Limit sugar and  refined carbs: This is the most important box to tick! Radically cut down your intake of the sugar you can see (in sweets, biscuits and  cakes) and  the sugar you can’t see (in white bread, baked beans, fruit juice and  booze). These foods raise blood glucose levels, elevating insulin levels and  causing fat to cling to the stomach.
  2. Be spicy: Grate a cinnamon stick and  add some spice to your breakfast or yoghurt. A small amount daily has been found to keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing overproduction of insulin.
  3. Get more sleep: Sleep is an important time for your body to regulate hormones. Losing just one hour’s sleep a night can raise insulin levels in the body. It also makes you more likely to eat and  drink bad stuff, such as caffeine, which makes your body release cortisol.
  4. Eat in peace: Keeping meal times sacred (no computer, no TV, no phone and  no book to distract you) has been linked to reduced cortisol levels and  decreased body fat.
  5. Release tension: Exercise, have a bath, read a magazine, meditate – do whatever helps you to shake off the stress of the day.
  6. Be a peaceful parent: Yeah right… well we can try!! Avoiding shouting helps keep everyone’s stress levels down. It’s not always easy, but even the most model parent (know one of them? Me neither) sometimes  needs to take a deep breath to avoid sending her heartbeat into overdrive!

Remember: Doing ab exercises will not give you a flat belly. Making the right food choices and balancing your hormones will do that. The right ab exercises will get you strong abs, but if you want to see them, you need to lose the fat. Have fun on your mission to balance the hormones that are hindering your mummy tummy fat loss or hiding your abs!

Sugar Addiction + Healthy Alternatives

stevia | buy in MuTu System store

Stevia – a healthy alternative to sugar

If you love sweet food and joke about being ‘addicted’ to sugar, you’re actually not wrong.

Sugar addiction is a real problem, with many of us consuming lots of obvious sugar (in cakes, biscuits, sweets and desserts) and plenty of hidden sugar too (in things like fruit juice, sauces, pickles, canned beans and cheese spread).

Slowly but surely, sugar has crept into a huge number of processed foods – duping us to eat more of it. And the more you eat, the more you want!

The repercussions of being a ‘sugar addict’ are huge. Sugar increases your insulin and leptin levels and decreases receptor sensitivity for these vital hormones. This can lead to:

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Premature aging

Sugar also suppresses your immune system, contributing to allergies, and is responsible for many digestive disorders. It contributes to depression and hormone imbalance and excess consumption is associated with some chronic diseases, including cancer.

What sweet treats are OK?

If you are craving something sweet, really and truly the only healthy choice is to reach for an apple or a pear. The more distance you can put between your episodes of sugar consumption the better. In fact, the best plan would be to have a ‘sugar holiday’ for a couple of weeks to decrease your cravings.

But, if you feel you must have something sweet, here are a few guidelines:

Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners – that’s another can of worms, but the health risks are well documented.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup – this is REALLY bad for you.

Limit sugar, of all types, as much as possible.

The lesser of sugar evils!

If you want to sweeten your food and drink, raw honey could be the answer. Honey = sugar, though, right? Well kind of… it is 70% fructose, which is also the sugar in fruit. The important thing with fructose consumption is moderation. A safe daily amount is 15 grams of fructose per day.

So, although raw, unprocessed honey (the only sort you should be eating, ideally) is a perfect natural food, it doesn’t mean you should dip your paws into a jar like Winnie the Pooh and slurp great fistfuls of it!

Natural alternatives to sugar

The other ‘healthier than sugar’ option is Stevia , a sweetener made from a natural herb that’s up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but without its calories. Originating in Paraguay, it’s been used for decades in Asia, and since 2008, it’s been huge in the US.  It was cleared for UK use in 2011.

Lo Han is another natural herbal sweetener. It has a slight caramel flavour and is a great substitute for sugar in most recipes.

Exercise v fructose

Try to consume your fructose immediately before, during or after INTENSE exercise, as your body will use it directly as fuel. Exercise will also increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help counteract the negative effects of fructose.

Down and out?

The serious health consequences of too much sugar in our diets means that cutting sugar down, or out, is good news for your body. To protect health, it’s simple (note, I didn’t say easy): Eat and drink less sweet stuff.

Are you up to the challenge of teaching your body to end its love affair with sugar?

Are You Eating a Balanced Diet + What Does It Mean?

MuTu Food | The MuTu System for your mummy tummy

MuTu® Food

Most of us think we know what makes a balanced diet and tend to believe our food choices pretty much qualify.

But do they? It’s a worthwhile exercise every once in a while to jot down exactly what you’re consuming over a few days – and pick yourself up on any bad habits that may have crept in. And I would even suggest clarifying what a balanced diet really means.

The ‘textbook’ definition

The NHS have designed the ‘Eatwell Plate’, designed to help you visualise a healthy diet.

It shows the different types of food we need to eat – and in what proportions. For good health, the Eatwell Plate says that kids over 5 and all adults should eat:

  1. Lots of fruit and veg: that means 5-portions-a-day, with plenty of variety
  2. Carbs for energy: potatoes, bread, rice, pasta (preferably wholegrain)
  3. Some dairy foods: milk, cheese, yoghurts
  4. Some protein: such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses
  5. A small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

But is this really ideal?

In my view, for good health, and especially if you’re attempting to lose weight, or flatten your tummy, then you need to make a few adjustments to this formula.

The MuTu Food approach (and lots of other people too – I didn’t invent this one!) recommends that veggies should be the biggest portion of food on their plate, with protein next + carbs being the smallest group. Grains can be cut right down, or even out… but don’t panic!  See my Mums’ Guide to Paleo articles here on translating a few ‘no grains’/ Paleo-esque principles easily onto the family dinner table.

Secondly – the eatwell plate strictly limits fats :(  Transfats in processed foods, commercially baked goods and takeouts – hell yes. But avocados, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, flax and other seeds, oily fish, eggs… these are GOOD for you! Eat more, not less! Fats from oily fish, nuts, avocados etc are essential (and they’re not the ones responsible for obesity!). MuTu-ers hear a lot from me about the importance of increasing fats in their diets!

Radically cutting back on sugar.. that bit I agree with. Read more about balancing hormones and regulating sugar here.

See my article at the Huffington Post here too on the Myths About Healthy Food

I feel OK, so I must be healthy

Yes, we can often FUNCTION simply by eating calories for energy, no matter what form they come in. But this is doing harm to our bodies in the long term and paving the way for all manner of problems. Only by eating healthily can we nourish our bodies and get as close as possible to optimum performance and health.

If you feel okay while your diet is lacking, imagine how FABULOUS you could feel if you made more of an effort to nourish your body with the fuel it craves.

First step: keep a food diary. Monitor every crisp, chocolate, glass of wine and mouthful of kids’ leftovers you eat over a few days… it will soon become clear what could do with changing. And, if you find your diet wanting, do your best to get back on track – and enjoy the rewards of looking and feeling better!



How To Go – A Little Bit – Paleo (or: Paleo for Mums Part 2)

MuTu Food | The MuTu System for your mummy tummy

MuTu Food means real food. Eat it. Its good for you.

A few days ago I wrote my version of a Mums’ Guide to Paleo Part 1: To sum up:

Some bits I like – less or zero sugar, fewer carbs on your plate and more veggies; good protein, lots of nuts and lots of good fats.

Some bits I don’t like so much: I don’t believe all carbs are the same and I don’t believe they’re all evil. I also don’t think processed meats like deli meats, bacon and sausages are even remotely healthy or good for us, whilst a lot of paleos seem to love them. I think meat is truly good for us when its organically raised and prepared without added nitrites and colourings and hormones or preservatives. Fish and eggs – love them – we’re agreed there. Beans and lentils and chickpeas… I get the theory, but I like them and so do my kids and I don’t complain when my 5 years old devours a chickpea, pear and beetroot salad, or he likes homemade daal with his chicken curry. I give him a second helping and a big kiss.

So this is my entirely subjective guide for Mums like me who would like to pick and choose their Paleo thankyou-very-much 😉

To go (a little bit) Paleo we need to drastically reduce the amount of sugar and grains we eat. We have established that carbs shouldn’t be the biggest potion on our plate. Vegetables should be, followed by protein. But given you may have kids who like pasta with like, NOTHING on it… Where do you go from here?

First off, kids don’t need ‘kids food’. Stuff that has been manufactured or packaged in whatever way to appeal to them. Because almost without exception (I can’t think of an exception at all actually) this will be processed crap. At the very least it will be a dumbed down, probably highly sugared and salted version of food that bears no resemblance to anything that walked, swam or grew.

Children are pretty capable of choosing and enjoying real food – so I’m all in favour of not patronising or pandering with food that’s orange, got cartoon charters on the package or has the nerve to try to persuade perfectly intelligent parents that a sugar coated, processed, nutrient-devoid refined grain counts as a healthy breakfast. Its all about what we OFFER them. Be strong Mama. The kid won’t starve without a treat cupboard or chocolate cereal. He’ll make your life a veritable Hell for a couple of days when you tell him you won’t be buying it anymore. But I promise he won’t starve.

Shifting the Vegetables:Grains Ratio in favour of the Veggies

Lets start with cutting back on the proportion of carbs on the plate or in the meal.  Not cutting out necessarily – remember this is the ‘Get Real’ version!  When we feed our kids a plate of pasta, potato or bread, plus a protein, plus veggies – we all know what gets eaten first. In fact, give most kids a bread basket or a pile of pasta on the plate and that’ll be their meal if you let it. We have to take control here… So an easy place to start for ALL of us to cut back on the carb loading and being too full to eat anything else – remember kids’ tummies are not big – is to limit the availability.  Extra bread and ladles of pasta are totally unnecessary additions to a meal. Don’t offer them.

Vegetables. One really good way of getting kids to eat more vegetables is to offer them first – when they’re hungry, preferably with something to dunk them in like melted butter or natural yoghurt with finely chopped cucumber and mint in it (Tzatziki – kinda… add a squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh crushed garlic if you fancy). Slice red bell peppers, carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower – any vegetables into kids’ size bites and let them dunk and crunch.

Instead of lots of pasta with a light coating of sauce – make it quinoa or spelt pasta instead and make the sauce the star of the show – if your kids like vegetables – make it chunky – if they’re fussy – blitz the vegetables but make it thick and filling.

Be aware of  quite how much refined wheat (pasta, cereal and bread mainly) is in your diet – and do try and cut this out or down – try some alternatives: Wild rice, quinoa or polenta, spelt, amaranth, flax… pick up some grains you’ve never tried before… and keep the portion size smaller than the veggies on your plate!

Sweet potatoes are more digestible than white potatoes and most kids love them – cut them like chunky fries and roast them in hot coconut oil. In fact you can turn any root vegetables into a tasty bowl of fries!


Make sure there’s always protein on yours and your kids plate – don’t underestimate the humble egg! Scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes, omelette or frittata full of chopped vegetables (with lots of ketchup!), boiled eggs with asparagus or whole grain spelt toast to dunk in. Fish pie; salmon and broccoli with soy sauce; chicken drumsticks; chicken with homemade satay sauce; cold chicken and mango salad; some grilled steak; meatballs made with minced lamb or beef… and of course, my not-paleo-at-all chickpeas, lentils or good old baked beans.

Nuts. Assuming you’re not allergic to them (in which case, don’t eat them…) nuts are a fabulous source of protein – and make a great snack for you and your kids. Nuts are GOOD for you. (Even the hard core Paleos agree on that one. Oh except peanuts. I think. I’m sure someone will correct me ;)) Roast pecans or cashews for a few minutes on a baking tray drizzled with homey  + a little sea salt… add chilli flakes just to yours if your kids don’t do spicy – delicious!


You and your kids need lots of fats. But they have to be the good ones. The bad ones (the fake ones) are evil, evil, evil. That’s the hydrogenated / trans / anything else scientific sounding or unprounce-able and weird fats. If a factory had to make your fat – its not a good fat. The good ones – eat in abundance! Coconut oil (we LOVE coconut oil here), good cold pressed olive oil (don’t heat it), avocados, seeds, oily fish and a good fish oil supplement for good measure… Eat fat but make it the GOOD stuff. Oh and butter is FINE. If you’re trying to lose weight, then go easy Tiger. But butter is a real, natural food that your body recognises and can use. Make it organic / grass fed where you can.

Keeping It Real and Enjoying Food

Since I’m here talking about food, I’d like to add a little about our souls as well as our bodies. I love eating. I love spicy food, hot food, comfort food, salty food, food with friends, food in restaurants, and home cooked food. I love Italian food, Indian food and French food and Asian food  (actually I like most peoples food). I want to sit in a restaurant and choose what I really, really fancy eating right there in that moment without over-intellectualising it. I love REAL FOOD and I believe it is UNhealthy to be obsessed with food. Whether obsessed with sugary foods, obsessed with calories, obsessed with organic or obsessed with paleo – I’m not sure any of those obsessions are very good for our soul, or our bodies.  I like the way great food can make me feel, and I personally believe that how we feel is incredibly important. So that’s why I like to take my version of food rules and well, soften them a little.

Junk food, fake food, processed food – tastes like crap and makes me feel like crap. Probably because it is… you know… crap. So I don’t eat it and I don’t give it to my kids – not because I’m being ‘good’ or virtuous or disciplined, but because I want food to feel good as well as do me good.

MuTu Food is about EATING MINDFULLY – that means KNOWING what’s in your food and where it came from, and CARING what’s in it it and where it came from. Don’t eat mindLESSly, don’t eat more than you need or really want, don’t binge and don’t expect your body your body to look or feel good when you feed it crap. 

You can go the whole Paleo nine yards if you want to – I don’t think its an unhealthy choice at all to lose the gluten, the refined grains, the sugar in in all its forms from your diet… Or you can take the  MuTu Food version and take the rules that make sense to you and ditch the ones that don’t…+ then chill out and eat some food.

OK, now I’ll take cover. The cavemen are coming for me.


Paleo Eating | What’s THAT All About? Part 1

OK so the subject is HUGE but I’m just going to start and see where we go with this.

I know many of you are a bit curious, a bit confused, a bit: ‘Is it a fad?’, a bit: ‘No PASTA? ? I have kids to feed, Lady. Get real’.

So here goes.

Paleo Eating, Primal Eating, the Cavewoman Diet – eating like our ancestors did before there were supermarkets and fridges and takeouts and wine…

(There was a time without WINE? Wow. Those cavewomen had it bad…). 

Actually though, paleo eating is more than ‘no processed food’ – we know about the evils of processed food, sugar, alcohol – OK these things are cut-out-able in moderation and we know they’re foods we should limit. Processed and refined grains and fats, sugar. We know those things are bad for us.

But paleo goes further – its about a diet before organised agriculture, before farming really. Paleo eating in its pure form means no grains or legumes. (Legumes btw includes peanuts, soy, lentils, peas and  all beans). No bread, no cereals (oats, wheat, anything), no pasta, no corn, no potatoes, no rice, no potatoes, no beans. Its basically no carbs in the forms we know them – except vegetables and fruits. And not all fruits are allowed either. Wow. Hard-core.

Paleo eating means eating ONLY what swam, ran, walked or grew naturally. The stuff our ancestors hunted and foraged. Its a diet of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and natural healthy fats (coconut, olive, avocados, nuts and seeds).

But before you click away in disgust at the just plain SILLY-ness of it all, lets have a look at the rationale. That last sentence: ‘its a diet of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and natural healthy fats‘ – that in itself sounds pretty healthy right?

So its not so much that we’re uncomfortable with what we’re allowed… its just that bloody long list of what we’re NOT allowed that freaks us out a bit.

And just to make it complicated, not all the ‘paleo’ gurus agree – some want you to go ‘low fat’ with your meat, others advocate fats (including the saturated fat on meat) in abundance. Some let you eat some fruits and some let you eat different fruits. Some like dairy and some don’t. Some stick with the old ‘calories in calories out‘ model when it comes to controlling weight, others believe there’s a little more to it than that. There’s also stuff in some of the books on this topic that advocate fasting for weight loss and other slightly scary sounding stuff.

But if we take away all the labels and the hysteria – and take what makes sense to us and what works for us as individuals and families, then there are some very sound and simple concepts.

A diet based on vegetables, protein, natural healthy fats and real unprocessed foods;  + cutting out foods that are toxic or that add burden to our bodies? Not so crazy. And definitely not so revolutionary or heated-debate-worthy.

If we can move on  from discussing who ‘invented’ it, and who wrote the ‘definitive’ book, and who calls it what, and precisely what the ‘rules’ are… And if we don’t feel we have to follow every letter as doctrine, but rather simply make informed choices about the food we eat… then we may just end up eating better food. Which is no bad thing.

I will give you a few links at the bottom of  this post to read more IF you want to, rather than attempt to regurgitate other peoples research or theories.

But if you don’t want to… I’ll try to sum up the *Paleo thing* for you. Wendy’s version.

So. Is paleo eating good for me or not?

If we start from the point of all agreeing that the healthy stuff listed above is very very good for us, then I don’t think we need to linger too long there. If you follow this blog you’ll know what MuTu Food is all about: fresh, real food. Organic if you can, but local and seasonal as much as possible. Meat is cool if you’re not vegetarian – but make it organic, or at least free range, local and ethically reared. Fish – go for it. Eggs – great. Nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, good olive oil, bring it on. Whole fruit – hell yes. And as many different colourful veggies on your plate at every meal as you possibly can.

We’re all happy so far.

The bit that throws us is the grains. MuTu Food (that’s me) advocates that the grains that you do eat, are in their natural state and unprocessed. It recommends that the grains or the carbs are the smallest portion on your plate (after veggies and then protein)… But they’re still there. Not in every meal – they’re certainly not essential and they shouldn’t be your staple.

If  grains make up the bulk of your diet (and they do for many) – then my recommendation is to address and change the composition of your plate for the sake of your health.

So am I for or against?  Should you shun grains completely? Well the answer is if you want to, it will almost certainly benefit your health…

Do I? Not completely no. I like them sometimes. I like to think of it as my informed choice…

And so we’ll all informed

This is the science of why grains are bad:

ALL carbs (grains of any description, as well as more obvious or refined sugars) end up as glucose in our body, That’s sugar. Doesn’t matter how they start out – cake or wholegrain rice – they’re all glucose in the end. And when glucose is consumed, our pancreas produces insulin to deal with it. Insulin is a hormone, evolved to deal with excess nutrients – Stuff our body has taken in that we don’t need or can’t use. Insulin is a storage hormone, designed to store nutrients (fat) for times of need.

Trouble is, for most of us, we never really hit the ‘need’ bit. So it stays stored as fat. As I’ve discussed before here – sugar, not fat, causes you to store fat. The body produces more and more insulin as it senses the excess glucose (sugar) in our body and our cells get more and more resistant.

As a double whammy, excess insulin also suppresses other important hormones – the ones responsible for building muscles and burning fat… So all that glucose from the grains and sugars doesn’t only promote fat storage, it also limits our body’s ability to get rid of that stored fat.

So the grains / insulin thing is actually just a perfectly scientifically-sound and logical step  from the sugar / insulin thing you already knew.

So yes, you will benefit from reducing or eliminating the sugars AND the grains in your diet.  

Does the ‘all carbs are sugar’ principle means that a carb calorie is a calorie, regardless of the source?

Well in my view no it doesn’t. I think there is a BIG difference to the benefits or harm to your body depending on the choices you make for instance between the cake or the whole grain rice. Yes, the rice should be the smallest portion on your plate, yes it comes after the vegetables and after the protein, and no it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea if you left the carbs off the plate altogether some of the time… but I think one is still better than the other.

Most paleo-advocates would say there isn’t  any difference. Ho hum. That’s what makes the world interesting  But I come back again to informed choice. If you’re a detail person who likes to follow a principle to the letter and to understand every argument and piece of research – then knock yourself out – there are links at the bottom to some great sources that will give you everything you need to know.

Is it restrictive and hard to follow?
In today’s modern world and with a demanding or fussy family to feed, we’d be kidding ourselves if we said it wasn’t. But like with all the choices we make about what we feed ourselves and our family – its our call. Apply your knowledge about what is good for you and your family in a way and at a level that works for you. My next post will be about ‘Keeping Paleo Real’ for family food!

Don’t we need carbs though?
Well, yes. But the paleos would argue you get all the carbs and fibre you need from whole vegetables and fruits and berries. If you eat enough whole vegetables, fruits and berries… they’ve got a point.

Aren’t there lots of good nutrients and fibre in whole grains?
Yes there, are, but the paleos would argue that you can get those same nutrients and fibre, with none of the insulin downsides, from meat, nuts, fish and vegetables.

What about the beans, lentils and chickpeas? I thought they were good for me?

They are. But its kind of all relative… (that’s clarified that then…)  + certainly some advocates would say that these are certainly the lesser evil and OK in moderation. But the  paleo anti-beans argument is that you get better protein from meat, and that the mineral nutrients in beans and legumes is outweighed by the high carb content and subsequent insulin effect. Me? I like daal and chickpeas. So shoot me.

Is dairy paleo-approved?
Well this is an interesting one. No one seems to know, or at least agree. Some paleo writers are an absolute ‘no’ to all dairy. Mark Sisson at Primal Living is honest about dairy as a bit of a grey area. Others differentiate between the many benefits of raw milk vs pasteurised (‘processed’) milk. Of course, where digestive intolerance is present, that’s different story, but it seems there is good dairy and bad diary for the rest of us.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan but that’s because my daughter is slightly intolerant and there is a clear correlation between cows milk and her eczema… natural unsweetened yoghurt we have, really good organic ice cream is an occasional treat + I have organic cows milk in my once-daily cup of coffee… apart from that we’re almond milk or oat milk (paleo black mark there :() in our house.

So where does this leave MuTu?

With at least a Part 2 to write , that for certain… 😉 In Part 2 (coming soon) we move to Paleo Eating | Keeping It Real. A Family Friendly Guide. I’m going to talk about how we can realistically and sensibly apply some of the above principles to feed ourselves and our families in the real world.

Is it worth it? Well I think it is.

Because if you strip away what feels too ‘radical’, and if you accept that for most of us it doesn’t have to be utterly rigid…  a lot of these rules are simply rules for eating more real food and reducing the sugar and crap that goes into our bodies. And we all get that bit… right? 

In Part 2 I will try to help you figure out how to adapt these principles, not get caught up in the hype…  + make real food work for your family

Interesting Links:

Please note I am not affiliating myself  or my brand with, or unreservedly recommending, any book, ‘Diet’ or website and nor am I a strict follower of this or any other diet – just trying to help us all understand a little better. I welcome your comments!

Mark Sisson (‘The Primal Blueprint‘) on grains

Mark Sisson on Dairy and on Legumes

And this was an interesting article I found… which gets really deep on questioning the detail of the scientific basis of the Paleo theory…( It’s detailed…don’t say I didn’t warn you)