A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Petroleum Distillates

  • Clear colourless liquid used to dissolve other liquids in personal care products
  • Petroleum distillates are a suspected human carcinogen.
  • Found in:
    • mascara, perfume, foundation, lipstick and lip balm
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Neurotoxicity


      • And if you have a household tip to share with our followers just click here >And did you know that Aggie Mackenzie is a qualified Yoga Teacher? Join her now for “Aggie’s Yoga!” And would you like a personalised video message for you or a loved one? Just go to https://www.thrillz.co.uk/talent/aggie.mackenzie and Aggie will record one for you.
        Or check out Diana Moran’s fitness website at www.keepfitandcarryon.com

Focus on Reverse Dieting by Dr. Sarah Schenker

The concept of reverse dieting has entered the zeitgeist and is starting to gain traction in the wellness world. If you haven’t heard the term before don’t get too excited because it’s not a licence to eat as many fatty, sugary and salty snacks as you want! Reverse dieting has been popular among bodybuilders and competitive athletes for some time now and involves increasing calorie intake gradually to boost metabolism but at the same time preventing weight gain. This is generally after a period of traditional dieting, often extreme dieting, to drop weight before say a competition or event.

It has now evolved as a means of getting off the dieting treadmill and a way to heal a toxic relationship with food. With little else to distract us, the past year’s lockdowns have led many of us to pay more attention to our food, exercise and bodies than we usually would. Reverse dieting is being used by many women as a way of taking back control of their health.

There are many women who follow restrictive food regimes, oscillate from one fad diet to another and generally have a problematic history with food. Reverse dieting can encourage a new, healthier outlook towards nutrition and result in a better functioning body and mind.

In basic terms, “reverse dieting” means gradually increasing the number of calories you consume, over weeks or months, to get out of a restrictive diet, without putting on a large amount of weight. Weight gain is more common if you drastically increase your calorie intake quickly after a period of having a low calorie intake. The term originated from bodybuilders and physique athletes, who needed a healthy way to get back to a more sustainable diet that would allow them to maintain their weight after long periods of restriction.

Although reverse dieting has not been well researched as it was only used by this niche group, it is now being used by dietitians and nutritionists to help their clients eat their way back to good health. They are taught how to gradually break out of crash diets or long periods of restricted eating, which may be causing nutrient deficiencies, damage to their metabolism and leading to poor mental and physical health. Reverse dieters may lose weight, maintain their weight or gain weight during the process – it depends on the individual – but regardless of their weight, they frequently report feeling more energised, stronger in the gym, less fixated on food and generally happier.

Some women have reported that ,following punishing exercise regimes and extreme diets have left them feeling burnt out and less healthy than before they started. Reverse dieting allows them to nourish their body and give it what it needs, it also removes the guilt and negative feelings from eating say pasta or a little sugar. As such they begin to understand that food isn’t offset by exercise, instead the macronutrients – carbohydrate, protein and fat – are needed to provide energy to enjoy exercise and perform at their best. Importantly, macronutrients are needed for us to thrive and they make food taste good! A slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter and mashed banana has to be better than an over processed protein bar.

Liiv’s nutritionally balanced shakes are the perfect addition to a reverse diet. Whether you take them to replace a meal or as a healthy snack between meals, they have been formulated to provide the optimum blend of macronutrients that will leave you feeling both satisfied and energised. If you have been restricting your intake for a while and cutting out whole food groups from your diet, you could be at risk of nutrient deficiencies such as iron or calcium. Liiv shakes provide at least 50% of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, so they will help nourish you back to good health.

Ultimately, reverse dieting allows you to focus on the positives of wholesome, nutritious food and how it can help you feel better, rather than denying yourself and feeling dissatisfied and tempted to binge. It can also result in a better understanding of what your body needs and thus a greater sense of wellbeing.


Focus on soup-and-shake weight loss plan by Dr. Sarah Schenker

The NHS has recently announced that people with type 2 diabetes will be offered the chance to try a soup-and-shake weight loss plan. There is now significant evidence from scientific studies to show that using specially formulated shakes to replace normal meals, such as breakfast and lunch, results in weight loss and can put diabetes into remission. This is particularly important during the coronavirus pandemic as both obesity and type 2 diabetes are linked to an increase in the risk of experiencing serve symptoms and complications from Covid-19.

As of 2019, Diabetes UK estimates 3.9 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and Public Health England reported that one-third of people who died in hospital from COVID-19 had diabetes. The rise of type 2 diabetes is also a major cause for concern in the UK government, as the condition costs the NHS around £8.8 billion a year in treatments – which is nine percent of the NHS annual budget. Millions more are thought to be at risk of developing the condition in the future.

The NHS scheme aims to help people lose at least 5% of their body weight in the first 8 weeks. After this, regular meals are reintroduced, with support to help the person maintain a nutritious diet and regular exercise. The programme also provides help and advice on behavioural change such as healthier shopping habits and choosing healthier options when eating out.

The positive impact of consuming meal replacement shakes was shown in a study conducted at the Centre for Diabetes and Health in Dusseldorf, Germany. Researchers asked participants to replace all three of their meals with high protein, high fibre shakes to begin with, reducing to replacing two meals a few weeks later and then to continue to replace one meal a day for a year. The results were impressive showing a marked improvement in blood sugar control and a decrease in BMI (body mass index) which is a measure of obesity.

These results have been mirrored by other studies where meal replacement shakes have been found to be effective for weight loss for a number of powerful reasons. A systematic review published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care found that compliance with, and long-term adherence to, traditional continuous daily calorie restricted weight loss diets is poor, and adherence is often affected negatively by psychological issues such as seeing food as an enemy.

A study conducted at the University of Science and Technology in Trundheim, Norway, found that motivation to stick to weight loss programmes can also be diminished by a slow rate of weight loss. Slow weight loss is a recommended feature of low calorie diet plans, whereas a meal replacement plan usually results in rapid weight loss in the first few weeks. Greater weight loss early on has also been linked to greater long-term weight loss as the shakes become a convenient tool that can be used on an ad hoc basis as needed or desired.

A review published in the BMJ compared different types of intervention for weight loss, such as surgery and various weight loss dietary plans. When it came to meal replacement products, they reported that high protein shakes improve satiety (feeling satisfied) which in turn supports appetite control and reduces hunger pangs, they also reported improvements in body composition, as well as maintaining the weight loss for longer. Compliance for consuming the shakes is high as participants report that they find meal replacement programmes easier to follow and initial adherence is aided by their simple structure and novelty, relative to an individual’s usual eating pattern.

All in all, it is safe to say that the use of high protein meal replacement shakes is an effective method for achieving significant weight loss and rapid improvement of elevated glucose and insulin levels associated with diabetes.

Liiv Nutritionally Balanced Meal Replacement Shakes are perfect for anyone looking to lose weight, supplement a healthy diet or simply give their health a boost. They are a delicious and convenient way to help you control your calorie intake and are expertly nutritionally balanced, to ensure you will be consuming the essential nutrients you need to support a busy lifestyle.

The Liiv shakes can be used as a substitute for traditional meals, dramatically reducing your calorie intake whilst still ensuring you get all the nutrients your body needs. Substituting one or two meals a day can help you reach your weight loss goal. They are great for busy schedules, if you have no time to cook or just need something healthy and convenient on-the-go. It can be tricky to make sure you consume all the nutrients you need if you are following a conventional low calorie diet. With the Liiv shakes you can be assured you’re consuming a healthy, balanced meal which will provide at least 50 percent of your daily requirement of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay nourished, along with plenty of protein to help you feel fuller for longer, prevent cravings and regulate your appetite.


Kempf et al. (2018) Individualized Meal Replacement Therapy Improves Clinically Relevant Long-Term Glycemic Control in Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Nutrients 10(8):1022.

Dunkley AJ et al. (2014) Diabetes prevention in the real world: Effectiveness of pragmatic lifestyle interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and of the impact of adherence to guideline recommendations: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 37:922–933.

Rise MB et al. (2013) Making and maintaining lifestyle changes after participating in group based type 2 diabetes self-management educations: A qualitative study. PLoS ONE 8:e64009.

Gloy VL et al. (2013)Bariatric surgery versus non-surgical treatment for obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 347:f5934.

Focus on low carbohydrate ‘keto’ diet and Intermittent fasting by Dr. Sarah Schenker

Diet trends come and go but without doubt the two that have prevailed over the past years and continue to grow in popularity are the low carbohydrate ‘keto’ diet and Intermittent fasting. While faddy diet over promise and then fail to deliver, these two approaches enjoy an impressive success rate, hence their enduring popularity.

So what do these dietary approaches involve and how can Liiv products assist with the ultimate goal of sustained healthy weight loss?

Intermittent is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are no rules on what foods can and cannot be eaten, and quantities of foods are not specified, instead the emphasis is on when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern.

Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. Research has shown that fasting for periods of time is more natural than grazing and eating meals and snacks throughout the day.

There are a number of methods for intermittent fasting which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.

These are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: this approach involves restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours a day, such as 10am-6pm or 1pm-9pm. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: his involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 diet: this involves consuming only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eating normally the other 5 days.

Scientific research has shown that all of these methods cause weight loss as long as you eat fairly normally when you are allowed to eat and don’t over-compensate by eating much more or heavily indulge.

A 2014 review study found that intermittent fasting lead to 5-8% weight loss over 3–24 weeks, which is a significant amount, compared to most weight loss studies, In addition, the study showed that participants also lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, indicating a significant loss of harmful visceral (tummy) fat that can build up around organs and causes disease.

Another study showed that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than the more standard method of continuous calorie restriction.

In addition to weight loss, there are some important health benefits associated with fasting, including:

  • increased levels of human growth hormone
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • cellular repair, including autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells
  • improved function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.

As such fasting has been associated with a reduced risk of inflammatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

In addition to lowering insulin and increasing growth hormone levels, it increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by up to14%

One of the biggest advantages of fasting is that it takes all the choice away of what to eat, this is especially attractive to those who feel overwhelmed by trying to understand the difference between healthy eating and eating to lose weight. There is no preparation, no meal planning, recipes to cook or special foods to include.

The main disadvantage of course, is hunger. You may also feel weak and lack concentration and find that on a fast day you may not perform as well as usually do. This should only be temporary and your body will adapt to the new routine. However, for this reason it may be best to plan carefully when you fast and avoid busy or pressure days or days when you plan to exercise.

Lastly, if you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

How Liiv can help

Following the 5:2 method, allows you 400-500 calories on the 2 fast days. This calorie allowance could easily be divided between two Liiv Nutritionally Balanced Shakes. At 220 kcal per serving, when mixed with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk, not only do the shakes provide you with all the essential daily nutrients you need at, they will also fill you up and keep any hunger pangs at bay.

Maintaining good hydration is also important, particularly on fast days, Liiv’s Aloe Vera, Green Tea & Ginger Drink Concentrate is a great aid for hydration. It has a pleasant taste so is more tempting that plain water and as it’s sugar-free, it won’t pile on calories.

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with more protein and healthy fats. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Your body then becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy. Fatty acids are mobilised from fat stores and converted into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause big reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketone production, has been shown to have numerous health benefits.

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

  • Standard ketogenic diet: This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet: This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
  • High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

Research has shown that a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease and is superior to conventional low fat or calorie restricted diets. In addition, participants report experiencing significantly less hunger compared with other diets which helps motivation to stick with it.

One study found that participants lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet and both blood levels of triglycerides and HDL (good) cholesterol improved.

Increased ketone production results in lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity which plays a key role in weight loss. One study found that following a ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by as much as 75%. While another study in people with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all diabetes medications.

Although ketogenic diets appear to be effective for weight loss, a major disadvantage is summing the willpower to give up carbs, they are a dominant part of any typical Western diet. It does require huge effort to make the changes to traditional meals as breads, rice, pasta, cereals and root veg all have to be avoided, not to mention fruit and beans and legumes. The usual easy, convenient choices for breakfast and lunch such as toast, cereal and sandwiches are off the table as is popping into the local deli/coffee shop. This diet requires a huge change in planning, shopping and meals prep.

How Liiv can help

The Liiv Nutritionally Balanced Shakes make a delicious and convenient option for a quick breakfast or a handy lunch. Afterall, not everyone has time to start poaching eggs and smashing avocados in the morning. The shakes provide plenty of protein and at least 50 percent of your daily requirement of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay nourished.

Liiv’s Collagen Beauty Booster is also a valuable addition to your keto diet, as well as part of your skincare routine. Each sachet provides 20g of collagen peptides to encourage your body to produce more of its own collagen. You can mix with water for a high protein drink between meals.


Spring Clean Your Diet by Dr. Sarah Schenker

small glasses of water with lemon

During the long winter it’s easy to fall into poor eating habits, when fresh, local produce is a distant memory and comfort foods become the norm. Making matters worse, the cold weather and short days mean your motivation to exercise may have dwindled. If you’ve emerged from hibernation feeling lethargic and heavy, now is the time to spring-clean your diet.

But “spring-cleaning” doesn’t mean restricting yourself to juice cleanses and detox fasts. Instead, think about going back to basics and choosing wholesome, minimally processed foods that will nourish your body, boost your energy levels, lift your mood and prepare your body for an increase in your exercise routine. Freshen up your diet with easy changes that will kick-start your training and improve your health.

Cut down on free sugars
Free sugars are any sugars added to foods and drinks by manufacturers, cooks or consumers. While most of us know it as sugar, sugar may go by numerous other names including dextrose, fructose, sucrose, glucose, maltose or high fructose corn syrup. Free sugars are also sugars found naturally in honey, syrups and fruit juice. Sugars found in fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or dried) and in milk and products such as plain yogurt and cheese are not classed as free sugars.

After a short while of eating unsweetened food you will start to lose your liking for intense sweetness and start to find naturally sweet foods like a banana or a handful of blueberries sweet enough to satisfy your cravings.

Eating sugary foods encourages overeating and this habit gets worse as we get older. One study that followed nearly 5000 men and women over 30 years, found that their calorie intake from free sugars increased by 50 percent during that time, and as their sugar consumption increased so did their waistlines. As well as unwanted weight gain, excessive sugar consumption is linked to increased risk of diabetes.

Scan ingredients on packaged foods and choose those with little if any added sweeteners. Replace sugary breakfast cereals, flavoured yogurts, and reduced-fat peanut butter (which often swaps fat for sugar) with steel-cut oats, plain yogurt, and natural nut butter.

Don’t make the mistake of swapping sugars with artificial sweeteners. Although they are calorie free, they are intensely sweet and don’t help to reduce sugar cravings. You may find after drinking a sugar free fizzy drink, instead of feeling satisfied you’re left with a craving for pick ‘n’ mix.

Go Raw
After a winter full of stews and roasted vegetables, you may be craving fresher-tasting raw foods—and that may help you lose weight. Scientists have found that cooking increases the amount of calories your body absorbs from food. That’s because heat breaks down cell membranes in food, making more calories available for absorption. It also makes digestion easier, so you don’t burn as many calories digesting. The implication is that a serving of raw carrots and sashimi salmon may contain fewer calories than the same weight of roasted carrots and grilled fish. Raw food requires extra chewing, which gives your brain a chance to register fullness, so you’re less likely to overeat, too.

Add more raw food to your meals and snacks – top your (cooked) chicken or fish with a raw vegetable salsa. Replace wraps or pittas with large lettuce leaves or breadsticks for veg sticks to have with hummus or avocado dips.

Choose Colour
Spring gives us plenty of colourful seasonal fruits and vegetables to choose from. Eating a rainbow of foods is a great way to boost intakes of fibre, vitamins and other disease-fighting compounds. The pigments that give fruits and vegetables such as beetroot, radishes and rhubarb their deep colours are powerful antioxidants. They protect against damage to cells caused by oxidative stress. Exercise-induced oxidative stress is a common cause of cell damage, so if you’re upping your exercise game, you’ll need these foods to improve your recovery.

Include two to three colours at each meal. For example, scramble eggs with spinach and red pepper. Add strawberries and apricots to green salads. Swirl cooked rhubarb and crushed blueberries through Greek yogurt.

Drinking water during the colder months is not always appealing, so fluid intake tends to suffer. But with warmer weather and more exercise on the horizon, it’s time to take hydration seriously again. Dehydration can impact your metabolism, leave you sluggish, and can mask itself as hunger. Up your water intake and avoid drinking your calories as smoothies. A recent study found that post-meal hunger and the desire to eat were greater when participants drank liquid calories compared with taking in the same number of calories from food. Researchers found that levels of ghrelin, a hunger-boosting hormone, were higher in the liquid-calorie group.

See my recipes for some fresh ideas.

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