We all need rules. Rules give us a set of standards and boundaries to stay within. Diet rules are the same. They are a set of rules to live by. If you follow these rules you will be set for life.


Don’t let people put you off your lifestyle and food changes ~ People around you may not want you to change as it challenges their perceptions of health too. Just say to them that you don’t eat certain foods now, in order to be healthy. You will find that many people find the idea of being ‘healthy’ a joke because we live in such a ‘culture’ whereby eating too much and eating highly processed foods has become normalised. So just say that you are doing it because it makes you feel better and you have more energy, and let people know the personal benefits you have found by eating well. If there is junk food around just peck at it rather than consume lots of it. As you are making changes you want to be very conscious of what you eat. As you get better at choosing healthier foods you won’t need to put so much effort into thinking about it and you will know what to choose and avoid more naturally. However at first it can seem like hard work and the temptations can seem to be everywhere. Don’t get despondent, just try your best and record your changes in terms of how you feel, how often you lapse, any particular cravings, how your clothes fit and the amount of energy you have.

The Food Industry

Don’t believe the food industry ~ The food industry, like any industry is out there to make money. That is no bad thing but just be aware that they don’t care if their food is healthy or unhealthy they just want people to buy it. If grandma wouldn’t recognise the food you are eating, it’s not healthy. Numbers, additives, colourings, are all part of the food industry’s attempt at world domination. Don’t have a bar of it. As a general rule, if there are more than 2 numbers in a packets ingredients list, avoid it like the plague. Or if it is in a packet, avoid it. If it is marketed to children, avoid it like the plague.  No processed foods, i.e. food in packets. Make stuff from scratch. Learn to cook. Always read labels ~ don’t let the food industry fool you ~ because believe me they will.


No sugar ~ No cakes, biscuits, lollies, jams, ice-creams etc unless you want to be in line for diabetes in 20 years time. Never include sugary drinks with meals including juice, same goes for puddings ~ noone got skinny by eating pudding every other day {save them for special occasions}. Having sugary drinks with meals not only adds calories to what we have already eaten, but also makes you feel hungry again 30 minutes later. That is why MacDonald’s came up with the combo meals which popularised their food, by selling coke, fries and a hamburger, they changed the way we eat in 25 years. Grandma would never have allowed it.


Reduced starch ~ Starch is a stored energy found in plants. Whilst starch {otherwise known as complex carbohydrates} is better than sugar, it is still a major source of carbohydrates in the diet. The plant has stored its glucose {sugar} as a starch molecule. It may taste savoury but really it is sugar molecules bound together. If you are wanting to lose weight or benefit chronic autoimmune processes, you have to drastically reduce all forms of starch e.g. potatoes, pasta, rice, breads, cereals & grains. This slow release form of sugar enters the bloodstream and your body will need to burn it or store it. If insulin is processing this slow release form of sugar you won’t be able to lose weight unless you are running a small marathon every day. When you are on a weight maintenance protocol, some starch can be reintroduced in a small amount daily. If you are on weight loss plan, none is allowed, or you may not lose the weight you want to.


Eat protein at each meal ~ Protein foods are meats, seafood, dairy products, and beans or lentils etc. Some vegetables are high in protein such as mushrooms and avocados. Protein builds cells and doesn’t interrupt the blood sugar levels. Keep this in mind.


The Golden Rule ~ The golden rule means steer clear of anything fried ~ it’s the Golden rule. Cooked fats are harmful to our health and can cause cell damage. Basically they are damaged goods, by the time we eat them they are rancid. If you are going to cook with oil or fat, use Olive oil, Coconut fat, or some butter or lard.
Eat proper fats such as omega 3 ~ Good old fashioned cod liver oil ~ also one of grandma’s favourites ~ used to be given to school children to prevent Rickets, a bone condition resulting from Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D comes mostly from sun exposure but is also found in cod liver oil, also a rich source of omega 3 oil, one of the healthiest fats known to mankind. Take cod liver oil daily. Eat healthy fats such as those found in fish, raw nuts and seeds, Olive oil, Sunflower oil, butter instead of marg (because Grandma wouldn’t agree on Marg) and Coconut oil.
Fats also keep you full and play important roles in hormone metabolism and cell function so they are important.
Include a small amount of good fat with each meal to increase that full feeling.

Fresh and Raw

Always eat something fresh and raw each and every day ~ Fruit, raw salad, and fresh herbs like parsley are easy.


Keep hydrated ~ as well as water being the most abundant molecule in our body, we need water to digest, move nutrients around the body, carry out waste processes, help the kidneys to function properly and keep our brain functioning at its best. Keeping hydrated prevents energy dips from occurring during the day as the kidneys remove more waste products, and it also stops us from getting thirst mixed with hunger signals, and prevents urinary tract infections from occurring. Our pee should be pale yellow-clear by the end of the day. Drink water with meals.

apothecary plantsHunger
Eat only when hungry ~ Hunger is necessary to lose weight. Hunger is a natural sensation that occurs when the blood sugar levels drop. When the blood sugar levels drop the body goes into fat burning as a source of energy. Hunger passes quickly only then to return later, so you should eat something at the second feeling to prevent feeling ravenous later on. Use hunger as a signal to eat, but always know that hunger is a natural occurrence. Never eat if not hungry as this is a sign that the blood sugars are stable and the body needs to burn fuel before the next meal.

Eating Habits

Have correct eating habits ~ eat a healthy breakfast, and have small meals during the day. Don’t eat before bedtime/after 7 pm.
Keep the stomach small ~ keep meals small. The bigger the stomach, the more food needed to get that full feeling the next day. Small meals = small stomach = eating less.
Eat breakfast ~ always eat breakfast to prevent insatiable hunger at the next meal, make sure it’s healthy, i.e. some protein and a healthy fat included. No boxed cereals allowed.
Snack during the day ~ as opposed to eating a big lunch.
Always eat slowly, and chew thoroughly ~ ‘hunger’ and ‘fullness’ is controlled not by us as we think but by a complex interplay of signals in the body ~ we have a ‘full’ hormone, and we have stomach stretch receptors, and we also have blood sugar levels that go up and down. We need to eat slowly so that we breakdown our food properly in our mouth, allow time for the hunger signals to kick in, and so that we notice ourselves feeling full by the feeling in our tummy.
The older we get the less food we need ~ Unless we are really physically active we require less calories per body mass than kids that are growing. In fact, being underweight is meant to make us live longer.
Enjoy your food ~ the slower we eat the more we get to enjoy what we eat and the better our digestive system is able to process it.

Main Meals

No more than 3 meals per day based on protein, vegetables and healthy fats ~ Tailor the main meal around protein and vegetables. Have a main meal which consists of protein and carbohydrates coming from colourful seasonal vegetables as opposed to starch {potatoes, bread, pasta, rice}. So plenty of vegetables or fresh salad, some meat, chicken, fish or beans plus a healthy fat of your choice.


Keep moving ~ exercise is key. Exercise keeps us from putting on weight as it increases our muscle mass. But it also does a lot of other things ~ it keeps our bowel moving, it keeps our blood moving, it also keeps our lymphatic system pumping. Without moving our bowel seizes up, and we get sick more often. It’s a good idea to get the heart rate up a couple of times during the week and get gentle exercise every other day. High intensity interval training or longer cardio sessions are beneficial. Find what works for you.
Use any excuse to exercise ~ park further away from where you are going. Run around the house, dance, play sports, do 5 push ups just for the sake of it. Jiggle your legs, fidget, never sit still! If your thighs {the biggest muscles of the body} are involved you will be burning lots of energy so go cycling, do squats, steps or jog.  §

The Apothecary, The Tannery, Woolston, Christchurch. Ph. 3890857 info@the-apothecary.co.nz www.the-apothecary.co.nz

Simone Reddington is the founder of the Apothecary, a Medical Herbalist and thinker. She holds a degree in Psychology and is a professional member of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists. Simone takes the education seminars at the Apothecary.