Archive for February, 2008

Letter from Marilyn — February 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Dear Reader,

This issue of Natural News has some very interesting articles including one on how to have a short but healthy detox day. Something we can all do with now and again when we give our bodies and digestive systems a rest from too much food in general and of the wrong type.  Also included is an item on cosmetics particularly lipstick and the chemicals that they contain which may increase the risk of breast cancer.

It is estimated that over a lifetime women can ingest more than four pounds of lipstick. Some of it is swallowed but it can also be absorbed through the lining of the mouth. With the newer longer lasting lipsticks, even more ‘nasties’ have had to be added including plastics and nylon in order to glue the colour to the lips. So when you are looking after yourself by eating well, organic food etc. think also about the cosmetics that you are using and choose more natural alternatives.

By the time you receive this issue my latest book will have been published called ‘Getting Pregnant – Faster’. This book came about from the women and couples coming into the clinic who wanted to find out why it was taking them so long to get pregnant and what they could do about it.  The book also covers help for women who have had recurrent miscarriages and also for couples who are going for IVF treatment and want to improve the success rate which is only about 25% per cycle in the UK. 


I hope you enjoy this issue of Natural News and do send in any health questions especially if you feel you have slipped a bit in some of your New Year’s resolutions and need some tips and motivation. Also do let me know if there is a topic you would like covered in a future issue because the content can be quite flexible. 


Kind regards,




Marilyn Glenville

The True Power of Good Nutrition – February 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008

This month’s case study is ‘Hannah’ who came to the Clinic with low libido:


At the age of 37 and after having my two children, I noticed a real dip in my libido, which was quite upsetting because it had never been a problem for me. Not only was it affecting me, it was having a negative impact on my relationship with my husband. I think it was an accumulation of no longer feeling ‘sexy’ and just physically too tired to make the effort. I had also been aware of feeling slightly drier which then made intercourse quite uncomfortable. I had a hectic life running around after a 2 and 4 year old, plus working part time, so by the evening when my husband was ‘in the mood’, I was ready for sleep. Talking to fellow mothers, it did seem a trend, but I knew that it was not what I wanted for myself because my husband and I had always had such a loving, fulfilling relationship. 


I decided to be proactive about the situation and had heard that libido could be affected by nutrition. I knew my diet had slipped since having the children – not eating the right foods, snacking on leftovers and just not being consistent. I think I’d been so concerned that my children were eating well, that I took second place. I had got to the point though where I thought I had to change this and start thinking about me. A colleague at work had been to see a nutritionist at the Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic for weight loss so I decided to phone and book and appointment.


I was sent a very comprehensive Nutritional Questionnaire that I was asked to complete and return before my first appointment to allow the nutritionist time to review it. It was excellent because it really made me think about how I was feeling and by the time I had completed the questionnaire. I realised that not only did I have low libido, my energy was low and I felt stressed and anxious. I also decided to perform a Hair Mineral Analysis to assess my mineral status. This was such a simple test, because all it involved was taking a sample of hair and sending it to the lab. The results would be back in time for my first consultation.


My first consultation was one hour and the nutritionist took a very detailed medical history and went through my ‘typical’ diet. She picked up that I wasn’t eating regularly; in fact sometimes I was going all day without food! I was running around after my children and so intent on making sure they were ok that sometime I just forgot to eat until the evening. She explained how this would affect my blood sugar levels, causing them to drop and then this would stimulate my adrenal glands to produce the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones encourage the body to store fat, particularly around the middle, plus they make stress and anxiety worse. Part of the reason my libido was low was due to lack of energy and just not ‘feeling in the mood’ so I could see how this made perfect sense to eat and nourish my body.


The Hair Mineral Analysis identified low levels of zinc and chromium which really related to my symptoms. Zinc deficiency is a common cause of low libido because it is directly involved with female hormone production. The nutritionist explained that zinc can be depleted by tea and coffee, both of which I was consuming on a daily basis. This had become a habit after the children were born because it was the only thing I found to get me through the day. Tea and coffee have diuretic properties which essentially ‘flush’ minerals like zinc out of the body. She gave me a list of zinc rich foods which included pumpkin seeds, wholegrains and shellfish – particularly oysters! She explained that this was why oysters had natural aphrodisiac properties! I went out with my new shopping list to stock up on all of these foods.


She wasn’t surprised that my chromium was low either because this mineral is associated with blood sugar balance. She explained that extremely high blood sugar stimulates the release of insulin. Both insulin and adrenaline can disrupt your production of the sex hormones, particularly progesterone.


We also talked about exercise and how important this was for raising natural mood enhancing chemicals called endorphins. I hadn’t done any formal exercise since the children were born and knew it was an area I needed to address. I suppose I felt I didn’t have time, but she said that I ideally I needed to exercise three times a week preferably cardiovascular exercise like aerobics/jogging. Not only does this improve mood and wellbeing, it helps with weight loss and helps improve physical appearance. I had got issues with my appearance since having the children which was one of the factors affecting my libido. I decided that I had to be proactive about this so started going to the gym three mornings a week when the children were at school and nursery.


The nutritionist recommended a programme of supplements and herbs to help improve my libido and give my weight loss a kick start. A good multi vitamin and mineral was prescribed together with extra zinc and chromium to account for my deficiencies. I was also given an herbal formula containing agnus castus, ginseng and shativari to ‘nurture’ reproductive organs and help boost libido. She gave me some natural vaginal lubricant which contained kiwi extract if I felt I needed some extra support.


I found the first week quite hard, making sure I was eating all the right foods, but as the week progressed it became easier as I started feeling I had more energy. It soon became second nature to eat every three hours and I felt so good for doing so. I was snacking on lots of zinc-rich pumpkin seeds and oatcakes and hummus in between my meals. I even cooked a romantic meal with oysters which went down very well with my husband! I could not believe the change in the first month. I had gone from being lethargic and feeling frumpy to having so much energy and for the first time in a long while I felt sexually attractive. It was a combination of losing weight and getting in better shape from going to the gym and nourishing my body with good nutrients which gave me more energy and improved hormone balance. I actually didn’t need the lubricant in the end so I think part of the problem had been the way I was feeling in my mind.


I must admit when I first started the programme I never imagined just how effective it would be and not only have I got my life back, I’ve got my marriage back and everything feels complete now. This change has made me realise just how important eating well and exercising is and I know I will never fall back into old habits. My husband says he has got back the lady he married and he is so pleased that I made contact with the Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic.


I had my follow up consultation 8 weeks after and this was an excellent time to revaluate my programme and make some small modifications. Essentially the nutritionist said that I would be following this type of diet for life, but of course there are times when I can deviate! She did make some changes to my supplements and reduced the herbs down as these would not be needed in the long term. She was so happy with my progress and going back to see her was such a motivation in itself! 


Marilyn’s comments


It is so lovely to support a patient and see them progress so well. Not only has Hannah got her libido back, she has so much more energy and confidence, plus it has changed her whole relationship with her husband. We see patients like Hannah all too often at the clinic where they are rushing around leading busy lives, looking after the children and home and neglecting their own health and needs. Making time to put a plan into action is important as Hannah did, particularly with her exercise regime.


There is only so long your body can run ‘on empty’ and as we can see with Hannah, having had two pregnancies which depleted her nutrients, and then not eating properly it really took its toll on her whole body. The human body is a very delicate ‘machine’ which needs a constant supply of good nutrients.


If you are interested in having the test mentioned here please see the resources page.





Portion control secrets for weight control

Friday, February 1st, 2008

There’s so much talk nowadays about what you should and should not eat if you want to lose weight but rather less emphasis on the importance of eating sensible food portions.


Portion control is essential to weight loss as well as to maintaining a healthy weight. A report published in Science magazine states that cutting 100 calories a day would be enough to prevent, and reverse, the 2lbs weight gain that the average person makes every year. That’s right. No miracle weight loss pills, no starvation detox and no fad diet plans. Just downsize your portion size and you can prevent weight becoming a big problem for you! Research has also clearly shown that overweight people who control the portion size of what they eat are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for good. Although increasing planned exercise also helps people shed pounds, researchers found portion control efforts seem to offer the biggest payoff.


The concept is easy: if you eat less, you consume fewer calories. But in a world where big is better and restaurants serve enormous plates of food, it’s tough to figure out what a “normal” portion size is. It is very easy to overeat when oversized portions and all-you-can eat buffets surround us. Studies estimate that most of us under estimate the amount we eat by a staggering 25 per cent.


While most of us know the basics about nutrition, we also need to take some time to rethink how much we eat because it really is just as important as what we eat. With portion sizes and waist lines growing bigger every day the following simple portion control secrets that are can make a huge difference.


Cut it in half.

Just decrease your portion sizes by half and substitute the other half with vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit. For example, if you are used to eating a sandwich at lunch, just eat half and supplement the rest with raw veggies, nuts, seeds and fruit. If you are eating out ask for an extra plate and share your portion with a friend.


Nice and slow

Take your time when you are eating a meal and when you are finished pause and allow yourself at least 20 minutes before eating any thing else like a dessert. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive messages from your stomach that you are full so you may well find that you don’t actually want to eat any more.


Pass on the pasta

The recommended serving size for pasta is 2 ozs or 50g of uncooked pasta. The typical restaurant portion is easily four times this size, so leave the extra (your portion should be about the size of a tennis ball) and cut 100 calories!


Re-size your cereal and bread

The amount of cereal eaten is often twice the recommended serving size. So weigh out the 30 or 40g serving of cereal and get to know what the correct portion looks like in the bowl you normally use. Cutting out just one slice of bread a day will save around 100 calories – try an open sandwich so you only have one slice of wholemeal bread.


Avoid the oil-slick!

Use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon to measure your butter, spread or oil portion. Spread just a thin layer of butter on your bread. When dining out, ask for the dressing on the side so you can control how much you use.


Ask for a doggie bag.

Taking a doggie bag with leftovers when you dine out in a restaurant is common place in America but not something we tend to do here but it really is a good idea. Restaurant portions are unbelievable — nearly twice the size they were 15 years ago. If you don’t trust yourself ask your waiter for a take away container as soon as he serves the food. You can always take some back out to eat at the restaurant if you’re still hungry, but chances are you won’t want to. Heat the leftovers up tomorrow for lunch.


Forget meal deals

Ideally, you should be avoiding fast food anyway.  But if you are having fast food, bear in mind that any fast food is going to be over sized anyway so don’t make things worse by super sizing because it seems like a better deal. In fact, steering clear of meal deals altogether is very wise and don’t let the server convince you that it’s much more cost effective for you to buy medium or large instead of a small portion. Better still order a children’s size meal; kid’s meals are actually much closer to the correct portion size than the adult versions.


Go for small packages

When your will power is overpowered by a sudden urge to eat crisps or chocolate don’t buy the large bags or boxes of multi packs whatever their bargain price may be. Buy individual bags or products one at a time. Or, keep a single serving snack bag handy so you can use that as you get them home.


Super size your salads

Eating a salad or soup before lunch or dinner is a great way to keep from overeating. It will help curb your appetite and give you a sense of satiety sooner. To reap full portion control benefits load up your salad with veggies and a handful of nuts and seeds. The fibre in the veggies will help you feel fuller and the nut protein will help to slow the rate of digestion.


Mini meals

Instead of eating three meals a day; eat five. Keep your blood sugar (and your appetite) at an even keel all day long by not going any longer than 3 hours without having something to eat. Eat multiple, healthy mini meals throughout the day rather than a few large ones. Start with a healthy breakfast, followed by a mid morning snack, followed by lunch, a mid afternoon snack and a light supper.


Make grains, legumes, fish and vegetables your main dish

By loading up on veggies, legumes, fish and healthy grains as the bulk of your meal instead of using them as side portions, you’ll feel full sooner and get extra vitamins, omega 3 and fibre. Experiment with new vegetables and preparation methods to keep things interesting.


Size up servings.

Just how many biscuits or your other favourite snacks) are in a serving? Do you even know? Check the label on the box and see — you may be surprised at how many servings you are actually consuming. Learn what a controlled portion of your favourite snacks look like by measuring them out the next time you eat them. Then, once you see how much a serving really looks like, you’ll be able to visualise it from then on and know how much is too much.


Indulge yourself

Eat healthily 80 per cent of the time and you can afford the occasional treat. Completely avoiding your favourite food can lead to a sense of deprivation and quite possibly overeating as a result. Stop a binge before it starts by indulging yourself every now and then or by allowing yourself a couple of bites so you don’t feel deprived. More often than not a couple of bites are more than enough to satisfy your taste buds.