Avoid the usual diet mistakes – Podcast

diet bad!According to research undertaken by M & S, 14 million of us started a new year diet this week. However, for most of us this will end by mid-february. 

Each time we start a diet, we are resolving to be healthier but still can’t resist those treats. How do we find the willpower to be successful? It seems to be just that little more difficult if you’ve had a baby and want to lose weight, or you’ve just gone through the menopause.

In this podcast, exclusively recorded for Elixir, Nutritionist Claire Hughes gives us the lowdown on why our diets fail, what women and older people can do to lose weight and how we can make a difference to our way of thinking about food in 2011.


Joan Collins – on mice, men and living to be 100!




Cellex-C.jpgWhat is your beauty philosophy?

I have many beauty philosophies which is why I am working on my third beauty book but I think the most important thing is to take scrupulous care of your skin which I have always done since I was 15 and to be very concerned about what you eat.  I think it’s important not to eat too much.  I usually find that when I go to a restaurant I only eat about a third of what I have on my plate because I think they give you far too much, and that we eat far too much, and they have done all kinds of tests on mice – of course we are not mice – and various animals that if you eat less, and the thinner that you are the more longevity you have.  And since I would like live to live try to be 100 I have quit smoking, I still have the occasional – well more than occasional – glass of wine. I also have many other things that I do that I write about in my books.

Q You are a very busy lady – how do you manage your life and have time to find your own space to relax?

I think relaxing is very important.  I also think that beauty and health is not just the proviso of the young.  There are beautiful women who are in their 80s that one has seen and obviously one gets lines and age spots and all those things, but it would be ridiculous if we didn’t.  Sometimes, for example, you can see and older rose that can look a lot more beautiful because it is a little wilted.

Sorry I am not answering that question properly!  How do I relax?  I relax by watching the 1,500 videos or DVDs that I have, listening to music, reading books, spending time in the South of France in our house which is very relaxing by the swimming pool, basically I love magazines – I can’t wait to read yours – I read a lot of magazines and a lot of newspapers.  I am a bit of a media junkie and I read a lot.  Then if I am tired I believe in a power nap and if I can’t sleep I will at least lie down and close my eyes and try to banish all thoughts of whatever the day has brought or what the night is going to bring.

jc001.jpg How to you keep your superb figure?

Thank you for saying that.  Firstly I don’t eat breakfast.  I find that if I eat breakfast that I am ravenous by lunchtime. I do have two or three cups of coffee during the morning and I do have sugar and milk in them. I believe that you do need a certain amount of calcium so I do drink milk.  I eat mainly salads for lunch and when I am in the South of France I will have a glass of wine.  I do believe in smaller portions as I said and I don’t eat junk food. You would have to tie me down to get me to eat a hamburger from McDonalds.  I just couldn’t – just the very idea – although I do like things like Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie which have ground meat in them.  It’s moderation really in all things.  I eat chocolates.  I bought a Mars bar yesterday because I was so hungry – she giggles.  And if I am going out to a wonderful dinner which we did last night because we dined at Clarence House and the food was grown at Highgrove which is Prince Charles’ home and it was quite delicious and I ate quite a bit, although I only ate half the desert.  I do a little exercise but I do as little as possible because I think that exercise if you do too much wears out your body.

 As women age, particularly career women, they get put into an “age ghetto”.  How do you think you have helped to remove this so-called stigma?

I don’t think that I have.  I am not doing nearly as much as I used to.  I am not doing nearly as many movies as Joan Fonda or Shirley McLaine or Judy Dench.  If there is a part for an older woman, and by older woman I mean for someone over 60, they will go to those three and there are a whole bunch of other ones they will go to first so I am not making the movies I would quite like to do so I make my own projects.  We just finished this tour of Legends in America – that was something Percy and I did together – I did my one woman show we did together and which Percy directed and which I will be doing in America and  my books are something that I can cook up myself .  So I suppose the motto of that is if you want to do something as you get older don’t sit around and wait for somebody to ask you, because they are not going to ask you.  You have got to be a self-starter and do it yourself .

Would you like to live to be 100? Have you heard that calorie restriction can help?

I have heard of these people who are taking so little food that they are taking about the same amount of food as people who were in concentration camps and I really think that is quite sick. I also think that as we get older a woman over 45 or 50 cannot be a stick figure like those very young girls that we see in the magazines because just look ridiculous with skinny bodies and big heads so I think it’s better to have a bit of meat on you as you get older but not too much.

We all accept that looking good is positive and a reflection of our mental health but how far should we go?  What is the sensible and healthy balance?

I think its something that you get to understand as you get older. For example I used to smoke and I am now so freaked out by people smoking that I don’t smoke.  But occasionally I will feel like a cigarette after dinner when my husband and I are sitting on the terrace and I might have one cigarette – it might be one or two a week.  I think the balance is not to deprive yourself too much of things that you want to do.  There are certain things that I stay well away from such as fizzy carbonated drinks like Coca Colas.  You see them everywhere you go and our children today are drinking those and I think it is awful.  My daughter and my daughter-in-law give their children apple juice and fruit juice and they are very concerned because big business today is pushing all of these bad things on children.  In the morning you watch the commercials for things like cornflakes and all of that stuff they eat and it is just filled with sugar.  It’s better that you give the kid a banana.

Why do you think some women cope well with the menopause and others find those years so very difficult?

I think that you have to find other things to take the place of your children leaving.  Many women dedicate their lives wholeheartedly to their children to the extent that they haven’t left any time to themselves during the formative years. For women in their 30s and 40s as their children are growing up all its all about the kids, thenthe kids leave and there is nothing else. So its very important to start when the kids are still young in developing projects or hobbies or things that you like doing, whether its collecting stamps, whether its making collages, whether its embroidery, making cakes, making good dinner parties.  There are so many things that woman can do, so many options and of course there is the internet.  I don’t know about the internet because I don’t know how to do it but my husband does and there are a million things that women can get involved with now.

Do you think older women should go on dates?

I stopped dating a long time ago.  I was in a relationship for a long time before I met Percy.  I met Percy in 2000.  Percy and I weren’t dating when we were working together and we became great friends.  I can’t imagine anything worse than dating quite frankly.  But I do know some people, both men and women, who have gone on these dating services where you put your credentials and information and you try to find somebody who  is on your wavelength.  So I think that if I was an ordinary woman I would try that and see that – say what my hobbies were and what I liked doing – yes that is what I would do rather than go out to bars and rubbing shoulders with 20 year olds.  I don’t like their music and I don’t like the way they dress – it’s a different generation. Let them do their thing and we do ours.

Do you think men find their role difficult these days? 

I think that many women are becoming too competitive with men,  if you excuse the expression “too ballsy”.  I think that you have to be ballsy in business but men don’t usually like to be bossed around even if you are the bossy type I think you have to let a man know that he is – you know – the boss.  It’s a very tricky situation.  I suppose its got to do with women’s emancipation.  But I would rather do what we do in the Western world than be like woman in Muslim and Arab cultures who are completely subservient to man and have no say in anything.  I think the way that they are treated is quite alien to my nature certainly.

Do you worry about getting wrinkles?

I do think that if you go in the sun all your life and haven’t protected your skin, then looking like a prune is not the greatest look in the world. But it comes with the territory and to see someone of 50 or 60 with a totally line-free face is kind of eerie really.

Do you have no make-up days?

My skin is so used to having something on it that if I don’t put some kind of moisturiser or base on it starts to feel all kind of flaky and dry so I don’t put make up on but I put moisturiser on.

Your skin looks better than most 40 year olds – is that because you have stayed out of the sun?

I have stayed out of the sun since I was 20 as far as my face is concerned but not my body – you can see because I really like to have brown legs and shoulders and you can see.  Staying out of the sun has a lot to do with it but I also think that wearing a hat helps. The sun is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your skin.

Do you take Hormone Replacement Therapy?

I have been taking that for 16 years.  I started taking it after reading about it.  I wasn’t feeling bad or suffering from hot flushes.  I went to a top gynaecologist  and asked whether I should be taking this.  He said it was wonderful for your bones and all of the stuff about it giving you breast cancer was not true – ‘I am going to give you the lowest dose that we can give you’ I would be frightened now not to take it anymore because I feel so good but I don’t know whether that was because I felt good before or because its that. So I feel good but not today because I have a sore throat.

Do you still work as hard now as you did 20 years ago?

I am not as busy as when I was doing Dynasty or Pacific Pallasades.  Yes its much slower I was working 50 weeks a year, 12 hours a day so I am definitely in slow gear now..

Is the rumour that you would like to be in Desperate Housewives true?

I would quite like to be in Desperate Housewives.  I was asked to do a part in one a few months ago. I like the series very much and would quite like to do it..I am talking about developing a couple of TV ideas myself


Do you have any charities or social campaigns that you support?

I do think that the elderly today and I am saying this is measured tones are not treated as well as they could be and there seems to be a lot more emphasis on youth than there is on people who have served this country brilliantly during the war and after the war in making this country great.  Now they  seem to be living in bedsits without enough money quite frankly and their pensions being taken away .

That’s my motto – get on with it.  No one said that life was going to be easy – that life was going to be a bowl of cherries. Life isn’t.  Everybody, every single person in the world is going to have some tragedy, some bad things happen to them so I think you have to put it into perspective and think isn’t this better than living in a village in Africa or in Defour in a refugee camp.  And I think that you shouldn’t take refuge in drink or drugs.  You should try and make the best or yourself and its hard, it is hard…its hard for me to put myself in the position of a poor woman living on a council estate and having three different children by three different men…I can’t image that because although I have three children by two different men I was married to them and they were serious relationships..so I don’t think I am the best person to advise on these matters.

Why eating a healthy breakfast saves time and money


British mums do the equivalent of three hours work every day before they’ve even left home for the office, new research by Hovis bread shows. From getting the kids dressed to making the beds there’s a lot of time and energy lost to basic household duties which means something usually have to give way.

Although breakfast is often regarded as the most important meal of the day, many mums are forced to skip it if they want to get everything done and still get to work on time. Fortunately there’s an easy way to get a healthy, nutritious and filling breakfast into your stomach which helps you feel fuller for longer.

Fronted by World Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton, Hovis Wholemeal Breakfast Week (April 12th-19th) encourages you to try wholemeal bread for breakfast. An equally healthy alternative to cereal, wholemeal bread is high in fibre which helps keep you feel fuller for longer. Would you prefer your breakfast to feature fresh-cooked eggs and mushrooms on toast? Or does the sound of cream cheese, walnuts and honey take your fancy?

Victoria has a clear message to parents, “A substantial breakfast is a vital part of my training so I make sure I never skip it. I can’t perform at my best either physically or mentally without a good start to the day and I would certainly not be able to achieve my long term training goals. It is easy to forget that rushing around after the family can be a workout in itself. The temptation when working to a busy schedule is to neglect yourself, but my advice would be to make the time for a healthy and filling breakfast…”

Watch this video to get nutritionist Lindsey Ormond’s take on wholemeal bread and get five great recipes to help keep you powered through to lunch with less temptation to snack unhealthily!

Video with nutritionist Linsey Ormond on how to make a healthy breakfast

Wassen Selenium-Ace antioxidant giveaway


Experience the health-boosting power of Wassen’s New Selenium-ACE Plus Vitaberry – for immune support and vitality.

Wassen is giving way 15 Packs of New Selenium-ACE Plus Vitaberry to ELIXIR readers. So if you would like to receive one of these packs, worth £5.95, then email us your name and address to readeroffer@elixirnews.com with Vitaberry in the header. This offer closes on 31 March 2009. Please note that no cash equivalent is being offered and the Editor’s decision is final.

We all start the day with the best of intentions, but too often our busy schedule gets in the way of healthy eating. In fact, with almost 90% of Britons failing to eat their five-a-day , it’s no wonder we sometimes feel as though our energy levels and immune system are in need of an extra boost.

With this in mind, NEW Selenium-ACE plus Vitaberry has been designed to deliver the equivalent natural antioxidants of three portions of fruit in a single one-a-day tablet, safeguarding vitamin and mineral intake and so easing the way to a more balanced daily diet.

The one-a-day tablets provide a quick and convenient way to boost vitality and continually safeguard everyday intake with antioxidants obtained from Grape seed extract Blueberries, Bilberries, Cranberries, Cherries, Raspberry seed extract and Strawberries.

TRY IT FOR FREE! You can experience the benefits of Selenium- ACE plus Vitaberry for free. Just email us at readeroffer@elixirnews.com . The packs will given away on a first come first served basis.

Priced £5.95, Selenium-ACE Plus Vitaberry is available from Boots, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons. For more information and further stockist details please call 01372 379828 or visit www.wassen.com.


Western diet cause of most heart attacks


New York: A Western diet rich in fried foods, salt and meat accounts for 35 per cent of heart attacks worldwide, researchers say.

They said their findings support evidence that animal fat and junk food can lead to heart attacks.

“This study indicates that the same relationships that are observed in Western countries exist in different regions of the world,” says the study’s senior author, Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.

The study published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, examined 16,000 people in 52 countries, and analysed 5,761 cases of heart attack.

Participants gave blood samples and filled in detailed diaries on what they ate between February 1999 and March 2003. Depending on what participants reported, they were divided into three dietary groups.

The report found that:

* People who consumed the “prudent” diet of more fruits and vegetables had a 30 per cent lower risk of heart attack compared with people who ate few or no fruits and vegetables.
* People who consumed the “Western” diet had a 35 per cent greater risk of having a heart attack compared with people who consumed few fried foods and little meat.
* The “Oriental” diet, which is loaded with tofu but also high in salty soy sauce, showed no relationship with heart attack risk.

The results clarify that it’s the eating of Western food that drives up the risk of heart attacks, rather than other lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, Yusuf and his colleagues say.

“Diet is serious for the individual, but also if we can make population-level changes, we can prevent a lot of heart attacks, using, you know, relatively simple measures,” said study author Dr. Sonia Anand, a medical professor at McMaster.

Also on Monday, a series of reports published in the medical journal the Lancet concluded that worsening diets and unhealthy habits in China are contributing to a looming health crisis in the increasingly wealthy country.

“The pace and spread of behavioural changes including changing diets, decreased physical activity, high rates of male smoking and other high-risk behaviours has accelerated to an unprecedented degree,” one report says.

The journal said 177 million Chinese adults suffer from hypertension, which it blamed in part on high salt consumption.

“People don’t want to eat boring when they eat healthy,” says Julie Lau of the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation in Vancouver. Lau consults with large restaurant chains to help them offer healthier choices.

“They want to have lots of flavour, so we tried to recreate the flavour without using a lot of salt, without using a lot of fat.”

Yusuf’s study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario; the International Clinical Epidemiology Network; and unrestricted grants from several pharmaceutical companies.

Get healthy – hire your own chef!


London: The stressful city life can make it difficult to find the time and cook a well prepared dinner in the evenings. To support your healthy diet, All in Hand, the supplier of high-calibre chefs and waiting staff for private and corporate clients in the UK and abroad introduces the “personal chef” service.

Here’s how it works: a prospective employer calls the bureau with their requirements – location, timescale, preferred dishes and budget – and an appropriate chef is recommended. References are provided if requested; many of the chefs have served in London’s best restaurants.

Despite these credentials, the experience is not overly expensive: for a flat fee of between £120 to £200 – plus the cost of ingredients – a chef will be allocated to create a tailored meal after consultation with the host.

Longer assignments for a range of domestic staff including maids, butlers, bodyguards, chauffeurs, gardeners, personal trainers, nannies, governesses, housekeepers and personal wine advisors can also be arranged through All in Hand’s parent company, SLM Recruitment.

Please call All in Hand on + 44(0)870 2000 273 or visit www.allinhand.co.uk
More information about All in Hand

All in Hand was founded in 2002 to provide the finest temporary and permanent chefs and waiting staff to private and corporate clients. It prides itself on flawless service, quality and affordability. Since 2007, All In Hand has been owned by SLM Recruitment.

SLM Recruitment is a specialist recruitment agency for private households and selected corporate clients. SLM Recruitment offers a wide selection of top level staff, all of whom have substantial experience in their chosen field and excellent references.

Founded in 1996, it has become a market leader and supplies staff ranging from butlers to PAs, housekeepers, nannies and chauffeurs to clients throughout the UK and internationally.

It prides itself on having the very best candidates on its books and employing consultants whose discretion and client service is impeccable.

More information can be found at www.slmrecruitment.co.uk and www.allinhand.co.uk


Germ-proof your body with Ayurveda


Before Western medicine came along with its pills and injections, the ancient Indian healing science of Ayurveda advised a preventative approach to healthcare. By working out which ‘Ayurvedic body type’ you are and determining your dosha, a diet can be mapped out to suit your nutritional needs to prevent illness.

There are several alternative ways to help combat the symptoms of colds without having to reach for chemically packed pills in silver foil. One of these is Ayurveda, the oldest natural healing system originating from India, which offers preventative and curative measures in line with nature.

Ayush Wellness Spa in Jersey have crafted a cold prevention treatment that adheres strictly to the ancient Indian healing philosophy of Ayurveda mixing authentic therapies with luxurious treatments. While they have a number of treatments designed to offer relief from the discomfort associated with head and sinus problems, Nasya is a traditional treatment where the expertly trained therapists massage pressure points in the face, head and chest with medicated oils for instant relief and use steam to help clear nasal passages and aid in purification. Oils and powders are placed up the nose as a stimulant to release congestion.

Ayush Wellness Spa fosters a natural approach to health care that includes meditation, yoga, exercise, massage and daily and seasonal lifestyle routines. They seek to redress the chemical warfare that people wreak on their own bodies by using products that are 100 per cent natural. The spa boasts an apothecary kitchen where herbs and oils are mixed according to guests’ dosha. Once guests have had their imbalances addressed and dosha type determined with a treatment programme and complementary Ayurvedic meals, we can prescribe natural supplements and elixirs to take with you, so that you can continue on your path towards perfect health in the real world.

Yet for those who are susceptible to the common cold but may not be able to make it to Ayush Wellness Spa to rejuvenate themselves for the year ahead, Ayurvedic help is at hand online or at local herbal or health food outlets.

• Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a shrub whose roots are widely used to boost immunity, reduce anxiety and increase longevity. A review of 58 articles, published in Alternative Medicine Review, concluded that ashwaganda has anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. (600 to 1,000 milligrams a day, divided into two or three capsules) or guduchi (see below) throughout the cold and flu season.

• Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is an herb that enhances immunity by boosting antibody production and the activity of powerful white blood cells called natural killer cells, says Simon. Studies conducted in India have shown that patients receiving guduchi before having abdominal surgery had fewer postoperative infections and significantly improved outcomes. Ayush advises taking 1 teaspoon twice daily or the recommended dose of ashwagandha if you catch colds and flu easily.

• Herbal jam, or Chavan Prash, which comes from the amalaki fruit (Indian gooseberry), is one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants and has immune-enhancing effects. Ayush advises taking it year-round for overall wellness. Spread 1 teaspoon on bread twice daily or take it in capsules.

For enquiries or to make a reservation contact Ayush Wellness Spa, Hotel de France, St Saviour’s Road, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands JE1 7XP on 01534 614171 or visit www.ayushspa.com

Nagging health questions answered on new UK government site

London: Got a nagging question about your health? Are you planning a new fitness regime or are you interested in finding out more about a particular condition and relevant treatment options? If you are looking for reliable, personalised information about your health and lifestyle you can now find it at the new website, NHS Choices www.nhs.uk

Health advice is now the second most searched for subject online so it is no surprise that there is a lot of information of variable quality out there.
NHS Choices is a one-stop shop for all your health information that you can trust and that puts you in charge of decisions about your own health, lifestyle and even treatment options.

See how fit and healthy you are with a quick and easy personal health check and watch short movies from the experts and real people about their experiences of common conditions and treatments. Read honest accounts of how celebrities such as Steve Redgrave, Tricia Goddard, Rosemary Conley and Nik Powell, Richard Branson’s co-founder of Virgin Records have overcome their own health problems. You can even become an expert with access to information only previously available to the medical profession.

Get motivated and take inspiration for a healthy life from Live Well, a series of online magazines featuring up to date articles, short movies and celebrity contributions to appeal to different groups such as women, teenagers, men and families.

Get great ideas for healthy eating with recipes from Emma Bunton, Nadine Coyle, Dannii Minogue and Myleene Klass and watch celebrity chefs cook up simple, healthy meals for the whole family and romantic nights in.

Find inspiration for a fitness regime that works for your age and lifestyle. Get active and take the Chelsea FC challenge, try walking your way to fitness and a great pair of legs or read how Olympic sprinter, Linford Christie has managed to stay fit and lean post retirement and post forty.

Learn our how to stay happy and healthy at work and see what the experts have to say about a mid life crisis. Is your urge for a newer model – car or woman – due to brain or hormone changes or just bad behaviour.

Should you need to go to hospital NHS Choices gives you the information to make an informed decision about where and when you want to be treated. View ratings on hospital waiting times, cleanliness and readmission figures and for the first time what previous patients have to say about their treatment and experiences via immediate online feedback.

It is even possible for you to make your choice of hospital based upon personal preferences such as travelling times, MRSA incidences and availability of single sex wards.

1. The NHS Choices website draws on the combined experience and expertise of NHS.uk, NHS Direct, the National Electronic Library for Health, and the Healthcare Commission.

2. NHS Choices can be found at www.nhs.uk The site will continue to evolve and significant extensions are scheduled for later in 2007 and 2008.

3. The site will allow patients to access NHS approved information using a number of features under distinct headings:

Live Well
• Information that will help the well to stay fit and assist those who are unwell to manage their condition

• ‘Magazine’ content will reflect the interests and needs of different groups such as teenagers, families and those over 70

Health A-Z
• Access to a vast library of approved medical literature, previously only available to clinicians to enable a deeper understanding of conditions & treatment options
• Easy to understand multi-media guides on the most common procedures e.g. hip replacement
• Detailed guides to living with 20 long-term conditions such as diabetes to help patients manage their condition. Expert opinions from professionals and patients will provide advice and support

Choose Services
• Authoritative, comparative data on the standards and availability of services
• Searchable comprehensive directories e.g. on hospitals, GPs and care homes
• A quality scorecard that will help patients and GPs together to identify the most appropriate clinicians and locations for their treatment

Your Thoughts
• Patients will be able to directly comment and feedback on their hospital experience
• All comments will be pre-moderated and references to named individuals will be removed
• Hospitals will have the opportunity to respond to comments about their services.

About Elixir


Avril O’Connor is the Editor of Elixir News and Elixir magazine. It has been developed from a passion which began in 2002 when there was a proliferation of web sites selling anti-ageing products and services….but few with an independent voice.

In April 2005 Elixir News was born. It is editorially independent enabling consumers to better make informed choices about their health and anti-ageing products and services.

We do not accept payment to write endorsements of products and services or for the inclusion of experts and services in our directories. This enables Elixir News to be a credible and independent news source, as well as including all the services and professional experts that we consider relevant to our readership. Nevertheless inclusion is not an endorsement by us and should it come to our attention that any business mentioned on our site is being conducted in an illegal or unethical manner we will remove it from our directories.

Visitors to our site should also bear in mind that many claims are made for anti-ageing products and services that are not necessarily substantiated by scientific evidence and should always take the expert advice of a qualified medical doctor.

It is the intention of Elixir News to fairly report and investigate the facts. If we consider that any claims for products/services are bogus or unsubstantiated we will say so. If you have had negative experiences with businesses in this sector please let us know and we will take up the challenge. We also report on our positive experiences with products and services. Advertising or sponsorship is clearly labelled as such.

We hope that you will find our web site useful in arming you with knowledge that can help you live a longer and happier life. But once again we do advise anyone with persistent health problems to consult a qualified medical practitioner/doctor. Anyone embarking on a intensive anti-ageing programme should, in particular, seek the advice of a qualified specialist about the supplements they plan to take and in what quantities, as they may conflict with drug therapy and certain medical conditions. The doctor may advise certain blood and other tests to determine your individual needs.

Please do let us know about your experiences and feedback on the information within this site. Email us at info@elixirnews.com