Nutritional Advice for the Final Weeks of Winter

Are you still struggling with the Winter blues? Finding it hard to revitalise your health in 2016? Well this is a problem for many particularly whilst the weather outside is still bitterly cold and the days short, so you can be forgiven for finding it especially difficult to reinvigorate your health in the first couple of months of the year.

However,  staying healthy with a good diet and  regular exercise at this time of year is key to helping you fight off any air-born bugs and viruses, and strengthening your immune system.

This wCNMLOGOeek’s blog is split into four separate articles provided by Lecturers and Nutritionists at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in Ireland; Honor Geraghty, Maev Creaven, Karen Ward and Colleen Kennedy.

They each provide nutritional advice and tips  on staying healthy as we approach the final few weeks of Winter, topics including:

  • Boosting energy through the winter months
  • The power of detoxing
  • Give your immune system a boost this Winter
  • Q: “I have some rosemary growing in my garden, but besides using it in roasts, what is it good for?”

Boosting Your energy Levels in Winter

There are times when all of us feel the need for an extra boost of
energy, maybe more so during the winter months. The shorter days can make it more difficult to exercise, and people are more likely to choose stodgy type foods, these combined can contribute to dips in energy levels and lower moods.  The answer is not to turn to stimulants (like tea/coffee/sugar), these will only give you a temporary lift followed swiftly by a sudden crash.

For a better mood and to increase energy, I suggest the following to my clients:

  • Choose the foods that help to keep your blood sugar levels steady and trigger feel-good brain chemicals. Such as complex carbs (wholegrains, brown rice, oats). These are the body’s preferred source of fuel, plus they raise levels of the feel-good chemical, serotonin.
  • Raw nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and Brazils) play their role in converting sugar into energy as well as containing nutrients that act as a natural mood booster.
  • Don’t forget your oily fish, leafy greens, high fibre foods and adequate hydration to help keep your body and mind balanced all day long.
  • Though most of us eat more than enough for our energy needs, we do not always eat in the most efficient way for generating energy. Irregular or un-balanced eating patterns make it difficult to tap our energy resources when we need them. For this reason it is vital to consume breakfast within the first hour of waking and eat small and often (every 2/3 hours).
  • Keeping physically active is important as it makes energy self-generating. Find something you enjoy doing, group activities are a great way to meet up and socialise during the winter months. Start now, regain that zest for life and be prepared to tackle the winter months full of energy and vitality!

By Honor Geraghty, Naturopathic Nutritionist.

CNM1Honor Geraghty is a Naturopathic Nutritionist who practices in Galway.  She lectures for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) at their Dublin and Galway colleges.  For information on CNM Diploma Courses, Postgraduate Courses and Short Courses in a range of natural therapies, and locations at which they are available, visit

The Power of Detoxing

Still struggling with the Post-New year blues? Want to find a way to revitalise your health in 2016?

Many experts claim that the most popular resolutions at the turn of the year have to do with health goals. What is one of the best ways to reboot your body and mind after the party season? Dare I mention that word – Detox? All too often this word conjures up images of hunger, deprivation and downright misery. But that is not the case!

Detoxification is a powerful means of bringing your health and vitality to a whole new level, and it is the most natural process within our body, as it neutralises and eliminates waste products through our organs. Our bodies do this automatically every day. But there are times when our self cleaning system is overloaded by our lifestyle choices, stressors and exposure to environmental toxicants. A true detoxification process works on all levels – it’s not just about foods, and this is something that may surprise first timers. Stopping the daily grind, slowing down and emptying your mind can make the experience as much a ‘mental break’ as a physical cleanse.

What are the benefits of a detox?
  • Replenish your health bank account
  • Reduce stored wastes products
  • Improved vitality, energy and mental clarity
  • Improved circulation and skin
  • Create new habits
  • Learn new recipes
  • Lose inches
Top Tips for Detox:
  1. Remove dairy, eggs, gluten, sugar, yeast, mould, alcohol, caffeine,
  2. Support the bowel and liver via plant based foods and supplementation
  3. Hydrate with water and vegetable smoothies.
  4. Eat adequate levels of proteins (lean organic meats, fish, pulses).
  5. Choose carbohydrates from plant sources
  6. Eat at regular intervals.
  7. Practise gentle movement yoga, tai chi
  8. Include detox therapies: Sauna, massage, acupuncture.

Enjoy 2016 with a fresh, new perspective. Cleansing offers you that. You’ll be glad you did.

By Maev Creaven; CNM Graduate and Nutritional Therapist.


Maev Creaven is a CNM graduate and Nutritional Therapist, who practices in Galway – please follow the link to her Website.  For information on CNM Diploma Courses, Postgraduate Courses and Short Courses in a range of natural therapies, and locations at which they are available, visit


Give your immune system a boost this winter

Nature has a fantastic array of edible anti-inflammatory and immune boosting foods, spices and herbs to help you keep your body strong throughout the winter months!

Your immune boosting shopping list:

Vitamin C rich foods –   red peppers, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, spring onions & tomatoes. Superfoods like camu camu and Goji berries are rich in vitamin C & Bee Pollen is rich in B vitamins & enzymes.

Turmeric, Black pepper and GingerCurcumin the active compound in turmeric, gingerol in ginger together with Piperine in black pepper possess natural anti-inflammatory polyphenols. A great reason to spice up your life this Winter.

The Immune-boosting Super food Salad

1/4 head cauliflower
1/4 head Broccoli
1 red onion
50g flat leaf parsley
10 cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper
4 spring onions
100g mixed leaves (spinach, rocket)
½ cup pineapple

For the dressing

50ml extra virgin olive oil
40ml apple cider vinegar
50ml hemp seed oil
½ tsp camu camu powder
1 Tbsp local honey
Tbsp shelled hemp seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp pink salt
1 clove garlic
Black pepper
1” root ginger grated

To serve – tsp bee pollen, 50g goji berries, 30g toasted walnuts, 25g desiccated coconut

Directions – with an S blade blitz the cauliflower and broccoli and set aside. Add all the other ingredients to a large bowl.  Toast the walnuts and set aside to cool. Whizz dressing ingredients & pour over the salad mix, mixing well. Top with Gojis, bee pollen, walnuts and some black pepper.

By Karen Ward, Nutritional Therapist.

CNM3Karen Ward is a Nutritional Therapist, who practices in West Cork – Please follow the link to her Website.  Karen also lectures for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) at their Dublin and Cork colleges. For information on CNM Diploma Courses, Postgraduate Courses and Short Courses in a range of natural therapies, and locations at which they are available, visit

Q: I have some rosemary growing in my garden, but besides using it in roasts, what is it good for?

Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs to use both culinary and medicinally.  It grows so well in my garden and is one of my pride and joys! Lately, Rosemary has been spoken about in the media with trials now confirming that the essential oil is now proven to boost memory. The memory enhancing qualities of Rosemary is probably one of the more commonly known attributes. I remember sniffing on a tissue with Rosemary drops during my Leaving Cert!

But her attributes don’t stop there. Rosmarinus officinalis is from the Mint family. As a Naturopathic Nutritionist and Herbalist we use her leaves and twigs.  Leaves can be gathered throughout the summer, but are best when she’s in flower. The medicinal components that we use are the essential/volatile oils, bitter principles, flavonoids, tannins and resins.

It’s the bitter principles that aid the livers capacity to detox and to stimulate the flow of bile which aids in the digestion of fats. This is why it would be traditionally used with roast lamb. It has a toning and calming effect on the stomach, and works especially well when the stomach upset is accompanied by psychological tension.

For cold depressive states, Rosemary can act as a warm circulatory stimulant and can also be used for headaches and migraines.  It’s a cerebral circulatory stimulant, and will promote the blood flow to the head to ease any stagnation.  It helps maintain the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the memory centre of the brain.

I find it very useful in recovering states, where we need to increase the strength of the circulatory and nervous system. After a period of stress, it’s also useful to regain focus and reinvigorate the system.

Externally it can ease muscular pain, sciatica and neuralgia. Traditionally it would have been used as a wound herb with its antiseptic properties, and applied as a poultice.

TIP: Make a cup of fresh Rosemary tea, and drink 3 cups per day. This can act as a great remedy at the onset of a cold, and to dispel mucus.

Use with caution in pregnancy as it has a moderately stimulating effect on the uterus, but it is safe to use in cooking.  Consult your herbalist if you need advice, or contact me on my website.

By Colleen Ward; Herbalist, Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist.

CNM4Colleen Kennedy is a Herbalist, Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, who practices in Westport – Please follow the link to her Website.  Colleen also lectures for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) at their Dublin and Galway colleges. For information on CNM Diploma Courses, Postgraduate Courses and Short Courses in a range of natural therapies, and locations at which they are available, visit

With many thanks to our friends at CNM Ireland for these articles, if you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via phone (01684 310099) or e-mail (

Amanda Williams and the Cytoplan Editorial Team: Clare Daley, Joseph Forsyth and Simon Holdcroft

Last updated on 18th February 2016 by cytoffice


1 thoughts on “Nutritional Advice for the Final Weeks of Winter

  1. Dear Honor
    I wonder if I could gently challenge you regarding boosting energy levels.
    The only reason why carbohydrate is our “preferred” fuel is because we are constantly exposed to high levels of carbohydrate in our diet and therefore down-regulate the genes for fat metabolism. If we reduce our carbohydrate intake we up-regulate the genes for fat metabolism and in fact this is a much more energy efficient resource. Fat provides more ATP per gram and creates a much more even blood sugar profile and energy supply. I believe that, although individual variation is of course important, the evidence is pretty clear that lowering carb and increasing fat is overall more beneficial, in particular wrt to brain health and insulin resistance. Even complex carbohydrates contribute to the rapid rises and falls in blood glucose creating energy instability- hence the perceived need to eat regularly. Additionally your body responds much better metabolically to time restricted eating so I would also question the idea of needing an early breakfast.
    The transition to being a more efficient fat metaboliser takes 4-6 weeks overall and can be tricky (for example low carb diet often increases the need for higher salt intake) but the benefits long term are considerable for many people. Please see my recent blog post for supporting references.
    Best wishes

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