Lucy is a Registered Dietitian working across GP practices in Ardwick & Longsight. She has worked in the NHS for 8 years, spending most of that time at both adults and children’s hospitals.
Being a Registered Dietitian means that Lucy looks at the most up to date research around food and health, and then translates that into practical advice for the public.
You might find her at local community groups giving informal dietary education, delivering group courses, or in clinics at your GP practice. This website will hopefully be a useful tool to provide information around how to save money while eating well, which shops in Ardwick & Longsight have the best prices, and some recipes to try with the family.
Real Food Real Health course – sign up now!
Real Food Real Health is a neighbourhood healthy living programme supporting the community to better manage their weight and (if applicable) diabetes.
Do you need additional support in managing your weight, health and (if applicable) diabetes?
Would you like to connect, share and learn from others who may have faced similar challenges to yourself?
Would you like to try a different approach in a safe and encouraging environment using a whole food, strength-based approach that you can tailor to suit your needs and values?
Would you like to learn how to maintain lifestyle changes to suit your life, environment and priorities?
The course is designed and led by neighbourhood dietitians and health coaches and is completely free to those registered in local GP surgeries (listed below).
8-week course: These courses run term-time only, 3 times a year and take you through a journey with a group of others where you get to explore your health, diet, goals and how to make lifestyle changes that are sustainable.
Community Group – not yet started, possibly from October: Monthly 1.5-hour sessions to catch up on our progress and set goals and cover various topics related to health, wellbeing, weight loss and diabetes. The group decide what topics we cover and supports shaping what the group becomes. It’s for anyone looking to learn more or those who have already attended the course and are looking to continue their connection with the community, maintain motivation, learn new things and support others on their journey.
This is open to all adults registered at these local GP practices:
Lucy Blackstone, Aurora Bush-Gordon, Ola Skrodzka and Rozina Akhtar – The Real Food Real Health Team
“I am slowly losing some weight whilst still having a ‘life’. I feel I have a good all round balance on food and lifestyle.”
“I feel more in control of my day making the right choices for me first without feeling guilty. Something has clicked and through making the choices I feel better mentally, physically and have the benefit of losing some weight.”
“I feel positive that the small changes I’ve put into these areas that I am on track to continue this pathway with more consistency than previous attempts at getting on track to reach my goals.”
“My motivation has increased and I have set a goal for daily exercise which I will approach realistically.”
More group Feedback
“I really like what the program is trying to do and I believe it will really help me. I feel really safe in the space.”
I enjoy that the course provides the information for us to process and apply to our own lives. It has enabled me to make my own decisions(…) I feel this is the reason I feel confident.”
“Loving the information being given in a clear way… the meditation is helping me greatly to assess the information load which I think then helps to apply it.”
Fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C and fibre. Vitamin C helps to keep your immune system working well, and also helps your body to absorb iron.
However, fruit is quite high in sugar. And this is where it gets confusing – the sugar in whole fruit is not counted as ‘free sugar’ but in juices and smoothies it is. ‘Free sugar’ is also known as ‘added sugar’ and is the sugar that is added to processed foods such as sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and chocolate. It is recommended that our consumption of ‘free sugar’ is reduced as excess intake can increase risk of overweight and type 2 diabetes.
For this reason, the best way to take your fruit is to eat it. As once it is juiced, much of the fibre content is removed. The fibre will help to slow the pace at which the sugar enters the system and keep you fuller for longer.
It is important to mindful of portions of fruit, and remember that 1 piece = 1 portion, in the case of berries and grapes it is the amount that fits into one cupped hand.
1 portion of fruit juice = 150ml, and it is not recommended to have more than once a day. Try adding water to make it go further!
Who Needs To Take A Vitamin?
Not everyone needs to take a vitamin, in fact the only one that it is advised we all take is Vitamin D – as this is absorbed from sunlight and we simply don’t get enough of that in the autumn and winter months (especially in Manchester!)
Apart from those stated in the table below, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from a varied diet.
What is a varied diet?
Plenty of fruits and vegetables – frozen, tinned or fresh are fine. Aim for a variety of these and at least 5 a day.
Some starchy carbohydrates in appropriate portions – rice, bread, pasta, potatoes. Wholemeal choices are the most nutritious, although some 50/50 loaves are fortified with calcium, iron and Vitamin D.
Some milk and dairy products, or alternatives that are fortified with calcium.
Two portions per day of protein foods – beans, pulses, meat, fish, chicken and eggs. Try to replace meat with pulses once or twice per week.
Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or pilchards once a week is a great source of vitamins and healthy fats that are good for your heart
Not too many foods high in fat, salt and sugar – such as takeaways, processed foods and snacks.
The table below indicates who is recommended to take a vitamin and how much:
All babies under the age of 1
8.5 – 10mcg Vitamin D in vitamin drops (Babies drinking 500ml or more of infant formula do not need additional vitamin D supplementation)
To prevent a vitamin D deficiency
Adults and children aged 1 and over
10mcg Vitamin D per day during the autumn and winter months (Some groups, such as those who cannot go outside that often or who cover their skin when outside may benefit from a supplement all year round).
To prevent a vitamin D deficiency
Pregnant people, or people trying to conceive
400mcg Folic Acid daily from pre-conception until 12 weeks of pregnancy. (A higher dose of folic acid is recommended for people at a high risk of conceiving a child with a neural tube defect, including those who have previously had an infant with a neural tube defect or if they have diabetes or sickle-cell disease.
To reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the unborn baby.
People suffering from medical conditions or deficiencies, or who have had stomach surgery
As per your doctor
To prevent a deficiency
People following a vegan diet
10mcg of Vitamin B12 daily Up to 150mcg of iodine daily – do not exceed this dose as excess iodine can be harmful.
To prevent deficiencies in these nutrients.
Table taken from British Dietetic Association website
A pharmacy, supermarket or your local chemist is a reputable place to get a supplement from – avoid buying from an unknown company on the internet.
Make sure you need the supplement – have you spoken to a doctor or dietitian?
Could you alter your diet to boost your nutrient intake first?
Be careful with supplements that claim to delay ageing, help you to lose weight or boost your metabolism – there is often little scientific evidence back up these claims.
Top tips for saving money on your food shop
The rising cost of food has put strain on many families in Manchester. These tips should help you to keep the cost of your weekly shop down, while helping you to continue eating well.
Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week – then use this to make a shopping list to make sure no food is wasted.
Use your leftovers – either freeze or store leftovers in the fridge, factor in when you will eat them to your meal plan. This can help you to avoid convenience foods on a busy day!
Try to eat more vegetarian meals – tinned pulses and beans still contain protein and are much cheaper than meat.
If using meat, try adding beans or pulses to make the meal go further. This will reduce the price, keep the protein content high and add fibre.
If buying meat in bulk, freeze some portions that won’t be used to make sure they aren’t wasted.
Try using frozen or tinned vegetables to reduce costs – they are still full of vitamins and fibre.
Beans and pulses = chickpeas / kidney beans / butterbeans / lentils / even baked beans!
Fat is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It is a very useful source of energy, helps to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) and contains essential fatty acids that help to keep the brain healthy.
The main types of fat are:
Saturated fat – this is mainly found in animal products: cheese, butter, ghee, lard, the fat you can see on meat. Coconut and palm oil are also saturated fats.
Unsaturated fat – this is found in plant sources such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olives. It can be further classified into monounsaturated (sunflower / soya / corn and se same oils) and polyunsaturated (olive / rapeseed oils).
Another type of fat is trans fats, these are mainly found in processed foods such as biscuits, pastries, cakes and takeaway foods. The government has introduced laws meaning food manufacturers must keep their trans fat usage to a minimum, so the amount in the UK diet is now fairly low.
Essential fatty acids
These are a type of polyunsaturated fat known as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 3 is mainly found in oily fish (mackerel, pilchards, sardines) and walnuts, linseeds or flaxseeds. It is recommended that we consume 2 portions of fish per week, and that 1 of those portions is from oily fish.
Omega 6 is found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils and spreads.
Fat and heart health
High intake of saturated fats is linked to an increase in blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. By reducing the amount of saturated fats you consume and replacing with unsaturated versions in smaller amounts, you can improve your blood cholesterol profile and heart disease risk.
But how much?
It is recommended that dietary fat makes up around one third of your daily energy, and that the majority of your fat consumed is from unsaturated sources.
This table shows the recommended intake of fat for men and women in the UK: