The Mediterranean diet for weight loss, gut health and peri/menopause

Up for a 30 plant in 7 day challenge?

Whether your health goal is weight loss, heart health, ageing strong, lowering risk of disease, longevity, gut health or thriving through the menopause, then the Mediterranean Diet is likely to be the answer.  

Less a diet and more of a way of enjoying food, the Mediterranean Diet is about enjoying food in abundance rather than restriction, it’s easy to follow and backed by science.  

In a nutshell (excuse the pun), the Mediterranean Diet is dominated by plant based whole-foods, meaning you can enjoy anything that comes straight from the ground.  Plant-based foods are filled with antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, antiaging, cardioprotective, anticancer and even help with our mood, cognition, anxiety and depression too. They’re filling and nutritious helping to keep our blood sugar balanced and help us avoid processed and refined foods that are high in hidden sugar, salt and fats.

The key principles of the Mediterranean diet are: 

  • Majority of the diet is made-up of whole, not processed foods 
  • The focus is on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains (wholewheat, brown rice, oats, quinoa), legumes (beans/peas/chickpeas/lentils), seeds, nuts, herbs and spices
  • Healthy fats are gained from extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish
  • Includes moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese and yoghurt
  • And moderate amounts of alcohol and caffeine 
  • Rarely includes red meat and avoids refined/processed foods often containing added sugars, salts and oils 
  • It’s also a style of eating – this approach to food is enjoyed slowly, mindfully and socially. 

So how do we go about injecting more Mediterranean Diet principles into our meals?  

Tim Spector the Gut Health Guru recommends aiming for 30 different plants a week.  This has been shown to help your gut microbiome diversity and really moves the needle on gut health and therefore overall health.


  1. At the weekend plan your meals for the week trying to include a diverse mix of veg, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – I’ve provided some recipe inspiration below. I Batch cook one of the recipes on a Sunday like the Tom Kerridge Shepherd’s Pie and a home made soup so you’re ahead of the game!

2. Monday morning start writing down how many different types of veg, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds (list below) you manage to during the week.

VEG – Tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, pepper, sweetcorn, spinach, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, pak choi, potato, red and white onion, peas, carrot etc.  Grab a mixed bag of stir fry veg or salad to up the range instantly.

FRUIT  – Grapes, strawberries, melon, blueberries, raspberries, apple, banana, orange, kiwi etc.  Frozen options count – add to your oats in the morning. 

GRAINS – Oats, brown rice or pasta, quinoa, wholewheat flour, wholegrain or rye bread. 

LEGUMES, NUTS & SEEDS – Chickpeas, lentils (tinned and ready to cook with is fine), beans (tins are good like kidney/black/cannellini), pack of seeds, pack of nuts (mixed for extra points and avoid added sugar/salted versions!) Seeds and nuts are great for snack cravings too.

HERBS & SPICES – such as parsley, basil, rosemary, coriander, thyme, bay, garlic, ginger – dried or fresh. These count as 1/4 as we only have a small amount.

Tip: Grab mixed bags of fresh, frozen or tinned salad/veg to up the variety instantly!

If you need some meal inspiration, here’s some links to my favourite Mediterranean Diet meals and recipes:


  • Fruit salad – mix fruit on its own or with some lemon juice and mint.
  • Rolled oats – these are not in a branded cereal packet but literally just a bag of rolled oats to avoid any added nasties.  You can then make porridge or have them with plain yoghurt (not the type with added fruit and sugars) add some seeds, nuts or fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Hot breakfast options include Shakshuka, veggie omelette , mushrooms and spinach on wholemeal toast. 


  • Leftover dinner is my favourite with salad, beans or veg. During the winter nothing beats homemade soups or try a wholemeal wrap with tinned tuna/salmon/mackerel and lots of crunchy salad or veg.


I’d love to know how you get on and feel free to tag me @zenergyactive on Instagram if you make any of the recipes or share your own!


#MediterraneanDiet #menopause #perimenopause #nutrition #guthealth #30plantchallenge #timspector #thriveinmenopause #menopausetips #eatwell #mindbody

D.R.E.S.S for Menopause Success and well-being

If your new year’s resolution is to improve your well-being or support your menopause transition, here’s a 3 minute video sharing my Zenergy Method with some top tips to make small meaningful changes that last.


In this video I introduce D.R.E.S.S for menopause success and overall well-being post 40.  There’s a huge amount of science and information behind each of the pillars below that I share in my Menopause 360° course, but I wanted to share some top tips here in case you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start right now.

🌟D = Diet

For decades we’ve been programmed to think about diet as a way to control calories/weight loss. Yet our diet is also a way to eat an abundance of nourishing foods that help our minds and bodies thrive. A gut friendly, Mediterranean diet has been proven to nourish our brains, gut, bones, muscles and heart improving our mood, emotional wellbeing and immunity.

Tip: eat the rainbow – the greater the mix of different coloured plants we can eat (fruit, veg, spices, herbs, nuts and seeds all count) each day/week the greater range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we benefit from that nourish our gut and the rest of our body. 

🌟R= Rest & recharge

Tip: Rather than seeing activities that rest and recharge you as ‘treats’ see them as fundamental to your well-being plan and put them in your diary, otherwise they’ll always drop off the priority list.

🌟E = Exercise

Post 40 we can use exercise to manage mood, boost our brains and to nourish and strengthen bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons which all need attention as we age.

Tip: Mindful, low impact movement like stretching/yoga/pilates are also proven to help improve flexibility and strength but also vasomotor symptoms like hot flushes too by down regulating our stress response.

🌟S = Sleep

Lack of sleep impacts weight, emotional well-being and our brains. 

Tip: Stick to a regular set of hours and protect this pattern by saying no to anything that might compromise it. Creating a sleep routine helps the body ready itself for sleep and will leave you feeling more refreshed.

🌟S = Stress management – after 40 our declining levels of oestrogen and progesterone trigger greater adrenalin and cortisol surges making us feel more stressed.

Tip: If you find yourself in the middle of a stressful moment the most powerful action is to take a deep breath in and out.  This brings more oxygen to the brain to bring clarity and the slow exhale lowers your blood pressure and heart rate buying you time to make a better decision.

All the elements of DRESS impact on the other (hence the infinity loop) and add up to your overall well-being and sense of calm energy. So if you ever feel out of kilter do a quick audit and think about whether you’re neglecting one of the areas. 

This is just one of the frameworks I share in my online menopause course. Click here for more information and to book onto Menopause360° today.

#menopause #wellbeing #fitover40 #flourishover40 #midlife #newyearhabits #wellbeinghabits #zenergymethod #zenergyactive #selfcare 

Managing menopause: turning ‘the change’ into an upgrade

A couple of weeks ago I ran a workshop called Menopause The Basics to launch my new online course Menopause 360°. It was a wonderful interactive evening (helped along by some prosecco!)

As well as sharing some pics and testimonials below I wanted to give you the most important piece of information I shared on the night.

What I want every woman to know about menopause: The reason we can experience menopause symptoms is because every cell in our body expects to receive oestrogen to function optimally. In the build-up to menopause (when we no longer have periods) we experience spikes and crashes of this hormone meaning our brain, gut, heart, muscles, bones, gynae and even our emotions can be impacted. This can lead to a myriad of symptoms but it also leaves us vulnerable to certain diseases in the long-term.

What we can do about it: Our lifestyle choices directly influence how well our minds and bodies can cope with these system changes, and therefore, how acutely we experience symptoms.  This is why it’s vital we adapt and update our lifestyle choices after turning 40 to support our minds and bodies through the physical, mental and emotional changes of menopause. 

What if we ignore it? If we don’t adjust how we approach diet, exercise, rest, sleep and stress, or simply ignore what’s happening, not only can symptoms become worse, we can leave ourselves vulnerable to long-term diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia.

What’s the good news? The bigger picture of menopause, the full 360° view, is thinking of menopause as a mid-life system change, not just a series of symptoms.  Making the right lifestyle choices help transform the system change into an upgrade.  The earlier you start to implement changes the better BUT, it’s never too late to make changes or benefit from them, we just need to know what to do and not do!

What should I do about it? My course, Menopause 360° provides practical evidence-based information on all the changes and what to do about it. The course is an on demand, video based course that takes you through the symptoms, science and solutions.

How do I find out more and book? Course details and booking link can be found here:

What attendees said about the workshop:

“A roaring success – brilliant! Sign me up!”

“I wish I’d had that talk 20 years ago! A lot of good advice for post menopause women”

“Fab evening, very informative. I’ve signed up for the course to make sure I’m getting the best advice possible!”

“Your passion for women’s health and knowledge shines through. I could have stayed longer! Not to mention the Prosecco🤣!”

What students say about Menopause 360°:

“The course is brilliant Laura, I feel like my best friend is in the room coaching me”

“Your course is full of your energy and personality – it’s a joy to watch over a cup of tea!”

“Practical, actionable advice and you make it fun and relatable! Thank you.”

A week in Ibiza with YogaFit Retreats

Dance parties, glitter, staying up till sunrise and mind-altering experiences….everything I associate with Ibiza but didn’t expect from a fitness holiday – yet that’s what I got (except we were up at sunrise rather than still up at sunrise!)

yoga in ibiza by the sea
Sunrise Yoga

Most mornings were spent flowing through sunrise yoga overlooking the sea and accompanied by a live DJ and drummer.   Moving to music with the sun on your face and sea breeze on your skin – what a total treat after the past couple of years.   

The extensive timetable ranged from well-being talks to fitness classes and island activities, you were spoilt for choice with over 5 sessions an hour at times. The standout ones for me were those where I was outside of my comfort zone – trying new things without judgement or expectations. 

A Soma Breath session had us breathing for over an hour to the beat of pulsating music – many of us had mind altering experiences as a result.  By the end of the session we were neither breathing in nor out, just resting, suspended in a deeply relaxed state where even breathing felt too much effort and ultimately unnecessary.  Many of us saw shapes, colours and even visions and lost ourselves in time and space – totally fascinating.  You can find out more here

I experienced my first QiGong class on the beach.  We balanced our energy with this ancient Chinese moving meditation.  I’ve picked up some beautiful breathing exercises you can see on my Instagram @zenergyactive.  

AcroYoga on the beach

An AcroYoga workshop involved ‘flying’ while a friend ‘based’ me.  It was hilarious and a bit scary with a huge sense of achievement when you managed a position you didn’t think possible.   

The dance sessions ranged from complex routines to just letting go and throwing yourself around the dance floor. The teachers encouraged us to get out of our heads and remove judgement so we could truly release and go bigger. We started off tentatively but by the end of class were shouting, jumping and throwing shapes!

Yoga, Pilates and Barre were in my comfort zone but none the less brilliant opportunities to see expert teachers from around the world demonstrating their craft.  Including my own Pilates trainer @RachelHolmes and Barre Fitness trainer @jaynenicholls.  So grateful to them for sharing their knowledge – loads of great inspiration I’ll be sharing with my students this term. 

The mind nourishing talks provided a chance to hear about subjects not on my radar. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Ayuverdic medicine.  Ayurveda is an ancient science about understanding your energy and bringing you into harmony and balance. Your Ayurverdic profile is called a ‘Dosha’.  If you’re interested you can take the dosha quiz here

A SomaSexology workshop by Nicki Whetherell @celestialsoulcoach brought to life the work of Dr Betty Martin’s and the ‘Wheel of consent’ We explored the concepts of giving, taking and boundary setting from the perspective of sex but also life in general as well. Totally fascinating and genuinely life changing.

Kayaking and coastal walks meant we got a chance to see the island.  Ibiza is beautiful, much greener than I’d expected.  There’s a magical vibe maybe because the island is mostly made of quartz crystal, or because the air quality is some of the best in the world and the island gets more sun than the other Balearic islands, whatever it is, it’s special.  

So thank you to the Ibiza YogaFit Retreat team for an excellent week and to the many fabulous people I met there.  After the past couple of years it was a total tonic to take a break from the routine, to reconnect to myself and others, to play, move and think for the sheer joy of it.  

#ibiza #yogafit #yogafitretreats #pilates #dance #fitnessweek

Myofascial release for flexibility

Woman with spiky massage balls doing neck release

Does getting your socks on feel like an Olympic sport?  Does the journey to touching your toes elicit oohs and aghs?  Stretching is a great way to improve flexibility but there’s another important factor to consider – your fascia.  

Fascia is a type of connective tissue that wraps around every element of our body – like a body sock. Helping the body’s structures to operate optimally and as a form of protection.  The myofascial that wraps around our muscles helps the muscles to slide and glide for optimal transfer of force and for protection against damage.

Myofascia is mostly collagen – very strong and very elastic.  When it becomes dehydrated (through over use, under use, trauma, inflammation or age and lifestyle factors) it loses its elasticity which impacts muscle strength, endurance and even motor skills.  Dehydrated myofascia forms pressure points which can be felt as tight knots.  Exercise and movement rehydrates the fascia as does creating pressure point release through rolling on foam rollers or spiky balls. 

Studies have shown (full paper here) that rehydrating the fascia “influences muscle and myofascial structures by increasing the compliance and extensibility of the fascia (Mohr et al., 2014) and reduces passive muscle stiffness (Morales-Artacho et al., 2017). It may also reduce muscle pain by decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness after intense exercise (MacDonald et al., 2013Pearcey et al., 2015)”. They found “a significant increase in flexibility was observed following self-myofasical release compared to control”. 

My students are always impressed when we do the same set of flexibility test stretches at the start of a myofascial release session compared with the end – the results speak for themselves.  So if you’re yet to be convinced – get in touch and I’ll happily show you how to improve your flexibility in just one hour minus any actual stretches!   You’ll be left feeling more fluid in your movements, less tense and more flexible.  

#myofascialrelease #flexibility #spikyballs #foamroller #myofascia #pilates #pilatesforflexibility #zenergyactive