Monday, 4 January 2016

PURE Fast and Listen Food Coaching Course

Last year I was lucky enough to win a competition in Personal Trainer magazine for a place on a food coaching course run by dynamic American duo Robyn and Geoff Randolph from Pure Healthy Way. Robyn and Geoff have written a number of articles for PT magazine recently including this one on intermittent fasting, something I have learnt a lot about first hand recently.

The six-week ‘PURE Fast and Listen’ course was specifically targeted at professionals such as personal trainers, massage therapists, nutritionists and dieticians and was very much a "try it for yourself" approach. I'd been expecting it to be more of a book-based learning course but it was actually very hands-on, as you were expected to participate in changing your own approach to food and eating. The course provided information and tools on food coaching and education, increasing my awareness of subjects such as intermittent fasting and raw food cuisine, explaining how these food choices can impact on your lifestyles. It was delivered through a mix of videos, coaching and downloaded handouts which I found really easy to work through and revisit as and when needed.

Before the course started I had a phone call from Robyn to discuss the course, what I hoped to get out of it and whether I was right for it. Part of the course involves eating PURE for 21 days and a good two weeks were spent preparing us for those 21 days and what it would involve. In summary, for me, that meant no cow's dairy, refined sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol or grains (with some exceptions) and two days of fasting per week. I was particularly nervous about intermittent fasting at first, because I've suffered with sudden low blood sugar in the past and it's been quite scary but Robyn reassured me that she'd been through the same and that I had nothing to worry about.

Examples of meals I was eating and loving.

Spending so much time in preparation, changing my mindset from what I *couldn't* eat to focussing on what I *could* eat, and getting some strategies in place for socialising, meant that the 21 days were actually relatively easy. I built new habits, drinking lemon water first thing in the morning and barley grass shots three times a day. Small adjustments meant that I could still eat versions of my usual meals in most cases and I soon found that the sugar cravings, and in particular my cake habit, was no more.
A cake that was compliant, served with sheep's yogurt
I realised that a lot of the time I was eating "just in case"; having a snack in case I started to dip in the middle of a session or class at work, even though I wasn't hungry. I learnt to notice when I was sated and what sort of food my body actually needed. I was most surprised at how stable my blood sugar levels were but also how much speed and power I lost as my body adapted to burning fats for fuel rather than carbohydrates. Although I hadn't started this with any intention to lose weight I lost about 5kg and 2 inches from my waist. I felt brighter, looked leaner and wasn't thinking about food so much. I also no longer had my morning "sniffly nose" which has been a constant for months, which makes me think it is diet related. Indeed I didn't realise just how much better I felt eating this way until I stopped and reverted over Christmas!
After: you can just see a bit more definition on my stomach.
The coaching I got from Robyn was a huge help. We also had a Facebook group where all participants on the course could share experiences and ask questions. I was dubious about the whole thing, I'll admit, and while I don't think I've necessarily learnt anything new about food itself, I have learnt about a new approach to eating, more about coaching, and that actually trying these things for yourself is absolutely key. This isn’t a one size fits all approach but it has the potential to make a difference to a lot of people and to instil healthy habits for life.
I mentioned that I didn't keep this way of eating up over Christmas but I fully intend to re-incorporate elements of eating PURE into my life now the last mince pies have been banished from the house; starting the day with lemon water, having fasting days, cutting out most grains and refined sugars. I will have the occasional tea or coffee, but I've a good stash of caffeine-free teas I love that I drink most of the time, and limiting alcoholic drinks to the occasional glass of wine over dinner with friends or family won't be difficult. I'm looking forward to feeling better in my body again.

Have you ever tried cutting things out of your diet and did it make any difference to you? Whole30, Lean In 15, paleo, vegan or some other approach. I'd love to know what way of eating makes you feel your best.


  1. I did a Whole 30 before Christmas and I'm starting another one today. I also feel better when I cut out alcohol, dairy, grains and sugar. Whole 30 is pretty strict on the sugar front but it really educated me on how many hidden sugars there are in processed food (bacon - who knew?). Once I get into the swing of it it's not too hard - except for when eating out.

    1. I kept on reading about Whole30 and wanted to try it but it felt quite unaccessible for a vegetarian. I'm sure it isn't but having someone to guide you into these things can make all the difference. Sugar is everywhere!