About learntoeatwell

I'm an ex-international competitor in archery with a scientific background and a passion for food and health. I used to eat a diet considered very healthy; low in fat with lots of fruit and veg. Sadly, I put on weight and was tired and hungry all the time. A Metabolic Type Test put me on the right track and is the foundation of my Nutrition Coaching programme which combines information about foods with coaching support for behavioural change. Eating differently, my own excess weight melted away, my energy came back and I've felt great ever since. My passion now is to help other people learn to eat well and enjoy the benefits of managed weight, more energy and better health. Wishing you well Jackie

Cook Clever, Waste Less

Did you see this series on Channel 4?

Prue Leith and Dr Rupy Aujla’s Cook Clever, Waste Less has been showing us how to plan, cook and eat real food.

An unbelievable one out of every 6 bags of shopping bought, is thrown in the bin. Most of that goes to landfill where it can take years to break down, releasing methane all the time. For bread alone, Britain throws away a million loaves every day.

Reducing food waste is environmentally sound. Prue and Rupy also saved each family over £1500 – some up to £4000.

They helped people plan their week, batch cook and use unusual ingredients. Their breakfast smoothie of peanut butter, coconut milk and banana skin! My version, with yoghurt and kefir, now has 2 inches of banana with the skin left on instead of peeled off. I would never have thought of eating it instead of putting it in the compost bin.

People have taken up cooking as a hobby more during lockdown. The top 20 pass-times included:

  • no 3 baking bread
  • no 4 growing herbs and veg
  • no 10 making jams and preserves.

Getting to enjoy time in the kitchen also means more freedom and creativity around leftovers meaning less waste.  The best lunches often start with part of yesterday’s dinner.

Here’s the Public Health Collaboration’s Real Food Lifestyle leaflet showing real foods and meal ideas.

Starting each morning with a real-food breakfast sets you up for a good day without cravings for snacks.

Making your own lunch means so you won’t have to even be tempted by what they want to sell you. And you can save loads of money – probably around £1000 a year.

You’ll save even more if you make your own dinner as I proved in my recipe booklet, Eat Well and Save. One week’s dinners is £7.49. You can’t get 7 take-aways or ready meals for that!

2021 EWnS front cover


Top tip: Love leftovers, cook clever and waste less.

Diet and Dementia

The next Jackie’s Gee-Up will be on Wednesday 30th June 7:30 – 9pm, on Zoom.

The topic is Diet and Dementia.

The price has been £19 for the last 9 years but I won’t be charging this time.  If you wish, I invite you to make a donation to the Public Health Collaboration.

Drop me an email to book your place jackie@learntoeatwell.co.uk


Quote of the Month

If safety requires us to indefinitely forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, what exactly are we trying to save?

Dr Mercola

We should always have remained open and it’s just a tragedy that we’re in this position.

Professor Sunetra Gupta

Full interview on Talk radio


Two weeks after Christmas has turned into more than half a year.  The survival rate for COVID-19 is high – very high for the under 40s, and all the vulnerable people have been jabbed – but isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression, poverty, plus delayed and missed medical treatment for almost everything else are at epidemic levels, costing lives and still increasing due to ongoing restrictions that cannot be justified by the data.

Shame on this government.

Ultra-Processed Food

Most of the supermarket’s shelves are taken up with ultra-processed food. Is that a problem? People often say to me, “They wouldn’t be allowed to sell it if it was bad for you.” If only we lived in a world where that was true. It is bad and they can sell it. But how much of it do you buy? Have a think about what percentage of the food you eat is real and what percentage is fake. Well to call a spade a spade, when I say fake, ultra-processed, recreational or artificial what I mean is junk, usually containing sugar, highly processed carbohydrates, seed oils and chemical additives.

As Dr Chris van Tulleken said in the Daily Mail and his recent TV programme, ‘What Are We Feeding Our Kids?’

The aim is not to nourish you — this isn’t food made with love: it’s food made using the cheapest possible ingredients and designed to be over-consumed.”

Chris van Tulleken

There is a system, NOVA, giving different levels of processing with Ultra-Processed Food (UPF) being the most processed and containing things you wouldn’t have in your kitchen eg.high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or interesterified oils, and hydrolysed proteins, or additives eg. flavouring, flavour enhancers, colouring, emulsifiers, sweeteners, thickeners, and anti-foaming, bulking, carbonating, foaming, gelling and glazing agents.

When you shop, check the ingredients list so you can avoid all of these. Minimally processed foods have small numbers of ingredients which are recognisable foods. Real foods don’t have labels.

Only a few decades ago we bought mostly real food ingredients with a bit of convenience food. Now we buy lots of convenience food but less real food ingredients and have the worst diet in Europe at over 57% UPF. This has shot up since 1980 when it was 26%. Here’s a Daily Mail article showing the percentage of processed food in different countries a while ago – it hasn’t got better. Children eat even more UPF than adults. One in five people eat a terrifying 80% UPF. No wonder the health of the average Brit is so poor.

Iceland came top for the world’s healthiest diets. As a nation, they kicked McDonald’s out. You can see pictures and videos on the internet of a 10year old burger (someone decided to keep the last one ever sold in Iceland. It’s now in their museum) and a 20year old McDonald’s burger (Utah) that still look the same as new!!! That’s what I call fake food.

The queues at drive-through McDonald’s, KFC and the like are a depressing sign of junk’s enduring allure and a lack of awareness of how damaging to health junk really is.

What did Chris suffer when he tried a processed-food diet?

  • Weight gain of 6.5kg – that’s a stone!!!

  • 30% increase in the hormone that makes you hungry

  • decrease in the hormone that tells you you’re full

  • Bad sleep

  • Heartburn

  • No libido

  • Constipation

  • Piles

  • Low mood

  • Sluggishness

  • Aches and pains

  • Anxiety

  • Felt 10 years older


And this was after only 4 weeks.

Chris showed how, as well as very quickly making his body overweight and unhealthy, processed food rewired his brain – and that has stuck!

What are these fake foods doing to children? No one knows.

Another experiment showed that even when real food is made to match UPF for sugar, fat etc, the processed group ate 30% faster, ate 500kCal a day more and gained 1kg in 2 weeks.

UPF arrived in Brazil only recently and very suddenly (Nestle did it and no doubt made lots of money). Already, they have seen a 150% increase in obesity and now the government recommends that people don’t eat any processed food at all. They still do of course. Availability, clever formulation to make products appealing and advertising really do influence people’s behaviour.

Are you now angry that for profit we are being robbed of our health and happiness? Anger is a powerful weapon for defending your health. Once you’re angry, you stand a chance of saying, “No” even when your poor addicted brain still wants to put the stuff in your mouth.

Chris felt better straight away when he went back to real food so it’s fantastic that lockdown has been such an opportunity to develop our home-cooking skills.

Remember to reinforce every positive step you take – congratulate yourself and celebrate all the fresh food you buy, every healthy meal you cook and every new recipe you try. Enjoy feeling better for it and keep on looking after yourself.

Top tip: Ditch the junk and Eat Real Food.

Quote of the Month – Hugs

What the coronavirus pandemic has really served to highlight is just how important connection is for us – emotionally and physically.

Many have been denied the opportunity of holding someone’s hand. Or giving a simple hug and that is hard as it comes so naturally.

We’re working in an alien environment.

The pandemic has cast a shadow over us all this year.

Reverend Rob Pestell

He also pointed out that “as sure as day follows night, so also spring will follow winter, and the signs of new life will again be all around us.”

The thing the government most succeeded in was depriving us of our sources of support.

What a joy to regain our right to hug our loved ones today.

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

Eating ‘Out’

Hope you had a good Bank Holiday weekend – bit chilly wasn’t it?

Eating out has gained another meaning under the ever-present restrictions on our lives. We literally have to eat ‘out’. Not great in our UK weather.

For the first time I can remember, I’ve been more concerned with the crockery than the food. I’m very much a no-frills person and even as a student, a friend would criticise my presentation when I made him special meals. For me, health and flavour take priority over appearance. My food, like me, is functional, not decorative.

But meeting up for lunch the other day at a farm-shop cafe on a windy hill, suddenly the bowl in front of me gained centre stage.

image by zoer

I call it a bowl. It was really a plate with a bit of a depression. I had a surface area to volume ratio problem. My cream of vegetable soup was cold in about 20 seconds.

Getting back into cafes and restaurants will be heaven. Meanwhile, I’ll think twice about what I order and if I want hot soup, I’ll ask about the shape of the bowl 😉

Public Health Collaboration


The Public Health Collaboration is a registered charity dedicated to informing and implementing healthy decisions for better public health.

Their aim is to improve patient health while saving the NHS money.

The PHC has an advisory board of doctors and many ambassadors across the country, spreading the word.

You might have heard of Dr David Unwin, from Norwood Surgery in Southport. He’s a PHC real food GP and the National Champion of Obesity & Diabetes for the Royal College of General Practitioners. His practice saves £50,000 a year on drugs for diabetes alone.

His wife, Dr Jen Unwin had the inspiration for the wonderful Real Food Rocks event at Ambleside in 2019 – a full day of top speakers on food and health.

What can we offer?

The PHC promotes a scientifically based Real Food Lifestyle (guide here – free) for people maintaining good health.

Importantly, there’s also a The Real Food Lifestyle For Weight Loss (guide here – free) for people suffering obesity and type 2 diabetes.

We offer healthy eating patient groups to teach this.


The PHC wants to help because:

  • adult obesity is at 27%,
  • childhood obesity ranges from 12-25% (depending on age)
  • type 2 diabetes is at 6% (3.5 million people)
  • pre-diabetes is at 35%
  • all of this costs the NHS approximately £16 billion per year or 16% of the NHS’s total budget.

The PHC believes we can turn the tide on public health.

Now that’s worth getting excited about. I got so excited, I’ve just become a PHC ambassador.

Calling West Cumbria Health Care Professionals

If you are a Health Care Professional in West Cumbria (GPs, Opticians, Podiatrists) I’d love to come and talk to you about what we can offer your patients – at no charge to your practice. I can come and give a short (¼h) presentation to describe what we do so you can decide whether to avail yourself of support for your patients.

If you’re keen to get started and don’t want to wait for me to contact your practice, please get in touch. jackie@learntoeatwell.co.uk

Quote of the Month

I believe we have eaten our way into the triple pandemics of obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease.  I also believe we can eat our way out by eating tasty, real food.

Dr David Unwin

(from Fork in the Road by Dr Jen Unwin)


If we could actually see the damage that each double cheeseburger does to us, the cheeseburger business would collapse overnight.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Why does Boris support the growth of the junk-food industry by locking down almost everything except takeaways? Britain’s bad health is one of the main reasons for our high death rates from the virus.

Eat Well, Feel Good

Has lockdown left you overweight, tired and fed up?

Enjoy a more vibrantly healthy life. Learn to Eat Well.

Here’s my latest blog post –

I’m invariably late cottoning on to what everyone else has been doing for ages, so it was only recently I started doing some Joe Wick’s workouts.

I love them!

I started with the ‘Wake Up With Joe’ series and the other day I did the 1 Jan 2021 workout. Joe started the year by reading a letter he’d written.

Like most of us (including me) he has found Lockdown has affected his mental health, motivation, energy and mood.

He says you never regret a workout and he always feels better after some exercise.

He encouraged people to exercise in lots of different ways, not just focused on losing weight, but to get stronger, fitter and feel better.

As I listened, I thought about the parallels with food.

My work is all about people feeling great and having confidence choosing food that will boost their energy and health.

The main thing people enjoy when they learn to eat well is more energy. It’s almost instant. My old habits of cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch gave me a feeling of fatigue that dragged me down. I’ll never go back to them because now I eat differently I enjoy feeling bright and ready for action.

Feeling good is the best motivator to carry on eating well.

Weight loss is a happy side-effect.

Joe also spoke about goals – not what you want in the end (outcome goals) but things you commit to do (process goals).

eg. resistance exercise each week is a doing goal to increase your strength.

Applying the same idea to food, a goal could be to eat one good meal each day.

I suggest starting with a real-food breakfast. If the first thing you eat (at whatever time) is good, it’s easier to keep eating good things later on.

Like increasing your resistance training as you find it easier, you could then progress to eating a real food lunch as well as breakfast.

Give it a go and feel good.

Top tip: To enjoy a more vibrantly healthy life, Learn to Eat Well!