Addicted to coffee? Wandering what an ideal meal plan is? We booked in a session with leading Sydney naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan to find out all those health and nutrition questions you’d love to know, but were afraid to ask…

1. Describe an ideal day’s eating plan?

Start the day with a glass of filtered water with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. This helps to alkalise the body. As the lemon juice hits the stomach it will get the digestive system moving, flushing out the liver.

A good breakfast is organic yoghurt, chia seeds, fresh blueberries and green tea.
When it is time for a morning snack have a boiled egg and a piece of fruit or a couple of cut up vegetables such as celery, cucumber or carrot.

For lunch have either fish or chicken with salad and brown rice or quinoa, and green tea.

An afternoon snack could consist of a ¼ cup of nuts or an apple.

For dinner have either a chicken and vegetables, or baked salmon and stir-fried greens.

2. Many of us crave a mid-afternoon coffee or sugary snack. How do you ween yourself off caffeine and sugar?

The trick is to always stay ahead of your blood sugar. A good way of weening yourself off sugar and caffeine in the afternoon is by replacing it with a healthy snack. Sticking to the rule of eating a palm size of protein with your main meal and half a palm as a snack, along with your vegetables, will keep you healthy and full, keeping your energy levels up.

If you we are having just a couple of cups of coffee a day, it is fine to go cold turkey but when drinking more than that, we are better off reducing our intake slowly as this makes it easier for the body to deal with the change.

3. What are your favourite snacks to give you energy and keep the weight off?

My favourite snack would have to be cottage cheese and blueberries. The cottage cheese is really high in protein and low in carbohydrates and the blueberries are high in vitamin c, antioxidants and very low in fructose. If blueberries aren’t your favourite then cherries are a great alternative, low in fruit sugar and high in antioxidants.

4. How do you like to de-stress?

I really feel de-stressed when I exercise. When we exercise endorphins are released into the body. These are natural tranquilizers that make us feel good. I also enjoy meditation, to feel relaxed and if I am really busy and starting to feel really stressed, I take herbs such as lavender tablets or tea, either chamomile or zizyphus (a Chinese herb good for calming the spirit) as they help manage the stress response. By increasing our intake of vitamin B (such as wholegrain, brown rice or quinoa) we can also manage our stress response.

5. A healthy liver is so important yet it doesn’t get much attention until it’s too late. What are the best foods and drinks for a healthy liver?

A really good liver cleanser drink is dandelion root tea. This is really an excellent product for detoxifying the liver. In terms of food, we should eat a lot more bitter tasting foods. This is really missing from the Western diet but it is really good for the liver as it starts the digestive cascade, and the liver will then release bile which is a natural liver cleanser. Bitter foods include broccoli, bock choy, Chinese broccoli, rocket and endive. You should also always make sure to chew your food properly as this will get your digestive enzymes going.

What healthy and nutrition questions do you have that you’d like answered? Let us know!