I've been wearing an anti-pollution mask around London

I've been wearing an anti-pollution mask around London

Today is Clean Air Day. I'm writing this article because too many of us do not breathe clean air. We suffer health problems and die too soon because we do not breathe clean air. That needs to change.

This is a topic that I've been talking about a lot lately, especially after the World Health Organisation released new data on air pollutionlast month, including stats like:

  • 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air; and

  • Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths worldwide.

I was invited be part of a Channel 4 News feature to help raise awareness on how air pollution affects people with cystic fibrosis. You can see my (very short!) clip in this piece on the UK’s most polluted areas.

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Ten months on: "I quit my job. Now what?"

Ten months on: "I quit my job. Now what?"

Ten months ago, I quit my job to save my health. You can read more about why I did that in my article from October 2017.

Last month, I was featured talking about my career change in the latest issue of CF Life magazine from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, so I thought now would be a great time to write an update on what has changed since I left a high-pressure, full-time job last summer.

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Is lactose intolerance as common as you think? What it is, how to test + my lactose intolerance results

Is lactose intolerance as common as you think? What it is, how to test + my lactose intolerance results

I’ve written quite a lot about food intolerance since I’ve suffered with a lot of digestive issues myself and needed to control them to optimise my own health. While I gave an overview of types of food intolerance in this guide, I’ve not covered lactose intolerance specifically.

A lot of people seem to report lactose intolerance, but it actually seems to be commonly misunderstood. Did you know, for example, that lactose intolerance is thought to affect only around 5-16% of people in the UK? A far lower number than I often see being thrown around on social media.

Because of these kinds of misunderstandings, a lot of people self-diagnose or follow overly-restrictive diets.

There was a point in time where I suspected that I had issues digesting milk. I didn’t know if it was due to a milk protein, lactose, or perhaps something else in my diet entirely, that I happened to consume at the same time.

While I have tried to reduce my cow’s milk intake for sustainability reasons anyway, I felt it was important, from a health perspective, to better understand what could be negatively affecting my body. So, I took a lactose intolerance test.

This article draws from my own experience as well as research into exactly what lactose intolerance is, why the rates vary among different populations around the world, how you can test to see if you actually have it.

But before we get started, here’s a fun fact: when I was younger, I thought that ‘lactose intolerance’ was ‘like toast and tolerance’ and was some kind of idiom that I didn’t properly understand yet.

Thankfully, I understand it now. So here we go.

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I quit my job to save my health

I quit my job to save my health

A lot of people have a job that negatively impacts their health to some extent. It might be mental health, or it might be physical health. Perhaps your stress levels are too high, perhaps you don’t sleep properly, perhaps you skip meals or buy junk food or have extremely low activity levels because of your job. If so, you need to make a change. 

Employers may tell you ‘health comes first’. But often, it seems insincere: something that HR have told them to say so that they don’t get sued for neglecting occupational health.

Sometimes when people have said it, ‘health comes first’, I’ve believed that they really do think that health _should_ come first. But does it? No. Not until you’re hospitalised (or threatening to leave your job) and they are forced to be accommodating or risk losing you permanently. Or, even if they believe it with every bone in their body, perhaps they just don’t have the resources or authority to actually make ‘health first’ a reality.

But whatever the situation, you should never let it get to the point where your health tangibly declines before you or your employer starts valuing it. 

It’s 100% true that if you do not make time for better health now, you will have to make time for illness later.

So, with this in mind, I quit my job.

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Using Data to Monitor Your Health: What I Learnt From A Medical Trial

Using Data to Monitor Your Health: What I Learnt From A Medical Trial

It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by health monitoring and the increasingly amazing options for tracking our health and fitness that are coming about thanks to new tech.

Over two and a half years ago, I watched an episode of BBC Horizon called Monitor Me, which I think was a cataylst for my curiosity.

Since then, I have tried things like tracking my nutrient intake with MyFitnessPal and recording my activity and workouts with fitness trackers, but as I mentioned in my article on wearable tech, I struggle to find the value in using any devices over an extended period of time.

I think part of the reason that I was so fascinated by Monitor Me, was that everyone featured on the show was recording their data for really specific purposes; they knew what they were looking for in their data and they had a specific outcome in mind, be it weight-loss or better sporting performance. Plus, they were working with professionals in their field.

This kind of structure is something that I’ve lacked so far when toying with health and fitness tech, simply because I haven’t needed it.

Now, that has changed.

I’ve pushed my interest a little further and got involved with a clinical trial to see if self-monitoring can have a direct, positive effect on health.

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CF Week '13 + I Just Became An Organ Donor!

Today's post is a brief one to share my excitement at having just become an organ donor. I went onto the

NHS Organ Donation Website

 and filled out a form in under one minute, et voila!

I'm an organ donor

It is something that I have been thinking about for a while but as it is

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week

this week, I thought it was the perfect time to sign up! I read that w

hile new treatments and improvements in care mean people with CF are living longer, healthier lives, many will reach a point where a lung transplant is the only option to prolong life. Yet 1 in 3 people on the waiting list will die before they receive a transplant. 

While nearly everyone would accept an organ donation if they needed it, only around 30% of people are on the register. This is craziness! So please give this some consideration!

And while you're doing so, perhaps you'd like to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as it's CF Week. I just did this too by sending a quick text:

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week Text to Donation
Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week Text to Donation

If you don't know much about Cystic Fibrosis, I urge you to go and

do some research

. It's the UK's most common, life-threatening inherited condition and

1 in 25 people carry the CF gene

 without even knowing it.

I have Cystic Fibrosis

. I'm so grateful that I love  fitness as much as I do, because it's what keeps me healthy. But not everyone with CF is as lucky as I am, to be healthy enough to exercise.

I'd love it if you could all help to spread awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and Organ Donation.

Also, don't forget to enter my

first ever giveaway

, to win a bundle of awesome Zumba goodies. It ends at midnight! Good luck & enjoy the sunshine!