Yalda Alaoui is a dear friend of mine from London who I met through Instagram. It is truly fascinating how many incredible friendships I have made over the past two years through social media. We quickly became friends over our love for food (especially sashimi at Nobu) and fitness. Since we belong to the same gym, we often have breakfast together and I thought she would be the perfect person to interview for the topic of inflammation. As someone who has recovered from a 10 year battle with auto-immune disease, she is extremely knowledgeable on how to fight inflammation!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in nutrition.
I am Yalda and based in London. I am a mother to two lovely boys, ages 8 and 10. My background is in finance, and I hold two master’s degrees in accounting and finance from LSE and EDHEC. I have always been interested in a healthy lifestyle since I was a child. However, in 2007 I was diagnosed with two auto-immune diseases that made me extensively research health. I experienced a ten-year recovery during which I did research on inflammation and tried and tested many diets / lifestyle changes until I found the best formula to reduce inflammation levels in my body. This experience lead me to share my knowledge and make a full career change from finance to health.
What made you switch to a healthier lifestyle?
For over 10 years, I tried and tested many diets and lifestyle changes to heal my autoimmune issues, ulcerative colitis and auto-immune hemolytic anemia. An anti-inflammatory lifestyle turned out to be the answer to my issues, and in fact to most health issues. Indeed, a full array of diseases stem from inflammation: hear attacks, cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer’s, arthritis etc.
What are some of the main triggers of inflammation?
Both food and lifestyle can be major triggers. Stress is a major factor too as 60% of an adult’s neuro-transmitters are in the gut.
Which foods are highly inflammatory?
Grains, dairy, alcohol and sugar are very inflammatory.
What are some tips to fight off inflammation?
I like to avoid inflammatory foods 80% of the time. It is important not to obsess about food as stressing about it is counter-productive. It is beneficial to have fun and enjoy oneself, in moderation. It is all about balance.
Can you walk us through a day of your diet?
I like to listen to my body and follow intuitive eating as much as possible. I won’t force myself to eat if I am not hungry, and I do eat more if I don’t feel satiated.
A typical day will consist of one of two breakfasts:
– Smoked salmon, avocado and eggs
– Coconut yoghurt, nut-based granola and a piece of fruit
– Usually non-starchy vegetables or salad
– Small portion of protein, preferably fish or organic chicken
– Collagen based protein shake
– Sweet potatoes or butternut squash for brain recovery and good sleep – good carbs help release melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. I also pair it with some greens for extra fiber and a small portion of protein again. If I want something sweet, I will either have some of my banana nice cream, a sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon, or two squares of dark chocolate.
What are some gut friendly foods?
Coconut, maple syrup, and garlic are powerful anti-fungal foods. They help reduce the bad bacteria in the gut. Sauerkraut or naturally pickled vegetables are full of probiotics which help to increase the good bacteria in the gut. Organic soil contains prebiotics – food for probiotics- so when I use organic carrots in my cooking, I clean them, but I don’t peel them. In the past, before chemicals were used for agriculture, the naturally occurring soil left in root vegetables greatly helped our gut health.
Are there any products that you personally love and recommend?
I cannot live without a few supplements.
1. Fish oil – Keeps the arteries supple hence less risk of cholesterol issues, increases omega-3 levels in the body which means reducing inflammation makers.
2. Collagen protein powder – Rebuilds the gut lining which lowers the risk of a leaky gut syndrome, supports muscle tissue, hair, skin and nails.
3. L-Tryptophan – This amino acid that is found in foods like turkey regulates the nervous system, boosts mood and promotes restful sleep.
4. Magnesium citrate powder – Reduces PMS and supports the nervous system. I take it at night before bed.
Favorite dessert recipe?e
My two ingredient dairy-free dark chocolate mousse!
Favorite restaurant in London?
Without hesitation, Harry’s Bar. It is the best Italian food in London and they can make anything you order, even if it isn’t on the menu. I keep it for special occasions and have celebrated the birth of my children there.
Favorite holiday destination?
Morocco, but I am biased as I grew up there. I love Miami too for the healthy lifestyle and sunshine. South Africa is a gem – I will always go back. Finally, I love the mountains. The Alps and Colorado.
Favorite hotel worldwide?
I like to have low key holiday a couple of times a year as it allows me to truly relax. I will literally pack the smallest bag with 3 bikinis, a couple of sarongs and gym clothes, and wear nothing on my face apart from a good SPF! My favorite place for that is in Morocco, it is called Paradis Plage. My kids and I surf there, and there’s an amazing yoga room and gym on the beach. My youngest doesn’t wear shoes for a week when we go. The only people you meet are surfers and local fishermen. The food is also super healthy. My idea of heaven!
Favorite skin product?
So many! I am a skincare addict and have always been. When I was a student, I would save on the booze to buy a good face cream. The product I have always used on my face, body and hair since I was a teenager is 100% pure argan oil from Morocco. My dad has a pharmacy there, so he supplies me with it.
Nedi Martini! What else? 😉
Where can we find you?
Eatburnsleep on IG and FB