Breakfast on the go!

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I’m always looking out for quickie breakfasts that are clean, filling AND super tasty for when I’m on the go. I have been stalking KALYN’S KITCHEN recently for ideas and came across a broccoli and cheese casserole that I had to try. The concept is simple, you can pretty much go crazy and add any mix of vegetables you like and it can be eaten hot or cold – perfect if you don’t have access to a microwave! 
Preheat the oven to 375 F whilst preparing the ingredients. I used:
1 broccoli crown
1 red pepper
1 cup spinach
1/3 cup mexican cheese blend
6 eggs + 1 cup egg whites + splash whole milk
I blanched the broccoli for a couple of minutes in boiling water and then added them to the tin along with the chopped red pepper and spinach. I whisked the eggs and egg whites together with some whole milk – you could use almond milk here as an alternative. I added salt, pepper, marjoram spice and basil to the eggs then poured over the veggies in the tin. I mixed it all together using a spoon and sprinkled the cheese over the top. I then baked it in the oven for approx 25mins – basically until it has cooked through. Once cool, I cut into portions (it made 5 servings) and wrapped in foil for the fridge. 

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Healing from the inside out

Reposting this article as anti-inflammatory foods are so important during the winter months when your immune system might drop. There are always lots of nasty bugs flying around too that you hopefully can avoid with some of these eating tips!!

The Provan Way

AppleAfter our trip to True Food Kitchen yesterday where the menu is based on the anti-inflammatory diet, it got me thinking more about the concept and how it could be beneficial to me and my poor strained groin. A muscle strain generally occurs when the muscle itself has been over-stretched or torn, damaging the muscle fibers. This can cause inflammation in the tissue surrounding the muscle. It’s inevitable that inflammation in the body will lead to ill-health and disease in extreme cases. Inflammation can be swelling, redness, heat and pain produced in the body. Your diet can change that. I’m a firm believer that your diet and the food you consume is the best medicine to better health. So why not consume more of those anti-inflammatory foods and speed up this recovery before I go potty from not working out!
Here’s my top tips for an anti-inflammatory diet:
  • Stuff yourself to the brim with vegetables at every…

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Your organic grocery list

I’ve seen my grocery bill increase a great deal since opting for organically grown fruit and vegetables. This morning I paid $2.98 for a red pepper. RIDICULOUS! We go through so much fruit and veggies in our household. For me alone, I usually aim to eat between 9-11 servings. So you can imagine how much I need my fridge to be stocked. It’s too expensive for me to buy all of my groceries organic, so I prioritize and buy the ‘dirty dozen’ list organic. The Environment Working Group released a list of 48 items from the most contaminated to the least contaminated – click here to see them. The ones towards the end of the list generally have thick skins i.e. pineapples, avocados – therefore the innards are safer. The ‘dirty dozen’ is a great reference guide for your organic items and the clean fifteen items are safe to eat non-organic! Print it off and take it with you to the store!!
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Thirsty?

It’s a common myth that thirst is a good indicator of your hydration.
When you develop a dry mouth and feel thirsty you are already DEHYDRATED and a glass of water is not a quick fix to rehydrating your bod. Exercising when you’re dehydrated can lead to headaches, dizziness, poor performance, tiring early and cardiovascular stress. It’s gonna be a struggle!
Water makes up approximately 60% of the adult body by weight and you can only survive a few days without it. NASM indicates that a fluid loss of even 2% of your body weight will affect circulatory functions.

TIP – IF YOU ARE TRYING TO LOOSE WEIGHT – Drink an additional 8 ounces of water for every 25lbs above your ideal weight. 

So what can you do to avoid dehydration?
  • Drink regularly throughout the day – get creative and add fresh berries or slices of lemon and lime to your water beaker for added flavour.
  • Eat an abundance of water-rich foods like fruits and veggies – watermelon, melon, pineapple, zucchini, celery tomatoes and spinach.
  • Studies have shown it takes approx 2 hours to hydrate. To avoid a heavy belly of fluid sloshing around during your workout DRINK 2HRS IN ADVANCE.
  • Drink 6-12oz’s of fluid for every 15 to 20 mins of exercise. Stick to water rather than a sports drinks unless you’ve been exercising OVER 60 minutes. 
  • Sports drinks are for endurance based exercise. If you need one, choose one containing up to 8% carbohydrates. Read the small print and watch out for added sugars.
  • Your hydration goal after exercise is to replace sweat losses! 
There is no one size fits all for water, but a standard guide recommended 3L for the average male and 2.2L’s for women. This is for the sedentary person. Therefore drink over and above this if you exercise regularly or live in a hot climate.

TIP – If you take your average daily weight and use this number as your euhydrated (NORMAL) state. Weigh yourself after exercise and ingest 16-24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost! This is a great method for any endurance athletes out there!

Cookie Dough DIP!

IMG_4657Following on from my last post about your winter waistline, I thought I’d scour some healthy eating blogs and find some tasty recipes to try out in preparation. I came across Chocolate Covered Katie and love her creative recipe ideas! Since moving to Houston I’ve been blown away by cookie dough. I wish I’d never tried it as I’m hooked! If you haven’t visited Marble Slab Creamery then take a trip there. Oh. My. God. it is the cream of the crop when it comes to cookie dough ice-cream. It’s my go to place when I want to indulge and treat myself. 
So when I spotted this recipe for a Healthy Cookie Dough Dip, I was excited. My excitement soon faded however when I looked at the ingredients. Chick peas. Say what?! I really doubted that this could taste good but curiosity got the better of me and I tried it out. Well I was wrong, it’s delicious and I encourage you to try this out and see for yourself. I have such a sweet tooth and this really hit the spot. It’s not a bang-on equivalent to cookie dough but it is a seriously tasty dip that resembles cookie dough flavours. It’s protein rich from the chick peas, gluten-free and contains no refined sugar. I have pretty much demolished the whole tub. Winner.
Ingredients:
1 can chick peas / garbanzo beans (drain and rinse well)
Pinch salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/3 cup choc chips – I used 62% cacao dark chocolate chunks
3 tbsp rolled gluten free oats
I very simply combined all of the above ingredients (apart from the chocky) into a blender and mixed until it was a paste-like consistency. I then added the chocky chunks and blasted it in the blender so that it was still pretty chunky throughout the dip. Put in the fridge overnight and serve up with rice cakes, crackers, chips or shortbread. Featured in the photo is mini star-shaped shortbread cookies I picked up! 

Guilt-free CARROT CAKE

IMG_4648So I’ll start by giving full credit here to my hubby, who whipped up this AMAZING carrot cake yesterday whilst I was out at CrossFit. It’s SO good that I had to post and share this wonderful recipe to all those that love to eat clean but still get that sweet sugary hit. After indulging quite a bit over Thanksgiving, we were both craving a sweet to follow our Sunday dinner! Ross is a dab hand at baking so I put in a request for a clean recipe that was free from added sugar and butter so we can treat ourselves, GUILT FREE. He adapted a recipe from a fellow bloggers site – Amy’s Healthy Baking
I had another slice earlier and I’m blown away at how bloody good this cake is. It’s moist, fluffy and sweet with warm spices. I guarantee a lot of happiness when eating this cake! 
Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour – be exact with measurements
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 small orange (cut in half and squeezed)
  • Large handful walnuts
  • Large handful raisins
Frosting ingredients:
  • 8 oz nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat your baking tin with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
For the cake, whisk together the flour and next 5 ingredients (down to and including the salt) in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the maple syrup and Greek yogurt, thoroughly mixing with a whisk until it’s lump free. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, stirring just until incorporated, Add in more milk if the mixture is too dry. Fold in the carrots, walnuts and raisins and add the squeezed orange juice. 
Spread the batter into the tin, and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, using a knife insert it into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean it’s ready. Ross’s needed another 10 minutes or so to cook right through. Cool in the tin before removing the cake from the tin. Cool completely to room temperature before adding the frosting. 
To prepare the frosting, stir together the ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, agave, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the cake and let it set for at least 1-2 hrs. We couldn’t wait beyond the 2hrs mark! We put it in the fridge overnight and I swear it tastes even better today and the frosting has really set. 
The frosting is really sweet and balances the cake out perfectly. Enjoy a slice with a hot cuppa!! YUM!!

5 reasons why fats are FAB!

Here’s FIVE reasons why you should be including fat in your diet:
1. FAT IS THE MOST CONCENTRATED SOURCE OF ENERGY IN YOUR DIET. EAT MORE AND RAISE YOUR ENERGY LEVELS.  
2. FAT FREE FOOD IS STRIPPED OF THE TASTE AND REPLACED WITH CHEMICALS. FULL-FAT OR ‘LIGHT’ PRODUCTS WILL MAKE YOUR FOOD TASTE BETTER. A FAT FREE DIET IS SAD AND BORING.
3. FAT WILL RELEASE A HORMONE CALLED CCK (CHOLECYSTOKININ) FROM YOUR TUMMY AND SIGNAL TO YOUR BRAIN THAT YOUR SATISFIED, FULL AND IT’S TIME TO PUT THE FORK DOWN.
4. FAT WILL KEEP YOU FEELING FULLER FOR LONGER AS IT SLOWS DOWN THE DIGESTION OF FOODS (CARBS) INTO YOUR BLOODSTREAM. 
5. FAT IS ESSENTIAL FOR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. IT SURROUNDS AND PROTECTS YOUR PRECIOUS ORGANS! 
If you’re unsure what I mean by ‘healthy’ fat, here’s a list to take on your next grocery trip:
These fats are rich in MONUNSATURATED FATS (GOOD)
  • Almond butter/Peanut Butter
  • Almonds, Macademias, Cashews, Peanuts, Brasil NUTS
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil, Peanut oil, Grapeseed oil, Canola oil
  • Olives
These are less favourable fats containing SATURATED FAT (BAD). These are fine as long as you’re not consuming them everyday – moderation is key!
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame Oil/Soybean oil
  • Butter
  • Half and half / Cream
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Mayonnaise light / vegannaise

Lean, mean burgers!

IMG_4641Not only do these burgers taste delicious, they are very simple to make with few ingredients and won’t take more than 30 mins. Enjoy as a main meal with homemade sweet potato chips and veggies, for lunch with a large salad or take one with you for a nutritious snack! A pound of mince will make 6-8 burgers. Here’s what you’ll need –
  • 1lb extra lean pork mince
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 oz feta cheese
  • 3 cups spinach
  • tbsp basil
  • tbsp garlic powder
  • tbsp red pepper chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper as desired
I combined all of the ingredients listed above, apart from the mince, in a blender and mixed together well. The mixture will be grainy. Add the mixture to the mince in a large bowl and mix together with your hands, separating into individual burgers. Mine are approx 3oz per burger. Using a flat skillet on a med temp, cook each burger on either side for a couple of minutes to seal them and then put into the oven at 375°F for approx 25mins / until cooked through. I used baking paper to line the oven tray to soak up any excess fat. I’ll be enjoying these tonight!!!

Heat your cockles – Mild Cod Curry

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This is a repost of a recipe on my facebook page that we enjoyed last night. Perfect for the colder weather! There is lots of hype in the press about fish oil and the intake of omega 3’s due to hundreds of studies backing up the benefits. It’s been shown to reduce the risk cardiovascular disease, reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels; function as a natural blood thinner, which results in the lowering of blood pressure; and reduces inflammation in the body. So on that note, I try get a range of fish in my diet – salmon, cod, tuna. Here’s a very simple recipe with minimal prep time and takes 20mins to cook! 
Alaskan cod fillet
1 Red bell pepper
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander / fresh leaves
Pinch red chilli pepper flakes
(Salt & black pepper to taste)

Sautee the red pepper for a couple of mins then add all the dry herbs/spices. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the fish, poaching it for approx 20 mins or until the fish flakes. Buy a large piece of fish so you can portion it out across several meals. This tastes AMAZING on day two! Serve with your favourite green veggies!!

Fuel your workout

We get energy from the food we consume – proteins, fats and carbohydrates (macronutrients). Without going into too much detail, each of these macro’s are of great importance to your diet AND your workouts. 
So in order to have a great workout with heaps of energy AND to ensure that you recover quickly and effectively from it, you need to make sure that your feeding yourself before and after. Everyone’s nutritional needs will differ but regardless of your goals / activity level, the importance of eating these macros is paramount. If you are not exercising super early in the morning, ensure you have a well BALANCED meal of protein, carbs and fats, 2-3 hrs prior. I talk to so many people that go CRAZY for high-protein, low-carb meals. Protein rarely supplies energy during exercise. The only time it can be used as fuel is when your in starvation mode!! Carbohydrates will provide you with fuel and energy for day to day life and exercise. Simple carbs are a great option before exercise as they are easily digested – fruit being a top option as it’s easily digested, convenient and easy to take with you if you’re out and about.
I prefer to have a snack that combines all my macros – mainly carbs with some protein and fat. Similar to my main meals but a far smaller portion! This concept I carry throughout the day, including post workout. Eating this way does require preparation and if you can find 5 minutes to organise these, you will see an increase in your energy levels and no doubt greater results! Your portion size and timing of your snack can only be determined with trial and error. Aim to eat your snack 30mins-1hr prior to exercise. It has taken me a long time to get to this point of knowing what and when I need to eat before I workout. The below are some PRE WORKOUT snacks I enjoy!!
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup cantaloupe melon, tsp almond butter
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup blueberries, small handful raw unsalted nuts
  • my PANCAKE RECIPE!
  • spread tsp almond butter on 1 rice cake, mash 1/3 banana on the top (YUM)
  • smoothies!! 1 cup almond milk, scoop vanilla protein, 1/2 cup blueberries, small handful raw unsalted nuts
  • another smoothie – 1 cup almond milk, scoop vanilla protein, cup spinach, 1/2 apple, tbsp avocado
  • 2 hard boiled eggs with carrot stalks and hummus
  • 2 slices turkey breast, 1 cup wilted spinach, tbsp avocado on half an ezekiel muffin
  • Apple slices with tsp almond butter
Please share any yummy pre-workout snacks or habits that you have!! I’m always up for trying something new!!