Menstrual Health

I’ve thought about posting on this topic for sometime but wasn’t confident about discussing something so personal. However I recently read a great article Fitness & Menstrual Health published on the Precision Nutrition blog and felt I should share and help raise awareness to all my female budding athletes and clients out there. What I’ve come to realise is that when you begin talking about fertility issues, you realise that you’re not alone and you can gain a lot of support from others experiences in similar situations. This brings so much comfort to what can be a very stressful time for a couple/family. 
If you are very active and you have an absent cycle I would encourage you to visit your Doctor. Don’t wait until you want to conceive to have the problem investigated. It is a problem. The difficulty with hormonal imbalances is that there are so many factors that can cause it – stress, lack of sleep, intense exercise, diet. How many of you when you look at that list have troubles with more than one of the above? I know I do. I exercise most days for an hour and 85% of the time it’s intense. I don’t always sleep as much as my body probably needs. I get stressed out quite easily. I get stressed if I have a bad weekend of eating!! I get stressed when I don’t exercise. I personally am doing what I can to control my stress levels and using alternative therapies such as acupuncture and mediation to de-stress. It’s very difficult as it’s a time when you want and need to be calm but the situation itself is stressful! Your mind is so powerful and without realising it you may be harming your body and how it functions. 
Read the article and take it seriously. Your fertility is so precious!! 
Click here to read the article.

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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SWEATY SUNDAY CIRCUIT

Okay time to work up a sweat and burn off any excess calories you may have indulged in over the weekend. I needed to get my butt in gear this morning after a couple of wines last night and tonight I’m heading out for an early birthday dinner with friends! So no doubt more wine!
I posted a video of the BURPEE DEADLIFT, check it out if you haven’t seen it. Grab yourself a timer (you can download an app for your phone). You want to set it to the following 

4 Rounds

1 minute per exercise

30 seconds rest between each exercise

1 minute rest between rounds

You should have a total of 19 minutes on your timer. Make sure you warm up your body sufficiently for at least 5 minutes before kicking off the circuit. Here are your three exercises –
  • Burpee Deadlifts

  • Full Kettlebell Swings

  • Weighted Reverse Lunge

I selected a moderate weight for the kettlebell and used dumbbells for the lunges as the rep range is pretty high with a full minutes work. Hope you enjoy it! Happy Sunday!

 

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! 

Your winter waistline

I’m sure you’ve noticed the increasing number of articles flying around the net about ‘fighting the holiday bulge’ or ”what NOT to eat during the holidays’… and being a bit of a health-freak it’s making me anxious!! I don’t want to feel like this!! Holidays should be about relaxing and indulging with friends and family. Letting your hair down and enjoying these precious times together. You only have one life to live and it would be SO boring without treats along the way. Now I’m not saying forget about all the hard work you put in keeping yourself fit and healthy, what I’m saying is don’t stress too much about having a mulled wine (or two) and a christmas pie! My view is if there is a time in your life that it’s OKAY to put on a few pounds, it’s the Xmas holidays (or your honeymoon!!) You’re all wrapped up anyway in your cosy clothes, hibernation sets in and that little bit of extra fat will keep your body a little more insulated. So try NOT to freak out over what you’re going to eat and drink over the holidays and follow some simple pointers –
  • Portion control. Enjoy all the trimmings of your Xmas dinner but opt for smaller portions. Avoid overeating. It’s hard I know. 
  • Workout! Complete a 30-45 minute circuit targeting the entire body in the MORNINGS and get the metabolism fired up. This will leave you the rest of the day for fun times with the family and reduce those guilty pangs when you pick up a glass of red!
  • Make your own desserts and treats! Have fun with your family cooking clean and delicious Christmas delights to enjoy with half the calories. There are endless websites/blogs out there with recipes that provide healthy alternatives without all that added sugar. Get creative. 
  • Eat filling healthy snacks throughout the day as you normally would. Don’t starve yourself prior to having a large meal or you definitely will overeat. Your body will also be in starvation mode and will cling onto every ounce of fat that you eat during that meal. 
  • Don’t stress! When you’re stressed your body releases the hormone cortisol which will increase your cravings for comfort food and BAD treats. Relax and enjoy.
With a drop in temperature your appetite will increase. I know I’m craving warm, high-carb foods like there’s no tomorrow! The temperature rarely drops to freezing in Houston, but you definitely feel the colder weather after such a hot and steamy summer. I’ve been making hearty soups to keep me warm and full and as soon as it’s a little cold I’m armed with a scarf and hat. But getting all wrapped up isn’t quite enough to keep your body protected from the cold. With colder temperatures, comes colder bodies. This is what encourages the cravings for warm and comforting foods. 
Fox News reported that a study from Texas Tech University followed 48 men and 100 women between the ages of 18 and 65 for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured the subjects’ weights and body fat percentages. On average, the volunteers gained one and a half pounds (men about two pounds each, and about a pound for the women), far less than the 7 to 10 pounds often cited this time of year!! So cheers to the holidays everyone and enjoy!!