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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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!

 

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

The doom of DOMS

unnamed-4We’ve all had those days where we’ve woken up the day or the second day after a heavy workout and can barely walk as your body is in bits. I used to like those days, not because I couldn’t move without wincing, but because I felt like I must have worked so hard to be feeling this way and I’m on a fast track to hitting my goals. Maybe not so wise.
That pain is known as DOMS – Delayed-onset muscle soreness. It can appear about a day or so after exercise and can last up to 4 days. A strong indicator of DOMS is extreme tightness/soreness in your muscles and joints – sitting on the toilet, walking down the stairs or brushing your hair can be a real struggle. Generally DOMS will occur when you’re new to exercise, trying out a new form of exercise, increased the intensity of your training or you’ve had a nice long break from your regular routine. What’s important to know is that it is NORMAL, however DOMS is not necessarily a sign of having had a great workout! The reality is that you’ve traumatised your body somewhat and it hasn’t been able to heal and repair itself. Muscle tears, tissue damage, muscle spasms or inflammation can produce DOMS. None of the above are favourable. At times it can be unavoidable as yes you should be ramping up the intensity of your workouts, switching it up and trying something new and obviously taking breaks to allow the body to fully rest. My point is that this feeling of soreness shouldn’t be something that you strive for after every workout. If it is, and you feel this way then it’s likely you’re overtraining. It’s completely normal and OKAY if you have an awesome session in the gym and then wake up the next day feeling great and not sore at all. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t work hard enough. NOT AT ALL. Your body can’t handle continuous stress (overtraining), at some point it will crumble under the pressure and you’ll injure yourself. We want to avoid injury at all costs as it only leaves you out of the game for weeks on end whilst you recover. If you’re a fitness junkie, taking time to heal an injury is SO FRUSTRATING! It feels like the world is going to end.
Here’s a couple of things you can do to either help prevent a serious case of DOMS or help with the aftermath..
* FOAM ROLLING – Get your foam roller out before and after your workouts. It’s a form of self massage that’s amazing for releasing tension in muscle tissue across the body. Here’s a good article on how – FOAM ROLLING
* PROGRESSIVE TRAINING – Take things slowly. If you are increasing the intensity of a workout, progress at a reasonable pace, introducing increases gradually. Rome wasn’t built in a day.. you won’t look like the Rock either after one big session lifting weights.
* EAT EAT EAT – Repair and recovery of the body will ultimately depend on what your feeding yourself! Eat a snack 30mins-1hr before your workout – click here for some ideas to FUEL YOUR WORKOUT. Post workout – eat a balanced meal as soon as you possibly can – ideally within 30minutes. Shakes are a convenient method of replenishing your muscle stores. Hit the gym prepared with a shake containing protein, carbs AND fats.
* ACTIVE RECOVERY – Yes you’re body needs to rest, but it can be worthwhile engaging in some form of active rest such as yoga, light jog or hike to loosen up some of the tension.
* SPORTS MASSAGE – A personal favourite of mine but it comes at a cost. Not only can they be expensive but they are painful and not for the faint hearted. The feeling afterwards however is second to none!
* STRETCH – It’s easy once you’ve finished a workout to want to get the hell out of there and relax.. I feel that way too. But it’s so important to allow the body to cool down slowly and take your body into a relaxed state. Stretch your major muscle groups, holding your stretches for 30secs min and then finish off with a blast on the foam roller to maintain and improve flexibility. 
SO take it easy, make sure that not all your workouts are hardcore and eat an abundance of unprocessed nutritious foods so that you body has a chance in hell of recovering from those sessions that you do end up killing it!!

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!!

Friday Body BURN

 

clementine_pumpitup_barbellHit your ENTIRE BODY this weekend with this workout. You’ll need a medium weight kettlebell, heavy dumbbells and a stability ball (no ball, no problem, option provided).

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Excuse the facials throughout the circuit, I was actually working out!!
Kick off the workout with the KETTLEBELL SWING. This is going to blast your entire core. Focus on keeping your belly pulled in throughout the movement to protect your lower back, keeping your weight balanced evenly across your feet. Swing the KB out with straight arms, aiming for full range of motion so your arms are fully extended overhead. At the same time make sure you are ‘popping’ your hips open and squeezing your butt when your hips are in full extension. 30 REPS
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DUMBBELL CLEAN & PRESS – these can be a wee bit tricky to get the hang of initially but worth learning as this is two movements in one. Here’s a video of the DB Hang Clean & Press. This requires a lot of stabilization from your trunk. From the standing position, hang the DB’s by your side and dip slightly pushing your butt back so that the DB’s are hanging by your mid thigh. Then jump up, shrugging your shoulders and fully extending your hips, pulling the DB’s onto the shoulders. Try to keep the DB’s as close to your body as possible through the pull. From here, press the DB’s directly overhead, with full extension of the arms. 15 REPS
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SINGE LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS – I love these as they are really challenging. They will really test your balance and core strength aswell as strengthen your hammy’s and butt! Great leg exercise. I used a KB for added weight but you can do this with a dumbbell or body weight – just increase the reps if you have no resistance. Hold the weight on same side as the standing leg. With your core locked in tight, bend forward with a straight back, extending your opposite leg straight behind you. This can be performed with a straight leg or a slight bend in it. Tap the weight on the ground and come back up to standing. 12 REPS ON ONE LEG, THEN REPEAT ON THE OTHER – NO REST
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IMG_4612Follow this with a BACKWARD LUNGE. Standing on a slightly raised step, step your foot back lowering your body into a deep lunge, tapping your knee on the ground. Bring your back foot back to the standing position whilst driving through the front heel and quad. Keep your entire core engaged and squeeze your butt at the end.12 REPS ON ONE LEG, THEN REPEAT ON THE OTHER – NO REST.   Finish up the circuit with a STABILITY BALL CRUNCH. Balance your feet on the ball whilst in the high plank position. Your entire body needs to be engaged to stabilize your body throughout the movement. Keeping your belly pulled in tight, bring your knees into to your body and then push back out. If you don’t have a stability ball, perform plank thrusts on the ground. This is going to BURN your abs!! 20 REPS

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Complete the CIRCUIT 3 TIMES.

Let me know if you’ve any questions. Have a great weekend!!

Weight loss – what’s safe?

clementine_pumpitup_scaleSo how do you lose weight? More importantly, how do you lose it safely? Regardless of your goal, the only way to lose weight is for there to be a CALORIE DEFICIT. This means that you need to burn off more calories than what you are consuming. So ultimately you need to eat LESS or exercise MORE, or ideally do both! This sounds simple and upon hearing this many people will slash their calorie consumption dangerously low. Many nutrition experts will recommend no less than 1200 calories. However I feel this is still very low for someone engaging in regular physical activity. Cutting calories too low will leave you feeling starving, unhappy and you’ll burn out fast! It will be impossible to sustain this extreme way of eating and eventually you’ll find yourself back to square one and overweight again. So come up with a game plan! A safe and effective weight loss ‘journey’ that will not only get you to your goal weight but will also help you adopt better eating habits and develop a healthier lifestyle.
The USDA/Nutrition.gov recommends 1-2lbs of fat loss per week is a safe amount to aim for. We are always looking for a quick fix in today’s hectic society but the reality is there’s no quick fix to weight loss that is sustainable.
But how do we lose the weight? Well there are various ways to get there – Count calories, weigh and measure food and of course EXERCISE more. 
If you have a weight loss goal in excess of 10lbs, I’d recommend counting calories. At least to begin with. Closely monitor and track exactly what you are consuming. Meanwhile you will be training your brain to recognise healthy choices, bad ones and portion control. Win Win. Counting calories is not something you want to be doing for the rest of your life, so invest time getting your diet right and the calorie tracking WILL be temporary.
How many calories do you need in a day? 
You can calculate an ESTIMATE of the total number of calories you need on a daily basis with a couple of simple equations. All you need is your weight, height and age.
Calculate your numbers and see how you compare. Remember this is not going to be exact but it is a good guide to see if you’re consuming beyond your needs.
THE ENERGY FROM THE CALORIES YOU CONSUME ARE NEEDED FOR 3 FUNCTIONS:
* YOUR BODILY FUNCTIONS – basically how you live and breathe
* PROCESSING YOUR FOOD – digestion, storage and use of
* PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – using the energy from food as fuel
So remember, all of the above needs to happen – your body won’t tick tock along nicely if you’re consuming only 1000 calories a day. Life is going to become a serious struggle.
From the research i’ve done, the general consensus for a calorie deficit is 15-20%. This figure is deducted from your total number of daily calories to get your target daily caloric intake. For example, you total caloric intake is 2500 >> 20% x 2500 = 500 >> 2500-500= 2000 calories per day.
I found a great Weight Loss Calculator that will help you determine the length of time it will take to reach your goal in a safe manner i.e. a gradual loss of fat, 1lb per week. The higher the deficit, the more lbs you lose.
Thanks to technology, tracking your calories is pretty easy these days with a ton of apps available for download to your phone. Food items barcodes can be scanned and nutritional data can be entered manually and saved. Fitness Pal is one that I’ve used in the past that’s fab. There is a strong online community with Fitness Pal, including forums regarding nutrition and general advice to help you along your journey. When you start recording and tracking what you are consuming on a daily basis it can be a real eye opener and you can quickly see why you may not be shifting those extra lbs. You are holding yourself accountable for every last thing that passes those lips and those little snacks and treats soon become less attractive.
If counting calories is too much for you then check out Choosemyplate for dietary guidance on portion control and start weighing your food. Following the zone diet, I measured my food for 3 weeks and can now eye ball the correct amount for me. It’s a valuable learning experience that I’ll write more on soon.
So rather than diving straight into a crazy diet and putting yourself through the trauma of starvation, make your weight-loss journey about learning and developing a healthier lifestyle, a healthier YOU. You can’t out work a bad diet through exercise alone. It’s impossible. If you are investing so much time in exercise then do yourself a favour and invest some time in looking at your diet and get yourself on the right track. Weight loss is hard, I’ve been there – stay focused and get excited about the healthy life that you are building yourself.
I’d be interested to hear from anyone that’s on a weight loss journey and how it’s going!

Mmm Migas!

Mi migas! Don’t wait until the weekend to treat yourself to a delicious breaky. It’s probably my favourite meal of the day, it gets my metabolism fired up and fuels what lies ahead. Be conscious of what you put in your fuel tank and make that first meal clean of processed foods – including cereal bars/cereal/bread – they are LOADED with sugar and crazy chemicals that will cause your insulin to spike, leaving you hungry an hour or so later! Does that ring a bell for anyone?
Prepare migas at the weekend and fill those tupperware boxes for the week ahead. It’s easily reheated in the microwave and tastes just as good. So here goes:
Beans:                                            Eggs:
↠ Tin of black beans                       ↠ 2 Eggs beaten
↠ 8oz Tomato sauce                      ↠ 2 Cups spinach
↠ Tabasco sauce                            ↠ 1 Cup mushrooms
↠ Cayenne pepper                         ↠ 2 tbsp Avocado
At medium temp, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the beans, tomato sauce, 3 dashes tabasco and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add more for added spice!). Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes / until the beans are soft and sauce thick.
Bean ingredients Black beans
At medium temp, heat tbsp of olive oil in a medium sized pan and add the mushrooms. Saute until soft and then add the eggs. Allow this to cook for a couple of minutes, mixing the mushrooms through the egg. As it begins to scramble add the spinach and cover, allowing the spinach to wilt. After a couple of mins, remove the lid and stir together, season with salt and black pepper as desired.
Scrambled Egg Add spinach
I serve this with 2 tbsp’s of avocado on the side. This meal is balanced in fat, protein and carbohydrates and will keep you full for a few hours. Substitute the mushrooms with any other tasty vegetable. Zucchini works really well.
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