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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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!

Hello foam roller, goodbye knots

A wee while back I posted some info on foam rolling onto my Facebook page. Since then I’ve encouraged several clients to treat themselves to a foam roller and incorporate it into their regime, so I thought I’d repost.  The foam roller is used for self-myofascial release – self massage to you and I! It’s an inexpensive tool that will have a huge impact on improving your mobility. By foam rolling and applying gentle force across the body, you will loosen up tight knotted areas that may impact your range of motion and flexibility. Exercise, sitting at a desk, poor posture and old injuries can and will lead to adhesions (tight spots). This will affect how other muscles in the body function, causing pain and eventually injury. Foam rolling is highly effective before and after exercise. Target the entire body starting with the calves, working your way up, roll back and forth 10x – hamstrings, quads, glutes, back, lats and shoulders. When you come across a tender spot, hold the pressure there for AT LEAST 60 SECONDS. It will hurt to begin with but I promise you it will become less painful the more you do it. It only takes a few minutes each day and can be done whilst watching TV! It feels awkward to begin with but there’s really no wrong way to foam roll – just avoid going over your knees.
My shoulders and back house rock solid knots from poor posture and no doubt years in a desk job. This has helped with pain relief and has improved my mobility massively. There are great youtube videos on techniques if you’re stuck. If you need any further help, let me know!! 
 

Beanies!

Are you a fan of heinz baked beans? If you’re from the UK then you probably are, especially layered on toast with a hangover! Mmm! Have you’ve ever checked out the nutrition label though? Um totally devastating. Each tin contains over 20g sugar and only 1/2 can, the recommended serving size, contains 25% of your daily salt intake… waaah! (Please note these figures may differ in the UK!!!)
BUT winters coming in and I’m craving comforting food. Beans are top of the list. They’re hearty, absorb flavours really well so work well with spices AND they are fibrous, so they’ll keep my belly feeling fuller for longer. I made my own easy and clean recipe with ALOT less sugar and salt. They are 100% more tasty than heinz beans and have a bit of heat to them. These beans will be ready in 30mins max and make a great accompaniment to a baked potato, omelette, or whatever you wish. Ross had some this evening in a baked potato with roast chicken and a dollop of sour cream. YUM!
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Ingredients:
  • 15oz Tin red kidney beans
  • 8oz tin tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
If you like super spicy, try adding tabasco sauce!
Combine all the ingredients in a small pan, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the sauce is nice and thick – I cooked them for approx 25 mins. Easy to store in the fridge and reheat when needed! They taste even better on day 2! Enjoy!

Healing from the inside out

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 meal – 1/2 your plate – YES HALF should be filled with vegetables. Leafy greens, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini.. there are so many! Vegetables will NOT make you fat. Eat them, and lots of them.
  • Fruit – well if you’re not already eating blueberries where have you been?! Here’s some more to try – blackberries, strawberries, peaches, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, cherries, apples, and pears. I eat an apple everyday.
  • Eat lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken (skinless), beef – i like going for leaner cuts like tenderloin, top loin and sirloin tip. Pork – I’ve been cooking more of recently and found it super tasty.
  • Eat plenty of fish, oily fishies rich in omega-3 fats – salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies.. I’m thinking the more it stinks, the better it is!
  • Go Nuts! Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds.. again lots to choose from. I LOVE roasted nuts and put them through most meals for added good fats. Avoid salted nuts, go for raw/roasted.
  • Good old dairy. I don’t know what I’d do without eggs honestly. I eat them everyday. Cottage cheese, plain yogurt and natural cheeses such as feta, ricotta are often found in my meals. I always buy full fat options as what’s the point in eating a non-fat yogurt? All the calcium and goodness that you’re eating it for has been stripped away and replaced with a chemical of some description when being processed. Portion control is key!
  • Spice up your life with herbs and spices! Again, not sure what I’d do without my spice cupboard when I’m cooking. I chuck anything in. My favs are cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, chilli flakes, black pepper and thyme. Basil, chamomile, cilantro, thyme, and rosemary are useful not only for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity but they have clinical benefits in conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Oils are great not only for cooking but as dressings on your salad! I also buy fresh olives and put them through salads and mediterranean style dishes. I use grapeseed oil for cooking most days as it has a high smoke point, very light and is high in polyunsaturated fats and loaded with antioxidants.
  • Eat some whole grains. Go easy on the portion size but add them to your diet. Brown rice, basmati rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat.. they take a wee while to digest so great for leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
  • AVOID PROCESSED FOODS – CEREALS, FRIED FOOD, CANDY, READY-MADE MEALS, BISCUITS, BREADS.. notice I say avoid. The reason being that it’s okay now and again to have these foods just limit them. I love chips and dip and I also love ice-cream. Life would be boring if you didn’t indulge in the things you loved!

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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