Top 3 Problems with the Typical Healthy Breakfast

oatsSo…I have been tardy, absent and severely missing my communication with the wonderful world of blogging and my readers!

Apologies, I have been dabbling in website overhaul. Needless to say, I ain’t that good at it, but when I manage to pull this off (I am aiming for end of January) you will be so impressed!

I am going to be having video content as well as exciting kitchen styling sessions from other fit and healthy personal trainers, health coaches and dieticians.

Just writing about it gets my adrenaline pumping!

As for now, I will continue to instagram and post facebook updates, while my website is currently ‘down’.

Yes- I should have clarified this earlier. But, no one is perfect and I thought I could pull the rabbit out of the hat sooner rather than later.

So today, I thought I would reflect on breakfast – again.

I find this meal to be a stumbling block for many well-intentioned health seekers.

Particularly for women who want to ‘tone up’.

While I have a few friends who naturally sit at a muscular level, I am not one of them and over the past few months I have dabbled in strength training and proper nutrition in order to see how a fit body is made through spot on nutrition, fun strength training and adequate rest time.

(Such as today – where I believe a nice stretch and an epsom salt bath will suffice)

Back to the breakfast issue though, I have realised how seriously lacking most breakfast options are of protein and now know why so many people flail on the energy levels prior to lunch and indeed experience a slump in the afternoon. Instead of subtracting my breakfast portions I have merely added twice the amount of protein and gained some serious definition in my arms and abdominals (ok I am not ripped but my abdominals are present rather than pudgy!)

With this in mind

My three Issues with the Standard Approach to Breakfast:

1.    Cereal:

When a food company says something is a ‘healthy choice’ I recommend taking a closer look. Cereal is one such ‘health food’ that is targeted towards us health conscious girls. There are several leading healthy wholegrain cereals that have seriously high levels of sugar and salt, which are added to these products to lower the fat content without jeopardising the taste. Next time you are in the supermarket, grab a chocolate bar and head to the cereal aisle then compare the sugar content of either. You will be amazed.

Even better is when the cereals have synthetic vitamins added to them, which are both unnatural and often used in such small amounts that the benefits are negligible.

Once again, it isn’t cereal that is a problem it is the pre-made boxes that are seriously questionable when it comes to your health.  I encourage you to make your own cereal, read the label to see what is exactly in the box or if all else fails I suggest you say ‘cereal later’.

Cereal Substitution: Oats or Buckwheat, Cinnamon, Stevia with Coconut Oil or Cultured Butter, either warmed over the stove or baked in the oven.

2.     Dried Fruit:

Although considered a good source of energy, be fussy in the type you select. Drying is a wonderful age-old form of food preservation. Unfortunately the dried fruit that is available in supermarkets, is just not as natural and wholesome as you think. Most of these options are vacuum freeze dried, and then placed in a microwave or boiled before being vacuumed a second time. It is little wonder that after this process the dried fruit in question is nutritionally devoid. This process is also solely cosmetic; appealing to our desire for plump, soft and substantially bigger portions and involves the use of chemicals (sulphates typically) that can trigger asthma and allergies.

Now, don’t get me wrong. One of my favourite things are dried dates – they honestly can substitute chocolate for me – but I choose to eat versions with no sulphites, manufactured with integrity and I make sure, in keeping with my desire for good digestion that I counteract the dryness of the fruit with lots of water. Regardless of whether your dried fruit is organic or conventional, dried fruit is taxing on your digestive system and needs to be either soaked in water or followed with lots of fluid!

Dried Fruit Substitution: Angas Park Dried Fruit – an Australian company with fruit that is incredibly plump, dried naturally and without additives. The dates and figs are amazing and they can be found in Coles.

3.    Milk:

 I have never actively craved milk. But I don’t see why it can’t form a part of a healthy all round diet. Indeed, milk has long been part of human diets. However, recent questionable farming practices and feeding methods have left me doubting whether the milk you buy in the supermarket is as ‘bone building’ healthy as we are lead to believe.

There are a lot of anti-dairy crusaders in the health world, and with good reason. However for me generic milk at the end of the day is the stuff that is best avoided. The stuff you buy for $1 a litre has been homogenised to even out the fat molecules and pasteurised to kill off bacteria. This is often why people have issues with milk. Heating up milk through pasteurisation alters the enzymes present in milk. Milk therefore becomes difficult for your body to digest.

If you want good milk, choose a quality provider who is committed to the welfare of their animals. This way, you know your milk is mineral rich and the cows have been fed a proper nourishing diet.

Milk Substitution: I personally don’t buy it, but I really like the ethos of the Elgaar Dairy Farm. You can pick up their products at health food stores and all of their dairy products are packaged in reusable glass so you can return your bottles when you run out and be reimbursed! I adore their cottage cheese and cream. If you like the taste of Almond Milk, then I would also consider giving this a run!

What about you? Are there any breakfast finds that you have found to be particularly awesome?

I’d love to see what everyone else considers their optimal start to the day!

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Why My SUPERFOOD COSTS LESS THAN A CENT…

It is so easy to get carried away with ‘Superfoods’.

Yeah- I here ya on the greens powder front. Things like Vital Greens or any of those nutrient dense Chlorophyll rich greens powders are awesome, particularly when you are travelling and know you aren’t going to be eating your usual array of veggies. And yes, I use them.

But- if you are on a tight budget- most of these ‘mass marketed’ super foods are not super necessary.

Particularly when the most humble ingredient is the most potent!

My superfoods are found in my spice rack – not the Amazon. Lined up in a perfect alphabetic row, I get to pick and mix which nutritional powerhouse I am using for the day.

With all my spices I try to buy the whole form of the spice, not the powder.

Spices contain delicate oils in them that can quickly deteriorate once ground to a fine powder. Buying the spice pre ground in a plastic packet that has been sitting in your supermarket for who knows how long is a sure fire why to ingest rancid oils and funny tasting food!

Finally I almost always buy the organic version, or source a quality company.

Buying fresh good quality spices is not a cost commitment and the taste difference is phenomenal! 

My favorite spice, whose nutrient density is astounding, is the humble clove.

Cloves are:

–       The highest-ranking food on the ORAC scale, (used to assess the antioxidant content of food)

To put clove’s nutrient density into perspective, blueberries have an ORAC score of 2,400 whereas cloves have an ORAC score of 10 million.(And the much hyped Goji a mere 23,000) That means that a 15ml bottle of Oil of Clove has the same amount of antioxidants as 150 litres of blueberry juice. That’s a lot of berries.

–       A source of Omega 3 Fats. While only containing a minimal amount…every little bit counts to our body.

–       A fabulous source of Manganese- a trace mineral heavily involved in normal brain function

–       In its pure oil state (eugenol extract) clove has been used in dentistry as an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. Hence when I feel a sore throat coming on I gargle/swallow oil of clove and BAM potential cold is gone. (No jokes…this and Elderflower extract – but I digress)

So as you can see, spices are far more ‘super’ than your dehydrated ‘health food’ powder and the advantages of applying and eating clove and its essential oil are far bigger than most ‘health food marketers’ would have you believe.

Plus- I feel a massive sense of honor using age old ‘remedies’ to heal and nourish my body from the inside out.

 

As an aside, how do you think you might incorporate some spice into your life? 😉

I tend to add my cloves to my blender and whiz them up before putting the rest of my smoothie ingredients in. 

5 Reasons You SHOULD eat SARDINES…and why a sardine isn’t a sardine….

Image Source: LocalLemons.com

There is a funny little quote I came across from an 1984 issue of the U.S Town & Country magazine called “The Unsung Sardine”. The author, James Villas, harped on about the wonders of the tiny fish, stating that “ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.”

So let’s set the record straight.

The sardines you see being sold for 0.95c a can at your supermarket aren’t sardines!

In fact. A sardine isn’t really a species of fish!

WHAT!?

It is merely a term to describe a small version of the herring family.

So those oil slicked, overly fishy ‘sardines’ you are thinking of are more than likely a small oily fish.

But not a sardine.

A TRUE sardine will come from the pure Mediterranean waters (hence the name sardine after the island Sardinia).

And a GOOD sardine will be processed not long after being caught and won’t have that ‘odor’ so prevalent in most canned sardines that have been frozen before the tinning process has begun.

So as you can see, being relegated to the office storeroom to eat my sardine lunch is a sign of ignorance. Clearly these folks haven’t ever supped on the wonder that is a sardine. And boy, are they missing out!

WHY?

  1. They are a phenomenal source of omega 3’s. With the nutrient content of sardines including additional vitamin D, selenium and protein than your average fish oil tablet- I would say your money is far better spent investing in a tin of sardines over a pill, whose precious oils are probably rancid by the time it hits the shelf.  With oxidised fats being pro rather than anti- inflammatory, you are shooting yourself in the foot if you are taking an inferior fish supplement.
  2. They are sustainable. If you are worried about which fish to choose, check out this place. If you have a look at which canned seafood is the best choice, there are only two! Sardines and Salmon.
  3. They have little bones in them FILLED WITH CALCIUM, which you smash up and disintegrate and EAT. I once had a friend try to ‘debone’ a tinned sardine fillet only to cry out in frustration that they kept disappearing! Yep. They are fragile; you won’t taste them and are a true Superfood. (None of this dehydrated berry stuff
  4. FAST FOOD! They are ridiculously transportable and the best ‘on the go’ food I can think of. Particularly if you buy a good quality BPA FREE tinned variety in a yummy sauce or E.V.O.O. All you need is a lunchbox of salad/veggie assortments and ‘e presto’ whack open a tin, pour out the contents and you have your protein and dressing in one. Delish
  5. Consider them a ‘multivitamin’ containing, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as the full gamut of B vitamins.

And finally…they are delicious.

SO. Before you turn your nose up at the humble ‘herring’, why not track down a true sardine and taste the difference for yourself.

Just to prove a point…an entertaining VIDEO on CARDIO!

Despite my rantings on the wasted efforts of cardio..I still get a lot of girls asking me what type of cardio is best? Or WHY IS CARDIO SO BAD?

FIrst things first, do what you LOVE to do, as moving about is so important, especially for those who have office jobs!

But, if you are stressed to the eyeballs and struggling with the ”all or nothing’ weakness of some women’s fat loss pursuits, than may I  suggest you watch this video?

Once again the importance of nutrition when it comes to nourishing your body and fuelling it with the right type of energy is paramount. Don’t waste your time running to ‘burn’ off calories if you aren’t eating optimally. That being said, why not add some weight training into your ‘regime’ and go for a beautiful walk as well? We are blessed in Australia to have fine weather…so use it!

The reality is, cardio ain’t that special when it comes to fat loss.

While the below video is a little extreme. It has a point.

And yes, while not many of us go and consume pizza on a regular basis, may I point out that 3 minutes of intense running didn’t so much as ‘burn off’ a piece of toast. An hour long jog probably won’t do much more.

Once again…
Cardio loses against diet.

So if time isn’t on your side, take an hour to prepare some nourishing meals….rather than take an hour to slog it out on the pavement. The former is far more stress relieving, won’t cause oxidative damage and will nourish you above and beyond the hour investment.

And if you LOVE exercise like I do…try squatting weights heavier than yourself!

Health to Glow Episode 12 – DIY Cleaning Products..for the time poor

I am the first person to admit that I am slap dash and lack attention to detail at the best of times (hairbrush? eye brows?  potential typo in post should go back and re-check…urghh to hard!)

Which is why I implore you to watch this video and see how EASY it is to make your own NON-TOXIC cleaners.

There is something massively satisfying about making your own from scratch, particularly when it is pathetically simple.

I feel chuffed.

A little smug.

That my house smells like lavendar, peppermint, ylang ylang…whatever suits the mood and has been scrubbed to perfection (well my version of it) without the need to invest in suspect blue goops that clear the nose and throat like Vix Vapour Rub.

Further to the point, I am not inhaling weird plastic by products that have been shown time and time again to disrupt the endocrine system ergo your hormones/period/ fertility (this is among other things…but given the vast majority of my readers are women I will get to the heart of the matter)

As I have PCOS, I am cautious to adopt any practice that will further my already corrupted body!

So- with this all said and done….

..please sit down, watch, get  a pen, jot down what you require on the back of your hand and get domestic in the name of household and environmental cleanliness!