3 Things you need to know about carbohydrates…

I want to briefly talk about carbs today.

In the same way that fat was condemned in the 80’s (along with low waist shorts and natural makeup) it is fair to say that carbohydrates are now being held responsible for our growing waistline.

Now, there is some truth to this.  We live in a world where enormous quantities of refined carbohydrates can be bought cheaply and easily.  And we can’t deny that carbs are sumptuous – particularly when they have been aerated, plumped up with lush thickeners or entombed in chocolate.

It is easy to see how they can be over eaten. Give me a packet of Tim Tams and I can show you that they are not never-ending.

Currently, carbs are being blamed for a host of weight related issues – sugar is now the cause of obesity and carbohydrates of all shapes and sizes ‘cause massive insulin spikes’ which ‘makes you fat’.

It is true; the overproduction of insulin (in obese people particularly) causes your blood glucose levels to crash, stimulating hunger. Thus, people with insulin resistance who are eating refined carbohydrates (without the fibre, fat and protein present in a well-rounded meal) will eat more.

However this doesn’t make carbs fattening.

It is actually quite simple. Carbs, particularly overly processed ones are just so easy to eat. We have become reliant on them as a cheap source of fuel. People have to eat something, and our need for ease means that carbohydrates have become the dominant norm as our fuel.

On the flip side, I see so many girls going super-duper low carb (eschewing broccoli) in their efforts to drop the last few.

But, going low carb also isn’t going to help you. You do the need them. It just depends how active you are as to how many. Generally the level of activity in your day should dictate what type of carbs you choose to eat.

So what carbs and when?

1. Whole unprocessed carbohydrate sources are your priority,  such as fresh fruit and veggies. This focus is nutrient dense and not calorie dense.

 
2. Quality grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat (or whatever tickles your fancy) or bread without preservatives and additives are a secondary source and need to be consumed sensibly. When you are not physically active you haven’t done enough to justify more carbohydrates on top of whole food. Emphasis here is that they are not fattening! They are just unnecessary if you have sat at your computer all day.

 
3. Desserts, chocolate, lollies and added sugars: should be eaten sparingly in the week. I don’t care how raw/vegan/organic the source. The reality is, it is still an additional something that isn’t necessary in vast amounts daily.

 

And from a health and weight loss perspective how many carbs should I have?

I like this little rule from Men’s Health weight loss adviser Alan Aragon.

Multiply your target body weight by 1 if you have a desk job, work out in a gym several times a week for an hour or less, and your main goal is fat loss. Multiply by 2 if you’re a recreational athlete who trains for more than an hour a day. And multiply by 3 if you’re a competitive athlete who trains multiple hours a day, or if you’re a guy with a Mini Cooper body and a Corvette metabolism who is struggling to gain weight.

 The number you end up with indicates how many grams of carbs you should eat every day.

 What do you think? Have you had success on low carb diets? Find you get too light-headed without dense carbs? (usually indicates you have great insulin levels) I would love to hear your thoughts.

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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!

Gourmet Pate Recipe

You would be right in thinking I am a little bit of a fish freak.

 Yep- I was a polar bear in my former life.

 But I just love the stuff and I guess I am lucky that fish and seafood in general are nutritional powerhouses. Even if they weren’t, I would still eat them for no other reason than pure happiness.

There are a few minerals, fats and amino acids that our body just doesn’t make on its own.

Omega 3’s are one of them.

Which is why it is vital that people actively choose foods that are essential for development and ulitmate nourishment.

 Going through the scant shelves of a boutique deli recently, I was trying to find the perfect dip accompaniment for my crudités. (As you do)

I am often left searching for that perfect ‘convenience’ food and left without hope when I realise that half the ingredients on the list are just too suspect for my liking. It is an annoying habit of mine, if I am not fully aware of a component/additive I hesitate to purchase.

 The search for aforementioned dip, proved futile when I decided that my hope in finding a dip sans canola oil or sunflower oil was null and void.

 Is it that hard to use a nice nousihing oil, or am I only going to be able to buy PUFA (Omega 6) bombs every time I buy ANYTHING in a package?

Then there are the additives. Dubious delights of corn fillers, xantham gums and potassium sorbates.

What if I just want to eat food?


 Once again, I was left to fend for myself.

But as we know, necessity is the mother of invention and I have happened upon a very easy, very tasty dip that can be transported to work or a lazy Sunday BBQ and met with praise on your professionalism.

‘Oh this pate, oh yes I slaved over it for hours, do you know how long pate takes to make?’

 And with that being said, I bring to you, the easiest, tastiest and potentially trendiest Smoked Trout Pate.

 Ingredients:

 1. Smoked Ocean Trout Fillet, skin and bones removed.

2.Half a tub of Quark, good quality Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese or strained Natural Yoghurt (I tend to eyeball things. I would say this is about 300g)

3. Squeeze of Lemon Juice

4. Teaspoon of Horseradish (if you have it…not necessary but a great kick!)

Method:

 Whizz all the ingredients in a blender and pop on a serving platter with a dollop of dill.
Serve with veggie crudités.

(Terribly arduous I know)

 Done.

 Eat.

 Enjoy.

Feel free to use a tin of salmon or tuna if time isn’t on your side and you only have a supermarket to run to!

Happy Friday and get blending!

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.

Is Red Meat Bad for YOU?

Image via themainmeal.com.au

Let me prelude this by saying that I have no interest in slaying vegetarians; particularly if you choose to abstain from meat for compassionate reasons.

This article is geared more towards the ‘health conscious’ seeker who feels compelled to remove red meat from their diet in an attempt to ‘be healthy’. Moreover, if you fear that red meat is bad for your health, read on, most of the research regarding red meat consumption highlights nothing.

Ok ok, so this study published by the Harvard School of Public Health that associated red meat to higher rates of mortality did come out earlier this year BUT I still get girls, guiltily telling me how they ate a steak/lamb chop as if it were a whole bar of chocolate.

If you take a superficial glance at the research, then the evidence does really suggest that eating a lot of red meat isn’t exactly going to help with longevity. The study that examined 37,000 men and 83,000 women demonstrated that those with higher red meat consumption had a higher rate of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.

BUT before you opt to boycott your local butcher HOLD UP!

If you take a closer look at what WASN’T published in the mainstream media you are in for a reality check.

Let’s see how the researchers tested for the ‘dangers’ of meat.

Through complex lab work?

I think not.

Rather it was

.. a survey.

While I love a good survey I also know that they can not possibly come to a decisive conclusion in regards to red meat and bad health.

Guilt by association maybe.

Now if we take a look at another fair observation from one of the researchers in which;

 “….a higher red meat intake was associated with a higher intake of total energy but lower intakes of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.”

Perhaps we can see another major flaw in the ‘red meat is bad’ theory. For me, this doesn’t highlight the dangers of meat, rather the potential that the lack of other vital nutrients in their diet were at play in their negative health.

Further to the point. Was all the red meat clumped together in one category?

Pasture raised, organic meat or a fast food hamburger patty?

The quality of each product and its nutritional makeup renders the two food items completely incomparable.

As one of my FAVOURITE nutrition researchers, Alan Aragon, stated

“This whole idea of pointing the finger at a single dietary culprit in the development of a multifactorial outcome is hilariously preposterous. People who eat a lot of red meat regularly, he explains, tend to have unhealthy habits—smoking, drinking, less exercise—have higher BMIs, and eat fewer disease-protective fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

What to take from the study:

You can choose whether or not to eat red meat.

Personally, if it makes you feel nourished, then eat it.

But don’t let this study make you think that red meat is dangerous.

Variety is key. Too much of anything is bad.

Move around, eat the veggies and fruit you digest with ease and get a good night sleep!

(Oh and be happy…)

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!

Top 6 REASONS to EAT BUTTER

Butter???

Like so many NATURAL foods (hello red meat and egg yolks) butter has had a bad wrap.

And despite several recent studies highlighting the fallacy of saturated fat and its impact on heart disease I know it is hard to take a leap of faith and swap your ‘heath spread’ for the real tasty deal.

If you are in fact worried – perhaps take heed of the recent meta-analysis conducted at Harvard, where all the research regarding saturated fat and heart disease (21 different case studies) were compiled and examined. The resounding conclusion being that..

“….there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk (of heart disease).”

But I digress…

As I have discussed before, butter  (like all fats) is vital for your body to take in several key nutrients found in vegetables.  Think vitamins A,D,E and K – all of which are readily available in veggies so long as you add a fat.

BUT if you are still worried about adding butter BACK IN to your diet (nom nom) here are

my top 6 reasons pasture fed, organic butter is the original super food.

1. It has buckets of Vitamin A.

And it’s readily absorbed by your body in the form you get from butter. While carrots and sweet potato do have vitamin A, you need fat to absorb it. So why not eat butter instead? Or bake your sweet potato in coconut oil?  On a superficial level, Vitamin A is necessary for ‘younger looking skin’, needles to say, you know where I’m spreading.

2. It has a minimal amount of polyunsaturated fat. (Omega 6)

And if you have or still do consume a relative amount of pre-packaged food (even supposedly healthy stuff) chances are you are getting a good flood of the stuff already. Ease up buddy! PUFA’s aren’t that stable and easily become oxidized in our bodies. This generates free radicals, (oxidative stress) which predisposes us to a host of wonderful modern diseases like cancer and heart disease. Given that the optimal ratio of Omega 3 to 6 is 1:1 and most Australians are hanging out at around 1:10, it is vital to start being a little more selective in your fat intake.

With butter sitting at around 65-70% saturated fat – it is not going to tax your body like other less stable Omega 6’s are.

As a quick aside- Omega 6’s aren’t bad…it’s just too easy to O.D. on them in this day and age. Also, given how much oxidative stress we are exposed to on a daily basis, I say the less stress we can ingest the better.

3.  It has your K2 covered

And if you had no idea that K2 existed, and was ‘like tots amaze balls’ (officially in the dictionary now apparently) please get yourself acquainted. Vitamin K2 is integral for bone health, heart health and has a starring role in dental health (and if anyone knows my obsession with pearly whites you know I am rather hooked)

The much-touted dentist Weston A. Price even claimed that modern day physical degeneration was in part caused by a lack of the stuff. He noted that in the primitive societies he studied, most of its inhabitants had broad faces and dental arches – which enabled them to carry invariably straight teeth with enough room for their wisdom teeth. This is in distinct contrast to the narrow dental arches, crowded teeth and narrow faces prevalent today, that prevent full development of our pearly whites – resulting in braces, extractions and the need for orthodontics in the first place…

Oh butter where art thou?

4. Butyric Acid is bountiful!

Butyric acid is a fatty acid that holds a vital role in your metabolism. So vital that a few supplement guys keen on making a penny or two have been selling it as a fat burning supplement. The evidence is there, so I can’t fault them. One study in particular demonstrated butyric acid reversed metabolic syndrome side affects (aka obesity or insulin resistance) and made the mice leaner and less likely to over eat. But instead of buying a little pill filled with ‘fatty acids’ why not eat butter?

 5. HAS CLA in SPADES!

Also a fat burning supplement on the market ( I am seeing a slimming trend here) CLA has been shown to

–       increase metabolism

–       increase lean muscle mass

–       lower insulin resistance

–       reduce food allergies

It is little wonder that many health scientists attribute a deficiency in CLA to the host of metabolic diseases and food allergies we see present today.

To manufacture the best and MOST CLA, cows must be fed grass (i.e. allowed to roam freely) rather than fattened in feedlots. Several studies have shown that meat from pasture raised cows have as much as four times the amount of CLA as their unhappy cow cousin.

So if you are keen on adding quality butter into your diet- try and invest in one that lives up to its name and is truly pastured. Like this one.  You will know when the butter is REAL as it is a vibrant YELLOW unlike its cheap, white counterpart. Conventional butter will never have the same nutrients as grass fed cows, simply because the diet of the unhappy cow can’t supply proper nutrition for the cow and you in turn.

And, at the end of the day, I want to buy from a place that cultivates a happy cow.

Don’t you?

 

 

My Sugar Free Afternoon Snack!

So it’s ‘SUGAR FREE SEPTEMBER’ in the blogosphere and I have had MANY requests for sugar free alternatives to satisfy that sweet afternoon temptation.

First things first though –

Sweet cravings usually means you are:

1. Sleep Deprived (go to bed early tonight)

2. Stressed (take one thing off your to-do list)

3. Hormonal (eat the dam chocolate)

4. Reinforcing bad habits by always turning to something sweet in the afternoon.

On the matter of sleep. If you deprive your body of the necessary shuteye required for repair your body will try to ‘repair’ itself the next day.

To do this, your body releases growth hormone, stimulating ghrelin – your hunger hormone.

Needless to say you crave easy, accessible forms of energy i.e. sugar.

Regardless of this rant – I too am human and like something sweet in my life. Particularly with this warmer weather I ADORE ice cream. But I am not keen on most store bought products as they are filled with suspect numbers, soy lecithin and vegetable gums…to name but a few.

Hence, I invented my next best alternative!

Sugar Free, Protein Packed Ice Cream!

If you are keen for ice cream but hate the preservative ridden alternatives and lack time – try this on for size!

Protein Cheesecake Low Carb Ice Cream for ONE! 

Ingredients:
150g of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (good quality means everything on the label makes sense to you)
¼ cup of water/almond milk/coconut milk
1 scoop of protein powder
Pinch of Vanilla powder
1 tsp of liquid stevia
1 tray of ice cubes (about 10-12 small ones)
1 tbs of Chia seeds (not necessary – they were sitting next to my blender so I thought why not?)

Method:
Combine ingredients, except for water in a blender or magic bullet. Add half the water and blend. If more water is required – add the remaining water. The water is purely to get the blender going – less is more. Puree the mixture until smooth and free of lumps, scraping down the blender as required.

Et Voila!

Serve immediately, otherwise the ice will melt somewhat. (Which is ok – just more of a thick smoothie then)

I love this at the moment- especially with this beautifully balmy weather we are having.

Oh – and for the purists who read my blog – (I love you…BUT) yes this isn’t typical ice cream, made with quality egg yolks and milk. However- as a kitchen cheat – this deserves me a gold medal!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

TOP 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD STOP ALL THAT CARDIO

The majority of ladies I know want to ‘tone up’ and insist that their previous methods; cutting their food consumption and running a whole lot more is their tool of the trade. I also know straight away that a desire to ‘tone up’ means they are scared of weights.

The only problem with ‘toning up’ is that it requires women to weight train, a notion that unleashes a tirade of excuses as to why using weights will make them HUGE!

Let me tell you- I have been going hard on weights for a little over a year and have only shrunk (albeit not massively as I am a small person) and gained enormous confidence with my bodies capabilities – a sense of confidence that could never have been found running for miles or attending back to back spin classes.

Not only has lifting HEAVY weights affected my day-to-day activities (hello being able to carry home ALL my groceries without a car) but the increased muscle mass means I burn more even at rest. (And subsequently have to eat more…oh the pain!)

And the best way for women to weight train?

Like a man.

Lifting light weights with lots of reps is a sure fire way to not see results.

Without massive amounts of testosterone, and an accompanying male appetite for food, women will only achieve that toned, cellulite-less physique they so constantly crave.

Don’t get me wrong, group classes are great for camaraderie and motivation but it will never beat heavy and intense weight training.

For me, weight training has affected my body, mind and spirit in 5 crucial ways:  (let me know your experience)

1. Creates tangible goals:

When ‘lifting weights’, exercise moves beyond the realms of aesthetic goals and touches upon the desire to outdo our last efforts. Writing and tracking our progression of strength allows us to see how far we have come, the results we have achieved and creates a massive sense of pride and reward. In a competitive world, being able to feel accomplished with your own personal pursuits is so imperative for mental health!

2. I get to be part of the bro club at the gym.

Which is dam intimidating but so satisfying once you start to blend in with the crowd. Furthermore, training with weights enters you into a wonderful community. Just like when my dad, a proud panel van driver, drives past a fellow sandman and toots his horn, so to can you feel part of something and connect with strangers. And given our propensity to live our friendships online who doesn’t love a good bit of social interaction with a random.

3. It is proven to boost your self esteem. 

There are quite a few studies that show how a weight training program can help those with eating disorders normalize their eating patterns and in doing so, gain confidence in their ability to ‘let go’ of food anxieties.

4. Weight training requires patience. And being part of a generation who wants change yesterday, cultivating a realisation that change doesn’t happen overnight and requires hard work is vital in reinvigorating a more realistic mindset on achieving goals.

5. It makes you smarter! There is quite a bit of research that demonstrates the correlations between exercise and mental cognition. The theory being that the increased blood flow to the brain enhances clarity and concentration.

So to all my female readers, and there are a few, start lifting heavy, stop running to shed fat and reap the benefits of stronger bones, a ‘toned’ tush and an astronomically faster metabolism.

..let me know what you guys thinks. Does the weights section scare you? Do you find you are addicted to the high that jogging/spin classes gives you?