Wednesday, 30 March 2016

10 Healthy extra bits to include in your shopping list whenever you can:









10 Healthy extra bits to include in your shopping list whenever you can:

A lot of people always ask me what extra healthy bits can they pick up in to complete a healthy lifestyle aside from the usual meat, veggies,  fruit, legumes, etc.

So here are my 10 favourite extra healthy products to pick up when doing your shopping. This doesn't mean that you HAVE to buy them or else you won't be healthy. NOT AT ALL. You can be just as healthy eating your fruit and veg from the supermarket. These are just little tips for our health that I think can be good to invest in. I personally don't buy this all the time. Just, whenever I can afford them. So please don't think I am pushing you to buy any of these. They are just extra bits that are good for us...

1. Nut butters
Unlike jams, jellies, butter, and margarine, seed and nut butters naturally contain healthful fats that benefit heart health, reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and even lower the risk of obesity despite their high fat content—2 T of a seed or nut butter contain, on average, 16 g of fat.

If you’re not allergic to tree nuts, you can choose from a number of heart-healthy nut butters. A wide-range of nut butters provide a variety of health benefits. Check your local grocery or health food store for:
  • almond
  • cashew
  • macadamia
  • walnut
  • hazelnut

Nut butters contain a number of important nutrients, including:
  • protein
  • healthful fats
  • fiber
  • vitamins and minerals

Pictured above are my favourite brand of butters. While all nut butters contain around 100 calories per tablespoon, not all nut butters contain healthful ingredients. Many brands contain only ground-up nuts, but some contain added salt and sugar. Some use partially hydrogenated oil—a source of unhealthy trans fats. Be sure to check the label before selecting a nut butter and make sure the ingredients are 100% nuts.

Make your OWN butter if you wish!


If you fancy doing your own butter you can do it by simply slightly toast the nut of choice in the oven then blend until you get a buttery consistency. You can add cocoa, goji berries, stevia to make it sweet or even chia seeds!



2. Nuts


Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food, too. They're inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you're on the go.


3. Vegetable Milk


Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond, oat, rice, coconut or hazelnut milk and wondered, “are these milks good for you?” Whether you’re a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don’t like the taste, these milks are a fabulous alternative.

The benefits of for example almond milk are vast, especially for those looking to lose weight.  It has a low caloric value, with an 250ml serving of Plain (which has no added sugar) only containing  around 40 calories, which has a much lower impact on your daily calorie intake than skim milk.  It is rich in vitamins, and also boasts an impressive dose of bone-building calcium.

You can also make your own nut milk by soaking 1 cup of the nut of choice overnight. Then blend with 2 cups of fresh filtered water. And lastly use a milk sifter and your milk is done. 



I love these Alpro ones because they are cheap and I can get in my local super market. But when I have a bit of extra money I always buy the Provamel (pictured below) on Holland and Barret because is incredible creamy and tastes so good.



4. Dry fruits


Dried fruits offers some advantages over fresh fruits: a longer shelf life and portability. If you are watching your weight, dried fruits should be eaten in moderation as they contain significantly more calories per serving than fresh fruits. Some dried fruits contain sugars added in processing which increase its calorie content. However, dried fruits without additives offer numerous health benefits.


5. Apple Cyder Vinegar


The image above says it all. I have get a lot of e-mails of people telling me how they don't have to take any more medicines for their heart burn. How they cholesterol levels have reduced reduced since drinking this. I personally have seen a huge improvement on my asthma. I have been out of breathe when I go for a walk but not to the point where I need my inhaler so I am very happy about that. (I still use my inhaler when I exercise more intensively . My kids have had a cough the last 2 weeks which I always get and I haven't get sick at all. 

I bought mine in my local health shop in the town where I live.

6. Spirulina & Maca Powder


Spirulina is a microscopic multi-cellular cyanobacterium, occurring naturally in rivers and lakes. It is a sustainable, easily digestible source of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is widely recognised as being a natural source of many powerful nutrients. 

1. Spirulina is Extremely High in Many Nutrients
2. Spirulina Has Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
3. Spirulina Can Lower LDL and Triglyceride Levels
4. Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol From Becoming Oxidized
5. Spirulina Appears to Have Anti-Cancer Properties, Especially Against Oral Cancer
6. Studies Show That it May Reduce Blood Pressure
7. Spirulina Improves Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
8. Spirulina May be Effective Against Anemia
9. Muscle Strength and Endurance May Improv
10. Spirulina May Help With Blood Sugar Control


Maca has a high mineral content, and is rich in iron, calcium and zinc. It is also high in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and a source of B6 (pyridoxine), and rich in amino acids. Maca is classified as an alkaline food, which allows it to counteract acidity in the body.

You can add both these products to smoothies, soups or tour morning glass of water.

Benefits: Decreases Menopause Symptoms, Improves Sexual Function, Aphrodisiac, Supports Mood, Fertility, Increases Bone Density and it is a natural Energy Enhancer


7. Bee Pollen



Bee pollen is a complete food and contains many elements that products of animal origin do not possess. Bee pollen is richer in proteins than any animal source. It contains more amino acids than beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body.

(I buy mine in my local health shop)


9. Sugar alternatives:

Table Sugar:

One of the most obvious reasons why sugary foods and drinks are bad and can undermine your health is that they tend to be high in calories but not all that filling. That makes it easy to over-consume them, and the excess calories can cause you to gain weight.
Another way that sugar negatively impacts nutrition and health is that it displaces other healthier foods. People often eat sweets instead of other foods that are more nutritious and, as a result, their overall nutrition suffers. Put another way, if you were to replace sweets with nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, you’d greatly improve the nutritional quality of your diet.
But it’s not just the empty calories that are the problem, or even the excess calories. Because even if you’re getting all the nutrients you need and are only consuming enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, eating a lot of sugar is still bad for you.
Now that I’ve scared the living jelly beans out of you, let me put all that in perspective. A small serving of sugar or the occasional sweet treat is not going to instantly translate into a new wrinkle or trigger multiple organ failure.
The little horror show I’ve described above is what happens when your diet is chronically high in sugar. What counts as high? The World Health Organisation suggests that you keep your sugar intake to no more than 10% of total calories. For most people, that’s about 50 grams of sugar. If you’re overweight or have any other risk factors for heart disease or diabetes, it might be wise to keep it to something closer to 5%.
For these reasons heard are other alternatives to sugar which also in moderation are much better for our everyday use.
coconut sugar


This sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree and is touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

Stevia:


Stevia is a South American herb used as a natural sweetener for centuries. The leaves of the Stevia plant have a refreshing taste, zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs. It is nature’s best sugar alternative!

(This doesn't mean you can have as much as you want. Is just a substitution to enjoy in moderation)

Xylitol:


Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
Several studies suggest that it can improve dental health and have various other important benefits.
Obviously, xylitol is a refined sweetener, so it doesn’t contain any vitamins, minerals or protein. In that sense, it is “empty” calories.

Sweet Freedom

Sweet freedom is a good alternative for healthy desserts or to add on to porridge. Is made with fructose and 1 tablespoon contains only 13 calories. Again please don't use this in excess. This products are still processed and in moderation they help to maintain a low sugar diet and be healthier but nothing good could come if you consume this sugar alternatives in excess.

Honey 



In addition to being a great natural sweetener, honey has a multitude of benefits.  Honey has been proven to be a natural throat soother! is also anatural energy booster. Honey’s unique blend of natural sweeteners gives it the ability to provide quick energy in any circumstance. 

Honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, so less can be used to achieve the same sweetness intensity.


10. Protein Powders



Protein is made up of amino acids, which are essential for a countless number of metabolic functions in the human body. For example, amino acids are needed for optimal immune function, tissue growth and repair, and to catalyze important enzymatic reactions in the body. Now, this amino acids doesn't have to come from animals. Protein sources can also be plant based. 

    Whey protein is the collection of globular proteins isolated from whey. The protein in cow's milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. (So if you drink whey you are pretty much drinking milk) I used to intake whey. I don't anymore mainly for health reasons which I will explain in another blogpost some other time.

    But for now. All I can tell you vegan proteins are very natural and very healthy. You can find them made from rice, peas and hemp. The hemp one from sun warrior is my favourite but at the moment I am using the nua-naturals one (pictured below) which I bought in my local health shop but you can buy it on: www.nuanaturals.com and the sun warrior one you can buy on: www.sunwarrior.ie
    You can add it to smoothies, to make healthy energy balls, add to yogurt, porridge. etc


*Disclaimer: Everything recommended above has been purchased with my own money and none of the brands above have pay me to post about them. They are all products I use, like and reccomend.



10 Healthy extra bits to include in your shopping list whenever you can:









10 Healthy extra bits to include in your shopping list whenever you can:

A lot of people always ask me what extra healthy bits can they pick up in to complete a healthy lifestyle aside from the usual meat, veggies,  fruit, legumes, etc.

So here are my 10 favourite extra healthy products to pick up when doing your shopping. This doesn't mean that you HAVE to buy them or else you won't be healthy. NOT AT ALL. You can be just as healthy eating your fruit and veg from the supermarket. These are just little tips for our health that I think can be good to invest in. I personally don't buy this all the time. Just, whenever I can afford them. So please don't think I am pushing you to buy any of these. They are just extra bits that are good for us...

1. Nut butters
Unlike jams, jellies, butter, and margarine, seed and nut butters naturally contain healthful fats that benefit heart health, reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and even lower the risk of obesity despite their high fat content—2 T of a seed or nut butter contain, on average, 16 g of fat.

If you’re not allergic to tree nuts, you can choose from a number of heart-healthy nut butters. A wide-range of nut butters provide a variety of health benefits. Check your local grocery or health food store for:
  • almond
  • cashew
  • macadamia
  • walnut
  • hazelnut

Nut butters contain a number of important nutrients, including:
  • protein
  • healthful fats
  • fiber
  • vitamins and minerals

Pictured above are my favourite brand of butters. While all nut butters contain around 100 calories per tablespoon, not all nut butters contain healthful ingredients. Many brands contain only ground-up nuts, but some contain added salt and sugar. Some use partially hydrogenated oil—a source of unhealthy trans fats. Be sure to check the label before selecting a nut butter and make sure the ingredients are 100% nuts.

Make your OWN butter if you wish!


If you fancy doing your own butter you can do it by simply slightly toast the nut of choice in the oven then blend until you get a buttery consistency. You can add cocoa, goji berries, stevia to make it sweet or even chia seeds!



2. Nuts


Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food, too. They're inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you're on the go.


3. Vegetable Milk


Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond, oat, rice, coconut or hazelnut milk and wondered, “are these milks good for you?” Whether you’re a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don’t like the taste, these milks are a fabulous alternative.

The benefits of for example almond milk are vast, especially for those looking to lose weight.  It has a low caloric value, with an 250ml serving of Plain (which has no added sugar) only containing  around 40 calories, which has a much lower impact on your daily calorie intake than skim milk.  It is rich in vitamins, and also boasts an impressive dose of bone-building calcium.

You can also make your own nut milk by soaking 1 cup of the nut of choice overnight. Then blend with 2 cups of fresh filtered water. And lastly use a milk sifter and your milk is done. 



I love these Alpro ones because they are cheap and I can get in my local super market. But when I have a bit of extra money I always buy the Provamel (pictured below) on Holland and Barret because is incredible creamy and tastes so good.



4. Dry fruits


Dried fruits offers some advantages over fresh fruits: a longer shelf life and portability. If you are watching your weight, dried fruits should be eaten in moderation as they contain significantly more calories per serving than fresh fruits. Some dried fruits contain sugars added in processing which increase its calorie content. However, dried fruits without additives offer numerous health benefits.


5. Apple Cyder Vinegar


The image above says it all. I have get a lot of e-mails of people telling me how they don't have to take any more medicines for their heart burn. How they cholesterol levels have reduced reduced since drinking this. I personally have seen a huge improvement on my asthma. I have been out of breathe when I go for a walk but not to the point where I need my inhaler so I am very happy about that. (I still use my inhaler when I exercise more intensively . My kids have had a cough the last 2 weeks which I always get and I haven't get sick at all. 

I bought mine in my local health shop in the town where I live.

6. Spirulina & Maca Powder


Spirulina is a microscopic multi-cellular cyanobacterium, occurring naturally in rivers and lakes. It is a sustainable, easily digestible source of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is widely recognised as being a natural source of many powerful nutrients. 

1. Spirulina is Extremely High in Many Nutrients
2. Spirulina Has Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
3. Spirulina Can Lower LDL and Triglyceride Levels
4. Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol From Becoming Oxidized
5. Spirulina Appears to Have Anti-Cancer Properties, Especially Against Oral Cancer
6. Studies Show That it May Reduce Blood Pressure
7. Spirulina Improves Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
8. Spirulina May be Effective Against Anemia
9. Muscle Strength and Endurance May Improv
10. Spirulina May Help With Blood Sugar Control


Maca has a high mineral content, and is rich in iron, calcium and zinc. It is also high in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and a source of B6 (pyridoxine), and rich in amino acids. Maca is classified as an alkaline food, which allows it to counteract acidity in the body.

You can add both these products to smoothies, soups or tour morning glass of water.

Benefits: Decreases Menopause Symptoms, Improves Sexual Function, Aphrodisiac, Supports Mood, Fertility, Increases Bone Density and it is a natural Energy Enhancer

You can buy on: http://www.truefoods.ie

7. Bee Pollen



Bee pollen is a complete food and contains many elements that products of animal origin do not possess. Bee pollen is richer in proteins than any animal source. It contains more amino acids than beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body.

(I buy mine in my local health shop)


9. Sugar alternatives:

Table Sugar:

One of the most obvious reasons why sugary foods and drinks are bad and can undermine your health is that they tend to be high in calories but not all that filling. That makes it easy to over-consume them, and the excess calories can cause you to gain weight.
Another way that sugar negatively impacts nutrition and health is that it displaces other healthier foods. People often eat sweets instead of other foods that are more nutritious and, as a result, their overall nutrition suffers. Put another way, if you were to replace sweets with nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, you’d greatly improve the nutritional quality of your diet.
But it’s not just the empty calories that are the problem, or even the excess calories. Because even if you’re getting all the nutrients you need and are only consuming enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, eating a lot of sugar is still bad for you.
Now that I’ve scared the living jelly beans out of you, let me put all that in perspective. A small serving of sugar or the occasional sweet treat is not going to instantly translate into a new wrinkle or trigger multiple organ failure.
The little horror show I’ve described above is what happens when your diet is chronically high in sugar. What counts as high? The World Health Organisation suggests that you keep your sugar intake to no more than 10% of total calories. For most people, that’s about 50 grams of sugar. If you’re overweight or have any other risk factors for heart disease or diabetes, it might be wise to keep it to something closer to 5%.
For these reasons heard are other alternatives to sugar which also in moderation are much better for our everyday use.
coconut sugar


This sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree and is touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

Stevia:


Stevia is a South American herb used as a natural sweetener for centuries. The leaves of the Stevia plant have a refreshing taste, zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs. It is nature’s best sugar alternative!

(This doesn't mean you can have as much as you want. Is just a substitution to enjoy in moderation)

Xylitol:


Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has fewer calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
Several studies suggest that it can improve dental health and have various other important benefits.
Obviously, xylitol is a refined sweetener, so it doesn’t contain any vitamins, minerals or protein. In that sense, it is “empty” calories.

Sweet Freedom

Sweet freedom is a good alternative for healthy desserts or to add on to porridge. Is made with fructose and 1 tablespoon contains only 13 calories. Again please don't use this in excess. This products are still processed and in moderation they help to maintain a low sugar diet and be healthier but nothing good could come if you consume this sugar alternatives in excess.

Honey 



In addition to being a great natural sweetener, honey has a multitude of benefits.  Honey has been proven to be a natural throat soother! is also anatural energy booster. Honey’s unique blend of natural sweeteners gives it the ability to provide quick energy in any circumstance. 

Honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, so less can be used to achieve the same sweetness intensity.


10. Protein Powders



Protein is made up of amino acids, which are essential for a countless number of metabolic functions in the human body. For example, amino acids are needed for optimal immune function, tissue growth and repair, and to catalyze important enzymatic reactions in the body. Now, this amino acids doesn't have to come from animals. Protein sources can also be plant based. 

    Whey protein is the collection of globular proteins isolated from whey. The protein in cow's milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. (So if you drink whey you are pretty much drinking milk) I used to intake whey. I don't anymore mainly for health reasons which I will explain in another blogpost some other time.

    But for now. All I can tell you vegan proteins are very natural and very healthy. You can find them made from rice, peas and hemp. The hemp one from sun warrior is my favourite but at the moment I am using the nua-naturals one (pictured below) which I bought in my local health shop but you can buy it on: www.nuanaturals.com and the sun warrior one you can buy on: www.sunwarrior.ie
    You can add it to smoothies, to make healthy energy balls, add to yogurt, porridge. etc


*Disclaimer: Everything recommended above has been purchased with my own money and none of the brands above have pay me to post about them. They are all products I use, like and reccomend.



Sunday, 27 March 2016

Vegetarian Fat Loss Plan



After the Easter binge and with summer, blogsquad, and my trip to Mexico coming up I really want to lose about 3 kilograms of fat. A few of my readers mailed me to ask me what am I doing to achieve this, so here is the food plan I have devised for the next 3 weeks in order to do so. If you want to lose a few pounds do it with me and lets motivate each other!

I am having 4 different options for breakfast, 3 for lunch and 3 for dinner. (Plus 1 extra option for the weekend) and 2 snacks a day. 

To start the week (Monday and Tuesday),  I am having a green smoothie prepared with: 250ml almond milk, 1 green apple, 1 small banana, 1 handful of spinach, 2 tablespoons of vanilla raw vegan protein and topped with a tablespoon of bee pollen.

For Wednesday and Thursday:


I will be having 2 eggs either poached, boiled, scrambled or in an omelette with sautéed vegetables: Mushrooms, onion, tomato and some greens (asparagus, spinach or broccoli)

Friday Breakfast:


Fridays will be having my usual beloved porridge topped with blueberries, seeds and bee pollen.

For Saturday and Sunday:


I will be having my 120 calorie bagel (Country Kitchen from Testco) with half an avocado on top

Lunches:


Option 1 will be a bowl of soup. Carrot, butternuts squash and red pepper soup. You can find recipe here: Butternut squash soup


Option 2: 
Raw or crispy kale topped with some raw veggies, sliced almonds and balsamic vinegar


Option 3: Mexican pinto beans

Ingredients: (2 portions)
1 can of pinto beans
4 mushrooms
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 onion
1 chillie (optional)
1 vegetable stockcube
1 handful of coriander

Saute veggies until onion is translucent. Add beans, stock, coriander and cook slowly until beans are nice and soft. Season to taste

Dinners:


Option 1
Chick pea stew. Recipe here: (recipe serves 4) Chickpea Stew




Option 2: Quinoa Salad 

To cook quinoa:
1. Place 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water in a sauce pan. 
2. Bring it to the boil. 
3. Add a vegetable stock cube and simmer until water has evaporated

Chop veggies of choice and mix all together. I love this with: carrots, red pepper, edamame, broccoli and red peppers


Option 3: Sttuffed peppers with couscous, veggies and feta cheese

1. Cook 1/2 a cup of couscous
2. Saute veggies of choice
3. Add in couscous to the veggie mix and season to taste
4. Stuff 1 full pepper per person
5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes
6. Top with the feta cheese
7. Serve and Enjoy

Extra Option for the weekend:

I know this option isn't vegetarian but I haven't been able to give up my salmon completely but I am having it once or twice max a week (usually weekends)


Salmon will be grilled, and I will be serving with vegetables or salad

Afternoon Snack:


1 Portion of fruit:
1 banana
1 apple
1 pear
20 grapes
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 kiwi
1 mandarine, clementine or orange

-OR-


1 banana with 1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter (my favourite snack in the world)

Nighttime snack:
1 handful of nuts + 1 cup of chamomile tea

Amazing to kill anxiety and help you sleep well at night time




2 litres of water a day
3 cups of herbal tea a day: 
- green tea with lunch
- peppermint after dinner
- chamomile before bed
- No cheat meal until the 3rd week

My exercise routine: my-gym-workout-routine