Apple, cinnamon and oatmeal power shake

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I love shakes. I really do. From a nutrition standpoint, they help you get the energy and nutrients you need to function at your best. However, it is important to remember these aren't free calories, meaning you must consider the calories in your overall energy balance. If you are like me, you often struggle to eat 3 meals a day, and using a shake helps to get the calories and nutrients needed for optimal performance. The trick to a really good shake is to use as much whole food as possible, so don't rely on supplements too much. Of course protein powder is a must, but go sparingly on other processed supplements (an exception here is powdered greens). 

 I use shakes primarily for two purposes pre workout energy or post workout recovery. But not both at the same time. So if I have a solid food meal a couple of hours before a workout, I would drink a shake post workout to aid recovery. Or if I know I will need an energy boost to power through a workout later in the day, I would consume a shake about 1 hour before starting. Ideally, you want to deliver nutrients when your body is going to need them the most.

This shake is definitely meant to be consumed around the workout period. It is high in carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. Just perfect for what your body needs around intense exercise. 

To make this, all you really need is a good blender. In fact, consider buying a good blender as a investment in your health. Once you have that, you will find making shakes a breeze. Look out for more great shake ideas. The sky is the limit. 

 

Apple, cinnamon and oatmeal power shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 small apple cut into chunks
  • 1 cupped hand of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cupped hand of cooked steel cut oats
  • 1 1/2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 palm of greek yougurt
  • 2 tbsp LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond)
  • 200ml water

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender
  2. blend until well mixed
  3. drink now or put into a blender bottle for later

*Around 600 calories

 

Do you want help with your nutrition? I am a certified nutrition coach. Get in touch with me for a FREE consult.

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3 things about eating slow

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This blows my mind:

If you pay attention to how you eat, the what and how much will pretty much take care of themselves

There is an astounding body of evidence and many proponents of eating slow. Or at least slowing down. I, for one, never really thought about it, until it came up in my Nutrition Coach training. I was (and still am) a bit obsessed with the what and the how much food to eat. Counting calories and macronutrient profiles used to rule my eating habits. And then I found slow eating. Fast forward to now , the what and how much food to eat is STILL very important, but the how was definitely a life changer. The theory is as follows. 

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It's no secret we live in a super hectic time. I mean really hectic. Just think about your average day. Maybe it goes something like this: jump out of bed in the morning, rush to get ready, scarf down breakfast in 2 minutes (or skip it), fight traffic to get to work, endless meetings, emails, text messages, phone calls, maybe have time for lunch or a working lunch at your desk, more emails, meetings and messages, spend some time on social media, fight traffic to the gym (maybe), eat dinner in 10 minutes, have some down time, throw in some kids and family time (if applicable), and collapse into bed after. Sounds exhausting, I know I was exhausted just writing it!  And to top it all off, our over stimulated, hectic lives have one really bad effect. Stress. Stress is a killer. No if this was your day, do you feel in control? Slow eating is about taking back some control, in an area where it will do the most good: your eating habits and nutrition. This is 20% time. It is important.

Now don't think eating slow is easy. I still constantly struggle with it. However in my coaching this a foundational habit. The premise is simple, take 20 minutes to eat each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. That's it. Try it. I will repeat, it's not easy. The first thing you should do is start to measure how you actually eat right now, write it down for a couple of days. See where you are at. Then, over time slowly (haha) add 1 or 2 minutes to your target eating time.  Remember slow progress is still progress. If you add only 1 minute per day, you would take less than a month to hit the target. If you struggle with some ideas oh the how to eat slower, here are some tips:

  1. set aside adequate time to eat, put it in your calendar if you must
  2. use a timer or an app to track time
  3. concentrate on eating, no TV, no phone, no computer. Just you and your food
  4. put down your utensils between each bite, chew slowly and thoughtfully
  5. really taste your food, paying attention to textures and flavours
  6. take a sip of water between bites
  7. take time for a breath or 3 between bites
  8. sit down to eat, don't eat standing up
  9. talk to the people you eat with

Now if this helps with the how, then the next thing is why. A clear why helps us do things, it is key to keeping motivation. Here are some benefits of slow eating. Oh. ANd an experiment.

1. Tune into our hunger and fullness cues

Did you know it takes up to 20 minutes for our satiety hormones to kick in? Yep. 20 minutes. You didn't think the timing was random did you? Now what this means is that as we eat, our body naturally tells us when to stop, we have just forgotten how to listen to it.  By slowing down, we learn to tune back into these feelings. Each thoughtfully chewed and swallowed bite will make us more full.  Notice how that feels. And then stop when you are satisfied, not full or stuffed. When we eat too fast, we miss these feelings, the hormones haven't had time to kick in and only when they do we know we ate too much.  Bleh. Not a great feeling.

2. Aids digestion and nutrient absorption

Have you ever ate a meal in 5 minutes or less and felt bloated and/or have indigestion? It sucks. Our digestive system, works in 3 main parts: The mouth, the stomach and the intestines. Eating slowly keeps the mouth doing its job, releasing enzymes, and and breaking up the food up into smaller particles that make it easier for the stomach and intestines do their work. The more efficient our digestion is, the better we can absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. Compare this to eating fast where you chew a couple of times and then swallow. The stomach and intestines have to work much harder and digestion becomes inefficient. Not to mention the bloat and indigestion.

3. Helps aid weight loss

The cool thing about eating slow is we tend to eat less. This is good news if you are trying to lose fat. The satiety hormones (once they kick in and we know how to listen for them) will naturally tell us to stop eating when the body has enough nutrients.. One study found that people who ate slower consumed around 11% less calories overall, even though they spent longer eating. Makes you think. If you can cut over 10% of your calories almost effortlessly, you got to be moving in the right direction. 

4. Helps make better food choices

Try this experiment: 

Eat fast food slowly. Go on try. Supersize that sucker too.

Think about how the food make you feel. My theory is that its called "fast food' cause you need to eat it quick before you actually taste it. Hit me up in the comments below if you try. When you slowly and thoughtfully eat your food, you just seem to naturally care more about what is in it. At least I do. Again try it.

The low down

 Most of us lead hectic lives, so it’s easy to see that we might try to rush our meals, without even realising it. But eating quickly doesn't help us.  When we eat too quickly we end up eating more, have poor digestion, increase our risk for weight gain, and have lower satisfaction from our meals. Not to mention feeling stuffed, bloated and suffering from indigestion. Eating slowly, in contrast, makes for better digestion, easier weight maintenance – and much greater satisfaction and fullness from our meals. If that's not win, win, win, I don't know what is.

Additional resources:

http://eatingmindfully.com/

http://www.intuitiveeating.org/

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-slow-eating

Need help getting your diet under control?

If you are struggling with your nutrition or diet, I am a certified Nutrition coach. Hit me up for a FREE consult.

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Rustic Lasagne: Just a little bit better

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Time for another recipe. To be honest, I have been ignoring my blog lately as I have been very busy fitting study time into my already hectic schedule. The good news is I passed all my exams and I'm ready to kick this off again! Finally being certified and all the learning that comes with it, has really changed my perspective on my health journey. 

For example, I used to spend a lot of time worrying about "good" foods, versus "bad" foods. For me, it was always black and white. What I have learned, and what I want to pass onto you, is that food exists on a continuum of healthy-ness. It isn't always, or really meant to be, polarised. I also learned that food itself is really more important than just a macro nutrient breakdown (I know this is surprising, but when you begin to obsess about your calorie intake it happens). When you get into calorie counting and restriction, It really sucks all the joy out of eating. AND I hate that. Fortunately, there is a better way. Calorie control, along with nutrient dense foods, and a new way of eating have changed all that. These are subjects for future posts. Stay tuned. 

So today, I want to kick of a series of posts, called "a little bit better," where I take some of my favourite foods, and transform them into healthier alternatives  by making them more nutrient dense, but no less tasty. I added more vegetables and beans to up the nutrient value.  I find this inspiring, and I hope you do too. Let's go.

Rustic Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Lean ground beef
  • 4 or 5 carrots shredded
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 capsicums cut into strips
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • no cook whole wheat lasagne noodles
  • olive oil as needed

Filling Method:

  1. Saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent
  2. Add lean ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and continue to saute until the meat is browned
  3. Add stock and reduce by 2/3
  4. Add pasta sauce, tomato paste, carrots, celery, canelli beans, basil, oregano and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Assemble the lasagne in a pan ( I prefer glass)

Assembly order:

  1. Use olive oil to coat pan to prevent sticking
  2. First layer is sauce, noodles, sauce, capsicums, mozzarella cheese, noodles
  3. Subsequent layers are sauce, capsicum, cheese and noodles
  4. Continue until you either run out of ingredients or pan. Make sure the last layer is sauce with enough mozzarella cheese to cover
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes at at 180 degrees C,  until the top is nicely browed

Note: Feel free to substitute different vegetables for more phytonutrients, and add cottage cheese to the layers for extra protein.

See how easy that was? If you have any questions or comments feel free to hit me up. 

I am a certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. If you want help kickstarting your own health journey, get in touch for a free consultation.

 

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