NATURES SKITTLES

The other day I caught myself out by saying “oooo if you are feeling sick eat white foods… they are apparently good for your immune system” and then followed by listing off all of the white coloured foods I could think of… Onion, garlic, mushrooms, leeks, cauliflower… and then I stopped realising that I had only ‘heard’ this once and had NO IDEA why or if it was true.

So here is the dirt behind why certain food colours mean certain things to our body and why.

WHITE = IMMUNITY (beta-glucans); Immune system. Ok so I was right here. White foods activate our natural killer cells and reduce cancer risk whilst strengthening our immune systems

RED = HEART (lycopene); improves heart and blood health, supports joints and increases circulation.

ORANGE = VISION (beta-carotene); boosts eye and skin health and may decrease your risk of developing cancer

YELLOW = BEAUTY (carotenoids); stimulates digestion and promotes collagen growth for radiant youthful skin and strong bones

BLUE/PURPLE = AGING (anthocyanins); powerful healing antioxidants for retinal health and vision, assisting with healthy aging and improving memory

GREEN = DETOXING (chlorophyll); powerful detoxers, improves oxygenation and normalises digestion

So now when mum says “eat your greens” you can turn around and say “but what about my reds and whites too?”

K

PLATE UP

pb banana breadMonday morning!! A new week means new health and fitness goals. A lot of people spend more time worrying about what they ‘shouldn’t’ be eating and rather than focusing on fueling their body with nutritious wholesome super foods. It has taken my a very long time to get my diet right to suit my body, health and fitness goals and overall digestion. Everyone is different – portion sizes, food types, gluten vs no gluten, taste buds and snack frequency so there is no point copying the person next to you as what they eat may not be doing you any benefit. However, let’s not get too precise about what we should and shouldn’t eat and focus on trying to pack as much nutrient rich wonders onto our plate everyday.

Once you build your diet around healthy wholesome foods, you create a strong health platform for your body long term and leave less time for slip ups and binges or poor nutrition. Especially with summer and the bikini season about to hit (even though Canberra lacks in the beach department) now is as better time as ever to get our nutrition right!!

“DON’T EAT LESS – EAT RIGHT” Try adding these nutritional powerhouses to your plate daily!!

1. BERRIES; make friends with berries, and not any particular type – all of them! They are bright, super sweet, low in sugar and have a super high content of antioxidants and vitamins. You can eat them frozen, blended into a smoothie, on your oats, in muffins or with yoghurt. Make sure you have berries today!

2. COFFEE; hallelujah baby!! Not only is coffee exceptionally high in antioxidants there is also evidence that it can speed up our metabolism and promote fat loss and anti aging – sounds good to me.

3. YOGHURT; packed full of prebiotic goodness for overall gut health you cannot go past yoghurt. It can reduce bloating, constipation (yep I said the C word) and digestive imbalance.  For a strong overall immune system and healthy bacteria include yoghurt into your daily diet.

4. PEANUT BUTTER; I’ve said it once and I will say it again – get spooning that peanut butter!! Full of so many health and weight loss benefits, you cannot go wrong with PB. 2 Tablespoons a day will speed up your metabolism, give you energy to work out, keep you full and not to mention taste amazing. 2Tbs Peanut butter and banana bread for morning tea? CHECK!! (pictured)

5. TOMATOES; full of beta-carotene and vitamin c, cooked tomatoes will give you a better daily dose of the nutrient lycopene, another powerful antioxidant with anti-cancer properties. So whose adding a tomato based pasta sauce or yummo lasagna stack into next weeks meal planning?

6. WALNUTS; all nuts have great over all health benefits to our skin, hair, body and metabolism but walnuts have the richest polyunsaturated fat content (this doesnt mean the ‘fattiest’ nut thought) which reduces cholesterol levels and has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Grab a large handful to chuck on your salad, oats or in your next baking session. Choc-walnut brownies anyone?

7. OILY FISH; tuna and salmon give the body a massive dose of omega 3 polyunsaturated fat much the same as walnuts. And you can grab a few cans to store in your work draw, handbag or pantry so there is no excuse not to get your daily dose.

8. BROCCOLI; rich source of folate and phytonutrient content well above other greens, broccoli makes for a perfect vege! Soups, dips, pastas, salads, stir fry’s or quiche – its a pretty versatile cute little tree so get plating it up!

9. APPLES; the old saying still goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and ain’t that the truth. Apples are packed full of soluble fiber, vitamin C and can satisfy hunger therefore promoting weight loss. Great for heart health, protecting against metabolic syndrome, dried apples (in particular) can boost exercise endurance, lower cholesterol and aid fat metabolising. Reach for that daily apple – especially teamed up with some PB for a super snack!

10. DARK CHOCOLATE; now this is the one sweet treat that I suggest eating frequently and nutritionists can back that up. If you are going to devour the block – make it dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. The higher the cocoa = the higher the antioxidants and more health benefits. Another great example of Kale and the Kettlebell’s health rule – the darker the better!

So NO MORE counting calories, restricting portions, crazy diets or binges. Eat right and eat more of the above foods daily – your body will thank you for it!

K

NN DAY 30 – THE LAST HURRAH

Today is the final day of Nutritional November!! Well done all of you wonderful fit and fabulous people who have followed my blog daily for the last 30 days. I hope that you enjoyed ‘Nutritional November’ just as much as I have enjoyed writing my little tips, recipes and health and fitness knowledge daily and are feeling fit and confident ready for summer. I must admit I have learnt a lot too and it really did help keep me stay on track and motivated – just in time for December and the silly season so thank you to each and every one of my followers and supporters!!

It has been quite a commitment writing on my blog daily and has proven to me that “if there is something that you really want – you will make time for it.” Ain’t that the truth! So what did you get out of Nutritional November? Did you learn something? Are you feeling healthier or more confident? Did you do something you thought you couldn’t? Did you make one of my healthy recipes? If you answer yes to any of those questions then congratulations and well done!!

As the final hurrah for Nutritional November I ask that you write down 5 things that you really like about yourself. They key to feeling confident and being happy is to feel good about yourself. It is very easy to beat ourselves up over little things but this just damages our self esteem and contributes to poor confidence – NOT the way to a healthy lifestyle.

Ok so I will go first: (no judgment thanks)

1. I like my toes. I get a lot of crap for my short, same length, stubby little fat chipolata sausage toes – but I love them!

2. I like how I crack myself up (hey if you cant laugh at your own jokes how can you expect other people too?)

3. I like how I am comfortable talking to strangers and sparking up random conversation when waiting for my coffee or lunch.

4. I like my ability to motivate people and make them feel good about themselves

5. I like my will power to do anything I put my mind to (except limiting peanut butter)

 

Now it’s your turn! You don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to just get writing and start raising that self esteem!!

Thanks so much for being a part of my nutritional November and challenging me everyday to be a healthier and fitter version of myself!! I think we all deserve a BIG FAT SCOOP (or two) of peanut butter straight from the jar!!!! And a big thank you to the lovely sisters Jayne and Katie from Sweat and Oranges www.sweatandoranges.com.au who gave me the idea of nutritional November and inspire me daily to be fit and healthy.

K

NN DAY 15 – KNOCK ONE BACK

Dear Red Wine drinkers; I have wonderful news… your red wine habit also happens to come with some happy health benefits, such as protecting your ticker and even slimming your waistline. Winding down with a glass of vino is a good call all round.

Red wine is good for your heart; it contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant compound which protects your heart and arteries against the effects of saturated fats (which we now know all about after yesterdays post HERE) and can prevent the formation of blood clots as your levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol rises.

Red wine contains antioxidants; containing a number of other antioxidants which can slow the signs of aging, osteoporosis and prevent degenerative illnesses like diabetes. These antioxidants can also help fight off a cold, prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel and protecting the gums, AND believe it or not prevent the growth of fat cells which essentially block the pathways necessary for immature fat cells to mature and grow.

Red wine controls your blood sugar; the skin of red grapes – which is where the rich antioxidant sources lie – actually help diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels. Researches suspect that resveratrol may help stimulate insulin secretion or activate protein that helps regulate glucose and insulin sensitivity.

But above all, red wine makes us happy! It creates an atmosphere that is social, fun and gives us that extra boost of confidence we need to kick off our heels and let our hair down. And lets be honest, we all know the more vinos we consume the louder, more funny and sexier we get right?? Until we cross the line of TOO MANY and it’s time to go home … (and eat the entire fridge contents and sleep << please note this behaviour is NOT promoted) If you get hangovers have a read of my healthy hangover cure on the blog HERE.

Although red wine has well known health benefits, drinking any alcoholic beverage in excess can lead to serious health problems, so of course limit yourself to not more than 2 glasses a day. Now how many of you just read that and thought… “well if I don’t drink Monday – Thursday does that mean those 8 glasses can be added to my Friday’s 2 glass allowance so I can knock back 10 glasses and still be under the ‘healthy’ limit….” well NO!! Sorry is doesn’t work that way. Stick to two glasses a day! (except for special events and one off occasions) remember it matters more what you do everyday than what you do once in a while!

Fun fact; pinot noir grapes have the highest resveratrol content

SAY CHEERS TO GOOD HEALTH

K

NN DAY 2 – SUNDAY BRUNCH

Sunday is my favourite day of the week closely followed by my Friday nights in. Sunday for us means walks, coffee, sleep ins, food shops, yoga, brunch and catching up on things to prepare for the week ahead. And nothing like a large indulgent dessert (like my instant chocolate mug cake, recipe HERE) or a glass of wine on a Sunday night to celebrate a week of good health and nutrition, knowing that you can start a clean slate on a Monday morning. But before we get too carried away in indulgent desserts lets skip back to the MOST important meal of the day… BREAKFAST!!! If your daily breakfast routine consists of an alternating cycle of PB banana toast one day and soaked oats the next – then you will appreciate the enjoyment of making a nice exciting breakfast without a time limit. Yep I am talking smoked salmon, poached eggs and avocado on toast or a quadruple layer stack of peanut butter coconut pancakes, recipe HERE. It’s the simple things like actually sitting down and setting the table instead of scoffing my oats whilst making my other half’s smoothie or shoveling my toast down whilst walking out the door.

A few of my favourite Sunday brunches are;

1. Peanut butter coconut pancakes. Recipe on the blog HERE


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2. Smoked salmon, soft boiled eggs and avocado on toast

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3. Jumbo mushroom omelette

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4. Smoothie bowl with granola

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5. Fresh Bircher muesli. Recipe below

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FRESH BIRCHER MUESLI RECIPE – serves 2

1 cup oats

3Tbs chia seeds

1tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1-2 oranges freshly squeezed

Milk (enough to cover the oats)

1 large apple grated

½ cup coconut shredded

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

½ cup goji berries

1 cup greek yoghurt

½ cup mixed nuts

2Tbs pepitas

Blueberries and 1/2 banana sliced for topping

Extra cinnamon, coconut and honey

The night before in a large bowl combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice, apple, coconut, honey and goji berries. Stir until combined and pour enough milk so the ingredients are comfortably covered. Cover with cling wrap and leave in fridge overnight.

 

In the morning remove cling wrap and add the yoghurt. Pour in the nuts and seeds and stir until combined. Serve up 2 bowls and top with the cinnamon, honey, coconut, berries and banana. Get creative and enjoy!!

The most important part about healthy eating is enjoying what you eat. I personally get excited lying in bed at night thinking about what marvelous creation I am going to whip up for breakky in the morning!!

So get planning and make this Sunday a special ‘healthy’ brunch to kick off a fit, healthy and nutritious November.

K

12 TIPS TO CONQUER THE EARLY MORNING WORKOUT

Summer bodies are made in the winter… but now winter is over… have I failed or left it too late?

 Gone are the days of being a university student – flexible hours, catching up with friends, home all day long and sleeping in! Now living out of home in a city working full-time – trying to fit in a workout is tough… especially in winter!!! But gone are also the frosty winter mornings … seriously about time!! No longer -6 degrees outside and pitch black when the alarm goes off at 5.30. No more stubbing toes in search of the bathroom, blinding ourselves with the heat lights and having to carry cups of hot water out to the car to pour on the windscreen. If you were one of those incredible humans who fought the icy blackness and made it to at least one early morning gym session then good on you.

 Ever heard of the saying “summer bodies are made in the winter?” Now don’t look at this and think – well the winter is over and it’s too late to get into shape before summer so I will just give up! Another year – another 2 kilos stacked on during hibernation that you never manage to lose before Christmas? And then let me guess… your new year’s resolution is to detox, lose weight and get fit. Sound familiar? Firstly scrap those ridiculous new year’s resolutions and last-minute detox and diet fads. Your time is now and you are in training to be healthy for life. There is still plenty of time left to get ‘healthy’ before Christmas but the best part about committing to a healthy lifestyle is that is doesn’t have an end date. And to be honest who wants to work their butts off (literally) over the next 3 months and then blow out and quit as soon as Christmas hits?

For me, the idea of going to the gym in the evening after work makes me want to curl up in a ball or just get into bed. I am way too exhausted and hungry so getting my butt to the gym first thing in the morning before my brain realises what I am doing is the only option. Here are some simple tips to make getting to that early morning session a little easier. I know I need every little bit of help and encouragement that’s for sure.

  Continue reading “12 TIPS TO CONQUER THE EARLY MORNING WORKOUT”