18 months has raced by since the very first Apple Watch appeared on hipster wrists the world over, and now Series 2 has hit the company’s long, wooden sales tables. I really loved that first version, and posted a super in-depth review of it HERE on a trip to the Maldives – which as an aside, remains the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been on this planet! Since that review was one of the most read articles I’ve ever published on this blog, today’s post is a timely addendum, bringing up-to-date my views on the latest iteration of this much-hyped techy timepiece. At the outset, I must declare that I have received no compensation from Apple for either this or the previous review; these are my authentic and impartial personal views, so please take them as such. The essence is that they’ve crammed a whole lot more essential kit into this version, and as a result, I’ve noticed the conversation shifting away from ‘ooh you have one of those?‘ to ‘ah, how are you using & customising yours?’ I think we’re on the cusp of getting to serious grips with the data on offer, so read MORE to get the full set of observations on my Apple Watch Series 2.0. (Pictures shot on Santa Monica beach)
I’m not entirely sure what to call this healthy & tasty little experimental dessert! Perhaps ‘Prius’ because it’s a bit of a hybrid! Part apple crumble, part compote, part breakfast… it’s simply composed of 5 core ingredients – apple, cinnamon, coconut oil, manuka honey and (low sodium, low sugar) granola. Unlike apple crumble, this isn’t overpoweringly sweet, but thanks to the baked spices, it packs a serious flavour punch, and is on just the right side of subtle!
In the mind, ‘Baking’ can seem a seriously laborious chore (up there with changing the sheets and taking out the rubbish)… but this dish only involves chopping apples and then sprinkling/drizzling the remaining ingredients around. It’s baking for dummies, and I have found that it’s very hard to get wrong! Granola – yes it’s going to be a touch ‘sugary’, but I opt for most natural option – no refined sugar, low sodium, no preservatives, sweetened exclusively with honey. The good thing about this recipe is that you only need a small sprinkle of granola to make quite a big impact! Read MORE for ‘how to’…
I’ve been writing Fitness On Toast for a year now – it’s been huge fun, the response has surprised me enormously, and has taken me on some fabulous adventures! A big thank you to everyone who has supported the blog, for reading, for browsing aimlessly, for your lovely emails and heartening comments… I’d like to propose a toast to fitness; let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet! Now I don’t want to sound like a spoil sport, and a bit of a tipple is called for around this time of year, but to help you along, I’m reposting this “Alcohol vs Fitness” article I wrote at the start of 2013, as it’s totally relevant for this evening :D! HAPPY NEW YEAR xx (more…)
In moderation, and the right type, no! I’m marking the change of seasons with some yummy winter berries. This healthy dessert should satisfy your sweet tooth (guilty!), whilst offering plenty of nutritional value too. I’m regularly asked whether ‘fruit will make you fat because of the sugar content’; true, too much of any type of sugar is bad news. However chomping on the right fruit (like these berries) means you’re not only eating fructose (the lowest-GI form of sugar with a glycemic index of 19, versus a glass of apple juice at 30, table sugar at 65, and glucose at 100), but also enjoying other benefits like fibre (helps digestion) & plenty of vitamins and minerals. By chewing solid food and metabolising it slowly (rather than drinking it straight into your bloodstream) you suffer less of a blood sugar spike. I’d rather have a delicious, beautiful, tasty, bowl of fresh berries with nutritional value including some protein (thanks to the yoghurt, plenty of calcium & vitamin-B too) than a dry cardboard biscuit that claims to be ‘low in sugar’.
The purpose of this berry dish is to promote the intake of… (more…)
It’s the Halloween time of year again, and just throwing it out there, but I guess you might be finding it harder to stay on the fitness ‘straight & narrow’ as we run into the festive season, consuming a bit more alcohol than normal, chomping on some salty sweets and let’s not forget all the sugary ‘trick or treat’ fare. You might even have some war wounds after running around town late one night chasing bats dressed up as Batman – cape, knickers at minus 2 degrees? Sound familiar? HAVE NO FEAR – Fitness On Toast’s healthy (& seasonally on-trend) Pumpkin Soup to the rescue – it’s ultra hydrating and nutrient-rich to make up for all the sugary sweets, alcohol and salt in which you’ve been overindulging! Plus it’s packed with minerals and vitamins to help recover from a heavy night out or just a little man-cold. Read MORE for ingredients & ‘How To’, here! (more…)
This post is about an alternative, healthy ‘burger’ recipe which takes inspiration from a recent blog trip to New York. ‘When in Rome’ do as the New Yorkers… with that in mind it seemed right that on my monumental ‘cheat day’ I should go overboard and indulge in a proper American burger, milkshake & fries! If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know this is a VERY rare occasion indeed! I headed to the grand opening of Shake Shack in Grand Central Station, which I’d heard so much about (great PR!). To celebrate it I wore my favourite gold burger ring by GoldieRox – gorgeous jewellery celebrating junk food, best of all with 0 calories!!! (On that matter, in America most menus now include ‘calories’ which is really helpful!)
I was fully aware that this meal would rack up some seriously naughty numbers but I was blown away; I consumed 1870 calories in just one meal, which is pretty much what I would typically eat in a day!!! Going to Shake Shack was certainly a bit of a fun outing, and I believe you do have to enjoy and live life a little now and then, but this serves as a reminder of just how easily you could be consuming a VAST amount of the wrong kind of calories without even realising it. In the event, I could only manage a half of my portion (still 935 calories), and since my body isn’t used to it, I struggled for the rest of the day. I’m much more at home with a healthy alternative; my previous healthy burger recipe included a tuna steak; this alternative is my nutritious, low-fat, low-sugar and lower-calorie ‘Skirt Steak Wrap’ (pictured below), which weighs in at a nutritious 485 calories, bursting with vitamins minerals and quality protein. See MORE pictures, ingredients and ‘how to make it’ below…
Many of my clients aren’t from the UK, and often ask me how to read the food labels here; it’s vitally important to understand the label in order to be in command of what you’re nourishing your body with. Even if you do understand it, far too few take the time to read and digest it – no pun intended! This post will set out some tips and tricks for staying on top of the label.
Questions I ask myself every time; is it high in fat? saturates? salt? carbs? sugar? Knowing the answers is essential to maintaining a balanced, healthy diet. The label should, at a minimum, list the information on energy – calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat and salt. Nutrition information is shown per 100 grams and sometimes per portion of the food. A good deal of supermarket products show a ‘traffic light colour coding’ system where red is a warning, and green is fine – but relying on these without further thought is lazy and won’t help awareness for the diet.
1) WHAT ARE THE GDA’s ???
Some product also list Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). The GDAs are based on UK government-set figures and are recommendations that give approximate amounts of certain nutrients and calories required for a healthy diet. GDA’s don’t account for your size, age, lifestyle, activity levels etc, so take them with a pinch of salt (literally!).
– FAT: Adult GDA is c. 70g, of which ‘saturates’ should be 20g (see ‘Ingredients’ below for more on this). Beware if the product has >20% fat, and I tend to think that <5% is truely ‘low fat’.
– SUGARS: Adult GDA is c. 90g. Sugars are carbs, so look for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ part on the label. You might see it as sucrose, fructose, maltose, honey, corn syrup or starch – but ultimately it’s still sugar. Aim for complex sugars, which are slow release, and sustain your blood sugar levels at a more constant rate through the day. Think whole grains, whole wheat, seeds, nuts and pulses. Too much simple sugar risks diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
– SALT: Adult GDA is c. 6g (one teaspoon!). Also labelled as sodium, it regulates nerves and the overall fluid balance in the body, but too much over time increases blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and/or stroke, plus it can make you look and feel bloated as it retains water. To cut down on salt when cooking use herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, lemon zest or chili (will up your metabolism!) instead, to add flavour. Use low-salt stock. When buying tinned foods get them without the added salt or brine (e.g. tuna in spring water). Avoid microwaved ready meals, and if you must (for some inexplicable reason) get it with reduced salt. Keep an eye on sauces they’re are often high in sodium too.
– CALORIES: Adult GDA is 2000 Kcal (calories) a day, though that will clearly vary hugely depending on gender, activity, metabolic levels etc. It’s a measure of energy contained within the food, so if you consume too much food-energy, you’ll store the excess as fat. Basic, but sometimes people forget this. Equally, if you have too little, you’ll lack the nutrients required to function properly! It’s about balance and control, which is the whole point of this post!
2) INGREDIENTS ???
– When reading the ingredients manifest, the nearer the beginning an ingredient is listed, the higher the content, e.g. if honey is the second thing listed on your granola bar, then that bar certainly contains a lot of sugar.
– Avoid transfats, they are usually fish or vegetable oils that have been artificially hardened by hydrogenation, they increase bad LDL cholesterol 🙂 and reduce good HDL cholesterol 🙁 which can contribute to stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and worse. You can usually find them in biscuits, cakes and pastries – so watch out for any oil that says ‘hydrogenated’ before it.
3) THE LAW ???
– All food products must legally be labelled and not be misleading – great in theory, but unfortunately it’s not like that in practise. You might fancy yourself for having an antioxidant boost when you drink a ‘blueberry milkshake’, but often it won’t contain blueberries – much like ‘cheese & onion crisps’ usually don’t contain onion.
– The word ‘light’ also has no legal definition, and simply means the product might be lighter than another product (which product that is we don’t know), whilst it might only refer to fat, alcohol, sugar or salt. Similarly, with ‘Low fat’, there’s no legal guideline around this, which makes it lazy and misleading to just ‘trust the claim’. Check it. Don’t let the food manufacturer insult your intelligence!
4) HOW TO COMPARE & CONTRAST !!!
– Deciding which product is healthier for you is very easy – don’t over-complicate it, and don’t be intimidated by the numbers.
– Whenever you look at two products, each will show a ‘Per 100g’ or ‘Per 100ml’ column – if you see that product A has 20g fat, that’s 20%. If you see that a similar product B has 10g fat, that’s 10%. If product A happens to weigh 200g, then you’re eating 40g fat out of your c. 70g GDA – that’s clearly way too much! Product B (also weighing 200g) would invariably be a better choice here at 20g fat. There are complexities around types of fat, amount of sugars (as discussed above) etc, but broadly, the process should be that simple.
I really hope this helps not only foreigners like myself, but also encourages more curiosity about what we’re putting in us (think ‘horse’ or ‘beef’). Worth checking the sell-by date too – the fresher the better!
What a stunning day it was in sunny London – to celebrate it, I did a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session this morning in lovely Primrose Hill, which almost killed me! This workout is not for the faint-of-heart (literally). It involves alternating between intense bursts of activity and relatively relaxed action – the constant motion keeps your heart rate elevated. You set the level, but the main point is that you push into the anaerobic zone. Listen to your body; if you haven’t trained for a while you may find that your interval training may be alternating between power walking and jogging. Others will sprint and run. Finding your level and then slightly exceeding it is the whole point of HIIT for me.
If you’re bored of endlessly running on a treadmill HIIT is for you! 15 minutes is all you need – it’s time efficient, burns more calories in a shorter amount of time, maintains muscle whilst toasting fat, and it stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH) which increases calorie burn even further! You don’t even need a gym membership because it can literally be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment. Finally if you’re looking for a challenge this heart-healthy session will push you into the dreaded anaerobic zone leaving you huffing and puffing (probably not for more!).
I did a sprint up the (steep) hill followed by a super light jog back down the hill. I did 8 rounds which took c 15min. That was c. 30 sec up the hill, and then 60sec down the hill. The last bit of the hill getting up is definitely the worst!! I would love to hear what you guys think about in those seconds when all you want to do is give up. For me, it’s cupcakes!
Check out this extremely fluorescent H&M pink top I’m wearing. I think it’s quite fun, great value and plus when else can you get away with wearing Barbie pink ?! Also, H&M running tights looks fitted, feel comfortable and breathable, and won’t break the bank too!
I see it all the time – guys in the gym who have colossally sculpted upper bodies and miniature chicken-legs. Not only does this look absolutely ridiculous (no symmetry whatsoever), but failing to train your legs is a physiological mistake. Yes it’s true that the glutes are the largest muscle in the body, but being the largest muscle group in the body, skipping over your legs just won’t do! I’m not going to talk about the muscles you train in this post, rather my reasons for training them in the first place:
1) Aside from the cosmetic reason of creating body-symmetry, legs are worth keeping conditioned (something your body will thank you for as it matures). Strength training of the legs stimulates bone re-calcification, enhances tendon and ligament durability and improves overall joint strengthening.
2) Larger muscles boost the metabolism and burn more calories, so legs therefore can potentially burn the highest number of calories at rest. Most serious bodybuilders seem to believe that a 30min leg session will burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories depending on intensity (that’s 25-50% of your recommended daily calorie intake!). Also, a lot of cardiovascular exercise involves using your legs so by increasing strength and/or size, you’ll help fuel your workouts while burning more calories too!!
3) Being the largest muscle group in the body, training your legs encourages the release of natural testosterone and other growth hormones, promoting overall strength and mass throughout your whole body, not just the legs.
4) And finally it’s good to keep your body guessing. By training your legs, it’ll add yet another important variation to your regime, stimulating optimal muscle adaptation and growth.
Click here for photos and descriptions for part of the leg session I did earlier today… Faya x