I love to innovate with my muesli recipes, and recently, I’ve been pacing around the local Organic Grocers for some renewed inspiration. This post builds on my previous piece about the Uber-Muesli, adding all my latest discoveries to the trusty recipe. My Muesli is a bit like the Sugababes then – always changing what’s in it, but you know just what you’re getting, and it’s a well-formed product nonetheless 😉
There are 9 novelties making their way into my muesli shaker-box these days, which are helping to reduce the fat content, boost the protein proportion, and reduce the carb constitution. In short, these are:
1) Chia Seeds, 2) Toasted Pine Nuts, 3) Organic Flaxseed, 4) Chopped Roasted Hazelnuts, 5) Roasted Almond Flakes, 6) Puffed Wholegrain Oats, 7) Organic Sunflower Seeds, 8) Puffed Wholegrain Brown Rice, and finally (perhaps most tree-huggingly), 9) universe-friendly sustainably grown Organic Puffed Spelt Flakes.
To read more about the health benefits of each ingredient, click MORE below, and see why I felt it was MISSION CRITICAL to tinker with the beloved Muesli recipe! Faya x
In a rare turn of fate, London is experiencing a very long summer (6 days in a row). To celebrate this unlikely occurrence, it was high time for a little picnic in the park, and for the occasion I decided to make my nutritious ‘Quinoa, Rainbow Trout & Pomegranite salad‘ which I think was a smash hit given the empty plates! The salad is pretty straight forward to make and only takes c. 30 minutes to make from start to finish, (or c .15 minutes excluding the time it takes for the quinoa to cook and fish to bake) and serves a sociable party of 6. All-in, 100g of the salad provides c. 31g of high quality protein, and c. 280 healthy calories. I often use Quinoa in my recipes, as it tastes just a good cold in a salad as a it does steaming hot with Tuna. It’s a super-seed which provides all 9 essential amino acids (making it a complete protein). Along with the fish and beans / pulses, this dish makes for a protein rich salad packed with vitamins and minerals as well as slow releasing carb-energy. The Pomegranate may seem a bit “out-there” but I personally love the surprising texture and sweetness it adds to the dish – super summery!
Click MORE to learn extra about my choice of ingredients and get the ‘how to’… 🙂 Faya
I was reading a certain fashion magazine the other day and came across a pretty mundane article entitled ‘what’s in your bag?’ – but reading it, some of the bizarre ‘essentials’ made me giggle including ‘air freshener’, ‘an iron’ a ‘mini screwdriver set’! It got me thinking however, so I decided to blog about ‘what’s in MY bag’. And these are genuinely things that I carry with me on a daily basis to help me live a healthier lifestyle – all fitness related, of course 😉
Click MORE to read about the benefits of each item… Faya x
I love Wagamama for a quick meal, BUT it’s definitely a case of ‘buyer beware’!!! I worry about the MSG-content and the calorie-count in dishes like their Chicken Ramen (not to mention the epic 1149-calorie, 50g-fat Chicken Katsu Curry!!!). For the Ramen, 520 simple-carb calories strikes me as alot of the wrong kind, so I set about making my own healthy, fun Chicken Noodle Broth recipe for the home too! This Chicken Noodle Soup recipe (‘Rahmen’ style) is low in calories (c. 390) fat and salt but rich in protein (30g) – ideal! It’s so easy and quick to make – just about 15 min – and it’s suitably filing / craving-neutralising when your body cries out for comfort-food. There are 2 key ingredients:
1) Wholewheat noodles are low in fat (1g fat per 100g), boast 0% saturated / trans fats as well as 0% cholesterol, and crucially, have 27g of slow-release, low-GI carbohydrates per 100g – containing only 1g of sugar! So much healthier than their pale, simple cousins 😀 !
2) Chicken is a famous source of ‘lean protein’ and I consider it one of the core building blocks for a healthy diet that aims to control weight. In the picture above, I’ve used ‘Roast chicken breast slices’ from Sainsbury’s the ‘Be good to yourself’ range. It’s plenty high in protein (29.6g per 100g), lower in fat than most ‘chicken breast’ products (with a teeny-weeny 1.6g per 100g) and has a wafer-thin amount of saturated fat (0.7g per 100g).
I’ve added some veggies – mainly peppers, mushrooms and rocket – but you can use whatever you fancy really, so get a bit inventive! Click to see the ‘how to’ here…
Spaghetti Bolognese – a classic favourite, but one we all know just can’t be all that healthy. In fact, it’s really quite calorific, often packed with salt and dripping in fat (and not necessarily the healthy kind). The ultimate word on all things calorific, MyFitnessPal suggests 35g of fat and 520 calories in a medium sized portion of spaghetti bolognese, and that’s without the industrially grated cheese on top! To access that classic taste and texture, whilst still being friendly to your quest for abs, here’s my healthier alternative.
Quorn! Once a bit weird, hippy and almost taboo, it’s now pretty mainstream as a healthy alternative to meat. But it’s not actually meat; it’s part of the fungi family. The main ingredient is ‘mycoprotein’, a fungal spore, grown by fermentation, much like the process used in the production of yoghurt, bread and beer. Quorn ‘mince’ is low in fat (1.9g per 100g) and high in protein (14.5g per 100g) & packed with dietary fibre (22% of your GDA in 100g). In short, it’s a lean alternative to minced beef, at just 90 calories per 100g.
In this post I’ve attempted my very first YouTube video recipe! It’s on a healthy avocado snack-ette, the perfect dip for entertaining!
Avocado is packed with healthy fats and a good amount of dietary fiber too (27g per 100g). I often overhear someone at the gym discussing a wacky diet they’re trying out, whether it’s juicing for weeks, not eating for two days, or a trusty online purchase which ‘guarantees’ you’ll ‘lose over a stone in less than 4 weeks’… Often these ‘diets’ involve cutting out an entire food group, and any plan that claims this is a good idea sets alarm bells ringing for me! Often the food group they’ll cut is the much-demonised ‘fat’. Good fats work wonders for your skin, hair, training results and general well being. You don’t need to skip fat to lose weight – the body needs them for a range of functions;
1) Benefits of Fat:
– Growth, repair, and development of tissue, including muscle cells.
– Allows the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and without fats in the diet, you can become deficient in these (vits A,D,E,K)
– Provides energy, (1 gram of fat will provide 9 calories of energy)
– Cushions organs and insulates nerve cells
– Facilitates your body’s thermoregulation (temperature control)
2) Which types are good / bad?
– ‘Trans fatty acids’ (aka ‘trans fats’) are ones to avoid. They are not natural, but rather, are artificially produced through a process called ‘hydrogenation’, of converting liquid fat to solid fat. They’re often found in margarines, cakes, biscuits and junk food in general, and are proven to increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
– ‘Saturated fats’ can be found in animal produce – butter, cream, eggs, meat etc. They’re a good fat, however too much saturated fat can affect the body’s blood cholesterol levels, which over time can fur the arteries, leading to coronary heart disease. Once that happens, there’s little that can be done to reverse the effects, so it’s best to moderate saturated fat intake where possible.
– ‘Monounsaturated fat’ is a “good fat.” It can be found in olive oil, nuts, avocado and some seeds. It can lower your blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.
– ‘Polyunsaturated fat’ is another good fat, and mainly derives from plants, vegetable oil, nuts and oily fish.
– ‘Essential Fatty Acids’, are ‘awesome fats’, being comprised of such health buzz-words as ‘Omega 3’ (found in foods like wild salmon, edamame, walnuts and flax seed), and ‘Omega 6’ (found in vegetable oil, black beans and wild rice).
With that in mind, watch this video to make my recipe Guacamole, with metabolism-boosting chilli, healthy avocado monounsaturated fats (+ omega 3 & 6), and vitamin C / antioxidant properties of Celery! Faya x
Because I’m only human, I find it incredibly difficult to resist all the dangerous ‘food temptations’ that lurk at social functions – whether it’s calorific ‘feta’ starters at a restaurant, deep-fried canapés at a party, battered pub grub, caramel-topped ‘frappucino’ coffee with friends (and the list goes on…), when there are beautiful bowls of yummy nibbles laid out in front you, the willpower alone can crumble (yum, crumble!), especially when everyone else starts tucking in. Chips, crisps, popcorn, sweets, chocolate drinks… An indulgent evening out can quickly mount up to 1000 calories! This post is about a couple of suggestions for hosting your friends in a more healthy and nutritious way that won’t fill you with guilt or saturated fat!IDEA 1: FRUIT PLATTER Instead of sweets, the sugar here is natural vs. refined, it’s hydrating, and has a host of anti-oxidant and vitamin benefits. If you’re struggling with sugar cravings and don’t want to cut out sugar instantly (resulting in cold turkey), then a tasty & healthy fruit salad can help make the transition. Arranging it in a bite-sized way, and serving with cocktail sticks, is a great alternative to greasy mini-pizzas!
IDEA 2: SWEET POTATO CHIPS
More sweet carbs you say? How about some home-made potato chips? (See my previous post for more info on sweet potato here). They are sweet yet have a surprisingly low Glycemic Index. Sweet potato is also high in fibre and the caloric energy is slow releasing, providing sustainable energy to carry you on for longer than a low-fiber simple carb, like a pack of Walkers. Plus you don’t need to go heavy on the salt because they’re already rich in flavour. So in all not too bad! And certainly healthier than sodium, fat-packed crisps.
This colourful fish recipe has all the key fuel your body needs at lunchtime to stay on track for the rest of the working day! It consists of only three simple ingredients; 1) Sweet potato to provide the slow release energy needed to keep going 2) Monkfish, a great source of protein, and a meaty fish at that, and 3) Kale, a nutrient-dense vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals, with 0% fat content. But to understand why this recipe is so effective, I think you have to look at the ingredients in more detail:
1) SWEET POTATO – A DETAILED LOOK !
I once thought that anything with ‘sweet’ so clearly in its name, couldn’t possibly be healthy. I was wrong. Aside from being delicious, Sweet Potato’s also;
– a great source of beta-carotene (converts into vitamin A for healthy skin, an immune boost and strong vision)
– high in dietary fibre (for effective digestion and absorption, along with heart & blood benefits from the vitamin B6 content)
– super low GI, for slow-release energy throughout the day (with a glycemic load of 9, which is super-low for a food who’s calories come 93% from carbs!)
– very low in sodium, with practically no fat content (& 0g saturates).
– contains peonidins and cyanidins (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to maintain the body)
– high in potassium to lower blood pressure by banishing excess sodium, and regulating the body’s fluid balance
2) KALE – A DETAILED LOOK !
Kale is the superfood equivalent of Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows; all the rage right now, it’s versatile, and you see it everywhere. Why?:
– you can eat it raw, blend in a smoothie, steam it, stew it, or toss it in a salad or soup!
– it’s low in calories (28cals per 100g)
– Incredibly low in saturated fat and cholesterol – 0% for both!
– a fantastic source of iron (crucial liver function and cell regeneration), with more than you find in the equivalent weight of beef!
– rich in vitamin K (essential to bone health and with anti-carcinogenic properties) and vitamin C (immune health).
– it’s also a strong anti-inflammatory, weighs in with a glycemic load of just 3 (!), and leaves you remarkably full for something of such mini calories!
3) MONKFISH – A DEEPER LOOK !
Once thought of as ‘poor man’s lobster’, this fish has since climbed to its equivalent ‘social elite’. The meaty texture makes it a perfect low calorie filler, plus:
– it’s a good source of lean protein (14g of protein per 100g, with just 2g of fat per 100g)
– the little fat it has is mono/poly-unsaturates inc. ‘Omega fatty acids‘ (can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and promote healthy neural function)
– a fantastic source of vitamin B6 (aids metabolism and the breakdown of fats, helps regulate blood glucose levels) and vitamin B12 (maintains the nervous system)
It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday in London and I had the pleasure of getting my very own unique nail art painted by the immensely talented Jenny Pasha of 10 Blank Canvases – winner of this year’s Cosmopolitan blog award for ‘best beauty blogger’, and who is currently working with Elegant Touch and Little Mix. I love her art, and ended up basing this entire training ‘look’ on her monochrome nails – a thin black windstop top, monochrome training leggings and black shoes – a look which is always super easy-to-pull-off, flattering, casual and fairly chic in my view! I just added a splash of neon pink for fun!
After a blustery HIIT session (high intensity interval training, as you might remember from my post’hiit me again’, here) on sunny Primrose Hill yesterday, this super lightweight Castelli Leggera jacket proved to be ideal – totally windproof, impossibly lightweight and still comfortably breathable – practically as if I wasn’t wearing anything at all, so to speak! The leggings are from Bershka – quite fun and comfy for running :). Post-run, we went for some yummy lunch at Lemonia for a little protein – grilled swordfish, seared tuna, boiled veggies and steamed spinach!
Time for a guilty confession… I LOVE chocolate. I always have done, and always will do. I realise that chocolate doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with your ‘fitness goals’, but I’ve been experimenting with simple but effective ways to legitimately work a modest amount of chocolate into my training diet. This post contains a real ‘cheat day’ treat which satisfies my cravings, whilst providing my body with the protein, essential fats and antioxidants that it needs. Guilt neutralised, body nourished!
Regardless, there are actually health benefits to be gained from eating high-quality, dark chocolate – as long as you don’t overdo it! Dark chocolate is high is antioxidants which work to reduce free radicals in our bodies and aid cellular repair. Dark cocoa, being densely calorific, is also said to improve energy levels without the need for sugar, and focus the concentration. I aim for a minimum of 70% cocoa, but if you can tolerate it 99% cocoa is optimal, as it has an incredibly low amount of milk, fat and sugar. Yes, at first the taste is bitter, and you might need to work your way up to the high 90s percentages, but give it some time and you’ll learn to love it’s super rich dimensions! In fact I now prefer dark to milk chocolate – and I never thought that would happen! Here’s my recipe for a slice of chocolate indulgence which is packed with protein and a lot healthier than your standard Mars bar.
The ‘treat du jour’ is my ‘Dark Chocolate, Banana & Seeds Protein Muffins‘. With the following ingredients, I made 9 yummy ‘fairy bun’ sized cakes but it completely depends on how big / small you go. Remember, this is not a low calorie miracle, so it needs to be a reward for a heavy training session, but it is rich in what the body needs to recover!
Read about the ingredients & my step-by-step ‘how-to’ guide, HERE!