Posts tagged 'superfood'

GOING GREEN !!!

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Since I gave up coffee last year, Green Tea has become my caffeinated new-best-friend! I probably drink 2 cups a day, on average – it warms me up, has plenty of flavour (especially with a sprinkle of cinnamon) and most importantly gives me that extra boost to keep me going throughout the day! I wouldn’t recommend drinking much more than that though, as too much caffeine can increase blood pressure, cause you to shake, induce headaches as well as stain the teeth – so perhaps don’t start your day with a triple shot of green tea!

This ancient wonder-brew has its origins in China and has been consumed (and used medicinally) for thousands of years. It’s said to have several health benefits including potentially lowering the risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer as well as lowering cholesterol. However, for me, the main plus is that green tea contains not only caffeine to wake me up (!), but also plant extracts called polyphenols which have been shown to stimulate thermogenesis and fat oxidation, & therefore increase metabolic rate. That’s short-hand for ‘burn more calories, quicker’.

This green tea that I had earlier today weighs in at a featherweight 1 calorie/200ml, with no saturated fat, no sodium, no cholesterol etc. and only 0.2g of total carbs! So it’s a pretty safe pick me up, whilst simulating the sensation of being full, and ultimately hydrating! So instead of starting your day with a vanilla latte (c. 250 calories, 12g sugar and too much fat) make it a far healthier caffeine choice!

Drink up 🙂 Faya x

(P.s. If you’re wondering why black tea isn’t as healthy as green tea, it’s down to the production process. Making black tea involves fermentation, however green tea skips this part and therefore retains maximum polyphenols and antioxidants!)

HOW’S THAT SPELT ???

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Introducing the runner up to ‘champion superfood’ Quinoa… it’s Spelt, a weird cross between emmer wheat and goat’s grass. I picked some up the other day at the lovely Daylesford Organic in Notting Hill (there’s one in Selfridges too). The spelt is easier to digest than many other wheats, because of its brittle gluten structure. It can be an aleternative for some people with a wheat intolerance though it’s not gluten free (unlike quinoa). But just like quinoa it’s high in protein (10g per 100g vs 15g in quinoa), low in sugar (1.3g per 110g vs trace in quinoa), has plenty of fibre (7.4g per 100g vs a mere 3g in quinoa) and is mercifully low in fat (1.1g per 100g, of which saturates 0.2g, vs quinoa at 2g). As a tasting note, it’s quite nutty, mildly chewy, pretty neutral in taste, but decent for adding texture to a dish.

SO I put it into practise, with my high-protein, high-fibre, low-fat, low-sugar vegetable dish – pictured above! Aside from spelt, I’ve added:
broccoli (full of vitamin C and antioxidants for immune health, dietary fibre to aid digestion, and vitamin A for healthy vision, as well as other minerals like manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus)
carrots (rich in dietary fibre to aid digestion, vitamin A as above, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease)
leeks (rich in antioxidants to promote immune health, and calcium to condition muscles and strengthen bones)
pine nuts (contains plenty of vitamin E to maintain skin by protecting it from free radicals – whilst its fairly high caloric content is mostly from fat, (hence why I only used half a 100g bag)  it’s rich in mono-unsaturated fatty which also helps to lower cholesterol in the blood)
chilli powder (for a metabolic boost, and a flavoursome kick!)

If you find you want even more flavour try adding a vegetable stock to the boiling water. However try to pick a stock that’s relatively low in salt. I made it for friends and they loved it thankfully. The below recipe serves c. 4 people.

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RAID YOUR VEGETABLE BOX !!!

 

This soup recipe is quick, easy and very nutritious. One of the reasons I love making soups is that anything in the fridge is fair game… everything is a potential ingredient (within reason)!  This particular Leek & Carrot soup is made up of just 4 ingredients, which are unremarkable on their own, but when blended together, taste – if I may say so myself – delicious! It’s a healthy mix of carrots (rich in dietary fibre for digestion, vitamin A for healthy vision, and are proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease), yoghurt (contains protein to fuel muscle repair, potassium to condition the heart / brain / kidney, zinc to regulate testosterone, and vitamin B12 to encourage haemoglobin production), leek (rich in antioxidants, and calcium to strengthen bones), and some ginger (with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestion-aiding properties) for added flavour. Most recipe books I read suggest plenty of cream to thicken the texture; I’m sure Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t use yoghurt in a soup, but this miraculous 0% fat greek yoghurt from Total is miles healthier than its dairy cousin, and still gives the soup a wonderfully rich texture – just with a mere 57 calories per 100ml vs Sainsbury’s double cream at 445 calories per 100ml! Another great thing about this recipe is that it serves 3-4 people, for under £6.00 in 30 mins so eating fresh healthy food every day doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming!

To cook it, follow the easy instructions below. Hope you enjoy, and that it warms you up on these cold winters nights!

Faya x

BREAK THE FAST !!!

 

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day – today I made it a healthy bowl of fruit salad, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and afterwards, a bowl of porridge. Ready to take on the day! Happy saturday! Faya x

MY VEGETABLE RECOVERY JUICE

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It’s snowing in London to round off the week, & I thought that being a Swede / Viking / Thor, I’d be used to this kind of weather by now, but no, BRRRRRR! If you’re feeling a little under-the-weather but still want to keep up your energy to train, this recipe may come in handy. It’s my ‘Vegetable Recovery Juice’, and it’s immune boosting, packed with vitamins, minerals & antioxidants, low calorie, rich in dietary fibre, and could be just what you need to get the weekend started. It is also be the perfect hangover cure to end the weekend. Either way, have it this weekend!

Grab these gorgeous veggies next time you’re passing a shop (Braeburn apples, Jaffa oranges, carrots and parsley – all organic). Wash, peel, chop, and then blend with water until it’s smoothie-texture. It takes max 10 mins to make, and you can store any extra in the fridge for tomorrow! It’s thick and very filling. The juice is packed with iron (for blood oxygenation and strength), vitamin C (neutralises harmful free radicals, boosts immune system), vitamin A (for healthy sight) and folic acid (anti-carcinogenic, immune-boosting & anti-inflammatory properties).

Some  extra benefits ? READ MORE

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GO COCO-NUTS !!!


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This recipe for my super-nutritious Asian Coconut Broth is meant to prove that Asian food can not only be incredibly full on flavour, but can also be very healthy. To tick the ever-important protein box, I’ve thrown in prawns, but chicken also works fine with this dish (see photo below). To make it interesting, I’ve given it some more substance by adding quinoa (a low GI seed which packs a complete protein, as discussed in my previous post ‘Nature’s Protein’, here). I’ve also used coconut milk, which apart from being gluten and cholesterol-free, is very rich in manganese (to balance blood sugar), calcium and phosphorus (for bone strength), iron (1 cup provides 25% of your daily requirement, for energy & healthy blood oxygenation), vitamin C (for immune health) and mounds of dietary fibre. Note, coconut milk whilst rich on flavour, is relatively high in fat (20g saturated fat per 100g milk, but no transfat) therefore I only used half a tin, and diluted it with an equal part of water, which still gives it all the taste it needs. Lime gives the dish a sharper kick, but also supercharges the vitamin C content, whilst the flavoursome chilli and ginger raise the body’s metabolic rate, helping you burn your calories quicker! Served piping-hot, it’s a massively hearty (& healthy) option for a midweek meal! Here’s the ingredients list and the ‘how-to’:

Enjoy! Faya x

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SKIPPING – NOT JUST FOR GIRLS !!!

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WHY TO SKIP? Skipping (or ‘jump rope’ in America) is a fantastic way to get fit! 20 minutes of intense skipping can burn 4-500 calories, not to mention the thermogenic after-effects that keep you burning calories all day! Walk into a boxing gym and it’s almost certain that all the boxers there skip – it’s not just for girls! It improves footwork, speed, coordination, stamina, agility, and it strengthens the muscles in your legs as well as your abdominal, back, chest, arms and shoulders muscles. Also it’s relatively low impact on the joints, yet high intensity, which gives a fabulous cardio workout that’s less dangerous and surely less strenuous than running.

HOW TO SKIP?  Beginners, have patience. Skipping is not something you learn the first time so don’t give up in frustration after 5 minutes – stick with it!  If you’re new to skipping, view it as a skill to learn before using it as a tool for conditioning. Once you have learned the skill you can start using it as a full-on workout! I suggest kicking off with frequent ’20-second-then-10-second-break’ skip sessions and extend the duration from there. It helps to practice in front of a mirror, viewed front and side-on. Start with the rope behind you, arms relaxed at your sides and rope on the ground. Use your wrist to turn the rope, keeping the rest of your arms as motionless as possible. As the rope approaches your feet jump lightly (from your toes) over the rope. Stay on the balls of your feet when you jump. Keep your knees slightly bent all along. It’ll feel unnatural at the start, but with a little practise, the technique will come!

WHERE TO SKIP? I recommend a shock absorbing surface – a sprung wooden floor, a gym mat, an outdoor track, or a tennis court. Theses surfaces are kinder to your ankles and feet.

WHAT ROPE TO GET? You’re spoilt for choice! Popular ropes include the speed rope, the digital rope and weighted rope. (Whatever you get make sure the length is correct. The way to measure it is to stand in the middle of the rope, & the handles should come up to your waist, lower ribs – if it reaches your shoulders it’s too long.)

a) The Speed rope: As the name suggests it’s lightweight and great for speed, great for warm ups, it’s cheap, light to carry around, but can make it harder for advanced foot work as it’s unweighted.
b) The digital rope: Through the magic of technology, it enables you to estimate the distance, revolutions of the rope and the amount of calories burnt. It’s similar to the speed rope in the way it’s so light, & therefore harder to do advanced foot work.
c) The weighted Rope:  Weighted handles are great for wrist, forearm and triceps strength.
d) Personal Favourite? I recommend the Nike weighted jump rope – it’s a bit heavier than most speed ropes & it’s great for more complicated foot work. It’s slightly more expensive, but worth the investment I think!

Good luck! Faya x

ALCOHOL VS. FITNESS…

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1) IF YOU MUST… Clients often ask what the ‘healthiest’ alcoholic drink is… My view is that if you must drink, make it red wine as a glass or two a day has been shown to decrease the risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer (elevates good cholesterol, lowers the bad cholesterol, rich in polyphenol antioxidants for cell health). But the emphasis is on “one or two glasses, only”! If red wine isn’t your cup of tea (like me), a straight spirit (vodka, gin or scotch) is fine. Avoid mixing them with juice, tonic water, coke etc. as these mixers are bursting with simple sugars (which will be quickly metabolised into fat) and will only increase the calorie content of your night out!

2) CONSIDER THIS: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories, 1g of protein = 4 calories, 1g of carbs = 4 calories, 1g of alcohol = 7 calories. So Alcohol is nearly as calorific as fat but it only has ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value, and will in fact speed up fat storage! For reference: a double Gin and Tonic = 175 calories (c. 10% of a girl’s daily calorie intake – alot for something that doesn’t fill you up!). Here are the scores…

– Single Gin and slimline tonic = 75 calories.
– Glass of Champagne = 91 calories
– Can of Stella Artois = 247 calories
– Shot of straight Vodka = 55 calories
– A glass of Baileys = 133 calories

3) ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON MY TRAINING ?  It can stop you reaching your goals by dampening performance, recovery and focus. Although it’s absorbed quickly, it metabolises slowly and can still affect the system up to 48hrs after consumption. It decreases strength, dehydrates (damaging to kidneys), exhausts the body (impairs liver function, as it metabolises alcohol at the expense of glycogen), disturbs sleep (crucial for muscle recovery), slows down reaction time, disrupts the body’s balance and co-ordination, impedes cardio exercise (raises blood pressure so the heart works harder to pump blood through the body) etc.

A typical night out will likely involve 3+ drinks and perhaps some cheesy chips as well. That could amount to 1250-1500 calories in itself, (>60% of your daily calorie allowance, on top of what you’ve already had that day). No wonder next day you’ll feel bloated and tired, so perhaps try to avoid the hangover fry-up – you don’t need the calories!!!

Faya x