The Perfect Diet

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With the “New Year, New You” movement in full swing people tend to be extremely conscious of what they are eating. It is amazing that everyone is being mindful of what they are putting in their bodies and keen to improve their relationships with food. The problem is that the approaches chosen to do this tend to be extreme or restrictive.

Most people give up on their New Year resolutions by February, which is why I’m not a fan of them (but that is a whole other blog post topic for another day). 

With so many fitness and nutrition ads plastered all over television and social media I thought it might be helpful to address a few things.

Firstly there is no such thing as the perfect diet. There isn’t one secret ingredient or a miracle weight-loss cure that will enable you to shed several pounds overnight. Anything that promises rapid weight-loss or claims to “boost” or “kick-start” your metabolism is most likely a load of bull. 

Secondly just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. We are all different and unique. Just because an approach or a lifestyle choice has worked for one of your close friends or someone you admire doesn’t mean it will work for you. Eating the same foods or amount of calories as your favourite IG model or YouTuber won’t yield the same results. 

Thirdly eating well doesn’t have to be complex nor does it mean eating foods you don’t enjoy. Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which leads to us feeling overwhelmed. Eat foods you enjoy in a manner that will both help you achieve your goals and stay consistent in the long-term. 

I’m a big believer in balance when it comes to nutrition. This is tricky to define because a balanced approach will look different to everyone. What is balanced for one individual may not necessarily be balanced for another. 

It might be a case of trial and error until you find what works best for you, but if you can’t see yourself sticking to the approach to nutrition that you have chosen in the long-term, then you are doomed to fail before you even start. One of the main reasons that drastic approaches (i.e. cutting calories to an extremely low-level) don’t tend to work is because they are not enjoyable and more importantly unsustainable.

The key point I want you all to take from this post today is to make sure that you enjoy the approach you take and that it allows you to be consistent in the long-term. 

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

Review: Simply Simon – Peanut Butter Balls

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When it comes to sweet vs savoury, I’m team sweet. For that reason I always ensure that there is something in my meal prep that will satisfy my sweet tooth. Recently, though I found that I kept eating the same things. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy what I eat, but variety is the spice of life and I want to make sure that I don’t get bored with my food. I spoke to my good friend Simon and he supplied me with these amazing peanut butter balls in the photo above. 

Initial reaction: I felt that they were quite small, but was happily surprised at how filling these little guys were. I had three of them a day and not only did they satisfy my sweet tooth but they also helped give me a cheeky afternoon energy boost.

Texture: The oats on the outside of the peanut balls provides a nice crunch to compliment their soft gooey interior (trying my best to sound like one of the judges on Masterchef here).

Taste: If you like peanut butter these taste phenomenal.

Macros Per Peanut Butter Ball:

Calories: 71

Fat 2.3g

Carbs 12.2g

Protein 2g]

Simon also provides meal prep as well as cooking classes. You can find him on instagram @simplysimonchef or check out his website http://simplysimonchef.com 

If you’re interested (you’d be crazy not to be) be sure to get in touch with him. 

I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I did.

Jay xx

Raspberry, Cinnamon & Nutmeg Protein Muffins

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You guys have asked and I have listened. Here is the recipe for my delicious raspberry, cinnamon and nutmeg protein muffins with dark and white chocolate chips.

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 Scoop vanilla protein powder
  2. 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  3. 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 Teaspoon cocoa powder
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 2 Tablespoons 0% fat greek yoghurt 
  8. 75 grams fresh raspberries
  9. 2 medium sized eggs
  10. 30ml almond milk
  11. 1 square dark chocolate and 1 square white chocolate

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees
  • Blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, greek yoghurt, raspberries, eggs and almond milk until mixture is well mixed and a smoothie like consistency.
  • Place your mixture into a muffin tin/cupcake moulds
  • Chop the chocolate up into smaller squares and place them on the top of the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes 
  • Enjoy 

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did

Jay xx

The Dangers of Dieting for a Holiday

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Many people find booking a trip away a great source of motivation to finally embark or to stay on track with fitness and weight-loss goals. Is there anything wrong with wanting to look and feel your best on a holiday? Absolutely not! 

The problem is that for the majority of people trying to get into good shape for a holiday tends to lead to overly restrictive eating and quick fix approaches to nutrition and exercise. So when that holiday finally does come around they tend to binge and eat mostly all the foods that they had denied themselves, their body reacts like a sponge and then when they come back home they are heavier than when they left and are now lacking a source of motivation (the holiday). Does this sound a bit like you?

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t look to get into better shape or that you can’t use a holiday as a source of motivation. Just understand that motivation in general (be it an external or internal source) is fickle and unreliable, because it is dependent on our moods and feelings. Instead you should focus on building discipline to help you do what you need to do, especially when you don’t want to. 

Instead of using restrictive and drastic approaches to nutrition and exercise, use methods which are sustainable and will ensure that you adhere to your goals and plans in the long term. This means that when a holiday comes along you won’t feel deprived and so will be more likely to realise that you can still eat nutrient dense foods while enjoying all the treats that you holiday destination has to offer. Moreover, once you’ve returned from you holiday you will be more likely to get back to your exercise routine. 

Now I know this doesn’t sound glamorous or sexy but its simple and effective. Quick fixes lead to short lived results (if those results are even reached in the first place). Focus on building discipline and being consistent on a daily basis instead of attempting to be perfect occasionally. 

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

Ice-cream for Breakfast: Protein Pancake Recipe

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Hey guys, quite a few of you have been asking for my protein pancake recipe so here you go:

For the Pancakes:

  • 1 scoop white chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 squares dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 scoop water (I just use my protein scoop) 

For the toppings:

  • Salted Caramel Halo Top Ice cream 
  • 1 tsp salted caramel sauce 

Method

  1. Place protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, chocolate, eggs and water in a blender and blend together until you get a smooth mixture,
  2. Place mixture in a hot pan according to the size you want your pancakes. Tip* I use my protein scoop, that way my pancakes are the same size.
  3. Flip the pancake once bubbles begin to form and then cook until lightly golden.
  4. Stack on a plate or in a bowl and top with a few spoons of the ice-cream
  5. Heat up the salted caramel sauce in a microwave for 15 secs and dribble it over the pancakes.
  6. Enjoy

Vanilla & Cinnamon Protein Muffins

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop  vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tsp almond butter and 2 tsp hazelnut spread

Method: 

  • In a blender or nutribullet blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, water and eggs
  • Make sure mixture is completely blended together and place in muffin tin (should make about 4 muffins)
  • Bake at 150 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or until golden)
  • Slice off the muffin tops with a knife and let muffins cool for 3-5 minutes
  • Put the peanut butter on the bottom half of 2 of the muffins and the hazelnut spread on the bottom half of the other 2
  • Slice the banana and place it on the muffins
  • Place the muffin tops back on and enjoy

Jay xx

According to Jay: My Approach to Nutrition

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It’s taken me a while and a lot of trial and error to find an approach to nutrition which works for me. Having spent so many years in a toxic relationship with food, I’ve now been able to find balance and create a healthy relationship. I’m not in any way trying to suggest that anyone else needs to take the same approach as me, because ultimately everyone will have different aspects of nutrition that they struggle with and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but if you are struggling I’m hoping that some of these tips which have helped me will be helpful to you as well.

  1. Making it a lifestyle = In the past I was always guilty of relying on quick fixes or going to extremes which were ultimately unsustainable. My number one rule now is always to ensure that I can see myself adhering to any measures I implement in the long-term. If not then it’s not the right approach for me.
  1. De tudo um pouco = Everything in moderation. I find that as soon as I create restriction in my diet I focus on whatever it is that I’m restricting even more which in the past has led to a lot of binge eating and “diet re-starts on Monday” mentality. Instead I focus on ensuring that the majority of my meals are made up of nutrient dense foods while still allowing myself to enjoy all my favourite things.
  1. No labelling and being aware of trigger foods = I no longer label foods as being good or bad. In the past I always considered that to be healthy I had to cut bread out of my diet, whereas now I’ve learned that through portion control I can still enjoy bread (and other foods that I had previously labelled as being bad) and still achieve my goals. The key for me in being able to do this has been to learn which foods I can portion out. For instance If I buy a packet of biscuits I’m eating it all in one sitting. I still enjoy biscuits mind, but I know that it’s one of the foods I just can’t have in the house.
  1. Keep it simple = Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which can make us feel overwhelmed and then we end up giving up altogether. Ultimately I eat foods that I enjoy in a manner that help me to both achieve my goals and be consistent.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Listening to Your Body:Rest & Recovery

 

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Rest and recovery are easily overlooked factors when it comes to the achievement of our fitness goals. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking that the more exercise you do the better off you’ll be, however, when it comes to exercise more is not necessarily better. Even the world’s top athletes will have rest days scheduled into their training programs.

Why are rest days Important?

  • Helps to prevent injury: exercising without taking time to rest means that your muscles run the risk of becoming overused which can lead to injuries
  • Allows your muscles time to repair: rest days give our muscles time to grow and repair which ultimately allows you to gain benefits of the training that you’re doing.
  • Helps to keep you from burning out both physically and mentally: exercising is a form of stress that we place on our bodies, when we place too much stress on our bodies we can burn ourselves out mentally (lacking motivation and enthusiasm to engage in activities that we typically enjoy) and physically (not seeing any progress in our training and even struggling to maintain the same intensity and consistency in our training).

I hear you though. “Jay, I already have rest days in my program” and that’s great, but do you listen to your body and give yourself additional rest days when you need it. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between when you need to push yourself a little bit and when you need to back off. I still struggle with this so I thought I would share with you guys a few signs your body gives you when it needs rest and recovery:

  • Intense and prolonged DOMS
  • Prolonged lack of motivation to train
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling more irritated than usual
  • Feeling drained after what usually feels like a good workout
  • Decreased sex drive

I know that for many people taking a day off of training, especially one that they didn’t plan on having can be quite hard, but you will reap the benefits of it. Taking a day off of the gym doesn’t mean that you have to be a couch potato. Go for a walk or a hike or do some other fun activity you keep telling yourself you’ll do but never manage to find the time for.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Eating Well On a Budget

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From a very young age my mum always drilled the fact into my head that there are certain things in life where you look to make a bargain and others where you need to invest and focus on quality. Our health is definitely in the group of things that we need to invest in, because no matter how much money you have you can’t buy health and wellbeing. That being said investing in your health doesn’t need to cost you and arm and a leg, so I’ve put together a list of 10 of my favourite foods that are nutrient dense and won’t break the bank.

  1. Vegetables (e.g. potatoes, leafy veg, broccoli, carrots, etc)
  2. Tinned beans and lentils
  3. Eggs
  4. Fruits and Frozen Berries
  5. Oats
  6. Chicken and lean meats (Butcher shops do chicken and lean meat packages so make sure you check out your local butchers alternatively there are several places online that do chicken and lean meat packages)
  7. Tinned fish (e.g. tuna)
  8. Yoghurt
  9. Grains
  10. Seeds and Nuts

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Coconut Raspberry & Oat Muffins

 

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Ingredients: 

  • 90g coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 2 eggs
  • A handful fresh raspberries
  • Filling of your choice I opted for either peanut butter and jam or hazelnut chocolate spread

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees
  • Blend together all the ingredients (i used my nutri-bullet but you could alternatively use a whisk)  except for the ones for the ones you’ll be using for the filling
  • Place mixture into muffin moulds
  • Bake at 150 for 10-12 until golden
  • Once done give 10 minutes to cool
  • Cut muffins in half and put filling inside
  • Enjoy

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did

Jay xx