Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown?

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown? 🏃🏼‍♀️

I know a worry for many of you (me included) is losing your fitness during lockdown. Suddenly you’re not walking to the office/school run, you’re not able to get to the gym or classes etc. Well don’t panic – it’s not as bad as you may expect.

Studies show that muscle loss doesn’t occur until about 4 weeks BUT that’s only if you stop training completely! And even then it’s minor and happens in tiny increments each week. If you continue to workout even just with bodyweight workouts then you’ll preserve muscle mass, and post lock-down you’ll be back to normal within a few weeks. If you have no equipment then focus on full body circuits, increase intensity by adjusting the tempo, and increase the volume (number of reps) e.g. a 10 bodyweight move circuit repeated 5 times etc a few times a week.

Studies show that over 12 weeks there’s only a 16% reduction in aerobic fitness overall. If you can run or cycle then this will help, but even long fast paced walks will help. If you’re into cardio classes then you’re sorted as HIIT workouts lend themselves to small spaces. You can do your own little HIIT workout, but if you struggle to motivate yourself to work hard then there’s loads of free workouts online now – see my previous posts or ask me for links). Another fab way to replicate cardio workouts is with skipping – 2 mins a few times a day as a cardio blast!

Specific fitness losses will go a degree relate to your own training/exercise history, types of exercise you do (fitness is maintained for longer if you did a variety of types of exercise e.g. not just running, and genetic and lifestyle factors. However, if you’re a regular exerciser it will take longer to lose fitness as things like increased capillary density take much longer to disappear.

So basically – don’t fret! You’re going to be fine! I hope these tips help. If you want any specific advice then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Recipes

Munchie buster! Cocoa-orange balls!

These are a perfect snack if you want something chocolatey but a little more filling. You can use orange zest or natural orange flavouring – whichever (or both if you like it really orangey). You can also leave out the orange altogether and just have them plain chocolate. They are around 158 cals per ball, but it very much depends how large you make them of course! This recipe makes approx ten.

IMG_7965

You will need:

175g cashews

200g Medjool dates, pitted

20g rasins

30g cocoa powder (plus a little extra for rolling)

Zest of 1 orange or natural orange flavouring

 

Pop the cashews food processor and pulse until they’re in small pieces.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor and pulse until you have a sticky dough.

It’s very sticky at the moment so scoop it out into some cling film and pop in the freezer for around 20 mins.

Once it’s a little firmer, remove and roll into small balls. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and then store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy frying…

Healthy frying… 🍳

With most people’s general activity levels lower at the moment and a natural focus on eating more “healthily” to stay well it seemed like a good opportunity to consider how to fry food more healthily.

There is an assumption that coconut oil is a healthy choice for cooking. As with other oils (e.g. olive oil), it does have some health benefits. The oil contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and there is evidence that it could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss.

So many people recommend using coconut oil to cook with – dolloping in a spoonful of the stuff for stir fries, pan frying meat and fish etc. Now whilst it is healthy it’s also extremely calorie dense. A spoonful (15g) of coconut oil is approx 129 cals. If you used this for one meal a day that would give you a total of 3,612 calories over the course of a month.

Thats a lot of extra calories! If you’re using oil simply to ensure the food doesn’t stick then you’d be far better off buying a good non-stick frying pan and using no oil at all! Or if you really need it you can get a 1 calorie coconut oil spray.

By using a non-stick pan you can save those extra calories (which you’re probably not accounting for anyway) and spend them on something else. It’s a small sacrifice for some big savings and assuming you’re having a balanced diet overall then you won’t suffer a decrease in health by cutting it out.

🤗

Xx

Recipes

Hearty Squash, pepper and lentil soup

It may be officially spring but it’s pretty cold out there still! When I first made this soup I made it using a glut of squashes from the garden. but today I’ve made it with butternut squash I had in the freezer! You can use any type of squash or sweet potato for this (or a mixture!).

This is a calorie bargain at only 150 – 175 cals per portion, and super filling. It’s perfect for batch cooking if you’re stuck inside at the moment too.

 

As I said, you can use squash, pumpkin or sweet potato (or a mix) and you can also be a bit free and loose with the quantities to be honest – as long as you keep an eye on the amount of liquid and add a bit more stock if needed.

I made a massive batch so I could have it for a few days and also freeze some, but you could easily halve this. This recipe serves around 12-14.

You will need:

Approx 1,200g – 1,500g squash

3 medium red peppers (or 2 large)

2 onions

500g red lentils

4 cloves garlic

600g chopped tomatoes (passata also works fine or use fresh tomatoes)

1 litre vegetable stock (but you may need to add a little more as it cooks)

2 tbsp tomato purée

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp Chilli powder (or to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

To serve – fresh spinach and a dollop of greek yoghurt

Peel and de-seed the squash and then chop into small pieces (or use pre-chopped fresh or frozen squash).

Chop the onion and peppers and crush the garlic. Heat up a little oil in a pan and add the onions and crushed garlic, and allow to lightly brown. Then add the pepper.

Add the squash, stir well and cook for 5 mins with the lid on (stirring occasionally). The squash will start to release some water and begin to soften a little.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Then add the lentils, vegetable stock, spices and tomato purée and stir.

Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for a few minutes with the lid off. Then reduce the heat further and put the lid on and allow to cook for at least 20 mins making sure you stir regularly so the lentils don’t stick. If it looks like it needs it then add a little more stock.

Season to taste and cook until the squash is tender and the lentils are cooked through. Remove from heat and at this point. If you like your soup chunky you can serve it now.

Alternatively you can blend it to a smooth consistency.

To serve stir through some fresh spinach and add a dollop of greek yoghurt!

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Quick Healthy Banana Pancakes

Another one of my faves! These work great as a breakfast, or light lunch or afternoon snack! They’re quick and easy to make and taste amazing! If you want something more substantial you can add some protein powder in to the mix but I tend not to bother. This makes two small pancakes, enough for one person, and comes in at approx 200 calories, plus the fruit.

You will need:

1 banana

1 egg

2 tbsp flour (any flour you like)

Cinnamon (optional)

Fruit of your choice

Mash the banana with a fork in bowl, add the egg and mix well.

The mixture will vary in consistency depending on your banana size and ripeness, and egg size – it really doesn’t matter though. Add the flour and cinnamon and mix well.

The batter will be lumpy – that’s fine too! Heat a little oil in a pan and then add the batter. Leave to cook on one side, then flip.

Serve with fruit (if you need it you can also add some maple syrup or other liquid sweetener but I find the fruit is sweet enough)

Enjoy 🙂

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘

‘Grabbing a “healthy” snack ….. ‘ 🥓🍞🥜

I think if you were going to choose a “healthy” late morning snack/brunch option you’d probably assume the mixed nut bag is probably a better option than a bacon roll. And you’d assume it was healthier and certainly better for you if you’re trying to lose weight/fat.

Nuts, seeds and blackcurrants are full of nutrients – “good” fats, protein, antioxidants like Vitamin E etc. So nutritionally they are a good option, but the bag also contains a whopping 607 cals, with 28g fat and only 10g protein. The combination of fats and protein will help keep you full and satisfied but thats’s a really hefty snack that probably isn’t worth those calories.

In comparison a bacon roll would probably be perceived as a “bad” choice. In reality it has far fewer calories than the “healthy” option with only 389 cals in total. It’s also lower in fat with only 17.4g and higher in protein, 18.1 g. It still provides carbs, protein and fat so will keep you satisfied until lunch. I’m not suggesting you have one every day, but it’s certainly not terrible!.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy a bacon bap then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by the idea that nuts/seeds are inherently a “better” option – they’re not always!

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Boost your Immune System

Tuesday Tip: Boost your Immune System 🦠

No amount of lifestyle intervention can completely protect you but here are some practical tips to strengthen your immune system.

# 1 Follow the advice

First off; follow the official advice; advice from the govt, NHS and scientists – not the news, social media, or your mate down the pub. Follow the science-backed advice. If in doubt about self isolation call 111.

# 2 Eat well

Eat a balanced diet and ensure you’re loading up on lots of fruit and veg to ensure you get the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients you need to fight infection. It also ensures plenty of fibre to keep your gut microbiome healthy too.

# 3 Vit C and Zinc

Vitamin C won’t prevent infection but has been shown to reduce symptom intensity and duration. Load up on citrus fruits, leafy green veg or get a high dose Vit C supplement. Zinc also helps boost the immune system and is found in meat, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products.

# 4 Sleep

Adequate sleep is the foundation of your whole immune system. While you sleep the hormone melatonin stimulates the creation of new immune cells so sleep is critical. Try to get 6-8 hrs a night.

# 5 Exercise

You need to get those muscles working to produce chemicals that stimulate the thymus gland (involved in production and functioning of immune cells). Cardiovascular fitness is also essential for strong, healthy lungs. The lymphatic system relies on muscle movement to circulate immune cells around the body too. Exercise also produces endorphins which will make you feel better and reduce stress.

# 6 Drink

Hydration is vital as it keeps the mucus membranes in your respiratory tract moist which means they can trap the germs and prevent them entering your cells. so drink up!

# 7 Reduce stress

Stress increases cortisol production, which weakens our immune system. A lot of the covid-19 coverage is creating mass-hysteria so if you’re feeling anxious steer clear of the news/social media – take a walk, read a book, call a friend, play with your kids, whatever you do to relax.

Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to leave this one off – wash your hands.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx