- 80g whole chia seeds
- 20g cocoa powder
- 125ml oat milk
- 20ml maple syrup
- 30g Pulsin Cacao Maca Supershake Energy Blend
- 30g Peanut Butter of choice
- 375ml water
- To serve...peanut butter, dark chocolate shavings, yogurt or non dairy alternative of choice!
- Place all ingredients into a large jug. Give everything a good stir, place into the fridge and leave to sit for one hour. Stir up to ensure the chia seeds aren’t clumping up and then return to the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
- Place the mixture into a high speed blender; you will not be able to create a smooth pudding in a food processor.
- Blend for 5 minutes until the pudding is thick and smooth.
- Divide between serving glasses or bowls and top with desired toppings. Can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.
Inflammation can affect us in many different ways, from swollen joints to bruising and even immobility. These are some foods which are proven to have anti-inflammatory properties and could help to make you healthier.
Turmeric is the main ingredient used in curry powder and is often used as a natural colourant due to its vibrant yellow hue. Studies have found that turmeric is more effective than a placebo at reducing inflammation and swelling in arthritis patients, so it's useful for more than just brightening up your food! It is the yellow pigment curcumin that gives turmeric its meany health benefits and while more research still needs to be done, it's fair to say that turmeric is worth adding to your diet for its anti-inflammatory properties.
There are lots of easy ways you can add turmeric to your daily diet, even if you're not a big fan of curry! Health food brand LoveRaw have a delicious Turmeric Chai Latte as one of their many vegan, plant-based offerings which is a delicious way to subtly add this spice to your day and reap its many health benefits.
Garlic is often referred to as a 'superfood' due to its numerous health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and guarding against common illnesses like the flu. However, garlic is also another food which can reduce inflammation and help you to recover better after exercise. In the same way that taking a cold shower after a workout can reduce swelling and improve recovery, anti-inflammatory foods like garlic can work with your body to reduce pain and immobility. Research shows that synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs can have negative side effects, but garlic actually has many positive benefits such as being anti-bacterial, anti-rheumatic, and indeed anti-inflammatory.
Garlic is highly potent when raw, but unfortunately cooking it in order to make it more palatable does destroy many of the compounds which give it the best health benefits. There are ways to get raw garlic into your diet, such as taking garlic pills, which can be easier on the gut and prevent dreaded garlic breath!
Ginger is another highly potent and flavoursome food which has many health benefits when consumed raw. Not only does it have proven anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be used as a guard against nausea, with people historically drinking ginger ale to calm an upset stomach. According to research, ginger is superior to a placebo in treating vomiting, nausea, and inflammation. It has even been found to reduce the effects of morning sickness in pregnant women.
While it may be tempting to start eating more than your fair share of sticky ginger cake or tasty gingerbread, it is best to get this superfood into your diet in its raw form. An easy way to do this is by drinking ginger-infused tea as this means you are not consuming too many extra calories and still reaping all its wonderful health benefits.
Studies have found that the acetic acid found in various types of vinegar not only reduces inflammation, it can even help with weight loss and prevent over-eating. Inflammation can be chronic if you are overweight or obese so the fact that consuming vinegar could potentially reduce both inflammation and over-eating makes it a win-win!
Vinegar is something that is fairly easy to introduce into your diet, such as sprinkling apple cider vinegar over salads or even just putting more vinegar on your chips, although this is of course not an ideal way to be more healthy!
Intermittent fasting is becoming one of the most popular methods to lose weight and for good reason. It has been used for centuries for both physical and spiritual reasons and has stood the test of time to become more than just a 'fad'. Some people swear by fasted cardio for fat loss while others utilise the principles of the 5:2 diet to help them shed the pounds. But when you fast, a lot more happens to your body than just weight loss. I gave fasting a go and here's what I discovered.
It was the easiest weight loss I've ever experienced
I really struggle with my weight due to, honestly, being so greedy and essentially addicted to food. I exercise a lot which helps, but I'm just not one of these people who can eat 'everything in moderation'. If I have a tub of ice cream, the whole thing is getting eaten. That's 1,000 calories in one sitting without a second thought. I've tried 'dieting' before but I know as well as the next person that fad diets don't work and that restricting your favourite foods day-in-day-out is just miserable and you end up gaining back all the weight when you snap.
The difference with fasting was that by fasting 2 days a week (following in the vein of the 5:2 diet), my overall weekly calories dropped without me having to really do much else. What amazed me was that by fasting for those 2 days, my control over food increased and I was able to stop eating so mindlessly on the days when I did eat.
I took it day by day and gradually reduced my intake of unhealthy foods (especially at the weekend). I'm fully aware that there's no point in fasting/restricting during the week only to eat back all the calories at the weekend. However, it's important to point out that I would have been eating those calories at the weekend anyway due to my lack of self control, so if I had also eaten more calories during the week, my weekly total would be much higher and I would keep gaining weight.
Fasting gave me an easy opportunity to reduce my weekly calories and gave me time to think about my unhealthy relationship with food rather than feeling like I had to restrict myself every single day and feel like I was 'on a diet'.
I had so much more free time
I spend a lot of time preparing my lunch for work and doing the washing up when I get home which can really feel like a chore. I chose to have my fasting days on days when I'm in the office (I sometimes work from home), which meant I saved a lot of time not having to think about what to have for lunch in advance, prepare it, and then hand-wash the Tupperware afterwards (putting plastic in a dishwasher is such a disaster!)
Not only did I save time on lunches, I was able to have around 20 more minutes in bed in the morning because I wasn't preparing and eating breakfast before work. It worked out well for me because I usually just eat lunch at my desk, so I didn't miss it when I was at work and it actually freed up my time to focus on something else.
I saved money
I am very conscious of my weekly expenditure and pay careful attention to my budgeting. However, I'm hugely guilty of spending way more money on food than I should. This includes the weekly grocery shopping as well as takeaways, going out to eat, and top-up shops (usually for unhealthy snacks when the craving hits in the evening). By fasting 2 days a week I saved a huge £30 ($40) a week! That's £120 ($170) extra at the end of the month to go towards more important things.
I learnt to control my impulses
I'm definitely guilty of eating when I'm not actually hungry. By fasting, I was able to re-learn how to listen to my body and understand the difference between real hunger and 'toxic hunger'. It also taught me to be patient and not give in to cravings as soon as they hit. Instead, I learnt to wait until I was actually hungry to eat and not just eat 'because it's dinner time' or because other people were eating.
I didn't get hangry
The hunger I experienced when I was fasting was totally different to the hunger I feel normally. It was something I was totally in control of and it was easier to handle emotionally because I knew why I was experiencing it as I was the one causing it. Rather than being hungry because there was no food available to me, or because I wasn't letting myself give in to a craving, or because I was just bored, I was able to block out the hunger and ignore it. My brain was able to tell my stomach, "Yes, you're empty. Get used to it." As such, I didn't experience any of the usual symptoms that come with being hungry, such as anger and frustration.
A new lifestyle
My overall experience with intermittent fasting was hugely positive in so many aspects that I will continue it indefinitely. As it is such a tried and tested lifestyle choice, it is something that can be sustained for a long time. It's important to point out that I never fasted for more than 24 hours at a time and I did not exercise on days when I was fasting. If you are going to try fasting, it's vital you do your research first and only do it if it suits you.
As a method for weight loss, it worked for me because I'm an 'all or nothing' sort of person and so I'd rather eat nothing at all than be able to eat but not eat what I want (hence the entire tub of ice cream example earlier). This was only my experience and it won't be the same for everyone.
If you suffer from a sensitive gut or often get painful stomach symptoms, forget a life on medication, you could benefit from a low FODMAP diet. But what is it? What does it mean? And which foods can you eat? We take a look.
What does FODMAP stand for?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oglio-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. These are the scientific terms used to refer to a class of carbohydrates which are highly likely to trigger digestive symptoms such as trapped wind, bloating, and stomach pain. Foods containing these FODMAPs are more likely to aggravate the gut, especially in sensitive people who suffer from conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis.
What foods contain FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are mostly found in various carbohydrates. The below foods are high in the various FODMAPs:
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Certain fruits, mainly mangoes, figs, and blackberries
Foods to avoid on a FODMAP diet
If you suffer from a sensitive gut and have chronic symptoms like bloating, gas, stomach pains, and an irritable bowel, you could benefit from following a low FODMAP diet. Additionally, if you suffer from a food intolerance such as Coeliac disease or a lactose intolerance, you could also benefit from following a low FODMAP diet.
When on a low FODMAP diet, you want to avoid high FODMAP foods. These include the above-mentioned foods like wheat, rye, dairy, and fruit. There are plenty of tasty and enjoyable low FODMAP foods that you can still eat, such as chives, chilli, mustard, ginger, and pepper.
Fruits that you should avoid on a FODMAP diet include mangoes, figs, and blackberries, however you can still enjoy bananas, blueberries, kiwis, and limes, all of which are low FODMAP fruits.
You should also avoid most legumes on a low FODMAP diet, however you can still enjoy brown rice, maize, oats, and quinoa.
Our bodies are designed to move and everyone should try to be active, even if you live an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Make sure you're getting these 5 important foods into your diet whether you're a triathlete, bodybuilder, or weekend warrior.
Top of the list for their many health benefits are eggs. This natural 'super food' sometimes gets a bad rap due to the high cholesterol levels, however a healthy dose of eggs in your daily diet coupled with regular exercise and living a generally healthy lifestyle is nothing bad at all.
Why are eggs good for you?
The reason eggs are so good for building muscle is because they are a 'complete protein' meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids, the ones that the human body can't produce itself, as well as 9 other non-essential amino acids. You can get around 13g of protein by eating two eggs which isn't a huge amount but will still be beneficial for building muscle.
Lean meat like turkey and chicken are fantastic foods for building muscle as they contain a high amount of protein and not much else; they have a very low carb and fat content and no nasties if they are not overly processed.
Why is turkey good for you? Why is turkey healthier than chicken?
Turkey has a marginally higher protein content than chicken – turkey on average has 29g of protein per 100g while chicken has 27g per 100g – and on average has fewer calories and a slightly lower fat content and so this means it is the poultry of choice for many bodybuilders. However, turkey can often be more expensive than chicken so really it's up to you as the differences in nutrition are minimal.
The white meat is lower in calories and fat than the dark meat so it's best to opt for the breast rather than leg if you can.
Grilled turkey breast served with vegetables is the ideal muscle-building meal and will also aid with fat loss as part of an overall healthy diet along with regular exercise.
When we think tuna, most people will think of canned tuna which has suffered a bad reputation n the past due to the fear that the elevated mercury levels can harm your health. However, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve your heart health and strengthen your immune system.
Why is tuna good for you?
Tuna is another food that is very rich in protein, delivering around 30g of protein per 100g which puts it above everything else on this list in terms of protein content. It is also rich in potassium which can lower your blood pressure as well as Vitamin B which strengthens your bones.
Tuna is popular in Asian cuisine and is very healthy and rich in protein.
The 'low fat' movement was hugely debunked by many scientists, bloggers, and anyone interested in being truly healthy. We now know that if a food is being marketed as 'low fat' it's probably high in sugar and/or various other nasty chemicals. However, Greek yogurt will always be a great option that is truly low in fat without any of the compromise.
Why is Greek yogurt good for you?
Greek yogurt is unique because it goes through a straining process to remove the whey which contains lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy. It is the removal of the whey that makes Greek yogurt taste so much sharper than other yogurts but it is also what makes it lower in sugar and therefore better for your health.
Unflavoured Greek yogurt with no added sugar or flavourings contains on average only around 60 calories per 100 g and 10 g of protein, so nearly as much as your two eggs with a tiny fraction of the cholesterol. Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and potassium, two nutrients which are great for building bone strength and keeping you healthy.
Due to the fact the lactose is strained out of Greek yogurt, it is one of the most easily digestible dairy products and can even be eaten by some people who need to follow a free-from diet.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove the lactose so it is healthier than regular yogurt, but be careful how you eat it as added sugar in toppings could undo its healthiness.
Not many people realise this but a truly healthy diet will feature two portions of fish and/or oily fish per week, of which salmon is a prime example.
Why is salmon good for you?
Oily fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent for heart health and the equally rich protein content will help with your muscle building endeavours. Salmon contains on average 20g of protein per 100g putting in the middle of the range on this list but still putting it in the 'high' category in general.