Three Diet and Fitness Plans You May Want To Try by Jennifer Dawson

Not everyone likes the idea of following a specific plan to lose weight or get fit, but others are reliant upon it. A plan can help focus your goals and get you there more quickly and there are hundreds of options on the market. Obesity rates in the UK outstrip the rest of Europe and finding a plan, a sport or a nutritional programme which suits your needs can really be the start of the change needed to beat these statistics.

Food is absolutely key to any fitness regime. From proper meal planning to finding and recognising those foods which are problematic for you can really help in your journey. Having a specific plan or regime to stick to can be a step in the right direction, as can actually learning how to diet, which many people struggle with.

Tried and Tested Diet and Fitness Plans

It is no exaggeration to say there are hundreds of diet plans to choose from. Many comprehensive diet and fitness programmes are designed with the average person in mind while others are tailored to specific groups.

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Here are just three you may want to consider if you’re looking for a structured approach to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle:

Cruise Control Diet

Designed with fat loss in mind the Cruise Control Diet really makes you think about what you’re putting into your body. As with all structured programmes you need to simply follow it step by step without missing a single stage and you’ll get the results you want. The Cruise Control plan encourages us to “eat natural” and restrict foods which cause inflammation and bloating such as processed and packaged food. One of the bonuses with this plan is that it recognises our need for “cheat meals” and builds them into the plan in a sensible and manageable way.

Whole Body Vibrations Workouts

If you regularly use the gym or have even just been a couple of times you’ll have seen the vibration machines. Using power plates and other similar technology it is possible to tone and work on specific areas of your body. Described as passive exercise these kinds of work out are dependent on the vibrations as much as where you position yourself and they can be a gentle way of getting into exercise if you’re unsure where to start, or particularly self-conscious.

 

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Fat Loss Factor Diet and Fitness Programme

The Fat Loss Factor Programme is the creation of Dr Charles Livingston. It is a structured, stage-based programme which involves some degree of detox to get you started and then a more relaxed approach from then on. It has a loose basis around Low GI foods and focuses on ensuring you fill up on good quality lean proteins and fats.

Choosing a diet plan isn’t for everyone but if you are the kind of person who likes to follow rules, it could be your best bet at achieving the lifestyle you’re looking for.

 

Jennifer x

8 Cooking Tools That Make Cooking Easier and Healthier by Dom from standingmixers.com

The need to maintain a healthy diet is on the rise, and it’s especially important when there are so many easy ways to get fast food or other foods that are lacking in nutrition. One way to help combat this is to have cooking tools that make healthy meals easier to make. If it’s easy to do, it becomes less of a struggle to try to come up with healthy meals. This article is going to go over 8 tools that can help you cook healthier meals with ease.

 

Slow Cooker

 

Prepping and cooking a healthy meal can take time, and that’s time you may not have if you work all day long or otherwise spend a lot of time on the go. A slow cooker is an excellent tool to help solve this problem because it allows you to prep food when you can, and then add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work.

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You’ll be able to come home to a cooked meal, which will make it a lot easier to avoid stopping by a fast food restaurant on the way home. If you get a larger one, slow cookers can also be used to cook up a lot of food at once, which you can then freeze and store to eat throughout the week.

 

Indoor Grill

 

The most helpful aspect of an indoor grill is that it’s able to drain grease away from the food you’re cooking rather than sitting in a pan, soaking in that grease. This can help even the greasiest foods to become a little bit healthier. It’s certainly not going to transform a burger into vegetables, but being able to enjoy the meat without the grease is a huge benefit in itself.

 

Many indoor grills have easy presets for various kinds of food that can help you to ensure it gets thoroughly cooked regardless of whether you’re grilling a burger or a chicken breast. Typically, these grills are easy to use, all you have to do is plug them in and get cooking!

 

Blender

 

Blenders can help you with making a number of things, from smoothies to salsas, soups and more without you having to worry about doing a lot of chopping. Cutting up a lot of vegetables and fruit can be time consuming, but a blender makes it a quicker experience.

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Smoothies are great to make with a blender

It also allows you to find ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet. For example, some people like to blend some kale into their smoothies so that they can enjoy the health effects of kale with the taste of their favorite fruits. A quality blender can have various settings from chopping to liquifying, which makes it a highly versatile tool.

 

Digital Food Scale

 

One of the biggest issues with the eating habits of many people today is the portion size. Portion sizes keep getting bigger and bigger when the best idea is to seek out moderation and balance. A digital food scale can help you achieve that balance by ensuring that you consume only the serving size you want, depending on your own nutritional needs. That way, you don’t have to try to guess at how much of something you’re making. This is especially helpful for meat, which is not very easy to measure in any way other than by weight.

 

Some added benefits are that typically, digital food scales aren’t very expensive and only require one or two AAA batteries to run. They are a little tool that can go a long way towards making healthy eating easier.

 

Steamer

 

A steamer is a great tool to have if you want to eat more vegetable and prefer them cooked rather than raw, or want a combination of cooking styles at your disposal. With a steamer, you won’t need any oil or other things to keep the vegetables from sticking. In small amounts, oils and other flavoring additions can be useful but it can also be great to avoid them when possible.

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Steamed veggies are more likely to be healthier than those that are cooked in a pan or with a roast. They can also be an easy go to if you want something simple from time to time like rice paired with your favorite veggies.

 

Oil Mister

 

An oil mister is a useful tool that helps you to use just enough oil to keep whatever you’re cooking from sticking to the pan without coating it in too much oil. This can help with cutting down on unnecessary calories that can come from those oils. When you’re trying to eat more healthfully, it can be helpful to cut down on calories that you may not even realize you’re consuming because they are just side products that you use with your regular meal.

 

It’s also often easier to cut down on these empty calories because it’s something that is less noticeable in your day to day cooking anyway. The oil mister may seem like a luxury item, but it can actually help a lot with making cooking oils last longer by using less of them.

 

Food Processor

 

Much like a blender, a food processor can help with adding fruits and vegetables to your diet in easier ways. While blenders work well for soups and smoothies, a food processor can be great for dips, dressings or even just chopping up some vegetables to add to a recipe. In some food processors, you can also keep the prepped food separated easier, because each mixing container comes with a lid that allows you to easily store any leftovers without having to dirty another dish.

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Energy balls are great to make with a food processor

They can also come in a variety of sizes, which can allow you to chop small amounts or, if you choose, you can also use some food processors to make smoothies or mixed drinks and use larger mixing containers more suitable for sharing. They’re a highly useful, versatile tool that can make many different kinds of food prep a lot easier.

 

Pressure Cooker

 

Pressure cookers are known to cook more quickly, which can be highly convenient when you don’t have a lot of time to cook an extravagant meal. Because of the quick cooking time, it can help things like vegetables hold in more of their nutrients.

 

When using a pressure cooker, you get the best of both worlds if you prefer cooked vegetables, because you’ll get the cooked flavor with more of the nutrients that would otherwise get cooked out of the food. This will make it a lot easier to enjoy cooked carrots, asparagus and other vegetable favorites in a shorter timeframe and in a healthier fashion.

 

Conclusion

 

Each of the tools in this list are useful in different ways, for different purposes. You may find that you end up needing all of them to create healthy meals sooner or later or there may be just a few that you come to rely on regularly. It’s all going to be up to your own personal preferences and budget. In any one of these tools, you’ll surely find something that will be able to allow you to cook healthy meals easily, making it much more convenient to maintain a nutritious diet.

Ginger and Apple Skillet Cake

A moist and tender dark cake baked with molasses and spices, topped with Oppo salted caramel ice-cream; perfect to welcome in the colder months.

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Serves 1
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20g almond/ coconut flour
  • 20g buckwheat flour
  • 20g vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp each; cinnamon, ginger
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml egg whites
  • 100ml milk (I used almond)
  • 1 apple, sliced.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to180C and grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients EXCEPT for the apple.
  3. Pour the mix in to the skillet and top with the apple slices,
  4. Cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Top with Oppo icecream!

Raw Nutella Brownies..

These are my favourite guilt-free treat. The hazelnuts give them a rich, indulgent feel, which, combined with the energy-boosting raw cacao powder, will keep you coming back for more after just one bite. IMG_9680

Serves 6

You need:

  • 25g Chocolate Protein Powder,
  • 35g Cacao Powder,
  • Pinch of Salt,
  • 150g of Hazelnuts,
  • 150g Dates,
  • 3tbsp melted coconut oil.

 

Method:

1. In a blender or food processor, blend the hazelnuts for 3 minutes then add the dates, salt, protein powder and cacao. Slowly add the coconut oil as the mixture is blending. Allow this to mix for a few minutes.

2. Once the mixture is totally blended together, use a spatula to scrape the mixture into a square cake tin or baking dish.

3. Put the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until you want to serve it.

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes by @SuperHealthySteph

These pancakes are moist, delicious, fluffy and packed full of warm spices. They are perfect for the cold winter mornings, but can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert with maple syrup and chopped walnuts.
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Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 40g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 40g Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp All Spice (or more, if you fancy!)
  • 200ml Almond Nut Milk (or any other)
  • 1tsp Agave Or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 100g Pumpkin steamed and mashed (or Pumpkin Purée)

Method: 

  1. Chop up the pumpkin flesh into chunks and steam until soft and able to mashed. I used a microwave tubberware steamer which takes approx 6 mins. (Or skip this step if using pumpkin purée)
  2. Mix all pancakes ingredients, including the mashed pumpkin, until thoroughly combined – use a food processor to speed up this process and for a smooth batter.
  3. Heat 1tsp coconut oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat and begin with approx 1/6 of the pancakes batter. Heat until bubbles form, and flip to cook for another minute or two. Repeat for the rest of the mixture, adding coconut oil to the pan as required.
  4. Serve and enjoy

Find Steph’s recipe on her blog here too:

http://superhealthysteph.com/recipes/breakfasts/pumpkin-pancakes-spice-sugared-pecans/

Present shopping for fitness lovers…

Happy October. I’m kinda proud of myself for doing this post already.. cos yeah, Christmas seems like a lifetime away, but with the way this year has sped by, it will soon be upon us. As a fitness fanatic myself, I know that fitness gifts will definitely please people like myself. However, if fitness isn’t your forte, then this post is here to help! So, read on to find out more!

  1. Sweaty Betty/ Lulu-lemon gift voucher; although this seems like quite a boring idea, there is so much to choose from on these websites that allowing the person you are giving the gift to to choose their present, takes a lot of pressure off of yourself and gives them the opportunity to decide!
  2. Adidas Ultra Boost trainers; I LOVE MINE and now feel that no other trainers will suffice and by that I mean NO OTHER TRAINERS. They look cooooool, they’re super bouncy to workout in (I mean, they got me box jumping) and they come in so many different colours! adidasMedia
  3. Workout bands; no gym, no problem. These bands are ultra portable and mean you can do a muscle burning workout wherever you are! They’re cheap too, so a great stocking filler! Unlike cumbersome weights, they won’t clutter up your home and there is much less danger of injury from dropping them. Another one of those fitness gifts that is incredibly adaptable to different situations, resistance bands can be used to focus on specific muscle groups, to mirror sporting manoeuvres and in conjunction with dumbbells.
  4. ‘Healthy’ cookbooks; there are SO many on the market and they all show great, versatile ways of using simple ingredients. They aid with meal prep to help reach fitness goals and can allow for people to strive to head in the right direction after the Christmas chaos. I love Clean Eating Alices books, the Body Coach’s books, Madeline Shaw includes some brilliant recipes in her recipe books anddddd so many more!
  5. Health food supplements; I’m talking protein powders, BCAA’s (try Women’s best), Pre-workouts. You name it, the fitness friend/ girlfriend will want it! A lovely brand is whey box for protein; a monthly subscription of multiple flavours of whey protein. If its vegan protein you’re looking for, MissFits Nutrition are great!
  6. Head Phones; I love Sudio Sweden or any that are noise cancelling. Head phones are great as they really help you get in the zone when you are in the gym!
  7. Heart rate monitor; I have a Garmin watch and LOVE it! It shows me exactly when I am pushing myself! Whatever the sport a heart rate monitor can give you a greater insight into you cardiac performance, allowing you to push yourself to the limit and even map your fitness as your heart gets used to strenuous exercise.
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    I love the Garmin ForeRunner 35! Great for tracking runs and workouts! 
  8. Kettlebells; home workouts are the best. You can get a sweat on whenever and wherever you fancy. Kettlebells make for a great total body workout and can reallt torch the calories.
  9. A yoga mat; The amount of people taking part in yoga sessions has dramatically increased in recent years, with classes seemingly popping up everywhere. The only equipment you need is a mat, either a cheap one from a supermarket or a rather more luxury one like the one pictured. While not usually an aerobic activity, yoga does improve flexibility, muscle strength and provides a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of modern life. I personally LOVE my Lulu Lemon mat.
  10. A gym bag; this means you can travel to and fro the gym in style. I love Sweaty Betty and Lulu Lemon bags, however, Active in style have some great, slightly more affordable bags.
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The Sweaty Betty Lux Bag is my favourite! 

Raw Cherry Bakewell Bites…

I LOVE cherry bakewells; they remind me of spending the summer and eating lots of my cake with my Gran! On that note, I just had to make a healthier alternative!

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Serves 12

Preparation time 1 hour

Cooking time None!

Ingredients

  • 130g of dried dates,
  • 100g of oats,
  • 70g of raw honey (or sweetener of choice),
  • 40g of chia seeds,
  • 100g of fresh cherries,
  • 100g of maple syrup (you could also use more honey),
  • Almond extract,
  • 50g each of almond and coconut flour.

Method:

  1. Using Clingfilm, line 12 holes in a muffin tray!
  2. Start by making your chia jam; simply mix together the cherries and 20g of the sweetener and then pop in the microwave for 1 minute. Now mash the cherries with a fork before mixing in the chia seeds. Leave this mix to gel whilst you do the other stages.
  3. Now make the base; in your blender, pop in the dates, oats and 50g of the sweetener and blend until well combined.
  4. Using a teaspoon, put a generous teaspoon in each of the 12 muffin holes before levelling them out. Pop the tray in the fridge.
  5. Now, to make the frangipane layer, in a mixing bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, 100g of syrup and the almond extract. Do this until it is almost dough like in texture; you may need to add some water.
  6. Take your bases out of the fridge, spread over the frangipane and then flatten it out. Get your chia jam and spread a layer of this over the top!
  7. ENJOY!
  8. Store in the fridge!

Brookies… (Guest recipe by @cleanleanbakes)

Brookies I hear you say?! Brookies are a genius combination of cookies and brownie! Two of my favourite desserts combined…. what’s not to love?! What’s even better…….each Brookie contains 11g Protein and less than 150 calories. The combination of the rich soft brownie with the soft gooey cookie I promise is one you don’t want to miss. This recipe is both dairy free and gluten free.

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Ingredients:

For the cookies:

70g Cashew Butter (could use another nut butter)

30g Vanilla Protein Powder

2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar

1 egg

3 Tbsp dairy free chocolate chips

 

For the brownie:

30g chocolate Protein Powder

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar

1 egg

20g Ground Almonds

30ml Almond Milk

Tbsp Coconut oil (melted)

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180oc and line a baking tin with baking paper

2. Combine all the ingredients for the cookies in one bowl until the consistency is like cookie dough.

3. In a second bowl combine all the ingredients for the brownie to a similar consistency as the cookie dough. If its too dry add a splash of water.

4. Pour the brownie mixture into the tin and follow with the cookie mixture on top

5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (if you prefer your cookies crispy rather than gooey leave in for longer)

6. Leave to cool slightly then slice into squares,

 

Enjoy xx

 

Strawberry and Coconut Cookies…

I can’t quite believe how fast this year is going, how is it October already?

Anyway, these fruity, summery cookies are here to put those thoughts at ease and allow you to reminisce about warmer, sunnier days.

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Ingredients:

– 100g of oatbran,

– 30 g of dessicated coconut,

– 10g of coconut flour,

– 30g of coconut whey protein,

– 10g of unflavoured casein (could be subbed for more coconut flour),

– 100ml of egg whites,

– 10g of sweetener,

– 60ml of apple juice,

-50g of diced strawberries,

-4 strawberries, halved and cut in to heart shapes (if that is what you fancy!)

Method:

  1. Simply mix all of the dry ingredients together and then add in the wet.
  2. Make eight tablespoon full size mounds on a greased baking tray, flatten out and then add the strawberry halves.
  3. Bake in the oven at 160C for 13 minutes (or until browned).

Enjoy!

Hannah x

Hannah x

How to feel good? 3 easy steps… (Guest post by Just Josi Health)

We all want to feel good right? But sometimes it’s easy to feel down and we just don’t know why. Sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a negative rut and can’t explain what has caused it but we just know it needs to stop. I’ve found a couple of things really help me if I’m feeling this way and they may be easier to implement in your life than you realise.

  1. Self-care

This is so underrated and I know so many people struggle to find the time to make this a priority but as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Giving yourself time to recharge is so important and comes in a variety of ways for different people – personally if I have a nice long shower, moisturise from head to toe I use the Aveeno moisturiser and honestly it cannot be beaten!), put some amazing hair treatment in and sit on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea.

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I’ll either just put some nice music on or watch vlogs on Youtube to switch off my brain from any stresses. Even just one afternoon of this every couple of weeks is enough to keep me going, but I think it’s important we all keep an eye on ourselves and make sure we know when to take a break as everyone is different!

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  1. Unfollow negativity

This may sound a little controversial but I really don’t think it is talked about enough. Not everyone is compatible with everyone, it’s not meant to be that way, as they say you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. It is so easy to compare ourselves to things we see, especially on social media, so if seeing someone’s posts is constantly getting you down, what is stopping you from removing that negative influence? They may not even mean to do it but that doesn’t mean you should continue to feel down as a result of their posts or comments. Even if it is someone you used to be friends with, if their presence in your life is a constant negative then have the strength to move on. Neither of you need that in your lives, in the long run it is better for everyone.

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  1. Compliment someone

There is no better feeling than making someone’s day and I’m sure that the more happiness you spread, the more you feel it. Of course it’s normal to have down days but if you make a conscious effort to smile and pay compliments, it will become so natural and you will find yourself making people’s day regularly without even meaning to. That positivity will rapidly spread and you will be surrounded with a group of people all lifting each other up which is bound to make you feel good!

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What do you do to feel good?

J x

Outfit by Sweaty Betty

You can pick up the Aveeno range at Hello Skin (use code HELLOJOSI for a discount!)

Photography by Anna