The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet
We all know about the importance of iron from watching Popeye as kids. While downing a can of spinach won’t necessarily give you superhuman strength, it does play an important role in healthy growth and development. It helps to make up the hemoglobin in your bloodstream, which is essential to transporting oxygen around your body.
Without enough iron in your diet, you’ll find yourself feeling fatigued, weak,and irritable. It may even lead to more serious conditions such as anemia, especially amongst women. As many as 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women don’t have a high enough level of iron in their bloodstream to support healthy functioning.
Luckily, it’s not hard to increase your iron intake. There are plenty of tasty and affordable sources of iron that you can make sure to include in your diet.
Eat More Meat
Heme iron is found in muscle tissue and is easy for the body to absorb. All meats contain heme iron, though some are a better source than others. Shellfish such as clams, mollusks, and muscles contain more iron in a single serving than you necessarily need in a day. Fish are also a decent source of heme iron, alongside beef, pork, and poultry. Chicken liver is a particularly good source of iron and tastes delicious in pate form.
Snack on Seeds and Beans
Nonheme iron is found in plants, and while it’s a little bit harder for the body to absorb, eating nonheme foods reduces the risk of accidentally consuming a toxic amount of iron. Cooked beans and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of iron that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well. In addition to iron, these foods also offer plenty of protein and fiber for healthy digestion which further balances the diet.
As mentioned earlier, spinach has long been known as a good source of nonheme iron. It’s best to eat spinach leaves raw in salads, smoothies, and other light dishes. Other leafy green vegetables can also give you the iron that you need. Kale, chard, broccoli, and more can provide you with some of your daily iron needs, but you’ll probably have to supplement them with other nutrient-rich foods as well.
Iron is an essential nutrient that’s important to include in your diet, especially for women. You can get iron from both meat and plant sources that also provide a host of other essential nutrients, keeping you feeling your very best.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The ingredients in this chocolate and parsnip brownie work beautifully together – I dare you to try it. The sweetness of the parsnip perfectly complements the rich, dark chocolate. Plus, if they have parsnip in, they surely count as one of your five a day, right?
Serves 8 Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10-15 minutes
150g of chopped parsnip,
50g of Doisy and Dam Chocolate (any will be fine for this),
120g of egg whites or two whole eggs,
50g of sweetener (I used a granulated one but honey, or similar, would work fine),
100g of Buckwheat flour,
100ml of milk (I used a strawberry flavoured one),
2 tablespoons of cacao powder,
½ a teaspoon of baking powder.
Grease and line a small baking tin (I actually used a loaf tin),
Pre heat the oven to 160C,
In you blender, pop all of the ingredients.
Blend until they are well combined,
Now pour the mixture in to your prepared tin and pop in to the oven for around 30 minutes or until the brownies are firm to touch,
Take out of the tin and then leave to cool on a cooling rack,
Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut in to squares.
Like many of us, I’m definitely not immune to the 3pm munchies. When work is flat out, my stress levels have crept up and, I get HANGRY… This is torturous… but, thankfully, @bitesbybecs sent me a recipe for a great chocolate alternative that can really help curb that desire for a naughty mid-afternoon snack.
Enter the nutty chocolate protein ball – jam-packed full of hunger-abating good stuff and super easy to whip up.
Makes 6 protein balls.
* 30g rolled oats
* 25g cashew nuts
* 25g almonds
* 25g hazelnuts
* 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
* 30g raisins
* 1 tbsp. cacao powder
* 1 tbsp. honey
* 25g protein powder (either chocolate, vanilla or unflavoured)
* Desiccated coconut for rolling the protein balls in
1. Add dry ingredients to a food processor and mix until well combined.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to form a sticky dough consistency. If the mixture looks on the dry side then add a little more melted coconut oil.
3. Remove from the food processor and carefully roll into balls, approximately 1 inch thick. Roll the protein balls in desiccated coconut.
4. Store in the refrigerator. These protein balls will last for up to a week. Enjoy!!
If you like this recipe, then follow Becs, a BSc Nutrition student, on her instagram or twitter account.
When a friend asks ‘can you bring a dessert?’ it’s always a difficult choice, do we take one of our delicious raw cheesecakes or this divine (no bake) chocolate superfood loaded torte. It’s tricky as they are both a popular choice. They are brilliant because we don’t have to skip dessert and the other guests have no idea how many health benefits there are to these scrumptious desserts! In fact they’ve no idea they are healthy at all – truly satisfying.
Our Guilt free Chocolate torte is filled with super ingredients, sometimes we don’t know whether to eat it or use it as a face mask! The joy of a raw nut pastry base and cacao filled centre is that the torte remains crammed full of fabulous nutrients.
Flan case -depending on the depth of the dish this recipe will fill a 20 to 23cm dish.
Whisk by hand, electric or Food mixer
No bake base
300g Almonds or nut mix – split equally between Brazil, Almond, Cashew nuts.
80g /one cup Desiccated Coconut
1 cup of Dates stoned (soaked if they are slightly dry)
3 heaped tbsp. of Coconut Oil gently melted
3 tbsp. of Rice Malt Syrup
3 tbsp. of Coconut Oil gently melted
100g of Raw Cacao Powder
1 tsp. of Raw Vanilla Powder
1 tsp. of Lucuma Powder (optional)
1. Line the flan dish with cling film or coconut oil (we find cling film easier, particularly if its not a loose bottom dish)
2. In the food processor put all the nuts and blitz until they make a crumble like crumb texture. Add desiccated coconut and pulse a few times.
3. Add dates, pour in coconut oil and then blitz until they are all blended in.
4. Base mix is ready when you can grab a handful, squeeze it in your fist and it stays firmly bound together.
5. Then tip half of the mix into the flan dish, start to firmly press the mix down, to about 0.5cm thick. Do the same with the remaining mix so that it reaches the top edge of the dish.
6. Place the base into the fridge until the filling is ready.
7. For the filling crack all three eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk until light and creamy colour. We use a food mixer or electric hand held whisk.
8. Melt the coconut oil gently in a medium pan.
9. Once the oil is melted add the rice malt syrup and sieve in the vanilla, lucuma (if using) and cacao powder.
10. Stir together then, tip into bowl with the eggs and whisk until completely blended together.
11. Then remove base from fridge; pour mix into base, using a spatula make sure you remove all the delicious mix from the bowl. The top of the torte should be flat.
12. Carefully place the torte into the fridge. Leave until set.
We love to serve this torte with fresh mint leaves and berries
We are two Cheshire based home cooks who love to create healthy and delicious recipes. Our recipes are for easy everyday nourishment, entertaining, fun, energy, delight and temptation but our priority is great family food.
We love sharing our food at friendly home based supper clubs, weekly we can be found testing our recipes on the public at the brilliant Altrincham Market. We are passionate foodie bloggers – currently redeveloping our website whilst busy creating recipes for brands both large and small all from the Clean Supper Club kitchen. Claire & Sarah
Ever heard of Pokē? No, me neither until just last week. This is the latest trend on London’s street food scene, having recently been brought across the pond from California thanks to Pokē – a new foodstand trading with Kerb streetfood and definitely one of my new absolute favorites. Pokē, pronounced Poh-Keh meaning “to slice or cut” is the Hawaiian answer to sushi; given that I am a self-confessed raw-fish fanatic, this is all I’ve been able to think about since I first heard of it.
Pokē is a mix of raw marinated fish using both salmon, ahi tuna or a market special fish, along with a mix of fresh pickles, black rice and wakame seaweed salad. Given that the name itself means to slice or cut; you can imagine that the way everything is prepared is very important to the success of the dish. The fish of your choice – when I visited I chose the ahi tuna – is cut into small cubes; the way it is cut allows the texture and freshness of the fish to really come through. This is placed on a bed of perfectly cooked black rice which added a really nice texture, but to my surprise had been cooked together with a little garlic which added a good punch of flavour.
Then came the wakame seaweed, carrot and edamame salad. Whilst I love the texture of seaweed, which is often soft and delicate, others often are less keen on it; however, for those who don’t like the idea of seaweed, fear not, each of the elements in the salad is perfectly dressed and provides a really strong crunch and balance to the overall dish. A multitude of different pickles is placed on top, not only adding the most incredible array of colour to the dish, but an acidic kick and freshness. You can tell each of the pickles is freshly made; none of them have the overly strong acidic taste which pickles often develop when they sit around. Each of the vegetables is cut slightly differently and is pickled in a different way from one another, so with every mouthful you get different combinations of flavours, which really does make the dish an absolute pleasure to eat and leaves you wanting more.
Along with your own choice of fish and basic pickles, you are also given a choice of extras – pickles and mayos to really pimp your Pokē. I chose Kimkchi because it’s another of those flavours that is highly addictive, to the point that whenever I see it as an option on a menu it’s very hard to say no to. Importantly, however, like the other pickles, it was not overly strong because whilst it does have an addictive flavour it can be overpowering. Finally, I chose the wasabi mayo as the final element to my perfect Pokē which was the milder option of the two. The other mayo on offer was a sriracha mayo and whilst I do love a hit of chili in most of the dishes I eat I wanted to try the pokē in as natural a state as possible this first time.
Another reason I absolutely loved this food stall was the people behind it. Thankfully when I went, it was a little quieter and I was able to talk to Guy who is the man responsible for bringing this dish into the lives of Londoners. Given that I was trying to make my own pokē for the blog, one of the main issues I asked him about was where he found the wakame seaweed (I couldn’t find it when I made the recipe so I used spring greens which worked really well). However, Guy told me they just use the dry version and reconstitute it, but he is currently in contact with some seaweed farmers down in Cornwall to try and get fresh seaweed, which I can imagine will only bring more flavour to the dish. Similarly, he told me that whilst he loves all the ingredients they use, because they are so fresh, he particularly loves the salmon because, not only is it incredibly fresh but it is also incredibly local. This is what I love about food markets as a whole; not only do they do the most fantastic things with the ingredients they have, but they work hard to make sure their produce is as locally sourced as possible and combining international inspiration and fresh British produce can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I love that Pokē want to show people that it is possible to do something different with fresh British ingredients and that made me enjoy their food and their ethos all the more.
As with any dish involving raw ingredients the quality has to be the best, but I especially loved the balance Pokē has managed to achieve. None of the flavour of any singular ingredient is lost and all you get is fresh ingredients working perfectly together in harmony to give you a spectacular finished dish. I implore you to go and see them to try it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
First make your pickles, slice the radishes as thin as you can or you could use the slicer attachment on a food processor if you have one. Then, in a small bowl, mix equal parts of the sugar and rice vinegar and leave the radishes to sit in it for around 10 minutes. I found that this still means the radishes will be crunchy but will have taken on some of the acidity from the vinegar.
While this is happening, take the skin off your salmon with a filleting knife, or you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you. As mentioned earlier it is very important that the salmon is of the highest quality; in my experience, while it might be ok to ask at a supermarket fish counter, they often don’t recommend using their fish for this kind of thing for safety reasons. It is better to go to a local fishmonger because they will know more about their product and you will get a better dish overall. I got mine from The Chelsea Fishmonger http://www.thechelseafishmonger.co.uk
Then slice the salmon with a very sharp knife into strips or cubes. Make the marinade: in a small bowl mix 4tbs of soy sauce with 2 tbs of mirren, this balances the saltiness of the soy sauce with sweetness from the mirren. Leave the fish to marinate for as long as possible before serving.
Put the rice on to boil for about 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. While the rice is boiling put the sesame seeds in a dry pan to toast, you will get a much more intense nutty flavour, but make sure you watch them closely as they burn really easily. Toss or stir them occasionally to ensure an even colour.
Once everything is marinating and the rice is cooking, take the spring greens off the stalks, rolling the leaves up to look like cigars, then slice them across into tiny ribbons, peel and slice the avocado and finely chop the chili and coriander.
When all the elements are ready, season to taste with a dressing made up of more soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and lime. Then all that is left to do is to put it all together in a big bowl garnish with finely chopped chili, coriander and sesame seeds and get stuck in!
Bodybuilding? A bro sport exclusively for the biggest guy in the gym or a diverse sport for dedicated men and women?
I obviously agree with the latter as a female bodybuilder competing in the bike fitness category. In this blog I’m going to outline what Bodybuilding is, what competing involves and how a bodybuilder approaches nutrition.
What is Bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is the use of resistance training to develop and grow your muscles. There are varying levels of muscle required for different categories, the three female categories are
They are each marked according to different criteria regarding muscle size, muscle shape, definition, leanness, symmetry and stage presence. On stage you are required to perform a posing routine to show off your physique in the best possible way (This is by far the hardest part I think… Posing hurts)
Everyones ‘prep’ is different some people diet for 20 weeks, some people just 8. It all depends on how much weight/fat mass you need to loose. Generally during the diet people will often eat fairly frequently 5-6 meals ensuring a protein feed in each meal so they are continually fuelling their muscles. Food is based on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats (Just as any healthy diet should be) Some people carb cycle, some people have ‘high’ and ‘low’ days but essentially you have to be in a calorie deficit. Refeed meals can be implemented to spike certain hormone levels and also to maintain adherence to the diet. But I believe that in those dieting weeks the occasional treat can still be incorporated, the closer you get and the lower your calories the less this can happen though.
You’ve probably heard of al sorts of crazy things about this week in particular. The 7 days before your competition are important for getting your muscles full so they appear better on stage and also ensure you look ‘shredded’ and the abs are popping as they say. This week tends to be more bland food with Chicken, White Fish, green beans and rice firmly on the menu. Show day gets as exciting as rice cakes and peanut butter though and we all love peanut butter !
In the offseason a certain amount of fat mass needs to be restored to put your body into a healthier state. Some people incase their calories slowly and some people quickly go back to their maintenance and gradually into a surplus. In the offseason the aim is to be in a calorie surplus where you can build muscle. I follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of my food comes from whole food ingredients and 20% comes from more processed slightly more delicious foods. I bake my own versions of classic desserts like doughnuts, brownies and cakes and this helps keep my sweet tooth satisfied.
Overall in the run up to a competition yes your diet does need to be on point, it requires dedication ,time and planning. The offseason allows you to live a more balanced healthy lifestyle that is balanced and more sustainable, Bodybuilding is not 12 months of Chicken and broccoli being hungry and depriving yourself.
Bodybuilding is not for everyone and i understand that, we all have our own interests, our own sports and our own ways of being active. I hope this has given you an insight into the bodybuilding world to see what it is and what goes on off stage.
Leisha is a health and fitness blogger who creates lots of healthy recipes. Leisha is studying sport science at university and shares her knowledge to dispel nutrition myths. Having recently competed in bikini fitness, and also studying to be a PT Leisha has lots of different aspects to her fitness journey. To see more from Leisha, visit her blog, instagram, twitter and facebook.