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Giveaway: Balancing Health and Wellbeing with Blackmores!

2 Dec

I was recently contacted by Blackmore’s to do a review of their new “Personal Health System”.  At first, I was a bit wary.  I get asked to do a lot of product reviews and I like to align myself only with things that I truly believe in and things that I think are relevant to mine and my reader’s interests.  So I had a quick squiz (yes, squiz, I’m standing by that word!) at the site and I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I saw!

Developed specifically for time-poor Australians, The Blackmores Personal Health System (PHS) takes Blackmores’ expert understanding of nature and science a step further, providing an individually tailored online health program which combines the latest interactive technology with personal support from Blackmores’ team of naturopaths.

Basically, it is a 360 degree holistic approach to health including menu plans, nutrition advice, fitness suggestions, and a community of support as well as a lot more. It gives time-poor people the opportunity to stay fit and healthy wherever they are, whenever they want, with the support they need.  Blackmores has also welcomed Asher Keddie (Australian actress and star of TV show OffSpring) as their inaugural PHS member and ambassador.

I decided to trial the Sport & Fitness Program as it was most relevant to my goals.   The first thing I did was get stuck into the Health Assessment which was VERY thorough!  I may have giggled at how many questions about pooh it asks but hey, a healthy pooh is very important!  😉  My overall score was 82/100 which is 14 points above the average of all females.   It went on to show the areas that are letting me down – vitality and digestive health being the main culprits.  But after having a chat to one of their wonderful naturopaths and being sent some awesome supplements to try, I’m pleased to report that these issues are no longer such a problem for me!  I’ll provide a review on these products in another post!

Once I had completed the assessment I started browsing the other areas of the program.  There was really nothing that it didn’t cover – it has everything!  It provides you with a menu plan, a workout plan, a food and workout diary, a My Body tracking system (where you can record PBs, your weight and measurements – SO motivating!), access to email your assigned naturopath whenever you see fit (my FAVOURITE feature) as well as an awesome resource library that has great articles on nutrition, exercise and healthy living.   There is also a great forum with over 308,000 members and growing!  I personally think that being a part of a community is highly beneficial to reaching your goals as it provides an invaluable amount of support and motivation.

I honestly can not speak highly enough about this system!  I have only covered the basics of it too, it offers so much more!  And lucky for you guys I have TWO FREE one-month passes to giveaway (valued at $49.95 each)!

To win just leave a comment below on why you think you are deserving to win this prize!  A winner will be drawn at random on Monday the 12th of December at approximately 9:00am EST.

Get in quick guys!  This is a great way to help you start your new year (and new you!) with a bang!

What I’m Eating Now

15 Aug

I get a lot of questions about what my meal plan is like and requests to share more recipes on the blog.   I wish I HAD more interesting recipes to share but I think I have come to the point where I am just eating the same types of foods, day in and day out, that I don’t think that I don’t think it is interesting enough to be blog worthy! I mean who wants to read that I had grilled chicken and steamed veg AGAIN for dinner?!

I am also conscious that people may feel they should mirror what I eat and this concerns me as diets need to be tailored to individual bodies and goals.  In other words, whilst I am giving you an idea of what my diet is like, I am not suggesting that you should follow it too (let’s face it, I’m not a nutritionist!).  But I will make more of an effort to post up any new recipes that I try and will also post up when my diet changes.  Which just so happens to be NOW.

As per my last couple of posts, I’m now eating what is termed a ‘re-comp’ style diet.  It’s working out well so far and the added carbohydrates are definitely giving my muscles a bit more ‘pump’ (don’t you just love body-building terms? ;)).   The only major changes that I have made to my diet is that I have added more healthy fats and more carbs to get to the macronutrients outlined by Jarrod when I got my Dexa scan done.

So, now my diet looks a bit like this:

Meal 1 (8.30am / 9am)

1/2 cup warm quinoa, skim milk, tsp of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon + 1 whole egg and 3 whites, scrambled

(I was having oats instead but they seem to make me really bloated and uncomfortable so I have taken them out)

Meal 2 (10.30am – pre-cardio)

Orange + 14 almonds + green tea

Meal 3 (12.30pm)

3/4 cup of brown rice (I am trialling brown rice again as I’m not sure if it is also brown rice that causes the bloated issue or if it was just the oats – if it’s brown rice I’ll switch to quinoa), garden salad, 180g tin of tuna in springwater, 1/4 avocado, drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Meal 4 (4.30pm / 5pm pre-workout)

1 scoop of whey protein isolate and 2 tsp of cacao powder (low carb, low cal, no sugar = win!) with skim milk + handful of pepitas

Meal 5 (7.00pm / 7.30pm)

Palm size lean protein (about 150g) and steamed greens (always using herbs, spices, garlic, lemon, chilli etc…)

Meal 6 (8.30pm / 9pm)

1/2 a cup of mashed sweet potato with 1/4 of low-fat cottage cheese sprinkled with nutmeg, cinnamon and a small drizzle of honey (this is DELICIOUS)

It was quite hard making the jump from about 1300 cals to 1900 cals.  I never thought eating MORE would be a problem but my god, it takes me about an hour to finish eating my lunch!  Which is a good thing as the slower you eat the easier it is for your body to digest the food thus keeping you fuller for longer.  I’m also starting to feel stronger and more energetic which is a HUGELY welcome feeling.

I’m going to give some time for my body to adjust to the new meal plan and training regime so I won’t be posting updated pics for another few weeks.  Here’s hoping this all goes to plan and I start to gain some sexy lean muscle!

I’m just going to leave this here, this is my dream body and my current screensaver on my phone.  It reminds me of what I am working towards and to never give up.

Amanda Latona - IFBB PRO

How do you remind yourself of your goals?

Review: Dietlicious

7 Jul

Recently I was contacted by Dietlicious who asked me if I would like to try their meal service.  My response?  Hell yes I would like to try your meal service!  So they VERY generously sent me a weeks worth of lunches and dinners to try.

What I love about Dietlicious is that it’s not a DIET.  There’s no heavy restrictions, just good quality real food that has been portion (very important!) and carb controlled.

Their meals taste absolutely delicious (hence their clever play on words – ‘dietlicious’) and very gourmet.  The philosophy they stick by is that you shouldn’t need to sacrifice taste to lose weight, you can still eat tasty (but healthy!) food – it’s just all about the portions in which you eat it!  I think this is very true for successful weight loss.

The meals are conveniently delivered straight to your doorstep and on top of frozen meals they also provide you with fresh salad ingredients and airlocked bags of fresh vegetables which you can add to any meal as you see fit.  Everything is labelled clearly and has heating instructions.  The ingredients and nutritional values are also clearly displayed.   You can read about what plans Dietlicious offers here.

Now, about the food!  My favourite meals were:

Chicken Cacciatore (373 calories)

Baby lamb fillets marinated in lemon, garlic + sumac, ready to grill (137 calories)

Honey Soy Chicken Noodles (429 calories)

I also had a couple of gorgeous curries that I can’t seem to find pictures of on the website, but trust me, they make a GOOD curry!  Even though the above were my favourites, I did thoroughly enjoy every meal they gave me.

The smaller serving sizes were a little hard to get used to at first (I’m used to a more generous serve of protein) but by the end of the week I was absolutely fine with it and even felt full at the end of each meal.  I have now carried over the smaller portion sizes into my own diet.

You can pick and choose the meals that you want delivered or you can just ask them to send you a variety, it’s up to you.   There’s also snack packs, fruit and breakfasts’ that you can add to your order.

Another thing that I found really cool is that they have husband/partner meals, larger serves of the same meal that you can order along with your meals so that your partner isn’t missing out and you get to eat the same thing at meal times!

Having tried another meal delivery service in the past, I can honestly say that this was far more superior in terms of taste, freshness, nutritional value and convenience.

So, if you are looking to lose weight yet still get to eat delicious and nutritious food, then Dietlicious is where it is at!  Give it a go.  You will not be disappointed.  🙂

Update!  FREE snacks for your first order
Place an order for one week and receive a free snack pack. If you place a multiple week order you will receive free snacks for each week up to 5 weeks.
promo code: snacks

Project Tighten Up

26 Apr

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack! Did y’all miss me? I had a wonderful Easter break – I ate whatever I felt like for a week (risotto? Yes please. Chocolate mousse? Oh, why not. Pizza? Pass it over brother) and just relaxed. absolutely zero exercise. Let me tell you, I didn’t feel great by the end. I felt so sluggish and bloated so I’m glad I got back into my usual routine today.

Except, it’s NOT my usual routine.

Dun.

Dun.

DUNNNNN.

That’s right people – Project Tighten Up has commenced!

What is Project Tighten Up?

After losing 15kg I am now at a healthy weight of 68kg. And I’m incredibly happy with that, don’t get me wrong, but my body fat is still quite high (around 25 – 26%) and I haven’t hit that size 10 figure that I feel I will be most comfortable at.

So, I’m taking my journey to a whole new level. Over the next 12 weeks I am going to smash the following goals:

– fit into size 10 jeans

– reduce my body fat to 19 – 20%

– enter maintenance stage

It’s all about getting fit and toned all over. I’m not concerned about how much I will weigh at the end of it. I’m all about looking strong yet womanly. And definitely NOT skinny! Skinny is so 2010.

Why am I doing this?

A lot of people may wonder why I am continuing my journey. Maybe they think I should just be happy with how far I’ve come or maybe they think I have severe body issues and will never be happy no matter what size.

Well, I’m going to squash those thoughts before they arise because understand this – I work this hard at my body because there is no high in the world like it. I feel good both physically and mentally (which is so important to me as I have suffered anxiety and depression in the past – we’ll leave that for another post!). This translates to a happy home life and work life. I am also kind of considering figure competing eventually. Maybe. We will see. Have to see what kind of shape I’m in at the end of all this!

What does it involve?

The Diet

Calories: 1300 – 1400

Fat: 40g

Protein: 100 – 120g

Carbs: 110g

Fibre: 30g

Breakfast:

Smoothie with 1 medium banana, 200ml rice milk, 1 tablespoon of LSA and scoop of Double Barrel Nutrition Protein Powder

Morning Snack:

1 tablespoon of Natural Peanut Butter with 1 medium green apple & cup of green tea

Lunch:

300 – 350 cals of chicken and veg soup/stew/stir fry or salad

Afternoon snack:

200g of natural non-fat yoghurt with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds & cup of green tea

Dinner:

300 – 350 cals of chicken and veg soup/stew/stir fry or salad (with or without sweet potato)

The Exercise Plan

Mon – upper body + 8.5km road cycle

Tue – group PT + 8.5km road cycle

Wed – group PT + 8.5km road cycle

Thurs – one on one PT + 8.5km road cycle

Fri – upper body + 8.5km road cycle

Sat – bootcamp

Sun – REST

Want to join Team Tighten Up?

Well, guess what? You can! I’d love you to take this challenge with me. Even my trainer is taking it on!

The Rules:

Weight training: needs to be performed 4 – 6 days per week. 4 – 5 sets of 10 – 15 reps of weighted exercises of your choice. Work upper body one day and legs the next then back to upper body and so on. Always add core and foam rolling and/or stretches each day.

Cardio: needs to performed in the morning on at least 2 – 3 mornings of the week at high intensity (running, skipping, plyometrics etc) on an empty stomach.

Diet: follow a plan similar to what I have outlined above. Do your research and find out what calories and macro-nutrients are right for you.

Check in: I’ll do a weekly check-in blog post where I will display my results and you can comment and do the same!

Start date: Official start date is Monday 2nd of May but I’ve already started to kick things off so by all means start now!

I’ll also be posting lots more healthy recipes to help you (and I) along and will even be putting up some workout videos on the blog! That’s new and exciting! Oh… and… uh… a bikini pic is coming (dreading this) so that I can document a proper before and after comparison. No lolz, k?

So who’s in? 😀

What’s In My Fridge?

15 Apr

Happy Fridge Day Dudes & Dudettes!  Oops, I mean Friday! 😉

The most important part of losing weight is nutrition so I always make sure my fridge is stocked with lots of  goodness so I can quickly and easily prepare healthy meals.  So, I thought I would do a short post on what you can usually find lurking in my fridge! 

This is riveting business people, strap in your seatbelts and feel the G’s!  Or is that the cheese?  I’m never quite sure…

Top shelf – butter, lindt dark chocolate

Second shelf – ham, salad I prepared for lunch, parmesan, light tasty cheese, pre-made quinoa g

Third shelf – apples, strawberries, margarine (Justin’s!), fresh ginger & garlic, mini frittatas

Fourth shelf – grapes, cucumber, tomatoes, bag of lettuce, fresh thyme, cherry tomatoes

Crisper – oh god, where to begin… asparagus, more lettuce, baby spinach, carrots, capsicum, avocado, sweet potato, pumpkin, plums, zucchini, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beetroot… Just a whole bunch of fresh fruit and veg!

Fridge door – olive tapenade, low-fat whole egg mayonnaise, horseradish, dijon mustard, hot english mustard, wholegrain mustard, capers, bottles of low alcohol sparkling wine (I bought a whole box about 6 months ago and I have barely made a dent in it!), flaxseed oil, lemon juice, jam, pizza sauce, satay sauce, rice milk, sparkling water, still water

Freezer – chicken breast, chicken thigh, chicken tenderloins, lean cuts of pork, beef and lamb, lean mince, frozen soups, frozen berries, puff pastry

What are your healthy fridge staples?

LuckyYou Juice Cleanse

11 Apr

Last year I wrote a post about detoxing. The reason I wrote that post is because I wanted people to understand that many of those detox diets that we see on TV or read about in magazines are marketed at people as quick weight loss solutions. One diet, for example, asks you to consume nothing but a water, lemon and cayenne pepper drink for a certain period of time in order to shed kilos. Ths is an unhealthy and dangerous approach to weight loss. Do we know this? Good.

But not all are like that which is why I was initially attracted to LuckyYou. LuckyYou is a juice cleanse program that claims to:

Rebalance the body
Oxygenate
Alkalize the system
Give digestion a rest
Remove acidic build – up in the colon, to encourage proper nutrient absorption
Re-hydrate the system
Create better eating habits

For about 3 weeks now I have hit the weight loss game hard. I have trained like a demon and I have eaten a diet rich in protein but probably lacking on the fruit and vegetable front. I have definitely felt the strain of this (fatigued, dry skin, bloated… blocked up *cough*) and wanted to do something special for myself, take a bit of time out, pump some goodness into my body and veg out – you know, lay like vegetables, be still like broccoli (10 points if you guess the movie quote!).

LuckYou’s juices are live (meaning raw and un-pasteurised) – they retain MORE vitamins and minerals, and contain enzymes. This ensures that you are drinking a product packed with power versus just another liquid.

Most of the juices are chunky and thick (not to mention delicious) so it definitely does not feel like some crazy liquid fast. LuckyYou also encourages you to CHEW your juices like you would food as chewing is what begins the digestive process.

I chose to do just a one day mini cleanse but I will definitely be following LuckyYou’s recommendations of slowly introducing meat, dairy and grains after the cleanse is over. Tomorrow I’ll stick to luscious, seasonal fruit and colourful vegetable salads. The next day I will start adding grains like quinoa and brown rice. The following day I will be adding back animal products like chicken, fish and dairy.

I’m really looking forward to feeling the benefits of this cleanse which include feeling clear, light and full of energy. Many people experience physical and mental rejuvenation, clearer skin, restful sleep, elevated mood and sex drive. Wink wink. Grrrr.

Here’s how the day went down:

8:30am – I wake up. I go downstairs and have a class of water followed by a warm glass of water with the juice of one lemon. I resolve then and there that I will be doing this when I wake up every morning from now onwards as it immediately makes me feel hydrated and awake.

9:00am – I take my aloe vera shot. This is supposed to help cleanse the colon and blood stream.

10:00am – I have my first juice which is a delightfully thick and filling green smoothie.

11:00am – I take a walk to the fruit and vegetable market to stock up on fresh produce for the next few days. I don’t know why but this makes me EXTREMELY excited. BROCCOLI! PUMPKIN! BEETROOT! OH MY! Note: the excitment subsides as I realise my tummy is grumbling and I’m feeling hungry…

12:00pm – I have my second juice which is labelled Green B. It fills my belly and makes me feel full.

2:00pm – I have my third juice which is a spicy lemonade. It is zingy and refreshing. I do have a bit of a headache by this stage but it’s all good as I’m just chilling on the couch watching back-to-back episodes of American Idol that I have recorded!

4:00pm – I’m really quite hungry now and the headache is full throttle. I slurp (I mean chew) my fourth juice which is vibrant red. It’s delicious and satisfying. The headache starts to ease almost immediately. I decide to have a bath to unwind.

6:00pm – After my bath I am absolutely exhausted and collapse in a heap on the lounge. I think the combination of a very hot bathroom and no food was a bad idea. I make Justin fetch my Green A juice from the fridge and a few sips in I start to feel better again. I CAN get through this!

8:00pm – It’s cashew milk time baby! And my goodness it is delicious. Blended cashews and medjool dates – who knew the combination would be so amazing!

8:45pm – I actually hop into bed. I snuggle up with my pillows and doona and read a book until I doze off at about 9:30pm. I’m hungry but not starving and today has definitely been doable. I’ve surprised myself!

6:15am – I wake up feeling light and relaxed. My tum feels nice and flat and my head is clear. The whites of my eyes are gleaming and my skin looks clear and plump. I’ve been cleansed! Hallelujah!

I’ve really enjoyed the LuckyYou cleanse and would recommend it to anyone. Heidy, the owner, is so helpful and gives you plenty of advice before, during and after the cleanse. They also have a firm focus on being kind to the environment which is an added advantage over other cleanses.

I’ll definitely be doing this again in the future! Thank you LuckYou!

Healthy Diet Additions

10 Mar

Just like Charlie Sheen, I have one speed – GO! (Are we over him yet? Or are we all still winning?)

Your faithful road-tester is at it again! I’m constantly on the look out for new and exciting things I can add to my diet and last week I purchased chia seeds and agave nectar. Look out yo! I’m on fire!

Chia Seeds

Chhhhhiiiiiiaaaaaaa!

Nutritional Info

There’s been a lot of buzz around chia seeds lately but I have to admit, I didn’t really know what they were all about. Bad, BAD health blogger! Slap on the wrist!

My trainer gave me a sample to try and it was at that point that I did some research on what these little seed’s benefits were.

After Googling (pretty much my favourite thing to do in the whole wide world), the first thing that stood out to me was that these little suckers hold up to 12 times their own weight in fluid. So you can add them to juices, smoothies and even water and they will thicken and form a gel like consistency. For this reason, when you ingest them, they make you feel fuller than what you actually are. That’s a real positive when it comes to trying to lose weight! Banish hunger for good!

There are also packed with:

  • Omega-3’s
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Phospherous
  • Potassium
  • Protein

I bought 1kg of chia seeds from CHIA Life for $20 + postage. I considered that quite a reasonable price compared to other online sellers! They arrived within 3 days too – speedy!

Apart from adding them to juices, smoothies or water, you can also sprinkle them on salads, stir-fries or cereal. In fact, because they take on the taste of whatever they are paired with, you can add them to almost anything! Apparently you can bake with them in place of butter! Goodbye saturated fat and clogged arteries! I won’t miss you in the slightest! Maybe I’ll get around to baking more cakes and slices? Probably not, let’s face it, it’s not really on the ‘Lose these last pesky kilos’ plan that I’m currently on!

Agave Nectar

This deliciously sweet and golden sticky nectar comes from the agave (uh-gah-vay) cactus and can be used in place of sugar or sweeteners. It is made up of 90% fructose sugars and 10% glucose sugars. Honey has 33% glucose sugars so I have been using agave in place of honey in my morning smoothies.

It has 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as granulated sugar, but because fructose is 42% sweeter to the human brain than granulated sugars you only need to use the smallest amount to get that sweetness hit.

Also, because agave is mainly fructose, and not sucrose like granulated sugar, it does not result in huge spikes in blood sugar levels therefore it has been reported as being a suitable sugar replacement for diabetics and the insulin resistant (although no conclusive studies have been conducted).

Like most health food products there has been a fair amount of debate around the benefits of agave nectar as, after all, it is still a sweetener and we all know too much sweetener leads to weight gain and other health problems. I recommend buying organic, good quality agave nectar and use sparingly for the best results.

Have you tried chia seeds or agave nectar?  What do you think of them?