Can we eat better for less? 

As I get older (rapidly approaching my 40th, only a few more years 😲😬), I am starting to find satisfaction in the strangest of places. 

A few months ago, my partner and I moved from a small (very small) house with no garden, to a lovely cottage with a modest garden, which is completely decked… yay low maintenance! 

As I am something of a sun-worshipper, sitting in my new garden was proving to make me very happy, and within a few weeks I noticed that both of my olive trees were starting to thrive in their new home. Even though neither have produced any fruit yet, they are still young, it is looking likely that they may soon. 

It got me thinking… what could I grow in pots in my garden? 

I’ve already got mint growing like it’s out of fashion, so I thought Basil would be a great start… (plus basil reminds me of Greece and as I love Greek food it’s a winner). The basil has took off and grown like crazy, stinking out the garden with a beautiful scent … and cooking with home grown herbs, well you can’t get fresher. 

Then my father in law visited and gave me two tomato plants, both of which have flourished, and are looking likely to harvest some lovely juicy toms for my salads later in the summer!! 🤤 I love tomatoes!!! 

But I started to think more about this, and whether or not you could eat better for less by simply growing a few of your own herbs, fruits & veggies? 

I’m not naturally green fingered, I have to “google” everything, so as you can imagine, my search history looks pretty random at the moment, but I have some really fun experiments going on at the moment, even my partner has got in on the action. 

During a recent trip to Greece, my partner put some olive and orange pips in his pocket… not to keep but there was no where to leave them & we didn’t want to infest our room with ants, but anyway, in the midst of packing to come home, he forgot they were there (😬😲) and I found them as I was sorting through the washing. 

So…. I planted them 🤞🏻 and hoped that something might happen. Yesterday whilst tidying the garden, I had a quick look and noticed two minuscule shoots coming up from both the olive pips…. have I just created life??? 😲

Now it doesn’t stop there… because I currently have a handful of date pits to pot & a few acorns that have mysteriously appeared from someone, oh and not to forget three of the citrus family… lemon, lime & orange 😁 

So, although I am totally aware that this is a long term game, and fruits will not start to grow for a while, it’s kinda exciting… who knew I would get so much pleasure from growing my own fruits??? 

In the garden at the moment I have: 

  • Chillies
  • Olives
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries

Ready to pot & grow I have:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Dates
  • Acorns 

So, for those of you interested in growing your own, I am going to share the progress of this little life giving adventures via my blog, and hopefully, just maybe, these plants will give us fruits and we will be able to eat better for less! For now, that question remains unanswered in my life but I’d love to hear how you’re doing?

Do you grow your own in the garden? How have you got on and what have you grown? 

Let me know in the comments 😁 
Don’t forget to like & follow for updates on my green fingered antics 😁

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Fluffy Banana Pancakes with a difference!

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I love pancakes, but I don’t often eat them as they can make me feel quite bloated and generally pants!

So whilst searching the net for a gut friendly pancake recipe I came across the one I am about to share with you on a website called findperfectdiet.com.

The difference is, there is no flour in the mixture, making them quite friendly to those who suffer with a reaction to wheat or flour.

Here’s how to make them:

INGREDIENTS (for one serving):

  • 1½ bananas – ripe to overripe (7 oz.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder

  • butter, blueberries or any other topping of your choice, to serve (avoid too higher sugar toppings, as it negates the point of trying to avoid the bloat) I melt dark chocolate on mine!

METHOD:

  • Break the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the baking powder.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • In another mixing bowl, lightly mash the bananas with a fork. The mashed banana should be chunky and not smooth. This will yield a fluffy pancake.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the mashed banana and stir to combine. There should be enough egg to hold the mashed banana together.
  • In a frying pan over medium heat, melt a knob of butter with a little oil (½ teaspoon) – this is to prevent the butter from burning.
  • Drop spoonful’s of batter in the frying pan and cook on one side until the baking powder is activated. 1 or 2 tablespoons of batter is enough for each pancake.
  • Flip pancake over and cook until golden brown on each side.
  • Cook 2 or 3 pancakes at a time to make for easier flipping.
  • Stack onto a plate and serve warm with a topping of your choice.

For four people, use 8 eggs and 6 bananas. Remember to use ripe bananas – those bananas that have brown spots on them already. It doesn’t matter is the flesh is a little bruised. Keep the pancakes white small as well, it makes flipping them much easier.

Enjoy!

If you have found this blog headful or interesting, then please like, share or comment. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Linkedin or visit the website www.lmfitness.info 

Avocado & Eggs for Breakfast… Yummy!

NUTRITION logo copyHere is a really quick & simple breakfast idea for you to try…. eggs in Avocado’s!

  • Get a ripe avocado and slice in half, removing the stone.screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-13-55-00
  • Spoon out a little extra from the centre of the avocado & slice the bottom of the fruit off, so it can sit flat in the pan.
  • Place in a heat proof dish and crack an egg into the centre of each half and place in an oven for 20-25minutes at about 200-210 degrees C.
  • Take your cooked eggs in avocados out of the over and sprinkle on some salt, black pepper, bacon or pancetta and chopped cherry tomatoes.
  • Serve with a nice granary or rye bread toast!

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Scrumptious!

You can purchase my Full recipe Book “Health’s Kitchen” which contains 50 simple & healthy recipes for you, including breakfast, lunch & dinner options.

Buy Healths Kitchen Recipe Book

 

If you have found this blog post useful then please like, share or comment. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. Or visit the website www.lmfitness.info 

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How can your Cycle affect your Workouts?

lifestylePMS might as well stand for Physique Misery Syndrome.

I can honestly tell you that the appearance changes alone caused by your cycle can be significant.

One day you’ll wake up and see that your tummy is looking slimmer, leaner and flatter, bringing on a sense of excitement that all that hard work in the gym and kitchen is finally paying off. But then the next morning, you’ll wake up only to find a bloated, less than perfect stomach staring back at you. If you can learn to expect this it won’t cause any panic. And fortunately the problem vanishes after about a few days, normally as quickly as it arrived. Still… It’d bloody annoying!

The symptoms of PMS vary for every woman. They range from feeling like a pain in the backside to turning your life upside down for a week. But the classic symptoms include water retention and bloating, irritability, strong cravings, appetite changes, fluctuations in pain tolerance, as well as differences in your energy level.

Put simply, for the week and maybe the week leading up to your period, the last thing on your mind is putting in a hard workout or eating healthy. You want to eat chocolate, ice cream, and pizza while lying on the couch. If you’re a dedicated gym bunny, then PMS can leave you feeling psychologically devastated.

But its not just cravings and a bloated stomach that may make you feel like screaming head first into your pillow. Check out how your cycle can affect you and what you can do to prevent it causing a problem.

METABOLISM

Your metabolic rate is as individual as you are, and not only does if fluctuate from person to person, but day to day within the same person. Making it crucial that you know what you are doing with your food and calories. Especially if you are trying to shed that last few pounds!

If you’re stressed out, then your metabolism may rev up a bit higher. But on the other hand, if you’ve been following a very-low-calorie diet for a couple of weeks, you are likely to find that your metabolism has slowed down.

Your cycle also influences your metabolic rate. During the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle— that’s the week or so before your period is set to begin— you’ll burn up calories faster than at other times throughout the month. Researchers measure increases in total energy expenditure of 2.5 to 11% during this time.

This may not seem like all that much, but if you’re dieting, it will make a difference.

Most women also experience an increase in appetite during this period of their cycle. They are hungrier and more prone to cravings. The end result is that they can end up consuming more calories than they are expending through this increase in their metabolic rate. They’re burning more, but there’s more to burn.

So one important take-home message from this is that if you’re currently dieting, and will continue dieting through your cycle, be extra careful about your adherence during the week before your period. You could easily undo your weight-loss efforts.

BEAT THE BLOAT

Another of the biggest period-related complaints among women is bloating. It’s not abnormal at all for women to take on 5 to 10 extra pounds of water during their cycle. As you can imagine, this can have an unsettling effect on the reflection in the mirror and your reaction to the scales!

What you have to remember is it is not fat!!! It’s just excess water retention caused by female hormones, mainly estrogen.

You can also try these methods to help reduce bloating:

  1. Avoid salty foods
  2. Drink more water than usual
  3. Sip some herbal tea
  4. Season your foods with oregano

 

Set Yourself UP Right! 

Avoid starting on a fat-loss plan during the luteal phase, for the reasons mentioned above. As you will be at a higher risk of feeling hunger during this time of the month, and that hunger will likely lead to greater incidences of food cravings, beginning your diet during this phase raises the odds of making mistakes and going off plan. Instead, you can try and cycle your calories, by bringing your calorie intake to a lower levelduring the two weeks immediately proceeding your period, when hunger levels are lower and cravings less likely. Then increase your calorie intake back to a maintenance level during the week before and during your period.

This will help mitigate that natural increase in hunger coming your way. But it will also help to naturally reset your metabolism. So if your metabolism is slowing down at all due to the reduced calorie intake, you bring that rate back up again during the increased calorie intake. Once you move back to dieting after your period is over, you will be burning body fat as fast as possible.

Additionally, since you will already be dealing with increased bloating during the week before your period, staying strict with your diet may be tough anyway. If there’s one time of the month you should be taking a break, this would be it. Since you’re also burning up calories at a slightly elevated rate during this time, the extra calories will stand a lower chance of being deposited as body fat. That is yet another advantage of taking a short diet break during the early luteal period of your menstrual cycle.

As for your workouts, there are some additional considerations to take into account as they relate to your menstrual cycle.

  • First, bear in mind that during the luteal phase of your cycle, your body temperature will increase. So if you’re performing intense workouts—which also raise the temperature of the body, then you may feel uncomfortable, and unable to sustain very high intensities.
  • A second thing to consider is that your tolerance for pain will be higher during the follicular phase of the cycle, after menstruation takes place. So it makes sense to place your harder workouts, the ones where you really plan to push yourself, during this time. You’ll find that you have a higher level of tenacity.
  • Carrying excess water weight throughout the luteal phase will also affect workout performance, especially if the workout includes running. That added weight will make you feel like you’re working harder than usual.

Keep Moving Forwards

Until you hit the menopause, you can’t change the fact that your period will arrive each and every month (unless of course you are pregnant maybe). But you can keep it from disturbing your workouts and body progress!

Try and keep these factors in the back of your mind as you set about your workout and diet routine during your cycle. By more clearly understanding the changes taking place within your body, you can help reduce the chances of them affecting you negatively. AND stop them from tricking you into thinking that all your hard effort isn’t achieving anything!

If you have enjoyed this blog, please like, share, comment and remember you can follow me on Social media by clicking on the links to the right of this post. You can also visit http://www.lmfitness.info  and download your completely free 21 recipe ebook.

References:

Davidsen, L. et al. (2007). Impact of the Menstrual Cycle on Determinants of Energy Balance: A putative role in weight loss attempts. Price, D. et al. (1998). A meta-analytic review of pain perception across the menstrual cycle. X.A.K.J., De Jonge. (2003). Effects of the Menstrual Cycle on Exercise Performance.

Ten Foods that you SHOULD Include on a Low Carb Diet!

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A low carb diet is NOT for everyone, but if you have the will power and self control to reduce your carbs down, then you will benefit in not only fat loss, but energy and health as well.

If you know me well, then you will know I stay pretty low carb most of the time, then drop even lower when I wasn’t to shed a few pounds off or lean up and expose my underlying 6 pack or back muscles. It’s easy enough to do if you like the low carb lifestyle, but what foods should you definitely keep in your “low-Carb” diet?

My top 10 are as follows:

  • Courgette

Courgette is the ultimate low-carb ingredients because it can be manipulated to have the look and texture of starchy foods. A spiralizer will come in handy for swapping pasta for zucchini noodles, or you can purchase the already made version form many supermarkets now. Or you could swap the fried potato hash browns, and try frying up some courgette dipped in almond flour instead. You could just microwave half a courgette with some butter smeared over the top for a minute or two and chop it into your salads.

  • Cauliflower

Cauliflower is another low-carb food that can be used as a replacement for high-carb ingredients in an array of dishes. You can trash the starchy pizza dough and try making a cauliflower crust instead. To make cauliflower rice, all you have to do is use a food processor to break up the cauliflower into pieces until it has the right consistency – use this in your next stir fry for a low-carb dinner. Again Some supermarkets are now selling pre-made Cauliflower rice, so you could get this instead of making your own.

Why not try swapping tortilla chips for thinly sliced cauliflower, topped with other veggies and cheese, for a new twist on nachos. Or mash your cauliflower instead of mashing potatoes. When it comes to cauliflower, you can keep changing it up and trying new things! It is incredibly versatile.

  • Eggs

Eggs are another incredibly versatile food and they also happen to be crammed with protein. Whether you scramble, poach, fry, boil, bake or make an omelette, quiche or smoothie, eggs are cheap and easy to eat. Dress them up with herbs, slice them up in salads, and make breakfast portable by creating little quiches in muffin tins. There is quite a few egg recipes in my healthy recipe ebooks so you can download this HERE.

  • Nuts & Butters

In theory a low carb diet could just consist of a plate of bacon served with a side of butter — but this isn’t necessarily the best diet for your heart as it is packed with Saturated fats. So we need in increase your mono & poly-unsaturated fats whilst living the low-carb lifestyle. For those of you looking for a more health-conscious way to cut carbs without missing out on fatty flavours, look to nuts and nut butters. They’re a low-carb, high-protein fat fuel that can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, veggie dishes and more.

  • Chicken or Turkey Breasts

What’s so great about poultry? In addition to being mega high in protein, it’s also low in fat and good for your calories. This lean meat can become the centre of any meal: grill it, bake it, boil it, add it to a salad, or make a lean chili out of it. You should ALWAYS have a healthy amount of Chicken or Turkey in your Low-carb diet!

  • Greek Yoghurt

When you look at Greek Yoghurt it can be used for so many things, sweet & savoury! Add some chopped nuts or peanut butter for a sweeter taste or add herbs or seasonings for a dip. But be sure you go for a full fat version!

  • Salmon

Not only is salmon a fatty fish full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium, it’s also a low-mercury fish and can be included as part of a low-carb diet. Baked, grilled, raw, served on its own, used as a salad topper  — be creative and see what you can make with a nice piece of Salmon!

  • Dark Chocolate

Dont panic Chocolate lovers, there is still some chocolate that is ok even on a low-carb diet! Extra-dark chocolate that contains 75% cocoa or more contains copper, manganese, iron and magnesium, along with plenty of health benefits. When enjoyed in moderation, it can help combat carb cravings, especially those chocolate cravings; some studies even suggest that including minimal amounts of dark chocolate in your diet can aid weight loss. Why not grate it on your Greek Yoghurt or add it to a smoothie?

  • Portobello Mushrooms

The next time you fancy a burger, why not replace your traditional bread bun with the tops of two portobello mushrooms?  Or,top the mushrooms with cheese, onions, leek or any other low carb friendly topping that you fancy & bake them in the oven? Again the Portobello Mushroom can be incredible diverse, so get creative!

  • ButterNut Squash

Much like the Courgette, if you find yourself in the mood for some spaghetti, try using squash instead, often called Boodles and these can be brought remade in some supermarkets. Although the consistency will be a bit different, squash has a flavour that is really a good match for tomato and garlic sauces, while containing only a fraction of the carbohydrates of pasta.

 

And there you have it! My top 10 Foods to definitely keep in a low carb diet!

 

If you have any questions or remarks, feel free to comment on this blog, or email me lesley@lmfitness.info. You can also follow me on social media using the links on my home page. You can visit my website at http://www.lmfitness.info and download my free recipe e-book as well. Thanks for reading 😉

Let me Tell you about my Sausage! ;)

NUTRITION logo copyOne of the best things about living where I live, is I am really close to one of the best, if not in fact THE BEST Butchers in Northamptonshire. So I can just nip out and pick up some of the finest meaty sausages and cuts of steak known to mankind!

He supplies the local premiership rugby team, some of which live in the same village, plus local top catering businesses, and then their is their hog roasts and burger vans… They truly do offer the finest in local meatiness.

But let’s talk sausages! We have all had those thin, nondescript bangers from the super market, and the inert-looking ones from the local cafe, but these bad-boy butchers  bangers are amazing! Almost completely all meat and no filler!

I cooked a batch of 6 on my trusty George Foreman grill just the other night, and there was NO FAT oozing out into the little drip tray…. I MEAN NONE! *Wow* I have had this drip tray full to the brim before now cooking cheap bangers from the local shops!

(I can’t go without mentioning their home made Chilli-con-Carne and Curry, and if I am on a bit of a naughty day, then their sausage rolls and pork pies are the best!)

It’s all top Quality!

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And not too pricy either, maybe a tad more than you’d pay at the local supermarket, but then look at the product you are buying and the QUALI-TEEEEE!

It’s real, honest, proper food!

You can buy your ready meals that have been pumped full of man-made fats, or maybe even the low-fat option, that has been pumped with sugar and chemical ingredients that you can’t even pronounce (these are there to make it last longer & taste more normal)…. these ingredients haven’t been in our diets much more than 40 or 50 years, but the butchers block meat has been in our diets for thousands of years!

Guess what else has increased over the last 40-50 years?

Oh yeah, that’s right… Obesity! 

Is that just a coincidence?

Either way, I know what I would rather be putting into my body!

REAL FOOD WITH REAL NUTRITIONAL VALUE & REAL FAT! That’s what we were born to eat! Not this highly processed man made, so called “low-fat” crap that you buy for a quid in the shops!

If you want to lose weight, which is what I want to help you achieve, then heed my warning and start to change the way you eat! Go for REAL FOOD, Visit your local Butchers and buy some proper bangers that smell amazing when you are cooking them. Grab a cut of steak whilst your are there and serve it up with some veggies. Get some proper MEATY burgers that aren’t filled with all the junk that is making our bodies rebel against the fat loss fads we keep throwing at them!

Give your body a break, and feed it with something that it can actually use! Good Fuel for a Good Body!

If you are wandering about the butchers I mentioned, you can visit their website here!

Have a great day!

Lesley 🙂  x

P.S. Don’t miss out on your chance to get a completely tailored healthy eating nutrition plan HERE starting at just ÂŁ69.99

Quick fixes don’t work, you need to change your habits to change your body, start with the small changes, they all add up!

If you have enjoyed this blog, please like, share and comment! You can also follow me on Facebook, instagram and twitter using the links to the side of this blog post! And don’t forget to download your FREE 21 Healthy recipe E-Book HERE.

 

7 Simple Swaps to change your Diet! Bad Carbs for Good Carbs!

There are so many myths and BS stories out there about carbs. Carbs are the enemy! Carbs shouldn’t be eaten after 4pm! Carbs make you lethargic! Carbs bloat you out! Blah blah blah!

Some carbs are the enemy! Some carbs shouldn’t be eaten period! Some carbs will make you lethargic and yep, some carbs will bloat you out. BUT, NOT ALL CARBS!

In the carb family, you have simple and complex variations. Simple carbs are the bad guys! These are the ones that will cause you problems with how you feel! Simple carbs are basically sugars, natural and processed. So all those man-made foods & snacks that you eat, they probably have a high volume of Simple Carbs. The Insulin Spike that these cause are what leads to the feeling lethargic.

I often liken these crashes in energy to the post Christmas Dinner Slump, when the entire family sits down after eating and basically, crashes out! It’s not the roast dinner…. its all the sweets, drinks and puddings surrounding the dinner!

Complex carbs burn off less quickly in the body, “sustainable energy” is what people like to call them. But these guys are good carbs. Oats, Wholegrains, quinoa and sweet potatoes are all in the good gang.

We do need carbs in our diets to function healthily, so a carb restricted diet is really not a good idea, especially not long term. It can really screw up your metabolism and digestion. Many people suffer this in silence, headaches, constipation, lethargy and irritability just from stripping out carbs! Or at least too many carbs!

How can we reduce our Simple carb intake though? If you look at food ingredients, you will quickly notice that it is EVERYWHERE! Sugar is so cheap, that manufacturers chuck it in as if it is going to go out of fashion…. Sooner or later it will. Once people start to realise that it is actually Sugar that can be held accountable for so many cases of Obesity in todays society.

By swapping a few food items in your diet, you can successfully reduce your simple carb intake quite dramatically. Here are a few of my preferred delicious swaps. 🙂

  1. Sweet Potato – swap your normal potatoes and chips to sweet potato and sweet potato chips. Don’t be fooled by its
    name! The sweet potato is less starve and therefore less carby than that of the humble white potato. In my personal opinion it is also more flavoursome. But in all seriousness, the Sweet Potatoes nutritional value is far greater than the Maris Piper or other white spuds. It contains Vitamin A & C and is high in Fibre, which is great for our digestion. Mash it, boil it, bake it…. do what ever you do to a white spud… then enjoy it!
  2. Quinoa – Quinoa is one of these new super foods that has come into the public eye more recently, and still people aren’t really sure what to do with it. Try replacing your traditional white rice with quinoa, it makes a great replacement. Add it to a salad, make risotto or a nice home made curry with it or why not try fried Quinoa for a different taste. Because Quinoa is un-processed it is a really fab source of plant-based protein. It is readily available in most supermarkets in the UK now, so next time you are picking up some rice, think twice 😉
  3. Cauliflower – Now this may sound a little odd at first, I remember raising an eyebrow the first time I was presented with
    this, but bear with me… it actually works. Cooking the florets from your cauliflower just took a new turn. You can boil off the florets then fry them off whilst mashing them into a rice like consistency. Another great rice replacement that is full of nutrition rather than carbs. Honestly, give it a try.
  4. Porridge – Cereals that we commonly eat for breakfast are laden with preservatives and sugars, so swapping these cereals to a plain porridge or oatmeal is a great swap of simple to complex carbs. Although, make sure you are making your porridge with water for added healthy benefits.
  5. Portobello Mushrooms – Are you a mushroom lover? Then why not change the bun of your much loved burger from a bread roll to a mushroom? Now I know people who LOVE mushrooms and this would be like heaven to them. Grill the mushroom to make it super yummy and packed full of goodness for your body to enjoy.
  6. Aubergine – Swap out the pasta sheets in your home made lasagne and swap them for sliced Aubergines. Loads of
    nutrients and super yummy as well. Plus if you are one for getting bloated after eating pasta, this could just help you out.
  7. Leafy Greens – Why not try swapping your white bread sandwich wraps for a nice, crunchy and nutritious leafy substitute. Lettuce Kale, cabbage and so on. Good fibre, good nutrition and good for you!

And, there you have it. Like I said, you do need to eat and consume carbohydrates, but we need more of the complex variety than the simple. Try these simple swaps and see how much better you feel, and the benefits it will have on your waistline.

Enjoy 🙂

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