Day 87/88 of 90: Eat the Rainbow

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During this cutting phase there is plenty of opportunity to eat unlimited amounts of fruit and salad this, though, can become quite repetitive and somewhat soul destroying. For this reason variation not only adds some much needed colour and taste but provides a moral boast not to mention the added nutritional benefit. This why I have added peppers, avocado, celery and coriander to my salads and mango, passion fruit, papaya, kiwi, guava, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate and dates to my fruits.

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CUTTING PHASE – DAY 3/4

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(My wife’s creation – I had this with 2 bananas and a guava for lunch)
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Note: the headaches I had on day 1+2 have begun to disappear; possibly through the increase of my water consumption or the fact that my body is getting used to the caloric deficit.

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Day 59 of 90: Smoothies – A Simple Way of Supplementing your Diet

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The other day I wrote a blog on the importance of including fruit within your diet and looked at the way in which certain types of fruits can be used to prevent or cure certain types of illness (link). So whether it is weight loss, muscle building, homeopathic health or just plain health and fitness I would encourage you to up your fruit content. One of the ways my wife and I have been doing it lately has been through making smoothies and whilst, we’ve just begun here are what we’ve found.

1. Although, you can use water, milk, yogurt or coconut water as a base, if your blender is good you can use pure fruit (this is one mango and 3 bananas).

2. It is really quick and easy to do. The hardest part was deciding to do it and looking for the blender.

3. You can use frozen fruit (the other day we had pineapple, mango and frozen raspberries), which is fantastic, as some fresh fruit (like raspberries and blueberries) can be expensive.

4. It allows you to up your fruit intake hugely and inadvertently cut out less nutritional food.

5. It tastes great and blending the food makes it easier for for body to digest.

So, if you’ve got a blender dig it out and have a go and if you haven’t then get it on your Christmas list. (link) – 20 smoothie recipes

TODAY’S FOOD LOG (no food from 7pm yesterday till breakfast)
Morning shake + breakfast: all-in-one protein shake and porridge, Greek strawberry yogurt with raspberries and mixed nuts (make it and stick in the fridge the night before – doubles up as a healthy sweet).

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Snack: a tablespoon of peanut butter
Lunch: chicken and vegetable soup
Smoothie: 3 bananas and mango (between 2)
Snack 1: poached egg
Snack 2: tablespoon of peanut butter
Post-Workout: whey protein shake
Dinner: fish in a tomato and coriander sauce with salad
Snack: a nectarine

Day 58 of 90: Beginning with Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day

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Although, it is popular among some to skip breakfast, it is a meal that should not be missed as it is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast not only helps kick-start the metabolism, reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, it also provides the essential vitamins and nutrients needed for the mind and body to function throughout the day. So, here are some answer to some FAQ’s about breakfast:

1. When should I have breakfast? Ideally, breakfast should be eaten within an hour or two of getting up, there is, however, an exception. I will get up at 5 am and will have a black coffee in the morning (to suppress hunger and give me an energy boost), an all-in-one protein shake after training (7 am – 8.15 am) and breakfast at 9 am (Mon-Fri). This is because training on an empty stomach enables the body to burn fat. If you train with food in your system your body will first burn that before going into the fat reserves.

2. What should I eat? Well, I would recommend that you should try to have all of the macro nutrients (protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates – carbs are essential if breakfast is eaten straight after training as it is needed to build muscle).  So what does that look like:

Lean Protein: eggs, protein shakes, kippers (if you can have them for breakfast – I can’t) and lean meat can be added to omelettes or scrambled eggs.
Healthy fat: one hundred percent natural peanut butter (you can get it from health stores or bodybuilding websites), milk, low fat Greek yogurt (unsweetened), mixed nuts, seeds and fish (again, if you can stomach it).
Slow burn carbs: wholewheat porridge oats (not instant), shredded wheat and bran flakes are good.

3. What Should I Avoid? Avoid breads (particularly croissants, bagels and white bread), cooked breakfasts (a healthy alternative is lean turkey bacon, mushrooms, tomato, a little beans, homemade burger and poached/boiled egg), sugary cereals (they’ll give you an initial sugar rush and later in the day, a come down), breakfast bars, protein bars and muesli (these are often filled with junk).

4. What do you have? Even though I like to keep my diet varied I’m quite habitual when it comes to breakfast (and lunch). After training I have a all- in-one protein shake and then I have porridge – it is a nutritional super-food (usually with fruit, some kind of nut and occasionally mixed seeds and goji berries).

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(Today’s – porridge, raspberry and mixed nuts)

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(Tommorow – porridge, organic Greek strawberry yogurt, with raspberries and mixed nuts. If you do it the day before and put in the fridge it softens the oats – delicious!)

5. How much should I eat? It is often said that you should have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. This is because you have all day to digest what you had at breakfast and if you do manual work or workout you body should burn everything that you’ve taken in. Personally, though, I wouldn’t go mad at breakfast because it will make you feel lethargic and put a lot of strain on the digestive system. A good breakfast is in but a buffet breakfast is definitely out.

Ok peeps, hope that helps, here’s today’s food log.

TODAY’S FOOD LOG (no food from 7pm till after workout)
Post-workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: as above with a tablespoon of peanut butter
Snack 1: half a mango
Snack 2: an apple
Snack 3: a pear
Lunch: omelette (mushroom, chilli, onion, garlic, coriander, spinach and sun-dried tomato) with salad

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Snack 1: beef cubes
Snack 2: pineapple, mango and raspberry smoothy

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Evening meal: tofu and tuna (two very lean sources of protein) salad and homemade hummus

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Snack: a tablespoon of peanut butter
Protein shake: whey

Day 57 of 90: A Fruitful Friday – Why you Need to Eat More Fruit

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Now I admit that fruit can be expensive (saying that this lot came to £5 at the local market) but what I cannot accept is this myth, that I sometimes here, that fruit is not good for you. Admittedly, it’s true that you might choke on a tangerine if you eat it in one go but the sugar in fruit and even the carbs is of huge benefit to you not to mention the vitamins and minerals (when I have a carb-free day it is starchy carbs I cut not green carbs like fruit and veg). So here’s some of the things I’d recommend with a couple of the benefits (there’s loads more benefits that I haven’t put):

1. Dried apricot: Thankfully the drying process does not strip apricot’s of their nutrients or any of their flavour. They are great for eye problems, skin diseases, weight loss and even act as a mild laxative. These are a great replacement for sweets btw.

2. Strawberries: Firstly, strawberries are easy to grow and, therefore, there’s no excuse not to stick some in the garden which is good because they can be expensive. Strawberries, again, help stop weight loss, help with memory loss, have anti-aging qualities and are good for bone growth.

3. Mangos: Whilst these are a little exotic they are easy to get a hold of. They prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and are great for the skin. Have I mentioned that there my favourite fruit.

4. Peaches: I will start by saying, let the peaches go ripe, this will give them that sweet taste. These are known to calm upset stomachs, help with your complexion and fight diabetes.

5. Bananas: Finally, bananas help fight depression, contain a natural high, make you more alert and are packed with fibre. Ever heard of the 30-bananas-a-day cleanse? Crazy, right? Well, this girl is internet-famous for it and it worked for her (she’s a vegan too and probably exercises – sorry no short cuts).

(link for the banana girl)

My point is…whether it’s gaining your goals, fighting or preventing illness, get the fruit in and pay no attention to the anti-fruit brigade they’ve all gone bananas.

Today’s Food Log (no food from 7pm till after training – carb-loading day)
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge, dried apricot and mixed nuts (plus goji berries and mixed seeds)
Snack 1: half a tub of strawberries
Snack 2: a peach and a tablespoon of peanut butter
Lunch 1: half a chicken breast, cottage cheese, brown rice and salad with chilli sauce.
Lunch 2: as above
Snack 1: plain popcorn
Snack 2: apple and some beef cubes
Dinner: seafood bolognese with brown pasta and a tiny bit of Italian cheese.
Snack 1: organic Greek yogurt, strawberries and mixed nuts
Snack 2: plain popcorn
Protein Shake: whey
Snack: pear

Note: I’ve upped my food content because, although my next assessment is on day 60, I’m losing weight to quickly. My aim is to lose body fat and build muscle so the extra food should help slow down weight loss.