Hey, sugar, sugar…

July 15, 2013 at 2:23
Posted by Rachael Woolston

You are my candy girl, and you’ve got me wanting you…

 

We all know that sugar, in the form of sweets and white sugar is not the best thing for us if we want to lose weight. But what few people realise is that sugar, in the form of carbohydrates are also in cereals, fruit and vegetables.

When they are slow release carbohydrates, such as oats or green leafy vegetables or berries, then they are great for providing sustained energy release.  But when contained in sources such as bananas, white bread, pasta, couscous and potatoes, these release energy swiftly causing a blood sugar spike, often experienced as feeling more awake, followed by a slump.

So what, you may say. Except the body can only use a certain number of carbohydrates as energy. The remainder? It gets laid down as fat storage.

Remember, fat storage does NOT come purely from eating fat. In the 70s-90s, low fat was espoused as a healthy way of losing weight. And while it has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, the main cause of weight gain, along with the inability to lose weight is an over reliance on carbohydrates in the diet.

So, next time wonder why you are not losing weight, despite saying no to sweets, take a long, hard, honest look at what is in your diet.

If it’s potatoes, pasta, breakfast cereals, smoothies, bananas and tropical fruits, you need to rethink.

 



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Bean & Pak Choi Stir Fry

November 21, 2012 at 4:57
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Yum!

 

A delcious evening meal that takes no time at all to make. No excuses for that takeaway now!

This is just one of the recipes on our delicious eating plan that is part of our next four week Jessica Ennis Ab Challenge.  Book via Prices & Booking Page.

Nutritional info per serving: 382cals/20.5g protein/ 9g fat/ 1 g saturated fat /55g carbs /19g sugar /17g g fibre/ 1.7g salt

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

200g butternut squash, sliced

400g tin mixed beans, cooked

1 large red onion, sliced

4 baby sweet corn, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 pak choi, roughly chopped

½ lemon, zest & juice

2 tbsp coriander, chopped

 

For the yoghurt sauce:

100g TOTAL 0% Greek Yoghurt

2 tbsp finely chopped mint

 

Method

 1.      In a wok, heat a little olive oil. Stir fry all of the vegetables, except the pak choi, for approximately 5 – 6 minutes.

2.      Add the pak choi, lemon zest and juice and stir fry for another 1 – 2 minutes.

3.      Sprinkle the coriander over the vegetables.

4.      Mix the Greek yoghurt with the fresh mint and serve with the stir fry.



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Would you tweet what you eat?

October 8, 2012 at 5:32
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Show me a woman who always eats what they are meant to (i.e. lean protein with a healthy proportion of low glycaemic carbohydrates and good sources of essential fatty acids) and I’ll believe in Tinker Bell.

The truth is, we ALL go off the rails now and again – or perhaps stay off with a few minutes on the right track. And all too often it is because we do not hold ourselves to account.

After all, think back over your worst diet demeanours, and how many of them have been secret chocolate binges? Or else a quick handful more of what you are not meant to eat, while you are in the kitchen alone just before you take out the dinner to the table?

Now, Twitter is presenting a new way of dealing with this issue.

Simply post a full description, or even a picture of what you have eaten with the hashtag, #tweetwhatyoueat.  Followers of the hashtag can then act as a giant, collective conscience or support you, if you’ve done it right.

Admittedly, this might sound horrific to some but if nothing else, it also helps you face what you are eating. You may say that you already do, but do you really.

We’ve forgotten the number of times we’ve thought to ourselves, ‘Wow, I’ve hardly eaten anything today,’ before the flashbacks of little snacks here and there  throughout the day have gone off in our memory, like a paparazzi’s flashbulb at the Cannes Film Festival.

 



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Protein Supplements: Diet do or don’t?

August 13, 2012 at 10:24
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Last weekend, Fitbitch attended a workshop on cooking with protein powder that was put together by Anna Sward, a PHD graduate with a passion for strength and conditioning exercising, who has turned her hand to cooking with protein powders and blogging about it, www.proteinpow.com

For many men and women, the throught of protein supplements, conjures up muscley men drinking shakes. While this image is still true in many respects, protein is important for both men and women, particularly those looking to get in shape and lose weight.

Why?

1. Exercise causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. Protein,  whether from food sources such as eggs and chicken or protein supplements, helps repair these fibres helping the body to create more lean muscle tissue. (Supplments DOS NOT as many people imagine, create muscle fibres by itself).

2. Beacuase protein is harder to digest, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

3. Eating excess carboydrate, which can be in the form of the obvious, such as cakes and chocolate, or in the not so obvious, fruits, alcohol, bread or pasta, and juices causes the excess energy to be stored as fat.

I decided to take Anna’s workshop because I have always steered away from using protein supplements, thinking they are unnecessary and no substitue for ‘real’ protein in for the form of eggs, meat, fish, pulses and nuts. I wanted to find out if I was missing a trick and whether protein powders have a place.

Over the course of five  hours, we made a mixture of protein balls, muffins, cakes, brownines, pizza bases and tortilla wraps, alll  without the use of traditional carbohydrate flours such as wheat.

From the start, I learned that protein comes in many varied  forms from whey to casein, pea protein to vegetable proteins, goat whey to hemp. (You can buy many of these from www.myprotein.com).

All have a distinctive taste, although casein and whey proteins taste fake. Often flavoured with vanilla or chocolate flavourd because they are largely used in shakes, they tend to taste fake and no matter you add, it is impossible to get rid of that taste.

Hemp was a reveleation though. It may look and smell like the henna powder I used to dye my hair pillar box red as a student, but when  combined in food, it lends it an earthy taste, not dissimilar to the purity of a thick dark chocolate.

As for the recipes we tried, none of them have exact ingredients. We were encouraged to mix, and add until we  had the right consistency. It is an approach I favour because it is only when you don’t fear food, and are open to experimentation that you can let it stop controlling you.

But what of the actual outcomes?

Pizza bases? Not  pleasant and that was not just the  one I made, which came out the thikness of a brick.

If you are trying to lose weight, I don’t see why you would want to eat pizza anyway. And if you do, I’ve always used Lebanease lavash bread, as thin as fila so you get hardly any carbs but the taste of  pizza.

The cakes? Protein powders just add a strange, plastic type sheen to cakes and they just don’t taste nice. And I say this, not because I am a sugar addict accustomed to sweet, fatty cakes. For me the plainer and ‘purer’ the better.  If was to have a cake, I’d  use ground almonds, as my protein souce and just eat less of it rather than prtotein powder.

That said, Anna came up witth a neat trick of combinning whey protein with Greek  no fat yoghurt to make frosting. Now, that is worth trying.

For me, the take home recipe I’ll do again were the protein balls and the tortilla wraps.

For the protein balls, I combined whey protiein, ground almonds, coconut flour, nuts and seeds, dates and dessicated coconut in a bowl until it was thick enough to roll into balls. Some, I coated in 90% dark chocolate, others I left au naturel before ‘setting’ in the fridge.  They were delicious and very filling.

Really, you can only eat about two until it you feel like you have eaten a box of chocolates. Perfect if you have a sweet tooth and want your fix without ruining your diet.

My other must-try were Anna’s tortilla wraps. She combined pysllium husk, which  you can get from any health food stores, with egg whites to form a gloopy mixture and fried in a pan like a panckae with coconut fat. It makes a fantastic, completely carb free wrap and if you add spices and herbs it is really nice.

So, have I come round to protein supplements?

Lovely as Anna is, (and I urge you to have a go anyway) No. Natural food sources do the same job, they are cheaper, don’t contain additives, and taste nicer.

That is not to say protein supplementation does  not have it’s place for some people.

I have interviewed professional rugby players and triathletes who HAVE to supplement because the amount of protein they have to eat in order to ensure recovery is so great, they would be practially eating eggs and chicken all day if they didn’t supplement.

Other than that, I would rather stick with natural food.

For further information about Anna’s workshops and recipies visit www.proteinpow.com

 



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Sunday Run Brunch – Baked Chilli Eggs

June 15, 2012 at 11:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Mmm, hot stuff

Got a long, Sunday run planned? Then keep yourself going with the thought of this delicious brunch as your reward. It doesn’t just taste fantastic but it also provides the perfect recovery with protein and carbohydrates. Great for after a weights session too.

In commas, we have added some alternatives to some of the ingredients to decrease the fat content.

 

Ingredients for six people
25 g/2 tablespoons butter (or use vegetable stock to saute vegetables)
1 garlic clove, crushed
125 g/4 oz. smoked ham,chopped
225 g/8 oz. mushrooms, diced
2 hot green chillies, finely chopped
225 ml/1 cup sour cream (or no fat Greek yoghurt)
2 teaspoons dried parsley (or fresh)
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh)
6 eggs
200 g/2 cups grated mature / sharp cheddar (use a sprinkling of parmesan instead)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wholegrain toast, rubbed with a garlic clove, to serve
hot sauce, to serve
6 individual ovenproof ramekins
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F) Gas 5.
2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and fry the garlic and ham for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the mushrooms and chillies and continue to cook for about 5–10 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown and the chillies begin to soften. (Or saute all this in vegetable stock).
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream or yoghurt, parsley and oregano. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture equally between the ramekins and let stand for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.
4. Make a shallow hollow in each mixture and carefully break an egg into each. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20–25 minutes or until the egg whites have set. Remove the ramekins from the oven and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
5. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes. Serve with garlicky toast and a bottle of hot sauce to splash on the eggs.
The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook, by Dan May, available on Amazon.co.uk, £16.99


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Slimming salad, Grilled Radish, Fennel & Asparagus

May 31, 2012 at 1:41
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Summer salad

No time to cook? That’s no problem because ‘cooking’ healthily actually takes less time than going out to buy something.

This delicious, summery salad takes less than 15 minutes and can be used as a side dish for four alongside grilled meat or fish, or as a main for two poeple.

Ingredients

150g radishes, halved

Bulb of fennel, sliced

200g of asparagus, trimmed

Juice of one orange mixed with 1 dsp of olive oil

For the dressing

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 tbsp baby capers

Freshly chopped dill

Juice of one orange and lemon

Salt and pepper

How to make

Dress the vegetables with the oil and orange mix, and place on a hot griddle pan. Grill on both sides, ensuring they get a nice griddle effect.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Once cooked, dress and serve.

Delicious with white fish such as sea bream or sea bass.

www.loveradish.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 



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Drop a dress size secret

May 29, 2012 at 2:33
Posted by Rachael Woolston

How big are your portions?

Atkins, Low fat, low glycaemic index, South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, the list of diets you could follow  is endless.

Yet the real secret to losing weight is simple. Cut your portion sizes.

Most of us eat too much. Think you don’t? Read on…

As a freelance writer for national  magazines and newspapers in the UK, FitBitch founder, Rachael Woolston was recently sent on assignment to review a fitness and healthy eating camp in Scotland for a national newspaper.

Forget the fitness side of things (not challenging enough) but the portion sizes were a revelation.

Think child’s breakfast bowl for muesli and porridge, tea cup of soup for lunch, and dinner no bigger than an IPhone case with two snacks, a small square of flapjack or one square of dark chocolate per day.

‘Ah, but I exercise regularly so I need to fuel my body,’ you might be thinking. True, but it really depends to what degree you are exercising.

On the camp, Rachael exercised at least four hours per day, as did all the other women in the camp who ranged in age from 21 to 70 and from 9 and a half stone to 13stone. They all surived, and completed the exercise on the same portions and lost weight.

While we are no advocating starvation-size portions, next time you dish up have a look at how much you are really putting  on your plate. It’s not just wine glasses that have become oversized of late but crockery too.

Try using a small to medium tiffin box for sizing. If it doesn’t fit in the box, it’s too big.

 



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The Power of P: Protein

April 26, 2012 at 4:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Eggs, the original superfood

Want to know most women’s biggest mistake when it comes to diet? A lack of protein sources, such as eggs, meat, fish, and nuts.

Here’s three reasons why protein should be a vital part of a healthy, balanced diet.

1. Fill yourself up

Protein is harder to break down and therefore it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, so you are less likely to overeat.

2. Breakfast boost your focus

Eating a protein source such as eggs, chicken or fish for breakfast increases your attention and focus. Yet what do most of us do? We eat cereal, a carbohydrate source which boosts serotonin in the brain induing relaxation. Doh!

3. Repair and regeneration

As the essential building block of the body, protein is vital for rebuiling muscle fibres. In other words, there is no point working out if you don’t give your body the fuel to create the change you worked so hard for.



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Healthy lunch, Spiced Almond Salad

April 21, 2012 at 4:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

 

Keeps you full and great for your joints


Nuts are a fantastic source of protein, which helps keep you fuller for longer. But having a bag at your desk is seriously dangerous.

They are hugely calorific if not eaten in moderation, and before you know it a 250g bag is gone. So stick to using nuts in recipes, buying only the small taster packs from the supermarket so you are not tempted to overindulge. This is a perfect lunch and you can add chicken or even fish to help turn it into an evening meal.

Ingredients

olive oil spray

50g whole natural almonds

1 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

1/2 finely chopped red chilli

1 tsp sea salt

4 finely chopped tomatoes

1 tbs chopped coriander stem

1/4 cantaloupe melon

1 tbs blueberries

1 tbs fresh mint

Method:

1. Toss the almonds in oil and cook over gentle heat for 4 mins, tossing them around regularly. Add the chilli, salt and garlic and cook for a further 2- 4 minutes or until the garlic turns into a golden colour.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and tomatoes

3.  Toss the melon, fruit and fresh mint together and serve with salad leaves. Delicious with a spoonful of natural yoghurt.

Almondboard.co.uk



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Show us your lunch

April 18, 2012 at 3:40
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Mmmm...Mackerel

Mmmm...Mackerel

Fancy winning a luxury break for two at The Hamburgh Hotel, the only Michelin starred hotel and restaurant on the Isle of Wight?

All you have to do is take a snap of your fabulous, FitBitchin’ style lunch and upload it to www.stylist.co.uk/showusyourlunch before 5pm Monday 30th.

Even more of an incentive to get cooking and experimenting with our FitBitch recipes!

 



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Curried scrambled eggs with smoked fish

March 26, 2012 at 2:53
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Quick simple supper

Eating protein is vital if you are hoping to lose weight, and if you’re exericising. Not only does protein take longer to digest so it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, it also helps repair and rebuild muscles. No excuse that you don’t have time as this takes just 15mins. No time to cook the haddock? Buy it ready cooked.

Cooking time: 15 minutes Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 6 British Lion eggs
  • 200g baby spinach, washed
  • 200g smoked haddock
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 lime wedges

Method

  1. Half fill a shallow sauce pan with water and place onto a medium heat. Add the smoked haddock and bay leaves and bring to a simmer before turning off the heat. Leave for 4 minutes or until the fish has turned opaque. Remove the fish from the water using a slotted spoon, flake the flesh from the skin and break into large pieces. Leave to one side.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, allow them to toast and cook until they start to pop – this will release the flavour from the seeds. Turn down the heat, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Don’t allow the garlic to burn as this will make the final dish bitter. Add the curry powder and a pinch of salt. Cook for another minute before adding the spinach. Stir well and allow the spinach to wilt. Season generously with black pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Once the spinach has completely wilted, turn up the heat and pour in the beaten eggs. Stir with a plastic spatula until the eggs are well scrambled.
  4. Just before serving, fold in the cooked smoked haddock. Don’t allow the flakes to break up too much.
  5. When ready to serve, tip the curried eggs onto a big serving platter. Scatter with the fresh red chilli, lots of coriander leaves and a wedge of lime each.

For more recipe ideas visit http://www.eggrecipes.co.uk



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How much are you ‘really’ eating?

March 12, 2012 at 12:37
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Oops, I forgot I'd eaten that

So, you’re not losing any weight despite the fact that ‘you’re hardly eating anything.’ How many times have you heard yourself or your friends say this?

Yet are you really aware of what you are eating and how much?

To help you pinpoint where you are going wrong with your diet try keeping a food diary using the free IPhone app, Pic Healthy. This is a fantastic, simple device where you simply snap a picture of your food and it keeps a visual food diary for you.

It is far easier, quicker, and demonstrates more aptly where you could be going wrong than a written food diary.

As the old adage goes, the camera never lies. And if you are not losing weight, then 99.9% of the time it’s because you are eating too much.

At FitBitch we will be keeping our own visual diary over the next few weeks which we will share with you. If anyone else is brave enough to take the challenge and share their diary too get in touch at info@fitbitchbootcamp.com.



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