My Food Bag Review


Imagine a land where magical food fairies come and deliver all the ingredients to a glorious gourmet meal direct to your door. These food fairies, dream up easy to follow recipes, for the whole week and food that is fresh, inviting and ready pretty much ready in under 30 minutes. Wakey, wakey people! I've realised these food fairies are REAL LIFE and it's convenience with a capital C, thanks to My Food Bag.

I was lucky to sample My Food Bag's "wares" recently and I've got to say, I was mega impressed.  They have 3 bags to choose from: Classic, Family and Gourmet. Hello! Talk about a spread and quality ingredients. This definitely exceeded my expectation. This is a perfect solution for those who still want a hand in the cooking process but just everything sourced for them and at a convenient location (your front door!). My Food Bag (aka the magical food fairies) dropped my delivery off and I got stuck into preparing our first meal.

You get all your food for the week (4-5 meals)  e.g in the classic bag (a goodie to start off with for those playing at home!) and then this is bag is accompanied with the recipes to make all the meals. I love that you still get to actually cook (I love cooking!) the food plus you know it's fresh and piping hot. It's slightly different than say a full pre made meal delivery but the experience is rewarding and it's perfect when you feel a bit bored of dishing up the same meals in your usual repertoire. Both have their place in making your life easier when it comes to healthy meal preparation. The My Food Bag "Family" sorts of those fussy eaters, it's got a few twists on classics whilst still quick to cook.


The other thing I noticed is the meals are really well balanced. You get to see all the nutritional information on the recipe cards, it's perfect for the health conscious and those looking to shift a few kilos without even trying. Some of my favourite meals pictured (below) where: Nachos with tomato salsa and guacamole, mac & cheese bake, chicken skoulaki, lamb kofta's with spiced couscous, crunchy radish salad and sumac yoghurt dressing and soft fish tacos with sunshine rice, mango and guacamole. Seriously all stunning meals. Again, the ingredients you receive are top notch. Quality, sustainable, free-range produce.

Steve, my partner, woofed everything down each night and now has his sights set high about me dishing up this "standard" each night. The cheek!...but who am I kidding- I love this food too!

Worth checking out, Bon appetite!

GREAT NEWS: You'll get 15% off your first MFB, so jump on the website and get ordering!










MORE READING:

Does The 5:2 Diet Work?
Keep It Simple, Sweetcheeks #nofchallenge
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Does The 5:2 Diet Work?




Is the 5:2 Diet the answer to all your hot body dreams? I'm dishing up my opinion and telling it how I see it in REAL LIFE (read that back again, it's MY OPINION. If you don't agree with it, that's fine by me but the conversation is worth starting, right? I'm up for a discussion at the end)

It’s hailed as the new  “wonder diet”, “life changing”, “life prolonging”.  Is this groundhog day? I feel like I’ve heard this all before….

Before you get ahead of yourself here and sign yourself up, may I remind you we have seen quite a few of these “miracle- life changing- OMG- I- lost- a –dress- size- in- a- week- diets” before. Cast your mind back to Atkins, the dude who told us to eat next to no carbs and pig out on high fat foods by the bucket load (his medical reports after his death showed history of heart attack and hypertension, funnily enough?!). What about the lemon detox diet, judged to be about the worst diet know to womankind by nutrition and health experts.  These diets are always backed by “scientific research” and a choir of converts that sing the diet’s praises. However, they still haven’t lead us to the holy grail of LONG TERM hot body heaven. Have they?

Now, let’s look at the premise of the 5:2 diet. You are given 2 days per week whereby you stick to a strict calorie intake of no more than 500 calories for those 2 days and then for 5 days, you eat “normally”.  Again backed by lots of scientific research and with the added teaser of “you only have to do three minutes of exercise per week”. Hello! Sign me up. I’d love to get by with just a measly 3 mins of exercise slog per week but how the HELL can I get all my requirements in just 3 mins? It’s insanity! Back to that later, more on the diet.

I’ve had several clients tell me about their success following the 5:2 protocol however I’m yet to be entirely convinced of it’s long term effectiveness. Don't get me wrong, I'm not doubting you lose weight but is it effective long term and are you just becoming a scale watcher. How lean does it get you? Comments have included “It has given me the ability to manage my hunger better, I definitely eat smaller portions now.” That’s a good thing, in my opinion, so tick! Another has said “It’s been very draining on the low calorie days and sometimes I find it hard to push through. I definitely can’t do exercise on those days”. Normal energy level requirements aren’t being met for the day so that’s not surprising. To be honest, I find it real hard to be on my A game when all I’m thinking about is smashing a cheeseburger due to following a low calorie eating plan. I also understand perfectly that that’s how the diet “works” however I’ve cut calories by way less and felt amazing all day AND got great results doing in a less stressful way.  I’ve noticed with this 5:2 diet that it’s something that people like going back to, you know to get them “back on track”. I can’t help but think if you just stuck to a balanced diet (being mindful of  your overall  calorie intake to your own body), with a few a treats but smaller portions you wouldn’t have this “back on track” problem. Also, if you simply exercised year round and not just for summer, you also wouldn't have this problem. It’s time that seems to be a dieter’s worst problem or fear. They want to lose a dress size instantly not in 4 or 6 weeks or even longer.  Clearly that stuff comes down to mindset not diet. Can you really erase a few years or even a lifetime of slothiness and gluttony in a few weeks for good? Think about it?

I have personally trailed intermittent fasting (which is pretty much what the 5:2 diet is) and short term I can see it has some benefits however the fasting periods (I did 14 hours at maximum) where hard. My energy levels did experience some surges but for the most part I didn’t feel on top and “big decision making” ready. I was quite angry, well hangry (angry and hungry) and then I found come meal time I was literally counting down the minutes on the clock to stuff my face. I didn’t want to live this way. I was becoming a slave to food. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I got to the point where I felt my belly fat increasing, which I put down to stress, so I stopped it and continued to eat a balanced diet whereby I eat when I’m hungry and according to my energy output. I also feel the definition of "eat normally" (on your 5 days) up for interpretation. What's normal eating, ask 100 people and you'll get extremely differing opinions and feedback.

Now back to the exercise component, “3 mins of high intensity interval training per week”. I love HIIT, I think it’s effective, beneficial and really it’s my preferred method of cardio exercise. However, where’s the strength training? The flexibility component? The long, slow steady stuff? The meditation. The exercise component is flawed. Plain and simple. There is no variety, except a HIIT session performed on say an exercise bike. Poor tight hip flexors. You won’t build any new muscle just preserve what you have (one of the benefits of HIIT, at least that's a good thing).  How much lean muscle mass will you lose over the course of following this diet? Will you not end up looking skinny fat? Aren’t you just going to force yourself to become a slave to the scales again? The cycle continues, surely!

Like any diet there are always benefits and flaws to it.  Sadly, there is no magic bullet. There I said it! The human body does it’s mighty finest to keep our body fat levels where it feels safe and secure. As a professional, seeing women especially struggle day in and day out, my biggest piece of advice is to work on the real reasons you struggle with your weight. Re-think your mindset, what is the cause? Finding a long-term solution is tough but being a “former fat girl” myself, nothing has worked better than deciding enough was enough, making the conscious mindful effort with sticking to varied exercise and eating more nutritious food. Enjoying treats (including cheese and booze) and learning to accept my body for the powerful, strong, imperfect structure is it.

Down with diets, I say!

Talk to me! Have you experienced the 5:2 Diet? What are your thoughts/feeling. Share them below, it's all yours

MORE READING:
(wo)Man's Best Friend
Keep It Simple, Sweetcheeks #nofchallenge

Join my email posse and receive my FREE ebook with my 50+ fat loss secrets!

Home Workout For Women



Working out from home can help you ditch the excuses and make it easier to fit your workout around your home schedule. The humble balcony or living room makes a perfect space.

Don't forget a suitable training outfit, good footwear and a sports bra. No bouncing without "the girls" strapped in.

It can be difficult to get into a routine when you are home based but starting your day off on the right foot, with a workout, is an easy way to set yourself up for a productive day.

Here's a quick home circuit I like to do that targets the legs, core and arms. It'll keep your heart elevated and keep that fat burning fire (aka your metabolism) on high alert all day long.

Perform 1 min of each exercise (both legs if applicable) and aim to get out 4-6 sets with a 1 min rest in between. These all can be performed with weights also in a strength fashion aim for 8-12RM for 3-4 sets, rest 45sec in between sets


Rear leg elevated squat:

Grab a stool and place your rear leg on top. Jump the front leg forward to position yourself. You want to keep your legs parallel and chest and head up. Bend both knees and then slowly return to the start position. Hands on the hips or out to the side for increased balance support.



Tricep push up using stool:

Hold firmly onto the side of the stool. Your legs extended out the back of your body. Slowly lowering yourself down while keeping your elbows tucked into your waist. Body is nice and long the whole time and aim to get as much bend (flexion) as possible in your elbows. You'll feel this in the triceps. if you are a beginner or new to this move perhaps start with bent knees, resting on the floor. You can work on getting depth then progress to the straight leg position later. Push yourself back up to start position but don't forget to tuck those elbows in. 





Single leg step up: 

A favourite for the legs and butt. Step up on the chair and fully extend your leg and press your hips forward. Slowly lower back down trying not to drop your chest. When your foot hits the floor perform your second step up. Just go slow and focus on one leg at a time. Work on the leg coming down softly and controlled, not like a thudding elephant. 



Superman:

Lie face down, with your body fully extended. Next, raise both arms and legs up in the air at the same time. Time it so you contract your abs and back muscles. This is a doozy for the core, much harder than it looks. Don't forget to give the butt cheeks a good squeeze. Perform this move with control and focus more than anything on the "squeeze". Engage back, arms, butt, abs and legs. Tuck your chin slightly and always look down.











Prisoner squats hands behind head: 

Your stock standard squat here, great for the legs. You could try this with a stool behind you to focus on engaging the posterior areas (butt and hamstrings) more. Aim for depth but be aware of any creaks and aches- if full range doesn't feel right, flexibility is probably the issue (stretch calves, quads, lower back, abs) and work on slightly varied foot position.




 V-sit up:

This ab move is quite advanced but worth trying. Start by lying down on your back and using your abs, legs and arms aim to touch your toes with straight arms. Draw the navel into the spine on your initial ascent and perform as many controlled v sit ups as possible in the minute.



Hydrate well after your workout and bask in your own glory that now your workout is done and dusted! 

How often do you workout from home?

The Low Fat Food Conundrum


We've been told to avoid fat and consume low fat foods to shift extra kilos for a very long time but what if it's all a bit of con?

Noooo, it couldn't be?

Could it?

Research is indicating some of the low fat over myths may be some of the biggest health "con's" of our lifetime. Scary to think just based on a few Drs and researcher's we've basically shifted our whole way of thinking when it comes to our food. I mean, did it really make any sense to consume less whole food and eat low fat, diet food? I guess it did back then.

Additional reading:
Saturated fat heart disease myth
New study puts final nail in the saturated fat causes heart disease coffin


I was a child of the 80's, so I grew up with this message hammered into me because it  was being hammered into my parents by the media. Our cupboards were full of convenience low fat "healthy" foods. Yes, there were fruits, veggies and fresh stuff too but kids love boxes. They just do. It must also be noted that even with loads of sport as a adolescent, I was a fatty! Yep, I struggled terribly with what my mum called "Puppy Fat". It wasn't puppy fat though (I'm clearly not a dog). I was just plain fat. I was becoming fat from the shitty diet foods I was consuming.  I was eating containers of low fat yoghurt probably with enough sugar to fuel a swimming team. I was eating it by the tub too. A kilo tub! I clearly wasn't receiving enough nutrition from these so called foods and I was overeating in a desperate attempt to nourish myself. By no means is this a cry for help, a blame game towards my parents nor do I want the violins to come out for my poor deprived childhood. Not at all. We were wealthy, we are well off. We had everything you could have imagined as children. Not spoilt, well maybe a little. We never went hungry, we only knew a fully stocked fridge. My parents did what most average Aussies did, they followed the guidelines set out by government and they trusted it was the right thing to do. We didn't have junk food in the house or what was deemed as junk food, we always sat down as a family to eat meals and we always got a packed lunch everyday for school. So where did it get so bad?

Government + Dr's + Food guidelines + Food manufacturers = $$$$$$

The sneaky ways big companies (cereal/yoghurt/dairy etc) market their foods to parents (or the people that buy them). HEALTHY, WHOLEGRAIN, PACKED FULL OF GOODNESS, LOW FAT, HEART FOUNDATION TICK APPROVED, WHAT GROWING BODIES NEED and on and on.

Is the answer to boycott supermarkets and grow your own- well of course that would be ideal but that seems a little difficult in today's society, considering the cost of living and the real estate market. Most of us live in apartments or smaller than average quarters, so a fruit and veggie patch is something of a pipe dream. What we can do though is educate ourselves and experiment with ways to feed ourselves better. Below are a few common myths that we've been told numerous times by our governing health bodies:

1. Swap your butter for margarine,

2. Avoid too many eggs

 3. Only drink low fat milk

4. Saturated fat will lead to a heart attack

5. Eat as much low fat food as humanly possible

What we know now:

1. Butter is better for you than a processed, hydrogenated fat such as margarine. Avocados make a great plant based spread.

2. Eggs are fine to consume on a daily basis. Aim for a free range, good quality egg.

3. Full fat milk is a whole food source. If you don't tolerate dairy well nut milk: coconut milk, almond milk or completely nut free is oat milk.

4. Saturated fat doesn't lead to heart as once thought. Seem's that sugar may be the culprit. Makes sense right- take out the fat from our food and jack it with sugar. Volia! Cheap addictive food. Avoid added sugars and opt for naturally occurring (like in fruit) but remember to keep it in moderation. 1-2 pieces a day is fine, not 4 or 5

5. Eat whole food from whole food sources. Reduce the amount of food you consume from packages and boxes. Eat intuitively and watch the body respond.

I've personally followed all the above 5 "What we know now" guidelines and I couldn't feel any better. My advice? Try it for yourself, don't be told by a governing body what you should do, research and educate yourself. If you look and feel better surely that's a good indication it's good for you.

How have you ditched the low fat food? Why did you do it?


MORE READING:
(wo)Man's Best Friend
Keep It Simple, Sweetcheeks #nofchallenge

Join my email posse and receive my FREE ebook with my 50+ fat loss secrets!

The Best Superfoods For Spring



Today's post is care of my sparkly, healthy friend Sally, from The Fit Foodie, she's got the low down on the best Superfoods for Spring! Let's get shopping. 

Its spring! Get out of your winter funk and give your diet a boost with these delicious, nutrient dense additions that will have your whole body humming. If chosen well, food can reshape not your body, but your overall health and well being too. Think improved mood, focus, energy, skin, and metabolism. Here’s my top Spring Superfoods to help supercharged you this spring

Blueberries

Great for: skin

With the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, Blueberries help your skin repair damage caused by environmental factors like pollution and UV rays.

Salmon

Great for: skin

With it’s high concentration of fatty acids, salmon can prevent wrinkle formation. It’s special make-up of omega-3s helps stop the release of enzymes that reduce collagen, keeping your skin plump and fresh. Omega-3s also regulate oil production in the skin, which helps keep your complexion clear


Avocados

Great for: Weight loss

There's no reason to be afraid of eating fats—as long as they're the right ones! Avocados' healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) help to satiate hunger. Stick to a quarter of an avocado per serve, and watch that belly fat melt away. The creamy fruit is also packed with fiber and protein to help keep you full for longer. No more between-meal snacking!
 Swap butter and margarines for a speed of avocado on your morning toast.

Walnuts

Great for: Low mood

Just one quarter of cup provides more than 100 percent of your daily requirement of plant-based omega-3 fats, which has been shown to alleviate depression. Walnuts are also packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin.
Crush a small handful (skins on) and sprinkle over your salad a few times a week."

ACAI Berries

Great for: Digestive health

These tasty berries are a great addition to your spring diet. Among other awesome properties, the acai berry is known to keep the digestive system clean and in optimal function by providing an excellent dose of fibre.
You can buy the freeze-dried powder from health food stores. Try sprinkling it over your morning oats

Asparagus

Great for: Water retention

These spears are a natural diuretic, which helps to decrease the level of fluid within the body. It also helps to cleanse the body of excess salts, which is especially beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.
! Try griddling a bunch with a little coconut oil, then season with cracked black pepper and lemon juice."

 Astaxanthin

Great for: Energy and stamina

Astaxanthin (pronounced "asta-ZAN-thin") is a naturally-occurring red pigment, or carotenoid. Scientists have touted it responsible for the stamina seen in salmon
when swimming upstream to lay their eggs. Other reported benefits include improved athletic performance, reduction in the risk of sunburn and skin damage, improved eye and joint health, increased skin elasticity and a reduction in fatigue.! ! To benefits, you would need to consume two large wild salmon fillets daily! An alternative is to take concentrated Astaxanthin supplements, which can be found in health food stores across Australia."


Maca Powder

Great for: Energy

The maca root has an exclusive balance of proteins, carbs, anti-oxidants, plant sterols, minerals and vitamins. it is know to balance the endocrine system (such as your adrenals) which in turn boosts your energy and vitality.
Add a teaspoon to your next smoothie or for a decadent dessert, try my Cacao, Cherry and Maca-Tahini cups




Spring garlic

Great for: Weight loss

Spring garlic contains a compound called allicin, which gives it its pungent smell. It has been reported that Allicin can help to avoid overeating by stimulating satiety in the
brain. Spring garlic has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs you buy in summer. Try it crushed over chicken breast with a little olive oil, and oven-cook on a medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

Chlorophyll

Great for: Alkalising the body

Chlorophyll alkalises and purifies your body by neutralising and removing toxins. It is known to heal digestive disorders, boost immunity, provide energy, and even prevent anaemia.
Liquid chlorophyll can be found in the health food isles of most supermarkets, pharmacy or health food store.




The Fit Foodie, otherwise known as Sally O’Neil, is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too.
 The Fit Foodie can be found whipping up wholefood dishes to inspire others on their clean-eating journey, and has a penchant for delectable desserts.