Eat Your Greens!

Green vegetables are underrated. 

Maybe it stems from childhood and the fact that we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we’d eaten our greens. Perhaps it’s the stigma that greens are something you ought to eat but they are tasteless & boring so it’s a chore - I'd rather have sweet potato fries as my daily veg please! Or actually, if just boiled or cooked in the wrong way, green veg can be a bit limp and slimy. In a nutshell - people don’t really like greens.

But green vegetables are actually a superfood! Put the acai berries aside - eating leafy greens every day is possibly the thing you are missing if you are dealing with a lousy immune system, struggling with weight loss or feel like you just haven’t got the glow.

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SCIENCE

There is a reason why as children our parents tried to force greens on us - the nutrients are key to healthy growth but they are just as important when we are adults! Greens are an excellent source of fibre plus many vitamins & minerals. If you do not eat greens then you may be missing some of these micronutrients which are essential for many major functions in the body such as:

  • Growth, development and maintenance
  • Releasing energy from food
  • Protecting & supporting our immune system as antioxidants
  • Regulating the metabolism
  • Providing structure to body tissue (bones/teeth/blood cells etc)
  • Helping to support the body carry out its functions including those of the brain & muscles

…..the list does go on!

HOW 

Greens are inexpensive and easy to eat - some you don’t need to cook to consume but if you do then it’s just a case of boiling quickly (heat for too long and they start to lose their nutrients), steaming or microwaving. However, nowadays more and more it seems it’s easier to reach for fast, ready made food that is all protein, fat or grains, with no source of any vegetables or salad - let alone greens which are perhaps one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.

Here are ways to make them interesting & include them in your diet:

  • BREAKFAST: Raw spinach leaves dressed with olive oil & balsamic vinegar with your eggs
  • LUNCH: Raw kale rubbed with olive oil to soften, add to rocket & raw baby spinach, pine nuts plus a source of protein for a delicious salad
  • DINNER: Spiralize courgette into courgetti, fry in coconut oil and eat in place of spaghetti with your bolognese
  • SNACK: Stir fry green veg (sugar snaps/pak choi/purple sprouting/kale etc) with chilli & garlic in coconut oil and a little soy sauce

BENEFITS

If you aren’t eating greens, this is perhaps one of the main things you can do to benefit your health right now. I try to eat greens with every meal Monday-Friday at least and I  cannot remember the last time I was ill with flu or a bad cold (touch wood!). They are also low in calories, so if you’re trying to lose weight they can be a great way to fill up. Check people like Jamie Oliver’s websites for exciting recipes (his sprouts & bacon dish is one of my favs!) and get creative! Change your view of greens - increase them in your daily diet and reap the rewards!

The Protein Powder Down-low

What is in a protein powder? Is it good for you, bad for you - will it make you hench? I'm not here to recommend protein supplements but just to give you the basic facts if you wondered what it's all about... Basics

Protein is one of the main 3 macronutrients your body needs to survive. It's required for many bodily functions but in regards to training it's important to get enough protein to repair and grow your muscles. Everyone's protein requirement amount will differ depending on their size, age, lifestyle, training program etc. As an example, I am a female weighing around 60kg and I aim for around 120g of protein a day. I am an active person and do about 3 days of resistance training a week, 1 day of sprint training and 1 day of LISS.

Whole Foods

In the first instance, you should aim to get your protein from food sources through your diet: meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, eggs, nuts to name a few. However, sometimes it isn't convenient to have a meal or snack or maybe it's not possible to consume or stomach the volume of food you might need to match your protein requirements.

Protein Powders

That's where protein powders come in for the people that choose to consume them. Protein powders usually come in a range of different flavours and 1 scoop usually contains about 20g of protein. A popular one is whey protein - which is made from milk - on it's own it's usually low in fat and one scoop can be around 150 cals, though different brands vary. It's fast absorbing and post-workout will get to your muscles quickly.

Vegans use pea protein or hemp protein - I've tried a couple of these vegan brands and found them lighter on the stomach than whey.

Another popular protein powder is casein - this is another milk protein but it's slower to digest than whey, so it's better consumed not directly after exercise but perhaps in the evening so it keeps your protein levels up overnight (NB - this depends on your personal requirements).

Conclusion

On it's own - a protein powder should not make you hench or fat! There's a few other things you will need to do as well to make those things happen. I usually have one protein shake a day post-workout with whey protein but sometimes I eat enough protein through meat and eggs so that I don't need one. Again - it's best to get protein from your diet. Do your research and feel free to email me with any questions (ebdfitness@gmail.com). My preferred brands are Neat Nutrition and KMPT/In the Kin as their brands are simple and contain just a few, quality ingredients.

How do you eat it?

You can shake it up with some water in a shaker bottle (convenient post-workout if you're on the move), whizz it up with some other ingredients for a tasty smoothie or create protein pancakes for breakfast. My fav protein shake recipe is below.....

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kmpt-protein

Protein shake recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1 small banana
  • 10 blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon Meridan almond butter
  • 1 cup (ish) of almond Milk

Whizz in nutribullet with ice and consume!

Email me with any questions: ebdfitness@gmail.com

Modern Living: Ways to help calm a stressed out mind!

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If you're anything like me, my mind is usually charging around at full pace every day on various things I've got going on. It's easy to feel quickly overwhelmed! I've been meditating for a couple of years now using the app Buddify (which is amazing by the way especially if you're new to it - lots of long & short meditations for different situations). Taking a short break in your day, even 5 mins to clear your head can be really helpful. It doesn't have to be a daily thing or a huge deal. I'm not a regular meditator - just when I feel I need it - there's no right or wrong practice! I often use a sleep meditation from Buddify when going to bed if my mind is not switching off and I'm usually asleep in 5 mins.

Another way I like to calm my mind is by finding an amazing view to stare at. Of course holidays are our way of getting away from it all and we can usually stare at a beautiful vista for days - but what about when you're not on holiday? One of my favourite places in London to go is Primrose Hill. The view of London from the top of the hill puts things in perspective and always gives me some headspace. The other place I love to go is Wapping down by the River Thames where I used to live - the view of Tower Bridge and up river is so cool - but really any view along the river is amazing.

There's lots of research on the fact that water is calming for the mind - not that we necessarily need it as we all know staring out to sea can be very therapeutic! There's a marine biologist in the US who has written a book called 'a blue mind' which looks at ancient rituals and believes human brains are hardwired to react positively to water - any water!

So this means that if you're feeling stressed out, seek a view with some water, go swimming, go paddle boarding or even take a shower or a bath!

Building rituals which your mind can recognise as soothing I've found can really help in switching off for bit which is so helpful in this fast paced lifestyle we lead!