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Spring has sprung, get out your green thumb! MY GUIDE TO HERBS

My guide to herbs!

As many of you know, I LOVE using herbs in cooking.
The kitchen is home for me (my happy place haha)!

Herbs add so much depth and flavour to dishes, and add so much freshness at the same time!

Use my guide to herbs for nutritional information, and what to pair your herbs with.

BASIL

  • Pesto, pizza and pasta!
    We are a little obsessed with homemade pastas at home and basil is always at the top of the ingredient list
  • Available all year round
  • Contains disease fighting antioxidants and acts as an anti-inflammatory

CHIVES

  • For a delicate onion flavour – we like to sprinkle chopped chives on potatoes and salads
  • Available all year round
  • Contains potassium, iron and calcium

CORIANDER

  • Ahhhh so fresh! Coriander goes so well with steamed fish, curries and salads
  • Available all year round
  • Coriander lowers blood sugar and eases digestive discomfort

DILL

  • Goes well with salmon, potatoes, soups and eggs.
    You’ll find fresh chopped dill in my tomato and pine nut atlantic salmon in 12 Days of Christmas!
  • Available all year round
  • Source of calcium, manganese and iron

LEMONGRASS

  • Lemongrass adds the most beautiful flavour to marinades, curries and stir fries
  • Available all year round
  • Used to relieve headaches and stomach pain, and is an energy booster

MINT

  • Lamb and mint anyone? One of my favourite 12 Days of Christmas recipes is my honey glazed lamb leg with fresh mint!
    Fresh mint is also delicious with fresh fruit and desserts
  • Available all year round
  • Promotes digestion and relieves nausea

OREGANO

  • Used with meats, fish, cheese and plenty of Greek and Italian dishes
  • Available all year round
  • Contains antioxidants for auto immune support, antifungal and antibacterial

PARSLEY

  • Popular for garnishes and pairing with seafood and sauces
  • Available all year round
  • Parsley contains vitamin A, K, C and E!

ROSEMARY

  • Another perfect accompaniment to roast lamb, pizzas and steak
  • Available all year round
  • Rosemary contains antibacterial and antioxidant acids

SAGE

  • Sage is often used to stuff chickens and turkey
  • Available all year round
  • Sage is a natural antiseptic with bacteria-killing capabilities

THYME

  • Thyme pairs well with other herbs and is a great addition to stuffing!
  • Available all year round
  • Thyme is used to lower blood pressure as well as relieve coughing
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Budget Friendly Superfoods!

I AM ALWAYS ON THE HUNT TO FIND NEW BUDGET FRIENDLY SUPERFOODS,
AND LOVE TRYING OUT THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM MY SQUAD.

That’s not to say I don’t always fall back on the traditional fridge and pantry superfood fillers.
These are foods that have been good for us when they were for our great, great, great, great (you get the idea) grandparents.

Since these superfoods don’t require the pulverising, processing and packaging that some do, they go easy on your wallet too.

There are endless amounts of affordable and wholesome superfoods that are PACKED with vitamins and minerals that are right in front of you.
You may just need the reminder!

 

INCLUDE THESE SOMETIMES OVERLOOKED SUPERFOODS IN YOUR TROLLEY NEXT TIME.

Banana Slices in a small bowl on vintage background

BANANAS

Rich in manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium.
Bananas are the ultimate snack for on the go!
Bananas are always readily available and can be used for smoothies, fruit salads and bakes.

Bowl of garlic bulbs and cloves in a blow, on a rustic blue table.

GARLIC

The OG flavour enhancer.
Fresh garlic is a potent immunity booster and often used to combat the common cold.
Garlic also aids digestion and works on your heart health.

 

Frozen blueberries up close

FROZEN BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries are delicious and nutritious.
High in fibre, vitamin C and K, blueberries are also considered at the top of the rank among all fruit and veg for its antioxidants.
Properties found in blueberries also protect against DNA damage which is a leading driver of ageing and cancer.
Get frozen for a cheaper option that’s still delivers the same nutritional benefits as fresh (and great for smoothies!)

OATS

Any of you following me know just how much I love oats.
And for good reason – this wholegrain breakfast option is high in phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate and vitamin B1.
Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides.
These compounds may help reduce blood pressure among other things. Another amazing element to oats is the soluble fibre called ‘beta-gluca’ found in them.
Beta-glucen can help reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar, increase the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract and increase your feeling of fullness!

 

LENTILS

Packed with fibre and protein, lentils can bulk up any main meal.
These pulses are also loaded with folate, vitamin B1, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6!
And out of all plant-based foods; lentils contain the highest amount of folate!

 

GREEN TEA

Inexpensive and linked to the reduction of bad cholesterol, green tea is a great alternative to your daily coffee.
Not only that, green tea is well known for boosting your metabolic rate.
Mix in some honey and lemon for a natural cold preventative and remedy.

 

cinnamon powder and sticks on wooden table

CINNAMON

Cinnamon is sometimes referred to as one of the healthiest spices in the world.
This superfood may already be sitting in the pantry – and a tiny sprinkle goes a very long way!
Cinnamon helps ward off diabetes, inflammation and bacteria.
Top it on your coffee, yoghurt, fruit and baked goods.

 

Happy Way Superfood Protein Powder on Wooden Plate with gold spoons

HAPPY WAY

Made from high quality ancient and organic superfood supplements, Happy Way is one of my favourite protein powders!
Inside their formulas, you will also find calcium-rich maca powder and chia seeds.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR AFFORDABLE SUPERFOOD MUST HAVES?

All levels of my program The Bod, use seasonal wholefoods to ensure you can reach your goals with out breaking  the bank.
READ MORE ABOUT EACH LEVEL HERE.

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COOKED vs RAW: Weighing Food

Tracking your nutrition, and weighing food correctly without scales is near impossible (unless you’re advance with a knack for eyeballing food).
This is why when you begin tracking your macros, I really recommend gathering as much knowledge as you can.
You are about to put in a LOT of hard work and effort, so you should be doing it as effectively as you can.

Cooked vs Raw.

This seems to confuse so many people.
Do you calculate your foods based on the cooked weight or the raw weight?
Does it really affect overall numbers?

Straightforward answer: Always raw, uncooked weight where possible.

While some prefer to weigh out their food once all the cooking is over, this is not necessarily the most accurate way to track your macros.

Use rice as an example.
If you cook rice in 1 cup of water vs 3 cups of water, the absorption of the water would obviously create a greater weight at the end of the cooking process. (Even though the quantity of the rice hasn’t changed)

Another example is chicken breast. Depending on the cooking method, a 100 gram serving of chicken breast can shrink to 70 grams or less!
Another great example is pasta. Also make sure you measure pasta in raw weight before water absorption.

Remember:
Carbohydrates will usually soak water up during cooking (making it heavier), and proteins will release water (getting smaller/tighter).

How to weigh it out cooked.
When cooking a meal for a larger quantity, it is essential to weigh and record each of the individual ingredients raw or uncooked first.
Once you cook it, weigh the entire amount back out and divide the number by the number of servings.
Work out the servings desired by the quantity of protein source you’re using and require.
For example, if chicken is your protein source and you require roughly 100 grams per serve, the raw weight could be 500 grams raw, and you will need 5 servings. 3

Now.. when it comes to tracking meals whilst eating out… this is a whole other can of worms!
Let me know on Instagram if you’d like to see a blog on how to track your meals when you eat out or enjoy a meal with friends!

For more information on tracking and weighing your food to hit your own unique goals, head to www.thebod.com.au

I hope this blog was useful for you!

Sophie x

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FOOD COMPARISONS

Lately I have been giving you all visual graphics for different macronutrients, calories or health examples.

Rather than giving you an alternative or ‘better’ choice, I have simply been showcasing how different foods have different breakdowns.
I also show what makes up each food.
A lot of people have been shocked or amazed, and it has really helped provide a better visual understanding and talking point.

Here are some of the visuals I have previously done.
Remember, each one aims to show a different ‘point’- whether that be calories, carbohydrates, fats, sugar or health

Let me know what you think on Instagram, and if you’d like to see more!

Sophie x

Three bananas on marble background

 

Macadamia nuts, green apple, sweet potato, honey, white bread and snake lollies

Skinny cow ice cream and chocolate paddle pop lying flat

Avocado and Macadamia Nuts compared on a marble background

Peanut butter and hazelnut spread or nutella

Whole kit kat and half eaten kit kat on marble background

Dark chocolate and milk chocolate comparison on marble background

 

 

 

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THE INS AND OUTS OF PROTEIN

Here’s my first ‘disclaimer’ if you will when it comes to protein powder.
Protein powder is not a dietary requirement. All supplements exist for that exact reason – to supplement something that is lacking in your diet.

However. I love protein powder for several reasons, one huge one being that it is SUPER convenient.
Over time I have found that the most maintainable way for me to eat while achieving my goals is to use the flexible dieting option in The Bod
(using years of experience to eyeball my food and MyFitnessPal).

Life is never not a whirlwind and while I do my meal prep Sunday’s (add me on Snapchat if you’re missing out), there are still times when opting for protein powder is the quickest and easiest way to hit my protein intake.
It really does come in handy for when I struggle to hit my protein goal with food alone or come to the end of the day and have 10-20g left to hit my requirement.

Protein is essential to anyone’s diet. Without it, we hinder the formation of enzymes and hormones in the body.
It helps build lean muscle, improves our immunity, boosts our energy levels and assists in building and repairing tissue!

Another misconception


That using it will instantly make you bulky and build muscle at a rapid rate.
Going back to my earlier point, you aren’t adding protein powder in excess, you are taking it to supplement the protein you may be lacking from your diet.
You may have a fast paced lifestyle and don’t always have the time to prepare a full meal. Another reason may be that you need a quick option for after a workout.
Something else to take note of is that women will find it much, much harder to build muscle mass.

Finally, that protein powder is processed and full of unnecessary ingredients.

Do your research, and you’ll find that there are brands dedicated to offering safe, clean and wholesome alternatives to commercial proteins.
What makes my protein my ultimate choice, is that I can share it with my children.
And it has the tick of approval even for pregnancy! Something that is incredibly hard to achieve when it comes to a dietary supplement.
180 Nutrition gives me peace of mind and delicious tasting protein combined, and blends perfectly with the kids’ breakfast smoothies.
This is because there is not one ingredient in the ingredient list you wouldn’t recognise!

Finally, here’s some advice to take away.

When choosing your protein, go for a brand you trust, and determine what you’re looking for.
For example: do you want a vegan protein that’s pea -based or rice-based?
Look at the amount of protein per serve, take note of the ingredients and if it’s high in carbohydrates or fats.

If you’d like a more ‘whole’ protein, you can go for a WPC (why protein concentrate).
I like to use a WPI (whey protein isolate) as WPC has a slightly higher carb and fat content.
I prefer to eat my fats (almonds, avocado and nut butter mmmmm!), which is why I go for WPI 😉

 Remember that protein is essential to anyone’s diet and helps with:
  • Building lean muscle
  • Ensuring you aren’t losing any well earned muscle mass
  • Promoting fat burn and increasing your metabolism
What’s your favourite protein/flavour? Do you choose to take protein, and if so, for what main reasons?

Sophie xx

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5 FOODS FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY GUT

A healthy gut has been linked to the prevention of diseases, weight loss, proper digestion and even a happier mindset.
So it’s 
fairly safe to say that your gut health is crucial to your overall wellbeing.

When you have complete control of your gut, you are essentially:

  • Supporting your immune system
  • Aiding digestion of your food
  • Supporting mental clarity
  • Promoting nutrient absorption
  • Balancing your hormones
  • Normalising glucose levels
  • Regulating inflammation
  • Warding off pathogens and disease-causing microbes
  • Maintaining regulation of immunity which helps avoid coughs, colds and infections
We all know what it’s like to only feel ‘half there’ because we’ve got a bloated stomach or a jabbing pain.
What some people overlook is the fact that you don’t need to be keeling over to one side.
You CAN control how you feel (to an extent) when it comes to digestive problems and achy stomachs.
What you choose to put in your mouth can 
truly dictate how you feel mentally and physically.
Certain foods or things you do can trigger you gut and wreak havoc in your stomach.
The same goes for gut-approved foods and supplements, these can balance your gut flora and improve your immunity.
 

Before getting into the preventative foods and best way to battle a poorly gut, here are a few things to be mindful of:

  • Sugar, along with highly processed food and refined carbohydrates are a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
    These foods promote build up of bad bacteria and can cause gassiness, bloating and pain.
    Bad bacteria thrives in a sugary environment, so be wary of how much you’re consuming.
    It 
    is recommended that you stick below the 90gram mark per Australian guidelines.
  • You’ve heard ‘watch what you eat’, but have you heard ‘what how you chew’?
    Many people believe that your body begins to digest food once it hits the stomach.
    In fact, digestion actually begins before the food has even touched your lips! 
    Simply smelling food will initiate saliva and the whole breakdown process.
    Chew with intent and chew at a ‘leisurely’ pace. 
    This gives your body time to send vital signals down below and prepare your stomach lining for digestion.
  • When taking prescribed medication or antibiotics, remember that your body is even more susceptible to a loss of good bacteria.
    While it’s killing off the bad, antibiotics are also killing off the good bacteria since it cannot differentiate between the two.
    So while on the mend and taking the meds, make an effort to consume gut-healthy foods and suitable supplements.
  • Nobody likes feeling stressed.
    Well neither does your gut – acute or chronic stress directly impacts the healthy bacteria in your gut and can create a lasting negative effect on your immune system.
So how do you eat your way to a healthy, happy gut?

 

1. Fermented food.

 

Fermenting food causes the sugars (like glucose and sucrose) in the food to convert into lactic acid.
This acid is what makes food easier to digest and 
therefore wards off unhappy gut. It also promotes healthy flora in your intestine.Fermented food ranges anywhere from yoghurt with live cultures to sauerkraut to miso paste.
 
Other fermented foods that will provide your gut some lovin’ too include; kafir, sauerkraut, tempeh, tamari, kimchi and kombucha.
Preserving. Pickles jars. Jars with pickles, pumpkin dip, white cabbage, roasted red yellow pepper. Pickled Vegetables. Vegetable being prepared for preserving. Toned image.

Preserving. Pickles jars. Jars with pickles, pumpkin dip, white cabbage, roasted red yellow pepper. Pickled Vegetables. Vegetable being prepared for preserving. Toned image.

2. Fibrous food. 

Plant-based foods legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are all foods densely rich in fibre. Fibre is crucial to maintaining balanced gut flora.
Keeping these ingredients high up on the shopping list will ward off imbalances in your gut. Without them, your stomach is a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
 

3. Anti-inflammatory food.

A common side effect of an unhealthy good is an inflamed stomach lining. This can happen when not enough anti-inflammatory foods are being consumed.
Down the track, this can leave your stomach with little to no lactic acid, enzymes or mucus to work with.
An inflamed stomach can lead to gastritis, stomach bleeding and ulcers. You can counteract the onset of these symptoms with foods high in fibre, flavonoids, antioxidants and B minerals.
High fibre foods include fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Flavonoid-full foods include apples, cranberries, celery, onion and garlic,
For antioxidant-rich foods, go for foods like cherries, berries, tomatoes and capsicum,

 

4. Prebiotics.

Prebiotic foods are rich in soluble fiber aka fibre undigestible by the body. These foods feed good bacteria in your gut like fertiliser.
Sweet potato, raw onions, garlic, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and avocado are some of the best ones to add to your diet.
You can also get your dose of prebiotics in the form of supplements like psyllium, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.

 

5. Probiotics.

Foods that contain probiotics include yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, natto, tempeh and kimchi.
You can also take a probiotic supplement in the form of capsules or powder which come incredibly handy before and during travelling overseas.
To maintain gut health, small amounts of probiotic foods or supplements should be consumed weekly.
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Top 10 Snacks for Weight Loss

These snacks can assist in a weight loss journey – but are also great overall snack ideas regardless of what kind of journey you’re on. 
You can adapt these snacks to suit whatever lifestyle you may lead. Whether you’re always on the go, have multiple mouths to feed, work the night shift, it CAN be done!
So you’re on a journey to a new, lighter you. There’s so many things to consider that it can get a tad overwhelming.

So what key things do I recommend to think of first?

  • Always keep in mind that a balanced, MAINTAINABLE diet is SO important.
  • That balance, which means not restricting yourself excessive is also so important.
Now that you understand your nutrition should be balanced and maintainable, now we can move onto snacking!
These snacks are things you can eat on top of a balanced diet. This is not a list of foods to eat alone on a daily basis.
When moderation and balance meet, you’ll learn that being healthy and weight loss is not about restriction.
You’ll come to realise that the best kind of health and fitness journey, is the kind you enjoy.

Here’s my official list of snacks for weight loss.

You can change these up to suit your taste preferences, and boost that fat loss at the same time!

RICE CAKES

Have these on their own or topped with your choice of filling:
  • Salt, pepper and avocado
  • Peanut butter, banana and cinnamon
  • Cottage cheese, cucumber and turkey
  • Blueberries, greek yoghurt and honey

FIBROUS VEGGIES

Think snow peas, green beans, capsicum, leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli…
An an important key to your nutrition intake when losing weight or balancing a healthy diet, fibre regulates the speed of digestion and contributes to that ‘feeling full’ sensation.
It also stops cravings throughout the day and provides you with energy and all the important daily nutrients your body needs.
Too little fibre can make it tough for bowel movements (especially if your diet is high in protein). It can also be hard to control your blood sugar and appetite.

GREEK YOGHURT AND FRUIT

An unsweetened, full or low-fat Greek yoghurt (depending on your goals) mixed in with some fruit is a perfect preworkout snack.
Studies show that a protein rich food source like Greek yoghurt combined with a carbohydrate source like fruit is the ideal type of fuel to consume before breaking a sweat.

TWO-INGREDIENT PANCAKES

All you need for these tasty, clean and quick pancakes in an egg and a banana. Mash the banana up till it reaches a smooth consistency and mix the egg in well.
You can have these any time of day and make it savoury or sweet!

FIBROUS FRUIT

Be free of the notion that sugar is all bad.
Eating a balanced diet with adequate fibre each day will help with digestion, keeping bowel movements regular, less bloating, weight loss and many health reasons.
Always keep in mind as well that the more whole the food and less processed it is, the better it is!

VEGGIES AND NUT BUTTER

Pick your favourite vegetable, your favourite nut butter and voila – there’s a perfect combination right there.

SPRINGWATER TUNA

Protein isn’t only essential for lean muscle gain – if you’re protein deficient you will really feel the effects of it.
If you have issues with losing weight, a sluggish metabolism, low energy or fatigue, poor concentration and even mood swings – these are signs of a possible protein deficiency!
Springwater tuna cans are an amazing go-to snack that’ll give you a hit of protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

DARK CHOCOLATE

I’m sure you’ve heard about the numerous benefits dark chocolate provides.
Antioxidants, improved blood flow, lower blood pressure… there’s something about dark chocolate that does your body good!
To do it one step better, you can get yourself some cacao nibs or cacao-based chocolates that are delicious and contain amazing nutritional benefits.

POPCORN

Because the most common kinds of popcorn are found already doused in butter and salt at the cinemas, we often don’t associate it with health.
Popcorn is in fact, a whole grain food full of fibre.
Sometimes you just get in those moods where you want something to snack on.
With only 31 calories per cup of stove top prepared popcorn, it makes for a great alternative to chips.
Studies even show that 15 calories worth of popcorn is as filling as 150 calories worth of potato chips!
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How to cut down your sugar intake (the simple way)

Sugar.is.everywhere.

This blog is dedicated to teaching you how you can cut down your sugar intake – simply.

We live in a day and age where there’s just as much sugar in tomato sauce as there is in chocolate sauce.
It can be incredibly overwhelming, and kind of daunting having to be weary of food items you would never even expect to contain sugar.

A key piece of advice to take under your wing, is that small changes each day can make a world of difference.
Take it one day at a time and you’ll be cutting your intake down in no time.

Here are my guidelines to reducing your sugar intake.

  • George Orwell once said ‘we may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine gun’. 

    At the time, Orwell wouldn’t have had accessibility to the amount of packaged foods we do today…
    the only way in combating our intake of preservatives, chemicals and refined sugars, is to avoid them!
    By limiting your intake of packaged foods, and focusing on consuming whole foods close to their natural state, you really can’t go wrong.

  • According to Responsible Foods, There are 56 different names and terms for sugar.

    From dextrose, to fruit juice concentrate, to high-fructose corn syrup, to maltose, to treacle to rice syrup..all the way to xylitol.
    Be wary of the ways the food industry conceals sugar for what it really is – sugar!

  • Make your own spreads and jams; it’s as easy as your morning smoothie.

    Blitz berries and mix in a tablespoon of honey with chia seeds to thicken.
    Store your homemade jam in the fridge!

  • Make water your go-to beverage.

    You never have to question what may or may not be hiding in your juice or soft drink.
    For your own version of soft drink, choose fruit-infused soda water or homemade juices and smoothies.

  • Say goodbye to breakfast cereals – a huge majority of the cereals you buy from the shelves are laden with sugar.

    If you’re unsure, inspect the nutritional panel.

  • Say goodbye to flavoured yoghurts too and sweeten your dairy fix with fresh fruit instead!

    So many common yoghurts contain up to five teaspoons of sugar per tub.
    Skim yoghurts are also a warning sign – always compare the sugar content of the low-fat and full-cream versions.

  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side.

    Sweet or savoury – it would surprise you how many sauces and dressings contain sugar.

  • Go for ‘unsweetened’. 

    Ingredients and foods anywhere from acai powders to canned tomatoes have a sweetened and unsweetened version.

  • Sweeten..without the sweeterner.

    Vanilla bean, vanilla extract, vanilla powder, cacao, spices like cinnamon and zest from oranges, lemons and limes add flavour and sweetness to dishes without having to add in the artificial stuff.

Don’t let the overload of sugar everywhere concern you.
There are many quick and simple ways to avoid sugar and you can start by going through these guidelines!

What’re you waiting for? Cut down your sugar intake starting now!

Every single one of my recipe books is refined sugar free with a focus on fresh, wholefoods close to their natural state.
Check them out here. 

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Healthy Raw Chocolate Bark Recipe

WATCH MY STEP-BY-STEP HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BARK RECIPE ON MY YOUTUBE.

I can’t think of anything better than homemade, chocolate from scratch!

My raw chocolate recipe is one of my favourite things to prepare.
It’s easy to make, minimal mess (usually haha!) and always gets a thumbs up from the taste testers (usually me!).

It makes for a thoughtful gift, a quick treat for an event, a healthy alternative to store bought chocolate and a delicious dessert.

When you prepare your chocolate, don’t be afraid to get messy or creative!

We love topping our chocolate with nuts and seeds, coconut flakes and carob chips.

You can even mix in some rose water, orange juice or peppermint oil for a delicious, flavoured chocolate.
Fresh or dried fruit like figs add the most amazing texture to your chocolate bark and goji berries will give you a tangy hit of antioxidants!

You may be wondering how chocolate can be ‘healthy’, but trust me when I say this recipe is equal parts nutritious as well as delicious.
There’s no dairy, so those with a dairy-free diet can enjoy this vegan chocolate!

The cacao in your chocolate bark speeds up your metabolism and aids protein synthesis.
It’s also known for being a super antioxidant with higher scores of antioxidants than spinach and blueberries!
These antioxidants help protect your heart, prevent cellular damage and contribute to anti-ageing.

The coconut oil you use instead of the processed cream and milk in store-bought chocolate will add an irresistible and creamy texture to your bark.
It’s also a well know immune system booster that is easy to digest.

Watch my step-by-step Healthy Raw Chocolate Bark video and make your own batch!

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Nutrition For Beginners

Are you just starting out?
Trying to maintain your weight, lose some weight, shed some fat and/or feel healthier with the correct nutrition?

It can be so overwhelming when you’re just starting out- from everyone trying to sell you ‘must have’ supplements, protein powders and weight loss pills to getting different, conflicting advice from people. How do you know who to trust or who is just trying to make a dollar out of you?

A fail safe approach when it comes to the rows upon rows of supplements you’ll find at the store, is to do your own research.
Most of the time, you can find product reviews which will give you a better idea whether you’ll find a product useful..

More IMPORTANTLY, you don’t necessarily need any supplements to get your nutrition on track!
I will sometimes have a shot of espresso, or rarely have some pre-workout for an extra boost of energy, but I take minimal to no supplements depending on my training.

At the end of the day – I prefer to source all my nutrients from FOOD.

Here is a free blog that I have written to give you all a little more confidence and education for your own journey. As always, this is not sponsored and you will note that in no way am I trying to encourage you to spend money- in fact I will help you save some extra money! These are my thoughts and like anything, they’ll differ from one coach to another.

So, as I always say- ‘take on what works for you, and forget the rest!’

When it comes to nutrition, you have 3 key macronutrients that make up any diet:

Carbohydrates
Protein
Fats

All are essential in your nutrition, and you should never completely cut out any macronutrient from your meal plan.
Trust me, you can’t avoid any of these categories forever without it affecting your health and wellbeing.

I tend to find that in most of my clients who have never done any form of structured nutrition, when they give me their food diary, generally they are overeating in fats, under eating in protein and are over in carbohydrates.

For those who have been conscious of their diets, they are usually OVER eating in protein, under eating in carbohydrates and over eating in fats.

I find this interesting!

Usually fats are easier to over indulge in, as per gram they contain 9 calories.

As a generic (again, this is a rough guide for most people- not custom and everyone is different) – around a handful of almonds or half an avocado is enough fats for your entire day.

Those who over eat in protein usually have the belief that because it’s healthy, you cannot gain fat from it. This is false.

How can you manage your nutrition when starting out?

Always fill your plate up with salad or vegetables. Don’t be afraid to be generous with your veggie servings and stock up on different kinds and colours.
Eat about a handful of nuts per day.
Have 2-3 serves of protein per day (around the size of your fist).

 

My next key tip is: WATER.

Sounds easy right? This is probably my BIGGEST tip and I am almost sure you would have heard this before.

A lot of people unfortunately don’t understand the importance of water and the weight loss effects it can create.

So, for 1 month I would LOVE for you to try and keep your ONLY fluid intake to water. It honestly was one of the first changes and steps that I took in changing my lifestyle and has to be the biggest change I felt. There are SO many empty calories in other fluids- juices, cordials, milks, alcohol and other fluids.

It’s amazing that companies can cram so much sugar into one drink!

Sometimes we don’t even realize that what we are drinking is actually equivalent to some chocolate bars! (CRAZY!)

Don’t forget that portion is everything!

What may be a meal to some could be a snack to another.

Not everyone has access to a coach or fitness professional that can find the exact amount of protein, fats and carbohydrates you need in your diet.

But you can make the conscious decision to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, try and keep the majority of foods going into your mouth clean and whole, never snack out of boredom and eat a variety of nutrition dense foods.

The average woman requires 1600-1900 calories of food per day when performing moderate exercise, but this number is broad and will vary, especially if you start to exercise more on your journey.

When you learn to love healthy, whole foods, I promise you won’t simply see a change in your appearance, but a dramatic change in your mood and energy.

I hope that helps a few of you who are just starting out on your nutrition journey and helps you to understand a bit more.

Sophie x

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How To Decipher A Nutritional Panel

The nutritional labels on foods can be hard to read, tricky and misleading.

Between the calories per serve (which is usually in place to trick consumers) and the amounts of carbohydrates from fibre, or fats from saturated fats vs trans fats, etc. it really does get quite complicated!

A lot of products will have statements like “sugar-free” yet taste sweeter than candy, how is that so?

It gets so confusing to understand exactly what you are eating, so I have broken it down a little to help you better understand.

The fail safe way to understand a nutritional label is simply to read it.
If you’ve picked up something at the supermarket with a label on it, read the label and take note of how high up ingredients like sugar or salt are up on the list.
And if you pick up a similar product and notice it has less ingredients, less sugar, less sodium or a lower fat content, why not choose that option?
Keep in mind that food companies will do their best to make a product seem healthy to upsell it.
If something is low-fat, double check that the sugar content isn’t high to make up for the lack of fat.

Here are a few things that I personally look for when reading the nutrition panels of packaged foods:

Ingredients List

The higher up the list the more the product contains. Ie: if there were 70% cashews 10% honey and 20% dates the ingredients list would read: cashews, dates, honey in descending order.

Calories Per Serve

I always opt to look at the measurements per 100g, that way it is a generic figure no matter what the product is.
A lot of companies try and trick consumers by saying that there is a lot of servings per item, meaning less calories. However it would mean only a mouthful per serve, not the serving size you would actually consume per serve.

Carbohydrate Content

You may notice that underneath the carbohydrate content, it may contain fibre and sugars within the total figure. Dietary fibre is the indigestible part of plants and does not spike your blood sugar levels.

Sugar Content

I avoid anything that contains artificial ‘sugar’ however if you are not a 100% clean eater, I would recommend you try and stick to less than 10-15grams of sugar per day. 1 teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams.  There are a few Australian recommendations that say no more than 6-8 teaspoons of added sugars each day, that is 16-32 grams per day of sweeteners. However, this doesn’t take into account sugars that are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables.
Be wary of words in nutritional panels like sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose, cane sugar and even fruit juice concentrate! These are all words for SUGAR.

Sugar Alcohols

Typically found in diet bars or low calorie solutions, they are a type of carbohydrate. Commonly used sugar alcohols are erythritol, glycerol, malitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, but there are many many more out there!
These should be listed under carbohydrates, however a lot of companies try to avoid this as to claim it being the great ‘low carb’ alternative, typically sugar alcohols do not spike insulin like sugar does, therefore a lot of companies argue the fact they do not believe it should be listed under carbohydrates. The calorie content ranges from 0 to 3 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for sucrose or other sugars.

Stevia

Words like “sweetened with stevia” fool us into a false sense of security, believing that only stevia is the sweetener used, however often it is used along side the sugar alcohols to achieve the desired sweet taste.

Fat Content

Saturated fat and trans fat will both come underneath the banner of fats.
Saturated fats are the kind of fats that come from eggs, meat and dairy. While saturated fats pop up in these everyday common foods, too much saturated fats can lead to health issues.
To keep your saturated fats to a minimum, consume a small amount of dairy and stick to lean cuts of meat.
Trans fats are the fats you want to avoid that come from cakes, pastries, etc.
Trans fats raise the risk of heat-related diseases.
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats tend to lower your blood cholesterol and have a better impact on your body.
You can find these fats in things like olive oil and avocado.

Sodium Content

I aim for no more than 1500-2400mg per day of sodium, typical table salt will hold water, bloat you, increases the risk of high blood pressure, etc. Whereas Himalayan crystal salt and sea salt is comparatively great for your body, nerves and muscles.

Calories Per Macronutrient

The way that the total calories are calculated is under the basis of:

  • 1 gram of Protein contains 4 calories.
  • 1 gram of Carbohydrates contains 4 calories.
  • and 1 gram of Fat contains 9 calories.

The FDA also regulate packaging to help it easier to understand for consumers too, this way you know the exact details that need to be met by laws. (in US)

If a food claims to be…

It means that one serving of the product contains…
Calorie freeLess than 5 calories
Sugar freeLess than 0.5 grams of sugar
Fat
Fat freeLess than 0.5 grams of fat
Low fat3 grams of fat or less
Reduced fat or less fatAt least 25 percent less fat than the regular product
Low in saturated fat1 gram of saturated fat or less, with not more than 15 percent of the calories coming from saturated fat
LeanLess than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Extra leanLess than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Light (lite)At least one-third fewer calories or no more than half the fat of the regular product, or no more than half the sodium of the regular product

Cholesterol

Cholesterol freeLess than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat
Low cholesterol20 or fewer milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Reduced cholesterolAt least 25 percent less cholesterol than the regular product and 2 grams or less of saturated fat

Sodium

Sodium free or no sodiumLess than 5 milligrams of sodium and no sodium chloride in ingredients
Very low sodium35 milligrams or less of sodium
Low sodium140 milligrams or less of sodium
Reduced or less sodiumAt least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product
Fiber
High fiber5 grams or more of fiber
Good source of fiber2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber

After you begin reading labels and taking a more active part in your healthy and diet you will become more familiar with what you are looking for on the labels.
You will also be able to gauge what is a high content and a low content fairly quickly.

A great example is canned tomatoes, there are so many to choose from, however some cans contain as much as 13.6grams of sugar per serve versus a can with NO added sugars or salts.

It really is all about choice, education and making the first step in the right direction for your family and your own health.

Know your foods and learn what you are eating!

 

*Information within this blog was sourced from the FDA and Heart Org website. 
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Clean Salad Dressings For Every Dish!

These clean salad dressings are perfect additions to your diet, especially since we’ve just kickstarted 2016!
Remember to try and incorporate green leafy vegetables, and don’t be afraid to use starchy vegetables like sweet potato which are energy dense and full of fibre.


Lemon Love

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbls of olive oil
  • Pinch of himalayan salt
  • Pinch of cracked pepper
  • 1 tbls of chives, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blitz the lemon until it is minced into zest and juice.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, except the chives.
  3. Blitz again until well combined. Stir through the chives.

Best used on:
Light salads. (try it with some avocado!)

 

Creamy Ranch:

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbls of natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp of onion flakes or powder
  • 1 tsp of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Pinch of himalayan salt
  • Pinch of cracked pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients together, until smooth.

Best served with:
Your own caesar salad!

 

‘Mums Special’ 

Ingredients:

  • 1 t/l of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1/4 tsp of finely chopped chilli
  • Pinch of himalayan salt
  • Pinch of black cracked pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a jar, shake all of the ingredients together until well combined.

Best served with:
Anything! This dressing is delicious. Try it with some quinoa in the mix too.

 

Orange Macadamia Madness

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of macadamia oil
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1/4 orange
  • 1 tbl of fresh tarragon
  • 2 tbl of vinegar

Directions:

  1. Using a food processor, blitz the orange into rind and juice before adding remaining ingredients.
  2. Combine until smooth.

Best served with;
Fresh fish