My Peanut Butter addiction is real

You name it, I’ve added peanut butter to it. A day doesn’t pass without me getting my PB fix. I enjoy it with oats in the morning, smothered on a banana as a snack, dolloped onto a sweet potato at lunch and swirled into my protein shake after a session.

sweet potato and pb

I have even been known to spoon it out of the jar. But maybe its not the worst addiction to have – peanut butter, like many of the other nut butters has numerous health benefits :

  • –> Healthy Fat
  • –> High Protein
  • –> Energy Booster
  • –> Rich in Fiber
  • –> Aids Weight loss
  • –> Packed with nutrients

And its super super yummy and goes with ANYTHING! Honestly, just try it. I recommend adding it to your next stir fry for a delicious, nutty sauce, or why not put it in your sushi or rice rolls next time you make them. Peanut butter is not just for toast.

rice rolls

Here is a recipe for you to try:

Banana and Peanut Butter ‘Ice Cream’

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Tiny pinch of sea salt- if desired
  • Additional toppings e.g. chopped and roasted peanuts, berries or melted dark chocolate
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cut the bananas into small chunks and freeze until solid, at least 1-2 hours.
  2. Transfer the bananas to a very strong blender and blend until smooth and creamy (This will take a few minutes and may require periodic pauses and adjustments)
  3. Within a few minutes, you should be seeing a thick, creamy ice-creamy mixture in the blender.
  4. Add the peanut butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea salt, and anything else you might like in there (I sometimes like adding a couple of fresh or frozen strawberries- a bit like PB and J).
  5. Pulse the blender quickly to stir the ingredients all together and when everything is mixed, serve immediately.
  6. Top with additional peanut butter and other toppings of your choice!
NOTES
You can put this back in the freezer to eat part of it later, but the consistency loses some of its velvetyness when you re-freeze it, so just eat the whole thing now. If you absolutely must save the rest for later, running it through the blender again before serving might help.

banana-ice-cream-81

** But not all PBs are the same! Try and buy natural 100% peanut butter. Do not be tempted by the big brand name nut butters which often add loads of salt, oil and other unwanted ingredients to an otherwise very healthy spread. ‘Smuckers’ is one brand that offers all natural peanut butters, but there are lots out there. One of my favorites, which is available in most health food shops is Meridian, and you can buy it in 1kg tubs- perfect for other nut butter addicts like me! smuckers-peanut-butter-coupon

**** Also, remember that peanut butter is not a low fat, or low calorie food, so do not eat it by the jarful, but do enjoy it.

Other nut butters are also available, although they are a little more expensive, they are great tasting and can add variety to your meals and snacks, so why not pick up some almond or cashew nut butter next time you head to do your weekly shop? Justin’s is one brand that offers all natural almond butter- so why not give it a go- they come in a variety of flavors too!

justin

 

Diet drinks…

So as diet drinks have no calories, they are ok to drink right?! confused

Well, when taken at face value, diet drinks seem like a health-conscious choice. They save you the 140, or more calories when compared to their sugary soft drink counterparts, while still satisfying your urge for something sweet with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. But there’s more to the chemical soft drink cocktail than meets the eye….

The diet soft drinks confuse your body. 

The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks have a more intense sweet flavor than real sugar, so over time products like diet drinks dull our senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit. This is never a good thing, as when this happens we crave even sweeter foods. Also, the sugar substitutes have been found to have the same effect on your body as sugar, whereby the artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain- not ideal if you are trying to keep lean and lead a healthy lifestyle.

fatDiet drinks could lead to weight gain. 

Diet drinks are calorie-free- which seems great, but if something seems too good to be true, then it usually is, and in this case, being calorie free is not all that it is cracked up to be. Drinking diet drinks will not necessarily help you to lose weight. It has been found that people who drink diet beverages have a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers over a 10 year period. Further to this, it was found that people who drank two or more diet drinks a day experienced a 500%greater increase in waist circumference- not ideal! The way artificial sweeteners confuse the body may play a part, but another reason might be psychological. When you know you’re not consuming any liquid calories, it might be easier to justify that double cheeseburger or extra slice of pizza.

They contain no nutritional value. water

Not only do diet drinks put you at risk of putting on weight, or developing type 2 diabetes, but they also contain no nutritional value. When you drink diet beverages, you’re not taking in any calories—but you’re also not consuming anything that does your body any good, either. So what is the point? The best no-calorie beverage? Plain old water- it is essential for many of our bodily processes, so replacing it with diet drinks is a negative thing. If it’s the fizziness of soft drinks that you crave, try sparkling water, and add some chopped fruit if you want it to be a little tastier. Things like watermelon or strawberries work really well.

Crowns Erosion Before Anterior1Sweeteners will ruin your smile.

So, not only will excessive diet soft drinking leave you over weight, and diabetic, but according to a case study published in the journal General Dentistry, the same level of tooth erosion occurs in cocaine-users, methamphetamine-users, and in habitual diet-soft drink consumers. The culprit in soft drinks is citric acid, which weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time.

 

These things here are just a few of the things that drinking soft beverages can do to you, inside and out. So maybe reconsider what you drink next time you go to the supermarket or open the fridge door.

If you have any ideas for alternative drink ideas, then please comment on this post as we are interested to know!- and we would love to help spread the word 🙂

Overnight Oats

If you have a hectic morning schedule like me, that leaves you with little time for a healthy breakfast, and leaves you with the option of only a bowl of cold cereal before you have to run out the door, then put down your spoon and read this….

running-mom-for-The-Morning-Rush

You probably already know that ready to eat, cold cereal, is not the best breakfast option for you. Not only are most of the cereal options low in nutrients and high in sugar but they are also unlikely to keep you full until lunch, or until after your workout. Porridge (oatmeal) is a much better way to start your day, and to ward off unwanted hunger pangs or weight gain. It has been found that people who eat porridge for breakfast are kept satisfied for much longer than their cold cereal eating counterparts, and can be kept satisfied for up to four hours after they put spoon to mouth!

cereal

However, it is not as simple as going out and buying the ready prepared porridge sachets. Although the instant varieties are good tasting, and on the whole better than cold cereal, they often have added sugars and artificial flavors which are not what you want to be putting into your body. Also, even the instant porridge varieties take time to prepare, and if you are anything like me, you just do not have the time to faff around and make up the porridge.

porridge

The solution: overnight oats. This is an awesome creation, that is great for your body, and great tasting. All you have to do to make yourself a great breakfast is to fill a mason jar or Tupperware container with grains, toppings, add-ins and a liquid like milk or water. Then you can put the container in the refrigerator overnight and while you’re sleeping, the flavors fuse together so all you have to do is enjoy it the next morning—no cooking required!

overnight

Here are some recipes to try:

  • Carrot Cake Protein Oatmeal

Per 1.5 cup serving: 265 calories, 5 g fat, 6 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 23 g protein

Makes 2 servings:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or you could use a mashed banana, applesauce or pumpkin puree)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Stevia (optional)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup protein powder (or additional oats)
  • Toppings of choice

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Divide between 2 small bowls, mugs, Tupperware containers or mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least an hour (or more) so the oats soften and absorb the liquid). Top with chopped nuts, cinnamon, low sugar syrup, or vanilla Greek yogurt if desired! Enjoy cold, or if you have a little bit more time, microwave for 30-60 seconds to enjoy warm!

carrot-cake-oatmeal-main

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Oats 

Per 1.1 cup serving: 308 calories, 11.3 g fat, 10 g fiber, 15.5 g sugar, 9.9 g protein

Makes 2 servings:

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 – 4 tbsp chocolate peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
  • Chopped nuts, chocolate chips and/or peanut butter, to serve

Mash the banana in a large bowl or container. Mix in the pumpkin puree, Dark Chocolate Dreams, cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract. Add the rolled oats, almond milk and maple syrup and mix until completely combined. Taste, and add more maple syrup if desired. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or put the lid on the container) and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, divide the oats between two bowls. Top with chopped nuts, chocolate chips and/or peanut butter. Enjoy!

ChocolateFudgePeanutButterOvernightOats1s

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Oats 

Per one cup serving: 319 calories, 14.4 g fat, 8.6 g fiber, 5.1 g sugar, 13.4 g protein

Makes 4 servings:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups old fashioned or quick whole grain oats
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 heaping cup all natural peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 stevia packets (optional)

Add strawberries and 2 tsp chia seeds to a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Mash with a fork then set aside. Mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Add strawberry chia sauce and oatmeal mixture in alternate layers in four glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Serve in the morning with added toppings if required.

pb and j

Is it possible to over train?

Simply, yes it is possible to over train. I am sure that many of you have found yourself placing unreasonable demands on your body to the point of over training. I know I have. When you just want to get fitter, stronger or leaner faster then you work harder than your body can handle in order to reach your goals faster than possible, and if you keep doing this, eventually you will break.

cautionIf you feel like training is becoming a borderline addiction even at the expense of possibly doing harm, it’s probably time to reassess your goals. I have recently had to do this after battling with a number of reoccurring injuries and niggles. It is really important you listen to your body and know the signs of over training so that you do not suffer with injuries, and possibly do irreversible damage to your body. At the end of the day, you need to remember that training is supposed to be fun, improve your health and well being and it is not supposed to put you at risk of harm.

tired

Here are 5 signs that you should look out for to check that you are not over training:

  • Altered Resting Heart Rate

    If your resting HR is altered, and usually increased, it can be a sign that your body has increased its metabolic rate to meet the imposed demand of the training that you have put on it. If this is prolonged i.e. lasts for a few days, then it suggests that your body is under stress, and possibly that you are over training. In order to keep on top of this, I would suggest that if you monitor your morning heart rate daily by measuring before you stand up to get out of bed and begin your day you will be able to monitor your HR and if it is increased, then take a rest.

heartratezone

  • Muscle Soreness

    Yes, DOMS is normal, but if you have have muscle soreness for more than two days following a workout, and especially if you are still sore past the 72-hour mark, then you need to be sure to schedule a break and rest. This type of extended soreness is a sign your muscles aren’t recovering and negatively impacts on your muscle-building efforts. If you are weight training, you should be able to get in a gym – in and out – in 45 to 75 minutes max. Do not keep lifting if your muscles are hurting- they are trying to tell you something, so pay attention to your muscles and don’t overstay your welcome in the gym.

too much

  • Insomnia

    This is something that I have struggled with, and often overlooked. I never thought it might be related to over training, and I sometimes even increased my training in an attempt to help me sleep. But this was wrong! If your training time is increasing, while at the same time you’re having difficulty sleeping then you need to think that you might be over training.  Exercise induced insomnia is most likely a result of a combination of nervous system and or hormonal system overload. You need sleep because it is then that physical restoration occurs- remember that your body grows while resting, not training. If you think you are over training, and suffering from insomnia as a result, then I would suggest that you should eat a lot of clean food and take a week off of training all together.

sleep

  • Depression

    When I think of training, and working out, I don’t usually associate it with depression. But, if you are over training- like I have done so often, then it is a very possible outcome. People who over train often view exercise as something that it’s not – namely, a challenge, a conquest, or a space-filler. For me, I have viewed training as all three of these things. Some people who over train also may suffer from “body image issues” and the belief that “the more they train, the better they’ll look.” This is very rarely the case, as your body will not be able to recover, and it will not grow stronger or become faster. To avoid over training, you need to know your real motives behind training. You should try and set realistic short and long-term goals, create a plan, and stick to it. Sometimes finding someone who you can talk to about your training can help you to stop over training.

sad

  • Injury Increase

    If you, like me have found yourself getting injured more often, and in particular, if you are re-aggravating old injuries then it is likely that you may be over training. This is because, when you over train, your body does not have have enough time to recuperate between workouts. This means that at some point you begin training in a weakened state, and if you, like me, do this too often then you will likely increase your chance of injuries. In order to prevent yourself from over training, you should introduce forced rest periods into your routine. This is something that I have had to do as I was really struggling with injuries. I would also suggest that you try and change up your training intensities, and try enjoy active recuperation sports that are low intensity and completely different from weights and cardio like table tennis, or going for a walk, or playing pool.

overtraining-symtomps-2