Protein Balls

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protein balls

1 banana

1 cup of dried dates

2 C of mixed nuts (almond, walnuts, cashews, brazil)

1⁄2 C almond meal

1⁄2 C of honey

100g of protein powder

1 tb of Cacao (if you want a chocolate flavour) if not remove

1/3 C of coconut

Add in all the nuts and mix until they are in small pieces. Add in the almond meal, protein powder and cacao. Remove from the processor.

Blitz the dried dates and banana together in a food processor and add in the honey and mix through.

Add in the dry ingredients and mix until together.

If a little sticky add in a little more protein powder

Make the mixture 24 balls and roll in the coconut.

Can be frozen – 2 per serve

Easter Treats – how to manage them

 

 

With Easter on the way, there are going to be treats… it is about managing them so that you can still enjoy a little something without going over board. Planning ahead so that you can stay on track without feeling like you are missing out or being deprived.

Here are a few questions coming in about managing Easter celebrations and treats:

Can I have Easter eggs? 

Yes you can; however

  1. Pick some good quality chocolate that you will actually enjoy.
  2. Only buy what you want to consume over the weekend so you don’t leave yourself tempted with leftovers for weeks to come.
  3. If you feel like you will be receiving an abundance of chocolate; instead of chocolate why don’t you ask for something different that is not food. E.g. a book, flowers, or clothing etc

When is the best time to eat chocolate?

The best time to eat chocolate is after exercise! Carbs/sugar are stored as glycogen in the muscle cell and when you exercise you use up a lot of these carbs stores. If you eat the chocolate/hot cross buns/ all the delicious foods after exercise your muscle cells will gobble up all that extra sugar and store it in the muscle cell rather than fat. If you consume an excessive portion size away from exercise, expect to gain more body fat over the weekend. So get outside; be active with your family and don’t use the long weekend as an excuse to be lazy.

Do I eat it all at once or a little bit at a time?

If after exercise eat more here, if you haven’t exercise just have a little bit at a time. A couple Easter eggs at a time or pick one thing each day. One hot cross bun, one chocolate egg, a mini bunny or just alcohol only.

Help! I need a game plan – I have so many celebrations based around food and drinks between Good Friday & Easter Sunday & the long weekend?

Pick the events at which you will be more relaxed and more strict on yourself. 4 days of celebration is a long time and is really not needed! My general advice is pick one thing each day; make sure the rest is controlled. If you know you have large brunch/Lunch or dinner – cut out the snacks during the day or have one snack closer to your meal so you aren’t as hungry going into the meal.

Help! I gained so much weight in two days and I’m freaking out! How did that happen? 

It is easy for people to become overwhelmed with how much weight they have gained in a weekend. I think the most I have heard of my own clients or friends is about 6kgs in a weekend. Now there is no way you can gain that much fat in the space of one weekend. When you have extra sugary/carby foods you body will retain more fluid. Every gram of glycogen holds onto about 3g of fluid. As soon as you go back to normal eating you will drop the excess weight within a week.

So 1. Don’t go super crazy! Prevent that fluid retention and 2. If you have over eaten, really try to get back into your normal pattern of eating ASAP, you will feel lighter and healthier withing a couple days.

What should I do to help get me back on track? 

Book in with me the week or 10 days after Easter; get that accountability back so you are committed to change!! If not me, ask a friend to help keep you accountable!

Contact me on 0413 684 215 if you need help or email me at amie@amiestargetnutrition.com

New Products

Here are a few new products out that I found a few weeks ago! Some are gluten free and dairy free just ensure you choose wisely!

Serve the Nut/grainy bars/mini munch/Special K cereal with the whole protein quark yoghurt or plain chobani yoghurt.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE:

These Safcol meals are a great option by themselves. The whole protein yoghurt is great with the options above or 1/4-1/3 C of untoasted muesli.
The flava chickpea – balsamic and sea salt is a great snack option with a small piece of fruit

BELOW: Snack options

Serve 2-3 tb of the below dips with vegie sticks or wholegrain crackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glucose, fructose, and sucrose? What sugar is worse?

What sugars are bad for you, what are good? How does your body break them down? What choices should you be making?

Did you know 1 can of 340mL soft drink a day can lead to 6-7kgs of body fat gain?! Or that the average 8 year old child has had more sugar than the average person did in the lifetime one century ago?? How do these choices we make affect our body composition and long term health?

So what sugars are good?

Glucose – is sugar in its simplest form and when consumed 80% of glucose in broken down and used for energy in the heart, muscles, lungs etc. Only 20% of the glucose is sent to the liver for processing and any remainder is to be stored as fat. Glucose is really important for our day to day activities and our body can only store so much within these organs. Glucose is found moreso in our wholegrains and vegetables. Make sure you are consuming a varied amount of wholegrain and vegetables throughout your diet to give your body the energy it so readily needs!

What are the sugars to avoid??

Fructose on the other hand is a completely different story. There are two kinds of fructose – the natural one and the processed one. Natural fructose is found in fruit, vegies and honey and food products that should be consumed daily, this is broken down quite easily within the body. However, the second kind of fructose (the processed one) only the liver can break down this fructose. If processed fructose is consumed in excess the body basically freaks out and cannot break down the fructose fast enough to use for energy. It is like having 10 soccer balls thrown at you at once. There are only so many you can catch and throw away. The rest go into the goal. The same goes with the liver – there are only so many fructose molecules the liver can break down in one time to use for energy. If it cannot – it will store the fructose as fat within the liver.

This results in increases insulin resistance, non alcoholic liver disease/fatty liver; or could be a reason as to why you have high results on a liver functioning tests.

So where do you find refined fructose – almost everywhere. Start reading your food labels. The majority of processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), like soft drinks, juices, baked products, some breads, flavoured yoghurts, cakes, lollies, chocolates, canned foods and sauces.

So try and cut out all the HFCS products and also increase the FIBRE in your diet – (found in fruits and vege/wholegrain products/legumes/oats). Fibre decreases the rate of fructose breakdown, which allows the liver to pick up the fructose molecules at the right rate rather than being bombarded and storing it as fat!

Lastly there is Sucrose; which is cane sugar or table sugar and its composition is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Even though it is half glucose, the other half will be a struggle for your liver to digest! So be wary about how much white/brown/raw sugar you do add to your cooking or even food you buy!

My biggest tip is check your food labels – look through what you have stored in your cupboard, just because it doesn’t say sugar, does not mean it does not contain fructose or sucrose of some kind! Look for ingredients such as fuctofuranose, D-arbino-hexulose, fruit sugar, levulose. Most things that end in –Ose are a sugar of some kind! Think about what you are feeding your family, even if you feel you are fine, what options are you giving your kids or friends? Are these options really going to increase their longevity in life or open them up to lifestyle diseases?

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Quinoa

quinoas

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1/3 C of uncooked quinoa

1 C of reduced fat milk (lactose free if needed) or if using unsweetened almond milk

1 large banana

30g of chocolate protein powder

1 tsp of vanilla essence

1 tsp of honey

dash of salt

Method:

Add quinoa, milk and salt into a small pot and bring the mixture to the boil.

Once the mixture has boiled, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked quinoa into a bowl.

Mash the banana and add it to the quinoa, along with the honey, protein powder and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Add in an extra 1/4 C of milk and a couple more slices of banana if you wish to serve.

Makes 2 serves

Note: For those who cannot have normal/lactose free milk, you can swap it out for unsweetened almond milk. Increase the quinoa to 1/2 C and add an extra 1/2 C of water into the pan when boiling.

 

 

 

 

Emotional, binge, or stress eater? How to fix it!

The last month I have spent the a significant amount of time learning about eating behaviours, neural patterning, and the real psychology behind why and how people eat. I find it so interesting about how we can be our own harshest critic because we don’t get the outcome we want with our body composition, training, in work or even in relationships. How we treat and talk to ourselves significantly impacts how we behave, think and eat, whether you are aware of it or not.

So how do we identify if what we are doing is a consequence of how we think?

These unhelpful thinking styles are just a few that can affect how we eat

  • All or nothing thinking: This is going with one extreme or the other. You either train and eat at 100% or if you injure yourself or motivation goes out the window, so does your eating habits, because what is the point if you cannot do both?
  • Mental filters: Only filtering in the negatives and not listening to the positive changes you have made in the past.
  • Jumping to conclusions: That you know what someone thinks of you, that they think you are fat, or you make assumptions of what will happen in the future. That you have struggled to lose weight in the past and you always will. Or you are addicted to chocolate or alcohol and you always will be.
  • Catastrophising: Blowing situations out of proportion and view the situation as something that is completely uncontrollable and one of the worst things you have gone through, but in reality is something you will forget about the next day or can be solved easily.
  • Shoulding and musting: Something that puts a significant amount of pressure on yourself to reach a task. I should already be 5kgs lighter after a couple weeks or that I must look a certain way.
  • Labelling: How do you speak about yourself? Do you mentally call yourself fat or feel like other people are? What are the other names and self loathe that creep in?
  • Magnification and Minimisation: this looks at magnifying the great attributes of other and minimising your own. I know I do this all the time especially with my own training.

These are many thinking styles that I have gone through myself and watched many, many people think throughout my short career.

But the question is how do you change?

How do you stop sabotaging yourself and pull yourself out of this rut. Unfortunately the answer isn’t as simple as you want to be and it takes time. But breaking habits are never easy. It takes at least 66 days to concrete a habit into our daily routine, not 21 but 66 – 12 weeks.

  1. My first advice is to start writing in a diary.

Find the link between the triggering events, with how you feel and what you do next.

For example it could be a stressful day at work or someone said something mindless which was confronting. These events made you feel worthless, or frustrated. At this point would you go to the vending machine and pick something out to eat or drink to help make you feel better for that moment? Or would you go home and binge on a number of different food items? Once you consume something sweet, dopamine is released from the brain which signals almost a calming relief and basically makes you feel good. However, once you begin to associate the stressful day at work, or anxiety about being around a certain person, will that then trigger you to eat that extra food? This is how a habit is formed, and until you are aware of the triggers that set off how you act, then it will be very hard to change, which will lead to another failed diet or weight drop or regain.

So my first tip is to identify those triggers that set you off, which could be in your environment, friends around you, work, stress or training, or just the need to reward yourself for being so good.

  1. Next find some strategies that work best for you to distract yourself from eating.

Go for a walk/exercise, call a friend, set an alarm for the next time to eat, watch a movie or TV show, or learn to sit there with the issue and calm yourself; the pain will only be temporary and be as painful as you continue to make it. It will get better, but feeding yourself with something that is only temporarily relief will make you feel worse in the long run. Decide what the pro’s and con’s of eating that food will be.

If you need help, that is what I am here for. I want to challenge your thoughts and replace them with new ones that will realistically help you reach your goals. We can break it down into small steps and work toward those changes.

The psychology behind why we eat is so much stronger than what most may think, but it is something to address and realise that we all need help in setting our mindset in the right direction.

Post Training Nutrition

If you are looking for ways to push your training and recovery to the next level, the following article will help you get there.

Post training there are 3 different things to focus on.

  1. Protein intake depending on whether your male/female and body weight I would aim for 20-30g of available protein. Anything greater your body will excrete and not utilise!

Post training your body requires protein for a few different reasons. First of all to help rebuild the muscle mass damage throughout the session. This will help your muscle grow stronger. Your body is working for 24-48 hours after training to develop that muscle. As a result you need to feed it consistently (every 3-4 hours) or you will lose it!

Protein is found in eggs, red/white meat, fish, dairy products, legumes, soy products and protein powders.

  1. Carbohydrates are our primary fuel source. Without them our energy levels are poor, training will only ever go to a certain point of intensity, recovery will be poorer, and cravings can set in.

    Carbs are found in fruits, starchy vegetables, breads, pastas, rice, muesli, oats, crackers, dairy and are all good sources of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate consumption will vary as a result of different types of training in terms of intensity and duration. For example, an Olympic weightlifter who trains for 2-3 hours in one session will require more carbs during the session to keep their energy levels high and a moderate intake after the session. Someone who trains for 45 minutes with a combination of strength and high intensity training would not require anything during the session, but a high to moderate amount of carb after. If it is a 45 minutes of pure aerobic/high intensity, you will need a higher amount of carbs after. Every training session unless it is exactly the same which it rarely is requires a different intake of carbs. Your food intake should never be the same unless your training is. So unfortunately for this I cannot give you something to aim for in particular.

However, the easiest way to tell if you have not had enough carbs is to go off how you feel. Are you craving foods, are you feeling lethargic or tired. Don’t blame the workouts you do for being tired. If you are fuelled well, you should not be tired after every training session especially if you train in the morning. Your body is a smart organism; it tells you what it wants and needs. Listen to it. Most cravings are a result of not eating the right carb at the right time of the day. Don’t set yourself up for failure by not eating any carbs after training!

  1. Fat slows down digestion which is great to help keep you fuller for longer, however after training. You need the protein for muscle repair and growth, and the carbs for refuelling glycogen stores and also to help fuel the muscle repair process. IF you have something quite high in fat like, nuts/avocado/oils/fatty cuts of meat, then you are slowing down the muscle repair and growth process.

Sports nutrition is all about eating the right food at the right time. Be careful about your macronutrient timing and ask for help if you need it! Your training, recovery, energy levels and quality of life all depend upon it. If you don’t ever know what it feels like to be properly fuelled, how do you know you are doing the right thing?

Banana Pancakes

A great breakfast option – If you want to have it after exercise – add more fruit/maple syrup on top or increase the oats to 1/3 C in the pancake.

Banana pancakes:

1 egg
1 banana
1/4 C of oats
1 scoop of protein powder
dash of cinnamon
½ tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla
Mash the banana until smooth and whisk in the egg. Add in the oats, protein, cinnamon and vanilla until mixed through. Then add in the baking powder.

Cook on low heat – makes about 4 pancakes

This is one serve – with a handful of berries or 1-2 tsp of honey or maple syrup
banana pancakes

4 years in the making – the fourth fittest man in CrossFit

Brent Fikowski came to me for nutritional guidance after a 2012 Wodstock competition in Ipswich Australia. He was completely exhausted following the day event and knew he needed some professional help if he wanted to continue to see progress in his training. At the time Brent was strictly following the Paleo diet, with his only real source of carbohydrate (fuel for your body) coming from some sweet potato and small amounts of fruit. Now we still use the the diet as a foundation in terms of lean meats, lots of veggies and fruit, but I have added the necessary carbohydrates into his day from rice, oats and dairy.

A few months later he came first overall in the WODstock Competition Series in Brisbane (photo on the left) and had felt the improvements in his energy levels. We have been working together ever since and what a journey it has been; culminating with a 4th place finish at the 2016 CrossFit Games in California this year (photo on the right)!

Brent’s nutrition has been a long journey with many changes. The more he trains and muscle mass growth, the greater the amount of calories his body needs to function at 100%. As a result, in the last 1-2 years my programming has changed to focus more onto periodisation.

Periodisation is looking at each meal in its own breakdown of carbs/protein/fat content however changes according to his training times. If he trains in the morning; that is where the bulk of carbs are and but it also is lower in fat. At night time if he hasn’t trained it is low carb and high fat. His protein intake never changes.

Periodisation is not really macro counting, because even if you consume the right macros in the day but the timing is out, your recovery and body fat levels may not change! It is all about eating the right food at the right time of the day. This I have found has really helped with Brent’s body composition changes and also recovery from training. (Have you seen the photo!!)

His calorie intake needs to vary according to his training, and I have taught Brent how to decipher between whether he has had either enough or not by the way he feels. If he is hungry, craving food or feeling lethargic, his meal was not properly balanced for the training session he had just completed and so he knows what foods to add in if he feels a certain way.

My biggest tip for nutrition; is you need to change your food intake accordingly to your activity level. Some workouts go for 45 minutes, others go for 10. You will need more fuel for a 45 minute workout than a 10 minute one. Don’t fall into the trap of eating the same thing day in and day out.

So at the CrossFit Games what happened??

To tell you the truth it wasn’t too different from regionals because we know what works so we keep to routine.

  • We found a company to produce Brent’s meals for him for his time at the Games so he didn’t have to prep as much food.
  • All meals on comp days were chicken based, low in fat straight after workouts to ensure it was easily and quickly digested for recovery. Each meal had 1-1.5 C of cooked rice added to keep him well fueled and ensure he recovered well from each workout.
  • Before events, it was either a muesli and yoghurt or a caffeine and carb source to ensure his energy levels and adrenaline high going into each event.
  • Straight after the event he had a protein/carb shake and a piece of fruit/dates depending on the event.
  • Oats and quark before bed to help ensure he was topped up with energy and the quark to help with muscle recovery overnight.
  • Rest days were more pork based and higher in fat to ensure he was getting in enough calories. More nuts/nut bars were used on these days as well.

There were a couple other things Brent had throughout the weekend, but I can’t reveal all the best tips to success 😉 It is still a competition and that podium is waiting for him in 2017!

IF you need help with your training nutrition, energy levels or body composition changes; email me at amie@amiestargetnutrition.com

See Brent’s regionals diet here – http://amiestargetnutrition.com/2016/06/fuelling-an-elite-athlete/

Photo Cred @busman3406

Pasta VS Rice

Last week 7 news showcased a study completed which determined pasta is better than rice; and you know what, they actually have it right for once!

There are a few reasons as to why which I will discuss below.

  1. Lower carbohydrate content per gram weight.

100g of cooked White rice contains 36g of carbohydrate and pasta contains only 25g, which is less than two slices of bread or equivalent to an extra large banana

  1. Wholemeal pasta is higher in protein and full of vitamins and minerals:

Pasta wholemeal

  • 6% Iron (helps to promote red blood cell formation)
  • 15% zinc (increases energy levels, immune system, growth and development)
  • 10% phosphorus (assists with muscle mass growth and repair)
  • 23% of RDI of Vitamin B (increase energy levels)
  • 3% of required iodine (works on increasing your metabolism)

Brown Rice

  • 6% Iron
  • 12% zinc,
  • 9% phosphorus,
  • 15% of RDI of Vitamin B to increase energy levels,
  • 2% of required iodine content to speed up your metabolism.

White Rice

Has around 5% or less of any nutrient!!! AVOID white rice unless there is no other option.

One stand out style type of rice is doongara rice. It comes in both a white and brown rice version. It is packed full of protein and has a higher iron, zinc and phosphorus count than brown rice. So again nutrient wise, if looking for a good quality rice; doongara is the way to go.

  1. Pasta doesn’t create insulin spikes. It keeps your energy levels stable.

Pasta is a low GI food, which basically means the carbohydrate is broken down slowly within the blood stream. The slower the break down the more sustained our energy levels are. White and Brown rice are high GI foods; which means the carbohydrate will be broken down quickly and around 45minutes to an hour later you will be left feeling tired, lethargic, or even looking for more food or coffee.

The only type rice that does not provide an energy spike and drop is doongara rice, again the one packed full of vitamins and minerals J It is a low GI rice and will keep your energy levels stable and prevent cravings! Basmati rice is a close second so if you cannot find the doongara rice, ensure you pick basmati!

However if you are thinking, well Amie, I feel more tired after eating pasta or I find it makes me gain weight, have a think about your portion size? One serve size of pasta equates to around 2/3 C, which is amount smaller than your fist. How often are we served a such a small portion size? The same goes if you feel pasta leads to weight gain – how much are you consuming? Are you actually measuring out one serve? Test it out for a meal and see what happens?

Cons – only one???

The most significant issue I find with pasta  is a number of people are Coeliac (allergic to gluten) or intolerant to wheat.
If you are, then YES choose doongara rice or basmati rice. Otherwise pasta is definitely the better choice. Just remember, be careful of your portion size!

Happy Eating!