Crazy about cashews

Cashew nuts are one of the most popular nuts that we incorporate into our diets on a daily basis. This can be through eating nut butter, consuming them raw, roasted or salted, naked bars, cashew milk or a tasty nut roast.

Nutritional value per 100g

  • Carbohydrates – 30g – 10%
  • Protein – 18g – 36%
  • Fat – 44g – 68%
  • Fiber – 3.3g – 13%
  • Calories – 553
  • Sodium – 12mg – 1%
  • Calcium – 4%
  • Iron – 37%
  • Vitamin C – 1%

Cashews contain the lowest amount of fiber out of all the nuts but make up for this in containing many minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

Cashews are extremely high in fat so best to stick to the handful recommendation (found in my previous blog post ‘Are nuts good for you?‘.  You do have to be careful and watch your fat content but the good news is that most these fats are good ones – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. When these fats are eaten instead of saturated fats (and within moderation) they assist in the prevention and fight against heart disease, stroke and weight gain.

When thinking about eye health, carrots probably pop into your mind. I’m sure you will be as surprised as I am that actually cashews are equally as beneficial due to their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds basically work together to prevent cataracts and protect the eye from light damage and ultimately blindness.

By chance I found the most delicious dish that contains cashews whilst visiting a popular cafe in Fitztrovia, London:

Riding House Cafe

This quirky little cafe offering all home comforts is located in the heart of Fitztrovia, London. I found out about this place from Instagram, it has suddenly taken off in popularity and I can see all the influencers and bloggers alike taking posts in this restaurant. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about for myself so went ahead and booked a table for the following week.

Dining wise, there is no set theme, you could rock up wearing any attire and have whatever experience you are seeking. What I mean by that is that they offer, brunch, cocktails, beer, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday roast, dessert and anything and everything in between.

It took me a very long time to decide what to do for with all these options to hand. The menu can be found here – Riding House Cafe Menu

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There is just so much choice, even though I was tempted by the buttermilk pancakes I went for the healthy option and had Freekeh and Feta Salad along with a green smoothie.

I will start by saying the green smoothie did not go down to well at all. I don’t believe the ingredients below complimented each other at all. The spinach and kale completely over powered the rest of the ingredients making it taste very bitter and difficult to digest. Had there been slightly more apple and ginger I think it could have been a lot more pleasant. However, this drink is the definition of health so I braved it, and finished the lot. I did have to drink a lot of water after to wash it down though. I would NOT be ordering this again in a rush.

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(even the shade of green isn’t appetizing)

It contained:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Apple
  • Ginger
  • Mint

The cost was £5

Freekeh and Feta Salad:

I am so so so pleased I picked this! It is absolutely delicious and full of nutrients. I had no idea what freekeh is but as I was out I thought why not try something new. I knew it wouldn’t be unhealthy and its hard to go wrong with a salad so why not. This is the final result:

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Inside it contains:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Feta cheese
  • Freekeh
  • Cashews

It is so healthy and filling and the flavors are amazing. So you have probably realized I’m more that just a bit obsessed with this dish so I went ahead and recreated it at home. I just purchased all the individual ingredients in the local supermarket and bought the freekeh from Holland and Barrett.

I boiled the freekeh in water with a bit of salt for about 15 minutes (taste it to check its soft enough, if still hard carry on boiling until soft). I then went ahead and chopped and prepped all other ingredients so that they were ready to mix into the freekeh.

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This is my final result:

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Freekeh:

If you’re like me you probably have never heard of this grain and no nothing about it. Little did I know, but freekeh is the all new exciting and popular super grain that has outshone the famous quinoa. This grain as celebrity fans including Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Oliver raving about it.

This grain is traditionally a middle eastern food. It is a fantastic base for getting the necessary protein and fiber into your diet. It contains three times more protein than brown rice and 2 times more fiber. So ditch the rice and jump of the freekeh craze. However, at over £5 per 500g it doesn’t come cheap.

If you enjoyed this, you can look at my other content within my nuts series:

Instagram – @keziakco

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Are nuts good for you?

The words on many peoples lips are, are nuts good for you? The simple answer is yes  but we will go into this in a lot more detail.

There is a lot to go into within this topic. Rather than writing a very long detailed post, I thought it would be easier, and more user friendly if I did a nuts series.

Across the series I will be  focusing my attention on the following nut:

  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Peanuts

First of all, nuts are very expensive. Six packets of nuts at Holland and Barret cost me over £22 and please believe that is using buy one get one half price. I know I probably should of gone to Aldi/ Lidl but I simply didn’t have the time.

In articles regarding weight loss, weight control and diet you often find they recommend consuming no more than a handful of nuts. I’m going to show you what that actually looks like, and how many calories you consume in doing so:

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As you can see a small handful of nuts contains a lot of calories but these are good calories. Actually eating nuts of a daily basis helps you live a healthier life. They contain compounds that work to lower cholesterol, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and various antioxidants.

As nuts are so calorific and contain a lot of protein and fat, they make you feel fuller for longer. They raise blood sugar so that you don’t get those sugar cravings and this ultimately helps you to loose weight.

Now the next question you probably have is, can eating too many nuts make you fat? As they are very high in calories many people would automatically jump to this conclusion and leave them out. Obviously, maintaining a healthy weight or indeed loosing weight involves consuming a specific calorie amount on a daily basis. Should you exceed this you will of course put on weight. Every time you eat excess of 3,500 calories this translates as 1 pound of fat on your body. Anyway, despite these calorie related concerns I can confirm that studies have shown that people who eat nuts regularly usually have a lower BMI than those that don’t.

A bit of science make simple for you; nuts contain a lot of calories however when we eat them our bodies cannot break down all the material. This means even though we eat the whole portion of nuts we cannot break out all the energy from them and so do not actually consume the full amount of calories. This is quite different to processed food as this is fully digestible and we absorb all the calories. So the next time someone says that they are eating a ‘be good to yourself’ diet bar for 100 calories instead of a 100 calorie portion of healthy almonds as ‘its the same thing’, they are completely wrong!

It is advisable to actually substitute the bulk of your carbohydrate intake with nuts but portion control is key. The worst offenders are macadamia nuts at 240 calories per 32g.

Nuts are an easy snack to consume, they do not require any preparation and can be eaten out and about. They are easily obtainable on the go and can be added to almost any dish, savory or sweet. They are a great alternative to grabbing a chocolate bar when on the go, so there are no excuses!

This post describes the benefits of nuts but check out the posts to follow that will show you which nuts are best for you and what are the healthiest nuts to eat on a daily basis.

Instagram @Keziakco

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The benefits of boxing

After hearing that the Victoria’s Secret Models go boxing to keep fit that was enough inspiration for me to find out more.

Top celebrities including Khloe Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Adriana Lima are regular boxers. This keeps them in great condition and gives them confidence within self defense.

The top benefits of boxing are:

  • Burning as much as 500 calories within one session
  • Muscle toning
  • Increase bone strength
  • Increase cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Improve core stability
  • Improve strength
  • Great stress relief
  • Full body workout

It is often thought of as an activity exclusively for men but it benefits women just as much and is increasingly becoming more popular among females.

Women often have difficulty in getting rid of that last bit of belly fat. Many women spend ages in the gym trying to get that flat stomach but struggle endlessly. Boxing help this immensely and allows you to ditch those sit ups. You burn a lot more calories in the belly area during a boxing session than with an isolated abs workout.

For my first ever boxing session I went to KOBOX City where fight club meets night club. This is slightly different from the usual boxing class as it is held in the darkened room with flashing lights and loud music (just like a club). It also doesn’t involve any actual boxing between two people, its just you and the punch bag. This is far more up my street as I actually having to fight with someone would have put me off and to be honest I don’t find it very lady like.

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We booked before online, you must sign up and make an account we booked the two classes for £25. It was a very quick and simple sign up process. On arrival we signed in and were asked if we would like to purchase a protein shake for the end of the class. I chose a coconut bounty one costing £5. The receptionist takes your order so that it is ready and prepared by the time your class ends so you don’t have to wait around. I found this very thoughtful of peoples busy lifestyles.

When you make your way downstairs you are offered wraps for free and directed to the changing rooms. Here you have access to fresh towels, hair spray, dry shampoo, blow dryer, straighteners etc very good facilities and equipment which means you don’t need to bring a massive bag with all your getting ready essentials for after the class.

As I was new I was invited in 5 minutes before to run through the names of the moves and a bit about what to expect. There are six rounds over 50 minutes and each one involves punch bag work and strength training combined.  .

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The music was really good, all new R&B and Hip Hop, felt like I was in Libertine haha.

It was a really good workout and I was lucky that there were only 6 people in the class. This meant the instructor had plenty of time to correct me and assist me (as it was my first time). I still have one more class and I am really looking forward to going back again. It was a tough workout but no where near as bad as I had anticipated.

Pricing for packages can be found here – https://www.koboxlondon.com/reserve/index.cfm?action=Reserve.viewSeries

I bought my gym outfit from Only really good quality endurance sports wear and I cannot fault them. Excellent quality sweat proof material. The colors don’t fade after countless washes and they are very easy to move in.

Sports bra – £18

Leggings – £42

Instagram – @keziakco

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Treats

The question on most dieters minds is when are they going to get to enjoy the food they loved so much before their diet began. On what day can I have that slice of cake? How much ‘bad’ food can I have without ruining all the progress I’ve made?

There are many options for people to follow and advice all over the internet. Please take extra caution when following this information as it varies. It is dependant on what you want to achieve, how quickly you want to achieve it and what you see as enjoying a treat.

As I promote this as a lifestyle and not a diet it is crucial that  you are not waiting for a treat day every week and seeing food as a reward. This ultimately ruins everything you worked for as this mindset is keeping you in your fat and unhealthy ways. Sugary, fatty and synthetic foods are not a reward and you simply setting yourself up for failure and not to mention, harming your body in the process.

We are all human and of course it is not realistic to go through life without indulging in what we most enjoy and for most of us we all have that favourite food that is not on the diet plan. When dieting it is evident that the majority of days in your life will be on plan and avoid unhealthy choices, the so limited days where you do eat what you enjoy, please do not waste this opportunity. Many of us snack when we are hungry and select the easiest option – crisps, sweets, cake (you name it). When you are starving you do not think about what you are eating and often do not enjoy it. Why waste a treat when you are unable to enjoy it. In order to avoid this meal prep is essential as this means healthy options are never out of reach.

When I have a treat I make it count. I save it for a celebration like a birthday, wedding, holiday, special restaurant, or when baking something. For example, last summer I worked really hard but when I knew all my holidays were over and I had a day off from work I ordered a pizza and I have to say it was a great feeling. This was one greatly appreciated treat meal after 3 months of low carbs, exercise and no treats. Not only did it taste better than ever but it was almost guilt free.

If you absolutely live for unhealthy food this will be very difficult for you and you must try to focus on reconditioning your brain in order to achieve your goal. Some people are more left-brained so more analytic and need a pattern to follow. In this situation you can follow this rule that is respected by many olympians:

12 days following your diet followed by the 13th days as a ‘cheat day’. I recommend  a cheat meal not day as this will only make the 14th day harder for you. Every 4 days on your diet your body makes an upgrade to its metabolism, improving itself and your health. After it has done this 4 times it is enough to remove everything bad out of your body, 4 x 4 = 16 days so if you consume a cheeky pizza or piece of cake on the 13th day your metabolism is in its optimum week and can remove the negatives from your body. This really does work and is scientifically proven, but please do not count days, and add dates to calendars etc. Do not live to eat, eat to live.

Despite us all enjoying a treat now and again the real reward is how you feel, your health, your appearance and your confidence.

This is a little something I created on the weekend for my one off treat (I only had one). Contains ALOT of sugar! BEWARE!

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Please find the recipe here – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143083/fresh-fruit-flan/ (but instead of a flan I made meringues. Meringues recipe –http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/french/meringues Enjoy, but not too many please 😉

Instagram – keziakco

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Daily Protein

When I first started my ‘new lifestyle’ or as people like to call it ‘diet’, I found it very difficult eating the correct quantity of protein. This was due to making many common mistakes, many of which are listed below:

  • Consuming too many carbs and too many of the wrong carbs
  • Not eating enough and eating the wrong things
  • Not doing any food prep so having to buy food on the go
  • When I was hungry I would choose easy instead of healthy

I ate a huge amount of bread. Bread is easy to eat for meals and snacks and its very tasty. You don’t have to wait for it to cook and takes minimal preparation. Due to my thyroid issues I now eat non/minimal break (maximum once a week). It just isn’t necessary in my opinion and something that is very easy to cut out and you will notice  the difference in how you feel and look.

Preparing your food in advance is a great help, as when you get really hungry or need a snack, you have a healthy meal ready and waiting. This is particularly important at work or on the go, especially during that 3 o clock slump we all get. It can also save you a lot of money when you plan in advance.

In order to manage my daily protein I checked my macros on MyFitnessPal and you protein intake should be a minimum 20% of your diet. This doesn’t seem like a lot but can be challenging especially when finding snacks that don’t take you over your sugar limit. Great snacks to eat filled with protein are:

  • Billtong
  • Nuts
  • Protein shake
  • Protein bars
  • M&S packet of ready to eat chicken/ ham
  • Greek yogurt
  • Boiled egg
  • Edamame peas
  • Chia pudding

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These are some different protein filled snacks I have tried and my review:

  • Maxi Nutrition Pro Max Milk – you can purchase this from Maxi Nutrition

It contains 30 g of protein which is very high for a snack product so excellent for boosting protein content. It tastes very sweet but a nice flavour to it, similar to a strawberry milkshake. It contains 16.5 g of sugar which is very high for a snack item. I would recommend this for taste and protein but its far to high in sugar. I would consider this snack to be more of a treat item, certainly not for daily consumption.

It contains 20g of protein, still very reasonable for a snack item. It tastes nice but does take some getting used to. It is rather chewy and has a chocolate but synthetic flavour. If you enjoy the taste it can be consumed daily as there are only 3.3 g of sugar in these. Almost guilt free 😉

This has 9 g of protein and contains 13.5 g of sugar. Despite it being labelled a protein bar  this is far from guilt free. This is a one off treat item and should be treated the same as having a biscuit. It tastes like any regular chocolate covered flapjack, very good!

  • Chocolate Caramel Protein Bar GEN P – you can purchase from Maxi Nutrition

Similar to the above, it only contains 10 g of protein. It tastes very sweet and synthetic – similar to a Mars Bar (not that I’m complaining). It contains 11 g of sugar so watch out for this one as well.

Always read all the ingredients when purchasing ‘healthy’ products as their marketing is out there to fool us.

My go to health bars are now Grenade Carb Killa bars. As the name suggests, they are high in protein and low in carbs.

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Lots of tasty flavours, over 23 g of protein per bar and as little as 1.4 g of sugar. Not only do they taste like regular chocolate bars but they are also extremely feeling and cut out cravings. I definitely recommend!

Instagram – keziakco

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Fat to Fit in 14 days

From following my tight fitness schedule, being motivated and letting nothing get in the way I was able to reduce my weight but most importantly change my body shape and image for the better in 14 days.

Please see the two pictures below – they are from August 2016 and 14 days apart.

Photo 1 06/10/2016: Drinking for 7 days straight, minimal exercise and eating anything and everything whenever I like.

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As you can see, I am what you would call squishy, you can see I have no definition. You can see that my belly and legs are soft and bumpy – this is due to the excess fat and probably water retention from too much salt intake. I put on a lot of weight on my face as well so it is a lot rounder than it is today.

Photo 2 20/10/2016: No/minimal alcohol, no carbs, regular 5 days a week exercise pattern.

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I still do not have any muscle definition and I am by no means the picture of fitness here but there is a dramatic difference. My waist is a lot more defined and narrower. Less bloating and no wrinkly skin. I still have big legs but this takes a lot of time and effort and cannot be significantly reduced within this time period. This is simply work in progress to inspire.

In order to find out how I achieved this change so  quickly and in detail follow my up and coming blog posts.

If you have any particular questions please feel free to leave a comment and I can feature for question in a post.

Instagram @Keziakco

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From Fat to Fit in 15 Days

Following on from yesterday’s blog post, I just want to show you what is achievable when you put your mind to it. In 15 days I was able to loose some weight but most importantly change my body image, size and appearance within this short time.

Please see images below:

Photo 1 06/08/2016: Drinking alcohol frequently, eating everything I enjoy (you name it), and no/minimal exercise.

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As you can see, my body is squishy and undefined. You can see the bumpy skin on my belly which is simply fat squished up. This prevents you from having smooth tight skin. I am also very bloated from water retention due to intake of excess salt. I don’t have must waist definition and my posture isn’t fantastic either.

Photo 2 20/08/2016: 5 days a week exercise, drinking 2 litres of water a day, no/ minimal carbs consumed, no/minimal alcohol consumed and lots of sleep.

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This image is by no means the picture of perfection but shows a significant difference and excellent work in progress for 15 days. There is a lot more waist definition giving my body a proper hour glass shape. My skin is smooth, no water retention and wrinkly bumpy skin. No proper definition as of yet but this is work in progress and very early on in the weight-loss journey.

I hope this is some fitspiration for you all!

Instagram – @Keziakco

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