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

xxx

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All Inclusive Holidays and your Diet

Whether you are an avid gym goer or not, most of us make a special effort before we go on holiday. We wait all year for those few weeks off we get and we want to look our best and at the same time thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

Now if you are the same as me, nice food (the naughty food) is part of thoroughly enjoying yourself but you need to be careful, especially in the all inclusive. In these hotels there is no need to think about what you have eaten or what you plan to eat and drink for that day as everything is unlimited.  You always see these typical tourists with plates piled so high that it is almost unimaginable that they could eat it all, unfortunately I have witnessed that it is indeed possible.

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I’m by no means suggesting that you shouldn’t eat anything tasty and off you plan whilst away but please do it within reason. You have worked so hard to achieve this holiday body and are probably feeling fantastic when on the beach and in all you holiday outfits so don’t ruin it now.

What I do:

I often miss breakfast everyday as I honestly cannot wake up on time and anyone who knows me well knows that I love my sleep and a nap. I don’t think it’s a proper holiday if I don’t get to have a daily nap.

First meal of the day is lunch – I usually have a healthy selection of the salads and any meats from the grill and any sauces available. I often finish with a nice plate full of fruits. Diet coke or water to drink.

For dinner I have the same as lunch (maybe a slice of bread if needed)

When I go on holiday I have alcohol in the evenings nearly every night (not ideal I know, but realistic) and for snacks I usually eat crisps (my guilty pleasure). What is a holiday if you don’t lie on the bed after a day of sunbathing eating Lays ey?

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Normally on the last day of the holiday I will go absolutely all out, because I’ve earned it. This involves no holding back and eating exactly what I want and like. You would have noticed from the rest of my blog I do not promote weekly cheat days or meals but this is ok once or twice a year.

Happy holidays

me

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

 

The Facts about Fruits

Most people believe that fruit is super healthy and if you eat as much as possible of it, you are bound to loose weight and are a super healthy individual. The truth is, it is both healthy and unhealthy and everything in moderation is alright. Fruit contains plenty of fiber, minerals and vitamins that are really beneficial in any diet but most fruits contain a very high sugar content. Too much sugar, no matter where it comes from can seriously impact your weight, health and physical appearance.

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If you are anything like me and love fruit it would be impossible to cut this out of your diet and also quite inadvisable. Despite the sugar content, you do not want to miss out on key nutrients and we all need a bit of natural sugar to keep us going. I would recommend that most fruit is consumed before 12 o clock when your digestive system and metabolism is most active. I would also recommend that if you follow the ‘5 a day’ rule, which is actually now ’10 a day’ that more than 50% of this is vegetables.

Please believe me when I say, you could be the healthiest person and not eat one bite of processed food but if you are eating too much fruit you can still gain weight!

There is a saying that if you eat certain fruits they burn calories. You cannot eat a piece of chocolate cake and then eat 5 grapefruits and hope that this will counteract the cake. The fruits below have certain enzyme qualities that speed up and assist the way we break down food. This allows your metabolism to work at its optimum rate. These fruits are best consumed after a large meal:

  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Papaya

Fruits that are best avoided or eaten least often due to very high sugar content are:

  • Cherries
  • Pomegranate
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
  • Figs

This is only  based on sugar content and each one of these fruits do have their own qualities and benefits.

Bananas actually contain the most amount of sugar and are high in carbs but these provide a lot of healthy energy in the morning. I would not recommend having a banana in the evening and certainly no more than one per day. The trick to consume less sugar is to eat bananas before they are dark yellow, the yellower they are the more sugar they contain. This is why dried fruit contains so much sugar  – the riper the fruit the more sugar it contains, (stay away).

The facts broken down:

Apples – We have all heard the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and it is some what true. It reduces the risk of lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, especially the red apples.

Bananas – contain  a lot of potassium which helps with good nerve and muscle function.

Blackberries and Blueberries – contain many antioxidants, these help prevent cancer, and studies have shown the blackberry extract to assist with curing lung cancers.

Peaches – Very high in vitamin A, this helps to boost our immune systems and fights off disease and infection.

Raspberries – These contain various acids that help protect you from contracting cervical cancer and consuming them regularly can help cure colon and esophageal cancers.

The list of benefits continues and you can find our more information in this artical I found on Canada Living – http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/article/the-top-25-healthy-fruits-blueberries-apples-cherries-bananas-and-21-more-healthy-picks

Please do not be fooled by juice bars, natural juices and dried fruit as these are extremely high in sugar and shout be completed removed from any healthy diet. This will protect your weight and your teeth.

Just remember everything should be consumed in moderation and this is just a guideline to make you more mindful when choosing your healthy snack.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

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

xxx

 

 

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

xxx