Category Archives: Fitness

Quinoa breakfast

Quinoa breakfast

This is a great alternative to eating oatmeal in the morning. Also, it’s gluten free and it contains all branch chained amino acids your body needs making quinoa a complete protein. Additionally, quinoa is a good source of fiber and phosphorous and is high in magnesium and iron as well as folate, zinc, copper, manganese and some B1,B2, and B6 vitamin.

Quinoa breakfast has been my new fave now for a little while, and there are many options to how to prepare it. I currently use walnuts, agave sirup and cinnamon on it but you can also do an apple/cinnamon version if you like or anything else you like.

1. Cook quinoa according to the package (I use a little less water than instructed as I think the quinoa gets too watery when finished)

2. When the quinoa is ready it has a translucent ring around it, so pull it off the plate and let it cool down a little

3. While the quinoa is cooling down chop about 2-3 walnuts

4. Take a measuring cup and put the cooked quinoa in it and measure up to 1/2 a cup which seems to be about 4 topped tablespoons (this is equal to one serving)

5. Add the chopped walnuts, a dash of milk if you like (or almond milk), a dash of agave nectar (a teaspoon or less) and sprinkle with cinnamon

 

Tuna and potato salad

From low carb to moderate carb with “safe starches”

For a period of time I attempted to follow a low carb, high fat diet (aka LCHF) while exercising. LCHF is technically zero carbs (meaning non-starchy foods such as rice, pasta, bread etc) and lots of fat and proteins. Preferably, one should keep the carb count as low as one can go which could mean anything below 20-25g up to about 50-80g depending on your starting point. When you have reached your weight goal you can slowly introduce more starches to see where your set point is.

I’m aware that in the LCHF community starches are looked upon as the evil food that increases insulin and makes your blood sugar into a roller coaster ride. But I believe that there is a distinction between people’s needs and your starting point for a low carb diet. In my case I started at a lower body fat percentage (below 20%) and with very little weight to lose (max 5kg/10lbs) and I consider myself moderately active. I was already at a healthy level with my blood pressure etc under control; I simply wanted to see if LCHF could provide me with a more optimal diet for even better health and better/quicker results for fat loss.

My goal has always been to try to get as lean as possible while keeping muscle and strength. LCHF promise a simple yet effective way of ridding yourself of your excess fat while keeping lean muscle as well as giving optimal health benefits. I didn’t suffer too much from carb withdrawals in the beginning nor being too tired etc, also known as the carb flu. Occasionally, I felt dizzy and I was prepared for not having the greatest energy for workouts. I was probably more ecstatic to be able to eat bacon and chicken wings with blue-cheese dressing among other fatty goodies quite frequently than anything else.

The result of the whole thing was not what I was expecting. Actually, I didn’t see much of a result than some fluctuation in my weight. It wasn’t until I started introducing some fruits that small things started to happen and this sparked it all over to the new buzz word in the low carb world; “safe starches”.

Lately, there has been some “controversy” in the low carb society (particularly within the Paleo supporters) when Paul Jaminet rolled out a twist on the low carb diet allowing what he calls “safe starches”. When I heard about Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. and his Perfect Health Diet I was curious to see what he had to say about it and I was very convinced that his approach was a better one for me. Safe starches include potato, rice, taro, sago, plantain, sweet potato and tapioca. As you can see cereal grains are not on the list. There are several reasons for excluding grains that you can read about here. While dairy, nuts, chocolate berries/fruits and fructose-free sweeteners are considered pleasure foods and should be consumed occasionally and in smaller amounts.

From my personal experience over the last few weeks adding back more of the safe starches have given me better energy than just eating vegetables alone as the only carb intake in a day. I’m no longer suffering from tremendous DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and the recovery is quicker. I have lots of energy to do daily tasks and be quite active otherwise. And not to mention that I sleep so much better! Even more muscle definition is coming along in difficult areas such as thighs.

I do measure out my starches to have somewhat control of the situation and from my calculations I range from around 100g to 130g of carbs on a daily basis (veggies are considered “free” and therefore intake is unlimited). Majority of my starchy carbs are consumed after workout though which is when the body needs the fuel the most and acts like a sponge to absorb and utilize it all but I do have starches for breakfast and lunch as well.

 

 

 

 

Vårblomst

Spring – the promise of a new beginning

Spring is the time of the year when life comes to show after winter. It’s a new beginning.

The birds are chirping, the sun is heating up and flowers start to pop up from underneath the brown leafs from last year. It’s the sign of change and an immediate feeling of well being and happiness seems to pour over you when taking in deep breaths of fresh, crisp air.

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year as it gives me a promise of a new beginning more so than when January 1st come around. It gives a great deal of new found happiness in the little things around me which in turn gives added energy to my day.

This is why it’s so important to stress down and smell the flowers because time passes really fast. In a blink summer will be upon us and the new beginning is already “old” even still enjoyable of course.

It’s time to soak up your natural vitamin D and get your fitness on and get ready for summer.

The reason vitamin D is so important lays in the fact that it promotes proper calcium absorption to maintain good bones. It is responsible for bone growth and remodeling and when having sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your diet you can avoid osteoporosis. Additionally, vitamin D is also a vital source to help with modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation [1]. This means it can help in the prevention of  heart disease and some kinds of cancer as well (i.e. breast and colon cancer).

Getting vitamin D can be easy especially now that spring is here and we will be spending more and more time in the sun. However, the sun exposure must be without sunscreen and how long time you will need in the sun will depend on your skin type and adding to this you must show more than your face for that given time to maximize the amount[2] . But what you eat will also have an impact on your D level and the best way is to keep it as natural as possible and use sources such as fatty fish, fish oil, eggs and dairy.

Having good bones are everything when growing older and to help build your bone density you will have to do weight bearing exercises. That in itself is a great reason to start working out besides looking good in a bikini of course. Lifting weights actually puts a lot of stress on your bones and muscles because you are making micro tears in them every time you work out (if you do correctly of course). At night when sleeping you are rebuilding the damage making them stronger and bigger (and women don’t worry, it’s hard to grow big muscles as we don’t possess the same amount of hormones to do so as men).

So today I started my new exercise regimen. It’s a 5 day weight training body part split with two of the days dedicated to legs. The goal is to tone and tighten my muscles and be as fit and healthy as possible before summer comes.

Remember it’s never too late to improve your health!