Wild Black Rice and Pumpkin Risotto with Egg

A rice who’s sensational chew factor is surely only matched by the gooeyness of perfectly boiled egg and creaminess of in season pumpkin.

Life is short. Therefore, batch cook rice and you may even like to mix through some basmati if you find that more digestible than wild rice. From there you can get creative with your extra rice throughout the week and according to what produce happens to be on offer.

7 ingredients, 1 pot! To save you cleaning time for all the other exciting endeavours that life has to offer!

Ingredients:

  • 500g boiled pumpkin pieces, skin off
  • 1 cup wild black rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp stock
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Method:

  1. Slice de-skinned pumpkin into thumb sized chunks and pop into a large pot with the 1/2 cup of rice, 2 egg, 700ml boiled water, the stock and pinch of salt. remove the eggs after 4-5 minutes. Allow to boil away for another 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is super soft. Using tongs, remove the pumpkin and let the rice simmer on its own on a low heat for a further 20 minutes or until cooked to a texture of your liking.
  2. The remaining water should have soaked into the rice but if not, drain a little out. Shell the eggs.
  3. Add the pumpkin back in, folding together along with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Sauté 2-3 minutes and spoon into a bowl and top with egg sliced in half, garnish with fresh herbs or dried oregano.

Macros:

The above makes 2 serves, the macros described are per serve:

Each: 347cal 11gP 6gF 11gC

A special thank you and shout out to my amazing client for the basmati rice tip and all the other hot cooking tips you share. You are a gem!

Lifestyle and Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain will affect 9 in 10 of us, a sad statistic that you can avoid through a couple key lifestyle changes and some exercises and stretches that will nurture you past pain.

Contributing lifestyle factors

Don’t be nervous, you don’t have to change a whole lot and the the little things you do get to implement such as:
– regular desk breaks
– stretches
– key exercises
– and walks
feel great! Little activity breaks throughout the day will also serve to help you stay focused and productive.

What are some drivers of lower back pain?
Our modern lifestyles mean we spend a fair bit of time sitting at a desk, in the car or on the couch etc. Rounding of the shoulders and tight chest muscles are the more noticeable postural dysfunctions that result. Sitting though; puts our hips into flexion, basically anytime our legs are bent up from our waist. This encourages our hip flexors to adaptively shorten. We all know how it feels when we have spent a long time sitting down without a break, tingles, numbness and stiffness, a lack of blood flow and muscles tightening up. This then causes a tightness to develop in our hips which then leads to pain that radiates into the lower back as well as loss of hip extension and an inability to use our glutes. The erector Spinae (muscles that run up and down your spine) through lack of core and glute engagement will also adaptively shorten, pull on the spine and cause pain.

This can feel like:
– An ache in your lower back
– Poor posture and difficulty standing tall and proud
– Tightness and pain that can reach all the way up to your neck
– Pain through the glutes (bum) as well as trouble developing them.

Be your own passion project! You can correct these muscular imbalances and dysfunction with some simple exercises to get yourself standing tall and proud in no time.

Check out the links below to find follow-along workouts you can do from home.

If you would like someone on your team to get you pain free and feeling your best then reach out!
As an experienced and qualified trainer I am confident we can get you where you need be.

San Choy Bow

A gift of messy, fresh goodness from the East.
Bits will fall out, peanut butter will land on your chin and the sensation of spice meeting lime, meeting the crunch from the lettuce and chew in the savoury mince will have you wanting more.
So don’t be shy, do have fun decorating and go wild in your local asian grocers.

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken breast mince
  • 1 thumb of ginger sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2tbsp dark soy
  • 1tbsp oyster sauce
  • The vessel and the toppings
  • cos lettuce leaves
  • bean shoots
  • spring onion
  • fresh coriander
  • 100% pure peanut butter
  • lime wedges.

Method:

Heat a non-stick (avoid teflon) pan to med-high, then add chicken mince and sliced ginger, season and allow to cook with intermittent string for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add tomato paste, apple sauce, soy sauce, tamarind paste, oyster sauce, sliced garlic cloves and mixed spice.

Take to medium heat and allow to simmer another 5 minutes. While it does so, prepare cos leaves on a plate and slice spring onion and lime wedges.

Next; spoon the mince filling into the cos ‘boats’ sprinkle with bean shoots, drizzle with peanut butter and bedazzle with spring onion and coriander leaves.

Serve with lime for squeezing and bare minimum cutlery. This is interactive eating at its most delicious, get your hands sticky and involved. Get some serious sniffs of that flavour in as you bring each boat to your face for a mouthful.

Macros:
The above makes 3 serves. The following macros are per serve:

Per serve: 287cal 12gC 7.3gF 43gP 

Get a nutritionist on your team!

Holidays are coming up, which means adventure and time with loved ones! Learn to fuel yourself for all the fun to come and to feel your best!

Roasted Tandoori Chicken, Sweet Potato Steaks and Greens with a Drizzle of Spiced Lemon Yoghurt

Your initial time investment is a short and sweet 5 minutes of mixing the marinade together and coating the chicken to be marinaded for 24 hours.

From here, you can achieve the wafts of eastern scents pervading your kitchen from a perfectly roasted meal in just 20 minutes.

A stunning balance of high quality protein, fats and carbs. What else would you want for the mid week?

Paleo, gluten free, dairy free and extremely nutritious and satiating.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 1/3 cup coconut yogurt (for marinading)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp garem masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of salt and pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1tsp ginger powder
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • sumac to garnish and enhance

The Sauce to go atop can be prepared the night before and will keep 4 days in the fridge (so long as your coconut yoghurt is within that use by time frame)

It’s stunning on curries, fish and stir fries so feel free to do a bigger batch if you wish.

  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cardomen
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of salt

Simply mix together with a fork or whisk until smooth

Method:

  1. First pre heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius and get a a litre of water onto boil in your kettle or stove top. In the meantime, finely slice your sweet potato.
  2. Line a tray with baking paper or a smidge of coconut oil and arrange your chicken and sweet potato slices. Spoon remnants of your yogurt marinade onto the sweet potato and pop into the oven for 16 minutes.
  3. Place broccolini into a pot and blanch with your boiled water for about ten minutes so t retains a lovely crunch and sweetness.
  4. Once the chicken and sweet potato have roasted, remove tray for the oven safely and use tongs to arrange the chicken and sweet potato onto a plate. Shake excess water off the broccolini to go onto the plate.
  5. Drizzle with a your yogurt sauce, sprinkle with sumac and you are good to go.

The above makes 2 serves. The following macros are per serve:

Per serve: 669kcal 39gC 31gF 58gP

High Performance Cycling Without The Knee and Hip Pain

Love getting out and about on your bike? When the sun is just right with a cool whisper of atmosphere you’re ready to get the wheels spinning. You don’t want to feel knee pain, you don’t want tight hips and you would love your back to feel absolutely fine the days and weeks after.

Either you are keen to prevent pain, you are feeling a few niggles or these niggles have started to get worse. Read on to find out more about your body and how to keep it strong.

The short of it: Your hip flexors are a prominent mover that contribute to cycling motion; they work to drive your legs up and along side your quads to flex your knee before you drive your feet down to push on the pedals. This repeated motion leads to tight hips leading to back, knee and hip pain. This often manifests as conditions such as sciatica, ITB syndrome etc. This is not meant to sound scary, these issues are totally preventable and there is every reason to keep enjoying your regular spin classes and bikes rides.
Keeping the right muscles active and doing regular stretch and release work on other muscles will go a long way to keeping you pain free. The key is simple things done consistently, there is no need to overthink or over complicate.

Activate and Build Glutes

Your glutes (along with your hamstrings) are hip extensors (as apposed to hip flexors) so regular activation and exercise of these will prevent a lot of pain and ensure optimal lower body function. The below exercises are perfect for beginners and can be done from home to be integrated into your weekly exercise routine. Scroll to the bottom for options to find more advanced exercises.

Clams – progress by using a resistance band

  1. Start by lying sideline with a neutral back and your head supported. Flex both knees and think about glutes as you use them to send your leg straight up, hold a second’s pause at the top, lower and repeat. Start with 2 sets of ten raises on each side.

Hip bridge– Progress by placing a weight safely over your hips

  1. Start by lying on the floor with your legs bent in front of you. Your feet should be just outside shoulder width apart with your 2nd toe pointing forward.
  2. Drive your pelvis up, keeping your core braced and turn your heels in slightly as you squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, lower back down with control and repeat. Beginners can start with 2 sets of 10-15 reps.

As for your core

Bird dogs

  1. From a quadruped position (on all fours) reach your right leg and left arm long. Be careful not to kick your leg up to high to excessively arch your lower back.

2. Squeeze your core to bring your knee and elbow in to meet each other. Repeat 8 times on each side for two sets and progress with more reps from there.

Dead Bugs

  1. Lying on your back, draw your ribs in and down and brace (imagine a ball is flying at your stomach and you need to squeeze your core.)
  2. Lift your legs and bend at 90 degrees, reach your arms straight overhead. With your core braced, send your right arm long behind you with your left leg long in front of you simultaneously. Alternate sides going for 12 reps to start for 2 sets.

These done a few times a week and progressed can help you build a strong core to prevent the take over of other muscles that get tight and lead to pain. A strong core is also a phenomenal force for good against back pain and injury. We love abs and, importantly, we love living pain free.

Stretch and release hip flexors (specifically your TFL)

TFL (one of your hip flexors, the tensor fasciae latae )stretch

  1. let your left leg out long and relaxed on the mat and plant your right foot just over the left knee, rotate in towards you right bent knee and hooking your arm in if you can to gentle pull the knee in to the middle of your body till you feel a mild stretch in your upper outer thigh. Hold for 30-120 seconds, breathing evenly through your nose and trying to relax as much as you can.
  2. Repeat on the other side.

Low lunge hip flexor stretch

  1. Arrange yourself in a low lunge position and rather than thinking about driving your pelvis forward, find a neutral pelvis position and then ‘tuck tail under’ that is, you want to feel as though you are tilting your hips up to encourage a lengthening of the hip flexors and to feel a stretch from the top of your hip down your thigh. Hold for 30-120 seconds, breathing evenly through your nose.
  2. Repeat on the other side.

These are a great way to end your evening and prepare for sleep. Stretching either side of exercise is great but right before bed is fantastic as it is during sleep when our muscles are primed to make changes.

The above exercises and stretches will go a super long way if done consistently to helping you stay functional, active and pain free. If you found this article helpful and you would like a bit more direction and support with your training I can work with you to get you pain free and in prime condition.

  • For customised programs
  • Personal Training
  • Guided & assisted stretch sessions
  • Reach out so we can get started and unlock your body’s potential!

Healing Dark Chocolate Cashew Butter Balls

Featuring adaptogens to support your energy, hormones and gut

How do these adaptogens help and heal?

Maca powder: famed for improving sexual desire and function, Maca is also incredibly nourishing for the adrenals too which in turn  assists in the regulation and balance of many  hormones, most notably; cortisol (adrenalin), testosterone and oestrogen. Maca also aids liver detoxification.
MCT oil: Medium-Chain-Triglycerides aid digestion due to their easy absorption and assisting the body absorb fat soluble vitamins . They also love up our gut environment via anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. They contribute to the long term adrenal dysfunction healing process via a “soothing affect” on the nervous system and direct nourishment of the glands themselves.
Hemp seeds: High in the all important, anti-inflammatory omega-3s  therefore benefiting the nervous, cardiovascular and digestive system. They also pack a good amount of fibre.
Lions mane: Reduces inflammation with its anti-microbial properties as well as acting as a neuro-protective by boosting the production of neuritis (compounds needed for brain function.) Lions mane also relieves the kinds of oxidative stress caused by poor nutrition and toxic chemicals. (Think conventional cleaning products & make ups.)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao
  • 2tbsp MCT oil (or equivalent melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp lions mane mushroom powder
  • 1 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp pure organic vanilla essence
  • Top with a sprinkling of hemp seeds and cacao nibs

Method:
Start by mixing your wetter ingredients, the honey, vanilla essence, coconut oil and cashew butter and from there combine with the other ingredients. Once a paste has formed, wet your fingers and roll into small balls. Top with (or roll in) cacao nibs and hemp seeds.

Macros:

The above makes 6 balls, the macros described are per serve:

Each: 110Kcal 2.5gP 9gF 4.5gC

Red Sea Poached Fish

Barramundi fillet poached in a red sea of tomato, onion and eastern spices, topped with a two minute tahini dip and fresh coriander leaves.

Find yourself a local loaf of something chewy and crusty to be served alongside and mop up that sauce.

Ingredients:

  • two 200g fillets of cleaned and de-boned white fish.
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 onion sliced
  • small dollop of butter
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1tsp sesame seeds
  • a stock cube
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • for the tahini dip (for 5 serves, think about that next day lunchbox)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • sprinkle of salt

Method:

  1. Find yourself a non-toxic pan and get your dollop of butter melting away at a merry med-low heat. Your sliced onion can be sautéed in this with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add your minced garlic and allow to cook down and caramelise, remembering to pop your extractor fan on. In the meantime, combine tahini, lemon juice and salt in a mug with a fork, it will start off gloopy before coming together as a smooth paste after a minutes of whisking.
  2. Once the onion and garlic has cooked down a touch (should take 5 minutes), add your tin of tomatoes, stock cube and spices, take the heat up to med-high and cook for a further two minutes, stirring well to ensure all flavours combine. Pop the kettle onto boil and slice your broccoli into florets.

3. Once the tomato sauce is bubbling, add your barramundi fillets to the pot and cover with the tomato sauce. Pop the lid on and let cook 10-12 minutes in the saucey mixture, picking up all manner of rich, tomatoey goodness and becoming infused with the flavours of the east.

4. Blanch broccoli florets in hot water for 2-3 minutes before draining and setting onto plates. Slice bread (if having bread) and arrange on a plate with your dip.

5. Once the fish has had its 10-12 minutes bath, start to bring it together on plates to be served, sprinkling the broccoli with sesame seeds and garnishing with leaves of coriander.

Hot tip:

The tomato sauce is a good one to have stashed away in the fridge or freezer to save yourself time later so a good one to double up up in the pot and then retrieving half before the fish goes in.

A low carb option would be to leave the bread out and if you are gluten intolerant this one is beautiful with rice or mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce.

Macros: The above makes two serves, the below are per serve and assumed one slice of sourdough bread.

Each: 37gC 11gF 52gP 455Kcal

A Gather’s Bowls of Brunch

Salads are a celebration of contrasts!
Creamy and crunchy
Leafiness with a slight bitter edge on the same forkful as a tangy, salted tomato
With a lovely spoonful of hummus to bring it altogether.

This is the bowl you want to nourish, satisfy and seeing you through to getting the most out of your day.

As a lighter option you will still feel focused and energised unlike a lot of heavy or grainy brunch options. This salad also boasts a heartfelt offering of protein, healthy fats and clean carbohydrates.

Ingredients:

  • two eggs
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 avocado
  • handful of spinach spinach
  • Fresh soft herbs (I used parsley and dill)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one serve of hummus made to the below recipe:

Method:

  1. Fill your kettle with fresh water and get boiling. Whilst it is doing so you can potter about your brunch bowl, picking leaves off your herbs, slicing tomato, avocado and perhaps even setting yourself up with tomorrow’s lunch box.
  2. Once the water is boiled, transfer to a pot and set to high heat. Once bubbling, turn down the heat a wee bit and boil eggs for 4-8 minutes depending how gooey or hard you prefer them. I like to boil eggs in advance to save time later so add a few more in as suits you.
  3. While your eggs are reaching desired gooey or hardness, you can use the time to whip up hummus or clean the cutting board and other utensils. When eggs are done, drain hot water away and run under a cool tap before peeling the shells away.
  4. Cut eggs in half and add to bowl with hummus and all other ingredients. Enjoy!

The above will serve one and the below macros describe one serve

305cal 18.5gP 21.5gF 10.5gC

Hot tip:

Meal prepping can really set you up for success, especially if time is not always on your side and you are leading a rich and full life with a balance of goals. For more on meal prepping, follow the link below:

If your nutrition is something you want to give focus to and if you need someone who understands time constraints and the importance of sustainability then get in touch!

I help busy people get the most out the time they have to focus on their fitness and nutrition for an enjoyable journey and results that last.

A Sautéed Vegetable Topped Soup

Think smooth and seasoned pumpkin with all manner of spring vegetables sautéed and crisped to perfection in the pan, lovingly thrown atop. A tangy hit of tomato chutney and generous sprinkle of spice took us home.

Ingredients:

  • 300g pumpkin
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 100g cooked chick peas
  • 1/4 head of broccoli
  • 1 leak
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a stock cube
  • small dollop of butter
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional enhancers are tomato chutney and dukkuh (middle eastern spice mix)

Method:

  1. Slice pumpkin thinly and cauliflower into small florets. Lay on roasting tray or arrange on air-fryer tray. Season with salt, pepper smoked paprika and thyme. If using a conventional oven, roast at 200 degrees for 25 minutes. Otherwise, set airfryer to 190 degrees for 20 minutes.
  2. While those are roasting merrily away, begin to finely slice broccoli and leak, if using tinned chickpeas now is the time to drain and pat dry. Melt your small dollop of butter in a pot (this will save washing later) and sauté your sliced vegetables and chickpeas with salt, pepper and a bit more thyme. Depending on your stove heat and how diligently you stand by to stir them the veg about, you are looking at about 10-12 minutes till they are done.

3. Once your vegetables have has been roasted, pop them into a blender with the peeled garlic cloves, tahini, nutritional yeast, stock cube and 1 cup of cold water. Blitz until smooth.

4. Empty the pot that had once sautéed vegetables and leave to the side. Pour soup from blender straight into this pot and heat up. Have your bowls at the ready with any optional crusty sourdough you may have picked up to go with it.

5. Once soup is heated through, serve into bowls, top with sautéed veg, chutney and spice. I hope you love it!

Macros: The above makes two serves, the below are per serve 

Each: 38gC 13.5gF 13gP 325calories

What’s The Go On Breakfast?

Or should you fast? We panic a bit at the thought of missing a meal or the potential to feel hungry. We are told eating frequent meals can “rev up” our metabolism. It doesn’t.
We are told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For primary school aged children; absolutely. A balanced plate of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats will sustain and nourish them through their school day.
We are told fasting is good for us and then feel even more confused about all this contradictory information. Fasting is fantastic for the 99%.

The fast option: skipping breakfast in favour of a black coffee, herbal tea or water has gained in popularity due to its well researched and clearly demonstrated benefits on focus and productivity as well as weight loss.
If you experience daily stress, are female and want to keep your hormones in good condition, then a coffee diet is not a good plan but we will come back to that. Fasting will lead to:

  • greater levels of alertness and concentration
  • higher performance in cognitive based tasks
  • a chance for cells, hormones and your digestive system to undergo natural and beneficial cycles

As a weight loss option?

Insulin the hormone that is released when you consume food (mostly in response to carbohydrates. Fats and proteins have a lesser affect) will inhibit the oxidation of fat. That is how fat is ‘burnt’ by the body, first it is mobilised as a fuel source when needed and then it is oxidised or ‘burnt’ in response to energy demands. So simply, eating will mean less of your fat stores can be burnt up and used.

Therefore, choosing a fasting window of say 12-16 hours a day can be beneficial for helping you to loose weight.

To enhance focus and productivity?

Fasting works two ways. One; it is less of a distraction, if you don’t have to worry about fitting your breakfast into your morning routine you can be in a better flow or exercising, getting cold exposure and then getting to task. This is especially true for people who start work early and so may have less time to fit it in.

The second is food’s effect on your ability to stay focused. Carbohydrate consumption will encourage your body to produce serotonin, a hormone that gives you feelings of contentment, relaxation and drowsiness. So, a perfect option for dinner, not so when you need to feel alert and motivated. Whilst being in a fasted state will encourage greater levels of coritisol (a hormone that puts the body into a state of alertness)

Who does not benefit from fasting? Who should have breakfast?

As mentioned above, children thrive eating a balanced breakfast. Woman who are trying to fall pregnant or are coming back from adrenal fatigue and other hormonal issues (more on this in the link at the bottom) should be eating a serve of carbohydrates a couple hours after waking. Athletes with high energy demands who train to the point were they deplete their muscle glycogen (energy stored in muscles) need to replenish after exercise to maintain their physic and keep performing well. If you fall into this category, read on for more information on the best breakfasts. If you are not sure what will serve you best. Reach out to book your nutrition consult.

How do I know what is best for me?

This will take time to work out because your body takes time to adjust. The first time you try fasting you may feel moody and irritable, the second day you may feel better, by the end of the week it will feel fine and from there it would feel ‘not right’ to go back to eating breakfast because you will be loving the clarity and energy.

Keeping a diary is the best way to keep track of what is and is not working for you. The things you want to look out for are: Sleep quality, energy levels, sex drive, mood and cognition (how well you can focus, learn and remember things).

So, let’s talk the tastiest, healthiest breakfasts (or simply, the first meal you have in the day) that will see you through to your goals.

  • Protein is best synthesised before earlier in the day so breakfast is a great opportunity to try and get that in via eggs, salmon, tempeh or other high quality protein sources
  • The second important element (for athletes and woman) is carbohydrates. These will work to keep hormones in optimal condition as well as your maintain energy levels. Complex carbs like rice, potatoes, legumes and oats are better options than toast, cereals or things out of a packet.
  • Fats are needed in smaller amounts (or larger depending on your own energy needs) to ensure healthy cell production, the absorption of vitamins and minerals and for sustained energy.
  • Play around with your micronutrients. This is the fun part! What’s in season at the local grocers? What’s the veg patch doing? How many colours can you get in? This is why I love salads as you can get super creative! Dress a bowl of oats with berries, cinnamon and a tsp of seeds or nut butters!

If that was helpful…

  • Smart carb shopping lists
  • Breakfast/lunch options under 300

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