CINNAMON BREAKFAST QUINOA RECIPE

Quinoa really is the breakfast of champions. Ask any athlete and they will tell you that filling up on this amazing ancient grain will help you smash that personal best!

I love quinoa for its high protein content and the fact is contains all the essential amino acids.

Many people think that quinoa is just a savoury dish but there are some great ways to make this a sweet breakfast dish that will keep hunger well at bay until lunch.

Cinnamon Scented Breakfast Quinoa Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (all red or a mix of red, white, or black)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Accompaniments

  • Broken or chopped walnuts, honey, almond or coconut milk, and flaky sea salt such as Maldon

Method

1) Wash quinoa in several changes of water in a bowl, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off water (if quinoa does not settle, drain in a large fine-mesh sieve after each rinse), until water is clear.

2) Drain washed quinoa well in a large fine-mesh sieve.

3) Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.

4) Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep covered to keep warm. Remove cinnamon sticks.

5) Divide quinoa among bowls and top with walnuts, organic honey, almond or coconut milk, and sea salt. You could also top with whatever fresh fruit you fancy!

B-FIT’S 10 POWER FOODS YOU SHOULD ALL BE EATING


There’s always a new kid on the block when it comes to the latest super food but what about the power foods? Those staples that just are so wonderful they should feature in all of our diets? Well not to worry! I have compiled my top ten list and I’m ready to share it with you.


1) Quinoa

quinoa-manPronounced “keen-wha” this amazing little grain is a complete protein that is wheat free and great for those with gluten intolerances. You must rinse this thoroughly first before cooking to avoid any stomach upsets. The ancient Incas referred to quinoa as “the Mother of all grains” and it is believed to be sacred for good reason. It is packed full of fibre, minerals and is high in protein. It’s low GI, high in magnesium and can be eaten sweet or savoury.

I like to cook quinoa with a touch of freshly juiced apple juice and blueberries for a sweet breakfast alternative that will fill you right up until lunch.

2) Goji Berries

banner-6The most nutritionally dense food on Earth, Goji berries are held in high regard by the Chinese and have been used for thousands of years as both a culinary ingredient and for medicinal purposes.

Goji berries are unique amongst the fruit family as they contain all the essential amino acids.  They also have the highest concentration of protein in any fruit. They are loaded with Vitamin C, have more carotenoids than any other food and are high in fibre. Goji berries have 15 times more iron found in spinach. They are anti-flammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial. A real power food!

Add goji berries into your trail mix and keep in your handbag for an easy on-the-go snack.

3) Ginger

Ginger_02Did you know that ginger helps with muscle pain? So if you’ve had a tough B-Fit session or your back is playing up, juice a little of this wonder stuff with apples and knock back for some natural relief.

Ginger is said to help those with asthma, relieve stomach upsets including nausea, bloating and painful gas. It can be used to reduce pain during the menstrual cycle and aid those who suffer from migraines.

So before you reach for the paracetamol, consider juicing some ginger first.

4) Bananas

bananas-03Cheap, cheerful, colourful, portable and easy to eat on the go. The humble banana is a real power food that we should all be eating. Ignore all the rubbish that pops up on the internet saying you shouldn’t eat them. You should! Packed with potassium, bananas are just as effective as sports drinks at keeping your electrolytes balanced.

Bananas are packed with pectin which helps aid digestion, also removing toxins and heavy metal during the digestion process. They act as a prebiotic, stimulating healthy bacteria in the gut and produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.

Bananas are a natural antacid providing relief from acid reflux and heartburn. They’re also the only raw fruit that can be eaten by stomach ulcer sufferers without causing pain.

5) Cherries

Cherries_May31Cherries contain cancer-preventative compounds, lower the risk of a stroke, gout, and contain antioxidants superior to Vitamin E including anthocyanins and cyanidin.

Cherries help lower levels of uric acid in the body and also bring pain relief to those suffering from arthritis. Talking of pain relief, cherries also help relieve muscular pains.

6) Turmeric

Turmeric_main_0127You don’t just need to use this in curry, this herb is fantastic as an anti-inflammatory.

Studies have shown that turmeric may help ward off dementia and reduce your risk of cancer.

It also helps ward off colds and flu (juice a lemon and some ginger, gently warm in a pain, not boil, and add turmeric for a natural cold and flu relief drink).

7) Eggs

eggsTasty and healthy, ignore all the scaremongering about too many eggs. They’re high in protein and contain an abundance of the amino acids leucine which jump starts muscle repair.

Eggs aid the HDL levels which is the good cholesterol levels. People with higher levels of HDL have a lower risk of stroke and heart disease.

Eggs also contain choline which is a nutrient grouped with the B vitamins. It is used by the body to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain.


8) Protein

iproduct.aspMany of us don’t get enough protein in our diets which is essential for our health. Protein rich foods keep us fuller for longer and help us achieve those tight abs and toned glutes!

One thing I recommend is the Nature’s Sunshine Pea Protein Powder. Add it to your smoothies or drink post workout for a great recovery. It also helps with muscle soreness!

Pea Protein Plus is a great tasting, vegetable protein drink mix that provides a superb nutritious blend and boasts a brilliant nutritional profile, in a fantastic low carbohydrate combination that is free from dairy, gluten and lactose.

9) Salmon or Tuna

tunasalmonOily fish is packed with essential omega nutrients. Buy organic, line caught fish not farmed to ensure the highest quality of nutrients.

Fish is fantastic for a variety of reasons and the high protein content will help strengthen and build muscles.

And when talking about tuna being a power food, I mean the fresh whole tuna steaks, not the tinned stuff!

10) Coconut

2coconutsCoconut is a real power food. Use coconut oil in place of sunflower, vegetable or olive oil for cooking as it can handle much higher temperatures.

Coconut oil is said to help fat loss and fresh coconut can be eaten as a snack or part of a curry or healthy salad.

Don’t forget that coconut oil also is wonderful for face, body and hair plus it’s antibacterial properties will treat a number of ailments.

How many of these power foods feature in your diet?

 

SHARON BOURNE TALKS B-FIT GROUP PERSONAL TRAINING

B-Fit client Sharon Bourne is a regular to my Group Personal Training classes.

The next course starts on Thursday 23rd April and early bird bookers can take advantage of a brilliant £30 saving if they book by 2nd April. So, only a week left to take advantage and get your place booked for less! Email me to book your place gaynor@b-fit.uk.com or text 07748 298728.

Sharon says;

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“The  Group PT course with B-Fit is hard work, but well worth the time, money and effort- Gaynor makes each session fun, and the exercises, together with the nutritional advice, really made a difference to my shape in a relatively short time. Although we exercise in a group, there is always time for individual advice from Gaynor with the result that I am now much more confident about exercising and eating properly. I would recommend Gaynor and B-Fit to others who are relatively new to exercise, like me, without hesitation.”

I DON’T OWN ONE, DO YOU?

Microwave-In-Use-Danger-Sign-S-2766I’m a big believer in prepping meals and pre-determining what you’re going to eat as one of the secrets to successful fat loss. It’s why my B-Fit B-Fabulous 21 Day Weight Loss plan works for so many of my clients – all your meals laid out in a simple plan with easy to follow recipes, shopping lists and ingredients.One of my friends told me about something that seems to be gaining popularity for busy professionals in Liverpool – pre prepped meals. These are cooked and prepared by nutritionists and trainers and you receive a week’s worth of meals and snacks. A typical week costs over £100 and the meals are delivered to you. Great in principle, but there’s one huge problem in my opinion with this service… the instructions tell you to microwave all the meals to heat up.

I don’t have a microwave. And I’m not here to preach and tell you to get rid of yours (I’ll let you make your own informed decision). This came up in conversation this week so I thought I would take this opportunity to share my reasons why I won’t have a microwave in my home and why I think that these ‘healthy’ meal services are a real waste of money.

I have read many studies, articles and researched a number of scientific papers about the potential hazards when it comes to microwaving what we eat.

In a nutshell (without boring you with reams of scientific jargon and data) the reasons I believe my family and I are best living without one include;

  • Microwaves change the molecular structure of some foods 
  • Microwaves can denature a lot of the nutrient density in many foods ( 1 study showed that 97% of antioxidants in broccoli were lost in a microwave compared to less than 11% in steaming)
  • Microwaves change the protein chemistry in food
  • Carcinogenic compounds have been found in microwaved foods
  • Unknown by-products are created in microwaved foods and the body cannot metabolise them
  • When my dad had cancer the first time , his consultant told him not to use a microwave! (this was my trigger to start doing some research on microwaves)

There are many studies on all of the above and some even cite the potential increase cancer risk of long term exposure to microwaved foods, not to mention the hormone disruption it can cause. And what does this mean? Hormone disruption leads to increased FAT storage!

Did you know? Microwaves are used by scientists in gene altering technology, specifically to weaken cell membranes and actually break cells apart. Doing so causes cells to become more susceptible to viruses, fungi and other microorganisms. Do you want that for your food too?

So, what is the solution?

We are ALL busy people and I know that a microwave may seem convenient and quick. All of the recipes on my blog and that I post each week on my newsletter take no more than half an hour. Most of my recipes take no more than 15 minutes from start to finish, which is really no time at all.

I find that batch cooking and prepping meals helps my clients to avoid that ravenous urge to quickly shove something in the microwave to eat. If you prep your meals, eat regularly throughout the day, then you should be able to exert some self control at dinner time and cook something nutritious and healthy. Once you get in the habit of this, it really does become second nature.

  • Plan meals
  • Shop online for all ingredients
  • Carry handy healthy snacks in your handbag
  • Eat more raw produce (no need to heat anything then!)
  • Batch cook big meals and store/freeze for a later date

If you’d like to read further information and studies about microwaves and the effects on our food please take a look at some of the studies and articles below.

http://www.mercola.com/article/microwave/hazards2.htm
http://www.aaimedicine.com/jaaim/apr06/hazards.php

BATCH COOKING: SALMON AND RATATOUILLE

This recipe is designed to be made ahead and frozen – individual fish suppers with creamy salmon and chunky veg

Herb-Crusted-Norwegian-Salmon-with-Ratatouille_largeIngredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 organic aubergines, cubed
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 5 mixed peppers, deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • 3 large courgettes, cut into chunky batons
  • 680g bottle passata
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • small handful basil leaves, most chopped, a few leaves left whole to serve

For the salmon

  • fresh basil
  • 40g pine nuts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • 8 skinless salmon fillets
  • Sweet potato (to serve), optional

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick wok or pan, add the aubergines and cook for 5 mins, stirring, until starting to soften and brown. Add the garlic and stir for a few secs. Tip in the peppers, courgettes, passata, stock and half the chopped basil. Season, cover and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until the veg is just tender. Cool, stir in the remaining basil and spoon into 8 x 250ml shallow ovenproof dishes or foil containers.
  2. For the salmon, take a pestle and mortar and hand grind basil, 3/4 of the pine nuts, oil and salt.  Spread the top of the fish fillets with the mix, then dip in the remaining pine nuts. Put a fillet on top of each ratatouille-filled dish.
  3. Put the dishes inside freezer bags and seal. Use within 6 weeks. To serve, unwrap the dishes, put on a baking tray in a cold oven, then set to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Bake for 55 mins until bubbling and the fish is cooked. Check after 30 mins – if the top of the salmon is getting too brown, cover the fish with foil. Serve scattered with basil and oven baked sweet potato.

THE B-FIT BEAUTIFUL BOTTOM PLAN

squats-no-squatsSo, the round perky bottom we all crave IS within your grasp! (Just ask any of my B-Fit clients who I have helped shape and sculpt a perkier derriere!)

The secret to a lifted, smoother and firmer bottom is fat loss and some muscle development.

So here’s a simple Butt Lift Programme for you.

Your Butt Lift Programme

WALK
Walk 30 minutes daily as a minimum – add hills if you can
Build to powering up those hills, making legs super tired

SQUAT & LUNGE
• 30 Squats – feet wide, toes forward
• 30 Pendulum Steps – step side to side, lifting each leg to the side, toes forward.
• 15 Parallel Squats – with feet close together, sitting back and pointing tail back.
• 20 Hanging 8s each leg – stand on 1 leg, Lift the knee to hip height, shin bone hanging. Draw an imaginary 8 horizontally with the knee.
• 20 Static Lunges each side – one leg back, foot on its toes, bend both knees dropping the back one vertically towards the floor. Focus on the push back up with the front heel.
 
Squatting safety points
• Technique is important
• Stop if your knees hurt
• Sit BACK, with weight in your heels and not your toes
• Keep your back straight and long, abs strong and chin slightly nodded
• If you find any of these exercises difficult, I am able to provide alternatives within your individual capabilities. All you need to do is ask!

HEALTHY CHOCOLATE PROTEIN BARS

German-Chocolate-Protein-BarsIngredients

• 1 cup oats
• ½ cup Nature’s Sunshine Synerprotein chocolate, Synerprotein original or pea protein powder
• ¼ cup organic cocoa powder
• 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 30 minutes
• ½ cup + ¼ cup chopped pecans (you will use 1/2 cup and then 1/4 cup at different points in the recipe)
• ½ cup + ¼ cup shredded coconut (you will use 1/2 cup and then 1/4 cup at different points in the recipe)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp salt
• water as needed (up to ¼ cup)
• 2 tbsp cacao nibs or chocolate chips

Method

1) In a food processor grind up the oats until they are a fine flour. Add the Synerprotein and cocoa powders and blend again until well combined.

2) Drain and rinse the dates then add them to the food processor along with ½ cup of pecans, ½ cup of shredded coconut, vanilla, and salt. Blend again, adding a little water at a time, until a dough forms.

3)Transfer dough to a bowl, stir in the remaining ¼ cup of pecans and coconut along with 2 tbsp cacao nibs or chocolate chips.

4) Scrape dough onto a piece of greaseproof paper or silicone baking mat. Cover with another piece of greaseproof paper and roll the bars out to about ½ inch, shaping into a square as you roll.

5) Place the bars in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, allowing them to firm up before cutting into 12 equal pieces.

6) Store in refrigerator for 5 days or a month in the freezer.

WHY WOMEN SHOULD LIFT WEIGHTS

why-women-should-lift-weights

There are a multitude of myths when it comes to women and weight lifting.

Using weights as part of your tailored exercise routine can have dramatic effects and each one of my B-Fit clients incorporates weight training in her plan.

A tailored weight program, coupled with the right food is one of the best ways to achieve fat loss, increase strength and prevent many age and lifestyle related diseases. Many women are scared of weights and spend too much time on cardiovascular exercise. I do weight training with my clients because;

112803856Weights help lose body fat

As muscle % increases, metabolism/the rate calories are burned speeds up to fuel the muscle. The more muscle tone increases, the more calories are burnt when resting! If women just do cardio exercise then muscle and fat are burnt as fuel, thus lowering muscle % and metabolism, making fat loss and a toned and lean body harder to achieve.

It is also worth noting that muscle weighs much more than fat. So do ignore the scales and go off a tape measure and progress pictures to see your changes and fat loss.

9160504fa9f22f6890bcd395371fb6e5

Women do NOT “bulk up” by doing weights

Unless they are taking steroids and spending hours a day lifting huge weights! Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men (the hormone that increases muscle size) so although weights increase their strength, they just develop a firm, toned, slimmer looking body.

Weight training DOES NOT turn fat into muscle!

This is like trying to turn metal into gold. It just is not possible. Muscle and fat are very different types of tissue and we cannot turn one into the other!60-kg

Weights improve sporting performance

Weight training increases power, stamina and technique whether you are a golfer, skier, cyclist or runner.

Weight training reduces risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, back pain, injury, arthritis and diabetes

It improves cardiovascular health, lowers cholesterol, increases bone density, strengthens lower-back muscles, improves connective tissue strength and joint stability and can increase glucose utilisation.

weight-lifting-women1For more information on weight loss, fitness and nutrition, contact Gaynor at B-Fit Personal Training on 07748 298 728 or visit www.b-fit.uk.com

HOME MADE HEALTHY CHINESE ‘TAKEAWAY’

Create an easy to make and healthy alternative to a Chinese takeaway with this tasty chicken satay dish with stir-fried vegetables.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 75g crunchy peanut butter (preferably organic)
  • 
2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 fat red chilli, finely chopped

For the veg

  • ¼ white cabbage, finely shred
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • A splash of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 

Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:
1. For the chicken, simply mix together the peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chilli. Using this sauce marinate the chicken for up to 2 hours.
2. When ready, cook the chicken, flattening each piece of thigh out onto the grill, and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly crispy and cooked through.
3. For the stir fry vegetables heat a little sunflower oil in a wok over a medium/high heat. Throw in the cabbage, peppers and onions and stir fry until softened.
4. Finish with the soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame seeds, and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.