30/10/2017

Homemade Protein Bounty Bars! (With Macro's)

Ingredients to make 4:

2 scoops vanilla whey protein
4tbsp milk
40g dark chocolate
20g dessicated coconut, plus a little extra for dusting

How we do:

Melt the coconut oil and keep aside 1 tsp of oil for later. Using the rest of the oil mix together with the whey protein and coconut.
Slowly add the milk until the mixture is sticky but not sloppy.
Shape into 4 bars on a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle a dash of coconut over the top
Refridgerate for 30 minutes to set, whilst these are setting melt the little bit of coconut oil you saved earlier with the dark chocolate on a low to medium heat. Coconut oil in first that way the chocolate will melt smoothly  and not burn.
Take the bars out of the fridge, dip into the coconuty chocolate mixture and put them back into the fridge to set again.

After 15 minutes of waiting, drooling over your chocolatey concoction – they are good to demolish!

Macro’s per bar: 200 calories, 11g Protein, 15g Fat, 5g Carbs



27/10/2017

Slow cooked Oaty Goodness (With Macro's)

Slow cooked Oaty Goodness - the perfect way to start a Sunday morning!

Ingredients to serve 4:

100g Porridge Oats
250ml Coconut Milk
50g Desiccated Coconut unsweetened
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
¼ tsp Salt
 2 Mashed ripe bananas’
50g Maple Syrup
50g chopped Pecans

How we do:

1. Put Slow Cooker on low. Grease the inside with 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Combine oats, milk, coconut, vanilla & salt together & pour into slow cooker. Cover & cook on low for 7-9 hours.
2. In the morning, stir in the mashed bananas, maple syrup & pecans. Serve immediately.


Nutritional’s per serving: 385 cals, 38.2g carbs, 5.2g Protein, 23.5g Fat.


26/10/2017

Saving Maddi!

Race Against Time for Essex Teen with Rare Life Threatening Condition - #SaveOurMaddi

Carina Thurgood mother of Essex teen Maddi has appealed today for much needed donations to help scientists find a cure for her daughter’s life threatening condition.

Just two days before her 15th birthday, Maddi Thurgood’s family were called into Great Ormond Street Hospital and given the shattering news that Maddi had Krabbe disease, however weeks later it was discovered the teen had been misdiagnosed and actually had Spastic Paraplegia Type 15, SPG 15 an extremely rare, complex and progressive disorder which can lead to physical, intellectual disability and more. 

There is currently no cure for SPG 15 and Maddi’s Professor from Sheffield believes that The consensus of that meeting was that gene therapy offers the greatest potential for helping our children.  We have received a gene therapy proposal, which comes with a $2-3 million price tag. Rare disease research isn't cheap.

We need YOUR help to allow us to execute the plan and the time is NOW to act!  gene therapy offers the greatest hope of helping to find a cure for Maddi. However this critical gene therapy research at Sheffield
University of Neurosciences (SITRAN), comes with a hefty price tag of £224,000. So far the family has raised £124,000 with help from the local community but is still short £100,000.

Maddi’s mum is up against the clock, as this progressive disease has already begun to ravage Maddi’s mobility and so she launched The Maddi Foundation, a registered charity to fund Sheffield University’s research to produce a gene therapy strategy for Maddi’s life threatening illness.  



THE DEVASTATING DIAGNOSIS OF SPG15:

·      Spastic paraplegia Type 15 is a very rare type of motor neuron disease.
·      SPG 15 is classified as a complex hereditary spastic paraplegia because it can cause paralysis of all four limbs, mental retardation, dysarthria, retina degeneration, distal amyothropy as well as juvenile Parkinson’s.
·      In addition to the muscles and brain, SPG 15 affects the peripheral nervous system, which consists of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to muscles and sensory cells.
·      SPG15 is so rare that no one else in the UK has the disorder. It also appears that there are less than 20 people across the globe with the condition. 
·      Onset of the condition usually becomes apparent in childhood or adolescence with the development of weak muscle tone (hypotonia), difficulty walking, or intellectual disability.
MADDI’S STORY…
·      Maddi’s symptoms first started when her ankle collapsed when she was 13.  It was during this period that she began to develop a limp too.
·      Her muscle tone began deteriorating and an array of other symptoms including severe pain. 
·      Worried sick about her symptoms the family took her to lots of different specialists.  Maddi has had to endure an array of tests along the way including scans, blood work and a lumber puncture.
·      In 2016, Carina, Maddi’s mum was called in to Great Ormond Street Hospital without Maddi where she was initially told that Maddi had Krabbes disorder a life threatening illness which would require a bone marrow transplant.
·      Seeking a second opinion, Carina brought Maddi to the US to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPOMC, a world leading centre of excellence in the study of genetic disorders in children.  It was here that they received the life changing news that Maddi didn’t have Krabbes disorder she actually had a much rarer condition called SPG15.

A TYPICAL DAY IN MADDI’S LIFE

·      Maddi can no longer walk normally and can only stand for very short periods. 
·      When Maddi was first diagnosed one of the hardest things about her condition was that it meant she could no longer continue one of her favourite activities - ice skating.  She also had to give up drama, because movement had become too painful.
·      Just walking around the house requires a cane and if she was to go to the shopping centre, she needs to use her wheelchair.
·      Everyday her mother encourages her to keep exercising and keep her muscles going.
·      Maddi has a physical trainer who works with the muscle groups that are getting weaker, but the disease is stronger than her training.
·      Her legs get extremely painful and it makes her exhausted and so she misses out on a lot of school.
·      Despite her ordeal Maddi is not frightened about anything and she only cries when she falls over.
·      Maddi has been amazing through all of this and she tries to get on with it as much as she can. Obviously there are days when it gets her down, but overall she never complains or gives out.
·      She’s always happy to go to fundraisers and talk to people and is so thankful for everything everyone has done for her so far.

MADDI’S MUM…
·      “SPG15 is the rarest form of a rare disease.  It’s shocking we have never ever met another family with the same disease
·      Having to watch your child suffering is one thing, but when you know there is no treatment, no cure and you see changes that are slowly happening each day it is incredibly stressful.
·      If your child is the only one you feel incredibly isolated and completely on your own. 
·      Like so many families with a child that has a rare disease – everything is family driven; fighting to make progress.
·      I believe that something can be done and that Maddi can have a future and that things can be reversed. 
·      But we’re not fully funded and need urgent help.”

AMONGST THE RAREST OF LIFE THREATENING DISORDERS WORLDWIDE
·      Less than 20 people worldwide have SPG15; in fact it’s so rare that Maddi is the only person in the UK to have this disorder.
·      SPG15 and other rare diseases that only affect a handful of people are often referred to as ‘orphan diseases’. 
·      No pharmaceutical company is working on treatments and neither is the government which is why Carina Thurgood, Maddi’s mum is having to pound pavements to find a treatment that can save Maddi.
·      Carina Thurgood is constantly online researching doctors & scientists who have published medical research papers on SPG15, but as yet no cure has been found.
·      There is very little known about the condition, which is why Maddi’s mum and family have sought opinions and information from specialists in Spastic Paraplegia Type 15 from all over the world.
·      Maddi had been put on a short trial of levodopa (for Parkinsons) in November 2016 at Michigan Hospital but she had a severe anxiety reaction to this by Christmas and was weaned off the drug.
·      She’s in regular contact too with Maddi’s medical team as she attends Great Ormond Street, which is led by Dr Lucinda Carr a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Professor Nick Wood, who is based at UCL next door to Great Ormond Street. Prof Nick Wood’s chief interests are the genetic variants which contribute to nervous system function and dysfunction.

RESEARCH FOR A CURE FOR MADDI
· The gene therapy programme which lies at the Professor Mimoun Azzouz is at Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience.
· Professor Azzouz and the team at SITRAN SITraN is focused on translational neuroscience; the goal of the research is to harness scientific developments emerging from experimental work in the laboratory and translate these insights into an effective gene therapy strategy for Maddi.
· So far, the Save Our Maddi Appeal has raised £124,000 but another £100,000 must be raised if the University of Sheffield is to continue researching the gene therapy which could unlock the search to find a cure for Maddi.
· After literally a worldwide search it’s a great feeling according to Maddi’s mum to know that there is a team of scientists at Sheffield University that care about what’s going on with Maddi and want to help.


Donate to the #SaveOurMaddi Fund here: http://www.saveourmaddi.co.uk/


25/10/2017

The Ultimate Fall Frittata! (Including Macro's)

Ingredients to serve 4:
500g Butternut Squash, cut into cubes
2 tbsp Olive Oil 100g
Curly Kale
4 large Eggs
4 Egg Whites
150gQuark
75g Soft Goats Cheese cubed
25g Parmesan grated
100g Chorizo thinly sliced
150g Light Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese

How we do:
1. Preheat oven to 220c (200 fan)
2. Toss the butternut squash cubes in half of the olive oil & place in a greased roasting dish. Cook in oven for 25 mins.
3. Bring saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add kale. Cook for 3 mins. Drain. Pat dry with kitchen towel.
4. When the squash is cooked, remove from oven & set aside. Lower the oven to 200c (180 fan). In a food processor blend together the quark, soft cheese, eggs, egg whites & parmesan. Move the mixture to a large bowl.
6. In an ovenproof large frying pan, heat the remaining oil & stir-fry the kale for 3 mins. Add kale & squash to egg mix & give it a good stir.
7. Pour mix into large frying pan, dot over the cubes of goat’s cheese & chorizo slices. Cook over a medium heat for 2 mins before baking in oven for 20-25 mins. Cover top with tin foil if browning too quickly.
8. Serve in wedges with fresh green salad. Yummy!


Nutritional’s per serving: 481 calories, 31.7g Protein, 16g Carbs, 32.2g Fat.


23/10/2017

All The Berry Breakfast Pud! (With Macros)

Weekday morning rush? oh hunni I hear ya! Here's a quick little recipe you can whiz together the night before, so you can enjoy an extra 5 minutes hitting snooze!

Ingredients to serve 2:
100g Raspberries
100g Strawberries
100g Blueberries
100g Blackberries
1½ tsp Chia Seeds

How simple is this!
Wash and place all the berries and chia seeds in a blender, blitz super good
Spoon into something cute and refrigerate overnight!
DONE!


Nutritionals per serving: 120 calories, 23g carbs, 2.5g protein, 2g fat. 




20/10/2017

Blonde Meets Fitcheck! The New FitPro Platform!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the fitness industry! Iron! Dumbbells! Protein Shakes! Macros! Friday! Do I have your attention?

Cool!

So as you all know, because I pretty much haven’t stopped banging on about it, earlier this year I qualified as a Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer.

When I wanted to start marketing my new found skills and how I could use them to help other people I was informed by on of our local gym manager’s that Fitcheck were the new, highly improved fitness register on the market.

So I checked them out and was thrilled to find out not only do Fitcheck thoroughly vet every single professional qualification and review submitted providing your potential clients with constant reassurance that they aren’t being scammed and that their safety is in the hands of a real professional - Fitcheck also look after the fitness professional by providing you with a space on their register to platform what you offer – easy marketing!

In short, Fitcheck aren’t interested in how many social media followers you’ve got in order to support your business – nor do they give you a set amount of CPD points to have to reach every year to maintain your profile.

Fitcheck understand that it’s about matchmaking the perfect professional for the client whilst providing clients with freedom of choice on a level playing field and providing that client with assurance they are in capable hands.

Couple of other perks: Myprotein discount, a great and easy to function website & fantastic customer service.

Look, I know how hard it is to get yourself out there – trust me, I do. So if I can provide useful tips as I learn along the way – I’m here to help!


Memberships are currently running at £9.99 on promotion, so now is a great time bite the bullet, get yourself out there and enjoy reaping in the rewards! 



Spinach & Gorgonzola Stuffed Pumpkin! (With Macro's)

It's nearly halloween and there are pumpkins galore! Why not get a little creative in the kitchen and enjoy a culinary pumpkin with a tonn of flavor! Here's how you do it!

Ingredients:
1 small Pumpkin
250g Baby Spinach
200g Gorgonzola Cheese
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

How we do:
1. Preheat oven to 190c (170 fan). Cut the top of the pumpkin & scoop out seeds, discard. Place the pumpkin, cut side facing up in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil & bake for 50-60 mins until tender.
2. Add salt and pepper to the pumpkin hollow and stuff with baby spinach leaves before topping with cheese.
3. Bake for 10 mins or until cheese has melted & spinach wilted.


Nutritional's per serving: 382 calories, 23g carbs, 24g fat, 22g protein


18/10/2017

Autumn African Stew Recipe (With Macro's)

Fancy something to snuggle up on the sofa watching greys anatomy with? Me too! Check out this fall inspired African Stew! This recipe serves 4!

Ingredients:
2 large Onions, diced
1 tbsp lazy garlic
2 Celery Sticks, finely diced
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Turmeric powder
Dash Ground Cinnamon
Dash of Ground Ginger
50g Red Lentils
200g Tin Chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp Ricebran Oil
400g Tomato Passata
30g fresh Parsley, chopped
10g Coriander, chopped
500g Butternut Squash, chopped
500ml Stock of your choice
1 Bay Leaf
50g Orzo Pasta

How we do: 
1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté the onion until just starting to turn golden.
2. Reduce the heat & add all the spices plus the celery & garlic. Cook gently for another
two minutes or so.
3. Add the lentils, chickpeas,, passata, parsley & half of the coriander. Add the stock, bring to the boil then
reduce to a simmer & cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Add squash. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Add the pasta & simmer until cooked. Add more stock/water if necessary.
5. Serve garnished with remaining coriander.

Nutritionals per serving: 351 calories, 66g carbs, 3g fat, 17g protein


16/10/2017

The Ultimate Productivity, Simplicity, Finance, Happiness & Weight Loss Hack

I’ll share the ultimate hack in just two words: letting go.
These two words, if practiced and lived, can be the key to all the self-improvement in your life:
·         Productivity: By letting go of trying to do everything, or be updated about everything, you can focus on just what’s important. This simple focus can make you incredibly effective, and you’ll accomplish more.
·         Simplicity: Our lives get filled with clutter and complexity when we constantly want to add things. By letting go of what we want to have, and some of what we already, we can simplify, declutter, create space, let go of complexity.
·         Finances: Our finances would be much better if we didn’t spend so much. Of course, you could argue that we could just earn more, which is true. But spending less and earning more is actually better than all of that! Anyway. Letting go of things we want to spend on is the key to better finances. More on that below.
·         Happiness: When we are frustrated with someone, disappointed with ourselves, unhappy with our situation, angry at something in the past … what is standing in the way of our happiness? We could blame the other person, or ourselves, or our situation, or the thing in the past … but actually, the thing preventing our happiness is being stuck on an ideal or expectation. We could let go of how we want others to be, how we want our lives to be, how we want ourselves to be … and find contentment in the way things are. This is hard for people to accept — because they aren’t good at letting go yet. Again, more below.
·         Weight loss: Eat less, by slowly reducing portion sizes and eating more vegetables and beans (low in calories, high in bulk). This is a simple recipe for weight loss (I would add strength training and other exercise, but let’s keep things simple), but what stands in our way of eating less? Wanting to eat pleasurable foods, junk foods, comfort foods, bigger portions. If we let go of these wants, we could eat less. Yes, it’s possible (I’ve done it many times).
More on all of this in the sections below. But first, let’s look at what letting go actually means.
The Process of Letting Go
What does it mean when I suggest that we let go? It means that we are attached to something (we all are, most of the time), and to let it go means to loosen that attachment.
It’s opening up of our grip, and letting the cherry blossoms blow in the wind as they will, out of our grasp.
When you are angry at someone, you are unhappy with how they acted. You believe they should have acted some other way. The should have acted is what you’re holding onto. If you didn’t have the should so firmly attached in your mind, you wouldn’t be angry.
So the answer is letting go of the should.
The answer is to loosen the tight grip on the way you think things should be. And let the should blow away in the wind. Because in reality, we have no control over the should of reality. We can’t make other people act the way we’d like them to, because they’re not puppets. We can’t even make ourselves act the way we want, much of the time.
We don’t control the should, and so letting go of our tight grasp of them, loosening up and learning to accept the uncontrollable nature of life, leads to many benefits. Let’s look at some of them below.
Productivity & Letting Go
I’ve already given an example of how letting go of all that we want to do allows us to be more focused and effective, and accomplish more.
Let’s look at a few more examples of how letting go improves productivity:
·         If we pick just three things on our to-do list that are important, and let go of the rest (for now), we can focus on the important things.
·         If we let go of needing to stay current on everything, that will allow us to be less distracted by news and social media and messages and emails. We can then just focus on what’s important.
·         If we let go of needing to say yes to every request, we will free up a lot of our time, and instead focus on what’s most important.
·         If we let go of our urges to be entertained and distracted, we’ll free up time to focus on the important.
Attachments are getting in the way of our meaningful contributions to the world. Letting go is the answer.
Simplicity & Letting Go
This past week, I started decluttering different areas of my life. I had to let go of a lot of hopes and dreams, because the reality is, I am not going to have time to do everything. That means I can let go of books, hobby equipment, and all kinds of other clutter that represented my aspirations.
Holding on to how we think our lives should be … stands in the way of simplicity. This attachment clutters our lives, both with physical clutter and with days filled with complexity.
Instead, we can let go of some of these aspirations, and focus on the ones that are truly meaningful.
The clutter is flowing out my door, as I practice letting go.
Finances & Letting Go
Recently Eva and I took a close look at our finances, and identified areas where we could trim down. It was a long-overdue look at our spending, after years of letting things creep higher and higher. I’m so happy we did it, but it meant letting go of things we have gotten used to. Ordering something as soon as we wanted it. Getting things for the house or the kids as soon as we decided we “needed” it.
Now, we’re putting things on wishlists. And for my personal wishlist, I’m practicing changing the heading of that list from “wishlist” to “letting go of list”. I visualize all of these fantasies I had of buying the “perfect” anything, and letting them go into the breeze. It’s both frustrating and freeing.
Letting go isn’t easy. But if we do, our finances can become so much healthier.
Happiness & Letting Go
A lot of times, I’ll get frustrated with my kids. Or Eva. I’ll find my chest tightening up, and have a very strong urge to tell them what to do. To control them. To make them act as I think they should act. Other people can be so frustrating!
But honestly, the problem isn’t with them. They’re all beautiful human beings, and my attachment to how they should act is getting in the way of me seeing that.
I’m missing out on their gorgeousness because I want them to be the way I think they should be. Instead of just seeing how awesome they already are!
So I have to let go of my shoulds. I have to let go of the source of my frustration, which is my ideals.
Instead, I can let go and open up to who they already are, and savor the deliciousness of that.
Weight Loss & Letting Go
I have a bit of a belly. Yes, I know, I’m a horrible person. The world should shame me for having 20% bodyfat!
But seriously, I decided I need to tighten up my diet a bit, because I’ve gotten into the habit of eating a bit too much every meal, and over the long term, that leads to a chunkier Leo. Still lovable, still wonderful, still sexy … but not good for my health.
So I’ve set myself a plan: a green protein smoothie for breakfast, and a set meal for lunch and dinner (half a sweet potato, lentils, edamame, hummus, leafy greens, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, some sriracha sauce drizzled on top, some pickled daikon radish, yum!). No sweets or flour. Only eat between 11:30am and 5:30 pm (I haven’t implemented this last part yet).
Anyway, it’s a simple plan, and it will absolutely work. Until my wife bakes vegan chocolate chip cookies, or the kids have vegan pizza. My two greatest nemeses.
It’s hard dealing with the urge to eat these delicious comfort foods. I have to see the urge, and let go.
Loosen my grip on these tastes, and let them blow into the wind.
Letting go, I open myself up to enjoy the yumminess of the food I already planned to have. Weight loss is that simple, if you practice letting go.
Getting Good at Letting Go
So it’s all easy and breezy, right? Not so fast. Letting go is the ultimate hack, but in truth, it’s hard as hell.
We don’t want to let go. You might already have had that reaction to some of the things I’ve written: “But I like my (insert the thing you’re attached to here)! Why should I let go of it?”
Because of your attachment.
If you get in the habit of letting yourself hold on to all your attachments, you’re going to develop many difficulties in life. Maybe you already are dealing with those difficulties. Practicing letting go is a way to greater happiness, health and focus.
So practice. In small doses, try noticing your attachment, and letting go of it, just for a few minutes.
Try letting go of your distractions and need to be updated for one hour. See what that’s like.
Try letting go of your electronics for two hours. What can you open up to instead?
Try letting go of your usual comforts, for one day. What deliciousness can you experience instead?
Try letting go of the things you want to buy, for one week (no buying anything but necessities like soap and toilet paper). What is that like?
Practice letting go, just for a little bit. Every day.

This daily practice is how you master it. And that’s mastering life.
- Leo Babauta
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