A Girl's Guide To Being A Strong Chick

Be Athletic, Be Well-Nourished, Be Confident


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Clean Lean Iceblocks

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My girls enjoying an Iceblock for afternoon tea after  their swimming lessons.

Something I find really frustrating is when my kids hang around the pantry/fridge asking for food ALL afternoon long. To attempt to combat this behaviour I’m trying to give them more balanced meals (including snacks). By balanced, I mean meals that contain protein, fat and fruit/vegetables.

The fat and fruit/vegetable part seems to be relatively easy but the protein is a little trickier, especially for afternoon tea. Now, I don’t usually feel comfortable giving protein supplements to my children since the majority of them contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce!  However, Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein is made from 100% vegetable protein which means I’m pretty happy to give my wee ones an occasional serving to keep their afternoon munchies at bay.

Nutritionist and Nuzest founder Cliff Harvey suggests that children up to the age of 9 years have half a scoop per serving, which is on the low side for a child’s daily requirements. This recipe has an even lower serving size, meaning my girls will have plenty of room to get most of their nutrition from meat, veggies and natural fats.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 a can of coconut cream
  • 1 big banana
  • 1 big scoop of Nuzest Clean Lean Protein (chocolate flavour OR vanilla + 1 tsp of cocoa)

Method

Whizz up all the ingredients in a blender and pour into Iceblock moulds.

Will make approx 4-6 iceblocks depending on the size of your iceblock moulds. You can double the quantities if you desire.


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Chicken, Bacon and Roast Kumara Salad

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Salads are often regarded as side dishes, or a ‘light’ meal that usually fails to satisfy your hunger. But this one is a whole meal with loads of veggies, healthy carbs and fats too. There’s also every colour of the rainbow in there, so it’s gotta be good for ya!

Ingredients:

  • Approx 500g Chicken Thighs, diced
  • Small Packet of streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium-sized kumara
  • Coconut Oil
  • A bag of salad leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • A Yellow Capsicum
  • A few radishes
  • 2 Avocados
  • Handful of Pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of Sunflower seeds

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Dice the kumara, place it on the baking tray and cover with a couple of big blobs of coconut oil.
  3. Place the kumara in the oven and as the coconut oil melts, toss it with some tongs, so that the coconut oil distributes evenly. Cook for approx 30 mins or until it looks golden and slightly crunchy.
  4. While the kumara is roasting heat a big frying pan and add the chopped bacon. As the fat is released from the bacon into the pan, add the diced chicken. Cook for approx 20 mins or until it looks and smells so delicious that you can’t stop eating it straight out of the pan!
  5. Once the kumara and chicken/bacon is cooked. Leave it to cool down until it’s slightly warm.
  6. Prepare the salad vegetables and place them in your biggest salad bowl you can find (this is a BIG salad)
  7. When the cooked ingredients have cooled down enough, place them on top of the vegetables. There will be some bacon fat remaining at the bottom of your frying pan, so add this in too since it add lots of flavour.
  8. Give the salad a good toss and top with the pumpkin/sunflower seeds!
  9. Enjoy a yummy balanced meal full of protein, veggies and natural fats. If there are any leftovers, they will make the perfect packed lunch for the next day too.


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Forget Perfect….Strive for Awesome!

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Photo courtesy of Joe McPhee Photography

All throughout January I’ve had a little thought in the back of my head that grew louder as the month went on. It was reminding me that I “must write. I must write. I must write”.

But you know what, I had other stuff to do. Fun summer stuff that I can only do during the month of January…. like swimming with my girls each afternoon and watching their confidence in the water grow, sleeping in and enjoying breakfast with my family and having more mental and physical  energy to put into my CrossFit training, which resulted in 7 P.R lifts this month! a record in itself.

After awhile I got a bit fed up with this thought of “you must write. you must write. you must write.” so I replaced it with “Nah, I’m too busy doing other awesome stuff!”

It made me realise there are areas in our lives, particularly when it comes to health and fitness, where we can easily trade-in awesomeness for being perfect…..

Awesome = Diligence with your nutrition 6 days a week, then enjoying dinner with friends on the weekend.

Perfect = Not enjoying that dinner because you’re stressing about what’s in the ingredients.

Awesome =  Planning 4 hard training sessions for the week ahead, but stopping at 3 because your muscles are sore and aching.

Perfect = Sticking to the 4th session regardless and pushing yourself further into an unproductive state fatigue.

Awesome = Being stoked you lifted 30kg for the first time!

Perfect= Feeling bad because everyone else at the gym lifted more.

Awesome= Knowing that being healthy and fit means feeling awesome on the inside!

Perfect= Religiously sticking to anything that doesn’t make you feel awesome on the inside.

So, here’s to an Awesome 2014!


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The Nine Versions of Paleo

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The beautiful thing about the Paleo Diet is that you can create a version to suit YOUR lifestyle, budget, values and goals.

Some versions may work  brilliantly for one person, but simply won’t work for YOU.

Maybe they are too restrictive, expensive, or demanding on your time? Which ultimately makes eating like a caveman an unsustainable chore.

Since it can get a little confusing, here are 9 versions of the diet that I’ve seen work successfully in real life. You may find yourself fitting nicely into one of these categories, or perhaps you’re a combination of a few?

The Virgin

You’ve read about the Paleo diet, or perhaps witnessed a friends fantastic results. So, you decide to give it a crack for 30 days to find out what all this fuss is about!

It begins with one golden rule – No Grains. You fill the void with lots of veggies, meat, healthy fats, fruit  and perhaps some Paleo-style baking.  You avoid being too restrictive….cause you know that won’t last! so you give yourself the freedom to have a couple of treats per week.

The Happy Camper

You’ve spent a month transitioning to a grain-free diet therefore no longer crave sugar, are thinking clearly and have energy that steadily lasts all day long. You’re in a pretty happy place and want to feel like this forever and ever and ever….

So, you keep doing what you are doing.

To avoid getting bored and complacent you experiment with new recipes and try some different concoctions like bulletproof coffee or smoothies with protein powder.

While transitioning to a Paleo diet you learnt that being organised with your food is a big key to staying consistent. Therefore, you make a plan for grocery shopping and cooking, know exactly which cafes near your office offer a healthy lunch and perhaps order some pre-made meals from Fit Me In or FeedMe if necessary. You still enjoy a treat or two on the weekend but it’s by no means the highlight of your week.

You’ve got it sussed.

The Fat Killer 

You’ve eaten grain free for at least a month, lost weight and feel fantastic!! but, you’re not quite as lean as you want to be yet. So you try one (or more) of the following….

1. Eliminate dairy (except for small amounts of full fat greek yoghurt, cheese, butter/ghee and cream)

2. Eliminate sugar, watch out for it in hidden places!

3. Save Paleo versions of grain based food (Paleo muffins, Paleo bread etc…) for treats only. No eating these everyday!

4. Limit treat to 1 per week.

5. Have no more than 2 coffees per day and before lunchtime. This helps with number 6….

6. Get 8 hours of quality sleep.

7. Train at a high intensity a minimum of 3x per week.

The By-Defaulter.

Grains and/or dairy make you unwell because you have an allergy or intolerance to them. This means you spend a small fortune or gluten-free bread and soy products.

So, you find yourself eating a Paleo diet as a way to keep things a little simpler and a little cleaner by avoiding the not-so-natural ingredients found in processed ‘gluten-free’ and soy products.

The Out and Abouter

You lead a busy life filled with both business and social occasions. This means you have become a maestro at ordering Paleo combinations from the menu and aren’t afraid to be specific about what you want to eat. It may sound like “3 breakfast sides – 1 of eggs, 1 of bacon, 1 of spinach and 1 of avocado” or a Thai stir fry “minus the rice but with extra veggies”.

You aren’t a big drinker, but attend many functions where drinking is socially expected of you. So you choose to sip slowly at a glass of red wine, or if your feeling especially healthy some sparkling mineral water.

The Greenie

Paleo appeals to you because it’s based on a natural way of eating. Also, it doesn’t support the food industry’s impact on the environment with fuel, agriculture and packaging.

It’s important to you to eat organic meat, free-range eggs and seasonal produce and are prepared to spend more to do so. You love spending your Sunday morning strolling around the local Farmers market or tending to your vegetable garden and find these activities an important part of your lifestyle and your relationship with food.

The Vegetarian/Vegan

Your beliefs mean you don’t eat meat so you base your diet on lots of vegetables and good quality fats.

You get your protein from fish, eggs or good quality vegetable based protein powder such as Clean Lean Protein and choose to eat minimal beans and legumes.

The Family 

You run a busy household, have a mortgage to pay and kids lunch boxes to pack each morning. Your family’s diet needs to be simple, affordable and the kids have to like it too!

Your shopping trolley is filled with lots of fruit and veggies, whatever meat is on special at Pak’n’Save this week, butter, eggs, coffee and some dark chocolate too.

Your kids eat nutritious Paleo-ish meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but you want to teach them to have a balanced view of food. This means you still have room in your family life for normal, everyday activities such as baking (and licking the bowl!) or spending their pocket-money at the dairy.

The Athlete

You’re a competitive athlete who trains hard, fast and multiple times per day. You need to fuel not only your health, but a training schedule too and may need some specific advice and supplements to do so.

You choose to work with a nutritionist who understands the Paleo diet and bases your nutrition plan on its concepts. But, at the same time can tailor it to your specific performance goals, whether it’s getting lean, strong, muscle gain, fitting into a sports specific weight category or preparing for game day.


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Energy, Our Most Valuable Resource.

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The more I think about it, the more I realise that time is not our most valuable commodity.

Energy is.

Energy paired with the freedom to choose what we spend that energy on. Whether its athletic pursuits, creative projects, loving others or intellectual discoveries.

I believe that we all have plenty of energy in our bodies to live life to the fullest. However, living in fast paced 2013 can drain the energy out of our bodies if we aren’t careful, leaving only the leftovers of our energy to spend on the stuff we truly love.

Here’s some ideas on how to save your precious energy, so you can spend more on the fun stuff!

Eat Foods that Nourish your Body

Grains, sugar, artificial ingredients, alcohol and excessive caffeine all require our poor body to work HARD to process them. Eliminating these foods and replacing them with natural unprocessed foods like vegetables, meat, nuts, seeds, fruit and lots of healthy fats mean our bodies no longer slave away processing and eliminating poor quality food, which in turn saves our energy.

Use Exercise to Boost your Energy Levels

Leaving the gym feeling energised and ready to take on the world requires HARD training! But, there’s a catch to training HARD…….. we can’t sustain it for very long.

Feeling exhausted several hours after a workout is a sign we went hard for too long. This is okay occasionally, but continuing to train this way day in and day out will cause energy levels to spiral downwards.

Sleep
I’m sure you’ve all experienced what happens when we don’t get enough sleep! We need 7+ hours each night, and this needs to be quality sleep too. Check out this article for more ideas on how to sleep deeper.


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Easy Flourless Pancakes

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I like to keep things simple.

So when I saw this simple little pancake recipe from my colleague, Meagan Kerr at nzgirl, I thought I would give it a try. I already had the 2 ingredients in my kitchen (no traipsing through health food stores finding obscure ingredients) and a couple of eager preschoolers wanting to help me in the kitchen.

I was a little skeptical at first, since the recipe was virtually just banana and egg. But they turned out to be a hit!

Ingredients

1: ripe banana
2: eggs

Method
1: Mash the banana, add eggs and beat well.

2: Warm your frying pan to a low-medium heat and add coconut oil.

3: Add some batter to the pan. Keep your pancakes quite small – this will make them easier to flip.

4: After about 40 seconds (or as the pancake indicates), flip and cook the other side.

5: Serve with your choice of topping. Ideas include bacon, maple syrup, berries, whipped cream or a combination of these!

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