5 ingredient ‘Nutella’ fudge cake from My Clean Treats

Ingredients

150g coconut oil
3/4 cup cacao powder
6 eggs
1 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup hazelnut meal

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a circular baking pan with baking paper.
  2. Place coconut oil and cacao in a saucepan and stir until combined and melted.
  3. In an electric mixer, combine eggs and rice malt syrup.
  4. Add hazelnut meal and the chocolate mix to eggs and rice malt syrup and fold lightly until combined.
  5. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool, dust some cacao powder over the top and enjoy!

 

About My Clean Treats

Jess Lirosi is the creator of healthy dessert blog My Clean Treats. Featuring simple, guilt-free recipes, from chocolate cacao cake to traditional white chocolate and raspberry jelly slice, Jess’ desserts are made with no refined sugars or plain flours as she makes natural alternatives to her favourite treats.

You can find more of Jess’ clean treats at mycleantreats.com or follow her on Instagram @jess_mycleantreats, like My Clean Treats on Facebook or Twitter @jeslirosi for more healthy sweets.

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How to beat the Christmas binge

Christmas is just around the corner, and as we know this means the opportunity to gorge on delicious foods! This is the time of year to spend with family and friends and it is completely okay to treat yourselves. However, we may end up feeling a little sluggish and unmotivated after a multitude of family lunches and dinners. Overeating may knock our confidence and leave us feeling frustrated but this doesn’t have to be the case. I am going to share a few tips and tricks to help you bounce back to a healthy routine.

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Pre- Christmas:

1. Stay hydrated – It is important to keep drinking water on a hot summer’s day. Often if we are dehydrated our body mistakes this for hunger. In a study of 24 overweight adults it was found that when 500ml of water was drank before eating, the energy they consumed was significantly lower than those who had no water before eating a meal.

2. Load up on the veges and meat – Sweet and sugary snacks won’t fill you up for long so make sure you have a good meal that includes veges and meat, then enjoy your treats. Including lots of veges in your meals will give you the range of nutrients your body needs to feel great. Vegetables are also high in fiber which promotes feelings of fullness. A good source of protein will also help satiation.

3. Enjoy Your Food – Tip number one is to not worry about overeating. Christmas is a time of joy and family and it is completely fine to have some yummy treats. Worrying about what you can eat or can’t eat can lead to a toxic relationship with food.

Post-Christmas:

4. Don’t skip meals – It may be tempting to skip breakfast or lunch the day after, but this will only make us hungrier and put our metabolism out of whack. It is best to start with a filling but healthy breakfast. Including a source of healthy fats such as avocado or eggs will keep you fuller for longer throughout the day. Of course, listen to your body and go about your normal day – if you’re hungry eat, if you’re not hungry then don’t.

Breakfast Ideas:
– Wholegrain toast, nut butter, and chia seeds
– Omelette loaded with veges
– Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

5. Go for a Walk – Walking is a great way to stay active and get things moving after a big meal. You may not feel like getting straight back into an intense workout so a light walk can do the trick to keep your body moving.

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your time with friends and family and see you all in the New Year.

Hannah 😊

Protein Powder – Should i take it?

Hi Ladies! Today we’re looking into Protein Powder. A common question we get at the gym is if protein powder is recommended, and does it make us “bulky?”.

Use of Protein Powder

The purpose of Protein Powder is for people, whether athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, or just your average joe, to up their protein intake in the easy form of a powder. Protein Powder exists because of pure convenience, because you may not always be in the position to roast a chicken, pan fry some steak, or boil up some beans. Protein Powder is often lower in calories than a “standard” source of protein. It is recommended that you eat 1-1.5g of protein per kg of your bodyweight, and while most people think they get enough, they may not.

Some examples of this (using calories just as a comparison for how much protein you get for the number of calories you consume) are as follows:

  • Boiled Egg: 6g of protein (140 calories)
  • A Tank Lemon & Herb Chicken salad (My favourite!): 24g of protein (222 calories)
  • A thin slice of shaved ham: 2.9g of protein (30 calories)
  • 2 Roasted Garlic Bean Supreme Vegetarian Sausages: 8.4g of protein (153 calories)
  • ½ cup of Lentils: 9g of protein (200 calories)
  • A tin of Watties baked beans: 10.8g of protein (220 calories)
  • 1 glass of milk: 3.4g of protein (130 calories)
  • 10 almonds: 2.5g of protein (149 calories)
  • Milo “Protein Clusters” Cereal: 5.5g protein (191 calories for one 45g serving)
  • 2 scoops of Horley’s 100% Whey Vanilla protein powder: 18.6g of protein (and only 98 calories! This is the protein powder I have used in the past, it tastes great in my opinion, the vanilla one with half a banana and lots of ice tastes just like a good old banana milkshake/smoothie with vanilla icecream!)

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Why protein is important in our diet.

Protein IS NOT just about building muscle and only needed by body builders. Protein is one of the three macro nutrients (the other two being fats and carbohydrates), which means your body needs it in a relatively large amount, and is obviously vital to the body. This is because your body uses protein to repair and build tissues. Protein is also a building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair, and nails! Fats and Carbohydrates are stored in your body, but Protein is not, which means it needs a fresh supply every single day, and it’s up to you to provide your body with this supply. Even if you don’t exercise, your body still needs protein to regenerate and repair different cells in your body.

Will I get “bulky” from eating more protein?

If you are eating 1 to 1.5g per kg of your bodyweight, you will not gain muscle, as this is the recommendation to keep your body happy and healthy.  Remember that females do not have the same amount of testosterone as males to get that “bulk”.

 

When should you use protein powder?

Whenever you want! Protein shake for breakfast, or morning tea, or afternoon tea, or for dessert! That’s the great thing about protein powder, its quick, easy, and versatile! You can have it alone with water, make it a smoothie by adding some berries or half of a banana, or you can even put it in some yoghurt and make a thick mousse!

 

At the end of the day you don’t NEED protein powder. There are many foods high in protein that would let you reach your goal easily! However, Protein powder is usually lower in calories, super tasty (if you find the right one!), and convenient! If you think you need to up your protein intake and want the convenience, definitely give protein powder a try! Some health food stores sell single sachets of a variety of protein powders, and we have single sample sachets of Horleys, Sculpt for sale at the gym!

Lauren  😊

Weight loss – Weights or Cardio?

The biggest question when beginning your weight loss journey is ‘what style of exercise should I do, cardio or weights?’ The answer to that question is not so simple. If you want to optimize weight loss you should incorporate a combination of both cardio and weights into your exercise routine. And here is why:

Let’s start with weight training (resistance). Weight training is often overlooked when it comes to weight loss as a lot of women don’t want to become “bulky” and believe they need to spend hours running on a treadmill to shred the kilos off. However, weight training has got amazing weight loss benefits which include burning fat when you’re not even exercising!!

  • Weight training builds lean muscle mass when done regularly. And before you worry about becoming “too bulky”, women do not have high enough testosterone levels to bulk up from regular weight sessions unless specifically training to do so. By increasing your lean muscle mass, you are basically creating a calorie-burning powerhouse. Muscles require energy from the carbohydrates and fat stored in your body in order to carry out muscle contractions. More lean muscle mass means more energy is required to contract the muscles so if you have a higher muscle mass your body will be burning more energy throughout the day without you doing anything extra.
  • Weight training helps to give shape to your body. Not only will it help with the weight loss but it will also help to give definition to your figure. Often when you lose a noticeable amount of weight from cardio you have lost both fat and muscle mass. However, when you build muscle mass through weight training you are adding muscle mass and losing fat so your body figure will have more natural feminine curves. This can often be seen as more of a significant body transformation.
  • Weight training also is what helps to develop your strength which is extremely important as we get older as well as carrying out daily activities.

We’ve all heard about cardio and how beneficial it can be at getting rid of the winter warming layer around our waists but do we really know why? Cardio can be many things such as a long walk, run, cycling, HIIT session, swimming… the list goes on! Cardio can be done many ways and certainly contributes to overall weight loss.

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  • When doing a cardio style workout, you are burning a lot more calories during that exercise session than you would in a resistance session. However, the calories are only really burnt throughout the session not afterwards like weight training. This means for optimal weight loss through cardio you want to opt for long duration sessions such as a long walk or a low intensity long distance run/cycle/row etc. When beginning your weight loss journey starting off with long walks or light jogs can be great at shedding the first few kilos before beginning a more intense program of weights and cardio.
  • Cardio is great for the health of your heart. When you exercise for long duration you help to improve your overall heart endurance which will in turn increase your stroke volume which is the amount of blood pumped by your heart with each contraction and decrease your heart rate which means your heart does not need to work as hard. This help to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and lower blood pressure.
  • Cardio is the cheapest form of exercise and the exercise you can do pretty much anywhere with no equipment. If you can’t afford to get to a gym or you’re away from the gym and want to get some exercise in, going for a walk or run is the easiest thing to do which will help contribute to your weight loss.

Both cardio and weight training have their pros and cons but when it comes down to it incorporating a bit of both in your regular exercise routine will only benefit you along your weight loss journey. Mixing up your workouts and challenging your body with different styles of exercises like high intensity cardio or heavy muscle fatiguing weights are what will help with overall health benefits which can be even more important than weight loss. My biggest piece of advice would be keeping your body on its toes! Your body will begin to adapt to a regular exercise routine which can lead to a plateau in results unless you’re mixing it up regularly.

Enjoy your exercise routines!

Sam

Sleep Yourself Fit?

Hi Ladies, Hannah here!

We are regularly told to get 8 hours of sleep per night. However, in today’s modern world with our busy lifestyles it is often difficult to achieve this. It may seem like we can get away unscathed on minimal hours rest.  However, sleep deficiency has been linked to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, and depression. Research also shows that getting enough quality sleep is vital for our physical health, mental health, and quality of life. There are hundreds of benefits of sleep, but let’s talk specifically about how getting enough sleep can help you on your fitness journey.

Enhance Muscle Gain and Athletic Performance

  • Have you ever wondered why newborns sleep so much? It’s because they are taking advantage of the benefits of growth hormone which is released during sleep. Growth hormone allows our body to repair any minor tears in our muscles and build up our tissues resulting in muscle growth.
  • The brain also recharges while we sleep. Sleep is therefore the key to having a good workout as a rested and recharged brain is more motivated and focused.
  • A study by Stanford University found that basketball players that increased their sleep by at least an hour each night had faster sprint times, improved shooting accuracy, and reported to have more stamina.

Good Sleep to Reduce Weight Gain

  • Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals tend to eat more. This is because poor sleep can disrupt the proper secretion of appetite hormones. This may cause higher levels of ghrelin (appetite stimulating hormone) and lower levels of leptin (appetite suppressing hormone) which may result in eating more.
  • Sleep deprivation also dulls the activity in the brains frontal lobe – the part responsible for decision-making and self-control. It makes sense, being sleep-deprived and running low on energy makes it harder to say no to that sugary snack!

Tips for better sleep

  1. A relaxing bedtime routine 60-90 minutes before bed is a must! Try dimming lights, turning off the electronics, stretching, meditation, or taking a hot shower or Epsom salt bath.
  2. Stop consuming caffeine by the early afternoon.
  3. Going to sleep at a consistent time each night has shown to increase sleep quality.
  4. Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. Exercise can contribute to a more sound and restful sleep, and whilst we sleep the body is repaired which can enhance physical performance.
  5. Magnesium – This mineral has hundreds of roles in the human body including our sleep! Insomnia is also a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Try including magnesium rich foods in your diet like dark leafy greens; nuts and seeds; dairy products; whole grains; meat; and all vegetables.

 

Hannah 😊

What do you mean by toning?

Hi Ladies!

Sarah here. The most common goals I hear in the gym, are the notorious three: 1. Lose weight 2. Tone up 3. Get fit. These are great goals but I always find it interesting that we always use the word, “tone”. What is this tone we all want to achieve?

We often think of toning as doing lots a lots of repetitions with a small 2kg pink dumbell and only eating salads. Let’s get rid of that rubish right now. Toning is actually two things. Increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. Nutritionally these are actually two conflicting goals. To increase muscle mass we need to eat in a calorie surplus (more than you are expending) and to reduce body fat you need to be in a calorie deficit (eating slightly less than you burn each day).

You can focus on one of these goals at a time or do both together, it is really up to you. To build muscle you need to make sure that you are resistance training and challenging your muscles. Ladies, don’t be scared to lift heavy! If you do not challenge and stress the muscle it won’t change. Remember that the more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate is (resting metabolism).

Now you need to make sure you are trying to shed that layer of fat that is covering your muscles. Ultimately you need to be eating slightly less than the energy you are expending each day but there are things that you can do to also help:

1. Adding some cardio to your routine.

2. Keeping your heart rate up during  your workout to burn more calories (think HIIT, circuits, supersets etc).

3. Doing ‘bigger’ multi-joint exercises (Burpees 👌, squats, deadlifts, lunges etc).

4. Keeping your rest periods short to keep your heart rate elevated.

5. Moving for at least 20 minutes a day.

Just remember if you have built muscle but not shed the fat on top, your measurements will increase.

See you in the gym soon!

Sarah 😊

Which diet is best for me?

Hello Ladies!

Common questions that we get asked are often about what particular diet you should be following. They are usually questions like, what do you think of this diet? Does [insert famous person here] weight loss plan work? Should i cut carbs from my diet? Or what diet should I be on?

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At the end of the day you can lose on pretty much any diet, as they have one common goal. To reduce calories. By reducing calories you go into a calorie deficit and use fat stores for energy.  I strongly believe the best diet is one that works for YOU, by being sustainable. You need to be able to stick to it. There is no point forcing yourself to stick to a Paleo diet if you love carbs and no reason you should jump on the keto wave, if you can’t tolerate that much fat in your diet.

In saying that  your old diet of coffee and toast is obviously not going to ideal for your body to function and perform optimally. Try to think about food as a fuel source that can energise and heal the body.

Key things to remember:

Love your fruit & veg! (5+ a day).

Try to eat 1g – 1.5g x your body weight in protein daily.

Low GI “good carbs” will keep you more full.

Everything in moderation.

A balance meal is Carbs, protein, fats (include fruit and vegetables as good carbs).

Don’t drink your calories! (Fizzy drink, juices and energy drinks are big causes of weight gain).

If you are missing something from your diet, then you should look at supplementing .

Sarah 😊

Are carbs good or bad?

The short answer = they’re both

Carbs (carbohydrates) are everywhere not just in ‘evil’ bread, rice or pasta but they are also found in most things including nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit, dairy, lollies and soft drinks.

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. They provide us with fuel in the form of glucose, which is used by the body and brain for energy.  The body can produce and use Ketones when glucose is not available (Keto diets) and are made from fat stores and certain proteins.  However, very high levels of ketones can make blood acidic and lead to serious illness.  It is also important to know, that when glucose is inadequate the body also creates glucose from certain proteins leading to a breakdown of muscle.

There are two types of carbs: Complex (good) or Simple (Bad)

Complex (good, low GI) carbs require our bodies to work harder to digest and the energy produced is released over a longer time.  They are high in fiber and nutrients, are a low glycemic index food, help you feel full with fewer calories and naturally stimulates metabolism.

Good Carbs: Vegetables, Whole fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, Legumes and Root vegetables.

Simple (bad, high GI) carbs are digested quickly into our body.  Energy stored as glycogen and if it’s not used immediately gets converted to fat.  Bad carbs are generally ‘processed’ food.  They’re low in fiber and nutrients, have a high GI, are empty calories converted to fat, high blood glucose levels = feel tired.

Bad Carbs: Sugary drinks, Fruit juices, white bread & white rice, regular pasta, cakes & cookies and other sweet treats, deep fried food and potato chips.

Overall it is best to consume more complex , slower burning carbs in our diets. These are not only better in terms of nutrients but will also keep you fuller for longer and prevent overeating. Cutting down on simple carbs is recommended as they spike blood sugar levels, which does not sustain our hunger and energy levels for very long. Remember that life is about balance, as long as you are good 80% of the time, you can enjoy the odd treat now and again.

Melinda x

Carbs

 

Hello. Is it TEA you’re looking for?

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Hi ladies, Sarah here. Who doesn’t like tea?! (your weird 😉 ) Black tea, green tea, white, oolong, ice and herbal teas… so many options and flavours these days. If you did not know, I am English (a little in denial) and I feel like drinking tea is in my blood. There are many health benefits of drinking tea that you may not about and also some side affects you should know.

Black tea or green tea?

Black tea and green tea actually come from the same plant. Green tea is less processed and that’s why it is green. Black tea on the other hand gets its colour from oxidisation of the leaves. Oxidisation drastically changes the colour and flavor of tea, but thankfully not much of the benefits. All tea leaves contain flavonoids which are naturally occurring and have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage in your body which is thought to be the cause of many chronic diseases including cancer.

Benefits of drinking tea

There are lots of benefits of drinking tea that you may or may not know about. The list of good benefits of tea seems endless, here are just 10 reasons why you should keep sipping away.

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease and strokes.
  2. Improved bone density
  3. Helps increase memory – prevents dementia
  4. Tea is hydrating (despite the caffeine)
  5. Can help with weight loss and lower BMI – increased fat burning
  6. Lowers stress hormones – 20% less Cortisol
  7. Can lower blood pressure (be careful, too much black tea could increase your BP!)
  8. Can reduce stomach cramps
  9. Can help protect your teeth! – the property tannin helps reduce plaque build up and tooth decay.
  10. Tea may boost the immune system!

 

A good point to make is that tea has ¼ the amount of caffeine than coffee. Making it a healthier alternative as coffee can affect the nervous system and some people can be sensitive to caffeine.

One negative of drinking tea is the presence of the phenolic compounds present in tea can interfere with the absorption of iron. This is why we recommend to drink your tea 30 minutes before of after eating food. If you do want to drink tea with your meal, eating foods high in vitamin C and iron can lower the effects on iron. If you have low iron stores or anemic, it is best to avoid tea with your food.

A negative of drinking black tea, (especially for me) is the amount of milk and sugar you may add. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and must admit like to add a little too much sugar and milk to black tea which can add up the calorie content drastically. This could become an issue of drinking too many calories throughout the day, especially if you have quite a few cups of it. Green tea on the other hand, you don’t add sugar to, so can be a better alternative.

So what are you waiting for? Drink tea and be merry!

Sarah x

 

 

Whey Protein or Vegan protein?

A question we get asked a lot, is about the different types of protein powder there is. Which is best for me? Whey or vegan protein? It’s a very good question as most people assume that vegan protein must be the best and healthier option. That is not necessarily the case and what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you.

 

What is whey and vegan protein?

Whey is one of two proteins that is obtained from the production of milk and therefore is an animal-based protein.

Vegan protein is a plant-based product which can be from a variety sources. Most common ones we see are pea, rice, hemp or sunflower. Each different plant protein is unique and can offer your body different nutrients which can help with many things.

 

What are the main differences?

Firstly, Whey protein is what we consider a ‘complete’ protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. There are actually 22 amino acids which are found within the body and 9 are considered essential which must be obtained through your diet.  These essential amino acids will repair and recover your body the optimally. Whey protein is also higher in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which stimulate muscle growth and maintenance.  By having all amino acids, whey also boosts the immune system by stimulating immune function. Another good point to make is that MOST people prefer the taste of whey protein compared to vegan/vegetarian protein powders. This can be a big factor in choosing and enjoying a protein.

Whey protein is also easily digested. However, as whey protein comes from animals and the production of milk, some people may be intolerant, as it contains lactose. As you get older your body can find it harder to digest lactose and can cause gas and abdominal discomfort. For people that have sensitive stomachs, plant-based protein may be the better option.

Not all Vegan or Vegetarian protein powders are a complete protein. For example, pumpkin protein does not contain all the essential amino acids. When looking for a plant-based protein it is good to find a protein that has a mix of different plant types to achieve getting all 9 amino acids.  Quite commonly, plant-based proteins only contain one type of plant.

However, plant-based protein contains more nutrients than whey and can offer more than just B vitamins and calcium (which whey has). They can contain an abundance of other vitamins and minerals depending on which plant protein it has come from. These can aide the body in many different ways. If you are looking for a bit more than just a protein powder, plant-based options could work well for you.

 

Which protein is best for me?

There is no right answer. There are many pros and cons of each one, the choice is up to you. If you are looking for an easily digested, good tasting, complete protein, then whey is your best option. However, if you have a sensitive stomach and are looking for a bit more than just protein than plant-based protein may be a better option for you. At the end of the day, it is trial and error. If one does not agree with your body, try a different one, it all comes down to personal preference and individual tolerance.

Remember: that your daily intake of protein is from 0.8 – 2g X your body weight in KG. Idealy,  1 – 1.5g  X your body weight is what I would recommend.

 

See you in the gym soon!

Sarah

 

We stock Horleys Sculpt at the gym, which is a womens specific protein powder. It is whey protein which they have added extra nutrients and fat burning properties too (winning!). One scoop of sculpt is 18g protein.  Great taste and great price. 🙂

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