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Why Eat a High Protein Diet!

By Nutrition

Everyone knows they need a high protein diet to get a banging body, but no one seems to understand why?

Protein is one of the most important macro nutrient for a person trying to maintain muscle while reducing body fat, or for a person trying to gain muscle.

It is also the macro nutrient which most people don’t eat enough of!

Here are some reasons why you should eat more protein:

Reduce Body Fat

Research has proven that consuming a high protein diet will reduce body fat significantly more than when eating a high carb diet. This is because carbs cause a insulin response which puts your body in fat storage mode. Increasing protein intake will increase lean body mass which in turn increases your metabolism. This means your body will burn more calories!! Yay for protein

Better Skin, Hair and Nails

Protein responsible for growth and repair. Not only for your muscles but for all the cells in the body. Your body is constantly replacing old cells using the protein you eat as building blocks. Protein is essential for healthy hair, nails and skin. If the body doesn’t get enough protein it won’t be able to replenish the cells leaving you with flabby legs, weak hair and a wrinkly face. gross…

Better Immune System

Protein helps to create antibodies which are responsible for getting rid of bad bacteria and viruses which enter the body. Having a enough protein in your diet ensures you make plenty of antibodies to fight off disease and infection.

Solid Muscle Tone

Protein is muscle sparing meaning it will help you maintain your muscle while you try to loose weight. This will prevent you from becoming a fat/skinny… (you know when your skinny but flabby with no muscle). Having a high protein diet will ensure your muscles recover from your training sessions, building you a beautiful toned bod!

Keep You Fuller For Longer

There is nothing worse, when trying to loose weight, than being hungry ALL the time. Research has proven that eating a high protein meal will keep you fuller for longer than having a high carbohydrate or fat meal! This means less hunger pains and more weight loss!

‘How Much?’ You Say

As a general rule, a good starting point is 1g per lb of body weight. Everyone is different so it will completly change from person to person

You can get more protein in your diet from meat, fish, eggs, and diary products like cottage cheese. Nuts and nut butters have protein in them, but to get enough protein you would end up consuming way too much fat! How ever much I would like to sit and eat tubs of cashew butter, it won’t get you a lean bod 🙁

Coconut Protein Pancakes

By Nutrition

When I was real young, me and my family went on a holiday to Marius. I don’t really remember that much about the trip. On our first day, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) managed to swim out of depth in the resort pool. My poor mum had to dive in, fully clothed to rescue her. A few days later we went to play (maybe not play) with the giant tortois which were on the beach. While feeding the a tortois coconut, Hannah managed to stick her finger in its mouth, clearly the tortuous didn’t know the difference between finger and coconut and munched down on poor Han’s hand. I have never heard a scream quite so loud in my life.

Despite Hannah’s traumatic experience with coconut. She is now a coconut lover, and managed to create this fantastic coconut protein pancake recipe which I am absolutely obsessed with!

LOVE YOU HAN!

Coconut is a definite ‘superfood‘.. The word superfood is kind of thrown around with no meaning now. But if your going to have any superfoods in your life. Make it coconut

Coconut oil is a saturated fat. It is made of medium chain fatty acids, which are digested and go straight to the liver to be used as energy

Eating medium chain fatty acids can help increase the metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories throughout the day, resulting in weight loss!

People who have coconut oil in their diet, have been said to have a smaller appetite. This could be due to the fact that it is an awesome supply of fuel for the body which reduces hunger.

Coconut oil is high in good cholesterol (HDL), which helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. This means means a healthier heart and reduced chance of heart disease.

Coconut oil can help fight obesity. The fat which builds up around the belly is the worst kind of fat. It clogs the organs and significantly increases chances of ill health and disease. A number of studies have been done to prove adding coconut oil to the diet can help to reduce fat which builds up around the abdomen. 1 2

So Its the weekend. Make these amazing pancakes and feel brilliant while you melt away that belly fat!

Coconut Protein Pancakes

Pancake Ingredients:

30g coconut flour

25g vanilla whey protein powder (I use sweetened with stevia, natural)

1/4tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp baking powder

50g coconut yogurt (can sub with greek yogurt)

2x egg whites

50ml coconut milk (can sub with water)

(1 tbsp stevia optional)

ghee or coconut oil for the pan 🙂

Topping Ingredients:

25g vanilla whey protein powder (I use sweetened with stevia, natural)

50g coconut yogurt

10g desiccated coconut

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine all pancake ingredients other than the coconut milk. Mix until combined and slowly add the coconut milk until a REALLY thick paste (you might not need all of it). Heat a good quality, non stick pan on the hob and add a little coconut oil or ghee for frying the pancakes. Turn the heat to super low. Using a 1/4 cup size scoop, add the pancake mix to the pan in small blobs (yes they should be really thick little blobs). Allow the pancakes to cook on for a few minutes checking regularly so they don’t burn. Flip the pancakes and cook for a few minutes on the other side.

For the topping mix the protein and the yogurt together and pour over the pancakes. Top with the desiccated coconut and enjoy

Notes:

I LOVE cashew butter so also added melted cashew butter here which was AMAZING!

Carrot Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal

By Nutrition

When In India I was introduced to Ghee. I swear ghee is like the cure to every problem in life in India. Its like super-food butter. I was a lover of butter when I was younger, although we all know that spreading big chucks of the dairy goodness on your toast is not the key to optimum health! Ghee is clarified butter which has been heated to remove the dairy. This removes the lactose and casein meaning people who are usually suffer with negative effects from dairy, can eat ghee!

Ghee is a pure fat made up of medium chain fatty acids. These are absorbed directly to the liver to be burnt as energy instead of going into the adipose tissue to be stored! It contains significant levels of antioxidants, vitamin A E and D which reduce free radicals in the body and boost the immune system.

Ghee is rich in Butyric acid and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which together are essential for a healthy digestion system, and also help improve the immune system. They increase the metabolism supporting fat loss goals, and are said to enhance muscle growth! Ghee also contains Omega 3 helps reduce the bad cholesterol level in the body.

Basically eat GHEE..

It can be added to foods where butter or other oils would be used. In cooking or on bread. Even as a salad dressing. Here is a recipe which is a super yummy way to add ghee into your diet

 Carrot Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal

Ingredients:

Serves 1

  • 1 cup water
  • 100g grated carrot
  • 50g oats
  • 1tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ginger
  • 1tsp stevia
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 scoop natural vanilla whey (I use My Protein)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 tsp xantham gum (optional, makes the egg whites thicker)

Toppings:

  • Bee Pollen
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Cashew Butter
  • Walnuts
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Desiccated Coconut

Directions:

Add the 1 cup of water and the grated carrot to a saucepan and heat until the carrot is soft (approx 3 minutes).. Add the oats, ghee, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and stevia and continue to heat stirring regularly. While the oatmeal thickens, in a separate bowl, mix the protein powder with 3tbsp of water so it makes a thin paste. In another separate bowl, with an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites (and the xantham gum if using) until stiff peaks form. Once the oatmeal looks nice and thick, add the protein paste mix and stir until combined. Now add the whipped egg whites to the oatmeal and stir quickly until no lumps are left. Turn off the heat and allow the oats to stand for around 2 minutes.

 Notes:

Try subbing the Carrot for other vegetables like beetroot or courgette

Peanut Butter ‘QUEST’ Bar Recipe

By Nutrition

After the Christmas and New Years antics are over,  the cold weather seems to really kick in. The Christmas decorations are pulled down and the left over alcohol stashed away.. ‘Dry January’ They all say.. It’s like the fun police came in and really fucked shit up. No more parties, no more naughty food, and defiantly no more fun…

This however, should not be the case. A new year is really time for new fun, new goals, new ambitions.. blah blah blah, sounds so cheesy but life really is what you make of it. If you allow life to become boring it will. There is this thing we all have. It’s like our safety bubble. I believe life gets fun and exciting when we push outside this safety bubble. This could be by trying new things, pushing yourself to achieve your new goals or purely doing something which scares you. If you plod along doing the same thing your whole life, guess what?… You will get bored. It’s inevitable. And what stories will you have to tell your kids…. grandkids… I wrote a super detailed post on my blog a few weeks back about goal setting for the new year. Please take a peak for some help on setting those new year’s goals, to push yourself to your limits and achieve great things!!!

In saying this, while you’re making your new goals, please take time to remember the things in life which are great. Every day I like to think of a few things I am grateful of. Today.. Right now.. I am grateful for bacon. MMMMMM bacon..  I am currently on a plane to India and just got served what looked like vomit in a bowl. To be fair, it didn’t taste…. toooo bad. But I want bacon. Today I am also grateful for my fabulous family I have who support me in everything I do. And finally I am grateful for cuddles. Because cuddles are great!!!! 😀

For many people weight loss is a goal this new year. Don’t hate the body you have now.. I hear so many people say ‘I hate my body. I will be happy when I’m slim’. Okay, your body may need some TLC and you may be a little over weight. But love your body, love the fact you have damn legs to go to the gym and train, and that you are capable of losing weight. Love that you can afford to buy healthy food to fuel your power house body, and love the game. Weight loss is just a silly game we play in life. If you live life a little less seriously you WILL be healthier and happier and you will lose weight quicker too!!

So remember to push your boundaries. Do crazy shit but don’t forget all the wonderful things you already have in life.

I am heading to Goa, India, to complete a 500hr yoga instructor course. Follow my time on Instagram @charliefrancisfitness

And for now… WHO LOVES QUEST BARS. Here is my super easy peasy protein bar recipe which is low in carbs, super high in protein, and is peanut butter flavour!! It don’t get much better than that.

Peanut Butter ‘Quest’ Bars

Ingredients:

Makes 9

3 scoops of vanilla casein

8tsp/120g(ish) vita fiber (order from musclefood.com)

12g/1tbsp PPB (powdered peanut butter)

40g 100% peanut butter

1tsp melted coconut oil

Directions:

Firstly, combine casein and PPB in a small blender/nutribullet. Add the peanut butter and the coconut oil and blend until combined. You should kind of have a slightly lumpy powdery consistency at this stage. Now the tricky bit. Add around half the vita fiber to the mix and blend until combined. From this point you must only add very small amounts of viter fiber at a time, blending imbetween. When the mixture reaches a stage where you can just form it into little balls that stay together. Stop adding vita fiber. Too much will cause the bars to flop into a blob after forming them into shape. Add a little PPB to your work top to act as flour and roll the stiff mixture out, as if making cookies. Roll to approximately 2cm thick then cut into bars. Store in a container in the fridge to help maintain the shape of the bars and try not to eat them all at once.

Notes: Try adding a tsp of peanut butter on top of one. DEVINE!!

Peace, Happy New Year.

Chocolate Beetroot Smoothie

By Nutrition

Vitamin D is seriously lacking in my system right now.. I miss the sun!! A lot of people often ask me about my supplementation with my training. When participating in intense exercise (weights or cardio).. The body is at risk of free radical damage. Antioxidants found in foods you eat will fight this free radical damage. A lot of people cannot physically pack enough superfood into their daily diets to get enough antioxidants in their systems. This is where supplements come in handy…

My Top 3

1. Spirulina

If your a veggie hater or purely need to up your intake of minerals and vitamins then spirulina is great! It will contain all the nutrients your regular multi vitamin will have along with very high iron and B-12 content (found in meats) so great for vegetarians. It also high in protein and contains essential amino acids which makes it a great addition to your diet when pregnant or when trying to increase immune system.

2. Wheatgrass powder

The powder form is great but if you can juice your own fresh thats the best!! It has twice the amount of vitamin A than carrots. Higher in vitamin C than oranges. It has all kinds of vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus…. and the list goes on. Similar to spirulina it contains all essential amino acids. It helps detox the liver and cleanse.

3. Omega-3

Unless your eating fatty fish (salmon) every day then you need this in your life!!..Omega-3 can help improve cardiovascular health and control diseases which involve chronic inflammation such as atherosclerosis. It can help mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and depression. It improves brain function, improving intelligence and preventing memory loss. Some studies show it helps with fat loss in combination with exercise. I make sure I have 2g EPA and 1.5g DHA.. find this by looking at the back of your fish oil supplement.

 

Todays recipe is packed with superfoods and protein to aid muscle growth and increase metabolism to improve fat loss efficiency. Real easy to make and a great post workout meal!

Chocolate Beetroot Smoothie

Ingredients:

serves 1

  • 1 roasted beetroot
  • 1 scoop natural vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp xatham gum
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp stevia (to taste)
  • 200ml almond milk (more or less depending how thick you like it)
  • 5-10 ice cubes

Direction:

Put all the ingredients into a high speed blender and wizz up. Add more or less almond milk depending how thick you like it.

Note: add grated dark chocolate curls for decoration

 

Why Dieting Can Make You Fatter!

By Nutrition

Call me crazy and obsessed but here I am.. at 6am, on a Sunday, writing a blog post because this subject is playing on my mind. Not sure If its because summer is coming about, but I am seeing a lot of people begin dieting right now. A lot of those people are going about it the wrong way. This is the reason I am up writing this right now. I don’t want to see friends, family.. anyone putting them self through a crap fad diet and actually getting fatter in the long run!

So I went to watch Wolf of Wall Street with my boyfriend last week.. What a film! If you don’t like lots of sex, drugs and over the top nudity in a film. Don’t go to watch it! Now this is not a film review.. So for anyone who has seen the film… ‘Sell me this pen‘. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is not only fricking hot in this film! He is an awesome sales man. He teaches his employees to be amazing sales people by giving the buyers urgency to have it.. They do not want it.. They need it. Now what ever ‘it’ may be, companies use this strategy to sell their products. Diet companies being one. They target the over weight, vulnerable, self conscious audiences with their fad diets claiming extreme weight loss. ‘Lose 1 stone in 1 week‘ Seriously… If you lose 1 stone in one week your body is going to need help.

So before all you dieters get up in my face and tell me your diet worked. I’m not claiming diets don’t work. A lot of diets work.. In the short term. Do you want short term fat loss? I didn’t think so. This is why a lifestyle change is needed. This is a long term change which results in long term fat loss with out using these crazy diets.

Lets look at how a diet works.. Diets are a reduce in calorie intake which means your energy expenditure is higher than your intake. This causes the body to use the fat stores as a fuel resulting in fat loss. Sounds good right? Well not exactly. By reducing your calorie intake, your slowly reducing your metabolism. This means your body is becoming more efficient, getting use to running off less and less calories. ‘I want to have an efficient metabolism though right’? No. Having an efficient metabolism is bad for fat loss. We want to be able to put more in (more calories) and use less. Pretty much eat more and stay slim.

So you finish your crazy fad diet plan.. Your eating 1000 calories a day, but thats okay because you have lost 2 stone and you can go back to eating normally now… Think again!!! This is where diets suck. You go back to your normal diet of 2000 calories a day and the weight begins to pile back on. This is because your body has become efficient at using the little amount of calories you are giving it. So to maintain your weight you would have to stay eating 1000 calories a day because this is all your body needs. Now eating more than 1000 calories a day means your energy intake would be more than your expenditure causing fat storage. And because you have been depriving your body it is now a fat storing machine. A hungry monster in starvation mode ready to store every extra calorie you give it! Also being restricted from so much food on your diet, your going to go off the rails binging on donuts, chocolate and cake! This is going to cause even more fat gain.

1 month on and you have put on 2.5 stone. Your metabolism is still slow (efficient) which has caused ‘fat over shooting’. Fat over shooting is where your fat levels go passed what they were before you started your diet. This happens because you go back to eating normally and your metabolism doesn’t increase. Your unhappy and ready to start dieting again. So down the calories go… You have that goal weight in mind but this time your going to have to take the calories even lower because your metabolism is slower (more efficient). You reach your goal weight at 800 calories this time. Your body is super efficient at using the fuel your giving it with a really low metabolism. You finish the diet and boom. Hello weight gain … For most people this cycle will continue for most of their lives and they will actually get fatter and fatter over time. This is why a life style change is needed. A long term solution!

Before you break down crying saying your going to be fat forever, I am going to explain to you what you need to do. Now this is just what I have found to work and what has also worked with my clients. Here are some pointers on how to make a lifestyle change with your nutrition and how to get long term results!

  1. Make changes which are realistic and sustainable! Its all well and good going on a juicing diet for a month but your going to have to eat normally again at some point. Guess what happens when you eat normal food again.. Fat gain!!!
  2. Learn how to read nutrition labels. There are many foods out there claiming to be healthy. Low fat vanilla yogurt… Check the label and you will see the fat has been removed and replaced with a ton of sugar. Not cool!
  3. Don’t cut out whole food groups. Its all well and good saying..‘I’m never eating sugar, dairy or wheat again’. Well realistically you will so allow your self everything in moderation.
  4. Don’t think of foods as good and bad. Moving on from point number 3.. If you make these associations with certain foods as bad it can cause a unhealthy relationship with this food. This means when you do allow your self a small amount of ‘bad’ food it will often lead to a binge as you feel your cheating!
  5. Eat good fats! Fat does not make you fat so don’t cut out fats. Make sure you get unsaturated fats from sources such as salmon, avocado and nuts. These fats keep your skin hair and nails beautiful while keeping your brain functioning.
  6. Reduce sugar intake. Sugar spikes blood insulin levels which can cause fat gain. Get carbohydrates from complex carbs e.g. sweet potato, brown rice and oats.
  7. Get your protein. Protein plays a vital role in muscle growth and recovery so after you have worked your ass off in the gym your body needs protein to recover! Great sources of protein are lean meats, cottage cheese, eggs and protein powders.
  8. Minerals and vitamins. When people diet they often get deprived from certain minerals and vitamins. Because many people will cut out dairy they end up having low calcium levels. Calcium plays a vital role in bone and muscle health. You may need to supplement with a multivitamin to maintain levels in the body. Keeping your veggie and fruit intake up will also help with this.
  9. Make sure your diet is balanced. Its all well and good eating healthy foods but make sure your eating enough of each food type. Macros calculators such as IIFYM can be used to find out how much of everything you need to be eating.. Everyone is different though so be careful of these generic calculators. They are good to use as a rough guide.
  10. Enjoy your food! Finally make sure you enjoy your food. You will not stick to anything if your food tastes like crap. Its not all about eating plain chicken, rice and broccoli every meal. Do your research for healthy new recipe ideas. Keep mixing it up and try new foods. For this to work it is essential what you are eating tastes good.

If you want to know more about the science behind all this. Watch Lane Nortons video on ‘Is Your Weight Loss Diet Making You Fatter?‘. He is an extremely intelligent guy from the USA and who is fricking awesome! He knows his stuff and you should defiantly make time to watch some of his videos. He has taught me most of what I know about nutrition and dieting!

Please use my tips and advice to help you make your first step to a lifestyle change. Its not easy which is why people like my self are there to offer nutrition plans.

Everyone is different so a nutrition plan made specifically for an individual can work very well for long term fat loss. A nutrition plan would involve sustainable changes in the individuals diet with controlled calorie restriction followed by a reverse diet to increase metabolic capacity. This should be done with the help of a nutritional advisor or personal trainer like my self to ensure the correct method is used for you to maintain optimal health and maximal fat loss!

Be Healthy and Be Happy 😀