A Quick & Tasty Summer Recipe – Harissa Chicken and Couscous

Harissa Chicken Recipe

Spice up your life with this creamy harissa dish.

A low-calorie summer favourite!

Serves: 4

Total Time: 30 minutes

 

Macros Per Portion

Calories 399 Kcal

Carbs 45g

Fibre 3g

Protein 31g

Fats 10g

 

Ingredients

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

6 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt

5 Tsp Harissa Paste

400g Couscous

Bunch of Mint

Bunch of Coriander

1/2 Cucumber

1/2 Lime

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

 

Method

      1. Roughly cut your chicken thighs into chunky strips and whack them in a bowl with 4 tbsp yoghurt and 3 tsp of harissa paste. Season this with salt and pepper, then massage the mixture into the chicken.

      2. To cook your couscous, pour it into a large bowl and cover it in boiling water and leave this to absorb fully. Once absorbed, run a fork through the grains, separating them and fluffing it up. Cover this with a chopping board or a tea towel for five minutes.

      3. Heat a healthy glug of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and then pop the chicken in, stirring occasionally and leaving to cook for around 20 minutes.

      4. Chop your mint and coriander, and finely slice your cucumber. Add the herbs (saving some for garnish) and cucumber to the couscous bowl, and squeeze a generous amount of lime juice over the top. Toss this thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and then toss further.

      5. Plate up a portion of couscous, top with your finished chicken, and dollop on some yoghurt and harissa. To garnish, sprinkle a few more of your chopped herbs over it, and you’re done! This dish is an instant crowdpleaser, so gather your mates together and enjoy!

Top Tips To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals At Home

Now or Never Slogan

You might not always be able to find time to get to the gym, but it’s important to try and maintain your fitness regime if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Staying motivated outside of the gym is one of the biggest obstacles people face whilst trying to get fit.

The number of distractions at home in comparison to working out in a gym is far greater, so, here are our 8 top tips that will make sure you aren’t saying things like “I’ll do it later” or even “I’ll carry on next week”…

 

8 Top Tips For Getting Fit Outside Of The Gym

Here are 8 tips to get you up in the morning, get you working out and get you achieving your fitness goals at home. And the best part is, you can start right now because you’ll be surprised how few changes you have to make to your day-to-day life, other than just giving it a little bit more structure.

 

1 – Set a Schedule

Plan your workouts by day, keeping to the same schedule when you attend the gym if possible. Split it by training different muscle groups or by the style of workout. It is all about what suits you and what you enjoy, BUT, be realistic with how many workouts you plan. The worst thing you could do is plan for 2 workouts a day from the beginning.

You won’t complete them, and your motivation levels will plummet!

An idea may be to start at planning 3 workouts a week and go from there.

 

2 – Use Your Day-to-Day Calendar

If your workouts are in your diary you use for all other meetings and social meetings. Block out time for you to do the workouts when it suits your lifestyle! If you don’t block out the time at the start of your fitness journey, you’ll struggle to make time to work out.

 

3 – Workout With Friends

Create a small group of friends with similar goals and make each other accountable. Share your workout schedule and complete workouts together! These days it is easier than ever, make use of video calling apps like Zoom or Facetime and complete sessions together. Think of it as a fitness class… just at home.

 

4 – Adhere to the Schedule

Points 1, 2 & 3 are all great, BUT only if you stick to them! You have taken the time to plan, so go and do it!

 

5 – Make Time

30 minutes is 2% of your entire day!

If you can watch a Netflix show for 30 minutes, I’m sure you could workout for 30 minutes.

And if there is one thing that I can guarantee, it’s that 30 minutes of exercise will make you feel a lot better than that extra episode of The Office that you have seen countless times before!

 

6 – Create a Space to Work Out

Kind of like having a home office; if you make a dedicated space to workout you will enjoy going in there. A lot of workouts are made to be done in a very small amount of space, so living in an apartment isn’t an excuse!!

 

7 – Push Yourself

Part of the perceived problem with working out at home is that you have no one there to push your limits. If you make it a point to do that extra rep, hold that plank for 10 seconds longer you’ll definitely see results… and a lot quicker than you think! It’s all about making those small incremental gains – they add up. A good way to think of this is if you feel like a workout is too easy, you’re either not pushing yourself or you need to make it harder. Add a bit of weight to the exercise or ad another set to the workout.

 

8 – Start Positive, Stay Positive

Excuses creep in more at the beginning. Having a longer-term goal in mind will help you to stay positive.

I set you a challenge; workout at home for 30 days.

If you absolutely hate it, then stop but once you are in your groove you will soon discover that it is one of the most rewarding ways to exercise!

A Healthy Vegan Breakfast With A Twist!

Vegan Breakfast Tacos Recipe

A tasty breakfast recipe that’s vegan, feeds the family, and satisfies all your macros?

Don’t pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming!

These Vegan Breakfast Tacos add a twist to your standard breakfast and you can make them quickly to feed a family of 4.

 

Serves: 4

Total Time: 40 minutes

 

Macros Per Portion

Calories 378 Kcal

Carbs 42g

Fibre 2g

Protein 19g

Fats 16g

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 small spring onions, sliced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

350g silken (firm) tofu

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Black salt (kala namak), to taste

125g cooked black beans

1 avocado, sliced

Sambal oelek (to serve)

4 soft tortillas (to serve)

 

Method

  1. Fry the chopped garlic and spring onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until both soften.
  2. Place the tomato halves cut side down on the pan and fry them in the same oil gently until they soften.
  3. Make some room and add a block of silken tofu breaking it into small pieces with a fork.
  4. Sprinkle with turmeric and black salt, stir and fry for another two minutes, just to warm through.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Pile black beans and tofu scramble onto warm tacos, decorate with avocado slices, black pepper, spring onion and chilli paste.
  7. Consume immediately (because how could you resist!)

A Guide To Macronutrients – Helping You Hit Your Fitness Goals

Examples of food in a balanced diet

When you’re working hard to try and reach your health and fitness goals, exercising regularly is good. But exercise only makes up a small portion when it comes to hitting your fitness goals, losing weight, and becoming healthier.

Not many know, that your diet plays a huge role, even more so than exercise. And learning about macronutrients, or macros, is at the heart of succeeding with your diet and therefore – reaching your fitness goals!

Discover why tracking your macros is more important than you think and learn how using new technology makes this a whole lot easier…

 

Macros

Macros is a word that gets thrown around by every nutritionist, online coach, and PT, and for good reason. All of the food you consume is built up of the three macronutrient groups:

Protein

The body’s building block that helps your muscle growth and repair. Protein requires more energy to digest than the other 2 macronutrients which make a high protein diet excellent for those looking to achieve weight loss and muscle building.

Carbohydrate

The body’s primary source of energy. Complex carbs are extremely good for your health and brain as they are slow releasing. It is widely thought that low-carb diets are the only way to lose weight, however, cutting out simple sugary carbs and focusing on complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, beans can be the answer.

Fat

Consumption of fats is crucial to the production of hormones and metabolism. Unsaturated fats (healthy fats) are our main source of energy whilst at rest. These can be found in foods like avocado, olive oil, and nuts.

These are the fats that people should try and eat more of if trying to up their fat content for energy on a low-carb diet. Saturated fats should be kept at a minimum.

 

A Rounded Diet Of Macros Is So Important For Your Fitness Goals

Whatever your goal, getting your macros right is a crucial step in making it a reality. For optimal health, the recommended breakdown of these macros is 60% carbs, 20% protein, and 20% fat.

 

Macros Are Important For WEIGHT LOSS

If your goal is weight loss you should be looking to increase your protein and fat intake whilst reducing your carbohydrates. The suggested breakdown would be 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbohydrate, however, this slightly varies depending on your unique needs.

It has been shown that increasing your protein intake can help you feel fuller for longer whilst lowering your overall daily calorific intake.

 

Macros Are Important For BUILDING MUSCLE

Building lean muscle is a goal many people aim to achieve by simply increasing their calorific intake, often referred to as a ‘dirty bulk’. Taking macros into account makes this goal a lot more attainable.

Typically, there needs to be a higher intake of carbohydrates if trying to achieve weight loss to give the body more energy during more grueling workouts.

Suggested macro guidelines are 50% carb intake, 30% protein, and 20% fat, with one key tip being to have a carb-heavy snack soon after your workouts (within an hour).

 

Macros WILL Help You Hit Your Fitness Goals

The reason why so many people fail to hit their fitness goals simply because their motivation runs out before they start seeing the results of their hard work.

Ignoring your macronutrients is the equivalent of running on a treadmill (ironically)! You might be moving and putting in a lot of effort, but in reality, you’re not going anywhere.

If you want to start hitting your fitness goals, whether that’s building muscle or losing weight, you can achieve that by incorporating macros into your daily diet and start hitting your fitness goals faster, to keep you motivated to push on for longer

 

Using APPS like MyFitnessPal makes tracking your macros easier than ever. They allow you to see the nutritional breakdown of each meal as well as calorific intake. MyFitnessPal also has a unique feature of calculating the required macro breakdown to help YOU achieve your fitness goal, and, it’s FREE so give it a go!

Weight Loss Myths… What Not To Do

Scales and tape measure

Nowadays, there is so much confusion about how to lose weight in the most effective way. Let us show you 5 common weight loss myths and explain why not all of the common perceptions surrounding weight loss are correct.

 

1. If You Miss A Meal Your Body Will Go Into Starvation Mode 

For thousands of years, humans have fasted. Muslims will fast during the holy month of Ramadan, Jews will fast throughout the judgement day of Yom Kippur and Christians during the 40 days of Lent and they function just fine.

However, in recent years we have decided to ignore thousands of years of history and state that fasting is not only bad for our health but will actually cause us to put on weight.

This common weight loss myth states that when we miss a meal or go without food for a prolonged period of time, the body will go into starvation mode. When we do eat again, our body decides to store whatever food it receives and tuck it away as body fat.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, actually, when we go without food our body realises that it is not receiving energy via the diet. So, the body is prepared for a situation like this, it accepts this fact and simply switches over to burning the energy that it has stored away as body fat. Hence we lose weight.

2. Meal Replacement Shakes Are A Healthy Way To Lose Weight

With the rise of companies such as Forever Living, Arbonne and Slimfast, meal replacement shakes are becoming an increasingly popular method of weight loss.

Meal replacement shakes are usually bottled products that are consumed instead of eating one of your main meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner), in an effort to reduce your calorie intake resulting in weight loss.

However, the average “healthy” meal replacement shake contains approximately 5 teaspoons of sugar. Now, instead of breakfast, would you drink a cup of tea with 5 teaspoons of sugar in it and still deem it healthy…?

There are 3 main issues with meal replacement shakes:

The 1st is the sugar content. When we take on a high amount of sugar this stimulates insulin, the fat-storing hormone. So when the “slimming programme” is over, because insulin has been consistently stimulated over a long-term basis, the body is in storage mode. Thus, when the individual starts to eat whole meals again, these meals are more likely to be stored as fat.

The 2nd issue is that when you lose weight using meal replacement shakes, you’re not actually changing anything in the diet. So the minute that your weight has been lost, 9 times out of 10 you will revert back to eating how you were before because the original issue in the diet hasn’t been recognised and nothing has changed. Therefore, returning back to old original habits brings about the same result as before, weight gain.

Finally, these meal replacement shakes are crazy expensive! For example, the Forever Living Clean 9 costs in excess of £100 for 9 days worth of shakes!

 

3. Weight Loss Is All About Calories…

If you have ever been on a diet, I have no doubt that you will have heard of the dreaded calorie.

“Don’t eat that, it’s high in calories”

“Oh I burnt 500 calories today”

But has anyone ever explained to you what a calorie actually is…?

One of the main problems with popular diets, the majority are centred around calories and making sure that you consume as few calories as possible.

There are multiple issues with this weight loss model. Two of the main issues are that if anyone has ever gone on a low-calorie diet, they will know that you are SO HUNGRY all of the time and eating bowls of pasta and pot’s of low-calorie yoghurt really is not an enjoyable way of eating.

Another common problem is that low-calorie food means low-fat food, which means the majority of your meals are centred around carbohydrates. For more information on why you shouldn’t cut fat out of the diet, and limit carbohydrates click here.

One thing to note is that not all calories are the same, 100kcal of lettuce and 100kcal of chocolate may have the same calorie content, but they have completely different effects on the body when eaten.

You don’t want to (or need to) spend the rest of your life, weighing your food counting calories. It is not an effective weight-loss strategy. Weight loss should not be difficult and centred around foods that taste like cardboard. Get excited about your food, enjoy the weight loss process and sod the calories.

 

4. You Have To Exercise To Lose Weight

Normally, when an individual decides to lose weight, their first port of call is the treadmill, but is this beneficial?

This is not the case. Cardiovascular exercise has multiple health benefits, but as an effective fat loss strategy it’s not the best of tools.

Weight loss can certainly be achieved through diet alone.

 

5. Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

This is probably the most common weight loss myth that we come across. The notion that we must have breakfast in the morning to speed up our metabolism. If we skip breakfast we will have no energy throughout the day and our body will go into starvation mode (see point 1).

Let’s just start by looking at the word “Breakfast” it means breaking your fast. It doesn’t say “You must break your fast as soon as you wake up”. Your body has gone in excess of 12 hours without food, going another 2-3 hours without food certainly won’t do it any harm.

Again, as stated earlier, when we go for a period of time without food, we actually allow our body to burn the food energy that it has stored as body fat.

A common phrase we hear is “I don’t eat enough”. Now if we actually look at that sentence, why would eating MORE food mean that you would lose weight? It doesn’t really make sense.