Goji, acai, flax, spirulina it seems like not a year passes without a new superfood arriving on the block and this year is no different!  It’s the year of the
CHIA SEED…

It may already be gaining popularity in America but ask most people in the UK and the word Chia would be alien to them.

So, what is Chia?

Chia (Salvia hispanica.) is a species of flowering plant from the mint family.  It is native to central and southern Mexico & Guatemala and was once a staple in both Mayan & Aztec diets.

Chia Facts & benefits…

  • One serving of Chia (1tbsp) will generally include 60kcal, 4.5g Fat, 5g carbs & 3g protein.
  • More Omega-3 fatty acids then Salmon
  • Full of antioxidants and minerals
  • Gluten Free
  • Fibrous (making it great for digestion & healing digestion problems)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves heart health
  • Stabilises blood Sugar
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Helps build muscle
  • Helps maintain healthy skin and hair

Chia is commonly eaten in breads, salads, puddings, yoghurts & dressings.  It also makes a great egg replacement for a Vegan diet when mixed with water.

Of course this one food alone will not keep you healthy and many Superfoods are largely overestimated.  Eating these foods can definitely help keep you healthy, but remember this will only happen when eaten along with a varied diet.

I personally welcome these superfoods to the spotlight as it makes for a great change, rather than the processed ‘junk’ foods that are normally pushed upon us.  I love to use Chia seeds sprinkled on my salads or even more so to make a simple
Chia Pudding that can even be eaten for breakfast, like my recipe below.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or chocolate almond milk)
  2. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  3. ¼ cup chia seeds
  4. 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (leave this out when using chocolate almond milk)
  5. 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  6. ½ cup raspberries or fruit of choice
Instructions
  1. Method.
  2. 1. Blend the almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract & cocoa powder.
  3. 2. Pour into a jar, add your chia seeds and shake until fully mixed.
  4. 3. Add your peanut butter in small amounts (you could blend this in step 1 but I like it in chunks)
  5. 4. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 3-5 hours)
  6. 5. Top with your fruit and enjoy!
My Big Fit Diary http://www.mybigfitdiary.com/

Hope you all give this a try this coming weekend… you won’t regreat it.

Alison x x

 

 

Happy Monday lovelies.  Hope everyone had a fabulously fit weekend.  I spent my first weekend without my hubby since we got married so decided to pass the time meeting as many friends as possible and throwing myself into a new fitness adventure.

I signed up for a newbies introductory offer of 10 consecutive days at my local Bikram Yoga studio. Bikram yoga is a style of yoga carried out in a heated room (105°F / 40.6°C) over a 90 minute class.  It was developed from Hatha Yoga by Bikram Choudhury and it is said that the 26 postures you go through in the class will work every part of your body, giving it everything it needs to sustain ‘optimum health and maximum function’.

I headed to my first class bright and early on Saturday morning with an open mind (albeit a scared one).  I met my friend and we headed inside hand in hand.  We were greeted by a friendly instructor who helped to put us at ease and made sure we had everything we needed to complete the class.  Within a few minutes of stepping into the heated studio the first bead of sweat started to form on my forehead and I instantly knew I was in for a tough 90 minutes.  The class starts off with a standing deep breathing exercise (Pranayama), which sounds simple right? Wrong!  After my first inhale/exhale I felt like I was struggling for air.  At first I put it down to the heat but after more consideration I decided it was due to being out of practice breathing.  It may sound silly, of course we have to breathe to stay alive, but do we really pay attention to it when it is such a natural thing?  No, but we should, especially when deep breathing not only helps increase our lung capacity but it is also such a great, all natural, stress reliever.

After the first of the 2 breathing exercises we were on to our first pose…

…90 minutes and 26 poses later and I had considered puking, fainting, crying and running for the hills…

…however, I had also considered how flexible I actually was, how I had worked hard to try and hold every single pose and every single set and how finally, I am not a quitter and would without a doubt be back the very next morning.  And I was!  Feeling all the more energised and motivated for it.

 

My handy hints for your Bikram class!

  1. Hydrate For obvious reasons make sure you drink enough leading up to your class, either during the day of or if you go in the morning the night before.  Additionally, the more you hydrate before the class the less water you will need during, meaning you will have more time to concentrate on the poses.
  2. Eat 2-3 hours before.  Don’t eat a heavy meal before class as it may make you feel nauseous.
  3. Sip your water.  If you gulp or drink too much water it may also make you feel sick (plus you don’t want to have to relieve yourself during)
  4.  Get there early.  You will need to sign some forms if you are new but also allow yourself time to ensure you are fully ‘in the room’, relaxed and ready to start.
  5. Go in with an open mind – you may think that the deep breathing exercises are boring or the poses are easy, but believe me they aren’t and every single one serves a purpose.
  6. Take breaks.  If you feel light headed or unable to carry on make sure you are breathing properly and sit on your mat facing the instructor so they can see that you are okay.
  7. Don’t walk out. Stay in the room, you will feel better for it and it will get easier next time.

Afterwards…

  1. Rehydrate. Make sure you put all the water you have lost back into your body.
  2. Eat.  Have a healthy, balanced meal.  It is likely you haven’t eaten for a fair few hours and you need to refuel.
  3. Go back within 48 hours.  Your body needs time to adjust to this new thing it’s doing, so the sooner and more often you go back; the more opportunity it will have to do this.

I have to say the classes are quite expensive but they are well worth it.  After my 10 days I will definitely be keeping up with the yoga at my gym & even continuing with Bikram when I am feeling flush.  For me not only will it be a great stress reliever but it will also help increase my flexibility making weightlifting (particularly getting low in those squats) one hell of a lot easier.

If you decide to try good luck and remember if you have any pre-existing medical problems be sure to consult a doctor before you start…

…most of all – HAVE FUN!

Autumn is here

I do love the first of a month, especially when it’s my favourite season!!!  Today was the first day I put my coat on since summer began and it felt all snuggly & warm.  It isn’t quite chilly enough yet but I love it when it gets all crisp outside and the leaves start to fall from the trees.  There is nothing better than coming in from the cold, getting into my PJ’s, making a lovely hot meal and cuddling on the sofa with a box set!  In honour of my favourite season I have made a filling Pumpkin Chilli and it is divine… I’m looking forward to snuggling up tonight with a bowl and working my way through the Game Of Thrones box set.

To make the Pumpkin Turkey Chilli you will need,

  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 500g Turkey Mince
  • 2 peppers (chopped)
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin Pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 1 tin Kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  1. Add the oil to a pan on a medium-high heat and brown off your mince then drain if needed
  2. Add the onion & garlic along with the spices
  3. Add the remaining veg (you can also add other veg if you like) and cook for 5 mins
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and pumpkin puree and bring to the boil
  5. Reduce to a low heat and cook for 20mins
  6. Drain the canned beans, add to your chilli and cook for (at least) a further 10minutes
  7. Serve with brown rice & Greek yoghurt.

Notes:  I find the longer I cook my chilli for the better it gets.  You can also add more or less chilli powder depending on taste and can even add fresh or dried chilli & even some pumpkin spice for a more Autumnal taste.  Finally, if your macros/diet allows… add some cheese.  Delicious!!

The start of every month is also a great time to set ourselves mini goals.  They help keep us focused and will also help us to reach our long term goals!  This is the first time I have documented my monthly goals and I hope you will all hold me accountable.  I’m going to give you updates as I go along and then at the end of the month a round-up of my achievements.

October Goals…

  • To perform my first EVER non-assisted pull up
  • To reach 80kg in my deadlift
  • To try a new exercise/workout each week
  • To stick to 4 weeks of IIFYM (I will do a blog post on this next month)

I could go on and on with what I would like to do but the idea of mini goals is to keep them simple.  Long term goals are where the real challenges come to play!  Please comment underneath with your goals and we can hopefully inspire each other to accomplish them.

I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in October!

Remember: ‘The body achieves what the mind believes’

X x

Good Afternoon everyone!  I hope you have all had a fabulous weekend and are looking forward to what this new week brings.

My weekend was jam packed & I got to spend lots of time with my loved ones.  On Friday I went to my friend’s house for a sinful evening (which meant a hardcore Friday workout to prepare), where Jay (http://food-choice-mcr.tumblr.com/) cooked up a storm in the kitchen!  Saturday, I got some relaxation time with my lovely Mum, getting our nails done & then we picked the husband up & we were off to Ikea to spend some wedding cash.  We bought a new shelving unit, along with some other goodies, which meant spending Sunday sweating it out moving all the furniture in our apartment around!  We didn’t get much gym time in but I put that down to still being on a wedding come down & having to get our lives back in order, however, I did get to try out some new recipes in the kitchen which I will bring to you shortly.  Hope you are excited to see what I made… Pumpkin was the theme of the weekend & quite possibly the theme of October (I’m obsessed).  It’s not as popular here in the UK as it is in the states but I’m hoping that’ll change in order to better feed my addiction.

Enough about my weekend though and more about my Monday morning.  I’m so excited for breakfasts this week as one of my favourite fruits, which I bought a basket load of this weekend, is back in season.  Figs!!  I’ve not always been a massive fan as I think the look & name always put me off before (I don’t know why) but my Mum made me try one last year & I was hooked!

Figs are a sweet & delicious fruit, originally from Asia but are now grown all over the Med.  They grow on the Ficus tree, which is a part of the Mulberry family and come in lots of varieties, even though we (in the UK at least) commonly get purple figs, they can also be white, green & red.  They are thick skinned with a fibrous flesh which encases hundreds of tiny seeds.  As well as being a great source of fibre figs are also rich in potassium (helping to control blood pressure) & calcium (helping promote bone density).  I store my figs in the fridge to keep them fresh but I try to bring them to room temperature before eating.

Anyway, enough of the ‘hard fig facts’, this morning I made the most delicious balanced oats to compliment the figs, including a good source of carbohydrates & fats.

Fig Oatmeal

fig

  • 1 Cup oats
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 figs

Combine all of the above ingredients (apart from the figs & half of the syrup) and cook on the hob at a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the oats are cooked through.  Pour into a bowl & top with the remaining syrup and slices of the fig!

Simple, balanced & delicious.

fig 2

For a more protein packed version, add one or two egg whites when the oats are nearly cooked, stir and cook the egg through. Done.

I hope you enjoy & I’ll be back tomorrow to kick off October with my monthly goals & a Filling Fall Favourite!

Happy Monday x x

 

As you may or may not have noticed I’ve been off in La la land recently getting married

 

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so for a couple of weeks I’ve allowed my fitness & health obsession, along with my blog (unfortunately), to take a backseat.

I’ve had a fabulous time,

spending time with my loved ones…

time

eating…

eat

drinking…

drink

& generally feeling carefree & happy…

merry

but as the honeymoon draws to a close and I get back into the swing of everyday life, I’m ready to get back to the daily grind and continue making progress on my health & fitness journey!

I’ve made a promise to myself to really keep on top of not only my workouts & nutrition but also on top of this blog.  I pinky promise to you & to myself to produce regular, interesting & fun content on this site; including biweekly spots such as ‘What I ate Wednesday’ & ‘Foodie Friday’, alongside coming up with new workouts & recipes for you to recreate.

My husband (I’ll never get tired of saying that) and I have set ourselves some fitness goals in the lead up to our holiday in Miami next Feb.  We are ready to get in the best shape of our lives…

Who else is with us!?!?!?! 

The first mini goal we have set is to start adding at least one completely NEW and FUN workout into each week.

It’s important to keep it fresh at the gym;

a)      to keep your body guessing &

b)      to stop you from getting bored (which is usually why we quit any new regime).

This week’s Fun workout was something I’ve personally wanted to try for so long BUT like many others I find it can be daunting trying new exercises at the gym.  I find myself wondering, am I doing it right? Will I be able to finish? So it was lovely for me and my husband to do it as a team.

Anywho, the workout went a little something like this…

Warm Up.

10mins incline walk @ 6km/hour (increase incline every minute until you hit MAX)

Circuit.

20 Box Jumps

20 Kettlebell Swings

20 Med Ball wall throws

Rest & repeat x5

We then finished with a 20minute session on the spin bike before cooling off & stretching out.

This style of workout will really help to increase cardio fitness & endurance as well as helping you get lean.  Even better you can fit the circuit part of this workout into even the busiest of days, getting you in and out of the gym in no time, having still got in an amazing workout!!!  Trust me, after a two week hiatus from the gym, I was beat and my heart rate was through the roof but I left the gym buzzing!

Next week we’re going to give the battle ropes a try so keep checking up on mybigfitdiary & if, like me, you keep hearing about ‘heavy rope workouts’ but are too scared to try… I’ll bring you a step by step guide to a ball busting workout!

Finally, I hope you are all as excited as me to see what the – dare I say it – build up to Christmas brings.  It’ll be here before you can say FIT FOR 2014!!!

Alison Paton x