No more excuses; introduce ‘fitness’ into your life!

Ross Loughran 5/11/2016Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan

Ross, Pharmacy Technician, Rowlagh

Change your health direction. What does it mean to you? To me, as a pharmacy technician and a personal trainer, it means changing your outlook on fitness, and not just physical fitness, but also your mental wellbeing. It’s about making positive little steps and changes to ensure you improve your overall fitness. From a personal point of view, this is what I did. I underwent that change 5 years ago. Making that shift towards positive healthy habits and I’m all the better for it.

People tend to come up with all sorts of excuses not to exercise… a popular myth out there at the moment is ‘if I’m sick, I can’t work out’ and yes, in some cases this is the truth. I’d never accept a client if they hadn’t got the all clear from a doctor. BUT fitness starts at home. By this I mean, what’s on your plate. It’s about making those small changes. Any commitment too big will never last. Start small… swap your cereal for oats. Swap that chocolate bar for a banana. Do something enough, it becomes a habit. Do it long enough, it becomes part of your life. The same can be said for exercise. Start small… take that flight of stairs to the next level, walk to the shops instead of driving.

Look at the simple habit of sitting down, yes we all do it, BUT even the action of sitting down is part of a very popular gym move; a move that works all muscles of the leg by sitting down and standing up, a move that has one of the highest calorie burning stats of any resistance move… the squat. Try this, before sitting down in front of the TV, go to sit but stop RIGHT before your bum touches the cushion. Then stand. That’s one rep. No barbell, just your own body weight. Repeat it 10 to 12 times. That’s a set. Something so simple but then you’ll have earned that seat. You’ll have raised your endorphins, making you feel good and you’ll have boosted your metabolism, getting the most out of your food. It’s making these changes that help improve fitness. Not just your body but also your mind.

Make 2018 the year of the small but mighty changes!

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Top Tips For Runners—beginners, marathoners, and everyone in between!

Last Thursday I donned my brand new Asics trainers and headed out to the Blanchardstown indoor arena with over 100 other runners to meet and run with the gorgeous Paula Radcliffe. My goodness she really is a superstar. Lovely and open, she posed beside each and every one of us would-be marathon runners for a picture and seemed very happy to do so.  She then answered our questions in an informal Q&A session bestowing upon us her in depth knowledge of the sport that is endurance running.

laura 2

Her main take home points were:

  • Quality not quantity running- obviously putting in the miles is important but what is more important is varying the route, surface and pace at which you run.
  • Eating very soon after a long run is a must- prepare a meal before you go out for your run so that you just have to reheat it. Paula said she always eats within 5 minutes of returning home from a run. She advises not to forget to include protein in this meal for muscle recovery- even if this only involves a handful of nuts.
  • Ice baths are great for reducing inflammation in the limbs after a run and allow the muscles and joints to recover much quicker. Paula said that at the height of her training she would get into an ice bath as soon as possible after a run with a nice cup of hot tea!

Paula has had ongoing problems with arthritis in her foot for many years but since she started taking Revive Active Joint Complex she has felt a considerable reduction in the pain that this causes her.

I myself have run long distances on and off over many years. I tend to pick it up a bit more during the spring and summer months and retire my trainers to the wardrobe during the winter due to the shorter daylight hours. I do try to muster a 10k every couple of weeks though as I absolutely adore the freedom of running.  The endorphins that flood my body after a long run are like no other exercise. I also practice yoga to keep my ligaments and muscles long, lean and strong and swim for cardio. I find that both of these activities compliment my running, particularly yoga as one definitely needs a weight bearing exercise (says Queen Paula!) and yoga provides me with this. I also take Revive Active everyday as it gives me the energy that I need to work, be a Mum and do the occasional 5k run with Paula Radcliffe!

It is very important if you are a newbie to running that you take it easy at first and build your distances up gradually. There is no point over doing it at the start as you are highly likely to injure yourself. Start with one, two then three kilometer distances every couple of days. You will be surprised how quickly your stamina and fitness will build (the downside of this of course is that your fitness reduces quickly too if you miss a couple of weeks-you have been warned!) Make sure you get plenty of sleep. A nap in the middle of the day is ideal, but you would probably not be considered an ideal employee if you were doing this regularly! Of course you also need to fuel your body with the right nutrients- a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat is perfect. A high quality Vitamin and Mineral supplement can only compliment this. Finally, enjoy it! Running can help you to look AND feel great. It’s the perfect exercise for your mind, body and soul!

Written by Laura Dowling, Pharmacist in LloydsPharmacy Stillorgan S.C

PEANUT BUTTER CINNAMON PROTEIN BALLS – SNACK

I’ve been trying out a new protein supplement from Galway based company ‘Diamond Nutrition’ and I think I’ve found a new favourite! The Vanilla-Cinnamon Slim Lite+ Smoothie is delicious shaken with water or almond milk. Formulated using whey protein derived from the milk of grass fed, free-range cows it gets a major thumbs up from yours truly.  Protein supplements can be a really effective way of promoting muscle growth and encouraging fat loss, and whey protein is particularly beneficial.

Some benefits of whey protein:

  • Absorbed rapidly compared to casein or pea proteins making it an ideal pre- and post-workout supplement. Casein protein on the other hand is a good idea before bed as it provides slow releasing protein to support muscle repair during the night.
  • Contains calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous and vitamins A, C, folate and B12.
  • It contains high levels of the Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAA’s which promote muscle growth and prevent fatigue during and after training.
  • Ingestion of a whey protein supplement before your workout boosts your metabolic rate and facilitates body fat loss.

This recipe has some old favourites…Meridian Peanut Butter as it has no additives and is naturally high in protein (but mostly because it’s so delicious), chia seeds, dates and Irish rolled oats provide omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and iron in that order.

The only drawback of making these protein balls is the painstaking challenge of trying NOT to eat half the dough out of the blender bowl while rolling out the balls…..good luck with that!

(makes 16 balls)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter*
  • 1/2 cup (about 1.5 scoops) Platinum Nutrition Diamond Smoothie Lite Vanilla-Cinnamon flavour*
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Bia Whole chia seeds*
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Topping:

  • Finely chopped raw peanuts or almonds

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients except the water into a blender bowl and pulse until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons of water, pulse again and check consistency. If the dough feels too dry, add another tablespoon of water and pulse. The dough should stick together when pressed between fingers, but it shouldn’t be too wet.
  3. Roll tablespoon-size portions of dough between the palms of your hands to form balls. The mixture makes about 16 balls (assuming you’ve managed to avoid eating most of it out of the bowl!)
  4. Scatter the raw chopped nuts onto a plate and gently toss the protein balls into the nuts so they are lightly coated.
  5. Place the balls onto the parchment and refrigerate. Once hardened transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION per protein ball
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
118 6g 7g 9g 4g 2g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

SUPERFOOD SCRAMBLE – BREAKFAST

Whilst plain scrambled eggs are delicious on their own, adding turmeric, chia seeds and greens is a great way to increase the nutritional density of your breakfast with higher fibre, omega-3 fats, essential minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Truth be told these scrambled eggs are just as good for a quick lunch, brunch or dinner but I find them particularly great for breakfast as they are high in protein and omega-3 fats which sustain energy throughout the day and reduce cravings for sweet, sugary foods.

There is mounting evidence that eating a lower carbohydrate breakfast is an effective way to control blood sugar levels, particularly for people with Type 2 Diabetes. A 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eliminating carbohydrates in the first meal of the day after an overnight fast significantly lowered blood-sugar levels after the low-carb breakfast1.

As elevated blood sugar and blood sugar imbalances may also be responsible for a range of other symptoms and diseases such as inflammation, PCOS, endometriosis and obesity, a low carbohydrate breakfast might also be an effective way to manage symptoms and reduce body fat.

(serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Chia Bia Whole Chia Seed*
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond cream or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • A good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric*
  • 2 teaspoons Optima Raw Virgin Organic Coconut Oil*
  • 2 large handfuls spinach leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, chia seed, almond cream, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the spinach. Cook gently until wilted and remove the spinach from the pan.
  3. Heat a second teaspoon of coconut oil in the same pan and add the turmeric. Stir with a wooden spoon for a minute (be careful not to burn the turmeric).
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and as the eggs start to “catch” the sides, gently pull them across the pan to form soft folds. Add the wilted spinach back into the pan and continue to fold gently for a minute. When the eggs are almost set but still soft, remove the pan from the stove. The residual heat will finish the cooking.
  5. Serve with freshly chopped herbs if you have some available.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
364 28g 21g 9g 0.3g 4g
An excellent source of protein, omega-3 ALA, magnesium, choline, iron.

Reference:

  1. 1. Pedersen, E., Lange, K. and Clifton, P. (2016) ‘Effect of carbohydrate restriction in the first meal after an overnight fast on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomised trial’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(5), pp. 1285–1291. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.135343.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

CHILLI STUFFED SWEET POTATOES – MAIN

I love chilli any time of year! In summer enjoy it spooned into large cooling iceberg lettuce leaves with natural yogurt and cucumber on top.  In winter however, there is no better way to serve chilli than the way my Mam did when we were kids – piled high on top of baked potatoes.

I’m using sweet potatoes but you can substitute with white potatoes if you prefer them – they are no less nutritious, but they don’t have the impressively high antioxidant content of sweet potatoes. Either way, potatoes are a fantastic source of natural, unadulterated complex carbohydrates that provide energy and leave us satiated for a long time.

This chilli is meatless. Instead of meat I use two kinds of beans – black and aduki (good-quality canned, pre-cooked beans are fine and save time). Unglamorous as they may seam, beans are one of the best, most affordable sources of plant-based protein and dietary fiber. Consumption of fibre is associated with reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes as well as colon cancer. It’s no coincidence therefore that research into the diets of the longest living populations in the world confirms a regular dietary consumption of beans.

This recipe serves 4. If you are male, not trying to lose weight, and / or training at a high intensity you might consider adding a second sweet potato. Otherwise I recommend serving with some leafy greens. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil*
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 1 can of Aduki Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 350g of tomato pasata (pureed tomatoes, unsweetened, no preservatives)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of chipotle chilli flakes

To Serve:

  • 1 whole avocado, medium
  • 1 whole lime
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp plain natural yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment.
  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them onto the banking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the sweet potatoes into the oven. They will need between 40 and 50 minutes to cook.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sweat for 5-10 minutes.
  1. When the onions are soft, add the chilli, chipotle, cumin a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans and adzuki beans. Bring to a soft boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. In the meantime slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh out into a small bowl. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl (discard the halves). Season, add half the spring onion and mash with a fork until mixed well but still chunky.
  1. When the sweet potatoes are cooked (they should be soft), remove them from the oven. Transfer them to individual plates and carefully (steam can burn!) slit them lengthwise down the middle.
  1. Spoon the chilli into the sweet potatoes allowing the mixture to pile and run down the sides.
  1. Top with guacamole, a tablespoon of natural yogurt, fresh coriander and spring onion. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
  Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Chilli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes per serv. 360 4g 15g 66g 11g 12g
Toppings per serv. 82 6g 2g 6g 3g 2.6g
  An excellent source of protein, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, iron. 


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PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

ROAST BEETROOT (NEON PINK) HUMMUS -SNACK

This neon pink hummus gives that same cheerful boost a bright new lipstick gives you (sorry guys…I cant think of a male equivalent!).

Chickpeas are a wonderfully cheap and versatile legume. Legumes are rich in protein, fibre and folic acid and are ranked 4th place in the top 10 most most nutrient dense foods.  Hummus is a great snack as its healthy fats keep you satisfied between meals. Meridian Light Tahini (sesame seed butter) is a rich source of lignans, a cancer-fighting phytonutrient and is also delicious on its own spread on some sliced apple.

The vibrant colour of this recipe is provided by beetroot – an athlete’s secret weapon!  If you’re a regular exerciser, especially if you partake in endurance sports (marathons and triathlons), beetroot should absolutely be a regular part of your diet.  Nitrates in beetroot boost energy and performance by helping to oxygenate the blood, whilst anti-inflammatory compounds facilitate post-exercise muscle recovery.

You don’t have to roast the beets before hand – you could lightly steam them or use raw beets if you want.  As a snack I’m serving this hummus on a slice of toasted rye bread (I use Biona 100% Rye bread) with a few slivers of avocado and a sprinkle if Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds.

(makes about 6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized beetroot, peeled.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Meridian Light Tahini*
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Extra olive oil for serving
  • Nua naturals hemp seeds for garnish (optional)*

To roast the beetroot:

Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Individually wrap the beetroot in aluminium foil and place onto the oven rack. Roast for about 50 minutes. Remove and allow to cool fully before preparing the hummus.

Prepare the hummus:

In a food processor pulse the beetroot a few times on its own before adding the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini.  Pulse a few more times and then slowly add the olive oil whilst continuing to blend. Season and pulse again one last time until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over some olive oil and a sprinkling of hulled hemp seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

NUTRITION INFORMATION BEETROOT HUMMUS PER 1/6th of recipe
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
143 10g 4.1g 13.6g 3.3g 4g
A source of protein, fiber, folic acid, manganese, potassium and essential fatty acids. 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

ENERGISING GREEN SMOOTHIE – BREAKFAST

This smoothie will “give you wings”. So grab your halo and prepare to fly through your day!

For a nourishing boost I used one of my favourite supplements, Superlife Smoothie Mix (Energy Boost), available from your local Lloyds Pharmacy. It is packed with exotic-sounding organic superfoods such as maca, hemp, cacao, spirulina and chlorella. This unique blend offers an abundance of antioxidant nutrients, iron, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein.

Combined with fibre- and vitamin C rich greens, over 11g protein per serving and essential fats from creamy avocado, this smoothie is an ideal breakfast and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 50g cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls leafy greens e.g. baby spinach or rocket leaves
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped (or 1/2 for less sugar)
  • 1/2 avocado, stone removed and flesh scooped out
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Superlife Smoothie Mix Energy Boost*
  • 1 cup water or coconut water
  • 2-3 cubes of ice

Instructions

Put all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whizz until silky smooth. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Prepare your vegetables the night before and pack them into the smoothie cup. Store in the fridge. The next morning just add water and ice cubes and blend.
  • Divide the mixture into 3 or 4 small glasses and serve to your kids as a snack or as a nourishing accompaniment their normal breakfast.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley to hand, just add an extra handful of greens. Choose from spinach, rocket, chard, lambs lettuce or chicory leaves.
  • Instead of ice cubes, peel and dice a few bananas and store in a sealed container in the freezer. Use these in place of ice cubes (but as part of your fruit portion).
Nutrition Information per Serving.
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
326 11.9g 11.4g 48g 25g 16
A source of vitamin C, vitamin A, Iron, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores