Getting Motivated to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

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So many people make it their New Year’s resolution to get in shape and start out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy in the beginning only to fall back into their old ways and give up. Fad diets, detox teas and shakes are advertised everywhere you look, or some magic diet pill that promises you a new body in 2 weeks!  I’m sorry to burst your bubble but none of these will work in the long term.  Achieving that desired physique will only come with a healthier, balanced lifestyle.

The first thing you need to do is to concentrate on what your fitness goals are.  Are you skinny and wanting to bulk up or are you overweight and wanting to lose fat as well as build muscle mass at the same time?  Maybe you just want to get lean or you want to run your first 5 km. Whatever your goal is, once you know specifically what you want to accomplish you can then follow a workout and nutrition plan specifically tailored to you to achieve your goal.  Once these are in place you can follow them on a long term basis and it makes life a lot easier.  Personally I find setting my own little goals with each workout a great way to motivate me to do better each time.  For example knocking a few seconds off my previous run or lifting a heavier weight or even just getting that extra rep in.

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Measuring your progress is also so important. Two things you should do is ditch the scales and take selfies.  Not the pouted version but taking pictures of your body from all sides!  Yes its okay to weigh yourself from time to time but please do not get obsessed with numbers on a scale. There are so many reasons why you could be up a pound or two one day and down 3 the next!   Progress is not always noticeable especially when it is gradual so you might get demotivated more easily than if you were tracking your progress. If your taking pictures regularly you will start to see changes in your body.   A measuring tape is a MUST.  Know how to take your measurements: waist, chest, arms etc , any gym instructor or personal trainer will help you with this and track these numbers as you go along.  You will be surprised at how much progress you are making that you might not have noticed in the mirror or on the scales.

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It’s really up to you, if you really want to achieve a particular fitness or life goal you will be successful.  Being fit and healthy is a choice only you can make and self motivation is the most important factor determining success in all aspects of life.  Yes we all have bad days, but the important thing is to forget about it and start fresh the next day.  There will be days where you don’t want to train and yes I have had to drag myself around to gym on many occasions but once your there you will feel so much better when your done.  Always turn the negative thoughts into positive ones, if you have that bar of chocolate or that pizza, just move on and get back on track with the next meal.

If you want to achieve you will!

Jen xx

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Cauliflower Fried Rice

 

As it’s the weekend I decided to post up this ‘fakeaway’ cauliflower fried rice recipe. It is healthy, so quick and easy to make that you will never miss a Chinese takeaway fried rice!  Using the cauliflower as a low carb option instead of the rice you will be shocked at how good it tastes.(You can always use rice though if you prefer).  You can add whatever source of protein you like, chicken, turkey or even prawns.  Adding a little bacon gives it that traditional fried rice taste too. In this recipe I use turkey mince.

Ingredients

300g turkey mince

1 half pack of bacon pieces

50g frozen peas

4 garlic gloves (chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

Bunch of spring onions (chopped)

Fresh ginger (according to your own taste, I used a piece roughly 2 inches in size)

1 red chilli (chopped, seeds and all as I like it hot!)

1 head of cauliflower (blitz in a food processor or even just grating it works too)

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium one or liquid aminos if you have it)

Ground white pepper to season

Fresh coriander to serve

Method

Heat a large wok over a medium heat.  Fry off the bacon pieces until brown and crispy.  Remove bacon from the pan and set aside.

Add the toasted sesame oil to the wok and let it heat up.  Turn the heat to high and add the garlic, chilli, ginger, turkey mince and cook until mince is brown all over.

Add in the spring onion, red pepper ( or whatever vegetables you are using) and give it a good stir.

Add the bacon back into the wok and make a well in the centre, add the egg and let it cook for a minute or so before you start to mix it into the other ingredients.

Now add in the cauliflower rice and peas.  Toss well for a minute or two until everything is warmed through.

Add in the soy sauce and season with the white pepper and give it a good mix. Finally add some chopped coriander, serve and most importantly enjoy without feeling guilty!

Nutritional Value is for this recipe using the turkey mince, so it will change slightly if using chicken or prawns!

This serves 2 people, total calories per serving 439, protein 43g, carbs 18g, fat 22.5g.

 

 

Jen’s mexican style chicken stew

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I love this recipe it is tasty and comforting on a cold day like it is today. It can be a great way to use up vegetables before stocking up on fresh ones. So easy to make and cheap!  I use the chicken drumsticks that you can get in Aldi that cost less than 3 euros. I batch cook at lot of my food and this can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or just freeze it.  Preparation is vital and my fridge always contains plastic lunch boxes with food so that I stick to ‘clean eating’.   As with all my recipes you can adjust to your own taste, especially where there is chilli involved.  You could add kidney beans or chickpeas too if you have them.  The ingredients I have listed where just what I had left and I make up a lot of my recipes as I go along, all depending what I have in the press and fridge!!

Ingredients

8 chicken drumsticks (remove skin)

1 onion (chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 fresh red chilli (chopped)

230g sweet potato (cubed)

250ml chicken stock

400g tinned tomatoes or passata

2 cups spinach

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp turmeric

Frylite oil or 1 tsp of coconut oil

Method

In a large pot or pan heat up the oil and fry off the cumin seeds for 1 min to release the flavour.  Add in the onion, garlic, chilli and chicken drumsticks and cook for 1-2 minutes to seal the chicken.

Add in the red pepper and all the spices and fry off for a further minute.

Add in the tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 20 -25 minutes.

Add in the sweet potato (and chickpeas or kidney beans if using them) and cook until soft, should only take 10 -15 mins.

Just before serving add in the spinach leaves.

Serve with wholegrain basmati rice.  I normally use the Tilda brand and 60g uncooked is a single portion!

Nutritional Value

The stew serves 4:  287  calories per serving, carbs 26g, protein 24g, fat 9.3g.

1 portion of the Tilda wholegrain rice  cooked is 180g : 144 calories, carbs 28g, protein 5g, fat 1.5g.

 

 

Protein Oat Bread

 

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This protein oat bread is so quick and easy to make.  It is always handy to have a loaf ready as it can be used as a snack with a nut butter and banana, pre or post workout, or if you check out my instagram @jensgymlife  you will see many different ideas for toppings!  It is a very versatile recipe and you can get creative by adding nuts, berries, dark chocolate chips, the list is endless.  It can be stored in the fridge or slice it up to freeze it.  I always have some in the freezer on standby as it prevents me eating something that I shouldn’t!! There are many different variations but this is the recipe that has worked for me.

Ingredients

I large tub of natural yoghurt (500ml)

400g oats

3 tbsp hemp protein powder ( this is optional and can be bought in health stores or some of the larger super value stores stock it too)

3 tbsp mixed seeds ( I use the seed mix from Lidl)

1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda(bread soda)

Pinch of salt & black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 180c (fan oven)

Empty the yoghurt into a large mixing bowl.  Using the empty carton measure out 2 cartons full of oats (roughly 400g of oats), add the seeds, hemp protein (if using it), seasoning and finally sift in the bicarbonate of soda. Mix well ensuring all ingredients are combined.

Place into a lined and greased loaf tin and bake for 35-40 mins.  If you use a skewer and it comes out clean well then it’s ready! Or tap the bottom for a hollow sound.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

I usually get 18 slices per loaf, its all about portion size!

1 slice is 99 calories, carbs 13.8g, protein 5g, fat 2.8g, sugar 2g, dietary fiber 3g

As always don’t forget to tag me if you try it out.  You will find me on Facebook here, Instagram here or Tweet me here or you can add me on Snapchat @jenser01 .

Keep sharing the love,

Jen xxx

 

Cottage Cheese & Corn Pancakes

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I came across this recipe in the Everyday Super Food book by Jamie Oliver that was one of my Christmas presents from my sister! Cottage cheese is healthy to eat as part of a balanced diet, and provides a source of several essential nutrients. It is high in protein and lower in fat than all other cheeses.   This in my version of  the recipe.

Ingredients

1 tin of sweetcorn (around 326g I used the one from Aldi)

1 tub of cottage cheese (around 225g, from Aldi)

4 spring onions, chopped

1 fresh red chilli, chopped finely

Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

2 large eggs

150g of spelt flour ( or wholemeal flour, I just used the spelt as I had no wholemeal left)

50ml of unsweetened almond milk ( or semi-skimmed milk)

4 smoked streaky bacon rashers

4 small bananas

optional: franks hot sauce or even try a drizzle of maple syrup !

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl add the sweetcorn ( with the juice) , spring onion, chilli, coriander, cottage cheese, flour and eggs.  Mix it all together , gradually adding the milk to make a thick batter. Lightly season with some black pepper.
  2. Fry the bacon in the pan, no need for oil as the bacon will release enough to cook the pancakes in and give them added flavour. Once the bacon starts to release the fat, it’s time to get the pancakes on!  Ladle a spoonful of the batter onto the pan (roughly 100g in weight) and shape into a pancake.  Cook until golden brown, on a medium heat, then flip over.  While making pancakes just push the cooked bacon to one side of the pan to keep it hot!
  3. Finally add the banana to the pan to caramelize.  Serve 2 pancakes per serving topped with the banana , bacon and a splash of Franks red hot sauce. Most importantly, enjoy!

  Nutritional Information

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 417 calories, carbs 65.5g, protein 19.5g, fat 9.1g, sugar 22g(all natural sugars, no added sugar so don’t worry too much)Dietary Fiber 8.6g

 

Pear & Ginger Flapjacks

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These flapjacks are a great way of using up over ripe fruit.  They are a delicious option as a snack , healthy treat or even for breakfast! You can make many different variations by replacing the fruit with dark chocolate chips & chopped hazelnuts or dried berries & seeds, the choice is endless and they are so much better than the sugary filled shop bought ones!  All natural ingredients here .  This recipe requires coconut oil, so please invest in a good organic one as the cheaper version are just full of additives.

Ingredients

250g Oats

2 tbsp Chia Seeds

4 Medium Ripe Pears, peeled and mashed

1 Medium Banana, mashed

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp Almond Butter

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp ground nutmeg

optional: 25g Dark Chocolate (minimum 75%)

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Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (fan). Grease and line an 8x8in baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl mix the oats and chia seeds.  Microwave the coconut oil and the almond butter, roughly 30-40 seconds and stir until they are well mixed together.  Add the maple syrup and mix.  Pour this mixture into the oats and chia seeds and give it a good mix, making sure they are well coated.
  3. Add in the mashed pear, banana, ginger and nutmeg and give it a good mix around. The mixture should be wet and stick together when pressed.
  4. Put the mixture into the baking tray, pressing down to ensure it’s tightly packed and even. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, it should have turned golden on the top.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin and if using the chocolate, melt it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and drizzle over the top. Then cut into squares and enjoy!

These can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or wrap individually and freeze.

Nutritional Values

This recipe makes 9 flapjacks.

226 calories, carbs 37g , fat 6.6g, protein 4.7g (per serving)

Chilli, lime & ginger prawn stir fry.

20160104_180624You can’t beat a good stir fry!! I for one have had my fill of turkey so I found some frozen prawns at the bottom of the freezer.  Along with what vegetables I have left, a stir fry is one of the easiest meals to make.  But please do not go and ruin all that healthy stuff by adding a packet of processed stir fry sauce!! Make your own, its so easy to add flavour without having to drown all the goodness in a sauce that is probably packed with sugar and additives.  As with all the recipes that I post the end result is what suits my taste, so please feel free to adjust to your own personal taste.  This recipe will make 2 servings.

Ingredients

200g king prawns (fresh or frozen )

I red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 carrot

1 red onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 lime (juiced)

1 red chilli

Fresh ginger

1tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium one)

1 tbsp all purpose seasoning (salt free, I use the Gym Chef one , you can buy it online http://www.bodyfirst.ie)

1 tbsp Worchester sauce

Handful of fresh coriander

250g Medium Egg Noodles ( I’m using the sharwoods brand)

  1. Firstly make the marinade for the prawns with the lime juice, ginger and chilli.  Leave prawns to marinade for as long as possible to get the full flavour!
  2. Peel and chop all your vegetables.
  3. In a wok heat up half a tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil, fry off the onion, garlic, peppers and carrot and toss around for about 3-4 mins.
  4. Add in the prawns and the marinade along with the soy sauce, all purpose seasoning and Worcester sauce.  This should only take about 3- 4 mins as you do not want to overcook the prawns!
  5. In a saucepan, boil some water and add the noodles and cook for about 4 mins, remove from the water and toss them in the remaining toasted sesame oil.  Add them into the prawns and veg and add some chopped fresh coriander!
Finally eat and enjoy!
Calories per serving 497
Protein 33g
Carbs 65g
Fat 11g