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Alternative sources of protein

Hi there!

I drink protein shakes after any weight lifting sessions to help muscle repair and recovery. However, not everyone wants to do this or can (they aren’t great for people with sensitive stomachs, my stomach doesn’t always agree). So I thought to look for different sources of protein! I got these from Health online, which has recipes for each of these vegan/vegetarian alternatives.

  • Green peas; 7.9 grams of protein per cup.
  • Quinoa; 8 grams of protein per cup.
  • Nuts and nut butters; watch here, 1 ounce of almonds, cashews and pistachios (examples) have 160 calories BUT do contain 5-6 grams of protein.
  • Beans; these pack a fair protein punch, for example, there’s about 13 grams of protein per cup of kidney beans.
  • Chickpeas; 14.6 grams of protein per cup.
  • Tofu; 40 grams of protein per cup (you don’t need that much, go for half a cup).
  • Edamame; 16.8 grams of protein per cup.
  • Leafy greens; spinach, brocoli etc. 1 cup brocoli has 8.1 grams of protein per cup.
  • Chia seeds; these pack 4.7 gram of protein per ounce (about 2 tablespoons).
  • Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds; sunflower seeds have 29.2 grams of protein per cup, sesame and poppy seeds have 21.6 grams of protein per cup.
  • Non-dairy milk; soy milk has most at 8 grams of protein per cup, almond, rice and hemp milk have around 1 gram of protein per cup.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 gram of protein per tablespoon.

And there we have it! Some great alternatives to protein shakes for those who don’t like them, want them or can take them! A typical 25g scoop of protein with water yields about 100 calories and 25g of protein (some have more, I use MyProtein, GoNutrition or TheProteinWorks).

Do you have any great alternatives?

Gym Bug

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Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

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Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

Gym Bug

Pickled In Scotland

Pickled In Scotland

Hi there!

Today is a post about another excellent Scottish company called ‘Pickled In Scotland’ who are based in Edinburgh. They produce vegan friendly preserves, free from artificial preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers. They also never use concentrates.

They have a great selection of cordials, fruit drinks and fruit cheeses to try. What’s fruit cheese I hear you ask? It’s a way of preserving ripe fruit with sugar and forming a ‘cheese’ round that’s then left to mature. It was used in the past when there was no fresh fruit around. Typically, they were eaten with dairy products like cheese, but I reckon they’d be brilliant on oatcakes or some toast too!

Pickled In Scotland use Scottish fruits, so you’ll find delicious rhubarb, gooseberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries and more! A delicious way to get your fruit.

I’m not going to lie I don’t have a lot of experience with their range, I sampled some of their fruit cheeses once however, and they are amazing. They were so fruity and natural; there was nothing artificial or fake about them. They’d be a great new way to get more fruit into your diet. Their cordials are also really fresh and refreshing.

I recommend checking out their website and trying a few of their products. I’d love to be able to sample more of what they’ve got so I’ll be poking around their website too and hopefully I’ll spot them at a local place one day too!

Fruit cheese could be a great addition to any Christmas cheese platter or an interesting addition to Christmas breakfast? Cordials are great in cheeky cocktails too. Or even buy them as presents!

This is a great shot taken from the homepage of their website. I do not own this image.

Just beware not to get your recommended dose of fruit and veg purely from fruit, it does contain sugar!

Gym Bug

Bounce Balls; Energy from Nature

Hi there!

When my sister picked up my first Bounce Ball, she raised her arm to launch it at the ground, not quite realising what she was holding. A Bounce Ball is not a bouncey ball that you played with as a kid and probably got hit by (small, round bruises, anyone?), although give me a bouncey ball now and I’ll be quite content for a while. Anyway, back on point, Bounce Balls are food. A great kind of food. They’re energy balls. The idea behind them is to get an excellent boost of energy from small, delicious, nutrient-dense foods.
I’ve only tried one flavour (still making my way around them) but here’s a run-down of their excellent, energy balls.

There are 8 amazing flavours to choose from, made from the highest quality ingredients (messing with quality is not an option here). Each different flavour provides something different whether it’s only flavour, or the function or the nutritional value is provides. Bounce Balls have made sure you will find exactly what you need.
HP= High Protein
V= Suitable for vegetarians
GF= Gluten Free
HF= High Fibre

  • Cacao Mint Protein Bomb; this is their newest flavour. Sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, quality proteins and rice bran. Get your protein pick me up from this incredible new ball! (HP)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Protein Punch; cashews, whey, pea proteins, excellent carbs and heart healthy fats. An excellent high protein which will curb even the meanest of hunger pangs to help you maintain your fast-paced day. (V & GF)
  • Peanut Protein Blast; they’re all on my bucket list, but this is next. I’m a huge peanut fan. Titled “The Golden Nugget” on their website, this ball is packed full of delicious peanut. High protein, energy packed ball of incredible. (HP)
  • Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss; an antioxidant packed ball with excellently healthy macadamias, coconut and cashews. This is definitely one for the lovers of coconut and summer flavours (HP & HF).
  • Spirulina & Ginseng Energy Balls; I hear a lot about Spirulina and I wasn’t sure what it was, so I did some research. It’s a superfood which is high in protein, essential amino acids and iron. Excellent sources of iron and great boost for the immune system. This particular energy ball is packed with superfood Spirulina and superfood Ginseng. This seems like a body’s cup of gold. Packed with delicious almonds, oat, sesame seeds, spirulina and ginseng. This is literally a health boost in a packet, it’s got fibre, unsaturated fats, vitamins E and B12 (HF)
  • Almond Protein Hit; I’ve tried this one ad I really enjoyed it, it’s got a bit of marzipan flavour to it, and it did give me a fantastic energy boost (I enjoyed it whilst on an energy slump on holiday, instant pick me up). Another ball packed with heart healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. (HP & HF)
  • Cashew & Pecan Vitality Lift; another heart healthy packed ball packed with delicious nuts and seeds. This one also contains an excellent antioxidant called manganese. Get your mono and unsaturated fat hit from this one! (HF)
  • Fudgie Walnut Health Storm; walnuts, peanuts, carob and sesame seeds. This is an excellent ‘free-from’ option for all gluten free readers. Again it’s packed with manganese, heart healthy fats and fibre. (HF & GF)

All their products are great on-the-go snacks that are packed with healthy but filling ingredients. Once I’ve got some more monies in the bank (curse the student budget) I have every intention to getting my hands on these balls of power to fuel my long days. They’re too convenient not to try!

These are available in a wide variety of stores; find them in Holland & Barrett, Waitrose, Boots.com and other health food shops. You can also purchase them online on their own website. A pack of 12 costs £19.45 or a pack of 40 for £63.95. It sounds like a lot but consider how nutritionally dense they are, I think if you’re really serious about healthy energy, these are worth it.

Gym Bug

The Raw Chocolate Company

Hi there!

This is a post that may help those searching for Christmas gifts/treats/stocking fillers! There’s less than 6 weeks left until Christmas, so here’s a gift to buy for your loved ones!

Okay, so living off of super healthy food and plenty of exercise can be fun and delicious, but sometimes it’s also great to have a treat from time to time. It’s also even better if that treat doesn’t make you feel awful, right? With Christmas just around the corner, some people may be thinking how they’re going to resist all the tempting chocolate, Christmas cake, mince pies and other delicious treats. I get some of these treats as presents too, and whilst they’re amazing and I enjoy them, I would also love to have some treats that are healthy and you may know someone who feels the same. I have discovered the perfect gift for them then!

They’re called The Raw Chocolate Company. They produce natural, raw chocolate bars. Raw? Yes, raw. They’ve produced chocolate using sun dried cocoa and have used minimal processing to create delicious, natural products. This minimal production method also makes their chocolate vegan. They take extreme care selecting and processing (minimally) all their ingredients and producing the chocolate. They take 3 times longer than normal chocolate producers to grind their ingredients. It really makes a massive difference to the texture.

Now, for some, reading “minimally processed” might mean “super, dark and bitter chocolate”. I can tell you now, after being kindly sent some bars from the Raw Chocolate Company, this puts dark chocolate on a whole new level.

 

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

Being the RAW Chocolate Company, they’re chocolate uses raw cacao. Raw foods provide amazing health benefits such as containing friendly bacteria, higher nutrient levels (than cooked food) and have enzymes that help aid digestion (some of these get destroyed when you cook them).
Cacao also provides plenty of health benefits and recently, dark chocolate has been recommended to have as part of a balanced diet. This is because dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure, can help manage certain diabetic symptoms, great source of energy and can make you feel happier! It truly is a good treat in more ways than one!

So, back to The Raw Chocolate Company. They kindly sent me one of each of their chocolate bars, and below I have reviewed them. I would like to note I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of reviewing these bars. They’re all great gifts and they’re all great for leading a healthy lifestyle.

Perfect Christmas gift!

Perfect Christmas gift!

  • Vanoffe;
    If you can’t bear dark chocolate, then go for this one. It’s their “white chocolate” bar. It’s vanilla-toffee flavoured. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate so I find this a little bit sweet, but for those of who prefer milk or white chocolate, this bar is definitely for you. It’s also smooth and creamy, yet completely vegan! It has that distinct chocolate flavour, yet you’ll be reminded more of white chocolate than dark. It’s very unique (in a good way).
  • Vanoffe Dark;
    Yummy! It’s based on the Vanoffe bar above, but they’ve packed in extra cacao to make it a darker chocolate bar at 55% cacao. This one is closer to a milk chocolate (could easily replace the high fat, high calorie, highly processed stuff). This could be my new favourite milk chocolate.
  • Pitch Dark;
    72% cacao. It is the perfect “post-Christmas meal binge” sweet treat. Gloriously dark and smooth. A couple of squares is the maximum, which makes it even better, you’re not going to over-indulge, but you’ll be very satisfied with your little treat.
  • Goji & Orange;
    This is award-winning and I can see why. This is by far my favourite. I actually purchased this once and it’s what got me interested in the company. 69% cacao it’s great for anyone who enjoys dark chocolate but can’t face 72% cacao. The goji and orange are perfectly balanced to create a luxurious, sweet and sour experience that’s completely unique. It’s not an overpowering citrus flavour and the goji berries make for an interesting texture.
  • Mint with Xylitol;
    After-eight fans out there? You’ll love this, because it’s even better than After-eights in more ways than one. This is a 70% cacao bar with Xylitol, to give it a zingy mint flavour. The best part? This bar is sugar free and Xylitol is great for teeth. This could be another post-dinner treat to break out after Christmas eating. Or to break out on boxing day as a healthy treat. The mint isn’t overbearing, rather it’s more a subtle offering of mint, rather than blasting your taste buds.
  • Orange with Xylitol;
    Another sugar free bar at 70% cacao. This one is the perfect gift for anyone who loves a bit of tang. It’s perfectly subtle but leaves a refreshing taste. Again, the citrus doesn’t overpower the chocolate. It’s definitly a chocolate bar, with a nice tone of orange to finish it off. It’s a great way to get into dark chocolate as the zing at the end helps take the edge off the bitter side of dark chocolate.

These can all be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. They also provide natural health benefits! The Raw Chocolate Company is an excellent example of how to make healthy eating delicious.  All of these bars are available in their online store. They are also all available in Vegan options.

The company also produce and sell raw chocolate covered goji berries, mulberries and raisins, as well as vanoffe mulberries. Perfect on-the-go snacks that is convenient and healthy. Honestly, it’s the perfect package.
These raw chocolate covered snack options are also available without chocolate with some other supreme foods too. They sell goji berries, mulberries, hemp protein powder, acai powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, lucuma fruit powder, cacao butter, coconut palm sugar and of course cacao powder! These are what they use when producing their products, so like their chocolate bars and berries, it’s all Fairtrade! We love Fairtrade!

They’re an award-winning, Fairtrade, charitable company who are dedicated to delivering healthy, delicious chocolate to the world. Go and grab a bar, for yourself, as a Christmas gift, anything! It’s a Do-Good, Feel-Good, Eat-Good type of purchase.

They are perfect stocking fillers for health conscious chocolate lovers (trust me).

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They’ve got some amazing recipes for their products as well as some great, useful information.

Christmas is a time for sharing, so share some healthy treats!

Gym Bug

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