Honey Almond & Banana Bread Muffins (Paleo, Clean eating)

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Paleo, Paleo, Paleo, a diet that can offer extremely good health if followed correctly. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that the Paleo diet isn’t simply eating “meat and veg” like a caveman. There is no way to starve on this diet because there are so many options.
I’m a big big sweet tooth! I don’t follow the Paleo diet purely for weight loss; I mainly follow it because it has a lot of benefits to your health.
Even all of the weight loss gurus in the world can’t deny that cutting out processed foods will 100% benefit you.
The key with Paleo is to balance your sugar intake (yes honey is a natural sweetener). But of course I mentioned the word BALANCE there.
If you’re following Paleo and craving something sweet, then my Paleo Honey Almond & Banana bread muffins are perfect for you!
Just try not to eat them all. Delicious!

Ingredients:
• 3 eggs
• 2 tbsp. coconut milk
• 3 tbsp. honey
• 1/4 tsp. baking powder
• ¼ cup coconut flour
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ¼ Natural Vanilla extract (DO NOT USE VANILLA ESSENCE)
• 2 tbsp. coconut oil
• ½ Slithered almonds
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 banana

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 180c

2. In a bowl add in all wet ingredients and ½ banana and blend until smooth.

3. Using a sieve, sift in all dry ingredients (except nuts) and blend to combine until smooth.

4. Add in half if the almonds and stir with a spoon (do not blend).

5. In a greased muffin pan, divide evenly between 6 servings.

6. Once divided out, from your left over banana, slice this into 6 pieces and place one in each muffin.

7. Decorate with remaining almonds and dust with cinnamon for an extra spice.

8. Place on the middle rack of an oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Try not to eat them all!

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Should you be taking pre-workout supplements

Whether your bulking, shredding or toning, unless your superwoman, there comes a point where diet and exercise alone can only take you so far towards reaching your goals.
That’s where supplements come into play.

No body wants to walk into that supplement shop, walking up and down the isles reading the packaging containing a million and one ingredients that they know nothing about only to possibly buy the wrong product that’s ineffective and costs a mint. (Usually because it looks pretty).

So what’s generally the first thing we do when looking at starting supplements? Or even changing our current supplements?

We go straight to the internet and research.
But I’m taking out the hard work for you and giving you the main things you need to know below.

First off, – What is pre workout?
Pre-workout is basically a supplement that has a mixture (cocktail) of ingredients created to provide you with extra energy, endurance, increase your strength, crank up muscle growth and burn extra body fat.
As the name suggests it is to be taken before you work out.

Should you be taking pre workout?
This one is something you really need to decide for your self.
If your exercise involves going for a brisk walk a few km’s around the block of your local city, then you probably don’t need to be taking this.
But if you’re training with weights, doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), aerobatics, you feel as though you need that extra kick, or you just don’t have the drive to go the extra mile in your work out, then pre work out may be for you.

When not to take it:
There will always be a warning label right near the ingredients list of what you’re taking, it is IMPORTANT that you read this! Anyone that has taken a good pre-workout knows that some of the ingredients can sometimes hit very potently.
Narrowing it down to a few general reasons why you should not take pre workout:
• If you are under 18 years of age
• If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing
• If you are caffeine, Beta-alanine, or niacin sensitive
• If you have High Blood Pressure
• If you have heart issues or suffer from heart palpitations
• If you suffer from Anxiety or Depression
• If you suffer from insomnia
• Always check the label in regards to any food allergies you may have.
• If your other supplements contain enough of the same ingredients, this one is really important! I can’t stress enough, the average person should have daily intake of caffeine of around 400mg. Obviously some people are more sensitive and others aren’t. But if you take a pre workout that has a large amount of caffeine, finish your workout and then take a protein shake with high amounts of caffeine, you could over do it.

Cyclic Supplementation
Pre-workout is a supplement that can be very addictive, when you first take it, you’ll probably brag to all of your friends about how you had the best workout of your life, and you don’t know what the hell you were doing with your self before finding it.
The trouble is, after you continue to take Pre-workout over the days/weeks your body can grow immune to its affects, meaning you’re not really getting the best out of your workout anymore.
Having a cycle on/off period ensures that your body is using this supplement to the best of its advantages.
It also ensures that you are not relying on the supplement solely for your fitness regime.

So what pre workout do I recommend?
I personally do not rely on pre workout because of prefer to build up my strength in my own way and do not want to become reliant on it’s energy source. However if I am really mentally tired but I know I need to pump out a workout, there is no going past Cellucors C4.

What is Cellucor C4?

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According to it’s website: It is powdered energy. C4 Extreme harnesses NO3 technology and effective ingredients including creatine nitrate, L-Dopa, and Xanthinol Nicotinate making it the most advanced pre-workout supplement around.
Key to C4 Extreme’s success is NO3 or Nitrate, an advanced compound that promotes unbelievable muscle pumps. Cellucor is utilizing a new compound where NO3 has been fused to create Creatine Nitrate. Increased water solubility promotes better absorption and reduces the chance of the traditional side effects of Creatine supplementation.
You will have more energy. You will have help getting that extra rep, completing that last set – promoting strength, endurance, and physique personal bests.

My experience?
I’ve personally tried a few brands, beasts pre workout and hyper fx to be included. I found that C4 was way better for focus, giving me unbelievable tunnel vision and long lasting energy throughout the workout and no crash whilst working out.

Is it expensive?
C4 costs about 29.95 per container of 30 servings. That’s roughly a dollar a serve. If you’re not going to take it every day that’s not too bad. People pay that for cigarettes and C4 helps you get fitter.

Does it taste good?
SHORT ANSWER YES!
C4 comes in many delicious flavours including the following:
Lemon Lime
Fruit Punch
Orange
Watermelon
Green Apple
Pineapple
Pink Lemonade
Icy Blue Razz
Strawberry Margarita
Peach Mango
Icy blue razz has to be my personal favourite.

Where can I buy this?
Any good supplement shop.
If you wish to order online and you’re in Australia try the supplement warehouse: Here

Chocolate Caramel Slice (Paleo, Clean eating)

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This recipe seems like there are a lot of ingredients, but there actually isn’t. I have split it up into the layers to make it easier for you as you construct this.
I might add that although this is Paleo/Clean Eating it’s not the HEALTHIEST dessert for you. But it is all natural ingredients (natural fats and sugars) and it is fine to have a treat once and a while (balance over binging is my motto). It also tastes pretty much like the real thing and is absolutely mouth watering-ly delicious.
I tweaked this from a few other recipes I had found on the net but found they were missing some essentials. This my friends, is on point. Serving With some Paleo Banana Ice cream if desired! (Recipe to come).

Ingredients:
Crust
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1 cup (140g) dates, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup coconut oil (Ghee Butter will work too).
• ¼ Cup shredded coconut (optional)

Caramel
• 1 1/4cups raw cashews
• 1/4 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup coconut oil
• 1 tsp. Natural vanilla extract
• 2 cups dates

Chocolate
• 6 tbsp. coconut oil
• 2 tbsp. Nut butter or organic peanut butter (depending on your thoughts re:paleo)
• 2 tbsp. organic honey or 100% maple syrup
• 4 tbsp. Raw Cacao powder
• Optional: crushed walnuts to sprinkle on top

Instructions:
1. Firstly, line a small baking tray with Cling wrap (cling film) and then lay a square of baking paper along the bottom.

2. Grab the required dates needed for the crust and soak in boiling hot water for 5-10 minutes or until softened.

3. Drain the dates vigorously to remove excess water (paper towel can also be used here) and in a food processor combine all ingredients for the crust.

4. Once all crust ingredients are combined, press into the baking tray using your fingertips, a glass or the back of a spoon. Ensure this is tightly pressed as you would the base of a cheesecake.

5. Place the base into the freezer.

6. Next grab the cashews and dates required for the caramel layer and soak them for 5-10 minutes or until softened. As with the crust drain these vigorously removing any excess water.

7. Melt coconut oil required for caramel
8. In a food processer add dates, cashews, coconut milk and coconut oil and combine till smooth like caramel.

9. Remove the crust from the freezer and lay down caramel layer on top. Patting down with a spoon or icing spatula. Place the pan back into the freezer, this time for at least 30 minutes (this is to stop the chocolate from leaking into this layer).

10. Lastly onto the chocolate, in a microwave safe dish, place your coconut oil, honey and nut butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted.

11. Mix in the Raw Cacao powder.

12. Take the pan out of the freezer and pour chocolate mixture on top.

13. Sprinkle with walnuts or anything else as desired and place into freezer for approximately 1 ½ – 2 hours before serving.

Note: Caramel slice will need to be kept in the freezer at all times when not eating to keep it set and ensure it does not melt.

Banana-Berry Protein Breaky Bread (Clean Eating)

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Ingredients:
• 1 cup of oats
• 1 free range egg
• 100mls coconut water
• 100g vanilla protein powder
• 1tsp cinnamon
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 2 extra ripe bananas
• 100g frozen mixed berries
• Handful of Walnuts and sprinkle of oats (or garnishes of your choice pepita’s are also nice).

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 180c

2. Place all ingredients except berries & garnishes into a large bowl and blend with stick blender until smooth.

3. Pour into a greased oven tray

4.Garnish with Berries, walnuts and spare oats.

5. Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Mmmmmm delicious……😍

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10 Reasons why you could benefit from L-Carnitine

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So…the other day I popped into my local supplement shop, to perve on the supplement shop guy … I mean stock up on supplies and when at the check out the guy working said to me “Have you tried L-Carnitine?”.

I’m still learning more about supplements every single day, and educating my self by researching everything I take, but L-Carnitine? What the heck is that? Feeling uneducated I swiftly replied “Uh No, I haven’t….”

And then boom! The dude chucks a bottle filled with 60 tablets in my shopping bag for free like it’s my pay day. $$

Every body loves a freebie of course, but when you are taking supplements with your health care regime you really should ALWAYS research what you’re taking, the dosage and make sure that none of your other products are overloading you. (I’ve made this mistake one too many times with caffeine *Shrieks*).

So, back to the L Carnitine, below I’ve taken out the hard work for you and done some research for you to familiarise you with this supplement and help you decide when/why/if you should be taking it.

Enjoy!

Let’s start, what the heck is L-Carnitine?

What is L-Carnitine?
L-Carnitine is a substance found in almost every cell in the body, it is biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methione. The compound plays a crucial role in energy production and is responsible for transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria.
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Making sense? Nope…probably not yet, but read on as I go more in depth…

What are some of the benefits of L Carnitine?
1. Fat loss
• May help to assist metabolising fat into energy (ideal for those doing ketogenics/high fat low carb, or any eating regime).
• Through this it has been shown to reduce fatigue, helping you sustain energy through workouts and all day.
• The reduction in fatigue means working out more and harder which in turn means more fat loss.
• It has been shown to help suppress appetite
• It is a major asset to have in your arsenal when not dieting also as it increases your aerobatic capacity, helping you burn more calories.

2. Muscle gain
• As L-carnitine helps to prevent fatigue, it is considered to help with the gaining of muscle mass as it is speculated to help increase your strength so you can lift heavier weights for ultimately more gains. (If you’re not looking to bulk up, it won’t increase your size if you’re not doing the lifting so there is no need to worry).

3. Bone mass
• It is speculated that by taking l-carnitine, you can slow down the bone loss process and improve bone micro structural properties by decreasing bone turnover.

4. Heart conditions
• Yep clinical trials have shown that L-Carnitine with conventional treatment can reduce the need for medicine and improve chest pain in patients suffering from angina! (Consult your doctor obviously before changing your treatment plan).

5. Kidney Treatment
• L-Carnitine is recommended as a supplement for people with kidney failure/damage as your kidneys can become deficient in this when not working properly.

6. Women & breastfeeding
• Some women who breast feed can become deficient in L-carnitine; this is due to the extra calories being burnt. Women can take this to help with deficiency or help prevent deficiency from happening.

7. Type II diabetes
• People that have Type II diabetes can also benefit from carnitine supplementation. Taking L-carnitine helps diabetics by increasing glucose oxidation, glucose storage, as well as glucose uptake. (Again obviously consult your doctor).

8. Immune System support
• L-carnitine serves as an antioxidant. This means it can help you out when you have a cold or are dealing with various seasonal allergies and training.

9. Brain function support
• L-carnitine helps protect the brain from both age related and stress related damage, which in turn helps it function longer and better. It is currently being trialled in seniors and Alzheimer’s patients.

10. Antidote to valporic acid poisoning
• Valproic acid (VPA) is a chemical compound that has found clinical use as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug, primarily in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and, less commonly, major depression. It is also used to treat migraine headaches and schizophrenia. Although it may not be a bodybuilding issue, there are thousands of documented cases of valproic acid ingested every year. Despite not being able to serve as a total antidote on its own, taking l-carnitine is considered to help you if for some reason you do suffer from this dangerous poisoning.

Okay so now that we’ve explained its benefits (some of them useful, some of them maybe not so much), let’s get a little more insight into this supplement.

Can you stack it with other supplements?
YEP! If it’s pure L-carnitine (also known as levocarnitine tartrate), with no other chemicals or additives. Many people recommend to stack L-carnitine with your fat burners (especially the ones that are purely energy driven like Beast 2 Shredded) and also with your protein shakes, pre workouts, creatine and etc. Generally people taking this want to be taking it to help transport their fat to energy, so if you’re on a healthy eating plan, particularly Ketogenics it can be useful.

When and how do I take it?
People may have different ways of taking it, so ultimately it’s up to you. My current brand (Balance Lean Carnitine) recommends 3-6 500mg tablets per day at least an hour before exercise and evenly through the day.
It is best when taking supplements to always read the instructions to ensure you are not taking too much or too little.

Are there side effects?
There aren’t too many side effects with L-carnitine, and most of them are rare. I didn’t experience any at all,
But here are a few:

More common:
• High Blood pressure
Less common:
• Fast heartbeat
• Fever
Rare:
• Seizures

What does it Taste like?
My L Carnitine was taken as capsules so there was no taste what so ever. See below picture.

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Price?
Even though I got my L-Carnitine for free, the average prices is around $69.95 for 60 capsules. Most supplements can be any where from $1.00-$2.00 a serve, however Balance Lean Carnitine has 500mg of L-Carnitine Tartrate and required you to take 3-6 tablets per day. Depending on your goals that’s only going to last you 20-40 days. I’d say as a stacker that’s not really worth it when some fat burners can offer the same benefits.

My experience trialling it?
Personally I only had a 60 pack of L-carnitine, meaning it lasted me roughly 20 days when taken by instructions on the packaging. I already take a fat burner every morning (optiburn, amazing! I’ll review that soon) which has slow releasing energy throughout the day as well as creatine powder, protein powder and my amino acids intra workout.
So to sit here and say that L-carnitine gave me more energy that was unexplainable would be a lie because I honestly wouldn’t know.
BUT from what I have read in reviews and as a stacker to your other supplements, by all means I think you should take it. As long as you’re training hard and eating properly supplements are always able to give you that extra 5%.
There are scientific facts to back this up, so it’s not another gimmick.

Dark Chocolate Bark (Clean Eating, Paleo)

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Ingredients:
• 3 tbs Coconut Oil
• 1 tbs Nut Butter (Organic peanut butter is doable too)
• 1 tbs Organic Honey or Maple Syrup (check the label and make sure there is no additives, it should be 100% pure)
• 3 tbs raw cacao powder
Optional: toppings of your choice. Picture one I used dried goji berries, raisins and pepitas to give it a fruit and nut taste. And Picture two I chucked in some frozen berries, walnuts and sprinkled oats, obviously if you’re doing paleo, you’d top with paleo ingredients.

Instructions:
1. Melt coconut oil, honey and peanut butter and mix thoroughly.

2. Mix in cacao powder.

3. Cover a shallow baking tray with cling wrap.

4. Pour mixture onto tray.

5. Decorate with favourite fillings.

6. Chuck in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.

Easy Peasy Zucchini Patties (Paleo, HFLC, Keto)

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Ingredients:
• 2 medium zucchinis
• 1tsp Himalayan rock salt (or normal)
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 medium/small egg
• 1 100g packet of almond meal/flour
• Dried Parmesan cheese (optional: for breading, paleo dieters ignore)
• 200g grass fed butter or coconut oil (for frying)
• Paper towel

Instructions:
1. Grate zucchinis into a medium glass bowl and mix in salt. Let this rest for ten minutes.

2. Grab paper towel and drain all excess water from the zucchini. (This may take a few goes).

3. Add in baking powder, egg, garlic and almond meal and combine.

4. Heat up a large non stick frying pan on medium and add your fat (butter or coconut oil).

5. Take small handfuls of zucchini mixture and roll into a ball, then press into a plate that has Parmesan sprinkled on it (as you would crumb something.

6. Now that your patties are made, place them on the fry pan and allow them to turn golden brown on either side.

Note: if you’re have difficulty keeping them together you could instead bake them in the oven. Often if they are too moist they can fall apart.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Triffle (HFLC, Keto, sugar free)

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This recipe is outstanding! I just whipped it up out of a sort of fluke to be honest, but it was so good! The photo doesn’t do it justice. Again it’s another high fat dessert but low in sugar, great for kick starting ketosis or helping sugar cravings. Could be easily adaptable to make it paleo also. I wouldn’t recommend it for the clean eaters or calorific dieters though.

Ingredients:
Base
• 3 tablespoons banaban organic coconut crunch
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 tsp stevia
• 1tsp cacao powder

Mousse
• 1/3 can coconut cream
• 2 tsp cacao powder
• 1 tbs natural peanut butter
• 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
• 1-2 tsp stevia (depending on your taste)
• Optional : 1 tbs shredded coconut or 1 serving protein powder

Topping
• A few scoops of diet Jelly (I used port wine)

Instructions:
Firstly the base…
1. Melt coconut oil and fold into all other ingredients until a thick paste is made.

2. Place paste into a small glass cup and press down as you would a cheese cake crust.

3. Put into the refrigerator.

Now onto the mousse…

1. Melt coconut oil.

2. Combine with all other ingredients and use a hand blender to combine.

3. Pour onto base mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

And finally!
1. Top with jelly, refrigerate a further 30 minutes and enjoy!

Crunchy Choc-Peanut Butter Protein Cookies (Keto, HFLC)

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Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
• 3 small or 2 large egg whites
• 1/4 cup protein powder of choice (see picture below I used Horleys ripped in chocolate fix)
• 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 2 tsp stevia (optional I didn’t use this, the protein made it sweet enough)

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This is the protein powder, Horleys ripped, that I’m using in this recipe it’s extremely low carb and worked well. You however can use any flavour or brand you want.

Instructions:
1. Pre heat oven to 220°C.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Fold wet ingredients into dry.

Note: If the mixture is too runny you can add more protein but don’t go too crazy or the cookies will come out dry).

5. Using a tablespoon scoop out mixture onto a greased oven tray. This should make approximately 7 cookies.

6. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack until only slightly golden brown.

Bacon chilli chicken wrap (Ketogenic, HFLC)

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This ones quite fatty! But perfect for all the keto lovers out there or trying to kick start your body when ketogenically dieting. I basically create this from scratch using the left overs in my house, but I definitely can’t complain! (Who can complain with bacon?)

Ingredients:
• 4 rashers of good quality bacon
• 200g chicken breast
• 2 tbs low carb pizza sauce
• 1 tbs phillidelphia cream cheese
• Small handful mozzarella
• 1 tsp Italian herbs
• 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Instructions:
1. Pre heat oven to 180°C.

2. Lay bacon out parallel along side one another.

3. Slice chicken breast thinly and lay over the top of the bacon.

4. Spread on pizza sauce, cream cheese, Italian herbs and mozzarella.

5. Use the bacon to wrap up into a roll and sprinkle with chilli flakes.
(Using cling wrap might be more ideal just don’t put it in the oven!)

6. Place on the bottom rack of your oven for approximately 20 minutes.

7. Transfer to the top rack and cook until the bacon is crispy (approximately 10 minutes).

6. Cut into roll and ensure chicken is cooked through, if not further time may be needed.