Workouts

RIPPED, Total Body Challenge, DVD workout review, 5 stars.

P1030901Another one I can’t live without….

This is a brilliant DVD and one of the best investments you’ll ever make. RIPPED not only means how you gonna look like after doing this workout but also stands for what you need to do to get there.. Resistance Intervals Power Plyometrics Endurance and Diet and nutrition. Whoever came up with that is a genius, and is probably very fit as well which is actually quite unfair…

Well, how do I start? The workout is divided into mini sections which are like this : Warm up : 6 min, Resistance : 7 min, Intervals 5 min, Power 10 min, Plyometrics 5 min, Endurance 10 min, ( obviously no exercise for Diet… except maybe cooking…), Cool down 5 min and a Bonus Abs section of 5 min. The whole workout is 48 min ( or 53 if you add the bonus section ). What is brilliant about this is that you get to chose how many mini sections you want to do depending on how much time you’ve got without breaking your workout. This is basically one of the best go to workouts for any time of the week.

The workout in itself is one the best out there. You will feel it working all over your body, it will make you sweat, give you adrenalin and will make you happy. All of the mini workouts are faultlessly explained, if you want you can start each one with a tutorial which will explain to you exactly how to do the moves so not to hurt yourself, during them everything goes smoothly to give you the best chances to follow correctly, the music is perfectly chosen and everything looks in place, even the comments and jokes or the camera focus on the guy that sings to the music while lifting weights..

This DVD is also perfectly made and I think a lot of workout videos out there should take it as an example. At the menu page you can chose to do the whole workout with or without tutorial, or you can chose any individual section including warm up and cool down separately, with or without tutorial, and if you chose any of them the video goes back to the menu after every single one, it doesn’t just carry on onto the following one like most videos…which means it’s easier to create your own workout on the go the way you want it without having to fiddle with the remote control for too long. It looks simple but believe me I haven’t seen this often and it’s so nice when it happens it makes you want to workout more… Really!

So here it is, one of the best workout DVD out there. The only criticism I would make is that they only made this one and only video and sometimes I wish they would have made thousands. ( That would cost me a lot of money and shelf space though… ) but I guess it must be hard to reach perfection!

If you want to see how I manage this workout in my tiny living room, have a look at a video I made some time ago here : youtube video : RIPPED, total body challenge, workout DVD review.

Now go and order it now!

Recipes

Quinoa Tabouleh with Avocado Dressing.

FOOD tabouleh3

It’s getting hot outside!

Mint is growing like crazy in my garden and I thought what could be nice and refreshing in this weather… I know.. a mojito could be nice!( that’s about 200 calories if you fancy one…) And after pausing for a moment I thought that a moroccan inspired tabouleh could be nice as well.

I had cooked quinoa in my fridge but if you want to cook some just know that to get one cup you need to boil in a pan 1/3 cup quinoa with 2/3cup of water for about 20min until all the water is absorbed and you can’t see anymore any white dot in the middle of the grains. Then you can use half for this recipe and keep the other half in your fridge for up to three days to use in another dish. Quinoa is a great protein and you should eat it often.

When I open an avocado I only take what I need and freeze the rest for another time, this way I’m not tempted to eat all of it. I know that it contains a lot of good fats and nutrients, that’s why I still eat it often, but like everything else in that category I think it should be eaten with care and moderation. Better a little bit often than too much in one go and suffer from it…we are trying to keep some weight off and be healthy in the end..

 

FOOD tabouleh2

I wanted to show you how all the ingredients look like separated and by the time I got everything ready including my camera my avocado got brown…should have mixed it with the lemon juice before doing anything else. Anyway.. don’t worry if it happens to you as well you will not see or taste the difference after it’s been blended into the salad, promise!

Other than that, just get some ice water with lots of mint and a straw ( 1 cal!!) and enjoy.

 

Quinoa Tabouleh with Avocado Dressing.

  • Servings: just one
  • Time: 10 to 15min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A refreshing and healthy moroccan inspired tabouleh at just 256 calories.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa ( 111 cal )
  • 100g chopped cucumber ( 16 cal )
  • 50g chopped celery ( 8 cal )
  • 100g chopped radishes ( 16 cal )
  • 100g chopped red pepper ( 30 cal )
  • 30g chopped spring onions ( 7 cal )
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley ( 11 cal )
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint ( 8 cal )
  • 30g avocado ( 48 cal )
  • 1tbsp lemon juice ( 1 cal )
  • Salt and pepper.

Directions

  1. Blend or mash with a fork the avocado flesh, lemon juice, salt and pepper until you get a creamy consistency. That will be your avocado dressing.
  2. In a bowl mix the quinoa, fresh mint, fresh parsley and your avocado dressing until well blended then add all your chopped veg and mix again. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Recipes

Russian Summer Salad with raw Beetroot and roasted Chickpeas.

FOOD Russian Summer Salad

 

Finally the sun is coming out this week and I feel that I need something nice and cool but not completely, just like the weather.

My husband had to go to Belarus this week so I thought that making something inspired by Belarusian and Russian cuisine would be a good idea. I had to have some beetroot, spring onions, dill and my very easy version of the sour cream.

As you can see the recipe asks for blended silken tofu. I like to blend some silken tofu once in a while and keep it it my fridge, covered, for up to three days. You can find it at the supermarket in the asian aisle or in any asian shop. I’m afraid you can’t get that creamy texture with normal tofu, unless maybe you’ve got a Vitamix which I don’t. Anytime I feel like having some sort of creamy dressing it always has been the best option. There are not too many calories, it is protein not fat, and with some added lemon juice, vinegar, herbs and spices it works well every time. It may taste a bit strange at first on its own but believe me it works well in salads when you need that bit of cream or mayonnaise you are craving for.

And for the nearly dry roasted chickpeas, they give you protein and a nice crispy texture without the oil that you don’t really need here. It’s like having hot croutons, just better.

On that, enjoy the sun, and remember to keep a jumper nearby, just in case.

 

Russian Summer Salad with raw Beetroot and roasted Chickpeas.

  • Servings: just one
  • Time: 15 to 25min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A 300 calories hot and cold salad perfect for a nice spring evening

Ingredients

  • 120g cooked chickpeas ( that’s usually half a tin ) drained and rinsed. 225cal
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste. 8cal
  • 50g grated carrots. 20cal
  • 50g grated raw beetroot. 22cal
  • 30g chopped spring onions. 7cal
  • 20g blended silken tofu.15cal
  • 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar. 1cal
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped. 1cal
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. First mix your chickpeas with the tomato paste and a bit of salt and pepper until it is well coated, then spread them on an ovenproof tray and bake between 10 to 20min at 200°C, you need to check and shake them once in a while, you want them to dry out and become crispy, not to get stuck and burn.
  2. On a serving plate, put the grated carrot, grated beetroot and chopped spring onions side by side, don’t mix them together otherwise you are gonna get an overall purple salad.
  3. Mix your blended tofu with the white wine vinegar and a bit of salt to make your “sour cream”, set aside.
  4. When your chickpeas are ready put them on the side of your vegetables, then top it all with the tofu sour cream and fresh chopped dill. Serve.

 

 

 

 

Workouts

Bob Harper : Beginner’s Weight Loss Transformation. DVD review, 5 stars.

P1030786So here is another one of my favourites workout DVDs.

I know the title says beginner but you are gonna get challenged with this one. It is very hard to start a weight loss journey with this especially if you are really unfit to begin with, but it gives you something to look forward to and it is a very good workout once you get used to it.

The first time I tried it, it was again on fab TV at the time and I think that after about 5min in the workout I started crying. It was only about two weeks since I’ve decided to lose weight, I was really unfit and I remember telling myself that if I couldn’t even do a beginner workout I would never gonna be able to do this… Then I put myself together, put it on the side for a bit, and tried other workouts.

After about two months, I had lost some weight and I was fitter, other “easier” workouts had helped me get to this point. Then I remembered about this beginner workout from hell and decided to give it another go, “just to try”. It was hard but it wasn’t as hard as the first time, I could do the whole 45 min without fainting, feeling so good when it finished it was a revelation. Since then I did it countless times, it still is challenging but it feels amazing.

On a weight loss program I wouldn’t recommend starting cold turkey with this one, It is way too hard if you are overweight and unfit. Being at home you might faint, hurt yourself or vomit on your carpet, and most importantly, you might also discourage yourself, and you don’t want that. But as soon as you feel a bit more flexible, lighter and confident and you’ve been working out for a bit, go for it, this is an amazing workout. It works your whole body, makes you sweat and gives you such an incredible feeling when you’re done it makes it all worth it.

Bob Harper is definitely an amazing trainer, he is a bit harsh but he pushes hard. This workout is spotless, you are gonna do cardio, resistance and stretch, everywhere, till the end. And when you see the other guys in the video, who are obviously fit, struggling and sweating as well, it helps.

Now I make a point on doing it a few times during the month. As it is 45min for me it is too long a workout to do straight after work so I do it when I’m off, usually in the morning, this way I know I’m done and I can enjoy the rest of my day.

If you want to see how it looks like to do it in my small living room, I’ve made a video some time ago that you can see here youtube video : Bob harper, beginner weight loss transformation DVD review.  I know I’m still not that flexible but believe me I’ve made progress…

I’ve bought the DVD but I think you can find it for free on youtube. I’m not gonna link as I don’t know if I can but if you type “Bob Harper, beginner weight loss transformation” you should be able to find it.

On that note, good luck and see you next time.

About losing weight

Help I’m hungry and please kill my cravings!!!

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I know…

I’m really sorry to tell you this but whoever you are, whether you are overweight and decide it’s time to lose some pounds, along your weight loss journey, or when you finally reach your goal. And basically for the rest of your life after that, you will always gonna have to deal with food and drinks. It’s a fact, you, me, no one can change this.

Everybody knows the basics about what is said to be good or bad, but everybody is different. Some people have allergies or diseases then what is good for you may be bad for them, some others can eat cake and drink soda all day and have a body that doesn’t stock any fat and look thinner and healthier than others who eat probably better food with less calories but gain a few pounds instead.

The unfair part of all this is that if you’ve ever been overweight in your life, or got pregnant, even if you lose all you wanted and even more, you will never be able to eat like The Others without putting some back on. I’ve read somewhere, sorry I can’t remember where, but please do google it for scientific proof, that the more you stock fat the more your body creates fat cells, when you lose weight they just get smaller but never disappear, so basically if you indulge a bit too much your body is gonna have a tendency to stock in those cells because it’s easier to fill them when they are already there. Especially if you’ve been crash dieting your body thinks you are starving and stocks at the first opportunity. And when I think about it it makes perfect sense and I guess that’s why it’s so hard to keep it off.

So well, like me, you just have to make peace with this unfair part of life and try to deal with it the best you can and be prepared. You’re losing weight and you’ve planned your breakfast ( 400 calories ), your lunch ( 100 calories ), your dinner ( 300 calories ) but what to do in between when you have to have something without ruining all the good work you’ve done so far and you just can’t wait till lunch or dinner just because a. you need a snack before and/or after working out, or 3 hours passed since your last meal and that’s perfectly normal, b. something smells good in the kitchen and you just can’t take it, c. you just want a glass of wine to relax and/or share with someone, or d. someone upset you and you want chocolate? For any reason you may think of, you need to know that they happen all the time and you just need to know where to turn in these cases. For these reasons you are allowed an extra 200 to 300 calories a day for fun or survival when you’re on your weight loss journey and up to 700 when you’ve reached your goal. yeah!!

Remember I’m not a nutritionist but please lets use common sense. If you’ve got issues and your doctor gives you advice listen to him or her. If you’ve got allergies, well you know what to avoid. Don’t judge me too much, just give yourself a chance and try. I just want to help and most of us can’t afford to have a personal nutritionist, a personal chef, a personal trainer and lots of expensive superfoods and supplements that come from out of space.. And believe me I’ve been there, done that, bought so many different sizes t-shirts…

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So here are a few ideas, nothing crazy just some things that are still vegan but will curb your cravings without being too damaging to your health and your waistline:

  • 120ml of white wine ( 97 calories )
  • 120ml of red wine ( 101 calories )
  • 20g of good quality dark chocolate 75% to 85% ( about 120 calories ) that’s about 2 average squares. Please get the good stuff, remember you are indulging yourself, and it is way better for you. Eat slowly, enjoy, it will last longer.
  • A medium size apple ( 100 calories ), no surprises here.
  • 250g strawberries ( 82 calories ), that’s a whole punnet!
  • One flavoured 125g vegan yogurt ( more or less 100 calories ) I personally love all the Alpro ones, they’re delicious and taste like dessert.
  • 3 cups of air popped popcorn ( 93 calories ), I like it plain but you can add some salt and spices, without adding too many calories. As an idea you can add some italian herbs, or some chilli powder, if you prefer sweet you can add some cinnamon or cocoa powder or add a pinch of stevia if you can stand that taste. My husband bought me a machine some time ago and it’s brilliant, it’s quick, uses no fat, no mess and it’s dead cheap, go on amazon and buy one now.
  • One medium size banana ( 105 calories ) and if you freeze it and blend it you have ice cream. Add 1 tsp cocoa powder ( 4 calories ) and you have chocolate ice cream!
  • Half tbsp of chia seeds ( 35 calories ) mixed with 200ml of vanilla soya milk ( 108 calories ) and left in the fridge overnight. I use a jam jar for that so I can shake it a few times and it stays closed. Then the next day you get to have vanilla pudding for only 143 calories. Or you can replace the vanilla soya milk by a coconut drink like Alpro coconut, not coconut milk… ( only 40 calories for 200ml ), 2 tsp of cocoa powder ( 8 calories ) and 1 tsp agave nectar ( 21 calories ) and you get coconut chocolate pudding for only 104 calories.
  • 10 almonds ( 70 calories ), 10 pistachios ( 40 calories ), 10 peanuts ( 60 calories ), 10 cashew nuts ( 90 calories ), 10 hazelnuts ( 90 calories ). Always check that the ingredients are just the nuts. Buy them plain and roast them yourself with a bit of salt and spices if you want and nothing else for about 5 min in the oven at 180°C, keep an eye, they can burn quickly. They are usually ready as soon as you start smelling, well, nuts. This way you don’t get bad surprises like too much salt, unnecessary added oils or else, and they taste better this way anyway.
  • Core and bake an apple ( still 100 calories ) just like that in the oven for 30min at 180°C, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with 100g of vegan almond yogurt ( 54 calories ) or 100g of plain vegan yogurt ( 50 calories ) or even 100g of this new Alpro plain with oats ( 55 calories ) and you get a comforting snack for about 155 calories, which is all you need when it’s cold outside.. And I promise you I don’t work for Alpro but I love their products so much sometimes I wish I was….
  • One toasted crumpet ( about 90 calories ), yes they usually are vegan. Please check the ingredients when you’re at the store and be amazed. Top it with one tsp of maple syrup ( 17 calories ) and feel like you’re at a fun fair.
  • More generally when I need something because 3 hours passed since lunch, and you should always have a little something every 3 hours or so just to boost your metabolism, ( except at night of course.. please do sleep well. ) or for whatever other reason or time my stomach or mind is telling me to get something, I just eat raw fruits and vegetables. They are usually low in calories and you will find out that you often get quite a lot for more or less 100 calories. Get your apps and check quickly if you want but you should be pretty safe to fill you stomach with these as much as you like ( except avocados but we all know that ). The options are endless, mix and match and try new ones. Always have them at home, peel, prepare and keep them in your fridge ready for when you want them. On the go I always keep two apples or three clementines in my bag just in case. Do the same, you don’t want to be hungry in the middle of the city with no food.. You know exactly what you gonna end up buying…

So here are just a few ideas to keep you going, just choose one or two or three of these a day and you should be alright and treat yourself at the same time. If you end up having one or two more than you should, don’t worry, on the bigger picture it’s just an extra 100 or 200 calories, just be careful on the following days not to fall out the wagon and you are still gonna be fine.

On this note I hope this helped, enjoy life and see you next time.

 

 

Recipes

Warming Chili with Baby Spinach and Cauliflower.

FOOD warming chilli

Hi there, It’s raining today so I thought I could do one of my go to dinner recipes.

When I started dieting I had to find ways to make my dinners interesting, fulfilling and low in calories, and that was one of the first ones I made. At 300 calories it fits the target, and when it’s cold outside it’s comforting, warming  and spicy. Exactly what you need to curl up in front of the TV ( after you’ve exercised.. ) and enjoy your evening.

One of the best things with this recipe is that it’s so easy to make. After you’ve gathered your ingredients you don’t even get time to get hungry that it’s ready for you to tuck in and really, you know that the last thing you want is to give your mind enough time to make ( bad ) decisions when you neeeed foood!

The ingredients give you bulk  ( baby spinach and cauliflower ), protein ( black beans ), good fats ( olive oil and avocados ), lots of vitamins and a bit of a kick, so don’t worry, even with the low calories you’ll still get what you need to function and to feel good.

If you want to see how easy it is done I’ve made a video some time ago that you can see here : youtube video ; my warming vegan chili with baby spinach and cauliflower.

Bon Appetit and see you next time.

 

Warming Chili with Baby Spinach and Cauliflower.

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10 to 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

With this warming filling vegan chili you'll get a satisfying dinner at just 300 calories.

Ingredients

  • 200g baby spinach ( 46 cal )
  • 400g cauliflower, cut into bite size florets ( 100 cal )
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil ( 10 cal )
  • 200g chopped red onions ( 80 cal )
  • 15g sliced garlic ( 22 cal )
  • 100g chopped tomatoes ( 18 cal )
  • 50g grated carrots ( 20 cal )
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ( 6 cal )
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ( 8 cal )
  • 1 tsp chilli powder ( 8 cal )
  • 2 tsp dried oregano ( 10 cal )
  • 150g black beans not rinsed ( 200 cal )
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste ( 15 cal )
  • 30g cubed avocado ( 48 cal )
  • 1 cup of coriander ( 4 cal )
  • One lime quartered ( 4 cal )
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. First wash your baby spinach then divide it between two serving plates. Set aside.
  2. Put your cauliflower into an ovenproof bowl with a splash of water, cover with cling film then microwave for 4 min. Don’t worry about taking it out when it’s done, just leave it in until you need it later on.
  3. Measure your olive oil and heat it on medium in a pan, add your red onion and garlic then cook for about 5 min, mixing from time to time, until it browns a bit at the bottom of the pan. Just keep an eye not to burn it.
  4. Then add your chopped tomatoes, the juice will sizzle and deglaze the bottom of the pan, mix, then add carrots, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, oregano, black beans, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Continue mixing until the chili is bubbling hot, about 5 min.
  5. Divide the hot chili between the two plates on top of the baby spinach, get your cooked cauliflower then divide it around the chili. Top each portion with half the avocado then with the coriander. Serve with quartered lime to squeeze on top to taste.

 

 

Workouts

Davina, My three 30min Workouts. DVD review. 5 stars.

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For my first workout DVD review and recommendation, I thought I should start with a good one.

The first time I tried this DVD was as a rental from Lovefilm, I kept the DVD for a week, doing one workout a day for 6 days then after sending it back I thought it would be a good investment to buy one for myself.

The workouts are what it says on the title, they are 30min each, which is pretty manageable as soon as you get home after work and they are a good start on your weight loss journey as well as anytime along that path. Do your best, they are hard but you shouldn’t hurt yourself, as I said, never stop and after a few days it should get easier.

What I love about this DVD is that they make your whole body work and they make you sweat. Mark and Jackie are good trainers, Davina knows how to motivate you, and they are so funny! They never stop making jokes while giving you a good workout. It always feels good to laugh a bit while you are working out, takes your mind of it a bit… And I just love the music!!! Nothing beats some old school house to exercise.. Might show my age though…

If you want to see how it looks like to work this DVD out at home ( in a small living room as a non professional or skilled sportswoman… ) I made a video a few months back that you can see here youtube video : Davina, my three 30min workouts DVD review. I know I look a bit stupid but it’s just to show that even like this it works. You just have to do your best and have fun.

What else can I say, if you can rent it, try it, or maybe you will find a sample on youtube, otherwise just buy it and workout, I promise you will do yourself good.