Easy Stir & Fry

They say that the feeling of abundance in life, does not come from what we own, but from things that we enjoy doing. True. A walk in the park, reading a good book or cooking a delicious meal can all bring some joy to your day.

Today I chose the last one. I always find joy in cooking.

This is so simple to do, it literally takes no time. I had some left over lean beef fillet in the fridge from a couple of days ago, and did not want to let it go wasted ( you can use fresh meat instead). I thought of a couple of fresh ingredients to add to it and that was it!

The veggies add volume and flavour to this meal and little calories but many nutrients.  On the other hand, you get the consistence from the meat. Very balanced and delicious.

WHAT YOU NEED

1 fresh red pepper

1 fresh courgette

3 mushrooms

Some sesame seeds to sprinkle over

150 – 200 grams of leftover/or fresh meat – can be anything you prefer

2 teaspoons of coconut oil

For seasoning you can use all the spices you like. I like chilli and sea salt. 

HOW TO DO IT

Chop all the veggies. I like to cut the courgette in ribbons using the peeler, just like in the image below.

Heat the pan with the coconut oil.

Throw in the meat and cook it for a minute, mostly to reheat it as it is already cooked. If you're using fresh meat, it will take a few more minutes.

Remove the meat from the pan and set aside for a bit.

Add all the veggies and leave to soften for a minute or two.

Add the meat back and season and mix until it all marries nicely.

Taste it before you serve it to make sure your taste buds like it enough. Feel free to use your own seasoning potions.

Serve it in your favourite plate and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and more chilly.

WHAT YOU GET FROM THIS IN TERMS OF NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS

IRON – vital for the production of haemoglobin and myoglobin in your blood.

VITAMIN B – a range of these vitamins are necessary for the functioning of your brain cells and nervous system, healthy skin, hair and nails.

VITAMIN C – this vitamin fights the free radicals (cancer cells), improve connective tissue, helps in healing wounds and strengthen your immune system. Helps to the absorption of the iron from foods.

As always, thank you so much for reading and hope you have enjoyed this blog. If you do, please share it with your friends if you think they may like it too.

Stay awesome!

 

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Tips for a better sleep

FACT – the average duration of sleep has fallen from 8.5 hours to 6 hours from the 1960’s to present. But it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality nowadays.

 

How do we get the best of bedtime? These are my top 3 ‘pimp my bedtime’ tools.

 

 

1. Keep it cool 

A room temperature of around 19C is ideal for a good night’s sleep. The body cools down during the night to assist the main internal organs to go into ‘preservation’ mode. By lowering the room temperature, you just give your body a heads-up that you’re about to go into recovery.

 

2. Keep it fresh

Get as much oxygen as possible before switching off. Either in the room by opening the window, or outside of it by going for a walk or just sitting outside for a bit. As already hinted, the heart pumps less, the lungs contract sporadically. All the muscles elongate to relax and metabolise fat. So giving yourself more oxygen really allows the system to work as little as possible. Which is what we want.

 

3. Don’t sweat it

This is not about outside temperature but about the fact you may not be able to fall asleep. Just let it be. If you can’t sleep, listen to some relaxing music or an audiobook. Audiobooks always work for me, find out what works for you. They say people woke up speaking german after a few nights of Deutsche audio lessons.

 

Simple steps like these, when taken every day, will make the difference.

 

 

Good Night!

A small habit exercise

I love Mondays recently. I have changed my mind about Mondays. Clean slate paradise.

 

Changing your mind is a very personal affair. Changing your mind about your body is a long term effort that doesn’t happen overnight.

 

For practice, is best to start small, with things that are (apparently) not related.

 

Choose a small, annoying little habit you have. You know it’s not good for you but you can’t rid of it.

 

(Example – I keep receipts I don’t need in my wallet. When I need to pay by cash, I can’t see the cash; I need two hands to rummage through, I then drop whatever I hold in my other hand. This makes me avoid cash payments. I have no cash right now in my wallet. But I have receipts. Annoying)

 

Try this:

 

Step 1 – Pause – right before you start, take a time out. (It’s your life after all)

 

Step 2 – Look at the object of your affection (the receipt, a donut, etc.) and consider if you really need it. Need it, not want it.

 

Step 3 –  Decide– keep it or bin it.  99% of the times I don’t really need to keep a receipt or eat a donut. Everything is digital now. My bank statement loads automatically into the accountant’s software. And those office snacks leftovers can go in the bin. The receipt can go in the bin. You are not a bin.

 

Step 4 – Do it – whatever you have decided, do it. If you decide to keep it, remember why it was. And see if that changes next time. Chances are, it’s always the same reason. If you know why you’re doing it, you’re winning.

 

Step 5 – Don’t judge yourself – just notice the why’s. The less you resist it, the clearer it gets. And that’s what we want to do here – get really clear about it.

 

It turns out I still pick up receipts because a) littering guilt b) tax return accuracy c) personal information on receipts paranoia.  What can I do. If I really don’t need a receipt (and that’s most of the time) I will: a) ask the person who’s offering it to me to bin it instead  - planet saved b) file it on my paperwork day, Tuesday at 10 am – software glitches covered C) shred it, on Tuesday at 10am – no one can ever send me unwanted mail and identity fraud me.

 

If I have a receipt in my wallet on Tuesday afternoon, I have failed.

Chances are, I will need some time with this process.

 

In the meantime, I can and I will get some cash out.

Tips for a better mindset

I recently went to a work induction course. I joined a new collective of people about to undertake a very stressful project, with large budgets, people they didn’t like and tight deadlines.

 

The people running the course did a good job, mentioning that when you get into what they calledthe ‘Inside The Box’ mood, and you act from that place, things are not going to end up well. But they didn’t’ mention how to get 'Out of the box'. So I had my own go at figuring that out and I thought I should share. ( as I do)

 

But first, it's worth mentioning that knowing how to get out of a negative mental state is not useful just in the office. Sport psychology techniques can make or break records, and are known be a life-saver outside of the gym too.

 

If you often find yourself in a headspace you don't want to be, I would suggest to cut yourself some slack first. One of the greatest athletes of all time, Roger Federer, had a very bad temper as a young tennis player.  He got many warnings for throwing his racket onto the court and lost many matches as a result of his bad mood.

 

 

 

As he matured on the tennis court and outside of it, he experienced that ‘when you train the body, the mind follows’. And yes, the good news is that it works both ways.

 

Here is my two cents on recovering from a brain cramp.

 

1. Stop and Breathe.

Breathing is of course underrated, because it is done for us, automatically. But if you take between 5 to 10 seconds to control the inbreath and the outbreath, the parasympathetic part of the brain switches on and begins to take over from the fight-or-flight response. Everyone from new born babies to samurais use breathing into the belly as a foundation. To be more precise, it is breating into the lower part of the abdomen. Consider the location of your belly button - aim to breath in lower with about 2 inches; we are looking for three of four deep breaths here.

 

 

 

2. Notice the facts

From this state, notice without judgement what is causing you stress. When you learn something new, or come across hurdles, there is no use in judging yourself as good or bad. That’s usually harsh or just pointless and brings no resolution. If you stop, the mind starts being on your side and acts like a mirror. The mind’s top use is to find patterns. Just find the pattern.

 

3. Take action.

No use to just look in the mirror and recognize what is holding you back. Decide what to do about it, and do it as soon as it’s kind and considerate to you and those impacted by your decisions.

 

Try it with a smaller issue first and work your way up to bigger problems as you make progess.
 

Remember that the more disciplined you are with your physical routines, the better the mindset too.

 

And viceversa.

 

A win win situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Good nutrition

GOOD NUTRITION means more than weight loss or gain.

It is about improved performance, improved health and of course, body composition.

Besides supporting energy balance and achieving optimal fat-muscle ratios, good nutrition means tailoring this to you and choosing the foods that work with you rather than what is 'good' or 'correct.'

QUALITY

Nutrient density refers to those foods that are packed with essential nutrients like protein, fats and unprocessed carbohydrates, and these are the foods that will keep you fuller for longer and will not play too much with your blood sugar levels.

For instance, people run away from fats or full fat natural products because they either think are unhealthy or have too many calories.

NUTRIENTS

Good fats such as those found in avocado, full fat yogurt, eggs, natural fresh cheese and salmon, are the best for you. I eat avocado every single day for breakfast, with my scrambled eggs and mozzarella. It keeps me full for many hours and my body absolutely loves it. These foods may be rich in calories and smaller in quantity but you will not eat so often. Because there is no need to. Your body gets a good number of essential nutrients and stays satisfied.

The villains are processed sugars and alcohol, which give you empty calories, no nutrients whatsoever and raise your blood sugars sky high. This in turn will encourage fat accumulation, resistance to insulin and many other health complications.

Find those foods that work for you and what your body seems to like more rather than what is good or correct, like I said before. You will feel better, more energised and perform better throughout the day.

Finally, a quick point with regards to food intolerance. If you notice that after eating milk/ dairy or grains you feel a bit bloated or some discomfort, you may have intolerance to gluten or lactose.

STICK WITH IT IF YOU CAN

My take home and key point to you is, whatever you chose to do, make sure you can sustain it and be consistent with day in and day out because consistency over time is what will give you long lasting results.

If you can’t keep up with your choices, forget it, It is not for you. Reassess and chose again. And this goes for every choice you make.

Stay awesome!

Mari CurteanuNUTRIT, FOOD, FAT
One for smoothie lovers

If you love your protein smoothies, try this one and "dress it" up according to your targets.

FOR FAT LOSS

Handful of frozen mix berries

One scoop of your favourite whey protein flavour

200ml – coconut water

 

FOR MUSCLE GAIN

Handful of frozen mix berries

One scoop of your favourite whey protein flavour

200ml – coconut water

1 fresh banana - sliced

Simply put all ingredients in your blender starting with the liquid, and just buzz away until nice and creamy. Dive in!

 

Stay awesome!

 

 

Mari Curteanu
Belly issues?

CRUNCHES or MUNCHES?

Most people believe that belly fat is developed around the lower part of trunk because of lack of exercise of that area.

This is clearly a misconception, especially when you see people that can match this description struggling with those crunches in the gym. I see this all the time.

The truth is that overall excess body fat and belly fat is an adaptation of your body trying to adjust with eating more food than you need. This process does not happen overnight. It takes some time and consistency to get there.

When you eat food, your body collects the energy from the food into the liver and in the muscles. The cells of these tissues have a limited amount to store energy. Therefore any excess goes to the adipose tissue (the fat cells under the skin tissue).

It is amazing how nature has created us. We do have a storage facility too. The fat cells have unlimited capacity and can grow incredibly big. Therefore no matter how much we eat, we can store it on us.

To make it very clear, you can do as many as 1000 crunches every day, your abs will not even blink, unless your body fat goes down. The thinner the fat layer under the skin, the more chances you have to a flat tummy.

REPETITION

How do you get that layer to shrink?

Again. Consistency is key. All that extra ”energy” stored under the skin needs to be used through physical activities. You can also starve yourself if you want to, but that is not going to last too long and you will get it all back plus more. Guaranteed.

Physical activity is the only way to keep that away. Keep showing up every day and the results are just a matter of time.

Be active. Eat only when you are hungry. Be consistent. The idea is to create a deficit in your energy intake at the end of the day. So if you eat well, make sure you go and use that energy to sculpt your body.

Another point to clarify. The type of exercise itself does not determine from which area body fat will be used. In other words, the body does not pick and choose from which part of the body to use the fat. Instead, the overall fat is converted to energy.

Proper recovery and sleep is key when you are looking to lose weight, as some fat burning hormones are released during sleep. Really important. Yes fat loss also occurs during sleep.

THE POWER OF HABITS

To keep it simple and sum it up, the body is designed to adapt to whatever you consistently do. If you are an athlete, say a speed skater for example, your body will adapt to your activity so that you can perform it better.

If you don’t have an active lifestyle and you enjoy your extra food and drinks, your body will store everything for you under the skin.

Either way, this is called adaptation. Your body adapts. You can dictate how these adaptations should take effect for you.

Thank you for stopping by.

Stay awesome!

 

Mari Curteanu
Zero calories - Why?

 

The other day I was wondering in my own head, like we all do sometimes (okay most of the time) why would anyone manufacture calorie free food or beverages? I mean honestly, what is the purpose?

Do you buy these products thinking that you keep your calories intake low and maybe lose some weight? I know it is with a good intention, but please have a read further, you may change your mind.

And to just to clarify, I am talking about low or zero calorie manufactured food, not low in calories natural foods.

The truth is that the market goes with the trend. And the trend is always adjusting to what people think and need. What do we need now?

The trend seems to be EAT MORE (ALL YOU CAN) get taxed less by that scale. Right?

When did we really come to want food with no nutrients. Why would you want something that does not provide any kind of nourishment to your cells?

Why do we “stuff” our bodies (or even lives if you think of it) with meaningless stuff?

The truth is, we can never hack into or trick our natural built in survival system. Even if we do, is temporary.

GO FOR FULL FAT

We cannot support our human needs and body functions if we don’t provide good quality nutrients to our cells. Again, yes we can fill our tummy with zero calories foods or drinks, but it will only satisfy it temporary. You need calories to function.

Eating more food in terms of quantity with less nutrients or calories attached to it, does not mean that we will be fuller for longer or that you will lose weight. These manufactured foods, will vanish quickly from your system and you will want more because your body is not satisfied with it.

People tend to run away from full fat natural products and opt for low fat or processed foods instead. Everyone is free to make different choices for different reasons. But..

NUTRIENTS

When you eat food rich in natural nutrients, be it rich in calories too, there is no need to consume large amounts because your brain will send signals to the cells that enough is received. You will get a natural feeling of satiety. You will not feel hungry as often and you will not think about food all the time.

If you chose empty calories food, you will trick your brain for a bit and then you will crave more later. Simply because your body did not get what it naturally needs.

To sum it up, it is not about the quantity but the quality of food you consume.

 

YES its sounds tacky, but like they say LESS is MORE.

There is so much of natural good stuff that you can eat out there, why would you go for empty calories?

Of course, you can’t have all of it all the time just because is good for you. Just chose those foods that works best with you and go with that. When you feel you need a change, chose again.

You should think of your food as the best fuel you can offer your body to function at its best, according to your daily needs, routines and schedule. Why would you want to do otherwise?

Work with your body, not against it.

Help your body to function better, give it what it needs, always in good amounts, and get busy with doing other meaningful things that you are meant to do here.

Stay awesome!

 

 

Cardio, HIIT and LISS

The hottest topic in the fitness industry and common question asked by most people is:

Which type of cardio will enhance fat loss? LISS ( low intensity steady state cardio ) or HIIT ( high intensity interval training ) ?

First things first. There are two types of physical training: aerobic and anaerobic and here are the differences.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training

Aerobic activity requires the presence of oxygen. Example of this type of activity can be: cardio machines, spinning, running, walking, aerobic classes, dancing, hiking, etc. It is the type of activity that primarily works type I muscle fibers (endurance muscles) or otherwise called slow twitch muscles.

These muscles are simply more efficient at generating oxygen for fuel and help muscle contractions for longer period of times, such as running a marathon. Cardio activities help to increase muscle endurance and generally helps the heart muscle to pump blood more efficiently. Aerobic activity is done at a pace you can sustain for an extended period.

Anaerobic activity is just the contrary of aerobic activity. Example of this type of activity can be: heavy weight lifting, intervals, sprints, jumping rope, explosive training, etc. Anaerobic training does not require the presence of oxygen. It works the type II muscle fibers (strength muscles) or otherwise called fast twitch muscles, which lead to greater size and strength of muscles.

These muscles can produce short bursts of power without the presence of oxygen because they use the energy available at the time to produce force. Therefore, they fatigue quickly. Sprinting until you have nothing left in the tank, or resistance training with heavy weights is anaerobic. This kind of activity cannot be extended for time periods like you can with aerobic exercise.

 

LISS – low intensity steady state cardio is aerobic, HIIT – high intensity interval training, is anaerobic.

There are benefits in favor of both type of activities when it comes to fat burning. HIIT tends to keep the body an increased metabolic rate even after the exercise and is time efficient. However, if you are a beginner when it comes to training, this may not be the best option for you. LISS may burn less fat than HIIT, however does the job and has other benefits when it comes to your cardiovascular system and a healthy strong heart.

It is always best to incorporate a mix of both and keep your activities as fun and as varied as possible. Always great to try new things and stay out of your comfort zone.

 

Thank you for stopping by.

Stay awesome!