Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: weight loss

Ask Jenny: How Do I Banish Belly Fat?

‘Dear Jenny - the one area I’m really struggling with is losing belly fat. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and although I’ve absolutely lost some in that area, it seems like it will always be a problem area. I do tons of sit-ups, try to get enough protein, etc. Can you help?’
— Maryann, Boston

Hi Maryann, firstly congratulations on your weight loss! 

Fat around the midsection is one of the last places we lose from, especially in women, but it is possible with the following holistic strategies:

Gut Health: quite often I see clients complaining about belly fat, when (at least in part) they are actually suffering from bloating/constipation.  Drinking a ton of water, eating fibrous greens and taking a good quality probiotic will always help. 

Ensure at least 12 hours 'fast' between finishing your evening meal and starting breakfast to give your body time to digest and absorb, and for your digestive system to 'wake up' in the morning. For example, if you finish dinner at 7pm on a Monday, then don't start breakfast until 7am on a Tuesday. 

Nutrition: low carb is the way to go, and if possible I would try 2 weeks of great proteins (fish, chicken, grass-fed ground beef, pasture raised eggs) unlimited green veggies (kale, spinach, chard, etc), some great fats (coconut oil, avocado, ghee) and just 50g of extra carbs from berries of starchy vegetables. 

Training: quit the sit-ups! Ensure you are strength training in the gym at least 3 times a week, and ensure you are utilizing the big three: squats, deadlifts and pull-ups (these are all scaleable depending on your training experience). These will work your core more than any 'ab' exercise and optimize EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) - which means you burn more calories post workout. 

Sprints have been clinically proven to reduce body fat as they release the hormones involved in fat burning, and mobilize fat stores from the abdominal region. A 2008 study that found that overweight, sedentary women who did 20 minutes of stationary cycle sprints 3 days a week lost an average 2.5 kg of fat, of which a significant portion was from the abdominal region. 

The protocol used in the study: was 8 seconds of sprinting (all out) followed by 12 seconds of active rest (continue pedalling) repeated for a total of 20 minutes. Try this twice a week for best results. If sprints are not your thing try a sweat inducing spin or boxing class as these classes organically use HIIT in their programming.

Stress and Sleep: reducing stress and improving sleep is probably the most under-utilized tool in reducing belly fat. When we are stressed the body releases Cortisol, which (amongst other negative effects) leads us to hold on to and even lay down fat stores, especially around the belly. When we are under stress the body kicks into 'fight or flight' mode and acts as if under attack. It will hold on to excess body fat in case of periods of famine, especially around the midsection. 

Ensure you are taking steps to manage your stress throughout the day (breathing exercises, walking in daylight, meditation, implementing an early caffeine curfew), and prioritize great sleep (7-9 hours without waking) every night. 

Wellbeing: one of the reasons women store fat around the belly area can be excess estrogen in the body. Ensure you are not are not exposing yourself to toxic xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body), by not eating and drinking out of plastic, and using clean personal care products. Ensure efficient estrogen detoxification by eating a ton of fibrous veggies, add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to your smoothie everyday and up your water intake to ensure complete bowel movements.

Female Fat Loss is one of my specialities, and is something we address in my Private Coaching packages. For more information on working with me one to one please email jenny@jenniferhanway.com.





 

Fat Loss: Easy Ways to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Today’s Friday Five is all about increasing Insulin Sensitivity - that is how efficiently your body uses carbohydrates for fuel, rather than storing them as fat. Improving Insulin Sensitivity (the opposite of Insulin Resistance, which is the precursor to Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and now the research is pointing to cognitive disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimers), is the foundation of my work with my clients wishing to lose body fat. Insulin resistance also causes inflammation, the root cause of all disease in the body.

However increasing our Insulin Sensitivity should be a goal for everybody, as it results in higher energy levels, a stronger body, increased muscle mass, lower body fat and improved mental cognition and clarity.

Here are my top five ways to improve your Insulin Sensitivity:

1) Sip on Cinnamon Tea: clinical studies have proven cinnamon to significantly improve insulin sensitivity, helping shuttle carbohydrates into the muscle cell instead of storing them as fat. It is so powerful it is even being looked into as replacement for medication in Type 2 Diabetics! Sprinkle cinnamon on your food, or sip on Cinnamon Tea throughout the day by simply steeping a cinnamon stick in hot water.

2) Walk: you have heard me wax lyrical about the benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day, but consider a 20 minute walk after your evening meal, or a meal containing a higher amount of carbohydrates. This is a powerful tool in ensuring what you have eaten converts to fuel, rather than fat in the body, and helps to aid digestion.

3) Choose your fats wisely: it may seem odd to bring fats into a conversation about carbs, but ensuring you are eliminating inflammatory fats such as trans fats and processed vegetable oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, corn and cottonseed), and consuming a good balance of Omega 3 to 6 fats ensures your cell walls (which are made of fat) are soft and pliable, and therefore able to ‘take in’ the glucose in from the bloodstream for use as fuel. When inflammation is present in the body the cell wall and membrane becomes more resistant to the insulin and glucose.

4) Up your magnesium intake: in my opinion magnesium is a miracle mineral, and is essential for over 300 metabolic processes in the body. It is also one of the minerals we are all deficient in, due to our over-farmed soil, diets low in magnesium rich foods (such as shellfish) and because it is used in the processes that mitigate stress in the body. It can increase insulin sensitivity by exerting a positive effect on the insulin receptors in the body. I like to supplement with both an oral and topical magnesium, and ensure my diet is full of magnesium rich foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, almonds and dark chocolate (yum)!

I highly recommend Uber Mag PX and Topical Magnesium from the Poliquin Group, and use these two supplements daily without fail: 

http://main.poliquinstore.com/?___store=usw&acc=cd00692c3bfe59267d5ecfac5310286c

5) Change the structure of your carbs: the benefits of cooking and then cooling carbohydrate rich foods is twofold: by doing this increase the amount of resistant starch, which is digested differently by the enzymes in our gut. This means that food has a much lower effect on our insulin levels, and provides food for our gut bacteria, ensuring a healthy microbiome. Rice, potatoes, green bananas and oats are all great everyday sources of resistant starch.

Carb Cycling for Beginners

Below is an article I wrote last year for a British Health Magazine - now I can finally share it with you! 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 

 

Most nutrition plans written by fitness and nutrition professionals usually involve some kind of carb cycling, even if the term is not specifically used. In essence carb cycling (like the majority of diets) is a form of calorie restriction (the foremost principle of weight loss is you need to expend more calories than you consume to see the scale drop). 

Carb Cycling, when referred to by a Dietitian, Nutritionist or Personal Trainer refers to the manipulation of the amounts consumed of the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats), usually determined by the clients bodyweight, body fat to muscle ratio, and frequency and intensity of workouts.

Macronutrients are the building blocks of the foods we eat (micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals) and are classified as follows:

Carbohydrates: the components of carbohydrates are Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. In their original form most carbohydrates come from plants. There are two types of carbohydrate: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body (and in turn raise our blood sugar rapidly, forcing the pancreas to make more insulin) due to their lack of fibre. Complex carbohydrates are a healthier option (and more suitable for weight loss diets) due to their fibre content which slows the rise in blood sugar. 

Great complex carbohydrate choices include: 

  • Organic starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squashes and yams.
  • Gluten free grains such as rice, oats, buckwheat and quinoa.
  • Low GI fruits such as berries, apples and kiwis. 

 

Protein: protein is made from complex macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. These amino acids are broken down in the digestive system and are used for the essential growth and repair of tissues, and as a secondary energy source.  Animal sources are referred to as ‘complete proteins’ (meaning they contain all 20-22 amino acids), and plant sources are ‘incomplete’ as they do not contain all the amino acids. 

Healthy protein choices include: 

  • Organic, lean cuts of meat 
  • Wild caught fish.
  • Pasture raised eggs
  • Organic, full fat dairy
  • Beans, pulse legumes
  • Whey and Vegan protein powders

 

Fats: fats consist of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Dietary fat supplies us with essential fatty acids (known as linoleic and and linolenic acid) that cannot be made by the body. Fat is vital in our diets as it aids the absorption of certain vitamins, helps brain development and protects our organs, and is the body’s second most preferred source of energy. It is important to avoid trans fatty acids and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats as they can have negative effects on health. 

Healthy fat choices include: 

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Pasture raised butter
  • Nuts and nut butter 
  •  

When looking at any kind of diet for weight loss, choosing foods that have the most ‘bang for your buck’ (the most nutrient dense foods) is of utmost importance. When calories are restricted the quality of those calories are essential not just for weight loss (it is easier for the body to utilize fat burning for energy production when the body is in a healthy state), but for energy, stress levels, good sleep and beautiful hair, skin and nails. Choose single ingredient, unprocessed foods, that are organic and in season.

Carbohydrate intake is usually the first variable changed when dieting for fat loss. Reducing carbohydrates can cause a drop in weight for a number of reasons:  It automatically reduces calories, it limits the amount of processed foods consumed, and is effective if a client is showing signs of insulin resistance. When any type of carbohydrate is consumed our blood sugar levels rise, followed by the release of insulin from the pancreas. The insulin is released to enable the sugar (energy) to get into the muscle cells (insulin literally ‘unlocks’ the cells to enable to energy in). Insulin resistance is the body’s inability to handle carbs efficiently, when blood sugar is raised too quickly and too often the body is unable to handle the amount of energy being produced, it is unable to ‘get into fuel the cells, and therefore is stored as fat.

However, not all carbs are bad for you, and not all carbs are created equally. Refined, processed carbs (white bread, donuts, cookies,) raise blood sugar very quickly, and should not be consumed on a regular basis. Carbohydrates such as sweet potato, oats, squashes and whole grains can be eaten as part of a healthy diet and have some great nutritional benefits.

There is no doubt a low carbohydrate diet can be a great quick fix for some, and the resulting weight loss can give a much needed boost to health, self esteem and insulin sensitivity. However, most on a low carbohydrate diet will start to plateau, and not including carbohydrates in your diet can cause negative effects such as raised cortisol (the stress hormone), lowered thyroid function and poor mood and energy levels. 

Carb cycling has many benefits, and can be successful for both the general population client and the professional body builder! Below is a list of some of the reasons why carb cycling can be an effective approach for most: 

  • It is a great transition from a lower carb to a moderate carb diet - carb cycling reintroduces carbohydrates to the body at a slower rate, important for insulin sensitivity. 
  • As body weight and workout intensity are used to calculate your macros (and therefore your calories) it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it is highly personalised which is essential for weight loss results 
  • Higher carbohydrate foods often contain higher levels of some micronutrients (vitamins and mineral) than proteins and fats such as B Vitamins, magnesium and and beta carotene. 
  • It can prevent catabolism (muscle loss), and even increase muscle growth, important when trying to build muscle and increase metabolism (muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass). 
  • Adding carbohydrates to the diet can breakthrough weight loss plateaus as it can upregulate thyroid function and provide more energy for hard training sessions.
  • Boredom and lack of food variety can be an underestimated player in weight loss, carb cycling reintroduces different foods and meal plans.
  • Its flexibility means you can plan for when you may eat off track, such as dining out, holidays and vacation. 
  • It helps mitigate stress and improve sleep - carbohydrates upregulate the neurotransmitters that control your feel good hormones (serotonin and dopamine), which in turn can also help you get a great night’s sleep and result in more weight loss. 

In the majority of diets ‘low carb’ is considered to be an intake of under 50g of carbohydrates a day, but what is considered high carb can vary greatly, and what is high carb for 1 person may be low carb for another. This is dependent of a variety of factors including: 

  • Bodyweight
  • Body composition (muscle mass to fat ratio)
  • Level of insulin resistance / insulin sensitivity
  • Amount of inflammation in the body
  • Stress levels 
  • Genetic make up
  • Hormone balance
  • Training frequency and intensity 

In this example we will look at 3 different levels of carbohydrate intake, a high carb day, a mid carb day and a low carb day. The more weight you have to lose, the less insulin sensitive you will be. This means your body will be more likely to store carbohydrates as fat rather than muscle. If you have over 20lbs to lose, start out with 1-2 high carb days a week. Those who are leaner who wish to build more muscle can handle more frequent high carb days, and would benefit from 2-3 a week. 

For example, let’s say you strength train 3 times a week in the gym, and on 2 days a week you do cardio for 25-35 minutes. On your 2 most intense strength training days (perhaps your full body workouts or leg day) you will raise your carbohydrate intake, keep protein at mid range, and have little to no fat (ie. your high carb day). This will help increase muscle growth and provide energy for your workouts.  On the 3rd strength training day (your lighter day) you would consume a medium carbohydrate intake, a little more protein and a little more fat (mid carb day). The other days would be your 4 low carb days, keeping insulin levels low and enabling your body to use fat as a fuel source. 

To establish your own macronutrient goals we need 3 pieces of information; your body weight, your somatotype, and the frequency and intensity of your strength training. Somatotypes are a classification of 3 body types in relation to bone size and muscularity, they are detailed below to help you ascertain yours:

Ectomorph: generally lean, a smaller frame and thinner limbs. Has a faster metabolism, your goal is usually to gain muscle instead of losing fat. Ectomorphs should choose 3 high carb days, 3 medium carb days and 1 low carb day a week. 

Mesomorph: athletic looking with a medium sized frame. Stays reasonably lean and muscular without too much effort. Your goal is usually to optimize body composition (increase muscle / decrease fat). Mesomorphs should choose 2 high carb days, 2 medium carb days and 3 low carb day a week.

Endomorph: a larger frame and heavier set. A slower metabolism, you are usually trying to decrease body fat.  Endomorphs should choose 1 high carb day, 1 mid carb, and 5 low carb days a week. 

 

A suggested calculation for your high, medium and low carb days is as follows:

High Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 1.4 g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: under 30g

 

Medium Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 0.8g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.5 g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.3g per lb of bodyweight

 

Low Carb Day

Carbohydrate: Approx 50g carbs coming from non starchy vegetables only

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.5g per lb of bodyweight 

 

Let’s put this into practice for a 125lb female Mesomorph, whose priority is looking to drop fat whilst maintaining muscle size. Her base calories are 1625 a day as she workouts 5 times a week and is reasonably active. She trains with a high intensity 3 times a week, and does 2 x 35 minute Metabolic Conditioning workouts a week.

Her Carb Cycling breakdown for the week might look like this: 

High Carb Day (2 Days a Week) 

Carbohydrate: 175g

Protein: 175g

Fat: 20g

 

Medium Carb Day (2 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 100g

Protein: 187.5g

Fat: 37.5g 

 

Low Carb Day (3 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 50g

Protein: 200g 

Fat: 62.5g 

 

The nature of carb cycling lends itself to eating smaller meals more frequently and you may find that 5 small meals are easier to digest, especially on on your high carbohydrate days. 

A neglected (but effective) aspect of carb cycling is known as ‘nutrient timing’ - the placing of the carbs at specific times (usually focussed around the workout) for the body to be able to use them most effectively. To utilize nutrient timing eat the majority of your carbohydrates in the two meals after you workout. This could mean adding oats into your post workout shake, and then having another serving of low GI carbs (such as sweet potato) in the next full meal post workout. Keep fats low in these 2 meals so your body can use the carbs to full muscle building effect. With this format the meals furthest away from your workout will consist mostly of protein and fats. 

 

Below is a suggested meal plan for our 125lb female mesomorph on a high carb day (training mid morning):  

 

Breakfast: 40g Protein / 10g Fat 

2 large scrambled eggs, 4 slices of turkey bacon with steamed spinach

Post Workout Smoothie: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

2 scoops protein powder, ½ cup oats and a small banana

Lunch: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

3.7oz grilled chicken breast, 1.25 cups sweet potato with a leafy green salad

Mid Afternoon Snack: 30g Protein

1 serving 0% fat greek yoghurt with 0.5 scoop protein powder

Dinner: 35g Protein / 10g Fat

5oz Rump steak, steamed broccoli, green beans and 1 teaspoon butter

 

There is some math involved, but once you have your individualised calculations you have a very effective guideline to work to.Here are some tips to make the process easier: 

  • Use single ingredient foods in their natural state, this will help to separate and calculate your amounts of protein, fats and carbs
  • Food preparation is key, plan and prepare your meals in advance 
  • Use a calorie tracking app on your smartphone - My Fitness Pal is easy to use, has an enormous database of foods and you can even scan the barcodes of the foods you eat. 
  • No change on the scale? Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, which is why you may not see the drop bodyweight you expected. Track your progress by taking weekly photos in your sportswear and note improvements in the gym and in mood and positivity too. 

 

 

Meal Prepping 101

One of the biggest challenges my clients have is meal prepping, from what to prep, to how much to make to how to store it. 

In my opinion meal prep is one of the most important things you can do to help you stick to a healthy diet, especially if you have a busy schedule and are following any kind of special diet (vegan, gluten free, paleo, low carb, etc). It will also save you a ton of money, help you eat locally and seasonally and keep a connection to the food you eat on a daily basis.

It is also a life saver for Husband Hanway and I, as at least 95% (maybe more) of the food we eat is made at home, we both have busy schedules, and he doesn't have a lot of time to cook during the week (and he eats a lot)! 

I suggest setting aside about 90 minutes on a Sunday to meal prep for the week (if you work a Monday to Friday), or find a day and time that works for you. Make a list of what you are going to prep and the order that it needs to be cooked in, and have your storage containers ready. Ensure you have cleared space in the fridge, freezer or pantry for storage. Finally, put on your favorite music or a good podcast, and instead of thinking of it as a chore, reframe your thinking to know you are taking time out to nourish yourself and fuel yourself for the week ahead. 

Getting Prepped for Meal Prep

You don't have to have a lot of fancy kitchen equipment to meal prep for the week, but I do recommend getting a few good basic items to make the process easier. My essentials include: 

Storage

  • Glass food storage containers with lids - varying sizes, and these can be used for both cooking and storage. Amazon has a lot of great inexpensive options.
  • Mason jars with plastic lids - swapping out the metal lids for plastic on my mason jars has been a game changer (thanks to my MIL for the tip). They only cost a couple of dollars for 10 lids, and are easier to use and don't rust. 
  • Ziplock bags - I try and avoid plastic as much as I can and favor reusable items, but ziplock bags are great for freezer storage when you don't have a lot of room
  • Unbleached parchment paper - to use in place of aluminum foil

Preparation

  • One good chef's knife
  • A chopping board
  • Veggie peeler
  • Measuring cups 
  • Blender or food processor (not essential, but there are now a number of good inexpensive blenders on the market). 

Cooking

  • 1 cast iron skillet (not essential, but definitely a good investment) or a frying pan 
  • 1 ceramic saucepan 
  • Slow cooker or crock pot 

What to Prep

This is going to be different for everyone depending on your diet, how much you eat and what you like to eat, but here are some options or ideas. I start with the items that need to go in the oven, then prep the rest as they are cooking to save time. Remember you don't have to prep all of the options below, and we certainly don't do all of these every week! 

Roast in Oven

I usually roast chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the oven, and keep it simple by using coconut oil and salt and pepper. This is delicious on its own, but also means I can add different flavorings during the week to mix it up. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator. 

We also roast a big batch of winter veggies in coconut oil - its very easy to do, and they keep well in the refrigerator. Its also a great way to eat seasonally, and in the winter I'd rather eat some beautiful, nutritious root veggies than a salad! What I cook changes each week with whats good from local farms, but at the moment includes carrots (of all colors), squashes, celeriac and kohlrabi. I peel and cube these, coat them in coconut oil, and roast with salt and pepper, and a couple of garlic cloves. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator.  If I have extra I can use these to blend into a soup too. 

I'll also cook up one egg based breakfast dish such as a frittata or egg muffins as they can easily be made into individual portions and kept in the refrigerator or freezer (see Turkey Bacon Egg Muffins)

Cook on the Hob

Here I will cook some kind of patties or pancake that I know will be good cold and last well in the refrigerator. Options include Turkey Meatballs, Cashew and Rosemary Patties, or TigerNut and Oat Savory Pancakes.

I will also cook at least one gluten free grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice, in some Bare Bones Broth or veggie stock for added flavor. 

You can also make a vegan curry or stew on the hob for my plant based eaters, and for this who are trying to get more veggies in your diet (i.e. everyone)! My Chickpea and Quinoa Curry is perfect for this. 

Slow Cooker

Throwing a chili in the slow cooker and letting it cook overnight is so easy, and a great option in the winter. Try my Hearty Cacao Chili for a super nutritious option. 

I also use my slow cooker for cooking sweet potatoes - just wash and pierce the skin, and set on high for 4-6 hours depending on how big the potatoes are. I use these either in meals for the week, or freeze and use in my Gut Friendly Sweet Potato Smoothie.

No Cook Breakfast Options

Depending on my schedule for the week I may grab my mason jars and ziplock bags for some no cook breakfasts and snacks - I'll prepare some simple Overnight Oats or Chia Puddings in my mason jars and put in the fridge, and if its a super busy week then I'll portion out all the ingredients for my morning Superfood Smoothies and put into individual ziplock bags and but in the freezer. This is amazing for when I have to eat breakfast at 5.30am in the morning to get to my early clients, and don't have time (or the brain power at that time of the morning) to measure out all of my Maca, Collagen, Spirulina! I also now swear by my Organic Living Superfoods Designer Smoothie Blends as all of the hard work is done for you! 

Super Supplements

The one other prep I do at the weekends is to organize my supplements for the week, as even I need some help to remember to take them every day. I'll put the supplements I take each day in a small container, and then put them in the fridge next to my almond milk (essential for my morning coffee) so I cant fail to see them! 

By following these guidelines it should enable you to have great grab and go options throughout the week. All of the dishes mentioned here last about 5 days in the refrigerator, and you can either portion out all of the meals ready to go for the week, or (what I do) is make a list on the front of the fridge of what we have in there, then mix and match all of the dishes to keep variety during the week. 

All of my online plans include what to prep and how to prep for the coming week, grocery lists and recipes. My 28 Day Lean and Clean Plan is perfect if you are looking to clean up your diet and re-energize your training and nutrition regime (or are looking to start one)! 

28 Day Lean and Clean Plan

I'd love to hear your healthy meal prep hacks! What are your go-to dishes that you prep for the week? 

 

 

 

Alkalizing Green Soup

As much as I love my Daily Green Smoothie when the temperatures drop I find myself craving something a little more warm and soothing. This alkalizing green soup has been part of my diet rotation for many years as it has so many health benefits and it is a wonderful way of getting in those green fibrous veggies that I love so much. 

In the same way I 'pimp' my smoothies I use this soup as a vehicle for so many nutritious dense superfoods, the version below uses a bone broth base, avocado, ghee and fresh ginger, turmeric and garlic, all super healing, great for boosting the immune system, and perfect for nourishing both body and mind.

I make this soup in a huge batch then keep it in mason jars in the fridge and the freezer, it is  wonderful on its own, or use it as a base to add chicken, fish or vegan proteins too for a more substantial meal. 

Alkalizing Green Soup

  • 3 cups broccoli

  • 3 cups kale

  • 3 cups zucchini

  • 1 avocado

  • 2 cups bone broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon cultured ghee (grass fed butter is great too)

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon grated turmeric (you can substitute for dried if needed)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Roughly chop the broccoli, kale and zucchini, then place in a large pan with the bone broth and the water. Steam until the veggies are slightly softened. 

Pour all of this into a blender (cooking the veggies in the bone broth ensure you keep all the nutrients) and add the avocado, ghee, ginger, garlic, turmeric and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. 

 

Daily Green Smoothie: 5 Reasons Why I Love Them!

Anyone who has followed any of my plans knows that one of the tools I use to raise intake of vegetables is the delicious Daily Green Smoothie. 

The Daily Green Smoothie has been a staple of my diet for many years, and I notice a huge difference in my energy levels, digestion, skin clarity and hunger levels (!) if I skip it for a couple of days.

They are also super simple, easy and economical to make, all you need is a blender or nutribullet, there is no cleaning of a messy, expensive juicer and there is little to no waste. 

Here are just 5 reasons why I think the Daily Green Smoothie is so wonderful: 

1) Fantastic Fiber: The Daily Green Smoothie is different to a green juice as in it contains all the fiber from the vegetables (in a juice this is discarded - such a waste). The standard American diet contains far too little fibre for optimum health - approx. 15g a day). The Institute of Medicine recommends up to 38g per day, however a lot of practitioners in the holistic health field (including myself) feel that even much more is needed for true health. 

Adequate fiber intake is important for so many health aspects it improves digestion, GI health, and colon health, it helps regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, and can help keep us feel full and satisfied, resulting in healthier diet choices. 

2) Vegetable Variety: I use 3-7 different veggies when making my Daily Green Smoothie, and each smoothie contains at least 3 or 4 servings of vegetables (this goes a long way to my recommended 8-10 servings a day). Whilst the base is always leafy greens (think kale, spinach, chard, etc) I vary the 'trimmings' often, adding celery, cucumber, zucchini, beets, avocado and many more. Its also a way to add seasonal vegetables; this fall I'll be switching out kale for cavalo nero and even adding roasted squash! 

3) Raw Power: raw vegetables can be a great addition to our diet, consuming them raw can ensure we maximize their micro nutrient (vitamin and mineral) and antioxidant content. However some people (including me) can find raw vegetables hard to digest. Breaking them down in the blender does some of the hard work for our digestive system, without reducing their nutritional power. 

4) Blood Sugar Stabilizer: the tough cell wall of the vegetables takes time for the body to break down, ensuring a very slow, steady release of sugar into the blood. Vegetables are naturally low in sugar anyway, so the impact on blood sugar is very minimal. The antioxidants in vegetables have also been shown to reduce the impact of refined carbohydrates on blood sugar, especially leafy greens such as chard. So if you do plan to eat a higher carb meal ensure you have a Daily Green Smoothing prior to eating. 

Daily Green Smoothies are the perfect example of what I call 'Bang For Your Buck' nutrition: super low in calories and blood sugar impact, in return for a huge amount of micronutrients and antioxidants. 

5) More Estrogen Metabolism: the base of the Daily Green Smoothie is always leafy greens, and I always include at least one member of the cruciferous family (kale, collard greens, watercress, etc). Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds called DIM and Sulforophane that improve the metabolism of excess estrogen in the body. Excess estrogen in the body (from hormonal imbalances or chemical exposure) can increase the risk of cancer, and increase body fat storage, especially in the hips and thighs. 

Just starting out with The Daily Green Smoothie? Try this recipe for my Simple Green Smoothie - its packed with all the health benefits above, is absolutely delicious and is so easy to make! 

Simple Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1/2 apple
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Drink. Feel amazing! 

Want to feel lighter, tighter and more energized in just 10 days? Then my 10 Day Lean and Clean Plan is perfect for you! Click here for more details. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Ease Post Workout Soreness

A lot of my personal training clients are ‘mentioning’ their post workout soreness after their sessions. These particular clients are in the middle of tough training phases right now, so a little muscle soreness is natural, but there are some simple things that can be implemented to help ease the pain! When a client asked how much soreness is natural I tell them that it differs from client to client and depends on the workout / training phase, and a little soreness up to 48 hours post training can be expected. A red flag for me is when the soreness is debilitating and affects everyday life, other overtraining signals can be lack of progress in the gym, disrupted sleep and feeling like there is ‘no gas in the tank’. At this point training should be reduced and strategies such as extra rest, yoga, and nutrition support should be implemented.

If there are no red flags then I ask them to implement the following, and may even bring them in an Anti Inflammatory Mango Smoothie if they are working extra hard!

Drink more water: I know this may sound obvious, but proper hydration can increase performance and reduce post workout muscle soreness. Ensure you are drinking water throughout the day, not just during and after the workout, and aim for at least 0.7 ounces of water per pound of bodyweight as your personalized water goal.

Train more often: this may sound counterproductive, but training large muscle groups at least 3 times a week can condition the muscles to hard training and eventually reduce post workout soreness. This is also why new trainees may experience more soreness than those more experienced, and why you may be more sore after a changing your workout. So hang in there - it gets better!

Warm up and cool down properly: boring, I know, but reducing muscle soreness starts even before your workout does. I ask my clients to walk, bike or row for at least 8-10 minutes (more if they have a desk job and are coming to me during their work day), then complete another 5 minutes of mobility work and dynamic stretching. Warming up has so many benefits, preventing injury, improving performance, preparing the mind for exercise, and reducing soreness post workout.  After working out I ask my clients to foam roll and stretch for as long as they can. If they are in a rush then I advise them to stretch post shower or in the evening before they go to bed. 

Take a cold shower: this is my favorite way to ease muscle soreness post workout, and can be really enjoyable once you are used to it! A cold bath or shower post workout increases circulation, bringing fresh blood to your muscles to help repair, lower inflammation and increase recovery speed. It also has the added benefit of tightening skin and giving you a great glow! If this is too much to bear try switching to a cold shower for the last 2 minutes after your hot shower.

Supportive nutrition and supplementation: if you are working hard in the gym your nutrition should support your efforts. Ensure you are well fueled before training (a mixture of protein, carbs and fat 60-90 mins before training is ideal), and a strategic post workout shake can give your muscles the materials for repair whilst lowering inflammation.

Turmeric (the active ingredient being curcumin) is a wonderful anti inflammatory, and can be use to great effect either in food or supplement form. One of my favourite functional foods is Inflam PX from the Poliquin Group, which contains turmeric extract (along with other anti inflammatory and healing compounds) that can be consumed on its own, or I like to add it to a vanilla protein shake. I recommend Inflam PX to all my clients if they get injured or after surgery, but it can also be used everyday to support hard training. 

You can also replicate this at home with my Turmeric Mango Coconut Protein Smoothie, which also contains collagen powder which is my go-to for muscle repair and ginger which also has anti-inflammatory properties: 

Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 cup coconut milk ½ cup filtered water ½ cup frozen mango ½ banana 2 teaspoons collagen powder 1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder 1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 cup coconut milk ½ cup filtered water ½ cup frozen mango ½ banana 2 teaspoons collagen powder 1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder 1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup filtered water

½ cup frozen mango

½ banana

2 teaspoons collagen powder

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder

1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder 

Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

My Top Five: Beauty Boosting Foods You Already Have at Home

  Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of exotic looking superfood smoothies and acai/moringa/matcha/unicorn horn bowls, that promise glowing skin and endless energy, but what about the humble kitchen staples we all have in our refrigerator and panty?

There are many 'everyday' foods we already have at home that can deliver the same results as these 'superfoods', but that are easily accessible and a fraction of the price! Here are my top five everyday 'Glow For It' foods:

Apples

My favorite fruit, and I'm living proof that an apple a day does keep the doctor away!  Apples are a antioxidant powerhouse (they have the second highest levels of antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruit in the US), containing host of phytochemicals such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid.

How does this translate to beauty benefits? Quercetin acts an anti flammatory for the skin, reducing free radical and UVB damage, and it also has anti aging properties. Apples are also a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber found in the cell walls of plants. This type of fiber is super gut friendly (remember great gut health is one of the keys to great skin), has been shown to help balance gut bacteria, helps to keep you satiated, and has a detoxifying effect.

The key to getting the most of benefits from an apple - eat the skin as this is where the majority of the nutrients are housed. I love to munch on apples as a snack, and they are a staple of my green smoothies (including the skin) on a daily basis.

Apple Hearts
Apple Hearts

Avocado

Where do I start with the beauty benefits of avocado? Full of wonderful monosaturated fatty acids (the good fat), avocados are a great source of oleic acid, an omega 9 fat that can help with lowering inflammation within the body. They contain lutein, an antioxidant that is important for both skin and eye health. Avocados are rich in fiber, Vitamin E which keeps skin cells strong and hydrated and B Vitamins that are essential for energy production, and that assist in lowering redness and inflammation in the skin.

Avocados are also a budget friendly beauty food as they are one of the 'Clean 15' - meaning you can buy conventionally grown avocados (as opposed to organically grown) as their thick skins are a great barrier to pesticides.

Something you may not know about avocados - you can actually eat the pit! The pit (or seed) is where you will find 70% of the avocados's antioxidants, and avocado pit oil can increase collagen formation, keeping skin young, firm and wrinkle free! A word of warning though - you need a heavy duty blender to handle these!

I eat avocados with my breakfast, throw in my smoothies, even use them as a face mask! I also love them as a dessert food - check out my Avocado and Cacao Mousse recipe here! 

green avocado on the dark wooden table
green avocado on the dark wooden table

Oats

Oats contain a double whammy of fiber - soluble and insoluble, both of which are fundamental to great gut health and digestion (a healthy gut is the foundation of beautiful skin). Although they are a carbohydrate they are have a very low glycemic load due to their high amounts of fibre and protein content, making them a great option for sustained energy throughout the day.

Their beauty benefits? They are rich in minerals, including manganese, which is important for healthy hair and vibrant hair color, iron, for strengthening hair and nails, and selenium which is essential for skin elasticity.

Oats are absolutely one of my staple foods, from traditional oatmeal, baking with oat flour, overnight oats and as a component of my go to beauty snack: Glow Bites!

Just like avocado, oats are also wonderful for your external beauty, and one of my favorite green beauty products to contain oat flour is from SW Basics:

on a wooden spoon oat flakes
on a wooden spoon oat flakes

Olive Oil

Olive oil has fallen out of fashion recently to its hip cousins coconut oil, ghee and grass fed butter. Whilst those are all wonderful options, olive oil still has a myriad of beauty benefits that we can enjoy on a daily basis.

Due to its high content of Omegas 3's, olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, which can help in reducing puffiness and redness in the skin, as well as improving body composition (the body's muscle mass to fat ratio). Its high in anti oxidants (including phenols) and Vitamin E which can protect the skin from harmful UVA rays and helps to strengthen skin membranes.

Olive oil is great for using in salad dressings and for drizzling on veggies - a little fat helps the body to absorb all the amazing vitamins and minerals from your nine (!) a day.

Not all olive oils are equal however, choose wisely and always pick an organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for beauty betterment! Most importantly, save olive oil for post cooking only as heating it can alter its structure and can change it from an anti inflammatory to a pro inflammatory food source.

Olivenöl, Fleur de Sel und grüne Oliven, Draufsicht
Olivenöl, Fleur de Sel und grüne Oliven, Draufsicht

Sweet Potato

My number one when it comes to carbohydrates for beauty. The beautiful orange color is an indication of the high amounts of beta-carotene present, that converts to Vitamin A within the body. Also containing Vitamins B and C, these 3 vitamins keep skin smooth, ensure cell turnover, and regenerate collagen. They are also a low GL carbohydrate due to the huge amount of fiber they contain, ensuring an energy boost but not a blood sugar spike. Yams however are different from sweet potatoes, and are nutritionally inferior, so choose carefully! 

Some of my clients complain that sweet potatoes take forever to cook, but a great tip is that you can throw them in the slow cooker! Just wash and piece the skins, and throw in your crockpot on low for about 4 hours. You will then have perfectly cooked sweet potatoes that you can eat whilst warm, save for cold, or even freeze for another time.

If I'm in a rush post workout I love to throw cubes of frozen sweet potato into a vanilla protein smoothie for a beauty boosting blast that tastes like a milkshake!

Sweet potatoes season
Sweet potatoes season

And there is one extra booster that I have to mention: Water!

Water is such a simple component of beautiful skin that sometimes it gets forgotten about in these types of lists! Up to 60% of the human body is water, and, unlike the other foods in the list here we can feel and see the results of not drinking enough water in a matter of hours.

Consider a water goal of 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight, and even more if you train hard or to tend to be a ‘sweater’!

Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Meatloaf Muffins

My breakfast of choice for all my clients (and myself) is a combination of high quality protein, good fats and veggies. This is going to guarantee a great start to the day, ensuring high energy, stable blood sugar levels and a revved up metabolism!

These Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Meatloaf Muffins contain some amazing macro and micro nutrients as well as being a great way to get an extra portion of veggies into your day without even realizing it!

The grass-fed beef is not only a great source of protein that will keep you satiated for hours, but contains the following health boosters:

  • Taurine - an amino acid that helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol (it facilitates the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, in turn helping your body to manage anxiety), encourages the body to metabolize fat so you can use it as an energy source (vital for a lean physique) and it protects the heart and lowers blood pressure.
  • Omega 3's and CLA - the 'good' fats found in grass-fed beef (not cereal fed), Both of these fats offer properties that can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, help prevent CVD and high blood pressure and improve body composition.

Zucchini contains a high amount of potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy heart. It also has significant amounts  Vitamin A and beta-carotene, and the lesser known lutein and zeaxanthin, micronutrients essential for eye health!

A fun fact about tomatoes, botanically speaking they are a fruit, technically they are a berry, and legally they are a vegetable! Whatever you call them, when they are cooked they are the ultimate source of lycopene, a compound that has shown to both prevent prostate cancer and reduce the severity in sufferers. Research shows lycopene can also protect against other cancers, and has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Finally, regular readers will know about my love for tigernuts due to their fiber rich, gut friendly properties. Tigernuts are the number one source for prebiotic fiber, the fiber that feeds the probiotic fibre in the gut.

Best of all, these meatloaf muffins are not only super good for you, but they are easy to make, keep well in the refrigerator or freezer, and are portable so make a great breakfast or snack on the go. And they are delicious too!

Ingredients

  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze out moisture)
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed egg)
  • 1/4 cup tigernut flour (almond or coconut flour is fine too)
  • 1/4 sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a food processor or large mixing bowl (I use my hands)!
  • Separate into 8 equally sized balls and put into muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown on top.

 

My Top Five: Tips for Eating Clean on a Budget (Part One)

Clean eating doesn't have to break the bank - I can personally attest to that. When I first came to live in Boston I was subject to US  immigration and waiting on a Green Card -  the full process took us a total of six months, meaning we were living on one salary for the whole time! I also had to learn how to shop for food in the US, all the grocery stores were alien to me, except the ever enticing Whole Foods. Well, I learnt the hard way that we couldn't afford to buy all our food and household products there, and had to find ways to make our dollars stretch without compromising our clean eating values.

Using the principles below we managed to save hundreds of dollars a month on our grocery bills, some months even saving up to $700!

1. Eat Real Food

This may sound simple, but I truly believe this is the number one strategy to both save money on grocery bills, and get healthy! Base all of your meals and snacks around good quality proteins, an abundance of vegetables and fruits, and clean carbohydrates. Your food should resemble its original source and have minimal processing. It doesn't matter if you are not a great cook, keep meals super simple, 6 ingredients or less, and utilize the wealth of recipes available on the internet. Some of my favorite sites to go for inspiration are Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo on a Budget.

Organic Vegetables
Organic Vegetables

2. Convenience vs. Cost

Even when aiming to eat real food can we fall into the trap of buying 'convenience foods'. Think pre peeled, pre cut carrot sticks, jerky, store bought chia pots and  protein powders. Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with those foods, to the contrary they are all nutritionally sound (and I eat them myself on occasion), but when it comes to eating on a budget just take a little extra time to do these things at home, and your bank balance will thank you.

chia pudding
chia pudding

3. Find an Alternative to Whole Foods (a.k.a Whole Paycheck)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Whole Foods for their quality and selection of products, but now there is a socially conscious alternative offering an enormous range of healthy products, at approximately 50% retail value,and they get delivered to your door!

Enter Thrive Market. Thrive Market offers the best selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices for a membership of less than $5 a month. And my favorite part? For every membership bought to Thrive Market, they will donate another membership for free to a low income American family.

At present Thrive Market is offering an extra 15% off your first order, and shipping is always free if you spend over $49. To sign up for Thrive Market click here or on the picture below and do good for both yourself and another family.

Thrive_Sharing_0004_5
Thrive_Sharing_0004_5

4. Food Prep Like a Boss

We meal prep twice a week because that fits in with our schedule (and I enjoy cooking). We usually roast up a joint of meat (pork or beef), chicken breast and or thighs, throw something in the slow cooker (usually a chili) and roast up seasonal veggies too.

Roasting veggies is super simple (and delicious), just peel and chop them into equal size pieces, then melt coconut oil with salt, pepper and herbs and spices if you wish (I use smoked paprika, turmeric and fresh or frozen thyme) in a pan. Put vegetables in a pre heated dish, and cover them with the melted coconut oil - this means you use less coconut oil than if you put it in the pan, and it covers the veggies more evenly resulting in quicker cooking time. This food prep enables us to have a delicious meal that night, and have leftovers for breakfast, lunches and dinners during the week. If we get bored of eating the leftovers dry I add them to a soup base (I call this 'pimp soup'), use them as a topping for veggie or gluten free pasta, throw them in a curry sauce or add to a gluten free wrap.

It is worth investing a little money in equipment that will make food prep easier and therefore save you money in the future, consider a slow cooker and a set of Pyrex storage as a great starter kit. Click here and scroll down to 'Equipment' for a list of links to my favorite food prep tools.

Food Prep
Food Prep

5. Reduce Food Waste

The average American household looses up to 40% of its food through food waste, a statistic that has huge economical and environmental implications. My husband and I have worked hard to reduce our food waste to under 5% food waste through forward planning and being conscientious. Here is how we did it:

  • Have a rough plan of what you are going to eat throughout the week (this ties in with the food prep advice above)
  • Understand how much you approximately eat each week
  • Get creative with leftovers - they can be turned into soups, stews, pasta toppings, salads, fillings for wraps and sandwiches
  • Learn how to store your food: did you know citrus fruits, avocados, fresh herbs, ginger and red wine can be frozen?

For more information on how to reduce your food waste check out the guest blog food activist Ashely Gelineau wrote for me last year: Reducing Food Waste On a Clean Eating Diet.

foodprint_img
foodprint_img

For more tips and tricks on how to reduce your food costs and still eat clean, nutritious, delicious foods check back next Monday for Part 2.

I'd love to hear your ideas for Clean Eating on a Budget - comment below and let us know what has worked for you!

In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything.  I only recommend products and services that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands!

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com