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Product Review: Well Naturally No Added Sugar Chocolate and WIN some for yourself!

24 Nov

The sugar epidemic

Did you know that on average, Australians consume approximately 54 kilograms of sugar per year – the equivalent of 37 teaspoons per person, per day! The World Health Organisation recently released its much-anticipated guidelines for sugar consumption, recommending that sugar only contributes to five per cent of the recommended daily energy intake – or around six teaspoons a day.

When I was contacted by Well Naturally to review their No Added Sugar Chocolate I wasn’t sure as I honestly couldn’t really imagine what chocolate might taste like without sugar. I decided to give it ago and you can read my review below as well as enter a competition to win one of two packs which will include 2 big blocks of chocolate and 3 bars of chocolate – see the bottom of this post.

Review Well Naturally

Having been off sugar 90% for the last few months I thought this would be the ideal time to try this as my palette has really changed where it comes to sweet things. Even when I was pregnant I preferred savoury to sweet although as soon as I gave birth I was craving sugar again!

Anyway Well Naturally sent me three blocks of chocolate – Milk Chocolate – creamy milk, Milk Chocolate fruit and nut and Dark Chocolate – rich dark

Ingredients

So the first thing I did was look at the back of the packet and scour the packet for sugar as a lot of products say something is low sugar or no sugar and you can usually find it hidden amongst the fine print somewhere in the ingredients.

I couldn’t find any sugar and the way the chocolate has been slightly sweetened is by using stevia.The main ingredient was cocoa mass and cocoa butter and it says that sugar content is naturally derived from ingredients and then there is stevia which I am not a huge fan of so I wasn’t sure whether I would actually like the taste.

Taste and texture

I was surprised to be honest that the chocolate tasted better than I thought it would. Of course it was a different taste to normal chocolate and not as sweet but it tasted like chocolate but just not sweet and the texture was even the same too and now I’ve had a bit of it I am used to it and could keep on eating it! I wasn’t as keen on the dark chocolate as I was on the milk as it was a bit bitter for me but I have always been a milk chocolate fan anyway so it’s hard to give a comparison to dark chocolate when I’m not keen on it. I got my husband to try though and he said it was nice.

It left a little bit of an after taste I found but not so much that I haven’t continued eating it.

Price 

Well Naturally

Took this photo in Target and as you can see there is a huge range in the Well Naturally range. Price ranges from $3 – $5.50

There are small bars like normal chocolate bar size and then larger bars. The bars are stocked in Coles and Woolworths and I also saw some today in Target. The price point seems to be around $3 for a smaller bar and $5.50 for a larger block which is more than you would normally pay for mainstream chocolate but I am used to paying more for most things that are healthy so it doesn’t bother me so much.

WIN some FREE Well Naturally Bars

Well Naturally are offering two lucky people two big chocolate blocks and 3 smaller bars. All you need to do is finish the sentence in the comments box below and you’ll be entered….

Sentence to complete…. “Chocolate makes me___________”

Closing date is 30th November and only open to people living in Australia (sorry).

Ps I’ve also posted this on my  Twitter account so you can enter on there also and I will keep an eye on them all.

Please note I was sent the chocolate bars to review from Well Naturally but was not paid for my review and the review above is my own honest opinion.

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Harvest Box Snack packs – great idea for a healthy post gym snack ! @harvestbox

9 Sep

I’ve been trying to stop eating rubbish in the last week or so as I have been probably eating more than I should now that baby is on the outside not the inside! I bought myself a protein bar thinking that would be better for me and I couldn’t finish it. It’s funny I used to eat a lot of protein bars and powder but since having my baby I can’t seem to stomach them so I have been looking for something a bit more natural and healthy to snack on.

I hadn’t heard of Harvest Box and was recently sent some samples so the timing was perfect. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I find nuts a bit boring to be honest. I cook with them but don’t really enjoy eating them too much as they are a bit bland – but that’s me.

So when I was sent some Harvest Box samples I was in snack heaven as they are nuts along with dried fruits and some even have chocolate in! At a weight of 40g a bag even if you buy the ones with chocolate in it is hardly like having a bar of chocolate so it’s a guilt free snack! My favourite were the Yo Cherry bags which have dried cherries, yogurt balls and hazelnuts in – yum. The We Love nuts bags are nice too and they are just Cashews, Brazil Nuts, Almonds and Peanuts – better for if you don’t want the sugar from the dried fruit. I carried a bag around with me and ate after each gym session – there is just enough in the bag to be a decent snack size.

No sooner had I tried them that I noticed them in Coles so you can buy the snack packs for $2.50 a packet  and there is a good variety to choose from.

harvestbox

So many flavours – these are just a few! My favourite was Yo Cherry – sooo good!

The great thing I discovered about Harvest Box was that they have a whole other side to their nut business – you can order nuts online and it actually works out cheaper that way too according to the prices on their website.

I find nuts quite expensive here in Australia and so I thought this was a really good idea at a really good price – $7.95 – and according to their website you get the first box half price!

Basically you choose 4 portions of mixed nuts, dried fruits and other healthy snacks that float your boat and they are delivered straight to your door free.  What a great idea! I’m thinking of getting some delivered on a weekly basis to help me stop snacking on not so good things!

Anyway I just wanted to share these with you in case you haven’t seen them as it’s a great idea and natural too.

 

 

 

Exercise Vs Healthy Diet

29 Jul

Hope you had a great weekend.

Healthy Eating

Image taken from free stock site stock.xchng id 1419869 – credit to zomb_kille

I was talking to a good friend last week and we got to talking about exercise and diet. I know a lot of people who rely on their training to keep them trim and if they weren’t training they would be much larger than they are because their diet isn’t good.

I guess this was me when I first started running 11/12 years ago. I figured running was great because I could eat what I wanted and still lose weight. In fact when I was training for the London Marathon I was in Health and Fitness Magazine as the girl who could eat what she wanted and lose weight! I had to keep a food diary and they published it and then talked about the fact that i was training so hard it didn’t matter how much or what I was eating etc etc. At the time I was proud to have this label but when I think back now to what I was eating it was shocking and I was lucky I was motivated to train!

Food has always been one of those areas that I have had a love hate relationship with but I guess as I get older I am realising just how much it can affect my lifestyle and the way I feel.  Recently I have had to cut gluten out of my diet as well as dairy as much as possible and it has amazed me how hard it is and also how much rubbish there is on the market to try and replace much loved gluten and dairy items such as bread – and it’s been a real fight to remain healthy and not fall for all the yummy looking replacements out there full of junk. Not training as much as I would usually has also meant to really keep an eye on my eating which is finally paying off as thankfully I haven’t gained weight whilst reducing training in fact I have lost weight 🙂

I am no nutritionist or personal trainer but it’s not rocket science – you are what you eat!  Eating and living unhealthily is not great –  and just because you can still run/swim/ride/whatever well it doesn’t mean you are healthy and living a healthy lifestyle – it means you are fit not healthy.  A lot of health experts say diet counts for 80% exercise 20% which I am definitely in agreement with. Why exercise when you then finish and have a doughnut or cigarette! What’s the point of all that hard work you just put in?!?

That’s my rambling for the day over 🙂

 

 

Go Orange! #GoOrange

4 Jun

Look what turned up on my doorstep yesterday!

Yes that’s right – 10 oranges!

Oranges Oranges Oranges!

Oranges Oranges Oranges!

I agreed a while back to be involved in the Citrus Australia Go Orange campaign. Oranges have amazing benefits and so they are promoting it over 10 days and I was asked to eat an orange a day for 10 days and to post it on Twitter, Instagram etc – so here I am.

This week all my posts will be orange based 🙂

If you are an avid orange fan and want to see what everyone involved is up to then you can do at #GoOrange on Twitter or Instagram and Facebook.

4 Facts about Oranges you may or may not know

1. Work hard to support the immune system 

The antioxidants in oranges keep busy by supporting our immune systems as well as fighting free radicals along the way.

2. Keep your ageing process in check

Super antioxidants such as polyphenols and carotenoids assist in helping to keep the ageing process in check.

3. Oranges for a Happy Heart 

Oranges contain a perfect recipe of heart protective nutrients such as folate, potassium, fibre and antioxidants.

4. Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight 

Oranges are an ideal fruit as part of a balanced diet. With low GI and fibre, they’ll help ward off hunger pangs and keep you satisfied for longer.

Have a great Tuesday 🙂

Turning a corner – Tips for finding motivation when not being able to train

1 Jun

I posted a while ago that I was frustrated at not being able to run at the moment due to some medical issues. It’s really hard when you are used to doing something you love (I have been running for 11+ years) and are told to stop.

I have gone through a number of psychological emotions and feel like I am finally getting used to the idea.

Initially being told to not run for a while made me rebellious and determined to train as usual – not the best option especially when medical bills start coming in. And then I went through the depressed state of realising that I wasn’t meant to be training and admitting to myself that I should stop training – I felt quite isolated from running friends and suddenly went from seeing lots of people to hardly any at all. I also felt depressed seeing when other people were going running and I wasn’t able to. Then I felt miserable and I didn’t want to see running friends because I was fed up at not being able to run and wanted to stop all the questions around why I wasn’t training.

It's hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

It’s hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

And then I turned a corner.

I decided enough was enough with the pity party. It isn’t going to be forever that  I can’t train much, just the situation I have found myself in right now.

Here are  a few tips for keeping positive and motivated when you can’t train.

Encourage friends – become the encourager

If you are in the same situation and not being able to train I urge you not to isolate yourself but to become the encourager.

I have made it my mission to keep in touch with friends and to encourage them in their training. It’s great to see how well some of the people I have been running with for a while are now doing – that’s the great thing about running – keep doing it and you will see progress.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to keep connected with the sport you love even if you can’t do it.

I decided to volunteer with an established running group and went along for the first time today and it was great.

I was the run ‘photographer’ which was perfect me being an avid photographer and I photographed people as they started and finished the race – it was great fun being a spectator for a change and seeing how hard people were working and cheering them on to finish. I found even though I wasn’t able to be one of the runners that I felt every bit as involved and I will be doing it on a regular basis as well as hopefully soon taking part in the run itself.

Plan for when you can train 

I am already planning my races for when  I can train again and have the New York full Marathon, Sydney Half, Melbourne Half and Gold Coast full Marathon in mind for 2014/15 and I am seeing my not training hard now as rest time as I know once I am fully training again it’s going to be a lot of work to get back to where I was and some – but it is giving me  real motivation to know what’s around the corner.

Stay positive

It’s very easy to fall into that trap of being negative and ‘woe is me’ because something isn’t going your way but it’s a lot healthier to stay focussed, positive and surrounding yourself with positive people. The negative ones have to go especially when you are going through things you need friends to support you with, and keep those positive affirmations up.  I have a few awesome friends who have been there for me and who I can chat to about all sorts of things, and helps keep me going.

Do what you can within your limits

Walking, weights and my XBox 360 have become my friend of late. I walk with my lovely friend 4+ times a week and we drag our dogs out, and then I have a few fitness games on the XBox which are surprisingly effective that I have been doing as well. I am also able to still do weights within reason so I am trying to keep my fitness up as much as I can so when it is time to go back to training it won’t be from zero. Depending on why you can’t train have a think about what is within your ability and go for it.

Plan to treat yourself to stay focussed

I know for me, when I am able to train again I have money aside to buy a new road bike and also new running kit to celebrate being able to train again. Figured there was no point right now buying the bike until I can actually use it but it’s good to have something to look forward to to motivate and keep you even more focussed when training starts again.

Stay on track with eating 

The first thing I did when I was told I couldn’t run for a while was turn to Ice Cream and snacks in feeling miserable. I soon found that – that came with consequences – 3kg of them! I have got most of the weight back off now but it was scary how easy it was to become a different person eating wise just because I couldn’t train and felt down. Gaining weight and feeling miserable about it go hand in hand so I have tried to stay focussed and continue as normal with my healthy eating.

Most of all though – remember you are not alone. Lots of people are unable to train and it all comes down to how you choose to deal with it. It is hard and frustrating – but hang in there and try and stay positive.  

Hope these tips help. If you have any others feel free to share in the comments box below.

Happy weekend and happy training!

Yummy healthy @bodyscience mixed berry pancakes recipe

23 Apr

How is your week going?Image

My favourite BodyScience protein powder is the summer berry flavour and I gave my ultra healthy personal trainer friend some to try too and she loved it so much she came up with a great recipe to go with it for pancakes and I thought I would share it with you.

Ingredients
-Two scoops of BodyScience summer berries protein powder
– two eggs whole or whites only
-2 tbs cottage cheese
-a dash of almond milk
 
Method
Combine the eggs and cottage cheese and mix well. Then add the powder and a dash of almond milk. Mix all the ingredient and cook on lightly sprayed or greased nonstick pan. Slightly warm some mixed berries and add on top of the pancakes and ENJOY! No syrup needed.
 
Enjoy!

Cookbook Review : LivWise by Olivia Newton John

23 Jun

I love cooking from scratch and cooking healthy food. I like the idea of knowing what’s in what i am eating so I have a big range of cookbooks. A lot of them I have only used once but a good number have become my staples in the kitchen.

Livwise I recently got the LivWise cookbook which was produced by Olivia Newton in collaboration with some of her recipes and some of her chefs recipes at the Gaia Resort that she owns. I have always ummmmed and ahhhhed at celebrity cookbooks as a lot of them just use a ghost writer and put their name to the book, but I know she leads a very healthy life and is a strong believer in you are what you eat.

The other thing I liked was that all of her royalties from the sale of the book go to her Cancer foundation which she set up after having had breast cancer.

The recipes I have to say are amazing. I’ve cooked a number of them now and have loved every single one of them. Some of the ingredients are not on the cheap end of the scale in terms of buying things like Agar Agar and Agave Syrup but I’ve loved every minute of finding out about new foods that I didn’t know existed and enjoying eating food that is good for me and tastes great.

It took a while to get used to the desserts not being that sweet but I am getting used to it all now and thoroughly recommend the book if you like good food but want to eat healthily.

The book has a good range of food to cook and covers breakfasts, shakes, smoothies and juices, starters and snacks, salads and dressings, mains and dessert. The only thing I found and it was my mistake was not reading the recipe all the way through and realising I was meant to marinate something for 3 hours or for overnight but that’s me being absent minded. There are some quick recipes in the book too.

Happy cooking! and have a great weekend!