Saturday, 6 February 2016

COLD BREW COFFEE - you gotta try this!

Cost - $6 for 3L!
I rarely buy coffee unless I'm treating myself. But I have found a way to make amazing coffee at home for a fraction of the price. I drink mine hot, with coconut oil, honey, milk and gelatin (read below as to why). How to make cold brew:
-200g bag plunger ground coffee (I use hummingbird as it's organic and fair trade)
-3L filtered water (use 2L if you like it very strong)
-3L glass jar (using plastic affects the flavour)
-Muslin cloth
Place coffee and water in the jar, stir and leave for 24hrs. Strain through a muslin cloth and it's ready to drink!
Cold brew tastes fantastic cold with ice and a dash of cream or baileys. You can also try it hot with sugar and milk or cream. I usually drink mine hot first thing in the morning (heat in the microwave). I've found it is much much smoother than plunger coffee, because it uses cold water rather than hot.
Coffee used to make my hands shake, which basically means I was causing a stress response in my body making my adrenals release cortisol.
I now drink my coffee with 1 teaspoon coconut oil (fat), 1 teaspoon honey(sugar), 100ml lite milk(carbs) and 1 tablespoon collagen hydrolysate gelatin(protein). Drinking coffee this way means it is a balanced meal, so instead of creating a stress response you will boost your metabolism and burn fat!
Collagen hydrolysate gelatin helps regulate your metabolism by providing pure protein rich in amino acids like glycine, lysine and proline, and it is quickly absorbed by the body. The body's natural ability to repair supporting connective tissue diminishes after age 25, but hydrolyzed collagen promotes rapid cell growth, producing synovial fluids to first lubricate joints, then build tissue.
It contains high levels of hydrochloric acid which creates an acidic environment in the gut which helps restore healthy gut integrity, optimises nutrient absorption and has been successfully used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, including IBS, Crohn's disease, colitis, hypo/hyperacidity, leaky gut, candida and parasitic infections. 70% of our immunity relies upon our gut so ensuring gut health ensures immunological functioning.

ensures immunological functioning.

Monday, 16 November 2015

My metabolism boosting breakfast

My current metabolism boosting breakfast. 30g of oats cooked with 100g of egg whites, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon and stevia. Then I mix in 1 teaspoon of Maca Root powder with 1/4 cup almond milk and top with 5g chia seeds and 5g of brazil nuts. Why have I chosen these foods?

Organic rolled oats - help to keep you full and are full of fibre, as well as being metabolism stimulating.

Egg whites - I choose this over protein powder as I believe in eating as many whole foods as possible. It mixes and cooks very nicely with oats.

Extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil - It is high in medium chain triglycerides which are fatty acids that boost metabolism.

Cinnamon - It can help metabolise carbohydrates and may improve blood-glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.

Maca root powder - It is an amazing superfood full of vitamin A and C, and rich in B vitamins and zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron. It contains two unique types of acids named macamides and macaenes, which are believed to play a key role on balancing hormones in men and women.It's also an adaptogen, which is a unique group of plants capable of improving the health of your adrenal system (this system is in charge of managing your body’s hormonal reaction to stress). Therefore, maca naturally reduces your stress levels.

Chia seeds - Benefits include fat burning and increasing exercise endurance. The nutritional profile of chia ranks it high in foods rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Chia contains essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 20% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, and anti-oxidants.

Brazil nuts - The main reason they rock is due to their high Selenium content, which boosts thyroid function and lowers cancer risk.

Yes I still weigh my food. I do not have a naturally lean body and I love food, so I need to know exactly what's going in each day. I still enjoy my treats - I had some lovely red wine and healthy baking last night!

Have you tried eating different foods at different times, and really take the time to notice how they affect your energy/mood/digestion? I feel awesome on this breakfast!

Calories 276      Carbs 24g      Fat 11g      Protein 19g

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The benefits of Nori

I made these nori rolls for lunch today They are made with salmon, avocado, salad and pickled ginger. I served with wasabi and low sodium gluten free soy. Super healthy and super tasty, and took me 10 minutes to make! Recipe below.

Nori is incredibly healthy for us, but the most common way of eating it in the western diet is sushi. While sushi is a great healthier option than most takeaways, it is still a pretty unbalanced meal (very high carbohydrate), and the rice usually contains added sugar, so it's more of a treat than an every day food.

Lately I have been doing some research into metabolism boosting foods, and ways of including more of them in my diet. Seaweed is a true ancient superfood, and has so many other amazing benefits, as well as being great for your metabolism. 

It is very high in iodine, which NZ soil is severely lacking in. Iodine is a crucial mineral for your thyroid health, which affects many other hormones and organs in the body. I don't eat iodised salt, or bread, so this is a fantastic way of boosting my iodine naturally.

Other benefits include:

  • It is naturally high in all other minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine (all of which are lacking in NZ soil). These minerals also make it a very good bone builder as it has balanced amounts (unlike dairy!)
  • It lowers your risk of cancer - particularly oestrogen related cancers such as ovarian and breast cancers
  • It is high in vitamin K, A and C, and rich in B vitamins
  • It is high in fibre
  • It's a fantastic source of plant protein
  • It lowers cholesterol
  • It contains Alpha-linoic acid and EPA, as well as potassium, phosphorus and zinc
  • It is also high in Polysaccharides which are important in the prevention of degenerative disease such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
All of this gives the benefits of improved memory, increased "feel good" chemicals in the brain, improved liver function, helps healthy hearing, eyesight and skin, improved immune system, lowers blood pressure, prevents allergies and infections and aids in digestion.

Need any more reasons to eat seaweed?! Here's my nori rolls recipe :)

  1. 2 sheets Nori
  2. 105g can pink salmon (or better still - use fresh salmon)
  3. 3 cups salad (I used dry coleslaw mix - cheat's salad!)
  4. 30g avocado, chopped
  5. Pickled or fresh ginger - to taste
  6. Wasabi and gluten free soy sauce to serve

Mix up salad, salmon and avocado in a bowl. Place Nori on a dry flat surface. Place half of the mixture on one end each sheet, then place ginger on top. Wet about 1 inch on the other edge of the Nori and roll towards the wet edge. Cut in half and serve with wasabi and soy.

Calories: 242       Carbs: 13g         Fat: 10g       Protein 22g

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Colourful spring salad

It has been so nice to return to eating more of a variety of vegetables again! I absolutely love salads so it's awesome to be creating some new recipes! 

3 cups baby spinach
10g alfalfa sprouts
50g raw grated beetroot
50g raw grated carrot
80g kumara, boiled
80g chicken breast
1 tablespoon aioli
1-2 tablespoons water

Cook the chicken breast in a non-stick pan. Layer the ingredients on a plate. Place the aioli in a small dish and slowly add the water while mixing with a spoon. Once you have the desired consistency pour over your salad.

Mixing aioli or mayonnaise with water means you use a lot less while still getting good flavour!

Calories 279         Carbs 30g         Fat 6g        Protein 24g

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Personal development and investing in oneself

I am a firm believer that investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. I was talking to my long time therapist on Monday and she made an observation, about how I am now living the life of my dreams, and how much I have changed since we first met.

I was 20 when we had our first session. I was lonely, tired, withdrawn and so very sad inside. I had no clue who I was, and I felt very lost. I was extremely defensive, and I talked way too much as a way of protecting myself.

It hasn't been an easy road, and I believe if it was, then more people would choose it. It takes energy, time and money, and you have to be prepared to face the pain. For me, the first couple of years of therapy were probably the toughest. I had to feel the pain that I had pushed down so deep inside me, in order to get over it. 

Someone once offered me an analogy that made sense. Imagine you have a wound on your body, and that wound has a scab on it, protecting it. The only way to get access to that wound is to peel away the layers of the scab, so for a time you are walking around like an open wound.

During this time, I was having regular panic attacks. I actually believed that the world was ending a few times. It is crazy where your mind can take you when you have no control to stop that negative spiral of thought and emotion that so many of us get pulled into.

Therapy has been one of the hardest things I have done, but it has reaped the most rewards. While I have been with my therapist for 12 years now, it hasn't been a constant 12 years. In the beginning I went regularly, but sometimes budget would not allow sessions. So I would stop for a while. Other times I felt good enough in myself not to need weekly sessions, so would see her every fortnight. There have also been times while travelling, where the only contact we had was via email or the odd phone call when I was in a desperate need. Right now, we have a half hour Skype session most weeks. 

The point is, she has always been there when I have needed her. She has helped me be the  absolute best version of myself. She picks me up when I'm feeling down, gives me unconditional love, and praises me when I am doing well.

Although they are very rare now, I still have my moments! After such a positive Skype session on Monday, I had a major meltdown on Tuesday. Someone said something to me that "pushed my buttons". Let's just say it bought up the old fear and pain of being "not good enough". I cried and cried for about 3 hours. Then I realised what was happening. Of course that person had not meant that at all, but because I was wired that way for the best part of 30 years, I can still go back to that place. The difference now is, that I can recognise what is happening, and stop that negative spiral of thoughts and emotions.

I would not be who I am today without her. In fact, I don't even like to think about the person I might be if I hadn't taken this path. I am proud of who I have become, but I will always keep pushing myself to be better and learn more.

This has been a massive year so far. I have just quit my day job and am now working for myself, following my passion and helping people get healthier, and the freedom this has bought me has me extremely excited for the future (I think I might just have to live in Spain part time!) I am also putting in the work to achieve a life long goal of entering a body sculpting competition. I live in such a beautiful place and I am surrounded by such beautiful people in my life. I feel blessed, but I also know I have worked hard to get here (and believe me, the comp prep is very, very hard - I could SO go a big wine and chocolate right now!)

I would also like to thank my long suffering husband Dan. He has been my rock through this, and I would not be where I am without his unconditional love and support. Thank you babe!

Are you living your dream?

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Overnight oats

I whipped this up for our Transform30® group as an alternative to a smoothie in the mornings.

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 serve Vanilla Complete
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
Berries/fruit and nuts/seeds to serve

Shake water, coconut milk and Complete until well mixed. Add to a serving dish or bowl and add in the oats. Leave it to soak overnight in the fridge. Serve with berries/fruit and nuts/seeds. If it is too thick, simply add a bit more water. Enjoy!

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Chia seed pudding

We had some lovely ladies here yesterday to learn how to make almond milk and try some food that is allowed on our Transform30® program. I made this chia seed pudding which is allowed for breakfast!!

1 Sachet of vanilla Complete
1/4 cup of Chia Seeds (white or black)
1 cup homemade almond milk
1/2 banana

Directions: Shake up your almond milk and complete protein until mixed well. Add chia seeds and shake until well combined. Pour into a serving bowl/glass and pop in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight. Top with sliced banana and cinnamon to serve. Delicious! You could also have this with a small vegetable based salad for dinner. Enjoy.

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.
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