Health and Fitness

The Superfood Series

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Welcome to the SophiaFIT “Superfood” Series! You’ve probably all heard countless times about the nutritional benefits of these everyday ingredients such as blueberries, kale, salmon, commonly labeled “superfoods.” Although there is no official scientific definition of a superfood, the theory behind superfoods are foods that contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease. Yes there are a number of common foods that provide these nutrients, there is also an array of more exotic and less mainstream superfoods that are worth getting to know!

Through this series of blog posts I will be going through my favourite and budget friendly “superfoods”! Enjoy!

Chia Seeds

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Chia Seeds provide a wide variety of nutrients and are an excellent source of plant protein. In addition they are also high in magnesium, calcium, omega 3, linoleic acid, fibre and antioxidants. Because of this combination of nutrients, chia seeds are highly beneficial for the skin, bones, hair and digestive system. And did you know that they have been found to boost the metabolism and energy levels. Plus the high levels of fibre in chia seeds act as a prebiotic, meaning they feed the good bacteria in the gut. I could go on all day about how amazing chia seeds are but instead I thought it would be handy to give you a few tips on how to include them into your diet and of course a delicious recipe!

 

Chia Tips

  • Add them to your smoothie - next time you are making a smoothie, add in some chia seeds into the mix. By adding chia seeds will simply bump up the nutritional value of your smoothie!

  • Add Chia Seeds To Pancakes, Cakes, Muffins & Other Baked Goods - While you shouldn’t eat baked goods every day, there is a place for them in a healthy diet. You just need to know how to "healthify" your recipes. Toss in a spoonful of chia seeds for extra nutrients. Just simply add the chia seeds to your batter and bake as normal.  

  • Use Chia Seeds as An Egg Replacement - If you avoid eggs in your diet because you are allergic to them or simply don’t like them then baking anything from pancakes to birthday cakes can become very difficult. Here is where Chia seeds come into play! As a general rule of thumb, 1 egg is equivalent to soaking 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water.

  • Use as a topping - Sprinkle them on top of smoothie bowls, Greek yogurt or your morning bowl of oatmeal. You can also sprinkle them on top of a salad to enhance the nutritional value and offer a nice crunch!

Chia Seed Pudding - 3 Ways

Chia Puddings are not only easy to make but an incredible nourishing breakfast. With the recipes below, if you are wanting to add a little more protein add a scoop of your protein powder of choice!  

Cheeky Monkey Chia Pudding (Serves 2)

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1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup or raw honey (you may want more depending on how sweet you want it)
1 thinly sliced banana
Optional toppings: Goji berries, nuts, coconut

PB & J Chia Pudding (Serves 2)

1 ¼  cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
¼  cup chia seeds
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons of organic jam (watch out for hidden added sugar!)
Optional toppings: Fresh berries, walnuts, unsalted peanuts

Vanilla Chia Pudding (Serves 2)

1 ¼  cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
¼  cup chia seeds
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup or raw honey (you may want more depending on how sweet you want it)
Optional toppings: berries, figs, almonds

METHOD
Add all of the ingredients to either 1 large glass jar or two small jars with a lid, give it a quick stir, then put the lid on. Give it a good shake to mix all the ingredients up! Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, shaking or stirring occasionally. Serve the pudding chilled with your favourite toppings. ENJOY!!

Look back at My October Lifestyle Camp

My October Lifestyle Camp was an absolute hit!! A huge thank you goes out to everyone would attended the camp & to the amazing sponsors (Fuji Sports, Juice Plus+, Menhune Soaps, Shapes Gym, Finding Samata & Fortitude and Wellbeing). 

Here are a few snippets from the lovely Jodi Schwartz article!

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" Morning person or not, the ladies of the camp got up early each morning to be greeted by a stunning array of fresh fruit before taking a short walk to the beach for sunrise yoga led by the brilliant and beautiful Jiu Jitsu Yogi, Jasmine Bienvenue . Each day, Jasmine explored different flows where she encouraged a connection to the body and breath before laying and meditating in a sweet savasana as the sun came up.

The practice was followed by a hearty nutritious breakfast which offered a choice of fruit, eggs, yogurt, gluten free or rye toast with coffee and tea. All meals were prepared by the woman of many talents, Tina West, with help from sous chef Jodi Schwartz. 

At 10.30am Sophia McDermott taught the BJJ sessions. Sophia who is a world, no gi world and Pan Am Champion as well as the 1st female black belt from Australia shared her knowledge BJJ with a particular focus on techniques that were better suited to women. After a couple of hours of BJJ techniques and open rolling came where the pictures of smiles do not do the happiness and joy felt justice.

After a good training session, The ladies had worked up an appetite were ready for lunch. They were greeted with a nourishing lunch of protein, vegetables and complex carbs before relaxing in the afternoon. The next three to four hours were open for whatever suited. Many of the girls went to the beach, some to the pool, some shopped, went to a movie, or took a much needed nap. There was also little downtime for walks, relaxation, meditation, private lessons or snap chat sessions.

Evening activities varied day by day, which included workshops that alternated with a focus on the body and mind/spirit. Sophia taught a toning & sculpting workout, a nutrition workshops, partner stretching and a BJJ Q&A session. Tina west took charge of the Warrior Within empowerment workshops, sound therapy and guided meditations. You can check out all of Tina’s talents and skills here and here.

Dinner was always ready after the workshops to make sure that ladies were refulled and recharged from all the activities of the day. Although, the focus of the camp was about health and good nutrition if needed, the ice cream shop and convenient store was just a quick walk away for those with chocolate cravings."

It is a euphoric feeling for five days where women from all over the US and World come together to meet, learn, experience, share and make lifelong connections. The sisterhood developed is on a different level than one most have ever experienced. Each day and session seemed to light more of a fire within each woman, inspiring each one of us to be the wonderful person that we are, listening to our hearts and choosing our own paths. #bethestarofyourownlifeIt.

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Hydration Station

Did you know that by weight, adult bodies are made up of between 50-65% water with the brain and heart comprised of approximately 73% water, and the lungs 83% water. 64% of the skin is water, muscles and kidneys are at roughly 79% and surprisingly even our adult bones are around 31%!! Need I say more?

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Hydration is probably the most underestimated nutrient when it comes to weight loss! Drinking plenty of water really is one of the easiest steps you can take to set yourself up for a healthier body and mind!!

The thing about hydration is, you don’t need to wait until you are thirsty! You should be aiming to drink water consistently throughout the day. The amount you should consume depends on a number of factors, such as your body type, your activity levels and the climate but as a general rule I recommend drinking between 2 - 4 litres a day! Yes I know that sounds like a lot but trust me it is doable! Ensure you always carry a water bottle with you and if you find water boring, add some flavour by adding lemon or berries to your water! And trust me in now time you will be easily smashing 3 litres a day!

The benefits you will reap from increasing your daily intake of water will surprise you!

Improves Digestive Function
Water plays a big role in your body’s removal of waste through the digestive tract and your digestive tract needs water to function properly! Therefore, if your body isn’t receive a sufficient amount of water it can lead to chronic constipation!

Helps with Mid-Day Fatigue
Fatigue and tiredness is a common effect from dehydration and to make things worse most people reach for a caffeinated drink such as coffee which yes will keep you awake but as it’s a mild diuretic this will remove water from your body making the situation worse!

Mood Enhancer
Surprising but very true! Dehydration affects your overall mood as when your body is thirty it is in a state of shortage and won’t run effectively therefore making you crankier and moodier! Hydration = positive vibes!

I could go on for days about all the benefits but hopefully the ones above give you a little insight into how amazing water really is! If you are looking for more tips and information about water, click here to purchase a copy of My Nutrition Ebook where I give you a detailed rundown on everything water related!

References: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html

Carbs, Protein and Fats = ESSENTIAL

Life is all about Balance!

Let’s talk about Protein, carbs and Fats!

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Protein is essential for the growth of muscle, hair, skin and bones. Whilst carbs provide your body with energy to fuel your brain and muscles. Fat is also incredibly important for insulation, brain health and the production of hormones. When protein, carbohydrates and fats work together they keep your body healthy and functioning. The carbs you eat give you energy while the protein builds muscles. Fats and proteins are essential in order to stabilize the blood sugar levels in your body and are best eaten together! To put it simply without carbs your body would not have the energy  it needs to workout and train  hard and without protein and fats you would not be able to build muscle or grow skin and hair and regulate your hormones and mood as effectvely. Demonstrating that these elements are equally essential for your diet!

This doesn’t mean you can go out and order a crispy chicken burger to ensure you include this essential relationship is in your diet. Instead you need to choose with care and be smart about it! The best protein choices are lean meats, eggs and tofu. The best carbs are whole grains, fruits and vegetables which offer more health benefits that refined grains! The best fats are monounsaturated olive oil and avocado as well as almond butter!!! Coconut oil has been shown to have a myriad of other health benefits also.

Some examples of nutritious protein and carb combinations that you can include in your daily diet include brown rice and broccoli with legumes, tofu or grilled chicken, grilled salmon with steamed asparagus and quinoa, low-fat cottage cheese with fruit or oatmeal and nuts! These food combos will take longer for your body to absorb therefore there will be a slower release into your body and a steadier energy source to keep you going!

Source: Muscle & Fit

Source: Muscle & Fit

 

The Compound Effect- How your daily choices have a profound effect over time

The compound effect. Do your daily choices lead you little by little towards your goals or the life you want to lead? Are you where you are at in life because of the decisions you made or  because of the decisions you should have made but didn't?

The compound effect. Do your daily choices lead you little by little towards your goals or the life you want to lead? Are you where you are at in life because of the decisions you made or  because of the decisions you should have made but didn't?

We look at people who have 'made it' who are millionaires or multiple time world champions or totally zen and at peace, or have the perfect body or whatever it may be.... and it is easy to misconstrue that it happened overnight or that they just 'got lucky.' I am telling you that (with the exception of the Kardashians and Paris Hilton, lol) almost everyone spends years working hard to achieve these levels of awesomeness. Each day these hard working, driven people get up an hour earlier to go to the gym, or each day they spend an extra 20 minutes drilling, or each day they make the time for some mindful meditation- and that is why they have succeeded. 


A lot of us start the year with our goals and we are very diligently working towards them for the first week or so....until life gets in the way. In my most recent newsletter I discussed in detail some strategies that can help keep you focused, however here are a few main ones to consider: 
-  Work backwards and set out your long term goals. Where do you want to be in 5 years time, 1 year's time, one month, time and one week time. 

- Break down your goals day by day. This way you can set realistic and achievable goals.
This is actually where it all happens. This is how the COMPOUND EFFECT comes into play by actively making daily choices and decisions. If your goal is to lose the 20 pounds then are you going to opt for mac and cheese tonight or chicken and veggies?  

- Grab a diary and put reminder and motivational  notes around the house or the workplace where you can see them all the time.  

The COMPOUND EFFECT is so simple yet such an amazing formula to attain the life that you want. I believe that all your dreams can come true if you actively make it happen by making conscious choices that bring you closer to your goal at every moment.