2014 in Review: Fitness and Health Articles

2014 in Review: Fitness and Health Articles

As we look forward to 2015, let’s look back and see what we covered last year.

This review of the articles posted to the FunFit website in 2014 let’s us reflect on what we’ve learned, and allows us to get the most out of this year.

Let’s get into to it! 🙂

FunFit Crew

Fitness (6 Articles)

Let’s start with how to define fitness. A definition of fitness let’s you set clear goals and measure your progress as objectively as possible.

https://fun-fit.com.au/what-is-fitness-measurable-definition/

Now that you know that strength is a fundamental component of fitness, you can figure out ‘how strong are you?’ and see if you have any relative weaknesses you can focus on.

https://fun-fit.com.au/strength-standards-how-strong-are-you/

If you are just getting (back) into fitness or would like a refresher on how to get the most out of training, then please read this guide for beginners. (Or send the link to a friend!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/fitness-newbie-success-guide/

For those of you who’ve heard of Crossfit, or have been doing it for a while, please read my take on the pros and cons of Crossfit.

https://fun-fit.com.au/love-hate-relationship-crossfit/

If you or someone you know is pregnant or considering it, please read this guide on how you can get the most out of training while pregnant – safely of course! (Please share!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/pregnancy-exercise/

The Primal Blueprint is hands down one of the best lifestyle books out there. Read my review of this fundamental work.

https://fun-fit.com.au/primal-blueprint-review/

little ninjas self defence

Self Defence/Martial Arts (3 Articles)

Understand the motivation behind self defence training.

https://fun-fit.com.au/real-self-defence-risk-management/

Are you a parent? Please read this to help your kids keep themselves safe when they’re out and about and are offered a lift. (Please share with other parents)

https://fun-fit.com.au/pick-password-safety-tip-for-kids/

I’m often asked how to correctly tie a belt for martial arts. Here’s a video to which you can refer.

https://fun-fit.com.au/tie-belt-martial-arts/

prehabilitation

Rehab/Prehab (4 Articles)

Move better. Improve your functionality. Reduce the likelihood or severity of injury. Prehab.

Sore lower back? It’s often down to poor squat mechanics, weak and/or tight quads and glutes and tight hip flexors and hamstrings. Check out this video to help you do something about it!

https://fun-fit.com.au/quad-hamstring-lower-back-mobility-video/

Following up on the lower back, here’s a 9 stretch sequence you can do with a band to maintain or improve your suppleness.

https://fun-fit.com.au/9-ways-bands-can-help-stretch/

For those who like to integrate suppleness and strength dynamically, there’s FlowFit. Move, play, flow!

https://fun-fit.com.au/flowfit-move-better/

Done something to yourself? Check this out so you know for sure – when to ice and when to use heat. (Thanks again to Chirotherapy for the guest post!)

https://fun-fit.com.au/injury-treatment-ice-heat/

nutrition

Nutrition (2 Articles)

I have no problem with people criticising the Paleo Diet. What I do have a problem with is people misrepresenting the Paleo Diet (straw man) and then criticising what it isn’t. Example here.

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-diet-criticism/

Just in case you missed it in the fitness section above – this is a fantastic book. Please (re)read my review.

https://fun-fit.com.au/primal-blueprint-review/

Recipes (5 Articles)

Yummy things!

Delicious and low effort, slow cooked Turkey.

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-slow-cooked-turkey-garlic-mustard/

For the sweet tooth – gluten free, dairy free chocolate brownies.

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-chocolate-brownie-bites/

Need breakfast ideas? How about banana pancakes?

https://fun-fit.com.au/paleo-banana-pancake-recipe/

Looking for a healthy snack? Look no further!

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-kale-chips-win/

Choc Raspberry Cupcakes. Check this out – you won’t regret it!

https://fun-fit.com.au/recipe-choc-raspberry-cupcakes/

What are your thoughts on what you read in 2014?

I have a few ideas for 2015 – What would you like to see?

Recipe: Choc Raspberry Cupcakes

Choc Raspberry Cupcakes

Gluten, Dairy and Guilt Free!

Makes 12 cupcakes

Choc Cupcake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a 12 holed cupcake tin.
  2. Place almond meal, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Stir together and make a well in the middle.
  3. Melt coconut oil until liquid. To the milk, add vinegar and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour liquids (including eggs) into the well and combine until just combined.
  5. Add raspberries and fold through.
  6. Spoon mixture equally into cupcake tin.
  7. Place in oven on middle or lower shelf. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the tops bounce when you press lightly.
  8. Take it out of the oven. Let it cool completely before carefully lifting it out of the tin.
  9. Bon appetit!?li>

The adventurous might like to top the choc raspberry cupcakes with:

Avocado Chocolate Icing / Mousse Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/4 cup of cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Blend with a spatula (or electric mixer) until smooth.
  2. Serve as icing on cake/cupcakes or mousse dip with fresh fruit. Freeze it to make ice cream or eat its goodness all by itself!
  3. Thanks to Chirotherapy for this great choc raspberry cupcakes recipe!

    You could also try these snack and dessert ideas: Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownies.

    Do you have a favourite healthy snack or dessert you’d like to share?

Recipe: Kale Chips for the win!

Kale Chips: Undiscovered wonderland.

I only got on to these recently. Boy, I’m glad I did!

For those of you who barely know what kale is, let alone how you would make it into chips – here it is:
kale chips

What is Kale?

Kale is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be close to wild cabbage. It’s in the same group of vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. It has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.

When you combine this healthy goodness with the texture of the chip – magic happens!

How to make kale chips

To make kale chips there are a few things to remember:

  • The kale leaves must be DRY.
  • Bake the kale at 170°C.
  • Cook the chips for 12 minutes.
  • Salt AFTER the kale chips are out of the oven.

Here’s what you need to make your own chips:

  • A bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • Sea salt (or your favourite seasoning salt)

Here’s what to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  • Remove the leaves from the stems and wash the leaves well.
  • In small batches – spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner.
  • Toss the dry leaves with avocado oil and use your hands to distribute the oil evenly.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lie some of the leaves on top in a single layer.
  • Make sure the leaves are all flat and not folded over or they won’t crisp properly.
  • Pop the tray in the oven and after 12 minutes, your kale chips will be done!

Once the kale’s out of the oven, season the chips with some sea salt or your favourite seasoning salt.
Bon appetit!

DO NOT miss the deadline or your chips will be BITTER.

Please also check out more recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Recipe: Slow cooked turkey with garlic and mustard

Slow cooked turkey and vegetables.

A match made in heaven.

Picture this:
It’s a crisp winter’s day. You arrive home from work hungry. You are in no mood to slave away in the kitchen. Then you remember.

You shopped yesterday. Got up 20 minutes earlier this morning. You had a plan.

You started by laying out your ingredients. Chopped up the veges and made a base layer. Cubed the turkey and made a layer over the veges.
Covered the turkey pieces with cream. Added cream, whole grain mustard, garlic and oregano too. Added a further layer of vegetables.

Tonight you eat delicious, succulent slow cooked turkey and vegetable dish with garlic and mustard sauce without needing to lift a tired finger. Go you!

What you’ll need:
(It’s all in the first picture too)

1kg Turkey steaks
1 head of broccoli
10 or 12 mushrooms
5 or 6 asparagus spears
2 green zuccinis
2 medium carrots
1 leek
250ml full cream
Wholegrain mustard
Garlic (fresh or dried)
Oregano (fresh or dried)
1 brown onion (optional)

20140713-045249-17569875.jpg20140713-050419-18259341.jpg20140713-050343-18223487.jpg20140713-050937-18577857.jpg20140713-051023-18623630.jpg

Do you have some ideas for winter deliciousness?
Do you have a favourite slow cooked meal you’d like to share?

Please make use of the comments section!

Try this Paleo Banana Pancake Recipe

paleo banana pancake recipe

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe is simple to make.

It’s also quick to prepare, nutritious and delicious.

Typically pancake mixes many ingredients. Most of them fail the “can you eat it by itself?” test. They have ingredients such as flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, caster sugar, eggs, milk and butter.
(For example check out . Have a look on the side panel of ready-made pancake mix next time you’re at the supermarket.

My recipe is way easier and better for you.

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe has 3 or 4 ingredients. It can be ready in less than 10 minutes. It’s good for you and tastes fantastic.

To make about 6 pancakes the size of a bread plate you will need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • a big pinch of cinnamon
  • salt to taste (optional)

  1. Mash the banana with a fork or potato masher
  2. Whisk the eggs until fluffy
  3. Combine the banana and eggs and mix well
  4. If using optional salt – add it now
  5. Poor the mixture into pan or hotplate (low/med)
  6. Sprinkle on the cinnamon
  7. Turn when the middle is starting to firm up (about 5 mins)

Add blueberries or strawberries as a garnish or side.

Enjoy the yummy goodness! Please also try delicious Paleo Chocolate Brownies!

Try delicious Paleo Chocolate Brownie Bites

Paleo Chocolate Brownie Balls

This delicious Paleo Chocolate brownie recipe is a version of the one I found on Paleogrubs.com.
Where they used walnuts only, I decided to use mixed nuts. You can get a 250g or 500g bag of almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans from the supermarket.

For a dessert or sweet snack this is hard to beat. This chocolate brownie mix is easy to make, delicious and nutritious. You know exactly what’s in it. There are no additives or preservatives. The nuts provide a good source of protein and healthy fats. The raw cacao is high in antioxidants. The only trouble you’ll have with these brownies is having them last long!

Ingredients

  • 250g of raw mixed nuts
  • 100g of pitted dates
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 of a cup of raw cacao powder
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Add nuts and salt to a blender or food processor. Mix until the nuts are finely ground.
  • Add the dates, vanilla, and cacao powder to the blender. Mix well until everything is combined.
  • With the blender still running, add a couple drops of water at a time to make the mixture stick together.
  • Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into a bowl. Using your hands, form small round balls, rolling in your palm.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

For other sweet deliciousness, please check out this Paleo Cheesecake recipe.

Paleo Cheesecake Recipe

Paleo Cheesecake

This is a version of a Paleo “Cheesecake” Recipe I found at paleocupboard.com

This recipe is gluten and dairy free – and actually tastes really good. At Christmas I even got complimented on it’s tastiness from my mother in law!

A couple of major diversions from the original include using raspberries rather than blackberries (out of season) and using the actual raspberry ‘pulp’ as a topping, rather than the juice as a compote. You can freeze the juice to make popsicles if you have the equipment.

Ingredients Directions
CRUST TO MAKE THE CRUST
  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Blend the almonds for about 5 seconds. Add the dates and honey and blend until the dough sticks together. Take your pan and press the dough into the pan and along the sides. Place the crust in the refrigerator while you work on the other layers.
FILLING TO MAKE THE FILLING
  • 3 cups soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Blend the cashews for about 15 seconds. Add the remaining filling ingredients and blend until very smooth. Pour the filling into the crust, making sure the top is smooth, and return to the refrigerator.
TOPPING TO MAKE THE TOPPING
  • 2 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Place the raspberries and water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Allow the berries to cook down (about 15 minutes), stirring regularly. Add the raw honey and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Place the berry mixture in a fine mesh strainer held over a small bowl. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon in order to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Spoon the berry “pulp” over the top of the filling layer, making sure it is evenly distributed out to the crust layer. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Paleo Cheesecake CrustPaleo Cheesecake Crust and FillingPaleo Cheesecake

Recipe: You want Paleo Pizza? Hello Meatza!

Paleo Pizza, known as Meatza is delicious and nutritious.

When I went Paleo I missed pizza. Thankfully, there is something you can have that is even better.

Try it and you’ll see. It is at least as good as, if not better than, pizza.
This is a recipe suggestion. As with pizza tastes do vary considerably.
If there’s something on here you don’t like then by all means remove it or substitute something else. Better that than not trying meatza-goodness!

Try googling Meatza and see the variety.

Preparation Time: About 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 40 minutes

Ingredients:

(For the base)
1 kg beef mince
1 egg
Herbs (chilli, basil and oregano)
Tomato paste or passata sauce

(Toppings)
Olives
Tinned Peas, Carrots and Corn
Tinned Asparagus
Tinned Pineapple
Fetta Cheese
Shredded tasty cheese

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl
Add herbs
Add mince
Mix thoroughly
Grab a flat baking tray with a decent lip as there is some meat juice
Flatten the mixture on to the baking tray about 1/2 cm thick
(You could make it square, circular or make multiple mini ‘pizzas’ at this point

When the oven is at temperature bake the base for 20 minutes

Take it out and drain the juice (you could keep it for stock)
Add tomato paste or passata sauce in a thin coat – leaving space at the edge for fingers!
Add olives, peas, carrots, corn, asparagus, pineapple and fetta.
Layer the tasty cheese over the top and put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Bon apetite!

Recipe: Salmon Steaks in Creamy Dill Sauce

Recipe: Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce (Serves 4, about 10 minutes preparation time; 20 minutes cooking time)

A delicious and nutritious meal that supplies both good taste and healthy ingredients.

What you’ll need:

4 small-medium salmon steaks
1 broccolini bunch
1 large carrot
1 white zucchini
2 medium tomatoes
1 Lebanese cucumber
8 button mushrooms
2 asparagus bunches
Handful of snow peas
Small handful of Pine nuts
1 avocado
1 sprig of dill
Cream cheese (philly is fine)
Milk (Optional)
Lemon juice
Chilli
Paprika
Soy sauce

What to do:

Wash and cut up brocollini, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus and snow peas.
Put them in a steamer or rice-cooker for about 20 minutes.

When they’re on, heat up a pan or skillet and butter it.
When it’s hot, add the salmon steaks. Turn them after about 7-10 minutes. Add pine nuts to the pan for roasting.

With the vegetables and salmon cooking, you have opportunity to prepare the plates with sliced cucumber, tomato and avocado and to make the dill sauce.
Add about three tablespoons of cream cheese to a bowl. Chop the dill and add most of the sprig. Add a dash of milk, a dash of lemon juice.
Chilli flakes, paprika and soy sauce are optional. Stir well.

When the salmon and steamed vegetables are done, add them to the plate. Top the salmon with the roasted pine nuts (remember them!) and layer the sauce over.

Bon appetit!