Spirulina: Superfood Or Superfad?

Don’t you just love the word “superfood”? It takes humble vegetables such as Kale to the next level, making it superior to other foods around it. Who wants to eat normal food if you can have superfoods? That’s right, no one, which is why superfoods are such a great marketing strategy.

RELATED: Natural Superfood Bar Recipe

But I don’t want to sound all cynical. Of course, there are some foods that actually prove to be quite amazing, mainly because they are so much more nutritious than other foods. A great example is spirulina.

Not only does this green algae have a fun name, but it’s also packed with goodness and is quite versatile when it comes to cooking and baking. Spirulina has been around for thousands of years but only recently has it experienced a real health-food-hype.

Especially for vegetarians, spirulina can be a vital alternative to meat, not flavour-wise, but because of its protein content. In comparison, spirulina contains more than twice the amount of protein of a steak, minus all the fat and calories. Pretty good, if you ask me.

Here’s an even better quality of spirulina: It contains a lot of iron; 28,5 mg per 100 gr to be exact. This is great news for us women as we need 18mg of iron each day (double the amount of what men require). So if you ever feel tired and worn out, get yourself a spirulina shake to boost your energy.

The superfood is also said to support your immune system and even relieve allergy symptoms, all without any risks or side effects if taken responsibly. This means no more than 5 grams per day to start with as it has detoxifying qualities. Another important thing to do is to only eat spirulina that’s grown in a controlled environment as wild spirulina may be contaminated.

The verdict? If any food deserves the name “superfood,” it’s spirulina.

Image via Functional Foods Blog

What To Eat Before And After A Workout

To get the best results from your workout, it’s best to monitor what to eat before and after you hit the gym. Beforehand, you should try and eat at least 30 minutes before your planned workout.

RELATED: Post-Workout Dos And Dont’s

Eating before you workout is important in kick starting your metabolism, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Having said that, nobody wants to go jogging on a full stomach – so keep your pre-workout meal light and easily digestible.

Recommended pre-workout meals:

After your workout is when you want to replenish your lost energy. Protein and carbohydrates are key during this time, in order to repair your worked muscles and restore your sugars. You should eat somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour after you finish exercising (don’t forget to stretch!). For the time-poor, try a protein shake or bar.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

5 Ways To Make Healthy Eating Easier With A Diet Plan

Think eating vegetables is the key to weight loss and healthy eating? Think again. One of the best ways to eat healthier is through menu planning.

All your good intentions for healthy eating quickly go out the door when you get home and have no food in the house, or what you do have is just going to take too long. It’s just so much easier to order a pizza.

Most women think healthy eating is only about the food. But here’s a secret. It’s just as much about the menu planning. In fact, menu planning may even be more important than how many salads you eat each week. Why? Because most diet plans fail when women don’t have healthy food within easy reach. You need to have a plan.

Menu planning takes some time to do, but it saves you hours in the long run. And it takes the guess work out of how to stick with your diet plan—after all, you’ve already decided what food you’re going to have on hand all week. These five steps will help you plan your weekly food.

1. Figure out where your willpower usually falls apart. Do you eat lunch out every day? Do you grab takeaway or eat frozen meals for dinner because you’re too tired to cook? Do you eat the kids’ leftover chicken nuggets? Whatever your weakest meal is, start there.

2. Gather your favourite recipes and group by ingredient. You probably have certain meals you love or things you always want to make. List them, then group them together by common ingredients. When you group by common ingredients, meal preparation is easier; you’ll shop for everything as once and nothing will go to waste. Decide what group or two you want to cook from for the next week, and prepare to shop.

3. Gather your ingredient list and hit the store. Make a list of your ingredients then choose a day or time when you know you can go to the store and come home and do all of your prep work. Sort your menu list by staples and perishables — you can stock up on the staples to make future shopping trips easier. Then go shopping! Note any special ingredients you’ll want to buy the day of, such as fresh fish, and make a plan for when you’ll pick that up.

4. Prepare your food for the week. When you get home, you can make your life easier by prepping food ahead of time. Wash your veggies, parcel out your snacks in snack baggies, cook your rice and beans (yep, they’ll last in the refrigerator for a week), chop your protein (meat, fish or tofu) and wrap it up. The idea is to do as much as you can now so that meal time is a breeze.

5. Make extra food to freeze. Many dishes freeze well, so why not make your own frozen dinners? Spend a Sunday afternoon cooking a protein with heaps of vegetables – think bolognese ragu, or curry – and freezing in individual freezer bags or tubs. If healthy eating is part of your diet plan, making your own frozen meals is a good idea—part of menu planning is preparing for those days when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook.

With menu planning your diet plan has a much better chance of success. You’ll even find that when you plan out your meals, you actually save time. Imagine all the healthy things you can do with that time you’ve saved!