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Health

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Some people mistakenly think that protein and exercise are only for picture-perfect bodybuilders who live and breathe pumping the iron and going to the Rouse Hill gym. But protein is basically important for anyone who wants to make the most out of exercise routines, and is not in any way limited for the pros only.

When we exercise, our body effectively tears and breaks muscle fibres apart. Protein and their amino acids are essential for providing the building blocks to help build, repair and maintain the muscles that are affected during exercise. Protein also gives us the energy we need to execute the needed physical activities during routines.

But unlike carbohydrates and fat, our body doesn’t have a storage for protein, which means that it doesn’t have anywhere to draw on when it requires a new supply. So what our body does instead is it uses any available protein that our body has to help work on the muscles and also to replace glycogens.

That is why fitness specialists and personal trainers highly recommend anyone who is body building, strength training, or exercising in general to eat protein before or after a workout session. That is also the reason why we regularly see people at the Rouse Hill gym or 24 hour fitness centre who drink whey shakes or eat protein bars after their workout session.

But before you head out and buy special bars and shakes for your body’s required protein intake pre- or post-workout, keep in mind that you can also get protein from better food sources – which we will be discussing also.

Carbohydrates also play a vital role in helping our effectively body absorb protein as they are the ones that provide the energy our body needs to use the protein for its functional and structural properties, which in turn helps produce more muscle mass.

And because of the well-documented synergy between healthy protein and quality carbohydrates, the meals or snacks you eat before or after a routine should contain the right amount of each, which is high for protein and low for carbohydrates. Here’s a short list of foods that have just that:

  • Fish – Certain types of fish, such as salmon, offer omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, and contain less fat than meat.
  • Nuts – Almonds, cashews, and peanuts offer a good amount of protein and heart-healthy fats per serving. And the fact that nuts are easy to carry around makes them a great snack when on-the-go.
  • Eggs – Considered as the best source of protein, eggs are capable of providing all the amino acids you need on your diet. What’s even better about eggs is that there are a lot of different ways to cook or consume it, which makes eating eggs a fun, delicious and healthy experience.
  • Chicken – Skinless chicken is known for being an excellent source of protein. Also, just like eggs, chicken is savoury and cooking it is an enjoyable experience.
  • Whole Grains – Whole wheat bread is a great source of protein and fibre. Like protein, fibre is a dietary nutrient that helps with muscle building.

But protein does more than helping our muscles for exercise, because it is also a significant building block of blood, skin, cartilage, and bones. So whether you are a fitness buff or not, protein can benefit your body in more ways than one. There’s no denying, however, that its power is more beneficial for those who exercise.

Brian Wansink, the best-selling author and Cornell professor of nutrition science and consumer behaviour, has made a career out of studying the ways people accidentally eat more than they intended to.

His work examines how environment shapes eating behaviour, and how our human predilection toward mindless eating doesn’t have to mean overeating.

In an entertaining interview with Mother Jones, Wansink takes us through what almost reads like a rundown of his greatest hits — some of the most interesting findings his research has uncovered on the ways we can use mindlessness to improve our eating habits. Here are some of our favourites.

In a restaurant:

  • Ask to be seated by a window. Wansink’s data show diners who eat next to a window are 80 percent more likely to order salad.

  • And if you’re trying to avoid sweets, don’t sit at a booth near the bar — according to Wansink’s research, people who sit in that location are 73 percent more likely to order dessert.

  • Choose a brightly lit restaurant with soft background music and you’ll enjoy your meal more — you’ll also consume fewer calories.

  • Order whatever it is you actually want. “If you tell people to be mindful of what they order, they don’t like it as much and they make up for it later,” Wansink told Mother Jones. “They tell themselves they deserve ice cream since they virtuously ate a salad for dinner.”

  • Wansink’s research even shows some very specific rules to remember should you find yourself dining at a Chinese buffet: Eat with chopsticks. Choose a smaller plate. Survey the entire buffet before making your selections. Don’t sit close to the buffet, and make sure you’re facing away from the food.

 At home with the kids:

  • Serve fruit in colourful bowls. Wansink’s research on schoolchildren has found that kids eat double the amount of fruit when it’s served in a colorful dish, as compared to a plainer, metal one.

  • And cut up their fruit first. Again, in his research in schools, Wansink observed that when schools served sliced apples, 48 percent fewer apples were thrown out without being eaten.

  • Improve on vegetables’ #branding. Wansink’s data show that kids can be tricked into eating 35 percent more veggies when their veggies are given funny names (X-Ray-Vision Carrots! Silly-Dilly Green Beans!)

 At the grocery store:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes browsing the produce section. Wansink says people who do end up buying more fruits and veggies than shoppers who speed their way through the produce aisles.

  • Buy the cheaper, bigger box of cereal. Just make sure to divide it up into small containers at home; people tend to eat less when food is served out of a smaller container, according to Wansink’s research.

  • It’s okay to buy the bagged salad. “Purist cooks say, ‘You’re a lazyhead. You should be doing this yourself.’ That’s what my wife says,” Wansink told Mother Jones. “But when she’s not around, it’s often what I buy. It makes me a whole lot more likely to have a salad, because it takes three steps out of the process.”

 We get it life it just so so busy. From working to running around for your kids it is hard to keep up with even the most basic chores around your house. Put it into perspective the average working adult spends 38 hours per week away from home just to make a living even more hours when you are a full time parent or if you add parenting into the mix.

Much-needed chores such as deep cleaning of bathrooms, cleaning the fridge, changing of linen, gardening and lawn mowing get put to the side.

What are your options?

  1. Practice time management so you will be able to do the house cleaning work yourself (possibly between the hours of midnight and 3 am) or

  2. Bite the bullet and enlist the services of a professional cleaning company

If you are not totally convinced here is some further points to consider

  1. Professionals do quality work

When a cleaning company advertises that they do quality and professional work, chances are that it’s actually true. Professional cleaning companies care about the reputation of their business and the satisfaction of their customers, because these two aspects determine whether or not their business would succeed. And since they care about excellence too much, you can expect that they will be providing services of the highest standard to your property.

Other than that, professional cleaning companies have well-trained and -equipped operatives.

Most cleaning companies can also offer additional services such as carpet cleaning, gutter cleaning and even window cleaning.

2.  More quality time with your family

I use to spend the weekend running around doing all my housework now that I have hired a cleaner means I get to spend more time with my family.

3.  Value for money

Time is money. I picked up the phone and called a cleaning company after tracking the time I spent cleaning in one week, this was amount I should pay myself. I used this number to weigh the cost benefit of hiring a cleaner. A professional cleaner is also a lot faster than me.

I am totally hooked on my cleaning service in Wollongong. What do you think? Have you had a cleaner or use a cleaning company? Would love to hear your feedback.

Ingredients

500g potatoes scrubbed and cut in quarters
Olive oil
4 eggs (or however many for your family)
250g haloumi cut into thin slices
200g baby spinach leaves

Mustard Dressing
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white balsamic vinegar (I only had brown)
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 shallot – chopped finely
1 tbs honey

Method

Cook the potatoes on the stove top until tender – Heat a large frying pan and add olive oil and the potatoes – cook until golden brown. Season and remove from the pan adding the haloumi and cooking until golden brown. Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients and giving them a good mix together. After the haloumi is cooked, add half the dressing to the pan and turn off the heat. Gently toss together the spinach, potatoes, haloumi. Serve topped with poached eggs and drizzled with warm mustard dressing. Season and serve immediately.

 

Ingredients

6 sheets puff pastry & 1/2 cup honey mustard
300g broccoli – chopped finely
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 egg – beaten lightly
3 tsp sesame seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Line two oven trays with baking paper. Using a plate as a guide, cut six 22cm rounds from the pastry. Spread the pastry with the mustard. Combine broccoli, and the cheeses in a large bowl and season. Place a handful of the mixture in the centre of each pastry round. Use all the mixture, fold over to the enclose the filling, crimping the edges to seal. Place the pies on trays and brush with the egg, and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Cut four slashes into each pie.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and puffed.