Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag

The foods that you eat before and after a workout are extremely important, as different foods will be able to fuel you in different ways. If you have been confused about the best snacks to pack in your gym bag, here are a few ideas.

Yoghurt

Pre-Workout: Greek Yoghurt with Berries
Greek yoghurt with berries is a great pre-workout snack, as the yoghurt contains a combination of whey and casein, meaning that you are getting a great balance of slow and fast-digesting proteins, which provide your muscles with the amino acids that they need during a workout. The yoghurt will take between four and six hours to digest, while the berries, which are a great source of carbohydrates, will take around two, giving your body long-lasting fuel.

Post-Workout: Tart Cherry Smoothie with Fresh Ginger and Whey Protein
Smoothies are always refreshing after a gruelling workout, and a tart cherry smoothie, along with some fresh ginger, will go a long way in helping to reduce inflammation, preventing any soreness. When it comes to the whey protein, around 30 grams of this is the optimum amount, as this will help to stimulate synthesis and growth within your muscles.

OROGOLD Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag woman on grass eating banana.jpg

Pre-Workout: Bananas
Bananas are an easy snack to carry around, and are absolutely packed with potassium and complex carbohydrates. Both of these can significantly help with nerve and muscle function, so even if you do not enjoy eating bananas on their own, try adding them to a smoothie or some Greek yoghurt.

Post-Workout: An Orange and a Hardboiled Egg
Eggs are often considered to be the perfect food, and hardboiled eggs are extremely portable, and make for a great post-workout snack. The protein in the eggs will help to repair your muscles, but try to choose eggs that are organic and free-range, as studies have shown that these are usually much higher in the fatty acids that help to prevent any inflammatory damage that a vigorous workout may have caused. Oranges contain high levels of potassium and water, which will help to rehydrate you and replenish energy.

Pre-Workout: Oats with Almond Butter
If you are heading for a high-energy workout, then carbs will be your best friend, which is where the oatmeal comes in. However, in order to keep yourself feeling satisfied for the next few hours, cook the oats with some almond butter, as this is also a great source of magnesium, which is necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Vegetable omelette

Post-Workout: Vegetable Omelette
Eggs are extremely high in leucine, which helps to trigger the synthesis of protein in muscles, which is why they are such a great post-workout food. By packing your omelette with lots of different vegetables, you will be providing your body with a wide range of vitamins and minerals to help it to recover, from red bell peppers for vitamin C to pineapples for bromelain.

When it comes to pre and post-workout snacks, remember that timing is everything. The ideal time to eat is around thirty minutes to three hours before a workout, and within twenty minutes after working out, as this is necessary to keep your muscles healthy.

The Lowdown on Protein Powders and Shakes

Woman drinking protein

While protein powders were once quite a niche product, they have now become much more mainstream, especially since the benefits of protein are being much more widely acknowledged. If you have been wanting to venture into the world of protein powders and shakes but do not know where to begin, here are a few basics that will help you to understand all that is out there.

Whey-Based Powders
Whey-based protein powders are the most commonly available, and are basically a milk product that has had all of its fat and carbohydrates removed. This means that it is quickly absorbed by the body, which is why many athletes turn to whey-based protein shakes for their post-workout recovery sessions.

Casein-Based Powders
Just like whey, casein is also a milk-based product, and is commonly used in the making of cheese. However, the difference lies in the way in which the body digests casein, as this process takes longer than it does with whey. While this means that they are not ideal post-workout, they are great for an afternoon or evening snack, as they will help your muscles to gradually recover overnight.

Protein powders

Combination Powders
If you feel as though you could benefit from both a casein and a whey powder, it may be worth looking into products that combine the two. This means that your body will be able to obtain an immediate effect from your shake, thanks to the whey, as well as long term energy for many hours afterwards, due to the casein.

Plant-Based Proteins
Even if you do not follow a vegan diet, plant-based proteins still have so many different benefits, making them well worth considering. These tend to contain antioxidant-rich superfoods, which will have the effect of boosting your immune system, enabling you to train for longer, and harder. They also tend to be kinder to the gut, and while many may feel as though they are not as effective as milk-based protein powders, recent studies have shown that plant-based proteins are just as capable of building muscle as milk-based proteins. Common examples of plant-based proteins include pea protein, which contains high levels of arginine, which is an amino acid required to build muscle, soya protein and hemp protein, which also contains many beneficial life enzymes and essential fatty acids.

An Energy Boost
While a protein shake on its own is fantastic for maintaining your muscles, it is not going to provide you with much energy, which is where all of the extra supplements come in. However, since you are only beginning to experiment with protein shakes, it would be easiest to skip the supplements for now and working on adding your own energy-rich foods to the blend. An easy way to do this is by using a protein powder in a smoothie, mixing it with ingredients such as oats, almond butter and coconut milk.

The world of protein shakes and powders can often seem intimidating, but even if you are not a serious athlete, you are still likely to be able to derive a few benefits from one. However, it is important to keep in mind that protein powders are supplements, and cannot replace your body’s need for a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Lifestyle Changes for the “Skinny Fat”

Woman in mirror

The skinny-fat phenomena is one that affects up to a quarter of average-weighted people, and describes those who look fit and healthy from the outside, but actually have a number of health problems brewing beneath the surface. If you feel as though you may fall into this category, these are the lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to bring your health back up to scratch.

Healthy Oils
Many people who are skinny-fat try to stay away from oily foods, believing them to be unhealthy. While there is no denying that a greasy bag of fries will bring absolutely no benefits to your body, there are certain oils and fats that are necessary for good health. The most important of these are omega-3 fats, which can be found in highest concentrations in oily fish, such as salmons and sardines. Incorporating more of these into your diet will help to stabilize your cholesterol while reducing blood pressure.

Build Some Muscle
Building muscle mass is vital if you are skinny fat, and the best way to do this is through weight training. This encourages your body to store its lean muscle, rather than use it as fuel, and will help to add some more tone to your body. In order to support your increasing muscle mass, be sure to consume plenty of protein, whether in the form of eggs, meat, or seeds, as this will protect your newly acquired muscles.

Woman doing pushup

Support Your Natural Metabolism
While you may think that you have a naturally fast metabolism, there are many lifestyle habits that actually alter this, and it is likely that your true metabolism has been hidden for a while. Soft drinks, which contain artificial sweeteners, can interfere with the chemicals within your body, affecting your metabolism, as can sleep deprivation, which also increases sugar and carbohydrate cravings. In addition to watching your diet and ensuring you are getting sufficient sleep, you should also be incorporating regular cardio sessions into your routine, as this will boost your natural metabolism while helping with your fitness levels.

Keep Stress Levels to a Minimum
Stress is actually one of the main factors behind the skinny-fat phenomena, and while stress can often be unavoidable, there are still many ways in which you can take control over this and bring your stress levels back down. Different methods work for different people, so you will need to try out a few and see what helps when you are really stressed. Whether it may be ten minutes of meditation, taking some time to work out, or spending a couple of hours on a hobby that you are truly passionate about, keeping stress levels to a minimum will help your body to thrive.

Research has shown that being skinny-fat puts the body under incredible amounts of stress, and can actually be even worse for you than obesity. If you think that you are skinny-fat, then now is the time to implement these lifestyle changes, so that you can soon get back to your healthiest self.

Try These Tasty Red Meat Substitutes

While many may find red meat irresistible, there are a few long term studies that have recently been concluded, and these prove that eating too much red meat, especially if it is processed, is likely to shorten your life. However, if being a vegetarian does not appeal to you, there are still plenty of other tasty red meat substitutes that you can start to incorporate into your diet.

salmon
Fish
While fish and meat are often grouped together, fish contains significantly less saturated fat than meat, and is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit a number of different areas in terms of health. While some fish may not feel like a substantial substitute for red meat, there are others that can most definitely hold their own. Salmon, whether you grill, smoke or bake it, is a hearty and flavorful fish, while the mild flavor of rainbow trout is ideal for those who do not usually like seafood. Halibut is another versatile fish, as is Sablefish, also known as black cod, which is known for its incredibly buttery texture.

Tofu
Even the most avid meat eaters should really be taking a break from eating meat at least once a week, but if you still want a protein that is substantial, tofu is a great option. Tofu can easily replace the meat in just about all of your favorite recipes, whether you cook up some crispy nuggets or some Chinese sweet and sour or an Italian dish of spaghetti and meatballs.

Chicken
Free Range Chicken
While chicken is lower in fat and calories than most red meats, you need to be aware of where the chicken has come from. If it has been raised on a farm that freely uses antibiotics in order for their animals to grow faster and bigger, which is extremely common in the poultry industry, then this meat will definitely not be good for your health. While free range, organic chicken may cost more, the price is worth paying, as not only will the meat be better for you, but it will also be far tastier, and packed with more vitamins and minerals. Chicken is one of the most versatile meats out there, and can be cooked in so many different ways, whether it be in a curry or as a roast.

pork
Pork Tenderloin
While many may believe that pork is packed with cholesterol and fat, this depends on the cut of pork that you choose. Instead of opting for bacon, try cooking up a pork tenderloin, as this is a lean meat that is low in fat. It is also extremely easy to cook, and can simply be left slow cooking all day, along with some vegetables, so that you can enjoy a hearty meal in the evening.

Red meat is a favorite of many, but, if you know that you are indulging in this slightly too often, now is the time to change your eating habits. Whether you substitute it for a hearty fish or a cut of organic chicken, these red meat alternatives will give a huge boost to your overall health.

Enjoy These Energy Boosting Foods

Energy Boosting Foods
A lack of energy can usually be directly linked with nutrition, and while you may be tempted to turn to caffeine or sugar to perk you up during the day, you would be much better off opting for a more nutritious alternative instead. From the best nuts to snack on to the most nutritious meats to feast on, give some of these energy boosting foods a try the next time your body is feeling low.

Cashews, Almonds, Hazelnuts and Brazil Nuts
Most nuts make for a great healthy snack, but there are certain nuts that offer a much wider range of essential nutrients. Almonds boast large amounts of magnesium and a range of the B vitamins, which helps the body to convert food to energy much quicker, as do cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts. Nuts are also packed with protein, and brazil nuts, in particular, are a great source of selenium, which works as a natural mood booster.

Lean Meats
While plant-based foods are usually best for boosting energy, there can be times when you really crave some meat. In this case, lean meats, such as turkey, lean beef and skinless chicken, are the preferable choice, as they contain tyrosine. This amino acid helps to boost the levels of two specific brain chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which will soon have you feeling much more focused and alert.

Bananas
Bananas make for a great snack, as not only are they already wrapped and protected, making them easy to carry around, but they are also filled with a plethora of nutrients. From the B vitamins to potassium to fiber, bananas are able to provide the body with long-term energy, as well as boost muscle function. For some added vitality, pair a banana with some yogurt as a tasty snack, as this combination of fiber and protein will be especially energizing.

Water
While not technically a food, studies have shown that dehydration is often the primary cause of fatigue, meaning that staying hydrated will keep your energy levels optimized. To treat your body to some extra antioxidants, and to satisfy any sweet drink cravings you may have, infuse a few slices of fruit into your water. Lemon is great for this, but other fruits also work well, so experiment with your favorite flavors.

Eggs
Egg yolks are rich in the B vitamins, which convert food into energy, and they also contain plenty of vitamin D which supports bone health. The protein that eggs contain makes them especially useful when you feel as though your muscles need a pick-me-up, such as after an intense workout session. If you are trying to cut back on the calories, use one whole egg along with two egg whites, as this combination is a fantastic lean form of energy.

With the hectic lives that many lead these days, feeling low on energy is all too common. While quick fixes may seem like the best option, do your body a favor and try making a meal with some of these healthy but energizing foods instead.

Donkey Milk & Beauty

Donkey farm

Legend has it that, for cosmetic reasons, Cleopatra used to bathe in donkey milk every day, with 700 donkeys needed to produce her daily baths. Donkey milk was used by many others throughout history, and while it may seem quite unconventional, it is actually the closest to human breast milk when compared to any other mammal milk out there, and is packed with unique properties that make it extremely effective in many cosmetic uses.

Vitamin-Rich Composition
Donkey milk contains high levels of protein, phospholipids and ceramides, which work wonders on the skin. The protein is great for boosting the structure of the skin, while the ceramides, which are usually lost with age, help to bind together the protective cells that are contained in the skin’s outer layer. Phospholipids are a type of fat, and are essential when it comes to providing support for the skin, as well as in the functioning of cell membranes. These three components of donkey milk also make it exceptionally soothing, making it a fantastic ingredient for those with sensitive skin to use.

High in Vitamin C
Donkey milk contains up to 60 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk, which is a vital component when it comes to the appearance of your skin. When donkey milk is used in skin care products instead of cow’s milk, your skin will be receiving all of the benefits of this extra vitamin C, such as an increase in the production of collagen, which then leads to added firmness and skin strength. This makes donkey milk a popular ingredient when it comes to anti-aging products, as collagen production is a process that naturally slows down with age, resulting in visible wrinkles and fine lines.

Soothes Certain Skin Conditions
Donkey milk is extremely high in lactoferrin and lysozyme, while cow’s milk only contains traces of these. These two components have the potential to dramatically soothe certain inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

The Price of Donkey Milk Beauty Products
One of the main reasons that donkey milk has not yet hit the mainstream market is due to the fact that it faces one serious limitation, and this is in regards to the amount of milk that can actually be produced on a daily basis. While a cow can produce up to 40 liters of milk in a single sitting, a donkey will only produce around 2 liters a day in total, making it quite the premium ingredient. However, due to an increase in demand for the product, especially since the cosmetics industry has been turning more and more to natural ingredients in recent years, donkey farms are now on the rise, and this ingredient is likely to make its way into many more beauty products soon.

The cosmetics industry is always experiencing trends, especially when it comes to popular ingredients. While donkey milk may be quite a new idea to you and seem like a crazy trend, this is far from the case, as this ingredient can actually work wonders when it comes to skin care and beauty.

Healthy On the Go Breakfast

Morning can often be quite stressful and rushed, and the importance of a healthy breakfast is usually swept to the side. Fortunately, even if you do not have time to sit down and enjoy a full morning meal, there are plenty of healthy and quick alternatives that are perfect for eating on the go.

Muffin

Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast muffins have always been an extremely popular on the go breakfast option, because not only are they easy to make in advance, but they will store in the fridge for up to three days, or up to a month in the freezer. The fillings that you add can be completely up to you, whether they be your favorite fruits or whatever you happen to have lying around the kitchen. From mashed bananas to blueberries to cinnamon to honey chopped nuts to dried fruit, this on the go breakfast can be packed with so much goodness. If you have made a batch to freeze, simply pop one in the microwave to heat it up and it will quickly be ready to dash out of the door with you.

Fruity yoghurt

Dressed Up Yoghurt
While a pot of yoghurt is a great on the go breakfast, it lacks a certain level of nutrition, and the artificially sweetened flavors that have become popular do not contain many benefits. If you tend to find plain yoghurt too boring, try dressing it up a bit each morning. Rather than grabbing a pot to take with you, open it at home and top it with a sprinkling of fruits, chopped nuts, seeds or anything else that you would like.

Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothies
Breakfast smoothies are the ultimate in portable breakfasts, because not only are they easy to drink with just one hand, but they are packed with all sorts of body-boosting vitamins and minerals. Strawberry and banana is a classic flavor combination, but you can throw just about any fruit into the mix. Adding some nuts will give you some extra protein, and will make your smoothie even creamier, while adding some kale in with your sweet fruits will help to balance out the bitterness of the greens.

A`vocado sandwich

Avocado Toasted Sandwich
Avocado toast is another healthy breakfast classic, but, if this is too difficult to eat on the go, turning it into a sandwich is a great alternative. If you would like an extra dose of protein, quickly fry an egg to add to the sandwich, either wrapping it all up to eat on the go or storing it in a plastic box to eat a bit later. Don’t forget to opt for wholemeal bread rather than white bread, as this will give your body some extra fibre and minerals.

Healthy breakfasts can be easy, with just about any classic breakfast having a healthy, and portable, alternative. From a breakfast smoothie that you can sip while driving to a toasted avocado and egg sandwich that you can enjoy once you get to work, these on the go breakfasts will ensure that your day starts off with all of the nutrition that your body needs.

Holiday Foods That Are Actually Good For You

Woman having a salad

With the festive season upon us, we are all likely to end up indulging in our favorite holiday foods, maybe making a small effort to stay away from the unhealthiest dishes of them all. However, some of your favorite foods are absolutely packed with nutrition and health benefits, making them worth the extra helping! Let’s take a look at some of the traditional holiday foods that are actually good for you.

Turkey for a holiday dinner

Turkey
Turkey is a fantastic source of protein, with one serving providing half of the recommended daily amount of folic acid, as well as plenty of vitamin B, potassium and zinc. Eating a high-quality protein such as turkey also triggers satiety, meaning that you will feel fuller, faster, making you less likely to indulge in the unhealthier options. Unless your turkey is deep fried or smothered in gravy, this meat is actually quite good for you, although we would recommend trimming off some of the skin before eating, as this is where most of the fat and calories are contained.

Sweet potates.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, unless they’re covered in butter or marshmallows, are one of the healthiest vegetables out there. We suggest roasting them, as this gives them an intense flavor without the need for unhealthy fats. Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin A and phytochemicals, all of which help to keep aging, arthritis and cancer at bay. They are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant, so be sure to have a sweet potato dish on your table this year!

Cranberry sauce and chicken breast.

Cranberries
In addition to being low in calories and rich in fiber and potassium, cranberries also contain powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. They also contain unique compounds that have antibacterial properties, enabling them to prevent urinary tract infections. However, since cranberries are naturally low in sugar and have quite a tart taste, most recipes that utilize them require quite a large quantity of sugar to be included. We suggest replacing the sugar with a healthier alternative, such as honey or even other fruits.

Woman drinking hot cocoa

Cocoa
There is nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa on a cold winter night, and this experience is now going to be even more enjoyable with the knowledge that cocoa is actually good for you. Experts advise that a small piece of chocolate each day, usually about 30 calories worth, significantly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. We recommend using dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, as these contain much higher levels of the antioxidants that bring about these brilliant health benefits.

Now that you are aware of the holiday foods that are actually good for you, you won’t need to feel bad about that extra slice of turkey or that extra helping of sweet potatoes. Don’t forget that there are many other popular holiday foods that also have some great health benefits, from cinnamon to pecans to green beans, and with a little bit of planning, it won’t be too difficult to make your holiday feast the healthiest, but tastiest, one you’ve had yet!