How to deal with those pregnancy cravings

From morning sickness, to cravings, pregnancy can throw your normal eating habits into quite the spin, and at 17 weeks pregnant, I am only too familiar with the lure of a carb cravings, sugar cravings (bread, pasta, potatoes, cheese and pickle sandwiches, carrot cake – you name it!) and being turned off my usual healthy choices including ALL vegetables other than lettuce and sweetcorn! It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least!

 

Many of you are asking me how I deal with my cravings during pregnancy, or how and what I’m eating, and the answer is I’m trying to eat as best as I can and stick to healthy choices like protein smoothies, fruits, yoghurts and rice cakes with choccy or nut butter. However, there has been many a day, when I couldn’t face cooking or eating and only a cheese and pickle sandwich with a diet coke will do! It’s such a challenging time but try not to feel guilt or anxiety around your cravings, and remember it’s all just a phase, which will pass as your pregnancy progresses – or once your bubba is here.

Despite feeling rubbish at the moment, I’m really enjoying being pregnant again!

 

So what do I do to TRY and tame these cravings?

My top tip is to exercise! It’s the only thing that really helps me feel good. All those feel-good endorphins seem to set me on a better path to eating well. However, when I haven’t been able to work out, brushing my teeth also works!

If I’m still climbing the walls after a workout, a big glass of water and a good old pep talk – then I just try to have something good for me that’s still sweet or satisfying, such as fruit with yoghurt and homemade granola.

I try to stick to the 80/20 rule too – if I’m having healthy, nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time, then I know that there’s a little room for satisfying those good-old cravings.

 

Homemade granola with strawberries, greek yoghurt & honey

 

Suddenly feeling peckish?

Yes I’m getting that too!
Often fluctuations in blood sugar levels, lack of sleep and tiredness can upset your hormonal balance and appetite, so I’m eating little and often, and being really careful about my sugar intake – I know all to well that by constantly allowing my sweet tooth to win will change my tastebuds so that I continue to crave sweeter foods. It can easily spiral out of control!

 

NutriStrength vanilla pea protein blended with blackberries, banana & coconut butter!

 

I could literally go on and on and write a whole load of guidelines for nutrition in pregnancy, but honestly, I just say do your best and don’t beat yourself. Just try to do some damage limitation by incorporating as much as you can of the good stuff (when possible) and use my blog posts and Guide to a Fit & Healthy Pregnancy for inspiration and recipes.

Above all, remember to listen to your body and don’t focus on weight loss during pregnancy! Your focus now is to create a healthy environment for your unborn baby –you’re not going to build muscle or create an amazing physique during this time, and no matter how hard you try, it’s inevitable that your body will store body fat to protect your baby, prepare your body for birth and breastfeeding. Remember that this is just a short phase of your life and there is plenty of time to get your body back to how you want it once your baby is safely in your arms.

 

It was so easy to stay active first time around, pregnancy no.2 is already a little more difficult!

 

Mums to be, are you struggling with your diet or eating habits during pregnancy? If so please feel free to drop me a line and I will see if I can help.

In the meantime why not give this healthy(ish) chocolate cake a try – see below. Hopefully it will hit the spot – it works every time with me!

You can also find more recipes in either my Pregnancy ebook or my Sweet Clean Eats eBook.

Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 200g coconut sugar
  • 300g 70% Lindt dark chocolate
  • 2tbsp ground almonds
  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 225g coconut oil (or you can 
use organic butter)

Method:

  • Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in bowl over saucepan of simmering water.
  • Whisk the eggs with sugar, mixed spice, salt and ground almonds, then fold the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  • Grease a cake tin with coconut oil and sprinkle with ground almonds before pouring mixture in (you may want to use baking paper to stop the cake from sticking depending on your tin – my tin was around 8” in diameter), then bake in an oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.
  • When cooked (test by sticking a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean it’s done) leave out to cool.
  • Place in a fridge for approx. 8 hours before eating (if you can wait that long!)

Nutrition made easy

There are plenty of fitness facts you can argue over, but the fact that abs are made in the kitchen is not one of them. When it comes to body fat reduction – 20 per cent of it is fitness – the other 80 per cent is diet. That’s a big proportion!

But lets face it – there’s ALOT of confusing information out there! So I’ve put together my top nutrition tips, which will promise slow yet sustainable progress; no going hungry, no cutting out food groups and most of all no crazy diet to stick too.

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive – all you need is a few tweaks here and there and you can have a healthy lifestyle the smart way.

 

  1. Eat regularly, so you don’t go too hungry 

Not eating all day and then going mad at dinner is not cool. It simply leaves you ravenous and open to making the wrong choices because you’re so darn hungry. On average I tend to eat every three hours – or whenever I feel hungry. I tend to wait until I’m approximately 70-80 per cent hungry because otherwise I’d just be constantly picking and not giving my body a rest from the digestion process. I rarely allow myself to get too peckish because that’s when I’ll reach for something naughty to try to hit the spot quicker.

Eating little & often means I make healthy food choices and drip-feed my body sensibly throughout the day.

 

These Dark Chocolate Energy Boosters are a great healthy snack, and keep well in the fridge! – Recipe available in my eBook!

 

  1. Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water

Yes I’m talking about four litres a day – sometimes more if I’ve had an intense training session! It’s so important to stay hydrated because every part of your body – muscles, cells, and organs require water to perform at their optimum level. What’s more, hunger can often be mistaken for thirst, which means you could actually be thinking your hungry but actually all you need in a big glass of water.

 

  1. Stay away from caffeine after 4pm

If you find it difficult to switch off at night – it could be down to caffeine! I never have coffee after 4pm because I know I’ll be tossing and turning until gone midnight instead of falling asleep at my usual time between 10 & 11pm.

So what does my coffee schedule look like? Well I always start the day with a mug of hot water and lemon, which feels really cleansing and is good for digestion after a night of fasting (when you sleep).

It’s around an hour after I wake that I enjoy my first coffee. I’ll then have one or two more throughout the day, especially on the days I workout as I would rather use coffee as a pre-workout as opposed to a synthetic or sugar-laden energy drink.

Not everyone is the same, as everyone has a different level of tolerance to caffeine but if you find yourself not sleeping too well at night, have a think about your coffee intake and timing throughout the day, it could make a huge difference.

 

I just love this Electrolyte Blend from NutriStrength…get 15% off with my code MIRELLA15

 

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Have you ever had a bad nights sleep and then found yourself hungry for comfort food and sugar the next day? We’ve all been there – especially us mamas! Basically lack of sleep has a massive impact on your body’s capability to produce enough leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satisfied, whilst encouraging your body to produce excess ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. To make matters worse, feeling tired can also have a huge impact on how you train, whilst impairing your muscle’s recovery! Phew!

That said, I always try to get an average of 7 to 8 hours a night. Any less than this and I will start to feel quite drained after four or five days and need a big top in the form of a very early night – or lie in. Everyone is different, some people need more sleep, some need less but I find being in bed by 11pm and getting up between 6am & 7am works well for me.

 

 

  1. Fill up on veggies

If you like a big plate of food to make you feel satisfied then make veggies your best friend! Not only are they packed with fibre and vitamins and minerals, but they can also help massively with satiety, meaning you feel more full and less likely to need anything after dinner – yes including that calorific pudding! My fav has to be broccoli – a staple in my house because it is full of vitamin K (good for bone health) and vitamin C (great for skin and helping to reduce wrinkles by helping to produce collagen!) and leaves you feeling fuller too!

 

Simple but healthy & delicious: oven-roasted chicken, quinoa, broccoli & sauerkraut!

 

  1. Don’t fear fat

There’s a common fear that fat will make you fat – it won’t, as long as you stick to healthy fats found in the likes of nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and avocados  – and not the trans fats found in processed junk! In fact, a diet rich in healthy fats is absolutely essential to a healthy diet – plus the right types of fats can help you lose weight, build muscle, balance your hormones (especially your thyroid!) boost your immune system whilst providing your body with a steady stream of energy throughout the day.

I tend to eat oily fish twice a week in order to get enough essential fats in my diet, plus I will also include good fats in the form of avocado, almonds and olive oil into most meals and snacks.

I also take 1g of Metabolics Omega 3 every day, which are great for improving brain function, your mood, the quality of your skin (think clearer and softer – yup!) and are just great for your general health and immunity.

 

Check out Metabolics range of quality supplements HERE

 

  1. Avoid Alcohol

Sorry to be a kill joy but alcohol will have a massive impact on your results – not because of the (empty) calories but because of the effect it has on your hormones, sleep, energy, and appetite.

You basically need to work twice as hard to burn off alcohol before you can tap into burning your body’s fat stores because it interferes with the absorption of nutrients, plus it is the first fuel to be used by the body, which therefore postpones the fat-burning process and contributes to greater fat storage. Alcohol can also affect your sleep quality, your ability to build muscle, your recovery, increase your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and make you more likely to crave comfort foods and carbs. Have I convinced you yet?

I’m not saying don’t go out and have fun, but if drinking is a regular occurrence and you still want to see results from your training, then perhaps switch to sparkling water with a slice of lime – you could always pretend it’s a gin and tonic! Or how about just having the tonic and “rim” the glass with gin! (I learnt this tip from a friend!)

 

Tonic without the gin 🙂

 

  1. Eat protein with every meal

Protein not only plays a huge role in building muscle, but it also helps to keep you feeling full by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin while optimizing the satiety hormone leptin. Aside from that, the very act of eating protein gives your body a metabolic boost as you expend calories digesting it – it basically has more of a thermogenic effect than any other macronutrient!

I aim to have one portion of protein (30g) with every meal and snack – especially breakfast (around 4-5 small meals per day basically). Protein in the form of protein pancakes or eggs (my breakfast staple) definitely helps regulate my appetite for the rest of the day and helps replenish my protein stores, which therefore protects my lean muscle tissue after a good nights sleep.


If you struggle to increase your protein intake, NutriStrength protein powders are fantastic for making protein smoothies & Atari loves them too! 🙂

 

Learn more about nutrition from me and how to use it to achieve your own body goals by signing up to my next 8 Week Fitness Journey starting 10 July. Click HERE for details!

My Go-To Afternoon Snack

Do you ever find yourself raiding the kitchen come 3pm looking for something sweet and energising?

Yup you’re not alone but thankfully this Granola recipe comes to my rescue every time!

It’s packed with gluten-free oats and nuts and seeds for slow-release energy, and honey and cacao nibs to take the edge of my sweet tooth and keep me going until dinner – and especially through Atari’s crazy hours before bed. Why do they do that?

Atari loves helping mama in the kitchen!

 

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

I like to serve mine with kefir yoghurt and stewed apple, and always tend to eat it around 4pm. Eating little and often definitely fuels my energy better. I hate to feel too full with food, especially with all the running around I have to do each day, so eating until I’m around 90% full makes me feel more energised and comfortable. I also don’t eat until I feel hungry, which means I really enjoy my food – but obviously NEVER let myself get too hungry (hangry!) that I’m ravenous and then reaching for the whole jar of granola!

 

To make around 20 portions, you will need;

* 3 cups organic gluten-free oats

* 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts, almonds & cashews)

* 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

* 2 tbsp maple syrup

* 2 tbsp honey

* 4tbsp coconut oil (liquid)

* 1 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)

* Pinch of Himalayan salt

* 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries & chopped apricots)

Granola before adding the dried fruit

Directions:

Heat an oven to 140 Celsius.

Mix all these ingredients together (except for any dried fruit because adding this too early and it will burn!) and put on a baking sheet.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Take out, give it a quick mix around and now add the dried fruit. Then put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It just needs to be slightly toasty!

When done, take out and leave to cool.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Rough Macros per portion:

Calories 4000/203

Carbs: 475g/24g

Fats: 189g/ 9g

Protein: 90g/5g

Your kitchen will smell heavenly when you’re finished!

 

This recipe is certainly one of the favourites amongst myself and my clients BUT (sorry – always a but) it’s fairly calorific, so make sure you implement some portion control by either dividing it up into small portions once it’s baked – or locking it in a cupboard once you’ve had your first serving because you could easily indulge in the whole lot – it’s so damn tasty! I tend to have it as a little healthy treat rather than eating it everyday!

For more healthy meal and snack ideas check out Instagram or my Sweet Clean Eats eBook available on my website!

 

Out Of Action; How to stay on track when injured

In the last year an umbilical hernia operation and a smashed up big toe (yes I stubbed it on a speed bump in Thailand) has seen me out of action for a few weeks.

Does it drive me crazy not being able to exercise? Of course it does! I was hoping to explore some of the gyms in Thailand when I was there and do some Muay Thai but instead I had to keep my foot dry and live in flip-flops thanks to the sexy bandaging I had around it. I was also on pretty strong antibiotics and in quite a lot of pain. So what’s a girl (and guy) to do when injured?

Well, rather than sit on the sofa – (or sun lounger in my case!) feeling sorry for yourself, find ways to turn a negative into a positive. Here’s how…

Firstly don’t give up and self-sabotage!

It would be so easy to say sod it – I’m just going to take full advantage of the rest and eat what I want – but DON’T! It’s true what they say – abs are made in the kitchen and being out of action doesn’t mean you will have to lose them!

Focus on eating clean nutritious food (you can find some recipes to satisfy a sweet-tooth HERE and listen to your body. I tend to lose my “normal” appetite when I’m not training as much and actually crave things like fruits, salads and vegetables rather than carbs and protein. Although it becomes easier to eat more “junk foods” when you’re not feeling the buzz and “feel good” feeling from exercising!


I hate not being able to exercise so eating well is really important when I’m injured – it stops me from feeling like crap, gives me energy I’d otherwise find in a good workout and makes me feel better about burning less than I’m typically used too.

Use this time to also tune into your appetite and get an idea of what foods your body does and does not tolerate. Nutrition has always been key for me to stay on top of my health and body goals, workout – or no workout!

Stay Positive – and enjoy the rest.

Your body needs time to heal so take some time to relax and take a forced rest – we can all do with this from time to time! You will probably come out of the other side feeling stronger and refreshed, and it could even help you to break out of a plateau, especially if you haven’t been seeing results for a while!

Also know that your injury isn’t forever and if you eat smart and move as much as you can around the injury you won’t put on weight or lose focus! Enjoy the ‘R & R’ and before you know it you will be back on your feet and rearing to go!

Set new goals

Having a goal and a focusing on what you want once you start training again will help give you focus and get you excited for what’s to come once your back on your feet. Look for an event that excites you, or sign up for my next Body Ibiza 8 week Fitness Journey. Making a commitment will keep you motivated and keep you accountable.

Modify, Don’t Quit

Sitting around when injured was simply not an option for me – and it doesn’t have to be for you either! For instance when I hurt my toe I still managed to train my abs and glutes during the day when Atari was taking her afternoon nap, and as it started to feel better I made sure I did lots of walking (with my toe bandaged up to protect it) with Atari in the buggy. The Thai heat saw me really work up a sweat and I felt like I was staying really active. I also did lots of power-walking up and down the hills and always took the stairs to my hotel room!

Depending on the type of injury, there should always be a way of getting a workout in. Just make sure you check with your doctor or trainer – the last thing you’ll want is to delay your recovery time!

Don’t be scared of weight gain!

If you eat smart by making healthy choices and only eat when you’re hungry – you won’t put on body fat!

If you stay hydrated and don’t get into the habit of comfort eating (which can be all too easy if you’re unhappy and feeling crap about not working out) – you won’t put on body fat!

Use your down time to focus on hydration (Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger!), sleep (this will help to keep your cravings under control and help your body recover quicker), staying positive (think of those new goals) and eating intuitively (don’t restrict your eating so you end up with crazy cravings and reaching for the biscuit tin!) and you won’t put on body fat – I promise!

Lastly and most importantly – take each day at a time! Appreciate that you are on a journey and these things happen. Focus on the positives and always look at the bigger picture – before you know it you will be exercising again like you used too – and feeling super excited about it too!

 

 

 

 

My Day on A Plate

All good things must come to an end – i’ve had a fab time traveling but it’s time to knuckle down and get back on the ‘healthy eating wagon’ and do you know what? I’m actually excited about it!

After all the traveling i’ve done lately, I felt quite sluggish and soft but I’ve got a whole new motivation for training and eating well again and luckily I know that within a week or so of sticking to plan I’ll be back to where I feel at my happiest with my body composition. Thankfully I have 23 girls i’ll be joining on my new 8 Week Fitness Journey which starts this week so there really is no excuse!

 

So what do I eat on a normal day?

 

I usually get up at 6.30am and always start the day with a Nutristrength coconut & pink salt electrolyte blend with hot water & fresh lemon – it’s the perfect wake-up drink for hydration and digestion and helps massively with my energy levels.

I’ll then have some healthy pancakes with Atari, which are made with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 60g oats and 1 small banana. I top them with peanut butter, coconut syrup and some raspberries, which gives me the ultimate combo of protein, slow-release carbs and fruit. They taste amazing and fill me up for the morning, whilst helping to tame my sweet-tooth!

Then it’s work for a couple of hours whilst sipping on a NutriStrength protein smoothie made with chocolate pea protein, coconut water, espresso and 1 medjool date. This gives me my caffeine hit (it tastes like salted caramel too!!) and gets me ready for my midday workout, which I try to do before I pick up Atari from nursery.

Post workout I’ll try and have my lunch al fresco with Atari, which is tuna with broccoli and avocado. I drizzle it with some garlic oil for an extra dose of good fats which help keep my afternoon cravings under control (plus some carbs if I have managed to get a workout in…usually quinoa , rice or potatoes) – I then either get on with some more work if Atari takes her usual afternoon nap or workout if I didn’t get chance to whilst Atari was at nursery. If she doesn’t sleep then it’s usually playtime in the garden, around the house or we head out to see friends.

I always try to make healthy choices to satisfy my sweet-tooth and one of my favourite afternoon snacks has to be my homemade buckwheat granola & oat milk. I make this using buckwheat, dates, figs, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil and also throw in some nuts. I always wash it down with a large glass of H2O to help me hit my 3 litres. I’ll have a new batch prepared this week as it never lasts long in my house, so keep an eye on my IG stories for the action in the kitchen!

 

I then end the day with some herb-seasoned chicken with a big green salad, tomatoes & avocado, which I will eat once Atrai goes to bed. If I need something after dinner, I will have a small bowl of porridge or a dark chocolate rice cake, and have some more water. I often sleep better with more carbs in the evening! I’ll then have a Clipper “sleepy tea” & 400mg magnesium glycinate, which helps me wind down before bed.

 

So, that’s me! I love to eat and I eat to fuel my lifestyle and my workouts and try to eat a wide range of foods which differ on a daily basis so I feel excited about food and not bored.

 

If you want to find a way of eating that works for you then get in touch or check out my Instagram page for food and fitness inspiration. You can also purchase my StrongbeatsSkinny Sweet Clean Eats eBook  which is full of ‘cleaner’ and ‘healthier’ treats, which won’t undo all your hardwork!

 

If you haven’t yet tried NutriStrength and want to give it a try, use this code for 15% off anything on their website MIRELLA15 😉

The BEST protein smoothie EVER!

If ever there was an amazing protein smoothie, well this is it! One of my personal faves 🙂

I’m very conscious of what I put into my body, even more so nowadays being a new mommy and helping to encourage my little girl to make healthy food choices. NutriStrength is my top choice when it comes to protein powders to help fuel my daily intake of protein. Whilst i’m not one for replacing good wholesome “real” foods with liquid meals, I do have a sweet tooth and so making “sweet things” with NutriStrength protein powder really helps hit the spot when I need to satisfy my cravings.

NutriStrength are producers of clean lifestyle nutrition and pride themselves on quality products. If you want to give them a try, check out their website www.nutristrength.com and enjoy 15% off using my code MIRELLA15.

Here’s my recipe for THE BEST PROTEIN SMOOTHIE EVER (I think it tastes like chocolate salted caramel):

 

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 scoop NutriStrength pea protein roasted cocoa flavour

2 scoop NutriStrength Coconut & Pink Salt Electrolyte Blend

400ml Oatly Oat milk

1 banana

2 medjool dates

2 Nespresso vanilla espresso

Handful of ice

 

Method:

Throw everything into a good blender (Vitamix is by far the best!) and blend until smooth. Enjoy! 🙂

 

NutriStrength protein