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NEON: Healthy Fast Food

Last Saturday after a 6am start and 3 classes taught I headed over to Wilmslow to indulge in some healthy grub which I most definitely needed! Neon Health Kitchen is located in the heart of Wilmslow and offers healthy juices, smoothies and meals that don't leave you feeling like you've taken a step backwards after training.

The cafe/restaurant offers both indoor and al freso dining so you can dine in the sun or stop off for a coffee whilst taking the dogs out for a walk. It's varied menu gives you the option of clean breakfasts to light snacks and burgers, made fresh and with real, healthy ingredients. I opted for the scrambled egg on sourdough with added sausage and bacon, top this off with a peppermint tea and a ginger shot, it set me off to a strong start for the rest of the day.

And although you may be put off at the thought of eating in Wilmslow with the usually overpriced dining, this place is very affordable and no more expensive than other health cafes. Plus, if you're looking for a way to stay clean everyday as well as when you're visiting, Neon offer meal prep, all home cooked and freshly prepared meals that you can grab from your fridge and eat on the go. If you've tried your own meal prepping, you know how much time it takes, eliminate the time and effort and have it brought straight to you, a simple way to stay on track.

So, if you're craving an acai bowl or some good breakfast grub, get down to Neon Health Kitchen and give their menu a go, delicious, healthy food without feeling as though you've had a splurge. 


Manchester Eats

Food is the source of life, and what better way to spend your weekend than with great food, drink and sun? Can't think of anything better? Didn't think so. They why not get yourself to the Manchester Eats festival this weekend at Heaton Park.

Top chefs, restaurants and bars will all be in Heaton Park from the 7th - 8th of July to exhibit new recipes, give masterclasses and show us the latest trends in food and drink. From 10:30am the gates will be open and the public will be able to take part in a vegan society cookery class, chocolate truffle making and tasting and free kids cookery classes. If you don't fancy cooking but you want to do more eating there are plenty of stalls to choose from, such as restaurants, Proove Pizza and Reds True BBQ, street food from the likes of the Falafel Fellas and sweet treats from . Hotel Chocolat.

And if you fancy a little tipple to top off a great weekend, they're bringing Milan to the city with an Aperol Spritz bar or if you fancy it the L'Atelier Vintage Cocktail Box. Get your group of friends together and soak up the sun with a craft beer or prosecco in your hand and some good grub or bring the whole family as there are activities for the kids too! Official charity partners the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation are providing an activity zone on both days with interactive, accessible sporting activities for kids and adults. There is also a dedicated Kids village and DJ sets ongoing. 

So why not come and join me, i'll be enjoying as much food as I can and learning all about the latest foodie trends, see you there! 


High Fat High Carb: Killer Combo

We've all heard that fat is bad for us, and now we're all hearing that carbohydrates are bad, truth is.... it's all a load of bull. We NEED carbohydrates and fats in order to survive and lead a healthy life, without a sufficient amount of these two macronutrients (along with protein) you will suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. However, new research suggests that the combination of fats and carbohydrates really gets us going, and it's this that could be contributing to obesity. 

When we eat foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, the reward centre in our brain goes crazy and we enjoy it more than we do having carbohydrates or fats on their own. Unfortunately for us, the majority of foods that have this combination are processed, high calorie, low nutrient and therefore not really good for us. In a recent study of 206 subjects, scientists took brain scans of the subjects whilst they viewed images of foods, mainly high in fat and sugar. The subjects were also given money to bid on items of food, unsurprisingly, people were willing to pay more for foods that had the combination of fats and carbohydrates. However, a large point to stress is that the neural circuit for the reward centre lit up more than when people saw their favourite foods, high sugar foods and high fat foods. 

But why? Well scientists reckon that it's an evolution thing. You see, we've had carbohydrates and fats the whole time humans have been around, but the combination of the two hasn't been around so long. Only in recent years in terms of evolution have we had processed foods, therefore our brains aren't quite sure how to respond to it just yet. Sadly this sucks for us because our brain wants more when it's not great for us, and this can lead to problems such as obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

What can you do? Well i'm afraid there's not that much you can do about your brain's response, one of the best things you can do is reduce the amount you eat these foods as much as possible. The less you have them the less you'll crave them, and I know i'm saying this as though it's a piece of cake, it's really not, but you've got to push through it.



Wagamama - Eating Out the Healthy Way

The last month or so I've been following a diet from my nutritionist which has involved keeping track of my calories and macros in order to support my training, so I am able to get the most out of my workouts and athletics training. As I've been learning about macros more in depth, I've stuck to a more basic diet, lots of chicken I'll admit, in order to find out what works for my body. However it's not been without struggle, and yes I've had the odd time off plan, I'm only human, but I never have and never will be super strict with my food, it's not a way of life for me. I love good food and the social aspect of eating out, so when I finally visited Wagamama (I know I'm late on the band wagon) I was so happy to find somewhere I can eat without messing up my healthy eating and macros. 

After a 4am start, I walked into the Trafford Centre late Wednesday night praying to find a healthy restaurant as I was not prepared to cook a decent meal. Traipsing past TGI Fridays and Coast to Coast, I really wasn't hopeful, but just a few steps forward was my saving grace. I've been told by so many people how good Wagamama is, however Japanese food never really appealed to me and when I go out I like to go for something big and greasy. However, it was by far the busiest restaurant around and being on a bit of a health kick, I thought noodles and vegetables might be a better idea than ribs. I was so right. 

Wagamama hit the UK in 1992 in London and since has expanding nationwide, bringing a little bit of Japan to the streets of England. They work off the philosophy of 'kaizen' meaning 'good change' and the restaurant sure gives off that simple, relaxed vibe. They keep the tables small and clear in order to fit as many people as possible, without it feeling overcrowded and dense and everything has a sense of being very clean, just what you want in a food environment. It only took a few minutes to decide what to have, not because there wasn't enough choice, but because I had ramen on the brain, it's impossible to go to a Japanese restaurant and not try the ramen, it's what makes or breaks it. 

Simon ordered the Tonkatsu, pork belly coated in panko breadcrumbs, sweet soy marinade and white rice, I went for the chicken ramen, and we took the duck gyoza and steamed pork belly buns as sides. The gyoza were fried dumplings filled with duck, a little naughty treat that was definitely worth being a little lenient with my diet for. And the pork buns were soft, well marinated and the pork flaked away in your mouth, absolute perfection. Ramen is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of wheat noodles, a meat or fish based broth, meat and vegetables and is a light but flavoursome dish, making it a great option if you don't want to splurge when eating out. Often I find there is too much going on with some ramen dishes, but this one had the balance just right, plenty of meat and the broth had a great aroma. 

I really couldn't fault the food, service and overall look of the restaurant, and I can finally say i've been to Wagamama and will be going back in no time to try something new. And you know the best thing about it? Their meals were already on My Fitness Pal...


Women & Whey

Drinking protein shakes has always been widely associated with bodybuilding and bulking. As a female, often when I tell someone that I drink protein shakes they look at me in horror and say "why? you don't want to look like a boy?". There's always been a lot of stigma against women eating too much protein and potentially looking 'bulky' when really they have the opposite effect. Just to clarify, drinking protein shakes will only make you put on weight if you A. Have bulking protein, B. Drink it with fattening liquids such as full fat milk or C. Drink protein shakes that up your calorie intake so that you eat more than you burn. 

But before you go ordering 5kg of protein powder, no matter what your goal is you need to have your diet and nutrition down to a T. Once you've got your diet and exercise in place, then it's time to consider supplements. But, if you're going from the starting blocks then you maybe adding supplements will make things too complicated and cause more trouble than it's worth. 

What is Protein? 

Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients that food provides our body with in order to survive. It is made up of amino acids which help to repair issue, promote muscle growth, make enzymes, hormones, bones & muscles and our hair and skin are made up of it. So it's safe to say we need a good amount of protein in our diet. The NHS recommend 50g or protein per day for adults, however recently there has been a lot of speculation over whether this is enough, especially if you're doing a lot of resistance training, a higher intake of protein would be much more beneficial. 

What is Whey? 

Whey is one of the most popular forms of protein you can buy as it's pretty easy to source compared to it's alternatives. Whey is one of two proteins found in milk along with casein and is also formed as a byproduct of making cheese. Whey is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans, therefore people that follow a vegan diet may have to opt for protein powders such as hemp, pea and other plant based powders. 

Benefits of Protein powders 

Realistically, if you're getting enough protein from your diet then you don't need to take whey as a supplement, however if you are working out a lot and require a higher daily intake of protein, that can mean you're having to consume larger amounts of food to hit your daily intake which will then increase your calories. Protein shakes, if taken with water or skimmed/nut milk are generally quite low in calories and will provide your with around 20g of protein per scoop.

Likewise, if you're often on the go, a protein shake makes a great snack so you don't have to cook up a high protein meal. They're quick to make and easy to store, therefore if you know you're going to be out all day a protein shake could be a good way to go. Plus, having a high protein snack leaves you feeling fuller for longer and will mean you're a lot less likely to be craving sugary snacks. 

Finally, if you're doing any form of resistance training it's a good idea to try and consume protein within 45 minutes of your workout for optimum muscle repair and growth. Therefore, if you know you're not going to get the chance to cook straight after a workout, a shake is a simple solution to this and will feed your body with enough protein to help with muscle recovery. 

If you're looking for good quality protein, I prefer to use Ideal Fit and they also include vitamin D, folic acid and calcium into their powder and biotin for healthy hair and nails. Plus if you are a vegan, they also have a Vegan protein range available. Use code ERYN10 for 10% off your order. 


Childhood Obesity: The Elephant in the Room

No one wants to talk about childhood obesity, it's a tricky subject that leaves schools and parents feeling awkward and very uncomfortable. Not being a parent, i've never had to deal with this first hand, however, recently I've been in situations where child weight management has come into my threshold as a Personal Trainer and I've been trying to find ways to tackle it. Is it really as bad as we think? Well yes, take a look at the numbers....

Taken from statistics from 2015/2016, only 16% of children were consuming 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, the foods that are classed as possibly the MOST nutritious for us, filling our bodies with vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the facts go on to show that 1 in 5 year 6 children were obese with 1 in 10 reception children being classified as obese, this all being based on BMI. Now although there is some dispute of how good the BMI test is, it only really has major flaws for people such as athletes and bodybuilders who have body compositions away from the norm. But there is a clear message that unfortunately children in the UK are becoming heavier which really can have terrible repercussions later on in life, not to mention the few clear problems such as type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. But why is the problem getting worse? 

You can see from the tables above that physical activity levels is an issue that needs to be addressed, and although things are improving from 2012, only 20-23% of children are meeting the activity guidelines provided by the government. This is classed as moderate to vigorous activity for 60 minutes per day, not including during school time. This can include activities such as playing outside, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, the list goes on and on! The problem a lot of parents have is having the time to take their children to these activities, maybe intertwining your own workout with your child's exercise time could encourage your child to exercise more, whilst you get a workout in too. This could include taking them to their class in the local fitness centre whilst you go to the gym, or going for a family bike ride once a week, take a picnic and make a day of it! 

However, before the issue is addressed, it appears that some parents are not aware that there is an issue at all. 41% of mothers and 55% of fathers thought that their child was the right weight or too light when they were in fact obese. It is clear to see that adults may need to be made aware of the issues and this is in fact the first problem to tackle. But, going about this the right way may be tricky. Schools have now begun weighing children to find out their BMI and referring them to a dietician is necessary. Although, this does help to identify the problem with parents, putting a timescale of making the child lose weight can put a lot of pressure on both the parent and the child. Being a healthy shouldn't be seen as a task or chore, simply a way of life, and forcing a child to lose weight in a short space of time, in a forced way could impact the way they deal with their weight negatively as an adult. 

Ways to help 

Now I would first like to point out that I'm not a qualified nutritionist or registered dietician, I'm a Level 3 qualified Personal Trainer and offer fitness advice based on my own qualifications and experience and offer nutritional advice based on the guidelines of the government. I am not a doctor, therefore this is just simple, basic advice, not tailored to anyone specific 

Use the Eatwell Plate

The Eatwell plate can be a great place to start if you are having trouble working out what to eat, it shows you an estimate of how much fruit and veg you should have a day, as well as starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy and the few sweet treats that should be in moderation. Check it out here

Get outdoors more

Now the sun is shining you've got no excuses not to get outside and do some exercise. Organising family days out on walks, cycles, playing in the park is easy and relatively cheap compared to a lot of other activities. Plus, if you're staying fit it encourages your children to stay fit too and shows a healthy way of living. 

Get creative in the kitchen 

Don't make it the job of mum to make all of the meals, get the kids involved too. If you can teach your children a bit more about food, where it comes from and what it does for your body, they will have more of an incentive to make the right choices. check out the Change 4 life website where they give you a variety of easy recipes you can make to give your children healthier meals. 


Protein Pancakes

If you're working out a lot, it is essential to get a sufficient amount of protein, which means having protein with every meal, whether it be chicken, eggs, whey etc, but sometimes this isn't so tasty. So in my quest to make delicious meals healthy, i've got a lovely little pancake recipe for you to try. It's really simple and you can make it as healthy or naughty as you want with your choice of toppings. 

You will need: 

Serves 1 

1/2 Banana 
1 scoop of vanilla protein 
100ml of milk 
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence 
1 Egg 
30 Oats 
1/2 tsp baking powder


1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender.
2. Pulse blend until smooth, if the mixture is too thick, add more milk.  
3. Add oil to a hot pan and pour a small portion of the mix to the pan.
4. Once the bottom is set and golden brown ( a few minutes), flip and cook the other side for a few minutes.
5.Keep making pancakes to your ideal size and top with your choice of topping!