Banging Bolognese


So today’s recipe is a perfect post training meal packed with protein, glycogen replenishing simple carbohydrates, and fibre and micronutrient dense veggies.

Although beef is not always the leanest of meats, it makes up for this with its micronutrient density including a number of B vitamins, iron, potassium and zinc. I’ve opted for 5% fat here also to reduce the saturated fat content.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

500g beef mine – 5% fat

500g Fresh tagliatelle pasta

2 x cups of red cabbage (diced)

1 x onion (diced)

1 x tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 x medium carrot (grated)

2 x tbsp of paprika

2 x tbsp oregano

1 x tsp of mustard powder/chilli powder

1 x tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  • Melt the coconut oil on a low heat in a large frying pan or wok. Stir in the paprika, oregano mustard or chilli powder, forming a paste.
  • Add diced onion & red cabbage. Stir thoroughly on a low heat, cooking till onion is translucent.
  • Add beef, stir and cook till the mince is browned.
  • Add tomatoes & grated carrot. Place on lowest heat, cover and leave to simmer for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pasta to boiling water and allow to cook till your desired softness. Drain & rinse.
  • Serve & enjoy! 👌

Total calories per serving = 595kcal

Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup


This one is another weight cutting, low calorie & fibre dense lunch option with plenty of micronutrients to support your recovery and overall well-being.

Soups are such an easy and simple option for meals through the week, which you can knock up as bulk load and add to simply for a more complete meal. For example, with the recipe below I may add a scoop of whey protein and/or slices of toast if I’ve got a workout planned.


Nutrient spotlight –

There is so many micronutrient qualities in this dish, from vitamins & minerals, to antioxidants, flavanoids and prebiotics.

Here’s a look at just a few of the ones which aren’t in the main ingredients;

The spice tumeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which has various benefits. These include aiding digestion, boosting immunity, providing anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

The other notable spice is cumin, (not to be mistaken with curcumin). Cumin is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorous. It’s also rich in Vitamin E, A, C, K and B6. It can potentially help aid digestion and immunity.

Lastly; black pepper. Aside from the digestive and anti inflammatory qualities associated with the active component within it, piperine, black pepper may also enhance the absorption of the other nutrients like those in the turmeric.

Extra virgin olive oil is a super high source of oleocanthal which is part of the polyphenols family. Oleocanthal has particularly high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When cooking with the oil, ensure it’s on a low heat as not to spoil these delicate nutrients.

Ingredients:
(4-6 portions)

  • 2 x medium sweet potato
  • 4 x medium carrots
  • 1 x handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 x red onion
  • 1 x palm full of chopped red cabbage
  • 1 x stock cube
  • 1 x 400ml boiling water (for stock)
  • 1 x 400ml boiling water
  • 2 x tsp cumin
  • 2 x tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 x tsp black pepper
  • 2 x tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  • Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan on a low heat and mix in the spices & black pepper till combined.
  • Pre dice the onion and red cabbage and mix in with the spices. Lightly fry on a low heat until the onion is translucent.
  • Add pre roughly chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and parsley along with 400ml of boiling water.
  • Dissolve stock cube in other 400 ml of boiling water, and add to the mixture.
  • Cover and allow to bring itself to boil on a low to medium heat. Cook through till the veg are soft enough to be blended.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes then blend with a handheld soup blender, serve and enjoy!

The 10 Top Foods for Good Gut Health

I’m going to assume that many and most will have heard at least a passing comment or three in regards to the importance of gut health.


With danger of massively over simplifying a complex and still emerging area of science, I’m going to attempt to give a quick summary as to what all the big deal is about.

So in that tummy of yours there’s a pretty amazing collection of microbes. Although you have microbes all over your body, the ones in your digestive system are particularly powerful. There’s billions of these lil lovelies and they play a powerful role in both your physical health and your mental and emotional well-being.


The links between the microbes found in your gut and other systems in your body can’t be overstated. For instance, the gut and the brain are connected by the vagus nerve. Many powerful neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which influences both mood and gastrointestinal activity, are made in the gut, (ever had a ‘gut feeling’, ‘butterflies in your stomach’ or a ‘sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach’??).


Ok, so they’re mega important and getting it right can impact everything from your mood, memory, and learning, to your energy levels and capacity to recover from the rigours of life. Getting it wrong has been linked to obesity, depression and less we forget, your capacity to digest food properly!


I’m going to present a simple list of foods and drinks that can promote a healthy gut and therefore, a healthy you. This list was provided by Dr Joanna McMillan on her super accessible and absolutely free (?!) podcast series only available (to my knowledge) on audible – Gutfull: what to eat for a happy gut.

  1. Amaryllidaceae family – onions, garlic, leeks
  2. Cruciferous family – cauliflower, kale, sprouts
  3. Legumes – kidney beans, chick peas,  lentils 
  4. Whole grains – bread, pasta, rice 
  5. Fermented foods & drinks – sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, yogurt, kombucha and kefir 
  6. Berries and cherries 
  7. Teas, herbal teas, coffee & cacao 
  8. Leafy greens 
  9. Extra virgin olive oil 
  10. Nuts & seeds – unsalted & raw are best

These foods combine a host of gut friendly compounds such as probiotics; food for microbes in your digestive system, and probiotics; which can introduce new healthy bacterial strains. These are alongside polyphenols; plant components that act as antioxidants that protect against inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.


Now a quick word of caution from Dr Jo. She makes a super important point on these foods. There are some here which straight away you may well associate with making you, well, fart. A lot.


If this is the case for you,don’t despair. It could likely be that your lil gut microbes just aren’t used to these often fibre dense food choices and it may take some time for them to adjust. Don’t be put off though and just take it slowly by introducing them literally a spoonful at a time in your meals.

Weight Cutting Mexican Chilli Soup


So this one is a favourite of mine if I’m not training, cutting weight or basically needing something comforting whilst doing nothing much but sitting on the sofa all day.


There’s plenty of fibre to help keep you feeling full and enough protein from the eggs and kidney beans to support growth and repair. There’s also a huge amount of antioxidants to support your immune health and lower inflammation in the body. The addition of extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper also ensures you’ll absorb all that goodness! Oh, and let’s not forget it’s a super low calorie meal.

Ingredients:(Serves 3 to 4) 

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 roughly chopped red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp of chilli
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 stock cube
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 400g partially drained kidney beans
  • 1/4 tsp black cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method 

  • Gently heat the extra virgin olive oil (this is important as if you heat to high you will spoil it as it doesn’t tolerate high heat).
  • Add the spices, salt & pepper and combine into a dry paste. Then add the diced onion and mix until the onion is lightly sautéed. Once translucent, remove onions from heat.
  • Add the stock cube to the boiling water in a jug and mix with a fork until dissolved. Now add to the onions and place back on low heat.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and after draining about half the can of the kidney beans, add and stir in to the soup.
  • Finally add garlic, chopped red pepper and, digging out 4 little wells, crack the eggs into the soup.
  • Allow to simmer on the low heat for around 10/15 minutes (or until the egg whites have cooked), serve and enjoy!

Please let me know how you get on, any additions you make and please share the recipe with your family and friends!