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Keeping you up-to-date with Total Training news and my thoughts and opinions on all things health and fitness related

By megansianprosser, Feb 4 2016 09:54AM


Entomophagy, the act of humans consuming insects. Although the norm for many cultures (around 80% of the world's population) across South America, Asia and Africa, most Brits' exposure and knowledge of eating creepy crawlies starts and finishes with having watched celebs eat them as a challenge on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. And for them, the idea of it isn't an appealing one.


However, with the detrimental environmental effects (air and water pollution, deforestation and overfishing) of farming such vast quantities of livestock 'needed' to fulfil the growing demands for meat and fish, then eating insects might be the answer. It is a cost-effective and eco-friendly process and they're packed with protein, minerals, vitamins, fibre and healthy fats.


The availability of insect based products in the developed world is increasing and cricket flour is one of the main ingredients you'll see. Smash Nutrition have Madagascan Vanilla and Peruvian Cocoa flavoured protein powder made from natural protein sources including soy, casein, pumpkin seed powder, spirulina and, of course, cricket flour. Protein bars using cricket flour are also popping up for your 'on the go' insect fuelled protein hit!


We are yet to see much of a take up of using insects as a main component of a meal, though apparently cheesy locust croquettes are pretty tasty! There is now a restaurant dedicated to entomophagy in Pembrokeshire called Grub Kitchen and Wahaca did feature grasshoppers on their menu for a while, but apart from that, insects are a rare sight on most menus.


I personally don't have a problem with the idea of eating insects, I might not hanker for a cricket 'burger' in the same way I do a tuna steak, although I don't know that as I've never had one. But I can see the massive benefits and I care about our planet, and if we don't change our eating habits, with an increasing global population and an ever increasing meat and fish consumption, then the impact on the environment could and will be catastrophic.


I understand not everyone will like the idea of eating insects, but if we don't shift our stubborn and unfounded views and move this very sustainable, eco-friendly and nutritious source of protein away from a taboo food and into an everyday food then we're asking for trouble. Many of us don't think twice about eating seafood which isn't dissimilar to insects in many ways, and who's had those delicious garlicky buttery snails in France?


There are other ways in which you can help as well:


- Go meat-free for at least one day a week. There are plenty of non-meat products that contain protein that aren’t insects, think lentils, beans, soya, nuts and seeds.


- Buy ethically where you can. Fairtrade helps human rights of producers, Organic helps environment sustainability, and Farm Assured helps the quality of food, animal welfare and environmental protection. Also, think about about buying local and seasonal products, reducing the 'food miles' of your groceries.


- Don't waste food! This is one of my top pet hates. If you have leftovers, great, keep them and eat them. Don't let food go off, and if it is a little after it's best you can still use it. I'm not talking gone off meat and fish but over ripe fruit and veg - great for smoothies and soups, stale bread - great for bread crumbs etc. And remember you can pretty much freeze anything, there's really no excuse!


Now, anyone for some mealworm fried rice?




By megansianprosser, Oct 23 2015 04:52PM



Yesterday, Public Health England (PHE) released their long awaited report into sugar. There's no surprise in the fact that it clearly states that sugar consumption in this country is out of hand and if action isn't taken, weight gain and health related issues will increase even further from the current worrying levels we're already at.


With almost 25% of adults in England classed as obese and significant numbers also being overweight, and treatment of obesity and its consequences (type-2 diabetes being one of the most significant) already costing the NHS £5.1bn every single year, if we let this problem escalate further there will be not only catastrophic health, but also economic issues.


The Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition (SACN) have recommended the public to halve their sugar intake, so that just 5% of their calories come from sugar. This currently looks pretty unachievable without some drastic change. One can of fizzy drink contains way over the amount of sugar to stick to the 5% recommendation.


I strongly believe that Government, organisations such as PHE, SACN and food manufacturers have a vital and urgent role to play in this battle, and if the recommendations in PHE's report, listed below are fulfilled then this would definitely be a start to addressing this problem.


* A sugar tax between 10% and 20%

* Significantly reducing advertising high sugar food and drink to children

* Targeting supermarkets, takeaways and other food outlets special offers and promotions

* Setting clear definitions for high sugar foods to help create better regulations

* Sugar reduction in everyday food and drink

* Ensure the sale of healthier foods in hospitals and other public places

* Ensure training in diet and health is delivered to influencers of food choices in catering, fitness and leisure sectors

* Continue to raise awareness of this issue to the public, health professionals, employers, the food industry and provide and encourage practical steps on how to reduce sugar intake


The last point above touches on this: it is also down to individuals. Yes, the public needs more information and needs educating, and to not be tricked or persuaded into marketing traps e.g. low fat foods being healthy options when they're actually loaded with extra sugar. But, ultimately, people need to take responsibility for their own health and look after their bodies.


The sugar crisis is pretty much due to added sugar – yes, all sugar is sugar. However when you have a piece of fruit yes, it contains fructose but also vitamins, minerals and fibre. Plus not many people eat excessive amounts of fruit like they do cakes/ biscuits/ fizzy drinks etc. Processed sugary foods like that have very little, if any nutritional value; this is why they're known as “empty calories”.


So, guess what? Yes that's right, if people avoid/reduce processed foods and eat natural unprocessed foods then this problem would slowly but steadily disappear!


Read more on this on the Guardian and BBC websites.


By megansianprosser, Dec 2 2014 09:26AM

Now December is here, your calendar is no doubt starting to get very full with Christmas parties, lunches, dinners and drinks. Which means, unless you have the willpower of a saint (which I assume is equally as endless as their patience!), you will eat less healthily and more, and of course drink substantially more over the festive period. And, to make matters that bit worse, due to all the lovely socialising, you will probably have less time to exercise and train. So you, like the majority of people, will lose a little bit of fitness and put on a little bit of weight.


So what can you do about it? Well, reading the numerous articles addressing this issue that are out at the moment, there are loads of tricks and tips of how to avoid the dreaded Christmas weight gain; from wearing your tightest fitting clothes to social gatherings (rather than your elasticated joggers like so many of us do) to encourage you from eating too much from the buffet table, to the '3 rule' that includes taking 3 steps away from any food so if you want more you have to walk back to it, or take 3 deep breaths between each mouth full, or my favourite, take 3 sips between each mouth full. Although the '3 rule' may work in making you eat less, the first one might make holding a conversation with someone rather difficult. The second might make you look like you're trying out some breathing techniques you picked up at pre-natal classes, and the latter, well would you rather be the person who ate too much at a party, or the drunk?


I believe the way to deal with the festive season is to embrace it! Accept you might put on a little bit of weight but one bad month out of 12 isn't going to have a catastrophic impact on your health. I'm not saying go for it hell for leather. Yeah try and not have a mince pie for breakfast (although I think an advent calender chocolate alongside a healthy breakfast is completely acceptable!) and don't 'write off' December. Ok you might not fit in your usual 10k run on a Wednesday evening but you can still get up 30 minutes earlier that day and do a 5k run in the morning. December is busy so fit in small amounts of exercise where and when you can; nip out at lunch for a power walk, it's better than nothing. It's about time management.


I love December. It's by far my favourite month of the year. You get to spend lots of time with all your favourite people, you get to eat lovely food, drink mulled wine, but what I love most about it is that people are happier. Strangers smile at each other, even wish each other a Merry Christmas. So please don't dread December, enjoy it!



By megansianprosser, Oct 6 2014 02:28PM


I like reading about it, I watch programmes on it (loving Great British Bake Off at the mo and always a MasterChef fan), I talk about it (a lot), I cook it, and most importantly, I consume it. At my flat, friends' houses, restaurants, cafés, pop-ups, parks, I'll consume it anywhere really. I have to admit, I love and am a little obsessed with food!


I have always loved food, but in recent years my relationship with it has changed. This is partly due to being more involved and interested in it due to becoming a fitness professional, which has led me to understand and eat a more nutritious and balanced diet. But also the increasing availability and easiness to develop and nurture this inherent interest of mine. On social media I follow food reviewers and bloggers, health food shops, restaurants and the list goes on. Instagram provides millions of 'food-porn' photos to inspire and drool over. And yes, I am one of those annoying people who post photos of my dinners, often featuring quinoa, tofu or fish– you get the picture!


I get over excited about all food, but I love healthy eating. I'm a fruit and veg fan so that helps, but I genuinely would rather cook a cauliflower base pizza than a normal one. I prefer wholemeal rice/pasta/bread (I'm now making my own bread rather than the rubbish in shops or ridiculously over priced artisan bread you can get). I consume a ridiculous amount of kale, mainly because I grow it so have an abundance of it. I prefer almond butter to peanut butter, rather dark chocolate to a kitkat, cook with coconut oil, have at least 10 different types of nuts and seeds in my kitchen, and so on.


I really enjoy healthy eating and it's not just because I think that's what I should eat. Yes that helps and encourages me as I know the 'fuel' you put into your body will effect what you get out, performance wise and generally with the way you look and feel: but I actually like it.


However, as with many things in life, it's all about the balance! Every nutritionist would advise variation in your diet, this helps you get the range of nutrients, covering all the macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats, as well as micronutrients – minerals and vitamins, that you need. So use your common sense to both enjoy and eat a balanced healthy diet.


I find planning, preparing, cooking and eating food is a pleasure. The process is relaxing and enjoyable and I love the social aspect of it; I rarely do anything sociable that doesn't involve eating!


This is why I find the thought of Soylent, a nutritional drink used as a substitute for food, absolutely bizarre. Soylent is not marketed as a weight loss product. It's for people who don't want to or don’t have time to make or eat meals. In their own words it was “developed from a need for a simpler food source... after recognizing the disproportionate amount of time and money spent creating nutritionally complete meals. ” But, if you hadn't guessed from my rambles above, I think there should always be time made for the love, appreciation and enjoyment of food!




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