Learn To Read Your Food Labels

We’ve all seen them. You’ve probably read one or two. People tell you to read them, but let’s be honest; what are we looking for exactly? You might be already reading your labels. Here’s the question. Are you reading them correctly? That’s right, it’s not enough to just glance at your food labels, you need to read and understand the information. 

There’s a lot more to food labels then energy, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Many so-called, “healthy” foods can have some pretty terrible ingredients. You need to be informed to know what to look for. And if you have food allergies, then it’s even more important to make sure you’re reading all of your food labels correctly. 

Nutrition Information  

The first part of every food label is the Nutrition Information box. The first information you’ll find is serving size and servings per package. Many products will claim 300 calories per serve, and you can mistakenly assume that means the entire package. Instead of assuming, look at how many servings are in the package and then decide how many calories (or kJ) are actually per serve.  

You should also pay attention to the total fat vs. saturated fat. You’re looking for a 3g per 100g ratio or lower. Choose foods with less than 10g of fat per 100g of serve. While you're there, look at the sodium. You should have less than 400mg of salt per 100g (120mg salt per 100g is best). 

Ingredients 

The ingredients are where things can get complicated. All ingredients are listed on the label in order of largest to smaller by weight. This can help you spot foods that might be high in saturated fat, added salt, or added sugars because of the top three ingredients. However, the order isn’t always your best guide.  

Let’s say you’re looking at a cake and the first ingredient is flour, you might think, “wow, that’s great.” The truth is, the first ingredient is actually sugar when you add up all of the ingredients that are sugar by another name. Remember sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose, and juice-concentrate are all other names for sugar.  

There are three simple ingredients you should always look out for: sugar, salt, and fat. When looking at your food labels see if you can find any of these terms and then add up how many different terms appear to discover the true ratio. 

  • Sugar: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, lactose, molasses, syrup, malt extract, raw sugar, brown sugar, modified carbohydrate  
  • Salt: sodium, rock salt, onion salt, celery salt, garlic salt, vegetable salt, MSG, yeast extracts, booster, stock, baking soda, sodium bicarbonate  
  • Fat: Oil, shortening, tallow, lard, dripping, cream, copha, milk solids, monoglyceridesdiglycerides, butter, margarine  

Claims 

Many foods make bold claims: Fat Free, Light, No Added Sugar, High Fibre, etc. What do these actually mean? 

  • Low Fat: 3g of fat or less per 100g 
  • Fat Free: 0.15g fat or less per 100g  
  • No Added Sugar: this food has no ‘added’ sugar but may still be high in sugar so check your label  
  • No Added Salt: this food has no ‘added’ salt but may still be high in salt  
  • Salt Reduced: 25% less salt than a similar product 
  • Low Salt or Low Sodium: less than 120mg sodium per 100g  
  • High Fibre: more than 3g of fibre per 100g  

When it comes to your food labels, don’t be fooled. Never take the word of a claim. Instead, trust what you read on the label and make the best choices you can from there.

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Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Cookies

We have been trying to make these cookies for a while and we are abnormally excited about them!

Avocado is such a great thing to be adding to your Spirit Lifters Cookie mix as it makes them more fudge-like and strangely enough taste 100x richer. These chocolate avocado cookies are so simple and easy to make and they are filled with healthy fats and not much sugar so it won't give you a sugar spike.

 

 

WHAT YOU NEED 

Avocado 

Superfood Bakery Spirit Lifters cookie mix 

 

Egg 

Honey/Agave/Maple Syrup 

Vegetable oil 

Optional: chocolate chips/ nuts 

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 170C degrees
  2. Combine the finely mashed avocado, egg, honey and vegetable oil. These are your wet ingredients. 
  3. Then gently stir in Superfood Bakery Spirit Lifters cookie mix into your wet ingredients. 
  4. Feel free to add chocolate chips or nuts to give it more texture 
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, add one heaping tablespoon of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top has set (don't over-bake!!)
Enjoy!

 

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What Is It Really Like to Be Gluten-Free?

If you’ve always been curious what it’s like to eat and live gluten-free, this post is for you. While you might think that going gluten-free means that your diet is now boring and limited, that’s not the case at all. We’re passionate about the foods you can eat as well as the health benefits of a gluten-free diet. 

Gluten Free diet

Food Philosophy

Our food philosophy is to eat real, natural and nourishing whole food. Produce that comes out of the ground is incredibly good for you as it's nutritiously richer. Plus, so much of it is gluten-free. You can eat as many fruits and vegetables as you like and there will be gluten in them! And by avoiding packaged and processed foods not only do you avoid gluten, but you also significantly improve your overall diet. You become more aware of packaging labels what they may hide! 

Food Variety

Gluten-free foods come in a huge variety, allowing you to mix up what you eat each and every day. Every meal we try to include a non-starchy vegetable such as spinach or broccoli, a high-quality protein such as eggs, meat, or beans, and a healthy fat such as avocado or olive oil. As for carbohydrates, we prefer whole food sources like berries or sweet potatoes but of course have those smashed avocados on gluten-free breads from time to time :) By eating this way we ensure that we get all the nutrients we need, but we also control our blood sugar and encourage long-term health benefits.

Why We Love Gluten-Free

There are many reasons to love a gluten-free diet. First, it’s improved our digestion. For many people, gluten is hard on your gut. By taking it out of our diet, we’ve experienced less bloating and fewer constipation issues. Eating gluten-free has also helped us feel better emotionally. We believe your gut is your second brain. Its health affects your emotions. If you want to know about your gut consider reading the book by Giulia Enders "Gut"

Gluten-Free Challenges

Eating gluten-free isn’t always easy especially in the beginning and when we eat out at restaurants. Too often, waiters don’t take our requests seriously, or menus don’t have a lot of great options. However, the good news is that awareness of the gluten-free lifestyle is spreading, so it’s getting easier to eat out and still eat gluten-free. Even places like Pizza Express have a wide variety of gluten-free options :)

Transitioning to Gluten-Free

So, how did we make the transition to gluten-free? Carefully! The best place to start is with all-natural, real food. Try filling your plate with veggies, proteins, and fats that are found in nature. Once you do that, you’re already most of the way to a gluten-free diet. And, when you want something like pizza or a delicious cookie, just look for healthier, whole food varieties like our Spirit Lifters Cookies

Sample Gluten-Free Day

What does it look like to eat a day completely gluten-free? It looks delicious!

  • Breakfast: A berry smoothie with spinach, avocado, coconut milk, cinnamon, and pea protein. Or Superfood Bakery Morning Dreamers Pancakes :)
  • Lunch: A three-egg omelet with avocado and kimchi
  • Dinner: A large chicken breast with a side of steamed veggies. And maybe some Spirit Lifters cookies for dessert! 

 

 

 

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Gluten-Free Baking: A Beginners Guide

Are you new to the gluten-free lifestyle and wondering if you have to give up cookies, bread, and muffins for the rest of your life? Don’t be silly! Of course, you can still eat your favourite baked goods, you just have to look at food a little differently.

How do you get started in this new world of baking?

Choose Your Flour

Unless you’re always using our gluten-free mixes, which use buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and more, you’re going to need to purchase your own gluten-free flour. We suggest starting with an all-purpose flour blend that’s specially formulated for home bakers. By purchasing a mix, you can ensure that you have the flour that will work well with cookies, cakes, muffins, scones, and more.

Change Your Expectations

If you’ve been baking with gluten your entire life, you might need some time to get used to baking without gluten. Baking gluten-free is not the same process as baking with regular flour. For example, gluten-free bread dough has the thickness of a pancake batter. The first time you see it, you’ll probably think it needs more flour, but that’s not the case; if you add more flour, it will be dense and hard. Instead, throw out those expectations and learn to bake the new way.

Combine Flours

If you decide not to buy a pre-combined flour blend, you’ll probably have to combine flours to make the baked goods you want. In fact, most of the times you’ll have to combine at least two to three flours together to make a mixture that works. For example, to bake delicious cookies, you might need to combine coconut flour with tapioca flour so that your mixture is moist and binds well.

Bake by Weight

To be a confident gluten-free baker, you need to say goodbye to the measuring cups you have and say hello to the scale. Learn to adapt your favourite recipes to ounces, grams, and litres. It might seem complicated at first, but you’ll be glad you made the change. The more exact you become, the better tasting your baked goods will be.

Have Fun 

Baking gluten-free is a learning experience. You’re going to make mistakes. There will be brownies, cookies, and bread that come out hard as a brick and dry and tasteless. That’s okay. Don’t expect yourself to be great right away. Go back to your beginner’s mindset and have fun with your cooking. Experiment and see what works best. Eventually, you’ll make delicious creations every time, but it’s okay to have some issues in the beginning.

Baking gluten-free won’t be the same as baking with gluten, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a nightmare. The truth is that many gluten-free baked goods actually taste better than their gluten counterparts. Gluten-free cakes can be fluffier and better tasting than their gluten counterparts.

So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to learn a brand new way to bake! It will well be worth the effort. 

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Cookie HIIT Workout

We are so proud to have built a community of friends from all over the UK who are just as passionate about healthy lifestyle and yummy foods as we are! 

In this blog post we want to introduce you to a fantastic NATALIE CROSSLEY who is a qualified personal trainer with a background in gymnastics, crossfit and wellbeing. She will tell you how you can squeeze a workout while your Cookies are baking! 

Sometimes it can be a struggle to fit everything in, but when you can combine baking your favourite snack from Superfood Bakery with your workout it’s a win/win!

I have created a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout that can be done whilst your Superfood Bakery cookies are in the oven (just be sure to warm up and cool down before and after!).

Why HIIT? It is an excellent type of workout to perform in a short space of time, the intervals mean the body works at a high intensity for a burst, then rests. This method of training helps to keep your body’s metabolism boosted for hours after exercise, so you burn more calories at rest as well as during your workout! It is a great way to help strengthen your cardiovascular system and also work your endurance. Not only that, but it allows you to combine cardio and strength training for efficient use of your time.

So, here we go…

The movements:

Press ups with raised arms – you can use the kitchen countertop, so start by putting your hands on the edges, around shoulder width apart, walk the feet back until you’re in a good, straight diagonal position. Then bend the elbows squeezing the arms into the side and the shoulder blades together, as if there was a coin in between them. Keep the back nice and straight throughout and push up through the heel of the hands to straighten the arms – don’t let the hips drop or the bottom lift too high. 

Press up  

Press up 

Tricep dips – this time with your back to the countertop and hands pointing out resting on the top, about shoulder width apart walk the feet out in front (you can rest on the heels), slowly bend the arms to lower the body down keeping the bottom close to the unit and squeezing the elbows in as if there was a football between the two. Again, push through the heel of the hands to lift back up.

 Tricep Dips

 

 

Mountain climbers – in a plank position with the body in a straight line and the shoulder over the hands, lift one knee up towards the same arm. Lower it back and swap legs, continue the movement almost as if in a run. Don’t let the bottom lift too high or the back arch.

 Mountain climbers

 

Squat jumps – perform an air squat by bending the knees, pushing the bottom back, keep the weight through the heels and the chest high until you reach around a 90 degree bend in the knees (or as far as you can, maintaining the correct form – don’t worry if it’s not this deep), push through the feet and explode up into a jump. As you land, bend the knees and go into the next squat.

Squat jumps 

Squat jumps 

 

Walking lunges – with the hands on the hips take a long step forward and bend both knees into a 90 degree angle, push off the back leg and either step the feet together and lift again for the next lunge step or move the foot straight from behind to in front of the body in one movement for more of a challenge (ie don’t stop in the middle by bringing the feet together). Keep the midline tight throughout the lunges (this will also help with balance) and the chest lifted. The legs should remain hip-width apart throughout, think about the feet following two parallel train tracks.

 Walking Lunges

Plank knee taps – starting in a straight plank shape, lift one hand up, reach it through under the body, lifting the bottom up to the sky and tap the opposite knee. Return to the plank shape, being careful not to let the hips drop too low, and repeat lifting the other hand.

Plank knee taps 

 

Burpees - start in a straight plank shape, keep the midline tight as you jump the feet in towards the hands, bending the knees. From that position explode upwards into a jump. As you land, bend the knees to return to the tuck shape with the hands on the floor in front of the feet and push through the hands as you jump the feet back out to the straight plank shape.  Feet can be apart throughout and hands should be shoulder width apart, To increase the challenge you can do a tuck jump - rather than keeping the legs straight, bend them in towards the chest.

 Burpees

 

Courtesy lunge – start with feet hip-width apart, the hands can either be on the hips or in front of the body (as shown in the photo). Lift one leg and step it behind and across the body, bend both knees until the legs are at a 90-degree angle keeping the chest lifted. Bring the foot back to standing and extend the body so the hips are open and then repeat on the other leg. To increase the challenge, instead of straightening up between each repetition keep the knees bent and do a squat in the middle.

Courtesy lunge 

The workout:

20 seconds of work (you should be working hard!), followed by 10 seconds of rest

Complete all movements in this order, then repeat the whole lot 4 times – you can rest for 30-45 seconds between each full round.

Press Ups
Squat Jumps
Plank Knee Taps
Lunge Walks
Tricep Dips
Burpees
Courtesy Lunge
Mountain Climbers

 

Check the cookies after round 3! 

As your cookies are cooling you can do a gentle cool down and some stretches then sit back and enjoy!

If you enjoyed this please check out my eBook – click here for more information- and follow me on instagram as a.balanced.life

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