Supplements or Nah?

Volume 1 – Protein

Protein, Creatine, Pre-workout there are tons of supplements out there. Supplements to help you gain muscle, lose fat, train harder whatever you want to achieve, there’s a supplement for that.

With so much out there it’s hard to know what’s useful and what’s useless! In this series of blogs, I’m going to address some of the big dogs of the supplement world, their benefits, their drawbacks and whether you should be investing in them.

Protein

Perhaps the first supplement most people reach for on their fitness journey, because to get big you need to be hitting that protein powder after every workout right?

What is protein?
Protein is one of the 3 key macronutrients your body needs to survive, its made up of building blocks called amino acids, 20 in total 12 of which can be produced by the body, 8 must be sourced from the diet. Proteins provide structure to the cells of the human body and importantly they are essential in the building and repair of muscle tissue. For most people, meat will be a key source of protein, produce such as beef and eggs are rich in essential amino acids, however, protein can also be sourced from plant-based products such as soy.

So how much protein do you need?
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein is between 0.8g – 1.2/kg b.w. This means for most people reading this it is unlikely you will be deficient in protein. However, if you are in the gym trying to make some gains, you might want to have a little extra, more protein = more gains? Well to a certain point yes, Phillps (2013) recommends 1.4 – 1.6g/kg b.w. for those engaging in resistance training with the goal of building muscle. So for an 80kg person, this would amount to 112 to 128g of protein per day. For some context, this is roughly 2 chicken breasts, 4 eggs and a piece of salmon, so easily attainable baring in mind you will also get some protein in smaller quantities from other foods such as rice and bread.

No Whey Bro!
Even though they’re many types of protein supplements on offer today we are going to talk to talk about the most commonly used one. Whey protein is a milk-based protein, you’ll usually find it in powdered form.
Whey is a popular choice because it’s high in essential amino acids which is important for any good protein, it digests quickly and it’s relatively cheap.

Benefits

  1. It’s Quick – Every nutritionist worth they’re salt will preach to you it’s a food first approach. Supplements are just that, a supplement, something to be added, they are not a replacement. However there are times when you don’t have time to get a meal, you might be at work or on the go. A protein shake is a quick, easy way to get some dietary protein in.
  2. It’s Filling – if fat loss is your goal, protein is your friend for two main reasons, it’s going to help you preserve lean mass, there is some research to show it may be beneficial to consume up to 2g/kg b.w. of protein when in a caloric deficit. It will also help fill you up making you less likely to go raid the cookie jar. Which is obviously very helpful when you’re trying to get lean.
  3. It’s Versatile – Whey protein can be consumed as a drink but it can also be used as an ingredient in tons of recipes from pancakes to cookies, there are tons of great blogs, cookbooks and websites that will give you great recipes you can make with your whey protein. If that’s something you want to see more of let me know in the comments and I will whip up some stuff in the kitchen and share that with you all.

Drawbacks

  1. Varying quality – Depending on the brand of protein you go for there are huge variances in the quality of the protein you will get. Accurate labelling has been a problem in the supplement industry since there has been a supplement industry and protein is not exempt from this so it’s difficult to ensure that 25g or protein they claim on the bottle is true.
  2. Safety – I’m not trying to scare anyone and for the most part whey protein is a very safe supplement. However, there have been multiple reported cases of athletes getting busted for doping in relation to supplements they are taking and for banned substances appearing in supplements. There is a risk with every supplement, as mentioned above labelling is not always accurate and not every company is as diligent in there testing. So when you are looking for supplements to take it’s important to choose a reputable brand with rigorous testing procedures. If you are a drug tested athlete you should be taking supplements from tested batches in order to make sure you don’t get caught out and for your health in general.
  3. Cost – Depending on your brand of choice 1kg of whey protein can cost you anything from £20 – £45 for which you’d get roughly 40 servings which may last you just over a month with daily use. Depending on your budget this could be a significant cost to you. Especially considering the amount of actual food you can buy for a similar cost.

Is it worth the investment?
It depends – I am not going to be the one to say it’s useless, I think it’s a great supplement. If you are often on the go or you just can’t stomach that extra meal, whey protein is a great way to get that extra little bit of protein into your body. However, you still need to eat and there is never going to be a replacement for eating well (nothing legal anyway) that’s going to get you the same results. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, way before you start ordering tons of powder you need to get your meals in order, get some training under your belt and then you can start really considering whether whey protein is the right investment for you.

What do you think? Are you heading straight to the shops to get your protein fix or is it just one big scam? Let me know in the comments!

Learn More/Sources

PROTEIN CONSUMPTION AND RESISTANCE EXERCISE: MAXIMIZING ANABOLIC POTENTIAL

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT FOR ATHLETES AND ACTIVE INDIVIDUALS

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Natural Peri Peri Chicken

As the blog grows and develops I want to tell more stories and share recipes and ‘Flava’ from cultures all around the globe. This week I’m going to start with something that might just be the most popular dish in the fitness community and in the country in general. Peri-Peri Chicken! This one has taken the country by storm and I’ve been a fan since way back when my Under-18’s basketball team were sponsored by Nando’s *Living the dream*.

Quick Food History #StayWoke

Food tells great stories, that was one of my main motivations for writing this blog. We pass our culture through our food, so it’s important to strive to know a little bit more about the food that you eat, its history, and its origins.

Just like Jerk, Peri-Peri is a dish with rich cultural history, variations of that famous sauce date back as far as the 15th century. Although it has come to be known as Peri Peri the Portuguese refer to it as Piri-Piri Swahili for pepper-pepper, which hails back to the dish’s African roots. While it’s exact origins are still debated we know that the dish likely originated with Portuguese settlers (Colonizers) in Angola and Mozambique, who discovered the African Bird’s Eye Chilli and combined this with some other seasonings to create the dish we know and love today.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bulb of Garlic
  • 6 African Birds Eye Chillies
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Crushed Chilli Flakes
  • 3 Fresh Lemons
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Salt 
  • Black Pepper

DSC01320

Method 

  1. Heat a skillet or griddle pan on a medium heat
  2. Slice your onions and pepper and crush your garlic
  3. Add these to the pan and cook them for 5-10 minutes
  4. Slice your chilli peppers 
  5. Juice your lemons 
  6. Add the cooked garlic, onions & pepper to a blender along with your chillies, lemon juice and vinegar 
  7. Blend until it’s smoother than a Marvin Gaye album
  8. Add chilli flakes, paprika and a dash of salt and pepper (blend it some more for good measure) 
  9. Bring it to the boil in a small saucepan 
  10. Slowly add your oil and honey then stir it up.
  11. Add your thyme and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes 
  12. Let it cool and there you have it your very own Peri-Peri Chicken Marinade*
  13. So now to make the chicken all you need to do it smother it in your marinade, let it sit in the fridge overnight and soak it the flava then the next day cook it in the oven for those delicious peri flavours
  14. For extra flava cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side in a skillet or griddle pan before finishing in the oven.  

*Pro tip: I’ve found that this sauce improves with time so let it sit in your fridge for a few days the flava just keeps getting better. 

Get cooking, I hope you enjoy it. Like, share and subscribe to the blog if you want to see me explore some other dishes from around the world. 

Peace,
B


Blueberry Protein Pancakes

This week I’m bringing a classic. If you watch enough YouTube you already know about this one but I feel I have to add a little fitness and flava twist to it and share it with the world. Pancakes are one of my all-time favourite desserts/breakfasts/snacks, basically, whatever time of day it is I’m down to eat some pancakes. So pancakes that are high in protein, filled with micronutrients and take 5 minutes to cook up, then that’s a dream, right? Well, that is the dream I’m sharing with you all today!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 50g Oats
  • A dash of Cinamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Blueberries

Method:

  1. Add your banana, egg whites, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg into a blender.
  2. Blend until you get a smooth consistency, you need it to be slightly runny if it’s too thick add a dash of milk
  3. Cut your blueberries in half and stir them into the mixture.
  4. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and add a dash of oil
  5. Once it’s hot, it’s time to get cooking, get fancy with it – show off your pancake flipping skills
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Macros:

Calories (kcal): 365
Carbohydrates (g): 72
Fat (g): 5
Protein (g): 15

Pumpkin Soup

There’s nothing spooky about this pumpkin soup. Growing up in a Jamaican household we don’t really do much celebrating for Halloween, but while the rest of the country is carving pumpkins, we’re cooking pumpkin soup. So I’m going to let you in and show you this secret winter recipe. It’s time to get rid of all that trick or treat chocolate and let the flava into your life!

Soup is a staple of any good Carribean kitchen, we can *Jamaican accent* ‘tek anyting an mek soup’. So over the winter months, I’m going to share a variety of different Flavas, hit that follow button and go check out my Instagram, so you don’t miss out. But we’re going to start with one that’s super easy to make and tastes amazing!

Ingredients

  • 400g Pumpkin
  • 40g Coconut Milk
  • A Clove of Garlic
  • A Finger Chilli (for some spice!)
  • A Stock Cube
  • Dried Thyme
  • Black Pepper

Method

  1. Peel, dice and boil your pumpkin for 10-15 minutes
  2. Drain the water from your pan and add your coconut milk, garlic, chilli and stock cube.
  3. Blend the contents of your pan until it’s smooth, like an 80’s jazz band
  4. Add your stock cube, thyme and black pepper
  5. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally
  6. Serve and enjoy the flava

Macros

Calories (kcal): 140
Carbohydrates (g): 18
Fats (g): 6
Protein (g): 2

Jamaican Browned Stew Fish

Inspired by my recent trip to Jamaica, I’m coming back to the blog with some real Caribbean cooking. I spent a lot of time living it up by the beach and tasting everything the ocean had to offer, this has to be one of my favourite meals from the trip. I’m going to recreate it for you all. So you can bring the Flava into your life.

This recipe shows what fitness n flava is all about. Delicious food that will help you stay on track towards your fitness goals. Fish is a great source of Omega 3, Vitamin D and many other minerals. Helping to do everything from lowering blood pressure and improving brain function to reducing inflammation in your joints. This is definitely a recipe to add to your meal prep rotation.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fresh fish (in Jamaica Snapper is a favourite, I’ll be using Sea Bass)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 Sweet Pepper
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Vinegar
  • All Purpose Seasoning
  • Vegetable Stock Cube
  • A Dash of Pimento/Allspice
  • Thyme
  • 50ml Coconut Milk

Method

  1. Make sure your fish is scaled and clean your fish, you can get the fishmonger to do this, it saves time or you can cook the recipe with fish filets.
  2. Rub down the fish with vinegar.
  3. Chop your onions, pepper and scotch bonnet, slice all of these into rings.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan and cook these of a low heat for 5-7 minutes
  5. Once these are cooked remove them from the pan and place them to the side.
  6. Lightly dust your fish with some all-purpose seasoning on both sides.
  7. Using the same oil you cooking you fresh seasonings in, fry the fish for approximately 5 minutes each side (Until cooked)
  8. Slice your tomato and dice your garlic then add these to the pan along with the fresh seasoning prepared earlier.
  9. Add 1 cup of water along with your thyme, coconut milk, stock cube and pimento.
  10. Let is all simmer for 8 minutes
  11. Serve and enjoy!