Vegan Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

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I had some Granny Smith apples that were on their last legs, so I searched my own site to find a new-to-me recipe. I quickly stumbled across an egg-free baked oatmeal recipe, which was originally shared with us by a fellow author many years ago. I ended up making quite a few modifications, and this vegan […]

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CO, Denver – Beet Box Bakery & Cafe: A Sweet Vegan Eatery

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Beet Box is a from-scratch vegan bakery and lunch cafe. They’re well known for using wholesome, mostly organic ingredients. But it’s the inventive cakes, swoon-worthy pastries, and hearty breads that keep customers coming back. A trip to Beet Box Bakery will overload your senses. There’s a good chance you will see piles of freshly-baked vegan croissants in flavors […]

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IL, Peoria – One World Cafe: Global Comfort Cuisine for All

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One World Cafe has a casual hipster vibe, and an expansive menu that addresses several special diet needs and a wide range of tastes. They’re also well known for hospitality, and cater to diner requests whenever possible. As you might expect from their name, One World Cafe uses wholesome ingredients to recreate global classics with […]

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Expo East Overflows with New Dairy-Free Products

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With Expo East in full swing, new dairy-free product releases are the hot news of the week. Here are some highlights of the launches thus far. Lifeway Launches Dairy-Free Kefir Beverages The leading supplier of kefir in the U.S., Lifeway, is expanding its lineup of probiotic beverages to include Plantiful, a new dairy-free, plant-based protein […]

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Reverse dieting – What’s it All About? By Amy Ferguson

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So as you all know I am nearly at the end of my competition prep! (YAY) so what happens after that? I often get asked what I will do after- Will I simply get to go back to training less and eating more? Unfortunately not. It takes just as much precision and care to take calories back up as it does to get lean.

After a competition you can kind of feel a bit lost, it is an all-consuming form of training and dieting and you’ll often find it can lead to either bingeing or developing a fear of taking calories back up. A basic ‘definition’ of reverse dieting, if I had to sum it up, would be a period of working your calories back up slowly after being in a calorie deficit for a period of time. As I’ve said from day one maintaining this level of body fat is not healthy or sustainable so it will be crucial to get myself back up to a healthy level.

This is the leanest condition that I have ever managed to achieve which is fantastic in terms of competing and a great sign of the hard work that myself and my coach put in during my off season in terms of building up my metabolism. However, an increase in my energy expenditure coupled with a slow reduction in calories means my body would have adapted to perform at a much less efficient rate. If I were to go straight back to eating over 2000 kcal a day I would gain body fat and gain it fast which is not what we want.

So how do you reverse diet? A few words of advice:

Don’t do it alone-ideally you would stay with the same coach that you prepped with as they will know how your body has responded, your macros etc. I have trained with Alex at The SCI for 4 years now so he has a really good understanding of how I respond both mentally and physically after dieting.
Don’t rush – your body will be particularly sensitive after a period of restriction so you’ll need to bare this in mind before stuffing your face with your favourite foods!
Make small changes and check in weekly– if you add them in too quickly then your body will try and store them so as to prepare itself in case you diet extremely again. This is why it’s important to take photos and check in.
Stick to the plan– it will be tough but if you have had the discipline to prep then you should be able to have the discipline to reverse out. It will benefit you in the long run.

Benefits of reverse dieting:

It means you can get back to a healthy weight both safety and minimise any risk of depression or ‘post-comp’ blues that some competitors experience.
Personally, in terms of the mental side of things, I found it easier to deal with coming out of prep and gaining weight as I was still macro tracking and being careful.
If you still remain consistent with your training and recovery you may actually find your strength increases- which will be motivating and can make gaining some extra weight easier to deal with.

There is no hard and fast evidence when it comes to reverse dieting and everyone will react differently and unfortunately when a large part of it is mental it can be tough to implement any hard and fast rules, when it comes to giving someone a plan or advice. So I’ll be staying under the guidance of my very talented coach, who knows me and my body probably better than I do!

And I’m excited to get back to training hard and eating hard!

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Soft Baked Granola: Fast, Family-Friendly & Dairy-Free

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Once a month we’re featuring a family-friendly recipe from the Hatfields for our Kids Can Cook section. Their dairy-free teen cooking star is Katherine and this week she and her “mama”, Sarah, have two beloved recipes to share. Because their soft baked granola and granola bar recipes go hand in hand. Our family’s favorite granola recipe is an […]

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The perfect autumnal gluten and egg free granola cake recipe

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The perfect autumnal gluten and egg free granola cake recipe

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Path. With the autumn swiftly approaching, many people are searching for ways to use freshly-picked blackberries or fallen apples – and this gluten free granola cake recipe is perfect. Filled with warm flavours, the delicate fruit is complemented by the rich crunch of cinnamon granola.…

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Chocolate Chip Soft Baked Granola Bars: A Tender, Nutritious Treat

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This is part two of our recent Kids Can Cook section by the Hatfields. Katherine and her “mama”, Sarah, use their family-friendly soft baked granola recipe to make these soft baked granola bars. My kids love grab and go snacks to take to school, sports, and other activities. The price of convenience foods like that can quickly add up, especially […]

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Top 4 Tips for Boosting Body Composition By Craig Libby & Martin Shyvers

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One of your most important dieting goals should be to decrease your body fat percentage whilst at the very least maintaining your current levels of muscle mass.

This change to body composition has the effect of:

— Raising your metabolic rate, making it easier to stay lean;
— Allowing you to reach your strength potential faster by building muscle first and then stimulating the neuromuscular system with heavy loads;
— Improving overall health and strengthening the immune system.

Some people, however, find that they don’t get the results they’d expect when trying to burn fat and tone or build muscle. Some of the most common mistakes are easy to overlook, but can be avoided by following our top four body composition principles:

1. Favour heavy loads (this should be relative to the typical weight you lift). The hormonal changes due to strenuous training are immensely beneficial. They will increase testosterone and growth hormone, as well as improving your insulin sensitivity.

2. Use compound lifts in your training. Exercises such as Squat/Deadlift/Press/Row and their variations will stimulate the greatest amount of muscle fibres, leading to greater health and body composition benefits.

3. Use sprints and modified strongman training. These sorts of training styles greatly ramp up fat burning.

4. Don’t overdo the cardio. Some steady-state cardio can be beneficial, both physiologically and psychologically, but too much can have a negative impact on testosterone output and fat loss.

Remember these four principles when developing your training plan!

Craig & Martin

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