I love protein bars because they’re filling, nutritious, and help build and repair muscle while allowing me to satisfy my sweet tooth, but natural protein bars are surprisingly hard to come by!
In fact one day I’ll make my own (watch this space) but for now my high standards when it comes to both taste and nutrition mean my options are fairly limited.
Most come coated in cheap chocolate (presumably to hold them together?), and are stuffed with artificial and unnecessary additives, fillers, sweeteners, sugar, preservatives and flavourings. Some are even just a regular chocolate bar with added protein!
All this is wholly unnecessary, I’ve experimented with homemade protein bars many a time, all natural, healthy and totally delicious, so I never could understand why it would be so hard for a brand to sell natural protein bars.
So while you can’t just buy any old protein bar it’s at least great that one brand – Pulsin – are making them, and are available online if you’ve not seen them in your local supermarket. (use code PHAL10 to get 10% off)
Here’s a review of some of the bars that Pulsin make
There’s enough fruit in each bar to count as one portion, which makes them so much better than those ‘squashed fruit concentrate’ snacks I see aimed at kids (a pet hate of mine). Free from gluten, dairy, soya, refined sugars and non GM, also suitable for both vegan and paleo diets!
Being based on dried fruit these are higher in (natural) sugar than the Pulsin’s other bars, but this makes them great post workout (or intra-workout if you’re exercising for longer than 90 minutes, by which time your stored sugar levels may be running low). Or I would give these to my kids any day instead of sugary junk.
Bella loved the berry one in particular, while Aurora is my resident chocoholic so that’s her favourite.
The Protein Boosters are the bars I typically recommend to my Mums as being the highest in protein they’re the most filling, and low sugar which means fewer energy highs and lows. Xylitol, a very low calorie natural sugar alternative is used to sweeten – the same stuff that’s used in chewing gum because it’s good for your teeth!
Many protein bars on the market are simply chocolate bars with added whey protein, in other words protein boosted junk. While protein is important and most people don’t get enough, this is still completely missing the point.
Adding protein in itself does not make it a healthy bar, but Pulsin only use 100% natural, wholesome nutritious ingredients. There’s a misconception that ‘health bars’ don’t taste as good as less healthy snacks. In some cases I agree – you can’t compare a handful of almonds to a chocolate fudge cake.
But these bars really are delicious. The proof is always when my kids and husband like them and don’t realise they’re ‘healthy’ – that’s a true test of an amazing tasting bar!
I actually took the Vanilla Choc Chip bar as a breakfast on the go with some fresh fruit. I was worried that it wouldn’t keep me full all morning but I needn’t have; it was perfect (and I have a big appetite!)
These are clever, because I’ve tried a lot of ‘healthy’ brownies in my time and none of them actually taste like a real brownie – you can tell they’re healthy. So considering these are so packed with nutritious superfoods like raw cocoa, cacao butter, green tea extract, maca, nuts, goji and chicory fibre it’s incredible my ‘I want real chocolate’ sugar addict husband loved them! Not as high in protein and higher in (natural, from fruit) sugar than the Protein Boosters these are more of a healthy and higher fibre alternative to refined flour & sugar brownie cakes and puddings, but they’re so chocolaty you’ll get your ‘hit’ pretty easily in one bar rather than bingeing your way through a batch of sugar and flour.
These are Pulsin’s kid’s range, meaning big kids too obviously – they’re mini size and nut free, meaning school lunch friendly yay! As a parent finding healthy snacks that are both low sugar, nut free and need no refrigeration is harder than you think; most kids’ snacks are crazily high in sugar, both natural and added. Oats are a great source of sustaining energy for little people, but I’d eat these any day, especially as a quick post workout snack along with a protein shake. I felt guilty keeping it to myself even if I was reviewing them, so compromised by sharing with four year old Bella and 8 year old Aurora. Aurora is always needing portable snacks while she’s out and about doing various clubs and can eat so much food for her tiny frame, so it’s good to be able to give her more nutritious bars to fuel her active and growing body.
Pulsin do a whole range of no-added-anything protein powders; whey, rice, hemp, pea, and soya, including organic versions. With no flavourings or sweeteners not only are they as pure as you can get, but they are a great canvas for adding whatever flavours you want, from fruit, cocoa, nut butters, and even savoury foods!
I took advantage of this over my usual vanilla shake and knocked up some beetroot whey protein pancakes by simply mixing whey with egg, mashed beetroot and herbs.
Pulsin have recently branched out into ingredients with Whey Protein Crispies and No Added Sugar Chocolate Drops that are perfect for healthy home baking or pumping up porridge, pancakes or as a topping to shakes and smoothie bowls.
There are also assorted hampers which make fantastic gifts, and once you’ve chosen which snacks and powders are your favourites you can save money with a subscription.
But for now you can get 10% off all Pulsin orders over £20 with the code PHAL10 at the checkout.
Fad celeb diets loved by Martine McCutcheon, the Kardashians and Alexandra Burke ‘DON’T work and actually make you GAIN weight’.
People who go back to eating normally after losing weight on a calorie-restricted fad diet tend to pile on the pounds much faster.
“My main concern is that even if it works short term, it doesn’t educate the dieter on how to live healthy and eat healthy and plan meals.
“That’s one of the reasons people regain all the weight afterwards, because they stop the diet when the weight is gone, but they still don’t really understand how to eat healthily.
To read the whole article I wrote for The Sun Newspaper click the link below:
Are the recommendations on protein for women the same as for men?
Do most women need more protein need more protein than they’re currently eating?
Why? And if so, what’s the best way to get that protein?
The Huffington Post asked me if, and why, I use protein shakes.
I love (quality) protein powders – tasty, convenient, and yes, healthy!
Here’s the article where you can find out how to add protein powder into your diet:
Not many eating disorder news stories appear on your TV unless it’s a celebrity being ‘accused’ of starving themselves for a film role or bikini season.
Last May I finally came open about my past Eating Disorder and how I suffered and was very ill with Anorexia for years in my late teens and early twenties, being in and out of hospital several times.
I also did another video about my recovery and how now I’m stronger than ever, both emotionally as well as physically – (watch that video here.)
I had kept it quiet for years, not because I felt ashamed or that anyone would judge me,
Just that I had moved on, put it all behind me and honestly?
There are some very dark memories attached to the years I was ill.
But I remember the day I was admitted to hospital for the first time.
I vowed that one day, when I was recovered and emotionally strong enough I would help other sufferers break free of their demons too.
It might seem ironic that I’m now a personal trainer and nutritionist helping Mums lose weight, but actually it’s all the same really.
If you do not love and respect yourself, and your body, enough to look after it, then you will..
- Eat junk (or not eat properly) even when you know it’s not serving you
- Skip exercise because other things seem more important at the time
- Berate yourself for having no willpower
- Have no self confidence or self esteem because you ‘can’t stick to a diet’
- Feel bad about your body, because it doesn’t have enough energy to do the things you need to do to change, let alone look the way you’d like
- Give up trying because every time you do, you fail
And even from an anorexic’s point of view, all of this I understand.
I knew what I had to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I felt mentally weak, and stuck, and miserable, but I couldn’t get out of the cycle.
But I learned to love my body and treat it well, and so can you.
Anyway what’s this about SKY News?
When ‘Beat’ eating disorder charity opened their helplines for the first time on Christmas Day to support sufferers and their families who might be struggling over Christmas,
SKY wanted to cover the story, came across my videos, and were so inspired they invited me to speak live from their studio during the morning Sunrise slot on Christmas Eve!
The video has been placed on the Sky News website – Click Here or on the link below to see it.
Clean eating has been a massive trend for some years now,
But what exactly is it, is it healthy, and is it right for you and your family?
While there’s no official definition of clean eating, most advocators insist on no processed foods, no refined sugar or flour,
And some cut out dairy and gluten and eat only organic food as well, though not everyone is as strict.
It’s not the same as a vegan diet which cuts out animal products – ‘clean eaters’ often still eat meat, fish and eggs, and some dairy.
Click Here to read the full article and learn all about clean eating in Just For Families Magazine: http://www.thefitmumformula.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/KS-JFF-Clean-Eating.pdf
Have you tried a stricter version of clean eating? Or do you simply try and eat more healthy food and less unhealthy food? Let me know in the comments below.
Is it ok to eat mince pies when you’re trying to eat healthily?
What about all the other tasty festive treats we’re surrounded by over Christmas, surely they’re going to ruin your diet?
The ‘problem’ with these foods is that they are usually high in sugar and fat, making them high calorie (which adds up to weight gain), and very tasty, so easy to overeat and not stop at just one.
But here’s the thing – being a healthy weight is not the only thing that matters in life.
Not only is eating tasty treats occasionally not going to hurt in the long run, living a life of restriction and deprivation every day of the year does not make for a happy existence.
Of course there’s a balance to be had, and the reason most people who preach about ‘moderation’ is because their idea of balance and moderation is a little skewed.
But I’ll certainly be enjoying the odd mince pie this Christmas, and when PT Magazine asked me to write about why I was happy to encourage others to relax a little too.
Click Here to read the Article PDF on why it’s more than ok to eat mince pies this Christmas! http://www.thefitmumformula.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/pt-mag-mince-pies.pdf
Do you enjoy mince pies, yule log or any other Christmas treat? Do you still eat them when trying to lose weight?
Secondary spend brings welcome additional revenue for operators – so what’s the best way to approach this? Katherine Selby spoke to me and a selection of other operators that have come up with a successful formula to monetise health-conscious members
Gymbag gives fitness professionals their own e-commerce store stocked with supplements, fitness equipment and apparel. It soft-launched with personal trainers and is now set to supply bigger leisure operators.
Pollyanna Hale, weight loss and fitness coach at thefitmumformula.com, was one of the first personal trainers to try Gymbag. She explains: “I wanted an online store to help my clients and earn some secondary income, but the logistics were a real barrier. But Gymbag does it all for me – I simply point clients towards the product they need, the order goes through and I get paid.
“I market it via a private Facebook group, where I can give advice and clients can comment and make recommendations too.
“My clients get a discount code to use at Gymbag and I send out gift vouchers and rewards. Occasionally I’ll surprise them with little samples like protein bars or shake sachets, which makes them smile, keeps them motivated and sparks fresh orders.
“It’s a no brainer: the cost is low, the site is set up for you, the range is comprehensive, it adds value to my service and I make 20 per cent profits when I sell the products online. I’d definitely recommend Gymbag and can really see its potential for operators looking for a quick way to generate income from secondary spend.”
“It’s a no brainer: the cost is low, the site is set up for you and the range is comprehensive” – Pollyanna Hale
Visit http://gymbag.co/ to find out how to get your own store.
What is it like juggling a business you love with kids you love more (but in a different way)?
That’s what I was asked by Devenia Besant of deveniabesant.com , a site dedicated to supporting women in business who are juggling family life at the same time.
How long have you been doing the Hustle and Juggle?
3 1/2 years
What is the Juggle to your Hustle?
I always wanted to be a stay at home Mum and only put my kids in nursery because it was right for them, I’m lucky in that I have that option. Bella (now 4) does 3 mornings only, so fitting work in happens very early morning, often as early as 4am! Then during nursery hours, in the evening, while they’re having their tea, and of course from my phone at every opportunity! That last bit I feel guilty about – but otherwise those little jobs would eat into better quality time with them playing at home, so I guess it’s the better choice of the two.
Tell me more about your business?
I help tired, overworked and frustrated Mums look and feel like their old selves again. My members get both their body and their body confidence back, with a system that not only really works well but can be done within the confines of even the busiest schedule, because it’s all online, open 24/7.
I’m not into quick fixes or cookie cutter plans. That’s not to say my Mums don’t get quick results, but they’re not at the expense of long term ones. What works for one won’t work for another, so I work with each Mum so they learn how to nourish their body in a way that’s perfect for them.
What is your Hustle and Juggle story?
Well for starters I’m typing this from my bed when I’m supposed to be recovering from a nasty stomach bug! I’ve *almost* finished today’s *essential* tasks ha ha.
I think when you want something bad enough, you find a way. I’ve pulled all nighters to get websites launched, conducted live interviews with National radio stations in the loo, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s answered a call with ‘can we schedule a chat for this afternoon, I’m just in a meeting’ when you’re actually at toddler group!
The hardest was my longest ever trip away to America – 4 days including travelling. The kids weren’t bothered at all, in fact they were just really chuffed that Grandma had decided all meals must involve sweets….!
What’s your message to anyone reading this to inspire them to keep going and remain visible?
Always know your ‘why’. Why are you doing what you do? What’s the passion behind it? When you have a meaning and message that can help people, you just want to get it out there.
Also importantly, are you enjoying it? Because life is short and if you’re not happy, do something else. Usually this is very short term; some nights I’m just like, sod it, those email replies can be done tomorrow, it’s time hubby and I indulged in a bit of trashy Netflix before my brain explodes!
Do you search for workout videos online whenever you need a quick and simple to follow exercise session?
There are hundreds available thanks to video platforms like YouTube.
The only problem with these are you don’t get the support and ability to ask questions, and of course be motivated to to the workout in the first place, that you get from hiring a coach.
You don’t get any information about diet or nutrition either.
(but you do here < , more info on this below)
in fact this is a big reason many personal trainers fail their clients – the person turns up to their 3 x weekly sessions, but what about the other 165 hours a week?
And what about all the meals that are offsetting any weight loss benefits from a workout?
Diet changes make the biggest difference when losing weight is your goal.
That being said, you’ll have more energy, be stronger, fitter, look more toned and sleep better if you exercise as well.
The 7 workouts are designed for busy Mums to help burn fat and ramp up your metabolism so that you burn more calories even resting. Check them out on Flex here.
These are actually workouts that are part of my new 7 Day Weight Loss Plan that includes 7 days of all meals & snacks, shopping list, motivation and full support.